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Mexico's President-Elect to Meet with Obama; Standoff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; "Global Soul": Music From Brooklyn to Ethiopia; Honda Makes Car For Women; Red Tide Closes Australia Beaches

Aired November 27, 2012 - 12:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Days before Mexico's newly-elected president takes the oath of office he meets with President Obama at the White House. That is actually happening this afternoon. Enrique Pena Nieto says he wants to talk about trade, manufacturing, energy deals between Mexico and the United States.

Our Wolf Blitzer sat down with him for an interview just a couple of hours ago. We're going to have more on that in just a bit.

Meanwhile, Mexico's president-elect wants to update the conversation between his country and the United States. He's talking about the drug war, security, immigration, all of those things are on the agenda. He also says millions of people in both countries are affected by the decisions that he and President Obama make and it's time to redirect the relationship. How do they do it?

Well, CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette has got some ideas. Good to see you, Ruben.

You wrote a to-do list for both of the leaders. First of all, what does the new president of Mexico, what does he need to do?

RUBEN NAVARRETTE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. I think, Suzanne, one of the thing his needs to do is sort of try to reframe the relationship and redefine this paradigm. It's always been the case that Mexico comes to the United States and asks for certain things, most recently for $1.4 billion in funding under the Merida Initiative to help fight the drug war. And we've delivered on those things.

I think the conversation now needs to turn around and Mexico needs to start saying what it's going to offer the United States in return. And one of the things that Pena Nieto can offer right now is clarity where he intends to take the drug war and the immigration issue and the trade issue and the issues we've talked about in the next six years of his tenure.

MALVEAUX: So, Ruben, talk a little bit about that. Because I was on the trip with President Obama when he met with Calderon, Felipe Calderon, and they talked about the importance of taking on these drug cartels.

And, also, the United States -- you heard the president -- you heard Secretary Clinton --saying things you never heard before the United States and Americans are responsible for some of this drug use, the appetite that Americans have.

Does this new leader have anything else to offer, an alternative to fighting the drug war?

NAVARRETTE: Well, that's a very good question, Suzanne. Two weeks ago, I was in Mexico City and had a chance to meet with Pena Nieto and hear his sort of vision for Mexico.

The interesting thing about this right now is that, while Mexico has told the United States it wants to continue to fight this drug war and we have sent over Black Hawk helicopters and a lot of other nice little toys for the Mexicans to use in fighting this drug war, domestically, the message has been for Pena Nieto and his party to the population of Mexico, listen, we're going to give you peace and security. We're going to taper off on this.

We're going to still go after the drug stashes and the money stashes, but you're going to have less violence. So, I'm not sure how you gel the two together.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, that's a -- that is a very tough thing to sell.

Talk a little bit about trade. Obviously, there is great interest on both sides to increase trade and, particularly, take it away, some of the opportunities from China.

NAVARRETTE: Absolutely. China's the new player in this. As long as I can remember going back 20 years, the conversation between U.S. and Mexico has always been about those three things -- the drug war, about immigration and trade.

But China's a new player in this because China has made significant investments in Mexico and we, I think, ought to bring together the North American countries in a way that competes with Asia and Europe as a whole.

And, certainly, that's one of the things I heard from some of the intellectuals in Mexico during our meetings that clearly there's a sense that instead of this antagonistic relationship of playing the United States and China off against one another, maybe we should be in together and come together and create kind of a trade zone here that can compete.

MALVEAUX: All right, Ruben, thank you so much. Good to see you. We'll see how these two leaders get along. It always is kind of that diplomatic dance in the beginning to see if they actually gel and where it goes from there.

Thank you, Ruben. Appreciate it.

We're also going to take you to the Democratic Republic of Congo. That is where a group of fighters is refusing to stand down, leaving the country on the verge of chaos.


MALVEAUX: Turning now to Central Africa, this is where a stand-off between rebels and the Democratic Republic of the Congo could lead to an all-out war.

So-called "M23" rebels who seized the eastern city of Goma last week were ordered to leave by midnight.

CNN's David McKenzie reports they have ignored the deadline and now everyone is waiting for the next move.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A Congolese rebel group has ignored intense international pressure to withdraw from a key city in the Eastern Congo to create a buffer zone before peace talks can begin.

On Tuesday, an M23 rebel leader said that they aren't going anywhere until the demands are met. The list of the demands is long. Jean- Marie Runiga says M23 wants political prisoners released, targeting killings investigated and the national election commission to be sacked, to name just a few.

The bottom line, M23 are staying put until demands are met in direct negotiations with Joseph Kabila, DRC's president. If not, Runiga again warned that they will continue fighting, all the way to the capital, Kinshasa, and overthrow the government.

A DRC government spokesman talked to CNN. He called the demands, quote, "foolish and childish." He said that M23 don't know what they are doing and aren't serious about talking. M23 is consolidating its grip on Goma with moves to set up a local administration, but the groups demands on Tuesday shatter hopes of a swift, diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Both the rebels and government forces are building up to the west of Goma, sparking fears of renewed fighting which could displace even more civilians. More than 100,000 people are in desperate need of help, say aid organizations, and a wider war would only hurt civilians more.

David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.


MALVEAUX: In Bangladesh, the country's officially mourning its dead. More than a hundred factory workers were killed in a fire on Saturday. The factory made clothes for several Western retailers, including Wal- Mart. Now, Wal-Mart says it ended its authorization for a contractor to use that factory before the fire. There are reports that exits from the building were blocked and that supervisors actually stopped some of the workers from leaving the burning building.

China's issuing some spiffy new passports, but it's what's inside the passports that has its neighbors upset. It's a map of China, right, but it's a map that basically includes areas that the Chinese are fighting over with its neighbors.

So, the Vietnamese are so annoyed they're refusing to actually stamp the passports. And India is stamping its own map on the passport. Other neighboring countries are filing official complaints with the Chinese government about those passports.

And music now from two countries combined to come up with a funky collaboration. Ethiopian rhythms meeting Brooklyn soul, up next.


MALVEAUX: All right, check out the music that is topping the charts around the world. In Italy, one of the most downloaded songs on iTunes is called "Evolutionary Tension."

I was looking at the guy jumping in the background there. This is by Jovanotti. He release the music video earlier in the month. And his new album called "Back Up" was released today.

A New York soul musician meets African rhythms and a new genre is born. Tomas Doncker calls his music "global soul." I want you to listen to this. That is "Peace Is Not Fiction" from his new album, "Power of the Trinity." On the album, he is collaborating with musicians from all over the world, from Brooklyn to Ethiopia to Senegal.

Tomas joins us live from New York. Tomas, great to see you.

First of all, how did you -- one of our producers discovered you, Jessica Dunn, and just loved your stuff and so we're really glad to have you on. Tell us how you came to collaborate with some of these other guys, these musicians from around the world.

TOMAS DONCKER, MUSICIAN: Oh, thank you, Suzanne. It's great to be here.

Yes, "Power of the Trinity -- Global Soul" is about people coming together and sharing musical experiences, you know, passion, soul, of course, and I was fortunate enough to get to work with someone who has always been an inspiration to me, Mr. Bill Laswell.

And Bill is sort of at the forefront of new Ethiopian music, new music, in general. He always has been and, during my journey in putting together this whole project, I have been fortunate enough to work with the legendary Selam Woldemariam, who is essentially like the Jimmy Hendrix of Ethiopia.

And from -- really, he's just phenomenal and he's like an uncle. He's just -- these two gentlemen have just taken me on this crash course of culture and music and just the beautiful qualities of this music.

And we fused it with down-home Brooklyn soul music, you know? And, so, it's -- we call it "global soul," you know?

MALVEAUX: It's quite the mix. I love it. I love the mix here.

DONCKER: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: What are some of the similarities here? I mean, how do you take Brooklyn soul and mix it with something that's Ethiopian and Senegalese? Where does that come from?

TOMAS DONCKER, MUSICIAN: Well, I mean, you know, soul music is soul music. I mean it's not -- anything that is heartfelt, you know, sincere, about something, you know, about real life issues, things that are important to us, I mean really important to us. Fashion is nice, you know, but sometimes there's stuff that really hits a little bit closer to home, in the head and the heart.


DONCKER: And if you look back all -- you know, all of the great music, you know, from America, you know, James Brown, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, you know, Jimi Hendrix --


DONCKER: B.B. King, it's the same -- it's the same sentiment. I mean to m,e it's the same sentiment that you would get when you listen to a -- the Ibex Band from Ethiopia or Mahmoud Ahmed or --

MALVEAUX: Sure. I want our viewers to actually see some of the other things you've done, because you've actually joined actors, dancers, videographers, you've created this play based on the former Ethiopian leader, Haile Selassie, and you really translate your song into movement in a whole play. I want to play just a little bit of that if I can.

DONCKER: Oh, yes.


MALVEAUX: So, Tomas, a lot of this is really about peace and justice and tolerance.

DONCKER: Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: How does this reflect -- reflect your own life? Where did you -- where did you come up with the inspiration?

DONCKER: I just felt that, as a citizen of the planet, you know, that this was an important story to tell, you know, and that we can still learn from it. You know, I just think we all need to get back to that. I mean, we need to be, you know, citizens of a new race, you know, overcoming petty prejudice.


DONCKER: You know, owing our allegiance not to nations but, you know, to our fellow man.

MALVEAUX: All right. DONCKER: You know, that's something that (INAUDIBLE) said. And I think that that -- just that simple thought, you know, we could use more of that today, I mean, I'm -- obviously you guys see it all happening all over the world all the time. So you think you know exactly what I'm talking about, you know? And I think, you know, I think it's important. I just do.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Sure. Well, we appreciate the message and we love your music. Tomas, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it.

DONCKER: All right. Thank you.


The guitar legend, he would have been 70 today. You don't even have to say his name. All you got to do is listen.


MALVEAUX: Awesome. Jimi Hendrix performing "Purple Haze" at Woodstock, 1969. No surprise "Rolling Stone" named him the number one guitarist of all time. Hendrix died in 1970. He was just 27 years old. But, of course, his music always living on. A new Hendrix album with 12 previously unreleased tracks is set to release in March.

And move over, Mustang Sally. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the carmaker, the windshield cuts 99 percent of the UV rays and the plasma cluster AC won't leave you with cracked hands.


MALVEAUX: All right. What is this? The Japanese creating a new car just for women. We'll take a look under the hood.


MALVEAUX: All right. For some who just can't get enough pink in their lives, Honda has launched a new car called She's from the female Japanese market. As Alex Zolbert reports, it's more than a color.


ALEX ZOLBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the latest marketing ploy in car crazed Japan. A car made specifically for women. The color, an almost too predictable pink. This is a new version of the Honda Fit. A model named not hers but She's. The car's designer, Eri Tomonari, took us for a spin.

"Female drivers told us they were concerned about the summer sun," she says, "as well as getting dry skin from the air-conditioning."

According to the carmaker, the windshield cuts 99 percent of the UV rays. And the plasma cluster AC won't leave you with cracked hands. There are also subtle tweaks, like pink features on the dashboard, pink stitching in the seats.

If you don't like pink, there's also black, brown, or white, that in the words of one Honda executive speaking to a Japanese newspaper, can match a woman's eye shadow. Yes, some women might find this all a bit offensive, condescending, or a step backwards, perhaps. But Eri tells us, yes, everybody's taste is different. But many women in Japan love something cute or (INAUDIBLE). She's not wrong.

ZOLBERT (on camera): Would you buy a pink car?




ZOLBERT: I see you're wearing pink shoes. What do you think of a pink car?




ZOLBERT: Pink car here.

ZOLBERT (voice-over): In fact, we found only one woman from Mexico who voiced any concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean it doesn't bother me, but maybe it's a little bit sexist.

ZOLBERT: And, yes, this has been tried before. The Dodge Femme from the 1950s lasted only a few short years. Ford's Windstar Solutions minivan, complete with microwave and washing machine, never made it past the concept stage.

But as for the sales with this latest effort, Honda says so far, She's exceeding their expectations.

Alex Zolbert, CNN, Tokyo.


MALVEAUX: I'm going to keep my silver Benz. Yes, all right.

They call it a red tide, this is ripping across Australia's famous Bondi Beach, is putting the sea life there in real danger.


MALVEAUX: A red menace shuts down Australia's most famous beach in Sydney and several others around the country. The water turned blood red because of a thick algae bloom. It is called a red tide. The algae is not considered dangerous to swimmers, but it is deadly for some sea life, especially shellfish.

Want to get more on this from Chad Myers.

Chad, tell us what causes this. What is this exactly?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A couple of different causes possible.


MYERS: Phosphates, either from washing machines and laundry, from sewage that got dumped in, that could be, or from fertilizer, or just naturally that upwelling of some very good water, some very nutrient rich water from down below, got washed up to the top, and then the algae blooms on top. The biggest problem to swimmers and to people is the ammonia that they create as they live on top of the water.

MALVEAUX: OK. It looks alarming.

MYERS: Yes, it does.

MALVEAUX: And we know that they closed the beach at least for a day. Is it harmful to human beings, is it harmful to sea life? What does it do?

MYERS: It will give you an eye rash. Maybe just kind of red eyes. It also could irritate your skin with at ammonia. It is because of the pH of it. But it does kill fish. And it uses all the oxygen in that water and the fish have no place to go.

If this wasn't so huge, the ones like we get in the Gulf of Mexico, where they can go for miles and miles, fish were able to swim from one side to the bloom to the other.

MALVEAUX: Now, how often does this happen?

MYERS: Oh, all the time.


MYERS: It happens all the time but we usually don't see it in places that people want to go swimming.


MYERS: You know, we see it way out at the end of the Gulf of Mexico, or the mouth of the Mississippi goes out, but there are no beaches out there. So -- and it happens all the time.

MALVEAUX: Yes, it almost looks biblical when you look at the color.

MYERS: It look like tomato soup or something out there. It looks gross.

MALVEAUX: But it's not -- not that bad. And it dissipates fairly quickly, right?

MYERS: It can. I mean if the bloom continues, because there's still the source of those phosphates still coming in, whether it's raw sewage or whatever it might be, if that continues, then the bloom can go for days and even weeks. But for the most part, once they use up all the nutrients, then all the algae dies.

MALVEAUX: All right. You know, that's what I love about you, Chad, you know everything.

MYERS: I'm a phone a friend.

MALVEAUX: You know a little bit about everything, right?

MYERS: Just call me if you're going to win a million dollars, I could be your phone a friend.


MYERS: All right.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Chad.

MYERS: Sure.

MALVEAUX: Well, usually we show you some candid photos from around the world at this time, but today we want to share our favorite photo of the day from right here in Atlanta.

Katie, our senior producer, just had a baby boy. Her son, Declan Paul (ph), he was born yesterday morning. Isn't he a cutie? He weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces. There he is. We got the news last night. We love -- we love him. He's the new addition to our team.

And Katie sent us this picture as well. And you'll notice she's wearing a cast because she broke her wrist last week. She was actually worried whether or not she was going to be able to hold her baby. But from the looks of it, mission accomplished. We really wish her and her family the very best.


I'm Suzanne Malveaux.