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YOUR WORLD TODAY

Rice's European Tour; Attacks in Baghdad on the Rise; Hostages in Iraq; Opposition Gains Power in Egyptian Elections

Aired December 8, 2005 - 12:00   ET

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


ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think it was a good discussion. I think it cleared the air. I think Secretary Rice made a strong intervention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Striking the right balance. NATO's secretary general is among those reassured by Condoleezza Rice's statements on U.S. terrorism policy.

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A suicide bomber strikes again in Iraq. This time the target is a crowded bus in Baghdad.

GORANI: The first strike by U.S. air marshals in recent times. A U.S. citizen who said he had a bomb is killed in Miami's airport. And the questions linger.

CLANCY: And struck down in his prime. The world today remembering John Lennon 25 years after he was shot and killed.

Right now it is 8:00 p.m. in Baghdad. It is 12:00 noon in Strawberry Fields in Central Park, across from The Dakota apartment building.

I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani.

Welcome our viewers throughout the world. This is CNN International and this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

Hello, and welcome everyone.

We are going to begin our report this hour with questions and concerns about secret prisons, the CIA, and the treatment of terror suspects in U.S. hands. At every stop on her European tour this week, the U.S. secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, faced questions about U.S. policies on torture.

GORANI: Now, in Brussels Thursday, NATO and European foreign ministers said that Rice had "cleared the air" on the issue.

Our European political editor, Robin Oakley, has more from Brussels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICAL EDITOR: On her trip around Europe, Condoleezza Rice has been dogged by allegations about CIA mistreatment of terrorist suspect prisoners, and about so-called ghost flights transporting them around European airfields in secret, and so- called black sites where they had been interrogated at secret prisons.

Slowly but steadily, though, she's been able to persuade Europe's politicians that there is reason behind the U.S. policy. And she's done so largely by the assurance in Kiev, first of all, that U.S. personnel abroad are subject to the U.N. convention against torture just the same way that U.S. personnel at home are, and her promise that degrading and inhuman treatments would not be applied to detainees.

Last night, she had a meeting over dinner with the European foreign ministers, all of those who were involved in NATO. And in an open discussion over the table she acknowledged the dilemmas that democracies have in fighting terrorism. And she said that sometimes they have to be prepared to get their hands dirty, to some extent, because you simply cannot fight terrorism as you fight ordinary crime. If you do that, if you hold back until the crime has been committed and then prosecute, you can find 3,000 people dead.

At NATO today, she repeated her assurances that the U.S. will not use torture and will not use degrading treatment against detainees. And the NATO foreign ministers have mostly expressed their satisfaction now with U.S. policy, the so-called policy of extraordinary rendition.

The question is, though, whether European publics will accept the assurances in the way that Europe's foreign ministers have done. Many of them are suspicious of Condoleezza Rice's refusal to talk about the so-called secret prisons. She won't do that, she says, because it could prejudice intelligence, and intelligence is vital in catching terrorists.

And she has promised, though, that while the U.S. policy is operating, any individuals who do get involved in torture and mistreatment of detainees will be investigated and will be punished. That seems to have helped her turn the corner with the politicians. But the questions with the public will remain.

Robin Oakley, CNN, at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, Britain's highest court has weighed in on the torture debate. It has ruled that evidence obtained through torture anywhere in the world may not be used in British courts. Thursday's unanimous ruling by British law lords uphold an appeal brought by terror suspects held without charge.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke says the government does not condone torture and has never relied on evidence obtained that way. Human rights groups say the ruling sends a clear anti-torture message to governments around the world.

CLANCY: The pre-election violence in Iraq that coalition officials had warned about rages on -- surges, in fact. A suicide bus bombing killed dozens of people in Baghdad.

Aneesh Raman is there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A week to go until Iraq's general elections and attacks in the capital are on the rise. Thursday, a deadly suicide bombing in southern Baghdad on a passenger bus headed to the Shia city of Nasiriyah. At least 30 killed, 20 wounded. The bus, now charred debris; the dead, those heading home for the weekend.

It comes just two days after dual suicide bombers detonated at an Iraqi police academy in eastern Baghdad, killing 40. And despite what the U.S. military says has been a drop by almost half in attacks from October to November, they are now on high alert.

MAJ. GEN. RICK LYNCH, U.S. ARMY: Zarqawi is still out there. We've got a week to the election. He's feeling the pressure. He's supposed to derail the democratic process and discredit the Iraqi government. And he's going to mount these operations.

Remember, his weapon of choice is a suicide bomb. So it's still out there.

RAMAN: Also in the past two weeks, at least seven Westerners have been taken hostage. On Wednesday, new video emerged of American Tom Fox and British national Norman Kember, shown in orange jumpsuits. Both kidnapped, along with two other Canadian Christian aid workers. Their captors, a previously unknown group called Swords of Justice, say they will execute the men Saturday if U.S. and British troops do not start withdrawing from Iraq.

(on camera): In advance of the election, non-Iraqi Arabs have been barred from entering the country. A state of emergency has been declared in two volatile provinces, and a curfew is set to be imposed in Baghdad. A virtual lockdown ahead of the country's next major political milestone.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says Japan will keep its troops in Iraq for up to a year after their current mandate expires next week. Mr. Koizumi said he told Iraq's transitional prime minister, who visited Tokyo recently, the conditions necessary for extending that deployment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I told the Iraq prime minister when he was here recently that if the security situation further improves, Japanese companies will become more involved, there will be more private volunteer activity, and we will be able to do more in terms of assistance to Iraq than what the SDF does currently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, an extraordinary session of the cabinet approved extending the mission of non-combat troops in southern Iraq. It's been praised by Washington, but is opposed by most Japanese voters.

CLANCY: A Pentagon source now says the U.S. military is considering an option to pull 30,000 U.S. troops out of Iraq after next week's parliamentary elections. Now, that number about 10,000 more than the amount officials had been talking about for the past several months. Remember, U.S. troops were increased in Iraq to prepare for the security threats.

Now, the disclosure comes during a week in which both U.S. President George W. Bush and the vice president, Dick Cheney, have argued against immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the country.

GORANI: Now, as the American president tries to sell his strategy on Iraq, a new poll shows some improvement in his approval rating among Americans.

The CBS News-"New York Times" poll says Mr. Bush's approval rating improved to 40 percent from 35 percent in October. On the handling of Iraq, 36 percent give him favorable marks, compared to 32 percent in October.

On the economy, his approval rating is up to 38 percent from 34 percent in October. But only 25 percent say the president has a plan for victory in Iraq. And 58 percent want the United States to set a timetable for withdrawing troops.

CLANCY: Kidnappers threatening to kill four Christian aid workers in Iraq say they are now extending their execution deadline.

GORANI: Now, we'll hear from their family and friends as they make heartfelt appeals.

CLANCY: And then a little bit later, the world remembers the musical genius that was John Lennon a quarter of a century after his death.

GORANI: And as part of the remembrance, we are asking you to e- mail us. What is your favorite John Lennon song and why? E-mail us your suggestions and your reasons at YWT@CNN.com.

And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CLANCY: Welcome back. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

GORANI: An hour of world news on CNN International.

Kidnappers in Iraq threatening to kill four Christian aid workers say they're extending the deadline for their demands to be met.

Damon Green reports on appeals being made by the British government and Muslim leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORMAN KEMBER, HOSTAGE: I'm a Christian aid peacemaker. I'm a friend of Iraq. I have been opposed to this war, Mr. Blair's war, since the very beginning.

DAMON GREEN, REPORTER, ITV NEWS (voice over): Norman Kember is still alive. Despite threats to kill him, his value as a hostage has spared his life. But in these poor-quality images released last night, the elderly British peace campaigner is still chained and blindfolded. His captors' message: that their deadline has been extended by two days, until Saturday.

This morning, the foreign secretary made his own statement, urging them to make direct contact.

JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: If the kidnappers want to get in touch with us, we want to hear what they have to say. We have people in Iraq itself and in the region. And they are ready to hear from the kidnappers.

GREEN: But as the family of Mr. Kember's Canadian fellow hostage James Loney made their own appeal, it was clear that negotiating a release can't begin until both sides are prepared to talk. Some have made themselves available as middlemen. Anas al-Tikriti (ph) traveled to Baghdad on behalf of the British Council of Muslims. This man, Abu Katada (ph), feared to be a key figure in terror networks, made an appeal for mercy from the cell where he is awaiting deportation from Britain.

Another banned radical cleric made his own appeal but offered no guarantee it would be heard.

SHEIK OMAR BAKRI MOHAMMED, BANNED RADICAL CLERIC: I appeal myself to them, you see, that to show guidance and mercy to any victim in their hand. But after that I can't myself guarantee anything except to tell you these people mean business.

GREEN: No one in the West doubts that. And until direct talks can be opened with the hostage-takers, no one knows for sure whether they are even listening to any appeal for Norman Kember's life.

Damon Green, ITV News.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CLANCY: Now the four hostages are members of what is called the Christian Peacemaker Teams. That's a peace activist organization. It's been working all across the Middle East. The group is asking for vigils around the world to call for the end of the war in Iraq.

Joining us from Chicago is Sara Reschly. She is the regional group coordinator for Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Sara, what does the group do? I think people, they see the hostages that are there, but yours is a group that is directly appealing to the kidnappers here, saying, the members of our group are not the problem in the Middle East, they are part of the solution.

What do you do?

SARA RESCHLY, CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAMS: That's right. We work to reduce violence. And specifically in Iraq, we are working to reduce the violence that is caused by the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Jim and Tom, Norman and Harmeet were all a part of a delegation going to Iraq to meet with different Iraqis to hear their stories about the impact of the U.S. occupation in Iraq. And they gather those stories and testimonies of human rights abuses, and then they bring those stories back to their homes, to their home countries, to the U.S. and Canada and the U.K., to talk to people about the horrific human rights abuses that are happening in Iraq -- to spread the word.

CLANCY: Sara, you know, it's a difficult question, but as you are involved in a hostage situation, nobody ever wants to be involved in that. No group does. But, you know, sometimes you've got to harden your message because you know who you are dealing with.

Is that happening in this case a little bit?

RESCHLY: We remain committed to non-violence. We are a Christian group who feels called to make peace in the world. And we are only exploring non-violence means to...

CLANCY: By all sides? I mean, in other words, you are opposed to the suicide bombings...

RESCHLY: Oh...

CLANCY: ... the guy, like, on the bus today in Baghdad that killed 30 people, shooting teachers?

RESCHLY: Oh, absolutely. In fact, when I heard that news, I felt a twinge in my heart because I am thinking about the families who are suffering because of that.

CLANCY: All right. Against this backdrop of everything, three people come in, three little people that think that somehow they are going to change everything, some would say they are hopeless optimists. And now they are trapped in this terrible predicament. Their lives are being threatened, they are seen as the enemy by some.

Does this discourage members of your group?

RESCHLY: We remain hopeful that the gentlemen who have taken our friends will see that we truly are working to help the situation in Iraq. We are working for justice, that we work with the oppressed.

I feel hopeful that they will see that. And I also want to mention that all of us are doing Christian peacemaking work because of our deep convictions. And that to label us as do-gooders, that we don't know what we are getting into, I think is a mischaracterization, because we spend a great deal of time talking about an event such as this. We talk about, what will we do if we are kidnapped or tortured or somehow seriously physically injured?

CLANCY: Let me ask you just a couple of things that I think set this all apart. You've had the support, the surprising support, coming from the Palestinians, where you are also active in the occupied territories. You've got support from Islamic -- what are seen as Islamic radicals, even from jail cells. And you seem also to have made contact with the kidnappers?

RESCHLY: I -- this has been a very, very difficult time for us in Christian Peacemaker Teams because we miss our friends. We want to see them to come home safely.

But one of the things that has helped me is the outpouring of support. And I hope that everyone around the world could see the outpouring of support that we have had from our Muslim friends and brothers across the political spectrum.

Yes, there are groups from what people term the more radical edge, but I was just at a prayer vigil last night in downtown Chicago at the Islamic Center, both a Christian and Muslim interfaith prayer vigil. So the support we are getting is phenomenal. And that is what's keeping us going.

CLANCY: All right. The Christian Peacemaking Teams perhaps now in the hands of Islamic militants in Iraq.

I want to thank Sara Reschly for being with us to talk about this a little bit -- Reschly, I should say. And all we can do is join you and hoping and praying for their safe release.

RESCHLY: Yes, thank you. Thank you very much.

CLANCY: All right.

GORANI: Now a check of top news in the United States is up next for our viewers in the U.S.

CLANCY: The rest of us are going to be getting a check of the financial markets around the world.

And Coke rolling out a new product and a new slogan to try to put some fizz back into its image and sales. We'll have details next right here on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta. More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. First, though, a check on stories making headlines in the U.S.

First to Capitol Hill, where Republican leaders say lawmakers have reached an agreement on extending some controversial provisions of the Patriot Act. The anti-terrorism law was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and granted broader powers to law enforcement.

Sixteen provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire later this month at the end of the year. Senate and House negotiators have agreed to extend provisions for four years instead of 10. The length of renewal had been a critical stumbling block.

The approved provisions include controversial elements such as FBI access to libraries and business records and roving wiretaps.

Police are now investigating whether deadly force was warranted in the air marshal shooting death of a passenger. Authorities say Rigoberto Alpizar bolted from his seat on an American Airlines flight and ran off the plane saying he had a bomb.

Two air marshals confronted him in the jetway at Miami International Airport. Officials say Alpizar refused to put his bag down. And when he aggressively approached marshals, they shot and killed him.

A passenger on the flight said Alpizar and his wife had been acting strangely. But an air pilot seated next to Mary Gardner calmed her down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY GARDNER, PASSENGER: They were very nervous. She was very shaky. A lot of anxiety. And you could tell that they were -- there was something going on that just was not right.

And the pilot told me -- he said, "He's got it. Look it, there's a marshal right there. They know what's going on. We are covered."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Alpizar's mother-in-law told CNN affiliate WKMG that he suffered from bipolar disorder. His brother-in-law, though, told CNN he knew of no mental health issues that Alpizar may have had.

President Bush is giving Congress more details about the war in Iraq. Today he'll brief Republican lawmakers during a meeting that will be attended by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace. The White House says it's one of a series of meetings with Congress. The president plans to also meet with Democrats.

A Pentagon source says the military is looking into an option to pull 30,000 troops out of Iraq after next week's elections. That's 10,000 more troops than top officials had initially discussed withdrawing. According to the official, no decisions have been made on the pullout, but the option under consideration calls for leaving a brigade in Kuwait to serve as a rapid reaction force if there is a crisis.

The first major snowstorm of the season is sending shivers through the Midwest, and it is on a steady march to the Northeast. Up to 10 inches fell in some areas of Kansas and Missouri, snarling traffic and closing schools.

Plunging temperatures and hazardous road conditions extend into Arkansas today. Sleet and snow is expected to cover highways in Tennessee later tonight.

A perfect time to check in with our Chad Myers to see what is in store for the nation.

(WEATHER REPORT)

KAGAN: Slippery roads may have contributed to two tractor trailer accidents in south Dallas. It shut down traffic on Interstate 20. At this fiery crash, an 18-wheeler jackknifed when it slammed into a news station's SUV and burst into flames. No one was injured. Earlier, another big rig jackknifed.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of Stanley "Tookie" Williams' final hopes. Schwarzenegger today will hold a clemency hearing with attorneys trying to save the life of the convicted killer. The Crips gang founder is scheduled to die on Tuesday. Advocates for Williams want his sentence commuted to life in prison due to his work towards keeping kids out of gangs. Prosecutors will also be able to speak at today's hearing.

He started with a simple paperclip, traded his way to a snowmobile, and he's going for a house. You're going to meet him and find out how he does it on "LIVE FROM" with Kyra Phillips. That's at the top of the hour.

Meanwhile, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a quick break.

I'm Daryn Kagan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: To our viewers in the United States and around the world, welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY here on CNN International. I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani.

Here are some of the top stories we're following for you.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. has clear rules against torture, but she cannot guarantee that individuals won't break those rules. She made the comments in Brussels following meetings with NATO leaders and European diplomats. Throughout her trip, Rice has been dogged by questions about the treatment of suspected terrorists in U.S. hands and reports of secret CIA prisons on European soil.

CLANCY: Approval ratings for President George W. Bush improving. One recent poll on job performance, the handling of Iraq and the economy show a four to five percentage point improvement over polls held a month earlier in October.

Meantime, a Pentagon source says the U.S. military is considering an option to bring home some 30,000 U.S. troops from Iraq after next week's parliamentary elections. That's 10,000 more than officials have been talking about.

GORANI: A suicide bomber has struck inside a bus in southern Baghdad, killing 30 people and wounding dozens. The packed bus was carrying weekend travelers to Nasariyah. Coalition officials have warned of an escalation in violence leading up to parliamentary elections next Thursday.

CLANCY: Important elections in Egypt. And now the results coming out. They show opposition Islamists increasing their seats in parliament nearly six-fold. But President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party still retains a massive majority. An Egyptian human rights group says eight people were killed in clashes with security forces Wednesday.

Police cordoned off polling stations in areas that strongly supported the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned but still tolerated political group whose candidates were allowed to run as independents. In a rare critique of Mr. Mubarak, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying the violent conduct of security forces raised concerns over Egypt's commitment to democracy and freedom.

GORANI: So just how does the Egyptian government go forward, given the election results, the violence and the U.S. criticism of President Mubarak?

Amr Hamzawy is an Egyptian political scientist and a senior associate at the Carnergie Endowment for International Peace. He's in CNN's Washington bureau and joins us now live.

Now, what does this mean for Egyptian political life? How strong of a political force is the Muslim Brotherhood now and what kind of impact will it have on political life?

AMR HAMZAWY, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: Well, the picture which is coming out of the elections is a picture of bipolar political system. The NDPs, the ruling National Democratic Party of President Mubarak, still control two-thirds of the seats of the people's assemblies, the lower house of the parliament.

But for the first time in the last five or even six decades, we have an opposition representation of around 30 percent. And the strongest bloc within the opposition representation is the Muslim Brotherhood, which got 88 seats, more or less 20 percent. So this is radically a different scene when you compare it to 2000 to 2005, where we had an overall opposition representation of less than 10 percent.

GORANI: All right, so how does this change things, then? It's still a one -- I mean, it's still technically a one-party system. These Muslim Brotherhood candidates had to run as independents. Does this fundamentally alter the way politics will be conducted in Egypt from now on?

HAMZAWY: It does not. It creates and it's going to generate pressures on Mubarak and his government to pay more attention to domestic demands, to pay more attention to position platforms and generally, specifically to the Muslim Brotherhood.

But as you said, basically what we have is still very much a one party, which is in control of the people's assembly. And not only is this one party controls the assembly, but still very much entrenched within state institutions of violence, which we saw in the last four, five weeks after the first stages of elections -- is frightening.

We still have an NDP, a ruling party which is waiting to do whatever it takes to secure its majority, violating universal norms when it comes to democratic conducted elections.

GORANI: Now how do you think the United States is reacting to all of this? Because the U.S. pressed for this type of Democratic reform and the electoral process. But the result of it is 20 percent of Muslim Brotherhood politicians in parliament. Do you think it regrets having pressed for this process to go so quickly?

HAMZAWY: Well, I mean, this is a real policy debate which is going on in Washington on how to tackle the participation and presence of Islamists forces in Egypt and elsewhere. When it comes to the Muslim Brothers, they changed a great deal in the last 20 years. They are positioning themselves within the growing reform camp in Egypt. And they have a liberal democratic agenda when it comes to political reforms.

They still have their gray zones when it comes to cultural issues, to the relationship between Muslims and the Christian Coptic minority of Egypt. But they can -- you can move them while integrating them. So they're not -- they shouldn't be frightened of the participation of the Brotherhood.

Rather, the real questions will have to be addressed and asked to President Mubarak and the government. Questions about commitment to political reform should be raised when it comes to our government, which used security forces to intimidate the electorate and to suppress Egyptians from going to the polling stations to cast their votes.

GORANI: Because Amr Hamzawy, this has been an issue, as well, inside of Egypt, where security has been accused of harassing voters.

HAMZAWY: Right.

GORANI: And creating an environment of intimidation. Could this backfire on the Egyptian government? HAMZAWY: Well, it's going to backfire, but it's going to backfire in a limited way. It will backfire when it comes to opposition forces in general. It will backfire when it comes to intellectuals and interested Egyptians.

But in general, we have to keep in mind that the voter turnout of the elections was less than 20 percent. We still have a great majority of Egyptians who are maybe apathetic about what's happening, who are not very much interested in participating.

So it will not backfire in a way that I expect massive demonstrations in Egypt. But it puts the regime internationally and domestically in a rather negative light. And Mubarak and his group hoped to create a better image with these elections, but they headed in the wrong direction.

GORANI: All right, Amr Hamzawy, a political scientist and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Thanks so much for being with us.

HAMZAWY: Thank you.

CLANCY: A Croatian war crimes fugitive now in custody. Former Croatian general Ante Gotovina was arrested in Spain's Canary Islands, according to the chief war crimes prosecutor. Officials now trying to get him to be transferred to the Hague, where he would face trial. He's under indictment for war crimes against Serbs in Croatia in 1995. Two other major war crimes fugitives from the Balkans remain at large: Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic.

GORANI: Fifteen suspects charged in connection with the July 21st failed London bombings have appeared in court via video link. The four main defendants are charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to murder. It was a technical hearing at London's central criminal court and no pleas were entered. Next September was mentioned as a possible date for the trial to begin, but lawyers are indicating already that it could be later than that.

CLANCY: Two U.S. air marshals who shot a man to death at Miami's International Airport have been placed on administrative leave -- now that's pending an investigation that's ongoing. The Florida man was killed as he was running from the aircraft on Wednesday. There are lingering questions over the episode.

Kathleen Koch joins us now live from Miami -- Kathleen?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it is Miami-Dade police who are investigating whether or not yesterday's use of deadly force was really necessary in this case and new details are emerging that the man who was killed, a 44-year-old Floridian, may have been mentally ill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KOCH (voice-over): Passengers were boarding American Airlines Flight 924 from Miami to Orlando when federal authorities say a man uttered threatening words and said he had a bomb. Federal air marshals, or FAMs, were on the plane and sprang into action.

JAMES BAUER, FEDERAL MARSHAL SERVICE: There were federal air marshals on board the aircraft. They came out of their cover, confronted him and he remained non-compliant with their instructions. As he was attempting to evade them, his actions caused the FAMs to fire shots and, in fact, he is deceased.

KOCH: Marshal Service Spokesman Dave Adams explained the man, 44-year-old Rigoberto Alpizar, had agreed to leave the plane, but carried a backpack and refused to set it down on the ramp leading from the aircraft. Federal law enforcement sources say he was wearing the backpack on his stomach, further raising suspicions. Adams says Alpizar approached the air marshals in an aggressive manner, appeared to reach into his bag and was shot.

Passengers like Miriam Delgado, who doesn't speak English, were terrified.

Her great granddaughter translates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She heard three gunshots and then everyone was running, like everyone was going crazy. They got up and started running.

KOCH: Some passengers say Alpizar's wife claimed he was mentally ill.

MARY GARDNER, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT: I hear her say, "He is bipolar. He doesn't have his medicine." I heard the shots.

ALAN TIRPAK, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT: She was just saying that her husband was sick, her husband was sick.

KOCH: Alpizar, a U.S. citizen, had just flown to Miami from Ecuador. After the shooting, investigators took his luggage off the plane and blew it open on the tarmac. A search of Alpizar's backpack and luggage turned up no explosives.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOCH: Now, the two air marshals involved in this case are both based in Miami. The Federal Air Marshal Service said they had ample law enforcement experience before joining the ranks of the federal air marshals in 2002. One had been a border patrol guard for -- border patrol officer for four years, another had been a Customs Service inspector for two years. And again, both men will remain on administrative leave, paid leave. That's standard operating procedure, as the investigation continuing.

Back to you.

Kathleen Koch reporting live on a story that continues to stir controversy in the U.S.

Thanks, Kathleen. KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now to a death-penalty case that is the focus of much attention in the United States. Thursday may be Crips founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams' last chance for clemency. His lawyers plan to ask California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to commute his life in prison without parole. They argue his life should be spared because of his work urging youths to avoid gang and gang violence.

Supporters of clemency for Williams, including many celebrities, have stepped up their lobbying in the past few days. Williams has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times.

CLANCY: Well, not everybody agrees, of course. Williams was convicted of murdering four people more than two decades ago. He's set to be executed next week.

Chris Lawrence gives us a look at Williams' life and the arguments for and against sparing it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Actor Jamie Foxx is asking California's governor to spare the life of the man he played on screen.

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: I never back down, never.

LAWRENCE: Stanley "Tookie" Williams cofounded the Crips street gang. He robbed and murdered. He was convicted of his crimes in 1981. But from his cell on death row, Williams spent years writing children's books and preaching against gang violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if he dies, some people are not going to have the opportunity to learn from his mistakes.

LAWRENCE: Edgar Medina read the books and says Williams convinced him to stay in school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I would have been in a gang right now, I would probably be in jail, dead.

LAWRENCE: Instead, he's 15, on track to graduate and go to college.

WESLEY MCBRIDE, RETIRED GANG INVESTIGATOR: I heard a report where they say he saved 150,000 kids from joining gangs. That's absurd. How do you know that?

LAWRENCE: Retired Sergeant Wes McBride worked the gang detail for 26 years in L.A. County.

MCBRIDE: It's not against the law to be a gang member. It's against the law to kill people. And that's what he's convicted of.

LAWRENCE: A witness says Williams robbed and executed a 7/11 employee, then made fun of the man as he died. He was also convicted of gunning down an entire family -- father, mother and daughter.

MCBRIDE: Writing a few books doesn't exonerate you from your crimes.

LAWRENCE: In Williams' case, it won't. On December 13th, he's scheduled to die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am at this time signing the warrant of execution.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Williams' books are a part of his legacy. So are the Crips. In 30 years, the gang has spread from California to just about every state in the country.

(voice-over): Fred Jackson works with kids who have grown up surrounded by gangs. He says they really listen to Williams, don't tune him out like cops or counselors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To kill Stan will be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Jackson says executing Williams sends the wrong message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would be telling gang members, or those wannabe gang members, we don't care how you turn your life around, watch, you are stuck, you are stuck.

LAWRENCE: No condemned murderer has been granted clemency in California since 1967. The odds are against any man, even one like Tookie Williams, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

MCBRIDE: But he didn't win it. And even if he did, does that mean you are forgiven for murdering a whole family? No, I don't think so.

LAWRENCE: Like his life, Tookie Williams' legacy will be complicated.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Delegates from more than 100 countries are meeting in Canada for a U.N. climate change conference.

CLANCY: We're going to see how those talks are going just ahead.

Also, scientists get some seismic readings from a very active volcano on Vanawato (ph). All of that next here on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Well, welcome back, everyone. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

GORANI: An hour of world news on CNN International.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CLANCY: Well, still to come, a music industry recognizing some of its brightest stars.

GORANI: And the world honors a fallen music icon and legend. Remembering John Lennon 25 years after his death.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIAH CAREY, GRAMMY NOMINEE: It's been such an amazing year, and this album really means so much to me, that I -- you know, I'm just full of gratitude. It's been an incredible morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, it was an incredible morning for pop star Mariah Carey as she received eight nominations for this year's Grammys. Carey's "Emancipation Of Mimi" was nominated for best album of the year, and her ballad, "We Belong Together" won nominations for best song as well as best record.

Kanye West -- rapper Kanye West -- also got eight nominations including best song for "Gold Digger" and for album of the year "Late Registration." And former Beatle Paul McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" was nominated for best album. The music awards will be handed out in February.

CLANCY: Well, 25 years ago this day former Beatle John Lennon shot to death by a deranged fan outside his apartment building.

GORANI: Now across the street from the famous Dakota, people are remembering John Lennon this day at the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park.

CLANCY: Ceremonies also being held in London and the Beatle's hometown, of course, Liverpool, England along the Mercy.

GORANI: Well, musicians come and musicians go. It's a fickle business. But, even a quarter century after his untimely death, John Lennon is remembered as one of the greats and the icons.

CLANCY: Sibila Vargas takes a look at Lennon's legacy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN LENNON, MUSICIAN: You know, you went to see those movies with Elvis or somebody in it when we were still in Liverpool. And you'd see everybody waiting to see him, right? And I'd be waiting there too. And they'd all scream when he came on the screen. So I thought, that's a good job.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A newly released special edition DVD of the movie "Imagine: John Lennon," includes rare footage of Lennon talking about his life.

LENNON: And my father and my mother split when I was about 4.

VARGAS: As well as recording. Many call Lennon's music the soundtrack to a generation. But critics say his solo work was uneven.

MIKAL GILMORE, ROLLING STONE CONTRIB. ED.: It was pretty hit and miss until the very final album released just a few weeks before his death.

VARGAS: Lennon's death came just as his double fantasy album was rising up the charts. In an October interview with CNN, Yoko Ono discussed continuing her late husband's legacy through a grant she created to honor peace activists.

YOKO ONO, JOHN LENNON'S WIDOW: This is the type of thing that John would have approved of and he would have loved to see happen. And I thought it was very important that this award is created.

VARGAS: Perhaps Lennon's greatest legacy is his influence on future generations of musicians.

BONO, U2: I wanted our first demos for our first album. I was sending them to John Lennon to produce our first album. He invented U2.

VARGAS: The lyrics to John Lennon's "Imagine" perhaps resonating now more than ever.

Sibila Vargas, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: As part of remembering John Lennon, we've asked you to e-mail us and answer this question.

GORANI: What is your favorite John Lennon song and why? Now, we got lots of answers. Thirty percent I've calculated say "Imagine."

Susan from Florida writes, "how can anyone listen to 'In My Life' without feeling both amazement and the beauty of the music and pangs of sadness hearing the lyrics."

CLANCY: Hafid from Morocco voted for "Imagine." He had this to say about it: "We're all in desperate need to understand John's message and to take some time to dream of how we can build a better world."

GORANI: Anna says her favorite Lennon song is "In My Life," and she writes, "the first time I held my son after a long and tiring delivery, I held him in my arms and in that bliss, John's song came to my mind. In that moment I sang it softly to him."

CLANCY: Finally Jason writes this from California: "I'm 18, so I never got to see John Lennon, but I have grown to love what he did. How can you pick just one song? All of his songs sent a message and that's why I enjoy listening to his music." You have to agree with that.

GORANI: OK, my favorite is "Imagine." I know it's predictable. I know it's boring to pick "Imagine." But yours, at least give me one. I mean, you don't want to ...

CLANCY: All of them.

Let me hear, Kyle in Austin, "Mind Games." We have "A Day In The Life," "Dr. Love," and "My Life." Meaghan Scott (ph) says "Norwegian Wood." There's a different one. You get an idea of the breadth of John Lennon.

GORANI: And also his timeless appeal as we saw with Jason who is 18 and loves the songs. "Help," right? Your favorite.

CLANCY: "Help." My ring tone on my cell phone.

GORANI: You ring tone on your cell phone. All right, bye everyone. See you in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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