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Security Tight for Democratic Convention; Militants Linked to al Qaeda Threaten Attacks in Australia, Italy

Aired July 25, 2004 - 08:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It's July 25 already, can you believe it? Good morning, I'm Betty Nguyen.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Drew Griffin. Thanks for being with us. Here's what we have coming up for you this hour. We're going to take you live to Baghdad for the latest on moves to free several hostages there. Plus a live report from Boston, where security for the Democratic convention ultra tight as the delegates are now arriving.

And look at this, what do you hear? Nothing, right? It's a lawn mower you can use in the middle of the night and you won't even wake up the neighbors. A live demonstration of new gadgets for the home and garden.

NGUYEN: Now in the news, two Pakistani civilians working for a Kuwaiti company are missing in Iraq and feared kidnapped. Meanwhile, efforts continue to secure the release of an Egyptian diplomat and his driver as well as some foreign truck drivers and an Iraqi businessman. All have been kidnapped in Iraq since Wednesday.

Back in this country, Salt Lake City police are studying a clump of brown hair found in a carwash dumpster. Lori Hacking, the jogger missing since Monday, has brown hair. The dumpster is less than a block from the store where her husband, Mark Hacking, bought a mattress just before he reported his wife missing.

Delegates, they are arriving in Boston. Most will come a little bit later today for the Democratic National Convention. It starts tomorrow at the Fleet Center. A top-to-bottom security sweep was conducted this weekend and security will remain tight all week long.

Don't bet against Lance Armstrong or you might lose. The Texas cycling superstar has one more line to cross, the one in Paris to become the only man to win the Tour de France six times. Armstrong started the day 6 minutes, 38 seconds ahead of the runner up Andreas Kloden .

Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.

GRIFFIN: Now our top stories. Threats of terror and words of resolve. Militants linked to al Qaeda warn Australia and Italy to leave Iraq, posting their intentions in a message on the Internet. For Australia, the group warns of a bloodbath, amid a wave of car bombs if that country does not withdraw its 900 troops. For Italy, the group threatens columns of car bombs that will shake its cities if Italy does not withdraw its 2,700 troops. Australia's minister of foreign affairs vows his country will not bow to terror threats.

Those words come after some high profile concessions already to terrorist demands. Spain pulling out 1,300 of its troops from Iraq following a terror attack on a train system in Madrid and last week the Philippines withdrew its small contingent from Iraq a month early to secure the release of a Filipino hostage there.

And as the hostage crisis in Iraq deepens, there are new rounds of violence as well, 13 insurgents killed in a battle with U.S. forces. For the latest on all of this we go to Matthew Chance, who's standing by now live in Baghdad -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Drew, thanks very much, and we'll start with that latest violence here in Iraq, with Iraqi National Guard forces as well as Iraqi police carrying out a gunfight with insurgents to the north of Baghdad just near the town of Buhriz, south of Baquba, about 35 miles or so to the north of Baghdad. We understand from that that at least 13 insurgents were killed when they opened fire on that group of Iraqi forces as they were protecting a U.S.-led raid against suspected hideouts of a group associated with Abu Musab Zarqawi there. It's been a flashpoint in the area.

The Associated Television News has recorded footage of the instant showing explosions and bullets ricocheting off walls as well as armed Iraqis, some of them wearing black ski masks running around and shooting at the Iraqi forces. This is an area again that has been a flashpoint between insurgents fighting the Iraqi interim government, U.S. forces and coalition forces. It was again today.

All this Drew as that hostage crisis continues, efforts continuing to release all of the hostages that are being held by various militant groups across the country, particularly an Egyptian diplomat, the most high profile of these hostages being held in response say the militant to Egypt offering security assistance to the new Iraqi interim government. Also a lot of intensive negotiations trying to get those seven truck drivers, three from Kenya, three from India and another one from Egypt as well, trying to get those freed, although no positive developments to report at this stage. Drew.

GRIFFIN: All right. Matthew Chance live in Baghdad this morning, thank you very much.

A new and sinister computer virus is worming its way around the Internet and it's attaching its name to CNN. Notes on several Internet message boards claimed CNN has picture proof of Osama bin Laden's suicide. We don't but once the users open up a file to look at the pictures supposedly, a virus is unleashed. Experts say the virus allows hackers to take over your computer and they're warning users not to fall for this hoax.

NGUYEN: The word tightened doesn't even come close when you're talking security at the Democratic National Convention. National correspondent Bob Franken joins us live from the Fleet Center in Boston with the latest on security there. Good morning to you Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Betty. You walk about every five feet and there's another magnetometer, another check of the bags, massive security, a reflection of massive insecurity. The delegates are trickling into Boston, taking in the sites and history, ready for the historic levels of security.


FRANKEN (voice-over): The delegates are trickling into Boston, taking in the sites and history, ready for the historic levels of security.

THERESA KERN, VIRGINIA DEM DELEGATE: I have been told to anticipate time periods of being worked through security to make sure I'm not carrying anything to be coming up here with a lot of patience.

FRANKEN: The experts have combed the Fleet Center complex inch by inch and outside, security blanketed Boston and surrounding areas, roadways, subways. Overhead, Air Force jets are on patrol. The convention delegates will mingle with thousands of reporters and security personnel intent on making sure that the news is about politics and not disaster. Separated out are the groups of protesters who must gather in a small penned area across from the Fleet Center. That has prompted legal action.

MEDEA BENJAMIN, CODE PINK: There are not supposed to be designated cages where you can exercise your First Amendment rights. It's supposed to be all over this country.

FRANKEN: The delegates are determined to make the best of this.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We're being asked to show our identification everywhere we go, but it's also a fun place to be. There's a lot of people in town visiting this historical city and all these sites and having a good time doing it.


FRANKEN: Sometimes they may have to grit their teeth. They're certainly going to be watched closely. Here you have a live picture showing some of the military police who have been recruited brought in to supplement all the civilian agencies, the ones that we can see like we can see here and the ones that we can't see. This is considered a national security event and it's going to be a hassle, no question about it. But if the big debate after it's over is, was it too much of a hassle the security officials will be very very happy. Betty.

NGUYEN: Bob, let's talk a little bit more about those protesters. They're being sent to this cage-like area, obviously very upset over that. Is that expected to make the protests a lot louder than they were originally going to be?

FRANKEN: Kind of hard to make it louder. There are some limitations to the decibel level of the human voice but it's just one thing to make them angry. We've seen this before in other cities, Washington in particular where I live, when they have massive demonstrations. The police crack down very, very hard. This one is a national security event as I mentioned just a moment ago and it doesn't matter to the authorities whether the protesters are upset or not. They do have the backing of the judge although an appeals court is going to be asked to intervene to provide more access to the protesters on Monday.

NGUYEN: But is this cage area drawing more protesters to the site than originally were planned on coming?

FRANKEN: Well, nobody is suggesting that. I mean the site is a small area. I'm going to ask you to go back over there from to show. It's an area, you can see it under the bridge where the National Guard people are. They call it a holding pen and you can probably see why they do and they're very upset about it. I think the protesters' big concern is that they're being kept out of sight but from our vantage point today, we're going to see them as they march through the city to go to that area. They're going to have the chance to vent their issues, whatever they are. They just believe that they're being treated as some sort of prisoners when they get to their rallying point and basically being kept out of the limelight.

NGUYEN: Definitely a point of contention. All right. Thank you very much for that report this morning.

And on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, our prime time lineup is full of some special programming you just got to see. Starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern our "People in the News" profiles Senator John Edwards and his running mate's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Then at 8:00 p.m., CNN presents "John Kerry, Born to Run." At 9:00 p.m. a special "LARRY KING LIVE" from the site of the convention and wrapping it all up at 10:00 p.m. an "America Votes 2004" special. Wolf Blitzer brings you a preview of the convention.

And in just a little over an hour, you'll have the chance to talk to CNN at 9:30 Eastern. Award winning journalist Mark Shields and Al Hunt of CNN's "CAPITAL GANG" answer your questions about the Democratic convention. You can e-mail us right now at First, though, here are some other headlines making news across America.

In Colorado, a small plane crashes on a residential street in Fort Collins, killing three men aboard. The plane didn't hit any homes and no one on the ground was injured but the crash set off several small explosions forcing nearby residents to evacuate.

LaSalle University's men's and women's basketball coaches have resigned. It comes amid two separate rape investigations involving former players on the men's team. The coaches were put on administrative leave after reports surfaced that they discouraged a female player from going public with a rape allegation.

GRIFFIN: In Ohio a hot air balloon ride proved to be an extra challenge for a 79-year-old woman at a festival there. During the landing, the balloon tipped and the woman fell out. She's OK. The balloon though went airborne again and got stuck in some power lines. It took crews about an hour to free them.

And Ricky Williams reportedly is hanging up his football jersey. "The Miami Herald" reports Williams has had enough. He's told the Miami Dolphins he's retiring after five long years of work in the NFL. Williams says he'll file his retirement papers tomorrow or Tuesday.

NGUYEN: That's surprising to a lot of folks because he's just 27 years old. Five years in the NFL.

How about a set of candles you never have to light? Take a look at this, a live demonstration of this and a lot of other new gadgets coming up.

Plus new advances in the fight against Alzheimer's. Holly Firfer in "House Call" at 8:30 Eastern. Right now we want to go to Rob and a look at the forecast.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... your anxieties everyone. Keep your concentration here and now where it belongs.


GRIFFIN: Is that the new film? Listen up "Star Wars" fans. The next "Star Wars" movie -- well, it doesn't open until May but the diehards are probably already in a ticket line somewhere and dressed in costume no doubt. The film will be titled "Revenge of the Sith" and it will be the story of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. The film expected to be the final "Star Wars" movie, completing the trilogy of prequels to go with the original "Star Wars" trilogy.

NGUYEN: Looks like a good one.


NGUYEN: Here's a look at headlines this quarter hour. This is day seven in the search for Lori Hacking, the missing Salt Lake City woman. Police are examining a clump of brown hair found in a dumpster near a store where Hackings' husband bought a mattress before reporting her disappearance.

Also, more delegates are arriving in Boston this morning for the Democratic National Convention. It's gavel to order tomorrow and as you can expect, security is pumped up across the city. Some protesters at the convention are angry about being fenced in at a demonstration zone near the convention site. They say their free speech rights are being violated. The groups are challenging the protest restrictions in court.

And look at this, Lance Armstrong is cycling his way to Paris and the record book, a sixth Tour de France championship. He is in the last leg of the race. Armstrong all but nailed down the title by winning yesterday's timed trial. GRIFFIN: Take a look at this. You know what this is? This is the world's smallest chainsaw, just one of the new items coming to a store near you. We have them and we're going to show you those gizmos next.

NGUYEN: Plus this ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's not many people out in the middle east who are listening to us. Indeed the genius of bin Laden has been to focus on a number of U.S. policies that are opposed by Muslims across the ideological spectrum.


NGUYEN: An intelligence agent remains in the shadows as he writes a book about what he calls the problems with America's game plan for fighting terrorism. Our interview coming up on CNN SUNDAY MORNING at 9 Eastern.


NGUYEN: Good morning and welcome back. You're looking at a live picture of the Fleet Center in Boston as they prepare for the Democratic National Convention which kicks off on Monday and keeping with this political theme, this morning you can speak with CNN's "CAPITAL GANG." All you have to do is send questions in to That will happen at 9:30 Eastern.

GRIFFIN: We are in studio 7a, right, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), to tell you about the new gadgets, geek gadgets for home and garden people who really want to see what's coming up and Jodi's hosting a show on HGTV, right, a special.

JODI MARKS, HGTV: Right, comes on tonight.

GRIFFIN: And you unveil all of the new cool products.

MARKS: That's right. We do, every year, my cohort (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I go up there. It's been in Chicago, but this last year we were in Las Vegas so that was awesome and we get to see what's about to hit the market or what big manufacturers are putting out this year that's kind of new and different.

GRIFFIN: And we have got them.

MARKS: We do. This is some real cool stuff.

GRIFFIN: This is -- we're going to start with this stuff which is -- looks like just a regular candle.

MARKS: It isn't. This right here is actually a flameless candle. We've got it in the dark box so you can see the illumination but here, hold that. Don't do that. It's a real candle. It's a scented wax candle. GRIFFIN: I can smell it. It's like vanilla.

MARKS: And what they've done is they've incorporated a battery operated flame in there and it's safe. Candles used in the home now are just -- everybody's doing it.

GRIFFIN: Can we shoot inside the box? We've got it lit. It doesn't have a burning wick on it.

MARKS: No, it doesn't.

GRIFFIN: You can bang this on hang this on the wall, in a sconce.

MARKS: Absolutely. You can put it outside in your garden, see this right here would go down in your soil and then you would hang the lantern on that. You can leave it unattended for the kids and the pets.

GRIFFIN: Next up, the bird bath, it's a mosquito breeding ground, right?

MARKS: Unfortunately, though, because this is a solar-powered bird bath, meaning that -- we don't have any sun here. This right here is the cell that would then collect the water up in here and then it would actually flow over.

GRIFFIN: A trickling fountain with no wires, no nothing.

MARKS: There's no wires and you can just stick this out in the middle of nowhere because everything is actually underneath it there and the nice feature about this is that, like you said, this is a mosquito breeding ground but with the moving water it actually prohibits the mosquitoes from getting in there, laying their eggs and then you're just going to have a mess. Then you don't want to be outside.

GRIFFIN: What else have we got?

MARKS: This is my favorite. There's actually two sizes of these. This is called the AquaVor. Hold that, isn't that neat? Now this is a one and a half gallon and this is a three gallon and what this is, because you know that when you get your new annuals every year. You plant them, they're so beautiful at the nursery, right? This actually is a commercial grade food for your plant. So for this size, let's see, this is three gallons. So what I would do is put four pumps in here and I'm ready to go. With yours, you got one and a half, I would just do two pumps and I'm ready to go and what I'm doing is I'm feeding the plant. You can water your plants with your sprinkler system but what you want to do is once a week go around with your AquaVor and give it the food that it needs and it will look just like it came from the nursery every day.

GRIFFIN: All right. And it's easy to carry around and it's always right there.

MARKS: And it's not so heavy that you...

GRIFFIN: A duster and a pruner...

MARKS: And it's got a little kit along the side so it looks really good.

GRIFFIN: Wonderful. This is a kind of a specialty item, right?

MARKS: I'm going to step around here because I really want you to get a feel for that. Turn that on.

GRIFFIN: This is a chainsaw. It actually looks like a wood carving thing, right?

MARKS: It is. This is the world's smallest chainsaw and no lie. Hold that. It actually carved it. That's pretty impressive. This kit comes with five different attachments. It's got a two-inch wheel and this is wonderful. You can carve. You can just kind of graze along the wood. It does all different kinds of cuts that you would need. This is great for a woodworker who wants to get a little more artistic. Isn't it neat?

GRIFFIN: It is neat. Here's something that...look at this. This is Black and Decker auto tape. No longer do you need somebody holding the dumb end.

MARKS: That's right. This is perfect for if you need to get into those tight spaces.

GRIFFIN: This is one of those things that finally, why didn't they think of this earlier?

MARKS: That's right. It's also a manual too so if you do want to stretch it out by hand you can or you obviously ... ] GRIFFIN: You'd need a lot of batteries if you got a boy. He's going to be doing this all day.

MARKS: Now this is a neat little thing. Now do you ever plant bulbs?


MARKS: Well, if you planted bulbs and had your bulb planter, you just shove it down into the ground and then you would pull it up and then kind of pull out the dirt if it didn't get already pulled out here. This actually snatches the dirt. This is called the dirt snatcher. You stick it down in there it and it goes about three inches deep and then you pull it up and look, you've got the perfect hole to drop your bulb in.

GRIFFIN: Better have soft dirt. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) All right. Let's go Jodi. This is a water sprayer that measures how much water you put on the ground. This is cool.

MARKS: This is good. This is the stow and go. Michael if you want to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just show how easy it is. We're going to break it apart.

GRIFFIN: This gets down to this.

MARKS: That's right and it can store on your wall.

GRIFFIN: A wheelbarrow.

MARKS: That right there is the barrel, the actual basin that it can just hook right on the wall. This breaks down and it can just go right against the wall out of the way. It doesn't take up any room in your storage area.

GRIFFIN: All right. While he's doing that and hanging that up, this is the big ticket.

MARKS: This is the cricket.

GRIFFIN: This is the cricket. It's an electric lawnmower. It puts these rechargeable batteries in it.

MARKS: Now hold this.

GRIFFIN: You're going to start it and I'll hold the mike. Here's what it sounds like.

MARKS: That's it.

GRIFFIN: And it's running, right?

MARKS: It's running.

GRIFFIN: Go ahead, flip it up, flip it around and show the blades to our camera.

MARKS: Actually we don't have the blades on it. But this is -- it's got a 22 inch cutting deck so you're going to get a lot of coverage with this. Check how big the wheels are. You can unplug this here, but these batteries will hold the charge from 45 minutes to 90 minutes depending upon how rough or how tall the grass is and the nice wheels make it easy to maneuver and you can fly along.

GRIFFIN: Jodi, thanks for joining us. Good luck.

MARKS: Absolutely Drew.

GRIFFIN: It was a lot of fun and this is a great item for all of you insomniacs who want to mow the lawn at like 4:00 in the morning.

MARKS: That's right. You won't disturb your neighbors.

GRIFFIN: Absolutely, perfect. Betty back to you.

NGUYEN: No more excuses. You can now mow the lawn at midnight. All right Drew

The battle against the debilitating Alzheimer's disease gets a new weapon. Up next on "House Call", Holly Firfer tells you about new advances that can be good news to the 5 million sufferers here in America.

Then at 9:00 Eastern, a CIA agent breaks the code of silence and writes a book about what he calls the weaknesses in America's approach on the war on terror.

Plus, a live report on the historic odyssey of Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France on CNN SUNDAY MORNING. That is at 9:00 Eastern and the day's top stories when we come back.


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