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AROUND THE WORLD

Same Sex Marriage in Latin America; "Jew in a Box" Art Installation Causing Controversy; North Korean Talk Gets Tougher; Scientists Close in on Dark Matter

Aired April 4, 2013 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Who's actually leading the charge?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: The reality is that Latin America is becoming more and more secular. You saw it in Argentina. Now it's happening in Uruguay and then these protests in Chile asking for gay rights that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.

So more and more, you see people taking care or caring about those issues that in the past were not even discussed, and that's a reason why you see this bill.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Does it dramatically change the law? What does it actually do to the existing law?

ROMO: That's a good question, Michael. I was actually taking a look at what the text of the bill says, and it is very interesting.

For example, first of all, it defines marriage as a permanent union under the law of two persons. It used to be husband and wife, of different or same-sex.

Also, it changes the words husband and wife to contracting parties or spouses.

And number three, and this is very interesting because in Latin America people use two last names, fathers and mothers, it allows parents to choose the order of last names.

In cases, for example, where a same-sex couple is adopting a child, it defines how that is going to be done. So it is very specific as to what's going to happen, very practical. They're already looking at all the issues that may arise after this.

MALVEAUX: Do we think there's a trend here? Do we think this is going to signal other countries in Latin America to move forward on same-sex marriage?

ROMO: Probably. The next country to jump on the bandwagon would probably be Chile.

I don't see countries like Mexico or Colombia doing that just yet.

Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2009, but the rest of the country remains very conservative, and as a matter of fact, states in the country are passing laws that prohibit gay marriage.

So it's going to be many more years before you see a change there.

HOLMES: OK. Rafael, good to see you. Fascinating story. Thanks for that.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Rafi.

HOLMES: All right, a German museum exhibit features a Jewish person sitting in a glass box answering questions from visitors.

MALVEAUX: Critics call it the "Jew in a Box," and they say it is insulting.

But the museum curators say it's art, it's honest. We're going to actually speak with one of those curators, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, to AROUND THE WORLD. Here are some of the other stories we're following today.

MALVEAUX: In eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials say a NATO air strike has killed four local policemen and two civilians.

A spokesman for NATO says they are investigating what happened.

HOLMES: In Cairo, an episode of "The Daily Show" caused a Twitter war between the U.S. and Egypt.

The tweet came from the U.S. embassy in Cairo with a link to the show.

MALVEAUX: So what is this all about?

In it, Jon Stewart criticized the Egyptian president for the arrest of this man here. He's simply a comedian, Bassem Youssef, and Youssef has often been compared to Stewart.

HOLMES: Yeah, the popular comedian was taken in -- we reported this the other day -- and questioned by Egyptian state authorities, last week, eventually fined for insulting Islam and the Egyptian president.

MALVEAUX: So when the U.S. got involved, the U.S. embassy posting this link, the office of President Morsi, well, they shot back with their own tweet, saying it is inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in such negative political propaganda.

HOLMES: That apparently led to the shutdown of the Twitter feed on Wednesday. It is back up, but, surprise, surprise without the offending tweet.

MALVEAUX: Twitter war.

In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma says the health of Nelson Mandela is now improving. Mr. Zuma visited the former president today in the hospital, and Mandela -- he is 94-years-old -- he is being treated for a lung infection, everybody wishing him the very best.

HOLMES: Yeah, the news pretty good. Getting better, it would seem.

Well, if the purpose of art to get people talking, then an exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Berlin is fulfilling that mission, that's for sure.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, one part of the exhibit making some folks kind of angry.

So here's what we're talking about here. It is a simple chair. It's a glass box.

So a Jewish man or woman, sitting there for a couple of hours. They sit in the box. They invite visitors to ask them about anything about their religion or what is it like to be Jewish.

So the thing is it's the box part that's making people uncomfortable here.

HOLMES: Yeah, exactly.

The critics are saying it's dehumanizing, degrading even, and they call the exhibit "Jew in a Box."

Well, Michal Friedlander is the curator of the exhibit, joins us now from Berlin.

First of all, you take offense at the start of people calling this "Jew in a Box." What is the name of the exhibit and explain more your idea behind it?

MICHAL FIREDLANDER, JUDAICA CURATOR, JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN: The actual name of the exhibit is "The Whole Truth -- Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Jews."

And the idea about the "Jew in the Box" -- well, we don't call it the "Jew in the Box" -- is we wanted to give the opportunity for people to actually meet a real Jewish person.

In local libraries in the states, you have people meeting the doctor, the dentist, the policeman, so why not have somebody meet somebody Jewish?

Because in Germany it's strange for someone to meet someone Jewish. They just don't have that opportunity.

And people here who are Jewish in Germany feel themselves as if they're curiosities.

MALVEAUX: So, just if I may, there are a lot of people who are weighing in on this. Some are criticizing what they see this as almost like somebody who is almost like in a cage or like an animal.

And I want you to hear this. This is from Eran Levy, an Israeli who's lived in Berlin for years. So he tells the Associated Press that he was really horrified by this because he said, "It's a horrible thing to do, completely degrading, not helpful.

"The Jewish Museum absolutely missed the point if they wanted to improve relations between Germans and Jews here."

I mean, very, very uncomfortable with the presentation of this. Can you just address some of the criticism, the discomfort people have with this?

FRIEDLANDER: Well, first of all, the gentleman that made that comment had not actually seen the exhibition, and this showcase is one of 30 showcases in the entire exhibition and each one deal with a different question, which are the questions that Germans in Germany have about the Jewish religion.

And here we have the question of, are there still Jews in Germany? And we decided that the most positive way to answer that is to show, yes, we're alive. Jews are alive and living here and it shows continuation. It's something very, very positive.

And we don't -- it's not a closed box. It's a showcase which is open at the front. It's very welcoming and the visitors just approach like you would an information box.

HOLMES: It's sort of like a frame, I suppose, in an art gallery from your perspective.

But you mentioned that there are not a lot of Jewish people in Germany and that people don't often get to interact with Jews.

What are the sorts of questions people are asking?

FRIEDLANDER: Well, they're asking very simple questions like, why are you sitting here? What's your personal experience of living in Germany? But also about the Jewish religion, and, of course, we get the stereotypical questions about why there are so many rich and influential Jews? Why are Jews great musicians?

And the person who's in the box is not a famous personality. It's just a Jewish person, a different person every day. And they don't necessarily even know the answers. It's just a person.

MALVEAUX: Who ...

FRIEDLANDER: They're not experts on everything.

MALVEAUX: Sure.

Who are these people? What is their experience when they're in the box? How do they experience it when they come out of the box and they get all these questions from folks?

FRIEDLANDER: A lot of people are very, very tentative about doing it. And I think nearly everybody who's done it would like to do it again. I think for them it's very enriching to come into direct dialogue, and for some reason, this is a situation where people feel free to ask the questions which are really bothering them and it gives them the opportunity to actually bring it out into the open.

And that's what this exhibition tries to do is encourage a discourse and to open the discourse and to get those taboo questions out on the table.

We also have the question, for example, is anyone allowed to make a joke about the Holocaust? Can a German criticize Israel? These are all questions that are in people's heads and they're never really allowed to ask, so this gives them a forum.

MALVEAUX: All right. Miss Friedlander, thank you very much. We appreciate you coming on and addressing this.

Of course, a lot of people have been talking about this exhibit. You see that young man who's in the box. He seems quite comfortable, you know?

HOLMES: Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: He's there. He seems ready to answer the questions that are presented there.

HOLMES: If art's meant to be thought provoking, it's certainly that.

MALVEAUX: It sure did just that.

HOLMES: All right. Well, the chances of all-out war between North and South Korea they do seem pretty slim if you're sensible about it.

But worst case, what would that war look like?

MALVEAUX: Well, we're actually going to show you that possible scenario, gaming it out, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Thanks for joining us. Back again.

North Korea cranking up tough talk another notch today, directly accusing the United States of actively pursuing a nuclear war.

HOLMES: U.S. officials say they have reason to believe the North Koreans will soon launch a missile off their East Coast, but possibly just a test run, a show of force perhaps.

MALVEAUX: The Pentagon says U.S. military missile defense systems and people are on the way to Guam right now. It's an island that North Korea calls a possible target now.

HOLMES: So, hypothetically, what would a full-on military conflict with North Korea look like?

MALVEAUX: Our Tom Foreman, he got together with retired Army General James "Spider" Marks to try to visualize a worst case scenario.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Despite the global implications of a full-on clash between the North and the South, the truth is, the brunt of it would be borne by the Korean peninsula. So let's talk about how things might play out there.

We know the DMZ is so heavily fortified, neither the South nor the North could simply bash through there. But what would happen if the North got aggressive and wanted to start a fight?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Tom, the first thing we'd see would be artillery and missile fire coming from the North, from the north slope of those mountains that define the DMZ. So the folks in the -- the coalition forces in the South wouldn't be able to see that when it's about to happen.

FOREMAN: What we also be seeing at that time?

MARKS: Simultaneously, North Korea will insert, probably by submarine and by air, their special operations forces. And they have a very large special operations capability. They'll also activate sleeper agents that have been in the South for quite some time.

FOREMAN: Which would help guide that artillery and those missiles.

MARKS: Absolutely.

FOREMAN: What would the U.S. and South Korean forces and others do in response to all of this?

MARKS: Well, the very first thing is, they would increase the presence of the United States Navy, primarily much like we see here.

FOREMAN: Aircraft carriers, things like that.

MARKS: Aircraft carriers. So to get more aircraft into the fight. So the Air Force and the naval air would go after those artillery and missile pieces. Then they would go after the air defense capability in the North, the command in control, much like communication capabilities in the North. So they would command the air space.

FOREMAN: And ultimately after things like bridges, roads, things like that.

MARKS: Absolutely. To eliminate the freedom of movement of the North Korean force.

FOREMAN: But this is a worst case scenario. In fact, you don't think that this is likely to happen.

MARKS: I don't think that it's going to happen. What's probably going to happening is limited objective attacks, much like we saw a few years ago --

FOREMAN: Against those islands, against that boat where the North hit a few targets just to show that they were strong.

MARKS: Exactly. Correct. The North went after South Korean targets, not U.S. presence.

FOREMAN: And that's what we might see if this were to play out in the worst ways as we move forward.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Fascinating. And tonight, 6:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer is going to host a special edition of "The Situation Room" because a lot of people looking at this.

HOLMES: A lot to talk about.

MALVEAUX: Very, very tense right now.

HOLMES: Yes, a lot to talk about. Don't miss that tonight on "The Situation Room."

Well, you could call it the glue that holds the universe together.

MALVEAUX: So we really don't know what is the so-called dark matter? What is this all made up of? Well, now I think we have an idea.

HOLMES: We have an idea now. We'll tell you about that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: All right now here's a heavy topic. You know what the universe is made of?

MALVEAUX: All that glue, the dark matter, right?

HOLMES: That's it.

MALVEAUX: That's what they're calling it.

HOLMES: We talk about this, you know, over dinner every night. What is the universe made of?

MALVEAUX: So, I guess it's exciting, right? Space Station researchers, they're one step closer to finding out what all of this is and what it's made of. Nick Paton Walsh, he's got the idea.

HOLMES: Explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been called the glue that binds the universe together, "dark matter." Scientists have never seen it, but guess it must invisibly exist because galaxies are heavier than the stuff they can see and measure, like the stunning phenomena of the northern lights. They think dark matter accounts for a quarter of the universe, so proving it's there is vital. It's the heavy matter in a galaxy that stops it falling apart as it spins.

So how do they think they found it?

WALSH (on camera): Well, you can't see dark matter at all, but sometimes it collides with other particles of dark matter in a process called annihilation. And it's annihilation which is given this previously imperceptible dark matter away.

WALSH (voice-over): When that happens, scientists think they should see a slight rise in the presence of something called positrons. These are the universe's counterbalance for the electrons you learned about in school on the outskirts of every atom.

ROBERT FLACK, DEPT. OF PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY, UCL: If our theories are correct, especially Einstein's theory of relativity, which explains the motion of our planet and the stars and the galaxies, if there is still to be maintained, then dark matter needs to exist.

WALSH: A rise in positrons (ph) is what they think they've measured on the International Space Station using a $1.6 billion sensor, the most expensive yet. But finding dark matter is so dramatically important because its mass lets galaxies hang together. It lets us exist.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: All right, Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from London.

Tell us what it may mean to shed, let's say, new light on dark matter.

WALSH: Well, it's a pretty big deal for scientists in many ways because they've been relying on dark matter existing to explain kind of a missing quarter over the universe that doesn't work out under their math. Galaxies spin so quickly that they need to be heavier otherwise they'd fall apart. Because they keep measuring galaxies more precisely. So, in many ways, if dark matter didn't exist, scientists would have to kind of invent it for themselves otherwise Einstein's theory of relativity wouldn't make sense to them. The key thing for them, though, is they learn more about what the universe is made of, they can begin to get into greater detail about how it will proceed in the future, Michael.

MALVEAUX: So it's like a glue. Why do they call it dark matter?

WALSH: Well, because we don't have another (ph) name for it. They've never seen it. They don't quite know what it exists of. It's perhaps a sign it exists from positrons, which is sort of a similar thing to electrons you see in every atom. But one scientist spokesman (ph) said, yes, we call it dark matter. We don't know what it is. And, frankly, if it didn't exist, we'd have to invent it, otherwise all our maps wouldn't make sense.

Michael.

HOLMES: That makes perfect sense, actually.

MALVEAUX: Honest answer, at least. HOLMES: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh, Mr. Versatile. He goes -- he goes Syria, Beirut and he's in London with dark matter. Go figure. And in a suit. Good to see you, Nick.

WALSH: Michael.

MALVEAUX: All right, we're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: All right. Check out this video. An example, kind of, I guess, some bad decision making, if you will.

HOLMES: You -- yes, really. Check this out. The guy, yes, he is drunk. This is in northern China. Got himself into a bit of a bind. Yes, he dropped down there. He was up on a utility pole, dangled from the power cables. He's 30 feet above the ground.

MALVEAUX: All right. So, authorities, at least they cut the power, thank God. Then they tried to get him down to no avail. He finally falls to a second layer of cables and then into the net below.

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Lucky for him, no injuries.

HOLMES: Didn't hit the ground. No one was hurt in the making of that little clip.

MALVEAUX: But not his best moment, I'm sure.

HOLMES: Had a headache, though.

MALVEAUX: A really big one.

HOLMES: A really big one.

All right, that will do it for me. Thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD. I've got to get out of here. You stick around.

MALVEAUX: All right, CNN NEWSROOM starts right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Cancer clinics are turning away some patients, saying that forced spending cuts