Return to Transcripts main page
Uprising in Libya; Thousands of Libyans Continue to Arrive at Tunisian Border; Pakistani Taliban Assassinate Only Christian in Cabinet
Aired March 2, 2011 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Libya's leader has been speaking for over an hour and a half now. It is a show of control and defiance.
Moammar Gadhafi is vowing to get rid of the armed gangs causing unrest in the country. And Gadhafi made it clear he would defend Libya.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (through translator): -- that from since 1977, I handed the power, me and the other free officers, the power to the people. And since that time, we did not make any -- did not take any effect or assume any power, and we threw away of this country the forces of the Americans and the British, and we liberated the Libyan soil, and the wealth from the colonial powers, and we put it in the hands of the Libyan people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: We will continue to monitor that speech, but we want to show you the situation in Libya right now. Pro-government forces are fighting back, and troops loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi have moved into eastern areas under opposition control.
Now, they briefly recaptured the town of Al Brega. Now, that's important because of its oil refinery facility and small airport. Rebels say that they have taken Al Brega back, but it is now surrounded by pro-Gadhafi forces.
And in nearby Ajdabiya, a tribal leader is telling CNN that the youth are getting ready to defend the town. Military planes have bombed the outskirts, and there is a major ammunition dump in the area.
Now, these two towns are close to the opposition-held Benghazi. Now, that is where anti-government protests started more than two weeks ago. And you get the sense that Gadhafi, who has kept a tight grip on the capital, is trying to reassert his authority in the east, but he has lost some ground in the area.
Now, there has been fighting between his supporters and opposition groups west of Tripoli, in Zawiya. On Tuesday, we heard that pro-Gadhafi forces had also gathered around Misrata.
Now, let's zoom out and give you a big picture overview, but keep in mind the situation in large parts of the country is still unknown.
Ben Wedeman has been to both Al Brega and Ajdabiya in recent days. He joins us now live on the line from the outskirts of Adjabiya.
And Ben, what is the latest on the offensive there?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we're hearing is that the town of Brega, which is to the west of Ajdabiya, still, really, there's an active battle going on there that the pro-Gadhafi forces have taken over a university compound in that area, as well as an area next to the refinery. There are ongoing battles.
We've heard from people in Brega that at least two people were killed, including a 50-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy. We saw on the road coming out of Brega an ambulance.
Now, on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, there are feverish preparations to bolster the defenses there. We saw as hundreds of men are busy cleaning weaponry that they've just gotten out of that ammunition dump there, and they're loading their weapons, they're mounting anti-tank guns and anti- aircraft guns on top of a Toyota pickup truck.
So it's a very tense situation there, as, of course, we've been listening to the Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, making another long and rambling speech. In that speech, he stressed that this entire rebellion and the Western positions is all about oil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GADHAFI (through translator): Thousands and thousands of people will be killed if American or the Atlantic pact (ph) intervene in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN: And, of course, the situation in this entire part of the country remains unclear here. I see yet another ambulance is passing through this checkpoint where we're at.
Clearly, Moammar Gadhafi isn't about to give up or step down. He is trying to reassert his authority in a part of the country where it was thought that the opposition was in control.
STOUT: Ben, you mentioned the military action --
WEDEMAN: Yes, go ahead.
STOUT: -- overhead where you are, on the outskirts of Ajdabiya. Can you tell us more about the kind of weaponry that the opposition forces have, compared to the pro-Gadhafi forces, and whether it is your sense that they are outgunned.
WEDEMAN: Well, they're outgunned in the sense that they don't have air power, which gives the Gadhafi forces a certain advantage over the forces in this area. What we've seen here is that they have old Soviet tanks, they have anti-aircraft guns, they have anti-tank guns. We saw some shoulder-held surface-to-air missiles and, of course, lots of AK-47s.
What they don't seem to have really is a clear hierarchy of command. They don't have a lot of communications equipment as well.
So this is sort of a popular effort. Lots of people, hundreds of people, have flocked to this part of the country to try to join the defense, but it seems to be, I would say, haphazard -- Kristie.
STOUT: No clear military command. What about any sort of political leadership? Does the anti-government movement have any clear leaders?
WEDEMAN: It doesn't have -- I mean, there are leaders based in the main courthouse in Benghazi, which is like the nerve center for the opposition supporters in eastern Libya. But there are no -- I have seen no signs out in the field near the front of field commanders. It all seems to be very much a sort of do it yourself defense -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right. Ben Wedeman, thank you very much indeed.
Now, the U.N. has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis. Nearly 150,000 people have fled Libya for neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. And thousands more are arriving at the border every hour, desperate for safety and shelter.
Arwa Damon shows us how emergency workers in Tunisia are trying to keep up.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Escaping violence, chaos, and cruelty. And there are thousands, foreign workers trying to get out of Libya and into Tunisia.
On their journey here, many were robbed or forced to pay bribes, even threatened with death. Now they are within sight of safety. This metal gate, their last hurdle.
Buckling under the weight of his suitcase, crushed by the tide of humanity behind him, this man collapses. His limp body is hauled over the gate. Teams are waiting to revive him. They have seen this so many times.
"You're safe. You're in Tunis," this medic reassures him. But the man is so traumatized, he can't even say his name.
(on camera): Some of these people have been stuck in no man's land between the border of Tunisia and Libya for days now, desperate to get to safety. The authorities appear to be increasingly struggling to keep the situation at this border crossing under control. The number of refugees here, growing at an alarming rate.
(voice-over): Hundreds from Bangladesh have no chance of escape from this wretched limbo, stranded on a tiny stretch of land between two neighboring countries. Volunteers have been hurling fresh bread and water across into the masses.
"There is nothing for them on that side," Saat Hadai Duzi (ph), a policeman-turned-volunteer, tells us. "The Libyans are persecuting them. They don't even give them a loaf of bread."
Tunisians have been rallying to provide food and water, donating their time, bringing supplies. But many are livid that the international aid has been so slow in coming.
Egyptian Afat Sadir (ph) has been living on this curb for four days now. He says Libyan soldiers beat him at the Tripoli airport. "They demanded $500," he tells us. He didn't have it. The soldiers responded with, "Die then."
"They used electric cables to beat us," he says, "and they just threw us into the street. They wouldn't even send an ambulance." He clutches a tattered photo of his five daughters, not knowing when he's going to see them again.
The U.N. says this is already a humanitarian crisis, one that could soon be a catastrophe.
Arwa Damon, CNN, on the Tunisian/Libyan border.
STOUT: Now, our Ivan Watson is at that border between Libya and Tunisia, where an Egyptian navy ship is taking evacuees away from Libya. And he joins us now.
Ivan, what are you seeing?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, we're going to show you here, this is about 1,2000 Egyptian refugees, tired, filthy, exhausted, who have left from Libya, and they're being boarded on one of four Egyptian navy ships that have been brought to Tunisia to help battle (ph) some of the legions, of tens of thousands of people, who are stranded here after fleeing the fighting in Libya.
And what we're hearing from these men is stories like you've just heard from Arwa Damon, that they've been robbed by Libyan soldiers and police while fleeing Libya, taking their cell phones, taking any kind of device that could record any kind of data. And, in some cases, steeling what meager earnings that they've made while working as migrant steelworkers or construction workers, or even hairdressers or accountants in Libya.
Now, this is just a drop in the bucket, according to the United Nations, which is warning of a humanitarian catastrophe. They say they have issued an urgent appeal to the international community to help evacuate the tens of thousands of refugees that are stranded in Tunisia over the course of the past week and a half.
At present, only about 2,000 to 3,000 are being evacuated every day, back to their original countries, Egypt, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China. And more than 14,000, Kristie, are coming across the border, streaming across, every day -- Kristie.
STOUT: Fourteen thousand desperate people making that crossing every day.
Ivan Watson, joining us live from the border there between Tunisia and Libya.
Thank you, Ivan.
Now, thousands of Yemenis are marching yet again today on the country's capital, Sana'a. They're demanding the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down. Even members of Saleh's powerful tribal group have been among those calling for an end to his rule. A powerful cleric branded a terrorist by the U.S., Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani, led protesters in prayer on Tuesday and urged them to stick to their demands.
But President Saleh refuses to step down, though he has said he won't stand for reelection. And the embattled president now has a clear message for his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama: It's none of your business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI ABDULLAH SALEH, YEMENI PRESIDENT (through translator): There's a control room working for the media, and you know where it is -- in Tel Aviv. A control room in Tel Aviv to destabilize the Arab world, a control room in Tel Aviv. It is managed from the White House, all of it. Let no one lie to another.
Every day we hear Obama's statements -- Egypt, don't do this. Tunisia, don't do that. It is not your business in Egypt. It is not your business in Oman. It is not your business in Palestine.
Are you the president of the United States of America or the president of the Arab world?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Some stinging words directed at the U.S. there. But when Saleh's statement was re-aired, his comments about Washington, Yemen's partner in a crackdown against al Qaeda, they were edited out. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALEH: There's a control room working for the media, and you know where it is -- in Tel Aviv. A control room in Tel Aviv to destabilize the Arab world. A control room in Tel Aviv.
I want to assure you another time that dialogue is the only solution. This is first.
Second, I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to ensure security and stability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: You saw just there, clearly, a marked difference between the two versions, including an obvious edit, that flash you saw across the screen. But the edit, it came too late.
The U.S. had already seen Saleh's speech. And U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted this: "The protests in Yemen are not the product of external conspiracies. President Saleh knows better. His people deserve a better response."
Now, still to come on NEWS STREAM, aftermath of an assassination. The only Christian in Pakistan's federal cabinet is gunned down. We'll look at the circumstances surrounding his death and why he may have been targeted.
And democracy in China is alive and well, to a degree, at least. Now, this young woman tells us how she divides her time between cartoons and local politics.
And the tech world is excitedly awaiting the unveiling of Apple's new iPad later today. And we'll tell you what we think the iPad 2 will bring to the table.
STOUT: OK. We've been monitoring events in Tripoli, where the Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, is addressing his supporters. It is a speech that's been taking place for well over an hour and a half now.
You're looking at the live feed we're getting in from Libyan state TV. And just moments ago he said this -- he said thousands of Libyans would be killed if the U.S. or NATO were to intervene in Libya. Those words coming from the Libyan leader.
You're looking at live pictures on your screen of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi addressing his supporters, and the address being broadcast live on Libyan state TV.
We will continue to monitor that speech for you here on CNN.
Now, the Pakistani Taliban have claimed credit for assassinating the country's minister of minorities affairs. Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian in the federal cabinet, and he opposed the nation's controversial blasphemy law.
Now, Reza Sayah is standing by at CNN Islamabad.
And Reza, why was he killed?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a federal minister who was part of a campaign to look at Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws and amend them. This was a group of politicians who thought that this law was being misused to persecute religious minorities.
And a lot of religious hard-liners, including the Taliban and other extremist groups, threatened to kill him. And today, clearly, those extremists made good on their threats -- Kristie.
STOUT: Reza, just two months ago another critic of the blasphemy law was killed. Governor Salman Taseer, he was shot dead by his security guard. Now, here is his guard being hailed as a hero.
I mean, is this a trend? Is this a sign of growing religious extremism in Pakistan?
SAYAH: Well, that's difficult to say, if religious extremism is increasing in Pakistan. That's always tough to gauge.
But what today's incident shows, and what the assassination of Salman Taseer shows, is that religious extremism is here, it's a big problem for the government of Pakistan. And there's no sign that it's going away.
But I think what this incident does is, once again, it's going to get the media and a lot of people focusing on this very heated debate over these blasphemy laws. They're going to be talking about religious extremism and the fact that Shahbaz Bhatti was Christian.
But if you take a step back from these very heated issues, where neither side seems to be wanting to budge, I think this incident also highlights the much bigger, broader issues that are plaguing Pakistan, the root causes of the problems here. And one is this great divide between the government here and the people of Pakistan, the average citizens here.
On one side, you have a Pakistani government that's perceived to be corrupt, oftentimes un-Islamic and unable to meet the basic needs of people. On the other side, you have millions of Pakistanis who are very poor, deeply religious, who hold Islam very dear to their heart. And they think this blasphemy law is sacred.
So, when you have this powerful perception that this government that's unable to meet the needs of people is instead going after people's faiths - - again, it's a perception -- you're going to have a lot of problems, and you're also going to have extremist groups, including the Taliban, taking advantage of the situation. And that's what exactly happened today, the Taliban claiming responsibility for this assassination.
STOUT: All right.
Reza Sayah, joining us live from Islamabad.
Now, let's take a closer look at Pakistan's religions.
And according to government statistics, more than 96 percent of the people are Muslim. Christians make up slightly more than 1.5 percent of Pakistan's population. Hindus and others make up the remaining two percent.
Now, still to come here on NEWS STREAM, we head out into Libya's Wild West and find pistols at dawn have been swapped for other rifles at any time of day or night.
STOUT: Welcome back. Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're watching NEWS STREAM.
Now, let's take you to Christchurch, New Zealand, site of last week's deadly earthquake.
STOUT: Now, you're watching NEWS STREAM, and still ahead, we will head back to Libya and take a look from the ground up, focusing on oil and gas and the fight for its control.
And in China, she has taken the country's democracy movement to a new level. Stan Grant will introduce us to China's youngest elected official.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.
You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.
Now, the Pakistani Taliban is claiming responsibility for a religiously- motivated assassination. Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's minister of minority affairs, was gunned down outside his home in the capital, Islamabad. Pakistan's Taliban tells CNN that the minister was killed for being an outspoken critic of the country's blasphemy law.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is making it clear he will not give up. He made a long and rambling speech to supporters in the capital, and Gadhafi told them he has no authority to relinquish since the power in Libya rests with the people. He also warned against international intervention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GADHAFI (through translator): Thousands of people will be -- thousands and thousands of people will be killed if America or the Atlantic pacts (ph) intervene in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: And Gaddafi is also trying to reassert his authority in eastern Libya. A tribal leader says military planes have bombed the outskirts of Ajdabiya where there is a major ammunition dump. He says young people are getting ready to defend the town. Now in nearby Al Brega rebels say that they fended off an advance by pro-Gaddafi forces.
When a rebel group seizes control of an area in Libya at least one oil field or refinery usually comes with the territory. In Al Brega, Ben Wedeman came across one of the country's major energy installations and a lot of guns.
WEDEMAN: This is the beginning of the wild western frontier of the territory controlled by Moammar Gaddafi's opponents. A checkpoint where bullets can be wasted in macho displays.
"Let me have our Kalishnakovs, our bullets, we're ready for anything they come at us with," says Nasr Mahdi (ph).
Most of the traffic coming through here is from surrounding villages. Checks are cursory at best.
If you drive another 40 minutes down this road you'll run into the first checkpoint manned by forces still loyal to Moammar Gaddafi. And we as journalists are somewhat hesitant to go in that direction given that Libyan state TV has said all those reporters who entered the country via Egypt without visas are considered wanted outlaws for cooperating with al Qaeda.
If the Libyan leader re-establishes control of the west and begins to push east this area is critical sitting on the main highway between the capital Tripoli and Benghazi, stronghold of the opposition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that after he gets Zawiyah in control and (INAUDIBLE) in control he will decide to take his next step towards this place.
WEDEMAN: This place is the site of one of the most important oil facilities in eastern Libya, the Brega refinery and natural gas plant. It provides the fuel for power plants east and west and produces gasoline for local consumption. Production has not been interrupted. The facilities have not been damaged. Much of Libya's oil wealth is in rebel territory. Plant executives declined to appear on camera, but said they are hoping to resume significant crude oil exports within weeks.
Staff from the plant are also managing the checkpoint, worried about sabotage from the west. Engineer Muftah Ali (ph) now carries a gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now what we are doing, we are covering the company - no, by the people only.
WEDEMAN: You're protecting the people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Yeah, protecting the company from the people which come from his side to damage everything. Now we are facing some people, they are damaging the company from the side of Moammar Gaddafi.
WEDEMAN: The Libyan leader may not be in control here anymore, but there's no guarantee he won't return.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Al Brega, eastern Libya.
STOUT: And in an unprecedented move, the UN General Assembly has suspended Libya from the Human Rights Council. Now the vote came on Tuesday during a special session on Libya and was in effect unanimous. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says the suspension will last for as long as Libyan state forces continue committing what he calls gross violations of human rights.
The French ambassador says the suspension is unlikely to change the situation on the ground, but he called the vote historic saying it gathered support from countries who do not normally ban together.
Now six, seven years ago the Gaddafi regime was snapping up global assets with the wide support of the international community. And now things have changed. As Dan Lothian reports, the U.S. Administration is quickly come to realize that freezing Libya's foreign assets is easier said than done.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Libyan government's money trail is not easy to follow, it's wealth is diverse owning stakes in Unicredit, a major European financial institution, Juventus the Italian soccer club, and all of Verinex an energy company in Canada. Below the surface, a much more complex web of stocks and bonds, private equity investments and real estate: it's a rich target for the U.S. Following President Obama's executive order, the Treasury department froze at least $30 billion in Libyan government assets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a pretty strong message about the consequences of this continued behavior.
LOTHIAN: The Obama administration is concerned that, quote, "there is a serious risk that Libyan state assets will be misappropriated by Gaddafi, members of his government, members of his family or his close associates." A former undersecretary of commerce who now advises clients on cross border investments says the unrest in U.S. actions also put pressure on U.S. investors who are concerned about exposure to the Libyan regime and the tightening financial noose.
MARIO MANCUSO, FORMER COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: They want to ensure that first and foremost they are complying with the law. And secondly, they want to ensure, because they generally care about their reputations, that they are not doing anything whether it's legal or not that might harm or otherwise damage their reputation.
LOTHIAN: Libya had been considered a state sponsor of terrorism after the downing of Pan Am flight 103 in Lockerbie, Scotland. But it was taken off that list, diplomatic ties with the U.S. were reestablished and sanctions lifted in 2004 after that country renounced its evil ways and compensated the victims' family members. Seeking profits and political clout, the Gaddafi regime snapped up global assets and U.S. investors saw good opportunities.
MANCUSO: It was not only permitted to do business with Libya, it was actually encouraged. This was part of U.S. foreign policy as a means to anchor Libya into the international community.
LOTHIAN: CNN contributor Fan Townsend who was in the Bush administration at the time had reservations about embracing Libya too tightly.
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It wasn't clear to me that while Libya was going to give up their weapons program, it wasn't clear to me that they were sincere in their renunciation of terrorist activities.
LOTHIAN: Now Libya's vast wealth is being frozen as the U.S. and its international partners try to force Gaddafi from power and prevent more violence against anti-government protesters.
Townsend believes that in the end the U.S. policy was correct, that a different approach would not have changed the situation that we see now on the ground. Meantime, the Obama administration continues to keep the pressure on Gaddafi and his allies hunting for more assets, but it's like searching for a needle in a haystack because as the Libyan ambassador to the U.S. said that #30 billion is just, quote, "a little portion of what Gaddafi has overseas."
Dan Lothian, CNN, The White House.
STOUT: Now the Arab League is meeting on the unrest across the region in Cairo. The head of the group says the fear barrier has been broken. Amre Moussa spoke just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMRE MOUSSA, ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY-GENERAL (through translator): We must congratulation ourselves for the revolutions that's happening in the world when we wish them every success and we wish our nation -- our Arab nations to go forward and to stop being hesitated and stop being fear and the most important that the fear barrier has been broken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: By now who in the world has not heard about Libya and these revolutions taking place throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Now for starters, some South Korean activists say North Korea. Now they've been dropping leaflets and DVDS over the country to try to get the news out. Paula Hancocks reports.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the propaganda war. DVDs showing the rotund North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il next to his starving people, footage that South Korean activists often fly north across the border attached to helium balloons. The content of these DVDs has changed in recent weeks. DVDs are now showing what North Korea state TV is not: news footage of people in the Middle East and North Africa standing up to their dictatorial leaders. The power of the people shown to a population that has no power and little knowledge of the outside world.
This reads, the lesson to be learned from the anti-dictator, pro-democracy struggles in Tunisia and Egypt is that freedom and democracy can only be won through physical sacrifice. The DVD was made before the unrest in Libya started.
This man defected from North Korea recently. He now works in Seoul for North Korea Reform Radio. He tells me he was affected by seeing a South Korean propaganda DVD showing how affluent and modern Seoul was and it helped him make his decision to defect.
He tells me "people will draw a comparison between dictators in Egypt and Tunisia and Kim Jong-Il. People will wake up to the fact that the Kims have been holding on to power too long and their lives are miserable because of it. I think what's happening in the Middle East will help in changing the North Korean mindset."
But most agree any changes will be painfully slow. And a revolution in today's tightly controlled North Korea is just not realistic.
PROF. ANDREI LANKOV, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY SEOUL: People are disunited. People are isolated from the outside world. And people are terrified to death. And it's not going to change any time soon.
HANCOCKS: South Korean politicians helped activists launch these balloons last month.
Local media claims more recent DVDs with updates on Libya have been sent north by South Korea's military. The Defense Ministry is not commenting. But last May, after a deadly attack on a South Korean warship was blamed on North Korea, the government relaunched a policy of psychological warfare with propaganda broadcasts. These propaganda balloons could certainly be part of that.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul, South Korea.
STOUT: And we are continuing to monitor Moammar Gaddafi's speech. The Libyan leader, he's been speaking for more than two hours now. Among other things, Gaddafi has warned against international intervention and he's been saying that the power in Libya rests with the people. We will continue to watch that speech and bring you any major developments right here on CNN.
Now still to come on NEWS STREAM, CNN reporters covering China's pro- democracy Jasmine revolution have been on the receiving end of some brutal treatment by security forces, but there was already democracy of a kind in China, albeit at a low level and this woman is part of it. You'll meet China's youngest elected official.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now while we're seeing uprisings and calls for democracy across much of the Arab world Beijing is clamping down heavily on any signs of protests there. But China does have democracy of a kind. Stan Grant met China's youngest official.
STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Surrounded by portraits of communist icons Bai Yitong's heart beats faster. Her political hero.
BAI YITONG, VILLAGE CHIEF: (INAUDIBLE)
GRANT: But make no mistake, Bai Yitong is not just another Chinese communist official. For one thing, she is female. She is only 21.
So young. So young.
YITONG: Thank you.
GRANT: She loves sports stars like basketball's Kobe Bryant. Is a Michael Jackson fan. Addicted to cartoons. And takes any chance to brush up on her English.
YITONG: Hello. How are you? How do you do? Good morning? No, good night.
GRANT: But the biggest difference, she is directly elected by the people. That's right, elected. Two years ago, just 19, she was unanimously voted leader of Gaojie Village in China's Shaanxi Province. She's part of the fledgling village level democracy permitted in China.
YITONG (through translator): I hope there will be more elections in the future. And yes I think there will be.
GRANT: Parades like this one to mark the end of the Chinese New Year's celebrations are a chance for Bai Yitong to press the flesh.
GRANT: She jokes with locals. Yes, even kisses babies. And gets up on stage to sing. This fresh, young personal touch won over the 1000 locals here two years ago when she was first elected.
From a wealthy family Bai Yitong left her home in the city to move back to her ancestral village. No comforts here -- water drawn from a well, and open pit toilets. It was a shock.
YITONG (through translator): It was really hard to adapt. I didn't even have a place to wash my face or take a shower. But I eventually got used to it.
GRANT: She promised to make them richer. The village now produces date products from a factory she had built. Backed by her father's money, she paved a road and has constructed a gleaming new village square. Her father encouraged her to go into politics. He has big dreams for his daughter. Who knows, maybe one day even president.
With all the changes in China, he says, going in a democratic direction she could.
Would she like to be like Chairman Mao?
YITONG (through translator: I could never be like him.
GRANT: President, well who knows. But her fame is certainly spreading. She gets fan letters from across China. Some proposals from single men. Even mail from the United States.
This letter is from New York.
But being village chief she admits takes its toll. It is, though, a sacrifice she is willing to make. She will stand for reelection again next year. A young woman working within the system to bring much needed reform to her country.
Look at these faces: old, mostly poor people. They live in the countryside. This is the real face of China. And they certainly don't look like Bai Yitong. The question is, is she going to be the face of China's future?
You won't get any argument here.
Stan Grant, CNN, Shaanxi Province, China.
STOUT: Now Russia's former president Mikhail Gorbachev paved the way in Russia from what so many in the Middle East and Northern Africa seek: greater openness and democratic reform. And now as he celebrates his 80th birthday he has some harsh words for Russia's current leaders.
Paula Newton reports.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With a swaggering conviction he's grown into over the years, Mikhail Gorbachev addressed the world media on the eve of his 80th birthday. This wasn't a trip down memory lane, he set his sights on Russia's current leaders and let them have it.
MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER PRESIDENT OF USSR (through translator): I don't like the way Putin and Medvedev are behaving.
NEWTON: Gorbachev came just short of calling Russia's democracy a sham.
GORBACHEV (through translator: We have everything -- we have a parliament, we have courts, the president, prime minister as well as local authorities. But it's fake for the most part. It doesn't work.
NEWTON: All this spirit and vigor at 80, a milestone he's marking with candor rarely heard in Russia, calling its leaders arrogant.
GORBACHEV (through translator): That conceit is just incredible. In fact I fell victim to the same kind of conceit with perestroika. I was an active, confident person. But my confidence at some point turned into excessive self-confidence and conceit.
NEWTON: Arguably now, Gorbachev is Russia's most vocal rebel and there is little the current leadership can do about it.
But does what he say matter anymore? At best, most Russians can only muster grudging respect for their former leader, blaming him for the disorderly collapse of the USSR and the chaos they endured afterward.
But we've now come to Gorbachev's alma mater, Moscow State University, to see what the younger generation think, people who weren't even born in the Soviet Union.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he was a good person. And I think he really wanted to do something good for our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, of course he was a great person. He did so much for our country of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is important in our history as a person who brought democracy in our country.
NEWTON: In that sentiment Gorbachev is getting the birthday gift he says he has always coveted, gratitude for relinquishing power with dignity, and more importantly without bloodshed.
Paula Newton, CNN, Moscow.
STOUT: Coming up on NEWS STREAM, we'll look at last night's Premiership clash between Manchester United and Chelsea. And it sure did not disappoint.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now Apple is set to unveil the next iPad in a matter of hours. And widespread reports say the new iPad will be thinner and include two cameras. Now Apple hasn't said anything about the new device. Now the only clue the company has given is this -- now this is the invitation Apple sent out to today's event saying come see what 2011 will be the year of. And up here in the corner, you can see that's the original iPad there.
So, if that's all Apple said, how are people so sure what's in the new one? Well, part of what we know comes from leaks or sources inside the company talking to well-known Apple sites like Apple Insider. The sites are becoming more resourceful at digging up the info.
Now Patents Leak Apple is dedicated to finding Apple's filings with the Patent Office and analyzing them for clues. While others will get leaks from Apple suppliers in China.
Last July, pictures of this part appeared on the Taiwanese web site Apple Pro and it turned out to be the touchscreen for the new iPod Nano almost two months before the Nano was unveiled.
But here's another way that we can learn about the new iPad, cases being shown off by Chinese manufacturers. This one from Shin Jin (ph). Now cases for a device that officially doesn't exist yet. And our friends at MIC Gadget, they lent this one to us.
Now we have no way of knowing whether it was built with inside knowledge from Apple, through factory leaks or whether it's just one company guessing what the iPad will look like, but if this is real it tells us a lot about the new iPad.
Now right here, you can see a hole, presumably for a camera. And this large slide, the bottom, it matches where rumors say a new speaker will be. And while the case is roughly the same size as the original iPad as you can see here, mine would actually fit inside this cover because it's simply too thick implying that the next iPad will be thinner.
So is this accurate? We'll find out in a few hours.
Now the race for the Premier League title has become a lot more interesting on Tuesday night. Pedro Pinto joins us from London with all the details -- Pedro.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I do, Kristie. Run away leaders Manchester United lost at Chelsea. And that result has given hope to all the other title contenders. They are thinking it's still possible to overtake Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
Wayne Rooney gave United the lead at Stanford Bridge, but that was canceled out by David Luiz's first ever Chelsea goal before Frank Lampard completed a stunning fight back with a late penalty here in London. It all means United's lead over Arsenal stays at 4 points. Arsenal have a game in hand, so they could shorten that just one. Chelsea are 12 points adrift, but they too have a game up their sleeve and could still harbor some title hopes in England.
At the Cricket World Cup there is a group B match going on right now as we speak. England, they are hoping for a big win against Ireland after an unconvincing victory over the Netherlands and then a draw against India. They put up a good score in Bangalore in their 50-overs -- 327. Jonathan Trott reached 92 nothout (ph), while Ian Bell added 81. That score should be enough to guarantee a win unless Ireland come up with some magic over the next hour. Right now I believe they are on 43-4-1 (ph). And throughout the day we'll keep you updated on that score.
Well, life in New Zealand is slowly returning to normal following last week's earthquake in Christchurch. The local rugby team, the Canterbury Crusaders, are getting ready to play in their first game since the disaster. The quake hit the team hard considering one of their board members died as a result of it. There's no question life has changed for the squad in the last few days as they prepare for Friday's game against the New South Wales Waratahs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS, CRUSADERS CENTER: The partner we lost was in the (INAUDIBLE) in town and it was take off. So we still can't get in there. But just (INAUDIBLE) at the moment. And hopefully we'll know within the next week should be all right. But like I said before, I mean, there's so many people that are worse off than myself. So I count myself lucky. And I know the rest of the boys do too, because we didn't any loved ones in that, you know, 150 or so people that passed away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Finally an update on a football story from South America that's been making the headlines over the last few days. The mascot owl of Colombian club Atletico Junior has passed away after being kicked by an opponent's team's player this past weekend.
You may have seen this video. It's been quite popular online and across many networks. The owl who lived at Atletico Stadio Metropolitano in Barranquilla landed near the corner of the pitch during the match and was injured after being struck by the ball. The problem was that then one of the players from Deportivo Pereila then went up and kicked it.
What followed was really surreal. And the reaction has been quite widespread around the world. The defender Luis Moreno has been condemned for his acts and may face a fine or a suspension. He will be asked to pay for the cost of treating the owl. And will be required as well to visit a local zoo to do volunteer work as well.
Kristie, that's a quick look at the sports headlines. Back to you in Hong Kong.
STOUT: Pedro thank you.
And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues. Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is still speaking live right now. We'll bring you more from him as there are major developments.
Now up next, you have "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" with Emily Reuben, Maggie Lake and Andrew Stevens.