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Beirut Street Clashes Fueled by Hezbollah Speech; Aid Slow to Reach Cyclone-Damaged Parts of Myanmar

Aired May 8, 2008 - 13:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You can hear the gunfire there. Barrage in Beirut. Gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades in the shadow of an ominous pronouncement from Hezbollah. Our Cal Perry is on the street of the Lebanese capital.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Our other huge story: aid to Myanmar, it's finally getting in, almost a week after tens of thousands died, hundreds of thousands lost everything in a monster cyclone. The government still keeping most outsiders out, but CNN is there.

LEMON: Of course, the bad weather in Myanmar. We're also watching some violent storms on the home front, an apparent tornado in Mississippi. The prospect of more in Alabama. Of course, our Chad Myers will have all the latest for you. He is checking that right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Meanwhile, it is a very busy day when it comes to international news. Of course, we have Myanmar and Beirut. We'll tell you about everyone who's watching that, and we'll tell you what's going on in both of those places. We're monitoring our international desk.

I'm Don Lemon.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar. Welcome to a very busy Thursday in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: We're going to tell you now about the long and angry power struggle in Lebanon as it explodes into open warfare there. You have seen all the pictures, and you've heard it live from our Cal Perry as a firefight went on right in the middle of the streets of Beirut. And he was right in the middle of it.

Now -- right now monitoring that situation. Igor (ph) is handling Cal Perry. You see Cal Perry in the monitor there, preparing for a live shot. Just as soon as we show you what happened to him just moments ago.

Now, Talia (ph), she is handling our Beirut bureau chief, Brent Sadler, also getting ready to talk to us live about what's going on very near the CNN bureau in Beirut.

But just a short time ago, live on our air, we want to show you what happened to our Cal Perry.




KEILAR: All of that audio being picked up by Cal Perry's microphone in the middle of Beirut. Let's go ahead and bring him in live now from Beirut.

Cal, can you update us on the situation there?

CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, we're still hearing gunfire throughout sections of this city about three hours after it kicked off.

Now all this followed a speech by Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah. He was commenting on what the government had said just two days earlier. The government came out and said that the telecommunications network that's run by Hezbollah, that is a private telecommunications network, is illegal and a threat to state security.

He called that statement by the government a declaration of open war and also said that this was a new day for Lebanon. And it certainly has been exactly that. We've seen some heavy fighting in some areas of the city. No fighting in other areas of the city.

It's important to note, in a place like Beirut, where we were pinned down by gunfire just a few hours ago on our way back, making our way through the city, we drove past restaurants that were full. Quite an interesting feeling being in a car with your flack jacket on and you look out the window and people are having dinner in the street. But that's really systematic of Beirut and the city, when you can have fighting, heavy fighting breaking out in one section of the city and quiet in another -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Now Cal, talk about that telecommunications network. Because it sounds basically like the government was saying Hezbollah was using it for Intel on their enemies. What can you add to that?

PERRY: The government was saying exactly that, that this was basically -- or they were framing it as sort of an offensive weapon.

Now, Nasrallah said, really, that's not the case, that this was a defensive weapon, that the Hezbollah leadership was using this to communicate amongst themselves.

He referenced the war with Israel two summers ago and said without this telecommunications network their, quote, "divine victory" would have been much harder to sort of achieve, that they used this telecommunications network to keep Israelis on their toes, to communicate with the fighters around the southern suburbs of Beirut. And that's really systematic of what you see across this country. Hezbollah enjoys a major power base here in the southern section of Beirut and across the southern part of the country, Brianna.

KEILAR: And we see Lebanese forces in some of this video. What role exactly are Lebanese forces playing?

PERRY: I think our senior correspondent, Brent Sadler, said it the best. They're really caught between a rock and a hard place. This is an army whose job it is to really deflate the situation, calm things down and, at times, prevent this from happening.

When we were sort of pinned down behind this building, we were pinned down with Lebanese forces.

And when you look at the job that they have to do, to go out in the street between two armed factions who are firing at each other, it's actually ludicrous to think that they would do that, that they would put themselves between the two forces. That's what they're charged with doing. But when this happens, when things flare like this, as they have so quickly, it's incredibly difficult to, of course.

KEILAR: And Cal, put this in some context for us, because obviously, these are not just the events of the day. This doesn't just happen in a vacuum. There is a long history of violence in Beirut, even stemming back to the summer of 2006. Tell us about that.

PERRY: Absolutely. The summer of 2006, of course, was the Summer War, as it's called in certain places. That is the war between Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces. That was an incredibly violent time, of course, here in Lebanon.

Since then we've really seen an ongoing political crisis here in the country. It's an incredibly complicated political process, but one that's left the country without a president since November, since the president resigned. They've tried now 18 times to hold a vote in the cabinet, and they have been unable to nominate a new president. They're supposed to try it again on Tuesday. But of course when this is going on, people are not optimistic at all, Brianna.

KEILAR: Thanks, Cal.

Cal Perry for us in Beirut. Please stay safe, Cal.

And of course, Cal took shelter with the Lebanese army, as he said, earlier today when he was out there on the streets. Here is more of what it sounded like when he called into CNN.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Describe that -- what we hear behind you sounded like an RPG round just a few moments ago, but it sounds like pretty constant gunfire.

PERRY: Exactly right. There is a considerable amount of gunfire, as you can hear. I'm situated at what's called Zotokos (ph) Square, which really is between a Shia neighborhood and a Sunni neighborhood. So if clashes were to kick off, this is right where they were. And it looks as though they have.

Now, the Lebanese army, which is charged with trying to keep peace, when you're talking about this much gunfire, when you're talking about RPG fire, it's absolutely ludicrous to think that the army is going to put themselves between these two factions.

HARRIS: Cal Perry. What an involved scene he is reporting in. Maybe let me just give it just a moment here. Gunfire all around his location right now. Two neighborhoods seemingly at odds right now.


HARRIS: And what you're hearing is the exchange of gunfire between these two neighborhoods, a Sunni neighborhood and a Shia neighborhood.

All right, Cal, we just want to stay with you a bit longer here because of the intensity of the gunfire. So maybe we can sort of play this by ear to give folks an opportunity to hear it for themselves as you describe, take a moment to describe where you are in the activity. We're starting to see some pictures, as well.

PERRY: I'm in the neighborhood called Zotokos (ph) Square, which is downtown Beirut. And it's right along what is formerly known as the old Green Line from the civil war. It's obviously called the Green Line because it separates Shia communities with Sunni communities.

Excuse me, Tony. You're hearing now another RPG, more automatic gunfire.

The Lebanese army is out on the streets. They've been out in force in the past few days since this crisis really started. The Lebanese army really has probably the worst job in Beirut, Tony, which is they try to keep calm in these neighborhoods. But as you can hear, how do you bring calm to this kind of stuff?


HARRIS: To hear it for themselves. So maybe let's just give it maybe 30 seconds of silence here so folks can actually hear for themselves what is going on very closely in your location there in Lebanon.


PERRY: Tony, I'll give folks an idea of what you're listening to. You're hearing the loud explosions, we believe, are RPG explosions. We're behind, believe it or not, a Dunkin' Donuts, a very large building here, taking cover with the Lebanese army. It's the kind of situation where you don't want to move. You want to stay where you have cover. You can hear an exceptional amount of gunfire. We've seen gunmen on the roofs. This is a serious problem for the Lebanese army, because if you venture out from behind these buildings, you leave yourself, obviously, vulnerable to snipers. So that's right now what's happening. I have not seen them deploy yet, Tony.

HARRIS: All right. Let's listen for just a few more moments here.


HARRIS: And as you take a look at the pictures right now, you can see -- I won't begin to describe who that's on the move right now. But you can certainly see armed men on the move.

And also Cal we're seeing some of these pictures...


HARRIS: Cal, let's take a moment and give our viewers a reset of what is going on now, the pictures that they're watching.

PERRY: Tony, I'm sorry. I'm having trouble hearing you, obviously.

HARRIS: No, no, no.

PERRY: The bottom line here is you're basically listening to the anatomy of a gun battle in downtown Beirut.

This all started about 48 hours ago. The government came out, declared Hezbollah's telecommunications network illegal. That caused protests, sit-in, and a speech from Nasrallah declared it open war.

The concern here in Beirut is exactly what you're hearing right now, which is that neighborhoods are going to turn on each other. We had seen this morning neighborhoods already separating themselves from each other. We saw armed gunmen on the streets, turning people away from the neighborhoods.

I actually -- you can hear there, Tony, another RPG going off. I actually walked from a Christian neighborhood this morning to work, and I got turned back about five or six times.

I'll let you listen in a little bit more.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Cal, this is Betty in Atlanta. And I want to ask you, as we're listening to this, this is an enormous amount of fire power. Is this something that folks on both sides have been preparing for?

PERRY: I think in many ways it's something that everybody here in Beirut feared because of the bloody civil war that lasted 15 years. Everybody has memories of that civil war still fresh in their minds. Beirut is an incredibly beautiful city. There's an incredible beach front. It's peaceful; it's incredibly peaceful. But I must says, I met with a friend of mine the other day who's lived here for years, and he said it's quiet in Beirut until it's not. And it only takes an instant, and there's complete chaos. The fear is that that's what's happened.

NGUYEN: Were there any warnings at all for the people to stay indoors, to take shelter as this sparked about 48 hours ago?

PERRY: Well, there weren't warnings, per se, but here in Beirut people are incredibly politically astute, and they did see this coming. All throughout the day, talking to people across the city, they're saying, we're just waiting with baited breath to hear what Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has to say. It's all going to depend on what he has to say.

He came out with incredibly stringent words, saying that this was, quote, "open war" on Hezbollah. That obviously has led to what we're hearing now and seeing now in downtown Beirut.

But people had pretty much given up on going to work in the past 24, 48 hours. As I said, when you have armed gangs of young men from different factions roaming their own neighborhoods and protecting them, people simply obviously don't want to go to work.


LEMON: Again, that was just earlier this morning on the CNN NEWSROOM. That happened live on the air as Tony Harris and Betty Nguyen were talking to Cal Perry.

Our Talia Kayali (ph), she has been handling Brent Sadler. He's our correspondent over there. He has been covering the Middle East for decades now. And Brent joins us now by telephone.

Brent, I want to ask you this. Talking to Talia and also to you on the phone just moments ago, what people are wondering, talk to us about the possibility of this being another civil war.

BRENT SADLER, BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: This is the big fear haunting the Lebanese capital tonight and the country as a whole, Don.

For months now there have been reports the old wartime militias were getting their hands on weapons -- light weapons, not heavy stuff -- preparing for street battles if the politics that complicated, religiously-backed politics of this country got out of control and two rival, warring political camps stopped really using the rhetoric and turn to the law of the gun.

And that's what happened today after the speech by Hassan Nasrallah, who said, as Cal reported, that the government, in terms of Hezbollah's viewpoint, have declared war on Hezbollah.

And both political camps here have very, very large numbers of supporters who are prepared to pick up weapons and fire them. So the return of rocket-propelled grenade bursting through parts -- not the whole capital. Christian areas, for example, are largely -- largely not involved in this.

But to have RPGs and machine gunfire at the level we saw Cal in the middle of today, ripping up small parts of this city to shreds, this really puts up the jitters to the Lebanese fear that this could be the opening round of a return to those dreaded civil war years here that went on for 15 years -- Don.

LEMON: All this we're hearing about this monitoring equipment in the airport, this is only a small part of it. You said this has been simmering for months.

SADLER: Yes, Lebanon has had no president since the end of last year. Lebanon's institutions of state are basically run by rival groups, some of them based on the old civil war political divisions.

Yes, the capital was reopened after the end of the civil war back in 1991. I saw that happen. I saw the city come to life, the beauty of Lebanon return, and the country flourish.

But what I saw today on the streets of Beirut threw me back to the dark years of the civil war, with sand embankments reemerging, burning tires, checkpoints, and the reemergence of militiamen, armed, masked gunmen with RPGs on their shoulders and assault rifles, fighting away at each other in these vicious turf wars, Don.

LEMON: So Brent, why can't the Lebanese army, then, bring law and order to the streets there?

SADLER: Well, like the politics, complex as they are, Don, in this country, the army is based on religious groupings. The army is split amongst the various religious groups whose leaders have been warring in words for the best part of two years.

So for the army to take action and end up creating bloodshed against one side or the other, it would pitch the army right flat bang in the middle of it, and the army could fragment, break down along religious lines, as it did during the civil war. And that would only make matters even worse.

It's possible that the army could be called to barracks and that the street fights could be left to continue unchecked. Or the government could try to use the security forces to impose a curfew or even emergency law. Too early to confirm any of that, but certainly, right now, Saad Hariri, who is the leader of the parliamentary majority that supports the western-backed government, is on air responding to today's events.

And his -- his attitude after the Hezbollah leader's fiery speech will be pivotal in seeing whether this escalates even more or whether or not behind the scenes there could be any negotiation between these leaders to get the fighting off the streets and the fighting to be returning to wars of words. Difficult to say whether that can or cannot happen at this stage, Don.

LEMON: All right. Our correspondent in Beirut, Brent Sadler.

Brent has been covering the Middle East now for decades. And our Cal Perry also there caught in the middle of a firefight this morning.

As you can see here, the international desk very busy here. Could barely hear what was going on, because it's so busy getting calls from everyone there. We're on top of it. This is the worldwide resources of CNN that you see operating here. We'll have updates on this story, what's happening in Beirut, as well as what's happening in -- in Myanmar throughout our newscast today -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Thanks, Don.

A global manhunt for a suspected pedophile may have paid off. This man is now in custody in New Jersey. And we'll have a live report to tell you why police think they've caught their man.

In Philadelphia, strong words from the mayor and police commissioner after police are caught on camera beating three suspects. We'll have the latest from our Jason Carroll in Philadelphia.

And Myanmar's misery, and the worst may be yet to come. Thousands dead already. How many more when the flooded coast becomes unlivable?


LEMON: Food, water, medicine, shelter, they can't get enough in Myanmar, and they certainly cannot get in fast enough. You know they're having problems getting aid in.

We've been reporting that almost a week after an immense cyclone barreled into that country's most densely populated region, the pipeline of international relief is still all but closed. A million storm survivors are homeless, and without a lot of help, and help fast, experts warn a lot of people still could be getting sick there.

The main problem: Myanmar's government. The ruling generals only today began allowing relief missions from other countries and the U.N. And some food, some blankets, some health kits are getting in now, finally. But only a few and none so far from the United States.

KEILAR: There is only one Western journalist in the country, and that is CNN's Dan Rivers. He has entered Myanmar and has seen for himself the terrible conditions there in the delta near Yangon.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're in the heart of the Irrawaddy Delta. We've arrived here by boat, because the roads are so difficult coming down through here.

We're getting terrible stories in the village behind me. This is sort of where many of the refugees from the destroyed villages have pitched up. There is absolutely no help here at all. We are the only outsiders they see. No government soldiers and no aid agencies. Just talking to one 79-year-old man who's lost his granddaughter, his grandson, his daughter-in-law and his sister. It's a terrible tragedy. There's talk of entire villages having been wiped out, of -- of numerous bodies still floating in the water. So it's a pretty grim scene down here. Very, very inaccessible.

And the damage further down the river is -- sounds horrific from what the villagers are saying here. They have got food in this village but certainly not much. And it's very, very basic conditions. Not quite sure how long the refugees who've arrived here can last before they'll need help from the outside world.

Dan Rivers, CNN, southern Myanmar.


LEMON: Checking the latest wires from Myanmar, the CNN wires, to see if we've gotten anything new. And while these guys help me with that, I want to go now to someone who's working for World Vision who can talk to us about aid. World Vision, of course, is a humanitarian group dedicated to poverty issues and countries around the world.

We're going to talk now to Tim Costello with World Vision.

And Tim, I know the government restrictions, as far as getting into Myanmar, they're very strict about who they would allowed in -- allow in. But it would appear that NGOs and even the U.N. would have -- would be making more of a headway.

TIM COSTELLO, WORLD VISION: Yes, look, it's -- it's a very different situation to the tsunami than the -- I think, it was -- Abraham Lincoln was in the region and helicopters and heavy lifting and a hive of activity at (INAUDIBLE) gulf (ph), Banda Aceh, Sri Lanka and the other affected areas. I can't say that's happening here yet.

What is happening is that local agencies -- World Vision has been here for 30 years -- and others who are trusted, loved by the people, do have the green light from the government to be responding, going into areas that once were restricted, these disaster areas, to us.

However, the pipeline really has to be much wider than the trickle getting through. And this needs to be a full-bodied stream. Such is the scale of this disaster and humanitarian crisis.

LEMON: Yes, and Tim, we're going to talk to our State Department correspondent about this in just a little bit. But just reading the latest CNN wires here, they're saying that there's the possibility of some air drops going on, and that will certainly help -- help the conditions there.

COSTELLO: Oh, look, absolutely. The door is opening a bit more. And as I say, in country we've been getting the green light. But we're having to buy food in the shops at double the price. We do have airlifts that we want to get in, as do other aid agencies.

But the good news is that a couple of U.N. planes have landed. And I believe more will start to land. Such is the scale of it, though, there will have to really be many, many flights and the world being generous and staying with this, despite the frustration and feeling that we just -- it's not our problem. We want to turn off. These -- these people really are desperate and it calls on our humanity to respond.

LEMON: Absolutely. OK. Also, here's what I want to talk to you about. It's -- you know, Myanmar seems like it is so far away. When we talked about the tsunami, you know, people from the west at least visited that area a lot because of vacationing, what have you. But this is really an area that is remote, that doesn't get a lot of visitors from the U.S.

I want to talk to people about just the conditions there in a heartfelt way. And I think no one did it better than Dan Rivers. And I want you to take a listen to this and then talk to us about how people may want to respond to this. Take a listen to this.


RIVERS: There is absolutely no help here at all. We are the only outsiders they see. No government soldiers and no aid agencies. Just talking to one 79-year-old man who's lost his granddaughter, his grandson, his daughter-in-law and his sister, it's a terrible tragedy.


LEMON: As we look here at and you look at the faces of those children, how might we get people to understand what's going on there?


LEMON: And the need to give?

OK. It appears we lost Mr. Costello. Obviously, we've been having some problems with communication there.

But we know that you might want to help in this situation, of course. And at we have a very special page for you on the devastation in Myanmar, complete with links to the aid organization and the organizing in that region. And go to It's called Impact Your World, and it's right on our Web site, right here on And you, too, can help. And we can tell you -- we can be your guide to that -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Thanks, Don.

American supplies, troops, aircrafts, ships and experts are all ready to get to work in Myanmar, but they can't until they're invited. CNN's State Department correspondent, Zain Verjee, sat in on a briefing today addressing that challenge.

Zain, did we learn anything?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, we did. We learned at the briefing just a short while ago that the U.S. is looking at a lot of different options here.

One of the options they're taking a look at is whether they should drop food by air and other supplies down onto Myanmar without the permission from the government. The government has been stalling giving U.S. plane visas to come into the country and see what the situation is on the ground and help the people there.

So that's one significant thing that came up at the briefing. But the official did insist that air-dropping food and supplies is not the most efficient way. It's really not the best idea, because you can drop supplies, but there's really no infrastructure, no way there that they can distribute this kind of food effectively.

There are also, he said, some legal issues.


KY LUU, USAID: I can't tell you what the legal ramifications are. I can say that, if we were given permission to go in, that we would do so. If, let's say, we were only given permission to be able to drop off food, again, that is something that we would do.


VERJEE: The U.S. says that the most important thing right now that they want to focus on is to urge the government in Myanmar just to let them in and many other aid agencies and countries that want to get there on the ground and help improve or to some extent alleviate the catastrophic situation on the ground.

KEILAR: Zain, if the government were to do these air drops, do we have a sense of how long it would take for them to begin doing them?

VERJEE: No. They -- they didn't say at the briefing. They said it's something they were considering. But I would imagine, given the scale of the crisis, this is something that they would get on and do immediately.

There are U.S. planes on standby, military planes as well as a U.S. disaster team stand buying in Thailand. So they could get there pretty quickly once activated.

KEILAR: All right. Zain Verjee for us at the State Department in Washington.

The other big story that we're covering today, violence in Beirut -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. Beirut. We're calling it the battle in Beirut because it happened live on our air here. We're working with our international folks here to find out exactly what's going on, the latest information on that, working with correspondents and the worldwide resources of CNN.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Don Lemon live here at the international desk at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

We have new pictures just coming in. If you look at these monitors here, we are monitoring al-Jazeera as well as other networks in that area.

These are now pictures. Take them full for me, Scotty (ph). This is Beirut and it's video from earlier in the day here. But you can see the fire fights going on in the street. This is what our Cal Perry was right in the middle of when he talked about hunkering down in the back behind a Dunkin Donuts there, this right in the area where he was. You can see the mortar and the gun fire and people running for their lives and trying to seek cover here.

This is an amazing situation that took live on our air here right in the CNN NEWSROOM. But I'm getting these new pictures and looking at them for the first time just as you are. You can see the army and the military out on the street. In the background there, you can hear the television folks and the people who are talking about what's going on. That is being played out. You see it's just total chaos here on the streets and all this happening really not far from our bureau in Beirut.

Of course we have our Brent Sadler who has been covering the Middle East for years now for a couple of decades. And of course Cal Perry who is in the middle of that gun fire, we have him there, as well. We'll be going back to them throughout day here in the CNN NEWSROOM. You won't miss a thing.

Meantime, Brianna Keilar has other news for us.

KEILAR: Don, when the going gets tough, the tough really do go shopping. That may be the conclusion from the April retail sales numbers and Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with more.

This is counterintuitive, Susan.


When you look at who some of the big winners are, it really starts to make sense Brianna. Retail sales came out in April, came in ahead of expectations. But let's face it, expectations were pretty low. Wal-Mart had a strong showing again. The world's largest retailer posted sales that climbed over 3 percent in April. It was ahead of its own forecast. The company was helped by this trading down trend as many shoppers continued to try to save on essentials and Wal-Mart has been offering more discounts.

Meanwhile, warehouse discounters, Costco and BJ's warehouse were also standouts last month and of course, they do a lot of (ph) all things for cheap. Some other retailers however performed well. Target sales climbed above 3 percent. That's in the discount space as well. Saks at the other end up nearly 24 percent. Some losers though, JCPenney sales fell nearly 2 percent and Gap was down by 6 percent. Overall the readings were not as disastrous as some had feared Brianna.

KEILAR: So that does make a little sense. Good numbers there in April, but it's really a turnaround from March.

LISOVICZ: That's right.

A lot of analysts look at March and April together though Brianna because Easter generally falls, well always falls in one of those months and they feel like it's a more accurate, better read looking at them. If you do put them together, sales inched up less than 1 percent. In the first four months of the year by the way, sales have averaged just 1 percent per month. That's well below the long-term trend, too.

Consumers certainly feeling stretched. A government report out yesterday showed borrowing rose a lot in March as many consumers put more purchases on their credit cards. Here on Wall Street, investors aren't buying. That's really the major report of the day, the retail numbers.

The Dow right now up 67 points, one-half a percent. The Nasdaq is up 3/4 of a percent and oil is down better than about 68 cents. Coming up, TV ads for prescription drugs take center stage on Capitol Hill. I'll have that and more in the next hour of this very busy NEWSROOM.

Brianna, Don, back to you.

KEILAR: Thanks Susan. We'll check in with you next hour.

LEMON: As we monitor here the situation happening in Beirut, also the situation happening in Myanmar. We are looking at new pictures coming in from our sister affiliates and also CNN international here. We'll be checking on that. Also another international story, a worldwide alert, a huge public response, now an arrest. We'll tell you about a suspected pedophile busted.


KEILAR: Emotions ran high and nerves were on edge when a cop was gunned down in Philadelphia. The commissioner says that is no excuse for other cops to beat suspects.

CNN's Jason Carroll reports.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The video captured by a Philadelphia news helicopter has stunned the city and shamed its police department. It shows what happened late Monday night after police stopped three men suspected in a shooting. At least a dozen officers repeatedly kicked and beat the men after pulling them from their car. MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, PHILADELPHIA: It is not acceptable, of course, to do anything less than the professional standards that we expect of our Philadelphia police officers and they know that.

CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: We certainly are concerned about what we saw on the tape. The matter is being taken very seriously even though emotions run very high in our department right now.

CARROLL: The beating lasts for more than a minute. City officials say the officers have been under stress ever since this weekend when one of their own, Seargeant Stephen Liczbinski was shot and killed responding to a bank robbery. The suspect in that shooting is still at large. The mother of one of the men, Leomia Dyches, who was beaten Monday night by officers says stress should not be an excuse.

LEOMIA DYCHES, SON BEATEN BY POLICE: There was no reason for beating in that manner. The law is the law. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

CARROLL: The three men beaten by police are in custody, facing charges ranging from attempted murder to aggravated assault in connection with the shooting. The attorney representing the three men say it's the officers who should be facing criminal charges.

SCOTT PERRINE, CLIENTS BEATEN BY POLICE: They should be dismissed from the police force and they should be charged as criminals because that's criminal behavior. That's not police work.

CARROLL: An internal investigation is under way. Several officers have been placed on administrative leave. Police officials expect more officers to be placed on leave once their investigation is complete. Jason Carroll, CNN, Philadelphia.


LEMON: Now we are going to do another international story. We're going to show you this. This is (INAUDIBLE) Interpol Web site that we have up here and of course this caption right here says "arrested." And that is a man that we are talking about. We're going to get more information now from Allan Chernoff.

But let me tell you the heat started on this, it started building on Tuesday. And last night it reached a boil for a man being sought in an international manhunt for alleged child molestation. Let's go down to New York and our Allan Chernoff. He is our senior correspondent there and he joins us with the very latest.

What do you know Allan?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Don, this story shows the power of the Internet as a crime-fighting tool. What happened here is that last night around midnight, Federal authorities arrested a suspected sex offender in Union City, New Jersey. His name Wayne Nelson Corliss. He is believed to be either 57 or 58 -years-old. This, as you said, the result of a plea on the Internet for help. Interpol and the U.S. government posted his picture and within 24 hours, more than 250,000 people were checking it out. Three critical tips came in and the arrest was made last night.

Now, this has all happened just in the past two days, a very very exciting victory here authorities believe because they got such a response over the Internet. The whole case started a couple of years ago. Photos that authorities believe are of this man appeared on the Internet having sex with at least three young boys. They believe this happened in Thailand. The boys age between 6 and 10-years-old.

Photos were actually found on the computer of a convicted sex offender in Norway. Once everything was identified, they put it on the Internet. As we said, it seems that police believe they have the right man here. He is being arraigned this afternoon in Newark, New Jersey and is facing child pornography charges that could put him in prison for 20 years -- Don.

LEMON: Goodness. It's a disgusting story.

Allan Chernoff, our senior correspondent joining us. Thank you very much for that Allan. A very busy day here as far as international news is concerned.

KEILAR: It is nearly upon us. I'm talking about mother's day. If you forgot to give mom a gift, we've got the best gift you can give her. Just ahead, we'll bring you some tips to help mom take charge of her health.


KEILAR: This weekend is mother's day and what better gift for mom than the gift of health? In this week's empowered patient segment, medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has some ideas for how to keep mom healthy. She's joining us now from New York.

This really is the best gift.


You might be thinking massages or facials are those are nice. Those are good. But really if you want to keep mom healthy, you should arm her with knowledge. That's why this week on, right now as I speak, click there for good health. It's all the best Web sites for women's health. We are talking everything from fertility to breast cancer to osteoporosis to good nutrition. You name it. It is on there.

And Brianna, I want to show two Web sites. We link to about 30 of them, but I want to show you two right now that I thought were particularly great. Take a look at this one from the American Heart Association. This is especially designed for women. You put in your age and all sorts of other information about yourself and they will give you a risk assessment. They'll tell you if you are likely to have a heart attack in the next 10 years.

And then there is another site called frax, F-R-A-X, that does a similar kind of thing where you put in information and you find out if you are at risk for osteoporosis. So those are two great interactive Web sites and we have links to as I said about 30 of the best sources for women's health information.

KEILAR: Elizabeth, in your column you direct people to the best Web sites, as you said. We all know that some people they like to kind of freelance, cruise the Internet, find stuff on their own. How would these folks know when they've hit a bad Web site?

COHEN: That's right.

You need to be able to recognize the good and the bad when you're on the Internet. So here are two tips for when you've hit sort of maybe not such a great Web site. Here are the red flags. If you are on a site that is a health site trying to sell you a product, read that information carefully. All the information really may be designed around marketing and sales.

Secondly, if you are on a Web site where they don't tell you who they are, I've been on Web sites that are supposedly health Web sites and I can't figure out who runs this Web site; that is a bad sign. You need to know who is behind the information because there are good sources of information and not so good sources of information.

KEILAR: It's kind of a self-serving mother's day gift. If mom stays healthy, that's good for everyone, of course, right Elizabeth?

COHEN: That's right and moms of course take care of the whole family.

KEILAR: That's right. Elizabeth Cohen for us in New York. Thank you so much.

There is a whole lot more to learn to empower yourself as a patient. If you're interested, try We've got some good solid health information for you there.

Going in circles in an east Tennessee wheat field. Who or what is behind this design?


KEILAR: What's ahead for Barack Obama in his bid for the White House? Why not ask the candidate himself? The Democratic front-runner sat down with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM" a short time ago. Wolf joining us now from Washington.

Give as preview, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It was a good interview because we focused in on the most important issues Brianna that any president of the United States would face whether it's domestic, economic, bread- and-butter issues or the national security issues, the foreign policy issues. Trying to show viewers out there where he and the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, would differ on these issues, assuming Barack Obama and a lot of people are now assuming this, will get the Democratic nomination.

I specifically asked him to respond to Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, the former Republican presidential candidate, now a strong supporter of John McCain, his criticism of Barack Obama that he is not really ready to be commander in chief. The United States in Romney's words, doesn't need an intern in the White House. Listen to in part how the Democratic presidential candidate responded.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whether it's my judgment on Iraq and recognizing that that was going to be a strategic blunder, to my insistence that we need to talk, not just to countries we like, but countries we don't, to my assessment in terms of how we have over invested in the Musharraf government in Pakistan and that was going to setting us up for failure later on.

I think I consistently displayed the kind of judgment that the American people are looking for in the next president.


BLITZER: He also made it clear that in reacting to Mitt Romney's criticisms, he noted for example, that the presidential run that Mitt Romney had, his words didn't exactly work out all that well for him. But it was a substantive issue as I said Brianna on the issues and our viewers can be able to see the whole thing today at 4:00 p.m. in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

KEILAR: Thanks, Wolf. We'll definitely be watching.

As you just heard him say, you can catch Wolf Blitzer's entire interview with Barack Obama again at 4:00 p.m. Eastern in "The Situation Room." This is something that you will only see right here on CNN.

LEMON: Thanks, Brianna.

We have some severe weather hitting the area. We saw Tupelo, Mississippi, what happened on the ground there, Chad Myers.