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Luciano Pavarotti Funeral; President Bush Heads Home; Oprah Winfrey Supports Barack Obama Campaign; Laura Bush Surgery; War on Terror Debate; New Bin Laden Tape; Madeleine McCann Investigation

Aired September 08, 2007 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Up next in the NEWSROOM, one great tenor bids a fitting farewell to another. A magical sendoff to musical legend, Luciano Pavarotti.
Plus, a tropical storm warning, the culprit - Gabrielle, we're tracking her closely.


SUSAN HEALEY, MOTHER OF KATE MACCANN: I think, because to us, it's just a ludicrous suggestion.


WHITFIELD: And family outrage after the parents of a missing 4- year-old are named suspects in her disappearance.

Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Straight ahead in the "NEWSROOM," the parents of the missing Madeleine McCann reportedly plan to now remain where they are in Portugal. The couple's apparent change of heart follows the shocking revelation that police now consider them suspects. With the latest on the case, here's CNN's Phil Black.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate and Gerry McCann were interviewed separately. The result for both was the same. They left as 'aguidos' in Portuguese law, suspects accused of involvement in their daughter's death.


CARLOS PINTO ABREU, MCCANNS' LAWYER: Kate and Gerry McCann have both been today declared 'aguidos' with no bail conditions. And no charges have been brought against them.

BLACK: The McCanns say through a spokesperson that police believe they accidentally killed Madeleine, hid her body and then disposed of it using a car they rented 25 days later. Those close to the couple say this is a frightening development.

SUSAN HUBBARD, MCCANN FAMILY FRIEND: They are living a nightmare and this is just, I mean, on top of it, it's a worse hell than you can imagine.

BLACK: Susan Hubbard was minding the McCann's 2-year-old twins while their mother was being interviewed.

HUBBARD: She's a beautiful person, and she has the most loving heart.

BLACK: For more than four months the McCann's have shared their lives with the people here. They have prayed with them and received great sympathy from them.

Throughout this day in Praia Da Luz, Kate and Gerry McCann have often thanked the people for their support. Locals say the McCann's new status as official suspects is beginning to divide opinion in this community, but most people here are still standing by them.

TRANSLATOR: If I saw the parents, I would go up to them and tell them "I'm with you," this woman says. Many of the British tourists who holiday here also believe this is an injustice.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: If they were involved in a disappearance, where did they put her or hide her for so long? No, I don't think so.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm very, very angry for them and very, very upset for them because they've got no control over anything themselves.

BLACK: The McCann's were planning to leave Portugal Sunday and return to their home in central England. Their friends say they are now determined to stay, fight, and not give up hope their daughter is alive.

HUBBARD: By doing this, focusing on Kate and Gerry, it's taking everyone's eyes off the real purpose, which is to keep looking for Madeleine.

BLACK: Phil Black, CNN, Praia Da Luz, Portugal.


WHITFIELD: Meantime, the mother of Kate McCann says the notion that her daughter killed her child is both bizarre and ludicrous. She reacted today to the news that her daughter is considered a suspect.


SUSAN HEALEY, MOTHER OF KATE MACCANN: I think because to us it's just a ludicrous suggestion, I can't say that we don't take it seriously because, obviously, we're very worried for our daughter, but if we were being serious, you know, it is ludicrous. It's bizarre. We can't understand where this is coming from. Kate never raises her voice to her children. She's the most loving and gentle mother. Madeleine is a child that she longed for a long time. She changed career paths, taking a career that would enable her to have more time with Madeleine. It was probably the best day of Kate's life when Madeleine was born.


WHITFIELD: And coming up in the "NEWSROOM," we'll update the case with a live report in about 30 minutes from now.

Meantime here in this country, the Carolina coast on alert as subtropical storm Gabrielle heads its way. For the latest on the storm let's turn to CNN meteorologist, Jacqui Jeras. So it still seems to be heading toward the Outer Banks?

JACQUI JERAS, METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's been doing an erratic pattern, actually, over the next 12 to 6 hours or so, but generally moving west/northwesterly and, yeah, towards the North Carolina coast. And look at the cluster of showers and thunderstorms right here starting to move on in a little bit and getting closer. You'll be feeling the impacts of this storm by overnight tonight. It's still relatively weak, maximum winds are only about 45 miles per hour but as long as it stays over the open water that gives it time to strengthen further and the official forecast does hole that it could become a strong tropical storm with wind around 60, maybe 65 miles per hour before potential landfall late tomorrow evening.

There you can see the position around 8:00 on Sunday somewhere around Cape Hatteras or so. But it still could miss it, it could even move further in shore. Look at how large the cone of uncertainty is. Still covers a good area here and really could give it a swing and a miss possibly so, what do you need to know? Here are the big impacts that we think Gabrielle will impose upon the folks of the Carolinas. Winds could reach between 50 and 60 miles per hour in the Outer Banks. That will last through the day tomorrow, and that's going to be at the storm's peak. Rainfall totals between two to four inches. Locally, heavier amounts possible, maybe up to six. Storm surge pretty low around two to three feet, could get a little higher in some of the river inlets there. Rip currents a high threat for today and tomorrow and expecting to see minor beach erosion. Of course, that's going to be all in the Warren(ph) area from the North Carolina-Virginia border down towards Surf City. Rain showers will be pulling in overnight tonight; there you can see it on Doppler radar and the winds, relatively weak right now, into the teens. We'll watch those pick up maybe into the 20s by tomorrow morning. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Alright, good deal. Thanks so much, Jacqui.

Well, the gray beard is gone, and so is his haggard appearance. As intelligence experts comb over the latest videotape from Osama Bin Laden, it's providing new insights into this terror master's mind. Here's our Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD: The same calm demeanor as his video in 2004. But this time the beard is black, not streaked with gray. The appearance and body language of Osama Bin Laden on this latest tape is the first thing we analyzed with Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize winning author on Bin Laden.

STEVE COLL, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: There's a long streak of self-consciousness and vanity in his appearances. He often re-tapes some of his presentations when he feels he hasn't done a very good job, and he's a performer and a marketer. TODD: Early on, he crows about September 11th, saying despite America's status as the world's status as the greatest economic and military power --

TRANSLATOR: Nineteen young men were able to change the directions of this compass.

COLL: Now he more or less concedes this is his doing and he's quite proud of it in a way. So I think the more time has passed the more pride he has taken in that attack.

TODD: But there's contradiction. He almost condemns 9/11, quote, burning living-beings is forbidden in our religion, even if they be small like the ant. Is he ignoring the images of the World Trade Center on fire?

COLL: He's often contradicted himself, particularly when he's defensive, accused of violence.

TODD: And what to make of him ticking through news events, the democrats taking power in congress, even an apparent reference to the American mortgage crisis. Coll says he wants to do more than prove he's still alive.

COLL: Like American news consumers, he seems sometimes to get irritated at politicians and news makers talking about him in a way that he doesn't agree with.

TODD: It's Bin Laden's seeming consumption of news that Coll believes might offer insight into where he is. Satellite TV access to news outlets is widely available in Pakistan, Coll believes that's the most likely place this video was made. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: The Bin Laden tape, like the war in Iraq, is a distraction for President Bush. He left the APEC Summit in Sydney, Australia today, to head back to Washington. But, even before the tape emerged, the topic of Iraq overshadowed the economic forum. Our Elaine Quijano reports from Sydney.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Without ever mentioning Osama Bin Laden by name --

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The tape is a reminder about the dangerous world in which we live.

QUIJANO: President Bush cited the Al Qaeda leader's latest video as evidence that the war on terror and the war in Iraq are one in the same.

BUSH: Found it interesting that on the tape Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is a part of this war against extremists. QUIJANO: The Bin Laden tape proved to be the most prominent distraction during the annual Asian Economic Forum in Sydney. A summit already overshadowed by Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, welcome to Anbar.

QUIJANO: The president's surprise trip there dominated the headlines and Iraq topped the discussions with his staunch ally, Australian Prime Minister, John Howard

BUSH: I appreciate the contribution that the Australians have made.

QUIJANO: The official summit agenda centered on climate change and trade. Yet, on the sidelines, the president met with a host of leaders on other issues. Product safety with China's President, Hu Jin Tao(ph), and Iran with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. After one meeting, though, South Korea's president veered off script, pressing Mr. Bush before the cameras to explain his position on how to formally end the Korean War.

TRANSLATOR: Mr. President, if you could be a little bit clear in your message.

BUSH: Can't make it any more clearer, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will happen when Kim Jong-Il, verifiably, gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons.

QUIJANO: This year, even the so-called 'funny shirts photo' of leaders in traditional garb, got upstaged. Australian TV Show Comedians rolled right past security with a fake motorcade and a phony Osama Bin Laden.


QUIJANO: President Bush heads home to a busy week in Washington, one that includes the September 11th anniversary and assessments on the situation in Iraq. And a senior administration official says it's very likely the president will deliver a prime time address to the nation, yet, another chance for him to weigh in on the Iraq debate. Elaine Quijano, CNN, Sydney, Australia.

WHITFIELD: And this final applause for one, if not the greatest tenor of his generation. The funeral for Luciano Pavarotti next in the "NEWSROOM." plus, a political endorsement some candidates would dream of getting; that story coming up.

Also, a young man walked 150 miles to see his girlfriend. Who says romance is dead? The real story as it happens right here in the "NEWSROOM."


WHITFIELD: In Italy today, the final farewell to the great, Luciano Pavarotti. The world-renowned tenor earned his last standing ovation at an emotional funeral service; fitting for a man who entertained millions and won the hearts of his fellow Italians. Here now is CNN's Jennifer Eccleston.

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tens of thousands of mourners gathered for the funeral of Luciano Pavarotti at this 12th century, Romanesque cathedral in the center of Modena. Now, the opera star had requested that the funeral service be luminous and not a dark occasion, one that would reflect his enormous zest for life. With that, we saw enormous flower displays, red roses and also sunflowers. The latter, he said, represented a smiling face. The red roses represented his passion and his love for life. Such were the enormous crowds here today that a large screen television was erected in front of the piazza. Another one was not far away because only 700 were able to fit into this cathedral. Now we saw the Soprano, Raina(ph) Covonsky(ph) give a moving aria before the start of the mass.

There was the Rossini(ph) Choir which also sang, and that is where Pavarotti sang as a boy and also his father. And then we had the blind tenor and Pavarotti disciple, Andrea Bocelli, also singing. But, one of the most moving moments of the mass was a recording of Pavarotti singing with his father, Fernando. After that, there was a standing ovation in the cathedral and also out here on the piazza. Now, there were some 100 VIPS and dignitaries in attendance this day, Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, of Italy and Pavarotti's close friend and pop star, Bono, and former U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan, who was here to recognize Pavarotti's work with U.N. Refugee Agency. Now after the funeral, the casket left the Duomo with 14 pallbearers. There was an Italian air force fly-over releasing the three colors of Italy's flag and then the hearse left the piazza here in Modena and went for a tour around his hometown so the people here can bid a final fair well to their home-grown hero. Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, Modena, Italy.

WHITFIELD: It is a headlining topic in the 2008 presidential campaign. Violence in Iraq and there's no letup even as President Bush prepares his assessment of the situation on the ground. The politics of war next in the "NEWSROOM."

Also ahead, the latest on the search for aviator Steve Fosset. You are watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: Oprah Winfrey teaming up with Democratic presidential-hopeful Barack Obama. No, an Obama/Oprah ticket is not what we're talking about. Instead, Winfrey is focusing on the finances of Senator Obama's campaign hosting a fundraiser for him at her massive estate in Southern California. So, all 1500 tickets for the garden party are sold out at $2300 a piece. That comes to more than $3 million dollars and on the guest lists, Hollywood heavyweights including Halle Barry and John Travolta.

So, a career change for Senator Chuck Hagel. A source close to the Nebraska Republican says he will leave the senate when his term ends in January, 2009. The source says Hagle will not run for president next year. The senator is expected to make a formal announcement Monday in Omaha.

Laura Bush taking on the role of outpatient today, the First Lady had elective surgery to relieve the pain from pinched nerves in her neck. She's been uncomfortable for some time and did not attend the APEC Summit with President Bush in Australia because of it. So, doctors performed the 2 1/2-hour procedure at George Washington University hospital today and Mrs. Bush is now back at the Whitehouse resting.

A deadly attack in Iraq today comes at a time when the war is a hot topic on the campaign trail. A dozen people were killed in Baghdad when a suicide car bomb exploded outside a Sadir City police station, 45 others were injured. As Senior Political Analyst, Bill Schneider, explains look for more talk about Iraq as the election draws closer.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Republicans are sending a clear signal; they want the 2008 election to be about the war on terror, just like the 2004 election.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Being on offense against terrorism. Unlike the Democrats who are on defense against terrorism.

SCHNEIDER: Rudy Giuliani is the Republicans' front-runner and he claims fighting terrorism as his issue.

GIULIANI: In this era of the terrorists' war on us, I think we should call it the terrorists' war on us or, if we want, the Islamic terrorist war on us.

SCHNEIDER: But this democratic candidate, the same who once called the global war on terror a bumper sticker slogan is anything but defensive.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The results are in on George Bush's so-called "Global War On Terror" and it's not just a failure, it is a double-edged failure.

SCHNEIDER: John Edwards proposed an aggressive new policy against terrorism.

EDWARDS: Instead of cold war institutions designed to win traditional wars and protect traditional borders, we need new institutions designed to share intelligence, cooperate across borders and take out small, hostile groups.

SCHNEIDER: Organized around a new alliance.

EDWARDS: A new multi-lateral organization called the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Treaty Organization.

SCHNEIDER: Republicans say they have made the country safer. GIULIANI: All you have to do is pick up this morning's newspapers and you can see that same movement and same group of people that killed so many people on September 11th were attempting to do the same thing in Germany and the German police stopped them.

SCHNEIDER: That shows multilateralism works, Edwards argued. Even though it is usually derided by the Bush Administration. But is the country safer?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.

SCHNEIDER: Edwards' answer?

EDWARDS: Some running for the democratic nomination have even argued that the Bush/Cheney strategy has made us safer. It has not.


SCHNEIDER: Edwards' message is, 'If the Republicans want to re- fight the 2004 campaign, bring them on." Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.

WHITFIELD: And, in the next hour we'll hear more about the war debate, Retired Major General Don Sheppard joins us with his insights about what needs to happen in Iraq for U.S. Troops to withdraw.

Well, it has been nearly a week since the disappearance of famed aviator, Steve Fossett, an update on the search for the man who shattered more than 100 records and then a look at what it takes to conduct a search and rescue operation like the one for Steve Fossett. That's coming up in the "NEWSROOM."


WHITFIELD: It's half past the hour, here's what's happening. Intelligence analysts are reviewing Osama Bin Laden's new videotape released just 4 days before the 6th anniversary of 9/11. Bin Laden makes no overt threats in his message but urges Americans to convert to Islam.

And the Outer Banks of North Carolina are under a tropical storm warning as Gabrielle gains strength off the east coast. The subtropical system is expected to drop a couple inches of rain before heading out to sea.

Outrage boils and questions mount after Portuguese police name Madeleine McCann's parents suspects in the 4-year-old's disappearance. Family and friends of Kate and Gerry McCann say police should reveal any evidence that supposedly implicates the couple.

And, I want to take you live right now to Portugal for the latest on the Madeleine McCann investigation. CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney is there, Finnuala?

FIONNUALLA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Fredricka. Yes, it is after 9:30 at night here and this time last night Gerry McCann, the 39 year-old father of 3 year-old, Madeleine McCann, who disappeared on the night of May 3rd at an apartment complex here, was in the midst of some 13 hours of questioning by police. When he emerged shortly after midnight local time, he knew he'd now been formally declared a suspect in his daughter's disappearance. Earlier in this day, his wife, also aged 39 and also, like him, a doctor, had emerged from her second day of questioning this week, also now declared a formal suspect. This is a case that's gripped much of Europe. It has been a huge media campaign on the part of family and friends on the couple and it has been the subject of intense police inquiries here in southern Portugal with help from the British police, and this latest twist and turn, the fact that the parents, themselves, have now been called suspects, has caught family by surprise. They are shocked and angered and earlier in the day we heard from Kate McCann's mother in England about how her daughter is holding up.


SUSAN HEALY, MOTHER OF KATE MCCANN: Kate doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body, but I think she's forced into a situation where she has to defend herself. I think she will not bow her head down over something that is just absolutely ludicrous, that she had nothing to do with.


SWEENEY: That's Kate McCann's mother there. Now, she and the rest of the family of the McCanns and friends are saying that the police, as you mentioned, need to reveal any evidence. But under Portuguese secrecy laws, the police cannot do so. It works different to the United States, Fredricka, where we see numerous press conferences and the public are kept informed of any developments in any big criminal case. This is a case that's really shaken Portugal and, indeed, Britain.

You see the distinction between how the British media have covered this story, defending the McCanns, and how the Portuguese media, with leaks from the police, sources have been gradually building up what has led, it seems, to now the two of these people being named as formal suspects.

The British charge that there hasn't been much evidence presented by the Portuguese. But what we do know now is going to happen is that it's expected the McCanns on Monday will be questioned again. And after that, the prosecutor can decide whether this is enough for evidence there to answer a case. We're still waiting on further DNA evidence to return from Britain. We had some DNA evidence returned from Britain earlier this week, forensic tests done on the apartment that Madeleine had been in and, indeed, a rental car that the McCanns hired some 25 days after Madeleine disappeared.

And the police apparently reportedly linking blood found in the apartment that night to blood that was found in the car that the McCanns leased later on. It is an intriguing story with implications far and wide, not least for the family.


WHITFIELD: All right. Fionnuala Sweeney. Thanks so much.

Meantime, a happy ending growing less likely by the hour in the search for famed aviator Steve Fossett. He hasn't been seen since Monday when he took off from a Nevada air strip. Crews have been scouring the area since then and have now expanded the search area to 17,000 square miles. Many of those looking for Fossett are private volunteer pilots.


MAJ. CYNTHIA RYAN, NEVADA AIR PATROL: They did some of their own work based on the knowledge of what Mr. Fossett's habits were. They've done an amazing job in keeping track of just what they've searched, how they've searched it. They've been very methodical for people who are not trained in this area of expertise, they've done an amazing job.


WHITFIELD: And we'll have the very latest on the search, including a live report from Nevada at the top of the hour right here on CNN.

A stumbling block in the search for Fossett. He didn't even file a flight plan. Authorities also haven't received any signals from the emergency beacon on his plane. As CNN's Gary Nurenberg reports, though, newer technology will help make future search and rescues much more precise.


GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The unsuccessful search for missing pilot Steve Fossett has frustrated rescuers.

RYAN: We had someone call in with a -- an absolute sighting of Mr. Fossett in a mustang out of El Paso.

NURENBERG: The famous adventurer disappeared on Labor Day after he left a Nevada airstrip piloting a small plane. Government officials believe it is equipped with an emergency locator beacon, known as an ELT, but so far no beacon signal has been detected.

LT. JEFF SHOUP, SARSAT MONITOR: ELTs are designed to activate on impact. It may have been a soft landing or it may have been destroyed on impact.

NURENBERG: Lieutenant Jeff Shoup monitors the search for those signals from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration mission control center in Suitland, Maryland. The system is called SARSAT, Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking.

SHOUP: We're a 24-7 operation, 365 days a year.

NURENBERG: SARSAT uses satellite signals from those emergency beacons and sends coordinates. The beacons are used on planes, boats and can be carried by individuals.

KATHY NILES, U.S. COAST GUARD: We've actually been able to, you know, pick people up out of the water or locate their boat.

NURNBERG: Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Kathy Niles has used SARSAT locator information to find boaters in trouble. The Coast Guard found this boater 220 miles southwest of Tampa in April because he had a beacon on board.

NILES: We can be pinpointed right to their location and get our rescue sources out there as soon as we can.

NURENBERG: The technology is changing. The Coast Guard no longer uses the kind of analog beacon Fossett is reported to have on his plane. In 2009 pilots will be required to use a newer beacon technology that allows rescuers to identify each particular (inaudible).

SHOUP: It's a much stronger signal. It's a digital signal that people can put information into that beacon so we know specifically which beacon it is.

NURENBERG: If the plane had the new technology, searchers believe he would be much easier to find. Gary Nurenberg, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: In news across America now, a close call for the crew of a U.S. military chopper that crashed last night during a training mission at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. All seven people on board survived. Investigators are trying to determine why the MH-53 Pave Low helicopter went down.

And in North Carolina, former Durham County prosecutor Mike Nifong has completed his 24-hour jail sentence. A small contingent of supporters greeted him this morning. Now disbarred, Nifong was convicted on one count of contempt of court for his mishandling of the Duke lacrosse rape case.

And police at the University of Maryland say they may have a hate crime on their hands. They are investigating Friday's discovery of this, an object that resembled a noose hanging from a tree. Since it wasn't far from the campus cultural center, officials feel the incident was probably racially motivated.

And as the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attacks approaches, the Defense Department is allowing the public a rare opportunity to see the America's Heroes Memorial and Pentagon Chapel dedicated to the 184 people who died when a hijacked airliner slammed into the Pentagon. It's only the third time the public has been allowed to view that memorial.

And Applebee's restaurants find themselves the target of a nationwide nurse-in protesting the company's policy towards breast- feeding. The controversy began this summer in Lexington, Kentucky where an Applebee's manager reportedly told a customer to cover her child with a blanket while nursing him. 2006 Kentucky prohibits any interference with breast-feeding.

According to organizers, today's protest involves at least 60 restaurants in 30 states.

And a verdict is in for two nursing home owners in the deaths of 35 patients in Hurricane Katrina.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have been vilified in their own community. They have been accused of the most heinous conduct.


WHITFIELD: Highly charged emotions on all sides of the case, next in the NEWSROOM.

And then later, she was lost in the mountains for two weeks. There were even plans for memorial service for this 76-year-old woman. A remarkable survival story coming up.


WHITFIELD: More and more Americans are spending time and money beefing up their backyards. If you're looking to do just that, Bonnie Schneider has got some smart buys in this week's "Modern Living."


BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Sprucing up your outdoor space doesn't have to be expensive. One of the biggest trends is fire pits.

GARY MOSSNER, GENERAL MANAGER, COSTCO: People want to entertain. They want the ambience of having an indoor fireplace. They can get it in the outside with the fire pit.

SCHNEIDER: For shelter from sun and rain, day beds and large umbrellas are top sellers. They're made with sunbrella (ph) fabric for weather protection. You'll also find the trend of plush but weather-resistant furniture. Day beds and lights that look like they belong inside your home. But these solar lights will only work if they're outside.

PATRICK OWENS, HOME DEPOT: They charge on sunshine during the day with rechargeable batteries and basically at dusk they come on.

SCHNEIDER: The outdoors are no longer for roughing it. In any weather, you can enjoy one extra room of your home where the walls and ceiling are Mother Nature. With this week's "Modern Living," I'm Bonnie Schneider.



WHITFIELD: To many, they were the faces of blame after Hurricane Katrina when 35 people were killed at their nursing home. Now two years after the storm, Sal and Mable Mangano's decision to sit tight and not evacuate the facility has been vindicated. But as Katie Moore from CNN affiliate WWL reports, the case still polarizes a community left reeling from the storm.


KATIE MOORE, WWL CORRESPONDENT: After four weeks on trial, four weeks of defending themselves, Sal and Mabel Mangano stand outside the courthouse vindicated.

MABEL MANGANO, DEFENDANT: Thanks to the jury and to the people of St. Francisville, they have been wonderful, everybody has been wonderful to us. And thank you all.

MOORE: Mangano family members stood by their side throughout the trial and many worked by their side at St. Rita's.

SAL MANGANO, JR., DEFENDANTS' SON: I just want to thank all the employees who worked for us, the residents who lived with us and even family members that made their way to the trial. I'm sorry, our family is sorry and we still love all the people we loved before the storm.

MOORE: The month-long trial tough on everyone involved, including family members of those lost at St. Rita's.

YOLANDA HUBER, VICTIM'S DAUGTHER: They're guilty. This jury didn't find it, but they are guilty. They let my mother drown like a rat, 72 years old. And put my mother and my aunt, who is 90 years now, through living hell. We have been here every day of this trial since day one, and this jury didn't find them guilty, but our Lord knows they are. And when they meet their maker, they're never going to be able to get out of it then.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A number of them testified, and I think they feel that they were able to tell their story. So that's at least one good thing that came out of this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really upset because I feel like my mother died for nothing, you know what I mean? If they did what they were supposed to, she'd still be here.

MOORE: In a case many called politically motivated, defense attorneys maintained the Manganos were scapegoats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A prosecutor who is interested in the truth does not arrest a target who is willing to come to his office and answer all of his questions. That's what we were dealing with in this case. And Charlie Fulty (ph) ought to be ashamed of himself for doing that to these people.

MOORE: And at the end of the day both sides seem to agree there are no real winners in this case. Neither the victim's family members ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not one apology.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not one "I'm sorry." Not one "I'm sorry."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In two years we've waited for an "I'm sorry," and we still don't have it.

MOORE: Or the Manganos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been vilified in their community and these are wonderful, decent, hard-working, caring, loving people. And they should have never been subjected to this.



WHITFIELD: And that was Katie Moore reporting from our New Orleans affiliate WWL. Much more in the NEWSROOM straight ahead, this time with Tony Harris.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: What time? When are we going to get going here, Fred?

WHITFIELD: Whenever you want. How about 5:00?

HARRIS: 5:00 p? You'll take us to 5:00?

WHITFIELD: Yeah, what do you say?

HARRIS: All right. Let's do that. And then at 5:00, you know how I like to bring you something that maybe you haven't seen before, folks at home you haven't seen. We have something just like that at 5:00 p.m. right here in the NEWSROOM. You heard of Kurdish gangs before, Kurdish gangs in the United States.

WHITFIELD: Not in the U.S.

HARRIS: Kurdish gangs in the United States in Nashville, Tennessee. Take a look at these pictures. These are kids who say they've been influenced by black hip-hop culture. They're into guns, sex, drugs, you know, they see it all glorified in gangsta rap videos. And now they're into some serious crime. Rusty Dornin is on that story for us in Nashiville.

And also you've heard about the subprime mortgage meltdown. The mess that's going on in that sector of the economy. Now here's another buyer beware story that you have got to see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's eight feet of mud right underneath where we're standing. There's nothing holding this house up. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: We're talking about homes literally sinking into the ground. Coming up at 10:00 Eastern tonight Rick Sanchez investigates why homes are cracking apart and homeowners are left to foot the bill. It is part one and two of "House Divided".

WHITFIELD: So your insurance is not covering it.

HARRIS: It's always the insurance, isn't it?

WHITFIELD: Well, you know ...

HARRIS: We come back to often in these stories.


HARRIS: That's tonight.

WHITFIELD: I'm keeping my trap shut on the home insurance thing. OK. We'll be watching. Thanks, Tony.

All right. Well, subtropical storm Gabrielle, that's another concern. And it's not the only weather system that we're watching today. There's heavy flooding in the Midwest as well, right, Jacqui?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. Believe it or not, Fredricka, it has to do with what was a tropical storm, Henriette. Remember that one? It brought heavy rain from Tulsa, Oklahoma all the way to Joplin, Missouri. The latest on that storm and how much more rain is in the forecast. That is coming up.

WHITFIELD All right. Also coming up, proof that there still is a romantic, at least one out there. Take a look at this. He's walking 150 miles to ask his girlfriend a very important question. Find out what happened when he got there. And, of course, what did she say? Well, there's a hint.

But first, a quick news quiz for you. Prior to yesterday's message, when was Osama bin Laden's last video appearance? The answer, right after this.


WHITFIELD: So before the break we asked you when was Osama bin Laden's last video appearance. If you said days before the 2004 election, you were correct.

Let's check in with Jacqui Jeras again. Because there's an update on that named storm named Gabrielle. What's she doing now?

JERAS: Yeah. It's tropical now, I can tell you that. It's no longer subtropical.

WHITFIELD: It's intensified. JERAS: So you can call it tropical -- No, not necessarily. What it means is that the temperatures are warm throughout the storm and that it's more organized with the stronger winds towards the center of the storm. The winds are actually down to 40 miles per hour maximum sustained instead of 45 miles per hour. And the new advisory is actually literally coming off the printer as we speak. So I'll read the discussion, as I get more information, I'll pass that along to you.

But I want to talk about what's going on across the nation's mid section. Because this ultimately could be a much bigger deal, actually, that gabrielle. This was the remnants of Tropical Storm, even Hurricane Henriette. Remember that one from last weekend? That is combining with the cold front here and brought down just extreme rainfall amounts, anywhere between six and 10 inches have been estimated on Doppler radar from Tulsa over to Joplin, Missouri. These pictures are from Tulsa, Oklahoma from the overnight hours. And a lot of streets got flooded out and more rain is in the forecast unfortunately.

You can see it on the radar behind me, coming down very heavy, as much as one to two inches per hour. Right along this I-44 corridor here is where the worst of the flooding has been. But additional flooding is possible with the rain continuing to come down. So everywhere in green here, even just south of the St. Louis metro area we have the flash flood watches in effect. And there you can see the forecast rainfall estimates all in this gold here. We're expecting to see three-plus inches of rainfall, that's on top of what you already have.

Cold front moving on through, so some of the storms could be strong or severe. Flooding also possible in northern parts of the Ohio River Valley, say northern Indiana, northern parts of Ohio. As that front advances, that's going to kind of help keep Gabrielle from staying inland and bring it back on out to sea. Eventually conditions should be going downhill with Gabrielle we think overnight tonight. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: OK. Very soggy. Soggy scene, it seems. Thanks so much, Jacqui.

All right. Here's a question for you. So just how far would you walk for love? One man's journey, straight ahead. Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to go elk hunting again like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never. Never. I'm going to spend the rest of my days with my wife.


WHITFIELD: Aw, and that's love too. His 76-year-old wife was lost in the mountains for two weeks. Then a remarkable rescue. The story next in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: All right. A great story for all you hopeless romantics out there. Nathan Staker, dudes take note, hiked some 150 miles across the mountains between Bakersfield and Los Angeles to prove his love. The mission started as a joke after he and his girlfriend discussed what people did for love.


NATHAN STAKER, WALKED FOR HIS GIRLFRIEND: She didn't want me walking anymore, and so everything changed. I got a ring and proposed to Nicole and she said yes.

NICOLE FALTERMAYER, NATHAN'S FIANCE: I was driving like a maniac. I really need an oil change, and I thought my tires were going to pop. But I made it here.


WHITFIELD: She better have said yes, right? Well, Staker says his journey is a love affair he'll be able to tell his future children about. And in his words, quote, every girl deserves a love story. It's easy to see why the couple's story is one of the most popular videos on

Well, this, too, is pretty amazing. It's a story of survival in the Oregon wilderness. An elderly woman is found alive after being stranded nearly two weeks in the mountains alone. And her family, well, they're overjoyed. Thelma Gutierrez has the story from Baker City, Oregon.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the vast, rugged Oregon wilderness, an amazing discovery; 76-year-old Doris Anderson, who had been missing for 13 days was found alive deep in a ravine by two officers who refused to give up.

SR. TROOPER CHRIS HAWKINS, OREGON STATE POLICE: Travis said I hear voices. He started yelling, we found her, we found her. And I walked probably three, four feet, a little bit further, and there she was.

GUTIERREZ: Doris' husband Harold believes it's a miracle.

HAROLD ANDERSON, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: I thought I'd never see her again. I have her pictures and put them close to me.

GUTIERREZ: Their ordeal began August 23rd when the couple went elk hunting. Their SUV got stuck in a creek in the mountains. They walked for help and decided to separate when Doris couldn't go on. She would return to the vehicle where there was food and water and Harold would seek help. He was picked up by hunters late in the afternoon, but when they returned to the vehicle, Doris was nowhere to be found. The family said Harold was inconsolable.

MELVIN ANDERSON, BROTHER-IN-LAW OF MISSING WOMAN: He was devastated. He said life would never be the same.

GUTIERREZ: A massive search went on for days, but the family thought there was little hope. Just as they were planning her memorial service, two Baker County officers found Doris Anderson. She was alert and talking.

HAWKINS: She talked about seeing bears and so she was tired of seeing bears, for sure, and was ready to go home.

GUTIERREZ: She was flown to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Baker City, Oregon where doctors are surprised at how well she's doing, considering she survived nearly two weeks in frigid temperatures without food and water.

DR. STEVE DE LASHMUTT, E.R. PHYSICIAN: For that age, being unprepared and being out in the cold, she's done remarkably well.

GUTIERREZ: No one more surprised than Harold, who's been married to Doris for 55 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to go elk hunting again like this?

H. ANDERSON: Never. Never. And I'm going to spend the rest of my days with my wife.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Baker City, Oregon.


WHITFIELD: Pull out the hanky. That's so sweet.

All right. From the CNN center in Atlanta I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the NEWSROOM with Tony Harris right now.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT: John Howard actually noted, when he went to than the Austrian troops there last year ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he say Austrian?

BUSH: The Austrian troops there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He meant Australian.


HARRIS: Oops. Let's say it again, oops. Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM fresh fodder for everyone tracking the president's every step, or in this case, every misstep. And then Nashville, Tennessee, the capital of country music and home to a gang unlike any we've seen.

But first, a young girl missing for months, her parents now named as suspects.

And hello, everyone, I'm Tony Harris. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us. The parents of the missing little girl Madeleine McCann reportedly now plan to remain where they are in Portugal.