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AROUND THE WORLD

Pope Francis Inaugurated; Cyprus Banks To Stay Closed; Stakes High For Obama's Israel Trip; Iraq, Ten Years Later

Aired March 19, 2013 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes.

MALVEAUX: We begin in Cypress. Leaders of the European country trying to avoid a full blown financial crisis.

HOLMES: Now, banks were actually supposed to reopen today after a long weekend, but fears that people will actually go in and clean out their accounts is going to keep those banks closed until at least Thursday.

MALVEAUX: That's because the bailout package for the table -- on the table, rather, for Cyprus is going to put a one-time tax on most of the country's bank accounts. In a couple of minutes, we're going to head to Europe, hear why investors are around the world, including here in the United States, are growing more concerned about what is happening in Cyprus.

HOLMES: And we're following a developing story in Nevada where a military training exercise has ended in tragedy. The Marine Corps says seven Marines were killed in an explosion. Authorities investigating the exact cause which could include a related traffic accident.

MALVEAUX: All this happening at Hawthorne Army Depot. That is in western Nevada. It's about 140 miles southeast of Reno. Now, helicopters, they were brought in to take those patients to area hospitals.

At least 48 people today were killed in a wave of deadly attacks across Iraq.

HOLMES: In all there were 17. Yes, 17 car bombs, seven roadside bombs and two shootings. This all coming, of course, on the tenth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

MALVEAUX: We're going to have a live report from Baghdad at the bottom of the hour.

HOLMES: The trumpets sounding in the Vatican. Today marks the official start of Pope Francis' papacy.

HOLMES: Yes, plenty of pomp there. Earlier today before thousands of people, Francis was inaugurated. So now he is officially the bishop of Rome. MALVEAUX: On the way to mass, Francis cruised through St. Peter's Square. This was in an open top vehicle. You see him there. Did not use what has become known as the bulletproof Popemobile.

HOLMES: Yes. At one point he actually stopped -- this was a touching moment you see there -- to kiss the head of a physically disabled man. Of course this is a man who has been seen as of the people. And that style has broken tradition in all the way the catholic world seems to love that has rattled his security detail.

Ben Wedeman is in Rome.

Ben, now the work begins with the expectation by many of reformer, perhaps Vatican spring, the move from the style we've seen to the substance that many want to see.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And we're going to have to wait and see about that. He hasn't actually done much in the way of real policy changes of initiatives and he certainly is the hope and change pope, but he's the head of a body, the Vatican, that's very resistant to change. I've read, for instance, that observers say that you don't change the Vatican, the Vatican changes you. And, therefore, it's an old bureaucracy that doesn't necessarily use modern technology, modern message the way that some of the archbishops are used to.

So he's going to have quite a challenge trying to change the basic nature of the church, of the Vatican, of the curia. And we know that, for instance, he has made an announcement that he will not, at the moment, be making any changes in his staff. That itself is a break from tradition. We'll have to see who he appoints to what position to gauge how far he plans to go in changing this very ancient institution.

Michael.

MALVEAUX: And, Ben, in light of that fact there, he has the same staff, how is he actually going to deal with some of the more serious problems? You have this report from the Vatican scandal, the sexual abuse that has occurred for years, if not decades, and the report that is being left behind by Pope Benedict Emeritus. How is he going to be dealing with those things?

WEDEMAN: Well, that is a report that was prepared by three cardinals who looked into the Vatileak scandal. And that report was not shared with the cardinals as some of those cardinals had hoped, but rather locked up in the papal apartments, in a safe, waiting for Francis to now look at. We don't know at this point, journalists have asked, but we don't know if he's actually seen it.

But apparently the contents are explosive. There were, of course, reports a month ago in the Italian media that they detailed that there was a network of gay priests and laypeople within the Vatican who were being blackmailed by a network of male prostitutes. And clearly this is one of the problems he's going to have to deal with. And, really, beyond that, it's the whole issue of governance. Management of the Vatican. And that's going to keep him very busy, indeed.

Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Yes, just an immense amount of work that needs to be done.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, he's got a big job ahead of him. Ben, good to see you. Ben Wedeman there.

And there was actually one person who definitely did not want Francis to become pope.

MALVEAUX: OK. So it was someone whose rather close to him, knows him very well, the former Argentine cardinal. We are talking about his sister, Maria.

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Take a listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA ELENA BERGOGLIO, POPE FRANCIS' SISTER (through translator): So I would pray that he wouldn't get elected. During the conclave, I was praying that the Holy Spirit would intervene and not listen to my prayers. And it didn't listen to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It didn't listen to you?

BERGOGLIO: No, it did as it pleased.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Of course she now says she is very happy for her brother and it's quite likely that her life's going to change, too. You can imagine all, you know, us media folks are going to be hounding her.

MALVEAUX: Oh, yes, we're not going to leave -- we're not going to leave her alone.

HOLMES: Oh, no, interviews please.

MALVEAUX: She probably had a private life before.

HOLMES: Yes, forget about it. All right.

MALVEAUX: Want to get back to one of our top stories. It's a financial crisis brewing in Europe. Cyprus now needing a bailout. And the country's parliament is getting ready to vote on a plan that includes -- this is a one-time tax on most of the country's bank accounts.

HOLMES: Yes, controversial stuff, though. Let's bring in Richard Quest. He's in London. Jim Boulden is in Nicosia.

Richard, yes, we're talking here around the office imagining what would happen if in the U.S., for example, if they suddenly wanted to come and take 10 percent of everyone's bank accounts. You know, one wonders if they can stick to this plan and not expect investors to flee.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, they are already backtracking big time on this plan, as you know. It's being restructured as we speak. At some point it's expected to be voted on by the Cyprian parliament. Basically anyone who's got under 20,000 euros in the bank will not face the levy. But the finance minister is reported to have left -- to have resigned. And also, the British government, here's a little oddball aspect to it, the British government is flying a million euros on a plane to Cyprus for British servicemen's families who are in service on the island who may find difficulties getting cash out of machines. This is giving you a taste for the total and utter chaos that now surrounds the Cyprus situation.

MALVEAUX: And, Jim, I want to bring you in here. Do we expect that the banks are going to reopen anytime soon? And I know there's a lot of fear that people are just basically going to try to get their money out as fast as possible.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is not going to -- they're not going to allow the banks to be open until they sort out this mess. And that's why parliamentarians are meeting here right now.

I can tell you, I've just talked to one of the members of parliament here. He is a part of the coalition government. He says he's going to vote no. He thinks it's going to fail. He thinks that vote will take place tonight. And he said, democracy has to take place. So they will vote, even if it's going to fail. Then the ball goes back to the Eurozone because he says Cyprus simply is not going to agree to this idea of taking money out of bank accounts. I said what about the failure of the banks? What about everybody rushing to the banks when they open? He said the Eurozone has got to make a new plan because it's not going to work.

HOLMES: All right, Jim, good to see you there in Nicosia covering things. Also Richard Quest weighing in there as well.

MALVEAUX: Here's more of what we're working for AROUND THE WORLD. American soldier helped save the life of a little girl who became known simply as Baby Nora.

HOLMES: Yes, that was seven years ago now. We're going to head back to Iraq it see how she's doing now.

MALVEAUX: And remember the nuclear power plant that was damaged when an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Well, it's lost power again.

HOLMES: Also, the smog is so bad in China's capital, you can barely see. Just have a look at that. Some face masks aren't even big enough to protect you from the air you breath.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, to AROUND THE WORLD. Want to update you one the top stories happening right now.

MALVEAUX: In Japan, crews at the Fukushima nuclear plant are working to restore power to some of the cooling systems. It was hit by an outage that happened last night. You might recall it was two years ago that an earthquake and tsunami crippled the nuclear plant.

HOLMES: Waves knocked out the cooling systems to the reactors and that led to meltdowns in three of them. Tens of thousands of evacuees are still unable to return to their home.

MALVEAUX: Eleven years after the gruesome murder, Pakistan has arrested a suspect in connection with the killing of journalist Daniel Pearl. A senior Pakistani official now saying that Qari Abdul Hayee is suspected of helping it arrange the kidnapping.

HOLMES: Yes, 11 years on this having (ph). Pearl, you'll remember, was a reporter for "The Wall Street Journal." He was kidnapped while in Pakistan while researching a story about militants. His captors later sent a gruesome video of his beheading to U.S. officials. Several others have been convicted for their roles in the murder.

MALVEAUX: And President Obama leaves tonight on his first trip to Israel since taking office. The president will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The relationship between the two, it has been described sometimes strained, frosty, even dysfunctional. But the president is going to try to reassure Israelis about his efforts to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

HOLMES: The expectations are, well, let's call them low. The stakes, though, are high for President Obama's trip to the Middle East. Of course his first as president. Now besides Israel, he's also going to make stops in the West Bank town of Ramallah and also in Jordan.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, the trip is complicated by issues, including Iran's nuclear program and, of course, we're talking also about the bloodshed in Syria, the civil war there, not to mention the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. John King is there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The bullets are real. Complacency the enemy at this security training academy run by Sharon Gat.

SHARON GAT, OWNER, ISRAELI SECURITY TRAINING FIRM: We have our enemies very motivated to do attacks in us in the cities, in settlements, wherever there are Jews. We're not waiting for the suicide bomber to come. We want to be prepared.

KING: Expect the unexpected is what Gat, a colonel in the Israeli reserves, teaches students like these men training to protect Jerusalem's light rail service. Yet he has zero expectations President Obama's visit will make any difference at this time of increasing Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

GAT: I remember that my mother said when I was a child, I hope you don't have to go to the army. I told her always, since I was a child, I don't think that will be true. And, me, I'm not telling that to my kids. I'm telling them, listen, guys, these are the facts. You live in Israel, you'll probably have to go to the army.

KING: Low expectations doesn't mean there aren't enormous stakes.

AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER U.S. DIPLOMAT: He does not want to be the American president on whose watch Iran either gets the bomb or he needs to bomb and he doesn't want to be the American president on his watch that two-state solution formally expires.

KING: And (INAUDIBLE), Israel promotes the visit as proof of an unbreakable alliance, yet former U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller knows the relationship between the president and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is frosty at best.

MILLER: I mean This is the most dysfunctional relationship in the history of the U.S., the U.S.-Israeli relations.

So, there's no real sense of confidence or trust. There's capacity to give the other the benefit of the doubt.

KING: It's hard to imagine the neighborhood as any more messy. Iran's nuclear program is the most pressing test.

The president believes he has a year or so to give diplomacy a chance. The prime minister prefers a faster deadline for military strikes.

Syria is another worry. as the United States gives the Syrian opposition more help, Israelis worry regime change to the north could mirror the Muslim Brotherhood rise now complicating relations with Egypt to the south.

And then there is this, rising Palestinian anger at the collapse of the peace process, treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and continued building as West Bank Israeli settlements.

Middle East scholar Shibley Telhami sees nothing in the short term to ease Palestinian complaints.

PROFESSOR SHIBLEY TELHAMI, SEDAI CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: They want something concrete. They need a game changer. They need a paradigm changer. The president is not going to offer that on this trip.

KING: No game changers, but after more than four years in office, his first up close look as president of this region's unique dividing line.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: John King joining us live from Jerusalem.

So, John, we know we don't expect any major policy breakthroughs here. What do we hope that -- what does the president hope to accomplish at least during this brief visit? Perhaps some fence-mending with Netanyahu?

KING: I do think, Suzanne, both leaders just won the election, one American official put it to me, they're stuck with each other, like it or not.

They're both beginning new terms, for President Obama, his second, for Prime Minister Netanyahu, his third. So, they have to get along. They are stuck with each other, as an official said.

And they have some huge challenges, Iran, Syria, perhaps the Israeli- Palestinian process down the road a bit, so, look, no one expects them to be best buddies.

But if they can get along better -- and, again, I want to emphasize, and you know this from your days at the White House, both governments stress that working-wise, professionally, they get their business done.

They may not like each other, but they get their business done and the relationship and the alliance is quite strong.

But it always helps, relationships always help in difficult situations. So, I think that is one of the priorities, to try to become more friendly, if not best friends.

And the Iran question is huge. And I spoke to the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, this morning and he says there's a much greater understanding now.

The Israelis now believe and have no hesitation that the president means it when he says the military option will be on the table and that he will not allow Iran to get a warhead.

Because they now they believe the president, there's a bit more flexibility, I think, on the Israeli side to give diplomacy more time.

HOLMES: And, John, three decades after Camp David, here we are, asking the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, if it can be called that.

When the vice president was there, settlement building went ahead and what the Israelis like to call facts on the ground are created, settlement expansion. You've got partners in the new coalition government in favor of that.

What can President Obama do to do anything to that moribund process?

KING: Not much, Michael, which is why he's not coming with a new American peace initiative and he's not coming with any expectation that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas are going to be back at the bargaining table anytime soon.

I was at a settlement the other day. And, remember, this president has nudged the prime minister, lectured the prime minister about settlement building. It was frozen for a while. I was at two settlements the other day where there is construction under way.

And, also, when I was in Gaza and in Ramallah in the Palestinian territories, you meet more and more people have no hope for peace, and more and more Palestinians say maybe we need a one-state solution in which we are part of Israel, but we want equal rights.

Now, that is nowhere close to happening, but you just get -- you mentioned Oslo, so long ago. After 20-plus years of waiting, 20-plus yeas of being told, again and again, there will be some process that brings about a two-state solution, citizens on both sides, everyday Israelis, everyday Palestinians, are just skeptical that it will ever happen. And part of the skepticism is based on the deep distrust and dysfunction among the political leaders.

HOLMES: Indeed. Yeah.

John, thanks so much.

And, of course, the Palestinians also saying that the president not seen as much of a capable broker in this situation.

MALVEAUX: And it's eluded so many administrations, so many presidents who think -- you know, they come optimistic in the beginning and they realize quickly that it is so much more complicated than they every imagined.

HOLMES: Not many optimists when it comes to that issue anymore, is there? yeah.

MALVEAUX: Unfortunate.

In Syria, things now heating up, as well. Rebel and government forces accuse one another of firing a deadly chemical weapon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Welcome back to AROUND THE WORLD. Here are some of the stories that we're following for you.

MALVEAUX: There could actually be a dramatic development in Syria's civil war, but there's no hard evidence just as yet.

Both Bashar al-Assad's regime and the rebels, they are now accusing one another of firing a deadly chemical weapon.

HOLMES: The government says at least 25 people died, dozens more, as many as 80, were injured today. This happening in Aleppo province.

MALVEAUX: Syria's main opposition has a new leader with both Syrian and American roots. Ghassan Hitto will be the first prime minister of an interim government.

HOLMES: Yeah, Hitto is a tech exec, actually, live in Dallas in the United States for many years, left his job to go and work for the revolution.

MALVEAUX: This is what folks in Beijing have to cope with over the past couple of weeks. This is not the picture, of course, that China wants the world to see.

HOLMES: It's a familiar one, though, if you live there, the capital city lost in a haze of grit and pollution and on really, really bad days, of which there have been many, it's a problem that literally makes residents gasp.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You've seen the photographs of people going down the street in Beijing with face masks.

Now, that's one of the first things people have to protect themselves. You can't use any surgical face masks.

The PM 2.5, those tiny particle matters that can go deep inside your lungs and affect your breathing and your long-term health you, you can't stop that with a surgical mask.

You need one of these. This is a very thick mask. You have to pinch your nose like this, and then wander around.

But, you know, I have to be quite honest, it's kind of weird doing that out on the street. You feel a little bit bad, also, because ordinary people, Chinese and expats, aren't wearing these masks.

So, just kind of taking that step, it's a realization of how bad it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: China's new government is vowing to tackle that pollution problem. They have yet to really give specifics on how they're going to get that done. But you can you imagine?

HOLMES: Oh, yeah, that's terrible.

MALVEAUX: You don't recognize anybody, see anybody, can't talk really.

HOLMES: Can't see anybody?

MALVEAUX: Can't breathe.

HOLMES: Exactly. Boy, what a mess.

All right, now, in Rio de Janeiro, I want to show you. This is extraordinary actually. This is an early morning flight through the city and, no, there is not an airplane involved.

MALVEAUX: OK. So, what are we seeing here?

This is two daredevils in winged suits, yes, winged suits. Pulled off their last stunt, this was just last month, while most of the city was sleeping.

One of the guys slipped between two skyscrapers.

HOLMES: You see it there, actually. Needless to say, don't try that at home. MALVEAUX: No.

It has been 10 years since the start of the Iraq war. Our Arwa Damon, she returned and found that, even though the war is officially over, some of the scars still very fresh.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Today marks exactly 10 years since the U.S. led a coalition to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein.

The anniversary has now been met already with a wave of violence across Baghdad, leaving behind dozens of dead bodies and piles of rubble.

HOLMES: Now, the frequency of the attacks over the year can make it easy to look away perhaps and it isn't as dangerous as it was from '05-to-'08. but it's much different for those who are there every day living through it.

Just listen to this tweet from our Arwa Damon. We'll quote her here.

She says, "I want to believe that if people could see the expression on Iraqi faces, hear their voices tremble, they would not be so indifferent to what is happening here."

MALVEAUX: And Arwa's joining us live from Baghdad.

And, Arwa, first of all, I mean, it's extraordinary when you think about the last 10 years and how much reporting that you've done out of that area and, still today, the Iraqi civilian, the citizens who live there, are if a place where it's so dangerous and it's still very much at war.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: it most certainly is. This is a war that never really ended for the Iraqi population.