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White House Cancels Russia Summit; Fire Shuts Down Nairobi Airport: China Raises New Bird Flu Alarm; Italian Statue Damaged in Museum by Tourist; Save the Wife, or the Dog First?

Aired August 7, 2013 - 12:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A massive fire shutting down an international airport in Kenya. The huge toll this could have on world travel and commerce.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And, one of the most lethal strands of bird flu apparently getting worse. A woman in China believe to be the first person to get the disease from another person.

WHITFIELD: Then, President Barack Obama cancels his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia grants asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. What this could mean for U.S.-Russian relations.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Suzanne Malveaux.

HOLMES: And good to have you here. I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

Well, he has strained relations between the U.S. and Russia for more than a month. Edward Snowden, we're talking about. Of course, Russia granting temporary asylum to the NSA leaker last week.

WHITFIELD: Now, new fallout today. The White House announced President Obama will not meet with President Putin in September. Jill Dougherty joins us live now from the State Department.

So, Jill, how badly has this relationship between the two presidents now deteriorated?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, if you look at the statement that's coming out of the White House announcing this postponement, as they put it, it's bad. They not only mentioned Snowden, but they mentioned the - we'd have to say, the entire relationship. You know, given our lack of progress, they say, and then they list all of these issues -- missile defense, arms control, trade, security issues, human rights, civil society, et cetera.

So it's really - I think it's really an indictment of the relationship and very interesting in the way they, you know, mention without using his name Putin, because, after all, they say there was progress when Putin wasn't president. That was in the first term when Mr. Medvedev was the president and now we're having all these problems. So I would say it's pretty bad.

However, the meeting this Friday with the top - these secretary of defense, secretary of state and their counterparts, Russian counterparts, will take place, preparing for the G-20.

HOLMES: And, Jill, you know, I suppose the risk here in a political and diplomatic sense is it gets into tit for tat. Mr. Putin, he's likely to see this as a snub one would imagine. You know, how do they repair things like this after what was meant to be a reset in the first term and it's gone south?

DOUGHERTY: You know, people behind the scenes are telling us, from this administration, that the Russians simply aren't really interested, apparently, in engaging on much of anything. So you'd have to question, what can they really accomplish right now? And the tone coming from the Russians is, on the one hand, the invitation is still open, we're willing to work on all bilateral and multilateral issues.

But then you also hear things, Yury Ushakov, who is a senior aide to President Putin, saying that the United States is not looking for equal relations with Russia. So they're hurt and stunned as well. When we try to get immediate reaction after the announcement was made by the State Department - by the White House, they did not have an immediate reaction. So perhaps they didn't think that the White House would follow through on that threat. So right now it's not looking very good.

HOLMES: Yes. Jill Dougherty, thanks so much.

And I got to say, just this moment, while Jill was talking to us, ITAR-TASS, the Russian news agency, saying the kremlin is disappointed with the U.S. administration's decision to postpone the meeting. They say it is clear the decision is linked to the situation around the former CIA contractor Edward Snowden. That just crossing literally in the last 30 seconds.

WHITFIELD: Disappointing, but I'm sure, in large part, it was expected, too, given the tenor of what's taken place leading up to it.

HOLMES: Disappointing. Yes. Yes. Exactly.

WHITFIELD: All right, let's talk about that huge fire that has shut down a key international airport in east Africa, but apparently now it's contained. The impact on tourism and exports could still last for a long time.

HOLMES: Yes, this is one of the big three in that part of the continent, too, the big three airports that is. We're talking about Nairobi's Kenyatta International Airport. A major travel hub in east Africa. Also, and this is very important, an important commercial hub. Fresh fruits, vegetables and critically flowers, actually, exported from there to Europe several times a week.

WHITFIELD: Flames swept through the entire international terminal, as you see right there. No one remarkable was hurt. But depending on how long the airport is closed, this could be a very serious blow to Kenya's economy.

HOLMES: Yes, Nick Hughes has been following this for us from Nairobi. Richard Quest is also here in the studio to talk about the economic impact.

Nick, let's start with you. Officials were hoping to get things up and running pretty soon. What's happening on the domestic flight side and then the international one, crucially?

NICK HUGHES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are some domestic flights. They're obviously trying to clear passengers who are in Nairobi to get them out of Nairobi to try and clear the space, if you like, around the airport. Domestic flights, obviously, can use the runway. The runway is not affected. And -- nor is the domestic - the small domestic terminal.

Departures has some smoke damage. And then there's the international arrivals, which is entirely laid waste. It's now just completely burnt to the ground.

I think the issue here is we're looking at a terminal that was built in 1978. And that gives you some idea as to the sort of investment that's gone into infrastructure in the airport and it's really - it's really caused chaos. There's no plan b here.

WHITFIELD: Wow. OK, so, Richard, let me bring you into the equation. Now you just heard from Nick, he said the runways are open, operable. However, we're talking about a remarkable amount of commerce that would rely on those runways. How is this fire, how is this damage going to impact the flow of goods and services?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, very badly indeed and for one simple reason. Look at the African continent. And what you have to understand, if you come right in here, is there are really only three areas. There's Johannesburg, there is the (INAUDIBLE) in Ethiopia, and you have in Nairobi, in Kenya. And they are the three transport hubs, if you like, for the whole continent.

Just look at what happens with Nairobi. This is Kenya Airways long haul international routes. You've got these big routes coming down from Europe and across into Asia. You've got more into down into southern parts of Africa. And if you add on the other airlines like Emirates, Qatar (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) going up to the Gulf, again back up to Europe, you start to see that these are not just airports.

If I give you the simple statistic that says Kenya and Nairobi has three, four million passengers, international passengers. It's only ranked 140th into the world. You think, so what. But when you start putting it into the context of Adis (ph), Nairobi, Johannesburg and this hub and spoke system at the crossroads of African transport for passengers and for those fresh fruits and flowers that Michael was talking about, you realize that as a hub, it's significant, for Kenya Airways it's significant and particularly since it will not be easy just to get that international traffic, the airport, the immigration hall (ph), the customs hall (ph) up and running. They're not going to be able to rebuild it. Defacto, what you're going to end up doing is taking a cargo center or something like that and turning that into a new immigration hall (ph).

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. That is a daunting (ph) undertaking.

HOLMES: Yes. Richard, thanks so much.

WHITFIELD: That's going to take a long time.

HOLMES: Yes. Nick Hughes, Richard Quest, thanks so much.

And there is only one runway there too. So, I mean, everything's just going to be funneled in like that. And Richard Quest was saying before, this is going to have major ongoing disruption. You've got to build the thing again.

WHITFIELD: Huge. Oh, it's incredible.


WHITFIELD: And it has been there for quite some time. I spent a lot of time there as a kid going in and out of Kenyatta Airport.


WHITFIELD: But the amount of commerce and the tourism has just multiplied over the years. So, hard to believe that now they're going to have to do without or find some other kind of route in which to get people in and out.

HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) economic. Yes. Yes. Yes, exactly.

All right. There is hope for everyone. That is the message from Michelle Knight. She was standing in front of the house where she was held for a decade.

WHITFIELD: Wow! Knight celebrated its demolition by doing this, handing out yellow balloons and then releasing them. She says that the balloons represent abducted children who were never found.

HOLMES: Knight, of course, one of the three women kidnapped and held by Ariel Castro for so many years. A life of horror and torture. Castro, of course, pleaded guilty to 937 counts that included murder and kidnapping.

WHITFIELD: He forfeited the house as part of that plea deal with prosecutors.

HOLMES: All right, back overseas now and we're about to show you a very frightening piece of video. I don't know if you've seen this. This is amazing. It's something that could happen to anyone. A tour bus full of people is hit from behind by a speeding truck.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.

HOLMES: And video cameras recording it all. Watch this.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh, we just saw that driver actually flew out of the window.

HOLMES: Yes, and watch this. Watch this. This is another camera angle here from the passengers. A violent scene. But I've got to tell you, for a start (ph), the driver who flew out the window, he's alive, believe it or not.


HOLMES: Yes. This happened a few days ago in eastern China. Witnesses say the bus was backing up on the highway and a truck coming down the road just barreled into it at high speed, as you can see there, the result.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. Passengers actually had to kick out the front wind (ph) screen to get out. It takes a while to figure out what they're doing. But that's, indeed, the case. A lot of people who were onboard the bus were hurt, but remarkably, again, no one died.

HOLMES: Yes, nobody died in the bus. I've got to say, though, that the driver of the truck that hit the bus at such a high speed -


HOLMES: He did die in that incident. Extraordinary. And thank goodness it wasn't worse.

WHITFIELD: China is also the focus of a very alarming health emergency today. We're talking again about the bird flu.

HOLMES: Yes. It appears to be that new strain of the avian flu virus that might now be spreading - and this is the crucial thing, from person to person. Now that's the part that has got Chinese officials, and the CDC for that matter, very, very concerned.

WHITFIELD: I think it's time to turn to Dr. Sanjay Gupta for more on this.

All right, that is alarming, but at the same time, you might have some hopeful news as it pertains to this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think so. You know, look, you're absolutely right, that this is the type of thing that scientists are looking for, is there evidence of human-to-human transmission. But let me point out a couple of things.

First of all, we're talking about H7N9. You don't need to remember all these numbers, but this is different than H5N1, which was the last time we really talked about bird flu several years ago. It's a different virus and this is the first time we've seen it in humans just this year. There's been 134 cases. Of those, 43 people have died. And two of those cases are the two that you're talking about.

There was a father, he was spending time with infected chickens, became infected and then his daughter was caring for him. She did not have any contact with these birds. She only had contact with him. She also became infected from her father. They confirmed that by actually looking at the genetics of the virus and finding a match. So this is the first documented evidence of human-to-human transmission.

HOLMES: The important thing, as you always do, Sanjay, is to not be alarmist and to keep things in perspective. But what is the fear of the potential of this type of flu compared to others?

GUPTA: Well, let me give you some of that context, because you're absolutely right. I think this is important. You know, this man, this father, during the time he was sick, he also had contact with 43 other people. This was all part of the investigation. And none of those people got sick. So while this can spread from human-to-human, it doesn't seem to spread very easily.

And by the way, this case that we're talking about, even though it was just written up, actually happened back in March and we haven't heard a significant number of cases from human-to-human transmission since then. So it doesn't seem like it's happening.

But, Michael, the ingredients, the things that people worry about, are two things. One is, can it spread easily from human to human. And two is, is it very pathogenic or, meaning, is it very lethal? This does appear to be lethal. About 30 percent of the people who have been infected have died. But again, that easily spread, while it doesn't, it doesn't appear to do it very easily.

HOLMES: Yes, very worrying, especially that 30 percent death rate. That's not good.

Sanjay, always a pleasure. Dr. Sanjay Gupta there.

And, by the way, don't forget, more from Dr. Gupta. His show Saturdays and Sundays right here on CNN.

WHITFIELD: Don't want to miss that.


WHITFIELD: All right, the military in Yemen now is on high alert as U.S. intelligence officials try to unravel detail of a possible terrorist plot.

HOLMES: Yes, meanwhile, on the ground in Yemen, sources say two drone strikes today killed six alleged militants. Now, this was the fifth drone strike in two weeks. The second in the southern province of Shabwa.

WHITFIELD: Americans and other foreign nationals are heeding the advice to leave Yemen. U.S. military transport planes evacuated as many as 90 Americans to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The U.S. embassy in Yemen is closed this week. All non-emergency employees were told to, in fact, leave the country.

HOLMES: And sources tell CNN the first criminal charges have been filed in connection with the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

WHITFIELD: The attack happened almost a year ago now, September 11, 2012. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed.

HOLMES: And we're told that federal authorities have filed charges against Ahmed Abu Khattalah and several other suspects for that matter. Now Khattalah is a prominent militia leader in Benghazi. In a recent interview with CNN's own Arwa Damon, he acknowledged being at the Benghazi mission after the attack, but denied any involvement.

WHITFIELD: At the time he told CNN that he had not been questioned by either Libyan authorities or the FBI. U.S. law enforcement officials say it's not unusual for the FBI not to interview defendants in a case while they collect other evidence.

HOLMES: All right now coming up, a U.S. tourist in Florence is in big trouble after snapping the finger off a statue.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. That museum is saying tourists need to remember, look with their eyes, not with your hands. You know, usually there's a sign "do not touch."

HOLMES: Unbelievable. And this statue's hundreds of years old.

And we've also got this for you too. A couple at sea, they hit rough waters. They had to abandon ship and then, guess what, the husband saves the dog before the wife.

WHITFIELD: Ah, man's best friend.

HOLMES: Yes, we'll explain that one. Yes.


Oh, and, if you're planning to visit South America and have long hair, guess what, you may want to tie it back or at least wear it under a hat. How women now are being robbed of their long locks.

HOLMES: Their hair.

WHITFIELD: You know, just like people, you know, are experiencing cell phones being snatched?


WHITFIELD: This time it's your hair.

HOLMES: Give me your wallet and your hair.

You're watching AROUND THE WORLD. We'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: How many times do they have to say it? Look, but don't touch, already. That's the one rule.

HOLMES: Exactly. I've told you, kids.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, that's right, shake of the finger. That's a rule that an American tourist should have remembered on a visit to a museum in Italy.

HOLMES: This is one of those headshaking moments. Really, the what- were-you-thinking department.

He may actually have to pay a price for what he did to a priceless statue.

Here's Dan Rivers.

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An American tourist is in really big trouble after accidentally snapping the finger off a priceless medieval statue in Florence.

It appears he was trying to measure the finger. We don't know why, but in the course of doing that, he snapped it off.

It dates from the 15th century, the sculpture of the Virgin Mary by Giovanni d'Ambrogio.

The head of the museum, who happens to also be an American, says the fundamental rules of visiting museums have been forgotten in this day and age, namely, don't touch the works.

In this case, the American tourist may end up with a hefty fine.

Back to you, Fred, Michael.

HOLMES: All I can say is -- it was in Florence. Thank goodness it wasn't the statue of David. I'll leave that. We'll leave that and move on, yes.

WHITFIELD: All right, Japan's navy is showing the world that its brand new warship. It's not only new, but it's really, really big.

HOLMES: It's called the Izumo. It looks a bit like an aircraft carrier, designed to be a floating helicopter base, actually. It's Japan's biggest naval ship since World War II.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my. Well, since the war ended in 1945, Japan is not allowed to have a offensive military, only a self-defense force.

HOLMES: You remember the images of Pope Francis surrounded by the crowds as, yeah, they went through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, took a wrong turn, got surrounded, everybody got worried.

He's in that little silver Fiat hatchback.

WHITFIELD: Not quite the "Pope-mobile" that people are used to. Just as Brazilians love the pope, they also love his car of choice, so that was a good move.

HOLMES: It was.

WHITFIED: The Fiat is selling out across the country now. HOLMES: Yeah, it's actually built in Brazil. It costs about $18,000.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Volkswagens used to be built there, too.

HOLMES: They did, too, didn't they?

WHITFIELD: Yeah, I don't think they are anymore, but if he were in a Volkswagen, they'd want that, too.

HOLMES: The old Beetles, you're absolutely right there.

All right now, check this story out. A couple at sea, they get into some rough waters, but instead of rescuing the missus first, the husband saves the dog.

WHITFIELD: Oh, love the pooch, but what would you do in a situation like that?

HOLMES: I know what I'd do if I wanted to live afterwards.

We'll have you that story.


HOLMES: All right, here's one of those stories that begs the question, what would you do?

WHITFIELD: Your boat -- here's the scenario. Your boat runs aground at sea. You must quickly decide who to rescue first, your spouse or your dog.

HOLMES: It was a serious situation. A man was forced to make that choice this week. This happened off the coast of South Africa, and Erin McLaughlin has the details.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What started as a dream boating holiday ended with a South African husband forced to make a split second decision, save his wife or their dog first.

Graham and Sheryl Anley set sail off the south of South Africa. Also on board their nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Rosie.

And then their yacht sailed into troubled waters and hit a reef in the early hours of Sunday morning. The only thing they could do to survive, abandon ship.

But Sheryl's safety line snagged on the steering gear. She was unable to swim to shore. She told her husband to get Rosie the dog to safety first.

Station commander Geoff McGregor was part of the team that helped rescue the couple.

VOICE OF GEOFF MCGREGOR, STATION COMMANDER: She insisted that he took the dog to the beach and then come back to help her.

When Graham got back to assist her, she had cut herself free and then they both got back to the beach.

MCLAUGHLIN: But at the moment when he made the decision to take his dog to the shore before his wife, she was very much in danger.

MCGREGOR: She was because at that stage anything could have happened with the swells that were running, could have capsized the yacht and the worst could have happened.

MCLAUGHLIN: We're all familiar with pampered pooches, from day spas to doggy hotels, but it takes a unique breed of dog owner to save the life of Fido first.


WHITFIELD: So rough waters all the way around.

HOLMES: Yeah, and it is one of those things that he clearly does what he's told by the wife.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, well, he did do that, and I guess everyone's happy, right?

Harmony back in the household, Erin, and apparently the man actually works for the Coast Guard, right, as a volunteer?

MCLAUGHLIN: That's right, Fred. He's actually been a volunteer for the past 22 years.

He described the process of himself being saved as an incredibly humbling experience.

Now apparently when some of the other volunteers found out about what happened the Anley's and their yacht, one of the first questions they asked, how is Rosie? Apparently a special, much loved dog.

HOLMES: Yeah, the dog is fine, so yeah, everyone can relax.

WHITFIELD: That's good. All right, well, everybody's happy.

HOLMES: Erin, thank you for that. Appreciate it.

And the lesson there? Do as you're told by the wife.

WHITFIELD: I guess that's the lesson. OK, I'll remind somebody of that.

All right, guess what? There's a new trend in South America, mainly in Venezuela.

HOLMES: This is about robberies, but we're talking hair robberies. A group as "Piranhas" violently, at times, stealing and then selling women's hair.

WHITFIELD: We'll explain about all of that, next.