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The Story of a Killer; Obamacare Website Developers Testify; Germany Summons U.S. Ambassador; Firefighter Pilot Dies in Australian Wildfires; African Pirates Kidnap Two Americans; Danvers Shaken by Brutal Murder of Teacher

Aired October 24, 2013 - 12:00   ET


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1999, a man's body was found draped naked on Tilikum's back one morning. How the man got there, SeaWorld couldn't say. Then in 2010, Tilikum pulled trainer Dawn Brancheau into the water, to her death.

When he first met Tilikum, Colin Baird had no problem with captivity and killer whales. Now, three decades, and three deaths later, he definitely does.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you blame him?

COLIN BAIRD, FORMER KILLER WHALE TRAINER: I don't blame him, no. This would -- these would never have happened if he'd been left in the North Atlantic.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Martin Savidge, CNN, Victoria, British Columbia.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Fantastic story by Martin. And tonight CNN presents a special on killer whales. It's called "Blackfish." I highly encourage you to watch it. It is a tremendous film. It starts at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN. "Blackfish."

Thanks so much for watching, everybody. AROUND THE WORLD starts right now.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Three big stories we're following right now.

U.S. allies, they are angry at America again, this time over allegations that the NSA spied on the private phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. American officials, they are denying it.

And we are also following this. It's an Obamacare blame game on Capitol Hill as companies charged with launching the government's health care website say they did everything right.

And also, one of the biggest soccer stars in the world faces racial taunting and monkey gestures in the field in Moscow.

Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Michael Holmes is off today. Well, we start with the finger pointing. It begins as private contractors who helped develop the Obamacare website, they're now testifying on Capitol Hill. You can take a look at some of the live pictures. And what is fascinate, and what stands out this morning, is that no one, no one, is taking responsibility for the botched roll-out of the healthcare site. Politicians are taking on each other.


REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: No health information is required in the application process. And why is that? Because pre-existing conditions don't matter. So once, again here we have my Republican colleagues trying to scare everybody -

REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: Will the gentleman yield?

PALLONE: No, I will not yield to the monkey court or whatever this thing is.

BARTON: This is not a monkey court.

PALLONE: Do whatever you want. I'm not yielding. I am trying to tell you for (INAUDIBLE) - that the problem --

BARTON: (INAUDIBLE) -- protecting American citizens (INAUDIBLE) --


PALLONE: There are no pre-existing conditions -

BARTON: It's a legitimate concern of this committee.

PALLONE: So pre-existing conditions don't matter -


PALLONE: HIPAA doesn't apply. There's no health information in the process. You're asked about your address, your date of birth, you're not asked health information. So why are we going down this path? Because you are trying to scare people so they don't apply.


MALVEAUX: We are covering all angles of what could be called a fiasco here. Joe Johns on Capitol Hill with our congressional investigation and the hearings that we're seeing, and Elizabeth Cohen, she's joining us here in Atlanta focusing on one of the critical design flaws on the website.

So, Joe, I want to start off with you first here. I mean we're listening to these guys, Congressman Frank Pallone and Joe Barton going at each other, calling this a monkey court.


MALVEAUX: What do you make of what you've heard so far? Are these just guys who are going after each other scoring political points, or are we learning anything about what went wrong here?

JOHNS: I think it's a little bit of both, Suzanne. They were talking about privacy, that money court business. But in the big picture, you've got 50-some odd companies who are contractors on this. Only a few of them represented on The Hill. And this one company, CGI, blames another company, QSSI, for the big problem. QSSI blames the federal government, the centers of Medicare and Medicaid services, for putting in a late change that created a bottleneck.

But this is clearly a political issue. Also very technical. And it's something a congressional committee, as a whole, isn't always equipped to handle very well without a ton of staff to work on. So you get a lot of people veering off, asking policy questions to companies that are here to talk about a technology breakdown. And that's even evident when they're asking very, very simple questions about the testing of this product before it went online. Listen.


CHERYL CAMPBELL, SENIOR VP, CGI FEDERAL: That the system was -- that our portion of the system that CGI was responsible for, that our functionality worked.



ESHOO: It did not in the end result, correct?

CAMPBELL: When it became part of an integrated end-to-end system.

ESHOO: Well, you knew it was going to be integrated. There are many subcontractors. That wasn't a surprise. Do you have something to say about the testing?

ANDREW SLAVITT, GROUP EXECUTIVE VP, OPTUM/QSSI: Let me be clear about our role in testing.

ESHOO: Uh-huh.

SLAVITT: Our work, the data services hub, was tested, tested well, and tested adequately.


JOHNS: Yes, so, again, we do know that one company testified the last- minute change requiring people to register before they could browse created an overload situation. And the overarching situation sense from this, I think, is that there are so many moving parts. It's the kind of site integrating so much information from so many different places that there were going to be problems, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, Joe, thank you very much.

Want to go to Elizabeth to talk about some of the things that people, at least, seem to agree on, that is one of the initially problems is that you create these accounts, they had to create accounts before they were even able to shop around, to see what was available and out there. How did that set this thing up to fail?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So this was - this was -- Joe explained that this was mentioned at the hearings and this is what my sources are telling me was a big problem. So if you go to, let's say, Colorado, New York or Kentucky, you can put in a couple of pieces of information. You can put in, for example, your age or what county you live in, and then you can start looking at policies. Like it's very quick. And so you're window shopping.

And then you look around and you see what you might want to buy and then you do the whole application procedure, which takes some time, right? You've got to put in your Social Security number; you've got to verify your identity. The federal government decided to flip that order. They decided to do, in the beginning, the long application process first.

MALVEAUX: So create the account first, without ever really taking a look at any of the plans that they could sign up for?

COHEN: Right. So you had to create a log in. You had to do what's called identity proofing, prove that you are who you say you are. You have to do all sorts of steps.

On a site that's working well, that takes some time. On a site that's not working well, I can attest to this, it scares me trying to get -- make this happen, but it takes a very long time. So you've got - you've got all these -- imagine 100 people trying to go into a store and fill out information on a card. You're going to get a line. If you just let them go in and look around at the merchandise, you're not going to get that same line. So the federal design created a bottleneck at the very beginning. And many experts were saying to me, you know, why did they do that?

MALVEAUX: Yes. That -

COHEN: You know, why would you choose to do that, especially when other places were having success doing it the other way.

MALVEAUX: That's what they're trying to sort out, figure out, maybe fix all of that. Glad at least you got on the site eventually.

COHEN: Eventually, yes.

MALVEAUX: It took weeks.

COHEN: Right.

MALVEAUX: All right, thank you.

Amid all the problems with the signature health care website, the president is now shifting his focus to a different priority, this is immigration reform. It was just a short time ago that the president came out urging lawmakers to finish their work on the measures to strengthen first the U.S. borders, provide a pathway to citizenship for the millions of people who are in the United States illegally. Of course, it is one of the domestic agenda items he says he wants to address by the end of the year.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We should pass immigration reform. We should pass immigration reform. It's good for our economy. It's good for our national security. It's good for our people. And we should do it this year.

Everybody knows that our current immigration system is broken. Across the political spectrum, people understand that. We've known it for years. It's not smart to invite some of the brightest minds from around the world to study here and then not let them start businesses here. We send them back to their home countries to start businesses and create jobs and invent new products someplace else. It's not fair to businesses.


MALVEAUX: The Senate passed a bill earlier this year that creates a path to citizenship for the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. It allows more high-skilled workers to get visas and it boosts security along the U.S./Mexican border. Now, Republicans in the House, they want a more step by step piecemeal approach to immigration reform.

Well, there is more angry fallout over the NSA's alleged spying on Americans' allies. Germany now summoning the U.S. ambassador to the meeting at the foreign ministry. That is happening today. And Angela Merkel, well, she called President Obama directly. And here's the issue here. The NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, telling the truth -- is he telling truth when he said that Merkel's own cell phone was tapped and part of the government's wide-ranging national security operation.

Well, if he is right, then Merkel says that, and this is a quote, "it is a grave violation of trust." White House Spokesman Jay Carney says the U.S. "is not monitoring and will not monitor" Merkel's cell phone.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Obama and Chancellor Merkel spoke by telephone regarding the allegations that you mentioned, that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the communications of the German chancellor. And I can tell you that the president assured the chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor.


MALVEAUX: Fred Pleitgen is covering this story and he's joining us.

Good to see you in person, first of all, here - here in Atlanta.

FREDRIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for having me. It's good to see you as well. MALVEAUX: Yes, you know, this is a big problem. It's becoming an increasing problem for the United States. You've got Angela Merkel now who is very angry, very upset. What do we know about the veracity of the comments here? Do we think that this is really true, coming from Snowden, that perhaps her cell phone was being tapped?

PLEITGEN: Do you know what? I think that the Germans wouldn't have come out and made this big fuss about the whole thing, gone public with it, if they didn't have some sort of information that indicated that most probably this could very well be true. Apparently what happened was, you had the comments made by Edward Snowden and then the German intelligence services went back through their records and they seem to have found things that indicated that one of her cell phones -- she has multiple cell phones -- might have been tapped. So, yes, this is something where she was very angry about this.

And you - really, you don't see -- I've been covering Angela Merkel for years. I have not seen her this angry before. I know it doesn't - it doesn't -- when you see her on TV it doesn't look that angry, but she's someone who's a very reserved person. She's a science professor. She normally would never call out an American president in public like the way she's doing right now. And there's an EU Summit that's going on today with the EU countries. Of course France was also another country that was very angry at the United States. I want you to listen in to what Angela Merkel said at the summit earlier today.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I would like to also touch on the matter of the alleges regarding the NSA. There needs to be trust between the U.S. and European nations and that eavesdropping amongst friend is never acceptable, no matter in what situation. As I said back in June in Berlin, and again reiterated yesterday in a phone call with the president.


PLEITGEN: So, Angela Merkel, she does keep smiling all the time, but she is not happy at all. And now the Germans are calling for an additional treaty to make sure that something like this can't happen again. And, of course, that - the whole conflict (ph) goes back months to when Edward Snowden first came out with the fact that so much had been monitored.

MALVEAUX: Right. Right. I noticed she said she'd like to add. She wasn't asked that question. She volunteered that information, but --

PLEITGEN: She wasn't asked. No, she came out by herself and said it.

MALVEAUX: Is this a little false, though, is it a little phony here to think that the Germans aren't doing this to the Americans, the French aren't doing this to the Germans, that everybody essentially is listening in on everybody else? That this is really pretty common fare?

PLEITGEN: Do you know what the interesting thing about this is, is that when all of this first came to light that there was this big ring of phone tapping, of tapping of Internet connections, most of these countries tried to block it. The Germans themselves - the Germans sent out one of their government ministers to the public who said, we believe that this whole scandal is over, no one's rights were violated.

But then German newspapers found out that possibly Angela Merkel's own phone had been tapped and that's something that the German government couldn't hide anymore. So, I mean, they probably do try to do this to each other. It's impossible to see. It's the murky world of intelligence.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

PLEITGEN: But, on the other hand, of course, Barack Obama himself came out at one point and said, of course, the leaders of Russia and the leaders of Germany want to know what I'm thinking, not just on things like terrorism, but in Germany especially, if you recall, the last couple of years -


PLEITGEN: America was very interested to see how Germany would try and solve the Eurozone crisis. Of course they want every information.

MALVEAUX: Yes, and so it's a tacit acknowledgment that everybody kind of believes this is going on all sides.

PLEITGEN: Yes. Exactly.

MALVEAUX: Fred, good to see you in person.

PLEITGEN: Good to see you.

MALVEAUX: Come back some time.


MALVEAUX: All right, thank you.

Here's more of what we're working on for AROUND THE WORLD. Police return this little girl in Dublin to her parents after they had taken her away, accusing the parents of kidnapping. It's an outrageous case with fingers pointing at racism.

And two American are kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria after their ship was attacked. We've got a live report from Laos.

Another scandal for the Catholic Church. An assisted bishop, who fathered a child, is called out in a paternity suit.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Here are the stories making news around the world right now.

Those massive wildfires burning across a thousand miles of Australia have claimed now another life.

This time, a pilot died when his water-bombing plane crashed earlier today. He is one of more than 1,500 on the fire lines. His plane dropped water on the fires threatening Sydney, and fires, they've already destroyed more than 200 homes.

Now, fire officials, they say they are simply trying to do their best.


SHANE FITZSIMMONS, RSF COMMISSIONER: On behalf of the firefighters, that are doing it so tough up there, we do apologize and regret that we weren't able to save everything.

We very are acutely aware, because our teams are embedded in the local communities, particularly the likes of the lower Blue Mountains through Springwood and Winmalee, where there has been so much damage and destruction, and people have lost everything.

They did their best, and they will continue to do their best.


MALVEAUX: The weather has cooled a little bit, and the winds that have gusted to 45-miles-an-hour, they're just a little bit calmer today.

And we have now newly released video to show you. This is of a massive rescue effort of African migrants off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy.

Now, more than 200 people, they were pulled from the water almost two week ago. You see it there. At least 31 died.

Now, the overcrowded boat was carrying migrants trying to escape the poverty of North Africa. There had been several recent sinkings in which hundreds have died.

And now to Nigeria, this is where pirates have actually kidnapped two Americans from a U.S. oil supply vessel. This is in the Gulf of Guinea.

Want to go straight to Vladimir Duthiers in Lagos, Nigeria. And, Vladimir, first what do we know about the attack, and who was taken?


Well, here's what we know. Sometime early morning on Wednesday, this U.S. vessel, which is owned by a Louisiana-based company, Edison Chouest, was attacked by pirates. We don't know how many. Details are still very, very sketchy.

During the attack or sometime after the attack, the -- two American sailors, the captain and the chief engineer, were taken hostage. We have not heard about where they might be at this point.

What's interesting where this attack took place. It took place, as you mentioned, in the open, in the Gulf of Guinea. Now, historically, piracy has been very, very common in east Africa, off the coast of Somalia, as you know.

But increasingly in the last couple of years, we've started to see an uptick in piracy attacks in west Africa. And in the Gulf of Guinea, 30 percent of all attacks in African waters happen in that very gulf.

The Nigerian navy has stepped up their efforts to patrol the coastline and to chase pirates where and when they do see them, but it's very, very difficult. This area's known as the Niger River Delta.

This ship was taken off the coast of Brass, to the Niger River delta. Now for many, many years, militants attacked and kidnapped all sorts of, usually. oil executives, people that were affiliated with the oil industry.

In 2009, the Nigerian government offered an amnesty to these militants in exchange for laying down their weapons, laying down their arms. They offered vocational training, as well as a monthly stipend.

In the last couple of months, we've started to see violence increase in this part of Nigeria, which would spell trouble, because, as you know, the government's dealing with a very, very volatile mix of Islamic militantism up in the northeastern part of the country, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, Vladimir, thank you so much. We certainly hope they're safe, but we're going to be following that story as we -- as it develops throughout the afternoon.

We're also learning more disturbing details about the high school teacher in Massachusetts allegedly killed by a student.

We're going to have a live report, up next.


MALVEAUX: There is one question that hangs over the murder of a popular young teacher at Danvers High School, why? Why did this happen?

We now know that she was beaten, suffered wounds from a box cutter. Philip Chism, he is accused of attacking and killing Colleen Ritzer, leaving her body in the woods near the school, then calmly taking in a movie.

Our Don Lemon, he is in Danvers. Don, what have we learned about this?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's really the question of the day is why?

We have learned how -- sadly, how she died, and the circumstances leading up to her death, and what happen after her death.

According to sources who spoke to our Pamela Brown this morning, she went into the faculty restroom and that restroom was locked, and when she couldn't get into that restroom, she went into the students' rest room on the second floor, and was followed in by Philip Chism. And then, apparently, sadly, Suzanne -- it's brutal, but he used a box cutter, punched her, used a box cutter, and then put her body into a recycling bin and then removed it and threw it into the woods.

And also that was caught on videotape, a number of video cameras here at the school.

And again, the question is, why? No one knows exactly why. As a matter of fact, as we're speaking now, Suzanne, an autopsy's being done.

MALVEAUX: Don, do we have any sense at all whether or not there was any kind of relationship between this student? He was a student of the teacher here.

Was this something that if anybody had walked into that bathroom, or do they think that she was targeted in some way?

LEMON: Again, not exactly sure. The only thing people know that is he was indeed a student in her math class. That was confirmation from the prosecutor's office, and also confirmation from students we spoke to yesterday.

And some of those students we spoke to yesterday, one of them here on CNN, talked about Philip Chism and knowing him. Take a listen.


ADRIANA EDWARDS, CLASSMATE OF ACCUSED KILLER: He did have friends. He wasn't like too friendly, though. He, like, only, like, had certain friends.

He wasn't like outgoing to everyone. Like in classes he would only talk to like a select few people.

And he was new, too. So like he didn't have, like, the, like, amount of friends as everyone else.


LEMON: And that student and other students said he -- they saw him in class that morning. She saw him in her English class.

Other kids saw him in the math class and said he acted normally. There was nothing out of the ordinary, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: You know, Don, it's so hard. I know you've covered these stories before, and we see these things happening across the country.

I mean, I can't imagine how people are dealing and coping with this, at the school on campus today.

I mean, you've talked to people. What is the sense of how they're dealing with this?

LEMON: It's always heartbreaking. As I'm looking off to camera left here, I'm seeing members of an athletic team here, and they're all gathered together. You can see some of the students behind me here at a makeshift memorial.

And then coming out, just over my shoulder here, students are starting to leave as well as grief counselors. Between 10:00 and noon, students got meet with grief counselors, faculty, as well, and even family members if anyone needed to talk to them.

And this whole community is just shaken. I mean, this is a community that never really sees anything like this, and a teacher who was beloved, by all accounts, by everyone.

MALVEAUX: All right. Don, thank you.

I know it's difficult for a community to be dealing with something as tragic as that. Thank you.

We are also following this, the Obamacare blame game on Capitol Hill that is taking place as companies charged with launching the government's healthcare Web site, you see testimony taking place right now, live picture there from inside.

Well, they are saying they did everything right. Well, we'll hear from them directly, up next.