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Your World Today

Summit Showdown?; Democratic Presidential Candidates Hold Second Debate; New Video Shows Missing U.S. Soldiers' I.D. Cards

Aired June 04, 2007 - 12:00   ET


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A summit showdown. The U.S. president heads off to the G8 gathering in Europe amid growing tension with Russia over a proposed missile defense system

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): If this does not happen, then we will withdraw any responsibility for our retaliatory measures because it wasn't us who initiated a new round of arms race development in Europe.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Democrats face off at the latest U.S. presidential debate. Could upset-minded challengers steal some face time from the frontrunners?

CHURCH: Four decades later, a look back at the Six Day War that changed both the politics and the geography of the Middle East.

HOLMES: And from the red carpet to retribution, Paris Hilton, yes, has checked into the county jail after one final night out on the town.

It's 7:00 p.m. in Jerusalem. It is noon in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Hello and welcome to our report broadcast right around the globe.

I'm Michael Holmes.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church.

From Los Angeles to Jerusalem, to Manchester, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

HOLMES: OK. Before the red carpet is even rolled out for the G8 leaders in Germany, a dispute between the U.S. and Russia threatens to overshadow the summit.

CHURCH: That's right. President Vladimir Putin is warning of retaliatory steps if the U.S. goes through with plans to build a missile defense system near Russia's doorstep.

HOLMES: President George W. Bush left today for Europe and will make a key stop before Wednesday's summit. CHURCH: He'll touch down soon in the Czech Republic, where Washington wants to install a radar system for the European missile shield.

HOLMES: And we have two reports for you on this story today.

Frederik Pleitgen is in Berlin to tell us what G8 summit host Angela Merkel hopes to accomplish this week.

But first let's go to Suzanne Malveaux, who's awaiting President Bush's arrival in Prague.

Let's talk about what's been going on with President Bush and Vladimir Putin and this little war of words going on.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly. And they've ratcheted up the rhetoric.

Russian president Vladimir Putin at first started off saying that the U.S. policy was imperialist, and then he went on to say that this is the initiation of a -- some sort of -- a new arms race. And then today, published reports, Putin goes on to talk about retaliatory measures, that they would actually go ahead and point missiles at U.S. installations, as well as European allies.

All of this creating quite an alarming situation between these two countries. U.S. officials reacting to it this morning, as well.

Let's take a listen to what Putin said.


PUTIN (through translator): It is generally obvious that Russia is not eager to attack anybody. What is the anti-missile system for? Maybe it's done especially to provoke measures and then to prevent a further reproach between Russia and Europe.

If this is so, although I'm not claiming that it is, but if it is, I think it is another mistake. Because in this way, we will not improve international security and international peace.


MALVEAUX: Now, U.S. officials insist that this system would be installed in Eastern Europe to rather ward off some of the threats they believe would happen, or come from Iran or North Korea. I spoke with National security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe this morning, who responded to Putin's comments.

He said, "We've made clear to the Russians repeatedly that the missile defense system, which will not come on line for several years, is no threat to Russia and is designed to protect Europe from emerging threats in the Middle East. It's unfortunate they continue to make these comments."

Now, it's very clear that this is alarming for U.S. officials. We expect that President Bush will sit down with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Thursday, kind of a sideline to the G8 summit. This is going to be on the top of the agenda.

U.S. officials are already saying they do not expect any kind of a breakthrough on this, and that is why in part, President Bush is going to be hosting Putin at the Kennebunkport family compound. That in just about three weeks or so.

It is the first time that the president has ever invited a world leader to that very private place, a family place. It really underscores the importance of this relationship. U.S. officials believe it needs a lot of massaging -- Michael.

HOLMES: Suzanne Malveaux standing by there in Prague, keeping an eye on things.

Thanks for that, Suzanne.

CHURCH: Well, German chancellor Angela Merkel says the missile defense dispute isn't the only pressing and contentious issue on the G8 agenda. She sat down with our Frederik Pleitgen, who joins us now from Berlin -- Frederik.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, did everything she could to remain as diplomatic as she could on this issue. She obviously was not willing to take any sides on this issue.

What she did say, though, as the host of the G8 summit, she said that she hoped that both President Bush and Vladimir Putin would talk about this issue, would talk this issue over. Here's what she had to say.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): There will be a bilateral meeting between the U.S. president and the Russian president, and later the Russian president will also travel to America. There are many divisive issues. The question of Kosovo's future is in just as much dispute as the missile shields.

And then there are other issues where we cooperate very well, like the Middle East. And also, as far as the nuclear program of Iran and North Korea are concerned.

All these topics will of course be put on the table, and that's what makes this kind of summit so unique, the fact that all these political leaders from very important countries can come together and discuss topics like this in a very open, and I hope also very constructive, fashion.


PLEITGEN: Now, Rosemary, one thing that Angela Merkel did say later on was that she was very much in accordance with the United States and that she does not believe that this planned missile defense shield is aimed at the Russian sort of nuclear deterrent. She says she doesn't believe that it's aimed at them. She says this is clearly aimed at preventing States like Iran and also like North Korea from threatening Europe.

Now, one of the other main topics of course at this G8 summit that will be held here in only a couple of days is climate change. And Angela Merkel said to me that even though the U.S. president had put forth his own sort of agenda for this summit, his own climate change plan, she says she does feel that real progress could be reached.


MERKEL (through translator): No one can avoid the issue of climate change anymore. There's a wide discussion within the United States around this topic, and the American president has now made clear that he accepts the evidence. That was not always the case.

And second, we are willing within the framework of the United Nations to take initiatives, and we want to make our own commitments. I'd like to stress that if President Bush's initiative is within the U.N. framework, then it will be a very good initiative. If it's outside of the U.N. framework, then I could not support it.


PLEITGEN: So, Rosemary, she did call this a very interesting proposal on the part of the U.S. And she says if this does a stay within the U.S. -- with the U.N. framework, she says this is certainly something that's very much worth talking about -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Our Fredrik Pleitgen, reporting there from Berlin.

Thanks so much.

All right. Now to the United States and the race for president.

HOLMES: Yes. Our own Colleen McEdwards is in Manchester, New Hampshire, covering the debate.

What did you make of it, Colleen?


Well, last night, the Democratic candidates certainly went at it again, didn't they?

New Hampshire plays a key role in the whole race for the White House. The first primary of the presidential campaign will be held here in this state in January. And a good showing there can really make a candidate, and a bad showing, of course, can be a pretty tough obstacle for them to overcome.

So, if you go into a debate like this as a frontrunner, you certainly want to come out as one. So, it's no surprise that most of the candidates were really carefully watching what they had to say.

Candy Crowley takes a look.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Consistently third in national polls, John Edwards took it to them this evening, commending his top two rivals for voting against an Iraq spending bill, blasting them for failing to lead.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They went quietly to the floor of the Senate, cast the right vote. But there is a difference between leadership and legislature.

CROWLEY: It produced the first dustup of the evening as Obama took exception.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I think, John, the fact is, is that I opposed this war from the start. So you are about four and a half years late on leadership on this issue. And I think it's important not to play politics on something that is as critical and as difficult as this.

CROWLEY: Running for the nomination of a fierceness antiwar party, Joe Biden was the odd man out, the only one to have voted in favor of the Iraq spending bill. Biden explained he could not in good conscience leave U.S. troops without funds. Though refusing to be directly critical of his colleagues, Biden managed to get his point across.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I knew the right political vote, but I tell you what, some things are worth losing elections over.

CROWLEY: Perched at the top of the pack, Clinton's debate mission was to be frontrunner, stay above the fray. She had her sights set on the general election, not her Democratic colleagues.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the differences among us are minor. The differences between us and the Republicans are major, and I don't want anybody in America to be confused.

CROWLEY: Clinton and Edwards clashed only gently when he repeated his assertion that the war on terror is nothing more than a bumper sticker.

EDWARDS: And that's exactly what it is. It's a bumper sticker.

CROWLEY: She politely dissented.

CLINTON: I have seen first hand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists, and I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.

CROWLEY: The group touched on immigration, the crisis in Darfur, health care, education and taxes. But time and again, the war dominated the stage. As it has the campaign.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


MCEDWARDS: All right. We are joined now by our own Bill Schneider for more analysis on this.

Bill, thanks a lot.


MCEDWARDS: What did you think? How did they do?

SCHNEIDER: I think Hillary Clinton went in as a frontrunner and I think she's still the frontrunner in this race. Her specialty, which she held to throughout the debate, was rising above. That's what a frontrunner does, that's what she did.

Her message was essentially: let's you and him fight. And John Edwards came in raring for a fight, and he was -- had the gloves off, and Obama and he squabbled a great deal. She tried to keep above that.

The same thing is happening in the Republican Party, by the way. Rudy Guiliani is trying serenely to remain above the fray as the frontrunner, and Mitt Romney and John McCain are really going at each other.

MCEDWARDS: Duking it out.

SCHNEIDER: We're going to see that tomorrow night.

MCEDWARDS: All right.

Let's talk a little bit more about that. We heard a little bit of this in Candy Crowley's package, that moment where Hillary Clinton sort of said we're all the same, and wait a minute, we're not all really the same.

Let's just listen to that, and I'll get Bill to talk about it in just a moment.


CLINTON: The differences among us are minor. The differences between us and the Republicans are major. And I don't want anybody in America to be confused.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's let Senator Edwards respond.

Are the differences minor between you and these Democratic candidates?

EDWARDS: There are differences between us. And I think Democratic voters deserve to know the differences between us. I think there is a difference between making very clear when the crucial moment comes on Congress ending this war what your position is.


MCEDWARDS: It sounds like John Edwards has almost made a conscious decision here to sort of ratchet this up a bit.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, he has, because, look, he's not going to get anywhere, none of them are going to get anywhere unless they can somehow push Senator Clinton off her frontrunner perch. So, they're trying to make the argument, we are strongly anti-war, I'm strong anti-war, she is less anti-war than the rest of us, which is supposed to shock the Democratic constituency, because they are very passionately anti-war.

Her point of view is, we're all anti-war and there's no daylight between me and my competitors on this issue. We're all the same.

MCEDWARDS: She's trying to appeal not just to the Democratic base, she's thinking about a general election down the road, too, isn't she?

SCHNEIDER: She is, and that may be why she made one startling statement in the debate when she said -- when she was asked, "Are we safer than we were?" And she said, "Yes, I think we're safer, but we're not yet safe."

A lot of Democrats noticed that and they said, wait, what is she saying here? She didn't really elaborate, but that might have been part of this general election strategy as presenting herself as someone who can keep the country safe.

MCEDWARDS: On the issue of Iraq, did you hear anything shocking or out of the ordinary there?

SCHNEIDER: Nothing shocking or surprising on Iraq that I can recall. You know, the candidates were all essentially playing to the same audience -- passionate anti-war, "I would end this war, I would get us out." When they talked about what they would do with the aftermath of the war, they all made this point: nothing can be worse than what's going on now. Things are bad now, they would be bad if we left, but if we stayed there, they would be worse.

MCEDWARDS: All right. Bill Schneider, thanks a lot for that. Appreciate it.


MCEDWARDS: Bill Schneider joining us.

All right. Rosemary, Michael, back to you.

CHURCH: All right. Thanks so much.

Colleen McEdwards there. HOLMES: OK. Plans for a kidnapping and attack are demonstrated through a video camera.

CHURCH: Coming up, an insurgent group releases video clips that include I.D. cards of two missing American soldiers and a message for the United States.

HOLMES: And also ahead, remembering the Six Day War. Former Israel soldiers recall their march into Jerusalem's Old City and a brief battle that changed the face of the Middle East.


CHURCH: And a warm welcome back.

You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY here on CNN International.

HOLMES: You are, indeed. We are seen live in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe.

Nice to have your company.

Now a new development in the case of three U.S. soldiers who disappeared in Iraq last month. New insurgent video appears to show some personal belongings of them. Is it a sign they're alive?

Well, Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now with more.

It doesn't really tell us a whole lot, but it's significant nonetheless, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, indeed, Michael, it does not tell us a lot. And we want to be very careful in explaining to people what we know and what we don't know.

There is a radical Web site, the Islamic State of Iraq, which usually carries messages from the ISI and other insurgent groups, now showing these two military identification cards. By all accounts, they are the genuine article belonging to Private Byron Fouty, 19 years old of Waterford, Michigan, and Specialist Alex Jimenez, 25 years old, of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

We'll leave those up for a moment.

These of course are the two U.S. Army soldiers who disappeared after an attack south of Baghdad last month in which their position was overrun. And the U.S. military has been looking for them ever since that attack on May 12th.

Now, today, this radical Islamic Web site carrying these pictures of their I.D. cards, and also carrying an audio commentary in which the group says, without any proof, mind you -- they say, "We decided to put an end to this matter and announce the death of the soldiers," because the U.S. had not heeded the group's demand that the search for the soldiers be called off. But, of course, what we want to strongly emphasize is that there is no proof of life or any other proof of the status of the soldiers. This recording is out there today, it is on an Islamic Web site. But military officials are well aware of it, they have made the families aware of it. But there is no proof, no change in the status of the soldiers, according to the military personnel we have talked to.

They're aware of this recording, they're quite disturbed by it. But again, it's simply what it is at this point, with no real proof one way or the other about the status of the two missing.

The search for them does go on -- Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Thanks for that update.

And as Barbara points out there, it doesn't really prove anything as yet. But we'll keep an eye on it for you.

CHURCH: All right. Another story we're following, chaos in the courtroom as the war crimes trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor begins at The Hague.

Taylor boycotted the opening day of the trial, which he called a charade in a letter read by his defense attorney. And the disruptions didn't stop there.

After reading the letter, the attorney said he was stepping down because Taylor wanted to represent himself. The judge ordered the lawyer to stick around but the man was having none of it.


JUDGE JULIA SEBUTINDE, SPECIAL COURT OF SIERRA LEONE: If you are not inclined to obey the directive of the court, make it abundantly clear by walking ott, if that's what you plan to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, I must -- I do apologize.


CHURCH: Well, Taylor has pleaded not guilty to 11 war crimes charges in connection with the bloody civil war in Sierra Leone that killed some 50,000 people.

The case has been adjourned until June 25th.

HOLMES: New video of Fidel Castro appears to show the Cuban president is recovering from his serious illness. State-run Cuban television airing images of Castro's meeting with Vietnam's communist party chief over the weekend.

Castro has not been seen in public since an emergency surgery forced him to hand over presidential powers to his brother. That was 10 months ago now. His exact ailment and condition haven't been revealed. The government does control the release of images of his recovery, making this Castro's first televised appearance in four months now.

CHURCH: Well, the latest business headlines are coming up next.

HOLMES: Indeed.

And the hunt is on while two suspects in an alleged plot to attack New York's JFK face an extradition hearing, another remains on the run.

Details coming up.

CHURCH: And the simpler life of socialite and party girl Paris Hilton as "The Simple Life" reality star checks into the big house.




DOUGHERTY: ... they're saying, in essence, to the United States, you got out of that agreement. You've gotten out of other agreements and now we simply can't accept the results of that. And you started this. I think that's why you'd have to say the Russian's statement right now is, you started this, we didn't.

CHURCH: Jill, just want to get an idea with that in mind, whether very much a lot of this is perhaps posturing from President Putin.

DOUGHERTY: Well, it could be, however, there are some really strong feelings behind this. And after all, when he you're talking about nuclear weapons, this is not something to joke around with. But certainly, the Russians feel, for whatever reason, they feel encircled by the United States, perhaps by the West, by NATO, certainly, and they feel that they have been dictated. In fact, President Putin has used that word, "dictat" (ph) he feels that he's been dictated to by the United States especially, and shorthand, they're tired of it. And they have oil and gas money, so they can put their money where their mouth is and back it up with some clout.

CHURCH: All right, our Jill Dougherty, joining us there from Washington, thanks so much.

CLANCY: All right, coming up, from the penthouse to the jailhouse.

CHURCH: What a leap. Heiress Paris Hilton begins serving time for violating probation, but not before stopping off for one last red carpet moment in the spotlight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: For a while there, of course, you couldn't pick up a magazine or turn on the television without seeing Paris Hilton. The hotel heiress famous for being famous, really, was everywhere, it seems.

CHURCH: Yes, whether you liked it or not. Well, that's over now, apparently, probably the next three weeks at least. Last night, Hilton began serving time in jail for a probation violation following a traffic conviction.

HOLMES: But as Sibila Vargas reports, Paris Hilton couldn't resist one last moment on the red carpet before heading off to the slammer.


SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one month ago that droves of cameramen, paparazzi and reporters eagerly reported the arrival of the 26-year-old socialite to a downtown Los Angeles courthouse. The question on everyone's mind, would this hotel heiress, reality TV star and pop culture phenomenon actually receive for violating her probation? The answer was yes. Unimpressed with Hilton's excuse that her publicist Elliot Mintz told her that she could get behind the wheel after a previous of alcohol-related reckless driving, Superior Court Judge Michael Sauer slapped the heiress with a 45-day prison sentence for driving on a suspended license.

HOWARD WEITZMAN, ATTY.: We do intend to attempt to appeal both to the judge and to a higher court, if appropriate.

VARGAS: Hilton, who later fired and then re-hired Mintz ultimately dropped her appeal process when the Los Angeles Sheriff Department announced that she would likely only serve 23 days if she was well behaved behind bars. As is scripted by the Hollywood machine, each moment of Hilton's life since her sentencing has been reported on almost daily, with one of the biggest debates around the issue of special treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it was clear that she's been selectively targeted, in my opinion, to be prosecuted because of who she is.

VARGAS: Fair or not, the heavy hand of the law has come a- knocking, and Hilton must do the time for her crime.

Sibila Vargas, CNN, Lynwood, California.


HOLMES: I'd hate to on that stakeout. There'll be paparazzi outside the jail for the next three weeks.

All right, that will do it for this hour. I'm Michael Holmes.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN.