Return to Transcripts main page
AROUND THE WORLD
Miranda Wins Partial Victory in Court; God Told Pope to Quit; American Student Details Horrors of Trip to India; German Tourist Dies from Shark Bite; Typhoon Slams China; 911 Calls from Georgia School Shooting; Raising a Wrecked Cruise Ship; Casting Call Gets People Talking; San Diego Mayor to Resign
Aired August 22, 2013 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to AROUND THE WORLD.
Among the stories we're following, this is the partner of the journalist who exposed the NSA surveillance program. He won a partial victory in court.
We're actually about David Miranda. He was detained and questioned for almost nine hours in London as he was heading home to Brazil.
Authorities confiscated his phone, his laptop, and memory sticks. Now the court ordered them to stop any inspection or copying or disclosure of the information that they actually took from him.
But the ruling left a loophole if officials are protecting national security or investigating ties to terrorism.
IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR: Now, "God told me to." That's the reason Pope Benedict is giving for his surprise resignation earlier this year.
The comments were made by a Vatican source to a Catholic news agency, (INAUDIBLE).
Benedict went on to say that he received the message during a, quote, "mystical experience" and that God inspired him to move forward in a life of prayer rather than to continue in his role as pope.
And her words sparked a wave of reaction online. An American student has written a gripping account of her study-abroad trip to India last year.
Michaela Cross describes the country as a traveler's heaven and a woman's hell. The CNN iReporter says she was sexually harassed and, worse, here's what she says in her own words.
MALVEAUX: She says, "Because how do I describe my three months, the University of Chicago Indian civilizations program, when it was half- dream, half-nightmare? Which half do I give?" She goes to write, "Do I describe the lovely hotel in Goa when my strongest memory was lying hunched in a fetal position holding a pair of scissors with the door bolted shut while the staff member of the hotel who had tried to rape my roommate called me over and over and breathing into the phone?"
Well, Michaela Cross is joining us from Chicago. Also with us from Bangalore, India, is Meera Vijayan, and you posted a video commentary as well, so I want to talk to both of you about this experience that you had.
And, Michaela, I want to start off with you here, first, because you write an extraordinary account, and you talk about really the extremes of your experience, but most of it sounds like it was just horrific, I mean, that you were really abused.
MICHAELA CROSS, STUDENT: Yes. Yes, we were. And a lot of the women on the trip experienced a lot of terrible things that I don't talk about in my essay.
But it was a dichotomous experience. India's a dichotomous country. There was a mixture of adventure that will make my life much more special because I was in India and have touched my life for the good.
MALVEAUX: Why do you suppose you were under such a target of such harassment?
CROSS: As a foreigner, everything is magnified. The problems are magnified with the gender dynamics.
I happened to stick out as well because I have red hair, blue eyes, really white skin, so I stick out in America.
MALVEAUX: And what was -- what do you think was the toughest part about being there because it sounded like this was something that didn't happen once, it didn't twice, but this is almost a daily occurrence for you?
CROSS: The toughest parts weren't the worst incidents, weren't the groping, the rape attempts.
The toughest parts were walking through the street and having to feel dehumanized by stares all the time. That was the toughest part for me.
MALVEAUX: And I want to just -- before we go into discussion, just let you know, the university has released a statement, the University of Chicago, saying that -- they say, "Nothing is more important to us at the University of Chicago than caring for the safety and well-being of our students, here in Chicago and wherever they go around the world in the course of their studies."
Do you think, Michaela, there is anything the university could have done to help protect you more when you were overseas?
CROSS: I don't think the university did a perfect job, but I certainly don't blame them for most of my experience. However, I will blame them if they don't revamp the program and make it better and safer and inform students of what they're getting into because no one should be getting into this situation blind and that's the state we were?
WATSON: And, Suzanne, it's important to note that other students in that same course have described similar experiences.
Now, Michaela, you are now on a mental leave of absence, right, from school, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Can you tell us about that?
CROSS: Yes, I am. The University of Chicago after a public breakdown basically had me go onto a mental leave of absence.
I am currently not allowed to take classes until I get my certificate of sanity from a therapist. Yeah.
MALVEAUX: I want to bring in Meera here because, obviously, Meera, your experience, you grew up in India, and can you relate in some ways to what Michaela has gone through here?
MEERA VIJAYAN, LIVES IN INDIA: Yes, I can, and I really -- Michaela, I am really sorry that you had to face any kind of sexual harassment here.
Women's rights violations is a huge problem here in India, and as a woman here who lives here, I do feel a threat.
However, I do think that, coming to India, nothing can prepare you to come to India if you're a foreigner unless you talk to Indians, and I think that one good piece of advice I would have is, when you're in India, you should practice caution and that's how most of us get by here and kind of avoid these experiences.
MALVEAUX: And, Meera, when you say practice caution, what do you mean? What do you think possibly could have done just walking in the street to protect herself?
Do you think she should ignore the things? Should she address these things? You recognize it as a problem.
VIJAYAN: Some of the problems which Michaela has faced are actually very cultural. For instance, staring at people, it is because she is a foreigner and it's not common for -- it is not common to see foreigners in some of the places she has visited and, yes, it is common to be stared at.
But sometimes you don't even have to be a foreigner. I get stared at all the time. Indian women get stared at all the time.
But you should pick and choose about what you should worry about, seriously, and about my words of caution, I, for instance, carry a bottle of pepper spray wherever I go, and I know that it's probably not going to be the best way to defend myself, but I'm always prepared. MALVEAUX: All right. Well, you and Michaela, we wish you both the best and, of course, you know, a healthy recovery, really, because it sounds like she has been through something that was quite traumatic for her.
WATSON: Absolutely. And I think it is also worth noting that India is a huge country, massive, with an enormous population, and I think probably treatment and kind of behavior in different areas depends on what part of the country you are in.
MALVEAUX: Certainly. It's not uniform.
All right, well, thank you. I appreciate it.
Ahead on AROUND THE WORLD, this is now face-to-face with a gunman, an amazing 911 call from the school clerk who talked down the Georgia school shooting suspect, potentially saving dozens of lives.
WATSON: Welcome back to CNN.
Her family says she fought hard to stay alive. A German tourist bitten by a shark while vacationing in Hawaii has died. She died yesterday, a week after she lost her right arm in the shark attack.
She was snorkeling about 50 yards after the island of Maui when the shark severed her arm. First responders found her unconscious and rushed to help.
Shark experts say attacks are up around the world in recent years. This was the fourth near Maui since February. They say it is very rare for someone to die.
MALVEAUX: A typhoon slammed into China and it is triggering more rain and threatening to worsen flooding across the country. Almost 80 million are affected.
The storm left more than 500 people dead. Hundreds now are missing. This is the 12th tropical storm to batter China this year.
WATSON: Here in the Atlanta area, students are back in classes at the Ronald McNair Discovery Learning Academy, the first time back on campus since a gunman entered the cool with an AK-47 and 500 rounds of ammunition on Tuesday.
We're hearing now for the first time the dramatic 911 call from the school book keeper who convinced the gunman to surrender, a lot of people calling her a hero.
Listen to how calmly she handles the situation.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANTOINETTE TUFF, SCHOOL BOOKKEEPER: I can let them know you have not tried to harm or do anything with me but that doesn't make any difference. You didn't hit anybody, OK?
Let me ask you this, ma'am. He didn't hit anybody. He just shot outside the door. If I walk out there with him, if I walk out there with him, so they won't shoot him or anything like that?
TUFF: Let me tell you something, baby, nothing so scary in my entire life.
DISPATCHER: Me either. But you did great.
TUFF: Oh, Jesus.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WATSON: Incredible. She said it very well.
Tonight on "AC360," a special reunion, the 911 dispatcher meets Antoinette Tuff. That's tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
MALVEAUX: Ahead on AROUND THE WORLD, more than a year after the Costa Concordia ship cruise tragedy, the salvage operation is now about to make a major turn. Up next.
MALVEAUX: This is actually kind of a risky and unprecedented operation that is about to get underway. This is off the coast of Italy here.
WATSON: The engineers there are going to try to raise one of the largest cruise ships ever built. It's the Costa Concordia, of course. The 952-foot ship that ran aground in January of last year killing 32 passengers. Erin McLaughlin has details on the salvage plan.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been 19 months since the luxury cruise liner, the Costa Concordia, ran aground off the West Coast of Italy killing 32 of the people on board. Now news that the crippled ship will finally be lifted from its side in September. An American and Italian company are working around the clock to prepare the infamous wreckage for its journey from the Tuscan island of Giglio and avoid an environmental disaster. Engineers say it's a navel salvage operation like no other in history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teams swelled up to 500 plus people with welders joining us. So we still have a hundred divers in the water every day. We have 55 coded welders on the project 24 hours a day.
MCLAUGHLIN: The plan to remove the Costa Concordia began with steel platforms built under the water. Thirty-six cables will help hoist the ship upright and a series of enormous flotation devices attached to the ship sides will help the cruise liner float away to a nearby port, hopefully all in one piece.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Round about the 20th of August, all the grouting and the mattresses should be underneath the belly of the Concordia.
MCLAUGHLIN: What makes the maneuver so risky, engineers behind the project say they only have one shot to make the deteriorating Costa Concordia float again.
MALVEAUX: That was Erin McLaughlin reporting. Now, the operation involves more than 500 workers and it's going to cost at least $400 million.
MALVEAUX: Yes. A big bill.
WATSON: Now, coming up on AROUND THE WORLD, Aeromexico Airlines is apologizing. A casting call for one of their commercial is being called discriminatory. And that story is coming up next.
WATSON: Welcome back to CNN.
A casting call for a commercial has got people talking. Among other things, it asks dark skinned people not to audition.
MALVEAUX: So this was done by Aeromexico Airlines and an advertising company. It went viral. This is after a Mexican blogger posted this story online. Now, the airline and the ad agency have now since apologized. Want to get more from Rafael Romo.
So explain to us, first of all, what was the thinking behind this? I mean how did the airline explain what they were trying to do?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, number one, the story would have gone unnoticed had it not been for this blogger who saw it and posted it and then it went viral. And I was looking closely at the text for the casting call and it very specifically says the following. It says, "they should not have an accent," meaning a regional Mexican accent. "All should have the polanco (ph) look, no dark skin people."
Let me explain to you what the polanco look is. Polanco's a neighborhood in Mexico City where the percentage of fair skinned people tends to be much greater that everywhere else. In other words, I do not have the polanco look. I would not - I would not have been chosen for this commercial.
And so we're talking about a Mexican airline catering to all of Mexico and so people are saying this is plainly discriminatory. Had it been for a particular project, it would have been a different story, but the airline says we outsource this. We did not write this ourselves and we have taken measures to correct it.
MALVEAUX: And is this something that would be typical? This is the airline specifically. Is it - it's a cultural thing, correct, this discrimination?
ROMO: It tends to be a cultural thing. If you watch commercials in Mexico, you would think you're in Finland. If you watch soap operas, for the most part the main characters tend to be fair skinned. So it's a case that describes the situation in the entire country and not necessarily an isolated case.
MALVEAUX: All right, Rafael Romo, thank you. Appreciate it very much.
We're going to take a quick break.
MALVEAUX: We're actually following some breaking news here. New developments here. This is out of San Diego. This, of course, involving the mayor, Bob Filner, who at least 18 woman have come forward accusing him of sexual harassment. Want to go straight to Casey Wian, who has some new information about a possible deal.
What do we know, Casey?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know, Suzanne, is that a source close to the negotiations that have been going on for the past three days, negotiations over Mayor Bob Filner's future, says that it is their understanding that his resignation is part of the deal that the San Diego City Council needs to sign off on during tomorrow's closed session meeting. That confirms reports by two local news media outlets, including CNN affiliate KGTV, that Filner is prepared to resign if, in fact, the San Diego City Council approves the proposed settlement that was reached yesterday evening after those three days of negotiations.
I do want to stress that Mayor Filner has not resigned, sources are telling us, but is prepared to do so if, in fact, the city council signs off on those - on the deal. The deal of those negotiations centered around a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the mayor's former press secretary, the first woman to come forward and publicly accuse the mayor of inappropriate behavior. Of course, 17 other women have since come forward and there have been growing call from throughout San Diego for him to resign. And as long as the city council goes along with the deal tomorrow, it looks like that is about to happen.
MALVEAUX: All right, Casey, so you talk about a settlement. So that implies that he's going to get something out of the deal as well. Do we know those details? Do we know what he gets out of it in exchange for resigning?
WIAN: We absolutely do not know any of those details. All of the parties were asked to keep this information quiet, keep the information about the posed settlement quiet by the federal -- former federal judge who presided over these -- the mediations. And so far, they have done that. But clearly what's at stake here is who is going to pay any financial settlement reached with this accuser? Is it going to be Mayor Filner? Is it going to be the city? Or is it going to be some combination of both, Suanne?
MALVEAUX: And do we know, where is the mayor now? And who has he been talking to when you talk about the settlement? We have heard that Gloria Allred was involved and at least one woman was involved. But set the scene for us, describe for us, what has been happening behind the scenes over the last 48 hours.
WIAN: Well, we've been chasing the mayor around the city for a long time. He actually showed up here yesterday afternoon in an SUV. We may have some video of that and we were showing it earlier today. He had an SUV here outside of city hall and inside, several boxes. That, one of the indications that he may be moving out of his office, or at least preparing to do so.
He has been in those negotiations that ended last night, over the last three days, conferring with his attorneys, but he has been making absolutely no public statements, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And, Casey, when you say negotiations, specifically who is he negotiating with? Is this his former press secretary and her attorney? Can you give us a sense of, who are the major players involved, specifically behind the scenes in these negotiations?
WIAN: They have been involved in those negotiations. Gloria Allred, her attorney, was here personally on Monday. She hasn't been here personally the last couple of days, but they have scheduled a news conference up in Los Angeles later this afternoon. So we may hear more details from her.
Also in those negotiations, that former federal judge who is mediating, who has been mediating, and the San Diego city attorney and two powerful San Diego City Council members including the president of the City Council, Todd Gloria, who would be the acting mayor if, in fact, Filner does step down tomorrow. Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And Casey, when you're talking about a settlement here, what would happen with the 18 - because our last count was 18 women who had alleged some sort of harassment by the mayor - this settlement, would it just involve the mayor and the former press secretary, or could this actually open up for all 18 of these women to somehow get something out of this?