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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Boy Found in Chicago Maybe Missing N. Carolina Child; Fear of SARS Affecting More People Than Disease Itself?

Aired April 29, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: The family of the missing North Carolina boy waits for DNA tests to find out if their child has been found.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One day is a long day. I'd like to know now.

ANNOUNCER: If this is their boy, what happened to him over the past two years?

Should the U.S. restrict air travel to and from SARS-affected areas?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must maintain vigilance. This disease could be reintroduced into the United States at any time.

ANNOUNCER: Is the fear of SARS affecting more people than the disease itself?

Are you tired of getting spammed? Everyone gets it, but how can you stop it? Tonight, a plan to help you get rid of all that junk e- mail.

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Paula Zahn in New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome. Good evening, thanks so much for joining us on this April 29.

We begin with some breaking news out of Israel tonight. Police say a massive explosion has rocked the coastal city of Tel Aviv, and it indeed the work of a suicide bomber.

It happened less than an hour ago at a beachfront cafe. The cafe is in a pedestrian mall near a seafront walkway. Initial reports suggest over a dozen people injured, some of them in critical condition.

Let's go straight to Gil Kliman, who is with the Israeli police department there in Tel Aviv. He has the very latest for us now.

What can you tell us about this explosion? GIL KLIMAN, ISRAELI POLICE SPOKESPERSON: Well, what we know now that a little over a half hour, 40 minutes ago, a suicide bomber, or what we think is a possible suicide bomber, explosive experts have checked and we won't be positive, but we're treating it as a possible (UNINTELLIGIBLE) self up in Mike's Cafe (ph), which is situated very close to the American embassy.

It's on the beachfront of Tel Aviv. That area has seen a number of attempted suicide attacks not too long ago. A security guard at one of the cafes, also close to the American embassy, prevented a suicide bombing -- bomber from entering into that cafe. And so this area has seen attempts in the past. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

ZAHN: What is it that witnesses have described seeing?

KLIMAN: Basically, we've seen this many times before, extensive damage to the cafe. The wounded were taken almost immediately out of the site. We had 15 wounded evacuated from the site. More wounded are coming in. We call them the walking wounded, the wounded that are transported not through the ambulance services.

Hasn't been completed yet. There are still wounded arriving at the hospital. We do have dead on the scene. Of course, the exact number will take a number of minutes, if not about half an hour to be able to get the exact count because of the destruction on the scene.

The scene is very complicated. It's very foggy, or the fog of war, as we say, in the first initial hour of the event.

But basically we've seen this, over the last year alone we had 115 suicide bombing incidents. And not all of them, of course, blew up. Some of them were intercepted on the way. This is something we've seen even this year. About a week ago we saw a suicide bombing (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Our emergency service units are the units that are dealing with it.

ZAHN: Can you give us a sense of just how powerful the explosion was, given the fact that you know there have been at least 15 people injured and you say the numbers continue to go up as those walk into area hospitals.

KLIMAN: The size of the bomb, if it's a suicide bomber -- again, we're treating this as a possible suicide bombing, though no exact forensics have been confirmed yet. But from all the indications, we're dealing with a suicide bombing. A suicide bomber carries the bomb on him.

It's not so much the size of the explosion. It's the fragments, metal pieces, nails that are added to the explosions to cause damage. The object is not to blow up the building. The object is to kill people. And these bombs are targeted at people.

So although there is a sense of damage to the structures as a result of the explosion, it's the people that we're worried about and the people we are trying to save.

ZAHN: To your knowledge have there been claims of responsibility for this bombing?

KLIMAN: Not as of yet. Usually those claims come in much later. Of course, I must say, that we've had many times where a number of terrorist organizations jump on the bandwagon, so to speak. We have a number of conflicting people who take responsibility for it.

But we have our own investigation capabilities. We don't depend on the terrorists to tell us who has done this. We believe that terrorists, their intent is to lie. If they're willing to kill people, they're probably willing to lie, too. So we have our own investigative capabilities. Right now as of yet and no one has taken responsibility that we know of.

ZAHN: Mr. Kliman, let's talk about the timing of this for a moment. You can't ignore the fact that this blast came hours after the Palestinian parliament approved the cabinet presented by the new prime minister there, Mahmoud Abbas.

And before that vote, Mr. Abbas spoke out against terrorism and indicated that his government would crack down on militant groups. And then you heard from the Islamic Hamas, pledging to continue its attacks on Israel. Is there any connection there?

KLIMAN: Well, as a police officer, I don't really get into the politics of these things. So I don't think that there's going political about a suicide bombing. It's murder. It's murdering people.

As far as suicide bombers are concerned, we saw one last week, but before this meeting that you were talking about, we've seen one in the beginning of the month. We've seen them, last month, the month before that and basically for the last three years, we've seen them all the time. I didn't notice anything specific or special about this one besides the fact that, again, innocent people were killed and hurt.

We don't believe in the Israel police that it's a political attack. The murder of innocent people in a suicide bombing is a criminal attack. It's murder and that's what's important.

As far as the timing, we've seen so many, like I said, that I really don't think there is anything unusual about this. I know they have a constant attempts -- we told this to our public. There's a constant attempt to carry out terrorist activities against the people, against civilians in Israel. So that's all I can really say right now. Again, I'm a police officer, I'm not a politician.

ZAHN: Well, understood and we appreciate your joining us at a confusing time when those early details are starting to surface about exactly what happened here.

Gill Kliman, again, thank you for your insights.

Let's quickly turn to Jerrold Kessel, who is on his way to Tel Aviv. Jerrold, what have you learned? JERROLD KESSEL, CNN DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF: Well, we know now from police and medical resources, three people have been killed in this latest horrendous attack. More than 30 wounded, of whom the medical resources are saying, and hospitals we've been contacting in the Tele Aviv area, at least seven to ten in serious condition.

The suicide bomber, apparently that is being confirmed there was another suicide bomber, was stopped or blew himself up or was blown up at the entrance to the cafe bar called Mike's Place.

This is on the Tel Aviv promenade, it's a very busy place even though it was after 1 a.m. in the morning. The place was humming as it always is on that Tel Aviv seafront area.

And it's a particularly poignant time and I think people who were out tonight because they were out from last night until dusk tonight, Israel had been marking Holocaust Memorial Day and all places of entertainment, cafes like this had been closed. And people have been coming out, understandably, at the end of memorial day, the solemn memorial day and were going out for an evening out and that's when the bomber struck -- Paula.

ZAHN: And we have just learned, it is believed that a security guard actually stopped, according to the Associated Press, the bomber from coming inside the restaurant.

Give us a sense on any given day how many people might gather inside this Mike's Place.

KESSELL: Well, it's one of the busy night places, really, on the Tel Aviv seafront. It's a lovely promenade with the metropolis right on the seafront, the beachfront. And this is one of several such night spots where people would gather, even, not only in the late night, but through the evening and into the late hours when there might have been literally dozens of people around and also people strolling around the promenade.

If you'll recall, this is very close, by the way, to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. And it was only about six months ago, I believe, around that time, that a very similar incident took place and then, fortunately, the security guard had managed to intercept the bomber outside and only the bomber was killed. The bomber was actually apprehended at that time before he could set off the explosive. This time the security guard seemed to have intervened at the door.

And it was reminiscent of an incident just several days ago in the town of Kalsaga (ph), northeast of Tel Aviv, when the security guards were on duty at the town railway station, intercepted a man who came up and stopped him from going into the crowded morning train station. Again, averting many casualties.

This time, though, because of the nature of the place where there are people gathering, there have been a lot of casualties -- Paula.

ZAHN: Now Jerrold, once again, we know this is very early on in this investigation, but we have heard already this evening that people were trying to determine if there was a linkage between this attack and some of what went on with the Palestinian parliament today, when you had the prime minister Abbas speaking out against terrorism and indicating that his government would, in fact, crack down on terrorists.

KESSEL: Well, you certainly can't draw any immediate inferences that this was an attempt to thwart what Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian prime minister, Abu Mazen, wants to do on the behalf of the various militant groups, but clearly, that seems to be the thrust of things.

Because Abu Mazen when he made a speech today, came out very strongly in saying that he was against terror incidents. He said there was no chance of a military solution to this conflict. The conflict must be solved by negotiation, and he took some tough stands on his demands for the negotiations.

But he was uncompromising in his statement that terror has to end. And he also went further and said that he was -- he indicated that he was prepared to take on the militants by saying that only the Palestinian Authority was the only authority in the Palestinian community, and anybody who tried to challenge it would be dealt with an uncompromising manner was his words, and he said that weapons in unauthorized hands would be dealt with.

And I don't know if he would go out and disarm the militants actively or not; it certainly was throwing down the gauntlet to them. It does seem that they're throwing the gauntlet back at him. But it's too early at this stage to draw a definitive conclusion in that direction.

ZAHN: Jerrold Kessel, thanks for the update.

Jerrold Kessel confirming that at least three people are known dead, over 30 wounded. And the police spokesman we spoke with from the Israeli police department saying that they are finding those numbers keep on going up simply because the people walking in from this area that was struck by the suicide bomber to area hospitals for help.

As soon as we have more information available, we will bring it to you.

We're going to move on now to another part of the region, where it is now being said that the U.S. success in Iraq may have an indirect and beneficial effect on U.S. relations with the Saudis.

U.S. planes patrolling the no-fly zone over Iraq had been a source of irritation for many Saudis, but now that they're no longer wanted, thousands of U.S. troops will be abandoning their air base near Riyadh.

Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has some of those details for us tonight.

Jamie, good evening. JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.

Well, the relationship between the U.S. military and Saudi Arabia has been somewhat of a marriage of convenience based on some pretense. The Saudi government has pretended that U.S. troops weren't really there. The U.S. has pretended that Saudi Arabia has been as helpful as necessary.

But now that the need for that pretense is gone, the relationship is headed for an amicable divorce.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE (voice-over): For the 12 years U.S. warplanes patrolled Iraq's no-fly zones, the U.S. maintained an average of 20,000 troops in the Persian Gulf region, at a cost of more than a billion dollars a year.

That included keeping at least one aircraft carrier in the Gulf at all times and stashing equipment for a full Army division at forward bases in case Iraq moved against Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.

With Iraq now defeated, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told U.S. troops at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, their job is done.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Now that the Iraqi regime has changed, we are able to discontinue Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch, and those forces will be able to be moved to other assignments and other requirements around the world.

MCINTYRE: The U.S. has already recalled from Turkey the planes that patrolled Iraq's northern no-fly zone and will bring back planes from Saudi Arabia that patrolled the south by the end of the summer.

The moves will lower the U.S. profile in two countries with anti- American sentiment, but won't necessarily lessen the U.S. footprint.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is good to demonstrate that we want to reposition our forces where they're wanted and where they won't face inhibitions and restrictions in the future and, yes, to still maintain a security presence in that region.

MCINTYRE: With Turkey and Saudi Arabia out of the picture, the U.S. will rely more on Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, sources say.

And while Pentagon officials insist there are no plans for permanent bases in Iraq, the U.S. will have the use of the bases for the next two or three years, at least.

In fact, some critics believe the U.S. won't ever give up its bases in Iraq.

PHYLLIS BENNIS, INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES: It helps to keep the threat on countries that may disagree with the U.S., like Syria, like Iran. It keeps pressure on Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies that are under enormous pressure at home to oppose at least some of what the United States is doing in the region.

MCINTYRE: Currently there are 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, a number that will likely grow until other countries contribute peacekeepers or until Iraqi sources can take over. And keeping the peace is costing the U.S. $2 billion a month, by the Pentagon's own estimate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: So by reducing the number of troops in Saudi Arabia from -- by about 5,000 and reducing the cost by maybe a billion dollars a year or so, that really pales in comparison to what the U.S. will be spending in the number of troops it will be keeping in the region. As one Pentagon official said, any savings would really be on the margins -- Paula.

(AUDIO GAP)

ZAHN: ... thank you very much for the update. We'll go straight back to Tel Aviv now as the numbers continue to change, as you might expect, in the wake of what police are saying was a suicide bombing over an hour ago.

Apparently, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Mike's Place bar on a seafront walkway. He apparently was attempting to go inside and was stopped by a security guard. Associated Press now saying at least five people were killed including the suicide bomber. At least 35 hurt.

And we're going to be going back to Tel Aviv frequently this evening as more information becomes available to us.

Still to come tonight, left behind gay and lesbian servicemen and women and their partners. It's the story you haven't heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know the restrain it takes to not just run over and put your arms around somebody who's been, you know, in combat?

ZAHN: Also tonight the real life Erin Brockovich and her new target. Find out who she's going up against now.

Plus, stopping spam. Junk e-mail cluttering your mail box? Are you having that problem? Find out why you might soon see less of it.

And a little bit later on, does a white lie count? Well, one town in Iowa, debates on enacting a lie against -- that is a law against telling a lie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you going to report it? And who's to say what's a lie and what's a story. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to go to Washington, D.C., they tell a lot bigger lies there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: You're watching LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES on this Tuesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Two and a half years of pain and prayers may -- and we stress the word may -- finally end happily for a North Carolina family. They are waiting to see if a little boy found almost a thousand miles away is theirs.

National correspondent Gary Tuchman bring us the story tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donna Myers sits on a swing on her front porch, talking on a phone that hasn't stopped ringing. Her little boy may have been found and everyone she knows is calling.

DONNA MYERS, AUNT OF BUDDY MYERS: I get the feeling it's him, but I'm trying to not get my hopes up so high just in case it's not.

TUCHMAN: Donna is the great aunt and was the guardian of 4-year- old Buddy Myers when he wandered out of this living room with his two dogs after she dozed off on the couch. The dogs came home, but Buddy never did.

MYERS: Thousands of searchers were out there looking for him and they had the helicopters and planes with infrared and nothing.

TUCHMAN: That was in October 2000. Now word that a boy in a foster home in the Chicago area might be Buddy.

This is the boy who had been brought to a hospital in Evanston, Illinois, by a man claiming he was the father and saying his son needed to be evaluated for aggressive behavior. Hospital authorities were suspicious of the man and police ended up arresting him on an outstanding theft charge, but the man identified as Ricky Quick, who lived in this Chicago apartment, vanished after being released on custody.

Authorities then called the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which matched the boy with a computer enhanced image of what Buddy Myers would look like now, two and a half years later.

DNA tests are being conducted with Buddy's natural mother, who had given up custody because she was a minor when he was born.

RAVEN MYERS, BUDDY'S MOTHER: I always thought somebody took him in for his own, you know, for his own -- for their own child, that's what I would think. I never thought that he was dead.

TUCHMAN: Donna Myers wants someone to mention her three-legged dog to the boy in Illinois. One of the dogs Buddy was with when he disappeared. Certainly, if it is Buddy he would remember his three- legged dog Buck.

But there has been no contact between Illinois's foster program and Donna Myers. So she just waits for the DNA results, which to her dismay, could take four to six weeks.

D. MYERS: I feel bad because I feel like, what if I wouldn't have fell asleep. And I felt like it was safe because he was right in the same room with me, you know? And I never dreamed something like this would happen and that he'd wake up and go outside and somebody would take him.

TUCHMAN: His bed is still made, his toys are in place, all ready for Buddy's return.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: So as we speak the Myers family maintains a vigil at their home here in Roseborough, North Carolina, about 80 miles south of the state capital of Raleigh.

Here's a little of what we know of the little boy when lived here in the year 2000. He had blond hair, he had a scar on his neck, he had a speech impediment and slightly delayed development.

Here's what we know about the boy in Illinois: there's a scar on his neck, a speech impediment and slightly delayed development. But that certainly is not enough. The answer is the DNA and everyone is still waiting for that.

Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: Nevertheless, Gary, when you look at the pictures of what he looked like at the time of his disappearance and you look at this projection of what he might look like today there's some eerie similarities, aren't there?

TUCHMAN: It's very similar, Paula, but something happened here just two minutes ago that made us think twice. A little boy walked behind us and we looked at him and it looked just like this little boy. Turns out it was the son of another person, a friend of the family who is waiting here.

So lots of little boys who are in the 4, 5, 6 and 7-year-old age range look alike, so you just have to wait for the conclusive proof.

ZAHN: The family has a long wait. Four to six weeks as you've just confirmed for us. Thanks for much, Gary.

Buddy is one of the thousands of children who vanish in the United States, 8,000 kids reported missing annually, according to the Justice Department. Fewer than 300,000 of those end up being abducted. Of those, though, 58,200 are taken by someone other than a family member; 203,900 are taken by their own relatives.

One hundred and fifteen of the cases turn into long-term abductions. Just over half of these children, 56 percent are recovered alive.

We're going to take a look at the stories making headlines across America tonight.

Calling for cash, President Bush is asking for billions of dollars to fight AIDS around the world. His plan is based on the ABC's, emphasizing abstinence first, then being faithful and then finally the use of condoms.

Back in action, Erin Brockovich and attorneys are suing the Beverly High School's School District. They allege hundreds of students got cancer from toxic fumes emitted from an oil rig under the school's athletic field.

Brockovich's work on a water pollution case inspired the movie named after her.

Weighing the issue, a Virginia judge said she would take a week to 10 days to decide if sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo's confession can be used. Under interrogation, the 17-year-old admitted participating in the attacks that left 10 people dead, four wounded. Prosecutors want to use that as evidence and the legality of the interrogation, of course, is now being questioned.

What was she thinking? A California woman is facing terrorism charges for making threats on a cruise ship.

The FBI says 20-year-old Kelly Ferguson admitted planting threatening notes. They said she did it because she wanted to end a family trip early so she could go home to her boyfriend.

Still to come tonight, the SARS scare. Have you changed your travel plans because of it and do you think the travel restrictions are working or should they even be there in the first place?

Also tonight, junk e-mail. They call it spam. Messages from people you don't even know. Find out why you might be seeing less of it soon.

This is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Yet another suicide bombing in Israel tonight, this one in Tel Aviv. Associated Press reporting that at least five people have died, including the suicide bomber. Officials say there is no doubt that this was a result of a suicide bomber who actually blew himself up outside a place called Mike's Place.

Apparently, the attacker tried to work his way inside the restaurant, but a security guard was able to stop him. At this hour it's believed, in addition to the five people killed, at least 35 people injured, a powerful explosion there, indeed.

Let's go straight to John King who is standing by at the White House with reaction from there. Good evening, John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you Paula.

I spoke just a few moments with the White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, and he tells CNN, quote, "The White House condemns this homicide bombing in the strongest terms. This attack obviously is designed to harm the peace process. We will press forward with our efforts to get the parties back on the path to peace."

Those effort, of course, include the long-awaited release of the Bush administration's road map for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That document to be delivered to the two parties within the next 48 hours.

The reason it has been held up for months, Mr. Bush was waiting for a new Palestinian prime minister, and it was just today, of course, Abu Mazen confirmed as the new Palestinian prime minister.

He is a man the Bush White House believes is committed to peace. He is a man under immediate pressure tonight, one senior White House official telling CNN that there's a good chance, quote, "that this bombing is signal to Abu Mazen, from elements of the Palestinian community that do not want a peace process with Israel."

"A reflection," this senior official said, "of how difficult the challenge is going to be for him and for us" -- the "him," of course, being Abu Mazen, the new Palestinian prime minister.

One of the things called for out of the Palestinians in the road map is immediate improvements in the Palestinian security forces. Paula, the new Palestinian prime minister is being tested in his early hours.

ZAHN: Let me just ask you this. Once again, the aides are telling you this is a good chance this has something to do with hurting the prime minister, particularly after he made very poignant comments about this new government cracking down on terror.

KING: That's right and one of the things called for in the road map and of course, one of the things Abu Mazen says he is committed to anyway is for the Palestinians to be much more aggressive in cracking down, arresting, detaining and holding members of Hamas and other Palestinian groups that have been known to be responsible in the past for suicide bombings on Israeli citizens.

Abu Mazen is close to some of the members of these groups. He has tried to get them to agree to a ceasefire to air their grievances through the political process. Hamas for one is saying they will not do that. Now the early details of this bombing are just coming in. But White House officials say this is unfortunate, but in many ways not to be unexpected that someone would immediately challenge Abu Mazen's commitment to peace by killing Israelis.

ZAHN: Thank you, John. It is important to say, of course, at this hour you can't make any connection between this homicide bombing and what happened in Tel Aviv. But once again shortly after the new Palestinian prime minister made this announcement, Islamic Jihad came out and promised to continue these kinds of attacks.

As soon as we find out if there is any direct correlation, we will let you know.

Back to what's happening homeside here, now that some troops are beginning to return from Iraq, we are seeing familiar homecoming scenes -- the hugs, the kisses, the expressions of joy and relief as families are finally reunited after some very long deployments.

There are, however, some couples that won't be able to celebrate quite so openly. Frank Buckley has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is little that matches the emotion of a warrior's homecoming, but for gay and lesbian veterans of war and their partners, it is a moment denied.

"KEN," U.S. AIR FORCE, NCO: I'd like to celebrate the victories -- our victory with the ones that I care about and the ones that I fought for.

"BRIAN," KEN'S PARTNER: You know the restraint it takes to not just run over and put your arms around somebody who's been -- you know -- in combat for those months?

BUCKLEY: This couple spoke to us on the condition we wouldn't reveal their identities because "Ken," as we're calling him, is still serving in the Air Force as a noncommissioned officer. If his identity is revealed, he will be discharged from the Air Force under the Pentagon's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. But "Ken" is speaking to CNN because he believes the policy should change.

"KEN": If I put my life on the line to go over there and defend freedom for another country, I need to do this for my comrades in arms right here in the United States.

BUCKLEY: While the family members of servicemen and women who are not gay receive support and benefits in wartime, same sex partners do not. And if "Ken" is killed in combat, "Brian" will not be entitled to the dignity of hearing it first from a military chaplain.

"KEN": Unfortunately, if the unthinkable should happen and I don't come home, my partner will find out by, probably, a CNN correspondent. BUCKLEY: The issue is getting increased attention in gay- oriented publications like the "Advocate' and in mainstream newspapers like "The Los Angeles Times." Some are hopeful that it will spark a new debate over "Don't ask, don't tell."

DIXON OSBURN, SERVICEMEMBERS LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK: Congress is farther behind on the issue than the American people are. And the American people would support Congress in repealing the policy, and the question is whether or not there will be that political will.

BUCKLEY: The U.S. military would not be alone if it decided to allow openly gay and lesbian soldiers to serve. Aaron Belkin, the director of U.C. Santa Barbara's Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, says the militaries of 24 other nations have done so, including the U.S.'s main coalition partner, the British.

PROF. AARON BELKIN, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SANTA BARBARA: The fact that we're fighting right next to British service members who are openly gay and lesbian shows again that lifting of a gay ban does understand undermine military performance.

BUCKLEY (on camera): For now, though, "Don't ask, don't tell" is the law, and a Defense Department official tells CNN there are no plans to change or modify the policy.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Still to come tonight, the SARS scare and the travel restrictions that surround it. Are the restrictions fair? And are they helping anybody to contain the virus?

Also tonight, nothing but the truth. One community in Iowa and the effort to make telling a lie illegal. But first a look at the closing numbers from Wall Street. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And we're back in 34 minutes past the hour.

We learned today that the number of probable SARS cases in The United States has now gone up to 52. Top experts discussed the disease today before a Senate health committee, and medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen now joins us from CNN's center in Atlanta with an idea of what went on there.

Good evening, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.

Paula, the big news on SARS today is that the World Health Organization lifted its travel advisory to Toronto. Last week, the WHO said do not travel to Toronto unless it's absolutely essential, but today they lifted that ban. One of the reasons that they say hospitals are now the place where SARS is really being transmitted in Toronto, not out in the community which, of course, would make Toronto safer for tourists.

Another reason is that the WHO says that in the past week, there haven't been any confirmed SARS cases among tourists, among people who came from outside Canada to Toronto and then came back home with SARS.

There is one possible case of SARS -- a teenager in New York who went to Toronto in mid April and then came back and just three days ago they found that she had the symptoms of SARS. But she is just a possible case. She is not a probable case. So what are travel -- or what do health authorities do to contain the threat of SARS?

The WHO has this travel advisory for other parts of the world. The WHO says do not travel unless it's essential to Beijing, to Hong Kong, and to Guandong and Xiangen provinces in China.

Today Dr. Julie Gerberding, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, testified to Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: Domestically, our first priority is on protecting travelers since travelers are the individuals that seem to be at greatest risk of SARS right now on the international scale. And our protection of travelers consists of information for outbound travelers as well as information for inbound travelers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: Here's the information that Dr. Gerberding was referring to. This is being called a SARS card.

When someone flies into the United States from SARS hot spots, they are given this card. And what the card says is "During your recent travel, you may have been exposed to cases of SARS. If you become ill with fever, cough, or have difficulty in breathing, you should consult a physician." Recently they've decided to give out these cards to people who are driving from Canada to the U.S. in 13 different border crossings -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks so much, Elizabeth Cohen.

If all this news about SARS has you reconsidering your travel plans, you are certainly not alone. A Harvard study of Americans who traveled outside of the United States during the past year shows that 17 percent have avoided recent international travel because of the SARS scare. This study also suggests that 16 percent of Americans are avoiding contact with people who may have traveled to Asia. Fourteen percent are avoiding Asian restaurants or stores, and 3 percent have actually purchased a face mask.

Are Americans overreacting to SARS? Is it really necessary to curtail travel? Well, joining us tonight, Dr. William Bicknell, an infectious disease specialist from Boston University, and Betsy McCaughey, a health policy specialist at the Hudson Institute and a former New York lieutenant governor.

Welcome to both of you.

BETSY MCCAUGHEY, HEALTH POLICY SPECIALIST, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Thank you.

ZAHN: First off, Betsy, you just heard Elizabeth Cohen describe the World Health Organization lifting this travel ban and going to Toronto. Good idea?

MCCAUGHEY: Well, I'm as sympathetic to Toronto as anyone, but I'm more concerned that an American city will become the next Toronto.

It's still risky to travel to Toronto. In fact, over this last weekend in the New York City area, two teenagers returned from family trips to Toronto with what appears to be SARS. A 14-year-old boy on Long Island and the young lady in Westchester who was just discussed on television here. The fact is that it is still a risky place to be.

ZAHN: So you don't think the ban should have been lifted?

COHEN: No. It appears that the World Health Organization lifted the ban, in part, in response to Canada's very belated decision to install thermal screeners at the airports to help identify passengers who might have fevers.

ZAHN: Dr. Bicknell, do you think it was a premature reaction to lift this ban that was just recently instituted?

DR. WILLIAM BICKNELL, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, BOSTON UNIV.: Not at all. In fact, I think this is a very good example -- the way the entire SARS outbreak has been handled -- of really excellent public health. I think both the CDC and WHO have done an outstanding job. The laboratory cooperation around the world, the epidemiologic tracing and intelligence, the full rapid sharing and information, I think means we're alert.

I don't think there's a need for people to be fearful, and I think I would be a bit cautious about traveling to China, but other than that, I think things are going very well and are in excellent shape.

We do not know what the future holds but the trend looks very favorable, and I think being alert, being cautious, but banning travel to or from areas, I think would be an excessive reaction. We've had no deaths and 55, maybe, probable cases. We lost 20,000 people with influenza in the U.S. last year because we didn't bother to get flu shots.

ZAHN: Why isn't this overreaction, Betsy?

MCCAUGHEY: It is an overreaction and this is why. The United States should impose a temporary ban on travelers from SARS-affected regions. Right now every day, 20,000 people from SARS-affected regions come into the United States. Virtually every case of SARS in the United States is travel-related.

But that could change any day with one super-spreader. We've been fortunate so far that no one who has come in has been highly infectious and spread the disease to others. But one is all it takes. One brought down Hong Kong, one created a crisis in Toronto. We should impose a ban before one is among the 20,000 who comes in tomorrow.

ZAHN: But what about the point Dr. Bicknell was just making about when you look at the deaths caused by influenza, that, in his judgment, is a far more substantial problem when you look at number of probable cases in the country and...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAUGHEY: Well first of all epidemics start small. But the obligation of public health officials is to prevent them from becoming larger.

It's very unfortunate that the United States is doing less than other countries to protect the public. For example, other countries, Switzerland, Thailand are carefully monitoring who comes into the country and monitoring their whereabouts once they get there if they possibly have been exposed to SARS.

Ironically, those same people can get on a plane, come to the United States and go anywhere they want to. Why should we be less protected than other people?

ZAHN: Dr. Bicknell, do you buy into that at all? That in some way -- in spite of the progress you say has been made, I guess, in the last couple of weeks that there is any sense of irresponsibility by the U.S. government? And could the U.S. government be doing a better job of tracking these cases and these travelers that Betsy just talked about?

BICKNELL: No. I'm not at all hesitant to be critical of CDC, but I think they've done a terrific job on this. The really danger period was weeks and weeks ago. And we've had tens of thousands of people coming in. Now the trends in disease are down and it would be like locking the door after the horse has been stolen and recovered.

I don't think we have anything significant to gain by draconian restrictions. I do think we should remain alert. And I think CDC and WHO are alert. I do think -- but individuals in the contrary, whether you're in Boston or Boise should not be fearful at all. And you should watch, think and before you travel, check the latest advisory. But except for Beijing I would not be very worried.

MCCAUGHEY: It's unfortunate, Paula, that too many public health officials seemed more concerned with public relations than with preventing the spread of the disease. And this isn't the first time. As you may recall when the anthrax case appeared in Florida, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson announced to the public that this was an isolated case. That the man had probably gotten it from drinking water while he was hunting and that there would be no more cases. Those reassurances proved to be totally false.

Public health officials should prevent panic not by offering false assurances, but by making sure that they're taking all the steps that can be taken to make the public safe. If the public is safe they will feel safe.

ZAHN: Final word, Dr. Bicknell, to Americans who are very worried about this?

BICKNELL: Absolutely. I think both your guests took a far greater risk coming to the TV studio tonight than they would have -- than they have from SARS whether they go to Toronto or China. The protections are in place. And keep alert, do not be fearful. And I think this is one very different from anthrax where there's been full, open information where people do know what's going on and it's a very, very different story.

ZAHN: Dr. Bicknell, Betsy McCaughey, thank you both for spending a little time with us tonight. Appreciate it.

Still to come tonight, to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. One Iowa town's efforts at honesty, and the law to actually back that up. You're watching LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES on this Tuesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And we're back. Here's a routine you might have become familiar with. You settle in, log on, and begin deleting your junk e- mail. Well today, New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, proposed a way to keep spam out of your inbox. He wants the FTC to create no-spam registry, similar for the no-call registries for telemarketers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: What was once an annoyance is now really becoming an obstruction. And could really, down the road, do real damage to our economy, our way of communicating, et cetera.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Time to talk about this with Andy Serwer who is back two nights in a row. Welcome back, my man. How big of a problem is this?

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE": It's a huge problem and it's getting worse. And I can tell you this, just anecdotally, a couple of us sitting around "Fortune" magazine realizing that just in the past couple of months the amount of spam we're getting is increasing rapidly. Here's some numbers to back it up: 2001, 8 percent of e-mail was spam. Now it's up to...

ZAHN: Eight percent?

SERWER: That's only 8 percent. Now 45 percent.

ZAHN: Ouch!

SERWER: Here's another cut at it. In 2000 the average American received 700 spam e-mails per year. Today, 2,300. Yes, that's up threefold, Paula, and that's about ten, more than ten spams per working day, American business spending about $8.9 billion right now fighting this stuff. And it really is out of control. I mean, you're getting this stuff...

ZAHN: How do you get on their list in the first place? How do they build this list?

SERWER: Well what they do is they use technologies called "screen scrapers" where they go into chat rooms and Web sites, news groups and they get your name that way. They also get your name...

ZAHN: Is there any way to go into those into chat rooms and not have your address be taken?

SERWER: No. One solution is to have two separate e-mails and that's what we're suggesting people do here. You've got one at work, you've got one for business, but if you will do a lot of e-commerce or put your name on the web a lot get another e-mail address and us that because the spam will go right into that address and not into your personal one.

ZAHN: Talk about some of the legislation under consideration right now that would impose fines and in some cases jail time. Now who would police this? And is that realistic given the numbers you're talking about here tonight? That you can actually stamp this out?

SERWER: Well, first of all, Timothy Muris, a source tells me, he's the head of the FTC is very concerned about -- this is high on the agenda. Tomorrow, big conference in Washington. Today, Chuck Schumer, we talked about him proposing legislation. He wants to create those registries.

Virginia has a new some legislation today where they decided that it would be a felony in certain types of spam. You get five years in jail. They want to seize assets, the airplanes, the cash of spammers. Also they want a bounty on spammers that they'll have so that people can identify these people.

But you know, tracking these guys down, Paula, is really tough. This is not like telemarketing. Telemarketers a lot of times those are big companies...

ZAHN: Where you have a bank of people making phone calls. They're easier to locate.

SERWER: Exactly. These are little fly-by-nighters. They're not going to obey the law. They're going to be able to evade, avoid. You know a guy in Arizona's sending this stuff out, he closes up shop, he moves over to New Mexico.

It's going to be very difficult. But you know I agree with Senator Schumer when he says it's gone from being a little bit of an annoyance to where I'm sitting there all day hitting the delete key. I just don't have time for it.

So advertisers, they push the envelope. They put in subliminal messages. They put up billboards all over the place. And sometimes government has to step in and say, you know, in this country of ours, it's great to advertise, but you can't bother people and you can't deceive people. So I think stepping in is right.

ZAHN: I hear everything you're saying. And yet there are people out there in our audience who are screaming let's get real here, Andy. We've been trying to get our name off the telemarketer list for years and we still get called during the dinner hour every night. You know, what makes you think this will be any different in, once again, in policing this and shutting it down?

SERWER: And I think it's going to harder because again the telemarketers are easier targets. You know there is software that you can put on your computer to screen it out. The problem is after two months they've figured a way to circumvent it because they're always one step away from the game.

I really think your best defense right now, and I'm sad to say it, is the delete key and setting up another e-mail address and using that when you're going on the Web to do e-commerce, to buy stuff, when you're going to chat rooms and news groups.

ZAHN: That's an efficient way to do it.

SERWER: You have to do it and it's a pain because you have two e-mail accounts. But it's quicker to do that than to sit there all day and delete that spam.

ZAHN: We knew we could count on you for some very good ideas tonight. Thanks, Andy.

Now if you like some shoes, you have to see this. You don't have to go to the land of Oz for these, ruby slippers. They're sandals, actually. But you do have to go to London where they are for sale at Harrod's threatened with platinum and encrusted with hundreds rubies. They are described as the world's most expensive shoes. They were inspired by "The Wizard of Oz" and designed for an unnamed star to wear to the Oscars. Dorothy got her shoes for free. You would have to shell out more than a million and a half U.S. dollars.

Next year's Valentine's Day gift to your wife, Andy? Yeah, right.

SERWER: OK.

ZAHN: In addition to a big wallet, you're going to need a small foot. The shoes are size 3 1/2.

SERWER: Yes, that's right.

ZAHN: Yes, when the average woman American has size 8 1/2 shoes, somehow it doesn't work.

Still to come this evening, a passion for truth. One community in the quest for honesty. Anderson Cooper takes us to Mt. Sterling, Iowa on this Tuesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Finally, tonight, you remember the movie "Liar, Liar" and Jim Carrey's character who was physically unable to tell a lie? Imagine that happening to you. No more of "the check's in the mail" or "no, you don't look big in that dress". Now imagine breaking down and fibbing and then becoming a lawbreaker. Anderson Cooper now on a town that is bursting with honesty.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Mt. Sterling, Iowa, a hunting town of 40. Not exactly world famous, but it's getting there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a late lady from the BBC Radio Network in Europe would like to talk to you.

COOPER: Why all the interest? Mayor Hamlet wants Mt. Sterling to become the first liar-free town in the world. He's fed up with people telling tales. You know, about how many mushrooms they picked or how big the deer was they shot. So he recently proposed an ordnance to ban lying in Mt. Sterling. No big blatant lies, no little white ones, either.

Imagine that, no lies. What would life in America be like without them.

First of all, what would politicians do?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not a crook.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: After all, splitting hairs wouldn't be allowed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And broken promises? Forget about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Read my lips, no new taxes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's not just politicians. CEOs might find complete disclosure difficult, as well.

BERNARD EBBERS, FORMER CHRM. & CEO, WORLDCOM: I've been instructed by my counsel...

KENNETH LAY, FORMER CEO, ENRON: ... not to testify...

SCOTT SULLIVAN, FORMER CFO, WORLDCOM: ... based upon my Fifth Amendment right...

ANDREW FASTOW, FORMER CFO, ENRON: ... afforded me by the Constitution of the United States.

COOPER: Come to think of it, if lying were outlawed, what would be on TV.

ALEX MICHEL, "THE BACHELOR": Will you marry me?

COOPER: Real reality just can't compete.

EVAN MARRIOTT, "JOE MILLIONAIRE": There's something really intriguing about her and I really want to keep her around.

COOPER: Without lies there would be no scandals, no dramatic trials to watch.

F. LEE BAILEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You say on your oath that you have want addressed any black person as a (slur deleted).

MARK FUHRMAN, LAPD: That's what I'm saying, sir.

COOPER: No actor shenanigans.

ROBERT DOWNEY JR., ACTOR: For once I've kind of done all the work and I can honestly say that it was time to move on.

COOPER: And what would psychics do?

MISS CLEO, PHONE PSYCHIC: You give a lot of money to this man. You laugh, but you know I'm telling you the truth, don't you?

COOPER: Would there be no paranormal? Just plain old normal? Frankly, who wants that?

So perhaps it's not surprising that back in Mt. Sterling, the townspeople and the city council are hesitant to embrace the new no lying campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you going to enforce it? And who's to say what's a lie and what's a story?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to go to Washington, D.C. They tell a lot bigger lies there.

COOPER: On this subject, at least, the residents of Mt. Sterling seem to have no problem telling the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the liars out of Mt. Sterling you're not going have too many people left.

COOPER: Anderson Cooper, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And that wraps up this hour of LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES. Coming up next, we're going to have the latest on the suicide bomber that struck Tel Aviv a little bit earlier this evening. The death count now up to at least 5 five, 35 injured. LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues right after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: The U.S. military plans to pull out of Saudi Arabia. Does the U.S. no longer need the desert kingdom?

A deadly clash between Iraqi civilians and the U.S. Army.

SGT. SARGON MACKSUD, U.S. ARMY SNIPER SCOUT: It's either them or me, and I took the shot, sir, and I'm still here talking to you, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ANNOUNCER: The Iraqis claim the soldiers fired first. The U.S. says they fired in self-defense. Could the U.S. lose the war in Iraq by not keeping the peace?

Closing arguments in the hearing into whether sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo's statements to police allegedly admitting to the sniper spree can be used in his trial. How will the judge's decision affect the outcome of the trial?

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES WITH PAULA ZAHN in New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Good evening, and welcome. Glad to have you with us tonight.

A very busy day, very busy night. SARS perhaps become -- it's a little less scary as the World Health Organization lifts its travel ban on the city of Toronto.

And on a day when details emerge about the continuing dangers in Iraq, a stark reminder that just hours ago of some of the uncertainty of peace elsewhere in the Middle East. A massive explosion at a seaside cafe in Tel Aviv that police now say killed at least three people, wounded at least 30, 10 of them seriously. The blast happened just hours after Abu Mazan was confirmed as the first Palestinian prime minister.

Our Jerrold Kessel is now on the scene and has the very latest from there -- Jerrold.

KESSEL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Paula.

It's a place called Mike's Place, Blues by the Beach, it says at the sign over this beachside cafe bar. And there was a night's entertainment here of live music. Just about 1:00 in the morning, that's a couple of hours ago, when the bomber tried to get into the small cafe by the beachside on this Tel Aviv promenade, stopped by a security guard at the entrance. The blast went off then.

Not clear whether how and when the suicide bomber let it off, but at that stage, and it seems he just killed three people other than himself and wounded some 40.

And now on the scene, the aftermath scenes of the forensic experts get to work and alongside them, the men in the green luminous jackets, who are special detail of religious volunteers picking up body parts and pieces of skin and so forth and bits of blood that are required by Jewish custom to be buried along with the dead, and treating that with the utmost respect as the police go about their duty to make sure there are no other bombs in the area, unexploded devices.

There are several cars that have been damaged here on the promenade, on the edge of the promenade, one with the alarm going off loudly, you can probably hear in the background at the moment. Police wary that perhaps, just perhaps, there might be another bomb on hand, and trying to keep away the crowd of onlookers, of Tel Avivians, who've come out here late at night.

The crowd is fairly calm and not animated, but angry nonetheless, Paula.

ZAHN: Has anybody claimed responsibility yet for this bombing?

KESSEL: We haven't as yet heard of any claim of responsibility, but, of course, that will be keenly watched to see if any of the militant Palestinian groups do come out to claim responsibility. It's been mixed over the two years and more of suicide bombings and other such attacks. On some occasions, the groups do come out and claim responsibility, and then others, they choose to keep the investigators and others in the dark as to who might have done so.

This will be particularly interesting, of course, because it comes just on the very day that the new Palestinian government was approved by the -- confirmed by the Palestinian parliament, under Mahmoud Abbas (ph), Abu Mazen, as he's also more generally known, the first Palestinian prime minister. And, of course, it comes -- whether anybody claims responsibility or not, certainly the timing is a challenge to Abu Mazen, because he (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a very forceful speech today in the Palestinian parliament when he asked for approval for his new government.

He spoke out very, very forcefully against terror, said not only was it against Palestinian interests, as many have said in the Palestinian leadership in the past, but also said that it was morally, he suggested, morally not a favorable thing to do.

And he said he would come to grips with what he called the chaos of weapons, the chaos of unauthorized weapons in the Palestinian community, and that he was throwing down the gauntlet to the militant groups.

Whether this is a gauntlet thrown back to them, we shall see, Paula.

ZAHN: Jerrold Kessel, thanks so much.

Also interesting to note, shortly after that new prime minister made that pronouncement, Islamic Jihad announced it would continue these kinds of attacks, although, once again, no one can make that connection at this hour, although, in our -- last time we checked with John King at the White House, there is a feeling, according to some administration officials he talked to, that there is a good chance that someone is trying to hurt this new prime minister's beginning of his rule here.

Joining us by telephone is the Gabi Barbash, director general of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, where some of the bombing victims are now being treated.

Thank you very much.

What can you tell us about the number of patients that are now at your center?

GABI BARBASH, DIRECTOR GENERAL, TEL AVIV SOURASKY MEDICAL CENTER (on phone): We have admitted 22 casualties, mostly -- most all of them are youngsters that were trying to enjoy life at the beach. And we have admitted six severely wounded casualties, and the rest are moderate to light injuries. One of them died on arrival. Another girl was declared dead on arrival but was resuscitated. Her chances are very slim.

And we are left with five severely injured casualties, that are now -- three of them are now in the operating theater, and two others in the intensive care unit.

ZAHN: And is it true that even more of the wounded were taken to other hospitals?

BARBASH: Yes. There is a dispatching system here where (UNINTELLIGIBLE), which is the Red Cross somewhere else, is dispatching, distributing casualties to more than one hospital in order to -- not to load one hospital with too many casualties, especially since the hour is very difficult. The staff is at home.

So there are more than 20 -- I mean, there are another 20 casualties that were distributed to other three hospitals, but less severely injured, because the most severely injured were directed to us because of the proximity to the scene.

ZAHN: Is there any new information you can give us on the status on the status of those 22 youngsters you talked about who were brought to the Sourasky Medical Center?

BARBASH: Not more than I have said. We have to wait and see how the severely wounded are going to progress. And we have -- we still have to complete their diagnostic process, of course.

ZAHN: And when you talk about this well-planned process where some of the other wounded were taken to these other hospitals, how well equipped are any of these hospitals to deal with the sheer numbers you're talking about of injured?

BARBASH: I'm sorry to tell you, but this hospital is experienced over the last almost 10 years, from '94, from the first bus bombing, to treat a lot of casualties. And we have treated in one event more than 150 casualties that arrived into the hospital within three hours.

So we are talking about big hospitals that are very trained to handle such situations. These are mass disasters, and we have -- for example, we have in the hospital, we have an automatic simultaneous paging system that we operate when something like that happens. And the staff is arriving within 10 to 20 minutes. So we have more people or more staff in 20 minutes to treat the casualties.

So this is not the numbers that are a problem. The problem is with the continuous horrifying situation of looking at some young girl with a mutilated arm and dilated pupils. That's the problem.

ZAHN: Yes, it's hard to imagine the horror there. Gabi Barbash, the director general of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, thanks for spending some time with us while the trauma of all this is so fresh. Appreciate it.

Tonight, the bombing casts a pall over what had been a day of some hope and optimism in the Middle East.

Senior White House correspondent John King now joins us from Washington with more on that. Good evening, John.

KING: Good evening to you, Paula.

This tragic development in some ways sadly almost predictable. White House officials telling us tonight that they do believe, even though the details are still sketchy, that someone in the region, some Palestinian group or affiliated group opposed to peace, is trying to send a signal tonight in the early hours of Abu Mazen's tenure as the Palestinian's prime minister, just confirmed today, not even yet sworn in, the new Palestinian prime minister facing an immediate test. Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, telling CNN this a short time ago, quote, "The White House condemns this homicide bombing in the strongest terms. This attack is obviously designed to harm the peace process. We will press forward with our efforts to get the parties back on the path to peace."

Now, those efforts from the White House include, within the next 48 hours, giving the Palestinians and the Israelis the long-awaited Bush administration road map to a peace deal in the Middle East. White House officials say that delivery will proceed as scheduled.

But again, the White House believes we have a test tonight. Mr. Bush would not release the road map until the Palestinians had a new prime minister, a new government that put Yasser Arafat out of day-to- day decision making. The White House believes Abu Mazen is a man who can and wants to very much deliver on his promises to improve security, on his promises to negotiate directly with Israel.

Secretary of State Colin Powell saying on Capitol Hill earlier today, hours before this bombing, that Abu Mazen faced immediate tests.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I hope he'll use that leadership. We've made it absolutely clear that when the road map is released, performance is what counts, not the particular language of a particular paragraph. It's performance. And I hope that the new prime minister will speak out immediately and clearly about terrorism and about violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Two men who are key to the administration's push for peace had a conversation in the White House driveway earlier today. Secretary Powell here saying hello to the CIA director, George Tenet.

Secretary Powell will travel to Israel and to the Gaza Strip next week to discuss the road map with Abu Mazen and the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon. Included in that road map, calls for improving and reforms in the Palestinian security apparatus. The top administration point man on that issue is the CIA director, George Tenet.

Again, White house officials saying tonight they believe this tragic bombing is a quick and immediate test for the new Palestinian prime minister who has promised to crack down on Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups operating within the Palestinian territories, Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks, John. John King reporting from the White House tonight.

And we still have a number of reporters on the scene in Tel Aviv. And as soon as we get any new information, we will bring it to you.

We're going to start our timeline when we come back with news of different types of shakeups in the southern U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

A protest about children back into school leads to some gunfire. U.S. troops say they were forced to open fire in self-defense.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back. Twelve minutes after the hour here.

The timeland starts -- or timeline, that is, starts with a rude awakening for people across the American South. An earthquake shook several states just before sunup at 5:00 a.m. The 4.9 magnitude quake was centered near Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was felt as far as Mississippi to North Carolina. No major damage or injures were reported from this very rare event.

And if the initial shakeup wasn't enough to rouse folks in the early morning hours, there were six smaller aftershocks.

Another type of shakeup was reported in the next hour, news that the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia will undergo some major changes over the next few weeks.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr outlines some of those changes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the Saudi ruling family, the end of Saddam Hussein's regime is already leading to changes in the kingdom's relationship with the United States.

With the war over, and the decades-old Iraqi threat gone, the Air Operations Center at Prince Sultan Air Base began moving to Doha, Qatar, this week. All Gulf air operations will now be coordinated from that country.

Most U.S. military aircraft will likely be out of Saudi Arabia by summer's end. Some minimal U.S. air presence may be maintained, and there will be more emphasis on military training and exercises with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan, for whom the sprawling air base is named, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held a rare joint news conference in Riyadh. They said the new arrangement was a mutual decision.

PRINCE SULTAN BIN ABDUL-AZIZ, SAUDI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The cooperation between the two countries is going on, even before the visit operation, and it will continue even after the end of the war.

STARR: Removal of all U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia, home to some of Islam's holiest shrines, has long been the goal of al Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden made it the centerpiece of his campaign against the West. Al Qaeda extensively recruited Saudis and launched several attacks against U.S. forces in the region.

But the removal of some U.S. forces doesn't necessarily mean an end to political problems for the kingdom. Saudi Arabia may soon have a democratic Iraq on its border, adding to the pressure for the royal family to consider economic and political reforms. Already,Saudi Arabia is planning to join the World Trade Organization, a move that would shed more public light on its economic policies.

(on camera): The U.S. says there will be a continuing military relationship with Saudi Arabia, if for no other reason than Iran and Syria continue to pose a threat.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Saudi Arabia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So what will the shifting of U.S. military resources out of Saudi Arabia mean for the relationship between the two countries? We will look at that ahead when we ask, Does the U.S. really need Saudi Arabia?

As the timeline reached noon, U.S. troops left an Iraqi elementary school a day after 15 civilians died in fighting with the Americans.

Karl Penhaul has the details of the gunfight that also left 53 other people wounded.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraqi families bury their relatives, killed when U.S. soldiers opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators outside a school in Fallujah. The wounded fill the hospital of this city just west of Baghdad.

This man, Muthanna Salim, says he was trying to close his front gate when gunfire erupted around the elementary school opposite his home.

"The Americans fired at me and cut my foot. My brother came out to carry me, but he was shot dead," he says. "My other brother took the car to rescue me, but he was also wounded." His his wife and mother were also wounded.

Some 250 protesters had marched on this school after dark Monday. Their demands, that U.S. troops camped out here should withdraw to allow pupils and teachers to return to class now that war is over.

Lessons were halted here when the war began. U.S. troops said the empty buildings provided an ideal base from which to police and secure the surrounding neighborhoods.

The demonstrators admit they threw rocks, but U.S. soldiers said some in the crowd opened fire first with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

SGT. SARGON MACKSUD, U.S. ARMY SNIPER SCOUT: I just shot at what I saw, and what I saw was targets, targets with weapons that were going to harm me. It's either them or me, and I took the shot, sir.

PENHAUL: The U.S. soldiers say they returned fire with sniper rifles, assault rifles, and machine guns.

This taxi was caught in the shooting. Neighboring houses were hit by heavy-caliber machine guns.

(on camera): U.S. Army commanders have announced there will be an investigation into the deaths. That's unlikely to calm tempers here in Fallujah or elsewhere in Iraq, where calls are growing for coalition forces to leave.

(voice-over): Angry residents staged impromptu protests at the deaths. Chanting "No to America," "Murderers," and "Down with President Bush."

Raid al-Kateeb lost his cousin in the shootout. He says they weren't even taking part in the protest. "Since this whole matter started," he says, "it was clear that the Americans were a force of occupation."

As night fell, troops of the 82nd Airborne Division bowed to the locals' demands. They climbed aboard trucks and Humvees and pulled out.

No goodbyes, just jeers and insults from the crowd, leaving residents to take back their school to cries of "Allah akhbar (ph)," God is great.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Fallujah.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And a former top Iraqi official is now saying a U.s. pilot shot down in the first Gulf War never was a prisoner of war. That news came from the interrogation of Tariq Aziz during the noon hour. U.S. officials say Aziz is telling them that Navy pilot Michael Speicher was killed when his plane was shot down in 1991. Speicher is officially listed as missing in action, and there has been some military intelligence indicating that he is still alive.

We have to take a short break, but we'll pick up the timeline when we come back, including this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kelli Arena in Washington. The Iraqi man who helped lead U.S. special forces to former POW Jessica Lynch is repaid for his heroic efforts with asylum for he and his family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's just so many things that point to that it's him, that I'm just praying it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: And news that could end more than two years of anguish and doubt for a North Carolina family, and it has to do with the little boy you saw in the swimming pool. We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back.

We pick up our timeline in the 1:00 p.m. hour. The United States gratefully rewarded an Iraqi man who helped save the life of Private First Class Jessica Lynch.

Kelli Arena has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA (voice-over): U.S. officials say it was an act of sheer bravery that led U.S. forces to former POW Army Private Jessica Lynch. After spotting her in a hospital in Nasiriyah, an Iraqi lawyer known to the world only as Mohammed risked his life to get word to U.S. Marines. A hero in the United States, Mohammed feared for his life. He's seen here with his face obscured under U.S. protection in Iraq.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says Mohammed al-Rehaief is now in the United States with his wife and 6-year-old daughter. All have been granted asylum.

TOM RIDGE, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Everyone thought it appropriate, inasmuch as he liberated one of the liberators, you know, that we could not only send a signal to Iraq, but the rest of the world, that that is the very extraordinary thing to do, and America appreciates his courage.

ARENA: Not only has been offered asylum, but he's also bee offered a job by a D.C. lobbying firm led by former House Republican leader Bob Livingston.

MOHAMMED AL-REHAIEF (on phone): Hello?

BOB LIVINGSTON, FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER (on phone): Hello. Mohammed (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I've got the cameras right here, and I just wanted to make sure that you're going to stay down there for a while.

ARENA: Because there is still some concern for Mohammed's safety, his new friends are keeping him out of the spotlight and giving him time to adjust.

LIVINGSTON: This adjustment will entail English language training, although he speaks surprisingly good English, potential professional licensing arrangements, he is an attorney, and his wife is a nurse.

ARENA: Sources tell CNN Mohammed is also recovering from an eye injury sustained during Lynch's rescue and will undergo surgery soon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: Lynch too is still recovering at an Army hospital in Washington. Mohammed has plans to soon reunite with that young woman he risked his life for, Paula.

ZAHN: Kelli Arena, thanks so much.

Another significant story broke during the 1:00 p.m. hour in Canada. The top story there today, the World Health Organization announced it is lifting its advisory against travel to Toronto because of fear of SARS. It's been 20 days since the last cases of locally transmitted SARS in Toronto. And there have been no new confirmed cases of SARS exported out of Toronto.

The WHO says SARS advisories against travel to Hong Kong, Beijing, and the Chinese provinces of Guandong and Shanshi (ph) will remain in effect.

Now, China has more SARS cases than any country in the world, 3,303 by today's count. That's more than twice as many as Hong Kong, which ranks second.

Nearly 800,000 children are reporting missing every year, more than 2,000 per day. When you do the statistics, those heartbreaking numbers about missing children make this next story all the more remarkable.

At 2:00 p.m. Eastern time this afternoon, authorities in a suburban Chicago hospital announced that a boy abandoned in early February may be the same child who has been missing from North Carolina for two years.

A 4-year-old, Buddy Myers vanished from Roseboro, North Carolina. The man who dropped off the apparently 6-year-old boy in an Evanston hospital in February has since disappeared. DNA tests will show if the abandoned boy is, in fact, Buddy Myers. Those tests, we're told, will take anywhere from four to six weeks as the family waits for those answers.

In the 3:00 hour, CNN breaks the news that senior Bush administration officials say a member of a group affiliated with al Qaeda was captured in Iraq. We learned that the unnamed individual was part of a group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi is a Jordanian believed to have masterminded the assassination of diplomat Lawrence Foley earlier this -- actually last year, that happened.

Before the war in Iraq, Secretary of State Powell pointed to the group's presence in Baghdad as evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and al Qaeda terrorists.

Coming up next, some homeward-bound warriors getting some lessons for their next challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kyra Phillips aboard the U.S.S. "Abraham Lincoln," where 160 dads are about to meet their babies for the very first time. You'll meet one of them when the timeline continues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back.

As we move up on the half-hour mark here, during the past 10 months, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. "Abraham Lincoln" and its crew have been away from home. The ship is now on its way back, bringing some fathers home to babies that were born while they were away, babies they've never seen.

Kyra Phillips is standing by on board and has a look at a special class for the new fathers to help them get ready for those new duties.

Kyra, exactly where are you?

PHILLIPS: Well, right now, I'm in the hangar bay. You can sort of see the water behind me. We're moving at a pretty fast speed, about 30-plus night -- knots. A little cold, a little windy out on the flight deck, Paula.

We've been talking about the preparations for the homecoming. You'll see all the aircrafts out there tomorrow. The flyoff begins. A couple of the different squadrons getting ready to go.

Then back here in the hangar bay, it's a different kind of preparation going on, and that is for new dads. The class is called Return and Reunion.

And Chaplain Lieutenant Commander Wes Sloat helps coordinate that program.

Tell us about the class and what these new dads are learning.

LT. COMMANDER WES SLOAT, NAVY CHAPLAIN: They learn what to expect when they come home to a new child. Often they're a little bit nervous about changing diapers, how they can help, a new mom, their wife back home. And this class just walks through the basics with them to help ease (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about all these issues.

PHILLIPS: And you know how that feels, because your two kids, Natalie and Kenneth, let's go ahead and bring them up there. You were not home for the birth of Natalie. That was tough, wasn't it?

SLOAT: Yes, it was. And my wife and I made that choice together for me to be gone. I was in Operation Desert Storm, and so I know full well coming home to a 3-month-old new baby, Natalie.

PHILLIPS: Well, now you're here helping advise people like MS3 Sean Couch. He's got a 5-month, let's go ahead and take a look at her, Sean, 5-month-old girl, Alexandria. Are you nervous?

PETTY OFFICER SEAN COUCH, U.S. NAVY: Not really nervous, more about excitement, seeing my daughter for the first time. I know that my wife's really excited, too. And I'm ready to go home. It's been a long time.

PHILLIPS: Tell me about the class. What did you learn today? I know you went through it today.

COUCH: The class kind of gave me an idea how it's going to be when I get home, how my daughter's going to be coming to me slowly and not all at once, like a lot of people expect. But it really gave me an insight to know that I'll bond with my daughter when I get home and watch her grow and we'll become a family, instead of being out at sea away from her.

PHILLIPS: And, Sean, you have already started to do that. You wrote her a letter already, right?

COUCH: Yes. I wrote a letter to my wife about -- it's like a beginning for me and my daughter and my wife, a family. So, it's really an explanation for how I want our life to go.

PHILLIPS: Well, and you were out here and you were saying how you were going to describe Operation Iraqi Freedom to your little girl, that you were doing it for her. What are you going to tell her when she grows up about why you weren't there when she was born and why you feel it was OK?

COUCH: At the beginning, in fact, I wrote my wife an e-mail saying that: I'm out here. I'm missing the birth of our child, but it's really for her, the reason why I'm out here, so she can really grow up in a -- so she can grow up in a safe place, like me and my wife did.

PHILLIPS: Sean Couch, thank you so much.

Chaplain, we appreciate your time; 160 dads out of 5,500 sailors are going home to meet their babies for the very first time, Paula.

ZAHN: Well, I guess, Kyra, you could say one of the rude awakenings they have learned out at sea is how to live with sleep deprivation. That is a lesson that will come in very handy when they meet these newborns for the first time, won't it?

PHILLIPS: That's an excellent point. Excellent point, and, also, the constant feeding process. They're always having to eat to keep up their energy. So they know what that's like, too: sleep and eating.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Well-prepared.

Kyra, great story. Thanks so much. When we come back, we're going to debate a couple of important questions. Was the U.S. justified in starting a war or were Americans misled about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

That debate right out of this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: The facts and Iraq's behavior demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort, no effort, to disarm, as required by the international community. Indeed, the facts and Iraq's behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Coalition forces have had control of most of Iraq for a couple of weeks now. There are still no signs of weapons of mass destruction. The United States says it needs a lot more time before it will give up looking for evidence of weapons of mass destruction. But some critics are already saying the White House may have exaggerated the weapon's threat to justify a war with Iraq.

Here to debate the issue: Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector who opposed the war; and Frank Gaffney, a "Washington Times" columnist and president of the Center For Security Policy.

Good to see both of you. Thanks for dropping by.

Scott, I'm going to start with you tonight.

What do you think the chances are that the U.S. will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

SCOTT RITTER, FORMER U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Well, I think we have to differentiate between finding bits and pieces of past prescribed programs and finding facilities or programs dedicated to producing viable weapons of mass destruction.

I think there's no chance that the United States is going to find evidence of a viable ongoing effort by Iraq to produce weapons of mass destruction or any product that was produced by such a program. We may fall upon a barrel here, an item there that dates back to the 1980s and the 1990s that was overlooked by the Iraqis. But I don't think we're going to see anything that remotely resembles the kind of threat which was postulated by President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell in the buildup to the war.

They simply exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq. They manufactured evidence. They misrepresented evidence. And they misled the American public and indeed the entire world about the threat posed by Iraq.

ZAHN: Scott, what you're basically saying is, the government lied to the U.S. people?

RITTER: I've been saying this from day one, Paula. The government has misrepresented the information in regards to the threat posed by Iraq.

Look, I have said all along that I cannot account for everything that was produced by Iraq. I've also said there's an absolute need for weapons inspectors to be in Iraq to complete the task of verifying Iraqi compliance and to ensure Iraq doesn't once again produce weapons. But there's a far cry from getting weapons inspectors back in and completing what essentially is an accounting task and going to war, saying that Iraq poses a threat.

The president exaggerated the threat and indeed misled and lied to Congress and the American people.

ZAHN: Frank Gaffney, respond to that. Based on what the American public was told and what has been found so far, is there a disconnect there?

FRANK GAFFNEY, "WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, Paula, somebody's lying here. And I don't think it's the United States government.

Back in 1998, Scott Ritter himself said that there were programs, chemical, biological, ballistic missile programs, that were prohibited, that Iraq was not disarmed. And he would have us believe that, I guess, in the four years where they have been no inspections, that Iraq in fact took steps that it hadn't taken as of 1998.

I believe we'll find not only bits and pieces, which can be dangerous in their own right. A barrel here and a barrel there can kill millions of people in the wrong hands. And the danger all along has been that Saddam Hussein's hands were the wrong hands for sure. And, as President Bush pointed out, though it wasn't of interest particularly to the United Nations, Saddam Hussein had the capacity, because of his ongoing relationship with terrorists, to supply even small quantities of weapons of mass destruction, biological weapons, chemical weapons, to such people.

And this is a danger that I'm afraid, in the preoccupation that came about as a result of going down, I think, this unfortunately dead end of the United Nations, because the only thing we were allowed to talk about at the United Nations was weapons of mass destruction. We were not allowed to talk about repression of the people of Iraq, about which we have seen so much evidence. We were not allowed to talk about Saddam Hussein's conventional threat to his neighbors. He went to war twice against them.

We were not allowed to talk about this connection to terror. We were only really allowed to try to engage the United Nations on the grounds that he had weapons of mass destruction. I'm confident we'll demonstrate that he did, not just the remnants of old programs, but ongoing programs. And I believe today we know absolutely, without a doubt, the Iraqi people are better off, because, despite the U.N. saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, we're not persuaded," the conventional threat is diminished, if not completely eliminated. The terrorist links are ruptured. And I'm confident that our other concerns about the repression of the people of Iraq is now going to be at an end.

ZAHN: Scott, let's come back to a point that we've heard a lot in the last 24 hours, when Tariq Aziz, during an interrogation indicated to U.S. government officials that it was his belief that the Iraqis actually destroyed some WMDs as U.S. troops were getting closer and closer to Baghdad? And what about the reports that they could potentially have been moved to Syria? Do you discount all of that?

RITTER: Well, we can hypothesize about anything, Paula. We can hypothesize they've taken them to Iran. Why not? Iran's part of the axis of evil. Let's give them weapons of mass destruction capability that emanates from Iraq as well.

Let's deal with facts. First of all, I haven't seen the interrogation reports from Tariq Aziz. I know what that Tariq Aziz said prior to his being captured, which was, all weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed by Iraq. The United States has under custody right now all of the senior scientists that were involved in the weapons of mass destruction programs. And they're getting the same story from all of these scientists, that nothing remained, that Iraq had, in fact, complied.

In 1997 and 1998, I investigated intelligence information that said Iraq was transporting weapons of mass destruction capability to Syria. I thoroughly investigated these and found that, at that time, the allegations were baseless. And I have no reason to believe that they're baseless today. What weapons are we talking about when they transport? Where did they come from, what programs? The bottom line is, Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed for some time.

And you can quote me and what I said in 1998 as much as you want, Mr. Gaffney. That doesn't change the fact that we're not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And until we do, the legal justification for this war, as set forth by the March 20 letter sent by Ambassador John Negroponte of the United States to the Security Council, which solely focused on weapons of mass destruction and the allegations by the United States that Iraq was in material breach, that letter has no bearing.

GAFFNEY: Paula, can I get a word in here?

Paula, I would just say, Scott, you've discredited yourself repeatedly. I don't have to quote you, except to point out that what you said when you were much closer to it than you admit you are today -- you don't have access to any of the debriefings, not just Tariq Aziz, any of the debriefings. You don't know what we're finding. You don't know what they're telling us. And you don't even know that we have all the senior weapons scientists, Dr. Germ, this woman -- Rashid, we do not have at the moment. We're looking for.

The bottom line, which you keep pointing to is, we don't know,. But all of the evidence that is out there -- and even Hans Blix acknowledged this -- suggests that Saddam Hussein could well have remained in these businesses, chemical, biological, ballistic missiles, even nuclear. And what we'll find, I'm quite confident, is that he did. And had he in fact even gone to the extent you have said he did -- and there's no evidence that he did -- and gotten rid of absolutely everything, the know-how and the industrial capability, which you do acknowledge remained in Iraq, could have put him back in that business at any time.

The man was a menace. The people of Iraq are better off without him. And this idea that the only justification that we could possibly have, legal, U.N., otherwise, was that he was engaged in weapons of mass destruction suggests how I believe narrow-focused your concerns have been, and ill-focused at that.

ZAHN: Scott, I can only give you 20 seconds for a closing thought.

And then, Frank, then you the same amount.

RITTER: Look, I would say that the United States is a member of the Security Council. So it's absurd in the extreme to say that it's the United Nations' fault.

If we wanted to make this about anything than weapons of mass destruction, the United States should have put forward resolutions. We didn't. The only resolutions on the book deal with disarmament. And the fact of the matter is, Mr. Gaffney, Iraq has been disarmed. You are not going to find weapons of mass destruction. And to try to pull the wool over the American peoples' eyes that they have not been lied to by the president is absurd.

There will be an accounting. Congress will hold the president accountable for the lies that he told them.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: All right, Frank, I've got one last question for you. If no weapons of mass destruction are found, as Scott Ritter suspects the case will be, does the president owe some sort of explanation to the American public?

GAFFNEY: We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, Paula. I'm confident that we will find the weapons.

And I'm confident that Scott Ritter will be discredited once again. I can't believe that, given all the things that he's said that have proven wrong on this point and so many others, he continues to get your airtime. But we will have this debate when the weapons are found. And, at that point, I think he will owe an apology, not the president of the United States.

ZAHN: Well, I hate to end up on that note of discord, but we do need to move on.

Scott Ritter, Frank Gaffney, thank you for both of your perspectives.

GAFFNEY: Thank you.

ZAHN: We need to head straight back to Tel Aviv now for the very latest information on that suicide bombing there earlier this evening.

Jerrold Kessel, on the scene, he's had the opportunity to speak with witnesses now about what they saw.

What have you learned?

KESSEL: Paula, three people killed by the suicide bombing in this latest outrage here in Tel Aviv, more than 50 wounded, three people killed there. That's in addition to the suicide bomber.

And if our camera can go in -- if our camera can go in to the scene over there, you have this place called Mike's Place, which is scene of the attack this evening, where the suicide bomber was stopped by one of the security guards right outside, the bar, as you see, Blues by the Beach, right alongside the U.S. Embassy. But I think that probably was coincidental, the attack that took place there.

Now we're joined here by one of the people who was inside the bar.

Barry, you play keyboard. And how many people were inside?

BARRY GILBERT, EYEWITNESS: It was very, very busy. It was about 100 people at least inside and quite a few in the streets. And, basically, I was the keyboard player. We were playing in the band.

KESSEL: And, suddenly, what happened?

GILBERT: And, suddenly, there was an orange flash and a loud bang. And I ducked and then I was covered in smoke. And then everybody was screaming. And we ran out.

KESSEL: Something of a miracle that he didn't get inside. It might have been carnage if he had got inside.

GILBERT: Well, he certainly didn't get inside. From what I could gather, it happened outside.

KESSEL: Now, looking at you, I see blood stains on your shirt, on your pants. You're not hurt yourself?

GILBERT: No, I'm not hurt myself, no.

KESSEL: What, you were evacuated people wounded?

GILBERT: No. Just as I went out, there was just a lot of -- well, it was just very, very, very, very messy as we were trying to get out.

KESSEL: You're actually very calm. This is the first time you've been involved in such an incident like this?

GILBERT: Yes, it is, yes. I've never had anything happen like this, no.

KESSEL: How are you feeling at this time?

GILBERT: Well, I feel OK, but, obviously, I'm worried about a lot of people that I know that have been very, very badly injured. I've been coming to this place every Tuesday and every Wednesday night, playing here for the last three, four months. And I have got to know a lot of the regular people here.

KESSEL: Did you fear it at all, that it might happen, something like this?

GILBERT: No, I personally never felt like that.

KESSEL: OK, thanks very much, Barry.

Now, if we can pan across here at this side, across, just two stops away, we have this other front restaurant bar, Bastup (ph). And we have got the owner, the proprietor of that place, Eli.

Hi, Eli.

ELI BAREL, EYEWITNESS: Hello.

KESSEL: You were inside just when the blast happened. Can you tell us what you heard, what you saw?

BAREL: We were sitting with the customers. I was sitting with some customers together. And then, some car police arrive. And when the car police suddenly arrived, suddenly explosion. And then, we start to run to help, to take the people outside. And then all the security guys come and the police come and the ambulance come.

KESSEL: OK, thanks, Eli, very much.

BAREL: You're welcome.

KESSEL: And stay safe.

OK, well, that's some of the scenes, of some of the eyewitnesses that have been heard here, Paula. For now, back to you. And we'll get with more details of this somewhat horrific scene on the Tel Aviv seafront -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jerrold Kessel, thanks so much.

One of the more remarkable things we have learned about how efficient the Israelis are in dispatching the injured to area hospitals, there was a very sophisticated plan that they executed tonight, with those injured immediately being taken to three different hospitals.

We are going to take a short break here.

When we come back: U.S. troops are leaving Saudi Arabia. Iraq wants them out, too. What is the new U.S. role in the Middle East? What should it be?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: With Iraq's regime toppled, the U.S. is redrawing the map of its entire Mideast presence. Step one: a virtual end to more than a decade of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. Thousands will be redeployed from the Prince Sultan Air Base to an air base in Qatar.

Senior political analyst Bill Schneider reports on U.S.-Saudi ties.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The U.S.-Saudi relationship has always been a marriage of convenience. The U.S. needed Saudi oil. The Saudis needed U.S. military protection.

But stationing U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia has been highly controversial. Many Saudis resented the presence of infidels, particularly Israel's chief backers, on their holy soil, most notably Osama bin Laden, who was linked to the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers that killed 19 Americans. Anti-American sentiment has grown, especially among Saudi Arabia's exploding numbers of young people, to the point where the Saudis refused to give the U.S. permission to launch strikes against Iraq from Saudi bases; 9/11 turned the Saudi relationship into an embarrassment for the U.S.

Saudi Arabia subsidizes Islamic fundamentalists, in part to buy off the regime's opponents; 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. And Saudi Arabia, where women have almost no rights, is nobody's idea of a democracy. The Saudis starting running TV ads in the U.S. touting their cooperation in the war on terrorism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: Arresting over 200 suspects, including al Qaeda members, and a force for blocking more than $70 million in terrorist assets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: The truth is, since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. doesn't need Saudi Arabia anymore. The U.S. can get all the oil it wants from Iraq. The U.S. no longer has to send planes from Saudi bases to patrol the skies over Iraq.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The security environment here is different today than it was six weeks ago.

SCHNEIDER: The U.S. has more options for basing forces in the region, with less risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If in fact the Americans can operate from Qatar in Al Udeid as effectively as they did in Saudi Arabia, without the political sensitivities, presumably, to the Saudis of an American military presence, then so much the better for both sides.

(on camera): The marriage of convenience between the United States and Saudi Arabia may be ending. And you know what happens when a marriage ends. The U.S. can finally tell the Saudis what it really thinks about their system and their policies.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: When the U.S. put troops in Saudi Arabia to get Iraq's army out of Kuwait, few imagined that an Islamic militant outraged by the presence of so-called infidels in Islam's birthplace would end up using four hijacked jets to devastating effect some 10 years later. So, too, the effects of the U.S.' departure may be unpredictable and far-reaching for politics, defense and international relations.

That's why we have with us tonight senior White House correspondent John King; in Baghdad, senior international correspondent Nic Robertson; and senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre -- a lot of seniors with us this evening.

John, we are going to start with you tonight.

How is the White House viewing this realignment?

KING: Well, the White House thinks, from a military perspective -- and Jamie can give the numbers much better than I can -- that it just makes sense.

From a political perspective, the White House believe it does ease internal pressure on the Saudi regime. When there are fewer and certainly fewer acknowledged U.S. troops in that country, the Saudi regime has more room to maneuver, if you will, internally. The White House hopes and will demand that the Saudis use that space, if you will, to adopt some political reforms and to crack down even more on the financial sources that go out to al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.

The administration says the Saudis are cooperating, but that they could do more. With less internal pressure, less protests about U.S. troops on the ground there, the White House believes the Saudi regime now has the political maneuverability to do even more.

ZAHN: Jamie, what is the military advantage of moving these operations to Qatar?

MCINTYRE: Well, the military advantage is, they don't have to deal with a government that wants to pretend that the U.S. troops aren't really there.

The Saudi Arabian government always had this relationship with the U.S. military. They said: You can do anything you want, just as long as nobody knows about it or we can deny it. And that made it very difficult sometimes for the United States to do what it wanted to do. Now the pretense can be over. The U.S. can do what it wants from other bases in the region. And Saudi Arabia doesn't have to pretend that the U.S. is not there.

The big fear of this ruling royal family is from its own people, that it'll be seen as too close to the United States and that will foment some rebellion in the country. And the U.S. has always been sensitive to that. And that is why it has not been able to push Saudi Arabia sometimes as much as it would like on various issues -- Paula.

ZAHN: Nic, clearly, the presence of these U.S. troops also fomented probably the mobilization of al Qaeda activities. How is this change being perceived in the Arab world? Is this perceived as a win for Osama bin Laden, who wanted the so-called infidels out of Saudi Arabia all along?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's unlikely to be perceived as a win for him. At this time, al Qaeda really doesn't appear to be a strong force. It hasn't had a successful large-scale action for some time. One shouldn't say that they're not capable of doing it.

So Osama bin Laden cannot be seen as having won. But this was a key demand of his. Perhaps, the broader perspective in the region at this time is that there are many other groups who are looking for grudges against the United States. And they might choose the Palestinian cause as one. And many of them might try and pick up on the cause of some Shiites -- not all, of course -- inside Iraq.

So while it's a movement out of one country into another and a shift of emphasis, perhaps, focusing on Iraq at this time, there's no shortage of people who will pick up Osama bin Laden's cause. And perhaps with any number of U.S. troops in the region, there's always the danger that there are people who are going to use that issue. One thinks of the Shiite holy towns of Karbala and Najaf, as important, almost, almost, to Shias as the holy towns in Saudi Arabia, as Mecca. It only needs someone here to pick up that same cause and you have another Osama bin Laden-type figure.

ZAHN: John, over the last couple of weeks, on a number of issues, you have taken us behind closed doors and given us an idea when the administration seems to be on the same page and when sometimes there's some discord. On this issue, give us your assessment. Is everybody on the same page here?

KING: Absolutely, no discord at all.

The administration, from Secretary Powell to Secretary Rumsfeld and the president of the United States, Vice President Cheney, who is very influential when it comes to military matters and the Middle East, all believe that the United States can significantly reduce its military footprint, as they call it at the Pentagon, in the region.

And, politically, again, they believe that this gives the Saudi government more leeway to act internally on some things that are very sensitive. And they believe it gives the administration more of a club, if you will, in putting pressure on the Saudis to act.

ZAHN: Jamie, is this seen as a permanent shift?

MCINTYRE: Pretty much, although I just want to -- when you talk about the footprint in the area, it's true that the U.S. is probably no longer going to have the 5,000 troops it had in Saudi Arabia and the planes that went with them.

But for the foreseeable future, the U.S. is going to have a huge footprint in the area, because senior Pentagon officials conceded to me today that, even in a best-case scenario, the U.S. is not going to get its troops out of Iraq for probably two or three years at this point. So, in the short term, at least, the U.S. will have a rather large footprint in the area.

And then how it shakes out in the years ahead, where they end up basing forces in the region and what the forces might be needed to do, it's really too early to say. But it doesn't look like the United States is going to need Saudi Arabia again in a big way any time real soon.

ZAHN: Nic, finally tonight, is Qatar concerned at all about any backlash that it might be perceived as a U.S. satellite state in the Arab world?

ROBERTSON: There is. There has to be that fear. Perhaps it's out of sight, out of mind. The Al Udeid Air Base is, to a degree, out of sight of most Qataris, so perhaps from that point of view.

And it's not such a sensitive country, if you will, as Saudi Arabia. So perhaps it is a case of out of sight, out of mind. But any country in the Arab world at this time would have to be concerned of its relationship with the United States and how that will be perceived in the broader Gulf and Arab community.

ZAHN: We are going to have to leave it there with our senior correspondents -- not senior chronologically, but in terms of their experience level here tonight.

John King, Jamie McIntyre, Nic Robertson, thank you all.

And that wraps it up for all of us here on LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES. Thanks so much for being with us. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night. "LARRY KING" is up next.

Have a good rest of the night.

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