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Brazil's Senate Convenes for Impeachment Vote; The Queen Off-Mike; London's Mayor Criticizes Trump's Muslim Ban Proposal; Attack Targeted Shiites in Sadr City; Trump Narrows V.P. List; Damascus Streets Calm Amid Cease-Fire; Prescription Painkiller Use on the Rise in the U.S.; NASA Telescope Finds 1,284 New Planets. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 11, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK -- Brazil's president faces a critical vote on impeachment.
Queen Elizabeth calls Chinese officials very rude.
And London's new mayor tells us why he hopes Donald Trump loses the White House.
CURNOW: Hi, everyone. Welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow.
We begin in Brazil, where senators are debating the fate of their president. In a matter of hours, they'll vote on whether to launch an
impeachment trial. The vote caps off weeks of political twists and raging protests. Our Shasta Darlington filed this report.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dilma Rousseff, once a popular Brazilian president, the first female to hold that
office, now facing possible impeachment. Rousseff grew up in an upper middle-class family from Southeastern Brazil.
Following a coup in 1964, a teenage Rousseff joined the resistance movement against the military dictatorship. In 1970, she was arrested by government
forces, jailed and tortured by her captors.
When the charismatic leader of the Workers Party Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected in 2003, Rousseff was appointed minister of mines and energy
and was chair of the state-run oil company, Petrobras.
In his second term, Lula da Silva groomed her to be his successor. In 2010, Rousseff won the presidential election with 56 percent of the vote.
Her approval rating soared to nearly 80 percent by 2013.
But a year later with the economy tanking and Petrobras in the midst of a giant corruption scandal, she just barely won re-election. In the
meantime, dozens of politicians in her party and coalition were charged for bribes and money laundering amounting to billions of dollars.
Lula da Silva was called in for questioning. Rousseff wasn't implicated in the probe but millions have taken to the streets, demanding she step down,
protesting institutional corruption and economic woes.
Now she's likely to face an impeachment trial for allegedly manipulating the federal budget to hide a shortfall ahead of 2014 elections. In an
exclusive interview, CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked Rousseff if she thinks she'll survive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DILMA ROUSSEFF, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): I wish to tell you one thing: more than just thinking that I will survive, I will fight
to survive, not just for my term in office but I will fight, because what I'm advocating and defending is a democratic principle that governs
political place in Brazil.
Who found the impeachment process against me?
All of them are being charged for corruption charges, especially speaker of the house. My life was turned upside down. They looked everywhere to find
something against me. And there's no corruption charge at all against me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DARLINGTON (voice-over): But in the meantime, her vice president, Michel Temer, is already waiting in the wings, ready to take over as soon as the
senate approves the impeachment motion.
CURNOW: And that vote is going to take place in a matter of hours. There you see senators all making a statement ahead of that vote in Brazil.
Well, Shasta Darlington joins us now from Brazil.
Hi, there, Shasta. That was a great piece, gave us a real sense of the journey Dilma Rousseff has taken and she certainly has fought this in every
Is this the end of the road in many ways?
This could be her last day in office.
DARLINGTON: Absolutely. I think it is, Robyn. We've seen lots of twists and turns and false starts and really attempts by President Rousseff and
her supporters to stall this.
But at this point, with the vote here on the senate floor, really looks like there's no turning back. And if the majority of the senate approves,
again, it's going to be very hard for her to defend herself against this sort of onslaught at this point.
(INAUDIBLE) but if she steps out for 180 days she's not coming back. So it's an end of an era for her but also for her Workers Party, which has
been in power for 13 years.
And the road ahead is not easy, either, for the incoming interim president Michel Temer. Again, if this is voted -- the majority of the senate
approves this, he will have to face many of the same problems she's been dealing with -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. Thanks so much, Shasta Darlington. And of course we'll keep an eye on this vote here at CNN.
Well, we don't typically hear about the small talk, the chitchat that goes on at royal garden parties but an unguarded moment from Queen Elizabeth has
caught quite a few people by surprise. She was overheard calling --
CURNOW: -- Chinese officials "very rude" during a conversation Tuesday with a metropolitan police commander, who was in charge of security for
their visit last year. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Can I present Commander Lucy D'Orsi, Gold Commander when the Chinese state visit --
ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: Oh, bad luck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- who was seriously undermined by the Chinese.
COMMANDER LUCY D'ORSI: I'm not sure whether you knew, but it was quite a testing time for me.
ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: I did.
D'ORSI: It was -- I think at the point that they walked out of Lancaster House and told me that the trip was off, I felt that --
QUEEN ELIZABETH: They were very rude to the ambassador.
D'ORSI: They were. Well, she was -- yes, Barbara was with me -- and they walked out on both of us.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Extraordinary.
D'ORSI: It was very rude and very undiplomatic, I thought.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Our London correspondent, Max Foster, joins me now.
Hi, there, Max. The queen, we know, is a stickler for protocol. She was obviously very put out by the Chinese officials.
Is this less of a gaffe and more of an inconvenient truth revealed?
MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Well, it's all up a debate, really. Buckingham Palace saying they don't comment on private conversations. You may think
it's odd that they would describe that as a private conversations. But the royal cameraman, who's often with her, Peter Wilkinson Palestinian, goes
along to these events and he films her in situ. The idea is that he picks up the ambient sound but not the actual conversations.
I spoke to Roya Nika (ph) earlier. She's a very well-connected royal correspondent and she said, the queen knows exactly what she's doing in
these situations. She would have known that the conversation was picked up.
Buckingham Palace saying they won't comment on private conversations. And also there's this much bigger debate about her role and her position.
She's never expressed opinions throughout her whole reign, really. She's been very careful not to, because that takes her into being accused of
getting involved in politics and that might undermine her position overseeing Parliament, for example.
So the whole thing has raised all sorts of questions but clearly there were lots of problems behind the scenes of the state visit, which, for us,
reporting on it, looked like it had gone extremely smoothly and fantastically. And the Chinese are saying that again today as well and the
Chinese foreign minister saying they didn't know anything about any sort of pullouts or conversations about pullouts ahead of the visit.
CURNOW: Yes. But we do know this has been a bit sensitive for the Chinese because they have been censoring conversations on international media
within China about this very issue.
But what's also important -- this is the second time that the -- there we go. That's a Chinese -- that's film from our Beijing bureau, where we're
talking about this issue and then you can see it goes black.
Now, Max, this is the second time the queen has been caught in an off- camera exchange. There was also some comments from the prime minister about Nigeria, there's been some reaction to that as well?
FOSTER: Yes. I have it on the same day, yesterday, just a few hours before the event we're just talking about with the same cameraman. So I
have to say a lot of the talk in royal circles is has he changed his microphone or something.
But anyway, yes, there's a separate incident where the queen was talking to the prime minister. He was discussing with her an anti-corruption summit
that he's organized for tomorrow here in London. And the president of Nigeria and Afghanistan have been invited to that, they're actually here in
London right now.
And he made the comment to the queen that two of the most corrupt countries in the world are coming, Afghanistan and Nigeria. And that was seen as a
big gaffe as well, the British papers certainly interpreting it in that way, saying it's embarrassing when these leaders are coming to the country,
that he's criticizing them.
Downing Street very much sticking to the view that he was right and it's true to say that they are very -- they often come at the bottom of the
league table for corruption around the world and they're sticking by that.
But the reality is that conversation wasn't meant to leak. So it is a bit embarrassing and it's the "Daily Mail" is pointing out today in this
country as well, Britain gives aid, lots of aid to Nigeria and Afghanistan. So perhaps there's some hypocrisy there as well.
CURNOW: OK. Max Foster in London, thanks so much.
The new Mayor of London is giving us his candid opinion about the candidates vying to be the next U.S. president. Our chief international
correspondent Christiane Amanpour spoke to Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier. She joins us now from London.
Hey, there, Christiane. Great to talk to you.
What did he say to you?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Well, he is being equally blunt and equally forceful and very deliberately so on the issue of the politics of fear,
division, race, religion, identity, all the things we're seeing across Europe and, of course, as he pointed out, in the United States in the
Donald Trump campaign.
So we've seen Donald Trump be anti-Muslim, say he wants to ban Muslims from the United States. Of course, this now is the first Muslim elected Mayor
of London. Some people are calling him the most important Muslim politician today in the West. So I put to him the issue of his campaign
AMANPOUR: -- how he won and how it reflects what's going on in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: London has chosen hope over fear. I'm really proud that London chose unity over division. And my message to Donald
Trump and his team is that your views of Islam are ignorant.
It is possible to be a Muslim and to live in the West. And it's possible to be a Muslim and to love America. I have got family members who are
American. We have often been to America on holiday. My kids used to love Disneyland. I'm scared of some of the rides but we still love going to
Disneyland. We still love going there, being there as a minister.
I'm not exceptional. So for Donald Trump to say Mayor Khan can be allowed but not the rest is ridiculous because there are business people here who
want to do business in America who happen to be Muslim.
There are young people here who want to study in America who happen to be Muslim. There are people here who want to go on holiday in America who
happen to be Muslim and around the world.
Now by giving the impression that Islam and the West are incompatible, you're playing into the hands of the extremists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that, Robyn, of course, is the most serious point. While we are in this terrible time, where we have these divisions all over the
Western world and with the extremist members of the Islamic faith, those who seek violence, those like ISIS, who we can see in a major battle with
the rest of civilization, Mayor Khan is making this point: that if you play into it, you play into their hands.
So that's why he's saying it very publicly, some might say undiplomatically, weighing in to the American presidential election. And
he did so further, as I continued to press him, particularly about whether he would go to the U.S.
CURNOW: And Christiane, let's just talk about Mayor Khan and how the fact that he -- even though he is London's first Muslim mayor, he's not a man
that wants to be defined by the fact that he's London's first Muslim mayor. He's in a very unique position and he's got to balance this quite finally.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I find it very, very amusing that obviously his opponents - - Zach Goldsmith (ph) for the Tories -- are -- kept putting out on the campaign literature and highlighting the fact that he is Muslim and as you
remember using what they call here the dog whistle tactics of saying that it could be dangerous.
So Mayor Khan, during the campaign himself said, hey, Zach (ph), why do you keep pointing out that I'm Muslim?
I'm putting it on my pamphlets and my literature. So he very proudly owns it. He owns the fact that he is Muslim. But he explains that you can be
Muslim and democratic and Western and all the other things that we all know. But the politics and the division and those who would wield these
divisive campaigns tend to try to play on.
So on that issue, yes. But on the other issues he says, I'm a Londoner, I'm English, I'm British, my parents were working class, middle class, they
came here, they educated us.
I'm a feminist. That's what he said today. I have got two daughters. I'm going to run city hall with a great respect for women and for feminists and
-- for feminism. And he was very, very clear on what he stands for.
He's previously described himself as a metrosexual London dad. So he is, you know, he is who he is and he's very blunt about it and nothing to hide
and everything to gain by putting it all on the table and not pussyfooting around this very divisive issue at this particularly difficult time in our
CURNOW: Yes. And also, most importantly, he's Labour, not Tory, and that's certainly going to usher in a few changes there in London.
Christiane, thanks so much.
And you can watch Christiane's full interview with London's new mayor in a few hours on "AMANPOUR;" great sit-down. That starts at 7:00 pm in London,
8:00 pm Central European time, right here on CNN.
Still ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, ISIS shows that while it's losing ground on the battlefield, it still can instill terror in the people of
Iraq. The latest attack -- that's coming up.
Plus: with Republicans divided, will Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan make nice?
We'll look ahead to Thursday's high-stakes meeting.
CURNOW: Iraq's capital is reeling from its deadliest ISIS attack this year. A car bomb ripped through a crowded market, killing at least 64
people. CNN's Arwa Damon joins us now live from Istanbul.
You were recently in Iraq.
Hi, there, Arwa. Dangerous security situation becoming even more dangerous.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, Robyn and the Iraqi population is only too well aware of that fact. The car bomb you
were referring to going off in Sadr City, this is one of Baghdad's most densely populated neighborhoods, a huge, sprawling slum home to some 1
The explosion happening in a marketplace at the time when it would have been the most crowded amongst the casualties, many women and children.
This a predominantly Shia neighborhood.
But then just a short while ago we had news of two more explosions, one also happening at the entrance of a predominantly Shia neighborhood, the
neighborhood of Kadmia (ph), there, according to a number security sources, 11 people were killed, 20 wounded, another explosion also in Baghdad in a
mixed neighborhood, killing at least two people and wounding another eight.
Now for this morning's attack, ISIS did claim responsibility for the other two that just happened; this evening no claim of responsibility just yet.
But we have been seeing ISIS increasingly going after what is and what are termed to be soft targets.
Markets, mosques, trying to really, it would appear, re-instill that fear amongst the population, trying to, perhaps, reignite the sectarian fissures
that are still very deep and very real -- Robyn.
CURNOW: You talk about the sectarian fissures and how the government is dealing with this.
Still a lot of uncertainty, perhaps also danger in terms of the way the political situation is unfolding as well.
DAMON: There is. The political situation is incredibly tenuous at this stage with those protests that were taking place, protesters who were, in
fact, being led by radical Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr, who's trying to rebrand himself as being a man of the people.
These protesters' demands, though, not at all unreasonable. They are asking for an end to corruption and they want to see a technocratic
government being put in place as opposed to what Iraq currently has, which is a government that is effectively broken up along sectarian lines.
Certain ministries, certain key posts, such as that of the prime minister and the president, are based on a person's either ethnic background or
sectarian background and affiliation.
These protesters want to see an end to that. And they did manage not too long ago to storm, take over parliament shortly before. They were then
But Iraqis are also very well aware of the fact that politics and violence go hand in hand. So when we see these kinds of attacks that took place
today, where they seem to be deliberately going after the sectarian population, this is where it can then bleed over into the political arena.
If politicians are not able to keep control over their various people, their various followers, Iraq can very easily erupt into the type of
sectarian violence that we have seen in its past. And it is really, truly up to the politicians at this stage to try to reassure the public that they
will be able --
DAMON: -- to overcome their own political differences, not try to carry out various actions in the name of their own sect or ethnicity. And it is
especially crucial at this juncture with ISIS trying to, it would appear, exploit the sectarian divisions that do already exist.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much for your perspective. Arwa Damon there.
CURNOW: Donald Trump is padding his lead while Bernie Sanders is hanging on. Both had big victories in the West Virginia presidential primaries
Tuesday and Trump won easily in Nebraska.
Sanders breezed past Hillary Clinton in the Democratic contest. But his 19-state win still did little to dent Clinton's big delegate lead.
As for Trump, the last Republican standing, he is looking ahead to Thursday's unity meeting with party leaders and Trump's vanquished rivals
are speaking out. Sunlen Serfaty has more.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Days before their big meeting, Donald Trump softening his tone and sounding more conciliatory
about House Speaker Paul Ryan's role at the Republican National Convention.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a very good man. He wants what's good for the party. And I think we're going to have very positive
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: You said...
TRUMP: And I would love, frankly, for him to stay and be chairman.
SERFATY: Responding to Ryan's assurance that he would step down as chairman if Trump wanted him to.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We shouldn't just pretend that our party is unified when we know it is not.
SERFATY: In an interview with the "Wall Street Journal" Ryan said he hopes they can unite the party after a bruising primary battle.
RYAN: What we want to do is sit down together and talk about how we can unify the Republican Party so that we can be at full strength in the fall.
SERFATY: Trump also in the throes of preparing for the general election, narrowing down his list of potential running mates. One person definitely
not interested in the job, former rival Marco Rubio. In his first national interview since dropping out of the race, the senator telling CNN's Jake
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLA.: My differences with Donald, both my reservations about his campaign and my policy differences with him, are
well-documented; and they remain.
SERFATY: Rubio signaling that his support of Trump is a matter of honoring his word.
RUBIO: I've signed a pledge that said I'd support the Republican nominee and I intend to continue to do that.
SERFATY: And Trump's fiercest formal rival, Senator Ted Cruz, returning to Capitol Hill leaving the window open for possibly jumping back into the
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've suspended the campaign, because I can see no viable path to victory. Of course, if that
changed, we would reconsider things.
CURNOW: Sunlen Serfaty joins me now from Washington.
Hi, there. You clearly laid out in your piece there that people like Rubio, Cruz and Ryan are hedging their bets, they're using wiggle words to
try and describe their situation.
But they are in a difficult position right now, aren't they?
SERFATY: That's right. And I think that's a great way to describe it, Robyn. They are most certainly hedging their bets here.
It was almost painful to watch Senator Marco Rubio yesterday in the interview with Jake Tapper, really almost go out of his way to avoid in any
way mentioning the words "Donald Trump," mentioning his name outright.
He did not give a full endorsement by any stretch of the imagination. He said, you know, I'm just going to support the Republican nominee because,
put simply, that's what I promised to do in the primary campaign.
So it wasn't -- it was almost less of an endorsement of Donald Trump, more just saying that I'm just stuck to -- I'm sticking to my word, what I said
I would do here.
Similarly, as you saw from Senator Ted Cruz, who returned to Capitol Hill yesterday, he's just been peppered with questions, will you support Donald
Trump now that he is the presumptive nominee. He wouldn't answer.
He says, you know, look, there are about 2.5 months until the Republican National Convention. I think I'll have time to make up my mind. I think
voters will, too.
So it's certainly this game that they're playing and I think it really speaks to the moment that Donald Trump finds himself in, where he is, you
know, taking the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee, heading to Capitol Hill tomorrow to hold a series of big-time meetings.
And the main goal of those meetings with House and Senate leadership is really to twist some arms and really have these people who have been really
reluctant to support his candidacy come on board. And it's a tall task that he has ahead for him here in Washington -- Robyn.
CURNOW: A tall task because there are fundamental policy differences.
With that in mind, is Donald Trump looking at a very specific profile for his veep, for his vice president?
And has that list been narrowed?
Are we any closer to knowing who he might choose?
SERFATY: Yes, this is so fascinating to watch and I think certainly fascinating to watch how Donald Trump will settle on his vice presidential
We know a few things. He has said most recently that he has dwindled (sic) down the list of potential vice presidential contenders to a list of five
or six names. He says he will not name that vice presidential pick before the convention in Cleveland --
SERFATY: -- in July.
And we know from his advisors who are -- who have been gathered to form this team to vet these potential contenders, we know that he's looking for
someone who has legislative experience, as a campaign manager most recently said that they are looking for someone who has some sort of -- has been in
an elected office before.
I think we've heard Donald Trump himself say, look, I have got the business side covered if I were to go on to be president. What I need is someone
who understands Washington, understands how Washington works.
So it will certainly be interesting to see who he settles on. A lot of names on Capitol Hill being bandied about but also outside of specifically
Capitol Hill as well -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, and also, though, which tells a lot, a lot of Republicans have said no way, I don't want that job. And when it comes to this meeting
looking ahead to Thursday, it's not just about tone and temperament. It's far deeper than that. Many ways how Donald Trump and the voters are at
odds policy wise on fundamental issues but with the party itself.
SERFATY: Absolutely and I think all of that has just been highlighted in the days preceding this big meeting, of course, most anticipated meeting
between Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
It was only last week that Paul Ryan, you know, Speaker of the House, top elected official within the Republican Party who has the ear of so many
within his party, he came out and said, I can't endorse him yet. I can't support him yet. So that is a big clue to other members of the party.
So they're waiting on him, of course, to see what he'll do. And it really speaks to the moment that Donald Trump is in, not having the full backing
of those within his party. Here we are in May; he has taken over the presumptive nominee and this is something that's still a big question mark
floating around his candidacy.
CURNOW: Yes, and also how he will pay for the next few months because he will have to go out with the begging ball to all these Republican donors,
see how that is going to play out.
Sunlen Serfaty, great talking to you. Thanks so much.
CURNOW: The prime minister of New Zealand has been kicked out of parliament during a debate. John Key was defending his claim that certain
charities are implicated in the release of the Panama Papers, he was told to leave after ignoring the house speaker's order to stop talking. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prime minister will leave the chamber. When I stand to my feet -- it happened yesterday, I gave him fair warning. When I
stand to my feet and call for my order, he is to be treated no differently to any other member in this house. The prime minister will leave the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Greenpeace and Amnesty International have denied any wrongdoing. They have called on Mr. Key to apologize.
Still ahead: new revelations about Prince's last days are casting a harsh light on a much wider problem in the U.S. We'll be back with our Sanjay
Gupta to learn about the risks of painkillers. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.
CURNOW: In Syria's capital, people are taking advantage of a cease-fire to get out and about. But after five years of bloody conflict with hundreds
of thousands dead and millions fleeing to other countries, things are still very far from normal. Our Fred Pleitgen joins us now from Damascus.
Hi, there, Fred. No doubt there's a real resilience but everyone there you must speak to has been in some way affected by this war.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You're absolutely right, Robyn. Of course everybody (INAUDIBLE) in this country
has (INAUDIBLE) some folks who have fled the country. Some people, of course, had people who were wounded.
And then, of course, we have the children here in this country. And it's interesting because right now we're actually at a playground in a park
where children, for the very first time, are able to go out outside in greater numbers during the day because of the cease-fire that's going on
But, of course, a lot of them have suffered a great deal psychologically as well. Then you look at the numbers here in Syria. You (INAUDIBLE) have
around 300,000 people, 4.5 million who have had to flee the country. Therefore, everybody here in this country either has a relative, a friend
or someone else very close to them who, in some way, shape or form, has been very much affected by this conflict going on.
And of course that's something that leaves scars on the psyche of the people here but also, of course, on the social fabric of the society. And
rebuilding that is something that no doubt is going to be a very, very tall order between the people here and, of course, now that the (INAUDIBLE)
cease-fire is going on (INAUDIBLE) people who have fled the country might be able to come back here.
Of course, we'll have to wait and see whether or not that's actually going to be the case or whether or not even the cease-fire here is going to hold
CURNOW: Fred Pleitgen, thank you. Very powerful image there, standing in front of that playground there in Damascus. Of course, a few connection
issues but it is Syria. So thanks, anyway, for coming to us live from there.
Turning now to Minnesota, where the investigation into the death of Prince has pulled in another doctor. A search warrant seen by the "Los Angeles
Times" shows a doctor saw Prince one day before his death and prescribed medication.
The warrant also reveals the doctor showed up at Prince's estate on the very morning the musician was found dead. The doctor was apparently there
to deliver test results.
While we don't know what drug the doctor prescribed, a source says investigators found prescription opioids at Prince's home. Our Dr. Sanjay
Gupta has been following the dangerous rise of opioid painkillers across the U.S. He joins us from New York.
Hi, there, Sanjay. We don't know for sure and the autopsy results aren't out in terms of Prince's death and what happened to him.
But still, this case and investigators very much looking at the use of painkillers here.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yep. There's no question. I mean, there's been some talk about Prince having had an
emergency landing on his plane several days before and the question of whether he had had an overdose at that time and received an antidote to an
And then as you mentioned, Robyn, this concern about finding painkillers at his home. There are people who have legitimate uses for painkillers. And
so he could have a legitimate use and a legitimate prescription.
But there's no question, in the United States, in particular, we take a lot of these pills; we take the vast majority of the world's pain pills; 75
percent of the world's pain pills are consumed in the United States, who are just 5 percent of the world's population.
And as a result, people are becoming dependent. They are becoming addicted and people are dying from them. And anytime something happens like what
may have happened to Prince, people become interested in this issue again. And, you know, we want to make sure they get good knowledge about this.
CURNOW: Yes. I mean, you're right. This is a public health epidemic and it's a uniquely American one.
CURNOW: Why is that?
Where does the blame lie here?
GUPTA: Well, you know, the -- as with most things, Robyn, there's a lot of blame to go around. Insurance companies would rather pay for pills because
they're cheaper than, you know, giving physical therapy and occupational therapy, other types of therapies that could relieve pain.
Pharmaceutical companies love to sell more pills. So there's been a big push to sell these pills.
But I do think most of the blame lies with my colleagues in the medical profession, American doctors. I think the original studies that showed
that you could give these pills indiscriminately, that you could give these pills and people would not get addicted, that people would not overdose,
these were very small studies. They weren't good studies at all.
And yet the American medical profession really bought into this. We bought into this for decades, believing that it was absolutely fine to give people
as much narcotics as they possibly needed.
And it was only over the last several years, Robyn, that we saw just how tragic a public health epidemic this has become. It is the number one
cause of preventable death in America today and it's an entirely manmade epidemic.
CURNOW: Manmade, and, as you say, perhaps doctor made.
CURNOW: Which is also deeply concerning. And tell us also the timeframe, the average time from first prescription to overdose is terrifyingly short.
GUPTA: It really is. And this surprised me, you know, as we've been investigating this. It's about 31 months.
And the scenario typically is somebody that goes in for some sort of pain - - more often than not, it is back pain. They walk out of the doctor's office or the ER or the clinic with a prescription for these opiate drugs,
like hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet, one of those types of drugs. It's the first time they have ever received a prescription like that.
If they are going to have a death from overdose, it occurs typically within 31 months. So it's remarkable. Someone's life can be completely changed
within a very, very short time.
CURNOW: Yes. Thanks so much. Sanjay Gupta there.
GUPTA: You got it. Thank you, Robyn.
CURNOW: For more on the dangerous rise of these drugs, Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper are hosting a live CNN town hall called, "Prescription
Addiction: Made in the USA," it premieres Thursday at 9:00 am in Hong Kong.
You're watching CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow.
New planets and atomic oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars. We talk about the latest discoveries in space with former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second
person to set foot on the moon, next at the INTERNATIONAL DESK.
CURNOW: It's only Wednesday and it's already been a big week for news from space. NASA's Kepler space telescope just found more than 1,000 new
planets, nine of them apparently --
CURNOW: -- capable of supporting life. And for the first time in decades, scientists have detected oxygen in the upper atmosphere of Mars.
With all of these exciting discoveries, who better to talk to than Buzz Aldrin, the American astronaut who walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong.
And he's pushing for more manned space travel, especially to Mars.
He's also the author of the new book, "No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon." I spoke to him earlier from New York.
I started by asking him why it's so important for humans to colonize and explore Mars.
BUZZ ALDRIN, ASTRONAUT: Well, I think it's important for the United States to be among the first humans to colonize -- use the word "inhabit." There
are three ways you can go to Mars. You can visit, which means you're going to come back right away. Or you can occupy, you can go there and people
will be there.
You'll come back and other people will -- but you'll keep it occupied all the time.
And the next one is you go to Mars and you inhabit Mars. Now you can inhabit Mars right from the get-go or the beginning. That is the more
determined way; that is the more economic way. But you have to prepare ahead, ahead of doing expensive things, like sending people to the moon of
Mars. That's expensive.
But you need them there to make the finishing touches on what you've done to prepare permanence from Earth. Now you've got to be smart to be able to
do all of those and do those in an economic fashion and in an inspiring and in an international cooperative way.
CURNOW: And what do you mean by that?
Are you very supportive of private companies working with NASA, for example?
Are you happy if this initiative, as you say, is global and the Chinese, perhaps, get to Mars first?
ALDRIN: Is that a suggestion on your part?
CURNOW: It's not a suggestion. It's -- I'm asking you whether this is a competition?
ALDRIN: I hope not. I hope that -- competing at the operations level is wasteful because that means both sides have to prepare all the way there.
Now they both may have nice designs. Let's pick the best design and then let's cooperate in carrying out that design. So that's sort of my guiding
light for lower Earth orbit and lunar activities and carrying on to Mars.
CURNOW: Buzz Aldrin speaking to me earlier.
And when I asked him for the big lesson he learned from walking on the moon, he said, "It's always to look ahead, be prepared and anticipate
what's coming next."
Great advice, of course, from a legendary astronaut.
That does it for me here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks for watching us. We'll be back, though, in just over an hour. In
the meantime, I'm going to hand you over to "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas.