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Trump's Proposed Muslim Ban Sparks Outrage; Third Bataclan Attacker Named; "Time" Names Angela Merkel Person of the Year; Cuba Slowly Accepting LGBT Community. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 9, 2015 - 10:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: You've been watching our coverage of the U.S. Defense Secretary defending the U.S. strategy on ISIS. I'm Robyn Curnow.

But we now want to bring you up to date on some of our other top stories this hour.

The debate over Donald Trump's latest comments could soon become a matter for the British Parliament. A petition in the U.K. calls for a ban against

Trump entering that country.


CURNOW (voice-over): It's gained more than 100,000 signatures, meaning Parliament has to at least consider it. It's all part of the growing

global fallout over the U.S. presidential candidate's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Despite the backlash, though, Trump is standing by his idea in an interview with Barbara Walters of ABC News. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: I have people that I have tremendous relationships with, they're Muslim. And, Barbara, they agree with me 100

percent. It's short-term. Let our country get its act together. They knocked down the World Trade Center, they tried doing it twice. Other

things have happened. They have a lot of -- there are people that have tremendously bad intentions. We have to be tough.

We have to be smart. And we have to be vigilant.


CURNOW (voice-over): Well, Trump has also spoken of so-called no-go areas in London and Paris, areas so radicalized that police don't dare to enter.

Well, the French prime minister responded on Twitter, saying, quote, "Mr. Trump, like others, stokes hatred. Our only enemy is radical Islamism."

And in Dubai, the retail giant, Landmark Group, has suspended the sale of Trump branded products through its Lifestyle outlets across the Middle

East, North Africa, Pakistan and Tanzania.


CURNOW: Well, London mayor Boris Johnson is calling Trump's comments, quote, "complete and utter nonsense."

And the city's police force has invited the candidate to a briefing on the realities of policing in London.

Diana Magnay joins me now live from our London bureau.

Hi, there, Di. It really seems like British politicians are as outraged as most American politicians here.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Robyn. A fairly British response, a bit of humor from the British mayor and also really from the

Metropolitan Police, Boris Johnson saying that he -- the only risk he felt he'd run if he went to New York was the very real risk of meeting Donald


But I think the seriousness with which Britain takes this is exemplified by the fact that the British prime minister has felt compelled to come out and

condemn these comments, the comments of a presidential candidate on the campaign trail.

That's a sign really --


MAGNAY: -- of how seriously he's taking this at a time when Britain is really trying to engage the Muslim communities in this country in the fight

against extremism.


MAGNAY (voice-over): The man wielding the knife at this London Underground station last Saturday night shouted, "This is for Syria," as he lunged as

passersby. But it's this phrase which has got the nation talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ain't no Muslim, bruv.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: Some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances and sound bites and everything to this

subject. But, "You ain't no Muslim, bruv," said it all much better than I ever could.

MAGNAY (voice-over): British society is hugely diverse, multiple faiths, multiple ethnicities. And as Donald Trump took to the U.S. airwaves,

calling for a ban on Muslims entering the states, British Muslims can be quietly confident that, for now, no politician would say the same on

British soil and hope to get elected.

But some Muslims we speak to feel they're not being given the benefit of the doubt as fears around terrorism generate mistrust.

Badul Rahman Bangura (ph) is the imam at a mosque in the part of East London where Saturday's knife attack took place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will have to make statements. You will have to apologize. We are not -- we -- I think the Muslim community is fed up with


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are trying to build a better community to come together, not to have differences.


MAGNAY (voice-over): Monira Williams (ph) is a Muslim rap artist who converted to Islam 10 years ago. It was three weeks before terrorists

bombed the London Underground, killing 52 people in the worst single terror attack on British soil.

MONIRA WILLIAMS (PH), RAP ARTIST: Even then, it was quite a harsh climate. But I think now it's something different. It's something more -- I'm not

quite sure how to put it. But it's not so much fair; it's actually sort of resentment.

MAGNAY (voice-over): In October, David Cameron outlined his new counter- extremism strategy, vowing to tackle the alienation and segregation that can allow extremist ideologies to take root, calling on Britons, whatever

their backgrounds, to unite behind shared values.

But Bangura (ph), who wrote a thesis on the culture of alienation and extremism amongst young Muslims in Britain, says for some there's confusion

about what those values are.

BANGURA (PH): I posed a question to some of the youth that I interviewed, what are the British values?

Nobody could come back. I did extensive research into this.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Williams, too, feels the government's message doesn't necessarily translate.

WILLIAMS: If you could say British values is having respect for people, then, yes, we can all stand up and be around this.

But like, I think sometimes we have these -- I don't know, we spew out things or we say things but it has no real weight.


MAGNAY (voice-over): And so she raps to promote what she says are shared human values, a call on all members of society to stand behind them.


MAGNAY: And a very real concern here, Robyn, amongst policymakers is that these comments by Donald Trump simply play into ISIS' hands as it tries to

build on this narrative of Islam against the West -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Diana Magnay in London. Thanks so much.

Now I want to bring you up to date on the San Bernardino attack. Authorities in California say shooter Syed Rizwan Farook may have been

plotting an attack for more than three years. Evidence suggests Farook and someone else conspired back in 2012 and even considered a specific target

in California.

But the two backed out after a round of terror-related arrests in the area. Police are also investigating a nearly $29,000 loan Farook took out just

weeks before he and his wife killed 14 people. But none of the money appears to have come from an outside group financing that attack.

About half was given to Farook's mother. Some was also spent on household items.

Well, in Paris, the third suicide attacker at the Bataclan theater last month has now been identified, a 23-year-old man reportedly from a small

town near Strasbourg in France is where he's from. So CNN's Jim Bittermann joins us now live from Paris with more on the man and the investigation.

How was he identified, Jim?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's an interesting story, Robyn. In fact, what happened was, the mother of Foued Mohamed-

Aggad, 23 years old, got a text message from Syria, saying simply that her son had been killed, had been made a martyr in Paris.

She went to authorities with that information and they had yet to identify this third attacker. They had the DNA from his body. He blew himself up.

They had the DNA and, with that information from her, they were able to get DNA from her as well and match them up and identify the young man as, in

fact, her son.

Now his story is depressingly similar here --


BITTERMANN: -- Robyn, to what we've heard before. Basically a couple of years ago, 2013, he and his brother and a group of six others from the

Strasbourg area went off to Syria; they were there for a while. In a matter of days, two of the eight had been killed in combat there. Others

came back to France.

And when they came back to France, they were arrested, and that included his older brother, Karim. But Foued stayed there and apparently made

various threats against France and then finally came back and carried them out at the Bataclan theater.

This is the theater where 90 of the 130 people died on November 13th. And what's interesting now, Robyn, is that all three of the attackers that

attacked that theater and killed 90 of their countrymen were identified as Frenchmen, carrying French passports -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Yes. That, in itself, so concerning for authorities. Jim Bittermann in Paris, thank you.

In Southern Afghanistan, a Taliban attack and firefight that lasted for an entire day near the strategic Kandahar airport has claimed the lives of 37

civilians and a market and a school. That's according to Afghan officials, who say all three attackers were killed. A Taliban spokesman says the

gunmen were targeting foreign forces. Kandahar is an important base for U.S. forces as well as the Afghan army.

Still to come here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, she made a bold political statement, now she faces a backlash. But this year's "Time" magazine

Person of the Year continues to chart a new course for the whole of Europe.




CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow.

"Time" magazine has named its 2015 Person of the Year and it's German chancellor Angela Merkel. The magazine praised her leadership during

Europe's refugee crisis in a climate of sharply divided views. Let's get more from Alexandra Field in London.

Hi, there, Alexandra. This really wasn't much of a surprise.

What else did they say when they tapped her?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really wasn't much of a surprise, specifically when you look at "Time" magazine and they call her

Europe's most powerful leader. They point to a number of different stories that have unfolded over the course of the year that have really brought her

front and center on the international stage, whether it was her leadership of Europe's economic crisis or here more recent handling of Europe's

refugee crisis. Again, it's her policy that's led --


FIELD: -- hundreds of thousands of refugees to find shelter in Germany. Of course, these policies have not been without conflict, without

controversy. Frankly, the policies have drawn the ire of some.

But "Time" really underscores the point that they have chosen her as their Person of the Year because of her ability to lead. And they put it this

way, quite frankly, you can agree with her or not but she is not taking the easy road. And for that it seems that "Time's" editors felt that she

deserved this honor.

CURNOW: OK. Well, let's talk about who came second, the leader of ISIS. "Time" said they had no problem potentially giving him this accolade. They

felt that he -- but they felt that he didn't really deserve the top prize.

I mean, tell us about that.

FIELD: Right. You can appreciate the editorial lead. That would certainly be a difficult division to put this man's face on the cover of a

magazine. You run the risk, of course, of glorifying or glamorizing in some way.

But the point of Person of the Year is really you talk about people who have had a profound global impact. And this is somebody who has had a real

global impact that the magazine does lay out in a way that they sort of tick through, talking about ISIS' abilities to perpetuate attacks across

the world, leading to the death of 1,200 civilians, the magazine notes, outside of Syria and Iraq alone.

And with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of ISIS, they felt that his reach had really been well documented through this horrible series of

attacks that have unfolded throughout the year, which is why they have put him in what they called this second place position.

But, Robyn, what's interesting, is that if you take a look at the poll online, where readers were able to select who they would choose to have as

the Person of the Year, Baghdadi wins pretty handily and then he is followed next by Trump and then Vladimir Putin.

CURNOW: OK. And "Time" magazine did say when this was announced that they had put bad guys on the cover before, saying that Hitler had once been

given the honor of being Man of the Year. So controversial choices sometimes. Alexandra Field in London, thank you.

Being gay in Cuba no longer means an automatic prison sentence. The country is slowly becoming more adapting and accepting. And it's partly

because of help from the daughter of the president. CNN's Will Ripley joins us live to tell us more.

Hi, there, Will. You just came back from Cuba. You're in New York. Tell us about a story you filed and how you noticed these fascinating new


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I spent two weeks in Cuba reporting, Robyn. And I really wanted to look into life for LGBT people in Cuba.

Because remember, this is an island nation, where in the '60s and '70s, people who were gay were sent to labor reform camps and even as recently as

10 years ago if you publicly displayed any homosexual act, you could go to prison.

However, lately, thanks in part to President Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela Castro, the country has been making a real push towards LGBT

equality. But I spoke to some people who say the country still has a long way to go.



RIPLEY (voice-over): The show goes on at 2:00 am, Havana's drag queen cabaret, lip-synching six nights a week as cocktails flow and crowds grow.

Cuba's underground gay scene slowly becoming mainstream, this new club the latest to openly cater to LGBT customers.

"Now there's a boom. All the bars want to have drag queens," says Kitty Om (ph), who began performing in secret 21 years ago.

She takes us to a tiny dressing room packed with female impersonators. Some do drag full-time.

"Ten years ago," she says, "we might have been scared to perform or even to meet in certain places."

A decade ago, Cubans could still go to prison for public displays of homosexuality. In the 1960s and '70s, the Castro regime persecuted sexual

minorities, sending some people to labor camps.

Today, President Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela Castro, runs the National Center for Sex Education, Cuba's only state agency advocating for LGBT

rights. Kitty Om (ph) says she's a health promoter, conveying the state- controlled safe sex message during her shows. But critics say the Cuban government overlooks a huge problem in the LGBT community.

Sex workers catering to foreigners can earn more in a single night than a Cuban doctor makes in a month. Several men we spoke to say gay for pay is

one of many issues ignored by Cuba's mainstream LGBT activists.

Riko Pen Nunez (ph) says it's still complicated to be openly gay on the Communist-run island.

"For example," he says, "if I walk down the street right now holding my partner's hand, it would not be taken well. People would stare, make


He says his family accepts him but all of his ex-boyfriends have left Cuba. He says those who stay are still forced to lead "una doble vida," a double



"My dream is to get married, to have kids," he says, "to have the same rights as someone who's straight. But here, it's complicated."

He dreams of equality and the end of homophobia that still permeates Cuban society, a dream even the most optimistic LGBT advocates say is likely

decades away.


RIPLEY: It really has been a dramatic turnaround by the government, though, with the former president, Fidel Castro, actually expressing regret

for the way that gay people were treated in the past, calling it, quote, "a great injustice" -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Yes, significant. I just want to -- you touched on it briefly in your piece there, prostitution.

Why is it so prevalent?

RIPLEY: Well, it really peaked during the economic crisis in Cuba back in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and a lot of financial assistance

stopped. It was very, very difficult times in Cuba. And prostitution became in many ways a legitimate means of earning an income.

On a single night, as the piece mentioned, a sex worker catering to men or to women can earn well more than what a Cuban doctor or a lawyer or any

professional would earn in an entire month.

And so what you have a very, very large sex business going on, both gay and straight. And even though the government is trying to, you know, somehow

provide more inclusion and more equality for LGBT people, they're not touching on this prostitution angle in part because it's such a necessary

form of income for a lot of people there.

CURNOW: OK. Very good point. Great piece. Important piece. Will Ripley in New York, thanks so much.

Well, that does it for is here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'll be back in just over an hour. In the meantime, "CONNECT THE

WORLD" is next.