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Flights Canceled; Storm Sweeps Country; Iran Celebrates Deal; Pope and Putin Meet; Putin Visits Pope Francis in Vatican; Mixed Polls Numbers for Obama; Prince Harry Walks South Pole for Charity

Aired November 25, 2013 - 12:00   ET


HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Say it's a historic failure.

This is "AROUND THE WORLD". I'm Hala Gorani. Suzanne Malveaux is off.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

Let's begin with the story, though, that will affect millions of people during one of the busiest travel times of the year. If you're not seeing this powerful storm yet, chances are you will before Thanksgiving.

GORANI: Well, this is a storm that has everything. It has rain, it has sleet, it has snow, ice and bone-chilling winds. It's pounding the middle of the country and marching east.

HOLMES: People in Oklahoma and Texas dealing with weather they rarely see this time of year. Have a look at those pictures. You can see how dangerous travel is. No word about the driver in that crash, but at least 10 people have died on the roads.

GORANI: Well, Chad Myers is here. He's tracking the storm for us. And Nick Valencia is at DFW International Airport outside Dallas.

First let's start with Nick Valencia. This storm is already having a major impact on people's travel plans, which they should be aware of right now if they plan on heading to -- on holiday for the Thanksgiving break.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And Michael was talking about how millions of Americans, about 40 million Americans, expected to travel this holiday week, traveling about 50 miles away from home. So a lot of people impacted by this.

In the last hour or so, Hala, we've seen things really pick up here at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. But having said that, there have been cancellations. Yesterday we saw 300 flights canceled from here. Again today, another 180 flights canceled. So little people, you know, you see -- check out these lines here. A few people. Not the crowds that you'd expect. Earlier I spoke to some passengers and they talked to me about how they've been impacted by the severe weather.


VALENCIA: About 300 flights canceled yesterday, another 86 canceled today. Were you guys affected? You're saying your affected by that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we were. We were affected. Our first flight was canceled. We had to call and get back on and luckily we got on in the 9:20. So --

VALENCIA: So are you happy with the communication between the airlines? Do you feel like they're giving you enough of a heads-up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, no, we did. We had at least 24 hours. So it was good. It was good. Plenty of time to reschedule.


VALENCIA: And I know we're here in Dallas, but what's happening here is impacting places like central Pennsylvania, upstate New York. We've talked to a couple earlier that was impacted. They were on their way to Ohio from Mexico. So even connecting flights, if you're traveling today or over the course of the next couple of days, the airlines that we've spoken to, they say it's best to check those travel advisories and next hour coming up at about 1:00 p.m. Eastern, we'll have an interview live on air with a spokesman for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. They'll update us on the new travel advisories. So be sure to watch that.

Michael and Hala.

GORANI: All right, Nick Valencia, thanks very much in Dallas.

Of course, if you're planning to travel on this Thanksgiving holiday, make sure you check your flights ahead of time. Some of them, a lot of them, may get canceled.

HOLMES: Yes, I know Nick's ready. He's got his red CNN severe weather jacket on.

Let's go to Chad Myers now. He hasn't donned the jacket yet. Where is it? What can people expect as it continues to move?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I don't think people expected a storm to roll through Dallas in November. And that's part of the problem. Another problem is that, let's just say there are 300 flights canceled. I don't have a number because you have to add up all the airlines. One hundred and fifty people on each plane. That's 4,500 people now that have to find another plane with seats on it. These seats are jammed.

I've been trying to fly around the country here just to go to different stories like Miami and to Vegas and there's one, two, seven flights -- seats open on any flight. You've got 4,000 people trying to get on seven seats and all of a sudden it's just going to be -- if it's starting already on Monday and we have Tuesday is the worst day and then Wednesday and Thursday is the big travel days, you just plan on packing your patience and maybe plan on taking the money that the airlines may give you for not sitting in that seat because there's going to be a lot of bumped people I'm afraid. Here's the deal with Tuesday. This is what I'm afraid of. The models always warm up the air and they think it's going to rain. Then it rains but it's 31. That's not good. This entire area from Philadelphia westward, I'm talking State College, Pittsburgh, right on down into Wheeling, this is the danger zone where it's going to be raining and 32 or raining and 31. You're talking major Interstate 75. You've got 81 through here. You've got 80 going across here. You've got 70. You've got Lexington right through here.

And this is the area, this is the battle zone of the warm air aloft. It's 35 degrees at 3,000 feet. It's 31 degrees where you live. And that's the issue. When it rains through it, it's going to freeze on contact. All of I-95 is going to be wet. Just wet. Liquid wet. That's great, but the winds are going to be blowing at 40 miles per hour. So I suspect that a lot of the airlines are going to have to either cancel or slow down airplanes going into the Northeast for the next couple days.

The snow is here. The ice is here. The rain is here. But no matter what, you have 41 million people trying to go someplace in the next couple days, it's going to get slow.

GORANI: All right. Yes.

HOLMES: Yes, the timing could not have been worse, could it?


HOLMES: And that's the thing, too, that ice. There's going to be a lot of rain, but ice.

GORANI: And we'll continue to follow this for you, of course, all of you watching who have these travel plans. And for the latest on the weather and a look in the day in the life of the world's busiest airport, by the way, check out

HOLMES: All right, got some news we're continuing to keep an eye on for you, too. Yale University announcing that they have a shelter in place warning or alert out after what they call a confirmed report of a person with a gun on or near old (ph) campus.

GORANI: OK. So this report first came about because an anonymous phone call was made from a phone booth. We don't have any confirmation of this, by the way, we're just passing along what Yale University is saying, that they have this confirmed report of a person with a gun. We'll continue to keep an eye on that. And people asked there on campus to stay where they are, lock themselves in, not go to campus, of course, if they're off campus.

HOLMES: Exactly.

All right, now, major news on the nuclear front when it comes to Iran. Everyone agrees that the deal is a big one. Whether it's historic or not, it depends who you ask when it comes to that.

GORANI: All right, the bottom line is this. Iran has agreed to cut back on building nuclear enrichment facilities, to dilute its stockpile of uranium and allow for daily international inspections.

HOLMES: In return now, Iran's going to get a break from some of the sanctions that have been levied against it over recent years. This deal coming after days of intense talks with six world powers. And it was a second round of talks. You had the U.S., Britain, China, Russia, France, and Germany, known as the P5-plus-1, the P5 being the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

GORANI: Now, you must remember, this deal is an interim deal. It lasts six months. It is in place while a permanent deal is being sought. President Obama says it is a good first step. However, Israel, other western allies and, in fact, an Arab country, Saudi Arabia, are all unhappy with it. Let's go live to the Iranian capital now. In Tehran is where our Reza Sayah is standing by and reporting on this.

What's been the reaction there because, let's remind our viewers, Reza, these sanctions have very much hurt ordinary Iranians over the last several years.

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have. I mean, if you walk around Tehran today, you get the impression that Iranians have a spring in their steps. They're very pleased. As always you have the ultra conservatives, the hard liners who are still wary and skeptical, but they're definitely in the minority. Most people are thrilled about this agreement. Political leaders are congratulating one another. Friends and strangers are congratulating one another in the streets.

Let's show you a couple of headlines here. This is the English language "Iran Daily." It says "breakthrough." And this is another Farsi language paper. It says (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), "this is Iran and everyone is happy."

The joy is being expressed on social media. One Iranian tweeted that she shed tears of joy. You have to remember, over the past 24 years, especially on the world stage, Iranians haven't had much good news and they haven't been portrayed in the best light in the media.

But if you come here, you see a very young, educated, sophisticated population that's suffered through years of economic sanctions and economic and political isolations, not necessarily because the international community wanted it this way, but mostly because the western capitals and Washington wanted it this way. They see this interim agreement as the first step to opening up relations and the first step in getting rid of those tough economic sanctions.

HOLMES: And it's important to note too, Reza, as you've been reporting, these are -- this is an interim agreement. Now, really, the hard work begins. And also, when it comes to the ordinary Iranian on the ground, this is not a lot of sanction lifting, this is not a lot of rolling back. It's a bit (ph). And the people on the street not really going to feel the benefits, are they?

SAYAH: No. I mean if you look at this interim deal, it doesn't touch the big, significant sanctions. The sanctions on banking restrictions, oil exports. Even so, they believe this is a significant first step and they're hopeful that at some point they'll get to that final stage.

HOLMES: All right, Reza, thanks so much. Reza Sayah. Good to have him there on the ground in Tehran.

GORANI: We're going to be analyzing this deal, by the way, a little bit later because as we've been mentioning, Israel very unhappy. But here you have odd bedfellows. Israel and Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries very much opposed to Iran having any kind of nuclear program, are on the same team.

HOLMES: And the fear was that the Saudis might follow the Iranian lead when it comes to the nuclear thing (ph) and then you get into the whole debate, it's the Shia/Sunni divide, as well.

GORANI: Right.


GORANI: Which is seeing itself play out in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iraq.

HOLMES: In Iraq.

GORANI: There you have it.

Now, let's talk about the economic impacts here because Iran -- and many people may not be aware of this -- has 9 percent of the world's proven oil reserves. Investors are reacting to the deal. The Nasdaq topped 4,000 for the first time in more than 13 years this morning and it's been hovering around that point throughout today's trade.

HOLMES: And have a look at the Dow there. It also is up. Now well over 16,000. Up nearly 30 points on the day. And that follows a trend of other world markets. And that, we've got to say, that includes the Israeli stock exchange. Investors, at least in Israel, they like the news.

GORANI: Right. Their politicians might not, (INAUDIBLE), but the investors in Israel do think so.

Also, on the move, oil prices. They are plunging. Iran, as we mentioned, a major oil producer. And with sanctions relaxing, more oil could be coming to the global market. And the effect of that -

HOLMES: Prices down.

GORANI: Is lower prices at the pump.


GORANI: Very nice.

HOLMES: Well, yes, there's a lot to talk about this story. And we will talk more later.

Meanwhile, the pope has met with more than a dozen heads of state so far, but his visit today has much more than a social call on his mind. GORANI: Why the pope's meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is getting a lot of attention around the world.

HOLMES: Plus, she's got that the Kennedy style. How Caroline Kennedy is using her new ambassador title to do some good in Japan. We will take you there this hour.

GORANI: Katniss is catching fire. "The Hunger Games" tops the box office domestically and sizzles abroad. That's coming up on "AROUND THE WORLD". Stay with us.


GORANI: All right. Welcome back.

Let's talk about two major world leaders meeting right now from two very different worlds. Russian President Vladimir Putin is at the Vatican for a two-day visit with Pope Francis.

HOLMES: Now, the two men do have something in common on the table, things like Syria, also secularism. Ben Wedeman covering the story from Rome and Phil Black is in Moscow.

Ben, let's start with you. The focus likely to be Syria. What have they got to talk about?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Michael, that, you know, Russia, back in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, saw itself as a protector for the Christians of the Ottoman Empire. And, of course, Pope Francis has been quite vocal since he became pope back in March about the flight of Christians in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and northern Africa. So it's very -- that is very much his concern at the moment.

And of course, President Putin and the Russians have been supporters of the regime in Damascus. Back in September, Pope Francis did send a direct message to President Putin expressing concern over the plight of the Christians just before the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg. So they've been having something of a dialogue ever since, and we can expect that dialogue to continue.

Michael, Hala?

GORANI: All right, thanks. Ben Wedeman is in Rome.

As far as Phil Black, who is in Moscow, the pope and the president, very different men, sometimes it's even hard to picture them together.

What does this meeting -- what could it will tell us about their relationship, Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Hala, so different -- image, style and substance, the strong man of Russia, the humble -- the famously humble Catholic pope.

What it shows is what Vladimir Putin is famous for when it comes to international policy and that is pragmatism. Russia is prepared to talk to anyone where there is a point of specific shared concern or interest to try and achieve mutual benefit, regardless of what the broader state of the relationship is like.

So while Russia and the Vatican have not historically been close because of Russia's obvious connections to the Russian Orthodox Church, when it comes to Syria, the Russian position has received this very valuable support, as Ben mentioned, from Pope Francis.

Russia has been under great pressure internationally for a couple of years now because of its very strong opposition to any sort of outside intervention in the Syrian conflict. Having the pope on his side certainly adds significant moral authority to that controversial position.

Michael, Hala?

GORANI: All right, Phil Black in Moscow.

And one of the things that the pope is certainly concerned about, not just the plight of ordinary civilians, but Father Paolo, for instance, a Jesuit priest who I met and profiled in Syria a few years ago, was kidnapped a few months ago in Raqqa, a city controlled by jihadists, hasn't been heard from since and people are very worried about him.

HOLMES: And, in fact, that is on the agenda, too, with the pope and Vladimir Putin, to talk about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. in general, of course, from Iraq, to Egypt and elsewhere.

GORANI: Right.

HOLMES: All right, an overwhelming number of Americans still like President Obama, but many don't trust him much anymore. That's what our new survey shows.

GORANI: Now, the poll was released this morning, and the president has a lot of ground to make up in some critical areas. Take a look.

The good news for the White House and Mr. Obama, 71 percent say he's likable. Sixty percent believe he has a vision for the future and 52 percent say he cares about people.

HOLMES: But the bad news, only 46 percent believe he is honest and that he is a strong leader.

And the lowest point of the survey only 40 percent say the president can manage government.

All right, coming up here on "AROUND THE WORLD", Prince Harry trekking across the southernmost part of the world, he is in Antarctica. He tells us why, next.


GORANI: Britain's Prince Harry is making a long journey to the South Pole. He and several others are taking part in a challenge. They are walking across Antarctica to help raise awareness and charities that benefit military families.

HOLMES: Been planned for a while, as we've been reporting here, but because of bad weather, the teams have been largely confined to their camp, unpacking and repacking and resting up.

Max Foster is in London and probably glad he's not at the South Pole. It is not a stunt. It's a worthy cause. Tell us about it.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is. He's part of a British team of war-wounded soldiers.

They're all amputees, actually, on his team, but they're up against an American team and a team from the Commonwealth, partly Australians, Michael. And they are -- really, they're raising awareness of what it's like to have a war wound and to show that you can achieve great things after that's happened.

Prince Harry has tried this before. He tried to go to the North Pole, but he had to pull out of that trip to attend his brother's wedding. He is caught in this bad snowstorm, though. He's snowed in, effectively, with the other members of the team, waiting to start the race, so he had some time to speak to the cameras. He actually said that his brother William was jealous because he managed to get away from a screaming child.

Anyway, this is what else he said in the interview.


PRINCE HARRY: It really was -- is a case of I just have to do this. Me and by big mouth, there's no way I could have dropped out of this. There's no way that I couldn't have the done it. And so -- and also, it is a great opportunity. I know it's slightly mad, but you know, I'm -- I've got four limbs and I'm completely fine, well, almost fine up here.

You know, these guys have got all these issues and, you know, life- changing injuries that are really hard for them. So you know, I try and think of it, well, if I'm given the opportunity and it means I can actually help these guys out with creating more awareness for them or whatever, then so what it's minus-50, so what it's 90-mile-anr-hour winds. You've got to put your -- occasionally, you've got to put yourself through that for a good cause.


FOSTER: So they do hope, Michael and Hala, to start the race at the weekend. They should be home in time for Christmas, but it's a pretty competitive thing.

HOLMES: It sure is. Our royal correspondent Max Foster, we thank you for that. Appreciate it.

GORANI: Coming up, a tsunami, of course, as you all know, hit Japan in 2011, and the country is still trying to clean up the mess. The new American ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, is there to see how the recovery is going. Her tour through the region hit hardest by the tsunami, next.


GORANI: Welcome back.

Now, this just into CNN. We have an update regarding the confirmed report of a person with the gun on the Yale campus posted on the university alerts page. And just to remind you what that report is, there are confirmed reports of a person with a gun on campus, on the old campus.

HOLMES: Yeah, the Web site says, "The shelter-in-place lock-down continues." Again, this is from the Yale website: teams from Yale police, New Haven and the state police are on the scene, and, in the words of the statement, "actively searching for any gunman," and also, "This is not a test. Call 911 with any information."

We'll continue to monitor this as things develop, bring you any details as we get them. Again, this is information from the Yale campus Web page.

GORANI: Now, does the timing get any worse? Usually when there's a big holiday, of course, people are concerned about travel, but imagine, add on to that, a monster storm coming during one of those busiest travel weeks of the year.

HOLMES: Yeah, it's early and it is brutal, wintry weather pounding the nation's mid section right now. They don't normally see that at this time of year. And the thing is, it's moving on east.

GORANI: So you have sleet, snow, ice, damaging winds all part of the package.