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American Morning

Pope In Turkey; The Fight For Iraq; Deadly Fire; NYPD Shooting; Wild Western Weather; $250,000 Parking Spot; Minding Your Business

Aired November 28, 2006 - 06:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Base coli (ph). The pope has landed in Turkey. Security is tight, tensions high as he tries to mend fences.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Tough talk. President Bush is in the Baltic states this morning, describing the war in Iraq as a sectarian conflict and listing goals for his meeting with Iraq's prime minister.

M. O'BRIEN: Criminal questions. New suspicion someone lit the fire that killed 10 people in a group home for the elderly and mentally ill.

S. O'BRIEN: And snowbound. Storms make a mess from the Pacific Northwest to the Rockies on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Welcome, everybody. It's Tuesday, November 28th. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Thanks for being with us.

S. O'BRIEN: Pope Benedict XVI has just landed in Turkey. It's a four-day trip just starting now. Already proceeded, as you well know, by those protests from the people who are still angry about his remarks about Islam just a few months ago. We're going to be following, this morning, the pope's movements through Turkey and throughout the day here on CNN as well. Our special day-long coverage looks as religious tolerances and differences "When Faith Collides." CNN's Alessio Vinci is traveling with the pope. CNN's faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher, is in Istanbul for us this morning.

A little background, though, to begin for you this morning. He arrives - and you're looking at live pictures as Alitalia pulls in. It lands in - it's Ankara, I believe, is where the pope is coming in. Pope Benedict XVI arrives in an atmosphere, as we've seen certainly, of days and days of protests. Not as large as they predicted, but certainly large protests. Lots of suspicion too. Turkey, you may know, is a predominantly Muslim country.

Now, all of this began, a lot of the controversy began when the pope gave a speech back in September. He quoted a medieval Christian emperor who equated Islam with violence and evil. Well, that set off a fire storm of outrage. The pope said he regretted the pain that he caused to Muslims, but he did not apologize for making the remarks themselves. And so one of his main goals over the next few days will be to try to heel the divisions between Muslim and Christians. And the Christian population in Turkey is a tiny, tiny percentage of that country. He's going to be the second pope in history to visit a mosque. He goes to the blue mosque sometime on this trip.

Thousands of Muslims, of course, as we've seen from the pictures, have been protesting the trip. He's being heavily guarded. He will not be riding in the pole mobile. He'll be traveling in an armored car.


M. O'BRIEN: AMERICAN MORNING's faith and value correspondent Delia Gallagher is in Istanbul where the pope will make his way. As we watch the plane arrive, as we watch him disembark live, let's bring Delia into the mix.

Delia, what's the atmosphere been there?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning to you, Miles.

Well, it's certainly been unlike any other papal trip I've seen. You know, usually when you go on these things, the pope is met with sort of waving flags and welcome banners. And, of course, this trip has a very different feel. As we mentioned, Turkey is a Muslim country and coming on the heels of his remarks in Regensburg, it has made it even more difficult.

I don't think anybody would have even been following this trip very much had it not been for those remarks. Because, of course, he was invited by the orthodox patriarch here in Turkey. And one of the main purposes of this trip, as far as the pope's concerned, is to talk to him about Christian unity. But now we have the whole Muslim discussion really taking front and center here because of those remarks.

And you'll see there that he's being met at the airport by the prime minister of Turkey, which was something not originally not on the schedule. And that kind of gives you an idea. The prime minister said he was going to be out of the country, wouldn't be able to meet the pope. And that gives you an idea of how contentious this visit has been because the prime minister has to kind of respond to some of his domestic concerns and certainly there were people who were not welcoming the pope here in Turkey.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, Delia, the prime minister is there, but it's just for that. Just for the arrival ceremony and then he's on to the NATO summit in Riga, correct?

GALLAGHER: Yes. Exactly. He won't really be having any kind of head-to-head discussions with the pope. However, the pope will be meeting today with the president of the religious affairs arm of the government. This is a secular government here in Turkey, but they do have this religious affairs office, which essentially oversees a lot of the activities in the mosque. There are some 75,000 mosques in this country. And that department and the president of that department has also been outspoken against the pope's remarks in Regensburg. And that will be an interesting meeting because one of the other points that the pope and the Vatican has been making over and over again with regard to the Turks (ph) is religious freedom.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, Delia, we are seeing the pope as he walks down the plane, obviously. That's the pope and he greets the prime minister there. A word, if you would, because this trip predates the comments about Muslims that's caused such turmoil. A word for just a moment on the Christian community, such as it is, in Turkey. It's a very small group. The pope was there to mend fences between the orthodox Christian world and the world of Rome. And that is a deep- seated desire on his part?

GALLAGHER: Yes, absolutely. And it has been, really, on the part of the Vatican since Vatican II. What happened here, Miles, was what they called the great schism. It's the orthodox community and the catholic church who were once one Christian church and fell into schism in the year 1054 over a theological issue and over the fact of the papacy of the authority of the pope.

And so this has been something that the Vatican has wanted for a long time to try and reunify these two churches in some way. And John Paul II, it was really his great desire to see this happen. And it's a step-by-step process. I mean it's not something which just kind of happens, you know, with one signing of a joint statement, as it were. Which, by the way, we're also expecting from the pope and the patriarch. But it's a long, historical schism and there are a lot of little issues for them to discuss.

But the idea is that Christian churches should, and as much as possible, be unified. And so that has been certainly one of the goals of John Paul II's papacy. And he said, you know, one of the things which he was not able to accomplish. He tried for a long time to get a meeting with the patriarch in Moscow because the orthodox churches, the difference was with the catholic church, that has the Vatican and one pope, the orthodox churches have various patriarchs in their country and so there are a number of different churches that the Vatican has to talk to in order to get this unification that they want.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much. Delia Gallagher is in Istanbul. As we see the pope and the arrival ceremony there in Ankara. Obviously we'll be following his trip every step of the way. Four-day trip. A tense and historic trip to Turkey for Pope Benedict XVI. Stay with CNN all throughout the day for continued coverage of the pope's trip, as we're calling it today "When Faiths Collide."


S. O'BRIEN: President Bush is also on the road already this morning. He's been talking about his upcoming meeting with Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. President Bush is in the former Soviet republic of Estonia. He's going to leave in just about 30 minutes or so for Latvia for the two-day NATO summit. And from there he's going to head to Jordan to meet with the Iraqi Prime Minister al- Maliki. Just a few minutes ago the president outlined what he hoped to get out of the meeting with al-Maliki.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My questions to him will be, what do we need to do to succeed. What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence. I will assure him that we will continue to pursue al Qaeda to make sure that they are unable to establish a safe haven in Iraq. I will ask him what is required and what is your strategy to be a country which can govern itself and sustain itself? And it's going to be an important meeting. And I'm looking forward too it.


S. O'BRIEN: That meeting is scheduled for Thursday. And, of course, this is the meeting that the anti-American cleric, Muqtada al- Sadr, has said will force him to leave the government if, in fact, it goes off. So we're going to continue to monitor that and the president's trip throughout the morning for you.

In Iraq this morning, attacks have been rocking Baghdad and Kirkuk. Let's get right to CNN's Arwa Damon. She's in Baghdad for us this morning.

Good morning, Arwa.


And a particularly gruesome attack happening this morning in the capital of Baghdad. Twin car bombs exploded just outside of one of western Baghdad's main hospital's morgue. The target, apparently, according to the Iraqi emergency police, where Iraqi civilians gathered outside of the morgue to collect the bodies of their loved ones. One vehicle exploded first. And then as Iraqi police were responding to the scene, a second car bomb went off as well. At least four people were killed in that attack, another 40 wounded.

And in the northern oil rich city of Kirkuk, a highly contentions area as well, there was a suicide attack on the convoy -- on the governor's convoy, according to local police there. They say that the suicide bomber detonated his deadly belt, his explosives, and wounded at least 19 Iraqis. The governor, though, did escape that attack unharmed. And the Iraqi emergency police are telling us that just in the capital of Baghdad, in 24 hours, at least 39 more bodies were found unidentified. Many of them believed to be the latest victims of the sectarian violence here.


S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about the Iraqi's president's trip to Iran. What exactly is this focus and how's that trip going?

DAMON: Well, he arrived in Iran yesterday. They still had ongoing meetings today. The delegation that Iraq is sending to Iran include the president, as well as the ministers of oil, education, industry, science, and technology, and a number of members of parliament.

The main focus of this visit is security in Iraqi and what role Iran can play in helping Iraq bring down this level of violence. Iran publicly has said that it is willing to lend a helping hand to Iraq and the two countries do have a very close relationship. But America accuses Iran of actually inciting the sectarian violence here that we have seen reach a new level following that deadly bombing in Sadr City that happened on Thursday.

The government, in fact, is putting together new measures to try to decrease the levels of violence. And one of those includes banning media coverage from parliament. Only state-owned television is allowed in parliament right now.


S. O'BRIEN: Arwa Damon in Baghdad for us this morning.

Thank you, Arwa.


M. O'BRIEN: In Missouri this morning, shock, mourning, and an arson investigation after fire gutted a group home for seniors and the mentally disabled. Ten are dead. At least two dozen others injured. It happened in the small town of Anderson, southwest of Springfield. CNN's Jonathan Feed live for us from Anderson this morning with more.



The investigation into this fire is set to resume again this morning, but today with the help of some outside experts.


FREED, (voice over): The fire broke out around 1:00 a.m. on Monday, shocking neighbors and passers-by with its intensity. The building was the Anderson Guest House. A group home for the elderly and mentally ill. Thirty-four people were inside when it started, including two staff members on the overnight shift. Steven Spears lives next door and says he saw flames erupt from the building.

STEVEN SPEARS, NEIGHBOR: It was just a big rush of fire. Enough to either blow out the door or open the door in the front.

FREED: Did you hear an explosion of any kind?

SPEARS: No sound whatsoever.

FREED: State police say firefighters pulled more than a dozen people out of the burning building. Eighteen were taken to area hospitals, six were treated at the scene.

GOVERNOR MATT BLUNT, (R) MISSOURI: We're not ruling out a criminal investigation and indeed we're treating this as if it were a crime scene. We're not saying it's definitely a crime scene, but we're treating it as if it is and trying to determine if the fire was set by somebody that had a nefarious motive.

FREED: Anderson, Missouri, is about a half an hour south of Joplin. And in a town of 1,800 people, a fire this big and this deadly will stay with you for a while. Betty Wood lives across the street.

BETTY WOOD, NEIGHBOR: I could see the building, just half of it, the north half, totally engulfed in flames. And you could hear screaming. It was horrible.


FREED: Now, Miles, officials here are telling us that this building had a fire alarm but no sprinklers. And we asked about that and they say regulations here vary depending on the category of building. And a building of this nature, they say, was not required to have sprinklers. They also say that it was inspected earlier this year and it was not found to have any fire violations at all.


M. O'BRIEN: Jonathan Freed, thank you very much.


S. O'BRIEN: Well, New York City's mayor is calling it unacceptable. Mayor Michael Bloomberg joining the chorus of concern over those 50 shots fired by New York City Police officers that killed a 23-year-old man in the early morning hours on his wedding day. The officers involved could very soon testify before a grand jury. CNN's Deborah Feyerick has the very latest for us.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The big question is, how could this happen? Fifty shots fired. Thirty-one of them by a single police officer. New York's mayor is promising a fair and thorough investigation for the bride whose fiance was killed the day of their wedding.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: What exactly happened, I just don't know. I can tell you that it is, to me, unacceptable or inexplicable how you can have 50-odd shots fired. But that's up for the investigation to find out what really happened.

FEYERICK: The groom and his two friends were wrapping up a bachelor party at club Kalua in Queens. That club was under investigation for possible guns, as well as teen prostitution. It's unclear why the police officer began firing at the men who were in a car. And it's unclear whether, in fact, the men even knew that the shooter was an undercover cop when they tried to move their vehicle out of the line of fire. The mayor has enlisted the clergy, as well as community leaders, to help keep the piece. In the meantime, the district attorney is investigating to determine whether any criminal charges should be brought against these officers.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


M. O'BRIEN: Some wild weather to tell you about out west. Big snow, rain, floods, a virtual snow bowl in Seattle Seahawks and the Packers as they are approach wet weather for wet weather for the month of November. Chad Myers is here with more.

What's going on there, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: OK. You know, what Orchard Park, New York, you've got lake effect snow. It snows in Buffalo all the time. Seattle, in November? I don't know.

Did you see this last night? They were shoveling the yard lines just to try to get a feel for where the football field actually was. What a mess, but they had a good time. Kind of like, I guess, going out and playing when you were a kid. But it has been an ugly November in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.


MYERS, (voice over): Heavy snow and icy rain continue to fall in the Pacific Northwest, where there's already been record levels for the month of November, including 27 inches of rain and melted snow in Cedar Lake, Oregon, and 19 inches in Olympia, Washington. In Seattle so far, the city recorded 15 inches of rain and snow. That's 10 inches above normal and close to breaking a record set back in 1933.

The heavy precipitation is largely from two storms. One flooded the northwest earlier this month, the result of an El Nino formation near Hawaii with the Pineapple Connection. And this latest storm came down from the Arctic over the weekend, transforming the northwest into a winter wonderland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born in Seattle, so I like the snow a little bit. It brings us back to a time in the '40s when we had six feet in our backyard.

MYERS: Local ski resorts aren't complaining, though. The early snow has given them a head start on the ski season. One resort, 142 inches of fresh snow in the past week.

But with the heavy snow comes problems, snarling traffic on the Snoqualmie pass, a thoroughfare that links Seattle to points east. This storm has now moved to the east. It will be dumping snow from Salt Lake City all the way through Summit County in Colorado for the rest of this week.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MYERS: And those skiers are saying bring it on. The snow is on its way. Colorado ski season in full bloom all the way up from Whistler, down to Mount Baker -- 145 inches of snow at the base on top of the mountain. That's not too bad for this time of year. They could have a record season. But it also could be very good for electric generation, when all this begins to melt. And also, obviously, drinking water for the Pacific Northwest.

M. O'BRIEN: That looked like a Buffalo Bills game. You know, they call it lake effect snow there. Is it ocean effect snow? I mean, I'm being flip, but is that what's going on?

MYERS: It was sound effect.

M. O'BRIEN: Sound effect.

MYERS: Sound was there, right. I mean that's still pretty warm. The cold air comes across, picks up the moisture and dumps it.

M. O'BRIEN: Wow.

MYERS: And it did yesterday.

M. O'BRIEN: That's unusual. You think of rain in Seattle. You don't think of snow like that.

MYERS: Right. It's good stuff.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you, Chad.

S. O'BRIEN: The definition of sound effect. I like that.

Thanks, Chad.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, would you like to take a second mortgage out just to park your car? Sounds like New York City. We'll tell you about a parking spot that costs more than some homes. And it's not in New York.

Plus, Daniel Craig goes from bland, James bland, to maybe the best Bond ever. We are ready to serve up a dish of crow and eat it later on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Top stories we're following for you.

Pope Benedict arrives in Turkey just within the past few minutes. You saw it here live. Amid very tight security, as you might suspect. Many Muslims in Turkey are protesting the visit because of his comments that he made in September linking Islam and violence.

President Bush on his way to Latvia for meetings with NATO commanders on increasing violence in Afghanistan, and other matters, of course. Now 18 minutes past the hour. Chad is back with a look at the rest of the forecast. We talked about Seattle. It's a little prettier picture elsewhere.


S. O'BRIEN: Did you hear the story that could be the most expensive parking space I've ever heard of? The streets around the state house in Boston certainly paved with history and maybe gold, too, because it seems that Paul Revere's old stomping grounds cost a pretty penney. Somebody recently dropped - take a guess. Don't look at the . . .

MYERS: Well, it's on the bottom of the screen.

M. O'BRIEN: It's to late. We saw the screen.

S. O'BRIEN: Chad.

M. O'BRIEN: It's right down there. I believe there it is.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, if you were to guess, $250,000 for a parking space. That's even a lot for a parking. I mean and here we pay a lot for a parking space. All right, Shirley Chan from our affiliate WFXT has our story this morning.


SHIRLEY CHAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): If you've ever tried to park in parts of Boston, like downtown, Beacon Hill or the Back Bay, you know these signs well, no parking, tow zone. And if you risk it, you risk one of these. But how much are you willing to pay for a parking spot? An anonymous buyer purchased this space for what some might consider mad money.

MICHAEL GALASSO, VISITING BOSTON: A parking space. Under all is the land, right?

CHAN: Yes.

GALASSO: A quarter of a million dollars. $250,000 to park.

CHAN: Sir, you heard it right. So what exactly does a quarter million dollars get you? If you think it's paved with gold, think again. You'll have to drive over a curb, contend with cracked bricks. And if you're a woman, beware of getting your heal caught in one of those dreaded storm drains as you exit the car. And it's an outdoor spot, so you'll still have to shovel out on those snowy money.

JACQUI GRAY, BOSTON RESIDENT: Crazy. Crazy money. I can't even imagine paying that. I mean, I couldn't afford that to live around here, never mind just for a parking spot.

CHAN: It's the most extensive parking space ever sold in the city. It was listed at $250,000 and the seller got their asking price. The space measures 17 x 8. That comes out to over $1,800 per square feet. One man said it might be worth it.

SAM MICHAEL, BOSTON RESIDENT: No. But the price that you pay for parking per day, in the long run, may be beneficial in the long run.


S. O'BRIEN: I believe it. I tried to park there. I used to live in Boston. That's impossible.

MYERS: Do we know, is there a property tax on it now?

M. O'BRIEN: Well, yes, I mean, that's just -- you could -- the good thing is you could park your car there and live in your car, you know, if you were hard-pressed and then it would be very cost effective.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm going to guess, in that neighborhood, there's laws against that.

MYERS: You think so?

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, probably.

S. O'BRIEN: Top stories straight ahead.

And we're "Minding Your Business." Wall Street tries to rebound from its worst day in months. Ali Velshi will take a look at the Dow's big drop straight ahead. Stay with us.


M. O'BRIEN: Well, you knew it couldn't last forever, right? The Dow tumbles more than 150 points. Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Good morning, Ali.


It's pretty serious. I'm standing up for this one. One hundred and fifty-eight point drop on the Dow yesterday. That was the biggest drop in four months. And there are four reasons for this.

Now look at that. You saw the Nasdaq and the S&P down. So this was across the board.

The first reason was the dollar. We talked about this yesterday. The dollar has now dropped for a fifth day in a row against major currencies worldwide and that has investors a little spooked.

The second one is Wal-Mart. For the first time in 10 years, Wal- Mart actually announced that its sales were lower in October than they were a month ago. A year ago the same month. Now, that's a measure of how sales are doing at retailers across America. We'll get the rest of the numbers for retailers on Thursday and see how it's going. But Wal-Mart's not expected to do not as well in the same number of stores that were open last year.

The third thing is that oil is a little higher. There were some problems at an oil facility in Iraq. Also OPEC talking about slowing production again.

And the forty one is good old-fashioned profit-taking. I mean since October, since the beginning of October we have seen 18 new closing records on the Dow. So some people are saying, yes, you know what, a whole bunch of things are going on. It might be easier just to take the money off the table.


M. O'BRIEN: I'm taking my money off the table then. Should I?

VELSHI: You should. But if you've got some money to spend, did you pick up one of these Nintendo Wii's?

M. O'BRIEN: I can't comment on that. There might be somebody at home listening.

VELSHI: Well, they sold 600,000 of them in the first eight days. Both the Wii and the Sony PlayStation 3, they're not going to have enough to meet demand. So we'll be sort of tracking to see where people get those for the rest of the holiday season. I know Chad's done with his shopping, so he won't have to worry about it.

S. O'BRIEN: How did the PlayStation do? Do we know, sales-wise?

VELSHI: OH, well they . . .

M. O'BRIEN: They sold out.

VELSHI: They sold out completely. But they didn't ship as many as they thought. Nintendo says by Christmas they'll have shipped 4 million of these to the United States. Sony says a million. And there are some people who don't believe either of them. That there just isn't that much product available on the streets.

S. O'BRIEN: You mean marketing spin could be at work here, Ali?

VELSHI: Yes, no kidding.

M. O'BRIEN: Could be game -- could be gaming us.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, thank God we (INAUDIBLE).

Thanks, Ali.

VELSHI: All right. See you later.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, much more of our special coverage "When Faiths Collide." A former Army Chaplin, converted to Islam, and was accused of spying, speaks out. He says the U.S. military is mired in its own religious war.

Plus the plot thickens in the mysterious poisoning death of that from Russian spy. We'll tell you the reasons that authorities are holding off on his autopsy now, straight ahead.


M. O'BRIEN: The west meets east. Pope Benedict XVI on the ground in Turkey right now. Security at an all-time high as he tries to mend fences.

S. O'BRIEN: War report. President Bush is in the Baltic states, getting an update on the war in Afghanistan and also planning some tough questions from the prime minister in Iraq.

M. O'BRIEN: And the path of poison. The death of a former Russian spy now leading to a trail of radiation in London. We're live on that on this AMERICAN MORNING.

S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Tuesday, November 28th. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Thanks for being with us.

Pope Benedict XVI arriving within the last half hour in Turkey. You saw his arrival live here on CNN.

His four-day trip preceded by protests from those upset about the pope's remarks about Islam a few months ago. We'll be following the pope's movements through Turkey this morning and throughout the day here on CNN. Our special day-long coverage looking at religious tolerance and differences. We're calling it "When faiths Collide" -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, it wasn't on the schedule originally, but it certainly is indicative of the strain of the trip. Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed to a last-minute airport meeting and greeting with the pope before he flew on to the NATO summit.

CNN's Alessio Vinci is traveling with the pope, joins us by phone from Ankara.

Alessio, good morning.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good afternoon to you, Soledad, from Ankara. We arrived within the last 30 minutes with the pope directly from Rome. And even before touching down here in Ankara, the pope came in the back of the plane where all the reporters were traveling and wanted to make sure that we understood clearly his aim, the aim of this trip to Turkey.

He said that this will be a journey in which dialogue (INAUDIBLE) to better understanding between religion and reconciliation will take center stage. And this will be clearly the scene, (INAUDIBLE) of his journey here in Turkey. The pope set out on a pilgrimage during which he will call on his host to work with him on an equal footing toward the achievement of peace and better understanding.

He also, of course, used words of caution. He said, you know, you should not expect that just in three days' trip we will solve all the problems, but he said that this trip serves as a symbolic gesture. He said, "A servant of peace, our duty is to work to achieve peace and (INAUDIBLE)."

So clearly much more softened words toward his hosts here in Turkey as the pope even -- before he arrived here in Turkey. He is meeting with the Turkish prime minister at this time, a significant meeting added at the very last minute after the prime minister here, who was one of the most outspoken critics of the pope after those controversial remarks in Germany, had indicated he was not going to meet with him.

He did find the time to meet with him, 15 minutes here, at the airport in Ankara before going on to Riga, Latvia, where he will be attending that same NATO summit that George W. Bush is attending later.

Now, another clear indication about the sensitivity of this trip was the incredible amount of security that was present at the airport with police, as well as the army, deployed in full force. There were snipers on top of the buildings, there was the army back in the background. Even the reporters themselves who were traveling closely with the pope have been checked repeatedly. They've been kept at bay by a line of army and soldiers waving machine guns.

So, extremely tight security throughout this trip. We are just at the beginning, but clearly the Turkish prime minister even indicating that the people of Turkey should welcome the pope, should show hospitality. And the pope is clearly indicating that he wants to open a dialogue. This is a trip that was controversial, yes, but is beginning on the right foot -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Alessio Vinci for us this morning. He's traveling with the pope.

Thank you, Alessio.

We'll continue to check in with him throughout the morning -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: So why did the pope choose to come to Turkey? Let's take a look at this nation for just a moment.

It's the meeting of West and East, we've talked about that a lot. This is a nation of 70 million. It's just about the size of Texas, and it is 99.8 percent Muslim. So, .2 percent are Christian or Jewish or other.

The pope decided to come there, though, to mend an old rift with that small Christian community. He's going to visit some sites that are considered pilgrimage sites for Christian and meet with Bartholomew I. He is the leader of the Orthodox Christian Church. Three hundred million orthodox Christians in the world split with Rome in 1054, ironically over the whole issue over the power of the papacy. Bartholomew and the pope will meet, and in the context of this meeting, which was planned long before the pope's statements in September, there was much less controversy. But what happened in September is what is changing the nature of this whole trip.

He was -- that is to say, Benedict XVI was quoting, once again, ironically, a Christian Byzantine emperor who said this many, many years ago, thousands of years ago, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman." Now, there you see that quote. That obviously touched off a tremendous amount of controversy.

The pope shortly thereafter tried to explain it with a bit of a non-apology. He said this: "I'm deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few of the passages of my address."

Take a look at some of the protests which ensued as a result of all this. The Muslim world outraged by that attempt or what appeared to be a link by the pope between Islam and violence.

Listen to some of the comments that people in the Muslim community said about the pope.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why is he coming here after insulting our prophet? This is hypocrisy.


M. O'BRIEN: Interesting, though, the pope will meet with one of the leading critics of his visit and his statements about Islam, a man who said that Pope Benedict harbored a hatred in his heart for Muslims. He gave an interview just the other day. Listen to what he had to say about the pope's visit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The world doesn't neen tension and war, but peace, love and mutual understanding. I see the visit of the pope to our country and our ministry as a very good approach which will open dialogue between the two different religions.


M. O'BRIEN: We'll see over the next few days if, in fact, a dialogue does, in fact, open up.

Stay with AMERICAN MORNING and CNN throughout the day for continuing coverage of the pope's trip, "When Faiths Collide" -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: We've got this just in to CNN, an update now on that story that happened on our air yesterday, the crash of that U.S. Air Force F-16 that went down in Al Anbar Province, about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad. Well, there's word now apparently from air combat command that insurgents went to the site immediately after the crash, and by the time U.S. soldiers were able to get there, the pilot was gone.

According to The Associated Press, there is videotape from The Associated Press TV news. It shows the wreckage, apparently of that jet in a field and remains of a serviceman with a tangled parachute. No confirmation of that as yet. Al-Jazeera, though, apparently is saying those pictures are too graphic to air.

The U.S. has said they don't think the plane was shot down. Unsure though at this time what exactly caused the crash of that F-16 jet that crashed yesterday morning.

So an update on that story. We obviously will continue to follow it.

Also ahead this morning, new developments in that poisoning death of a former Russian spy. His autopsy though on hold. It's too dangerous to do.

We'll tell you why straight ahead.


S. O'BRIEN: More clues coming together now in that mysterious death of the former Russian spy who got sick and then died from radiation poisoning. So far, half a dozen places in London are showing traces of radiation linked to the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.

CNN's Matthew Chance is live for us in London this morning.

Good morning, Matthew.


That's right. In fact, as many as five locations across London have now been tested by the British authorities because traces have been found there of that highly radioactive poison that killed Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian agent.

British police have also been trying to retrace the steps of that former agent on the day that he fell ill, and a number of people have been undergoing radiological tests to try and establish whether they have also been contaminated. But one latest development in this ongoing intrigue which I'd like to bring to you is that a key figure in all of this, Professor Mario Scaramella, who is the Italian contact with whom Litvinenko was having lunch on the day that he fell ill, is now back in Britain and he's in protective British police custody, where we're told he's also undergoing tests for possible radiation poisoning as well -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Is -- are there any report that he's in ill health, or is this just sort of something to make sure that -- I guess to rule out any issues?

CHANCE: Well, at this point it just seems to be radiological tests. But obviously Mario Scaramella, at that lunch meeting that he had with Alexander Litvinenko on the day that he fell ill, made the point that he had got information, he said, that indicated that both of their lives were under threat because of their criticism in the past of Russian secret service activities. And so Mr. Scaramella is obviously very concerned that his health may be under threat by this as well, and that's why he's undergoing these tests -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: The plot really, truly just deepens and thickens every single day.

Matthew Chance for us this morning.

Thank you, Matthew -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Chad Myers is back. He's got a traveler's forecast for you and a cold and flu report.

Hello, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, today's the day to maybe get some Vitamin C in you.


M. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, more of our special coverage, "When Faiths Collide."

A former Army chaplain who converted to Islam accused of spying speaking out. Why he says the U.S. military is mired in its own religious war.

Plus, it's a drug linked to heart problems but it could bring relief to thousands of children suffering from arthritis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the risks ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Welcome back. Lots going on in the grid this morning as we look at some of the feeds we're following for you all day today.

Up there on the mid upper right there, where it says APTN -- that's Associated Press Television -- that is the shrine to the Mustafa Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish nation. And the obligatory first visit for a visitor of the pope's stature, where he will be heading first. We're watching that for you. The pope on the ground in Turkey, that controversial trip.

Comings and goings today of world leaders important. Incoming 16, that's Air Force One in Riga, Latvia. The president there for a NATO summit. He'll be talking to his colleagues there and his counterparts, I should say, in particular about the war in Afghanistan, where NATO is playing a big role trying to beat back the Taliban forces there.

Incoming 14, just so you know, that's -- we're watching the Saddam Hussein trial. It's back in session, in recess at the moment. But we're still watching it for you.

Down there, incoming 20, that's Arwa Damon's live shot coming out of Baghdad.

Just got a report that that F-16 crash we told you about yesterday, the F-16 was involved in a low-level strafing run in the Anbar Province. We don't know what caused it to crash, but there are reports that -- well, it's unclear exactly what happened to the pilot. We do know this, that insurgents apparently got to the wreckage before the U.S. military was able to.

We'll keep you posted on that -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, our focus this morning, of course, is the pope's trip to Turkey and the protests that he's been facing from many Muslims there. CNN's calling it "When Faiths Collide." But what happens when faith comes between members of the military?

This morning, one soldier says he's been mistreated because he's a Muslim, and he says he's not alone.

AMERICAN MORNING'S Chris Lawrence has our story.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This former Army Muslim chaplain says there's a war going on within the U.S. Army and he was a casualty.

JAMES YEE, FMR. U.S. ARMY CHAPLAIN: I was called a Chinese Taliban.

LAWRENCE: If there is a conflict between Christians and Muslims, as James Yee claims, he started out on the other side of it.

YEE: I was raised a Lutheran, which is one of the more liturgical Protestant denominations.

LAWRENCE: Yee later traded his confirmation robes for Army fatigues. Years later, he converted to Islam and was sent to work as a chaplain at America's most well-known military prison.

YEE: Down in Guantanamo you had a situation in which where perhaps there was a clash of religions.

LAWRENCE: In his book, Yee describes how Christian soldiers disrespected the Koran. YEE: If someone uses a weapon against the prisoners to try and break them...

LAWRENCE: Yee believes there was general suspicion of Muslims service members in 2003. Early that year, at a military camp in Kuwait, an American-Muslim sergeant attacked his own men out of loyalty to Muslims worldwide. Six months later, Yee himself was arrested, accused of spying and aiding the enemy. He spent 76 days in solitary confinement but was never officially charged.

(on camera): Do Muslim service members have a tougher time of it than their Christian counterparts?

YEE: Yes, Muslims today are more challenged in the military because of their faith.

LAWRENCE (voice over): The Army says this is one person's representation of events and it has thoroughly investigated allegations of abuse at the prison.

At West Point, where Yee graduated, Muslim enrollment is up from two students to 32, and the academy just dedicated a new mosque. But Yee claims the American military as a whole still doesn't understand Islam.

YEE: And instead of winning hearts and minds, we're offending them.

LAWRENCE: The challenge now, finding ways for Muslims and Christians to fight for the same side.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Seattle.


M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, the Supreme Court hands a big win to big tobacco. Ali Velshi has that in "Minding Your Business."

And here's a lesson for you: Never dis a guy with a license to kill. 007 hits it big, and now we're eating our crow, stirred not shaken.

Stay with us.


M. O'BRIEN: Some big business cases hitting the Supreme Court this week. Ali Velshi watching it for us.

Good morning, Ali.


This is one that keeps coming back. This is about cigarette companies and whether or not they knew about the things they were advertising. It's a big case based out of Illinois. The Supreme Court has thrown out a $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris, USA. The contention was that Philip Morris knew when it introduced light cigarettes back in 1971 that, in fact, they were no less harmful to smokers, and, in fact, contained sort of a tar that was more toxic.

The smokers won the suit in a county judgment in 2003 in Illinois. A state high court, however, overturned it, saying that the Federal Trade Commission allowed cigarette makers to use light and low tar on the cigarette brand so that Philip Morris couldn't be liable for the fraud, and the Supreme Court refused to hear this case.

So that $10.1 billion judgment has been overturned and Philip Morris is going to get some money out of that.

The other big case that the Supreme Court is looking at this week is about the phone monopolies. In fact, some experts say this is the biggest antitrust case for the Supreme Court to hear in the last 20 years.

Now, you'll remember when AT&T was broken up into seven regional -- what they call the baby bells. The allegation here, the case hinges on an accusation that those baby bells conspired not to compete with each other. They stayed out of each other's markets, and as a result...

S. O'BRIEN: Ergo illegal.

VELSHI: Ergo illegal.

The issue here for the Supreme Court is, how do you prove a monopoly if you don't have the smoking gun, the chain of letters or e- mails? What do you do?

So that one -- that's why a number of people say this one is very important, because monopolies, cartels, things like that are very, very hard to prove.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, what's interesting, too, is all the baby bells have sort of reconsolidated.

VELSHI: Right. There are only four companies now.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

VELSHI: There were seven. They broke into seven.

Now you've got AT&T, BellSouth, Quest and Verizon. So it's an -- you can see why this is important. It affects everybody.

You pay the prices for it. Nobody in the country thinks they're getting a fantastic deal on phone service. Now that the cable companies are involved, it feels like a better deal.

Sometimes. I mean...


VELSHI: It feels like there's real competition.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, there's more out there. There's more out there.

VELSHI: But they're not -- they're still not giving it away.


What else you got?

VELSHI: I'm going to talk to you about inflation when I come back, but it's inflation on the 12 days of Christmas. I think gold is probably a little bit less, but we've outsourced the Lords a Leapin', so...

M. O'BRIEN: So how much it costs to...

VELSHI: How much it costs to fulfill the wish list.

S. O'BRIEN: Five gold rings?


S. O'BRIEN: All right, Ali. Thanks.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Ali.

VELSHI: See you.

S. O'BRIEN: So it turns out that blondes do have more fun. Not everybody believed actor Daniel Craig -- not everybody believed that actor Daniel Craig could carry it off as the new James Bond, the blonde Bond.

M. O'BRIEN: I was among the doubters.

S. O'BRIEN: Some of those people, yes, admitting today even...

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. OK.

S. O'BRIEN: ... that they were wrong, including CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We just wanted to say, sorry, James. Sorry for all those cheap shots. For making you seem like a wimp when they first introduced you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James Bond, wearing a life jacket? Give me a break!

MOOS: We tittered when your tooth got knocked out doing a stunt. We compared Sean Connery's manly furry chest to yours. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We also are hearing that he has shaved his chest.

MOOS: Well, puff up that hairless chest, Daniel Craig. Here's what they are saying now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a great body. I love it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His whole persona was just wonderful.

MOOS: Naysayers repent. "Casino Royale" is the No. 1 movie in the world. The critics are raving, and so are movie goers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've seen every single one. This is the best Bond ever.

MOOS: Even hard-bitten reporters seem smitten by the new Bond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You weren't anxious about having to achieve a certain chiseled perfection. Which you do, by the way.

DANIEL CRAIG, ACTOR: Well, thank you.

MOOS: The scene featuring 007 frolicking in his blue swim suit has been compared to Ursula Andress coming ashore in her bikini. That was "Dr. No," but even men are saying yes to the new Bond.

A male critic for a British paper described the swimsuit scene as "so scorchingly hot I feel embarrassed watching it, even when alone."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy is more grittier. He's darker. He's more realistic.

MOOS: Sure, Sean Connery could drive a stick shift and still manage to eject a bad guy. And we must confess to making fun of Daniel Craig when we heard he didn't know how to handle the stick in his Aston Martin.

But now that the movie's out...

(on camera): Did he seem to know how to drive a stick shift?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, he did fine.

MOOS (voice-over): And that Web site called CraigNotBond, the one that morphed Daniel Craig's face into one of the Three Stooges? It's gone.

And so, in this age of apology for weightier transgressions...

MICHAEL RICHARDS, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: I'm sorry. I'm very, very sorry.

MOOS: ... we, too, need a license to grovel.

(on camera): We're sorry, Daniel. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Daniel. I'm very sorry that I doubted you. You are terrific.

MOOS: And hot.


MOOS (voice-over): He's gone from being called a girly boy with a girly gun to could be the best 007 yet.

(on camera): It's enough to make a guilt-ridden reporter eat her words. Or at least those rave reviews.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


M. O'BRIEN: I guess you could say I voted against him before I voted for him. OK.

S. O'BRIEN: Help yourself.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING begins right now.

M. O'BRIEN: Pope Benedict on the ground in Turkey right now amid unprecedented security and intense Muslim outrage.

S. O'BRIEN: Tough talk. President Bush just arriving in Latvia. He's getting an update on Afghanistan, and also planning some tough questions for Iraq's prime minister.

M. O'BRIEN: Criminal questions. New suspicions someone lit the fire that killed 10 people in a group home for the elderly and the mentally ill.

S. O'BRIEN: And snowbound. Storms make a mess from the Pacific Northwest to the Rockies on this AMERICAN MORNING.