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Kids Live Entire Lives Underground; Life in a City Under Attack; C-Section Rates In Brazil Sky High; Escaping to India's Lover's Lane
Aired August 9, 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: And welcome, everyone, to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. I'm Michael Holmes, in for Suzanne Malveaux once again. We're going to take you around the world, as we do, in 60 minutes.
Here's what's going on out there:
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HOLMES: Rebels in Syria pulling back. Fierce air and ground attacks by the military in the city of Aleppo forcing the anti- government fighters out of their neighborhood stronghold. For now, the rebels say it was a tactical withdrawal, and that reinforcements are already on the way.
And meanwhile, the country does have a new prime minister, former health minister Wael al-Halki, has been named to replace the prime minister who you will remember defected to Jordan four days ago to join the opposition.
A rescue team had just minutes of daylight to get a patient out of one of the harshest places on Earth. We told you about this coming up yesterday. Australian rescuers flying to Antarctica today to evacuate a sick expeditioner, as they are called, believed to be an American.
And it all started when a distress call went out Wednesday from the McMurdo research facility. But the recue team was forced to wait it out in New Zealand until today for a narrow window of daylight to land a plane. It is winter down there, dark most of the time.
Disaster agencies in the Philippines are struggling to get help to almost 2 million people hit by the flooding we've been telling you about. In Manila, a month's worth of rain falling in just 48 hours. Hundreds of thousands of people in emergency shelters, 19 people have died. Three others are missing. There is more rain forecast today.
Well, shocking and unbelievable reports emerging today out of Russia, where it appears that a radical religious sect forced people including children to live underground. Some of the kids rescued from this cult have never seen sunlight in their entire lives.
This all happened -- we'll show you a map, there you see marked -- in a region called Tatarstan. This is east of Moscow. Some pictures of what we have for you, too, of what police say is the outside of the religious bunker complex, eight levels underground, believe it or not. No natural light, no heat, no fresh air, cells that look like dungeon rooms.
As many as 70 people were living there including young children and teenagers.
The religious leaders of the sect have been -- no surprise -- arrested and the people rescued from those bunkers.
Let's bring in Matthew Chance now.
Matthew, you've lived and worked in Russia for many years. You are the correspondent there; you have been to the city. Tell us what they found in this bunker, who found it, and who is behind it all?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. It is one of the bizarre sects that you do sometimes quite often actually see sort of cropping up in Russia in that sort of vast country. This sect, particularly reclusive though, it seems that according to the police, the people inside what is described as catacomb-like cells may have been there for over a decade.
We are talking about 38 adults and 27 children. Those children according to the authorities never went to school. They have never went outside of the compound. And some of them never even saw the light of day.
That's how extreme this sect was -- an Islamist sect in this case, although it's not just Islamist sects that tend towards this kind of isolationism in Russia. There are others that are very similar from the Christian community as well.
But it is remarkable that four leaders of this sect now have been taken into custody, including its 83-year-old leader charged with cruelty against children and other charges, as well as the authorities are trying to work out what they are going to do with these 27 children or so that that have now been placed under care or observation, Michael.
HOLMES: Well, Matthew, what are these children -- some of these children, apparently were born underground and never seen daylight. What sort of explanation is there culturally or religiously for this?
CHANCE: Well, I mean, first of all, I mean, this sect has been rejected by all of the mainstream Muslim groups in this part of Russia. The region is called is Tatarstan. It's a very moderate, mainly Muslim area of Russia, and all of the Tatarstan leaders have rejected this cult.
And this cult doesn't acknowledge the laws of Russia. It doesn't acknowledge the authority of religious leaders there Tatarstan.
So, it's a very isolationist cult. None of its members, except two or three who were able to go to the local markets to earn some money for presumably food, were committed to go outside of the compound. It was very isolationist, and that's perhaps why it managed to last so long in this city of 1.5 million people, on the outskirts of it at least, without anybody noticing what was going on there.
HOLMES: Right. Yes, Matthew. That was one of the extraordinary things that you were telling me on CNN International earlier, this is not a small, out of the way place. It's a big city, nobody noticed. Absolutely extraordinary. Some of the charges have been levied against the parents there.
Matthew, appreciate it. Good to see you. Matthew Chance there.
Well, 58 more people have been killed in Syria -- it's incredible, dozens everyday. This is according to opposition activists.
Most of the deaths were in and around the country's two largest cities. Aleppo is the biggest, Damascus is the capital.
It is difficult and dangerous for the international journalists to report from inside of Syria if they are ever allowed to go there by the authorities.
But our Ben Wedeman was there inside of Aleppo, and he gives us a rare look at life there in an area under heavy attack.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Muwafaq has retrieved what he could from the ruins of the home, in what's left of the Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, there's little time to ponder one's loss.
"The situation is terrible," Muwafaq tells me. "We are taking everything that we can. We don't know where we'll go. We've lost everything, so we are leaving."
His family of seven is just one of thousands of families that have fled Salaheddine, now, one of the main battlefields between the government forces and the rebels.
Seventeen-year-old Hamzi has been fighting here for the last two weeks. He says several of his comrades were killed by Syrian army snipers earlier in the day.
These lightly armed fighters have managed to hold of the army. Their most potent weapon is not in their enemy arsenal says this elderly fighter who identifies himself as simply Alexander.
ALEXANDER, REBEL FIGHTER: We believe in God and this Kalashnikov, all Kalashnikov, we can fight with them and we will win, because we have imam's faith. We have faith. We believe in God.
They don't believe in God. If they believe in God, he don't come his evil.
WEDEMAN: Te death and destruction is not restricted to the front lines. Government jets regularly bomb targets around the city. The rebels fire back with their light machine guns.
The rebel-held district of Sokari further removed from the fighting provides its inhabitants with the illusion of normality, a few shops and street venders are at work.
But prices are up. A kilo of tomatoes cost four times what it a month ago. And that's if you have the money to buy it. There's little work to be had as the city turns into a battleground.
Tamad , the baker, is preparing date-filled cakes for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. He says he is to busy to worry about the fighting.
(on camera): It is an odd feeling here in the parts of Aleppo occupied by the Free Syrian Army and people are out and buying the vegetables. The bakeries are working. But all the while occasionally, you hear blasts like that as the area comes under bombardment.
(voice-over): Hoa shows me his son, Mustafa, born 10 days ago to the sound of fighting.
"He cries and is terrified in the bombing," says Hoa.
The bombardment appears to be random. I was told that this house was hit in an air raid two days before killing two of the inhabitants. There are no rebel positions in the area. Cut off from the rest of the city, Sokari residents have turned the public park into a temporary graveyard.
Abu Hamud , a fighter, explains that the latest grave contains three bodies no one could identify because they were so severely mutilated.
The shelling goes through the night, and the explosions and the uncertainty about where the next round will fall makes sleep difficult.
Early in the morning around 100 residents of Sokari city line up for bread. This is the only bakery that makes bread in the area. Bread has become the main staple here. Each family member is allowed one flat loaf a day, sold at a symbolic price. The flour is provided either by the Free Syrian Army or wealthy benefactors.
Even if more food was available, cooking is a problem. This part of Aleppo has run out of cooking gas.
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WEDEMAN: Omagnan explains she cooks for her extended family of 16 on firewood she collects in the parks and on the street.
And for the children, there is a sense of bewilderment as war turns their lives upside down.
"We are confused," says 11-year-old Nahna . "We feel they want to attack us. We left this area before and then we came back. Now we want to leave again, but we can't."
With an all-out Syrian government offensive looming over the city, Nahna and others like her can do little but wait and hope that the next bomb falls far, far away.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Aleppo, Syria.
HOLMES: Great reporting there by Ben.
And here is more of what we are working on this hour for NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL.
The rematch we have been waiting for. The U.S. women's soccer team, not only going for gold, they'd like a little revenge, too, after what happened last time the two met.
And it's a sensational case in China. The government doesn't want people talking about it at all.
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HOLMES: You can see there, supporters dragged off. CNN and other foreign media barred from the courtroom. We'll have the story behind this bizarre murder trial.
Stay with us.
HOLMES: The U.S. women's soccer team hungry for Olympic gold and a little redemption, too, in today's rematch with Japan. The last time that these two sides met, it was not going to American's way as they suffered a painful loss. This, of course, in the World Cup final. Now, they are meeting on an Olympic stage.
Becky Anderson is in London.
Good to see you, Becks.
There's been a lot of buzz about this match. It should be a terrific game. I hear that the crowd is expected to be huge. The biggest ever to watch women play this sport at the Olympics.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Sellout crowd in Wembley, fantastic. What a revenge match this will be. When they met in the World Cup last year, Japan winning that. So the USA really, really wants this.
The Japanese are the world champions at the moment, but, yes, in front of what is going to be a huge crowd. And don't forget, it was the biggest watching public ever for that World Cup game for women's soccer.
So I got to say that, Michael, I think that women's soccer here at the Olympics has really gained some ground on men's soccer, which to a certain extent give year 2012, the massive APL season we had just a sheer, sort of been kind of a side sport to a certain extent. And it will the final against -- which is Mexico against Brazil. But the women soccer has really come of age here.
So watch this 17:00 to 19:45, that's a quarter to 8:00, which is in about 2 1/2 hours. We will be glued to that one.
HOLMES: I'm glad you said 2 1/2 hours or I have to do the math. And that never going to work out well, Becky.
Listen, this Olympic brought so many stories, very inspiring stories. Now, one of them that caught our eye is South Korea, first ever gymnastics gold, and it's got this amazing rags to riches story behind it.
ANDERSON: Yes, this is rags to riches story that stands heads and shoulder above quite a lot of sporting moments, I've got to say, an impoverished South Korean gymnasts on Monday won gold in gymnastics for the first time for South Korea ever. He also reaped about half a million dollars, not because he was being paid to win gold, but because people at home heard his story.
This is guy who's been living with his parents in once called a polytunnel, in a rural area of South Korea, home is a wooden shack with sheet metal on the roof. And it wasn't until the chairman of LG Group, one of the big conglomerates of South Korea saw this story and offered this guy nearly half a million -- as I say -- not because he won the metal, because they want him to have some sort of financial security going forward to give him an opportunity to train.
There are some countries, let me tell you, and I was surprised to hear this that do pay their athletes for gold -- 180 grand, I think, from the Italians when their athletes win gold. So, it goes on. Not the team GP ones.
But this is the not the normal sort of run of events, but this guy, what a result. Nineteen years old, and looks as if he and his parents will be looked after going forward.
HOLMES: Becky, always full of good stories. Good to see you, my friend. Great stuff.
I still envy you. Why am I not there?
OK. Becky Anderson at the Olympics -- lucky thing.
All right. Well, at the end of a hard day competing on a world stage, Olympic teams from 53 African nations converge in one place or they did, and that place has closed the doors now. It is called Africa village. It's a hospitality center and it fast became a tourist destination in the heart of London and cultural and artistic and sporting displays everyday.
But it also accumulated debt. Bills weren't paid. Suppliers owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. A great shame.
All right. Evicted and deported from France, French authorities clear makeshift camps forcing hundreds on to the streets with their possessions. We're going to tell you all about that when we come back.
HOLMES: Some news from France today. Police swooping in on a large immigrant camp shutting it down and sending the people living there out of the country. This is an outdoor camp in the city of Lille, about 240 people, most of them of Romanian descent, called Roma.
They were rounded up today and put on flights to Romania, expelled from France. A fresh wave has been cracking down on illegal immigrants all over the country.
Hala Gorani joins us now from Washington.
Yes, Hala, tell us about what happened today, who these people are and why did this happen?
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You know, this is drawing a lot of criticism in France, because as you know, Michael, and as our viewers know, there is a new president of France. He's a socialist. His name is Francois Hollande. His predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is right-leaning, was criticized for being anti-immigrant and being too harsh on some of these Roma encampments.
Critics are now saying, look at this socialist government, here it comes around, is elected and does exactly the same thing. The crackdown was harsh, according to those critics, because we are talking about police officers in riot gear raiding these camps, making 200 or 300 people homeless, and putting them on a flight, giving them $300 apiece back to Romania.
Now, the French government is saying that this is entirely voluntary. But critics are saying that these are -- this is disguised deportation of these people. They have a culture, the gypsy culture, they live in encampments, they are nomadic, they travel around, they're not being allowed to do that in France.
The French government is saying absolutely not. They are illegal immigrants. They are not allowed to live here and work here without a worker permit. So, there you have the situation in France with these Roma.
HOLMES: Yes, there's always a back story, isn't there?
HOLMES: Tell us a little bit about why the focus on the Roma, because as you know, they are a small fraction of the immigrants in France. So tell us about the back story there, and why are they treated perhaps a little differently?
GORANI: Well, because, mainly, the way they live is troublesome to some of the residents around them to be quite frank. They live outdoors in temporary encampments.
And residents in Lille and some parts of Paris and some parts of Laon as well, for the viewers who know the cities in France, are saying, look, it's unsanitary. There is crime as a result of their presence there. And we don't want them to live in these temporary outdoor encampments. It's an eyesore frankly.
But those who criticize the government for wanting them out are saying, you know, you cannot raid a camp in full riot gear and make them homeless. You know, about 60 of the people who are made homeless are sent back to Romania are children. So those who are operating on their behalf in France says this is inhumane as far as the children are concerned.
HOLMES: Well, it is an often discussed issue in Europe. Hala, you spend a lot of time in France, you know the story well. Good to see you, Hala -- Hala Gorani there in D.C.
Well, now, Germany's politicians doing a bit of bickering over a new ruling giving same sex couples a tax break. Now, there's a push to take that a step further -- same-sex marriage. We'll discuss when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL, where we are taking you around the world in 60 minutes. I'm Michael Holmes.
Now, when it comes to Denmark's music scene, here's what's topping the charts.
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HOLMES: That's the group Muri and Mario with their number one song "Hun Tog Min Guitar". If you understand Danish, like I do, it actually means "she took my guitar".
It's a song about being heart broken and you can't tell from the video, because they look happy generally. The song hit number one in Denmark. The video more than 1 million views on YouTube.
So, those of you who are keeping up with the Danish pop scene, now you know.
All right. Germany today, a step forward for people in same sex relationships fighting for equality. The German constitutional court says same sex couples must be treated the same as traditionally married couples in certain tax situations.
Let's go the Berlin now. Fred Pleitgen is there.
Good to see you, Fred.
Tell us how close this puts Germany to formally legalizing same- sex marriage?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly puts Germany a step closer and certainly started a very big debate here in this country, especially among members of the governing coalition, which is, of course, a conservative government which generally has a lot of problems with the same sex unions.
Now, basically what the court said is that in the issue of land transfer taxes which is basically if one person gives a piece of land to someone else, that same sex couples in a relationship need to be treated exactly the same way as regular or heterosexual married couples. Now that's a big step for this court, because in the past, what it's done is it has given gay couples more and more rights and more and more equalities on tax issues. And, of course, one of the things that gay groups are fighting for here in this country is to get total equality and something that is debated in the government right now, and so you have some members of Angela Merkel's government opposing, and especially from the state of Bavaria which is very conservative catholic, and they believe that marriage should be preserved for those with heterosexual marriages.
HOLMES: And so are they taking a beating over the court ruling?
PLEITGEN: Well, they are taking a little bit of a beating and even some of the thing that the people in the conservative party are saying that it is sick that the constitutional court is having to bring the tax issues into question to have to give the same sex couples more tax rights.
There is expected to be another case and verdict that is due to be handled next year where it is about income tax. That is a huge issue here in this country, because on the one hand, of course, that would be giving same sex couples if it comes through a lot more equality than it did before, but on the other hand, it could be a huge burden on the taxpayers, because it is about tax breaks that only married couples get right now regardless of whether or not they have children. It is something that same sex couples want as well, and what this is really has done is to spark a fundamental debate within conservative circles here in this country. Germany's minister for family affairs who is also a conservative has said that she believes that same sex couples need more rights and equalities in the tax issues and the staunch section of the government has said no way, and it has sparked debate we have seen in the last couple of years in the debate, but has been on a lull in the last couple of years.
HOLMES: Well, Fred, what about German society? What is the general attitude toward same-sex?
PLEITGEN: Well, that is an interesting question, because by and large, most Germans are liberal on these views and really nothing uncommon to have gay people running around to have them just leading normal lives and relationships and Germany has had these partnerships, and they are called registered partnerships here in the country, and not technically marriage, but they have had it since the year 2001 and since then the registered partnerships have gotten more and more rights like regular heterosexually married couples.
So it is not uncommon in Germany, and a fairly small and conservative but also a very politically active voter base in south of Germany and the Catholic parts of Bavaria that is against this and has influence on the decisions in government especially like a conservative government in Germany like we have right now.
HOLMES: Thank you, Fred Pleitgen, there in Berlin.
And not many countries offered same sex couples the same as heterosexual rights. Let me run a couple by you, Switzerland, and Belgium and Hungary and South Africa do give those rights.
HOLMES: And now to a story about power, money, and murder all at the center of a scandalous high-profile trial in China. We are talking about Gu Kailai and she is the wife of an ousted Communist party leader and a very senior one, Bo Xilai, and she is accused of killing a British businessman, and she raised no objections to the murder trial today in court, but the trial was closed to the public and the international media, but it all started and ended abruptly. Seven hours the whole thing and a verdict will apparently come later, and a sentence, too. Now while the case is being followed closely in china, not many people here in the U.S. know who Gu Kailai is, and Steven Jiang in the city of Hefei fills us in.
STEVEN JIANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was educated in the country's top university and married a handsome and ambitious politician. Gu Kailai and her husband Bo Xilai were the perfect power couple until the downfall last spring. This once fast rising star of Chinese politics was stripped of the leadership positions and accused of seriously breaching communist party discipline and his wife Gu was arrested with a household aide for killing this British businessman Neil Heywood.
They are saying a powerful wife may take the fall for her husband.
JIANG: It all began here in Chongqing, and until recently governed by Bo. His social welfare programs and crime fighting campaigns earned him many admirers and enemies. Then came the shocking news in February when his former police chief sought asylum in a U.S. consulate after a dispute with Bo over the mysterious death of Heywood. And the long time family friend was found dead in November in this rundown hotel on the Chongqing outskirts and first ruled accident, but later the police chief said that Bo's wife was involved in the death, and triggering a series of events to put her behind bars. Prosecutors say that Gu and her aide poisoned Heywood to death when she feared that he would threaten the sun son's safety because of millions of dollars linked to illegal matters. This is a complicated legal matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a criminal trial for her life to be ended.
JIANG: And more damning, it is that senior officials in the elite will see a once in a decade leadership transition. Gu Kailai has to stand trial in the courthouse, and observers say she is facing the consequences of being on the losing side of china's power struggle. Steven Jiang, Hefei, china.
HOLMES: In Brazil, some parents are fighting just to have a natural birth.
TRANSLATOR: A lot of people told me good god, you are going back to the stone ages, she says, and what about the advances of science?
HOLMES: That is right. Most births in Brazil are by c-section, and the doctors there want to have it stay that way. We will explain that story when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Check this story out. World health officials say that only 10 to 15 percent of babies should be delivered by C-section, and only when it is medically necessary, but that recommendation is being flatly ignored when it comes to Brazil, because there c-sections are more common than natural births. Shasta Darlington reports on the controversial reasons behind the country's sky high cesarean rates.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When they gave birth in their own home, they posted it and put it on the Internet. The video was viewed by almost 3 million people. It set off a fierce debate over childbirth choices in brazil.
After all, this is known as the country of the efficient C-section. More than half of all Brazilian babies are delivered by a Cesarean which compares to on one-third in the United States. At expensive private hospitals, up to 98 percent of the births are C-sections.
Miss Sabrina says she did not even consider when she was pregnant with Valencina.
And outsourcing birth.
"Here, women aren't trained to endure pain," he says, "so they'll probably get tired more easily." Instead, he says, they can choose the date and check into a boutique hospital where the staff tries to lower the stress.
A small but vocal group of mothers to be hopes to reverse the trend. Natalie Cardoso says she consulted with almost 20 doctors before she found one who supported her option for natural birth. She had to fight family and friends as well. "A lot of people told me, good God, you're going back to the stone ages," she says. "What about the advances of science?"
Dr. Jorge Khun believes cesareans should only be an option when it's medically necessary. "Medical schools here don't produce doctors who know how to accompany a woman's labor," he says. "They produce surgeons who know how to perform a cesarean."
From doctors to patients, the question of how best to bring a baby into the world remains a matter for debate. One reignited by a very personal moment shared with the world.
HOLMES: And Shasta Darlington joins us now live from Sao Palo in Brazil.
Shasta, I couldn't believe some of the statistics in the story. You know, there can be medical complications with c-sections. It is a surgery. Is the a focus of the discussion there between women and doctors?
DARLINGTON: Well, you'd think it would be, Michael, but what pregnant women are telling us is that instead doctors focus on the dangers of natural birth. They say that c-sections are safer, less complicated. And so that when a woman wants natural birth, she ends up having to convince her doctor that she's healthy enough.
Now, the flipside of that is, we also talked to a number of women who wanted cesarean from the very beginning. They were convinced, and I asked them, of course, aren't you afraid of going in for major surgery? And their attitude was like, well, we do so many surgeries. We do surgeries for facelifts, plastic surgeries, why not a cesarean.
HOLMES: Unbelievable. A fascinating story. Thanks for bringing it to us, Shasta.
Shasta Darlington there in Brazil.
All right. Well, kissing your sweetheart on Lover's Lane is as American as apple pie, you'd think. But in India, public displays of affection can be deeply taboo. We'll tell you why when we come back.
HOLMES: All right. Fireworks are going to be lighting up the skies over Singapore overnight. Why? Well, it's the country's national day. But the real fireworks might take place a little later in the bedrooms across the nation. Why? Well, a viral ad campaign from the breath mint company, Mentos, is encouraging people to conceive babies tonight, or at least try to. Why? To boost Singapore's low birth rate. Check out the ad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you eating a mint, baby?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I can kiss you on the face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's national night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see this August the 9th, it's time to do our civic duty. And I'm not talking about speeches, fireworks or parades.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I like that stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm talking about the stuff after the stuff. I'm talking about making a baby, baby. You ready? Let go. The parade is long gone. The kids are in bed. Let's not fireworks, let's make them instead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Yes, that's not -- that's not even the best part. Now, Singapore's government also is happening to urge people to have more children, offering them thousands of dollars in baby bonuses. It's an interesting campaign, isn't it? Singapore's growth rate last year was only 0.5 percent. Not big enough, they say.
All right, let's talk now about public displays of affections, those PDAs. It is extremely common, of course, here in the United States, elsewhere around. But in parts of India, like -- there are other parts of the world like India where arranged marriages are more the norm, romantic love, public displays of affection, taboo in many social circles. And that's something young people are rebelled against.
Azadeh Ansari joins me now to discuss this.
Azadeh, in many of these countries, young people in love have difficulty finding places to spend time alone. And you're going to tell us about one place in particular in Mumbai, I think it is, in India. Yes, lover's lane. Tell us about it.
AZADEH ANSARI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct. It's called Bandra M. Landing . And it's a place where these lovers who want to express their affection for one another can get away and have that secluded time alone. And the reason being is because there's such extreme social pressures and sometimes the pressures from the family for these couples, even though dating itself is not the norm, you'll see it's more acceptable in affluent or liberal societies within India. But again, in conservative areas, it's still preferred that the couples go the arranged marriage route versus the romantic dating route.
HOLMES: It kind of cramps their style a little I suppose.
HOLMES: But there's a movement called the love commandos to help out in these situations. What does that mean? What do they do?
ANSARI: Love commandos. They're the fighters for these love couples. And what they do is they really support them in them pursuing their choice of partner. And because let's say a couple is dating and the family does -- that they're in does not accept the religion or the socioeconomic status or the creed or the caste for that matter, the person that they're dating, this group, this organization of volunteers, has come forward and said, we're going to provide you with a hotline and a place -- a shelter, legal guidance, to really get them through these trying times.
HOLMES: Yes, because it can be a serious situation. You know, couples in India, or other countries of course, if they -- if they're caught dating unapproved people, if you like, or public displays of affection, it is a -- it's a big deal.
ANSARI: Correct. And again, if you look at India, it's not necessarily illegal for them to be dating, but it's more the PDA that's not approved of and banned. And if action is deemed inappropriate, they could carry a fine if they're caught going about it.
And I spoke with the chairman of the organization, of the love commando's organization, Semgifs , and he said that it's in extreme cases, and in isolated cases, he's seen some of these couples be taken in, detained, their family reputation's tarnish and tortured in some case. But again, there's a whole range here of things that could happen.
HOLMES: Yes. And, of course, this isn't the only company where this happens. There's not a very conservative countries in Asia, the Middle East, for example.
HOLMES: And, I mean, tell us about one of those.
ANSARI: Well, in Iran, I can speak from that example, because I've been there several times.
ANSARI: And my prediction is that love will always find a way. And they get really creative with the ways they go about this. So you'll have couples that hold hands or they will hug, but you don't know if they're dating, if they're married, if they're engaged. And sometimes they even opt for what's called a temporary marriage --
ANSARI: Which is a (INAUDIBLE). And it allows them to go about their personal needs or satisfy those needs within the paradigms of the religious construct that they have.
ANSARI: Right, requirements.
HOLMES: Yes. And in some Arab countries, that's often used as a way for a male to be unfaithful, isn't it? A temporary marriage, if you like, yes.
ANSARI: Oh, yes.
HOLMES: Oh, complicated stuff, love.
Azadeh Ansari, thanks so much.
HOLMES: You're welcome, Michael.
HOLMES: Good to see you here on set.
All right, free time to lounge in the park. We're going to show you some circus elephants taking some time off to check out the sights in Germany. We'll share more candid moments from around the world, as we do every day, when we come back.
HOLMES: OK, let's take a look at what is trending globally right now, as we do at this time.
Twitter users are talking about Sanchez Gordillo. You can see there all the hits that are taking place around there. There's actually a warrant out for his arrest. He's the mayor of a town near Seville in Spain. He's being compared to Robin Hood for allegedly stealing food from grocery stores and then giving it to the poor who can't afford to shop there. Today, he celebrated when two activists were released from jail after they stole food from two grocery store chains.
Now on Monday, he actually told farmers to snatch food off of the shelves of a grocery store as he stood outside and yelled orders on a megaphone. Gordillo is camping on government owned farmland at the moment. You see him there. He actually wants that land to be given to locals and their families so they can use it.
They are actually considered officially soldiers in the royal regiment, don't mess with that goat. And in Germany, an African and an Indian elephant walking in a park in Frankfort as one would, it's how they spend their down time at the circus.
All right. The next hour on the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.