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Spring Storms Rip Through Midwest; Moore Wins Palme d'Or for 'Fahrenheit 911'; U.S. Troops Storm Kufa

Aired May 23, 2004 - 07:00   ET


THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody, from the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING for May the 23rd. Great to have you with us. I'm Thomas Roberts.
SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Sophia Choi. Thanks for being with us.

Among the stories coming up this hour, gone in 60 seconds, people in Bradgate, Iowa are saying grace one minute, and lucky to be alive the next. We'll take you inside of what's left of this tiny town.

Also ahead, Cannes heat. We'll tell you why Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9-11" is the red hot favorite of this year's film festival. And later, fireworks a favor for Memorial Day. If you're burned out on burgers and dogs, we've got some fabulous fresh ideas for the grill you won't want to miss.

ROBERTS: But first, we bring you the headlines at this hour. At least six people were crushed to death this morning at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, outside Paris, after a large section of the terminal ceiling came crashing down. We're going to have a live update from Paris. That's just ahead here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

Iran says it did not receive classified U.S. intelligence about Iraq from Ahmed Chalabi. Some in the U.S. had accused Chalabi, a member of Iraq's governing council, of passing sensitive information on to Iran. An Iranian official calls those accusations "baseless."

Arab leaders are outraged over recent developments in the Middle East. On day two of the Arab League Summit in Tunisia, members are drafting several resolutions, one condemns the U.S. for the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. Another condemns violence against Palestinians. And another calls on the United Nations to take a stronger role in Iraq.

CHOI: Our top story this morning, spring storms rip through the Midwest. A state of emergency is in effect in Nebraska, where 19 tornadoes were sighted, flash floods were reported, and several homes were destroyed.

In Iowa, it was the second straight night of storms, but they were not as severe as Friday night, when the town of Bradgate was devastated by a tornado. Several homes were leveled. We'll told every house in town sustained some sort of damage.

Well, the storm and its destruction brought scores of volunteers to Bradgate to help clean up.

As Chris Nagus of KCCI reports, it also brought Iowa's governor.


CHRIS NAGUS, KCCI NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Now in every street, around every corner, the damage is done. And in the middle of all this mess, there are people who will never forget May 2004.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our bedroom.

NAGUS: The ceiling is gone. Windows shattered. The kitchen crushed. And that's where the Branhoyd family was just before the storms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And while we were eating, the sirens went off.

NAGUS: With little time to spare, they ran to the basement. Moments later, the dinner table was gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a whole big brick wall. And it just came crashing down.

NAGUS: The Branhoyd's were thankful to find shelter in the basement. Not far away, the sheriff was thankful to find shelter in a ditch.

DEAN KRUGER, RESIDENT: I was over here, west side of town. I got caught in the storm. And I tried to go north out of town, but I got caught in it. My windows were blown out.

NAGUS: With seconds to react, Dean Kruger jumped out of his car and into the wind.

KRUGER: My leg was hit by a flying piece of 2 by 4 and caught me right here on the upper leg.

NAGUS: He will walk away with only a leg injury. And he knows it could be much worse.

KRUGER: I guess I'm just very thankful that I'm still here.


CHOI: And that's the important thing. That report from Bradgate, Iowa by Chris Nagus, a CNN affiliate, KCCI. And we want to add that tornadoes were reported overnight in Kansas. And some buildings there were damaged, but no one was injured.

ROBERTS: Amazing damage there. And you can find out, you know, from listening to their stories, those storm sirens really make the difference because seconds matter when it comes to this.

CHOI: Exactly. And it's so good that the family ran into the basement like we're always told to do. (WEATHER REPORT)

ROBERTS: Dramatic show of force this morning, as U.S. troops and Iraq special forces stormed the town of Kufa. Now they killed 16 fighters loyal to the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. And they found stores of weapons and ammunition in a mosque there.

CNN's Jane Arraf is with the second battalion 37th Armored Regiment in Kufa.


JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're driving through the streets of Jarkin (ph) and Kufa shortly after artillery fired into the city for the first time by U.S. forces. The lights went out all over Kufa.

Driving down these darkened streets, you can hear mortars being fired from either side. This is the biggest operation into this area since U.S. forces began fighting the Mehdi militia.

LT. COL. PAT WHITE, U.S. ARMY: We immediately received contact both in the north and the south, as we crossed into Kufa. A number of RPG gunners established in what we call bunker systems. We employed artillery fires. And we also used aerial gunship, the AC-130, for precision fires so we wouldn't damage the mosque.

ARRAF: This is the al Salem mosque. It's on the north side of Kufa. U.S. forces came in here. They said it was surrounded by Mehdi militia. And there were militia members inside. Weapons in the mosque, they say they found.

Now this was a joint operation, according to the U.S. forces, with the new Iraqi special forces, who came in at the forefront of this. They say they came in. They received fire from the Mehdi militia. And they killed 12 of them in the perimeter, four or five of them inside.

The weapons cache, rocket propelled grenade launchers, mortar tubes, and more than 2000 rounds of ammunition for AK-47s. They say the operation here in intended as a show of force to deny safe haven to the Mehdi militia in Kufa and in Najaf.

But as for going after Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi'ia leader himself, they say they're not doing that yet.

(on camera): Jane Arraf, CNN, reporting from Kufa.


CHOI: And now to the deadly collapse of a ceiling this morning at France's largest airport.

CNN's Jim Bittermann joins us by telephone from Paris with an update -- Jim? JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning, Sophia. Yes, we're just moments before 7:00 this morning, when a section of the roof on terminal 2E collapsed, killing as many as six people. The authorities are saying between five and six people were killed, three people injured. They don't believe that death toll is going to go any higher, because they've had sniffer dogs go through the wreckage. And there's considerable wreckage.

And so far, at least, there's no indication that any other people are going to be pulled from the wreckage. In fact, what seems to have happened is that there was a bit of an advance warning. Apparently some cracks opened up in the ceiling, according to some eyewitnesses. And concrete dust started falling from the ceiling. Police, according to the witnesses, began to cordon off the area. But in fact, they were too late to avoid some deaths and injuries here.

This is a brand new terminal to -- as the airport director called it, the pride of the Paris airport. It was opened only last June 25. And there have been some critics who have said already this morning that in fact the construction of this terminal was rushed, to accommodate pressure from the various transportation officials, who wanted to get the terminal open last June -- Sophia?

CHOI: Jim Bittermann at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Thank you so much for that update.

ROBERTS: Talk this morning about politics and some irony for political leaders. Get this, in Massachusetts, Senator John Kerry was shopping for a bicycle. While in Texas, President Bush was falling off one.

The president tumbled from the bike yesterday at mile 16 of a 17 mile ride on his ranch near Crawford. President Bush was wearing a helmet, but he did suffer minor abrasions on his face one hand and both knees. Now he was treated at the scene by his physician. And he hopped back on that bike and he rode it home.

But the president may still be wearing the bandages tomorrow night when he makes what's billed as a major speech at the Army's War College. It's going to deal with the planned handover of sovereignty to the Iraqis. And CNN will carry it live at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific.

CHOI: Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore scored a big victory at Cannes with a critical look at President George Bush. Moore hopes the attention will cut through studio problems, so he can show his film "Fahrenheit 9-11" to American audiences.

CNN's Chris Burns reports.


QUENTIN TARANTINO, JURY MEMBER, CANNES FILM FESTIVAL: The jury is proud to award the Palme d'Or this year of the Cannes Film Festival to "Fahrenheit 9-11". CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Moore's film takes the top honor at Cannes from a nine member jury, that included four Americans. Director Quentin Tarantino presiding.

MICHAEL MOORE: Many people want the truth to be put away, to be put in the closet. And you've taken it out of the closet by this act.

BURNS: "Fahrenheit 9-11" questions President Bush's election victory, contends that the Bush administration failed to connect the dots before September 11, and says the Bush family had close business ties with the Saudis, including the bin Laden family before the attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In his first eight months in office, before September 11, George W. Bush was on vacation, according to "The Washington Post," 42 percent of the time.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hit every shot good. People saying it wouldn't work.

BURNS: Well, that's the entire media clip released here at Cannes, Moore's film laces already existing news footage in Iraq and elsewhere with original film, including an emotional interview with a mother whose son died in Iraq and some ambush journalism of Moore asking congressmen why their sons aren't serving there.

Moore, who won at Cannes two years ago with his anti-gun film, "Bowling for Columbine," joked about Miramax's parent company Disney refusing to distribute his new film in the United States. Disney has recently agreed to sell the distribution rights back to Miramax.

MOORE: We have a distributor now in Albania that we just were told. So now every country in the world can see this film, except one.

BURNS: With the Golden Palm, Moore says he's confident a U.S. distributor will be quickly found for "Fahrenheit 9-11," who's title was inspired by Ray Bradbury's book on censorship.

MOORE: You will ensure that the American people will see this movie.

BURNS: Moore says he aims to screen "Fahrenheit" stateside before the presidential election, hopeful that "things are going to change."

Chris Burns, CNN, at the Cannes Film Festival.


CHOI: And still ahead right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING, the new comedy film "Soul Plane," lands in movie theaters this week. Already, it's encountering some turbulence from African-Americans, though.

ROBERTS: Also for you, is the garage or shed a toxic chemical dump? Old paint, gas, and pesticides may pose greater health risks to your family and your pets than you actually realize. An expert will explain how to minimize the danger for you.

CHOI: And the spiraling cost of gasoline, you know it hurts, but do you know what's behind the spike in oil prices? We'll explain that really from a perfect storm of factors.

ROBERTS: But first for you, oil prices are making a splash in editorial cartoons this week. This one is from Mike Peters of "The Dayton Daily News," A look at the latest Moopeq meeting announcing a rate hike for you guessed it, milk.

Back in a moment.


CHOI: You got a house, a yard. Then you likely have leftover paint, probably old gas and oil, maybe even some weed killer. And no doubt, household cleaners of various kinds. So you don't want your kids or pets getting into that stuff. What do you do with them all then? A lot of people store then in the garage somewhere, but that might not be the best answer.

Joining us from San Antonio is Dr. Bill Lloyd, a surgeon and clinical professor at the University of Texas Health Center.

Thanks so much for joining us.


CHOI: All right, so we don't want to alarm people out there, but just how problematic is this?

LLOYD: Well, every year, there's nearly a million children who are poisoned by household products. And many of them are in the garage, not the medicine cabinet. Products like anti-freeze. You know, anti-freeze has a sweet taste to it. And in fact, it's the number poisoning, not just for children in the garage, but for pets as well.

Here's a list of some other products as well we need to watch out for. Lawn chemicals. Everybody is spraying stuff and had vats of stuff on the floor of their garage. Petroleum distillates, products like paint thinners and varnishes. You know, many of them now come with a very pleasant fragrance. They're still dangerous. Lots of insecticides for killing those critters and a variety of toxic cleaners that are present in your garage, that your children could get on them. Most people just leave these things just laying around the floor of their garage. A great weekend project would be to get rid of them.

CHOI: All right, who's at risk for accidental poisoning? Who's most at risk?

LLOYD: Never underestimate the ability of a child or an adolescent to get into trouble. It begins with toddlers, as soon as they start walking around. They're curious. And they just want to see what's going on. So they're going to start opening packages and containers.

Other children are imitators. They see daddy opening a can of something. Later, they're going to want to do the same thing. With summer coming up, more and more children will be hanging around the house unsupervised. And teens, adolescents, are going to start experimenting. They're going to try to spray things, inhale things, and snort things in aerosol cans. And they're going to find themselves in the hospital.

And finally, children with adjustment problems and may be depressed, well they may be looking for a way out in a non accidental form of poisoning. So once again, get these things off the floor, up on the shelves, and get things secure.

CHOI: What else can you do to protect your children and pets?

LLOYD: Well, Sophia, the first thing you should do is just simply inspect your garage. You know, coming over this morning, I found two half empty containers of anti-freeze on the floor of my own garage. Eliminate them. Don't just simply toss them in the trash. Find out how your community disposes of these dangerous substances.

The things you want to keep, secure them. Put them up on a high shelf, a locked closet, or get one of those sturdy lockable cabinets. Spend time showing your children why these products are dangerous. It's important that they be educated and supervised.

And finally, prepare for the eventuality that some day, maybe a child visiting your house, may come into contact with one of these dangerous substances. Keep the poison control number handy. And know what to do in the event of an accidental poisoning.

CHOI: All right, so what should we do in the event of an accidental poisoning?

LLOYD: Well, Sophia, the first thing is stay calm. If the child's still awake, ask him to point to the substance that they may have come in contact with. Obviously, they'll be directions on the label, if the label is still there. But a lot of old cans of paint have the labels have fallen off and won't be of much help.

Know the poison control number. Keep it by every phone. Don't give the child anything to drink. And certainly don't ask the child to vomit or give them something that will induce them vomiting, because it may -- simply make matters worse.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) medical attention, or call 911 and get the child the help they need.

CHOI: All right, Dr. Bill Lloyd, thanks so much for those great tips. Thomas?

LLOYD: My pleasure.

ROBERTS: Sophia, we switch gears now from fighting potential killers in your garage to fighting insurgents in Iraq. Awards for courage and bravery are given to those who risk their lives. Stay with us, everybody. Their story coming up right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


CHOI: Welcome back. Time now for a quick check of the headlines.

Six people were killed this morning, when a ceiling collapsed at a Paris airport. Massive amounts of concrete fell into a passenger terminal waiting area. The new terminal at Charles de Gaulle Airport had been opened for less than a year.

Nebraska's governor declares a state of emergency after heavy storms sweeped the state. High winds and flash floods caused problems in south central and southeastern Nebraska. There were also several tornado sightings in that area. No injuries reported, though.

ROBERTS: The few, the proud. You know for Marines, those are words to live by.

CNN's Bill Tucker brings us a few of the proud Marines, home now from Iraq, California's Camp Pendleton.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A year after they surged across the Iraqi desert to Baghdad, three Camp Pendleton Marines are honored for bravery and heroism in combat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Sergeant Marco A. Martinez.

TUCKER: Martinez took charge during a fierce firefight in the battle of At Tarmiya, north of Baghdad on April 12, 2003. He single- handedly stormed a building, killing four Saddam Fedayeen fighters.

Fighting in the same battle, Staff Sergeant Adam Sikes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the squads in position, Staff Sergeant Sikes charged alone across 70 meters of fire-swept ground to close on the first enemy strong point.

TUCKER: Sikes then went on to save fellow Marines while enemy fire rained down. For his heroism, the Secretary of the Navy Gordon England presented the Silver Star.

Also receiving a Silver Star, Corporal Timothy Tardif.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corporal Tardif charged across a road under intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire, inspiring his Marines to follow his example.

TUCKER: Corporal Tardif was injured, taking shrapnel from an enemy grenade. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Refusing to be evacuated and disregarding his wounds, Corporal Tardif gallantly led his squad in an assault on an enemy-held compound.

TUCKER: It's not the first time these Marines have been honored. In November, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force received the military's highest group award for heroism.

Since then, many have trained and been deployed again. And many will never come home. More than 75 Camp Pendleton Marines have sacrificed their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The memory of their fallen comrades tempers the mood on this day of celebration.

Bill Tucker, CNN.


ROBERTS: A programming note for you, and as always we bring you hero stories every week on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

CHOI: Squeezed at the pump, we will take a closer look at the reasons behind rising oil prices and why it might not get better any time soon, next on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

ROBERTS: And later, the thrill of the grill. If you never thought about doing desert on the barbecue, you need to stick around. They're sending me outside to this for you. We'll see how it goes. Back in a moment.

CHOI: Oh, it'll be no sweat. No sweat.


ROBERTS: OK, so we know gas prices are soaring, but actually, who's to blame on this one? Hi, everybody, and welcome back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm Thomas Roberts.

CHOI: And I'm Sophia Choi. We'll have that story for you in just a moment.

But first, headlines at this hour. Six people are dead following the collapse of a terminal ceiling at Charles de Gaulles Airport in Paris. The falling roof also collapsed a boarding jetway, causing it to fall on airport vehicles below. The airport terminal was evacuated after the accident.

The battle for Kufa. U.S. and Iraqi troops stormed that town this morning, killing 16 of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia men. The coalition troops used a tank to smash their way into a mosque. Inside, they found a stash of weapons and ammunition.

The European Union is welcoming a Saudi proposal, calling for OPEC to raise its oil output. That's the word from a three day energy forum in Amsterdam. Saudi officials say OPEC should increase production by at least two million barrels a day to stem rising oil prices. Expected decision on June 3 when OPEC decides on its output policy.

ROBERTS: It is the second and the final day of the Arab League Summit in Tunisia, where Arab leaders are expressing outrage of a recent development in the Middle East.

For more on this, we want to check in with CNN's senior international correspondent Walter Rodgers. He's live in Tunis joining us with more.

So Walter, are they finished? And if so, what conclusions have they made?

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're close to being finished. They're in their last hour. And as far as what they've accomplished, it's going to be pretty thin. The final statement on reform throughout the Arab world, which is of course what the Bush administration was hoping very much for, appears to have been badly diluted and watered down.

Indeed, the oath of documentation at the end does not use the word reform. The Arabic word is 'isla.' That has been -- that's been substituted with words like "taqwir", which is development and modernization, "taqid."

And both of those words have been used. Development and modernization to replace any pressure on the Arab regimes for internal reforms.

Now the Bush administration had very much wanted a commitment from this Arab League summit, at least on paper. A perfunctory commitment to the concept of reform in the Arab world.

The White House had wanted to see greater participatory democracy. That is to say representation of the public feelings. And commitments to reform of women's rights in the Arab world. Also commitments to human rights.

We don't even have the word "reform" in this document. One reason, of course, is the Syrians suggested this change of language. And everyone rushed to embrace it, perhaps to escape from any onus of having to reform.

So when these documents finally emerged, they'll be assigned a much lower level. If they had been signed by the heads of state, who are attending this Arab League Summit, they would have had some gravitas.

In point of fact, it being signed by the foreign minister, who then passes them on to the prime minister in the Arab countries, and then they get pushed aside to the cabinets, don't expect a lot by way of reform coming out of this summit or perhaps from the Arab states themselves -- Thomas?

ROBERTS: Walter, real quickly, we're just looking at video there of the leaders who were in attendance. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was seen there. But yesterday, he got up and walked out of a meeting because they didn't agree with his stance about what to do with the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

So what does that attitude reflect for most of the leaders there?

RODGERS: Well, you know, Gadhafi's an interesting case study. He is erratic. He's mercurial. But the thing about Gadhafi is he often speaks more accurately, reflecting the mood on the Arab street, than the political leaders here, the Arab political leaders and the heads of state.

So what's interesting about Gadhafi is when he storms out, what he tells everybody is look, I don't like the agenda these Arab leaders have come up with. There are actually two agendas in the Arab world. The one, which has been developed by the leaders here, which by the way, has been developed under some pressure from the United States. And then Gadhafi says the real agenda should be the view of the Arab street, the Arab peoples, which is often very much at -- in conflict with the official positions of the government.

So you know, Gadhafi is interesting. He is erratic. He is mercurial, but by golly, when he left, he left reflecting perhaps more the view of the Arab street than the leaders who've assembled here.


ROBERTS: Interesting two days, Walter Rodgers live for us in Tunisia. Walter, thank you very much.

CHOI: Taking a Sunday drive these days could drive a hole right through your pocketbook. With gas prices on the rise, there is seemingly no immediate help on the horizon. So who's to blame?

CNN's Tom Foreman found out not so easy to point the finger.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spiraling gas prices are hammering consumers nationwide. And not just on the roadways. Shipping companies, retailers, airlines, almost every corner of the economy is seeing costs rise.

A new survey by the National Retail Federation finds one-third of Americans ready to trim summer travel. In Washington, Senate Democrats are blaming White House policies and demanding relief.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: We call on the White House to step up, do what is right for Americans everywhere, and send a signal to OPEC that they can't keep their hands around our neck.

FOREMAN: For those Democrats, the issue is the Department of Energy's build up since 9-11 of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a vast oil supply that is set aside for national emergencies.

The Bush administration insists releasing part of that supply will do little good for consumers and a lot to damage national security.

SPENCER ABRAHAM, ENERGY SECRETARY: The reserve is not there just simply to try to change prices.

FOREMAN: Analysts for the oil industry say the main cause of high gas prices is overseas. The rapidly expanding world economy, especially in China and India, is increasing global demand for oil.

(on camera): Add to that, the turmoil in the Middle East, which creates fear about an interruption in supply and prices take off.

(voice-over): For now, consumers can only cope., a Web site that helps people find cheaper gas, is getting a half million users a day. And as AAA releases its summer travel predictions.

SANDRA HUGHES, AAA: We're saying that more people are going to travel, but they're going to alter their plans slightly.

FOREMAN: Taking shorter trips, using more fuel efficient vehicles, and even with that, paying dearly to hit the road.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.



CHOI: The Lundberg Survey, which polls 8,000 gas stations nationwide, releases its latest report this afternoon. And those figures might offer some insight into what we can expect for the summer travel season.

Well, the price of oil and gas is the subject of our e-mail question this morning. Tell us if your vacation plans are affected. Our address is That's We'll be reading your replies throughout the morning.

ROBERTS: Want to check some stories making news across America now. In Minneapolis, the show did go on, even after a featured circus performer fell 35 feet to the concrete floor in front of a very startled crowd.

Ringling Brother aerialist Desi Espagne died several hours later. Circus officials say that she was working without a net or a safety harness when she fell.

Well, winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour are keeping firefighters at bay in the Galinas Mountains in New Mexico. Look at this. So far, the wild fires have burned more than 4,000 acres and destroyed one house. There were no injuries since the area had already been evacuated, but airborne tankers were grounded, due to the high wind situation.

Presidential daughter Jenna Bush skipped last night's graduation ceremony at the University of Texas. A spokeswoman for the First Lady Laura Bush said Jenna just didn't want to go. The president and the First Lady planned to skip that event as well, because of concerns that extra security would disrupt the event. Jenna's twin sister Barbara is scheduled to get her degree from Yale later on today.

CHOI: Well, it's 38 days and counting for the scheduled handover of control to the Iraqi people. Is everything in place? A question for an expert on Mideast politics coming up live in our next half hour.

Then at 9:00 Eastern, it's called an answer to the $2 a gallon plus gas crisis, the hybrid car. But how much will it really save you? The co-host of "Talk to VIY Automotive" joins us live.

And at 9:30, the Broadway musical "Avenue Q" is without question one of the hottest tickets in New York right. The Tony nominated director and one of its stars brings a little bit of Broadway to CNN this morning.

But first, up next, while the movie may be funny, there's no laughing from critics who say "Soul Train" goes way too far. Black stereotypes and Hollywood in the spotlight when CNN SUNDAY MORNING returns.


CHOI: Let's fast forward now to see what's coming up this week. On Monday, a hearing in the fraud and conspiracy case against former WorldCom chairman and CEO Bernie Ebbers. He's accused of financial improprieties that helped lead to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. His trial set for November.

On Thursday, the new aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan leaves the port in Norfolk, Virginia headed for its new home in San Diego. It's expected to arrive some time in late July.

And on Friday, a hearing in the Michael Jackson child molestation case. This one focuses on the ceiling of grand jury transcripts.

ROBERTS: On a different note for you this morning, a purple plane pumping rap music and a sassy singing stewardess. So you want a ticket to ride on this one? Well, you'll find it at the box office next weekend. The new movie "Soul Plane" is due out on Friday.

And while some are laughing out loud, others are complaining, saying it's satirical references to African-Americans are equal to stereotypes on steroids.

CNN's Miguel Marquez reports on just who's laughing and who's not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome aboard. Thank you for choosing the soul plane.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a new African-American comedy playing no an old theme, racial stereotypes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like Colt 45 or Alazay (ph)?

MARQUEZ: Though the stereotypes go both ways, some African- Americans who saw the film found it a stereotype too far.

TANYA KERSEY, BLACK TALENT NEWS: If this is the only kind of movie that we can do about black people that's going to make money, that's the problem right there.

MARQUEZ: Ann Marie Johnson starred in one of the first films to take on black stereotypes.


MARQUEZ: Robert Townsend's 1987 satire, "Hollywood Shuffle."

ANN MARIE JOHNSON, ACTRESS: We were hoping when made "Hollywood Shuffle" that we could put that film away on the shelf and say hey, we made a political comment, now we don't have to worry about it.

MARQUEZ: Instead, "Hollywood Shuffle" unleashed a new genre of film. Black satires aimed at black stereotypes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the waist down, you're mine.

MARQUEZ: Though Johnson has seen opportunity for black actors and filmmakers increase, she says there's still a narrow range of possibilities for African-Americans in film.

JOHNSON: Major motion picture wise, African-American themed movies and written and produced are few and far between.

MARQUEZ: Joseph C. Phillips, a classically trained actor, has worked in Hollywood for 20 years. He sees films like "Soul Plane" as a momentary frustration that creates long term change.

JOSEPH PHILLIPS, ACTOR: The fact is that work breeds work. Filmmakers doing these kinds of films will be able to do another kind of film. And they'll hire other black actors to do them.

MARQUEZ (on camera): A spokesman for MGM says the studio has heard no complaint and reminds us the film is written by African- Americans, directed by a Latino. And the cast is almost entirely black. He also says it's equal opportunity. Everyone, black white or otherwise takes a hit.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHOI: Charcoal or gas, now you can use your grill to make some yummy deserts. Yes, find out how next on CNN's SUNDAY MORNING.



CHOI: We're so sorry. Thomas out there grilling with Julianna Grimes Boettcher (ph) of "Cooking Light" magazine. She's going to serve up some summer desert ideas coming up. We're sorry about the audio problems. We'll be back with Thomas right after this quick break.


CHOI: All right, take a look at this. A one and a million baby. Don't see these very often. We're talking about a white buffalo. I think we have a picture. There you see it. This little one was born just about 24 hours ago. Actually, it's a one in 10 million chance. White buffalo calves are rarity, indeed, with only a few known to exist. The calf's mother was actually born red, like most buffalo. And then she turned white later.


CHOI: Well since the beginning of action in Iraq and Afghanistan, as many as 74,000 women have served in combat zones.

Thelma Gutierrez looks at one of the women serving in Iraq and the family she left behind.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armando Figueroa, the daddy.

Staff Sergeant Figueroa, the drill instructor. The tenderness of a father.


GUTIERREZ: The patience of a mother.

FIGUEROA: Put my weapons down, snap.

GUTIERREZ: The nurturing and love of both parents.

FIGUEROA: Wait, is that you? Get back.

GUTIERREZ: This is the story of Staff Sergeant Armando Figueroa and his wife, Angelina.

Marine Staff Sergeant Angelina.

FIGUEROA: Choke right? I lower change, ease the weapon to (UNINTELLIGIBLE.)

GUTIERREZ: By day, Figueroa is a drill instructor who trains Marine recruits.

FIGUEROA: Who's this right here? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uncle Frankie.

GUTIERREZ: By night, he is mom and dad to three young children: Damian, Christian, and two-year old Isabelle.

FIGUEROA: That is when mama and daddy got married.

GUTIERREZ: The Figueroas have reversed roles. Last February, Armando sent his wife off to war.

FIGUEROA: Put it this way, now I know how women feel when their husband leaves.

GUTIERREZ: On the other side of the world, in Iraq, Staff Sergeant Angelina Figueroa fixes weapons. She does not know when she'll see her kids again.

It's not easy on the children. This is the second time mom has gone to war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She left in February. And it's May now.

GUTIERREZ: When is she coming home?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully September.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She'll miss one of my birthdays. And now she's in Iraq.

GUTIERREZ: Figueroa's parents have had to step into help, while their daughter-in-law is away. Olga Figueroa says it's bad that so many women are going to war and leaving their children behind.

She says it's very hard on the kids, because they miss their mother.

What do you tell all the naysayers, people who said she shouldn't be going to war?

FIGUEROA: I said they have a father. You know, I can take care of my kids as well as she can. You know, I can give them the comfort that her mother gave them. And she would say the same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like that she's in the Marines because just that it's just that sometimes she always goes on trips. And you'll never see her for a long, long, long time.

GUTIERREZ: It's a sacrifice for the whole family. And until mom's home, they will have to make due with a video to see her face. And her recorded message of love in this teddy bear.

ANGELINA FIGUEROA, MOTHER: Isabelle, te quiero mucho. Isabelle, te quiero mucho.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Mira Mesa, California.


ROBERTS: Here's a quick look at some of today's headlines for you in Paris. Part of the ceiling collapsed this morning at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Five people are dead, three others are injured. Massive amounts of concrete fell into a passenger waiting area.

In Iraq, U.S. troops stormed a mosque in Kufa overnight, killing 16 insurgents. Troops seized a large cache of weapons and ammunition, including assault rifles, RPGs, and rocket launchers inside the mosque.

CHOI: And now we want to take a look at your morning e-mails. We asked is the high cost of traveling changing your vacation plans due to the high cost of gas?

And got a couple of responses to share with you this morning.

ROBERTS: Let me go first. Tom from Cleveland here says "The high price of gasoline hasn't yet changed my driving habits or plans, but it has already changed my other discretionary spending. And it is definitely changed my attitude toward our elected officials."

CHOI: "Our summer travel has been canceled," says Douglas, "when one quarter of your budget may double before you go, what do you cut out of the trip, food, lodging, the attractions? It's not worth it."

ROBERTS: Really does add up for everybody. If you want to get your responses on the air, tell us what you're doing in lieu of the high gas prices, here's our e-mail question and our address:

CHOI: You were actually talking about the high price of gas this morning.

ROBERTS: I had to stop for gas on the way here. And psychologically, I won't pay more than $20.

CHOI: It only gets him a quarter tank, but...

ROBERTS: Yes, only gets a quarter tank, but it's all I'm going to pay.

CHOI: He has to go more often, but he's still...

ROBERTS: Exactly.

CHOI: ...not going to go over the $20 limit.

ROBERTS: Also just to keep you updated, we are going to get back out on the deck and grill for everybody today. There we go. A little live shot for you of what we're trying to accomplish. Deserts on the grill. We can get live shots out of Afghanistan, but not from the deck.

CHOI: I know, but absolutely we're going to make it out there because I've been promised a taste test. And I'm not too... ROBERTS: Yes, you have.

CHOI: know -- yes.

ROBERTS: I'm going to roll up my sleeves again and get to work for you.


ROBERTS: The next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING begins right now.

CHOI: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. Good morning to you. I'm Sophia Choi.

ROBERTS: Hi, everybody. Great to have you with us today. I'm Thomas Roberts.

CHOI: Coming up in the next 30 minutes, a brand new terminal at a Paris airport collapses in a deadly heap. We'll have a report from the scene.

Also, the countdown to the handover of power in Iraq. We'll preview what President Bush will say about it tomorrow night.

And it's been a rough weekend for many communities in the Midwest. The latest on the storm damage is just ahead.

ROBERTS: But first, the headlines at this hour.

At the Arab summit under way in Tunisia, the focus is on unity. Leaders are expected to issue resolutions condemning U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners and calling for more United Nations involvement in Iraq. The meeting, which was originally scheduled for March, ramps up today.

Five people are dead following the collapse of a terminal ceiling at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris. The falling roof also collapsed a boarding jetway, causing it to fall on airport vehicles below. The airport terminal was evacuated after that incident.

And just south of Singapore, a ship carrying nearly 4,200 cars sinks after colliding with an oil tanker. Officials say none of the tanker's almost 280,000 tons of crude oil leaked out. All 20 crewmembers from the ship were rescued. Investigators are trying to find out what caused the accident, which happened in good weather.

CHOI: Here are the latest developments in Iraq. The Iraqi Governing Council is standing behind council member Ahmed Chalabi. His home and office were raided by Iraqi authorities just a few days ago under the watchful eye of the U.S. A statement by the council denounces the raid as being without justification.

The U.S. military in Karbala reports capturing 10 militia fighters overnight. The city has been quiet, but a U.S. commander says there is no cease-fire or other deal. Iraqi police are expected to begin patrols of the city soon. And in Najaf, scattered fighting has been reported between U.S. forces and armed followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Out top story at this hour, the deadly collapse of a ceiling this morning at France's largest airport. Police say at least five people were killed and three others injured when tons of concrete, glass and steel girders caved in at Charles De Gaulle Airport. CNN's Jim Bittermann is following all of the developments from Paris.


BITTERMANN (voice-over): The accident occurred just minutes before 7:00 this morning, when part of the roof of Terminal 2E out here at the airport collapsed. A number of people were on the jetway, the roof collapsed onto the jetway and pancaked onto the tarmac, where it hits a number of Air France vehicles.

Now, in some ways, it was fortunate more people were not killed or injured in this because the terminal at that point in time was practically empty. But this is the end of a long holiday weekend here, and a few hours later the terminal would have been packed with passengers.

In any case, authorities are investigating the cause. This is the newest terminal to be built out here. As the airport director said, it was the pride of the airports of Paris. So kind of unusual that less than one year after its opening that this new construction would collapse like this. And there's bound to be months of investigation ahead to determine exactly what caused this collapse.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.


CHOI: And turning now to the patch of wild weather that stormed through the Midwest, Nebraska is in a state of emergency this morning after 19 tornadoes and flashfloods hollowed out homes. There were no reported injuries.

In Iowa, it was the second straight night of storms, but they were not as severe as Friday night, when the town of Bradgate was devastated by a tornado. We're told every home in that town sustained some sort of damage.

ROBERTS: And now to the issue of rising oil prices and a move to reverse that trend. G7 finance officials meeting in New York, want OPEC to pump up more crude oil. The group of seven economic leaders say high energy prices can be lowered if oil-producing nations pump more crude. And lower oil prices would mean more bang for your buck at the pump. OPEC ministers meeting in Amsterdam talked about the proposal, but a final decision is not expected until June.

CHOI: The clock is ticking on the handover of power in Iraq, and President Bush is filling out his strategy now. Mr. Bush plans a major prime-time speech Monday night to offer specifics about the shift in political control and the overall mission in Iraq. CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash has a preview.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's Monday night speech is aimed at calming increasing fears Iraq has become a mission with no plan. Some Republicans say it's about time.

RICK BARTON, SR. ADVISER, CSIS: The president has to bully pulpit. People want to see some aggressive leadership, they want to know that he's got a plan.

BASH: Criticism of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, even among supporters, is growing. A fresh swipe Saturday from an influential Republican, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar.

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R), CHAIRMAN, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Our security depends not on clever decision-making about when to go it alone, but on careful maintenance of our relations with other countries that ensure the international community will be with us in a crisis.

BASH: And the few Republicans who did not support the war are becoming more outspoken.

REP. JOHN DUNCAN (R), TENNESSEE: There has been massive foreign aid, huge deficit spending that's putting almost the entire burden of enforcing U.N. resolutions on our taxpayers.

BASH: Public support for the president's handling of Iraq has dropped some 16 points since the beginning of the year. His overall approval the lowest to date. Images of prisoner abuse and mounting casualties are frustrating White House attempts, like Saturday's radio address, to get improving economic news noticed.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The nation has added more than 1.1 million new jobs since last August.

GLEN BOLGER, GOP POLLSTER: People actually think the economy is getting worse. And people think that jobs are being lost. I mean, clearly, that's not the case.

BASH: Administration officials say, while the president Monday will try to elevate the mood of the country, and they hope is political standing, he will, sources say, give some new specifics: a handful of steps on plans for Iraqi sovereignty and the American mission. Some say Mr. Bush needs to offer more, an end game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think more and more Americans are asking for and are wanting a plan for how do we get out of Iraq.

BASH (on camera): While administration sources say don't look for an exit plan, they say the president will outline in more detail what the U.S. military's role will be after Iraqis take back political control on June 30.

Dana Bash, CNN, Crawford, Texas.



COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We had extensive discussions on the work of Ambassador Brahimi and the process of moving forward. And the necessity of getting the security under control and making sure that everybody understands that on the first of July it will be the Iraqi interim government that is replacing Ambassador Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority.


CHOI: Well, at least that is the plan for the next political phase in Iraq. But with an active insurgency still operating across that country, what happens as of July 1 is still a very big question.

Rick Barton is a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and he joins me now with his perspective on the upcoming handover.

I'm glad you are joining me this morning.

BARTON: Good morning.

CHOI: So what needs to be done to make sure that this handover goes as smoothly as possible?

BARTON: Well, the number one issue continues to be public safety. You have public officials being bombed, attacked, killed. It's -- the most dangerous job on Earth is to be an Iraqi policeman. We have to get the public feeling safer in order for this whole governmental process to take hold.

CHOI: And how would you do that?

BARTON: Well, really, our concept of operations has been something that many of us have been concerned about for some time. We are still working out of garrisons, trying to minimize the attacks on our soldiers, which makes sense. At the same time, it means that we're making intermittent visits in various parts of the country, allowing people to fill the vacuums, to prepare attacks. And we really have to have a much stronger presence in those hot spots or we're never going to get this country back to where it needs to be.

CHOI: Is this handover really all just for show, or do you think that this new Iraqi government will have some real power?

BARTON: I think it is going to end up having more power than we had planned. We have spent much of the past few months not really trusting the Iraqis or the U.N. to handle this properly, putting in commissions that will have greater authority than the officials that are fronting them. But my guess is that over the next few weeks there is going to be a negotiations process which will give Iraqis more authority. It makes the result perhaps more unpredictable. But in the end of the day, it will have a stronger Iraqi presence. And that's really what is going to be needed to make this successful.

CHOI: I think a big question out there is, what about the oil? Who will end up controlling the oil?

BARTON: This is a mistake we have made really right from the beginning, because there has been such a mythology in the region that we went to war about oil. And the fact that we have not clarified this and that it remains to this day lacking definition that there is an oil -- the oil money goes into a fund, which we essentially determine how it is going to be spent, has not been a healthy process. And this is one we have got to get right.

CHOI: Any idea who will head all of this up, who will be the new president?

BARTON: No, I don't, really don't have a very good idea. There have been a number of names. It's a bit like the vice presidential sweepstakes on the Democratic side.

I don't think that we really have a very clear indication. But I think the choices that are made will give us a sense of how much Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special envoy here, believes in this period being more than an interim government.

CHOI: What about Ahmed Chalabi? Is he completely out of the picture now that the U.S. suspects him of spying?

BARTON: Well, I think he is definitely out of the picture in terms of this transition. On the other hand, we may have done more to restore some degree of popularity for him than anything else we have done.

He has obviously been among the least popular politicians. But now that he looks like he is on the other side from the United States, there seems to be a -- sort of common view that being on the other side from the U.S. is the more popular one right now.

CHOI: So do you see hem being a problem for the U.S. in the coming days then as he gains more popularity there in Iraq?

BARTON: I don't think he's going to gain great popularity. And I think he will be a nuisance because he is a good communicator and he has obviously powerful allies in Washington. But I don't think that he will end up being a huge factor on the ground unless he really takes on some unlawful actions.

CHOI: Let's get back to this interim government. What exactly will be the purpose of this interim government?

BARTON: Well, it is really suppose to, in a way, run things from here until December or January, whenever the election is held. And to confirm that some of the constitutional framework that's been put in place really will work. But my guess is that it will end up having more of a day-to-day management than anybody had planned because there is a huge vacuum.

We haven't had the full staffing of the Coalition Provisional Authority that had been planned. And there are just a lot of decisions that have to be made. And I suspect they'll be making them.

CHOI: We shall see what shape this new interim government takes in the coming days. Rick Barton, senior adviser for Center for Strategic and International Studies, we thank you for your time this morning.

BARTON: Thank you.

CHOI: And a reminder here. The future of Iraq will be the focus of President Bush's address at the U.S. Army War College on Monday. CNN will have live coverage beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

ROBERTS: So the pump prices keep rising, and no one is really sure when or how far they're going to go. We want to know if they're impacting your vacation plans. You know, Memorial Day is coming up.

So send us your e-mails and your thoughts on this one. is our address. There is our question. We'll have your responses coming up shortly.



ROBERTS: Welcome back, everybody. Beagle 2 was doomed from the start. That's from a report in London's Sunday Telegraph, which quotes the European Space Agency and British space officials who believe the Mars mission never really had a chance.

Beagle 2 was Britain's first attempt at reaching another planet. The small space lab disappeared about the same time NASA's twin rovers landed on Mars. The agency says a lack of time and money led to the failure of Beagle 2.

CHOI: Being diagnosed with cancer can be pretty devastating, but one breast cancer survivor is now helping women to look and feel better through emotional and spiritual support. CNN's Rhonda Grayson reports.


COOKIE AFTERGUT, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR: I was frightened, as many of you probably are before you started your cancer treatment. I would be telling you a lie if I said I wasn't.

RHONDA GRAYSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cookie Aftergut is a breast cancer survivor. And she knows what it's like to face cancer head on.

AFTERGUT: I had six months of chemotherapy, I had eight chemo treatments, and then I had 33 radiation treatments. And I'm just here to tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel. GRAYSON: She runs Chemo Chic, a support group for women who are dealing with chemotherapy.

AFTERGUT: What I did was make a big triangle out of it, and put it around, and I'm going to cover my head like this. And do it as close as you can to your lashes. I would put my bangs on. This is when I was a blond. And I would tie a scarf around it.

GRAYSON: Twenty-three-year-old Amanda was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

AMANDA TOLLESON, CANCER PATIENT: I just shaved my head on Friday, last Friday. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And you have no idea, you know, how are you supposed to lose it, like do I get bald spots, or is it going to come out a little bit. It's amazing to have a place where you can come and meet people and get all that information at once.

BRENDA HORN, DIRECTOR, GA. CANCER FOUNDATION: Cancer is just one of those things that definitely just changes your entire body image. And Chemo Chic helps women work both on the inside and the outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reach your palms forward towards me.

GRAYSON: A yoga instructor teaches the women relaxation and breathing techniques.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then on your inhale gently lift the arms.

GRAYSON (on camera): The say beauty is only skin deep. But these women say it's really hard to feel pretty when you are going through chemo and you're losing your hair. But they say looking good on the outside helps them feel better on the inside. And that helps in the healing process.

(voice-over): Perhaps the most important thing Chemo Chic provides is emotional support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After 20 years of practicing oncology I have come to realize that our patients need as much emotional, mental and spiritual support as they need the treatments.

GRAYSON: And some times, laughter is the best medicine.

TOLLESON: Everyone at work was having a vote about who I looked more like, Demi Moore, or Sinead O'Connor.

GRAYSON: Rhonda Grayson, CNN, Atlanta.


CHOI: And still on the topic of cancer right here, fighting cancer one step at a time. "House Call" profiles the relay for life, mobilizing efforts for a cure.

Also, yesterday's barrage of storms left the Midwest reeling. We'll tell you if there is more to come and what to expect weather- wise in your neck of the woods.

Back after this.



ROBERTS: Want to switch gears. Time for a quick check of the headline for you.

For the second straight day, tornadoes touched down in central and southwest Iowa, along with hail and heavy rain. Nearly a dozen counties issued flashflood warnings, and many roads were closed due to rising water.

Rescue dogs are searching rubble at the Paris airport of Charles De Gaulle for victims of a ceiling collapse. At least five people were killed when tons of concrete, steel and glass fell into a passenger terminal there at the airport.

CHOI: And switching gears here, we want to take a look at your morning e-mails. We asked is the high cost of traveling changing your vacation plans? And specifically, we were talking about the high price of gas.

We got this response from Errol in Jackson, Mississippi: "The gas prices are a direct reflection of the war in Iraq. I am not driving as much as I drove before. In fact, I have canceled my vacation this summer."

ROBERTS: Extreme measure there, going ahead and canceling altogether.

This from Rose, saying, "I've changed my gas purchase habits. I now purchase only from Venezuelan gas suppliers, such as Hess, Citgo and Velero, instead of Arab suppliers like Exxon and Shell. It hasn't saved me much, but the satisfaction I feel is huge."

Maybe that's what some people are looking for. Like I said before, I only spend $20 no matter what I get.

CHOI: Right. It sounds like that person was making more of a political statement than anything.

ROBERTS: Political statement, yes.

CHOI: Well, we have a lot more ahead here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING. Here's a quick preview for you.

At 8:30 a.m. Eastern, "House Call" tracks the relay for life, a grueling all-night race to raise money for cancer research. And at 9:10, gas prices on the rise. We'll examine the latest in hybrid technology to see just how money-saving it is.

And, by the way, we are still taking your e-mail questions. So please do send them in. And finally, at 9:30 a.m., we'll preview the increasingly popular world series of poker. Five million dollars is the prize, and the winner takes all.


ROBERTS: Good morning, everybody. "House Call" is next. But first, a check of these headlines.

Iran denies receiving classified U.S. intelligence about Iraq from Ahmed Chalabi. Some in the U.S. have accused Chalabi, a member of Iraq's Governing Council, of passing sensitive information on to Iran. An Iranian official calls the accusations "baseless."

In the West Bank, just moments ago, an explosion occurred in the town of Nablus. According to the Reuters News Agency, it was the result of a missile strike and left at least two Palestinians dead. We're going to bring you more information as it becomes available to us here at CNN.

And winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour are keeping firefighters at bay in the Gallinas Mountains in New Mexico. So far, the wildfires have burned more than 4,000 acres and destroyed one house. But airborne tankers, they were grounded due to the high winds.

"HOUSE CALL" is next. Stay tuned, everybody.


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