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YOUR WORLD TODAY
Judge to Rule on Hilton's Early Release From Jail; President Bush Moves on to Poland, With Stop in Rome Later
Aired June 8, 2007 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It seems everyone in Los Angeles is on hand for the latest Paris Hilton courtroom event, even Paris Hilton, although she will be a little late.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again, we see two standards of justice. One for the rich and famous, and one for the poor.
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STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And another no-show. This time, it's U.S. President George W. Bush, who misses some of the closing events of the G8 summit in Germany.
MCEDWARDS: And not many tears are being shed as the U.S. Senate shelves a compromised immigration bill. But the question remains, what now?
It is 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 6:00 p.m. in Germany.
Hello and welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.
I'm Colleen McEdwards.
FRAZIER: I'm Stephen Frazier.
From Hollywood to Heiligendamm, from Milan to the Middle East, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
MCEDWARDS: Well, the sheriff was on her side, but it all comes down to the judge. Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton is due in court this hour for a hearing that could put her back behind bars.
FRAZIER: In fact, the judge has ordered the sheriff to go get her and bring her here. she was going to try to make this hearing on the phone. Her early release from jail did a lot more than raise eyebrows. It raised fundamental questions of fairness.
MCEDWARDS: That's right. She returned to her Hollywood mansion in the Hollywood Hills on Thursday. She served just a fraction of her sentence, just a few days. The sheriff's office said it reassigned her because of an undisclosed medical condition.
FRAZIER: But that isn't sitting well with the judge who originally sentenced her. He is now reviewing her case, and he wants to do that in her presence. As we said, she had implied to attend this hearing by telephone only, but the judge said to the sheriff, go get her, bring her to court.
MCEDWARDS: That's right, bring her in.
Now, as things stand now, Hilton is to serve 40 days of home confinement. She's being monitored electronically with an ankle bracelet. Hilton was jailed for violating probation from a reckless driving charge.
Now, critics say Hilton's early release exposes some deep flaws in the U.S. legal system, suggesting that money and fame can essentially buy you freedom in the United States.
FRAZIER: And civil rights activist Al Sharpton is among them. He says this case smacks of economic and racial favoritism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I'm convinced that if Paris Hilton was the daughter of a white worker in West Virginia, in the coal mines, or a black millionaire rapper, she would not have gotten treated like this. There are class issues here, there are race issues here.
In terms of just normal everyday people, I have never had as many calls at the National Action Network by just average people saying...
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Really?
SHARPTON: ... this is outrageous. And I think that the system of justice, how it's dispersed, is the issue that we're dealing with here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRAZIER: Well, these are live pictures of the Hilton mansion that we're looking at now. And there are, believe it or not, a lot of supporters of Paris Hilton gathered. We saw one big sign that said, "We love Paris".
But let's get more of the legal implications of all of this from Lisa Bloom, who's with Court TV and who joins us now from New York.
You heard what Al Sharpton said, that a lot of people have told him this is outrageous. Can you give us any sense legally of how this is not outrageous?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: Well, there's only the sheriff and Paris Hilton who say that she was released because of medical reasons. We don't know what those medical reasons are. The reports are that it was something between a rash and psychological stress.
I can tell you that the overwhelming reaction here in the United States from all of the legal commentators, from all of the people who watch my show on Court TV has been very negative. This is a huge outrage and an embarrassment to the American legal system.
You know, one third of inmates in jails in the United States have serious medical problems -- diabetes, cancer, AIDS -- and they don't get released. And Paris Hilton gets released because she's supposedly has some stress or she's having a bad hair day. It does not sit well with most people here.
FRAZIER: Is there anything else going on behind -- I do know that the jails are crowded there. And they try to get anybody who is not a menace to society out.
FRAZIER: It's subject to somebody else's opinion whether Paris Hilton menaces other drivers or other citizens.
FRAZIER: But this is really just the medical stuff?
BLOOM: Well, yesterday, the sheriff's department spokesman did not raise the overcrowding issue as the reason for her release. That's been raised afterwards by people in support of Paris. But the only reason he gave was the medical reason, that she was having some kind of a medical problem.
Apparently, she kept pushing the medical alert button in her jail cell over and over again. She was crying all night. She was very unhappy being there in jail, as thousands of people are when they get sentenced to jail.
It is true that the jails are overcrowded, that many people are released early. But again, that was not the reason given for Paris Hilton's release.
FRAZIER: Let's talk about why she is in jail. I mean, very few people would actually go to jail for a first DUI offense. This is a violation of her probation.
FRAZIER: And the judge had always made it clear that if you violate this probation, you will not serve your sentence at home.
BLOOM: Right, don't mess with the judge. That's the message here. And that may be a little precursor of what may happen today.
She was arrested back in September for driving erratically under the influence of alcohol. She pleaded guilty to that. No contest. It's the same as a guilty charge.
She then was given probation only, no jail time. She had to just not drive for a period of about three months.
She got caught again driving erratically, in violation of her probation. She was given another chance, please just stick to the terms of your probation. She violated it again.
So, each time, in the eyes of many, she really has been a menace out there on the roads, driving under the influence, driving erratically. She was given chance after chance.
Finally, the judge sentenced her to 45 days behind bars. Then he reduced it to 23 days, supposedly, because of the overcrowding, and in his order he said she's got to serve those 23 days. No electronic monitoring, no work release, nothing.
And the judge seems to have been as surprised as the prosecutor yesterday to see the media reports that she snuck out in the middle of the night with the sheriff's blessing at about 2:00 a.m., that she was released. So the judge has ordered everybody to come back in this morning. And that's what we're seeing now.
We expect that hearing to get under way shortly. Get in to the courtroom, and let's get to the bottom of what went on.
FRAZIER: Are you hearing what we are, too, that the sheriff who permitted this release may be brought in and may be subject to some kind of contempt of court order?
BLOOM: Yes, absolutely. The judge seems very unhappy with the sheriff's office and the way that this thing went down, this surreptitious middle of the night release of Paris Hilton in violation of the judge's order.
You know, many people have been calling for an investigation of the sheriff's department because this thing does not look good. It does not bode well for the sense of justice we have here in the United States where everybody is supposed to be treated equally.
So, what was going on? What was the justification in the sheriff's office? If, indeed, it's a legitimate medical release, why did she get it and why didn't people with much more serious medical problems get that same kind of treatment?
FRAZIER: Well, Lisa, you are just now touching on some of the much larger questions here that people are asking, but we'd like you to stand by for a minute before we discuss those again, because we want to bring in some other guests who are helping us understand what's happening.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. I mean, there are some important issues, to be sure, but this is a celebrity issue as well. And love her or hate her, it seems that everyone has got an opinion on Paris Hilton and her case.
Our entertainment reporter, Sibila Vargas, is live for us in Hollywood now. Sibila, boy, now that we hear that she's going to be ordered to come into court, talk about the money shot. Everybody is going to be trying to get that one.
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. And we're hearing though that she's not going to be going through the front door. They have a very specific door which they're not telling us that she's going to be entering through. They do not want anybody to take pictures or profit from this.
But it's going to be quite a crazy fest out there, a media festival. So -- but what's really interesting about this whole thing is that this is getting more bizarre by the minute.
Apparently, she was supposed to appear in court earlier today. And then there was talk that no, she would actually do a phoner. And now the L.A. County Superior Court judge is basically saying that she does have to be there.
So, it just doesn't get any better than this. It just doesn't get any more bizarre.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. You know, Sibila, you know, as you're talking there, our affiliate, KABC, has got a great live shot of the home there now. You can actually see essentially a bank of reporters standing there just outside the entryway on the opposite side of the street where I guess presumably they come out.
They may have a back door into the courthouse, but I don't know how many options she has for getting out of her own house.
VARGAS: Right. Absolutely. It's been absolutely crazy.
And I think as bizarre as the coverage has been, it's been just as bizarre, this -- just the whole thing from the very beginning, May 4th, when she got the sentencing. Not too many people thought that she would be going to jail.
Of course the judge surprises everyone, gives her 45 days in jail. Then later, Kathy Hilton is in court making a spectacle of herself, her mother, very upset at the prosecutor, very upset at the judge, pretty much berating them.
Then after that we hear that her 45-day sentence is going to be lowered to 23 days in jail. That's pretty bizarre, pretty outrageous.
And then we hear that she's going to be staying in a special housing unit. But if that's not crazy enough, then she's released from jail and she is then going to be spending time at home to do the rest of her sentence.
So, everything about this, you never know. It's got so many twists and turns. And to think that it's only been a month into this.
Back to you.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. And just stay with us, Sibila. Steven is going to jump in here for a second.
FRAZIER: We want to go back to Lisa Bloom here, who has been covering American jurisprudence from coast to coast.
And I have to ask, based on your experience, if it's only California that seems to be so loopy. Remember that we're now, you know, being seen by viewers around the world. And this does look like another example of the -- you know, just the nuttiness of the American jurisprudence system.
BLOOM: Well, I'm from Los Angeles, so I'm sorry to say it, but I believe there is some truth to that criticism.
It wasn't so long ago the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department came under criticism for giving Mel Gibson a pass, for having part of his arrest record taken out, where he had made some anti-Semitic comments, where he had been ranting and raving under the influence of alcohol.
You know, an ordinary person would not have their arrest record cleaned up to make them look a little bit better. And apparently that happened for Mel Gibson.
Los Angeles is also where O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges, were Robert Blake was acquitted of murder charges, where Phil Specter is currently on trial. So there is a history of a certain star-struck attitude amongst the authorities out there in Los Angeles.
But apparently, the judge in this case is not having it. And he's perhaps trying to change some of that by ordering this hearing this morning.
FRAZIER: All right. Well, we are grateful for that sort of national insight there.
Lisa Bloom, thank you for bringing us your national perspective.
Sibila Vargas, thank you, too, for joining us.
BLOOM: Thank you.
FRAZIER: We want to let folks know that we will keep one eye on that scene right there.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. KABC, our affiliate, is providing these pictures for us. And as soon as there is any movement, as soon as we see anything in this Paris Hilton case, the latest twists and turns, we'll bring it to you live.
FRAZIER: And before we leave that story, we'd just like to let folks that we would be willing to hear your thoughts on all of this, too.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. What do you think of this early release? Is she receiving special treatment?
I'll tell you, we have been getting e-mails all morning from all around the world. So we do want to hear from you.
Our address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to tell us your name and where you're writing from as well.
All right. Let's move on now.
Leaders of the world's industrialized nations have wrapped up their summit in Germany.
FRAZIER: Somehow, they managed to do some work. They were not distracted by everything that's happening with Paris Hilton. And they actually had meetings there.
Host Angela Merkel called the whole G8 summit a success. She touted far-reaching agreements on a host of issues.
MCEDWARDS: Among them, progress, but no complete agreement on the issue of global warming with a clear mandate to get back to the negotiating table once again, essentially, is what they said.
FRAZIER: On the Middle East, Chancellor Merkel said there was broad consensus to use every opportunity to try to move the peace process ahead.
MCEDWARDS: She touted the $60 billion pledge in aid for Africa, but said it was not enough, encouraging G8 members to do more.
FRAZIER: And on Iran and its nuclear program, Ms. Merkel said there was agreement to support additional sanctions if those are needed.
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ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The language used by the Iranian president is absolutely unacceptable and absolutely preposterous. This is retraced over and over again.
That's precisely why we resolutely and precisely have responded. The international community has also adopted these sanctions over and over again in the U.N. Security Council. There are absolutely no excuses for this. It's utterly unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCEDWARDS: Also at the G8, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, repeated his firm opposition to a planned U.S. missile defense shield for Europe. He says essentially there's no need for it. And that is why he has proposed sharing an existing facility in Azerbaijan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There is no need to build new (INAUDIBLE) systems in the Czech Republic and (INAUDIBLE) in Poland. These (INAUDIBLE) can just be placed in the south. This is just a hypothetical thought. We need to have conversations with specific countries, but these countries could be allies of the United States (INAUDIBLE) maybe, and Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRAZIER: Well, while President Putin was making those post-G8 comments, U.S. President George Bush was already on his way to Poland, where that missile defense plan and Mr. Putin's counterproposal are sure to be discussed with new president there Lech Kaczynski.
Mr. Bush will also fly on to Rome, where he has meetings planned with the prime minter and also with the pope.
Alessio Vinci is live from Rome with a preview of what awaits the president in Italy.
But first, before he gets to you there, Alessio, let's talk about this discussion in Poland, which has been such a strong ally, you know. And which the president, at least, has been happy to accept the notion of interceptor missiles. But that whole thing now, Alessio, may be subject to change because of these counterproposals.
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is correct, Stephen.
A brief visit in Poland just three hours, but a very important for the U.S. president there. First of all, to thank Poland, as one of the U.S.'s closest allies in the war on terror here in Europe. In fact, the president has invited the Polish president to the United States in mid-July.
And as you mentioned, missile defense shield on top of the agenda during this working dinner taking that's taking place now in the northern sea resort of (INAUDIBLE), northern Poland, where the president has a summer retreat. And clearly, they are, of course, discussing whether or not indeed the U.S. still wants to go ahead and build a missile defense shield that includes obviously missiles here -- or in Poland.
Now, the Russian president, we heard that he's completely against this program has offered the possibility of setting those missiles in Azerbaijan. And therefore, the question is whether or not now Poland is still necessary or not.
The Polish prime minister was also quoted as saying that he did not receive any kind of report, that the Americans had changed their minds. Nevertheless, this is still an issue under discussion.
U.S. officials traveling with the United States president are saying that everything is on the table and everything has to be discussed. And indeed -- and indeed, the Russian president will go to the United States in July, also.
So, all of this is still up for grabs. And, of course, it is the top of the discussion at this point in Poland -- Stephen. FRAZIER: All right. And we know what he's done there. He's on his way to you, some very important meetings in Rome. But they're telling us here now, Alessio, that we are out of time, so we will save the discussion of that for when he actually gets there.
It's good to see you now.
Alessio Vinci, thank you.
MCEDWARDS: All right. Well, they know the territory. And now they are helping U.S. troops.
FRAZIER: Coming up on YOUR WORLD TODAY, an about-face for some Iraqi fighters. We'll tell you why they're teaming up with American forces now.
MCEDWARDS: Also ahead, a measure that would give illegal immigrants in the U.S. a chance at legal status gets blocked on Capitol Hill.
FRAZIER: And abducted after the September 11th attacks. An Italian court opens its first criminal trial, accusing U.S. and Italian agents of kidnapping a terrorism suspect.
MCEDWARDS: And we are watching for the latest on the Paris Hilton case. The judge has apparently ordered her to appear in court at a hearing that is supposed to get under way shortly.
A look at a shot of the mansion where she is now and expected to arrive at the court. We will bring you live details as soon as we get them.
FRAZIER: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY.
Live pictures here of the Mediterranean-style villa in West Hollywood Hills, California, inside which the future the republic and indeed the world are at rest. Or maybe not, but you might think so giving the press and reporters there waiting for the appearance of Paris Hilton, who has been ordered out of this house and before a judge who will discuss the terms of her incarceration going forward -- Colleen.
MCEDWARDS: That's right. There was supposed to be a hearing at the courthouse here. Originally, it was reported that Paris Hilton decided to phone into that hearing. But the judge has apparently said no phoning in my court. He wants her to come in, in person, and explain this medical condition she apparently has.
He also wants to find out from the sheriff how she was essentially transferred to house arrest.
We'll bring you the latest just as soon as it happens.
FRAZIER: We're are, meantime, keeping an eye on other events in the world, including in Iraq, where dozens of people have died in new violence. As insurgents step up attacks outside the capital city, Baghdad, in the southern town of Kirna (ph), a parked minibus blew up on a crowded street, killing at least 15 people, injuring 25. A big blast there.
In northern Iraq, near Kirkuk, at least 13 people were killed, 22 hurt in a series of separate blasts, including one car bomb outside a Shiite mosque.
Also in the north, in Baquba, gunmen burst into the home of a top official. In that invasion, they killed 14 people, including the official's wife and bodyguard.
MCEDWARDS: Now, that last attack in Iraq happened in Baquba, as Stephen just mentioned. And this is one of the most dangerous regions in Iraq, still.
The town was considered a hotbed of the al Qaeda network, but as Karl Penhaul reports, fighters who used to attack coalition forces are now siding with U.S. troops and fighting a common enemy.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This was enemy territory. But now, American soldiers chat casually with former foes. It's a marriage of convenience.
Nationalist Iraqi insurgents once fiercely anti-American are now siding with U.S. forces to battle al Qaeda.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They rule Buruts (ph) with tyranny. They really harmed our town, so we had to stop them. And they left. No return.
PENHAUL (on camera): These three gunmen are all members of what is now called the Neighborhood Watch. All three say that they're active members of the 1920s brigades, a national insurgent faction that until three months ago was fighting against the Americans.
(voice over): This is Diyala province, 14 miles north of Baghdad. These men say they drove al Qaeda out of their hometown, Buruts (ph), after a week-long battle in April. The leader of this neighborhood points out the wreckage of war.
He leads me to a small weapons store and explains that his men cut a deal with the Americans that they would not patrol with their Kalashnikov rifles in daylight hours. But in case of an al Qaeda attack, they say they still retain heavier weapons, like these machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, the very weapons they used in this firefight against U.S. forces back in October, 2004.
Regional commander General Benjamin Mixon confirms U.S. forces are cultivating an alliance with former anti-American factions and Iraqi civilian groups in the fight against al Qaeda.
(on camera): Will the assistance or the coordination with these former insurgent groups extend to arming their or helping them out in logistics in any sense?
GEN. BENJAMIN MIXON, U.S. REGIONAL COMMANDER IN IRAQ: It certainly will. We have seen this in counterinsurgency operations before, using local nationals, if you will, arming them, forming them into scouts, if you will. And that's the primary role that we want to use them in. They know the territory, they know the enemy.
PENHAUL (voice over): Captain Ben Richards is the U.S. officer putting General Mixon's policy into practice in Buruts (ph). This man known as Abu Ali is his key ally.
He says he was never an insurgent, but was an officer in Saddam Hussein's feared military intelligence unit. Now he's coordinating the backlash by nationalist insurgents and other local citizens against al Qaeda. That means staying in constant communication with American forces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much was it for the radios?
PENHAUL: Right down to providing Captain Richards with walkie- talkies.
CPT. BEN RICHARDS, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ: If we go into it with the mindset that every one of these persons has tried to kill an American, I think you're just setting yourself up. First, I don't think it's true. Though in may cases it may be true. But you're setting yourself up for a picture or a mindset that is not going to be productive either for us or for the Iraqi people.
PENHAUL: The unlikely alliance appears to be scoring some remarkable successes. In streets where U.S. soldiers just weeks ago had to fight every step, they can now stroll at sundown without fear of attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Before, when al Qaeda was here, it was all killing and stealing. We would hide in our houses at this time of day. It was all kidnapping, killing and stealing.
PENHAUL: For Abu Ali, there's more in this new alliance than just combating the extremism of al Qaeda. He hopes it will hasten the end of what he regards as the U.S. occupation.
ABU ALI, LOCAL MILITARY COORDINATOR (through translator): After we are done with al Qaeda, we will ask the Americans to pull out of Iraq. If they do not withdraw, there will be violations, and the American army will be harmed, especially after the help they have provided us. We would like them to go home as our friend, not enemy.
PENHAUL: For these former insurgents it is a marriage of convenience with the Americans, not a life-time commitment.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, Buruts (ph), Iraq.
FRAZIER: And here we take a break.
But still ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY, U.S. immigration reform may not be happening any time soon now.
MCEDWARDS: A divisive U.S. immigration bill fails a crucial test in the Senate. And we will tell you what happened there.
FRAZIER: Also, we're keeping an eye on this house in West Hollywood, California. Paris Hilton's home.
We're told by a spokesman for the judge that the sheriff is on his way to collect her and bring her to this courthouse, where she must appear in person to review the terms of her incarceration.
MCEDWARDS: We'll have the latest coming up.
MCEDWARDS: A live picture there from KABC, our affiliate, of the West Hollywood mansion of Paris Hilton. There are iron bars around the walkway there, but a prison it is not. And that is the subject of a huge controversy around the world today.
FRAZIER: We're told that the sheriff's office has sent representatives, and they're on their way to this home now to collect Paris Hilton, the young woman there on the upper left -- upper right, sorry -- and to bring her to court for a face-to-face hearing with the judge who initially set the terms of her probation.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. He said no house arrest. A decision was made by the sheriff to essentially move her to house arrest just a few days after arriving in jail.
And just as soon as we see any movement or get any information, we will bring it to you live.
Now we want to turn to business news.
So much for record highs. Financial markets in the United States have been taken a beating this week. But considering how much they're up, I don't know. It was bound to happen at some point, right?
FRAZIER: Well, surely they're paralyzed today as traders look at their monitors to see what is happening with Paris Hilton. But let's see if there's any action on the floor. Actually, things seem to up a little bit.
Let's turn to Stephanie Elam in New York to see how they're doing on the last day of the week, trading day.
MCEDWARDS: Hey, Stephanie.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Stephen and Colleen.
I don't know about that transition between Paris to me, I don't know.
MCEDWARDS: See it to try (ph).
ELAM: That's a tough one, all right.
Well, on Monday, the DOW and the S&P 500 closed at an all-time high. But then, interest rate worries kicked in and there was nowhere to go but down. In the past three days, the DOW lost more than 400 points, but right now, hey, we've got some green on the screen.
Helping sentiment today, a fresh report on the trade deficit. The gap between what America sells abroad and what it imports dropped by more than six percent. With the economy and consumer spending slowing, imports fell by the largest amount in eight months. However, the politically-sensitive imbalance with China increased.
Right now, taking a look at the numbers, the DOW Industrial is up 27 points, at 13,293. The NASDAQ better by about half a percent, and the S&P 500 is up about a quarter of a percent.
DOW component McDonald's is gaining one-and-a-half percent. The fast-food giant said world-wide sales rose nearly nine percent in May, beating expectations. Helping McDonald's, a big green ogre named Shrek. The new "Shrek" movie came out just last month, and McDonald's used the character to push its healthier menu items, like salads, fruits and vegetables.
McDonald's strongest segment continues to be overseas sales, including Asia and the Middle East. Because of that, the world's largest restaurant chain is now opening 800 new locations in China, Japan, and Russia this year. But McDonald's will now face some new competition in Japan. Today, Burger King opens its first restaurant there.
The news continues in a moment. Stay with us.
MCEDWARDS: Welcome back to our viewers joining us from more than 200 countries and territories around the globe, including the United States.
FRAZIER: This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Stephen Frazier.
MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.
Some of the top stories that we're following.
FRAZIER: It's the kind of day where we'll always have Paris.
Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton out of jail, but for how much longer? There's a lot more legal wrangling in her case at this hour as prosecutors challenge her early release from a California jail. The judge ordered Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies to go to her home, which is what we're looking at right now, live pictures from Hollywood, and bring the heiress to court for her face-to-face hearing with the judge, who is listening to arguments about whether she should be returned to her cell or remain confined at that posh Hollywood home.
MCEDWARDS: The 2007 summit of major industrialized nations, or the G-8, has concluded in Germany. The summit president, Angela Merkel called it a successful gathering, tackling a wide range of pressing global concerns. Chancellor Merkel said that there was broad consensus on the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, and even on global warming.
FRAZIER: Climate change in fact, and aid for Africa too, were among the main topics on the G-8 agenda. For the most part, the two are considered separate and distinct issues, but for Africans, they are really intertwined.
Ralitsa Vassileva has some insight.
RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN ANCHOR: The G-8 pledged more money to combat diseases and recommitted itself to aid for Africa, but all the aid in the world would make no difference if the industrialized countries don't solve their differences on climate change because in Africa, global warming can exacerbate some of the very problems that the G-8 is pledging to solve.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is not just about agriculture and food, it is also about disease. More than 110 million people in Africa live in regions prone to malaria epidemics. Even slight changes in rain fall and temperature could increase this figure by up to 80 million by the end of the century.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VASSILEVA: The G-8's pledges to Africa include development assistance, education, debt relief, and at least $60 billion to help fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Malaria in particular is a problem that could get a lot worse as a direct affect of climate change. The United Nations estimate that at least a million Africans die of malaria each year, and the G-8's goal is to cut that in half over the next few years.
But if climate change continues unabated, the development group Christian Aid (ph) estimates that as many as 182 million people in Africa could die from malaria and other diseases by the end of the century. A year (ph) report finds climate change could also seriously impact access to drinking water to as many as 250 million people on the continent by the year 2020, and agricultural production on the continent will be cut in half.
And that's despite the fact that of all the continents, Africa contributes the least to climate change. The U.N. says the temperature in these shaded areas that you see in orange has increased by up to two degrees celsius since 1970 despite the continent's relatively low carbon dioxide emissions. Experts say to avert disaster, Africa needs to adapt to climate change, but it also needs help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, CLIMATE SCIENTIST: Unfortunately, in poor countries, there's a limited capability to do that. So, I think the solution lies more with the wealthy countries, both helping Africa to prepare for adaptation, but more importantly, reducing their emissions of the green house gases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VASSILEVA: And last year, the G-8 promised to help fund a 250 million dollar climate data collections system for Africa. It would serve as an early warning system of sorts, helping African countries prevent crops from failing and protecting their people from the spread of deadly diseases like malaria.
But so far, besides some seed money from the U.K., little has been delivered.
Back to you.
MCEDWARDS: All right Ralitsa, thanks very much.
Well, let's return now to what is certainly one of the most talked about stories of the day, the dizzying turn of events for Paris Hilton. The billionaire heiress and celebrity is due back in court after trading her jail cell for home confinement.
We are joined now by Harvey Levin, he is managing editor of TMZ.com. He is in Oakdale, California.
Harvey, it's great to have you.
HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: Good being here.
MCEDWARDS: You know, you guys have had some good scoops on your site. What's the latest now? I mean, are you hearing that she definitely will appear in court in person?
LEVIN: Yes, the judge has ordered her to be in court. So, right now, she's still at her house. Everybody's in court except her. So, they're waiting, and the Sheriff's Department, we're told, has gone over there and they're going to pick her up. And it is like, you know, shades of the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase these days.
The city is turned on its head, and it's hilarious.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, I'd like to see the trail of paparazzi following that sheriff's vehicle. It would be incredible.
LEVIN: You know what, I don't think that's going to happen ...
MCEDWARDS: Yes. LEVIN: ... because there's so much security that they're holding the paparazzi at bay right now. You know what it's going to be? It's going to actually be from the air, that they're going to have helicopters following the car to the courthouse. I mean, this thing has just galvanized the city.
I mean, everybody's pissed off at everybody else. The Sheriff's Department's angry at the city attorney, angry at the judge. The judge is angry at Paris Hilton. So, I mean, this is going to be an explosion inside the courthouse today.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, I mean, you know, all cibiting (ph) aside, about how bizarre this is and what an incredible character she is, there are some serious legal issues here, too, right? I mean, you're a lawyer. Is there any doubt in your mind that this just points to preferential treatment for rich people?
LEVIN: Well, we call it celebrity justice. And is there celebrity justice in L.A.? Of course, there is.
But in this case, it's complicated. This judge was so wrong to give her 45 days. I mean, he nailed her because she's a celebrity. And that's not why -- you shouldn't treat them more harshly or less harshly because they're celebs. And nobody gets a 45 days for an offense like that. Nobody. And everybody who goes to jail for an offense like this, they get out in two or three days. So, she really got out in the appropriate amount of time, but the way the judge did it, the sheriff's department kind of had to do an end around and ultimately, we found out that they all came up with the idea that she's bordering on a nervous breakdown, so they had to put her in home confinement. And that just triggered a fire storm in L.A.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. Is that the medical condition?
LEVIN: Well, she has a shrink. Interestingly, a couple weeks ago, that same shrink went into court. Paris was being sued by a socialite who said that Paris defamed her. That case was supposed to go to trial. On the day of the trial, that same shrink went into court and said Paris is a basket case. She's so overwrought, she can't even participate in her own defense. So the lawyer asked for a continuance and the judge granted it. So, you know, it seems like there is something going on in her head that is beyond jail.
MCEDWARDS: You know, you have raised the question of whether she should have even be sentenced to that length of time in the first place. You've mentioned that there's obviously some precedence for what is going on here. But it sort of gets down to the mechanics of how it was done, doesn't it?
Shouldn't there have been some sort of a hearing before this judge to determine whether she could be monitored and sent home?
LEVIN: Well, you can make the argument, certainly. But, typically, in L.A., when it comes to misdemeanors, it's the sheriff's departments ball game. They are the ones that have to deal with the fact that there are more prisoners than beds in these jails, and something's got to give. And the way it gives, based on federal law in some cases, is that they make decisions. The person who is the least violent, the smallest offender, they're the ones that go home first.
MCEDWARDS: You know several rights activists are saying if this were a 26-year-old black man, there is no way he would be getting out.
LEVIN: And those civil rights activists are stupid because that has nothing to do with race. This has to do with whether a celebrity is treated better than Joe Blow. That's what this issue is about. Bringing race up is dumb and its dishonest.
LEVIN: But there's a legitimate debate going on.
MCEDWARDS: Yes. Harvey Levin, you have touched on a lot of it for us. I thank you so much for joining us.
MCEDWARDS: Harvey Levin of TMZ.com. Really appreciate that. Harvey says she will definitely be going into court. That is what we have heard as well. KABC, our affiliate, has this great shot of the west Hollywood mansion and as soon as we have any developments in the story, we'll bring it to you right here on CNN. Don't go away.
MCEDWARDS: Some live pictures to show you now from west Hollywood, California, where we're awaiting any news on the Paris Hilton case. Where a judge has apparently ordered her out of her west Hollywood mansion and into a courtroom to face the music, so to speak, and explain exactly what medical condition she says prevents her from serving out her full sentence in jail. We will bring you the latest, just as soon as we get it.
FRAZIER: In the meantime, there is a trail under way in Italy for 26 American citizens and 7 Italians who are accused of kidnapping an Egyptian terrorism suspect in Milan. But all of the Americans and most of the Italians are absent from the courtroom. The trial, though, has the potential to make public for the first time, details of the CIA's highly controversial Rendition Program. Jennifer Eccleston has more.
JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At Milan's stately courthouse, a post-9/11 judicial milestone. An alleged case of extraordinary rendition and the first time anyone is on trial in connection with one of the most controversial aspects of President George W. Bush's war on terrorism.
Thirty-three people, 26 Americans, most thought to be CIA, and seven Italian security officials. Prosecutors charge all were involved in the abduction of a terror suspect, a Muslim cleric, Osama Nasr Mustafa Hassan, or, Abu Omar. MONTY RAPHAEL, INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION: The reason why it's significant now is because it's going to throw into sharp focus the alleged illegality of some of the U.S. counter terrorist measures they have taken.
ECCLESTON: During alleged Rendition, terror suspects were taken for questions from one country and flown to another where many claim they were tortured. Washington acknowledges these secret transfers but denies torturing suspects or handing them to countries that do.
Italian prosecutors say in February 2003, Abu Omar was snatched from a Milan street and bundled into a van, taken to a nearby U.S. air base, flown to Germany and then to his native Egypt. There, Abu Omar was jailed, and he says, tortured. He was freed in February, but remains wanted in Italy.
Abu Omar was suspected of recruiting men to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and was under heavy survalence by Italy's intelligence agency. Its chief at the time, Nicola Pauli, denies any knowledge of CIA renditions, but he, too, is on trial, as well as other intelligence and police officers. And so are former CIA station chief in Milan, his superior in Rome, and a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. But no Americans are standing before a Milan judge. All 26 have left Italy, and their case is presented in absentia. The government Romano Prodi has yet to ask Washington to extradite the Americans and he's asked Italy's highest court to dismiss the trial outright, claiming prosecution evidence is a breach of state secrets.
A verdict in that case is pending, and until one is issued, the Abu Omar trial goes on. Despite what appears to be significant legal hurdles, journalist, Carlo Bonino, says the trial is deeply symbolic.
CARLO BONINO, LA REPUBBLICA: The message to the U.S. administration is that Europeans are not bound to cross again the line of the human rights, of the fundamental liberties in order to fight a war on terror.
ECCLESTON (on camera): Although Italy is the scene of the first trial for the extraordinary Rendition Program, there are investigations in several other European countries over the alleged disappearance of suspects tied to the U.S. war on terror.
Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, Rome.
MCEDWARDS: Still ahead here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, it often ranks as public enemy number one on America's talk radio.
FRAZIER: Especially those conservative talk shows. Now this global institution is opening its doors to some of the people who love to hate it. Diplomacy, United Nations style, when we come back.
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BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Pace was supposed to be away out of the building today. he has just returned to the building, and at this hour, we are told, he -- the general, is meeting with his senior staff. That announcement from Secretary Gates expected within 10 minutes.
FRAZIER: It's very significant to have this early warning of this, Barbara. Is there any background of this now that would help explain why the general, who is widely respected and seen as competent and modest in his personal demeanor, would not be signed on again?
STARR: You know, that's exactly right. General Pace is extremely highly respected. And it is not clear why the administration, if this announcement pans out in the next 10 minutes, has come to this decision. General Pace has served six years, both as vice and chairman. That is the usual limit, but the waiver had been arranged.
It may well be that Secretary Gates or the president has decided that they simply want a new face on this war, but on the other hand, General Pace is one of a handful of officers, senior officers still on the job with the institutional background and expertise of what has transpired over the last five years. So, where Secretary Gates will turn to fill the job and what kind of expertise may be lost if General Pace leaves remains to be seen, Stephen.
FRAZIER: And I know it's very early hours for all of this, but is there any hinting of who might be brought forward then as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
STARR: You know, it's just breaking now here in the hallways of the Pentagon. There are a lot of rumors, but you know, no -- no good solid leads at the moment. I think we're going to find out in the next few minutes.
FRAZIER: Barbara Starr joining us from the Pentagon. Thank you, Barbara, we'll be turning to you a little bit later on and we will bring that news conference from the Pentagon direct to our viewers. (INAUDIBLE).
MCEDWARDS: That's right, Barbara had to get moving there quite quickly ...
FRAZIER: So busy.
MCEDWARDS: ...as she's wanted (ph) to try to get this story confirmed. We'll bring it to you.
We want to give you another look at the Paris Hilton mansion. You see it right there. Police cars just this second pulling up to the front gate there. This is the west Hollywood mansion of the Hilton family. There were a couple of police cars that came in ahead of this one. And then this one pulled up, stopped at the front gate.
We are waiting and watching closely here because of this twisted turn of events just over the past couple of hours or so. It was originally thought that Paris Hilton would not attend L.A. County Court, that she would only talk by phone, but apparently the judge in this case ordered the sheriff to go and pick her up, bring her into the courthouse, have her appear in court to explain whatever the illness is we're told that she has that prevents her from serving out a sentence that the judge ordered. And the judge was specific when handing down that sentence that home confinement was not an option here.
But at some point, the sheriff apparently allowed home confinement to take place. Door opening here. Let's just watch. Two gentlemen coming out.
Earlier today, there was quite a scene in front of the house. You can still see all the media there on the opposite side of the street, but people were bringing gifts in, some of her favorite cupcakes from a local restaurant where she would order them were brought and were passed in, literally or symbolically if you will, through the bars in that gate there at the front, sent into her.
And there have been aerial shots showing the size of the house. And a lot of people really mocking this whole thing, saying this is not a punishment. Others saying, you know, she should never have received a sentence like this in the first place.
FRAZIER: Well, for all of the people eager to get a glimpse of Paris Hilton, there may be a little bit of cold water dashed on them. We're told that although this conference is occurring in full view in the front of the house, that she's actually going to go out the back door and that there may be some other vans or police -- sheriff's cars back there.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, there's a huge amount of security around this of course. We don't know what will happen, but we'll keep our eyes on it, of course, and just bring you any developments as we get them. Right now, there seems to be a conversation going on at the front gate there. And again, we've got our affiliate, KABC and others with various shots of this area.
You know, at one point, there was even a banner saying "We Love Paris" hanging over the area as well. So, lots of people with different feelings, different opinions on this story.
FRAZIER: And whatever is being discussed here seems to have just wrapped up. The two representatives who came out to meet with these sheriff's deputies have taken back the request or the information that they needed to, and we expect there'll be some decision then on what happens next. It looks like various law enforcement officials are being deployed here. You pointed out.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, that's right. I mean, you've got the car parked in front there, and we did -- just before we took these pictures, we saw a couple of more police cars proceed on ahead. Don't know whether -- where they're going. But, that one did stop.
Hilton is wearing an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. That's what she was fitted with before leaving. She had been, according to the sheriff, expected to finish her 45-day sentence at home. The sheriff saying that there were medical reasons for this. Some of the Web sites reporting that she was extremely distressed, near suicide, some of them were saying. Of course, we don't have any confirmation of this.
FRAZIER: Well, we do know is that this is all about an earlier driving under the influence charge from September a year ago in which she was put on probation. And the terms of her probation were that she was not to drive, which apparently she did.
And so, what this is all about now is the fact that she violated the terms of her probation, and she was told at the time that she was issued that probation that she would not be able to serve out any sentence at home should she violate her probation. She did, and apparently did more than once, and so has demonstrated what some judges might consider wreckless disregard for the jurisprudence system in Los Angeles County.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, and some people are calling this, you know, celebrity justice, that there's a different judicial system for celebrities, for rich people, especially in L.A., but also other parts of America. The press corps you can see, sort of moving up the hill there as that police car pulled ahead.
Looks like there may be something getting ready to happen there. Of course, we don't know. She was supposed to appear in court at 9:00 in the morning, local time. She's obviously very late because of all of the twists and turns here. But you can see the police car there is trying making its way up the street.
FRAZIER: And so now, one car has been moved out of the garage here to make way for a police cruiser going in -- a sheriff's department cruiser, and you can imagine what that function will be.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, exactly.
Well, that's it for this hour of YOUR WORLD TODAY. We're going to hand it over for our domestic viewers for continuing coverage of this, to Betty Nguyen and T.J. Holmes for our domestic viewers. But stay with Stephen and I because we're coming back with more of this as well.
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