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Fighting Corruption in India; U.N. Security Council to Meet on Syria; Attacks in Israel
Aired August 18, 2011 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.
I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.
Now, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare is riding a tidal wave of support in India, but will his 15-day hunger strike move the government of Manmohan Singh?
A series of attacks in Israel leaves at least six people dead. We will get the latest from Jerusalem.
And as a roadside bombing in Afghanistan highlights the fragile security there, we'll be talking live to the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker.
In the people versus corruption battle in India, it's 1-nil to the people. Activist Anna Hazare is expected to leave prison tomorrow and start a 15- day public fast. That, despite him being free to go now.
Now, he was detained on Tuesday after announcing his plan to go on a hunger strike to press for stronger anti-corruption measures, but thousands took to the streets to protest the arrest. Authorities said he could go free, but he refused to leave the jail, complaining about conditions the police had placed on him and the circumstances of his fast. Now, many of those conditions have now been lifted, but the fasting venue is not ready, so he is staying put and is expected to leave on Friday.
The social reformer has become an unlikely figurehead for India's fight against corruption. And with more, CNN producer Sumnima Udas joins us now live from our New Delhi bureau.
Sumnima, more protests today in New Delhi. What did you see?
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Kristie. We were outside the Tihar jail, which is the most famous and biggest jail here in Delhi. And there were hundreds of protesters, all there waiting, shouting slogans, waiting for him really to come out. That didn't happen, of course, today, but they were saying that they will camp out, they will stay there, they will wait until he comes out.
And we were talking to a lot of his supporters there, and we're seeing college kids had skipped college to come there, accountants had not gone to work to come there. And let's listen to a few things that some of them were saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anna Hazare is bringing about a change, and we are all up for the change. We really want this corruption to go away because it's been haunting us, like, forever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a revolutionary, the new revolutionary of the 21st century in India. So he's (INAUDIBLE) from corruption, which is the biggest evil right now in our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For my trials (ph), admission into a school. But as simple as that, I have to (INAUDIBLE) for getting my -- yes, for going into the housing department in the land regards, in land revenue. Everywhere, corruption is only present.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UDAS: Now, while we were there, news spread very quickly that he was not going to come out today. But the protesters said they would continue to stay there. And the recent he wasn't going to come out of jail today was the grounds where the protests will continue tomorrow is not ready. It's been raining a lot here, so the ground, this massive ground, which is very muddy right now, a lot of tents have to be put up. It's very hot here, and basically a lot of security has to be put into place.
So a lot of logistical arrangements still have to happen before he can move his protest to the Ralegan ground -- Kristie.
STOUT: Now, Hazare will begin his 15-day hunger strike tomorrow.
Sumnima, what will happen then? How will the people of India respond, and how will the government react?
UDAS: That's right. He's supposed to move the protest tomorrow to Ralegan ground. He'll continue to protest for another 15 days. That's when the hunger strike will continue.
And a lot of the people we've been talking to have said they will just continue this fight until the government meets their demands. And the demands are quite lengthy, actually.
The main sticking point has been about whether the prime minister should be included in the citizen ombudsman bill. While the government has said that's a matter of interest and national security, the political protesters have said that this is really a joke, this bill that's currently in parliament.
STOUT: So this fight will surely go on.
Sumnima Udas, CNN producer, joining us live from New Delhi.
Thank you very much indeed for that.
Now, an anti-corruption movement is spreading across India, with Hazare at its head. The anti-corruption crusader was not known nationally until recently, but his growing crowd of supporters hails from far and wide. And not just from New Delhi, where he held a five-day hunger strike in April.
Protests are also being seen in the major cities of Mumbai and Kolkata, as well as in Ralegan Siddhi. That's Hazare's home village, and thousands have gathered to chant pro-Hazare slogans and echo his demands.
Now, Indians have even created a Web site. It's called IPaidaBribe.com, where people can denounce the corruption they encounter in their daily lives.
Now, Hazare's close aide, Kiran Bedi, says Hazare has united the country against bribes as a way of life. And a little earlier she spoke to CNN and explained why he is fasting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRAN BEDI, INDIAN ACTIVIST: Well, if you keep track of Indian news, you know how widespread and how truly national it is. It is in every corner, nook and corner of this country today.
And interestingly, it's youth-led, it's organized body-led, it's NGO-led, it's associations-led, it's teachers-led, it's across gender, age group. It's got everybody, because one and all have either seen a bribe or experienced a bribe or suffered from a bribe. So it's both at the bottom and at the top. So it's truly united the country in this wave against corruption.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: They're not going to respond to you. They want you to go through the parliamentary process. There is a democracy in India, so are you going to get what you want by supporting a hunger strike?
BEDI: Well, the hunger strike has been the last resort by Anna Hazare and not the first. Nobody wants to go to a hunger strike at the top of a hat (ph). The processes have failed. Dialogue has failed. Meeting of meetings brought about no results.
And all efforts -- sometimes there was even an element of somewhere a breach of trust. So the hunger strike was a last resort after (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: And that was Kiran Bedi speaking to my colleague Max Foster earlier.
And activists like Kiran Bedi are turning to Twitter to organize the masses of Hazare supporters across India. In fact, Hazare's own group is called India Against Corruption. It's using the site to post its latest plans around New Delhi.
Now, the group tweets to the town of Gurgaon, "Join candlelight protest to support janlokpal today, sector 14, 6:30 p.m.
And in Bangalore, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, he tweets this: "Will lead a meditation at Freedom Park, Bangalore this evening.
Now, another activist, Sapna Bhavnani, also using Twitter. She's based in Mumbai, and she writes this: "Ten thousand people from Andheri Station to Juhu Beach. Go soldiers."
As we continue to hear reports of the escalating violence against civilians in Syria now, President Bashar al-Assad is telling a different story. Now, in a recent phone conversation with the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki- moon, al-Assad said all military and police operations against anti- government protesters have now stopped. And state-run media reports that he was also quick to add that any reforms in Syria are not a result of international pressure.
Many countries have come out in recent months condemning the government's crackdowns, and senior U.S. officials say Washington is prepared to call for President al-Assad to step down as early as today.
Now, the U.N. Security Council will be briefed on Syria later today by the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.
CNN is no longer allowed to report from inside the country, but Arwa Damon is following events closely from Beirut.
And Arwa, will any action taken later today by the United States or the U.N. Security Council change events inside Syria?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, according to what some analysts, it very well possibly could in the sense that the Assad regime is quite capable of standing up to individual countries, to an individual voice of condemnation. But when it comes to this chorus, this growing chorus of condemnation, especially when it comes to the United Nations, that possibly could hit a pressure point.
When I was in Damascus a short while ago, speaking with some senior Western diplomats, they were saying that even at that stage, about a month ago, the government was appearing to be fairly disturbed by the fact that there were all of these allegations of human rights abuses. So the fact that this is going one step further at the United Nations, that there is widespread speculation that Syria could perhaps be referred to the International Criminal Court, that could be sending a fairly severe message to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he has really taken this too far and that the time for change is immediate.
That being said, though, there really is no indication just yet that the regime is trying to change its current course of action. The activists that we have been talking to are saying that even though the military appears to have shifted its position slightly, withdrawn some of its troops from certain areas, the overall crackdown is still very much continuing -- Kristie.
STOUT: So the crackdown is continuing even though al-Assad has stopped that it has "stopped."
Now, we're now nearing five months of protests and violence in Syria. Arwa, how firm a grip does President Bashar al-Assad have left, and what is his strategy at this point?
DAMON: Well, his strategy at this point most certainly appears to be to do whatever it's going to take to try to remain in power, but that strategy, quite simply, according to analysts, is not working. By choosing the path of violence, he has not only hardened the opposition against him, he has also created a situation where the country now exists barring a handful of international support. It's a country that pretty much does exist in isolation with this growing international chorus, the growing domestic pressure.
Now, from a certain standpoint, he does still remain in a, relatively speaking, powerful position in the sense that the business community has not yet spoken out publicly, in the sense that, by and large, overall, the Syrian security forces, the military does appear to be holding together. But he has lost a significant amount of credibility, not just domestically, within the country itself, but within the region. So that most certainly is going to serve to weaken him.
Now, what's going to be interesting to watch is if, in fact, these military operations do end, if the security forces do withdraw -- not that we've seen any sign of that just yet -- that would mean that the demonstrators would take to the streets once again. And so it's going to be interesting to see if that does in fact take place, and if the government does allow these demonstrations to go forward.
STOUT: Arwa Damon, live from Beirut, watching the situation closely inside Syria.
Now, ahead here on NEWS STREAM, attacks in Afghanistan. There was more deadly violence today. Will Afghanistan be ready to stand on its own once U.S. forces leave? We'll have a special live interview with the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
And rebel gains. Opposition forces say they are moving closer to Tripoli, but at what cost?
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now, we start in Israel. And military officials say that six people have been killed in attacks near the southern city of Eilat just a short time ago. They say that attackers fired shots at a bus, assaulted military officers, and fired mortars and an anti-tank missile. Israeli forces have exchanged gunfire with the attackers.
Our Kevin Flower is following the story live in Jerusalem. He joins us now.
And Kevin, is this attack ongoing? What is the latest?
KEVIN FLOWER, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, it's a developing story, Kristie, to be sure.
At this point, we understand that it could still be going on. We haven't gotten a definitive declaration from the Israeli military as to whether gunfire exchanges with militants or terrorist units, whatever, have stopped at this point.
What we do know is that at least six people have been killed, over two dozen have been injured, in what the Israeli military is saying were multiple attacks, four attacks, in southern Israel and on the outskirts of the southern city of Eilat. What the Israeli defense minister has said at this point is he has pointed the finger at Gaza, saying that the origin of these attacks were in Gaza.
He's also said in his statement that these -- he also blamed the Egyptian government, saying that the Egyptian government has been unable to control lawlessness and basically terrorist elements from developing within the Sinai Peninsula, and that that has also contributed to the attack as well. And basically, what he's saying there, to connect those dots, he seems to be suggesting that elements -- some of these attackers made their way into the Gaza Strip, crossed into Egypt, into the Sinai Peninsula, and then crossed back into Israel across the border there.
So it's a sort of significant sort of fingering of the Egyptian government at this point. It's just in the past week that the Egyptian government itself has sent military units into the Sinai Peninsula to wage operations against what it called al Qaeda-inspired elements operating in the Sinai Peninsula. So a lot of unknown questions at this point, not a lot of answers, but a lot of it will be coming clear in the next few hours -- Kristie.
STOUT: Yes, we still don't know who are the attackers. Any idea what was the intended target of this attack? Was it civilian or military or both?
FLOWER: Well, it's hard to know. The bus that was initially attacked was a bus that authorities here were saying was traveling from the Israeli city of Beersheba to Eilat.
Now, this would be a civilian bus, but on a Thursday, the start of the weekend here, it is likely that there would be a lot of military personnel returning from their bases on that bus. So it's possible that the military was the intended target.
At this point, we don't know -- of those six who were killed, we don't know definitively whether they were Israeli civilians or Israeli military or foreign nationals at this point. Suggestions seem to be that at least some of them were Israeli military personnel. Of course, we'll be getting word on that back later.
And this is not the first time, Kristie, that an attack like this has happened in southern Israel. Just in April earlier this year there was a similar attack, an anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip that hit a bus in southern Israel.
STOUT: All right. Kevin, thank you very much indeed.
Again, this attack, it may be ongoing. Any new developments, we'll be sure to talk again.
Kevin Flower, joining us live from Jerusalem.
Now, in Libya, rebel leaders say that they're making gains toward the capital, Tripoli, despite heavy fire from Colonel Gadhafi's forces on Wednesday in the western city of Zawiya.
And in the U.S., support for the rebels' transitional government is also gaining momentum. Now, here, you can see Libyan-Americans singing and waving flags outside the Libyan Embassy in Washington after it was finally reopened on Wednesday. It now represents the Transitional National Council. The embassy had been closed since March, after the U.S. expelled Libyan diplomats loyal to Gadhafi.
Well, back in Libya, the ongoing fighting has forced many residents to flee or risk getting caught in the crossfire. And tragically, many of them already have. And the wounded are putting a tremendous strain on medical personnel. With many in and around the fiercest fighting, there is only one hospital.
It's in the city of Yefren. Our Sara Sidner takes us inside.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in a hospital in Yefren, which is one of the only hospitals that is equipped to deal with some of the people who have been injured in the fighting in three separate cities, including Zawiya, the largest in this area. We've been talking to doctors here. They say that they are really, really short on staff, particularly nurses.
There are people who have been at the front lines, the rebel fighters, that are here. There are also people who have been on the other side, with Gadhafi. But there are also civilians, children and women.
We've seen just tons and tons of people coming through this hospital. So it gives you an idea of how important this hospital is, because people from several different cities have to come here to be treated.
Here are some of the civilian injuries here that this doctor wants to show us, and he cannot show us his face because he has family in Tripoli, he's afraid for their safety.
What has happened to this patient?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this woman, two days ago she was in her kitchen. And again, there is a missile that hit her.
The next bed, you can see here this is another kid who is only 9 years old. She was, again, inside her home. Another missile hit her badly. Unfortunately, there's a more than 90 percent chance that she may lose her right arm.
SIDNER: At this point, doctors say that over the past four days, they've seen more than 200 patients that they've been trying to treat. That includes everyone from people who are fighting for Gadhafi, to people who are fighting against him, to civilians, parents, children. And what is happening at this point is they absolutely are in desperate need of more staff.
So that's the situation here in Yefren. This hospital, serving several cities that have been fighting for the past few days.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Yefren, Libya.
STOUT: And ahead here on NEWS STREAM, we have more on our top story. Many in India are rising up against corruption inspired by activist Anna Hazare. Who is he? And will his national movement make a real difference?
STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now, a 7-year-old boy is recovering from a terrible dog attack in northern Mexico. This attack, it nearly destroyed part of his face. But thanks to a quick-thinking witness and some dedicated surgeons, the boy can smile again.
Rafael Romo explains what happened.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's still great fear in his eyes, but for little Raul Antonio Carrizales, the worst is over. The 7-year-old survived a vicious attack by his neighbor's pit bull and is returning to a hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, for reconstructive therapy.
After losing both of his lips and 60 percent of his left cheek in the attack, his doctors seem pleased with his physical progress, though the little boy affectionately called "Tonito" (ph) is still haunted by the memory of that day.
"I was riding my bike," he says, "and all of a sudden, the dog bit me."
Efrain Guzman, a security guard in the neighborhood where Tonito (ph) lives, was the first person to help.
EFRAIN GUZMAN, SECURITY GUARD (through translator): I realized that parts of his cheek and his lips were missing. I found them lying on the floor, and I quickly put them in a plastic bag with ice.
ROMO: Tonito's (ph) mom calls the security guard a hero.
ASUNCION JARAMILLO, INJURED BOY'S MOTHER (through translator): When I saw my son missing part of his face, I was wondering what had happened. I thank God that the security guard knows first-aid and picked up the missing skin.
ROMO: Dr. Miguel de la Parra, a lead surgeon at Monterrey's IMSS Hospital, he says his team's first mission was to save the boy's smile.
DR. MIGUEL DE LA PARRA, SURGEON (through translator): It was very important to us that the missing skin was kept in ice, because it gave us more time to perform the surgery. Had it not been for that, the skin would have quickly decomposed.
ROMO: Tonito's (ph) surgery was such a success, that it was featured in a medical magazine. Doctors called it the first facial reconstructive surgery of its kind performed in Mexico.
(on camera): Tonito (ph) still has months of therapy ahead of him. The main challenge for doctors now is helping the young boy to recover normal movement and feeling in his lips and left cheek as he continues to heal. But for now, his family is relieved that in spite of the traumatic experience and severe wounds, doctors were able to save the little boy's smile.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
STOUT: Heroic surgeons and a very brave little boy. A great story there.
STOUT: Now, ahead here on NEWS STREAM, trouble in Afghanistan. The Taliban claim responsibility for another attack. We'll be speaking live to the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, next.
And diplomacy in Beijing. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wraps up his second day there. We'll get an update.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now Indian activist Anna Hazare's aids say he will leave jail and start his public hunger strike tomorrow. He's pushing for tougher measures to battle corruption. Thousands across the country are showing their support for him.
In Syria, two versions of the crackdown. Now President Bashar al Assad tells the UN that military and police operations against anti- government protesters have stopped. Rights activists say that is not the case. Now senior officials tell CNN the U.S. may call as early as today for al Assad to step down.
The Turkish military says it's warplanes have bombed suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq. Now just hours earlier, eight Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush on a highway in southeastern Turkey. A military spokesman says they have hit more than 100 targets in the border region.
Now separate attacks have 26 people dead in Afghanistan. In western Afghanistan 24 people died when a roadside bomb exploded in the Herat Province. And earlier on Thursday a truck bomb ripped through the main security gate of a U.S. military base in the eastern part of the country. The Taliban is claiming responsibility for that attack.
Now U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has just wrapped up day two of a five day trip to China. And he's there for talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping in an effort to strengthen U.S.-China relations. Eunice Yoon has more.
EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Vice President Biden really does have his work cut out for him. Vice President Biden went to the Great Hall of the People today where he was greeted officially by Chinese leaders, including his counterpart Xi Jingping. And the two stressed the importance of the relationship between Washington and Beijing saying that cooperation between the two is crucial to maintaining economic stability in the world. So really that was the main message today.
Now over the next several days the two are going to be discussing a whole host of issues including likely the U.S. arm sales to Taiwan, North Korea, as well as human rights. Largely, though, most people expect that the talks are going to really center on economic issues. And the reason for that is because as you mentioned Biden's trip really here came at a very critical time when the anxiety level over America's finances is very high in China.
There have been several commentators as well as economists who have been voicing their concerns about China's investment in the U.S. in the wake of the debt debacle and the debt ceiling debacle in the United States as well as S&P downgrade.
This is what one former law maker had to say.
CHENG SINWEI, CHAIRMAN, INTERNATIONAL FINANCE FORUM: We have to be very careful about the downgrading, because China is the largest foreign current debtor. We need to urge the American government to keep their words. And to take some measures to prevent default.
YOON: And in the runup to Biden's visit there have been several commentators who have been weighing in with their own prescriptions to the U.S. economy. The latest message has been that the U.S. should refrain from pumping a lot of money into the markets and into the economy. They're worried that easy credit policy could actually erode the value of their own investments in U.S. debts.
STOUT: Eunice Yoon reporting there.
Now as we have been telling you earlier, separate attacks have left 26 people dead in Afghanistan this day, attacks like this. They highlight the security concerns inside the country as U.S. moves forward with its troop drawdown. At the height of the U.S. operation in Afghanistan there were nearly 100,000 troops in the country. And this summer U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he was bringing 30,000 troops home.
Now here is what he said back in June.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. And we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer. After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead.
Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete. And the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now the first of those soldiers came home in July when the U.S. began handing over security operations to Afghan forces. And joining us now is U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker. He is live in Kabul.
Ambassador Crocker, welcome to CNN.
Now today's roadside bombing it underscores the challenge to secure Afghanistan. What is your read on the readiness of Afghan forces to secure their own country?
RYAN CROCKER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN: Kristie, I think there's been an extraordinary improvement. I've only been in country three weeks, but I've had the chance to get around to watch Afghan forces in the field, to talk to our trainers, and to watch some areas of Afghanistan already transitioned to Afghan security control.
Challenges are huge. Today was a bad day. But we've also seen, I think, a weakened enemy that has to rely increasingly on IEDs and assassinations because they no longer have the capability to mount main force attacks.
So, mixed picture. A lot of challenges, but I think this is an achievable goal.
STOUT: Now let's talk about the timetable for withdrawal next. U.S. President Barack Obama, he plans to bring 10,000 troops home by the end of the year, another 23,000 by September 2012, full transfer by end of 2014. Ambassador is this a fixed timetable?
CROCKER: Well, the president clearly was laying out his policy. And he used numbers and he used times. I have heard commanders, including my military comrade here John Allen say they think this is all workable. Just been up in the north in Nangarhar Province, Regional Command North. They think it's -- East rather -- they think it's achievable.
You know, that's three-and-a-half years away. A lot can get done in that period of time. So I think we just have to work with our Afghan partners to an achievable, sustainable transition. It will be hard. There are going to be more bad days like this. But I think we can get it done.
STOUT: Now you mentioned just then some of your military colleagues believe that this timetable is workable, but the drawdown schedule seems to be too aggressive to some, including Admiral Mike Mullen. Here's what he said, let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I do not intend to discuss the specifics of the private advice I rendered with respect to these decisions. As I said, I support them.
What I can tell you is the president's decisions are more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Ambassador Crocker, are you taking his hesitation into account for the planned drawdown?
CROCKER: Well, I'm going to let the military speak for themselves. I'm a diplomat among warriors out here. But as I do talk to military commanders, as I talk to the Afghan government, both it's civilian and military leaders I find a pretty high degree of confidence that we can achieve sustainable security and stability in Afghanistan according to this timetable.
STOUT: Now let's talk about the Afghan people. Now many Afghans, they felt abandoned by the United States after 1989, that's when the former Soviet Union withdrew and Afghanistan just sank into brutal conflict. How do you plan to avoid that scenario from happening again?
CROCKER: That's a very important point. And in my conversations with Afghans where this often comes up I generally respond in a couple of ways.
First I say we remember what happened after 1990. We know the consequences of that decision for Afghanistan, which went through a brutal and bloody decade and for America, because 1990 was the road to 9/11. We're not going to do that again.
And I think the way we most clearly demonstrate that is by the work we're doing to negotiate a strategic partnership declaration that will define our bilateral relationship well beyond the end of 2014, a clear, written declaration that we are in this for the long haul even after the full transition of security authority to the Afghan government.
Because it is...
STOUT: So even after the full transfer of security in 2014 what will be the U.S. presence in Afghanistan?
CROCKER: That will have to be negotiated between the two governments, obviously. Now I envision, again a long-term diplomatic presence that will not be restricted just to Kabul. And we may very well decide between the two governments for a military presence that goes beyond the end of 2014 for the purposes of training and advising Afghan forces, for example.
I can't say that's definite, but it's certainly a possibility.
STOUT: So you're saying there is a possibility that there will be a U.S. military and diplomatic base long-term in Afghanistan after 2014?
CROCKER: Clearly there is going to be a long-term diplomatic presence. And again I envision it not restricted only to Kabul. A normal relationship between allies that enjoys strategic partnership.
With respect to military presence, again that's three-and-a-half years away. We're going to have to see what the Afghans want to do and how we're best positioned to help. But as they acquire weapons systems in the years ahead they're probably going to need our assistance for some time after 2014 as they learn how to integrate, operate, and maintain them.
STOUT: One final question for you, sir.
This year is the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda may not have as great a presence there in Afghanistan, but the Taliban are still very much there. Do you fear that Afghanistan can still be a haven for terror?
CROCKER: I think that is the key and critical reason why we are here. And why we are here in the force that we are.
You know, it's been a long haul. People are tired of it. But we have to remember that 9/11 came to us out of Afghanistan and with the Afghans we have to commit ourselves to doing everything possible to see those circumstances never again repeat themselves. It's going to take a lot of work. It's going to take strategic patience. It's going to take both civil and military inputs, but this is our national security at stake.
I was here to open the embassy shortly after the Taliban were defeated. So I remember what it was like then. I'm back here, because I believe that we can build a relationship that we can help contribute to a secure and stable Afghanistan that never again is the refuge of a strategic enemy that can bring bloodshed to American soil.
STOUT: U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker joining us live from Kabul, Afghanistan. Thank you for joining us here on CNN.
Now going back now to our top story, the anti-corruption campaign of Anna Hazare has won the first round in his battle with the Indian government. His colleagues say that he will leave jail and start his public fast tomorrow.
Now mass support for him forced the government to relent. And the police have lifted most conditions on his protest. Now the veteran activist is fighting for a stronger anti-graft law in the country.
Now corruption has long been a problem in India. According to Transparency International's index of perceived corruption India ranks 87th out of 178 countries surveyed. Now that places it in the company of Albania and Jamaica.
If Hazare and his supporters get their way and an anti-corruption agency is created, it will have plenty material to scrutinize.
Now take the Commonwealth Games last year. After that haphazard buildup and widespread condemnation the games mostly went off without a hitch, but in April this man, the chairman of the organizing committee Suresh Kamadi, he was arrested and charged. It's alleged that he bought items from a Swiss company at widely inflated prices.
Now meanwhile, this man, this is India's former telecom minister A. Raja is facing trial along with several bureaucrats and corporate officials. It's all in connection with a multibillion dollar scandal involving these suspected below price sale of mobile phone licenses in 2008.
Now the Indian people are sick and tired of the scandals. In fact, almost 350,000 people have liked this India against corruption page on Facebook. Now the group's Twitter page has more than 40,000 followers.
Now one man whose been following this closer than most is editor-in- chief of the Hindu Newspaper N Ram. And he joins us now live from Chinai.
Welcome to News Stream.
And do take us back to the beginning. Why did Mr. Hazare launch this protest?
N RAM, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF HINDU NEWSPAPER: Yes. Anna Hazare is the face of this national movement against corruption. It was triggered by the perception, or paradox. You have a prime minister who is considered personally honest. Nobody disputes it. And yet presides over the most corrupt government, the most tainted government that we have seen in the history of independent India.
And I think there's -- government is underestimated this consistently, has tried to cover up allegations of corruption, and Hazare's cause has flourished as a consequence.
But he's just one man and one face. He's a symbol of this movement. And what was enacted over the last 48 hours was a classic case of misreading the situation, of doing what everyone outside the regime knew would backfire and yet you do it.
But the good thing is the government has realized quickly, quickly enough, or was made forced to realize really that this won't do and has reversed its course, has run back on everything it insisted on. And that's, as you rightly said, this is stage one. He's won that battle.
Stage two is to actually get a law that is effective. Not just a law that Mr. Hazare has drafted along with his team, but a law that is significantly different from the one the government has introduced.
And in fact, one of the Hazare team campaigners has called it the promotion of corruption bill, which might be a bit of an exaggeration, but speaks to the inadequacy of the legislation -- the draft legislation, or the bill, that the government has introduced in parliament. And they can do much better than they've done so far.
And Mr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a learned man, is a wounded prime minister. His credibility has been greatly dented. And we are now moving to stage two of this fast.
The fast is -- what I expect from the fast is the unintended consequence of the government's crackdown, brief crackdown, was to raise awareness, was to spread his movement all over the country. New people jumped into it. Now the objective of the fast I guess will be to raise awareness and to built public pressure, forcing the government and all political parties to get serious about an effective (inaudible) bill, or act that must be radically different from what the government has tabled.
STOUT: Well, N, a very comprehensive analysis there. We're going to have to leave it at that. But thank you very much for joining us here on News Stream for your analysis on these protests circling Hazare and the government of Manmohan Singh there in India and N Ram of the Hindu. Thank you.
Up next here on News Stream, they call it El Classico, Barcelona versus Real Madrid. We'll round up the action from the Spanish Super Cup's second leg. And Cesc Fabregas' homecoming.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the latest addition of Spain's classico it had it all: drama, excitement, individual brilliance, and controversy. Pedro Pinto is here to tell us about that and more -- Pedro.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. What a game it was at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. So many story lines. The most important one, of course, is that Barcelona won the Spanish Super Cup. They beat Real Madrid 3-2 last night securing a 5-4 aggregate win over both legs.
Lionel Messi definitely a story as well. He was simply sublime once again, scoring two goals and setting up another for the reigning European champions. Barca were up 1-nil and 2-1, both times Real equalized through Christiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, but Messi had the final word in this thriller with a winner two minutes from time.
Unfortunately the match ended on a sour note with Real left back Marcelo sent off for a violent tackle on debutante Cesc Fabregas. That incident sparked a mass touchline melee with both sets of players getting involved.
After the game, Pep Guardiola said he was surprised by Barca's performance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEPE GUARDIOLA, BARCELONA MANAGER (through translator): To be honest, before the final I didn't think we would be able to win, but after winning it I'm even happier. And I might repeat myself and I might be boring, but I only want to congratulate these players for their way of thinking and the personality and for the way they played.
It isn't easy when there's so much intensity and so much pressure and the way they did against Real Madrid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: I wanted to go back to the brawl I was telling you about, because Jose Mourinho got involved and he could face disciplinary action. The Portuguese manager was seen sneaking up behind Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova and poking him in the eye. I mean, an unnecessary gesture from Mourinho who could now be investigated by Spanish football authorities.
Barca defender Gerard Pique claim Mourinho was wrecking Spanish football with his belligerent attitude. At the post-match press conference Mourinho averted the issue and instead accused the Catalans of play acting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE MOURINHO, REAL MADRID MANAGER (through translator): I was taught to play football like a man not to fall every time there is a whistle. I can't say we're happy when we lost the Super Cup. That will be hypocritical, because I am not. We are not happy despite the fact that it is a small title. As I said before, it's the biggest of the summer, the smallest of the season.
But I can't say we're happy, because we are not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: An amazing game out in Barcelona. Just a shame it did finish on a sour note.
Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.
STOUT: Pedro, thank you and take care.
Up next here on News Stream, but does it say when a company is willing to pay you to stop wearing their clothes? Coming up, why Abercombie and Fitch wants the cast of Jersey Shore to start shopping somewhere else.
STOUT: Six degrees of separation, you probably have heard of the theory. It suggests that any two people in the world can be connected in some way or another at most six other people.
Well, here's a group on Facebook that's trying to make that connection even closer. Their aim is to contact every person on the social media site, which according to Facebook is more than 750 million active users.
So far, these six degrees of separation experiment has more than half a million members, so there's till a ways to go. If you're interested in joining, directions are on the group's page.
Now usually clothing lines do whatever it takes to get stars to sport their wares, but Abercrombie and Fitch says the case of Jersey Shore is hurting its brand. The company even offered one of the show's stars money not to wear its clothes.
Jeanne Moos explains why.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take a good look at these lime green sweat pants, because they're what led Abercrombie and Fitch to offer to pay this Jersey Shore star not to wear their clothing.
THE SITUATION: What I don't want if you not to be yourself.
MOOS: And the guy who calls himself The Situation only made things worse with these blue pants by Abercrombie. An Abercrombie and Fitch employee noticed the outfits and told the CEO.
MIKE JEFFRIES, CEO, ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: And someone came up and say, "Mike, I have terrible, terrible news for you. Last night on Jersey Shore The Situation had A&F product.
MOOS: And that's when the company decided.
JEFFRIES: Let's pay them not to wear our product.
MOOS: But outside their Fifth Avenue store, the one with the half naked doorman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I find it ironic that the Jersey Shore promotes going to gyms, tanning salons, and going to clubs. People at the door here are tan, hard bodies and there's a rope out here that looks like a club.
MOOS: Abercrombie is even sold a t-shirt combining Fitch and The Situation, The Fitchuation. As for offering to pay The Situation for not wearing their clothes, Abercrombie CEO says.
JEFFRIES: And we're having a lot of fun with this.
MOOS: What do you call this anyway? Unbranding? Anti-branding? An unendorsement?
How about a big publicity stunt. The producers of Jersey Shore said it's a clever PR stunt. And we'd love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television.
This reminds us of the story of Snookie's Gucci bag, the one she was carrying when she got arrested for being drunk on the beach.
SNOOKIE: Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. Get off.
MOOS: And the New York Observer Simon Dunnan (ph) wrote that luxury accessory houses are sending Snookems free bags.
But here's the shocker, they are not sending her their own bags, they are sending her each other's bags, competitor's bags in the paired effort to make their rivals seem tacky.
The article calls Snookie the Typhoid Mary of luxury branding.
And then there's another situation, the one with Abercrombie and Fitch stock. The stock price took a shot in the abs.
Down more than 8 percent Wednesday. Analysts say it has nothing to do with The Situation situation, but you can bet he and his six pack abs are shaking with laughter.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
STOUT: And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.