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LIVE FROM...

St. Joseph's is Basketball Cinderella Story; Director of UCLA Cadaver Program Arrested; Canadian Missionary Works to Save Haitian Orphans; Bush Campaigns in Texas

Aired March 8, 2004 - 13:30   ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, ANCHOR: Big name schools usually dominate the ultra competitive world of college basketball -- basketball, rather. But this year, a small school is getting all the attention as the playoffs loom.
In fact, their undefeated season landed the team on the cover of "sports Illustrated." CNN's Steve Overmyer has the story of St. Joseph's winning streak.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE OVERMYER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Phil Martelli, the sage of St. Joe's is leading an unknown Hawks team to unforeseeable heights. They are undefeated and have created unimaginable excitement.

MARTELLI: It's been exhilarating. It's been humbling. It's been tiring, but for these players in that locker room, it's a once in a lifetime, and I want them to enjoy it.

OVERMYER: Martelli grew up outside Philadelphia making him a lifelong expert on the rough shots that local sports figures must endure, so he's made a habit of making fun of himself.

MARTELLI: Average, sloppy and saint.

That's always been my gripe about the bigger schools. I think they put their coach in a bubble and on a pedestal and then you have to be all the time coach. I want to be Phil Martelli.

MARTELLI: Who are the best Joes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are the best Joes, yes, sir.

MARTELLI: I'm sure that all of this isn't happening at Duke and all of this is not happening at Stanford.

OVERMYER: In the wake of Martelli being himself, he has built a team that refuses to be the butt of any jokes.

PAT CARROLL, ST. JOSEPH'S JUNIOR GUARD FORWARD: "I go to St. Joe's."

"Oh, where's St. Joe's at?"

"Philadelphia."

"OK."

JAMEER NELSON, ST. JOSEPH'S SENIOR GUARD: We have the confidence and we have the ability to think that every time we come on the court, we're going to win, no matter who we're facing.

MARTELLI: You can come in here and look around and say they don't have. But I would dare to you find a place that has more passion, that has a better group of players to work with day in and day out. That's what we do have.

OVERMYER: St. Joseph's University has 3,800 students, one of whom flaps his arms for the entirety of every Hawks basketball game.

Before reaching No. 2 in the college basketball polls, it was the ever-flapping mascot that received the most attention, not the unflappable team.

But with the Hawks' highest ranking in school history and senior point guard Jameer Nelson the favorite to win national player of the year, Martelli's magnificent team could get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and be a favorite to win a national championship.

NELSON: Everybody is coming up dreaming of being No. 1, and you know, playing for a national championship and cutting down nets.

MARTELLI: I'm supposed to say this to you: "It wouldn't be a big deal." It would be enormous to open up a paper and see your name on that top line. It would be something that I couldn't describe or even fantasize about right now.

OVERMYER: And something no one could have predicted either.

Steve Overmyer, CNN Sports.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: In southern California, UCLA officials plan to hold a news conference today to confront a disturbing scandal involving corpses and big business. Two people have been charged in connection with the alleged theft of body parts from the school's cadaver program.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Henry Reid, handcuffed and charged with grand theft. It's an arrest making headlines because Reid directed UCLA's body program, and he allegedly profited from the sale of body parts dating back five years.

VIDAL HERRERA, FORMER DIRECTOR, UCLA WILLED BODY PROGRAM: I'm surprised it happened at UCLA, but I'm not surprised about the allegations. MARQUEZ: Vidal Herrera runs a private autopsy company, but in the mid-90s he directed UCLA's willed body program.

About 175 bodies are donated to the program each year. Most of the cadavers are dissected by students, and research use others to practice new surgical techniques.

Herrera says there is big money to be mad in body parts.

HERRERA: The researchers, they get desperate, and they're willing to pay an enormous amount of money.

MARQUEZ (on camera): For what?

HERRERA: For whole bodies. For disarticulated bodies, limbs, torsos, hearts, lungs, kidneys, you know, various organs.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Herrera says research cadavers and body parts are supposed to be doled out on a non-profit basis through willed body programs such as UCLA's.

He also says outside the university setting, private companies doing medical research are willing to pay whatever it takes to get their hands on bodies.

HERRERA: People want tissue from everywhere. And they will never stop. There is a demand for it. They will always continue.

MARQUEZ: And the controversy isn't exactly new to UCLA or Vidal Herrera. Herrera lost his job as director of UCLA's willed body program when the school was sued in 1996 for improperly disposing of cadavers.

The suit was settled out of court and neither UCLA nor Herrera admitted fault.

(on camera) On the current controversy, UCLA has only so far released statements, saying it's cooperating with police and will do everything in its power to eliminate the inadequacies of its willed body program.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Well, a health update now on the nation's top law man.

Attorney General John Ashcroft remains in intensive care at Georgia Washington -- George Washington University Hospital. He's been given antibiotics and other medication to fight a painful infection in his pancreas.

An aide to Ashcroft says it could take up to a week for the treatment to show results. The attorney general entered the hospital Thursday night. The deepening unrest in Haiti is giving rise to a humanitarian crisis. Hundreds and hundreds of people going days without food, water and shelter. And then there are the children.

CNN's Lucia Newman introduces us to the most vulnerable Haitians right now, the orphans.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Their eyes are as huge as their stomachs are empty. It's been more than a month since food donation arrived at this Port-au-Prince orphanage, and the children are hungry.

So hungry that when Father Raymond Pierson shows in the nearly empty storage room they rush in to eat the raw beans and flour off the floor.

The Canadian priest who runs the orphanage says 75 children and 15 adults have been living mostly on rice.

REV. RAYMOND PIERSON, ORPHANAGE DIRECTOR: Yes. And beans sometimes when we receive. Right now, we cannot receive.

NEWMAN: By the port, it's finally safe enough for the World Food Programme to load up a truck with basic foodstuffs. Miraculously this warehouse wasn't looted like so many others.

Four days after the orphanage contacted the to beg for help, Father Raymond's prayers are answered. The World Food Programme alone is now trying to feed half a million Haitians.

GUY GAUVREAU, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: We are, in fat, trying to reach the beneficiary that we were unable to reach in the north because of the conflicts.

NEWMAN: Nearby, a man is caught looting at a Port-au-Prince industrial center, not that there is not much left to steal.

ROBERT CHERON, FOOD IMPORTER: We would understand that they would steal the food. Fine. It's no problem. But the fact that they broke everything, breaks our heart, you know?

NEWMAN: Robert Cheron say he and his employees are out of work. Even the toilet is gone.

The rampage of looting and destruction that began Saturday destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property and left thousands unemployed.

Nadine Baker can't pay her 500 employees.

NADINE BAKER, TEXTILE FACTORY OWNER: Especially these people live day-by-day, it's not like they have savings or anything like that. And when you think that each of them have at least two to three people depending on them at home. NEWMAN: An economic nightmare. A humanitarian disaster, so many people who live in the hemisphere's poorest and most vulnerable nation.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Port-au-Prince.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, right after the break, you're going to meet some of those orphans live and the man that's making a difference in their lives. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Just before the break, we shared with you the heart- wrenching story of Haiti's orphans.

But at the same time that we showed you that piece, we also witnessed the missionaries who give up so much to make the lives of those who suffer much more bearable. Dedicated people like Father Raymond Pierson, the director of one of the most crowded orphanages.

He joins us now live from Port-au-Prince.

Father, it's such a pleasure to have you here with us. Tell us about the kids that are with you, and their story.

PIERSON: Yes. We can see they're (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We've just come from -- we have about five months (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when they found him, and still more than three years now.

PHILLIPS: And we want to make sure we tell our viewers that...

PIERSON: We have some months like that.

PHILLIPS: I'm warning our viewers that we have a pretty long delay with you, Father, as you talk us to about these kids.

Tell us about the situation in Haiti, and how many children are in the same situation as the kids that are next to you, and what your biggest need is right now.

PIERSON: Many, many children. They don't have homes; they don't have food. That's a very difficult situation. It's very hard to see that (ph). I'm very touched when I see that. I would like to help them, all children, because children are children, and they need help. And it's not easy to see that. I'm very touched.

PHILLIPS: Tell us what Americans can do, even those in other countries.

PIERSON: In our orphanage, we have 78 children -- we need help. We received about -- we have been at the orphanage for seven years. And it's difficult to find sponsors. We need sponsors, and we need help. We need food. We need clothes. We need education. And it's not easy to find that. PHILLIPS: And Father, as I read information that you sent me...

PIERSON: ... for me to have a big orphanage.

PHILLIPS: Seventy-five orphans I'm told, ages eight months to nine years, including those kids that are with you now.

Father, I'm told that many of them found on the street, a number of them brought in by police officers, others abandoned at hospitals. Other children dropped off by their mothers who just could no longer feed them.

How do people get in touch with your orphanage there and donate food and other needs? In addition, is it possible to adopt? Is that even an option?

PIERSON: We have -- in the United States, that it's not easy to find sponsors, because it's a new transition. And nobody knows we are here and the work we do here.

PHILLIPS: And Father, what about adoption? Is that an option?

PIERSON: At the orphanage, there's nothing you can do. Because ask me to remind the children to rebuild this country. And the heart of these children. And we can help these children. We can sponsor with them.

But to have the children, I don't know. I don't think that they would have gone, do you understand?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely. Father Raymond Pierson, I apologize for the delay there, but the pictures speak much louder than words. Those children there, even holding onto you.

And I think what we'll do is because of the delay and a hard time, a hard connection there, if anyone is interested in sponsorship or donating to the foundation, they can e-mail us here at LiveFrom@CNN.com.

Father, thank you so much for your time.

Our other story here that we're talking about in the United States, that's boots, bucks and Brahmans. President bush on the campaign trail today. He's courting votes, raising cash in the land of Stetsons and cowboy boots.

Dana Bash, live from Dallas, Texas. I don't know if she's wearing the cowboy boots, definitely not the Stetson.

Hi, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boots, not cowboy boots, Kyra.

The president just finished up his speech here in Dallas, where he really went after his new Democratic opponent, John Kerry, especially attacking, first of all, his character, saying that he does have strong beliefs but they just don't hold for very long.

He also went off after him as he began to last week on a number of issues like tax cuts, like Iraq, but also the war on terror. And on that issue, Mr. Bush added a new line to his speech, saying that he voted to cut intelligence funding in 1995.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In 1995, two years after the attack on the World Trade Center, my opponent introduced a bill to cut the overall intelligence budget by $1.5 billion.

His bill was so deeply irresponsible that he didn't have a single co-sponsor in the United States Senate.

Once again, Senator Kerry is trying to have it both ways. He's for good intelligence, yet he was willing to gut the intelligence services. And that is no way to lead a nation in a...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now, the president raised $1.5 million at this fund- raiser. He's going to raise another $1.5 million later, so it will be a grand total of $3 million for the president today to add to his covers. He's already got about $150 million. That's just for the primary season alone.

Now the president doesn't exactly have to worry about getting the state of Texas, his home state, into his column in November. But he is going to attend a very big Texas event later today in Houston. He's going to attend the Houston livestock and rodeo show. No speeches there but you can certainly look for a photo-op or two of George W. Bush as cowboy -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Dana Bash, thanks so much.

(STOCK REPORT)

PHILLIPS: Tough times ahead for the domestic diva. Coming up next in our second hour of LIVE FROM, we'll examine what life behind bars could be like for Martha Stewart.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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UCLA Cadaver Program Arrested; Canadian Missionary Works to Save Haitian Orphans; Bush Campaigns in Texas>


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