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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

Taiwan Bans U.S. Beef; Billy Graham Speaks In New York For His Last Crusade

Aired June 25, 2005 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it is 9:00 a.m. on the East Coast, 8:00 a.m. along the mighty Mississippi. Good morning, everyone. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Tony Harris.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know what's gotten into him.

HARRIS: I know.

NGUYEN: Yes. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. It will do it to you. Thanks for starting your day with us.

Let's get straight to the headlines, shall we?

All five suspects in the Natalee Holloway disappearance will be in court today. And a fresh search team arrives from Texas to hunt for the missing teen. We have an update.

Taiwan will no longer accept U.S. beef. The ban was re-imposed today after a second case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the U.S. Taiwan's previous ban on U.S. beef had only been lifted two months ago. A former federal official will join us to talk about the safety of the U.S. food supply. That will happen in about eight minutes.

Evangelist Billy Graham is in New York City for what he promises will be his final revival. The 86-year-old Baptist preacher was assisted to the pulpit by his son Franklin for Friday's opening session. About 60,000 people -- look at them -- turned out at a park in Queens to hear Graham preach for about 30 minutes. The revival runs through tomorrow.

And now, right on CNN.com, here it goes. It is offering a whole new way to get the headlines. Just log on to our Web site and click on "Watch" to check out the most popular stories, everything from politics and sports to entertainment. And get this, it's absolutely free on CNN.com.

HARRIS: But up first this hour, uncontrollable anger and unconsolable grief in a tragic ending no parent should ever have to face. A massive two-day search for three boys missing in New Jersey ended Friday when the father of one of them found the boys dead in an abandoned car in the neighborhood.

For more, CNN's Mary Snow joins us live from Camden.

Good morning, Mary. MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. And we could be getting more answers within the next few hours. Camden police say they expect to have a news conference, but up until yesterday parents of those boys had been clutching to hope.

That hope shattered last night around 7:00 p.m., when David Agosto found the body of his son and the body of two of his friends in the trunk of a car near where the boys disappeared on Wednesday. It is not clear what led him to that trunk. It is just one of many questions.

Another question, why a police search hadn't discovered the bodies earlier. The police chief said police had previously searched the car, and he said that logs were being checked to determine which officers had been at the scene.

Now, in an extensive search over the past two days, teams had combed the area and police had also checked the sex offender registry in the area. The boys, 11-year-old Anibal Cruz, 6-year-old Daniel Agosto, and 5-year-old Jesstin Pagan, were last seen playing around the Cruz home around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday here in Camden.

Now, last night, family members were taken to police headquarters for what police described as debriefing and counseling. Police pointing out that they were not suspects.

Last night police did say that they are interviewing different individuals saying, "Many issues are to be examined" -- Tony.

HARRIS: CNN's Mary Snow. Mary, thank you.

NGUYEN: Turning now to the case of Natalee Holloway, still missing in Aruba. Today a judge will witness the law unfold from the other side of the bench. Paul Van Der Sloot, himself a judge, will stand before a judge, alongside his 17-year-old son and three others, all suspects in the case.

Also today, a Texas search team will be out looking for Holloway, using divers and dogs to find any sign of her. The Alabama teenager has been missing for nearly a month now.

HARRIS: And we begin our look at other news "Across America."

In Arizona, where the Tonto National Forest keeps blazing, some 60,000 acres are burning with the fire only 20 percent contained. Many nearby residents who fled million-dollar homes are returning to see the damage.

In St. Louis, it would seem like special effects from a movie if it weren't so real when massive explosion after another, pieces of metal shot out everywhere. And great balls of fire, there for you to see right on your screen there. It's all out today, but Friday's fire at a plant that supplies specialty gases is still being investigated.

And the nation's oldest civil rights organization will hail a new chief. The NAACP is expected to announce a new president and CEO later today. Chairman Julian Bond is expected to make the announcement this afternoon. It's been reported that Bruce Gordon, a former executive with Verizon, is the only candidate under consideration.

NGUYEN: In the fight for Iraq, a single insurgent attack kills and injures 17 Marines. Three of the four dead are women.

The suicide attack happened on Thursday as a U.S. convoy was moving through Falluja. Of the 13 injured, 11 of them are women.

And CNN has just confirmed the identity of one of the Marines killed in that convoy attack. His name is Carlos Pineda, a 23-year- old corporal from Los Angeles, California.

Now, we learned last night that Lance Corporal Holly Sheret (ph) was one of the women killed. The 21-year-old from Cranston, Rhode Island, she was a mail clerk at the Marines' camp at Blue Diamond in Ramadi. Currently, though, there are 11,090 women serving in Iraq, 36 of them have been killed since 2003, 24 from hostile fire.

For more on that deadly roadside attack we go live now to Iraq. Jennifer Eccleston joins us now with more from Baghdad on the bloodiest day for American women in Iraq -- Jennifer.

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A suicide bomber in an explosive-laden vehicle struck a convoy carrying U.S. Marines, most of them women, the military said on Friday. At least four Americans have been killed, including three women in a Thursday night attack in Falluja.

Now, a Marine and a sailor are listed as whereabouts unknown, pending identification of their remains. At least 13 Marines were wounded; 11 of them also women.

Now, these Marines were assigned to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force. They were returning to their base after manning checkpoints in Falluja when the bomber struck.

Now, a statement issued by the Marines said the female Marines play a vital role in providing security at entry control points in the city, specifically searching female Iraqis at checkpoints. These women Marines involved are part of what's called the lioness teams, those who serve with men on occasional patrols and raids, as well as at checkpoints.

Back to you.

NGUYEN: Jennifer, give us a little bit of an idea of what this lioness team does exactly.

ECCLESTON: Well, we don't really know the exact details of what they do. And as I mentioned, we know that they're part of a small group of women there, so-called lioness team. That's what they call themselves. The band of sisters is another way of how they term their group. And they take part in what's called occasional patrols. They also go on occasional raids with their mail counterparts. But they mainly man those checkpoints which are very important in a number of cities throughout this country, because when they close down these cities or when they have operation in these cities to protect them from insurgents going in and out, they have to have women who are able to search Iraqi women.

Back to you.

NGUYEN: CNN's Jennifer Eccleston in Baghdad. Thank you for that -- Tony.

HARRIS: Well, because insurgent attacks happen anytime, anywhere in Iraq, the front lines are often blurred and women are put in the line of fire.

More now from the Pentagon and CNN's Ed Henry.

Good morning, Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony.

In fact, officials here have confirmed that one of the female Marines, her name Lance Corporal Holly Sheret (ph), just 21 years old, from Rhode Island. She was featured in an article on the Marines' official Web site back in May.

She was a mail clerk, and she was talking about the joy of bringing letters from home to her colleagues who are serving in Iraq. She also said that she had dreams of coming back to the United States after her tour of duty and wanted to work for the United States Postal Service.

That dream obviously cut short. And this is now highlighting, as you mentioned, just how difficult it is to keep female soldiers out of the line of fire in Iraq.

Current Pentagon policy bars women from direct combat units like infantry and Special Forces, but given the strength of the insurgency in Iraq, it is very difficult for women to stay out of the line of fire regardless of the fact that they are not in direct combat units. That is one of many issues obviously that they are dealing with in Iraq -- Tony.

HARRIS: Ed Henry at the Pentagon. Ed, thank you.

And don't forget this morning's e-mail question. After the deaths of four women Marines and the wounding of 11 more in Iraq, we're asking you, when everywhere is the front line, should women serve in Iraq and Afghanistan at all? We'll read some of your responses at the end of the show.

NGUYEN: U.S. beef is safe, plain and simple. Well, that's the word from the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This after the country confirms a second case of mad cow disease within our shores.

Now, officials say the infected animal never ended the food change and that safeguards against the disease are working. The animal, unable to walk, was incinerated. And the Agriculture secretary wants Americans to know that Americans are not in danger. And there is no cause for concern over the beef supply.

Here to talk more about mad cow disease and the supply of U.S. beef is Linda Detwiler. She is a former official with the USDA. She is live in Philadelphia.

Thanks for being with us this morning.

LINDA DETWILER, FMR. USDA OFFICIAL: Good morning. Thank you very much.

NGUYEN: All right. So this cow that we've learned is a second in the U.S. to get mad cow disease, but it was U.S. born, what does that tell us about how this disease is spreading?

DETWILER: Well, it tells us that -- well, the cow was born prior to a feed ban that was put in place in 1997. So that tells us that, back before 1997, there was some exposure to U.S. cattle. But it does -- they have tested over 380,000 animals since June of last year. It does tell us that there is a low level or potentially very low level of disease in the United States.

NGUYEN: OK. But are only downer cows tested? I mea, is there a possibility that a cow may have mad cow disease and not really show many symptoms, and because it's not a downer cow it's not going to be tested?

DETWILER: Well, in the United States, the testing program to be very efficient is focused on the population where you'll most likely find the disease. And that would be on animals that cannot get up, what you're calling downer cows, and on those that are showing neurologic disease, something's wrong with their brain.

So there's focus there in order to find the disease. There are other animals that could be in the incubation period, meaning that they haven't shown signs yet, because the disease takes about three to five years for an animal to get sick. But that's why the USDA put other regulations in to protect the entire food supply.

So there's not testing, because there's no really food safety test, but they prohibit certain tissues, like brain and spinal cord, from all animals going to slaughter, the older animals. And that's what keeps the beef supply safe.

NGUYEN: And how sure are you that this cow, the meat from this cow, or any cows that may have contracted this, are not in the system so that people won't get it when they eat -- when they eat beef?

DETWILER: Well, one thing that was done by the USDA which I think was extremely important, in January of 2004 the USDA put a total ban on not allowing any animal such as this one that cannot get up, or has neurologic disease -- that was even in place longer -- they cannot enter the human -- they're condemned prior to even going for slaughter.

NGUYEN: All right. Linda Detwiler, former USDA official. We appreciate your time today and straightening all that out for us. Thank you.

DETWILER: Thank you very much.

NGUYEN: Just ahead, upset in Iran. A conservative hard-liner takes the help. We go global to get reaction on what it could mean for the U.S. and its allies.

HARRIS: And is Tom Cruise out of control?

NGUYEN: Some may say so.

HARRIS: You're clicking on to find the latest scoop. This and more from our dot-com desk. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: Welcome back to CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Betty Nguyen.

We're going to give you a look now at our top stories.

A specially trained team from Texas will officially begin its search for Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba today. Also today, the five suspects in custody, they will go before a judge. He will decide whether to keep them in custody.

It's confirmed, there is a second case of mad cow disease in the U.S. However, the Agriculture Department says U.S. beef is safe and that meat from the cow never entered the human food chain.

Tomorrow marks the sixth-month anniversary of the killer tsunamis that hit Asia. And doctors today say many survivors suffer from tsunami-related lung disease from swallowing so much dirty water.

HARRIS: In a come from behind upset, Iran has elected a hard- line conservative as its new president. The vote comes amid accusations of fraud, both from the west and within Iran.

NGUYEN: For more now on this major political turn around in Iran, let's hand it over to Anand Naidoo at the CNN International desk.

Good morning, Anand.

ANAND NAIDOO, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hey, thanks. And good morning.

Yes, something of a surprise in Iran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emerges the winner, defeating the two-time former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Ahmadinejad took 61 percent of the vote. He is reputedly a strong supporter of the hard-line principles of the 1979 revolution.

And some of the first international reaction, Britain slammed the election as having serious deficiencies.

New Transatlantic tensions, this time between Italy and the United States. An Italian judge has issued arrest wants against 13 U.S. citizens believed to be CIA agents. The case is believed to be related to the kidnapping of an Egyptian-born cleric in Milan. The man was abducted and sent back to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured. None of the suspects is believed to be still in Italy.

Now this in from Thailand. A crisis of a somewhat different kind. Traffic police in the southeast Asian nation have been ordered to slim down.

The Bangkok police authority wants every officer's waistline down to 40 inches. More than 4,000 police officers were recently found to be overweight. They will go on a special diet and start exercising.

Incidentally, those who show no progress will then be subjected to acupuncture. So the message is clear, either get rid of it or you'll get needles stuck in you.

NGUYEN: Well, that's no alternative! OK, Anand. You just report it. I got you. Thanks.

HARRIS: Oh, boy. OK.

We -- well, we've got something new for you to preview this morning at CNN.com. By now you all know that video is free at CNN.com. Veronica De La Cruz joins us now to talk about some of the changes to our Web page.

Good morning, lady.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. And really important, because video used to be subscription-based only, so free is very important.

HARRIS: Oh, free is for me.

DE LA CRUZ: Free at last. Free at last. And the best price ever.

HARRIS: Sure.

DE LA CRUZ: OK. Well, as you just said, that CNN.com offering free video on the site. You can actually browse and search by 14 different categories. And one of my favorites is "Most Popular," which shows you the video clips receiving the most clicks. Now, to find the most popular pieces of video, you can log on to CNN.com, look for the green watch box, click on "browse and search" then select the tab that says "Most Popular."

One of our video clips receiving a lot of clicks, Tony, as you guys have been mentioning this morning, Thursday the bloodiest day for U.S. women in Iraq. Four Marines were killed in a convoy attack, three of them were women. And of the 13 Marines wounded in that attack, 11 were women.

Now, another piece of video everyone seems to want to watch this morning, what is going on with Tom Cruise? What is going on? Is the actor losing it?

Our Anderson Cooper takes a closer look at whether or not Hollywood's top draw may be coming unglued.

Don't forget you can find that all online. It's all free, finally, at CNN.com.

HARRIS: Oh, good. Good. Good. Good.

DE LA CRUZ: And a very special day Monday. Launch a free video.

And speaking of special days, I think I've heard somewhere that it's Rob Marciano's birthday.

HARRIS: You know, that's a rumor that's out there.

(CROSSTALK)

DE LA CRUZ: I think I heard that somewhere.

HARRIS: It's a rumor that's out there, but there is the man himself to confirm it or deny it.

Which is it going to be there, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it must not be, because I don't have any gifts. There's not a gift up here.

HARRIS: Yes, exactly.

NGUYEN: We didn't know.

MARCIANO: So I'm going to have to deny that.

DE LA CRUZ: There is a cake somewhere in the building, I think.

MARCIANO: Actually Deidre (ph), our director, gave me a muffin this morning.

NGUYEN: Oh, good.

HARRIS: And I paid for it. So come on, man.

MARCIANO: No you did not.

NGUYEN: Get out of here. He did not.

MARCIANO: Thanks for the...

(CROSSTALK) HARRIS: Well, happy birthday.

NGUYEN: Happy birthday, Rob.

DE LA CRUZ: Happy birthday, Rob.

NGUYEN: We're saving the best for last. That's what it is. All right.

MARCIANO: Do I do a tease now?

NGUYEN: I think you do.

MARCIANO: OK.

HARRIS: You've got work to do.

NGUYEN: He's overwhelmed.

MARCIANO: All right. We're going to come back, and we're not going to talk about what day it is. We'll talk about what the forecast is for today.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, birthday boy.

HARRIS: Jump-start this thing. Up to New York City now.

NGUYEN: Yes.

HARRIS: Ken and Daria Dolan -- "DOLANS UNSCRIPTED" at the top of the hour.

Good morning, you two.

DARIA DOLAN, CO-HOST, "DOLANS UNSCRIPTED": Hey, good morning. We're not doing the show today.

HARRIS: What?

D. DOLAN: We've got a foursome. Let's go play some golf.

HARRIS: There you go. All of a sudden it became my birthday.

KEN DOLAN, CO-HOST, "DOLANS UNSCRIPTED": Tony Harris, you can't talk. Sarah said we only have 30 seconds.

HARRIS: Oh, OK.

K. DOLAN: All right. OK. D. DOLAN: We're going to take a look at the Supreme Court decision on eminent domain. We're going to take a look back six months ago at the tsunami and the charitable giving that ensued, and what it has accomplished. And we're going to talk nuclear energy. Is it about time to build a new facility?

K. DOLAN: And I really enjoyed talking with you guys. I love you both. Goodbye!

NGUYEN: Out of time. All right.

K. DOLAN: Love you. See you. Thanks, Sarah.

HARRIS: All right. Just very quickly, we want to get to some of our e-mail responses this morning. Here is the question for you once again.

Oh, we're just teasing. All right. We'll get back to those right after a break. We'll be back with more of CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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