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Celebrity Fascination; Beef Recall; Connecticut Teen Case Details; Rome Protests over Bush Vatican Visit

Aired June 9, 2007 - 16:00   ET


VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Why are we so fascinated by Paris Hilton?
And is that fascination really that unhealthy for teenage girls?

Remember the sex scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley and the Capitol Hill pages?

Well, the program starts again on Monday.

What's changed?

Plus, 40,000 pounds of beef recalled.

Could you be at risk?

Hello to you.

I'm Veronica de la Cruz and you are in THE CNN NEWSROOM.

Our top story right now, the Shuttle Atlantis soaring towards the International Space Station. But the real focus right now isn't the shuttle's destination, it's a tiny tear in the shuttle's thermal blanket.

We're looking at live pictures.

Engineers are carefully examining the four inch triangular hole from photos taken by the crew after takeoff. The blanket is part of the thermal protection system, which is crucial for safe reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. But the hole is located in an area considered to be a low heat region during reentry and NASA officials say that they're not concerned at this point.

Today astronauts are using an extension of the shuttle's robotic arm to scan the spacecraft for any possible launch damage. A piece of foam that appeared to fall off the fuel tank minutes after launch apparently didn't hit the spacecraft.

Back to those live pictures again, Atlantis is scheduled to rendezvous with the International Space Station tomorrow. During the shuttle's 11 day mission, astronauts will deliver equipment to the space station and take three spacewalks.

Hundreds of miles away on Earth, a much different kind of drama. Today in Rome, Italy police clashed with thousands of demonstrators protesting President Bush's visit. The protestors threw bottles at officers, who counter-charged with tear gas. At least three people were hurt.

Mr. Bush arrived in Rome this morning and in short order met with a president, a prime minister and the pope.

Reporting now from the White House -- White House correspondent, rather -- Suzanne Malveaux reporting from Rome.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush said he was in awe, meeting Pope Benedict XVI.

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was talking to a very smart, loving man.

MALVEAUX: But even before their closed door session, the pope was ready to get down to business, grilling the president first on his meetings at the G-8 summit in Germany.

BUSH: It was successful.

MALVEAUX: Then, in front of reporters, the pope asked about meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

BUSH: I'll tell you in a minute.

MALVEAUX: "I'll tell you in a minute," Mr. Bush said, aware of the watchful eyes of the press, brushing off the question.

At a press conference later with Italy's prime minister, the president said the pope's real concern is the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

BUSH: He's worried about the Christians inside Iraq being mistreated by the Muslim majority. He's deeply concerned about that.

MALVEAUX: The pope's concerns mirror many Americans' frustrations with the war -- a war that's going to be led by a new face at the Pentagon, with the replacement of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. That announcement came while the president was overseas. The shakeup is a political casualty for President Bush, who realized his current chairman, Peter Pace, would likely not survive a renomination process before a Democratic Congress.

BUSH: And I think the fact that Secretary Gates made the recommendation not to move forward with a renomination speaks to the U.S. Congress and the climate in the U.S. Congress. And so the decision has been made and I'm going to miss him.

MALVEAUX (on camera): President Bush's next stop is Albania. It's one of Europe's poorest and most pro-American countries. President Bush will hold up its government as a model for democracy.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Rome. (END VIDEO TAPE)

DE LA CRUZ: New details in the case of a Kansas teenager and her alleged killer. Police now say 18-year-old Kelsey Smith died from strangulation, but they won't say what the killer used. Her body was found Wednesday some 20 miles from the parking lot where she disappeared four days earlier. Twenty-six-year-old Edwin Hall is charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping.

The "Kansas City Star" newspaper reports that this isn't Hall's first brush with the law.


BENITA WILLIAMS, STAFF WRITER, "KANSAS CITY STAR": His adult record, when you check, has no violent criminal history. It is sort of peppered with a few financial problems, but nothing of a huge, major nature.

However, when you delve a little deeper into his background, you find that he was possibly a troubled teenager. He had been convicted of threatening his adopted sister with a knife when he was 15 years old. There have been statements by that sister that eventually the family felt that they were in danger and that that they had to put him back in state custody. He spent about three years in a juvenile facility.


DE LA CRUZ: Hall is being held on $5 million bond.

Benevolent neighbors or child sex predators -- that's the range of descriptions given to three suspects charged with harboring a runaway Connecticut girl for nearly a year. An attorney for one the accused says they were protecting her from abusive parents. The family attorney calls that charge "hogwash."

Earlier, I spoke with

Steven Goode from the "Hartford Courant" newspaper on the latest developments.


DE LA CRUZ: I wanted to ask you, kind of a confusing case. This girl missing for about a year. She's found in a hidden room underneath a set of stairs.

Was she abducted or did she run way from home?

STEVEN GOODE, "HARTFORD COURANT" STAFF WRITER: She ran away. She had been a runway several -- several times and this last time that she ran away, she apparently went to stay with Mr. Gault.

DE LA CRUZ: And what do we know about this relationship between the girl and Adam Gault?

GOODE: Gault had had a business relationship with her mother and stepfather. They were in the dog care business and he's a dog trainer. That relationship ended, but apparently at some point she had done some work for Gault and his dog training business, and that's when their relationship began to take a different turn.

DE LA CRUZ: And now there is new evidence in this case.

Tell us more on that.

GOODE: Authorities, when they searched the house, they were looking for two things. They were looking for -- they were going for DNA evidence from Mr. Gault, and, also, they were looking for videotaping equipment, cameras, videotapes. They seized those. And a source has told us that they've determined that there is pornographic images on these tapes of not just one girl, but several. And they're not sure if Danielle is on these tapes at this point, because the quality is very poor. But he apparently was putting them on the Internet.

DE LA CRUZ: What do we know about this girl?

I mean we know that she was -- she was found living in this hidden room underneath a set of stairs.

Had anybody ever seen her before?

Had the neighbors ever seen her?

GOODE: No. The attorney for the two women who are charged has -- has said that the girl was going -- Danielle was going to school. But there's no evidence of that. And the neighbors around where she was found have said that they never saw her during the year she was there. Apparently the windows were covered. Nobody knew she was living in the house. They were just shocked when they found this out.

DE LA CRUZ: And in the meantime, it's not just Adam Gault who is being held. There are also two other women who were living in that house.

What do we know about them?

GOODE: Ann Murphy is his -- what authorities call -- they describe as common law wife. And the other woman, Miss. Cray, is apparently a girlfriend of Gault's.

DE LA CRUZ: And in another twist, do we know if this girl, who has been missing for a year -- her parents thought she was dead -- has she been reunited with her parents?

GOODE: Not yet. She's -- she's in a facility getting some psychological treatment, care. And, you know, they're making sure she's going to be OK. They're -- the parents are visiting her regularly, but she's not home yet.

DE LA CRUZ: All right, Steven Goode is a staff writer for the "Hartford Courant."

Steven, we appreciate your time.

Thanks for giving us some insight today.

GOODE: My pleasure, Veronica.


DE LA CRUZ: A beef recall to tell you about now in 12 states. Forty thousand pounds of ground beef pulled off shelves at Wal-Mart stores. Tyson meat company recalled the beef, saying it may be contaminated with E. Coli. The states affected are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. No illnesses have been reported.

Paris Hilton is undergoing physical and psychiatric evaluations at the L.A. County Jail. The world watched as the sobbing heiress was taken back into custody yesterday to serve out her sentence. To call her hearing a media circus is putting it lightly.

As Ted Rowlands explains, the fascination over the Hilton case has been off the charts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she handcuffed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she was cuffed.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paris Hilton's journey back to jail started in handcuffs and a ride with sheriff's deputies from her house to a waiting judge who wanted to see her back in court.


Then keep backing up!

ROWLANDS: Photographers and reporters literally trampled each other trying to get a glimpse of Hilton as she left. From the air, news helicopters showed the chaos outside the house, broadcasting every second of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeez, look at these people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm on vacation and I thought I would see a little bit of this. I almost got stamped over everyone, besides the cars.

ROWLANDS: The media broadcast Hilton's ride through Los Angeles to the courthouse. Her parents followed behind in a black SUV, occasionally pulling alongside. The scene was reminiscent of other, only in California celebrity moments, including Michael Jackson's race to court in his pajamas and O.J.'s slow speed Bronco chase. HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: It's this fascination that goes way beyond the case itself. It's just kind of an event to watch. It's interesting...

ROWLANDS: The fascination over Hilton's case grew after she was released from jail and allowed to serve her sentence at home. Many people were outraged over what they thought was preferential treatment by the sheriff. In court, the judge seemed to agree, ordering Hilton, as she sobbed, to serve the rest of her sentence behind bars.

ALLAN PARACHINI, L.A. SUPERIOR COURT SPOKESMAN: The judge heard arguments. He heard out the county counsel's office representing the sheriff. He heard the defense. He heard the city attorney. He ruled that he was remanding Miss Hilton to the sheriff's custody to serve the remainder of her sentence.

ROWLANDS: The sheriff blasted the judge's decision to send Paris Hilton to jail in the first place, saying others in her situation would never have been treated as harshly by the court. Sheriff Baca also scoffed at claims that he was somehow giving her special treatment.

SHERIFF LEE BACA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF: The only thing that I can detect of special treatment is the amount of her sentence, because under our 10 percent early release program, she would not have served any time in our jail or would have been directly put on home electric monitoring system. So the special treatment, in a sense, is because it appears to be her celebrity status. She got more time in jail.

ROWLANDS: Baca also defended his initial decision to let Hilton serve her sentence at home, saying county doctors told him her mental condition was deteriorating and he says now she'll be in a special medical unit, indicating she may be a danger to herself.

BACA: I'm just going to keep her in a better facility for her condition, meaning one that has a more intense form of medical support. And we'll watch her behavior so that there isn't anything that is harmfully done to herself by herself, which is a great concern to me.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


DE LA CRUZ: All right, so the media ate it up. Paris Hilton headed to jail.

But what about all those little girls who look up to the heiress?

We're going to be speaking with a child psychologist who has some answers. That's next in THE NEWSROOM.

And, 20 minutes from now, new developments in the search for a pair of U.S. Soldiers missing in Iraq.

Good news or bad?

We're going to tell you. That's coming up.


DE LA CRUZ: With all the hoopla surrounding Paris Hilton's return to jail, we wanted to examine this obsession with celebrities, especially this celebrity and the impact Hilton's jail term may have on young girls.

Dr. Susan Bartell is a psychologist and author specializing in teen girls and the younger set, the so-called 'tweens, and joins us now live.

Hello to you, Dr. Bartell.


Great to be here.

DE LA CRUZ: So -- it's nice to see you.

Listen, I wanted to ask you, what -- what's the big draw here?

I mean especially with somebody like Paris Hilton, who is now in jail, or maybe Lindsay Lohan, who has been struggling with alcohol abuse -- why are these young girls looking up to these women?

BARTELL: You know, I think that they are being marketed incredibly well. And so every single day we see them on TV. We see them in magazines. They're on the news constantly. And they're, you know, they're in all the latest fashions and they're skinny. And, you know, kids -- girls in particular -- teens and 'tweens and even older girls -- are incredibly drawn to them because of that.

DE LA CRUZ: I'm sure a lot of parents aren't happy about this. They want a more positive role model in their child's life.

What can a parent do and how do you escape it?

Like you said, these women are on TV. They're in magazines.

What do you do?

BARTELL: Well, some parents actually encourage their kids -- you'd be surprised -- to look up to these kids.

But for those parents who don't like it, parents need to really provide other role models -- themselves, kids' friends. You know, really the people who are in your child's life are a much, much more powerful role model. So don't feel that these celebrities are the most important role model in your child's life. You need to make sure that you're providing, you know, really more important people. And it's really very easy to do that.

DE LA CRUZ: And especially with somebody like Paris Hilton. We're looking at pictures of Paris being taken back to the courtroom, being put in that police car. Now she's in jail.


DE LA CRUZ: I mean what kind of message does this send to those young girls?

Do you think that this could be an end to her -- to her popularity with them?

BARTELL: I don't know if it will be an end, but I am so happy to see that the judge did put her back in jail, because it was really -- it was terrible to see that she got out. That was a message that says, you know, that when you're a celebrity, you get to get away with things. But now that she's back in jail, it does send a message to girls, and even to boys, as well, that being a celebrity and having money doesn't mean that you can get away with things.

And maybe she will use this time in jail to reflect on her behavior. And maybe kids will see that, you know what?

When you do bad things, you don't get away with it. And that's a message parents need to really tell their kids and use this as an opportunity for a -- for a teaching moment.

So it's great that they put her back in jail.

DE LA CRUZ: Is it unhealthy, though?

I mean, I remember growing up -- I hate to say it, but I had the posters of Ricky Schroeder and stuff on the wall.

BARTELL: Yes. Yes.

DE LA CRUZ: So, you know, is this just a normal part of growing up?

Is it unhealthy?

BARTELL: It's not unhealthy. I think that all kids and all teens, just like you and me, had times that we idolized celebrities. And I don't think it's unhealthy. I think that it only becomes unhealthy if it completely takes over a teenager's life. And parents have to just really keep on top of that and make sure that it's not everything that their teen does. As long as their teen or their child has friends and has other interests and is involved in sports and school activities, there's nothing wrong with, you know, idolizing a celebrity. And making sure that it's well balanced is what parents need to make sure that they are doing.

DE LA CRUZ: Dr. Susan Bartell, we do appreciate your time today.

Thanks so much.

BARTELL: Thank you, Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: All right, coming up, unlikely allies in Iraq. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nationalist Iraqi insurgents, once fiercely anti-American, are now siding with U.S. Forces to battle Al Qaeda.


DE LA CRUZ: The enemy of my enemy is my friend -- the old saying is proving true in parts of Iraq. We have that story for you. It's coming up in 15 minutes.

Plus, have you got your trip all planned?

Where's your passport?

That dilemma has played out for a great many travelers. Now the government is stepping in with a solution. We'll explain.

But next, the Congressional page program most recently made headlines with the Mark Foley scandal. But the program remains as popular as ever. We'll take a look next, in THE NEWSROOM.


DE LA CRUZ: Well, the saying goes there's no such thing as bad publicity. There must be something to that, because the Congressional page program is more popular than ever, despite last year's scandal involving Florida Congressman Mark Foley.

CNN's Lisa Goddard reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not about politics. This has nothing do with politics.

LISA GODDARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Congress erupts in passionate, pivotal debate, a silent platoon of teenagers keeps the place running. The Congressional pages are among the most protected groups in Washington, especially now, eight months after news broke that former Congressman Mark Foley sent inappropriate e-mails to male pages. But it seems that attention has only boosted the program.

REP. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R), WEST VIRGINIA: Across the board, there are more applications for the page program, more interest in the page program.

GODDARD: West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito is one of four members of Congress on the House Page Board and she believes the program has benefited from the spotlight.

MOORE CAPITO: Well, you know, I guess people say for every bad thing something good happens. And, you know, the scandal that was attached to this last year, I think, brought more light to the program. GODDARD: One of the first classes of pages since Mark Foley resigned is finishing up this weekend, moving out of the dorm. One mother told CNN she felt especially secure sending her son now because she knew there would be more caution than ever.

(on camera): Those controls are tight. That same mom agreed to speak with us on camera about what she says is a wonderful program. But late Friday night, the House clerk's office asked her family not to talk with us. This comes after two months of repeated requests from CNN and some Congressional staffers on our behalf to speak with pages and their families. The House clerk's office denied those requests.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The House will be in order.

GODDARD (voice-over): That leaves former pages to describe the program, in which high school juniors suit up by 7:00 a.m. For class and then do things like deliver mail and help with vote counts.

Former page Ed Dumoulin calls the program the most important experience had he in high school.

ED DUMOULIN, FORMER PAGE: There's really no better way to teach kids about their government than to have them basically involved in it.

GODDARD: And it seems despite past scandal, more kids want to be involved.

Lisa Goddard, CNN, Capitol Hill.


DE LA CRUZ: The U.S. Military talking about a breakthrough in the search for those two missing soldiers in Iraq. A new clue as to who may have kidnapped them. The massive hunt isn't letting up. We have that story straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.

And passport problems -- summer vacation plans on the line.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't even reschedule because you don't know when we're going to get our passports.



DE LA CRUZ: But there is help on the way. We have that story coming up in THE NEWSROOM.

Stay with us.

COMMERCIAL DE LA CRUZ: Nearly one month later and they are still missing in Iraq. Thousands of troops are focused on finding two missing American soldiers.

CNN's Brian Todd reports the exhaustive search finally might be paying off.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time in nearly a month, U.S. Officials talk of a breakthrough in the search for two missing American soldiers in Iraq. They say massive deployments of U.S. And Iraqi forces have worked around the clock to gather intelligence and...

BRIG. GEN. KEVIN BERGNER, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE IRAQ: That intelligence and that information has led us to be able to identify 17 named individuals who either planned or executed the attack on our soldiers. And we have subsequently been able to detain three of those individuals that we -- that were involved.

TODD: General Kevin Bergner says the multinational force is conducting what he calls "the appropriate questioning" to get information from those captured.

U.S. Military officials provided CNN with pictures of militants in black masks. But it's not clear if they are the ones taken into U.S. Custody.

The images are apparently from a video released by the Islamic State of Iraq, which claimed responsibility for the attack and showed what appeared to be the military I.D.s of the missing soldiers, Specialist Alex Jimenez and Private Brian Fouty.

Four U.S. Soldiers and an Iraqi were killed in the May 12th ambush at an observation post south of Baghdad, when Jimenez and Fouty went missing. The body of another soldier, Private First Class Joseph Anzak, Jr. Was found 11 days later.

General Bergner was cautious when asked what the U.S. Has learned about the abduction and those responsible.

BERGNER: The operational aspects of how they conducted the attack and specifically who was involved, and the possibility that that information could lead us to locate our missing soldiers is what we're all focused on.

TODD: General Bergner says sharing any more than that might compromise the safety of the missing soldiers.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


DE LA CRUZ: Insurgents have targeted Iraqi police officers patrolling the streets of Baghdad. A car bomb killed two people, including one officer. The blast also wounded a dozen people, including six officers.

In that same neighborhood, gunmen opened fire on another police patrol. One officer was killed and one wounded. Three other police officers were killed in another attack in Baghdad.

Now according to an ancient proverb, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. U.S. Military strategists in Iraq are taking the message to heart. They're trying to capitalize on an apparent rift among insurgency groups and a backlash against Al Qaeda.

CNN's Karl Penhaul reports.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was enemy territory. But now, American soldiers chat casually with former foes. It is a marriage of convenience. Nationalist Iraqi insurgents once fiercely anti-American are now siding with U.S. forces to battle al Qaeda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (through translator): They ruled Borutz (ph) with tyranny, they really harmed our town, so we had to stop them and they left. No return.

PENHAUL (on camera): These three gunmen are all members of what is now called the neighborhood watch. All three say that they're active members of the 1920s Brigade, a nationalist insurgent faction that until three months ago was fighting against the Americans.

(voice-over): This is Diyala province 40 miles north of Baghdad. These men say they drove al Qaeda out of their hometown Borutz after week-long battle in April. The leader of this neighborhood points out the wreckage of war. He leads me to a small weapons store and explains that his men cut a deal with the Americans that they would not patrol with their Kalashnikov rifles in daylight hours.

But in case of an al Qaeda attack, they say they still retain heavier weapons, like these machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, the very weapons they used in this firefight against U.S. forces back in October 2004.

Regional commander, General Benjamin Mixon confirm U.S. forces are cultivating an alliance with former anti-American factions and Iraqi civilian groups in the fight against al Qaeda.

(on camera): Will the assistance or the coordination with these former insurgent groups extend to arming them or helping out in logistics in any sense?

GEN. BENJAMIN MIXON, U.S. REGIONAL CMDR. IN IRAQ: They certainly will. We've seen this in counterinsurgency operations before, using local nationals, if you will, arming them, forming them into scouts, if you will. And that's the primary role we want to use them in. They know the territory and they know the enemy.

PENHAUL (voice-over): Captain Ben Richards is the U.S. officer putting General Mixon's policy into practice in Borutz. This man, known as Abu Ali, is his key ally. He says he was never an insurgent, but was an officer in Saddam Hussein's feared military intelligence unit.

Now, he's coordinating the backlash by nationalist insurgents and other local citizens against al Qaeda. That means staying in constant communication with American forces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much was it for the radios?

PENHAUL: Right down to providing Captain Richards with walkie- talkies.

CAPT. BEN RICHARDS, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ: If we go in with the mindset that every one of these persons has tried to kill an American, I think you are just setting yourself up. And first I don't think that's true, though in many cases it may be true. But you are setting yourself up for a picture or a mindset that is not going to be productive either for us or for the -- or for the Iraqi people.

PENHAUL: The unlikely alliance appears to be scoring some remarkable successes. In streets where U.S. soldiers just weeks ago had to fight every step, they can now stroll at sundown without fear of attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Before, when al Qaeda was here, it was all killing and stealing. We would hide in our houses at this time of day. It was all kidnapping, killing and stealing.

PENHAUL: For Abu Ali, there is more in this new alliance than just combating the extremism of al Qaeda. He hopes it will hasten the end of what he regards as the U.S. occupation.

ABU ALI, LOCAL MILITARY COORDINATOR (through translator): After we are done with al Qaeda, we will ask the Americans to pull out of Iraq. If they do not withdraw, there will be violations and the American Army will be harmed. Especially after the help they have provided us, we would like them to go home as our friend, not enemy.

PENHAUL: For these former insurgents, it is a marriage of convenience with the Americans, not a lifetime commitment.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Borutz, Iraq.


DE LA CRUZ: Coming up, the pill gets a makeover. A new birth control medication could have women saying good-bye to that time of the month.

And later, bikers take to the streets in protest. But why are they half-naked? Less wind drag, maybe? You don't want to miss this. We're going to tell you next, that's about 20 minutes from now. Stay with us.


DE LA CRUZ: All right. I'm sure you can probably relate. Some those videos on YouTube and sites like it are so good that you'd like to watch them on something bigger than maybe your computer monitor, right? Well, CNN's Reynolds Wolf went looking for ways to transfer Web content to your TV and he found some answers from Brian Cooley, who the editor-at-large with the tech Web site


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You ever see a really cool video on YouTube and you just wished that somehow, some way, you could have it on a bigger screen, maybe your TV?

Well, Brian Cooley of is here with us, and you can tell us how that can be done.

BRIAN COOLEY, CNET.COM: It's a whole new era, Reynolds. There are products on the market now that are addressing that need because there's so much great Internet video. Let's start with this thing here called the SlingCatcher. It's related to the SlingBox, a lot of folks know.

What this does though, among its other traits, is be able to take whatever is on your computer screen, and bounce it to your television, so this thing sits over by your TV, and pulls your computer's picture, and puts it up on a bigger screen. Now, it can't make it perfect quality, but it can help scale it so it fits that screen and doesn't look too bad.

Apple, of course, is getting huge headlines for Apple TV. This guy is a little more expensive, $300 versus $200 over here. But this is going to take all your iTunes, TV, movies, as well as music, and bring that over to your home entertainment center, so it pulls it from the computer that you downloaded that iTunes stuff too, but it's very iTunes-specific.

WOLF: I see.

COOLEY: The last one I like is from Netgear, a network-making company, and it's called the Digital Entertainer. And this seems to apply to the most kinds of content and has the most ways of putting the content out. It's like a Swiss Army knife of these kinds of devices. A little more expensive, you're going to pay around $400 for it, but it has perhaps the broadest support for whatever you may want to watch in the future.

WOLF: Are they all pretty user-friendly?

COOLEY: Yes, they all know television is a user-friendly medium. It's not like a computer, so they've worked very hard to keep it that way. Apple TV is the best of that so far.

WOLF: OK, Brian Cooley,, thank you very much. COOLEY: You bet.



DE LA CRUZ: All right. Well, then, listen up here. Imagine stopping your period for good. Well, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new birth control drug, it is called Lybrel. It works by suppressing a woman's normal menstrual cycle. Lybrel is a low-dose hormone pill that's taken every day, and the manufacturer says it could be a boon for women who get sick on their periods or have serious PMS symptoms.

Are there health consequences though for women who want to forego their monthly periods with this new pill? In our "Living Well" segment today, we're going to take it up with Dr. Bill Lloyd.

Hi, Dr. Bill.


DE LA CRUZ: All right. So break this down for us. This is a pill that you take 365 days of the year. Is it safe?

LLOYD: Well, the FDA now says it is safe. It has been tested on thousands of women. And you're right, they take the pill every single day and there is active drug in that pill every single day, unlike ordinary birth control pills where every 21 days it shifts to a placebo and that shift in hormones allows the woman's body to undergo the normal monthly menstrual cycle.

This won't happen with Lybrel. Now there is some women who are very interested in this product, women who experience heavy, or very painful monthly periods or women who go through mood swings. Women who have health problems that worsen during the times of their monthly periods, women who complain of severe headaches or abdominal pains and for many women the simple convenience of not having to deal with a monthly period, a product like Lybrel may work for them.

DE LA CRUZ: Let's talk about that. Let's talk about completely skipping your period all together. Because what I understand is, a couple of OB-GYNs have mentioned in the past, say, if you want to go ahead, take your birth control pill, you go ahead and you skip a placebo, open up a new pack -- this is what they tell women, then you will miss your period anyway. So how is this really different?

LLOYD: That's an excellent point. The chemicals in the pills are no different whatsoever. The only thing that's different is the packaging. So every single day of the month, the woman is actually taking the active pill and never gets a holiday from the estrogen and so the body continues to protect the woman from becoming pregnant and never undergoes the fluctuation of the hormones that leads to the monthly cycles.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. Let's talk about the best candidates for this pill. How early can young women take advantage of Lybrel? And I'm sure that there are people who shouldn't be taking this at all.

LLOYD: Right. Now the FDA says if you can take a birth control pill, then you can take Lybrel. Because again, it's just the same chemical. You know, intuitively you think, gee, there's something wrong about stopping a normal bodily function. But, Veronica, doctors and other health practitioners have been doing this since the beginning of time.

Hair transplants, gastric bypass surgery. We've been trying to fool Mother Nature all along, even insulin for diabetics. We give that to somebody which then fools the body to say we're taking care of the sugar problem. Well, in this case Lybrel is taking care of the monthly period problem.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, Dr. Bill, here's a question for you. What is the effectiveness rate of this pill?

LLOYD: The pill is equally effective in stopping pregnancy -- or preventing pregnancy than any other oral contraceptive. But if you want to know about statistics, in women who take this pill for an entire year, over half of them still experience what they call break- through bleeding. So many of these women want the pill so they don't have to deal with the bleeding issue of their monthly speared and then are sad to discover that it is not 100 percent effective.

So for every woman who takes Lybrel, they may not be guaranteed the absence of a period for an entire 365-day period. There may be times when there may be some break-through bleeding, and even a pill like Lybrel may not stop that.

So if bleeding is the issue then you may not choose to go this route. And if you choose to use oral contraceptives, stick with a regular brand.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. Dr. Bill Lloyd, with the latest on this new birth control pill, we do appreciate it. Thank you, Dr. Bill.

LLOYD: We'll talk again soon.

DE LA CRUZ: OK. Rick Sanchez joins us now with a preview of what's to come in the next hour of the NEWSROOM.

Nice to see you, sir.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good to see you, Veronica. How are things?

DE LA CRUZ: Wonderful. What are you working on?

SANCHEZ: A couple of things. We've got one coming up in the 5:00 hour. You know the murder of that young woman in Kansas after she was abducted from the Target store. Amazing video to look at that thing, by the way. You actually can see her as she is walking out of the Target, and then you see the person considered a suspect at this point walking right behind her. Well, now there is a possibility there may be another girl who has disappeared and police are trying to see if there is a link to the same suspect in this case. You know, it is awfully coincidental.

And think about it, I mean, if someone is going to be brazen enough to do something like this once, it usually means there is a good possibility that they may do it -- they may have done it another time or are prepared to do it again. So I think that's why police are leaning in this direction. And we're going to give you the breakdown of all of that.

Then at 10:00 tonight, we're going to have something really good. This is an interesting story about man who goes hiking in the woods. I mean, this guy has parachuted, he has jumped out of airplanes, he has gone rock climbing. He was in the military. This is the definition of what it's like to be an outdoorsman. Suddenly he goes to a survival camp out in Utah and he dies. Dies of thirst.

Literally, dies of dehydration. It's an interesting story. Because I go out there and I...

DE LA CRUZ: Well, what happened? In Utah, nevertheless.

SANCHEZ: Yes. I go out to Utah. I follow the trail that he took. I talked to some of the folks at the survival school. I talked to his parents. I talked to also the folks with forestry. And there is a lot going on with this story now.

But the idea that he would die of thirst. He was literally was being told you can't drink water, it is against the rules, until he just dropped dead literally.

DE LA CRUZ: Somebody is going to be liable for that one.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It's a great story, we'll have it tonight at 10:00. With lots of reaction to it too.

DE LA CRUZ: Looking forward to it, Rick. Nice to see you.

SANCHEZ: Likewise, sure.

DE LA CRUZ: And straight ahead, you know how you are supposed to have a passport to get into Canada, maybe Mexico? Well, not exactly. Stay tuned for the new rules. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


DE LA CRUZ: Morning after jitters at the nation's airports. Air travelers hit by huge delays Friday after a computer glitch quickly spread throughout the system. The problems were fixed by 11:00 a.m., but by then flights across the East Coast were either cancelled or delayed. At one point flights into New York's LaGuardia Airport were delayed for nearly four hours.

Are you planning to travel outside the U.S. this summer but you can't get your passport? Well, help is on the way. The Bush administration is temporarily suspending some of the post-9/11 regulations that had been tying up the process. Travelers heading to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean can make the trip with a photo ID and proof that they have applied for a passport.

So what are other travelers facing? Here's CNN's Allan Chernoff.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diana Perez is in a panic, five days before her family's scheduled flight to Colombia, South America. The family's luggage is packed but her children's passports have yet to arrive, even though Diana applied for them nearly four months ago. So she has been calling the passport agency each morning at the crack of dawn.

DIANA PEREZ, WAITING FOR PASSPORT: I started calling 6:01, 6:02, 6:03, the whole morning, I spent like over two hours on the phone.

CHERNOFF: Even worse than negotiating the agency's automated phone system is the fact that Diana and her husband, Orlando, spent $1,500 on airline tickets they may be unable to use.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't even reschedule because you don't know when we're going to get our passports.

CHERNOFF (on camera): The Perez family is not alone. As summer vacation season begins, the U.S. Passport Agency is overwhelmed, swamped with a record number of applications. Why? The U.S. toughened passport policy in January, now requiring citizens to carry a passport when flying to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

WANDA NESBITT, BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS: We did not know exactly what the level of increase would be and so our predictions fell a little bit short. And that's why there's currently a little bit of a crunch.

CHERNOFF (voice-over): The crunch, though, wasn't a complete surprise. The State Department's Passport Agency had more than two years' notice. It was back in December 2004 that Congress approved tougher passport rules, part of its response to 9/11 Commission recommendations to tighten homeland security.

The State Department did beef up the Passport Agency, expanding facilities and hours, hiring 280 extra passport reviewers, even asking retirees to come back to work.

(on camera): The number of people who actually review each application or each renewal is how many?

NESBITT: About 700 right now.

CHERNOFF: And this year you expect to process 17.5 million passports?

NESBITT: That's right. It's pretty efficient. CHERNOFF: Sounds like not enough people.

NESBITT: As I said, we're in the process of hiring more.

CHERNOFF: About 300 more. Plus, they're starting up this brand new passport printing center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, though it won't be fully operating until year's end.

NESBITT: We are doing everything possible to make sure that we meet the increased demand that is clearly out there.

CHERNOFF: The State Department acknowledges applicants now wait 10 to 12 weeks to get their passports, far longer than the prior wait time of six to eight. Passport officials say Diana Perez's four-month wait time is the exception.

Travelers with an upcoming trip do get priority. And the vast majority of Americans are getting their passports in time to travel even if the documents arrive with just a few days to spare.

Next year, even tougher rules kick in requiring passports for Americans crossing the Canadian and Mexican borders by car, which is sure to further increase demand for passports. The State Department says it's doing everything possible to meet the extra workload but is making no promises there won't be further delays next year.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


DE LA CRUZ: Bicyclists in Spain. They're getting naked, and they are mad! That story when we come back.


DE LA CRUZ: All right, so you twist it, you turn it, you still can't get all the sides to quite match up. It is that oh so annoying, but oh so addictive Rubik's Cube. Reporter Anderson Burns of our Charleston, South Carolina affiliate WCIV, that one kid who can solve it in less than 30 seconds.


ANDERSON BURNS, WCIV REPORTER (voice-over): It's baaaaaack! That maddening little toy, the deflator of egos, the Rubik's Cube.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is impossible.

BURNS: Enter Joshua Satterfield, age 12, Mount Pleasant resident, Rubik's master. Ranked 270th in the world, 40th in the U.S.

(on camera): And in South Carolina?

JOSHUA SATTERFIELD, RUBIK'S CUBE WHIZ: I think number one. But I'm not sure.

BURNS: You are sure. Aren't you? You know you are.

SATTERFIELD: Pretty sure.

BURNS (voice-over): Pretty sure can he meet the Will Smith character in the recent movie "Pursuit of Happiness" who looks downright slow in comparison. So you want to know how fast he is, don't you? First, you need to know how he does it.

SATTERFIELD: I turn the keys like this, and I get -- try to get the F2L, the first two layers, using a series of algorithms. See, I already got that.

BURNS (on camera): Using a what?

SATTERFILED: Series of algorithms.

BURNS (voice-over): One hundred twenty, in all. Some of which he developed himself.

(on camera): What is an algorithm?

SATTERFIELD: An algorithm is like a set of mathematical expressions that tell you how to convert something or make a special randomization or something.

BURNS: Sure.

SATTERFIELD: Like this is an algorithm, quadratic formula, and this is an algorithm.

BURNS: That's very clear.

(voice-over): It's also clear anyone who beats him gets $100. So, let's go.

(on camera): Ready?


BURNS (voice-over): If you were counting, that was 18.55 seconds.

(on camera): Look what I did though.

SATTERFIELD: Interesting.

BURNS: Good job!


SATTERFIELD: Eighteen-point-five-five.

BURNS (voice-over): And just for funsies, he'll be happy to do it behind his back, or solve the five-sided cube which took all of seven minutes.

Anderson Burns, ABC News 4.


DE LA CRUZ: All right. So we know that Anderson Burns won't be going to that national Rubik's Cube competition in Chicago next weekend, but, Anderson, don't feel bad, because I won't either. But Joshua will. And he hopes to be in Budapest, Hungary in October for the world competition where, get this, Erno, the inventor, wants to meet him. Pretty cool.

Do you ever feel naked and vulnerable in traffic? No? Well, cyclists in Spain do. And to prove it, they got naked and vulnerable in traffic. It's all part of a global protest against the car culture. Hundreds of riders suited down in their best birthday suits and pedaled the streets of Madrid. They want great respect for what they call pollution-free transportation. It is the Fourth Annual Nude Cyclist Protest in Spain's capital.

At least the weather was good for skinny-riding, it was about 84 degrees. It was on of the many nude bike-riding events taking place across the world today, just in case you were wondering.

From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Veronica De La Cruz. The next hour of NEWSROOM with Rick Sanchez starts right now.


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