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AROUND THE WORLD
Stealing Hair in Venezuela; How Germany Deals with Sports Doping; Record Setting Heat Hits Shanghai; Oprah Returns to Silver Screen; Impossible Photos Made Real
Aired August 7, 2013 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CO-ANCHOR, "CNN AROUND THE WORLD": Women in the town of Maracaibo in northwestern Venezuela are facing a new threat.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CO-ANCHOR, "CNN AROUND THE WORLD": Yeah, and it's serious and dangerous and it's also a bit weird. We're talking about hair robbery.
Criminals want their locks, and the straighter the better. Here is Rafael Romo.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Letting your hair down in the Venezuelan coastal city of Maracaibo can make you a target for criminals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via translator): You have to see it to believe. We're not going to be able to have long hair anymore. As a woman, this is something dramatic.
ROMO: Authorities have recently noticed an increase in the number of attacks against women. The common denominator? All of the victims had long hair.
SARAI MADRID, MARACAIBO RESIDENT: It's happening downtown at the beach or the mall where you find a lot of young women.
The thieves grab them and cut it. They sell it at beauty or hair salons.
ROMO: In Venezuela, they call these thieves "piranhas." Yes, piranhas, just like the meat-eating fish found in South American rivers.
It's a crime of opportunity. Just like piranhas, the thieves are fast, ferocious and seem to have very little compassion for their unsuspecting, long-haired victims.
It's also happening in neighboring Colombia. Arlen Luna (ph) was victimized last year.
Luna says that, by the time she realized what had happened to her, the thieves fled and a chunk of her braid was missing. She lost eight inches of hair.
From the robbers perspective, it's quick and relatively easy money.
This hair stylist says synthetic hair costs anywhere from $40 to $160, depending on its quality, but natural hair can cost well over $500, all the more to guard your tresses.
WHITFIELD: My goodness.
HOLMES: Rafael is here.
So literally they are running up in the street, grab the hair, cut it, run.
ROMO: They normally work in teams of two, riding a motorcycle and then somebody jumps off the motorcycle with scissors in hand, and by the time the victim knows about it, the robbers are already gone. They have already fled.
They also have found cases in which it's just a single person with scissors, hiding them, all of a sudden, you know --
HOLMES: Are they violent?
ROMO: You hear the noise of scissors cutting your hair and then they run way.
HOLMES: Are they violent?
ROMO: No. This is a crime of opportunity. The quicker, the faster they can do that and runaway, that's better because you essentially make $500 in a matter of seconds.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. So women with eight inches or more of hair, they're definitely pinning their hair up, bun, something.
ROMO: You're at risk if you're in that situation.
HOLMES: That's amazing, the value of it, because I know here in Atlanta and I think elsewhere in the U.S., too, you see stores that sell extensions getting robbed.
WHITFIELD: Yeah, that's true. It's big business across the country.
ROMO: And now authorities are saying the best thing you can do is prevention, wear your hair in a bun. And then all of a sudden you're no longer a target.
At the same time, they are dispatching police officers to the problem areas, but the threat is still there.
HOLMES: That's amazing.
WHITFIELD: That's extraordinary. HOLMES: It's one thing to steal hair extensions from a store, but off somebody's head, that's incredible.
WHITFIELD: Hadn't heard anything like that before, but thanks for bringing that to us.
HOLMES: Rafael Romo, thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: A place I'm no longer going to visit now, although I don't have long locks. My hair is a whole lot of work.
HOLMES: That's a whole other story.
All right, OK, Oprah on the other side of the couch, it gets personal with CNN.
WHITFIELD: OK, a one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey, next.
HOLMES: Also, this week, Major League Baseball suspended more than a dozen players, including New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez in a performance-enhancing drug scandal.
WHITFIELD: But drugs in sports, we all know that's not new.
How Germany has been dealing with this for decades, next.
HOLMES: No way you could have missed this story, this week, Major League Baseball suspending 13 players, including New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
WHITFIELD: It came after an investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs. It seems to be making more and more headlines in the U.S. and beyond, right?
HOLMES: Yeah, beyond, indeed. Obviously, not a new problem in sports, in general.
Frederik Pleitgen now shows us Germany has been dealing with this for decades, but is only finding out now about the extreme consequences of doping. Check it out.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN CORRESPONDENT: Doping secrets laid out in this newly published report detailing a widespread scheme allegedly sanctioned by some West German officials that went on for decades during the Cold War.
Some former athletes like discus gold medalist Robert Harting say back then doping was an open secret.
"It's always been known that in West Germany the same happen, but there was never any evidence for it," he says. "Now we have that. And I hope everything will be clarified, also, with names." The investigation was conducted by Berlin's Humboldt University at the request of the government's Institute for Sports Research, and it details how doping started out in the 1950s and then became widespread and organized in the 1970s, with anabolic steroids even handed out to minors with little regard for the wellbeing of the athletes.
One example of the dangers of steroid abuse was Birgit Dressel, a heptathlete who died in 1987 at the age of 26 after receiving performance-enhancing drugs for years according to the public prosecutor.
Doping controls were put this place in the 1980s, but the head of Germany's athletics association says more needs to be done, including tighter testing standards and more severe punishment.
"It's also about the credibility of sport," he says. "We realize that the control system of sports does not guarantee this credibility."
During the Cold War, communist East Germany and the West were engulfed in a battle for sports supremacy. After the fall of the communist government, it became clear that the East German government ran a massive doping program with awful consequences.
In 2008, I visited Andreas Krieger, a former East German Olympian who said he had to have a sex change after years of excessive steroid abuse.
"I felt much more attracted to women and just felt like a man, but I knew I was not lesbian," he says.
Now it's alleged that doping was not just widespread in East Germany. That puts this man under pressure, the head of Germany's Olympic confederation and a frontrunner to become the next president of the IOC.
He says an independent panel has been set up to evaluate the doping report, but he maintains it's almost impossible to stop athletes from using ban substances.
"It's like in society," he says. "For thousands of years there's been theft, but we still have not managed to stop theft from happening altogether."
Germany's parliament is also set to launch an investigation into former West Germany's alleged doping schemes in September.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
HOLMES: Yeah, indeed, it is.
All right, when we come back, a Chinese newborn returned to his parents after -- get this -- allegedly being sold by a doctor, yeah, we'll have that coming up, next.
WHITFIELD: All right. This story just makes your heart stop. A baby is returned and a doctor accused of selling newborns is now in custody.
HOLMES: Yeah, thank goodness.
Now, what happened was, according to state-run media in China, the doctor was selling several babies to human traffickers.
A baby boy taken last month was returned to his parents, obviously an emotional reunion this week.
WHITFIELD: Golly. Police say the doctor sold the baby for the equivalent of about $3,500. They say he told the parents the child has serious congenital problems and then persuaded them to give him the baby.
HOLMES: And there was nothing wrong with it.
The mother contacted police. They found the baby in a neighboring province and they were reunited, what a terrible story.
Meanwhile, we're learning more about this "hard landing," as they call it, of Southwest Flight 345 last night at LaGuardia.
WHITFIELD: This was the scene on July 22nd, you'll recall, as the plane's nose gear broke. Ten people were actually injured.
HOLMES: The National Transportation Safety Board updated its investigation and notes that the captain took control of the plane during a critical phase of the flight. This is in the last few seconds.
WHITFIELD: And the report did not reveal why the pilot did that.
Also we learned that this was the pilot's second flight into LaGuardia, but many experts CNN has already talked to say that the captain's inexperience flying into the airport was probably not a factor in that accident.
HOLMES: In China, people looking for ways to beat the heat. Temperature still in triple digits. This has been going on for ages.
WHITFIELD: My goodness, it's awfully hot, unprecedented, in fact.
In 140 years of recordkeeping, Shanghai had never topped 104 degrees, but yesterday marked the second time in a two-week stretch that it reached 105.
Chad Myers joins us now. And, yeah, Chad, this has been going on for a long time. Why is it? CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We showed you this picture last week.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: But yesterday marked the second time in a two week stretch that it reached 105.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Unbelievable. Chad Myers joins us now.
And, yes, Chad, this has been going on for a long time.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It has.
HOLMES: Why is it?
MYERS: We showed you the picture last week.
MYERS: Remember those like 10,000 people in this pool?
MYERS: And we thought, well, the pool's got to be 98 degrees because everybody's in it. And so that's the same area, the same temperature, the same high pressure that's been in control around Shanghai for now well it seems like three weeks.
And 105 all-time record high set on Wednesday. That was the second time we got to 105. Got to 104 last week. That was a new record high, but then we've already beat that record high and the temperatures have been kept since 1872. They go -- we go right back to the records all week this week. In fact, we get down to 103 here. Shanghai to 101 tomorrow. The morning lows are in the 80s.
So what's causing this? By this time last year we had six typhoons. This year, one. Typhoons will bring cloud that will be rain, it will bring wet ground. The wet ground doesn't warm up like dry ground does. It's just baking like a desert there in Shanghai. They really do need some rain. I know it will make it more muggy, it will make the heat index higher. But when the heat index is high, you get afternoon clouds. They haven't seen a cloud for days.
MYERS: They need the clouds to stop the sun, at least a little bit.
WHITFIELD: In Shanghai, nothing but concrete and asphalt.
HOLMES: A lot of people, ordinary, regular folks don't have air conditioning either. It's caused a lot of deaths.
Chad Myers, thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: All right, let's talk about Oprah Winfrey now on the other side of the sofa.
HOLMES: Yes, and getting personal with CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY: Nobody's going to call up -- come up to me and call me the "n" word unless they're on Twitter and I can't find them.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Twitter thugs are something (ph).
WINFREY: Twitter thugs. Oh, the Twitter thugs. The Twitter thugs. So I've learned to leave the Twitter thugs alone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Hmm, boy.
WHITFIELD: Sit down one-on-one with Oprah Winfrey, next.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.
For the first time in more than a decade, Oprah Winfrey returning to the big screen.
WHITFIELD: All right. She plays the wife of a former White House butler, Cecil Gaines. Lee Daniels' "The Butler" features an a-list cast, including Winfrey and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker as the butler.
HOLMES: Yes, Forest Whitaker is great in this. CNN entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner sat down with the queen of talk to discuss the movie and oh so much more.
Nischelle, a much anticipated film releasing, what, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. What did Oprah say about that and its whole impact?
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, just a couple - right, just a couple weeks before. It actually releases on August 16th and that 50th anniversary is on August 29th. So just right around that same time.
But like you guys said, this is her first dramatic role in 15 years. And according to her, it was only by the persistence of director Lee Daniels that got her to say yes. That and that the story of the influence of domestic workers in the nations - during the nation's civil rights movement.
She told me that the movie's message of the butler helps keep these conversations about race relations going and also about the valuation of life. And she hopes that today this generation sees that there are different way of being a warrior and fighting for your rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, ACTRESS: I was going through building O.W.N. and thank goodness we were on the other side, at least headed in the right direction for that. And I said to Lee, this is the absolute worst time you could ask me to do anything, Lee. And, you know, he just would not take no for an answer. I think that one of reasons why there's so much, still, lingering prejudice and racism is because we don't get to see people as ourselves. And so this was an opportunity, I thought, to let the world feel the heart of the butler, the heart of this period that really was a defining period in the lives of many black people, but also our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: And, again, like I said, this movie, "The Butler," releases August 16th. It's an all-star cast, like you guys mentioned. And when you hit it to me guys, when you sent it to me, there was a little glimpse, I don't know if you saw, of Robin Williams. He plays Dwight Eisenhower. And when you first see it you're like, wow, that's -
WHITFIELD: What a transformation, right?
TURNER: Yes, exactly.
HOLMES: Yes. I saw a little clip a while ago, saw that. I mean it looks like a terrific film. An important one too.
HOLMES: Nischelle, thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: Hey, take a look at this. Some crazy photos of people drinking coffee.
WHITFIELD: OK, that part's not so crazy.
WHITFIELD: But guess where they are.
WHITFIELD: That's the crazy part. HOLMES: There they are. And, yes, there are real sharks there behind them. And, no, it is not Photoshopped. We're going to talk to the photographer, next.
HOLMES: All right, here's an opportunity for us to show off a little bit.
HOLMES: Have a look at this photograph. Yes, check it out.
HOLMES: There we are having - oh, who did that? Really? Having coffee 70 feet under, sharks swimming around.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. And there's no tank or anything. How did we do that?
HOLMES: We look really relaxed, don't we? That's a terrible Photoshop effort. That must have been Roger (ph), our director.
Now, OK -
WHITFIELD: Oh, that's cute.
HOLMES: This, though, is not at an alerted photo.
WHITFIELD: Oh, now that's the real deal, huh?
HOLMES: That is 100 percent real photograph. Can you believe that? Two extreme athletes. They're free divers posing for some incredible photographs.
WHITFIELD: Wow, fascinating art. This project was carried out by a very talented photographer, Lia Barrett. And we actually have Lia on the phone right now all the way from Australia.
So, Lia, OK, I know you're telling me these have not been Photoshopped, but these photos are really amazing. Who came up with this idea? How did you do this?
LIA BARRETT, UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER (via telephone): Ah, hello from Australia.
BARRETT: We were actually, after a free diving competition, we went down for a few dives with the sharks and were just trying to get a few shots with the free divers and the sharks and they kept swimming after them so we decided to grab a couple of props and just sit them down so that the sharks would come -- swarm around them instead of them chasing them away.
HOLMES: So it was a pretty spur of the moment thing. I mean the sharks, I mean, were they a bit nervous?
BARRETT: Well, these are Caribbean reef sharks. They're - you know, they're pretty friendly. We're not exactly what they want to eat. And we just had a little bit of chum kind of close to the divers so that they could smell it, but they weren't interested in the divers.
WHITFIELD: Of course. Oh. Oh my gosh. So, Lia, so these free divers, I mean this is what's hard to believe is that it takes a little time to execute this shoot, to get everyone in place.
HOLMES: It's like 100 feet down.
WHITFIELD: Which means they're holding - yes, they're holding their breathe. And are they something between like 70 and 90 feet down below? And tell me about how long this took, how long they had to hold their breath?
BARRETT: Well, we had two safety divers - or actually three safety divers giving them breaths and this is at about 70 feet.
BARRETT: So they just had to sit there and take their breaths. And, you know, they would signal every time they were out of air.
WHITFIELD: So that means you had to shoot the pictures in between the bubbles, right -
WHITFIELD: Because didn't they have to release a little bit of air? I mean usually you have to do that as a diver if you're not going to have your tank on or a regulator on your mouth, right?
BARRETT: Exactly. But they released a good amount of air, but then they were able to hold it without it exploding upwards.
HOLMES: Wow. I've got to ask you, how do you keep them down there? I mean like weight wise. How do you do that?
BARRETT: Well, you can sort of see on the Tunisian national champion on the left, that's Walled (ph), he's got sort of a little black belt under his shirt, and that actually has weights on it.
WHITFIELD: Ah. Oh, my goodness.
HOLMES: Oh, right. And so, on the way up, they had to stop, is that right? I mean they've got to take the props up with them and everything?
WHITFIELD: Or did you leave the props down below?
BARRETT: We were -- we were hanging on the line with the table and lamp and chairs for a pretty good decompression stop because we were pretty deep on air for, you know, about 40 minutes. So we needed to off gas a bit. WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh.
HOLMES: And, Lia, is this your thing, underwater photography, because it ain't that easy?
BARRETT: Yes, it's not that easy and, yes, it's my thing.
WHITFIELD: Wow. Well, this is a very innovative project. So now I've got to ask you what's next because -
WHITFIELD: I'm sure since this is an everyday thing for you, you want to top this picture.
BARRETT: Well, you know, I would really love to shoot a band down there with sharks. That would be my next goal. Maybe an album cover.
WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. Oh, I'm sure somebody's getting some ideas now hearing you say that.
HOLMES: Hey, yes. I know I'm impressed - I'm impressed beyond belief.
HOLMES: We showed these photos in our morning meeting and everybody was like Photoshop.
WHITFIELD: No way.
HOLMES: Yes. That's incredible.
BARRETT: I know (ph).
HOLMES: Very, very impressive, Lia. That is fantastic. And I've got to say, too, being Australian, I know that Lia is up at, what, 3:00 in the morning, Lia?
BARRETT: It is 3:00 on the dot almost, yes.
HOLMES: Yes, sorry. Sorry about that.
WHITFIELD: You're committed in every way.
HOLMES: Yes, 3:00 a.m. in Melbourne.
BARRETT: That's OK.
HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE). Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: Thank you, Lia.
BARRETT: My pleasure. HOLMES: You can check out more - CNN International runs the story (INAUDIBLE). you can check that out on cnn.com. they've got all the photographs there.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.
HOLMES: Lia Barrett, terrific. Thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: I like it.
HOLMES: Yes, it's great.
BARRETT: Thank you, guys.
WHITFIELD: Maybe we'll try that but, of course, with dive gear on next dive. Maybe there will just be some furniture, heavy furniture, laying around. Just kind of throw it in there.
HOLMES: Laying around. A few sharks. Friendly sharks.
WHITFIELD: A quick shot.
WHITFIELD: And then - then you can Photoshop out the dive gear.
HOLMES: I'm impressed.
WHITFIELD: And someone will think you're a free diver.
HOLMES: I've got to go.
HOLMES: But you're not allowed.
WHITFIELD: Good to see you. No, I've got more.
HOLMES: I'll be back tomorrow.
WHITFIELD: Great seeing you, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes, more coming up after the break with Fredricka. I'll be back tomorrow.
WHITFIELD: OK. See you tomorrow.