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Benedict XVI Inaugurated; Two Bombs Explode in Tikrit

Aired April 24, 2005 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Pope Benedict XVI takes a spin around Saint Peter's Square and greets his faithful on his inauguration day.
From the CNN Center in Atlanta this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is April 24th. Good morning everyone. I'm Betty Nguyen.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Tony Harris, 9 a.m. here in the east, 3 p.m. at the Vatican. Thanks for being with us. Let's get you started with the morning's headlines.

Pope Benedict XVI is now officially in charge of the Roman Catholic church. His inaugural mass ended at the Vatican about two hours ago. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Rome to take part in the ceremony including Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who led the American delegation.

In Iraq, two suicide car bombs exploded just minutes apart killing at least six people in the town of Tikrit. The bombs went off at the Iraqi police academy. Two other civilians were killed in a separate bombing. Also a U.S. sailor was killed in yet another attack on a Marine convoy.

Spring may be more than a month old, but there's a fresh blanket of snow over much of eastern Michigan and northern Ohio. In fact, look at this radar picture, it may get more than a foot deep before the storm is over. Hard to believe that last week it was in the '80s there.

NGUYEN: Much different today. Well, here's what we have coming up for you this hour. (INAUDIBLE) some soldiers on the battlefield as their families fight every day battles back at home. A documentary follows both the struggles.

If you can pinch more than an inch in this weight obsessed world well, the government now says you're A-OK.

And instead of the "Star Spangled Banner" or "Oh, Canada," what humiliation or a bruise or two. You don't want to miss this one.

But in the meantime, Pope Benedict XVI is now officially the new leader of the Roman Catholic church after this morning's mass. The Vatican says some 350,000 people from the curious to global dignitaries were on hand. The new pope asked for prayers to help him undergo the enormous task that is in front of him.

And CNN's Jennifer Eccleston joins us now from Rome with the latest on today's mass.

Hi, Jennifer.

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Betty. Well, that's right. The solemn inauguration ceremony of Pope Benedict XVI ended about two hours ago. And while the mass drew from centuries of tradition, Pope Benedict's homily gave a very modern idea, a very modern message. And in it he said the Catholic church was a living vessel for the young, a church that is alive, and a church that is also very vibrant.


POPE BENEDICT XVI (through translator): Yes, the church is living. This is the wonderful experience of these days. During the sad days of the pope's illness and death it became wonderfully evident through our eyes that the church is alive.



ECCLESTON: And Pope Benedict also did say that the church was an instrument of dialogue not only among Christian faiths, but with other faiths. And as the pope said, between believers and non believers. And at many stages during his homily he made reference to his trusted friend and to his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. And at every stage it was greeted with wild applause from the audience. And Pope Benedict XVI said that Pope John Paul II was now among the saints.

But as you can imagine, the real highlight for the some 350,000 people who were here in St. Peters was when Pope Benedict got into the pope mobile and took a little tour around St. Peter's Square. He was waving, he was smiling, clearly looking very excited. And it was his first major interaction with the flock, as he is the shepherd of the Catholic church.


NGUYEN: And he was well greeted.

Jennifer Eccleston, thank you for that.

Don't forget our e-mail question this morning. How much does religious faith influence your life? Tell us about it. We're at We'll be reading you replies throughout the morning.

HARRIS: A young human rights activist is being remembered this weekend for her work in Iraq.

Marla Ruzicka was killed in a car bombing earlier this month in Iraq. More than 600 people, including actor Sean Penn gathered for her funeral yesterday. She made it her personal mission to count the civilian casualties of the Iraqi war. Ruzicka was just 28 years old.

NGUYEN: The U.S. Army's investigation of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal is not yet public, but reports of its conclusions have already sparked outrage in certain quarters.

Pentagon officials say the internal probe found no evidence of wrong doing by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez and three others. Sanchez was in charge of U.S. forces in Iraq at the time. Some critics refused to accept the Army's results.


REED BRODY, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: This just proves that the Army cannot investigate itself. If the United States is going to wipe away the stain of Abu Ghraib there has to be an independent investigation that looks at the responsibility of all of those people who ordered and who tolerated torture no matter where they are in the chain of command.


NGUYEN: Brigadier General Janice Karpinski, seen here with Donald Rumsfeld who -- she was commander of the military police at Abu Ghraib, she is the only senior officer who will be disciplined. Karpinski's attorney tells CNN that he Pentagon made her a scapegoat.

HARRIS: Americans appear about evenly split at the moment on President Bush's job performance. The latest Gallup Poll finds 48 percent of those surveyed approved, versus 49 percent who disapprove of how he is handling the job. The same poll indicates growing pessimism about the economy, 61 percent say they think economic conditions in the country are getting worse, 31 percent think things are actually getting better.

President Bush is standing by the man he picked to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. This despite new allegations John Bolton behaved unprofessionally towards subordinates.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has the latest from near the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite repeated endorsements from the highest level of the administration...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John's distinguished career and service to our nation demonstrates that he is the right man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an enthusiastic backer of John.

MALVEAUX: John Bolton's nomination to become U.N. ambassador heated up over the weekend when yet another former employee came forward alleging mistreatment.

Lynne D. Finney says that in the early '80s Bolton tried to get her fired when they worked together at the U.S. Agency for International Development or USAID. Friday Finney submitted a letter to Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. In that letter, given to CNN by Boxer's office, Finney says Bolton threatened to get rid of her after a dispute they had over her refusal to promote a controversial U.S. policy.

Finney says it was a question of conscience, which resulted in her desk being moved to, "a shabby windowless office in the basement, in order to force me to leave."

But she says the head of USAID at the time, Peter McPherson, apologized for Bolton's behavior and asked her to stay.

But when CNN spoke with McPherson by phone, he said he had no recollection of the incident. And a State Department spokesman told CNN, "We've looked into the allegations. We can't find anyone who was at USAID at the time to corroborate."


MALVEAUX: Now, Finney has declined numerous requests to come forward publicly with her story. In the meantime, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would like to conduct an interview under oath with her. And of course the big question here that still remains, what will it take to either sink or survive this Bolton nomination -- Tony.

HARRIS: Yes, Suzanne, that is the question. Here's another one. Does anyone in the White House even acknowledge Bolton's rather thorny past?

MALVEAUX: Well, as a matter of fact, many people talk about the fact that he's somewhat prickly or abrasive. But they also bring up the point, as well as Cheney had just within the past week, he says if everybody was judged on that then perhaps there would be very few senators, those in Washington, who would actually have a job. He actually made light of that. They say, look, it takes someone perhaps who does move forward in an aggressive way, presents himself in an aggressive way to make change in the United Nations.

HARRIS: That's a good point.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne, thank you.

NGUYEN: OK. Let's talk about the weather now. Shall we?

A spring snow storm dumps on the Midwest. Some folks are bracing for several inches of the white stuff. And Rob Marciano is here to explain why is it snowing now that we're in spring -- Rob.


HARRIS: Well, you've seen the pictures and heard the war stories. Now one acclaimed documentary puts them together. It's today's "Soldier's Story."

NGUYEN: Plus, if you've ever thought you've ever had a really bad day, this lady planned on singing the national anthem, but she does more than forgetting the words. You cannot -- you will not want to miss what happens next when CNN SUNDAY MORNING returns. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: It ain't easy being green. So why is this self- professed energy hog taking a walk on the enviro-friendly side? We'll answer that coming up at 11 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.


HARRIS: And time now to fast forward through some of the stories we'll be covering this week. President Bush is pushing Congress to pass an energy bill by August to help ease high gas prices. In the meantime he'll ask Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to boost oil production. The two are meeting on the president's Crawford, Texas ranch tomorrow.

Wednesday the congressional committee that held hearings recently on illegal steroid use and pro base is turning its attention to the NFL. The committee will hear testimony from league executives and Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

And finally Friday, Thailand will test the tsunami warning system. They system of tower sirens was donated by two other countries. Some 228,000 people were killed in the region by the tsunami that hit December 26th.

NGUYEN: Pope Benedict XVI is officially the head of the Roman Catholic church. Some 350,000 people turned out at St. Peter's Square to witness his inaugural mass.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, seen here, headed to -- or he headed the U.S. delegation to Rome for that.

Two suicide car bombs explode near the Iraqi police academy in Tikrit. Six Iraqis were killed, some two dozen others injured. Most of the victims were police officers.

And back in the states, say it ain't so. A spring snowstorm is poised to dump up to a foot of snow on parts of eastern Michigan and northern Ohio.

HARRIS: Life on the front line. (INAUDIBLE) and soldiers leaving home to go off to war then having to adjust to coming back. In today's Soldier's Story, an acclaimed documentary follows families faced with this situation coming up when CNN SUNDAY MORNING returns.

NGUYEN: First, a CNN extra. A new study shows most traffic operations across the country lack what they need to make sure that their signals are maintained and working correctly. Maybe that's why you're stuck at a red light too often. It would cost an estimated $965 million a year to get the job done. If the problem is fixed travel time would be cut down by 25 percent, emissions would be reduced by 22 percent, and drivers would use 10 percent less fuel. I like the sound of that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS: Words like compelling and unique have been used to describe this Discovery channel documentary called, "Off to War." The new fall series follows 57 members of the Arkansas National Guard and their families as the unit heads to the battle in Iraq.

And joining us now from New York are documentary producer, Brent Renaud, Lieutenant Brian Mason and Specialist Matt Hertlein of the Arkansas National Guard.

Gentlemen, good to see you all this morning. And Brent, let me start with you. Let me be clear about this. The first three parts of this series have already aired on the Discovery channel. Is that correct?

BRENT RENAUD, DOCUMENTARY PRODUCER: That's right. The first three parts follow these guys from the time that they got their orders in October of 2003 where they were going to go from being part time soldiers, citizen soldiers to full time soldiers serving in Iraq. So we followed them for the entire 18 months of that deployment, both the soldiers and their families back home.

The first three episodes have aired on the Discovery Time channel, but we are relaunching the series this fall as a 10 part series that follows them throughout the entire deployment and s they come back to their civilian jobs back home.

HARRIS: So Lieutenant Mason, what are you thinking when you get word that you are going to be joined by another camera crew? Are you thinking, oh, here we go again, another embed, another whiny camera crew that's going to be following us around an potentially, possibly putting me and my men at risk?

LIEUTENANT BRIAN MASON, PLATOON LEADER: You're absolutely right. That's what I was thinking. But, you know, this was a unique documentary. I'd never heard of a self narrated one before and we had Brent and his brother Craig with us the whole time.

So when they first started out with us in Arkansas I had an opportunity to talk with them and get to know them very well. They became our friends and we quickly came to an understanding that, you know, their protection is also my responsibility. And after a while the cameras -- it was if hey weren't even there. I always knew where they were. They were right behind us.

HARRIS: Let's see you in action here. Let's pull up a clip here of you giving your platoon the business. This is before you leave. This is during training at Ft. Hood. Let's take a look.


MASON: I want to thank each and every one of you for embarrassing me with this sad display of disrespect. Stand at ease. A colonel, lieutenant colonel just walked into this company, walked past 20, 30 people probably not one of you called the room to attention. Not one of you said, sir. Who the hell do you people think you are? Hell half of you don't even salute me when I'm outside or the other platoon leaders.


HARRIS: Wow! How odd is it to see yourself on camera that way?

MASON: It was -- it -- I can't tell you. It was interesting to say the least. I found out quickly that some of us had some swearing problems. That incident, you know, any time a unit gets prepared for war you're going to have to work out the bugs and work out the kinks. We had some disciplinary issues, so you've got to take care of it before you get there.

HARRIS: So Matt, Specialist Hertlein, what was the most difficult aspect of the deployment for you?

MATT HERTLEIN, NATIONAL GUARD 39TH BRIGADE: Probably having to speak to my mom on the phone and every time I talked to her she would weep and cry and I mean it happened every single time we talked on the phone. So that was definitely, definitely extremely difficult.

HARRIS: Ready to see yourself in action a little bit here?

HERTLEIN: Not really.


HARRIS: We're going to do it anyway. Here's a clip of you in just the last few days at home before your deployment to Iraq. Let's take a look.


HERTLEIN: Every time she even starts talking about she starts bawling. That's my mom, Susanne. That's my dad, Steve Hertlein. My parents.

STEVE HERTLEIN, FATHER OF SPEC. MATT HERTLEIN: Well, I'm proud of the boys, but I don't think they have any business over there.

HERTLEIN: We know what we're doing. It's not like we're going over there and we're just going to be sand bags getting at.

SUSANNE HERTLEIN, MOTHER OF SPEC. MATT HERTLEIN: Those suicide bombers and stuff, I mean they're willing to kill themselves and they don't care who they kill. I don't wan him to go.


HARRIS: How's to feel to know that you're that loved by your family?

HERTLEIN: It's a great feeling. At the same time it was extremely difficult to be over there and be away from them. You know, I know it was for everybody but it just seemed like my family just had a lot of support for me and we couldn't' even speak without crying. So.. HARRIS: Well, yes, on some level it must have sustained you while you were over there. We'll ask about your readjustment to being back home in just a moment. But rent I have to ask you, let's talk about this series, "Off to War." What did you and your brother hope to capture and then what did you actually end up with on film?

RENAUD: Well. Both of us are from Arkansas so this was a very personal story for us. We wanted to make something that people in the state first ought to be proud of. And we're so happy that this began to resonate nationally and even internationally.

I think what's important about it is I don't think people understood taking these guys from being part time soldiers to full time soldiers, the effect that that had on their families back home. We thought that that was a story that had never been told. This film is really just as much about the families who are heroes themselves as it is about the soldiers.

HARRIS: And Lieutenant Mason speak to that going from a part time soldier to full time soldier. You lost a job I understand, and you've got three or four children. Is that correct?

MASON: Yes, sir. I have four kids at home and a very capable wife. We found out she could take care of that and go to law school at the same time. Yes it's really difficult, you know, going from your civilian job, which you're making plenty of money and things are sitting well for everyone and all of a sudden you get a call and here we are off to war. So, you know, it was certainly a lot of challenges that we had to face.

The company I worked for, I was a sales representative for a printing company, due to some downsizing I didn't have a job to come home to.

HARRIS: Now the good news is you found work.

MASON: Yes, that's some great news and a blessing.

HARRIS: And Matt what has, how has the readjustment to being home, how's that going for you?

MASON: It's gone excellent. We -- I know I personally didn't have any problems at all. I just pretty much threw myself back into the mix and it was -- it has been great and we've had a really great time since we've been home. So it's been really easy.

HARRIS: Can't wait to see it. It's called "Off to War." It's a documentary series on the Discovery Times channel. Gentlemen, thanks for taking the time to talk to us this morning.

NGUYEN: And a follow-up now on an earlier "Soldier's Story" on CNN. The family of a Marine killed in Iraq finally is granted access to his e-mails. Lance Corporal Justine Ellsworth was killed in Iraq last November. John Ellsworth wanted to read his son's e-mails, but didn't know the password. Yahoo! refused to break its confidentiality agreement without a court order. Well, a judge granted the order and Yahoo! gave Ellsworth's family a CD containing the e-mails.

HARRIS: Are you working your hardest at the gyp and still not seeing any movement on the scale? Well, listen up. A few extra lbs. May be just what the doctor ordered and we'll tell you why when CNN SUNDAY MORNING returns.


NGUYEN: All right. You always hear how America is an overweight nation. Well, a new study suggests that now it may be OK to have a little meat on your bones.

Welcome back. I know a lot of people are happy about that.


NGUYEN: I'm Betty Nguyen.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. That story coming up. First these headlines now in the news.

Pope Benedict XVI received visitors today after he was formally invested with the powers of the papacy. The Vatican says 350,000 people attended the inaugural mass. In his homily, Benedict reached out to members of other faiths. He asked for prayers to help his mission and he urged the faithful to transform a world he called a "desert of pain and poverty."

North Korea is promising to strengthen its nuclear deterrent and the communist nation is warning it will wipe out U.S. forces if it will invade the communist country. The tough talk came today on the 73rd anniversary of the North's military. The U.S. has, so far, been unsuccessful in trying to get disarmament talks restarted with that country.

Much of Ohio is under a freeze warning, today, as winter makes an encore appearance in the Midwest. Up to a foot of snow is forecast in Eastern Michigan and Northern Ohio. The National Weather Service expects spring-like weather to return after tomorrow.

It's that time of the morning to check out some of the other stories making news around the world.

NGUYEN: We want to tell you about two deadly suicide bombings in Iraq, just minutes apart. For those details let's get to and at the Anand Naidoo at the CNN International Desk.

Hi Anand.


Yes, that's right, eight Iraqis killed in a new wave of suicide bomb attacks in Iraq. It's the latest in a series of attacks that have been escalating since those elections in January. Six people were killed, 26 wounded in back-to-back suicide car bombings at a police academy in the town of Tikrit. The blasts went off 15 minutes apart. Four of those killed were police officers; a separate bombing in Baghdad killed two Iraqi civilians.

And, this report just in: A U.S. soldier and a U.S. sailor have been killed in Iraq, as well. The sailor was killed in Fallujah and the soldier was killed in al-Haswah, which is west of Baghdad.

Moving now on to Angola and medical teams there continue to battle the Ebola-like Marburg virus. At least 244 people have been killed by the disease so far. The U.N. health agency says workers are beginning to get the outbreak under control. And the latest that we have is that outbreaks of the cases -- or the disease, rather, in Angola, has gone down from an average of 35 a week to 15 a week.

A new turn in the political crisis in Ecuador: Ousted president, Lucio Gutierrez, has left the country. He was toppled from power on Wednesday after a week of violent street protests. Reports coming in saying he slipped out of a back entrance of the Brazilian ambassador's home in Quito and is heading for Brazil, which has granted him asylum. Gutierrez was elected president in 2002. Now opponents in Ecuador say they want him to stand trial on corruption charges.

That is all from me. Stay with CNN throughout your day for extensive coverage of international developments, but right now I'm going to send it back to Tony and Betty.

HARRIS: Anand, thank you.

NGUYEN: Sure, thin is in, right? But fat is where it's at. At least a little fat. A new government study suggests there may a positive side to being slightly overweight. And joining us now from Dallas with the skinny on why it may be OK to be not so skinny is Dr. Timothy Church of the Cooper Institute.

Hi there.


NGUYEN: Let me get this straight. It is OK to be overweight. How is that?

CHURCH: Well, you know, that's what this study suggests and I got to tell you that's what I would kind of agree with. But, there's a much bigger and more important point here, and that point is the scale is a horrible measure of your health. So many Americans think they can pop on the scale, whatever the number is will tell them if they are healthy or not healthy. You know, and we showed years ago that, well, probably the scale is not the best indicator and actually things like physical activity or diet are much more important.

We showed you years ago individuals that are overweight or obese, but physically active actually outlive individuals who are normal weight, but sedentary. And what we concluded from that was, is it's more important to be physically active than it is to be this "normal weight." And that's really important, because there are so many Americans who are five or 10 or 15 pounds above that normal weight category and more than likely are never going to be able to lose the weight. And if you tell them you can't be healthy unless you get down to the normal weight, they may give up on all healthy behaviors, and it's those individual who really stand to benefit from being physically active.

NGUYEN: Right. All right, let me -- let's back up for just a moment, because you said folks who are a little bit overweight may actually live longer because they are overweight? How is that possible?

CHURCH: Well -- but you know, that was one of the findings, but it was a very small findings that really shouldn't really be the focus of this. What happens is you're comparing the overweight to the normal weight. And the normal weight category is so broad, you get a lot of underweight individuals in there. And we know that underweight, because underweight individuals tend to be older and frail and that kind of shifts the -- shifts the -- against or it makes normal weight seem more dangerous than it is and it makes overweight seem kind of more healthy than it is. And actually, probably, normal weight and overweight are probably about the same.

NGUYEN: All right, when we say -- well, when this government study says that it's OK to be a little bit overweight or slightly overweight. What are we talking in pounds?

CHURCH: Well, you know, forget about pounds. What we really need...

NGUYEN: Forget about pounds? Tell that to my jeans.

CHURCH: What we need to be talking about here is what you measure with a tape measure, and that's waist circumference. And what you want to do is you want to get out a tape measure and you want to measure your waist. And if you're a man, the target number is 40 inches. If you're a woman, the target number is 35. We're not talking about where your pants fit. What you want to do is you want to go an inch or two above the hipbones and then go around your belly. And if your belly is bigger than 40 inches in a man or bigger than 35 inches in a woman, well, then you probably stand to benefit from losing some weight. Because it's not what you weigh, it's where you weigh. And individuals who -- have weight in the hips are probably a lot healthier than individual whose have weight in the belly, even at the same weight.

NGUYEN: Why is that? Why is belly weight worse or more -- or dangerous for you as opposed to hip weight?

CHURCH: We're not totally sure. But we know the belly weight is associated with increased risk of diabetes, increased risk of having a stroke, increased risk of having a heart attack. One of the really interesting things about this belly weight is it tends to disappear with a little bit of exercise. And one of the things I hear in clinic all the time is, you know, I was sedentary, I've become physically active, my pants fit different, I feel great, but I haven't lost any weight. And it's interesting because what's happened is, is they've traded the unhealthy belly weight for healthy muscle. Because as you become physically active, you add muscle.

NGUYEN: Muscle weighs more, doesn't it?

CHURCH: Muscle weighs more. And, muscle's a very healthy metabolic tissue, which for most of us the more we have the better. So that's one of the problems with the scale. It really doesn't tell you what you are made of; it just kind of gives you this gross number of what your weight is. And we know it's not just what you weigh but what you are made of and where that weight is.

NGUYEN: Yeah, where the weight is. I got you. And according to that study they say -- the government says about 10 pounds overweight is OK. So, we appreciate your time in sorting it out for us.

CHURCH: Well, thank you.

NGUYEN: Thank you.

HARRIS: Good, that's good.

NGUYEN: Well, let's talk about that study. Because I think it's very, very interesting. The study that we referred to offers a chart to help you determine if you are overweight. It's called the Body Mass Index, the BMI.

HARRIS: You want to talk about this? OK. All right.

NGUYEN: Yeah, let's talk about it.

HARRIS: All right. So, let's...

NGUYEN: I want you to take a look at the chart and get your pencils handy, because we're going to calculate our BMI scores and give you a web address that allows you to do the same.

HARRIS: Oh, we are?

NGUYEN: Yes, we are. So, your weight is going to be up there. So is mine, so you're not alone and your body mass index comes from weight and height.

HARRIS: OK. So, let's do this then. All right. As you see here, if your score is 40 or more you are considered very obese. OK, 30 to 39 obese, 25 to 29 overweight. And the new study we just talked about says overweight is not a bad slice of this category pie to be in. Eighteen to 24 is normal. Now, below 18 is under weight and that can be pretty dangerous. All right. So, we're going to take a look at my BMI scores? Do we have a graphic?

NGUYEN: There we go.

HARRIS: Of course we do. I'm a strapping 182 pounds. Strong, (INAUDIBLE) like, in fact.

NGUYEN: Right. HARRIS: Six feet, one inches tall. So my body mass index, is this correct here? Is 24.0? Just barely in the normal range? Eight more pounds, here?

NGUYEN: That's all right, you're normal, that's good.

HARRIS: And I'm overweight? OK, so...

NGUYEN: You're normal.

HARRIS: OK. I'm normal.

NGUYEN: Average -- I'll say average. How about that?

HARRIS: Got a little nervous there. All right. Average. Nice.

NGUYEN: All right, here you go. You can make fun of me. Here's my turn, my weight. I'm 105 pounds, 5'2".


NGUYEN: My body mass is 19.2. Again, just barely in the normal range. I'm barely average.

HARRIS: Right.

NGUYEN: You're average, I'm barely average. If I were only four pounds lighter, then I would be considered dangerously underweight by the CDC.

HARRIS: OK, now here's the web address to get the calculator so that you can find out your personal body mass index. It's the National Institute of Health Web site. Keep your pencils handy. And I guess we'll have some time, we'll show you the web address a little later.

NGUYEN: All right. Yeah, really. We made it barely in the normal range. Goodness. All right, we have a story about abandoned vehicles, well,.kind of, sort of. It's one of our most popular stories on If you're tired of paying and paying at the gas pump, well you will identify this. That's next.



ANNOUNCER: On an April day, impossible to forget, an image of a man burned into our memory, a survivor moving slowly down a ladder out of an open sore of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Brian Espe worked for the USDA on the fifth floor. That morning he heard a rumble and then a sickening silence.

BRIAN ESPE, OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING SURVIVOR: I don't know how long after the rumbling stopped and the thing stopped falling when I looked around I could see the sky.

ANNOUNCER: His rescue came more than an hour later. A firefighter had to talk him down a very long ladder.

ESPE: I'm definitely afraid of heights and that's why I came down that ladder in a more unconventional way facing out.

ANNOUNCER: Espe never did look back at the building. He didn't know the true scope of the devastation until he saw it later on television. Of the 10 people on the fifth floor that day, seven died.

ESPE: My life has gone on since that day and I still think of it. I think of the people we lost, but I don't dwell on it.

ANNOUNCER: Espe recently retired from the USDA and moved from Oklahoma City to Arkansas. He has five children and 11 grandchildren. And he and his wife Evelyn recently celebrated his 50th anniversary. Espe remains in contact with Mark Mulman, the firefighter.

ESPE: Thank god for Mark, because he talked me down the ladder every step of the way.



HARRIS: And, checking our top stories, now. Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his inaugural mass in front of tens of thousands of pilgrim at the Vatican. In his message he asked for prayers to undertake what he calls the enormous task in front of him in Iraq.

Two suicide car bombs exploded just minutes apart killing at least six people and injuring 26 others. The bombs went off at the Iraqi police academy within a 15 minute span, two others were killed in a separate bombing. And a U.S. sailor and U.S. soldier were killed in separate incidents on Saturday.

NGUYEN: So, is the ultimate act of diplomacy? Well a U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, weds the country's richest woman. For the tale of two lovebirds and the rest of's hottest stories, let's check in now with Christina Park.

A wedding of sorts, huh?

CHRISTINA PARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everyone loves happy endings, Betty.

Well, what are users reading on this Sunday morning? To find out, log onto our Web site at All you have to do is click on "most popular" for the top 10 stories of the moment.

Right now, the number one story users are clicking on the most: "Saying I Do and Keeping the Party Going for Months." U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza gets hitched to Mexico's richest woman, again. That's right, the Texas native had already married Mexican heiress, Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala, at a small religious ceremony in February. If you haven't heard of her, she's vice chairwoman of Grupo Modelo, the maker of Corona beer. She is worth nearly $2 billion. The wedding has been the talk of Mexican society on all levels and apparently in the U.S., as well. First lady Laura Bush was among the guests at the civil wedding this weekend.

Also hot on the Web and our third most clicked on story, right now: High gas prices are turning some drivers into riders. Public transit officials in several states say they're seeing a increase in the number of people who ride buses and trains. But, the American Public Transportation Association say there's no data to show whether that trend exists nation-wide.

And those are the stories -- most popular stories on, right now. Betty, it's amazing the AOL and Associated Press poll showed 58 percent of Americans are choosing to drive less due to high gas prices.

NGUYEN: I'm driving less. I'm trying to consolidate all my chores so that I go out on one day, in just a few hours and get it all over with.

PARK: But, I can't see you riding the bus or a train.

NGUYEN: I've done it. I've done it.

PARK: Oh, yeah?

NGUYEN: I have ridden MARTA plenty of time.

PARK: Me too, I've got the MARTA pass.

NGUYEN: I'm all about MARTA. OK, thanks.

PARK: Thanks Betty.

NGUYEN: Tony. I have, I have the token to prove it.


OK in the -- you think you're having a bad day department (SIC), then try singing the "National Anthem" at a professional hockey match is certainly something Caroline Marcel of Montreal wishes she could forget, but we won't let her.




HARRIS: Well, she apologized. She did. She apologized. She forgot the words and then she walked away to get a copy of the words and the crown at the Quebec Coliseum, booed.

NGUYEN: Oh gosh, and then she fell.

HARRIS: Yeah, then she, you know, became the butt of a few jokes -- slipped on the ice.

NGUYEN: Oh gosh. HARRIS: And then the game went on. And the U.S. -- with purpose, with bad intentions, beat Canada 5-4 in the exhibition game.

NGUYEN: I still feel so bad for her. And then we keep running it over and over again. It's like the Ashley Simpson thing. You know?

HARRIS: Well, here's the good news.

NGUYEN: What? What's the good news?

HARRIS: For poor Caroline. She was -- another network brought her onboard and gave her the opportunity to sing.

NGUYEN: And she redeemed herself.

HARRIS: She redeemed herself.

NGUYEN: Good for her. And she's OK, by the way, that fall, she's OK, apparently.

HARRIS: Let's hope.

NGUYEN: OK. We are asking you how much does religious faith influence your life? Well, we're reading those e-mails. That will be coming up after a short break.

HARRIS: But first, as promised, here's the Web site address if you want to calculate your body mass index, you really want to get your day started this way? It's a CDC formula to find out if you're actually overweight. This web address takes you to the National Institute of Health Web site.


HARRIS: To Washington, D.C. now and a preview of "ON THE STORY" at the top of the hour and Candy Crowley.

Good morning, Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CO-HOST, "ON THE STORY": Good morning. We are "ON THE STORY" from here in Washington to Texas to Rome. I'll be talking about a great saga of power, politics, money and the future of republican leader Tom DeLay. Suzanne Malveaux is "ON THE STORY" of the president having a battle on his hands getting his man John Bolton to the U.N.

And Vatican analyst, Delia Gallagher, will talk about what she saw and heard at the mass for the new pope this morning. All coming up all "ON THE STORY."

HARRIS: Thank you, Candy, we'll be watching.

NGUYEN: All right, let's get some answers to our e-mail question of the day which is: How much does religious faith influence your life? Nikki in Kansas says, "Not nearly enough. I just think if we simply follow the 10 Commandments, there would be no murder, no rape, no poverty. 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' would make a significant difference in our country!"

HARRIS: This from Lorenzo, "Although I am an agnostic scientist, religious beliefs have a great influence on my life. The religious beliefs of others, like the Taliban, the Catholic Church, and our government leaders, who are trying to control my life with their beliefs."

Lorenzo, thank you.

NGUYEN: Elizabeth from Michigan writes, "I think people all around the world are intrigued, to some extent, to understand a message in Jesus, person, Prophet or Christ. However for me, trying to understand a certain message does not play a major role in my life because I think no one religion has all the answers."

And we appreciate your answers today to our e-mail question.

HARRIS: Quickly now up to the Weather Center and Rob Marciano for a final check of weather this Sunday morning -- Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi guys, great e-mails today.



MARCIANO: You know, that's a hot button topic.

NGUYEN: It sure is.

MARCIANO: Get a little religion in there, and all sorts of smart answers come our way. Good stuff.


HARRIS: You know, they say the number for extreme pollen is about close to 200, you're in the in the extreme, and we're up at about 5,000.

NGUYEN: Five-thousand?

MARCIANO: Yeah, 3,500 or so.

All right, sniffle, sneeze away. (INAUDIBLE) be better, everyone.

NGUYEN: Thanks Rob.

MARCIANO: All right.

NGUYEN: That's going to do it for us this morning. Yet, we want to thank you for watching. We'll see you back here next weekend. HARRIS: "ON THE STORY" is next. Have a great Sunday.


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