Return to Transcripts main page
Texas Gearing up for Massive Child Custody Case; Delta, Northwest Airlines Nearing Merger; Rising Food Costs Leading to Global Hardship
Aired April 14, 2008 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: After the raid at the Yearning for Zion Ranch, hundreds of children from a polygamist sect in Texas need hundreds of lawyers. We're on the case there.
MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: Two major airlines seem close to forming one mega-airline. Whether pilots are on board or not, Ali Velshi is going look at whether it will get off the ground.
LEMON: And you've heard it a million times, probably on television: what you say will be held and used against you. It's doubly true in politics, even, even, at a forum on compassion.
Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live for you at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
LONG: Hello, I'm Melissa Long, in today for Kyra Phillips, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: The polygamist ranch in Texas. More than a week after the raid, here what we know right now. Four hundred and sixteen children are in state custody. Some of their mothers say their children are traumatized and living in terrible conditions. They have written the governor for help.
And now, with the compound pretty much empty, the complexity begins. A Texas, west Texas court, is faced with what could be the biggest child custody case in American history. Just finding enough lawyers is definitely a challenge.
And here's a peek inside the compound. Some of the mothers took a news crew from Utah on a tour this weekend.
Let's go straight now to CNN's Sean Callebs. He's in San Angelo where a judge is trying to figure out where to start with this -- we can say it,
Sean, a monster of a custody case. I imagine it's taxing the system there.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's unwieldy, there is no question about that. Today the judge in the case, Barbara Walther, tried to get as many attorneys as they know are going to be involved with these children. In Texas state law, each child has to have his or her own attorney. So you're talking about 416 attorneys. The court has reached out to attorneys throughout the state. They know they have between 300 and 350 volunteers who have indicated that they're willing to work on this case.
Now in the hearing today what they're focusing on is how do we move forward, because this is unchartered territory. If they gave each attorney five minutes to speak, you're talking about hours of testimony. The judge said simply that can't happen.
There are tremendous concerns among the attorneys that we heard in court this morning. One, how do they talk to the witnesses? Because in many cases you're talking about minors.
Now secondly, there's also a certain degree of deception apparently going on among a number of these children who are now being held in two shelters here in San Angelo Texas. When investigators talked to him, one day the children will say, well, these two people are my parents. The next day they'll say, these two people are my parents. So they're having difficulty determining who exactly is related to whom.
And then secondly, they're also worried about who is an adult and who is a child, because birth records are somewhat difficult to come by. We know that they were -- there were a great deal of birth records seized at that compound during the raid, but to what degree is the validity of those records. So there are so many unknowns at this point.
And the big hearing is scheduled for this Thursday. So it's -- we're moving toward what is going to be a very complex process, to say the least, Don.
LEMON: Yes. And imagine it's such a closed sort of society. How do you know, you know, if that is really your parents, who has custody of whom? It's probably a really confusing situation for them.
Talk just about this. I mentioned in my lead-in to you about our first look inside of the compound, Sean?
CALLEBS: Right. Yes, exactly. "The Desert News" from Utah got inside, spent some time with the remaining adults in that compound. They talked at length about how they miss the children, how it's quiet, how it's just not the same place that it has been.
Indeed some of the parents talking about the legal process and the concerns that they have. Here's what one mother said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you imagine what it's like to come back to nothing, to empty, ransacked homes? Many things taken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CALLEBS: Yes, indeed. Someone on the site: we don't understand why this is happening. Well, the state has made it very clear, Don, why this is happening: their concerns about abuse, plural marriages, all kinds of concerns that have been very well spelled out -- Don.
LEMON: All right. Sean Callebs in San Angelo, Texas. Sean, we appreciate your reporting.
Well, everything might be bigger in Texas, but not even Texas has seen a child custody case like this one. Next hour, we talk with the former head of the Texas state bar's family law section. He'll tell us what it's going to take to represent 416 children in what could be the biggest child custody case in U.S. history.
LONG: And topping our political ticker today, fighting words between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama eight days now before the biggest remaining contest on the primary calendar.
At a trade group meeting in Pittsburgh today, Senator Clinton kept up with her attacks on Senator Obama's comments last week that some small-town voters are bitter over their economic state so they, "cling to guns and religion."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that people don't cling to religion; they value their faith. You don't cling to guns. You enjoy hunting or collecting or sports shooting. I don't think he really gets it that people are looking for a president who stands up for you. And not looks down on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: Senator Obama, meantime, keeps firing back at Senator Clinton. He appeared today at the same Pittsburgh event where he questioned Clinton's commitment to the working class. Obama also took a shot at Clinton for taking a shot at an Indiana bar over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're at election time. Candidates, they just can't do enough. They'll promise you anything. They'll give you a long list of proposals. They'll even come around with TV crews in tow and throw back a shot and a beer.
Those same candidates are taking millions of dollars in contributions from the PACs and the lobbyists. Ask yourself, who are they going to be toasting once the election's over?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: And what about the presumptive Republican nominee? John McCain weighing in, as well, at the annual meeting of the Associated Press today in Washington, D.C. Senator McCain said he did not like what he initially heard about Obama's take on some small town voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think those comments are elitist. I think that anybody who disparages people who are hard working, honest, dedicated people, who have cherished the Second Amendment and the right to hunt and the right to observe that, and their values and their culture, that they value and that they've grown up with and sometimes, in the case of generations, and saying that's because they're unhappy with their economic conditions, I think that's a fundamental contradiction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: Obama and Clinton shared their views on faith in last night's Compassion Forum. McCain was invited but declined. Not sure if you caught it. If you missed it, you have another chance to watch today online at CNN.com/live. We will be re-airing the Compassion Forum today, 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern Time. Again, CNN.com/live.
OBAMA: The shaky state of the nation's airline is on President Bush's radar today. Thousands of flights canceled for safety inspections, carriers going bankrupt. Well, the president and his cabinet covered it all in a meeting this morning.
Afterwards, the White House said, "Mr. Bush and his transportation secretary are empathetic and concerned about the disruptions travelers have raced."
Meantime, there is word a monster merger could take flight as soon as tomorrow. In just a few minutes, we'll get a live update from our Ali Velshi on the Delta/Northwest situation.
LONG: Today a CBS journalist has nothing but praise for the troops who freed him after two long, frightening months in captivity in Iraq. Richard Butler's calling his quick rescue by Iraqi soldiers "brilliant." An Iraqi military commander says troops were doing house-to-house searches of a Shiite militia stronghold today in Basra when they found Butler.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BUTLER, CBS JOURNALIST: The Iraqi army stormed the house and overcame my guards. And they burst through the door. And I had my hood on, which I had to have on all the time. And they shouted something at me, and I put my hood off and said...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BUTLER: ... and they ran me down the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: Freed today. But Butler's Iraqi interpreter was kidnapped with him on February 10. He was released three days later.
LEMON: Leadership in limbo. Zimbabwe's high court today rejected a plea to release presidential election results immediately. The country's election commissioners say they're holding back results to verify the votes.
Morgan Tsvangirai, The main opposition leader, has declared victory. He's seen here on the left. He says President Robert Mugabe is orchestrating the delay to manipulate the votes and remain in power. Other results show Mugabe's lost control of parliament, but a recount is slated for Saturday. The opposition goes to court tomorrow to stop it.
LONG: Here's a question to consider: what happens when food prices go through the roof in one of the world's poorest countries? Well, people riot; they loot, destroy. Some people die. And in this case, the prime minister gets tossed out of office.
LEMON: And the U.S. government says our food supply isn't safe, isn't safe enough. Case in point, breakfast. People who ate a certain cereal were actually having a bowl full of salmonella.
LONG: Quite a week last week for airline passengers. Certainly, the sky wasn't falling, but it maybe felt like it. American Airlines and hundreds of thousand of passengers last week.
And finally, some good news to share with you today. The Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, has cleared all of American's MD-80s to fly again. Three hundred of its jets were grounded, and more than 3,000 flights canceled so mechanics could inspect the wiring in the wheel wells.
LEMON: And all of this, Melissa, just in time to talk about two airline giants, may be joining forces and also joining fleets. Delta and Northwest are set to be closer than ever to landing a merger deal.
And there he is, senior business correspondent, Ali Velshi, live in New York with the very latest.
Hey, Ali, I've done these stories before and paid attention. And you said people are concerned, if you're a Northwest flyer, you're a Delta frequent flier, you're concerned about the quality of service that you're going to get, if you're going to continue to get it.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Sure, price, quality of service, what's happening on your miles. First of all, speaking about done the story before, I don't know how many months ago where we did this exact story...
VELSHI: ... where we were just about to see this merger between Northwest and Delta, and it didn't happen.
VELSHI: So again, lots of word it's going to happen, possibly within the next day, but don't know, and we'll bring that to you when we do. So right now, it's all speculation as to what would happen. But boy, the speculation is good.
Let me tell you, first of all, let's see if we -- I don't know if we have this map that shows you what the major cities are that both of these airlines service, the hub cities. Delta has Atlanta, Cincinnati, two airports in New York, and Salt Lake City as its hubs. Northwest has Detroit, Minneapolis, and Memphis.
So first question is will these all stay there? As far as airlines go, Don, that's not a lot of overlap. So the Memphis is probably the biggest question, because this will mainly be Delta. The new airline would be called Delta. It would be headquartered in Atlanta.
Now, your question, what's it going to do to you?
VELSHI: Well, airline fares have done nothing but go up for the last while, largely tied to the fact that oil prices are much higher and that's a big cost. So there's no one who thinks that this is going to result in lower fares. In fact, if you take competition out, that's probably going to be higher fares.
LEMON: Yes. Air fares.
VELSHI: And then, after this deal goes through, if it goes through -- and that's a big "if" -- there's also talk about Continental and United. So you're going to end up with these really big airlines. We've seen bankruptcies of the little small airlines.
So fundamentally, do I think this is going to result in you paying any less money? No.
LEMON: And it kind of reminds me of the -- I don't know if it was necessarily the good old days, when it was, like, Delta, Pan Am, Eastern. It was just several big airlines, and that was it. That's all you had. So...
VELSHI: That's right. And that was good old days, except that the prices, if you recall, were much, much higher. And what happened is prices came down; new airlines came in; different systems took over.
But fundamentally, this has not been a highly profitable and successful industry for its life. The airline industry just has not been a big money-maker. There are airlines that make money, but in this day and age, they've got to cut costs on fuel and flights.
Now, you know what happens. We've seen this with American Airlines. The flights are so full that, when they start cutting or canceling flights, people just end up stranded at airports. It's not like you fly on empty planes.
So what happens is they're trying to cut capacity out. They're trying to get -- fly fewer flights, get more money per passenger and be more efficient. So you're going to see higher fares. You're going to see higher add-ones, you know, these little things that you pay for: extra luggage, things like that. It's not all good for everybody. But if the airlines want to survive, they have to consolidate. I think we'll see a lot of it this year.
LEMON: They've got to -- they've got to do it. You remember people used to dress up to fly, Ali?
VELSHI: I very much remember. My father used to always tell me: you have to be -- have to have a tie...
VELSHI: ... and you have to be shaved. You get on -- you get on, and you see what some people wear on the flights.
LEMON: I remember the first time I got on a plane. We had to dress up. The whole family dressed up.
VELSHI: That's right.
LEMON: And it was like a thing. And now it's, you know, you go in shorts and sweatpants and nobody cares.
VELSHI: Nobody cares.
LEMON: OK. Ali Velshi, our senior business correspondent in New York. Thank you very much for that.
VELSHI: All right.
LEMON: The economy, it is issue No. 1, and we'll bring you all the latest financial news all this week. It's at noon Eastern. It's info you need to know on the mortgage meltdown, the credit crunch and more. "ISSUE #1," 12:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
LONG: Now, if you find yourself grumbling about the high cost of food, you are hardly alone. In a number of countries, in fact, it's gone far beyond that. We're going to be looking at the global food crisis.
LONG: A dire warning about food, the poor, and the global economy at a four-day meeting in Washington. World finance ministers say the No. 1 threat to the world economy isn't necessarily a credit crisis, but maybe the rising cost of food. In fact, food riots in Haiti have cost seven lives and the country's prime minister his job.
And Haiti is not alone. The World Bank is reporting 33 countries are at risk of social unrest over food. It says food prices have risen 83 percent in just three years.
LEMON: You know, Egypt is one of those places that's in turmoil over food. And our Aneesh Raman went to Cairo. It's the kind of reporting you'll see only on CNN.
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For many of Egypt's poor, this is breakfast, lunch and dinner. Called "eish" in Egyptian Arabic, it means both "life" and "bread." And recently, bread has become too expensive, after global commodity prices skyrocketed and domestic supplies fell short.
So a few weeks ago, the government stepped in. At this police- run bakery, 72,000 pieces of bread are shipped out every day to two of the 30 distribution centers set up nationwide, where the price per slice is one cent.
LT. COL. HANI EL SAID, EGYPTIAN POLICE: At this point, yes, I believe that we're turning around the corner and we are -- we have already passed the worst part of the crisis.
RAMAN: On bread, perhaps. But head to the market, and you get an earful about how prices are out of control.
As Abdel was telling us that, for him, business is down, Nadia (ph) jumped in to explain why, saying the price of rice, pasta, the things she says that the poor depend on, are all going up. And people, she says, are cutting back.
Virtually everyone here told us they're buying and eating less of the basics. Mona (ph) says she can no longer afford beans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): One day everybody will go crazy. Everyone will complain. We are tired of this.
RAMAN: They are also unsure of exactly what's happening and who's responsible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The government must go on the street and see the prices. Who is making the price go up? The government or the sellers?
RAMAN: Egypt's finance minister says neither.
YOUSSEF BOUTROS GHALI, EGYPTIAN FINANCE MINISTER: Unfortunately, the price rise is driven by what is happening in international markets. The local component is very little.
RAMAN: But critics say there is plenty of blame to go around in Egypt where there is corruption and where wages have been too low for too long. This is a country with a growing economy, with billions coming in through international investment, but little is trickling down.
GHALI: It's not enough. There are 77 million of us. For the 77 million to feel it, we need at least five, six years of seven-plus growth.
RAMAN: That's a long time to wait for butchers at this Cairo market, where the meat now outnumbers the shoppers. Ahmed (ph) has three kids, a fourth on the way, and he says he's seen 50 percent of his business vanish in the past three months, as prices have shot up.
"No, it's never been this bad," he says. "Before, all was better. But we've been building up to this point for a year. And now, it's very bad."
It's estimated that close to half of Egypt lives on less than $2 a day. And the reality is that, for them, things are getting worse.
Aneesh Raman, CNN, Cairo.
LONG: Now, in the U.S., food is a much smaller part of the family budget. Still, rising food costs are, of course, having an impact. In fact, the next time you go out to eat, you may want to take a second glance at your plate.
Susan Lisovicz is on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with more on dining out.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Melissa.
And you know, the restaurant industry is getting squeezed from both sides. Because yes, food costs are going up, and people are dining out less frequently because of the slowing economy. So restaurant industry is under pressure to shave costs wherever they can. And that does include shrinking the size of the plate.
"The Washington Post" quotes a consultant who says, yes, there have been lots of orders for smaller plates. It makes the dish look a lot bigger. The food on the dish, that is, look a lot bigger.
Another trick is, instead of serving one eight-ounce steak, serve a pair of three-ounce steaks so the diner thinks, "Wow, I'm get two steaks." But actually, you're getting two ounce less steak.
Another is lighter silverware makes the food feel heavier. And there's that psychological feeling, "Wow, you're getting a lot of bang for the buck, Melissa.
LONG: Well, you know, maybe there will be a positive effect: it will help us to shrink our waistlines in the U.S.
LISOVICZ: Wouldn't be a bad thing.
LONG: And of course, we're always talking about that.
You know, with the shrinking plates, though, the smaller portions, the price should go along with it. Will it go along with it and shrink? LISOVICZ: Well, not if you're getting, you know, less food for the same price or if you're getting less food and the price is going up incrementally.
You know, the trick here is to raise the price without diners knowing. And one common ploy, according to a consultant, who told us the best thing to do on that is any item that earns -- ends in 95 cents, raise it to 99 cents. A difference of only four cents can translate into thousands of dollars a year.
Another thing is the placement of the food on the menu. Your eye naturally gravitates toward the right side, top. Sort of the lead, if you will, in the menu. And that's where you should put your higher profit items.
Another thing is to put the price after the description of the menu, after the sauteed onions and garlic and mushrooms. After you're hooked, then you put the price, instead of having it on the other side so you can look at it separately.
All of these tricks in order to -- tricks or ideas to try to get more bang for the buck for the restaurant.
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
Melissa, back to you.
LONG: All right, Susan. Thanks so much. Of course, it will be interesting to hear about how Wall Street reacts to the news of this possibility that Delta and Northwest also getting closer to that merger.
LISOVICZ: Those stocks, by the way, have been on the move, both a little bit higher today.
LONG: OK. Good to know. Susan Lisovicz, talk to you a little bit later. Thank you.
LEMON: Hillary Clinton calls Barack Obama's comments elitist. Obama says Clinton talks like she's Annie Oakley. One thing's for sure: both are taking plenty of shots, and even John McCain is firing off a round. We'll have more on the campaign crossfire.
LEMON: Hello, everyone.
I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
LONG: And hello, I'm Melissa long, in today for Kyra Phillips. It's the bottom of the hour, and you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: We are working on a number of stories for you right here today in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hundreds of children taken from this Texas polygamist ranch about now need hundreds of lawyers. Attorneys are huddling in a Texas courthouse trying to figure out how to represent the 416 children.
A change of pace for the Olympic torch today. Cheering crowds greeted it in Oman. Cheering this time. I should emphasize that. Greeting in Oman, a big contrast to the protests in other nations. Meantime, Pakistan is closing Wednesday's torch relay in Islamabad to the public, holding it before the guests in a stadium instead. That's where they're going to have it.
You're seeing pictures of the French forces capturing some of the pirates who hijacked a French yacht off the coast of Somalia, more than a week ago. The pirates have released the 30-member crew.
LONG: Bitter, elitist, out of touch, just a few of the key words in the latest battle that is going on between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. A battle where every remark, every word, is being picked apart. And even the presumptive Republican nominee is firing off a few shots as well.
It's all of course happening just eight days before Pennsylvania's key presidential primary.
Dan Lothian is with the CNN Election Express, joining us this afternoon from Philadelphia -- hello.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello.
Well, indeed the big controversial obviously, the words were said more than a week ago by Barack Obama when he was talking about voters here in Pennsylvania -- some people here in Pennsylvania, he said, that those who were hardest hit by tough, economic times were bitter, and during those tough times have been turning to their religion and to their guns.
He later said that he was -- that he used the wrong words that he did not have the right choice of words. But, nonetheless, this has been a controversy that first started somewhat of -- as a trickle, and then really intensified over the weekend as both of the candidates now are on the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I believe that people don't cling to religion, they value their faith. You don't cling to guns, you enjoy hunting or collecting or sports shooting. I don't think he really gets it, that people are looking for a president who stands up for you, and not looks down on you.
OBAMA: Senator Clinton and Senator McCain seem to be singing from the same hymn book, saying I'm out of touch, I'm an elitist because I said a lot of folks are bitter about the their economic circumstances. Now, it may be that I chose my words badly, it's not the first time, it won't be the last.
But, when I hear my opponents, both of whom spent decades in Washington, saying I'm out of touch, it's time to cut through the rhetoric and look at the reality. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: What's interesting is that Senator McCain also waded into these controversial waters also saying that Senator Obama was elitist by making those statements. What it shows is that with just about eight days or so to go before April 22 here for the big primary here, is that all of the campaigns realize how critical this state is and they're really turning up the heat -- Melissa.
LONG: Of course, this bitter comment and the comments that were made over the weekend from Senator Clinton's camp and Senator Obama's camp where also discussed yesterday at that Compassion Forum, which McCain was invited to but did not participate in.
LOTHIAN: He did not participate in it. It simply was for the two Democrats to talk about faith and politics. That was interesting, because as you know, for so long the Democratic party has been trying to get the issue of faith into the debate.
It has been something that solely has been sort of the focus of the Republican Party. So they felt good, at least the Democratic Party feels good they were able to talk about the issues of faith and politics, talking about abortion, talking about what's happening in China, Darfur, talking about the environment as well. These are all some of the issues that came up yesterday.
In addition to that also, the candidates talked about their personal relationship, their personal contact with faith and how that has helped them not only in their lives but in politics.
LONG: Dan Lothian, live for us from Philadelphia, along with the CNN Election Express. Dan, thank you.
LEMON: Pennsylvania and its people, they're at the heart of the latest Obama/Clinton battle because they're the biggest reigning contest on the Democratic calendar.
Our chief national correspondent, John King scouts the political landscape.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the things that makes Pennsylvania fascinating, not only in the Democratic primary, but as we look for lessons heading forward to the November battleground, not only in Pennsylvania, but across the country, is the diversity of this large state. You start here in Philadelphia. It is an eastern city. A large African-American population.
Much more like New York than, say, Pittsburgh to the west, Philadelphia is the critical city in Pennsylvania because of the population, and because of the Democratic turnout inside the city. Pittsburgh, out here in the west, once the capital of steel, gateway to the Midwest. Pittsburgh, much more a midwestern city as Philadelphia is an eastern city. Still a critical battleground for the Democrats here. An area where they must run up big numbers in the general election. Then you get into the central part of the state which is fascinating. This area here, from Lancaster, all the way out here, is what locals call the t. They come up through the central part of the state, they go across to the New York border.
This is the culturally conservative agriculture area, rural area a much more Republican, almost like a southern vote in its voting patterns. We can show you what we mean by that going back to 2000. You see the results in 2000. Al Gore is blue, he wins big in the blue collar corridors in the east and the west, and the heartland, the middle of the state overwhelmingly for George W. Bush, not enough for bush to carry the state.
He lost it both in 2000 here, and again in 2004. But you see where the culturally conservative voters are, in the middle of the state. You see where the blue collar Democratic turnout is in the east of the state. This is worth remembering as we head forward to November.
If John McCain is going to make this a red state come November, he not only has to do what George W. Bush did out here in the middle part, but he has to do better than George W. Bush over here in the east, especially in the suburban collar just around Philadelphia.
LEMON: CNN's John King with his maps there. Last night in Pennsylvania, Senators Obama and Clinton shared they're views on faith in last night's Compassion Forum. Senator John McCain declined the invitation to appear.
And, if you missed it, you have another chance to watch. Just logon to CNN.com/live. It will be re-airing that Compassion Forum today 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern at CNN.com/live.
LONG: Pope Benedict XVI arrives tomorrow for his first visit to the U.S. as leader of the world's Catholics. He will be greeted at Andrews Air Force Base by President Bush and the First Lady, and that is a first as well. Never before has President Bush met a visiting leader at the airport.
The Pope will meet with the President, the White House, hold stadium-sized masses and address the United Nations. Even though his papacy started three years ago this Saturday, our Vatican analyst says Americans have a lot to learn about Benedict XVI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ALLEN, SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: I think it's enormously important both for the Pope, and also for the United States. For the Pope, he sees himself in part as a voice of conscience, in global affairs. This is a chair for him to play that role on the world's biggest stage. For the Catholic church in the United States, this is in the first place a chance for them to get to know their new leader. After three years, I think in many ways, Benedict XVI is still a bit of an unknown for the average American Catholic. Recent polls find that almost two-thirds of American Catholics say they know nothing or next to nothing about Benedict XVI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONG: Now, some of the families of the victims of the sex abuse scandal plan to make their voices heard during the Pope's visit. Some believe the Pope hasn't punished church officials who turned blind eyes to the abusive Catholic priests. And our worldwide coverage of the visit begins tomorrow morning.
The Pope will arrive in the afternoon, and we will follow throughout the week, of course, for you. You might want to mark this down, we'll be bringing you live coverage of the papal mass at Yankee Stadium. That's Sunday, 2:00 in the afternoon, herein time.
LEMON: A medical alert. Two dozen people get sick after eating cereal contaminated with salmonella. The latest recall in the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: OK, our Elizabeth Cohen is here to talk to us about this next story, and this is very serious. Because -- people in 14 states -- 14 states -- have gotten sick after eating cereal contaminated with salmonella.
So, Malt-O-Meal is pulling its unsweetened puffed rice, unsweetened puffed rice, and puffed wheat cereals from store shelves. The recall follows a government report that not enough is being done to protect our food supply. We're joined, as I said, by Elizabeth Cohen who is here.
First, what's the latest on that salmonella scare? And it's really scary. Everybody -- you know, most people have cereal for breakfast.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, and you don't -- think salmonella, cereal -- you don't put those two together.
LEMON: Right, right.
COHEN: Well they're still trying to figure out how in the world salmonella got into cereal. This is a few weeks after salmonella apparently may have made its way into pancake mix, and they recalled that. So it's really -- it seems like there's a new one of these outbreaks every day.
And on that note, the CDC has just come out with a new report that says they've been trying and trying to get these numbers down, but still they have hit a plateau just as many people are getting food borne illness as they used to. It's not getting any better.
So, if you take a look at this number, for every 100,000 Americans, 15 will get salmonella, 13 will get campylobacter and six will get shigella -- that's something you get from raw shellfish. And everybody says those numbers are just too high.
Now, why isn't it getting any better? A lot of people point to the industry. Some consumer groups say they're not doing everything they can. And also to government -- they say, for example, they're not inspecting produce as well as they should when it comes over the border.
LEMON: Yes and I'm familiar with that shigella, like south, people on water -- oysters. A lot of people...
COHEN: And not fun.
LEMON: Yes, it's not fun.
COHEN: Not good. Yes.
LEMON: OK. So, we know, the government, they've even admitted they have a lot of work to do when it comes to trying figure out how to make our food safer. What do you do at home though?
COHEN: Right. While you're waiting for them to figure it out, there are many things that you can do at home. Let's take a look at our list.
First of all what you can do is you can just -- you need to avoid raw or undercooked beef, oysters, eggs and poultry. So for example, a lot of people eat raw oysters. Authorities say it's not a good idea. And they're delicious, but not a good idea.
And also, rinse produce with water. Now I am going to add a caveat to that. The sad reality is that sometimes when bacteria get into produce, you can wash it until the cows come home, and it is not going to make a difference because that bacteria has gotten actually inside --
LEMON: Under the skin.
COHEN: -- Inside. Right, exactly. And so washing is not going to help and that's a huge challenge. They still don't quite know what to do about that.
LEMON: Not even the washing where -- people say use a little bleach, or a little dishwashing detergent. Nothing.
COHEN: Whatever -- it's just -- right. If it's gotten into the roots and into the actual --
LEMON: Oh, wow. A little scary there.
OK. Thank you, as always, Elizabeth.
COHEN: Thanks. LONG: Over the coming years, 78 million baby boomers will turn 65 in the country, and that makes them eligible for Medicare. A new study, though, finds that health care system just isn't ready to handle all of them. A committee with the Institute of Medicine finds that there aren't enough specialists in geriatrics medicine. It says that, coupled with low doctor reimbursement rates, well -- this could keep seniors from getting the care that they need.
LEMON: OK. So a swarm of bees, we've heard about that. What about a swarm of earthquakes? That's what scientists are calling the rumblings off the coast of Oregon.
LEMON: All right. Developing news into the CNN NEWSROOM. What are we looking at here? You can see -- it is a shark and it is in the water in Ft. Lauderdale, just off the beach there.
Here's what happening, we're told by our affiliate, WFOR, the beaches were closed there for a time because they spotted this shark right near the water where people were swimming. A lifeguard spotted the shark close to the shore. Everybody was ordered to get out of the water until the shark left the area. People were not allowed in the water for any more than a half hour. That's about how long it lasted.
Officials don't know exactly what type of shark it is, but we're told, though, it looks like a black tipped reef shark. And just so you know, black tipped reef sharks are considered nonaggressive, not likely to attack humans without being provoked.
But we are told that that beach is open now. Lifeguards patrolling the area determined that the shark was gone. But, you could really say in this case, maybe crisis averted, because we always talk about shark attacks. Well at this point, lifeguard spotted the shark and he saw it's coming in the water --
LONG: And I'm sure the beaches are abnormally packed this week because of spring break.
LEMON: Because of spring break, yes.
LONG: Because there's so many kids.
Well, apparently you have to go down to Ft. Lauderdale -- you have to go down to Miami to find the heat because it's darn chilly here today in Atlanta. It's chilly up and down the East Coast.
Jacqui Jeras is keeping an eye on the weather for you and Jacqui, what's going on?
LEMON: Just to take away the grumpiness.
LONG: So you have the right to complain today.
LEMON: All right. Thanks, Jacqui.
Let's talk about the Earth. It' shifting under the sea in the Pacific Northwest. More than 600 earthquakes have been recorded in the past ten days. For now, though, scientists are saying, don't worry.
We've got the story from reporter Keeley Chalmers of CNN affiliate, KGW in Portland, Oregon.
KEELEY CHALMERS, KGW REPORTER (voice-over): The swarm of quakes started a couple of weeks ago, off the southern Oregon coast. The latest, a magnitude five, struck about 200 miles west of Bandon.
VICKI MCCONNELL, GEOLOGIST: It is interesting, but it's not something that we consider threatening.
CHALMERS: State geologist, Dr. Vicki McConnell, has been monitoring the quakes. She says they've all been happening along the same fault line. But she adds, they are not related to the nearby Cascadia subduction zone.
MCCONNELL: These are relatively shallow; they're only occurring about six miles deep.
CHALMERS: Scientists believe the Cascadia subduction zone caused a magnitude nine earthquake near the Pacific Northwest 300 years ago. McConnell says the recent quakes are much more shallow, measuring magnitude five or smaller.
MCCONNELL: They don't have enough of a magnitude and they're not the type of movement that we would worry about tsunamis or anything else.
SCOTT BURNS, GEOLOGY PROF., PORTLAND STATE UNIV.: We have been following them.
CHALMERS: Portland State University geology professor, Scott Burns, is also monitoring the quakes. He believes these tiny tremors are a good thing.
BURNS: If you have a whole bunch of small earthquakes, that's good. You're releasing all of that energy; that's good.
CHALMERS: And although they are not directly tied to the Cascadia subduction zone, Burns wonders whether these quakes could be a precursor to a much bigger one to come.
BURNS: The question -- are we going to get the big one? The answer is, yes. The question is when. And we don't know.
CHALMERS: And that could be hundreds of years away. These quakes now, simply tiny reminders of our constantly changing Earth.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: That was Keeley Chalmers.
Scientists are keeping tabs on quakes with hydrophones on the ocean floor. That's the same technology used during the Cold War to track Soviet submarines.
Melissa, why don't we bring in Jacqui Jeras here. I want to ask her a question because he said not to worry, it's good that it's releasing energy.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right.
LEMON: But I thought that they were sort of connected, when one thing shifts, another shifts and that can cause problems elsewhere.
JERAS: That can happen. But it's releasing a lot energy. And more than anything, it's just kind of a gee whiz, it's kind of a cool thing. And swarms can be very different than, say, one large earthquake and then a bunch of little aftershocks.
When we see a swarms like this, these are individual earthquakes that kind of happen in the same general area. But when you have a large quake and then several aftershocks, the aftershocks tend to be a little but weaker.
And just to kind of give you an idea of where this is, I put it on Google Earth, and we put on data from the last couple of days to show you where some of these quakes have been. There you can see the pacific northwest and all of these dots that you can see over here, off the coast, those are some of the more recent quakes that we've had.
This blue line here, that's what we call the subduction zone, so that's kind of where the plates, one lays on top of the other. So we would tend to see more activity here. But most of the swarms have been a little bit farther out over the Wandapuka (ph) plate.
And then I can go ahead and query some of these, these orange ones are the most recent. Look at that one. That one just happened this morning, 4.8. So it's week enough that it's not bothering anybody, and offshore enough that it's not been a real problem.
Something to watch. And I guarantee you, those scientists are going to be studying. If anything big comes after this, they're going to try and find some kind of relation.
LEMON: I know everybody's waiting on the big one, the big one. It's coming but no one knows.
JERAS: One day.
LEMON: Yes, one day.
OK. Thank you, Jacqui.
JERAS: Sure. LONG: Now what do you think about a curse on the Yankees? Forget about it.
LEMON: Forget about it.
LONG: We're going to tell you about the fuss over this tattered baseball jersey -- coming up.
LONG: The stories you're finding most interesting today -- well here are some of the most viewed stories on our Web site, CNN.com.
A 17-year-old in Oklahoma is being called a hero for rescuing his little neighbor from a dog attack. A shar-pei and a pitbull grabbed that five-year-old and dragged him away. The teenager heard him screaming and rushed right over. The little boy -- yes, he has a bunch of stitches but he's just going to be fine.
If oysters really are an aphrodisiac, this guy, you're going to meet in a minute, with the mohawk -- well there he is, was set for quite a spicy weekend. He polished off 35 dozen raw oyster in eight minutes. That was to win a contest in New Orleans. Do the math, 35 dozen, that's 420 slimy shellfish.
And doctor's orders or no? A "Dr. Phil" staffer bailing out a Florida teen accused in a vicious attack. The show says this "went beyond our guidelines." They scrapped plans to do an episode on the story.
All this, and much more on line today, at CNN.com
LEMON: This one is unbelievable. I can't believe someone --
LONG: Great story.
LEMON: I know. I watched it -- Fredricka Whitfield filed a great report on this. I was sitting there watching it like, oh my gosh, this is true.
LONG: It was creative.
LEMON: Very creative. Forget about. Next time you say it you've got to use the hand OK, Melissa.
LEMON: A potential curse averted by the New York Yankees after seven hours of digging. Look at this, construction workers excavated a Boston Red Sox jersey buried under the New York Yankees stadium by a fan of the Yankees hated rival.
The saboteur had worked at the construction site. He confessed last week to the "New York Post" prompting indignant cries of desecration with evidence now in hand, the Yankees say they may file suit. But on what grounds? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN SMITH, ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: Well, there's a curse charge.
No, no. But really, what they can do is -- he's intentionally altered a construction site, which can actually cause problems, safety concerns, things like that. They can do something on that. They could also -- there's the issue of actually causing charges to be incurred by having to dig this out.
So, they can file criminal charges against them, I don't think that would really happen here. But I don't think they'll just let it go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: They can't. Remember the of the goat.
LONG: Who could forget?
LEMON: The Cubbies -- they still haven't won yet.
The Yankees say they'll clean the shirt up and sell it for auction with proceeds going to the Children's Cancer Charity. That is good, good news.
And the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxantshop.com