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Massacre in Afghanistan; Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza; Syrian Violence Continues; Tiger Woods Injured; Brazil Reforestation Program Prove Lucrative For Seed Dealers; Drought Conditions Imperil Chalk Streams In Southeast Britain

Aired March 12, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


MANISHA TANK, HOST, CNN INTERNATIONAL'S NEWS STREAM: A warm welcome to NEWS STREAM. This is where news and technology meet.

I'm Manisha Tank at CNN Hong Kong.

And we begin today in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are threatening reprisals after a number of Afghans are killed by a U.S. soldier.

More violence in Syria, as the opposition accuses the government of carrying out a massacre in Homs.

And Japan remembers the earthquake and tsunami disaster and looks ahead to the task of rebuilding a shattered region.

The Afghan Taliban are threatening revenge attacks after officials say a U.S. soldier went on a killing spree in two villages in Kandahar province. Sixteen civilians, including three women and nine children, were shot dead in these attacks. They were on Sunday.

The Taliban describe the rampage as "barbaric." President Karzai has called it an unforgivable crime, and U.S. officials say the Army staff sergeant was acting alone and is now in custody after turning himself in. President Obama says anyone responsible for the deaths will be held accountable.

Well, the killings come at a particularly sensitive time in Afghanistan. U.S. and Afghan officials have been trying to restore calm. This was after U.S. troops burned copies of the Quran at an airfield in Afghanistan last month. Riots and violence sparked by that incident killed 40 people, and that included four American soldiers.

U.S. officials say the Qurans, which were thought to contain extremist messages, were burned in error. Even before the Quran burnings, resentment had been building against NATO troops after the following graphic footage was posted online in January. It showed U.S. Marines apparently urinating on the dead bodies of Afghans, and the Pentagon says it is investigating that incident.

Well, following Sunday's deadly rampage, the Afghan parliament is calling for a public trial in Afghanistan for the accused.

Let's get the latest from Sara Sidner, who's in Kabul, has been following the story.

Sara, tell us a bit more about what was said today about this incident in parliament.

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Parliament got together and sent out a joint statement basically saying that they are strongly urging the American government to allow there to be a public trial in front of the Afghan people as a lesson to those in the future. They are also closing parliament for the day in protest because of the recent killings.

There's a lot of different information coming out depending on who you talk to from the area where this happened. It was in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar, which is in western Kandahar.

We were able to listen to some villagers and see some gruesome images coming out of there. We saw images that included images of dead babies, an image of a few people who had been burned very, very heavily, and were dead, lying in the backs of trucks. Villagers were weeping, men, women weeping openly, some of them unable to speak because of their sorrow.

But eventually that sorrow turned to anger. They said, look, the American forces told us to come back to these villages and now this has happened. What are they trying to say? What are they trying to do to us?

We do know that strong statements have come out from President Hamid Karzai, who has called it unforgivable and an act of terror. And people are really saying, we have to see justice in this case.

Now, analysts are saying, look, this really plays into the hands of the Taliban. The Taliban has already said that it will seek revenge for these killings. Sixteen people, including nine women -- excuse me, nine children, three women and four men. Now, there are several others, about five people, who have been wounded, and they're being cared for by coalition forces and a coalition medical center.

All along, the international security assistance forces have been saying that this was the act of a lone soldier who was acting on his own, that this was not a part of any mission, and that he went off base in the early morning hours of Sunday, while it was still dark, between 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, and ended up creating this terrible situation there in the Panjwayi district.

Right now, though, we're also hearing from villagers who have been saying that there were more than one soldier on the ground, though no one has yet said that there was more than one soldier shooting into Homs. But apparently someone went door to door, opening the doors, kicking them in, and shooting the people inside -- Manisha.

TANK: Well, there was already a particularly difficult relationship, wasn't there, between locals and NATO forces of any kind? Where does this leave that relationship, do you think?

SIDNER: I think it leaves it broken, and it leaves it further strained. People, especially in this area, but other Afghans, are looking at this saying, OK, what are we supposed to do with this? People want justice right away. And as you know, when these investigations take place, they're usually quite thorough and they're not normally very fast, and people are asking for fast action.

But they also are wondering how a trained soldier -- they just can't fathom how a trained soldier would be led off base this way, without anyone being able to see him, and then commit this sort of act. So there is a lot of frustration and certainly a lot of distrust, more distrust against the American forces and coalition forces in the area.

So I think this is going to be a bit of a dangerous time for foreign forces who are here on the ground in Afghanistan. And as you know, there's a trickling out. People are slowly, slowly moving out of the country. This is making it very hard on those still on the ground, and of course a terrible, terrible time for the villagers who are having to bury their loved ones today.

TANK: Yes. And of course that investigation into exactly what happened and what this soldier was doing, that is ongoing.

We'll leave it there.

Sara, thanks very much for that update from Kabul.

Let's turn now to Gaza. And that's where Israeli airstrikes have entered a fourth straight day. Two militants and a 15-year-old boy are believed to have died in the latest attacks.

Israeli forces say they were targeting a weapons storage facility after militants fired more than 100 rockets into Israel. That's been happening since Friday. At least 21 Palestinians have been killed in this unrest so far.

Well, for an update on the escalating violence in the region, let's turn to Fionnuala Sweeney, who's live from CNN Jerusalem with more -- Fionnuala.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. In fact, we're hearing from Palestinian medical sources that there has been another Palestinian death in the northern Gaza Strip, an airstrike within the last few minutes. And we understand now that Israeli authorities are disputing the circumstances of the death of the 15-year-old student you reported on just a minute ago, Manisha.

Palestinian officials have been saying he had been killed in an airstrike. Israeli officials saying that, in fact, he was nowhere near the area that the IDF had been operating.

Nonetheless, the death toll on the Palestinian side continues to rise, rockets continue to be fired into southern Israel, and the airstrikes are continuing. This is the most serious escalation of airstrikes since last October.


SWEENEY (voice-over): The moment normal life in southern Israel is rocked, literally. An armed air missile is launched into such (ph) an incoming rocket from Gaza.

The most serious escalation of violence since last October began on Friday, when Israel assassinated the leader of the popular resistance committees in the Gaza Strip. The IDF said Zuhair al- Kaisi had been planning a terrorist attack along the border with Egypt. While Hamas held its fire, the response from the PRC and Islamic jihad was immediate. Over the next 48 hours, dozens of rockets not intercepted by armed air missiles rained onto southern Israel.

Israel responded in kind, striking targets in Gaza. In this house, three people not linked to violence, says this family member, were wounded. "We were sleeping in the house," he says. "We don't have any tools of war or anything. All of a sudden, the missile fell and destroyed the house, and these doors fell on the kids who were sleeping. The whole building is almost completely destroyed."

At the funeral for a 12-year-old boy killed, say Palestinian medical officials, on his way to school, vows to avenge Palestinian deaths, anger at Israel. While in southern Israel, residents hold their collective breath. The sound of a rocket being intercepted this time.

Amid the collective sigh of relief, anger at the Palestinians. "They will not stop firing, because if they were smart, they would have stopped already," says this man. "Instead, they are firing on innocent people. They want a missile to fall on a kindergarten."

"We have to deal with them," says this man. "We want quiet. If there's no quiet here, there will not be quiet there."

Residents on both sides wait to see how much of an appetite there is on the other side for a sustained barrage.


SWEENEY: And that is indeed the question here, as the rocket attacks and the airstrikes continue unabated. The stress and anger on both sides as the death toll rises, certainly on the Palestinian side, and the number of wounded in Israel and the number of people in shelters in southern Israel continues into this fourth day -- Manisha.

TANK: I wondered about that, Fionnuala. I mean, given the political situation on both sides, and given the attitudes on both sides, is that basically now a cease-fire now completely blown out of the water and no chance of getting back to anything like that?

SWEENEY: Well, it should be said that Islamic jihad and the Palestinian resistance committees are taking part in the rocket attacks on southern Israel at the moment. Hamas, for the most part, has largely been out of this and have more or less held to a truce now for quite some time.

There is pressure though on Hamas from the Palestinian people in Gaza, the public, who are extremely angry at this latest round of attack and counterattack. And the question is, really, can Hamas withstand the pressure from the Palestinian public not to take part in rocket attacks?

For the moment, Israel is targeting Islamic jihad, it says, backed by Iran, of course. It was earlier this time last week that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, was in Washington, with Iran very much at the top of the agenda at his meeting with President Obama. But it is, for the moment, Islamic jihad, the Palestinian resistance committees that seem to be in Israel's sights.

TANK: OK. We'll have to leave it there.

Fionnuala Sweeney, thank you very much for that.

Right ahead here on NEWS STREAM, opposition groups in Syria accuse the government of carrying out a massacre against women and children in the city of Homs. The latest attack coincides with the peace mission of U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan. We're going to have the latest on that for you.

It's been watched by millions of people, but a video about African warlord Joseph Kony is now also drawing negative publicity.

And a nation stops. Japan remembers the victims of last year's earthquake and tsunami.


TANK: A Syrian opposition group says a massacre has been carried out in the city of Homs. Activists say government forces slaughtered at least 45 women and children on Sunday. They say the victims were stabbed and burned.

And we must warn you, the footage that we're about to show you is quite disturbing. It appears to show the bodies of some of the victims wrapped in blankets. Now, CNN can't verify when or even where it was taken.

Further north, in the restive town of Idlib, this video purports to show tanks positioned on the outskirts of the town. They are poised to launch a barrage of shells.

Activists say 108 people were killed in violence on Sunday alone.

Now, there's reports of a massacre that emerged just hours after the U.N. special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, left Syria following two days of talks with President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Annan said he gave Syria's president a set of proposals aimed at stemming this bloodshed.

President al-Assad's response was unclear, and now diplomatic moves appear to be at a standstill. But Mr. Annan says he's staying hopeful.


KOFI ANNAN, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO SYRIA: It's going to be tough, it's going to be difficult, but we have to have hope. I am optimistic. I'm optimistic for several reasons.

First of all, I've been here for a very short period. Almost every civilian I've met wants peace. They want the violence to stop. They want to move on with their lives.


TANK: Well, CNN's Arwa Damon has the latest now on this story for us. She's in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, from where she's been following this.

Arwa, let's just talk about this. Kofi Annan has been there. He still says he's hopeful. But you've seen things on the ground. What do you think?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's very difficult to gauge exactly where that sense of optimism is coming from. A lot of activists, following those comments, were posting things to Twitter like, "Kofi Annan is being blinded by his humanitarian blinders." Others saying that he quite simply was unable to see the truth, because the opposition firmly believes that the Assad regime has absolutely no intent of reforming.

Trying to bring about any sort of concrete plan that would result in that peace that everyone really does want -- that part most definitely is true - - is going to be incredibly difficult, because both sides are quite simply so polarized and so hardened against one another because of all of the bloodshed. The Assad government is saying that it is not going to relent in its pursuit of these terrorist armed gangs, the opposition is saying that it won't even entertain the notion of sitting at a negotiating table until some sort of cease--fire is implemented. And many members of the opposition won't even entertain the notion of negotiating with the Assad regime to begin with.

They would have to see the president, his entourage removed from power before they will even begin to try to negotiate any sort of way forward. So it's a very, very difficult situation.

TANK: It is a difficult situation. It's also difficult when you see the kind of footage that we saw a moment ago which were, you know, apparently body bags, people being taken out wrapped in blankets, that sort of thing, women, children. These are the latest reports, that all sorts of people are being targeted. And yet, the government continues to say this is an act against armed terrorists.

So what's the latest on what we've seen unfold in Homs?

DAMON: Well, that incident is happening in a neighborhood called (INAUDIBLE), that actually is a mixed neighborhood, Alawite and Sunni. And a few weeks ago, activists from Homs itself were telling us that the neighborhood had basically divided. There was one main road that moved through it, and all of the Alawite families had moved to one side, the Sunni families to another.

Now, the opposition is claiming that this particular massacre -- and one group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying that they've received 31 bodies, managed to ID 21 of them, saying that this was carried out by pro-regime thugs, gangs, if you will. They say that they came in Sunday and they were rounding up families. They separated the men from the women, they allegedly tortured the men for two hours before killing them, setting their bodies on fire.

The women and children, horrific stories in which, you know, children were alleged to have been killed in front of their mothers, women being raped. The youngest of the victims identified as being a 5-year-old boy.

Now, the government, for its part, is saying that these were families that, over the last few months, were kidnapped from various areas of Homs, killed by these armed gangs, and now are being put forward as evidence to try to blame the government for even more of the violence. And what's incredibly difficult in all of this is really trying to independently verify what is taking place. But there is one thing that is undeniable, and that is that this horrific cycle of death continues. And many people are growing increasingly concerned about the underlying sectarian nature of this type of violence.

TANK: OK. We'll leave it there for now.

Thanks very much for that latest there on the Syrian situation from our own Arwa Damon, who is in Beirut.

Now, while, of course, the international community tries to come up with a solution to stop this violence, Syria's rebel fighters are relying on a secret network of weapons smugglers. As Nic Robertson reports, there are fears that could drag neighboring countries into the unrest.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 1949. So this is quite an old weapon with a brand new --



ROBERTSON (voice-over): These ancient rifles, a fraction of what Sheikh Bilal al-Masri (ph) says he's buying up for the Syrian opposition. And none of it's cheap.

AL-MASRI: At least $2,000.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Two thousand dollars for this?

AL-MASRI: Yes, $3,000.

ROBERTSON: That's very expensive.

AL-MASRI: Yes. Yes. This --

ROBERTSON: Each bullet?

AL-MASRI: Two dollars.

ROBERTSON: Two dollars each?

AL-MASRI: Two dollars.

ROBERTSON: Two dollars a bullet?

AL-MASRI: One. One, $2.

ROBERTSON: One bullet is $2.


ROBERTSON: That's expensive.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): He is no ordinary cleric -- packs two pistols under his robes, makes no apologies for arming Assad's opponents, buying wherever he can, even from the Syrian leader's Lebanese allies.

"We pay with our own money, sell our belongings, so we can get weapons from Hezbollah members," he says. When I ask him why he's become a small-times arms dealer here in Lebanon, he shows me a video on his phone.

(on camera): What it's saying is that these two people being executed on this video -- it's very graphic -- they were handed by Hezbollah to the Syrian authorities and they had their heads cut off. It's terrible graphic.

(voice-over): He is angry and emotional that Sunni Muslims like him in Syria are being killed. "How can we watch what they are doing to our Syrian brothers and do nothing?" he says. "American leaders, Arabs, foreign leaders are all silent. The weapons we send will barely last an hour," he adds.

He is not alone. This man, also a cleric-turned-arms-merchant, is making a deal. Using the Internet, he is a middleman between activists and supplier. It's all done in code.

"The mothers (ph) are $7,000 or $8,000," he says. "I have a mother (ph) with 18 parts. When I get the money, I can start preparing."

(on camera): In recent days, activists say several arms dealers have been arrested. Lebanon is tightening up its borders, making it harder for fighters to get to and from Syria. It is a desperate effort to avoid being dragged into the conflict next door, but it's not working.

(voice-over): Sheikh Masri (ph) shows me a video of a gun battle.

AL-MASRI: Here's where --

ROBERTSON (on camera): Right outside here, yes.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): That's him shooting the sniper rifle.

(on camera): So what's happening here? This is you?


ROBERTSON: This was right on the street corner outside your house here.

(voice-over): It's a battle against Assad supporters, neighbors, literally across the street. Tensions spilling over the border, an indication of the cost of Syria's widening conflict.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Tripoli, Lebanon.


TANK: Coming up here on NEWS STREAM, we'll have the latest on the viral video aimed at bringing an African warlord to justice and the questions by the group behind the campaign.

That's right after the break. Come back.


TANK: This advocacy group posted a video about brutal African warlord Joseph Kony and the use of children as fighters. It went viral, and now Invisible Children has released a new film, this time address its critics. They include members of Uganda's government and the military, who say the campaign is 15 years too late and doesn't represent what is happening today. The group has also been accused of profiting from the conflict.

Earlier, my colleague Pauline Chiou asked two of the groups members about that.


JASON RUSSELL, FILMMAKER, "KONY 2012": It's actually less a fundraising effort and more an awareness effort. So --

BEN KEESEY, CEO, INVISIBLE CHILDREN: It's actually not a fundraising effort. He wanted to make it one and I said, "No, this is not about money at all. We don't want the money."

RUSSELL: Because what we think is the most needed right now -- you know, the LRA is out of Uganda. They're in a weakened state because of the pressure that's been put on them. We think if there's a larger constituency, and the constituency continues to grow that's invested in seeing the permanent end of LRA violence, then the international community can support the regional effort to fully disarm the LRA. So that's the purpose, that was the intention behind "Kony 2012."


TANK: Well, supporters praise Invisible Children for spreading the word about Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. So far, their documentary, "Kony 2012," has been viewed nearly 74 million times on YouTube. You can just about see the number down here.

Well, YouTube is not accessible in China, but two of the country's top video-sharing Web sites are shown here. They are Youku and Tudou. They are now in the process of combining. Youku's founder says the new firm will have the largest user base in China with the most comprehensive content library. The proposed merger still needs shareholder approval though.

Well, both Youku and Tudou are publicly traded in the United States, but have struggled to actually turn a profit. Eunice Yoon has more.


EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: China's two online video giants are getting hitched. Youku and Tudou are getting together in a merger, in a stock deal, and the combined company is meant to dominate the market for YouTube-like services here in China.

Now, to give you a sense of just how large that market is, Tudou is the smaller of the two players, and it regularly sees 300 million visitors every single month. Youku is about six times larger. It's valued at about $2.8 billion. Now, both of the companies are listed in New York.

I managed to speak to a couple of Chinese Internet analysts, and they said that they are quite surprised by this announcement. And the reason for that is because both companies are better known here for their bitter rivalry, for the mudslinging over piracy and for the legal disputes. But analysts also say that both of these companies have been struggling to make money. Neither of them have been able to sell enough ads, and also, since going public, both of the companies have been forced to pay for higher and higher prices for content, as well as bandwidth costs.

So the two sides are hoping to change this whole equation. The new combined company is going to be called "Youku Tudou." No word yet on the value of the deal, but the deal is supposed to close by the end of the third quarter of this year.

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.


TANK: Still to come right here on NEWS STREAM, airlines warn that new carbon taxes in Europe could have a big impact on tourism and jobs.

And one year on, Japan remembers the thousands of lives lost in the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

That's coming up here on CNN.


TANK: I'm Manisha Tank in Hong Kong and you're watching NEWS STREAM. These are your world headlines.

Afghanistan's parliament is demanding that the U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 civilians on Sunday be tried in public. At the same time, the Taliban is vowing revenge for these killings which Afghan President Karzai condemned as unforgivable.

Activists say 108 people were killed in violence across the country on Sunday. At least 45 of those deaths in Syria were in Homs where the opposition says women and children were massacred by government troops. Syrian state TV blamed the deaths on armed terrorists.

Four people have been arrested in Kenya over a grenade attack in Nairobi that killed six people on Saturday. Kenyan police blamed the bombing at a bus station in the capital on terrorists from Al Shabbab, a Somali militant group allied to al Qaeda.

At least three people are reported dead after a new round of Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Palestinian officials say the bombings killed two militants and a 15-year-old boy. 21 people have reportedly been killed since Friday. Israel defends the air strike saying they are in response to more than 100 rocket attacks from Gaza.

Now aircraft maker Airbus along with several airlines has called on European leaders to halt a carbon tax imposed by the EU. The group, and that include British Airways, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic is worried that billions of dollars could be lost in tourism and plane orders in a trade battle with those who oppose the tax -- those are China, Russia, and the United States.

Well, let's get more on this. Jim Boulden joins me live from CNN London.

Jim, first of all just explain what this is really about.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. It's very interesting, for years the airline industry here in Europe has known that this carbon tax would be levied as part of Europe's EU trading scheme. It's a carbon trading scheme for many industries. Starting this year airlines are now involved.

And here's the interesting thing, it's not just European airlines, but it's also any airline around the world that flies in and out of Europe. And more interestingly, it's any airline the entire flight would then be charged for the carbon emitted, not just for the time it's in European air space.

So think of a flight coming from Beijing or Tokyo or Los Angeles, those airlines would be taxed for all the carbon they emitted under this scheme. There are ways to get around it, but frankly this is what upsets Airbus, because they say that the Chinese airlines are slowing down on finishing some orders. And they see it as a retaliatory action, because we have heard the Chinese airlines are not happy that this tax would be levied.

It isn't started, really -- it started officially, but they haven't started to pay yet.

There is hope that maybe there would be some flexibility out of Brussels. But I have to say this is a law, this has come into force, everyone knew it was coming into force. It's just that now that it's in force, airlines are really taking notice.

TANK: Yeah, and I guess they're really worried that, you know, the way that you spread the burden of a tax like this is, what, you have to pass it on to consumers. Is that what we're going to see? And then what's that going to mean for people?

BOULDEN: Yeah, of course. I mean, they always pass it on to consumers. And the airlines have said that they will do that. It's part of the whole idea of this carbon tax is to try to lower -- actually the idea, really, is not to lower the emissions, it's to get the airlines to buy new airplanes, the ones that would be more economical, more fuel efficient, more ecofriendly if you will, not that airlines really are. But -- and the airlines say we're doing that. Look at the new plans we're buying from Boeing, look at the new planes we're buying from Airbus. We are going down that road.

So some of the people who say this is a bit of a -- that the airlines are squawking too much are saying, look, the airlines are actually doing what they should be doing anyway. But it comes down to a trade dispute at the end here, because in the U.S. and in places like China they're saying you cannot tax our airlines when they're flying in our air space just because you've passed this law.

Europe says, well actually if you pass a similar law or if we get a global agreement on carbon emissions from airlines, from airplanes, then this would go away because then everyone would be under the threshold and you wouldn't have to pay a penny.

TANK: Yeah, its' amazing. We better start talking again as the case would seem, particularly when it comes to this tax. Thanks a lot Jim Boulden there for making sense of it for us.

Right, well let's go to the south of England now. And it might be surprising story for some, but residents there are suffering through the worst drought in decades. Erin McLaughlin explains what's at stake.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A centuries old chalk stream in peril, its upper reaches a muddy reminder of a once healthy river. Chalk streams across southeast England rely on autumn and winter rainfall to swell local aquifers and sustain their flow. The problem is that for the second winter in a row there has been very little rain to keep these fragile ecosystems alive.

EDWARD STARR, RIVER KEEPER: I don't think I've ever seen it this critical at this time of year.

MCLAUGHLIN: Edward Starr is the keeper of the stretch of the river Kennet that still has water. He says its pristine water belie an ecosystem in grave danger.

STARR: I've been noticing the fish having trouble in finding places to spawn, an act of reproduction, very little weed growth.

MCLAUGHLIN: Normally at this time of year you'd need a set of waders up to here in order to be able to walk through this section of the river without getting completely soaked. Clearly this river is in desperate need of more water. And conservationists and river keepers say that without more rain something needs to be done to limit water consumption.

SIMON MOODY, UK ENVIRONMENT AGENCY: That balance between water for people and water for the environment is a difficult balance at the best of times. And when we've seen the weather we've seen for the last 18 months that's even more tricky.

MCLAUGHLIN: Simon Moody from the UK Environment Agency says that if the drought continues there is a chance consumers will face a range of water restrictions including hose pipe bans.

MOODY: We need people to understand that the drop of water that comes out their shower is the same drop of water that sits in the river.

MCLAUGHLIN: But conservationists like Charlotte Hitchmough worry that efforts to limit water consumption will be too little too late. She has no doubt the river levels will drop even further through the spring and summer.

CHARLOTTE HITCHMOUGH, DIRECTOR, ACTION FOR THE RIVER KENNET: Chalk streams happen here in the UK and a little bit in northern France and that's it in the world. And they are the most incredible ecosystem which should be protected and cherished. And if we drain them dry they'll be gone.

MCLAUGHLIN: Erin McLaughlin, CNN, along the River Kennet.


TANK: Well, Mari Ramos is at the world weather center. And we can check in with her about the world weather. But Mari, it seems incredible, I'm sure, to a lot of people that the UK could be suffering a drought. It's not normally a country you might associate with drought, we often think about how the rain just keeps on falling in Britain.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's right, but it has been unusual to say the very least over the last -- definitely this winter and last winter as well which is when you would expect most of the rain to fall. And I just want to mention the chalk streams that she was talking about, those do only happen in the southern parts of the UK and also northern parts of France. If you think of the White Cliffs of Dover, for example, those are made out of what's called calcium carbonate. And what happens is, it's a very porous material so the water filtrates through that and it can hold water for a very long time. And it's slowly released through the dry months and that's how those streams keep up and those reservoirs that Erin was talking about in her report there.

So we looked up some information about the drought across parts of the UK. What you are looking at here is from the UK Environment Agency. The areas that they're saying, you know these could be at risk as we head through the next few months when it comes to drought. And you can see that there's a huge section, some of the most densely populated parts of the UK, that are going to be looking at a high risk as we head into the next few months. Some other areas over a moderate risk.

What's causing all this? Well, in a typical winter what we would have -- we have this area of high pressure here called the Igor's High (ph) sort of retreated somewhat and the storm systems ride along this area here and they move the rain across portions of Spain and France, and look at that, southern parts of the UK as well as they continue moving right along. Well, that's normally what happens in a typical winter.

This winter, the situation has been somewhat different. This area of high pressure is much bigger, it's very strong. And it's blocking these weather systems. Instead of riding down towards the south, they're moving along the north. So even though northern parts of the UK had some rain, and as we head into northern parts of France you can see these weather systems kind of riding along the north and actually riding along the south as well that's why we had so much snow and so much bad weather across central portions of the Mediterranean as well.

But this part of western Europe, while many of you may be enjoying the weather, we definitely could use a bit more in the way of rain. Madrid, for example, is looking at a huge deficit here when it comes to rainfall so far this season.

And this is another picture from Spain, they are really dealing with a serious drought there as well. This is a reservoir that's gone completely dry. And this is looking at the last nine months, there's the UK here to the north. You can see the significant drought there.

Southern France, Portugal and Spain also looking at a significant drought. And also, another big concern is the risk of wildfires. We already began to see some of that as we were heading into the weekend. Very dry brush. And of course now with the temperatures rising this is going to be a huge concern for these drought areas as we head into the summer months.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast now.

So, of course, this is a time of remembrance across Japan right now. The weather has been a little iffy over the last few days as we are one year on now from the tsunami. We're looking at some snowy conditions moving across the region, but drier weather is beginning to kind of move ahead as we head into the next few days. The snow continuing mostly on this side over here facing -- facing toward the west. But the snow ending, it's going to remain cool, but we're definitely looking at drier weather in the days to come.

And before I go, Manisha, I do want to show you a pretty interesting picture here. We talk so much about what happened a year ago. And of course the rebuilding process, I found this picture from NASA that shows the before and after of the tsunami. In this particular area near Nagatsura, this is in Oppa Bay on the island of Honshu, this is before. This picture taken on January 16th, so before the tsunami happened, about a month before the tsunami happened. And you can see all of the dry areas here along the bay.

Bay's are particularly susceptible to tsunami waves, because the water funnels in and can reach many, many kilometers inland, especially along the river. The city of Nagatsura after the tsunami, this is on March 14. You can see the water, how far inland it actually came in. The city completely inundated by water. Here's the before, let me show you once again the after. Very dramatic indeed.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Thank you for that. Mari Ramos at the world weather center.

Well, Japan came to a standstill on Sunday to mark the one year anniversary of that earthquake and tsunami that Mari was just talking about that killed some 20,000 people. A number of memorial services were held across the country. Residents observed a moment of silence, laying wreaths and saying prayers for those who lost their lives.

Many people in tsunami hit communities say despite delays in rebuilding, they are determined to move forward.

Well, the town of Natori was once a thriving farming community and all that changed in a matter of minutes when the tsunami swept on through destroying everything in its path and killing one in 10 people living and working there.

Now Kyung Lah visited Natori and found that the rebuilding process still had a long way to go.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a town of Natori. It is an area that if you simply were to arrive today it looks like undeveloped farmland. And over here just rural wasteland. But this is an area that used to be home to 7,000 people. All this land that you're looking at, those are the foundations of homes, hundreds of homes were washed away in an instant when the tsunami came ashore. One out of 10 people in this community died.

So this community paused yesterday to remember what happened a year ago. This -- and it's very difficult to tell, but it looks like this may be the floor of a small business or perhaps a home. It's been turned into a shrine. Over here this is now a family grave site for the Watanabe (ph) family. And you can see that there have been fresh flowers placed here as people paused to remember what happened a year ago.

350 square miles of northeastern Japan was decimated by the tsunami. People paused here in Japan to remember, to reflect, and to mourn the dead.

This is March 12 now here in Japan, but it is also thought of as the first day of the second year as Japan continues to rebuild.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Natori, Japan.



TANK: Now just when it looked as if Tiger Woods was starting to regain his old form, the former world number one golfer has suffered another injury. And it's come at a critical stage of the season. Alex Thomas is in London with more on that and the days other sports headlines.

Not a good one for Tiger, huh?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No, Manisha. We're just three-and-a-half weeks away from the Masters, the first of the golf season's four major championships. And instead of fine tuning his game, Tiger Woods is facing a race against time just to be fit enough to tee it up.

The former world number one was forced to pull out of the WGC Cadillac Championship in Florida after just 11 holes of his final round with an Achilles tendon injury that clearly left him limping. It was the same problem that forced him out of last year's U.S. and British Opens. Woods says he'll give an update on his condition later in the week.

Well, while Woods hobbled off, his heir apparent Rory McIlroy was staging a strong finish, holding a bunker shot for an eagle to go 15 under par. The world number one wasn't quite at his best this week, though, and he boogied the difficult 18th for a last round score of 67, only good enough for third place.

McIlroy's fellow Brits Justin Rose have been in contention all week. And he also dropped a shot at the final hole, but only after taking the tournament lead. Rose 16 under. All he could do was wait to see how Bubba Watson would finish. The overnight leader hitting an astonishing approach shot at the last, out of the rough, to the right of the fairway to within 10 feet of the hole. Coming good at the end after a woeful start to his final round, it left Bubba with a birdie put to take this into a sudden death playoff, but the American left-hander missed. And Rose who was waiting on the practice ground (inaudible) wins his fourth PGA Tour title and his first in a WGC event.


JUSTIN ROSE, GOLFER: This little beauty to show off on my mantle piece so early in the season definitely a fantastic feeling. And, you know, you set up a lot of -- it sets up a very exciting year. I believe I'm a good enough player now and I've learned enough along the way that I have a realistic shot every time I tee it up in a major. So that's a good place to be.

I feel like I'm actually in probably a perfect spot. The expectations aren't too high, but I feel my ability is good enough to get the job done.


THOMAS: In football, Lionel Messi may have broken the 50 goal barrier this season in all competitions, but Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney have been set a slightly more modest target by his manager. Alex Ferguson thinks the England star can aim for 40 goals after hitting the net twice in a 2-nil victory over West Brom on Sunday. That brace putting Rooney's tally for the season to 26. The win means United are top of the Barclay's Premier League.

They are a point ahead of local rivals Manchester City who loose the top spot for the first time since October 15 after a surprise 1-nil defeat away to Premier League strugglers Swansea. Both those games happening on Sunday. City saving a penalty kick, but they couldn't stop Luke Moore scoring for the home team in the dying minutes.

Now Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks have lost their fifth NBA game in a row, beaten by the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. And though they're still hanging on to the last playoff place in the East.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Rojon Rondo and the Celtics -- sorry, this was in L.A. -- however, starting an eight game road trip. Here's Rondo in the second quarter hitting the three as the buzzer sounds. The Lakers with a two point lead at half-time.

On to the fourth, and here's Rondo who gets it to Ray Allen on the wing. And he knocks down the three.

At one stage, the Celtics had a five point lead with less than three minutes on the clock. And the Lakers had to dig deep.

Kobe Bryant lobbing it up to Andrew Bynum to get the tip-in here. And L.A. still a point down with less than a minute to go when Kobe drives, pulls up, to make the jumper just rattles in, goes in, but the Lakers finally take the lead.

Now, 10 seconds remaining. Rondo to Allen up for the three, but has to pass to Paul Pierce instead. His three is short, and Kevin Garnett throws the loose ball out to Rondo who misses with his attempt. Times up, the Lakers win 97-94.

And that is all the sport for now. Back to you in Hong Kong, Manisha.

TANK: It all goes to show that things can change within the blink of an eye. And don't worry, those two places are on opposite ends of America, but that's totally cool, Alex.

Thank you very much -- Boston and L.A., but we got there in the end. Thanks a lot.

Now many people might be tempted to break the speed limit, especially if they own a cool sports car, but one many in Japan has taken things a step further, he posted footage of himself speeding on the internet.

Reports say police arrested the 50-year-old doctor after angry YouTube viewers alerted them to this viewer. It apparently shows the man driving at more than 120 kilometers per hour in a 40 kilometer per hour zone. The doctor reportedly said he just wanted people to understand the beauty of a Ferrari. He could face a fine now, though, of more than $1,000 if he's found guilty.

Yeah, clever. Maybe not.

Now it's not the first time a super car driver in Japan has -- or super car drivers, in fact, in Japan have run into trouble. In one memorable incident, several drivers ended up with more than just a hefty fine. 14 cars were involved in this huge pile-up last December, and that included eight Ferraris, three Mercedes Benz, and a Lamborghini. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, although I wouldn't want to see the insurance bill.

Yeah, the price tag for fixing that damage would have been something else.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. We're live from Hong Kong.

Sowing the seeds of change in Brazil. Rain forests were once cleared to make way for farmland, but now things are different. That's next.


TANK: For years, Brazil's forests were cut down to make room for farms, but things there are beginning to change. Farmers are now required to plant trees. And Shasta Darlington tells us it's opened up a new and very lucrative line of work.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They muck through swamps and tromp through endangered woodland, stooping, stretching on the hunt for seeds.

Lungi, woodasee, baru (ph), native trees that Sanchino Sina (ph) once cut down to make room for fast expanding farmland on Brazil's agricultural frontier.

"Most of these seeds are headed to the same land that I helped clear," he says. "Now we're replanting."

For the past 40 years, settlers have slashed and burned Amazon jungle and native savannah here in Mato Grosso State. Now, they're being required to replant thousands of hectares of native trees if they want access to government loans and key markets. Suddenly, seed collectors are a hot commodity.

We're looking for these seeds. These are called Lungi (ph). And it's actually a bit easier around here because they float so you can either use the net or you can just grab them with your hand. Here's one?


DARLINGTON: And they're pretty soft. Some of them then seed is already falling off, others you're going to have to really rub it against the metal.

Apparently I have to be a lot faster to make this at all profitable.

There are now 300 residents from indigenous families to former loggers who make a living collecting seeds. The non-profit group Issa (ph) has identified 214 native species that can be used in reforestation.

"Before, we had to go to farmers to ask for land for our pilot projects," he says. "Now it's just the opposite, farmers are looking for us."

After much trial and error, farmers have turned to the same tractors they used to plant soy beans and corn. This time, they plant forests.

Amano Mikolino (ph), a small time rancher, is reforesting river margins as required by law. He's also going a step further, replanting a big chunk of his 400 hectare ranch.

"I want to leave something for future generations," he says. "So they know what it was like 50 or 100 years ago."

But Mikolino (ph) is a rare breed here in the heartland.

In less than three decades, Brazil has gone from being a food importer to a global bread basket, exporting everything from soy beans to sugar, beef, and orange juice, often at the expense of the environment. And so far, just a tiny fraction of the land that was illegally cleared has been reforested.

Sena (ph) isn't discouraged. Before, he didn't think twice about destroying native forests, but he says he's happier planting them.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Nova Xavantina (ph), Brazil.


TANK: Right. We're almost out of time, but before we go let's take a look at the (inaudible) from Australia. Beaches off Perth were closed, this after a chopper spotted dozens of sharks circling. They weren't too far from shore at all. And as you can see, some brave birds also trying to get in on the action as well. One expert says a feeding frenzy like this is really quite rare.

So what exactly triggered it? Well, we're told the sharks were attracted by a larger than normal tuna population.

Wow, amazing video.

Anyway, that's it from NEWS STREAM for now, but the news continues here at CNN. Well my colleagues in three continents will be joining you in a moment for "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY." That's next.