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Pirates Attack Cruise Liner Near Somalia; Hugo Chavez Leads Anti-American Protests In Argentina

Aired November 5, 2005 - 17:30   ET


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.
In the news right now, a cruise ship will skip a planned stop in Kenya after pirates attacked the vessel off the coast of Somalia. The "Seabourn (ph) Spirit" was fired upon early this morning by attackers in two inflatable rafts. Seabourn says the pirates fired rocket- propelled grenades and machine guns before the ship's captain gunned the engines and outran the assailants.

The U.S. government warns Americans in France to avoid the areas affected by riots. There have been rioting for the past 10 nights, and just about 20 minutes ago, Chris Burns reported from Paris that rioting is just beginning tonight into Toulouse, France. There is a travel warning issued by the State Department to any Americans traveling to Paris.

Also, authorities in Houston say a plane that crashed today at Hobby Airport was asked to take off in a hurry, after an incoming airliner radioed a problem. The plane took off, the pilot asked to return, and then the plane nose-dived onto the airport runway. Both people on board were killed.

Now, President Bush is just minutes away from arriving in Brazil right now after leaving a contentious Summit of the Americas in Argentina. The summit is continuing hours past schedule, as leaders mull over whether to create a free trade zone of the Americas. The two-day meeting has been marred by demonstrations aimed at President Bush. The protests resulted in a lot of damage, and questions about future economic relations with the Americas.

CNN's Lucia Newman reports.


LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Boarding up and taking stock of the damage, the aftermath of a violent day in Mar del Plata, with little left to pick through the remains of a burnt-out bank.

That bank, and dozens of other buildings in downtown Mar del Plata, were the target of violent demonstrators Friday. Looking for a fight, they marched on police barricades surrounding the site where the Summit of the Americas was under way. By the time they were repelled by large volumes of tear gas, the damage was done.

On the street the next day, anger. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The authorities said everything's under control. But what are they talking about? The firemen didn't get here until 40 minutes later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They were all marching carrying sticks. What do the police think, that they were all going to go for flowers?

NEWMAN: The owner of this damaged shop too blames the authorities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Because from the police barricades towards there, everything was secure. From the barricades towards here, it was a no-man's-land. We were at the mercy of those delinquents.

NEWMAN (on camera): It's not just the citizens of this beautiful seaside city who feel cheated and disappointed. Also, leaders who'd come here, hoping for a comprehensive plan to address the economic woes of this region, are leaving with a lot less than they'd hoped for.

PRES. VICENTE FOX, MEXICO (through translator: Twenty-nine of our countries are in agreement to continue the process of reaching an accord. But five countries are not in agreement.

NEWMAN: What those countries don't is a commitment to a hemispheric free trade pact. Among the dissenters, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela, in the minority, but with the bulk of the region's economic clout.

At the summit's opening ceremony, an uncharacteristically caustic attack of U.S. economic policies by the host of the summit gathering.

PRES. NESTOR KIRCHNER (through translator): They not only provoked misery and poverty, a social tragedy, they also added institutional instability to the region and provoked the downfall of democratically elected governments that were elected amid violent, popular upheavals.

NEWMAN: This, from the summit conceived a decade ago precisely to push for the creation of the largest free trade bloc in the world. For the U.S. president, a less than stellar event in a recent series of them.

Here, he endured criticism, not only inside the official summit venue, but also outside, from everyday citizens, to his arch-foe in the region.

PRES. HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA (through translator): We'll bury the free market capitalist model imposed by Washington.

NEWMAN: At this, the fourth Summit of the Americas, the region appears to be as fractured as it was when these meetings began more than 10 years ago.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Mar del Plata, Argentina.


LIN: So you've got protests in Argentina against President Bush, and here at home, questions about his administration's ethics. So it won't be business as usual at the White House next week. President Bush has ordered his entire staff to attend a refresher course on ethics. Now, the order follows the indictment of Scooter Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff, in the CIA leak probe.

A memo sent to the president's aides say that attendance next week is mandatory.

A special focus of the briefings will deal with handling classified information.

As for Scooter Libby, well, he resigned as a result of his indictment in the CIA leak Investigation, so how will charges against the vice president's former right-hand man affect Cheney's standing at the White House?

CNN's chief international correspondent, John King, takes a closer look.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The case against Scooter Libby is a trial of sorts for his former boss as well.

JAMES THURBER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: The vice president's been very close to the president. He's been a stealthy leader behind the scenes. He's now out in front of the media, which hurts him, because that's not his style. It will hurt, therefore, the president.

KING: In the Libby indictment, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald alleges the vice president was among the first to tell Libby administration critic Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, that on a July 12, 2003, flight with Cheney and other officials, Libby sought advice on how to deal with questions about Wilson, and that later that same day, Libby discussed Wilson and his wife with two reporters.

THURBER: I think the vice president will claim executive privilege and try not to appear in court. But if he does appear in court, it is likely to draw him even closer to this controversy.

KING: Cheney's role in this administration has always been controversial, a defender of presidential powers, whether the issue be his secretive energy task force, or resisting outside investigations into the 9/11 attacks, and Iraq war intelligence failures, the leading advocate of toppling Saddam Hussein.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because the issue is that he's pursuing nuclear weapons. KING: Former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft says the vice president is a changed man, for the worse. "I consider Cheney a good friend. I've known him for 30 years," Scowcroft told "The New Yorker," "but Dick Cheney, I don't know anymore."

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: I've known him quite well since our days in the House together in the 70s.

KING: Senator Trent Lott stops at talk his friend the vice president has changed, and at talk Cheney is now a liability and will lose some of his unrivaled West Wing influence.

LOTT: I think the president relies on him, and I sleep better every night knowing that Dick Cheney is serving as vice president of the United States. That role will diminish, because it's too (INAUDIBLE) a role, it's too critical.

KING: The Democrats see an opening, criticizing Cheney in this letter for promoting two deputies to fill Libby's role. "Instead of cleaning house," the Democratic senators wrote, "you simply rearranged some of the furniture."

The prospect of an election year trial focusing on the vice president's office has some whispering perhaps Cheney will step, or be nudged, aside. Not a chance, say those who know the relationship.

NICK CALIO, FORMER BUSH ADVISER: No. If you know him, and if you know the president, the answer is flat-out no. That's, you know, one of the great secondary sports in Washington, is, you know, speculation about the vice president resigning for one reason or another. It won't happen.

KING: John King, CNN, Washington.


LIN: So would Hillary Clinton make a great president? Well, her husband, the former president, sure thinks so. In fact, he said as much in an interview in Jerusalem.


FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: In some ways, she would be, in some ways -- because of what we did together, because we -- it's because, first, she would have the Senate experience, which I didn't have, and second, she would have had the eight years in the White House.

I don't know that she could do a great deal more good than I did, but I think she wouldn't make as many mistakes, because, you know, we just -- we're older and more mature, and she's far more experienced now in all the relevant ways than I was when I took office.


LIN: OK, I wouldn't exactly call that a passionate endorsement, but it was a ringing one. Hillary Clinton still hasn't made it official whether she plans to run for president in 2008.

Now, Hillary Clinton, as you all know, is an advocate for health care reform. But is Wal-Mart?

The retail giant has quite an impact on government-subsidized health care, and many worry Wal-Mart is setting an example that other businesses are considering.

Here's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out in the morning rush of Washington, D.C., like six out of 10 Americans, Tim Kane gets health insurance through his job.

TIM KANE, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I think my hands are tied. I have to go through my employers.

FOREMAN: But as an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Tim supports an idea that might put other commuters into shock. Workplace health plans, can be, should be, and may be going away.

KANE: Americans should understand that they would be much better off if businesses weren't providing them health care, if they could buy it on the free market cheaply.

FOREMAN: This is controversial stuff. Wal-Mart, with more than 1.2 million American workers, is being criticized right now over a leaked company memo that suggests health care costs should be better contained. Wal-Mart Watch is a new advocacy group, funded in part by labor unions, to keep an eye how the economic giant is shaping American life.

Andy Grossman is executive director.

ANDY GROSSMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WAL-MART WATCH: I think that Wal-Mart today, as we speak, is attempting to change health care for the American worker to the worse.

FOREMAN (on camera): And you're saying that affects all of us, whether or not we work for Wal-Mart.

GROSSMAN: When Wal-Mart makes a change in the way they do their business, then other businesses follow.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Wal-Mart told us in a written statement it is expanding and improving its health insurance program. But, it adds, every business is asking the question, "How do we balance the genuine desire to provide the best benefits while remaining competitive in the global economy?"

That's the catch. The United States is a rarity among nations in firmly tying health insurance to jobs, making it a cost of doing business. So how did it get that way? Blame it on World War II, when fear of inflation prompted President Roosevelt to freeze wages. With so many Americans going to battle. Businesses were frantic for workers. So instead of more money, they offered health insurance.

Healthy employees are undeniably better for business, better for society, but is that Wal-Mart's responsibility?

(on camera): Look, this is a private company. What business is it of yours how they do their business?

GROSSMAN: We, the taxpayers, are paying for Wal-Mart to profit. And so therefore...

FOREMAN: And you believe that gives you a say.

GROSSMAN: ... therefore, we have a say. We're stockholders, we're shareholders in the company.

FOREMAN (voice-over): A study before Congress last year said less than half of Wal-Mart employees were fully covered by the company insurance, and that a significant number secure their health care from publicly subsidized programs.

George Miller from California authored that report.

REP. GEORGE MILLER (D), CALIFORNIA: I don't think that Wal-Mart either has built an acceptable system for real health care for employees, and they haven't really provided much to the national debate on how we can accomplish this as a nation.

FOREMAN: The debate over how workplace health insurance might fade, and what might replace it, is not just about Wal-Mart.

KANE: And Wal-Mart's trying to stay out of that mess. And it's a very tricky problem.

FOREMAN: But when a company that big even whispers change, these days, everyone listens.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


LIN: All right. This just in to the CNN Center. We've got more news outside of Paris. In Toulouse, France, a tense night of rioting. On the telephone right now, Chris Burns. Chris?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Carol, hi, Carol.

We're hearing about it in Toulouse today, in the southwest of France, also south of Paris, in a town called Grini (ph), two schools were torched, a recycling plant as well, some 15 cars there. Overall, across the country, at least 100, maybe more, vehicles have burned.

Now, that does sound bad, but it still pales to last night, when some 900 vehicles were torched overnight across France.

So, and so far, I mean, there is violence tonight, but it doesn't seem as intense, though the night is still fairly young, it's still around midnight tonight, so there could be more action later tonight. We'll keep an eye on it, Carol.

LIN: All right, Chris, I mean, this started 10 days ago when two black teenagers were electrocuted after being chased by police. How does an event like this have so much momentum?

BURNS: Well, there's a lot of frustration in these areas. These are suburbs, very poor working-class suburbs outside of Paris, outside of a lot of other big towns in France, where the unemployment rate among youths is 50 percent or more, and there's not much else to do except to look for trouble.

And that is what is -- the authorities are facing now. They're trying to keep this under control. And it's not easy. They've deployed an extra 2,300 police in the Paris area alone for tonight. Even helicopter -- at least one helicopter is hovering overhead to watch the situation.

And there've been meetings as well. The French government's been meeting with community groups. And we even talked to some mediators, young mediators on the ground, who are trying to talk the kids out of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones. They say they're having some effect, but obviously not entirely, Carol.

LIN: All right. Chris Burns, reporting on the telephone as he's monitoring the rioting in Toulouse as well as parts of the south, south of the city of Paris.

There has been a travel warning issued by the State Department to Americans traveling to Paris to stay out of these areas and to be aware of the situation. A tense night of rioting. Chris Burns will be following this through the night for us.

In the meantime, as you know, winter is moving into the Kashmir region. Can those who survived the giant earthquake survive the coming cold?


LIN: It has been almost a month since the massive quake that killed thousands of people in South Asia. And the misery continues for the living. Many survivors are still without shelter, without food, and now without hope.

But help is reaching some places. ITN's Bill Neely reports from Kashmir.


BILL NEELY, ITN NEWS (voice-over): Time, they say, heals. It doesn't feel like it here. In the crushed mountain villages, the agony still intense. Their dead still lie under the rubble, their living are still dying of their injuries.

This is Gujar Bandi (ph), or what's left of it. Today, help arrived from above, two helicopters from the Royal Air Force crammed with food flew across some of the world's most rugged land to reach a village cut off for weeks.

What the crew sees still shocks them. It would shock anyone, villages and towns where virtually no aid and no workers or bulldozers have yet reached, isolated pockets of misery.

And the clock is ticking on a very real threat here, of more mass deaths from extreme cold and hunger.

So today, rice, tons of it, was the priority. The survivors hauled it off, and from the torn bags salvaged grains from the dirt. None of it was wasted. It might keep them alive.

And it's not just rice they need.

LT. MOHSIN SHIRAZ, PAKISTANI ARMY: They're asking for the tent, and they need tents till the time for next two, three months, when the snow will be there.

NEELY (on camera): If they don't have tents?

SHIRAZ: If they don't have tents, the initial dry, cold weather, they can't survive.

NEELY: Nearly one month on, and these people aren't just getting food and tents and medicines for the first time. They are also still pulling their loved ones from the rubble and burying them.

(voice-over): Nasier Ahmed (ph) was found crushed in a landslide just this morning and laid to rest within hours. He was a school librarian. Seventy pupils in this tiny village died in their classrooms.

For Muslims, the holiest month ended today. It's meant to be a day of celebration and of giving thanks.


NEELY: Not for Lagina Bibi (ph), who's lost her baby son and her 9-year-old daughter.

But these villages hold tales of survival too. Madi Hassan (ph) is now an orphan, but was pulled from the rubble after four days. Two-year-old Roktaj (ph) had to have her foot amputated. There are broken legs everywhere, but with people only now emerging from mountain village, injuries are festering.

DR. JOHNNY SKOGSTAD, NORWEGIAN RED CROSS: If the infection is bad, you know, the leg will have to be taken off. Amputation, lots of amputations that we are already doing.

NEELY: So casualties are hurried on board the helicopters. This man has a breathing infection. And away they go on another mission to a forgotten village.

Bill Neely, ITV News, Gujar Bandi, Kashmir.


LIN: For the last hour, a Baltimore crew has been fighting to free a man who was trapped under a collapsed building. We believe it's a house, because they were wondering if it was a homeless person, or someone who once lived in a home. That home was under demolition, and he'd been trapped for the last hour.

Emergency crews had arrived at the scene and were taking life- support measures. And we are happy to report to you right now that they have freed the man. You are looking at video just in to the CNN Center. And hopefully, his injuries are not life-threatening. But at least he is alive, and he's getting help. He's off to the hospital.

All right, the Prince of Wales, Charles, and his wife, Camilla, are spending the weekend in America's West Coast. Up next, we are going to get a live update on the royal tour. Stay right there.


LIN: Finally this hour, Prince Charles goes organic. The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, are in northern California, and today, they were treated to a taste of Marin County.

Covering the trip, CNN's Kareen Wynter. Why did they pick this area, Kareen?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Prince Charles is an organic farmer. He opened his -- started a company, a food company, back in 1992. And so this visit, for him, was quite fitting, because that's basically what this community is built on, organic farmers.

And many of them come to this central location in Point Reyes Station, California. The royal couple, Carol, arrived early this morning to very warm welcome, Camilla in a crisp dark tailored suit. She also had a purse that had everyone buzzing. They kept complimenting her on the fact that they loved her purse.

They went inside the farmer's market and had a very, very close encounter with many of the vendors there, people who were selling everything from fruits and vegetables to natural extracts. And so they shared basically stories with them as to, you know, why they were there. They also sampled some of the products.

I saw Camilla helping herself to an apple, having some soup. And she also sampled some of the lotion, and they're a specialty item. I'll have a little bit more on that story for you in just a second.

But they also petted some animals. So overall, this community said that they were very, very happy to see them here, many people openly admitting that they know nothing about Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla. That's what brought them out, as well as the spotlight on organic farming. Here's one resident and his reaction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such a kind individual. He's committed to sustainability, he's committed to family farms, and he came out here, and he looked happy.


WYNTER: And Carol, I mentioned that lotion that Camilla tried. It's actually called Super Rose Cream. It smells delicious. And she not only tried it, but she went off with a jar of her own. And that vendor said, it's all sold out. So if you didn't get one before today, before the visit, or shortly after, you're out of luck, Carol.

LIN: She got it for free?

WYNTER: She did. She offered to pay, and her assistants pulled out some money, and they said, Absolutely not, it's on the house, it's our gift to you.

LIN: Right. Hey, Kareen, it's often been said by people who know Camilla that she's much prettier in person than her pictures actually show. What did you think?

WYNTER: I'm sorry, can you repeat that, Carol?

LIN: It's often been said by people who know Camilla that she's prettier in person than she is in her pictures. What did you think?

WYNTER: Not only did I get that reaction, but I had a chance to see her again, not up close, the crowds were just all around us. But she's very, very striking, and so humble. And that was just my reaction from her, but much prettier in person.

LIN: All right, we're going to hear more in the next hour. Thanks very much, Kareen.

There's still much more ahead on CNN. Up next, the latest on the search for a death row inmate who's been on the run for more than 48 hours.

And at 7:00 Eastern, it's "ON THE STORY." CNN's frontline correspondents take you inside the stories of the week, including President Bush's plan to fight bird flu.

And then at 8:00 Eastern, "CNN Presents: Reasonable Doubt." Serious flaws at crime labs are raising doubts about the validity of some evidence. So can crime labs be trusted? That's at 8:00 Eastern.

CNN LIVE SATURDAY continues right after this.



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