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New Developments in TWA Flight 800 Crash; Operation Eager Lion; Syrian Refugees Cause Economic Burden on Host Countries; Interview wit Mia Farrow; Protests Grow in Brazil; Facebook and Samsung Execs Meet; "Arab Idol"

Aired June 19, 2013 - 12:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: It's our top story this hour on CNN, new developments now about something that happened.

This was 17 years ago, that horrible crash, TWA Flight 800 blew up a few minutes after take off. Everyone on board died. You'll recall that was 230 people.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, a long government investigation determined that a fuel tank exploded, some wiring that wasn't covered and blew up the fuel tank.

But now some people who worked on that investigation say that's not what happened at all. They believe an external explosion, no real detail other than that, is what brought the plane down.

Now a few minutes ago on CNN International, I talked to the woman who was the inspector general of the U.S. Transportation Department and she told me that something that bothers her about people breaking their silence all these years later.

Have a listen.


MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER DOT INSPECTOR GENERAL: That's what troubles me. Not only are they multiple investigators, they're federal employees, and I was a federal employee for almost 15 years and you take an oath of office.

And if this really troubled them at the time and they had this conclusive evidence, they said they kept quiet to keep their jobs. Well, there's a duty beyond that, and there's ways to report this.

I was the inspector general. They could have reported it to the office of the inspector general, to say the least. And we protect whistleblowers.

So I'm very critical of them not coming forward before now if what they have is really new.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Yeah, what she's talking about, of course, is the cable TV documentary that's going to air next month, features some former federal accident investigators who are now saying the official explanation for the crash of TWA Flight 800 is completely wrong.

Mary Schiavo, though, she did point out -- she said, look, the plane is still there. It's still in a hangar. Go back and have another look.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, but does she believe these guys then? Does she believe the investigators, or she's just upset they didn't come forward earlier?

HOLMES: She's open to hearing anything new. That's what she said, I'm open to hearing anything new, but why didn't they come forward?

She said there was whistleblower protection back then. There were channels they could have gone through.

So she's suspicious about why they're coming out now. But she says go back and have another look, by all means. The plane is still there.

MALVEAUX: So maybe there's fresh evidence.

HOLMES: Maybe.

MALVEAUX: We'll see.

The U.S. is flexing its military muscle. This is in Jordan. It's sending a message to now Syria.

Troops from the U.S., Jordan, other countries are all involved. This is a joint military exercise known as Operation Eager Lion.

Now the U.S. sent those Patriot missile defense systems and a squadron of F-16 fighter jets to take part in that exercise you're seeing there.

HOLMES: Yeah, the interesting thing is the planes and Patriot missile batteries are going to stay in Jordan when the exercise is over. This exercise is a regular thing, but the keeping there of that equipment is not.

It's seen as a show of support for an important U.S. ally, Jordan, and a deterrent, perhaps, against the bloodshed in Syria spilling over the border into Jordan. Everyone worried about that.

MALVEAUX: And the fighting in Syria has created a refugee crisis that the U.N. says is getting worse.

Syrians are flooding across the border to neighboring countries, as we've mentioned, but the exodus now putting a strain on all those countries resources. This is according to the U.N. now. One-point- six million Syrians are now living as refugees in other countries.

HOLMES: Yeah, and that could go up by the end of the year. Almost certainly will.

More than a million have left Syria this year alone. Most of them leave pretty much with the clothes on their backs, and women and children make up three-quarters of those refugees.

MALVEAUX: That's unbelievable, the statistics.

I want to really talk about the people behind this. Actress and activist Mia Farrow is a goodwill ambassador to UNICEF, of course, United Nations Children's Fund. And in January, she visited Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and she's joining us from New York.

Thank you so much for being here with us.


MALVEAUX: You wrote a very interesting op-ed piece on CNN saying, don't let Syria's children die. Tell us about the conditions that they are facing now.

FARROW: Really dire. Within Syria there's more than four million people living in rubble, hiding in caves, under rocks, sheltering anywhere they can, and, as you've described, pouring into neighboring countries.

There in Lebanon, it was still winter and it was a winter of unprecedented cold. And many of the people if not most had come during more clement weather, the summer months, so they were without coats, children with no shoes standing in icy water or ice, snow all over the mountains.

They had crossed through land mines. A little child told me about the journey through the night, darting and stopping to avoid being blown up by these devices on the ground which he described vividly with a red dot on them.

Then reaching Lebanon, of course, Lebanon, they come into the most poor parts of Lebanon, the Beqaa Valley and near Tripoli where you know the fighting is now full force on -- in these parts as well.

And the people are -- have nothing, literally nothing. And they tried to latch together some cardboard against the winds, but it was a dire situation.

HOLMES: I want you to talk a little bit more about that, if you will. And the U.N. report is interesting. It says it could be two million more people fleeing Syria by the end of the year. And it also points out that 81 percent of the world's refugees are being hosted by developing countries.

Now you've touched on this when referring there to Lebanon. What are the needs and concerns for a country like that who have their own problems?

FARROW: Exactly. It's a fragile country with its own crises and you're bringing different groups, different ethnicities and it's raised the undercurrents of stress in Lebanon.

There's that and, literally, the resources are a problem, people without water, people without toilets, people without food, people without anything, and children traumatized, malnourished and now vulnerable as the summer months come in, to every kind of disease.

So, you know, I was there with UNICEF, and they're trying to bring water purification tablets to them and vaccines. Children are dying of preventable diseases.

MALVEAUX: And, Mia, there's been so much discussion about, really, how do we end this civil war that's taking place in Syria and whether or not certain countries really need to get more involved in that.

The refugees that you talked to, do they see a sense of hope that the fighting will end soon?

FARROW: You know, I don't think you can look at a child and not see hope. Every child had hope.

But the people are bewildered and traumatized and all they want to do is go back home, and they spoke of -- what their lives lost. They had homes and a car and a career and kid's school and friends and loved ones lost.

It's about loss, and it's about the hope, the fervent hope, that they can one day go back as soon as possible. They don't want to be refugees. They said there's no dignity to their day and they long to go home. But they know that isn't possible for now.

HOLMES: Mia Farrow, thank you.

FARROW: Can I just add one thing that UNICEF is desperately underfunded. No one saw the magnitude of this crisis. So UNICEF and with its partners need help to keep these children alive.

HOLMES: Yeah, we've heard United Nations officials in the past on the ground literally saying, we're out of money. We don't have anymore to help these people.

Mia Farrow, thanks so much.

FARROW: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: And if you'd like to do more or if you'd like to get more information to help Syria's refugees, go to There's a way to give.

HOLMES: Yeah, a lot of great resources on that website.

Still ahead, chanting, singing, but also some looting, we're going to take you to the streets of Brazil for the latest on the huge demonstrations that continue there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: Extraordinary story now from Mexico, nine people taken to hospital, including one man in a coma after a pool party went horribly wrong. Have a look at the pictures there.

MALVEAUX: This is actually YouTube video showing a thick white cloud, you see that, after somebody poured liquid nitrogen into the swimming pool.

Now, moments later, people started passing out. You can see them actually being pulled out of the water. And the idea behind this was to kind of create this foggy party atmosphere.

HOLMES: Yeah, but we called Bill Nye, the Science Guy, to explain what happens when you mix liquid nitrogen with chlorinated water and he says, well, you get that, a cloud of gas that would instantly form and the oxygen gets sucked out of air.

MALVEAUX: Wow. That's awful.

There's growing anger now. This is the streets of Brazil's biggest cities. Protesters say that they are fed up with the way that the government is spending money on things that just are not needed, like big sporting events.

They say it doesn't spend enough on what people really need, and they're also pretty mad about the taxes, pretty high taxes.

HOLMES: Yeah, right now, protesters, they are actually calling for a bit of a break in the protests we've seen over recent days, for a day, at least.

They are also getting set, though, for more rallies to come, and the country, beefing up security.

Here's Shasta Darlington.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brazilians back on the streets Tuesday night, thousands of protesters packed into the main square in downtown Sao Paolo, the sixth demonstration in less than two weeks.

This is just getting started. People are arriving. This is just like other nights, the very beginning. Everyone is chanting, singing and really getting excited.

What started as a student protest over higher bus fares has snowballed with Brazilians saying they are fed up with the high cost of living and high taxes while the government spends billions on lavish sporting events.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here for the corruption, for the money that they spent on the World Cup constructing the stadiums, the money that they could have spent on education, on hospitals.

DARLINGTON: Tuesday's protest comes a day after some 200,000 people took to the streets across the country.

While Sao Paolo's massive demo Monday night was largely peaceful, in Rio de Janeiro, protesters threw Molotov cocktails, and in Brasilia, they stormed onto the roof of Congress.

Tuesday, Sao Paulo yet again the center of the attention.

We're an hour into the demonstration and people are starting to move. We never know where they're going to go. We just have to follow along and see where this march takes us.

A large group of marchers heads to the mayor's office and try to storm it. They end up setting fire to car. There was also looting.

For the first time since the protest started, President Dilma Rousseff spoke on national television.

PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF, BRAZIL (via translator): The magnitude of the demonstrations yesterday proves the energy of our democracy.

DARLINGTON: She also said their demands were being heard.

But back on the streets, demonstrators say they want proof, starting with lower bus fare.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paolo.


HOLMES: Yes, amazing. And there were actually more injuries. They're taking a day off protesting, that's what they announced. But there were some protests, anyway, and there were a couple of people injured.

MALVEAUX: Very frustrating.



HOLMES: Yes, they are angry.

Olympics and World Cup coming up.

MALVEAUX: And it's -

HOLMES: Sort it out.

MALVEAUX: Yes, some dangerous incidents happening as well. And coming up, this is kind of funny because if you know Mark Zuckerberg and what he usually wears, it's a hoodie. But he took off the hoodie. He put on a suit.

HOLMES: You've got to know it's important if he's not wearing a hoodie. Yes, he went to South Korea. We'll tell you all about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: Well, it could look like an ideal partnership. Facebook, the world's most popular social networking site, of course, and Samsung, the world's largest smartphone manufacturer. Well, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg meeting with Samsung's president, that was in South Korea.

HOLMES: And he also popped in on South Korea's president, as we said before the break, wearing a suit no less instead off the trademark hoodie. Let's bring in Zain Asher. She's in New York.

I mean let's talk about this trip, Zain. I mean it sounds like smart business.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does indeed. But we don't know too much about it. Facebook is being very hush. We do know that it was two big meetings. One, of course, with the executives at Samsung. Another with the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye. But as I mentioned, Facebook isn't really commenting on the details.

The trip - the big rumor surrounding the trip is that Zuckerberg may actually want to design - they may want Samsung to design a phone that's better integrated with Facebook. Something that goes beyond just the Facebook Home. That's the mobile platform Facebook launched in April, which really hasn't done too well.

Another option is that they may actually be looking for ways to boost mobile advertising revenue through some sort of deal with Samsung. Now, Facebook has about 750 million users per month on mobile devices. And as you mentioned, guys, Samsung is the world's biggest smartphone maker. So it only makes sense that they would want to partner somehow.

But as for the meeting with President Park Geun-hye, it was more of a diplomatic mission. Just (INAUDIBLE) and promote tech startups in South Korea.

Michael and Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, so, Zain, tomorrow there's a press conference scheduled. So we think we're going to find out any other details?

ASHER: No, not really. I mean the tech community anticipates that tomorrow will be all about Facebook unveiling a new product. The company basically sent out a mysterious invitation this week to select guests saying that a small team had been working on a big idea. Doesn't really get more mysterious than that.


ASHER: There's - I know. There's a lot of speculation about what it might be though, but the general consensus is that Facebook's going to be adding a video sharing sort (ph) of Instagram. Something that basically will allow it to compete with Twitter's Vine (ph) app which let users -


ASHER: Yes, which lets users share six second video clips. HOLMES: All the rage. My kids (INAUDIBLE).

ASHER: Right, right, right.

MALVEAUX: Very cool stuff.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes. Yes, they're all making those little Vine videos now.

All right, Zain, good to see you.

ASHER: I love it.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Zain.

HOLMES: Maybe (ph) he might buy South Korea. Maybe. You never know.

MALVEAUX: Well, let's wait for the announcement, OK?

HOLMES: All right.

MALVEAUX: All right.

Coming up, it's the Mideast version of "Idol." It is giving the region something to smile about here. We're going to introduce you to "Arab Idol" after the break.


HOLMES: Welcome back. "American Idol" isn't just a U.S. show. It is actually produced around the world. You're talking places like Australia, Sweden, Canada.

MALVEAUX: Yes, you've got fans everywhere.

HOLMES: Yes, all over the place, but also now in Lebanon.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The theme's the same. The concept, no different. But in the Arab world, as divided as ever, "Idol" is more than just a competition.

AHMAD JAMAL, EGYPTIAN CONTESTANT: You should vote for - only for music, not for nationality, not for religion, not for political issues.

JAMJOOM: "Arab Idol," currently in its second season, isn't simply a ratings juggernaut, it's also the feel good story of the year.

JAMJOOM (on camera): At a time when the Middle East is so concerned with conflicts growing and sectarianism increasing, this show has done the near impossible. It's given the region something to smile about.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): Take Farah. She almost didn't make it out of Syria. Her car was caught in the middle of a shootout when driving from Damascus to audition. The pressure of performing is nothing compared to how overcome she is when thinking about the civil war back home.

FARAH YOUSSEF, SYRIAN CONTESTANT: I see all that's happening in my country, so it's kind of very devastating that - that - oh, my gosh. Sorry.

JAMJOOM (on camera): That's OK.

YOUSSEF: (INAUDIBLE) people, they have no future. I thank my God that I'm here. I'm (INAUDIBLE) myself. I'm trying to be good. I'm trying to make the people love each other again.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): And then there's fan favorite Mohammed Assaf. Making the difficult journey out of Gaza, he barely made it to the tryouts in Cairo.

"There was a man who gave me his number, says Mohammed, "who sacrificed his place for my sake when he heard my voice. I still ask myself how all this happened."

On "Arab Idol," contestants, no matter their religious or cultural background, sing songs from all over the region.

"We're sending a message and unifying the Arab people," says Ziad. "A message of happiness and peace."

Arrested for troubled times. Here, no extremism, just excellence. No misery, just music.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.


MALVEAUX: Good for her.

HOLMES: What a great story. A great story.

MALVEAUX: Nice. Love it. I'd watch.

Coming up, an Australian woman - this is really fascinating. I don't even know if I can believe this, but they say it's true. She suffers a head injury, wakes up with a French accent.

HOLMES: Certainly it's possible.

MALVEAUX: (INAUDIBLE). Yes. We'll see.


MALVEAUX: A fascinating story. Can a car crash actually cause you to have a foreign accident?

HOLMES: Yes, I know, it's a bit odd, this story, isn't it? An Australian woman woke up from a terrible car accident but she found that her speech had changed completely. MALVEAUX: Leanne Rowe had an injury, a head injury, broke her jaw and slurred speech. When she got better, she noticed the slur developed actually into an accident.

HOLMES: Unbelievable. Eight years after the crash, this born and bred Australian woman now speaks with a French accent. She says having the new voice has made her anxious and depressed. She doesn't love it.


LEANNE ROWE, FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME SUFFERER: I don't try to hold it in anymore because for me it was not healthy. It makes me so angry because I am not French.


HOLMES: How odd, isn't it? I mean, really.

MALVEAUX: It's hard to believe but they say that's a real - it is a real condition.

HOLMES: It is.


HOLMES: I'm actually Lathian (ph). I woke up with an Australian accent one day. Yes.

MALVEAUX: No kidding?



HOLMES: Got to go. They're telling us -

MALVEAUX: I'm American.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. You're born and bred.

All right, thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD. I'm out of here, but you aren't.

MALVEAUX: I'll see you tomorrow.