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Yemen's President Leaves Power; McCann's Parents Testify
Aired November 23, 2011 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A fourth leader falls. The president of Yemen signs a deal to leave power, becoming the latest forced out by the Arab Spring. Tonight, the chances that others will follow in his footsteps.
Live from CNN Center, I'm Jonathan Mann.
Also tonight, the rape victim in Afghanistan thrown in jail and told to marry her attacker gets a measure of mercy. We'll have a live report from Kabul.
And is this the future of train travel? How you could one day board a train while it's going 300 kilometers an hour.
Thanks for joining us.
Almost a year after a spark in Tunisia lit a fire of the Arab Spring, popular uprisings have now claimed their 4th major political casualty. Today, Yemen's president agreed to end his 33-year dictatorship. Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a deal in Saudi Arabia that requires him to hand over executive powers to his vice-president. The deal appears to put Yemen in the same corner as Tunisia and Egypt and Libya - all of the countries successfully overthrowing their own dictators earlier in the year. The demonstrators in Yemen aren't ready to leave the streets quite yet. The deal ignores one of their biggest demands - that President Saleh face trial for the deaths of countless protestors.
Let's bring in Nima Elbagir - she's following developments tonight from London.
Nima, we have been down this road before. Saleh has made all kinds of promises. Is this a done deal? Is he really out?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would appear that Saleh is definitively out. But the issue remains the infrastructure of power that Saleh put in place - his nephews who are in various intelligence units, his son who runs the Republican guard, his clan who he has distributed throughout positions of power in government across Yemen. What will happen to them? And these are the questions that activists are asking themselves tonight as they pour into the streets of Sanaa.
Some of those activists have been putting up pictures on Facebook. We have a few to show you, Jonathan. One of them actually shows activists waving bank notes in the air, alluding they say to allegations against opposition members - they're asking, "How much were you paid to take this deal?" They also took pictures of themselves holding up signs saying, "There will be no immunity" which, of course, is part of the Gulf accord - no insurance and the blood of the martyrs is still our responsibility. So for Ali Abdullah Saleh - that mass rejection and for those he's left behind in power, the question is how this accord bought any of those who support him any measure of stability or (INAUDIBLE) stability for Yemen itself, Jonathan.
MANN: Well, let me ask you - in concrete terms - what this will mean, do we know, for Yemen itself and for him? He signed this deal in Saudi Arabia - is he headed back to Yemen then?
ELBAGIR: Well, we're hearing from the U.N. Secretary-General that he understands from the phone call he had with Ali Abdullah Saleh that he's planning on heading to the United States because of his ill health and that's really been the wild card that's ratcheted up that pressure on Saleh is has - is he well enough to continue that fight? Beyond that, we understand that Saleh will continue to call himself president in name until a new government comes into place which only obviously can rub salt into the wounds of those activists who fought so hard over the last nine months to get rid of Saleh.
MANN: Nima Elbagir, thanks very much.
Well, Egypt was one of the biggest success stories of the Arab Spring. But given the violence now unfolding in Cairo, it appears overthrowing Hosni Mubarak may have been the easy part. Protestors saying military rulers are hijacking their revolution and they're once again demanding democratic change. Let's get the latest on the street clashes through the day on CNN's Ben Wedeman who's in Cairo tonight.
Ben, there were terrible clashes, there was something of a truce - is it holding? What's happening now?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: - has collapsed and said proof of that is the sound of the ambulances behind me going to the frontline to pick up wounded protestors. We actually were in the middle of that truce. Basically, right from the - very near to the Ministry of the Interior, the army has deployed four armored personnel carriers and about 200 military police and they kept protestors separated from the Ministry of Interior forces for about three hours.
I spoke to one lieutenant-colonel there who told me that they had tried seven times to try to convince the protestors and the security forces to stop fighting, to just calm down for a bit. Now, religious leaders became involved as well so this one - this truce lasted for about three hours but it's such a volatile situation all on its own, I saw it. All it took - and I saw it with my own eyes - was just one stick to be thrown and then another rock and a rock and before we knew it, within a matter of seconds, the Interior ministry forces opened fire with tear gas onto the crowd, all hell broke loose. So it's a very sensitive situation and it appears that they're going to have to work a little harder to ensure a truce.
What's interesting is that the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Mohamed Ahmed El- Tayeb, came out and told the Interior ministry forces to stop firing at their fellow Egyptians, to leave the people in Tahrir alone and this is unprecedented. In the days of Hosni Mubarak, the Grand Mufti of the republic never criticized anybody in the government and now we have him quite openly criticizing one of the pillars of the old regime.
MANN: Ben, a very dramatic and remarkable day. Ben Wedeman. We're going to come back to you in a moment.
But we want to wind the clock a bit back first. A haze of tear gas has clouded the streets around Cairo's Tahrir Square for days now. But despite heavy-handed police tactics, demonstrators are determined to stand their ground. Ivan Watson shows us the frontlines of the fighting.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is where the fighting's been raging now into the fifth day. This one road here with police not very far away and these kids choking, puking, but refusing to give their ground amid the constant tear gases coming over here.
Eyewitnesses show that they're actually breaking the cease-fire sometimes that are ranged here and just venting their fury - and there's another round of tear gas, I've got to put the gas mask back on - venting their fury at the police.
The Marshal Tantawi's speech on Tuesday night has done nothing to diminish the rage of the people here who continue in these cat-and-mouse battles with the riot police.
I've had my gas mask off for about 45 seconds and I'm already succumbing to the effects. These kids are running around with surgical masks and spray water and again, showing the gas mask canisters clearly manufactured in the U.S.
MANN: We'll be back to Cairo in a moment. But a quick check now on two countries where uprisings so far have failed.
First - Syria. Its refusal to end the brutal crackdown on protestors has the world considering new ways to pressure the regime. The Arab League is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss possible economic sanctions while France wants the European Union to consider setting-up what it's calling "humanitarian corridors" that would provide an escape route for Syrian civilians under siege. Syria's one-time ally Turkey is also turning up the heat. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan issuing a stern warning to Syria's president, saying Bashar Assad risks the same fate as Libya's Moammar Gadhafi if he continues refusing to step down.
And now to Bahrain where the King is promising historic reforms after a troubling report on human rights abuses. A special commission found police used excessive force and torture to crush pro-democracy protests earlier this year. Mohammed Jamjoom joins us now from Manama, Bahrain with details.
And on the face of it, Mohammad, this was a remarkably frank, independent, even audacious report for them to come up with.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's true, Jonathan, and it was extraordinary - the setting today - to have the Chairman of the Bahrain Independent Commissioner of Inquiry basically telling the King in front of the press, in front of the assembled audience there, listing these abuses that they found by members of the government, members of the security apparatus, making recommendations for how things should be reformed here. That in itself is such a shocking thing to see in this part of the world and really a result of the Arab Spring and how the Arab Spring has brought some form of accountability to leaders here who just haven't been used to that until this year.
The King has pledged these reforms - has pledged to make accountable those who have been accused of these abuses, but just a short while ago, there was a statement released by Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State. She says, "We're deeply concerned about the abuses identified in the report and urge the government and all elements of Bahraini society to address them in a prompt and systematic manner." The government of Bahrain has committed to establish a follow-on committee to implement the report's recommendations and (INAUDIBLE) full expeditious implementation of these recommendations.
The question now is how is this going to be done? There was a lot of talk today about committees being established, ways to implement these recommendations as quickly as possible, but still the sense here is how is that going to be done?
The situation here remains volatile. There still are protests that go on. Society here - you speak to many people, they say it's as polarized as it ever has been, it's really a long sectarian (INAUDIBLE) these days and so there's a concern that the situation could go volatile at any second.
That being said though, a lot of human rights groups here, a lot of activists have said they welcome this report. What they really want to see now though is they want to see the King follow through on these pledges. They want these reforms. They want them done as quickly as possible.
MANN: Mohammed Jamjoom with what could be the headline of the day. The situation really could go volatile at any moment.
Let's take a moment - now that we're seeing the onset of winter in the region - to step back a bit and analyze the record of the Arab Spring so far. Ben Wedeman joins us now again from Cairo.
Ben, on a (INAUDIBLE), our attention is drawn in so many directions - to Cairo, to Bahrain, to Yemen, to Syria. Let me ask you, where should we be looking - because there's so much going on - which of the events of the day are most telling to you?
WEDEMAN: Well, I think, there's what's going on in Egypt, Jonathan, is highly significant because it points to a fact that the revolutions here were not launched and conducted to change the head of state, as was chanted here in Tahrir a million times. They said the people wants to topple the regime and that's what we're seeing here is a continuation because the Egyptians didn't go out for 18 days into the streets just to get rid of the head of state. They want to get rid of many parts of the state. For instance, much of the anger here is focused not really on the military, it's on the Ministry of Interior which every Egyptian has had bad run-ins with for decades going back.
And if you broaden this out, a lot of the heads of state who are still in power and their regimes may have assumed that these (INAUDIBLE) revolutions were just decapitations. What Egypt is showing - it's not decapitations, it is regime change. That's why they want to see, for instance, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi - he was the defense minister under Mubarak. People want to see the state purged of remnants of the old regime. So this is truly a revolution, not a coup d'etat, and I think that's what has the other regime terrified - that this is a fundamental uprising of the people, not just a coup d'etat in which you replace one head with another.
MANN: Because Yemen seems to be trying pretty much the same strategy, at least in these early hours. It seemed like - seems like the departure of the president is going to clear a way for his regime to remain in place minus the figure head who's now going off into some kind of exile presumably.
WEDEMAN: Yes. Well, you know, Ali Abdullah Saleh has been in power in Yemen for 33 years. That means that almost any official of any importance in the government rose through the ranks as a result of the blessing of the soon-to-be deposed president of Yemen. So this underscores the fact that it's not just getting rid of him. They - people in Yemen are going to be basically following the same route as they have in Egypt. They want to get rid of - they want to purge the state and that, obviously, is not something that's going to take a short amount of time and it's not going to be easy. It's going to be a huge upheaval and it's probably going to be messy, just like Egypt.
MANN: Our Cairo bureau chief, Ben Wedeman. Thanks very much.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD from CNN.
Up next, totally violate - the moment a grieving mother saw her own private diary in the pages of the News of the World. Parents of missing British youngster Madeleine McCann testified a press ethics' inquiry born out of the U.K. phone hacking scandal.
Afghanistan's shocking example of justice gets global attention. We have an update on the case of a young rape victim who's faced with a truly awful question.
And how a plan to put up a Christmas tree ended up as a shocking wreck of twisted metal. Coming right up (INAUDIBLE) after a short break.
MANN: Welcome back. I'm Jonathan Mann at CNN Center and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Here's a look now at some other stories making headlines this hour.
The trial of Saif al-Islam, Moammar Gadhafi's son, could be held in Libya instead of the Hague after all. International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo made the comments during a visit to Libya. He says Tripoli has the right to try Saif for crimes against humanity if the country can prove it has a functioning justice system.
The Patriot Act, immigration and border security, among the issues at CNN's republican presidential candidate debate Tuesday. Eight hopefuls took to the stage for the event hosted by Wolf Blitzer for questions on a number of topics including aid to Pakistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELE BACHMANN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At this point, I would continue that aid but I do think that the Obama policy of keeping your fingers crossed is not working in Pakistan.
RICK PERRY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand where she's coming from but the bottom line is that they've showed us time after time that they can't be trusted and until Pakistan clearly shows that they have America's best interests in mind, I would not send them one penny.
MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, American approval level in Pakistan is 12%. What - we're not doing a very good job with this huge invest and make a $4.5 billion a year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: James Murdoch has quit the boards of the companies that published The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun. He remains chairman of their parent company though - News International. The development came as the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann testified at a press ethics inquiry in London connected to the country's phone hacking scandal. CNN's Atika Shubert Schubert was there.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the McCanns testified today as to how the British tabloid press initially seemed very helpful in helping them to make an appeal and search for their daughter Madeleine McCann when she went missing in Portugal on a holiday all those years ago. But then, they also talked about how their relationship turned sour, how article after article seemed to cast suspicion on them, printing information that they said was blatantly false. They pointed to one incident with News of the World - the now defunct British newspaper - and how the editor there, Colin Myler, called them up and told - berated them for giving an exclusive interview to a rival magazine. Then, months later, News of the World published a transcript of Kate McCann's private diary. Here's how Kate McCann described what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE MCCANN, MOTHER OF MADELEINE MCCANN: I felt absolutely violated. I'd written these words and thought (INAUDIBLE) most desperate time in my life and most people don't have to experience that and it was my only way of communicating with Madeleine and for me, there was absolutely no respect shown to me as a grieving mother or as a human being of my daughter and it made me feel very vulnerable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: Now, of course, this entire inquiry was sparked by that initial phone hacking scandal that involved the News of the World, shut down very quickly afterwards by News International. We now know that James Murdoch has resigned as the director of the company for all of the British newspapers News International holds here. Now, we understand that he resigned in September and that he remains as the chairman of News International but it does clearly show that the phone hacking scandal is taking its toll on the Murdoch media empire.
Atika Shubert, CNN, London.
MANN: Talking about another man with a media empire, actor George Clooney could be called in as a witness in the trial of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A lawyer says Clooney and football star Cristiano Ronaldo could be called because they attend the parties at Berlusconi's home. The former prime minister and media tycoon is accused of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute.
And have a look at this - a helicopter pilot has walked away from an - well, he's unharmed after an astonishing crash at the Auckland waterfront in New Zealand. Here's the video. You won't believe it.
The pilot was trying to install a seven-story tall Christmas tree but lost control when his chopper clipped a wire. The copter then broke in half and crashed. Several workers and onlookers were nearby. Incredibly in this crash, nobody was (INAUDIBLE).
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, the games are underway. We'll bring you the latest from the UEFA Champions League. Don't go away.
Plus, later, the young girl sold into slavery by her mother in Taiwan gets some high profile help for the future. (INAUDIBLE) on that story from CNN's Freedom Project coming up.
MANN: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Time to connect the sports now. It's another night of action in the Champions League with several of Europe's top teams going head-to-head right now.
The pick of the bunch has to be AC Milan taking on the (INAUDIBLE) Barcelona fighting out for the top spot in Group H. Arsenal - they'll advance to the group stages with a draw against Borussia Dortmund while Chelsea are in need of a win against Bayer Leverkusen to ease the pressure on their manager, Andre Villas-Boas.
Well, for an update on the action, Mark McKay is here and this is a clash of the titans.
MARK MCKAY, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Yeah. No doubt about it, Jon, this is though. When you talk about European football, when you talk about Barcelona and Milan - they have been here, done that so many times. They've - between them, these two teams have 11 European cups and they are playing, as I speak, at the San Siro in Italy tonight. Even though both of these teams have qualified for the knockout stages, there's plenty on the line like first place and the storylines are intriguing in this one. Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic who used to play for Barcelona scored against his team. Kevin-Prince Boateng, he leveled from Milan shortly after the break. Hernandez has now put Barcelona out in front. We have 5 goals on the board already and they've yet to blow the final whistle at the San Siro. The update comes on WORLD SPORT a little over an hour from now.
Let me give you an update on the other matches that are going on - a quick tour around the Champions League group matches.
Didier Drogba - he put Chelsea ahead of Bayer Leverkusen tonight in Germany but the home side has now come back to level. Robin van Persie - he has the advantage on Dortmund, his goal holding up now as they play in the 80th minute. Look how many goals Spain's Valencia has scored against Racing Genk of Belgium. Wow! Where earlier today, a nil-nil draw was enough for APOEL Nicosia to make history in the Champions League, Jon, to become the first Cypriot club to qualify for the knockout stages.
MANN: Let's move from football to tennis. The two greats go at it. Quite a match.
MCKAY: Yeah. Quite a lopsided match. When you get Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal in the same court, you would expect that they would play a pretty close match. It didn't happen this week at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. This was as lopsided as a (INAUDIBLE) Rafa Nadal, he says that he can still recover from this and make the semi-final round of this round robin event but my goodness, he was wiped off the court - 6-3, 6-0 - by Federer. You know when Nadal gets Federer on his favorite surface - clay - it usually goes the Spaniard's way. This went the Swiss' way and it's a huge advantage for Federer. What a great momentum. What great confidence Federer has brought to this tournament. Some say he could end the year with another win and who's going to slow him down. Federer 6-3, 6-0 to win, Nadal wasn't even in a (INAUDIBLE).
MANN: Not his best day. Mark McKay.
MCKAY: No, not at all.
MANN: Thanks very much.
MCKAY: Okay. See you.
MANN: Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD--.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULNAZ: When my mother went out, he came into my house and he closed the doors and windows. I started screaming but he shut me up by putting his hand on my mouth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN (voice-over): A young mother recalls being raped by a relative and she's the one in an Afghan jail for adultery. Her case has touched people the world over. We have an update next.
MANN: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. Time now for a check on the world headlines.
Yemen's president has signed a deal in Saudi Arabia to end 33-years of rule. Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to transfer all powers to his vice- president. The deal grants amnesty to Saleh - something many protestors in Yemen oppose.
Egypt's top Sunni cleric is calling for police in his country to stop aiming their guns at protestors. Clashes broke out for the fifth straight day in Cairo as demonstrators demand the resignation of Egypt's military rulers.
James Murdoch has quit the boards of the companies that publish the British newspapers The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun but he remains chairman of their parent company News International.
Brazilian authorities have suspended Chevron's oil exploration activities just two days after the energy company has fined $28 million for an oil spill off Brazil's coast earlier in the month.
Now there's been a development in the story we brought you last night - the shocking example of justice in Afghanistan involving a teenage rape victim. We'll have that update from Kabul in a moment but first, we revisit Nick Paton Walsh's report about the young woman faced with an awful choice to save her daughter's life and her own.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
NICK PATON WALSH, CORRESPONDENT (IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN) (VOICE-OVER): Gulnaz remembers clearly the smell of her rapist's clothes.
GULNAZ (VIA INTERPRETER): He had filthy clothes on as he does metal and construction work. When my mother went out, he came into my house and he closed the doors and windows. I started screaming but he shut me up by putting his hand on my mouth.
PATON WALSH (VOICE-OVER): Her rapist was the husband of her cousin. But in Afghanistan's Draconian society, this 19-year old was also blamed. Her rape - sex with a married man - was seen as adultery by the courts and she was sentenced to 12 years in jail. To her, there's only one way out - a dreadful choice.
GULNAZ (VIA INTERPRETER): I was asked if I wanted to start a new life by getting released by marrying this man. My answer was that one man dishonored me, and I want to stay with that man.
PATON WALSH (VOICE-OVER): Inside the prison walls, she agreed to be interviewed with her face hidden. Here, she can't escape her attacker. Her daughter is the child of the rape.
GULNAZ (VIA INTERPRETER): My daughter is a little innocent child. Who knew I would have a child in this way? A lot of people told me that after your daughter is born, give it to someone else. But my aunt told me to keep her as proof of my innocence.
PATON WALSH: In Afghanistan, a rape victim's ordeal often simply begins with the physical attack then there's isolation from society - in Gulnaz's case, the possibility she may have to marry her attacker and then the risk she could be killed because of the shame of her ordeal.
PATON WALSH (VOICE-OVER): We spoke to her convicted rapist in jail who didn't want to be shown on camera and denied raping her. He said Gulnaz would definitely be killed on release but by her own family out of shame.
PATON WALSH: Because of how Afghan justice has treated Gulnaz, she's taken the extraordinary step of speaking out about her attack, but even that has brought her problems.
PATON WALSH (VOICE-OVER): She spoke openly - her face uncovered - in a documentary about women's rights paid for by the European Union but the EU blocked its release saying it would endanger her. Yet the documentary makers say the EU blocked it also because they don't want to make the Afghan justice system look bad. The EU ambassador said it was his call.
VYGAUDAS USACKAS, EU AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN: What I'm concerned about the situation of the woman, about the security and well-being. That's of far more importance, such a key criteria according to which I, as a representative of the European Union, will judge.
PATON WALSH (VOICE-OVER): But now, rape victim Gulnaz has been judged an adulterer. Her only possible escape - marriage to her rapist, something she says she'll accept so her child could continue to have a mother.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MANN: And that was the situation 24 hours ago. Ever since, reaction from the international community has been strong and now a development in the case. Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from Kabul tonight.
Nick, this is heartbreaking. It is an outrage but I gather there has been a development you can tell us about?
PATON WALSH: Well, there has. Her sentence has been reduced from 12 years to three, meaning she's got over a year or so now to spend in jail with her child. As you point out really the reasoning behind this what we heard from Afghan prosecutors today is not at necessarily out of media compassion, they suggest that she should stay in jail because she was not fast enough to report the original crime. Now, some confusing logic here. On one side, they're reducing the sentence of what they say is adultery and Gulnaz quite clearly says was rape, and on the other side, they're saying actually that crime was serious enough that she should have reported it quicker and therefore she has to spend more time in jail. Now we spoke to the United Nations about this today here in Kabul and they were clear that some further legal recourse is ahead for Gulnaz although fundamentally, this comes down perhaps to an intervention from the Afghan president. Let's see what they have to say.
GEORGETTE GAGNON, HUMAN RIGHTS DIR., U.N. AFGHANISTAN MISSION: Well, her case should go up to the Supreme Court and she should pursue and I think she is pursuing all legal means. But at the end of the day, there is some action that may need to be taken by the president to address these types of cases of violence against women across the country. But it would be much better if the courts addressed it properly in the first place.
PATON WALSH: So clearly here, we do have an appeal from her out to Afghan president Hamid Karzai for some kind of intervention. Jonathan?
MANN: Intervention would help this one victim but she's not the only one. How many women are trapped in this way? And broadly speaking, what's being done to just change the way this happens?
PATON WALSH: Well, the international community has been pouring millions if not billions into the Afghan justice system here in a bid to try and improve it but fundamentally, we are talking about decades or centuries-old culture, often still it's saturating much of the judiciary here, influencing their decisions. One Afghan female MP we spoke to explained it this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAWZIA KOFI, AFGHAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: The prosecutor and justice system of Afghanistan can easily make a woman - to put a woman on trial for the case of adultery or sexual relationship. For the man, they could easily get out of the prison by bribing and it's strange because sometimes the prosecutor and the judges, they think that it's always the woman's fault - it's always the woman's fault. So even if the woman doesn't commit that crime, they believe that it's the woman's fault so they give her more detention while they give the man less detention or free the man. So as I said before, the judiciary in Afghanistan is basically man-friendly not woman-friendly and that's why we are working very hard to have a woman in the Supreme Court of Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PATON WALSH: Well, the U.S. State Department have said that Gulnaz's situation that it's something nobody should be forced to face and also expressed their heartfelt condolences, but clearly have not explicitly demanded her release at this particular point and we have asked the Afghan presidential palace to comment on what they think about Gulnaz's situation. Jonathan?
MANN: Nick Paton Walsh, thanks very much.
Well, as Nick was just mentioning, the U.S. State Department has weighed in. Its statement says as follows, "Gulnaz's situation is one no woman should have to face. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Gulnaz and her young daughter. We expect Afghan prosecutors to properly apply the law while also upholding Gulnaz's rights. The U.S. and its international partners will continue to work with the Afghan government to promote country-wide, rights-based training for lawyers, prosecutors and judges."
Let's talk more about this. Let's speak to Said Tayeb Jawad who's in our Washington studios - a former Afghan ambassador to the United Nations, also chairman of the not for profit "Foundation for Afghanistan".
Thanks so much for being with us.
SAID TAYEB JAWAD, FMR. AFGHAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. (IN WASHINGTON): My pleasure.
MANN: This is the kind of case that shocks the conscience of the world. A woman is raped, she's sentenced to 12 years behind bars for it and then - and I suppose it was a show of mercy or - I don't know what - it's reduced to 3 years. It seems random. It seems cruel. Do Afghans really want this kind of justice?
JAWAD: Absolutely not. What really magnified the tragedy is that last year, only 2,300 cases of domestic violence was reported and only one quarter of this cases are properly prosecuted. What we are facing is a continuing failure of the Afghanistan justice system where some really very modern and very liberal laws have been newly adopted that exist alongside some very outdated laws and it's truly up to the judge and the prosecutors to selectively apply these laws as they deem appropriate.
MANN: Well, that's what everyone's asking about because clearly, there was a judgment made by the prosecutor to take the case and then by the judge to sentence the case the way it has been. Clearly someone thinks that this woman is guilty of a crime. It's hard to imagine in the 21st century. What's the thinking?
JAWAD: The thinking - as I mentioned - the laws are applied very selectively. Two years ago, Afghanistan adopted one of the most liberal laws of ending all type of violence against women but that law has not been implemented. And I should also add there that it's not only the failure of the justice system of Afghanistan, it's also a failure of political system where usually vulnerable segment of the Afghan society are usually sacrificed for the sake of political convenience. And then unfortunately, in most cases, the family, the friends, and the parents of these victims - instead of helping out, fearing stigma or other cultural concepts - are not cooperating as much as they should to protect their own children.
MANN: Enormous challenges that Afghan's government faces - simply law and order, providing safe drinking water, feeding its population, building industry, moving the country ahead - where do cases like this fit on the agenda? Do they just fall by the wayside because there are bigger problems at stake?
JAWAD: Not by the Afghan people, even security is the most important (INAUDIBLE) for any type of security in any kind of society. Poverty and other issues, people are too - a certain degree - used to. It'll take (INAUDIBLE) but one - the dignity of a human being is violated when the basic rights of human being are not regarded and upheld especially in an environment that it's been 10 years that the international community has been in Afghanistan. We have adopted some really liberal laws and a new constitution so the expectations by the Afghan people to see that their basic rights of the Afghan citizens particularly Afghan women is the most vulnerable segment of the society are pretty high.
As I mentioned, people will take poverty or lack of access to drinkable water but when their honor or dignity and basic rights are violated, that's a much harder catastrophe for them to endure.
MANN: Saib Tayeb Jawad of the Foundation for Afghanistan. Thank you so much for talking with us.
JAWAD: Thank you.
MANN: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, (INAUDIBLE) to the rescue, not the famous British spy but an idea to help all Europe out of its financial crisis could pulling everyone's debt (INAUDIBLE). That's next. Stay with CNN.
MANN: Welcome back. It's not a good sign. Investors passing up an offer about the safest bonds in the eurozone, leading to signs that the debt crisis may have hit the region's largest economy. Germany held a bond auction Wednesday, (INAUDIBLE). Many analysts, in fact, calling it a disaster. Germany received bids for only 3.9 billion euros worth of 10- year bonds. It had offered six billion euros in all. Trust in eurozone's government that even the gold standard Germany has really hit a low but a new plan could at least one way try to restore confidence. The European Commission is under a proposal for a common euro zone bond. Basically, the idea would be to pool debt.
As CNN's Jim Boulden explains even if the idea takes off, we won't be seeing the end product for a long time yet.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite meeting after meeting, despite the removal of five prime ministers in troubled economies, despite vows to protect the euro at all costs, the European Commission has not yet decided exactly what kind of common euro area bond could be or should be created.
Wednesday's proposal are for now blue sky thinking.
JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: We are trying to have a rational, reasonable, serious, intellectually and politically serious debate. We believe that this document does precisely that and we encourage all parties now to tell their opinion.
BOULDEN: So how would a bond, a Euro bond work? The commission has three ideas. One includes scrapping all individual country bonds and having only one common euro zone bond. There are also controversial proposals on whether all of Europe's debt should be pooled, meaning Germans would be in part responsible for the debt of say the Greeks or the Irish. Some analysts say no matter how Europe gets there, a euro bond is coming.
VICKY PRYCE, FTI CONSULTING: I think the commission is absolutely right to setting that as a possibility and if we don't look at those options, which actually will make so much difference in terms of reducing the cost of debt to a number of countries which otherwise will never (INAUDIBLE) obligations and we have to keep on defaulting.
BOULDEN: The commission is no longer calling it a euro bond, by the way, it wants it to be known as a stability bond.
Barroso denied a change of name was in some way to change perceptions in Germany. Barroso also denied that Germany is dead set against the common bond, it's more about first making sure countries showed they were seriously cutting their deficits.
BARROSO: It means there is no opposition regarding our principle.
BOULDEN (on camera): Does all this mean that Europe is closer to getting a euro bond? Well, not really. These proposals will be debated until January. Then the commission will decide what to do next. A quick fix it isn't but maybe will help to restore confidence.
Jim Boulden, CNN, London.
MANN: One of the big complaints all through this crisis has been the lack of decisive political leadership. Former UK finance minister Norman Lamont says what we're seeing here is one Band-Aid after another. CNN's Monita Rajpal spoke to the euro skeptic while he was in Washington and asked him what Europe should be doing.
NORMAN LAMONT, FMR. UK. FINANCE MINISTER: I think the original solution of a beefed up EFSF was really, probably the best way forward. And I think that leads to have much more resources and in some sense to be leveraged, not through some tricky, tricky financial engineering but somehow its firepower does not to be increased. It's clear to me that the Germans are not going to allow and I think they're probably right, the ECB to be the lender of last resort to governments. It's one thing to be lender of last resort to banks but should the ECB be lender of last resort to governments. That's not the function of a central bank. But the EFSF I think is a proper vehicle for help to the weaker countries.
MONITA RAJPAL, CNN ANCHOR: In terms of the markets right now even though we see technocrats taking over in countries such as Greece and Italy at the hopes of trying to bring the situation under control without political influence, the fact of the matter is the markets are not responding, they are looking for clarity and they're looking for confidence and it seemed as though they're not getting that from any of the governments.
LAMONT: Well, I think that's right. I think what the German government or what Mrs. Merkel has decided is that in each stage she would do the minimum necessary to keep the euro afloat. And this merely means that we (INAUDIBLE) from one crisis to another. I think the likelihood is we'll go on like this for many months, possibly years.
RAJPAL: Where is the silver lining, do you believe?
LAMONT: Well, I think the silver lining may be until yesterday was in the United States where the economy did seem to be recovering somewhat. Since then, of course, we had stalled talks in Congress and the (INAUDIBLE) of the (GDP) figures so I think we should be too depressed by the latter. I think America is coming out of the recession and Asia is still going. So out there is a world that wants to carry on existing. If we could just solve this euro zone crisis because what is so damaging about it is that it is zapping confidence all the time, confidence is draining out of the world economies step by step. I mean we are seeing the banking system, the lines between different banks, the inter bank market is drying up. People are not getting credit on easy terms and in this sense globalization is breaking up because of the banking system.
MANN: Norman Lamont, former chancellor of (INAUDIBLE) speaking to our Monita Rajpal. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back saved from a certain death in a big hot oven. President Obama performed the annual Thanksgiving tradition as Americans get ready to gobble up a big celebration.
MANN: Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
All this week our "On the Move" series is looking at the future of travel when UK based design company has come up with a radical idea to completely change how we travel by train, including what you might call, high speed boarding. Ayesha Durgahee explains.
AYESHA DURGAHEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rhythm of life at St. Pancras International Train Station in London. St. Pancras Terminal connects Britain's capital city to continental Europe. Nearly 10 million passengers step on and off the Eurostar high speed rail service each year. It takes less than two and a half hours to travel between London, Paris or Brussels, at the top speed of 300 kilometers per hour.
(on camera): There is one designer he says he can make the journey faster. He doesn't want to change the engines or tracks to (INAUDIBLE) future of rail travel is to make station platforms disappear.
So what's wrong with current rail network?
PAUL PRIESTMAN, DIRECTOR, PRISTMANGOODE: Well I think there's a fundamental problem that you have to keep stopping and stopping and starting and there's no sort of integration. You have to use your car. You have to use the buses and this is no way to seamlessly being able to travel from one place to another.
DURGAHEE: Then, your idea of moving platform, we get rid of all of these?
PRIESTMAN: Yes, it's a fantastic station but do we need to keep on building? Look at the amount of land this takes up. I think there's a different way of doing it, particularly when building new railway infrastructure.
DURGAHEE: (INAUDIBLE) describe to me what the travel experience will be like then on moving platform.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. And I'll (INAUDIBLE) you through. Here we're starting off the view of the city itself. So the idea was these little trams are going around the city and then going out and then meeting with the high speed line. The trams speed up and the high speed train slows down and they join so they dock at high speed and they stayed dock for the same amount of time that they will stop at a station. There are big doors, there are wide doors. (INAUDIBLE) you can seamlessly go between two vehicles.
And then when every one has done that, the door shuts and then the train separates and the tram then goes back into the city or town and picks up and drops off passengers.
DURGAHEE: How far are we away from getting on one of these moving platforms?
PRIESTMAN: Well, this idea is a (INAUDIBLE) wouldn't it be brilliant just to reevaluate, rethink the whole process. Because I don't think it's being readdressed. It's just insane.
DURGAHEE: Rail passengers want fast, affordable and safe travel. To take a radical idea such as moving platforms from concept to development which required government support and long term investment but its proponent believe it could be the right step towards the future of rail to change the way we commute forever.
Ayesha Durgahee, CNN, London.
MANN: We have an update now on a story we brought you last week, as part of CNN's "Freedom Project."
You may remember Isabel (ph), a girl from Taiwan sold as a slave and held in the U.S.. She told her story to CNN's Martin Savage.
MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You were sold by your family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SAVAGE: Do you know why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know why my family was poor.
SAVAGE (voice-over): So poor she says her mother wanted to sell Isabel's younger sister.
(on camera): So you approve to sell yourself. In other words, tell your mother to sell you rather than your baby sister.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, because I love my sister and I remembers, she was just a little baby. And then, my mom said she was going to sell her and then I told my mom, I said "No. You want to sell her, sell me."
MANN: No surprise. You can imagine the interest in her native Taiwan. After our report, media there picked up the story, compelling many people to come forward claiming to be Isabel's mother or sister. Taiwan's government has offered to help reunite the girl with her family. The foreign minister has even traveled to Los Angeles to help with a possible reunion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY YANG, TAIWAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I want to say thank you very much for the CNN reporting. That story of Isabel really touched our people very much and we are really, really shocked to hear her story but now my government, my ministry has decided that we will do our very best to help her. We actually, you know, (INAUDIBLE) lawyer this afternoon as well and I asked my people her, they are even stationed in Los Angeles to continue to get in touch with them. We will find every way to help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: You can learn more about Isabel and the entire CNN "Freedom Project" on our web site. Go to CNN.com/freedom. There you can get facts about modern day slavery and what people around the world are doing to fight it. There's also a section that shows how you can help. That's all at CNN.com/freedom.
And finally on a lighter note in tonight's parting shots, an American tradition and a very lucky turkey who can now look forward to a long life having been saved from the butcher's knife. U.S. President Barack Obama has performed the traditional presidential ritual and you got to love it, a pardoning of the White House Thanksgiving turkey. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK. I like (INAUDIBLE) You are hereby pardon. Give a round of applause.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: That's more fun that the president usually has. Aptly named Liberty, this bird and one other, an under study called Peace will gobble up their golden years on George Washington's estate in Virginia.
I'm Jonathan Mann, thanks for joining us. Up next, the headlines and back story after this short break.