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YOUR WORLD TODAY

Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Outlines Plans for Future Borders; Moussaoui Receives Life Sentence; Trapped Australian Miners Await Rescue

Aired May 4, 2006 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Terror sentence. A jury seals the fate of al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, but not everyone is satisfied.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Defining boundaries. Israel's new government outlining a plan to change the country's borders.

GORANI: And an American in Iran. A basketball player makes a life in the Islamic republic.

It is 12:00 noon in Alexandria, Virginia, 7:00 p.m. in Jerusalem.

I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy.

Welcome to our viewers throughout the world and in the United States.

This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

GORANI: He could have been sentenced to death for his role in the September 11th terrorist attacks.

CLANCY: Instead, Zacarias Moussaoui is going to spend the rest of his life in a tiny jail cell.

GORANI: We will have that story in a moment, of course, but we begin in Israel, where the incoming prime minister says he's ready to chart a new course and new borders with or without Palestinian involvement.

CLANCY: Ehud Olmert, the new prime minister, laying out what he calls a convergence plan that he says is necessary to keep Israel a Jewish and democratic state.

All right. Following that story, it's notable that Mr. Olmert made those remarks as he was addressing his parliament, formally introducing his new cabinet to the Knesset, as it's called.

Let's go right over to John Vause in Jerusalem to get a little bit more on this.

A new man, a new party, certainly some new faces there, but what's the real story today?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the real story here is, just how long will this coalition government last? Will it be a year, two years? Will it see out the full four-year term?

Trying to predict Israeli politics is always a bit of a fool's game, but, historically speaking, coalition governments in this country have been notoriously unstable, and this one looks to be no different.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE (voice over): It always starts out with a handshake and smile. But Israel's new coalition government is in for some tough times. And the new prime minister knows it.

"We will start working quickly," he said. "We won't have any grace period with the public."

Olmert has promised to define Israel's borders once and for all within the next four years. It means some of the smaller Jewish settlements in the West Bank will go. The bigger ones will stay. A continuation of last year's Gaza evacuation, only this time it's called convergence, or gathering in, and will involve tens of thousands of Jewish settlers.

All necessary, says the new prime minister, because Israel cannot hold on to all of the West Bank, home to millions of Palestinians, while at the same time be both a Jewish and a democratic state. It's an end to the dream of greater Israel.

"I know how hard this is for those who believe in greater Israel," he told parliament, "but I believe wholeheartedly this is absolutely vital."

Olmert says it would be better to have an agreement with the Palestinians. But that won't happen until the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority disarms, renounces violence, and recognizes Israel. No deal, says Hamas.

GHAZI HAMAD, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: They are not interested in stability and security of this region. They are just looking to fix the occupation.

VAUSE: But the Palestinians could be the least of the worries for this fragile coalition made up of four parties. It has a slim majority in parliament and an opposition already plotting to bring about Olmert's downfall.

SILVAN SHALOM, LIKUD PARTY MK: If it will take some unilateral moves, we will -- of course we will do everything we can in order to shorten the term of this government.

VAUSE: Four months to the day since Ariel Sharon suffered a major stroke, Ehud Olmert finally has the prime minister's job in his own right. The question many are now asking, how long will he keep it?

UDI SEGAL, ISRAEL'S CHANNEL 2: These difficulties have only started today in this very large and problematic coalition to handle. He has very high expectations regarding his political goals.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Ehud Olmert is looking for international support for his convergence plan, especially from the United States, which is why his first trip as prime minister will be to Washington and a meeting U.S. President George W. Bush later this month -- Jim.

CLANCY: Is the official rise of Kadima and the plan that the prime minister is laying out, or the government is laying out here, is it the official demise of President Bush's roadmap?

VAUSE: Well, officially no. The Israelis still point to the roadmap, saying this is the only internationally acceptable -- the only -- peace plan, the only peace plan accepted by Israel and the Palestinian. It's just on hold for a while, while they work a few things out with the Palestinians.

But in reality, the roadmap has been pretty much dead on arrival since 2003. The only person still talking seriously about the roadmap is the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. And he's struggling to remain relevant in Mideast politics right now -- Jim.

CLANCY: All right. John Vause, laying it on the line, what it means today in Israel and for the peace process.

Thank you, John.

GORANI: Speaking of the Palestinian Authority president, he's calling on Mr. Olmert to resume peace negotiations immediately. In a newspaper interview, Mahmoud Abbas said he will ask Palestinians to vote on any peace deal with Israel. That would sidestep the Hamas-led government, which says any talks with Israel would be a waste of time.

Mr. Abbas and Hamas have been locked in a power struggle since the Islamic group gained control of the Palestinian legislature in March, and Israel has severed ties with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

The European Union says it's trying to create an alternative funding system that would bypass the Hamas government and get aid to the Palestinian people directly. But diplomats say the United States is blocking such moves. The Palestinian Authority is facing a severe cash crunch and an economic crisis after Western donors cut off direct aid to protest the Hamas election victory.

Government employees who haven't received salaries now for almost three months demonstrated in Ramallah Thursday. They said they wanted to send the world a message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUAHIR ZEIDAN, PALESTINIAN MINISTRY EMPLOYEE: You cannot punish us and punish our children to starve because we choose democracy, democracy that you wanted us -- you wanted the Palestinian to be pioneers in choosing democracy. And today we choose democracy, and here we are, our children are in the streets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, some U.N. officials are now warning of a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories and saying it isn't far off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SHEARER, HEAD, U.N. OCHA: There are very big con consequences of those people not being paid. Not to mention the insecurity, both internally, which has been a problem, and which can only get worse as a result of security forces not being paid, and the possibility that hospital, education, social services, also workers are not paid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Coming up in a few minutes, we will put all of this to the spokesman for the Hamas government -- Jim.

CLANCY: Well, international negotiators are making last-ditch efforts again to win last-ditch concessions from Sudan and Darfur's rebel groups for peace in that region. The warring parties facing now a third deadline.

There have been two 48-hour extensions to try to reach an agreement. They had talks in Abuja, Nigeria. The conflict between the Darfur rebels and the pro-government militias has killed tens of thousands of mostly black African Sudanese and driven some two million others from their homes.

The Arab-dominated government in Khartoum accepted a draft peace deal that was really put together by African Union mediators. The rebel groups insist it does not satisfy demands for security and a share of political and economic power.

Much more on this a little bit later. We'll be talking with the United Nations high commissioner for refugees -- Hala.

GORANI: Now, in the United States, in court and in public for perhaps the last time, al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui has been formally sentenced to life in prison for his role in the September 11th attacks.

As Kelli Arena reports, he remained defiant until the end.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And he said, "This country, hypocrisy beyond belief. Your humanity is selective. Only you suffer. Only you feel."

As this point, one of the prosecutors, Rob Spencer, jumped up and told the judge that he objected to this, that he did not feel that the statements were appropriate, that this was not the time for Moussaoui to be making a political statement. The judge agreed and told him, "You can continue to make comments that are appropriate. They have to do with your sentence, not a political statement."

And he went on to say, "You have branded me a terrorist, or whatever, a criminal." He said, "Look at yourself first. I have fought for my believes. I'm a Mujahedin. You think you rule the world. I will prove it. You are wrong."

"I have nothing more to say. You don't want to hear the truth. You wasted an opportunity for this country to know why people like me, why people like Mohamed Atta have so much hatred."

"You don't' want to hear it. We will come back again. If you won't hear it, you will feel it. If you won't hear it, you will feel it."

"God curse America. God bless and save Osama bin Laden. You will never get him."

That, the end of the statement from Zacarias Moussaoui.

The judge, at the conclusion, said, "Mr. Moussaoui, you made a statement yesterday on your way outside of court saying, "America, you lost. I won."

She said, "Mr. Moussaoui, look at the people in this courtroom today. Every person in this courtroom is going to leave. They are free to go anyplace they want to feel the sun, to smell the fresh air, to look at the birds, eat what they want, associate with whom they want. You will spend the rest of your life in a super maximum security prison."

"In terms of winners and losers, I think it's quite clear who lost." And then Moussaoui said, "It was my choice." And the judge said, "It was hardly your choice."

She said there was a lot of criticism about whether or not this trial should have come to the criminal justice system, whether or not it should have been in a military tribunal. She says that she's satisfied that this was a great win for the American people.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: All right. That from the courtroom. Kelli Arena there, giving us the latest on that.

Now, from Moussaoui's mother, an expression of pain, even though he did get life in prison instead of the death penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AICHA EL WAFI, MOUSSAOUI'S MOTHER (through translator): I feel like a part of myself is dead, buried with my son, who is going to be buried his entire life at 37 years old for things that he didn't do because he spoke too much, and the entire world knows it now. And France knows it as well, but they prefer to please Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: All right. A lot of debate about this in the United States today, that trial outcome, everything. Legal analysts saying, you know, this was really a victory for the American court system.

The government wanted the death penalty, but the jury said, no, he didn't have blood really on his hands. He was in a conspiracy.

GORANI: And debate also among the families of 9/11 victims.

CLANCY: Absolutely.

GORANI: Today's "Question of the Day" is looking at the terrorism trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.

CLANCY: And we're asking, do you agree with the jury's decision to sentence Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison?

GORANI: E-mail your thoughts, YWT@CNN.com.

CLANCY: Now, we're going to have a quick update of business news coming up next.

This is CNN. Stay with us. And weigh in on our inbox.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Returning now to our top story, Israel new leadership says it is prepared to unilaterally redraw its borders and protect its national interests. The Hamas-led Palestinian government, which is refusing to negotiate with Israel, recognize Israel, or honor past agreements, says this announcement shows Israel was never seriously pursuing peace deals anyway.

Let's bring in Ghazi Hamad, a Palestinian cabinet spokesman in Gaza right now.

Welcome, sir. Thank you for being with us.

The initial reaction that you have to this plan that is announced?

GHAZI HAMAD, PALESTINIAN CABINET SPOKESMAN: I am so happy to listen, and I am wonderful that the world now -- that face of Israel is very clear. They want to keep the occupation in the West Bank, they want to keep the big settlements, they want to continue building the wall. Now they are just looking for a partner.

They say that Hamas is not partner, Fatah is not partner, and the president, Abbas, is not partner. So, I think that what Israel wants from all of these procedures is just to keep the occupation, and I think they make big lies when they -- when they talk about negotiation, at the same time, they ignore the Palestinian partner.

And I wonder that when the world asks the Hamas government or the Palestinian government to recognize Israel, at the same time that Israel does not recognize the Palestinian government, and denies all the Palestinian national (ph) rights, including a Palestinian state, and their capital, and (INAUDIBLE). So, I expect (INAUDIBLE) not to punish the Palestinians, but to ask Israel, where is the roadmap?

Where is the peace? Where is the peace agreements? Where is the negotiation?

I think is Israel is guilty in this point, and not the Palestinians. We, as the Palestinians, we are looking to a pure Palestinian state. But Israel, they want to build a Jewish state on the account of the Palestinians, on the lands of the Palestinians, on the territories of the Palestinians.

This is not fair and not justice.

CLANCY: All right, it's not fair, in your words. It is not justice, in your words. But you don't recognize Israel, you don't renounce violence. And, well, you don't honor the past agreements. That is the platform of Hamas.

If the Palestinian people -- and now you are the elected representatives of the Palestinians. If you are ever -- if they are ever to sing their own national anthem on their own land, isn't Hamas going to have to change its tune?

HAMAD: I want to ask you that, we as the Palestinians, we are living under the occupation 50 years. And we are the victims of the occupation. We have no state. We have no domination. We have no passport. We have no even free export and import.

CLANCY: Just Hamas -- sir, just to stick to the question...

HAMAD: Just dominate (ph).

CLANCY: Well, no, just a minute here. You know, the way that it works, Ghazi. Ghazi, the way that it works -- and you can call the Israeli Foreign Ministry. I've given them enough trouble, too.

But I ask the questions and you give the answers. Not you make up a question for yourself and then answer that one.

The question to you is, if Palestinians are to realize their national aspirations, are you going to have to change your tune? Is Hamas going to have to change some of the fundamentals here, sir?

HAMAD: I think there are many changes. When we now speak frankly about the Palestinian state in 67 (ph) borders, and we said before that we are ready now to stop the attacks if Israel stops the aggression against our people. And we are not against political compromise.

But as I told you, that the case of the solution in hands of Israel. The territories, Jerusalem, sources, what (ph) are resources, borders, everything. So, I think from all the world, the first step, just from the Palestinian government, from the Palestinian people, but I never heard that someone ask Israel, for example, simply to stop building the settlements or to stop -- and how can I imagine that Israel is honest in its call for peace at the same time they are continuing to building the wall.

(CROSSTALK)

CLANCY: All right. So you're saying that the international community must interveern and take the Palestinian side here on settlements and unilateral actions, correct?

HAMAD: Yes, I want the international community also to be honest, to help the Palestinians to achieve their goals, because we don't want to live under the occupation. This is very clear.

But I am -- I am waiting from the international community to (INAUDIBLE) at least to show me that Israel is not above law, and just that the wall, by the high court (INAUDIBLE) is illegal, and it should be removed. But no one can exert pressure on Israel.

And even the settlements, all of them say that they are illegal. But no one asks Israel to stop building the settlements.

CLANCY: All right. All right. We've made that point several times.

Let's move on. Let's -- Ghazi, let's move on a little bit.

I want to ask you here, you are in a dire economic situation, 165,000 workers haven't been paid in two months, going on three months. You know, people have said they're going to transfer money. The U.S. appears to be shutting down all paths of getting money into Gaza or the West Bank.

What can Hamas do? I mean, what are you going to do?

HAMAD: You know, that we as a government, we succeeded to collect a lot of money, millions of dollars, from our brothers, from Arabic and Islamic countries. But the problem is that United States behave immorally (ph) by non-humanitarian way...

(CROSSTALK)

CLANCY: So how do you get that money?

HAMAD: We don't want to send -- just a minute. We will get money.

I understand that United States stop assistance and help our people. But I don't understand why they don't follow every country and every institution and every bank and ask him to not -- not to transfer the money for the Palestinians. Why?

You want my people to die like the people in the Iraq? Let Arabic countries to help us. If you don't want, OK.

(CROSSTALK)

CLANCY: All right. Can I ask you just...

HAMAD: But (INAUDIBLE) on Arabic pressure.

CLANCY: Let me just ask you...

HAMAD: In the end -- in the end, we will not surrender. We will not give up. And we will not die from hungry.

And we have brothers all over the world. But if the United States -- I think they will lose its credibility...

CLANCY: Ghazi...

(CROSSTALK)

CLANCY: One last question, Ghazi. Do you really think -- did the support of the Iranians, the vocal support, wiping out Israel, pledging -- did that really help the Palestinians?

HAMAD: No, I think that all the countries, and the many countries around the world, including Iranian, Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, in terms of countries that want to help us because they feel that our (INAUDIBLE) is fair and justice. But the problem is the United States, which behave with arrogance with us, with the world.

They want to punish us. This is the question. They should just stop its policy against our people.

CLANCY: All right. All right.

Ghazi Hamad, I want to thank you very much...

HAMAD: Thank you.

CLANCY: ... the cabinet spokesperson for Hamas, for being with us here on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

GORANI: All right. Well, to Iraq now.

The Interior Ministry says at least nine people have been killed in a bomb blast outside a courthouse in a busy section of eastern Baghdad. Officials say a would-be suicide bomber removed her explosives vest when she was denied access to the court and left it in a bag outside the building, where it ended up exploding.

You see the result there on your screen. Forty-six people were wounded. All Iraqi civilians.

Also Thursday, a high-ranking Iraqi army officer was gunned down in western Baghdad. The Interior Ministry says gunmen killed Brigadier General Mohammed Abdul Latif (ph) as he was driving to work.

CLANCY: All right. We've got to take a short break. But still ahead, carving the path to freedom.

GORANI: Engineers work feverishly to free two miners trapped deep, deep underground. Coming up, we will tell you about the progress they're making.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta. More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. First, though, let's check on stories making headlines here in the U.S.

A developing story out of Florida. A gunman killed two people and injured two others before killing himself. The shooting happened about an hour ago near Jacksonville. It began at a hospital, and ended at an elementary school.

Authorities are calling it an apparent domestic dispute. They say all of the parties were somehow related.

The judge told him he would die with a whimper, and then she sent him to prison for the rest of his life. Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui arrived at court under police escort for sentencing today.

He was defiant until the end. Moussaoui used his last public moments to take another swipe at the U.S. and court system.

Our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, was in the courtroom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: He went on to say, "You have branded me a terrorist, or whatever, a criminal." He said, "Look at yourself first."

"I have fought more my beliefs. I'm a Mujahedin. You think you rule the world. I will prove it. You are wrong."

"I have nothing more to say. You don't want to hear the truth. You wasted an opportunity for this country to know why people like me, why people like Mohamed Atta have so much hatred."

"You don't want to hear it. We will come back again. If you won't hear it, you will feel it. If you won't hear it, you will feel it."

"God curse america. God bless and save Osama bin Laden. You will never get him."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: One 9/11 family member says Moussaoui's ramblings added insult to injury.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAHAM SCOTT, WIFE KILLED ON 9/11: And a different antic that he mentioned throughout the trial was very -- it was just like a dagger being stuck in my heart, personally. Just him not showing no remorse whatsoever, for what those 19 terrorist did -- did on 9/11, and what he was planning on doing whenever, if it was on 9/11 or as a follow-on.

But it was -- it was extremely hard for me sitting in that courtroom, listening to him, without jumping across that little -- that little fence and doing bodily harm to him. Not kill him, but just doing bodily harm to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Other family members say they are satisfied with the sentence and glad the ordeal is over.

A former Homeland Security spokesman has been released on bond. Brian Doyle is accused of soliciting a minor. He had his first court appearance in Bartow, Florida, today. Police say that Doyle had sexually explicit conversations online and sent pornographic movie clips to a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

Arraignment has been set for May 23rd.

Big dig and big problems. Six men have been arrested today. They allegedly funneled poor quality concrete into Boston's massive tunnel freeway project.

Construction took 15 years. The final bill? Almost $15 billion, more than five times the original estimate.

The suspects worked for the project's biggest concrete supplier. Authorities say there is no structural danger to the public.

Reynolds Wolf taking a look at the weather for us today.

Reynolds, hello.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Daryn.

(WEATHER REPORT)

KAGAN: She was Picasso's muse, model and lover. Dora Maar sat for this 1941 painting. It hasn't been seen in public for 40 years until now.

Dora Maar With Cat sold at Sotheby's auction last night for more than $95 million. It's the second highest price in action history. Another Picasso painting Garcon a la Pipe, sold two years ago for $104 million.

At the top of the hour, Kyra Phillips talks to a 9/11 survivor. His thoughts on the life sentence for al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.

That and much more ahead on "LIVE FROM."

Meanwhile, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a quick break.

I'm Daryn Kagan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani. Here are the top stories we're following for you this hour.

Israel's incoming prime minister says his government is prepared to redraw borders with or without Palestinian involvement. Ehud Olmert laid out his vision of Israel as he presented his cabinet to Parliament Thursday. He says West Bank settlements must be restructured if Israel is to remain Jewish and democratic. Mr. Olmert wants to remove scattered, isolated settlements while cementing Israeli control over major housing blocks.

CLANCY: Iran says its nuclear program is a technical issue, which the United Nations Security Council has politicized by getting involved. Wednesday, the U.S., Britain and France circulated a draft resolution in the Security Council that would legally oblige Iran to comply with the council's demand to freeze nuclear enrichment.

GORANI: The Vatican has excommunicated two bishops ordained by China's state-controlled Catholic Church. The Vatican said the ordinations were a grave violation of religious freedom and that Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened by the news. The move is the latest escalation in the battle between Beijing and the Vatican. The battleground is the Catholic Church in China, and who controls it.

CLANCY: In Australia, a race against time, still under way. Trying to save the lives of two miners trapped deep underground.

GORANI: Well, rescue workers are trying to expand a 20- centimeter pipe into a larger one to get the men out.

CLANCY: Now, this is a painfully slow process as they grind their way in there. And it's unlikely that rescuers are going to be able to reach the miners before this weekend.

Chris Reason is there with the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS REASON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At noon today, the breakthrough everyone here has waited for. With pinpoint accuracy, the 20-centimeter pilot drill cut beneath the floor of the cave where Todd and Brant are trapped. It will lead to their freedom. But neither man even noticed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were asleep. They didn't know we were drilling.

REASON: The 20-centimeter hole is meant as a guide track. Now a bigger drill will grind out a one-meter wide path beneath them, surface at the same point, and create their escape tunnel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're doing is unique and so we don't have any benchmarks to compare it to.

REASON: Overnight, engineers worked tirelessly to prepare the route. Backup drillheads were also delivered from interstate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wouldn't be sensible. There's -- they've got -- you know, they've got as much equipment here as Desert Storm.

REASON: Meanwhile, the first pictures have emerged of miner Larry Knight, walking a path from which he'd eventually never return.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the last time these miners will see daylight for 12 hours.

REASON: This corporate video on the Beaconsfield Mine, shot a year ago, also shows Brant Webb taking a meal break 700 meters below ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down here, these creature comforts mean a lot.

REASON: A little better than the meals they're getting now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've had egg sandwiches and yogurt. So some small solids.

REASON: And for dinner?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently, they've put in a request for chicken sandwiches tonight.

REASON: But anxiety in the township is building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got hit pretty hard?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's very hard.

REASON: This resident wanted to read a public thank you, not only to the rescue crew...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But also to your wives. We've -- and children and parents. Thank you so much for letting these men and women put their lives at risk to help save others.

REASON: The mine is the town's biggest employer? They fear it could close, but the state's mining industry is promising jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're talking about bending over backwards and doing whatever it takes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a marathon. And it's not over until it's over.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: That was Chris Reason reporting in Australia.

Back now to the situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. While the warring parties are facing a third deadline to reach agreement at a peace talk, some two million Sudanese are huddling in makeshift refugee camps in dire conditions.

Let's bring in the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres. He joins us now live from Washington, D.C.

Mr. Guterres, thank you for being with us.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: Thank you.

GORANI: Now, whether a peace deal is reached or not, you still are going to have the hundreds of thousands of frightened, traumatized refugees on the Chad side of the border, others within the Darfur region. What can the U.N. HCR do now to help them?

GUTERRES: Well, what we are doing now is, of course, very limited, because of the security conditions. We are helping the Sudanese refugees in Chad, with limited resources. But doing so, and preserving the life support conditions. And, in Darfur, the situation is even much worse, because access is not granted to large areas where you have those camps of internal displaced persons.

That is why this window of opportunity of a peace agreement needs not to be lost. We need to have the peace agreement in order to create the conditions for security to be re-established in the region.

GORANI: Do you -- how do you even get reports as to what's going on within Darfur? How bad is the situation there for those villagers displaced because their villages have been burnt, for those women who have to run away because they've been raped and fear more rape? How do you even get information as to what's going on to try to come up with a plan, once it is secure to go in, to go in and help these people?

GUTERRES: Well, we don't have information about everything, but of course, we have a lot of information that allows us to know that terrible things are happening, and that it's absolutely crucial for security to be re-established in order for humanitarian agencies to have full access to the camps and then to provide to the people in the camps the minimum assistance they require and with the support of the security forces that need to be in place.

And that is why not only the peace agreement is essential, but then, afterwards, there is a strong, strong military force with a clear mandate from the international community to be able to grant security for humanitarian action to be possible in these camps, where two million people live in Darfur, not speaking now about the refugees in Chad.

GORANI: So you mentioned there a military force. Do you think that is really the only solution right now for humanitarian agencies to be able to go in and work in a secure environment?

GUTERRES: Well, I do believe that without a peace agreement, and without deterrents that can only come from an efficient military force in the area, it will be very difficult to avoid attacks by Janjaweed. It will be very difficult to disarm militias. It will be very difficult to start re-engineering that society that has been completely, completely...

GORANI: Where should that military...

GUTERRES: ... destroyed by the events.

GORANI: ... force come from? I apologize for interrupting. Where should it come from? That's a matter of debate. Should it be African Union? Should it be another international body that sends in armed military -- an armed military force there?

GUTERRES: I think we have two moments. In the present moment, it is necessary to strengthen the African Union presence, because they are the only solution on the ground, and they need to be supported to be able to be much more effective, because they lack resources, they lack logistic capacity. They lack even the numbers that will be essential to deliver protection in that area.

And then of course I hope there will be a Security Council resolution after the peace agreement, and that there will be a U.N. force on the ground with a stronger capacity, and with the possibility to make sure that, as I said, militias are disarmed, violence is contained, and effective protection is granted to those two million people living in camps in terrible circumstances today.

GORANI: So many more steps before we reach a solution. Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, thank you very much for being on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

GUTERRES: Thank you.

GORANI: We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back.

CLANCY: All right. It's just an itch that won't go away for the Vatican. First, the book sold 40 million copies in three dozen languages.

GORANI: And now comes "The Da Vinci Code" movie. The pope has been silent on the phenomenon. But elsewhere within the church, reaction to "the Code" has covered the spectrum.

Let's go to Alessio Vinci now in Rome. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It would take more than a film to shake the foundations of the Catholic church. But "The Da Vinci Code," with its mix of fiction, fact and faith, has caused at least a few small tremors.

One senior church official is calling on Catholics to boycott the movie. Another is harshly critical.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY: I think "The Da Vinci Code" is a load of nonsense.

VINCI: The reason? "The Da Vinci Code's" claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers and that a powerful organization linked to the church conspired to commit murder to keep it a secret. While some of the Vatican believe the story is blasphemous, the pope has said nothing on the matter.

(on-camera): There isn't a plot inside the Vatican to counteract prepare a counter plot to what Dan Brown is saying?

REV. JOSEPH DI NOIA, VATICAN OFFICIAL: No, I would say that people are talking about it casually and concerned about it, but there is no concerted effort to address the problem of "The Da Vinci Code," no. There's just a sense. Many people who have read it are, as I am mystified, by the popularity of it.

VINCI (voice over): Vatican officials fear the success of "The Da Vinci Code" will blur the line between fact and fiction.

DI NOIA: It has to do with the harm that it does to people's faith, not the harm that it does to the public image. You know, it's not a question of image or spin. It's something much more important.

VINCI: The problem with the movie, Vatican officials say is the claim that the story is based on historical facts.

MSGR. ROBERT SARNO, VATICAN OFFICIAL: I didn't see it as an attack on the church. I just think that it's been given a lot more truth value and faith value than it has. I just read it as a novel, as an entertaining novel.

VINCI: In Rome, as elsewhere around the world, the movie promotion is well underway. However, some church officials here took issue with this particular poster, hanging on a church that is being renovated.

(on-camera): Several local clergymen expressed outrage that what they considered blatant provocation. And as a sign of how much power the Vatican can at times wield in this country, local church officials managed to convince Italian authorities, who actually owned this particular church, to cover it up.

(voice over): The Vatican's dilemma is evident among the thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It made me think a lot. I just wonder how much is fiction, how much is real, and I poured into a lot of it. I really want to investigate it further.

VINCI: Vatican officials are likely to remain low key. They know that controversy generates publicity. But a few officials admit privately that they do intend to see "The Da Vinci Code."

Alessio Vinci, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: A painting by Picasso has become the second most expensive -- and that's saying a lot -- in auction history.

GORANI: All right,empty your savings account for this one. This work "Dora Maar with cat" was snapped up for a cool $95 million.

CLANCY: Auctionhouse Sotheby's was surprised when the painting almost doubled its estimates. I was, too. The identity of the buyer, though, remains a mystery -- Hala.

GORANI: Sotheby's won't even say which country the new owner comes from. Another Picasso, "Boy with Pipe," a very famous painting there, holds the auction record there at $104 million.

All right. From the art world to the sports world. England's national football team has a new manager. Steve McClaren He was hired after the first choice turned the job down. Don Riddell joins us now from FA headquarters in London. A big day for English football. What are people saying about Steve McClaren, and what he'll do for the English football team ahead of the world cup -- Don?

DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, it depends on who you speak to. There are some within the country that are delighted that England has got an English national coach. Of course the last man, Sven Eriksson, was a Swede. But some of the fans are really disappointed. They don't think that England have got the best man for the job. Now, McClaren here at Football Association headquarters about an hour-and-a-half or so ago, and he was absolutely mobbed by the media.

The England management position is sometimes referred to as an impossible job. It's one of the highest profile jobs in world sports, and it's actually one of the highest profile positions in British society.

OK, you can hear me again now.

Now the thing about Steve McClaren's position is that it was, you know, rumored that he actually wasn't the first choice for the job. The Football Association, it was believed, had offered it to the Brazilian Louis Felipe Scalari (ph). They said today that they never offered it to him, and that in McClaren he was their number one choice. But it doesn't really matter. Either way, McClaren said he's just delighted to have the job today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE MCCLAREN: There were some big candidates in the process that the FA went through. I was proud to be part of that process. To be in that group of people, the likes of Scalari, Aladaysh (ph), Kirbish (ph), you know, O'Neal (ph), fantastic reputations in the game. And it didn't surprise me the process involved these people. I'm just delighted that I'm sat here as the choice of the FA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: And the transition from the previous manager, Erickson to McClaren, will be very easy, because McClaren is already Erickson's assistant, and he will be beside Erickson at the World Cup finals in Germany, which start next month. In the meantime, McClaren still has to finish up his career with Middlesbrough, in premiership (ph) football club, and he could end on a real high. They're playing in a European cup final next week. They're playing Severe (ph) UEFA cup final, and that would be a great way for him to end his club career with Middlesbrough.

GORANI: Don Riddell, live at FA headquarters. Thanks very much.

Jim, they haven't won since 1966, so clearly they're pinning their hopes on Mr. McClaren.

CLANCY: Well -- and he's not their first choice, really.

(CROSSTALK)

CLANCY: Still ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY, he's a 7-foot American basketball player changing sports. What's he doing in Tehran?

GORANI: The story of one athlete who left his old life behind in New York and gained more, it seems. An American in Iran, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, with the current tension between Washington and Tehran over the country's nuclear ambitions, this may not be the best time for an American and an athlete, to boot, to be in Iran.

CLANCY: Still, Hala, a U.S. basketball player not only lives in Iran, he's keeping his hoop dreams alive there. Aneesh Raman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At 7'2", it's hard for Garth Joseph not to stand out, especially as an American basketball player in Iran.

GARTH JOSEPH, PLAYS BASKETBALL IN IRAN: I was skeptical of coming here, just like everybody in America. You know, my wife is kind of like -- is very concerned. So she went on the Internet and she tried to find embassy, and when she found out we didn't have an embassy here, she was really mad. RAMAN: But last October, Garth came anyway, leaving behind his life in New York and becoming one of 20 foreign basketball players in Iran, a country very much at odds with his own, a situation his family finds more and more troubling.

JOSEPH: They always call me asking me something like, the nuclear -- you know, nuclear struggle that's going on, they call me and ask me about this all the time. And I'm like, well, I don't see that, I don't hear that.

RAMAN: What he does see are restrictions everywhere. And a lifestyle that to this American is a bit boring.

JOSEPH: The lack of excitement, the lack of stuff to do. You can't go to a bar or a club.

RAMAN: As we head to his apartment...

(on camera): Man, they've got to give you some extra room.

(voice-over): There are also some physical restrictions. And inside a quick tour of contraband, things that would seem ordinary in the U.S. But here in Iran, alcohol is forbidden and bootleg bacon.

JOSEPH: This cost $11.

RAMAN: Pork is also forbidden in this Islamic state. .

JOSEPH: Lucky. Give me that.

RAMAN: But Garth says it is the Iranian players and people here that keep him sane.

JOSEPH: These are the best people I've seen, especially my teammates. I have never been on a team where I loved everybody.

RAMAN: A native of Dominica, Garth has traveled the world from Cuba to Iran, putting aside his NBA dreams for economic realities. In Iran, he gets a paycheck and every night he calls home, speaks to his three kids. Their pictures are always close by. They are, he says, the reason he came here.

It is perhaps an ironic twist. An American coming to Iran to make a living, here amid a brewing international conflict; staying away from politics, though, and sticking to what he does best.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Tehran.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right. Let's open up our "Inbox."

CLANCY: Our question was, do you agree with the jury's decision to sentence Zacarias Moussaoui to live in prison?

GORANI: One viewer says, "The jury has shown great maturity in sentencing Moussaoui to life, thus avoiding him making him a hero in the eyes of terrorists-to-be."

CLANCY: Donald in the U.S. said this: "Moussaoui was given the right sentence under the circumstances, except that he is mentally unfit to stand trial and should be in a mental hospital, for life."

GORANI: Phil from Holland says, "I'm very sad over this verdict. The death penalty is not even enough for him. I think he should not live a single extra day."

CLANCY: And finally, Ade in Norway says, "Justice has prevailed. Zacarias Moussaoui got absolutely what he deserved."

You know, one of the people that wrote in and said that they thought life in prison was appropriate signed theirs off -- and I thought it was appropriate -- they said, "God is great."

GORANI: All right, and there you go. A large sampling of opinion there, and we received many answers to that question. Thank you for writing in.

"LIVE FROM" is up next for our viewers in the United States.

CLANCY: For our viewers elsewhere around the world, another half hour of YOUR WORLD TODAY straight ahead. I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani, and this is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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