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AMERICAN MORNING

Multinational Forces Free Three Christian Aid Workers; Unfit to Deliver?; Search Intensifies for Missing Milwaukee Boys

Aired March 23, 2006 - 08:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
I'm Soledad O'Brien.

JOHN ROBERTS, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm John Roberts in this week for Miles O'Brien.

Good Thursday morning to you.

O'BRIEN: There's elation in Iraq today as three hostages are finally freed.

We'll take you live to Baghdad with the very latest on that story.

Public opinion and the war in Iraq -- we're going to talk to White House Counselor Dan Bartlett about the president's push to change minds.

ROBERTS: Twelve American tourists killed in a tour bus crash in Chile. But there are survivors.

O'BRIEN: Experts agree that early detection is the key to beating cancer.

When is the right time to be tested?

Our "30-40-50" series, focusing on cancer, is ahead this morning.

ROBERTS: And New York's finest in a desperate hunt for a wily coyote. But who would win this big city wilderness battle?

That story and more ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

Let's begin in Iraq this morning, where we're learning more about the raid that freed three Western hostages in Baghdad today. Multinational forces freed to Canadians and one Briton. The American Tom Fox, who was kidnapped with them last November, was found dead two weeks ago, you'll recall, just days after this videotape was released.

CNN's Nic Robertson live in Baghdad for us this morning -- hey, Nic, good morning.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Soledad. The latest from the British embassy here is that the three men are now smiling, relaxing and "enjoying their newfound freedom" safe in the British embassy compound, a very secure green or international zone in the center of Baghdad.

Details we have learned about this operation so far, a multinational operation. It is believed British SAS special forces led the operation. U.S. special forces also involved. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said no shots were fired.

Indeed, the clarification of this from the British embassy here, that there were no captors when the three men were found, an operation that had been in planning for several weeks, we understand, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You know, great news, obviously. And then you can't help but think of Jill Carroll, the American journalist, because we've heard no news from her captors lately.

Any update on her -- what's happening with her?

ROBERTSON: No. No news about Jill Carroll. She is in her 76th day of captivity and perhaps the best news that can be taken from this by her family is these three men were held in captivity for 118 days and there were huge stretches of time where there was no information about them. So perhaps that a small strand of hope that Jill Carroll's family can hold onto at this time -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Gosh, I certainly hope so.

Let's talk about what's happening in Iraq. Already today, a number of car bombings to report.

ROBERTSON: A rising toll from those car bombings. Thirty-three people killed so far, 61 wounded. Ten policemen among the dead and a deadly trend that we haven't seen for several days, at least, like -- very likely a little, quite a bit longer, more than several weeks now since we have had two suicide car bombings so close together. That's what's happened in Baghdad today.

Three significant bombings, two of them suicide vehicle bombs -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Nic Robertson for us this morning.

Nic, thanks for the update on all fronts.

Appreciate it.

Other stories are making news.

Let's get to Carol for that.

She's in the newsroom -- hey, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad.

Good morning to all of you.

Trying to piece together what went wrong in that horrific bus crash in Chile. The bus plunged nearly 300 feet down a mountainside and killed 12 American tourists. Several other tourists are injured. U.S. and Chilean officials are telling us that the bus may have swerved to avoid an approaching truck. We're expecting a news conference with some U.S. officials in the next hour. Of course, we'll be monitoring that for you.

In a New York courtroom today, the suspect in a graduate student's brutal killing, Darryl Littlejohn, scheduled to be formally charged with murder and kidnapping. In an interview with a local TV station, Littlejohn denies killing Imette St. Guillen. She was last seen leaving a bar in New York's Soho neighborhood four weeks ago.

It's been three years since Private First Class Jessica Lynch and five others took a wrong turn in Iraq and were captured. Eleven other U.S. troops were killed. Lynch and the other former POWs will pay tribute to their lost friends. The ceremony is set to begin later this hour in Arizona.

One hundred and forty thousand dollars not to go to work -- that's the buyout offer from General Motors to about a third of its factory workers. The company hopes more than 140,000 employees will take early retirement. G.M. is looking for ways to cut costs to avoid being crippled by a strike at Delphi, its former parts making unit.

And that's a look at the headlines this morning.

Back to you -- John.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Carol.

It's been nearly seven months now since Hurricane Katrina turned their lives upside down and tens of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast still don't have their own places to live.

So what is the holdup?

CNN's Susan Roesgen has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

SUSAN ROESGEN, GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there is one glaring example of what's gone wrong in the response to Hurricane Katrina, this may be it -- nearly 11,000 brand new mobile homes sitting empty in an Arkansas cow pasture 400 miles from the Gulf Coast. Since we first started reporting on this $300 million FEMA staging area back in December, only a few hundred mobile homes have moved out. Now, even President Bush wants to know what's going on.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How come we've got 11,000? So I've asked Chertoff to find out what are you going to do with them? The taxpayers aren't interested in 11,000 trailers just sitting there. Do something with them.

ROESGEN: But wait. There's more.

Remember these -- some of the 6,000 travel trailers intended for people in St. Bernard Parish outside New Orleans. The parish ordered them from a private company, hoping FEMA would reimburse the parish, but they're still empty. FEMA never did agree to buy them.

So what about people who have a FEMA trailer? Well, there's Ed Perkins, a New Orleans police officer, who's got a trailer with no electricity. He uses it like a closet and lives in a hotel.

Then there's Ike Wheeler, who commutes 80 miles to fix up his flooded New Orleans home. He's had a FEMA trailer in his driveway for two months, but can't get FEMA to give him the key.

IKE WHEELER, HURRICANE VICTIM: I've got a trailer. I can look through the window. I can't get through the door. It's locked.

ROESGEN: And, finally, there's Carey Ronquille. She's living in a trailer in St. Bernard Parish with five other family members. But there's no room for her mother, who's still an evacuee in South Carolina.

CAREY RONQUILLE, HURRICANE VICTIM: I want mom home. We've never been separated this way and she's been wanting to come home since November. And they just keep putting her off because she is now out of state.

ROESGEN: FEMA Spokeswoman Nicole Andrews says she will look into some of these individual problems. But she also says there are huge backlogs of inspections by local providers that stand between hurricane families and the homes FEMA is providing. And she says it is frustrating for the victims and it is frustrating for FEMA.

Carey Ronquille says FEMA just can't get it right.

RONQUILLE: One person tells you one thing and you talk to the next person and it's something totally different. And you're going in circles. You're constantly going in circles.

ROESGEN: Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ROBERTS: A trailer and no key.

O'BRIEN: That's ridiculous. And he's not the only one.

ROBERTS: There's something brand new.

O'BRIEN: He's not the only one. We've done stories on other people who eventually, after getting media attention, FEMA came by. And I think in one case...

ROBERTS: And FEMA said, oh, by the way, here's the key?

O'BRIEN: ... Russel Honore opened the door of someone's trailer for them, because they never got the key.

ROBERTS: Boy, oh boy oh boy.

O'BRIEN: Yes. It's crazy stuff.

Susan Roesgen's first report first aired on "ANDERSON COOPER 360."

Anderson is on location in New Orleans and has a look at what's on his program tonight -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, he became a folk hero in the aftermath of Katrina. A local sheriff taking the initiative in taking two truckloads of ice. Now he's in trouble with FEMA, still.

Don't these guys have better things to do?

We're keeping them honest, tonight, "360," 10:00 p.m. Eastern -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: We'll refer you back to the trailer thing.

Anyway, time to check the weather.

Reynolds Wolf is in for Chad Myers at the CNN Center -- hey, Reynolds, good morning.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good...

O'BRIEN: I heard the word beautiful a lot.

WOLF: Yes, yes. I'm going to try to change the word, maybe use something else there might be good. But it is an adequate description. It's been very, very nice, very quiet this morning.

(WEATHER REPORT)

ROBERTS: Here's an explosive example of being tough on crime. Today, the Australian Air Force dropped bombs on a confiscated drug ship. Now, that's tough on crime.

Three years ago, the confiscated North Korean drug ship became a symbol of anti-drug measures in Australia. The Pong Su led the Australian Navy in a high seas chase after dropping off more than 300 pounds of heroin on a secluded beach. Let the punishment fit the crime.

President Bush has been pushing hard this week to sell his Iraq war strategy.

But how much can his speeches really help his sagging approval ratings?

Presidential Counselor Dan Bartlett joins us, coming up next. O'BRIEN: Also, as authorities step up their search for two missing boys in Milwaukee, the boys' families are speaking out. We'll hear what they have to say.

And our health series for people in their 30s and their 40s and their 50s.

Today, we're looking at cancer tests that you should be getting as you get older. That's ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: President Bush is trying to reverse American public opinion on the war in Iraq. Now more than three years old, he has been out in public talking about Iraq every day this week.

Our latest CNN poll finds that more than half of Americans think that going into Iraq in the first place was a mistake. Dan Bartlett is the counselor to the president.

He joins us now from the White House.

And, Dan, the strategy this time around, with a series of speeches on Iraq, seems to be very similar to what it was late last year. And I'm just wondering here, is this strategy to keep on saying the same thing again and again until it finally sticks?

DAN BARTLETT, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Well, John, you've listened to some of the president's speeches this week and he's not saying the same things. He's giving new detail and new -- and greater context to the events as they unfold on the ground.

For example, on Monday he talked about what's happening in the city of Talafar, which is a community of about 200,000 residents there near the Syrian border and how our strategy is actually working.

So he's not saying exactly the same thing.

But what he is saying is that the American people -- that he appreciates the anxiety that people feel when you see the type of images coming out of that country. The very nature of the violence that we've seen is very unsettling. But despite that violence, our commanders on the ground, our diplomats on the ground are confident that the strategy is slowly but surely working.

And it's critically important for the American people to understand the complete picture in Iraq. And that's the job of a president of the United States, a commander-in-chief, to continue to talk about the progress that's being made, despite the violence.

ROBERTS: The president came out very strongly yesterday in Wheeling, West Virginia and said it's time for Iraqis to step up to the plate. They've got to form a government. They've got to start to take responsibility for their own security. Is the root of the real problem here, Dan, the fact that the Iraqis have not stood up a government yet?

BARTLETT: I -- John, I don't think that's a fair, you know, depiction of what's happening there. After three elections last year, you're seeing, for the first time, democracy unfold. We have to put this in the proper context. Iraq has not operated as a democracy in decades. Saddam Hussein ruled that country with a brutal fist for three decades.

They are now learning themselves what it takes to compromise, what it takes to develop the types of habits of democracy that we here in America take for granted.

ROBERTS: But unless and until things on the ground really start to turn around, can you hope to dig yourselves out of this hole in public opinion that you find yourselves in now?

BARTLETT: Well, I think what we see is a very tough fight before us. And unfortunately the American people are going to have to be willing to accept more sacrifice, more tough fighting. It is a difficult fight.

But as President Bush has argued in recent days, and will continue to talk about, is the enormous impact this is going to have on the security of the American people and in the region. And if we lose, if we lose our nerve and somehow decide to pull out, that could be disastrous consequences for the security of our country. It'll embolden the terrorists and only make America weaker. And that's something this commander-in-chief is not going to tolerate.

ROBERTS: You've given Democrats a real opening here. I mean I'm not going to characterize the language in any way, but Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said yesterday the president was "dangerously incompetent." He also seized on the president saying that it will be up to future presidents to decide when the last troops leave Iraq, saying: "It's become increasingly clear that President Bush is content with an open-ended commitment with no end in sight for our U.S. troops and taxpayers."

How do you respond to all of that?

BARTLETT: Well, I think if Democrats spent about half as much time trying to put forward positive proposals to help us achieve our goals for our country as they do complaining and pointing fingers and denigrating this president during a time of war, we might make more progress.

So, I think the American people want to see their leaders in Washington, D.C. come together. What we've heard more and more out of the Democratic Party is that they don't appreciate the fact of the global stakes in this war on terror. All they do, at every step of the way, is to say why we can't do things, as opposed to saying how we can work with this president to get things done.

ROBERTS: Dan Bartlett, White House counselor, joining us from Washington -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, a wounded war veteran who's apparently fit for combat, but not fit for the post office. We're going to tell him why he -- ask him, rather, why he was turned down for a mailman's job and see what he's doing about it now.

Plus, what cancer tests should you be getting as you get older? Our health series for people in their 30s, 40s and 50s is ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Now to our continuing series on health issues for all of us in our 30s or 40s or 50s.

This morning, cancer screening that can mean the difference between life and death.

Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now from the CNN Center -- hey, Elizabeth, good morning.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

Soledad, even when people know how important cancer screening is, the numbers still are striking. For example, this year, 60,000 people will die of colon cancer. And that number could be cut in half if only people got tested.

Now, let's listen to a man who's very glad that he got tested for a different kind of cancer.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COHEN (voice-over): John Laudier does all the right things. He exercises and eats right. But a routine physical when he was 31 didn't lead to a clean bill of health.

JOHN LAUDIER, 31-YEAR-OLD CANCER SURVIVOR: You know you're in trouble when the doctor grabs the chair by the bottom and scoots up and puts his arms between his legs and gives you that look. You're like no, not good. Not good. In that soft voice, he goes, "John, you have cancer."

COHEN: Laudier was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was at a very early stage and after surgery and radiation, doctors have told him he's going to be fine.

LAUDIER: Catching it that early makes a huge difference. And that's what I try to tell my bud -- I told all my good friends go. Go see a doctor.

COHEN: Many young men think cancer is something only older people get. They don't realize testicular cancer is the most common cancer for men ages 20 to 34. It's also one of the most curable forms of cancer, but only if caught early. Too many times cancer prevention campaigns are aimed at women. DR. CAROLYN RUNOWICZ, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Screening for cancer is really -- in the 30s -- is really aimed at women and, in particular, preventing cervical cancers.

COHEN: Women need to have regular pelvic exams and PAP smears starting in their 20s and do their own monthly breast exams and go to a doctor for breast exams. Starting at age 40, the American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms.

Dr. Carolyn Runowicz knows all too well how important regular screening is.

RUNOWICZ: I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 41. And, interesting, as an oncologist, I thought I walked between the raindrops. I thought I'll never get cancer because this is what I do for a living. I am very careful about my diet, my exercise and it can't possibly happen to me. And, of course, I was incredibly naive.

COHEN: Now in her 50s, this cancer survivor and current president of the American Cancer Society, says everyone her age needs to have screenings for several types of cancer.

At age 50, men need to be screened for prostate cancer and men and women need to have regular cancer screenings for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women.

RUNOWICZ: It's actually not so bad. People dread colonoscopy because they've heard all these horror stories. In fact, you're basically under sedation. You don't even really remember having it done.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COHEN: And, of course, people with a family history of cancer might need to have some of these tests earlier -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: What's been proven, in addition to screening, what's been proven to work to help you prevent getting cancer?

COHEN: Well, there are lots of prevention steps that people can do. And, you know, they sound so obvious, but we're going to go over them again, because people still aren't doing them.

First of all, don't smoke and if you do smoke, you need to quit. That is just a no-brainer. It can help prevent so many types of cancer.

Keep your weight down and exercise.

Now those three can help prevent a variety -- I couldn't even sit here and list them -- a variety of kinds of cancers.

But, in addition, wear sunscreen every day, winter or summer, and that can help prevent skin cancer.

O'BRIEN: Good advice. And you're right, many people don't do any of those things.

COHEN: That's right.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

O'BRIEN: John.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Soledad.

Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, the latest on those two boys missing in Milwaukee. They disappeared last Sunday without a trace and now their families are speaking out.

Plus, a wounded war vet who's apparently fit enough to go back to active duty in Iraq, but not enough to deliver your mail. He'll share his story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Get the latest news every morning in your e-mail. Sign up for AMERICAN MORNING Quick News at cnn.com/am.

Still to come this morning, that coyote roaming in Central Park, well, he was finally caught and tranquilized and will be brought upstate for a better home.

ROBERTS: There he is.

O'BRIEN: Yes, he was living in Manhattan.

Boy...

ROBERTS: Run, Hal, run.

O'BRIEN: Boy, Hal was able to shake the folks that were chasing him. However, we're going to talk about other coyotes who have spent a little time in Central Park and other wild animals that have made Central Park their home.

ROBERTS: The wily wild animals.

O'BRIEN: We're going to talk to an urban ranger just ahead this morning on AMERICAN MORNING.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: You're watching AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

We've been promised a beautiful day by Reynolds Wolf. He's filling in for Chad this morning.

ROBERTS: Yes, fortunately, though, the temperature is still down there a little bit.

O'BRIEN: Cold.

ROBERTS: Yes.

O'BRIEN: A cold but beautiful day.

Also this morning, we were talking about this -- I mean have you heard this story? This was a guy who was injured in Iraq and then injured himself again. And he injured his ankle after that injury. And it turns out he wants to get a job with the Postal Service.

ROBERTS: He wants to be a letter carrier.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely.

It should be fine, right?

ROBERTS: Yes, well, he's been certified to be able to return to duty in Iraq. So you would think it would be fine.

O'BRIEN: So he can serve in Iraq but, no, it turns out he cannot deliver your mail.

There he is right there.

We're going to talk with this veteran of the Iraq war straight ahead this morning.

First, though, the very latest developments now on the operation that freed three Western hostages in Baghdad.

Let's get right to Barbara Starr.

She's live at the Pentagon for us -- good morning to you, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.

A news briefing is ongoing at this hour in Baghdad. Major General Rick Lynch briefing reporters on the details of that hostage rescue, and he is revealing some fascinating details.

Basically, the rescue effort came together in something like eight hours when last night they conducted a raid and got some intelligence from someone that they captured about where these three Christian hostages were being held.

Listen to what General Lynch has just told reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJOR GEN. RICK LYNCH, U.S. ARMY: Late last night, coalition forces conducted an operation and came up with two detainees. These two detainees provided actual intelligence about the location of the Christian Peacemaker Team hostages. We got that information at 8:00 this morning and we conducted the operation. It was a coalition operation. We moved to the location in western Baghdad that was reported for the location for the Christian Peacemaker Team. We conducted an assault on the house and inside the house we found the three hostages in good condition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Soledad, really a remarkable story unfolding this morning about how quickly U.S. forces were able to move in and conduct an assault on that house, within hours of getting the tip that the three Christian Peacemaker hostages were there. They found the three men, General Lynch says, bound but in fairly good shape. They have had medical checks and General Lynch says all three men are very anxious now to be reunited with their families -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: The American in the team, we should remind everybody, did not survive. He was killed. And that was reported about two weeks ago.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us this morning.

Barbara, thanks.

(NEWSBREAK)

O'BRIEN: Here's a story of a man good enough to defend our country, but apparently not good enough to deliver the mail, that is what one Iraqi war veteran is being told at least. Here to tell us his story is National Guard Sergeant Jason Lyon. He's in Buffalo, New York.

Jason, thank you for talking with us.

SGT. JASON LYON, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: It's my pleasure.

O'BRIEN: You served in Iraq in January of '04, I believe. You were part of a horrible -- it was July of '04 -- part of a horrible attack on your humvee, where your humvee was blown up and you narrowly missed being burned severely, or you were burned severely. You narrowly missed your ear being torn off your head. The gruesome details we can go on about. After that, some six months later, you jumped out of a humvee after your recovery and twisted your ankle. And strangely enough, it's the twisted ankle that's been causing you far more problems than the gruesome explosion of your humvee.

First and foremost, let's talk about the letter carrier job. You did well in the written part of the exam, but you eventually failed the physical. What happened?

LYON: Actually what happened was I twisted my ankle six months before the incident with the roadside bomb, and what happened was I went to take my physical. The doctor originally told me that she sees no reason why I can't be hired for the position at this time and approximately two weeks later I called to see what was going on and I was told I did not pass the physical.

O'BRIEN: Were you surprised? You had to be.

LYON: I was very surprised. I told the lady that I was talking to she must have the wrong person, and she verified my name and she verified my Social Security number, and I said that's definitely me. And she said, well, you're definitely on restrictions.

O'BRIEN: And it had nothing to do with the humvee explosion. Instead it had to do with your twist the ankle, right?

LYON: Yes, it did.

O'BRIEN: What's the problem with your ankle?

LYON: According to all the VA doctors and according to physical therapists and orthopedics at the VA, I'm 100 percent, and there is nothing currently wrong with my ankle.

O'BRIEN: They claim an MRI has shown something called osteochondritis dissecans. What's that?

LYON: It's like arthritis in the ankle, and what happened was, the radiologist saw something on the MRI. It was just a low area of signal, and he speculated that it could possibly be osteochondritis dissecans, but there is nothing definite. I asked my orthopedics doctor to elaborate on it, and that's when she wrote a clinical note saying clinical findings do not support the MRI, and the patient may participate in any activity as tolerated.

O'BRIEN: You've been in physical therapy for your ankle on and off for a year and a half or so. How is it going? Do you feel like you're completely cured?

LYON: I was actually in physical therapy for three weeks in July, and that's the only time that I was in physical therapy. And yes, after physical therapy, I do feel as though I was completely cured.

O'BRIEN: So I was surprised to see that the military said you're perfectly fine to return combat if you wanted to.

LYON: Yes, definitely ready to go if my unit is called up.

O'BRIEN: So you must find this position you're in now very baffling. You are fine to serve the country and fight in a war, but you can't deliver the mail?

LYON: That's what I am being told, yes.

O'BRIEN: You must be incredibly frustrated. I know you've turned to others for help, including one of your congressmen. Tell me about that.

LYON: I did. After I turned in my second appeal, I did call my congressman to say, to let him know what was going on exactly. I gave him all the documents that I had. I gave him all the medical files that I had, and Mr. Greeley, who works with Congressman Higgins, looked it over, and pretty much said he's also baffled. According to what I'm reading from my medical documents I'm fine, and he's helped me out immensely since there.

O'BRIEN: This is what the U.S. Postal Service has said, "In this case, the medical records support the waxing and waning of pain from June 2004 to the present time." That's where I'm getting the 18-month time period from. "It's unlikely," they go on to say, "that the condition has suddenly resolved itself."

Some people would say, well from a business perspective, maybe you don't want to hire someone with a chronic ankle pain, that could have been more serious that might have been pulled up in one MRI. Would you -- do you buy that explanation?

LYON: No. I have explained to them that, like I said, the ankle injury occurred in July of '04. I had a cast on for two weeks. They took the cast off, and then I finished my tour of duty in Iraq until I was wounded on January 4th. The constant wailing and waning for the 14 months that I said, I explained to them,. for eight months after that, until March 11th, I was in Iraq, or else I was on active duty, and there is no physical therapist in Iraq. So basically, as soon as I returned home to Buffalo, I went to the VA and had it taken care of.

O'BRIEN: Any chance you think you're going to get this job?

LYON: I hope so. Everybody I talked to said that as far as veterans are concerned, it is a fabulous job, and I have been receiving many phone calls from veterans, saying that they are also in a similar situation. Apparently this is happening to a lot more people than I have thought.

O'BRIEN: Really? Wow. Well, we wish you luck in getting the job that I know you'd really like to have. Sergeant Jason Lyon, thanks for talking with us this morning. Appreciate it.

LYON: It's my pleasure, thank you.

ROBERTS: In Milwaukee, police and volunteers are conducting a massive search for two young boys who have been missing since Sunday. We get more on that storm now from CNN's Jonathan Freed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Suburban Milwaukee is being turned upside down. Police are looking for any sign of two children, close friends. Eleven-year-old Purvis Virginia Parker and 12-year Quadrevion Henning. They call him "Dre." Both missing since Sunday afternoon. They days period Sunday afternoon without a trace.

GARRY HENNING, QUADREVION'S GRANDFATHER: I slept in his bed. That's my boy. I slept in his bed. That's my boy. I just want him home. Tearing his grandmother's heart out. FREED: When children are reported missing you often hear family and friends saying they're good kids who never get into trouble. In this case, Dre Henning's grandfather says he's got the documentation to prove it.

HENNING: This is a kid that had high academics. This is a kid, homework.

QUENTIN HENNING, QUADREVION'S FATHER: He's a yes, sir, no, sir. He's got that Southern hospitality. He's real good kid.

FREED: Dre and Purvis were last seen around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, heading to a playground at a nearby school. The families called police when they weren't home after dark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hold onto this, because when I hold onto this, I know he's coming home.

FREED: Purvis Parker's mother says her son is a quiet boy who is dreaming of becoming an artist. She hopes Purvis can hear her now.

ANGELA VIRGINIA, PURVIS' MOTHER: I want to you come home to me. I need you here. My family is not complete without him. He's my only son.

FREED: Police say they have mounted a massive search for the boys.

CHIEF NANNETTE HEGERTY, MILWAUKEE POLICE: Right now, we have no substantial leads, nor do we have -- nor have we had any evidence that there has been a crime committed.

FREED (on camera): Are you satisfied with the effort that's being made on the part of police and...

G. HENNING: Between -- speaking for my family, we are more than satisfied.

FREED (voice-over): Although police are not yet conducting a criminal investigation, Dre's grandfather still has a message for anyone who may have abducted the children.

G. HENNING: Don't make them suffer. That's all, just please don't make them suffer.

FREED: The families say the more time passes without word, the harder it is for them to keep up hope.

Jonathan Freed, CNN, Milwaukee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Jonathan's report first aired on "PAULA ZAHN NOW," which you can catch weeknights at 8:00 eastern here on CNN.

(WEATHER REPORT) O'BRIEN: Let's tell you about this legal battle over an ad that the Amish drag race -- remember this story? We're going to mind your business. Carrie's got an update on this story for you just ahead.

ROBERTS: Also, children and sleep. And why America's young ones may be on the verge of a real health crisis. That's in our series, "Sleepless in America."

O'BRIEN: And it took about 20 hours to catch the coyote on the loose in Central Park. How in the world did he end up there in the first place? We're going to check in with a park ranger just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT

O'BRIEN: The creators of "South Park" kind of at it again. One of their most popular characters returned last night, but as we like to say, not without controversy over a former star and his religion. We'll tell you about that this morning.

Then we told you about how the Coyote is running loose in Central Park. How did he ever get into the city? How'd he end up in Central Park? We'll ask the head of New York City's Urban Park Rangers this morning.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Well, you've heard of a werewolf of London, but a coyote in midtown Manhattan? It is no urban myth. If you were watching us, in fact, yesterday, you saw a coyote who's been nicknamed Hal take on New York's finest through a wild chase through Central Park. So where did Hal come from? How did he make it to the big city in the first place?

Let's get right to Sara Hobel. She's the director of New York City's urban park rangers, and she's with us this morning with Central Park as her beautiful backdrop. Nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us.

SARA HOBEL, NYC URBAN PARK RANGERS: You're welcome. Good morning.

O'BRIEN: So any idea -- I mean, what's your best guess on where Hal came from?

HOBEL: Well, in all likelihood, Hal came from one of our more suburban areas, up a little bit upstate. We actually have straight access down along the Hudson River now, and if you can cross right at the Amtrak line or swim across the Spitan Divel (ph), it's now beautiful green space all the way down Riverside from the George Washington Bridge.

So he probably meandered down there at this time of year where they're out looking for a mate. And he's a young animal. He would have been sent out from his group, and sent on an adventure on his own to find a new territory.

O'BRIEN: Is a young coyote -- looks like about the size of medium-sized dog -- is that a danger to human beings?

HOBEL: Oh, absolutely not. In fact, coyotes have lived among us. They're actually post-war Baby Boomers. They came to this area around the 1940s, 1950s, and they are believed to be a cross between a wolf and the western coyote, which is about half the size. But they're very shy, they are not known attack people. They could be a danger to your cat, though, if you leave it outside at night.

O'BRIEN: And they were giving warnings to people with small pets to be a little bit concerned about that. And boy, are they fast. I mean, you see Hal outrunning all the cops who were around trying to -- and the guy with the tranquilizer gun, as well. Because he was really smooth and slick and got out of there pretty quickly. What are they going to do with him now? Hal is waking up from his sedation. Where does he go next?

HOBEL: Well, Hal is lucky enough to be moved to a location where he can thrive. The park is really not a large enough territory for him, and he would, of course, never find a mate. And they actually do mate for life, eastern coyotes. So he's moved upstate, where he will meet other coyote and live a normal coyote life.

O'BRIEN: He's not the first coyote found in New York City, right?

HOBEL: He is actually the second, and he followed almost exactly the same pattern as the one in 1999, Wily.

O'BRIEN: There have been sightings, as well, of even more coyotes and other wild animals. Tell me about some of the wildlife that lives in Central Park. I don't mean the crazy New Yorkers, I mean, like, the animals.

HOBEL: Well, I always like to remind people, we have almost 29,000 acres of Parkland in New York City. So when we speak about wildlife in city parks, we have a broad range of mammals and, of course, wonderful birds that live in all our parks.

Central Park actually probably has the fewest mammals, because it is surrounded by the urban setting, and you would have to adventure across a lot of roads to get to it. But we do have a very steady population of healthy raccoons, about 60 animals. We see the occasional possum, although they don't breed in the park. But these are animals that are common elsewhere. We have cottontails -- not, again, in Central Park because it is one of the more refined park areas.

But in Central Park, of course, you have tremendous bird life. We have wading birds, mergansers, Great Blue Heron, egrets and of course our very famous Pale Male and Lola. They are not the only red tail hawks, though, that frequent the park. We also have had Eastern Screech Owls, reintroduced to Central Park, that bred for the first time in 50 years about three years ago. So if you're coming out at dusk, you might even see one of those.

O'BRIEN: Interesting. Is all of this really an indication of the sprawl that's going on in Westchester County and areas north of New York City, that they're kind of pushing the animals our direction?

HOBEL: Well, I think that, of course, that's true. An animal like a coyote, actually, again, is really a current spreading animal. It really was not here in the 1800s. It wasn't even here in 1920s. So it's come across from Canada and the West. And yes, it would be food sources along suburban areas that allow them to spread. They actually feed primarily on small rodents, and small rodents, of course, love garbage and other things you would find in a suburban or housing area.

O'BRIEN: Sara Hobel is the director of New York City's urban park rangers. Thanks for talking with us, Sara. Sure appreciate it.

HOBEL: You're welcome.

ROBERTS: She's doing a little anthropomorphizing there, saying, you know, Hal was sent out by his group on an adventure. You know, Hal, try New York City.

O'BRIEN: You'll love it!

ROBERTS: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

O'BRIEN: Any good coyote worth his salt sees New York City.

ROBERTS: That's a great story.

O'BRIEN: Yes, that is, isn't it?

ROBERTS: Our top stories ahead.

Three Western aide workers in Iraq are freed.

A tour bus crash kills 12 Americans in Chile.

The Justice Department says it has busted up a $25 billion cocaine ring.

We'll look at why more and more children aren't getting enough sleep, and how that could be hurting their health.

And Chef returns to South Park, but not without stirring up more controversy over Scientology. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: What if there were easy access anywhere you roamed in the wireless universe? No searching for wireless hot spots?

Our own Miles O'Brien makes the connection in our series "Welcome to the Future."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great that wi-fi technology exists, but if I need to spend all day searching for a hot spot, it doesn't help me.

Wi-fi is a way to get on the Internet wirelessly, and a hot spot is a public place you can do it it. Right now, if I need to get information, I've got to scramble around to try to find the nearest hot spot. I want get access everywhere. I want access on the street corners, in a subway, in a bus, so that I can get access to whatever information I want, whenever and wherever I am.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hot spots are great, but what if you're in the cold abyss that lies between them? Might as well be digital Siberia. So how long before we can connect wirelessly wherever, whenever, seamlessly? Now, that would be hot!

(voice-over): Frank Hanzlik is director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, which sets standards for the technology, and he says wi-fi is spreading like wildfire.

FRANK HANZLIK, DIRECTOR, WI-FI ALLIANCE: One of the things that we're really going to see over the next few years is this notion, really, of seamless connectivity. So you're actually going to stay connected using a variety of different networks. You're not going to know you're on one network or another network. You're just going to stay connected with the best network at the lowest cost.

M. O'BRIEN: In other words, you could use one mobile device everywhere -- home, office, on the road -- painlessly tapping into a quilt of networks without missing an e-mail or a call.

HANZLIK: The nice thing about wi-fi is we're really just getting started. We're seeing wi-fi move into consumer electronics products, but we're also seeing wi-fi moving in the future into cars. So vehicle navigation systems, intelligent highway management systems, those kind of things, are really going to enable us to travel with a lot more intelligence and a lot more convenience, as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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