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Sikhs in India Protest Massacre; Syrian Prime Minister Flees to Jordan; Argentina's First Gay Dads; Michael Phelps is Done
Aired August 6, 2012 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. I'm Michael Holmes, sitting in for Suzanne Malveaux. And we are taking you around the world in 60 minutes.
Here is what is going on out there.
The man who shot and killed six people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple was an Army veteran and may have been a white supremacist. We are learning more of the man accused of the massacre in addition to the six people who died, three others were wounded. The gunman was shot and killed by a police officer. More details just ahead and a live report.
Syria's prime minister has fled to Jordan. Opposition leaders say Riad Hijab has defected. Syrian state television says he was fired. He is the highest profile official to leave President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime since violence started almost 17 months ago.
Also, today, a bomb hit the Syrian state-run TV building the capital of Damascus. Officials says several people were injured. The station, though, did continue broadcasting.
You hear it there, Syrian jets and artillery have been fire pounding a city of Aleppo, as thousands of troops get in position around it. People fear a full-scale assault is imminent.
And a militant attack in the Sinai Peninsula has killed 15 Egyptian soldiers. Masked gunmen with automatic weapons mounted to their cars opened fire on a checkpoint near the border between Egypt, Gaza and Israel. Israel says its forces killed about five gunmen who actually crossed over into its territory in an armored vehicle. Egypt has sent helicopter gunships to the area, hunting for the militants who they believe are behind the attack.
The security situation in Sinai has been deteriorating since the toppling of longtime president, Hosni Mubarak, last year. It is seen as a lawless and dangerous area.
Well, we now know the name of the man who police say shot six people to death at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. But we are not sure of is why he did it.
The police identify the gunman as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page. Sources say he's an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist. According to an Army spokesman, Page started active duty in April of 1992. He left the service in October of '98. His rank at the time was Army specialist.
A Pentagon official says Page was discharged for what he called "patterns of misconduct".
Now, at the temple in a Milwaukee suburb, worshippers were getting ready for a main Sunday service when the shooting started. The gunman -- he was shot and killed during the rampage.
And today in India, by the way, the birthplace of the Sikh religion, there were protests, along with the expressions of shock and sadness over the massacre.
In the statement, India's prime minister said this, "That this senseless act of violence should to be targeted at a place of worship is particularly painful. India stands in solidarity with all peace- loving Americans who have condemned this violence."
Well, now, Mallika Kapur joins us now by phone from Mumbai.
You know, Mallika, along with all the sadness, there is anger over the shootings as well. It was a message that protesters were trying to get across as they march, particularly, in New Delhi. What was the message?
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): The message is that the community feels really let down. The Indian community feels that they should have been better protected and need to be better protected. And that is what they are demanding now. They want police protection for themselves as well as for their temples, their Gurdwara, which are the places of worship.
And to say that is important to the community, because it has happened too many times since September 11th, that the Sikhs have been mistaken to be Muslims because of their clothes, because of their appearance, because of the turbans they wear, because of their long beard. And as a result of that, they are often, wrongfully targeted.
Remember it was just a couple of days after the September 11th attacks, that a Sikh gas station owner from Arizona was mistakenly identified as a Muslim and was gunned down by somebody who wanted to take revenge for the attacks. So, as stated, you know, we really need to educate other Americans about our culture and our religion to ensure that it doesn't happen like this.
But what is crucial is more safety and more protection for themselves, their community and their temples -- Michael.
HOLMES: It really does seem extraordinary that such a mistake could be made. But it certainly has been in the past.
What sort of protection are they asking for?
KAPUR: Well, they're asking for more security at their temples, for example. And one thing, too, that kept coming up today is the issue of gun control. To them, to the Sikh community which is a peaceful community, you know, a community that is very responsible community and law abiding community -- the fact that somebody could take a gun into the place of worship into the temple is unfathomable for them. And they are calling for the U.S. to have much stricter gun control.
Really to people in India, the concept of being able to walk into the place of worship with a gun is something that people here can't think about. So the issue of gun control and the U.S. must have much tighter regulations has come up a lot today and they really are key, key concern of the Sikh community, Michael.
HOLMES: You can imagine their anger there.
Mallika, thanks so much -- Kapur there in India.
Well, another defection in Syria, this time, Syria's prime minister is the highest ranking official to abandon the al Assad regime so far.
Plus, Argentina was the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. And now, two gay men are to become parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the beginning, when we met, we didn't think that this society was ready for a gay couple to have a kid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Also, coming up, they are happy to be a part of one of the greatest rivalries in American history. We're talking about Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. We'll hear from both of the Olympians this hour.
Do stay with us.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Several new developments in Syria over the last 24 hours or so. Not the least of them being the continued battle for Aleppo, a crucial city in Syria.
Our Ben Wedeman is there, joins us now on the phone.
Ben, I know you have been able to get around the troubled city for a while. Tell us what you have seen.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, I can tell you, Michael, within the last 10 minutes, we have watched as an aircraft of the Syrian army has circled over the western part of the city, and a very crowded and heavily populated part of the city and dropped two bombs on what we are told is Saif al-Dawla neighborhood. This has been going on much of the day, every four or five minutes, you'll hear a explosion, whether it's -- sometimes from the aircraft, sometimes from mortars and artillery the rocket-propelled grenades.
And parts of the city are very much in a state of height because of this fighting. Other parts of the city are oddly normal.
Now I just got back to the current location from walking around one of the areas under the control of the Free Syrian Army, and it was quite incongruous because of the fair number of people in the street, we went to a bakery, we went there, with a barbershop open, and there was a cart where a man was selling tomatoes. But at the same time, in these areas where there are relatively few fighters of the Free Syrian Army and mostly civilians, you can see where the large bombs have been dropped and we saw one house where two people were killed in the day before yesterday, clearly hit by a large bomb dropped by an aircraft.
Now, I'm hearing ambulance in the (INAUDIBLE), and we are being told that by one of the fighters here that several people were injured in this bombing. They described that it happened within the last just few minutes -- Michael.
HOLMES: Ben, for the people who may not know, Aleppo is a crucial city when it comes to this conflict. Give us a brief explanation of why.
WEDEMAN: Yes. Aleppo is Syria's largest city, with more than 2.5 million people living in it, and it's very much the commercial capital of the country, the middle of the agricultural heartland. It's also where much of the manufacturing in Syria takes place.
And if you want to compare it to the United States, it's a little bit like the difference of New York, the financial capital of the United States, and Damascus or Washington, the political capital. So there is a very much a feeling that if somehow the Free Syrian Army was able to take control of Aleppo, then the, really, the days are numbered for the Syrian regime -- Michael.
HOLMES: Ben, thanks so much for your reporting from Aleppo, Ben Wedeman, senior national correspondent, managing to get into the city as the violence continues. A battle for Aleppo, a crucial one in this overall conflict.
Meanwhile, in other developments, opposition leaders say the prime minister has defected and is now in Jordan and might be headed to Qatar. State television spins it differently. They say he was fired.
Hala Gorani joins us now from Washington.
You know, Hala, it's always tough to get to the truth, because, of course, of the difficulties of reporting in Syria, despite Ben managing to get in Aleppo, but this is the highest profile person to flee the country, significantly perhaps another Sunni defector from the government. But big picture, it's being (INAUDIBLE) for a couple of months.
What's the significance for the Assad government, major event or just another erosion?
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Well, operationally, I don't know if it makes a difference. But, certainly, symbolically, this is a blow to the Assad regime.
You mentioned that Hijab had been prime minister only two months. He was named agriculture minister a few weeks after the uprising started last year in Syria. He is a Sunni Muslim, and he is from Deir ez-Zor, a part of the country, which has been very active against the regime in terms of rebel movements and rebel activity against the forces of Bashar al Assad.
So, you have this man who reportedly defected to Jordan, though there is some confusion, we don't know if he's in Jordan, because a spokesperson in Jordan denied that.
What we do know is that the spokesperson for this man, Riad Hijab, he said that Hijab is in a neighboring Syria, it's down somewhat, and that he will soon head to Qatar.
State television, as you mentioned, said, he didn't defect, he was fired. That will remind you of what state television said about the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, also a man from Deir ez-Zor, the eastern part of Syria, saying he was fired, and that he did not defect.
It's just all about how you spin the news in case, but either way symbolically, very significant, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes. Another Sunni from the inner circle if you like.
This comes amid news of attack on Syrian state television, and of course, not many casualties, but again, extraordinary access to the pretty crucial part of the cabinet. What does this indicate? A lot of people are saying about the opposition forces are getting better organized.
GORANI: They are getting better organized. Though, you'll remember, this is not the first attack on a television station that is a supporter of the regime. You will remember that on June 27th, that there was and attack on Al-Ikhbariya, another television station. And that attack killed three journalists and four security guards and this particular bomb attack and this looks certainly like the aftermath of an explosion on the third floor of state television building in Damascus, there were no deaths.
But again, symbolically, striking at the heart of the regime's communications machine, if you will. So this is going to contribute to the erosion of sort of the regime's ability to convince Syria and the world that it is still in control.
And I wanted to also read to you something from the White House, because the White House has reacted to the reported defection of Riad Hijab. Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said, "This essentially is a sign that Assad's grip on power is loosening and that the momentum is with the opposition and with the Syrian people." This is coming from the White House today.
HOLMES: All right. Hala, thanks for your reporting -- Hala Gorani there in Washington.
Well, we sit down with Olympic athletes Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. One is ready to hang up the swim trunks, but the other is getting started.
Also, empty streets and deserted streets is not tourist boom you'd expected for the Olympics. We'll have a chat with people down there as well.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL, where we take you around the world in 60 minutes. And here's what the folks in my native Australia are listening to.
HOLMES: That is a seven-member hip-hop dance group called Justice Crew with their latest single, "Boom Boom" -- it's just gone top -- I just got back from Australia and I didn't hear it once. I must have been listening to the wrong station.
All right. Even if you have been staying on top of all of the highlights from the Olympics, there are some victories you may have missed. And you should know about them.
Guatemala winning its first Olympic medal in history when Erick Barrondo won the silver in the 20 kilometer walk. The country first participated in the games back in 1952. I think that was Helsinki Games.
Now, with her six gold medals, Italy's Valentina Vezzali made Olympic history by becoming the most decorated female fencer. She also helped her country overtake France to claim the highest number of fencing medals overall in Olympic history.
Italy's fencing medal count now stands at 121, 115 held by France, which failed to take home a fencing medal for the first time since 1960.
And many of you are talking about this runner, South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius. You see him there in the back of the field, an amazing inspiration for so many people around the world, after the men's 400-meter semifinals, the winner, Kirani James of Grenada, you see it there, he switched bib numbers with Pistorius, who finished as I said, last in the event. It was a sign of respect of the reigning world champion that he has for Pistorius. It was really a nice moment.
All right. London overflowing with out of towners, not surprisingly these days, about 1 million extra people with Olympic fever have poured into the city of London, but the people who make a living on tourism are struggling, believe it or not. All eyes on the games, visitors apparently have the whole city to themselves.
Here is a very lonely Ayesha Durgahee.
AYESHA DURGAHEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With my Tube journey relatively stress-free and easy, despite the weather, I'm ready for my day as an Olympic tourist.
DURGAHEE (on camera): Anyone coming to see Madame Tussauds, one of the main attractions here in Baker Street, would normally have to join the queue round about here. With London so empty, it's a tourist paradise, where there are no queues.
DURGAHEE (voice-over): Madame Tussauds doesn't release visitor numbers, but it's not the only one finding it hard to pull the punches in and make money from the Olympics.
ANTHONY SIBLER, SOUVENIR SHOP OWNER: Well, I hope to sell my Olympic sweatshirts or my London sweatshirts, t-shirts. The only problem we've got is that we haven't got any customers, so it's somewhat difficult to sell anything.
Our friend Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, who actually I like very much, decided to shoo away everybody and said keep out of London if you can help it, basically. We have seen a downturn over here, I would say, in the last two weeks of about 50 to 60 percent. It's completely and utterly dead.
DURGAHEE: With more elbow room on the streets, a quick photo with Sherlock Holmes before my bus tour.
DURGAHEE (on camera): One, please.
DURGAHEE (voice-over): A handful of Olympic tourists hop on and off as we make our way around the landmarks of London.
DURGAHEE (on camera): Ah, there they are!
No one's around.
ROYDON TEMPLE, OLYMPIC TOURIST: We thought it would be a gridlock with the transport agencies, but things have been very, very smooth, so we're enjoying ourselves.
DURGAHEE (voice-over): For a Londoner, this is the perfect time to enjoy and explore the city.
CHILDREN: Lion King!
KERRY BENNETT, LONDONER: It's very quiet, I think. Bliss, absolute bliss. We're going to the "Lion King" with the children, and they said that they still have tickets to sell, so I think the theaters are suffering.
DURGAHEE (on camera): Since the start of the Olympic Games, the "Lion King" has sold around 1,500 tickets a day instead of the sell- out crowd of over 2,000 tickets, so it's relatively easy to buy as may as you need. I'm going to see if I can get four for the matinee.
DURGAHEE (voice-over): It's bad for business, bliss for tourists. As more people realize the streets aren't as crowded and congested as expected, London may be able to get its Olympic flag flying again.
Ayesha Durgahee, CNN, London.
HOLMES: And, Richard Quest live in London.
It looks very odd, a contradiction, counterintuitive, if you like, nobody lined up. Does the city expect this?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Absolutely. If you look at some of the companies like British Airways in the results earlier in the year, they said that the summer they expected to have demand dampened down, they expected things to be slower during the Olympics because people are often scared the way all they're doing.
And, Michael, you will know this, there is nothing new, there is nothing revolutionary about this. It happened in Athens, and it happened in Sydney in 2000 and in Barcelona, the number of tourists coming to the Olympics are invariably lower than people expect, and they scare away the tourists.
But I can tell you that this morning, I was with the mayor's office and they are saying that there is an increase in numbers, more people are here and they believe -- here's interesting statistic -- that the traffic or tourism numbers, you call it the foot fall numbers and they says it's up about 20 percent.
HOLMES: Yes, you actually made a good point there, I was in Athens in '04, it was pretty easy to get around and you are a life- long Londoner. What's it like? I mean, when I lived there, I lived there for four or five years in the late '80s, and I could not stand the traffic. You must be loving this.
QUEST: For goodness sakes, the late '80s, but things have changed. First of all, we've spent about $10 billion on the subways.
No, the reality is, it is quiet and my journey from home to here takes just -- takes a significant amount of time, but the cars are not as full. But I have to say, that I was out on London's west end on Friday and Saturday evening, and it was packed. And yesterday, on Saturday, the London Tube had the most number of passengers in its history, a daily total of 4.4 million.
So, the tourists are here. I suspect more are arriving as the games come to an end, to leave after the games, and it is just one of those things. The whiners and the winders will always find something to complain about.
HOLMES: Yes, I hear you exactly. Well, I envy you. I wish I was there.
Good to see you, my friend -- Richard Quest, in London.
QUEST: Thank you, sir.
All right. Nobody knows London like him.
A great deal of Olympic excitement has focused on American swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Phelps has become the most decorated Olympian ever. CNN has gotten interviews with the swimming phenom and his teammate and rival Lochte. You're going to hear from both Olympians in about 20 minutes or so from now.
Also coming your way. Hillary Clinton's journey through Africa leads her to an icon, Nelson Mandela. We'll have that report coming up.
HOLMES: It is a place few have ventured to. We are talking about Qunu, a small village southeast of Johannesburg and the home of the revered South African icon Nelson Mandela. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the trek to meet with the 94-year old and his wife at their rural home.
CNN's Nkepile Mabuse joins us now on the phone from Johannesburg with more on this meeting. Nkepile, you know Nelson Mandela did not speak in the presence of reporters. He rarely does these days. What -- do we know what was discussed at the meeting?
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you are right, Michael. These meetings with Nelson Mandela are tightly controlled. Unfortunately, we don't know much about what was discussed, but the secretary of state will be holding a press conference tomorrow and be sure I will be asking her what she discussed with Nelson Mandela as you can imagine.
The man is 94 years old. We sadly can't even be sure that he recognized Ms. Clinton. She had a picture with her of herself and him just to jog his memory that the family and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have really reduced the number of visits that the former president gets, and also the number of photo opportunities that we can get.
Normally, you are not even allowed to have a video camera, filming Mr. Mandela, and today was no different. There was a photographer there that took pictures of him. Ms. Clinton met with him for an hour. We don't know what was discussed and no other media was allowed. So obviously everything being done, really just to protect his dignity and image, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes, he certainly is frail these days. Of course, his health an important topic of discussion. But you know, Ms. Clinton and let's talk about her, she is on the halfway point of her tour of Africa.
Where is she now, what is the focus of the visit? Of course, China taking such a massive economic role there, and that must bother the U.S. a little.
MABUSE: That is what everybody is talking about here. But if you speak to people in the U.S. embassy here in South Africa, they will tell you that, you know, Africa has so many needs that even if countries that do well economically, if they all have to invest in Africa, there would be still a gap.
So Americans are saying that they welcome China's involvement in Africa, but the secretary of state here in South Africa, really talking about growing those business links between South Africa and the United States.
You will know, Michael, that South Africans are the biggest consumers of American goods on the African continent, and definitely Ms. Clinton will be wanting more of their business. She has brought with her a couple of big names, big business names in the United States to show them the opportunities that are here in South Africa, Michael.
HOLMES: Yes. China just has a massive, massive share of what is going on in Africa, and an important visit. Nkepile, good to talk to you.
Nkepile Mabuse there in Johannesburg.
Well, it is the fifth largest religion of the world, and hundreds of thousands of Sikhs live in the United States. We are going to talk a little about their philosophy and their beliefs. Stay with us.
HOLMES: Well, sometimes a tragedy can lead to enlightenment. As the horror was unfolding in Wisconsin yesterday, social media lit up with questions about the Sikh religion and the hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in America.
We are also seeing a new picture by the way of Wade Michael Page, the man suspected of taking the lives of those who showed up just to worship on a Sunday morning. The Sikh Coalition released a statement, mourning the loss of lives and asking for support.
It said in part, quote, "We encourage your continued support of the Sikh Americans who are both grieving this great loss and are fearful of similar hate aimed at their family members in places of worship."
Narinder Singh is the chairman of the Sikh Coalition, and he's with me now from New York.
Mr. Singh, my personal condolences to you as well. But your friends, your family, the members of your organization, what are they saying to you this morning? How are they processing this?
NARINDER SINGH, CHAIRMAN, SIKH COALITION: I think first and foremost all of the community is thinking about the families of those victims in Wisconsin who lost their lives, including the families of those still injured, the police officers whose bravery clearly saved many more lives from this tragedy.
I think that is the first thing that folks are thinking about and holding them in their prayers. And from that, we want people to understand more about who Sikhs are, who Sikhs and their contribution to the American ecosystem of diversity.
And then finally we want to make sure that we take this opportunity to think about the broader context of why that affects not just Sikhs, but other minorities and other groups that also can experience the potential for hate crimes.
HOLMES: You know, it does seem extraordinary that -- and it is not been shown yet exactly whether this was the case; there have been a lot of discussion about whether it could have been a mix-up, and Sikh people have talked, too, about being confused with Muslims somehow, which just seems extraordinary, but they say it has happened.
Can you give people who haven't had much experience with Sikhism a basic understanding of the religion?
SINGH: Yes, I can, but first of all, whether it happened to Sikhs or Muslims or anyone, this shouldn't happen.
HOLMES: Well, exactly, of course.
SINGH: So I think that's incredibly important for us. We don't want to separate from anybody. We want to be part of a broader dialogue.
Sikhism was founded in the 15th century in south Asia, in Punjab, which is now across Pakistan and India. It has about 25 million followers across the world, estimated between 500,000 and 700,000 people in the United States and even greater numbers in North America.
Sikhism believes in one God and has three real central tenets. The first is living an honest living, to pay tribute to the Creator and to be a part of the society and not separate from it.
Secondly, it is important to share what we have been given to others. That is an important part, again, because remembering the gifts that we've been -- given to us and share those with others.
And then finally to live, think and remember God in our actions. Those are really the core tenets.
And then beyond that, real huge focus from the beginning of the founding of the religion on equality, including between men and women, rejection of the caste system and a responsibility to fight for social justice for everyone, not just Sikhs.
HOLMES: And it is interesting the name Singh of course is most Sikhs have that name. And tell me why that is, because it is all part of the religious philosophy.
SINGH: Yes. So there's a number of concepts in Sikhism that push equality. So all Sikh men have the last name Singh and all Sikh women have this last name, Kor. And what this means is it basically means lion and lioness, and represents courage. But more importantly, it eliminated the caste name that was prevalent in the 15th century. And so, therefore, it was a way pushing equality.
The other piece -- and we heard about this in the shooting yesterday was this notion of Langar, the free kitchen that's open to everyone, requires everyone to sit, whether homeless or a king, to sit and eat together.
And it, again, pushes for this notion of equality of all people. And that's a really central tenet of what the faith has had from the very beginning. And again, part of the responsibility beyond to Sikhs, but to everyone, to push for equality in our societies.
HOLMES: Yes, and of course, the temple itself was heavily involved in community outreach and looking after the homeless and others as well as part of the tenets that you discussed there.
Narinder, thanks so much, Narinder Singh there, chairman of the Sikh Coalition, joining me from New York. And, again, condolences.
SINGH: Appreciate your support. Thank you, Michael.
HOLMES: All right.
Well, for one couple in Argentina, having a baby has put them in the history books. When we come back, we will tell you how.
Also a bit of pool rivalry, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte talk about the tough Olympic competition and what is next for both of them after the Olympic Games (inaudible).
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. For the first time in history, two gay men have become parents in Argentina without having to seek a court order first. This happened in Buenos Aires. CNN's Rafael Romo has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAFAEL ROMO, SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): They left the civil registry office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, pushing a stroller with their baby boy. Their dream had finally come true. They are now the proud parents of a 1-month-old child.
CARLOS GUSTAVO DERMGERD, PARENT: We are trying not to care about society's opinion in this matter, and our family and every friend is happy, of course.
ROMO (voice-over): Carlos Dermgerd, seen here on the left, and his partner, Alejandro Grinblat, are believed to be the first couple of gay men in Latin America to be legally recognized as the fathers of a baby. ALEJANDRO GRINBLAT, PARENT: We have been together for the last for 10 years, and we always thought about the idea of having a family with children, but at the beginning, when we met we didn't think that the society was ready for a gay couple to have a kid.
ROMO (voice-over): They named the baby Tobias. He was officially registered as their son last week. The couple hired a Canadian woman to carry the baby after implanting her in India with an egg fertilized by one of them. Tobias was born in New Delhi on June 29th.
CARLOS GUSTAVO DERMGERD, PARENT: Of course he is biological speaking. He is only the son of one of us. But our idea is that a -- we really -- we are really both parents.
ROMO (on camera): Argentina was the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage two years ago. In May, the Argentine congress gave transvestites and transgendered people the right to choose how their sex is reported on legal documents.
ROMO (voice-over): Argentina's still largely catholic and opposition to gay rights remains very strong. Dermgerd and Grinblat say they have been the targets of criticism and insults in their quest to become joint parents.
DERMGERD: Argentinean people think that our Argentinean society is ready to accept this, even though we know that, for example, some -- of course, some religious people and some others may not be -- may not like what we have done.
ROMO: The new fathers say they realize they will have a lot of explaining to do when Tobias is old enough to understand his unique situation. They both say their only hope is that Tobias will realize one day that their main motivation was love.
HOLMES: And Rafael Romo is here to talk a little bit more about this.
Yes, what's been the reaction in South America to this?
ROMO: There's still a lot of opposition to gay marriage and gay relationships in general. I can tell you, for example, in Chile, another South American country, there have been attacks against gay men for the last several months.
ROMO: So it's not like this happened and it was very easy for them. They had to go through a lot of procedures and paperwork and a big portion of Argentina is still very much opposes this.
HOLMES: The story behind how they came to be fathers of this particular child is an interesting one. Walk us through it briefly.
ROMO: It is really interesting. First of all, one of them is only the biological father. Obviously, medically, it's impossible to have them both be the fathers. And they found a woman in Canada who -- she was hired basically and she was the egg donor and also carried the baby for the full term. For medical and legal reasons, they decided to go to India and the baby was born in New Delhi on June 29th. And so they don't know who the actual biological father is, but they did that on purpose and they want it to remain that way.
HOLMES: Oh, that's interesting. And Argentina is leading the way in the fight for gay rights, as you've indicated, as they passed a bill allowing transvestites and transgendered people to choose how their sex is reported on legal documents, just as an example of that. Tell us a little bit more about other parts of Latin America. Because you touched on that earlier. It's not like that everywhere.
ROMO: That's right. That's right. Well, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to approve gay marriage. That was in 2010. Mexico City, only in the city, not the country, approved gay marriage last year. So it becomes the second place in Latin America. But like I said before, we still see a lot of discrimination against gay people. And I was mentioning cases in Chile, in Peru, in other parts of South America where it's still a big problem.
HOLMES: Yes. Rafael, thanks so much for that. Rafael Romo joining us here on the set. Fascinating story. Both happy and sad. Yes, all right, good to see you, my friend.
Well, Michael Phelps, says he is d-o-n-e, yes, done. But his biggest rival, Ryan Lochte, says he's just getting started. Both gold medalists tell us their plans for after the games after the break.
HOLMES: He's quitting while he's on top of the world and on top of his sport. We're talking, of course, about the most decorated Olympian of all time, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps. Check out what he told our Becky Anderson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PHELPS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I'm done. Like, I mean, I don't know if people really realize -- or like really believe me, but I am actually finished. I'm retired.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: D-o-n-e, done?
PHELPS: Yes, I'm done. Done. No more (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Let's bring in Alex Thomas now live from London.
You know, Alex, you know, Phelps, he's got nothing to prove, right? I mean more medals than any other Olympian. Is that why he's done despite, by the way, I should say, his mom wants him to go to Rio. ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a fairly emphatic denial of any suggestion that he might perform a u-turn on this decision to retire, wasn't it, Michael? And just think of all the commitment that he's put in. We've seen him in Olympic action for the last dozen years. He made his debut as a 15 year old in your home country, Australia, for the Sydney Olympics. Didn't win any medals then, but it was just a hint of what was to come in Athens, Beijing and now in London 2012.
He ended up with 22 Olympic medals in total, 18 of them gold. You know, a combination that was more than say India, a country of $1.3 billion people have ever won it. Actually, I think India's won one more medal over the course of 108 years of Olympic history or something. It just puts his achievements into perspective. The most successful Olympian of all time. And in my opinion, the greatest of all time. Well, that still is open to debate.
It's just all those early starts. The long, long hours of training that swimmers have to put in. do you really want to put yourself through that again? When in going to Rio, he'd be 31 years of age. And while, oh, yes, being in the water is slightly less stressful on the joints than say a track and field athlete, there's no -- there no, you know, -- it doesn't necessarily mean he's going to win any gold medals at Rio de Janeiro. Do he want to taint that reputation he's built up? He was presented with a special award at the end of all his events here and I think we all want to remember him as the greatest of all time.
HOLMES: Yes, who can blame him, you're right, if he went to Rio and didn't win anything, then everybody would be down on him. And I'm going to use the wrong figure here, but I think to what you were saying, he's the 14th most winning country in the world. Something like that anyway. It's just a huge number of medals.
He also talked about the Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, who was accused or there was suggestions of doping, which was, you know, a little bit of poor (INAUDIBLE). Have a listen to that.
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PHELPS: It's kind of sad that, you know, people have a great swim and that's the first thing they say. You know, people who work hard, it shows. And, you know, there are people who just jump to that conclusion sometimes and it's not right.
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HOLMES: Yes, Alex, has that been the overall reaction there in London following those allegations tor suggestions, weren't they? I mean they did seem a bit of sour grapes.
THOMAS: Yes, I'm with Michael Phelps on this one. Ye Shiwen was producing astonishing performance. I think what really made people sit up and take notice was when she swam the final 50 meters of the medley race, when they mix in all four of the different swimming strokes together, faster than Ryan Lochte, would you believe, the other American who's rather emerged from Michael Phelps' shadow at these games. But we've seen lots of other impressive performances from young swimmers like America's Missy Franklin, who's just 17 and was trying for seven golds and came out away with sort of at least three or four of them. She did incredibly well. There's a 15-year-old from Lithuania who also won gold in one of the women's swimming events. And there weren't the same accusations leveled at them. Michael Phelps has a children's foundation. He clearly cares about the next generation and he was defending the Chinese swimmer in that instance.
HOLMES: Yes. Yes. Good stuff.
Alex, before I let you go, Phelps' teammate and rival, you mentioned him, Ryan Lochte, I know he also spoke to CNN. What has he been saying?
THOMAS: Well, unlike Phelps, Lochte says he definitely will be in Rio de Janeiro. He's the same age as Phelps, but you know, swimmers can go on into their 30s and do well. As I said, he's really emerged from Phelps' shadow in some degree. He picked up a couple of golds, I think, and some other medals too. He wasn't quite the new golden boy of American swimming, but it was lovely to see Lochte get a bit more exposure as Phelps' career wound down. And I think we can hear a bit from an interview that CNN did with him earlier today.
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RYAN LOCHTE, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: If I had to give a grade scale, I mean, I always feel like I'm an A student. So I would give myself an A minus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: An A minus for his performance here at London 2012, I assume that's what he was marking himself for because he's now turned into a bit of a minor celebrity. I think Piers Morgan on his CNN show was teasing about how many girlfriends he might have now. But I think he wants to settle down, which is very admirable, isn't it, Michael?
HOLMES: Yes, a big of a lady's man apparently. A bit like yourself. No, I'm kidding. Alex, great to see you, my friend. Always good fun to have a chat. Alex there joining us from London and the Olympics.
Well, it's not your typical wedding. Yes, there's a wedding dress, there is a tux and a bouquet, but it's all under water. We'll explain.