Return to Transcripts main page

Your World Today

Purported al Qaeda Leader Offers 'Amnesty'; Leaked Report in Britain Says Pakistan's Intelligence Services Aid and Abet the Taliban; Israeli President in Serious Image Trouble Over Accusations

Aired September 28, 2006 - 12:00   ET


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. The new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq releases an audiotape with all manner of threats to foreigners and amnesty to Iraqis who join his insurgency.
RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Systems failure at Hewlett-Packard. Another top-level resignation in the computer giant's spy scandal, even as other disgraced executives appear before the U.S. Congress.

CLANCY: And nearly 80 years after the Russian revolution, the mother of the last czar is laid to rest.

Hello and welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.

I'm Jim Clancy.

VASSILEVA: I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.

From Silicon Valley to St. Petersburg, Kabul to Kandahar, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

From the rugged mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the plains of Iraq, the war on terror once again taking center stage.

CLANCY: And everyone taking stock of a new audiotape that surfaced purportedly from the al Qaeda leader in Iraq, the new one.

VASSILEVA: And in Afghanistan, a resurgent Taliban is proving to be surprisingly resilient. The U.S. military says attacks have tripled in some areas.

CLANCY: All right.

We're going to begin our report, though, in Iraq. And that 20 minute audiotape that was posted on Islamic Web sites, the speaker makes a conditional amnesty offer to Sunni tribal leaders in the country.

CNN's Michael Ware joins us now from Baghdad.

This offer to tribal leaders, this is a direct bid to compete with the U.S., isn't it?


Since we saw the first introduction of Al Qaeda in Iraq, or in its first manifestation under Zarqawi, before he joined al Qaeda, there's been frictions between these foreign elements and these very much extremist Sunni elements and the local Iraqis. From the beginning, U.S. forces have been trying to play on that friction.

This statement from the new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Zarqawi's replacement, is just one more twist in this very winding road. He's trying to counter a recent push from Iraqi tribes, vowing allegiance to the Americans and fighting -- agreeing to fight against al Qaeda -- Jim.

CLANCY: Now, in addition to this, he's making a call to kidnap foreigners. He's saying that he wants to exchange them for Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is being held over the links to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

When you look at this threat to kidnap foreigners, is it really going to have any impact at this stage?

WARE: Well, I mean, this is the Ramadan offensive. I mean, we expected all of this from al Qaeda and many other groups with the insurgency. This is the traditional spike in attacks in this kind of activity.

So, in calling for a new level of offensive, I mean, I think most alarmingly or most chillingly, from Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, is his call that we will now launch a military campaign to uproot the infidel. He also calls on every free Mujahid (ph) to summon his strength and to take a Christian, imprison them, and trade them for the sheikh. This clearly is him stepping on to the stage and taking things up a little, if not for Ramadan, then beyond -- Jim.

CLANCY: Well, he does make -- and some people perhaps found it surprising -- he does say and admit that 4,000 foreign fighters, more than that number, have been killed.

WARE: Well, we've seen Al Qaeda in Iraq and its early incarnation (INAUDIBLE), under Zarqawi, often publicize its deaths. I mean, they celebrate the deaths of these young men as heroic martyrs.

They're to be honored, and that's what they do. So we have seen them be relatively frank about deaths in battle. We've even seen very sleek documentaries produced by their media wing in dedication memorial to some of the more famous martyrs.

So, here he admits 4,000 have died is not so outside the ballpark of the numbers of foreigners that the U.S. military intelligence believes are entering Iraq every month -- Jim.

CLANCY: All right.

Michael Ware reporting to us there live from Baghdad.

Michael, thank you, as always. It's important to note more than 2,700 American forces have died during the fight in Iraq, and no place is more dangerous than the western province of Anbar, and its capital, Ramadi. Michael Ware, who we were just chatting with, gives us a chance to share an examination of the fight there up close.


WARE (voice over): In seven months this battalion suffered 17 killed in action. More than many brigades of 5,000 in Iraq lose in a year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to leave the blood and the lives of several Marines, the memory of their lives here. We won't forget them, but all of us will leave something here.


CLANCY: Now the men of the 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment, you can see more of Michael Ware's report coming up at the half-hour -- Ralitsa.

VASSILEVA: Well, Jim, Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, is in London at this hour meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. They'll be discussing terrorism, Afghanistan, as well as other issues. The meeting, though, could be frosty as it comes on the heels of a leaked report that says that Pakistan's intelligence agency is indirectly supporting terrorist groups.

Another meeting that got off to an icy start was a White House dinner Wednesday night between Mr. Musharraf and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai. It was designed to soothe simmering tensions between the two leaders, who accuse each other of incompetence in dealing with the Taliban.

Before sitting down to talk strategy, host President Bush made brief remarks in the Rose Garden.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got a lot of challenges facing us. All of us must protect our countries. But at the same time, we all most work to make the world a more hopeful place. And so today's dinner is a chance for us to strategize together, to talk about the need to cooperate, to make sure that people have got a hopeful future.


VASSILEVA: And now more on that leaked report in Britain which aired on the BBC saying that Pakistan's intelligence services aid and abet the Taliban. And much as a leaked report in the U.S. last week said about the war in Iraq, the British version says the war on terror is actually attracting extremists to the cause. Just like the U.S. one said.

Robin Oakley joins us now live from London with more on that leaked report.

Robin, I'm thinking about the timing of this leak.

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, Ralitsa, I'm actually in Manchester, where the Labour Party conference has just finished, not in London. But there's a much embarrassed Ministry of Defense here in Britain over the leaking of this report.

It's apparently researched notes by an intelligence office connected with the Ministry of Defense which has made these allegations about the ISI, the Pakistani security services. And the Ministry of Defense said that this is a totally irresponsible interpretation of the notes, and that the author of the notes believes that this leak has taken place deliberately to stir up trouble between Britain and Pakistan.

Certainly President Musharraf reacted very fiercely on the BBC, saying that he had a 200 percent belief in the Pakistani intelligence services they were doing an excellent job in fighting terrorism. And he wants to take up this matter with Tony Blair, who he will be seeing perhaps in the next half hour or so.

But if this is an embarrassment for President Musharraf, it's also an embarrassment for Tony Blair, because this week, here at this Labour Party conference, he's been arguing that British foreign policy has nothing to do with the radicalization of Muslim youth leading them on to terrorism. But this report suggests that in fact the war in Iraq has been an effective recruiting sergeant for al Qaeda and for the Taliban -- Ralitsa.

VASSILEVA: And certainly, and as you mentioned, this is quite an embarrassment, because Tony Blair has been criticized heavily and has become very unpopular because of his strong support of President Bush and the Iraq war.

OAKLEY: Oh, certainly. That has been a constant theme, and that has been what has undermined Tony Blair in the opinion polls and has led his party to push him to the promise he will be retiring from office next year, perhaps in May of next year.

But, of course, in terms of his meeting with President Musharraf, it remains an embarrassment, because, of course, the Pakistani security forces are claiming a big part in the foiling of that plot to blow up airliners with liquid explosives en route from Britain to the United States which was uncovered last month. And they feel that they played a very big part in that.

President Musharraf will come here probably looking for a bit of a thank you for that, and instead this explodes in his face -- Ralitsa.

VASSILEVA: Robin Oakley watching developments in Manchester, England.

Thank you very much -- Jim.

CLANCY: All right.

The discussion there in Manchester hitting on Iraq and Afghanistan. Let's look on the ground in Afghanistan, where Australian troops have been facing some very heavy fighting. Now those defense forces, Australian defense forces, officials, at least, denying claims from the Taliban that Australian troops targeted and killed Afghan civilians.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar made that accusation in an interview with an Australian radio station. He also threatened that, in his words, "all infidels in Afghanistan are now targets."


LT. COL. MICK RYAN, AUSTRALIAN COMMANDER: My reaction to that threat is the Australian soldiers are here to help the people (INAUDIBLE). The Australian soldiers are here to help develop a basic infrastructure. And that's what we intend to do.


CLANCY: Now, the threat comes as NATO is expected to expand its troop presence all across Afghanistan.

VASSILEVA: Well, in a positive sign for the Middle East peace process, the Israeli prime minister says he is willing to open the dialogue with the Palestinian Authority. In an interview with Israeli radio, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, "I hope to meet with President Abbas in the coming days. I told him I would be happy to meet with him. There are no preconditions to this meeting. I want to meet with him, I want to start a process."

Some news also in Israel. This one about a presidential sex scandal, with the war receding from the headlines.

Israel's tabloids have been having a field day with some new events complete with high-level he said-she said secret tapes, threats of extortion. And, of course, sex.

John Vause has more on that.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She's known only as "Woman A.," but her accusations of being sexually harassed by Israel's president, Moshe Katsav, could force him out of office. The president's lawyer says his client is a victim of blackmail.

ZION AMIR, ISRAELI PRESIDENT'S ATTORNEY: She wanted money. The president taped that conversation. That tape is in the hands of the police. And according to that, she asked for money.

VAUSE: Woman A's lawyer claims the tape was doctored.

"If we were talking about a different person, not the president, he'd be going to jail," she says. While the president denies ever having sex with Woman A, that hasn't stopped Israel's tabloids. Woman A: "You forced me to have sex." "It was consensual," says Katsav," reads this headline. "Four other women have complained against Katsav," reads another.

But police say only one other complaint has been officially lodged.

(on camera): The president has already been questioned five times by officers from a special task force. And last month, police raided his home, seizing computers, files and documents.

(voice over): The Israeli president's role is mostly ceremonial. But Razi Barkai, a political journalist for more than 30 years, says these accusations, true or not, will mean an end to Katsav's political career.

RAZI BARKAI, JOURNALIST: He is in serious trouble. I mean, it will not break the Israeli system. It will not make the government resign. At the end of the road, I think he will have to resign.

VAUSE: Katsav was appointed by parliament in 2000 after President Ezer Weizman resigned amid allegations of corruption. And this new scandal is just one of many in Israeli politics, including a senior lawmaker, Zachi Henegbe (ph), charged with fraud, bribery and purgery.; former justice minister Chaim Ramon (ph), charged with an indecent act. Even Prime Minister Ehud Olmert under investigation that he used his influence to buy a home for low market value.

All denying any wrongdoing.

(on camera): News of a possible presidential sex scandal broke more than two months ago. But it was overshadowed by Israel's war with Hezbollah. Only now, though, are Israelis showing interest in the allegations against Katsav. A sign perhaps that life is slowly returning to what passes for normal in Israel.

John Vause, CNN, Jerusalem.


VASSILEVA: Well, disgraced computer maker Hewlett-Packard loses yet another executive to the spying scandal.

CLANCY: All right. We're going to take a break. But coming up on YOUR WORLD TODAY, the former and current HP employees testifying before Congress this day as the company's top lawyer steps down.

VASSILEVA: And exploring the Red Planet. The Mars rover arrives at the Victoria crater. We'll tell you what riches it could hold.


CLANCY: Welcome back.

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

Allegations that Pakistan's intelligence agency is indirectly supporting the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan could cause a lot more diplomatic tension between that country and its allies in the war on terror.

Joining us with more on the situation is Kathy Gannon. She's worked as a journalist in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She currently works for The Associated Press and is the author of a book, "'I' is for Infidel."

She joins us now from New York.

Kathy, great to have you with us.


CLANCY: Some people -- you look at Afghanistan -- and I want to get to Musharraf and the ISI and all these other charges, but people look at Afghanistan and they say, well, what's wrong with these people? You know, why would they ever be going back to the Taliban? What is happening on the ground?

GANNON: Sure, that's a good question. You know, the thing -- after September 11th and after the collapse of the Taliban, people in Afghanistan, ordinary Afghans, were promised a new Afghanistan. You know something where rebuilding new faces, prosperity. And, in fact, they were given the old Afghanistan back, the lawlessness, the warlords, the drug lords.

And that actually gave rise to the Taliban in the first place. So, I mean, people are really frustrated with where Afghanistan is today.

CLANCY: Well, you know, the U.N.'s anti-drug chief is frustrated because the opium production has shot up. Heroin is going back out. Millions, billions, perhaps, coming in. And it's said to be really causing a lot of the problems.

He says the only solution he sees, he's going to publish the names. That's going to get pretty embarrassing, though, isn't it, for some government officials?

GANNON: Sure. But, you know, Afghans know who the people are. You know, they are governors, the police chiefs that have been appointed that really has been the backbone of the drug trade in Afghanistan, which has been hugely problematic because it creates the lawlessness and the anarchy which really gives strength to the Taliban, because that frustration, the fear among people, that gives strength to the Taliban. And you can see five years down the road the Taliban are much stronger than they ever were.

CLANCY: All right. The latest charges to come out -- and some people aren't very surprised by this at all -- links between Pakistan's military intelligence called the ISI and the Taliban?

GANNON: Yes. Exactly, as you said. You know? And people aren't very surprised.

And you know this accusation has been out there for ages. I mean, the ISI has long links with the Taliban. Or even the Mujahedeen.

You know, many of the Taliban are actually also former Mujahedeen that fought the Soviets in the 1980s. So their relationship goes way back. But certainly, you know, the Pashtun ethnic group in Afghanistan, the ISI has always felt it needs to have a strong representation there, and people on their side who will be powerful in the Afghan that would be friendly to Pakistan.

And that was there before; it continues today. And as you say, it's not something that's new. And certainly, does it contribute to the problems in Afghanistan? It certainly does, but as does the lawlessness and the drug trade and the people who many of whom are part of the government in Afghanistan. It has made things very insecure for ordinary Afghans who are just hugely frustrated today.

CLANCY: Huge frustration perhaps one of the main motivating forces for this resurgence of the Taliban.

Kathy Gannon, I want to thank you very much for being with us.

GANNON: Thank you very much, Jim.

VASSILEVA: Well, let's check some of the other stories making news at this hour.

CLANCY: We are going to begin in the U.S. state of Colorado, where police say the gunman who took six girls hostage at a high school traumatized and sexually assaulted those students. The gunman is identified as 50-year-old Duane Morrison. Morrison killed one of the girls before turning his gun on himself.

VASSILEVA: Relations between Moscow and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia have hit another sour note.

Georgia detained five Russian officers on spying charges. In turn, Russia recalled its ambassador and ordered the evacuation of diplomats and their families because of what is called a growing security threat.

CLANCY: U.S. President Bush urging senators to pass what he calls a vital bill today. It outlines procedures for interrogating terror suspects and trying them in front of military tribunals. The Senate is expected to pass the measure. The House approved it Wednesday.

VASSILEVA: Well, disgraced computer maker Hewlett-Packard faces the music in Congress.

CLANCY: Just ahead right here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, former and current HP employees taking the oath, testifying about a spy scandal as the company's top lawyer steps down.

VASSILEVA: And decoding the mysteries of the Red Planet. The Mars rover rises at the edge of a never-before-seen crater.

Details coming up.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And hello, everyone. I'm Tony Harris at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. But first, a check of stories making headlines in the United States.

The motive remains a mystery. That from the sheriff investigating yesterday's deadly hostage-taking in a Denver area high school. The gunman is now identified as a 54-year-old man who was living in his vehicle.

Witnesses say Duane Morrison walked into the school and took six girls hostage. Police say he shot and killed his last hostage, then himself as a SWAT team stormed the classroom.


SHERIFF FRED WEGENER, PARK COUNTY, COLORADO: As you have alluded to, we have confirmed he did traumatize and assault our children. This was the information that was being fed to me from the SWAT team. This is why I made the decision I did. We had to go try and save them.


HARRIS: The sheriff says after the suspect killed himself, at least two guns were found on his body.

A corporate spy scandal gets the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Live pictures now.

Hewlett-Packard execs called before Congress today, but most declined to answer questions from lawmakers. A House committee is looking into tactics the company used in a leak investigation.

Hewlett-Packard admitted spying on its own board members, executives and journalists. Among those called to testify, chairman and CEO Mark Hurd. He replaces ousted chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who you saw just a moment ago. The company's former general counsel also appeared before the committee.

Ann Baskins invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self- incrimination. She resigned from Hewlett-Packard just before today's hearing.

It's been a while since West Nile Virus was in the news. Now it has claimed another life. This time in Wisconsin.

A Milwaukee health official confirms it killed a man early this year. Almost 90 West Nile deaths have been confirmed nationwide since the disease surfaced here in 1999. A pathologist hired by Anna Nicole Smith says a combination of drugs killed Smith's son. Twenty-year-old Daniel Smith was found dead in his mother's hospital room earlier this month.

On "LARRY KING LIVE," Dr. Cyril Wecht said test results show Smith had three drugs in his system.


DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: He died tragically and I believe quite accidentally as a result of the cumulative effect of three brain depressant drugs: methadone, which is an analgesic, a painkiller; Zoloft, an antidepressant; and Lexapro, an antidepressant.

We knew about Lexapro, Larry, as you will recall, from the first battery of tests performed on a specimen submitted -- taken during resuscitation at Doctors Hospital. So that came as no surprise. Methadone and Zoloft come as a big surprise.

To end the call (ph) to Howard Stern, to the attorneys, to everybody.


HARRIS: Dr. Wecht says the low level of all three drugs indicates the death was an accident.

Outspoken, yes. But depressed and suicidal, N-O. That's the word from T.O.

Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens is denying reports he tried to kill himself. He was released from the hospital yesterday. He says he hopes to join his team for practice today for the first time since breaking his hand. Owens says the whole thing was a big misunderstanding.

OK. A new day in the battle against "let's say good-bye."

Coming up this afternoon in the "NEWSROOM," from a football star, to the son of a celebrity, we're learning more about the dangers of mixing meds. We'll speak with a doctor and author about what medicines can and can't be taken together, and what information patients need to share with their physicians.

And the war on terror on the table. The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan lay out their biggest concerns. We'll ask one of our terror experts if their worries are justified.

Those stories and more ahead when you join Kyra Phillips and Don Lemon on "CNN NEWSROOM" at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a break.

I'm Tony Harris.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VASSILEVA: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. These are some of the stories that are making headlines around the world.

Hewlett-Packard's ousted chairwoman Patricia Dunn says she, too, was pretexted. That came in her testimony before a U.S. House subcommittee looking into the company's use of spy techniques to track down a leak of company secrets. Now three former H.P. officials invoked their right to refuse to talk to the panel, because it risked incriminating themselves. Among them was Ann Baskins. She resigned from the company's general counsel just hours earlier.

VASSILEVA: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is in London, where he meets British Prime Minister Tony Blair this hour. It comes as a leaked report suggests that Pakistan's intelligence agency indirectly supports terrorist groups. President Musharraf says the White House dinner with Afghan Hamad Karzai Wednesday night went well. He says the two countries plan to have better coordination to fight militants.

CLANCY: A new audiotape purported to be from al Qaeda's leader in Iraq says some 4,000 insurgents have been killed since 2003. The voice on the tape claims to be that of Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. He also called for the kidnapping of Westerners to trade for a Muslim cleric jailed in the United States.

Well, U.S. troops serving in Iraq are battling a relentless enemy, especially in the lawless city of Ramadi. Every time these troops go out, they know somebody's going to take a shot at them and they know they may not come back.

VASSILEVA: Absolutely. CNN's Michael Ware spoke to some U.S. marines in the battlefield, who despite all these dangers are determined to get that job done, but always remembering the memories of their fallen comrades.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people over here are willing to die for each other, so pretty much it's -- it happens over here.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And happen, it did. This is Ramadi, the worst of the Iraq front line. This day in May, marines closing around a fallen comrade, shielding him from fire.

It begins as a patrol, two teams watching al Qaeda-held streets. An insurgent sniper hunting one of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy God damn! Whoo!

WARE: Until they all push 115 meters home, the U.S. marine outpost. And they're hit, caught in a killing zone, fire from two directions.

Somehow only Lance Corporal Phillip Tutti (ph) is hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, because it gets pretty crazy. So there's a lot of times you are sitting around and nothing's going on, then all of a sudden, two seconds later, you're in a big fire fight, just fighting, trying to stay alive.

WARE: This was the 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment's war. Six hundred plus men ordered to go head to head with al Qaeda's suicidal jihadis in downtown Ramadi, in a battle their general admits he does not have enough troops to win, into what their commanders call a meat grinder.

CPL. DONALD BRIEF, U.S. MARINE CORPS : Definitely that -- I lost one good friend. And, but, I've talked to his wife, I've talked to his family, and they're all coping well, so I know I can cope well. If they can, I can, so...

WARE: These marines fall day in, day out, repelling al Qaeda assaults from their outpost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a part of me says it will. A bigger part of me says I think I'll be fine. I've got a lot of support back home. People told me we expect you to be different, things like that. But I think I'll be fine. I think a lot of these guys will be fine. It's just -- I don't know. A lot of people think it will change you here.

WARE: Dangled like bait in the streets, luring out al Qaeda, loading a detainee into vehicles. A few blocks down, the men join an ambush in another street. The fight leads to a rooftop.

In seven months, this battalion suffered 17 killed in action, more than many brigades of 5,000 in Iraq lose in a year.

MAJ. EDWARD NEGLOVOSKI, U.S. MARINE CORPS: We're going to leave the blood and the lives of several marines, the memory of their lives, here. We won't forget them. But all of us will leave something here.

WARE: Their presence made a dent in al Qaeda.

CAPT. ANDREW DELGAUDIO, U.S. MARINE CORPS: But the dangerousness, you know, how dangerous the mission is -- we've stopped the attacks. We stop them cold in their tracks. Never really took any great pride in how many people we've stopped. I have no idea.

WARE: From the kids in the gun pits to those who lead them, you hear in their own words how the price for this war is being paid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get nervous when you come over, but once you're here, you're nervous, aren't you? Of course you're nervous when you're coming into a combat zone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a whole thing to come to grips with, but yes. We -- that's what we are. You know, that's where the meaning of who we are as marines, is be prepared to do that if necessary. And from -- in my perspective, in my mind, there was no greater cause. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's still not reality for me. Even though I'm here, I see everything that goes on. I've seen things. But you don't -- because you're here, your mindset isn't what's going on here. You just -- it's day by day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I think of my men, when I first brought them out here before they came out here, the -- you know, you could see the young faces. You know, naive to the world, and you know, just grasping for an understanding of exactly what they were about to get themselves into.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think you could come here to a place like this and not forget it. You'd want to forget it, but you're not going to. It's just not going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The blood that we've shed here -- we'll certainly never forget the pain, suffering, all the emotions. The bleeding, the crying, sweat, tears. None of that will ever -- it's never going to leave us. And we'll never leave it because that's the legacy of our fallen comrades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll do what has to be done. We'll do it, whatever it takes. We'll keep doin' it.

WARE: Michael Ware, CNN, Ramadi.


CLANCY: We're going to take a look at some of the other stories making news around the world.

The leaders of Japan and South Korea have agreed to meet, perhaps melting a bit of that frost on the relations between those two nations. The new Japanese prime minister and South Korea's president say they are going to get together as soon as possible, perhaps on the sidelines of an upcoming Asian Pacific summit. Roh Moo-hyun had refused to meet with Japan's former prime minister, to protest his visits to a shrine that honored Japan's war dead, including some executed war criminals.

VASSILEVA: The United Nations Security Council is moving fast to choose a successor to the Secretary General Kofi Annan by October. Of the seven candidates vying for the U.N.'s top job, South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon has emerged as a frontrunner. A candidate needs at least nine votes and no veto to secure the appointment. Thailand's deputy prime minister and the U.N.'s former disarmament chief are also in the running.

Twenty-one months ago, a six-wheeled robotic explorer named Opportunity set out on a journey across Mars. Its destination, a large rocky crater crucial, scientists say, to understanding the history of the Red Planet. Well, after nearly two years, Opportunity is knocking on that crater's doorstep and sending back some amazing images.

Joining us now for some more details about the rover is John Callas, he is NASA product manager for the mars rover exploration

Mr. Callas, thank you so much for joining us.

So why are scientists so excited about this?

JOHN CALLAS, MARS ROVER PROJECT MANAGER: Well Victoria is like a giant time tunnel. Because of its size, it allows us to access deeper within Mars. And so we can go back in time by going down into the crater. We can study the different layers of geology as we descend down in. And the important thing is we are studying the sequence of Mars' history in order. It's like reading the chapters of a history book in order.

VASSILEVA: Now we are looking at pictures. What we see is quite a lot of sand, sand dunes, also we see some rocky outcroppings. I was reading that those rocks have a lot of wear, as one scientist says. They are a geologist's dream, these rocks with all of those layers.

Tell us a little bit more, specifically about that terrain we are watching in that crater.

CALLAS: Well, the 21-month drive to Victoria was mostly featureless, like driving across the desert. But once we arrived at the crater, and it revealed this half mile-size hole in the ground, which then presents to the scientists this wonderful opportunity to explore the history of Mars. It's like going to the Grand Canyon and you're seeing all the geological layers laid out before you. So our hope is to drive around the crater, find a safe way to go in, that'll get us up close to these layers and then study them in detail.

These rovers are like robotic field geologists. And so that's what we want to do. We want to do field geology on Mars, and then we can go back in time on Mars and to see what Mars was like in the past.

VASSILEVA: And actually what we are looking for is any sign of life. And life, as we understand it here on Earth, requires water. So is that what you are going to be looking for?

CALLAS: That's certainly one of the things we will look for. We have found evidence in the geology of surface liquid water on Mars, and that's important because with liquid water, you know that Mars had to have had a thicker atmosphere, and it had to have warmer temperatures. So it was more Earth-like. Today it's very, very different.

We want to find out if Mars had multiple episodes of surface liquid water. Was Mars like this for some period of time, was it a brief period, and when did it occur? And of course the great question is, was there life on Mars, or is there life there today? We won't be able to answer those questions, but we will at least be able to answer some of the questions about the geologic environment in the past on Mars. Was it habitable?

VASSILEVA: And so if we find out that it was habitable, what sort of a difference would it make for us here on Earth? CALLAS: Well, at one time we believe Earth and Mars were very much alike. Now Mars is very different. It lost most of its atmosphere, the water disappeared from the surface. Could that happen to the Earth? Or is that even happening to the Earth? By studying Mars and the other planets, we can tell more about our own planet.

And of course we are facing several important environmental issues here on Earth. So Mars may help us with that.

VASSILEVA: All right. John Callas, NASA Project Manager for the Mars Rover Exploration.

Thank you very much.

CALLAS: You're welcome.

CLANCY: All right. We are going to be taking a short break here. But we'll be back.

Still ahead, what do we have?

VASSILEVA: Well, we have something very interesting. We are going to go to the old royal capital f of Russia, St. Petersburg, where an empress gets her final wish to be returned to mother Russia. We'll tell you about her journey and what prompted it when we return.


CLANCY: Hello, and welcome back, everyone.

VASSILEVA: Seen live around the globe, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

CLANCY: Now, there's been an echo from the Russian Revolution. Eighty years after Czar Nicholas and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks.

VASSILEVA: And now Russia has reburied the czar's mother, who fled the country after the killing.

CLANCY: Now the ceremony unfolded before a very large crowd in a cathedral in St. Petersburg. We get more from Ryan Chilcote.


RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a coffin draped in Russia's once banned imperial flag, the former empress was greeted with ceremony and tears.


CHILCOTE: "Her heart was always with Russia and its people," proclaims the Russian patriarch, "especially at a time when clouds of turmoil and unprecedented attacks against God and one another hung over our country."

Empress Maria Feodorovna fled in 1919, shortly after her son, Russia's last czar, was executed by the Bolsheviks. Before she died in exile in Denmark, she asked to be buried beside her family back in Russia. Almost eight decades later, she got her wish.

Cannons fired a 31 gun salute just as they had when the Danish princess first arrived 140 years ago to marry the Russian Czar Alexander III. In the cathedral where members of the Romanov dynasty had been put to rest for the better part of three centuries, the surviving Romanovs joined European royalty and a few Russian officials to pay their respects.

Russian officials called the reburial historical justice, evidence of their nation's transformation.


CHILCOTE: "Reburying the empress's remains," St. Petersburg's mayor says, "is testimony we live in a new, powerful and indivisible Russia moving in the direction of revival."

Maria Feodorovna was the only ruler from the Romanov dynasty not buried in the family crypt. Her burial marks the crypt's completion, her return, Russia's symbolic attempt to make peace with its dark past.

Ryan Chilcote, CNN, Moscow.


VASSILEVA: Was he really in the line of fire?

CLANCY: A lot of people wonder about that, or was he just lining up publicity. Up next, Pakistan's president trotting about the globe with a lot to talk about, including a new book.


CLANCY: Well, now and then, a lot of people get excited by twins.

VASSILEVA: Absolutely. And that's certainly what the organizers of the 2008 European Football Championships are hoping for, with their choice of mascots for the event.

CLANCY: Now, this is the official duo that's going to be representing the joint host nations of Austria and Switzerland.

VASSILEVA: As you can see, they're clothed in the national colors. And their spiky hair is supposed to represent -- you know what, Jim? Those mountainous peaks, supposedly.

CLANCY: I don't know. I have to see another close shot. I guess they do look like red mountain peaks.

VASSILEVA: Red peaks.

CLANCY: All right. Welcome back. Yes. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

The question this week -- we've been watching the president of Pakistan. Is he conducting important state business or hawking his book?

VASSILEVA: Well, it's all -- sometimes it's very, very hard to tell on Pakistani president's trip to the U.S. and now in Britain, as we speak.

CLANCY: Well, he even promoted the book during a White House press conference. And more importantly, on an American comedy show.

VASSILEVA: And of course, our Jeanne Moos has been on his trail.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When's the last time you saw a sitting president sitting down with everyone to flog his book?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pervez Musharraf's autobiography.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His appropriately called...

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": "In the Line of Fire."

MOOS: It's hard to get out of the line of fire of this book.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You write in the book...

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You also write in the book...

PRES. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTAN: I explain in the book...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to make some money from this book.

MOOS: The climax team when the president of Pakistan showed up on the fake news, "The Daily Show," saluting and being served.

STEWART: This is an American delicacy. It's called a twinkie.

MOOS: Twinkies and jasmine green tea.

STEWART: So is it good? Where's Osama bin Laden?

MUSHARRAF: You know where he is? You lead on, we'll follow you.

STEWART: Bullet-proof panels were installed to protect the president. Here's what "The Daily Show" set looks like normally, and here it is with the special panels.

Over at NBC, they showed sharpshooters on the roof. Musharraf happened to give his book the same title as a Clint Eastwood movie in which a secret service agent takes a bullet to protect the president.

STEWART: You describe two assassination attempts, both on the same bridge, by the way. I'd come up with a new way to go to work.

MOOS: Now the White House may not be on a par with Oprah's book club, but it sure doesn't hurt to deflect a question with your book.

MUSHARRAF: And I'm honor-bound to Simon & Schuster not to comment on the book before that day.

MOOS: Reporters look stunned.

BUSH: In other words, buy the book, is what he's saying.

MOOS: How much money does Musharraf stand to make?

MUSHARRAF: That would be confidential.

MOOS: He plans to donate some of the royalties to charity. The book is dedicated to the people of Pakistan and...

MUSHARRAF: To my mother.

MOOS: Some have managed to miss the book tour.

(on camera): Who is this guy?


MOOS: You ever saw him?


MOOS (voice-over): Nope, not Venezuela's president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a guy -- Rushdie?

MOOS: Nope, not the author of "The Satanic Verses."

(on camera): He's Musharraf from Pakistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Musharraf from -- oh, that's right. Good-looking guy.

MOOS (voice-over): Jon Stewart put President Musharraf on what's called the seat of heat.

STEWART: George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Be truthful. Who would win a popular vote in Pakistan?

MUSHARRAF: They'll both lose miserably.

MOOS: His book is a bestseller, even if he's not yet the best known.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Musharraf. That's not any relation to Moosheriff (ph)?

MOOS (on camera): Who's Moosheriff? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably a cow that's got a lot of authority.

MOOS (voice-over): There's a Moosheriff in town.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CLANCY: I'm speechless. You know, I always get nervous whenever they start interviewing people and showing them some of the international world leaders pictures and asking them, do you know who this is? Because you know most people aren't going to know.

VASSILEVA: Well, I'm sure that after this one, they'll know a lot.

CLANCY: That's right. Always fun. Jeanne Moos, thanks for that.

That's all for this hour. I'm Jim Clancy.

VASSILEVA: And I'm Ralitsa Vassileva. And this is CNN.