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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Pentagon Close to Charging U.S. Marines in Alleged Massacre?; State of the Clinton Union; State Farm Insurance Cheating Hurricane Survivors?

Aired May 31, 2006 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us.
Here's what's happening at this moment.

Some members of Congress are outraged about the Department of Homeland Security's move to shift more antiterrorism money to smaller cities and away from the 9/11 targets of New York and Washington. Altogether, $1.7 billion is being distributed.

It seems that NASA is a step closer to a July 1 launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Tonight, technicians completed a two-day safety review.

And here's our nightly look at gas prices all over the country, our "Crude Awakenings." The states with today's highest prices are in red, the lowest in green. The average price today is a penny more than yesterday, and it comes to about $2.86 a gallon. The trend shows that that's the first increase in gas prices in just about three weeks.

Now on to the investigation into what could be the worst American war crime since Vietnam. It's a story we're following very closely from here.

And, tonight, the Pentagon may be closer to charging Marines with murdering dozens of Iraqi civilians. On November 19 last year, a Marine unit was on patrol in Haditha when an insurgent bomb went off, killing one American. And then the Marines killed 24 Iraqis, including women and children.

It's an explosive story, sending shockwaves from Iraq to Washington, and, today, for the first time, we heard from President Bush on the alleged massacre.

Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre is covering the story, and he has the latest for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A military source tells CNN it was evidence, including death certificates, indicating many of the 24 civilians killed at Haditha, had been shot at close range that in March kicked off a full-scale criminal probe into the alleged massacre. Corporal James Crossan was one of 12 Marines in a four-vehicle convoy that was hit by a roadside bomb, the incident that set other Marines of his unit on a house-to-house hunt for the bombers. He told CNN Haditha was a dangerous place.

CPL. JAMES CROSSAN, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It's like any other place in Iraq, the -- you can't tell who the bad guy is. We found the majority of them, and we got rid of them, but the place is just crawling with insurgents and IEDs everywhere, still.

MCINTYRE: The IED blast killed Miguel Terrazas, a fellow Marine who fellow Marine who Crossan called his right-hand man. Corporal Crossan suffered a broken back and pelvis and was knocked unconscious. But he said his fellow Marines were not the kind to snap.

CROSSAN: I don't know what happened, but they might have got scared or they were just pissed -- really pissed off and did it. But, like, just the person -- it just depends on the person. Like, after seeing so much death and destruction, pretty soon, you just become numb and really don't think about it anymore.

MCINTYRE: CNN has learned the preliminary investigation was conducted by an Army colonel, Gregory Watt, who sources say questioned officers, including battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani and Kilo Company commander Captain Lucas McConnell, as well as Marines at the scene of the killings, the most senior of which was a staff sergeant identified by "The New York Times" as Frank Wuterich.

Sources say Watt also confirmed that payments of $2,500 were made to the families of 15 of the victims, a total of $38,000 in compensation for the deaths of noncombatants.

TOM MALINOWSKI, WASHINGTON ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: A payment to a victim's family is not an admission of guilt, but it is an admission that these people were civilians and that they were killed by U.S. forces. Otherwise, they wouldn't be getting compensation.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon is promising a full accounting once all the investigations are complete.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We, in the United States, hold our forces to a very, very high standard. And -- and it's proper that we should.

MCINTYRE: And President Bush insists, justice will be done.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If in fact the laws are broken, there will be -- there will be punishment.

MCINTYRE (on camera): Pentagon officials won't say how long it will be before the results of the investigation are made public, but congressional sources are indicating it could be some time in the next two weeks.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, Pentagon. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: The Iraqi government is also investigating, and for the first time, we're hearing from the head of a hospital where the Iraqis' bodies were taken.

And we have exclusive information that will certainly become a significant part of the ongoing investigation, information that reveals disturbing details about how the victims died.

Ryan Chilcote just filed this report for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the death certificates of the Haditha victims. It's the first time they have been shown publicly, and they make shocking reading.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Most of the reports show that the bodies arrived to Haditha Hospital with bullet wounds in the head or chest or abdomen.

CHILCOTE: Among the death certificates shown to CNN by the victims' lawyer, those for 76-year-old Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, his wife and their son. According to the coroner's report, the son's body came in totally charred.

That may be because, according to witnesses, U.S. Marines used grenades, as well as gunfire, in their assault that day. The director of the hospital in Haditha says the bodies of all 24 civilians were brought in by the U.S. military. It was 1:00 a.m., hours after the alleged massacre.

The hospital director says his night shift examined the bodies before they were released to the families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Abdullah Hamid (ph) was only 3 years old, Hamid Salem (ph), 2 years old, Aisha Salem (ph), 2 years old, Zanab Salem (ph), 5 years old.

CHILCOTE: The mayor of Haditha says the town will never forget what happened on November 19, 2005, or how it began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Three families and a number of college students were executed at the hands of U.S. soldiers after the roadside bomb exploded. The people of Haditha have declared this a day of human catastrophe and contend that war crimes have been committed by U.S. soldiers. It was a black day in Haditha's history.

CHILCOTE: He and others in Haditha say they immediately went to the U.S. military and demanded an investigation and punishment.

(on camera): But it was nearly three months before the U.S. military in Baghdad began an official investigation into what happened in Haditha back in November.

Ryan Chilcote, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Now, if you want to get an idea of the kind of danger and fear those Marines may have experienced in Haditha last November, take a look at our next report.

Correspondent Arwa Damon happened to be embedded with Marines in Haditha right before the killings. And what she witnessed was absolutely chilling.

She takes us "Beyond the Headlines" tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was not until I went back months later and looked again at the video you're watching now that it hit me. I was with the Marines in Haditha a month before the alleged killings last November, with the same battalion that's under investigation, the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines.

It was on its third tour of duty in Iraq, having lost 30 of its members on its previous deployment during the battle of Fallujah. What I remember most are the IEDs, the roadside bombs. On the way to the operation, the Humvee that I was in was hit by an IED. If it had hit another two inches back, we would have all been dead.

The city of Haditha seemed to be a mine field of IEDs, daisy- chained up and down the main road, buried on street corners. In fact, the number of times that we were told we were standing right on top of an IED minutes before it was found turned into a dark joke between the Marines and our CNN team. It was our way of coping.

The Iraqis here were wary, non unfriendly, but keeping their distance, watching behind closed doors as Marines searched their city. It was not the first time they had seen the Marines operate here.

I have been on countless operations up and down the Euphrates River Valley with other Marine battalions, going into cities and towns where closed doors sometimes were rigged with IEDs, or had an insurgent waiting with an AK-47, or a frightened family.

And it's a split-second decision to fire or not. The wrong decision could mean a dead Marine or a dead innocent civilian. How they didn't pull the trigger at the first movement they saw, sometimes, I don't know, but I did not see that happen.

I have been pinned down on rooftops with them for hours, taking incoming fire, and seen them not fire a shot back, because they had not positively identified a shooter. In this case, they thought they had a positive I.D. and fired a tank round. Wounded civilians streamed out. The Marines seemed horrified and rushed to help.

I was not in Haditha for the killings now under investigation, but, given the restraint I saw on so many operations, I found myself asking, could it really be true? Could there have been intentional killings of civilians? I don't know.

Arwa Damon, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And, as the investigation progresses, we will continue to bring you details on this story.

And we move on to our countdown of the top 10 most popular stories on CNN.com, 18 million of you logging on to our Web site today.

At number 10, the U.S. offers to join its Europeans allies in direct talks with Iran over its nuclear program, but Secretary of State Rice says the U.S. will take part only if Iran stops uranium enrichment.

Number nine -- astronauts on the International Space Station will go ahead with tomorrow's six-hour space walk, even though some of the equipment they need is missing -- numbers eight and seven on the countdown straight ahead, along with a political power couple riding the campaign trail again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): The Clintons, chapter two -- she takes center stage, but he's never far from the spotlight. Married to politics and each other -- so, how do they maintain their union?

And "Vital Signs" -- extreme lean. If you eat much less, you could last much longer. A controversial new diet claims you could live to be over 100, but is that really worth a lifetime of low-cal meals?

All that and much more straight ahead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Still to come -- for some folks out there, one of the biggest questions politically about Senator Clinton is, not is she running for president? But how is her marriage these days?

Now, here's what happening at this moment.

The incredible scandal over the theft of V.A. records is growing tonight. The Associated Press says memos show the computerized disk also contained some phone numbers and addresses, in addition to names and Social Security numbers of the nation's 26 million veterans. The information was stolen from the home of a V.A. employee.

Five months after a teenage boy was beaten and died at a Florida boot camp, Florida has dismantled its military-style camps for juveniles. Another a new system, underage offenders will no longer be subject to physical discipline. And you may remember the infamous wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl. Oh, who can forget that? Well, the FCC hasn't forgotten it. It rejected a second appeal from CBS and told the network it must pay a $550,000 fine.

Less than four hours from now, the clock officially starts on the new Atlantic hurricane season. And, today, a top storm researchers issued his prediction. And it's not something you necessarily want to hear, that there's an 80 percent chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S. this year.

And, of course, the Gulf Coast is still recovering from Katrina. Victims have filed more than $38 billion in insurance claims. Now, insurers have paid out about two-thirds of that, so that means thousands of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed altogether are still fighting to get their insurance companies to pay.

But a decision in a court case hundreds of miles away may change everything for them.

Investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, tonight. Take a look at what he learned for tonight's "Eye Opener."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MINH NGUYEN, HOMEOWNER: This is my home right here.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: This is the front door?

(voice-over): It took the Nguyens 13 years to build their dream house. It took Katrina less than an hour to destroy it.

NGUYEN: My house falling down, the wind getting more and more heavier and everybody.

GRIFFIN: This is what was left, rubble and memories. But Minh Nguyen had an insurance policy that she hoped would restore what she and her husband had spent a lifetime trying to build -- nine months later, still no insurance payment.

(on camera): You can't build this back without insurance, can you?

NGUYEN: No, sir. That's why we...

(CROSSTALK)

DAMON: Is that -- you're in a trailer?

NGUYEN: Yes, sir, me and my husband and my three children.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Her insurer is State Farm. Nguyen's attorney, Zach Scruggs, says State Farm has not paid this claim because this engineering report says the damage was done by water, not wind, and water damage is not part of the policy.

NGUYEN: This just can't be water. Water -- I mean, if you go and get -- caused by water, because the house still stand. This is by tornado and wind. The whole neighborhood is gone.

GRIFFIN: Minh Nguyen is now joining a lawsuit suing State Farm, alleging the insurance company pressured its employees and independent contracts to create reports and findings denying evidence of wind damage.

The lawsuit also alleges, State Farm hid or destroyed copies of initial engineering reports finding wind damage, in order to influence and distort the investigation.

ZACH SCRUGGS, ATTORNEY FOR MINH NGUYEN: There are about five or six standard firms that State Farm uses to do their dirty work for them, and to deny all claims under a predetermined conclusion that the damage was caused by water, which they say is excluded by the policies.

GRIFFIN: Attorney Zach Scruggs says the very first report done last November on the Nguyens' home by a company called Forensic Engineering concluded, damage to the house was predominantly caused by wind.

(on camera): That first engineering report actually described how it must have happened, how a home sitting on these blocks was actually picked up and thrown into Nguyen's home by strong winds, possibly even a tornado. In fact, the investigator's report even had two witnesses who saw it happen.

(voice-over): In a follow-up report in December, Forensic Engineering again concluded, wind caused the damage. Remember, wind damage would be covered.

But the claim still wasn't paid. Forensic Engineering says they never altered a report to favor a company and were never asked by State Farm to make changes to benefit the insurer. In January, a different engineering firm delivered a third report. This one concluded, water destroyed the house. The claim would not be paid.

State Farm says the complaint is completely unfounded, and that it has "handled more than 600,000 Katrina claims and paid policyholders more than $5.4 billion." Scruggs says he has hundreds of clients with similar stories, but now he has something else, a stunning court loss for State Farm that could be a preview for the Gulf Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's moving right at us. We got to get out of here.

GRIFFIN: It relates to damage caused in 1999, when the worst tornado in history hit Oklahoma City. A jury has now found, State Farm was -- quote -- "reckless and malicious" in using an engineering firm to undervalue tornado damage to dozens of homes, or having the engineering firm say the damage was not caused by the tornado, thereby denying the claim.

SCRUGGS: State Farm, in both cases, are using engineering firms to do their dirty work for them and to deny claims systematically.

GRIFFIN: Seven years after the tornado, the jury awarded one family almost $14 million. In a class-action lawsuit, dozens of other families stand to gain as well. State Farm said in a statement that, during the trial, the jury was not allowed to hear the full story, and it is appealing the Oklahoma verdict.

In Mississippi, where the Nguyens saved for 13 years to build this house, it's likely to take a few more years before their case is resolved.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So, Drew, how will this jury's decision in Oklahoma City affect some of Katrina's victims?

GRIFFIN: Paula, State Farm would like us to believe these are two different animals, that there's a tornado up in Oklahoma; this is a hurricane here in Mississippi. They are completely different.

But the policyholders say these are natural disasters that wiped out our homes, and we expect State Farm to make us whole. And if lawyers here in Mississippi can convince a jury that State Farm has manipulated or coerced or changed these engineering reports to try to exclude them from any coverage, the ramifications, Paula, could be huge.

There's 700 plaintiffs in this case. That could potentially balloon into the thousands.

ZAHN: And -- and given what these folks in Mississippi have had to endure, you can't imagine that any jury would be particularly sympathetic to an insurance company.

GRIFFIN: No. If you're going to pick a jury from around here, Paula, take a look at this damage. Every potential juror knows someone or they themselves have been affected by this tragedy.

And just about every other one of them has had some story to tell about an insurance company. Rightly or wrongly, insurance companies are not in very well esteem down here right now. These people want their money back. So, if this goes to a jury, it could be very, very difficult for State Farm here to try the case.

ZAHN: Well, keep us posted. A lot of people are interested in what happens down there.

Drew Griffin, thanks.

We're going to switch gears in just a moment. Consider a political can question a lot of people are whispering: What's next for one of the most famous political marriages in history? And should their marriage be any of our business anyway? And new research points to a way you could live to be over 100, but is it worth it to starve yourself? Can you imagine eating three square meals like that a day? You could weigh 85 pounds, though, if you did it. We are going to talk more about that coming up.

First, number eight in our CNN.com countdown -- as the Marines investigate the killings in Haditha, Iraq, there are some new allegations tonight of U.S. forces shooting Iraqi civilians. Police and witnesses say troops shot and killed a pregnant woman and her cousin in their car when they failed to stop at a checkpoint in Samarra.

Number seven -- just a few hours ago, police in Birmingham, Alabama, found an attorney who has been missing since early this morning. Sandra Gregory was unharmed. She was abducted this morning from a parking lot. The person you're looking at now is the suspect, who is in custody at this hour -- numbers six and five coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: There's a new story in the political world to talk about tonight. Just a few hours ago, New York's Democratic Party nominated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for a second term. New York's Republicans have had a really tough time finding anyone to run against her. In fact, the senator's acceptance speech sounded more like the kickoff for a 2008 run for the White House.

And, whether she runs or not, it brings up a really intriguing question. What is going on with one of the most unusual and intriguing power couples in politics?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

ZAHN (voice-over): Standing on her own, nominated for a second term, Senator Hillary Clinton at her most political.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: The current administration and the Republican majority are trying to turn Washington into an evidence-free zone.

(LAUGHTER)

H. CLINTON: It's an environment where it's more important to say mission accomplished than actually accomplish the missions.

(APPLAUSE)

ZAHN: Afterwards, under the glare of campaign music, her biggest fan was analyzing her performance.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do we want a really big victory in November? Yes. If we not only have a critique, but we have a clear statement of our priorities in energy, economy, health care, and security issues, all these areas, I think so. And that's why I -- I loved her speech today. I was proud of her.

ZAHN: Yes, Bill and Hillary are still a team, even though she's busy in the Senate and he's busy with global projects, like fighting AIDS and raising money for disaster victims.

So, what's the state of their marriage? A recent "New York Times" article says, the Clinton spent 51 of the last 73 weekends in each other's company, and they average about 14 days a month together. "The Times" says it figured that out by talking to some 50 people who know the Clintons.

It reports there has been a conscious attempt to raise her profile by toning down his. But, as we saw at Coretta Scott King's funeral this year, Bill Clinton can still upstage a church full of presidents.

W. CLINTON: I'm honored to be here with my president and my former presidents, and -- and when -- when -- when...

(APPLAUSE)

ZAHN: In her autobiography, Mrs. Clinton revealed they sought counseling after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Eight years later, the Clintons are still together.

H. CLINTON: I want to also thank my husband, who's here today, and...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ZAHN: Today, at an important point in Hillary Clinton's political career, that one line sparked some of the loudest, most sustained applause.

H. CLINTON: He remains an inspiration and a mentor, a friend and a partner.

ZAHN: He was the first person on stage at the end of her speech. One of the most intriguing marriages apparently remains alive and well.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And with me now is the author of that "New York Times" article about the Clintons' marriage, Patrick Healy.

Good of you to join us, Patrick.

So...

PATRICK HEALY, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: Hi.

So, if Hillary ends up running for president, is Bill Clinton seen as a liability, or does he end up helping her? HEALY: Behind the scenes, he's a big help.

He's her best political adviser. He's one of the master political advisers, I would say, in a generation, especially in Democratic politics. He reads her speeches. He looks over her jokes. He tells her whether she sounds too partisan, maybe not partisan enough.

But, in public, it's a tricky, complicated issue for Hillary Clinton. She wants to be standing on her own. She wants to be judged by the last six years of policy and accomplishments, from 9/11, to jobs, that she's delivered for New York. And she wants to bring that national.

She doesn't want to go national as the partner or proxy or political spouse of a former president. She wants to stand on her own. So, it's a tricky balance.

ZAHN: You did some very interesting analysis of the time they spend together, the time they spend apart. But when you crunch those numbers, are those really any different from members of Congress whose families stay at home in the home district and the -- the working member of Congress stays in Washington?

HEALY: Sure, it's pretty -- it's pretty similar. And that's a very fair point to make.

The thing is, is that Hillary Clinton is not just one of 100 senators. She's a distinct political figure, a rock star, if you will, in the Democratic Party. She's the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, a lot of people say.

And Bill Clinton isn't simply Teresa Heinz Kerry or Laura Bush or Tipper Gore, or even Bob Dole, when Liddy Dole ran. He would be returning as an ex-president to the White House.

So, their schedules, I think, really are distinctive. Their ambitions are incredibly distinctive. But, even more than that, Paula, what a lot of their friends said, and some of their advisers, is that there's a very conscious effort to manage how they appear in public together. You pointed out the Coretta Scott King moment, where she, to a lot of Democrats, looked diminished, where as today if he's playing the helpful, the booster, giving the great sound bite to the media afterwards, that's great, but as long as he doesn't upstage her or crowd her presence too much.

ZAHN: So if she announces she's going to run one of these days, which of course she hasn't even really hinted at, what is the biggest challenge for Bill Clinton if it is his hope that he doesn't undercut her, by simply appearing with her in public.

HEALY: Sure, I think it's going to be the role that he plays over her policy decisions, political choices. We saw that recently with the Dubai courts controversy. A big deal made on whether they disagreed on that, whether his business interests played into his decision-making, whether that leaped over to her. It's got to be the political role. What we are trying to look at with the marriage was just simply a matter -- since they left the White House, how much time do they spent together? What is the relationship like? Post-Monica, what is it like? A lot of Democrats voluntarily brought up the issue of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton's own past behavior, as a concern, sort of an X factor, that might be difficult to manage in a campaign. You know as well as I do that in politics, advisers really want to be able to control all the contingencies, and all the X factors that might be out there, and how Americans and voters see Bill Clinton is a real unpredictable, an unpredictable challenge for the Clinton folks.

ZAHN: And it's interesting that you note in the article that some of the people might look at some of his past indiscretions as something that actually might make Hillary Clinton look more sympathetic to some voters out there. It will be interesting to see how this all ends up being viewed if she decides to run. Patrick Healy, thanks for your time tonight.

HEALY: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: Appreciate it. Moving on now to some medical research, which actually suggests you could live a lot longer, like do you want to live to 100? Well, if you do, you've got to eat a whole lot less. Doesn't that look like a divine dinner there? Do you really want to starve yourself to live that long other even longer than 100?

Plus the singing group that got into lots of trouble for criticizing President Bush. So how has that affected the Dixie Chicks' new album? They happen to be guests on Larry King tonight a little bit later on.

First though, number six on our cnn.com countdown, doctors in Shanghai are trying to decide whether to operate on a baby with a rare birth defect. This two-month-old baby was born with a third arm. Doctors say the child's size may make an operation extremely difficult.

Number five in Illinois, Larry Bright, who prosecutors say is a serial killer, has pleaded guilty to the murders of eight women, in a deal that will send him to prison for life and keep him off death row. Number four is just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back. Here's what's happening at this moment. Firefighters in Britain are battling flames and toxic smoke after what witnesses describe as two huge explosions at a chemical plant in northern England. So far, no injuries reported. One witnesses say - one witness that is says he saw the fireball from miles away.

The new Coast Guard chief warns that attacks like the one in Yemen that killed 17 sailors aboard the "USS Cole" are still possible in harbors right here in the U.S. Admiral Thad Allen says security gaps could allow small boats packed with explosive to slip into ports.

Gay rights supporters begin their court challenge of a New York law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman only. They argued 46,000 same-sex couples with children are being excluded from the benefits of marriage in that state.

Now, what would you think if I told you the secret to living a really long, healthy life is to practically starve yourself. It doesn't sound too sensible, at all, doesn't sound like much fun, either but some research is actually pointing in that direction and some people are trying it. Keith Oppenheim introduces us to two of them tonight for tonight's "vital signs."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): April Smith and Michael Ray live together in Philadelphia. They're making a nice lunch. Grape tomatoes and scallops sauteed with cilanto, a side salad of Arugula and fresh berries. While they cook, April and Michael do a lot of math.

APRIL SMITH, CALORIE RESTRICTED DIETER: Do you have the count on that honey?

It's quite easy. It's 550 ccs, so it's 1.1 calorie per milliliter.

OPPENHEIM: April and Michael are members of what's called the calorie restriction society. They count every morsel they eat. Michael says every day he takes in exactly 1,913 calories. April aims for around 1,300. Michael takes at least 30 nutritional supplements daily and on the kitchen counter, they both use software to make sure they get all their nutrients, the right balance of fats, carbs and proteins.

SMITH: I go ahead and enter the specific grams of the food and I adjust it to get the right macro nutrient ratios and the right calorie levels. For example, his lunch is 594 calories.

OPPENHEIM: Michael, age 35, is an eight-year veteran of the diet, once 145 pounds, he now weighs just 115, and he's six feet tall. But both say they're not doing this to get skinny. Do you hope to live longer? Is that part of this?

SMITH: Certainly, that's the whole reason I'm doing this, to live longer younger.

OPPENHEIM: Since 1935, research has shown animals from insects to mice to dogs that eat a low-cal, high-nutrition diet live longer. Some possible reasons? Scientists believe the leaner diet produces fewer molecules called free radicals, which can cause wear and tear on DNA, proteins and lipids inside a cell. Since 1989, Doctor Richard Weindruch of the University of Wisconsin has done calorie restriction research on rhesus monkeys. And we look at monkeys because why?

PROF. RICHARD WEINDRUCH, U OF WISC DEPT OF MED: Because they're very, very similar to humans biologically.

OPPENHEIM: In a group of 78 monkeys, half have been getting a diet where they can eat as much as they choose. The other group gets a calorie restrict or CR diet, 30 percent less food with vitamins added to bolster nutrition. Dr. Weindruch says the CR monkeys are healthier.

WEINDRUCH: They have 70 percent less fat than the normally fed animals and they've been completely protected from the development of diabetes.

OPPENHEIM: Not only are the CR monkeys living longer, they look better, too. Consider the contrast between one monkey on a normal diet and another that's been on CR.

(on-camera): This is Owen. He's 26 years old. You can see that he's getting kind of gray and staff say that he is more arthritic and kind of frail. Compare Owen to Kantel over here (ph) who's just a little bit younger. He's one year younger. You can see that he's quite spry, noisy monkeys here and staff say that he looks exceptionally good for his age.

(voice-over): Bottom line, it's too soon to say that CR is extending the lives of these monkeys, but that's exactly where the research is pointing. But is what's good for monkeys also good for mankind? At Washington University in St. Louis, researchers have been conducting a study with 25 people who have been on a calorie- restricted diet for an average of six years. Dr. Luigi Fontana says, compared to 25 other people of the same age on a typical American diet, the heart tissue of the CR patients appears to be about 15 years younger.

DR. LUIGI FONTANA, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: They have no inflammation whatsoever going on in their body, and also the images of their arteries are very young. They have a very healthy and young cardiovascular system.

OPPENHEIM: Keep in mind this study has a small number of subjects, and so far CR data for humans is not conclusive. Other scientists question whether subtracting all those calories will really add that many years to human life.

JOHN PHELAN, EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGIST, UCLA: Do you want to be the guinea pig that says, OK, starting at 20 and continuing on for six decades, I'm going to restrict my caloric intake even though there's some pretty good theoretical evidence that says I'm going to get very little benefit?

OPPENHEIM: Some people on CR diets have reported downsides. They get cold. Their sex drive slows down, though April Smith and Michael Ray insist that's not a problem for them. They believe in the dream of calorie restriction, that they could live up to 120 years, unless advances in biotechnology help them to live even longer. Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Philadelphia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Good for them, but I'm not giving up my nachos. But if you're thinking about going on a calorie restricted diet, a couple of notes. First you should consult a dietitian. Weight loss without proper nutrients could lead to malnutrition and remember, as you just heard one of the scientists say, that beyond diet, heredity plays a significant role in how long we all live.

Just a few years ago, country music fans were fed up with the Dixie Chicks, because their lead singer criticized President Bush. Now that group has just released its first album since all that controversy. Who's listening? Is anyone buying?

and a little bit later on, the end of an era. What happened when Katie Couric said good-bye to the "Today" show and NBC for hours and hours, three hours in all, a very long good-bye. First, though, at number four in our cnn.com countdown, baby names, specifically the one Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt chose for their daughter, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was born this weekend. The name Shiloh means the peaceful one in Hebrew. Baby and momma reportedly both in good health. Number three when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: So guess who's back on top of the music charts, the Dixie Chicks. Yes, three years after they seemed to turn off a large part of their audience with some anti-war remarks before the invasion of Iraq, the group once again has a hit CD. Here's entertainment correspondence Sibila Vargas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those were fighting words and the Dixie Chicks came out swinging. Round one, a "Time" magazine cover story. Round two, a TV media blitz, round three, putting out their new CD at a fan friendly $10 and the winner of a public showdown between the Dixie Chicks and the country music community, according to "Billboard" magazine, it's the Chicks.

GEOFF MAYFIELD, DIRECTOR OF CHARTS, BILLBOARD MAGAZINE: As we expected Dixie Chicks album debuted at number one in the "Billboard" 200 and of course on our country album chart as well.

VARGAS: That makes the Chicks the first female group in history to notch three number one albums.

MAYFIELD: The album opens at 525,000 copies, which is smaller than the first week they had for their last studio album "Home" in 2002, but it's still the third largest sales week that we've seen this year.

VARGAS: It's a far cry from 2003 since before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when lead singer Natalie Maines told London concert goers she was quote, embarrassed to be from the same state as George Bush. Eventually Maines issued a qualified apology.

NATALIE MAINES, LEAD SINGER: My apology was for the words that I used, but not for the motivation behind the words and for my beliefs.

VARGAS: But outcry from the conservative country community was loud and clear. There were CD smashings, picketing, even death threats. Many radio stations refused to play their music.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course she was wrong for what she said.

VARGAS: Now it may seem that radio's boycott has backfired, driving consumers to purchase the music they aren't hearing on the air waves.

VINCE GILL, RECORDING ARTIST: I have a big problem with what they did to the Dixie Chicks. I don't think that their political stance should in any way have their career taken away from them. That was just wrong.

VARGAS: Indeed, somebody is buying the record, half a million somebodies.

MAYFIELD: There could be people who either are opposed to the war in Iraq or opposed to Bush, who might feel sorry for some of the negative attention that's been accorded the Dixie Chicks and they may have run out and bought their very first country album.

VARGAS: This leaves one to ponder with President Bush's approval rating at an all-time low, maybe more folks agree more with the Dixie Chicks in 2006 than in 2003. Sibila Vargas, CNN, Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: I would suspect they view those hot sales as some vindication. I don't know, Larry King live is going to find out, because they will be his guests tonight in a few minutes. How you doing tonight Larry?

LARRY KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm fine. They'll be right here. We'll be talking to them and taking calls for the Dixie Chicks. Natalie, Emily and Marti will all be aboard, first time they've ever been on this show, and it won't be dull.

ZAHN: Like last night wasn't dull, either? Great show with Elizabeth Taylor. I thought she was going to propose to you or you were going to propose to her. I wasn't sure how that was going to work out.

KING: I do not think she has Alzheimer's.

ZAHN: No, she made that abundantly clear. You've got to respect that she was willing to come on and try to put to rest those ridiculous tabloid rumors that have been swirling around her. Look forward to hearing the Dixie Chicks tonight. Have you bought the album yet? I did.

KING: I've been listening to it. It's terrific.

ZAHN: It's really good, isn't it?

KING: They can sing.

ZAHN: They certainly can and we'll enjoy listening to them perhaps sing and talk tonight. Thanks, Larry. Right now we're going to take a quick biz break. On the final day of May, the Dow gained nearly 74 points. The Nasdaq closed 14 points higher. The S&P gained 10. Sun Microsystems announced the layoff of as many as 5,000 workers over the next six months in a bid to boost revenue. That's 13 percent of Sun's workforce.

Delta pilots OK'd a $280 million concession package today and a bankruptcy judge has approved that. The concessions equal a 14 percent pay cut.

Now on to number three on our cnn.com countdown. No more "Today" for Katie Couric. So what do her fans think about that? Our Jeanne Moos has been mingling with the crowds during her farewell. All those highlights and number two on our list, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: So did you catch the long good-bye on morning TV today? It was Katie Couric's last day as co-host of the "Today" show and our Jeanne Moos crashed the party.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie hadn't even left and wanna be Courics were already circling. It was the mother of all morning TV send-offs. Katie was serenaded, then celebrated.

JOAN RIVERS: I look at Katie and I think of her now as the Angelina Jolie of news.

MOOS: Fifteen years of "Today" flew by like there was no tomorrow. From her on-air colonoscopy to her on-air gyrations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sick of listening to stories about Katie.

MOOS: It's been a long good-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a long good-bye.

MOOS: Katie herself was saved by self-deprecation.

KATIE COURIC: We'll be back more of this celebration of moi ad nauseam.

MOOS: But fans outside the studio were anything but nauseated. Lenny and Manny (ph) here have been coming practically every morning for years. How many years has he?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been 11 years.

MOOS: And how many years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four (ph).

MOOS: Do you have crushes on her? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Who doesn't.

MOOS: Maybe Harvey Fierstein, though he sang to Katie. And though this was Katie's big day, it wasn't easy sending her roses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really hard to get them to her.

MOOS: And no one will let you in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody wants to let me in.

MOOS: The note on them read, "to a woman whose brain and wit is as attractive as her smile." He was ignored. He was turned back. Today was not the day for these flowers sent by a couple who had been married on the "Today" show. Things weren't always rosy for Katie. Early in her career, she worked at CNN. The then president of CNN was unimpressed.

COURIC: I did a piece on the air and (INAUDIBLE) called the assignment editor in Washington and said I never want her on the air again, but he was right, I was terrible.

MOOS: I was pretty bad when I started, too. A photographer wiped out as I talked to Katie's parents about her farewell program.

COURIC: I'm rescuing my parents from the evil CNN.

MOOS: It was a day of tears, a day of kiss after kiss after kiss.

MOOS: Now they'll just have to TiVo the "CBS Evening news." Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And that is, of course, where she will become the anchor of the evening news there in September. Go, Katie, go.

Number two on our cnn.com countdown, the rescue of an 18 -- no that will be eight-year-old boy who was missing for four days in a Colorado forest, Evan Thomson was found late yesterday. He got lost when he wandered away from his family's campsite. He's one lucky little boy.

Number one story on cnn.com involves a former Marine who people are calling a hero. What did he do? Find out next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And the top story on cnn.com, a former Marine fights back when five armed teens try to rob him. Atlanta police say he then struck back in self defense with a pocket knife, killing one attacker. Police say he won't be charged.

That's it for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for dropping by. We'll be back at the same time, same place tomorrow night. Larry King starts right now.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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