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Cameron Condemns Syria; Young Opines on MLK Anniversary and Syria; Drug Dealers Get Inventive; Deer Invade Japanese City; Impact Your World; Crippled Nuclear Plant; White House Press Conference on Syria

Aired August 27, 2013 - 12:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'd like to welcome our viewers in the United States and AROUND THE WORLD.

We're waiting for the daily White House briefing to begin, scheduled to start any moment. You're looking at live pictures, reporters certainly to press the White House for answers about Syria.

What kind of action is the Obama administration ready to take? What does it intend to do? What are the options, especially in light of last week's claims that Syria's government used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of civilians?

So, obviously, we're going to monitor this. We're going to take it live so you can hear for yourself, see for yourself what the administration is prepared to do.

We're also getting new information here, of course, Britain, the U.K weighing in, Prime Minister David Cameron's response to Syria.

He is saying here that the world needed to act to deter the use of chemical weapons following this apparent chemical attack in Syria.

He calls the use of chemical weapons "morally reprehensible" and he says that the chance that they were used by the opposition and not by the Assad regime "vanishingly small."

Now what he is saying right now, though, is that no decision has been made on just how Britain will respond, but he does say we need to discuss the need to act. This is not about wars in the Middle East. This is about the use of chemical weapons and making sure that, as a world, we deter their use.

So U.S. allies weighing in pretty strongly on this today.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: No doubt, of course, with so much death as a result of this chemical attack, there are wider implications as well across the globe, and all this talk about possible strikes against Syria is certainly hitting the international markets.

World stock markets have fallen quite sharply as investors are worried about military action. Secretary of State John Kerry's words, strong words yesterday -- look at that, the Dow Jones Industrials off 113 points, just nearly three-quarters of one percent.

And two markets you always look at closely in this. First of all, gold, where prices are up over one percent. It's flight to safety and it's sort of reversing a trend of gold price weakness. So gold is very much a barometer of this.

And, of course, we'd also expect to see the price of oil which is also up just around two, two-and-a-half percent. That's the one to keep your eye on. Any form of instability, even though Syria nor Egypt are oil-producing countries in any measure, those are the ramifications will spread far and wide.

MALVEAUX: Certainly has an economic impact AROUND THE WORLD.

QUEST: No question.

MALVEAUX: All right, thank you, Richard.

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Half a century after Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, many are taking stock of just how far this country has come.

They are also looking to the future as well and the changes still to come.

QUEST: Now our guest is one of the true foot soldiers of the civil rights movement. Andrew Young was an aide to King and he directed a literacy program for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He helped plan the march in 1963 and was there for that historic event.

MALVEAUX: He's also a former U.N. ambassador. Ambassador Young, thank you very much for joining us here.


MALVEAUX: I want to talk a little bit about 1963. There's a wonderful quote from you about the moment that you realized what this march would turn into and what it became, the game changer that it is.

You said before that, "We suddenly realized this turned up from a Southern black movement into a national, multiracial, human rights -- an international multiracial human rights movement.

"Everybody had a 90-second view of the movement from the 6:00 news, and this gave them an opportunity, especially in Martin's speech, to put it in context here."

Tell me about that.

YOUNG: Well, actually, about the same time, that was just about the time of Mandela's arrest. And it was when the walls of Berlin came down, they were singing "We Shall Overcome." The turmoil in Latin America began to identify with us. And I think it universalized the whole concept of human rights and later on in Jimmy Carter's presidency it became American foreign policy.

MALVEAUX: You talk about this 90-second view, the 6:00 news, really the role that the media played.

We've got more communications, ways of talking to each other, than ever before, but do you think with social media and the role of social media, do we have a better understanding as a multiracial, multicultural society today?

YOUNG: The thing about this, I don't think we do, but we're getting there. But what this does was, this brought together about 10 years of legal and physical demonstrations and nonviolence from all across the South and the nation and brought it to Washington.

And Martin Luther King really came here to talk about a bad check, that the Constitution had promised us certain inalienable right. The Constitution was a promissory note for the inalienable rights of liberty and justice and pursuit of happiness.

And I think that's the thing that's missing. We've done well with race. We've made progress with war, though the disturbance in Syria is disturbing.

But I think the problem of the world and of the nation is recession and poverty. And those cannot be solved by wars or expanding wars.

QUEST: Now, with that in mind, creating a kind of movement today or even generating the passion and commitment necessary for that social advancement is increasingly more difficult.

YOUNG: It really isn't. It's too easy. I'd say that the turmoil in Egypt is greater than anything we ever experienced here.

But the multimedia, the social media, it's too easy. You don't have to risk anything, and so Martin Luther King had risked his life for eight years before coming to Washington.

He'd been stabbed. He'd been jailed. He'd been sued. He'd been bombed. And so there was a moral authority that he brought with him that's not yet emerged in all of the chaos in the Arab Spring and around the world, but it's coming.

MALVEAUX: Ambassador, let's talk about that a little bit because we'd be remiss not to ask you about Syria in light of the fact that you used to be a U.N. ambassador yourself here.

So what do you think is the appropriate action for the Obama administration? Should they do an end-round, an end-run around the United Nations, and simply go for a military strike without the consensus?

YOUNG: I don't think you achieve peace through war. And I think only through the United Nations. And I think when President Obama was running for the presidency, he talked about talking to Iran.

And I think if we had talked to Iran six years ago, we wouldn't be in this mess we're in now in Syria. And to escalate the mess in Syria is do what you just said, Brother Quest, is to drive the economy down. And that's not what we want.

We want the economies to come up. And that can only come up with peace. Peace can only come through with negotiations and you've got to talk to your enemies, especially because you don't like them and don't trust them.

MALVEAUX: All right, Ambassador Young, thank you so much. So good to have you.

And, of course, we'll be watching tomorrow, the March on Washington, the 50th anniversary. He'll be one of the speakers there. Thank you. Appreciate it.

And we're keeping on eye on the briefing, the White House. You see it in your corner screen there.

We're going to wait for the spokesman to come up and answer a series of questions, but of course, the most pressing is, what is the United States prepared to do, what is it willing to do in its involvement in protecting the Syrian people?

QUEST: Coming up, drug gangs in Argentina are finding a new way to smuggle pot, and this time it's carrier pigeons.


MALVEAUX: Some drug dealers in Argentina came up with what must have seen like a foolproof plan here. They used carrier pigeons to transport marijuana across the country.

So this is what happened here. The dope dealers trained two white doves to carry pot from a safe house where they were growing it to the building where they sold it to distributors. Pouches on the birds legs actually carried the pot.

The scheme was foiled when the dealers were arrested.

QUEST: Oh, deer. Oh, deer, deer me. Yes, a deer in headlights. The city of Nara in Japan is being taken over by deer, quite literally. They're on the road. They're in the pavement. They're in the stores.

It happens this time every year. The deer in the year like to cool down during the summer. It's their vacation.

And these spotted deer called sika were once considered sacred messengers of god. Now they're considered a national treasure and people there in Nara, don't sseem to mind. They seem happy to share the streets. And, frankly, I don't think you would get them to move any time soon if you wanted to.

MALVEAUX: I love that. QUEST: Brad Keselowski is fighting to defend his NASCAR championship this season.

MALVEAUX: But off the track, he's actually fighting for wounded veterans. We're going to show in "Impact Your World."


BRAD KESELOWSKI, NASCAR DRIVER: Hi, I'm Nascar driver Brad Keselowski and I believe that we can make an impact on the lives of our veterans.

The Checkered Flag Foundation was created to help out those who make sacrifices for us as Americans.

You will be going very, very fast.

The key program is the Race for Recovery. It's a chance for several servicemen and servicewomen who have gone through traumatic events to come to the racetrack and experience a race weekend. And then on the third day we come back and we take them for rides in the race cars at full speed.

My goal with, you know, our veterans, that when they get done with the experience, leave the program and feel like they can stand a little straighter, walk a little prouder, and help them to reintegrate into society here back stateside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It freakin rocks (ph).


KESELOWSKI: I think they need somebody to, you know, put an arm around their shoulder and show them the way.

Join the movement. Impact your world,


QUEST: Japan's government is fed up with radioactive water leaking from a nuclear power plant and says the operator of the plant is playing, in their words, "a game of 'Whack a Mole'." So, what now? How will they stop the toxic water from leaking?


MALVEAUX: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

We're keeping an eye on the White House briefing. It's expected to begin momentarily there. You're seeing live pictures of it. And essentially the White House spokesperson will come out and talk about - take reporter's questions. And the focus, of course, is going to be on the U.S. action and what kind of action it might take and is preparing, potentially, to take regarding Syria, whether or not there would be some sort of military strike or other options that are on the table after what looked to be apparently a chemical attack on its own citizens last week. So, a lot of questions about that and anticipation of whether or not some sort of military response by the United States and the international community could be imminent.

And the problems continue for Japan's crippled nuclear plant at Fukushima. The country's industry minister says that attempts to actually stop the leaks and radioactive water are kind of like "Whack a Mole," actually. I want to bring in Chad Myers to talk about the problems.

So explain to us why this is not working out so well.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And you wouldn't have used that term had they not officially called it "Whack a Mole." I mean that came from -

MALVEAUX: From them.

MYERS: From them. Yes, we just didn't make that name up. It's one thing after another. They have to use so much water to cool these rods that are still almost hanging in midair from the tanks and the spent fuel rods that are still there. They're not gone yet. They don't even have a way to get rid of these rods yet. And there are also these three tanks that we think all the - the containment vessels are probably not even working at all. Some cracks around them. And so you have to pump so much water in that water becomes contaminated. Then they pump the water out back to these tanks.

So, let me take you back about 10 years. There's nothing here. There were no tanks here. Sean, go ahead and move it. And now the tanks are there. All of these tanks will hold about a thousand tons of water. They're generating hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. They're taking the water from clean source, pump it through the system to keep the system cool, just like any nuclear generator has to be, and then pumping it into these little barrels, every one of these barrels. And some of these barrels are leaking. Some of the water's going through into the ground water. And they still believe that probably water is leaking into the ocean. They just haven't been there to see how much.

MALVEAUX: Wow. All right, Chad, thank you.

MYERS: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: We are also, again, keeping our eye on the White House briefing room there to make sure we don't miss anything that develops. Of course the spokesman will come out and address reporters' questions regarding Syria, U.S. options and whether or not an attack is imminent. We're going to take a quick break.


MALVEAUX: Welcome back to AROUND THE WORLD. You're looking at the White House. Live pictures there. Just got a two-minute warning that the White House briefing will start momentarily. And, of course, we're going to take that live as soon as it begins. Reporters will start taking their seats. And the top at hand, at issue, of course, is whether or not U.S. will carry out a military strike in Syria. QUEST: And, of course, while we wait for that briefing, already reaction is coming in from around the world. David Cameron, for example. David Cameron has suggested that action is not imminent. That the world will wait to see exactly what the proper response would be. Francois Hollande has also said that France will increase its efforts in its - in supporting Syrian rebels.

MALVEAUX: And, interestingly enough, the Obama administration has canceled those talks between diplomats with the Russians in the Hague. Time for talk seemingly over as they look to prepare for the possible military options that are on the table. That's one of the things that we are hearing.

And, you know, there was a lot of debate within the administration, within the White House, about whether or not you go through the United Nation Security Council or you go around them. And it seems fairly clear from the statements we heard yesterday from Secretary Kerry that they do not need -- do not feel the need, the U.N. Security Council, to take some sort of military action.

QUEST: And of course overarching all the events, comments from the Russian Foreign Minister that there will be catastrophic circumstances for the region if the West, in other words the U.S. and its allies, were to take unilateral action.

Wolf Blitzer joins me to put this into perspective. Wolf, we are waiting. You can see the briefing room as well. So please tell us what should we be listening out for?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": I think we want to know is this going to happen today, tomorrow, the next day? There's a narrow window, as you guys know, because the President of the United States will be in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the end of next week for the G-20 summit. So it's going to be very, very awkward situation that the U.S. and NATO allies, let's say, mabye some in the region, decide to launch some limited air strikes, cruise missile strikes or whatever, against various targets in Syria, a close ally of the Russian President Putin.

It's going to be pretty awkward when they all get together in St. Petersburg, Russia. So between now and then, the timing of this is, diplomatically speaking, very, very extraordinary, I should say. And I'm sure that this one of the factors that the president is seriously considering.

MALVAEUX: And, Wolf, tell us what are some of the signs that you're going to be looking for in terms of that window of action that you say, because obviously there are U.N. inspectors that are on the ground in Syria. They've been warned to get out of the way if there's some sort of military strike.

Are you going to be looking to see if there's any movement on the ground from those U.N. inspectors to signal that an attack might be happening?

BLITZER: Well, it'll be up to the U.N. Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, if he thinks those inspectors could be endangered by staying in Damascus. They're staying a a luxury hotel right at the heart of Damascus right now, but they're not moving back out to inspect. That's what they're supposed to bedoing because it's obviously very dangerous in that area. If you get outside of Damascus too far, you become very, very vulnerable very quickly.

So they're going to have to make a decision, the United Nations, whether it's worth it to keep that U.S., that United Nations team in Syria right now. They'd like to keep them there because their job is to go out there and see if there's any evidence that chemical weapons, or other weapons of mass destruction, were used by either side in this civil war that's been raging for two and a half years right now.

So that's a decision the United Nations is going to have to make. I suspect they're going to keep them there for the time being even if there is some sort of limited cruise missile strike. I think those U.N. inspectors will probably want to remain, assuming they can do something. If on the other hand, they're just allowed to stay at that hotel, they'll probably get out of there.

QUEST: Jill Dougherty is outside the White House and joins us at the same time. Jill, I apologize if I interrupt you if the briefing starts, but as this briefing - we are moving, it seems to be, in a particular direction. Anybody who's seen this sort of thing happen before and one wonders how far down the road we are.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONENT: They do. And one of the key parts of this will be the administration already says that they have the proof that this was a chemical weapons attack. But who did it? And the administration has little doubt that it was the regime of Assad.

Now we are waiting to find out in just a few minutes whether or not - and when - they might release the information, this intelligence assessment that they have, that would, we believe, accoding to what officials are telling us, be the proof that would show that Assad's people, Assad's forces were the ones to use.

QUEST: I am going to interrupt you - I am going to interrupt you, Jill. Forgive me. We join the White House briefing.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: She's all anybody needs around here. (INAUDIBLE).

OK, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here, as ever. I have no announcements to make at the top of this briefing, so I will go straight to Julie Pace.

JULIE PACE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Thank you. Has the president made any decisions in the last 24 hours or so on what the U.S. response to the Syrian (INAUDIBLE).