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AROUND THE WORLD
Court considers Amanda Knox Retrial; U.S. Markets React To Cyprus Deal; CBS Apologizes to Vietnam Vets; Lessons Learned from Obama's Middle East Trip; French Protests Over Same-Sex Marriage; Ford Apologizes for Controversial Ads
Aired March 25, 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. Good to be back.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: I know. Nice to have you back. I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for being with us, everyone.
MALVEAUX: Here's what we're watching this hour.
Her court case riveted the world. Well, now the Italian Supreme Court decides whether Amanda Knox should go on trial again.
HOLMES: The tiny island nation of Cyprus has avoided an economic collapse. It will get a bailout deal. That's making the markets happy. Does it make Cypriots happy?
MALVEAUX: And this is a narrow miss. Check it out. Amazing. Caught on video. This is a great white shark getting through a diver cage, giving the tourist the scare of his life. Oh, look at the jaws. You see that?
HOLMES: Unbelievable. That would give you a heart attack.
All right. It was a sensational trial involving sex, murder, a young American woman studying abroad in Italy.
MALVEAUX: And we all know the name. It is Amanda Knox. The case back in the spotlight. Italy's Supreme Court is now considering whether or not prosecutors can actually retry her again.
HOLMES: Yes, Knox and her boyfriend, you'll remember, were convicted and then later acquitted of killing Knox's roommate. Ben Wedeman now updates us on where the case stands.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An emotionally overcome Amanda Knox is led from an Italian courtroom moments after learning she was free at last. The murder conviction against her and former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, overturned on appeal. That was October 2011. They had spent four years in prison for the 2007 sexual assault and murder of her roommate, British exchange student Meredith Kercher. It was a tabloid case that riveted the media, attracting an army of journalists to the medieval town of Perugia where Knox and Kercher had been studying Italian language and culture. Knox's tearful return to her family home in Seattle, Washington, seemed like the end of her ordeal. But it may not have been the end after all. The prosecution is demanding a retrial and will appeal the conviction before the Italian Supreme Court in Rome.
The wheels of Italian justice, however, grind slowly. If the acquittal is overturned, the case could go back to an appellate court. If that happens, Knox might have to return to Italy. If she refuses, the Italian authorities could appeal to the U.S. government for her extradition. If the acquittal is upheld, it's case over.
Rudy Guede, a native of the ivory coast who was raised in Perugia, is serving a 16-year prison term for Kercher's murder.
HOLMES: And Ben Wedeman joins us now live from Rome. Ben, curious what the prosecution's argument is for wanting to do this, to retry her.
WEDEMAN: Well, the prosecution objected to the whole verdict of the appellate court in October of 2011. Their argument is that they found DNA evidence from Amanda Knox on the alleged murder weapon, a kitchen knife. However, the defense argued that there was no DNA from either Amanda Knox or Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend, in the room where the body of Meredith Kercher was found.
Now, at this point, we understand that the defense is continuing to present their case inside the Italian Supreme Court behind me. But we're also hearing from some lawyers that this hearing is taking much longer than was expected. Some are suggesting we may not hear whether the court will uphold the acquittal until possibly tomorrow.
MALVEAUX: And, Ben, what about Amanda Knox? We know she's not in Italy during the hearing, but have we actually heard anything from her legal team?
WEDEMAN: Yes, they've been presenting her case as well. They are arguing, for instance, that the Italian investigators really put a lot of pressure on her during her long interrogation and that a lot of what she said should be taken into account -- or rather that the duress she was under explains why she testified in the way she did in the Perugia court.
MALVEAUX: All right, Ben, thank you. It was a fascinating trial the first go round. Can you imagine if they reopen this case?
HOLMES: And then try to extradite if they decide to go that route. That's going to be an interesting position for the U.S. to be in.
MALVEAUX: Yes. And 24/7 it will be on TV, you bet ya.
HOLMES: You can guarantee that. That's right.
MALVEAUX: In Europe, you can actually call it a $13 billion version of "Let's Make a Deal." Pretty amazing.
HOLMES: Yes, absolutely. The financial system in Cyprus was on the verge of collapse. Many people called it bloated, the whole banking system. The country was offered a bailout deal by the European Union. A collection of Europe's economically and politically developed countries.
MALVEAUX: But, of course, this would have meant Cyprus taxing just about all of its bank accounts. So Cyprus rejected the deal, kept the country's banks closed so people wouldn't drain their accounts. So, what is happening now?
HOLMES: Well, Cyprus has struck a deal that taxes just the biggest of bank accounts. Anything more than $130,000. And that will hit mainly foreign investors. Will hit them the hardest anyway. That's because the banking system in Cyprus takes in billions of dollars in foreign investment, especially from Russia.
MALVEAUX: But the deal is good news for Americans. Europe is actually one of our biggest trading partners. And if it's in turmoil, Europeans not going to be in the mood to buy any American goods, of course. The American markets were higher Friday in the hopes a deal would be reached this weekend. What is the reaction today?
HOLMES: Yes, Zain Asher's in New York for us.
Zain, tell us about the U.S. markets first and might get you to touch on Europe too, because they're important. What happened? There was a bit of a bounce but then it came back. What's been the impact?
ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Michael. Hey, Suzanne. Well, Europe ending the day mixed as markets in London, Paris, Germany lower. But Zurich managing a gain. In the U.S., stocks started out strong. Now pulling back. But not before the Dow hit a new intraday high, 14,563. The S&P got within one point of a record high.
But we watched the S&P a little bit more closely because it's bigger, 500 stocks as opposed to the Dow's 30. And many mutual funds track it as well. Take a look at the last time we hit a record. That was in 2007. Now it's up 9 percent, 9 percent in just three months. That would be a good return for an entire year, let alone for just three months.
So back to this bailout with Cyprus. It dodged a bullet, at least in the near term. It will get the money it needs to stay afloat. Plus, you know, insured deposits under 100,000 euros are protected. But a lot of questions remain unanswered. We're seeing that nervousness play out. It is the fourth European country to get a bailout. A reminder that Europe isn't even close to being out of the woods.
Also another question guys is, what message does this bank tax send to depositors across Europe? Is this going to be the new way of dealing with crisis, tax deposits, closing banks, that kind of thing? How long is it going to take for Cyprus' economy to recover from this?
MALVEAUX: Yes. Very good questions. That's what a lot of people were really worried about, whether or not what was happening there could happen in many other places.
HOLMES: And that's what we saw in Europe. As Zain was saying too, that we saw a bounce in Europe and then everyone said, well, hang on, hang on, this might actually have longer term implications and it all reigned back a bit.
Zain, thanks so much for that. Zain Asher there.
MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.
In Afghanistan, Secretary of State John Kerry dropping in to meet with President Hamid Karzai. Now, Kerry's unannounced visit comes at a time of tension, as you can imagine, between President Karzai and coalition forces and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
HOLMES: And those tensions escalated this month after a bomb blast in Kabul that killed nine people. Kerry and President Karzai just wrapping up a news conference actually. We'll update you on any developments from that.
MALVEAUX: Also in Afghanistan today, another sign that U.S. involvement there is now winding down. The United States handed over full control of a prison near Bagram Air Base to Afghan authorities.
HOLMES: Yes, it's been a controversial place. The transfer announced a year ago was supposed to take place within six months, but tensions with President Karzai and concerns about how Afghanistan would handle certain prisoners delayed the handover until now.
MALVEAUX: And CBS is now apologizing to veterans who objected to a scene -- this is from the reality show "The Amazing Race." This episode here was shot in Vietnam. Contestants there were sent to the Hanoi Memorial to find a clue that they need.
HOLMES: Yes, an extraordinary story, this. That memorial, though, was the wreckage of an American B-52 bomber shot down during the Vietnam War. Entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner joining us now from Los Angeles.
And, Nischelle, CBS apologized. Is that the end of it?
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You know, Michael, judging by the responses, that just might be the case, because the veterans groups that we've heard from seem to be accepting CBS's apology at face value. But let's start with that apology itself.
Last night at the start of "The Amazing Race," here's how the show opened. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR (voice-over): We want to apologize to veterans, particularly those who served in Vietnam, as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: Now, you mentioned about the incident that started all of this. We have to point out that two Americans died when that bomber was shot down during the Vietnam War. And competitors in the show also had to memorize a propaganda song in front of a portrait of Ho Chi Minh. So you can understand why the veterans groups were upset.
Now, the national commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars wrote to CBS saying, quote, "The B-52 scene was totally unnecessary to the show's plot, which speaks volumes about the naive producers who think they're in charge when they are not." But now the VFW has released another statement thanking CBS for their apology last night and they seem to be ready to let this thing go.
The same, though, from the American legion, which also complained to CBS. In their statement, they actually applauded the network for making the apology. Even senator and former Vietnamese POW John McCain says this apology is good enough. He tweeted out, as far as he's concerned, the issue is now closed.
But, you know, while it doesn't seem like this is going to be a lasting controversy, you can bet these organizations won't soon forget what happened and that they'll now be keeping an eye on this show in a future, guys.
MALVEAUX: And, Nischelle, I wonder if there's any kind of research or if they ask people ahead of time, you know, if this is a sensitive site? How should we treat this?
MALVEAUX: With a certain amount of deference or respect? If they have those kinds of conversations ahead of time.
TURNER: Well, you would hope so, Suzanne. You know, "The Amazing Race" is a long standing show at CBS. One of the longest reality competition shows that's been on the air. And they've won numerous awards, Emmys and that such, for being the most outstanding reality competition show on television. So you would hope that they do have a cast of producers and researchers that know what they're doing when they go to these places, because they do go to some very sensitive places around the world. I think now, going forward, if they hadn't been as diligent, they will be.
MALVEAUX: Good. HOLMES: Amazing. Nischelle Turner, yes, I mean, propaganda song, war time memorial, it fits under the "what were they thinking" category in a way, doesn't it?
MALVEAUX: Yes, not a good idea.
HOLMES: Yes. All right, Nischelle, thanks so much.
MALVEAUX: Here's more of what we're working on for this hour of AROUND THE WORLD.
President Obama scored a few diplomatic points while in the Middle East. Yes, but his achievements in the region, they might be short lived. We'll have a conversation about that. Also, Ford apologizing for an ad that never ran.
MALVEAUX: It featured women bound and gagged in a back of a car with the former Italian prime minister in the driver's seat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa. Whoa. (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: I think I'd say that too.
HOLMES: I'd be thinking as well.
MALVEAUX: Beep, beep. Bleep. Great whites getting dangerously close to a cage diver.
HOLMES: Yes, no divers died in the filming of this, but we will show you the extraordinary scene when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Here are the stories making news around the world right now.
MALVEAUX: In the Central Africa Republic, the president was forced to flee his own country. Rebels seized the capital on Sunday. President Francois Bozize is reported to be in Cameron now.
HOLMES: Yes, this all began back in December when several rebel groups banded together. They want Bozize to step down. South Africa, meanwhile, says 13 of its soldiers were killed in the fighting over the weekend. They have sent troops into the CAR to work with the military.
MALVEAUX: The U.S. and South Korea have just signed a new military pact. And that, of course, to deal with any aggression by North Korea. Now, the new pact targets even low level action, such as just crossing the border. HOLMES: This is a bit of a change. North Korea already upset of course over the U.S. and South Korea holding those recent joint military exercises. This move likely to prompt some fresh outrage.
MALVEAUX: And President Obama beginning his week back in Washington after his visit last week to the Middle East, of course, a very important trip. Stakes were high, but the expectations rather low for that trip. He actually visited Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, as well, before returning to the White House over the weekend.
HOLMES: So what did the trip accomplish? Journalist and foreign policy expert Robin Wright is a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, joins us to talk about a few things we learned from the president's trip.
First of all, you say it changed the diplomatic climate of the Middle East. Is that a little too optimistic? And how so?
ROBIN WRIGHT, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Well, the most important thing to come out of this trip was the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel.
Turkey is today the most powerful Muslim country of the 57 nations with strong Muslim populations, and this makes a lot of other things possible, whether it's cooperation on Syria, whether it gives the blessing to the Islamic world dealings with Israel, which is widely viewed as kind of an outpost of the West.
So it changes the atmospheric in lots of important political and potentially diplomatic lot of ways.
MALVEAUX: And, of course, Robin, we always talk about the red line, if you will, when it comes to dealing with Iran, and it seemed as if at least in this trip the president successfully turned down the volume a little bit in trying to get on the same page with Israel and that red line.
WRIGHT: Well, this has been the biggest point of tension between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. And it was important that the two of them struck the same tone and timeframe in their joint press conference.
President Obama has talked about a year or so before Iran might make a decision or move in important ways on its controversial nuclear program. And president -- Prime Minister Netanyahu talked about a faster timeframe, greater potential capability and, yet at the press conference, he agreed with the president.
So that carves out more time for diplomacy and other options before we get to this big question of whether there might be a military strike.
HOLMES: Syria, obviously a huge topic for him there, too, and so many of the countries that he visited and neighbors, as well, and vitally in what goes on in Syria.
I'm curious whether you think it influence how those other countries are responding to the crisis in Syria or whether really a lot of people feel it didn't change much at all.
WRIGHT: Well, I think we're seeing a turning point in the United States. There is a higher profile in terms of the kind of background activity, the reports about the CIA having a greater involvement in helping ship weapons and nonlethal material into Syria among to help the rebels.
I think there's more of a rallying. And that I think could end up being -- this could end up being kind of a turning point in terms of international action even as the United States decides not to engage in full military equipment to the rebels.
MALVEAUX: Robin, finally, you say the Palestinians emerged as what you say the best Middle East neighborhood. Explain what you meant by that.
WRIGHT: Well, look, in the last two years, we've seen change across the middle east in ways that have also changed Israel's relationship when you look at the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood leader in Egypt, that when it looks at who are the people it can deal with, knows how to deal with, has interlocutors.
The irony is that the Palestinians, whether it's directly or indirectly, do have means of dealing between Israel and the Palestinian territories.
But there's ...
HOLMES: But they've existed, Robin, for years, decades, those back channels. What has changed? When Obama leaves, the Palestinians got anymore reason to be optimistic than they were 10 years ago?
WRIGHT: Not about the prospects of statehood any time soon. A lot will depend on what Secretary of State John Kerry accomplished in the follow-up meetings in the Middle East.
But there is a sense when you look at this changed neighborhood, one of the ironies is that the Palestinians and the Israelis know each other in a way that Israel doesn't know as well some other countries where there are lots of changes going on.
HOLMES: All right, Robin, thanks so much. Robin Wright there.
It was interesting, too, when it comes to Jordan. The king told President Obama that now 10 percent of Jordan's population is Syrian refugees.
HOLMES: The biggest refugee camp there is Jordan's fifth biggest city.
MALVEAUX: And the fact that that's spilling over into the region is the biggest problem, yeah.
HOLMES: Absolutely. MALVEAUX: Yeah. Thank you.
Just ahead on "Around the World," it is an ad that shows held behind the wheel of a Ford Figo with the Kardashian sisters tied up in the trunk.
MALVEAUX: Amazing. One problem, Ford never approved this ad, so it did not run, but it's causing a lot of controversy. We're going to take a look at how this actually got released.
HOLMES: Yeah (INAUDIBLE). We'll talk about it.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Let's update you on stories making news AROUND THE WORLD" right now.
MALVEAUX: Off Australia, a fishing boat capsized and killing a boy and a woman. There were about 2 of about a hundred people who were crowded on that boat hoping to reach Australia for asylum.
HOLMES: Yeah, most of them appear to come from Afghanistan. They often travel through Indonesia and that's where they get on the usually unseaworthy boats. As Australian customs officials boarded the boat, it was suddenly hit by two large waves and rolled over.
MALVEAUX: In Paris, things got rough between police and people protesting same-sex marriage.
HOLMES: Officers using tear gas and you see there clubs, as well. to break up the crowd along the Champs-Elysees. The French parliament expected to vote on legalizing same-sex marriage next month.
MALVEAUX: The demonstrations, they were actually peaceful earlier on Sunday.
In India, American carmaker Ford is a bit red-faced today. It is over these ads. You see them here. They were made by an ad agency in India, but they were never approved by the car company. Want to make that clear.
HOLMES: Yeah, that's right. Ford never signed off on these, but they are for one of Ford's compact cars that are sold overseas. One of them shows a car driven by the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- you see it there -- driving away with scantily clad women tied up in the back.
MALVEAUX: And this other one shows Paris Hilton driving with the Kardashian sisters tied up in the back, as well.
I want to bring in Zain Asher to explain, first of all, what was behind the ad. What was the point of all of this?
ASHER: First of all, Suzanne, I want to make clear that Ford never approved these ads. They were never intended for paid publication, never intended to be uploaded onto the Internet. That's what they're saying. Hugely embarrassing, these ads were leaked.
Let's take a look. One shows, as we just saw, Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian prime minister, billionaire, media mogul, driving a Ford with three young women bound and gagged in the trunk.
Now, Berlusconi's political career has been rocked by sex scandals. He was charged in 2011 with paying a minor for sex and the ad seems to be alluding to his troubles. The slogan is, "Leave your worries behind with Ford's extra-large boot."
Now, I want to make clear for the Americans watching. "Boot" is the British word for "truck." People are saying that this is offensive, sexist, demeaning, a whole host of other adjectives being used to describe this.
Yeah, exactly. But Ford and the advertising agency, WPP Group, saying that they regret this incident. WPP says that this was the result of individuals -- I'm quoting now -- "acting without proper oversight and appropriate actions have been taken."
As for Ford, it says, quote, "it is reviewing approval and oversight process to help make sure that nothing like this ever happens again."
HOLMES: Ford's a bit worried about the brand, of course. They had nothing to do with it, but they've been trying to build up the brand overseas for years now.
ASHER: Right. And so, you know, they apologize. It doesn't seem to be -- it doesn't seem that they are the result of ...
HOLMES: Yeah, they've been caught up in it. Yeah.
ASHER: Right, right, right -- will be too drastic. But their apology was immediate. They're taking ownership even though it's unclear they even saw these ads. They're saying that they didn't. And, if you look at other Ford commercials and ads, you know, this is hugely uncharacteristic, and I think people who are familiar with Ford's brand know that. I mean, any advert, of course, that depicts women in this way is appalling.
In India, as you guys know, there was a recent rape case that drew worldwide attention, so violence against women, hugely sensitive topic anywhere in the world, especially in India right now. But Ford saying that they would never knowingly publish these ads. But I think a lesson for them is that in the digital age you have to assume that anything can end up online. That's why I think Ford should take away from all of this.
MALVEAUX: And the ad agency itself, do you know what happens to the folks who created those things?
ASHER: Well, we're not sure yet, but, I mean, they did say that there's going to be some action taken, so it may mean that people might lose their jobs, but we're not sure yet, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thank you, Zain.
HOLMES: What were we saying earlier? File it under "what they were thinking?" There's another one.
MALVEAUX: Crazy stuff.
HOLMES: Zain Asher, again, are you coming back with sports later? I don't know.
MALVEAUX: She's going to have a whole series, "what were they thinking" series.
HOLMES: Yes, exactly.
MALVEAUX: After living more than four years in self-imposed exile, the former Pakistan president making now his return.
HOLMES: Yeah, Pervez Musharraf facing death threats, though, and possible criminal charges, but he says that won't stop him from running for office.
We've got a live report coming up.