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President Bush Arrives in Saudi Arabia for Talks With Key Ally; Former Butler Casts Doubt on Diana-Fayed Relationship; Golden Globes: Lavish Ceremony Reduced to News Conference

Aired January 14, 2008 - 12:00   ET


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The U.S. president arrives in Saudi Arabia, but not empty handed. He offers the kingdom an arms package.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The princess of Whales' former butler taking the stand. He answers questions about Diana's love life and about those who may have wished to take her life.

CHURCH: To donate or not? That's the question. In Britain, lawmakers considers a measure that allows organs to be taken unless a donor says no.

CLANCY: Also, after three agonizing years, former Colombian hostage Clara Rojas reunited with hir little boy.

It's 8:00 p.m. right now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 5:00 p.m. in London.

Hello and welcome to our report seen around the globe.

I'm Jim Clancy.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church.

From Bogota, to the British Isles, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

CLANCY: Talking Middle East peace, but infusing the Middle East with healthy military buildups.

CHURCH: Yes, U.S. President George W. Bush is on his first-ever trip to Saudi Arabia, rallying support from the regional powerhouse.

CLANCY: He wants backing from King Abdullah on his Israeli/Palestinian peace initiative. That's important, but he also needs help in isolating Iran and guarding against any threats it may pose. So it's perhaps no coincidence that the White House today announced a $20 billion arms sale to the kingdom.

CHURCH: Now, President Bush is making rounds across the Middle East, on an eight-day tour that started in Israel. He arrived in Riyadh from Dubai, where he described Iran as the world's leading state sponsor of terror.

CLANCY: All right. In just a few minutes' time, Mr. Bush is going to be sitting down for dinner with the Saudi king, King Abdullah, at his palace in Riyadh. And after that, they will no doubt get down to business.

Hala Gorani, traveling with President Bush right now, she joins us with more on what we might expect from the late-night meeting.

Hala, when you look at this trip, it's about peace on one hand, but clearly about arms on the other.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it's about Iran, as well. There are really three aspects to this trip.

You mentioned arms. Now, this deal, as you know, was announced several months ago last summer. What we're expecting to happen today is that part of this $20 billion deal, that part will be -- Congress will be notified of, and then Congress will have 30 days to have an opportunity to look through what the proposal is and block it or not.

So that is really what we're looking at. And this arms package and the effort to supply arms to allies in the Middle East extends also to Egypt, as well as military assistance for Israel that is higher than what we've seen in previous years.

Now, George W. Bush, the U.S. president, of course, as you mentioned, touring Gulf countries. These are very important allies. They, too, benefit from the assistance from the United States and the alliance, even though within their own population it is rather unpopular to be seen as being very close to George Bush, the U.S. president.

So this is really three aspects of one trip. On the one hand, the Israel/Palestinian peace effort. On the other, talking to tough against Iran and hoping that countries in the Gulf will join the United States in isolating Iran, even though there are commercial relationships between some Gulf states and Iran. And on the other, lastly, arms packages that are being offered to various allies -- Jim.

CLANCY: Well, of course, the Gulf states, many of then, are flush with money, hundreds of billions of dollars in increased earnings from the high price of oil. On the other hand, how much are they willing to support the president on the Israeli/Palestinian dispute to make moves towards normalizing relations with Israel, perhaps even before we see a solution to that?

GORANI: Well, that's a really good question because it's more complex than just how much are they willing to support the peace effort. Gulf countries are in a very special transition time. They have a lot of money, those countries such as Saudi Arabia, with oil at near $100 a barrel. They want to exercise more influence notice region.

You remember, Jim, last year, we saw it in Lebanon, with Qatar. You see Saudi Arabia hosting conferences for Israeli/Palestinian peace. Or more specifically, helping Arab League countries come together to try to propose deals to Israel that would normalize relationships between the two sides. So you do see Gulf countries winning that.

On the other hand, it is always a political risk in this part of the world to be seen as going perhaps a bit too far with getting Arab countries much closer to Israel than they are right now -- Jim.

CLANCY: All right. I apologize. We cut out there just a little bit, but Hala Gorani reporting to us there live with some good perspective on what's likely to be some of the business talk tonight and later there in the kingdom.

Thanks, Hala.

Well, French President Nicolas Sarkozy also in the Gulf. He just left Saudi Arabia.

He's sharing France's nuclear energy expertise, securing billion- dollar contracts for French firms. That tops at least part of his agenda there.

After visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Sarkozy expected to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with the United Arab Emirates. He's pushing civil nuclear energy amid concerns about climate change and spiking oil prices. Now, France generates almost all of its own electricity from nuclear power.

CHURCH: All right. Now to another story we've been monitoring. A trusted confidante of Diane, princess of Whales, is raising doubts over her relationship with Dodi Fayed in surprising testimony at the inquest into Diana's death. Her former butler said, Diana was "holding a candle for another man."

Adrian Finighan joins us live from London with more.

Adrian, a lot of surprises coming out of Paul Burrell's testimony. Tell us all that he had to say.

ADRIAN FINIGHAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Rosemary. A very good afternoon to you from the Royal Courts of Justice here in central London.

Yes, he was billed as the star witness, this more or less the halfway point in this six-month-long inquest into the circumstances surrounding Diana, princess of Whales' death. And in testimony that sharply contrasts with that of Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi Al Fayed, who has always insisted that his son was going to marry Princess Diana and that they were murdered at the hands of some establishment plot, Paul Burrell today insisted that the princess was planning to marry another man, her former boyfriend, the Muslim heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. He told the hearing that he even approached a local priest about the possibility of arranging a private wedding between a Christian and a Muslim.

Despite the relationship with Diana and Mr. Khan ending shortly before she started her relationship with Dodi Al Fayed, Mr. Burrell believed, he told the jury at the inquest, that Princess Diana was still holding a candle for Mr. Khan and suggested that her new relationship with Dodi Fayed was an attempt to make him jealous. Asked whether the relationship was serious, Paul Burrell said, "Yes, I believe it was. Mr. Khan was her soul mate, the man she loved more than any other."

It was a very deep and spiritual relationship, he says -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Now, that's extraordinary in itself, but we also heard from her butler that she was afraid that someone was out to kill her. Who did she think was going to do that? Did he explain that? And what was the reason she felt that?

FINIGHAN: We didn't really get to the bottom of who she thought was out to kill her. There was one extraordinary moment in court when Mr. Burrell was asked to give a name as to who had warned Princess Diana that perhaps someone was out to get -- someone, agencies, elements within the establishment were listening to her or bugging her.

The coroner asked him to write the name down and pass it to him. The name wasn't disclosed to the court, but we did learn later that it wasn't the queen, it wasn't the Duke of Edinburgh, or the duchess of York.

CHURCH: All right. Adrian Finighan reporting there from London.

Thanks so much for that -- Jim.

CLANCY: Let's shift our focus now to Afghanistan, where an explosion and gunfire at a luxury Kabul hotel left at least two people dead, several more wounded.

According to The Associated Press, a Taliban representative is claiming four militants with suicide vests attacked the hotel.

The Serena hotel is newly built. It's a luxury hotel, frequently used by foreign embassies for diplomatic functions. The Norwegian Embassy was holding a meeting there at the time of the attack.

Well, the race for the White House takes a nasty turn.

CLANCY: When YOUR WORLD TODAY continues, Democratic front- runners debate certain words and what they mean in the context of this presidential race.

CHURCH: And later, Kenya's opposition vows to stand firm after an election they say was deeply flawed.

We'll have a live report. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Well, new national polls out today are showing a shift in the tough battle for the White House. A new ABC News/"Washington Post" survey has Senator Hillary Clinton still on top, with Senator Barack Obama surging, a 25-point swing in the polls since December.

Well, on the Republican side, Senator John McCain's win in New Hampshire helped him become the national front-runner. He's followed by Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani.

Of course, those are national polls. But the nominees will be decided on the basis of state-by-state races. And the candidates' fortunes may change with two big events this week.

The first will be the Michigan primary on Tuesday. Michigan is home to the American auto industry, but the industry's motor is not running smoothly these days, you might say. So the state's economy is suffering. Republican candidates are crisscrossing Michigan in search of a little traction on the economic road.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He touts his Michigan roots and his father's popularity as governor here in the 1960s. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is hoping it will give him an edge in the state's Republican primary.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a place where memories are very, very deep. And where, if you will, I recognize that Michigan is personal. When I grew up, Michigan was the pride of the nation, the envy of the world. We have to be that again.

SNOW: That was then, this is now. Detroit's automakers are suffering. Unemployment here is higher than the rest of the country. Republican Senator John McCain is hoping a different memory will boost his chances here.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're back, and I'm happy to be here.

SNOW: McCain won the state's Republican primary here in 2000.

MCCAIN: I do know that we've been through very tough times. But I believe that Michigan can lead this nation in this new green technology economy.

SNOW: Mike Huckabee is hoping his newcomer status to Michigan will work to his benefit.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A reporter asked me the other day -- just how do you expect to possibly win the election? You don't have the kind of resources. Well, I said, you know, I guess if I had all the polls and consultants and focus groups and all the television ads and the headquarters and everything that some of these other guys had, I might be as far behind as some of them are.


CHURCH: Now, this might be a little confusing, but Hillary Clinton is the only Democrat of any weight on the ballot in Michigan. That's because Michigan was among the states that rushed to move up their primaries this year in the push for greater influence on the process.

But the National Democratic Party objected, saying legislators had made it too early. And in penalty, Democratic leaders took away all of Michigan's delegates to the national convention, essentially making the primary non-binding.

Well, Republicans, on the other hand, only stripped Michigan of half of the Republican delegates. So the Republican primary still counts.

Well, most Democrats are looking to the next stage of the race in Nevada. But in the meantime, talk of a whole other kind of race swirls around the front-runners.

John Roberts has that.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Is it a question of race or of context? The war of words began a week ago in New Hampshire, when former President Bill Clinton took on Barack Obama the day before the New Hampshire primary, invoking the term "fairy tale".

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your Web site in 2004, and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since.

Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.

ROBERTS: But it was comments made last Monday by Hillary Clinton that really got the Obama camp riled up. Critics say she suggested President Lyndon Johnson had more to do with civil rights laws than Martin Luther King.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a movement. He was gassed. He was beaten. And then he worked with President Johnson to get the civil rights laws passed, because the dream couldn't be realized until finally it was legally permissible.

ROBERTS: It wasn't until the weekend that Barack Obama spoke out.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I am baffled by that statement by the senator. She made an ill-advised statement about Dr. King, and suggesting that Lyndon Johnson had more to do with the Civil Rights Act. For them somehow to suggest that we're interjecting race as a consequence of a statement she made that we haven't commented on is pretty hard to figure out.

ROBERTS: Whatever the merits of the criticisms, by Friday the Clinton were in full damage control mode. First, the former president did a radio interview with the Reverend Al Sharpton. W. CLINTON: I stand by what I said, but the reports that I claimed his campaign or that he personally or in any way was disrespectful and said they were a fairy tale, that's just not true.

ROBERTS: Then, Hillary Clinton defended herself on yesterday's "Meet the Press."

H. CLINTON: I was responding to a speech that Senator Obama gave in New Hampshire, where he did compare himself to President Kennedy and to Dr. King. Dr. King had been on the front lines. He had been leading a movement.

ROBERTS: The issue may be one of context. One context is undeniable -- the all-important South Carolina primary on January 26th, when half of the voters will be African-American.

John Roberts, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And for the latest campaign news, analysis, political blogs, polls and much more, of course, you can go to There, in our Election Center 2008, you can find information about the presidential hopefuls, the states to watch, and of course the issues that U.S. voters are talking about.

Again, that's at

ROBERTS: Well, it wasn't politics, but, well, there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. Hollywood, of course known for its glitz and glamour. All of it surrounding the movie industry.

As Brooke Anderson tells us, though, there was just no flash to be found Sunday, even for one of the biggest events of the year. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all hope that the writers' strike will be over soon.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was hardly the glitzy show originally envisioned by the Hollywood Foreign Press. The Writers Guild had threatened to protest the ceremony, and Hollywood's biggest names refused to cross a picket line. So the usual dinner gala at the Beverly Hilton was scrapped and replaced with a press conference hosted by entertainment journalists.

Recognize anyone?

(on camera): And the Golden Globe goes to...

JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION": And the golden globe goes to...

MARY HART, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": And the Golden Globe goes to... ANDERSON (voice over): No funny acceptance speeches. No red carpet fashion parade. No backstage press. Just a quick recap of the nominees and the announcement of the winners.

They spread the gold around this year with no film winning more than two awards. In the dramatic categories, the tragic romance "Atonement" won best film. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis was honored for the oil epic "There Will be Blood," and veteran actress Julie Christie got her first Golden Globe win for "Away From Her."

"Sweeney Todd" sliced through the competition in the musical/comedy categories, winning best film and best actor for its leading man, Johnny Depp. First-time nominee Marion Cotillards won for her work in the Edith Piaf biopic "La Vie en Rose."

HBO shows nabbed six of the 11 TV awards, including three for the made-for-TV movie "Longford" and best comedy series winner "Extras." AMC's "Mad Men" won best drama series and best actor for Jon Hamm.

(on camera): Now all eyes in Hollywood are turning to the Academy Awards. Will the lack of writers and the threat of pickets derail that show as well? The academy says the show will go on. But without stars, Oscar could face the same quiet fate as the Golden Globes.

Brooke Anderson, CNN, Beverly Hills.


CHURCH: All right. Well, no writers, no fun there.

We're going to take a short break now. But freedom is undeniably sweet. Former hostage Clara Rojas knows that.

CLANCY: She -- it was something far sweeter in store for her. Finally reunited with this little boy. A little boy she hasn't seen for years.

Also ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY...

CHURCH: A law being considered in Britain. Unless you specifically say no, doctors may be able to take your organs after you die.

Stay with us.



JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. To all of our views joining us from more than 200 territories around the globe, including right here in the United States.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. And this is YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Rosemary Church. CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. And these are the stories that are making headlines.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah welcoming U.S. President George W. Bush to his palace Monday night. The Bush administration, of course, notifying Congress it intends to sell $20 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. A peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians also expected to be in the talks.

CHURCH: Republican presidential hopeful John McCain makes big gains. Two, new national opinion polls say he's number one in the pack right now. Michigan's primary on Tuesday will tell us more, of course. And among the Democrats, Hillary Clinton still has the lead, but one of those polls says Barack Obama is gaining ground.

CLANCY: Testimony from the former butler of Diana, Princess of Whales, revealing a different picture of her relationship with Dodi Fayed. Paul Burrell (ph) says that Diana was, in his words, on the rebound from an 18-month long relationship with a Pakistani heart surgeon. Burrell says Diana gave no indications she would marry Fayed.

CHURCH: Well, more U.S. troops are heading to Afghanistan. Our Barbara Starr has the details on that from the Pentagon.

Barbara, not a complete surprise is it?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is not, Rosemary. This is something that we first started reporting here at CNN last week as that proposal to send the Marines to Afghanistan made its way through the Pentagon. But what has happened today is the U.S. Marine Corps has begun notifying about 3,000 of its military families that their loved ones in deed have deployment orders and will be going to Afghanistan some time this spring, in the March/April time frame, to be there on the ground, more combat power, as the springtime comes upon Afghanistan and the Taliban are expected, once again, to engage in an offensive.

The Marine Corps is not saying exactly where these Marines will be coming from. They want to make that full notification to the military families, of course. They want them to hear about the deployment from the Marine Corps, if you will, and not from the news media. So we'll respect that, of course.

And we expect to hear if not by the end of today, perhaps as early as tomorrow exactly which military base these Marines will be coming from. But now it really is official, finally, about 3,000 Marines on their way to Afghanistan for this springtime for about a seven-month tour of duty.


CHURCH: And, Barbara, is this just the first wave? Can we expect more families to be told that this is going to occur?

STARR: Well, you know, I don't think it can actually be ruled out. This is really a reflection that NATO has been unable to muster the forces for what's fully required in Afghanistan. There is a requirement for about 7,000 to 7,500 additional troops. So these 3,000 Marines are the beginning of the downpayment on that. There still is a need for about 4,000 additional troops.

If NATO cannot muster the forces and the violence continues to increase and the Taliban are really surging with more and more attacks, it certainly is possible. I don't think anyone would rule out that more U.S. forces, indeed, might have to go.


CHURCH: All right. Our Barbara Starr reporting from the Pentagon. Thanks so much.

STARR: Sure.

CLANCY: Well, let's turn to Africa now and Kenya's disputed presidential election last month. For one thing that's known for sure, the nation remains in a vice between violence and protests. But on the streets of Nairobi, at least today, things did look like they were returning back to something like normal. There is a showdown, though, that is still looming over who becomes speaker of the country's national assembly. Of course, no one has forgot been the death and destruction that has come since that fateful election, still bitterly disputed, and the violence that has left hundreds of people dead and a nation fearful of what may come next. Our own Zain Verjee's there.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): God and politics became a deadly mix in Kenya's Kebeda (ph) slum. A church, looted and burned by an angry mob moments after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the election winner late last month. Mohammed Doka, a Muslim cobbler, who now keeps an eye on the church, take me through the rubble.

MOHAMMED DOKA, CHURCH KEEPER: I just saw smoke. The pastor's house was burning.

VERJEE: The church pastor is a Kikuyu, the same tribe as President Kibaki. He has fled. His picture is all that's left at his home.

DOKA: A beautiful house like this just demolished. It's like -- it is not good. Not good at all.

VERJEE: Opposition supporters made their message clear.

DOKA: So many people came from their houses, they were shouting, they were screaming. People were cutting their bans of Railia (ph). They were saying we won't agree. Railia has won.

VERJEE: In the church, only singed Swahili hymns and a message of hate -- "so shall we burn you." Many churches in Kebeda have been set on fire.

How many people who are Kikuyu have tarokad (ph) and gone?

DOKA: For now, it is half the population of Kibera or Karaja. Half of them have already gone.

VERJEE: How many? Number?

DOKA: To me, I think it's about 30 to 40 families.

VERJEE: And these children, mostly Kikuyu, depended on the church for care and food. They are now scattered, living in a park, relying on handouts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had to leave their slum because their houses had been burned.

VERJEE: The children here need food, blankets, clothes and medicine. Their place of worship and shelter now a source of scrap metal. Amid the ruins of the church, Mohammed tells us he still has faith.


CLANCY: Zain Verjee joins us now live from Nairobi.

Zain, when you look at that scene, some are arguing, and particularly the supporters of President Kibaki, that Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, is the one who has to back down to prevent further bloodshed. You sat down and you talked to Raila Odinga over the weekend. What does he say?

VERJEE: Well, we talked to him for a couple of hours, Jim. And what Raila Odinga says is that he is the rightful and legitimate president of Kenya. He says that he's not going to sit down and negotiate with the government if he has to work under President Kibaki. He insisted that he's got to work with President Kibaki and be given some sort of genuine power in this country.

Now he has called for mass demonstrations from Wednesday to Friday. And a lot of people, Jim, are really worried and they're braising themselves for more violence. And I asked him what happens if those demonstrations are stopped? Here's what he said.


RAILA ODINGA, KENYAN OPPOSITION LEADER: They are, for example, boycotts which shall -- they are going to be considered, the issues of strikes, which are also under way. We are going to use all methods of civil disobedience in order to bring pressure on this government.


VERJEE: Raila Odinga, Jim, also said and insisted that he's calling for peaceful protests. But with the situation in the country still so tense, it's difficult to see how there can't be or won't be some degree of violence in this country. But it's unclear how widespread it would be. The police here also, according to rights groups, say they use excessive force. So there are likely to be skirmishes.


CLANCY: There are likely to be skirmishes, boycotts, all the rest of it. And parliament's going back into session. How might lawmakers, you know, react on their own?

VERJEE: Well, the country, again, is bracing for a confrontation. And parliament, this is the tenth session of parliament, they're going to be meeting tomorrow. And what Raila Odinga is saying, that he is the majority. So he is going to sit, along with the other members of parliament, in the government section of parliament.

The government saying, we're the government, those are our benches. The clashes also going to be on who is going to be the speaker. It's a very influential position and both sides have their own candidates. And none of this is good for Kofi Annan, who's coming here tomorrow to mediate.

CLANCY: Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary-General. Got his hands full.

Zain Verjee there. Some great reporting on this story. Thanks, Zain.

CHURCH: Here's a story that will certainly touch your heart. He was taken from her when he was just eight months of age.

CLANCY: Now, nearly three years late, former hostage Clara Rojas has been reunited with her son, Emmanuel, in Bogota, Colombia.

CHURCH: Our Karl Penhaul has that for us.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): These last few minutes of waiting must seem as long as any she spent in her six years as a rebel hostage. Clara Rojas is now free and back in Bogota. She's finally about to be reunited with her son, Emmanuel.

The son who was born during her jungle captivity, then taken friend her. The son she has not seen or heard from for three years. Hugs and tears from her mother and brother, and then this golden moment.

"I'm so overjoyed, I can't find the words to express myself. We have always been in touch in our hearts and in our souls," she says.

Mother and son have come a long way. From imprisonment in a guerrilla concentration camp deep in the Colombian jungles, to this foster home run by Colombian social services. It was a private meeting at an undisclosed location in Bogota, but a social services official captured it on video.

Clara gave birth to Emmanuel by cesarian section in a jungle camp. That was April 2004. His father was one of the very guerrilla fighters holding Clara captive. At eight months old, the guerrillas took the child from Clara and said they were sending him for treatment for a tropical disease. That was January 2005. Clara say she never heard from her son again.

A Colombian government investigation showed the guerrillas handed over the boy to a surrogate, civilian family. When they weren't able to care properly for him, the family passed him to social services, but registered him under a false name.

But that is in the past. And with this song, Clara promises Emmanuel they will never part again. "Not by day or by night we will ever separate," the lyrics go. Amid a show of kisses and gifts, mother and son begin to make up for lost time. And a grandmother comes to terms with finding her grandson.

"The days kept going by. We waited and waited. We never thought he would come. I feel this is a miracle from God. I feel happy and anxious at the same time. Anxious for the other children who haven't had the chance of being reunited with their parents," she says.

The last time Clara and Emmanuel played together was in the jungle, surrounded by gun-toting rebels. He was sick after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Now both are free. Free to paint together. Free to paste on sticky stars. Free to plan a life together.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Bogota.


CLANCY: Well, technically, nobody knows what happens after you're dead. At least, you know, for your spirit.

CHURCH: That's right. But some Britains may not even know what happens to their organs. Politicians are looking at a law that makes it much easier for doctors to get the transplant organs they need. Stay with us for a look at that.


CLANCY: At this very moment, around the world, there are tens upon tens of thousands of people all around the globe waiting desperately for some life-saving organ transplants. And sadly, many of those organs aren't on their way. They are not going to save lives. Well, now Britain's prime minister is pushing for a controversial change in the entire way that organs are donated, at least in the United Kingdom. Under the proposed plan, all Britains would be considered to be willing organ donors unless the opt out. Unless they specifically say no to the process. Let's get more on this from Emily Chang.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) EMILY CHANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): To opt in or opt out can be a question of life and death. And one a UK government task force will consider while trying to combat an often fatal lack of organ donors. Now people in the UK must opt in to donate. Usually by carrying a donor card.

But Prime Minister Gordon Brown is supporting a measure that hospitals can take patients' organs unless they explicitly opt out or their family objects. In the "Daily Telegraph" he writes, "the system could close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery in the UK and the limits imposed by our current system of consent." But patient advocacy groups argue this idea of presumed consent means no consent at all and violates patients' rights.

MICHAEL SUMMERS, PATIENTS ASSOCIATION: I think everyone has the right over their on body. It's a right which shouldn't be take by the state. It should be taken by individual patients and their families.

CHANG: Currently there are 8,000 patients in the UK waiting for transplants and a thousand die every year without getting the organ they need.

BEN BRADSHAW, BRITISH HEALTH MINISTER: This system works very well in other parts of the world, in other European countries in particular. They've managed to get their number of organ donations up. I think we can do better here and not least for those 1,000 people every year who die waiting for an organ.

CHANG: U.K. officials hope to emulate Spain's successful model, which has the highest number of donors per capita. France and Belgium also use the opt-out system. When the presumed consent law passed in Austria, the number of available organs quadrupled. The U.S. has a system called required request in which hospitals must ask family members of dying patients about donation.

Here in the U.K., supporters say the opt-out system will dramatically increase the number of organs donated. Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he wants the measure on the table this year. But opponents cite the need for greater awareness, saying the government should encourage more people to opt in instead.

Emily Chang, CNN, London.


CLANCY: This is a topic that's really struck a chord with a lot of you out there, a lot of our viewers. We've been asking what you think. Who should be the one to decide what happens to your organs upon your death?

Osain of Belarus wrote in to say this. "Kudos to scientists that are working tirelessly for the production of artificial organs. The problem of organ transplantation should be left for the patient, relatives and medical personnel to decide."

What do you think? E-mail us your thoughts at

For now, back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thanks, Jim.

Well they're already outlawed in China, Bangladesh, parts of India and Taiwan. What are we talking about? Plastic bags. Now campaigners in the U.S. are calling for a bag ban. Richard Roth reports on the future of the plastic product.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): You'd think the humble plastic bag won't attract much attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bag was just dancing with me.

ROTH: True, one had a hypnotic effect in the Oscar winning movie "American Beauty." But the plastic bag and beauty don't often go together.

What's wrong with these bags? See them. Touch them. (INAUDIBLE).

LAUREN BUSH: These bags -- evil.

ROTH: Former fashion model Lauren Bush, niece of the president, says plastic bags are part of an axis of environmental evil.

BUSH: Plastic bags are very harmful for the environment. And I think the average American uses about 300 to 400 bags a year. And basically those bags, after they're used, they sit in a landfill for over a thousand years.

ROTH: No bag lady herself, Lauren Bush joined a campaign in New York to ban the bag. New York City council listened and passed a recycling law to cope with the estimated one billion plastic bags used in the city annually.

CHRISTINE QUINN, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: Those bags are going to be with us in New York, in our country, in our environment, literally forever.

ROTH: Under the law, large stores would have to collect and recycle old plastic bags. A handful of stores already provide customers a plastic bag return bin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really tired of watching all the plastic bags stack up at my house.

ROTH: Several stores already sell reusable, decorated bags for a dollar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like a complimentary bag? Today is America Recycle Day. ROTH: San Francisco recently became the first American city to make plastic bag recycling mandatory. Eighty British cities, including London, are considering similar restrictions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, in Britain, recycle all the time. Very recyclable conscious.

ROTH: China, last week, banned thin, plastic bags nationwide effective two months before the summer Olympics start. But New York's recycling plan is not everyone's bag.

ERIC LIPSKY, NEIGHBORHOOD RETAIL ALLIANCE: It is a bag that comes from a dry cleaner.

ROTH: Some retailers are upset that dry-cleaners and chain stores are exempt from the proposal and wonder what might be in those bags.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Consumers use these bags to pick up dog poop. I hate to think the some of those bags would come back to the supermarket.

ROTH: Lauren Bush is pushing better bags, like this feed bag for the U.N.'s world food program. BUSH: Each bag you buy feeds a child in school for a year.

ROTH: Or go across the border to Canada.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Recycled bags from Prince Edward Island.

ROTH: But opponents say bag laws are un-American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that they should be adding any laws, laws from the government to recycle. I think that should be a choice.

ROTH: Who knows? The bag everyone wants to toss out may one day be a collectible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I trade one of those?

ROTH: Yes, sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like this purple one actually. You might need it.

ROTH: No, keep it.


ROTH: Richard Roth, CNN, New York.


CLANCY: Well, we got a story to show you. Winter visitors taking over a beach in northern Europe wintertime. CHURCH: That's right. Coming up, a remote landscape is transformed and conservationists are happy about that change. A look at a turning tide for one population of seals. Stay with us.


CLANCY: Well, your real estate agent always told you it's about location, location, location. Shrinking real estate in the north Atlantic now forcing gray seals to move to northern European beaches.

CHURCH: That's right. Melting ice sheets have given biologists a surprise off the coast of Germany. Get this, a seal pup baby boom.

CLANCY: Our own Diana Magna (ph) checks in on an unlikely nursery on Germany's Helgoland Island.


DIANA MAGNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): The islands of Helgoland in Germany's North Sea don't appear the obvious spot for a population explosion. Wind swept and desolate, the two months each year these beaches are alive with gray seal pups. The perfect spot for rock pulling (ph) to test out young flippers or to soak up the winter sun before braving the North Sea.

This little seal pup is just five days old. She's a female. We were quite a lot closer a second ago, but the mother started to get extremely aggressive. They can move very fast apparently when they are aggressive and we had to move pretty fast to get out of the way.

The female gray seal returns to the beach where she was born to give birth. This year, there are 55 new seal pups on the island, a record. Almost twice as many as last year. A triumph for the island's conservationists who say that hunting in previous centuries nearly wiped out the North Sea's gray seal population.

ROLF BLAEDEL, HELGOLAND CONSERVATIONIST, (through translator): Next year we reckon we'll get 80. But then again this year we only thought we would have 40 and we got 55.

MAGNA: Helgoland seals are getting almost as much attention as Germany's polar bear cubs. Campaigners see this as a good opportunity to highlight the plight of endangered seal types in other part of the world, like Canada.

RALF SONNTAG, INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: The seal mothers, which are dependent on an ice sheet to put the pups on, they have less and less ice to put their pups on. Last year there was almost no ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. So we think there was very, very high mortality of those seal pups, maybe close to 100 percent.

MAGNA: Happily for this seal colony, Helgoland's beaches aren't in any immediate danger from global warming. And once pups like this one are weaned, the cycle begins again.

Diana Magna, CNN, Helgoland, Germany.


CLANCY: Now they are cute.

CHURCH: And that's a story everyone will remember.

And that's it for this hour. I'm Rosemary Church.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. Stay with CNN.