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Toddler Tragedy; Jackson Trial; Syrian Troops Leave Lebanon
Aired April 26, 2005 - 08:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: New information on just how close U.S. troops came to capturing terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Plus, an exclusive report on who was arrested and the link to Osama bin Laden.
President Bush holding hands, talking nice with the Saudi Crown Prince. But did he get any promises on oil production that he was looking for?
And the mystery in a small Georgia town. Two toddlers found dead in a sewage pond. Police are now searching for answers on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ANNOUNCER: From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Bill Hemmer.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. Nine o'clock here in New York. Good to have you along with us today.
A very important day for the entire Middle East today. A few hours ago, the last Syrian troops left Lebanon. What happens now? We'll have a look at that from overseas.
O'BRIEN: Also this morning, the proposal in Miami Beach that would effectively eliminate sex offenders from the city limits. Is it legal? We're asking the mayor of Miami Beach about that.
HEMMER: Also, Jack.
What's on your mind? Hello again.
O'BRIEN: Jack, good morning.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, they always do studies about stuff. And they've done a study about the workplace, and they figured out that if you're a jerk at work you probably have a bigger paycheck than your colleague who is a nice guy. So the question we're asking this morning, is it better to be a jerk or to be a nice person at the office? AM@CNN.com.
HEMMER: Did you say Cafferty was equal to Bill Gates earlier today?
HEMMER: Billions and billions. Thank you, Jack.
O'BRIEN: No, Jack's not a jerk.
HEMMER: Come on. We're just kind of doing that.
O'BRIEN: You know what? If it's really true, then I'm going to start being a bigger jerk than I already am at work.
HEMMER: Me, too.
O'BRIEN: We're in it together.
CAFFERTY: Me, too.
HEMMER: To the headlines. And here's Carol again.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Good morning to all of you.
"Now in the News," U.S. forces in Iraq almost captured the country's most wanted terrorist suspect, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, earlier this year. U.S. Officials now confirming details of the incident.
CNN had reported several weeks ago Zarqawi did get away, but forces seized his computer, what sources called a "treasure trove of information." What happened that day and what we know now, Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon coming up.
A day after a deadly train crash in Japan, another derailment. Police say an express train collided with a truck in a northern Tokyo suburb, injuring at least one person. In the meantime, investigators are at the site of Monday's crash trying to piece together exactly what happened.
At least 73 people were killed, another 440 injured. The driver of the train still has not been found.
President Bush pushing for Social Security reforms in Texas today, one day after Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah visited the ranch. The topic, soaring oil prices. Abdullah says Saudi Arabia does plan to pump more oil. Not clear whether it will reduce gasoline prices, though.
The mayor of San Diego is resigning amid a federal investigation. Dick Murphy announcing he will step down on July 15. He's been blamed for a $1 billion deficit in the city's pension fund. A special election is likely to be called to choose -- to choose his successor.
And delays in starting work on New York City's Freedom Tower. No word on the specifics, but concerns of New York City police security experts have pushed back construction plans several months. The tower was slated for completion in 2009 and, of course, that Freedom Tower going in place of the World Trade Center.
HEMMER: That's going to take years to settle.
COSTELLO: I think so.
HEMMER: You think about Oklahoma City. It was five to six years before they got their entire memorial and museum opened up. And there are ton of opinions in lower Manhattan as to what should happen down there.
COSTELLO: Strong ones.
HEMMER: Yes. Thank you, Carol.
Want to get back this hour to the grim news out of Georgia. Two toddlers found dead in a pond. Autopsy reports not in yet. And authorities are not ruling out the possibility of foul play.
Tony Harris live in Warrenton, Georgia, near the border with South Carolina.
Tony, hello again.
TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you Bill.
This story, the story of what happened to these two small beautiful children, 3-year-old Jonah, and 2-year-old Nicole Payne, certainly is the topic of conversation here in small town Warrenton, Georgia, and certainly was topic A when we stopped into Miss Jane's restaurant in downtown Warrenton to pick up the morning paper.
And the headline here in the "Augusta Chronicle" pretty much says it all, "Police Pull Missing Children From Lake." The worst fears of the parents you see here, Dennis Payne and Lottie Kain, were realized yesterday afternoon at about 12:15.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears that our worst fears have been realized.
TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mud-filled and algae-covered sanitation pond is where the bodies of Nicole and Jonah Payne were found yesterday afternoon, just a few hundred yards from their home.
DENNIS PAYNE, FATHER: Both of them were my pride and joy. And they were my babies.
HARRIS: During a second search of a wooded area with several ponds near the family home an officer noticed what he described as a bump in the sanitation pond. That bump turned out to be the body of 2-year-old Nicole. A short time later, the searchers found the body of her 3-year-old brother.
JOHN BANKHEAD, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Because of that green covering of the bacteria, or algae that covers that type of pond, it was very difficult to see these kids. As a matter of fact, when they first looked at it, they didn't know they were bodies.
HARRIS: The investigators have not yet determined the cause of death. And while foul play has not been ruled out, one of the working theories is that the children simply wandered away from home for the second time that day.
CHIEF JIM MCCLAIN, WARRENTON, GEORGIA, POLICE: Yes, the kids had went out before. But before they got too far from the house they were -- they were recovered.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did that happen?
MCCLAIN: It happened Saturday, believe it or not.
PAYNE: They just walked right out. They just opened the door and walked right out. That 3-year-old is -- Nicole is a very smart little girl for a 2-year-old. And she -- she just had that habit, and she just got out.
HARRIS: The mother, Lottie Kain, had told police the children disappeared while she was in the bathroom. Both parents were given a polygraph test, routine in this type of investigation, according to the police chief.
HARRIS: And Bill, as you mentioned, the scene shifts a bit now to Augusta, Georgia, a short drive from here in Warrenton, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations crime lab there, where autopsies are scheduled on the bodies of the two children today. We will be waiting and watching and we'll pass along results as soon as we get those.
HEMMER: Tony, two quick questions here.
HEMMER: Is there any chance they drowned?
HARRIS: Yes, absolutely. There is absolutely a chance they drowned.
Understand that the sanitation pond where they were found, it's just a few hundred yards away from the family home that is just behind me here. And there is a path that takes -- that can take you directly to that pond. And it's just a question of whether the gate on the fencing that surrounds the pond, if there was enough give for the kids to make their way into that area. And certainly they could have fallen in.
HEMMER: Now the other issue is foul play. Are police tipping their hand in any way about possible suspects?
HARRIS: Playing that part of it very close to the vest, Bill, as you can imagine. And -- but we can tell you that immediately after the children were reported missing, there was intense interest and focus of attention on registered sex offenders in the area.
And what we can tell you is there is one registered sex offender in the Warrenton area. There are 13 registered sex offenders in Warren County, Georgia. They were all checked out and ruled out almost immediately.
HEMMER: All right. Tony Harris in Warrenton, Georgia -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Well, as prosecutors in the Michael Jackson molestation trial wind up their case, Jackson and his ex-wife might be headed for a courtroom showdown.
More now from CNN's Ted Rowlands.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In what could give prosecutors a chance for a strong finish in their case against Michael Jackson, Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, the mother of two of his three children, has been cleared to testify. Rowe is expected to say Michael Jackson offered her visitation with her children in exchange for participating in a pro-Jackson video. Rowe is currently involved in a custody battle with Jackson.
Meanwhile, prosecutors told the judge that former security guard Chris Carter will not be a witness. Carter, who's facing kidnapping and robbery charges in Nevada, was expected to testify that Jackson gave the current accuser alcohol. Prosecutors didn't give a reason as to why Carter, considered to be a key witness, won't be called.
ANDREW COHEN, LEGAL ANALYST: Prosecutors know that they haven't sold the deal, they haven't made the deal with the jury. And they're trying at the last minute to get that done.
ROWLANDS: Former Neverland security guard Kassim Abdul testified yesterday that after seeing Michael Jackson in a Jacuzzi with a young boy, he found their swimming shorts left on a bathroom floor. Abdul's story is from the same night in 1993 that another security guard testified seeing Jackson engaged in oral sex with the boy.
Abdul's testimony is expected to be a last of the string of uncharged allegations from Jackson's past allowed in as evidence in the current case. At one point, Abdul broke down on the stand when talking about death threats he says he received after testifying against Jackson in front of a 1993 grand jury.
There's also been a shakeup on Jackson's defense team. Attorney Brian Oxman, who had what appeared to be an animated discussion outside the courthouse yesterday with lead attorney Thomas Mesereau, has been removed from the team. Oxman, who had a minor role in the current case, has been a family attorney for Jackson for many years.
(on camera): The next scheduled witness for the prosecution is a travel agent that claims she was told by Jackson associates to book one-way plane tickets for the accuser's family to Brazil. Ted Rowlands, CNN, Santa Maria, California.
O'BRIEN: And once the prosecution rests, Jackson's defense is expected to last up to six weeks.
Let's take a turn now and check on the weather. Chad Myers is at the CNN center.
HEMMER: We've been talking a lot today about this picture from Crawford, Texas, yesterday, President Bush holding hands with the Saudi Crown Prince. And here's what "The Tonight Show" and Jay Leno had to say on it last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": President Bush says he is doing whatever he has to do to bring down the price of oil. And I tell you, he was working it today. Did you see him with the Crown Prince?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
LENO: He was really turning on the charm. Take a look. Show that footage from this morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: From Jay Leno last night.
O'BRIEN: That's pretty funny.
HEMMER: In a moment here, 16 years in the making, billions over budget. The new earthquake-safe Oakland Bay Bridge, literally a bridge to nowhere. Construction has stopped. Safety may pay a price, too. We have that story for you this hour.
O'BRIEN: Also, one mayor's plan to virtually ban all sex offenders from living in his city. But will the courts let him? We'll take a look at that.
HEMMER: Also, history in the Middle East, one nation's three- decade domination over its weaker neighbor finally over today. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
O'BRIEN: A few hundred Syrian soldiers on parade in Lebanon today making their final appearance after 29 years in that country. Brent Sadler joins us live from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon with the very latest. Brent, good morning.
BRENT SADLER, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks. Good morning, Soledad.
Syrian troops entered this country back in 1976. They came in here, invited by the government as peacekeepers. But they turned into powerbrokers, really controlling much of this country's political and economic life.
At the border today, a farewell ceremony. Lebanese danced for joy as the last soldiers presumably left. That move yet to be -- verified, rather, by a U.N. special team that's now in Damascus.
SADLER (voice-over): An historic day in the Middle East, a day few Lebanese expected to see anytime soon. An official farewell ceremony marking the end of three decades of Syria's visible domination over its weaker neighbor.
It was an embattled Lebanese government that first invited the Syrian army into the country after the first year of a ruinous civil war. But Syrians say western diplomats here turned from peacekeeper into gatekeeper, with a ruthless policy of control, leading to a form of occupation, using its military might, especially the much feared intelligence services, to control the country.
Syrian officials selected Lebanon's political elite, claims the opposition here, coercing MPs to support a pro-Syrian agenda in parliament. But a devastating car bomb killed popular Prime Minister Rafik Hariri three months ago, blamed by many Lebanese on Syria, even though there was no hard proof.
The blast came shortly before an expected announcement that Hariri would join a then growing anti-Syrian opposition. The Hariri assassination triggered a series of aftershocks, leading to the so- called Cedar revolution, a popular uprising that drew a record one million protesters on the streets of Beirut last month with unprecedented displays of Muslim-Christian unity.
In Damascus, Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has been under relentless international pressure since last year, led by the United States to withdraw all Syrian forces, some 14,000 troops, from Lebanon, to allow free and fair elections by the end of May that a confident opposition now expects to win.
Officially, the Syrians say they've now delivered on their pledge to pull out. But it has yet to be verified by the United Nations. And there are fears among the opposition that Syria may still try to pull political strings to powerful allies, especially Hezbollah, the U.S.-labeled terror group that transmitted live pictures of the Syrian good-bye.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SADLER: Well, after that long good-bye, 29 years, Lebanese are still concerned that the Syrian military intelligence, for so long a notorious player in Lebanon's political scene here, may still try to pull strings in some covert way. One of the main concerns still of the political opposition here -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Big concerns, but still the end of an era. Brent Sadler for us this morning. Brent, thank you -- Bill.
HEMMER: We've been talking about it all morning. It turns out, being a jerk can make you rich, if you listen to one study from London. Jeanne Moos shows us how being the best means doing the worst.
Back in a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING.
HEMMER: Welcome back, everyone.
CAFFERTY: We've been talking about it all morning, a new study that says nice guys finish last, at least at work. Jeanne Moos explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pity the poor, nice guy. Not only do nice guys finish last, they finish poorer.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, "WALL STREET": Because they're sheep, and sheep get slaughtered.
MOOS: If you believe the latest study, guys like this earn more.
ALEC BALDWIN, "GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS": You can't close the leads you're given. You can't close (EXPLETIVE DELETED)! You are (EXPLETIVE DELETED)! Hit the bricks, pal, and beat it because you are going out!
MOOS: Maybe you wouldn't be going out if you'd read the Journal of Economic Psychology.
(on camera): Now there's an actual study that says niceness doesn't pay, literally, doesn't pay, if you want to climb the corporate ladder.
(voice-over): In a study of 3,000 people, economists found the friendlier you are, the less you'll earn.
"Agreeableness has a negative association with wage, which indicates that helping other people... is punished in the labor market."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
MOOS: Contrast that with "'Machiavellian intelligence,' the ability to manipulate others, which has found a positive effect on earnings."
Folks like this restaurant manager agree.
You think you could make more money if you were a bigger jerk?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It takes a bigger mentality to crush whoever is in your way to get somewhere.
MOOS: Do nice guys finish last?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they do. They do.
MOOS: They finish last?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to be a manipulator.
MOOS: Are you a nice guy or manipulator?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm both.
MOOS: The study's authors say there also a chance agreeable people don't demand higher wages. But, did we need a study to confirm a cliche?
BILLIE JOE, VOCALS/GUITARIST, GREEN DAY (SINGING): Nice guys finish last. You're running out of gas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "OFFICE SPACE": Well, it looks like you've been missing quite a bit of work lately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "OFFICE SPACE": Well, I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's just a straight-shooter with upper management written all over him.
MOOS: Not everyone we talked to believed the study.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to be less friendly to make more money or less agreeable to make more money.
MOOS: In your experience, do the jerks kind of rise to the top?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, the jerks go out the door.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the nicer you are, the universe compensates for it.
MOOS: The universe may, but maybe not your employer. The study also says agreeableness is significantly associated with lower wages for women. The theory being, they're more agreeable then men. All of this left us wondering about the Bush administration's famously abrasive nominee for U.N. ambassador John Bolton. CARL FORD, FMR. STATE DEPT. INTEL. CHIEF: He's a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy. There are a lot of them around; I'm sure you've met them.
MOOS: Yes, met them headed for the executive suite.
DOUGLAS: And if you need a friend, get a dog.
MOOS: Or better, yet treat your co-workers like one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell are you wasting my time with this, you idiot?
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CAFFERTY: That was very good. So what do you think? The question this morning, what pays better at work, being nice or being a jerk?
Michelle in Ontario, "Being a jerk will get you further than being nice. Being nice only makes people think they can walk all over you and that they don't have to take you or your career seriously. As horrible as it is, the meaner you are, the further ahead of the game you will get."
Shirley in Florida writes, "Take a look at the slobbering, greedy jerks at the very top, and no more need be said."
Robert in Washington, "That depends on who you treat nice and who you dog out. I've never been good at kissing butt, and I've never held a job more than three years because none of my employers were honest or even faithful. So I started by own business."
And Paul in Pennsylvania writes, "Jack, being as diplomatic as I can, we all know you're not a nice guy, and yet you're still employed. Thus, you're the poster child for the answer to your 'Question of the Day.'"
HEMMER: Well, you did come up with it.
HEMMER: You barnstormed to get the idea.
O'BRIEN: I agree with the woman who says the universe compensates you.
CAFFERTY: We stole the idea from Jeanne Moos, actually.
HEMMER: We did.
CAFFERTY: Thanks, Jeanne.
O'BRIEN: It was a great idea. (LAUGHTER)
CAFFERTY: Not many on this network would be big enough to admit it, but I did.
HEMMER: Nice guy. Look at that smile.
CAFFERTY: You know that early show before, I said, Carol, should they steal stuff from this program all the time? Never acknowledge it. Never acknowledge it.
HEMMER: Wow, man.
CAFFERTY: Rob us like we're a blind panhandle...
O'BRIEN: Well, stop taking it lying down, Jack. Start getting mean about it. Lodge a complaint.
CAFFERTY: I've got no more mean.
O'BRIEN: Well, you wouldn't know by looking at him, but one of the young stars of TV's "Growing up Gotti" once weighed 255 pounds. He's going to share the secrets behind his incredible weight loss ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
HEMMER: Welcome back. Almost 9:30 here in New York.
An intriguing story from Barbara Starr at the Pentagon in a moment here. An exclusive report looking for the hunt for Zarqawi. A recent incident in Iraq may bring the U.S. important new information on Osama bin Laden. So we will try and sort that out for you in a moment.
O'BRIEN: That's one of the things recovered from the scene by investigators.
Also this morning, the proposed law in Miami Beach, Florida, that would basically force sex offenders out of town. It's raising lots of question about how far cities can go in making their own rules about sex offenders. The mayor of Miami Beach defends the idea coming up.
HEMMER: That's some pretty real estate down there, too, the South Beach. But it's getting a lot of attention, too. So we'll hear from him.
In the meantime, the headlines. Back to Carol Costello for those.
COSTELLO: Good morning. Good morning to all of you.
"Now in the News," the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has gone as far as possible, and it has come up empty. The Iraq Survey Group has released an addition to its October report in which investigate say it is unlikely that Iraq shipped weapons to Syria for safekeeping. The group released its main findings last year, claiming Saddam Hussein did not possess chemical and biological weapons.
A convicted al Qaeda terrorist is expected to ask for a new trial in a Colorado courtroom this morning. Wadhi El Hage is currently serving a life sentence in a super-max security prison. He is appealing a conviction in the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, claiming prosecutors failed to disclose important evidence.
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