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Bahamian Authorities Investigate Death of Anna Nicole Smith's Son; America's Mortgage Crisis

Aired March 27, 2007 - 15:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Kyra Phillips today.

Standoff in Miami Beach -- police arrest a suspect in a bank heist. And that was only the beginning.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: It is the top of the hour -- a developing story out of Miami Beach.

Police at the scene of a bank robbery arrest a suspected robber but, get a lot more than they bargained for. It's a story happening right now in Miami. But this isn't the bank people are running out of. It's a building across the street. Police believe more suspects may have barricaded themselves inside.

Our Susan Candiotti is live there on the scene -- Susan.


This has been going on for about four-and-a-half-hours now. At last contact, police negotiators tell us that they have been in touch and are in touch, using a cell phone, with a suspect who possibly may be armed inside that medical arts building across the street from the bank that was held up this morning.

Now, the suspected bank robber was in -- is in custody, and this person across the street is believed to be a friend of his, and is making several demands, including telling authorities he wants them to give up his friend and let him go.

But police are telling the bad guy, the believed suspect, to give himself up.

Well, in the meantime, many, many people were inside that medical arts building for hours, waiting to be freed.

One of them is a dentist, Dr. Alan Kaplan, who joins us now.

What was it like to be in there not knowing exactly what was going on? DR. ALAN KAPLAN, EVACUATED FROM BUILDING: Well, I wasn't quite sure until I looked out the window and saw policemen with large rifles at their hips. We had a patient who had trouble getting into the office. So, I was curious. I went downstairs.

CANDIOTTI: And someone told you what? What was going on?

KAPLAN: When I got to the lobby, there were two officers with glass doors, and one of them mentioned, better get in here quick. There's a guy with a gun in the building. And...


CANDIOTTI: And they kept you inside for quite some time, and then told you to leave?

KAPLAN: Well, we were in the building for at least 45 minutes, until the SWAT team arrived. And then it took, I would say, another 15 minutes for them to escort us out. We were all patted down and checked and escorted out to the church behind the parking lot behind the building.

CANDIOTTI: Now, when they had you leave the building with your arms on top of your head, what were you thinking? And were you frightened, quite frankly?

KAPLAN: I wasn't really frightened, but it was an interesting experience.

And then we were kept in a -- the church sanctuary for, I would say, at least two hours, maybe more.

CANDIOTTI: To see whether you knew anything or...

KAPLAN: No, they...


CANDIOTTI: ... interviewed?

KAPLAN: Slightly interviewed. Took our pictures, if we didn't have I.D. -- very efficient.

CANDIOTTI: All right. Well, we're glad that you are out safe and sound.

And, naturally, it's the hope of police that this whole thing will wrap up peacefully. They don't know whether it's one person they are looking for, possibly two. But it's status quo at the moment. We don't know whether anything has yet changed, and it's been four-and-a- half-hours, as we said -- back to you.

LEMON: All right, Susan Candiotti, on the scene in Miami, thank you so much.

NGUYEN: We're also watching tornado warnings in Texas, possibly moving into Louisiana.

Let's check in with Rob Marciano with the latest on this.

Hi, Rob.


They have moved into Louisiana. You're right. Northeast Louisiana is now under the gun -- and a tornado watch out for not only northern Louisiana, also parts of Arkansas, the southern and southwestern part, until 9:00 Eastern time tonight for the potential of seeing thunderstorms that build and develop tornadoes.

We have had a couple of those over the past hour-and-a-half, no reports of tornadoes on the ground, but certainly cells that have rotation in them, and the Doppler radar picking that up. And there have been a number of tornado warnings issued for Marion and Harrison counties in Texas, for Caddo Parish in northwest Louisiana, and now for Bossier Parish just to the east of Shreveport, with this cell that is moving off towards the northeast still at about 30 miles an hour, and still no reports of seeing a tornado on the ground, at least by anybody who has seen it.

Certainly, that -- it could have touched down without somebody seeing it. And, hopefully, there's no damage, if that's happened. But you can kind of see the acceleration or at least movement of this as it continues to move off towards the -- really, now it's starting to make a little bit more of an easterly movement. So, that's good news.

And that will try to get it out of here, because parts of northeast Texas over the past couple of hours have seen the same storms roll over them time and time again. And there is a flash flood warning out as well.

It's all part of a bit system that was across southern Texas yesterday, and then New Mexico the day before that. And you know the damage that had happened there because of the tornadoes. So, this thing now beginning to eject into the Plains.

The problem, Betty,is, once we get through today, there looks to be an even stronger storm system that is in the Colorado Rockies that will be pulling out into the Plains tomorrow, and we will get started all up again probably tomorrow and Thursday. We will keep you posted -- back to you.

NGUYEN: That's not what the folks want to hear, Rob.

MARCIANO: 'Tis the time of the year.

NGUYEN: It truly is.


NGUYEN: Thank you.


NGUYEN: Well, they haven't been seen in days, but Iran says the 15 British sailors and Marines it has detained are healthy and being treated humanely.

The group was seized Friday in the Persian Gulf when it left the HMS Cornwall to inspect a merchant ship. Tehran says the 15 trespassed into Iranian territory. Now, Britain insists they were in Iraqi waters. Their release is the focus of intense diplomacy. Britain has asked Russia, which has close diplomatic and trade ties with Iran, for help in securing their freedom.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Iran has no justification for holding the group.


TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I hope we manage to get them to realize they have to release them. If not, then this will move into a different phase. But, at the moment, what we're trying to do is to -- is to make sure that that diplomatic initiative works.


NGUYEN: Iran says it is now questioning the Britons to find out whether their alleged entry into Iranian waters was intentional or by accident. Iran says British diplomats can see them once it is -- its initial probe has been completed.

Well, he was one of the first inmates at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And now Australian David Hicks is also the first arraigned under new U.S. rules for military tribunals adopted after the Supreme Court rejected the old system.

As you're about to see, his plea was aimed at getting him back home.

Here's Australia Broadcasting's Michael Rowland.


MICHAEL ROWLAND, AUSTRALIA BROADCASTING REPORTER (voice-over): David Hicks has changed considerably in the five years he's been in captivity. He's put on a lot of weight, and his dark brown hair spills down to his chest.

He was escorted unshackled into the Guantanamo Bay courtroom for his initial hearing wearing a tan prison uniform and thongs, he took his seat at the defense table. Unlike his last appearance, he had a fair bit to say.

Asked by Presiding Judge Lieutenant Ralph Kohlmann Colonel whether he needed an interpreter, Hicks said he didn't, but, if you don't understand what I say, it's my language. It's Australian English. There are differences. Hicks reserved his plea on the charge of providing material support for terrorism. Three hours later, he changed his mind. In a hastily reconvened hearing, defense lawyer Major Michael Mori pleaded guilty on Hicks' behalf. Hicks stood expressionless by his side. When the judged asked him to confirm the plea, he said, yes, sir.

TERRY HICKS, FATHER OF DAVID HICKS: David has been through an extraordinary ordeal for more than five years.

ROWLAND: The development happened as Terry Hicks was leaving the island, after meeting his son and sitting in on the earlier hearing.

HICKS: It's a way to get home, and that's what he's told us. He just wants to get home.

ROWLAND: Hicks is expected to be formally sentenced later this week. It will be a much lighter penalty than the 20 years the prosecution has been seeking, and any jail term will be served in an Australian prison.

DAVID MCLEOD, CIVILIAN LAWYER FOR DAVID HICKS: This is the first step towards David returning to Australia.

COLONEL MOE DAVIS, CHIEF U.S. MILITARY PROSECUTOR: Somebody had asked a long time ago if it was possible he would be home before the end of the year. And I was -- if I was a betting man, I would say the odds are pretty good.

ROWLAND (on camera): The guilty plea marks the end of a tumultuous five years for David Hicks. He was one of the first detainees to arrive here at Guantanamo Bay, and he will leave the first convicted under a military commission system that remains the subject of intense criticism.


NGUYEN: And that was Australia Broadcasting's Michael Rowland.

Hicks, a former kangaroo skinner, was accused of fighting with the Taliban against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

LEMON: Is it a step towards Mideast prodded by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice? Palestinian and Israeli leaders have agreed to meet at least twice a month to discuss day-to-day issues.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert have agreed that they plan to meet together biweekly. This very positive development builds on their previous meetings and will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians.


LEMON: Well, this step comes as Rice shuttles from one Mideast country to the next.

And our State Department correspondent Zain Verjee is in Washington.

And, Zain, what did Rice get out of her meetings with Israeli and the Palestinian leaders?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: As you heard from her just a moment ago, just before she left Jerusalem, Secretary Rice basically said that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, have agreed to meet every two weeks to talk security issues and basically build confidences.

This is the fourth time this year that Secretary Rice has been to the region. On this trip, she pretty much shuttled back and forth between the two leaders, really trying to move the peace process forward. That's made a lot harder now, though, because, as you know, Hamas is part of the Palestinian unity government, and Hamas is also on a U.S. list of terror groups.

Secretary Rice, though is really trying to get the momentum going on stalled talks -- Don.

LEMON: All right, Zain, so, you said Abbas and Olmert, they both agreed to meet. But what's on the table for both these men?

VERJEE: Well, they are going to focus more on the day-to-day issues first, really. We're talking security, humanitarian issues, and also movement across the border for Palestinians.

Secretary Rice essentially says that they need to do that to build trust between the two sides. But she really wants these regular meetings between the two of them to begin to discuss the outlines of a final peace deal as well.

Now, that means discussing very sensitive and divisive core issues, like the future of Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state, as well as the fate of Palestinian refugees -- Don.


For Condoleezza Rice, Hamas is a major obstacle for her, though?

VERJEE: Right.

LEMON: Is that correct?

VERJEE: Right. That's absolutely correct.

Hamas is now part of a power-sharing government. And that really complicates things, because the U.S. mainly wants to deal with President Mahmoud Abbas and more moderate members of the government. The U.S., as well as other European countries, want Hamas to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, as well as to accept agreements that have been made in the past.

Now, the fact that Hamas is in government is a major problem also for Israel, because it's been much more reluctant also to move forward with the talks with -- with Palestinians because of that reason. So, Secretary Rice, while she's there trying to push things forward, she really faces a major challenge on that one.

LEMON: All right, Zain Verjee, thank you so much for that report.

NGUYEN: Well, is this a case of like mother, like son? Police in the Bahamas look into the death of Daniel Smith. Did Anna Nicole Smith's son die accidentally, or was it something more sinister? We have those details just ahead.

LEMON: And one family's mortgage nightmare -- why do they say they were forced to sign for a loan that they didn't want? Their story is straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Coming up on a quarter past the hour, and here are some of the stories we're working on for you right here in the CNN.

Fifty people killed, more than 100 wounded by a pair of truck bombs in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar. The bombs targeted busy markets.

Stay strong -- President Bush's advice to his chief spokesman, Tony Snow. The White House press secretary is battling a recurrence of cancer.

Police evacuate people from a building in Miami Beach, fearing that gunman -- that gunmen are holed up in inside. It started when officers arrived as a bank robbery scene across the street and arrested a suspected robber. Other suspects apparently fled to the nearby building and threatened to start shooting unless the person arrested was freed.

NGUYEN: They died suddenly, within five months of each other. And, this week, the deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and her son, Daniel, are in the spotlight on two fronts.

A day after police declared her death in Florida as an accident, investigators in the Bahamas are taking a closer look at his. The inquest began today.

CNN's Rusty Dornin is in Nassau with details of today's proceedings.

Hi, Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, things have not progressed very far. The lawyers are -- been inside the chambers, away from the jurors, away from the witnesses, away from the press, arguing over some points of procedure.

And one of the members of the court did tell us that it involves the questioning of the jury. There's very -- there's a lot of concern about finding a fair panel of jurors that haven't been overexposed to this story. And, as you can imagine, in the Bahamas, that's very difficult.

And, while they are arguing those points, they are keeping everyone else out of the courtroom.

But, earlier today, some people -- witnesses were arriving. Virgie Arthur, of course, Anna Nicole Smith's mother, arrived on the scene. She said she only wants to see justice. She's not on the witness list, but she tell Bahamian authorities she would be willing to offer testimony.

Also on the witness list is Larry Birkhead, the man claiming to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's 6-month-old daughter. He arrived here for the proceedings, only to be turned away. But he says he's ready to offer anything he can.


LARRY BIRKHEAD, EX-BOYFRIEND OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: I just came to tell the truth, you know, same thing like with Florida. You just say whatever you can, and they take -- they can take from that what they want. And, if it's helpful, it's helpful. If it's not, I will be on a plane to go back. So, I'm just here to do what I think is right to help Daniel.


DORNIN: Well, it turns out -- we just talked -- spoke to him just a few moments ago. And he is headed for an airplane and going back to the United States.

They said that they would not need him for perhaps another week. He, of course, even though he's a witness, you do volunteer to appear at these proceedings. But he says he certainly will be back next week. There should be another paternity hearing on April 3 -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, besides Larry Birkhead, who are some of the other people on the witness list?

DORNIN: Well, from what we understand, there's going to be the -- a pathologist that was involved, of course, in the toxicology tests, that sort of thing, talking about the results of those, hospital workers, many of the nurses and emergency personnel that discovered Daniel Smith in his room. There are some 22, 23 people, Bahamians. They, of course, have been subpoenaed, and they are going to be offering their testimony.

But we do understand, from the director of prosecution, that the first person to testify is going to be a police photographer, who is going to talk about the appearance of the body, when it was found.

As far as other people, there's the man who owned the house where they had lived, G. Ben Thompson, who is also a former boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith. Also, of course, Howard Stern is of special interest. He could be a key witness, because he was only one of two people that were in that hospital room the night that Daniel died. And, of course, Anna Nicole Smith is dead as well. So, he's the only surviving person that was in that room. They are very anxious to talk to him.

NGUYEN: No doubt.

CNN's Rusty Dornin in Nassau for us -- thank you, Rusty.

LEMON: Instead of a bank, they said they should have talked to Tony Soprano.


ANA ROSADO, HAVING TROUBLE PAYING MORTGAGE: We should have went to the mob for a loan. That's the bottom line. I think the mob would have given us a better loan.


NGUYEN: Oh, my.


LEMON: All right.

Ahead in the NEWSROOM: looking for a loan and borrowing a lot of trouble -- a homeowner nightmare straight ahead.


LEMON: Well, barely the tip of the iceberg, that is how one veterinarian describes the official animal toll so far in the wake of a massive pet food recall.

The FDA has confirmed 14 pets died after eating the food. But a veterinarians group says its members have reported more than 100 animal deaths in the wake of the recall, and more than 470 cases of kidney failure.

Investigators found a chemical used in rat poison in samples of the recalled pet food -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, if you are among the hundreds of thousands of homeowners sitting on a so-called subprime mortgage, and wondering where your next payment is coming from, you might think there ought to be a law, because many in Congress now agree with you.

And, today, a House subcommittee is considering a national standard for banks and anybody else who lends money to buy houses.

Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with details on this.

Very interesting, Susan.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, affects a lot of people, Betty.

The rising number of foreclosures has exposed just how vulnerable many consumers are, not only because of their own precarious finances, but because of the predatory lending that sometimes arrange these kind of loans.

Legislators are starting to step in, not only in Washington, but elsewhere. Today, the secretary of state in Massachusetts urged the legislature there to require mortgage lenders to get permission from local judges before they seize the homes of delinquent borrowers.

He noted that Massachusetts residents have the right to dispute a parking ticket, but not to dispute the foreclosure of their home. Massachusetts is among nearly two dozen states, including California and Texas, that do not require court approval when homeowners default on mortgage payments.

And, in Washington, a Federal Reserve official told the House subcommittee that the surge in foreclosures is of great concern, but, unfortunately, she said there is no one sure and easy fix. The Federal Reserve has been criticized by lawmakers for not stepping in to discourage risky loans, including some adjustable-rate mortgages, which can get a borrower into trouble quickly when rates rise -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, that leads me to my question, because, with so many mortgage loans and lenders out there -- and everybody has got a better deal than the next guy -- do Americans really know what they are signing up for?

LISOVICZ: Apparently not, Betty.

And this is really troubling, because, for most people, the home, your home, is, by far, your biggest asset. And this study shows many people are downright confused.

The study coming from a new survey, it asked homeowners what type of mortgage they have. A whopping 34 percent said they had no clue. That confusion could stem from the fact that there are so many types of mortgages that are now available.

And one type of loan that could turn out to be dangerous is those adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARM. All in all, more than $2 trillion worth of adjustable-rate loans were made in the past three years. When they reset, most move to a higher rate, which is unaffordable for many people.

In fact, Bankrate also says 28 percent of homeowners are worried about making their payments.

Worries about the housing sector, a concern on Wall Street -- again, shares of home-builders are down after Lennar posted a 73 percent drop in quarterly profits, and said there's more trouble to come -- stocks broadly lower. They have been down all day -- the Dow not trying to make a comeback, like it did yesterday, when it shaved most of its losses, Dow right now 61 points, or half-a-percent. The Nasdaq is down more than half-a-percent as well.

And I will be back in 30 minutes for the closing bell -- in the meantime, Betty, back to you.

NGUYEN: Yes, Susan, we're going to continue with this mortgage meltdown, because it's estimated that two million families cannot pay their mortgages and are at risk of losing their homes.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick talked with one family whose American dream of homeownership is just shattered.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Ana and Radamus (ph) Rosado went to buy their first home in the Bronx two years ago, they didn't get what they had bargained for.

ANA ROSADO, HAVING TROUBLE PAYING MORTGAGE: There's an amended stamp on the top where the actual application was amended.

FEYERICK (on camera): So, when you went to the closing, these were not the terms that you had originally agreed to?

ROSADO: Exactly. We were forced to sign this.

FEYERICK: When you say you were forced, why not just delay the closing?

ROSADO: Well, we had -- I had already turned in my apartment. We were packed. I just had a baby.

FEYERICK (voice-over): And they say they risked losing a $25,000 down payment. The Rosados say they had agreed to a fixed-rate loan, guaranteeing they would pay the same rate every month for 30 years. But, at the closing, here's what they say they were told.

ROSADO: Oh, I'm sorry. The banks didn't approve this loan. Here's another loan. Then, right before closing, that loan supposedly didn't go through and we got stuck with the loan we have.

My attorney said this is not the worst. And you can refinance in two years. So, you know, we swallowed it, took the loan and saved for the past two years to have enough money to refinance again.

FEYERICK: That loan cost them $2,800 a month for two years at a rate of 6.75 percent. But then as written in the mortgage, that lower rate jumped nearly $700, raising to 9.9 percent this past January, or roughly $3,500 a month.

ROSADO: We should have went to the mob for a loan. That's the bottom line. I think the mob would have given us a better loan. Because it was -- they were all in cahoots, it looks like.

FEYERICK: The Rosados claim they were victims of a scam, a classic bait and switch. They were promised one loan but got another. Their loan application was prepared by Alliance Mortgage Banking Corporation.

A company vice president says the was no bait and switch, telling CNN, quote: "I find it hard to believe that she was turned down for one loan, but approved for another."

ROSADO: This is my son's room.

FEYERICK: Fremont Investment and Loan, the company which actually gave the Rosados their loan to begin, was recently ordered by the government to stop providing high-risk subprime loans to people who can't afford to pay once the rates go up. Critics have called the practice predatory as it often targets people who are financially vulnerable.

DOUG DUNCAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST AND SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION: There is no question that in the last couple of years, some lenders have lowered the threshold for qualifying for a loan.

FEYERICK: The Rosados have hired a new lawyer to help them refinance.

(on camera): When you look at this, how bad is this? How bad is the Rosados' case right now?

DANIEL KATZNER, ROSADOS' ATTORNEY: This is the absolute definition of a predatory loan, which has generally led to the current distress in the mortgage market.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Fremont Investment and Loan, one of the country's biggest subprime lenders last week announced it is getting out of the high-risk subprime business.

A company spokesman would not comment about the Rosados' case, but tells CNN, Fremont has retained service professionals to help customers who have questions or concerns about their loans.

As for the Rosados, until they can refinance, they're borrowing money from family, so they don't lose their home.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Bronx, New York.


LEMON: Well, it is hugely popular among kids, but one principal is now saying log off or you are suspended. One school launches a fight against the Web site

That's ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Hello. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen. Hailed by the chief, President Bush and many in Washington voice support for White House press secretary Tony Snow. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We do want to take you straight now to CNN's T.J. Holmes with the latest on a developing story out of Miami dealing with a possible standoff.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Betty. Miami Beach specifically. And this thing has just turned into one huge mess today. What started out as a bank robbery has turned into a whole lot more of a mess. Explain the video you are seeing here. Police were checking folks out, making sure it wasn't their suspect. But a bank robbery at a bank there in Miami Beach turned into a standoff situation across the street from that bank at a medical office building.

Police right now have surrounded and blocked off an area around the Sheridan Office Building on 41st Street there in Miami Beach where they believe that two suspects are held up, the two robbery suspects. Giving you a peek here now of the area. A lot of people have certainly been to Miami and are familiar with Miami Beach. But there is the main artery that heads you over into Miami Beach from Miami, that is I-95, which dumps on to Arthur Godfrey Road which turns into 41st.

41st is right there where the Sheridan Office Building is that we just marked for you. Just giving you an idea here. And because this is a main artery, and that we're talking a two-, three-block area around this whole building blocked off, traffic is just a mess and is going to be a mess for some time there on Miami Beach.

But again, right now police have made cell phone contact with the folks inside that building, with at least one of the suspects -- one of the robbery suspects. Don't exactly know right now if any demand is being made, any threats being made. Also don't know right now about any possible hostages. As we look again at the Sheridan Center -- the Sheridan Medical Center, where there are medical offices, people who are still in that building right now are being told by police to barricade yourself in and just stay put right now as they try to go through there and possibly find the suspects.

Again, no word right now on any hostages that are inside. But a situation that started several hours ago with a bank robbery, and it seems strange to say a simple bank robbery, but it has turned into a bigger mess than just a bank robbery now. So, Betty, we're been watching this. We will continue to watch you this and bring you those update as we get them. And hopefully this can come to a peaceful resolution.

NGUYEN: Yes. It has been going on, like you said, for several hours now. OK. Thank you, T.J.

HOLMES: All right.

LEMON: He's fighting a deadly enemy and one it's he has battled before. Doctors have found White House press secretary Tony Snow's cancer has come back and it has spread to his liver. Now he was treated for colon cancer in 2005, after which he was given a clean bill of health. Now what are his options now? Well, we asked our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is more difficult to treat. Sometimes if there is just one area of spread in the liver, sometimes surgery, an operation, might be an option to actually go in and remove one particular part of the liver and try and take out that cancer. But by definition now, Mr. Snow has metastatic cancer. It has spread from his colon and other places in his body. So it's hard to know where all these microscopic cells might be lurking in his body.

So one of the typical sort of sequence, they think about standard chemotherapy, giving chemotherapy to treat the entire body now sort of trying to kill these cells anywhere that they might may be lurking.


LEMON: And President Bush spoke to his spokesman today and said he's in good spirits. He's telling his press secretary to stay strong.

Angioplasty, one of the most common ways to treat heart disease and a way of life for many heart, now they might be rethinking their treatment. A new study says angioplasty gives no added benefit over drugs alone and that drugs alone keep arteries clear just as well.

Now in the most common type of angioplasty, doctors snake a tube into a clogged artery, inflate a tiny balloon to widen it, then leave behind a wire mesh tube called a stent. A new study involved nearly 2,300 people with artery blockages. "AMERICAN MORNING's" John Roberts got some details from a leading cardiologist.


DR. STEVEN NISSEN, PRES. AMER. COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY: Everybody in the study got very aggressive medical therapy. Cholesterol- lowering drugs, blood pressure-lowering drugs, aspirin. But half of the patients got a stent and half of them didn't. And they were followed for almost five years. And at the end of five years, almost exactly the same number of patients in each group were still alive, hadn't had a heart attack, and were doing very well.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Here's the thing that I don't understand. The study found that people who -- patients who had stents and cholesterol-lowering therapy with the statin drugs had better blood flow to the heart than people who were treated simply with drugs. And yet there was no difference the heart attack rate. How do you explain that?

NISSEN: We understand it quite well that most heart attacks do not occur at the site of the most blocked area in the coronary. There are many, many other plaques in the coronary. And one of those plaques will rupture. A blood clot occurs. And that's what causes a heart attack. The stent is only covering perhaps 1 or 2 percent of all the plaque in the coronary and that's not enough to prevent the next heart attack.

ROBERTS: And we should also point out, Dr. Nissen, that this is for patients that have what's called stable chest pain. It's not somebody who is having a heart attack who needs an emergency procedure. What's the takeaway from this study for those patients?

NISSEN: I think if you are a patient that has very stable chest pain, you have choices now. You can elect to have medical therapy alone, drug therapy. And if you do well, you may actually become completely free of symptoms in the first year. There's no need for you to get a stent. But if you ever get to the point where your quality of life is impaired, you can always have a stent later, deferring the procedure isn't going to compromise your long-term health.


LEMON: And that was from CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING." More than a million Americans a year receive angioplasties.

NGUYEN: Well, Don, you know this very well. Allergy season definitely here. You know, the itchy eyes, the stuffy nose, the runny nose. So what can you do to fight the symptoms? Some advice now from CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The stuffy head, get a headache, the runny nose, the itchy eyes, you just swell up.

GUPTA (voice-over): Spring is in the air, quite literally, and that means pollen winds up in our sinuses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scratchy throat, cough a little bit, you know, runny eyes.

GUPTA: Allergy experts say this could be a particularly rough year.

DR. ALPEN PATEL, ENT/ALLERGIST: The trend is with global warming and shorter winters that our allergy season is becoming longer.

GUPTA: So how do you know if it's allergies or just a spring cold? A good rule of thumb, colds produce a runny nose that's yellowish, along with a low-grade fever. Allergies are usually colorless. There's not accompanying fever, and itchy eyes, nose and throat. If it's allergies, how do you treat them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take Nasacor. I have to take that. I have to take Allegra, Sudafed, you name it.

GUPTA: Sorting out the various prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants and nose sprays can be overwhelming.

PATEL: The best home remedy is using salt water spray and just irrigating and cleaning out the nose. GUPTA: Prescription and over-the-counter medications can help relieve symptoms, but they're no cure. Regardless of where you live, some people are simply predisposed to having bad allergies because of heredity.

PATEL: If you have one parent who suffers from allergies, the chance of an offspring suffering from allergies is nearly 33 to 50 percent. If you have two parents that suffer from allergies, it can be 50 to 65 percent.

GUPTA: Of course living in a high-pollen area can make your allergies worse. To check on the local pollen count, go to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunologies Web site at, and don't forget the tissues.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


NGUYEN: Oh, yes, you can get good use out of those.


LEMON: All right. Who says you can't control the Internet? A Catholic school in Detroit is banning students from having their own pages on Reporter Mara MacDonald from CNN affiliate WDIV has more.


SISTER MARGARET VAN VELZEN, PRINCIPAL: Wonderful for educational material, but it also can be unsafe.

MARA MACDONALD, WDIV REPORTER (voice-over): So St. Hugo of the Hills is taking action with notice on their Web site and a letter sent home to parents, students may not have a MySpace account and attend the school. Why? Fear of online predators and inappropriate language and pictures.

VAN VELZEN: Ninety-nine-point-nine percent have been very supportive. I've received e-mails thanking me. And I think our parent community is very supportive.

MACDONALD: The decision was made with the blessing and full support of the private school's parents organization. If the MySpace account is not removed, the student will be suspended, pending further review of the situation.

DAWN ZINK, PARENT: My husband and I fully support it.

KATE LYNCH, PARENT: I think it's a great start. I think we've got a long way to go because it's a very difficult situation to sort of grasp in its entirety. There are so many things going on on the Internet, and there is so much vulnerability for children.

LISA STANCZAK, PARENT: I think this is important, and I think this is just the beginning of schools taking a stand against this kind of thing. And I think it's going to have to happen because all over the country there are children, and things are just getting out of hand.


LEMON: And that was Mara McDonald from CNN affiliate WDIV. The school says it's going to monitor the site to make sure students are staying off. Administrators say they are trying to keep students safe from possible predators online.

NGUYEN: All right. Listen to this. Four abandoned children. Seven admitted affairs. Those who know him say that is just for starters. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, the allegations pile up for a retired Catholic priest.


LEMON: Well, they sat at a gate a few hours longer than expected. But finally the 270 passengers aboard this Continental jet were allowed to leave the plane. Their flight from Hong Kong landed at Newark Airport in New Jersey with the crew reporting several passengers sick with flu-like symptoms. Well, the Centers for Disease Control gave the all clear just a few hours later after determining those passengers had seasonal flu and nothing more serious than that.

NGUYEN: Well, this is serious. Allegations of affairs and much worse. The case of a Jesuit priest accused of the unthinkable is making its way through the courts. It's a story revealed in a chilling videotape deposition.

CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the taped deposition of a retired priest under oath. A man compelled by law to tell the ugly truth about his past. Father Jim Jacobson (ph) was sent to minister to people in remote Alaskan villages in the 1960s virtually unsupervised.

Through this testimony, he reveals what his superiors are now saying about Father Jim. The 83-year-old Jesuit priest is a sexual addict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So your testimony then was that your best estimate was that you had five sexual affairs while you were in Alaska?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And is that still your testimony today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say maybe seven. I would change it to seven. GRIFFIN: Father Jacobson's past probably would have stayed secret if this man, Don Slats (ph), had not come forward. He opened the door on the priest's affairs, his alleged rapes, thefts and his four abandoned children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't even know who I was. From my understanding, he didn't even recognize my mom. That's what happens when you turn into a (expletive deleted) monster. I'm sorry. Too busy raping people you can't even recognize their faces anymore.

GRIFFIN: This is the story of how a predatory priest was turned loose on a needy people and how the church failed to act.


NGUYEN: Watch Drew Griffin's full report on the "Promiscuous Priest," that is tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360." That is at 10:00 Eastern only on CNN.

LEMON: Metal? Oh, gosh, it hurts.

NGUYEN: Look at that.

LEMON: Crunching on concrete. The last sound you want to hear when you are behind the wheel of a $1.5 million ride.


LEMON: Oh, yes. It's a crash course. We're going to tell you all about it straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM. Wait until you see who is behind the wheel.


LEMON: Oh, ow.

NGUYEN: But not if you drive it like that.

LEMON: Oh my gosh. You know what? If you air car lover, turn away. But you probably want to watch it anyway. No movie magic here. Watch this. That is a rare Ferrari Enzo, valued at about $1.5 million until now. At the wheel, movie star Eddie Griffin. We want to be the first to let you know, Eddie is OK. But Griffin was practicing yesterday for a celebrity race. Looks like he may need a little bit more practice. But maybe in something a little less expensive, I don't know.

After the crash, Griffin explained it this way. He said: "Undercover Brother is good at karate and all the rest of that. But the Brother can't drive."

NGUYEN: Apparently not.

LEMON: Yes, Griffin of course starred in the movie "Undercover Brother." The car, by the way, is owned by the executive producer of Griffin's current street racing movie "Redline," who says the car is probably totaled.

NGUYEN: So what happens?

LEMON: I don't know.

NGUYEN: Somebody is going to be paying.

LEMON: In the movie "Undercover Brother," he could drive the big Lincoln with the orange soda, but he can't drive the Ferrari.

NGUYEN: Well, he can't drive that. I know one man who probably could though.

LEMON: Oh, of course. Wolf Blitzer can drive anything. He's going to drive us to -- at the top of the hour and tell us what is happening...



NGUYEN: What is coming up, Wolf?

BLITZER: I can drive you guys crazy. Thanks very much.


BLITZER: Thanks very much, Don and Betty. Coming up in "THE SITUATION ROOM," the showdown between Congress and the White House over Iraq moves to the next phase in the U.S. Senate where a key vote on a withdrawal timeline is about to unfold. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, he is standing by to join us live. He'll explain why he opposes this measure.

Also, she's pleading the Fifth and raising the stakes as Congress investigates the Justice Department's prosecutor purge. We're going to tell you who exactly Monica Goodling is, what she may know.

And another high-profile political figure battling cancer. Once again, the White House press Secretary Tony Snow. We're going to have the latest on his condition. All that, guys, coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Back to you.

LEMON: All right. Wolf, we look forward to that. Thank you so much.

NGUYEN: And the closing bell, plus a wrap of the action on Wall Street, that is straight ahead.


NGUYEN: Check her out. We're going to find out tonight if Heather Mills mamboed her way into the hearts of America. Mills impressed the judges last night on "Dancing with the Stars." And she actually did a back flip over her partner that earned her a trio of 8s. Not bad at all. Mills hopes seeing her dance with her artificial leg will give inspire others with disabilities. Now let me give you a list. Points leaders going into tonight's results show are boxer Laila Ali, and former *NSYNC singer Joey Fatone.

Wait, didn't he used to dance with the band? I don't know, how did that fly?

LEMON: Yes. She did a good job. Does this remind you of anything? Nine! That judge.


NGUYEN: That one judge.

LEMON: That one judge, he's like, nine! All right.

NGUYEN: You've been watching this way too closely.

LEMON: No, just a little bit.