Return to Transcripts main page


Date Chosen for Conclave of Cardinals; Interview with Father James Martin; U.S. Jobs Report is In; Interview with Derrick Pitts; Bin Laden Son-in-Law Arraigned; Police in Court for Dragging Death

Aired March 8, 2013 - 12:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in for Suzanne Malveaux.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: (Inaudible). I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for being with us.

WHITFIELD: All right. We begin at the Vatican, a big announcement. We are one step closer now to knowing who the new pope just might be.

HOLMES: The Vatican just announced -- you may have heard it from Ashleigh -- there's a date for that all-important conclave. Let's bring in senior Vatican analyst John Allen. He's in Rome, of course. Where else?

John, Tuesday is the big day. Any idea of why that day was selected? It's actually considered, I think, in Italy to be a bit of an unlucky day.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's sort of an old Roman wives' tale that you don't want to start anything on Tuesday. But in this case the cardinals decided that they would roll the dice because they wanted to get this thing under way.

Obviously, the purpose of the period we just lived through over the last week and a half was for them to get themselves organized. They don't want to have the spectacle of a extraordinarily long conclave with the images of division and chaos and internal infighting and all of that. Obviously they think they have some preliminary consensus worked out.

So they're ready to bring the curtain up on this great piece of theater we're going to be seeing playing out in Rome over the next few days.

WHITFIELD: All right. So, explain, John, that theater. What is likely to happen?

ALLEN: Well, what's going to happen is that Tuesday morning the cardinals will celebrate what's known as the mass or the election of the pope. It's a specific liturgy to sort of join in prayer for a successful conclave.

That afternoon they will file into the Sistine Chapel. They'll be singing a hymn to the Holy Spirit. They will assemble in the Sistine Chapel. They will all swear their oaths to protect the secrecy of the conclave. They will take one ballot that first night.

It would be extremely rare for a pope to be elected on the first ballot. So we presume then they will return the next morning on Wednesday. They will do two ballots in the morning and two ballots in the afternoon for as long as it takes for one of those cardinals to cross that magic two-thirds threshold, which is 77 votes out of the 115 in this conclave to be elected the next pope.

HOLMES: Stay with us. I want to bring in Father James Martin. Let's talk a little bit about this -- Father, about this process, the history of it and the timing. A lot of people, particularly in the United States, have seen this as a very slow move to a conclave. But these things take time. They move at their own pace, don't they?

FATHER JAMES MARTIN, JESUIT PRIEST: They do. And the cardinals wanted to gather before the conclave and that's built into the rules and the program in order that they might have time to discuss the kind of person that they want and the problems that are facing the church. So I think it makes sense that they would have this free time, in a sense, to discuss things before they started to do their voting. It makes a lot of sense.

WHITFIELD: And Father, there's some Italian reports which have indicated that there is -- I guess, some real consternation between the European cardinals and those of everywhere else, from the Americas, Asia, Africa and beyond, and that there's a lot of pressure to try to get a non-European, especially to depart from any kind of corruption, reports of mismanagement.

Are you hearing anything like that? Or does that even sound feasible?

MARTIN: Well, I think there's two things going on. You saw that the -- there was something of a media clampdown after the American cardinals were giving press briefings. I think that went against the ways of some cardinals in the Vatican, maybe some of the Italian cardinals and some of the more -- say, more traditional cardinals.

But I think everyone is looking for someone who can really move the church ahead, who can confront all of the issues that are facing the church: church governance, sexual abuse, the feeling that the church is irrelevant.

So I don't know that there's much difference on that. There may be a difference on who might be the best candidate. But everyone is more or less united about trying to find the best person.

HOLMES: And Father, before we let you go, I'm curious about also the -- all of these cardinals were either appointed by Benedict or by his predecessor. And so there's a feeling that it's going to be more of the same candidate list. But with these scandals and the corruption claims and all of the rest, there really does need to this be a shift, does there not? Or at least the appearance of one.

MARTIN: I think there does need to be a shift. I think you're right that all the cardinals are appointed by either John Paul or Benedict. But once the person is elected, it's up to him what he wants to do. And it's up to the Holy Spirit to guide him.

And I think all the cardinals there know that there need to be some real changes, particularly in terms of those issues I mentioned and especially Vatican governing and some of the scandals that have been happening in the curia.

So even if you get someone from that pool of people that Benedict and John Paul appointed, I think they'll know that things need to be changed, as the church always needs to change and respond.

WHITFIELD: All right Father Jim Martin, thanks so much, out of New York; John Allen, joining us from Rome, thanks to both of you gentlemen. Appreciate it.

HOLMES: Yes. Let's go to the American economy now. Some big news; markets have been way up this week and the last couple of weeks. Unemployment is down, lower than expected.

WHITFIELD: Lots of signs of encouragement, very pleasant surprises all over the place on Wall Street. The official nationwide unemployment rate as of this morning, now 7.7 percent.

HOLMES: Yes. Let's break down the numbers in a minute with Ali Velshi.

But, first, to the New York Stock Exchange, Alison Kosik.

Alison, what was interesting about this -- all this great news. And the market was like, eh.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. I mean, you know what, Michael and Fredricka; I did see the Dow pop at the open. And some of that spirit, that celebration is sort of fizzling out. But look, the Dow continues to reach those record highs. This is the fourth day in a row. The question is, will it close on a fourth day on a record high, rather?

You know, one trader puts it this way, though. The jobs data is actually more significant than this record high that the Dow is hitting every day because what the trader says is they're feeling more encouragement because they're seeing the jobs data that that came out all week.

(Inaudible) the ABP (ph) report showing private sector employment is going up. And those jobless claims numbers are going down.

All of those reports are now kind of matching what the government is saying today, that increase of 236,000 jobs last month. So that is giving some encouragement; this trader tells me this is a real sign of progress.

One reason you may see the celebration a little muted today here on Wall Street is because the focus is a little bit on these bank stress tests that the Fed released yesterday. The Federal Reserve put some of the country's biggest banks under what's known as stress tests to see, in a hypothetical situation, if the nation's biggest banks can withstand a sharp economic downturn.

And a majority of these banks scored good points. But the problem is, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, they came out a little too close to having too many risky assets by the Federal Reserve's standards. So that's making a little -- some investors a little gun-shy to really buy into the market today. Nonetheless, once again, the Dow is at another record high.

HOLMES: All right, Alison. Yes. Appreciate that. Thanks so much.

Alison Kosik there in the midst of it all.

WHITFIELD: We're not done. Let's talk about that jobs report. Christine Romans joining us now.

HOLMES: (Inaudible) --


HOLMES: -- in the snow.

WHITFIELD: We're all one big family, you know.


WHITFIELD: We look a little different.


But you're interchangeable, almost, given that you share a book. OK. So let's look at this unemployment rate, you know, 7.7, very encouraging, an indicator of more jobs, particularly in the private sector.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. I mean, when you look within these numbers, you see hiring in bars and restaurants. You see hiring in offices and on construction sites. So let me dig into these numbers for you, OK? You saw that unemployment rate, 7.7 percent. Best since December 2008. Private sector added 246,000 jobs.

The government lost 10,000. That's a trend we've been seeing for some time, right? Where you're seeing layoffs. State budgets actually getting cut, shrinking. These layoffs in the public sector, economists are telling me this morning, probably school related jobs, but the private sector is hiring.

Where is the private sector hiring? This is where you can really get a glimpse of what's happening in the American economy. Look at construction, 48,000 jobs out of there. Probably a little bit of that is Hurricane Sandy reconstruction jobs. But you know what a lot of that is? A housing market recovery. We're seeing the housing market perk up. That means good paying construction jobs.

Over there, professional business services, the very top of your screen, that briefcase, 73,000 jobs, some of those are tax preparers. But in offices and especially in technology jobs and anything that has to do with computer systems design, those jobs doing pretty, pretty well. So you can look across here. Also see health care jobs up 32,000. That has been a steady area of job creation.

But I want to -- I want to -- especially for our American viewers, what's so interesting about health care, there are two extremes in those health care jobs. You're seeing a lot of jobs added that are very low paying jobs. Ironically, health care jobs added that don't provide health insurance, and you're seeing other jobs that pay very, very well with some schooling and training, another trend we've seen.

The more education, the more specific skills you have, the more likely you're finding a place in this slow recovery in the labor market, you guys.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much for pinpointing it all.

HOLMES: How would you be getting a job in the health care area and not getting health insurance

WHITFIELD: (inaudible). That's not making any sense to me.

All right. Christine Romans, thanks so much.

All right. The Earth, we'll get another close encounter with a large asteroid this weekend, perhaps.

HOLMES: Don't panic. Rest easy. This giant --

WHITFIELD: But look up.

HOLMES: -- yes, have a look.

WHITFIELD: Just in case.

HOLMES: Yes, keep looking over your shoulder. It's not going to get any closer than a mere 600,000 miles. The moon is less than half that distance away.

WHITFIELD: OK. So it won't be like just a few weeks ago, remember when a meteor slammed into southern Russia near Kazakhstan. That explosion did shatter windows for miles around and about 1,500 people actually were hurt.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, it's not like that one. Derrick Pitts is with the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. And he's going to lay it out for us.

Now if something -- this isn't going to happen, but were it to happen --

WHITFIELD: Hypothetical.

HOLMES: -- what could you do about it anyway?

DERRICK PITTS, FRANKLIN INSTITUTE: You could put up your titanium umbrella and hope for the best, is what I think you could do. HOLMES: Have a party, I think you said earlier to someone.

PITTS: I think that would be the best thing to do, is party like it's 1999. After all, if something really does hit us like that, well, it would ruin your day, let's say.

WHITFIELD: OK. So it wouldn't break up in the atmosphere, as it enters the Earth's atmosphere, that is.

PITTS: Would it break up? It depends on what kind of object it is. You know, we talk about these objects as asteroids. But they can be either asteroids or meteorites. We don't have to split hairs. But the real question is is it rocky or is it solid metal? The solid metal ones that people are most familiar with typically do make it all the way down to the surface if they're of considerable size.

But if it's rocky, it typically will break up in the Earth's atmosphere and the smaller pieces will become much less destructive.

HOLMES: Now, of course, we're telling people about it now. But scientists, they have known about it for a little while longer. But again we come to this question of what would you do it about it? People have ideas, don't they?

PITTS: Yes, they do have ideas. One of the ideas is that perhaps we might send a -- you know, some bomb or a nuclear missile or something out to blow it up so that we can blow it up into smaller pieces. That's not such a good idea because all you get then is just a lot of pieces heading towards you.

But I have another idea that has been thought about by scientists. And so bear with me because this one is kind of unusual.

Imagine you send a spacecraft, that's like a freighter that has a load, a payload, of a white substance like flour or sugar. If you spread this over one side of the asteroid, what happens is the white part versus the dark part creates differential heating on the surface. And that then causes it to tumble and move off its trajectory. So there's an interesting way to make a change.

HOLMES: I would like to see that happen.

WHITFIELD: I was going to say, but for that to happen, it's a big what if that would be masterful.

HOLMES: We need Bruce Willis on this one.

WHITFIELD: Derrick Pitts, thank you. Very fascinating.

HOLMES: Thanks, Derrick.

PITTS: Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right. Here is more of what we're working on around the world. HOLMES: Yes. Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, we were talking about this yesterday. Well, he's being arraigned in a U.S. court on charges of conspiring to kill Americans.

WHITFIELD: And we'll have his response to those charges in a live report.

HOLMES: Also coming up, new details on how that lion was able to attack an American intern working in a cat sanctuary.

WHITFIELD: And later, Justin Bieber released from the hospital and preparing for a big concert in Europe. We'll take you live to London for a preview.



HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, to AROUND THE WORLD. Let's update you on a couple of top stories.

Chinese officials saying they are -- and they were highly concerned about North Korea's threat against South Korea and the United States.

WHITFIELD: And this comes one day after an unusual move by China. Instead of using its veto power to block sanctions against North Korea, it sided with the U.N. Security Council and voted to adopt the measures.

HOLMES: Yes, this is going to make it harder for North Korea to get weapons. Also some luxury items and cash as well. Those luxury goods, things like yachts and high-end jewelry, won't be able to get in. But this is North Korea's only true friend here.

WHITFIELD: Yes, they do need each other. At least North Korea needs China in a big way.

HOLMES: Exactly.

WHITFIELD: The announcement of the sanctions brought more heated rhetoric from North Korea, however. Pyongyang says it will no longer observe any non-aggression agreements with South Korea. State television has been showing what it says are new images of leader Kim Jong-Un and his troops, although the date of this video is unclear.

HOLMES: Extraordinary video. They're all following him into the icy waters there. Quite extraordinary stuff. Now on Thursday North Korea threatened, of course, a preemptive nuclear attack on its enemies. South Korea's new president says Seoul will respond strongly to any provocation.

Check that out.


HOLMES: This is North Korea in February. That is cold water. WHITFIELD: It is extraordinary to watch. Oh, my goodness.

HOLMES: I was actually also surprised that the boat that the dear leader is on is rather modest.



Yes, it is. All right. Well, that is devotion.

About 60,000 members, meantime, of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services are bracing for the belt to tighten. They got word this week that furloughs are coming, along with a hiring freeze, no overtime and a big chop in training.

HOLMES: Yes, CBP officials say the forced spending cuts, that's what's making them find a way to somehow save more than $750 million just by the end of September. They're expecting the furloughs and budget cuts, of course, delays and other snags at the nation's airports.

WHITFIELD: Boy, oh, boy. All right. A one-time mouthpiece for al Qaeda and member of Osama bin Laden's family stood in a New York City courtroom today.

HOLMES: Yes. Suleiman Abu Ghaith, is his name, he heard charges against him at about 10:30 or so this morning Eastern. Conspiracy to kill Americans.

WHITFIELD: He has appeared in videos singing the praises of the 9/11 attacks and now he's charged with actively planning acts of terrorism.

HOLMES: Yes. Let's go live to New York, our Susan Candiotti there.

Susan, you're inside the courtroom, saw him face a judge, and he did enter a plea.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Michael, he did. A plea was entered on his behalf, a not guilty plea. And you know it's always fascinating to see these terror suspects for the first time in person, especially because the last time that we've seen him or the familiarity with him has been watching him on these videotaped messages in which he blasts the United States and warns Americans that al Qaeda is going to get them.

Now he looks much different. He is balding on the top of his head. His dark beard is now salt and pepper. He was lead into court -- with his hands handcuffed behind his back. Those were removed before this court proceeding began.

This is a man that has time and again been called the mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden. And we learned some fascinating things at this very brief hearing today. It only lasted 15 minutes. First of all, prosecutors said that they obtained from him a 22-page statement that he made to them after he was arrested. Now they provided no further details about that.

We also learn that he was arrested on February 28th when he was overseas. Remember, he was in Turkey. Turkey expelled him and he came to the United States via Jordan. He arrived in the United States, according to prosecutors, on March 1st, and he's been held in a federal detention center ever since, until he made his first court appearance today.

Back to you, Michael.

WHITFIELD: All right. Susan Candiotti, we'll check back with you.

All right, Fran Townsend with us now. Our national security contributor and former U.S. homeland security adviser.

So let's talk about this. A, still unclear exactly where he was apprehended. But how unusual in your view is it that he would be facing these charges and make his first court appearance in the U.S., in New York City?

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Fredricka, it is a tremendous -- to the tremendous credits of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement authorities. This -- this kind of an operation takes enormous amounts of coordination. Not just inside the U.S. government, but obviously with the cooperation and help of your allies around the world.

You know, the interesting thing, Abu Ghaith has been in Iran in what was called, sort of House arrest. But he had relative freedom. Certainly safety from prosecution there. Unclear why he left. Was he expelled? Did he choose to leave on his own? He had a false Saudi passport, which is what got him into trouble in Turkey.

And once he started to move the U.S. authorities were obviously able to track him. And the fact that he's been brought back here so many years later to face these charges is frankly a good thing.

HOLMES: Yes, it's interesting, isn't it? When he was picked up in Turkey by all accounts, they tried to send him back to Iran, Iran wouldn't have him. They wanted to send him to his home company of Kuwait, they said they didn't want her. So I went by Jordan, ends up in the U.S., but tell us, Peter Bergen, he's saying that this guy is not such a big fish. Was he a talker or was he a planner? How big was he within the organization?

TOWNSEND: You know, Michael, I think it's fair to say he was a bigger fish. Closer in time to the -- to 9/11. When he was with Osama bin Laden, he was in the caves we understand in Tora Bora at that sort of last stand of bin Laden in Afghanistan. And he was a talker, but he also had the ability to kind of issue threats on behalf of bin Laden and the al Qaeda organization. So over time, I think what Peter -- the point Peter Bergen is making is he's been sort been on ice for more than 10 years inside Iran, not part of the operational loop, as best we can tell.

And so I don't expect he'll have much relevant, sort of real-time intelligence information that the U.S. authorities can act on.

HOLMES: All right, Fran, thanks so much.

Yes, fascinating why he left Iran. You really like, you know, the backstory there.

WHITFIELD: Right, just really dotting the map there. And clearly being tacked and trail, even , even though kind of falling off the map for a period of time. But at the right moment was apprehended.


WHITFIELD: And then transported.

HOLMES: And they picked him up initially. Pretty incredible. So yes, interesting.

All right, several police officers in South Africa behind bars for that horrific death that raised eyebrows around the world.

ROMANS: We'll take you live to Johannesburg next.


WHITFIELD: The brutality of the video simply shocked the world.

HOLMES: It did. Yes, and we're going to warn you again, too, that these pictures are disturbing. You remember last month this was. Bystanders looking on in horror as they watch South African police officers, yes, police officers, in uniform handcuff a man to a police van, which then pulled away and drag him along the road.

WHITFIELD: And of course, that man later died in his cell. Today nine of those police officers face murder charges.

HOLMES: Errol Barnett was in the courtroom.

Errol, you know, the officers, when they were taken in, what did they -- did they sign anything? Were they ground a bow? What happened?

ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we did get to hear from the officers today, Michael. But I can tell you, I mean, maybe it's becoming typical of South African court cases, it wasn't without a few twists and turns. When I walked in this courtroom this morning they were eight charges police officers.

The prosecutor announced the ninth officer had been arrested and charged and as he was speaking, he was on his way to the courthouse so there was this audible gasp in the room. And when all of the nine officers were in the courtroom, we did get to hear their written statements read allowed. And they essentially follow the same story. Same version of events.

They say Mido Macia, the 27-year-old taxi driver from Mozambique, had parked his car in the middle of the road. That he was resisting arrest. They say he was using abusive language and one police officer even said he reached for another officer's gun.

None of them in that statements explained what you just witnessed in that video which has been seen around the the world, which appears to show Mido Macia being tied to the back of a police vehicle and dragged for a distance.

The police officers also said that they were shocked and surprised to find out hours later that he had died in his cell. But the autopsy reveals that Mido Macia died from lack of oxygen to the brain and to the body. So obviously something went wrong.

During the proceeding as well, Michael, I was able to speak to Mido Macia's father who was here from Mozambique. He says there's no, there's no explanation for what they did to his son. And he says the police here need to learn a lesson.

At this moment he is taking his son's body from Johannesburg, where I am now, to Maputo, Mozambique, for a funeral on Saturday. And so that family will continue to grieve. But these officers, we don't know if they'll even make bail until the hearing resumes on Monday.

WHITFIELD: And so, Errol, you know, now what about the police department and what about the general public? There already, you know, a great history of distrust between people and the and the police department and then now you're talking about a police department that looks very different than the police department of the Apartheid days when people could call to race when an incident like that were to happen. But this is the case where you've got black police officers and your victim is black.

BARNETT: Yes, and you have people in South Africa wondering, you know, it's not necessarily about racial discrimination anymore. Perhaps it's about class. Many of the people in Benoni, where the court hearing was held today, were protesting outside. The police closed off the street for fear that people would become violent and start taking out their anger against police.

We saw this on Wednesday at Mido Macia's memorial service. People were verbally aggressive police officers. But to their credit, the South African Police Service and its watchdog agency called the IPID, they're not taking any chances. They know the massive international spotlight on the country right now, not just because of what this case, but let's not forget the Oscar Pistorius hearing which is ongoing and also the Marikana massacre from last year.

They want to show that even if police go outside the law, they're not above it, and that they can eventually be met with justice.

WHITFIELD: Errol Barnett, thanks so much from Johannesburg.

HOLMES: What a disturbing case.

All right, now, we mentioned earlier the Catholic Church moving closer to electing a Pope.

WHITFIELD: That's right. The cardinals have set a conclave date now. We'll tell you what that date is just in case you missed it at the top of the hour. We'll explain this kind of secretive process behind the big vote.