Good afternoon from Boston, where I will be doing just part of the broadcast tonight. I was invited by the Boston Pops Orchestra to participate in their huge Fourth of July concert — and a little rehearsal is in order.
Specifically, I was asked to do some of the patriotic readings in an event that includes a score of great American songs — not to mention Debbie Reynolds, Cyndi Lauper, Arlo Guthrie, and a wonderful young gospel singer named Renese King. It's a little different from what I usually do — but it's a lot of fun.
Elizabeth Vargas will anchor the bulk of the broadcast tonight. And senior producer Tom Nagorski has the preview.
We plan to start tonight with a story that may have profound implications for the future of medicine and technology. It begins with one man who was terminally ill, in a Kentucky hospital. Yesterday surgeons removed his heart and replaced it with an artificial pump, a device with no wires connecting it to the outside world. It was the first time that a self-contained system had ever been implanted as a replacement for a human heart.
It's quite a story. And while it's too early to determine whether the operation has been a success, it is not too early to examine the consequences. John McKenzie is reporting on the surgery itself; we'll also check in with our medical editor, Dr. Timothy Johnson.
If medical history has been made in Kentucky, legal history has been made in a court in the Netherlands. For the first time, a former head of state faced a war crimes tribunal this morning. Even some of the world's more hopeful diplomats and jurists doubted this day would come; and when it did, the former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic minced no words. He called the court "an illegal organ," accused NATO of "crimes" committed against his people, and when asked whether he wanted the indictment read aloud, Milosevic snapped, "That's your problem." Jim Wooten is at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. And we've also spoken today with former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who probably has had more firsthand experience with Milosevic than any Western diplomat.
Later in the broadcast, we'll take a Closer Look at the merits of the chase. As in, the high-speed car chase, in which police pursue suspects, and sometimes cause serious accidents. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study finds that 40 percent of all police pursuits result in an accident. With that in mind, we were surprised to learn about the state troopers who've been given expensive, high-performance sports cars to help them pursue suspected criminals. It's a controversial idea. Steve Osunsami has the story tonight.
And finally tonight, on the eve of the nation's 225th birthday, we'll have Peter's report on a national pastime that's looking for new recruits. Why is baseball such a tough sell for a lot of young people? Does Little League need a shot in the arm?
Hope you have a great Fourth of July. And we hope you'll join us tonight, and tomorrow, when Peter will have a terrific piece on the flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner."