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Progress for Greece; Joseph Kony's Crimes; Iran's Nuclear Program; Japanese Writer Says TEPCO Lying About Contamination Levels; India Cricket Legend Rahul Dravid Retires

Aired March 9, 2012 - 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.

And we begin with Greece, where a new deal will help bring the country back from the brink.

Italy blasts the British government for not telling them ahead of time about a hostage rescue operation that failed.

We'll profile the African warlord targeted by a social media campaign.

And it's used in dancing games, but we'll show you when Microsoft's Kinect will be coming to a supermarket near you.

We begin in Greece, where a death-ridden government has been given another lifeline. Now, earlier today, Athens announced it had cut a deal with private bondholders. More than 85 percent of them agreed to a bond swap offer. That could mean losses of up to three-quarters of their Greek bond holdings.

With the deal, Greece clears the final hurdle to secure its second bailout package from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. It is the largest sovereign debt write-down in history.

Let's take a closer look at how the deal came about and what it means for Greece.

Now, nine months ago, this man, the former Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, he said the country would need another bailout package to avoid default, and this depended on three things. First, European leaders, they had to agree to shell out more cash. They did, but the terms of the bailout included two conditions.

The Greek government had to curb its spending. One month ago, lawmakers in Greece approved another round of austerity measures. That included widespread pension and spending cuts.

And finally, the private sector need to share the burden. Now, Greek bondholders, they were asked to write down the value of their debt, and that was the final obstacle to Greek receiving its bailout money. And it appears that obstacle has been cleared.

European finance officials could give final approval to Greece's bailout package as early as today.

Let's bring in Jim Boulden, who's monitoring the story live in London.

And Jim, what has been the reaction across Europe to the deal?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reaction within the Euro zone has been very positive. Olli Rehn, the EU commissioner, has just come out to say he's very pleased with this, and we should be hearing from the finance ministers themselves very soon. They're having a teleconference today to sort of just finally sign off on this private sector debt swap that was announced early this morning.

So very positive, because this deal had to get done, as you said, for Greece to start to get part -- just part -- of that second bailout. So the process is going in the right direction. However, there's still so much more for Greece to do.

STOUT: That's right. I mean, Greek officials, they call this deal a triumph, but it's not really. Greece is not out of the woods just yet.

BOULDEN: No, they get -- in the end, they will get about half of their debt burden cut. The idea, of course, is to try to cut their debt burden in total to about 120 percent of GDP in 2020. That is still far, far above what a country within the Euro zone should have as far as its debt burden.

So it will be many years before Greece is able to go back into the markets and sell long-term debt in a normal way. So even though this second bailout should start rolling out within days, people are already talking about when, not if, Greece would need a third bailout, because the Greek government and the Greek people are going to have to take a lot of pain over the next few years just to meet the targets for the second bailout. And we are talking about a country that's been in recession for five years -- Kristie.

STOUT: So there could be a third bailout ahead.

Now, does the debt swap deal set a precedent for other Euro zone countries? Could we see Spain and Portugal lining up next for these major debt write- downs?

BOULDEN: It's not supposed to. That has been very clear since October, in the meetings of the EU leaders in October. This is supposed to be a one- off deal only for Greece.

So if Portugal or Ireland were to say, wait a minute, that's a really good deal, 95 percent, probably of bondholders, of the percentage of the bonds will be swapped, can we get that deal too? Well, they're not supposed to be able to do that. That would start to cause a lot of pressure within the EU.

So, as of now, no. It's only for Greece.

STOUT: All right.

Jim Boulden, live in London for us.

Thank you.

Now, CNN will continue to bring you the latest news on the Greek debt swap deal. Tune in to "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" for complete coverage. It starts 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:00 p.m. here in Hong Kong.

And now to a story that is showing the incredible power of social media. Decades-on conflict in Central Africa is suddenly front and center for millions of people around the world, largely because of a video that took the Web by storm this week about warlord Joseph Kony.

Now, he leads the Lord's Resistance Army, a guerrilla group notorious for abducting, raping and maiming its victims. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court. A nonprofit group called Invisible Children produced that video, and the group says it hopes the campaign will lead to Kony's arrest.

When we showed you this YouTube page on Thursday, it had nearly 27 million views. It has now passed 52 million, and that's just since Monday.

And here you can see just how quickly it has racked up the hits. That even surprised the filmmakers, who spoke to Piers Morgan.


BEN KEESEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CEO, INVISIBLE CHILDREN: Forty-five million people have watched the film, which is incredible, and blew away our expectations.


KEESEY: But what if that's 100 million? Why not 200 million?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to go for a billion. I do.


STOUT: They're certainly trying to get there.

Now, Invisible Children provides this list of culture makers and policymakers on its Web site, and it asks people to tweet these celebrities to spread the word, and it's working. In fact, Oprah, she was one of the first to respond with the hashtag Kony2012. And a couple of days later, Ryan Seacrest, he wrote this: "Saw your tweets about StopKony. Watched in bed, was blown away."

And just a few hours ago, the founder of Microsoft, the philanthropist Bill Gates, he tweeted, "Good to see such strong interest in StopKony, a key step to helping those most vulnerable."

Now, while Kony's crimes are getting renewed attention, Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour has been following this story for more than a decade. In fact, in 1998, she reported from Uganda on Joseph Kony and his rebel army of abducted children, and she joins us now live from CNN in New York.

And Christiane, tell us more. Who is Joseph Kony and where is he today?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we need to put this all in perspective.

Number one, this is a hugely important thing to make people aware of Joseph Kony. He is though largely a spent force. And his crimes against these children were committed largely in the late '90s and early 2000s. And because people have been going after him, he's sort of considered to be actually less of a threat in Uganda and much more, perhaps, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He used to be in Sudan.

So what's really important is that this 52 million and counting viewership hopefully will not just sensitize people about war criminals like Kony, but in general, try to get society on board to really press their governments to do something about these war crimes that they are mandated to try to solve.

I will tell you one thing, though. Back in the early 2000s, the president of Uganda tried to get Kony to come out of the woods and actually to sign a peace deal, and that was going in a fairly decent direction for a while. But the International Criminal Court and others who believed that you couldn't have peace with a war criminal, you had to actually arrest that war criminal, they sort of -- the sort of weight of that opinion overcame the ability to sign a peace and maybe eventually capture him.

So it's a very, very complicated issue, Kristie, but good to see that the man is being spotlighted and targeted.

STOUT: Yes. He remains at large, as you point out. He's wanted by the ICC.

What is being done to capture him, and will he be caught?

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, that's a very good question. People have been trying with various degrees of effort for years now. It's unclear whether he is really the target of a concerted manhunt right now.

Yes, the ICC wants him, but the ICC has no law enforcement capability. That requires the countries or country which shelters and harbors Kony, if indeed it knows it's doing so, to get him and hand him over.

So, yes, the United States has put Special Forces, a handful or so, in Uganda over the last several years, but that's not necessarily to go after Kony. And they're trying to, you know, train up Ugandan institutions as well in that regard.

But I think it does take a concerted effort, but this is important in that it sensitize people. And if, you know, 52 million of those, if a good chunk are in America, that would be really good as well, those people who have been watching it.

And they're young people as well. Maybe one can educate through the vile (ph) nature of the social media people to some of these terrible atrocities, and the accountability, which needs to be upheld around the world. Because as you know, in America, very few people have a daily diet of what's going on around the world. So sensitizing them is a good thing.

STOUT: Christiane Amanpour on Joseph Kony and the Kony 2012 phenomenon.

Thank you very much, indeed.

Now, ahead here on NEWS STREAM, the violence continues, unabated in Syria, despite calls from Kofi Annan for the fighting to stop.

And the American battle for hearts and minds in Afghanistan hits a snag. Could the Taliban be taking U.S. money meant for aid projects?

And we return to what was once a bustling community. A look at Ishinomaki, a town on Japan's coast which bore the brunt of the tsunami one year ago.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Britain has defended its communication with Italy over a failed rescue mission in Nigeria which ended in the deaths of two hostages. Nigeria's president says engineers Chris McManus from Britain, and Italian national Franco Lamolinara were killed before rescuers could get to them. He blamed the militant group Boko Haram for the deaths.

The British prime minister, David Cameron, says Italy was contacted at the start of the operation, but it was a very fast-moving situation. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano says Britain's failure to consult them is unexplainable.

Diplomatic efforts are gaining steam in the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. On Thursday, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said his country is ready to open a new chapter with the nuclear watchdog. And six world powers have committed to a new round of talks with Tehran.

Now, still, suspicions and tensions over Iran's nuclear ambitions are running high.

Hala Gorani takes us on a tour of Iran's nuclear facilities.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Let's take a closer look at some of Iran's known nuclear sites.

First, to Natanz, south of the capital, Tehran. It is Iran's main enrichment facility. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, says it includes two main sites, a pilot fuel enrichment plant here, and the larger fuel enrichment plant here, built underground, where Iran says thousands of centrifuges are busy turning uranium into nuclear fuel. Iran's government kept Natanz a secret from the world until the site was revealed in 2006 by an Iranian opposition group.

North, to the Fordow nuclear facility in the mountains near the holy city of Qom. Not much to see on this satellite photo, just one solitary building and some tunnel entrances. But underground, Iran and the IAEA say there are thousands more centrifuges at work. Experts say the site is too small to produce the fuel needed for a nuclear reactor, but ideal for producing the small amounts of highly-enriched uranium needed for nuclear weapons.

Iran didn't reveal Furdow to the IAEA until 2009, and only after learning that Western intelligence had detected the site.

Further northeast is Parchin, a military base near Tehran with hundreds of buildings. Iran and the IAEA say it is used for research, development and production of ammunition, rockets and high explosives. IAEA inspectors last visited the site in 2005, but twice this year they've been refused access. Inspectors want to get a look inside this complex, where there are suspicions Iran may be testing triggers for a nuclear weapon, claims Tehran denies.

Iran has always insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but IAEA officials say suspicions about Parchin will persist until there are more inspections.

Hala Gorani, CNN.


STOUT: A new massacre has been committed by security forces. That is the claim from a Syrian opposition group. It says 44 people, including entire families, were executed in a field in Homs on Thursday. And today, activists say 25 people have been killed as fresh protests take place across the country.


This YouTube video is said to show a funeral for a protester killed in the northern province of Idlib. Activists say security forces have stormed two towns in the province searching for military defectors.

In Rastan, in Homs, these soldiers say they are defecting to the opposition. Now, CNN cannot verify that or any other claims made in YouTube images of the conflict.

And here you see heavy fighting in Homs, where the Free Syrian Army say that they were trying to stop the advance of government forces. And the Syrian government blames terrorists for the violence.

Kofi Annan, the U.N. Arab League envoy to Syria, he says the killing must stop immediately, but he is warning against outside military intervention.

Our Nic Robertson joins us now, live from Beirut, Lebanon.

And Nic, Kofi Annan, he's also calling for dialogue with Damascus. What is the reaction to that inside Syria?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've just talked to some activists there, and they're not happy with that idea at all. In fact, they think that Kofi Annan is completely wrong. It's anathema to them, they say, that they should be expected to talk to the man who's responsible for killing so many people in this uprising.

And they say that, really, Kofi Annan's visit and Valerie Amos', who is the U.N. humanitarian chief who is there in the past couple of days, they're saying from their perspective that this is just a cover for the international community not to do anything, to give Bashar al-Assad essentially immunity to carry on with the killing, and then, ultimately, maybe try to do some kind of deal with him where, ultimately, he walks away from power without have to face any charges or face responsibility for all the killings that have been going. So from the activists on the ground, it's a nonstarter, but the reality is the activists there don't have a collective political leadership that they all get behind, as the Syrian National Council -- the indications are they're taking the same stand.

But it's a very disparate group of activists. And trying to get them -- the notion of trying to get them to a collective position is one that's been troubling Western diplomats for the last several months. They're very divided. So the grassroots is saying no, and the reality is it will be a very hard position for Kofi Annan to achieve, even if he could convince people to move in that direction -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, meanwhile, the government of Bashar al-Assad continues to blame terrorists for the uprising, but now claiming that the terrorists are carrying "Israeli-made weapons."

What do you make of this claim?

ROBERTSON: Well, the government of Bashar al-Assad has made many claims that haven't stood up to international inspection. That is, they're fighting terrorists.

And the daily videos that come in -- and this was one just shot two days ago in the city of Homs -- shows a small girl with a wound in her hand -- in her arm. And this is just one of many videos. You see the gun fighting on the streets of Homs there as well.

These are just one of the many, many videos that catalog the fact that civilians are the casualties here. And the government has said repeatedly it's going after terrorists. So unless the government of Syria can offer some proof by showing how it's captured these weapons, and then showing the weapons, it's going to be very hard for the international community, I think, to believe them in these allegations.

There is no doubt at all that weapons are being smuggled into Syria, to the Free Syrian Army, and there's no doubt they're coming from very many different places. And it's quite possible, in that respect, that there could be Israeli weapons there. But it's a long stretch to say that those weapons are being supplied by the state of Israel, for example. But certainly the government of Bashar al-Assad would use any opportunity like this to essentially throw the international community off their sense, if you will, and to try and draw support from within the country by saying Israel is the enemy here, a longstanding enemy of the Syrian government.

So, for the government, this is something that perhaps one could really expect them to be doing at this stage -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Kofi Annan, ahead of his visit this weekend to Damascus, while he was in Cairo, he warned against military intervention in Syria. And Nic, there's been a long debate about arming the rebels.

Would arming the rebels end the violence or would it make matters worse?

ROBERTSON: Well, it certainly seems to be the view of the Lebanese government here and the minister of Interior, who said this today, that he does not want to support in any way and will prevent armed men crossing over the border from Lebanon, going into Syria. And there certainly are people in Lebanon who have been trying to procure weapons and supply them to the Free Syrian Army across the border.

And certainly to the north, Turkey is faced with a similar situation. There's a belief that its borders may be a little more porous to weapons getting in to the Free Syrian Army. But the analysis being put forward by Kofi Annan, that if you put more weapons in, this will make the fight last longer.

But the activists that I'm talking to say that this is merely a mechanism to allow Assad to continue with his killing. They say they need those weapons to stop the military onslaught, or at least to be able to slow it down in some way -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nic Robertson, joining us live from Beirut.

Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, ahead here on NEWS STREAM, foreign aid is flowing into Afghanistan after a decade of war, but the rebuilding process may have a price -- collaboration with the Taliban, which still controls many rural villages.

We'll have more on that story after the break.


STOUT: Providing aid to the people in Afghanistan is one of the key objectives of America's battle for hearts and minds in the region. That's what's happening in one remote village, where aid workers have built a flood prevention barrier. The problem is villagers say they had to ask for the Taliban's permission and also pay a tax.

Nick Paton Walsh looks at how U.S. aid money could be falling into the hands of the Taliban.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this tiny Afghan village, America had a wall built. It stops flooding ruining the lives of farmers, winning Afghan hearts and minds. There's just one problem. The Taliban run this remote area. So to let this be built, we're told they wanted $1,000 of America's money.

Locals say the builders would have had little choice. NATO don't come here and the Taliban are the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's not possible to implement any project in our area with the argument (ph) of the Taliban. We thank the Americans because they have come here to help us and build our country. We also thank the Taliban for letting such projects to be implemented.

WALSH: The build of the wall, explains America's development agency USAID, hired the people who paid him to work, and how the Taliban set their rates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They first asked for an amount of money, and then we sit with them and tribal elders and negotiate. But it's normally 20 percent. At first, we asked the government to protect us from them, but they said the police would cost too much money to send here, so we talked to the Taliban. If we don't pay, it means that either they would kill us or we would have to stop the project and flee the area.

WALSH: He shows our cameraman the extensive list in English of workers and how much they were paid to build the wall six months ago, the sort of documentation USAID projects require. There's also a hidden voice from the Taliban asking for their cut.

These are the Taliban, their financial committee, working for insurgent commander Mullah Omar. They say like any government, they take attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We get 20 percent of the funding of every project. We send the money to the financial commission of the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan, and then they use it to equip our freedom fighters and help the families of the martyred ones. Some problems would definitely emerge if people from any project refuse to pay us.

WALSH (on camera): We verify the delegations as far as we can, but we can't disclose further details about this project to ensure the safety of the civilians who spoke to us for this reason -- USAID said they can't comment on the specific allegations. They did say though that fraud and any other such payments to the insurgency are both illegal and unacceptable, and they added that unprecedented auditing is taking place across Afghanistan to stop this and that this case may already be subject to ongoing investigations.

(voice-over): So after 10 years of war, this is the arithmetic. Four thousand dollars of wall built with American money wins the gratitude of ordinary Afghans. But in the process, $1,000 probably ends up with the Taliban helping them fight Americans somewhere.

In Afghanistan, it seems no good deed goes unpunished.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kabul.


STOUT: Coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, a community in Japan commemorates the dead lost in the tsunami. We'll look at how one small town is coping with loss one year on.

And a new book uncovers the sacrifices being made to clean up Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

All that just ahead.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream and these are your world headlines.

Now Germany is welcoming Greece's successful debt swap deal, calling it a big step towards stabilizing the country. Greece's creditors have agreed to a plan to restructure their government bonds paving the way for $170 billion in new emergency cash for Athens.

Authorities in Pakistan have filed a case against the three widows of Osama bin Laden. They're being investigated on allegations of forgery and entering the country illegally. The women were detained after last year's raid by U.S. special forces that killed bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader.

The U.S. labor department has just released its monthly jobs report. It says that the economy added 227,000 jobs in February, leaving the unemployment rate steady at 8.3 percent. Now that is ahead of expectations. Economists had predicted an increase of 210,000 jobs.

On Sunday, Japan marks the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that claimed thousands of lives and left countless other homeless. Now several towns were almost completely destroyed in the disaster. One of them was Ishinomaki where thousands were killed and many of the homes wiped out.

Now last year, Anna Coren reported from the area. And she's returned to talk to the people who've been left behind.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A year ago when the disaster struck, my crew and I came straight here to Ishinomaki, one of the worst affected areas. We were following the army, which was going from house to house searching for any bodies.

The wall of water that roared through here within seconds collected everything in its path. And from the rescue workers that we have spoken to, the bodies that they are retrieving are those of the elderly people who could not get out in time.

Now we came to this neighborhood and there was rubble and debris as far as the eye could see. In fact, where we are walking used to be the foundations of people's homes.

Now we have decided to come back here and speak to the residents and see how they are coping one year on.

What was once a thriving coastal community is now a ghost town, except for a few residents.

Kimiya Koyama (ph) was at work when the earthquake struck. Her boss sent her home, thinking she'd have enough time to collect her possessions.

"When I saw the tsunami I had nowhere to go," she explains. "So I ran upstairs."

As the water was swirling around her feet on the second story. She watched wit horror as her neighbors were swept away.

"The waves came from two directions -- there and there," she says. "First cars, then houses. I even saw cows get washed away."

More than 3,000 people lost their lives in Ishinomaki. 30,000 homes were destroyed.

Kimiya Koyama (ph) says it haunts her to stay here, but she can't afford to move. No one would buy her home so close to the sea.

"I hear it's possible there could be another earthquake a year from now," says the 47-year-old. "That scares me. I just hope it's not like the one that came before."

While fear is ever present in Japan, pain and suffering hovers over this makeshift village in the hills. 63-year-old Fuji Osato (ph) lives in this temporary housing with 170 other families and remembers everything about that fateful day.

"The waves came up to my house," he says. "I shouted run for your lives, a tsunami is coming."

He carried his elderly parents up a steep hill to higher ground, but his wife and two grandchildren thought it would be safer at the tsunami shelter in town. When he went to find them, the shelter had been swept away. 60 people were inside, only two survived.

"I was very fortunate," he says, "because I found their bodies. I sleep with their photos laid beside me each night as if I was sleeping with them. I sometimes pray they come to me in my dreams, but it doesn't happen very much."

Fuji Osato's (ph) home is surrounded by photos of Saiko (ph), his wife of 36 years, and his two grandkids, seven-year-old Angie and 10-year-old Hodaka (ph).

"It's OK during the day when I'm with people," he explains. "But at night I realize it's been a year since it's happened and the sadness overwhelms me."

While he will forever carry a heavy heart, rebuilding his village has given him a new purpose, only this time on higher ground.

Anna Coren, CNN, Ishinomaki, Japan.


LU STOUT: During disasters like the quake and tsunami can often be hard to find out your loved ones are safe. Now Facebook is set to roll out a feature that could help. Now last week the company tested a new system in Japan that will go live during disasters. It allows people to check in on Facebook to confirm that they are safe. A safe tag will then appear on a user's page allowing friends and family to easily confirm that someone is alive and well.

Now the massive 9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami also triggered a triple nuclear meltdown in Japan. The disaster is now ranked on par with Chernobyl and could take 40 years to bring under control. Only two out of the 53 nuclear reactors in Japan are now in operation, and in April they, too, will go offline, leaving the country looking at a summer without any nuclear energy.

Now stop lying about the risks of contamination, now that's the message for the owners of the Fukushima nuclear plant from an author who went under cover with the workers there. Kyung Lah reports on what he found.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Inside a nuclear disaster. They are the nameless men cleaning up the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Author Tomohiko Suzuki decided to tell their stories by disguising himself as a fellow contract laborer. He's looking into a small video camera.

This is the lens disguised as a wristwatch.

For six weeks, he captured images of daily life as a day hire. The blown nuclear reactors. Driving past tanks holding contaminated water. Documenting what he saw and the workers he met in a recently published book.

What is the primary message of your book?

"Stop lying," he says.

What is this lie that you're talking about?

"There's no way you won't be radioactively contaminated if you work at the nuclear plant," Suzuki says. He says despite disposable protective gear, daily decontamination, and controls to check radiation workers will be exposed to radiation.

The Tokyo Electric Company, or TEPCO, tells CNN it has nothing to say about Suzuki's book, but the company maintains worker safety is a high priority. And protection from radiation exposure has improved since the early days of the disaster.

But Suzuki diagrees and says there's a reason why the men he met at Fukushima are average people, not nuclear engineers.

"The world is survival of the fittest," he says. "There are only weak people working at the plant, people who know nothing. There are no rich or politically powerful people working there."

TEPCO says 3,000 workers are at the plant on average every day, 75 percent of the workers are contracted hires.

We know little else about the workers cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear plant. Many we've tried to interview say that they're worried they'll lose their jobs if they'll talk. Suzuki says he's heard that again and again. A fear that if the workers tell the public what it's like to work inside the plant they'll be fired.

CNN was part of a recent media tour of the Fukushima nuclear plant where TEPCO hand selected workers for reporters to interview. Satoshi Torumi (ph) is a contracted Toshiba worker for the nuclear plant.

You're a young man. You're 33-years-old. Why do you continue to work here?

"This accident happened at my plant," he says. "It's my mission to keep working here."

That sort of hero narrative is what TEPCO wants the public to hear, says Suzuki, not the real story.

Why are people working there?

"For the money," he says. "They're not worried about the health risks decades down the line. Today's bread, tomorrow's meal, rent for next month, that's what they're worried about. They," he says, "are the ones cleaning up the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years."

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


LU STOUT: Ahead on News Stream, it's a place only two people have seen. James Cameron is hoping this vessel will take him to the deepest point in the world's oceans. He'll show you inside the Deepsea Challenger next.


LU STOUT: Now CNN has been following James Cameron and his remarkable attempt to dive to the deepest point in the world's oceans. Now Cameron has conducted a series of test dives in the Solomon Sea near Papua New Guinea to prepare for his voyage to the depths of the Mariana Trench 11 kilometers under water. And he will use a very special vessel to complete the journey. Our Jason Carroll got a sneak peak.


JAMES CARROLL, CNN CORREPSONDENT: In this story, James Cameron isn't the only character taking the voyage to the Mariana Trench's deepest point, Challenger Deep.

JAMES CAMERON, DIRECTOR: Do you want to see how we are going to do it?

CARROLL: Yes, let's do it.

CAMERON: You want to see the vehicle?


This, in Cameron's eyes, is the other. His submersible, Deepsea Challenger. It took a team of scientists and the National Geographic Society more than seven years to make a sub able to withstand pressures at the trench's depths, 16,000 pounds per square inch.

So it does stay vertical as like a seahorse.

CAMERON: Flies like a seahorse.

Yeah, you know how it just stays up like in the water column. You've got a little fin on the back.

CARROLL: I want to tell you a little bit more about Deepsea Challenger as it is docked and resting and being worked on here. It weighs 12 tons. And even though it's on its side, it's actually 24 feet high. It's powered by these specially created lithium batteries. And its body is made of a syntactic foam that was developed by Cameron and his team of scientists. And that color that you see there, Cameron calls that Kawasaki Green.

CAMERON: I'm pretty used to clamoring around this thing.

CARROLL: It's a one-seater designed to have Cameron encased in a protective pod.

How tall are you?

CAMERON: 6'2. And...

CARROLL: It would have been easier if it had been built for me.

It is a tight fit.

CAMERON: I'm pretty much like this for about 10 hours.

CARROLL: You're not worried about cramps or anything.

CAMERON: Not yet.


CARROLL: Cameron expects time will pass as he captures 3D images and hopefully sea light from the trench's floor as he has already done on previous test dives.

CAMERON: And I can actually slurp up little critters, or I can suck on to an animal and pick him up and drop him into a bio box.

CARROLL: If something goes wrong, there is a fail safe system, a series of weights released with the flip of a switch. That brings little comfort to Cameron's mother who worries.

CAMERON: I love my family, my kids. There's nothing I love more. But I also have to do this, I also have to go look. It's like Jimmy Stewart says in How The West Was Won, sometimes you just got to go see the critter.

CARROLL: The Challenger's frontier awaits.

Jason Carroll, CNN, on board the Mermaid Sapphire in the Solomon Sea.


LU STOUT: New adventures ahead.

Meanwhile, solar activity continues. There was another solar flare headed our way. Mari Ramos is at the world weather center. She's got the details -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, you know what, the experts from NOAA's space weather office in a press conference yesterday were telling journalists that, you know, there may be hundreds of these solar flares that can happen in the next few years, so this is something with the solar activity is so intense right now we're at that peak of the cycle that we really kind of need to understand this and try to determine which ones are the ones that are going to affect us here on Earth and which ones are not.

In layman's terms I can tell you if a solar flare happened and it's facing Earth or directed toward Earth that would of course have a more impact than one that was let's say be on the side of the Sun and head into another direction out into space.

Right now, the area of activity that they're focusing on is this one right in here. It's called 1429. And it just kind of came into view for Earth right now because of the rotation of the sun and the rotation of the Earth. So what we have here is 1429 and this is the area that they're going to be looking at closely. And they say they could be active for the next 10 days or so. So that's going to be something to keep in mind.

So this latest solar flare happened overnight. And it did trigger a solar storm. The solar storm is a burst of radiation -- the solar storm is a burst of radiation or light that just hurls out into space. Sometimes when you have a solar flare you can also have a CME, or a coronal mass ejection -- there's a lot of names here. Well, the CME is actual solar matter that is hurled out into space. When they actually gets toward Earth, it can trigger a geomagnetic storm. A lot of stuff, right?

Well, we're in a geomagnetic storm right now from the last solar flare. We still don't know what's going to happen with this one.

Right now we're in a G-3, or a strong solar flare. So there may be some concerns -- power system issues. You may see alarms that get triggered on and off that may normally don't happen. Some problems with high and low frequency communications. And then the other thing is the auroras, those beautiful northern lights. And we're calling them northern lights, because it's summer right now in the southern hemisphere and you don't have a lot of night-time.

But there were some pictures taken right here in the U.S. I want to go ahead and roll those pictures please. This is from And look at that, this is in Minnesota in the Minneapolis, St. Cloud area. So that looks pretty nice. You know, what, we're in a full moon right now and they're saying that that may actually help obscure a little bit some of these northern lights that we're seeing. But it's going to stay pretty bright, I think, even as we head into the weekend. That's absolutely beautiful. Usually the storm chasing video that we get is tornadoes and hurricanes and stuff like that. So a nice change there to end the week.

And come back over to the weather map. This is the latest forecast for aurora's or northern lights. And you can see the bulk of it, of course, will still remain in the higher latitudes, but this line that you see here is the limit for the southern most area. Not a lot going on in Asia, unfortunately, but even across northern parts of the U.S. it could get pretty nice light show.

Again, we want your pictures -- iReport Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, lots won't be able to see if from here, but we can rely on iReport for the highlights. Mari Ramos, thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.

Now controversy about the color of Cola has bubbled to a head in the United States. Now caramel coloring makes the soda brown, but one group says the chemicals are linked to cancer in lab mice and rats. California now lists it as a carcinogen. The FDA says any claims of a link between the caramel coloring and cancer risks are insufficient, but reports say Coke and Pepsi will change the formula of their offerings to avoid putting a cancer warning on their products. It's unclear if the changes will affect beverages outside the United States.

Now a sports update is just ahead as a cricket legends bows out, Pedro Pinto will have more on the long and glittering career of India's Rahul Dravid.


LU STOUT: Time now for a sports update. And one of the greatest cricketers of this generation says it's time to move on. Pedro Pinto is in London. He's got the details -- Pedro.


Cricket fans are saying goodbye to Rahul Dravid as he is calling it a day after a glorious career which spanned nearly two decades. The Indian Batsman announced on Friday at a press conference in Delhi that he was retiring from International cricket at the age of 39. The elegant right- hander, nicknamed the wall for his ability to bat for hours and hours on end is the second highest run getting in test history behind only Sachin Teldulkar. He scored a total of 36 test centuries with a highest score of 270. Dravid has also taken more catches than anyone else in test history.

He leaves the game to focus on other priorities in his life.


RAHUL DRAVID, INDIA CRICKET LEGEND: When I say there have been many disappointments in my career, and there have been some great heights. You know, I think in the end of the day there is a huge sense of satisfaction that even though I might have failed in certain times or failed in achieving certain things I have always given it my best shot and I've tried my very best and I've left no stone unturned to try and become the best cricketer I could ever become. And I think that leaves me with, you know, a huge amount of satisfaction so there are absolutely no regrets.


PINTO: Rahul Dravid unquestionably a class act.

Here in Europe there were a couple of surprising results in the Europa League on Thursday night. Top two teams in the English Premier League lost in the first leg of the round of 16.

Manchester United were swept aside by Athletico Bilbao at Old Tratford. The Spanish side came back from a goal down to stun Sir Alex Ferguson's men. Fernando Llorente, Oscar De Marcos, and Iker Muniain were on the score sheets. United pulled a late goal back, but still lost 3-2.


ALEX FERGUSON, MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER: (inaudible) a bit. The question is can we win the match? I think we can win the match over there. I think that obviously going to assess our game, because it's (inaudible) got to monitor the two competitions together, Thursday and Sunday's. It will be more difficult than a normal European championships, but -- the Champion's League, sorry. I would think we could win a game, OK.


PINTO: United's neighbors Manchester City also lost on Thursday. The Premier League leaders went down to Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. The result meant City's six match winning streak in all competitions was snapped. The only goal of the game was scored in the 51st minute through Xandao, the Sporting defender. 1-nil was the score on the night in the Portugese capital.


ROBERTO MANCINI, MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER: It was a surprise now, because in football (inaudible) we play. But I don't think that we deserved to lose this game. I think that maybe we didn't play very, very well but we had a chance to score. We didn't score. And we conceded a goal. So, so maybe that's it.


PINTO: That is a quick look at the international sports headlines for this hour. Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.

LU STOUT: Thank you.

Now gamers have been using Microsoft's Kinect to dance, play sports, even walk around a virtual Disney Land. But now Microsoft is hoping companies can find other uses for its motion sensing technology in places like Supermarkets. CNN Money's Mason Cohn explains.


MASON COHN, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Grocery shopping and video games, two things that don't intersect. But this prototype grocery cart developed for Whole Foods may be as close as they'll ever come. It uses a Microsoft motion sensor called Kinect, the same thing gamers use to play Xbox without a controller.

ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Whole Foods.

COHN: And it's one of the first experiments in trying to take the Kinect mainstream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the things we hope for the cart to do is to be able to follow you around, to be able to help you monitor your dietary intakes, to be able to actually do express checkout and instead of having to go through the line just go loud your car and it actually handles everything for you just to make life simpler for you when you got to the store.

COHN: Whether it'll be a hit in the grocery isle remains to be seen, but the Kinect has been a monster hit with gamers. Microsoft has sold more than 18 million sensors for the Xbox since launching the product in 2010. Almost immediately university researchers and amateur engineers began tinkering with Kinect, hooking the sensors up to everything from robots to cars.

To target this non-gamer audience, Microsoft recently launched Kinect for Windows. It costs $250. And in a major change for Microsoft it's letting companies like Whole Foods develop their own custom applications.

CRAIG EISLER, CM, KINECT FOR WINDOWS: At this point we have over 300 companies from 25 different industries across 25 different countries, companies like McDonalds and Boeing and Toyota. I mean, there's amazing, amazing mix of companies. They're turning it into some really interesting experiments which we believe will become very interesting real products.

We expect to see things across a range of industries, across education, retail, manufacturing, just a broad range of applications of this technology.

COHN: Historically, Microsoft has tightly controlled its software and rarely opened up its code for developers, not so with the new Kinect. The company is betting that opening up the platform will lead to greater creativity and ultimately help them sell more Kinect units.

EISLER: So when you think of, you know, Kinect outside the living room, there's a lot of other places outside the living room. And so they could be in malls, they could be in schools, we've talked about these places they could be. And then there's definitely an enormous opportunity. You know, does that have the potential to be even bigger than the living room? It has that potential to for sure.

COHN: For CNN Money, I'm Mason Cohn.


LU STOUT: And finally it's time to go over and out there. And we really mean out there. NASA's space shuttle program is now all but a relic of the past, but one motivated teenager decided to pay one final tribute. This footage was taken by 18-year-old Raul Oaida from Romania who literally took his love of Lego and space to new heights by launching a Lego model into space. Obviously the model can't fly by itself so it was attached to a balloon that took it right to the edge of the atmosphere. And in case you're wondering, the model did make a successful return to Earth.

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