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Out of Afghanistan; Misrata Rocket Attack; Sectarian Violence in Northern Ireland

Aired June 22, 2011 - 08:00   ET


ANNA COREN, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

Hello. I'm Anna Coren, in Hong Kong.

As President Obama prepares to announce his plan to draw down the troops in Afghanistan, we'll take you inside a town the Taliban took over. A look at life in the war-torn country.

Well, laying out the way forward in Afghanistan. The U.S. president is set to speak exactly 12 hours from now.

Well, Barack Obama is poised to deliver on his promised drawdown of American forces. He is expected to reverse the surge he ordered in 2009.

Well, it sent an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. That could be the number coming home by the end of 2012.

But as Chris Lawrence tells us, it's not what many military leaders had hoped for.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): A Congressional source says the defense secretary and General David Petraeus pushed for just 5,000 troops to come out this year, instead of the 10,000 the president is expected to bring home in 2011.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That worries me a great deal, because I don't think there is anyone who is more knowledgeable than General Petraeus.

LAWRENCE: Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained that decisions like this one are not made in a vacuum. "It's not just about troops and Taliban. You've got to factor in Congressional concerns about how much money and manpower is committed to Afghanistan and the American people," who even he admits are tired after 10 years of war.

MAJOR GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): So the president obviously has to take those matters into consideration, as well as the conditions on the ground in Afghanistan, in making his decision.

LAWRENCE: But some form military officials say it all sounds too calculated.

MARKS: Almost fundamentally, it's a political decision that the president is making.

LAWRENCE: Retired General "Spider" Marks says even the low number the military recommended would have repercussions in the field.

MARKS: A 5,000 withdrawal is significant to the commander on the ground that loses that 5,000. That's almost unacceptable.

LAWRENCE: Most of the training the Afghan forces get, they get on actual missions alongside American troops and allies.

ROBERT LAMB, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: If the drawdown of American troops and other international forces is too fast, then most of the capability that the Afghan security forces are getting today out in the field is not going to be available to them.

LAWRENCE: But some say the drawdown is way too slow.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS: It should be a significant number. That's what the president is committed to. And significant means a minimum of 15,000 by the end of this year.

LAWRENCE: And even analysts who favor slow and steady admit at a cost of $2 billion per week, Afghanistan is expensive.

LAMB: The economy in the United States makes this war unaffordable at the scale that it's currently being waged.

LAWRENCE (on camera): But this plan would at least give the military two full fighting seasons with the bulk of that 30,000 surge force this year, and next spring, in summer as well. And look, it's not a done deal until the president makes the formal announcement. So he could very well just announce the end of the surge coming in 2012, but leave the specific details and how many come home this year up to the military.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.


COREN: Well, the majority of Americans want their troops brought home. Let's look at the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan over the years.

For the first several years of the war, there were fewer than 20,000 troops there. And as you can see, boots on the ground have risen dramatically since Barack Obama took office in 2009.

One of his first orders came in February that year, the deployment of up to 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Well, he ordered the surge back in December. There are now around 100,000 U.S. troops in the country. More than 1,500 have been killed since the war started in 2001.

Well, the toll has been much higher on Afghan civilians. More than 8,000 have lost their lives in the past four years alone. Foreign troops are understandably unpopular.

Now Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from Bagram Air Base with more on this -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, I think one of the things we're hearing today about these troop numbers, it suggests the level of saturation coverage that NATO is going to be able to provide across the country in terms of troops in every region will be less.

And we've got some revealing pictures for you today from an area along the Afghan/Pakistani border, in the province of Nuristan, a town called Waygal. Now, this is a place which the Taliban say and officials confirm they took in late March, and they maintain they still have a hold on that particular town. Their flag, flying above the local administration. The Taliban showing a cameraman we commissioned that they seem to run that town now, implementing their own Sharia law.

Pictures you're about to see which potentially show what could happen in NATO's nightmare, were the troop levels here to drop significantly.


WALSH (voice-over): In this quiet mountainous village near the Pakistani border, one of NATO's once fears is realized. This is the local government building of a district in Waygal, mostly deserted. But above it flies a new flag, the white banner of the Taliban.

"There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger," it reads, but it's real message is simple: We, the Taliban, are back in power here.

Enter the men who call themselves the new administration. They showed a local cameraman CNN commissioned a vision of Afghanistan back in the Taliban's hands. Now they're the local council, they're local law. It's like NATO was never even here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The Mujahideen are in charge of this area, and the people's problems are solved under Sharia law. The tribe has welcomed us, bring us their problems, and we deal with them. They understand implementing Sharia is one of their duties.

WALSH: They say they captured the area in late March. A local official now in Kabul confirmed to CNN this is a government building and the area is still held by the insurgency.

This hilly stretch along the border is under increasing Taliban influence since NATO withdrew from its isolated outposts here. These valleys are becoming a safe haven for militants and their hard-line law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Smoking is forbidden here, and our religious department will punish those who shave and who intoxicate themselves. Schools and hospitals are open under Sharia law.

WALSH: They're also eager to display a softer, almost enlightened, side, saying they're letting this bridge be rebuilt. They're keen to show themselves mingling among welcoming locals.

"We don't have any security problems here in the bazaar," says one trader, "and we don't fear thieves like we did before." Another says, "Business now is not as good as we had before, but we're fine with the Taliban."

It's not clear how genuine these smiles are, but this small Taliban thiefdom has opened up while NATO's surge is at full strength, leaving many wondering what they'll do as NATO starts to leave.


WALSH: Now, what's actually -- I should point out here is NATO's (INAUDIBLE) of pictures like that. They contest the idea the Taliban controls such areas, suggest they are much fewer in number there as well, and their presence is frankly fleeting, regarding images like the ones you've just seen, this Taliban propaganda. But we do have it fairly authoritatively that that particular district center is held by the Taliban -- Anna.

COREN: I mean, Nick, this is the real concern, that the gains made against the insurgency will be threatened by the withdrawal of troops, and U.S. troops. So, in light of what we've just seen from your story, what is the future of the NATO campaign?

WALSH: Well, I think they're going to be pushed for numbers. They are focusing on population centers.

Really, the debate in Afghanistan about preventing these safe havens for terrorists, so to speak, (INAUDIBLE). The debate really about how saturated the coverage NATO troops could give across the country will continue. And really, in places like that, the most rural areas, we're going to be looking to Afghan security forces to try and hold the Taliban at bay, Taliban insurgents, frankly, who are indigenous, who live in those particular areas.

And the challenge in the years ahead is going to be whether or not the Afghan security forces can actually defeat the insurgency in their midst, or whether they simply end up colluding and somehow finding an accommodation together -- Anna.

COREN: Yes. Time will only tell.

Nick Paton Walsh, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Thank you for that.

Well, CNN will bring you live coverage of the U.S. president's speech. Barack Obama reveals the reduction of American forces in Afghanistan. That's 8:00 a.m. Thursday, here in Hong Kong.

Well, now to Libya, where battles rage on between opposition and pro- Gadhafi forces. Hospital workers say five rebel fighters were killed in clashes in the city of Dafniya on Tuesday. Well, dozens more are reported wounded.

Meanwhile, NATO says an unmanned U.S. drone helicopter known as Fire Scout crashed east of the capital city of Tripoli on Tuesday during a surveillance mission. Libyan state TV says it was an attack helicopter and that it was shot down.

Well, there is more suffering in Misrata. Colonel Gadhafi's troops, once again shelling the port city which has been in rebel hands since last month and thought to be relatively secure.

But as Ben Wedeman reports, the rockets and missiles are hitting civilian areas with tragic results.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twelve-year-old Farah Jabushayba (ph) is burned and in shock. But somehow, he manages a weak smile from his hospital bed.

Monday evening, a rocket fired by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi slammed into his home in Misrata's Rowasat (ph) district. His 14-year-old brother Ibrahim wasn't a fighter, but he died like so many others in Misrata in the last four months, without rhyme or reason.

He was killed here instantly while washing his hands at the sink before evening prayers. Ibrahim's uncle, Abdullah, rushed to the scene when he heard the blast. "I found this place was on fire," he recalls. "Ibrahim was here. I threw water on him, then took him to the ambulance, but he was already dead."

Dinner from the night before is still on the stove. A family's life frozen in time by a missile that shattered the calm and their lives on a warm and breezy June evening.

(on camera): When the rocket impacted on Monday evening, it sprayed hundreds of these little metal balls in every direction. Now, this sort of weapon might be permissible on the battlefield, but this is distinctly a civilian area.

(voice-over): Three rockets hit Misrata Monday evening in quick succession. All were packed with these metal balls.

A wall saved the family inside this home, but the message from the shelling is clear: nowhere in Misrata is safe.

Ibrahim's father, Ali, received burns to his arms and legs. His face, etched with grief, shock and exhaustion.

"We were sitting at home, the whole family," he says. "We didn't know what happened."

Ibrahim's mother, Fatima (ph), was also injured in the attack.

DR. MOHAMMED FROKA, ABBAD HOSPITAL: She has got second-degree burns of both legs, both lower limbs, and both upper limbs and her face. Luckily, she has got a first-degree (ph) burn of her face, but her condition, when she has been brought here, it was a little bit critical.

WEDEMAN: The day before the attack, Fatima (ph) gave birth to a son, cradled in the arms of his grandmother, Muna (ph). They've named him after his dead brother.

Ibrahim was buried Monday night just hours after he was killed, the latest grave in this city's growing cemeteries.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Misrata.


COREN: Well, new riots break out in Belfast. Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and bricks hurled in the street. We'll look at the sectarian divide that stretches deep into Northern Ireland's history.

And in Syria, thousands flee to the Turkish border. We'll look at one family's painful decision to cross it.

And then, a rare one-on-one with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We find out what the nation is doing to ease tensions in the South China Sea.

That's ahead on NEWS STREAM.


COREN: Well, police clash with rioters in Northern Ireland for a second straight night. Police say hundreds of people took to the streets of Belfast, throwing Molotov cocktails, fireworks and bricks. Well, a news photographer was shot in the leg, and police told the media to move away for their own safety. Riots between Protestants and Catholics broke out in eastern Belfast on Monday.

Well, it is a violent divide that reaches deep into Northern Ireland's history. Our Dan Rivers talked to people on both sides, and he has this report from Belfast.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looked like the bad old days in Belfast, but this was the short strand flash point between mainly Catholic and Protestant communities on Tuesday: petrol bombs, gunfire, and stone-throwing, with the police caught in the middle.

ALAN MCCRUM, CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT, PSNI: Two strike marks on one police Landover. That clearly was an attempted murder of police officers.

RIVERS (on camera): The police say the loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force started last night's violence, but they also stress that both sides then fired shots. You don't have to go far in Belfast to see visual reminders of the influence of paramilitary groups, but it's also important to remember how far Northern Ireland has come since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

There is now a power-sharing government.

BRIAN FEENEY, COLUMNIST: Well, it's unimaginable even 10 years ago, that Sinn Fein and the DUP would sit down together and run Northern Ireland. They weren't even speaking to each other until four years ago. So the fact that the voters are telling them to get together and get closer together is a major departure.

RIVERS (voice-over): It seems almost miraculous when you remember atrocities like Bloody Sunday or the Omagh bombing. Now, former enemies are in government together despite all the frustrations that brings.

Loyalist hard-liner Jim Wilson warns of growing alienation with politicians, but even he has taken remarkable steps for peace.

JIM WILSON, LOYALIST: I sat with the IRA, and I've sat down with people who would have entertained (ph) -- would have wanted to kill me as much as I would have wanted to kill them because I was a loyalist. And that's simple, and we sat down and we accepted those differences. We accepted the fact that the times have changed.

RIVERS: And Sinn Fein, who some claim are the political wing of the IRA, agreed.

GERRY KELLY, SINN FEIN: We do not want to go back. People here want to live in peace. They want to move the whole political process forward.

RIVERS: I wonder if people living on the frontlines here believe him. I start in the mainly Protestant area of Pitts (ph) Place.

ANN MARIE SHANKS, RESIDENT IN MAINLY PROTESTANT AREA: There's no peace here. I don't think there ever will be.

RIVERS (on camera): Why not?

SHANKS: Well, you just have to look at my house.

RIVERS (voice-over): On the other side of the divide, Martin Ferguson's windows were also smashed.

MARTIN FERGUSON, RESIDENT IN MAINLY CATHOLIC AREA: This is not both communities fighting with each other, this is a small minority manipulating people.

RIVERS: The next two weeks will see traditional loyalist marches near predominantly Catholic areas. The overtly British events always inflame tensions, but the police will be ready, hoping the worst of the troubles is now over.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Belfast.


COREN: Well, Greece may be closer to staving off financial disaster. As protests fill the streets of Athens, the country's new cabinet survived a parliamentary vote of confidence. Well, Greece's prime minister is facing massive opposition to his proposed budget cuts. The nation is on the verge of default and is hoping for a bailout. But international lenders say Greece needs to lay off public workers, raise taxes, and sell off state businesses in exchange for a cash infusion.

Well, lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the measures next week.

So, what are Greece's options? Well, CNN's Diana Magnay is with us, live from Athens.

Diana, as we said, the prime minister won a crucial confidence vote today, but we know he faces a serious challenge next week when he tries to get those very unpopular austerity measures through parliament. Is he confident he can do it?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm sure he would say he is confident. Whether or not his party backs him in the way that they did in the vote of confidence in the parliament last night is a different question.

There's one thing putting your voice behind your ruling party as the government. There is another to put your voice behind this austerity program that is causing so much opposition on the street and which is likely to hurt the economy, still, over the coming year, with further austerity, further wage cuts, further tax hikes deeply unpopular. But so much hangs on whether the parliament pushes through that austerity program.

The EU and the IMF say that if they don't, then they won't be able to give loans to Greece and Greece will then default on its debt as early as mid-July. And you know there are questions about whether and how a default should happen, whether, in any case, it's going to happen even if they do get the funds this time around. Even questions about whether Greece should leave the Eurozone altogether and go back to the drachma.

So, certainly here on the streets, you'll hear a lot of opposition to the austerity program, and also you'll find quite a bit in parliament, too -- Anna.

COREN: Diana, you speak of the opposition. We know that tens of thousands of people have been protesting outside parliament. Tell us about the anger on the streets and what people want to happen.

MAGNAY: There's a great deal of anger. People are having to really review the way they see their government. They don't have much trust in government. They belong in a system where the public sector has really meant that you could get a job in the public sector and it will be guaranteed to you for life, as enshrined by the constitution.

And essentially, it was almost a way of buying votes on the part of the government by putting people into public sector positions. So there is this sort of entrenched patronage that exists in the political system here which is going to have to change, and change fundamentally.

That is one of the sort of structural reforms that the IMF and the EU are demanding, and there is no doubt that it would be good for the Greek political system. But at the same time, it is difficult for people to come to terms with that, to accept that their public sector job is not theirs for life, to accept that unemployment now is at 16 percent. Amongst youth, it's 40 percent.

These are things that the Greek people are not used to and show no signs of accepting even if they're not really sure what the alternative is -- Anna.

COREN: Diana Magnay in Athens.

We appreciate the update. Thank you.

Well, ahead on NEWS STREAM, forced to flee. Syrians flood the border with Turkey in search of safety, but it's not a decision that comes easily for many people. Well, this family's story is next.


COREN: Well, welcome back to NEWS STREAM.

We're hearing new reports of clashes in Syria. A Syrian activist group says at least two people were killed in fighting between protesters and security forces in the city of Homs on Tuesday.

The escalating violence follows a speech by President Bashar al-Assad on state TV promising reforms and urging Syrians to return to their homes. But many Syrians say they don't trust the president since his promises have proved hollow in the past. And with no sign of a peaceful end in sight, they're forced to make some difficult decisions.

Well, Phil Black has one family's emotional story.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a basic shelter, but for more than two weeks it's protected 13 members of the Mousa family from the savage sun above Syria's border with Turkey. They now know they must move on.

MAHMOUD MOUSA, SYRIAN REFUGEE: It's very difficult to leave your country, yes. I'm 40 years old, and now I can't leave my country. I can't leave my mother.

BLACK: Mahmoud Mousa was a school headmaster in the nearby village of Badama (ph). This video claims to show one of the many protests there in recent months. Mahmoud says he was often one of the crowd chanting for the end of Syria's regime until the military came.

MOUSA: Every day we heard the sound of bombs and guns.

BLACK: He brought his family to this camp. Like all the others here, they didn't cross over into Turkey, choosing to endure dusty and sanitary conditions, hoping President Bashar al-Assad would give in.

(on camera): Mahmoud, his family, and pretty much everyone else in this camp watched President al-Assad's speech to the nation in which he asked the people who have fled to return to their homes, promising they wouldn't be hurt or punished by the military. Mahmoud said he wanted to believe his president, so he called the local security headquarters to find out if what he said was true.

MOUSA: They said everyone who was (INAUDIBLE) will be arrested.

BLACK (voice-over): He fears for his life and faces a terrible choice.

MOUSA: I have to leave my mother and my wife and my children, or have to leave my country.

BLACK: In the end, his wife and mother insisted they all leave together. They have few belongings now, and they are leaving behind people they love.

This short, hesitant walk across a footbridge and through a gap in the razor wire ensures their safety, but brings little certainty. They are now among the nearly 11,000 Syrians who have fled their country and who do not know when they will see it again.

Phil Black, CNN, on the Syrian/Turkish border.


COREN: They have an amazing journey ahead, don't they?

Well, flooding fallout. Coming up, a farming village washed out by the rains in China, and what happens to prices as a result.

Well, as the water rises in China's south, so do tensions in the South China Sea. Ahead on NEWS STREAM, a rare one-on-one talk with the Chinese diplomacy.


COREN: I'm Anna Coren, in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

Well, President Barack Obama is expected to announce today the U.S. is pulling tens of thousands of troops out of Afghanistan. A source tells CNN 30,000 personnel will be withdrawn by the end of next year. An estimated 70,000 will stay until 2014 when security duties will be turned over to Afghan forces.

Anti-government protests in Bahrain led to stiff prison sentences for eight Shiite activists. Well, they were convicted of plotting to overthrow Bahrain's Sunni royal family and received life in prison. They were among 21 people convicted in connection with the protests.

Liberal (ph) government narrowly won a vote of confidence in a late night session of parliament. Well, it paves the way for Prime Minister George Papandreou to put his radical austerity program before lawmakers next week. Well, the measures need to be in place before the EU and the International Monetary Fund grant Athens more bailout money.

And Russia has agreed to lift a ban on vegetables from the European Union. Exports are being halted because of a deadly E. coli outbreak last month. Well, the bacteria killed 38 people in Germany and sickened thousands of others across the region.

Well, flooding wrecked havoc across many parts of China. Beijing has already forecast it will take a significant economic hit. But those in the agriculture industry say they're already feeling it. Well, Eunice Yoon went to China's east in Zhejiang province to see how farmers there are coping.


EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These farmers are getting ready to replant this field after the biggest floods in half a century rushed through this area. They told us that some of these fields were about a meter under water. And now they're just trying to get their crops going again.

Stories like theirs are being replicated all over the country. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland have been ravaged by the floods. This province alone has lost over $1.5 billion dollars and also a fifth of its vegetable production. In fact, we're hearing in the provincial capital of Hangzhou, which isn't very far from here, vegetable prices are already up by 40 percent.

It's these types of price hikes that are really concerning Chinese policy makers, because they're trying to battle inflation which is now at a three year high. And back in the field, these farmers say it's always the farmers who suffer the most in these type of situations. They say that they're resigned to replanting their crops at their own cost and they don't see any government compensation in sight.

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Zhejiang Province, China.


COREN: Well, let's get more on those conditions in China with our Mari Ramos who is standing by at the international weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anna, unfortunately the rain continues to be very heavy. We've had a little bit of a lull as far as the accumulation over the last couple of days, but there's really no end in sight in the forecast when it comes to those prolonged rain showers over the region. And some of them will be -- continue to be locally heavy.

Let's go ahead and look a little bit and see what's happening over here. This is a picture from a city, so it's not just in the farm areas that you're seeing these huge problems. You know, water everywhere. And the rainfall totals, like I said, have been a little bit more over the eastern side of China, along the coast in particular.

Let's go ahead and take a look. Remember that we had that tropical depression Hainan that was moving into the South China Sea and then you guys in Hong Kong have had strong wind over the last 24 hours including in some of the highest elevations close to hurricane force so that's -- or typhoon force, that's pretty significant. About 125 kilometers per hour.

It's going to stay fairly windy against today, but as this tropical depression continues to weaken we should begin to see an improvement.

Another area that I have concerns about is the Philippines. This is from the southern Philippines. And what soldiers here are doing is trying to clean up a river to let the water flow a little bit easier and prevent that back flooding that starts to happen in some of the more populated areas. This is a huge concern, because this is typhoon season, and whenever we have a tropical wave that even moves through here, even if it's not a full-fledged typhoon, which we haven't had that so far, we see tremendously heavy flooding.

This is an example from the north. This is from Manila. And here, because of the rain that they've had over the last few days, they've had significant flooding.

Here you're looking at some of the rainfall totals that we've had across the Philippines. And look at that, tremendous, 300 millimeters of rain and more over the last two days alone. And there's more rain on the way, unfortunately. So there's a lot going on here across east Asia when it comes to this rain.

And here you have both systems. There's the tropical depression that used to be Hainan. Here's our new tropical storm. This one is expected to intensify and move just north here across the northern Philippines over the next couple of days. That will be happening as that area of low pressure, the remnants of that tropical storm continue to bring some very heavy rain here across southern portions of China.

In contrast, where we need the rain in places like Vietnam, back over into Laos, Cambodia, and even into Thailand they haven't had enough rain so far this season.

Well, back to tropical storm seven. We could see it become a typhoon in the next couple of days. It looks like it should stay, the center of it anyway, far away enough from Nuzon (ph) not to have a direct hit, but because it's such a large storm heavy rain is expected in this area as well.

Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.

Let me give you a quick update on the volcano, the one that continues to spew ash and lava in southern Chile. This is a picture from Argentina, because some of these areas just right across from where the volcano is in the Andes are getting just so much ash, in some cases over 40 centimeters of ash has already accumulated on the ground. This is just an example of some trees that are covered in ash.

Remember, that's covering the grass, the animals don't have anything to eat, people have to be evacuated. It's a big problem.

Again, we're seeing some of that ash affecting areas lower altitude over central parts of Chile and then back over into Argentina. Those are the areas where you will again see problems with flights over that region. However, as we continue to move away from this area and we head over into Africa for example, you have some problems over the weekend. I think should be OK today. And even as we head into Australia, only a small area, from 20,000 to about 40,000 feet. And then back over into New Zealand, Anna, that's where we're seeing the concerns with Ash today.

Back to you.

COREN: Yes. I understand that flights are resuming in Australia. So things are getting back to normal there. All right, Mari, good to see you. Thank you.

Well, deadly flooding, as Mari mentioned, is one of China's top concerns at home. But what about abroad? Well, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai sat down with an interview with Beijing bureau chief Jaime Florcruz. Well, Jaime started by asking about the heightened tension in the South China Sea.


CUI TIANKAI, CHINA VICE FOREIGN MINISTER: China has done everything possible to maintain stability in the region. And we always believe that any disputes, any possible disputes over territory, over the water in the South China Sea should be resolved through bilateral negotiation and dialogue. We still have the same position now.

I think all parties should exercise restraint, should be responsible and constructive just like what we are doing.

JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: So does China accept the notion that the U.S. remains a major power in the region maintaining bases and patrolling the major sea lanes?

TIANKAI: Both China and the United States, and maybe the rest of the world, should all recognize the fact that we are all living in the 21st Century. And we need new approaches towards common security.

FLORCRUZ: The DPRK president, Kim Jong-il recently visited China. What is the significance of that visit? What role is China playing in convincing North Korea and the other parties to go back to the six party talks?

TIANKAI: They are normal exchanges of high level visits between China and the DPRK. And recently during the visit to China, the DPRK leaders and other delegations are visiting more and more Chinese enterprises. And they are showing greater interest in China's economic reform and development.

I think that this is a very good sign. We should encourage this kind of new development.

FLORCRUZ: When China prepares for various global scenarios, does China assume a future conflict, even war, with the United States?

TIANKAI: We have no intention whatsoever to have military conflict or even war with anybody, including the United States. We will do our best to prevent such an eventuality from taking place.

FLORCRUZ: Some people ask, if China's (inaudible) is peaceful, then why do you need a fighting capability that allows you to project power beyond your borders?

TIANKAI: Well, China is modernizing its national defense. I think that this is a case for many countries in the world. But this does not change the nature of our defense policy, which is completely defensive. As for the capability, whatever we are doing now does not close the gap in any significant way between China and the United States. We are still far, far behind.

So I don't think that there's anything that the U.S. should be worried about.

FLORCRUZ: But smaller countries in China's neighborhood are very concerned, even afraid, of China's growing power.

TIANKAI: I think the people in our neighboring countries, they are aware of the benefits they can get from China's development. And we understand fully that China cannot give a lot all by itself. We have developed with our neighbors. We have to achieve common development of the region, of the entire Asia-Pacific region.

And for security, we cannot achieve national security all by ourselves. We have to aim at common security. That means that we will work with others to achieve common security.


COREN: That was Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai speaking to our Jamie Florcruz there.

Well, the U.S. and China are set to discuss Asia-Pacific issues this weekend. Well, Vice Minister Tiankai will meet with the U.S. assistant secretary of state in Hawaii.

Well, game over. Police nab a suspect in Sony's network breach. Could a teenager be the mastermind behind a hundred million dollar hacking? That's still ahead on NEWS STREAM.


COREN: Well, the trial of fashion icon John Galliano starts on Wednesday. Galliano faces challenges he made anti-Semitic remarks in a Paris cafe.

Well, the former Dior creative director was filmed saying "I love Hitler."

Well, Dior fired Galliano shortly after that video was released. Well, when he appears in court he's expected to say that he struggles with addiction and wasn't in control when he made those remarks.

Well, London police say they have arrested a teenager in connection with Sony's PlayStation Network hacking. Well, Sony says it lost more than $170 million from that network breach. And London police tell CNN the teen suspect will be investigated in connection with other high profile cases.

Our Atika Schubert is at Scotland Yard. And joins us live. Atika, what are we learning about this teenager. And is he the mastermind?

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT; Well, we don't really have a lot of details at this point. Scotland Yard behind me is basically saying he's still in custody, still undergoing questioning, and there's no date set for any court appearances or when he'll be charged at this point.

All we really know is that he's a 19-year-old teenager from Essex. And that he was arrested in connection with that hack attack onto Sony PlayStation. And that he is also being investigated for being a part of a group called LulzSec. This is basically a kind of hacker collective that has been carrying out attacks on various web sites and various organizations.

Now LulzSec is actually very active on Twitter. And they did put out a response when this 19-year-old was arrested yesterday. And that Twitter response was, clearly the UK police are so desperate to catch us that they've gone an arrested someone who is at best mildly associated with us. And they ended that tweet with just the word lame.

So clearly LulzSec saying he's not a mastermind, although he does seem to have some connection with this hacking group. But we have to wait and see if there are more details from Scotland Yard too.

COREN: Atika, what are you hearing about any future attacks? Any word on that?

SCHUBERT: Well, this group LulzSec has been very active recently. And there's some speculation about whether or not they're a splinter group from the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous, but what we do know is that LulzSec has actually called for other hackers to join them in launching a series of attacks on various companies, public figures, you name it.

And they do it, they say, not bringing other reason but just for fun. That's why they're called LulzSec. It's a reference to the LOL, laugh out loud, that you would see on Twitter, on messages. And they're saying they're just trying to prove a point that there needs to be better internet security. And that's why they're carrying out these kind of attacks. We'll have to see whether or not they have more in store, Anna.

COREN: Atika Schubert outside Scotland Yard in London. Thank you for that.

Well, it's a pain being felt by college students around the world. Cash poor governments are cutting back on support and tuition costs are rising. Well, Paula Hancocks reports that in South Korea, a student debt is rising, so is resentment.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lee Hye-Su is 22 and $60,000 in debt. When she finishes university, she'll owe $32,000. She's about to take a year off from her studies to earn money to pay back some of her student loans.

LEE HYE-SU, COLLEGE STUDENT: I don't have money. We have to work. But this situation is not only me, every student have the same situation.

HANCOCKS: Frustrations have been spilling onto the streets of Seoul for weeks. A sea of faces, all calling for the same thing -- cheaper university tuition fees. Annual fees at a private university here can cost up to $7,000 a year while the average income is around $20,000.

Lee is still looking for part-time work. Her friend, Lim Cho-Youn can attend classes four days a week, every weekday evening is spent studying.

Lim tells me, "I work part-time to pay for university. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I work 9 hours a day.

Students claim President Lee Myung-Bak broke a campaign promise to halve tuition fees as he was voted into power.

The administration says he pledged to reinforce the public education system thereby reducing private education by half, a subtle difference. But the government says they are looking into the problem.

SOHN JIE-AE, PRESIDENTIAL FOREIGN MEDIA SPOKESPERSON: It is an educational issue which is a very important issue for Korea and the government.

HANCOCKS: A recent Korean poll finds that almost 95 percent of college graduates believe that tuition is too expensive. And it's not just about struggling while you're a university, it's also about the high level of debt that you're saddled with when you leave.

But in such a competitive society and fast growing economy, the pressure to go to university in South Korea is intense. More than 80 percent of Koreans go to university, which means without a diploma the chances of landing a good job are very slim.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


COREN: Well, you'd have to be pretty special to take over as manager of a major premier league club at the tender age of 33. And this man certainly is. We'll introduce you to Chelsea's new manager. That's just ahead.


COREN: Well, doesn't this emperor penguin cut a lonely figure? And no wonder. It took a wrong turn in the icy waters off Antarctica and ended up more than 3,000 kilometers away in New Zealand. And not even New Zealand's south coast which is closest to Antarctica. Well, a 10 month old penguin was found on Peka Peka Beach on the North Island.

Well, it's the first time in 44 years that an emperor penguin has been sighted in New Zealand. Wildlife experts say it may have lost its bearings while hunting for food or hitched a ride some of the way on an ice flow. But it won't be getting a free ride back to Antarctica. Conservationists say it would be too traumatic for the penguin to be transported that far in the depths of winter. Let's hope it gets home safely.

Well, Chelsea Football Club have a new manager, and it's a man who is just a few months older than several of their players. Well here is Pedro Pinto with more from London -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anna. This appointment is making me feel old as well, because he's younger than me. 33 year old Andres Villas Boas has been confirmed as the manager of Chelsea. The club released a statement here this morning in London saying they have reached an agreement with the Portuguese coach.

Villas Boas has accepted terms on a three year contract. And the club said he will start working immediately.

He became a free agent on Tuesday when his release clause was triggered at FC Porto by a $15 million euro, or $21.5 million payment made to the Portuguese club.

The appointment means Villas Boas will become the second youngest coach in the Premier League ever. Villas Boas led Porto to four trophies in his first full season in management. He is now following in the footsteps of his mentor Jose Mourinho who also moved from Porto to Chelsea back in 2004.

Villas Boas replaces Carlo Ancelloti, a man who had more experience and more titles. Still, according to one former Chelsea manager, age will not be a hindrance for the new man in charge.


JOHN HOLLINS, FORMER CHELSEA MANAGER: It's a breath of fresh air. It's something different. It's not these safe (inaudible) from 60, 65 year old. He's a good, bright, young, fresh man coming in. And I think he'll bring in new ideas for these players who he can relate to, because they're the same age, you see. And I do think it's a very, very bold decision. I think it's a very good one. And I think now it will -- manager could even start to change the club, change the face of the club and put his own stamp on it.


PINTO: So Villas Boas confirmed as Chelsea manager on Wednesday.

This is a huge blow for his former club FC Porto. As I mentioned he won four trophies there last season. Porto announcing on the day that they are promoting the assistant there, Vitor Pereira to the full-time job.

Now his departure has been a big blow. And over there in Portugal there's no doubt that people have been surprised by this deal moving so quickly, because Villas Boas leading up to this appointment always said he wanted to stay at the club.

Now moving on to other news, let's talk football. And let's talk tennis rather. The most prestigious trophy in South American football will be handed over later on Wednesday. Santos and Penarol are clashing in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final. The first leg in Montevideo finished nil-nil. That means Santos feel confident they can reign victorious considering they play the second match at home in Sao Paolo. They also have arguably the best player on the continent, teenage forward Neymar. Santos are aiming to win this trophy for the first time since 1963.

Penarol have five Copa Libertadores titles to their name. And they're not too worried about having the deciding match played in Brazil. It's just that all of their trophies in this competition have been clinched on foreign soil.

Well, you won't be surprised to hear that rain is affecting play at Wimbledon today. The weather has forced several matches to be interrupted. Venus Williams is in action on Centre Court which has a roof. So no problems with the weather there.

The five-time champion is taking on Kimiko Date-Krumm. And right now they're in the first set there. Date-Krumm was on the verge of clinching the first set against Venus Williams. So an upset could be brewing there.

Second seed Vera Zvonareva plays the second match on court number 2.

On the men's side of the draw, Raphael Nadal will be in action later on Centre Court. The great British hope Andy Murray plays Tobias Kemke of Germany. Also playing are Andy Roddick and last year's runner up Thomas Berdych.

That's a quick look at the stories that are making the sports headlines around the world. Anna, back to you.

COREN: Pedro, I was wondering why you weren't at Wimbledon. Now I know. The rain, huh?

PINTO: Yes. For a change.

COREN: OK. Good to see you. Catch you later.

Well, now it's time to take you over and out there to a place where not too many famous people end up with the same name as famous people. For instance, take Taylor Swift -- no, not that singer. An American man who created this web site with fan mail he's received that was meant for the singer.

Well, let's look at some of the best bits like a love letter from Tim saying, "you are supposed to be my wife."

And this one from Piper that signs off with "P.S. This note was definitely not sent by a computer." No, just a girl trying to get a record deal.

Well, 12 year old Tara, she gushes, "I can't believe I'm e-mailing you." Well, you're not.

But Taylor Swift isn't the only one suffering the pains of someone else's fame. There's poor Mark Zuckerberg, that would be Indiana bankruptcy attorney. Well, he created the web site I Am Mark Zuckerberg. He says if you Googled him in 2004 you would have found him and not the other younger, richer Zuckerberg.

Well, Oprah software company gave up denying they're in an Oprah after they were barraged with fan mail for Oprah Winfrey. Employees directed a 9 year old asking for a Hannah Montana tickets to better taste in music. And even offered to have a hair battle with a woman hoping to show off her long locks on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Interesting isn't it?

Well, that's it for NEWS STREAM, but the news certainly continues here at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is coming up next.