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Sikhs Shooting Victims Honored; U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan; On the Front Lines in Aleppo; German Battle Tanks; Sesame Street Looks For New Talent; Holder Speaks at Memorial in Wisconsin
Aired August 10, 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 to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL, where we take you around the world in 60 minutes. I'm Michael Holmes, filling in for Suzanne Malveaux.
And here is what is going on in your world:
Three American troops killed today in Afghanistan, another case of an attacker wearing an Afghan military uniform. It's happening a lot, and it happened in the southern Helmand province. NATO says that the victims were Special Forces operators meeting with local officials when the gunman opened fire. It is not the only time this week that supposedly friendly killed a number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Stay there, we're going to be live from the Pentagon in just a minute.
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HOLMES: And Syrian rebels say they are fighting in new neighborhoods and with new tactics in Aleppo. This follows what the rebels call a tactical withdrawal from their stronghold yesterday. They were, of course, pounded by government forces backed by jets, helicopters and tanks.
Opposition activists say that 115 people have been killed just today across the country. Many of them in Aleppo.
The British government meanwhile is planning to increase nonlethal aid to the rebels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: So now, in the absence of diplomatic progress, the United Kingdom will do much more. We will expand our support to the Syrian people, and the Syrian political opposition with an extra 5 million pounds in nonlethal practical assistance. This will help protect unarmed opposition groups, human rights activists and civilians from some of the worst of the violence.
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HOLMES: And here in the United States, a memorial service is under way for the six people killed in the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. Members of the temple are breaking with tradition to hold a public wake and memorial. They say it is a chance for everyone who wants to share in their grief. The services including hymns, prayers and speeches.
Well, family members of the temple shooting victims -- members of the community and dignitaries are all gathering in a high school gymnasium for today's memorial service. Meanwhile, inside of the temple, itself, a reminder of the massacre is clearly visible. Showing you the picture here, you can see the bullet hole in a metal door frame.
Our Ted Rowlands got an exclusive look inside of the temple. The bullet hole is actually in a doorway that leads into the main prayer area. And members say it won't be repaired. It will be left there. But in other areas, they have patched and painted dry wall, polished the marble floors and cleaned up other damage from the shooting.
And Ted joins us now live from outside of the high school where that memorial service is being held.
Ted, public visitation, the wake started a couple of hours ago. What's happened so far?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, it's really amazing how many people have descended on this small town in Wisconsin, Oak Creek, from around the world. A lot of people from India made the journey here, thousands of people have gone into the gymnasium, taken their time to walk through very slowly as all six of the victims are laid out in open caskets with their photos next to each casket, and there's also a video screen displaying the victims' photos, there is a prayer area, and a sheet has been laid out in front of the seating area where people have been taking the time to pray.
One poignant moment we saw was a group of law enforcement folks from the area here came in, and they were embraced by family members and a few people during that exchange broke down.
The Sikh community here is really hoping that if anything good can come from this, it will be the people now know about them, and that they can assimilate not only in this community, but in communities around the country and the world so that they can avoid anything that happened in the last Sunday from happening again.
HOLMES: Yes, turning it into a teaching opportunity. But, you know, how unusual for Sikh as to hold a public memorial, and wake like we are seeing today?
ROWLANDS: Well, very. It is not part of the custom. This is a complete diversion.
And they talked about it. They talked about whether or not this would be a good idea and they decided, yes, let's do this to invite and not only this community, but people from around the world who want to participate with us in a way that sort of bridges the gap. It's more of a western style if you will, this wake, a public wake, and it does not jibe with the Sikh tradition. But they wanted to bridge that gap.
When this is over in the next hour, they will then have another ceremony and more traditional one starting at the temple.
HOLMES: You know, it is fascinating that you have an exclusive look inside of the temple after members were allowed back inside themselves. Describe what you saw and what it was like for those members as they returned?
ROWLANDS: Well, it is emotional as you would imagine. A few of them broke down and one of the family members broke down right where his mother died in the temple. It was excruciating to watch some of it. But then, again, there was an upbeat energy where they were fixing the bullet holes, dry walling the walls, painting, putting in new carpeting.
We did see where each of the four victims died within the temple and each one of the spots. And then we also saw a very small pantry area where 16 people -- men, women, and children hid for hours, and two hours, and some of them were injured in this, and said it is an incredibly small space, and they were terrified in the period, because they thought there were multiple gunmen and that the gunmen were still in the area, and the FBI had not -- the SWAT teams had not come into the temple there seeing that, and seeing it with them was a very emotional experience as you might imagine.
HOLMES: Yes, I'm sure. Ted, thanks for your reporting -- Ted Rowlands there in Wisconsin.
Three American service members are dead in Afghanistan today killed by a man with a gun wearing an Afghan military uniform -- not the first time this has happened.
Let's get Chris Lawrence in here from the Pentagon.
Chris, this so-called "green on blue" is becoming more and more regular in more ways, very worrying. What do you know about today's shooting?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, our sources are now telling us that the three troops who are killed were all parts of a Special Operations mission to try to bring some stability to that village there in Helmand province. We are also told that they were going there to meet with their local contacts, and that the -- that's where they were shot and then killed.
Now, the Taliban is claiming that this was an Afghan military official, a policeman who turned on his American allies and lured them in to have dinner, and then killed them. Right now, the military is still looking for the gunman, and he is still out there somewhere.
HOLMES: You know, the one thing with these events as they take place, and be it against American soldiers or ISAF in general, is the roads are a crucial thing and that is the trust built up between the Afghans and their U.S. trainers and comrades in arms -- it's very damaging, isn't it?
LAWRENCE: Extremely. Even the commander -- one of the top commanders admitted earlier in this year that these kinds of killings, the so-called "green on blue" have a disproportionate affect on the troops' morale, because you are there and trying to work closely with someone, and you are putting yourself in a situation to work closely with them, but not fully trusting them in many respects.
This was the third "green on blue" attack just this week. In fact, there have been more of these attacks already this year than there were all of last year, and we are only halfway through the summer.
So, that's why you are seeing some of the changes like Afghani intelligence officials putting undercover agents into military recruiting areas so that they can sort of sniff out, if people have any sort of extremist tendencies, and you've got American commanders using s so-called guardian angels to keep an eye on American troops while they are working with the Afghans -- all of the things that have to be developed because of the lack of trust in some instances.
HOLMES: Yes, you know, when you look at it, it has been a particularly violent week, if you like, in Afghanistan. There was a bombing on Wednesday, three U.S. troops killed. A land mine exploded today, several Afghan civilians killed.
And this thing that is sort of drip, drip of casualties, U.S. casualties in the theatre as well. Is it a spike in violence, is it not?
LAWRENCE: Hard to tell. You kind of have to sort of step back and look at it with a little perspective. We'll know probably by the end of the year whether this was just a temporary spike or violence really has, you know, seen a dramatic increase in Afghanistan.
But, yes, I got to tell you the incident on Wednesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing an Army major, air force major, and a command sergeant-major in eastern Afghanistan -- the violence is not confined to any one area of the country. It spreads out over many, many areas in really what is devastating when you consider that the U.S. is now on the clock and starting to drawdown some of those forces, and wants to hand over a viable Afghan force before they pull out most of the numbers.
HOLMES: Yes. Just a reminder that this war is still very much on, I think it was 42 U.S. troops killed last month.
Chris, always good to get your thoughts there -- Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon.
HOLMES: All right. Here is more of what we are working on in this hour of NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL:
Have a look at that picture, you see anything wrong with it? Well, it is a U.S. sprinter running with a broken leg. I'm not kidding. Wait until you see this. If you haven't heard the story, you will want to.
And Ben Wedeman made the dangerous journey to the front lines of the battle in Aleppo in Syria.
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BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The biggest danger is snipers on buildings this direction and firing like this. So we can't sort of make a very round about route into this area.
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HOLMES: Running for cover and fearing to your life. We will have Ben's back story on how he made it out. We're going to tell, of course.
Stay with us.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.
Syrian activists say that 115 people have been killed across the country today.
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HOLMES: As you can hear and see there, fierce battles under way between the government and the rebel forces in several cities. And some of the most intense attacks centering on the neighborhoods in Aleppo, the country's biggest city, a crucial city where the rebels were in control of at least part of the territory.
Our Ben Wedeman managed the slip in and out of the besieged and very dangerous city. He shows us what it looked like.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WEDEMAN: All right. We have made it into the Salaheddine. We drove through a government-controlled area, but it made it around the checkpoint.
Now, we're inside. There are very few people actually. There are some civilians walking around. But the biggest problem that is snipers in this direction and firing like this. So, so we have had to make a round about route into the area.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WEDEMAN: OK. We are now out of Aleppo. We're heading northwest of here in the direction of a town called el Habib. It's an interesting ride. Apparently the outpost of the FSA from which we took this truck got hit by a MiG shortly after we left, we are told without serious injuries.
KAREEM KHADDER, CNN PHOTOGRAPHER: Unfortunately, we have left nine people behind us. They took care of us, and we wish them all of the best.
HOLMES: Ben Wedeman there and Kareem Khadder, our producer. Great work by them.
All right. They are caught in the crossfire. They are scared, hurt, homeless, as armed militia groups and government forces fight it out. Sudanese refugees look for help. We're going to have a report, live.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.
A long running dispute between South Korea and Japan just got reignited and that place is the spark, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's visit to a group of contested islands. The former Japanese colonies have been under South Korean control for decades, but Japan claims that the territory as its own. Japan recalled its ambassador to South Korea in response to protest Mr. Lee's visit.
The islands are said to hold extremely valuable natural gas deposits, and that's what all the fuss is really about.
Twenty-five thousand Sudanese refugees are on the run again. Violence already had forced them out of their homes already. New fighting now between armed militia groups and government forces has forced them out of a camp in the Darfur region where they were shelter.
Following all of this, David McKenzie, joins us now from Kenya.
First, tell us how the refugees are doing. What do they found in terms of food and shelter and necessities? And why were they driven out in the first place?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're really not doing very well. That's the assessment of the U.N. there in Darfur. Michael, I spoke to the chief spokesman there just recently.
Those refugees, as you said, already being pushed out of their homes during Darfur's civil war, living in the refugee camp, and then the entire refugee camp, it seems that the U.N. and other groups have left them fighting and they are now in a town called Khartoum, which is near that camp in northern Darfur. Some of them are sleeping out in the open, very little access to water and health care.
Let's look at some photographs. This is the U.N. and WHO trying to give support to these people, provide medical assistance. Unclear at this stage how many civilians and refuges were killed in this fighting. It all stems from the unidentified gunmen who attacked and killed a local official -- kidnapped him, in fact, and killed him.
It just illustrates the very tenuous nature of this somewhat peaceful Darfur that we've seen in the last few years. U.N. officials are very worried that this could just mean a greater uptick in the violence there.
HOLMES: You know, you make a point there. I mean, Darfur was in the news a lot a few years ago -- kind of fallen off of the map, if you like, off the radar. Tell us why it is important -- and it is important -- to pay attention to what happens there.
MCKENZIE: Well, some 3 million people were displaced in the conflict in Darfur, and hundreds of thousands were killed, according to the U.N. Now, you will remember the terrible news report some years ago in the Darfur region. (AUDIO GAP) Arab spring in the recent year. The problem is that the peace in Darfur was never solidify and the U.N. officials are telling me that it came to a situation that fewer civilians were being killed in the last year and year and a half, but there is an increase in criminal activity.
All of those weapons in the Darfur region have just been flooded, flooded in there and been used by the militia now to terrorize people. Five humanitarian agencies had their offices looted as well, and very little (AUDIO GAP) and robbed and pushed out of their home. So, you got a situation despite the kinds of seeds peace being there and despite the International Criminal Court having several indictments on the Sudanese leaders, the sort of long term peace is very elusive in Darfur, and this latest uptick is a troubling sign.
HOLMES: Yes, indeed it is. We are having a little bit of trouble with the signal, but we certainly got the gist of what you're saying, a very important story to keep following. I know you got a piece on CNN.com as well at the moment. People can check that out.
David McKenzie, thanks so much. Good to see you.
All right. When we come back, we are going to talk about something that went from the pitch to the New York Stock Exchange.
British soccer team, and they call it football, of course, Manchester United goes public. The question is: is it a good investment or just a nice piece of something to own by the fans? Alison Kosik is going to break it all down for us when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL, where we take you around the world in 60 minutes. Hope you are enjoying the journey.
Coming out of Ukraine is Potap & Nastya.
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HOLMES: That song is "Chumachechaya", you probably got that yourself, that translate into "Crazy Spring". No, I don't speak Ukrainian.,
Now, this pop duo has had several pop hits right throughout Ukraine. They are also very popular in Russia. Check them out on iTunes.
The English soccer club Manchester United has made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The team's initial stock offering was around $14. That's less than Wall Street initially expected.
Alison Kosik joins me from the New York Stock Exchange.
You know more about all this stuff. Do they overestimate the investor appeal, that you and I talked before? Weren't they talking about $19 at one stage?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They were, but it doesn't mean that this was a bad price. Right now, the stock is holding its own at $14.
You know, real fast, let me backtrack for those who don't know who Manchester United is. Manchester United is kind of like the New York Yankees of soccer in the U.K. So for many, this is a really big deal for this franchise to go public.
Now what I did, I talk with Manchester United CEO David Gill on the trading floor earlier today. And he says, you know, he is not concerned that the IPO price was less than what first expected. He said it's more about the listing in the long run.
And you know what? From a business standpoint, though, it does clearly reduce the level of debt that Man-U, Manchester United is also called, can pay off.
Now, the team right now is saddled with about $660 million in debt. But Gill told me that he's very comfortable with the IPO range. He said the price is holding up.
But what do the fans think? Because fans have a lot of interest in this, they want to win the games. And the investors, they want to make a profit.
So Gill told me that the two goals are not mutually exclusive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GILL, MANCHESTER UNITED CEO: They are both related. Manchester United has never deviated from being a football team. We fully understand and have done for the last 20 or so years that what happens on the pitch is crucial. And if you do that, the opportunities that we have off of the pitch in terms, as I said, on the broadcasting side, on the sponsorship side are very real, very apparent and they're there.
So we fully understand what happens on the pitch, having great players and playing attractive, winning football is crucial to our business goals and we will continue to do that. And if you do that, the fans will be happy and the investors will be happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: So Michael, although you're not seeing those MANU shares take off like we do with other IPOs, where we see like LinkedIn when it doubled its value within minutes of its first trading day, MANU shares, they are once again holding their own. They haven't fallen below that $14 IPO price. Michael?
HOLMES: Yes. I should point out, Alison, before we go, David Gill, who you interviewed there, is actually 12 feet tall. So it is not -- it wasn't you, it was him.
KOSIK: He's 6'5", yes. I'm 5 feet, he's 6'5".
And check out the jerseys they gave out. These are extra larges. Yes, it's like three of me. Aren't they cool? That is part of the festivities here today.
HOLMES: I would like to see you wear that, you and all of your closest friends could fit into that.
KOSIK: Exactly. You got it.
HOLMES: Yes, great to see you, Alison, as always.
Alison Kosik there at the New York Stock Exchange.
All right. Well, you think being on the medal stand at the Olympics would bring smiles and happiness. Check out that grimace, though. We are seeing some tears and disappointment as well. Why winning a bronze could be better than winning a silver. Interesting discussion coming up.
Oh, she is unhappy, isn't she?
HOLMES: Going to bring you some headlines now from around the world.
Three American troops killed today in Afghanistan, another case of an attacker wearing an Afghan military uniform. It all happened in the south of the country, Helmand province. NATO says the victims were actually Special Forces operators, who were meeting with local officials when the gunman opened fire.
It is not the only time this week a supposedly friendly person killed a number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Two American officers and a senior enlisted man were killed by a suicide bomber on Wednesday. In China, nine people went on trial today. Prosecutors say they helped a teenager sell one of his kidneys so he could buy an iPad. The defendants are accused of finding organ donors, setting up transplant operations and then splitting the proceeds.
This goes on a lot in China. The teenager at the center of the case suffered renal failure after his kidney was removed -- no surprise there. He used most of his cut of the money to buy Apple gadgets. Incredible story.
A global campaign encouraging everyone to mark World Humanitarian Day is getting some big star supporters, you see there. Today Beyonce is filming a music video for the campaign, inside the U.N. General Assembly hall in front of a live audience. That does not happen every day.
The singer and actress discussed the project with the secretary- general, Ban Ki-moon, yesterday. The goal of the campaign: to get everyone to help someone else on World Humanitarian Day. It is a week from Sunday. Great idea.
HOLMES: The Olympics' Usain Bolt may be the fastest man on Earth, but how would he do with a broken leg? Well, American Manteo Mitchell just placed in a qualifying race, finishing on a broken leg or finishing his leg on a broken leg.
He had 200 meters to go in the 4x400 meter relay heat, and then he heard a pop and a snap, saying, quote, "I felt it break. I heard it. I even put out a little war cry, but the crowd was so loud you couldn't hear it. I just wanted to lie down." No kidding . "It felt like somebody literally snapped my leg in half."
Alex Thomas joins me now live from London.
I cannot get over this. This wasn't like a twisted ankle -- he broke his leg and didn't stop.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Michael, I was ready to come on here and scoff a bit and say he is not as brave as everyone thinks; athletes get major injuries all the time (inaudible), but I hadn't actually heard the quotes where he said he heard it go.
So that's quite interesting, because psychologically, if you know you have done some serious damage and still push through the pain barrier, then, yes, I mean, hats off to Manteo Mitchell anyway, but that's pretty impressive because he knew he had done something as serious as a fracture.
I mean, let's get it right, it wasn't like a compound fracture with bones sticking out through the skin and (inaudible) leg flopping off -- sorry if you're squeamish out there. But, no, I mean, I think that's why people love the relays, isn't it, because know how much of an individual thing it is in track and field. It's you against the field, you're the only one that can motivate yourself, but in the relays, it is all about the team, and boy, did he put the team ahead of himself.
HOLMES: He did. He did, and they qualified, too, well, they qualified for the semis I think. It's very really sad, though, because he obviously won't run. What if they got a medal? He won't get one, will he, the reserve will, I should imagine.
But anyway, I digress. I want to talk about some research we're reading about here that supposedly shows that silver medalists feel worse on average than bronze medalists, and you know, I do feel like I am seeing silver medalists crying tears of sorrow and grimacing and all of this. Tell us about of that.
THOMAS: I don't agree with this. I don't know where these researchers, I mean, I think of the study on the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and they said looking at the reactions of all of the medalists there, it is clear that it's harder for silver medalists to cope with not quite getting gold than it is for bronze medalists to realize they have not quite won or haven't quite got second, I just (inaudible). (Inaudible) a lot of rubbish, isn't it?
HOLMES: I think there should be studies done on studies.
THOMAS: Quite right, too. I mean, it is a great one to talk about, but honestly, I have been doing this job for 20 years, interviewed gold, silver and bronze medalists, and it just really depends. But (inaudible) "depends" stamped on that report , send it back to them with musty (inaudible) on the bottom, signed, love, Michael Holmes, one kiss only.
And just say, it really does depend. If you're a -- so see young British sailors, for example, got silver today, they were delighted with it because they know they are young. They are still learning their trade, they can go for gold next time.
They would have been happy with bronze. They was delighted to get as close to gold as they were. So it depends whether you're the favorite or not, depends, depends, depends.
HOLMES: I hear you. I mean, the theory was, you know, I was so close to gold but I did not get there versus hey, I'm on the podium, I got a bronze, I'm lucky.
But, yes, I tend to agree, the studies are a dime a dozen.
I do love the McKayla photo, though, and I don't know if we can pull it back up. Go Google that and there is actually a website out there -- I think it's McKayla is not impressed. It's one of those blogs, it is hilarious.
OK. Good to see you, Alex. You look happy -- well, of course, you are at the Olympics, aren't you?
Check you out later, mate. Thanks so much.
OK. Germany is the third largest arms exporter in the world, you may not have known that, but times are tough everywhere, aren't they? And European countries are not buying all of the weapons they used to, so the Germans are trying to sell all of those tanks and submarines to the Middle East market. The risks of those deals we will chat about ahead.
HOLMES: Welcome back. Germany needs customers badly. The German government has some tanks for sale if you'd like some. War machines and the usual buyers are not interested it seems, so the Germans, they're looking at potential new markets, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf. And that is not sitting very well with everyone in Germany. Fred Pleitgen reports.
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FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the pride of Germany's defense industry, the Leopard two-main battle tank. Many countries are interested in buying it -- among them, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And despite criticism, members of Germany's governing coalition want to approve the sales.
"We have to take into account our own security interests, our economic interests and, of course, also human rights," says Martin Lindner of the liberal party. "And I would come to the conclusion that this export should get the green light."
Saudi Arabia and Qatar want hundreds of tanks. The deals would be worth billions of dollars and secure hundreds of jobs in this country's defense industry. At a time when Germany is phasing out most of its heavy armor for lighter combat vehicles and many traditional foreign clients from Europe are breaking away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Germany is the third largest exporter of arms in the world, but as European economies are in turmoil and many NATO partners are cutting their defense budgets the country is looking for new buyers for its military hardware.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (voice-over): And the Middle East is emerging as one of the more important markets not just for tanks. Germany recently sold several stealth submarines to Israel, which the IDF operates at the Dolphin class.
Henning Riecke from Germany's Council on Foreign Relations says the deals put Germany in a dilemma.
HENNING RIECKE, German COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: It is a funny contradiction that, on the one hand, the Germans have their problems with the use of force in international relations. They are very much afraid of an uprising militarism that might come out of this.
On the other hand, Germany is the third largest arms exporter in the world, and has a large share in this billion-dollar market.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Germany has traditionally avoided arms sales to conflict areas. Last year, Saudis' tanks rolled into neighboring Bahrain to help put down an uprising there, but Saudi Arabia is also seen by the West as a counterweight to Iran in the region.
Margot Kaessmann of the Coalition Against Arms Exports says the deals must be stopped.
MARGOT KAESSMANN, COALITION AGAINST ARMS EXPORTS: In former times, there was a great restriction to say the only export arms to NATO-partner states. And certainly if you see that we have exported arms to Libya, for instance, and now Qatar is in question of being somebody who can have arms from Germany, there's a change in politics, obviously.
PLEITGEN: The German government used Qatar as a ally in the region, but in this case the decisions on take sales, Berlin faces a difficult dilemma. Approve the deals and face public anger at home, or turn them down and potentially lose lucrative export markets in the Middle East for good.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
HOLMES: Coming up, these guys, Elmo, Big Bird, looking for a new friend. That's right. "Sesame Street" holding auditions for a new Latino character. We'll discuss it.
HOLMES: Finding a home on "Sesame Street," well, that's about as good as it gets, isn't it? Well, here's your chance if you meet the criteria. The show's producers are looking for a new multitalented Hispanic character. CNN's Rafael Romo with the details.
SONIA MANZANO, ACTRESS, "MARIA" ON "SESAME STREET": Oh, look, honey, the Spanish word for happy, feliz.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice- over): Can you say "feliz"? Or even better, can you say "plaza sesamo"? If you do, this may be your opportunity. "Sesame Street" is looking for a new character. ROMO (on camera): What's so special about this new character? What's different about him or her?
ROCIO GALARZA, SESAME WORKSHOP: Well, this is a new addition to the Hispanic community that we already have on the street.
ROMO (voice-over): The children's TV show has prominently featured Latinos and Latino culture in its four decade history, with characters like Rosita, Maria and Luis. Actress Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria, and Emilio Delgado in the role of Luis, have been with the show since the early '70s.
More recently, stars like actress Sofia Vergara and singer/composer Kiwanis have appeared on the show.
Earlier this year, the first Hispanic named to the U.S. Supreme Court appeared on "Sesame Street."
MANZANO: Hola. This is my friend Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT: Hi, everybody.
MANZANO: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
SOTOMAYOR: Si. Gracias.
ROMO (on camera): Now the long-running program is looking for a character who will be featured on "Sesame Street's" 44th season, which begins taping in the fall. The role, the producers hope, will be filled by a person 18 to 25 years old, male or female, who can sing, dance, and is also bilingual.
GALARZA: There's so much diversity and beauty on the Hispanic community talent and we want to explore that even more. And this new character can help us, not only for the character itself, but explore new stories and not only about Hispanic heritage but just in general.
ROMO (voice-over): As for the characters you grew up with, like Rosita, they will remain on the show. She will still be teaching children how to dance to the rhythm of salsa.
HOLMES: And Rafael Romo is here now.
I was wrapped up in that -- watching that. It's a fun story. Is there anything about the timing like the old "why now"?
ROMO: Well, they're trying to focus on Hispanic heritage for the next season, but also it has to do with the numbers. Hispanics are 60.7 percent of the population in the United States. More than 52 million. And when you look at people under one year of age in the United States, which is the future audience of "Sesame Street," you're talking about more than a quarter of all of those people, those young people, are Hispanics, 26.3 percent. HOLMES: Out of all of them?
ROMO: So that's primarily the reason why.
HOLMES: Applying to your audience indeed. You know, how are they going to find the person? I mean how do you audition?
ROMO: Well, they had a huge -- they have a huge casting call on August 20th in New York. They're going to be accepting all kinds of different people. But again, it's limited to people between the ages of 18 and 25 and they must be able to speak both languages.
HOLMES: Right. Right. Go for it. Rafael's new gig.
ROMO: No, I'm still quite happy here.
HOLMES: All right. OK. Rafael Romo there.
You know there's been this ongoing memorial service taking place in Wisconsin for the victims of the shootings there at the Sikh temple. The attorney general, Eric Holder, speaking now. Let's listen in.
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: And we remember Rafak Singh , who just recently was overjoyed to be reunited with his wife and children from India, a nation that is both a trusted ally and a revered friend.
We also honor Seeta and Rajit Singh , brothers who were both priests at the Gudewara , who devoted their lives to the practice of their faith and to the service of others. And we reflect on the extraordinary contributions of Safwan Shing Khalik , a key leader and founder of the Gudewara, who in a split second decision did not hesitate to put his own body between a deranged killer and his fellow worshippers. We will never know how many lives that he saved last Sunday, or we will never know how many more he enriched during the many days and years he spent at his beloved Guduwara, where he was so clearly dedicated to feeding the hungry, befriending the lonely, and reaching out to those most in need.
Today as we reflect on the lives and legacies of these six remarkable individuals and keep in our hearts all those others harmed in the horrific attack, we are also reminded of the many other member of our family who have been taken from us far too suddenly and far too soon in other senseless acts of violence. Unfortunately, for the Sikh community, this sort of violence has become all too common in recent years. In the recent past, too many Sikhs have been targeted and victimized simply because of who they are, how they look, and what they believe. That is wrong, it is unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated.
We must ask necessary questions of ourselves. What kind of nation do we truly want to have? Can we muster the courage to demand more of those who lead us? And just as importantly of ourselves. What will we do to prevent that which has brought us here today from occurring in the future? We should sensibly discuss if there's a need to change our laws. HOLMES: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder there speaking at a memorial service for those who lost their lives in that tragic shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. We'll continue to monitor that as it goes.
Meanwhile, we'll take a short break here. We'll be right back with CNN NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL.
HOLMES: And it's that time to take a look at what is trending globally now.
And you can see there, Twitter users are tweeting about the Janmashtami festival. It is the festival that celebrates the Hindu god Krishna's birthday. We've been talking about this all week. Today Hindu men and boys make human pyramids, quite a pyramid too. This happens mainly across northern India. The objective is to climb on top of each other, get up there and break a clay pot that is filled with yogurt or buttermilk. And the person who gets to break the clay pot, you see him there, wins some money. Krishna, who's a god who loves milk, often shown beside a cow. The cow, of course, sacred in India.
Several other stories caught our attention today, and photos to go along with it. So let's have a look.
A piano, you see there, attached to a hot air balloon flying over Lithuania. All part of a summer festival. The pianist is really a stuntman and he's not actually making music. The piano made of cardboard. Just don't want to give that away.
Now off of coast of northern Australia, aboriginal leaders dancing to welcome members of the Australian cricket team. All champions (INAUDIBLE). This is the traditional way aboriginal people will welcome visitors to their home.
And let's go now to the old city of Jerusalem. Beautiful place. If you haven't been, you should go. Muslim women praying there during Ramadan. They're in the dome of the rock mosque, which is one of the holiest places of all of Islam.
Well, the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now. Thank you .