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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
6.1 Earthquake Strikes Iran; Saddam Hussein's Trial Resumes Tomorrow
Aired November 27, 2005 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: "Now in the News," a 6.1 earthquake has struck southern Iran. Two news agencies quote officials as saying two villages have been destroyed.
Now, the quake was centered on the city of Bandar Abbas on the Persian gulf coast. It's about 940 miles from the capital, Tehran.
When Saddam Hussein's war crimes trial resumes tomorrow, he will have a highly regarded American legal adviser on his defense team. Former U.S. attorney general and civil rights lawyer Ramsey Clark will do consulting work for Hussein's defense team. The former Iraqi dictator and six other defendants face charges of mass murder.
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's desire to shore up the compromised levees around New Orleans has her hosting the world's experts in flood protection, the Dutch. A delegation of engineers from the Netherlands begin a two-day visit to the bayou today. They're suggesting what should be done to protect New Orleans from future flooding.
And what you are seeing is just rehearsal, but about 90 minutes ago Olympic officials really did light the flame for the upcoming winter games in Italy. Appropriately enough, that flame was sparked in the game's birthplace, ancient Olympia, Greece. The 2066 winter games begin February 10.
Well, good morning. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
It's November 27, a big travel day. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Tony Harris is on afternoon duty today.
It's 7:00 a.m. here in the East, 6:00 a.m. in New Orleans. We want to thank you for being with us on, as we mentioned, one of the busiest travel days of the year. And we'll get you posted on all of that.
Speaking of, chaos and commotion, that may be the best way to sum up what Thanksgiving travelers can expect as they head back home today. Take a look at these pictures right now. Depending on where you are or where you are headed, it could be one messy commute, as rain and tornadoes and even ice gets factored into this equation.
Now, the top left-hand corner, we're looking at Miami there. And then the right hand, you have Atlanta, where it's still kind of dark here. Skies in Boston are a little lit at this hour. And Chicago is still all dark.
Right now everything looks fine from a distance, but when you get on the ground, on the roadways, or even in the air, you may see some problems. And we're going to talk about all that and get you caught up on exactly where the trouble spots are.
Today's Thanksgiving travelers hope that they don't find the same problem Steve Martin did. You know that movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." Yes, hopefully it's not one of those messes today. But just about anything is possible. More travelers are expected today than the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Lindsey Arent is live at Reagan National Airport in Washington with the latest.
Good morning, Lindsey. I imagine the lines have already begun.
LINDSEY ARENT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Betty.
You know, the surprise here is how uncrowded things are, how calm things are. There's no mayhem, there's no pushing, there's no crowds as of yet. Now, of course, that is because it is still early in the morning.
I have spoken to baggage handlers, baggage personnel, airline counter attendants, the passengers, travelers. Everybody seems to say the same thing: right now no anxiety. People are calm. People are not concerned.
They've all gotten to the airport early. And yet, things are going incredibly smoothly.
I actually talked to one passenger here with me, Jonathan Dorfman of Boston.
Jonathan, how has it been for you so far today?
JONATHAN DORFMAN, TRAVELER: Incredibly easy. This morning was a breeze. We left a little bit early, but encountered no traffic. Had a wonderful conversation with a Kurdish cab driver, and he was happy to be in America. So it was just wonderful.
ARENT: No anxiety about what might happen in the hours to come as you head toward Boston? It is one of the busiest travel days of the year.
DORFMAN: We have no anxiety at all. My wife is a little upset because she wants to get going, but no anxiety at all.
ARENT: OK. Well, we'll let you get to your flight. Thanks a lot for your time.
DORFMAN: Thank you.
ARENT: Let me add here that after talking to a few experts here at the airport, they are normally on an average day expecting 20,000 to 25,000 people passing through Reagan National Airport, just outside D.C. Today they are expecting double, about 50,000.
So far, though, you wouldn't knowing it. There's absolutely no trouble whatsoever. We talked to a lot of passengers, several of whom said they've got no problems at all.
Let's take a listen.
Well, it looks like we're waiting for that sound to happen, but so far, as I said again, Betty, no issues whatsoever. I imagine within a few hours we'll see a little more trouble and crowds as the day wears on.
NGUYEN: Yes. I was about to say, I mean, come on, it's still very early in the morning, and I imagine as the day rolls on and those lines start to really get long, things are going to be crowded.
What is the airport or the airlines saying about how much time people should give themselves when they go to the airport today?
ARENT: You know, on a standard day you would think at least one and a half hours, especially in the post-9/11 era. Today you've seen people coming here as early as two hours if advance, and yet, again, I can't stress enough, the level of anxiety is so low among these travelers.
Every single person we spoke to -- we spoke to several -- has claimed that they just are simply not that anxious. You see a lot more personnel out here than normal. So things do seem to be running very smoothly -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Yes. I'm going to hold you to that. And when we talk to you a little bit later, I'm going to ask you about that anxiety level, because I imagine it's going to continue to rise through the day.
Thank you, Lindsey.
NGUYEN: So, since so many people are going places, let's see who is going where, and if this year is different from the years past.
Mantill Williams of AAA joins us now from Washington to talk about just that.
Good morning. Thanks for being with us.
MANTILL WILLIAMS, AAA: Good morning. Thank you for having me, Betty.
NGUYEN: People are headed back home today. This is supposed to be one of if not the busiest travel day so far. How busy do you expect it to be?
WILLIAMS: Well, overall, Betty, we're expecting over 37 million people to be traveling. NGUYEN: Wow.
WILLIAMS: And that's actually up less than one percent form the previous year. So, although we're modest growth, very kind of almost flat growth, we are going to have the largest number of people on the highways and in the airport this is year.
NGUYEN: Are you surprised by that growth? Because there was a lot of talk about the high gas prices, the high cost of heating, that many folks may just want to stay home and save their money. Are you surprised that you actually had an increase in travelers?
WILLIAMS: No, we're not surprised, Betty, because what we found historically is that high gas prices alone do not prevent people from traveling. It may alter their travel somewhat, but you'll be hard- pressed to tell grandma or your mother-in-law that you can't -- you can't come see them because you can't pay that extra $10 at the gas station.
NGUYEN: Yes, you might get in a little bit of trouble if you try to pass that one off, saying, oh, it costs too much to come see you on Thanksgiving.
OK. But here is what could prevent people from doing this, again, when the holidays continue to roll on, say, Christmas, New Year's, is if there's bad weather out there and the traffic backups both on the roadways and the airways are just horrendous. How is the weather supposed to play into all of this today?
WILLIAMS: Well, right now, so far, so good. We -- you know, they are expecting some snow or some ice in the Northeast, and that's probably the biggest problem for motorists. So we suggest that all motorists check the weather where you are, as well as where you are headed. Don't take the weather for granted, because this time of the year the weather can change in an instant.
So we suggest that you make sure you pack a little winter survival kit, such as make sure you have your cell phone, extra blankets, and something to mark your location just in case you do break down.
NGUYEN: Yes, that's good advice there. But do you expect that this could maybe cause backups not only for today, but could spill into the workweek as well?
WILLIAMS: Yes, I think so. I think heading out, for instance, on Thursday, we had some issues up in the Great Lakes area, where we did see a few accidents, a few crashes caused by the weather. So, again, the best thing to do is to make sure you take your time and make sure you buckle up, because this time of year the weather can change in an instant.
NGUYEN: And this time of the morning it seems like things are smooth-going. So that leads me to my next question. When is the best time to travel home from a holiday weekend? Everybody wants to know. WILLIAMS: Well, the best time to travel home is to leave early, if possible. Of course, you want to finish watching your show -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Yes, not until after the show is done.
WILLIAMS: That's right. But after the show is done, you need to get on the road, leave as early as possible. You want to try to target to hit your destination and leave from your destination before 12:00 noon.
WILLIAMS: 12:00 noon to the early evening, that's when you're going to get your peak times.
NGUYEN: That's when the backups start. OK.
Now, do you expect Christmas and New Year's travel to be just as busy?
WILLIAMS: Yes, we think so. We think Christmas and New Year's travel overall will be up slightly. Probably less than one percent.
And the reality is, is that more people travel during Christmas and New Year's really than any other time during the year. It's just spread out over a two or three-week period...
WILLIAMS: ... when you don't have that high concentration of travel as you do with Thanksgiving travel.
NGUYEN: Well, you have a happy holiday, what's left of it. I know it's Sunday. Hopefully you are not traveling somewhere, but if you do, stay safe. Thanks for talking with us today.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
NGUYEN: This highway warning sign says it all. Read it there: "Winter driving conditions ahead." Here are some of the conditions facing travelers today. We just talked about a little of them -- a few of them just moments ago.
In the Rockies, a winter storm is dumping up to 20 inches of snow. You see it there. Oh, that snow began Saturday afternoon, and there have already been several accidents. No surprise.
Visibility on Colorado's I-70 is near zero. Now you see why there are so many accidents. So you want to watch that area because road closings have already occurred.
In the Sierra Mountains of California and Nevada, a quick-moving storm brought up to four inches of snow, causing delays for mountain motorists, but raising the hopes of skiers and snow borders. Yes, they like the sound of that, four inches of fresh powder. If your trip takes you over go over Donner Pass, you will need chains.
So, let's get the latest on weather conditions not only there, but around the rest of the nation. This morning, look who we have, Monica McNeal.
Good morning to you, Monica.
MONICA MCNEAL, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Betty. I'll tell you what, it's a mess out there so far.
NGUYEN: Oh, I know.
NGUYEN: Stay tuned for CNN. We have all the latest on your holiday travel advisories. We're also going to have updates for you every 30 minutes or even earlier if warranted.
Stories "Across America" now.
This morning an emergency landing for White House chief of staff Andrew Card yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee. Card and 12 others were on board a small twin engine plane when smoke began pouring out of the cockpit. The plane did touch down safely.
In Seattle, firefighters have carried out one of the youngest passengers and many others after the city's only two monorail trains collided last night. Two riders went to the hospital for minor injuries. The mile-long track, popular with tourists, was built in 1962 for Seattle's World Fair, but earlier this month city voters rejected a proposed expansion.
Officials with the Nation of Islam are denying any involvement with the suspect shown on this surveillance video trashing an Oakland, California, liquor store. Police say the vandals dressed in consistent -- or the vandals' dress is consistent with the Nation of Islam members who wear -- who fire back, and police are singling them out as unfair.
Now, the baby-making method is not discussed very much anymore. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are we looking at here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next generation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Yes, but this generation wants to know who their biological father is. And they're using technology to make that happen. Wait until you hear this story. It's really an interesting one.
And can you name the biggest turkey of the year? Yes, we're not talking the kind of turkey that you had for Thanksgiving. Here's a hint: he's also a self-proclaimed fashion god.
NGUYEN: If you're just joining us, these are the top stories at this hour. And you'll want to brace yourself.
Here's a life picture of St. Louis. It's all dark right now. But as you know, millions of holiday travelers are taking to the roads and skies today, which is traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year. AAA estimates about 31 million people traveled at least 50 miles from their home this Thanksgiving weekend.
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu is discussing flood protection with a visiting Dutch delegation. As you know, Holland, like many -- or like much of New Orleans, is below sea level and has an advanced storm protection system.
And a former U.S. attorney general is in Baghdad to help the defense in the Saddam Hussein trial. Ramsey Clark, now a civil rights attorney and activist, will be a consultant and legal adviser to the deposed leader's defense team. Hussein's trial is set to resume tomorrow, and as CNN has learned, defense attorneys will request a three-month delay.
Here's our question for you this morning. Would a conviction of Saddam Hussein improve President Bush's ratings? Tell us what you think. We're at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two prisoners are still at large after a jail break from a county jail in Yakima, Washington.
CNN's Fredricka Whitfield has the story.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Nine inmates broke out of the Yakima County Jail in southern Washington State Friday night. Five were caught on prison property. Police launched a manhunt for the remaining four escapees, catching two of them within 24 hours.
JEFF BROOKS, YAKIMA RESIDENT: He didn't have any shoes on. And he was running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With bare feet or socks?
BROOKS: With bare feet. And it looked like his feet was hurting because e-- and he was like kind of -- like he done ran a long way.
WHITFIELD: Police say the nine had at least one accomplice waiting outside the prison to drive them away. CPL. KEN RINK, PRISON SPOKESMAN: These nine inmates that escaped on Friday night went up through the ceiling of the cell, and they found a different path to get up to the roof. So all that's being looked at. You know, the investigation isn't complete, by any means. So, when we get all done with this, we're going to know what has to be fixed to fix that so it's not going to happen again.
WHITFIELD: Police say the men, wearing their prison-issued blue denim, climbed out a top floor cell through the ceiling, making their way to the roof. They used prison bed sheets knotted together to shimmy down three stories to the roof of the jail's annex where it was low enough to jump to the ground. But not everyone made it.
CHIEF WILL PAULAKIS, COUNTY DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: Three of them were captured on top of the annex roof. One was captured on the main facility roof, which is up on the top of the building. A fifth one was captured by one of our officers outside on the ground.
WHITFIELD: Saturday, a phone tip led authorities to two of the fugitives cowering in an attic not far from the jail. Police call inmates Terry Moser and Santos Luera the architects of the escape plan.
All the escapees are considered dangerous. Luera was in jail on charges of second-degree murder, accused of shooting his half-brother. His trial is scheduled to start next month. Moser is charged with assault.
Fredricka Whitfield, CNN, Atlanta.
NGUYEN: In other news, it is the busiest travel day of the year. Are you driving or flying home today? These folks in this live picture in Detroit are obviously driving. We have your weather and traffic updates every 30 minutes right here on CNN. So you'll want to stay tuned.
And who is the biggest political turkey of the year? CNN's Bill Schneider looks at the top five. Can you guess the winner?
Don't want to forget "AMERICAN MORNING" starts at a new time tomorrow morning. You can watch Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern.
NGUYEN: So, have you had your fill of turkey? Trust me, you still have room for more. CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider went on a turkey hunt, shall we say, and found the biggest and the juiciest turkeys of 2005. See if his list matches yours.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): It seems like every day is Turkey Day in politics. Another chance for politicians to do something foolish. Just look at who made our list of this year's political "Turkeys of the Year."
Turkey number five, the turkey-nator. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger picked fights with nurses, teachers, firefighters and legislators. He called a special election to show them who is boss. And guess what happened? They kicked his butt.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CA: I should have listened to my wife. She said to me, "Don't do this."
SCHNEIDER: Turkey four. Pat Robertson called down the wrath of God upon the voters of Dover, Pennsylvania. Why? Because they voted out the school board that had mandated the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.
PAT ROBERTSON, CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city.
SCHNEIDER: That was a few months after Robertson called on the U.S. to take out Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Ayatollahs issue fatwas. Pat Robertson issues Pat-was.
Turkey three, in 2004, Mayor Randy Kelly of St. Paul, Minnesota made his choice.
RANDY KELLY, FORMER MAYOR, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA: This November, George W. Bush has my endorsement for president of the United States.
SCHNEIDER: The only problem -- Kelly's a Democrat. And John Kerry took 73 percent of the vote in St. Paul last year. So this year, St. Paul voters made their choice, they threw Kelly out of office. By a margin of better than two to one. Nearly two-thirds of St. Paul voters said Kelly's endorsement of Bush influenced their decision.
Turkey two. In a crisis, political leaders are supposed to sound like they're in control of a situation, even if they're not. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco did not sound very reassuring during Hurricane Katrina, or even three months later.
GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO, (D) LA: Here in Louisiana, we feel like we're citizens of the United States who are nearly forgotten. It's a very frustrating thing. People are weary.
SCHNEIDER: The governor angered voters by ordering huge budget cuts. "TIME" magazine called Governor Blanco's cautious and deliberative approach a liability, and rated her one of the nation's worst governors. We'll let the president introduce the turkey of the year.
BUSH: Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.
SCHNEIDER: Michael Brown, failed congressional candidate. Ousted commissioner of the International Arabian Horses Association. Self-styled fashion God and clueless federal emergency management director.
BROWN: The federal government didn't know about the convention center people until today.
SCHNEIDER: How is that again?
BROWN: I misspoke on Thursday when I said we were just learning of it. What I meant was, we were learning about it 24 hours earlier.
SCHNEIDER: Can I quit now? Can I come home, Brown wrote to his deputy the morning of the hurricane? The answer is yes.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
NGUYEN: It's just so odd.
Well, do you know who your daddy is? These five children -- take a look -- found each other through the Internet. And one thing that they do have in common is donor 66. So will they find their biological father? That story later this hour on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
ARENT: I'm Lindsey Arent, live at Reagan National Airport, just outside Washington, D.C., where things are beginning to slowly heat up in what will be one of the busiest holiday travel days of the year. We'll have the latest on what you should do to make sure you make your flight coming up.
NGUYEN: This just in to CNN. We are getting more information on that earthquake that has hit Iran today. Magnitude 6.1 earthquake according to the U.S. Geological Survey and we understand at this point so far five people are confirmed dead. We have on the phone with us freelance journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr to talk about the situation there. What do you know about the casualties and injuries at this point?
SHIRZAD BOZORGMEHR, JOURNALIST: The official figures for casualties is five dead and more than a dozen injured, and so far they confirmed that four villages have been leveled. There's been landslides from a mountain as a result of the quake. There's also been an aftershock maybe 4.1 on the Richter scale which took place 20 minutes after the major one, the main one. The population of 120,000 in Qeshm Island were really frightened apparently and came out in the street. The quake was felt at least 20 miles away in the major port of Bandar Abbas. And also, across the Persian Gulf into Dubai and other Persian Gulf countries. Qeshm Island is the biggest Persian Gulf island and with a population of 120,000. It's not that many, and hopefully the number of casualties would remain low, but there's no guarantee.
NGUYEN: For our American audience, help us understand exactly what the landscape is of this island area. Is it a rural area where a lot of the homes may not be equipped to withstand an earthquake of this magnitude?
BOZOGMEHR: That's exactly what it is. The major portion of the island is old buildings, some of them mud brick, some of them just regular bricks, but they're not necessarily earthquake-prone. A lot of the island is in a free trade zone. They're more modern buildings, more sturdy, so that part hopefully there will be less damage, less fatalities, but in the traditional part of the island, unfortunately, the deaths have been numbered up to five and may go up more than that and dozens have been injured.
NGUYEN: Yes, Shirzad, let me ask you one more thing about that. Hopefully that number won't rise, but the question still remains, are there people trapped, and if so, are rescue operations underway right now as we speak?
BOZOGMEHR: Rescue operations have been underway since about an hour ago almost immediately after it happened. The authorities say that local rescue workers have been working and trying to help people. I filmed a major apartment (INAUDIBLE) from the center from Tehran. But getting from Tehran to Qeshm Island is going to take a little bit of time and logistically is difficult, so it's going to take a while. It's now maybe up to the small number of rescue workers...
NGUYEN: Yeah, that is precious time that it's going to take absolutely. Shirzad Bozogmehr, we thank you so much for your reports. (AUDIO GAP) as we get updates on this 6.1 magnitude earthquake that has struck the southern tip of Iran. So far we have learned that five people have been killed and we will keep you posted on the developments as they come in to CNN.
Back here in the U.S. wicked weather causing a problem out there today for holiday travelers. We're going to check in now with Monica McNeal for a look at the weather outside. Oh, look at the map already Monica.
MONICA McNEAL, METEOROLOGIST: It is painted with all kind of colors isn't it Betty? It is a mess this morning. Let's take a look at Detroit. Right now if you live in Detroit, your temperature is 39 degrees. You are getting some mist and some fog out there. Let's take a live look at Detroit right now and show you what's going on. What's left of some snow has been cleared off the roads. It's kind of pushed off to the side. It doesn't look like travel problems are going to be too bad for you right now, but you are going to see some more rain in the forecast.
Back to our live radar to show you what's going on across parts of Green Bay, you can certainly see they're dealing with some rain and in the higher elevations as we travel farther north, there's some snow folks, yeah, definitely. Traveling farther south and just past up St. Louis, your weather is going to be extremely wicked today and even as we travel on down into parts of Montgomery, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida, just a big mess.
There is a major storm system that is set up in the middle of the country and we're going to talk about that in just a moment. In the meantime, St. Louis, you're certainly under the gun for some severe weather today. Your temperature today will reach about 63, but you will see some strong showers and thunderstorms tomorrow, a temperature of 52. Tuesday, cooler air, and things will finally start to do some kind of change for you with a high temperature of 43. The rest of the country, the big threat of severe weather will stay right in the middle of the country. Showers and thunderstorms, possibly some tornadoes, and some hail. We'll be monitoring right here in the CNN weather center.
NGUYEN: What a mixed bag you have there today.
NGUYEN: Thank you, Monica.
Well, you're probably watching the weather if you have travel plans today. Many people do. Let's check in now with Lindsey Arent at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. We spoke with you a little bit earlier. Traveling wasn't too bad there at the airport. Has it picked up any?
ARENT: There are a lot more people in line, but still people seem to be very calm, lack of anxiety about traveling today on this, one of the most busy travel days of the year. In fact, some 38 million travelers are poised to travel this holiday season. Today at National airport just outside Washington, DC., they are expecting double the normal number of passengers. 50,000 people coming through these gates here as opposed 25,000 which is normal, and everybody seems to be going very orderly along in their travel plans.
Talked to a lot of people today, baggage handlers, airline counter personnel, security personnel. All seem to say they were not very anxious about today. They had prepared well. They say people were coming early and even though the fact that all of the flights are booked, people come. They've printed their boarding passes ahead of time at home, but a lot of them have e tickets. You can see why there really is a general lack of chaos thus far. Of course, it's also very early in the day, Betty. Now I'll give you a taste of who we talked to today, and again the two people we spoke to saying very little anxiety at all. Let's hear what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It didn't look too terrible. I have a flight at 7:30. I left myself an hour, and I don't imagine Columbus will be bad at all. The worst part will be driving Columbus back to Cincinnati.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm not worried about it, and I'm here early. The lines are short, and I've got plenty of time until my flight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARENT: Again, if you look behind me, you might be able to see some passengers lining up. It's still early. People say at this airport they're expecting between the hours of 11:00 and 2:00 Eastern time, that should be a really more crowded, more difficult time. A lot of passengers trying to get home from their holiday activities. So far, though, so good, though, Betty. NGUYEN: Hopefully it will stay that way, but we have a good idea that reality is it probably won't. Thank you, Lindsey.
We're going to bring you traffic and weather updates every 30 minutes this morning right here on CNN. Also, do you know all of your siblings? Are you sure? These five found each other online. One thing they share is the same sperm donor. A new twist in the privacy debate. That's next right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
NGUYEN: Well good morning and welcome back. Children conceived by sperm donations track down their biological siblings. Sounds strange or maybe not. It's happening. CNN's Deborah Feyerick introduces us to such a group.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They laugh and joke as if they've known each other forever. Five brothers and sisters, half siblings who share a father they have never met. In fact, they only met within the last year.
You guys are really the first generation on some levels to be searching for one another. Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like finding long, lost siblings you never had. How many chances is that? What are the odds that that's going to happen?
FEYERICK: More surprising for 15-year-old Justin, an only child. Unlike the others here, he only found out this summer he was conceived using donor sperm. Immediately curious, he went online and that's where he found twins Erin and Rebecca and siblings Tyler and Mackenzie, all from the same donor, donor 66. All live in the Denver area within an hour's drive from each other.
ERIN BALDWIN, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: It's always that connection that you feel like you have gone way back, but you really haven't. You've just met.
FEYERICK: The one they haven't met is their genetic father. From his written profile which most potential mothers get, they know donor 66 was a surgical assistant. His sperm went to three mothers treated by the same doctor in the Denver area. Wendy Kramer brought the teens together through her website, donorsiblingregistry.com. She created it with her son, Ryan, to help him find his own donor dad. So far the site has made 1,000 matches between donor siblings or between donors and their children.
WENDY KRAMER, FOUNDER, DONOR SIBLING REGISTRY: So there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 families with 15 children all born from the same donor.
FEYERICK: And you think that this is almost an underreporting of the number. KRAMER: Oh, absolutely. Forty percent of women report their live births, so we're seeing a fraction here.
FEYERICK: Sperm banks are not required to track the number of children born from any one donor. There may be two or 200. Since a donor may donate multiple times, there's just no way to know for sure. How many brothers and sisters do you think you have out there?
RYAN KRAMER, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: I would say probably between 15 and 20 or so.
FEYERICK: Wendy's son Ryan has never met any of them. He is 15, and by all accounts a genius. We met him at the University of Colorado where he will soon be a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering. He easily answers calculus and physics questions. The questions about his own biological dad are much, much tougher.
RYAN KRAMER: Parts about my face, my brow or teeth or my nose or certain things just, you know, clearly don't come from my mother and to see those in somebody else would just answer a world of questions for me.
FEYERICK: Ryan's donor dad likely wasn't much older than Ryan is now. In fact, the majority of donors accepted by sperm banks are college students. They must be handsome, smart, outgoing, the kind of guy a girl would like to date. It's no coincidence many sperm banks have clinics within walking distance of major campuses. The work is easy. The pay is good.
DR. CAPPY ROTHMAN, CALIFORNIA CRYOBANK: They can make between $600 and $900 a month just coming to visit us a couple of times.
FEYERICK: Dr. Cappy Rothman is a pioneer in the field of donor sperm. What are we looking at here?
ROTHMAN: The next generation.
FEYERICK: He founded California Cryobank in the mid 1970s and estimates as many as 3/4 of a million babies have been born from his sperm bank alone, a daunting number considering there are now 150 sperm banks across the country. When Rothman began, the controversy was using a stranger's sperm to have a baby. The controversy now, Rothman says, children trying to track down their genetic donors, men who never intended to be found. Do you guarantee the anonymity of the donors?
ROTHMAN: We try to. We thought we did. We hoped we could, but after what's been taking place with the misuse of some of the technology out there, I don't think we can absolutely guarantee.
FEYERICK: Most potential mothers sign contracts agreeing to respect the donor's privacy. Wendy says she never did. It may not matter. Testing DNA is as easy as swabbing your cheek and the growth of genetic databases could make it all but impossible for donors to remain anonymous. One teenager recently used a saliva sample, had his DNA analyzed and found his genetic father through a DNA database. KRAMER: I see them all on my web site, and over the next 10 years this wave of kids is about to hit this sperm bank industry and want answers to their questions.
FEYERICK: Donor dads have absolutely no legal or financial responsibility to their genetic offspring, so then what is it children like Ryan really want?
RYAN KRAMER: Really all I'm looking for from the donor is just to answer a few of those questions I have. You know, I'm not looking for a relationship or money or anything that, you know, a lot of people assume that donor kids want to know about them. Really it's just a curiosity about who he is and, you know, where I came from.
FEYERICK: The five Denver-born kids from donor 66 are now debating how far they want to go to find their genetic dad. So show of hands, who wants to find the donor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would love to, but --
FEYERICK: You're not so sure. Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) I have two brothers, two sisters.
FEYERICK: Sisters and brothers, once strangers, now family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, your friends you may never see them again after college or after high school, but I'm going to know all of them for the rest of my life.
FEYERICK: And who is to say how many more children from donor 66 they will meet down the road. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Boulder, Colorado.
NGUYEN: Such an interesting topic and a raging debate. Coming up in the 9:00 Eastern hour making that sibling connection. We're going to talk with Wendy Kramer and her son Ryan there you just saw in Deborah's piece. They're the founders and administrators of the donor sibling registry.
As you are wrapping up your long weekend, weather and traffic are the top stories this morning, no doubt. We're following developments all across the country, and you are being looking at live pictures right now from Detroit. Heavy snow in the mountain west is causing delays and road closures. Chains are required in the Sierras. The midsection from Minnesota south through Arkansas, tough conditions there with high winds and even possible tornadoes.
In Iraq, Saddam Hussein's trial is set to resume tomorrow after a five-week break, but it might not last very long. The defense is planning to ask for a delay of at least three months.
And a warning this morning from Iraq's first prime minister. In an interview published in a British newspaper, Ayad Allawi claims human rights abuse in Iraq is now worse than under Saddam Hussein.
Again, that severe weather is expected in parts of the country on this busiest travel day of the year. Will it affect your way home? A weather update. It's snowing outside in many parts. That's up next here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
NGUYEN: And take a look at the holiday travel right now and get you up-to-date which we're going to be doing often throughout the morning. As you know, this is the busiest travel day of the year and look at these different cities. Four different cities and it's much different in each one of them. Dark in one, light in a couple of them, but the roadways, look at that in Detroit, can get nasty there today. We're already seeing that. Monica McNeal joins us now with a look at the forecast out there. A lot of people dealing with some trouble on the roadways.
MCNEAL: You're absolutely right and if you're not already on the roadways, you are going to really be dealing with some trouble. Conditions are going to continue to go downhill today, Betty. Let's take a look at what's happening out there currently right now, 53 degrees in St. Louis. We have 61 down in Dallas and 62 in New Orleans. Let's take a live look at St. Louis and show you what's going on there. So far this morning it's not a bad morning, but eventually your conditions in St. Louis will continue to go downhill.
You are under the gun in Missouri today for a chance of severe weather, so we'll be monitoring that very, very closely. Back to the maps we go to show you where this severe weather threat is. It is set up in the middle of the country. Let's talk about it. We've got this area of low pressure that's going to be tracking to the east. Out ahead of the low pressure is a lot of warm, moist air that's going to be surging northward, OK and as that does happen, it will interact with this area of low pressure.
In some places from Missouri back into parts of Arkansas and into Kansas, you can see winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. You can see quarter inch hail and you could also see a possibility of some isolated tornadoes. In the meantime, we've got that severe weather threat in the middle of the country. If you head more toward the north, more out toward the Rockies, you're going to be dealing with some snow in your forecast, certainly in parts of Denver as well. Now, with all of this heavy rainfall, driving in the rain can be a little bit on the tricky side, so we've got some little tips here for you. Slow down, as you already know. Make sure you turn off your cruise control. Headlights need to be on, and remember that three second rule, and check your wiper before you get on the road because there's nothing worse than getting on the road with some wipers that are kind of just doing whatever they want to. Back to you, Betty.
NGUYEN: I know. I hate it and sometimes they won't even get the water off. There are those little spaces where you just won't seem to get that. That's so aggravating.
MCNEAL: That is the worst. You're right. NGUYEN: Get ready though Monica. Stay here and keep you busy. You know that, because we have live updates on the weather and traffic on this busiest travel day of the year, and that's going to be happening all day long.
Plus, look at this, a wedding with the bride and groom in separate countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you take Courtney to be your wedded wife, and now, Courtney, do you take Christopher to be your wedded husband?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: The power of technology. In this case there is truly no mountain high enough. That story next hour right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
NGUYEN: Time now to check some of the headlines around the globe today. CNN's Shanon Cook is monitoring that situation in Iran after an earthquake struck there. This is a pretty significant one, Shanon. What's the latest?
SHANON COOK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is and details continue to stream in on this Betty. We're told at least five people have been killed after an earthquake shook the southern tip of Iran just a short time ago. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake's magnitude at 6.1 on the Richter scale and it was centered about 35 miles southwest of the port of Bandar Abbas. The quake sent panicked residents rushing out of their homes. We're told four villages were destroyed on the island of Qeshm. Further damage was reportedly caused by a landslide that followed the quake. We'll continue to bring you more information as it comes into us.
Now onto the subject of Iraq though. The former interim prime minister there has made some rather surprising remarks. Ayad Allawi tells Britain's newspaper "The Observer" that human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad or worse than when Saddam Hussein ran the country. His comments could be an appeal to Sunni voters ahead of next month's Iraqi parliamentary elections in which Allawi actually plans to run.
And in Greece earlier, a ceremony to light the torch for the winter Olympics. This took place in Olympia, considered the birthplace of the Olympics. We've got some footage here of the rehearsal. The torch now makes its way to the Italian city Turin where the winter Olympics kicks off in February. A Greek actress who plays the role of high priestess lit the torch in a very nice looking ceremony there Betty. Now the torch...
NGUYEN: Yeah, very symbolic (INAUDIBLE) and I can't wait. I love the Olympics, especially the winter Olympics. I'm a little partial. My little sister is a figure skater, so we're hoping one day she'll be able to partake in that. COOK: Oh, nice, well good luck with that.
NGUYEN: She's got to work on that triple axle first, OK. We all have things we need to work on, not all of us triple axles though. All right, Shanon, thank you.
COOK: Thanks Betty.
NGUYEN: And here is our e-mail question this morning for you. Would a conviction of Saddam Hussein improve President Bush's ratings? Tell us what you think. We're at email@example.com. We will read those replies on the air a little bit later.
The next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING begins right now.
Good morning, everybody. You are looking at a live picture of just one of the many ticket counters at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C. Hundreds of thousands of travelers are headed home in planes, trains and automobiles this morning.
From the CNN Center this is for "CNN SUNDAY MORNING." It's the 27th day of November. It's 8:00 am right here in Atlanta, and 5:00 pm in Tehran.
Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Tony Harris will join us a little bit later this morning. But first, let's take a look at some of the other stories making news this hour.
We are closely following the latest reports out of southern Iran this morning, where a relatively strong earthquake hit the country. At least five people were killed and four villages destroyed. Night has fallen upon the region, which may hamper rescue missions. The quake happened about two and a half-hours ago and its epicenter roughly 900 miles south of Tehran.
A small plane carrying White House Chief of Staff Andy Card made an emergency landing last night in Nashville, Tennessee. It comes after an official says smoke began pouring out of the cockpit. Card and 12 others on board were not injured. The plane was headed back to Washington from the president's Crawford ranch.
And it looks like the traditional holiday shopping season got off to a lukewarm start on Black Friday, despite all the fights that we saw. A national research group that tracks retail sales says overall sales were relatively unchanged compared to last year.
But it does look like big discounts paid off for Wal-mart. The retail giant said its sales exceed expectations.
And this is just a dry run, but this morning the Olympic flame was lit for the upcoming winter games in Italy. Appropriately enough, the lighting occurred in the game's birthplace, ancient Olympia, Greece. The 2006 winter games begin on February 10.
The mad dash home. Take a look at it this morning. That is our top story. AAA estimates 31 million travelers will be headed back home from the Thanksgiving holiday. And depending on where you are, you could be in for some delays, unfortunately.
You're looking at live pictures right now from Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.
Also highway traffic in Boston and Chicago, there. That could get a little busy today.
We also have pictures from St. Louis, Missouri, where rain there and across the Midwest could make for just a messy, messy commute. As you look at Chicago, folks are already on the roadways this morning, trying to get back home, despite the weather conditions outside.
And those weather conditions can be severe today. Here's Monica McNeal to talk about the nastiness out there.
Good morning, Monica.
MCNEAL: Good morning, Betty, and good morning everyone.
Speaking of nastiness, let's take a look at our live radar and show you what's going on. There is just an abundance of rainfall that's coming down, surging up from the north. You can certainly see in parts of Chicago, you are getting soaked right now.
Let's take a live look at Chicago and show you what's going on. As we take a look outside and see, it's extremely dark in Chicago right now. But you will certainly notice that folks are moving around and trying to make their way back home. You are in for a real treat today.
If you're heading to the airport so far this morning in Chicago, You're going to be running into some airport delays. Let's take a look and show you what's going in terms of airport delays in Chicago.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport, ground delay for one hour. So just try to be patient and sit there and relax because you certainly will be delayed.
In the meantime, across the rest of the country, what's going to happen? Well, we've got the perfect recipe for some severe weather today. We're looking at warm, moist air surging up from the north. We've got this area of low pressure that's going to be sitting in the middle of the country. It's going to be pushing its way toward the east, interacting with that warm air.
The chance of severe weather from parts of Arkansas, back into Missouri and heading up into Kansas. Some areas could see anywhere from 17 mile per hour winds. We could see quarter inch hail and isolated tornadoes are certainly not out of the question in this general area. So, we'll certainly keep our eye to the sky and watch this area for today.
In the meantime, heading more toward the north and northwest, across the Rockies, you're going to be dealing with some snow in your forecast. So we're going to keep our eye on the travel and airport delays, and we'll let you know if we get any more in. Betty -- NGUYEN: Snow, hail, possible tornadoes. Is Mother Nature not in the holiday spirit?
MCNEAL: She is not a happy camper today.
NGUYEN: Obviously not today. And that means a lot of folks at the airports and on the roadways won't be happy campers either.
MCNEAL: You're right.
NGUYEN: Monica, thank you. We'll be checking in.
So many Americans are trying to get home after a long holiday weekend. CNN's Lindsey Arent is monitoring trouble spots for us from Reagan National Airport in Washington.
ARENT: Good morning to you, Betty. You know, some good news coming for air travelers out of Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C. Things seem to be running very smoothly. That's the story all morning. I've spoken to gag baggage handlers, to employees, to travelers; everybody seems to say the same thing.
A lack of anxiety, things going smoothly, people coming to the airport early and really having a lot of extra time to sit around. I spoke to two people earlier today and they seem to say things were going as smooth as they possibly could. Let's take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It didn't look too terrible. I have a flight at 7:30. I left myself an hour. I don't imagine Columbus will be bad at all. The worse part will be driving Columbus back to Cincinnati.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm not worried about it. I'm here early, the lines are short and I've got plenty of time until my flight.
ARENT: Now, I spoke to airport security personnel who tell me that, on a normal day here at Reagan National Airport, there are about 20,000 to 25,000 travelers coming through here. Today, they're expecting double that, at about 50,000 travelers. So far things are running smoothly.
I actually spoke to two stewardesses who say, you know what, with airfares being so cheap these days, they're used to everything being booked. And today, everything is booked, but this is just a normal day for a lot of people working here.
They do say, however, they expect things to quicken. They expect the pace to quicken; things to get more crowded, more filled up later in the afternoon.
So I got some advice for some our viewers out there. You want to see if you can try to get to the airport a least two and a half-hours in advance. You may have some time to sit and wait, but it's better than rushing to the airport and being late and waiting around in line. Betty --
NGUYEN: That's true. And you want to pack some patience.
Now, I have to ask you, the folks that you spoke with just really seemed so calm about all of it. Is that because they're there early and they got to the airport extra early as well?
ARENT: It's because they got here early. But also, I'm finding that a lot of people I spoke to are getting earlier flights. They don't want to be involved with the crush that happens in the mid afternoon. They were aware that this could be one of the busiest travel days of the year. So a lot of people opted for earlier flights.
I even spoke to one gentleman who actually had his flight canceled. And that was a first for anyone I've spoken to today. He didn't seem very happy. He's got a later flight at 1:00. That's the first I've heard of that. I expect there will be more, in terms of snafus, to come later on in the day, Betty.
NGUYEN: Yes, those cancellations are never a good thing. Thank you, Lindsey. We appreciate it. We'll be checking in with you.
You want stay tuned to CNN for your holiday travel advisories. We are going to have updates every 30 minutes or earlier, if warranted.
Saddam Hussein's trial resumes tomorrow and his attorneys plan to seek a three-month delay. The trial has been postponed since October.
It's deja vu in Iraq says the country's former interim prime minister. Ayad Allawi tells the British newspaper, The Observer, that human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein, or even worse.
Quoting the newspaper article, "We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being integrated. A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed. We are even witnessing courts based on Islamic law that trying people and executing them."
Which leads us to our e-mail question this morning, with all of this. Would a conviction of Saddam Hussein actually improve President Bush's ratings? Let us know what you think. The president has been slumping in the ratings lately. Send those responses to us and we'll be reading them a little bit later on.
Here's a look at a few stories making news across America.
In Seattle, Washington, two Monorail trains collide. One witness says he and his family were showered in glass when that train car's sliding door ripped off. Two people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries. Now, two Yakima County, Washington, inmates -- they are back behind bars. They were captured yesterday while hiding in the attic of a house. Police are still searching for the two men that you see here. A total of nine maximum-security inmates escaped the county jail Friday, using a rope made of bed sheets.
We've shown you this store surveillance video of a dozen black men, in suits and bow ties, vandalizing a liquor store in Oakland, California. Police initially suspected members of the Nation of Islam, which is known for such attire. Now, though, the store's owner and leaders of the Nation of Islam are speaking out about the allegations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is racial, as well as religious profiling at its Worse.
TONY MUHAMMAD, MINISTER, NATION OF ISLAM: You establish yourself in the community for a long time to have a good name. Why work in the community and have people to tell you you're nothing, you're useless, you're defenseless, and that's the issue here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Now on Saturday, Oakland's deputy chief officer said the Nation of Islam is not under investigation for the attack, and he's satisfied that it is not involved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you take Courtney to be your wedded wife? And now, Courtney; do you take Christopher to be your wedded husband?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: And it wasn't necessarily their dream wedding, but Staff Sergeants, Courtney Reynolds and Christopher Bowden, decided to get married despite being 7,000 miles apart. They exchanged marriage vows via teleconference, kissing the video monitors when a chaplain pronounced them man and wife. That's one way to do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COURTNEY REYNOLDS, STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY: It was really weird. I didn't even know how it was going to come out. I'm just glad that it came out the way it did, and it happened so fast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Yes, it did happen fast. The bride is stationed at Peterson Air Force base in Colorado. The groom, in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The two dated for five years and then decided to marry over the phone when the deployments threatened to keep them apart for several more months. We wish them the best. And tomorrow does mark the ninth week anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina arrival along the gulf coast. Thousands are still unable to return to their homes. In this morning's "Faces of Faith," a focus on prayer as part of the solution there. Live to New Orleans. That's coming up.
First though, meteorologist Monica McNeal has your travel forecast.
NGUYEN: These days, we're familiar with mixed or blended families. Well now, there is a new twist, siblings from the same sperm donor.
Today, on "CNN SUNDAY MORNING," a mother who's giving children a way to find their brothers and sisters and, maybe, even fathers. Join us live, next hour, for that.
NGUYEN: Here's another look at the water outside as many millions decide to travel home on this holiday weekend. In Atlanta, all looks pretty clear. There in Chicago, though, people are headed out on the roadways bright and early in the morning.
Monica McNeal is here to talk about the weather outside and how the weather is really going to take a turn for the worse a little bit later today.
MCNEAL: You are absolutely right. It's already looking really bad as we take a look at our live radar and show you what's going on.
Detroit, you're dealing with some light rainfall in your forecast right now, and a temperature of about 39 degrees.
Let's take a live look outside and show you what it looks like in Detroit for those folks having to go home, traveling today. The roadways look okay, but it looks like you're seeing some light mist and the win is blowing there. So you're getting a little sideways rain out there.
All right, back to our maps we go. In Chicago, you're dealing with some heavy rainfall as well, right around Fort Wayne, Indiana. So most of this rain is moving up from the south and it's headed more toward the north. And as it travels into the colder air, you will certainly notice it's going to switch over to some snow.
There are some airport delays we want to talk to you about. In Chicago, you have a one-hour ground delay. So just try to be as patient as you possibly can as you're traveling to the airport. And make sure you get there in enough time.
For the rest of the nation today, bad weather setting up in the middle of the country. We could certainly see anywhere, from parts of Arkansas, back into parts of Missouri and into Kansas, you could see severe weather in terms of quarter size hail. We could certainly see winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. And some isolated tornadoes are certainly not out of the question, because we've got all the right recipe and the all of right ingredients for this batch of messy weather.
In the meantime, as we travel across the eastern part of the country, your travel plans look great for you today across the extreme northeast and Boston. Your temperature of 46 degrees. Betty --
NGUYEN: All right. Thank you. We'll be checking in as always.
You want to stay tuned to CNN for your holiday travel advisories. We'll have updates every 30 minutes or earlier, if warranted.
I want to get you caught up with our top stories at this hour.
Saddam Hussein's trial is set to resume Monday after a five-week break, but it might not last long. The defense, which includes former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, is planning to ask for a delay of at least three months.
A small plane carrying White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card had to make an emergency landing this morning in Nashville, Tennessee. Officials say the twin engine plane landed after smoke began pouring into the cockpit.
And practice makes perfect, especially for the Olympics. While athletes train, game organizers rehearse the symbolic lighting of the flame. The actual event took place a few hours ago in Olympia, Greece. A torch relay will take the flame to Italy, home of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
And we do want to tell you that "CNN's AMERICAN MORNING" is on Tomorrow morning at a new earlier time. So you want to set your clocks. It's at 6:00 am, eastern. It's an extra hour of the day's headlines, business and entertainment news and so much more on that show. Again that's tomorrow's "AMERICAN MORNING," where CNN keeps you informed with the up to the minute coverage of the Saddam Hussein trial.
And for your Monday morning, you might think of a sleeping pill tonight. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look at the growing number of kids popping these pills.
You'll want to join Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien for CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING" at its new time, weekdays at 6:00 am, eastern.
Nearly three months after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, many of its Gulf Coast victims are still in agony. Most of the damage is still there. And this afternoon, people of all religions come together for a day of prayer. The man leading the service joins us live in "Faces of Faith."
And we're also going to get you up to speed on the weather outside as we watch all cities across the nation to see if there are going to be some traffic trouble spots. Stay tuned for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NGUYEN: Last week was all about giving thanks, and different faiths do it in different ways. That philosophy is the focus of our interfaith service, or one, that is taking place in New Orleans.
The message is regardless of background, the community of New Orleans must come together to rebuild and celebrate the city. The archbishop of New Orleans, Alfred Hughes, will preside over that service and he does join us now.
We appreciate your time, Bishop. I know, you're going to have a busy day. Good morning to you.
ALFRED HUGHES, ARCHBISHOP, CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS: Good to be with you, Betty, and you can see the background that you just spoke of behind me.
NGUYEN: Yes, I do.
HUGHES: This will be a very...
NGUYEN: I can see the damage.
HUGHES: This will be a very special service this afternoon. And it will focus on providing an opportunity for the people to lament losses, loss of life, loss of homes, loss of jobs, loss of a way of life. And then, thanks giving for god's providential care and the wonderful heroes during this time of tragedy...
NGUYEN: And there were so many.
HUGHES: ... among the police, among fire fighters, among emergency response personnel. And then we'll move to a different...
NGUYEN: Bishop, let me ask you this quickly, though. I know that you're going to be doing this interfaith service. You're going to be reading many scriptures, some from the Bible, the Koran, other sacred writings. Was it a difficult decision at all to include all of these faiths in today's service?
HUGHES: Not at all. It's part of our tradition here. Not only in New Orleans, but at St. Louis cathedral, going all the way back to 1815, when Andrew Jackson, who had just won the Battle of New Orleans, joined with Bishop Duborg (ph), and invited the people from the city of all faiths and backgrounds, to St. Louis Cathedral to thank god for his assistance.
NGUYEN: A wonderful way to put that. And also, I have to ask you, too, because this holiday has to be incredibly difficult, especially for those who lost loved ones. What are you saying to them today? Because I know you're going to be honoring those who did lose their lives in this storm. How is that going to take place?
HUGHES: Well, we will explicitly recognize them. We will also invite people in their own way, whether in connection with the observance of Ramadan that has just concluded, or Hanukkah that is coming up, or Thanksgiving that we've just celebrated, Christmas that is coming up, for people in their own homes to remember the dead as well.
I don't know whether you're aware that, in the Catholic tradition, during the month of November, we, in a very special way, remember those who have died in the past year. And we will continue to do that. We go to the graves, bless the graves, and pray that they will know the fullness of life in which they believed.
NGUYEN: So as you offer comfort to people with all faiths, I also have to ask you, because the question is going to be asked for many months to come, why would God do something like this? Why would God let something like this happen? How do you continue to answer that?
HUGHES: Well, of course, God does not cause tragedies. He allows them to happen for a greater good. St. Paul tells us, for those who love God, everything turns unto good.
And, I think, it is incredibly important that we cooperate with God in attempting now to address those issues in our city that were so resistant to solution in the past, as we move forward to try to build a New Orleans.
NGUYEN: And we're going to see that cooperation today in today's interfaith service.
Bishop, we appreciate your time and your insight. You have a wonderful Sunday.
HUGHES: Thank you. God bless you all, Betty.
NGUYEN: Thank you.
Now, to our e-mail question of the day. It's obviously a different topic, dealing with Saddam Hussein. You know that trial is set to start on Monday.
Would a conviction of Saddam Hussein improve President Bush's ratings? Well, we're getting a lot of responses to this.
First up, Brandon says, "I don't think Saddam's conviction would improve Bush's rating because, the way he handled Katrina" -- now we just spoke about that with the Bishop -- "among other things, proved that he had a long road ahead of himself to get back on track."
And J.R. says, "Finding nuclear weapons in Iraq will be the only thing that would help Bush's ratings. Prosecuting Saddam is not going to do much for Bush."
Also, Dave out of Nevada says, "Yes, it would help Bush's poll ratings. There must be a million wavering Republicans out there who would grasp at any straw to feel good about their boy again. And who are shallow enough to think that this would prove something. I feel comfortable calling them shallow since none of them watches 24-hour news shows."
All right, it sounds like a lot of people are of the same opinion. If you think it is going to improve the president's ratings, why don't you send us your thoughts too so we can air that as well. Either way we want to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming up at the top of the hour, donors, who are smart and handsome, needing cash. Now their donations are growing up and they're also asking questions. Children of sperm donors looking for their fathers and siblings. We have a mother who's helping. Join up. That live, next hour on "CNN SUNDAY MORNINGS." She's helping in the search for these fathers and siblings.
First, though, former President Bill Clinton sits downs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta to talk about fighting childhood obesity.
Clinton, himself an overweight child, embarked on what he calls his biggest initiative since leaving office. Bill Clinton and Sanjay Gupta. That's next on "HOUSE CALL."
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