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North Korea's Talk Gets Tougher; Fifth Person Dies of Bird Flu in China; Afghan Girl Survives Ax Attack; Investigation into Texas Shooting; Same Sex Marriage Debated Worldwide;

Aired April 4, 2013 - 12:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: But thanks to both of you for your insight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad to, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I'll be watching this one. That's interesting.

Hey, everybody, thank you for being with us. AROUND THE WORLD starts now.


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

Let's begin in North Korea.

MALVEAUX: Kim Jong-un and his general might be planning to launch a ballistic missile from North Korea in the near future. Perhaps in a few days. Whether it's a test, a show of force, a direct threat or all of the above is what the U.S. military is now trying to sort out today. We are live from the Pentagon in just a moment.

HOLMES: In France, the debate over same-sex marriage is front and center today. The French senate taking up a bill that would give same- sex couples the right to marry and also adopt children.

MALVEAUX: The lower house has already approved it. Now, French President Francois Hollande supports same-sex marriage, but the catholic church and other religious groups and social conservatives oppose the measure.

HOLMES: Take a look at this. Widespread flooding in and around Argentina's capital, elsewhere as well. Entire neighborhoods submerged. You see in some cases, right there, people on the rooftops waiting for help.

MALVEAUX: And one of the heaviest storms on record took people by surprise. This in Buenos Aires and La Plata. More than 50 people have died. Thousands now are homeless. The government is holding three days of mourning.

North Korea now accusing the United States of trying desperately to start a nuclear war. Promises what it calls a powerful precision nuclear strike.

HOLMES: Yes, here's what an American official, who has been to North Korea several times, former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, says of all this back and forth.


BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I think our response has been appropriate. Cool, calm, but at the same time putting our military resources ready in case there's an emergency. But if they try anything with the United States, it's suicidal. That's not going to happen.


MALVEAUX: Want to bring in our Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.

So, Barbara, we heard Bill Richardson say that it would be suicidal for North Korea to go through with its threats. He's a diplomat. How does the military see it?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, what they are focusing on, Suzanne and Michael, is the possibility of that North Korean ballistic missile launch in the next few days.

We have fresh information that's come to us in just the last few minutes. A U.S. official telling us that U.S. intelligence now has noticed in the last few days North Korea has moved missile components to its east coast. And these are consistent with a mobile missile called the Musadon (ph). That is the missile that is of such concern because it can be launched from a mobile launcher.

And look at that map. If it goes off the east coast of North Korea, where that equipment is right now, it will, by definition, fly over Japan. And that certainly will upset the Japanese.

The problem, of course, with a mobile missile launch, you get very little warning that it would be about to happen. So the U.S. now very much watching the east coast of North Korea and watching to see if North Korea notifies the world in advance that it would conduct this missile launch or if they're just going to do it. It would be a test launch. They are going to test the components. That's the belief. But, still, any launch would be quite concerning.

HOLMES: You know, Barbara, we've seen this rhetoric back and forth for days and days and days now. I mean the U.S. has had what some have called a playbook on how to deal with it. But there are those out there who say that the U.S. is playing somehow into the propaganda hands, if you like, of North Korea by reacting too much and not just in a way ignoring this guy until he actually does something.

STARR: Well, I think that's certainly a very much a view that is coming to the front here in Washington over the last couple of days now. You know, you've seen the Obama administration, you've seen the Pentagon take a very public stand, really challenge the North Koreans verbally. And then the North Koreans have ratcheted up. And there's a lot of concern that everybody's just amping up, you know, and it's pretty much going to slip out of control if everybody doesn't take a deep breath and step back.

Today, the administration, the Pentagon, very much doing that, making the decision that they will ratchet back on their rhetoric. Not necessarily pull back on any of these military moves, but ratchet back the public rhetoric and hope that they can cool down this whole thing.

HOLMES: All right, Barbara, thanks so much. Barbara Starr there.

MALVEAUX: Want to get some more perspective on what is happening in North Korea, the abilities as well as the intentions in ramping up this aggressive posturing. Sue Mi Terry, a senior research scholar and expert on North Korea at Columbia University.

Thanks for joining us.

First of all, what do you think of the Pentagon's change, if you will, in posture, that they are now going to be stepping back here and stepping back from the rhetoric? Do you think that's a good idea?

SUE MI TERRY, SR. RESEARCH SCHOLAR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, I absolutely support Obama, the administration's, very resolute response, firm response to what's going on in the Korean peninsula. I think North Korea have really gotten used to, in the last several decades. South Korea and Washington, United States, really not doing much to all their provocations. First nuclear test, second nuclear test, missile launches, attacking South Korea, even just three years ago, (INAUDIBLE), Yongpyong (ph) and so on. So this is the first time that we are really showing a firm response. And I support that. I think that's a good idea.

HOLMES: Sue Mi, you know, you think back to his father, his grandfather. And as I -- people who were entirely unpredictable in their behaviors. This was a young man, western educated. A lot of people had hoped that he was a guy who could be maybe a game changer in terms of North Korea's relationship with the outside world. What do you make of his motivation? A lot of people would have thought this guy would know better.

TERRY: Right. First of all, you know, Kim Jr., Kim Jong-un, is actually making me miss being nostalgic (ph) about his father because as unpredictable as his father was, I mean he was at least more of a known quantity to us because we dealt with him for two decades. More than that. And this guy, obviously, he's 29 years old. He's untested. He's been in power for just a little bit over a year. His motivations are two-fold. I think, one, he's still trying to consolidate internal support. So he needs to really show off and show that he's a tough guy and that he can deal with us.

And secondly, it's a time worn tactic by North Koreans and they love to do this. They try to provoke -- you know, they provoke us and provocations and lead usually to negotiation and then to some sort of food aid or some sort of assistance to North Korea, except this time it's not really working out for them and that's why they are throwing out everything they can possibly to us. HOLMES: Yes, they're annoying even their few allies in the world, like China.

Sue Mi Terry, thanks so much. Good to get your thoughts.

TERRY: Sure.

MALVEAUX: Tonight at 6:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer is going to host a special edition of "The Situation Room" focused entirely on the crisis in North Korea. Obviously a lot of people around the world paying attention to what are going to be the next steps, how do you handle this and control the situation.


MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

HOLMES: Yes, it's good that we're going to see a whole program on it too. So much to talk about.

MALVEAUX: Taking you now to Hebron in the West Bank. Palestinians today buried the body of a well-known prisoner, a retired general who died of cancer this week while in Israeli custody.

HOLMES: Hundreds of people gathered for his funeral, carrying the body. You see it there. Now this huge funeral procession moved outside, filled the streets of Hebron, which can be a troubled city at the best of times. Palestinians furious at Israel. What they say is that Israeli doctors denied proper medical care to that prisoner, which basically allowed him to die.

MALVEAUX: So protesters and Israeli soldiers have fought several days now in the West Bank. Two Palestinian teenagers have been killed. The Israelis say that protesters attacked a checkpoint with fire bombs, forcing them to open fire.

In China, health officials are now racing to solve what is really a medical mystery when you think about it. A fifth person now has died from a strain of bird flu that has never actually been seen in humans before.

HOLMES: Yes, you don't want this to get out of control. What it's called is the H7N9 strain of the virus. And according to state run media, the number of human cases now up to 11. And, they say, they may have figured out the source of the infections, hopefully. Here's David McKenzie in Beijing.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Local and global health authorities have taken notice of this new strain of bird flu that's affected several people in the southeast of China. They're saying it causes severe respiratory illness and a few have died.

But I want to show you what they believe is the source of this new strain. They're calling the strain H7N9. It's believed to be an avian flu that people contracted most likely from poultry products. Now, that doesn't mean that people can get sick in a place like this where the health standards are actually very strict. And they believe it can't be transmitted from human-to-human, but they say it must be watched very closely and they're mobilizing testing kits and starting to work on a vaccine.

LI JIHONG, LIVESTOCK DEPT., PENGSHAN COUNTY (through translator): The public is concerned about the information regarding those in close contact with those infected. We are tracing many close contacts and they are all under strict medical observation. No one who was in contact with the confirmed cases has exhibited symptoms during the quarantine period.

MCKENZIE: There's a lot of distrust with authorities here in China because of previous outbreaks which the information wasn't spread effectively to the people.

David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.


HOLMES: A bit worrying.

We've got more coming up for you in this hour of AROUND THE WORLD.

MALVEAUX: A 17-year-old Afghan girl almost killed when her own brother attacked her with an axe. He did this because she tried to run away from her marriage to a 16-year-old man.

HOLMES: This is an unbelievable story you won't want to miss. Anna Coren's got that coming up.

Also, critics call this museum exhibit "Jew in a box," but supporters say it is actually an important way to bring out some uncomfortable topics into the open.

MALVEAUX: So we're actually going to talk to the museum curator who's going to join us live to talk about what is actually behind this.

And this is really cool, right?


MALVEAUX: So we know that galaxy's held together by outer space, something called dark matter. What is this stuff made of, right?

HOLMES: It's all very sci-fi. You know, we've had no idea what dark matter was until now. We've got an important discovery from deep space coming up right here.


MALVEAUX: Welcome back. Here are some of the stories making news around the world right now.

In South Africa, the family of Oscar Pistorius says he's not training again. This despite a new photo showing Pistorius jogging on a track.

HOLMES: Now he is, of course, charged with murdering his girlfriend and awaiting trial. He says that killing was an accident. Pistorius has remained out of sight since he was released on bail until now.

And in the Russian city of Grozny, remember this yesterday? An electrical short circuit now being blamed for this huge fire in the 40-story Olympus Tower, the tallest building in Grozny.

MALVEAUX: And it actually houses luxury apartments, although fortunately no one was living there when that fire started. You can only imagine what would have happened otherwise. It took more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames and nobody, nobody, was hurt.

HOLMES: It's unbelievable.


When you hear the details of this story, you really -- it's horrifying.


MALVEAUX: I mean, this is an Afghan man, he's accused of attacking his sister with an axe.

HOLMES: And then leaving her for dead. Wait until you see this. Why? Well, because the girl, a teenager, tried to run away from her husband and it was her brother who carried out the attack. It seems unthinkable, doesn't it?

MALVEAUX: Yes, but places like Afghanistan, types of stories are actually not uncommon. Anna Coren explains why.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Slouched over in a chair, her sullen eyes staring at the ground. Gomena (ph) is a teenager filled with shame.

Pulling back her pretty headscarf, she reveals deep scars across her face. For 17 years, a life of pain and suffering.

"My family married me off when I was 12 years old," she tells me. "My husband was 60. Every day he would beat me. I would cry and ask him to stop, but he just kept on beating me."

This small, fragile girl pleaded with her parents to help, but they refused.

"My family would hit me when I complained. They told me, you belong in your husband's house. That is your life."

After five years of abuse, Gul Meena finally gathered the courage to leave her husband in Pakistan, running away with a young Afghan man to Jalalabad across the border five months ago. But according to strict Islamic customs, this is the ultimate crime.

I knew my husband and family would be looking for me. I knew we were in danger.

Days later, her brother tracked them down. Armed with an axe, he hacked to death Gul Meena's friend and then struck his own sister 15 times, cutting open her face, head and parts of her body.

What about on your face? Do you have pain on your face? Yes.

Left for dead, Gul Meena was brought to the emergency department of this hospital by a stranger.

With part of her brain hanging out of her skull, neurosurgeon Dr. Khalid held out little hope.

DR. ZAMIRUDOIN KHALID, NEUROSURGEON: We took her to the operating theater and she'd already lost a lot of blood.

Her injuries were horrific and her brain had been affected. We didn't think she would survive.

COREN: Due to the life-saving treatment by the doctors and staff at this hospital, Gul Meena miraculously survived.

But the problem is who would care for her, considering her family had disowned her.

Now, the government and authorities knew full well that she was here, but due to the stigma and circumstances, they wanted nothing to do with her.

For two months she stayed in this hospital, doctors donating money to pay for her medical bills.

Finally, a women's organization took her in, giving her the love and care she so desperately needed.

Gul Meena is one of thousands of women living in shelters across Afghanistan, many of them victims of attempted killings.

And while they try to start a new life, for this uneducated frightened girl, it's going to be an enormous struggle.

MANIZHA NADERI, WOMEN FOR AFGHAN WOMEN: And if we send her to her family, she's going to be killed. As far as the family's concerned, she's dead.

COREN: And at times, Gul Meena wishes she was, having attempted suicide several times since arriving at the shelter.

I want to kill myself, but they won't let me. When I look at the mirror, I put one hand to the side of my face. People tell me not to do that, but I'm so ashamed.


MALVEAUX: Anna joins us from Kabul.

Anna, it's just so disturbing when you see that story. Just being born in Afghanistan and what some of these young girls have to endure and go through, what does her future look like?

COREN: It's quite frightening, isn't it, Suzanne?

She will stay at the shelter for as long as she possibly can. At the moment she's getting an education. She's illiterate. She has no skills. So that is something that they're desperately trying to do.

Their concern for all women in all these shelters is what is the future post-2014? That's, of course, when U.S. and international forces leave. And there's a real fear that once they leave the funding will also leave.

It's international sponsors that prop up these shelters. You know, the government, they're not really quite very interested in what these shelters provide. There are some ministers who have accused them of being places of immorality and prostitution.

But, Suzanne, I can assure you that having visited one that couldn't be anything further from the truth. These places are helping rebuild the lives of thousands of women who are the victims of violence.

HOLMES: Anna, just seems to be extraordinary that after trillions of dollars of money over the last 10 years poured into Afghanistan to in some ways improve the lives of Afghans, you've got a situation where -- and I know you've been looking into this and found that this sort of violence is not getting better. It's getting worse.

COREN: Yeah, that's exactly right. And the United Nations has said just that, 20 percent rise in the number of cases of violence against women and girls.

And that is really frightening because, as you say, the international community has been here in Afghanistan since 2001, and you would hope women's rights had improved.

Now, a 20 percent rise in the cases we know about. So many of these cases, so many of these honor killings, are not recorded. So that is the real concern.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken about this and told the Afghan government that they need to improve their record. They need to look after women's rights and certainly make that commitment post- 2014.

HOLMES: Just an absolutely distressing story.

Anna Coren in Kabul, thanks for your reporting on this.

MALVEAUX: Unbelievable.

HOLMES: It is.

MALVEAUX: You and I have both been to Afghanistan and you see the streets and the women are completely covered, completely shielded and there really is no way of even identifying what kind of lives that they're living.

HOLMES: It is, as I say, you put trillions of dollars into trying to help a society and it's worse. Unbelievable.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, discouraging.

We've got some breaking news here. This is out of Texas. The Texas governor, Rick Perry, just spoke a moment ago at a press conference he was holding. This is related to out of Kaufman Texas.

This of course was the Texas D.A. and his wife who were murdered and they've offered a huge reward for anybody who knows who is behind this. This was just two months after another prosecutor was murdered.

Here's how he put the problem and how they hope to resolve this.


GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Every line of inquiry in a relentless pursuit of those who are responsible for these crimes.

We have full confidence that this investigation will lead to the conviction of whoever perpetrated these insidious crimes.

Today, I'm announcing that my office is offering a cash reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the capture and indictment of those responsible for the deaths of Mr. and Miss McLelland as well as Mr. Hasse.

As you know, Kaufman County Crime Stoppers is already offering a $100,000 reward information leading to the arrest and indictment for those responsible for Mr. Hasse's death.

It is our hope and our expectation that these rewards will help convince those who may be holding important information to come forward, and the Kaufman County Crime Stoppers phone number, by the way, is 1-877-847-7522. Let me repeat that. It's 1-877-847-7522.

Now, regardless, the criminals responsible for these murders will be caught, they will be convicted, and they will pay the price for these horrific crimes.

I'd like to introduce three individuals who will provide more information, Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood, Sheriff David Byrnes and FBI Special Agent Diego Rodriguez.

Judge Wood?


MALVEAUX: So between those two cases, you have obviously the D.A., his wife and the other prosecutor was killed, $200,000 that are being put out there for any information leading to who is going after law enforcement officials.

As you can imagine, there is increased security, and there is a lot of concern. Who's going after these guys?

HOLMES: A lot of fear out there, yeah. Yeah, $100,000 for each case now. (Inaudible) that announcement a few minutes ago, so Rick Perry there in Kaufman, Texas.

MALVEAUX: Conservative Catholic country now taking a big step towards legalizing same-sex marriage, but not without protest.

HOLMES: Yeah, we're going to have a look at where Latin America as a whole stands on this issue and where the rest of the world, indeed, stands compared to the United States.

That's when we come back.


HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.

The United States isn't the only country where the debate over same- sex marriage is playing out.

A dramatic shift in public opinion here obviously, but other countries are grappling with this issue as well.

MALVEAUX: And the question, of course, whether or not the rest of the world is following or leading.

In France today, a senate takes up a bill that would give same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt children.

Now the lower house has already approved it, but the Catholic Church, other religious groups and social conservative groups oppose the measure.

HOLMES: In Latin America, Uruguay was one of the first countries to actually approve civil unions. Now that country is actually a step closer to allowing same-sex marriage.

MALVEAUX: So the senate approved a bill this week to legalize same- sex marriage, and next week, before it goes to the lawmakers of the house, well, we'll see what happens.

Here's Rafael Romo.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Senators debated for almost eight hours, but in the end, the bill sailed through by a 23- to-eight vote.

The vote puts Uruguay one step closer to becoming the second country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage after Argentina.

RAFAEL MICHELINI, WIDE FRONT PARTY SENATOR (via translator): Today, we have all become better Uruguayans because we got rid of this prohibition, because we now have a more just legislation and because we can now raise the flag of freedom even higher.

ROMO: Among those objecting were senators who said Uruguay is getting away from its roots as a conservative Catholic country.

LUIS ALBERTO LACALLE, NATIONAL PARTY SENATOR (via translator): Marriage is the union between a man and woman, and our laws have always reflected that, following the traditions of Western civilization.

ROMO: Uruguay become polarized by three hot-button issues in the last year, legalization of marijuana, abortion and same-sex marriage.

People on all sides of the issues have protested, including these women who took off their clothes in front of the parliamentary building for women's reproductive rights.

The same-sex marriage bill is the most recent controversial issue parliament has taken up.

The bill will now be sent back to the lower house of the Uruguayan parliament, which is expected to vote on it next week.

Lawmakers had already approved a different version of the bill back in December.

President Jose Mojica has indicated that he has no objections and would sign the bill into law.

The gay rights movement is gaining momentum in the region. A march of support in gay rights in Chile, but so far that country has not considered the issue of gay marriage.

VALENTINA SUAZO, GAY ACTIVIST (via translator): We think that society has to accept us as we are so that we no longer have to hide behind the suit because we are already part of society. We're no longer a sexual minority.

ROMO: There was celebration on the streets of Buenos Aires in July of 2010 when Argentina became the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage.

Mexico City legalized it three years ago, but it's still outlawed in the country as a whole.


MALVEAUX: Rafael joins us.

So, Rafael, I have a couple questions for you. Here in the United States, we know that it is the Supreme Court, the law that is catching up to society, the government catching up to what people want. How does it work in South America? Who's actually leading the charge?

ROMO: The reality is that Latin America is becoming more and more secular. You saw it in Argentina.