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Justice Official Quits; The Sopranos Series Ends; British Troops Released

Aired April 07, 2007 - 17:00   ET


ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Also his liaison to the White House, which will be his important link there, as well, you can bet, when Democrats investigate this. And then secondly, you now have Democrats threatening new subpoenas for more documents if the Justice Department does not turn them over.
So suddenly the heat back on the attorney general, Veronica.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN ANCHOR: That's exactly right. What are the Democrats saying about this, Ed?

HENRY: Well, it's interesting. Right away you could see Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the investigators, pouncing on this. And noting that this is the second, at least, top aide to step down to the attorney general.

Of course you had Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff who had resigned. He's testified on the Hill and Senator Schumer said, quote, "Attorney General Gonzales' hold on the department gets more tenuous etch day."

And there's an old adage in Washington if you have bad news, get it out late Friday night. It will get less media coverage on Saturday. This happened, of course, this resignation last night on a Friday night, a few weeks ago on a Friday night the Justice Department put out some damaging e-mails, as well, Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ : That's right. And Ed, Gonzales still scheduled to testify before Congress on April 17th. Do we know way is doing to prepare? Do we know how much of a role the White House is playing in his preparation?

HENRY: Yeah. Absolutely. Right now the attorney general over the next few days is going through what they call murder boards. Where you basically put a future witness on Capitol Hill through, behind closed doors, through these sessions, these mock sessions where you throw every tough question imaginable at this person to prepare them.

So they're going to, his own staff will give him a pre-grilling, if you will to get him ready for everything the Democrats will throw at him. And you can bet the White House will be watching this closely. A few weeks ago, the beginning of all this, President Bush said he still had confidence in his attorney general, but he had work to do on Capitol Hill. That work is going to be done April 17th. And that will decide the attorney general's fate, Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: April 17th, it is a very big day. Ed, before I let you go. Is it cold enough there for you to make us snow angels?

There is snow on the ground on Crawford Texas.

HENRY: Well, I don't know about a snow angel. But I do have a snowball. Your partner Rob there usually gets to play out in the snow. I don't usually get to do that in Crawford, Texas. In fact I talked to one of the police officers here, he said he's never seen it snow, one of the local police officers, said he's never seen it snow in April. Last time it snowed here was December. They didn't get very much. You can actually get a snowball in Crawford, Texas in April. How about that?

DE LA CRUZ: All right. Ed Henry, it is nice to see you.

HENRY: Good to see you.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: And Ed of course knows the number one rule in reporting from the field weather wise, never make a snowman or snow angel. At the network level that's definitely a career killer.

DE LA CRUZ: A career killer.

MARCIANO: Jacqui Jeras is live for us ...

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I've done it. I'm still here, just to let you know.

MARCIANO: At CNN, did you?

JERAS: I did. A long time ago.

MARCIANO: OK. What do you have for us? Why is it so cold and why has it been snowing?


MARCIANO: All right, Jacqui. We'll stay warm on the way to church. And for that Easter egg hunt for sure.

JERAS: Absolutely.

MARCIANO: Talk about the record-breaking cold in April. Now we're going to talk about global warming. It's just about the strongest warning yet from the United Nations on the human causes of global warming. The report predicts everything from monster storms and wildfires to crushing famine.


MARCIANO (voice-over): February's report from the United Nations panel on global climate change was just the tip of the iceberg. It concluded that global warming is real, it's getting worse and that human activity is driving it.

And a follow-up release Friday in Brussels offers new details on the devastating effects climate change will likely bring to bear on humans, animals and the environment.

MARTIN PARRY, IPCC CO-CHAIRMAN: We're no longer arm-waving with models. This might happen, right?

This is what we call empirical information, on the ground. We can measure it.

MARCIANO: Perhaps the most troubling finding is that by the end of the century, floods will permanently displace hundreds of millions of people, as low lying coastal areas are swallowed up by rising sea levels.

ROBERT CORELL, CLIMATE SCIENTIST: With a meter or two of sea level rise, we're actually going to see hundreds of millions of what we will call environmental refugees -- people who no longer can live where they had lived for maybe thousands of years.

MARCIANO: The report predicts that where it's wet and hot, insect- borne diseases such as malaria will explode. Where it's dry, it's likely to become much drier. And some water supplies will vanish, notably the glaciers in the Himalayas, the key water source for hundreds of millions of Asians. And the deserts will expand.

JAMES HANSEN, EARTH SCIENTIST: Already, we're beginning to see, in the Western United States, that it is becoming drier and hotter. And if we go down the path of business as usual, we can expect basically permanent drought in the Western United States.

MARCIANO: Another grim finding is that the world will see a spike in endangered species, with a wave of extinction, from coral reefs to polar bears.

CORELL: Our study in the Arctic suggested that the polar bear is on its way to extinction, during this century, in most likelihood. And the reason for that is that they live on the ice. They get their food off the ice. They snatch the seals through small air holes. And now, most of that ice is no longer there and will disappear.


MARCIANO (on camera): The next installment of that report will come out in about a month and it is going to focus on what we can do, what companies and government can do to help eliminate early or at least slow down global warming. And even the most dire scientists say that it's not too late to avoid these nightmare scenarios.


DE LA CRUZ: Telling their side of the story, the British troops released by Iran talk about their captivity, plus what would American troops do in a similar situation?

MARCIANO: And a huge fire rips through an apartment complex in Nashville, Tennessee. More on that in about 12 minutes.

DE LA CRUZ: And hookah lounges trying to escape anti-smoking laws. But have they seen success? We'll have the details in about 15 minutes. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


DE LA CRUZ: Danger on the high seas. Those British sailors and marines that were held captive by Iran have been talking about why they didn't put up a fight. Outgunned and outmanned, they say, they had no options when Iranian troops showed up armed and determined. Now the U.S. military is looking for ways to avoid the same trap. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr explains.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. Navy is urgently reviewing all operations in the Persian Gulf, making sure what happened to the British does not happen to it.

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We have asked for -- asked the chairman through the commander of Central Command and others to examine our procedures, and make sure that, first of all, that we're playing well within the baselines, just like the British were, and that our sailors are properly protected against any similar kind of activity.

STARR: U.S. Navy officials tell CNN with 20/20 hindsight, there may have been two critical decisions that left the 15 Royal Navy sailors and marines virtually alone, and unprotected. First, HMS Cornwall, with its guns, was too far away to help. The British say there was a reason for that.

LT. FELIX CARMAN, BRITISH ROYAL NAVY: Not only should she not have been closer to us, but she physically could not have been. The water in the area where we were captured was too shallow.

STARR: And the armed Lynx helicopter overhead had left the scene at some point to return to Cornwall. It came back, only as trouble broke out. That left the young British troops outmanned, and outgunned by the heavily armed Iranians, who rammed their boats, and then captured them.

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They were left high and dry in the sense that there was not enough force there to react to what they were presented with.

STARR: The U.S. and its allies vow to continue patrolling the Persian Gulf to protect Iraq's vital offshore oil terminals and watch for illegal activity. But the U.S. Navy's guard is up, way up.

ADM. MICHAEL MULLEN, U.S. CHIEF OF NAVAL OPS: We've got procedures in place which are very much designed to carry out the mission, and protect the sailors who were there. And I would not expect any sailors to be able to be seized by the Iranian navy -- or the Iranian Republican Guard navy.

STARR (on camera): U.S. and Royal Navy officials say they're not at war with Iran, and had no reason to expect a sneak attack. The British troops say, they had to make the difficult decision to surrender, rather than risk a shooting war they felt they couldn't win.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


MARCIANO: So what, if any, lessons were learned from the British hostage ordeal? Joining us for analysis is CNN's military analyst Major General Don Shepperd. Major General, U.S. Navy says the gunship was too far away. The Lynx armed helicopter left the scene too soon. And that's why we got where we got. Do you agree with that assessment?

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah, I do. I think these guys were put out where they did not have protection. They did not have a plan for what happened if things went bad. This was at least somewhat foreseeable, although they were probably trapped by, these interceptions going on a daily basis so they probably got sloppy.

But these kids were put out there, two boats. So it ended up, I believe against six boats. And the man on the scene, the senior officer had to make the decision whether to start shooting or whether to be captured. He made the decision it was better not to shoot.

MARCIANO: All right. So six boats come at you. You are getting rammed. You are seemingly outmanned, and out-armed. You mentioned the officer in charge from what I read, a pretty young guy, 25, 26 years old. Do you think he did the right thing?

SHEPPERD: I think he did the right thing. It makes no sense in the situation he was presented with to start shooting. Because you know you and your crew are going to get killed. That's not what you want.

Now it turned out bad. I think he's probably thinking in his mind this has happened before. Marines have been seized. They were released after a couple, three days. That's probably what he was looking at.

Also he has rules of engagement. United Nations' rules of engagement and his own country's rules of engagement as well as rules of engagement for the area. We don't know what those were and we don't know what orders he had been issued or what radio contact he had and what he was being told.

So before you start criticizing somebody, you need to know all those things. And we are not going to be told, Rob.

MARCIANO: Well, try to put us in his mind, if you could. What would a U.S. officer be trained to do in this situation mentally?

SHEPPERD: You are not trained for something like this. This is a pop-up situation. You make your decision on the spot. And you look out and say, here we go. I've got two boats, I've got small guns, I've got six boats coming at me with big guns. They are ramming me. It doesn't make any sense to start shooting. So you have to leave it to the man on the spot to make the decision. The questions really came in what happened after that, after the detention, that's where the big questions are, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right. Well, let's try to dive into that. These guys were put in international spotlight, seemingly coerced into some sort of confession. Are U.S. officers trained to do this? What do you tell a guy in captivity? Do you tell him, hang tough, take the torture, don't say a word or try to cooperate with your captors?

SHEPPERD: That's absolutely what we tell U.S. forces. We train them to do that in what we call SERE training, Survival Escape Resistance and Evasion. Basically, I've been through that training. It's very tough. They are subjected to what they think you are going to be subjected to. And what they tell you is don't give anything, don't cooperate, don't smile. Don't shake hands. Our training is considerably different. I don't know if these people had that training or not.

MARCIANO: Which training do you think is better in this situation?

SHEPPERD: First of all, we are conditioned by Rambo and John Wayne and our experiences in the Vietnam War. This is not combat these guys were in. This is an international incident on the water. And so you have to be careful about criticizing them.

And also it's very easy to say what should be done according to your training where you are sitting in the comfort of a studio like this and you don't have somebody pointing a gun at your head, cocking the trigger or pointing at one of your crew where you have to make a split-second decision, do I die, let me crew die or get through this and hope it will be sorted out somehow later.

MARCIANO: It is certainly easier to Monday morning quarterback. This one I would not want to be in that situation, major general. Let's talk about the future. How does this affect how the U.S. -- with its strategy? Do they do something different with their naval assets in the Gulf?

SHEPPERD: No I think you continue the mission you are given. In other words, intercept suspect ships. Board and what have you. But you make sure that you do not put small numbers of people out where they can be intercepted by larger numbers of people. You've got to be very careful about this because you don't want an incident such as this to spin off onto another war when we are trying to bring one to a close, Rob.

MARCIANO: Major General Don Shepperd, for analysis, thanks for the insight.

SHEPPERD: You bet.

MARCIANO: Well, the CIA is denying allegations it tortured an Iranian diplomat it kidnapped in Iraq. Jalal Sharafi was released Tuesday after being held for two months.

Today he held a news conference in Tehran. He accused the CIA of torturing him in captivity. He said he was interrogated by Arab and English-speaking agents. The CIA issued this statement. "The CIA vehemently denies any role in the capture or release of Sharafi. Any allegations of torture are ludicrous."

DE LA CRUZ: Well, the captain of that sunken Greek cruise ship is being charged with negligence today. He and five other officers are accused of causing the Sea Diamond to founder and sink in the Aegean Sea. The search continues for two passengers still missing since the ship went down Thursday. We just received some new sound into the CNN NEWSROOM. This is passengers onboard that ship talking about the fear they experienced. Take a listen to this.

All right. We don't have that sound for you. We'll go ahead and try to get that up for you. Rob?

MARCIANO: Well, keep smoking your water pipe in Maryland. That's what they say. There's a lot of talk about banning hookah lounges. That story is coming up in just about four minutes.

Plus, a dramatic rescue to tell you about in Texas. You're going to have to see this. Take a look at the pictures. We'll have all the details straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: And later -- could someone have intentionally placed a dangerous additive in the wheat gluten used in pet food? We'll have the latest on the seemingly ever expanding pet food recall.


MARCIANO: News across America now. In New Mexico, staying cool under fire. Check this out. The conductor of this passenger train decided to plow through the smoke and flames of an out-of-control brushfire. For dozens or so passengers, it was a hot ticket for a scary ride, but thankfully everyone on board was OK.

DE LA CRUZ: Wow. And dozens of people are homeless this holiday weekend after a four-alarm fire destroyed two apartment buildings in Nashville, Tennessee, yesterday. High winds made it tough for firefighters attacking the blaze. Authorities say the fire may have been sparked by a hot stove left unattended.

MARCIANO: And from South Carolina, one dad's cut-rate dentistry and the I-Report video he sent us to prove it. A few years ago, Paul Caden's daughter Whitney had a loose tooth. So bad busts out the bow and arrow, ties the string around the tooth and shoots. Voila. The tooth fairy. He gave her $5.

DE LA CRUZ: Ouch. That's all I have to say to that one.

A few moments ago we were trying to show you pictures and sound of passengers onboard that Greek cruise ship that sunk in the Aegean Sea. I do believe we have that sound for you. Let's listen to that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said what's going to happen? Are we going to die? Then after a short time -- When I got to the other side of the ship I could see the port and I can see the land. And it wasn't that far away. I know I could swim so I thought, this is going to be OK. It was the height of a seven-story building. I knew if you jumped out you could get hurt in the water. So I thought if the water gets high enough, I could jump out.

It still was very frightening. A lot of people were crying and screaming and looking for other family members. But we all got out.

QUESTION: What were you hearing ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't know what really was occurring until we started getting the announcement of the crew telling us everything is out of control or everything is under control and there is nothing to be scare of. They pushed everybody over to the side. Then we waited like 45 minutes there for the boat to start taking down. They had such trouble. Took us two hours to get out of the boat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are not found yet to our knowledge. This morning on the news in Greece. They hadn't found them. They interviewed the wife. She got out of the cabin and they don't know yet ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank God we're here. We appreciate life more.

We don't need your items, jewelry. It's all down there. We don't care at this point.


DE LA CRUZ: Again, new video and sound just in to us. Eleven-hundred passengers having to be evacuated off that cruise ship. We are going to continue to track this developing story and we'll have much more for you in the 10:00 hour.


MARCIANO: Unbelievable. I'm sure more than one passenger may have lit a cigarette just to try to calm their nerves. But laws banning smoking in restaurants and bars are increasingly common around the country, at least here in the U.S.

In response a new type of bar is popping up, one that focuses on smoking. Hookah bars actually originated in the Middle East. CNN's Kathleen Koch has more on the trendy spots and how law makers are fitting them into their anti-smoking push.



KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is one of the most memorable characters in Walt Disney's "Alice in wonderland," the Caterpillar, languidly puffing away atop his mushroom. Now growing numbers of Americans are following his lead, smoking hookah pipes. With bans now blocking smoking in restaurants and bars in 16 states, hookah bars are becoming a last refuge. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a nice alternative to smoking cigarettes. It's the lounge atmosphere so it's comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really relaxing atmosphere. There's a nice aesthetic of smoke rising slowly up.

KOCH: In a bowl near the top lit by a red-hot charcoal, hookah pipes hold tobacco if in assortment of flavors from apple to coconut. The smoke passes through water and is sucked through as many as six long tubes. Many cities including Washington, DC carve out smoking ban exemptions for establishments like hookah and cigar bars.

COUNCILMAN JIM GRAHAM, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: If you prohibited tobacco in hookah bars, it would be like prohibiting tobacco in tobacco shops. There would be nothing left.

KOCH: Come Monday, Maryland is expected to pass a statewide smoking ban.

KRIS GOLSHAN, OWNER, ZEEBA LOUNGE: Personally I think it's uncalled for. I don't think it's something that needed to take place.

KOCH: The owners of Zeeba Lounge, a hookah bar in Baltimore aren't sure whether it will snuff out their business.

ERIC KNOBLOCH, ZEEBA LOUNGE: It's our hope and our intent to be able to get an exception from that smoking ban based on the impact that would have on our business and our culture here at Zeeba Lounge.

KOCH: Customers hope the hookah bar survives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they should definitely be allowed an exception seeing how their business is based on being able to smoke.

KOCH (on camera): There's little hard research on the health effects of smoking hookah pipes.

(voice-over): But the American Cancer Society says tobacco smoke is dangerous, whether it's in a hookah or a cigarette. Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.


DE LA CRUZ: If definitely doesn't matter much.

All right. We've got a dramatic helicopter rescue to show you now in South Texas. The Coast Guard plucking two men and two young boys from a boat that went over a 150-foot dam on the Colorado River. I can barely look at these pictures. And then became wedged at the base of the dam. Earlier CNN's Betty Nguyen talked to a Coast Guard spokesman.


PETTY OFFICER ADAM EGGERS, U.S. COAST GUARD (on phone): It was extremely difficult. By the video you can see that it's extremely difficult to even actually see the boat because of the amount of water coming over the dam.

That posed an immediate threat to actually the people onboard, too. Because if they get swept off that boat, now you are talking a whole other situation and a whole different scenario of danger that becomes involved with trying to rescue someone from a moving river.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Just looking at this video, especially when you see the water just raging there, 150 feet down, are you surprised that they even survived this?

EGGERS: It's one of those things we always have amazing survival stories to come along with some of the tragedies we have to deal with every single day. I'm just thankful especially coming up to a holiday weekend everyone onboard was able to be taken off safely.


DE LA CRUZ: Simply amazing story of survival there. The Coast Guard didn't release information about the boaters' identities. After rescue, one of the men and one of the boys were treated on the scene. The others were flown to a nearby hospital.

I have to say, pretty lucky.

MARCIANO: Very lucky indeed.

And a new disturbing question in the pet food scare, could someone intentionally added a chemical substance to a widely-used ingredient?

Plus, offering hope to Iraq's orphans. They've lost their parents. Now one orphanage trying to make sure they don't lose their futures. Those stories and more straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.


MARCIANO: We are at the bottom of the hour now. Here's a look at our top stories.

DE LA CRUZ: The space tourist club swells to five members with American billionaire Charles Simonyi blasting off this afternoon for the International Space Station. The two week long trek costs more than $20 million. You think it's worth it?

MARCIANO: If I had the change.

Back on earth trying to fly the unfriendly skies. Last night Northwest Airlines cancelled a flight from Las Vegas to Detroit after the pilot allegedly dropped a flurry of F-bombs in front of passengers. The airline says it is reviewing the matter.


And radio talk show host Don Imus is apologizing for some colorful language he used to describe the Rutgers University women's basketball team earlier this week. The National Association of Black Journalists is demanding Imus be fired for his insensitive remarks. We have some disturbing new developments to tell about now in the pet food scare, according to an FDA official one theory being investigated, whether the chemical melamine was intentionally added to wheat gluten used in some pet food.

Also the recall widened to include dog biscuits made by Sunshine Mills. They company makes private label brands found at grocery stores and Wal-Mart's Old Roy Biscuits.

In the meantime, Menu Foods is expanding its original recall to include some cuts and gravy products made between November 8th and March 6th. So what should pet owners be doing at this point to keep their pets safe? Dr. Jim Humphries is a veterinarian in Denver, Colorado, and joins us live.

Dr. Humphries, thanks so much for your time tonight.


DE LA CRUZ: It doesn't matter which way we look at it this pet recall is expanding. This time dog biscuits. So what are you telling your pet owners regarding food safety?

HUMPRHIES: I'm telling them to read the label. It's very important. The one common thread in this recall is this wheat gluten. We know that. And so if you'll simply read the label and if you find wheat gluten on that label, don't buy the food. In fact, it shouldn't even be on the shelf. If you have some of this food at home and you bought it previously and you happen to hear this and investigate and read the label and you see wheat gluten on there, throw it out or you might even want to save it for later.

Do not feed any food with wheat gluten because we know that seems to be the common thread throughout this recall.

DE LA CRUZ: And Dr. Humphries, they are saying that pets who have eaten this tainted food, they are at risk of kidney failure. Is that fatal? Would dogs or cats be more at risk? Would it matter there?

HUMPRHIES: Well, cats seem to be a little more at risk in this problem. I will tell you all dogs and cats and all animals and people have renal failure. It's a common disease. But this melamine does cause renal failure. We are seeing more blood tests being submitted to the national labs.

I will tell you the majority of those blood screening tests are normal. We've seen some increase in the number of renal cases that are positive.

Over the last three weeks, now that we are three weeks out from this recall, I can tell you, I spoke just yesterday with a national lab. They say they are beginning to see these decrease some, so that's good news.

DE LA CRUZ: So, Dr. Humphries, what do you think. There are so many people angry about what's happening here. Do you think that the FDA has really done enough? Don't you think they've been behind the eight ball when it comes to recalling these foods?

HUMPRHIES: You know, it may look that way in the media, but I can tell you as a veterinarian, I watched this closely. I run a network of 320 veterinarians around the U.S. and Canada that do local and national media. And I can tell you we know the FDA was on this quickly. They have treated it very forcefully.

They have over 400 people on this case. And they are looking at it very carefully. So I think the response has been good. I also know they are relying on veterinarians throughout the country in private practices to educate their clients, test the suspected animals and treat them accordingly. And that's been happening since the very first weekend of this recall. A little bit over three weeks ago.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. Dr. Humphries, let me ask you this. Do you have a dog or cat?

HUMPHRIES: I have two of each.

DE LA CRUZ: And what are you feeding them? I know people are up in arms. They don't know what to feed their pets. Should they go organic, raw? What are you feeding your pets?

HUMPHRIES: Well, that's a very good question. I'm feeding them dry food that does not contain wheat gluten. That's the short answer. You don't want to feed any cuts and gravy types, any of the moist foods that have wheat gluten in them. The FDA has said on percent of all pet food has been involved in this recall.

So Veronica, that means 99 percent of pet food that is out there right now is safe. I feel perfectly fine in feeding my precious pets good dry food that does not contain wheat gluten.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. We are going to have to leave it there. Dr. Jim Humphries, we appreciate your time tonight. Thanks.

HUMPRHIES: Thank you.

DE LA CRUZ: Don't forget that we have posted more information about the pet food recall on our Web site, is where you can find it. Also, don't forget tonight we are listing the affected brands on the ticker. It is running right across the bottom of your screen. Go ahead and take a look.

MARCIANO: In Iraq, the U.S. military is now reporting two U.S. soldiers killed and seven wounded. Friday in bomb explosions around Baghdad. Earlier in the day, a crackdown in Diwaniya. An Iraqi-led air strike bombed insurgents with rocket-propelled grenade.

The U.S. military says locals used a tipster hotline to report the location of armed militia in that area.

And with each Iraqi death, another orphan -- another child is orphaned. And there just doesn't seem to be enough places to put them. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen visited one orphanage to see how the children cope. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A tablespoon of yogurt on fried rice, lunch is simple at the Safe House, an orphanage in one of Baghdad's poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods.

But for 6-year-old Saif Saley (ph), simply getting a hot meal every day is luxury. Saif's (ph) parents were killed by a roadside bomb two and a half years ago. He was with them in the car, and now the boy is afraid to even talk about the terrorists who killed his mom and dad.

"If I speak, they will kidnap me," Saif (ph) says. "They will shut my mouth and kidnap me."

Almost all the children here have similar stories to tell. "I've never seen my father," this boy weeps. "I'm 17-years-old and I did not know my father or even what he looks like. Every kid outside has a father that takes them to hospital or to school and brings them back home."

But while the children's pasts are ever present, the orphanage tries to offer them a future, doing homework in a country where the U.N. says over 20 percent of primary aged school children don't even attend classes.

(on camera): There are no reliable numbers as to how many children have been made orphans by the ongoing violence in Iraq but the government does admit it's having trouble providing food and shelter for a growing number of orphan children. Iraq's ministry for social affairs says many of them end up on the streets, begging or stealing.

(voice-over): The orphanage is a private institution started by Iraqis from Kurdistan, funded solely by donations, one of only very few places in Iraq. "Thank God we didn't let these children down," the social worker says. "We leave our own families to look after these kids. We find one of them upset, we try to talk to them as if we were the parents."

Six-year-old Saif (ph) agrees. He says the orphanage is like a new home to him and the staff are almost like parents. Saif (ph) is a talented singer. He often sings songs for his new friend at the safe house, songs about god and the prophets and about a hope for a better future. Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Baghdad.


DE LA CRUZ: And coming up in THE NEWSROOM, hybrids, minis, muscle cars, SUVs, the list goes on and on. After the break, we're going to go live to the New York Auto Show to find out what is hot on the road to tomorrow. The Car Coach Lauren Fix joins us to tell us all about it.

Hey, Lauren.

And ...

LAUREN FIX, CAR EXPERT: Got to see it (ph). Back to you, Rob.

MARCIANO: And THE NEWSROOM will continue in a moment. We'll be right back.


MARCIANO: Looking for some styling new wheels? Well, who isn't at least looking? In Midtown Manhattan, more than a million people are expected this week and the next at the New York International Car Show. Besides getting a sneak peek at some of the cars of the future you can get a good look at the new chariots of here and now. Car Coach Lauren Fix joins us live from the Big Apple with more.

Lauren, what's the big trend this year? What do you see?

FIX: There are a couple of trends. One of the biggest ones, hybrid cars followed by really stunning performance sedans and convertibles. And then finally, of course, the crossover utility segment. That is huge. That's grown by 42 percent.

MARCIANO: Why the crossover utilities? Why are car makers making that switch?

FIX: I think it's the cost of operating and filling up the tank of an SUV is getting absurd. Minivans kind of have a stigmatism to them. No one really wants to own them as much as they used to and a lot of manufacturers stop making them.

So since women make 85 percent of the buying decisions, we found the perfect vehicle. The crossover utility vehicle. The 2009 Ford Flex is one of the ones that really impressed us. The manufacture says it's all about the journey. The outside is not just bold but the inside has pretty much every option you can think of, including a refrigerator that actually works.

MARCIANO: Come on. A refrigerator? I was going to ask you with the luxury vehicles that are out there, what other bells and whistles can you put in a car? But a refrigerator I suppose is one of those.

FIX: Well, in the luxury vehicles in the XK series of the new Jaguar has air conditioned seats can't go wrong with that.

MARCIANO: I could use that.

FIX: It's not too bad. You notice of course when you are looking at the 2009 XKR, the portfolio Jaguar which is a beautiful luxury convertible. They are only making 255 of them. They are exclusive as well as having cherry wood dashes, top of the line stereos, air conditioned seats, aluminum trim, so they are really hitting home because there is a marketplace for those type of cars.

MARCIANO: You've got a price tag on that one, just for curiosity?

FIX: I'm going to guess it's around $100,000, but you know what they say, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

MARCIANO: That would include me.

Let's talk about hybrid vehicles. The cost of gasoline and of course, going green is certainly becoming popular. What are you seeing out there as far as hybrids go?

FIX: Well, I got an opportunity to drive a hydrogen fuel cell car. It happens to be built by Ford. They got money supported by the EPA. It was really interesting that we actually get to drive a concept car. Most concept cars have no engines, no interiors. This was actually a functional vehicle. So the future is going to be hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Of course, you've got Toyota and Honda and GM and Ford and many other manufacturers coming up with our usual gas and electric combinations. The hydrogen fuel cell, actually a functioning car, they have 300 vehicles in the fleet that they are testing and sounds like something we'll see in a few years.

MARCIANO: We just need the infrastructure, I suppose. Say you are a patriotic person and you want to buy an American car. Some foreign makers are building their cars in the U.S. How do you know if your car is built here?

FIX: That's a really good question. First thing look is at the window sticker. It will tell you the percentage of the car made in each country. It's really important you know that. If it's a used vehicle or pre-owned vehicle, and the window sticker is not there, open the door and look inside the driver's door on one of the door jambs. It will list where it is built.

MARCIANO: All right. Good advice right there. Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, take that Jag for a spin, put it on the corporate card and let me know how it goes.

FIX: OK. I'll let you know.

MARCIANO: Thanks, Lauren.

FIX: You, too.

DE LA CRUZ: Let's keep that conversation on the road here. You want to go green and want to know why, it's going to cost you. A California law maker wants to hit gas-guzzling motorists where it hurts the most, in the wallet. CNN's Sumi Das explains.



SUMI DAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taraiaka Swanson loves her SUV, but says she would drive a U-Haul truck or bus if she could.

SWANSON: I had a smaller car for about 10 days and I ended up taking it back.

DAS: It's not blatant disregard for the environment. With three active kids and two elderly parents who can't drive, Swanson's car is frequently full.

SWANSON: I'm a care taker for my parents and transport them to all medical visits and other errands throughout the week, and one of them I use the wheelchair for.

DAS: Swanson says filling up her beloved Suburban is pricey. But a proposed bill could unload another financial burden. If a California assemblyman Ira Ruskin gets his wish, starting in 2011, drivers would have to shell out up to an extra $1,200 when they purchase new cars that spew higher levels of pollution.

IRA RUSKIN, (D), CA ASSEMBLY: We have 20 million on the cars on the road in California. We made a decision to fight global warming. We can't do it without getting cleaner vehicles on the road.

DAS: Buyers of cleaner-burning cars would receive a rebate.

RUSKIN: It's not a bill about a particular car or light truck. It's about clean versus dirty vehicles. It's about the efficiency of the engine in emitting fewer greenhouse gasses.

DAS: The bill includes exemptions for small businesses and vehicles for transporting the disabled. While Swanson does shuttle around her wheelchair-bound mother, she hasn't modified her car so she wouldn't be eligible. Car sellers are likely to fight the proposals, claiming most large vehicles are used appropriately and the bill is misguided.

PETER HOFFMAN, CALIFORNIA CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION: It's simply not a very efficient way to try to change the consuming patterns. There are too many people that are going to be trapped by it. It's a wealth transfer thing that is going to be too capricious too frequently.

DAS (on camera): Similar bills have been proposed in the past but Ruskin says this time his bill has a better chance of passing. Why? Ruskin says the climate has changed. The political climate, that is. Sumi Das, CNN, Los Angeles.


MARCIANO: Well, for years it's been certainly a different kind of family TV.

DE LA CRUZ: A very different kind of family TV. Why the new season of "The Sopranos" is an open you just can't refuse. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


DE LA CRUZ: Badabing. HBO's mob drama "The Sopranos" is being snuffed out this year. Yes, it's true. Our Sibila Vargas reports now on the hit series as it prepares to say arrivaderci.


JAMES GANDOLFINI, ACTOR: There's two endings for a guy like me, high profile guy, dead or in the can. SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They redefined family television. As HBO's long running dramatic series, the "Sopranos" premiers its final episodes starting this Sunday night. It marks the beginning of the end of an era in prime time.

Almost as soon as the "Sopranos" debuted in 1999, the show became a hit with both critics and fans, earning Emmy nominations for outstanding dramatic series and generating previously unheard of ratings for HBO. Series creator David Chase says the success of the "Sopranos" has more than exceeded his expectations.

DAVID CHASE, SERIES CREATOR: It's our goal to be able to do a show where people couldn't guess what was going to happen next, where you wouldn't be ahead of the plot because you've seen it 50 times. I hoped that it turned out that way.

VARGAS: Eight years, dozens of awards and nearly 80 episodes later, the show's cast recently gathered in New York to celebrate and say good-bye. Edie Falco who plays Tony Soprano's long suffering wife Carmela says working on a series was an experience unlike any other.

EDIE FALCO, "CARMELA SOPRANO": This is really hard. I never had a job for 10 years before, any job. And I have grown very attached to these people.

VARGAS: For viewers, the "Sopranos" became appointment television, a Sunday night tradition.

AIDA TURTURRO, "JANICE SOPRANO": One of the things is when people say, wow, we all get together with our family and watch it or our friends. And in that way, bringing people together to watch the show, it brings like family together.

VARGAS: The "Sopranos" also brought new attention to HBO which in turn allowed the network to develop other successful original series including "Sex in the City" and Deadwood."

LORRAINE BRACCO, "DR. JENNIFER MELFI": I really hope in my heart and believe in my heart that we raised the bar.

MICHAEL IMPERIOLI, "CHRISTOPHER MOLTISANTI": I think people have become more willing to take risks with programming.

VARGAS: Craig Tomashoff, "TV Guide's" resident expert on all things "Sopranos" agrees.

CRAIG TOMASHOFF, TV GUIDE: The "Sopranos" didn't shy away from language or subject matter. It just made it a little freer I think for all of TV to be a little bolder.

"Rescue Me" is like the perfect example I think of the "Sopranos" legacy. They only have to do 13 episodes in a year. They can really push the boundaries of topics and language and get more attention.

VARGAS: And while fans will certainly be paying attention to the way things end for the "Sopranos," creator David Chase, it remains an unfinished symphony.

CHASE: We're still shooting the last one and we've yet to edit three, four or five of them. So I can't really say that I'm completely satisfied because it's still a work in progress.

VARGAS: Sibila Vargas, CNN, Hollywood.


MARCIANO: We want to tell but a CNN special tonight. We're calling it "What Would Jesus Do?"

Join Roland Martin for a power debate on how Jesus might solve today's problems, from the war in Iraq to the world's poverty and disease.

Adding their thoughts tonight, Reverend Jerry Falwell, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Rick Martin and Pastor Paul White. Don't miss this CNN special on this Easter weekend. That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern Time.

All right. A check of the days' headlines in just about three minutes. We'll see you then.


DE LA CRUZ: Well, this is Larry King's 50th year in the broadcasting industry. So CNN is bringing you highlights from his most memorable interviews. Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie had more tabloid headline than you could count. And as Larry shares, you never know where the conversation may go.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Weird night. Angelina Jolie, who is now not with him, was madly in love with Billy Bob Thornton, and very bright, a very good guest, but weird because she had a little vial around her neck. It was obviously an unusual vial. It had an unusual color, dark red. I said, what is that? She said that's the blood of Billy Bob. And we carry it to be bound in blood together.

Does it make you feel closer?

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: Yes. I travel and when we work we are far apart. Things that are just, you know, a bit of his life.

KING: And what does he wear?

JOLIE: Mine.

KING: Your blood?

Well, what do you do with something like that? That becomes what we call interesting. I found it interesting.