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AMERICAN MORNING

Jena Protest; Florida Fire; New Osama bin Laden Tape; Hometown Heroes; Three Little Bears

Aired September 20, 2007 - 07:00   ET

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


ALI VELSHI, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: ... percent is historically quite low. It has been lower. But there are a lot of economists who say that 4.6 percent, under 5 percent, is actually considered full employment. So we've got that.
Now look at the number of jobs created in the United States in the last year, at 1.4 million that's strong. The problem there is it's been trending down since the spring to the point that in August the U.S. actually lost 4,000 jobs. Losing jobs is not something that you want to happen. So we're going the wrong direction with that.

Look at wages, up 3.9 percent over the last year. That's stronger than inflation. That's pretty good. A lot of that has to do with the minimum wage increase that came into effect in July. We're following those things as well as housing.

I'll be reporting through the course of the morning on the state of the economy and what we might expect to hear from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulison and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: All right, Ali, thanks very much. We'll see you soon.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.

Breaking news, terror tape: A new tape from Osama bin Laden declaring war on Pakistan and its army.

Hometown heroes:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pulled the pilot out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Rushing to the rescue after a plane crashes into a mall parking lot.

And, no fear, the woman who went toe-to-toe with three little bears, behind the camera and behind the scene, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: It's like Goldilocks in reverse, isn't it?

CHETRY: Yes! Although, they didn't have hammocks in that childhood favorite.

Good morning, it's Thursday, September 20. Glad you're with us. I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: Good morning. Thanks very much for joining us. I'm John Roberts.

Breaking news this morning as firefighters battle and inferno at an apartment building in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Take a look. Here's the aftermath, here.

The roof collapsed. People may be trapped inside. We saw, just a little while ago firefighters going through the upper level of that apartment building where you can see the roof is just totally gone, looking for anybody who may have been trapped inside.

Reports from the scene suggest that the fire was preceded by an explosion. And on one side of the building you can see an enormous hole that's been punched right in the wall and a lot of bricks that fell down on top of vehicles that were parked in the parking lot.

There you can see firefighters going through the top level of that apartment building. So, you know, the evidence, at least the visual evidence, would seem to suggest that yes, there was some sort of an explosion. Unknown, at this point, what it was that may have caused it. Or how many casualties, if any, this fire may have taken.

We'll keep this -- we'll keep this under surveillance ourselves, and bring you the latest as it happens here on AMERICAN MORNING -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Also new today, getting word of another Osama bin Laden tape. We will it will reportedly be released as soon as this morning. According to Intel Center, that's a U.S. organization that monitors Islamist web sites. The tape is titled "Come to Jihad", and in it bin Laden declares war on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and his army. It's not clear whether the tape will have video or just audio.

But also coming in the last couple of moments, a response from Pervez Musharraf, brushing off the declaration of war and saying they will continue to fight Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

ROBERTS: Thousands of protesters are converging on to tiny Jena, Louisiana, right now, claiming racial injustice for six black students. They are accused of beating a white student and were initially charged with attempted murder. The charges have since been lowered to battery and conspiracy. Protestors say the charges were extreme, although the family members of the boy who was beaten say he was badly beaten and extensively injured.

Tensions in Jena started rising last year when a black student sat under this tree, that has since been cut down, in a schoolyard, that white students always sat under. The next day nooses were hung from that tree. Three white students were suspended from the school over the nooses, but did not face any criminal charges. Organizers say today's demonstration is expected to be reminiscent of the civil rights marches of the 1960s. AMERICAN MORNING's Sean Callebs is live in Jena where thousands of demonstrators have already assembled.

And, Sean, the question of the day is, just how big is this going to be?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a great question. I'll tell you this. The organizers asked people to show up at 8:00 Eastern time. They have coming down this road all morning. And in fact, so many people are coming down the road, there's nowhere to put the cars at this hour. And think about it, it is still hours away from any time the demonstration and speeches are set to began.

Now, down the end of the road they're allowed to let the buses off and the people can get out and make their way to a ball field. We have another camera showing you that. There's the field right now. Not -- very, very vacant at this hour, but they expect as many as 10,000, 20,000 people could be here. But they expect a number of actual demonstrations, not only here. There's going to be another one walking down toward the courthouse.

And you talk about the Jena 6, as they are now known. There's one, a 16-year-old at the time this fight happened who is still in jail. The local District Attorney Reed Walters has been muted on all of this for months and months. He broke his silence yesterday, appearing with Justin Barker, he is the white teen at the center of all this, who was beaten up. And here's what he had to say about all the attention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REED WALTERS, LASALLE PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This case has been portrayed by the news media as being about race. The fact that it takes place in a small Southern town lends itself to that portrayal, but this case is not, and never has been, about race. It is about finding justice for an innocent victim, and holding people accountable for their actions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CALLEBS: Jena is a very small town, about 2,900, 3,000 people. The town police have actually ceded control of this event over to the state police. Behind me you just see some of the crowd that has gathered, that you can see. Still very early in the morning, John, but already a good crowd.

I want to show you real quickly, one of the items that's moving off rather quickly. I want to show you this, this is the Louisiana NAACP on the back. It talks about the Jena 6, "Stop the Jena-cide". But there's all kinds of -- thank you very much -- there's all kinds of shirts and everything out here. This could be a very large gathering here today, as many as 40,000, 60,000 people they're estimating. But, John, the crowd estimates vary widely. ROBERTS: As they always do with events like this. Sean Callebs, for us this morning in Jena. Thanks, Sean. We'll get back to you as more and more people begin to arrive.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson will be one of the people marching in Jena. We're going to talk with him live, coming up in our next half hour. And tonight, CNN's Kyra Phillips goes behind the headlines to investigate just what happened in this case, "Judgment in Jena". Tonight, 8 o'clock Eastern -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Thanks, John.

Well, O.J. Simpson now free on bail even as some legal analysts were saying that was going to be a tough sell. There he is leaving the airport in Las Vegas headed back to Florida. He arrived overnight on a flight from Las Vegas, posting the $125,000 bail yesterday after facing a judge in Vegas.

Meanwhile, there is another suspect to add to the long list, this is Charles Cashmore. He has been arrested as well in connection with this hotel heist. CNN's John Zarrella is live outside of Simpson's Florida home, live from Miami.

And still some questions this morning as to whether or not O.J. himself is there?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kiran. Exactly two questions here today, where is O.J.? And when he surfaces, is he going to have anything to say publicly? Probably not. But we're waiting to see if he shows up.

That's his house back there behind those hedges, down the driveway. He never did show up here last night. He did arrive in Florida at about midnight last night. He flew in to Ft. Lauderdale Airport, 12:05 on a U.S. Air flight. When we arrived Broward sheriff's office deputies and airport security allowed all of the other passengers to get off the flight first, to get out of the airport area, and then they brought O.J. out under some heavy security. Broward sheriff's officers deputies following through the crowd. He was chased by 20 or 25 camera crews as he made his way out of the airport into a waiting car at curbside.

Where he went from there, no one is quite sure. His long-time girlfriend does have, and at least used to have, an apartment here in the South Miami area. So some speculation that's perhaps where he ended up spending the night, but at this point, Kiran, he has not shown up here in South Florida.

Now one reporter, who was on the flight with him, said that O.J. was very cordial on the flight. And in fact, told this reporter that, well, come October, when his next hearing is scheduled, that he may well fly back out to Las Vegas for that. But again, he has not shown up here in his South Miami home -- Kiran.

CHETRY: John Zarrella in Miami for us, thank you. Also there's another twist in this case. Memorabilia dealer Bruce Fromong, who was confronted by O.J. and his associates that night, in the hotel room, called into "Larry King Live" from his hospital bed. You may remember, Fromong was the one who suffered a heart attack Tuesday. He didn't mince words about whether someone waved a gun at him in this Vegas hotel room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE FROMONG, MEMORABILIA DEALER: Let's end the speculation right now. Yes, there was a gun. It was right in front of my face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: All right, well Fromong went on to say O.J. was not the person who had the gun. He did say though, that he thinks O.J. needs some help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FROMONG: I hope O.J. gets help, you know. I hope O.J. gets help. Does he, you know, what he did was wrong, absolutely no, doubt about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Again, if convicted of the most serious charges against him, O.J. Simpson faces life in prison.

ROBERTS: High drama in a mall parking lot in Tennessee. A private plane coming in for a landing at Chattanooga a metropolitan airport, instead crashed right into a row of cars parked at a shopping center. Rusty Dornin is live in Chattanooga for us this morning.

Rusty, when you look at that wreckage, it's amazing that no one was killed.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as dawn breaks here in Chattanooga you could really see this pile of rubble, and the wings sticking out and all of that. This Beechcraft King Air, twin turbo prop was on it's way to the airport, which is in that direction, 2,000 feet short of the runway it began to drop -- like a lead balloon.

Bystanders rushed over after it crashed into a car, crashed into two other cars. One with a man inside the car, who apparently was not hurt, and then clipped a telephone pole, before coming to rest. Those bystanders rushed to the plane to try to get the passengers, who they say were very disoriented.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA DAVIS, HELPED RESCUE PLANE CRASH VICTIMS: The guys were flipped upside down, confused and not sure where the exit was. So me, and some other nice gentleman, started pulling the guys from the plane, one by one, there was four. The pilot was the last one. He was the most injured. (END VIDEO CLIP)

DORNIN: From what we're understanding now from our affiliates, in Lexington, Kentucky, it turns out the man who hired the plane apparently is a very well-known businessman in Lexington. And he is the one that has been hurt. But they're all in fair condition at the local hospital. Which is still, as we said, absolutely amazing, when you look at this rubble. Now the NTSB is going to be turning over the site to local investigators, and they're going to have to clear it out, but apparently that's not going to happen until 10:00 local time -- John.

ROBERTS: Any initial indications, Rusty, as to what brought the plane down? Was it engine failure, pilot error?

DORNIN: Not so far, but we know they were headed from Birmingham, Alabama, back home to Lexington, Kentucky, when at some point the pilot decided he had to divert to Chattanooga airport. We don't know exactly what happened. But certainly that might be one indicator that he was sensing some kind of trouble with the aircraft.

ROBERTS: All right, Rusty Dornin this morning, in Chattanooga. Coming up in a little while here on AMERICAN MORNING. We're going to be talking with one of those nice gentlemen that Melissa, the eyewitness, was speaking about. One of the people who helped people out of that plane, Robin Flores, will be joining us -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, the New York City police department is saying no to a strange request from Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will be in New York this Sunday, scheduled to speak to the U.N. General Assembly. He's asking if he can enter the fenced in World Trade Center site, to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. The NYPD saying the area is off limits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY KELLY, NEW YOR POLICE COMMISSIONER: Construction is ongoing, so we did allow, obviously on September 11th, people to go into the site. Construction is now back in full swing, so I think we would not be possible to have him go to any area other than the area where most of the public goes.

CHETRY: Well, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations not as diplomatic about it. Zalmay Khalilzad says if Ahmadinejad's wants to honor the 9/11 victims that his country can stop supporting terrorist groups, like Hezbollah.

Well, what does the U.N. have to say about this? Coming up in just a few minutes, more of John Roberts' interview with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

ROBERTS: Time now to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for other stories new that we're following this morning. And FDA import ban has some families scrambling. Alina Cho, at our national update desk, with this.

And, Alina, this is a rather unique import ban?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A unique ban on sperm from foreign countries. This is the result, John, of an FDA ban on sperm samples from 30 European countries. The U.S. government is actually trying to prevent the spread of a rare but fatal disorder, which is linked to mad cow disease.

So now the only sperm bank in America that sells sperm from Europe is literally running dry. Would-be parents are rushing to buy it. There's even a waiting list.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLAUS RODGAARD, CRYOS INTERNATIONAL: We're running out of sperm. We have very little sperm left, so we only have a few donors left, and that's it. Then there will be no more sperm from Europe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: How does this affect people? We spoke to one new mom in New York City whose daughter was conceived with sperm from Denmark. Her husband is sterile, which is why they turned to a sperm bank in the first place. Both parents are blonde with blue eyes, and they wanted a child who resembled them, naturally.

That's why they looked for a foreign donor, specifically one from Scandinavia. Well, now the couple wants a sibling, from the young baby, from the same Danish donor, but the sperm bank is selling out and with the FDA ban in place they are running out of options.

John, they may have to turn to something called fertility tourism. We're going to tell you what that is, and give you the whole story in the next half hour.

ROBERTS: Ah, I can hardly wait for that one. Alina Cho, thanks very much.

Rob Marciano tracking extreme weather here at home. Rob, something in the Carolinas?

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHETRY: Well, should Iran's president be barred from the U.N. General Assembly? And what can be done about the crisis in Darfur? We go one on one with the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Some of the shots that caught our eye this morning that we want to bring to you. On the front lines of a firefight, flames shooting 50 feet into the air as this firefighter toed the line. It was at a landfill in Alabama. It took firefighters several hours to actually knock that fire down.

How about this one? The Australian prime minister chased by polar bears. Actually some protesters in polar bear suits. There, you see them? They were global warming protesters. They had a sign saying "Displaced by Climate Change." Australia and the U.S. are the only developed countries that have not signed the Kyoto pact, which seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

And from fake bears to the real ones. A real mama bear and three cubs caught on tape playing in the backyard. This is an I-Report that came to us from New Jersey. It is the second bear sighting that we've shown you this week. And coming up we'll talk to the woman who shot the now-famous bears trying to get into her backyard hammock. She'll join to us talk about that as well.

There you see it. This really cracked us up yesterday. You know, just a bunch of kids fighting over who gets to swing in the hammock -- only, they're bears -- John.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to that.

The United Nations gathers for its annual General Assembly next week. There will be high-level meetings on Iraq and Darfur, as well as ongoing debates about Iran's nuclear enrichment program, and what to do about it.

For the first time the meetings will be presided over by newly appointed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. I spoke with the secretary-general about a number of different issues, beginning with the U.N. potential role in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: We heard the French foreign minister the other day say that if Iran were to acquire a nuclear weapon it would mean war. Do you believe it will come to war with Iran?

BAN KI MOON, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: As a matter of principle, all pending issues, whatever the reasons it may be, would be better resolved through peaceful means, and through dialogue. I know that some member states of the Security Council are seriously considering additional measures by sanctioning Iran. Before that happens, what I do hope is that Iran must fully comply with the Security Council resolutions.

ROBERTS: But there is no indication this they are prepared to do that.

MOON: Whole member states of the United Nations are obliged to comply, including Iran.

ROBERTS: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the other day that he believes that you should ban Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from next week's United Nations General Assembly. What do you think of that request?

MOON: I have received such a request from him. As you know, the participation of the member states in the General Assembly is open to all of the member state, unless otherwise suspended, or it is decided by the General Assembly, in accordance with the provision of the charter.

ROBERTS: So this is not a request, Mr. Secretary-General, that you would accede to?

MOON: This is not what the secretary-general should act upon.

ROBERTS: You said upon the assuming the secretary-generalship of the United Nations that one of your -- or your preeminent humanitarian concern would be Darfur. You went to Darfur. You met personally with President al-Bashir (ph). Can the United Nations end the violence end at Darfur? Do you have any confidence that their President al-Bashir will allow that U.N. peacekeeping force in?

MOON: The United Nations have made incredible progresses in terms of deploying high grade (ph) African Union/United Nations Peacekeepers. I have assured -- from assurances from President al- Bashir that he will ensure the smooth flow of humanitarian assistance. He will faithfully comply with all of the Security Council resolutions, and his government's own commitment.

ROBERTS: President Bashir seems to have a history of making concessions when the pressure is on. Do you believe that he'll go through with it or may he renege at the last moment?

MOON: We will be very vigilant in urging him, and in monitoring the implementation of his commitment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: We did also talk about Iraq. I asked Ban Ki Moon if the United Nations would ever go back into the country in the same way that it was prior to the bombing of it's compound in 2003? He suggested that they do have a role to play but as he has just observed the fourth anniversary of that tragic bombing, he indicated that the U.N. is not ready to go back in until security improves dramatically -- Kiran.

CHETRY: John, thanks. Good stuff there.

Well, political heat on Capitol Hill. Ben Bernanke in the hot seat today after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since 2003. What it means to the mortgage crisis, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: It's 26 minutes past the hour. Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business" and he is down at Capitol Hill today, because that's where a lot is happening.

Hi, Ali.

VELSHI: Hey, Kiran. In a couple of hours we'll hear from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulison. They're testifying before the House Banking Committee, where they're going to have to answer some questions in plain English about what they think of the president's plan to try and bail people out of the mortgage mess; what Ben Bernanke thinks of this interest rate cut; whether he thinks there's more to come and how it's going to help Americans who are at risk of losing their homes.

I wanted to give you some perspective on the housing situation as it stands right now.

Take a look at the price of -- the median price -- of existing and new homes in America. The median price is the price at which half of all homes are higher and half of all homes are lower. Over the course of a year we're looking at a drop on existing homes of about $3,700 and on new homes of about $5,340. New homes are only about 15 percent of the market, but they're important because new homes cause construction and that causes jobs.

The other thing to look at, is look at these mortgage rates. We've been talking about mortgage rates for so long. Take a look at the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, and what it's trading at right now. We're looking at 6.29 percent, the one-year ARM is even higher than that. So for those Americans who have been struggling with adjustable mortgages it really does makes sense to go into a fixed mortgage at this point.

We'll be covering this through the course of the morning, with other information about the economy. But we'll also be here for that testimony from Henry Paulison, the Treasury secretary, and from Ben Bernanke, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right, Ali Velshi. Thank you.

ROBERTS: A massive rally planned in the small town of Jena, Louisiana today. Jesse Jackson among those marching. We'll talk with him next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Thanks very much for joining us on this Thursday, the 20th of September. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry. Some breaking news to tell you about a reported new tape from Osama Bin Laden and it could come out as early as this morning. According to Intel Center, which is a U.S. organization that monitors Islamist Web sites, the tape is titled "Come to Jihad." And in it Bin Laden declares war on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and his army. Now earlier, we spoke with terrorism analyst Laura Mansfield about the strength of Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA MANSFIELD, TERRORISM ANALYST: Al Qaeda is a strong presence in Pakistan and I believe it's continuing to increase in terms of prestige and in terms of its reach. The incidence of the (inaudible) this summer, the Red Mosque has greatly inflamed the situation. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Dozens were killed and injured during that standoff between the government and students inside the Red Mosque in July. By the way though, we did get a response from Musharraf. He said that this declaration of war he dismissed it, saying that the country will continue its fight against Al Qaeda.

ROBERTS: Rudy Giuliani is warning Iran that he will not stand for them becoming a nuclear power if he becomes president. He has taken his presidential campaign all the way to London, burnishing his foreign policy credentials, making speeches, having his picture taken with British prime ministers past and present, raising money for his campaign and talking with CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King who joins us live in London. John, a long way to go for an interview with the candidate but it's still a great way to get some one on one time with him.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, John. And to watch Rudy Giuliani back home, you know, his 9/11 celebrity is the centerpiece of presidential campaign. Well, it's also a powerful calling card overseas. He met with the current prime minister here in London, two former prime ministers and as you mentioned, he did sit down with us. Part of the goal Mayor Giuliani wants to achieve on this trip is to show that a mayor can become commander in chief. And so, in our interview, he had very sharp criticism of President Bush's stewardship of the war on terror, rare from a Republican, and also as you noted, made it crystal clear, he said that if Rudy Giuliani is president, Iran will never, never have a nuclear weapon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America should be precise about what it will do and what it wouldn't do. I mean, the reality is we don't want them laboring under a misimpression that we wouldn't take action and then they'll make some seriously wrong decisions. And we also want everyone to know, you know, what's the point of demarcation will be for the United States. For something like that, there's no value in ambiguity. I think we should be clear that Iran is not going to be allowed to become a nuclear power. This idea of containment of Iran is too dangerous.

KING: Is this summary fair? If you read your writings and look at your campaign speeches and listen to you, it sounds like Rudy Giuliani is saying the president is right when he talks about preemption. The president is right when he talks about standing up to this terrorist threat. The implementation though has been, at times, far less than competent.

GIULIANI: Yes, I probably put it in a more generous way. I would say that the goals are correct. The goals in many ways are historic. Have there been significant mistakes made along the way? Absolutely. And should we learn from them in the next administration, as this has administration has already done? Should we change things based on those mistakes? Yes. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Giuliani says he has nothing to prove. He says as New York mayor he had as much foreign policy experience as any governor or senator running for president and John, he also told reporters he thinks he's among the four or five most famous Americans in the world but he also conceded on that list two very powerful voices in the democratic campaigns, Hillary and Bill Clinton.

ROBERTS: As we know though, John, they only vote for president here in the United States. This idea of no value and ambiguity, you know, certainly successive administrations used what they called constructive ambiguity to keep certain countries to tow the line. The agreement with Taiwan would be one of those examples. But did Giuliani go at all beyond this idea of no ambiguity? Did he have any concrete idea of what he would do should Iran get one of these nuclear weapons? Because we talked to these generals all the time and they say the problem is that there are no good options in terms of attacking Iran.

KING: That's a fascinating point. Because the military does concede that very difficult targeting options. He would not go beyond it. In fact, I asked him about some other international scenarios and he wouldn't answer the hypothetical on those cases. But he said in the case of Iran because this problem has been festering for so long, he thinks the United States does need to be crystal clear. But you're absolutely right, I asked him if he would have short fuse, if in 16 months if he became president this problem was still festering, and he said he would not address a timeline but that he wanted Iran to have no doubt at all that if necessary he would use the U.S. military even if, that's an important point, even if others around the world objected.

ROBERTS: John, great interview, good information. Thanks for joining us from London this morning. Good to see you.

KING: Thank you.

CHETRY: Thousands of protesters are converging on tiny Jena, Louisiana, as we speak, they're claiming racial injustice for six black students. We have live pictures right now from Jena that showed the buses arriving full of demonstrators. A little bit of background though on how we got to this point -- the six black students are accused of beating a white student. They were initially charged with attempted murder. There you see the pictures, the youngest one underage so his picture is not shown there. The charges have been lowered now to battery and conspiracy. Protesters are saying these are extreme charges but the family members of the boy say that he was badly beaten and badly injured.

Tensions in Jena started rising last year when a black student sat under a tree. This is the tree in question in a schoolyard that white students always sit under. Well, the next day, nooses were hung from that tree, according to witnesses. Three white students were suspended from school over the nooses but did not face any criminal charges. So, joining us to talk about this, one man who is there leading the charge as well today, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, one of the march organizers, he joins us live. Thanks for being with us, Reverend Jackson.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RALLY ORGANIZER: Good morning.

CHETRY: Now, you said that Jena is a defining moment just like Selma was a defining moment. There are significant differences though because in Selma, peaceful demonstrators were attacked by police with billet clubs as they were marching for their rights. So how does that compare with a case where there is no argument that these teens did beat their fellow student?

JACKSON: I think you got to back up three days. A young black civilian was beaten by whites at a club, and he identified those who attacked him, and was not allowed to complain of the violation of civil rights. The next day he identified one of those who attacked him who had a shotgun that took it from him, and unloaded it. They took it from him and unloaded it. They took the gun home and later charged with stealing the weapon. This is two days before NEVILLE: e fight at school. The fight in school involved some white and black kids fighting.

All black kids charged, no white kids charged, and then charged with conspiracy to commit murder, excessive charge. And for that they're facing 15 to 20 years in jail. So I think the excessive amount of the bond designed to keep them in jail that I think is a step beyond that, is that for the prosecutors to try a trial as an adult is child abuse and that's prosecutorial misconduct. I think those extremists are what driving us in Jena today.

CHETRY: All right. Well, I want to get your reaction with the district attorney Reed Walters said yesterday about this. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REED WALTERS, LASALLE PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY: With all of the focus on the defendants, many people seem to have forgotten that there was a victim in this case. The injury that was done to him and the serious threat to his survival has become less than a footnote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: He's saying that the victim, that the person who was beaten in this case has sort of fallen into the background. What do you think the proper punishment would be for the six teens in the case?

JACKSON: It should not -- first I'm offended -- probation would be sufficient. If he had reached out to the white and black pastors, they would not meet because that's a reconciliation in order, to the mother of Barker, and we could not meet because again I say reconciliation rather than retaliation is in order but in some sense that young man who was beaten that night drove his car to the school to a ring ceremony. It says something about the extent of his injury and so I think that his injuries were very real but and they have lots of regret but then to charge him saying his shoe kicking was a conspiracy to commit murder is excessive. What makes this like Selma is that there's a Jena in every state. More blacks (inaudible) college in every state. It's like the criminal justice system has collapse on blacks and then some says people come in here to go back home to fight their own Jena as we fight for equal protection under the law everywhere.

CHETRY: I want to ask you a quick question about this -- A Columbia, South Carolina newspaper, "The State" is reporting that you were unhappy with what Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama, what his response was to this case in Jena. It said you criticized him for "acting like he's white." Did you say that?

JACKSON: That's an unfortunate misinterpretation. The fact is I endorsed Barack without solicitation and supports him today unequivocally. So we would not let that be (INAUDIBLE) from our support in his campaign.

CHETRY: I had to say that our producers did call the paper and they did say they stand by the reporter, that you did make those comments that Obama is acting like he's white. What did you mean by that statement?

JACKSON: Well, I have not in any way engaged into the degrees of blackness debate. I think he's black. He's Hispanic and he is brilliant. I support him and I stand by that position.

CHETRY: All right, well we want to thank you for joining us today as we said, we showed a live picture. Buses are lining up. They're expecting thousands out there in Jena. One of the organizers of the march today, Jessie Jackson. Thanks for being with us.

JACKSON: Thank you.

CHETRY: Also tonight CNN's Kyra Phillips investigates just what happened in this case. "Judgment in Jena" will be airing tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

ROBERTS: Coming up to 19 minutes to the top of the hour. New this morning, O.J. Simpson now free on bail and back in South Florida, released on $125,000 bond. Simpson has to come back to Las Vegas late next month for a hearing. He faces 11 charges, 10 of them felonies, including armed robbery and kidnapping. Simpson says he was only taking back stolen memorabilia that belonged to him.

CHETRY: And still ahead, backyard bears, would you run for the hills or run for your video camera? One woman taped this scene in her own backyard. She's going to be joining us to talk about what it was like to have those three young bears playing around on her hammock. It's interesting, because there were still a lot of bears out there, we're hearing from the crew that's there, she's still chasing them away this morning so we're going to talk to her and get a look at what's going on. Why do the bears love that house so much, besides the hammock? ROBERTS: They like the hammock.

CHETRY: Exactly. Well, the FDA import ban has some families scrambling. Could it be the last chance to have a Nordic baby from donor sperm? A shortage, why?

And Alina Cho has a story on a unique solution that some families are trying out to have the babies that they say they want. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: The only sperm bank in the country with sperm from overseas, Europe particularly is running dry. That's because sperm imports from that part of the world have been banned. Alina Cho explains how some couples are concerned on how they're getting around with it at with something that we referred to as fertility tourism.

CHETRY: Fertility tourism and we'll tell you about a that in just a second. I know you're fascinated with this story. John, you know, one couple we talked to went to this sperm bank in New York City specifically to buy sperm from Scandinavia. They wanted a blonde blue-eyed baby that looked just like them and they got one. Well, now they want a sibling from the same foreign donor but now, they may be out of luck.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHO: This beautiful and healthy 8-month-old girl looks just like her parents, even though the man who is raising her is not her biological father. Abby's mom, who did not want to be identified, says her husband is sterile so they went to a sperm bank, Cryos International. The only one in America that sells imported sperm from Scandinavia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband and I both have blonde hair and blue eyes so we pursued a donor who met my husband's physical characteristics.

CHO: At Cryos, they even do a photo match. Abby's sperm donor is Danish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People would say 'oh when she smiled she looks like me, when she frowns she looks like my husband. She has my lips, my husband's eyebrows. People see what they want to see.

CHO: Now, mom and dad want a sibling for Abby from the same Danish donor but the sperm bank is literally running dry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are running out of sperm. We have very little sperm left.

CHO: The FDA has banned sperm samples from 30 European countries over fears that foreign donors might have a rare but fatal disorder linked to mad cow disease. Sperm samples donated before the 2005 ban are exempt but they are selling fast. Abby's mom bought the Danish straws, as they're called before they ran out but she only has enough for one more try and at 41, she's afraid it won't work. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It came as a shock to me. I only found out because I had expressed interest in becoming pregnant again, and now this leaves us scrambling.

CHO: Cryos is scrambling too. The company has launched a racy ad campaign, aimed at getting American men to donate sperm, hoping would-be parents would be okay with "Made in the U.S.A."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHO: John is smirking. To be clear, the mom we spoke to say the reason she wants to get pregnant from the same Danish donor is not just because she wants a blonde haired, blue-eyed baby. She says there are health implications too. In fact, doctors tell us if their child contracts some sort of disease that requires an organ transplant, your best chance at a match is from a full sibling. Now, Abby's mom says if this last sample she bought doesn't take through artificial insemination, she's going to consider fertility tourism. John, you were asking about this. Well, that means she's going to fly to Denmark, where she is guaranteed that the sperm sample she buys, John, is from Danish stock.

ROBERTS: But they go to a sperm bank.

CHO: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: To buy this?

CHO: Exactly, yes. And she says, you know, it's actually about the same price. It's a hassle but it's about the same price because she says artificial insemination in Europe is cheaper and as you pointed out a minute ago, she considers it partly a vacation, too.

ROBERTS: There you go, you get to take a trip and get what you want and very interesting. Alina, thanks very much. Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Well, still ahead, fed chair Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill, will answer questions about the mortgage crisis and what the interest rate cut will mean to Americans who could be in danger of losing their homes. That's coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. A six school tops your "Quick Hits" now. Francis Scott Key Middle School in Houston is closed after 22 staff members got sick there. The school district is looking into whether air quality is to blame for the rash of teachers and students who say they have suffered from headaches, chest pains and other problems since school started four weeks ago.

Well, John Lu is applying to Yale, Washington University, and Northwestern and will probably get accepted by all of them. The Kentucky teenager got perfect scores on both the S.A.T. and the A.C.T. Millions of kids take the college entrance exams every year. A couple of hundred will get a perfect score on one or the other but a perfect score on both is nearly unheard of.

And chaos at a school outside of Sacramento. Take a look at this, after a huge brawl broke out between more than 100 students. Police say the fights may have been gang-related. Police took away one male student. Crowds of worried parents were waiting as police went room to room inside the building. Many of them said they were upset their kids were stuck on lockdown for hours. Kiran.

CHETRY: 52 minutes past the hour.

Ali Velshi is "Minding your Business." He is on Capitol Hill today where we're going to hear from the fed chairman.

VELSHI: About two hours from now Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will be here testifying before the House Banking Committee. Initially, they'll talk about mortgages and the president's plan to help bail people out and the fed rate cut but the conversation is going to broaden now to the economy in general and what we want to talk to our viewers about right now is the job situation in America. Where do we stand right now? Well, our unemployment rate is 4.6 percent and that is historically very low.

Most economists say that an unemployment rate below 5 percent is very healthy. Let's look at the number of jobs created over the course of the last year. Now, the number looks good but job creation has actually dropped over the last several months to the point that in August we actually had a negative number. We lost 4,000 jobs and that's a bad thing. A healthy economy should be producing at least 75,000 jobs a month and finally, let's look at wage growth. We have 3.9 percent over the course of the last year, that's actually higher than inflation. You always want your wages to grow more than your inflation so that you're ahead of the game. If they grow the same amount then you're not making any more money year-to-year. Why? Because in July there was an increase in the minimum wage, the first one in a few decades and that has helped wage growth a little bit more.

So, on the job situation, we're generally looking pretty good. There's a problem in the fact that our job creation has trended down and we're going to wait for the numbers from September to see whether that loss of 4,000 jobs was an anomaly or whether we are in fact in a problem. Because all of the issues about investment and retirement savings and 401Ks and house prices don't matter much if Americans don't have jobs to give them that income. We're going to keep following this story through the course of the morning and we'll cover the testimony of Ben Bernanke when it starts in a couple of hours. Kiran.

CHETRY: We look forward to it. Thanks, Ali.

ROBERTS: You have followed his journey thousands of miles to the United States, a badly burned and very brave Iraqi boy who needed an awful lot of help. Today he's in the operating room and our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is scrubbing in with the doctors. We'll talk with him at the top of the hour coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

CHETRY: Well, the dictionary is shorter but the English language is getting longer. There's a new abridged version of the "Oxford English Dictionary" that has a whole bunch of new words and phrases. How about carbon footprints? That's one of a bunch of environmental terms that made their debut. And there's manbag, it's for guys, you know, who need a place to put their stuff. It's not a purse and it's not a briefcase, it's a manbag. Also, the new black, that's to describe a hot trend, to say, blank, is the new black. How about that?

Here's a story coming up that you can't miss and many many of our viewers have continued to follow the story and pray for the recovery of this little boy, Youssif. He was badly burned, an Iraqi boy. Well, he has now come to the U.S. with his family for surgery.

ROBERTS: Well, it's going to be surgery after surgery for this young kid. We're following his story here in AMERICAN MORNING. Today Youssif is in the operating room at the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks, California, and our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is scrubbing in with the O.R. team. The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.

CHETRY: Breaking news, the declaration of war, word of a new tape from Osama Bin Laden aimed at Pakistan.

On the move, right now thousands march in Jena, Louisiana.

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. A six school tops your "Quick Hits" now. Francis Scott Key Middle School in Houston is closed after 22 staff members got sick there. The school district is looking into whether air quality is to blame for the rash of teachers and students who say they have suffered from headaches, chest pains and other problems since school started four weeks ago.

Well, John Lu is applying to Yale, Washington University, and Northwestern and will probably get accepted by all of them. The Kentucky teenager got perfect scores on both the S.A.T. and the A.C.T. Millions of kids take the college entrance exams every year. A couple of hundred will get a perfect score on one or the other but a perfect score on both is nearly unheard of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Breaking news, the declaration of war, word of a new tape from Osama Bin Laden aimed at Pakistan.

On the move, right now thousands march in Jena, Louisiana.

JACKSON: A trial as an adult is child abuse.

CHETRY: And a new beginning, Dr. Sanjay Gupta scrubs up for surgery on 5-year-old Youssif. The story you made possible on this AMERICAN MORNING.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: And welcome, it is Thursday, September 20th. Glad you're with us. I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: And good morning to you, I'm John Roberts. Some breaking news to tell you about this morning. There will reported be a new tape from Osama Bin Laden and it could be released this morning.

According to Intel Center, that's a U.S. organization that monitors Islamist Web site, the tape is titled "Come to Jihad." And in it, Bin Laden declares war on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and his army. Earlier we spoke with terrorism analyst Laura Mansfield about the strength of Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA MANSFIELD, TERRORISM ANALYST (voice-over): Al Qaeda is a strong presence in Pakistan and I believe it's continuing to increase in terms of prestige and in terms of its reach. The incidence of the (inaudible) mosque this summer, the Red Mosque, has greatly inflamed the situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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