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Anti-Abortion Protesters Mark Roe v. Wade Anniversary; North Korea Ramps Up Threats; Unrest in Mali Continues; Dreamliner Safety Concerns; Great Island Escapes; Singer Brings Unique Sound to U.S.

Aired January 25, 2013 - 12:30   ET


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That means that this will probably go to the Supreme Court and be battled out there. Effectively, the president can make recess appointments when the Senate is out of session. At the time, the president made these recess appointments, the Senate was nominally in session. They were gaveling in and gaveling out and, so, the court said that didn't count.

So, now that it's likely to be kicked up to the Supreme Court for the Supreme Court to decide, well, who's right? So, we'll have to wait and see.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Jess, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Good to see you.

Thousands are marching to the Supreme Court this hour. The so-called March for Life is drawing activists from around the country. They are protesting the 40-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. We're going to have a live report up next.


MALVEAUX: Of course, it's one of the most personal and decisive issues in the country, abortion. This hour anti-abortion protesters are marching in Washington to mark the 40th anniversary of the country's landmark abortion ruling.

Well, the Roe Versus Wade decision resulted from a case filed by Norma McCorvey, known in court papers as "Jane Roe." The case was against Dallas County district attorney Henry Wade. In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman's right to an abortion. The ruling was based on the 14th Amendment right to privacy.

Athena Jones is joining us live from Washington. Set the scene for us here.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see behind me thousands of people here are gathered on the Mall, young and old, people from all over the country. I saw a group of high school students from Memphis, Tennessee. I've seen banners from Michigan.

They are here, as you mentioned, to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, but I can tell you that this group, March for Life, has been organizing this march almost since Roe V. Wade, one year after was the first march to mark the first anniversary of Roe V. Wade and they continue to come every year.

You can see some of the signs they hold, "defund Planned Parenthood," "defend life." And, so, they have a series of speakers here and later on they'll be marching to the Supreme Court which is, of course, their ultimate goal. Their ultimate goal is to find a case that can challenge Roe V. Wade.


MALVEAUX: Do we know, Athena, if there are cases that are actually in the process of challenging Roe v. Wade?

JONES: We know there was one that some thought the Supreme Court could add to the docket this year, a case out of Oklahoma that dealt with personhood laws.

They wanted -- supporters -- abortion opponents, I should say, in Oklahoma wanted to bring to a vote this idea of a personhood law that would mean that life begins at conception. That would effectively outlaw all abortions for any reason.

The Supreme Court rejected that. They decided not to add that to the docket. And, so, abortion opponents are still looking for that perfect case to come to bring to the Supreme Court that could actually defeat Roe V. Wade and they haven't found it yet.

But it's a fight that continues. Right now, it's happening more along the fringes, though, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, Athena Jones. Thank you, Athena.

North Korea is now ramping up its threats. The country is turning its sights south and one U.S. official is now calling it troubling.


MALVEAUX: North Korea again cranking up threats against the United States, aiming some strong talk at its close U.S. ally, South Korea. North Korean officials are warning that strong, physical countermeasures will face South Korea if it goes along with tougher U.N. sanctions that were announced this week.

The American envoy for North Korea say that these warnings only set back progress on the Korean Peninsula.


GLYN DAVIES, U.S. ENVOY ON NORTH KOREA: These types of inflammatory statements by North Korea do nothing to contribute to peace and stability on the peninsula. Now is a moment when all parties in the six-party process, but in particular here in North Korea should turn their attention to how to peacefully and diplomatically address challenges that concern them and we find this rhetoric troubling.


MALVEAUX: The head of the U.N. Relief Agency says that ordinary people are paying a terrible price in Syria.

Valerie Amos is calling on world aid organizations to step up their efforts to help the hundreds of thousands impacted by almost two years of deadly violence. She says Syrians are fleeing their homes in droves because they are now desperate.


VALERIE AMOS, U.N. EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR: When people do cross the border, we have to do more to help the countries and the communities that are hosting them.

Nearly 700,000 refugees have now fled. It says something about the situation in the country that people are prepared to walk for days to cross borders into Lebanon and Turkey, into Jordan.

The regional impact is something that we are all extremely worried about, so getting the money to support those countries, but also crucially the communities as well the refugees themselves is critical.


MALVEAUX: The U.N. estimates that, this year alone, 5 million Syrians will be in need of food, water, shelter and medical treatment.

Now to Mali. That is the country in northern Africa where extremists have launched an aggressive campaign to seize control.

Today, French-backed forces are pushing toward the Islamist rebel stronghold of Gao. France sent troops to try to end the rebel occupation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about Mali during a congressional hearing.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: In addition to the immediate action we took and review board process, we're moving on a third front addressing the broader strategic challenge in North Africa and the wider region.

Benghazi did not happen in a vacuum. The Arab revolution have shattered security forces across the region.

Instability in Mali has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we just saw last week in Algeria.


MALVEAUX: West African military leaders are set to hold an emergency meeting on Mali on the Ivory Coast.

And Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet completely now grounded and under a widening investigation. We're going to look at what this means for the company and the airlines.


MALVEAUX: Hundreds of engineers, technical experts working around the clock to get to the bottom of a major safety problem with Boeing's 787 Dreamliners. The high-tech jets were grounded after batteries on two planes caught fire.

The big money involved, of course, is generating a lot of talks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. That is where Richard Quest is.

Richard, we saw the National Transportation Safety Board show what looked like these burned-out remains of these lithium-ion batteries that caught fire on the Dreamliners earlier this month.

What is the reaction from world leaders and some of the big businesses there in terms of what this means?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the core point about the Dreamliner and the issues it relates is the severity of the fire both in the (INAUDIBLE) plane in Boston and the incident with the ANA plane in Japan.

Hundreds of Boeing engineers are now looking to find out why these lithium ion batteries did have either thermal runaways or at least overheat to the point of combustion. And if you had any doubt about the seriousness of the situation, remembering, of course, that the FAA has grounded the planes, listen to the NTSB's chairman, Deborah, who talks about how serious this incident now is.


DEBORAH HERSMAN, NTSB CHAIRWOMAN: This is an unprecedented event. We are very concerned. As I mentioned in the beginning, we do not expect to see fire events onboard aircraft. This is a very serious air safety concern. The FAA has taken very serious action.


QUEST: And that, of course, feeds into how detailed and difficult it' going to be, Suzanne, to actually put this problem right because they just don't know.

MALVEAUX: Richard, what are people saying there? Do they think that the Dreamliner is going to be able to survive?

QUEST: I've been talking -- I talked to one senior aviation official, international aviation official here, and I asked exactly that question. Yes is the short answer because we've seen it with the DC 10, we've seen it with the Concord, we've seen it with other cases. What they have to do is find out what's wrong and put it right. But the difficulty is the time and the expense in doing it.

Now, if it was a mature aircraft, that would be even a greater question. But since it's a brand new plane with 800 orders still -- or 750 still to be delivered, there's no question that Boeing is going to get to the bottom of it and will put something right. Finally, on this question of how long, the people I was speaking to here says, well, it really doesn't matter how long, they're just going to have to do it. And when they've done it, then the plane will fly again and not before.

MALVEAUX: All right, Richard, thank you. Good to see you.

We are all hoping for sunny skies, sandy beaches. Would love that. Welcome change for all of those who are in the cold. We're going to show you the best places for a winter escape.


MALVEAUX: About a quarter of the country is now in a painful deep freeze. We don't see these frigid temperatures warm up until next week. Even people in New Hampshire, who are used to cold winters, they are bundling up more than usual. Now is adding to the misery. As much as six inches could fall today over parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley.

In the south, it is freezing rain that is creating some dangerous driving conditions. Kentucky getting the worst of it right now. And Tennessee and North Carolina also going to get hit later today.

Well, if the winter blues getting you down a little bit, maybe we ought to start planning for a nice island escape. I love that. People at "Travel & Leisure" are ready to help you out. The magazine eyeing the best beachfront spots from Bali to Malta. Nilou Motamed is features director at "Travel & Leisure," joining us from New York.

Give us the skinny. Tell us.


MALVEAUX: We're cold. Where should we go?

MOTAMED: Well, I think if you're looking for a tropical getaway, look no further than the February issue of "Travel & Leisure." We have 21 destinations. It's our cover story. And everybody needs it right about now.

I love the idea of going to Madeira, which is -- you wouldn't necessarily think about going to Europe in the winter time, especially if you're looking for a tropical getaway. But the amazing thing about Madeira, which is a Portuguese island, is that it's only 400 miles off the coast of Africa. So you're going to get balmy weather even this time of year. You're going to get gorgeous, lush landscapes, incredible waterfalls and I love the hotel that's called Reid's Palace there. It is a palace, literally. It has welcomed the likes of Winston Churchill back in the day and it will welcome you with everything from incredible evenings, where you dress up. I love dressing for dinner. And they even have three swimming pools that are right on the ocean. This is a great island for someone who's looking for a combination of an adventurous retreat with a little bit of glamour.

MALVEAUX: Sweet. What else you got for us?

MOTAMED: Bali. I love Bali. I went on my honeymoon to Bali. So I love, love, love Bali. This is an island, if you're looking for incredibly generous and welcoming people, beautiful, beautiful landscapes, this gorgeous culture of temples, this is a great place to go. And there's a brand new hotel called Le Meridien Jimbaran that is stunning and steps away from the beach. This is a place where you're going to have access to lots of -- all that Bali has to offer. And I love the value. You think about going to Asia as being an expensive proposition. But you can get rooms at this hotel in their prime season for as low as $219 a night right now.

MALVEAUX: It looks gorgeous. I've been to Bali. And you're absolutely right, I mean, the people are so incredibly friendly. You almost can't believe that people are just --

MOTAMED: So wonderful.

MALVEAUX: Open arms there.

MOTAMED: Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: And they don't harass you as a tourist.


MALVEAUX: You've got one more for us.

MOTAMED: One more. And this -- you know, a place that is a perennial favorite with jet setters is St. Barts. And it's gorgeous and glamorous. And you think that you might not be able to feel comfortable there. But what I love about the hotel Christopher is that it's intimate. It's only about a 20-minute drive from Gustavia. It's in a charming area called Pontmeto (ph). And what I love about it is that it is low key. What I also love about it is that every room has a day bed right on the -- on its balcony, on its private balcony. So you get privacy, you get intimacy. It's not a big hotel. It's only 41 rooms. And you do get to be kind of in the lap of luxury with all of the people who are headed to St. Barts.

MALVEAUX: Are these reasonably priced here? What are we -- do you got to break the bank here?

MOTAMED: This one -- you know, St. Barts, is not going to be reasonable until April. April is actually the good secret for everyone to know. I'm letting you in. April 15th is when all the prices in the Caribbean drop down. That's when I go to the Caribbean. That's when regular folks can afford to stay at some of the great, more expensive resorts. This is not expensive by St. Barts standards, but certainly is not as affordable as that one in Bali.

MALVEAUX: All right. I'm going to start submitting my time sheet now. A little time off in April. Thank you, Nilou. Good to see you.

MOTAMED: You deserve it.

MALVEAUX: Good to see you, as always. Thanks. I'll see you there.

MOTAMED: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: A South African singer turning a lot of heads here in the United States. We're going to introduce you to Lira. Find out the inspiration behind her unique sound.


MALVEAUX: That is music from one of South Africa's leading singing sensations. Lira. She performed in honor of President Obama at the ambassadors ball. The first inaugural ball hosted exclusively by the international community. The ball featured artists and dignitaries from more than 200 countries. Lira, she joins us from New York.

So you know you've made it when you're like one name, right, like Madonna. Lira, right?


MALVEAUX: I'm good. Tell us what that was like to perform at the ball.

MOLAPO: It was amazing. You know, I just think firstly just being in D.C. at that time, the energy, the atmosphere, the excitement was unbelievable. And then being at the ball, everyone really just enjoyed the performance and, yes, it was very memorable for me.

MALVEAUX: And what stood out in your mind? What was the best part of the experience of the evening?

MOLAPO: I think being in D.C. Just being in D.C. during the inauguration, the whole city just comes to life in such an incredible way. Interestingly enough, during Barack Obama's first inauguration, I was in Kenya. And the whole country stood still. The whole country celebrated him. So it was quite an experience for me to find myself in D.C. the second time around. So it was quite epic.

MALVEAUX: Well, it looks like you're having a wonderful time. It's a beautiful -- it's a gorgeous gown that we see you in there. And it was really quite an amazing performance there. This is actually not the first time that you've performed for a president. You actually have sang to Nelson Mandela numerous occasions. I want our audience to see a little bit of that as well.


MALVEAUX: So, Lira, tell us, what is at the heart of your music that brings the passion that you have before these world leaders?

MOLAPO: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Please say that again. I apologize.

MALVEAUX: Oh, no, no, no. Tell us what's behind your music. What inspires you?

MOLAPO: I think my journey. You know, I'm inspired by the experience of being South African, obviously coming from a post apartheid environment, going through the transition of becoming a democratic country. I think as South Africans, or at least my generation, you know, when we were young, we were taught how to survive the struggle. And as soon as we were free, we weren't really taught how to practically do free.

And so what I find inspiring is that we're in a position where we can define it for ourselves. We can decide what this freedom -- what this new found freedom is. And for me, as a musician, you know, having gone through my struggles and having to choose following my passion as a career, it's come -- you know, it's just happened for me in such a phenomenal way that I can't help but include these messages in my music, the ideas of possibility of that, you know, it's possible to go forth to do what you want to do for a living or follow your passion for a living. You know I -- I get to travel the world as a result. So it's very much a part of the music. It's empowerment. It's celebrate -- it's embracing my African self (ph).

MALVEAUX: Well, what is the -- what's the favorite place that you have gone to perform? Do you have a favorite at all?

MOLAPO: It's tough to say. I've been all over the world. It's tough to say. But the inaugural ball is probably one of the highlights of my career definitely.

MALVEAUX: A highlight. All right, Lira, very nice to meet you. Congratulations on your success. And we'll be looking for you.

MOLAPO: Appreciate it.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much.

MOLAPO: Excellent. Thank you.

MALVEAUX: I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

President Obama putting together a new team for a new term in office. Just the last hour, the president named close advisor Denis McDonough