CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Outrage Grows Over Trayvon Martin Shooting; Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law; Protests in Sanford, Florida; Saving Water in Abu Dhabi; Clean Water in Africa; Coroner Releases Report on Whitney Houston's Death; Angry Birds Space Launches; Stella McCartney's Olympic Clothing

Aired March 22, 2012 - 17:00:00   ET

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


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, a hail of bullets brings a 32 hour long siege in France to a dramatic end, but the gunmen, suspected of killing seven people, is shot dead.

ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

FOSTER: The killings have rocked the country, in the grip of a bitter election battle. Tonight, how the focus on security could turn the race around.

Also tonight, how the shooting of a black teenager in Florida is galvanizing protesters across the United States.

Plus, Angry Birds blasts into space with a little help from NASA. The most downloaded game in history gets a sequel.

First though, a 32 hour siege ends in a hail of 300 bullets. French authorities have given some dramatic details about the raid that led to the death of self-described al Qaeda militants.

A fierce gun battle broke out when commandoes stormed Mohamed Merah's apartment in Toulouse. Police say he burst out of the bathroom, guns blazing, so they fired back, killing him. Authorities say he confessed to killing seven people. And we're just now learning from U.S. intelligence officials that his time fail -- spent in Al Qaeda training camps had placed him on the U.S. no-fly list.

We have live reports for you and analysis tonight.

CNN senior international correspondent, Dan Rivers, is in Toulouse, where it all ended for Mohamed Merah. And commentator Agnes Poirier is in Paris to talk about the political impact of these terror attacks coming right before a presidential election -- let's start with you, Dan.

Take us through the dramatic day.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Sarkozy described the actions of Mohamed Merah as the crimes of a monster and a fanatic and has today introduced or suggested he's going to introduce new anti-terrorism measures, which would include punishing those who visit extremist Web sites, punishing those who visit foreign terrorist training camps, even if they don't perpetrate any crime here in France and an investigation, he said, into French prisons, whether they are a breeding ground, he said, for ideological indoctrination. And that's critical because Mohamed Merah was arrested 10 times in his youth. He also is believed to have attended a foreign training camp. And, of course, his killing spree here in Toulouse resulted in one of the biggest manhunts France has ever seen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RIVERS (voice-over): After 32 hours, they went in. At 11:30 a.m. The silence was shattered by dozens of shots, as police finally stormed the apartment where Mohammed Merah was hiding. The shoot-out with the self- styled al Qaeda devotee didn't last long.

CLAUDE GUFANT, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translation): The killer came out shooting most violently. The gun shots, there were many of them, very intense. And a RAID specialist, who is an expert in this, said he had never seen such a violent reaction. They tried to protect themselves. And in the end, Mohammed Merah jumped out of the window, a gun in his hand, while still shooting. He was found dead on the ground.

RIVERS: As masked officers from France's elite RAID police unit returned to barracks, they were congratulated. But two weren't here for the hand shake.

(on camera) Those officers were injured in the cross-fire, as Merah fought to the death with his considerable arsenal of weapons inside this apartment block.

FRANCOIS MOULINS, PROSECUTOR (through translator): He was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Elements from Molotov cocktails -- rags and bottles -- were found on his balcony. In the apartment, we found three empty magazines for automatic pistols of 143 caliber, a potter for ammunition of various calibers. We found next to his body a Colt .45, with two bullets remaining, and a bag with another magazine.

We estimate, in reality, he fired some 30 bullets at police, who were moving through his apartment.

RIVERS: The killing spree linked to Merah has gripped the world for the last week. This video, the only image of the gunman to have emerged so far, shows him showing off to friends in a BMW. He'd been convicted of motoring offenses just two weeks before his targeted killing campaign began.

(on camera) It's now emerged that Merah was on a no-fly list, according to one U.S. Intelligence source, because of his time spent in an al Qaeda training camp. It will be a bitter disappointment to the French authorities that they didn't manage to take him alive. He could have provided valuable intelligence. But it was clear that he was determined to die with a gun in his hand.

(voice-over): The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, fighting for re- election in a month, confirmed it was over.

NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): The person who carried out the ignoble in Toulouse, has been killed and can no longer do any harm. And for the victims, the families, the soldiers, their thoughts are all in my mind. And I would like to express the condolences of the National Assembly.

RIVERS: But there will be difficult questions about how Merah managed to get so many weapons in a country where gun control is tight.

A group linked to al Qaeda claimed Merah's killings, prompting many to wonder if he really was a lone wolf or if he had accomplices.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Toulouse.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, authorities say a day earlier, Merah had spoken to police through the closed door of his apartment, bragging about killing seven people, saying his only regret was that he didn't take even more lives.

CNN's Jonathan Mann looks at how it all unfolded.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first attack happened on Sunday, March 11. A French paratrooper as gunned down at point blank range at a car park in Toulouse. Four days later, two more soldiers were shot and killed in the nearby town of Montaoban. A third soldier was seriously hurt in the attack.

Then on Monday, police suspected it was Merah who shot and murdered a rabbi and three children at the Jewish school in Toulouse. Around 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, police moved in on Merah's apartment in the Cote Pave District of Toulouse.

As police approached, gunfire erupted. Two officers were wounded. By late morning, France's special weapons squad, RAID, had the building surrounded. Up to 300 police were on the scene. Merah promised to give himself up, then refused to surrender, saying he would kill anyone who tried to take him into custody.

By late morning, residents in nearby buildings are evacuated. By 2:00 on Wednesday afternoon, there are reports of Merah's arrest. Those prove to be wrong.

He stays holed up in the apartment. Police say they'd like to take him alive, so he would face justice.

As darkness fell, the stand-off continues. Merah stops communicating with police. Over the course of the night, sporadic explosions and gunfire can be heard.

By early Thursday morning, the siege had entered its 30th hour. By 9:30 a.m., RAID commandoes begin an all-out assault that ends with Merah shot dead after leaping off a balcony, firing wildly at police.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: President Nicholas Sarkozy was back on the campaign trail today, telling supporters that Mohamed Merah was not a madman but a monster.

Our next guest says politicians must not ignore his other classification, as well, an Islamist radicalized at home.

Let's bring in political commentator, Agnes Poirier, in France.

Thank you so much for joining us.

She's in Paris at the moment.

But is terrorism, would you say, Agnes, security, as well, now on the agenda and defining the agenda, really, in this upcoming election? AGNES POIRIER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And it was certainly not before it all happened. Remember, I mean France has been spared, mostly, you know, Islamist terrorism, perhaps because we knew a wave of Islamist bombings in Paris in 1995, you know, far earlier than September the 11th and or July the 7th, 2005 in London. And, obviously, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

So French intelligence services, because of that early experience, have been rather good at -- at de -- you know, defusing any possible attempts.

And so there will be a lot of questions to answer now that we knew that Mohamed Merah was actually closely monitored, was on the list and yet was not apprehended, at least after the first or -- or the second shootings of the paratroopers.

FOSTER: How do you think the contenders in the election are going to deal with this?

Because it's the sort of language that gets used can sound dimin -- discriminatory, can't it, in an election, if it's not used carefully?

So how do you think they're going to handle this, now that we know Islamic militism is now part of the story, it's not just a madman?

POIRIER: Well, they are going to play it differently. You know, Marine Le Pen has already started saying, you know, we are not strong enough, tough enough, on fundamentalism. Obviously, Mohamed Merah should have been caught earlier. So she will put the focus on the enemy from within. That's always been a theme of hers. So she -- I think she's going to pursue that theme.

Now, Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate, and Francois Bayrou, the centrist candidate, the third man, as it were, of the French race, will, I think, focus on unity, because Nicolas Sarkozy, as you may know, his last five years in power have been considered very divisive for French society and, in a way, perhaps responsible for some tension between, you know, Jews and Muslims and Catholics and different communities of France.

And, as you know, France has the biggest Jewish and the biggest Muslim community in Europe.

And Nicolas Sarkozy will also play his cards. First of all, he's coming out rather well in the sense that his actions have been very swift. The French police has done a very good job very quickly. And he can take some of the credit for that.

And, also, he will want to appear as the strong man. You know, don't forget that he started his campaign with La France Forte, The Strong France.

So, you know, all of them will play their different cards with this new situation. I don't think things -- you know, there will be -- you know, will -- they will want to be quite careful about the -- the wording, if you want, but they will want to retain their personality and yet, obviously, include the new events that really traumatized this nation.

FOSTER: OK, Agnes Poirier, thank you, as ever, for joining us from Paris.

That's sort of looking ahead now at this point. But let's look at right now.

For many French, it's probably highly unsettling that Mohamed Merah had been under surveillance for years and yet no one realized just how big of a threat he really posed.

Dan Rivers joins us again from Toulouse for some final thoughts on this story -- Dan, how do you describe the feeling and how shaken Toulouse and France is as a result of this experience?

RIVERS: Well, I've been talking to people just into the cafes here, Max. And I think the general feeling is one of obvious relief that this is over, that this gunman is no longer wandering the streets.

Don't forget, Mohamed Merah actually drove down this street that we're standing on to get to the Jewish school where he so savagely killed those three children and the teacher.

But more fundamentally, I think there's -- there's now going to be a big debate as part of the -- the presidential campaign about these new terrorism laws that President Sarkozy is proposing, about what kind of environment is fostered in French prisons, how much indoctrination goes on there.

But, also, perhaps more fundamentally, the social exclusion that some of these young men face on some of these really tough estates (ph). And I think that's something that the left will seize on, that Francois Hollande will seize on, that, you know, this is an example of what happens when a whole sector of society feel like they're shut out and have no opportunities, that they can end up being sucked into this kind of awful depravity and -- and violence.

And, on the other hand, with Marine Le Pen, you're going to have her jumping on this as -- as an example and proof, she will say, I'm sure, of why immigration needs to be curbed and why there needs to be much tougher anti-terrorism laws here.

So it's going to be fascinating to see how this all plays out in the next, what, three or four weeks in the run-up to the French election.

But overwhelmingly here, Max, people are relieved it's over.

FOSTER: Dan Rivers in Toulouse.

Thank you.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Still to come, rebel soldiers say they've staged a coup in mlii. We'll tell you why they say the president had to go.

He's won multiple awards, including a Grammy and a MOBO. We talk to Angelique Kidjo about her other passion and important cause.

And for those who don't get enough of a thrill skiing or paragliding, we'll show you speed flying, the new extreme sport that's taking to the skies.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

And this is CNN, of course.

I'm Max Foster.

Thank you for watching.

Now, the police chief in the case of Trayvon Martin says he's stepping down temporarily. Seventeen -year-old Trayvon was shot to death in his Florida community of Sanford last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Now, George Zimmerman hasn't been charged in the teenager's death, sparking an outcry across social media and demonstrations across the US.

Tonight, Sanford police chief Bill Lee got caught in the crossfire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL LEE, SANFORD POLICE CHIEF: As a former homicide investigator, a career law enforcement officer and a father, I am keenly aware of the emotions associated with this tragic death of a child. I'm also aware that my role as the leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation. While I stand by the Sanford Police Department, its personnel and the investigation that was conducted in regards to the Trayvon Martin case, it is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, these are live pictures for you from Sanford, Florida of protests that are ongoing. Reverend Al Sharpton is there.

Our correspondent, John Zarrella, will have a live report for us from the scene coming up in the show.

Let's take a quick look at some other stories connecting our world tonight.

Western governments are condemning an apparent coup in the West African nation of Mali. Rebel soldiers appeared on state television after storming the presidential palace. They announced they've suspended Mali's constitution, closed borders and imposed a curfew.

Surgeons report nearly 40 people were injured in the unrest. The soldiers claim to be angry over the government's handling of a guerrilla war in the north. A spokesman for the soldiers appeared -- appealed for calm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY ORTM)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We strongly condemn any vandalism or any looting. We all serve to respect public goods and private goods. We will take all necessary arrangements to ensure the safety of people and their goods and for our comrades in the armed and security forces, do not trouble the peaceful population, to which it owes respect And they have to be peaceful.

And we must remain unified.

Elsewhere, as of today, Thursday, 22nd of March, from 6:00 a.m., there was a cease-fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Now, the head of the European cent -- central bank says the worst is over in the Eurozone debt crisis. But Mario Draghi tells a German newspaper there are still risks and governments must be proactive to prevent future problems. Draghi defended the recent move to pump some $1.3 trillion into Europe's banking system. He also said key indicators, such as inflation and budget deficits, are better than current conditions in the United States.

Violence flared again in Syria despite the latest United Nations call for peace. Activists report another 83 deaths, including some soldiers who defected and refused to shoot at civilians. The Syrian government blames armed terrorist groups for the bloodshed, as it has throughout the uprising.

Yesterday, the U.N. Security Council approved a non-binding presidential statement backing Special Envoy Kofi Annan's peace efforts. It got support from Russia and China, who vetoed prior resolutions against the regime.

Seven years have found five more bodies aboard the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship. That brings the number of bodies located to 30. The ship hit rocks off Italy's coast and sank in January with some 4,200 people aboard. Two people remain missing. The cruise line says workers have now removed all the fuel oil from the ship's tanks.

Australia's most wanted fugitive is in custody facing murder and other charges after seven years on the run. Police captured Malcolm Naden on Thursday at a remote cabin in New South Wales. The bush survival expert also is charged with indecent assault of a teenager and firing at a police officer. Police had several near misses over the years before finally tracking him down.

There's a lot more still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD for you, including, quite simply, some really cool video.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Welcome back.

I'm Max Foster.

Now, Thursday was a big day for the Great Britain Olympic team. The official kit for the games was unveiled at the Tower of London. The gear was designed by Stella McCartney in collaboration with the team's official sponsor. McCartney has designed the Olympic and Paralympic athletes' clothing for competition time, training, medal ceremonies and relaxation time.

We brought in our fashion guru. Monita wasn't available, so we...

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: -- we've brought in Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very poor substitute.

FOSTER: What -- what does the sports world, at least, think of the outfit?

THOMAS: It's a bit of fun, isn't it?

The Olympic Games is all about who's going to win gold medals, but we are in that phony war period, aren't we, where we're still looking ahead to the Games. And here we have got the kit with all the different countries coming out.

Just to compare it, obviously, Team GB has got Stella McCartney designing their kit, probably more famous for having her famous former Beatles father, Sir Paul.

Compare it to the likes of America, who's Ralph Lauren's design there. Kit -- Italy got Giorgio Armani. Of course they have.

I think Stella McCartney pointed out that she was a bit put out by the fact that after consulting some of the athletes about what they wanted, she had -- she's basically taken the union flag design and kind of made it...

FOSTER: And made it non -- a non-union flag.

THOMAS: Well, tried to make it trendy, I think, was probably her thing.

FOSTER: Taking the red out.

THOMAS: But she...

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: There was a bit of red on the collar, apparently...

FOSTER: Oh, OK.

THOMAS: -- on one -- on some of the designs. But there were so many differences between the cycling kit and the...

FOSTER: Yes.

THOMAS: -- track and field kit, the swimmers, the beach -- volleyball players, of course, hardly got any kit at all.

FOSTER: Yes.

THOMAS: So she said she's very put out by coming out with this fantastic design and then finding out that all the athletes want is to be comfortable...

FOSTER: Yes.

THOMAS: -- and to be able to perform in it.

FOSTER: And doesn't she argue that if you feel good in your kit and you feel fashionable, you're going to perform better?

THOMAS: That might work on the catwalks in Paris, but it doesn't work when you're...

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: -- up there sweating for a gold medal.

Anyway, we got in one of the great gold medal hopes for Team GB, Christine Ohuruogu, who won gold at the 400 meters in Beijing four years ago.

And this is what she told Pedro about her feelings about the new kit.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE OHURUOGU, 400M GOLD MEDALIST IN 2008 OLYMPICS: Yes, I'm -- I was totally surprised. I really do like it. It fits really nice. It's a nice, unique -- the presentation jacket I'm currently wearing now, I think it's very, very different to anything we've seen before. And I know -- I know that we will stand out on the track when we wear this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: She said she liked it. She would say that anyway.

FOSTER: Well, it's sort of unique and it stands out.

THOMAS: Yes. I mean you notice we didn't get her to stand up and model it. I've seen on other channels, they were interviewing the beach volleyball athletes and they had to pan up and down her body just to show the audience the kit.

FOSTER: Yes, but we're more high brow...

THOMAS: We're CNN...

FOSTER: -- than that.

THOMAS: We don't stoop to that level.

FOSTER: Yes, absolutely.

Let's look at these pictures, because the next story you've got is basically a picture story.

THOMAS: Yes.

FOSTER: It's incredible.

THOMAS: Now, don't run the video just yet, guys in the control room.

FOSTER: OK.

THOMAS: Because let's set this up. This is a guy called...

FOSTER: He's running...

THOMAS: -- Hal Voranbeck (ph) -- oh, there we go. All that build-up, nothing -- who basically was just doing an office job, like you and I at times, Max, although you've been...

(CROSSTALK)

THOMAS: -- to the Caribbean.

FOSTER: I want that office job.

THOMAS: And he got with it. He started skydiving. That's fairly normal; then base jumping, a bit more scary; and then this, which is frightening. I mean it was -- Mick (ph) in the control tower (INAUDIBLE). It's his mate.

FOSTER: With an equally mad mate, yes.

THOMAS: It's his mate filming it.

FOSTER: But going through those gaps, I mean that's the crazy bit.

THOMAS: Yes, it's apparently a combination between skiing and paragliding. The official title is speed flying.

FOSTER: I could have explained that.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: And, of course, speed flying does what it says in the tin (INAUDIBLE). And we'll have more on that in "WORLD SPORT" in an hour's time.

FOSTER: We look forward to it.

Alex, thank you very much, indeed.

This just into CNN, the cause of singer Whitney Houston's death was drowning and the effects of heart disease and cocaine use, we've just heard, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said on Thursday. She was found dead last month in the bathtub of her hotel room in Beverly Hills, California.

More on that later.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, anger is growing amid new developments over the killing of an unarmed American teenager. We'll take you live to Trayvon Martin's hometown.

Now the water-starved Middle East plans to start saving rather than consuming a precious natural resource.

And it's lift-off for one of the most successful iPad apps of all time. We explain why Angry Birds has taken to outer space.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Max Foster, and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

A violent end to a standoff with a self-styled al Qaeda jihadist in France. Authorities say Mohamed Merah came out firing when police stormed his apartment, so they fired back, killing him. Police say he'd admitted killing seven people.

Rebel soldiers in the West African nation of Mali say they've driven the president from power. On state television, they announced they've suspended the constitution and closed borders. They accused the government of incompetence, infighting and -- insurgency in the north.

Searchers have found five more bodies aboard the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship, 30 bodies have now been found, and two people remain missing. The ship hit rocks off Italy's coast and sank in January.

Activists in Syria report another 83 deaths across the nation today, 15 are in Hama, a frequent target of regime forces. The government blames the violence on armed terrorist groups. CNN can't independently confirm government or activist accounts from inside Syria.

And again, this just in to CNN. The cause of singer Whitney Houston's death was drowning. According to the coroner's report, the manner of death was listed as an accident. Cocaine and metabolites are identified and contributory to her death.

Tonight, a new development as outrage mounts over the killing of Trayvon Martin. A short time ago, the police chief in the case, Bill Lee, announced that he's temporarily stepping down. He's been under fire for his department's handling of the teenager's death.

Live right now, a rally going on in Sanford, Florida, Trayvon's hometown. The Reverend Al Sharpton's there, and the US Justice Department is getting involved. It's launching a civil rights investigation and plans to meet with Trayvon's parents.

The black 17-year-old was unarmed when he was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer. George Zimmerman was not -- or hasn't been charged, saying he shot the teenager in self defense.

The gunshot that killed Trayvon Martin is now the gunshot heard around the world. You can hear it for yourself on the tapes of the 911 calls from the night of February the 26th. They've been released by Sanford Police and CNN's David Mattingly, now, reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, do you need police, fire, or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police. I just heard a shot right behind my house.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shock, confusion, and fear. You can hear it in the voice of every caller in the final moments of Trayvon Martin's young life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him. Yes, the person is dead, laying on the grass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just because he's laying on the ground --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (crying): Oh, my God!

MATTINGLY: Seven 911 calls in all, beginning with this one from neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SHOOTING SUSPECT: Ah, these (expletive deleted), they always get away.

MATTINGLY: That's Zimmerman's first impression, watching Trayvon Martin walking alone and acting strangely.

ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something.

MATTINGLY: Zimmerman says Martin then comes toward him.

ZIMMERMAN: Something's wrong with him. Yes. He's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is.

MATTINGLY: Less than a minute later, Martin is running away. Zimmerman gets out of his car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we don't need you to do that.

ZIMMERMAN: OK.

MATTINGLY: But then, just a few minutes later, there's another call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, do you need police, fire, or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe both, I'm not sure. There was just someone screaming outside.

MATTINGLY: In the background, listen for the sound of a fight and a panicked voice yelling for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And is it a male or female?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a male.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me! Help me!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why. I think they're yelling "help," but I don't know. Send someone quick, please, God!

MATTINGLY: Ten seconds later, the shrieking continues. Then, a gunshot.

(MAN SCREAMS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he's yelling "help"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, what is your --

(GUNSHOT)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one.

MATTINGLY: The identity of the person pleading for help is in dispute, as well as the number of gunshots. But there is no doubt the calls capture the sounds of a deadly end to a tragic encounter.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: George Zimmerman has not been arrested because of Florida's Deadly Force law, also known as "Stand Your Ground." Very briefly, it allows people to use force if they believe that they or someone else is in danger of being seriously harmed by an assailant.

Police in Sanford say they haven't charged Zimmerman because they have no evidence to contradict his story that he pulled the trigger in self defense.

Now, the National Rifle Association lobbied hard to get the controversial law passed in Florida in 2005. Now, the measure is in the middle of a media and legal firestorm that's sparking calls for a review.

Right now, protesters are converging on Sanford, Florida, where the city's police chief is temporarily stepping down. George Howell is there and joins me live right now. George, just describe the mood, really, where you are right now, because this is a mood that's been building for weeks, now.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, a great deal of passion, here, for this case. A great deal of energy with what happened to Trayvon Martin. Hundreds of people here now, if not thousands, and perhaps thousands more will be here before the end of the day before this press conference -- rather, this rally, that will happen later today.

A few minutes ago, we just heard from Trayvon Martin's parents. We heard from Tracy Martin and Sabrina Fulton. We also heard from the Reverend Al Sharpton, who is a civil rights leader here in the United States, and they expressed two main points.

First of all, they want to see George Zimmerman arrested in this case. And they also want to see this police department investigated. Again, the police chief did say that he would temporarily step down today. That was a big surprise to many here.

But people also say that that's not enough. They want to see him fired to step away from his office. Take a listen to what we just heard on the podium just a few minutes ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON'S FATHER: The temporary step-down of Bill Lee is nothing. We want an arrest, we want a conviction, and we want him sentenced fro the murder of our son."

(CROWD CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: At this point, George Zimmerman is not arrested, he is free to go wherever and, essentially, in hiding. He's not been seen since the shooting. He has not been charged with anything. Police say that they did not have probably cause to arrest him on February 26th when he admitted to killing Trayvon Martin.

But again, many here say that this was a case of murder. Again, Zimmerman says that he was defending himself, but again, many people here, they want to see him arrested in this case, they want to see him charged with something, Max.

FOSTER: And just to explore this "Stand Your Ground" law, George, it -- there is this principle that innocent until proven guilty. Is the issue that this is actually a law that seems to suggest that you're -- you have to have a case proven against you? It's upside down, the law's upside down in this case.

HOWELL: It is a -- it's a Florida law that is different from many states here in the United States, and it says that if you are defending yourself, in essence, if you are on a place where you should be, then you are immune from prosecution, that police cannot arrest you should you use deadly force. And in this case, Zimmerman says that is what he did.

However, there are questions, people have questions about the audio tapes, the 911 tapes where you hear Zimmerman and the dispatcher saying that "we do not want you to chase." And I'm paraphrasing that to some degree, but there is a question as to whether Zimmerman did chase. And that is something that certainly investigators are looking into.

This case has now been turned over to federal investigators, who will determine whether the police department acted appropriately. Also, a grand jury will decide whether George Zimmerman will face charges, Max.

FOSTER: OK, George Howell, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Coming up, it's considered a basic human right, but still, millions of people have no access to clean water. We find out why the UN is asking us to turn off our taps on World Water Day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: This rather fancy-looking resort is being built by football club Real Madrid. It is the -- well, it's in the United Arab Emirates, and it'll include luxury villas and an amusement park. But the area has an average annual rainfall of less than six inches, so the big question is, where will they get all of the water?

And the issue's all the more relevant today on World Water Day. Celebrities Adele and Rihanna are among a host of stars who've been tweeting their support and urging people to save water. Abu Dhabi is right next-door to the planned Real Madrid resort. CNN's Richard Quest has been finding out what steps they're taking to stop wasting water.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day, Abu Dhabi residents use more than three times the amount of water recommended by the United Nations.

So, the authorities have come up with these, little water-saving devices, which reduce the flow of water from your tap by a third. Thirty thousand of these have been fitted so far across the Emirate, in homes, schools, mosques, and hotels.

HER EXCELLENCY RAZAN KHALIFA AL MUBARAK, ABU DHABI ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY: We're really looking at engaging with the public at large, really looking at increasing people's awareness that water does not come cheap here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there's an increasing awareness, now, that we need to save water resources. And I think anything that supports the conservation of water in the home without making too much of an impact in our life can only be a good thing.

QUEST: There is a target to have 3 million people living in the Emirate by 2030, which is more than double its current population. So, the demand for water shows no sign of slowing.

MUBARAK: Water is certainly a priority for Abu Dhabi government, and we're addressing at -- in various stages, in a world and on a planet that is getting more resource constrained.

QUEST: For Abu Dhabi, this Emirate in the desert, growth and ambition will always be tied to the supply of water.

Richard Quest, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: I'm joined now from New York by Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Angelique Kidjo, and she's traveled to Africa and campaigned on issues ranging from fair trade to food security.

And as part of your role as UNICEF global -- or goodwill ambassador, Angelique, you've seen up close, haven't you, the impact drought can have on entire communities? Can you just describe what's happening at the other end of this problem?

ANGELIQUE KIDJO, UNICEF GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: The problem of water in Africa is a matter of life or death for children, and most of the time, the women and the poorest of the poor are the ones that suffer mostly from it.

And if the water is not available next to the home, the women and the girls have to go far away to get the water. By the time they come back, it's too late to go to school.

And we have been seeing success in sub-Saharan Africa for access to clean water. What we haven't been having success with is sanitation.

Sanitation is much more complex, because if you don't educate people for them to understand that the water has to be kept clean, the water has to be boiled to sterilize the food, for people to be able to live in healthy life and be economically very viable and sustainable for their own country.

So, we have to reduce child mortality. Child mortality is linked to sanitation and water. How do we do that? By letting people know that if you bring water to them, they have to take care of it. Water is something that is a natural resource.

FOSTER: Let's have a look at some of the detail, here, and hopefully it'll help us explain things and look for solutions. But it's a pretty bleak picture right now, isn't it? There are more than 900 million undernourished people in the world, and that can be directly linked to a lack of available water.

And we need a lot more water than you might realize. It takes 1500 liters of water to grow one kilo of grain, 15,000 liters to produce one kilo of meat. So, Angelique, it seems that agriculture is part of the problem, but we need food, we need water.

KIDJO: Yes, absolutely. We need food and we need water. We need water to -- for the food to grow. In that regard, we have to find a solution to grow plants that need less water. We have to make more research everywhere possible to find a way to feed pretty much 3 billion people on the planet.

Africa in 2050 will have 2 billion population. How do we do that? And nutrition goes also with water. How do we feed the kids? The children that have not have good nutrition and good nutrients, by the time they reach five, their brains are permanently damaged. And we cannot get -- it is not reversible.

So, the numbers are staggering, but what I see -- what I see and I feel that is that people want to be self-sufficient. They want the water to be brought to them. They want to be educated about what that water means to their community. We have to bring it to people and give them the chance to make a difference in their own lives.

The numbers are staggering, but don't let us get stuck by the numbers. How do we move forward? How do we keep it and make accountable everybody in saving water?

FOSTER: OK, Angelique, thank you so much for your time on World Water Day.

And you can test your own water use and learn lots of other useful bits of information on our website, cnn.com. Do check it out.

More now, though, from reports from Whitney Houston's death. Kareen Wynter joins us, now, live from Los Angeles. Kareen, take us through the breaking news this hour.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORERSPONDENT: Well, Max, this is what, really, the world has been waiting for for the last several weeks, at leas Whitney Houston's family and friends. The toxicology results are in.

The singer died back in February just the day before the Grammys, and so, her final cause of death has been determined to be drowning. According to the report that was just released to us, Houston had heart disease at the time, and there was cocaine found in her system. She was found submerged in a bathtub, it was filled with water. Again, cocaine found in her system.

The toxicology report, Max, also shows that, in addition to cocaine, there were other metabolites that were identified as contributing to her death. These drugs that I'm about to tell you, they were found in her system but, we're told, were not a contributing factor in her death. The drugs marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril, and Benadryl. Again, they were identified but did not contribute to her death.

Finally, there was no trauma or foul play suspected here. This, again, is just the preliminary toxicology report. A more detailed report regarding the findings over the last several weeks will be released in the next week or two.

And finally, I want to really read a statement from Whitney Houston's family. They just put this out. They said, "We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure." This is according to Patricia Houston, who's Whitney Houston's sister-in-law and former manager. Max?

FOSTER: Kareen, thank you very much, indeed. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Ever wondered why the person next to you is gesturing wildly at their telephone? If so, chances are you've never played Angry Birds, a furiously addictive game that's been downloaded more than 700 million times. Even Britain's prime minister's a fan. For those of you not in the know, the idea of the game is to catapult the birds at a bunch of pigs.

Now, a new version is sending the characters into the stratosphere. Angry Birds Space got its official launch today, and the makers, Rovio, teamed up with NASA for what it calls the first-ever game announcement from the International Space Station. For those of you still unsure why these birds are so angry, here's astronaut Don Petit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON PETIT, NASA ASTRONAUT: Of course, Pig is the arch-enemy of Angry Bird, and Angry Bird had -- some eggs. And Pig stole the eggs. And don't ask me how I got the eggs on Space Station.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Don't ask him. Angry Birds debuted on the iPhone in 2009 and is the number one paid iPhone app of all time. Its popularity has seen it pop up on other platforms, as well, even on Facebook.

But these days, it's not just about the game. Angry Birds fans can get their hands on branded clothes, toys, and snacks. The makers have even announced plans to roll out a series of activity parks. It's all a natural progression, according to the company's senior vice president in Asia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HENRI HOLM, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ROVIO ENTERTAINMENT, ASIA: We have this gaming background, which then brings us to a totally new zone of entertainment, 21st century new media companies need to look beyond just your own core.

Our DNA's gaming, but that DNA is then brought into everything what we do. The fast pace of introducing characters, merchandise, it's like the entertainment industry in the 21st century.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, what makes the game so additive, then, and its players so angry? We hit the streets of London to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Are you an Angry Birds addict?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I wouldn't say so. My mum is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My brother is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He plays Angry Birds all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's annoying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never played it before. All my friends have got it, but I have never, ever played it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not an addict, no. Last one I did was Angry Birds Rio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pigs, as in like oink oink! All right, got the pigs. I feel them. Now that, first time, beginner's luck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was rubbish! Nothing happened!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's quite different from the other one, I have to admit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was rich.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Angry Bird is really angry.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: We've created another addict. Apologies for that. So, it may be liftoff for Angry Birds, but in tonight's Parting Shots, we're about to show you a group of firefighters who felt a bit of drag trying to do their jobs. Jeanne Moos shows you how to fight a true fashion disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you think fighting a car fire could be a drag, imagine fighting a car fire in drag.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was awesome.

MOOS: Two burly firefighters in gowns, Ted Aubart is in the pink.

Did you realize you were fighting a fire in a dress?

TED AUBART, SEDAN FIREFIGHTER (via telephone): It kind of dawned on me when were in the middle of fighting it.

MOOS: And when did it dawn on Ben Terhaar, wearing the green gown?

BEN TERHAAR, SEDAN FIREFIGHTER (via telephone): I remember looking over to my right and seeing people with cell phones up to their face, and I thought, oh, my gosh.

MOOS: But the firefighters didn't have much choice. The Sedan, Minnesota volunteer fire department had a float in the St. Patrick's Day parade in a nearby town.

(MEN SINGING)

MOOS: The firefighters dressed up to promote a beauty pageant they hold every year as a fundraiser. But when a pickup truck caught fire, they leaped into action, even if it meant fighting not just the fire, but falling straps on Ted's gown. As for Ben --

You didn't seem to have any trouble with your straps.

TERHAAR: That's because I didn't have any.

MOOS: He wore a strapless, accessorized with a hose.

AUBART: He did a great job handling the hose when he was in his pretty green dress.

MOOS: Fire chief Bouwman has a name for his men.

BARRY BOUMAN, SEDAN FIRE CHIEF (via telephone): I call them my girls now.

MOOS (on camera): They may look like Ru Paul's Firefighters, but they managed to put out the blaze in just a couple of minutes.

MOOS (voice-over): And the chief points out that though they lacked normal protective gear, the firefighters played it safe and stayed focus.

BOUWMAN: These guys could stand out there in underwear and wouldn't care. They're that way.

MOOS: Though some angles were less than flattering, still --

MOOS (on camera): Well, you looked very pretty.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: You're the prettiest fireman I ever saw.

MOOS (voice-over): But one burning question remains. Gentlemen, who were you wearing?

TERHAAR: I'm pretty sure they got them from JC Penney's.

MOOS: Now, that's hot.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

(WHISTLES)

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Back to our breaking news this hour. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office has released its report on the death of Whitney Houston. It cites the cause as drowning and the effects of heart disease and cocaine use.

The singer was found dead last month in the bathtub of her hotel room in California. We'll have much more on this story next on "World Report."

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching. The world headlines are up after this short break

END