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Aftershocks Continue One Month After Japan's 9.0 Earthquake; Libya Truce Talks; France's Burqa Ban
Aired April 11, 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: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.
I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.
Now, Tokyo shaken. Another big aftershock strikes Japan, causing more fear exactly one month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. We take an exclusive look at Japan's new ghost towns, the area inside the evacuation zone.
And how stars are taking to social media to fight modern-day slavery.
A magnitude 6.6. earthquake rattled the coast of northeastern Japan this Monday, even as the country marks one month since a devastating earthquake and tsunami left much of the region in ruins. Now, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of Monday's aftershock was some 160 kilometers northeast of Tokyo. That didn't stop residents in the Japanese capital feeling the tremors.
Now, Monday's quake was only 50 kilometers southwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. External power was lost at the plant's already damaged reactor units, and workers were asked to evacuate. Tokyo Electric Power Company, which earns the plant, confirmed to CNN that power has since been restored.
And earlier this Monday, a moment of reflection on what has been a turbulent and tragic month for Japan. Heads bowed in prayer. People in Kurihama, Japan, gathered to remember the lives and livelihoods lost when the March 11th quake struck. More than 13,000 people are known to have been killed, but another 14,000 are still missing, and most of them seem likely to have been washed away or buried somewhere under the rubble.
Aftershocks have become a frightening and often debilitating reality for those living in Japan.
Let's take you over to Kyung Lah, who joins us live in Tokyo.
And Kyung, it is exactly one month after that initial 9.0 magnitude quake. And today, another shock for Japan. Survivors must be reeling.
What has been the reaction there?
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's just no time to mourn. People want to mourn. People want to talk about how they're going to rebuild in the tsunami region, what the future looks like for Tokyo and for Japan's economy as a whole. But all of these aftershocks simply keep coming.
Just 15 minutes ago, there was another aftershock that we felt here in Tokyo. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, that was a 5.9. But it's not as bad as what we saw just a couple of hours previously, when we saw all of those aftershocks, one after the other, near the Fukushima nuclear plant. And that was really a concern.
Now, TEPCO says they don't believe there's any residual damage, that they did have to stop cooling the reactors, 1 through 3, for about 15 minutes, but that there probably won't be any lingering impact because of that, because of the residual heat being so low. But this crisis is continuing, and people want to spend that time to reflect a month later, but it's simply very difficult when you have these ongoing aftershocks and this lingering nuclear crisis -- Kristie.
STOUT: And today, Kyung, the government widened the evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear power plant. What is the feeling in Japan one month on about the government's handling and TEPCO's handling of the disaster?
LAH: Well, there's a lot of frustration, especially when you talk to the evacuees of that particular region. They want to know why the information isn't coming more quickly, why the decision making by the government isn't more protective to include a larger population.
And that's something that we've heard repeated over and over again by many non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace, who say that they have to widen the evacuation zone based not on radius, not on distance, but the actual amount of radiation that's detected in the soil and on the ground. And that's something they have called for. That is something that Japan today did act on, saying that they are going to look at those various hotspots.
But it's not an immediate evacuation. It's something that the government says should take place over the next month or so, and that they're doing this because there may be not an immediate radiation health threat, but it's something that could impact the health of the people who live there if they stay there for a year.
So there is a bit of dismay, there's a bit of distrust, and a lot of concern about, what is the roadmap moving forward now?
STOUT: All right.
Kyung Lah, joining us live from Tokyo.
Thank you very much indeed for that, Kyung.
Now, the Japanese government is widening the danger zone around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. The policy, announced by the chief cabinet secretary today, does not require immediate evacuation. Instead, it is a warning that residents could receive high doses of radiation over the coming months.
Akiyo Donno (ph) named several towns outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone already drawn around the plant. Now, residents in Katsua (ph), Kawamata and Iitate are among those told they should leave their homes within one month. And those living in Tamura should be prepared to clear out soon.
Now, residents have already found the town of Futaba, just three kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It now stands empty. And despite the threat of radiation, one Japanese journalist has dared to return to the area he fears could become another Chernobyl.
Kyung Lah has been looking to the footage exclusive to CNN.
LAH (voice-over): No sounds of human life. Just empty streets and homes. Hospital beds, hastily discarded. This is what a mass evacuation of a town inside a nuclear crisis looks like
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a normal city, but there's nobody.
LAH (on camera): A normal city, but no one's there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LAH (voice-over): "Everything stopped here on March 11th at 2:46 p.m.," he says.
There is rare video of Futaba, shot two weeks after the tsunami, captured by freelance journalist Naomi Toyota (ph) and Sugu Ogawa (ph), risking their lives entering the dangerous mandatory evacuation zone in the shadow of the Fukushima nuclear plant. People left so quickly in the wake of the disaster, this dog was left behind, chained, now starving. You can see its ribs. Ogawa (ph) fed his lunch to the dog.
But what Ogawa (ph) can't forget, this sign, once a proud symbol of the town, that reads, "Nuclear energy, our hometown's future."
"It's ironic," he says. "The nuclear power plant was supposed to open the door to the future. Instead, it closed that door."
Everywhere they went, radiation levels easily exceeded the legal limit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought (INAUDIBLE). After that, I'm -- before that, I don't feel anything.
LAH (on camera): And it's scary, because you can't feel anything. You can't see it.
(voice-over): Across the evacuation zone, Toyota (ph) photographed other empty towns, bodies that have yet to be found or buried. Time, frozen like another nuclear disaster zone Toyota (ph) had just returned from, Chernobyl, on its 25th anniversary.
(on camera): You think Fukushima will be --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this moment.
LAH: -- like Chernobyl. Does it make you sad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Please stop.
LAH (voice-over): Futaba evacuees asked us to show them video. They crowded around the laptop, eager for a glimpse of their abandoned homes.
"That Geiger counter means we can't live in Futaba," they say. "That sign was a lie," says Nobiyuki Iraki (ph). "For the last 40 years, TEPCO has only been saying nuclear power is safe, that there's no chance of a meltdown. We, the people of Futaba, feel we've all been betrayed."
(on camera): Do you think your main street or your downtown will be filled with people ever again?
(voice-over): "No," they say.
The evacuees left so quickly, they have no clothes, no job, and they live in a gym. And as their town echoes loudly, no apparent future to return to.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
STOUT: And if you've been moved by that story, and many like it unfolding across Japan, remember that you can do your part to help the victims. Make a visit to our Impact Your World Web site. And there, you'll find a list of relief organizations that are pitching in. It's all at CNN.com/impact.
Now, NATO's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is speaking right now about the situation in Libya. Let's listen.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: NATO foreign ministers will meet in Berlin on Thursday and Friday this week and begin the meeting by discussing the Libyan crisis. We will be joined by our partner countries in the Libyan mission from across Europe and the Arab world.
Together, with Russia's foreign minister, Lavrov, we will focus on Libya, missile defense, and Afghanistan. The NATO-Russia helicopter trust fund is now up and running, and we'll soon start to deliver a highly-needed maintenance capability for the Afghan air force. This is an important signal of our joint commitment to stability in Afghanistan.
And we will meet our ISAF partners. The process of handing over lead responsibility for security to the Afghan security forces has already begun. NATO and the Afghan government have agreed to an enduring partnership for the future. This sends a strong message that Afghanistan will one day stand on its own, but it will not be standing alone.
From Afghanistan to Libya, NATO and our partners are making vital contributions to bring security and stability. We're working with many other natures across the globe to help prevent crises, manage conflicts, and bring long-term stability.
STOUT: OK. And that was the NATO secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking live there from Brussels.
We were waiting to hear more comment about the situation in Libya, but there he was describing a couple talking points ahead for an upcoming NATO meeting. Of course, one of them Libya, as well as the situation there in Afghanistan.
But we will keep our tabs on that press briefing under way. Anything to come out of it, and we'll bring it to you right here on CNN.
Now, still ahead on NEWS STREAM, Silvio Berlusconi's busy court schedule. The Italian prime minister is currently fighting four cases. This time, he's in the dock for alleged financial corruption.
And what these women are doing is now illegal in France. The controversial ban on burqas has been met with protests and arrests.
Plus, the slogan "Real Men Don't Buy Girls." Celebrities take a stand against child slavery.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the truce is on the table in Libya. That's according to the African Union. The AU says leader Moammar Gadhafi has agreed to stop fighting and allow international peacekeepers into the country, but the deal is not binding and has no timetable.
Now, a so-called roadmap also does not address a key rebel demand that Gadhafi step down. And it's unclear if government forces would withdraw from besieged cities. So negotiators will likely have a tough time selling opposition leaders on the plan..
Now, Frederik Pleitgen joins us now live from Tripoli.
And Fred, what is the opposition's view of any African Union mediation?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're absolutely skeptical, Kristie.
Four African leaders are going to be traveling to Benghazi today to speak with the rebels about the terms of that possible cease-fire. Now, another thing we have to keep in mind is that Moammar Gadhafi has, for a very, very long time, been close to the African Union and very close to African countries. He's given a lot of money to these countries, he's given a lot of money to the African Union, and that's exactly what the welcome here for these African leaders look like. Of course, the Libyan government is trying to trump all this up, make it look like a very real peace proposal, even though that might not essentially be the case.
The big problem that the rebels have with this peace proposal, one of them you've already mentioned, is the fact that is says nothing about Moammar Gadhafi possibly stepping down. They do mention a transitional period; however, it doesn't say on whose leadership that transition would happen and how these two sides are supposed to get together.
The other big problem, quite frankly, that the rebels have been having with all of this is that they have seen in the past that Moammar Gadhafi has announced cease-fires and then has not stuck to them. As we've heard, NATO is saying that even though cease-fires have been on the table, Gadhafi's forces have been shelling towns like Misrata and, of course, have been moving forward in the east as well -- Kristie.
STOUT: And Fred, take us next to the battlefield. The bitter fighting, it goes on in Libya. Rebel fighters, over the weekend, they were able to retake Ajdabiya. How did that happen? What role did NATO fighters have in that development?
PLEITGEN: Well, a lot of that, of course, was due to the fact that there were increased NATO air strikes in that area. Not just in Ajdabiya, by the way, but in Misrata as well.
Gadhafi's forces, of course, were advancing on Ajdabiya, had entered into Ajdabiya. The reason why the rebels were able to take that back, they say, is that there were increased air strikes, and they were then able to go back in.
But the other thing that we also have to keep in mind is that it appears as though both sides have quite small fighting forces that are actually fighting for Ajdabiya. What we keep hearing from the Gadhafi side is that small mobile units are going into this town. And really, it doesn't appear as though they're able to fan out in a way that they're actually able to occupy this place. But certainly, it does appear as though it's very, very tough fighting that's going on there, on the front line.
And the Libyan government, of course, has been heavily criticizing NATO for conducting air strikes in that area. But certainly, that's something that we've seen over the weekend, is those air strikes really increase in a massive way, and that seems to have really drawn the battle in the other direction, if you will, in Ajdabiya. And we'll see how that unfolds in the next couple of days.
But the Libyan government, of course, is still saying that they're very confident that they'll retake Ajdabiya, that things are going very well there. Not necessarily sure whether that's really the case -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right.
Fred Pleitgen, joining us live in Tripoli.
Thank you very much for that update there, Fred.
Now, the Reuters news agency is reporting that the self-declared Ivory Coast president, Laurent Gbagbo, is still alive despite a reported attack on his residence by French and U.N. forces. Now, the agency attributes that information to Gbagbo's spokesman in Paris.
Now, U.N. military helicopters pounded heavy weapons on the fighters, position of the fighters who are loyal to Gbagbo. That taking place on Sunday. The U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, says he ordered the attack to protect civilians and peacekeepers in the main city of Abidjan. Now, the international community recognizes Gbagbo's opponent, Alassane Ouattara, as the rightful president.
Now, in France, a controversial law banning women from wearing face- covering veils in public, that comes into effect today. Now, anyone ignoring the law could be fined almost $200, and anyone forcing a woman to wear the traditional Islamic face coverings, including the burqa niquab, could be fined almost $45,000.
Now, though as many as four people in five are said to back the plan, there has also been resistance, with plans for a silent protest in Paris.
Let's go live now to the French capital, where Atika Shubert is standing by.
And Atika, what has been the reaction there to the ban?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there have been some protests today here in Paris, quite small protests in front of Notre Dame. A few women in the full niqab, the face veil that covers everything but the eyes, came to protest there.
They were quickly surrounded by a lot of media, a few tourists. And there were plenty of police as well.
Two women that we know of were detained and arrested. Police say, however, that the reason they were arrested was not because they were wearing the niqab, but because they were staging a protest that had not been authorized, that they hadn't applied for permission for it. So there have been these sort of instances of people defying the law, but the big question is, how is this law going to be enforced?
Now, police have set some guidelines. Police are being told they must not forcibly remove anyone's veil. That, instead, they must give a warning, ask the woman wearing the veil to identify herself. And if she refuses to do so, then she may be brought down to the police station and fined.
But it's really something of a gray area here, exactly how this is going to be enforced. And this is what's really being put to the tests today -- Kristie.
STOUT: Enforcement is a key issue. But just to step back a bit, is the ban even necessary? I mean, less than 2,000 Muslim women in the country wear the offending veils. So why did France find it necessary to ban the burqa?
SHUBERT: Well, this is what a lot of people are asking. There's a lot of debate about just how many women would wear the veil. At most, 2,000. Other people are saying it's actually closer to 500. Is it really necessary to put a countrywide ban on such a small group of women that are wearing this veil?
Now, supporters of the law say it's a matter of principle, that this shows that, according to French value, French customs and culture, it is not acceptable for women to be oppressed with this sort of clothing, with the burqa, the niqab, something that completely covers their face. And this is what supporters of the law say.
It's interesting. We actually spoke to one woman who is an activist, a Muslim feminist, who says she supports the law because she feels that this full-face veil essentially imprisons Muslim women and pressures other Muslim women to take on this form of clothing.
On the other hand, those critics of the law say this really is an oppressive measure that shouldn't be done because it is infringing upon the rights of Muslim women to dress as they feel they should according to their religion. And so this is why it is such a controversial law, why it has been so divisive.
But it is interesting to point out, remember, this law was passed by an overwhelming majority in parliament, and it is popular. According to recent polls, more than 80 percent of French respondents support the law.
STOUT: You know, it's popular in France, but what about outside the country? This is the first full-faced veil ban to be enacted in Europe. So, will other EU countries follow suit?
SHUBERT: Well, you know, it's interesting you point that out. Belgium has something similar. The Netherlands has also dabbled in it. A few other countries have looked at the possibility.
So it's not entirely out of the realm since the other countries in Europe adopt this sort of a law. The U.K., however, is the country that has -- in the strongest terms, that it is not something that they want to adopt. One minister there saying it would be a very (INAUDIBLE) thing to do.
So, each country in Europe is dealing with it in their own way. But really, what this shows is that the Muslim community in Europe is growing tremendously. And each country is having to struggle with how to deal with this community on their terms.
STOUT: All right.
Atika Shubert, joining us live from Paris.
Thank you very much, Atika.
Now let's take a look at some of the different headscarves warn by Muslim women.
Now, this is the much-talked-about burka. It is Islam's most concealing form of dress, a garment that covers the entire face and body, usually leaving just a mesh screen to see through.
Now, the niqab, right here, it's also banned in public in France. It is slightly less conservative. A headscarf and veil covers the head and face, leaving, as you can see, only the eyes clear.
Now, those two, they are the only two forms of headscarves banned under the new legislation. But there are, of course, many more that are not covered by the ban. And this is one.
This is called the hijab, which is the Arabic word for "veil." It covers just the head and the neck.
And there's also this, the chador, which covers mainly the whole body, but not the face. It is also unaffected by the legislation.
Now, still to come here on NEWS STREAM, we're watching Italy's prime minister arriving at court, facing more charges. And we will be in Milan with the latest Berlusconi scandal.
STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now, Silvio Berlusconi is in court in Milan to face corruption charges related to his media empire. It is less than one week since a separate trial involving the Italian prime minister got under way and then was adjourned. Now, in that one, Mr. Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an underage girl and later abusing his power to free her from jail.
Now, for more on this trial, we're joined by CNN's Diana Magnay in Milan.
And Diana, update us on what this case is about. And also tell us, how did the Italian prime minister appear when he arrived in court today?
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie.
Well, this is on very different charges, of course, than the Ruby trial. This is about embezzlement and tax fraud, tax evasion. Those are the two charges he's up against.
In relation to his media business empire, he's supposed, alongside other co-defendants, to have bought TV rights for U.S. films and TV productions at inflated prices and created slush funds with the money. That's avoiding tax here in Italy. So quite complicated, almost too complicated for the majority of Italians, who aren't really following this trial. It's the Ruby trial that they're following.
But he did turn up in court today, which he didn't last Wednesday, and gave supporters outside the court what they wanted. There were probably between 600 and 1,000 Berlusconi supporters there waiting to see him, and he came out after the courtroom was adjourned, told them that he thought the whole thing was an invention, that this was a bit of mud-slinging by the magistrate, and that, frankly, the prime minister had more important things to do in the international context, and that this was extremely bad for Italy.
Inside the courtroom, he also spoke to reporters. And there, he touched on the Ruby case, also defending himself and saying that he really had believed that Ruby was actually an Egyptian, the niece of Hosni Mubarak.
I don't know if you remember, but that was the justification he had to call up the police and ask that she be released for prison, which is meriting him an abuse of office charge. And he also said that he felt that wiretaps which are going to be used in that case as evidence against him was appropriate in a civilized country such as Italy.
So, quite a bit of information from the premier both on the Ruby trial and on this one -- Kristie.
STOUT: Diana, you mentioned his supporters outside the courtroom. Did you see any rival demonstrations under way, demonstrations against Silvio Berlusconi?
MAGNAY: Yes, and that is pretty much becoming the norm, that you have two sides of the street, one of which is the pro, one of which is the anti, and they all started shouting at each other. That was certainly the case on Wednesday at the Ruby trial.
I must admit that this time around, there were far fewer anti-Berlusconi people, but much more pro-Berlusconi. And that's because many of them are party members. I spoke to some boys who had come up all the way from Catania in Sicily, and the party has really tried to gather people together to show support for Mr. Berlusconi today -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right.
Diana Magnay, joining us live from Milan.
Thank you very much, Diana.
Now, still ahead, NEWS STREAM picks up the baton as CNN's race to end modern-day slavery continues. We will reveal the world's trafficking hotspots and find out how this guy is helping his celebrity friends fight the sexual exploitation of women.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
A powerful aftershock has struck northeastern Japan. It is a disturbing reminder of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region one month ago today. Monday's tremor measured 6.6 and sparked fires in the northeast and a landslide is a Iwake City.
A delegation from the African Union has arrived in Benghazi for talks with Libya's embattled leader. The AU says Moammar Gadhafi has agreed in principle to a cease-fire and reform talks. But the deal fails to meet a key opposition requirement, it does not address whether or not Gadhafi would step down.
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has appeared in court in Milan to face charges of fraud related to his media empire. Now the case is separate from the headline grabbing allegation that he paid for sex with an under-aged dancer.
In France, it is now against the law for a woman to wear a face concealing veil like the burka or the hijab. Now the ban has sparked protests and plenty of debate over religious freedom. French police say two veiled women have been arrested in Paris, not because they were veiled, but because they were taking part in an unauthorized demonstration.
Now this week News Stream becomes the leading voice for CNN's freedom project as the network fights to end modern day slavery. And over the next five days we'll bring you the bigger picture on an appalling, multibillion trade that's often hidden behind closed doors. We'll introduce you to people who have made ending slavery their mission and their passion. And we'll show you how technology is being used to further the fight.
Now there are an estimated 10 to 30 million slaves in the world today, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across borders every year. And of those, more than 70 percent are female. And half of those forced into slavery across borders are children.
Slavery is a social evil that belongs in the past but is not consigned to it. Not only is the trade in helpless humans a current concern, it is a persistent concern. And critically, it is a global concern.
Now here is the evidence, data from the U.N. office on drugs and crime shows just prevalent the problem is. Nations from Mexico to Brazil, Nigeria to Russia and the Philippines are all considered a major source of slaves. But the issue certainly is not contained within these countries. North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia are among the places that slaves frequently end up. And Poland, Pakistan, India and Thailand are just some of the nations notorious for harboring unpaid workers born and bred inside their borders.
And when slavery does cross borders, and it does so all too often, we encounter what is commonly known as human trafficking. The United Nations defines this practice as a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means for the purpose of exploiting them.
Now forced documents, slack border security, and corrupt officials all contribute to human trafficking. And like slavery itself, it is a global phenomenon. But there is one part of the world that illustrates the issue more vividly than most -- Eastern Europe.
Now the U.N. office on drugs and crime rates human trafficking on a country by country scale with very high signifying the worst offenders. And the world's biggest country -- Russia has obtained this dubious status. And various nations to the west are deemed to have a high incidents.
Now let me draw a line from the Baltic Sea in the north here to the Black Sea in the south and every single country along it ranks among the world's worst human trafficking hot spots. A frontier of failure in the fight against slavery.
In Eastern Europe and elsewhere human trafficking is inextricably linked to sex trafficking. Women and girls particularly are bought and sold and transported to areas of greater demand and greater wealth. Now the U.S. celebrity couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher have taken a vocal stand against sex trafficking. And their campaign is getting a high profile boost this Monday.
Now the pair has launched a video series featuring other stars spreading the word that real men don't buy girls. Among those stars, singer and actor Justin Timberlake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Real men prefer a close shave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Real men don't buy girls.
EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS: Piers Morgan is a real man. Are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: And over the coming days, we'll bring you more on the battle to end modern day slavery. We'll investigate what tools what abolitionists are using to track and tackle the issue. We'll meet the bloggers who use the web to save a pair of Russian slaves. And we'll tell you how you can follow their example and get involved in the anti-slavery fight. We want to hear from you too.
You can send your tweets to @CNNFreedom or post on News Streams Facebook page. You could also send photos and videos by our designated Freedom Project web site at CNN.com/Freedom.
Now Yemen's neighbors are putting pressure on President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Gulf Cooperation Council has called on Mr. Saleh to hand power over to his deputy, but the bloc did not lay out a time line for the transfer. Mr. Saleh has said he will step down only under a peaceful and constitutional transition process. But anti-government protesters want him gone now. Now the Gulf bloc also says the opposition should head a new unity government.
Now Mohammed Jamjoom has followed developments from Abu Dhabi. Mohammed, what is President Saleh's reaction to the GCC plan?
MOHAMMED jAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Kristie, we just heard a short time ago from the ruling party. They issued a statement by the embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. They said they welcome the initiative of the Gulf Cooperation Council, that the president wants to see a peaceful transfer of power happen in Yemen. But the problem is that it's a vague statement. It's a short statement. It's a vague one typical of the Saleh regime.
They say they welcome this initiative, that they encourage dialogue, but it does not say when he will step down. It does not say when he will cede reigns of the government to his vice president or if he will cede the reigns of the government to his vice president. This is surely going to cause more confusion and consternation in Yemen.
Now we've spoken to the opposition there this morning. The spokesperson for the JMP, that is the Joint Meeting Parties, the largest opposition bloc in parliament there. They say they've not rejected the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative, but they are studying it.
But again your seeing vague statements from the GCC not specifying a time line for Saleh to step down. And now you're seeing President Saleh respond saying he welcomes the initiative.
We know that President Saleh has welcomed many initiatives in the past couple of months, yet he's still holding on to power despite increased pressure from neighboring countries, from the U.S., from the opposition and from protesters for him to clearly define when he will step down -- Kristie.
STOUT: That's right, the Yemeni president has given many mixed signals before.
Now meanwhile, Mohammed, what is the situation on the streets of Sanaa and elsewhere in Yemen today?
JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, it's quite incredible in the streets of Yemen. I mean, by the day this protest movement has really taken root there. It's growing. I mean, tens of thousands of people in the street in several provinces -- yesterday in at least nine provinces, today we're hearing several cities across Yemen. In Sanaa, you still have tens of thousands of people outside the university in Change Square. That's the real staging ground, the rallying point for the anti-government movement there.
Because there's been so much violence against the protesters there in the past several weeks, because of that more and more people in Yemen that weren't a part of this movement before have joined. They're marching in solidarity. They're coming out in solidarity with this youth revolutionary movement, because they're worried that more and more Yemenis will come into harms way.
And it's just amazing that there, that you're seeing so many people -- there's military factions that are loyal to different commanders that are out in the streets as well, some pledging their allegiance to Saleh still, some pledging to defend the protesters there to make sure they don't come under the threat of any more violence. The situation really becoming more tense. But the protesters we speak to bow to continue to come out, continue their peaceful movement as they call it until Saleh steps down -- Kristie.
STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom joining us live from Abu Dhabi. Thank you very much indeed.
Now Tahrir Square is quiet today, but it was a different story over the weekend. Crowds defied the army's orders to leave as they called for former President Hosni Mubarak to face charges for corruption as well as the deaths of hundreds of protesters. But in his first public remarks since leaving office, Mubarak denied the allegations. And threatened to sue anyone who undermined his reputation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOSNI MUBARAK, FORMER PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): It will be clear from the procedures (ph) that the property of my sons Gamal and Alaa are -- has nothing to do with using influence or obtained illegally.
Consequently, and after the proper authorities get confirmation of this fact, I will -- I will reserve my legal right to sue anybody who attack me or try to undermine by reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now that statement, it came on Sunday as the Egyptian attorney general's office announced that Mubarak and his sons have been summoned for questioning.
Now coming up here on News Stream, we are talking golf to all of the most diehard fans. The Master's winner was a relative unknown. And we'll hear what he has to say.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now China's dairy industry is sadly no stranger to food safety scandals. And now authorities are investigating what is a suspected case of intentional poisoning. As Eunice Yoon reports, that is feeding consumer fears.
EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mia Yu strives to be a good mom. She had twin daughters at home. They eat a lot of food grown locally, but when it comes to baby formula she only buys the pricier foreign brands.
MIA YU, MOTHER: I get panicked when I hear news stories about tainted milk in China. You know, I worry about my children's health.
YOON: For years after a tainted milk scandal shocked the nation, people here are still nervous about consuming local dairy products. The government has attempted to clean up the dairy industry by passing tougher food safety regulations and stepping up inspections. But last week three children died in northwestern China from suspected poisoning after consuming milk from two local dairy farms. Nearly 40 people, mainly children, ended up in hospital.
Authorities say they believe the milk was tainted with nitrite, a chemical used to preserve meat that experts say shouldn't be eaten in large quantities. They believe the act was intentional and have arrested at least one suspect.
That case is feeding into people's fears. In the past few weeks, the government has vowed to prioritize food safety, ordering over half of the nation's dairy producers to shut down.
This food safety expert says "in China we say food is the prime necessity for all. If food safety is at risk, social stability and the government's credibility will be immediately at stake as well."
Some pundits believe those concerns lead officials to move fast in this latest investigation.
Yet the case only discourages Chinese like Yu who as they get wealthier want to feed their children more milk.
YU: I feel powerless as a consumer. And more than that I feel powerless as a mother. Sometimes I think in the country if you cannot even trust baby formula, what else can you trust?
YOON: Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.
STOUT: Now the Premier League giants Arsenal, they look set to welcome a new owner. American billionaire Stan Kroenke is set to increase his stake in the London club from 30 percent to 63 percent giving him overall control. Now his stake could continue to rise as he makes formal offers for the remaining shares. The takeover values the Gunners at about $1.2 billion.
And Kroenke brings the number of foreign owners in the Premier League to 10, or half of the 20 teams. That's not including West Ham who are jointly controlled by British partners, but the single biggest stake remains with an Icelandic company.
Now the U.S. is the best represented foreign nation in the Premier League when it comes to owners. Aresenal join Aston Villa, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Sunderland in having majority owners from the U.S.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Carson Yeung owns Birmingham. Blackburn Rovers were taken over by Indian company Venky six months ago. Chelsea, of course, are backed by the Russian billionaire Roman Abromovic. Egyptian Mohammed al Fayed bought Fulham in 1997. And lastly, oil rich Abu Dhabi owns Manchester City.
Now sports fans were treated to a fantastic finale at golf's first major of the season. Let's get a picture of Pinto who will tell us what happened at the Master's -- Pedro.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: Hey, Kristie. You know we had it all. It was an absorbing contest with pretty much every facet of the human experience on display. There was a spectacular collapse from a young star, an impressive charge by a rejuvenated Tiger Woods, and an amazing all around performance from the eventual winner Charles Schwartzel.
Let's start with 21-year-old Rory McIlroy. He had a four shot lead heading into the final round, but couldn't keep his composure. His title hopes evaporated on the 10th hole. A wayward tee shot that would lead to a triple bogey, seven. An 80 on the final day meant heartbreak and humiliation for Rory.
On to Tiger, he had started the day seven shots back, but fired a 31 on the front 9 to get into contention. All of a sudden people were standing up and taking notice of the 14-time major winner. But his drive would end in frustration.
And although he and four other players jostled for the lead down the stretch, it was this man who came out on top when the dust settled. Charles Schwartzel, the 26-year-old South African made four straight birdies to finish his round taking the lead and holding on to it. A six under 66 for Schwartzel who wins the green jacket on the 50th anniversary of Gary Player becoming the first international player to win the Master's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES SCHWARTZEL, MASTER'S WINNER: Gary Player, this being his 50th anniversary, he's been such an ambassador to golf and to South Africa and so good to us as players nad just makes it a little bit more special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Well as we saw, there was elation, there was exasperation as well on the final day at Augusta National. But there was also a reminder that whatever the outcome, there are more important things than just golf. The top amateur at Augusta was this man, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, a 19- year-old who goes to the Univesrity of Sendai, one of the cities hit hard by the devastating earthquake and tsunami last month.
Now he showed tremendous courage in playing, and playing so well to finish in a tie for 27th place. He says he's returning home to do some volunteer work. His compatriots Ryo Ishikawa who is donating all of this year's prize money to the disaster relief effort finished in 20th place.
So a great showing by Japanese players, especially when you consider, Kristie, that their home nation has gone through such a tumultuous and traumatic period, the fact they can put all of that to the side and perform at the highest level is amazing.
STOUT: It's an incredible achievement, isn't it? Pedro Pinto joining us live from London. Thank you Pedro.
And today, Japan is marking one month since that devastating earthquake and tsunami. Drones and prayers pay tribute to victims of one of the country's worst natural disasters.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now tornadoes have hit several town in the Midwestern United States. Mari Ramos is at the world weather center with some dramatic pictures of the eye of the storm and the devastation it\s leaving behind -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie.
You know what, these storms came in over the weekend, but just now they're starting to reall be able to assess the damage and some of the newer pictures are starting to come out. And they're really, truly spectacular.
Let's go ahead and show you this first round of video. This is from Wisconsin. And at night, you know, you can barely see anything that is going on, but if you look -- look at all of that rain that was coming down. This was not even during the tornado itself, this was just the rain that came with the tornado and with that line of thunderstorms.
The tornado itself came in at night. And it was very difficult to see.
Let's go ahead and listen to the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; This is a strong tornado because the in-flow is just tremendous and we've got multiple vortexes here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: There you see them, two funnel clouds in the distance. And this, Kristie, just illustrates how dangerous tornadoes that come in the middle of the night really are, because they are virtually impossible to see, catching many people by surprise.
The town of Mapleton, Iowa was about 60 percent destroyed. And this is what residents had to deal with afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGIE COOPER, HOMEOWNER: ...garage that's in our yard. And the windows are all broke out.
A working town, too, you know. The businesses are half destroyed. Just have to start over, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: It's really amazing when you see all of this kind of destruction here from these tornadoes. Amazingly no one was killed in this. But there were some injuries that were reported, which is, you know, not nothing to balk at here, because you can see all of that damage there.
Now back over to the weather map, this is the area in the upper Midwest where the tornadoes likely had occurred. These four reports right here of tornado. But the severe damage extended all the way across through the Midwest all the way down to Texas. That same line continues to make its way now toward the East Coast. And there is the possibility, again, for the chance for some severe storms popping up here and there across this region. So I expect travel delays also in this area.
Let's go ahead now and take at the rest of the global weather.
Kristie, of course, another one of our top stories is the situation in Japan. And you can see over here just some of the many aftershocks that have happened within the last day, hours. And of course earlier today we heard Kyung Lah reporting about two very strong aftershocks that occurred in that region.
I want to kind of give you a little bit of an estimate, a little bit of a rundown of how many aftershocks we could actually expect here. This is how many we've had so far, between 7 and 7.9 we've had three of them. And they're of course the strongest ones. But notice many, many more as we head over into the 4 to 4.9 scale. Already more than 900 aftershocks in this last month alone.
What can we expect? When you have a quake that is this intense, you can expect at least one of them, one of the aftershocks to be around the 8.0 range. And then 10 of them to be around the 7.0 range. And we've three of them so far. So we could very likely see 10 more. And notice that number increases exponentially as we head into the lower magnitudes. And these aftershocks can actually last even over a year.
Kristie, back to you.
STOUT: I can't believe that number, 900 aftershocks in the last month since the initial 9.0 magnitude quake, unbelievable.
Mari Ramos joining us live there from CNN Center. Thank you, Mari.
Now we have new pictures of that big aftershock in northeastern Japan today. Now this is what it looked like as the cameras rolled just as the evening rush hour began. At least two deaths have been confirmed.
And before we close the show, and as we mark one month since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we want to share some dramatic amateur video of the moment the waves rolled in on March 11.
Now the man behind the camera, he seemed so stunned by the power and the speed of the water that he almost waits too long to escape. And we leave you with his terrifying experience.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)