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UK Prime Minister Recalls MPs For Emergency Session; Murdochs Apologize But Deny Responsibility; Cameron Feeling the Heat; Australian Prime Minister Weighs In; A Family Affair; Goran Hadzic Captured; Yao Ming Calls It Quits; Impact of Yao Ming's Retirement on NBA in China; Sizing Up Yao; South Korean Singing Sensation.

Aired July 20, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


MANISHA TANK, CNN ANCHOR: The pressure's rising from the UK phone- hacking scandal, and it's rising right to the very top. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a trip to Africa and recalled MPs for an emergency session.

He's facing strong criticism for his decision to hire former "News of the World" editor Andy Coulson. A little over an hour ago, in parliament, Cameron admitted in hindsight, he made a mistake, but said Coulson should be considered innocent until proven guilty.


DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: On the decision to hire him, I believe I've answered every question about this. It was my decision --


CAMERON: -- hold on. It was my decision. I take responsibility. Of course, I regret, and I am extremely sorry about the furor it has caused. With 20/20 hindsight and all that has followed, I would not have offered him the job, and I expect that he wouldn't have taken it. But you don't make decisions in hindsight.


TANK: Well, the Murdochs might have apologized for the phone-hacking debacle but, during three hours of grilling by UK lawmakers on Tuesday, they denied responsibility for the spreading scandal. Exchanges were pretty testy at times but, as Dan Rivers reports, it wasn't the apology that made the headlines.


RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NEWS CORP: I would just like to say one sentence. This is the most humble day of my life.

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was how Rupert Murdoch started. But despite his apparent contrition, he surely had no idea what was about to literally hit him.

What should have been a secure hearing room, a personal attack on one of the world's most powerful media tycoons. His wife, Wendy, parrying a protester with a shaving cream pie who was off camera. As the police ran in, it was clear Mr. Murdoch was unhurt, and proceedings were suspended.

Before that, Rupert Murdoch sought to distance himself from the "News of the World," previously thought to be one of his favorite titles.

RUPERT MURDOCH: This is not an excuse. Maybe it's an explanation of my laxity. The "News of the World" is less than one percent of our company. I employ 53,000 people around the world. We -- who are proud and great and ethical and distinguished people.

RIVERS: One of them was sitting right beside him, his son, James, whose apparent lack of knowledge of the detail of the phone-hacking scandal at times seemed almost comical. Here, questioned about key documents that weren't initially handed over from News International's lawyers to the police.

PAUL FARRELLY, BRITISH MP: Was Colin Myler aware of this evidence lying with the -- with Harbottle and Lewis?

JAMES MURDOCH, DEPUTY COO, NEWS CORP: I cannot speak to other individuals' knowledge in the past. I simply don't -- I can't --

FARRELLY: Was Tom Crone?

JAMES MURDOCH: I simply, Mr. Farrelly, can't -- I just don't -- I can't speak for them.

FARRELLY: And Stuart -- Stuart, that's the general pronunciation. Sorry. Stuart Kuttner?

JAMES MURDOCH: The same goes, Mr. Farrelly. I simply can't speak for them.

RIVERS: Critics would call this stonewalling, but James Murdoch was clear on one point.

JAMES MURDOCH: First of all, I would like to say as well just how sorry I am and how sorry we are to particularly the victims of illegal voice mail interceptions and to their families.

RIVERS: At times, Rupert Murdoch appeared overwhelmed or, perhaps, unsure how to answer, awkward silences following specific questions.

TOM WATSON, BRITISH MP: Mr. Murdoch, at what point did you find out that criminality was endemic at "News of the World"?


RIVERS: The overwhelming impression the Murdochs gave was of two men who were, at best, out of touch with what was happening in their country. At worst, willfully ignorant, a phrase that was lost on James Murdoch.

ADRIAN SANDERS, BRITISH MP: Are you familiar with the term "willful blindness"?

JAMES MURDOCH: Mr. Sanders, would you care to elaborate?

SANDERS: It is a term that came up in the Enron scandal. Willful blindness is a legal term. It states that if there is knowledge that you could have had and should have had but chose not to have, you are still responsible.

JAMES MURDOCH: Mr. Sanders, do you have a question?


SANDERS: I asked --

JAMES MURDOCH: Respectfully, I just -- I don't know you'd like me to say.

SANDERS: The question was whether you aware of --

JAMES MURDOCH: I'm not aware of that -- I'm not aware of that particular phrase.

RIVERS: It was then the turn of Rebekah Brooks. She'd previously told the committee this.

REBEKAH BROOKS, FORMER CEO, NEWS INTERNATIONAL: We have paid the police for information in the past.

RIVERS: The same question again, but a different answer.

BROOKS: I can say that it -- I have never paid a policeman myself. I'd never sanctioned or knowingly sanctioned a payment to a police officer.

I was referring, if you saw at the time of the Home Affairs select committee recently, that you'd have various crime editors from Fleet Street discussing that, in the past, payments have been made to police officers. I was -- referring to that wide-held belief, not widespread practice.

And in fact, it's in my experience of dealing with the police, the information they give to newspapers come -- comes free of charge.

RIVERS: But the scandal has come with an incredible cost to News International. A year ago, the name Murdoch put fear into the hearts of many British politicians. Today, it was clear the politicians have no fear. Dan Rivers, CNN, Westminster.


TANK: Well, the scandal has spread from investigators and reporters to media barons, even to the upper echelons of the police force and, now, it seems to have the prime minister on the defensive.

Atika Shubert is outside the Houses of Parliament and joins us now with more on how the scandal could impact on David Cameron's tenure. What did you make of it, Atika?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a very spirited debate that's still ongoing, but Cameron basically is trying to draw a line under the phone-hacking scandal and really has taken his strongest stance on Andy Coulson yet, saying that in hindsight he would not have hired him.

And of course, Andy Coulson is that former "News of the World" editor who he hired as his chief spin doctor and, as it turns out, was later arrested as part of the phone-hacking investigation. Here's what Cameron had to say on that in his statement.


CAMERON: People will, of course, make judgments about it. Of course, I regret and I am extremely sorry about the furor it has caused. With 20/20 hindsight and all that has followed, I would not have offered him the job, and I expect that he wouldn't have taken it.

But you don't make decisions in hindsight, you make them in the present.


CAMERON: You live and you learn, and believe you me, I have learnt.


SHUBERT: Now, Labour leader Ed Miliband came back with the response that the prime minister should apologize now for bringing Coulson into the heart of British politics.

But Cameron has basically replied by saying everyone has done it. In fact, he pointed out that Ed Miliband himself has a former News International executive as part of his team in office.

So, it's quite clear, the cozy relationship, according to Cameron, doesn't just stop with the Conservatives, it really stretches across all parties. And this is the tone that he's taking now in the current debate. We have to see how the public responds to it but, so far, he does certainly seem to be making his case.

TANK: Yes, Atika, there was always going to be a lot of finger- pointing, wasn't there? In both directions. But was there much said about what's going to happen now and whether inquiries of any kind about that relationship between politicians and the media is going to be stepped up?

SHUBERT: Well, he said there will be a judicial inquiry. It will be robust, he said. It will be under oath. And he points out that there should be a report due out in 12 months time.

And it's a very broad inquiry. He said it's going to include not just News International, it should include all media, he said, including broadcast media, even social media.

So, this is a tremendous inquiry that he's setting up, and he basically is saying there's a deadline, 12 months time, we should see some concrete results.

TANK: Yes, I think a lot of people are going to be looking forward to that report. Atika Shubert, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, thank you so much.

Well, the fallout's being felt not only in the UK, but around the world, including in Rupert Murdoch's homeland, Australia. Earlier today, Prime Minster Julia Gillard weighed in on the discussion.


JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: I'm not dying to engage in running commentary on testimony, but I do believe Australians watching all of that happening overseas with News Corp are looking at News Limited here and are wanting to see News Limited answer some hard questions.


TANK: As for that hearing, answering questions alongside his father at -- on Tuesday was James Murdoch, seen by many as a possible successor in the Murdoch empire's hot seat.

But as Richard Roth reports, the hacking allegations could put that in jeopardy.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Rupert Murdoch was attacked in London, his family, led by wife Wendy, rushed to his aid by going on the offense. During the hearing, father and son played defense with survival of the family business at stake.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: For Rupert Murdoch, the testimony was less about him than it was about preserving News Corp in the Murdoch family. He's on his way out, but he has got to keep control so he can pass it to James and his other children.

ROTH: Rupert Murdoch at times was glad to have James, his fourth child and Deputy News Corp executive, take some of the heat.

RUPERT MURDOCH: I think my son can best answer that in more detail. He was a lot closer to i.

ROTH: Before the scandal, James Murdoch was seen as a likely heir to the CEO chair.

JAMES MURDOCH: First of all, I would like to say as well just how sorry I am.

MICHAEL WOLFF, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, ADWEEK: I think James is finished. I just don't think he has enough credibility left. The only thing is now whether he can stay out of jail, but he cannot run this company.

ROTH: Another son, Lachlan Murdoch, was once seen as the heir before quitting in 2005.

TOOBIN: Murdoch is very devoted to his children, but he's had a stormy relationship with them. Lachlan Murdoch, once seemed like the heir apparent, but he had a falling out with his father, and he's been off to Australia.

ROTH: Elizabeth Murdoch has denied reports she blamed her brother James or "News of the World" executive Rebekah Brooks for the damage the scandal has done to her father's company. She once started her own independent TV firm, only to be bought by her father for nearly $650 million..

VICKY WARD, WRITER, "VANITY FAIR": This is a many who cares so much about his legacy. He once said to me, "All I want is for my kids to be decent people."

ROTH: They love their father, but keep an eye on replacing him when that day comes.

WOLFF: James very much -- very much wanted it. They all have wanted it. There was a -- the period when Elizabeth wanted -- Elizabeth was the heir, and that didn't work out. And then, Lachlan, and James. So actually, this rather continues the pattern.

ROTH: Keeping it all in the family, Rupert Murdoch told his questioners about his late father buying a small newspaper rooting out scandals.

RUPERT MURDOCH: Which I remain very, very proud of.

DAMIAN COLLINS, BRITISH MP: I think all students of history are well aware of --


RUPERT MURDOCH: That just addresses the question of it being a family business.


RUPERT MURDOCH: And I would love to see my sons and daughters follow it, if they're interested.

ROTH: A hint from a father that the children may be less interested now that the company is embroiled in scandal. Richard Roth, CNN, New York.


TANK: OK, well let's move to some other news, now. The last remaining Yugoslav war crimes suspect still at large has been captured. Goran Hadzic is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia nearly 20 years ago.

Serbia's president announced Hadzic's capture just a short time ago.


BORIS TADIC, PRESIDENT OF SERBIA: We've been working very hard the past three years, and why we have results in the third year of the term of National Security Council and national pain. You have to work, you have to prepare your actions and, at the end of the day, you are creating real, concrete results. And that is the natural approach.

If I have to remind yourself about other cases, internationally very well known and recognized, for example, the case about Osama bin Laden, the work on that issue was very long and very hard, almost one decade. And at the end of the day, that was fruitful and it was very efficient.

That is the same situation.


TANK: Hadzic's arrest follows that of former Bosnian-Serb commander Ratko Mladic two months ago, and the EU says it will help clear the way for Serbia to join the European group of nations.

Now, ahead on NEWSTREAM, calling it quits. Chinese basketball player Yao Ming says his days playing in the NBA are done. We'll show you how his fans are reacting.

Also, while the battle in Libya rages on, not all the action is on the front line. We'll introduce you to the opposition's fighters form afar.

And crisis in Somalia. Plagued by drought and famine, thousands are fleeing the country, but where are they going?


TANK: Wow, what a frame. Well, he entered the NBA nine years ago with huge potential. Now, basketball star Yao Ming has entered retirement.

It's not a huge surprise to fans of the Houston Rockets center. The 30-year-old has suffered repeated injuries, and he's played only five games for the last season.

Still, Yao is one of China's most famous and successful athletes. He spoke earlier from his hometown of Shanghai.


YAO MING, RETIRED NBA STAR: Special thanks for the -- for my friends overseas, especially the fans in Houston. I'd like to thank you for giving me a great nine years during my NBA career.

Nine years ago, I came to Houston as a young, tall, skinny player, and the entire city and the team changed me to a grown man, not only a basketball player.

And also, again, my first daughter over there. I feel also like I'm a historian, and I will always be with you.


TANK: Well, reaction to Yao's retirement has poured in from the NBA. Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is in Shanghai right now, actually, and he calls Yao a "groundbreaking player." But first, let's hear from NBA commissioner David Stern.


DAVID STERN, NBA COMMISSIONER: Yao has been, without question, a transformational player for our league and a source of enormous pride to the people of China and people of Chinese descent in the United States.

I remember the early years, the particular outpouring of Chinese Americans who came to see this giant, this talented, talented, good sense of humor, hard-working, humanitarian-focused player do so much for so many people, particularly the growth of basketball.

KOBE BRYANT, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: In terms of opening up doors or -- for Chinese basketball players that come into the NBA and for their youth here in China to believe that it's possible to achieve the dream of being an NBA player, all that started from Yao.


TANK: Words of praise there from Kobe Bryant. Well, Yao Ming's retirement is obviously a huge a deal in China. It quickly became a top ten trending topic on Sina Weibo. That's a popular social media portal, so let's take a look at what people were saying.

One fan grieved by this news and his departure. "Yao Ming left the NBA, we now lost our excuse to skip classes in the morning." To put that in context, the time difference means that evening games in the US are on early in the morning here in Asia. So, that's one of them for you.

Here's another one, just to get you -- give you an idea of what's being said. Another fan giving his blessing. "Good luck to Yao Ming, the symbol of basketball in China. He changed people's view of Chinese basketball and influenced the NBA. Yao, you're the best!"

And not surprising that he's getting those sorts of comments being made. And over here, one fan disappointed by Yao's retirement also voicing frustration, this Weibo user posting, "Before, I only watched basketball on TV, only watched NBA games, only watched the Rockets ream, only watched Yao Ming play. Now that Yao Ming's retired, I'm selling my TV."

Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Well, he's not alone in that sentiment. A poll this week found that 57 percent of Sina Weibo users now plan to stop watching the NBA. CNN International Correspondent Stan Grant joins us now from Beijing, and Stan, what does Yao's departure really mean for the NBA in China?

STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Manisha, let me just give you a number here. Now, when the Washington Wizards played the Rockets, Washington had a player called Yi Jianilan, who was a Chinese player. Of course, the Rockets had Yao Ming, 200 million people watched that match in China, 200 million.

That's the impact that having high-profile Chinese players in the NBA will -- has had on the game here. Yao Ming, of course, has been the real magnet for that.

So, stepping away from the game, of course there's going to be some disappointment and of course people are going to leave the game as a result of that, people who've associated with the NBA just for Yao Ming, because of the association with Yao Ming.

Now, that translates into dollars and cents. We know that he has been a huge marketing phenomenon for the NBA. He has been a billion-dollar brand, as many people have referred to him, and that's now going to be lost as well, in terms of the NBA's presence here in China.

The hunt is really going to be on to try to fill that void, and that then raises the other question, where is the next Yao Ming going to come from?

Times have moved on. Yao Ming was very much a product of this rigid, regimented, very strict state-sponsored program here in China. And there are many questions being asked, now, about whether that will produce another player of that caliber, whether times have changed, whether there's a need for more flexibility.

Li Na, of course, the tennis player, has stepped out of that states scheme, and she's won the French Open, the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam tennis event.

So, questions are being asked here? Is that system going to produce a Yao Ming? It certainly hasn't, really, over the past 10 years, and that leaves a big gulf, both in China and also for the NBA. Manisha?

TANK: Yes, absolutely. Big shoes to fill, Yao. You know, I glanced in the other direction when I said that, because it's the obvious thing to say. Thank you very much, Stan, for that.

Yao's family was with him when he announced his retirement. And as you can see -- take a look. They're a family of giants. Yao's parents were both professional basketball players. Go figure. And according to former "Newsweek" Shanghai bureau chief Brook Larmer, Chinese sports officials encouraged their relationship to produce a tall child.

Whether that's true or not, you can't deny that they did, indeed, produce a very tall son. Yao stands at seven feet six inches. That is 2.3 meters tall, for the people who like metric.

Since Yao's entire family is tall, let's give you another perspective. Here he his with members of our Beijing bureau. There you go, there's the picture.

They met him back in 2002 as he heard his name called first in the NBA draft. Yao told our Jaime FlorCruz he felt the pressure of representing one billion Chinese in the NBA. Can you imagine that?

Well, while that may have been a big weight on his shoulders, just how high are those shoulders? My colleague, Piers Morgan, is a bit taller than his poster in real life. There we go, there's the shot of it for you. But Yao still towers right over him.

And in case you're curious, well, let's get an idea of how Yao actually sees the world. We placed our camera nearly 2.3 meters in the air to bring you this view.

OK, well -- there it is. Even I couldn't find it, it was way too high up for me. But there you go, that gives you an impression of how tall he really is.

Now, ahead on NEWSTREAM, watch out Susan Boyle. South Korea's got some serious talent. We'll introduce you to this young man who has overcome the odds in pursuit of a dream. That's up next.


TANK: Well, they're all great stories here on NEWSTREAM, but here's one that really got up and grabbed me. He has quickly become one of South Korea's biggest singing sensations at just 22 years old. But it wasn't an easy transition to the top.

Paula Hancocks introduces us to the "Korea's Got Talent" star from his rocky past to rise to fame.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trying to calm those last-minute nerves, Sung-bong Choi seems just like thousands of other hopefuls on "Korea's Got Talent."

But he's not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): As I look into your application, I see you left the "family" section blank.

SUNG-BONG CHOI, CONTESTANT, "KOREA'S GOT TALENT" (through translator): I was left in the orphanage when I was three, and when I was five, I ran away after being beaten by the people there.

HANCOCKS: For the ten years, Choi lived on the streets, selling gum and energy drinks. He slept in stairwells or public toilets.

CHOI (through translator): I don't sing that well, but when I sing, I feel like I become a different person.

HANCOCKS: And then, came this.


HANCOCKS: This powerful baritone voice from a 22-year-old is as impressive as his determination to pull himself from the streets to the stage.

His rendition of the Italian song "Nella Fantasia," "In My Fantasy," reduced the judges and the audience to tears.

Choi says he still feels a little uncomfortable being part of the competition.

CHOI (through translator): It's hard to believe someone like me was able to come out on a show like this, so I wasn't really too obsessed with whether I would make it through or not.

HANCOCKS: But he did make it through, coming out top in the first round of the semifinals.

He told the judges he's both scared and excited by the attention, and he's thankful he made it onto the show.

CHOI (through translator): I'm thankful because now I have a reason to live.


HANCOCKS (on camera): Choi has become an internet sensation. So far, well over ten million people have watched him on YouTube. And the fact that Korea usually rigorously trains and grooms its K-pop stars before debuting them makes Choi's raw talent and success even more impressive.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): He's favored to win the competition and, even if he doesn't, one of the judges helped to pledge him with his voice training the first time she heard him sing. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


TANK: Absolutely riveting stuff. Right ahead on NEWSTREAM, we'll take you to an isolated rebel outpost in western Libya, where opposition fighters watch and wait for government troops to strike.

And Somalia's worst drought in decades gets worse. We'll bring you a live report from the world's largest refugee camp.


TANK: I'm Manisha Tank in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

The British prime minister says in hindsight he would not have hired former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his spokesman. David Cameron was speaking during a special session of Parliament as British lawmakers were recalled to addressed the phone hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Goran Hadzic, the last remaininig Yugoslav war crime suspect still at large has now been captured. Serbia's president announced Hadzic's captured on Wednesday. It follows the arrest of former Bosnian-Serb commander Ratko Mladic two months ago.

The NBA has lost their giant, literally. Yao Ming made his retirement official just a few hours ago in Shanghai. The basketball star has been credited with making the sport popular in his native China. But Yao has been plagued by injuries over the years and said it's simply time to leave the court.

In Somalia, extremely dry weather and ongoing political instability have sparked a serious food crisis. The United Nations says the country's south is in the midst of a famine, sending many Somalis seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Several other east African nations are also affected.

For more, let's speak to David McKenzie. He joins us now from one of the refugee camps in Kenya -- David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right Manisha. It certain is a crisis here in the horn of Africa. The U.N. declaring a famine in two separate regions of southern Somalia, areas that in the past people would flee here to Dadaab refugee camp, the biggest in the world, because of the conflict in Somalia. Now they are fleeing because of the lack of food, the lack of water and dry conditions.

When they come here, Manisha, their lives are sometimes even more tragic.


MCKENZIE: Ardin Ibrahim (ph) carries the limp body of Sara (ph), his dead child. She drew her last breath at dawn. Sara (ph) was just four. Facing Mecca, they pray for her soul and bury her.

Severly malnourished, Ibrahim (ph) tried to get Sara (ph) to the nearest hospital, but a ride cost just over a dollar here, more than any of these new refugees could afford. Sara's (ph) uncle says they fled here hoping for better.

"We didn't come with money from Somalia. We didn't come with anything," he says. "We're refugees, but we're dying because we don't get enough help."

Ibrahim's (ph) family arrived tired and hungry, but he says they were forced to beg for food for two weeks. When they finally got given it, it didn't help.

"We haven't been given enough help," he says. "We've been given only flower and maize. And a child who is sick will not get better on that. She needed more help."

Now he worries that he could lose another child. And his daughter, Deca (ph) is dangerously thin.

"It's in god's hands," he says. "It's not in mine. But if it stays this bad, more people will die."

They call this place Bolabugpe (ph). It means carcass. It's where people leave their animals to die. But Sara's (ph) father says they protected her well. The hyenas won't be able to reach her, he says. She already in paradise.


MCKENZIE: Manisha, certainly a tragic story of Sara (ph) there. Honestly, there are some 2 million children who are at risk here in the horn of Africa. One of the big issues is whether Al-Shabab (ph), the Islamic militant group that controls much of the parts of Somalia that are in effect being declared a famine allows aid agencies to go in there. Because if they can in there, they say they can mitigate at least this current crisis quite quickly -- Manisha.

TANK: Yeah, it is tragic, as you say. And, you know, all of us watching from around the world want those aid agencies to get in there. And you wonder what the political situation is.

How has that camp that you're at right now changed since you actually got there?

MCKENZIE: Well, the camp is changed in that every day several thousand people, or up to a thousand come here to try and desperately to get into the reception area. They get an initial bit of food, 15 days food Manisha. It's a very small amount. They actually have to take the rations and ration the rations, to give just a part of a bag of maize to a family. That must last them two weeks.

Now this camp was designed for several tens of thousands. It's now pushing closer to half a million here in Dabaab. The problem is that there is a whole brand new section of this camp that is being ready to open since November last year. The Kenyan government has effectively been dragging its heels deciding whether they want to allow that camp to be open. There's a hospital, latrines. There's a school even there Manisha.

And certainly aid groups and the UN are pushing the Kenyan government to allow it to be open. They said that there's a security risk for letting people to stream into their camp. But others say that's because the amenities are there are so good they don't want the local population to be jealous of the refugees. So certainly politics coming into this.

But from a humanitarian perspective, they need to expand the reach of this camp. And more importantly in the way, people need to get into Somalia and help people on the ground -- Manisha.

TANK: Yeah, these problems of the interaction between refugees in the camp and the local community, that's been a problem before, you know, in history. Something we can talk about on another day.

David, thank you for bringing us up to date on that dire situation over there in Somalia.

Well, let's get an idea of how things are going to continue so far as the weather goes in that region. Mari Ramos is at the world weather center. Mari, what have you got for us.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is a very serious situation and we've been talking about this for a long time already about the serious drought that continues across east Africa.

First of all, I want to show you where the drought is. The worst of the drought is the area that you're going to see in the darkest brown, in this region right in here. Those are areas, Manisha, that are already in an extreme drought.

Notice as we head back over towards Somalia. Across some of these area the drought is considered moderate and even severe, but not extreme. However, because of the other problems that the country is facing, and because of the lack of rain particularly during the growing season, many families according to the UN there were out of food as early as April of earlier this year.

When we look longer term here as to when the rain may actually arrive to some of these areas, notice back over here toward Ethiopia and even into Somalia, we're expecting generally average rainfall as we head from July to September, however, it maybe too late -- or it is too late according to some of these reports, for people to actually to be able to grow their own food.

Now the UN, Manisha, by the way, when they declare a famine you have to have about 20 percent of the population that has no access at all to food. And the malnutrition rates are about 30 percent or higher. And that's tremendous if you think about it. They say the death rate is about two people per 10,000 per day. And when you're talking about 10 million people, you're probably talking about what 2,000 people every single day that are going to lose their lives because they don't have enough to eat. So this is very significant.

In the immediate forecast, we have some scattered rain showers only across this region. And we should see a blur, just like a huge area of rain here. This is an inter-tropical convergence zone this time of year. It should be heating up. It's the hottest time of the day. We should be seeing a lot of rain showers. We're just seeing sporadic rain showers across this area. So unfortunately, at least not in the immediate term, we're not seeing any kind of relief there.

Let's go ahead and move on and talk about another big story. Let's go ahead and head to Japan. I'm going to take you here to this corner here of Shikoku Island. And this is where we had a typhoon make landfall yesterday. Very treacherous terrain here, very mountainous. And it did cost some very heavy rain.

Let's go ahead and roll the video that we have for in this area. You can see it here as the storm was moving inland. You can see that rain, those sheets of rain moving across the area. In some cases they have had extremely heavy rainfall, over 300 millimeters of rain for many of these areas.

And if you come back over here to the weather map, let me show you what Ma-on looks like now. It is no longer a typhoon. And that's definitely some good news. The storm continues to weaken as it very, very slowly moves away from land. There are warnings posted across this entire coastal areas of Honshu because of the heavy rain that this storm continues to bring to the region.

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

I want to show you a couple of more things when it comes to this tropical storm. Notice this area of tropical storm force winds that extends across this region, not quite reaching Tokyo yet, but Tokyo has winds of about 30 kilometers per hour. Bigger picture, this is what the storm actually looks like.

I do want to give you some of those rainfall totals, because they are pretty impressive. All the way up to Fukushima we have those warnings in place, or the weather service in Japan has those warnings in place, because of heavy rain the potential for more flooding and also mudslides, so that's very important.

Now for the power plant proper, they said that they're taking precautions to make sure that none of that radioactive water actually leaks out because of that heavy rain that they're expecting. Other areas hard hit, of course, by the disaster earlier this year -- the earthquake and tsunami -- Sendai, for example, is going to get some very heavy rain, we think, from this weather system. Not as heavy as we originally had thought, but still they could see up to 8 centimeters of rain overnight tonight and into tomorrow.

Manisha, back to you.

TANK: Yeah, though it is a huge relief, you know, that it's died down before really hitting that nuclear plant.

All right, Mari. Good to see you. Thank you so much.

Now, in Libya, fighting between rebel and pro-Gadhafi forces continues to rock the country as both sides vie for control. But not all fighting is actually on the front lines. Ben Wedeman met up with a group of men who are helping the opposition from a distance.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Their job is to watch around the clock the planes down below. Just through their surveyor scopes, the rebels at the CD Saleh outpost keep a close eye on the Gadhafi controlled down of Raziyah (ph), eight-and-a-half kilometers, or five miles away through the desert heat and the haze.

In May, Naji (ph) left his job as a construction worker in Malta to join the revolt against the Libyan strong man. He believes the enemy is up to something.

"They've had some unusual movements recently," he says. "Two days ago reinforcements came about 100 cars full of men who didn't appear to have any weapons. Later, two big trucks came full of weapons."

From here you get a bird's eye view of the western end of the chain of mountains that leads to the jugular vein through which pass all the supplies -- food, ammunition and weapons from neighboring Tunisia to rebellious western Libya.

This lonely, barren outpost is critical for the entire rebel held western mountains. Behind those hills over there is the main crossing between Tunisia and rebel held territory. If Gadhafi's forces managed to cut off that crossing, the rebels in the west will be surrounded.

The men share this outlook with a tomb of a now long forgotten Muslim holy man by the name of Saleh (ph). The only thing they know about the holy man is his name.

23 year old Bahar (ph) hasn't worked a day since he finished high school five years ago. "As dull as it may seem here," he says, "it beats a life with no future under Gadhafi."

"He didn't help us at all," Bashar (ph) says. "If you didn't have the right connections you couldn't find work. There was nothing to help you get ahead."

During the long hours of waiting and watching they have but one divergence, perhaps the best fed, most pampered puppy in all of Libya. They haven't named the dog, though some jokingly call him Bousha Shoufa (ph), Libyan slang with the guy with messy hair, a somewhat less than respectful nickname for Moammar Gadhafi.

The puppy is welcome here. His namesake most certainly is not.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, CD Saleh, Western Libya.


TANK: Myanmar pro-democracy activist Ahn Sang Suu Kyi has taken part in a rare large gathering. She led more than 3,000 activists is a Martyr's Day march. Her father is one of the heroes they celebrated. He was the first prime minister of the country when it was called Burma and was assassinated in 1947. Riot police were present at the event which unfolded peacefully.

Suu Kyi has participated in a number of high profile events since being released from house arrest which was last year.

Well, her freedom followed the country's first election in two decades held back in November. Critics claim the vote only created a facade of democracy. And earlier this month two high ranking diplomats defected.

So let's start with this man who was summoned from home -- was summoned home from Washington just last week. He refused and planned to seek asylum in the United States. A colleague says he feared interrogation upon his return to Burma and possible imprisonment.

Meanwhile, this man also said that he feared for his life. He was the second highest ranking Burmese diplomat at the Washington embassy. He warned of threats by the government Ahn Sang Suu Kyi.

One activist predicts more defections are ahead saying diplomats are not willing to continue serving the military regime under the disguise of civilian government.

Still to come right here on News Stream, leading the charge for organic farming in India in a society that's steeped in tradition, meet the woman who's planting the seeds of change.


TANK: Well, this week here on CNN we're showcasing green pioneers. These are the people who are tackling environmental challenges in innovative ways. Vandana Shiva was named by Forbes as one of the seven most influential women in the world. Mallika Kapur finds out why she's urging Indian farmers to ditch chemicals and go back to basics.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the foothills of the Himalayas, it's back to basic.

VANDANA SHIVA, FOUNDER, NAVDANYA: Behind me where the bullocks are plowing the fields we have a modern farm, a small farm.

KAPUR: A farm that practices multi-cropping where farmers collect seeds, earthworms make natural fertilizers, and no chemicals are used at all.

SHIVA: If you start spraying for pests, you don't just kill the one target pest you wanted to kill, you kill beneficial species, you kill the spiders that control pests, you kill the bees and butterflies that pollinate for us and 70 percent of the bees have disappeared.

KAPUR: Vandana Shiva founded Navdanya 25 years ago. Since then, she's been leading the charge for organic farming in India. She's trained more than 500,000 farmers to practice organic farming and collect seeds.

SHIVA: This is finger millet.

KAPUR: She walks us through a seed bank on her farm. She's preserved 650 varieties of rice here.

SHIVA: The reason we must save this diversity of our crops is first because the seed must remain in farmers' hands. Seeds today have become the ultimate property. And if nothing is done, one company will control the food supply of the world. We have more frequent crop failure, but we'll have higher rates of death, because the reason corporations are getting into the seed business is to collect royalties.

Royalties mean farmers' debt, farmers' debt means suicide.

KAPUR: Convincing farmers to go organic isn't easy. Through the 1960s and 70s, India encouraged farmers to use chemicals to increase yields as part of what was then called the green revolution, an effort to transform Indian agricultural practices. The chemicals depleted water tables and soil fertility, led farmers into debt, some committed suicide as a result.

But many farmers still practice this method. Takedas (ph) did, too, until he learned about Navdanya.

Takedas (ph) grows a variety of crops on his farm. Right here mangoes. Under the ground, turmeric and ginger. In this portion, mint leaves. He says ever since he began this multi-cropping, organic method of farming around 9 years ago his output has more than doubled.

SHIVA: It's not an accident that in today's world 1 billion people are structurally hungry. And of the 1 billion, 500 million are producers of food. Why do producers of food go hungry? Because they buy chemicals on credit. They buy feed on credit. They grow a commodity which they don't eat. They have to pay back the debt. And then they go buy the same amount of food at four times the price and can't afford to buy it.

KAPUR: Shiva believes organic farming can feed not just the farmers, but the whole world, because it produces more food and nutrition than conventional methods.

SHIVA: Our calculations on the basis of our farming practices and the farming practices our members have shown, that we can feed two Indias with adequate nutrition.

KAPUR: Critics disagree, saying organic farming can't feed everyone, only niche customers in big cities willing to pay premium prices.

Certified organic farming accounts for just around 1 percent of India's overall agricultural production.

In response, Shiva has this comeback, 25 years ago, she points out, it barely even existed.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, India.



TANK: Agreeing for the police and up high for a Murdoch. But media mogul Rupert Murdoch's wife is the won who is making headlines after her valiant attempt to save her husband from a shaving cream pie in the face. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wendi Murdoch was easy to pick out in pink. When you're 38 years younger than your husband, it's not to rub his back in warm water before he testifies. She even restrained him when he pounded the table too much.

But she didn't restrain herself when this happened.

An activist pulled a foam filled plastic pie plate out of a plastic bag. Some of that foam landed on CNN producer Jonathan Wald as the attacker.

JONATHAN WALD, CNN PRODUCER: Plunges it squarely into the face of Rupert Murdoch.

MOOS: And that's when his wife Wendi whacked the guy, even picked up the plate.

WALD: Hit him back with it. It was all extremely dramatic.

MOOS: Sort of reminds us of the woman who used her purse to try to knock the gun out of a hostage taker's hand at a school board meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the weapon.

MOOS: Apart from shaving cream, all Rupert Murdoch got was a tongue lashing from his attacker.

WALD: You're a greedy billionaire.

MOOS: The activist, who British media identified as Johnny Marbles, had just sent a tweet saying "it is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat."

It may have been more than a close shave for Rupert Murdoch, but at least he avoided major embarrassment by getting his face full off camera.

Unlike pie targets like Ann Coulter and Ralph Nader who managed to throw his pie back at his attacker.

Bill Gates got splattered and then his image got splattered for eternity all over the internet.

Anita Bryant got pied by a gay demonstrator.

ANITA BRYANT: Every -- well at least it's a fruit pie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's break for him right now.

MOOS: First her husband prayed for the attacker, then he went outside and splattered him back.

Wendi Murdoch was praised by a member of Parliament.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your wife has a very good left hook.

MOOS: Or was it her right. Regardless, the prankster temporarily changed her Wikipedia entry to say Wendi used her ninja background to ward off an attacker. The move is now being referred to as the Crouching Wendi, Hidden Dragon.

After the attack, Wendi tenderly cleaned off her husband.

WALD: Carefully wiping the foam off his jacket and his face. She was smiling and seemed quite happy that she had managed to score a blow.

MOOS: We watched her crossing her arms and crossing her legs, but it was the right cross we won't forget.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


TANK: She packed a punch, didn't she?

Well, the attempted pie throwing left people wide-eyed, quite understandably, and open mouthed, but before that a comment by Rupert Murdoch raised quite a few eye brows.


RUPERT MURDOCH, FOUNDER, NEWS CORP: We've got to look at open, clear society and the world which is Singapore where every minister gets at least a million dollars a year and the prime minister a lot more and there is no temptation and it is the cleanest society you can find anywhere.


TANK: Well, it's unclear exactly what Murdoch meant, but open and clear isn't really -- certainly an odd choice of words for someone in the media industry. The group Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore 136 out of 178 on its press freedom index. In comparison, the United Kingdom is number 19.

Well, that's it from us at News Stream for you, but the news continues as ever here at CNN. World Business Today is up next.