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Female Rabbi Detained in Jerusalem for Wearing a Man's Prayer Shawl; South Korea Spoofs "Les Mis"; Demand For Gold Surging in India; Mormon's Samba Earns Spot in Rio

Aired February 12, 2013 - 12:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL": Welcome back to "Newsroom International" where we take you around the world in 60 minutes.

A day after Pope Benedict shock the world announcing he's step down in two weeks a spokesman reassured the public the pope does not have any kind of disease that forced his resignation.

The pope is resigning because he does not feel he has the strength to continue on the job. The Vatican says a new pope should be in place by Easter.

About two hours from now in Washington, the Senate armed services committee will be debating Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary. The vote after they finish talks.

Harry Reid says the full Senate could vote on the nomination as early as tomorrow. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, faces strong opposition from fellow Republicans.

North Korea thumbing its nose at the U.S. and the international community by carrying out a new, more powerful nuclear test. It is the first one under leader Kim Jong-un.

President Obama calls it a threat to the U.S. security and world peace. The first indication of the underground test came when seismologists detected a tremor in an area that is not known for earthquakes.

In Jerusalem, 10 women detained at the western wall. One of them happens to be the sister of comedian Sarah Silverman. Police detained Rabbi Susan Silverman praying at the wall wearing a prayer shawl traditionally worn only by men.

Her daughter was also detained. They were released just several hours later.

Sarah Silverman's rep released a statement saying, "I don't care much for people who use religion as a cloak to justify hatred, injustice and fear and I can't imagine God, should he or she or it exist, does either. "I am so proud of my sister and niece for fighting for what they believe in, by having nerve to pray at a wall of prayer while being female."

Sara Sidner is joining us in Jerusalem. So explain to us, if you will, the significance of this, being at the wailing wall and what women are wearing and where they are praying. Why does that matter?

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's the most holy Jewish site for prayer and, basically, what these women want is equal access to all of the nominations and for those who want to practice their religion at the wall.

Basically, they've been doing this for the past two decades. This is not a new act by these women. They call themselves Women of the Wall.

They go down, wear the shawls, pray at the wall and they say they should be allowed to do that.

But police and Israel differ. The high court has put out a ruling basically saying that they can go down to the property, but the government has made a separate area that is not at the wall but just on the property where the wall exists that they say, yes, these women can go and they can wear the prayer shawls there and do their praying there, but not at the wall itself.

And the women say that's simply discriminatory. They have been doing this for 20 years and they say for those 24 years they've basically been able to do it with the ushers pushing them out from the western wall.

Now, they say, over the past couple of years, police have gotten involved in a heavy way, that they have been detained, more than 40 people detained, and one person arrested and that's the leader of the Women on the Wall organization.

And, by the way, she had no idea who Sarah Silverman was. She only found out after she found news reports that her sister had been detained alongside her.


MALVEAUX: Yeah, I want to note that Silverman's the one with the dark hair and then the one with the glasses is the niece of the comedian there.

And, yes, it is getting more publicity because of her sister, the comedian, who was tweeting and who's speaking out about all of this.

Do we expect this is going to continue? I mean, it's a whole movement that's actually happened now.

SIDNER: Absolutely. It's been going on for more than two decades and the Women of the Wall say it will continue to go on. It doesn't matter who joins them. They're going to continue to press the issue. And certainly you'll start seeing more items heading to the courts as well.


MALVEAUX: Yeah, now more publicity because of her sister. All right. Thanks. Appreciate it, Sara.

So, if you haven't seen "Les Mis" yet, if you didn't catch it in the theaters, you can actually get a sneak peek on YouTube courtesy -- and we're talking about a different version, however -- of South Korean military troops putting on their own spin on this classic.


MALVEAUX: All right. So, this is one of those "gotta-see" Web videos. It is a parody of "Les Mis."

Our international editor, Azadeh Ansari, she's among more than 3 million folks who have watched this. This has gone viral.

You've got to explain there is to us. Because at first, you don't quite get it, and then you get it.


And all I have to say is, watch out Gangnam-Style because this is definitely the newest sensation to hit the South Korean music circuit.

But, so, the story line, it plays off -- it's a parody which plays off of "Les Miserables" and it's called "Les Milatirable." And I'm sure you French is much better than mine, but I try.

It translates to "The Military." So, the entire story line of this parody revolves around a South Korean air force member who longs to see his girlfriend, but instead, day in, day out, he's tasked with this arduous duty of shoveling snow, which is very common in the South Korean army -- air force, as well.

But the thing is, again, 3 million hits in less than a week and the median content division of the South Korean air force released this video. And it's just blown up online. It's incredible, so I mean ...

MALVEAUX: Let's watch a little bit of that.

ANSARI: Let's take a look.

MALVEAUX: Tell us why this has really like hit a nerve there, why people love this.

ANSARI: The video itself was made to be a morale booster because, as we know, tensions are very high right now. And a lot of these military servicemen and air force men are, they're on standby, you know?