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Israel Concerned for Egypt; Cohen Discusses U.S. Options in Egypt; Dementia Care in Netherlands; Gay Jamaican Teen Shot, Stabbed & Beaten; Piano Prodigy Wows Audiences

Aired August 16, 2013 - 12:30   ET


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: So in that context, they are very worried that this military is getting into a lot of trouble, that this military is going to have to put most of its attention on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now that leaves the Sinai, which is a real source of problems and threats for the Israelis. It's right on their border. It could take the attention, the focus from the military and put it someplace else.

So that in brief describes what their concerns are. They're not saying anything publicly, but they are worried.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And that Israel has not said anything publicly, one has to wonder what is happening behind the scenes, what might those discussions entail?

CLANCY: On the record, off the record, I talked to Mark Regev, a spokesman for the prime minister's office today, and he told me Israel is saying nothing on Egypt. And he kept his word on that one.

The Palestinians are also remaining silent, at least here on the West Bank, Hanan Shrowi (ph) saying she deplored the loss of life, but at the time it was up to the Egyptian people to sort things out.

Hamas, on the other hand, Ismael Hasmea speaking to his supporters in Gaza, said this. He said, we have no political or military role in Egypt. The accusation of Mr. Morsy, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, of collaborating with Hamas is totally, absolutely rejected.

Perhaps he shouldn't have said anything at all because, as Jonathan Shanzer (ph) of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy pointed out, in this situation, you're already in a hole. You don't want to dig it any deeper.

And he says that Hamas and its comments condemning the military crackdown could be seen as a provocation by the military. And we have seen how this military is dealing with what it considers to be provocations.

Back to you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jim Clancy, thanks so much.

So the U.S. is grappling for a response to the crisis in Egypt. President Obama has cancelled joint military exercises that were scheduled for next month. But he stopped short of cutting off $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt.

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen joining us to talk about the diplomatic difficult the U.S. faces.

So critics have said President Obama has been soft on Egypt, but how much leverage does the U.S. have right now? And is it your view that it's as simple as cutting off that $1.5 billion in military aid?


It's not as simple as cutting off aid and how much influence we have? We have some. It's been diminished from years in the past.

And so the president is trying to, at least, balance our strategic interest in having a stable Egypt and one that would move toward democracy, hopefully, and that of our moral principles.

And I think to the extent that the military continues to use excessive force and trying to gain control and stabilize the country, I think there will be little option for the president and Congress, when it returns, to extend that economic assistance and military assistance.

But we have to take this into account. The Gulf states are providing some $12 billion or $13 billion in assistance. So that $1.5 billion of the U.S. will not measure up to that.

The real interest, it seems to me, we have to be concerned about stability because of the Suez Canal and how much of the world's oil passes through that.

And we have to be concerned about Israel, in terms of whether it would be now so concerned about stability in the Sinai that it will take more and more military action.

If you look from the Israeli point of view, they've got instability now in Egypt. You've got it in Hamas with Gaza. You've got Syria coming undone. You've Lebanon bombings taking place. And so it's a wider strategic interest that we have in that region.

And a final point, if we're to severe our ties with the Egyptian military, which I do not recommend at all, but if we are to diminish them or cut them back, there's an opportunity for the Russians to come in.

And I was very concerned about Saudi Arabia making a plea to the Russians, offering to buy their equipment if the Russians would help the Saudis achieve a solution in Syria.

So to the extent that the Russians come back into the region with their military and with their authoritarian type of government, I think that would spell great concern for the entire region and for the United States.

WHITFIELD: You mentioned a few things there and you even drew the parallels of the amount of U.S. aid is really drop in the bucket compared to the aid Egypt's that neighbors are supplying to it, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates.

So if that's the case, it doesn't appear as thought the U.S. could be very influential in this game any way, particularly in this latest conflict.

COHEN: The influence would be over the ties of the U.S. military to the Egyptian military, which have been longstanding and valued by both the Egyptian military and the U.S.

The U.S. looks to Egypt as being our stabilizing anchor in the region. We've had peace treaty between the Israelis and the Egyptians, not to mention the one that we have -- the Israelis have with Jordan.

So this cannot be viewed just looking at Egypt. You have the look at the entire wider region. And so our relationship with the Egyptian military becomes important.

But to the extent that the military, Egyptian military, continues to engage in excessive bloodshed in trying to gain control and stabilize Egypt we're going to have to have a different relationship or won that's less influential.

And if we have less influence, nobody else can fill that role other than other countries such as Russia coming in saying, we'll help you with your military, as they may be doing now with other countries in the region.

WHITFIELD: Then quickly in your view, yes or no, is it up to Egyptians to work out this conflict?

COHEN: Absolutely. The United States can't resolve it for the Egyptian people. We now have conflict going between the pro-Morsy Brotherhood, the Muslim Brotherhood, and those who are supporting the military trying to bring about, again, a stable country that moves to a democratic one.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll have to leave it there.

William Cohen, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.

Caring for people with dementia, imagine a place where loved one are treated with dignity. We'll take you to a community in the Netherlands that is using a novel approach to embrace its elders.


WHITFIELD: The number of people suffering from dementia around the world is expected to double by the year 2030 and triple just 20 years after that.

A tiny village in the Netherlands is taking a unique approach to elderly care. And our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta got a rare look.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you walk in here this, will look like any other grocery store to you, but I want to point out a few things that are different.

You do see the same products, juices. You can buy anything you want. There's no prices on anything.

As you're about to see there's no money that's exchanged hands either. The customers, as you might guess, are a very different type of clientele here. They are residents of this village. They all have severe dementia.

Oftentimes, they come here with their caregivers. When they come up to the front desk, they don't exchange any money and Trudy is trained specifically to handle people with dementia.


WHITFIELD: Why is that? How does this work? Dr. Sanjay Gupta, here with me now.

This is a very unique look into how one country, not only just respects their elderly people, but how they are trying to cater to their needs.

GUPTA: When you think of people who have severe dementia, what life is like for them in most places, you think of these anonymous wards, non-stop television, lots of sedative medications.

And here, they decided in part to just build a village, an entire village where they would take care of people with severe dementia.

But everyone -- you know, Trudy you just met there in the grocery store, but in the hair salon and the restaurants, how they get around, all these people have, they actually are a real village. but everyone is also trained to be able take care of people with severe dementia.

So when you walk in, you may not know, for example, who has severe dementia, who's a caregiver, but it becomes a little bit more clear over time.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And who pays for this?

GUPTA: The cost is very similar, first, to what it costs to take care of people with severe dementia in other countries.

But it is a nationalized health care program, so it's the government paying for this, much in the same way they would pay for people to be on those wards and they have paid in the past.

WHITFIELD: Wow. It's extraordinary, so everyone has already paid into it and they get to benefit, of course, if and when they need it. GUPTA: There's a long waiting list because there's still not enough slots for everybody that wants it. And this is one of the first places, but now they are thinking about expanding it within the Netherlands, but in other places in Europe.

WHITFIELD: A lot of countries can learn from that.

All right, thanks so much for bringing that to us and giving us that sneak peek that you had.

GUPTA: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Shot, stabbed and beaten, a Jamaican teen is murdered for going to a party dressed as a girl, the troubling truth about being gay in a country where homosexuality is a crime.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: One of Russia's most popular Olympic athletes is on the defensive after backing her country's ban on so- called homosexual propaganda. She's a top pole vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva, and she criticized two Swedish athletes who defied the law by wearing rainbow colored fingernails during the world championships in Moscow. Isinbayeva told reporters, quote, "it's unrespectful to our country if we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street. We are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people," end quote. Now she says she was misunderstood and insists that she opposes any discrimination against gay people.

Russia is, by no means, the only country that has passed strict anti- gay laws. In fact, laws in dozens of other nations are even harsher. Here are the places where people can be put to death for being openly gay. All of the countries are in Africa and in the Middle East, as you see there. But it's also tough for gay people in much of the Caribbean, where they can be locked up for up to 14 years. They are also the victims of hate crimes, attacked by people in their own communities, even from their own families.

Dwayne Jones was kicked out of his house at the age of 14 for being effeminate. Two years later, he was dead. Shot, stabbed and beaten for showing up at a party dressed as a girl. Dane Lewis is the executive director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays and he's joining me now via Skype from Kingston.

All right, good to see you, Dane.


WHITFIELD: So this young man was killed July 22nd and his body is still at the morgue because no family member has come forward to claim him. What's the latest on this situation that you can tell us?

LEWIS: Well, in fact, I want to confirm that. Yes, his family has claimed him. Thankfully I was able to confirm that just about an hour ago. WHITFIELD: And give us an idea of what kind of reaction the family has had. Do they feel as though he was ostracized? Do they feel as though he was brutalized because he is gay or because he was dressed like a woman going to party?

LEWIS: The unfortunate, initial reaction was that the father, who actually lives here, did not want to claim the body. That was the initial reaction. Thankfully, that has shifted. I think recognizing that they should not be also trying to disown him in his death. So his family has come forward and I think they really want to ensure that a proper service is held for him.

WHITFIELD: Does this in any way, this case, represent a pervasive feeling in the country of Jamaica or is this an anomaly?

LEWIS: This is, in fact, an anomaly. This incident just very unfortunate that hundreds of people could have stood by to watch Dwayne being stabbed, beaten, and also shot three times and left to die on the side of the road.

WHITFIELD: So you're saying this happened in public view? There were eyewitnesses of his killing?

LEWIS: Yes. This was at a party, a street party, that happened in Montego Bay, St. James. Thankfully, this is not the everyday reality. You know, we don't have mobs that are running after us. And, in fact, we have it - we have seen that, you know, there is this increased pocket of tolerance. One of our studies done in 2012 showed that one in five Jamaicans, in fact, express tolerance towards the LGBT community. And, interestingly, almost a million of those said that the government wasn't doing enough to protect LGBT people.

WHITFIELD: So, Dane, Human Rights Watch says homophobia is so bad in Jamaica that gay rights supporters are not safe. That many people who do speak out don't reveal their names. But you are not scared to come out publically and talk about this. You even appeared in a human rights video on YouTube. We want to share that right now.


LEWIS: Hi, I'm Dane. I've always been attracted to men, even though I didn't know as a teenager what that meant. Confirming I was gay to my father was the hardest thing. He was like my best friend. I loved him and I didn't want to disappoint him. My parents' main concern wasn't my sexuality. They were concerned about the discrimination they knew I would face being a gay man in Jamaica.


WHITFIELD: And so, Dane, what has happened since that YouTube appearance and your family's fears, have they come to light?

LEWIS: Well, interestingly, two weeks after that campaign was launched, I found a note etched on the (INAUDIBLE) on my rear windshield suggesting that all gay persons should be murdered. And so I was forced to move from that community I'd lived in for five years. But, thankfully, this is not, I mean, you know, this has not resulted in anything horrific and it was - I consider it an indirect threat that was leveled against me. And so I thought for the protection of my partner, who lives with me, and my house mate, it was safer to just move.

WHITFIELD: Dane Lewis, thanks so much for your story and your input on this story, coming to us from Kingston, Jamaica, today.

LEWIS: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: A little girl with incredible talent, very uplifting. She expresses her feelings through her fingers. We'll introduce you to a child prodigy when we come back.


DANIELA LEIBMAN: How I started was my dad's a violinist.



WHITFIELD: Oh, you're going to love this. She's winning hearts and minds and wowing judges at international competitions with her piano skills. Her mother says she also enjoys running around with her friends and playing in the mud. She is just 11 years old. Rafael Romo introduces us to a rather unusual girl.


DANIELA LEIBMAN, PIANIST: Hi. My name is Daniela Leibman.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's not shy in front of the cameras. She's not shy either when she performs in front of large audiences in concert halls around Mexico. Daniela is only 11 years old, but the Mexican-American musical prodigy has already won international piano competitions in Spain, Germany and the United States.

D. LEIBMAN: How I started was my dad's a violinist. So he started me when I was three learning in general music, like learning the notes, singing. And, well, then, we started seriously at the age of five saying, I'm going to be a concert pianist for the rest of my life.

ROMO (on camera): Leibman is getting ready for the biggest opportunity of her young life. This fall she will perform as a soloist with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York.

ROMO (voice-over): Her father says that when he noticed Daniela had an unusual ability to understand rhythm and music, he sent her to take lessons with a renowned piano teacher.

ROBERT LEIBMAN, FATHER: When she started to play the piano, she got very quickly the idea that she could express her feelings through her fingers. D. LEIBMAN: You got to feel the music. You feel -- I feel it's part of me. That the piano is playing me instead of I'm playing the piano.

ROMO: Maria Luisa Martinez, her mother, says her daughter is still very much a little girl.

MARIA LUISA MARTINEZ, MOTHER: She's on the, like right now, she's just rolling on the floor. She plays with the dogs. She doesn't take care of her shoes. She's very - you know, she's a kid. She is a kid and we love her. We don't want to stop being, you know, seeing her as a kid.

ROMO: The young pianist finds inspiration at the Degollado Theater in her native Guadalajara. The same theater where her hero, Placido Domingo, made his debut and where she also started a career that has moved as swiftly as her fingers over ebony and ivory.

Rafael Romo, CNN.


WHITFIELD: Wow, what an incredible inspiration.

All right, still ahead, the African lion. It's a majestic creature with a magnificent main and a terrifying roar. We'll tell you why visitors to one zoo in China are roaring mad.


WHITFIELD: All right, so when is a lion not a lion? When it barks like a dog. Families visiting a zoo in eastern China were rather startled this week as one young boy stood outside the African lion enclosure when he noticed this - yes, barking. In fact, it was a dog. A Tibetan Mastiff. The zoo has since been shut down.

All right, that's going to do it for me. Thanks so much for watching. We've got more of the real thing of news in THE NEWSROOM with Wolf Blitzer right now.