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Iranian TV Airs New Tape of Captured British Troops; McCain Toured Baghdad Today; Charlotte PD Interviewing Suspect in Police Shooting; New York County Leaders Pass Tough Law Aimed to Protect Children

Aired April 01, 2007 - 17:00   ET


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and so they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: There's quite the reaction from remarks by former House speaker Newt Gingrich. The story next in the NEWSROOM.

Plus, note to convicted sex offenders in one New York county. Keep your bags packed. We'll explain. And this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're free. They realize that you didn't do any of those things, you're free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made a mistake.


WHITFIELD: Life-changing news for an innocent man, wrongly jailed for two decades.

Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield, you're in the NEWSROOM on this first day of April. Thanks so much for joining us.

Well, first this hour, new images coming in from Iran, and apparently within the past hour, we've been seeing two captured British crewmen shown on Iranian television, which reported that they confessed to illegally entering Iranian waters. The crewmen are shown to pointing a map of the Persian Gulf. Let's listen to what they have to say.


On the morning of Friday the 23rd of March, at approximately half eight, we left coalition warship approximately nine nine. Our task, our two boats were to go up to this area around the Persian Gulf area around here and approximately about 10:00 in the morning, we were seized. Apparently at this point here, from their maps, from the GPS they've shown us, which is inside Iranian territorial waters.

That was about 10:00 in the morning. All members of our team were seized. That's 57 marines and the remainder eight are all navy. So far, we've been treated very well by all the people here. They've looked after us and make sure that we've been given enough food and we've been treated very well by them. So we thank them for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Lieutenant Felix Carmen (ph). I operate out of brigade foxtrot 99 using two sea boats that look like this called Pacifics. And we were arrested in this location here. I would like to say to the Iranian people, I can understand why you are so angry about our intrusion into your waters.


WHITFIELD: The Iranian network says the troops were identifying the point where their boat crossed into Iranian waters, something Britain says never happened. No reaction yet from the British government about that tape.

Ten days later, Britain still doesn't know where the captives are being held. Today the British government said it's in direct contact with Tehran in an effort to end the crisis, but it's becoming increasingly clear that Iran is playing hardball. From London, here's CNN's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With chants of death to Britain, protesters outside the British embassy in Tehran held rocks and firecrackers, demanding it be shut down.

As the standoff over 15 British sailors and marines being held by Iran continues, tensions appear to be escalating. Paraded on television making confessions, possibly under duress, the plight of the captives is provoking condemnation from Britain and its allies. From his retreat at Camp David, President Bush has added his voice to the calls to the captive's release.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's serious because -- the British hostages issue is a serious issue because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water. And it's inexcusable behavior.

CHANCE: His use of the word "hostage" conjures up memories of America's own crisis with Iran, after the 1979 Islamic revolution. Dozens of U.S. personnel were held captive for 444 days. It was even a failed rescue attempt. In the current crisis, the hopes over a diplomatic solution, at a church service in the hometown of the only female captive, Faye Turney, there were prayers for her safe return.

But the Iranian mood shows little sign of softening. Speaking to crowds on Islamic republic day, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was characteristically hardlined.

"The British occupier forces did express pass in our waters," he said. "Our border guards detained them with skill and bravery. But arrogant powers, because of their arrogant and selfish spirit, are claiming otherwise."

These are the disputed waterways between Iraq and Iran where the British naval patrol was intercepted. British military officials deny it strayed into Iranian waters. European Union nations have been voicing their support for Britain. And as this crisis enters a new week, diplomatic pressure may build for it to end. Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


WHITFIELD: Tonight on CNN, Britain's "War Within." A look at young Muslims torn between innocence and extremism. It's a report by the "CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" and it comes your way this evening, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Meantime, we want to take you straight to Charlotte, North Carolina, where the investigation is underway after two police officers were killed. Let's listen in.

CHIEF DARREL STEPHENS, CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG POLICE: Many of you have asked more about the officers and their personal lives and looking for some information. And we've talked to a number of close friends of these officers, people that had gone through the police academy with them and worked with them. And to be honest with you, no one's comfortable enough to go on camera at this stage. They're still working through their grief and struggling with it themselves.

But we do have some information that I'd like to provide to you about them. Officers closer to Jeff Shelton, like Detective Steve Vlad (ph), remember him as an honorable guy who was quick with the joke or a smile. He was a very fit former marine who could run faster than most.

Officer Gabe Chickery (ph) says Shelton was an intense and full of energy. The guy who had no slow nights because he always wanted to work, always wanted to be a police officer. Shelton had served in the air force before coming to the police department.

The classmate of Officer Clark from recruit class 148, Officer Hall (ph) calls him a natural leader who always had a good word to say even on a tough day. I remember him smiling, says Officer Flowers (ph). He waited such a long time to be a police officer. He wanted it so bad, he was proud of what he had chosen for his career. Was always studying. He was one of -- Flowers was one of the slowest runners in the class. And Clark was one of those types of officers that would be back with them and encouraging them to finish the run.

He said Sean would always put a hand on his back, push him along to encourage him. Officer Clark, as you know, had a 2-year-old son. Wife is six months pregnant, expecting the second child. The 2-year- old was the light of his life. Please keep these officers and their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers. The funeral and memorial services will be announced as soon as plans are finalized. We've had officers with both families since early this morning and they will be with them throughout this entire situation. As soon as they're in a position to begin making plans, we will share that immediately with this department and with people in the community.

Our department is very grateful to the outpouring of condolences from the members of the community that we've received so far. And we've received hundreds of messages in many different ways. People who would like to share their thoughts and prayers with the families of the two officers can -- do we have that Web site? Can log onto http://www. - it's in the press release. You can log onto that Web site and leave whatever messages that they would like. We've received lots of requests about flowers and donations and that type of thing.

And in lieu of flowers, like to make donations they can do that to the police benevolent fund, care of Greg Crystal (ph) or the FOP foundation, care of Randy Hagler (ph) and both can be mailed here to the police department headquarters. I'd be happy to try to answer any questions that you may have. Yes, sir?

QUESTION: What can you tell us about the suspects?

STEPHENS: All that I can really say about the suspect at this time is -- we've actually been talking to him for a little while. The way that things have developed, it's taken us a while to switch from someone that we were just talking to, to being in a position to call him a suspect in this case.

We have picked up information through those interviews today as they've been going on that have put us if a position where we can, we can comfortably call him the suspect. But as all of you know, these situations are very fluid. They can change. We have yet may be to find somebody out there that might provide more information to us even though we've been very, very thorough, we think in doing the canvasses in that neighborhood and around it and we continue to do that as we speak.

QUESTION: For folks in the community, is there some kind of hotline they'll have set up with people who do have some information that might be pertinent to the case?

STEPHENS: Crimestoppers. The crimestoppers line is, 334 - 704- 334-1600. We've actually received information on that line today already that has been helpful in identifying people who have knowledge about what's taken place today.

WHITFIELD: Tough, tough day for the Charlotte Police Department. They're mourning the loss of two of their own. Two police officers shot and killed last night after responding to a disturbance at an apartment complex in east Charlotte. The officers, Jeffrey Shelton and Sean Clark were rushed to the hospital where they later died.

Clark had been with the department for just a year. Shelton had worked there since 2001. And Clark had a 2-year-old son and was expecting a second child along the way.

Police are now looking for any other persons that may be responsible. The headline right now is they are interviewing someone who they believe may be a suspect in this shooting.

Onto politics now, Senator John McCain, well, he toured Baghdad today and insisted the campaign to secure the troubled city is starting to show some results. Hours later, the military reported the deaths of six more American troops. For his part, McCain supports the so-called surge. And if it proves to be successful, it could boost his bid for the White House. From Baghdad now, here's CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator McCain was in Baghdad today as part of a Republican congressional delegation to assess the situation on the ground. Now, McCain backtracked from comments he made earlier this week here on CNN saying that some neighborhoods in Baghdad were safe enough for westerners to stroll through them. But McCain did say that he believes the situation in Iraq is improving and he also says he believes the Baghdad security plan is working.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I believe that we have a new strategy that is making progress. And it's not to say that things are well everywhere in Iraq, far from it. We have a long way to go. We read everyday about suicide bombings, kidnapping, rocket attacks and other terrible acts. And I'm not saying that mission is accomplished or last throes or a few dead enders, but what we don't read about every day and what is new since the surge began is a lot of the good news.

PLEITGEN: McCain and his colleagues visited a market in central Baghdad with General Petraeus. And all of them said they were amazed by how well they were received by the Iraqi locals. And also how fairly freely they were able to move around. Now Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, responding to a reporter's question, reiterated his belief that setting a deadline for American troops to move out of Iraq is a mistake.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think you see four people here who believe more now than ever, believe now more than ever, it would be a huge mistake to set a deadline because it is working. There are signs of progress. We're doing now what we should have done three years ago. And if you set a deadline now, it will undercut everything positive that's going on. That's not me saying that. That's every soldier I've talked to today. That's the Iraqi police commander, who said, please stay with us. Things are getting better.

PLEITGEN: The visit comes after a deadly month here in Iraq and numbers published by the Iraqi government today say that the civilian death toll here in Iraq is rising. More than 1,800 civilians were killed here in Iraq in March and almost 3,000 were wounded. Now only today two truck bombs in the northern city of Mosul killed another two civilians. Frederik Pleitgen, Baghdad.


WHITFIELD: All right, we want to check on a weather situation out there, in the South Pacific I believe. Bonnie Schneider is in the Weather Center.


WHITFIELD: All right, hooray for DNA.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're free. They realize that you didn't do any of those things. You're free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made a mistake.


WHITFIELD: Jailed 22 years for rape. An innocent man is now coming home. Also, one New York community is trying to contain sex offenders. Is the push going too far?

And the lady is an ump making her mark in the major leagues. That story straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Happening now in the news, Iranian television airing more purported confessions from British troops captured at sea. Ten days later, Britain still wants to know where the captives are being held and today said it is in direct contact with Iran in a bid to secure their release.

In Tehran today, meantime, hundreds of Iranian students protested in front the British embassy. They're demanding the British ambassador be expelled. The uproar is over Iran's capture of those 15 British sailors and marines.

At the Vatican today, Pope Benedict ushered in holy week with the mass celebrating Palm Sunday. Thousands of worshipers crowded into St. Peter's Square. Easter Sunday is one week from today.

Registered sex offenders who live near a school or a park may be forced out of their homes in one New York community. Local leaders in Putnam County, New York, have passed a tough new law aimed at protecting children. But critics say the law goes too far. CNN's Jim Acosta explains.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tony Gicalone is relieved every time the school bus drops off his 13-year-old son right in front of their home in Putnam County, New York. They live just two doors down from a registered sex offender.

TONY GICALONE, PUTNAM COUNTY RESIDENT: The thought of having one so close to home is frightening.

ACOSTA: That neighbor 36-year-old Brian Morrisey (ph), he moved into his parent's home up the street last summer. His parents, who didn't want to talk to CNN, say their son has repaid his debt to society, nine years in prison for having child pornography.

But a new law in the county means Morrisey (ph) may have to change his address. The law makes it a crime for state-designated, high-level sex offenders to live approximately a half mile of places where children gather. The measure means offenders would have to pack up and move if their home is too close to what the county considers a "child safety zone." Those who don't face jail time.

(on camera): You're in favor of this even if the man has to move out of area?

GICALONE: Yes, I am. He chose to do it. I'm sure he knew the consequences if he'd ever get caught, which he did and he has to pay. Some people say that he already put his time in, in a federal prison. What about the kids?

ACOSTA (voice-over): The county executive defends the idea of forcing offenders out of their homes.

ROBERT BONDI, PUTNAM COUNTY EXECUTIVE: I think they do have rights but of course the residents who live in the county, particularly families that have children, small children, are quite concerned. And they have rights, too.

ACOSTA (on camera): The law would block registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds, even places like bowling alleys. Critics of the law say this is much more than not in my backyard, it's more like, not in my county.

(voice-over): That's because just about everywhere in Putnam County is too close to one of the protected zones.

ROBERT PERRY, N.Y. CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: The Supreme Court has said you cannot, as a matter of retribution, banish a person as punishment.

ACOSTA: If the measure survives court challenges, Robert Perry with the New York Civil Liberties Union, warns it would have unintended consequences.

PERRY: It essentially attempts to export the problem for the next county. Or it drives people underground, where it's going to be much more difficult for probation officers and sex offender management experts to monitor, to supervise, to treat.

GICALONE: My son can't go outside with my wife and I keeping an eye on him and my daughters, too. ACOSTA: Tony Gicalone's looking for some peace of mind, something he says he can't have with a registered sex offender in the neighborhood. Jim Acosta, Brewster, New York.


WHITFIELD: So it's no surprise when former House speaker Newt Gingrich does something to upset thousands. Find out who's offended and what was said.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, the rain is moving out of Chicago, but right now the winds are fierce. This is causing major travel delays for those of you looking to get away for this upcoming Easter holiday. I'll have more on that, plus Monday's forecast coming up next on the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Blame nasty weather in Chicago, underscoring the nickname as the "Windy City." This is the bedroom community of Carol Stream, where high winds literally raised the roof off of this apartment complex. More than 100 residents are now in emergency housing. The city's police chief says at least eight other structures were damaged as well. And 11 people were hospitalized after being hit by flying debris.

Meantime, lighter winds are helping firefighters get the upper hand on the Hesperia wildfire in southern California. Authorities say the blaze there is roughly 50 percent contained and all mandatory evacuations have lifted. Nearly 2,000 acres have burn so far, but firefighters are hopeful that total containment maybe by sundown, tonight. No one has been hurt so far. That's the good news. But what caused the blaze? Still unknown. Bonnie Schneider in the Weather Center, we know that Santa Ana winds are fierce and it doesn't help when it's very dry, like to have been in California.


WHITFIELD: Well, former House speaker Newt Gingrich says bilingual education is a waste of time and there's no need to teach. The quote, "language of living in the ghetto," his words, fighting words for our next guest, Hispanic activist Christine Neumann-Ortiz joins us live next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're free, they realize that you didn't do any of those things, you're free.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made a mistake.


WHITFIELD: Plus, words that changed the life of a man imprisoned for 22 years for a crime he didn't even commit.


WHITFIELD: Happening right now. Iran releases new video of two of the 15 British sailors and marines being held in Tehran. The video released about an hour ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the morning of Friday the 23rd of March at approximately half 8:00, we left coalition warship Oxford 99. And our task, our two boats was to go up to the area around this Persian Gulf area around here. And approximately about 10:00 in the morning, we were seized, apparently at this point here from their maps on the GPS they've shown us, which is inside Iranian territorial waters.

Because like I say that was about 10:00 in the morning. All members of our team were seized. That's 15. Seven marines. And the remainder, eight are all navy. So far, we've been treated very well by all the people here. They've looked after us. And made sure that we're getting enough food and we've been treated very well by them. So we thank them for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE : My name is Lieutenant Felix Common (ph). I operate out of Frigate Foxtrot 99. Using two seaboats that look like this called Pacifics and we were arrested in this location here. Yes, I would like to say to the Iranian people, I can understand why you're so angry about our intrusion into your waters.


WHITFIELD: And as you heard in that tape, Iran is saying that these sailors are showing the, on these maps, that they were in Iranian waters when they were captured over a week ago. Britain says the sailors were in Iraqi waters.

Meantime, a manhunt is under way in Charlotte, North Carolina, for at least two people suspected of killing two police officers. The officers were shot and killed last night. When they responded to a disturbance at an apartment complex. Police say one suspect is now being questioned.

And at the Vatican, Pope Benedict marked Palm Sunday celebrating mass before tens of thousands of worshipers. Palm Sunday is the day Christians believe Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey just days before his crucifixion.

Well, there is a lot of buzz about something that Newt Gingrich has said about the Spanish language. The former House speaker, and possible presidential hopeful, supports making English the nation's official language. But then went on to equate the Spanish language with a ghetto.


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: We should replace bilingual education with emergence -- with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and so they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.


WHITFIELD: Gingrich was speaking to the National Federation of Republican women in Washington. A spokesperson for the Hispanic Education Coalition calls the comments very hateful and points out that quote, "not everyone who speaks Spanish lives in a ghetto."

Well as you heard, some Hispanic American leaders are expressing strong disagreement with the former House speaker's comments. Joining me now is Christine Neumann-Ortiz. She's president of Voces de la Frontera. It is a low wage and immigrant worker center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Good to see you, Christine.


WHITFIELD: So Gingrich says bilingual education is the language of living in the ghetto. What did those comments mean to you when you heard that?

NEUMANN-ORTIZ: Three words came into my mind, ignorance, elitism and racism. Ignorance, because bilingual education is nothing new to this country. It was the way that through the 1800s, early European immigrants actually acquired English and assimilated it into society.

It was valued by our founding fathers. Our founding constitutional documents were translated and available in many languages.

So it doesn't fit our heritage as a country. And ignorance also because before bilingual education was passed most recently in the '70s, you know kids that were -- didn't speak English were labeled as mentally retarded and put into special education classes. Kids were punished verbally and physically for speaking their native tongue in the classroom.

Bilingual education is the best way to acquire English and to assimilate it into society because it starts, the kids where they're at in the terms of their native language. And then integrates over a period of time English. So that eventually you're speak and learning completely in English but you're not falling behind because of your knowledge. So that's ...

WHITFIELD: In your word choice, you're words like assimilation and you're talking bilingual education and Newt Gingrich used the words of immersion. Saying that why shouldn't there be more emphasis on some sort of English immersion program so that, consequently, kids who speak another language, would be able to assimilate.

What's the difference here? NEUMANN-ORTIZ: Because bilingual education was a product of the Civil Rights Act and it really was part of anti-discrimination laws across the board in terms of race, national origin, language issues. Because the record has been, when you just do, let's dump someone into a context where they don't have a school, where they don't speak the language, of course they're going to fall behind. Of course they won't test well. Of course it's going to injure them in terms of their self-development.

So it doesn't work. And on the contrary - so in terms of acquiring English, which I think is the common goal, bilingual education is the best method, historically and in the present. And on the contrary, we should be investing more into bilingual education as opposed to this kind of English-only policy, which will in reality, only marginalize this group of working people even more.

WHITFIELD: This has really become -- Christine, this has become an incendiary topic, just as immigration as I whole has become very incendiary, particularly over the last few months. Say, for instance, we saw these rallies taking place across the country, from L.A. to Chicago, DC, even Atlanta.

And there were so many Americans who said they were enraged by seeing not just the American flag being waved but they saw the flags of other countries, too. And so the argument has been this open-door policy that we have in America, is the door open too wide? What are your comments on that?

NEUMANN-ORTIZ: Well, trade agreements like NAFTA, trade agreements like CAFTA are an open door for multinational companies or capital or services and goods to cross borders.

But what they have done is resulted in more mass migration because the consequence in those countries has been more poverty. So, for instance, after NAFTA, we increased the undocumented population in this country by 8 million because of the level of poverty increased as a result of NAFTA. And unequal competition.

So you know, if we want people, I mean, for instance, bilingual education is not just for the undocumented. It's for kids who are -- or people here who are lawful permanent residents.

And for instance, his other comment was that he wanted to deny bilingual balance. Bottom line, this is about voter disenfranchisement. It's about exploiting working people, it's about dividing them. It's not about - real. It's not genuine that we really have a common goal of assimilating people in the way that we have, you know, historically.

WHITFIELD: Christine Neumann-Ortiz, thanks so much. I'm certain we have just started the dialogue on this topic.


WHITFIELD: With Voces de la Frontera out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, thanks so much for your time. So if money talks, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham-Clinton has plenty to say. CNN's political unit reports the New York senator already has a whopping $36 million to finance her upcoming run for the White House, $26 million comes from conventional fund-raising. Another $10 million remains from her last Senate re- election campaign.

Yesterday was the deadline for presidential candidates to disclose their first quarter fund-raising totals to the Federal Election Commission.

Former four-term Wisconsin governor and former U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson makes his presidential bid official today. Thompson formally announcing his candidacy earlier on a morning television talk show. Thompson, who calls himself a reliable conservative says he's optimistic about his chances.

Well, imagine serving a prison sentence for more than 20 years for crimes you didn't commit. A Buffalo, New York, man knows exactly what that feels like. He was recently exonerated of his 1987 rape convictions after long sought DNA evidence was found. Jim Acosta has that story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're free. They -- they realize that you didn't do any of those things, Ant. You're free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made a mistake.

ANTHONY CAPOZZI, WRONGLY CONVICTED OF RAPE: All right. It sounds good to me.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Capozzi family has been waiting 22 years to say those words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have you home pretty soon.

A. CAPOZZI: Where, in Buffalo?


ACOSTA: In prison since 1985, Anthony Capozzi was convicted of raping two women in the suburbs of Buffalo. A verdict that was based mostly on the testimony of rape victims who thought they'd identified the right man in a police lineup.

FRANK CLARK, D.A., BUFFALO, NEW YORK: The victims certainly believed wholeheartedly that they were identifying the right person.

ACOSTA: It was a stunning discovery of DNA evidence that will set Capozzi free. A long-lost genetic sample, investigators say that points to a different man. The evidence had been tucked away for years and was only recently discovered among hundreds of pathology slides at the Erie County Medical Center. As it turns out, those slides contained DNA linked to Altemio Sanchez, who was arrested and charged in January with being Buffalo's alleged bike path rapist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, I'm sure not nearly as the Capozzi family, that the existence of these slides wasn't found earlier.

ACOSTA: Capozzi, who's diagnosed with schizophrenia, has always maintained his innocence. Standing by his story during a total of five parole hearings. Even when an admission of guilt could have set him free years ago.

THOMAS D'AGOSTINO, CAPOZZI'S ATTORNEY: He's known what it has meant to say, I didn't do it. He could have said I did it, just to get out. But he never did.

PAM GUENTHER, CAPOZZI'S SISTER: He just kept to his -- his story, and always said, I don't know why I'm here. I didn't do anything to hurt anybody. I would never hurt anybody. I have sisters of my own and I love them.

ACOSTA: While overjoyed with the recent news about his son, Capozzi's father says the system's mistake was devastating for his family.

ALBERT CAPOZZI, FATHER OF ANTHONY CAPOZZI: Defamation (ph) of what's happened to my son. The shame that we went through. The degradation of all of that is something that you live with every day

ACOSTA: The attorney for the now 50-year-old Capozzi is making formal arrangements to his have client officially released from prison within the next two weeks, making this family whole again.

MARY CAPOZZI, MOTHER OF ANTHONY CAPOZZI: We're a family now. We waited so long for this. But I knew some day it would come.

ACOSTA: After spending nearly half of his life behind bars for a crime he never committed, Anthony Capozzi is almost home. Jim Acosta, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: It is a world of diamonds, but only men are allowed. Well, not anymore. Take a look at this. A woman umpire on a professional baseball diamond. Get used to it. It's a rare site indeed. The story next in THE NEWSROOM.

But first, CNN's Larry King is celebrating 50 years in broadcasting. Here's a look back at one of his more memorable guests.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: We won an Emmy for that show but I would rather not have won it. I liked Karla Faye a lot.

We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. Karla Faye Tucker will, if the governor or the parole board doesn't stop it, be executed on February 3rd for a brutal murder that she was involved with her former boyfriend who has since passed away.

She was a pathetic, tragic, bright, very religious figure. You know Pat Robertson fought to save her. The weird thing at that prison was we couldn't touch her.

So she was behind the facade and all you could do is put your hands up to her and we took shots of her walking along the prison yard.

I could see why it won an Emmy. It was deserving of winning an Emmy. You ask the best questions, you listen to the answer but it's a show you'd rather not do.



WHITFIELD: Think right now, new video from Iran of two of the 15 British sailors and marines being held captive. Tehran says the video shows the sailors using maps showing they were in Iranian waters when they were captured about a week ago.

Britain says the sailors were in Iraqi waters. Meantime, a massive manhunt is under way in North Carolina for whoever shot and killed these two Charlotte police officers. The officers were shot when they responded to a disturbance at an East Charlotte apartment complex last night.

And thousands of worshipers gathered at the Vatican for Pope Benedict's Palm Sunday mass. Christians believed Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, days before his crucifixion.

And stay with our CNN special programming throughout the week. "The Truth About Jesus, Live from the Holy Land." All this week, AMERICAN MORNING will be live from Jerusalem retracing the final footsteps of Jesus.

We'll see the most sacred and the mysterious sights of the Holy Land. AMERICAN MORNING weekdays beginning 6:00 a.m. Eastern. Don't want to miss that. And you don't want to miss more of THE NEWSROOM coming up with Rick Sanchez. Hello, Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Always good to be here with you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And it's always good to see you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much. We're going to be talking a little bit about Mr. Newt and the comments he made. You know, for me, I'm bilingual. I learned to speak English when I came to this country. It's kind of interesting.


SANCHEZ: And you can't help to agree with some of what he's saying about bilingual education because it's a bureaucracy. At the same time equating Spanish with the ghetto, a lot of people think he may have gone too far but we also want to see what you think and we are also going to be preparing some special reports on what really bilingual education is and whether the truth lies somewhere in the middle when you look at immersion all the way to the right and bilingual education on to the left.

But we want to know what you think, though. Did Gingrich go too far when he equated Spanish, the language spoken by Cervantes and others, as a language of a ghetto.

Also, we'll be talking a little bit about someone, remember the guy who fell off of the cruise ship?

WHITFIELD: The guy, wasn't there a girl, too?



SANCHEZ: I won't even.

WHITFIELD: I am not inferring anything but ....

SANCHEZ: Someone took pictures of it ...

WHITFIELD: ... tres mysterious, that's all I am going to say.

SANCHEZ: And we're going to talk to the person who shot the video.

WHITFIELD: Oh. Do we get to see the video?

SANCHEZ: Come on. We're not going to talk about what they were wearing.

WHITFIELD: Come on. We've been waiting all day.

SANCHEZ: Of course you're going to see it.

WHITFIELD: OK. We'll be watching. Thanks a lot, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, forget about double play. Get ready to do double-take.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only female umpire currently working in pro ball.


WHITFIELD: Uh-huh, the lady, you heard the man say it. And she's an ump. We'll take you out to the ball game straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Let's talk about an earthquake in the South Pacific. Bonnie Schneider is keeping tabs on all of it. Bonnie?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, Fredricka, we're getting some more information and this 7.6 earthquake in the Solomon Islands has now caused a tsunami warning to be issued for parts of the South Pacific including Australia and New Zealand. This is standard practice because of the size and magnitude of this quake though it is not known whether or not a tsunami has actually occurred. In the immediate vicinity, usually we see a tsunami within minutes.

But when you're talking about far off coastlines, a tsunami could occur, even a small scale one, hours after the earthquake has occurred.

Now to the north as we look north towards into Japan, we actually do have a tsunami watch posted just in case we get some reports of that happening. But right now the quake is isolate to the Solomon Islands which is in the South Pacific between Australia and Fiji, just north of New Zealand and down, you can see to the south is New Caledonia.

We had a tropical storm move through this region just days ago. So an active area of the world.

Now back to the U.S., we're also tracking some airport delays for you, if you're traveling here. We have some major delays in Chicago due to wind. Ground delays are up to 1:40. So keep that in mind. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Bonnie.

All right, well making the show, the goal of everyone working their way up from pro baseball's Minor Leagues, especially Ria Cortesio. Thursday she became the first woman to umpire a big league game in nearly two decades.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): At Hohokam Park (ph), it seemed like an ordinary exhibition Major League ball game, anxious crowd, cotton candy, players, then this curveball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only female umpire currently working in pro ball.

WHITFIELD: Ria Cortesio, a female ump, blending in, sort of, with the other umpires on a Major League field. Calling the shots in mostly minor league games is something this 30 year old has been doing for nine years.

RIA CORTESIO, PRO UMPIRE: The atmosphere was a little different.

WHITFIELD: For one, Cortesio told me after the game in the minors maybe there are a couple of dozen fans in the stands. Mostly the players' family and friends.

CORTESI: We walked out on the field in Hohokam yesterday and I think there were 12,000, music between innings and the smells from the grill, making me hungry the whole game. So it was a great atmosphere.

WHITFIELD: On the field, Cortesio in her comfort zone. Post play? Well, that's a whole other ball game, fielding so many questions.

QUESTION: Do you feel like a trail blazer?


QUESTION: Tell me about that.

CORTESIO: About what?

WHITFIELD: Cortesio not into this zone.

CORTESIO: When I found out I had this game, my plan was to sneak in, work the game and sneak out and hope no one noticed. That didn't happen.

WHITFIELD: Is that exciting? Is it burdensome? What does it feel like to you?

CORTESIO: Kind of a pain in the butt. I mean, you know, interviews and that sort of thing is not part of the job description for an umpire and it's not something -- I mean, the onslaught the past few days isn't something that I really have any experience dealing with, but, you know, I realize obviously that, you know, every other umpire in professional baseball is male. So, I'm the one that's going to get the brunt of the attention here. I would love to see it be 50/50, half men, half women umpiring professional baseball, if for no other reason than just to take the heat off of me.

WHITFIELD: Do you mind that people take notice, that they take a double look when they see you and say, wait a minute, that's a woman?

CORTESIO: Well, on the field it doesn't happen. Everyone knows who I am. I'll have friends or family that will come to my games and heard people say, is that a woman? Is that a guy? No, that's got to be a woman. No, it can't be a woman, women can't umpire. So that stuff just kind of makes me laugh. I think it's funny.

WHITFIELD: Right now, she umps in AA. AAA is next before getting a chance to umpiring Major League in a regular season. Still a good two years away.

Is that a dream for you?

CORTESIO: Definitely. Definitely. That's where the money is at and I would like to get me a hot tub, so one of the reasons I would like to get to the big leagues.

WHITFIELD: In the meantime, it's her game to win. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD (on camera): And so now Ria Cortesio on the road during the baseball season, spring season as well as the regular season for the next nine months.

So, folks, get used to her. Rick Sanchez is coming up at 7:00 p.m. Eastern with more of the NEWSROOM, but first up next, LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK, his round up of the top business stories.

And at 8:00 Eastern a special report from our SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT. Tonight, young Muslims torn between innocence and extremism. Christiane Amanpour explores the battle over Islamic ideals in England and what can drive people at the crossroads to turn to terrorism. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The latest on today's top stories, and then, LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK.