Return to Transcripts main page


Severe Winter Storm; Hugo Chavez, Turn for the Worse; Papal Conclave Underway; The Role of Women In the Catholic Church; New Recommendations on Troop Levels; Bieber Fans Get Mad, Then Tired

Aired March 5, 2013 - 12:30   ET


JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Across parts of Chicago, and parts of Illinois and Indiana, we're going to see six-to-eight inches of snowfall.

But as that storm makes its way over towards the east, it's going to be moving through the Central Apps. This is tonight, what you're looking at, and you see the totals, four-to-eight inches.

But as we get into Wednesday, that's when things really start to get tricky, in the morning, especially for parts of the Mid-Atlantic.

Now, you see totals there. We are talking potentially, some of these locations, more than a foot of snowfall.

Of course, it's going to be higher, Brianna, in the Blue Ridge Mountains and those areas in Western Virginia.

But looking at the D.C. Metro area, we're still seeing some of those locations could pick up about five inches of snowfall. Regions in the western part of D.C., of course, are going to see more of that snowfall as it goes toward the east.

But areas like central Pennsylvania as well as into Maryland, they're going to be taking a pounding there. We're still talking 10 inches of snowfall, a foot or more in some of these parts. Quite a mess out there.

So, again, right now, Chicago, they're pros. It's a pro, you know, basically, when it comes to snow like this. You can see cars are moving smoothly, but later on when Ted Rowlands gets here, it's going downhill and I'm going to turn it over to him by then.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: It's going to go downhill when Ted comes on the scene.

Jennifer Delgado for us in Chicago, thank you for that.

DELGADO: Right, I'll be eating pizza by then.

KEILAR: All right, definitely. Thanks, Jennifer.

Well, when was the last time that you heard a dictator described as "delicate?" Well, Hugo Chavez is battling a very severe, new respiratory infections and that's the way his government is describing his condition. "Very delicate," they say.

We'll go live to Venezuela next.


KEILAR: Welcome back to AROUND THE WORLD. Here's what's making news.

In China, the country's national congress is on. That is the annual political meeting dominated by the Communist Party, and, aside from electing new leaders, the party says its big priority is tackling pollution.

That's right. Beijing has been cloaked in a blanket of smog, as you can see there. The country burned almost 4 billion tons of coal per year. That is almost as much as the rest of the world put together.

And in Afghanistan, two men sentenced today for a massive bank fraud. They were each given five-year prison terms and ordered to pay more than $800 million into a recovery fund for the victims.

Just to give you an idea of its size, that is around five percent of the country's total economy.

The two men have close connections to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and some Western countries have complained the sentences are to light.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is battling a new infection, and his breathing problems are getting worse.

He announced that he had cancer in 2011 and spent more than two months receiving treatment in Cuba. He returned to Venezuela two weeks ago.

For more on this, we go now to Shasta Darlington. She is in Caracas, so, Shasta, what is the government telling us?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we heard this pretty brusque and really pretty bleak outlook from the information minister, saying, as you said, that Hugo Chavez health has taken a turn for the worst, that he has a new and severe respiratory problem and that his condition is very delicate.

But on top of that, we've also heard that the top government officials, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, and other ministers are currently meeting right now and that we could expect another government announcement at any minute.

And this, of course, has a lot of people on edge. You just have to remember that, even last week, a poll showed that 57 percent of Venezuelans thought that Chavez had a chance of recovering and taking over the presidency with all -- healthy and normal.

So, this really abrupt announcement last night, very bleak, as I said. And now this meeting has people on edge. They're wondering what will come out of it.

Could we get news that his health has gotten worse or even that he has died? These are the outcomes that lots of people are speculating about, Brianna.

KEILAR: Thanks, Shasta.

And I want to bring in Rafael Romo. He is our senior Latin American affairs editor for CNN.

And, Rafael, just, you know, Chavez, he won re-election in October, third term that he won. He missed his own inauguration because he was so ill. He hasn't yet been sworn in as president. Right now, his allies are running the country.

But critics say that Venezuela is in limbo without a leader. So, what happens if he does pass away? How is that going to affect the Venezuelan government and, also, its relationship with the U.S.?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, Brianna, it is very important to understand just what kind of a leader Hugo Chavez is.

And, maybe for people here in the United States, they know very little, but he has been able to transform dramatically his country. He is a proponent of what is called "21st century socialism."

And ever since he took power in 1999, he was able to change his country's constitution. He was able to effectively take control of the supreme court and the legislative body there in his country.

And, also very important for this country from the United States, Venezuela is the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the United States. And for as long as he has been in power, he has espoused this rhetoric against the United States, calling the United States an "evil empire" and accusing the United States of trying to essentially destabilize his government.

Also, you cannot talk about Chavez without talking about his influence throughout the region. For example, he has aided the government of Cuba and an argument could be made that Cuba would have collapsed financially without the petro-dollars that Hugo Chavez has sent to Cuba.

Other countries that also come to mind? Nicaragua, for example, Bolivia, and, so, you're talking about an influence not only in his own country, where he has, by all accounts, made dramatic changes in -- when it comes to poverty, but also throughout the hemisphere and some of the leftist governments that have been friendly of his.

So, a very influential leader not only in Venezuela, but also throughout the region, Brianna.

KEILAR: Very influential, indeed.

Rafael Romo for us in Atlanta, Shasta Darlington in Caracas, both of you, I know, will continue to monitor the situation, as we could be hearing a new announcement from the Venezuelan government any moment.

Thanks to both of you. Well, it is one of the world's most powerful fraternities. We're talking about the men's club that is, yes, the Vatican, as the Catholic leaders look to select a new leader.

That's next.


KEILAR: In Vatican City right now, almost all of the cardinals who will choose the next pope are there and they're talking.

They met again today, but they still haven't announced a date for the conclave. That's when they'll pick Pope Benedict the XVI's successor.

While people around the world wait for that decision, our Ben Wedeman reports on what many people see as a "men's club" in the Catholic Church.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The cardinals are gathering in Rome against a backdrop of two millennia of history.

To outsiders, the upper echelons of the Vatican appear to be an exclusive men's club. Vatican City joined Saudi Arabia as one of the few states left on earth where women have no vote.

Men may run the church, but they're outnumbered by women at mass in Rome's Church of Santa Lucia. The art on the walls highlights their centrality in the past and women should be part of the future, says worshipper Alesandra Candrelli (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone would like to have more women everywhere because this is a fact that it's not possible to stop because nowadays women are very, very strong.

WEDEMAN: Catholics revere Maria, the mother of Jesus, and church history is replete with women saints who struggled and died for the faith.

Other women refuse to stay silent when they saw evil in the church. In the 14th century, St. Katharine of Siena famously described the cardinals as devils in human form.

And, today, strong-willed women are trying to break through the stained glass ceiling.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops concedes the church hierarchy is male-dominated, but women do occupy important lay positions in Catholic social and relief organizations.

SISTER MARY ANN WALSH, U.S. BISHOPS' CONFERENCE SPOKESWOMAN: If you take the issue off the table, if you take ordination off the table, for example, in the U.S., our statistics are better than the Department of Labor when it comes to women in executive positions. WEDEMAN: A bit of female advice would help the church steer its way through troubled waters, says Professor Donna Ursuto of the Gregorian College.

PROFESSOR DONNA URSUTO, GREGORIAN PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITY: And it certainly brings more balance when you have contact with women and when you listen to women, especially, and listen to their perspective. And I think, you know, a lot of the ways that this crisis was handled in the church, you know, to have had more women's input in dealing with it would have been a better thing.

WEDEMAN: But, for now, women have, at best, an indirect influence, as Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins of Portugal explains it. "Certainly the church is not a democratic society in the way civil society understands," he says. "It's a hierarchy church, therefore not everyone is equal."

Women's voices may be louder than before, but, for now, the doors to this men's club remain firmly shut.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


KEILAR: More American troops may stay in Afghanistan perhaps longer than we originally thought. We'll be bringing you the latest from the Pentagon, next.



The top U.S. commander for the Afghanistan/Pakistan region has recommended to President Obama that 13,600 American troops stay in Afghanistan after 2014. That's a number that is potentially higher than what the Obama administration wants to leave in the country. So I want to bring in Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr to explain this to us.

Barbara we'd heard perhaps the number of 12,000 floated somewhat recently. What does this new number mean, and is it significantly different, do you think?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a higher number than we've heard, Brianna. At a NATO meeting several weeks ago, the now former secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, was talking about 12,000. But he was including U.S. and NATO troops.

General James Mattis, the top commander for the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, says not 12,000. His recommendation, 13,600 U.S. troops alone. And perhaps another 7,000 or so NATO troops. These are the troops that will stay, if it's all approved, after 2014 when technically combat is supposed to end. So U.S. troops, if the Afghan government agrees, still at risk in Afghanistan for many years to come, their job would be to train Afghan forces, special operations to go hunt down terrorists still. This means this involvement in Afghanistan, if it's all agreed to, could go on for many more years to come.


KEILAR: And this is one of those things, Barbara, that we kind of get in drips and a little bit and pieces. In January, when President Karzai came to visit with President Obama, it became clear that, yes, there will definitely be U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Now the question obviously is kind of, how many, and also maybe how fast are they withdrawn and ultimately what is that long-term commitment? Can you just tell us kind of what we don't know at this point and when we might expect to learn it?

STARR: Well, what we are waiting for is for President Obama to make that crucial decision, how many U.S. troops does he want to leave in Afghanistan after that 2014 combat deadline. Because if you come to an international agreement on that, the U.S. NATO, the Afghan government, what President Obama is essentially doing is signing up the next president of the United States to that military commitment.

Think of it this way, Brianna. The U.S. commitment in Afghanistan began after the 9/11 attacks back in 2001. We are now talking well into 2014, '15, and beyond that. So some 15 years possibly of a U.S. military commitment in that country. Something many Americans may politically question in the coming years.


KEILAR: And that's why it's going to be sort of politically fraught, as we wait for some of these recommendations. Barbara Starr for us at the Pentagon. Thanks for that report.

STARR: Sure.

KEILAR: Now, up next, if you're going to a Rolling Stones concert, well, have fun, first off, but, you know, you would never expect the music to start right on time, right? Yes, maybe not. But when you're a parent and Justin Bieber shows up two hours late on a school night, well, that's going to tick some people off.


KEILAR: Singing superstar Justin Bieber gets a second chance tonight to impress his fans in London, because last night he showed up quite late for his opening night concert. And it was, yes folks, a school night. Here's Erin McLaughlin.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Turning up late is so rock 'n' roll. But not when your fans have school the next day. Thousands of parents arrived to fetch their children before Justin Bieber had even made it on stage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Around dusk there were about 15 people that left. The little guy (ph) in front of us, you know, fell asleep. And our daddy was just like, (INAUDIBLE), I'll take you home now. And it's upsetting to watch somebody that young to come to, you know, their hero's concert and him not even to come out. She didn't even see him perform.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my niece and this just -- I brought her as a birthday present and it's really badly run. We've had to leave early. I felt I've let her down, even though she said, oh, no, it's fine. It was just so badly organized. We sat there for an hour. And people was booing.

MCLAUGHLIN: Anger that spilled on to Twitter, with thousands of tweets like this one from an angry parent calling it disgraceful.

The next day, Justin waved to fans outside his hotel and apologized with some tweets of his own blaming technical issues, saying he was only 40 minutes tardy.

The pop star's due to play three more nights at the O2 Arena. The venue promised to do everything in its power to ensure the 19-year-old makes it on stage at the right time when he plays again.

After all, when you're a global teen superstar and your fan base has a strict bedtime, punctuality is pretty important, even if they say they'll never let you go.


MCLAUGHLIN: Tonight, Bieber will play again in London. He'll take to the stage 30 minutes early this time at 9:00 p.m. sharp. No doubt there will be plenty of parents watching to make sure he sticks to schedule.


KEILAR: Thanks, Erin. Cute story.

Well, Hugo Chavez is battling a severe, new respiratory infection. And his government is describing his condition as very delicate. We'll go live to Venezuela, next.