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YOUR WORLD TODAY

New Pentagon Assessment Out on Iraq; Delegates From Six Powers Meet for Talks About Iran in Vienna; New Creatures From Below

Aired June 1, 2006 - 12:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. MILITARY SPOKESMAN: But let me be very clear about one point. The coalition does not and it will not tolerate any unethical or criminal behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In the wake of the killings in Haditha, stern talk and new training for U.S. troops. Now the question is, will it help?

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Does it change things in the impasse? After the U.S. says it's open to talks, Iran says, well, yes and no.

CLANCY: From a stunning surprise, below-ground discoveries that have scientists elated. These creatures seem to represent a trip back in time.

GORANI: And not quite the suave statesman. A new documentary paints a very unflattering picture of France's president.

It's noon at the Pentagon, 8:00 p.m. across Iraq.

I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy.

And this is YOUR WORLD TODAY>

We begin our report with the ongoing investigation into the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians during an operation by U.S. Marines. It was last November.

GORANI: Now, the Pentagon is conducting two probes into the incident in Haditha. One to see if there was any criminal conduct by the Marines, and the other to look into the procedures and how the incident was handled. The U.S. military is not commenting directly on it, but a U.S. major general had this message for the families of the victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALDWELL: I'd like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families that lost a loved one in that accident. We mourn the loss of all innocent life, and the loss of any life is always very tragic and misfortunate.

But let me be very clear about one point. The coalition does not and will not tolerate any unethical or criminal behavior. Any allegations of such activities will be fully investigated, and any members found to have committed these violations will be held accountable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: In light of the Haditha incident, coalition officials announce that U.S. troops serving in Iraq are going to be taking part in what they call "core warriors values" training. The focus will be on emphasizing the importance of disciplined and professional conduct on the battlefield.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALDWELL: Every situation out there in the field is so very, very different. You have the rule of law that everybody follows and adheres to. We are always very, very aware of and concerned about innocent civilians ever being injured in any type of conflict that we're in.

To talk specifically about that case there, it's under investigation, and that's exactly why one of the reasons we have the investigation going on, so we can clearly establish what did or did not occur on the 19th of November last year. We want to know what actually happened. We want to know the truth, the ground truth of what occurred. And that's why the investigation is ongoing at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Major General Caldwell also said the values training will reinforce and sustain what all coalition troops learned before they went to Iraq.

GORANI: Now to the south of Iraq, for years considered safer than central parts of the country, but no more. Now Iraq's prime minister is promising an iron fist to restore stability in Basra.

And today, police and soldiers are out in force. They're stopping cars at checkpoints and monitoring city streets, and around- the-clock patrols. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency for Basra Wednesday in an effort to control growing violence by what he calls criminal gangs.

CLANCY: Supporters of President Bush routinely blame the news media for ignoring positive developments in Iraq while documenting the daily violence there. Critics of the U.S. administration accuse it of using a veil of optimism to mask the grim facts on the ground.

Well, there's a new Pentagon assessment that's out. And as John Roberts tells us, it's anything but upbeat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They were defining moments in the war for the hearts and minds on Americans in Iraq. Remember that now-famous "Mission Accomplished" banner? Or how about this rosy pronouncement from the vice president that the insurgency had been all but crushed...

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint I think will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.

ROBERTS: A year since that statement, the insurgency in Iraq is flourishing. And according to a just-released Pentagon report, it will likely remain steady throughout 2006.

The contrast between those two assessments couldn't be sharper. It's no surprise to Republicans like John McCain, who saw missteps in the administration's war plans.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think serious mistakes were made from the beginning by not having enough troops there. I think that's pretty well acknowledged by most experts now. And that caused us significantly greater problems.

ROBERTS: And the report is sure to mean more problems ahead for Republicans already facing a tough re-election. "Iraq is the blanket of pessimism that hangs over their fortune," says political analyst Stuart Rothenberg.

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Republicans need a change in the overall mood. They need the public to get more optimistic, hopeful, to be believe that the administration is in some way succeeding. This report suggests otherwise.

ROBERTS: And if the forecast of a robust insurgency wasn't enough, the Pentagon acknowledged for the first time in the report that Sunni insurgents have joined al Qaeda in recent months, increasing the terrorists' attack options.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It's horrible. It's horrible news to see that Iraqi resistance fighters may be now adopting some of the tactics of al Qaeda, suicide bombings, mass casualty events.

ROBERTS: But not all Republicans are running for the hemlock over this report. Surprisingly, some welcomed it. About time, they said, that official assessments matched both the reality on the ground and voters' perceptions of Iraq.

And the most optimistic thought? Is might even present an opportunity to draw distinctions with the Democrats.

ED ROGERS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The best way to manage it politically is to be honest with everybody, and then have a debate. Well, should we cut and run or should we tough it out? That's a fair debate to have, and it's better than trying to convince people that things are going well when they aren't.

ROBERTS (on camera): The report did contain some good news. The number of Iraqi forces able to take the lead in battling the insurgency is steadily increasing. But there was nothing in it to suggest that large number of U.S. troops may be able to come home soon. And that is the development American voters are waiting to see.

John Roberts, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: The world's top powers are converging in Vienna to map out the next steps in the impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions. The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, are going to be discussing a package of incentives and penalties. But Iran is reminding everyone of the red line. It says it will not suspend its nuclear activities.

Earlier, we talked with a spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMID REZA ASEFI, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: I think these countries should try first to (INAUDIBLE) to (INAUDIBLE). These problems should be dealt in agency, not any other organization such as Security Council or so on. I think that is the first thing they can do. And if they try to respect our rights, and if they do not try to convince Iran to have and to exercise their right, then we will see (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, for its part, the White House is urging Iran not to reject its offer offhand. America says it will join Europe in discussions over Tehran's nuclear program if it suspends its nuclear activities. But again, Iran says it wants to continue uranium enrichment.

Here's what President Bush had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we'll see whether or not that is the firm position of their government. And if that's what they decide to do, then the next step, of course, will be to -- for our coalition partners to go to the United Nations Security Council.

And the choice is up to the Iranians. And they've already said, by the way, that they're willing to suspend. And this gives them a second chance to make their words mean something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, we saw her a bit earlier U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Vienna for that meeting on Iran. And that's where CNN's David Ensor is, as well, and he sent us this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Secretary Rice is here in Vienna to try to finish up with her Russian, Chinese and European counterparts a package of incentives and disincentives, carrots and sticks, designed to present Iran with a stark choice on whether to continue to enrich uranium or to sit down to talks which could now include at the table the United States.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: As soon as Iran suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities, the United States will come to the table with our EU colleagues and meet with Iran's representatives.

ENSOR: A senior aide says Rice made the offer because, "We had to do something to make them choose." The choice will be made as clear as the foreign ministers here can agree on, with incentives like international help for a regulated Iranian civilian nuclear program and punishments in the form of political and economic sanctions if they do not.

A senior administration official told CNN under the plan being worked out in Vienna, the initial sanctions, if Iran refuses to suspend enrichment and sit down for talks, would "hurt," but they would not include sanctions on Iran's crucial oil and gas sector.

KEN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION SABAN CENTER: There's no question that this gesture is going to divide the leadership in Tehran and is going to provoke a major debate over how to respond. At the end of the day, it is likely to be Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, who makes the final decision.

ENSOR (on camera): Diplomats predict that after some initial complaints from Tehran that this is all propaganda, Iranian officials may say, sure, we're willing to sit down and talk to the Americans and Europeans, but without preconditions. But U.S. officials here say, unless the Iranians will verifiably halt all uranium enrichment programs, there will be no talks. There will be sanctions.

David Ensor, CNN, Vienna.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, we want to know what you think. Today's "Question of the Day" looks at that dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

CLANCY: We're asking you this: Will the U.S. offer to talk with Iran help resolve the dispute over its nuclear program?

E-mail us your thoughts to YWT@CNN.com.

GORANI: North Korea has put the onus on the United States for a way out of their stalled nuclear negotiations. The chief nuclear envoy for the U.S., Chris Hill, has been invited to Pyongyang for bilateral talks. That's according to a foreign ministry statement carried on the state-run news agency. But the statement says Washington must first commit to last September's agreement that saw the north promise to abandon its atomic weapons program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.

CLANCY: Now let's go to Gaza, where thousands of Palestinian police took their anger over unpaid wages right to the doors of parliament.

These security officers, many of them from the Fatah faction, fired into the air. Then they smashed some windows in the parliament building. This one of the largest such protests since Hamas took office in March.

Lawmakers were in session at the time. Nobody reported any injuries.

Western sanctions on the Hamas-led government have crippled the Palestinian economy. It cannot pay the wages. Protesters say the government plan to pay only low-wage workers right now is not acceptable.

GORANI: When we return, we'll take you far below ground.

CLANCY: An amazing story, what seemed like an ordinary cave, but turned out to be a portal to a virtual time machine. We're going to tell you and show you why scientists are so stunned and thrilled.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back, everyone.

CLANCY: This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

GORANI: Now, from a quarry in Israel comes a discovery that is stunning and elating scientists.

CLANCY: A whole underground ecosystem actually full with creatures that were previously unknown to science.

GORANI: And they're very similar to some species that roamed the earth a long, long time ago.

CLANCY: Fionnuala Sweeney gives us a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is the discovery of a lifetime, literally several lifetimes. Workers drilling at this quarry near Ramla in central Israel came upon an opening. It led to a cave with an underwater lake 100 meters below the surface.

Sealed off from the outside world, scientists were amazed to discover an ecosystem dating back five million years to when the Mediterranean Sea covered parts of Israel. In the words of one scientist, "a fantastic biodiversity." HANAN DIMENTMAN, HEBREW UNIVERSITY: Here now, eight species of animals were found in the cave. Most of them or all of them are unknown to science.

SWEENEY: Scientists had to use ropes to make their way through an underground passage leading into the cave and from there to the lake. Geologists then discovered white crustaceans resembling shrimps and invertebrates looking like scorpions, the largest of which were some five centimeters long.

The animals discovered were all found to be alive, apart from one blind species of scorpion. The Israeli scientists are sure that it's only a matter of time before live scorpions are discovered, along with the animals which prey on them.

DIMENTMAN: We are sure that the eight species which were found are only the beginning of the story of this ecosystem.

SWEENEY: The animals have now been sent to laboratories for further examination. What is already known is that two of the crustaceans are seawater species and two others are of types found in fresh water. Scientists are hoping this can help provide some insight into events which occurred millions of years ago.

(on camera): In a land where the news is often about tensions between two peoples living above ground, the discovery of eight new species of animal below the surface is indeed welcome. It seems we have much to learn from these little creatures who have occupied a world even older than biblical times.

Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN, Ramla, Israel.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Now, in Indonesia's devastated earthquake zone, where the death toll has now surpassed 6,200, the main concern now is on the survivors.

CLANCY: Well, aid is slowly getting to those that still lack the basic necessities. But as Hugh Riminton reports for us, getting those supplies often comes down to the survival of the fittest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Helicopters searching for remote survivors are finding them, but it's not safe to land. In aid terms, this is the crudest form of distribution. Only the strong stand a chance. Their food packages gone, the chopper tries again to touch down, but it is still chaotic.

"I don't have anything. My house is destroyed!" she pleads. "Please take me. Please take me to Jakarta."

The soldiers hesitate, but not for long. As rescue teams reach more and more remote areas, the list of the dead and of the injured grows. But this, the village of Bowran (ph), remains the human epicenter of this disaster. A thousand people died here.

Twenty-year-old Badawi (ph) survived only because he had already left for work that day. He first found his 3-year-old daughter's tricycle and then her body nearby. It took two days to find his young wife, their 10-month-old son dead, still clutched in her arms.

"My heart is broken," he says.

Faced with all this, where do you start? There's no earth-moving equipment to speak of. If you are lucky, neighbors pitch in to help. Somehow, heroically, people are trying to retrieve the rhythms of their normal life, defying the utter destruction around them.

DR. IWAN LABAN, MEDICAL VOLUNTEER: When they remember their relatives, families who have passed away, so they will become sad. But if not, they are strong.

RIMINTON (on camera): As with all disasters, this one has its inexplicable randomness. Almost as mysterious as who lives and who dies is what stands and what falls? All that remains of this once substantial brick house is the front door and the flimsy glass alongside, untouched.

(voice over): Increasingly, food is arriving. But there is far too little shelter.

Hugh Riminton, CNN, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(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.

If you live along the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, you already know it's June 1st, the start of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. Experts say it will probably be an active season, though no match for last year's record ferocity.

Colorado State University predicting 17 named stores. Of those, nine will develop into hurricanes and five will strengthen to Category 3 or stronger.

Let's check in now with our meteorologist, Reynolds Wolf, for the latest.

(WEATHER REPORT)

KAGAN: We showed you this rescue live on CNN just a short time ago. A truck overturning west of Houston, it dumps a load of gravel on top of a woman's car. Fire crews and witnesses had to dig her out. She was taken to the hospital. No word yet on her condition. A training mission takes a tragic turn for some U.S. soldiers in Georgia. Their helicopter went down in Doerun. That's a rural area in south Georgia.

Four of the five people aboard were killed. The fifth was injured. The Chinook helicopter was flying from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah to Fort Rucker, Alabama. The military says it clipped a wire on a television tower.

One family's joy turns into another family's heartbreak. This story began at an accident scene in Indiana back in April. A survivor listed as dead, a dead woman misidentified as a survivor.

Our Miles O'Brien has details. .

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RON MOWERY, GRANT COUNTY CORONER: The one thing that I am most -- regret the most is that it did happen on my watch.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): An emotional apology from the coroner of Grant County, Indiana, following a tragic case of mistaken identity. For weeks, the family of 22-year-old Laura Vanryn believed she had survived a car wreck in April. A wreck that killed four students and an employee of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. But as the woman emerged from a coma Tuesday, Laura's parents realized it was not their daughter after all.

MOWERY: She was asked if she knew her name, which is standard procedure. She said, yes, she knew her name. And she spoke her name.

O'BRIEN: She said her name was Whitney Cerak. But that was one of the Taylor students thought to have died in the crash. It turns out the student who died was Laura Vanryn.

JIM GARRINGER, SPKS, TAYLOR UNIVERSITY: One family had tragedy and the other family had a sense of joy.

O'BRIEN: While it is unclear how the coroner confused the identities at the scene of the accident, there is no doubt there is a striking resemblance. A hospital spokesman says, "both families understand how this could have happened. We rejoice with the Ceraks, we grieve with the Vanryns." And so it is for students at Taylor University.

ASHLEY MOORE, TAYLOR UNIVERSITY STUDENT: I guess I feel like we're all starting right where we were again and just starting the grieving all over again.

TRACY YODER, TAYLOR UNIVERSITY STUDENT: It's hard to believe that there are even emotions left to take care of it because we were already numb.

O'BRIEN: Miles O'Brien, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KAGAN: And now to Germany. She is awake and alert today, and she wants to know what happened to her crew. An update now on the condition of wounded journalist Kimberly Dozier.

She can't talk, because she's on a ventilator. But CBS says she is writing out questions. The first thing she asked, what happened to her colleagues who were with her when a car bomb exploded in Iraq on Monday? CBs says Dozier was told that her cameraman and sound technician were killed in the attack.

Coming up at the top of the hour, a former POW from the Gulf War gets a letter from one of his captors. He shares his story on "LIVE FROM" coming up after YOUR WORLD TODAY.

International news continues after a quick break.

I'm Daryn Kagan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani. Here are some of the top stories we're following for you this hour. The U.S. secretary of State, Condaleezza Rice, is in Vienna for talks with the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany. They're talking about incentives and penalties aimed at keeping Tehran off any path to nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear rights are not up for discussion. That comes after the U.S. offered to join European talks on Iran, but only if Tehran halts nuclear enrichment.

CLANCY: In the wake of deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians during a search by U.S. Marines, U.S. troops in Iraq are going to be undergoing core warrior values training. The course would focus on the importance of adhering to the legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield.

Meanwhile, Pentagon investigators are looking into whether criminal charges should be filed against any of the Marines.

GORANI: In Indonesia's devastated earthquake zone, basic essentials are slowly getting to survivors, who are desperate for aid. Field hospitals have been set up to help the thousands of injured. But more medical supplies are needed, as are tents to house the tens of thousands left homeless. There's also growing concern that unsanitary conditions could lead to an outbreak of disease.

CLANCY: As violence reignites in East Timor, a power struggle is intensifying; A sacked military leader now calling for the resignation of the prime minister. Stan Grant has more on the man at the center of this conflict.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Major Alfredo Reinado cuts a cocky figure. The rebel commander is at the center of East Timor's security crisis. He greets me at his hideaway high in the mountains. He fled here with his men a week ago after Australian troops arrived to restore calm to this stricken island. Behind dark glasses, he talks tough, warning those who would oppose him.

MAJOR ALFREDO REINADO: I'm trained to kill, trained to defending, and whoever wants to hound me I'll have the right to defend myself.

GRANT: But, for all his bravado, Major Alfredo is an officer without a commission. Right now, he tends the garden. His men gently strum guitars. Australian troops casually stand by and watch. Major Alfredo and nearly 600 other rebel soldiers were sacked after going on strike. They claim they were victimized and discriminated against.

The sackings split the East Timorese army. Rival factions firing on each other. The break down of law and order, sparking civilian unrest. Youth gangs going on a spree of killing, looting, and arson. Major Alfredo says he is not to blame.

(on camera): What are you defending?

REINADO: What I'm defending is my people, my nation, the right of the people. And I want the stability of my nation, I don't want any people or any politics to misuse of that.

GRANT (voice-over): The major is demanding the sacking of the man who sacked him. East Timor's Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri. He accuses the prime minister of exploiting military unrest and says he has blood on his hands.

REINADO: Of course. He's a criminal. I can prove that.

GRANT (on camera): The prime minister is a criminal?

REINADO: Yes. Because he's responsible for all the orders they've been giving. If it costs any life, from this order they've been giving, he has the responsibility for it.

GRANT (voice-over): Major Alfredo, Prime Minister Alkatiri, two key players in a crisis that threatens the future of the world's newest nation. Another key player, President Xanana Gusmao. He has taken control of the army, trying to bridge the divide between the prime minister on the one hand and the rebel commander on the other.

(on camera): The major says he and his men will remain holed up here until they get orders to do otherwise from President Gusmao. Only then would they lay down their weapons.

(voice-over): East Timor fought a long, bloody battle for independence from Indonesia. Now the nation, Major Alfredo says, stands at the brink of civil war.

REINADO: It can be happen or not. Who knows? We'll predict tomorrow.

GRANT (on camera): You're prepared for that, if it came to that?

REINADO: I'm prepared for defending the people that need defending for the sake of the country, and nation. And I'm in this uniform to defend the people of my nation.

GRANT (voice-over): But the man who says he would defend his nation is technically not even a soldier. Just a civilian in a uniform and armed to protect himself.

Stan Grant, CNN, Dili, East Timor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Now, the Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway, even before many in the U.S. have recovered from last year's disastrous storms. Tom Foreman has more on the havoc of 2005 and, perhaps more importantly, on what 2006 is expected to bring.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventeen named storms. Nine hurricanes, five of them major. An ominous forecast on the eve of the 2006 hurricane season. But there's good reason to heed this prediction.

William Gray and his Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University predicted one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. Turns out it was the most active. And this latest forecast, identical to one he put out in April, is in line with the official government forecast.

Of the nine hurricanes Gray predicts this season, he says five of them will be Category 3 or above, with sustained winds of at least 110 miles an hour and storm surges of at least nine feet. Gray says there's a 69 percent probability one of those storms will hit the U.S. East Coast, including Florida, where a new campaign is urging residents to get a hurricane plan in place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricanes are a fact of life in Florida. The most important thing you can do to prepare for these storms is develop a hurricane preparedness plan for your family. Go to FloridaDisaster.org. There you'll find a planning tool to help you develop your plan. It takes just a few minutes, and you'll have a plan to better protect your family when a hurricane threatens.

FOREMAN: They're making lots of plans in New Orleans, too, having learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina.

But even as the city struggles to rebuild, a new report is raising new concerns. Some parts of New Orleans, according to the study, are sinking faster than others and more than anyone realized, upwards of an inch a year. The report blames the sinking, called subsidence, on a combination of overdevelopment, drainage, natural seismic shifts.

Experts say it could help explain some of the levee failures during Hurricane Katrina. But it also raises some disturbing new concerns for a city struggling to rise even as it falls.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, still ahead, Le President de la Republic, let me say that with a French accent. He has been at the helm of France for 40 years, or at least in politics for the last 40 years.

CLANCY: Better you than me. A new film about Jacques Chirac, painting a rather dismal picture, isn't it?

GORANI: Yes, but a fair reflection of the prevailing mood or a sorry caricature? A report from Paris after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Welcome back, everyone. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. It is fair to say he's had a very long history in public life. The French President Jacques Chirac has held political office for nearly four decades. But looking back over all those years, what accomplishments can he point to? A growing segment of the public in France says not much. Jim Bittermann looks at the French's public declining esteem for Mr. Chirac in a new film that captures that prevailing mood.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It begins with a scene familiar to every household in the country, the gravity of the presidential palace, the gravity of the president about to address the nation. But that's the last grandeur and gravity in sight, because from there on, the new film" Being Jacques Chirac" harpoons the French president's political record. Assembled from real TV clips of someone who has been in front of the cameras for 40 years, the stinging stitched satire is stitched together by a fake monologue performed by a Chirac sound-a-like.

Produced by some of the same people who did the Oscar-winning documentary "March of the Penguins," those involved in "Being Jacques Chirac" say they were not out to make a film against him, but just wanted to assemble the portrait of a president nearing the end of his second term in office who they say, after all these years, has accomplished virtually nothing.

EMANUEL PRIOU, PRODUCER: (INAUDIBLE) the film, but (INAUDIBLE) of the screening, you're left (ph) like stuck in your throat, because you feel bad about laughing about something that really terrible.

BITTERMANN: Some of the first people to see the film shared the same mixed emotions about the man who's led them for so long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's so ridiculous. So bad guy. He's the president, and so many people voted for him last time, even me.

BITTERMANN (on camera): The film is not the only evidence that France is finally turning the page on a politician who's held public office now for the better part of four decades. There are books, magazines and articles coming out almost on a daily basis, dissecting the presidency of someone who analysts say was always better at winning elections than actually governing.

(voice-over): Whatever the public opinion, the creators of the movie say they had great difficulty getting the movie made because of the political sensitivities.

KARL ZERO, CREATOR, "BEING JACQUES CHIRAC": Nobody want to put a mere one euro into this film, because Chirac is the king of France, not the president. It's a monarchy.

BITTERMANN: And humorist Karl Zero claims the film cost him his job with a French television network, which found his unflattering satires of politicians too much to handle.

"Never mind, I can always go on stage," Zero says, "or perhaps find work in another country."

ZERO: This is my new friend, George, as we say in France, George. How are you, George? Would you like me to do a film about you? Yes?

BITTERMANN: Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right, is the movie an extreme hatchet job, or does it accurately reflect the mood, if not the specifics, of Mr. Chirac's standing.

Joining us from Paris to shed some light on this is Christian Malar, a senior foreign analyst for France 3 TV. The filmmaker there, Christian, Karl Zero, said, you know, he's not the president; he's the king. The king implies unelected. The king implies for life. Is that how the French perceive this Jacques Chirac?

CHRISTIAN MALAR, SR. FOREIGN ANALYST, FRANCE 3 TV": Yes, I think a lot of people have been very disappointed. The majority of the French public have been disappointed by the end of the political career of Jacques Chirac. Here in France, we do have the impression it's the end of a reign. The term "monarchy" has been used, and it seems I often tell my British friends, we have been a monarchy for quite a long time in France, under President (INAUDIBLE), under President Mitch Rohm (ph), and maybe now under President Chirac. So the French have been used to kind of political monarchies, should I say.

And I agree with Jim Bittermann saying this movie is a harpooning the 39 years political career of Jacques Chirac. A lot of caricatures, sometimes overexaggerating, but at the same time showing the man that the public opinion perceives he is a man of paradoxes, contradictions, even betraying, as he has been portraying former President (INAUDIBLE) former Prime Minister Baladur (ph). And today, everybody is convinced that through this political scandal, the (INAUDIBLE) affair, that he tries to kill politically his secretary of interior, Sarcosi, which is given as the favorite of the right-wing Republican majority.

GORANI: Let's get, Christian, to the political scandal in just one moment.

But first let me ask you this. You talk of a monarchy. You say France has had a monarchy. You say that it's the end of a reign. But French people have a choice in this. They have voted this man in for two terms. And he's been the prime minister before that and an elected official for 40 years. So if the French are so dissatisfied with their leader, why do they keep voting for him?

MALAR: You are right. It's a very good question. You are right. And I say it's very (INAUDIBLE) people (INAUDIBLE), and sometimes you will hear a lot of people saying, we got what we deserve. This is the truth in certain way.

But the problem with the French, is when they're dissatisfied and they want to make, let's say, political reprisals or sanctions, they go to vote the extreme right. And as we saw four years ago in April 2002, and they go Lepen (ph), because they are dissatisfied and they want to show they are fed up, and they go crazily voting for Lepen.

Don't forget, once more. We are a complex country, complicated people, and it's a French guy telling you about his own country and his own countryfellows.

GORANI: OK, and you were saying complex, right? Another thing that's complex about French people is the fact that voters may be dissatisfied with him, but they have a soft spot for Jacques Chirac, don't they? I mean, in a way, he's been satirized for years. He's been shown as a buffoon, and he's been imitated. And we know the imitations. We've seen then on the (INAUDIBLE). But there is still something within the French public consciousness that likes him, isn't there?

MALAR: Yes, you are right, because I remember that the (INAUDIBLE) we saw on (INAUDIBLE) network, he has been attacked a lot, very attacked, very crucially sometimes and very harshly. And it happens that when you talk to French public opinion, the more criticized he is, and the more he gets high in the favor of the French public opinion.

And after this movie has been showing on the (INAUDIBLE) yesterday, I wouldn't be surprised if some French say, finally, why shooting a (INAUDIBLE), why finally he is making mistakes. He has been maybe deceiving us as Mitterand deceived us for 14 years. We might have been deceived by Chirac. But sometimes, oh, poor guy, poor president. Shall we shoot against our team? Maybe not. So, as I said, the French criticize (INAUDIBLE) all the time. And at the same time, they do the opposite of what they say.

GORANI: OK. And that is a contradiction, as you said. Christian Malar, we're running out of time. We'd love to keep talking,but we have to leave it there. MALAR: Thanks, Hala.

GORANI: Christian Malar of France TV Television joining us from Paris.

CLANCY: Fascinating insights into the French president, French politics.

GORANI: And Christians' is always very interesting.

CLANCY: It is. I've always wondered though. Why is Jacques Chirac, if only one in seven French like him, why is that man still smiling? And he is.

GORANI: He is. He is. He's a politician, that's fore sure.

We're going to take a short break.

CLANCY: And then after that, soccer fans can hardly wait.

GORANI: Germany sets the stage for the upcoming World Cup competition. A preview coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: All right, Hala. Our favorite time of the show.

GORANI: It's time to open up the inbox.

CLANCY: Our question was this -- will the U.S. offer to talk with Iran, help to resolve the dispute over its nuclear weapon -- or program, I should say?

GORANI: Now, from the United Kingdom: "For a negotiation to start, there should be a basic common ground, which simply does not exist."

CLANCY: Arash in Iran had this to say: "The U.S. wouldn't be able to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment even if they put Iran in great pressure like economic boycott or military attack."

GORANI: Darcy in the U.S. says: "Iran is only performing a song and dance to stall the sanctions or other actions that might slow its progress down."

CLANCY: And, finally, taking Iran's side, Andres in Costa Rica had this to say: "The U.S. offer is akin to a school yard bully telling a smaller child if you give me your lunch money every day I won't beat the crap out of you."

GORANI: We want to hear more about what you have to say about today's question. E-mail your thoughts to ywt@cnn.com.

CLANCY: That's right. Well, eight days and counting.

GORANI: Next Friday is when football fans around the world will be watching the start of the 2006 World Cup.

CLANCY: And the host, Germany, is making efforts to be, well, warm and welcoming.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No questioning the enthusiasm of the host nation as the kickoff approaches. More than 42,000 people turned out in Dusseldorf just watch the German team practice. They haven't had the best run-up for the competition, scrounging a 2-0 draw with Japan on Tuesday. But the supporters were in good heart, getting in some practice of their own for that Mexican wave.

Former German coach Franz Beckenbauer, now president of the World Cup Organizing Committee, was in relaxed mood at a news conference.

FRANZ BECKENBAUER, PRESIDENT, WORLD CUP ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: (SPEAKING IN GERMAN)

LISTER: But he also said, quote, "the slogan 'time to make friends' is a challenge for us in Germany. It's not like in Japan or South Korea where people are naturally friendly." German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there would be declarations against racism in sport before each quarter-final.

The Portuguese court had its last practice on home turf before leaving for Germany. With stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo, the team is tipped by many to make the quarter-finals, at least. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari won the last World Cup with Brazil, and if Portugal go all the way, he'd become the first coach to win the World Cup with different countries.

And finally, no World Cup could really get underway without an official theme song. This year R & B in the shape of Toni Braxton meets opera in the former of quartet Il Divo in a song entitled "The Time of Our Lives." The best thing about the video is the chance to relive some famous and infamous moments of World Cups past. Just can't imagine this song becoming a standard among the fans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Tim Lister reporting there. Well, more intrigue in the colorful life of the Grimaldi family. There are reports that Prince Albert of Monaco is acknowledging that he's had a second child out of wedlock.

CLANCY: All right, and the child is reportedly now 14 years of age, living in the United States, in fact living in California. The royal palace refusing to comment on what it says are the private affairs of the prince.

GORANI: But a lot of other people are talking.

CLANCY: Of course.

GORANI: Ria Teramina (ph) has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RIA TERAMINA (ph), CHANNEL 3 NEWS REPORTER (voice-over): Sheriff's deputies on motorcycles get ready to escort someone home, possibly a student, home from school. Could there be a princess among us? Prince Albert may have a daughter here in the valley living in Palm Desert. French newspaper "Le Figaro" says the heir to Monaco's throne will soon publicly acknowledge his 14-year-old daughter.

(on camera): Newspapers are reporting that Prince Albert has a third child out of wedlock. Paparazzi rushed here to our valley, only to be blocked by security at the private school.

(voice-over): The possible princess attends St. Margaret's Episcopal School, where she's in eighth grade. When parents took their kids to school, unwanted attention descended upon them.

SGT. RICK KAMSTRA, RIVERSIDE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT: We're out here just simply because this morning there seemed to be a problem with media and paparazzi, basically interfering with the runnings of the school.

TERAMINA: We didn't see any paparazzi, but the sheriff's department thinks they're here, and could be playing a game of cat and mouse to try and get a picture of the girl.

(on camera): Do you think they all went back to where they came from, like L.A. or something?

KAMSTRA: Probably not. I would assume that they're probably going to be back this afternoon when school lets out. And that's pretty much why we're here, is to monitor and make sure we don't have the same thing happen this afternoon that happened this morning.

TERAMINA: It's believed the girl and her mother live in this gated community. The newspaper article says her mother and the prince had a brief two-week affair in 1991 while she was in vacation in the small principality. They were photographed on a yacht together during that time.

Ria Teramina, News Channel 3.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right, well, that is it for this hour of YOUR WORLD TODAY.

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

GORANI: For our viewers elsewhere around the world, more of YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy, and this is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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