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Mexican Train Crash; Fire Threatens Yosemite; Israeli Hospital Helps Syrian Victims; Rape and Harassment in India; Pope Francis Calls Teen; Dog Saves Cat's Life

Aired August 26, 2013 - 12:30   ET




And amongst the stories that we're following through the hour, a horrendous train crash in southern Mexico where a cargo train filled with migrants headed north derailed. At least five people were killed. Seventeen more were injured.

The train was carrying a load of scrap metal. It had at least 250 migrants from Honduras on board. The accident happened at around 3:00 in the morning in a remote area of Tabasco Province.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: In California, a wildfire the size of Chicago, if you can believe that, has scorched thousands of acres around the western edge of Yosemite National Park.

Now the U.S. Forest Service says that more than 2,600 firefighters are at least making some headway. But it's still only about 7 percent contained. The fire is burning so quickly that people in the area say they don't have much time to get out of the way.


CLAUDIA ALECIO, EVACUEE: Fifteen minutes to be out of our house, so we only got our kids, our animals and a little bit of the pictures and paperwork that we really need. And it was hard.


MALVEAUX: This fire had triggered a state of emergency for San Francisco. The city gets much of its water and power supply from the area where that fire is burning. We're going to go live to Yosemite for an update in the next hour.

And with fighting between the rebels and government forces raging across Syria, the number of victims now is adding up by the thousands. But now we're seeing something that's kind of unexpected here, a positive development between Syrians and Israelis.

QUEST: A hospital in Israel has been treating seriously wounded Syrians, including children that have brought over the border.

Our Jim Clancy takes us there. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At 15 years of age, her eyes have seen what no child should ever have to see.

I don't know what happens, she tells us. I woke up and saw my wounded uncle screaming. I could not bear what I saw. I was in pain. I threw myself outside. My father saw me and wrapped me up.

To help protect her identity we'll call her Layla. Two months ago in Daraa, Syria, an artillery shell crashed into her home. Her right leg is gone. Her left leg, severely damaged. Shrapnel pierced her body.

But she's alive, her mother at her side, in Sieff Hospital in Israel. No one will say how more than 120 badly wounded Syrians have come here or where they will go after treatment.

Many of them are young men who deny they are fighters, but it's impossible to know. A military guard does stand outside their door. Doctors leave politics aside.

DR. SHOUKRI KASSIS, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: When you see small kids like this and you hear her tell her story, you cry, too.

CLANCY: Layla says she wants to go home, but she can't envision when.

I don't think the situation is getting better. It's getting worse, she says. There's not one single safe place in all of Daraa to retreat.

Some of the young men say they never thought in our wildest dreams that they would be treated inside Israel. They praise the hospital staff, saying they were being shown kindness.

The injured mother of an eight-year-old Syrian girl, badly wounded herself, said she had no qualms about coming here.

Honestly, I was not afraid, she says. I was happy we were coming here to be treated.

But who will pay for this expensive specialized care?

DR. OSCAR EMBON, DIRECTOR, SIEFF HOSPITAL: We already spent $3 million treating them and probably the sum will increase. Right now nobody is paying the bill.

CLANCY: Doctors say they are more focused on ensuring their youngest patients will be able to walk again.

Layla, who hasn't been able to go to school for two years, is bitter about the conflict.

They already destroyed my future since I'm a little girl, she told us. And the world should know, she said. I wish they would help us, so we can end this violence and get better and the country can go back to where it was. But for now, there's a sharp increase in the number of patients like Layla. Half of the available beds in the intensive care unit are filled with Syrian wounded brought in the last week alone.


MALVEAUX: Jim is joining us from Jerusalem. And, Jim, first of all, what do you make of what is happening in this hospital? It's quite unique. Is this an indication in any way about better relations between the Syrians and the Israelis?

CLANCY: I don't know if we can say better relations, but obviously, the situation has worsened on the ground inside Syrian, number one.

Number two, doctors inside Syria have learned that they can evacuate patients. There's a little bit of a route that's developing here.

Frankly, I think Israelis are looking at the turmoil all around them, whether it's in Egypt, whether it's in Syria. They are realizing that this is their neighborhood. They don't want to leave people in need, and they're taking them in.

I've got to tell you that the patients, the Syrian patients, were very, very grateful, men and the young children we saw as well.

QUEST: The use or alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria must be also raising the concerns in Israel, being so close themselves.

CLANCY: Well, it certainly is. They've been worried about this a long time.

Originally, Israel's concerns were that those chemical weapons might be transferred to Hezbollah, its arch-enemy, if you will, with more than 10,000 missiles aimed at the Jewish state and threats emanating from Hezbollah for many years, really since their war in 2006. And they were worried about that transfer.

Now that they've been used, Prime Minister Netanyahu after meeting with the French foreign minister was pointed in his comments that Iran is watching this situation, Hezbollah is watching this situation, to find out whether or not there will be any global response, any response from Washington, from Europe, from anywhere else to the use of chemical arms.

And they feel that this is vital. They are predicting some kind of U.S. military action on that front. Richard?

MALVEAUX: All right, Jim, appreciate it.

And, of course, we already know that the U.S. has sent four different ships in the region and the president has ruled out boots on the ground, but certainly not the possibility of some of those missiles from those ships in the area.

QUEST: Which is something that we'll expect to hear later in the day, of course, possibly at the White House press briefing as and when it occurs.

In India, there have been shocking reports of sexual assaults. Coming up next, our own correspondent describes her frightening experience of being harassed.


MALVEAUX: To India now, a fifth suspect has been arrested in the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old photojournalist. Now this attack happened last week in Mumbai. The suspect was tracked down some 700 miles away in India's capital of New Delhi.

The victim is in stable condition at a hospital. She and a colleague were on assignment in Mumbai when they were trapped and attacked.

QUEST: The case follows the deadly gang rape eight months ago that sparked national protests and led to a tougher rape law. It us reigniting anger and fear about the safety of women across India.

Our Sara Sidner was based in India for almost five years, and she joins us today in Atlanta. And, Sara, you and I have been talking about this because it's been in the news and seems to be a huge problem. But when you were there, when you were living there, you too were harassed. Can you tell us about it?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think what you're seeing really is more reporting of some of these cases, and because they are so shocking and so egregious and so violent that you're starting to hear about it more. People are really becoming outraged.

You're seeing a clash of traditions is what it appears to be. A lot of people look at India as a very traditional society. But we have to be really careful because there are more than a billion people who live there and it's certainly not fair to color all Indian men with the same paint brush.

The same when it comes to Indian women. Many of the Indian women are not victims. They are the president of the country at one point. There was a prime minister that was Indian.

So it's a very interesting dichotomy, but this is certainly a problem.

I want to show you some videotape, and you will likely remember this. You, as well, Richard. 2008, I had just started my role as a correspondent in India and the Mumbai attacks happened. And this went on for some 60 hours.

There was a terrorist attack going on in the Taj Hotel. And as this was happening during one of my live shots, let me show you what happened.


SIDNER: I got to get out of here. Stop it.


SIDNER: At the point when you hear me say, stop it, what's happening there is I'm literally being grabbed and groped and my clothes were torn and I had bruises. And I had to fight my way out of that crowd that had gathered.

Now reminding you, there was a terrorist attack going on just behind me. People were literally being slaughtered in the hotel, but that crowd of men gathered and suddenly, the whole attention was turned onto me and my producer who happened to be a woman.

She was able to get out. I got stuck in the middle of the melee.

MALVEAUX: And this happened just because the lights went out and that was a moment of opportunity for these people who had been surrounding you all day, essentially, but attacked at that very moment.

SIDNER: Yeah, so they had gone from one reporter to the other, just kind of watching the lights. And then suddenly, you know, as a woman, I think they took the opportunity when the lights went out to start all this.

QUEST: Why? Why does it happen? I mean, what is it? Is there a culture issue here? Is it the way women are viewed.

Because women have held some very senior posts, right the way up through the government and in business. What's going on?

SIDNER: I think what you're seeing here is change in society, a very big change.

As you mentioned, you know, back to Indira Gandhi, who was the prime minister, this was a long time ago. The president who just left office was a woman, but what you're seeing, I think, here is everyday women are starting to change their roles. They are starting to become more economically independent whereas men had really been -- it's a patriarchal society.

Men had really been in that role of taking care or protecting women. And that's been a long standing rule in India that men are supposed to take care of and put women on a pedestal and protect them.

And so that goes to an interesting point, that a lot of people from the villages are coming into cities and they're seeing women where clothes they're not used to seeing them wear, for example, jeans and perhaps the T-shit. That, to a lot of people, is revealing and inviting.

And so I think what you're seeing is a clash of cultures and modernism versus traditionalism.

MALVEAUX: And, Sara, you were on the ground and obviously you were doing your job. You were a professional woman there. They had seen you there.

Did you ever feel at any point there was some recourse? Like, if I follow up, maybe these guys who had groped me would be arrested or punished in some way, or did you feel like that wasn't worth it?

SIDNER: I think about it now because I know that the most number of attacks or assaults really are the groping ones, right, on the train, on the bus, somewhere like a live shot where there just happens to be a lot of people.

And at the time, I didn't even think about it because there were more than 160 people being killed behind me in a hotel. And it wasn't top of mind. To me what was going on behind me at the Taj Hotel was far more important and far more big of a story, which it is, than talking about what I considered was a very quick one-off incident, and I didn't want to think about it.

So I never said anything. I know a lot of Indian women, my friends there, a lot of people I've met, never report these kinds of things.

MALVEAUX: Wow. Well, Sara, thank you for bringing it to our attention.


MALVEAUX: Obviously to ring it forward, I mean, it just takes a lot of courage and focus to do what you did because nobody had -- we had no idea that that had actually happened at the time when you were reporting that story.

SIDNER: Thanks, Suzanne.


MALVEAUX: All right, thanks, Sara.

Well, he is been busy, of course, leading the catholic church, but Pope Francis, he has time to pick up the phone and call his parishioners. The surprising call that one teen received, straight ahead.



New details now about National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. A Russian newspaper now says that he got stuck in Moscow because Cuba caved in to U.S. pressure. That Snowden had planned to fly to Havana via Moscow a day after he arrived from Hong Kong. Well, the paper says that Cuba would not let the plane land in Havana. So Snowden eventually accepted a year's asylum in Russia after spending, of course, weeks in the transit zone of the airport.

QUEST: A lot of people trying to access Chinese websites this weekend were hitting a wall. There was a cyber attack which slowed things to a trickle. Now, the official name is the Denial of Service Attack and it was one of the biggest ever to hit China. This kind of attack overwhelms websites by flooding them with requests. No one has taken responsibility for this.

Yes, imagine, it's an ordinary day. You're going about your business in an honest fashion. And the phone rings and you pick it up and somebody says -

MALVEAUX: It's the pope. This is what happened to an Italian teenager. He actually wrote a personal note to Pope Francis, never expected a response, but certainly not this kind of response. Eric McLaughlin, actually, picks up the story about how the pope picked up the phone.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nineteen-year-old Stefano Cabizza wrote a letter to Pope Francis discussing his studies and his hopes to find a job. He never expected what would come next -- a personal phone call from the pope himself. It lasted around eight minutes before the pope offered his blessing and asked for his prayers.

And this isn't the first surprise phone call from the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. In June, he dialed up an Italian man who had just lost his brother to offer his sympathies.


MALVEAUX: All right, Erin McLaughlin reporting there.

And she said it's not the first time the pope has actually surprised ordinary folks. There was one Italian newspaper is now offering some what to do - some etiquette tips if the pope actually calls you on the phone.

QUEST: Yes. If in the next few hours you get a phone call and it turns out to be his holiness, the wise word is listen first, then talk. And ask him, if there's time, about soccer. Apparently he's crazy about the game. I guess it's not terribly good form to say, you (INAUDIBLE), tell me another one.

MALVEAUX: I wonder what I'd say to the pope.

Well, you've actually heard this phrase, fighting like cats and dogs. Well, how about this one, the dog that saved the cat. That's next.


MALVEAUX: All right. We all have heard that dogs are man's best friend.

QUEST: Wait until you hear about how one dog saved a cat's life. Pauline Chiou has (INAUDIBLE).


PAULINE CHIOU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A cat in New Zealand has a pair of unlikely saviors, a vet and a dog. Here's Rory (ph). His owner says he ate some rat poison and was on the verge of death. She rushed him to the local vet's office, but he needed a blood transfusion and there was no time for lab tests. Even a small amount of the wrong type can be fatal. The vet urged her to take a long shot and try an extremely rare emergency transfusion with a friend's dog, Macy (ph). Amazingly, Rory lived and the cat and the dog are both fully recovered and his owner says Rory hasn't started barking or fetching the newspaper yet.


MALVEAUX: That's kind of funny.

QUEST: Oh, Lord. How exactly did this transfusion work? We are wondering this and I - no doubt you are too.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Of course. So, according to New Zealand 3 News, the cat's antibodies didn't reject the dog's blood, so the transfusion from Macy the dog bought Rory the cat enough time to regenerate those necessary red blood cells. So it all worked out in the end. They're all getting along.

QUEST: So Macy's thankful (ph) to Rory and Rory helped (ph) Macy and there you have man's best friend saving the cat.

MALVEAUX: All right. We're going to take a quick break. We'll have more after this.


MALVEAUX: The largest street festival in Europe going on in London right now. Want to show you some photos. This is the annual Notting Hill carnival, actually. Check out these beautiful costumes, floats, parading through the streets.

QUEST: A million people are expected to be there. It's a mash up of Caribbean music, food and dancing. The 49th anniversary. And this picture, well, it wouldn't be the carnival if you didn't have a picture with a policeman. Yet, you've got to have a picture of a police officer getting a kiss or a dance or doing something with something. After many years of racial tensions in Notting Hill, you always have racial harmony with the obligatory, dejour picture of a bobby.

MALVEAUX: And if you missed this, you're going to want to see this. Video Music Awards last night.

QUEST: Don't look. Don't look.

MALVEAUX: Yes, you might want to -- not want to look. But we've got to look for you here. Twenty-year-old Miley Cyrus taking the stage in a barely there outfit, was dancing bare (ph). It's a little odd there, but, of course, Robin Thicke is what made it.

QUEST: Yes. Apparently there was a lot more going on. A lot of twerking and touching and a lascivious act some person called it today. I don't see anything terribly wrong with this. Frankly, twerking has been around for as long as --

MALVEAUX: All right, all right, Richard, when did you learn about twerking? I - honestly.

QUEST: Well, you don't need to know the word. You don't need to know - I mean - oh, my goodness gracious. QUEST: And you just said there was nothing wrong with that.

QUEST: No, come on, "Dirty Dancing." "Dirty Dancing." "Saturday Night Fever." These were all --

MALVEAUX: I don't remember that move on "Saturday Night Fever," honestly.

QUEST: I think we're being censorious (ph) and prude -

MALVEAUX: A little prudish. A little prudish here.

QUEST: We're being prudish.

MALVEAUX: All right. Well, there you have it, Robin Thicke.

QUEST: That's it for me. Thank you for watching AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Richard Quest.

MALVEAUX: Yes, and nice to have you here. Tomorrow you'll be back?

QUEST: All week.

MALVEAUX: All right. We'll talk more. Thank you, Richard.

CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.