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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Bomb Rips Through School Bus in Karachi, Pakistan; U.S. Marine Dies in Iraq
Aired July 24, 2004 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Here's what's happening now in news.
In Pakistan a worker for a religious school is dead after a remote controlled bomb ripped through a school bus in Karachi. Eight others were injured in that blast, which was so powerful that it left a crater in the ground. Officials say the bus was carrying teachers and workers to an Islamic school just outside of Karachi. So far no one has claimed responsibility.
In Iraq one U.S. Marine dies after an incident west of Baghdad. The marine had sustained injuries during military operations in Iraq's al Anbar Province on Friday night. The al Anbar Province includes the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, which were recently the scene of heavy fighting between coalition forces and insurgents. With the marine's death, the number of U.S. forces killed in Iraq is now 907.
Also in Iraq an explosion set fire to an oil pipeline north of Baghdad. One witness reports hearing a blast, and then seeing the pipeline catch fire somewhere near the town of Samarra. An Iraqi oil official said the pipeline carries oil from the refinery into Baghdad. Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: Our top story this hour comes out of Baghdad. An assassination attempt on a high-level Iraqi official creates new worries there, just as the fate of seven hostages hangs in the balance. For the latest we turn to CNN's Michael Holmes who is live in Baghdad. Good morning again, Michael.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Drew. That's right. The Egyptian diplomat being held by the group calling itself the Lion of God's Brigade, well, his situation hasn't really changed much at all.
What we do know is that the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait is telling us that they are optimistic about his situation here. Of course, he was seized, we believe, as he was leaving evening prayers last night. A videotape released of him being held surrounded by gunmen dressed in black, and at least two of them armed with firearms.
There's been no specific information coming out, but there are negotiations going on. The Egyptian embassy is working very hard. The diplomatic channels there, also of course involved in working the diplomatic channels to try to get the release of those seven hostages who are being held. One Egyptian, three Kenyans, three Indians. What we know about that situation, the latest there is that negotiations are ongoing. We're told by the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait that they are confident that the deadline that was to expire before they would be beheaded one by one, that deadline was about four hours from now.
That has apparently been extended, this coming from a source at the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait. Now, those seven men of course are sitting there. Their countries saying they don't have troops here. They are not involved in the multinational forces as it were, and that they should be released.
The group holding them, however, says that they want the truck driving company that employs them to pay compensation to the families of people killed in Fallujah. They also want the U.S. to release all Iraqi prisoners being held in their prisons Drew.
GRIFFIN: All right. Michael Holmes standing by live. An interesting day turning out in Baghdad. Thank you, Michael.
Time for a check of some other stories. Across America this time, the mother of missing Utah woman has visited her son-in-law in a psychiatric hospital where he is staying. And last night she spoke about their meeting on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THELMA SOARES, MOTHER OF LORI HACKING: Well, the conversation was profoundly private, but I will share with you that he was standing up when I went in. And he put his arms out to me, and we embraced each other. And I just told him that, I said, "Mark, didn't you know that my love for you was not conditional upon your becoming a doctor? That I loved you because you're Mark, and because of how you have treated Lori?" And he cried a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: That's Thelma Soares referring to Mark Hacking who said he was going to be a doctor. But it turns out that was not true. He's now a person of interest in the investigation into the disappearance of his wife which took place on Monday. Recently the family revealed Hacking did lie about being accepted to the medical school in North Carolina.
In Pennsylvania, an appeals court orders a sperm donor to pay child support to the female recipient of his sperm. That despite a verbal agreement between the two excusing the donor from any financial obligations for the children born from their arrangement. Lawyers for the sperm donor say they are going to appeal that decision.
The Energy Department has stopped classified nuclear weapons research at some facilities across the country. That after two sensitive computer disks went missing from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Energy officials say the pause in research at other facilities which use similar computer disks is simply precautionary, and a way to get control of the situation. NGUYEN: Turning now to politics, the Democrats are putting the final touches on a major party in Boston right now. But while DNC's power brokers are hoping to be the life of that party, protesters and a massive police presence may be a spoiler. Here's CNN's Bob Franken.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fondest hope for Democrats is that their message from inside the Fleet Center is not overwhelmed by what happens outside. And there's massive security to make sure that the big story is the political one. On occasion it gets real strict.
Thousands of police local, state and federal, visible and invisible, are turning Boston into fortress Boston. Much of Boston will simply be shut down. The major highway that has become the city's in and out artery will be closed to traffic around and during convention hours, because it passes right by the Fleet Center.
In fact, workers are being asked to stay home for the duration, and a lot of business people are not happy about that at all. The various protest groups are infuriated over what they call their holding pen, a fenced in area across the street from the Fleet Center. The subway station at the site will be closed. Fences are going up around critical buildings and officials are working feverishly to identify threats before they become attacks. One of the latest, says the FBI, is unconfirmed intelligence that someone may be planning to attack the large camp of media trailers with incendiary devices.
FRANKEN: Now, some other examples, Betty, of the heavy security. Subway riders in Boston for the next week are having their bags searched randomly. A lawyers' group is going to court Monday to try and put a stop to that.
Also, up in the air there are going to be fighter jets patrolling at all times. U.S. Air Force jets, in conjunction with the Secret Service. They are not messing around. Getting from here to there on the ground is sometimes going to be very hard, and there are probably going to be hard feelings, but security officials hope that's the biggest problem they have -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Security serious business. All right, CNN's Bob Franken, thank you.
GRIFFIN: The judge asks the jury to leave the courtroom after Scott Peterson's attorney suggests the evidence is too tainted to be used. We will see what our legal team has to say about that and more.
NGUYEN: And we'd like to hear from you. Are you concerned about al Qaeda mounting another attack in the United States? E-mail us at email@example.com and we will share your responses a little later in the hour.
GRIFFIN: And our weekend "House Call" explores the advances being made in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
GRIFFIN: It's good to be king, but can Lance Armstrong hold on by one more day? He leads the pack by four minutes, going into the final stage of the Tour de France which crosses the line Sunday.
NGUYEN: And we want to say a big good morning to the space city Houston that is. We'll have your complete weather forecast in just a minute. CNN SATURDAY MORNING is rolling right along.
GRIFFIN: On the docket this morning, is it legal to put protesters at the Democratic National Convention inside a fenced area? The loony bin some care calling it. The ACLU doesn't think so.
Plus a defense attorney cross-examination so pointed the judge had to clear the jury from the courtroom. And let us not forget a critical ruling in the Kobe Bryant case. Now our regular legal combatants to knock around these topics are with us.
Civil Liberties Attorney, Lida Rodriguez-Taseff in our Miami Bureau. And former Texas prosecutor, Nelda Blair in Houston. Let's begin with Kobe, guys, because this was the latest ruling we have. Kobe Bryant's accuser had sex three days before she was attacked. Lida, does that mean she was not raped? Why is this relevant?
LIDA RODRIGUEZ-TASEFF, CIVIL LIBERTIES ATTORNEY: It is absolutely relevant. And Nelda, I told you so. Welcome back, Nelda. And yes, it is absolutely relevant, because it shows as the defense is seeking to demonstrate, that if she had sex with two different men, within three days after the attacks that she alleged happened with Kobe Bryant, that maybe possibly she wasn't raped at all, and that this is simply a cry for attention. It is very relevant, and it's a very fair ruling for the defense.
GRIFFIN: Nelda, let me ask you, Colorado has a shield law designed to protect women who have been raped from being verbally raped again in court by having their sex life dragged through.
NELDA BLAIR, FMR.TEXAS PROSECUTOR: Absolutely.
GRIFFIN: It's basically the slut defense.
BLAIR: Lida, shame on you, and shame on this judge. I appreciate you welcoming me back, but you're wrong on this one. The Colorado rape shield law is proper in that it protects women who are raped, and who have a trial from having to go through their own sexual history.
That's ridiculous to try to say that just because this woman had sex with anybody else within three days prior to the time Kobe Bryant raped her that she did not get raped. I don't care if she had sex with the whole Lakers basketball team. If she didn't want to have sex with Kobe Bryant, she had the right to say no, and has nothing to do with her prior sexual history. The judge is wrong on this.
GRIFFIN: Very quickly, will this be appealed to the Supreme Court of Colorado?
RODRIGUEZ-TASEFF: The prosecution is saying they're considering their options. I don't think they're going to appeal it. I think they're just going to go it to trial. They did win on the fact that the statement that Kobe Bryant's made to the police that was tape- recorded is admissible. So I think this is not going to happen. No appeal.
GRIFFIN: Let's stay with the trials now. The Peterson trial, this is really, again, the headlines seem to be worse and worse for the prosecution. Nelda, what's your read on what happened this week there? A juror falling asleep. Now a lot of the prosecution's evidence being questioned.
BLAIR: There's no question that the prosecution is having a tough time in this case. It's not their case that's the problem. It's the way they're presenting it that's the problem. I think prosecutors across the nation are all saying I would not have presented my case this way.
But it still remains that the circumstantial evidence against Scott Peterson is good. It is a good circumstantial case. Juries are smart. They're going to see who is credible and who is not. They are going to see what evidence is good, and what isn't. And I think they'll see through it. I'm holding out for a conviction.
RODRIGUEZ-TASEFF: Circumstantial evidence. This is fast becoming a case not about circumstantial evidence, but about alleged guilt based on some acts of Scott Peterson after his wife's disappearance. This is absolutely ridiculous now.
You know very well that this week the defense shot out of the water the little theory about the seven stains that were allegedly found in Peterson's truck that the prosecution had alleged were bloodstains. They're not bloodstains, and that was demonstrated. Moreover, a hair found in his toolbox turns out not to be Laci Peterson's, but in fact belonged to a police officer. Nelda, with that kind of evidence being put on by the prosecution, they don't even need the defense to help them out.
BLAIR: Investigations aren't perfect, and neither are prosecutors. And they're certainly not in this case. But I still say there's enough evidence against Scott Peterson to convict him, and I think the jury will see through that.
GRIFFIN: Nelda, let me ask you, the prosecution case does seem a bit sloppy. Is this, as a former prosecutor, is this more sloppy than usual? Or are we seeing a regular case here?
BLAIR: I hate to say that but yes, I think this case has not been presented as well as it could have been. Remember, Geragos, the defense attorney, is a master. And he is doing exactly what a good defense attorney should do, and that is pick and pick and pick apart each and every little piece of evidence and testimony. And also try anyone but the person that's been accused.
RODRIGUEZ-TASEFF: But you know Nelda, as you well know, you don't even need the prosecution to be picked apart by the defense when you have prosecutors asking dumb questions like, was the head present at the autopsy? Which was one of the pearls that rolled off the lips of one of the prosecutors this week. That's why jurors are falling asleep, and that's why the prosecution is in trouble.
BLAIR: We'll see. We'll see on this one.
GRIFFIN: Let's go to Boston, guys, what do you say? Lida, does your right to free speech include the right to protest wherever you want? Or only the right to protest in this fenced-in area?
RODRIGUEZ-TASEFF: Well, it's not fenced in, it's penned in. I mean this is a real problem. The judge who looked at this and who saw the case, Judge Woodlawn (ph) looked at it and said, you know what? This is a festering sore. And yet he permitted it. And the reason he permitted it is because supposedly there were alleged incidents in the past in previous protests that were incidence of violence. And what were the incidence? People flinging urine and marbles at delegates. Urine and marbles. We have shelved the First Amendment over urine and marbles.
BLAIR: Lida, come now. We live in the world where the Boston police and the Secret Service are having to prepare for possible terrorist attacks. People on the subway are having to be searched. We understand that. When we fly in a plane we're searched now.
And we have folks that have over 25,000 square feet to protest in. It's closer to any convention than it has ever been before. They have the right to march right in front of the convention at a designated organized time and place. And they are still griping out this. Lida, you need to quit whining about this one. You have the right to protest, but individual free speech is not absolute. Security and safety are a primary concern.
RODRIGUEZ-TASEFF: Give me a break, Nelda. They don't expect in excess of a couple thousand protesters. That is fewer than you get a basketball game. Maybe not at a Celtics game, but most games. And what you are talking about here is the police cannot do a job of protecting people and balancing the interest of a first amendment.
And they can't do it because they're afraid of what? A couple of protesters throwing urine? The majority of the protesters, the vast majority behave appropriately. They don't break the law. And they're being punished because of the actions of a few people who might be violent. Not only that, we're not just talking about a zone of protests. We're talking about a zone that's barricaded in with concrete blocks and concrete walls. This is not America.
BLAIR: It is within hearing and within sight of the delegates. I say if they want to protest and be heard they're going to have the opportunity to do that, but your right to speech and your right to be in someone's face and to threaten their safety, which is the problem here, is not absolute, and I think that the judge did the right thing. GRIFFIN: Ladies, thank you very much. Nelda, thank you. Lida just for the record, I would be opposed to anybody throwing a marble or urine at me. Hope to see you next week, guys.
BLAIR: Thank you.
NGUYEN: So nice to have them back.
There may be hope for future generations facing Alzheimer's disease, including a new vaccine. Our weekend "House Call" explores that and some of the other treatment possibilities. That's coming up.
Plus there is still time to send us your thoughts on whether you think al Qaeda will attack the U.S., and if that is a possibility. Send your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GRIFFIN: An Egyptian diplomat has been kidnapped in Iraq. Videotape of masked militants surrounding the diplomat was aired on Arabic TV yesterday. The kidnapping in response to Egypt's offer to help Iraq with security matters.
The top military commander in Britain says if necessary, could send 5,000 troops to Sudan to help with the humanitarian catastrophe there. But so far, there are no plans to do so. Millions of people have been killed or displaced in Sudan's western Darfur region.
NGUYEN: Now, to our e-mail question of the day. Do you think an al Qaeda attack in the U.S. is a possibility? Well, Gerri (ph) from North Carolina writes: "I'm concerned about another al Qaeda attack, but not worried. I believe that another attack is inevitable, but our Homeland Security and our citizens must be doing a pretty good job since there are ongoing attacks in many other countries but not in ours."
GRIFFIN: Different views from different parts of the nation. Massachusetts -- Rick writes: "I am very afraid of another al Qaeda attack, now more than ever. I think launching this illegal preemptive war in the Mideast over no WMD has been a big recruiting tool. (Not to mention the prison abuse scandal)." Rick from Massachusetts.
We urge you to keep on writing. We will read your e-mails later as the morning progresses.
NGUYEN: It is an incurable disease, yet new developments offer hope for 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Up ahead, "Weekend House Call" explores some of those advances in the research and treatment of this still incurable illness.
Then at 9:00 Eastern, who better to dissect the 9/11 Commission report then a 27-year veteran of the CIA? Who dropped the ball? In the live interview, that's coming up in our 9:00 hour. And at 9:45, the National Black Arts festival prepares for a world tour. That's coming up on CNN SATURDAY MORNING at 9:00. The day's top stories when we come back.
GRIFFIN: In the news right now, Iraq, a U.S. marine has died of wounds suffered yesterday during an operation in al Anbar province west of Baghdad. Details not available. The U.S. death toll in Iraq now stands at 907.
An Egyptian diplomat, and the head of a government owned construction firm -- an Iraqi construction firm, are the latest kidnap victims in Iraq. Both been seized by gunmen on the streets of Baghdad.
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