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TWA 800 Crash; Obama Speaks At Brandenburg Gate; Mexico Nabs FBI Top Ten Fugitive; Taliban Responsible for Four American Deaths Yesterday; Will and Kate's Baby Plans

Aired June 19, 2013 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Two hundred and thirty people died when TWA Flight 800 exploded over Long Island. Well, now, the makers of a new documentary says they have proof that their deaths were caused by an explosion outside the plane.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: After two and a half years on the run, a fugitive American professor is finally captured while sitting in a cafe in a Mexican resort town.

MALVEAUX: And brand new details on the upcoming birth of the royal baby. That is right. They include a private wing for Catherine in a hospital that is very close to William's heart.

Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

MALVEAUX: Today we are talking about one of deadliest commercial airline disasters in history. It is also one of the most mysterious as well.

HOLMES: Yes, it is indeed. That's 230 people, if you'll remember, died when the jumbo jet they were on, TWA Flight 800, exploded soon after it took off from JFK. Now that was back in 1996, 17 years ago. Well, it's on our radar again because some people are demanding a new, fresh investigation.

MALVEAUX: And these are not the folks that you would normally expect. These are actually people who worked on the original crash investigation and now say that the government's version of what happened is absolutely wrong. Rene Marsh has the story.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a crash as horrific as it was mysterious. TWA Flight 800 explodes in midair in 1996 off the coast of Long Island.

PILOT: It blew up in the air and then we saw two fireballs go down to the water.

MARSH: All 230 on board the 747, dead. The cause, after a four year, 17,000 page NTSB investigation, a spark from faulty wiring leading to the center fuel tank. But now, six retired members of the original investigation team are breaking their silence. In a new documentary, they are challenging the NTSB's findings and calling for the investigation to be reopened.

JAMES SPEER, TWA 800 ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR: I was convinced that the part had been damaged by a high explosion because of the entrance hole and the exit hole.

MARSH: These former investigators, whose credentials range from the NTSB, TWA, Airline Pilots Union and forensic experts now claim that radar and forensic evidence shows the wiring was not the cause of the crash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would your analysis have been?

ROBERT YOUNG, TWA ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPRESENTATIVE: The primary conclusion was, the explosive forces came from outside the airplane, not the center fuel tank.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would that statement have been in your analysis?

YOUNG: If I got the right one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The agenda was that this was an accident, make it so.

MARSH: These investigators say that the evidence they examined proves that one or more explosions outside the aircraft caused the crash. However, they don't speculate about the source of the explosions. Among the theories considered and rejected by the NTSB at the time, was that a missile was responsible. The filmmakers plan to petition the NTSB to reopen the investigation.

In a statement, the NTSB left that possibility open if new evidence is uncovered, saying investigators and staff spent an enormous amount of time reviewing, documenting and analyzing facts and data. While the NTSB rarely reinvestigates issues that have already been examined, our investigations are never closed and we can review any new information not previously considered by the board.


MALVEAUX: Rene Marsh, she is live from Washington with us.

And, Rene, first of all, how do they explain the timing of this? I mean why is this just coming out now? And do they believe this is some kind of cover-up?

MARSH: Well, you know, I just got off the phone with these investigators, these former investigators, and I asked that particular question, why not? Why not blow the whistle several years ago when this was all under investigation? One of them said that, you know, there was this culture of intimidation at the time. He also said that he had a family to feed and he was afraid that at some point he may lose his job. All of these investigators now have retired and so they feel now they are able to freely speak. Now, on the issue of a cover-up, they were asked that question several times. They were pretty vague about this. We asked, well, who would be responsible for this cover-up and what are they trying to cover up? They didn't give us any definitive answers, but they did say this. They felt that the investigation was not conducted properly at the time. They felt that there were a lot of loose ends that were not tied up.

I pushed and I asked them, you know, how far up do you think this cover-up may have gone. Did it go as far up as the White House? And at one point they just said, we don't know. We just don't think that this investigation was done thoroughly.

MALVEAUX: All right. Still a lot of unanswered questions. Rene, thank you. Appreciate it.

HOLMES: Yes, we've got a little bit more on that later in that program too, so stick around for that.

Meanwhile, the president is calling for freedom, equal opportunity and a reduction in the world's nuclear stockpile. This happening in an historic speech that happened in Germany today.

MALVEAUX: The president spoke at the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin that once symbolized the divide between the east and the west. His speech took place almost 50 years exactly after another U.S. president delivered these words.


JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: As a free man, I take pride in the words ich bin ein Berliner.


HOLMES: And that, of course, was John F. Kennedy declaring "I am a Berliner." The Brandenburg Gate, of course, is also where President Ronald Reagan said this in 1987.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.


MALVEAUX: The wall between east and west Germany did come down, of course. And today the president became the first U.S. president to speak from the eastern side of that wall. He called on Russia to join the U.S. in reducing the supply of nuclear warheads. He also touched on the issue of war and peace and privacy.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must move beyond the mindset of perpetual war. And in America, that means redoubling our efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo. It means - it means (INAUDIBLE) control in our use of new technology like drones. It means balancing the pursuit of security with the protection of province (ph). And I'm confident that that balance can be struck.


HOLMES: And Jessica Yellin joins us now from Berlin.

You know, he was very broad in his speech. You know, things from the nuclear issue, to Guantanamo Bay, to climate change. What was he hoping to accomplish in the broad sense with this speech?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Michael, you know, this happened five years after he first game here as a candidate and promised to improve America's standing around the world. And this was an opportunity for him to define his agenda and his values, especially at a time when so many in Europe feel that he has made strides in that direction. There are also fierce critics who are furious that President Obama has continued many of President Bush's policy on the war on terror.

And you saw how he pivoted from those big themes that you talked, about equality, economic equality and civil rights equality. And he pivoted from the theme on his proposal to reduce nukes between the U.S. and Russia by a third. To then having to talk about the NSA program and recommitting to closing Guantanamo Bay in that speech because he doesn't want those things to be his legacy. So he comes to the gate in the footsteps of Kennedy and Reagan, this time on the east side, to talk about continuing his push for quality and security around the world, securing his own place in history in their footsteps.


MALVEAUX: And, Jess, we know, as always, these international trips, there are questions that are clearly domestic in nature. But the president was asked about those surveillance programs. Did he actually address some of the concerns that people have about the government's surveillance?

YELLIN: Well, he answered in the way we've heard him answer in the U.S., saying nobody's - that every act of surveillance is condoned by a court and approved by U.S. Congress and that nobody is listening in on phone calls without approval. He didn't get into the details of the fact that the special court is secret and that there's some debate in Congress about how much oversight the program has, but he did assure the German public that this is a supervised program.

I would point out that there was a significantly smaller crowd that came out five years ago. Two hundred thousand last time. Some 6,000, maybe even fewer, this time. Not just because of these issues. It was also, you know, many other factors. But, you know, his star has dimmed. He's no longer the rock star that he was when he was just a candidate. Now he's another world leader whose had to make some very difficult choices and obviously that's hurt his star image somewhat.

Suzanne, Michael.

MALVEAUX: All right, Jess, good to see you as always. Thank you.

We're also following this story. One of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives has now been arrested. This is out of Mexico.

HOLMES: Yes, Walter Lee Williams is his name. there's a picture there. Former University of California professor accused of sex abuse. He had just been put on the FBI top 10 list this week. Monday, in fact.

MALVEAUX: Nick Parker is joining us from Mexico City.

Williams was only on this list for a couple of days. How did that happen and how did they find him?

NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Suzanne, it was a very quick apprehension. He was arrested in the upscale resort of Playa del Carmen, on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. An area and a city that's normally very popular with U.S. tourists for its beaches and night life. And according to authorities who have just released a statement, he was apprehended in a park at around 8:30 p.m. in the evening by police. He was stopped. And when he was unable to produce correct documentation surrounding his immigration status here, they basically compared his image and his appearance to the image that had been released by the FBI only days earlier and had appeared in newspapers all around Mexico.

They then called the FBI, who were able to deduce that it was a person of some significant interest and he was taken into custody. Mexican authorities then took his paragraph, which appeared to reveal him handcuffed, hiding his face from cameras wearing a polo shirt and shorts. And he's now still in the state of Quintana Roo in joint custody with immigration officials from Mexico and the FBI.


HOLMES: And, Nick, tell us about what it is that he stands accused of.

PARKER: Well, basically he stands accused of a number of different crimes in the United States relating to his position as a professor at that university. He's also accused of traveling around the world and has gathered some suspicion for visiting a number of other sort of known areas that may be connected to pedophiles that are often on the run.

And, unfortunately, in Mexico, the Cancun area, has that reputation as well dating back to the early 2000s when basically a number of reports came out about child prostitution rings from the area of Cancun. This led to the publication of a landmark work in 2006 which was an expose of this and finally a conviction of a leading tourism mogul in 2011, who was accused of luring children to his property to abuse with his friends. So certainly an undersight (ph) to this idealic resort.

HOLMES: Yes, indeed. Nick parker in Mexico City. Thanks so much, Nick.

Yes, he, ironically, taught gender studies at the University of Southern California.

MALVEAUX: Yes, that's just awful.

Here's more of what we're working on for AROUND THE WORLD.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai lashing out now at the United States. He's furious about U.S. plans to hold talks with the Taliban.

HOLMES: Yes, we're going to talk about where the relationship goes from here.

Also this. FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shedding the hoodie.

MALVEAUX: We're going to tell you why a trip to South Africa is important enough for Zuckerberg to put on a suit there. You see him there, a suit and tie.

HOLMES: Also this. Have a look at this. This is Amazing. Walking around London, yes, it can get a bit dangerous on the sidewalk. The new threat? Exploding foot paths, as they call them in London. Wait until you see that extraordinary story.

MALVEAUX: Sidewalks.

HOLMES: Yes, sidewalks, footpaths, yes.


HOLMES: All right, checking some stories making news "Around the World" right now, you've seen some of these pictures earlier in the week. Check these out, new ones from India.

A terrifying scene, flood waters continuing to sweep through parts of that country.

MALVEAUX: You it there, I mean, unbelievable pictures.

Heavy rains have turned streets and highways into raging rivers here. Reports say that more than 100 people have been killed. Several hundred more are missing. Thousands now are trapped by these floodwaters.

The monsoon season is off to an early start. This is just pounding northwest and central India with more than twice, much more than twice the rain as usual.

HOLMES: Yeah, two weeks too early, those monsoon rains.

And a militant group linked to al Qaeda says it was responsible for a deadly attack on the U.N. headquarters in Mogadishu in Somalia. The attack left at least 14 people dead, seven of them militants, four U.N. workers, three female civilians.

MALVEAUX: Fifteen people were wounded and police say one attacker blew himself up at the entrance of that compound there.

Now authorities say African Union troops have now taken control. This was the second major attack in Mogadishu in less than a month.

HOLMES: Yeah, al Shabaab, claiming responsibility for that one.

Meanwhile, four American service members were killed in a rocket attack and now the Taliban say they did it. We're talking about Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. This, on the same day that the Taliban opened an office. That happening in Qatar, setting the stage for peace talks with the United States scheduled to start this week.

MALVEAUX: That was the plan at least, but something happened today that might actually stand in the way of all of that. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, says he is done talking security with the Americans, and he's done talking peace with the Taliban.

Want to bring in Christiane Amanpour to talk a little bit about where are we in all of this now that President Karzai says, look, I don't want to talk with any of you?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, look, it's a very complicated situation.

Obviously, the United States wanted to have a peace accord between the Taliban and the Karzai government. Why? Because in 12 years the United States military has not managed to defeat the Taliban and, if the U.S. is able to put out with minimum damage in 2014, it needs a political settlement on the ground.

Now what happened is they thought they had finally got this office opened in Qatar so that the Taliban and the Afghan government could talk with the mediating efforts of the United States.

But Hamid Karzai, who initially welcomed this, then got very angry because it looked like the Taliban was going to step too far, raising a flag that called on the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan, acting like their were going to open an embassy, acting like they were internationally recognized players.

This is what, obviously, the Taliban was trying to do, but that's not what the Afghan government wants.

HOLMES: Yeah, and the president, Christiane, Karzai, has told you himself that his army can hold its own against the Taliban, but we have seen recent attacks all week.

Is this a bargaining chip, or does this show that there's not one Taliban, that there are going to be local commanders who aren't happy with the Qatar operation?

AMANPOUR: I think that's the probably a little bit of the same thing that often we've seen in peace processes when they get under way, and of course, one is not under way right now. There's often some military component on the ground as well.

But here what you are seeing is the Afghan government wants, basically, these talks to happen in Afghanistan, eventually. But what they don't want is for the Taliban to over extend themselves and suddenly decide that they want to be long-term internationally recognized players and acting like they have an internationally recognized embassy there in Qatar.

It's meant to be an office just to get these peace talks off the ground. And the president, Karzai, is angry that the Taliban have gone one step too far.

And the Afghan president has also now said, forget about it. I'm putting on hold the talks with the U.S. The U.S. wants a long-term presence in Afghanistan and, in order for that to happen, there has to be an agreement with the Afghan government.

So it's probably a hiccup. It's probably an obstacle. We'll see whether these can be smoothed out.

HOLMES: Yeah, Mr. Karzai, easily offended and hopefully he'll bounce back from this.

AMANPOUR: Well, no, what the Taliban did was wrong.

HOLMES: Yeah, but ...

AMANPOUR: What the Taliban did was wrong.

HOLMES: He also in the past has done this, hasn't he? Where he gets offended, backs out and then he can be talked around.

AMANPOUR: It's true, but the fact of the matter is that most analysts will say what you can't do right now is act as if the Taliban is some kind of international player.

They are now being brought to the table to try to have a peace accord. Remember that these are the people the U.S. have been fighting for the last 12 years and for what reason.

HOLMES: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Christiane, as always, good to get your thoughts. Thanks so much, Christiane Amanpour.

MALVEAUX: He is a -- Karzai, very unpredictable. You and I have both interviewed him. One day it's one thing, and the next day it's another. The U.S. really can't count on him.

HOLMES: But, yeah, he does get easily offended.

But, as Christiane says, you know, he doesn't want this to be seen as some sort of official arm of a Taliban government in exile because that's not what he wants. Yeah. All right.

Coming up, well, here we go. Most baby -- love the royal family, don't we? Most baby announcements in these days come in the form of a Facebook update. Not for the royal family.

MALVEAUX: For William and Catherine, news of their baby's birth will come in four separate steps. That's right. We've got the details, coming up.

HOLMES: All laid out, isn't it?



If you're walking through the streets of London, you better watch your steps. Watch this. There have been dozens of reports.

There it is, exploding sidewalks, the video capturing this on camera here, of course. This is back from 2010, but authorities are now investigating about 45 incidents actually since last year.

HOLMES: I don't get how we haven't heard about this before.

Now what they think is that the culprit may be water or gas getting into electricity cable boxes that run under the sidewalks.

Whatever the problem, pedestrians are hoping they fix it soon.

MALVEAUX: Be careful.

HOLMES: There have been a couple of injuries, too.


HOLMES: We're just hearing about it now?

MALVEAUX: Just hearing about it now, but they are obsessed about this. Britain can't get enough of the royal baby.

HOLMES: Oh, come on. You can't get enough.

MALVEAUX: Maybe. A little bit. I'm a little obsessed.

They're counting down the days to the birth of the newest heir to the throne, and today we learned where Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is going to give birth.

HOLMES: Yes, that's right. They are laying it out. The sources are, anyway. It's a hospital that does have some royal history. Someone else's royal history.

Max Foster, our royal correspondent, outside that hospital in London. OK, so you've been talking to your sources and you've got it all laid out how we're getting -- this is all going to unfold.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. You may recognize the doorstep, Michael, from all those years ago when Prince William was born out here by Princess Diana. It's the same doorstep. And that's where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also plan to come out with their baby, revealing it to the world.

I'm told that the plan is for a natural birth. That's the plan, at least, often is in these cases, but we'll see how things unfold. They're not canceling out the idea of a Cesarean-section.

And whether or not it's a boy or a girl, a huge amount of speculation, of course. People have been betting like mad on that, and completely unfounded because they don't know the name of the -- well, certainly not the name, but they don't know the sex of the baby either. They want to save that as a surprise for them and the rest of the world.

MALVEAUX: You know, when you say natural birth, I was like, oh, no. No painkillers? But that's not really what you meant. We don't have those kind of details.

FOSTER: No. But they're basically saying that this is the plan. You know, things obviously change plans when you're having a baby.

And in terms of the formality, there's a series of announcements that's going to be made and the actual formal notification to the world and whether or not it is a boy or a girl is quite interesting.

You'll have someone coming out of the hospital with a piece of paper. And they will be taken under police escort to Buckingham Palace and the note will be put up on the railings there

And that will be the official announcement, the first time we find out whether or not it is a boy or girl. And the last time that was done was for Prince William, so a huge amount of tradition associated with all this.

HOLMES: That's going to be a great photograph, isn't it? A comparative photograph of Diana and William and William and then William and the offspring. too. That's going to be extraordinary.

Good stuff, Max. Thanks very much.

They'll probably some painkillers. Isn't that where the wife screams at the husband, this is your fault.

MALVEAUX: More painkillers.

HOLMES: That's right.

MALVEAUX: At least they're not going to be blowing smoke and saying, OK, boy or girl? No. That little piece of paper is going to keep ...

HOLMES: Stuck on the railings.

MALVEAUX: And we're switching gears, much more serious matters. A civil war forcing millions of Syrians from their home. Some hide in abandoned buildings, even caves. Others have made it to neighboring countries.

HOLMES: Yeah, actress Mia Farrow trying to help Syria's refugees. You see her there, and she's going to join us next to discuss this very important issue.