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Pope Recovering in Hospital; Task Force Hunts Down Fugitives; Oscar Nominees Diverse This Year

Aired February 25, 2005 - 14:30   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Checking stories now in the news. The pope is breathing on his own after yesterday's tracheotomy operation. Doctors at Rome's Gemelli Hospital say the pontiff had a restful night and is eating well. He was taken back to the hospital after suffering a flu relapse. We're going to have a live report from Rome right after the headlines.
A Florida family issues an emotional appeal about a missing girl. Nine-year-old Jessica Marie Lunsford was last seen by her grandmother, who put her to bed on Wednesday night. Police are interviewing the girl's estranged mother in Ohio.

The Iraqi government says it's have captured two associates of alleged terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. One is said to be playing a key role in Zarqawi's group. Officials say they were captured in western Iraq last Sunday. The group has previously claimed responsibility for bombings, kidnappings and beheadings.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: As Kyra mentioned, time now to check in on how the pope is doing. He's breathing on his own after undergoing a tracheotomy operation yesterday.

For the latest, let's go to CNN's Matthew Chance, who is standing by outside Gemelli Hospital in Rome -- Matthew.


And Pope John Paul II, extremely frail but spending his second night here in the Gemelli Hospital in the northern outskirts of the Italian capital.

After he underwent that surgery to -- to undertake a tracheotomy to insert a pipe into his throat to enable him to breathe more easily, the Vatican has been putting as positive a spin as possible on the condition of the pope, because there's a great deal of concern about him.

Of course, the latest medical bulletin released by Vatican officials earlier today dispelling rumors that had been circulating all around Rome that the 84-year-old pontiff required a ventilator in order to breathe. They're saying categorically that's not the case, that he never needed one and that he's breathing unassisted right now.

They're also saying that the possibility that the pope is suffering from a kind of pneumonia has also been ruled out by doctors. That's a great relief for people who have been concerned that this may be some kind of secondary infection after he made that recovery from influenza just a few weeks ago, where he was in this hospital being treated for that, as well.

Again, they've been trying to present him as making positive progress, saying that he was strong enough to sit up and eat breakfast this morning. But it's the things the Vatican aren't saying that, really, people are still most concerned about.

For instance, they're not saying just how long Pope John Paul II will be staying here in the Gemelli Hospital. It's a very important religious season approaching. Easter is exactly a month away now and normally, of course, the pope would be expected to preside over those celebrations. At the moment, it doesn't look like he's going to be fit enough.

But clearly, Vatican officials, again, with a team of medical experts and doctors who are attending to him on the 10th floor of the Gemelli Hospital are watching him by the day, making assessments as to when we're going to hear from him, when we're going to see him again. A lot of people around the world, though, praying that this pope, who has led the Roman Catholic Church for the past 26 years, does make a recovery -- Tony.

HARRIS: And Matthew, I'll ask you a question that I'm sure you asked. Why not give more information -- not less, but more information about the pope's condition? It's one way to tamp down rumors.

CHANCE: Yes. And it's a very good question. It's something we've all been asking ourselves as well.

I think traditionally, the Vatican is very tight-lipped about the specifics of the health of Pope John Paul II, because he's been in and out of the hospital so many times.

But I think there's enough more recent reason for them being a bit more cautious. And that is that, you know, just a few weeks ago when he was checked out of this Gemelli Hospital, he'd been here being treated for a particularly serious bout of influenza.

They're very open about, you know, what kind of recovery he was making. They were saying he was making a steady recovery. He was sort of wheeled out and made several public appearances over the course of just the past week. Although in retrospect, he looked pretty frail.

And then, you know, things came to a head and he had to be brought back into the hospital and he had to have this kind of what they say is elective surgery. But nevertheless I think there's a sense in which the Vatican officials are thinking they may want to be more cautious this time when they give information about the progress, about the welfare of this extremely frail 84-year-old pope.

HARRIS: Got you. Matthew Chance, outside Gemelli Hospital in Rome. Matthew, thank you. We're going to take a break. When he come back, an Oscar preview, full-blown Oscar preview from the red carpet.

HARRIS: And guess who's going to give us that live shot? She's far more beautiful any movie star in Hollywood. She's our own Sibila Vargas.


HARRIS: Now the notorious struggle for turf on the nighttime streets of Chicago. The Windy City is the well-known home of some fairly accomplished crews. CNN got inside one. It's professionals only, and the good thing is they're on our side.

Here is Kelli Arena from the CNN America Bureau.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got two or three addresses on this guy?


SHANNON METZGER, U.S. MARSHAL: Let's get everybody around, if we're going to do that.

KELLY ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 4 a.m. on a biting cold Chicago morning, a good time to catch bad guys off guard. These fugitive hunters are among the best in the business. And CNN got a rare front row view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first place we're going, guys, we're going to hit two houses at once.

ARENA: These men and women arrest as many as 500 violent offenders a month: drug dealers, bank robbers and worse. This morning they're after a prisoner who escaped from a work release program.

For now, this neighborhood is quiet. Chances for a fight drop off dramatically if the bad guys are woken out of a sound sleep. Still, going into someone's home without knowing what's inside is dangerous work.

U.S. Marshal John Ambrose brings along a little extra help.

JOHN AMBROSE, U.S. MARSHAL: We've got tools. Tools coming up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door now! Or we're breaking it down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, man. Or it's coming down. Right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ground, man. You get on the ground like I told you. ARENA: The tip that led them here is only hours old, but it's stale. They miss their man.

ED FARRELL, U.S. MARSHAL: Nobody knows nothing. I'm shocked.

ARENA: That's Ed Farrell. He's fast tracked to marshal for only eight years and already one of just 18 inspectors nationwide. Part of his job is to get some dirt from people on the scene and to work informants.

FARRELL: This job, we're in the information business. And it comes down to people skills. If you're going to be successful at this job, you've got to have people skills.

AMBROSE: They got him.

ARENA: His buddy John Ambrose says you either have what it takes or you don't. It's in his blood. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Ambrose come from a long line of police officers.

AMBROSE: Who's got the back?

ARENA: His dad was an award-winning cop. That is, until he and nine others were convicted of taking money from drug dealers to look the other way. He died of a heart attack a year into his sentence.

Ambrose and a lot of others say his dad was wrongly accused. Still, Ambrose serves the government with a vengeance, the same government that imprisoned his father.

AMBROSE: I think sometimes when I get frustrated, take an extra second or two to think about something or look at a case, you know, as corny as it may sound, I feel like he may -- you know, he's nudging me in a direction or opens my eyes to something.

ARENA: The team is juiced about another target, an alleged child rapist. As they get close to the scene, they're briefed by another marshal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been molesting his stepdaughter since she's about 4 or 5 and raping her since she was about 8. The reason they found out was because she just got pregnant.

ARENA: The fugitive is staying with family, including his little niece.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police. Come to the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open up the door. Open the door right now. That's it. Open the door right now. Get on the ground. Get on the ground.

ARENA: It's the kind of case that gets under everyone's skin.

METZGER: It really is mind boggling that people would keep a child in a house and they know what he's wanted for. It's a shame. ARENA: Shannon Metzger is the only female marshal permanently assigned to a regional fugitive task force in the country and the mother of a 3-year-old girl. She's a former West Pointer and track star who should never be underestimated.

METZGER: You know, when I'm covering the back of a house and the guy jumps out, chances are he isn't going to take pity on me because I'm a female. He's going to maybe even take me on harder because he thinks he can. And when he does, he's in for a rude awakening.

ARENA: This team does nothing but hunt fugitives, 24/7. They're available to help the 10 state and local agencies who contribute members of the force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last year a man who did that had his nose bit off.

ARENA: The work is rewarding and draining.



DEWALT: What you coming home late for? What's so important that you couldn't get home on time?

ARENA: Sara Dewalt is a corrections officer assigned to the task force. With 34 years under her belt, she says she's tough but fair. Some time ago she helped this woman with a parole violation so she wouldn't go back to jail, so she could stay home and raise her kids.

DEWALT: I believed her before, went to bat for her on paper. Now today I'm right back in the same (expletive deleted) shape with the same (expletive deleted). She made a fool out of me. That's a no-no. Nobody plays me. Not when I put my neck out because of your babies.

ARENA: There's no time for emotion. The hunt never ends. They want to pay a call on an alleged drug dealer accused of selling crack to undercover officers.

AMBROSE: Police. Open the door. You don't open the door, it's coming down. This is your last chance to take the door.

ARENA: This time they get their man and several thousand dollars in cash.

AMBROSE: That's dope money right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not guilty.

ARENA: A lot of work goes into a night like this, but these guys make it look easy. Task force leader Geoff Shank says that's the way it should be. GEOFF SHANK, U.S. MARSHAL: Our closure rate is 92 percent. So the odds are if we're going to look for you, you're going to jail. You might as well just give yourself up.

ARENA: By the time most other citizens are on the way to work, the Great Lakes regional task force is just about wrapping up for the day.

Kelli Arena, CNN America Bureau, Chicago.



HARRIS: The Oscar frenzy is building in Hollywood. Suits are being pressed, dresses getting a final fitting and acceptance. Folks won't eat until after the ceremony, will they?

PHILLIPS: Because they won't fit into the dress if you do.

HARRIS: You don't want to go in with that bloat. Right?

PHILLIPS: Yes. And they're all three sizes too small anyway.

HARRIS: OK. You know, acceptance speeches are being practiced. That includes an unprecedented number of minority nominees.

CNN entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas is live from the red carpet with everything Oscar.

Sibila, good to see you as always. Looking lovely.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much, but not as lovely as I'm going to look this Sunday night in my red dress, red- hot dress.

HARRIS: Beautiful.

VARGAS: Yes, you know, the countdown has definitely begun. The preps are underway, as you can see behind me. It's a little chaotic but that's to be expected out here.

The celebrities will be making their way down this red carpet. And this year, like you said, Tony, it's going to be a little bit more eclectic. That's because this year, it was a strong emphasis on diversity.



VARGAS (voice-over): Like the character he plays in "Ray," Jamie Foxx has made history in the world of entertainment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Jamie Foxx in "Ray." VARGAS: At this year's Academy Award nominations, Foxx heard his name twice, one once for the lead role in "Ray" and again for his supporting role in "Collateral," an unprecedented feat for a black actor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Catalina Sandino Moreno in "Maria Full of Grace."

VARGAS: But the story of diversity at these Oscars doesn't end here. For the first time ever, people of color were nominated in every acting category, including Columbian actress Catalina Sandino Moreno.

CATALINA SANDINO MORENO, OSCAR NOMINEE: It's wonderful. People just like good stories and good acting, and I think people are changing.

JAMIE FOXX, OSCAR NOMINEE: It's fabulous. It lets you know that things are moving.

VARGAS: In the awards' 77-year history, black actors account for just over three percent of nominees. This year, they're 25 percent, a far cry from 1996 when a complete lack of black acting nominees spurred Jesse Jackson and others to protest the awards.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: There is no wrong time to march against justice.

VARGAS: Nine years later, the nominations also included supporting actress Sophie Okonedo from "Hotel Rwanda."

(on camera) Do you feel like there is a great movement for diversity?

SOPHIE OKONEDO, OSCAR NOMINEE: I feel that maybe if this film had come out 10 years ago, maybe it wouldn't have gotten to the Oscars. So I do think there is a move towards that.

VARGAS (voice-over): This year, the move was fueled by "Hotel Rwanda" and "Ray," two Oscar-caliber biopics which showcased a broad array of black performers.

FOXX: Everybody got a chance to see these guys put it down and so now we got a chance. There are a lot of scripts out there that we're going to ask Taylor Hackford to help us out with.

VARGAS: "Ray" director Taylor Hackford and others will have the opportunity to bring more roles for all people of color to the big screen, and Jamie Foxx is convinced they will.

FOXX: I know the cast that you see right here, this is not the end of it.

Yes, I make you do what you do, baby. Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VARGAS: And he is going to make it do what it do. Jamie Foxx is going to be so busy. He's got three films coming up, including a remake of the TV -- 1990s TV "Miami Vice." Also, Matthew McConaughey and Don Cheadle will be working together. And Sophie Okonedo, she's going to be working with Charlize Theron. So not bad.

HARRIS: What happened. There it is. That's better. Thought we lost the lighting on you. Did we lose your microphone and everything else? You still there.

VARGAS: It's a little bit light, but everything is good. I'm still here. Can you see me?

HARRIS: Yes, I can see you. I've got to ask you, though, this whole diversity thing, it even includes Chris Rock hosting the award ceremony on Sunday and you know what? They're making two...

VARGAS: Hold on. Beyonce -- don't forget, Beyonce has got three performances.

HARRIS: In the show? Three performances?

VARGAS: In the show, three performances, yes.

HARRIS: All right. Can't wait to see it. Sibila, good to see you, as always. See you on Sunday in that hot red number.

VARGAS: All right.

PHILLIPS: I know you. Your wife is going to be like, "Tony, why are you watching the TV? Why are you glued to the tube?"

HARRIS: Why do I do it to myself?

PHILLIPS: "I just want to see what Sibila is talking about. That's all."

HARRIS: Yes. I do more damage to myself than anything else.

All right. More Oscar predictions just ahead. Movie critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper will join us in about 20 minutes.

Bail me out, Kyra, when I'm going down this path.

PHILLIPS: Quick break. Quick break.


PHILLIPS: Well, having the right stuff may not be the Wright stuff when it comes to selling a home by one of America's most famous architects.

A 1915 Chicago home right here, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is going on the auction block for a mere $750,000, far less than the original asking price of $2.5 million. The reason? Well, many of Wright's homes have been designated landmarks, and that means that owners often can't remodel or even paint the homes. And on top of that, some Wright homes have structural problems or were built in what have become not so desirable neighborhoods.

That looks pretty beautiful to me.

HARRIS: Yes, yes, yes.

PHILLIPS: You know, take out a little loan and fix it here and there. It's good.

HARRIS: A little loan? Is there such a thing anymore?

PHILLIPS: That's a negative. A pretty big loan. But we're just wondering if the furniture comes with it. That's what we were trying to figure out. It's got, you know, the Wright lamps and the Wright rugs and the couch and -- isn't that cool?

HARRIS: Look at the front, though.

PHILLIPS: I would think that...

HARRIS: It's different, right?

PHILLIPS: It probably holds a lot of rain.


PHILLIPS: I can see some serious water damage issues. There you go. Chicago, Frank Lloyd Wright.

HARRIS: So if you want it...

PHILLIPS: A mere $750,000. Go for it!

HARRIS: A steel at half the price.

And the Big Apple has nothing on the town of Somerville, Massachusetts. It's mounted its own monument to civic grandeur, appropriately called the Somerville Gates. I see.

The 13 three and a half inch orange, or saffron, plastic gates sit on the mayor's gates and they brought appreciative "oohs" and "ahs" from invited guests and town hall staff.

A spoof, of course, Kyra, on The Gates exhibition currently in New York's Central Park.

PHILLIPS: And I was in New York and restaurant owners were saying, thank...

HARRIS: They like it?

PHILLIPS: Well, they're happy because it's bringing so many people in. Yes, people coming from all over the country to see The Gates.

HARRIS: I see.


HARRIS: Which gets us to conveniently to business news, right?

PHILLIPS: I wonder if Kathleen Hays has checked it out yet. Have you checked it out yet?


PHILLIPS: Thanks, Kathleen.

Well, this morning, we all sat around in our news meeting...


PHILLIPS: ... and we made our Oscar predictions for Best Picture.

HARRIS: Right.


HARRIS: What did you go with?

PHILLIPS: I think it will be "Million Dollar Baby."

HARRIS: Oh, good.

PHILLIPS: Clint Eastwood is hot. Hilary Swank, you know, she's hot.

HARRIS: That's good, because I'm going with "Aviator."

PHILLIPS: Leo's hot, too.

HARRIS: Probably it's time to bring in the professionals.

PHILLIPS: There we go.

HARRIS: Ebert and Roeper join us live next hour.

Plus, an update on the search for 9-year-old girl. She disappeared from her home in Florida. Now police are trying to get the word out nationwide.



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