Return to Transcripts main page

Your World Today

Turkey-Iraq Tensions: 'Republic Day' Celebrations Come With Military Threat; Coalition Troops Hand Over Karbala Province to Iraqis; King Abdullah in Britain

Aired October 29, 2007 - 12:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A celebration amid a simmering crisis. Turkey marks its Republic Day while troops stand poised for a military strike.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A handover of security in a key province. Iraqi forces take control of Karbala from the U.S. military.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's absolute horror. You know, it's just -- it's sickening.


HOLMES: The biggest clothing retailer in the U.S. responds to some disturbing allegations that children in India have been making some of its clothes.

MCEDWARDS: And move over, Manhattan. The German capital transforms into the latest haven for the arty set.

HOLMES: All right -- 5:00 p.m. in Berlin, it is 6:00 p.m. in Ankara, in Turkey.

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

I'm Michael Holmes.

MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.

From New Delhi to New York, wherever you are watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

Well, hello and welcome.

From small towns to big cities, the people of Turkey are celebrating at a time when the world is watching very closely -- very nervously, actually.

HOLMES: Nervously is the right word. Thousands of Turkish troops sitting on the border with Iraq, Kurdish rebel bases just across the border in their sites.

MCEDWARDS: So far, Turkey has largely heeded calls for restraint, but they are taking action in their own territory, and they're showing that they mean business as they celebrate the birthday of their republic.


Paula Hancocks is in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Here's her report.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): An impressive display of national pride and military strength. Republic Day in Turkey is traditionally filled with pomp and ceremony, and a show of the 84-year-old republic's military capability. But this year, there's something more.

The ceremonial display of military might mirrors the reality of conflict along the Turkey/Iraq border. Turkish helicopters fired on suspected Kurdish rebel positions Monday in the border area of Sirnak. And a continuing military operation is reported in the mainly Kurdish province of Tunceli, hundreds of miles from the border region where recent Kurdish rebel attacks have taken place. Reports say the military has killed 17 rebels and are cornering 100 more.

A traditional feeling of nationalism has intensified since the increase in PKK attacks. More than 50 soldiers have been killed in the past month alone.

This man says he's patriotic but is worried the strength of feeling in Turkey today could result in war. He says, "If it becomes too intense, even if there is a just reason for it, if it becomes too radical, it is not good."

This girl says, "A cross-border operation is no solution. People are talking of revenge and not thinking straight at the moment."

But these more moderate voices are being drowned out by tens of thousands of protesters on the streets of Turkey over the past week calling for military action. Experts believe Prime Minister Erdogan and his government had little choice but to increase their bellicose rhetoric to secure Iraqi and U.S. cooperation in combating the PKK, but continued threats of military action carry their own danger.

MELIHA BENLI ALTUNISIK, PROFESSOR, MIDDLE EAST TECH. UNIV.: The other parties, I think, realize that Turkey is serious about this and can act. Of course, the issue with escalation is that once you escalate, and once you issue the threat to use force, this means that you have to really use it if diplomacy fails.

HANCOCKS (on camera): Turkey is not expected to launch a large- scale incursion into northern Iraq before Prime Minister Erdogan goes to Washington on the 5th of November to meet with the U.S. president, George W. Bush. But the worry is Mr. Bush will not be able to give Mr. Erdogan what he wants, an end to talking and a start of physical action against the PKK.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Ankara, Turkey.


MCEDWARDS: And now to a change in control. The U.S. Army hands over responsibility for the security of Karbala province to the Iraqi military.

HOLMES: Yes, the coalition forces aren't going too far. The U.S. military says it's going to keep up a presence in the province where its troops will be what it calls only a phone call away if Iraqi authorities need them. Karbala is the eighth of Iraq's 18 provinces to be handed over to the Iraqi government by coalition forces.

MCEDWARDS: And you know there have been some recent skirmishes between Shiite factions in that province, but still, Karbala is considered one of the safest areas of Iraq. So what does this handover really mean?

Our Jim Clancy joins us now from Baghdad with more on this.

How significant is this, Jim?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a critical test, Colleen, for the government of Nuri al-Maliki. Yes, General Petraeus was there today, General Lynch was there to hand over officially the eighth of 18 Iraqi provinces back into their hands, but this one is crucial and Prime Minister Maliki perhaps summed it up when he told his own defense minister that he had to develop the security forces more quickly.

That's code for, get the militias out of the military. Get the militias out of the police. Take control of the situation.

This is mostly, almost overwhelmingly, a Shia province, but the clashes between pro-Iranian militias there do threaten the security, do really test the legitimacy and the efficiency of the government of Nuri al-Maliki. There is also Iranian influence there, a considerable amount of that. The U.S. is going to stay there, it's going to keep an eye on that.

This is significant for overriding issues. This is the birthplace of Shia Islam. A very important day for Iraq in this government.

MCEDWARDS: Jim, when you look at the overall big picture, though, I mean, what do the casualty rates and the death rates show? Are things getting any better?

CLANCY: You know, we went on the air last month -- or earlier this month, really, and telling you that U.S. casualties cut almost in half -- 65 deaths -- today. I can tell you as of this day, 34 American troops have been killed. That is a remarkable, a stunning decline. I talked with the head of multinational forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, just hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LT. GEN. RAY ODIERNO, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL CORPS., IRAQ: Well, first, we've had four now consecutive months of decline in casualties, of U.S. casualties, civilian casualties. I think it's a combination of several things. It was our ability to surge U.S. forces here that enabled us to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries. It's the improvement of Iraq's security forces, and it's also the beginning of reconciliation, with Sunnis now reaching out to be part of the solution here in Iraq.


CLANCY: One really important thing, and the general and other military people have pointed this out, the important number, Iraqi civilian casualties. They are down as much as 80 percent due to suicide bombings or car bombings here in Iraq. These are numbers that the people of Iraq are sitting up and taking notice of.

Back to you, Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: All right. Jim Clancy for us in Baghdad.

Jim, thanks very much.

And you know, coming up later in this hour, Jim is going to be back. He's going to take a look at who the real power brokers are on the streets of Iraq, and that's a really interesting issue we're going to take a closer look at as well.

HOLMES: Absolutely. The militias, who's running them, all that sort of thing.

MCEDWARDS: That's right.


HOLMES: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is due to start a rare visit to Britain anytime now. Even before his arrival, though, he's stirring up controversy with comments about terrorism. The king saying that British officials ignored intelligence that could have prevented the London train bombings in July of 2005.

International Security Correspondent Paula Newton joins us from Number 10 Downing Street with more on this.

A funny old way to start off a visit, Paula.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly controversial, and you would think that he certainly planned it that way.

What is so intriguing about these comments, Michael, is that what he's trying to tell the British people and the world is that the 7/7 attacks could have been prevented. It's not anything that's new, but for several reasons his comments really touched a nerve here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING ABDULLAH, SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): I believe most countries are not taking this issue too seriously, including, unfortunately, Great Britain. We have sent information to Great Britain before the terrorists attacks in Britain, but unfortunately no action was taken. And it may have been able to maybe avert the tragedy.


NEWTON: You know, this came as quite a surprise to the British government. Their reaction is unequivocally that if they had received intelligence that could have stopped the 7/7 attacks, they certainly would have acted on it. They say further that any Saudi information they had was, in fact, not materially important or connected directly to the 7/7 attacks.

So the bottom line is, Michael, what is this all about? This is interesting on two levels, because it makes people really shaky here, because they think to themselves, are we getting it wrong?

King Abdullah went on to say that he thought that the West wasn't taking counterterrorism seriously enough. But, you know, this entire issue, Michael, is steeped in so much diplomatic and political intrigue.

There are a lot of things at stake here domestically. The Middle East, one of the most important -- Saudi Arabia one of the most important partners for Britain here in the Middle East, and that includes a lot of its other allies in terms of when you talk about the relationship with oil. And it's important in counterterrorism.

You know, British officials did hint that perhaps King Abdullah made these comments, in fact, to deflect from their own counterterrorism battle in Saudi Arabia. Many people don't need to be reminded that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. It is Osama bin Laden's birthplace, and many people around the world still believe that Saudi Arabia is one of the chief -- not the government, but people in Saudi Arabia, one of the chief financing of terrorism around the world.

Continue to look for this to be a very controversial visit, Michael. Not the only reason is because of human rights. And he will be sleeping at Buckingham Palace. He will have a full-court press behind him -- Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, I'm sure. Human rights a big issue, I suppose.

Paula, thanks.

Paula Newton there.

You know, human rights, of course, there's been a lot of criticism in Britain about this visit, saying, well, this is the great ally of Britain, human rights abuses going on there. And yet they make calls on Burma and Zimbabwe, of human rights. A lot of people seeing a hypocrisy, a double standard. MCEDWARDS: Yes. It will be good to watch how this unfolds.

Coming up next here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, the French president loses his cool in front of American TV audiences.

HOLMES: Sure did. We'll tell you why he got so hot under the collar.

MCEDWARDS: And then later, she was first lady, now she is the first elected female president. No, we haven't fast forwarded to next year's U.S. election. We are talking about Argentina.

We're going to introduce you to the woman at the center of the country's historic choice.

HOLMES: And drunk on madness and murder, he was hoping to get to victim number 64 before police stopped him. Russia's most prolific serial killer learns his fate.

We will have that story also right here on YOUR WORLD TODAY.


MCEDWARDS: Welcome back to CNN International and YOUR WORLD TODAY.

HOLMES: And a special welcome to our viewers in the United States, joining us for this hour of the program.

Well, it seems the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, does not like talking about his personal life.

MCEDWARDS: He certainly does not. He walked out of an interview that aired last night on "60 Minutes" when questions turned to his soon to be ex-wife.


LESLIE STAHL, "60 MINUTES" CORRESPONDENT: Since we've been here, it seems that every day we are hearing another story about your wife.

What's going on?

NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): If I had something to say about Cecilia, I would certainly not do so here.

STAHL: But there's a great mystery. Everybody's asking. Even -- even your press secretary was asked at the briefing today.

No comment?

SARKOZY (through translator): He was quite right to make no comment. And no comment.

Thank you.


MCEDWARDS: You'll see what happens right here. Pulls off the microphone, takes the little headset out of his ear there and walks away.

HOLMES: Yes. Leslie Stahl, the interviewer there, she appeared a little confused, as you can see there.

The interview was conducted a few weeks ago. It's important to get that context, because at the time there was a lot of speculation in the French news media that Sarkozy and his wife were splitting up, but they hadn't at that point.

MCEDWARDS: Yes. And since the interview, the couple has announced, of course, that they are getting a divorce.

The French very different about talking about their politicians' personal lives.

HOLMES: I agree entirely. That's why I'm not surprised he got a little upset there, because in France, traditionally, people aren't interested in the private lives of their political leaders.

MCEDWARDS: I think you're seeing a little pressure.

HOLMES: You think?

MCEDWARDS: I mean, they were on the verge of divorce, a few weeks later it was announced. Come on.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, I don't know.

MCEDWARDS: This is not -- I don't know.

HOLMES: I think he did the right thing.

MCEDWARDS: We'll agree...


HOLMES: Say nothing.

MCEDWARDS: All right.

Well, from first lady to first elected female president, it is a likely reality in Argentina. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has claimed victory after Sunday's vote. The wife of the current president, Nestor Kirchner, won 45 percent of the vote and avoided a runoff that way.

It is no surprise that Fernandez de Kirchner has been compared to U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. Both are lawyers and senators who soldiered alongside their husbands as they rose from governors to presidents.

Peter Kaplan (ph) has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Four years ago when her husband became president, she said she'd rather be called first citizen and not first lady. Now, at the age of 54, Cristina Elizabeth Fernandez de Kirchner is calling herself president.

CRISTINA FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER, ARGENTINEAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I want to communicate to all Argentineans, Argentina has voted. Argentina has voted and has given all the men and women that have voted in this election a place. All of us have a place. We have won with a large margin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's proven to be a woman with a strong personality, both as a deputy in the lower house and as a senator. She's been a political activist since she was in college. She met her husband at university, and they have two children, 30-year-old Maximo (ph) and 18-year-ol 18-year-old Florencia (ph).

FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER (through translator): We all know that life is difficult, but as a woman life is much more difficult as a professional at work, in politics. It is always more difficult. And we are also prepared to multitask in our public and private lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fernandez de Kirchner says she feels mistreated by the press, and has given very few interviews. She highlights the government's successes in her speeches -- unemployment and poverty rates are lower and debt has been renegotiated. She always speaks highly of her husband.

FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER (through translator): Mr. President, you will not be forgotten by the Argentineans. I just hope -- and allow me to be selfish, we are all a bit selfish sometimes -- I just hope they don't miss you too much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever they can, the Kirchners take refuge in Santa Cruz, a province in southern Argentina. Some say the Kirchners are like two sides of the same coin, with different styles but no real policy differences. Argentineans will learn soon enough if that is true.

Peter Kaplan (ph), CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: Hillary two maybe. Wow.

MCEDWARDS: Quite a moment for Argentina. It's great. A great story.

HOLMES: It is. It is.

All right. Let's turn to the business world now.


MCEDWARDS: This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. And still ahead this hour...

HOLMES: Yes, no more Mr. Nice Guy. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama prepares to go into attack mode as he tries to cut the lead of Hillary Clinton.

MCEDWARDS: And later, a European city is making a name for itself as a new cultural center. And that city, well, it may surprise you.

Stay with us.



MCEDWARDS: Welcome back to our viewers joining us from around the globe, including the United States this hour. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. And I'm Colleen McEdwards.

HOLMES: I'm Michael Holmes. Here are the top stories to minute.

The Saudi King Abdullah stirring up controversy before arriving for a rare state visit to Britain. He told the BBC that Britain failed to act on Saudi intelligence tips that could have prevented the 2005 attacks on London's transit system. Britain's home office denies it overlooked any intelligence information.

MCEDWARDS: The Turkish Republic is celebrating its 84th birthday with a parades and a show of military might. National Day marks the country's creation after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This year's celebrations come as Ankara threatens a military offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

HOLMES: The U.S. military has transferred security operations in Karbala to Iraqi forces. The predominantly Shiite province is the eighth to be handed back to Baghdad.

MCEDWARDS: Well, the biggest threat to Iraq may no longer be Al Qaeda. Instead it may be the militia groups, some backed by Iran, who are infiltrating Iraq's police force. Jim Clancy takes a closer look.


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A fiery end for a pair of Al Qaeda's foreign fighters at the hands of Sunni militia men. The Iraqi police are present? Yes. In control? Hardly.

"We are in a terrorist area," says the man in the baseball cap. "We are the sons of the awakening. We killed two terrorists and we arrested a few others."

A Sunni militia man admits one of them was executed as he held up his hands to surrender. Nearby, militia men hold the fate of others in their trigger fingers. In Baghdad, a tea shop owner warns you can't trust anyone, saying, "Here, Shia Mehdi army snipers shoot at residents." Iraq's militia problem is complex. Some are based on religious loyalties. Others are tribal. There are pro-Iranian factions, criminal, kidnapped-and-extortion gangs. They have killed Sunni, Shia, Christians and Kurds alike and they have driven hundreds of thousands from their homes. Some Sunni leaders contend, by day, Iraq's police wear their national uniforms. By night, some work with pro-Iranian militias.

TARIQ HASHEMI, VICE PRESIDENT OF IRAQ: We have a militia that has already penetrated the -- the Iraqi national armed forces. These militia have to be purged.

CLANCY: Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's Shia alliance filled the ranks of police with its own supporters. Sunnis joined the resistance, often fighting alongside Al Qaeda. Now, with Sunnis turning on Al Qaeda, the U.S. has put nearly 70,000 so-called concerned local citizens on a temporary payroll. Arming and training Sunnis to integrate into the national police.

GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS, U.S. MILITARY COMMANDER: We're not creating more militias. We're not arming tribes. We're not -- certainly not trying to create problems for the future.

CLANCY: But Iraq Shia-led government is unenthusiastic. Dragging its feet, in the words of one U.S. source. Taking in the Sunni volunteers would mean far fewer jobs and salaries for its own supporters. Promises to balance the national police have stalled, and displaced Sunnis are frustrated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have this job just a few months ago.

CLANCY (on camera): Yeah?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no change.

CLANCY (voice over): Twenty-five families, this man says, can't go back to their homes because Shia militia men control his village. Earlier this year, 5,500 police in Diyala Province were fired. Most, only names on the books to collect salaries. Almost all had been hired from the Shia stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad.

"Some police here are just militia men in uniforms," says this Sunni volunteer, "killing and kidnapping."

The police chief says the complaints are exaggerated. He says he's waiting for the government in Baghdad to approve hiring more Sunnis for the force. The U.S. military charges some Shia militias get sophisticated arms from Iran. Posters in the capital show the names and faces of Sunni victims, openly blaming the government for supporting pro-Iranian militias. Government officials deny it.

MOWAFFAK RUBAIE, IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We don't need militia. And militia now, I'm pleased to say, is a dirty word in the streets of Baghdad and in Iraq. It's not acceptable.

CLANCY: Muqtada al Sadr ordered his Mehdi army militia to stand down in August as criminals filled the ranks, extorting his own Shia supporters, and battling rivals for turf.

(On camera): Iraqis, weary of sectarian strife, say all of the militias are out of control. Many hope that just like Al Qaeda lost its support, the militias, too, will lose their safe havens, whether they are in sectarian strongholds or the government itself. Jim Clancy, CNN, Baghdad.


MCEDWARDS: Well, Spain is on the edge. Anxiously awaiting the verdicts in the Madrid train bombing trial.

HOLMES: Yeah, 28 Moroccans and Spaniards are charged in those 2004 attacks, attacks that killed 191 people.

MCEDWARDS: You probably remember them. All of the accused, including three alleged masterminds, have pleaded not guilty. Investigators maintain the attacks were inspired, if not necessarily directly plotted, by Al Qaeda. The defendants have denied having any link to Al Qaeda or any radical Islam.

HOLMES: The three judges in the trial are due to deliver their verdicts on Wednesday. Joining us now for a little bit more on the case and Spain's fight against terrorism is the Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos.

Thanks so much for being with us, Minister.

I want to start by asking you what the impact of this trial has been on people in Spain, when it comes to their feelings of security or otherwise.

MIGUEL ANGEL MORATINOS, SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, it's a feeling of serenity, that the rule of law, that justice has been able to arrest the people who were involved in this attack, in this absolutely unacceptable attack. That has been you know, judged (ph), and we wait for the sentence next Wednesday. That we hope there will be a sentence for what has been involved.

So, the serenity and the strength that democracies, and the state like Spain, that can, you know, affront this fight against terrorism with the strength of law and the judicial system.

HOLMES: The opposition, certainly in Spain, and others, laid a lot of the blame at the feet of Islamic fundamentalism. Do you think this trial is going to help that viewpoint or not?

MORATINOS: I think they will finally qualify that this conspiracy theory have no basis at all. And that, you know, at the end, the weight of justice, the investigation, the research and absolutely very well organized trial has proved that these people were involved. They have this network. And they have tried to, you know, uproot the serenity and stability in Spain.

HOLMES: What has changed in Spain in terms of how terror is tackled, if you like? What has changed in Spanish life? I know, certainly, in the U.S. a lot has changed in terms of security and the way people are able to go about their lives. What about Spain.

MORATINOS: Well, you know, Spain has a long story of -- about terror. We have our -- we call this internal national terror of the backs (ph) of the terrorist groups. Then we have this attack, this absolutely outrageous attack on the 11 of March. Span is a country of tolerance, dialogue and serenity. But, of course, we are very much committed that these fanatics will not change our life, or our democratic institutions.

The best answer to all of them is to really spread through the rule of law, the sense of justice that we have, various and sound regime that can, through legal procedures, you know, fight and uproot these terrorist attacks.

HOLMES: Minister, finally, how has the Spanish approach to fighting terrorism differed from the United States' approach? I know you favor embracing Arab nations as partners in the fight, if you like.

MORATINOS: Well, I think we all come together. We have a very good relationship and very good cooperation with the United States. We've been working together during the last three years. And, you know, on plotting some networking of Al Qaeda groups that were trying to plan some acts in Iraq. We have a very high level of intelligence that has been, you know, shared by U.S. and Spain.

But, of course, we have been also very active in international forum. We have promoted and held -- U.N. has committed the new global approach about terrorism, how to fight terrorism. And, of course, also we have launched the initiative of Alliance of Civilization, that is the most important initiative in order really to legitimize, to uproot from the minds of these people, that we have to live together. And that Muslim Arab countries, Western countries, we have a common enemy, a common goal, that is to fight and, you know, defeat terror.

HOLMES: All right. We'll leave it there, Minister. Thank you. Miguel Angel Moratinos, the foreign minister of Spain.

MORATINOS: Thank you.

HOLMES: Visiting in Washington at the moment, had meetings with Condoleezza Rice a little earlier in the day.

MCEDWARDS: We are going to take a short break, but the U.S. Democratic presidential race is about to get a lot more interesting, maybe.

HOLMES: A lot of people would say hope so.

After months of being polite and seeing Hillary Clinton move further and further ahead, Barack Obama says the gloves are off. We'll find out just how nasty get Hillary week is going to be.


HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, to YOUR WORLD TODAY. A Moscow court has just sentenced the so-called Chessboard Killer to life in prison. Alexander Pichushkin was found guilty of 48 murders. Some say he may have killed even more. Matthew Chance has the story from Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For one of Russia's most prolific serial killers, there could have been no other sentence. Alexander Pichushkin, dubbed the Chessboard Killer, was handed a maximum life term, saved from execution by a Russian moratorium on the death penalty.

A number of his victims' family members were in the Moscow courtroom to hear his fate.

His was a gruesome killing spree, spanning at least 48 murders and nearly six years. Throughout the trial, Pichushkin gloated over his crimes, claiming to have actually killed more than 60 people. He has also ridiculed the police investigation to stop him.

ALEXANDER PICHISHKIN, CONVICTED SERIAL MURDERER (through translator): When I learned they had detained a scapegoat, I was dismayed my work had been attributed to others. In one week I killed two people. If they hadn't caught me, I would have never stopped. Having caught me, they saved many lives.

CHANCE: There were many lives they couldn't save. Over the years, police recovered dozens of corpses in Moscow's leafy Bitza (ph) Park. Often lured by the promise of alcohol, some had been brutally beaten, found with sticks and vodka bottles rammed into their shattered skulls. Pichushkin was only caught when his name and telephone number was found on a piece of paper in the home of his 48th known victim, a woman he worked with in a local vegetable store.

(On camera): But Pichushkin says he carried out many more murders with the bizarre aim of killing one person for every square on a chessboard. Some of his victims, he says, still buried in this dense forest.

(Voice over): Police say they're investigating a further 11 killings for which Pichushkin may be responsible. As Russia's Chessboard Killer starts his life sentence, the full extent of his gruesome game remains unknown. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


MCEDWARDS: Well, you can call it a moment of reckoning, I suppose, for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. After months of playing nice and running second, the gloves are starting to come off.

Obama says he will start directly confronting his main challenger, Hillary Clinton. With more on this we are joined by Michael Hirsh; he's senior editor in "Newsweek's" Washington bureau.

Michael, thanks a lot for being here.


MCEDWARDS: You know, everybody is making a big deal about getting Hillary week, but why has it taken him so long to do this?

HIRSH: Well, the question remains, what is he going to do? We will find out more at the debate tomorrow night, but I really don't think the gloves are off, quite frankly. That's what the Obama camp is saying. But I think one of Obama's problems is he is somewhat of a naif, as a political candidate, somewhat inexperienced and he still seems to think that presidential campaigns are about combating over issues, rather than -- rather viciously challenging the credentials of your opponent.

Now he's not really ready to do that with Hillary. He's still taking her on, on the issues but doing it in a very genteel way. I think that's what you will see tomorrow night as well.

MCEDWARDS: Interesting. What do they have to really disagree on?

HIRSH: Well, he's certainly been attacking her on areas of vulnerability and there aren't many. That's one of his problems, one of the reason why he's lagging so badly in the national polls. Even though he's very close in Iowa, the Democratic caucus there on January 3rd. Her Iran vote, for example, has caused a lot of controversy. He's been attacking her over that, namely her vote to --

MCEDWARDS: Just remind us of what that was.

HIRSH: Her vote to basically, in favor of a Senate resolution declaring the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps to be a terrorist organization which, of course, is extremely inflammatory, given that a large number of Iranian officials throughout the government are members of the Revolutionary Guard.

Indeed, that resolution is even more -- strict, more aggressive than what the Bush administration announced last week in sanctions. So he's been attacking her for being irresponsible, for being gullible, after all, she voted for the 2002 Iraq war resolution. He is saying she is once again giving the Bush administration license to attack. That's one of the areas.

Another area is Social Security. He is saying she's being irresponsible in terms of not fiscally standing up and backing Social Security reform.

MCEDWARDS: You mentioned the Iowa caucuses and they are earlier than normal, January 3, as you mentioned. Who does this help?

HIRSH: Well, it's difficult to say. I think it has to be seen as helping Hillary. Again, we really don't know the Iowa polls are now almost too close to call. It has Hillary with a very slim, I believe, 1-point lead over Obama, with John Edwards a very close third. And even though the impact of the Iowa caucus is limited, it's not really a full blown primary. It is the first big vote. So that could give the winner some momentum going into New Hampshire and the other primaries. I think that Hillary has to be seen now, though, as the -- as the runaway leader.

MCEDWARDS: Yeah, all right. Michael Hirsch, we have to leave it there. I will watch this debate extra closely. Thanks a lot for your analysis. We'll see if get-Hillary week is get-Hillary week in name only, or not.

A programming note for you, as well. The Republican presidential candidates will join CNN for a debate November 28th. It is going to be in St. Petersburg, Florida, with the questions coming from you over YouTube. This has been a really interesting format. If you want to participate, be sure to join us for that. There's lots more information about that on the Web as well.

HOLMES: I'm glad we are in Atlanta, and not New York, because we've got to say this, move over, Manhattan.

MCEDWARDS: That's right. We're going to tell you which European capital is the latest haven for starving artists.

HOLMES: Yeah, many of them looking to escape the high rents of the Big Apple. Stay with us.


HOLMES: Welcome back. New York, New York, the city of fashion, business and art.

MCEDWARDS: Wait until you hear this. Now a European capital is luring thousands of artists away from places like New York.

HOLMES: Oh, well. Frederik Pleitgen is going to explain to us about Berlin's transformation.


FREDRIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Film artist Reynold Reynolds depiction of your typical Berlin party may go just a tad overboard. But Reynolds says the remarkable thing is this: He was able to shoot the whole piece in his own workshop. He moved to Berlin from New York four years ago.

REYNOLD REYNOLDS, FILM ARTIST: For my work, I need space. I work -- I always film on a set. And I need to be able to control the space I'm in. And in New York, it's not possible for me to have enough space to do what I want to do.

PLEITGEN: That means cheap rents and large spaces. That has more and more artists moving to the German capital. Most of them have two things in common -- little money and lots of creative energy.

(On camera): Of course, where there's a lot of artists there's bound to be a lot of art galleries. There's a salon (ph), going on at t his one right here, so let's go in and check it out.

(Voice over): Dozens of small, grungy galleries like this one, called Sparwasser, are popping up every month, leading many to compare Berlin today to the artistic flare in New York in the 1980s. But the gallery's owner says in Berlin today, don't look for a new New York.

LISA MELLERMANN, GALLERY SPARWASSER: You should definitely look for a new Berlin, because the situation is different.

PLEITGEN: It's not the first time Berlin is on the cutting edge of the arts world. In the roaring '20s, the German capital was the place to be for new trends and excessive night life until the Nazis squashed the art scene after they took power in 1933.

REYNOLDS: I think the art world is always looking for new spaces and creativity is always asking for something new. And Berlin happened to open up at a certain time. Yeah, sure, New York also has its point where it became more possible to live there and a lot of things were happening. Let's say Paris in another age. Now we've moved on. You can't have the same city always be the center.

PLEITGEN: And for now, Reynolds says, Berlin is where the action is. The parties here are a little calmer than this. Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


MCEDWARDS: I should hope so.

HOLMES: Oh, I hate it when that happens. That will do it for this hour. I'm Michael Holmes.

MCEDWARDS: I'm Colleen McEdwards. You are watching CNN.