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Private Newspapers in Myanmar; Tourists in Brazil Targeted in Crime Spree; Political Satirist in Egypt Faces Government Anger; China Tries to Slow Red-Hot Housing Market; New Strain of Bird Flu Kills 2; Sweatshop Investigation in Argentina

Aired April 1, 2013 - 12:30   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone, to AROUND THE WORLD. Right now in Washington, sources are telling CNN Caroline Kennedy is being vetted to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Of course, the daughter of JFK was a top-backer of President Obama during both of his presidential campaigns. She served as co-chair of his vice-presidential search committee as well. She's worked for several New York nonprofit organizations, including the JFK library.

HOLMES: The bad news out of Cyprus might not be over yet. You might remember the country just struck a deal to bail out its failed banking system. It's going to cost some of the biggest depositors almost 40 percent of their saving.

MALVEAUX: And that's not even the end of this because the Bank of Cyprus now says that if it needs more cash it could take another 22.5 percent on top of that.


MALVEAUX: So that means those with the most money in the bank could lose about 60 percent out of their accounts if things don't get better fast enough.

HOLMES: Could you imagine that happening here?

MALVEAUX: Can you imagine? Yeah, riots. Riots.

HOLMES: We're going to go to Myanmar now. The country's shift from strict authoritarian rule has brought about an amazing change, private newspapers. This is a big deal.

MALVEAUX: For the first time in almost 50 years, private daily newspapers are now being sold in the country starting today. So it really puts an end to the state monopoly. Until recently, reporters in Myanmar, they faced some of the harshest restrictions in the world.

HOLMES: Yeah, they used to have to submit their work to state censors before publication and I can tell you I heard that all of those editions from all of those newspapers that went on sale sold out ... MALVEAUX: Wow.

HOLMES: ... within a couple of hours.

MALVEAUX: There you go.

Back to the story out of Brazil. Police say that they have arrested two men after a rape and robbery involving two tourists. It happened on a minibus. This is in Rio.

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah, a very worrying development.

Shasta Darlington is in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Shasta, first of all, tell us about this case, what happened and the arrests that we have heard about.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, what we know is these two tourists, foreign tourists, I should say, got on a minibus in Rio de Janeiro very early Saturday morning, and shortly afterwards, three men got on. They forced all of the other passengers off and basically kidnapped these two. They drove them around for hours, and that's really when the nightmare began. The woman was raped repeatedly. The man was handcuffed and somehow tied to the bus and beaten while this was going on. Both of them had their credit cards stolen and they were used repeatedly in gas stations and ATM machines and this lasted about six hours until they were finally dumped in a city about 50 kilometers or about 30 miles away from Rio de Janeiro.

Now, as you mentioned, the police have arrested two people. They're looking for a third. But this is just a horrific crime that has upset people on a very personal level, obviously. But also because this city is preparing for some pretty high-profile events coming up. We've talked in the past about World Cup next year, Olympic games in 2016, but also this year, in just a couple of months, it's going to be receiving Pope Francis. This is going to be his first big trip abroad and he's going to celebrate World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. They're expecting millions of young people from around the city and around the world. So this is obviously terrible for the city that's been trying to clean up its image as kind of a city with a very serious crime problem.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, Shasta, I was going to ask here, how common is this? This is a horrific crime that's occurred. Is this something that people -- are they reacting to in a very strong way or do they say, you know what? This happens. This is part of the culture.

DARLINGTON: It's a bit of both, Suzanne. Violent crime is an historic problem in Rio de Janeiro, but what they've really been dealing with in the past few years is the drug violence. There's a lot of -- people are heavily armed (inaudible) in the shanty towns because they have large groups of drugs gangs. So they have sent police and army troops into the shanty towns, breaking up those gangs. But there is still a problem of just daily theft and robbery. It's not uncommon to be robbed on public transportation, on the bus.

Rape, however, I should point out, while it occurs everywhere, including Brazil, it isn't one of -- this isn't one of those countries where they say, gosh, that's a serial problem. They've really got to deal with it. It isn't any more of a problem or less of a problem than in my other countries, but just the crime, the theft, even robbery at gunpoint, that is something that Rio has been dealing with for years and, clearly, they just haven't gotten rid of the problem yet, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, thank you, Shasta. Appreciate it.

HOLMES: Got a lot of work to do.

All right, coming up, he's known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt, but he is not laughing after being detained and interrogated for hours. His alleged crime? Insulting the Egyptian president. What this means for freedom of the press, we'll discuss that.


MALVEAUX: In Cairo, a man some call the Jon Stewart of Egypt, he has now been arrested. Bassem Youssef hosts a TV show known for poking fun at the president, but also Islam.

HOLMES: Yeah, and a mix of politics and religion in Egypt.

Ian Lee's been reporting for us on how the Egyptian government thinks his criticism went too far and what they did.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A welcoming more suited for a rock star than a wanted man.

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef arrives at the high court in Cairo. A mob of admirers chants his name as he struggles to enter the building.

The public prosecutor summoned the comedian for questing about accusations that he insulted President Mohamed Morsi and Islam.

Here, Youssef pokes fun at Morsi speaking English on a trip to Germany on his show, "The Program."

MOHAMED MORSI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT: Yes, and the gas and alcohol don't mix. Isn't that the law? (Inaudible).

BASSEM YOUSSEF, EGYPTIAN TALK SHOW HOST: Gas and alcohol, they don't mix. (Inaudible).

LEE: Millions tune in weekly to watch the Jon Stewart of the Middle East. He's even met the man he calls his main inspiration.

But his popularity by pushing the boundaries of free speech comes with a price. Youssef faces more than a dozen lawsuits over his show, which the prosecutor says is insulting not just only to just the president but to Islam itself and Yousef is a practicing Muslim.

YOUSSEF: You want to go to prison? You want to go to prison? Oh, yes? So cool! (Inaudible).

LEE: Recently many people critical of the Morsi government have either been arrested or brought in for questioning, a tactic reminiscent of the Mubarak regime.

The question is now, will the Morsi government get away with it?

H.A. HELLYER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Whether they release him today or they keep him, this makes them look incredibly bad and can only be interpreted as harassment and trying to stifle any freedom of speech in this country with regards to the presidency or, indeed, authority in general.

LEE: Despite the pressure, Youssef has remained defiant throughout.

YOUSSEF: (Inaudible).

Youssef was released after his questioning by the prosecutor, a free man after posting a $2,200 bond.

Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.


HOLMES: Keeping an eye on that story.

Meanwhile there is a new deadly strain of bird flu in China.

MALVEAUX: And the question is, could we actually see it here in the United States?

HOLMES: People are wondering.

Also a professional golfer -- you love this story. I know you do -- takes his pants off to make a great shot. Yeah, you heard that right.

MALVEAUX: I really do like this story. We're going to show you what happened, up next.


MALVEAUX: Welcome back to AROUND THE WORLD. Here are some stories we're following right now.

In the tiny island nation of Mauritius off the east coast of Africa, extreme flooding has swept through the capital killing at least 20 people. Water trapped them in underground walkways and garages, the current so strong that cars were left piled up on top of each other. Six inches of rain fell in just an hour.

HOLMES: Terrible pictures there.

China, meanwhile, taking steps to cool down it's red-hot housing markets and stop a real estate bubble that some worry could seriously damage the economy. MALVEAUX: In Beijing, people who live alone are now banned from buying a seconds home. Others trying to buy a second home will be required to put more money down. Now, Shanghai is taking similar measures as well.

HOLMES: Yeah, in many Chinese cities, the cost to buy a home has doubled in the past five years.

OK, Saudi Arabia now, if you want to do some online video chatting, there may in the future be no app for that.

The country's communication agency threatening to block some of the most popular Internet messaging apps, including Skype.

MALVEAUX: So the apps could stay if providers find a way to allow the government to monitor the messages that are being sent.

Social media and instant messaging has been widely used in other parts of the Arab world in the past years, especially during social unrest.

HOLMES: Yeah, well, the people in Saudi Arabia are very worried about that.

And here's something you tonight see every day, a golfer without his pants.

Turns out, while playing in a European tour tournament in Morocco on Sunday, Danish golfer Andreas Harto hit a shot. It went into the water hazard there.

MALVEAUX: Look at him. He looks so funny, like he's not trying to get his feet wet or something.

HOLMES: It's hilarious. Too late.


The shot that landed near the water hazard on the sloping side of the green there, and so he actually had to stand in the water to play the ball and so he took it all off.

HOLMES: He took his shoes off, and then he thought, oh, it's a little bit deeper than that. And then he takes his pants off.

MALVEAUX: He doesn't look bad, though.

HOLMES: You said he has great legs.

MALVEAUX: I did say that ...

HOLMES: I'm not going there.

MALVEAUX: I said that in the break, but I'll say it again here for everybody. He is not a bad looking guy.

HOLMES: Yes, he makes the shot. Didn't win the tournament, though. But he will have his place in television -- in television (INAUDIBLE) of golf history.

MALVEAUX: We've got to -- we've got to talk to this guy, honestly.

HOLMES: Look at him there. He's got to learn how to run a little bit, though, you know.


HOLMES: You wouldn't want to be wearing the bad underwear, that's for sure.

MALVEAUX: No, no, no, he's not a shy guy.

HOLMES: No, he's not. He obviously knew he had on the clean undies that day.

MALVEAUX: We're going to have him on. We'll ask.

All right, in China, two men have died after being infected with a strain of the bird flu that we have actually not even seen in humans.

HOLMES: Yes, and the other too (ph), a woman is in critical condition in hospital with the same thing. This thing is called H7N9 strain. Elizabeth Cohen is going to look at whether this could affect other countries, including the U.S.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Michael, Suzanne, there's a lot we don't know about this particular strain of bird flu because it is so new. But in many ways, it looks very much like other strains of bird flu, pneumonia, difficulty breathing. Those are some of the symptoms that these victims have had.

Now, as far as being worried about it coming to the United States, the experts I spoke to said they are not terribly worried. And here's why. Bird flu does not carry well person to person. We've seen this with other strains of bird flu as well. And with this strain, the doctors checked with dozens of contacts, close contacts of the victims, the people who got sick and the people who died, and they found that none of those contacts actually got bird flu. So that tells us that it's not spreading easily person to person. It does spread from bird to person, but doesn't seem to spread easily person to person.


MALVEAUX: Thank you, Elizabeth.

HOLMES: One of Europe's major clothing labels has been linked with sweat shops in Latin America. We're going to tell you more when we come back.


HOLMES: In North Korea, tensions increasing in the isolated country and in neighboring South Korea. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un wanting a nuclear arsenal whose parliament today calling it a top priority. MALVEAUX: And the country has already declared war. Now American fighter jets, they are in the region.

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

HOLMES: Yes, his lung problems go back to when he was jailed for taking on apartheid. He, in fact, contracted tuberculosis during those 27 years that he was in prison.

MALVEAUX: A big international clothing maker is now accused of abusing immigrant workers in Argentina. And the labels on some of the clothing they made might sound pretty familiar, actually, to a lot of folks.

HOLMES: Yes, to a lot of people. Yes, Rafael Romo says -- reports now the conditions investigators found were brutal.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): The workshop was a cluttered mess. Authorities finding sewing equipment only meters away from bunk beds. At another sweatshop, investigators found worn mattresses, unsanitary conditions and all kinds of fire hazards. A human rights group says 21 mostly migrant workers live there, working shifts of up to 16 hours under conditions of slavery (ph).

GUSTAVO VERA, DIRECTOR, LA ALAMEDA (through translator): These images show these places were in a dreadful situation. There were lose cables, flammable materials, plenty of dust and overcrowding. They were really living there like animals.

ROMO: Gustavo Vera is the director of La Alameda, a human rights organization in Argentina dedicated to fighting modern day slavery. La Alameda shot this video after a police raid of three workshops and is using the images as evidence in a federal complaint against three clothing manufacturers, Zara, Ayres and Cara Cruz. There's no evidence that the companies own or directly operate the workshops, but Vera says there's definitely a link.

VERA: They found labels. They also found designs which prove that all of these three workshops work for Zara.

ROMO: CNN requested interviews with all three companies. Cara Cruz said it has not been legally notified about the case and it has no knowledge of any links with clandestine workshops.

Ayres and Zara have not returned our calls. Both Argentina and Spanish are on holiday for holy week.

But Indetex (ph), the Spanish clothing giant which owns Zara, told Spanish newspaper El Paris (ph) that they're "surprised and indignant" about the complaint. "We have no knowledge of the facts and we don't know what they're referring to," Indetex said. "We have zero tolerance when it comes to situations like this. We regularly audit the 60 providers we have in Argentina."

ROMO (on camera): This is not the first scandal Zara faces regarding workshops where their clothes are produced. Back in 2011, the clothing manufacturer was fined $1.8 million by the government in Brazil after an investigation showed dozens of Bolivian and Peruvian migrant workers were producing clothes for the firm in conditions of slavery.

ROMO (voice-over): After the scandal, the company said that "Zara has unveiled a series of new internal and external initiatives to re- enforce control over the production chain."

Argentina has begun to crack down against trafficking. Last year, a series of unconnected raids (ph) against other companies, also in Buenos Aires, targeting 12 sweatshops, 23 Argentine and Bolivian nationals were arrested. Seventy-six immigrants from Bolivia, who were forced to sew clothes around the clock, were liberated during the operation.


HOLMES: Rafael joins us here now.

I'm curious whether this is sort of some sort of isolated case or are we looking at some broad ranging thing?

ROMO: Sadly, it is not an isolated case. And you have to understand the socioeconomics of that part of the world, in South America. Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, has become the textile capital of the world. And if you take into account that Bolivia is right north of it and you have half the population living in poverty --

HOLMES: Right.

ROMO: A lot of impoverished, illiterate, indigenous Bolivians fall prey to schemes where they are offered jobs in Buenos Aries. When they get there, the human trafficking rings take this -- their passports away.


ROMO: And then they're subjected to working in slavery conditions in the kinds of shops or sweatshops, we should say, that we saw in the story. And that's a big, big problem now. Argentine authorities are doing everything they can. But there's one estimate by a human rights group that says that about 3,000 of these workshops may be operating in and around the capital of Buenos Aires.

HOLMES: Three thousand?

MALVEAUX: So how do they do that? I mean how do they end up arresting these guys? I mean it seems like it's a huge, huge problem.

HOLMES: There's good cooperation between the NGOs, the human rights groups in Argentina, and the police. And there's an agency that specializes in targeting these groups. But again, it's a lot of money involved. There's a lot of economic interests. And there's a lot of demand for the cheap clothes that can be produced in this kind of sweatshop. And that's the reason why it's such a big problem. But the conditions that they found at these particular sweatshops are just so deplorable, so sad.

HOLMES: Yes, you hear of this happening in other parts of the world too where passports get taken and the people are basically indentured servants really. And 3,000 of them?

MALVEAUX: Or slaves.

HOLMES: Yes, pretty much.


ROMO: Essentially. That's really the word that we should use here.


ROMO: Because it is that sad and they are working that kind of very deplorable conditions.

HOLMES: Terrible. Rafael, good to see you, though. Thanks very much.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

ROMO: You too.

HOLMES: Rafael Romo with that story.

MALVEAUX: So, breaking TV records?

HOLMES: Is it?

MALVEAUX: Amazingly so. It beats "American Idol." We're actually talking about the series, "The Bible."

HOLMES: This has been huge around the United States. Sunday's show is trending. We'll have that coming up of what is though (ph).


MALVEAUX: All right, we're going to take a look at what is trending right now around the world.

The blockbuster miniseries, this is "The Bible," had its finale last night on Easter. Check it out.

HOLMES: Spoiler alert. I hope you know what happened. It lit up social media. Check out the tweets there. We're going to have more on the series and it's finale -- well, Suzanne will -- in the next hour right here.


HOLMES: So, don't go away for that. You can find out what happens in the end. MALVEAUX: And several stories catching our attention today. Photos as well. I want you to take a look at all this.

Gaza City. This is kids and they are playing on the beach. This is during a dust storm.

HOLMES: Nice beaches too down there.


HOLMES: Let's go to the U.S. now. Hundreds of kids running around looking for Easter eggs on the White House lawn. President Obama and the first lady hosting the annual event that was actually in jeopardy because of automatic spending cuts. One hundred and thirty-two years they've been (INAUDIBLE).

MALVEAUX: I've been to many of those little Easter egg rolls.

HOLMES: I bet you -- rolling?

MALVEAUX: Yes. The first -- the first time Fergie was the entertainment.

HOLMES: Oh, really?

MALVEAUX: And it was -- had a totally different feel than from the --

HOLMES: Not the duchess Fergie or the other one?

MALVEAUX: The other one.

HOLMES: The other one. Right, OK.

MALVEAUX: The singer.

HOLMES: The singing one. Yes.

MALVEAUX: Yes, it's a lot of fun.

HOLMES: Yes. This is too. Yes, check out the next one. This is Slovakia. There's a tradition there, we're told, for the guys to dress up in traditional outfits and splash women with cold water during Easter.

MALVEAUX: Yes, who came up with that one? It must have been the guys.

HOLMES: I bet it was a guy.

MALVEAUX: Clearly it was not the women. But I guess this is supposed to bring in the spring season showing their strength (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: I'm going to go down to the news room and do now that and just sort of --

MALVEAUX: See how that goes over.

HOLMES: Yes, just to celebrate my Slovakian ancestry.

MALVEAUX: Now you're supposed to stay for the second hour. Did you realize that?

HOLMES: No, I'm not. That's an April Fool's Day --

MALVEAUX: April Fool's. Oh, I was trying to get you.

HOLMES: I knew you -- oh, oh, for half a second there I was like, really? Not that I don't love spending time with you, but we'll do it again tomorrow, the show.

MALVEAUX: We'll do it again tomorrow. All right.

HOLMES: All right, you carry on working.

MALVEAUX: All right. See me (ph).