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Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei Detained; Portugal's Bailout Request; Kenyan Political Leaders Charged With Crimes Against Humanity

Aired April 7, 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.

Now, China speaks out about the detention of artist and activist Ai Weiwei, saying it has nothing to do with human rights.

A CNN exclusive. Alleged Libyan rape victim Eman al-Obeidy tells her story to CNN.

And after an earthquake, tsunami, fires, now radioactive seawater. Japan's fishing industry struggles to cope with the impact of the country's multiple disasters.

Now, the family of famed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei say that they still have not heard from him. His whereabouts have been unknown since Sunday, but Beijing has confirmed that Ai Weiwei is in custody. The government says he's being held for suspected economic crimes, but offer no details on those charges.


HONG LEI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER SPOKESMAN (through translator): Mr. Ai Weiwei is under investigation on suspicion of economic crimes. It has nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression.


STOUT: Now, China has strongly rejected foreign criticism regarding Ai Weiwei's arrest.

Eunice Yoon joins us now live from CNN Beijing.

And Eunice, what more did the Foreign Ministry say about Ai Weiwei? And what tone did the spokesman take during the briefing?

EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the ministry really did address the international outrage, saying that other countries should respect China's laws. The ministry spokesperson's tone was relatively neutral and polite, but the spokesperson just wouldn't engage in any more conversation about Ai Weiwei. And that really suggests that the ministry is not ready to go beyond the stated talking points -- Kristie.

STOUT: You also spoke to Ai Weiwei's mother and lawyer. What is their reaction to his detention?

YOON: Well, we also spoke to the wife as well, and the family, as you had said earlier, hasn't heard from him at all. His wife is demanding answers.

She went down and visited the Public Security Bureau in Beijing and asked police to show her the legal documents that would allow them to hold her husband for so long. The lawyer also said that he hasn't heard any details about these charges. And we did speak to his mother, who said that she thought that these charges were ridiculous. She said that the government was playing tricks, and she said that she's also very concerned about her son's welfare because, she told us, that he's a very stubborn person.

STOUT: Interesting reaction there.

Now, why is Beijing investigating him for economic, as opposed to political, crimes? Is this a strategy to somehow shift the world's focus away from him?

YOON: Well, what people who follow the dissident community have told me is that this is actually a very typical practice. When officials have difficulty building a case against an activist for political reasons, they often opt for economic crimes such as tax evasion, fraud, or corruption, for instance, in order to try to discredit that activist publicly.

Ai's lawyer, as well his family, though, say that he has no financial issues. And his lawyer, in fact, told us that even if he did have financial issues, the charges shouldn't have been lodged in this way, that he believes that the government actually is not following legal procedures despite what the ministry spokesperson today said, that the investigation is proceeding according to Chinese law -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Eunice. Thank you for that.

Eunice Yoon, joining us live from Beijing.

Now, CNN reports on Ai Weiwei are being blacked out in China by censors. And they have also blocked many mentions of his name in online forums.

Now, this right here, it spells his name, "Ai Weiwei." And the characters look very similar to these, which reads in Chinese as "Ai Weilai (ph)." That means "love the future," and that became a popular way to refer to the artist until the censors caught on.

So, what are people in China using right now to talk about Ai Weiwei? Well, here are a few substitutes: "Ai," meaning "sigh." And others are using Ai Weiwei's father, his name, instead. Ai Qing was a famous communist poet.

Now, this one, it doesn't actually meaning anything, "Ai Weiwei." But it sounds just like his name.

And some poets (ph) refer to a baker of sunflower seeds, and that's a reference to Ai Weiwei's recent art exhibition at the Tate Modern in London.

Now, Moammar Gadhafi's political allies continue to seek a diplomatic end to the country's crisis, while the Libyan leader himself has been largely quiet. But he did send a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama with a fairly blunt message: end the NATO bombing of Libya.

Now, a Libyan official told reporters that a British air strike had hit an oil pipeline, but Reuters news agency reports a rebel oil official saying that it was Gadhafi's forces that attacked the Savir (ph) oil field on Wednesday. A U.S. official said that the White House was not taking Gadhafi's letter seriously.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in, saying it is Gadhafi who must relent.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't think there is any mystery about what is expected from Mr. Gadhafi at this time. That is an international assessment. And the sooner that occurs, and the bloodshed ends, the better it will be for everyone.


STOUT: Now, the tone of Gadhafi's letter to the U.S. president bordered strangely on the compassionate. "Despite all this," the Libyan leader wrote, "you will always remain my son."

But there has been little compassion shown by government troops in cities such as Misrata. The U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, says he is deeply concerned about conditions there, adding that the population is trapped and unable to receive basic supplies.

And away from the bloodshed and ruin, one small note for optimism. Now, this tanker carrying crude oil left the eastern port of Tobruk on Wednesday. Now, it is the first known export of oil by the struggling opposition since this crisis began.

Now, he is under siege but holding out. While time is running out for Ivory Coast's self-declared president, Laurent Gbagbo, forces loyal to the internationally-recognized president-elect, Alassane Ouattara, stormed Gbagbo's residence Wednesday after reported negotiations for a surrender failed. Now, a spokesman says Gbagbo is in the basement of his residence, despite being surrounded by opposition troops.

Now, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says it is time for him to step out from the shadows.


BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: It is totally unacceptable that Mr. Gbagbo is still persisting against the will of a total international community. He should know that there is nobody in this world to support him. Now, he must cede his power peacefully.


STOUT: And we've got some dramatic rescue footage for you now. You're watching an overnight operation. It was conducted by French and U.N. peacekeeping forces to rescue Japan's ambassador to Ivory Coast. Now, helicopters flew in after forces believed loyal to Laurent Gbagbo broke into the ambassador's house and used it as a base for heavy weapons. Seven staff members and a security guard were evacuated.

So, let's map some of this out for you.

Now, the helicopter rescue, it took place in the Abidjan suburb of Cocody. Now, Gbagbo's forces are believed to have stormed the property.

Now, that despite it being some distance from the presidential palace, where Ouattara's forces believe Gbagbo is holed up. Now, they're not certain, but a Gbagbo spokesman says the embattled leader is in the basement of his besieged residence.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, she has come to define the brutal nature of the conflict in Libya. We'll bring you Nic Robertson's exclusive interview with alleged rape victim Eman al-Obeidy.

And adding insult to injuries. We hear from a fisherman who claims Japanese nuclear bosses are damaging an industry already crippled by last month's natural disasters.

Plus, a long farewell. A former CNN sports anchor is making sure he stays a part of his daughter's life despite terminal cancer.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Portugal has caved in and, hat in hand, is seeking financial assistance from the European Union. It follows Greece and Ireland as the third European nation to request an international bailout.

Now, Portugal's government, led by caretaker prime minister Jose Socrates, submitted its request to the European Commission late on Wednesday. Now, earlier in the day, it had been forced to pay painfully high rates to borrow short-term cash, putting it in a position it could not endure any longer. Now, the cost of Portugal's borrowings has risen dramatically since parliament refused to approve austerity measures in March.

And with more on Portugal's bailout request, Emily Reuben joins us now from London.

Emily, Portugal is seeking a bailout. Give us more details.

EMILY REUBEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, there hasn't really been much market reaction to the news that Portugal was seeking a bailout, and that's simply because the markets were pretty much expecting this to happen. In some ways, there's a kind of relief the end of the uncertainty, because it was always a question of not whether or not Portugal was going to ask for a bailout, but when they were going to ask for it.

So I think we're seeing here the market reacting in a fairly subdued way because they were anticipating this kind of move from Portugal. Because, really, the government had nowhere else to turn.

STOUT: And Emily, will Portugal be the final rescue in Europe, or could Spain be next?

REUBEN: Well, that's a question that investors are looking at, but let's not forget that Portugal isn't just another Ireland. What precipitated the crisis in Ireland was the toxic debt crisis within the banking system. That's not the case here in Portugal.

In Portugal, you're talking about 10 years of low growth, hardly any rise in GDP. In fact, the last year, it contracted by .5 percent. So this isn't another Ireland. We've got huge structural issues within the Portuguese economy, which is why they've had to seek this bailout, because investors simply were charging too high an interest, so they were worried that the government wouldn't be able to pay the debt back.

I think investors are worried about contagion, but so far the markets are showing little sign. People have been worried about Spain in the past, but so far it's looking pretty quiet on the market's front in terms of fears of contagion.


Emily Reuben, joining us live from London.

Thank you very much, Emily.

And we will have much more on Portugal in the next hour. There will also be more on the ECB rate hike. It's on "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY," starting in about 45 minutes.

Now, the U.S. president was up late last night, trying to avert the first U.S. government shutdown in 15 years. Barack Obama has been trying to hammer out a budget agreement with the Senate majority leader and the House Speaker. They did not get it done, but it sounds like everyone agrees some progress was made.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I remain confident that if we're serious about getting something done, we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown.



SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I have confidence that we can get this done. We're not there yet.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: No one wants the government to shut down.


STOUT: Now, a shutdown effectively means the U.S. federal government is not authorized to pay its bills with exceptions for defense, national security and congressional pay.

Now, coming up next, it is something that few can imagine, recording birthday messages for your child knowing that you won't be there to witness them. We'll look at a special gift from one of CNN's original anchors who has terminal cancer.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now, six Kenyan political leaders will appear in court today. Their alleged organized violence killed more than 1,000 people in 2007, but the court is not in Kenya. It's the International Criminal Court in The Hague. And not everybody is happy about that.

David McKenzie has been following the case from Nairobi. He joins us now live.

Now, all of Kenya, David, is watching this ICC hearing. What is the view from there?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the view from here is one of astonishment in some ways, Kristie. Kenyans probably didn't believe that it would actually come to this day, that six prominent Kenyans, politicians, media personalities, former police chiefs, would stand in front of The Hague court in the Netherlands and be summoned for crimes against humanity. In fact, three were there earlier today, and three will be there tomorrow, because the prosecutor has split it up into two cases.

Kristie, this relates to the deadly post-election violence in 2007/2008, where over a thousand people were killed here in Kenya after the disputed elections, and hundreds of thousands pushed out of their homes.

Today, at the criminal court, William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang, a media personality, and two MPs were there facing the pretrial judge. Basically, this was not the beginning of a trial. This was not even a call for witnesses. It was a way, a procedural way, for them to be there at the court and for the next step to happen.

But the fact that these powerful Kenyans who are accused, in this case, of four counts of crimes against humanity -- murder, deportation, torture and persecution -- are there at The Hague is a momentous day for Kenyans and for Kenyan politics -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, do Kenyans feel that this case should be dealt with by the ICC, the International Criminal Court, at The Hague, or in Kenya?

MCKENZIE: Well, it's divided on that. I spoke to an analyst yesterday, and he put it this way -- that there basically are two Kenyas, two Africas, one that represents the ordinary citizen and one that represents the powerful elite. In the weeks and months leading up to the summons, accused on both of those cases were going around the country and holding massive rallies to try and garner support, trying to place this into some kind of fight against previous colonial masters, is somehow how they said it.

They were in areas that have been deeply affected by the violence, going to their supporters and calling for support. But, basically, when those rallies came through to the press, they obviously filtered to The Hague. And the presiding judge was very firm in telling the suspects that this should not be happening.


EKATERINA TRENDAFILOVA, ICC JUDGE: It came to the knowledge of the chamber by way of following some articles in the Kenyan newspapers that there is some movement towards re-triggering the violence in the country by way of using some dangerous speeches. This might prone (ph) the chamber to replace the summons is to appear with warrants of arrests.


MCKENZIE : Well, Kristie, that's what the judge was saying. And the people here really are -- have a very different viewpoint of political elite overall. An independent survey conducted by Synovate, a respected company here in Kenya, found that the vast majority of Kenyans want to see these suspects, these powerful Kenyans, including the deputy prime minister, who will be at the court tomorrow -- want them to face justice at The Hague. Whether they are innocent or guilty will be determined in the next months and years, potentially, but at least they want to see that these people, at least, face some kind of independent justice -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

David McKenzie, joining us live from Nairobi.

Thank you very much, indeed, David.

Now, let's take you live to Libya. Our Ben Wedeman joins us now on the line.

Ben, any more details on the strike, the air strike that took place outside Al Brega? Or, could you tell us any more details from your position where you are right now, rather?


STOUT: Ben, it's Kristie in Hong Kong. We hear you live and clear. What's the latest?

WEDEMAN: OK. We're on the eastern edge of Ajdabiya, where we're seeing hundreds of cars (INAUDIBLE) military vehicles leaving the city, as the fear is that Ajdabiya (INAUDIBLE) are approaching this town of about 100,000 people.

This is, of course, after the air strikes this morning on opposition forces which left at least three dead, more than 10 wounded (INAUDIBLE) forces who are pulling (INAUDIBLE) out of Ajdabiya, in the direction of Benghazi.

STOUT: OK. You're saying that you were saying that you were seeing cars leaving Ajdabiya. Are these civilians? Are these rebel fighters? Who is leaving?

WEDEMAN: It's both. It's both. It's rebel fighters, including with their heavy equipment, their multiple rocket launchers which are on big trucks. Including their pickup trucks with heavy machine (INAUDIBLE), including trucks full of ammunition.

One truck driving right by me now, a large military truck, in addition to dozens and dozens of civilian vehicles as well. It just seems like the entire city is leaving.

It was already fairly empty because of the fear that this would happen. But it seems that the remaining people who were in Ajdabiya are pulling out now. It's quite a panicked scene.

Just a little while ago, I saw some of the opposition fighters firing Katyusha rockets back in the direction of where they believe the Gadhafi forces are. But I can tell you, this is a wild panic retreat out of this town -- Kristie.

STOUT: You're reporting a scene of panic as a retreat is under way there in Ajdabiya. Can you tell us more about the deadly air strike that took place a couple of hours ago right outside Al Brega? Who is responsible for that air strike?

WEDEMAN: Well, this strike happened about three hours ago, according to eyewitnesses who were there. They said these are opposition fighters, as well as medical teams, who said that they heard an airplane overhead. They assumed it was NATO and that it was a NATO plane that knew that they were who they were, that they were opposition fighters.

Shortly afterward -- OK. We've got gunfire here. I'm going to have to jump in the car, and hopefully I can maintain the connection.

Afterwards, they say their vehicles were hit by a bomb. A few minutes later, they heard the plane again, more bombs fell. And we were at the hospital.

Kristie, can you still hear me?

STOUT: Yes, we can still hear you. Go on.

Ben, are you still with us?

OK. It seems that we just lost our Ben Wedeman, who was there on the line giving us the very latest from Ajdabiya.

He was reporting a scene of panic as a major retreat was under way. But civilians and rebels leaving Ajdabiya. This, taking place just hours after a deadly air strike took place in Al Brega, killing at least three. Many are wounded. Ben was trying to explain the situation at the hospital, as many of the wounded were taken to the hospital, from where he is at the moment.

You're looking at scenes of the aftermath of that deadly air strike earlier today near Al Brega. But what we heard just now from Ben Wedeman was about the scene in Ajdabiya, a scene of panic, as he described it, as rebels and civilians retreat from that city.

Also, while we were talking to Ben, we heard the sound of gunfire. The source of that still not clear. We are working to get any more details on that situation for you while we got the very latest from our Ben Wedeman, on the ground there in Ajdabiya.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back right after the break.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

Now, China says dissident artist Ai Weiwei is being investigated for unspecified economic crimes. Authorities arrested him and an assistant on Sunday Ai Weiwei's family says police have raided his studio and they still have not heard from him. The government insists the investigation has nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression.

Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo is in the basement of his home in Abidjan -- that's according to an adviser -- and he has no attention of surrendering. That, despite being surrounded by opposition forces.

Earlier, on Thursday, French troops used helicopters to rescue Japan's ambassador to Ivory Coast after his residence was broken into by Gbagbo loyalists.

The Italian Coast Guard is searching the Mediterranean for survivors of a capsized boat. Forty-eight people have been rescued so far, but around 150 are still missing.

Now, the boat capsized in rough seas near the island of Lampedusa in Maltese waters. And the weather is making rescue operations difficult. Passengers are believed to be mostly Tunisian immigrants.

Hospital officials in eastern Libya say that at least two people have been killed in an air strike against an opposition convoy near Al Brega. Now, several more are said to have been seriously wounded in the attack. The strike comes after Colonel Gadhafi wrote to U.S. President Barack Obama, urging him to end the NATO bombing of Libya. It is not clear if the attacking plane was from NATO or Gadhafi forces.

Now, one woman who has become an unwitting human face of the crisis in Libya, Eman al-Obeidy, she says she fears for her life after accusing pro- Gadhafi troops of raping here. Now, alleged Libyan rape victim Eman al- Obeidy, she says she is grateful for international support that she has received since her plea to reporters for help, calling what she has described as gang rape by Libyan forces.

Obeidy made the remarks in her first on-camera interview since she showed up nearly two weeks ago at a Tripoli hotel where journalists stay. Now, the exclusive interview with CNN's Nic Robertson recorded on Wednesday was facilitated by Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saadi, against the explicit wishes of the Libyan government.

As Nic explains, transmission of the interview was delayed almost 18 hours after the Libyan government insisted on reviewing the interview, a review that never came.

And Nic joins us now. Nic, what does she tell you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Kristie, she seems to be recovering physically from the effects of being gang raped here in Tripoli two weeks ago. She showed me the marks on her arms, they are recovering. She is a very strong lady.

During the interview she expressed support for the people in the east of the country and in Misurata as well, rebel controlled areas. And that was something that Saadi Gadhafi objected to and the agreement of both Eman al-Obeidy and Saadi Gadhafi, that was removed, those 10 seconds were removed from our interview.

But this was, again, something that the government has promising that for well over a week now that we would get access to Eman al-Obeidy. They haven't delivered. They obfuscated. They tried to indeed prevent this happening. And this interview only took place because Saadi Gadhafi helped facilitate it.

When we sat down with Eman al-Obeidy, this is what she had to say.


ROBERTSON: When you came to the hotel you wanted to explain to the journalists everything that had happened to you. Can you explain and show to me what happened to you?

EMAN AL-OBEIDY, VICTIM (through translator): I was kidnapped by two cars belonging to the armed forces and the Gadhafi brigades. They drove their normal patrol police cars. They dropped me off the patrol car, because I am from the eastern province. And they asked me to ride in their car. Then they took me.

They were drunk in the car and they took me to the residence to one of them where I was tortured, raped, beaten and I was tied.

When I was showing the journalists my hand bruises as a result of being tied, my hands and legs were tied up backwards for two days.

ROBERTSON: How are the marks? And do you still have the marks on your wrists?

AL-OBEIDY (through translator): I still have some of the bruises. But I have pictures of the marks that I took with my phone. I have pictures of all the scars. I will provide them to you after I download them.

There are some light bruises on my arms here.

ROBERTSON: You're still quite bruised here.

AL-OBEIDY (through translator): There are a lot of bruises on my body as a result of the torture.

People have blamed me for showing my body. They said how can she expose her body to people like that? Because I was depressed and there is no way to show people how I was tortured and the way I was tortured in. I was brutally tortured to the point of entering weapons inside of me.

After two days, they would also pour alcohol in my eyes. When the Libyan government spokesperson came on and said that I was drunk and mentally challenged, he had not reviewed the case or seen the investigation. He just spoke without any knowledge. They just know how to lie.

ROBERTSON: That was two weeks ago almost. How are you now?

AL-OBEIDY (through translator): I am tired. Every time I leave, two times, I call it kidnapping because they have no right to detain me. Once I tried to go to (inaudible) and they prohibited me from traveling. And the person who stopped me was not from the passport control officers. He was also with the Gadhafi brigades. And he took my passport. And I was beaten at the border and prohibited from traveling.

Then they took me back in a police car. Then they kept me for a day- and-a-half for no reason and they did not give me any reasons for prohibiting me from traveling.

All I wanted was to get to my family, to feel security next to them. I was imprisoned in Tripoli. There were even orders to keep me out of Zawiyah and to keep me in Tripoli.

And the third time I was arrested was in (inaudible) when I came to try and talk to you for the second time at the hotel. Of course, after all the lies and libels they have been saying about me on the Libyan channels I wanted to come out to clear my name from all the terrible things they have been saying about me. I wanted to defend myself because they did not even give me the right to respond.

They kicked me out and took my phone away and threw me in jail. Even when they took me to the Department of Criminal Investigations they were told they had no right to detain me.

The country is unstable. The police ask on their own. I don't understand what's happening.

And the third time I was detained, because when I tried to follow up with my court case, and tried to seek the path of law since they said that I should seek the law for justice.

I went to follow up on my case. Then an employee at the public prosecution, just an ordinary employee, not with the army, took a gun and threatened to kill me in the middle of the prosecution department.

I don't know what the solution is or what to do. Eman al-Obeidy does not know.

ROBERTSON: Your situation has touched the hearts of thousands of people around the world, why do you think that is?

AL-OBEIDY (through translator): So the whole world can know what's happening in Libya. Libya has lived many, many years without media exposure, without exposing the facts. Let the world know what's happening. The world has felt for me and especially women, because I was raped and kidnapped, which moved people. And at the same time the truth is coming out. Nothing remains hidden.

ROBERTSON: What should the world know about you as a person apart from the terrible things that have happened to you?

AL-OBEIDY (through translator): I'm an ordinary Libyan citizens, Muslim, conservative, and everything they said about me is a lie. I'm well educated, unlike the way the Libyan TV portrayed me. I come from a good family regardless of what they said. I'm also not mentally challenged like they said.

Jut because I raised my voice and talked to the media, they blamed me and questioned my sanity. Nonetheless, I want my rights, even without the media.

I've appealed to Gadhafi and said look at what happened to me. I want him to give me my rights. I talked to him and did not talk to the other people and all that was useless. The people who have attacked me, raped me, kidnapped me, tortured me and locked me up are still wandering the streets and are not arrested. Intead of giving me a solution, they prohibit me from traveling and instill fear in me.

Not all people believe what they are saying about me. Many people here in Tripoli greet me in the street and recognize my name and say they stand by me. And that they do not believe what is said about me. People here in Tripoli are sympathetic with me.

ROBERTSON: Do you have a message for your parents and for the thousands of people that have supported you?

AL-OBEIDY (through translator): I would like to direct a message to my parents, that they keep pursuing my situation so that I can return home and be with them in the coming time period and to stay strong.

I would like to thank everyone in the world who stood with me and monitored my case and felt sympathetic to my plight.

I would also like to thank CNN which has monitored my case day by day and checked in to make sure I'm OK every day. Thank you.

ROBERTSON: What do you want to happen next? What do you want to do now?

AL OBEIDY (through translator): I hope that the way they refer to our country as a country of law, that the law can get me my right from those who raped me and did all this to me. And I hope to get my right from the Libyan state TV for libel, that there was such a thing as law. And if there is no law, I call upon all judges, district attorneys, prosecutors to stay home and tell them that the Libyan TV is the one who investigates and questions and judges people, so there is no need for you guys.

ROBERTSON: You had a chance to talk to Mr. Saadi Gadhafi, what did you talk about? What were your thoughts?

AL-OBEIDY (through translator): He was a humble and understanding man. And he treated me well. He said that he will take my case and help me. I only asked for one thing, which is to clear my name in front of the people and to take legal measures against the state TV. After all the lies they said about me. At the same time, I asked him to help me return to my family.


ROBERTSON: Well, she is still waiting to find out if she's going to be allowed to be reunited with her family. At the moment that seems unlikely, not impossible, that's something she still continues to push for, to be allowed to leave Libya so that she can get to her parents again being reunited with them, Kristie.

STOUT: Well, that was a very stirring interview. And al-Obeidy a very, very strong woman. Thank you, Nic, for sharing her story with us and with the world.

Nic Robertson joining us live from Tripoli.

Now coming up next here on News Stream, before the earthquake and tsunami, many Japanese relied on the fishing industry. But with radioactive waters, many boats destroyed, fishermen are struggling. We'll bring you what they have to say now about their survival.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now in Japan, work is underway to prevent a potential explosion at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Engineers are injecting nitrogen into one damaged reactor. Now Tokyo Electric says there is no immediate danger, but they may do little to sooth furious fishermen who accuse the company's previous actions of crippling their industry.

And Paula Hancocks spoke to some of them.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boat carcasses litter the coastline of northeast Japan. The country's biggest earthquake ever, followed by a devastating tsunami, followed by a raging fire in at least two port cities. And now, radioactive water is being pumped into the sea.

The Japanese government says it was an unavoidable emergency measure, but Japan's fishermen are desperate.

Katsumo Sato (ph) inspects his oyster floats, forced almost a kilometer inland by the tsunami, to see what can be salvaged. Only the rope is of any use.

For three generations his family has been farming oysters and scallops in the shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean. He puts little stock in government assurances that the release poses no major health risk.

He says, "none of us can trust what the real safety level of radiation in sea water is, because the government keeps changing it based on what nuclear plants need. I makes me so angry." Sato (ph) knows it will take a long time to restore faith in Japanese fish and seafood even within Japan itself.

Authorities estimate that in the Iwate Prefecture where we are now, around 96 percent of all boats have either been destroyed or their still missing after the tsunami. Even without the contamination in the water fears, the fishing industry here is completely decimated.

The fish market at the port of Kesennuma is deserted. Locals say they want it open again by July, but don't know if many will be fishing by then.

Watari Eto (ph) is cleaning up the fish processing plant he works in.

He says, "it's going to take at least two years to get everything back to normal."

Even those whose boats are still intact are not fishing.

This fisherman says, "I can't find where my nets and tools were washed to."

An area once bustling with fishermen, now a boat graveyard.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Rikuzentataka, Japan.


STOUT: And when the tsunami hit towns like the one you saw there, the waves washed tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean. And our researchers are predicting where it will go.

Now the International Pacific Research Center put out this computer model. It shows debris hitting Hawaii, it's right here on the map, within two years. And in three years it will reach North America. And then it gets swept back toward Hawaii. Now scientists say that the second round will bring more rubbish than the first. Now the purpose of setting up this projection is to help guide cleanup operations.

Now a ripple effect is also being felt in the corporate world. Now Japan's disaster damaged suppliers of key auto and electronics parts. And that has led to shutdowns from major companies including Toyota.

Now President Akio Toyoda sat with with an exclusive interview with CNN. And he addressed the impact of that disruption.


AKIO TOYODA, TOYOTA CEO: Although our plants in northeastern Japan have been affected by this disaster, but currently we all have the prospect of achieving recovery of those production operations in that part of Japan. And therefore at the moment we have no plan of relocating reproduction activities going on in Japan to other parts of the world.

In terms of all capacity, already out of 7 million units we produce worldwide, 4 million out of that seven million are produced outside of Japan in overseas operations. And therefore we would like to maintain 3 million, which is currently produced in Japan to be continued.


STOUT: Now you can hear more of that exclusive interview on World Business Today.

Now this is the first time Akio Toyoda has spoken to the media since that spate of recalls that rocked the company over the last two years. And WBT, it's right around the corner, it starts in about 20 minutes.

Now still to come here on News Stream, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, they may be suppliers, but they too want tickets to the royal wedding. A look at what it took one couple to secure their spots.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now scientists in the U.S. say that they have found a new force of nature. Physicists at Fermi lab have been smashing atoms together in the ring you see there. They say data from those collisions suggest the existence of a new particle or even of a previously unknown fundamental force. Now that would be a huge development for sub-atomic physics and everyone else for that matter.

Now Bill Nye, host of the Science Guy, gave us his take.


BILL NYE, SCIENCE GUY: It could that they've detected the thing. And if this turns out to be true it might revolutionize physics in the same way Albert Einstein revolutionized physics. And it may lead to discoveries of new sources of energy, if you will, for everyone on Earth forever.


STOUT: Now the discovery, it might be a version of the illusive Higgs Boson, that's thought to be the very smallest building block of matter. You have have heard of that as well as the god particle.


NYE: It's an unforgettable expression, right, god particle. But it doesn't prove or disprove the existence of god, it just means your getting all the way down to the fundamental begins, the baseness of nature, which would be quite an extraordinary thing. And it certainly has philosophical and theological implications if this theory turns out to be true.

I hope we have all wondered at some point in our lives if there was a big bang and the beginning of the universe well what came before that? And why is the universe accelerating? Why is it getting bigger? Why? Why? Why?

These are all fundamental, wonderful questions that physics seeks the answers to.


STOUT: OK, major implications.

But what does this mean for everyday life? Well, nothing yet. But Bill Nye doesn't want you to take physics for granted.


NYE: You can't walk on a floor without our understanding of what people call Newtonian physics, of Isaac Newton's discoveries in physics. You can't use a global positioning system, you can't get on an airplane, you can't buy a product that arrived in Hong Kong by airplane unless you understand relativity.

Relativity has led to the success of the global positioning system in two fabulous ways, the speed of things and the gravity of the Earth affecting the speed of time, quite unusual.

And then who knows what this discovery will be? It may not affect you right away everyday, but it will affect you fundamentally forever.


STOUT: Bill Nye there.

Now more data is still needed to confirm the results from Fermi Lab. That will likely be a job for Cern and its large hadron collider. It is more powerful than Fermi Labs Tevatron, which is said to shut down next year.

Now severe flooding is still gripping parts of southern Thailand. Pedram Javahari joins us now from the world weather center with the forecast. Pedtram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the forecast here, unfortunately, some more rain showers in their forecast. And you know, just going back to last week or so folks in Thailand have picked up some 20+ times the amount of rainfall they typically get in the later portion of March on into early April.

And this is Surat Thani, one of those communities here that have been so hit very hard in the past few weeks out there.

And again you take a look at these photographs, a lot of the industry there, of course, being agriculture pretty much all decimated as the heavy rains has continued. And we've accumulated over 1,200 millimeters of rainfall in a few spots. And NASA Earth imagery here, courtesy of Modus (ph) showing you some of these images from space and what it looks like in the southern province there of Krabi.

And then you go in for a closer look. Some of the hillsides, the beautiful communities you see in the photographs, the mountainous terrain. And unfortunately, a lot of these areas have villages and homes dotted right along the hilly terrain.

This is a before image. And I enhance it for you to show it looks like after the flooding here. And the image taken just a couple of days ago. And you can certainly pick out all the mudslides as it rushes down towards the areas where they have some more communities in the lower lying regions.

And even some of the reports saying underneath one of these cumulus clouds, right underneath them, a village of about 100 people buried there because of all the flooding. And again, you can kind of see how the debris, the soil all flows downstream there as the heaviest rain began falling earlier last week.

And again a closer perspective shows you just the widespread devastation left in place with this.

So the forecast brings in some more showers, doesn't really look that heavy, but still when the soil is saturated, when you have about 1,200 millimeters of rainfall accumulated, the roadways are flooded and closed off in certain areas, anything is going to cause damage. That's what the concern is the next 48 hours as a couple more centimeters of rainfall certainly could come there way.

And speaking of rainfall, take a look at this, a rain cooled 17 degrees right now in Perth, Australia. That's actually one of the coolest evening readings they've had in quite some time. They picked up about a millimeter to two millimeters of rainfall, certainly nothing impressive, but the first moisture they've accumulated since the first of February, 66 days of no rainfall. And you can see the color contours of the coolest air mass of the season pouring into the region. And it looks like it'll begin warming up a little bit and the cool temperature is going to shift a little farther to the south. But certainly a nice pleasant change on tap.

And that's the frontal system right here that's beginning to fall apart. Many speckle-like features. We talk about these all the time, the stratacumulus clouds, that's indicative of a colder air mass and the clouds can't really clump up together and become a little separated.

So the cold temperature is going to stay in place there, Kristie. And going to continue. But first, let's take your city by city forecast.

STOUT: Just three weeks from Friday the royal wedding party will include people from all walks of life: from a proud grandmother, the queen, to well everyone else. As Max Foster found out just cooking a good curry and having a freezer full of ice cream was enough to help two shopkeepers get an invite.



Thank you.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, your reaction when you got that invite.

HASH SHINGADIA, PEACH'S STORES: Absolutely overjoyed, can't describe the feeling when we saw the envelope there with the (inaudible) on it. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

FOSTER: You've known Kate for years now. Tell us about the Kate that you know.

SHINGADIA: Really the Kate we know really is a girl from the village who sort of comes in here to do a little shopping. Very, very friendly. Very approachable, really. And one of the things is my wife (inaudible). My wife actually made her a curry a little while ago which she thoroughly enjoyed.

I think she came in one day and my wife was cooking upstairs and I think she smelled it. And I think she said, oh this smells lovely. So I go...

FOSTER: You brought some down.

SHINGADIA: Yes. I called my wife. And my wife came downstairs. And gave her some to take away.

FOSTER: And she liked it?

SHINGADIA: She did. Certainly did. Good response.

FOSTER: And tell us about William. What's he like when he comes in here?

SHINGADIA: Shocking very first time we saw him. Because obviously you don't expect him to walk in. But when he did, it was lovely. He sort of came to the counter and talked to us. He sort of said how are you and everything else. And he was fine.

Again, very, very approachable.

FOSTER: I know that William has got a favorite product?

SHINGADIA: I'm going to tell you. (inaudible).

FOSTER: (inaudible) ice cream.

SHINGADIA: Ice cream.

FOSTER: And there's some you had in the fridge.


FOSTER: For that reason?

SHINGADIA: Indeed, yeah. We make sure, because when the first time we came in there was actually one of the first products he wanted. So we now make sure that we always carry in stock, just in case he walks in again.

FOSTER: And what are you most looking forward to on the big day, then?

SINGADIA: We can't wait.

To be amongst the crowd of 1,900 who actually been invited, plus all the throngs of the people who will be there. It will be something, a once in a lifetime chance, really. I don't think it's ever going to happen again.

So to be honest, yeah, absolutely...

FOSTER: A moment in history.

SHINGADIA: Absolutely.

Not for us, really, but obviously for the whole people of (inaudible) and through the world.


STOUT: And you can follow the countdown to the royal wedding on our web site. We have a special section set up for you. You can find it all at

Now earlier here on News Stream we promised you a story about former CNN sports anchor Nick Charles, the first sports anchor hired by the network, Charles now has terminal cancer. He's trying to leave a gift for his family for years ahead. Unfortunately we were unable to bring you that story here on News Stream, but you can watch it online.

We've put the link to the story on our Facebook page. You can find it at

And that is News Stream. And the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.