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Significant Development in Murder of Cape Cod Fashion Designer; Looking Ahead to Beginning of Conclave; Tax Time

Aired April 15, 2005 - 10:59   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, let's go ahead and take a look at what's happening "Now in the News."
Violence erupted in Iraq again today. Insurgents attacked U.S. and Iraqi military convoys in Baghdad. At least one person was killed and eight others were wounded.

Also, the military says another U.S. Marine died in fighting today. The second in two days.

An Indian community shows its support for an American businessman kidnapped in Iraq. A candlelight vigil is planned this evening for Jeffrey Ake. He was abducted from a work site in Baghdad on Monday. So far there has been no claim of responsibility or any demands for Ake's kidnappers.

The House gives final approval to the most sweeping overhaul of bankruptcy laws in 25 years. President Bush says he looks forward to signing the bill. That could happen as early as next week. The legislation makes it harder for consumers to wipe out their debts by declaring bankruptcy.

And we're just past 11:00 a.m. on the East Coast, just past 8:00 on the West. From CNN Center in Atlanta, good morning once again. I'm Daryn Kagan.

We will be going to Rome in just a minute, looking ahead to the beginning of the conclave that's selecting a new pope in just a moment. First, we go to Monaco.

VIPs gathering there today, bidding farewell to Europe's longest- reigning monarch. The funeral for Prince Rainier combing royal pomp and Catholics rites.

CNN's Becky Anderson filed a late report from the kingdom.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A deep sense of loss and grief in Monaco today. This tiny principality buried the man they call the father of modern Monaco, Prince Rainier.

The ceremony was attended by dignitaries, world leaders, and members of Europe's royal families. Also in attendance, of course, members of his close family, Prince Albert, who succeeds him, Princess Caroline and her children, and Princess Stephanie. And as they sat in quiet contemplation, one remembers the haunting images of their faces as they sat in the same cathedral for the funeral of their mother, Princess Grace.

Prince Albert has already assumed the role of leader. The future, people in Monaco says, is safe in his hands.

Becky Anderson, Monaco.


KAGAN: On now to the papacy. The mourning period for John Paul II officially will end this weekend. On Monday, the cardinals sequester themselves in the Sistine Chapel. There, they will be surrounded by the masterpieces of Michelangelo, and one man will emerge as pope.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Rome this morning with a look ahead -- Jim.


A lot of expectation around here, I would say. And that atmosphere has been given a big boost by the appearance above St. Peter's Square of the chimney that has now sprouted out of the Sistine Chapel.

This is a chimney connected to the small potbellied stove down in the Sistine Chapel where the ballots are burned after each vote. It will be black smoke if there's no pope and white smoke on the ballot that elects the pope. So that something for people to watch out for starting Monday afternoon. And of course we'll be watching it very closely ourselves.

Now, a few things have been happening here just in the last couple of days. The cardinals have been able to get together for the last week or so in these congregations. And they have been meeting long hours, discussing the issues that are in front of the church.

There seems to be some coalescing around ideas that -- at least two ideas that have been put on the table, that first the pope, this new pope should have something of charisma or media savvy, something like Pope John Paul II has had. I think that the cardinals seemed to be overwhelmed by the turnout by Pope John Paul II's funeral and the mourning period. So I think that they realize now that's almost part of the job description of being pope.

And the other thing that they seem to have some agreement on is that one of the big church needs is for evangelization, missionary work to go out there and bring new people in. There's declining church attendance in both western Europe and the United States, and a declining number of priests in both places. And they realize that this is a critical need for the church.

So those are two things that they've been talking about, that they can agree on. A lot of things that they don't agree on, a lot of issues -- the approach to a lot of issues that the cardinals among themselves have difference of opinion on what would be the best tact to take for a new pope -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Jim Bittermann live from Rome. Thank you for that.

The election of the pope is mysterious, yet a fascinating ritual. John Allen joins me now at the Vatican this morning. He's a CNN Vatican analyst and correspondent for the "National Catholic Reporter."

John, good morning. Good afternoon to you there.


KAGAN: Let's talk about some of the factors that might go into this, to the selection of the next pope. We heard Jim Bittermann talk about having to have a charisma like Pope John Paul II. What about the age factor? Do you think they'll select somebody who was as young as Pope John Paul was when he became pope?

ALLEN: Well, I tell you, I think the conventional wisdom for some time has been that, all things being equal, they will be likely to elect a slightly older man on the theory that it is not good to have two very long pontificates, one after another, especially given the pace of change in today's world. But, on the other hand, I have to tell you, when you talk to cardinals in these days -- and even though there is an official press blackout, that's a somewhat porous membrane, and we have been able to make contact unofficially with several cardinals -- the sense one gets is that age is very much for them a secondary sort of consideration.

And I think what is sort of driving this train, so to speak, is, first of all, a sense of the personality, the profile, if you like, that the next pope has to have, his spiritual gifts, his -- as you heard Jim say, his capacity to make connection with the masses, his capacity to use the media in order to get an evangelizing message across. And then secondly, his sense of where the church needs to go on a whole cluster of important issues that it faces.

And the need for new missionary efforts in the developed world is only one of them. They're certainly also talking about the question of governance inside the church, whether there's a need for some kind of decentralization and reform...

KAGAN: Which was one of the criticisms.

ALLEN: ... versus that are actually (INAUDIBLE) stronger papal hand in the rudder. And finally the question of Islam (ph).

KAGAN: This question of centralization, this was one of the more verbal criticisms of Pope John Paul II.

ALLEN: Yes, that's right. I mean, there is a wing in the church. Probably, you could call it the more liberal wing, that has long felt that Rome has too much power. And some of that power ought to be given back to the local churches and national bishops conferences. Now, ironically, this is the opposite of our experience of politics in the United States, where conservatives tend to be the states' rights party and the liberals tend to be advocates of a strong central government. It's somewhat the opposite in church politics.

Conservatives tend to want to have as much power as possible in Rome. Liberals tend to want to decentralize.

Now, on the other hand, there would be a more conservative view of this governance question that would say, if anything, you need a pope who has -- who has a stronger hand in the rudder. I mean, they would complain, for example, that the Vatican has put out rules about how the mass is supposed to be celebrated. But in many parts of the world those rules aren't followed.

And so, if anything, they would like to see a little bit more papal follow-through. So that certainly is one of the fault lines that is running through the discussions.

KAGAN: You bring up a big word in "politics." How much politicking is taking place over this last weekend leading into the conclave?

ALLEN: Well, an awful lot. I mean, first of all, bear in mind, you know, the cardinals very much are men of faith. And they believe that the election of the next pope is unfolding under the protection and the inspiration of the holy spirit.

But, you know, there is a saying in Catholic theology that grace builds upon nature, which means that the fact that god is involved in something doesn't make it any less a human exercise. And so the fact that the holy spirit is involved in some mysterious way in the election of the pope does not make this any less than a political exercise.

I mean, the reality is there are important issues facing the church. And there is an enormously important decision facing the cardinals about who is the best man to meet those challenges.

By definition, that becomes an exercise in politics. Groups who have views on certain issues are organizing in these days to try to identify candidates and then do what they can to get those candidates elected.

Now, this is very different from secular politics in the sense that it's all much more indirect and gentile. This is very much a gentlemen's club. But politics it remains.

KAGAN: John Allen live from the Vatican. John, thank you.

ALLEN: You bet.

KAGAN: And we'll take a somewhat irreverent look at the papal election later this hour. There's a Web site out there where you can actually vote for the new pope. It doesn't count, but you can express your opinion. Nine minutes past the hour. Let's check in on the morning's "World Wrap."

A nightmarish fire at a Paris hotel. At least 20 people died, including 10 children. Fire officials fear there are more bodies on the upper floors because the only way out was blocked by flames.

Anti-Japanese demonstrations have spread from China to South Korea. This was the season in Seoul, where protesters clashed with riot police outside the Japanese embassy. Koreans are upset over Japan's disputed claim to a small group of islands and angry about new Japanese textbooks that they say gloss over Japan's history of atrocities across Asia.

And in the southern Russian province of Dagistan, six people were hurt today by an explosion at a prosecutor's office. One official says it was a bomb tossed from a neighboring building. Two other buildings this week were targeted by local police. The region is said to be rife with criminal activity.

So you're feeling a little taxed lately? If you haven't finished your taxes, time is of the essence. You're not alone, though. Coming up, a live report from outside the IRS building in Washington.

Plus, have you heard this story, A-Rod a hero in, of all places, Boston? It has nothing to do with anything the famous New York Yankee did on the field.

And the future of treating the wounded on the battlefield. No doctor, just a joystick.

That's all ahead this hour.




KAGAN: In our CNN "Security Watch," a follow-up to Operation FALCON. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he expects more fugitive roundups in the future. News about the nationwide manhunt first broke during our broadcast yesterday. Today, on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING," Gonzales responded to critics of the operation.


ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: To the critics, I say that we have taken off the street 10,000 very dangerous people. More work needs to be done clearly, Bill. But we now have developed new relationships, new lines of communication, new ways of sharing information that I think will make us more effective.

I think we need to build on what's been done in the past. This is the 22nd time we've done a coordinated roundup in this fashion. The first time we've done it on a nationwide basis. We, quite frankly, were surprised about how effective it was. And because of the effectiveness, I think this is something that you'll see occur in the future.


KAGAN: Gonzales says the raids were timed to coincide with National Crime Victims Rights Week.

A plan to expand passport requirements doesn't pass muster with President Bush. He says he was surprised to learn about the proposal. It would require passports from people entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. The president says that would disrupt the legal throw of traffic. He's ordered the administration to review the plan to see if there's some room for flexibility.

A laser warning system will soon alert pilots who wander into restricted airspace over the nation's capital. The government restricted air traffic around Washington following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Starting next month, red and green laser beams will be activated when planes stray into that space.

Our Jeanne Meserve went on a flight to see how the system works. She'll report today at 5:00 Eastern.

CNN "Security Watch" keeps you up to date on your safety. Stay tuned day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

The man accused in a deadly courthouse rampage returns to the scene of the crime. Brian Nichols appeared in Atlanta Fulton County's courthouse last hour. It's the first time since the killings last month.

Eight armed deputies accompanied him into the courtroom for the pre-indictment hearing. On March 11, authorities say Nichols overpowered a deputy escorting him to his rape trial. He's accused of killing a judge, a court reporter, another deputy, and a federal agent.

And now to Florida, where a convicted sex offender questioned about a missing girl is in court today. The appearance is unrelated to the case of 13-year-old Sarah Michelle Lunde.

National correspondent Susan Candiotti is keeping watch on developments in the town of Ruskin this morning.

Susan, hello.


You know, each day the number of searchers rises a bit. And as the sun comes up, they are back out there again looking for any sign of 13-year-old Sarah lunde.

And something new they have been told to keep an eye out for, beer bottles. That's right, beer bottles, specifically Bud or Bud Light labels. And apparently, searchers are finding a lot of bottles out there by the side of the road.

Police confirm those bottles might be linked to David Onstott. He is not being called a suspect in the case. He is a convicted sex offender who once had a relationship with Sarah's mom.

Now, Sarah's brother has said that Onstott was at their home early Sunday and picked up a beer bottle there. If found, the right one is found, it could be tested for DNA evidence.


CAPT. CRAIG LATIMER, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: As of 8:00 this morning, the sheriff's office has made a decision to collect any discarded Bud or Bud Light glass bottles that are found in the immediate search area. And I would like to emphasize that.

We're talking the immediate area around the scene here where Sarah disappeared from. If anyone should find any discarded Bud or Bud Light bottles, we'd ask that you not molest them and that you just go ahead and contact the sheriff's office.


CANDIOTTI: Onstott is being held without bound on an outstanding DUI warrant out of Michigan. He was arrested on unrelated charges Tuesday night. His lawyer has said that Onstott is not involved in Sarah's disappearance.

So far, neither a $10,000 reward nor pleas from the mother have resulted in any solid leads in finding this young teenager -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Susan Candiotti from Florida. Susan, thank you.

To southern California now. A 13-year-old boy goes to court this morning. He'll be facing a murder charge.

Police say he picked up a baseball bat and hit another boy in the head after a youth baseball game. Under California law, he cannot be tried as an adult.

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Rourke died from his injuries. A coach says Rourke was razzing the younger boy, but no one can explain why the suspect went into such a rage. The dead boy's family has known the attacker and his family for years. Rourke's mother says the boy is by no means a monster.

A dustup between a Yankee player and a Red Sox fan. The rivalry continues. Details next.

And the tax deadline is here today. It's the IRS' big day. A live report from the IRS building in Washington, D.C. That's coming up next.


KAGAN: We're just getting new pictures into us here at CNN on the arrest in a longstanding murder case out of Cape Cod, the arrest of a man that police say is Christopher McCowan (ph). They say he has been arrested yesterday at his apartment.

He will be charged, they say, in the murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington. She was killed on Cape Cod back in 2002. It's been a long opened case. The exact connection between this man and the murder victim hasn't been explained.

But it was in January 2002 that Worthington, who was a New York fashion writer, she had moved to Massachusetts, became a single mother. She was stabbed to death on the kitchen floor of her home in Cape Cod. More on that just ahead from prosecutors.

Right now, let's check in on weather with Orelon Sidney.



KAGAN: All right. Orelon, thank you for that.

SIDNEY: You're welcome.

KAGAN: Major League Baseball, a brief flare-up last night at Boston's Fenway Park between a Red Sox fan -- watch from the stands -- and right fielder Gary Sheffield. The fan was ejected, not arrested.

Sheffield looked like he was about to go after the fan, and then he thought better of it. Good for him.

Also in Boston, Yankees' Alex Rodriguez is credited with a big save. It actually happened before the game, when A-Rod pulled an 8- year-old boy from the path of an oncoming vehicle.

It turned out the boy was an avid Yankees fan. Good save all the way around.

And to Washington, President Bush tossed out the first pitch to herald the return of Major League Baseball to the nation's capital. The ceremonial ball was the same one used in the Washington Senators final game 34 years ago.

The Nationals won the home opener against the Diamondbacks 5-3. These guys are the real deal. The Nationals first place in the NLE.

The real deal on tax time. Today is the official deadline. Taxes, audits, it can make us all shake in our boots. But you may be surprised how most Americans feel about paying taxes.


KAGAN: We're coming up on the half-hour. I'm Daryn Kagan. Here's what's happening "Now in the News."

Authorities in Cape Cod are set to announce an arrest in the murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington. She was found stabbed to death in her home on Cape Cod in 2002.

Reports out of Boston say this man, Christopher McCowan (ph), a trash hauler who lives in the area was arrested Thursday. He's expected to be arraigned today. Authorities will reveal more about the case at a news conference this afternoon.

In Clearwater, Florida, the judge in the Terri Schiavo case has ordered the state to release its investigative records on the woman. Over the years, state officials had looked into numerous complaints that the bed-ridden woman was being abused and mistreated. But results of those investigations have remained sealed.

Michael Schiavo denies ever harming his wife. She died last month after her feeding tube was removed.

High-speed rail service between Washington and New York and Boston is on hold while Amtrak repairs the brakes on its Acela express train. Amtrak says a routine inspection found cracks in the braking system. It stressed there have been no mechanical failures caused by the brakes, but service is suspended until all repairs have been made.

In Salt Lake City, the murder trial of Mark Hacking is due to begin on Monday, unless there's a plea agreement. According to The Associated Press, that may come during today's pretrial hearing. Hacking is charged with killing his wife Lori and dumping her body in the county landfill.

And in Santa Maria, California, every day is important in the Michael Jackson trial. Today, though, could be pivotal. The accuser's mother will be back on the stand, this time to undergo cross-examination by Jackson's defense attorney. So far she's provided lengthy testimony about being compelled to appear to appear in a video that praised Jackson.

All right. You procrastinators on tax day, we are watching the clock with you, instead of the calendar. The deadline for federal income returns, tonight, midnight.

More on this on this time with year with CNN's Kareen Wynter, outside the IRS building in Washington. How convenient for you, Kareen, you can just drop by your returns right there.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very convenient, that's right, Daryn. We're trying to take the guesswork out of the process. When people take a look at their pay stubs throughout the year and wonder where is all that money going. Now the figures you're about to see are based on the 2005 federal budget.


WYNTER (voice-over): Do you know where all your federal income tax dollars are going?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, god, I have no idea. WYNTER: If not, you're not alone. Fiscal analysts say most Americans think a majority of their faxes go to the military, for example, to fund the Iraq war, but that half the federal tax money is now going to the so-called entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, due to the rising cost of healthcare over the last several decades.

CHRIS EDWARDS, CATO, FISCAL POLICY STUDIES: About 40 percent of the whole budget goes to the elderly. It's essentially money taxed from the young and it's go to old folks.

WYNTER: This breakdown by the Cato Institute shows where your tax dollars will go in 2005. About 20 percent will fund Medicaid/Medicare, another 20 percent for Social Security, 19 percent toward defense. Smaller brackets include any interest on debt, which is seven percent, three percent for education and two percent for transportation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing sometimes to see how much comes out and you just want to know where it goes to.


WYNTER: Now that you've had a glimpse of the breakdown, the overall payroll taxes that go to the federal government are about 15 percent of everyone's wages. And Daryn, there you have it. I'm not sure if people will feel better or worse after hearing those numbers, hearing where their money's going, but hopefully we cleared up some of the confusion.

KAGAN: That you did. You can say that about your day. Kareen Wynter in Washington, D.C. Thank you.

So you might think there would a lot of ire directed at the IRS, especially this time of year. But when it does come to paying income taxes, Americans, what we've found, seem to take it in stride. That story from our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: It's tax time. Are taxpayers upset? Not especially. Before 2002, more than 60 percent of Americans told the Gallup poll they thought their federal income taxes were too high. By tax time 2003, only 50 percent felt that way, a number that's remained pretty steady. Why did tax resentment go down after 2001? Here's one answer.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Millions of taxpayers are certainly appreciative for all of the tax reductions that the Republican-led majority has provided.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, but something else happened in 2001: the war on terror started and there's evidence that tax resentment goes down in times of war. Like World War II -- when Gallup started asking Americans do you think the amount of income tax you pay is fair? Even though income taxes were raised to pay for the war, 90 percent of Americans thought their taxes were fair. There was a war on. By 1946, shortly after the war, that number had dropped almost 30 points.

In 1999, fewer than half of Americans said their income taxes were fair. After 9/11, the number began to climb again. In April 2003, just after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, 64 percent of Americans said their income taxes were fair. Now, it's 61 percent.

The tax Americans really recent isn't the federal income tax. Asked, which tax is the worst, the public gives a clear answer: the local property tax. More than twice as many people complain about property taxes than federal income taxes. Look at the rising level of complaints about property taxes. In 1992, 25 percent of Americans called the property tax the least fair tax.

Now, 42 percent feel that way. Many parts of the country have seen sky-rocketing property values. As property values go up, assessments go up and real estate taxes go up, and up. Exactly the same situation that fueled the tax revolt that started in California with Howard Jarvis and Proposition 13, way back in 1978.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


KAGAN: Well, you can call them adjusted or you can gross, taxes are a topic we all hate to talk about. But it does make for some great trivia, so here you go. Did you know it cost $2.45 for the IRS to collect $100 in taxes? And that 21 percent of paper returns contain errors. The errors drop to .5 percent if you file electronically. And taxes predate money. The Aztecs used it on cocoa beans. A rabbit, for example, had a tax of four beans.

Presidential taxes. George W. Bush had $822,000 in income in 2003. He paid $277,000 in taxes. Three years earlier, Mr. Bush's income was $744,000 in income, with $240,000 in taxes. Vice President Cheney earns more, a lot more than his boss. He declared $1.2 million in income for 2003. He paid $253,000 in taxes. In 2000 when he was heading up Halliburton, Cheney's income was $36 million. $14 million went to taxes. Presidential predecessor Bill Clinton earned $416,000 in 1999. He paid $92,000 in taxes on that income.

We have health news ahead. The future of battlefield medicine, how doctors could soon be more skilled with joysticks than with scalpels. Plus, the process of picking a new pope. Currently cardinals perform the task. But what if you could vote? The creator of joins me next when CNN LIVE TODAY returns.


KAGAN: The Roman Catholic Church is not a democracy, you know that, far from it. The men who choose the new pope were all appointed by previous popes. Note the word men. What if you could vote on the next pope? Turns out you can. You go to

Patricia Dugan set up the Web site this month. The Philadelphia lawyer is one of the few women who practice canon law. And joining me this morning. Patricia, good morning.


KAGAN: First, can you explain to me what does a canon law attorney do?

DUGAN: We do everything from selling Catholic hospitals to helping people in religious orders.

KAGAN: Fascinating, interesting. OK. You actually had met this pope. Well, you've met John Paul II.

DUGAN: I have, on several occasions.

KAGAN: And explain to us, because I went on your Web site. There is a specific story about you trading hats with John Paul II.

DUGAN: I think it was pretty much a surprise to both of us. He didn't exchange hats usually. And I was invited to his apartment for a morning mass. I went, and I took a hat that I had been holding for two years through studies, and when I got in and told him about Philadelphia and he heard that I went to the same university that he graduated him, I handed him the hat, he blessed it, he gave me the hat back, he bent over, and he said, "God bless your work." And it was great.

KAGAN: And you still have that hat, I would think?

DUGAN: I do. It was mat my mom's hour for a while. We had to put it away for a time being right now. It's safekeeping.

KAGAN: Understandable. Tell me the idea about putting up this Web site,

DUGAN: We wanted to hear what people thought. We wanted to hopefully have when the pope is announced, have people point and say, oh, look who it is. Instead of, who is it? Who is it? Who is it? So we have all the biographies of all the cardinals up and people can read. We've had over 750,000 hits. So they're reading the pages. They're reading the bios. We've had almost 25,000 people vote. You can only vote once, so we think that maybe some people are holding back until the actual conclave next week to cast their vote.

KAGAN: They're trying to follow those kinds of rules.

Can you tell who is leading?

DUGAN: Sure. The interesting thing for me that the top seven vote getters so far from the people voting are all between the ages of 75 and 78. The No. 1 right now that people seem to be most interested in is Cardinal Ratzinger, and then Cardinal Lisdeker (ph) from France. Most of our voters are from Canada and the United States. We have a lot of voters from Australia and the Netherlands.

KAGAN: Fascinating. And you really have no way of telling if the people who are voting are Catholic, though? DUGAN: No, and if you go to our guest book and leave a message our read our guest book, people are happy to tell you that they're born again or they're not Catholic, or they are Catholic, or and what their ages are, and why they want to vote for a certain person. And I think actually from our Web site, that's the most interesting part is the guest book.

KAGAN: Did you vote? And who would you like to see to be the next pope?

DUGAN: I voted yesterday. I was going to hold out in case there was sort of a Florida situation. I voted for Cardinal Bergoglio (ph). He's from Argentina, and he's a real man of the people. I'm kind of hoping we have a pastor and not a bureaucrat. I'm hoping that we have man of the people so that maybe things can go from the bottom of the church up, and not from the top to bottom.

KAGAN: Is there something sarciligous about doing this, about putting the vote to the people when it's supposed to be left to the cardinals.

DUGAN: I don't believe so. I believe maybe betting and putting money on it could be a little more sacrilegious.

KAGAN: Well, that's true, and that's happening, we're hearing.

DUGAN: Sure. And I'm looking, on our Web site it says, who do you think should be pope and why? And we're getting some great answers, some thoughtful answers, and if you look again, I mean, everybody is praying. We're all praying that what happens in the conclave is the right thing.

KAGAN: Well, it is a very, very important time for the church. Once again, it's And as you said, it's not just the voting part of the Internet. There's a lot of information on your Web site as well.

Patricia Dugan, thank you for stopping by.

DUGAN: Thank you, Daryn.

KAGAN: And we'd like you to come by next week when we're watching the conclave.

DUGAN: Anytime. Thanks a million. Bye-bye.

KAGAN: All right, let's go ahead and find out what's coming up at the top of the hour.

I'm tell you one thing that's coming up, Betty Nguyen is in for Wolf Blitzer.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there, Daryn, on your Friday, my Monday. We have a lot coming up on the NEWS FROM CNN. Coming up, we are going to take a closer look how the changes to bankruptcy claws will impact millions of Americans facing financial hardships. Also, Daryn, Wolf sits down with the Spanish foreign minister. You will hear his comments on everything from U.S.-Spanish relations to the war on terror. Watch for those stories and much more on the top of the hour on NEWS FROM CNN.

Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: We look forward to it. Don't go far, because you have about 17 minutes.

NGUYEN: Not much time left.

KAGAN: OK, not like I'm counting for the weekend.

The Pentagon's robotic doctor. The future of battlefield medicine could depend less on the knife and more on technology. That incredible story is up next.


KAGAN: A once popular weight-loss supplement could soon be back on store shelves. A federal judge on Thursday struck down the FDA's ban on Ephedra. The judge ruled in favor of a Utah company that claimed Ephedra was wrongly regulated as a drug, instead of as a food. Ephedra was pulled from the market a ago. The FDA says it's evaluating the judge's decision.

The U.S. military is working on a revolutionary combat field hospital that you got to see to believe it. They call it the Trauma Pod. And right now, it's a little more than just a big fantastic idea.

Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr explains how the robo- docs would work.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Urban combat in the year 2025 as envisioned by the Pentagon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man down, man down.

STARR: A soldier is shot. A driverless vehicle rolls up. The soldier is carried away and treated, by robots. No doctors or nurses are on the front line. Treatment is immediate. The soldier is saved. It's just a concept for now, but it's got a name, the trauma pod. And if it works, it can save lives.

DR. ADRIAN PARK, UNIV. OF MD. MEDICAL CENTER: Right now we're doing basic stabilization, so stabilization of fractures and hemostasis, or stopping the bleeding.

STARR: Today's operating rooms are already taking the first steps in automation and robotics. Surgeons routinely use laproscopic instruments to peer into the human body with tiny cameras, one step removed from directly holding the scalpel. But with the trauma pod, military surgeons will rely on high-definition screens and instant communications to tell the robot what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I may be in another city, may be in another country.

STARR: The Pentagon is funding a $12 million effort to see what is possible.

(on camera): Here at the University of Maryland Medical Center, researchers are part of a team exploring critical issues that may occur when a badly wounded soldier is treated robotically by doctors hundreds of miles away.

(voice-over): High-speed communications will be a challenge. Any satellite delay sending data between the robot and the human surgeon must be less than .2 second. Robots will need to perform high-definition scans, insert IVs, and clear a soldier's airway. The robo-scrub nurse will provide instruments and bandages. As the robot scans, it will locate any body damage as small as 1/30 of an inch.

While robots will do the work, experts insist there will always be a human doctor in control.

TIM GANOUS, TRAUMA POD PROJECT MANAGER: There would be a surgeon on joysticks, let's say, back at a military hospital, who is participating in the surgery.

STARR: And then the soldier will be lifted out of the trauma pod and carried off by another robotic vehicle flying through the air.

Barbara Starr, CNN, University of Maryland Medical Center.


KAGAN: To get your daily dose of health news online, log on to our Web site. You'll find the latest medical news, a health library and information on diet and fitness. The address is

Well, if that trauma pod does come to pass, it could rank among the top technological innovations of the 21 century. Already there's an impressive roster on such achievements over the past 25 years.

For a sample, here's CNN's Veronica De La Cruz of our dot-com desk.


VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN.COM CORRESPONDENT: Can you imagine life without the remote control? The Internet? How about cell phones? At, a look at the look at the top 25 innovations over the past quarter century. We've come a long way since the '80s, when telephones were stuck to walls and facts were found on your bookshelves. According to a panel of experts, it's the advent of the wireless world that has done the most to revolutionize life as we know it.

This interactive gallery highlights the top ten technological innovations, from digital storage, which gives us the ability to store tons of information in cell phones or digital cameras, to the wireless world, and the proliferation of personal digital assistants and wi-fi.

How much do you know about technological innovations? You can find out in this interactive quiz. For example, in which decade did the Zenith company develop the first remote control for television? Was it the '40s, '50s, '60s or '70s? You can log on for the answer.

For a complete list of the top 25 innovations, go to You can also join CNN's Daniel Sieberg as he counts down the top 25 breakthroughs in technology from the last 25 years. That's this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

From the dot-com news desk in Atlanta, I'm Veronica De La Cruz.


KAGAN: Here's another story you'll want to check out on A scientific paper looking and sounding like a piece of heavy-wave academia. But it's author at MIT admit it's empty fluff. The kicker is that the paper, a bewildering blizzard of scientific jargon was accepted for inclusion at an upcoming academic conference. For example, here's a little chestnut for you, quote, "Without using the Turing machine, it's hard to imagine that superblocks and virtual machines are usually compatible. On the other hands, these solutions are entirely orthogonal to our efforts." Don't even try to figure it out. So far the authors have not been disinvited to speak at the conference.




KAGAN: And to all of you out there, you have a great weekend as well.

I'm Daryn Kagan. I will see you on Monday morning.



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