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CNN Saturday Morning News

Earthquake In Indonesia Kills Thousands; Possible Unprovoked Murders Of Iraqi Civilians By U.S. Marines; Air Strikes In Southern Afghanistan Targeted Isolated Camp Thought To Train Taliban; What A New Parent Should Expect

Aired May 27, 2006 - 09:00   ET


MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: It is 9:00 a.m. on the East Coast, 8:00 in the evening in Indonesia, the site of a big story we are following this morning. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, good morning. I'm Melissa Long in this weekend for Betty Nguyen, and this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Good morning, Tony.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Melissa, good morning. Melissa Strong.

LONG: Actually I've been called that by mistake sometimes.

HARRIS: Good morning everyone, I'm Tony Harris. Thank you for starting your day with us. Let's take a look at what is happening right now in the news.

LONG: Indonesia, again, one of the big stories we are following, a powerful quake on the Indonesian island of Java leaves more than 2,900 people dead and thousands more injured, and the numbers keep climbing by the hour. The 6.2 quake struck early in the morning while many people were fast asleep. Rescue officials report major damage; we will be following this story for you throughout the day.

Now to southern Afghanistan, coalition forces attack a suspected Taliban training post near the Pakistani border. The military says five extremists were killed. Including key leaders of the Taliban network. The attack comes during a surge of fighting in the region.

In Iraq, a U.S. marine and three Iraqi civilians were killed in fighting last night in the Anbar Province, there had been at least 2,463 military deaths for the U.S. in Iraq since the war started.

HARRIS: Honoring a Pope, Pope Benedict visits the polish hometown of Pope John Paul II, while there Pope Benedict said he hopes John Paul will be declared a saint in the near future.

It looks like construction noise? That gunfire caused a ruckus at the U.S. Capitol yesterday what a day it was. The Rayburn Office Building was shut down for five hours after someone reported hearing gunfire in a garage the U.S. Capitol was briefly closed and an all clear was issued after police did a thorough search.

President Bush is scheduled to address graduates at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point at this hour. As you can see the ceremony commencement is under way. Aides say Mr. Bush will tell them their graduation and their generation will bring victory in the war on terror, for a complete coverage of that plus breaking news of today's top story stay with CNN the most trusted name in news.

The world now is faced with unthinkable death and destruction, again in Indonesia, a powerful earthquake has killed more than 2,900 people, thousands more injured, homes, buildings, roads, bridges destroyed and we are told things could get much worse, joining us on the phone is journalist John Aglionby who is heading to the worst hit area where most of the deaths occurred. John thanks for your time, we appreciate it, if you would please just sort of set the scene what you are seeing around you at this moment.

JOHN AGLIONBY, JOURNALIST (via telephone): (INAUDIBLE) from the hospital (INAUDIBLE).

HARRIS: John, I am sorry, we are having a terrible time with our connection, why don't we break away for now and try to clear up the connection and maybe we can take later in this half hour.

LONG: While we reconnect, we will focus on Iraq, a gruesome scene, disturbing allegations, military investigators looking into the killings of some two dozen Iraqi civilians, have evidence those points to unprovoked murders by U.S. Marines. That is according to Pentagon sources. CNN's Jamie McIntyre has a report. We do want to warn you some of the pictures in this story may be hard for you to watch.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's evidence like this, provided to CNN by an Iraqi human rights group that Pentagon sources say is building a case against U.S. marines suspected of killing as many as 24 civilians in a rampage in Haditha last November. This 12-year-old girl told the Hammarabi Human Rights Organization she survived an attack that killed all eight members of her family by pretending to be dead.

SAFA YOUNIS, ALLEGED WITNESS (through translator): First they knocked on the door. My father went to answer the door, when he reached the door they sprayed the door with bullets. But when he opened the door they shot it again, then they entered the bathroom and set off a grenade. We went into the kitchen and found my father already dead. Then we sat down and then the Americans starting shooting at us.

MCINTYRE: Pentagon sources say the investigation is now wrapping up, and that the evidence is very indiscriminate. The marines will not confirm any findings of the investigation so far, but Congressional sources say the 24 victims included seven women and three children, some shot in their beds.

Five unarmed men were also allegedly shot when their taxi cab was stopped by marines. One official told CNN the mass killing is far worse than the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal which President Bush just identified as America's biggest mistake in Iraq so far.

None of the abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib died. But if the allegations at Haditha are substantiated, the civilian deaths would qualify as a massacre, which could undermine support for the United States both in Iraq and around the world. Members of Congress have been warned to brace for the worst.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Apparently it's true. We don't know the details. It saddens you enormously and reemphasizes the absolute requirement for discipline in the military.

MCINTYRE: The Marine Corps' top general, Michael Hagee, is in Iraq meeting privately with marines to stress the importance of protecting non-combatants on the battlefield. Another sign of the gravity at the allegations.

At Camp Pendleton, California, seven marines are waiting to hear if they would be court-martialed and sources say some could face murder charges. Mean while a second group of marines has been placed in pretrial confinement on the basis of evidence indicating they may have killed a single Iraqi civilian last month.

Jaime McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


HARRIS: And for more on this story go to

LONG: Air strikes in southern Afghanistan last night targeted an isolated camp thought to train Taliban rebels. The coalition commander says the strikes killed key leaders of the Taliban network. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is in Afghanistan. She joins us now live by videophone from Kabul -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you Melissa. U.S. sources here in Afghanistan are saying now that that strike last night was actually against a Taliban training camp, a training facility deep in southern Afghanistan quite close to the Pakistan border, an area where they believe people were making IEDs, improvised explosive devices.

And that is part of what the U.S. military that is a part of what they are dealing with here in Afghanistan. We have been traveling all day throughout eastern Afghanistan with Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, the top military commander here.

What he is telling us is yes, in certain areas in Afghanistan, down south again in Kandahar and in portions of eastern Afghanistan there are pockets of Taliban that have reformed, reorganized and are conducting attacks. That is something that both U.S. military forces and Afghan security forces are dealing with and expect to see a lot more operations in the days and weeks ahead.

But what General Eikenberry is also stressing is that this insurgency if you will, now here in Afghanistan, this reforming of Taliban groups of insurgent groups, he strongly believes in the end will not be dealt with via the U.S. military. Much like Iraq he says it is going to require reconstruction, aid, assistance, and most importantly, helping Afghanistan to a new economic future, getting jobs for the men in this country so they don't turn to extremism -- Melissa. LONG: Of course, this is terrific technology, the videophone which allows you and I to connect across the globe but I want to warn our viewers that we do have an extended delay in order to share this story with you, Barbara, tell me whether or not you are getting a sense of the troops and their reaction to the Taliban's increasing might?

STARR: Well, the U.S. troops that are here clearly have the military power, the weapons to deal with the Taliban for the U.S. military troops, it is a quite manageable problem in general. Not to minimize it, there have been U.S. casualties, they are seen, IED, and they are seeing suicide bomb attacks, in isolated incidents. But the real challenge will be commanders here say is for Afghan national forces to get the capability to deal with this, one of the real emphasis areas they are working on here in Afghanistan is training the Afghan police.

It sounds an awful lot like Iraq and it is some what of a similar situation, in the towns and villages in the remote areas across Afghanistan where Taliban may be forming up because there's very little local government, that they say it is going to be the police, the new Afghan police that are going to be the ones to really solve the problem.

Make no mistake, General Eikenberry would be the first to tell you there have been problems with the Afghan police, they are behind in their training. There certainly have been reports of corruption and problems in the Afghan police force so expect to see a lot of emphasis put on that by the U.S. military. They want to get those police forces up and running and spread across the country. That would be the ultimate solution here -- Melissa.

LONG: Barbara Starr, live from Afghanistan. Barbara thank you.

HARRIS: And Melissa we want to take everyone now to West Point New York where the president is set to deliver the commencement address. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Mr. Bush expected to thank the cadets for stepping forward at a time of war, expect parallels between now from an advanced copy of the president's remarks, the long war with Islamic radicalism, the past military challenges in the nations history. The president will say "your generation will bring us victory in the war on terror." Once the president begins his remarks, we will take you back to West Point and listen in for some of the comments from the president.

In Indonesia, a powerful earthquake has killed more than 2,900 people, thousands more are injured, homes, buildings, roads, destroyed, and we are told things could get a lot worse. Joining us now on the phone is journalist John Aglionby who is heading to some of the worst hit areas where most of the deaths have occurred. John, thanks for staying with us. I understand we have a better connection this time. If you would, give us a sense of what you have seen on the ground itself.

AGLIONBY: I have just arrived in the worst hit area, which is a village called Yogyakarta about 10 kilometers south of the ancient city of Jakarta, many houses are flattened, hundreds if not thousands of houses are flattened. We have got people gathering in the street, not knowing what to do.

In the few hospitals there are in this part of the world, it's just overflow city. We have people in the streets, in the courtyards, in the rooms, some are on mattresses, and others are just on dirty cardboard boxes. There's a lot of moaning and there is a lot of crying, people just don't know what to do. It's complete confusion, shock and numbness for the most part.

It's about 13, or 14 hours after the earthquake struck. It was a 6.2 earthquake. We are still having ambulances rushing pass, one of two blessing is that a lot of these houses are small, they aren't high stories, so the death toll was a lot lower than it might have been. The second good piece of news is that the emergency services were preparing for a disaster, they were expecting a huge volcano to explode and it hasn't, so they are referring all the resources to injured and people who have lost their homes.

Most of the people in this part of the world it is quite a poor area most of the people I have spoken to were laborers or some sort of lower class workers and they have absolutely nothing left. They say to me if the government doesn't help us, we don't know where to turn, we have absolutely nothing, and we have no future. It's a story of tragedy, confusion, chaos, and no one knows where to look for help at the moment.

HARRIS: John lets leave it there for now we appreciate your time. John Aglionby reporting from the scene in one of the hardest hit areas in Indonesia right now. The 6.2 magnitude quake doing an extreme amount of damage and many people as you heard in John's report injured, dead. We will continue to follow this story.

LONG: It is just after 9:15 in the morning and we take you now live to West Point, New York for this year's graduation ceremonies. Hats off to the class of 2006 this morning. President Bush will momentarily address the graduates of West Point. He is, of course, downstate this morning and it was yesterday that the vice president delivered the address at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

This is a live event we are covering for you here on CNN this morning. Beginning with the call of attention a short time ago, and of course the graduation address from President Bush when that gets underway live this morning from West Point, New York we will share it with you here on CNN this morning.

HARRIS: OK, you are full of joy about your new baby? That's the way it should be. Good morning Aniston, but reality also sets in. Coming up what to expect when you bring your baby home from the hospital like that man did a week ago.


CHRISTI FEIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's no greater joy than the birth of a healthy baby, but nine months in the making can take a toll on your body. Many doctors say if you gain more than the recommended 20 to 25 pounds during pregnancy or if you don't lose the extra weight within six months of delivery, you are likely to keep carrying those extra pounds.

Don't let that scare you from starting a crash diet or rigorous exercise regime, instead work on getting baby to your pre-baby shape gradually. Doctors recommend waiting at least six weeks following delivery before resuming exercise, remember to start slow and listen to your body.

Christi Feig, CNN, Washington.


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, there's no two buts about it, it is a whole new world being a parent. And I have just stepped on that planet. From sleepless nights and from endless feedings, to changing diapers my daughter to say the very least has definitely kept us on our toes. So what exactly can a new parent expect? Now, thankfully joining us from Los Angeles is Dr. Harvey Karp he is the author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block. "

Doctor Karp, just like many parents across the nation, I could really use some help on how to get a decent night's sleep, I am telling you, man, four or five hours of sleep sounds pretty welcome to me. What are some tips you can give us. I know on your Web site and in your buck you mention the five must-haves, beginning with a swaddling blanket what exactly would that do for us?

DR. HARVEY KARP, AUTHOR, "THE HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK:" Well, It turns out in a strange sort of way our babies are born three months too soon. I know that's odd, certainly for a mother because no one wants to carry the baby an extra three months.

But in an odd sort of way our babies are born too soon and so they need the protective feeling they had inside the uterus. Swaddling is one to make them feel secure and it really helps them to sleep longer. It has to be a big square blanket.

WOLF: When you say swaddling them up, it has to be lose, it has to be really firm

KARP: Yes, it's with the arms down at the side, and it is really snug. That's one of the things I discuss in my work is exactly how to do that, so the babies, don't pop out.

WOLF: And another thing you were talking about is using a CD player with light noise? You are not talking about my favorites, like John Denver or --

KARP: That's fine for you, Reynolds to be bopping around in the house, that movement really kind of helps, also. All of this is to imitate the experience that your baby has in the uterus. Inside the uterus there's 24 hours a day, there is rocking, there is holding, and there noise. The noise inside the uterus is louder than a vacuum cleaner, 24/7, so it's a swoosh, swoosh, swoosh sound. And that's why the CD is helpful. And you play that all night long. WOLF: Any chance you can come over to our place to night and make that same noise?

KARP: No, that's why we made this DVD, because parents, believe it or not, we think that it's normal to tiptoe around and be quiet in the house. For babies, that's sensory deprivation. That's where the white noise and the CD player can help a lot. The white noise is actually the sound of the uterus, or the sound of a hair dryer that kind of a background noise. And the next thing is to carry baby around in slings.

WOLF: Why a sling? Why would you carry a baby around in a sling?

KARP: Well again, this concept is that babies are born three months too soon, people never knew that babies are born with an off switch for crying, you can switch off switch a babies crying when you learn how to turn on this calming reflex, and that reflex is activated by imitating the experience in the uterus, it's the tight swaddling which is like being inside the uterus, the white noise which is that swooshing sound and then moment, that jiggly kind of a movement that babies have inside the uterus. She's a cute little girl, oh, my god, you a tired guy.

WOLF: Yes very much so. You also mentioned putting a crib right next to the bed where you can watch the baby very carefully and the same time you mentioned the DVD that shows these methods, these are great things. The book is the "Happiest Baby on the Block" any chance I can get you back when she's 17 years old with purple and green hair and dating a guy names Bug?

KARP: I would be happy to come back. Use the swaddling; you will get an extra one to two hours of sleep tonight.

WOLF: We thank you very much. We are going to break with a lot more coming up on CNN.


LONG: Hats off this morning to the 2006 class of graduates at West Point. The president, President Bush is going to address the graduates a little later in the morning.

HARRIS: Yes, President Bush will say among other things that your generation will bring us victory in the war on terror. We will have some of the president's remarks probably at the top of the hour, 10:00 a.m. Eastern time.

LONG: Straight ahead right now, "Open House" with Gerri Willis, she has some important tips on how to prepare and protect your home for a major storm.

HARRIS: Plus next hour a racially charged trial causes uproar about the use of the n word. We will have a debate over this controversial word that is at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.


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