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CNN Sunday Morning

Airport Delays; Fight Over Troop Withdrawal Heats Up

Aired March 18, 2007 - 08:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CO-ANCHOR, CNN SUNDAY MORNING: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is March 18th, 8 a.m. in New York, 2 p.m. in Baghdad.
Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

T.J. HOLMES, CO-ANCHOR, CNN SUNDAY MORNING: And now that I've got myself together here, I'm ready to tell you that I'm T.J. Holmes, and we thank you so much for being here with us this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish I could get home. That's all I want to do is get home.


NGUYEN: Are they any closer to getting to their goal, and that is home? Well, a March snow storm leaves thousands stranded in airports all along the East Coast. Will today actually bring them some relief?

HOLMES: And take a look at this. Just how dicey did this storm get? Oh, we've got some video to prove just how dicey it got, and how dicey got for some drivers.

Also, fighting the aging process. Coming up in 30 minutes, Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows you what you can do to prevent everything from wrinkles to heart disease.

But we are going to begin with the developing story out of North Carolina, a missing child. Freezing temperatures fueling concerns for a 12-year-old Boy Scout in the mountains.

He was camping with his troop in the northwest corner of the state when he disappeared after a hike yesterday afternoon. The search on the ground and from the air is underway right now.

Here's the description of the boy. He is 12 years old. He's white. He's 5'4", 110 pounds. He has reddish-brown, curly hair.

He was wearing blue jeans, a red jacket with reflective tape, and a dark blue hat.

Authorities not yet releasing his name -- or at least last night not releasing his name. Our Bonnie Schneider standing by with a look at the conditions. There was some concern in that area that certainly temperatures were going to drop overnight. How cold is it, and how could it be for the young man?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, unfortunately, it has been very cold. We haven't seen a warm-up since late last night.

Just to give you a perspective of where the park is in western North Carolina, this is a Google Earth image. Allegheny Country borders Wilkes County in western North Carolina. This area is known as the Western Piedmont of North Carolina.

And the area you see highlighted in green, that indicates where the state park is. It's a pretty large area. It has over 60 miles of trails for hikers and for bicyclists. So, it's quite a popular area for those that are looking to venture out.

But let's talk about the weather conditions. First off, you can see on the map here where it's located. But right now the current temperature is 26 degrees.

And what's interesting is that that's as cold as it's been overnight. As we look at the overnight lows, we haven't dropped below 26. The sun came out about a half-hour ago, so we'll start to see a warm-up quickly, as that sun kind of heats the area.

The problem is, it's been very cold, as you know, across much of the mountain region -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Bonnie, well wintry weather and aviation rules on deicing didn't help thousands of air travelers this weekend all across the Northeast. And many airports' planes could not take off, because they couldn't be deiced quickly enough.

And some airlines simply did not have enough deicing solution to go around.

Well, the delays and cancellations snowballed into a deep backlog of stranded passengers, and some of them don't expect to get moving again for at least another day. Even when they do, their luggage might not follow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know where your luggage is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe it's in Hartford. I don't know. It isn't here.

So, I think -- I hope -- it's gone on through there. But they've told me that I can't get a flight out till Tuesday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know where our luggage is. It could be -- it's either here in some cargo hold or it's in Hartford. They haven't even told us. Like, they don't know. I don't think they know.


NGUYEN: A lot of people still asking questions this morning. And Philadelphia is one of those affected airports.

Now, last hour we talked with an airport spokeswoman about how folks are faring there today.


PHYLLIS VANISTENDAL, PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SPOKESWOMAN (by phone): Apparently this morning, there are a few cancellations. We were not showing any flight delays. Several cancellations.

And the information that I've received is there may be some crew issues, based upon the availability of crews getting to Philadelphia International or, you know, they've already expended their time limit.


HOLMES: Well, seven more American service members have been killed in Iraq. In the worst of the attacks, the military says an explosion killed four U.S. soldiers taking part in the new security crackdown in Baghdad. Another was killed in Diyala province, a sixth in Baquba, and a seventh soldier died in a non-combat related incident.

The U.S. death toll in Iraq now stands at 3,219.

It was close to this time yesterday we were telling you about a chemical attack in Iraq. Bombers detonated three chlorine-filled trucks in Anbar province.

Two Iraq police officers were killed. Three hundred and 50 Iraqis and six coalition force members were sickened by the fumes. Those victims now recovering.

Also, some unnerving moments for Australia's prime minister in Iraq. A plane carrying Prime Minister John Howard was forced to make an emergency landing in southeastern Iraq after it filled with smoke. You can see Mr. Howard and his security forces quickly evacuating that plane.

The prime minister not hurt in this. He was making his first trip to Iraq.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell your congressperson to get a backbone, to get a spine, and to stand up on the mandate that the American people gave them last November.


HOLMES: And this is just getting started.

More anti-war protests are planned for today, no doubt, even more on Monday, the four-year anniversary of the start of the war.

But opponents aren't the only ones who have something to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my country and I love it, and I thank God for the president and all the president that really stands for freedom. That's what it's all about -- freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I respect their point of view, but we're going to continue to represent the majority of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's the history of this country. That what you feel, you have to come out and say it loudly.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, Congress will be discussing war funding next week. We'll have more on that straight ahead.

Here's another indication, also, of how support for the war in Iraq is going.

A CNN opinion research poll finds that, right now, as we approach the fourth anniversary of the war, 35 percent of Americans think the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over.

Compare that to 2004, a year after the war started, when 56 percent of Americans still felt the Iraq was worth it.

NGUYEN: Well, dollars for the war tied to a deadline for withdrawal. That is the strategy for some Democrats pushing to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.

President Bush says the bill before the House this week is an attempt to micro-manage the war.

CNN's Kathleen Koch joins us now live from the White House.

Kathleen, fill us in on the details of this bill.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, the main thing that the White House really -- well, it has a couple of things that it objects to.

This is an emergency war funding bill, first of all to explain it. It would provide some $95.5 billion for the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And the president, first of all, objects to the fact that -- and he mentioned this in his radio address Saturday -- that there is funding for what he calls unrelated programs in this bill. Not that he has any problem with the programs, but things like peanut storage, NASA, the Farm Service Agency.

So, the president says to Congress he wants a clean emergency war funding bill.

And then the second problem is that the president opposes these benchmarks and conditions that the bill would impose, not only on continued funding for Iraqi troops, but also for the conduct of the war in Iraq.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (on the radio): These restrictions would handcuff our generals in the field by denying them the flexibility they need to adjust their operations to the changing situation on the ground.

And these restrictions would substitute the mandates of Congress for the considered judgment of our military commanders.


NGUYEN: The Democrats, in their radio address yesterday, said that, in their opinion, after four years it is now time to bring the Iraq war to a close.


SEN. PATTY MURRAY, D-WASHINGTON (on the radio): The war raging in the streets of Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq is a civil war. It can't be won by military force alone. It can only be resolved by Iraqis, talking to Iraqis and forging the political settlements that will end the violence.

Unfortunately, this is a reality President Bush and a majority of congressional Republicans still refuse to recognize.


NGUYEN: President Bush has been at his presidential retreat in Camp David for the entire weekend, and so, has not been here to witness these protests.

But the White House did put out a statement yesterday, spokesman Blair Jones saying, quote, our Constitution guarantees the right to peacefully express one's views. And the men and women in our military are fighting to bring the people of Iraq the same rights and freedoms -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Kathleen Koch at the White House. Thank you, Kathleen.

This is probably a difficult weekend for three New York police officers.

HOLMES: Yes. They've been indicted in a killing of a groom on his wedding day. The grand jury's official decision expected tomorrow. We'll have a look at what happened. That's coming up.

Plus, millions of cans of pet food recalled. What changes in behavior pet owners need to be looking for.


HOLMES: We want to get back to a developing story we were telling you about. A 12-year-old Boy Scout missing in North Carolina went missing after a hike with his Boy Scout troop over the weekend -- just last night, actually. And certainly concerned now, some of the weather conditions there. The boy still missing.

We have Saundra Lewis on the phone with us. She's with the Wilkes County Rescue Squad.

Saundra, thank you for giving us a couple of minutes here.

Tell me, first of all, have you seen any signs, any clues, any traces of this boy?

SAUNDRA LEWIS, WILKES COUNTY RESCUE SQUAD: Yes, we have found several signs through the night, which we are following up on.

HOLMES: What kind of things are you finding? Do they give you good hope that he may be OK?

LEWIS: We are just finding signs of where he was walking yesterday afternoon, and eating a little bit of lunch, and that sort of thing. We've not really found anything significant from last night.

HOLMES: OK. Was he off on a walk by himself? I know everybody was out on a hike. But were they pretty much going off in their own direction, and this 12-year-old boy was allowed to just go pretty much where he wanted in the woods?

LEWIS: No, the group was together. They were actually back at their campsite. After they got back, they noticed that he was missing.

HOLMES: OK. So, the hike was over. They were back at their site, and he maybe just took off by himself somewhere?

LEWIS: We're not really sure why or what happened. They were all back at the campsite. He was seen at the campsite. And then, a few minutes later, he was missing.

HOLMES: OK. You have any reason to believe any foul play involved here? Or does it appear that he walked off on his own.

LEWIS: No, there's no foul play. We don't see any signs of that.

HOLMES: OK. See any signs, as well, that he may be injured in any way?

LEWIS: Not that we know of.

HOLMES: OK. Give me an idea, still, as well, of the weather conditions right now, and certainly, as well, overnight.

LEWIS: OK. The temperature this morning was 24 degrees. We did have a little blowing snow.

We're back in the sunshine now. The high is supposed to be in the low 50s here today.

HOLMES: How -- do you think he had enough stuff on him? Like you said, it looked like he had a little food. Did he have enough clothing, as well, to hang tight overnight, if he did, in fact, wander off and he's just out there lost right now?

LEWIS: We're not really sure of that. We know that he did not have his pack with him. He was wearing blue jeans and a red jacket.

HOLMES: OK. Well, Saundra Lewis from the Wilkes Rescue Squad, looking for the 12-year-old boy who is missing in the mountains of -- or in the forest there, I guess I should say -- a state park, I believe it is, ma'am, of North Carolina.

Good luck on your search. I certainly hope you will keep us updated, but I certainly hope this works out well, and he's just lost, and he's all right. But thank you so much for your time, Ms. Lewis.

LEWIS: Thank you.

NGUYEN: It's a frightening scenario.

Well, we wanted to take you to New York now, because authorities are hoping for calm, but bracing for trouble tomorrow, when grand jury indictments are unsealed against three police officers. They were indicted for their role in the shooting of a groom. You see him here, just hours before his wedding.

The latest now from senior correspondent, Allan Chernoff.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK CITY: A city that was on edge as the grand jury deliberated this week in the Sean Bell shooting case, was relatively calm Saturday. Only a few dozen people show at a rally to protest the fact that just three of the five officers who shot at the groom's car were indicted.

Monday morning, three police detectives, who say they've done nothing wrong, are to appear at this Queens courthouse to be arrested and fingerprinted.

Detective Michael Oliver, who fired 31 shots at the car. Undercover detective Gescard Isnora, who fired first and shot 11 bullets. And detective Marc Cooper, who fired four times.

Queens D.A. Richard Brown will reveal the grand jury's criminal charges.

The detectives were part of an undercover narcotics operation November 25th at the Kalua strip club in Jamaica, Queens, where Sean Bell was celebrating his bachelor party.

The NYPD says, undercover detective Isnora approached Bell's Nissan Ultima. Bell's car bumped the detective, then hit an undercover police minivan twice.

Five officers fired a total of 50 bullets at the car, killing Bell and wounding his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield.

The victims were all unarmed.

Defense attorneys tell CNN they're disappointed, but not shocked, that the grand jury chose to indict three of the officers.

PHILIP KARASYK, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Consider it like a two-foot hurdle to convict is like a 10-foot hurdle, beyond a reasonable doubt. So there is a long way to go between an indictment and a conviction at trial.

CHERNOFF: Indeed, defense attorneys and the detectives union chief predict the officers will be cleared of criminal charges at trial.

MICHAEL PALLADINO, DETECTIVES' ENDOWMENT FUND: These officers, as all of law enforcement officers do throughout the country, they get up every morning and they humbly go to work. And acting in good faith, they try and protect the public.

In this particular situation, that's what our detectives did.

CHERNOFF: Police officers were acquitted of murder charges in the 1999 case of Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times in his Bronx apartment building.

That sparked widespread protests in New York, and black activists warn, it could happen again.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: We're going to fight till the end, until we get justice.

CHERNOFF: Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: We want to tell you now about a family trapped in a diplomatic no-man's land.

NGUYEN: Yes. After 10 long months, stuck in an airport, they finally arrived.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I feel freedom. I can see again the sky, moon, sun.


NGUYEN: Can you imagine? We have the final destination that is coming your way on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


HOLMES: U.S. envoy Christopher Hill and other diplomats are in Beijing, finalizing the details about the a landmark agreement on disarming North Korea.

Hills says Pyongyang is expected to fulfill its side of the deal by shutting down its main nuclear facility next month.

NGUYEN: Well, it is one of those unbelievable stories that you'll swear that you have heard before, when, in fact, it is not fiction and it's not Hollywood.

HOLMES: Yes. A mother and her two kids, fleeing Iran, lived inside the Moscow airport for nearly a year.

NGUYEN: Can you believe it?

HOLMES: Thought you had a bad layover. They slept on the floor, they washed in public restrooms, but they somehow survived.

CTV reporter, Shannon Patterson, has that story.


SHANNON PATTERSON, CTV REPORTER: Tearful family reunions are not unusual at the airport. But this one played out like a Hollywood movie.

Zahra Kamalfar's journey to Vancouver began two years ago, when she and her two children fled Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was lashed and she was in prison. And she was persecuted. And she fled the country because of the ...

PATTERSON: The family hoped to make its way to Canada as refugees, but was detained in Russia, and spent 10 months living in limbo in the Moscow airport -- just like Tom Hanks' character in the movie, "The Terminal."

Eventually, they were granted refugee status by the United Nations, and friends and family in Vancouver waited anxiously for their arrival. But at YVR, the family was detained again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zahra was smoking in the plane. She was not aware of any rule and regulation on the plane or at airports, this regulation. So, they were stopping her for a while.

PATTERSON: Eventually, the family was released and reunited with Zahra's brother, who hadn't seen his sister in 13 years. ZAHRA KAMALFAR, IRANIAN REFUGEE: Thank you. Thank you so much, Canada, very much and the people Canada.

Now I feel freedom. I can see again a sky, moon, sun.

PATTERSON: Overcome by emotion, Zahra collapsed on her way out of the airport. She was overcome again when she stepped onto Canadian soil for the first time -- an emotional end to a long ordeal, and for this family, the beginning of a new life.

Shannon Patterson, CTV News.


HOLMES: OK. We complain about an hour or two layover, don't we, a delay.

NGUYEN: Can you imagine? Almost a year in an airport? Yes, an hour or two. You know, four hours on a tarmac. Not a big deal compared to that.


NGUYEN: Well, there is a major pet food recall that is underway. It covers a long list of brand names made by the company Menu Foods.

Check out the screen here, because the pet food is sold at places like Wal-Mart, Safeway and Kroger.

You can go to for specifics. Menu Foods is one word there. Or you can just call 1-866-895-2078.

And in the meantime, owners should watch for signs of kidney failure in their pet.


DR. JOSEPH SZANTO, HOUSTON VETERINARIAN: The signs of kidney failure would initially be any change in water consumption.

Depending on what kind of kidney failure it could be less water or more water. Their amount of urination may change, more or less.

Also, a decreased appetite.


NGUYEN: The recall was announced after at least 10 pets that ate the food actually died of kidney failure. You can get more on this story at

And your next check of the headlines is coming up at the top of the hour.