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AROUND THE WORLD

"Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher Dies; South Korea Prepares Just in Case; Several Killed in Convoy in Afghanistan; Republicans Question Beyonce, Jay-Z Cuba Visit;

Aired April 8, 2013 - 12:00   ET

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


JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT, FORMER JUVENILE COURT JUDGE: From last year for a three-year period. And so if these allegations -- if the D.A. goes forward with these and she's prosecuted and found guilty, I mean you could be talking about some serious matters on this. And so I think that the prosecutors worry about public scrutiny on these and I think that they're going to look at it.

PAUL CALLAN: Citizen harassed by (ph) the porn star. Boy --

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You know what, Judge Hatchett and Paul Callan -- no way. I'm not going to let you in on this one.

CALLAN: Citizen harassed by the porn star. That's a great thing. We've got to give -- we've got to give kudos to that guy. Yes, OK.

BANFIELD: We -- we had so much breaking news with the passing of Margaret Thatcher, I have to cut it short there. But thank you to both of you, Paul Callan and Glenda Hatchett.

And, everyone, thank you for watching. Stay tuned. AROUND THE WORLD is next.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the program.

We begin in England, of course.

MALVEAUX: Her political toughness earned her the nickname "the iron lady." Well, today, leaders from around the world remembering former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher died today of a stroke.

HOLMES: Yes, she was 87 years old. Britain's first female prime minister. The only one so far. And played a major role, of course, in helping end the Cold War. We've got a lot more on this, her life and her legacy, coming up.

MALVEAUX: And in Syria, a massive car bomb tore through Damascus killing at least 15 people and injuring dozens more. The bomb went off in an area near one of the biggest public squares in the Syrian capitol. Now, the square, surrounded by state buildings, including the Central Bank of Syria.

HOLMES: Syrian state television says it is believed the explosion was set off by a suicide bomber. Syria's civil war, of course, has been going on two years now. More than 70,000 people have died.

Let's take you to Israel. There is a push-on today to maybe kick-start peace talks between Israel and Palestinians. Secretary of State John Kerry the one doing the pushing.

MALVEAUX: He is in the Middle East and he has already met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Well, next, he has dinner planned with the Israeli prime minister as well. And yesterday Kerry made a stop in Turkey, a key ally. He talked with leaders there about staying on a path towards better relations with Israel.

HOLMES: Well, Margaret Thatcher once said she didn't think there would be a female prime minister of Britain during her lifetime. Well, six years later, she got the job.

MALVEAUX: Today, people in Britain and around the world, of course, remembering her as one of the most influential politicians in the 20th century. She died today after suffering a stroke. And Thatcher's "iron lady" reputation, really a reflection of her strength. She was determined, but also could be divisive as well. She was iconic. Becky Anderson has her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She did defiance.

MARGARET THATCHER, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The lady's not returning (ph).

ANDERSON: She did direct.

THATCHER: No. No. No.

ANDERSON: And, when she chose, was femininity alongside the steel.

THATCHER: Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

ANDERSON: Her longest serving cabinet member remembers it this way.

GEOFFREY HOWE, FORMER CHANCELLOR AND FOREIGN SECRETARY: Her style was essentially a determination not to be driven off course. Her phraseology, there is no alternative. "The lady's not returning" demonstrated a clear determination to see tough policies through.

ANDERSON (on camera): Margaret Thatcher grew up here in Grantham, a solid, uncomplicated English market town. And the values that she learned here shaped her entire political ideology. Her father, a pillar of the community, ran a corner shop.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Margaret Roberts, as she was born, lived with her parents and sister above the family grocery shop. She had the honor of serving as her school representative or head girl in her final year before she went up to Oxford where she studied chemistry. But it was her father who was her biggest influence. It was he who impressed upon her the wrongs, as he saw it, of living beyond your means. A lesson she took to heart.

THATCHER: One of the most immoral things you can do is to pose as the moral politician demanding more for health, for education, more for industry, more for housing, more for everything. And then when you see the bill say, no, no, I didn't mean you're to pay tax to pay for it. I meant you to borrow more.

SUSIE WALLINGTON, GRANTHAM CONSERVATIVE WOMEN'S ORG.: I think she was a woman for the moment. We'd had the (INAUDIBLE) of discontent. We'd had (INAUDIBLE) strike. We really needed a strong leader. And that's what we got.

ANDERSON: For today's conservative ladies of Grantham, Margaret Thatcher is a source of great pride.

JILL BARRY, GRANTHAM CONSERVATIVE WOMEN'S ORG.: She had such a wonderful code to life. You know, you've got certain rules and regulations and the way you conduct yourself, manners, this sort of thing. She was a great icon of those things.

ANDERSON: While her record will likely remain contested, as it surely does for all major political figures, her passion for office and conviction in what she believed was never in any doubt.

THATCHER: There are those who say our nation no longer has the stomach for the fight. I think I know our people. And I know they do.

ANDERSON: Becky Anderson, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: She won three elections as prime minister. She helped end, of course, the Cold War. And her political legacy really spanning the globe. A trailblazer, iconic in my I many ways.

HOLMES: She did. And as we heard there, divisive too in many ways. Held her own against the men of her time, that's for sure. From Gorbachev to Reagan to the first President Bush as well.

MALVEAUX: Want to bring in our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, to talk a little bit about your own experience with her. You met her. You had dinner with her. Tell us a little bit about what she was like.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, when I did, it was long after she had been deposed, you remember, stabbed in the back by her own party after very unpopular moves such as the poll tax back in 1990, 1991. In fact, right in the middle of having deployed a huge British force to support the U.S. in the first Gulf War, it was right at that time, and I remember so well because I was covering the Gulf War, that the British prime minister was deposed and another leader had to come on. In any event, she was an incredibly dynamic woman. She left a legacy that has spanned not just the generation during which she was prime minister, she won three elections, matched only by Tony Blair, and she has been, you know, identified with Britain ever since. They used to call it Thatcher's Britain. Sometimes for good, sometimes in a derisive way people called it.

But there's no doubt that she was, as Boris Johnson, the conservative mayor of London, today said, a revolutionary figure. Not only did she crash the iron -- or rather the glass ceiling in Britain and became the first female prime minister, but she did it in a way that was as a conviction politician. And today, as we see so many political leaders, you know, put their finger in the wind and decide which way to blow, she was the one who actually did it the old fashioned way and really carried out her convictions.

HOLMES: Yes.

AMANPOUR: And so she really stands up for so many things, including liberty around the world. And we can discuss that if you like to.

HOLMES: You put your finger on it there. She was somebody who really didn't go with the winds of change that we see today. And in many ways changed how a state is run in terms of privatization and the like. But for the U.S. audience, you know, it's interesting. I was based in London from '87 to '91 and saw that sort of end of Thatcher and the poll tax year and all of that. And it's interesting here in the U.S., she sort of bathed in a glorious light, if you like. But you can't talk about her without covering her divisiveness of her politics and policies, even within her own party.

AMANPOUR: Well, look, I think that's true. Look, the proof of the pudding is that she was not turffed (ph) out of office by the voters. She might have been. But she wasn't. She was turffed (ph) out because her own party decided that they didn't want her at the top anymore.

And, by the way, there was not a single elected -- you know, it took a long, long time for conservatives to come back into power after John Major, up until 1990 -- you know, it was that ability that allowed Tony Blair to become prime minister in '97. And he even said that we have to recognize the constructive contributions of Margaret Thatcher.

So, she's begun to have a huge rehabilitation over the years. And her popularity in 2011, which was one of the last polls taken, was very much higher than it was at the end of her time.

But, look, she helped very, very -- in a huge and large way, very, very significant way in the (INAUDIBLE) between the Soviet Union and the United States. She was the bridge between then Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev and then U.S. President Ronald Reagan. And she saw that there was an avenue there, to explore it and to help bring down the communist regime and to fall and topple the iron curtain.

She also, as we know and as you've been talking about, decided that when Britain was threatened, as she put it, when the Malvinas, the Falkland Islands, were taken again by the Argentines, she wasn't going to let that stand and she sent out the expeditionary force to recapture it. There, and I've just been talking to former Prime Minister John Major, she was very disappointed by the United States because she did not get the help and support that she felt that she needed and she felt she deserved as somebody who stood literally shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States. So that was something that I think pained her quite a lot.

And then, of course, in the first Gulf War, she stood very, very firmly against Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. She stood with President George Bush. And some would say even perhaps, you know, pushed him to make sure that this was an aggression that was going to be met and forced out if sanctions didn't succeed in moving Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, which they didn't.

And today there have been an outpouring of messages from both President Bushs, from President Obama, who said that, you know, for his daughters, she has been a phenomenal example of the power of a woman to shatter the last glass ceiling certainly in British politics. And also that she was a politician of conviction.

MALVEAUX: And we're going to have much, much more, Christiane, on "the iron lady" coming up a little bit later in the hour. Thank you so much. Really appreciate your insights.

Want to go to -- this is the Korean peninsula, following another provocative move that is sure to add to this already tense situation here. North Korea now saying it is pulling its workers out of the industrial complex that it operates with South Korea.

HOLMES: Already the North had banned South Korean workers from the complex and threatened to shut it down. You see there, South Korean workers coming back from the complex into South Korea.

MALVEAUX: Also, South Korea's leaders say that the North could conduct another missile test as early as Wednesday. But South Korea's unification minister is walking back on some of the comments made about the North getting ready for a new nuclear test. He says he meant that North Korea is continuously preparing for another test. So they're trying to walk that back a little bit if they can, but, you know.

HOLMES: Yes, saying he misspoke, really. Yes. Got everybody a bit worried when he said that.

MALVEAUX: Yes.

HOLMES: But for weeks now, of course, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has been threatening attacks against the U.S., also against South Korea. The U.S. having to dial back its show of force to stop things getting worse in many ways.

MALVEAUX: Yes. And both the U.S. and South Korea now preparing in case the North actually follows through with its threats. Kyung Lah actually talks about how that could happen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Neighbors of the U.S. Osan Air Base are used to the sounds of military drills. But when the American patriot missile batteries go up and armed, pointed north to the sky, they know this is not another ordinary maneuver.

"I feel much more secure with the U.S. army right next to us," says this Osan business owner, even though North Korea has threatened to attack U.S. bases. The missiles, a sign that the region is ready to counter a possible attack.

But it's not just in the military town. Across South Korea's cities, amid the rush of daily life, visible signs of preparation for a potential disaster. Twenty-four underground locations, and that's just in one district in the city of Goyang says Li Gong Il (ph) with the city's civil defense unit. This is the city's latest disaster plan posted at bus stations and apartment buildings.

LAH (on camera): This sign says "shelter" in Korean as part of this city's emergency disaster plan. If there is something that happens, the people are supposed to try to get into this and other parking structures in the city. And you can see for yourself, this is several stories deep. It is solid concrete. This is essentially an urban underground bunker.

LAH (voice-over): Most commuters ignore the new fliers and instructions, numb to the threats from Pyongyang. North Korea is just 15 miles away from here.

But this woman, born during the Korean War, sees it differently. "We already lived through difficult times. And now we have a better life," she says. "I'm worried about everything that's happening now."

A nation quietly preparing for a just-in-case for the unimaginable.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Goyang, South Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: And tonight, 6:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer is going to devote an entire hour to the crisis in North Korea. Tune in for a special edition of "The Situation Room." Not going to want to miss that as well. 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

HOLMES: Yes.

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

Nothing like spending your vacation in North Korea.

MALVEAUX: Kind of strange.

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Some Americans are doing just that. They just got back from their trip. They're going to actually share a couple of pictures with us.

And speaking of controversial vacations. Beyonce and Jay-z, of course, getting a rousing applause. A very warm welcome on their trip to Cuba.

HOLMES: But some lawmakers, well, they're not happy back here at home. We'll tell you why.

MALVEAUX: Plus, exclusive video from inside a Taliban training camp. Stay with us for a rare look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Well, here in the United States family and colleagues mourning the death of a young American diplomat today.

Anne Smedinghoff was just 25-years-old. She was among those killed in an attack on a U.S. convoy in Afghanistan this weekend.

MALVEAUX: She was part of a group that delivering donated textbooks to schools in southern Afghanistan, and her parents spoke to CNN earlier, told us that she was always driven to help others.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY BETH SMEDINGHOFF, ANNE SMEDINGHOFF'S MOTHER: We would somewhat joke with her sometimes about how we just wanted to, you know, see her safe within the walls of the embassy compound, but that was not who Anne was.

TOM SMEDINGHOFF, ANNE SMEDINGHOFF'S FATHER: Yeah, she wanted to be out. She wanted to be out doing things with the local population. And there was no keeping her down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Anne Smedinghoff is believed to be the first U.S. diplomat killed since the September attack in Benghazi, Libya.

MALVEAUX: This weekend's attack just highlights things not completely secure as the combat troops are getting to withdraw from the country. That's happening next year.

In a CNN exclusive, our own Nic Robertson takes a look at how the Taliban are getting new recruits ready now to step in.

HOLMES: Yeah, he talks to a journalist who went inside and spent a week at a training camp on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: this is not your normal Taliban video, more misses than hits, raw recruits struggling to master their weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get everything in this (inaudible) condition of homes, kitchens, sleeping.

ROBERTON: He is a Pakistani journalist. Out of concern for his safety, wants his identity kept secret.

He tells me the Pakistani Taliban gave him rare access to one of their remote training camps close to Afghanistan where he saw them preparing for the NATO pullout over the border. A battle he says the Taliban think they've won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say we inflicted damages on them. That's why they're withdrawing from the region. They said that is our success that they are going to withdraw from the region.

ROBERTSON: He says he shot this video over a year ago, and for the week he was there, he followed four young Pakistani suicide attack recruits, the training as detailed as it was long and relentless, everything from gun cleaning to rehearsing murder while driving in a car.

All of it, he says, apparently under American drone surveillance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drones were hovering there, but that drones were -- would hide. There was fear of drone military operation, everything.

ROBERTSON: Later, after he left, he says this building was hit in a drone strike. Nine Taliban killed.

It's why only a handful train together and why the camps are kept spartan.

But he says it doesn't stop the recruits coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say that if the U.S. stay here, we are happy because we want to fight with them, face-to-face.

ROBERTSON: As U.S. troops draw down in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban are increasingly upping their fight across the border.

This is one of their recent propaganda videos shot in Afghanistan.

In a barbaric act, they murder a man they claim is an Afghan spy working for NATO. CNN cannot confirm its authenticity.

It is a chilling reminder of how once raw recruits hone their skills and how Pakistan's Taliban, emboldened by the NATO drawdown, are flooding more fighters across the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have very meager resources, very meager resources, but their determination -- when I saw their determination, their determination was very high.

ROBERTSON: These raw recruits, just a handful in a gathering storm, ready to take advantage in a battle they think they've won.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: All right. This story getting a lot of attention here. Beyonce stirring up some controversy as well as Jay-Z. Got a little trip.

HOLMES: They popped down to Cuba. Not everybody's happy about it.

We'll tell you about it when we come back, her and Jay-Z, hot water.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Beyonce, Jay-Z, used to being in the spotlight of course, but not for this reason.

Two Republican lawmakers from Florida want to know why it is that they showed up in Cuba last week. They were there to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

HOLMES: They were. But the U.S. has some pretty tough rules against travel to the communist nation.

And even though the restrictions have been loosened a little bit as recently as last year, most Americans who travel there have to have a special license. So, did they?

MALVEAUX: Rafael Romo ...

HOLMES: That's the question.

MALVEAUX: ... with all the answers. Yeah.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Fly to Cuba of all places, right? But anyway, that's their call and that's what they did.

And two Cuban-American members of Congress are asking the U.S. government to look into the trip to Cuba by Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart suggest the superstar couple violated restrictions on travel to the communist Caribbean island.

They represent south Florida, home to a large community of Cubans who fed the communist regime of Fidel Castro.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Treasury Department, the lawmakers say, despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple's trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda.

It goes on to say, "We represent a community of many who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime's atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of murdered innocents."

Now Beyonce and Jay-Z were in Havana last week, apparently to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. As part of their trip, they visited La Guarida, a fine restaurant in downtown Havana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SILVIA FERNANDEZ, WAITRESS AT LA GUARIDA RESTAURANT (via translator): When she came down, there were people passing by and leaning over the balcony and they recognized her and started shouting, Beyonce, Beyonce, to her, and so we realized it was her.

They went up and she came with her husband. And when they got here, they walked around the entire restaurant to have a look at it.

They were very nice. They said hello to everyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMO: The U.S. government restricted travel to Cuba for its citizens after Fidel Castro took power in 1959, although educational and cultural exchanges are allowed.

The state-run Cuban website, Cuba Si, says the couple was in Cuba as tourists. And the Florida lawmakers also believe that was the case.

We have tried repeatedly to reach out to Beyonce and Jay-Z for comment on this, but so far we have been unsuccessful.

MALVEAUX: So explain for the rules just very briefly here. What is the proper thing that they needed to do or that they had to do before they traveled there?

ROMO: For the average American, it's nearly impossible to go to Cuba.

But the reality is what happens is Americans who want to go either travel to Mexico or to Canada, and then from there travel to Havana. And the Cubans know this so well that they don't stamp their passports. So it happens all the time.

Now, if you want to go the legal way, it's nearly impossible unless it is a trip sanctioned by the State Department, it's educational or cultural in purpose, or you are a state official, say you want to sell something to Cuba, you have a fact finding mission. That way it's a lot easier to go.

But for the average American nearly impossible to go.

HOLMES: What would the penalty be if it's deemed that they broke the law?

ROMO: More than likely it's just going to be a fine. And nobody has ever been jailed for going to Cuba. And I don't expect in this case we'll be talking about that at all.

MALVEAUX: And entertainers do this from time to time. Could they simply argue this was a cultural trip that they were taking?

ROMO: It would be very difficult in this case because there's a lot of video of them just ... HOLMES: Having a good time.

ROMO: ... having a good time, going to this restaurant, going to downtown Havana. They went to the cathedral.

So, if at least they had had some sort of cultural exchange or activity, maybe they could have argued that, but it's going to be hard.

HOLMES: We'll see what happens. I think these days the State Department really wants to know too much. I mean, they are lighting it up a lot.

ROMO: It's out in the open.

HOLMES: Rafael, good to see you.

MALVEAUX: Very political, too, so it's not surprising it's come up.

HOLMES: Rafael Romo, as always, thanks.

MALVEAUX: Tributes to Great Britain's Iron Lady continue to pour in from around the world.

Coming up we're going to 10 Downing Street for more on the death of Margaret Thatcher.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)