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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Do recent bombings in Saudi Arabia mark the return of Osama bin Laden?

Aired May 16, 2003 - 19:00   ET

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

ANNOUNCER: Do recent bombings in Saudi Arabia mark the return of Osama bin Laden?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been targets of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda since the very day they were formed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will do whatever we need to do in order to confront and destroy the organization and the people who did this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Is the terrorist leader alive and deadly?

China halts adoptions to prospective parents in other countries, hoping to stop the spread of SARS. Will the deadly disease permanently come between Chinese children an adoptive homes in the U.S.?

And President George W. Bush, starring in some of the most eye- popping presidential theater ever staged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A long year's passed since enemies attacked our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, using images, television and technology to promote the presidency.

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Daryn Kagan in New York.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. It is Friday, May 16. Paula has the night off tonight.

But a lot is happening here in New York City. You might see a lot of action behind me through the window. The Daytime Emmy Awards are taking place across the city right now at Radio City Music Hall. The biggest names in soap operas and game shows and talk shows there across the street right now, hoping for that coveted Emmy.

We'll have more on that in just a little bit.

Let's go ahead, meanwhile, and take a look at some other stories we are working on this evening.

It is one week later, about 10 miles east and another tractor trailer full of immigrants is discovered. We're in southern Texas with that story.

Also ahead, a battle between the giants, basketball great Yao Ming and a custody case. The Houston Rockets star caught between Coke and Pepsi. And we'll have that story a little bit later.

But first, 15 high schoolers were told to start turning themselves in today. It's all on charges related to the videotaped hazing incident earlier this month. Prosecutors say that six juniors were injured. One required 10 stitches.

Our Chicago bureau chief Jeff Flock joins us now with the details -- Jeff, good evening.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, good evening to you.

Well, if getting your picture plastered on international TV wasn't bad enough, and then if being suspended and perhaps expelled wasn't bad enough, today was the worst of it. We've got pictures from Skokie, Illinois outside the courthouse there, where a dozen girls and three boys turned themselves in, most of them accompanied by their lawyers, as you see there.

The charge is misdemeanor battery. No felony charges, but prosecutors say there could be more charges before they're done. Misdemeanor battery is punishable by up to very nearly a year in jail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK DEVINE, COOK COUNTY PROSECUTOR: I want to stress that this is a situation where we do not have what you'd call a harmless prank. There were victims in this case. One victim had 10 stitches in her head. There are possible concussions. And it simply is the kind of behavior that any community cannot tolerate and will not tolerate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLOCK: Now, Daryn, lawyers understand that much of the evidence against their clients will be videotaped evidence. There are, of course, a number of these tapes that you're watching now out there. But some of the attorneys that we spoke with today said their clients did not participate in any of the violent acts, but they were charged anyway, just for being there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAM ADAM, JR., DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This was not what we would call a happy moment. We are all understanding that this is a tragic situation, seeing that some people got hurt. But Tanya's role in all of that was not in a violent capacity. It was more in mere presence at the scene. And that will come out at the trial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLOCK: And, Daryn, the other headlines from today, number one, authorities say they are getting very little cooperation from the parents or anybody else in the community involved. They are all, what one person said was, lawyered up and being instructed not to cooperate. There are also separate lawsuits, you know, from the parents of the students against the school board for suspending and perhaps expelling their students. Those are going forward, but a judge ruled today, again, that she will not step in until that discipline process has run its course.

Which means, of course, that the 32 students who have been suspended will not be going to the senior prom, which is now about 24 hours away -- Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: So no prom for them.

I was listening to this news conference earlier today, Jeff, and the prosecutor saying a big question, a big part of this investigation is the alcohol that was there and who provided the booze. It sounds like people aren't coming forward to volunteer that information, as well.

FLOCK: They are getting no cooperation, they say, in terms of that. You know, this is a reasonably affluent community. Perhaps the first thing you do if you're affluent and you're in that situation is you get a lawyer, and that's just what's happened. And the Cook County states attorney said today because of that, they're being instructed not to cooperate with authorities. And so they don't really know how that all unfolded.

KAGAN: As you said, lawyered up, a very interesting term there.

Jeff Flock in Chicago, thank you so much.

Well, we have news of yet another case of kids behaving badly. It still has Chicago talking today. As we told you last night, dozens of teenagers took over the home of a vacationing family. They trashed the place to the tune of an estimated $100,000 in damages. The family says the culprit is or was a friend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BARTOLOMUCCI, CLAIMS EX-FRIEND LED DESTRUCTION OF HIS HOME: It has to be the biggest act of betrayal that I have ever even heard of in my entire life of stories of everyone that I've talked to. I mean having your best -- he was my best friend, by far, and then I go on vacation and he destroys like my entire house and steals all my belongings, it's just completely uncalled for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Well, this is the second such incident in the area. They've been talking about it on "The Steve Dahl Show" on Chicago's WCKG-FM.

And he joins us now for the second time this week.

Actually joining us now. Steve, what do you think about this? What are your viewers saying?

STEVE DAHL, "THE STEVE DAHL SHOW": I don't need a lawyer, right?

KAGAN: No, you don't. You're not lawyered up, Steve.

DAHL: I don't need a lawyer for it?

KAGAN: You're not lawyered up. So you need to talk.

DAHL: All right. All right, good.

KAGAN: What are your viewers telling you when you talk about this?

DAHL: Well, I'm on the radio so they're just listening, I would hope.

KAGAN: OK, sorry about that. A little TV slip there.

DAHL: They're -- no, that's all right. That's all right.

You know, can I just tell you what my take on this is?

KAGAN: OK, go ahead.

DAHL: I'm a father. I have a 22-year-old, a 20-year-old and an 18-year-old. And this is the perfect example of why my no sleepovers in high school rule was brilliant. Because if you don't get to sleep over...

KAGAN: Your kids were not allowed to go to sleepovers?

DAHL: In high school.

Doris Kearns Goodwin wow.

DAHL: And they're all, they're all functioning members of society today. So I've got that going for me.

No, when I was kid my parents used to act like this. What's happened? Now the kids are crazy. What's with the kids?

KAGAN: Now the kids are out of control.

Wait, let's get back to the listeners, as you corrected me so well there. Are people outraged? Are people just saying this is kids today? Are they embarrassed that all of this publicity is coming to young people in the Chicago area?

DAHL: Well, I guess it's been kind of a bad week for us, yes. I mean there are plenty of good kids, you know? I went to a Madrigal (ph) concert last night for my youngest son and the teacher pointed out that these kids have been practicing, you know, two hours in the morning and two hours after school for four years and you don't hear about that. So we have plenty of good kids here.

I'm thinking that we need to have -- I saw the dad from the house in Wheaton saying that he was trying to be a good dad and so he made the code simple. He made it 9999. I'm thinking we need to have tougher codes on our garages.

But I don't know. I mean I think everybody understands that it's a matter for the police, in this particular case, the house break-in.

KAGAN: Right.

DAHL: And the prosecutors, and they'll take care of it.

KAGAN: Let me ask you specifically, because Jeff Flock, at the end of his report there, brought up something that I think is getting a lot of attention, or at least getting people a little ticked off across the country. That is, the parents of some of these girls, perhaps some of the boys, that have actually filed lawsuits against the school district there for Glenbrook North High School, saying you can't punish my kid like that. Do you know how that's going to hurt my kid as she tries to get into college?

DAHL: Well, I think that's part of the reason that the kids go nuts, you know, as we've seen on the videos, because what kind of pressure is that to put on a kid when you say one mistake is going to ruin your life? That's impossible. And I also think that, you know, the parents need to get out in front of this a little bit more and, you know, make the kids apologize, make the kids accountable for what they've done. And obviously it seems to me that's part of the reason that it's happened, is because they haven't done that.

KAGAN: All right, Steve Dahl...

DAHL: I mean I don't think anybody's apologized to the people in Wheaton so.

KAGAN: Not yet.

Still, many apologies due in the Chicago area.

Steve Dahl from WCKG-FM.

DAHL: And I apologize for it. I apologize.

KAGAN: What are you apologizing for?

DAHL: I'm sorry. For this, you know, if it was bad.

KAGAN: No, you did just fine.

DAHL: All right.

KAGAN: Thank you so much. No apologies needed. Steve, thanks a lot.

Moving on to a very serious story taking place in the southern part of Texas, and that has to do with the immigration situation with the trucks. For the second time this week, there has been a truck crammed with suspected illegal immigrants found in southern Texas.

Before we get to that part of the story, we need to tell you that this is coming along the same stretch of highway near Victoria as another truck in which 19 people have died. In fact, CNN has confirmed it is now 19 people, not 18 people, who have died. That death toll goes up in the first incident.

Now, to get information on the second incident with yet another truck, let's bring in Jeff McShan.

He's with our affiliate KHOU and he has more.

JEFF MCSHAN, KHOU CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good afternoon.

Basically what happened, early this morning they got a phone call, authorities here in this area, at 10:45, a 911 call. And so for the second time, as you mentioned, in as many days, authorities have uncovered a tractor trailer truck carrying human cargo. But luckily, thankfully, all of them were found alive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCSHAN (voice-over): It was 10:45 this morning. Someone, a motorist at this rest area along U.S. 59, called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The caller reported suspicious activity. Sheriffs deputies responded to the location and found 18 individuals who were suspected as being illegal aliens.

MCSHAN: Tired immigrants that were found in the back of this 18 wheeler, a tractor trailer rig. Thankfully, this time they were all found alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I attribute this, and I describe it as a near tragedy because, you know, but for the grace of god, it could be just like it was a couple of days ago and we could be talking about dead bodies. And I'm really glad that that didn't happen.

MCSHAN: All 18, including the driver, were taken into custody by federal authorities. Authorities that have recently increased its patrols after the tragedy that took place here just two days ago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCSHAN: Now, the 18 immigrants, including the driver, are no longer here in south Texas, as far as Victoria County is concerned. They've been transported to nearby San Antonio, where they are being processed by the ICE Team, the Immigration Customs Enforcement Team. They are trying to get to the bottom of this, to find out who is responsible for this latest human smuggling -- back to you. KAGAN: Jeff McShan with our affiliate KHOU.

Thank you for that report.

Now let's go ahead and take a look at some other stories making news across America tonight.

We begin in California, where divers returned to San Francisco Bay. They are looking for unretrieved clues, especially whatever may have weighed down Laci Peterson's body before it washed ashore last month along with the remains of her unborn son.

A $5,000 boat and dock, Rolling Stones tickets for his daughter and a $1,000 cowboy hat are some of the gifts that President Bush reported in this year's financial disclosure firm. In all, the White House says that he listed assets of at least $8.8 million. Vice President Cheney reported at least $19 million in assets.

Nearly 2,000 people in Marquette, Michigan are getting a first look at their flooded homes. An evacuation order was lifted after a dam failure sent water into homes and roads. At some points, the water was 12 feet high.

And they're hoping to escape a soggy situation right here in New York tonight. The drama is building off the set of hundreds of soap opera stars, TV show hosts and other fans. It's the 30th annual Daytime Emmy Awards Show. It's being held right over there, right across the street at Radio City Music Hall.

And that's where our Jason Carroll is, along the red carpet tonight -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm right alongside you here tonight, Daryn.

How are you doing?

We're right here along the red carpet, where you can see we've got sort of a backlog here as some of the celebrities are waiting to move along. One of the people that you see there, Nancy Lee Grand (ph). She is nominated tonight for her role in "General Hospital." A lot of people are talking about two particular categories tonight. They're talking about outstanding drama series, so there's sure to be a lot of action in that. And also the outstanding talk show. We've got Wayne Brady (ph) first time nominee. He's going to be heading down the red carpet a little bit later. He's also going to be hosting the show tonight. You also have the ladies from "The View." They're going to be down here, as well.

A lot of excitement down here in New York on the red carpet. Everyone waiting for the show to get under way. And we're going to have some of the early highlights for you coming up later in the show -- Daryn.

KAGAN: So, Jason, all those years of watching all those soap operas finally paying off for you tonight. CARROLL: You know what, Daryn? I've actually never seen a soap opera. So this is new for me. But I'm enjoying it.

KAGAN: That's good. It is a glamour moment and you're doing a good job.

We're going to check in with Jason a little bit later to see how things are going.

And as he was mentioning, plenty of other stars besides the soap opera stars out there tonight.

Still to come this evening, it is a year and a half later -- how strong is al Qaeda and what are they capable of next?

Also tonight, how the SARS epidemic may keep thousands of would be parents from the children that they long to hold.

And also a little bit later, President Bush using the office to polish the image, sending a presidential image, building a political campaign, or both?

This is LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES on Friday evening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAGAN: Let's start with news that we're just getting into us here at CNN.

We're getting word that there have been a number of blasts heard in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. What might be behind those blasts? It's still unclear. We're working on getting details on that. But once again, blasts heard in the Moroccan city of Casablanca.

That leads right into our lead here of fears of terrorism topping our look at the world tonight.

Kenya is beefing up security and urging tourists to ignore warnings to stay away from the country. U.S. and British authorities have warned of terrorist threats in East Africa and the British have even suspended flights to and from Kenya.

Colombia's government has stepped up its war on cocaine. Officials showed off more than three tons of the drug seized during a raid. The country's interior minister says an aggressive defoliation campaign aimed at cocoa plantations would mean Colombia would cease to be a major cocaine exporter by the end of the year.

And the Iraqi National Congress believes it has located a mass grave where 600 Kuwaiti prisoners of war who have been missing since 1991 are buried. CNN has not independently confirmed that report, but has sent a crew to the site to investigate.

President Bush says, "We are still at war," adding that this week's bombing in Saudi Arabia gave many people around the world a wake up call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: We brought to justice about half of the al Qaeda network, operatives, key operatives. And so the other half still lives. And we'll find them, one at a time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: National security correspondent David Ensor reports that U.S. officials are more than convinced than ever that al Qaeda was behind this week's attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well placed U.S. sources say there is evidence the terrorists who attacked three sites in Riyadh Monday night believed they had orders to do so from the top al Qaeda leadership. The working assumption of U.S. investigators, therefore, is that the orders may have come from Osama bin Laden himself. But U.S. officials warn they do not have any evidence in hand so far that bin Laden himself gave a go signal for the attacks.

With some reports questioning whether the Saudis responded to American requests for better security, the Saudi government held a news conference in Washington Friday to express sorrow and resolve.

NAIL AL-JUBEIR: Have we failed? Yes. On Monday, we failed. And we will learn from this mistake. We will ensure that it doesn't happen again and if anything this -- the tragic events of Monday have been a massive jolt to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, to all peace loving people around the world.

ENSOR: Al-Jubeir denied a report that White House official Steven Hadley, when he visited Riyadh recently, brought specific intelligence about threats to housing compounds.

AL-JUBEIR: I think that that visit has been mischaracterized.

ENSOR: U.S. and Saudi sources say the two nations agreed before the attacks to set up a new, secure communications system at the U.S. Embassy, allowing the two to share intelligence reports in greater detail and with much greater speed.

AL-JUBEIR: One of the suggestions we offered to the U.S. government about two weeks ago was just that, that we will have one unit working together instantaneously.

ENSOR: But there are more immediate concerns. The State Department warned that an attack could occur in the near future in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. U.S. officials are calling the intelligence leading to the warning credible, if unconfirmed.

BUSH: It's just dangerous in the world. And it's dangerous inside Saudi Arabia and it's dangerous so long as al Qaeda continues to operate. And so we'll chase them down. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR: There is also information suggesting terrorists may be plotting attacks in Southeast Asia, some other Middle Eastern countries and East Africa. The State Department has now authorized non-essential U.S. personnel to leave Kenya as well as any U.S. families that may want to do so, saying they're just being prudent.

Back to you -- Daryn.

KAGAN: David Ensor in Washington.

David, thank you for that.

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