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Holder Says Snowden Quest for Asylum is Without Merit; Diabetes Saved Vietnam Vet's Life; Tomorrow, 60th Anniversary of End of Korean War; Queen of the Pacific to be Freed; Mick Jagger Turns 70

Aired July 26, 2013 - 12:30   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: So they're staying in jail.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We're also following the new developments. This is the case of intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Well, Attorney General Eric Holder, he now says that Snowden's request for temporary asylum is without merit.

HOLMES: Another development, Snowden's father, meanwhile, defending his son's actions.

In an interview on NBC's "Today" show, he says Snowden's conscience is clear, and he took aim at lawmakers and intelligence officials.


LON SNOWDEN, EDWARD SNOWDEN'S FATHER: I believe that my son, when takes his final breath, whether it's today or a hundred years from now, he will be comfortable with what he did because he did what he knew was right.

He shared the truth with the American people. What we choose to do with it is up to us as a people.

Are we going to listen to folks like Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein who say, trust us, when we still have someone like James Clapper who lied to Congress.

He's still being paid. He's still serving this country. He works directly for the president of the United States.

We have much work to do. This story is far from done.


HOLMES: And Joe Johns is live with us from our D.C. bureau.

Joe, let's talk about the comments by the attorney general on Snowden's asylum request. He wrote that letter to Russian authorities, challenging the request.

Why does he say it's without merit, and what are the chances he'll be listened to? JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, this is very tricky. It's about public relations. It's about optics between the United States and Russia, just a whole host of things.

The attorney general, Michael, wrote this letter to the Russian minister of justice confirming that Edward Snowden is not going to face the death penalty. He's not going to be tortured if he's returned to the United States to stand trial.

Now for those of us in the United States, this is a no brainer. The U.S., essentially, has never suggested any of those things would happen. Snowden , of course, has, and the attorney general felt it necessary to put all of this down on paper.

The letter essentially states what is we already know to be fact, that the charges against Snowden are not death penalty eligible at all, and, of course, that torture is illegal in the United States and that, if Snowden were returned to the United States, he would be tried in regular civilian federal court.

The importance of this is that Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia on grounds that he might be tortured, subject to the death penalty.

Holder says the assurances he has now given in this letter essentially eliminates Snowden's claim that he should be treated essentially as a refugee.


MALVEAUX: So, Joe, what do we know about the status of his asylum request? Are there any talks, back channels that are going on to -- regarding this application?

JOHNS: You can assume that there's some kind of conversation at least, but reports coming out of Russia today suggest that he could remain at the airport for as long as six months.

And, I mean, that's also been talked about in the diplomatic court here in Washington, D.C., as well.

So it sounds like case of limbo for Edward Snowden, at least for now, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Joe Johns, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

HOLMES: Well, in wartime, of course, anything can happen. Vietnam war veteran Urban Miyares knows that firsthand.

MALVEAUX: During a patrol, his platoon came under fire. Now he was the only survivor.

In today's "Human Factor," he reveals what actually saved his life and how it changed his life.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was 1968. Infantry platoon Sergeant Urban Miyares was on patrol in Vietnam.

URBAN MIYARES, VIETNAM WAR VET: As we're going out, going by the rice paddies and the delta, I hear mortars coming in, the machine guns going off.

GUPTA: Then something odd happened.

MIYARES: Next thing I feel myself falling face first into a rice paddy. And that's it.

Two days later I woke up in a Saigon military hospital, and they were telling me I was lucky, that they found me in a body bag.

GUPTA: You heard that right. Urban was put in a body bag. presumed dead because he was unconscious.

An astute combat medic had discovered him still breathing.

MIYARES: The diagnosis was diabetes.

GUPTA: Urban hadn't been hit by the enemy. He'd passed out from effects of the disease. He was the only soldier in his platoon to survive.

MIYARES: If it wasn't for diabetes, I probably wouldn't be here.

GUPTA: The 45 years since have been a roller coaster. Urban has been legally blind since the '70s. He lost most of his hearing. He needed a kidney transplant.

But one thing, sailing, that kept him afloat.

MIYARES: When I went to Vietnam and came back so sick, and especially with the eyesight loss, I never thought I'd get into sailing again and -- till I met two gentlemen in wheelchairs, Vietnam-era veterans.

GUPTA: The three of them together started Challenged America. It's a therapeutic sailing program for people with disabilities, primarily veterans.

MIYARES: Sailing is therapy. There's nothing like being on the water, being with nature. No one's going to jump out of a hole and shoot at me.

GUPTA: The program now has 27 modified sailboats based in San Diego.

Urban's goal is to help the world see people with disabilities as equals.

MIYARES: It's nice. You get front-of-the-line privileges, as I like to say, but that's not really what we're doing.

We want to be equal with you. We want -- you know, give us chance to prove that we can do it.

And you may be surprised.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


MALVEAUX: Watch "Sanjay Gupta, MD" this weekend, Saturday afternoon at 4:30 or Sunday morning, 7:30 Eastern time.

We'll be right back.


HOLMES: Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the agreement that ended the fighting in the Korean war.

There are ceremonies being held in both South and North Korea. Veterans in Seoul -- from South Korea and the U.S. are being honored in Seoul.

MALVEAUX: And in the North, the anniversary is being celebrated as day of victory over South Korea and its U.S. allies. A military parade is planned in the capitol of Pyongyang.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties during the Korean war. More than a million troops were killed, including more than 36,000 Americans.

HOLMES: Thousands of U.S. soldiers are still classified as missing in action.

Two American veterans are in North Korea right now, determined to find the remains of a fallen comrade.

MALVEAUX: The North Korean government invited them there. This is a rare move for a nation that is steeped in secrecy.

Paula Hancocks explains.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The last time Captain Thomas Hudner was in North Korea, he was fighting.

Sixty-three years later, he's on a mission of peace, an invited guest to watch North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, inaugurate the Korean war cemetery in Pyongyang, the final resting place of those he and fellow American veterans fought against.

THOMAS HUDNER, KOREAN WAR VETERAN: It's an opportunity I never thought that I'd have.

It's very impressive to see the turn out on a part of this civilian population is quite inspiring. It's a wonderful experience for them, too. And I'm glad that we had an opportunity to be a part of it.

HANCOCKS: Hudner and a second Korean war veteran, Dick Bonelli, are here to search for the remains of a fallen comrade, Jesse Brown.

But the region where his plane crashed is flooded and access is impossible.

Representatives of the North Korean military met the veterans this week and promised to help in the search, inviting them back in September.

The military asked Hudner to tell the U.S. government they want the joint recovery work to resume.

Around 8,000 Americans are still missing in action in North Korea from the 1950 to 1953 war. Official U.S. efforts to find them were stalled in 2005 when relations soured.

Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on December 4th, 1950. He crashed his plane near Brown's to try to save him, but Brown was trapped in his cockpit and died.

With the search on hold due to the weather, Hudner and Bonelli have effectively been tourists in and around Pyongyang this week.

The first day, they were taken to the Palace of the Sun to pay their respects to the embalmed bodies of the two former leader, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, which we were not allowed to film.

Captain Hudner did not come to North Korea just so that he could attend these kind of ceremonies and also so could be taken around the country as a tourist.

But he does believe that, even though he was not able to get to the northeastern part of the country and search for the remains of his fallen comrade, Jesse Brown, it's not a wasted trip.

Captain Hudner truly believes that this could help improve relations between the United States and the DPRK.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.


HOLMES: Rare access indeed.

Well, she's called the "Queen of the Pacific."

Coming up, how one of the most notorious figures in the Mexican drug world is about to be set free from a U.S. prison.


MALVEAUX: One of the most notorious figure of the Mexican drug cartel universe about to be set free. This is from an American jail. She is a woman that is so notorious people know her better by her nickname, "Queen of the Pacific."

HOLMES: She's locked up in Miami today, but that's about to change. Rafael Romo is here. He is our senior Latin American affairs editor.

Tell us about this story. Remind us who she is and what's going on.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, in the male dominated under world of the Mexican drug cartel, she's certainly unique. She was, at one point, accused of being responsible for conspiring to traffic almost 20,000 pounds of cocaine between Colombia and Mexico and bound to the United States. Her name is Sandra Avila Beltran. She's 52 years old. You see her right there.

And she has been serving time in prison. Five times - five years in Mexico, 11 months in the United States. But now she is going free, essentially, because she was sentenced to time served. And she may go free as soon as Sunday, which is shocking a lot of people because it's so soon, especially when you talk about a crime so big.

MALVEAUX: Yes. And tell us -- give us a little bit of color about her because she's known as the "queen of Botox" as well.

ROMO: Yes.

MALVEAUX: I mean she is notorious, but she also is a very colorful figure.

ROMO: Well, after her arrest in 2007, in Mexico City, one of the things that caught our attention was that she managed to get a Botox treatment while in prison in Mexico City and she's been known to favor all kinds of surgical enhancements. And so that's the reason why she's so peculiar. But, also, there's a number of songs written to honor her. One of them by a famous Mexican group known as Los Tigres Del Norte, "the northern tigers," in which one line of the song, just to give you an idea of what the song is about, says, "the more beautiful the rose, the sharper the thorns" to describe her.


HOLMES: Oh. At the end of the day, though, this is a drug trafficker. What happens when she goes back to Mexico? Is she wanted there as well?

ROMO: She's basically done. You know, she's going to be able to walk free. She has family in two states, the state of Senalora (ph), the city of Gualalahara (ph). And just to give you an idea of who she is. She comes from a family of drug traffickers. Her uncle was the founder of the (INAUDIBLE), known in Mexico as el padrino, "the godfather."

MALVEAUX: Oh, my God. ROMO: And then she's also the grand niece of Jose Quintero Payan. He's the founder of the Juarez Cartel. We talked a lot about Juarez and the murder rate going through the roof in that Mexican border city, across the border from El Paso, Texas. So definitely an iconic figure in the underworld of drug cartels in Mexico.

HOLMES: What - I suppose the obvious question is, why did she get such a light sentence? Anyone else traffic that much cocaine, they'd never get out. ROMO: It was basically a deal with the prosecution. She pled guilty to being an accessory to a drug trafficker who was, as a matter of fact, her lover, a Colombian drug trafficker who himself was sentenced to six years behind bars.

HOLMES: Hmm, amazing. Well, I suppose a comfortable retirement awaits her.

MALVEAUX: Amazing.

HOLMES: Her parents must be proud.

All right, Rafi (ph), good to see you.

MALVEAUX: Nice to see you, Rafael.

ROMO: Thank you.

HOLMES: That's a big depressing really, isn't it?

MALVEAUX: Yes, strange. This kind of bizarre situation.


MALVEAUX: Well, this is - this is a cool story. I love this story.

HOLMES: Oh, me too.

MALVEAUX: Twenty-nine. That is how many albums the Rolling Stones have released. Eight. That's how many number one singles Mick Jagger, that is right, had on the Billboard 100.

HOLMES: Yes, and 70. That's how old he is today. We're going to have a look at his career when we come back next.


MALVEAUX: Prince Harry out with his first public comments about the newest member of the royal family. I'm missing that royal music.

HOLMES: I know. That's right. Your favorite.

MALVEAUX: You know, I thought we'd play the royal music.

HOLMES: It's your anthem now. Oh, yes.

Harry told reporters at an art gallery that he's enjoying being an uncle. Well, he has to say that. He has been able to hold the baby too, he said.

MALVEAUX: He's a fun uncle.


MALVEAUX: Prince George Alexander Louis, he was born on Monday, left the hospital with his parents the day later and one reporter asked Harry, what's your role going to be?


PRINCE HARRY: To make sure he has a good upbringing, keep him out of harm's way and make sure he has fun. (INAUDIBLE).


HOLMES: He said he's going to be an expensive babysitter too. He did (ph) say that.

MALVEAUX: Fun, huh?

HOLMES: Yes, and -

MALVEAUX: I'm worried about that baby.

HOLMES: He'll end up at a nightclub wearing a uniform.

Now, two CNN documentary specials coming up. At 10:00, he is second in line to the British throne. And since birth, of course, Prince William as never been far from the public eye. You can watch "Growing Up William."

MALVEAUX: Then at 10:30, we explore what the future might look like for the royal family's newest edition, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. Don't miss "The Royals: A New Prince."

HOLMES: There will be music on those, I'm sure.


HOLMES: All right, some things just get better with age. You can believe that Mick Jagger turns 70 years old today.

MALVEAUX: And he's still got the moves.

HOLMES: He does.

MALVEAUX: He's got the moves like Jagger, the voice. Still going strong with Rolling Stones. Entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner gives us a look at his remarkable career.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "ALMOST FAMOUS": If you think Mick Jagger would still be out there trying to be a rock star at age 50, you're sadly - sadly mistaken.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That clip from "Almost Famous" was only off by 20 years and counting.

The legendary rock icon just celebrated his 70th birthday.

LENNY KRAVITZ, SINGER/ACTOR: Happy birthday, Mick. You know I love you. TURNER: While many septuagenarians have eased into retirement, the Rolling Stones recently capped off a grueling tour of the United States with three high profile homecoming dates in the United Kingdom.

JOE LEVY, BILLBOARD: Seeing Jagger perform with The Stones at this point is that he looks like a 20-year-old guy with the head of a 60- year-old surgically implanted.

TURNER: Solo artists like BB King, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan continue to tour into their 70s and 80s. But Jagger, along with 71- year-old Paul McCartney, is blazing a trail for rock and roll frontmen.

MICK JAGGER, SINGER: They were entertainers. There were a very - had a huge longevity like Frank Sentara and others. But there wasn't bands that have been 50 years. You know, there's already a role model for that. Good or bad role model, I can't tell you.

TURNER: In 2003, Mick Jagger, celebrated bad boy, became Sir Michael Jagger when he was knighted for his services to music.

LEVY: Jagger at 20 was a counter culture figure and something of a revolutionary artistically and politically. Jagger at 70 is a member of the establishment.

TURNER: Although he's a grandfather four times over, his charisma remains as timeless as his music. That's even made him a favorite guest on "Saturday Night Live."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. You know I've got a great idea.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, why don't you go out and do the rooster (INAUDIBLE).

LEVY: The Stones in the 1960s and in the '70s embodied a fantasy for their audience that you could live any way you wanted to. But now they embody a very different kind of fantasy for their audience. You can keep going at 70. You can not only being alive, you can keep doing what you love.


TURNER: All right, so here's the question, will Mick Jagger ever retire? I certainly wouldn't hold my breath on that. And, Suzanne and Michael, I will make you guys a deal. Meet me back here in 10 years to see if he's still headlining arenas at the age of 80. What do you think? Back to you.

HOLMES: I would like to see that, actually. I think they're remarkable. And, in fact, -- and it's not -- we're talking about Mick there. All four still there. Only Bill Wyman retired. He stepped out.

MALVEAUX: They won't quit. And everybody's going to still try to imitate him, you know? HOLMES: Absolutely. They're all still going on together. Although -

MALVEAUX: Move like Jagger. Live like Jagger. The voice.

HOLMES: Although I think Keith Richards might already be dead. We just don't know. He said -

MALVEAUX: Oh, come on. Come on now.

HOLMES: It's like a concert at Bernie's.

MALVEAUX: That's not even - that's not - that's not even right.

HOLMES: Yes, no, he's unbelievable, all of those guys. Incredible.

MALVEAUX: Want to turn the corner. All this week we've been shining the spotlight, going in-depth on a fatal neuromuscular disease. It is called ALS. It ravages your body, but not your mind, taking away people's ability to speak, eat, move and breathe, including my own mother. But scientists are not getting closer to a cure.

Next hour we're going to introduce you to this amazing guy, Augie Nieto. He is the founder of Life Fitness. He was the figure of good health. But eight years ago he was diagnosed with ALS. Well, now, he uses a motorized wheelchair to get around and machines to speak and breathe. See how he is raising millions of dollars to support research for a cure. Watch "Augie's Quest" next hour at 1:30 Eastern.


HOLMES: On Twitter, always a reliable source for information, people around the world are blaming the moon for their lack of sleep. And why? Well, that's because a group of researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have confirmed that the moon does actually affect your sleep.

MALVEAUX: So here's what they did. They studied volunteers in a sleep lab, found that when there is a full moon, people take about five minutes longer, actually, to fall asleep and they also have less deep sleep. They say that they sleep about 20 minutes less than they do during a new moon. So that explains it, right, why we are so tired.

HOLMES: I thought it was the wine.

MALVEAUX: All right.

HOLMES: That will do it for me. Thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD.

MALVEAUX: Have a great weekend.

HOLMES: You too.

MALVEAUX: We'll see you next week.


MALVEAUX: CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.