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YOUR WORLD TODAY
Iran Nuclear Row; Zimbabwe Unrest: Growing Criticism Amid Government Crackdown; Death of Pakistan Coach now Termed 'Suspicious'
Aired March 21, 2007 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today our enemies are trying to tamper with history by making movies and showing a rough image of Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Iran's president doesn't like the "300" Spartans movie. He says it tries to rewrite history. But he's heading to the U.N. to try to script a rewrite on new sanctions against Tehran.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In Washington, could the firing of federal attorneys lead to a constitutional confrontation? We'll take a closer look at where the Congress and the White House could take the question.
CLANCY: And Israeli newsstands carrying a Palestinian newspaper for the first time in decades.
CHURCH: While a baby polar bear called Knut survives to warm hearts all across Germany.
CLANCY: It is 7:30 p.m. in Tehran right now, it is noon in Washington, D.C.
Hello and welcome, everyone, to our report broadcast around the globe.
I'm Jim Clancy.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church.
From Jakarta to Johannesburg, Jerusalem to Berlin, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
Well, another showdown is shaping up at the United Nations with Iran over its nuclear program.
CLANCY: Security Council members getting closer and closer to a vote on another round of sanctions.
CHURCH: That's right. So Iran's feisty president is on his way to New York to take on the Security Council, a body he has derided on numerous occasions.
CLANCY: All right. We're going to begin our coverage live from Tehran with our Middle East correspondent Aneesh Raman.
Aneesh, this is Iranian new year, and certainly many Iranians have to be wondering just what kind of a year it's going to be.
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are. We've gone out on to the streets, Jim, to try to find out what Iranians expect in the year ahead, as we expect to hear perhaps as early as today from Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Here is what some Iranians told us.
RAMAN (voice over): To understand just how big Noruz, new year's, is in Iran, think of every holiday you know combined into one. The past few days here, traffic has stretched as far as the eye can see. Shoppers are out in droves. At this moment, the hopes of Iranians are high.
"I wish the new year," Mossen (ph) tells me, "will bring a year free from danger, free from war or sanctions."
But expectations here are realistic, especially while waiting to see if Iran will confront another round of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program.
"It is unlikely Iran will change its position," Amir (ph) told me. "Iran wants peaceful nuclear technology, and the western countries cannot stop Iran from proceeding with that."
So, it came as no surprise that on Iranian TV, the new year began right where the old one left off, with this message from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Today," he said, "our enemies are misusing international bodies that they have founded and have exclusive sovereignty over them. They want to stop the path of development of the Iranian nation."
(on camera): Noruz is easily the biggest holiday in Iran. The country will shut down for about two weeks, as people are out here for last-minute shopping, getting gifts for others, and also getting symbols of the new year. For example, everyone is buying a goldfish. That is a symbol of life.
(voice over): The goldfish end up here on tables like that Iraz (ph) and Mina (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is called...
RAMAN: For Noruz, seven symbolic items are displayed in homes for 13 days. Iraz (ph) went to college in the U.S. before coming home to Iran. He knows the countries are at odds right now, but his hope for the new year is that that will change. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have heard and I have talked to so many Iranian people, they regard American people very high, and they talk about Americans in good favor. And there's no hatred.
RAMAN: In the end, it was a simple refrain heard over and over again from Iranians, that a new year will bring new chance for peace.
RAMAN: And Jim, there are two important things to keep in mind about the Iranian people.
First, there is still fierce nationalist pride surrounding Iran's nuclear program. The fact that they were able to do this on their own. But competing with that passion is a desire among the people for economic change.
That is why we have seen growing and increasingly vocal opposition to Iran's president. He promised economic change. He has yet to deliver -- Jim.
CLANCY: This president, though, has a way of reaching out to the people, garnering support. And certainly this historic appearance of President Ahmadinejad, the first ever Islamic president -- president of the Islamic Republican of Iran -- standing before the Security Council, arguing his case, is going to be pretty powerful, isn't it? When is he going?
RAMAN: It is. We expect and we thought he could be appearing in New York as early as today. We expect it at some point by the end of the week. I think a lot of it depends on when the vote could take place within the U.N. Security Council.
As you said, a powerful moment. There are two sides to it. One, of course, Iranians saying this shows how important this issue is, the desire of Iran for nuclear energy. That the president would travel at this, the biggest holiday of the year, to New York to address the council.
On the other side, some critics are saying, why is he going there? He's decried this body as illegitimate. Why is he speaking to them? And they are afraid that he could perhaps make some controversial remarks -- he's made some before -- that could only add fuel to the fire.
So they will be watching from here. But as you say, a powerful moment to come perhaps as early as today or tomorrow -- Jim.
CLANCY: Adding fuel to the fire, something that President Ahmadinejad is noted for.
Aneesh Raman in the place to be this week, Tehran, Iran.
CHURCH: And Russia, which holds veto power in the U.N. Security Council, is going along with proposed new sanctions. For now, at least.. But Russia's foreign minister warns they will not tolerate what he called excessive sanctions.
Russia has a $1 billion contract to help Iran build a nuclear power plant. But Sergey Lavrov insists the two are not linked.
CLANCY: At any rate, we are setting the stage. You look at that Bushehr plant, the Russians saying, you know, they are on board. They say not excessive sanctions, but, you know, it's going to be a remarkable appearance by Ahmadinejad.
CHURCH: That's right. It is interesting, though. It will be interesting to see how the U.N. Security Council pans out with that vote, because no matter what, he heard from Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, that no matter how they vote, Iran's going to pursue and continue to enrich uranium.
CLANCY: A little bit later, right here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, we're going to bring you a discussion with Joe Cirincione, an expert on Iran. An expert on nuclear proliferation.
Looking forward to that.
All right. Now to growing international concern over the government crackdown on Zimbabwe. As several western powers press for more sanctions, one African president is urging regional leaders to get involved, likening Zimbabwe to a sinking Titanic.
Frederik Pleitgen is following the story from neighboring South Africa.
And Frederik we really haven't heard much from African nations, have we? Why is that?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Rosemary. And really, that's one of the things that western leaders are really criticizing. Tony Blair today called on southern African countries to take a tougher stance on Zimbabwe.
Here is what Blair had to say.
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TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The most important thing for us to do is to make sure that those other African countries, particularly those in the neighborhood of Zimbabwe, do everything they possibly can to make it clear that this is a disaster not just for the people of Zimbabwe, it also is a disaster for the reputation for good governance in Africa.
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PLEITGEN: Now, even with all this international pressure, the government of Zimbabwe still very, very much defiant, as the information minister of that country made clear in a CNN interview earlier today.
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SIKHANYISO NDLOVU, ZIMBABWE INFORMATION MINISTER: We (INAUDIBLE) against it, you know, the terrorism. And these guys are terrorists. Sponsored, paid for by the same colonial imperialist powers that (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So, this really did remain a very, very big question.
Also, for the neighboring countries, as you were pointing out just before in your question, really, right now, here in South Africa, some statistics say that up to 20 percent of the population of Zimbabwe has in fact fled to neighboring countries. A lot of them here in South Africa.
Up to three million people from Zimbabwe here in South Africa. Of course, that means a lot of brain drain, because a very -- a lot of very high educated people leaving Zimbabwe, coming here to South Africa. So that's very bad for Zimbabwe, but it's also obviously a difficult task for countries like South Africa to take all these people in -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: And really their departure, I guess, speaks for itself, doesn't it? Because it is very hard for us as the media to make any assessment because we are not actually there. But have you been able to get any idea from what people have said to you about how they feel about the situation of Zimbabwe as it stands on this day?
PLEITGEN: Well, information that we are getting from Zimbabwe is very, very sketchy. I mean, we are only -- we're not in the country, as you pointed out. They are not letting us in.
The information we're getting is from journalist that are there, from people that are there, from opposition people that are in the country. And also, obviously, from the government.
But today is a human rights day actually here in South Africa. And we went out to see what South Africans think about their country's involvement in all of this. And many of those that we spoke to on this very specific day said that they think their country and many of the other southern African countries are not actually doing enough to try and solve this country (sic). Many of them said they believe that the southern African countries should put more pressure on Zimbabwe to try to get this whole thing solved as fast as possible -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Indeed. All right.
Frederik Pleitgen reporting there from Johannesburg in South Africa.
And we do want to remind you again that he's not in Zimbabwe because the government won't allow CNN or other major western networks into the country. Earlier on this program, a Zimbabwe official explained the decision by saying CNN has become part of the opposition.
We of course pride ourselves on objective reporting and deny that and other accusations.
CLANCY: All right. Let's check some of the other stories that are making news right now.
CHURCH: Welcome back. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY here on CNN International.
CLANCY: Seen live in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
CHURCH: Well, the international sport of cricket has been dealt a double blow.
CLANCY: That's right. First, there was the shocking death of Pakistan's cricket coach, Bob Woolmer. That was last Sunday at the Cricket Cup.
CHURCH: That's right. And now we get word that authorities in Jamaica are treating his death as suspicious.
Andrew Stevens reports on this cricket mystery.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): First, the shock of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer's sudden death at the Cricket World Cup. And now another potentially much bigger bombshell.
MARK SHIELDS, JAMAICA DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Having met with the pathologists, other medical personnel and investigators, there is now sufficient information to continue a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Woolmer, which we are now treating as suspicious.
STEVENS: The English coach of the Pakistan national team died Sunday after being found unconscious on the floor of his hotel room in Jamaica. There was no suggestion of foul play at the time. Many, including Woolmer's son, speculating the stress of what's been described as the toughest job in cricket may have been to blame.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Pakistan had suffered one of its most humiliating losses, crashing out of the World Cup after losing to competition Minnows Ireland. But Jamaican police now say the postmortem examination to find the cause of death is "inconclusive" and that his death is now being treated as suspicious.
They are still waiting for a final report from the pathologist, and according to a Pakistan team spokesman, investigators are still waiting for a toxicology report. That, as the team itself struggles to come to grips with a dramatic new development.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The team is fairly distressed and disturbed, and, of course, quite bewildered and shocked over what has happened, because obviously losing a coach, someone like Bob Woolmer, who was more like a father figure, of course, and its national coach for Pakistan for the past few years, indeed, it's been a very, very traumatic situation for the Pakistani cricket team boys.
STEVENS: As police made their announcement, Pakistan were preparing for their final match of the series against Zimbabwe. But the increasingly mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of such a high profile cricketer means that few minds in the cricket world are focused on the game right now.
Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHURCH: And it was interesting in Jamaica, because we know that this isn't a murder investigation, according to the investigator there who had been asked that very question.
CLANCY: That's right. And it's important for our U.S. viewers to understand that in countries like Pakistan and India, this sport is unbelievably huge.
Well, speaking of India, we have another installment in our week- long "Eye on India" series. We are focusing on the youth of India, the second most populous country on earth.
CHURCH: Oh, yes, it's big. As part of the series, we asked a panel of actors, activists and business leaders to talk to young people about a wide range of topics.
Monita Rajpal introduces us to India's generation next.
MONITA RAJPAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are young. They are smart. They are driven. They are India's generation next.
More than half a billion people living in this country are under the age of 25. And some say they hold the reins to steering this country into becoming an economic superpower.
While there is optimism surrounding their economic future, there are also challenges. Specifically, divisions between those who have the opportunity to make their millions and those who don't. A majority of this country lives on under $2 a day.
On "CNN CONNECTS," we explore the issues of their booming economy, along with religion, the cast (ph) system in this country, as well as love and marriage, which sparked a heated debate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I might be trendy, but I am still conservative in my thoughts. I will never go against whatever my family says. I might go in for love matters, but if my parents tell me to get an arranged marriage, then I'll completely agree with them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if you meet the guy just 24 hours before a wedding, no worries?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No worries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No worries?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If my parents have selected the guy, I really don't mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That's being honest.
Is there anyone who has a dramatically different view, who believes arranged marriages are just pathetic?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My basic question would be, chance or choice determines human destiny. I mean, if you have a love marriage, it's basically a choice. Arranged marriage is a chance. I mean, it's just a chance you take.
You meet the guy for some time or a girl for some time. It's a chance. It might work, it might not work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love marriages can also go wrong, young man.
But very quickly, too, anyone on this panel -- are we a nation of trendy conservatives? Is the youth essentially -- we have our mobile phones, we go out to discotechs, but we're still a little resistant to the idea of a love marriage, of dating.
VASUNDHARA DAS, ACTRESS AND SINGER: I think, you know, it's more a problem about most youth being a little socially awkward, maybe, because it's the kind of environment we've grown up in, where we've always been told, you know, don't always hang out with the boys. Sometimes, you know -- sometimes it's OK, but hang out mostly with the girls, because then I know you are safe. You know, that sort of thing.
So, I think it's a little more an issue of how much generations are communicating with each other. Definitely with respect to love, with respect to sex, sexual issues. I don't think a lot of that happens between generations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the important thing is -- the important thing is there's no right or wrong answer in this situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether it's traditional, conservatism, modernity, it's all -- they are all choices. As that young gentlemen was talking about, it's all about the choices that people make in their own generation. And each generation will be different.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we comfortable with sexuality now, Rahul Bose, very quickly?
RAHUL BOSE, ACTOR AND DIRECTOR: Of course not. Of course not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not?
BOSE: Of course not. There's no question about it. Nobody has sex in this country. I mean, you know...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A billion people? We've got a billion people in India. A billion.
BOSE: It was some twisted (INAUDIBLE) carvings and the Kama Sutra, the book, or in...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Bollywood movies?
BOSE: You know?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Bollywood movies?
BOSE: Yes. I mean, it's just -- there's no question. Nobody has sex. We smile and look at each other, and then suddenly babies happen.
BOSE: But more seriously, the question of sexuality and all of what we are discussing has to factor in the fact that right now, presumably, we are not talking about the role (ph) of youth. Because if you get into the fact that the voice of the girl, of the young girl in most of rural India, and, I venture, most parts of urban India, too, is not heard. In issues of modernity, sexuality, education, if the fact that she wants to play a sport, she wants to wear a pair of jeans, she wants to read certain kinds of books, most female voices in this world (INAUDIBLE) in India are muzzled.
CHURCH: And helping out, our Monita Rajpal, editor-in-chief of CNN-IBN, our companion network in India.
Well, you can catch the full airing of "CNN CONNECTS," "India's Next Generation," next hour here on CNN International.
CLANCY: For now, though, coming up, a look at world business.
CHURCH: That's right. And then, some monkey business on Capitol Hill. Or, at least, that's what critics are calling the firing of certain U.S. attorneys.
"INSIGHT" focuses on the growing scandal.
JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome back to CNN International. We have one of the largest, smartest and broadest based bands of correspondents reporting for you from all around the globe.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Two hundred countries, in fact, right across the world. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Rosemary Church.
CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. And these are the stories that are making headlines right now.
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, expected to address the United Nations Thursday ahead of a vote on new sanctions against his country. The U.N. is demanding that Iran halt its uranium enrichment. This vote comes at Iran marks the largest national holiday of the year, known as No-Rooz. The new year celebration spans about two weeks and, in fact, much of the country is shut down.
CHURCH: Britain and the United States are leading a charge for tightened sanctions against Zimbabwe. British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the Hariri (ph) government's crackdown on dissent and mismanagement of the economy is a disaster for the entire continent. African leaders are expected to meet next week to discuss the situation.
CLANCY: Jamaican authorities are now treating the death of Pakistan's cricket coach, Bob Woolmer, as "suspicious." Woolmer was in Jamaica for the cricket world cup, the sport's premier event. He was found unconscious in his hotel room Sunday following Pakistan's two early losses.
CHURCH: Well, a constitutional struggle between the White House and Congress takes another step. A U.S. House subcommittee has voted to authorize the use of subpoenas to force top White House aides to testify about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Many Democratic lawmakers say the firings were politically motivated. A claim the White House denies. President Bush said he would allow his aides to testify, but not under oath, to preserve the right of presidential advisors to speak freely to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The initial response by Democrats, unfortunately, shows some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts. It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials, when I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Well, unless you went to law school or committed a serious crime in the United States, you would really know, or have to know at least, about U.S. attorneys. But they're at the center of a battle between Congress and the White House that touches on some very basic issues of impartial law and order. Jonathan Mann has some insight.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are more than a million attorneys in the U.S., but only 93 of them are officially U.S. attorneys. Prosecutors that the president appoints across the country to enforce federal laws. They normally serve until there's a new president who appoints his own choices for new U.S. attorneys. But the fuss right now is focused on a handful who were hired and then fired by the Bush administration. Two apparently able women and a few good men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR, "A FEW GOOD MEN": You want answers?
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR, "A FEW GOOD MEN": I think I'm entitled.
NICHOLSON: You want answers?
CRUISE: I want the truth.
NICHOLSON: You can't handle the truth!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Ever see that movie with Tom Cruise? Jack Nicholson has absolutely nothing to do with this story, but the character Tom Cruise played in "A Few Good Men" was based on a real Navy lawyer. A lawyer who went on to become, yes, a U.S. attorney.
David Iglesias served the Bush administration in New Mexico for more than five years. Last year, just before the November congressional elections, he says some political figures tried to pressure him into speeding up prosecutions against Democrats. Iglesias was fired before the year was out. Here's what happened before he made his exit. Part of a chronology assembled by "The New York Times."
In September of 2005, Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico calls Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to talk about problems in Iglesias' office. Up till then, Iglesias had a good reputation in Washington. In January, the senator calls the attorney general again and Iglesias is once again the subject. In April, he calls again. Iglesias told a Senate hearing that in October of 2006 the senator phoned him directly, just weeks before the election, to ask him about some prosecutions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID IGLESIAS, FIRED U.S. PROSECUTOR: And he said, are these going to be filed before November? And I said, I didn't think so. And to which he replied, I'm very sorry to hear that, and then the line went dead.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: Is it fair to say that you felt pressured to hurry subsequent cases and prosecutions as a result of the call?
IGLESIAS: Yes, sir, I did. I felt leaned on. I felt pressured to get these matters moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: For his part, the senator said he made the call after, and we are quoting here, "months of extensive media reports and inquiries from constituents. In retrospect," he says, "I regret making the call and I apologize. However," he said, "I have never pressured him nor threatened him in any way."
But White House Counselor Dan Bartlett has acknowledged something a little different. That complaints from New Mexico criticizing the pace of prosecutions as slow did indeed influence the decision to fire Iglesias.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So it does seem to be some sort of coordinated effort on the part of both Republican office holders and the White House and the Justice Department. The question is, what motivated these firings? And that's what remains in dispute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Attorney General Gonzales originally said the U.S. attorneys were fired because they didn't do their jobs well enough. But e-mails released earlier this month between the Justice Department and the White House appeared to undercut that, which is why the Democrats especially say they haven't been told the truth and they want to know more.
Back to you.
CHURCH: All right.
CLANCY: Jon Mann, very interesting.
CHURCH: Thanks for that.
CLANCY: You know, I know a little bit more about the history of it now and also, you know, some of the specific points that are in question.
CHURCH: Important for that background.
All right, we want to check some other news now that we've been following this day.
CLANCY: That's right. Beginning in Indonesia where a court convicted three Islamic militants of beheading three Christian schoolgirls. This crime took place during a festival marking the end of Ramadan back in 2005. And it drew international condemnation. The men were sentenced to between 14 and 20 years in jail.
CHURCH: Researchers in the United States have come up with a mosquito that's resistant to malaria. The new genetically altered strain also breeds faster than normal mosquitoes. Scientists say more research is need before any practical application can be attempted, but it's hope the new breed might eventually crowd out the mosquitoes who now carry and spread the disease.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON RASGON, JOHNS HOPKINS MALARIA INSTITUTE: Malaria infects over 300 million people per year. Almost 3 million people die every year from that. That's mostly children. Malaria kills an African child about every 30 seconds on average. So these are very devastating -- it's a devastating disease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential candidacy getting a big boost on Wednesday with an endorsement from the current French president and a long-time political rival Jacques Chirac. He's going to be stepping down, of course, President Chirac, after the final round of voting in May after serving 12 years in office.
CHURCH: All right. Just how demeaning can it be to flip burgers for a living? Well it seems many people don't want anything to do with it.
CLANCY: But the United Kingdom's arm of McDonald's a launching a new high-profile campaign to change the overall perception of the so- called McJob.
CHURCH: Adrian Finighan has more.
ADRIAN FINIGHAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): it's already home to the McChicken sandwich and the McMuffin, but McDonalds is fed up with being home to the McJob. So the U.K. arm of the fast food chain is starting a campaign to get British dictionaries to change their definition of the word McJob.
Open a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary and you'll find the word McJob defined as an unstimulating, low paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expanse of the service sector. But do people really have such a negative perception of the word?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably wouldn't be anything that I'd want to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't really need that many qualifications to flip a burger really (ph). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: McJob is sort of a boring job you do for the money. That's it.
FINIGHAN: It's not something you think would have reasonable prospects?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. It's a dead end job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A waste of a degree just to simply make a career working at McDonald's or even start the career there to working at McDonald's.
FINIGHAN: Now, McDonald's is planning a high-profile campaign to get the perception of the McJob changed.
STEVE EASTERBROOK, CEO, MCDONALD'S: We believe the dictionary definition of the term McJob does require reappraisal. We think, firstly, it's out of date. Secondly, we believe the facts indicate there's a far different range of benefits to what a job McDonald's can offer. And thirdly, and most importantly, we believe it's demeaning to the talent and dedication that our 67,000 staff here display every day in the U.K.
FINIGHAN: McDonald's says it has an excellent record. Its employment record was praised by "Caterer and Hotelkeeper" magazine, who named it the best place to work in hospitality in 2007.
MARK LEWIS, EDITOR, CATERER, HOTEL KEEPER: Because they have a great range of benefits. They have online training. They have flexible working. They have a scheme by which you can get members of your family to do some of your shifts for you if you're not able to attend work. They even have a corporate university for you to attend if you really want to move from the counter up to the management level. In fact, I think they talk about McProspects, which I think is a word that they'd be keen on us using than the McJob.
FINIGHAN: According to the company's website, more than half of its executives began their careers behind the counter. A training manager can earn $36,000, while a senior manager can take home up to $185,000. So, the company says, the McJob could lead to a prosperous McFuture.
Adrian Finighan, CNN, London.
CLANCY: I didn't know that they made that much money at McDonald's. That's not bad.
CHURCH: Food for thought isn't it.
CLANCY: Got another story. A very interesting character here. He's only 15 months old, but he's already a media star.
CHURCH: Oh, look at him. He's so cute. He has his own TV show and podcast, and had a celebrity photo shoot. That's not bad for 15 weeks.
CLANCY: No, not at all. And though it all he's -- Knut. That's his name. Knut has remained cool, which is fitting, of course, because he is a polar bear. No kidding. Newt has become the hottest thing at the Berlin Zoo.
CHURCH: Now the nine kilogram cub has been fed by handlers since his mother abandoned him -- can you imagine a mother doing that -- shortly after giving birth.
CLANCY: He looks like he's having a great time. But, you know, interest in what's eventually going to happen to this little fella skyrocketed after an animal rights activist said the cub should have been left to die. Thanks to the zoo's Internet site, Knut has, though, gained quite a following. A lot of supporters.
CHURCH: That's right. That animal activist, of course, against the whole notion of hand feeding these polar bears and having that sort of human contact. So, life versus death. Officials expect to unveil him to the public soon. Possibly this weekend. Isn't he gorgeous?
CLANCY: Well, we just did it, didn't we?
CHURCH: Yes, that's done, yes.
CLANCY: He's got a taste for vibrant soles.
CHURCH: We've stolen their thunder.
CLANCY: All right. I thought they'd never stop tape like that in the control room too. (INAUDIBLE).
CHURCH: Yes, they do, keep those pictures rolling.
CLANCY: We've got to take a break. But just ahead, did the White House exaggerate intelligence reports to hype warnings of North Korea's nuclear program?
CHURCH: All sounds familiar, you might be saying.
Are Israelis ready for a Palestinian newspaper printed in English? Even in a nation of veracious readers, the "Palestine Times" is one hard sell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT, (through translator): Some foreign elements are trying to degrade the Iranian image. They want to belittle our country in front of other countries. But most countries are very good nations and very good people and they are all after kindness and justice and peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN International and YOUR WORLD TODAY.
CLANCY: Iranian President Ahmadinejad there. And we are trying to give you some perspective on these stories that are important today and go a little bit deeper into them.
Now, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was seen just a moment ago delivering his new year's speech on Iranian television. We want to delve further into the sanctions moves being made by the U.N. Security Council against Iran and its nuclear program. We also want to talk a little bit about North Korea. Did we really understand what its nuclear program was all about? And for all of that, let's bring in Joseph Cirincione from the Center for American Progress. He's also director of the non-proliferation project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
Joe, it's good to see you again. Let's start with Iran.
The president talking about coming to the security council. We know there's going to be a lot of fireworks. But, really, can he change anybody's minds? What's he doing?
JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: No, he can't. And, in fact, it's probably the kind of extreme rhetoric that we heard from President Ahmadinejad at his last visit to the United Nations that has resulted in the security council being so united in their efforts to stop Iran's program. I think Ahmadinejad has spooked even his closest allies in Russia and in China. And the fact that the Security Council is united both in passing the December sanctions resolution and now on the verge of passing a second, stronger sanction resolution spells bad news for Ahmadinejad, both in his overall foreign policy objectives and in his own political future at home.
CLANCY: You know, this week we watched, and "The New York Times "reported it, I haven't heard it confirmed absolutely in public, but nor would I expect it to be, that Russia is now telling Iran, you're not going to get the nuclear fuel for that plant that was supposed to be delivered this month. You're not going to get that nuclear fuel until you sign on, you stop the nuclear enrichment. Why is Russia moving on that now?
CIRINCIONE: Well, there's two factors here. One diplomatic and one just business. Diplomatically, Russia has always been telling Iran that unless it satisfies the U.N., unless it suspends its enrichment program, it, Russia, was not going to go ahead with the delivery of fuel that would allow Iran to start up the peaceful power program, the nuclear reactor in Bushehr.
And second, in recent months, Iran has been delinquent in payments to Russia for that fuel. This is in part caused by the sanctions. The U.S., in particular, has cut off several of Iran's banks from the U.S. banking system, causing a currency crunch. Iran wants to pay Russia in euros. Russia is insisting on payment in dollars. So it's a combination of diplomacy and business that has resulted in the Russian stand. This really hurts Iran. CLANCY: We were all hailing, not to long ago, some -- what everybody said, finally, success at the six party talks with North Korea over its nuclear program. Now we had heard warnings that North Korea was working hard to accelerate its development of nuclear weapons but that may not be true.
CIRINCIONE: Yes, this is a question of was this trip really necessary. Back in 2002, when we were engaged, the United States was engaged in talks with North Korea, we broke those talks off over allegations that North Korea had cheated on the agreement that had frozen its plutonium production program for the past eight years. We said that we now had evidence that North Korea was starting up a program on enriching uranium. What we now find out years later is that that intelligence was exaggerated. Remember, this was the same time that we had exaggerated intelligence on Iraq. Once again, we have exaggerated intelligence on North Korea involving aluminum tubes, the same issue that came up in Iraq.
CLANCY: But, Joe, didn't -- but they did explode nuclear bombs, didn't they?
CIRINCIONE: Yes. Well, what happened was, as a result of the breaking off of the talks, we alleged that North Korea was building a uranium enrichment plant -- this does not appear to be true -- and that they soon, that is by now, could be producing two or three bombs worth of uranium. That does not appear to be true at all. As a result, we broke the talks off. North Korea then unfroze its program, started producing plutonium and this led eventually to the test last October. The question is, could the U.S. have prevented this whole sequence of events if it had stayed in the talks, continued the negotiations and such shut the program down then, what we're trying to do now.
CLANCY: All right. Joe Cirincione, as always, thank you very much.
CIRINCIONE: My pleasure, Jim.
CLANCY: An important story we need to keep following.
All right, we're going to take a short break. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
CLANCY: Welcome back, everyone. To the Middle East. Now there is a new attempt to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians.
CHURCH: That's right. And it doesn't have anything to do with politicians or a precarious peace process.
CLANCY: For the first time in some 40 years, a Palestinian newspaper is on newsstands in Israel.
CHURCH: Now the big question, of course, could it lead to greater understanding. Atika Shubert takes a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): The "Palestine Times" is printed in Ramallah on the West Bank. But now you can buy it in Israel. The first Palestinian paper to be sold here since the 1967 war. Othman Haj Mohammad, the editor in chief, started the paper late last year with his own money. The aim, he says, to bring the world a Palestinian perspective, especially to Israelis.
OTHMAN HAJ MOHAMMAD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "PALESTINE TIMES": This is the first time I think a newspaper is trying to show the Palestinians as a human beings, rather than just enemies, you know?
SHUBERT: But as an English language daily, the "Palestine Times" has limited reach, especially in Israel where Hebrew is the language of most.
A quick glance at the headlines shows how different the "Palestine Times" is to its Israeli competitors. While others go with news of a nationwide strike and anti-terror drills, the "Palestine Times" provocatively reads, "East Jerusalem Is Occupied Territory." But will Israel's pay to read a Palestinian point of view.
Many Israelis we spoke to welcomed it as an opportunity for dialogue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that it will be very important because people are getting more extreme on both sides. We can see this both on the Palestinian side and on the Israeli side.
SHUBERT: Others were not pleased but declined to say so on camera. This woman was the only one to express her reservations to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not 100 percent sure that I feel good about this concept of a Palestinian paper in Jerusalem, in the holy land.
SHUBERT: We tried young and old, men and women. Many declined. One person snapped at us off cameras, "Palestinians can take their papers and go to Jordan."
Even these student musicians declined to be interviewed, but asked rhetorically, who would pay to read what Arabs think? The "Palestine Times" is ready and available for Israelis, but is Israel ready for the "Palestine Times."
Atika Shubert, CNN, Jerusalem.
CLANCY: That is our report for now. For our viewers in the United States, "CNN Newsroom" with Don Lemon and Brianna Keilar is next.
CHURCH: And for the rest of you, stay tuned for CNN Connects, "India's Generation Next."
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