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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

Reaction in Iraq to Pictures of U.S. Soldiers Mistreating Iraqi Prisoners

Aired May 1, 2004 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


RENAY SAN MIGUEL, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
It is May 1st, May Day in many parts of the world, where they still celebrate that.

Good morning to you.

I'm Renay San Miguel.

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody.

Glad you could join us.

I'm Linda Stouffer.

SAN MIGUEL: We've got a busy three hours coming up for you.

Here is what's coming up this hour, though.

It's been a volatile week in Falluja, but a deal is struck and the city is spared an all out Marine assault. Balancing war and peace, that discussion just minutes away.

Also ahead, fear of the unknown -- Iraqis who have some semblance of a normal life worry about the June 30 hand over, fearing their lives will be turned upside down.

And then later, "Maya & Miguel," a new TV show designed to reach out to Latino children. Can it be the next "Sesame Street?" Guya de Sesame (ph), in other words. The woman who came up with the idea will join us.

But first, our headlines.

STOUFFER: In Iraq, two international security guards were killed this morning in an attack while escorting a fuel convoy near Mosul. Their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb and small arms fire. Five other contractors were injured in that attack.

The Chinese Ministry of Health says it's now confirmed another case of SARS in Beijing. China has six confirmed cases at this point. That includes one fatality. All of the cases are being traced to a government SARS lab, which is under investigation by the World Health Organization. Celebrations in many capital cities across Europe as the European Union welcomes 10 former cold war enemies into the fold. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are among those joining the 24 current members of the E.U.

There are an unknown number of Westerners dead following an attack by militants in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The attack took place in Yanbu, where many Western oil workers live. U.S. and British Embassy officials are investigating this one and three of the suspected gunmen were killed by a car bomb or in a shootout with Saudi authorities.

SAN MIGUEL: Our top story this hour, abuse of Iraqi prisoners, allegedly at the hands of American troops sent to liberate them. By now, you have likely seen the disturbing photos that are sparking outrage around the world.

Our Ben Wedeman is tracking this controversy.

He joins us now live from Baghdad with the latest -- Ben. BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Renay, Iraqis are marking May Day, so really the word hasn't really diffused widely, as widely as one would expect here. Newspapers surprisingly not covering this story. I spoke to one editor who told me they didn't include those pictures because of personal reasons. Another saying that the pictures are just too offensive to many people.

The expectation is that they will be published tomorrow and when they do, the expectation, of course, is that the reaction will be extremely negative.

This morning I spoke with a human rights activist who said that these pictures really spoil the atmosphere even more here. In fact, he was worried that the silent majority of Iraqis who haven't been politically active, who had been giving the coalition a chance to work out its project of reconstruction and the introduction of democracy, he said that that silent majority, their support for the coalition may begin to erode once they see these pictures, once the full story gets out.

Now, elsewhere in Iraq, we're going to recount the increasingly grim toll of coalition forces being killed in this country on an almost daily basis. Today, one U.S. soldier was killed in Mosul by a roadside bomb and two private security personnel were also killed in that occasionally tense city. In addition to that, yesterday we had two sailors being killed in the Anbar Province. That is where Falluja is located. And in addition to that, two Marines killed by a car bomb there.

Now, the situation in Falluja is, I don't want to say getting back to normal, but it is a bit less tense today, as the Marines gradually pull back and as they give this Iraqi security force, which has been thrown together, composed of former members of Saddam Hussein's army, goes into that city to try to calm things down.

The problem is there still is not an agreement with the insurgents. No agreement from them to lay down their arms. So the question is will this attempt at resolving the situation there actually work -- Renay.

SAN MIGUEL: And that is Ben Wedeman reporting live from Baghdad.

Ben, thank you very much.

Coming up in about 10 minutes from now, we'll be joined by David Colton of "USA Today" to take a closer look at some of the images of war and their impact on the public. So, please, stay with us for that.

STOUFFER: Some families who fled the besieged city of Falluja began returning today. Nearly a third of the city's 200,000 people fled after fighting broke out between U.S. Marines and insurgents about a month ago. Marines withdrew from many of their positions around the city yesterday. U.S. officials announced a deal has been struck for an Iraqi force to take over some security duties there.

And two months from now the coalition plans to transfer power to Iraq, but it is still such an unstable place.

So, is the coalition ready for the hand over?

Let's talk more about that with Robert Maginnis, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel.

Colonel, welcome.

How are you today?

LT. COL. ROBERT MAGINNIS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I'm good, Linda.

Thank you for having me.

STOUFFER: Well, I'm so glad you could join us.

Let's talk about Falluja in particular, if we could. Soldiers of the old Iraqi Army are starting patrols. What's the realistic role of these troops?

MAGINNIS: Well, you know, these people know the terrain. The officers and the general that they're vetting right now are from Falluja and the area. They're going to have soldiers that can go in and talk, you know, friend to friend with people throughout that 300,000 person city. So, you know, putting an Iraqi face in this contentious area is very, very important. Quickly, I think we should have done it a year ago, but that's hindsight.

What we're doing now is proactive and, to a certain degree it's, you know, because we've run out of options. You know, going in there and, you know, just bombing is certainly not going to win the hearts and, you know, the support of the Iraqi people.

STOUFFER: What's the best way to rely on these Iraqi troops, though? Is it checkpoints? Is it patrols? What do you think? MAGINNIS: Well, certainly joint patrols is what General Conway is trying to do, as the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force commander. In fact, he's having a press conference as we speak and he's bringing out more of these details.

But it looks as if, if we can turn over gradually the security to an Iraqi force that's blended with the police forces and the Civil Defense Corps personnel, then we'll be able to extract the Marines to a, you know, an area and only on call would they come in. That's ideal. But keep in mind, now, as General Abizaid said out of Qatar yesterday -- he's the CENTCOM commander -- that, you know, we have a loti of reservations about, you know, the reliability of Iraqi forces because they did not, you know, really join up in terms of helping us to reject what's going on in Falluja and elsewhere over the last couple of months.

So, there's hesitancy here, Linda.

STOUFFER: What about the position of the Marines, though? You mentioned that. And U.S. commanders make the point that they are repositioning, not retreating in any way.

How do they establish the difference?

MAGINNIS: Well, the Marines clearly have pulled back from the berms. They're going to be reaction forces, much like the 82nd Airborne said that they were, you know, months ago, when they were in charge before turning it over to the Marines.

The Marines, frankly, are going to keep their finger on the pulse. They're going to be -- you've got a colonel working with this Iraqi general once he's in charge in Falluja, if that does, in fact, happen. We'll be observing overhead with Predator aircraft and satellite imagery. We'll know what's happening day to day and almost minute by minute. And that's absolutely important.

Keep in mind, General Conway, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force commander, is in charge of the Iraqi force on the ground, as well. So he is ultimately going to be held accountable for what happens in Falluja. And so he's trying to pull out all options here. This happens to be the latest. And we'll see if it works.

STOUFFER: Colonel Maginnis, if I could get you to sort of step back a moment. It's been one year since the end of major combat was declared by the president.

Militarily, how is the U.S. position now, a year later?

MAGINNIS: Well, you know, we had that great march to the north, a lightning march by the 3rd Infantry Division up through Nasiriyah, Najaf and into Baghdad. And everyone was celebrating a very quick victory. But as some of us, to include me, warned that, you know, the hard part was about to begin. The insurgency was slow to emerge. You know, we believe from yesterday's report out of the "Washington Post" that there was an organization, part of the Mukhabarat, the intelligence service, called the M-14, that was actually planning to seed an insurgency throughout Iraq that would use improvised explosive devices, small attacks by, you know, RPGs and so forth. And we've seen that emerge.

Our casualties, in fact, you know, at the end of the war it was a hundred and what, 30 or so? Now, this past month, we've had just as many casualties, and that's unfortunate.

So, you know, much like what the British experienced back in 1920, this is a hard area to control. And you have to really win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people before you go in there with a sledgehammer. And unfortunately in a couple of places we've used a sledgehammer. And here recently we've decided that the tanks we sent home have to be brought back because these light armored Humvees just aren't cutting it.

STOUFFER: Yes, well, as far as those casualty numbers go, let's hope this month, May, is somewhat of a turnaround as far as that's concerned.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis, thanks so much for your time today.

MAGINNIS: Thank you, Linda.

STOUFFER: And coming up at the nine o'clock Eastern hour, we'll take your questions on Iraq a year after President Bush announced "mission accomplished." You can e-mail us now at wam@cnn.com. Ben Wedeman and Lieutenant Colonel Maginnis will be here for our discussion.

SAN MIGUEL: If you haven't had time to keep up with the news this week, don't worry. That's what we're here for. Let's rewind for you now and look at some of the top stories.

At the White House on Thursday, President Bush and Vice President Cheney answered questions from the 9/11 Commission. No recordings were allowed of that private session.

That same day in Iraq, a tentative deal is reached that could end the stand-off in Falluja. It calls for U.S. Marines to gradually give Iraqi generals responsibility for the city's security.

And another war makes the news Thursday -- WWII. On the Mall in Washington, a memorial is unveiled to the 16 million Americans who served.

And Friday saw another court appearance by Michael Jackson, where he pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a grand jury's investigation of sexual allegations made against him.

And tomorrow, we will fast forward to the week ahead and tell you which stories we think will be grabbing the spotlight.

STOUFFER: In just 61 days, power changes hands in Iraq. What are Iraqis expecting?

SAN MIGUEL: Plus, it was meant as a tribute to the fallen, so why are these pictures being called a political play?

Ahead, when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues.

COMMERCIAL

STOUFFER: Welcome back on this Saturday morning.

In London, furor over photographs in today's "Daily Mirror" newspaper. The British defense ministry launches an immediate investigation into alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British troops. The newspaper says the photos show troops abusing an Iraqi prisoner in a camp near British controlled Basra in southern Iraq and the furor comes after pictures apparently showing U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners drew international condemnation.

SAN MIGUEL: Naming America's war dead in Iraq -- amid heated debate and controversy, ABC "Nightline" Ted Koppel did just that last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM ABC'S "NIGHTLINE")

TED KOPPEL, ANCHOR, ABC'S "NIGHTLINE": Jay Aubin, Ryan Beaupre, Brian Kennedy, Kendall Waters-Bey, Therrel Childers, Jose Gutierrez...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAN MIGUEL: Called "The Fallen," "Nightline" broadcast the names and photographs of all 721 Americans, servicemen and women killed in Iraq.

The program sparked outrage from some, who called it anti-war propaganda.

Koppel addressed that last night on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "ANDERSON COOPER 360")

KOPPEL: If this were the only thing that "Nightline" had been doing on Iraq or the only thing that "Nightline" was doing in Iraq, that might have some merit to it. I think of all the programs on network television, "Nightline" probably has done more on Iraq over the last 18 months than any other program out there.

To suggest that this program exists in a vacuum by itself is just to ignore reality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAN MIGUEL: Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group barred its seven ABC affiliate stations from airing the "Nightline" broadcast, calling it a political statement that failed to give all sides. Sinclair replaced "Nightline" with what it calls a balanced program addressing both sides of the controversy.

Friday marked the end of the most deadly month for U.S. troops in Iraq. Photos of American war dead filled the front page of "USA Today."

Now, some call it a tribute to the fallen. Others are calling it a patently political move to discredit the White House.

David Colton is page one editor of "USA Today."

He is in our Washington bureau.

Mr. Colton, thanks for being with us this morning.

DAVID COLTON, "USA TODAY": Thanks, Renay.

SAN MIGUEL: So before we get into what "USA Today" did, did you get a chance to watch "Nightline?" And, if so, what'd you think?

COLTON: Well it was pretty somber stuff. For those who were accusing Koppel and "Nightline" of trying to do a publicity stunt, except for the Sinclair controversy over this, I don't think that would have been much of a ratings grabber. It was a somber recitation of names without music, without commentary and readers -- I think the same with our paper -- can make up their own minds about their reaction to it.

SAN MIGUEL: It is about, you know, how much emotion, whatever media outlet is doing this -- whether it is a broadcast like "Nightline" or a paper like "USA Today" -- how much emotion is being brought to this particular issue, because that is where you can get into trouble with the political side of this question, right?

COLTON: Well, yes. I mean what we tried to do is put a human face on, as you say, what was the deadliest month of the war -- 134 people, soldiers killed. We ran 116 photos. And the power of the package, I believe, is the different reactions people have to it.

I'm a little startled by the furor over the political bent that people are bringing to it. I don't think there's an anti-war side to this or a pro-war side to this. I think there's just an American reaction to seeing the photos of our sons and daughters, who have given their life in this cause.

SAN MIGUEL: But you had to know that there was going to be some kind of political ramifications to what you were wanting to do when you were discussing this project.

How did you deal with that in the discussions in the budget meetings?

COLTON: We did discuss whether this would be seen as some kind of tilt or statement. But in the end, you know, the photos speak for themselves. And we have a very detailed story talking to many of the families of those who were lost. And it just seemed the power of the package overwhelmed any political considerations.

When the "Life" magazine double spread came out in 1969, no one had ever seen anything like that. There hadn't been a publication that had drawn all the photos together. In this day and age, unfortunately, after 9/11 and other events, roll calls of the dead are sadly more common. And we felt this was an appropriate way to illustrate what was one of the newsiest months in the 13 month conflict.

SAN MIGUEL: You know, I was just going to ask you, because "Nightline's" producer says that was the genesis for the program last night, the "Life" magazine issue during the Vietnam War. But address this issue for me. In today's media universe, 24-7 media universe, where all political ideologies, or more of them, are represented with their own media outlets now, can these kinds of images, whether it is just pictures of American dead soldiers or coffin, flag-draped coffins, or the abuse, the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners, can that still turn the public tide in today's media universe?

COLTON: Well, I think eventually, yes. I mean these are not just images, these are representations of real events. What happened in that Iraqi prison, you can debate whether CBS should have run the pictures as graphically as they did. But if they didn't, with the Internet and other media, it would -- these photos would have gotten out. It's a new fact of the electronic world.

These aren't just images, these are representations of the truth. And once media outlets begin deciding, well, we'll show this, but we won't show that, I think that's a very perilous road for the media to take.

SAN MIGUEL: David Colton is page one editor of "USA Today."

Thanks for getting up early for us this morning.

We do appreciate your time.

COLTON: Thank you.

STOUFFER: Well, today is May Day, so, hey, why is there snow? We'll tell you who got caught in a blast of winter. Plus, Rob is here with your weekend forecast.

All that and more when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues.

COMMERCIAL

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM PRINCE: "MUSICOLOGY")

PRINCE: Wish I had a dollar for every time we say don't you miss the feeling music gave you back in the day? Let's groove, "September," Earth, Wind & Fire, like dance by James, Sly's gonna take you higher.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUFFER: Welcome back.

Colorado is getting some much needed moisture. Not rainy. No, it's snow. A fast moving storm leaves behind nearly a foot of snow in some parts of the southern Colorado Rockies. The Braves-Rockies game had to be postponed because of that, and the area might even get another couple of inches of the wet or the white stuff. Hard to believe.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

STOUFFER: May 1st. It's Derby day, too.

MARCIANO: I know. Exactly.

STOUFFER: What's with that?

MARCIANO: Denver gets crazy this time of year.

SAN MIGUEL: Yes, only in Colorado.

MARCIANO: They had like 80 last week and also some snow. And they can get 10, even 12 inches of snow this time of year.

STOUFFER: Yes.

SAN MIGUEL: Only in Colorado, if you can't enjoy the national springtime pastime of baseball, go skiing.

MARCIANO: Exactly.

STOUFFER: That's true.

SAN MIGUEL: Those are your options.

MARCIANO: Yes.

STOUFFER: You can't feel too sorry for them.

MARCIANO: There's only a couple of resorts that are open, so you might have to do some hiking but...

SAN MIGUEL: Yes.

MARCIANO: ... by the time Monday rolls around, they'll be back in the '70s.

SAN MIGUEL: There you go.

(WEATHER REPORT)

SAN MIGUEL: All right, here's a quick update of some of our top stories.

One year ago, on this date, a "mission accomplished" banner was draped across the USS Abraham Lincoln. President Bush declared major combat operations over in Iraq. Since then, 601 American troops have been killed and the battles rage on.

Photos like this one, showing apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners, draw international outrage and raise questions about human rights. The pictures also led to charges about six U.S. soldiers -- charges against six U.S. soldiers. CBS's "60 Minutes II" first broadcast the pictures on Wednesday.

STOUFFER: Two months from now, the U.S. hands over power to Iraq. How are Iraqis themselves feeling about the government shift? We get the opinion from the streets of Baghdad.

SAN MIGUEL: Plus, make way for "Maya and Miguel," as programming for children starts to speak a new language.

CNN SATURDAY MORNING will be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TORI ATALI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're a middle aged woman, you will most likely find yourself soon reaching for glasses to read things like menus, newspapers or watches. It's an all too common vision problem called presbyopia, affecting nearly everyone by the age of 50.

As the lens of our eyes age, they harden, making close-up vision blurry. Even those with the best eyesight find themselves now having trouble reading.

If you want an alternative to cumbersome glasses, there are several new options. One of the most popular ways to correct near- sightedness is with Lasix surgery. Doctors use a laser to reshape underlying eye tissue, improving vision.

Another procedure, called conductive keratoplasty, was just approved by the FDA. It uses radio waves instead of lasers to reshape the eye.

Reading glasses may soon disappear permanently. Doctors say even more new vision correction technologies, such as lens transplants and prescription drugs to prevent the effects of aging, will be available in the very near future.

Tori Atali, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COMMERCIAL

SAN MIGUEL: Well, in case you're worried about his financial situation, don't worry, because Homer Simpson will soon be making more dough. The details when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues.

Have a cash cow, man.

COMMERCIAL

STOUFFER: Counting down the handoff -- what Iraqis think about the change in power.

Welcome back. I'm glad you could join us on this early Saturday morning.

I'm Linda Stouffer.

SAN MIGUEL: I'm Renay San Miguel.

We'll get to that story in a minute.

But first, here are the headlines at this hour.

Residents of the Iraqi flashpoint city of Falluja are on their way back home. This, as U.S. Marines reposition and turn over control to Iraqi security forces. A former Republican Guard member is heading up the operation. U.S. commanders say they'll return to the city if the Iraqis can't maintain order.

London's "Daily Mirror" newspaper has published photographs that allegedly show British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. That move comes after the widespread publication of photos of U.S. soldiers accused of similar abusive acts and humiliation. A British Army commander says the ministry of defense has launched an investigation. The photos have provoked outrage throughout the world.

And in Mosul, a spokesman for Global Risk Strategies says two of its international security workers died in a convoy attack today. The company says the group's vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb and small arms fire while escorting 46 Turkish fuel trucks.

A few minutes after six tonight, the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown gets under way. Eighteen horses are competing in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville. And after a ruling Thursday by a federal judge, five jockeys who sued will be allowed to wear sponsors' patches on their riding pants.

STOUFFER: We all remember the images one year ago on this date, that banner draped across the USS Abraham Lincoln saying "mission accomplished." President Bush decked out in that flight suit declaring major combat over in Iraq.

Well, on the eve of this one year anniversary, President Bush admits there's still much to do, but says a great deal has been accomplished.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUFFER: Senator Edward Kennedy this week called Iraq a quagmire, contending it is George Bush's Vietnam. SAN MIGUEL: Well, many Iraqis live in areas relatively free of fighting. They go about their daily lives without running for cover. But many are worried about what the future may hold after the June 30 hand over.

Here's CNN's Jane Arraf with that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

04300003.v84

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAN MIGUEL: You can stay current any time on the Iraq situation by going to cnn.com on the World Wide Web. There you'll find a special report on the hand over of sovereignty, which is now just two months away.

STOUFFER: Interesting developments this week in the war on terror and the way it's being fought. On Wednesday, a Moroccan man wanted in connection with Madrid's train bombings was charged with helping to plan the September 11 attacks in the U.S. Amer Azizi had previously been charged with involvement with al Qaeda.

British authorities released a number of people recently arrested in terror raids. Britain's Terror Act of 2000 requires that people who have been held for 14 days either be charged or be released.

And the issue of indefinite detention was a matter before the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Both Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi are U.S. citizens deemed enemy combatants by President Bush. They've been held in U.S. military custody without access to lawyers and courts. And the Supreme Court ruling in this case is expected some time this summer.

Michael Jackson's day in court. At 8:00 a.m. Eastern, our legal eagles on surprising developments in the king of pop's trial. We'll have that.

"Mission accomplished" -- it's been a year since President Bush's speech declaring an end to major combat. We're taking your questions on Iraq. That's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time today.

And then at 9:45 a.m. Eastern, we are going live to the Churchill Downs to preview today's annual Run for the Roses.

First, though, the new "Sesame Street" -- how "Maya & Miguel" will stand out among children's programming, when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues after this.

COMMERCIAL

SAN MIGUEL: All right, let's talk more about that. If you are looking for a flick to check out this weekend, here's a look at what is new in theaters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GODSEND")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Now, good night. You just go to sleep, all right?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Dad, did I die?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAN MIGUEL: But does he see dead people, that's the question? Here's one from the headlines. "Godsend," starring Greg Kinnear and Robert de Niro, tells a tale of desperate parents who agree to a cloning experiment after their son is killed in a freak accident. Cloning much in the news these days. The critics, though, aren't quite raving about this one. Real View says "Godsend" is god awful. Filmcritic.com calls the acting "hammy."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LAWS OF ATTRACTION")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you please look at your left hand, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. Oh. Would you look at that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAN MIGUEL: That's Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore cut a deal as two New York divorce attorneys who end up married to each other in "Laws of Attraction." You can just imagine that the comedy can be involved there. But the critics aren't laughing. The "Atlanta Journal Constitution" is calling the film "disappointing." "Rolling Stone" calls it "a script of colossal banality and gross stupidity." Wow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "MEAN GIRLS")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you wear your hair like that? Your hair looks so sexy pushed back. Katie, will you please tell him his hair looks sexy pushed back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Regina was dangling Aaron in front of me on purpose. I knew how this would be settled in the animal world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAN MIGUEL: And fresh from going to school in Africa, Lindsay Lohan thinks she knows a bit about survival of the fittest, as you see there. What better place to test that knowledge than in high school? Critics are giving "Mean Girls" mixed grades. "USA Today" says it gets funnier as it goes along. The "New York Times" calls it "tart and often charming." STOUFFER: We're going to get now to kids who get along.

The creator of a new children's TV program says it's a show for all kids.

It's called "Maya & Miguel." It's aimed at children ages six to 11. And the show is part of a new trend addressing the growing Hispanic demographic.

The show's creator has been kind enough to join us this morning.

Deborah Forte is president of Scholastic Entertainment.

Deborah, good morning.

Congratulations on the new show.

DEBORAH FORTE, PRESIDENT, SCHOLASTIC ENTERTAINMENT: Good morning.

Thank you.

STOUFFER: Well, tell us about it.

What are you going after with "Maya & Miguel?"

FORTE: Well, I think we're going after appealing to all children, but "Maya & Miguel" is Scholastic's newest initiative for television, for all kids. And think this show has grown out of a need, like all of our television series. This is in response to something we're seeing happening with kids. And this tremendous shift in the population -- one in five children are of Hispanic origin.

So we really felt we needed to do a project that would, where they could see themselves. And as these minorities become more the majority, they need to see themselves represented more positively in the media. And this was our opportunity to do so.

STOUFFER: Is it a way to bring the Spanish language or does it deal more with the cultures of Hispanic families?

FORTE: Well, that's a good question. Actually, both. In this instance, we had two very specific goals we were going after. First was to promote the value of a multicultural society. We wanted kids to see how wonderful this multicultural world that they're living in now is. Rather than having a melting pot, this is a mosaic, so to speak.

The other goal that we had was with respect to language. So many of these children are learning English as a second language and we wanted them to be able to see that process supported through some of the characters in this show. So, supporting English language acquisition and use is the second goal of the show.

STOUFFER: And it debuts this fall. You know, kids are so savvy these days. I think my daughter was three before she could say pbs.org. There are Internet sites to go with everything, computer games and characters are so important for them to latch onto.

Why do you think kiddos are going to like this one?

FORTE: I think they're going to delight in the antics of Maya and Miguel Santos, our two stars of the show. These kids are empowered. They think there's nothing they can't do, fix or invent in their well-intentioned meddling in the lives of their friends and family. I think the Latino children who are watching this show are going to see themselves in it, and that's going to be a wonderful thing. And I think the rest of the population is going to look at this show and see a vibrant community that they want to be a part of.

STOUFFER: And ages six to 11 is the focus for this.

So much luck.

Good luck in the fall. We'll be looking for the new show, "Maya & Miguel."

FORTE: Thank you so much.

STOUFFER: Deborah Forte, thanks a lot.

Have a great weekend.

FORTE: Thank you.

SAN MIGUEL: And, Linda, I understand the original title for that show was "Maya & San Miguel," but it's already taken. Sorry.

Well, maybe now Marge Simpson can afford a decent hair stylist. The stars of "The Simpsons" are getting their biggest raise ever. No, Homer isn't getting any more donuts, but the voices behind the characters are more than doubling their yearly salary. Mmm, money. Production on "The Simpsons" 15th season was halted during the negotiations.

STOUFFER: Another day in court for the king of pop and some surprising new developments there, when CNN's SATURDAY MORNING continues, right after this.

COMMERCIAL

SAN MIGUEL: With millions of people posting information on the Internet, how do you know what you're reading is true? There are a lot of fake e-mail and Internet stories written to look as if they are, indeed, fact, and some people get hurt by the deceptions.

Join us tomorrow morning when we show you how to sniff out the fakes. That's tomorrow morning on CNN SUNDAY MORNING at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. STOUFFER: Well, here's a question for you -- are girls becoming more violent? Studies show the rate of violent acts is up among women. And many of those committing the crimes turn out to be girls.

CNN's Kathleen Koch reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A 12-year-old Baltimore girl beaten into a coma, police say, by other girls at a party.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It was by charged for somebody to beat her up and she never said nothing to anybody and she was a very beautiful person.

KOCH: Suburban Chicago teens injured by girls during a brutal hazing.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Well, this is from a paint can being thrown at me.

KOCH: A 13-year-old girl suspended from a Miami middle school after drawing up a hit list. Authorities say more and more it's girls committing violent crimes. While the violent crime rate for boys is up 50 percent since 1980, the rate for girls has increased 117 percent.

Bridget Miller, who heads Washington, D.C.'s Youth Gang Task Force, ahs seen girls getting more brutal.

BRIDGET MILLER, YOUTH GANG TASK FORCE: A lot of my girls are into stabbings, cuttings and they use ice picks.

KOCH (on camera): Experts blame, among other things, a growing lack of positive role models for adolescent girls.

(voice-over): And popular culture -- video games, TV shows like "Alias" or the new film "Mean Girls," whose female heroes are fighters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both girls and boys are seeing the same culture. They're seeing movies, they're seeing videos, and they want to emulate for what's being perceived as a success, which is being in groups and defending your territory.

KOCH: Sugar and spice and everything nice definitely a thing of the past.

Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAN MIGUEL: Now for some other stories making news across America. A jury acquitted former NBA star Jayson Williams of aggravated manslaughter. Williams still faces up to 13 years in prison after being found guilty on four lesser counts related to an attempted cover-up of the shooting death of a limousine driver. The jury failed to reach a verdict on a reckless manslaughter charge. Prosecutors may decide to retry Williams on that charge.

Michael Jackson appeared in a Santa Maria, California courtroom, where he pleaded not guilty to 10 charges. Included was a new charge of conspiracy, which could lead to other people being charged in the case. The new indictment also alleged that Jackson had substantial sexual conduct with a child under 14.

In Hawaii, more than 70 firefights spent several hours trying to douse a fire at an island recycling plant. The blaze began in a tire shredding machine. No injuries were reported from the fire, just a lot of thick black smoke.

Some two million Californians may not be getting electronic voting after all. The secretary of state banned the touch screen voting in four counties, including San Diego. Kevin Shelley questioned the security of the paperless machines and called for a criminal investigation of the machine's maker.

STOUFFER: Coming up later this morning, it is all about the babies. Award, House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the life of newborns, as well as the growing challenges for all those parents. That comes your way at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

SAN MIGUEL: Here's an oldie but a goody -- just exactly how much do you need to drive home in the world's oldest racing Ferrari. It's part of our Wows of the Week -- wow, indeed -- when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues.

COMMERCIAL

STOUFFER: So, you've found the house of your dreams. Now, you have to ask for a mortgage loan. If that's the case, watch CNN "Dollar Signs" today at 4:30 Eastern. Find out why you need to check that credit report before you ask for a loan and how to make sure you can get your credit rating in shape. You can e-mail your questions on that to "Dollar Signs" at cnn.com.

SAN MIGUEL: And now for a special Kentucky Derby edition of the Wows of the Week.

Believe it or not, one of the premier events at Derby week, the annual bed race. Dozens of competitors took to the rails, but anything -- for anything but a restful race, with the winning team coming from the Ford assembly plant in Louisville. That doesn't seem fair.

Usually the wine comes before the bed, but not this time. Waiters and waitresses circled the field in the 26th annual Run for the Roses. You think they'd carry mint juleps, but then a perfectly good pun would have been wasted. All right, now for some real horsepower. This one has nothing to do with the Derby, except that you'd have to win the Triple Crown to afford this baby. This 1947 Ferrari Spyder Corsa is on display in New York. The oldest racing Ferrari will be auctioned off in August and it is expected to bring in at least a cool million.

Yes, you'd better hit the Quinella on the Kentucky Derby today.

STOUFFER: Yes. I'll bet they're already getting those mint juleps ready in Kentucky right now.

SAN MIGUEL: I think so. They're mixing them up, yes.

STOUFFER: A big day.

Let's see how the weather is looking.

Rob Marciano joins us.

(WEATHER REPORT)

STOUFFER: Well, topping the news right now, deep disgust from the president of the United States to disturbing images of Iraqi prisoners in Baghdad. U.S. treatment of prisoners at the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison has been under investigation for about two months. The White House says President Bush has known about the photos for some time now. Public disclosure of the photos coincides with today's anniversary of the "mission accomplished" declaration. In today's weekly radio address, President Bush is expected to defend his statement of one year ago that major combat in Iraq was over.

SAN MIGUEL: Well, later this morning, you'll get a chance to reflect on the past year in Iraq.

STOUFFER: CNN's Ben Wedeman and retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis will join us for Talk To CNN. And you can e-mail us your questions right now. Here's the address -- wam@cnn.com. So let us know what you're thinking about.

SAN MIGUEL: Please do.

In the meantime, we have more news for you.

The next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING begins right now.

And from the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

It is May 1.

And good morning to you.

Thanks for being here.

I'm Renay San Miguel.

STOUFFER: I can't believe it's May 1 already. SAN MIGUEL: Well.

STOUFFER: Good morning, everyone.

Welcome.

I'm Linda Stouffer.

Glad you could join us.

Ahead this half hour, in Iraq, the stand-off between coalition forces and insurgents in Najaf continues.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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