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Poison Gas Attack in Syria; Court Orders Mubarak Freed; Japan to Boost Nuclear Warning Level; Fukushima Radiation Leaks; Facebook's Zuckerberg Speaks

Aired August 21, 2013 - 12:00   ET


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: Keep building a service that people love and that more and more people use every day, which we seem to be doing pretty well at, then we're going to be fine over time.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: The founder of FaceBook speaks candidly to CNN. The full interview with his big announcement just a few minutes away.

Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Ivan Watson, filling in for Michael Holmes.

MALVEAUX: Rebels and activists say hundreds of people were killed today in a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. I want to warn you here, some of these images, they are very graphic and may be very disturbing, very difficult to actually see these pictures.

WATSON: They were posted online, Suzanne, by opposition groups following what they say was a poison gas attack. Many of the dead were women and children. A doctor at a field hospital outside Damascus, he says the victims died of asphyxiation. The Syrian government is denying that its forces launched a chemical weapons attack. Arwa Damon is in neighboring Lebanon.

And, Arwa, a Syrian opposition leader today put the number of dead at more than 1,300. How credible are these claim of a chemical weapons attack?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's very difficult to independently determine any of the information or verify any of the information that is coming out of Syria, but the numbers are absolutely staggering, even by Syria's standards, as are the videos. We've seen videos of violence emerging over the last three years, but these clips that have come out following this attack are especially difficult to watch. You see a clinic - the floors of clinics filled with bodies. Amongst them, many children. Some of them listless, some of them gasping for air.

I spoke to a doctor over Skype earlier who said that, in his facility, this makeshift, very crude field clinic, so you can't even really call it a facility, they ran out of atropine within an hour. So all they could do was really wash people off, wash the children off and give them oxygen. In many cases, people died in their arms quite simply because they couldn't provide them with the care that they needed.

One young activist who was acting as something of a first responders went to the scene of one of the attacks, said that he began suffering symptoms. He said that his vision blurred and then he lost use of his limbs and collapsed to the floor. But it is absolutely horrific what we're seeing emerging from there, no matter which way you look at it.

MALVEAUX: Arwa, it's very hard to even watch those pictures as we see them there. The timing of this, can you explain this for us, because you have a U.N. chemicals weapons inspector team that is inside of Syria at this time simply look -- they are looking for evidence of the use of chemical weapons. Are they going to go to this area where allegedly all of these people have been attacked?

DAMON: Well, that's the big question, whether or not they will be able to reach that area. They are guests of the Syrian government, so it will be up to the Syrian government to facilitate any requests to reach that area. Although it will require, presumably, a certain level of negotiations with the rebel fighting force because this is an area that is largely under rebel control.

The timing of all of this, as you're saying there, Suzanne, is really raising a lot of questions as to why this scale of an attack at this point in time. The U.N. team is there to investigate other alleged attacks where chemical weapons were allegedly used, rather, and none of those attacks are even close to the scale to causing the number of casualties that we're hearing reported today.

The mission of the team was simply to determine whether or not in the past chemical weapons has been used, not which side used it. When it comes to what's happened overnight and the early hours of morning, in this case, at the very least, if the team can get on site, the evidence is there, the samples are there. They're not that contaminated, as other samples possibly are. They could potentially have the opportunity to shed more light on what's happening, but as is often the case with Syria, we really just have to wait and see.

MALVEAUX: All right, Arwa Damon, thank you.

I mean, Ivan, it's so disturbing to see that. And one of the big tests, as she says is, which side is this coming from? How do you definitively conclude that? And that is something that the Obama administration, you know, when they drew the red line there, keep moving the red line, but they're going to -- they need definitive evidence on where this is coming from.

WATSON: But everybody seems to agree that the Syrian government, the rebels, the U.S. government and even Russia, which supports the Syrian government, agree some chemical weapons have been used.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

WATSON: It's just whose using them. And it's important to point out, you know, this had been going on for more than two years, this conflict. There are $1.9 million Syrians who fled the country. That's 10 percent of the population. More than 100,000 people dead. It is a colossal catastrophe over there.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

WATSON: Now, switching to another Middle Eastern country, we're following reports of a major development in Egypt. A country already in turmoil after a week of violence. Today, an Egyptian court ordered the release of deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

MALVEAUX: Now, according to state run TV, he could be released tomorrow. Now, Mubarak ruled Egypt for three decades. He was forced from power during the 2011 revolution, you might recall. And just last year, Mubarak was convicted in the deaths of protesters during that uprising. But he was granted a retrial after appealing. Nick Paton Walsh, he is joining us from Cairo.

And, Nick, explain this to us. The court acquitted Mubarak of corruption charges, but he still faces many more serious charges, namely the murders of -- the killings of those protesters. What would be the purpose of releasing him, even if it was just temporarily?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is what is not clear at this point. Is it the Army looking after its own? Is there a greater calculation at stake here.

Let me unpack for you the complicated legal situation we've been trying to observe from the last few hours. At its heart, as you said, Mubarak faces corruption charges and charges of inciting violence against protesters.

Now, he's been in jail for a long time awaiting trial, a final trial on all of those. And in Egyptian law, you can't be in jail on a charge for longer than two years without a conviction. Now, that time has elapsed and that's why a court is saying he should be released.

We've heard on state media the general prosecutor, who has a chance to appeal this, saying he's not going to appeal. So, technically, nothing really stands in the way between Hosni Mubarak and being back in freedom again. Legal experts saying he still has to face this most important charge, be retried again for violence against protesters during the 2011 revolution but will probably have to stay inside Egypt awaiting that court appearance.


WATSON: Nick, the timing for this is a astounding. I mean you've just had a coup in the last month and you've had perhaps up to a thousand people killed and now perhaps the man who ruled the country for 30 years being released. What do you think that could do to already this chaotic situation on the street? And if he is released, does that just mean that the counter revolution has been completed in Egypt?

WALSH: It's deeply confusing why we're seeing this move now. I should point out, you know, the law here, while we talk about the legal process, it's so closely the friend of the people in power. So, frankly, General Abdel Fattah Sisi, the head of the army, continue probably to do what he wants at the end of the day. But if he has chosen to allow this process through, some, of course, are saying already (INAUDIBLE), the group that pushed through the counter revolution initiative, the rebel movement, in fact, condemning this, but blaming the previous administration of Mohamed Morsy, saying he didn't move fast enough to prosecute Mubarak.

There are going to be those out here on the Egyptian street, though, utterly furious at the idea of this man receiving his freedom again. So you have to ask, why is this happening? Are the military trying to distract people from the brutality of the past week? Are they looking after their own, letting a man who they were faithful to for quite some time? Or is it a broader calculation here, they want to keep him onside and want to get this process out of way while they still have a curfew and great military on the streets.


WATSON: Astounding developments there, Nick.

I mean, really remarkable, Suzanne, that -- I'm just blown away by the timing, having covered Egypt a lot.

MALVEAUX: And you wonder, I mean, all those people, you were down on the ground in Cairo, two and a half years ago they oust Mubarak. Then a month ago they oust Morsy. When he comes back, if he comes back, he's released, is there going to be that kind of outcry? I mean, who are they going to side with? It's very confusing.

WATSON: It's very confusing. I think Egyptians probably don't know what the heck's going on right now. But if there's one thing that everybody was united about two and a half years ago -


WATSON: In a now polarized county, is that they all wanted Mubarak out. So it's got to make you wonder what will happen to the politics on the ground if we see him wheeled out in his wheelchair wearing those shades.

MALVEAUX: All right, thank you, Ivan.

The man responsible for the largest leak of classified information in army history, well, he's learning his fate. Today, a military judge sentenced former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison. Now, he was convicted last month of stealing 750,000 pages of documents and videos and giving them to the website WikiLeaks. Well, Mannings' rank will be reduce. He's going to forfeit all pay and benefits and he'll be dishonorably discharged. He will get credit for the three and a half years that he's already served.

WATSON: In Oklahoma, charges have been filed against three teenagers for allegedly killing an Australian student. Fifteen-year-old James Edwards Jr. and 16-year-old Chancey Luna are charged as adults with first degree felony of murder. Seventeen-year-old Michael Jones is accused of being an accessory to the crime. The police believe the 23- year-old victim was chosen at random. The victim, Christopher Lane, came to the U.S. to chase his dream of playing baseball. Police say he was gunned down from behind while jogging in the town of Duncan. Tim Fischer, Australia's former deputy prime minister, he's called for a boycott of the U.S. He expressed outrage earlier on CNN.


TIM FISCHER, FORMER AUSTRALIAN DEP. PRIME MINISTER: You are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA per million people than here in Australia. And people should factor that in. They should think twice in the circumstances but it's jogged (ph) along by the senseless killing, the shooting in the back of an outstanding young Australian on a scholarship in the USA, which has caused, quite properly, deep seeded anger right across Australia.


WATSON: Still having a hard time wrapping my head around this incredible crime, Suzanne. And then, if you take it one step further and listen to what police are saying, they say that the 17-year-old suspect, he told police that he and his friends were bored and they just decided to kill somebody.

MALVEAUX: You just don't understand how something like that happens.

WATSON: Very disturbing.

Here's more of what we're working on around - on this hour for AROUND THE WORLD.

It's a race against time. Japan tries to seal a dangerous leak at a nuclear plant. We'll have a live report from Tokyo.

MALVEAUX: And the founder of FaceBook talks to CNN. Mark Zuckerberg wants to open up the Internet to the world.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: We use things like FaceBook to share news and catch up with our friends. But there, they're going to use it to decide what kind of government they want.



MALVEAUX: There are concerns over a toxic water leak at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant and that is intensifying. This country is getting ready to push the nuclear accident warning level to three, which is classified as a serious indication.

WATSON: Disturbing. That's the highest level it's been since a huge earthquake and tsunami triggered a massive meltdown in 2011. The situation is so troubling that Japan's top nuclear official is comparing the plant to a house of horrors.

MALVEAUX: Paula Hancocks is following this story from Tokyo. We have our Chad Myers who's here in Atlanta.

I want to start off with you, Paula, first of all. What has now caused the officials to push up this warning level? What has changed?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, I think basically they underestimated the severity of this incident on Monday. On Monday an employee walked past one of the big water tanks and noticed that there was high radioactive water coming out of that tank and going into the ground. On Tuesday, they realized some 300 tons of this radioactive water has escaped. So, on Wednesday, today, they then said that this was more serious than they had thought.

Just to give you some indication of how radioactive this water was, Tepco (ph), the plant operator, basically said that if you stand close to the water, you will get a five year dose of radiation in just one hour. So, clearly, this is a highly technical operation to try to clean this up and, at this point, there's worries that other storage tanks could actually be leaking as well.

And it comes just a few weeks after they admitted that 300 tons of radioactive water a day are actually being pumped into the Pacific, so this doesn't put much hope and much trust in Tepco, a company that doesn't have the confidence of the world and of the Japanese people for sure.

And this is just another mishap, which is why the national regulation of the nuclear power is saying that it is like a house of horrors. There's a mishap every step of the way.

MALVEAUX: It really is quite frightening.

I want to bring in our Chad Myers here. Chad, when you talk about a warning level that jumps from a one to a three, what exactly is going on? What does that mean?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We go from one to seven. That's the highest number you can get.

And don't get me wrong. Fukushima was a seven when it melted down. It went back down to a three when they thought they had it under control.

But what's happening right now is that they have to pump water into these melted down tanks to get the tanks and keep them cool. All of a sudden, you have tons and tons of water. What are you going to do with it? You have to store it somewhere.

So they have made these big storage tanks. Think of them almost like those big oil storage tanks that you see around sometimes in the U.S.

Here is what it looked like. Here is Fukushima right after the disaster. There was a lot of trees back out just off to the west of the units right here that melted down, one, two and three. And there you go. There's grass, trees, everything.

Now move this ahead a little bit, just a couple of months, boom. Look at all of these tanks that have been stored here, and all the tanks are full of water, full of radioactive water.

The problem is now a few of those tanks are leaking into the ground, into the groundwater and eventually maybe even toward the Pacific.

So here's -- let me break it down for you here. Let me get down here to the one, two, three and four. Because I think it's important to realize that a level one anomaly is just not much at all, but all of a sudden, you go from incidents to accidents.

At three, where we are, they are recommending a 10 times annual limit to workers, a little bit higher than that, we think, and a low probability of public exposure.

Back to a four, there has to be a death. Back to five, a large release of radioactive material. To a six, a significant release and effects to the environment. And a seven, where we were, a significant to major release with harmful effects to human, the environment and this could be a long-term problem. That's where seven was.

So, still, we had the seven. So there are going to be long-term problems. They raised it -- or lowered it to a one. I don't know why. Because they're still going to be releasing stuff there.

Now they are thinking maybe one is too low. Let's get this to a three so maybe some reality into how much radiation is still going into the atmosphere and now possibly into the groundwater.

MALVEAUX: All right, thank you, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: I mean, they really have no faith in the system over there when you think about it, from a one to a seven back to a three. They're trying to hold their leaders accountable, but it's very difficult. You can imagine.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CO-ANCHOR: And the prospect that they could be pumping radioactive water into the Pacific in a country like Japan that you know the society is a huge consumer of seafood and the implications are pretty frightening there.

MALVEAUX: Yeah. Absolutely.

Just ahead on AROUND THE WORLD, he revolutionized social media. Now Mark Zuckerberg talks one-on-one with CNN about his world-changing idea.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: A lot of people think that it's going to be really challenging to connect five billion people, too. It is.

But I think it's one of the biggest problems of my generation to get everyone in the world to have Internet access.


MALVEAUX: Mr. Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, focusing on his next big idea, we're talking pretty big here, involving the entire world.

WATSON: The entire world, I guess you wouldn't expect anything less from this guy.

He's worth $17 billion. He's running the world's largest social media network, Facebook, of course, which, I confess, I don't have an account. And he created it in his dorm room at Harvard.

Zuckerberg rarely speaks to the media, but he spoke one-on-one with our own Chris Cuomo.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you visit the Facebook campus, you get the sense that anything is possible.

ZUCKERBERG: We want the campus to feel like a little city or village.

CUOMO: And now Zuckerberg wants to make the entire world like the Facebook campus in a way by providing Internet access to the entire world.

The idea is called Its target? The five billion people around the globe without access to the Net.

ZUCKERBERG: Here we use things like Facebook to share news and catch up with our friends, but there, they're going to use it to decide what kind of government they want. Get access to health care for the first time ever. Connect with family hundreds of miles way.

Getting access to the Internet is a really big deal. I think we're going to be able to do it.

CUOMO: And the word "we" is the key word here because this isn't just about Facebook.

Zuckerberg has done something extraordinary to achieve the extraordinary, reached out to the biggest players in social media and mobile data, aka his competitors, in part, to work together.

How did those calls go?

ZUCKERBERG: It probably varies. But, in general, these are companies that we have deep relationships with and have worked with on a lot of things for a long time. So it kind of came out of a lot of the discussions we had.

CUOMO: So a team of the best in the business is coming together, but for a task of this size, uniting five times the global presence Facebook has already, it's going to take lot more.

What about the how? How do you do this? How developed is the plan? ZUCKERBERG: We have a plan, a rough plan, for what we think we're going to need to do to pull it off. And, of course, the plan will evolve over time and we'll get better ideas.

But, you know, if you look at trends, data is becoming more available to people, right? Apps are getting more efficient to run. There are new business models to help more people get online.

CUOMO: It's also good for Facebook and these other companies, right, because mobile access to the Internet is where your business lies, right?

ZUCKERBERG: If we were just focused on making money, the first billion people that we've connected have way more money than the rest of the next six billion combined.

It's not fair but it's the way that it is. And we just believe everyone deserves to be connected and on the Internet. So we're putting a lot of energy towards this.

CUOMO: People see you as somewhat of a comeback kid right now. Forget about the kid part, but it's just a phrase, right? That you took some lumps and you found way to come back.

Are you aware of that? Do you feel that in yourself? Like some people thought it wasn't going to happen, that you'd had your run, but look at me now. Do you get a sense of that?

ZUCKERBERG: Yeah, you know, we've always focused on building something great over the long term. Everyone at Facebook, I just tell them to come in and try to make the biggest impact that you can have.

And if we keep building a service that people love and that more and more people use every day, which we seem to be doing pretty well at, then we're going to be fine over time. And that's our focus in terms of building the company.

CUOMO: Hard to do, though, when you hit the bumps in the road, though, right? It's a great message when everything is --

ZUCKERBERG: It's especially important when you hit the bumps.

CUOMO: So when not trying to connect the world to the Internet, you have to run one of the biggest companies.

And when you want a distraction from that, you've decided to take on the easy task of immigration policy in the United States. Why you wading into those waters?

ZUCKERBERG: When we were first talking about doing this, a lot of people were worried that it was going to be a problem for Facebook, right? I just decided, I think that this is too important of an issue for the country.

There are 11 million undocumented people who came here to work hard and contribute to the country. And, you know, it's -- I don't think it's quite as polarized as people always say.

CUOMO: What would be your advice to the people in D.C. who are trying to balance these two almost diametrically opposed positions?

One is immigration policy is about what you're talking about. Let's bring in our human potential. And the other one is let's find way to get them out.

How -- if you had to enter that, this is your new team, you have to make these Democrats and Republicans come together. What advice do you think you'd have that's not going on down there now?

ZUCKERBERG: Well, it' s -- I can't really tell anyone how to legislate, right? Everyone understands the stuff way better than I do, so my goal is just to try to help support folks who care deeply about getting this done on both sides and hopefully we can make a difference.

CUOMO: In terms of the politics of it, you think it's important enough where you'll do it any way?

ZUCKERBERG: Yeah, I think that there are some things in life that if you believe there's a big problem, you stick your neck out and try to do it, right?

A lot of people think that it's going to be really challenging to connect five billion people, too. It is, but I think it's one of the biggest problems of my generation to get everyone in the world to have Internet access.

And, similarly, 11 million undocumented people, that's a lot of people whose lives we can improve and make the country stronger.

CUOMO: Good luck for everything.

ZUCKERBERG: Thank you.

CUOMO: You're not even 30 yet. You're doing great.

ZUCKERBERG: Thank you.

CUOMO: You're doing great with everything.


MALVEAUX: All right, so I guess Mark Zuckerberg wants you to get on Facebook as well, yes? One of the many millions.

WATSON: I suspect so. I'm curious, as a former kind of White House reporter, what do you think about Mark Zuckerberg trying to dip into Beltway politics on immigration reform?

MALVEAUX: It's a bold move. But I think, you know, he's marrying the two together quite nicely, so we'll see if he gains support, cut through some of the partisanship, yes? We'll see if he can do it.

WATSON: Good luck to Mr. Zuckerberg.

MALVEAUX: Want you to check out for a look at where people are connected to the Internet. Check it out here.

The World Bank says only about 35 percent of the world's population is online. Now in some countries, barely anyone has access, so it makes a huge difference.

WATSON: And ahead on AROUND THE WORL:D, one journalist's blunt criticism of the British government.


GLENN GREENWALD, "THE GUARDIAN" REPORTER: Aside from being oppressive and dangerous, it's also quite incompetent and really quite dumb.


WATSON: The man who broke the story of the NSA spying program talks to CNN about his partner's detention and their lawsuit.