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Mexican Drug Lord Under Arrest; Snowden Seeks Temporary Asylum in Russia; Royal Baby Due Any Day; Lucy Liu's New Role as UNICEF Ambassador; Heat Advisories for Northeast

Aired July 16, 2013 - 12:30   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: One of the most wanted and feared drug lords in Mexico now under arrest. Authorities say Miguel Angel Trevino Morales is head of the Zeta drug cartel.

Our Nick Parker covering the story from Mexico city. Nick, this is a guy who used to put his enemies in drums, pour gasoline on them and set them on fire. Tell us more about him and how he was captured.

NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Michael. I mean, he really has been a pioneer of some of the most gruesome violence that we've seen in Mexico, you know, over the last few years, and, as you say, the leader over one of if not the most powerful cartel in Mexico with tentacles stretching from Central America through Mexico and all the way into the United States. He was apprehended on Monday morning around 3:45 in the morning in an area just south of Nuevo Laredo, the key city for the trafficking of drugs.

Marines say they had the area under surveillance for some months prior to his apprehension, and they caught sight of a pickup truck round about 3:30 on Monday morning. And they launched a joint operation involving a helicopter and ground troops. They were able to stop the pickup truck without a shot fired, and they found Trevino Morales, $2 million in cash, eight heavy weapons and two other men.

And the area where he was apprehended has actually been, you know, an area of his where he basically built his career in the drugs industry. He started at a low level, at a street level in Nuevo Laredo. At some point, he lived apparently in the United States city of Dallas, he's thought to have lived in. By 2005, he was running Nuevo Laredo for Los Zeta and was basically trafficking millions of dollars of drugs into the United States.

And, apparently, according to U.S. prosecutors, he was also organizing hit squads to carry out attacks within the United States. So he was finally indicted in 2009 and had a $5 million reward on his head. Michael?

HOLMES: And this is a guy who didn't really -- he wasn't fussy who he killed. He killed innocent civilians. He killed opponents to climb and get more territory. Now, the question is, what is the order of succession? This is a group that has ex-military people in it. One would imagine there is an order of succession. If you have a vacuum in this drug war in Mexico, that generally leads to bad things. Is there a fear that this could lead to more violence as people compete, A, for the leadership of the group, and, B, for the territory it controls?

PARKER: There's absolutely a fear of that, Michael, yes. You just have to look at the presidency of Felipe Calderon who was the previous president of Mexico who launched an extremely bloody drug war beginning in 2006. And although he captured or killed the majority of the big targets that he set out to get, some 60,000 people lost their lives during that drug war, so certainly there's a fear that a power vacuum could lead to fragmentation and fracturing.

When you look at Los Zetas, as you say, they do have a military background. They were founded by ex-special forces members who deserted from the army. And they've always been very, very careful about their level of organization and hierarchy within the ranks. So it's not unconceivable they did have a plan of succession in place. Some reports are saying that perhaps Trevino Morales' brother could step up to the situation. But inevitably there will be some power jockeying, so we'll have to wait and see, Michael.

HOLMES: And, Nick, this was a man wanted on both sides of the border. Is he likely to be kept in Mexico and tried there, or could the Mexican authorities sort of throw him over the border and let the U.S. do it and sort of get rid of the chances he could continue running things from jail in Mexico?

PARKER: Right. Well, I mean, the interior ministry was asked that exact question last night because, as you say, he was indicted in the United States. He faces a number of criminal charges there. They said so far they don't have an extradition request for Trevino Morales. So, at this stage, they're still operating on the basis that he will stay in Mexico.

And, certainly, it's almost inevitable that he will face trial here for the charges which are obviously extremely serious charges that he faces here. And it's unlikely, frankly, he would get out of jail to eventually stand trial in the United States. Michael?

HOLMES: Yeah. Nick, appreciate your reporting on this. Nick Parker, certainly a very big deal in the drug war down there in Mexico, thanks for that.

Just ahead here on AROUND THE WORLD, he faces espionage charges in the United States, so Edward Snowden really doesn't want to come to the U.S., does he? He wants political asylum. We'll tell you about his latest application. We've got a live report from Moscow, coming up right here.


HOLMES: Well, the man who leaked United States' top secret surveillance program has temporarily asked for asylum. A prominent lawyer from Moscow says Edward Snowden made that request and if granted could stay in Russia for as long as a year while he figures out where else he can go.

Snowden, of course, facing espionage charges in the United States, he's been holed up in Moscow's international airport for three weeks now actually, trying to make it to Latin America eventually.

Phil Black on the story for us in Moscow. Some mixed signals from the Russians. I mean, they won't extradite him back to the United States and have sort of suggested they'd love it if he'd move on, but what chance he'll get this temporary asylum?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, I think at the very least you can say that among officials, among the political class here, there is some sympathy for Edward Snowden. So that is why officials are now considering this formal application for temporary asylum, which he has submitted today.

Now, we've been speaking to the lawyer who assisted him in putting together that paperwork, putting together his formal documentation, and this is what we've learned about the process which he is now going through. He chose temporary asylum over permanent political asylum because it is a faster assessment process. He'll know within maximum three months whether or not he is going to succeed here.

And the decision when he applies for temporary asylum is only made by the federal migration service. One government department, no other government departments are involved. In fact, we are told even the president himself has no official role in the decision-making process when someone applies for temporary asylum. That would be different if he was applying for permanent asylum. The decision formally would rest with the Russian president.

And there is one point here that has the potential to change his quality of life both quickly and very dramatically. We are told that, once this application for temporary asylum is now in, he can expect within the coming days to receive a document, a permit of some kind that would allow him to enter Russia officially to leave that transit zone to enter the country and have some sort of official status while he is waiting to hear whether or not his application for temporary asylum is successful.

So he could very well be leaving that airport very, very soon. If he's successful, as you mentioned, he gets to stay for a year, but he can reapply at the end of that time and claim an extension. And temporary asylum brings him all the same rights and privileges as that of any other Russian citizen, both here or if he wanted to travel as well, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, and, of course, he eventually wants to get down to Latin America where a couple countries have put their hand up and said they'll take him. But when it comes to the U.S. relationship with Russia, which has been a bit dodgy of late, tell us the situation there.

I mean, as I say, the Russians don't want to hand him over to the U.S., which would make the U.S. happy, but they don't want him hanging around. And they said if he does stay he's got to stop doing things that would damage the U.S.

What's the feeling there in Russia about this guy?

BLACK: Well, they're trying to walk a very delicate line here in Russia, I think. And I think it's interesting to note that, while Vladimir Putin has been a very busy man over the last couple of days, diving in a mini-sub off one coast one day, supervising massive war games on the other side of this vast country the next, he has still found time in between to comment on the Snowden case.

And he has made the point that he believes it's America's fault that Snowden is now trapped here because America revoked his passport, because America intimidated other countries. He says it's not helping Snowden or not allowing Snowden to move on.

And so, on one hand, he believes that this isn't Russia's problem. It's not his fault. He also does not want to be seen to be jumping to the United States' wishes here and just sending him back, extraditing him back for punishment, which is what America obviously wants.

But at the same time, he, again, does not want to anger or risk damaging relations between Russia and the United States, which is why we've heard from the Russian president that he insists upon this condition should Snowden seek asylum here that he must stop any and all political activity.

Will that condition be enough to satisfy or perhaps even appease the United States? Well, you'd have to think almost certainly not because America views this man as a criminal and they want him to be punished.

So what potential for long-term damage to their relationship? Well, these two countries, they still need to work together on a lot of big important issues, but they disagree on a lot of big important issues quite frequently as well, and tend to get over it even if no trust is really built in the process.

So this could just be another blip in their relations, but I think the real reaction will come if we see Snowden walk out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. And then again if he does receive some sort of official status of protection here in Russia, then the U.S. reaction will be key. Michael?

HOLMES: Yeah, indeed. Phil, as always, thanks very much. Phil Black there, covering things for us in Moscow.

Well, this is a great story, Queen Elizabeth's closest confidant, a member of the royal family, and Christiane Amanpour spoke. We're going to hear from her in a moment, why she's not all that excited about the arrival of a royal baby. Who'd've thought?


HOLMES: Well, the future British king or queen could be here any day. The duchess of Cambridge believed to be now three days past her official due date. Our Max Foster has been watching the story from London.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the royal baby due any moment now, all eyes are on the Lindo (ph) wing of St. Mary's Hospital in west London, where the duchess of Cambridge is expected to give birth to the prince or princess. Throngs of media from around the world have flocked across the street, waiting for any sign that labor has commenced. The duchess of Cornwall expects delivery this week.


CAMILLA, DUCHESS OF CORNWALL: We're all waiting near the telephone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I gather -- I know everybody's camped outside whichever (ph) --

CAMILLA: I think so. I think so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we wish you all well.

CAMILLA: I think by the end of the week he or she will have been born (ph).

FOSTER: The speculation about where Kate is spending the final days of her pregnancy. This weekend she avoided the sweltering city heat and was believed to be staying with her family in Bucklebury Berkshire (ph) while William was playing polo. If she stays there, it will take her at least an hour to get to the hospital in London. Kate's home in London, Kensington Palace, is only a 10-minute ride from hospital, five minutes under police escort. Once the duchess has safely snuck into the maternity unit, the media will be informed via e-mail.

MARGARET RHODES, QUEEN ELIZABETH'S COUSIN: I think in this particular day and age, far more emphasis is placed on it by the press and the general public than was ever happened before. When the queen mother had Princess Elizabeth, I very much doubt that there was this sort of element of excitement in the country.

FOSTER: But there's no doubt that the arrival of this royal baby has the world waiting with baited breath.


HOLMES: And Max Foster is joining us now from outside the hospital, his perch there. I hope you're comfortable, got a nice comfy chair. At least the weather has been cooperating in rainy London.

I was going to ask you this. I mean it's all so choreographed in many ways. How will you and others learn that she's even in the hospital? She's not going to walk in the front door.

FOSTER: No, exactly. There's no way they're going to allow her to be seen in labor. So they decided it was going to be this hospital. They would have made the plans before they announced the hospital, so they will have a plan for getting her in, which certainly won't be through the front door. There's basement entrances, I'm told. There's two other entrances on the street level. And maybe it will be overnight.

The first will be heard -- we'll be told is in an e-mail. So we're literally glued to our phones at the moment. It's funny sitting with all the reporters holding them in their hands trying to set particular alerts to particular e-mail addresses. So we'll find out from an e- mail and that will be when she's inside. So that will be the next thing that we hear.

We are three days overdue. I say we are. She is three days overdue. Feels like we're all part of this pregnancy. So it really could be any time now. And there is so much interest in this, but there's very little you can update people on apart from when Camilla sort of let slip a few words.

HOLMES: Yes, yes, I'm sure you in and the assembled throng of media are passing the time with cards and coffee and the like, although I understand there's not a pub very close by, which is very unfortunate.

Max, appreciate that. Keep us updated, won't you? Max Foster there in London.

Well, you heard from her there in Max's story. I want to show you a little bit more. This is one member of the royal family who maybe isn't so much on the baby bandwagon. She is 87-year-old Margaret Rhodes. She is the queen's cousin and known to be her lifelong confidante. Now our Christiane Amanpour sat down with her and talked about the imminent royal birth.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As we sit here, the whole world is waiting for the birth --

RHODES: Anticipate.

AMANPOUR: Of Kate and William's child.


AMANPOUR: Anticipating. Are you excited about the baby?

RHODES: Not terribly.

AMANPOUR: Why not?

RHODES: Well, you know, everybody has babies. And it's lovely. But I don't get wildly excited about it.

AMANPOUR: Special -- heir to the throne?

RHODES: I know but --

AMANPOUR: History. RHODES: Yes. All right, I've prepared (ph) to be excited.


HOLMES: She is quite the character. You have to check out the full interview with Christiane. It really is fantastic. This is the lady who has a drink with the queen every week, so do have a listen. It's a great interview.

All right, a television and movie star stepping into a new role to help refugees who have fled the civil war in Syria. What Lucy Liu is doing impacting your world.


HOLMES: Welcome back. When she's not working on her hit TV series "Elementary," Lucy Liu takes on another role, and that is of UNICEF ambassador. The actress recently visiting Syrian refugee families in Lebanon, and there are many of them. What she found there is heartbreaking, millions without a country, living in fear and uncertainty.


LUCY LIU, UNICEF AMBASSADOR: Hi. I'm Lucy Liu and we can make an impact for Syrian children.

Syria is in a terrible situation right now. There's a civil war going on that is creating absolute pandemonium and people are fleeing into Lebanon, into Jordan, into Iraq.

Six million people have been displaced and half of them are children. These children are suffering. They have lice, there's scabies and they've lost family. They can't go to school. They're not getting the medical attention they need. They're not getting the nutrition they need. There's going to be a lost generation of children if this continues. Children deserve to have a childhood.

What happens on the other side of the world isn't just their business, it's our business, because we share the same water. We share the same environment. If we understand that, we are actually one community. Then it makes the world so much smaller and much more tangible for people to understand.

UNICEF is currently desperate for donations for Syria. It's our duty as human beings to give back. Join the movement. Impact your world.


HOLMES: And Liu, by the way, wrote an article on her mission to help Syrian children and what you can do to help. You can find that at as well.

Well, it was just a short come -- shortcut home, but some shortcut it was. It added seven hours to her trip and it took firemen to free her. We'll have that when we come back.


HOLMES: Our apologies if you're in the northeast. It is going to be a sweltering day from Boston to Baltimore, heat advisories up for parts of the northeast, also the Mid-Atlantic, temperatures into the 90s. Most places are going to feel like the triple digits, however. And worse yet, those conditions could last for days. Chad Myers is across (ph).

Chad, of course the question is, how long is this going to last?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I think it lasts till Friday.


MYERS: So we're Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and now into Friday. Where today we'll be 95. Some temperatures on Friday may be 98. So it doesn't get better from here. It gets worse until Saturday when the front comes by.

And it's just a sweltering area of hot air that's just sitting right over the northeast. And as this spins around, the heat just sinks. And it's the sunshine -- tell you what, I was just in New York City all last week and the heat index got to 101. You could see like lines of ants, people walking only on the shady side of the street because it feels 10 degrees warmer on the sunny side.

Now, all the numbers that we say, 100, 105, that's in the shade. Make sure the pets have shade, you have shade and plenty of water too. And if your bags take a little longer to get from the plane to the carousel, you know, all those -- all those workers have to work outside too, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes. And it's interesting, more people die of heat than any other weather event.

MYERS: That's right.

HOLMES: I found that out from a meteorologist much like you.

Good to see you, Chad. Thanks so much. Stay in the shade if you're out there.

Well, so much for a shortcut home. A woman in China getting wedged between two narrow walls trying to take that shortcut. She stayed there stuck for seven hours, calling out for help the whole time. A lot of people thought they were hearing a ghost though. Finally a passerby did call the fire department and they did what firefighters do, they worked for almost half an hour. They had to tear down part of the wall to get her out. It all ended well.

That's it for me. Thanks for being with us on AROUND THE WORLD. "CNN NEWSROOM" starts right now.