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President Bush, President Hamid Karzai Hold Press Conference; Japan's New Prime Minister; Tony Blair Makes his Last Speech to Labour Party Meeting

Aired September 26, 2006 - 12:09   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And obviously a lot to digest in that news conference. We'll get to it in just a moment. But we want to take a moment right now to welcome our international viewers joining us now.
We will join Jim Clancy and Rosemary Church in just a couple of moments.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it was a fascinating press conference there.

HARRIS: It was.

COLLINS: A lot of things to talk about. But probably one that at least we have been talking about in the media we should get to off the top.

That five-month-old classified national intelligence estimate report, it's been going on for five months, just recently leaked over the weekend to the media. The one that concludes the Iraq war has worsened the terrorist threat.

Now the president is saying, all right, fine, you can read it. We are going to declassify it. So that will be the job of John Negroponte to go ahead and declassify that report...

HARRIS: That's right.

COLLINS: ... which Republicans had said it's just a small portion of the report, a small paragraph of the nine-page report. Democrats had said, well, this is really something that supports our thinking that...

HARRIS: That's right.

COLLINS: ... we are against the war in Iraq. So it will be interesting to see how that plays once everybody gets a chance to see all of that.

HARRIS: Interesting to see how much of the report will be declassified. Will we get a redacted version of it?

COLLINS: We will.

HARRIS: Will we get the entire report, or will we get a report that shows us the kind of visual redaction? So it will be interesting to see how that plays out when we get that report.

Let's bring in our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux.

Suzanne, a lot to digest from that news conference.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the president actually made some news this time when he made that announcement. He talked with John Negroponte, the director of National Intelligence, said go ahead and declassify what he called the executive summary of the portion there.

It is about eight or nine pages, from what U.S. officials tell me, and they say just one paragraph actually deals with the portion in Iraq. So they have been very anxious and even eager, if you will, to try to get out the full story.

It was yesterday we heard Negroponte's comments late in the evening, gave you a hint of what was to come, saying he was taking this request very seriously. And, of course, it was a Republican, the Senate -- the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who said, look, we need to get all of this out, Democrats as well.

But clearly, if you look at the political context of this, Republicans are quite concerned here. Midterm elections right around the corner. They do not want any kind of story to get in the way of the case they have been making, the case the White House has been making that national security is our issue, it's the one that we perform the best when it comes to going forward with American people, the voters themselves.

They didn't want anything to undermine that. So, it was interesting when you heard that questions to the president about whether or not it was a political move of his own to decide to declassify that document, and he denied it, there's a lot of politics both ways, as you know, Tony. And the president before, the White House before has made those political decisions, the calculus there to declassify in the past if it suits their interests -- Tony.

COLLINS: And also, Suzanne, quite a bit of talk about this meeting to come tomorrow. We actually heard President Karzai refer to President Musharraf of Pakistan as his "brother." Very much looking forward to talking to the other leader in the trilateral discussions that will happen tomorrow about the resurgence, if you will, of the Taliban, and what can be done by these three countries to handle that situation as far as aid from the United States, as far as the opium that you spoke about earlier today, and safe harbor in Pakistan for Taliban militants.

MALVEAUX: Well, there are certainly a couple of things that Musharraf is looking for from the Bush administration. Some of them which he mentioned, some of them which he did not. Certainly looking for more aid from the United States and the international community. Essentially, he is in a very weak position now monetarily and politically.

You've got the Taliban, these groups that essentially are profiting off this huge poppy industry. He somehow has to counter that with his own political clout, if you will. And so he talked a little bit about that, more aid and a way to really weaken the Taliban.

President Bush is looking at Karzai, and he has been using Afghanistan as a model of success, this whole freedom agenda he's been talking about. So he in some ways desperately needs Afghanistan to work here.

COLLINS: All right.

Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much for that, standing at the White House for us today.

And I want to remind everybody that we will have that meeting tomorrow.

HARRIS: That's right.

COLLINS: It will be tomorrow night, the meeting between the Pakistani president, the Afghanistan president, and the American president.

HARRIS: Yes, that should be something. That really should be something.

COLLINS: It should be interesting.

We certainly appreciate you watching, everybody, with news happening around the globe and here at home.

I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris.

YOUR WORLD TODAY with Jim and Rosemary after a quick break.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to YOUR WORLD TODAY, here on CNN International, seen all across the globe and, of course, here in the United States.

I'm Rosemary Church.


We're going to begin our report in Japan, where the new prime minister is Shinzo Abe, a politician regarded by many as a hawkish nationalist.

CHURCH: He has been elected by the Japanese parliament's lower house.

CLANCY: Among the challenges for the pro-growth fiscal conservative, maintaining the economic recovery. CHURCH: In international relations, Mr. Abe seeks to repair ties with China and South Korea.

CLANCY: And then at home, domestically, he supports revision of Japan's pacifist constitution. He also promotes patriotic education.

CHURCH: Now, he's also championed stronger security ties with Washington and promoted the new economic sanctions imposed on North Korea after Pyongyang's recent missile test.

Atika Shubert has more.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As Junichior Koizumi bid farewell to the prime minister's office today, his successor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, received a warm welcome at Japan's parliament. At 52, he is the youngest leader in Japan's post- war period, the first to be born after World War II, signifying a generational shift.

On the surface, Abe is in a good position. Japan's economy is finally on the mend and he inherits much of the popularity his predecessor enjoyed. But he has also inherited some problems.

Japan remains saddled with enormous debt and a looming pension crisis as a result of its aging population. While recent reforms kick-started the economy, critics say they also created a widening income gap that Abe must address.

REI SHIRATORI, POLITICAL ANALYST: We need somebody who is going to reunite the modified and the main (INAUDIBLE) of disparity.

SHUBERT: Furthermore, diplomatic relations with Japan's biggest trading partner, China, have been severely strained, hitting an all- time low during anti-Japan riots in China last year. Abe has promised to repair ties with China, but critics say the new prime minister leans toward a hawkish nationalism that may exacerbate tensions instead.

"At the moment, he is restraining himself for the sake of China," this political commentator says, "but I wonder how long he can hold out."

(on camera): To tackle these issue, Abe appointed a new cabinet within hours of taking office. And the biggest changes were structural.

In addition to the ministerial level posts, five now report directly to the prime minister on special issues, including economic and educational reform, North Korea, and the creation of a U.S.-style national security council.

(voice over): Critics say Abe's biggest challenge may simply be distinguishing himself from his wildly-popular predecessor. GERRY CURTIS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Koizumi is an impossible act to follow. There's nobody with his charisma, no one that can play the game the way he did it. He has to have some policies that the public gets excited about and is positive about. He can't survive on style. He has to survive on substance.

SHUBERT: Abe may find that becoming prime minister was the easy part. Now he will have to prove himself to keep the job.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Tokyo.


CLANCY: More politics now. We heard just minutes ago from President Bush fighting back against his critics in a leaked national security estimate. Across the Atlantic Ocean his greatest ally in this war on terror was waving good-bye. "The truth is, you can't go on forever." The words of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

CHURCH: Mr. Blair says Britain is a changed country in the years since his Labour Party came to power.

CLANCY: The challenges ahead are far greater than those faced just a decade ago.

CHURCH: The prime minister says he'll step down next year. But he hasn't said exactly when.

CLANCY: Now, Rosemary, it's important to note this is his final address to the Labour Party. And just a little while ago he talked about how hard it is for him to say good-bye.


TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: In government, you -- you carry each hope, each disillusion. And in politics, it's always about the next challenge.

The truth is, you can't go on forever. That's why it's right that this is my last conference as leader, and of course it's hard to let go. But it's also right to let go for the country and for you, the party.



CHURCH: Well, Mr. Blair says he will now try to help the Labour Party succeed in the next election, at the same time dedicating himself to advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

CLANCY: Also in Europe, Romania and Bulgaria receiving the green light to join the European Union today. The two Balkan nations face some of the toughest terms though ever faced by new members. The news was obviously the big headline in both nations. The European Commission says the two countries have made enough progress to join the bloc on the first of January. But the tough entry conditions reflect concerns about their shortcomings. European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso outlined some of those conditions.


JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The commission has fixed a number of measures to accompany the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. In particular, the commission will set up a mechanism for cooperation and verification of progress in the areas of judicial reform, fight against corruption, and organized crime. The mechanism contains specific benchmarks which have to be met.


CLANCY: Barroso also said further enlargements should be frozen until the EU can set some new ground rules.

CHURCH: All right. We do want to check some other international stores now making news this hour.

CLANCY: Let's begin in Thailand. That's where the military junta says it's going to maintain a role in politics even after it returns power to the people.

Coup leaders say they've written a new constitution naming themselves advisers to an interim government. The junta also named dozens of civilians to serve as advisers.

CHURCH: Outbursts from Saddam Hussein got him thrown out of court for the third time this week. The chief judge also ejected all six of his co-defendants. The trial is now adjourned until October 9th.

CLANCY: Spain intercepted more than 300 would-be immigrants aboard boats Monday night, including four women and a baby. This year Spain has detained more than 24,000 refugees, five times the number in all of 2005. Hundreds, if not thousands, are believed to have drowned trying to reach Europe and a better life.

CHURCH: All right.

Just ahead here on YOUR WORLD TODAY...

CLANCY: A new day for airline travel in the aftermath of the alleged plot to bomb U.S.-bound flights. Washington easing some air travel restrictions.

CHURCH: And faces of Afghanistan's future. As President Karzai holds talks at the White House, coalition forces are training his troops back home.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CLANCY: There's a look at some of the latest market numbers from around the world. And anyone who has been traveling around the world has had a good look at some of the new security measures.

Well, at least in the U.S., those stringent security measures on air travel may be relaxing just a little bit beginning today. Liquids no longer entirely banned. But there are still some restrictions.

Let's get some more details. Jeanne Meserve is on that story.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Liquids, gels and aerosols now allowed in carry-on bags if you don't carry on very much. Three ounces or less of toiletries, like toothpaste, lotion and lip gloss, now permitted if they are placed in one clear Ziploc plastic bag. Also allowed on flights, beverages and other items bought on the other side of security in the boarding area.

The TSA says although liquid explosives remain a significant threat, intelligence experimental testing and overall increases in aviation security allowed the modifications.

KIP HAWLEY, TSA DIRECTOR: We've looked at all of the various MacGyver scenarios that are -- that you can imagine, and we are comfortable with these measures that we are adequately covered.

MESERVE: But some security experts believe complaints from travelers and businesses triggered the changes, which they say leave too many loopholes terrorists could exploit.

GEORGE BAURIES, FORMER FBI OFFICIAL: We know that al Qaeda has frequently worked in small groups. So if you take three ounces and multiply it times a factor of four or five or six individuals, that will be ample material to bring basically a liquid bomb aboard a plane.

MESERVE: The TSA disagrees.

HAWLEY: We are not flying near the treetops on this. We are giving ourselves plenty of room and the only thing we're thinking of here is the safety of the traveling public.

MESERVE (on camera): Hawley says the changes in the liquid ban will allow screeners to look for more significant threats. But the ultimate solution, a technology to screen for liquid explosives, is not yet deployed at the nation's airports.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: All right. Well, it's a day of reckoning for two high- profile white collar criminals.

For that, it's over to Gerri Willis in New York. Hi, Gerri.


Two of the biggest cases of white collar crime are one step closer to a conclusion.

Ex-WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers reports to federal prison today. He will serve 25 years for his role in an $11 billion accounting fraud. Some say that because of Ebbers' age and heart condition he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

Ebbers built WorldCom from a tiny telecommunications firm into an industry giant, but the company ultimately went bankrupt in the wake of the scandal. Of course Ebbers' conviction was part of a wave of corporate scandals, including one at Enron. And that company's former chief financial officer, Andrew Fastow, will soon find out he will spend in prison.

Fastow, who arrived in court a little while ago, pleaded guilty in 2004 for his role in Enron's collapse and agreed to testify against the company's chief and founder. Because of that plea deal, he will serve no more than 10 years in prison.


CLANCY: All right, thank you very much, Gerri.

We'll have a roundup of the main stories in just a minute.

CHURCH: We will, and then a journalist's campaign to raise awareness of global poverty by taking a college student along to Africa.

CLANCY: The price of the trip? Mere words. You're watching CNN.


CLANCY: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Jim Clancy.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Here are some of the top stories we've been following this hour.

Shinzo Abe wasted no time in appointing a new cabinet after being elected Japan's first prime minister born after World War II. It includes a new U.S.-style National Security Council along with posts on the economy, education and North Korea. Mr. Abe is seen as a nationalist who wants strong ties with the United States and a more asserted military.

CLANCY: Well, the headlines in Bulgaria and Romania -- obvious both countries just cleared the last big hurdles of joining the European Union in January. They do have to meet some strict conditions before they can receive full E.U. benefits though. They have got to crack down on organized crime and corruption, and do better at controlling animal diseases such as mad cow and bird flu.

CHURCH: U.S. President George W. Bush said he would declassify a leaked U.S. intelligence report on the war in Iraq. He made the announcement during a news conference with Afghan president Hamid Karzai. The report said the war in Iraq has worsened terrorism and the terrorists are using the war as a recruitment tool.

CLANCY: And with the resurgence of the Taliban, NATO has been heavily engaged in fighting in recent weeks. When foreign troops eventually do pull out of the country, they're going to have to be replaced by none other than Afghanistan's own now fledgling army.

Bill Neely reports on one group of new recruits and the challenges they face ahead.


BILL NEELY, ITV REPORTER (voice-over): A fledgling army on the frontline, Afghan soldiers in combat in recent days -- they are fighting alongside British troops, against their fellow countrymen, the Taliban. Here, they were at their best. They are not all like that.

These men all have their own way of marching in their new uniforms and boots. These are the army's raw recruits, the men who will soon take on the Taliban. But some have no idea where they were. They've never left their village before, and many can't read or write, but these troops are the British army's exit strategy.

SERGEANT MAJOR DAVE CARTER, ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY: A lot of these guys have been fighting since age of 6, 7 and 8. I have got one guy I work with very closely who's been fighting 36 years and he's only 46 years old. So they have got a lot of experience. They know this country a lot better than we'll ever know it.

NEELY: These men are trained. They've been in battle, they've lost comrades. Hundreds of Afghan soldiers have been killed by the Taliban. Their record is patchy.

CAPTAIN JAMES KENNEDY, ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY: Like any soldiers all over the world, you have some good soldiers and you have some bad soldiers. In contact, we have had a few soldiers who aren't as well prepared for it. But then the majority are very keen and very up for the fight.

NEELY: Many older soldiers fought in another war against Soviet troops. They know what they are doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are ready for fighting the Taliban.

NEELY (on camera): You are ready?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we are ready. All of us.

NEELY: In less than two month's time, these men will be battle ready and will be sent to Britain's forward bases, the frontline, to fight the Taliban. But in reality, there is no frontline. Just like British troops, as soon as they leave this base, they'll be at war.

(voice-over): If British troops are to leave one day, these men must be ready to fill the gap. One problem, half the men dessert in their first year. The Afghan army may be on the march, but it's not ready yet to beat the Taliban on its own.

Bill Neely, ITV News, southern Afghanistan.


CHURCH: Well, the fate of the world's most wanted terrorist continues to be a cause of global speculation and denials. First, there were unconfirmed reports that Osama bin Laden was dead. Now the Al Arabiya television network is quoting a Taliban official as saying bin Laden is alive and in good health. Bin Laden's last audio message was released last July.

CLANCY: Obviously, it's difficult to get accurate reports on bin Laden's real medical condition.

Brian Todd reports on what life just might be like for Osama bin Laden if he is in poor health.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN it's remarkably difficult to confirm anything about Osama bin Laden's health. But if a source close to Saudi intelligence is correct, and bin Laden has a so-called waterborne illness, experts say that could mean typhoid fever, dysentery, possibly E. coli, all potentially fatal but also recoverable.

That same Saudi source says bin Laden may be hiding somewhere at high altitude, a mountainous area thousands of feet up from sea level. If that's in northern Pakistan or somewhere in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, near the Afghan border, can the al Qaeda leader survive for any length of time with one of those diseases?

DR. SHMUEL SHOHAM, WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER: They may have an immune response, but if they've been in these conditions for awhile, they may have become accustomed to those conditions.

TODD: But Dr. Shmuel Shoham, an infections disease specialist at Washington Hospital Center, says bin Laden also has some disadvantages if he's come down with a waterborne illness.

SHOHAM: Just by virtue of constantly being on the run, one's immune system may be weakened by the physiological stress of being on the lam.

TODD: Or the lack of access to antibiotics or hospital treatment, according to Dr. Shoham. Another possible complication? Terrorism experts cite a claim by bin Laden and others close to him that he suffered a significant physical setback long ago at the hands of Soviet forces. PAUL CRUICKSHANK, NYU CTR. ON LAW AND SECURITY: Ever since bin Laden suffered a serious gas attack in the late 1980s in Afghanistan, he's had serious health problems arising from that. It seems he's had very low blood pressure, he's had acute dehydration, he's had chronic back pain, he's had very severe problems with his voice.

TODD: Experts say if that gas attack affected bin Laden's kidneys or bone marrow, his immune system could be damaged, making a recovery more difficult.

(on camera): Some important signals? No taped messages from Osama bin Laden on the fifth anniversary of September 11, no videotape of him in almost two years. But terrorism experts say all these reports about his health may inspire bin Laden to put out another tape very soon.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CLANCY: Well the chance of a lifetime.

CHURCH: Just ahead here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, a journalism student's essay wins her a trip to Africa with a "New York Times" reporter.

We're going to talk with both of them live about a remarkable journey. That's coming up next. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Seen live in more than 200 countries across the globe, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International.

Well, aid workers trying to help the displaced and suffering in Darfur are now finding it even harder to get to the people in need. The United Nations head of humanitarian affairs told the Associated Press that the government offensive and rebel attacks are to blame. The aid chief says the government offensive alone sent an estimated 50,000 people running for safety this month, and relief workers now face more obstacles to helping than ever before in the 3-year-old conflict. Its violence, starvation and disease has cost some 200,000 lives, and more than two million people have been forced from their homes.

CLANCY: To raise awareness about Darfur and issues like global poverty, "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof held an essay contest for college students. Now, that happened this past spring. From 4,000 issues Kristof picked Casey Parks to travel with him on a reporting trip to Africa. They started their journey in Equatorial Guinea, then traveled to Cameroon and then ended up in the Central African Republic. They're joining me now from New York.

Casey, I want to begin with you. Because, well, you're a lady first of all. Pretty amazing trip for you? CASEY PARKS, ESSAY CONTEST WINNER: I'm sorry?

CLANCY: Pretty amazing trip for you?

PARKS: It absolutely was. It was way more than I ever expected.

CLANCY: How did you travel?

PARKS: Well, we traveled through cars. We traveled in a pirrogh (ph) and we traveled in a plane. We traveled by foot. Pretty much every way you could travel.

CLANCY: And were you a little bit amazed at all the different ways -- -- what a correspond has to do to get to the story when they're covering something international?

PARKS: Absolutely. I didn't expect the boat, most of all. Just to get into Central African Republic, we had to get in a boat. I didn't expect the terrible roads. It takes like two-and-a-half hours to go 20 kilometers sometimes.

CLANCY: All right. Nick Kristof, you to go through all of these essays. And I just want to read the closing lines of the essay that Casey wrote, because I thought it was particularly moving, the way that she said that. She talked about a lot of things about growing up not in a wealthy family, but she had this to say: "I'm charming and sweet and considerate in person, but still, bold and fearless. The trip that you are offering is experience that should merge experience and inexperience, skill and desire for more. I have these qualities."

And Casey made the point and that obviously impressed you Nicholas Kristof?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, absolutely. I mean, often in the opinion pages of the "New York Times," it's sort of dead white men writing for other dead white men. And I thought Casey would be a really different voice, a Southern working class student voice, and she would bring a kind of authenticity to the experience. And you know, some experience with American poverty, if you will, that would make a fascinating contrast with African poverty. And she brought all that and more. She was a great traveling partner and a great blogger.

CLANCY: Nicholas Kristof, for many of our international viewers who may not know it, really, a voice of conscience on the pages of the "New York Times," particularly on the subject of Darfur. But there are stories as tragic as Darfur almost everywhere on the African content. And Casey, you met a woman who I understand is pretty unforgettable.

PARKS: Absolutely. Prudence is 24, which is -- or she was 24. That's only a year older than I am. And we met her in a hospital in Yokaduma (ph), Cameroon. And she had tried to give birth to her fourth child with a midwife, and the problems arose with the midwife. And the midwife actually sat on her stomach to induce labor. And when she did that, her uterus ruptured. So she went to a hospital in Yokaduma. Her family spent all their money getting her a motorcycle taxi just to get to the hospital. So when they got there, they didn't have enough money to pay for an operation. And several things happened, but eventually what happened is she wound up having to wait in the hospital with no attention for over a week. And last Wednesday, she passed away. For no reason, essentially.

CLANCY: Well, no reason except she couldn't get the health care that she needed.

PARKS: Right.

CLANCY: Nicholas Kristof, what were you trying to teach Casey on the trip? What were you trying to show her? Did you have an intent?

KRISTOF: Yes, I mean I really wanted to try to engage young people, students, in the kinds of issues -- be they global poverty or AIDS or maternal mortality or Darfur itself -- that kind of obsess me. And I thought that having a student write about these issues and experience them would happen galvanize students to get involved in these issues.

CLANCY: Now you've met a lot of people, obviously, on your trip. We saw some of the photos of different people you met. Casey, what did you really see in those people? How did they relate to your experience or change your reality?

PARKS: Well, I'm not sure how much of my own experiences they got to experience. I mean, it's -- a lot of these places we were only in for small periods of times. And you know, I had to work through language barriers. But the way it really changed me is before I went there, I had thought I was poor growing up. But I find it really impossible to be able to say that now, because I always was able to have medical care or food. And just looking into some of these people's eyes, I mean -- you can tell a lot from someone's eyes. And just really changes the way you live. I mean, I -- just two nights ago, I was watching television...

CLANCY: Well, you thought you knew what poverty was, didn't you?

PARKS: Yes, and I didn't have a clue. I mean, I -- in my essay I talked about how growing up we were poor. And I just don't think I can ever say that again, because I always had something to eat. And even if we didn't have money to a hospital, we always went to the hospital if something was wrong.

CLANCY: You talked about how little time you had, Casey. You find out that international corresponding, going over there, reporting, it's hard work, isn't it?

PARKS: It is definitely hard work. I mean, it's exhausting sometimes. You know, because have to work all day long and it's hot and then it's cold at night. And then you have to -- after you've seen things that are really emotionally strenuous, you have to somehow go home and make sense of it and write an article and then get like four hours of sleep and do it again. CLANCY: Nick, you were just making it tough on her, weren't you, to show you the young people that the old people can still do it?

KRISTOF: I wanted to do a little, you know, P.R. for the correspondent business. But, you know, I thought that somebody like her could be a correspondent, if you will, sort of an ad hoc correspondent and convey some of these issues, give a glimpse of real poverty to American students.

CLANCY: Casey, final word. You walk out of some of those experiences, some of the people you meet, and you know, you're not going to forget them very easily. What do you take with you from this?

PARKS: One thing from -- with the blog and from meeting these people, I just realized the kind of journalism I want to do is possible. That journalism does make a difference. And if you really, really pour yourself into a situation and you just allow yourself to really, really feel, and you convey that through writing, that other people are paying attention. And it does make a difference.

CLANCY: Making a difference. Nicholas Kristof of the "New York Times," thank you not only for being here with us today, but all your work on Darfur, what you write. Casey Parks, best of luck to you.

PARKS: Thank you.

KRISTOF: Thank you.

CHURCH: All right. Well, coming up here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, was he really mad?

CLANCY: Was the other guy really smirking? We're not sure about that, but there was plenty of finger-pointing.

Up next, the interview that's the talk of the blogosphere.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, handle with care, great care. Now that's the verdict on Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" after scientists used 3D technology to study both sides of the 400 year-old masterpiece. Now scientists from Canada's National Research Council say the painting is in fragile condition, but should not suffer too much damage if it's taken care of properly. A small split in the painting's wooden surface, probably due to an eighteenth century reframing job, has not worsened over time.

CLANCY: Well, finger-pointing, table-pounding, accusations flying.

CHURCH: It wasn't the latest reality television special, or maybe it was in a way. CLANCY: I think in a way. The blogosphere is buzzing about former U.S. president Bill Clinton's interview on the Fox News Channel.

CHURCH: And whether interviewer Chris Wallace really was smirking. Jeanne Moos has this recap.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Technically Bill Clinton's face never actually got purple. But he did seem to boil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... took off the gloves...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... in a kind of smack down with Fox News...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he looked like he was going to kick some...

MOOS: At least they never had to bleep the former president.

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.

MOOS: But it was President Clinton doing the hitting, or at least the jabbing at Fox's Chris Wallace.

CLINTON: I want to know how many people of the Bush administration you asked this question to.

MOOS: It was the talk of the tube from YouTube to Imus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could have been in a bar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Wallace should have smacked him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Chris had any (INAUDIBLE) he should have said just keep your hands to yourself there, powderpuff.

MOOS: And it was all because Chris Wallace's question whether Bill Clinton had done enough to get Osama bin Laden.

CLINTON: No, because I didn't get him. But at least I tried. That's the difference between me and some.

MOOS: Do you think he was acting or really mad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think he was mad and I think he was justified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course he's acting. They are all acting.

MOOS: It didn't take long for comedians to act.

ROB BARTLETT, COMEDIAN: The cops are saying my response was coolly calculated, well who do you think you are dealing with, homes? I'm the Pope of Charisma. I got 70 I.Q. points on Chris Wallace.

MOOS: And then there was the smirk factor.

CLINTON: And you got that little smirk on your face. You think you're so clever.

MOOS: Chris Wallace's own colleagues on Fox kidded him about the smirk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just don't smirk, stop you smirking, buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Wallace, you're unflappable. Good job.

MOOS: And Wallace himself noted, "The president said I had a smirk, actually it was sheer wonder at what I was witnessing."

In addition to finger-jabbing, there was finger-wagging.

CLINTON: They ridicule me for trying.

MOOS: But it takes me back to the last time Bill Clinton famously wagged his finger. Remember that?


CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Right. That's not all he was wagging.

MOOS: And as if all that wagging wasn't enough, writer Nora Ephron blogged on the "Huffington Post", "What surprised me most about the Clinton meltdown was that on one told him to pull up his socks".

She's right. Look at all that exposed skin for an interviewer to get under.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CLANCY: Well, for the finger-jabbing to real fisticuffs.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Now, if you know the phrase "When worlds collide," how about when sports collide?

CLANCY: It all happened at Sunday's Glass City 200 at the Toledo Speedway in Ohio. Michael Simko felt that Don St. Denis had wrecked him. And the speedway turned into a kickboxing arena. Look at this.

CHURCH: Now Simko attacked St. Denis in his car. So St. Denis got out and went after him. The fight was eventually broken up. As for the race, neither man took the checkered flag.

CLANCY: And as for the fight, everybody turned out fine.

That's it for this edition of YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Jim Clancy.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Stay with us. Stay on CNN.