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Nelson Mandela Hospitalized: Pistorius Allowed to Travel; Google Gives Views of Fukushima; Dead Ducks in Chinese River; Doctor Accused of Killing Patients

Aired March 28, 2013 - 12:30   ET


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nelson Mandela's health has been steadily declining, many South Africans acute ...


... worrying many because officials here saying that he was taken to hospital late Wednesday night.

Effectively, he was rushed to hospital with this reoccurring lung infection.

Now, I spoke to medical experts who said, basically, a lung infection is pneumonia, and he's probably being treated with antibiotics, with physiotherapy, with some oxygen.

And we do hear from the presidency in the latest statement that he is responding to treatment, so that is good news, but he still remains under observation in hospital.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CO-ANCHOR, "CNN AROUND THE WORLD": Yeah, what was interesting here, Robyn, and get you to read the tea leaves, is the statement by the presidency was asking for prayer.

I mean, that's kind of significant. They sound more concerned this go-round. Tell us about that.

CURNOW: They do. Because we don't get a lot of information about Mandela's health, his doctors certainly don't give press conferences, and we get these sort of three-line statements from the presidency, the fact that they admitted he had been rushed to hospital, they were asking for prayers, did indicate that they were concerned.

Previous statements have spoken about, you know, no need to panic. There was reassurance that these were just routine tests, et cetera, et cetera, so I think there has been a sense of concern about Mandela's health.

And I know from my own sources close to Mandela that doctors have been concerned about him picking up an infection in the previous few weeks because of the change of seasons here.

Autumn is coming. It's getting chillier at night, but there have been quite warm days. And the doctors had felt he was quite vulnerable to picking up infection, so they've basically said, listen, limit the amount of visitors coming to his home. They haven't let him go downstairs. He's been kept inside his room. And I must say his room inside his home here in Johannesburg is a bit like a high-care hospital unit. It's very sterile.

So the fact that he is still under those circumstances and this 24- hour monitoring he gets from medical staff, has still got an inspection, sort of and the fact that he was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night, indicates that doctors were very concerned about him.

HOLMES: All right, Robyn, thanks so much. Robyn Curnow, there, following developments. Keep us up to date. Thank you.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CO-ANCHOR, "CNN AROUND THE WORLD": And he is 94- years-old after all. Anything that happens at that age is a rather serious situation.

HOLMES: Exactly.

MALVEAUX: Olympian and accused murderer Oscar Pistorius can now leave South Africa under certain conditions. We're going to have a live report up next.


HOLMES: Welcome back to "Around the World."

Two U.S. B-2 stealth bombers flew all the way from Missouri in the United States to South Korea. That is a nonstop, 6,500-mile flight.

MALVEAUX: The U.S. military officials say the bombers dropped non- explosive munitions there. This is part of an annual joint military exercise with Seoul.

It happened during a week when North Korea issued several new threats against the U.S. as well as South Korea.

HOLMES: Perhaps a message.

Let's go to China. Have a look at this terrifying video. It'll show you the moment a security guard was swallowed up by a sinkhole. He was, sadly, killed when this happened.

MALVEAUX: Chinese media report the sinkhole is more than 16-feet in diameter, four floors deep. Officials are now investigating what happened there.

But residents have been complaining about tremors from a construction site that is pretty close by.

HOLMES: A tragic story.

To South Africa, a judge easing bail restrictions on Oscar Pistorius. The Olympic track star, of course, charged in the murder in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. That came back in February.

MALVEAUX: And Pistorius, well, now he's going to be able to travel outside the country. There are some conditions, however, and Nkepile Mabuse was inside the courtroom and she joins us now live.

First argued that Pistorius, right, was a flight risk, so the judge reverses himself and decides to lift the travel ban? Why?

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, I mean, think in the first 15-to-20 minutes of that hearing it was very, very clear that this judge was uncomfortable with the decisions that were made by the lower court, the magistrate's court, that granted Oscar Pistorius bail, you'll remember, late in February.

The state at that time, Suzanne, failed to prove that Oscar Pistorius was a flight risk, so the Judge (inaudible) asking why is it that this state agreed that Oscar Pistorius is an international star, he's recognized all over the world, he needs these prosthetic legs, that he has property here, he has no inclination or plan to relocate from South Africa, but yet so many strict rules were included in his bail condition.

He couldn't travel overseas. And the judge also had a problem with some of the other conditions that were placed on Oscar Pistorius, saying that they had absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the case.

So when he did rule, he (inaudible) six of these conditions, saying to him they were unreasonable.

So it was basically because the state, first and foremost, failed to prove that Oscar Pistorius was a flight risk, but then didn't want him to travel.

So now he has said that Oscar Pistorius is free to travel. He must, however, let authorities know a week before he leaves where he is going and, when he returns, he needs to hand over his passport to his lawyer.

So those are the new restrictions. Everything else, that Oscar Pistorius couldn't drink, couldn't go back to his home, which is, of course, the crime scene, couldn't be charged with a crime that related to violence against women, all of those were set aside by the court today, Suzanne.


MALVEAUX: All right. Nkepile, thank you.

Do you have anything?

HOLMES: Yeah, no, no, no. Thanks for that.

It's interesting, too, because the sporting -- the International Association of Athletics Federation say that he is now free to go and compete, and he had some paid events coming up. Whether those events will still take him now is going to be very interesting to see.

But if he qualifies for international competition, they'll let him run because innocent until proven guilty.

MALVEAUX: It will be interesting to see if he has invitations.


MALVEAUX: And what that means, the kinds of attention he has, because he's really been sequestered for the most part.

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah. He had a couple outstanding ones. And it will be interesting to see, as you say, whether they're going to pick him up again and pay him.

MALVEAUX: A devastated town frozen in time, we're going to show you an eerie new view from inside the nuclear disaster zone. This is in Fukushima, Japan.


HOLMES: Welcome back to "Around the World."

To Japan, where more than two years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, tens of thousands of people still can't go home.

MALVEAUX: So the mayor of one contaminated town invited Google to capture what his city looks like today. And these images, quite eerie, you see them there.

Chad Myers is telling us a little bit about -- how did Google -- explain this for us. How did Google get these pictures in the first place?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's a grim reminder of what happened there a couple years ago.

We have a car. Google drives around in his car and sometimes you may see it in your neighborhood with a big bubble on top taking 3D or 360- degree pictures.

Well, for the first time, Google was allowed to drive its car, not unmanned, a manned car, through the streets of Namie, Japan. Fukushima Daiichi there, not that far away where the disaster happened.

So all these blue lines now, you can look to see what the town looks like. So I'm just going to kind of give you an idea, an unfortunate idea, of what the town is.

And right there, this is a mirror. I found it on the street. This is a mirror to help drivers know if cars are coming, but there's the top of the car. Here's the Google car itself right there, and there is the ball that does take all of the pictures. So we'll get to some of these devastating pictures.

Now you have to understand that this was a town with bustling streets, people living through this, and all of a sudden, there's just nothing here, the town a complete disaster, just empty areas here. Even Coke still in the Coke machines here.

I've seen a couple pictures where there are still areas where people were selling clothes and the clothes are still hanging on the racks in the middle of the parking lot. That's two years ago.

Now you get closer to the ocean and this is where the devastation really occurs. This is where the wave came in. This honestly looks like Waveland, Bay St. Louis, after Katrina.

This is what the area looks like, all of the buildings completely knocked down, and it's the same story no matter where you go closer to the ocean.

Here, now this is almost a half mile inland. That boat or that ship was pushed by the wave all the way through here.

And if you notice, there are foundations of homes here, here, here, and here. Just a grim reminder and you can go online to Google Maps and take a look at this of what happened to those people over there in Japan on that fateful day, which was a devastating earthquake to start with and then the tsunami that knocked all this stuff down.

HOLMES: Chilling stuff, isn't it?

MYERS: It is.

HOLMES: It's like when they went back to Chernobyl --

MYERS: Exactly like Chernobyl.

HOLMES: Years later and all deserted but still intact. Nothing --

MALVEAUX: And he says Katrina. That's the first thing I thought of when I saw those pictures, post Katrina in New Orleans.


HOLMES: Horrible. Horrible. Chad, thanks for that.

MYERS: You're welcome.

HOLMES: An amazing look around.

MALVEAUX: So this is kind of a strange story.

HOLMES: This is bizarre. The pictures are amazing.

MALVEAUX: An invasion of locusts threatening a food supply. This is in Madagascar.

HOLMES: We're not going to show you the pictures. We want you to stick around.


MALVEAUX: Fashion designer Vera Wang opened up her first bridal store in China. That was earlier this year. But she is getting some criticism now.

HOLMES: Indeed she is. Why? Well, because she was charging women almost $500 to just try one on. Yes. This was her Shanghai store. It was the only one that actually did charge the fee. (INAUDIBLE).

MALVEAUX: Yes. Well, so now she is announcing that she's dropping the charge and a company spokeswoman says that the fee was an attempt to prevent counterfeiters from knocking off her prize dresses.

HOLMES: That'll do it.

Check this out. The island nation of Madagascar, they are dealing with a plague of, well, biblical proportions some are saying.

MALVEAUX: Yes, you almost can't believe this really.

HOLMES: You can't.

MALVEAUX: So this is locusts, billions of them, devouring crops. The land as well where the animals are grazing. The U.N. is now warning that there could be a humanitarian disaster that is going to happen.

HOLMES: Yes, officials say if nothing is done, the locust plague could spread across two-thirds of the country. It's nearly half the country right now. Extraordinary.

MALVEAUX: It's hard to believe that is actually happening. It's unbelievable.


MALVEAUX: And, of course, congratulations to Madonna. The material girl now a billionaire. Yep. Reportedly a member of the exclusive club pushing her over the top. It was her record breaking tour last year made more than $305 million.

HOLMES: Yes, made a bit more too in merchandise sales and business investments as well. Pretty impressive stuff. Now, in China, just weeks after the discovery of dead pigs in a river, you'll remember this story, what happens? A thousand dead ducks have been found.

MALVEAUX: Yes. This is pretty scary stuff. David McKenzie is reporting that Chinese officials, they are saying that there is no safety threat to the food.

HOLMES: Just like they said last time.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the most popular food markets here in Beijing. It's got a pretty good reputation. But there's a whole series of scandals breaking here in China on food safety issues.

The latest is this. A thousand dead ducks found in the Sichuan province, in this river. Authorities don't know what caused it, but they say the people are safe.

LI JIHONG, PENGSHAN COUNTY LIVESTOCK DEPT. (through translator): It's perhaps because of the feed or the drastic temperature fluctuation in the area under our jurisdiction and even the whole Sichuan province, there is no major epidemic. In other words, the possibility of an epidemic is preliminarily ruled out.

MCKENZIE: It comes off the back of tens of thousands, well more than 10,000 pigs found in a river near Shanghai. Now, in both cases, they don't know what exactly caused these mass deaths. They are saying to the public they shouldn't worry. But there's a growing sense of fear here in China about food safety issues.


HOLMES: Yes, don't worry.

MALVEAUX: Yes, I'd be concerned.

HOLMES: Don't worry. Dead pigs. Dead ducks. Locusts. Everything's all right, folks.

MALVEAUX: A lot of stuff going on.

HOLMES: Everything's fine.

MALVEAUX: Terrible.

A Brazilian doctor, this is really bizarre, is accused of killing patients -- that is right -- to free up hospital beds.

HOLMES: Yes, that was the reason they say. Investigators are also looking into hundreds of other deaths to see if there's a link. We'll have that when we come back.


HOLMES: Taking you around the world now. A very sad story. The Brazilian city of Curitiba, where a doctor is accused of an unspeakable crime. Police say Dr. Virginia Helena Soares de Souza killed patients. Why? To free up hospital beds.

MALVEAUX: She has been charged with seven deaths, but officials are now looking into the deaths of hundreds, possibly hundreds of other patients. Shasta Darlington, she's joining us from Brazil.

And, Shasta, how did this doctor manage to do this? And what was the reasoning behind this?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a very gruesome story, Suzanne. This woman, Dr. Virginia Soares de Souza, was the director of the intensive care unit at this hospital in Curitiba for seven years. And so while she's only been formally charged with the murder of seven people, they believe she could be responsible for the deaths of up to 300 patients.

And basically the investigators have already found a pattern with those patients that she's charged with their murder. They believe that she and a team of three doctors and three nurses administered muscle relaxants to these terminally ill patients, and at the same time cut off or reduced their supply of oxygen so they basically couldn't breathe. Very gruesome stuff.

And as you mentioned, they believe that she did this in order to free up hospital beds. This is according to wiretaps that have been leaked to the press. And you hear her saying things like, well we got rid of two today, so let's put the other one off until tomorrow. This has just sent shock waves through Brazil. Because she was the head of this intensive care unit for seven years, hundreds and hundreds of families are wondering, well, what if my loved one wouldn't have died if she hadn't been there.


MALVEAUX: Yes, just an awful, awful story there. It's -- unbelievable.


MALVEAUX: Couldn't even imagine that that's even possible.

HOLMES: Yes. Shasta, thanks so much.

Yes, and they're now looking back into hundreds of other deaths to see if there's any link there. And other staff involved.

MALVEAUX: And I understand some of them were conscious at the time as well.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes. Yes.


Well, it is against the law, but a Russian managed to sneak to the top of Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza just to take some pictures. Well, that is what is trending.

HOLMES: Check it out when we come back.


MALVEAUX: Let's take a look at what is trending right now around the world.

This photo of the Egyptian pyramids might be spectacular, but the photographer is now apologizing for it. The reason? You're not actually supposed to climb the Pyramids of Giza. Could be -- they could be damaged. So when people saw the photos online, many were outraged.

HOLMES: Yes, the Russian photographer says, I didn't mean to offend anyone. He just wanted to capture the beauty of this one of a kind place.

MALVEAUX: And several stories catching our attention today, the photos as well. Take a look at this.

In London, an artist expressed strong feelings towards former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in this gallery portrait here. The piece made up of small badges showing pornographic images and photos of, yes, piglets. The piece is called "la pig."


OK, the Philippines now. Some Filipinos commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus through the ritual of self-flagellation, or self-beating if you like. Now this symbolic act during holy week is made to help participants atone for their sins.

MALVEAUX: And in Bangladesh, a celebration of spring. Students play with colored powder during the annual holy festival.

HOLMES: It washes out, apparently.

MALVEAUX: It's nice.


MALVEAUX: You know they have races here in Atlanta where you can put your --

HOLMES: Oh, yes, I've seen that.

MALVEAUX: Yes, yes, they throw powder at you.

HOLMES: And people companied because it got on their cars. I remember that. But we digress.

That will do it for me.

MALVEAUX: We usually do.

HOLMES: We usually do. We're always in trouble for it.

Good to see you all. I'll be back tomorrow.


HOLMES: Do carry on.

MALVEAUX: I will see you tomorrow. Carry on, mate.