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Iraq's Government Considers Criminal Charges Against Blackwater; Clean-Up Project Under Way in L.A.

Aired September 23, 2007 - 07:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is September 23rd. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: I am Rob Marciano in once again for T.J. Holmes. He is on a much deserved vacation.


MARCIANO: It is 7:00 a.m. out east here and 3:00 a.m. in Baghdad where the Iraqi government is considering criminal charges against an American private security company. It is a developing story this morning and we got you covered.


(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): We miss her and love her and we just want her to come home.


NGUYEN: A Chicago family is praying and hoping that a missing loved one will soon be found.

MARCIANO: We start with a massive clean up project underway in Los Angeles. A mudslide there trapping more than a dozen drivers, in some part of the road, the mud was more than two feet deep. The wall of mud and debris came crashing down after a sudden down pour. It happened in the hills around Griffith Park in Los Angeles. For drivers, it was a bit of a shock.


HUSSEIN ZARGARAN, TRAPPED IN MUD: I saw the cars slow down and I saw huge mud coming down from these hills. What happened next, people stopped and some people turned around and I turned around myself and went the other way. Another huge mudslide came down.

PATRICK REYNOLDS, TRAPPED IN MUD: We just pulled over on the sidewalk up here and just missed kind of getting swept away. I mean, it was -- it was fierce.

BILL O'BRIEN, HOMEOWNER: It breached the door and thank goodness the rain subsided and it stopped. But at that time I called 911.


MARCIANO: Luckily there were no injuries. But it could take a while to get clear away all that mud.

Firefighters are close to fully containing a fire that has been burning in southern Washington State, in the Columbia River Gorge. The 138 acre fire destroyed six homes and an old mill.


GABRIELLE SCHNEIDER, HOMEOWNER: They are wooden homes and they burned down to the base. Not much is left, except some houses have fireplaces and so those chimneys remain. But here, everything is gone.


MARCIANO: Most residents have been allowed back into their homes. State fire officials say the fire is about 90 percent contained.

NGUYEN: Bonnie Schneider is following all the weather out west and joins us with the Severe Weather Center there. Bonnie you know one place is getting too much rain, the other, not enough.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That is absolutely true Betty. We are taking a look at California now; I do have some good news. We just had a couple of showers reported around midnight earlier this morning but now it looks like that rain is pushing off further to the east. Taking a closer look at downtown Los Angeles, only a few spotty showers offshore and a couple further to the north. But really, things are drying out there which is good news. You have to remember that Griffith Park where we saw that damage, that was actually an area that was struck by fires earlier this year. When you have a fire-prone area, it doesn't have the trees and the shrubbery to absorb the rain when it comes down and that's why we see mudslides to those areas.

Now to the north we're getting some rain right now in the Reno area, right along Lake Tahoe, just some moderate rain. This is all part of that same system but if you're waking up early this morning in this region, you will have some downpours. Certainly along I80 if you're doing some traveling.

I want to talk about some of the rainfall totals for California. It's been very stormy over the past few days. Here is a look at some of the rain and some of this is very unusual. Downtown Los Angeles has just under .5 since Thursday and a lot of that did come yesterday in a short amount of time. We had some reports about .1 to .2 amount of rain in just an hour's time. So a lot of rain in a short amount of time there.

Now if we take a look at what else is going on. We do have the same frontal system pushing to the east, so we'll bring snow to the mountains but mild temperatures and mild conditions across the rest of the U.S. Rob, Betty, today is officially the first day of fall, but it's certainly doesn't feel that way, it is hard to find any cool temperatures on the map. NGUYEN: You've got that right Bonnie. Thank you.

MARCIANO: Thanks Bonnie.

Well the Jena 6 controversy goes online and the FBI is taking a closer look.

NGUYEN: Federal agents say they are investigating a White Supremacist Web site. One posting on that site list the addresses for five of six African-American teens facing charges in the beating a white student. CNN did first report the Web site which also features cystic and racial slurs. An FBI spokeswoman says the site essentially calls for the beating of the teens. Civil Rights activist Al Sharpton says that some of the families have been getting threatening and harassing phone calls almost around the clock.

MARCIANO: New this morning, word that a U.S. company faces criminal charges in Iraq. The Iraqi interior ministry official says Iraq's government plans to file criminal charges against employees of Blackwater, a private security company hired to guard U.S. staff in Iraq. The charges, which stem from a shooting a week ago in Baghdad, in which at least eight Iraqi civilians were killed. Iraqi officials say the shootings were unprovoked. And the U.S. claims the guards were protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy that came under attack.

Today on this "Week at War," security for hire. CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look at the role of private armies in Iraq. Could they help the situation? That's coming up this afternoon at 1:00 Eastern.

NGUYEN: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki exchanged polite words as the Iraqi leader visited the United Nations, but the state department said they did not discuss last weeks shooting in Baghdad involving Blackwater. CNN's Jim Acosta has more on Maliki's U.N. visit.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Face-to-face with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the U.N. Secretary General and chief diplomats from 20 nations, the prime minister of Iraq made the pitch that the security is getting better in Baghdad. The goal for Nouri al Maliki a greater U.N. presence and eventually a larger international role in Iraq.

NOURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (via translator): The security situation, as you know, started to improve in Baghdad today and it is not Baghdad yesterday.

ACOSTA: But it was a tough sell. This is the first meeting between the prime minister and Rice since that deadly shoot out involving Blackwater Security guards. Rice stayed away from the incident saying simply, the Iraqi people need the U.N.'s support.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think an understanding that the Iraqi people have made a choice for a Democratic life, they made a choice against terrorism and now it's the internationals communities' responsibility to help them.

ACOSTA: The U.N. worries about security linger. There are lasting memories of what happened when U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon visited Baghdad back in March. The U.N. has maintained a limited presence in Iraq ever since the deadly 2003 bombing of its offices in Baghdad. But in his remarks at the high level meeting, bond sited what he called a deteriorating situation in Iraq noting the flow of refugees out of the war-ravaged country.

Secretary General said now is the time for world leaders to do more.

BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: It was a clear agreement that the international community cannot turn away from war, even though Iraq, its civility is our common concerned.

ACOSTA: Maliki's diplomatic mission has so far been largely over shadowed by the controversy surrounding the up coming visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the U.N. general assembly meets this week, Maliki and the war tearing this nation apart will be sharing a crowded stage. This may be Nouri al Maliki's moment, but there's also plenty at stake for the U.S., which is just as eager to see the international community step up to help end an unpopular war.

Jim Acosta, CNN, at the United Nations.


MARCIANO: Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to arrive in New York later today. The Iranian leader is scheduled to speak at the U.N. General Assembly session on Tuesday. It's also set to speak at Columbia University. The protests are expected to happen at both those places. The tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran.

The U.S. accuses Iran of interfering in the Iraq war and of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

And looking ahead President Ahmadinejad sits down with CNN's own Christiane Amanpour for a one on one interview Wednesday. Be sure to tune in for that. It is Wednesday night at 10:00 Eastern on "AC 360."

NGUYEN: Taking a look at politics now, Florida is on track this morning to become a wasteland for Democratic presidential hopefuls. State party leaders are expected to announce today plans to stick with January 29th as the date for presidential primaries. That's according to a state party official. The early date goes against national party rules. The DNC has threatened to take away Florida's nominated delegates and many of the Democratic hopefuls signed to pledge not to campaign in the state.

Meanwhile, though the Democratic front runner joins our Wolf Blitzer in just a little while on "Late Edition." Senator Hillary Clinton will talk about the race, the war and then her health care plan. Also Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt will talk about the health care debate. That is "Late Edition" with Wolf Blitzer coming up here at 11:00 Eastern right here on CNN. Mitt Romney is now taking a swipe at some of his Republican competitors in a new TV ad. In that ad, he former Massachusetts governor talks about problems Republicans are having in Washington with spending and illegal immigration. He also makes reference to ethical standards, saying they've become punch lines for Jay Leno. We'll talk more about what is going on in politics just a little bit later. You want to stick around for that. We'll be speaking with John Mercurio on "National Journal's the Hotline." That comes your way in our 9:00 hour.


MARCIANO: Sad news this morning. Famed mind Marcel Marceau has died. Marceau spent 50 years playing the childish actor Bip on stage and in movies. His inspiration for many performers in fact, Michael Jackson got his famous moon walk from one of Marceau's characters. During World War II Marceau, a Holocaust survivor, joined the French Resistance. Marceau was 84 years old.

Well fears grow for a missing woman in Chicago.


(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): We miss her and we love her and we just want her to come home.


MARCIANO: Police find Nilah Franklin's car. Does it offer any clues to her disappearance?

NGUYEN: Also catch a wave. And you're sitting on top of the world; those words have special meaning for the autistic children and their parents.

MARCIANO: And a police officer gets a new pair of legs, and his old job thanks to determination.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Everything I have strived for is to get back every part of my life before the accident exactly the same.


MARCIANO: A bionic comeback, ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


MARCIANO: Out of Denver this morning, new information in the case of a missing toddler. Police say a 3-year-old girl reported by her mother as kidnapped yesterday may already be dead. They've arrested the mother and her boyfriend. No official charges have been filed yet. Police haven't found the girls body, and they are not saying why they think she's dead. NGUYEN: Well the search does resume today for a Chicago woman last heard from five days ago. Twenty eight year-old Nilah Franklin's car was found late Friday. But so far it had not been the break in the case her family had hoped for. Holly Gregory of affiliate CLTV has the latest.


HOLLY GREGORY, CLTV: Friends and family of Nilah Franklin are hoping and praying she'll be found alive. The 28-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday.

ASHLEY CHAPPELL, SISTER: We miss her and love her and we just want her to come home.

GREGORY: It has been a grueling day for her family. Franklin's car was found in Hammond, Indiana in the parking lot of Outback Steak House. Her personal belongings scattered on the ground. That discovery somehow led police to a golf course in a neighboring city. There, police dive teams searched a pond for any sign of the missing woman, but found nothing.

LEHIA FRANKLIN ACOX, SISTER: When I saw the scuba divers and heard that the pond was being searched, my heart fell. But I know that it was a necessary step and I appreciate that that was done, but I was extremely happy to hear that nothing was found. That was wonderful, wonderful news.

GREGORY: Police say Aman Franklin had a past relationship with has a history of making threats to women. A week before she vanished, Franklin filed a police report about the man claiming he was threatening her by phone. Franklin's uncle says they're getting through this difficult time with the support of friends, family and even strangers who want to help.

DWAYNE JOHNSON, UNCLE: Chicago has put his arms around the Franklin family I'm proud to say that.

GREGORY: Franklin's family say they have no idea why her car would have ended up in Hammond, Indiana, that her sales territory did not include that area and she had no connection to it. The family says they remains hopeful that she will be found alive but yet at the same time are certain she has fallen victim to some sort of foul play.

Reporting from University Village, Holly Gregory, CLTV News.


MARCIANO: And later this morning, we'll talk with her sister about what the family thinks happened to her. That's coming up at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

Well surfs up and so are their spirits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's awesome! You will have the most fun of your life!

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's an awesome event just to see the kids out there having fun.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): That was awesome, awesome!

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): It was fun. This is incredible!


MARCIANO: This story is awesome, dude. Stick around. We'll tell you how this surfing camp is helping autistic kids.

And mover over robo cop, technology and true grip what this California highway patrolman is back in action.

Wait till you hear what he had to do to pass the test. Stay with us.


NGUYEN: You're listening to the classic with "Along Came Betty" at opening night at the Monterey Jazz Festive. You've got to love the name of that song. The group has been a regular fixture at the jazz festival for years opening in 1999 and 2003. This is a big year for Monterey. They both played at the first Monterey Jazz Festival and will be headlining tonight's finally.

MARCIANO: Just down the road there in Santa Cruz is some good surfing and dude, this next story is completely awesome.

NGUYEN: Some kids with autism are learning to ride the waves; something their parents never thought was possible. Our Gary Nurenberg has so much more.


GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At a camp that teaches children with autism how to surf, you repeatedly hear one word.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's awesome! You will have the most fun of your life!

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's an awesome event just to see the kids out there having fun.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): That is awesome, awesome!

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): It was incredible!

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): We take the kids out into the ocean and get them riding.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): The parents are flabbergasted. The parents are freaked out because they never thought that children could do it.

NURENBERG: Izzy Paskowitz started the Surfers Healing Foundation after he saw his autistic son, find peace riding the waves. Now he helps other children with autism do the same thing.

IZZY PASKOWITZ, SURFERS HEALING FOUNDATION: Hi Matt we are going to have a great time bud.

NURENBERG: Nine year-old Matt Clutts got used to the surfboard on the beach, worried about wipeout.

MATT CLUTTS: If I did fall down --

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): What would happen?

CLUTTS: Game over.

CHE PILAGO, SURFING INSTRUCTOR: They're a little bit shy. A lot of them are crying and screaming. You sit out there and let them flow with the water, it's soothing.

NURENBERG: Studies of autistic children show forms of water therapy can help put them at ease. Matt gave it a shot. Surrounded by volunteers, he waded into the surf, saw some of those wipeouts, but climbed on to the board as his nervous mom took pictures as he waited for a wave.

DEBBIE CLUTTS, MOM OF SURFER: I was crying because it was so emotional to see my child on a surfboard. You don't anticipate they'll have these kinds of opportunities.

NURENBERG: But here, they do.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): How do you feel right now, pretty good?

NURENBERG: When you have a child with autism --

PASKOWITZ: It affects the whole family. So we live for our good days and we created Surfers Healing to try and give that good day. This might be the best day, you know, that they've ever had.

NURENBERG: Might be.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): You've got to try it sometime people out there!

NURENBERG: Gary Nurenberg, CNN.


NGUYEN: Thanks for the enthusiasm. The awesome were that were thrown around. It was a good day.

MARCIANO: Well campus has reopened but there is a shooter who is still on the loose. What new information police are giving about a shooting at Delaware State University? SCHNEIDER: I'm CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider. Today it's officially fall. That's right. The season began this morning. Take a look at temperatures in the northeast. It doesn't feel like fall. It's mild out there in New York and in Boston and even down in Washington, D.C. Let's take a live look at Miami and Florida this morning. Plenty of sunshine there. But we are still watching the tropics. Take a look at this.

You can see thunderstorms north of the Yucatan. This may turn into something. A lot of our computer models are developing this storm, possibly into something tropical over the next couple of days. Hurricane hunters are preparing to fly into this system later on. We'll give you a full update coming up. That plus a look at your weather forecast. That is all straight ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I plug it in every night. I have noticed that I can motivate people.


NGUYEN: He lost his leg in an accident, but it didn't keep a California police officer off the job very long.


NGUYEN: And with this ring, it's a life-long commitment, right? Or does marriage have an expiration date? We're going to tell you about one lawmaker's unusual proposal.

In the meantime, welcome back, everybody, on this CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm Betty Nguyen.

MARCIANO: And I'm Rob Marciano in for T.J. Holmes.

Also coming up this half hour.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's computerized. I plug it in every night. I have noticed that I can motivate people.


MARCIANO: And this man will motivate you this morning. He's a police officer with two prosthetic legs and nothing will keep him from his patrol.

NGUYEN: But first, officials at Delaware State University say activities on campus will return to normal today and the school will resume regular classes on Monday. As you recall, the university was locked down Friday following a shooting that left two students wounded. A manhunt continues for the suspected gunman. CNN's Kathleen Koch is in Dover, Delaware with the latest. KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As of yet there has been no arrest in the case the gunman is still at large. Delaware State University Police chief James Overton saying what they do know about the gunman is that he is a male; he is a Delaware State University student. They do not believe that he is on campus any longer. The chief wouldn't say whether or not the police know his name, only that they couldn't release any further information. The university president Allen Sessoms says they're pretty sure the individual is not a danger to the community, that this was an isolated incident. And while the chief said there have been some inconsistencies in witness's stories, the students by and large have been cooperative.


CHIEF JAMES OVERTON, DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE: We had two persons of interest. Those persons were interviewed and released. They did provide information to us that is very useful. It has led us to more witnesses that we are seeking now and one other person of interest, who we hope will shed some light on this investigation.


KOCH: Though there have been rumors that this may have been the result of a turf battle between students from two different areas, campus police say their investigation has not lead them to believe that is the case. They have not been able to establish whether the two victims in the case, two 17 years olds from the Washington, D.C. area Shalita Middleton, and Nathaniel Pew even knew each other or knew the gunman. To update their conditions, Middleton, who was shot twice in the abdomen, is hospitalized in serious condition. Pugh, who was shot in the foot, is in stable condition.

Kathleen Koch, reporting in Dover, Delaware.

MARCIANO: A deal reportedly could be reached as early as today in the ongoing negotiations between General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union. They're expected to be back at the bargaining table this morning. A key point in the week's long negotiations has been setting up a union-run trust to control pensions. The deal would need to be ratified by the autoworkers and any agreement is expected to become the template for deals with Ford and Chrysler, as well.

Some severe weather to tell but this morning. Rain causing major problems for some people in Los Angeles. Drivers stuck in the mud after mud and debris came flowing down out of the hills near Griffith Park. More than a dozen cars were trapped. Some homes and apartments are also pretty messy this morning. Cleanup crews are still working to get the muddy mess out of the way.

NGUYEN: Let's check on this with Bonnie Schneider, she is following all the western weather and she joins us now live in the Severe Weather Center. How much rain did they really get Bonnie?

SCHNEIDER: Well Betty it wasn't that much rain, really, but the problem is, this is an area was a burn-stricken area. So we've had problems with a lot of brush and trees and removed from the region so when you are talking about rain coming down in a short amount of time, mudslides are always a problem and a concern.

Looking at Los Angeles right now we don't have too much in the way of way, a lot of this precipitation will be sliding further to the east and working its way across the Rockies for today, in fact looking to the north and east we have precipitation falling in the Reno area. Into northern California near Lake Tahoe, but that's about it. I think much of the storminess will work its way further to the east. We'll be watching for that later today.

I want to take a look at the rainfall totals. This goes back to Thursday because it's been a stormy past few days. We've had almost an inch in Bell Canyon, almost an inch in Beverly Hills since Thursday. A lot of that did fall yesterday. And in Burbank, about .75 of an inch. In downtown Los Angeles, almost .5 of rain. This is measurable rain. It's unusual to see so much of it this time of year. Today is actually the first day of fall, so we should start to see more rain because it's the early start to the rainy season for California.

We are also watching other activity that is possibly going to develop down in to the tropics. Nothing yet, but you can see that little area of thunderstorms down by the Yucatan, coming up, I'll tell you more about that and what some of the computer models are saying will happen over the next few days.

Rob, Betty.

MARCIANO: I took a peek over there when I was in the weather center and some of those do get dicey. We'll check back with you later. Thanks.

NGUYEN: In the meantime on duty on bionic legs, yes a California highway patrol officer is back at work after suffering a catastrophic injury. Richard Sharp of affiliate KCRA reports.


RICHARD SHARP, KCRA: In a regular black and white patrol car, Officer Mike Remmel quietly pulls to CHP Academy in West Sacramental.

OFFICER MIKE REMMEL, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: This is the gold medal at the end of the race.

SHARP: On not one, but two prosthetic legs, Officer Remmel is here to deliver a message.

REMMEL: This was my goal from the third day after the accident.

SHARP: That accident almost took his life. It was January 10th, 2006. Officer Remmel was finishing up at the scene of a routine accident near Sonora (ph) when another driver came along and hit him. The collision severed his right foot and crushed his left leg. It took more of a year of intense physical therapy, two hours a day for Remmel to get into shape, all on prosthetic legs. His goal?

Get his life back and get back on patrol. His biggest obstacle, running 100 yards in 20 seconds, part of the fitness test for street- worthy officers. You're looking at the first day he set foot on a track, February of this year. Last month, he did it. He passed that test. You can see just how much faster he is on his high tech running legs.

REMMEL: That's not computerized. I plug it in every night.

SHARP: Today, Remmel has on his patrol legs. He is back on duty. Remmel is the first-ever double amputee to return to full service with CHP.

REMMEL: It felt just like the day I walked across the academy and they gave me the badge for the first time.

SHARP: Today, he is back at the academy and he gets a hero's welcome. He's here to share his inspirational story with hundreds of cadets.

REMMEL: I have noticed that I can motivate people.

SHARP: Remmel hopes these cadets never have to work as hard as he did to keep his badge and his tan uniform. Countless times he has told his story, motivated everyday people and impressed even himself.

REMMEL: Everything I've strive for is to get back every part of my life before the accident exactly the same.

SHARP: Remmel has become sort of a CHP celebrity. Even though he's back on patrol, he has one more goal -- to be like everybody else.

REMMEL: My goal is to get my anonymity back and just be another officer out there.


NGUYEN: And Officer Remmel says he does forgive the motorist who hit him.

MARCIANO: Well we have been telling you about the mudslide in southern California that happened late yesterday. This is fresh video now coming into CNN. A road was blocked, obviously they brought in some heavy equipment to clear some of the mud from that roadway and gets folks back up and running. That happened yesterday near where a wildfire happened just a couple of weeks ago in Griffith Park.

Bonnie Schneider tracking that situation.

NGUYEN: So it's really not an issue of them getting a lot of rain at once. It was a burn area, so --

MARCIANO: It doesn't take much at all.

For better or worse or until you run out of steam, apparently.

NGUYEN: That is not how it is suppose to work or is it? Ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING, one politician is planning to put an expiration date on that wedding license.

But first, it is the holiest of all Jewish holidays. We're going to talk with a Rabbi Harold Kushner about the significance of Yom Kippur. You are watching CNN the most trusted name in news.


MARCIANO: This morning, Jews around the world wake up to a new beginning. This is the first morning after Yom Kippur the holiest of all Jewish holidays. From sunset Friday to sunset last night, Jews observed a day of atonement. To help us understand the importance of this holiday, Rabbi Harold Kushner joins us live from Boston. Rabbi Kushner we can't see you because of technical problems of the video, but we can hear you. Good morning.

RABBI HAROLD KUSHNER, AUTHOR: Good morning. That's OK. I really sound better than I look.

MARCIANO: Explain to us, I have a lot of Jewish friends that claim I'm a wannabe Jew. But there is a lot I don't know about the Jewish faith, can you explain to me and our viewers what this holiday is all about and the significance of Yom Kippur.

KUSHNER: Well, thanks very much. I think there's a lot of Jews who don't really understand it, even some people who spent all yesterday and today. First of all it's a solid 24 hour fast, actually it usually goes on for 26, 27 hours, a real fast, no food, no water. People think it's either to punish ourselves for the successes of the past year or to impose ourselves on god's pity. Because we suffering so much. Not the idea at all. The idea of the fast, first of all, it's cleansing, it's purifying. More than that, I think it becomes a demonstration of the unique human ability to over come instinct. We are the only creatures who can do that.

We come out of synagogue having learned how strong we are if we put our minds to it. I think as I try to tell my congregation in Massachusetts yesterday. One of the messages of Yom Kippur is that god is fascinated with human beings because we can override instinct, because when we put our minds to it we can be hungry and not eat, we can be sexually attractive and not react, and we can be angry and not lash out. Nobody else can do that.

God is fascinated with us despite all of our past mistakes of the past year because we have unpredictable. Being free of instinct, having the choice between good and bad. When we realize some of the things we've done were wrong for ourselves and for the people around us, we have capable of change. I think that makes us inspiring of the presence of god.

MARCIANO: Rabbi we're watching video out of Jerusalem and in some cases I suppose it's at the wailing wall. This is how Jews are celebrating it out east. Here in the states, you mentioned there's a fast, there is ongoing temple ceremonies. What would a typical Jewish family be doing yesterday?

KUSHNER: Well, first of all, it would have started Friday night with a very early supper so they can get to synagogue before sunset. The opening prayer, is know as Kol Nidrei, it asks god to forgive us for all the promises we made last year with interest intentions, how we were going to change our habits, lose weight, be nicer to our family, give more charity and with the best will in the world we weren't able to. We don't want to start the New Year with our sense of our inadequacies. So we ask god to give us a clean start. We would have spent much of yesterday depending on our tolerance for prayer showing up in synagogue yesterday, reading our traditional service, listening to the words about how the sanctuary was cleansed in biblical times. Because the synagogue is a human institution, it may be declined in its origin. God is perfect, human institutions represent god are not perfect.

Prayers in which we see a litany of sins and mistakes that we personally may not have committed, but we are part of a society in which these things are done. We have to ask ourselves, what can we do for our behavior? What can we do as part of a society where mistaken priorities very often take over so that one year from now, we can look back at a past we can be proud of.

MARCIANO: Rabbi, your words are inspiring. If I could get a quick answer from you on this, Christians seem to have a Jewish holiday counterpart. You have Passover, Easter, Hanukkah, Christmas, what would you equate Yom Kippur to on the Christian calendar?

KUSHNER: Somebody once defined Yom Kippur to instant lent. Back when Christians took lent more seriously in terms of abstention, it's giving up certain things that are part of your regular habit. It's similar to the Ramadan month that Muslims are going through now. But its 24 hours of total emerge in which you shut the world out. In my sermon yesterday I suggested it was like the caterpillar wrapping itself in a chrysalis and emerging a short time later as a butterfly, if you do it right you come out a more confident person with a better sense of what you need to do in your life.

MARCIANO: Rabbi, on our "Faces of Faith" segment, I'm sorry we can't see your face, but your voice is soothing and your words inspiring. Good luck in the New Year and shalom.

KUSHNER: Thanks, Rob. And a happy new year to all your viewers.

MARCIANO: Thank you very much.

The country that used to be known as Burma, Buddhist monks led nearly 20,000 people in a demonstration against the ruling of military regimes. It was the sixth straight day the monks have marched in the capital city of Yangon. And was the largest gathering since protests began in mid-August. So far, Myanmar's military regime has been dealing gently with the monks push for democracy. Similar uprisings in 1990 lead to the arrest of hundreds of monks and the closings of monasteries.

NGUYEN: Well, it was a top secret spy plane and state of the art for its time. But now it is in from the cold and back home. The CIA shows off the successor of the named U-2.

Listen to this. Till death do us part, right? At least for seven years. Veronica De La Cruz is here with much more on that. Hi.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, DOT COM DESK: Good morning to you Betty. Do you believe in the seven-year itch? Do you?

NGUYEN: I am not married, so I don't know.

DE LA CRUZ: Well a German lawmaker seems to and he's proposing that all marriages expire after seven years. What do you think? Send us your e-mail to We are going to be sharing your thoughts coming up.


NGUYEN: Well scratch the notion of that seven-year itch. Because given the country's high rate of divorce, one German politician is proposing the seven-year ditch.

MARCIANO: In other words putting an expiration date on wedlock, in case your love, like a cartoon, it would go sour. Raj Martel (ph) breaks the news gently.


RAJ MARTEL (ph), CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Till death to us part. Until now, the essential vow of a marriage. But what happens when the honey moon is over? Well, a German politician has come up with a radical solution.

GABRIELE PAULI, GERMAN POLITICIAN: I propose marriages to expire after seven years. In future, people would enter marriages on a time- limited basis and would actively say yes to an extension.

MARTEL (ph): Gabrielle believes a seven-year limit would avoid much financial and emotional heart ache for Germany would help lower the country's divorce rate, but surprisingly her proposal has shocked many church leaders. But her idea does have some support here.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): There's always a turning point after seven years.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Shouldn't love be forever?

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I think the old institutions are the best. Why shouldn't we have a good marriage and work at it?

MARTEL (ph): Ms. Pauli suggestion probably comes from experience. A second marriage ended in divorce last February. It lasted seven years.


NGUYEN: Well, for some couples, seven years may seem like an eternity. But still, this idea does have a lot of people talking.

MARCIANO: That is for sure. So Veronica De La Cruz, dot com desk joins us with a look at the person behind this proposal. DE LA CRUZ: Hey you were just laughing. That wasn't funny. Her marriage ended after seven years.

NGUYEN: No, I just you know it may seem like an eternity for people.

DE LA CRUZ: We wanted to take a look at the woman who is proposing this legislation. Right?


DE LA CRUZ: Don't you want to know more about her? There's this thing out there called Google, so we decided to put it to good use and we wanted to find out more about her and she is, shall we say a colorful and well known character in Germany. Here is a quick look at some of the things we found on line. She's done a fair amount of modeling as you can see, and one of her favorite shots is apparently on top of her apparently on top of her Ducati motorcycle.

The article says that she's running in an election to lead Bavaria's Christian Social Union. So this proposal may be an attempt to stir things up in the predominantly Catholic region. You heard a bit of that in that piece, as well. We'll show you her own Web site. There she is on top of her motorcycle again. You know, this leads us all to things obviously didn't work out for this woman. What do you think? Is this too progressive? Is limiting civil marriages to seven years a realistic proposal in an instant age of divorce?

E-mails your thoughts to We're going to be reading some of them later on this morning. If you think about it, some people do look at marriage as a business and after seven years you have a contract and an out.

NGUYEN: But what's the point? If you're going to get out of it, why enter into it?

DE LA CRUZ: You know what? In Germany, the divorce rate is very high. So she actually has a point. She's trying to lower the divorce rate.

NGUYEN: Not exactly. Because if it's law then everyone is getting a divorce after seven years.

DE LA CRUZ: No, your marriage just expires. You don't have to go through the pain of divorce. You can renew your marriage if you'd like to. Otherwise, you have an out.

MARCIANO: I have a proposal. After seven years, it's like a sports contract. You get an option to extend it and the guy gets the bonus, kind of like you got the ring at the beginning.

NGUYEN: That depends on the size of the ring.

DE LA CRUZ: All right.

MARCIANO: I tried. DE LA CRUZ: Nice try.

NGUYEN: Let's talk about this extraordinary experience.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): You walked in there and you saw that black, beautiful machine and it's just amazing. It was breath taking.


NGUYEN: Flying one of a few a-12s in existence. We're going to show you that.

MARCIANO: Witnesses say it sounded like a war zone. An overnight gun fights in Oklahoma. One didn't make it out alive that is coming up at 8:00 Eastern.


SCHNEIDER: I'm CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider. We are tracking a bunch of different systems out there. First I want to take a look at what's going on down in Florida. We have some nice weather there. You'll find we have clear skies and comfortable conditions. Temperatures right now in the northeast are pretty mild considering it's the official first day of fall. Fall began earlier this morning. And we are also checking what is happening towards the tropics.

I mentioned Miami. And we've got clear skies down there, but as we head further to the south, we're also watching for a little bit of a disturbed area of weather north of the Yucatan. That will bring us a chance of thunderstorms. This may develop into something tropical. Some of the computer models are actually suggesting that it is going to happen. We're going to take a closer look at that later on this morning. Hurricane hunters are on stand by to fly into this system possibly as early as later this afternoon.

Rob, Betty?

NGUYEN: All right. Bonnie, thank you. I wanted to let you know about this programming note. Tonight, PBS rolls out a new seven-part documentary about filmmaker Ken Burns that is coming up, we are going to explain it all right after this break.


NGUYEN: Well as I mentioned tonight, PBS will roll out a new seven-piece part documentary by film maker Ken Burns. This time Rob he turns lens toward World War II. He is simply titled it "The War."

MARCIANO: Even though that conflict ended more than 60 years ago, Burns says it holds valuable and relevant lessons about the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEN BURNS: As I was doing this, I was doing it knowing that I had to do it, this was my job and I was doing what I was trained to do and I dealt with it fine. But when I got back home to the base, I got sick. I had to think about what I had done. Now, that didn't change my resolve for the next day. I went out and did it again.


NGUYEN: And you can learn much more about the series at the PBS Website,

Rob for a long time, the public didn't know they even existed. A 15 once-secret spy plans developed during the Cold War, only nine are around today.

MARCIANO: And one of them has a home on the ground of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Fredricka Whitfield has that story.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was a state of the art spy plane that flew faster and higher and took crisper pictures than any of its predecessors. Now the a-12, one of nine in existences, has a new search on the ground of the CIA.

MICHAEL HAYDEN, CIA DIRECTOR: This agency is indeed proud to welcome this bird back home to its nest.

WHITFIELD: The a-12 was supposed to succeed the U-2 spy plane flying missions deep into the Soviet Union. Its development grew more urgent in 1960 when soviet air defenses shot down Francis Gary Power's u-2, the CIA needed a plane that could fast fly and high enough to elude missiles. Seventy eight year Ken Collins was one of eleven pilots chosen to fly the new top secret aircraft.

KEN COLLINS, FORMER A-12 PILOT: You walked in there and saw that black, beautiful machine and it was amazing.

WHITFIELD: But building the plane proved difficult. Requiring innovative designs and technology to with stand the extreme heat and excessive speed.

HAYDEN: The risks assumed by the brave men who piloted the a-12 can't be overstated.

WHITFIELD: Five of the 12 plans were crashed, two of the pilots were killed and Collins experienced serious technical problems during a test flight. Collins ejected before his plane crashed in the Utah desert. By the time the plane was ready, Soviet air defenses were so good that the a-12 was too vulnerable to attack. But the Vietnam War provided a new opportunity. The military needed intelligences on North Vietnamese air defendant an economic target. North Vietnamese defenses were no match for the a-12.

COLLINS: We were trapped and they fired missiles at us, and 85,000 feet and 2,200 miles an hour didn't have much of a chance. WHITFIELD: The a-12 flew its last three missions over North Korea helping to locate the U.S. Pablo which the North Korea subs eased in 1968. Nearly forty years later Collins still misses the a-12.

COLLINS: Just fantastic airplane, still is. Unfortunate it is not flying now.

Fredricka Whitfield, CNN, Atlanta.