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AROUND THE WORLD

American Teacher Killed; Pope Takes on Sex Abuse; U.S. Temperature Span; Police -- Ford Tried to Buy Back Crack Video; Florida Stranded Whales Are Gone; Two Passengers Now Suing Metro-North Over Derailment; Fast Food Workers Protest for Minimum Wage Increase; Lawson Testifies Ashamed of Cocaine Use

Aired December 5, 2013 - 12:00   ET

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, these are wire-tapped from gang members who say that you offered $5,000, if not more, $150,000 and a car, to confiscate the video of you doing crack on the tape. What would you say to that?

MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: Well, number one, that's an outright lie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Unbelievable. Toronto's mayor denying allegations that he tried to buy a damaging video of himself from criminals.

You're watching "AROUND THE WORLD". I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: The gift that keeps on giving.

Welcome back.

MALVEAUX: Oh, my God. Yes, thank you.

HOLMES: It's nice - nice to have you back.

MALVEAUX: A little birthday celebration.

HOLMES: Yes.

I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

Some bad news to start off with. An American teaching school in Benghazi, Libya, has been shot and killed while out doing his morning exercise.

MALVEAUX: The chemistry teacher was working at an international school. Now, this happened not far from the U.S. consulate where that U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed back in a September attack. Want to bring in our Nic Robertson to explain.

First of all, what were the circumstances around this, Nic, that you had this America who was jogging in a neighborhood that was not far from where other Americans had been killed. NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, we understand that the gunmen approached him and shot him when he was doing his morning exercises. The impression given that this was a regular thing that he used to do in the morning. The precise details of where it happened and precisely how the gunmen approached him, we don't know.

But this is clearly a very troubling development, a very shocking development, and a very tragic development for his family. But it comes just days after al Qaeda's American spokesman, Adam Gadahn, released a statement calling on Libyans to attack and take vengeance against American interests.

Now, we don't know if al Qaeda is responsible for this. There's been no claim of responsibility so far. It could have been a random act of violence. However, when we look back and see what led up in the days before when Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi, American ambassador there at the time, we saw just days before that, al Qaeda again, the leader of al Qaeda, making a statement and putting it out and calling on Libyans to attack American interests. There are similarities there that it would be hard to overlook and ignore. We know al Qaeda, under the direction of Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda, has set up camps in that area of Libya.

Michael. Suzanne.

HOLMES: Yes, Nic, I mean, it certainly is tragic. It's a horrible thing to have happened. But I've got to admit, we're talking Benghazi, eastern Libya, an American in public doing his exercises, do we know how many Americans might be in that dangerous neck of the woods, civilians?

ROBERTSON: We know that it's a very low number. Look, the reason that Adam Gadahn said -- called on Libyans to attack Americans was because the United States, two months ago, picked up Abu Anas al-Libi, suspected of being involved in the attacks in the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. That was the rational that Adam Gadahn used. Since that time has -- since that time, it's been very, very dangerous for foreigners, any westerners, to be inside Benghazi.

MALVEAUX: Nic, do we have any idea - I mean he must be very committed to education. Why was he in that area? Why did he teach at that school? What was behind his mission, if you will?

ROBERTSON: It's hard to know with clarity at the moment. What we do know, reports that are coming from students, that are coming from the principal there, saying that he was a very, very sweet man. Students there posting on social media saying that he was dedicated to them, that he made a difference, the sort of only bright light in everything that was happening to them in Benghazi. He appears to be a man who was very dedicated to helping young Libyans aspire to their dreams.

HOLMES: All right, Nic, thanks for that. Nic Robertson reporting for us from New York. Somebody who spent a bit of time in Libya. Just seems odd to be in public in Benghazi given what's happened there.

MALVEAUX: And it's such an unfortunate, unfortunate story -- situation there.

HOLMES: Yes, very sad for his family.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, the pope making more news.

HOLMES: Every day.

MALVEAUX: Pope Francis setting to fight child sex abuse in the catholic church head on now. He's assembling a panel to advise him about protecting children from pedophile priests and, of course, for caring for the victims. This announcement just came a couple of hours ago.

HOLMES: Yes, this was after the pope met all week with cardinals around the world who are advising him on Vatican reforms. Let's get some details on what to expect. Ben Wedeman joins us live from Rome.

You know, Ben, if there's one issue that the Catholic Church needed to hit head on, this is probably near the top of the list. What can you tell us about this commission, the goal, et cetera?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The goal is really going to be looking ahead to try to prevent child abuse in the future by members of the clergy, and also to deal or treat the victims of abuse in the past.

Now, what's interesting is that according to Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who made this announcement today, they're looking to basically stock this commission with people not from within the bureaucracy of the church. There will be lay people. There will be priests. But they want to have it with -- he said of an international composition. Perhaps an indication that Pope Francis wants to deal with this very pressing, this very difficult issue for the church outside the bureaucracy of the church.

Michael.

MALVEAUX: Ben, obviously this is a good development here. As a catholic, you know, I'm - we've been waiting for information and really accountability when it comes to all of this. But we do know that the Vatican refused a U.N. panel information about the church's investigation into sexual abuse of children by the clergy. So is there still some secrecy behind what it is that they are discovering?

WEDEMAN: Well, the Vatican today did actually respond to a similar question. They said that this U.N. panel wants to go back to 1990 and wants the details of every single instance of abuse by a member of the clergy worldwide. And the church said that they can't be held responsible for every member of the church around the world. But their attitude is, they're looking forward, as far as this commission goes, not going back into the past to deal with this issue.

Suzanne.

HOLMES: Hopefully some comfort to those who were victim to all of that. Ben, thanks so much. Ben Wedeman on the spot for us in Rome. MALVEAUX: Certainly hope they get some answers to those who are looking for more answers from the church.

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Yes.

Back here in the United States, chances are you're either going to be dealing with an extreme heat or really wondering what this winter's all about.

HOLMES: It's been crazy. I mean --

MALVEAUX: It's just cold, wet, hot. I don't -- Atlanta is like a heater (ph).

HOLMES: It's 70 degrees outside here in Atlanta, which is ridiculous.

MALVEAUX: I love it.

HOLMES: OK. Yes. Have a look at this now. we're going to take you across the country, give you a bit of an idea of what's going on. A more than 80, yes 80 degree difference in high temperatures across the lower 48. You've got below zero in Montana, mid-80s in Florida.

MALVEAUX: These guys, they didn't get the memo that it's actually single digits in Minnesota. That's right. Lake Superior, Stony Point Beach near Duluth, Minnesota. Waves up to seven and nine feet today.

HOLMES: Not those ones.

MALVEAUX: Oh, yes, well not that one. Die-hard surfers, of course, they don't care about walking through two feet of snow to get to the water.

HOLMES: I'd be out there.

MALVEAUX: You would?

HOLMES: I would. Absolutely. A nice gentle wave, get a nice long board, you'd be enjoying -

MALVEAUX: Well, that's a nice one.

HOLMES: But they ain't seven feet.

MALVEAUX: Yes.

HOLMES: Jennifer Gray is in the CNN Severe Weather Center.

If that's seven feet, I've surfed 15-footers. How weird is it to have this span of temperatures in a single day?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's not that uncommon when you have these really strong cold fronts like we're seeing today. And this is the time of year that we do see these. But the big problem today is really the ice. We have rain, we have ice, freezing rain, we have snow. And look through St. Louis, all the way down to places like Fayetteville, Arkansas, we're seeing small accumulations of freezing rain, sleet. And then as you head down to the south, even places like Albuquerque seeing snowfall this morning.

As we get into the afternoon, and even this evening, especially right when the sun started to set, that's when we'll see places like Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, that's when we'll see ice start to develop in those areas. So it could make for a very dangerous situation as you're heading maybe home from work this afternoon. I would try to get home before the sun sets. We could see half an inch or so of accumulation. And when you're dealing with that, you could see tree limbs falling, you could see power outages, things like that. So it could be very dangerous.

We're also going to see possibility of about four inches or more of snow accumulations for places like Oklahoma City, Springfield, and places to the northeast, say in the Ohio Valley. These are all the watches and warnings, winter weather advisories all across the south. Places in Texas, also through Arkansas, Little Rock, you're included in that.

Tomorrow, the ice and snow will continue. But, guys, as we get into the early part of the weekend, that's when all of this is expected to move out.

MALVEAUX: So, Jen, I've got to ask you, why is this happening? I mean what is this all about? What's behind this? Do we know?

GRAY: It's just one of those strong fronts that you get this time of the year. We're getting the ice and the snow, though, very far to the south. And so it is a little weird for places say as far south as Dallas, they normally don't get huge ice storms this time of year. They can get some ice, but as far south in Texas, it is a little uncommon. But these strong cold fronts can definitely produce the ice and snow that we're seeing in the south.

HOLMES: Yes. Just don't let it get down here. Did I say I hate ice? That's the worst.

MALVEAUX: It's freaky.

HOLMES: It is.

MALVEAUX: It's freaky. And Atlanta doesn't do very well with ice.

HOLMES: When you drive on ice, you are a passenger in your own car.

Jennifer Gray, appreciate that.

MALVEAUX: All right, thanks, Jen.

Coming up, they are standing as one across hundred cities. We're talking about fast-food employees, they are on strike now, calling for an increase in the minimum wage.

HOLMES: This is catching fire, actually, around the country.

Also, if you travel abroad, the NSA could be tracking your cell phone. Are you surprised at this sort of thing anymore? That's the latest to be uncovered from the documents Edward Snowden leaked. We'll explain all of that this hour on "AROUND THE WORLD".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: All right. The latest chapter in this, did Toronto's crack- smoking mayor try to buy a video that allegedly showed him doing just that, puffing on a crack pipe? Well, that's the latest in the ever growing scandal.

MALVEAUX: And there are new court documents now that indicate that the mayor, Rob Ford, offered cash -- allegedly offered cash and a car in exchange for the incriminating video. Now, the information is coming from police wiretaps of suspected gang members. They were quoted as saying, Rob Ford was smoking his rocks.

HOLMES: Because that's what you say, apparently.

MALVEAUX: That's what they say.

HOLMES: Another time they claim he was doing heroin. Now, there are many other shocking statements in these court documents. The mayor was on the radio earlier today denying it all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RADIO HOST (voice-over): What do you say to that? I mean these are wire taps from gang members who say that you offered $5,000, if not more, $150,000 and a car, to confiscate the video of you doing crack on the tape. What would you say to that?

MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO (voice-over): Well, number one, that's an outright lie. And number two, you can talk to my lawyers about it. But I'm here to talk football.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez joins us from New York.

Jean, you've read the court documents. I mean, what do you make of it? I mean I suppose you can look at the source, too. You're talking about drug-dealing gang members and all the rest of it. But it kind of fits in with a lot of what was being discussed anyway.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: That's true. But there's such an irony in this because this was a year-long investigation, a massive investigation, by the Toronto Police Department, not against the mayor of Toronto, but against this alleged drug gang, the Dixon City Bloods.

And as they are monitoring these phone calls, because the judge allowed the wiretap of 59 different phones, they're suddenly hearing conversations that have to do with the mayor of Toronto. And we have no information at all, based on these documents, that they ever knew the mayor may have allegedly been involved with these dealers.

But the fact is, I think the headline from it is that on the tape one of the alleged drug dealers, Siyadin Abdi, said that he was in a conversation with a man not named, but we believe it was the mayor, saying that he would be given $5,000 and a car if he didn't release the video, and that's the alleged crack video police say that they now have in their hands.

MALVEUX: All right, Jean, so explain this to us, because he -- you have him acknowledging, the mayor acknowledging last month rather that he did smoke crack in a drunken stupor, at least that's what -- you know, that was part of what he acknowledged here. Now you've got this. Is there any point where they would arrest him? He's still out and about, right?

CASAREZ: You know, he is, and people are saying, why hasn't he been arrested? Because when he admitted to that, that's confession, right? Confession to using drugs. Drugs are illegal.

We now know this investigation was much broader than it was believed, because once investigators with the Toronto police department found that the mayor was visiting crack houses, was allegedly taking drugs, doing drugs, it could be broader and allegedly trying to make a deal to buy a video that he didn't want released.

Although you could say he's a victim, he's still trying to get money, allegedly for that video.

So, I think we have to stay tuned because investigators are working on this case, I'm sure prosecutors involved, to see what charges, if any, can come from this.

HOLMES: What a story this is.

Jean Casarez, thanks so much.

Of course he's still got the job, but the council stripped way most of the powers. They can't fire him.

MALVEAUX: Doesn't have a lot of authority, but he still has a job. It is incredible. Most people would not.

HOLMES: And a provider of much fodder for the news, too.

MALVEAUX: That's true.

HOLMES: Yeah, all right.

Still to come here on "AROUND THE WORLD", Nigella Lawson back on the witness stand. She's talked about her cocaine use and here troubled marriage.

What she's going to say today? We've got a live report, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Dozens of whales stranded in the Florida Everglades, now it looks like they've gotten some well-needed help.

I want to bring in John Zarrella to talk about what is the very latest here. I understand that there might be help on the way, or they've been successful?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yeah, this is really, really good news, Suzanne, what we are hearing right now. We are out here in the Gulf of Mexico. We just caught up with the stranding rescue team and the whales are gone. So I'll repeat that. The whales are gone. They can't find them.

A coast guard over-flight of this part of the Gulf of Mexico, off the Florida Everglades did spot a large pod of whales in the number in the 30s. They cannot confirm that it is the same group, but they are optimistic that it is and that group was 11 miles offshore. So they have moved well offshore into deep water and the stranding team --

HOLMES: Sounds like we lost John there. I mean, that is great news, if they are, 11 miles off. Of course, I don't know about you, I covered whale strandings in Australia and elsewhere, too. The thing is, they'll often just go up the coast a bit and do it again, so, hopefully that won't happen here. It's often a determination when they do these beachings that they're going to do it.

MALVEAUX: And it was so tragic when you think about it, because 10 had died. Four had to be euthanized because they were in such poor condition. You certainly hope that there were many, many whales that were able to make it out and --

HOLMES: Hopefully they keep going further out, yep, and don't turn up up the coast.

Now, let's turn to the deadly train derailment in New York where two passengers who are now suing the railroad for negligence after being injured in the deadly train derailment that happened in the Bronx. One victim's attorney says she was pinned inside an overturned car for an hour, fracturing her spine, collarbone and ribs.

MALVEAUX: Now it's actually her lawyer that says the railroad has been slow to adopt technology that could have prevented the accident.

Four people died; dozens were injured when the train jumped the tracks Sunday while rounding a curve. Now, a union representative told CNN that the train's engineer was nodding off before the accident.

HOLMES: But the engineer's lawyer says he was in a -- more of a hypnotic-like daze before he realized something was wrong and then hit the brakes, too late, unfortunately. Investigators say the train was traveling nearly three times the speed limit for that curve.

MALVEAUX: And there are some fast-food workers across the country now who are furious. Watch this.

So this is the scene. This is at a McDonald's. This is in New York City earlier this morning, and the protesters essentially are saying, we can't survive on $7.25. And that's what many fast-food workers simply make an hour, $7.25, which is the minimum wage.

HOLMES: Yeah, they're calling for up to $15, particularly in more expensive cities.

Protests are being held in more than 100 cities today from California to the East Coast and sprinkled throughout the West and Midwest.

All right, we're going it take a short break now.

When we come back, we're going to talk about Nigella Lawson, celebrity chef and the court case she's involved in. She has just left court after giving testimony for a second day, and her drug use was raised again, even though she's not the one on trial.

We'll report on all that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson testified today that she is ashamed of using cocaine.

She took the stand for a second day. This is in the trial of her two, former personal assistants. They're actually accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands from her billionaire ex-husband's company credit cards.

HOLMES: Yeah, a bit over a million dollars, it was, in total.

MALVEAUX: Wow.

HOLMES: But the trial just sort of branched out into, well, airing dirty laundry.

Lawson has said she was bullied by her ex- into testifying against the assistants and her drug use has come out in the testimony that relates to the case.

Erin McLaughlin has been following it from outside the courtroom. This is in west London. Yeah, another sort of tawdry day in court, what did we hear?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Michael.

Just a short while ago we saw Nigella Lawson leave the courthouse concluding a second and final day of testimony.

During the testimony, she faced more allegations from the defense of habitual cocaine use, this time the defense claiming that she kept the drug inside her jewelry box, defense also claiming that a drug dealer would come out to her house, claims she responded to by saying, quote, "I have never known or seen a drug dealer in my life. I was given them." She also went on to say, quote, "People who are regular cocaine users do not look like this," gesturing at her body and face.