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YOUR WORLD TODAY

Day Two: Operation Targeting Insurgents in Samarra; Army Briefing on Operation Swarmer; Katrina Footnote

Aired March 17, 2006 - 12:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: ... operation aimed at insurgents. What are the results?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The last child, the last reunion. A joyous follow-up to the tragedy and the turmoil of Hurricane Katrina.

VERJEE: And smiling eyes throughout the world on this day. You don't have to be Irish to get in the spirit.

It's 5:00 p.m. in Dublin, Ireland, the center of the world for one day every year.

I'm Zain Verjee.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy.

Welcome to our viewers throughout the world.

This is CNN International and this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

U.S. and Iraqi troops move through a sparsely populated rural stretch of northern Iraq Friday, searching isolated farmhouses, looking for weapons and insurgents. This the second day of the operation near the town of Samarra.

Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson embedded with the troops. He was the only TV reporter out there with them in the field. He joins us live now from Baghdad -- Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, we were able to see an operation that was already well in progress. It was into about its 26th hour by the time we got out into the field with the troops.

We saw both Iraq and U.S. troops searching a farm. They had it cordoned off. There were Iraqi armored humvees, U.S. armored humvees, Iraqi soldiers in new uniforms, U.S. troops obviously in uniform, both being transported around the area in U.S. Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.

We went to an Iraqi command post. They were a joint U.S. Iraqi command post. We talked to an Iraqi and U.S. commander there, both of them very keen to put forward how this was a joint operation led by Iraqi troops.

What they told us was that of about 150 houses in about a 16- kilometer by 16-kilometer area they intend to search, about 50 of those houses searched, 48 people detained, 17 released, six weapon caches found, they said, containing AK-47s, explosive materials, bomb- making equipment. No big confrontations, no shootouts with insurgents. No high-value targets that they could name, at least that knew about have been detained.

The operation due to go on several more days, but it did appear to us, Jim, as this was a big effort here, a big focus of this, at least as far as the media were concerned, to show us the new cooperation and the new improvements, if you will, within the Iraqi army.

CLANCY: Nic, it's no surprise to you, I know, that there's some criticism here. People are saying that this whole operation is really geared to give politicians in Washington something to point to on the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and mark some progress being made that really, as you noted, no high-profile targets, no resistance and not much chance of failure, really.

ROBERTSON: Jim, I think in this area the forces going in didn't know entirely what they were going expect. That's what they told us. That's why they went in with 1,500 troops.

It was an area where there hadn't been U.S. forces in. There certainly hadn't been Iraqi forces in the area.

It was a remote area that, according to Iraqi intelligence, there had been insurgent activity. Indeed, the Iraqi offices there told us that perhaps the insurgents who were behind blowing up that very important Shia shrine in the town of Samarra several weeks ago that precipitated a lot of increased sectarian tension did come from that area.

So there doesn't seem any doubt in anyone's mind there that this was an area that insurgents were operating in. And whenever -- and in all of the operation I've been on with troops, they never really know what they're going to confront until they actually get there, because they don't know how the insurgents might be laying in wait or preparing for them.

So I think in fairness to the overall operation, this was an operation in an area where the troops wanted to show a presence, where they believed there were insurgents, where they believed there was a possibility of some conflict. So far, they haven't had that.

I asked them, "What happens if you come out of this without catching any insurgents at all, or very, very few of them?" And they said, "Well, of course, the insurgents move through this area. We don't always know when they're here. They can disguise themselves."

But what they wanted to do, they said, was to show the Iraqi people and the insurgents that the Iraqi army is now more capable, more involved and with U.S. support, at least, able to mount bigger operations. And from what we've seen in the past, this is a bigger operation involving Iraqi troops with U.S. troops that we've seen in the past -- Jim.

CLANCY: All right. Good perspective and some good experiences shared there.

Nic Robertson reporting live from Baghdad.

VERJEE: The Pentagon says the Iraqi military, as Nic pointed out, is playing a key role in the offensive near Samarra. A senior U.S. commander in Iraq also dismissed speculation about any political agenda behind the timing of the operation.

Barbara Starr joins us now with more.

Barbara, as we heard Nic say, it's a big operation, but there's been no conflict, no casualties, little or no resistance, no high- value targets. How is the U.S. military explaining that to you?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, what they're saying here is what they were pretty much saying yesterday. In the view of the Pentagon, this is another in a series of offensive operations in Iraq looking to root out insurgents, looking for weapons, looking for IED bomb-making material. Here at the Pentagon, they were very cautious yesterday when the word first came from Baghdad that this major air assault operation was ongoing.

Now, General Peter Chiarelli, the head of the corps in Iraq, spoke to reporters here in the Pentagon from Baghdad earlier this morning. He also underscored very strongly that it was his view this was an operation in which Iraqi forces were taking the lead, that they were performing well. They had not encountered any resistance to this point, but General Chiarelli underscoring and making it very clear in his view that the timing of this operation had no political overtones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GEN. PETER CHIARELLI, U.S. ARMY: There was no attempt on anybody's part back here to tying this to anything other than the intelligence it was coming in. It was an operation that we had been working for a couple of months. And quite frankly, one of the biggest problems I have over here sometimes is all the days seem the same, is remembering what day of the week it is and also the actual date.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: A little bit of a last personal note there from General Chiarelli about how the days meld together in Iraq so much of the time. But clearly, this operation was a result of Iraqi intelligence, and training for this operation had gone on for many days before it kicked off yesterday. General Chiarelli also talking about the current sectarian violence in Iraq. He said it was his view that some of the sectarian attack his tapered off in the last few days and that he did not believe Iraq was on the verge of civil war. He said that was still a long way off, but he did offer some of his worries that Iraq might be closer to civil war than it had been in the past -- Zain.

VERJEE: Barbara Starr reporting for us from the Pentagon.

Thanks, Barbara -- Jim.

CLANCY: Well, the third anniversary of the U.S. military invasion of Iraq rolling around. It will be this weekend. A familiar question crops up once again in Washington.

Tom Foreman has more on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): From the start of the Iraq war the question has been debated: How many Americans will have to fight there and for how long? One assessment came before the first shot was fired from the then Army chief of staff.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: General Shinseki, could you give us some ideas to the magnitude of the Army's force requirement for an occupation of Iraq.

GENERAL ERIC SHINSEKI, FMR. U.S. ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required.

FOREMAN: That comment was widely criticized as overly cautious, overly pessimistic, especially after the invasion force of 165,000 coalition troops took Baghdad in a few weeks.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

FOREMAN: But a few month later the insurgency took off, fueled by long-standing ethnic differences just as General Shinseki predicted. And ever since, hopes for bringing significant numbers of American troops home have risen only to fall.

Saddam Hussein was captured, American troops stayed the same. The interim Iraqi government took over, American troops stayed. A constitution was written, full elections were held, tens of thousands of Iraqis were trained as soldiers and police officers, and each development brought calls for more American troops coming home.

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Our military's done everything that has been asked of them. The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It's trying to bring the troops home. FOREMAN: But the military, while talking vaguely of troop reductions now and then, has consistently kept around 130,000 to 150,000 fighting men and women in Iraq.

Historically, predicting how many troops are needed for any war has been tricky business. And this is war.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No one said that combat operations weren't ongoing. Those -- those operations continue.

FOREMAN: Nevertheless, nearly three years after combat started, that central question remains, how many American troops, for how long?

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: Iran says talks with the United States could help Iraq establish an independent government, but adds that its disputed nuclear program is still not up for discussion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Iran's move to talk with the United States is following its policy of helping Iraqis to form their government. Some opportunists in America that have started their propaganda should know that our position with the U.S. is transparent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERJEE: The United States has accused Iran of fueling the insurgency in Iraq by sending weapons and so-called foreign fighters over the border. The U.S. secretary of state says talks with Iran might be useful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: Those talks are limited to questions concerning the country at issue. So in this case it would be limited to questions concerning Iraq. We will see when and if those talks take place, but that discretion has been there for -- for Zal Khalilzad some time, and I'm sure that we'll talk about his exercise of it.

This isn't a negotiation of some kind. We found it useful to exchange information and to talk. And if we do it will be about Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERJEE: It will not be about Iran's nuclear program. Washington alleging that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons and is leading a campaign for U.N. Security Council action.

CLANCY: The new Palestinian cabinet almost in place, but it is not at all the unity government that Hamas said it had hoped for. The militant group says it's going to be finalizing the names and then submit them to the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. That would come on Saturday.

Abbas' Fatah Party, as well as other factions, have rejected all of the offers to join a coalition government with Hamas. Prime Minister Designate Ismail Haniyeh says that's regrettable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISMAIL HANIYEH, PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER DESIGNATE (through translator): We would have liked to and would still like to put forth for the Palestinian people a national unity government which would face the challenges that are imposed by the occupation against the Palestinian people and against the Palestinian plans and would also lead internal rebuilding in a unified and coordinated manner.

If our brothers in Fatah have decided to not participate in this government, this is a decision that goes against our will, we and Hamas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Hamas plans to present its list of cabinet members to the parliament for approval on Monday.

VERJEE: The U.N. war crimes tribunal says initial tests show no sign of foul play in the death of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. It says toxicology exams have found no trace of poison in his blood or any medicines and toxic concentrations.

Milosevic died on Saturday of a heart attack at a U.N. detention center near The Hague just months before a verdict was expected in his war crimes trial. The tribunal says it's ordering an outside investigation of that detention unit to ensure full transparency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE FAUSTO POCAR, INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA: I have noted in the media speculation with regard to the running of the U.N. detention unit. I have full confidence in the professionalism of the detention unit's commanding officer and his staff.

This has been confirmed by thorough and frequent inspections of the U.N. detention unit by highly-respected independent bodies. They have consistently reported that conditions in the detention unit are of the very highest standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERJEE: Milosevic's body is on view in Serbia ahead of a private weekend burial. The former leader had been on trial for four years on charges including war crimes and genocide when he died.

CLANCY: We're going to take a short break, but up next, the last child.

VERJEE: She went months wondering where her parents were. Her parents spent months in agony wondering. Now she's finally in loving arms.

CLANCY: We'll have that footnote to Katrina coming up.

Also...

VERJEE: It's the day when everyone is Irish, or at least pretending to be. So we have an inbox question for you. We want to know this...

CLANCY: What are you doing for St. Patrick's Day on a Friday?

E-mail us, YWT@CNN.com, and let us know what you're doing for St. Patrick's Day.

We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VERJEE: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY here on CNN International.

CLANCY: We want to introduce you now to a footnote really in the Hurricane Katrina story, Zain. That, of course, for international viewers, the terrible storm that caused so much loss of life seven months ago.

VERJEE: Part of the havoc it created was this: more than 5,000 children were separated from their families in the tumultuous rush from the Gulf Coast area.

CLANCY: It took months of painful searching for many parents to be reunited with their children, and now the very last one of those children is back.

VERJEE: Rick Sanchez has her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurricane Katrina did something that is almost unbearable for families. It separated 5,192 children from their parents. Mothers and fathers agonized, wondering, where were they? Dead? Alive? Lost? Who knows?

Among the missing was this little girl. Her name is Cortez. This is her story.

CORTEZ STEWART, REUNITED DAUGHTER: They had a lot of water. And my Mima (ph) used to picking me up.

SANCHEZ: Mima is the woman seated next to Cortez and her mom. She is Cortez's godmother. And when Hurricane Katrina arrived, she took Cortez to what she thought was the safety of a hotel. But the waters rose and rose, and she ended up having to be rescued by helicopter, like this.

FELICIA WILLIAMS, GODMOTHER OF CORTEZ STEWART: It was just, like, unbelievable for them to have me clinging her with a string around my waist, pulling me up into a helicopter.

SANCHEZ: meanwhile, Cortez's mom had her hands full with her five other children. She was being rescued by boat and taken to the nearest piece of dry land, an interstate overpass, where she and her children slept on concrete for four days.

(on camera): And there you sit for four days.

LISA STEWART, MOTHER OF CORTEZ STEWART: Right.

SANCHEZ: With -- you couldn't take a shower?

L. STEWART: No.

SANCHEZ: You couldn't eat.

L. STEWART: No.

SANCHEZ: What they gave you and some scraps, basically, right?

L. STEWART: Right. Right.

SANCHEZ: That must have been hard.

L. STEWART: You know, it was. It was terrible.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): What made it even more terrible was, she was looking through the crowd to find her missing daughter. Where was she? Could she have drowned?

L. STEWART: Right, because the water -- the height of the water, the -- the water was taller than buildings.

SANCHEZ: Actually, Cortez was across town, at Louis Armstrong Airport, where she had been taken with her Mima. They were dropped off by helicopter, put on a plane, and flown to San Antonio, where they contacted Felicia's relatives in Atlanta, which is where they ended up.

Cortez's mom, meanwhile, was picked up by a bus and driven to the Houston Astrodome, tired, hungry, sharing a small space with 100,000 people, all the while thinking she had already lost one child, and wasn't about to lose another one.

L. STEWART: I didn't trust the men -- men that was around, you know? They had predators.

SANCHEZ: Finally, Lisa got away and settled in Houston. Almost seven months had passed since that horrible night, where she was separated from her daughter, and still no trace of Cortez. She and her husband tried everything: FEMA, the Red Cross, Web sites galore -- nothing. CHARLES TENNESSEE, FATHER OF CORTEZ STEWART: I left numbers where we was at, addresses where we was at.

SANCHEZ (on camera): Was it painful?

TENNESSEE: It was very painful.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Painful and frustrating, because even the organization entrusted by the Justice Department to look for the missing children of New Orleans couldn't find her. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was able to find 5,191 of the 5,192 that were missing, in other words, all except one.

So, Cortez is number 5,192?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

SANCHEZ: The family and Mima say they tried everything, but, somehow, they hadn't been able to find each other on the lists and Web sites.

Finally, one more check of the Web sites was successful. And, so, finally, after tears, and an anxious trip to the airport...

L. STEWART: Let's start looking around. Oh, my God.

SANCHEZ: ... this happened

(SCREAMING)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... the baby!

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the baby.

(LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: A family reunited -- the last of the missing has been found.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Houston, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: Well, it's a long, long way from Tipperary. It's a long way to go.

CLANCY: Yes. Oh, Irish eyes are smiling. In Tokyo, even.

When YOUR WORLD TODAY returns, we're going to tap into Japan's latest beer craze.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta.

More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. First, though, a check on stories making headlines here in the U.S.

First, to Texas.

Authorities trying to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance and death of a child protective services administrator. The body of 53-year-old Sally Blackwell was found yesterday in a field in the south Texas county of Victoria. Authorities say she had been strangled.

Investigators are looking into reports of work-related threats against Blackwell. And the "San Antonio Express-News" reports authorities are also investigating a possible tie to gangs.

There will be a second trial for Andrea Yates, the woman accused of drowning her five children in a bathtub in 2001. Defense attorneys had argued a retrial would put Yates in double jeopardy, but a Texas appeals court rejected that claim yesterday saying the defense failed to prove misconduct in Yates' first trial. That's a requirement for double jeopardy.

That ruling clears the way for Yates' second trial to begin Monday in Houston. Yates has again pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Her first conviction was thrown out because of false testimony.

It's being called an act of amazing courage caught on tape. A surveillance camera was rolling when a gunman opened fire at a Denny's restaurant in Pismo Beach, California, this week. Police say the tape shows 73-year-old Harold Hatley, a customer, walking right into the line of fire in an effort to stop the rampage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF JOE CORTEZ, PISMO BEACH POLICE: Like many brave soldiers and peace officers, Mr. Hatley was walking toward trouble rather than away from it. It appears that Mr. Hatley intended to intervene by tackling this armed gunman, but unfortunately the gunman shot Mr. Hatley repeatedly.

The videotape clearly shows that this event allowed the injured person to quickly run out of the shooter's path and out of the building. We have absolutely no doubt that the heroic actions of Mr. Harold Hatley saved at least one life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Police say the suspect, 60-year-old Lawrence Woods, killed Hatley and another customer before turning the gun on himself. Investigators say they found letters belonging to Woods that may reveal a possible motive, but they aren't releasing details on that.

Another sign of recovery in New Orleans, but not everyone is happy about it. The Justice Department has given the green light for the city to hold its first election since Hurricane Katrina.

A few details still have to be hammered out, but voters are expected to go to the polls on April 22 to cast ballots for mayor and other city positions. Many African-American leaders are saying, oh, not so fast there. They say they don't think enough has been done to make sure that people who were displaced by Katrina will be able to vote. They're planning marches and a possible lawsuit against the elections.

Let's go ahead and check on weather. Reynolds Wolf is along for that.

Hi, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Daryn.

(WEATHER REPORT)

KAGAN: All right. Reynolds, thank you.

KAGAN: You bet you.

KAGAN: The wife of hockey great Wayne Gretzky can get on being subpoenaed very soon. The Associated Press says New Jersey's attorney general confirms Janet Jones will be called to testify when a grand jury convenes to look at charges in a gambling scandal. The betting ring was allegedly run by Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach, Rick Tocchet. Police say that Jones was one of Tocchet's top clients, but that she has not been charged.

At the top of the hour we pass the ball to CNN's "LIVE FROM."

Ahead, and speaking of passing the ball, or in this case, shooting it, Jason McElwain captured our hearts with this last-minute heroics in a high school basketball game. His story went all the way to the White House.

J-Mac spending time with President Bush this week. We'll hear from him today when "LIVE FROM" and Kyra Phillips joins you at the top of the hour.

Meanwhile, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a quick break.

I'm Daryn Kagan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VERJEE: Hello and Happy St. Patrick's Day. Welcome back. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International. I'm Zain Verjee.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy, and these are the stories that are making headlines around the world. Dozens of helicopters, hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi troops, are well into the second day of a major operation aimed at insurgents in Iraq. Troops have been combing the region northeast of Samarra, conducting door-to-door searches. So far they've confiscated weapons and arrested some 30 people.

VERJEE: Iran's foreign minister says talks with the United States could help Iraq form a sovereign government, but Manouchehr Mottaki says the country's controversial nuclear program will not be on the agenda. So far a date for the talks has not been scheduled. Washington has accused Iran of supporting insurgency in Iraq by funneling in weapons and foreign fighters.

CLANCY: Anti-war protests marking the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion being planned across the United States and even around the world this weekend.

CNN's Sean Callebs is following the route of one group of marchers who have added hurricane relief to their list of grievances with the Bush administration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dozens of demonstrators are marching from Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans. They are unapologetically out of step from the uniform many wear. It's billed as a protest to get U.S. troops out of Iraq and get more government help for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody need the doc?

CALLEBS: Jose Vasquez is a nurse and Army sergeant in the Reserves. He is also a conscientious objector trying to avoid serving in Iraq. As a New Yorker, Vasquez had concerns about marching in the Deep South.

JOSE VASQUEZ, PROTESTER: I was actually worried about the same thing, you know, worried about how people are going to react to us. But there's actually been a lot of support, and we found out what Southern hospitality means.

CALLEBS: Alfred Zapella's son was killed by a bomb blast in Baghdad two years ago. He says it's important for him to march.

ALFRED ZAPELLA, PROTESTER: Everybody wants to believe that their government is doing right by them, and that the president is an honorable person, and that he would never, ever send their kids in harm's way. But I know differently.

CALLEBS: They are often met with horns honking, an occasional thumbs up and what they call a one-finger salute. Critics like construction worker Aero Smith just give them a wide berth.

AERO SMITH, BILOXI CONTRACTOR: They've got their right to do whatever they want to do, and as long as they keep it away from me, I'm for the president and what we're doing. CALLEBS: No one here expects the administration to immediately reverse course. This group had hoped for 1,200 marchers. Clearly they fell short, but remain upbeat.

TAMMARA ROSENLEAF, PROTESTER: It doesn't matter how many show up; the matter is that any show up. You know, we're firmly convinced that a small number of people can make a big difference.

CALLEBS (on camera): Eighty miles from Mobile, Alabama, to where we are in Long Beach, Mississippi. And today the demonstrators won't burn as much shoe leather as they do rubber. They're actually driving from here the 25 miles to Waveland, Mississippi. Once they're there, their anti-war effort will pick up more attention. Well-known activist Cindy Sheehan is scheduled to join the group there.

Sean Callebs, CNN, in Long Beach, Mississippi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: This week, the Bush administration laid out a national security strategy, putting into writing its plan to encourage democratic growth around the world. The White House also says the U.S. could use preemptive action to head off hostile attacks. What does that mean for Iran?

Our Brian Todd lays out some possible scenarios.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the White House chorus against Iran growing...

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.

DICK CHENEY, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

TODD: And with the administration reinforcing its preemptive strike option, the question now: how would Iran be targeted?

Retired war planner Colonel Sam Gardner developed a war gentlemen for the "Atlantic Monthly" magazine in 2004. He presented three options. A conventional attack on Iran's revolutionary guard, using primarily air strikes. A so-called regime change option targeting the leadership.

COL. SAM GARDNER, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET): Special operations would probably come from Afghanistan, maybe come from Azerbaijan. And then the bulk of the ground force would come from Iraq in this option.

TODD: And what Gardner says is the most commonly discussed option, striking some of Iran's nuclear facilities.

GARDNER: There would probably be about a three-day air campaign with aircraft like the B-2, cruise missiles fired from ships and aircraft. And we would go after the facilities we know about.

TODD: If those hits were successful, Gardner says, Iran's nuclear capabilities would be set back a few years. Military analysts we spoke to believe a conventional attack using ground forces would be difficult because of mountainous terrain in southern and western Iran. American bases, now in neighboring Iraq, provide shorter striking distances, but any response by Iran might tax already-thin U.S. combat units.

KEN ROBINSON, MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: The Iranians can do the math. They see that we're tied down in Iraq, they see that we're tied down in Afghanistan, they see that we're tied down in North Korea.

TODD: Analysts say Iran's retaliation could be devastating, with a standing army with hundreds of thousands of troops, and an already sophisticated chemical and biological warfare program.

(on camera): And that's just the immediate military response. Analysts say Iran could then wreak havoc on the world's oil supply, minding the Persian Gulf, attacking tankers, all but cutting off the supply not only to U.S. and its allies, but also to countries like China, which could then bring about its own economic retaliation against the United States.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: The High Court in London shutting the pages of Prince Charles' diary on the handover of Hong Kong, but his legal battle to prevent private thoughts and other journals from appearing from print is far from over.

Robyn Curnow is in London with details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a partial victory for the Prince of Wales. The good news, on one hand, is that the judge learned that no more excerpts from his Hong Kong journal can be published. But, on the other hand, the judge ruled that in the matter of seven other journals, that issue must go to trial.

Now this poses a bit of a dilemma for the Prince of Wales, because even though lawyers for the "Mail" on Sunday said it's unlikely that they will call him to the stand, there still is the chance that he could be called to the witness box to give evidence and, of course, be cross-examined.

Now, if the Prince of Wales feels that this is too much of a risk, this open scrutiny in a courtroom, he can choose to drop the case. Of course, then, that leaves it open for the man on Sunday to publish those seven other journals.

Now, what is in those journals? We don't know, but the kind of information that came up in the Hong Kong journal has already embarrassed the prince. He refers to the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 as the "Great Chinese Takeaway" and he referred to the Chinese leaders as "appalling old waxworks." It's those sort of personal thoughts and musings that the future king of England doesn't want the British public to be reading in the "Mail" on Sunday each weekend over their breakfast.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: All right, coming up next, be sure to bring your pipes and your drum.

VERJEE: And your holiday good cheer, because you have an invitation for a St. Patty's Day parade. We're headed there next.

CLANCY: And later, a baby born during a deluge. We're going to introduce you to the young girl who's become the face of joy and survival for Mozambique.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VERJEE: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. This is CNN International.

CLANCY: Yes, and this is about how it looks outside on the streets of Dublin today. This was a little bit earlier. You're invited to adorn your head with a green, floppy hat and start tapping your feet. It's time to really proclaim your Irish heritage, or, Zain, you could just be Irish for the day.

VERJEE: Yes, Irish for the day, lots of good fun, lots of people sporting little buttons saying, "kiss me, I'm Irish." And no more so, than in Central Dublin, where thousands are lining O'Connell Street for their annual parade.

CLANCY: This, though, is New York City, and actually, Zain, I think the parades on this day. In Ireland they used to celebrate it, just by going to mass. St. Patrick, the patron st. of Ireland. In New York, though, it was much more a time, St. Patrick's Day, to remember your Irish heritage, and so the police, and the firefighters and just about everybody else in New York. I think it's 150,000 people out on the streets today.

VERJEE: Yes, it's a huge parade. You know, it's tacky (ph), green beer kegs, leprechauns, Lucky Charms, fake plastic hats, and flag waving, and bearing and marching, and it looks like it's a lot of fun.

CLANCY: You know, as you look through all of this, there's always a lot of pretty Irish girls sitting up on those floats going by.

VERJEE: No, actually I didn't notice that.

CLANCY: You didn't notice that?

VERJEE: It's a lot of fun, and we're actually asking you what you're doing this day, on this St. Patrick's Day, YWT@CNN.com is the question -- is the e-mail response.

CLANCY: A lot of interesting responses.

VERJEE: Yes, we do. We've had some very interesting ones. This is Savannah, Georgia.

CLANCY: Now they celebrated big here, Savannah River, it goes green, too.

VERJEE: Happy St. Patrick's Day, and the crowds there celebrating, and pretty much having a good time, wearing green and getting started on the green beer a little bit early, too.

It's actually a day that boosts the economy of Savannah in a massive way. A lot of shopkeepers and locals just wait for St. Patrick's day to make their money.

CLANCY: But like so many other places along the East coast of the United States, it was a real haven for Irish immigrants when they came over.

VERJEE: Thanks, O'Clancy.

CLANCY: Well, the tea shock (ph) of Ireland has left his emerald isle to visit with U.S. President George W. Bush.

VERJEE: Irish prime Bertie Ahern presented Mr. Bush with a bowl of shamrock. Now that's a traditional symbol of unity and friendship. Mr. Bush reminded the Irish leader of their county's deep ties, including the fascinating facts that the White House was actually designed by an Irish architect.

CLANCY: All right. We're going to be reading out some of those things on St. Patrick's Day coming up.

But turning now to a more serious topic in Africa.

VERJEE: Mozambiquans refer to it as their tsunami, the catastrophic floods of the year 2000.

CLANCY: Some 700,000 people died, and half a million were made homeless over a period of three months. It was just nonstop rain.

VERJEE: Femi Oke was on assignment in Mozambique recently, and she brings us an update now on Mozambique's most recent flood victim, Baby Rosita -- Femi.

FEMI OKE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there to you, Zain. Hello to our viewers around the world. Now six years ago this month, CNN International was doing almost nonstop coverage of Mozambique's historical floods, and after all of these years there's one story I will never forget, the pregnant mom who -- wait for it -- she gave birth in a tree. When I was in Mozambique recently, I tracked down the mom and her family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OKE (voice-over): Not an ideal location for a heavily pregnant woman, but this is where Sophia Cherindza spent four days without food or water before giving birth. She climbed up this tree, dragging two children behind her, struggling to stay alive and out of the floods.

On March 1st, 2000, baby Rosita arrived, just moments before the rescue helicopter, a story made news around the world.

One year on, mother and baby were doing just fine. Six years later, Rosita is still one of the most famous little girls in Mozambique.

SOPHIA CHERINDZA, FLOOD SURVIVOR (through translator): Rosita knows about her birth. I told her. She always receives visits, because she's famous now. She asked why, and I told her that she was born during a time of great suffering, during the floods.

OKE: Sophia and her family live in Shibutu (ph), southern Mozambique. Rosita, at six years old, is the youngest, and there's big brother Benidito (ph), bit sister Salina (ph), and cousins Nito (ph) and Fernando. Their all great kids. But dad obviously has a soft spot for the daughter who came into the world so dramatically.

SALVADOR MAVUANGO, ROSITA'S FATHER (through translator): Rosita is very special to me. She's different from the rest of the children. I'm very happy to have her as my daughter.

OKE: Now when it comes to being interviewed, Rosita plays it cool. She may be a celebrity, but she doesn't like to give too much away. But an early birthday present helps to break the ice. Once she got help getting the wrapping off, we were chatting away in Portuguese.

(SPEAKING IN PORTUGUESE)

OKE: When Sophia shows me around the home, you can't help but notice that there's a lot of Rosita memorabilia. On the bed. Bedside table. And in the living room.

But all this attention doesn't seem to phase Rosita as we play in her back garden.

(on camera): I wasn't even ready yet.

(voice-over): Visiting media, tourists and NGOs have been part of her life since the day she was born.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: Rosita was six years old on March 1st. So it seems like only yesterday we were doing those amazing floods. In the last six years, though, Mozambique has done amazing stuff as far as natural disasters are concerned. They have tropical cyclones. They have floods. They have droughts. But not one event back there in 2000 really rejuvenate how they deal with these natural disasters. So it was a real pleasure to go back to Africa, and report on some progress being made. Plus, I got to meet the most famous little girl in the whole of Mozambique. That's a wrap for me. Back to the newsdesk.

VERJEE: That's a great story. Thanks, Femi.

CLANCY: Terry Baddoo will be along in just a moment. He's going to have the latest on world sport, and it's not good news.

VERJEE: The intensity of March Madness didn't take long to surface.. Highlights from day one of college basketball's championship tournament is just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: ... has eliminated Team USA in the World Baseball Classic!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERJEE: Time now for -- time now for a look at the sports on a day when American baseball fans, no doubt, woke dazed and confused after their national team was dumped out of the World Baseball Classic. Jim, you're miserable about that.

CLANCY: I am. Terry Baddoo, go ahead.

TERRY BADDOO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: This isn't news, it's history. But I guess the producers love to rub it in. They must be foreigners. After starting the tournament among the favorites, the USA was humbled on home turf in California, where their bid to make the semi-finals was denied by Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

With Roger Clemens on the mound, the Americans needed a win or a 1-0 loss to face Japan for a place in the semis. And they were 1-0 down in the top of the fourth before they hinted at surviving the Atlanta Braves. Chipper Jones coming home on the Vernon Wells RBI to tie it up and will give the Americans some hope.

To the bottom of the fifth, still tied when Jorge Cantu chopped a grounder short. Derek Jeter, his only player, was to first, which allowed a run at the score from third to put Mexico back in front.

Top of the ninth, two outs for the USA with two men on. Vernon Wells grounded in the 6-4-3 game inning double-play that gave Mexico 2-1 win, put the USA out and the Japanese into the semis.

Another big sporting event in the USA at present is the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, or March Madness as it's known to the locals, which got underway nationwide on Thursday. To the Oakland bracket, where 6th seed Indiana trailed 11th seed San Diego State by one with 10 seconds left. Indiana on offense when Robert Vaden inflected the tip ball and buried the go ahead three-pointer to help Indiana to victory, 87-83.

Next up for Indiana is Gonzaga, the three seed, trailing 14 seed Xavier by two points late in the game, when the nation's leading scorer, Adam Morrison stepped up with a three-pointer with a one-point lead. Last chance for Xavier, but Stanley Burrell missed the three- pointer and Morrison was there for the rebound and the 4-point Gonzaga victory clearly went to his head.

Only four times in tournament history, at the 15 seed upset the two seed, and the Alley Dogs were second best again in the Washington bracket when Winthrop lost to Tennessee, 2.9 seconds left, tied at 61. Tennessee's Chris Lofton hit the off-balance shot to take the lead, and Tennessee went on to win 63-61. Breathless stuff there in the NCAA and that's the sports for now.

CLANCY: All right. We'll go back to it. The baseball game, obviously, they didn't score enough runs. Not enough offense. But what were the mistakes? What happened today?

BADDOO: Well, I mean, you know, I'm no expert on this, but they didn't lose because of apathy. The team managed for the USA backed Martinez (ph), so the notion that the USA weren't serious about it was complete nonsense. They really wanted to win. They did have a few players out, due to injury. They did have a few players who preferred to concentrate on spring training the upcoming Major League season.

But they were passionate about winning for their country, and on especially on home turf. And -- but the fact of the matter is that they didn't score enough runs, and if you don't score runs, your batters let you down, in baseball, you don't win.

So they're not in the semifinals. They take place on Saturday, and it's Dominican Republic against Cuba and Japan against South Korea. Pick any one from four for the championship.

CLANCY: It will still be fun to watch.

BADDOO: Indeed.

CLANCY: They're all good players. They really are.

VERJEE: Terry Baddoo, Happy St. Patrick's Day.

BADDOO: Thank you very much.

VERJEE: Are you Irish?

BADDOO: Yes, I look Irish, don't I?

(CROSSTALK)

VERJEE: Everybody's Irish today.

You know, the Irish are so well-known for being musical people and for their literature. I think it was William Butler Yeats who wrote," All her wars are merry and her songs are sad." But not today, Jim.

CLANCY: It's time now to check the inbox. We wanted to find out what are you doing for St. Patrick's Day?

VERJEE: And a lot of you are having a lot of fun.

Kent from Sweden, very literary, says: "I read a book from the greatest Irish writer, James Joyce, then listened to the greatest rock band U2."

CLANCY: Tony in Ireland writes this: "We are just back from the town parade in West Cork. It was a great parade, with an eclectic mix of marching bands and floats." And Zain, that's right by Blarney Castle.

VERJEE: Exactly. Kissing the stone will make you sweet talk anyone into doing...

CLANCY: The Blarney stone.

VERJEE: ... whatever you want. Mike from Texas writes: "I'm going to spend the day celebrating my Irish heritage and drinking lots of green beer."

CLANCY: And finally, Luke Boyle from Dublin writes: "It was great to see people from all over the world celebrating in Dublin." He's 15 years old. He says: "Especially the Americans. It's great to see the Irish-American connection."

Stay connected.

VERJEE: Happy St. Patrick's Day. Coming up for our viewers in the United States, LIVE FROM with Kyra Phillips is next.

CLANCY: And for the rest of you, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues right here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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