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Libya's War of Words; Japan Nuclear Fears; Violent Protests and Mass Arrests in Syria

Aired March 24, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Allied forces strike more targets in Libya while some officials say Gadhafi's forces still have the upper hand.

Bloodshed in Syria. Violent clashes as protests heat up in one southern city.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When the earthquake happened, students at Ishinomaki Elementary evacuated out of the school. They had no idea a tsunami was coming.


STOUT: And children's backpacks that will never be claimed after lives in Japan are torn apart.

Now, coalition air strikes in Libya are in their sixth day. And this is the latest footage of French military planes setting off from Charles de Gaulle Airport on Wednesday. Rather, the aircraft carrier.

Now, despite coalition planes making hundreds of sorties over Libya, officials say that they have seen no indication that Moammar Gadhafi is complying with a U.N. mandate to stop attacks against civilians.

Gadhafi's government reported coalition air strikes in three of Tripoli's suburbs and claimed that civilian locations have been hit. Coalition forces said that that was unlikely.

Now, what we do know though is that east of Tripoli, in Ajdabiya, parts of the city fell to opposition forces on Wednesday. Witnesses told CNN that Gadhafi's forces maintain control of the northern and western gates.

Meanwhile, in the city of Misrata, witnesses said that Gadhafi's troops attacked the city's main hospital last night. One witness said shells were falling just meters from patients for about 40 minutes and killed at least two people.

Well, as with any war, propaganda plays a pivotal role. And, as with all propaganda, you have to draw your own conclusions.

Nic Robertson reports on a government PR exercise gone wrong.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A drive through Tripoli's streets is a window on a city at war. The roads, quieter than normal. Half the stores, closed.

Like all trips we take, government officials determine when and where we go. This one, to the south of the city, not quite as they planned.

(on camera): About 30 minutes ago the government took us to set off on a trip to find a civilian house they said had been damaged in bombing. They said there was a military facility nearby, but civilians had been wounded. Collateral damage, they said.

Well, we've been driving around for the last half an hour, 20 minutes in one neighborhood around what seems to be a heavily-walled, guarded compound. They still can't find this house, and they've been stopping to talk to people along the way. But they're not talking to the people on the street side here, because this is a government convoy. And most likely, people around here, even if they knew anything, wouldn't tell government officials.

(voice-over): About 12 hours earlier, not long after Moammar Gadhafi's defiant speech, state TV ran a video it claimed showed civilians being pulled from burning rubble. That's the place we were expecting to be taken.

After more waiting at the roadside, not far from a large military installation, there is still no help from the government officials.

(on camera): Well, after another 10 minutes of indecision, we're moving on again. I'm not sure that the drivers actually know where they're going this time, but we're going to find out.

(voice-over): The day before, when officials took us to see bomb damage at the harbor, residents flocked there, too, keen to see the strikes state TV doesn't broadcast. Despite the pro-Gadhafi rallies that have become a staple of government television, this is a city of apprehension and anxiety. Regime opponents, afraid to speak out, silently hoping for change. Everyone worried of why a war may be coming.

Today, our opportunity to find out more, all too brief.

(on camera): Well, we've been brought back to the hotel. The government officials couldn't find the house, so here we are back at the hotel, where this all began about an hour ago.

(voice-over): Our window closing until the next time.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Tripoli, Libya.


STOUT: Now, let's take a closer look at the fighting in Libya.

This map, it shows where recent air strikes have been aimed. Coalition warplanes have hit the capital, Tripoli, as well as the cities of Misrata, Sirte, Ajdabiya, and near the opposition stronghold of Benghazi. Now, the strike area, it shows the no-fly zone, which extends south to the city of Sabha. And this map, it shows where clashes between pro-Gadhafi troops and opposition rebels are taking place in Misrata, also in Ajdabiya, and outside Benghazi.

Now, according to U.S. military leaders, Gadhafi's regime controls much of the area along the coast, right here, to Ajdabiya, seen here in this line in green. While opposition forces, meanwhile, they control this yellow- shaded area here from Benghazi to the eastern border.

Now, meanwhile, in Japan, authorities continue to fight public fears about radiation in the water and food supply. Now, Tokyo's governor has lifted his recommendation that infants in Tokyo not be given tap water, but not before hordes of city residents stockpiled bottled water from supermarkets. Now, pregnant women and nursing mothers have also been advised by health workers that the tap water is safe.

In Fukushima prefecture, workers there, they continue to try to be the Daiichi nuclear power plant under control.

Let's get the very latest on the situation in Japan. Paula Hancocks joins us from CNN's Tokyo bureau.

And Paula, Tokyo tap water has tested now to be safe. What do residents make of that assessment?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly it's going to be a little less alarming than it was on Wednesday, when they discovered that it was almost double the limit that an infant should actually have of radioactive iodine in tap water. But there are still people buying bottled water, obviously still concerned that there is any radioactive iodine in the tap water.

We know that the government has given out about 240,000 bottles this Thursday to those that do have infants in their family. They're expected to do exactly the same on Friday. But there are concerns in other prefectures. Just east of Tokyo, in the Chiba prefecture, they understand now that in two out of three locations, they have levels that are higher than the government limit.

We have heard though from the cabinet secretary, saying please don't panic, the government set standards are very conservative, and so there shouldn't be any immediate health risk -- Kristie.

STOUT: And the situation at Fukushima Daiichi, work has resumed there, but are we any closer to knowing what caused that black smoke?

HANCOCKS: Well, we heard from TEPCO officials, the company in charge of this plant, earlier this Thursday saying that it could have been something to do with oil machinery. But they haven't said specifically what caused it or why.

At this point, it has ended. And we understand there's just some vapor in the air, which obviously is a little less alarming for officials than thick, black smoke. But we do know that there have been two workers that have been hospitalized from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. We understand that three workers were actually in a basement of an engine room, and they were standing in contaminated water.

Now, we know that two of those have been hospitalized. We don't know about the third at this point. But they had levels of radiation in the realm of 180 millisieverts.

Now, to put this in context, the previous government limit for safety for a day was 100 millisieverts. That's actually been raised now to 250 so that these workers can get on with trying to bring the plant under control.

And also, TEPCO tells us that another 17 workers have reached that level, that initial safety level of 100 millisieverts. So certainly some very difficult work for those involved in trying to get these cooling systems back on line, and some very heroic work from some of these men.

STOUT: Yes, mission critical, indeed. I wish them the very best.

Paula Hancocks, joining us live from CNN Tokyo.

Thank you for that update.

Now, the list of countries banning or at least restricting and testing food products from northern Japan is continuing to grow. Now, Singapore says that it is temporarily halted the import of milk, fruit, vegetables and meat from areas near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant. That announcement came today.

Now, meanwhile, Australia is saying that it is taking precautionary measures consistent with international approaches. Its ban covers milk products, fresh produce and seafood from four prefectures in northern Japan.

Now, Hong Kong has suspended a number of food imports from five prefectures. That happened on Wednesday after radiation was detected in vegetable imports at the city's international airport. Now, Hong Kong's food and health department also says that Japanese meats and seafood imports have been suspended.

Now, that all follows an alert from the United States preventing milk, milk products, fresh vegetables and fruit from four prefectures from entering the country. Now, the U.S. was the first country to restrict Japanese food imports.

Now, meanwhile, the government in Thailand, it is focusing on Japanese shipments of meats, milk, fish and seaweed. And it will conduct random checks on food coming out of Japan since the earthquake on March the 11th.

And India has also ordered radiation tests on Japanese food at its ports and airports. Only food originating from Japan after March 11 will be tested.

Now, amid the physical destruction rocked by the Japanese disaster, stories of human suffering continue to emerge. Now, few parents could contain their grief at the loss of a child, but Kyung Lah reports from one Japanese community where parents are staying strong for the sake of their surviving family.


LAH (voice-over): For Keiko Naganuma, coping with loss comes by denying grief. She stays upbeat for her 6-year-old son Ron (ph). Silently, counting the number of her missing family members.

"Seven or eight," she says, from her mother to her other son, 8-year-old Koto (ph). He is presumed dead, his body washed away by the tsunami. He was at school.

"No matter what's happened to him, I just want him back," she says. "My child should come home to me. I need to find him." It's a feeling shared by this community, searching for so many young children and mourning a loss that defies life's natural order.

(on camera): When the earthquake happened, students at Ishinomaki Elementary evacuated out of the school. They had no idea a tsunami was coming. Out of 108 students at the school that day, 77 are either dead or missing. That's 70 percent of the children at the school.

(voice-over): Only a shell stands where children learned. Backpack after backpack sits for parents to retrieve, along with a picture of the school little league team, the bats they used, art bags filled with crayons, all waiting to be identified and brought home. But there are no homes for these Ishinomaki evacuees.

You may notice there are hardly any children in this shelter. Those who survived will struggle emotionally.

Aid organizations Save the Children hopes to ease the onslaught of the trauma giving child tsunami victims something simple, a place to play inside the evacuation centers.

SHANA PEIFFER, SAVE THE CHILDREN: To have a sense of safety, and to actually also work with the parents in how to support them in this process. It's going to be a long recovery process for children.

LAH: For 8-year-old Miku (ph), one of the 30 survivors of the elementary school, it's a relief, a chance to draw something pretty, away from the devastation of the world around her.

The day ends for Keiko Naganuma without any word about her missing son. She will not fall apart, she says. "I'm not OK," she says, "of course I'm not. But I have another son."

"Ron (ph) saw the tsunami. His brother is not coming home. So I think he understands. I can see he's pretending to be happy so we don't worry about him."

So mother joins and pretends for her son and for herself.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Ishinomaki, Japan.



STOUT: Now, protesting against the government in Syria is costing more people their lives. Witnesses and human rights activists say 15 people died in the city of Daraa on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and protesters.

This amateur video from Facebook is said to show security forces firing on unarmed protesters. Now, CNN cannot confirm its authenticity, and Syrian state TV says some of the protesters fired on police.

Now, in this YouTube video, you can see what appears to be security forces arresting some of the protesters. At least 21 people have died since the demonstrations demanding reform by the government of President Bashar al- Assad began one week ago.

For the latest, plus the broader unrest in the region, let's go straight away to our Stan Grant. He joins us from our bureau in Abu Dhabi.

And Stan, more violent protests and mass arrests in Syria. What's the latest.

STAN GRANT, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many people are looking at this, Kristie, and wondering, are we seeing the next dominos to fall in what has been this Arab Spring of unrest from Tunisia to Egypt to Bahrain to Libya. Now we're seeing this in Syria as well.

These images are growing more alarming, aren't they, by the day? We're seeing more people on the streets. We're seeing more of a crackdown. We're hearing from human rights activists who are reporting that the number of dead and wounded seems to grow by the day.

At the moment, it has been confined to southern Syria. This is an area with a history of unrest, a very tribal area, heavily Islamic area. And many throughout the country, according to people that I've been speaking to inside Syria, saying that they're watching what's happening here with interest to see if it actually grows.

It's been confined to local issues. People concerned about corruption, calling for the release of political prisoners from jail. Not at this moment calling for the overthrow of the government, but words like "democracy' are now being used. They're talking about greater recognition of human rights and a repeal of a 48-year-old emergency law that has been used in the past to violently crush any dissent.

And the word that is now being used, the phrase that is coming out of Syria now, Kristie, is that this is "an end to fear." People have been ruled by fear. They're throwing off that, and they're increasingly taking to the streets -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes. And with that "end to fear," we should expect to see more protesters take to the streets there in Syria.

Now, Stan, an update on the protests, meanwhile, in Yemen. Its president says he will accept a transition plan. So will that at all quell the unrest?

GRANT: It's interesting. You can really draw a line between the events in Yemen and the events in Syria. In fact, the events throughout the region since all of this began.

It seems to start with smaller protests. It then grows. The protests become louder. There is a crackdown. And then some concession from the government.

We've been hearing again from -- in Yemen, a concession from the president there, Saleh, that he will step down, he won't contest the election after the end of his term. But the protesters there seem to have the wind at their back.

They are now feeling as if they're empowered in saying look, that is not enough. Key generals have defected, no longer supporting them. And they now feel as though the momentum is with the protesters, and they will not stop at this concession.

At the same time, while we're talking in Syria about repealing an emergency law, now a new emergency law being enacted within Yemen. This gives the president and security forces there the power to detain protesters, to snuff out any demonstration. In fact, in the words of one critic, that this is basically giving people a license to kill the innocents.

So, certainly the events there wrapping up, despite the apparent concession. The protesters holding firm and saying they will stop at nothing else than the ouster of the president -- Kristie.

STOUT: Stan Grant, joining us live from Abu Dhabi.

Thank you.

Up next, here on NEWS STREAM, it is not a new trend, at least not in Western countries, to see so many empty seats in a place like this. Now a group of mathematicians has made a prediction about the new order of religious nuns. An explanation is ahead.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pledging to restore security in Jerusalem after a bomb exploded there on Wednesday. Now, the blast took place in a crowded area in the city's center near the central bus station. A British woman was killed and dozens of others were injured as they stood in line waiting for their buses.

And this video was taken just after the blast. It shows emergency crews scrambling at the scene. Now, later, authorities found a medium-sized device in a bag left near the bus station.

And meanwhile, strikes and counterstrikes are raising tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israel staged air strikes over Gaza just hours after the Jerusalem blast. Now, Israel says it is not firing back, not for the explosion in Jerusalem, but for a barrage of rockets it says Palestinian militants have been launching into its territory.

Now, a team of mathematicians has used numbers to determine the fate of organized religion. Using census numbers going back a hundred years, the group predicts that by the year 2050, the largest self-declared religious group in nine countries will be unaffiliated.

See, this country is right here. Now, they cover the Western world's map from New Zealand, all the way to Canada, with some European countries in between.

And to get some context on this study, we go now to CNN London, where our religious affairs contributor Richard Greene is standing by.

And Richard, walk us through the findings.

RICHARD GREENE, CNN RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Kristie, what these mathematicians have done is they've looked at census data in nine countries over a century. So, in these nine countries, the government has been asking people for 100 years, "What is your religion?" And what the mathematicians find is the numbers getting smaller and smaller and smaller in each of these countries. More and more people are saying, "I have no religion."

So they've come up with an elaborate mathematical formula. It's very impressive when you see it on paper. And what it's predicting is, in these nine countries, religion will eventually wither away to what they say the point is, extinction.

STOUT: And if organized religion is on the way and to the point of extinction in some countries, what impact does that have on a society?

GREENE: Well, Kristie, I'm sure we can both think of examples of where you would say religion is not a good influence on society. And certainly there are many places in the world where people argue that.

There are, of course, many who say religion is a very good influence. And a major book (ph) in the United States last year found that people who are religious are more likely to donate their time to charity, they're more likely to donate money, they're more likely to give blood. American religious people are simply better neighbors, in the words of that major study.

So you'd see some people arguing it would be great to see the end of religion. And you'd see some people saying no, that would really be a shame.

STOUT: You know, it's great fodder for discussion. It is a bombshell report. It predicts that even deeply Catholic Ireland will see religion die out.

Now, give us the reality check, Richard. Will organized religion wither away?

GREENE: I wouldn't put any money on that. These mathematicians have come up with an impressive model, they have a lot of data. But the results that they're coming to is not new.

People have been predicting the end of religion for decades, at least. There was a major front-page story in "The New York Times" saying, "With time, religion will fade away to the point where there will only be small pockets of believers in the United States." That was in 1968 -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Richard Green, joining us live in London.

Thank you very much, indeed.

And now we go to Egypt, where a little more than a month has passed since mass demonstrations brought down that country's longstanding leader, Hosni Mubarak in early March. CNN filmed these scenes of jubilation in Cairo's Tahrir Square. This was just days after the military council took over, promising a process of reforms.

And just this past weekend, Egyptians voted yes to the ins and outs of how that reform should take place. And still, there is evidence that some of the country's military are still using excessive force to end any dissent.

Ivan Watson is following the story from Cairo. He joins me now live.

And Ivan, how have Egypt's military rulers tried to curb dissent?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a disturbing report coming out from the human rights group Amnesty International, Kristie, a bit more than a month after a despot was overthrown here by a peaceful, democratic movement. And what this describes is the arrests of at least 17 Egyptian demonstrators, female demonstrators, by military police in Cairo's famous Tahrir Square.

The Amnesty report goes on to say that, "Women protesters were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to virginity checks and threatened with prostitution charges."

Now, we spoke with one of the women who testified for this report. Her name is Saleh Husseini (ph). She's a 20-year-old hairdresser who stood up in front of a tank during a brutal crackdown on March 9th of what had been a peaceful protest. She stood in front of Egyptian soldiers that later detained her.

She described how they held her down, tied her up, electrocuted her with a Taser, and slapped her, calling her a whore. Later, they said she was taken, along with 17 women, to a military detainment facility where, after a strip search, a male doctor, accompanied by six male officers, forced her to -- subjected her to a virginity test as evidence later, she said, to prove that she was not raped in custody.

Now, we spoke with a spokesman for the Egyptian armed forces who went on to deny charges of any kind of torture or virginity tests taking place. He said that some of the 17 women who had been detained were given one year suspended sentences, jail sentences. And he said that the women who were detained, none of them filed any single complaints.

Now, this is part of a pattern, a larger pattern, we're hearing from human rights activists here, Kristie, of activists being detained by the military police, including one human rights lawyer who says she was detained and interrogated for eight hours while monitoring voting taking place during Egypt's referendum yesterday. Take a listen to what she had to say.


RAGIA OMRAN, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: There are so many people who are not as lucky as us, who don't have the connections, who are not as educated or as privileged, or whatever, and who have now, since January 28th, been arrested, been put on trial. And probably their families have no way of getting them out.


WATSON: Now, another factor here, Kristie, that has some of Egypt's former revolutionaries very concerned is that the prime minister's office has proposed a new law as of yesterday that the Supreme Higher Council of the Armed Forces stands poised to approve. And it would criminalize protests and demonstrations. Anybody participating in them could be subject to jail sentences of fines of the equivalent of about $83,000. Revolutionaries asking what happened to our revolution, Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, Ivan, you know, very disturbing developments, truly casting down on the reform process there in Egypt. Ivan Watson joining us live from Cairo. Thank you very much indeed.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And we'll be back right after this break.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines. Now allied operations are continuing into their sixth day in Libya. Now these pictures from Libyan state TV reportedly show the destruction of a military base in Tripoli. The video was apparently shot just after a coalition air strike. State TV says 18 civilians and military officials were killed. The coalition calls that unlikely.

Escalating unrest is reported in Syria. Witnesses say 15 people were killed in the southern city of Daraa on Wednesday. Syria state TV reports the government has sacked (ph) the governor there.

In Japan, two emergency workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are being treated at a hospital because of exposure to radioactive material. Officials say they stepped in contaminated water which seeped through their protective clothing and came into contact with their skin. They have been laying cable inside the number three reactor's turbine building.

And the European Union is debating what to do about Portugal now that the country's prime minister has resigned. Now Jose Socrates, he stepped down after parliament refused to pass his austerity plan. There's been speculation that Portugal will need an international bailout.

Now today is the sixth day of coalition attacks in Libya, but with the U.S. keen to hand over leadership, what does the future hold? Now these are the nations involved in the coalition along with the U.S., Britain, and France began the attacks. Canada and Italy are deploying jet fighters. So too are Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Spain. And at least one Arab nation, Qatar, is making a direct contribution to the mission by contributing planes.

And this is the damage they can do. This was the scene in Tripoli after a coalition air strike targeted a weapons store. Now the U.S. is a reluctant leader of the coalition and is looking to hand over command.

Now France's defense minister was talking about the coalition earlier. And our Jim Bitterman who joins us now live from Paris was there.

What did he say, Jim?

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well in fact bot the defense minister and the foreign minister have been talking to us today about the coalition and among other things they are pointing to is this meeting that's coming up in London next Tuesday when members of the so-called steering committee of this coalition will get together and try to map out a strategy for leading the military strikes that are taking place against Libya. And he pointed out very markedly that in fact the Arab League will be part of those meetings in London next Tuesday and making the points that in fact there is some, still some Arab world approval for what's going on in Libya.

In other developments today from this end -- in fact they talked about air strikes that took place by French forces overnight. And they hit a base about 150 miles south of the coast, an air base down there. And the foreign minister was also asked about the idea that perhaps there have been some high level contacts by members of the Gadhafi regime with various allies, the United States talked about this sort of thing, and he was asked about that, whether France has had any contacts. He hinted that perhaps some members of the regime had been in contact, but he didn't confirm it exactly.

So still a little ambiguous whether or not they are in contact. He said that it was impossible to think that they'd ever negotiate with Moammar Gadhafi about an end to this war that's going on. He said anybody that bombs his own people can hardly be considered a legitimate negotiating partner -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now Jim, NATO members are meeting today in Brussels. What is France's view of the future of the operation in Libya?

OK, unfortunately it seems that we have lost connection with Jim Bitterman there. It was Jim Bitterman joining us live in Paris there. Apologies for that technical disruption.

Now meanwhile in the United States -- or rather let's go straight to the UK. I understand that the foreign minister, that William Hague is speaking at the House of Commons. Let's listen now.

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: ...condolences to her family and this tragic time as well as our solidarity of the people of Israel in the face of such a shocking and despicable act of terrorism. I condemn this attack in the strongest terms and call for those responsible to be held to account.

I'm also gravely concerned about renewed rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza and the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. I urge all parties to restore calm and work to achieve the two states which are the only lasting hope for peace.

Turning to Libya, we continue to take robust action to implement U.N. security council resolution 1973 which authorized military action to put in place a no-fly zone to prevent air attacks on Libyan people and to take all necessary measures to stop attacks on civilians while ruling out an occupation force.

The case for this action remains utterly compelling. Appalling violence against Libyan citizens continues to take place, exposing the regime's claims to have ordered a ceasefire to be an utter sham. Misrata has been under siege for days by regime ground forces, although coalition air strikes are helping to relieve the pressure on its citizens may of whom have been trapped in their homes without electricity or communications with dwindling supplies of food and water and facing sniper fire if they venture into the streets while the local hospital is swamped with casualties.

Ajdabiya continues to be under attack with reports of civilian deaths from tank shells. This underlines the appalling danger its inhabitants would be in without coalition actions as do continued threats by Gadhafi forces to massacres residents in areas under bombardment.

Mr. Speaker, there is universal condemnation of what the Libyan regime is doing from the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and from Europe. The regime's actions strengthen our resolve to continue our current operations and our support for the work of the international criminal court. Our action is saving lives and is protecting hundreds of thousands of civilians in Benghazi and Misroute from the fate that otherwise awaited them. That is what U.N. security council resolution 1973 was for and that is why we are implementing it.

We are taking the utmost care to minimize the risk of civilian casualties. The only forces acting indiscriminately, or deliberately inflicting civilian casualties, are the forces of the Gadhafi regime.

U.K. forces have undertaken a total of 59 aerial missions over Libya in addition to missile strikes. Last night our forces again participated in a coordinated strike against Libyan air defense system. A no-fly zone has now been established. And the regime's integrated air defense system has been comprehensively degraded. There are no Libyan military aircraft flying.

Over 150 coalition planes have been involved in military operations including typhoon and tornado aircraft from the Royal Air Force. Thirteen nations have currently deployed aircraft to the region. A number of additional nations have made offers of aircraft and other military support which are in the process of being agreed. Royal Navy vessels are in the region supporting the arms embargo.

These coalition operations are currently under United States command, but we want them to transition to NATO command and control as quickly as possible. NATO has already launched its operation to enforce the arms embargo, its planning is complete for the no-fly zone, and we are making progress in NATO taking on all measures under resolution 1973 needed to protect civilians from Gadhafi's attacks.

We need agreement to unified command and control for it to be robust. And we expect to get that agreement soon.

Resolution 1973 lays out very clear conditions that must be met, including an immediate ceasefire, a halt to all attacks on civilians and full humanitarian access to those in need. We will continue our efforts until these conditions are fulfilled. And the Libyan regime will be judged by its actions not its words.

Our message to the Gadhafi regime is that the international community will not stand by and watch them kill civilians, a view this house overwhelming endorsed this week. To his forces we say that if they continue to take part in Gadhafi's war against his own people, they will continue to face the military force of the coalition. And if they commit crimes against Libyan people, they will be held to account.

Mr. Speaker, I announced yesterday that Britain will host an international conference next Tuesday to take forward the implementation of U.N. security council 1973. We are inviting NATO allies, key international organizations including the U.N., the Arab League and the African Union and many Arab nations.

We continue to engage in intensive diplomatic activity to increase the multilateral pressure on the Libyan regime. Further U.N. and EU sanctions have been agreed, targeting Gadhafi and his associates and against those Libyan organizations responsible for funding his regime. As of today, the European Union has designated the National Oil Corporation of Libya, cutting the regime off from future oil revenues.

We are gravely concerned...

STOUT: OK, you've been watching the British foreign minister William Hague speaking live there at the House of Commons. He has been addressing the allied operation that is under way, sixth day today, in Libya.

And he said this, he said the appalling violence against civilians continues to take place, citing the siege in Misrata which has been going on for a few days now. But, he added, allied air strikes are helping the situation.

William Hague also adds, our action is saving lives, it's protecting hundreds of thousands of civilians in Benghazi and Mizrahi. And, quote, "we are taking the utmost care in minimizing civilian deaths."

The British foreign minister also adding this, that he wishes to transition to NATO command as soon as possible. And he gave a message to Colonel Gadhafi saying this -- the message to the Libyan leader is this, the international community will not stand by and watch the killing of civilians.

The British foreign minister William Hague speaking there live in London.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And we'll be back right after this.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now we want to take you somewhere far, far away. It's a place where few people live and few ever visit. It's an extreme place where changes are afoot that could soon have extreme consequences for all of us. And that place is the Arctic Circle.

Our guide is this man: explorer, researcher, and conservation campaigner Philippe Cousteau. Now he has joined a CNN team on a mission to the Arctic where they will embed with scientists just 560 kilometers from the North Pole.

Now the team hopes to get a handle on the threats and opportunities inherent in the Arctic environment. And to do that, they're heading north from Resolute Bay in the wild of Nunavut, Canada. It's about 640 long and chilly kilometers from here to their destination, the apply named Ice Space. And danger is all around.

Now the temperatures there, they regularly fall to minus 40 -- that's Celsius and Fahrenheit. When temperatures are higher, there's the risk of melting ice. It's a key aspect of the team's research. And when it's not the weather, it's the wildlife. And this is of course prime polar bear territory.

Now thankfully, the world's biggest carnivore has not impacted the team's progress so far, but unfortunately the weather has. Now we were hoping to catch up live with Philippe in the Arctic, but conditions have conspired against us. So let's find out about the team's preparations for the big trip north.


PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, ARCTIC EXPLORER: This whole room, pretty much, actually is full of the various different equipment that we need to bring up to Ice Space to actually make this expedition happen. And that doesn't even include scientific equipment.

So we have long underwear, we have multiple hats, balaclavas -- remember, it's down to 40 below centigrade and Fahrenheit where we will be going -- multiple gloves, sun glasses, various head lamps, et cetera so we can see at night. We have multi-tools, a knife. We have a couple different mid layers of fleece. We have lots of long underwear of course. And since it's so bright there, we've got some goggles. A thermos so we can bring hot water with us when we're out in the field doing science. We have some spare ropes. This hat, which is my favorite, of course, I think it's a good look. It's going to be on all the runways coming this spring fashion shows, five very important five socks -- five pairs of very thick wool socks.

This is our outer layer right here. We've got very thick pants, really thick jacket, right -- I mean -- well, you don't even see it, but it'll keep us warm in this extreme temperature.

So last but not least, this is the sleeping bag. We have multiple layers of sleeping bags, because we are sleeping in an unheated tent. And, here we go, it's a little bit claustrophobic -- and this is something that's really important, before you get in the tent and in the sleeping bag, you usually fill up a water bottle with hot water and you put it in about half an hour before you go to sleep to help keep it warm. This second bottle is your urine bottle, because when it's 40 below outside, you can really leave the tent to go to the bathroom. So you kind of have to do it in the tent and in the sleeping bag.

And -- I won't zip it all up, because it takes a little bit too much, but just to give you an idea of how claustrophobic this is, this is a mummy sleeping bag. It pulls up around your head, closes tight...


STOUT: I think Philippe Cousteau is pretty prepared, don't you?

Now while it's important for him and the team to stay warm, the opposite is true for the Arctic environment that they'll be studying. It may be freezing there right now, but I want to show you to the extent that is changing.

Now let's bring up some two maps to show the winter ice range in the Arctic. The first, it shows the average coverage over the two decades up to year 2000, and the second dates from 2009. Now the yellow coverage that you see there, it signifies the ice that formed less than a year earlier. It's just an outer rim in the first picture. You can see it's quite extensive now.

Now the dark red, it shows ice that's remained in place for more than two years. It is a vast and solid block just a few years ago and a small and freckled -- just fraction of it now. That's what it looks like here is a simple graphic, but expect the graphic reality from Philippe and the team as their expedition continues right here on NEWS STREAM.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And still ahead, we remember the Oscar winning actress who has died and left an indelible impression both on screen and off.


STOUT: All right. Time for the sporting headlines. Let's cross over to Kate Giles at CNN London -- Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Kristie. A really big cricket match on the field right now at the Cricket World Cup I can tell you about. Two of the game's greats India and Australia both on the field there. Now India of course are the co-hosts of this tournament. And they were one of the favorites going into the event certainly. Australia of course, though, they have a pedigree of their own now, the defending champions in this tournament.

Now how did this one progress today? Well, the Aussie's won the toss and they elected to bat. They were progressing nicely there on an easy pace. Wicket captain Ricky Ponting, he'd actually batted off reports before the match, that he's about to step down as captain. He's not had an easy time of late.

Not true those reports, he said. And showed why on the pitch as well. He led from the front, picking up a century and helping the Aussies post a solid 260.

So Australia living up to the pressure. The question is of course now will India, they're group form has certainly been patchy, they're about to take to the bat now. And this one really does look to be set to be a real thriller. Keep your eye on that one.

All right, how about this for a football match for you, some very big sports stars just -- the thing is, they're really not used to seeing them in this kind of kick. Some of the top names in tennis, including Raphael Nadal, Novak Djokavic, and Andy Murray all took time out of their preparation for the Sony Ericsson Open to do their bit to help out Japan and the victims of the earthquake over there.

Novak Djokavic was the man who organized this one, a charity football match in Miami against the local team, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a second tier team from the U.S. Now Djokavic also captained the ATC world tour all-stars, which featured our very own Candy Reid as well. Not even Candy's presence was enough, though. The all-stars lost, 4-2 the final score.

(inaudible) indeed for Japan, Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, I saw Candy put on that jersey earlier.

Kate Giles, many thanks indeed.

Now Elizabeth Taylor's legendary career spanned for decades. And with the news of the star's death first came out yesterday, it became clear that memories people have of her largely depend on their age. Now Jeanne Moos takes us back from Taylor's black and white days to her modern day Tweets and her many, many marriages in between.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In recent years we saw her like this, but remembered her like this.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR, ACTRESS: The cat is alive. I'm alive!

MOOS: Alive no longer. The news interrupted day-time chat shows.

KELLY RIPA, TALK SHOW HOST: Grownups who have a job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately we have just confirmed that Elizabeth Taylor has died.

MOOS: Sometimes the famous, like Larry King...

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: She had purple eyes. They were not blue, they were purple.

MOOS: Remarked on the same things as the not famous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish I could have seen her eyes in person.

MOOS: Barbara Walters had plenty of memories.

BARBARA WALTERS: Gorgeous face, but I mean the words that came out of that mouth.

MOOS: She played some of her favorite Elizabeth Taylor interview moments like the time she asked the, what would you like on your tombstone question.

TAYLOR: Her lies Liz. She lived. No, I don't like Liz -- I hate that name.


TAYLOR: Here lies Elizabeth. He hated being called Liz.


TAYLOR: But she lived.

MOOS: Lived through seven husbands. And though she married Richard Burton twice, the press still wanted them together again even after they were through.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you still in love?


TAYLOR: We have great (inaudible) for each other.

MOOS: She'd been in poor health for years. And obituaries were written and waiting, waiting so long that the theater critic who wrote Taylor's New York Times obit died himself almost six years ago. His obit for her was published posthumously.

Younger folks seemed relatively unphased by Taylor's death.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a favorite Liz Taylor moment?


MOOS: They tend to remember her as the aging celebrity walking unsteadily with Michael Jackson rather than as the glamorous mega movie star she was. She even signed her name with a flourishes of a diva when blind folded panelists tried to identify her on What's My Line when she disguised her voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Might you be describe as a glamor girl.

TAYLOR: Well, that's mighty kind of you. I'm (inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is your husband Michael Wilding?

TAYLOR: Oh, he sure is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then you must be beautiful Elizabeth Taylor.


MOOS: That title, the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor followed her like a whiff of one of her perfumes.

ANNOUNCER: Elizabeth Taylor's Passion.

TAYLOR: Are you alive (ph)?

MOOS: She sure was.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


STOUT: She was a knock out.

And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.