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Winter Blizzard Threatens U.S. Capital; Global Markets Surge; Kerry Speaks at WEF; Iranian's Hope for Boost to Nation's Economy; College Student Held in North Korea; Disabled Chinese Orphan Gets New Home in U.S.; Iowa Caucus Nears; Hollywood Heads to Havana. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 22, 2016 - 10:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, 75 million Americans are getting ready for a giant winter storm.

Markets rally as oil jumps over $30 a barrel.

And Republicans are asking, who is worse between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump?


CURNOW: Hello and welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

Millions of Americans are bracing for a huge blizzard that could bring historic levels of snow to the nation's capital. Nearly 5,000 flights are

already canceled along the East Coast, including every flight into and out of Philadelphia on Saturday. Even major highways could be closed.

This is Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the largest cities in the southeastern U.S.

In Nashville, another large southeastern city, ice covers a live camera. Look at these pictures.

Millions of people across several states have been told to stay off the roads and stay at home.

Well, blizzard conditions are expected to move into the Northeast in the next two hours or so. CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It's already been hit with snow and ice, as you saw from those pictures. And he filed this report for us.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We started off with a light drizzle overnight. Then it turned to snow. Now what we're seeing here is freezing

rain. We really didn't see a whole lot of snow. In fact, it might show you a little bit of what we're seeing here.

Only a couple of -- only about an inch and a half or so. So what's concerning here is really the ice, not so much the snow. So while the

scene here in the heart of Charlotte is very picturesque, there is a very real concern for officials here, is about the ice, is because once we get -

- the ice begins to accumulate, you have travel trouble. And, of course, major issues on the roads not to mention power outages as well.


CURNOW: Polo Sandoval there.

Well, this huge weather system is not only canceling and delaying thousands of flights, it has the potential to completely shut down several major

airports, impacting travel for days.

Well, CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington. She joins us now live.

I mean, this is just not life-threatening but it's also going to cause a huge amount of chaos.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. We saw the chaos that it caused on the roadways. But what we're talking about today is air

travel and it really feels like beat the buzzer here, where all of these passengers all morning that we've been here, they've been at the ticket

counter, their main objective is to get out of here before this storm approaches.

We're at Reagan National Airport. It's one of the airports being affected with some of the most number of cancellations. Several airports are seeing

cancellations. And what you're going to have is a situation where, as you stated, airport operations will eventually completely stop because there's

just no way to safely land and take off when you have close to zero visibility.

We're talking about whiteout conditions, and just snow coming down fast and furious. We know here at Reagan, they're already starting a process of

pretreating the runways.

But again, Robyn, these airlines, they're going to want to pull their aircraft from airports like Reagan, like Philadelphia International,

because they don't want them getting stuck.

We know Philly, they just announced that their airport is closed tomorrow in the sense that all flights have been canceled.

CURNOW: Yes. And, of course, there's the domestic implications of that.

But for all our international viewers, many of them planning to travel in and out of Washington or New York in the coming days, really need to check

their travel schedules and their flights.

Also, though, let's not forget this is Washington, D.C., where you're at. This is the capital of the U.S. and it's going to be absolutely frozen in

many ways. It's a major highway.

Paint a picture of what it's going to be like.

MARSH: It's going to be a ghost town. I mean, I would say in another four to five hours, you probably won't see anyone behind me. We'll probably be

the only ones here. They've been telling people to stay off of the roadways. We know that federal workers will be leaving work around noon

Eastern time here in Washington, D.C.

So people won't be at work. Here's the good thing. This is happening towards the end of the week. So it's falling on a weekend, Saturday and

Sunday. So it doesn't impact the government in that way.

But the cleanup effort may take days. So we could see Monday where they're still struggling to clear roadways. And that's when we'll start seeing the

impacts here in the nation's capital.

CURNOW: Indeed. And the backlog from those flights and those cancellations also could still be felt for days afterwards.


CURNOW: Thanks so much. Appreciate it. Rene Marsh there.

Well, Pedram Javaheri has the latest forecast. He filed this for us a little earlier.


CURNOW: Well, let's turn to business news. Global stock markets are surging today, thanks to a big rebound in oil prices. And the gains in

Europe and Asian market gains are carrying over to Wall Street.

Let's take a look at the big board about a half an hour into trading, the Dow is up over 220 points. Oil is up now about 7 percent today. Well,

Maggie Lake is watching the markets for us from CNN New York.

I mean, what a week. What a ride.


It's incredible, looking at these numbers. Listen, it feels a lot better and it's definitely related to that big bounceback we're seeing in oil.

And let's not forget about the central banks. Mario Draghi, Super Mario, he got that nickname for a reason. And he's definitely helping contribute

to that turn in sentiment we started to see yesterday, he's saying they're going to pull up the time. They're going to do their policy for even

March, pull it forward from June and that they stand ready to provide more stimulus.

So central bank to the rescue again, all of those combining. But listen, not to be a Debbie Downer but be careful and keep your optimism in check

here. We just had Keith Bliss (ph) on from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on "WBT," saying that this feels tenuous, it doesn't feel real.

It's still a lot of volatility and churn.

They believe there's still some problems in the market, that oil's going to have a hard time staying up at those levels. And for that reason, they

think that you sell into any rally or fade it into the close. So there's still a lot of caution out there, Robyn and a lot of churn beneath the


So we'll take that 200 points run out, digging out of the hole we had. But the worst is not over. It doesn't feel like we're out of the woods yet, to

quote a Taylor Swift song.


CURNOW: Yes. You're not a Debbie Downer if you're quoting Taylor Swift, come on.

Yes, I don't think this is over. Still so much uncertainty.

Meanwhile, let's turn to Apple. You're keeping an eye on Apple.

LAKE: Yes, we are. This is really interesting. We have a story out on the Web right now. You can check it out. A lot of people really concerned

about Apple. It's one of these widely held stocks. It's been a market darling, can do no wrong.

The stock has been taking a beating, down 29 percent from its peak -- I think it's down about 9 percent this year, a lot of people concerned that

iPhone sales are slowing and that the company perhaps a one-hit wonder and that maybe they're relying too much on that.

However, an analyst that we talk to a lot on our business program, Gene Munson (ph) from Piper Jaffrey (ph), contrary to that, saying buying it

into the earnings report next week. He thinks it could rally up to 50 percent by the time they release another iPhone.

So very much divided opinion. That earnings report is going to be very important. And another interesting thing we're watching about Apple,

Robyn, Tim Cook, the CEO, meeting with who other than the pope. OK, it was a private meeting. We don't know what was on the agenda.

But one has to imagine, given what the pope has been doing, that the climate and perhaps the environment may have come up. So very interesting,

Tim Cook, out and about, meeting with the pontiff -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Yes, and this is a very tech-savvy pope, not the first meeting he's had with one of these guys.

Thanks so much, Maggie Lake, as always. Appreciate it.

Well, you're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Ahead, the plight of refugees takes center stage at the World Economic --


CURNOW: -- Forum. What the U.S. secretary of state is saying at Davos.

Plus, we'll go live to Tehran, where people are looking toward life after economic sanctions.




CURNOW: We're back. Hi, there. I'm Robyn Curnow. It's 12 minutes past the hour.

Well, the Greek coast guard says at least 42 people are dead after two migrant vessels capsized in the Aegean Sea. Authorities say the boats went

down in two different areas.

Many of the victims were women and children and dozens more are missing. No word yet on their nationalities. The coast guard says search and rescue

will continue for at least three days or until the missing are accounted for.

And U.S. secretary of state John Kerry spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos Friday. He used the platform to announce a major U.S. response to

the global refugee crisis. Kerry said U.S. President Barack Obama will host a summit later this year at the United Nations General Assembly.

The goals: one, increase donor funding for refugees by 30 percent and other humanitarian funding by 10 percent; double the number of refugees

resettled; expand the 10 the number of countries accepting refugees and get 1 million children in school and 1 million adults working legally.

Kerry also talked about the fight against ISIS, also known as daish.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Nothing in the end would do more to terminate the threat of daish than -- obviously to negotiate end to the war

in Syria. And that precisely what we are trying to do.

Achieving it will not be easy, it isn't already, though we've taken important first steps.


CURNOW: Well, Kerry also touched on the recently implemented nuclear deal with Iran. He said Iran has agreed to never pursue a nuclear bomb and that

the Middle East and the world are now safer.

"The Washington Post" reporter held prisoner in Iran is on his way back home. Jason Rezaian left a military hospital in Germany early Friday. He

was detained since July of 2014 and released last weekend as part of a prisoner swap.

Rezaian says he's looking forward to reconnecting with his family and enjoying home-cooked meals, sports and movies. Especially he's looking

forward to the new "Star Wars" movie.

And with economic sanctions finally lifted, Iranians are hoping for a big boost in their nation's economy. Senior international correspondent Fred

Pleitgen joins me now from Tehran.

Hi, there, Fred. Great to have you there on the ground.

What are people saying to you?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. We did go around various parts of Tehran today and it really is remarkable to

see the optimism that many people have here in the future.

It's also interesting because so far sanctions release only happened a couple of days ago. And people really haven't noticed very much about the

benefit yet. We still can't pay with things like credit cards. You still have to bring money. You have to do most everything with cash.


PLEITGEN: Foreign investment hasn't come into the country. But there is that hope that things will get better in the not-too-distant future. Let's

have a look at the mood in Tehran.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): On the first Friday since the implementation of the nuclear agreement in Tehran, a tone of optimism, hope and reconciliation

even towards the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody hates anybody. We are people. They are people. We love each other. Our governments have some things which they've been

fighting for, for many years. I don't want to get into that, but if this is a bridge for connecting people, then again, let's hope for the best.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While many sanctions have officially been lifted, the effects have not yet kicked in. Still, many here hope soon their

economy will thrive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can hope Iran's economy and also we have a lot of educated engineers inside and outside Iran.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): With the sanctions relief, Iran says it wants to sell up to 500,000 additional barrels of oil every day. Tehran also

expects major foreign investments in sectors like manufacturing, tourism and I.T.

But there is still this, "Death to America" chants at the hardliners' Friday prayers. Even after the nuclear agreement, they don't trust the

United States and believe America is trying to increase its influence in the Islamic Republic.

Iran's supreme leader has endorsed the nuclear agreement but he also says there will be no further cooperation with America, a sentiment echoed by

many conservatives.

"Americans have a very oppressive attitude in this region," this cleric says. "They must change that. If they do that in the future, maybe there

could be better relations but right now I don't see it happening."

Despite the recent diplomatic efforts by Washington and Tehran, it will take more time and more trust building to overcome almost 37 years of



PLEITGEN: And, Robyn, as we've seen, there are also big political divisions here inside Iran. And of course we are also looking forward now

to the elections, the parliamentary elections that are going to happen here at the end of February. You can already feel things gearing up for that.

And those elections, in many ways, are also going to be a referendum on how people view the nuclear agreement, whether or not they feel that they've

benefited enough at that point in time.

But I can tell you, from the majority of folks that we've spoken to on the ground here in Tehran, they say, at the very least, they do have hope that,

in the future, they will be able to unleash this nation's full economic potential -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much. Fred Pleitgen there in Tehran. Appreciate it.

Well, this is INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for watching.

Ahead, CNN has been following the story of a Chinese orphan, who some considered unadoptable. That all has now changed. His touching story





CURNOW: Hi, there. Welcome back.

CNN is keeping an eye on this story. A U.S. college student is being held in North Korea. He's accused of, quote, "hostile acts." Our Paula

Hancocks is following developments for us out of Seoul.


CURNOW: Hi, there, Paula.

Who is this student and how many others like him does North Korea hold?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. Well, this is something we heard from state-run media KCNA a little earlier today. The first we've

heard about this individual. He's called Otto Frederick Warmbier. We understand he's from the University of Virginia, according to KCNA. We

haven't confirmed on the other side yet, but we have confirmed with the travel company that he was going into North Korea with, the Young Pioneer


Now they said that he was actually detained back on January 2nd. So he's been held by North Korea for some time now, if that's correct. They say

his family has been informed and they're working with the State Department and North Korea's foreign ministry to try and secure his release.

Now according to Pyongyang, he has carried out a hostile act against the country. He has, according to the regime, been trying to topple that

regime. And they say that the U.S. government is behind it, saying it's, quote, "a tacit connivance of the U.S. government."

Now of course this isn't the first time this has happened. We know of two other Westerners that are currently being held by North Korea. Both a CNN

team in Pyongyang was able to visit earlier this month a Korean American accused of espionage and also a Canadian Korean pastor, who's just been

sentenced to life hard labor for subversion. So certainly not the first time this has happened -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Indeed. This young man certainly in a bit of trouble.

With that in mind, though, how easy is it to join a tour group, get a visa, go into North Korea?

HANCOCKS: Well, it's certainly relatively easy. There are a number of different tour groups you can use. And they will organize the visa for

you. It's a package tour and they will do everything from start to finish because, of course, bear in mind, you can't go in individually to North

Korea as a tourist.

You have to go as part of one of these package tours. And then the -- they will organize everything for you. But the State Department, for example,

has said that they strongly recommend that U.S. citizens don't go to North Korea -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Indeed. Thanks so much, Paula Hancocks there in Seoul.

Well, a 9-year-old Chinese boy is on his way to his new home in the U.S. with his new parents. JiaJia has waited for years to be adopted after he

was abandoned as a baby.

For more on this story, Will Ripley joins us now from Beijing.

Hi, there, Will. Tell us more.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. I met JiaJia about five months ago, working on a story about abandoned children in China. We just

randomly went to this particular foster home and he really touched me and he touched everybody on our crew.

And after we told his story, he touched so many of our viewers. And it was their donations that helped make this moment possible.



RIPLEY (voice-over): The Wilsons have been waiting almost a year to make the 6,600-mile journey from Kansas City to Beijing. The boy they're about

to meet has been waiting his whole life.

We first met JiaJia last summer, the oldest orphan in a Chinese foster home for kids with disabilities.

RIPLEY: You've lived here all your life, right?


RIPLEY: A long time, nine years.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Another family broke their promise to adopt him.


RIPLEY (voice-over): JiaJia desperate for parents of his own.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Brian and Jeri Wilson have been trying for months to adopt him, but they needed $36,000, money they didn't have.

BRIAN WILSON: Right after the story aired, I think it was 8 o'clock that night, we met our goal.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Donations came in from all over the world. The Wilsons raised almost $50,000 in a matter of hours. Five more months of

paperwork and today they finally meet their son.

JERI WILSON, ADOPTIVE MOTHER OF JIAJIA: And as soon as he looked at us, he smiled.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Within minutes, crucial bonding begins.


RIPLEY (voice-over): JiaJia's three older sisters back in Missouri, busy preparing his new room.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: We can't wait for him to get here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, look, I got it.

RIPLEY (voice-over): The Wilsons, both 50, say their Christian faith led them to make this life-changing choice.

JERI WILSON: It's like he's already been a part of our family forever.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Before they can take him home, they must travel to JiaJia's hometown in Central China, continuing the tedious process of

finalizing the adoption, the identity of JiaJia's birth parents unknown.

RIPLEY: It's heartbreaking to imagine what his biological parents must have been going through. JiaJia was only 3 months old and he desperately

needed life-saving surgery that his parents most likely couldn't afford. So they left him here at this fertility clinic.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A place where people go who want children.

Jeri believes JiaJia's mother --


RIPLEY (voice-over): -- did not abandon him, she saved him.

JERI WILSON: I pray for her and I thank God for her. And I want him to know that she loved him.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Hundreds of thousands of Chinese kids with disabilities end up at orphanages and many become permanent wards of the

state, their lives spent in institutions, hidden from the prying stares of strangers.

For JiaJia, time was running out. In China, the law says kids can no longer be adopted once they turn 14.

His future in America, about to unfold.

Already, he's learning more English.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Learning what it feels like to be spoiled.

JERI WILSON: A lot of spoiling.


RIPLEY (voice-over): But first, JiaJia leaves the only family he's ever known.


RIPLEY (voice-over): To the other orphans, he was like a big brother.

To the volunteers who raised him, like a son. Many will never see him again.

BRIAN WILSON: We know he loves you guys. And he's going to miss you.

RIPLEY (voice-over): It's time to say goodbye. These are happy tears.


RIPLEY (voice-over): It doesn't make this any easier.



RIPLEY (voice-over): Soon, JiaJia begins his new life in Kansas City with a new American name, Jason JiaJia Wilson.

As the other orphans wait and hope that someday their parents will come and take them home.


RIPLEY: The Wilson family is in the air right now. They're expected to arrive in Kansas City to a big welcome at the airport Friday night in the

United States. And he will have doctors that are waiting. He already has appointments scheduled with specialists to see if there's anything that

they can do to treat his spina bifida after the botched surgery that left him paralyzed to see if there's a way to help him walk.

He's going to have so much love, so much support, Robyn. And viewers are still donating; since we've been running this story, they've donated an

additional $3,000 to the Wilson family's GoFundMe page. And they're donating any excess funds to other families who want to adopt.

So it's really nice to be able to do a story like this. And it gives me goose bumps every time I think about what kind of a future this young man's

going to have now as a result of this family's love.

CURNOW: Yes. Well done. I mean, I think we talk about happy tears. You nearly had all of us in the studio, in the control room also, trying to

keep ourselves from having a little sob. It's such a heart-rending story, such an emotional story. And it's so wonderful to have a happy ending.

Thanks so much, Paul Ripley.

Much more news ahead.





CURNOW: You're watching CNN. This is INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.


CURNOW: There's only a little more than a week to go until the first party caucuses in the U.S. presidential race. And a new CNN/ORC poll conducted

in Iowa shows Donald Trump leading the Republican field with 37 percent of likely caucus voters. Ted Cruz comes in second with 26 percent.

On the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders has taken the lead from Hillary Clinton in Iowa and is up eight points. Clinton talked to CNN's Wolf

Blitzer and she tackled Sanders' accusations that she's part of the Washington establishment.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: But are you the establishment?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just don't understand what that means. He's been in Congress. He's been

elected to office a lot longer than I have.

I was in the Senate for eight wonderful years, representing New York. He's been in the Congress for 25. And so I'll let your viewers make their own



CURNOW: Seems like the establishment has become a dirty word in this election. While Iowa is getting a lot of attention because right now it is

the first place where party members will vote for their presidential nominees. It's crucial.

Now the caucus in that key state is February 1st. And as the CNN/ORC poll shows, Trump and Sanders will have to bring out new caucusgoers in order to

win Iowa.

Well, our political executive editor, Mark Preston, joins us from Iowa, from the center of it all.

Hi, there, Mark. Before I get to you, I want to run a clip about the choice some Republicans feel they have to make between these two Republican

front-runners. Let's listen to Senator Graham.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you nominate Trump and Cruz, I think you get the same outcome, whether it's death by

being shot or poisoning, does it really matter?

I don't think the outcome will be substantially different.


CURNOW: I mean, you know, he's -- it's incredible, isn't it?

It just seems to be that they're fearing and they're trying to weigh up who is the most dangerous here.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes and certainly Lindsey Graham is speaking for many establishment Republicans, who don't like Ted Cruz and

who do not like Donald Trump.

Now we should tell our international viewers I'm sure they remember, Lindsey Graham himself sought the presidential nomination and had to drop

out for lack of support. But as we stand here in des Moines right now, as you said, 10 days out, Donald Trump has a fairly sizable lead.

The question is, can he get his supporters out?

Will his supporters actually turn into voters?

That remains to be seen. But this comes as the establishment as well as some other conservatives are aligning themselves together, Robyn. And

they're trying to go after Donald Trump. The "National Review," a very influential conservative magazine, here in the United States put out a

special issue yesterday, their main target, Donald Trump, 22 essays from very influential Republicans, saying Trump should not be the Republican


CURNOW: Yes. On one hand, you have that, this fear that Donald Trump is some sort of, you know, crazy populist or pandering to a very small


On the other hand, you have Republican insiders saying, listen. You know, it's Ted Cruz who's more dangerous.

This is the tug. This is the pull. This is the chasm, isn't it?

PRESTON: It certainly is. And Ted Cruz, when he first got to Washington, he made no friends. But even before he got to Washington, he had to get

elected. He ran as a Tea Party candidate, an anti-establishment candidate. He was not favored by the Washington Republican power brokers --


PRESTON: -- when he ran for the Senate, when he got to Washington. He shut down the government. He put all those efforts behind that, angering

Republicans in Washington who wanted to try to get some things done.

He is a hardline ideologue. So when you hear folks like Lindsey Graham, who often will work with Democrats to get things done, when you hear that

criticism, you can understand why.

Not only do they not want Donald Trump because they don't think that he has the aptitude to be president. They don't want Ted Cruz because they don't

feel like he has the ability to be a dealmaker when there needs to be one in Washington.

CURNOW: Yes, so it's a tough choice. I mean, on one hand, they're looking at who can win this.

And long-term, what does it mean for the Republican Party?

So some real hard discussions taking place within the Republican Party. But let's look at the Democratic candidates.

Hillary Clinton, is she making the same mistakes she made when she was up against Barack Obama in 2008?

PRESTON: Well, Robyn, to hear her say it, no. She says that she's running a different campaign. For you and I and our viewers all around, to watch,

you would have to say, yes, she is making the same mistakes.

In many ways, she has been unable to shed this image that she is untouchable. Here in Iowa and in New Hampshire, in these early voting

states here in the United States, for the presidential election, you have to feel, you have to touch. You have to be able to have voters here make

you want to support you.

Hillary Clinton, though, seems to have this shield built up around her. And that has not made her as welcoming to Democratic voters. She also has

still scandals that are dogging her, including having this private servers, this email server that was in her house when she was secretary of state

that was containing classified information, which was a no-no. She's still being dogged by that.

And then you have Bernie Sanders, who is out there, preaching this populist message and really attracting folks. And I got to tell you what, we're all

very surprised that Bernie Sanders is in the position that he is right now, Robyn, here in Iowa and in this state like New Hampshire.

CURNOW: Yes, I don't think you're the only one.

Thanks so much, Mark Preston there. And of course we'll be talking to you throughout the coming days in Iowa.

And, next week the Democratic candidates will face voters one more time before Iowa casts ballots in the nation's first caucus. Put this in your

diary. CNN's Chris Cuomo moderates a town hall with Martin O'Malley, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. That's Tuesday 10:00 am in Hong Kong.

Only on CNN.

Still to come here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Hollywood hopes to capitalize on the new relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. And the cameras are

already rolling in Havana.




CURNOW: Taking you to Cuba now. Hollywood is heading to Havana as relations between the U.S. and Cuba warm. American movies and television

shows want to shoot on the island, which has, of course, previously been off limits. Well, Patrick Oppmann has this story.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go. Set and action!


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside a bar where Ernest Hemingway used to down mojitos, Hollywood meets Havana. A crew made

up of both Cubans and Americans shoots the U.S. cable TV show, "House of Lies."

Producers say they are the first U.S. group in series to film here since diplomatic ties were restored with Cuba last year.

Don Cheadle plays Marty Kaan, a diehard capitalist who plots to make a fortune as the Communist-run island at long last warms to U.S. investment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's at the nexus of where he wants to be, the most upside that might be possible if you get in on the ground floor.

So I think for somebody like this and not just Marty Kaan but the other Marty Kaans of the world, this may be ground zero, for better or worse.

OPPMANN: Why worse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, you don't want to see a place completely be dominated by another culture and lose all of the indigenous

elements about it that make it what it is.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Cold War animosity meant that, for over five decades, Cuba was off limits to Hollywood. Countries like the Dominican

Republic stood in for Cuba in films such as "The Godfather Part II."

But with the diplomatic opening, a growing number of films and series, including the next installment of the "Fast and Furious" movies, now want

to shoot in Cuba.

OPPMANN: U.S. filmmakers say that Cuba is a place like nowhere else, from the cars to the buildings to the people. Cuba has an authenticity that

even Hollywood can't recreate.

OPPMANN (voice-over): As the cameras roll, there's also a sense of history being made.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're the first people looking for these approvals. We're the first people doing transactions this way and asking for our state

department and the Cuban government to related to each other about something like this.

So we're discovering answers to questions that probably haven't been asked yet. So I feel a little bit like a pioneer.

OPPMANN: OK. Expect to see Cuba as the setting of more U.S. productions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely incredibly cinematic. And, you know, in places that the shoot are so scenic. Just looking down this avenue,

looking, down that avenue, the churches and -- it's just a beautiful -- and it's its own unique place. So you would hope that there would be more

crews here.

OPPMANN (voice-over): It seems, at long last, Cuba is having its Hollywood moment -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


CURNOW: Cheers. Thanks to Patrick for that report.

Well, before we go, a different sort of wedding reception in New Zealand. This one featuring a wedding haka, a traditional Maori war dance, performed

instead of a simple toast from the best man. Watch this.


CURNOW: The weddings I've been to, normally the grooms not only belt out "YMCA," so this is fabulous, isn't it, I mean, the bride here, as you saw,

moved to tears by that performance, which is meant to help preserve their marriage.

That does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for watching. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.