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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  March 25, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT

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back here. you're in the "cnn newsroom." i'm fredricka whitfield. a u.s. military investigators believe the soldier charged with killing at least 16 afghan civilians in kandahar returned to his base between killings. army officials now believe staff sergeant robert bales killed people in one nearby village, came back to his post, left again, and killed people in another village. nine children are among the victims. this timeline is is reportedly based on interviews conducted at the scene. also, we learned today that the u.s. government paid money to the afghan families that lost loved ones in that killing spree. let's bring in sara sidner, she's in kabul. s sara, how much money did these families receive and how is it that this news even emerged.
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>> reporter: we were told there was a meeting in kandahar city where there was the governor of kandahar province, some of the provincial leaders there as well as a few of the victims and they were handed over $50,000 per each person who died and $10,000 for each person who was injured. so that totals about $860,000 that has gone to these victims. the aft the afghan government says that there were 16 people who were killed in the massacre, was the u.s. government has released the charge seat for army staff sergeant bales, which charges him with 17 counts of murder. and we're told by afghan officials that the payout was for 16 civilians who had dies. so there's still a discrepancy there and no one can quite figure out why the discrepancy exists. but we know a large sum of money, imagine being in one of these villages where your houses are made out of money and you're not used to having this kind of cash, they will be bringing home quite a bit of cash, afghani money, to their homes.
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fredricka? >> sara, is there precedence on this, where the u.s. military has doled out money, whether it be for collateral damage or other injuries or death at a time of war? >> reporter: yes. this is not all that unusual when it comes to actually giving compensation, but this case is particular unusual. we haven't seen a case like this in more than a decade where one person is accused. this is not from a bomb, a nato bombing or anything like that. so, yes, there have been cases. i think the last one we could find was that $1.4 million was paid out to a village that was destroyed by the taliban, the u.s. trying to help rebuild it. fredricka? >> sara sidner, thanks so much for that update coming out of kabul. back in this country, the wife of staff sergeant robert bales has set up a legal defense fund on his behalf, saying she, quote, cannot even come close to paying for her husband's trial. carrie bales also had a message for those who want to help him.
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this statement from her this weekend saying this, "contributions to the defense fund are welcome only from donors who grieve over the lives that were lost that night and who believe that in america everyone is entitled to a fair trial." turning to u.s. politics now, representative paul ryan would consider the idea of being vice president if asked. the wisconsin republican made that comment today on a sunday talk show but emphasized it's not his decision to make. and former vice president dick cheney is recovering today after undergoing heart transplant surgery. cheney, who is 71 years old, was reportedly on the transplant list for over 20 months. he has had at least five heart attacks since 1978. his first one at the age of 37. no word on the identity of the donor, but cheney's family says they will forever be grateful. a new development in the child sex abuse case of former penn state football coach jerry
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sandusky. a new report indicates a psychologist told university police nearly 15 years ago that sandusky shows, quote, a likely pedophile's pattern. the psychologist report was part of an investigation into sandusky and a suspected assault on an 11-year-old boy back in 1998. the report was recently obtained by nbc news. sandusky is currently under house arrest, awaiting his trial on more than 50 counts of child sexual abuse. this psychologist's assessment could be significant. it suggests that penn state was warned about sandusky as early as 1998 and did not stop the alleged abuse. hoodies and bags of skittles showed up in churches across the country this morning. this is the latest in the protest against the shooting death of an unarmed florida teen. it is being dubbed wear a hoodie to church sunday.
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cnn's holly firfer is in florida where a civil rights icon spoke earlier. holly, this protest seems to get bigger by the day. >> reporter: absolutely, fredricka. and here in florida, reverend jesse jackson spoke to a congregation, lending his voice to those who are calling for the arrest of george zimmerman in the death of trayvon martin. he said we need to take a moment and turn it into a momentum, talking about a new civil rights movement. and he said that this case was clearly racism. here's what he said. >> the reason is a modern employee of our country. racial justice, equality, workers' rights, women's rights, children's rights go hand in hand. so say focus on racism, registration, civil rights protection. not hoodies. >> reporter: and reverend
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jackson will remain here in florida. tomorrow he's scheduled to join reverend al sharpton in sanford. they're going to meet at a charge and they're going to lead a march where city officials are holding a town hall meeting for residents to update them on the trayvon martin case and give them an opportunity to ask questions. fredricka? >> and then, holly, are you able to confirm, is there any truth to the fact that trayvon martin's family wants to pursue a civil case now against george zimmerman? >> reporter: yes, fredricka, you're right. attorneys for the family says they will be filing a civil suit against george zimmerman and against the homeowners' association. the attorney says he believes that federal charges for a hate crime may be difficult. they're hoping that criminal charges will be brought, but they want george zimmerman arrested, so they will go ahead and go forward and file civil charges. >> holly firfer, thank you so much, in eatonville, florida.
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the u.s. supreme court is taking a closer look at the health care reform act. we'll talk to one of the backers of the law. is this legal fight deja vu? also, a woman was left for dead all because of where she comes from. this story of hate, coming up. twenty-five thousand mornings, give or take, is all we humans get. we spend them on treadmills. we spend them in traffic. and if we get lucky, really lucky, it dawns on us to go spend them in a world where a simple sunrise can still be magic. twenty-five thousand mornings. make sure some of them are pure michigan. your trip begins at
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former democratic congressman bart stupak played a
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central role in negotiating the compromise that allowed the health care overhaul bill to pass. he joins me now from wisconsin. mr. stupak, good to see you. so here we are on the eve of the u.s. supreme court taking up the argument on the act's constitutionality. the bill was contentious before passing at the time. did you see this supreme court challenge coming, once it was passed? >> well, you figured once the bill passed, they would be a supreme court challenge, because the emotions were running high on both sides. so i'm not surprised about the supreme court challenge. >> okay, what do you see ahead this week -- >> but i do believe the basis -- >> go ahead. >> i think the challenges are more political than legal. i think you have three days of some emotional arguments before the court, but i think when you take a look at the arguments being made, like the individual mandate or the expansion of medicaid, that's all legal. congress acted properly. and i believe at the end of the day, the supreme court will uphold the patient protection
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act. >> you do. but if they don't, if it is overturned, this individual mandate, do you see that that is the demise of the entire law, that all of it is predicated on that mandate? >> no, i don't think if they threw out the individual mandate, which i doubt they will, i think that's one of our strongest arguments on a constitutional basis, that the individual mandate is on solid constitutional grounds, but if they, they could throw out the man date, tell congress to come back, and find a different way to apply across the board, however you want to apply it, a tax. because i believe under the health care bill, the individual mandate is constitutional. it's not like we're telling people that you have to buy a car, and we're saying you have to be a buy ford. we're saying in health care, we're all in this together. it's a unique aspect of public policy. and the congress came together, the house, the senate, and the president passed legislation,
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which we believe is constitutional. >> this has to be very frustrating, then, that you're at this juncture. many of the components of that act don't go into effect until 2014. but of the items that have gone into play, such as covering costs for cancer screenings, putting young adults on parents' policies, seniors getting $600 in drug assistance, to what extent are you convinced that these things already active and in use have really made an impact on many americans? >> well, it has an impact on many americans, especially those -- especially children with pre-existing injuries and conditions. you cannot discriminate against them. there's no longer a cap on how much a person can be charged for a lifetime. children can stay on their parents' benefits if they choose, their health insurance benefits, until age 26. for senior citizens, the doughnut hole is being closed. preventative care like prostate, mammograms, diabetes screenings, preventative medicines, all being paid for without an intoes
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in medicare premiums. there are so many benefits to this bill, i hope it's not being overturned. but i'm pleased the supreme court is taking it up. >> you are? why? >> because the country was pretty split back then, like it is today. half are for it, half are against it. maybe we need a definitive statement as to the validity, the constitutionality of this law, other than politicians. like i said, i believe the arguments are political, not constitutional. so here's the highest court in the land, will make a decision based upon the constitutionality, and maybe we can get the political arguments set aside, and look at the benefits of this legislation, which will help out all americans. >> so you are optimistic, overall. you do believe the supreme court will uphold just about every portion that is being argued, beginning this week in the u.s. supreme court. so at the same time, then, how do you see this, because you say it is more political than it is legal. this is an election year. how do you see this ultimately impacting president obama and his, you know, bid for re-election this year?
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a lot is riding on this affordable health care act for him and for the 50 million americans who you underscored who are in large part benefitting from this act? >> well, i think president obama, and i'm sure he will stand up and say, this is something this country has tried for 100 years. through his leadership, we were able to bring a divisive congress together. they passed a piece of legislation, a major piece of legislation to benefit all americans, especially those 50 million who do not have access to affordable health care. and i think it shows his leadership. i think when you take a look at it, i think it's going to benefit the president in the general election come this november. and i do expect mitt romney to be the republican nominee. therefor, romney passed the same type of health care in massachusetts. so i think as a political issue, with former governor romney being the republican nominee, i think it sort of -- it's not as emotional of an issue in the fall campaign. both men, president obama and governor romney, have passed
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health care that cover their constituency. the president, of course, the whole nation and governor romney, when he was the governor of massachusetts covered his constituency with the health care. so i see it sort of neutralizes in a general election between those two gentleman. >> fascinating perspective, thank you very much for bringing it to us. bart stupak, appreciate your time. crowds cheered and prayed, flags waved, and even the cartels took a break. a look at this mopope's mass in mexico.
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let's go! first stop, georgia, the consolidated gold mine.
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at first impression, you see this beautiful building here in the parking lot, but it's what below ground that really captures the imagination. you know, this wasn't dug just yesterday. it's been around since 1889. and this is dee harbor, the general manager of the mine. dee, how long have people been digging for gold in this part of the world? >> gold was first discovered in 1888, and overnight, 18,000 people showed up digging for gold. >> let's grab a gold pan and head out to the rivers and streams. >> all right, dee, show me how this is done. >> fill it up with water and the heavy gold is falling to the bottoms. you do your job right, you should find right there -- >> gold! check it out! and i've got sand. >> you better keep your day job. >> unbelievable! dee, thanks for your time. >> thanks for coming.
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come back again. >> we've got to hit the road. >> cnn's travel insider, brought to you by atlantis paradise island bahamas. visit for your fourth night free. [ woman ] my husband, hank, was always fun. never took life too seriously... till our son was born. that day, he bought life insurance. now there's no way i could send our boy to college without it. if there was one thing i could say to hank, it'd be "thank you." you're welcome. hey, hank. [ male announcer ] life insurance you can use while you're still living.
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you are one lucky lady. mm-hmm. [ male announcer ] learn more from your state farm agent today. now news making headlines around the globe. the brother of the man who allege dldly went on a killing spree at a jewish school in chance is now implicated in the case. mohammed merah's brother is now charged with participating to prepare acts of terrorism. in southern california, police are investigating the beating death of an iraqi woman that the family insists is a
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hate crime. family members say they discovered the 32-year-old woman lying unconscious on her dining room floor wednesday. a threatening note was found next to the victim. >> a week ago, they left a letter saying, this is our country, not yours, you terrorist. so my mom ignored that, thinking that just kids playing around, pranking. and so the day they hit her, you know, they left it again. and it said the same thing. >> the family says nothing was taken from the home, which they say further points to a hate crime. police are calling it an isolated incident. >> chants of viva, long live pope benedict xvi in today's mass in central mexico. tens of thousands of the faithful gathered for today's huge prayer celebration. raphafael romo man has been
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following the pope's visit. what's happening? >> reporter: i just left the mass here. vatican officials said that they handed out 350,000 tickets for the mass, but they are now estimating that as many as half a million people attended the mass presided by pope benedict xvi here in central mexico. it was a mass with a lot of symbolism, with pope before his arrival here, wearing a mexican sombrero, before he arrived here, he referred to the sorrow that mexico has gone through, a clear reference to the drug war going on for the last six years. and he also wants what we calls the continental mission. it is an effort by the church in north america and south america to invite people to renovate their faith. the pope said that many
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catholics have a kind of faith that is fragmented and incoherent and he wants those people to go back to the church. fred? >> all right. rafael romo, thanks so much. of course, the pope on his way to cuba tomorrow. all right, cheating in schools. well, that's not new. but there is a nationwide investigation now into thousands of schools reportedly cheating the system and our kids, next. americans believe they should be in charge of their own future.
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there's more optimism in the housing market after some positive reports came out last week. and while wall street is watching the u.s. supreme court this week. here's your look ahead at these big financial stories with alison kosik and poppy harlow. >> hi, fredricka. a full slate of housing data this week showed that the most depressed area of the u.s. economy may have bottomed out, but it still has a long way to go. we learned that sales of previously owned homes are up almost 9% compared to a year ago, while new home sales are up more than 11% over the last year. prices also appear to be stabilizing. and a surge in building permits indicated that new home building should pick up in the months to come. poppy harlow now has a look at what's ahead in business news. poppy? >> thanks very much, alison.
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well, the business world will be watching closely as president obama's controversial health care reform goes on trial next week. the supreme court will listen to three days of arguments for and against the affordable care act. the court's decision will have major business, economic, and political implications. insurance premiums could change if the court strikes down the mandate that all americans must buy insurance, and some small businesses complain the law will hurt their ability to stay competitive if it's upheld. a decision by the supreme court, though, is not expected until june. fred? back to you. >> thanks so much, ladies. now for some news by the numbers. 69,000. that's how many schools are being investigated for reportedly cheating the system and our kids. that's according to a stunning new nationwide investigation by "the atlanta journal-constitution" newspaper. the "ajc" expanded its investigation coast to coast after it found some atlanta teachers and administrators were changing students' test scores to meet goals under the no child
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left behind. finally, a twofer, $68 million, 150 carats. doesn't that make your heart stop right now? this ring is all bling and it's close to $70 million, if you can afford that. the swiss jeweler who created it says it is the first ever all-diamond ring. that's what he's calling it. no settings, all ice. the jeweler said it took them a year to copyright that design, it is stunning, and they had to buy a special laser to actually cut the band into a perfect circle. i think that will look nice on just about anybody's finger. i'll be back in about an hour with our weekend political show. rick santorum picks up another state, louisiana, and the south keeps shunning mitt romney. >> i want to say to the people of louisiana, thank you very much. you have come through and come through in a big way. >> the divided republican party, can they become a united front against president obama? that's coming up at 4:00 eastern
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