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Royals Announce Kate's Due Date; Malala Starts a Charity; North Korea Ramps Up Talk; India Building Collapse; Argentina Battles Flooding

Aired April 5, 2013 - 12:00   ET



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

Let's begin in North Korea.

MALVEAUX: As we are told, two medium-range missiles are now ready for launch from North Korea's east coast. Nobody outside of North Korea knows yet if this launch is going to be a test or aimed at a specific target. They do know that the North Koreans have made their threatening language even louder and more aggressive in just the past couple of days.

HOLMES: And let's take you to Kazakhstan today as well. That's where diplomats from six countries are sitting down again to try to lower the tension surrounding Iran's nuclear program. Officials from Iran are there too. They're negotiating how much to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities. How they do that, hopes not high, let's face it. Four of these gatherings in the past year produced pretty much zero results.

MALVEAUX: And Pope Francis is now calling for divisive action against child sex abuse in the catholic church. Now, the Vatican says the pope wants to move forward on cases of guilty priests. He is also calling for church leaders to protect children and help those who have been abused.

In North Korea today, instead of easing up the threatening talk, the aggressive moves, they continue. They are just intensifying, actually. The latest word from the Korean peninsula is that Navy destroyers from the south are now off both coasts. At least two missiles from the north are in ready mode.

HOLMES: Yes, whether that's for a test, as we said, or something a little bit more sinister is the question.

Also today, the North Korean government told staffers at the Russian embassy, also the British embassy too, that they might want to evacuate because the tensions are so high. Nobody at those embassies moving out at the moment though.

MALVEAUX: And the U.S. military is doing two major things in response to North Korea's tough talk. On the one hand, beefing up missile defenses on Guam, home to many American Navy and Air Force bases. And on the other hand, the Pentagon now dialing back on its own language saying they want to turn the volume down, being careful not to escalate what might just turn out to be a war of words.

HOLMES: Yes, let's get Ambassador Christopher Hill in here now. He's probably got the most thought (ph) firsthand North Korean experience of anyone in the U.S. government today really.

Ambassador, the Pentagon approach a very diplomatic one. We actually talked about this before, about whether the U.S. was playing into the propaganda hand of North Korea. You agree with this approach?

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. DELEGATE TO N. KOREA TALKS: Yes, I think it's important not to get in a war of words with the North Koreans. I think we need to be kind of steady and to avoid any kind of escalation there. At the same time, I very much support the deployment of ships. I mean, we need to be ready. We don't know for certain whether this is all bluster from the North Koreans. So I think it's the right mix that is speaking in a kind of softer tone, but maybe carrying a bigger stick.

MALVEAUX: Chris, how is it that you actually prevent some sort of accident from happening, where you have North Korea triggering some sort of incident in which the response -- the South would respond in even more an aggressive way. And then you've just got something that gets out of hand.

HILL: Yes. I think this is the real concern. It's more of this kind of accidental conflict rather than North Korea aiming a missile at anybody. So I think the issue is, it's tougher now because there's no hotline. There's no ability to communicate with the North Koreans in real time. So I think the North Koreans simply have to understand that the South Koreans are not going to sit there and take it, as they've sometimes done in the past. So I think they understand that if there is a provocation, it could be very dangerous for them. And so --

MALVEAUX: And, Chris, who in the North -- who is actually speaking to the North Koreans? Excuse me. I mean, but where is that line of communication? How are people making inroads and channels to the North Koreans?

HILL: At this point, I'm sure the U.S. has a means through something called a New York channel that is through their U.N. mission. But I think probably, if there's any talk going on with the North Koreans in any kind of real time, it would be through the Chinese. So I'm sure we're very much in touch with the Chinese.

HOLMES: Yes, well, I think John Kerry's going to Beijing next week. And I'm sure they're going to have that sort of discussion and talk about that. China really the ones who have, I don't know, the leverage really. They control the faucets of fuel oil and food aid and things like that. And they're in a difficult position, aren't they? If they put on too much pressure, say the regime collapses, they're the ones who are going to be getting millions of refugees pouring across the border. On the other hand, they're sitting there watching the U.S. come in with naval assets and the like into their neighborhood. I mean it's a juggling act for them, isn't it? HILL: You got it. I mean, and I think the Chinese have always been kind of split on this issue. I mean there are a lot of Chinese who have kind of had it with the North Koreans. They think it's bad for business, bad for where China ought to be in the future.

But there are other Chinese who kind of feel that North Korea's part of their past and somehow if North Korea were to go down, it's not only refugees, it's the perception that this is a U.S. strategic victory and a Chinese strategic loss. So I think they are in a kind of difficult place. But what has been interesting the last month or two is to see the locus (ph) of opinion in China somewhat shifting to a more critical position on North Korea.

MALVEAUX: And, Chris, this seems unprecedented, but you have a situation where the North now is warning Russians, as well as the British, leave your embassies, leave the country, get out of here because there's going to be a lot of problems, a lot of tensions here. The Russians seem to be blowing it off so far. Have you seen anything like this before? And what do you make of the Russian's response to that?

HILL: You know, I was in the diplomatic service for 33 years. I don't think I've ever seen a situation where the host government says, we can't defend you, flee for your lives and the embassy says, no, we'll stay right here. It is truly amazing.

But I think it's indicative of the fact that this is how the North Koreans operate. They think this is kind of a mind game they're playing. And so, you know, they do this as part of their propaganda.

But, you know, we've not seen troop mobilizations. It's true there's been movement of missiles, but they have not taken the preparations for war. So I think this is more sort of propaganda thing to say, look, we are -- we are under such intense pressure from the U.S. and South Koreans. We don't know what's going to happen. You'd better leave. So I think it's really part of a propaganda, but my goodness, I've never seen anything like it.

HOLMES: Yes, the Brits saying they're staying put as well. You know, as long as the farce of words doesn't, you know, get blown up by somebody with a trigger finger, that's the real problem.

Ambassador, thanks so much. Always great to have your thoughts on this issue.

HILL: My pleasure.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Chris.

Tonight at 6:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer, he's going to devote a whole hour to the crisis in North Korea. He did it yesterday. Really incredible show there. You'll want to tune into a special edition of "The Situation Room." That is 6:00 p.m. Eastern. That is today.

HOLMES: This is an issue to keep watching for sure. All right. Now in India, a terrible story. Rescue crews are still searching for survivors who might be trapped in the rubble of a building collapse. This is in Mumbai.

MALVEAUX: At least 46 people were killed, 70 others injured. But rescuers have pulled some people out alive from what is left of that building. Sumnima Udas is in New Delhi.

And I understand that now there are children who have been pulled out as well.

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Suzanne. It's been more than eight -- 24 hours since that eight-story building collapsed in the outskirts of India's financial capital Mumbai. And rescuers are still digging through the rubble trying to find survivors. Right now authorities say, as you mentioned, 46 people have died, 17 of them are children, and more than 70 others have been injured.

Now, authorities say they still don't know what caused that collapse, but they believe shotty construction is the main reason. This particular building was built in just about three months time. It was illegal. It was built on forestland. And, unfortunately, this kind of illegal construction is really quite common here. Thousands of buildings in cities like Mumbai and Delhi are illegally built on land that is perhaps not even suitable for these kinds of very tall buildings. In cities like Delhi for instance, you have entire colonies built on what is essentially desert land or sand and then in cities like Mumbai, you have these very tall buildings built on marshland and all the slums that we've been seeing in movies or reading about, most of those are also illegal constructions. And because they're illegal, contractors tend to use substandard materials to build those structures.

HOLMES: Which, of course, Sumnima, begs the question, how do they get away with it? I mean they -- and as you say, this is right across the country this is happening. And this was not a small building. This was, I think, more than a dozen stories high. And it's got a twin that's still standing next to it. How do they do this? Why is there no crackdown, oversight?

UDAS: Enforcement is, unfortunately, very weak here, Michael, and that's the main problem. The building was still under construction, this particular building, and there were already people living inside these buildings. Now, most of these people were construction workers of that building. And this is very common in India because most of these construction workers are migrant workers. That come from villages very far away and they come to cities like Mumbai and Delhi for a few months and they have nowhere else to live. So this is very normal.

Now, the building contractor and the owner of the building is being held accountable, but they're currently on the run and authorities say they still haven't arrested anyone so far.

MALVEAUX: Sumnima, thank you so much. We really appreciate it. People in Argentina's capital say it is the worst flooding in recent memory. And you've got searchers, they're still pulling people out of these flood waters. They hope that they receive -- this is in and around Buenos Aires.

HOLMES: Yes, just look at those pictures. You've got entire neighborhoods still under water, although the waters are subsiding a little bit. These are pictures from the other day with people still on the rooftops there. Rafael Romo is here to see how people are getting by and what they need now.

The damage, as the waters go back, has been quite terrible.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: It's just incredible. It's definitely a catastrophic situation there.

First of all, let me begin by telling you how this all started. Let's go back to Tuesday night when it rained what it normally rains, listen to this, in the entire month of April. A total of 13 inches of torrential rains in just 12 hours. This caught both residents of the cities of La Plata and Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, totally by surprise. The catastrophic flash floods came in quickly, started flooding streets and then homes and some areas of flood waters rose well over six and a half feet, about two meters. Many victims died as they were desperately trying to get on rooftops and tree tops. There are also many cases of people who were electrocuted. Local officials say as many as 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in the city of La Plata.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They show up now. Mr. Governor shows up now after they evacuated all of us after we almost drowned. They can all go to hell. We lost everything. We lost everything.

ANTONIO LO FIEGO, FLOOD VICTIM (through translator): No, we didn't receive any assistance. The only thing there is, is a San Marten (ph) (INAUDIBLE) where the Red Cross is and where we put our names down to see, at the very least, they can give us a mattress.

CLAUDIO CASTRO, FLOOD VICTIM (through translator): The truth is that we're in very critical situation because the water took us by surprise. It rose very quickly and we lost everything that was on the ground floor.


ROMO: And to make matters even worse, looters started hitting stores and homes, taking advantage of the fact that the flash flood left many roads and highways impassable and that authorities couldn't reach those areas fast enough. Thousands of people have lost everything they had. Electrical devices, refrigerators, furniture, everything. Seventy-five schools have canceled classes because of damage caused by the floods. Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner declared three days of national mourning. Truly, truly a catastrophe in that part of Argentina.

MALVEAUX: And you have police and soldiers who are still going door- to-door, house-to-house, searching now for bodies. Do they suspect that there are people who have survived, who are still alive and need to be rescued as well?

ROMO: I was checking on that this morning. At this point, they believe that they won't find any more bodies. In a way that's the good news. The problem is that, when you talk about infrastructure, the problem is so big, so many damaged roads. Houses completely destroyed. The electrical grid that they're probably going to have to build from the ground up. It's just a very chaotic situation.

HOLMES: And the (INAUDIBLE) from the government, I mean they -- when you get 13 inches in 12 hours, I mean, one imagines there's not a whole lot they could do.

ROMO: That's exactly right. And politically speaking, Michael, the problem here was that the local authorities are complaining that the federal authorities didn't let them get money, essentially a loan from the World Bank, to improve infrastructure. So now the debate centers on whether that might have done a difference or might have helped the city of La Plata specifically to really survive this.

MALVEAUX: Yes. And did they get any warning? Is there any system where they get a heads up on something as tragic as this?

ROMO: They do get a warning. But they haven't seen so much rain so fast in decades. It was just incredible. Think about it, in 12 hours they got the rain that they normally get in the entire month of April. So there was very little, really, that people could do.

HOLMES: Extraordinary. All right. Rafael, thanks. Rafael Romo with that.

And here is more of what we're working on this hour for AROUND THE WORLD.

MALVEAUX: A new pope promising to do something about the child sex abuse that has damaged the catholic church. Now, he says he is going to protect the children. But there are some victims groups who, they're not so impressed.

HOLMES: And do you remember Malala, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban because she was going to school? Well, now she's joining forces with Angelina Jolie for a cause very close to her heart. Don't miss that story.

MALVEAUX: And kisses from princes. They might work in fairytales. But, well, this 4-year-old, she wasn't as impressed. We're going to watch. This is Prince William. Tried to (INAUDIBLE) but they rejected (ph).

HOLMES: Yes, not so fast, your highness. That's coming up.


HOLMES: All right, here are some of the stories making news "Around the World" right now.

Let's start in China. Health officials shutting down all live poultry markets in the city of Shanghai because of this unusual strain of bird flu.

MALVEAUX: So according to state-run media, six people have died from this virus. Until now it had never been seen in humans.

Authorities now zeroing in on the poultry markets after they found the bird flu strain in pigeons that were on sale there. So far they have killed more than 20,000 birds.

HOLMES: And here in the United States a disappointing jobs report is driving stocks down today. Check out the Dow. It's been down all day right from the start. It's down over three-quarters of one percent at the moment.

MALVEAUX: And the Labor Department says hiring slowed to a crawl in March. The economy added just 88,000 jobs. That is the lowest monthly gain since last June.

Now the unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent. That is just because so many people stopped looking for work.

HOLMES: Gave up.

OK. Let's take you to London now. An exciting honor for her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

You may recall she was one of the latest Bond girls. Well, sort of. The queen made that cameo last year with actor Daniel Craig, a.k.a. "James Bond," in the Olympics' opening ceremony.

Remember that?


Yesterday at Windsor Castle she received an honorary award at the British equivalent of the Oscars for supporting British TV and film.

The queen was called the "best Bond girl of all time." What do you think of that?

HOLMES: That was pretty funny. That was. And she's got a sense of humor, you know.

MALVEAUX: I love it.

HOLMES: For Britain's most famous at the moment royal couple, a pattern is starting to emerge. Personal information revealed not on Twitter or to reporters, but to regular folks.

MALVEAUX: Regular folks.

So this week's big reveal? The due date for Prince William and Catherine's baby. That's right. ITV's Tim Ewart takes on that royal visit.





TIM EWART, ITV NEWS REPORTER: A kiss may have been refused, but it was a day for talking to children and talking about babies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible). It's nice to meet you.

EWART: The Duchess of Cambridge, now nearly six months pregnant, confirmed in conversations here that her baby is due in mid-July, but she and William have a list of names for boys and girls and are bombarded with texts from friends with their suggestions.

And she was asked about her nursery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you got your (inaudible)?


EWART: Even Clyde, the mascot for next year's Commonwealth Games, had the royal baby on his mind.

There may be a lull in royal duties for William and Kate when their baby is born, but after that events like this are going to happen more and more frequently.

Kate said she'll carry on with public appearances until June. And once the baby is born, full royal duties will be resumed.

Tim Ewart, ITV News, Glasgow.


MALVEAUX: Coming up, Malala, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, now launching her own charity.

HOLMES: Yeah, and her big donor is Angelina Jolie.

We're going to hear from both of them, coming up. Stay with us.


HOLMES: All right. You can't forget this girl, Malala Yousufzai. Taliban militants, of course, shot her point-blank in the head for going to school.

MALVEAUX: Now, the 15-year-old, she is giving back to girls in her hometown. This is Pakistan Swat Valley. This is the very place where the Taliban tried to stop her from going to school and actually trying to kill her.

Our own Nick Paton Walsh has the story.

HOLMES: Yeah, it's a great story. Check it out.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Her dream so simple, what she endured for it so traumatic.

Malala Yousufzai shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls schooling, but now recuperated and eloquent again, Thursday, got her wish.

MALALA YOUSUFZAI, SHOT BY TALIBAN: Today, I'm going to announce the happiest moment of my life, and that is the first (inaudible) of Malala Fund in Swat Valley in my mother's name we are going to educate 40 girls.

And I want all of you to support Malala Fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls.

WALSH: She never saw the glare of New York's red carpets, but there, Angelina Jolie paid tribute to her and announced a personal donation of $200,000 to Malala's Fund.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS/FORMER U.N. GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: They shot her point-blank in the head, and made her stronger.

She is powerful, but she is also a sweet, creative, loving little girl who wants to help others.

WALSH: The larger battle lies ahead. Malala, after extensive reconstructive surgery, goes to school now, but in Birmingham where it's safer.

Her ordeal shining a light on the Pakistani Taliban's extraordinary prejudice, but also her indistinguishable spirit.

YOUSUFZAI: One day you will see that all the girls will be powerful. All the girls will be going to school.

And it is possible only by our struggle. It is possible only when we raise our voice.


MALVEAUX: Nick Paton Walsh joins us from London.

And, Nick, we understand that you've learned more about where this money is going to go. What have we learned?

WALSH: Well, this initial $45,000 will go towards the schooling of 40 girls in an undisclosed location in that part of the Swat Valley.

Now it really gives you an idea of how perilous it still is in the area of Pakistan where Malala is from that they can't even say where this educational facility's going to be.

And it's going to cost quite so much to be able to put them through education.

But that's the hope that they start small, grow larger and, hopefully, the Pakistani Taliban, so deeply disenfranchised by what happened to Malala, disgusted a generation in Pakistan, about some girls to be able to go to school in a particularly turbulent part of Pakistan, Suzanne.

HOLMES: All right, Nick. Yeah, thanks for that.

Nick Paton Walsh there in London, what an uplifting example, she is.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, it's great. It's amazing. She looks beautiful, and she is strong and courageous.

HOLMES: Started jogging, apparently, even.


HOLMES: Yeah. Shot in the head. Unbelievable. Great story.

All right. Pope Francis talks about child sex abuse for the first time since becoming leader of the Catholic Church.

MALVEAUX: And he's promising to act decisively. We're going to talk about what that really means, up next.