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AROUND THE WORLD

Tornadoes Rip Across Five States; Bombings and Shootings In Iraq; Jodi Arias Faces Her Future; Young Refugee Girl Gets New Chance at Life; Searching for Madeleine McCann

Aired May 20, 2013 - 12:00   ET

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


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And, will it be life or death for convicted murderer Jodi Arias? We're going to have a look at what the penalty could be.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Brace yourselves. More brutal weather might be on the way. We are looking at a repeat possibly of the rash of tornadoes as they ripped through the nation's heartland. Really quite amazing.

HOLMES: Did a lot of damage. We're talking hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed in state after state. We're talking about Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, all with reports of tornadoes overnight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bret (ph), get back here. We got to go soon!

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MALVEAUX: Look at this massive - just look at those pictures. Unbelievable. A massive tornado bearing down. This is Shawnee, Oklahoma. It was a monstrous half-mile-wide, if you can believe that.

HOLMES: Oh, wow.

MALVEAUX: Our Nick Valencia is there in Shawnee and is joining us.

Nick, we heard now confirmation that two folks have lost their lives because of this. And the devastation really something we hadn't even seen before.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Suzanne. We also understand this was an EF-4 tornado with winds up to 200 miles per hour. We're standing at ground zero.

Let me step away here. You can take a look at the devastation behind me. Suzanne, this used to be a neighborhood. This was a family's home. This was a community. This was a neighborhood. And now one of the residents who grew up here, this was her childhood home, she's joining us now, Jessie Addington.

You're just now seeing this for the very first time. You walked on this about 10 minutes ago. You said your mother was home at the time of the tornado.

JESSIE ADDINGTON, HOME DESTROYED: Yes, she was -- it happened so fast. She told me that she had just made it into the bathroom and she heard the wind coming and she got tossed around like a rag doll. She's lucky to be alive. And it's really - it's really bad.

VALENCIA: You're going through and you're picking up the pieces, going through your belongings. What are you feeling right now? What's -

ADDINGTON: I'm feeling cheated, to be honest. Like it's just all gone. Like I can't muster it in my head. Like I can't - like I -- my mind is like blown, completely blown. I don't know how to like - I don't -- I don't know.

VALENCIA: You lived here for 17 years of your life. This is your childhood home. You were pointing out the kitchen to me a little while ago.

ADDINGTON: Yes.

VALENCIA: This is -- this is where the front door was.

ADDINGTON: Yes, right here.

VALENCIA: This is -- this is where you walked in every day.

ADDINGTON: Yes. Yes. I don't know. It's just gone. I was over there. And as soon as it ended, I ran over here and she was sitting on - sitting right there. And she -- like I said, she had a hole in the back of her neck from being slammed around. I'm assuming maybe a pipe or anything.

VALENCIA: She was really banged up?

ADDINGTON: Yes, like it's all external injuries. Like -- it looked like someone had beat the crap out of her.

VALENCIA: Well, our thoughts and prayers are definitely with you and your family, Jessie.

Suzanne, this really puts a human face on it. This was her home. We're standing on what once was her home, littered with now memories and mementos. And it may not be -- the end is not in sight for these residents. We're hearing now as well signs of new storms. Perhaps the same thing that happened yesterday to these residents may happen again.

Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Can you ask her how her mom is doing? I know she said she got banged up pretty badly. Does she have a place to stay and is she doing OK?

VALENCIA: Suzanne, our anchor back in Atlanta, she's asking, how's your mom? Is she - where's she staying right now? ADDINGTON: She's staying with me in McLoud. She's - I mean she's injured. She's -- it's bad. But they said there's no broken bones. They put her in a CAT scan. They've checked her, everything. There's no broken bones. Just, like they said, it's just external and --

VALENCIA: She was lucky.

ADDINGTON: Very lucky. Very lucky. Because my mom is -- she's skinnier than me and she's got emphysema and COPD. She's got, you know, asthma and just really bad.

VALENCIA: Well, we're glad that she made it through.

And, Suzanne, Michael, this is exactly what a lot of the other residents around us, if we panned around you could see a lot of these other residents are going through their homes right now, going through similar things.

MALVEAUX: Well, we wish you the very best. And, Nick, Michael and I were just saying, we were so shocked that only two people died in that.

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: I mean look at that devastation.

HOLMES: Tragic to lose any life, but, yes -

MALVEAUX: Unbelievable.

VALENCIA: Unimaginable.

HOLMES: Entire neighborhood flattened and only two deaths. It does seem extraordinary. Perhaps it's the readiness fact of people there who know about tornadoes and have shelters, I guess.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Well, the best to her and her family and her mom, of course.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. Nick Valencia there.

Well, a wave in violence in Iraq leaving almost 50 people dead. In Baghdad alone, eight car bombs. A roadside bombing killed 18 people today.

MALVEAUX: The attacks are part of the increased violence between Sunnis and Shiite. Well, Sunnis, they are the minority and the Shiite dominate the government. The bombs in Baghdad targeted predominantly Shiite neighborhoods. Our Nic Robertson, he is across the border from Iraq and he is in Turkey.

Nic, first of all, you know, President Bush sold the Iraq War as an opportunity to bring democracy to the Middle East in the heart of the region, but the Sunnis, the minority here, said - have since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, become politically marginalized by the Shiite, who dominate the government, the president, whose the prime minister, calling for an end to the violence, seems pretty ineffective here. Now you've got violence happening. I mean, what has changed since the U.S. invaded Iraq?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What has changed is that the Sunnis don't feel that they're being properly represented by the Shiite-led government. They feel that the prime minister, Nuri al Maliki, by initially going after people like Tariq Hashami (ph), the Sunni vice president who's now fled Iraq completely, wanted on various charges, many Sunnis feel (INAUDIBLE), was an indication that this government was - this Shiite led government was against the Sunnis and that's fueled slowly a building of a deeper sectarian division. On Friday, for example, there were attacks on Sunnis. Over the weekend you saw some random attacks on Shiites. And then on Monday, today, these much more organized multiple car bombs attacking neighborhoods, again, predominantly Shiites.

This is becoming a greater problem for Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki to the point that he's appeared on television with (INAUDIBLE) Sunni politicians. Something he hasn't really done in the past. An indication of how concerned he is. And he's appealed for calm. But this is -- the root of the problem is, his government has never really, many Sunnis would say, reached out to them and their part of the community.

Suzanne and Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, Nic, the question, of course, is, where does this all go, you know? We're hearing reports of basically militias, if you like, Sunni militias, being sent out to defend their turf. It harkens back to the bad (ph) old days. This is the worst violence, let's face it, since, what, 2008. How far could this go? What are the concerns? What's Maliki doing about reconciliation?

ROBERTSON: Well, Michael, you and I have both spent a lot of time in Iraq and spent many, many years there and this is a very, very troubling development. And the implications of this are many fold, but one of them, particularly for the United States, is a diminished influence in Iraq and the region, and a diminished, if you will, access to the business market in Iraq.

You might ask, why would that be? But I think we both saw in the long amounts of time we spent in Iraq that many people there at that time back in 2004, 2005 and still today feel that what's happened in Iraq, this imbalance of power, this imperfect government, is a creation of the United States. The United States had a responsibility going into Iraq and they feel that wasn't - that responsibility wasn't fulfilled.

Nuri al Maliki, the prime minister, is reaching out across the sectarian divide, but I don't think anyone at the moment thinks this current violence will tamp down. And again, the losers in this many ways the U.S. stake, if you will, and its legacy in Iraq because people still feel the United States is responsible for what's happening today, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, Nic, thanks so much. Nic Robertson there. And as Nic said, spent a lot of time in Iraq. MALVEAUX: Eight years of war. The Bush legacy on the line.

HOLMES: It is. And a lot of people are very worried about where this is headed. This could end up in civil war and that would benefit no one, that's for sure. These militias being formed is of particular concern now.

MALVEAUX: In Turkey, we're following this. This is a day of hot air ballooning that went horribly wrong. If you can imagine this, people shocked when they looked up, they saw this in the sky. Two hot air balloons actually colliding in midair. This one was caught on video as it was actually going down.

HOLMES: Yes, according to witnesses, one balloon actually hit the basket of another. Another report said one hit the top of the other. It's hard to tell. And that caused a tear in the fabric. Two Brazilian tourists were killed, 23 other people were hurt. Cappadocia is a major tourist attraction in Turkey. Famous for its volcanic rock formations. And a lot of balloon rides take place in that part of Turkey.

MALVEAUX: Jodi Arias facing her future right now. Choices are pretty stark, life in prison or the death penalty. This is less than an hour or so.

HOLMES: Yes, it is, too. It's coming right up. She's going to be back in court and she will plead for her life or ask to be put to death.

MALVEAUX: Remember, she was convicted of killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. She called death the ultimate freedom. Said she preferred death over life in prison.

HOLMES: Now, a jury is going to make that decision, of course. It won't be easy. Ted Rowlands now takes a look at what jurors in death penalty cases have to go through.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's right here. This is the girl right here.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight men and four women will decide if Jodi Arias should live or die. Jim Carano knows what that feels like.

JAMES CARANO, DEATH PENALTY JUROR: I will tell you firsthand that sitting on a jury trial involving the potential death sentence is -- it's a humbling experience and it's a - it's almost sometimes beyond comprehension.

ROWLANDS: Carano served on an Arizona jury last year that decided the fate of David Anthony. Anthony was convicted of killing his wife, Donna, and his stepchildren, 14-year-old Danielle and 12-year-old Richard. Their bodies found by a construction crew had been partially dissolved in acid.

CARANO: None of us took this potential outcome lightly during the deliberation process. And, believe me, we were in there deliberating for several days.

ROWLANDS: Carano says deciding on a death sentence for Anthony was difficult. Several jurors initially didn't want to and the vote had to be unanimous.

CARANO: There were actually four of them, then three, then two that really, really had second thoughts about sending somebody to their death.

ROWLANDS: Eventually, Carano says, they all agreed. He thinks it may be more difficult for the Arias jury because they've spent four and a half months in a courtroom with her, including her 18 days on the witness stand.

CARANO: I think it could be problematic. I really do. And I'll tell you why. She's as articulate as she can be. She's a bright - she's a bright young lady. And all it takes, as you know, is one --

SAMANTHA ALEXANDER, VICTIM'S SISTER: Our lives will never be the same. We can never get him back.

ROWLANDS: Jurors have already heard from the Alexander family. Next up it will be friends from Jodi Arias. The last statement they'll listen to is expected to come from Jodi Arias, the woman whose life is in their hands.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Court back in session at, I guess, 1:00 Eastern. We're going to bring you special live coverage as we find out if Jodi Arias begs for life or death.

HOLMES: Yes, dramatic scenes ahead no doubt.

Well, coming up, how a little girl from Syria is getting a second chance at life. It's a great story. You won't want to miss that.

MALVEAUX: And emotional talk from the police officers who rescued three kidnapping victims in Cleveland. You're going to hear it straight from them up ahead. You're watching AROUND THE WORLD on CNN.

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MALVEAUX: Fierce battles raging in the Syrian city of Cusaia (ph). Just check this out. This video giving you a feel for just how heavy the bombardment has been just over the last couple of days. Just listen.

Activists say it's some of the most intense fighting that they have seen in this strategically important area. It's near the Lebanese border, and Hezbollah is apparently involved.

HOLMES: Yeah, activists say, actually, 23 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in this fighting. It's significant, their involvement. Of course, they are based in Lebanon. Hospitals overflowing with the wounded, and meanwhile, we are seeing more images of atrocities being committed in Syria by both government and rebel forces.

This is not all new video. It's been coming from over the last few months, soldiers brutally beating rebels who are handcuffed and helpless.

And then images of rebels allegedly executing army officers. And there's even one of that rebel, remember, memorably eating a human organ that he'd cut out of a body. The images used, of course, to intimidate the other side. What makes a difference is this is a war that is fought with propaganda via social media in many ways.

MALVEAUX: And amid all of the horrific war stories out of Syria, we actually have some that is a little bit of good news, kind of heartwarming. A very sick little girl who fled the fighting there is now getting a new chance at life thanks to some Israelis.

HOLMES: Yeah, the doctors have stepped in. Sara Sidner has the story.

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SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A four-year-old girl sits in a hospital singing a lullaby that asks God to protect a baby brother, but it is she who, not too long ago, was in the most danger of dying. A heart problem was slowly starving her of oxygen.

As she withered away, war arrived in her town and has been raging on for most of her young life.

The family is from Syria, and six months ago, they picked up and left. They don't want their identities shown for fear of retribution if they ever return home.

They escaped the civil war, but there was no escape from the child's potentially deadly heart condition.

She couldn't play or walk or talk. She would get so tired. She couldn't indulge in anything, her mother laments.

The family found themselves in dirty, desperate conditions in a refugee camp, no place for a very sick child.

But an Israeli organization called Save A Child's Heart heard about the sickly four-year-old war survivor, and soon she was in the hands of doctors at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel, a country technically still at war with Syria.

DR. SION HOURI, WOLFSON MEDICAL CENTER: We all have in the heart two pumps. She has only one pump in her heart working.

Now we have two big tubes in the heart, one going to the body and one going to the lung. The one going to the lung is severely narrowed.

SIDNER: So a team of doctors began a relatively simple operation. The organization which helped make this happen was founded in 1995 by a surgeon at this hospital. So far it's helped save more than 3,200 children.

SIMON FISHER, SAVE A CHILD'S HEART: We hope that we can contribute in a small way, first and foremost to the medical care of the children in our neighborhood, but we also believe that this also has the ability to bring people closer together, to bridge over stereotypes.

SIDNER: Save A Child's Heart brings children from all over the world.

To give you an example, in this room alone, which is the pediatric intensive care unit, the child in that bed behind the curtain is from Israel. The child right next door is from Sudan.

And doctors are particularly excited because this is the very first time that a child from Syria has made it here.

Three days after her heart surgery, this once breathless four-year-old Syrian girl is full of energy.

HOURI: So you can see the difference is absolutely crazy. Kids that were thought to be retarded all of a sudden start walking or talking. All they needed was a little bit of oxygen.

SIDNER: Her mother is relieved.

Thank God, thank God my daughter has recovered. She is so much better than before.

In a year's time, her daughter will have to go through one more surgery.

But after all the family has been through, seeing her daughter play and laugh without struggling to catch her breath is the closest thing to happiness she has felt since war destroyed their lives.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Holon, Israel.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: That's really nice.

HOLMES: It is. It's a lovely story.

All right, well, coming up, fresh hope for Madeleine McCann's family, you remember this little girl who disappeared years ago on a family vacation to Portugal.

MALVEAUX: Police now say they now have new leads, and what that could mean for her case, up next.

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HOLMES: Welcome back. Earlier this month, we learned that three women kidnapped a decade ago in Cleveland had been found alive. Well, this news gave one couple in the United Kingdom a great deal of hope.

MALVEAUX: So 2007, three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from a vacation apartment in Portugal. Madeleine and two siblings were asleep in the apartment while their parents had dinner at a restaurant. This was just 50 yards away.

So there have been some claims of numerous sightings, but none have turned up to be Madeleine.

HOLMES: Yeah, and this has gotten a lot of publicity around the world. Well, the case was actually officially closed by Portuguese police back in 2008, but now Scotland Yard, the British police, they're taking another look at Madeleine's disappearance.

Barbie Nadeau, Rome bureau chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, joins us.

Barbie, you've been extensively following this case for years, I know. You've got the British prime minister. He asked Scotland Yard to take another look at Madeleine McCann's disappearance, fresh eyes, if you like, and those eyes saw some things.

BARBIE NADEAU, ROME BUREAU CHIEF, NEWSWEEK AND THE DAILY BEAST: No, that's exactly right. They turned up about 195 leads that the Portuguese police apparently didn't follow-up on.

At the time of Madeleine's disappearance, the Portuguese police were very focused on the parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, as the primary suspects. As a result, at least according to the British detectives on this case, they really overlooked a lot of potential testimony and things that -- evidence that could have led to the real kidnappers in this case.

Now, at this point, over the weekend, Scotland Yard detectives in an operation called Operation Grange, which is what the review of the Portuguese police case is called, have identified 20 people who they say are persons of interest who may know more about Madeleine's disappearance.

These are leads that were found in their review of this extensive dossier that the Portuguese police have turned over very willingly to the British police.

Now, what they've got to do, though, is very complicated, is find these people who had given testimony six years ago. Maybe they had sighted strange activity the night that she disappeared.

In some cases, in one particular case, a couple, a middle-aged couple had told a neighbor who lived in the compound that they had gone into the McCann apartment the night before Madeleine disappeared to soothe the crying child.

Now, whether or not they were there the night she actually disappeared, of course, no one knows for sure because nobody knows who this couple is or where to find them.

That's going to be up to the Portuguese police, but so far they have not reopened the case.

So the British police are very -- trying very hard to get them to reopen the case to kind of follow-up on some of these leads.

MALVEAUX: So, Barbie, who are they actually looking at in terms of those who are of special interest in this investigation?

Is it that couple that you mentioned before? Is it the cleaning staff that has also been looked at as well in the past?

NADEAU: That's right. There's a troop of six British so-called "freelance cleaners" who were seen in a white van around the compound the night Madeleine disappeared. Those six people are very suspect.

They've been looking for those people for the last year. A lot of people have sighted them. The white van, it was a well-known piece of evidence that was overlooked by the Portuguese police.

Also, this couple, this middle-aged couple who told a neighbor who has since passed away that they had gone into the McCann apartment are very interesting to the Scotland Yard detectives.

There are also a number of cleaners, people who were working, seasonal gardeners, people who were working on the compound during the holiday season who had been mentioned in testimony by witnesses after Madeleine disappeared who had -- you know, those are leads that were never followed up on and those are people that are very important, even if to just eliminate them, but to hear what they have to say and what they may have seen that night.

HOLMES: Extraordinary case and, hopefully, those fresh eyes will turn something up.

Barbie, good to see you. Barbie Nadeau, there in Rome.

MALVEAUX: And coming up, President Obama getting personal during a commencement address. How his speech actually spoke volumes to college grads.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So what I ask of you today is the same thing I ask of every graduating class I address. Use that power for something larger than yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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