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Healing After Boston Bombing; Interview with Mery Daniel and Bonnie St. John; New Information in Madeleine McCann Disappearance; Hunger Strike at Guantanamo; Venezuela Has Run Out of Toilet Paper; 10-Year-Old Vows to Run Seven Marathons

Aired May 17, 2013 - 12:30   ET



BONNIE ST. JOHN, AUTHOR, "HOW GREAT WOMEN LEAD": So the easiest way to do is to turn. Yes.

DANIEL: This is new to me, and I have to learn how to do everything from the basics.


DANIEL: I met Bonnie when she came to my (inaudible) to visit the bombing victims.

ST. JOHN: It's going to be a great day. Are you excited?

DANIEL: I just tried it. It's hard, but I'm excited.

ST. JOHN: I lost my leg when I was five and I've had a prosthesis ever since.

My heart went out when I heard so many of the victims were going to be amputees, and just wanted to see if I could help.

DANIEL: She's been a supportive friend and she understands how I'm going to face the world after this because my life will never be the same.

ST. JOHN: Studies show that people rehabilitate better and faster and healthier when they have an amputee come and talk to them, so that they can see a vision of their life.

Mery is reaching the stage where she's going to be able to not take it so seriously.

DANIEL: Some momentum.

ST. JOHN: You've got it.

It doesn't define her.


ST. JOHN: Good job.

DANIEL: Thank you.

I cannot tell you what my future would be like, but I'm going to try my best so I can live life to the fullest and enjoy my life.

I'm up for the challenge.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Uplifting story, isn't it?

MALVEAUX: I know that Mery Daniel is up for the challenge.

Want to welcome you both. It's so great to see you guys.

Bonnie St. John, joining us from Boston, Mery as well

Bonnie, good to see you as well. Mery, you know Bonnie and I know each other since college days and she was an inspiring figure back then. She made us all look like slackers really, quite frankly.

But, Bonnie, tell us a little bit about how you came to come back to Boston and to work with Mery here because those bombs went off really just minutes away from where we went to school.

At one point, I'm sure there was a turning point where thought, I need to be back there. I need to be down there.

ST. JOHN: Well, we heard the news that so many of the people injured were going to lose limbs, and I've been trained to visit people in hospital and help them start making strides to the future. And I just wanted to come and see if I could help.

So I visited a number of people. But Mery and I really made a connection, and she wasn't out there in the first weeks telling her story and raising money for her future, so I wanted to get her connected and get her story out there.

HOLMES: Mery, tell us how you have progressed, your path since this happened.

Obviously it's a terrible shock. It's a terrible loss in terms of mobility and the rest. Tell us about the journey from there to now.

DANIEL: Well, from nearly being dead, my heart had stopped twice while the doctors at Mass General were trying to revive me.

From that point on, I was unconscious for three days, and then I realized I had lost one limb and part of the other leg was all blown away.

And from spending three weeks at Mass General, recovering, to now being at the rehab hospital, it's been a journey. It's a difficult one, but I've been doing it.

HOLMES: How do you feel now, though, since meeting Bonnie and seeing the remarkable progress? How is your outlook now?

DANIEL: Well, the support has been very beneficial, and it's been -- having support gives you a lot of strength, and that's been helping a lot.

And my family is very supportive. And I have a lot of friends and people are rooting for me out there.

MALVEAUX: And, Bonnie, tell us if -- go ahead.

ST. JOHN: I was going to say she took her first step a week ago with a walker. She doesn't have a prosthesis yet.

And you saw the pictures of us out riding hand cycle, so a lot of progress in the last week. It's been very exciting.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, very excited for both of you.

Bonnie, explain to us here because it's a different scenario. What do you think is the most challenging part about what Mery is going to be facing because your situation was different, having lost your leg as a five-year-old, just as a little girl and Mary here really in a very different place in her life.

What do you think is going to be the challenge that she's really going to need to face moving forward?

ST. JOHN: So many things, and I admire her courage that she has a lot more to deal with than I did.

Her, quote, "good" leg is missing a lot of muscle and she had skin grafts on the back of her leg, so it's going to be a while before her good leg is really strong enough to get out and do some of the things she needs to do.

She's going to have a lot of hard work and physical therapy getting strong again. And she's a mother. She has a 5-year-old daughter, so caring for her.

Just the normal things we take for granted, running errands and picking up things around the house and going back to work and, you know, a lot of challenges ahead and we want to surround her with support to help her.

HOLMES: Yeah, and Mery, I'm curious, too, having Bonnie there -- and Bonnie, I've got to say, too, you're a champion skier, as well, on one limb. Let's face it. You're pretty good. Check out the medals there, Paralympian.

Mery, what do you take from Bonnie? What has she given to you?

DANIEL: She's very inspirational, and a lot of courage, too. She's a trooper. MALVEAUX: Well, I understand -- go ahead.

ST. JOHN: Are you ready to make jokes about your leg yet or are we not there yet?

DANIEL: Well, we can try.

MALVEAUX: Bonnie's got a few jokes, yeah.

You know, it's great. You did you make a joke earlier. You said you escaped from the hospital from the rehab, and that's good enough. We can escape for a little bit, get away from all of that and just be here and tell your story.

Also want to mention as well, of course, I think there is a, a website that has been set up for your support.

So Bonnie, thank you very much. It's always good to see you. And, of course, Mery, all the best to you. Really inspirational both of you.

DANIEL: Thank you.

HOLMES: Yeah, great to see you both.

ST. JOHN: Can I just say, it's Mery. It's Mery with an "E." It's M- E-R-Y Daniel. You can just Google it, and let's support Mery.

HOLMES: Exactly. We've got it on the bottom of the screen there, too, so people can make note of that and go pop in and have a look.

Great to see you ladies. Thanks so much.

DANIEL: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Good for her. I mean it. Love it.

Don't miss Anderson Cooper special report, "Back to Boston." That is actually tonight.

You're going to hear incredible stories from some of the photographers who captured those iconic moments from last month's bombing. That is tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

HOLMES: And tube, liquids and shackles, CNN gets an exclusive firsthand look at the drastic steps U.S. officials are taking to keep alive Guantanamo detainees on hunger strike.

That's when we come back.


HOLMES: All right, a story from the past now, you may remember Madeleine McCann, that name, the British toddler who went missing while on vacation with her family. This happened back in 2007 in Portugal. MALVEAUX: Today there is new information. Police in London say they have identified several possible suspects in her disappearance.

Now there is not yet word on who those suspects are.

British authorities began investigating the case two years ago. Police say they are working closely with Portuguese authorities on this case.

HOLMES: Yeah, got worldwide attention, that case.

Now you're about to get a rare look inside the American military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

MALVEAUX: It's a place that the president has been wanting to -- at least he's said he's wanted to close since day one, since some time.

Well, half the inmates there are now refusing to eat for a hundred days. It's a hunger strike.

Military doctors, they are keeping some of the strikers alive by force feeding them.

HOLMES: And that is a problem, controversial. Human rights groups, even the American Medical Association, say force feeding is at best unethical. At worst, it could be a form of torture.

Our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence is down there in Cuba and sent will this report.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: CNN got a firsthand look at the shackles, tubes and liquids being used to feed 30 detainees who refuse to eat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This end goes in the nostril.

LAWRENCE: A tube goes up their nose, down the throat and into their stomach then supplements are pumped in for 30 to 45 minutes.

Some of the 100 hunger strikers refuse food, but will drink supplements if ordered to. But these 30 have to be forced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of a tough mission. This is kind of an ugly place sometimes.

LAWRENCE: That's the detention group senior medical officer, speaking for the first time since the medical profession condemned tube feeding.

Are you concerned that the American Medical Association has come out against this practice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, there are lots of politics involved. And I'm sure they have internal politics they need to answer to as well. LAWRENCE: He has to remain anonymous for security reasons, but as a doctor, he stands by the methods used.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very easy for folks outside of this place to make policies and decisions that they think they would implement.

LAWRENCE: The hunger strike marks its 100th day Friday, and shows no signs of stopping.

CNN obtained handwritten letters from one of the detainees. One reads, "Be tortured and stay detained." Another quotes a French writer about how your very existence becomes an act of rebellion.

He sounds hopeless when he writes, "The commissions are a joke. If you lose, you go prison for life. If you win, you're held indefinitely for life."

CAPTAIN ROBERT DURAND, GUANTANAMO SPOKESMAN: We don't have a goal to, quote, "break: the hunger strike. We do have a mission to preserve life through lawful means.

LAWRENCE: But defense attorneys say shackling a detainee and snaking a tube into his stomach is inhumane.

CORI CRIDER, SAMIR MOQBEL'S ATTORNEY: You don't get farther than about here in your throat before the tears start just streaming down your face.

LAWRENCE: Officials showed us the numbing gel they offer and say the tubes are thin and lubricated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody's expressed to me that this hurts.

LAWRENCE: Attorneys claim their clients say otherwise.

CRIDER: He said he'd never felt such pain like that in his life.

LAWRENCE: And that's amazing when you consider the fact that the client she's talking about has been detained here for 11 years.

We've learned that the hunger strike has now jumped from 100 to 102 detainees. It's the largest level in about 7 or 8 years.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


HOLMES: All right, and still ahead, we're going to tell you about a desperate shortage that has led Venezuela's new president to import 50 million royals of something.

We're going to tell you about it when we come back.


MALVEAUX: In Venezuela today, very difficult to find one certain product in stores. It's one of the things we all take for granted until you don't have it.

HOLMES: Reminds me of a "Seinfeld" episode actually.

We're talking about toilet paper. Anybody spare a sheet?


HOLMES (voice-over): Venezuela has run out. People waiting -- actually, it's very serious. They're waiting for weeks, standing in line just to get a few rolls.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): So toilet paper now is suddenly one of the most valuable commodities in the country. Rafael Romo, he has got the story.


RAFAEL ROMO, SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Twenty-four hundred rolls sounds like a lot of toilet paper, but that big a shipment flew off the shelves in just a few hours at this store in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We send each other text messages. I just got one telling me there is toilet paper, there is toilet paper. And I left the office running to buy some toilet paper because I ran out.

ROMO (voice-over): Some consumers harshly complain. They have to stand in long lines for hours just to buy a product they used to take for granted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is wrong. This is an oil-rich country where we have no food. The country doesn't even have basic food products to feed its people.

ROMO (voice-over): And not enough toilet paper, either. So the government announced it will import 50 million rolls, which will begin arriving next week.

ALEJANDRO FLEMING, VENEZUELAN COMMERCE MINISTER (through translator): Between this Friday and Wednesday of next week, we're expecting a shipment of 20 million rolls of toilet paper, which will allow us to satisfy the demand for one week or more.

ROMO: For years, Venezuelans have suffered shortages of basic food products, even staples like corn meal. But toilet paper is, in a way, the staple that broke the camel's back. According to the country's central bank, there is a shortage of 21 of every 100 consumer products.

And when supplies are down, demand, of course, goes up and so does inflation, which now stands at 12.5 percent.

ROMO (voice-over): At another supermarket, 800 cartons of butter, a dozen containers in each, sold out in a day and a half.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): What happens is that people get anxious and try to buy as much stuff as they can.

ROMO (voice-over): Socialist policies and the nationalization of several industries have discouraged production, according to this economist.

JOSE GUERRA, ECONOMIST (through translator): Fields of production that should be active are not. Some companies no longer produce any products. Venezuela is a country which, for practical and analytical purposes, only produces one thing -- oil, which is exported. Everything else has to be imported.

ROMO (voice-over): For regular people, the shortage crisis has come knocking on their doors and charged straight into their bathrooms.


MALVEAUX: Rafael Romo joining us; Rafael, you know, like we were kind of laughing, but we shouldn't be laughing. It's a serious situation, is it not?


ROMO: It is.

HOLMES: You mentioned in the piece, too, this is an oil-rich nation. How does this happen?

ROMO: Well, it's explained in one concept: 21th century socialism. About 14 years ago, when Hugo Chavez first came to power, the president who's now deceased, established price controls and nationalized domestic companies and foreign companies.

And so in an effort to try to protect consumers from inflation, he ended up doing exactly the opposite.

The foreign companies fled. Domestic companies are refusing to produce because they cannot make a profit under the conditions established by the government. And so what you have now is not only a shortage of toilet paper, but corn meal, cooking oil --


HOLMES: Staples.

ROMO: -- milk, staples, things that you and I and people in many parts of the world consider or take for granted. And so that's the situation that Venezuelans are facing now.

MALVEAUX: Is there a sense, Rafael, like this emergency order is not necessarily going to be a long-term fix, that people might panic, they might turn violent, that things would get a little out of control?

ROMO: That's a very good question, Suzanne, because the government official who announced that they were importing 50 million rolls of toilet paper, he acknowledged that that's only good for about a week and a half, maybe two. And so the bottom line question is what are they going to do after that? Inflation of Venezuela, for the first trimester of the year, stands at 12.5 percent. Last year they had announced that it was going to be 17 percent for the whole year. So that tells you about the excruciating situation that the Venezuelan consumer is living on a daily basis.

HOLMES: Well, the new president is a protege of the old president. Is there any sense that the system might change?

ROMO: It is not going to change. The same policies stand. He still talks favorably about the concept of 21th century socialism. But the reality is that average Venezuelans are paying the consequences.

There are also problems with construction. New homes are not being built at the pace that the country needs it, and so you're talking about the shortage crisis and the economy really not moving.

HOLMES: And no change on the horizon.

Rafael, good to see you.

MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.

One marathon -- this is really an incredible story -- on each one of the seven continents.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): This is actually what a 10-year-old boy from Pennsylvania is trying to do.

HOLMES: Ten. Ten. He's raising money for charity along the way, by the way. We're going to have his inspiring story coming up next.




HOLMES: A month after the bombings in Boston at the marathon there, one young boy is vowing to keep up his personal mission as a runner.

MALVEAUX: It is a pace that most adults would really have a hard time keeping up with. Here's his story.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Nikolas Toocheck is a 10-year-old boy on a mission: to run not one but seven marathons, one on each continent. Nikolas is motivated by a passion that began while running alongside his dad at the age of 5.

NIKOLAS TOOCHECK, MARATHONER: I kind of followed in his footsteps. I've always ran with him, and on the first time, it was just so fun, so I stuck with it.

At the age of 9, he transformed his love of running into a vehicle to raise money for charity.

NIKOLAS TOOCHECK: My name is Nikolas Toocheck. And I'm running the world for children.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): The goal: to raise money for Operation Warm, a charity that distributes new winter coats to children in need. He calls it running the world for children.

NIKOLAS TOOCHECK: Just thinking about all the kids out there that don't have warm coats to put on their backs in winter, it just feels really sad. But it also makes me happy that I know I'm making a difference.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Nikolas has already completed two of the seven marathons, his first in north America. And in February, he was the youngest person to run what's called the White Continent Marathon in an Antarctica.

NIKOLAS TOOCHECK: It was just so cold because you don't really get to run alongside penguins or sea lions or anything like that every day.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): The tragedies at the Boston Marathon left Nikolas and his family in shock.

NIKOLAS TOOCHECK: I just wondered why would anybody want to do that. It was really sad. I'm just not going to quit. I'm just going to keep running.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): When the idea for the marathons first came up, his mom definitely had her concerns.

TARA TOOCHECK, NIKOLAS TOOCHECK'S MOM: My first reaction was we need to make sure that this is a healthy thing for you to do.

We did go to experts in the field.

As a parent, that obviously was my first priority, our first priority, make sure that this is a safe thing.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): His bedroom is filled with trophies and medals, but that's not what it's about.

DANIEL TOOCHECK, NIKOLAS TOOCHECK'S DAD: Nikolas at 9 decided that, hey, I'm going to run around the world, I'm going to do something I love, I'm going to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of kids here in the United States.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): And that is Nikolas' ultimate goal, having fun while helping others.


HOLMES: What a great kid. MALVEAUX: Being a runner, I know what that's like. That's a lot of training involved.

HOLMES: Yes, you do marathons.


HOLMES: You do marathons. I, on the other hand, drive to the mailbox.

We'll be right back.




MALVEAUX: There are some who think Barbie's Dreamhouse is a nightmare for girls, and women in Berlin, demonstrators, say Barbie is a bad role model for girls. They're protesting this attraction. It's designed to showcase what they say is her Malibu lifestyle.

HOLMES: There's plenty of opposition over the world around the years, but in this place, visitors tour the life-size pink mansion. It's filled with dolls and other displays.

Now, of course, here in the U.S., a Barbie Dreamhouse opened in Florida last week to mixed reviews. There's always going to be an opinion on Barbie.

MALVEAUX: This programming note you're not going to want to miss. Anthony Bourdain in Libya. That's right, we talked to him this week. But it is Sunday night right here on CNN. "PARTS UNKNOWN" comes on at 9:00 Eastern. So tune in. Set the DVR.

HOLMES: Yes, that'll do it for us. We're off to buy more lottery tickets, $600 million.

MALVEAUX: If we win, maybe we'll be back.

HOLMES: I'll buy you something. All right.

MALVEAUX: They're telling us we got to go. Thanks for watching "AROUND THE WORLD". The NEWSROOM starts right now.