Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Saturday Morning News

Jill Carroll On Her Way Home This Weekend; Dispute Between Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney And Capitol Police; March And Rally To Protest New Orleans Elections; Russian Soyuz Capsule Docks on International Space Station; Immigration Debate Takes Center Stage at Cancun Summit; NCAA Final Four Preview

Aired April 01, 2006 - 10:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Former hostage Jill Carroll is out of Iraq for the first time since her release. She arrived in Germany this morning. It's the first leg of her journey back to the United States after almost three months in captivity.
Good morning, everybody, it's Saturday right here at the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Betty Nguyen.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: How you doing, Betty?

NGUYEN: Good morning. Big old shot of the news room.

HARRIS: Good to see you.

NGUYEN: Good to see you too. Nice and pink too, Tony.

HARRIS: And good morning, all.

NGUYEN: That's been our running joke this morning. He looks good. It's takes a confident man to wear pink.

HARRIS: It's April's Fool. It's my little gag.

NGUYEN: No, it's not a joke, it looks good.

HARRIS: The first day of April, we'll have a live report from Germany in just a moment. But, first, a check of some other stories happening right now in the news.

Well, crews are heading out today in Indiana to confirm whether or not any tornadoes touched down last night. They think there may have been three twisters. At least 20 homes were damaged in one county. Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas could see some bad weather again today.

NGUYEN: Not enough bang for the buck. That is what a government audit finds when it comes to how the Pentagon buys major weapons, including war planes and ships. The report by Congressional investigators found the cost of weapons has doubled under President Bush to nearly $1.4 trillion. At the same time the report found performance shortfalls and cost overruns.

More anti-war protesters turn out to greet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in England. Rice visited the home of her British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two then met with Muslim leaders in Blackburn.

HARRIS: A move by French president Jacques Chirac failed to calm down protests over a new youth jobs bill. Thousands of demonstrators clashed with police roaming the streets of Paris and other cities overnight. Chirac says he'll sign the controversial labor law but he wants some changes in it.

And it's a hook-up in space. A Russian Soyuz capsule docked today with the International Space Station. It brought a load of supplies and new Russian and American crew members. Brazil's first astronaut joined them on the trip.

NGUYEN: Here's what is on tap this hour on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Turning the tables -- Cynthia McKinney's lawyer blames the confrontation between the congresswoman and the Capitol Hill police on the officer. The lawyer is seeking his own investigation.

Also ahead, March Madness. That's right, the final four of the NCAA Basketball Championship is ready to hit the courts. We'll tell you what the odds are. You are going to be really impressed with this. Picking the tournament winners, a big number, folks, from start to finish.

HARRIS: Former hostage Jill Carroll is on her way home this weekend. We can only imagine how that must feel after being held in Iraq for the past three months. During a stop in Germany, Carroll was described as looking tired, but fit and happy.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us on the phone from Frankfurt with more. Paula, good morning.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Good morning, Tony. Well, she is halfway home. She is resting up in Ramstein, which is the U.S. air base here in Western Germany at the moment. We saw her a little earlier, 9:00 a.m. local time she touched down in Germany -- that's 2:00 a.m. Eastern -- after traveling overnight from Baghdad.

So inevitably she looked tired, especially after being held captive for almost three months. But she did look radiant as one commentator said. She looked as though she was relieved. She looked as though she was excited and she was chatting away with the military personnel that were escorting her from the plane and then onto -- into a military car and then she was whisked away.

Now, a Ramstein source did tell CNN that she was then taken to a hotel. They say that she wanted to write an article. We'll obviously be looking forward to reading that article.

We're then expecting her to go on to the United States maybe Saturday evening, although time is getting on here in Germany. It's 5:00 p.m. local time, though it is altogether possible that she could be going back Sunday morning and I'm sure her parents cannot wait to see her. HARRIS: That's probably the understatement of the morning. CNN's Paula Hancocks for us. We appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, Carroll raised some eyebrows with taped comments made as she was being released. She was critical of the U.S. government and praised Iraqi insurgents. Did she mean it, or was it forced propaganda? Listen to this videotape excerpt posted on an Islamic Web site.


JILL CARROLL, FREED U.S. HOSTAGE: There are a lot of lies that come out of American government, calling the Mujahadeen terrorists and other things. And I think it's important the American people hear from me, the Mujahadeen are only trying to defend their country.


HARRIS: Well Carroll's father told her employer, the "Christian Science Monitor" that his daughter had to make the comments as a condition of her release.

Well, that brings us to our e-mail question of the morning. What do you make of Jill Carroll's critical comments about the U.S. government? E-mail us your thoughts,, and we'll read some of your responses a little later this hour.

NGUYEN: Rallies swept the country against a crackdown on illegal immigration. Students left school in San Diego and Bakersfield to protest tough immigration bills being debated in Congress. Dueling demonstrations took place in suburban Los Angeles. Groups for and against proposed immigration laws face off in a noisy but peaceful confrontation. Take a listen.




NGUYEN: And in Wichita, Kansas, students holding signs and shouting "Viva Mexico" demonstrated outside city hall. Now, immigration rallies are planned today in New York. Thousands are expected to join a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the proposed immigration reform. We'll be following that rally and bring it to you live when it happens.

Well, President Bush is getting a little R&R at his Texas ranch after attending a summit in Mexico. CNN's Elaine Quijano will hit the highlights on immigration issues when she joins us at the half hour, so stay tuned for that.

A lot of the he said-she said going on this morning over the confrontation at the U.S. Capitol. It's a dispute between Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Capitol Police.

CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A police union official tells CNN he believes Capitol Hill police will recommend to the U.S. Attorney that charges be filed against Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, possibly, we're told, charges of assault.

This stems from an incident earlier this week when police say McKinney walked around a security checkpoint on Capitol Hill and an officer did not recognize her.

A police union official tells CNN the officer tapped McKinney lightly on the arm seeking identification and says the congresswoman then turned around and struck the officer on the chest with her cell phone. The Georgia Democrat gives a defiant response.

REP. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY (D), GEORGIA: This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman. I deeply regret that this incident occurred and I am certain that after a full review of the facts I will be exonerated.

TODD: Pending possible charges, Capitol Hill police will only say they are still investigating. McKinney's attorney says he'll do some digging himself.

JAMES MYART, MCKINNEY'S ATTORNEY: We are going to seek a criminal investigation against the police officer who assaulted this congresswoman. And we are further reviewing the civil liabilities and responsibilities of the Capitol Police as well as this particular individual.

TODD: According to the National Journals Almanac of American Politics, McKinney had similar recognition issues at the White House in 1996 and 1998. The book quotes McKinney saying "I am absolutely sick and tired of having to have my appearance at the White House validated by white people."

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


HARRIS: Getting people to vote takes on new meaning in the New Orleans election. That's for sure.

NGUYEN: It sure does. About 200,000 potential voters remain displaced by Hurricane Katrina. A live report on a rally called to delay the voting. That's next on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

Good morning, Reynolds, a lot of severe weather to talk about today.


VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, Reynolds. Thanks for that. What are users clicking on at this morning? We're going to tell you next in our countdown. Stick around. That's less than 60 seconds away.


GERRI WILLIS, CNN ANCHOR: You can get federal tax credits for making your home more energy efficient. Installing items like insulation, energy efficient windows, and upgraded heating and cooling systems can save you as much as $500 this April 15th.

To learn more, go to and click on tax credits. And remember, these improvements may also qualify you for state tax rebates or incentives from your local utility company, so be sure to contact the state's energy office as well.

Of course, an energy efficient home means lower energy bills over time and your house will be that much more valuable when it comes time to sell. I'm Gerri Willis with "Your Energy Tip."



DE LA CRUZ: I'm Veronica de la Cruz at the dot-com desk with the top ten stories on

Starting with number ten, more patients these days are obese and hospitals aren't prepared for it. Some are changing their facilities, replacing beds which can only handle patients up to 350 pounds with beds for patients weighing as much as 500 pounds.

Number nine, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a foreign policy gathering in Britain that the U.S. made thousands of tactical mistakes in Iraq, but is pursuing worthy goals. Rice later said she was speaking figuratively and not literally.

Number eight, tomorrow marks one year since Pope John Paul II died. Those who were at his bedside said "read me the Bible" was among one of his final requests.

And number seven, the three brains behind the search engine Google were all offered a raise this year, but they turned it down and stuck with their current annual salary which is $1. We'll have numbers six, five, four on our countdown when CNN SATURDAY MORNING returns.


NGUYEN: Well, good morning on this April Fool's Day. If you're just joining us, here are a few of the top stories that we're following.

About 2:00 a.m. Eastern time, Jill Carroll arrived at an air base in Western Germany just two days after her captors released her in Baghdad. She's expected to board a plane in Frankfurt for the U.S. That should be happening sometime this weekend, and we'll bring you the latest.

A government audit finds trouble in how the Pentagon buys major weapons, including war planes and ships. The report by Congressional investigators say the cost of weapons has doubled under President Bush to nearly $1.4 trillion. At the same time it finds performance shortfalls and cost overruns.

Well, it wasn't exactly a warm reception for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Anti-war protesters turn out to greet her in England. Now, she visited the home of her British counterpart, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Then the two met with Muslim leaders in Blackburn, England.

HARRIS: Aftermath -- in New Orleans, residents are going door to door to spread the word about how to vote in the April 22 primary election. Critics say not enough is being done to make sure hurricane evacuees across the country will be able to vote. Some civil rights leaders say that's unfair. Today the Reverend Jesse Jackson and others are protesting the planned election with a march and a rally.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW-PUSH COALITION: All they are asking is we use our technical apparatus to make it available for all citizens. And there's some within the city who want to do a kind of bully rush on this vote right now. Fast is important, but fair is even more important than fast.

So today we march across this bridge demanding that people have the right to return home, the right to protect it, the right to vote, the right to stop insurance predators and insurance gougers and the right to reconstruction. We're not going to stop marching and protesting until we, in fact, have our right to vote protected.

Really, if the Department of Justice had done its job and demanded pre-clearance, we would have had this out of the way on the front side. Instead you had post-clearance. This is a state under section five pre-clearance, and you've had section two violated, dilution; section five, moving of precincts; section 203, not adequate language provisions.

I say the elections are a good idea but there is no adequate infrastructure for the election. Again, can you imagine that we can have these opportunities set up for people in Baghdad and Mexico City but not in New Orleans? It's not right. It's not fair. And we all deserve better.


HARRIS: CNN affiliate WDSU's Ken Jones is in the heart of where today's march is taking place.

And, Ken, good to see you. Thanks for taking the time. And let me ask you to do a couple of things for us, Ken. First of all, set that scene for us. And as you do that tell us what the march organizers are hoping to accomplish today. KEN JONES, WDSU REPORTER: Well, first let me tell you the scene we're setting out here is that of the rally you see behind me. I'm going to step out of the way. What you have is a lot of people of New Orleans who are here for a number of reasons, but primarily to talk about the April 22 election.

In fact, you see a few banners out there about our mayor, Ray Nagin. They want to reelect him. But out here, they want to talk about the people who cannot come back to New Orleans. You know, thousands of people were evacuated during the hurricane and haven't been able to return yet.

There was a thought of setting up satellite centers in different states where those people are located now, but that's against state law. And at this point, the only other recourse was to maybe send out the ballots to those people, but that hasn't happened either.

So these folks you see out here are actually upset that the election is going to take place April 22nd. Now the march they are having afterwards is over what we call the Crescent City Connection. That's the bridge that connects the East Bank and West Bank of New Orleans. They plan to march over that bridge into Jefferson Parish.

I don't know if you recall, but during the hurricane or right directly afterwards when people were trying to elude the floodwater, they were trying to go over the bridge to higher ground, and they were met by somewhat, if you want to call, police opposition.

Well they are going to march across there and retrace the steps of the people who tried to escape the hurricane and possibly, I suppose, bring attention to the fact that they weren't very well welcomed when they did go over that bridge.

So this morning they'll have the rally here. They'll talk about the election. Then they'll make the march over the Crescent City Connection into Jefferson Parish, retracing the steps of the people who tried to get out of New Orleans.

HARRIS: Hey, Ken, the Reverend Jesse Jackson suggested in our interview that will air later this hour that the postal system in New Orleans is pretty much decimated and that people who are, for example, in Atlanta and want to get an absentee ballot won't be able to get and it won't be able to get it back into the proper hands because the system is all -- well it's just not functioning right now. Is that true?

JONES: Well, the system isn't working the way they would want it to work. In Louisiana there are some problems with getting all the names of the people who have displaced. Initially, there was a problem with FEMA giving out the names of those people, because that was considered confidential information, but that has since gone away.

But then at the same time, we are so close to the April 22 election, getting ballots to all of those people in all of those different states is an insurmountable task according to some people. So that, in itself, is a problem. Of course, the satellite centers would have helped out if they could have set them up in other states. People could have gone to those places and voted. But even then they would have had to have known where to put those satellite centers and how to get the word out about where the satellite centers are.

So it's been kind of a problem just kind of getting this going. So at this point they pretty much know that this April 22 election is going to happen. It is what to do now after the election. Do you contest the results or what? Or go back to court?

HARRIS: Yes, that's good. Ken Jones we appreciate it. Thanks for your time.

JONES: Any time.

HARRIS: And you can count on CNN to keep you informed. We'll have live reports from today's march and rally throughout the day.

NGUYEN: Well, get this Tony. The likelihood -- really, listen to this -- the likelihood of picking all the winners in the March Madness Tournament is an astounding -- you ready?


NGUYEN: One in 900 million trillion.

HARRIS: That's not a number.

NGUYEN: That's a real number.

HARRIS: What are you making something up?

NGUYEN: We checked. We double checked. It's a real number.

HARRIS: It is?

NGUYEN: One in 900 million trillion. But guess what? Someone came pretty close this year. Ahead, in Indianapolis, we are going to take you there live to the Final Four and break down the numbers. All of that is coming up.

HARRIS: Plus a stormy weekend across much of the nation. You don't want to miss the forecast from meteorologist Reynolds Wolf. That's still ahead.


HARRIS: Well, sure the calendar says April 1, but it's not funny.

NGUYEN: April Fool's Day though.

HARRIS: No fooling around when it comes to the weather. In Hawaii, you see there on the screen, the rain continues. Several roads, homes and even a mall flooded. Rain has been falling in parts of Hawaii since February 19, Betty.

NGUYEN: Oh my.

HARRIS: It was also a pretty terrible night across the Midwest. A line of storms damaged homes, knocked down power lines and injured several people. And in Indianapolis, a suburb there, I think that is where they are playing the Final Four this weekend, overnight, witnesses say they saw a funnel cloud drop from the sky and the storm damaged several homes and businesses -- I think it's Greenwood.

NGUYEN: Not good news for a lot of folks. I mean, it is that time of year, though. Reynolds Wolf joins us now in the Weather Center to talk about it.

HARRIS: Real changeable weather.

NGUYEN: It's finally getting warm outside. People are loving that, but at the same time, severe weather rolls in.


HARRIS: What better time to be in Mexico than when Americans are debating immigration? It gave the president a chance to talk about it face-to-face with other leaders. A live report from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, is next.

Plus, what are the odds that anyone would pick so many underdogs to make it to this year's final four? The numbers, well, they are going to astound you. We're headed to Indianapolis. Going to take you there live coming up.

Go morning, Danielle.

DANIELLE ELIAS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Betty. Disputes in France are heating up over a controversial labor law. We'll have that and more for you when we go global. Stay with us.


NGUYEN: Jill Carroll showed off a big smile when she landed in Germany earlier today. A U.S. Air Force jet flew the freed journalist out of Iraq. Carroll is expected to arrive back in the U.S. this weekend. Her kidnappers released her on Thursday. She was held hostage for almost three months.

The Pentagon is not getting enough bang for the buck. That's the finding of Congressional investigators. They say the projected cost of major U.S. weapons has doubled to nearly $1.4 trillion under the Bush administration. Cost overruns, performance shortfalls and missed deadlines are blamed.

HARRIS: The International Space Station has some new visitors. A Russian Soyuz capsule docked there today. On board, two new crew members from Russia and the U.S. and Brazil's first astronaut. The capsule also brought in supplies. Brazil's first man in space will return to earth with the space station's current crew on April 9. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour, particularly you, Betty.

NGUYEN: I know I have to wake up early.

HARRIS: Or before you go to sleep, you got to do that. It's something that you need to do. Daylight saving time, I always want to say daylight savings time, but its daylight saving time.


HARRIS: No S. Officially begins across most of the U.S. Sunday morning at 2:00 local time. You may lose an hour of sleep but you'll get that extra hour of daylight to play in the evening.

NGUYEN: The battle over the border, the summit, well it's over, but the debate is just as hot as ever. President Bush and the leaders of Mexico and Canada have wrapped up a summit where immigration took center stage, but nothing was resolved.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is debating several immigration reform bills. One of them is a guest worker program favored by President Bush. It would allow foreign nationals to get permits to work legally in the U.S. for up to six years. Now some members of congress say it amounts to amnesty.

President Bush is resting up at home following the Cancun summit. It was mostly a continual meeting with the Mexican and Canadian leaders, but there were some disagreements. White House correspondent Elaine Quijano joins us live from Crawford, Texas to talk about that. Tell us, what were the disagreements?

ELAINE QUIJANO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you, Betty. Of course still that issue of illegal immigration continuing to simmer, a major source of tension between the United States and Mexico. After that two-day summit, President Bush as you mentioned spending some down time here in Crawford before heading back to Washington on Monday.

But at those meetings of course, understood that, that debate going on in Washington certainly a major focus for the leaders there. The president sitting down with not only Mexico's president Vicente Fox, but also the prime minister of Canada Stephen Harper. At that summit, as we mentioned, no major breakthroughs on the issue of illegal immigration, instead we heard President Bush essentially reiterate his support for a controversial temporary guest worker program.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A nation of laws can also be a welcoming nation and I believe a guest worker program will help us rid the society and the border of these coyotes who smuggle people in the back of 18 wheelers. I believe it will help get rid of the document forgers. I believe it will help people on both sides of the border to respect the laws of our border and enforce our borders.


QUIJANO: Now, at the same time the president refused to say whether in fact he would veto a final immigration bill that did not include a guest worker provision. Instead, he insisted that he believed he would in fact get a comprehensive immigration bill on his desk. Now, the president's comments came, of course, as some of his fellow republicans remained vehemently opposed to this idea of a temporary guest worker program.

They see it as amnesty. In fact one republican lawmaker Peter King saying that he believes those people who do vote for this temporary guest worker provision should be forced to wear a letter "A" for amnesty and also should be made to essentially pay for it come November when those midterm elections take place. Betty?

NGUYEN: Hey Elaine, I believe this was President Bush's first meeting with the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper. How did that go? How is that relationship forming?

QUIJANO: Well you know it's interesting to note, of course, there is a lot of focus on that relationship, as well, because in fact the predecessor for the Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin certainly was well known that they did not necessarily have the best relationship, President Bush and former Prime Minister Martin.

There was a lot of tension over the issue of Iraq. But now, of course, hopefully both sides looking at this as a new beginning and, in fact, though, they were still not able to come to an agreement on a long standing issue over soft wood lumber, on tariffs imposed that Canada feels are unfair.

At the same time there was also this issue of a new rule that Canadians are going to have to show a passport like document when they cross over the U.S.-Canada border. No resolution really on that as well. But instead they agreed to talk about it and so that, in and of itself is seen as progress.

NGUYEN: Well there is one thing for sure it's going to be a lot more talk on many of these issues. Elaine Quijano, thank you.

HARRIS: In stories making news across America now. A reward is being offered for information about this man. He's John Fiocco, a New Jersey college student missing for a week. A search of two Pennsylvania landfills begins today after traces of the missing student's blood were found around a trash bin outside of his dorm.

Move over medium, forget the ghost whisperer. Anyone passing by a new sign in Los Angeles can get the message being sent by this deceased comedian. Billboards are going up, eight years after funny man Chris Farley died from drugs. The billboards advertise a new treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

Google's co-founder well co-founders and CEO say no thanks to a pay raise, they're sticking with their current annual salary of one buck and it's not even being adjusted for inflation. But don't feel too bad for them. They are already billionaires with all their shares of Google stock.

NGUYEN: Forget the salary, just give us the stock.

HARRIS: Yes. We have a passing to report this morning. The Wily Coyote named Hal died Thursday night. Hal got lots of attention a few weeks back when he led authorities on a wild chase through New York's Central Park. A spokesperson says Hal stopped breathing before a planned release in upstate New York.

NGUYEN: Oh, that's too bad.

HARRIS: It is moving day for Stan the Man Musial considered one of the greatest Cardinals to ever play the game of baseball. Musial's statue will call the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis home. Musial spent all 22 years of his professional baseball career in St. Louis.

Protest in France over labor laws have caused quite a stir and there's no immediate sign of the growing crisis getting any better.

NGUYEN: Yes, we have been watching those demonstrations this week. For more on this our Danielle Elias joins us from the international news desk. Hi Danielle.

ELIAS: Hi, Betty. As you said, hundreds of student protesters took to the streets of Paris. This after French president Jacques Chirac announced he will sign a controversial jobs bill into law. Now on Friday Mr. Chirac said the trial period for young workers should be cut from two years to one and employers should give reasons for firings. Meanwhile, students and unions who oppose the law plan more protests on Tuesday.

Nations around the world are offering humanitarian aid to the victims of the deadly earthquakes that hit Iran. A series of three quakes, the strongest was a magnitude of 6.0, shook western Iran Friday morning. According to Iranian officials at least 66 people were killed and more than 1400 injured.

Well, certain areas of the world are more prone to earthquakes than others. In the U.S., for example, California and Oregon frequently deal with the quakes. Internationally countries such as Japan, Taiwan, India, and as we just mentioned Iran are often hit.

Get this, in Japan a construction company has come up with an innovative and cheaper quake proof shelter instead of quake proofing an entire house. It's made of wood and its size is about three by six feet. The shelter can be assembled in just two days at a price tag of about $2,500. Betty it may sound like a lot, but it sure is cheaper than quakeproofing an entire house.

NGUYEN: Yes, seems like it could be very safe, too. And you can't replace lives with money that's for sure. Okay is the Japanese government doing anything about it?

ELIAS: Actually in 1995 about 5,000 people were killed from house collapsing earthquakes. Well since then, the government has been urging people in Japan to strengthen their houses but, of course, most people haven't because it's so expensive. So this method may help with that problem.

NGUYEN: All right. Danielle Elias thank you so much for that update.

HARRIS: You see my LSU tiger.

NGUYEN: I do see it. It's all hooked up with a mic and everything. I'm afraid of what it's going to say.

HARRIS: It's got a little thing it can do here. There we go. This year, can you hear it?

NGUYEN: Barely. You're talking over it.

HARRIS: Just a little bit there. There you go. This year's final four line-up reads like a fairy tale. Come on with three of the four finalists battling it out to be Cinderella. The one sure bet about this year's match-ups is that no one you know picked them.

NGUYEN: Not even Rick Horrow who is in Indianapolis this morning for the big game. There he is. What does it take to pick a winner? We're going to find out when we go beyond the game.


DE LA CRUZ: We continue now with our countdown on the most popular stories on We head to the nation's capital for number six. The former White House attorney for Richard Nixon, John Dean said in a hearing that President Bush's domestic spying exceeds the wrong doing that toppled his former boss.

Number five takes you to the Midwest which is seeing severe weather. At least one death is reported in North Dakota. The woman was found lying face down in a ditch that flooded after intense rain. And number four, another sad story to tell you about, the coyote named Hal has died. You might remember Hal, he was running loose through Central Park in New York until wildlife officials captured him. He died just before his scheduled release.

You can get the details on those stories at We'll have the top three stories on our countdown when CNN SATURDAY returns.


NGUYEN: Checking our top stories right now. Jill Carroll is all smiles as she lands in Germany earlier today after leaving Iraq. She is expected back in the U.S. this weekend. The freelance journalist was freed Thursday after being held hostage in Iraq almost three months.

Rain, rain, and more rain soaks parts of the Aloha state. Flooded roads in the Hawaiian island of Oahu made for hazardous driving. Flood waters yesterday forced a mall to be evacuated and closed the Honolulu Zoo.

A new crew is getting ready to take over the international space station. A Russian Soyuz capsule docked there today. It dropped off new Russian and American crew members and some new equipment. Also on board Brazil's first ever astronaut.

LSD, marijuana, crank, all once the center of his life. Sean MacDonald used them, sold them and was facing felony charges because of them. Then, he says he came to a message that was sent from God.

Now fast forward seven years, the Christian singer has a hit on the billboard charts, a career started with a guitar that he got from a drug addict. It's quite a story. Sean MacDonald joins us live this weekend to tell his passionate story of redemption. You want to join us for "FACES OF FAITH" live 7:00 eastern Sunday morning.

HARRIS: So everyone wants to know the secret to filling out the perfect bracket in the NCAA college basketball tournament. Well, dream on. According to the "Wall Street Journal" you are about 60 billion times more likely to win the multi-state power ball lottery. Check this out, last year more than 4,000 people went online and got the final four teams right. This year, only five people got it right. That's five out of 6 million who went online this year to fill out March Madness brackets.

That is crazy. All right. What do we have here? LSU, UCLA, George Mason and Florida have ensured that most of your brackets are worthless. Only UCLA was even mentioned at the beginning of the year as a serious contender to win it all. But those are the teams that are in the final four in Indianapolis along with the author of "When the Game is on the Line," sports business analyst Rick Horrow. Rick, good morning to you, sir. I see you are outside the building.



HORROW: Luckily I think they are playing the game indoors tonight.

HARRIS: That's right. Okay, I'll tell you what, we have to talk about this. Picking the final four, how difficult it is and can be to do it. Let's take our own little morning show team experiment as an example. Look at this. This is the first page of our leader board. Katie Baratone, wonderful producer for our 7:00 A.M. show, knows absolutely nothing about sports, absolutely nothing about basketball and yet she wins it all.

Now, take a look at the second page. There are a couple of people on this list, there's Betty, there's Rick, there's Tony, there's Deidre who know a little bit of something about sports and about basketball in particular. What does this say about picking winners? What does it say to us?

HORROW: Well quite clearly it means that it has very little to do with skill and a lot to do with luck at best. "The Wall Street Journal" quantified this by the way, it's one in 9 million trillion to pick a right bracket. That's 18 zeroes. I don't even know that number. I never heard that number.

The bottom line is 14 million people in all seriousness got on the internet to look at the final four picks and gamble and figure out their brackets, the first week of this tournament, it's incredible. A far cry from 1939 by the way, when Ohio State and Oregon played the first one of these games in front of 5,000 people.

HARRIS: Nice. Moving on, talk to us about how corporate America is taking advantage of this bracket craze.

HORROW: Yes, well, a lot of examples by the way. Papa John's Pizza was offering to give away a million pizzas valued at 15 million bucks. That's 15 bucks a pizza for the perfect bracket. And was going to give away 10 million, increased it to 100 million. And why not, because nobody is going to get it any way.

The bottom line, there is nearly a billion dollars spent by corporate America in advertising, signage and the like and this is a way to do it. By the way, if you think this is not a big deal, the games go to San Antonio two years from now, Atlanta next year. And a new cavernous facility called Lucas Oil Stadium right across the street here in Indy in 2010.

HARRIS: Hey Rick, major league baseball announced this week an investigation of steroids in the game. What do you make of it, is it your fair ball or foul ball of the week?

HORROW: Well, you know, it's got to be a fair ball in the sense that Bud Selig is trying to do something about it. There's a lot of outcry about whether George Mitchell a former senator is credible enough, is objective enough, but it's a step in the right direction. Is it too late? That's for historians to judge.

HARRIS: How do you feel about this? There was a story that floated this week that the Green Bay Packers have given Brett Favre, everything quarterback, until I guess today, the end of business today to announce whether or not he's going to come back or whether he's going to retire. What do you make of this?

HORROW: Well, it's a foul ball if that deadline forced him into retirement. It's a fair ball if the Packers have to move on to Aaron Rogers another quarterback, and Brett Favre needs to make that decision. In any case, the rules of football dictate certain things because they got ready for the draft. And if he does retire he is an all hall of fame superstar and the game's certainly going to miss him, Tony.

HARRIS: Hey Rick, just give me some thoughts here. How big of an event is this? How much are you looking forward to the final four?

HORROW: Well, I'm looking forward to the final four a lot because that also means I can get out of the cold like it was in Torino by the way. But it's $75 million of economic impact. It was part of the deal as I said to build this new stadium with the Indianapolis Colts and it morphs the NCAA into an entirely different level because now we don't go to facilities that have less than 55,000 seats.

HARRIS: There he is, our sports business analyst Rick Horrow outside of the final four there in Indianapolis. Rick, good to see you, sir.

HORROW: George Mason, watch George Mason.

HARRIS: George Mason is your pick.

NGUYEN: Really?

HORROW: That's correct.

HARRIS: There he is, he's on the record Betty, George Mason.

HORROW: I get two shots, one for George and one for Mason.

NGUYEN: We're tied in this bracket. I'm going to go with Florida. I think Florida and LSU and LSU is going to take it all the way, that's my prediction.

HARRIS: We love big baby.

NGUYEN: We have seen my numbers, though.

HARRIS: All right Rick, thank you, sir, have a good time.

NGUYEN: See you, Rick.


NGUYEN: Some of the players in today's games owe some of their success to a man named Bill Garrett. Garrett was the first African- American student to play big time college basketball. Tomorrow on "CNN SUNDAY MORNING" the co-author of a new book on Garrett's life joins us live. Tom Graham, co-author of "Getting Open," the unknown story of Bill Garrett and the integration of college basketball. That is live once again tomorrow 9:00 a.m. eastern.

Up next we hear from you the viewer about recent comments made by former Iraqi hostage Jill Carroll, comments that are raising eyebrows. Your e-mails next.


DE LA CRUZ: Well like we promised you our dot-com countdown continues with the top three stories at We head to Miami for number three where the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been arrested days after his father was handed over to a war crimes tribunal. Apparently Taylor's son lied about who his father was when renewing his passport.

Number two she says she is just happy to be here. A smiling Jill Carroll arrived in Germany and is expected back in the United States this weekend after being held captive in Iraq nearly three months, for nearly three months. Number one drum roll, please. Thank you very much. You know how they say time is money.

Well, one Indiana teen is hoping that saying really is true. He's offering to change all the clocks in your Indiana home because as you know it will be the first time the state of Indiana goes to daylight saving time in 30 years. The price for him to change all those clocks $10. $10, not too bad. You know what. He says he will change all the clocks on your microwave, answering machines, cars, computers, watches and VCRs and for an extra dollar he will even replace the batteries.

NGUYEN: Just for a buck?

DE LA CRUZ: Just for a buck, $11 total.

NGUYEN: Now that's not too bad.

HARRIS: Don't you always forget one or two?

NGUYEN: You always do. It's usually the one on the stove.

DE LA CRUZ: No it's the VCR.

NGUYEN: You hear that noise?

HARRIS: The Pink Panther, the Pink Panther theme?

NGUYEN: You know, we have commented how glorious you are in pink today. Pretty in pink so our illustrious morning team decided to find somebody just as pretty in pink. Very good.

DE LA CRUZ: Nice job.

NGUYEN: Yes, in the spirit of April Fool's Day. This is the worst our morning team can do, you're in pretty good shape.

HARRIS: Don't applaud that. Don't applaud that. That is outrageous conduct.

DE LA CRUZ: April Fool's Tony.

NGUYEN: But you do look nice in pink by the way.

HARRIS: Thank you again.

NGUYEN: He's getting applause from the peanut gallery. Reynolds today, everyone has on these spring colors but yet there's snow to talk about. Are you kidding me?


HARRIS: We're going to take a break. When we come back next hour we will be joined by the editor of Duke University's campus newspaper who will update us on the rape investigation that has certainly divided that campus. That's all in the next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING.