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AROUND THE WORLD

Korean Tensions Elevate; Doctors Say Mandela's Health Improving: Murdoch Hits at End of Page 3; Pope Francis Reaches Out; CNN Crew Caught in U.S.-Taliban Firefight

Aired April 1, 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. Happy Monday.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Yes, and good to be back. A start of a new week. Let's begin in North Korea again.

MALVEAUX: North Korea. Tensions increasing in the isolated county and neighboring South Korea. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un wants a nuclear arsenal. And his parliament today called it a top priority.

HOLMES: Now, the country already, of course, has declared war. Now, American fighter jets are in the region. F-22s have gone there. We're going to have a report from South Korea in just a moment.

MALVEAUX: And police in Brazil say they have arrested two men and are looking for a third after a horrifying attack involving tourists. Police say the men boarded a mini bus in Rio and ordered everyone off except for a male and female tourist.

HOLMES: Now, the woman was raped, more than once, also robbed. The man was beaten. He was robbed too. Police not saying where the victims were visiting from at the moment. We've got a live report from Brazil coming up a little later in the program.

MALVEAUX: And in South Africa, doctors say that the health of Nelson Mandela is improving. The former president, he's being treated for a lung infection. Now, this is the second time in a month that he has been admitted to a hospital.

HOLMES: Mandela's lung problems, they go way back to when he was in jail for taking on apartheid. He actually got Tuberculosis during his 27 years in prison.

MALVEAUX: And it is the largest newspaper in the U.K., "The Sun," but not typical reading material. This is where you get to read the next part.

HOLMES: Yes, I lived there for many years and "The Sun" was out there on the newsstands. One of the newspaper's defining features has always been pictures of topless women on page three. They're called the "page three girls." Feminists have never liked it, but in recent groups (ph) they have called more strongly for an end to the practice. (INAUDIBLE). MALVEAUX: OK. So here's what's happening. The owner, Rupert Murdock, he might actually be changing it up a little bit. Our Nick Paton Walsh, he's joining us from London.

So, Nick, explain what the controversy is and if it's going to actually get rid of the nude photos.

HOLMES: Yes, this has been a cultural thing for almost, in England, hasn't it, for decades.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. I mean it's a bit of an institution in some ways in the United Kingdom amongst some part of the British public. We spoke to taxi drivers today who are very fond of it, say it's, in many ways, part of what they read on the way into work every day. And let's hear what some of these people have to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH (voice-over): Britain's "Sun" newspaper, beneath this blurring, has had a less than subtle trick on its first inside page that's kept sales perky since 1970. Page three, nude among the news. A decades old institution to some.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's nice to look at, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's there. Why not?

WALSH: To others, decades out of date.

WALSH (on camera): Or perhaps it made commercial sense in the 1970s, but now the Internet gives people anything they want whenever and struggling newspapers are trying to lure women readers, not offend them, enough so that "The Sun's" troubled owner is thinking again.

WALSH (voice-over): Rupert Murdock reeling from phone hacking scandals tweeted recently he might replace page three nude with, quote, "glamorous fashionista's like those now on the "The Sun's" weekend pages. Too late for some.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really (INAUDIBLE). It's from the 1970s. And the girls back then were very young that were put (ph) in the newspaper. They're not that much older now, but it really feels very outdated that kind of sexism.

WALSH: Long ago, page three could launch a women's other talents.

SAM FOX, MUSICIAN (singing): Touch me, touch me, I want to feel your body.

WALSH: Sam Fox sang her way to the top of the pops after dropping her top. One former model who page three defined tells us it's time it went.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In England, I will always be known as Linda Lizzard (ph) the page three girl. It's time for it to go. Things have moved on so far with the Internet and everything else that I don't feel we really need that in our national newspapers anymore.

WALSH: "The Sun" has toyed with this idea before, but now, amid scandal, might want a fresh start.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: You know, Michael and Suzanne, that's really the issue here. You know, the news international newspapers are at a crux, had to closed their Sunday title "News of the World," relaunched it as "Sun on Sunday" after a scandal involving the hacking of many celebrity phones. Some say perhaps removing page three might give them a breath of fresh air, might rejuvenate the title that is also a really bad time for newspapers here in the U.S. Sales plummeting across the board. And I think many concerned too that while this paper mostly sells itself in the strings (ph) of its port (ph) coverage, if it lost that key page three thing that many people who used to (INAUDIBLE) seem to turn to, that could really affect sales.

Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, extraordinary.

MALVEAUX: Yes, Nick --

HOLMES: Samantha Fox, I mean you're making me feel old. That goes way back. That was a famous page three name.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Nick, do we know how many women actually read the paper? Is it very popular young women or do they really need to recruit women? Is that part of it?

HOLMES: Well, I mean "The Sun" says that 45 percent of its readership are female. That's obviously not the majority here. But there's a lucrative market for women in the advertising world here. That's greatly under pressure. And I think perhaps some of the calculus here that may have been behind Rupert Murdock's tweet is they need to be sure they don't put off any women who might be attracted towards "The Sun" by something for them often is offensive as the nudity of page three, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, Nick, thank you.

HOLMES: They can always be entertained by the headlines, which are usually entertaining. Yes.

MALVEAUX: Yes, entertaining (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Tensions increasing in the Korean peninsula. The North continuing to threaten war and the South, of course, getting ready for the attack. The United States certainly caught up in the middle of all of this.

HOLMES: Yes. And that is the thing. The U.S. caught up in this. Now deploying stealth fighter jets to the region is the next step. F-22s. South Korea had warned the North that there would be a strong response to any attack.

MALVEAUX: And so the people inside North Korea, they are certainly wondering what is going to happen next. A lot of tension there as well. Kyung Lah, she has their story.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael and Suzanne, what we're seeing here on the Korean peninsula are these ongoing war games. But it's very difficult to tell what is an illusion and what's reality. For people who are inside the hermit kingdom, it's a little bit of both.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAH (voice-over): In the war of words, and the imagery of conflict, consider this, return fire. Kim Seong Min, North Korean defector, broadcasting a message of democracy to North Korea, hoping they're listening to radios like these that South Korean activists have smuggled into the communist country. He talks to his North Korean sources every day.

LAH (on camera): The average North Korean, you think, wants a war?

LAH (voice-over): "Yes, they do," he says. "They think they will win a war and escape their difficult lives through war."

Kim points out that North Koreans don't get any information other than state controlled media. But the men in the military, says Kim, tell him they know the regime will lose the fight.

LAH (on camera): The international community, especially the United States, thinks of Kim Jong-un as a mad man. Is he a mad man?

LAH (voice-over): "He's so young, he's naive," says Kim. "He thinks nuclear weapons will bring the U.S. to the bargaining table."

That's similar to what these defectors are hearing from their North Korean sources. We can't show you the faces of these men because they fear the regime. They work at the Daily NK, a U.S. endowment funded online news site.

GREGORY PENCE, DAILY NK: The sources that we're hearing from are exhausted. They're exhausted by the drills that are happening right now. They're exhausted by the kind of mobilization of the masses.

LAH: Gregory Pence is a Chicago native. A Fulbright scholar who decided to stay to work here.

PENCE: So right now I think what you're seeing is Kim Jong-un trying to inspire the masses to rally around the flag, as they say, and adhere to his leadership.

LAH (on camera): Is Kim Jong-un talking to Americans or is he talking to North Koreans?

PENCE: He's talking to North Koreans.

LAH: The risk of miscalculation is there. Is that something you worry about?

PENCE: I worry about how fear can inspire poor decision-making.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: That's a concern that's also being echoed at the Pentagon, that there will be some sort of poor decision, either by North Korea or south Korea, and that will trip this entire region and the United States into a major conflict.

Michael. Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

Well you might wonder why South Korea matters so much to the United States, but most look back to the fight with communist North Korea 60 years ago. But the U.S. still has thousands of troops stationed there, performing joint military exercises.

HOLMES: Yes, but there's even more. South Korea is no longer the poor nation that it was all those years ago, six decades. It's now a major player in the global economy. And a leading manufacturer of things like microchips and LCD panels and cars, home to corporate giants like Samsung, Hyundai and LG.

MALVEAUX: They produce many of the products Americans use every day in your homes, your TV sets, appliances, cell phones, cars we drive, all kinds of things. And they're been an aggressive investors in the so- called brick countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. So it's put South Korea in a position to direct where industries, such as autos and electronics, are actually headed around the world.

HOLMES: Yes, economic power indeed.

Here's more, meanwhile, of what we're working on around the world this hour.

MALVEAUX: Fierce fighting in Afghanistan. It is something U.S. special forces, of course, they're used to that. But our own crew was caught in the middle of one of those gun battles. We got an exclusive story up next.

HOLMES: Also, Pope Francis delivers his first Easter mass and shows once again he is a people of the people, holding babies and stopping to kiss a disabled child in the crowd.

MALVEAUX: It was very, very touching, actually.

HOLMES: Very touching. We're going to have that.

MALVEAUX: We're going to talk about that.

Plus, you never walked into a glass door thinking it was open. Well, you've got to check this out.

HOLMES: Yes. MALVEAUX: This is -- it's actually kind of funny. But this happened to a thief. We're going to tell you how it happened and actually how he got away too.

HOLMES: He -- I tell you, you see this, he didn't get away.

MALVEAUX: He looked at the glass and just like -- (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: Trust me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Here are the stories making news AROUND THE WORLD right now.

In Tibet, rescuers have not found any survivors from a landslide that buried dozens of workers. That happened on Saturday.

HOLMES: Yes, they were working inside a gold mine owned by a Chinese company. Cold temperatures affecting search dogs' sense of smell. Company officials says they don't know the cause of the disaster yet.

MALVEAUX: In India, major decision handed down today regarding prescription drugs. A Swiss drug maker wanted to patent a major cancer medication which is already produced in a generic form.

HOLMES: Yes, however, the Indian supreme court -- this is a landmark decision really -- rejected the drug maker's patent application. Said the new version wasn't that much different from the old one, and that means the generic version of the medication will continue to be produced. And this saves people, poor people largely, thousands of dollars.

MALVEAUX: So to give you the sense of the difference in cost to make this drug, of its cancer drug, the name brand drug in this case can cost at least -- this is like $35,000 a year. Generic version, only about $2,500. I mean, it is huge.

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: India's got one of the biggest generic drugs industries actually in the world.

HOLMES: Ah, yes, my hometown, Perth, Australia. Let's have a look at this. He's running out. He's the thief. He's trying to get a getaway and, yes, he did that trick. He went into the glass door. That's mall security video there. Yes.

MALVEAUX: And, amazingly, OK, if you take a look at this, I mean he -- this was after he snatches this woman's purse and he runs to the door, crashes into the door. You can see that. He was -- he collapsed, but then manages to get away with some other guy.

HOLMES: Yes, some other guy showed up, said he had a gun. The thief took off with him. But he's going to have a headache. And they left --

MALVEAUX: Yes. HOLMES: Not surprisingly, they left blood at the scene, so the DNA guys are at work now.

MALVEAUX: And I imagine somebody's patching him up too. I mean that looks pretty bad.

HOLMES: Yes, he'll probably sue or something. Yes.

MALVEAUX: All right.

HOLMES: All right.

MALVEAUX: Of course, Easter, did you celebrate Easter?

HOLMES: Of course.

MALVEAUX: It was a wonderful weekend.

HOLMES: It was a lovely weekend, yes.

MALVEAUX: It was fantastic. And we were keeping our eye on the pope, as always. He is very much different. Very down to earth. People have been following -- and he's really leaving a lasting impression on all of this. One of this things that happened over the weekend, very, very pointed and very touching.

HOLMES: Yeah, have a look at this. Very touching moment there. While the Pope was creating people yesterday, a physically disabled boy was passed to him. Pope Francis cradling, as you saw there, and kissing the boy. And you just see his face there, lighting up with joy.

MALVEAUX: Well, we are actually joined by that little boy, Dominique Gondreau and his mother, Christiana Gondreau. Good to see you both. Hi. He's very excited.

CHRISTIANA GONDREAU, SON WAS KISSED AND HUGGED BY POPE: Hi, how are you?

MALVEAUX: Very good.

HOLMES: Tell us what happened, how it unfolded.

GONDREAU: Very unexpected. I went in with my son and left the rest of my family in the crowd, and there was a very kind usher named Augustino who seated us and I think he got it in his head that Dominique need to be kissed by the Pope. So he actually repositioned us to the corner of the aisles and, when the Pope came by, he actually never turned and looked at us. We really lifted him up and he never looked at us. And he apologized and I thought that was great, it's fine.

But then when we got wind that he was coming around the second time, he basically half held him with me and the ushers, the other ushers, really got in on the action and they almost just -- not forced, but really got the Popemobile to stop because he looked like he was going to pass again. And then Augustino just raised him up.

HOLMES: And you see Dominique hanging on, too, in the picture there.

MALVEAUX: What does that mean for you?

GONDREAU: Yes, he did. Really, it feels like a gift, like a little kiss from God, just to be in that crowd and be the one to have your child kissed by the Pope was really truly a gift. What an Easter Sunday.

HOLMES: And what does Dominique make of it? What did he get out of it?

GONDREAU: Dominique is incredibly sweet and down to earth, so if you -- he just thought it was great. He just smiles at you. He's very down to earth. There's not very much more than that. He understands everything, but he's very simple.

HOLMES: What a wonderful story.

MALVEAUX: Nice to see you both. Very, very moving, very touching.

GONDREAU: Thank you.

HOLMES: Yeah, Dominique, Christiana ...

GONDREAU: Thank you.

HOLMES: ... thanks for that.

GONDREAU: Yeah, it was very touching for us.

HOLMES: I'm sure.

GONDREAU: Thank you so much.

HOLMES: (Inaudible).

MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

Afghanistan, you wouldn't even know that the war is winding down there with firefights like these still going on and our own crews caught in the middle of one of those gun battles, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: The war in Afghanistan rages on. And one of our crews actually got a rare, pretty close-up look at a gun battle that was taking place.

HOLMES: Probably a little closer than they'd like. Have a listen to this.

That's Anna Coren, is the correspondent, Mark Phillips, our intrepid photographer. They were both there, got a glimpse at the intense fighting that still goes on there in Afghanistan. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As rounds of gunfire ring out in the distance, U.S. special forces run straight into the thick of it. They're the military's elite and this is what they're trained to do. They don't just fight back. They hunt down the enemy.

We come under enemy fire less than 400 meters away. An incoming round flies close overhead. We take cover behind a mud brick wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep going!

COREN: With the attack coming from three different directions, special forces spread out across open farm land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right on the backside. Right on the backside.

COREN: Their only cover in this fertile valley, low-lying ditches and sparse undergrowth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, that's all we're going to do. We're going to continue out this (INAUDIBLE) river bed until we get to the left side. (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go straight there. Let's roll.

COREN: For a brief moment they pause, as special forces operator targets the enemy firing position with a 40-millimeter grenade launcher, but the firefight rages on.

We got intelligence that there was an IED in this area with a number of associates. We've come into these open fields (INAUDIBLE) taking fire.

We don't know where the enemy is, but we do know that there's a Taliban stronghold about a kilometer from here at the base of these mountains.

With enemy fire getting closer, special forces are exposed as they move along the banks of the river.

A soldier reloads preparing for another assault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, move in.

COREN: We run towards the compound where insurgents staged one of their attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're push it down this way, all right? Let's go.

COREN: They quickly secure the area, not knowing what's behind these walls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody looking back that way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope. COREN: Movement inside has everyone on high alert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody just ran across the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And back again.

COREN: Soldiers locate the enemy firing point with spent cartridge cases littering the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're Taliban, which we're getting reports that they probably are, then they make not necessarily live in these areas, which means that when they go into other people's compounds that we may get some intel relayed back to us.

So that's what we're hoping on.

COREN: Apache helicopter gunships circle the valley, searching for the enemy who have made their escape.

But they've already vanished, blending back into the community and the landscape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I admire their resiliency and their conviction, for sure. There's a degree of mutual respect, but that doesn't mean we want to kill them any less.

COREN: While America's war may be finishing up soon, these brave soldiers know it's yet to be won.

Anna Coren, CNN, Nijrab, Eastern Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: So, Michael, you and I were talking about it during that piece, you have actually experienced something of -- a bullet coming that close. What are some of the signs? You said it was really the noise, right?

HOLMES: It's the noise, and you can hear it there when she says there's been incoming round. I have been in several situations where you hear a crack. And it's not pop, pop, pop, and a lot of that fire was outgoing, but you hear the pop, pop, pop of incoming fire.

When she's running along, and says the incoming round, that has a distinct crack. And it's about the speed that the bullet's traveling through the air and the proximity of the bullet. If you're getting the crack, then that means it's close.

MALVEAUX: And you know it's very close.

HOLMES: If you heard a crack, I would be hitting the deck as soon as I heard that, I tell you. That's very frightening and it could be a terrifying situation to be in the middle of some of that and you want to have those guys close by. MALVEAUX: Yeah, excellent reporting.

HOLMES: And Mark Phillips, the photographer, always got to give the photographer a shout-out, too.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, they're in the middle of it all.

All right, thank you, Michael.

Safety concerns in Brazil, as well, tourists allegedly robbed and beaten on a minibus. Is this country going to have adequate security and control ahead of the World Cup and the Olympic games.

HOLMES: Yeah, they've got a lot coming up, also a papal visit as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)