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China's Deadly Train Crash; South Korea Flooding; U.S. Debt Vote

Aired July 28, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

China's premier arrives at the site of a deadly train crash hoping to quell the anger over the deaths of 39 people.

South Korea's rainy season arrives with deadly effect: landslides, parts of the capital under water, much misery.

And a vote looms in the U.S. Congress over the U.S. debt crisis, but will the House Republican leaders' plan pass?

We begin in China, where Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has arrived at the scene of a deadly train crash that has killed 39 people. Now, Chinese state media reporting that design flaws in the railway signal equipment led to the high-speed crash. And with anger rising and comments from online sites like Sina Weibo criticizing the government's handling of the incident, China's premier is promising a thorough investigation.


WEN JIABAO, CHINESE PREMIER (through translator): If during our investigation we find any issue of corruption behind this, we will deal with it according to the law and not in a lenient manner. Only in this way can we face those who have died and gone forever.

STOUT (voice-over): His visit comes nearly five days after the accident. The premier says illness delayed his visit. Touring a disaster zone is not new for the premier, who became known as "Grandpa Wen" after comforting the nation during difficult times in the past. But Beijing has seen an outpouring of anger for its handling of the crash.

At the South Railway Station, hundreds of victims' relatives are protesting. They cry, "We need justice, we need the truth," and accuse the government of withholding information, something Beijing has denied. The government has tightened its grip on news coverage, urging reporters to focus on stories of heroism and hope like the story of 2-year-old E.E. She was pulled out of the wreckage alive some 20 hours after the crash. On national state-run TV, this little girl is the face of the tragedy.

This face is not. Thirty-two-year-old Yang Feng says he lost five family members in the accident, including his unborn child.

YANG FENG, RELATIVE OF VICTIMS (through translator): Please, give me my daughter back, my son back, my wife back. I could even kneel from here to the Shanghai Railway Bureau, but can kneeling down solve the problem? Can bowing solve the problem?

We need people's lives. We need rescue, immediate rescue, but not this showing off.

STOUT: He has not been shown on national state-run television. However, his passionate remarks to local media were posted online.

This vide shown on China's popular has been viewed nearly seven million times. The train accident remains one of the most discussed items on the Sina Weibo microblog for a fourth straight day.

Whether Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's appearance at the crash site can dispel anger remains to be seen. His visit was made on the same day the Shanghai Railway Bureau blamed design flaws for the fatal crash, saying its signal system failed to turn the green light into red after a lightning strike. The Chinese premier vowed to severely punish those responsible.


STOUT: Now, China's big push to build its high-speed rail network in the past three years has raised some concern over the line's safety and sustainability. Now, this is a look at China's current high-speed rail routes. They cover more than 8,300 kilometers, making China's high-speed rail the most extensive in the world. Beijing apparently has no intention of slowing down anytime soon, with plans to spend $400 billion in rail projects over the next five years.

Now, to South Korea next, where the heaviest rains in a century have killed at least 49 people. Most died as the land gave way under the pressure of rushing water. Hundreds of families have lost their homes.

And take a look at this, actual waves in the streets of Seoul. It's an incredible site. And as with any YouTube video, CNN cannot verify its authenticity, but it is certainly not a sight we'd expect to see in Seoul.

At least five neighborhoods there in the capital region are under evacuation orders, and our Paula Hancocks is there in Seoul. She joins us now live with the very latest.

And Paula, is the heavy rain still a threat to the people of South Korea?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, at this point it has actually stopped, but we have had three days of pretty consistent torrential rain. Today, there have been brief lulls which have really helped rescuers to be able to try and find more people from those deadly mudslides. And, of course, that is one of the main problems. Their rescue efforts are being severely hindered by the fact that the rain is continuing.

There is a lull at the moment though. The meteorological agency is hoping that by Friday, these rains will actually have eased, and so then that will help the rescue operation and the cleanup operation. But as you said, the death toll has risen once again, 49 people. It has steadily risen over the past few days.

We know that 13 people died in just one landslide east of Seoul, many of them students. We know 18 people died in an affluent area of southern Seoul in another mudslide. And also, three people died in a factory and further people died in different mudslides in and around Seoul.

So this is really a very serious incident. This hasn't been seen, as you say, in almost a century. And it has taken South Koreans by surprise -- Kristie.

STOUT: And I wanted to ask, has it taken the government by surprise? And what are your thoughts on the government response and preparedness? Did the heavy rain, the landslides, take the authorities there completely by surprise?

HANCOCKS: Well, it's difficult to know how you do actually plan for this amount of rain. This was unprecedented almost, not having seen this for almost a century. And it's not the amount of rain that was expected. It is the rainy season, so sometimes there is some localized flooding, but nothing like this.

Now, we know there's something like 12,500 who were trying to help with this rescue operation. There's military, there's police. There's also public servants.

President Lee Myung-bak also head an emergency summit, emergency meeting to try and coordinate the rescue effort. So certainly there is a lot of effort ongoing, but I think the scale of this did actually surprise the government.

STOUT: And Paula, take us back to the moment when that first fatal landslide took place. It happened in the middle of the night when the victims were asleep. And the victims, they were mostly students, weren't they?

HANCOCKS: That's right, yes. This was around about midnight that the first one happened, Tuesday night, going into Wednesday morning, local time.

And it was near the city of Chungcheong, which is east of Seoul. And at least 13 people died. Many of them were asleep inside an inn in a hostel where many of these students were staying.

They were actually there for volunteer work, and many of them died as they were sleeping and died in their beds. And many people were actually rescued from that particular area. A number of houses as well also collapsing around that inn.

Of course we also have to remember that North Korea will be affected by this as well. We have a lot of information on South Korea. Information is a lot harder to come by in North Korea. Over the coming days we could hear of damage there.


Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul.

Thank you very much for that.


STOUT: Still ahead on NEWS STREAM, U.S. lawmakers look like they're heading down to the wire on the debt crisis. Now, what are the biggest hurdles holding up a deal?

Plus, the pain in Norway still feels fresh, but police say they are no longer searching for victims of last week's terror attacks.

And disaster caused by nature made worse by bad decisions. We'll explain why Somalia's famine is partly a manmade crisis.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, after days of uncertainty, the U.S. House of Representatives will finally vote on Speaker John Boehner's bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. It includes $915 billion in federal spending cuts over 10 years, but even if the House approves the Republican plan, Democrats in the Senate say they will kill it.

In interviews with NBC's "Nightly News," Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed their frustration in trying to get a plan passed.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's not the Tea Party Caucus. I mean, most of the freshmen are frankly in pretty good shape. It would be more what I would describe as some hard-line conservatives who want more.

Well, I don't blame them. I want more, too. But this was an agreement between the bipartisan Senate leaders and myself. It is what's doable. And I think we can get there.



SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm disappointed. I care about John Boehner. I think he's a good person. I've been disappointed that he's painted himself into this corner, and it makes our job over here much difficult. But I hope that the American people are going to learn pretty soon that we are able to work our way through this. We have to do it.


STOUT: Now, some economists are asking, what's the big deal? The U.S. debt ceiling has been raised many times in the past and with far less fuss. And according to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. debt limit has been raised 74 times since 1962, and 10 of those times were in the past decade.

So take a look at the breakdown by past U.S. presidents. The debt limit was increased 16 times under Ronald Reagan, five times under George Bush Sr., six times under Bill Clinton, and seven times under George W. Bush.

Now, for more on what we can expect from the U.S. debt vote today, Joe Johns joins us now live from Washington.

And Joe, will the Republicans in the House back the Speaker's plan?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly beginning to look that way. We haven't been able to take a vote count simply because it's kind of a chaotic situation on Capitol Hill and things have changed so dramatically and so quickly. It's very difficult to just get numbers to attach to that. But there's a lot of reporting out there that suggests Speaker Boehner does have the votes he needs to pass this bill out of the House of Representatives, though over on the Senate side, the Democrats, who control that side of the Capitol, say it's dead on arrival -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, as I mentioned just a moment ago, in the U.S. the debt limit has been raised dozens of times in recent decades, but without the partisan debate we're seeing. So why is it different this time around? Why have we seen so much squabbling and discord?

JOHNS: Well, the issue of government spending here in the United States has become front and center over the last several months. A lot of that is due to the fact that the government spent just untold amounts of money in bailouts for banks, for auto companies and others. And now the bill is coming due.

So, there are many people on Capitol Hill who were actually elected, they believe, under a mandate to come to Washington, D.C., and do something about the growth of the government debt. Now, that, of course, is one of those issues that is difficult to accomplish unless you raise taxes.

This president has said he wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but there are a number of Republicans, conservatives on Capitol Hill who say they're just not interested and won't raise taxes, at least at this juncture.

STOUT: And what is the mood in America, meanwhile? How many Americans trust the U.S. president, Barack Obama? And how many trust House Republicans on the debt and deficit issues?

JOHNS: Well, I can tell you that, generally, the polls have shown the president is not doing great on that accord with the American public, that his approval ratings haven't been all that good, especially for a man who is headed into a reelection fight just next year. However, the important thing to point out is that for his approval ratings, the approval ratings of the United States Congress have been even worse.

So, the one thing that Americans seems to be coalescing around is the idea that they're not interested in seeing the United States government default on its debt. And they certainly don't want the credit rating of the United States downgraded, because that could affect interest rates and a hundred other things not just in this country, but all over the world -- Kristie.

STOUT: So Americans' disapproval of government has turned into a nonpartisan debate.

Joe Johns, joining us live from Washington.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, there is one point in particular that the White House has been trying to make clear in the midst of this whole debt ceiling debate, that this is not about increasing spending but, rather, it is about making sure that the U.S. government has enough money available to cover the debts it already has wracked up.

Now, let's take a look at the breakdown of how much has been added to the debt under President George W. Bush's administration versus that of President Barack Obama's.

And according to figures released by the White House, Mr. Bush's policies have added $7 trillion to the debt, $2 trillion of that from the Bush-era tax cuts alone, in comparison with -- look at Barack Obama's numbers. You can see it right there. His programs have added $1.4 trillion so far. It's important to note that Bush's total accounts for eight years in office, and Obama hasn't even completed a full term just yet.

Now, up next, here on NEWS STREAM, one mother in Norway relives the terror of last week's attacks, and she tells us how she stayed in touch with her daughter who was trapped on an island with a gunman.


STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM.

Police in Norway say that they have stopped searching for people missing after a shooting spree on Utoya Island. Now, officials confirm a total of 68 people were killed there on Friday. And just a short time ago, authorities announced that they will conduct a new interview with suspect Anders Behring Breivik tomorrow, but they say that their top priority is keeping the country calm and safe.


JOHAN FREDRIKSEN, CHIEF OF STAFF, OSLO POLICE (through translator): There are people out there who are trying to cause a situation creating more fear, and the police are dealing with it.


STOUT: Now, the police have been criticized for their slow response to the shooting on Utoya Island, and we're getting a clearer picture of just how frightening it was out there.

Marianne Bremnes has received a phone call from her daughter Julie on Friday. She said, "Mom, don't panic, but there is a gunman going loose here. You must call the police." After that, they stayed in touch through text messages.

Now, let's go through some of them. Now, Julie first writes this: "Mummy, tell the police that they must be quick. People are dying here!"

And then her mother responds, "I'm working on it, Julie. The police are on their way. Dare you call me?"

And Julie responds, "No."

Now, the mother then reassures her daughter that police are indeed on the way. And then this -- the mother writes, "Give us a sign of life every five minutes, please." And her daughter responds, "OK. But we are in fear of our lives."

And her mother says, "I understand that very well, my darling. Stay hidden, do not move anywhere!" And her daughter then reassures her mother that she is hiding among some rocks.

Now, Jonathan Mann spoke with the mother who exchanged those texts with her daughter, and here is their conversation.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: How is your daughter today, both physically and emotionally?

MARIANNE BREMNES, SHOOTING SURVIVOR'S MOTHER: She's simply -- she's perfectly well, emotional. She has her ups and downs, but I think she will do well after some time. But we don't know about the long-term consequences of this.

MANN: Obviously not.

Now, she said she was in the rocks along the coast. Where was she? How far was she from the tragedy that was unfolding in front of her?

BREMNES: This is a (INAUDIBLE) island. And she -- when the shooting started, she was on the top -- in the middle of the island, together with her group. And then they saw the killer coming, walking down the road there. And they thought it was a policeman coming to inform them about the bomb explosion in Oslo.

But then they suddenly saw him starting to shoot around and they panicked. And then they ran. And Julie ran down to the shore, and she hide in the cliffs behind some rocks and overhand. And there she stayed until she got rescued after some time.

MANN: You had no warning, I take it. This wasn't yet on radio or on television. The first indication you had was when she called. And then as the minutes passed, as she was texting, what was going through your mind at that point?

BREMNES: I was confused, I was despaired, and I was terrified, of course. I didn't know anything else to do than try to calm her down and text her, and check out if she was still alive and was OK.

MANN: Was there some part of you though -- inside, is there some part of your daughter inside that's still shaking from all of this?

BREMNES: Oh, of course. I'm crying from time to time as well. But Norwegian people don't shout much. We don't scream a lot. So we mourn in peace when we are alone, and we -- well, that's how we are. So, well, I think we will still be that in the future as well.

MANN: Strong people even in times of tragedy, and certainly you are.

BREMNES: I hope so.

MANN: Marianne Bremnes, thanks so much. And all of our best to your daughter and to the other survivors.

BREMNES: Thank you.


STOUT: Now, the daughter of Marianne Bremnes was lucky, but five of her friends were among the 68 people killed on Utoya Island. And still, she says that she will return to that summer camp next year.

Now, coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, suffering in the Horn of Africa. As the first U.N. airlift of emergency supplies touches down in Mogadishu, we will look at whether better governance could have prevented much of this.

And activists in Cameroon speak out against what they say is a common and dangerous practice to stop teenage girls from becoming pregnant.


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

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

Now, China's premier is visiting the site of last weekend's deadly high- speed train crash in Wenzhou. According to state media, Wen Jiabao is there to mourn the victims and console their families.

At least 49 people have been killed in South Korea in landslides and flooding caused by the heaviest downpours in a century. Now hundreds of people have lost their homes. The extreme weather cut power to over 100,000 households and most of it has now been restored.

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on Speaker John Boehner's bill to cut government spending and end the deadlock over the debt ceiling. But even if the House approves the Republican plan, Democrats say they will kill it in the Senate. The U.S. could start running short of cash Tuesday if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling.

Now the first World Food Program air lift since the UN declared a famine in Somalia has finally arrived in Mogadishu. Now the plane is carrying 10 tons of high calorie food supplements which aid workers say will help about 3,500 children for one month. And because the need is just so much greater, similar air lifts are expected in the coming days.

And it is feared that conflict on the ground could slow the process. Now heavy fighting broke out on Thursday as government forces, backed by African Union troops, attacked insurgents.

Now we want to take you back now to the world's largest refugee camp. It is in northeastern Kenya and hundreds of thousands of Somalis have walked there desperate for help. Now ITN's Martin Geissler is following their plight.


MARTIN GEISSLER, ITN CORRESPONDENT: The day starts early at Dagadera (ph) Hospital. The morning rounds are important, assessing how the severely malnourished children here have passed the night. Little Manaj (ph) just put on the scales. He is the most vulnerable patient. And this morning he's lost weight. He has diarrhea too. It is a real cause for concern. The doctors put him back on a drip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to put (inaudible).


GEISSLER: His mother looks on anxious and helpless. Just imagine her ordeal. She walked for a week to get here with five children and now she watches her youngest hover on the line between life and death.

For some of these mothers, life outside the hospital will be almost as harsh. Security is a problem here, especially for women. Many come as widows, their husbands killed in Somalia's intractable war.

Sinead Murray has been charting rape and sexual violence here. The rates have gone up four fold in the past month.

SINEAD MURRAY, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: There's no fencing and limited security. And even in terms of having a man in the family to protect them, many of these women don't.

GEISSLER: But the mothers in the hospital's intensive care ward have more immediate worries. They mourn as the doctors do their late afternoon runs.

The news is good for Manaj (ph), the medicine he's been given is working. His secondary infection seems to be clearing up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to monitor the child. You need to keep on the (inaudible). The assessment of the challenge is something that you have to do on an hourly basis.

GEISSLER: At this end of the ward, a reason to smile. But spare a thought for 3 year old Aden (ph), desperately ill when we first met him on Monday, his progress continues. But he will grow up without a mother, she died on the long road to Dedaab.

Martin Geissler, ITV news, on the Kenya/Somalia border.


STOUT: Heartbreaking story.

Now the drought in Somalia, in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, it is the worst in six decades. And the conflict with Somalia is just complicating the food crisis there. Beyond that, people are beginning to lay some of the blame on poor government policies.

Now David McKenzie joins me live from Nairobi. And David, what have you learned?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've learned is that this isn't a crisis that comes around just once, Kristie, it's a crisis that's chronic. It comes up every few years. I've been here long enough to see the last drought pass through this region. I want to show you the headline in The Standard "Shame of Kenya." This is a local paper popular here in Nairobi.

They are saying, in effect, that not enough is being done to help the people of Kenya, the people of Somalia. The government has said that there are problems with distributing food aid here within Kenya for the drought. But there's also a bigger picture here, which is that in many ways this is a man-made crisis.


MCKENZIE: Children like Noria (ph) are the face of this famine. She struggled for days to escape Somalia and hunger. It's a hunger blamed on drought, a land parched of water and food, but the reality is more complex.

I this a man-made crisis?

ALUM MCDONALD, OXFAM SPOKESMAN: Yes, to a large extent. I mean, it's been -- the crisis has been caused by the poor rains. You know, we've had two successive poor rains across the region. But to a larger extent that's also exacerbated by poor policies.

MCKENZIE: Most obviously in Somalia where al-Shabbab, the al Qaeda linked group, has flip flopped on allowing the UN in to feed starving people. But also in the rest of the region where food is always around. But even in urban areas, consumers struggle to afford it.

The high prices also affecting retailers. When they go and buy bulk like these onions, they have to pay almost double because of the high fuel prices and the high food prices. So when people come and buy their product, they buy less of it, and they buy less variety.

In Kenya, prices have more than doubled on all produce, including Kenya's staple, maize, hammering families trying to escape poverty.

WOLFGANG FENGLER, ECONOMIST, WORLD BANK: High food prices often then reduce all the gains that you get through economic growth because it affects the poorest.

MCKENZIE: The World Bank's lead economist says that production and distribution are controlled by a select few, so ordinary people suffer.

FENGLER: They pay higher than the high international prices. So when the international price goes up in Kenya the last three years, in 2009 and this year, it went up even higher.

MCKENZIE: And with each drought, the poorest have fewer assets to sell to buy food. They're thin cows fetch little at the market, the dead cows nothing.

So over time more people depend on food aid. Already, millions survive on it every year.

FENGLER: Ultimately, you need to get to a situation that people in Kenya and Africa don't pay half of their income for food. If they have a smaller share so that then like in richer countries where people are complaining about high food prices, but they're just complaining, they're not suffering.

MCKENZIE: And if that isn't done, the images of the population pushed on the edge could become the rule rather than the exception in this region.


MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, certainly the high food prices in this region both economically depressing the growing middle class. And also, you know, for a poor family to buy like this, the maize flour at the market -- as I said in that story, more than double in the last year. And here in Kenya it's even more expensive than the worldwide market, because of problems with distribution and price fixing.

For the poorest families, it really can meaning the difference between life and death in those drought affected areas -- Kristie.

STOUT: It's incredible the impact economics can have on just the lives of people there. And meanwhile, the situation in Somalia, David, I mean given reports of clashes there and the presence of the militant group al-Shabbab, can enough aid get into the country?

MCKENZIE: Well, there is aid already in the country. That aid flight that brought in 10 tons of food, it was supplemented food already in warehouses in Mogadishu. And also there are groups like UNICEF and the ICRC that are getting into this famine zone and have been throughout this crisis. The problem is, is it's not enough food.

And yes that -- those clashes are a long planned (inaudible) attack of the AU forces on al-Shabbab in Mogadishu, it could exacerbate the situation.

The World Food Bank program telling us right now it's not affecting their distribution of food to nutritional feeding centers, but if those clashes increased in Mogadishu it could really complicated the aid push into these areas -- Kristie.

STOUT: David McKenzie, live from Nairobi, thank you very much for staying on this story for us.

And if you would like to help the famine victims, just log on to this web site You will find a list and links to reputable aid agencies including the International Rescue Committee. It's helping people in central Somalia. It is also set up reception centers are refugee camps in Kenya and it's working to bring water to people in Ethiopia.

Now up next here on News Stream, in Camaroon one in four girls are set to suffer a painful practice. Now it is a ritual called breast ironing. And Nkepile Mabuse explains why its done and how people are fighting to stop it.


NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Northwest Camaroon, in this picturesque part of Africa an unspeakable practice. Grace Tetu (ph) is about to show me how she pressed her daughters breasts with a hot pestle to make her less desirable to men.

Is that the right temperature? And then you press them like that? And then do they -- that's when you flatten them.


MABUSE: It dries them away.

It's called breast ironing. Some mothers use hot stones, others shells, different methods with one objective.

Do you think that it helped you to be protected from boys looking at you?


MABUSE: So the boys didn't look at her anymore.


MABUSE: Teresia (ph) was 9 years old. Her mother ironed her breasts every morning before school for several weeks. One day the pestle she used was too hot.

Did she burn your breasts?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One time was not (inaudible). She (inaudible).

MABUSE: Her mother denies the incident. But Teresia (ph) is still traumatized.

DR. SINOU TCHANA, GYNECOLOGIST: One mother, who came with secondary burns of her hands because this tool she was going -- she was warming to do this breast ironing burned her.

MABUSE: Gynecologist Sinou Tchana has seen breast that have been totally destroyed and even one case of cancer.

TCHANA: Now we couldn't established way down it was the ironing which has led to this or (inaudible) had her cancer and then the ironing just came and aggravated the situation.

MABUSE: One of her patience is 23 year old Kathy Aba (ph), unable to save herself, she's trying to save other girls by confronting mothers in Cameroon about the effects of their actions. After hearing Aba's (ph) story, this mother is remorseful.

There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Cameroon with different norms and customs. What's striking about breast ironing is that it's practiced by all of them. The only known study ever conducted on a subject has revealed that one in four girls had been affected.

The high rate of teenage pregnancy is thought to be driving mothers to such drastic measures.

Now concerned charities are trying to spread the message that the solution lies in sex education and not breast ironing.

Is this what your mother used?


MABUSE: On you?


MABUSE: The challenge is reaching parents like Titu (ph) in far flung villages before a ritual motivated, they say, by love shatters more lives.

Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Cameroon.



STOUT: Welcome back.

Now in New York one museum is blurring the line between man and machine in an exhibit that's all about technology. Now's Laurie Segall takes a look.


PAOLA ANTONELLI, NEW YORK'S MUSEUM OF MODERN ART: What we're trying to do and what designers and engineers are trying to do is to make the technology become transparent and invisible, let people take an object and just run with it without thinking that it's location based, without thinking it's connected to the web, just this kind of natural spontaneous experience.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Talk to me is a new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Senior Curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli gave me a tour of human interaction with technology on display.

From the future of ATMs, power management in the home, location based gaming, data visualization, even sending a text message by sling shot.

ANTONELLI: This is the work of James Auger (ph) and Jimmy Valgeau (ph).

SEGALL: Happy Life (ph) is a device that monitors moods and emotions. It could one day find its way into your smartphone.

ANTONELLI: Suddenly members came in front of a thermal camera that is used to detect even minimal stress movement and stress tension. And one of the dials should now move -- the white one is moving.

SEGALL: What does that mean, exactly?

ANTONELLI: That means I'm pretty stressed today. Yes, see it's moving up. Whoa, stop!

There's always a fear and there's always a (inaudible) and a malaise with new technology, but it's not universal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't understand some of the technology, but I find it absolutely fascinating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm interested to see some of the things, obviously, or I wouldn't be here. But I feel that technology is taking over the world, it's making people lose jobs...

SEGALL: The technology also veers into the bizarre. Take this menstruation machine, it's aim: further understanding the female reproductive cycle.

ANTONELLI: It looks almost like a chastity belt. It's like (inaudible) by a music video in which Takashi, Takashi is the Japanese male boy name who wants to feel like a woman so he wears the menstruation machine and then he struts around town with his girlfriend and his girlfriend sings this song, you can listen to it here a little bit. It's really funny.

What designers are doing is that they're trying to use technology make use better humans. Interfaces are made for us. So when you go to your bank and to the ATM machine of your bank you will from now on after seeing Talk to Me, look at the interface and be able to criticize it. And you think it's not good enough you'll be able to write to the bank and say, you know what, we need to use better designers.

So it really is about letting people take charge of the power that is given them from being the consumers, users and final destination for all the design objects today.


STOUT: Whoa, I think you need to counter all of that art with a lot of sport up next. European champions Barcelona were in action on Wednesday. And Pedro Pinto will have all the action for us in just a minute.


STOUT: Now back now to the U.S. debt debate. And while it may be no laughing matter to economists around the world, the ongoing drama in Washington is inspiring some moments of laughter. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A rap video, a cops and robbers movie, and Amy Winehouse? What do they have to do with the debt ceiling fiasco?

Remy Munasifi is a comedian from Virginia who likes doing political videos.

REMY MUNASIFI, COMEDIAN: All this spending kind of fits in with like a bad rap. I just happen to be a bad rapper.

LAURA INGRAHAM, LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW: Is it true that you told some of the Republican members this morning that you need to get your a-word in line behind this debt ceiling bill?


Listen, this is time to do what is doable.

MOOS: The Washington Post reported that the House majority whip played a movie clip to motivate Republicans to pull together. The clip featured Ben Affleck as a bank robber planning revenge in The Town.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: I need your help. I can't tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later. I'm going to hurt some people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose car are we going to take?

MOOS: The Democrats turned the car against the Republicans.

SEN. CHUCH SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: They chose to inspire their House freshman, one of the crooks gives a pep talk to the other right before they both put on hockey masks, bludgeon two men with sticks, and shoot a man in the leg. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your House Republican majority.

MOOS: Asked about Republicans playing his clip, Ben Affleck said, "I don't know if this is a compliment or the ultimate repudiation, but if they're going to be watching movies, I think The Company Man is more appropriate." A film about corporate layoffs.

AFFLECK: You're firing me?

MOOS: Now here's a head scratcher, what possible connection could there be between the debt and the death of singer Amy Winehouse?

Republican Congressman Billy Long from Missouri tweeted, "no one could reach Amy Winehouse before it was too late. Can anyone reach Washington before it's too late? Both addicted. Same fate?"

Long later apologized saying he meant no disrespect to Winehouse with his analogy about Congress's addiction to spending. If this keeps up, we'll have to raise the limit on debt related doozies.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


STOUT: Now topping the sports headlines, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has refuted claims that he is a dictator. Pedro Pinto joins us with more on that, Pedro.


Sepp Blatter spoke with journalists out in Brazil on Wednesday ahead of the World Cup draw this upcoming weekend. And he denied that he deliberately pushed his former president challenger, Mohammed Bin Hammam out of FIFA in order to keep his position as the most powerful man in football. Bin Hammam was just banned from football for life after being found guilty of corruption. Blatter admitted once more that there are issues at FIFA that says he needs 9 months to put together a plan to reform football's world governing body.


SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: I am not a dictator as it has been said. I'm not alone. I work with my executive committee, with my administration, and now with a lot of advisers. And I can tell you advisers that (inaudible) they know -- knowledgeable what they -- what it means transparency on one side, and anti-corruption on the other side.


PINTO: Now it was the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that initially led many to accuse FIFA of corruption. Back in December of last year, England had high hopes of winning the right to host one of the tournaments. David Beckham was a leading member of that failed 2018 bid. He told CNN's Isha Sesay that he wishes the bidding process had been conducted in a more transparent way.


DAVID BECKHAM, FOOTBALL PLAYER: Being part of that bid. In our eyes, we were successful, because there's no way we could have done anything different to our bid here. It was a successful bid. It was a great bid for us to put out there. And, you know, having heavy weights like the Prime Minister and the future king of England backing our bid, that was huge. So in our eyes and I think everyone in our country, we couldn't have done anything more with out bid.

Unfortunately, we didn't get it. You know, we was confident of getting it, but unfortunately we didn't. But nothing against the countries -- against Qatar and against Russia, because I think they are two great countries that have not had the World Cup before, and it is good for countries -- you know, especially Russia to get the World Cup. I think it's going to do so much for the country and so much for the children and the poverty that goes through certain parts of Russia. So I think that's a good thing.

I think Qatar is going -- it's going to be a spectacular World Cup.

So it's nothing against, you know, the countries that won it. I think there were certain parts of the process that we kind of felt that we wasn't happy about. And I think when a man to man is in a room with you and they say don't worry, we've got your vote -- you've got our vote, sorry. And then we get one vote on the day, that -- I think that was what upset us a lot and left us with a sick feeling.

So especially when it's not important, you know, with me, but when you set upset the future king of England or the prime minister and they're saying don't worry we're with you. And then...

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So you felt that you had a really good chance. Based on the one to one conversations you had.

BECKHAM: Yeah. And I definitely felt that we had more chance of getting two votes than one, or whatever we got now, it's not of interest anymore. But we definitely felt we had a good chance.


PINTO: All right, enough of talk off the pitch, let's get to some action on it. Defending European champions Barcelona showed their class in Germany on Wednesday as they beat Bayern Munich to win the high profile Audi Cup. Barca dominated the proceedings even without Lionel Messi who is still on holiday.

Barca had a great performance from one of their youngsters, Thiago, who scored twice as the Spanish giants clinched the trophy in this exhibition tournament at the Alljanz Arena.

The second goal was stunning.

Barca beating Bayern 2-nil.

That's a quick look at the international sports headlines. Kristie, back to you.

STOUT: Pedro, thank you.

And now if you prefer sitcoms over sports, tune in to this. It's being called Afghanistan's version of the hit show The Office. You're looking at the trailer for The Ministry. The mockumentary stars in full use of a fictional garbage ministry.

Now it is a bit more serious than the U.S. version of The Office, tackling subjects like terrorism, drugs, and corruption. But Ricky Gervais, the boss on the original UK version of the show, he sees some similarities. In fact he writes this on his blog, quote, "they found a fat, annoying, middle aged block with a beard. That bit was easy. And the difficult part was founding a town in Afghanistan was grim as Slough. That was the show's British setting.

Now Gervais continues, quote, "come down, I'm joking. It's not quite as grim as Slough, obviously."

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