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Space X Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket; Presidential Elections In Egypt Set For This Wednesday/Thursday; Kachin Rebels Clash With Myanmar Military; Debris From Japan Tsunami Begins Washing Up On Alaska Beaches

Aired May 22, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. We begin with the historic space launch as a company sends a capsule to the International Space Station for the first time, a milestone in the corporate space race.

And look at the battle to keep the Taliban out of schools in rural Afghanistan.

And we'll be live on the shores of Alaska where debris from last year's tsunami in Japan is starting to pile up.

Space X is celebrating a huge success. The launch of its Falcon 9 rocket earlier on Tuesday marks a new era for U.S. spaceflight, one with private companies as key players. Now the Falcon 9 rocket, it carried this, the Dragon capsule that's bringing 520 kilograms of food, supplies, and science experiments to the International Space Station.

Now Space X would be the first ever company to make such a delivery. And here is how the mission began.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And launch of the Space X Falcon 9 rocket as NASA turns to the private sector to resupply the International Space Station.


LU STOUT: And Space X fills a void left by the end of NASA's shuttle program last year. And the company is hoping to achieve something only done by a handful of governments. Now cargo has been delivered to the ISS by the United States, Russia, Japan, and Europe. And Space X does not want to stop with cargo, it also hopes to ferry people into low Earth orbit within a few years.

Now right now, NASA is relying on the Russian Soyuz to send its astronauts into space. NASA administrator Charles Bolden spoke to CNN exclusively about that a short time ago.


CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: What's really important is not control as much as it it the fact that the United States will once again be in the lead, we'll be providing our own vehicles to take our own astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station. It's fine to rely on partners, but that's not where the greatest nation in the world wants to be. We want to be taking astronauts and cargo on our own vehicles. Today was a huge day in the step to getting there.

So you know we're on the way. And people should hang with us.


LU STOUT: But many challenges remain on this mission.

John Zarrella, he has been up since before dawn in Florida to watch the launch. He joins us now. John, finally launch success for Space X.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know Kristie, and exactly what Charlie Bolden just said there and you're saying there's still a long way to go, there's a lot of hurdles. They did get off the ground. The Space X Dragon spacecraft, the capsule is now in orbit heading toward the International Space Station.

But once they get there, there are a number of test that have to be performed in order to validate, that everything is working, all the software, et cetera, et cetera. And then the following day, if everything goes right, early Friday morning they would attempt the actual berthing to the space station.

So still several hurdles to go before you could say that this mission is a complete success.

But you know I sat down with Elon Musk about three weeks ago. And he talked about you know various aspects of this flight, the challenges. But he also talked about what they were going to be carrying up in space.


ELON MUSK, CEO, SPACE X: So we're going to be carrying about half a ton of supplies. It's going to be mostly -- in fact almost entirely supplies that are valuable once they're received at the space station, but it's OK if they get lost on the way there. So commission visible and we don't succeed, then it's not -- it's a small loss.


ZARRELLA: So they've got a lot of dry goods on board, a lot of food on board, a computer, a laptop, a new laptop, some batteries. And Musk even mentioned to me that he was pretty sure they were carrying some underwear up there as well in the supplies. Got to have everything.

LU STOUT: But John -- yeah, everything but including human remains? What have we been hearing about that that may have been sent to space on this mission?

ZARRELLA: Yeah, a lot of dodging of that by Elon Musk when we talked to him about that. But what it turns out is that there's a canister by a company called Celestis which provides the space memorials for cremated people. And supposedly, Celestis has a canister that's in the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, not in the Dragon craft that's going to the station, but in the second stage of that booster rocket.

So it's orbiting the Earth now. And in that canister, supposedly the remains of Scotty from Star Trek and some 300 other people as well, including the creator of Star Trek Gene Roddenberry and his wife, although Celestis has not -- we haven't been able to get in touch with them to confirm all of these stories yet.

But that's the story that's going around out there.

LU STOUT: OK. Thanks for clarifying that.

And also, tell us what does the launch by Space X, what does it mean for NASA? Is it good news for NASA in a way? Does it free NASA to innovate?

ZARRELLA: Oh, yeah.

LU STOUT: And focus on getting deeper into space?

ZARRELLA: Yeah, absolutely. It's a complete sea change. What you have now is NASA could not fly the shuttles and at the same time build a new rocket and a new spacecraft to take humans out to Mars and to asteroids. So what NASA did was say, OK, with our limited budget we're going to turn over to the private sector these low Earth orbit flights to start taking cargo first then humans in the next four years, astronauts, to the station. And we will focus our money and our energies on doing what NASA does best, which is things like exploring the heavens and eventually getting humans out to an asteroid and on to Mars.

So it's a huge, huge sea change for the U.S. space agency.

LU STOUT: Yeah, it's a new beginning for everyone. John Zarrella on the story. Thank you, John.

Now Space X, it's not the only company eying opportunities above the horizon. Orbital Sciences Corporation also has a partnership with NASA. It's first test launch is reportedly scheduled for early 2013.

And Space X has teamed up with a partner of its own who will provide transportation for Bigelow Aerospace. Now that company is making these small space habitats.

Now the most well known private space company is arguably Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson's endeavor to provide sub-orbital trips for space tourists. The tickets, they cost $200,000.

Now the Egypt where it is the eve of a landmark elections that analysts say will be the first free and fair presidential vote in the country's history. Now the election comes 15 months after Hosni Mubarak was overthrown. And it has been a tumultuous transition to democracy marred by violence and often deadly protests.

Now Egypts new leader will no doubt attempt to restore stability and rescue the country's flagging economy. A dozen candidates are in the running.

Now the first round of voting, it takes place on Wednesday and Thursday. If no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates go to a run-off in mid-June.

Now Ben Wedeman is in Cairo and he joins me now live. And Ben, a dozen candidates are on the ballot, who has the best chance of winning?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've seen a variety of opinion polls published in the last few weeks here in Cairo and it's really difficult as some of them are very contradictory. However, basically it's paired down to four individuals. There's Amr Moussa, the former foreign minister, there's Ahmed Shafiq, the foreign civil aviation minister under Hosni Mubarak, there's Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, and there's Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh who is a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who broke away. Those are really the top four.

And many Egyptians in fact aren't really happy with the choices they're being provided. It's fairly stark. On the one hand, you either vote for an Islamist or somebody who has too many connections, they say, to the old regime.

And of course, there's the question of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the generals who took over from Hosni Mubarak in February of last year. Will they indeed hand over power to a civilian government? Too many questions for some who say they're simply not going to vote at all.


WEDEMAN: It started almost a year-and-a-half ago in a square called Tahrir. An autocrat nearly 30 years in power toppled in a mere 18 days. This week for the first time in this land's more than 5,000 year history, Egyptians will have a say in who runs their country. Across Egypt, enthusiasm for the elections has been deep and loud.

NOUR NOUR, CAIRO RESIDENT: It's healthy to see that people aren't, you know, stuck in front of the televisions watching football matches or sitcoms, it's good to see that they're once again beginning to get interested in Egyptian politics.

WEDEMAN: Nour Nour, a student at the time, was one of the angry young men who went to Tahrir, but he won't be voting.

NOUR: I would have loved to participate wholeheartedly in the first presidential elections after the Egyptian revolution, however, I can't get myself to participate simply because there are no guarantees in these elections, there are no political or legal guarantees that will -- that ensure that votes will not be manipulated for a certain candidate.

WEDEMAN: Kareem Kamel, a young university professor, was also in Tahrir calling for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. He will vote.

KAREEM KAMEL, CAIRO RESIDENT: For me, this is the ultimate embodiment of the revolution, this kind of collapse of the wall of fear. People are now free to choose. People have the freedom to elect whomever they feel represents them without the fear of retribution.

WEDEMAN: To Kareem, the old regime is gone, the time for upheaval in coming to an end.

KAMEL: I think we need a short-term plan that at least would bring back security, somebody with experience and somebody who can bring back the economy to acceptable levels and achieve some measure of security and some measure of social justice.

WEDEMAN: Nour, however, sees the revolution as unfulfilled. The generals who took over from Mubarak, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, has thinly disguised dictatorship no better than the old one.

NOUR: Well, we've seen certain things in the last year-and-a-half where huge crimes against the Egyptian people were being committed, whether people being killed in front of the entire world, or tortured, or the most basic example the woman who got beaten and almost undressed in front of the entire world. And the Egyptian people have seen so much of this. And they've almost become desensitized.

WEDEMAN: Nour vows to carry on protesting and campaigning for radical change.

Kareem counsels patience.

KAMEL: Social justice, which was one of the major demands, this is something that cannot be achieved in a year-and-a-half. I think we are looking at the, you know, five years, six years, things have to stabilize.

WEDEMAN: From either perspective, change has come to the land of Egypt. Mubarak's overthrow was the easy part. The hard work perhaps is only just beginning.


WEDEMAN: And Kristie, I think one thing almost all Egyptian will agree on that this is an election like no other. I covered the last so- called presidential election here in 2005 when President Hosni Mubarak -- ex-president Hosni Mubarak -- was running against a field of unknowns and nobody took it seriously. This time, everyone seems to be taking this election very seriously -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: A landmark election, yet so many questions about justice, about the candidates, about the democratic transition and also about Hosni Mubarak. What's next for Mubarak who stands on trial?

WEDEMAN: Well, in effect Mr. Mubarak's trial is over, but the verdict is supposed to come out some time in June. And the question is will that verdict find him guilty? Many Egyptians feel that justice has yet to be served.

What's interesting, of course, is that there was much discussion in the media recently over whether president -- ex-president Hosni Mubarak will be entitled to vote. And it seems that until he is actually sentenced and convicted he may, if he wants, participate as a voter in this election.

LU STOUT: So it would be an incredible site to see. Ben Wedeman reporting for us live from Cairo. Thank you, Ben.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up, much has changed in Myanmar in the past year, but despite the political reform fighting still rages in the north.

In Afghanistan, we'll show you how the next generation become hostage to a power struggle between the Taliban and the government.

And China's internet rumor hunters, are they conscientious citizens or are they working for the government? Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Yemen's government is blaming an affiliate of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for Monday's massive suicide bombing.

Now the bomber blew himself up in the capital Sanaa during rehearsals for a parade marking Yemen's national day of unification. At least 101 soldiers were killed, more than 220 were injured. Websites have posted a statement reportedly from the al Qaeda offshoot Ansar al Shariah claiming responsibility for the attack.

Now there are calls for restraint after clashes in Lebanon between factions supporting Syrian president Bashar al Assad and those opposing him. Now tensions were high between the two sides during a funeral procession Monday for one of two clerics who were killed over the weekend. Now the clerics oppose the al Assad regime and were killed by soldiers who said their convoy ran a checkpoint. Their deaths triggered clashes in Beirut that killed two people.

In Myanmar, fighting is on the rise between government troops and Kachin rebels. Now tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict. And the situation could get worse.

Now Paula Hancocks reports from Yangon.


PAULA HANCOCKS: The Kachin independence army defends its position near Liza (ph) in northern Myanmar fighting against Myanmar's army as it has done intermittently for 60 years. The fight for autonomy in the ethnic Kachin area is showing no signs of waning after a ceasefire broke down last year. Even as other ethnic rebels are signing peace deals with the new nominally civilian government.

The United Nations estimates up to 55,000 people have been internally displaced by the fighting and they are in desperate need of aid. UN handlers called NGOs have delivered six convoys of food, shelter, and medicine to those stranded in camps. But due to the worsening security, the UN has been unable to deliver anything since the end of last month.

The head of the UN mission in Myanmar said he's in talks with the government to try to help those in need.

ASHOK NIGAM, UN MISSION, MYANMAR: Many of them are staying in hilly tracks along the hills and in very temporary shelters with a tarpaulin provided by one of the relief agencies. So you can imagine that the rains come and the high winds come that these are subject to be blown away.

HANCOCKS: Those rains are due to start any day now. The UN knows it will then become even harder to access the more remote areas of northern Myanmar previously known as Burma.

Human Rights Watch has released a report recently alleging serious abuses by the Burmese army against Kachin civilians. The group says that it has documented incidents proving forced labor, proving targeting of civilians, torture, and ill treatment.

The government denies such claims, but international leaders have called on President Thein Sein to do more to end fighting in Kachin state, signing ceasefires with ethnic groups is one of the conditions for lifting of sanctions on the country.

Doy Bung (ph) is a Kachin member of parliament and is hopeful talks have more chance of success now that there's a constitution and a young democracy.

"We need freedom for etchnic groups," she says, "especially religious freedom. And we need proceed from the natural resources being mined in the region to be shared among the people."

But for now, diplomatic efforts have done little to quell the violence or allegations of abuses on both sides of this conflict.

Paula Hancocks, Yangon, Myanmar.


LU STOUT: Up next, there is something in the water in Alaska. Now more than a year after Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster tons of debris have begun washing up along the coastline. That story just ahead on CNN.


LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream.

Now Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are heading home for the summer. Now they were knocked out of the NBA playoffs on Monday night. Pedro Pinto joins us now. He's got all the details -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. It's easy to identify the reason why the Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs by Oklahoma City in just five games. They quite simply failed to find a way to stop the Thunder's big three. They are, of course, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Hardin. Westbrook has been on fire in this series. And he again led this team in scoring on Monday night, 28 points for the point guard including this fantastic shot while he was being grabbed by Ramon Sessions.

In the fourth quarter, the Thunder strike while Kobe Bryant was getting some rest on the bench. Durant nailing a long three. Moments later, another big shot from KB from downtown. And that was all she wrote. The Thunder winning comfortably by 16. Kobe, who had 42 points and the Lakers are heading home for the summer.

Topping football news, we've just heard the Jose Mourinho has signed a contract extension with Real Madrid. The club's website confirmed that the Portugese manager now has a deal that runs until 2016. However, there's no contract extension for Didier Drogba at Chelsea. The Ivory Coast striker has reportedly told French magazine France Football that he is on his way out of Stamford Bridge. The publication said the 34-year-old who scored the late equalizer and then the decisive penalty in the shootout win in the Champion's League final on Saturday burst into tears during Chelsea's victory parade and told his teammates he would not be with them next year. Drogba is out of contract next month and he could join any other club for free.

The sport of Formula 1 is in line to get a big payday. Singapore's stock exchange has given the green light for an initial public offering of F1 shares worth more than $2.5 billion. According to sources close to the matter, Formula 1's holding company was expected to star pre-marketing very soon. If successful, the Formula 1 flotation would be Singapore's biggest initial public offering this year.

That's a quick look at sports for this hour, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.

LU STOUT: Pedro, thank you.

The Lakers, they are out of the NBA playoffs. And that probably came as a relief for at least one group of people in L.A. You're looking at a time lapse video of Staples Center. It's the home of the Lakers and home of the NBA Clippers and the home of ice hockey's L.A. Kings. Now this weekend saw all three teams play in playoff games in L.A. meaning the staff at Staples Center had to prepare for six games in four days for three teams in two completely different sports.

Now in case you're wondering how they do it. Well, the ice is on the bottom level, and the basketball court is laid on top of it.

Now if you think that is a busy venue, this next one, it might just top that. Now here's a group of American high school kid showing up for their prom at the Miami Beach Convention Center. So far so good, but let's take a look at the other side of the building and you will see that it is a porn convention. Now here's what the teenagers and parents thought of the arrangement.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think about the porn convention being in the same building?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a shame. Oh, no, I don't like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't even know about this whole convention thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think now that you know?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do not hold our proms in venues such as hotels for the safety of the children and to discourage drinking.


LU STOUT: An unforgettable night.

Now the school apparently hired police officers to make sure their students staid on the right side of the convention center.

Now still ahead here on News Stream, we take you inside some Afghan schools that are under the thumb of the Taliban. Is this this future for Afghanistan?

And on the hunt, a group of cyber vigilantes takes to the internet to shut down China's rumor mill.


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

Now Egyptians are preparing to head to the polls to vote in landmark presidential elections. A dozen candidates are in the running to succeed Hosni Mubarak who was ousted in last year's popular uprising. Now voting takes place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Now the interim president of Mali has been beaten unconscious at his presidential palace. Witnesses say soldiers stood by and watched as a mob stormed the palace in the capital. Mr. Tracore was taken to hospital and treated for head wounds. Protesters were demanding he resign as interim leader.

Now Space X has become the first private company bound for the International Space Station. It's Falcon 9 rocket successfully put the Dragon capsule into orbit. The spacecraft is carrying about 520 kilograms of supplies to the ISS crew. It's schedule to berth with the station on Friday.

As the international military effort winds down in Afghanistan, there are growing fears about the nation's future and especially the influence of the Taliban on daily life. Now in some rural areas, schools and their students are caught in the middle of the battle between the Taliban and the government.

Nick Paton-Walsh is at CNN Kabul. He joins us now with the story -- Nick.

NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Education really in Afghanistan is one of the areas where you could almost indisputably cite progress in the last decade. But we have seen evidence, and remarkably heard an admission from a top government official, that in some areas the Taliban is getting to dictate what students study in return for allowing schools to stay open.


PATON-WALSH: In parts of rural Afghanistan, the battlefield is everywhere, even in the schools. The next generation is hostage to a power struggle between the Taliban and the government. Recently, the Taliban demanded the closure of some schools in two eastern provinces. In Gazni (ph), it was in retaliation for a government ban on motorbikes often used by the insurgents. We recently filmed an Afghan soldier disciplining a villager for breaking this rule.

But in neighboring Wardak (ph) Province, locals say the Taliban were more compromising. Our cameraman visited one school in which we won't identify people for their safety, where the Taliban forced a school term to start late this year with one big condition: they had to have a Taliban minder oversee the syllabus a school teacher says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The Taliban are fine with that as long as we do what they want. They tell us what to teach and what not to. If we don't do what they say, they have a representative who comes checking things. They've increased the number of hours we teach religious subjects in a week and decrees other subjects like English. If we didn't, they would threaten teachers and it's very much possible that they would close the school down.

PATON-WALSH: But some were happy, still, to be able to learn. The Taliban have only increased the religious subjects in our day to day schools, this people says, which is very good as people should learn religious subjects.

A deputy education minister told CNN that in areas where the Taliban had more control, sometimes the government let them influence the subjects taught to keep the schools open and even check student attendance. He said this wasn't a deal, just flexibility that kept schools running.

Our cameraman met this man who said he was the Taliban's schools representative, one of many across Afghanistan, he said, implementing instructions from Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We didn't allow schools to be open here at the beginning of the school year, because we wanted things to change. Then we had a big meeting with the school officials and (inaudible) with them to allow school to start. But teaching should be according to our principle and Islamic principles. They accepted that. We have only changed Islamic subjects, so even when a person become an engineer he should have enough knowledge in Islam.

PATON-WALSH: Whatever exactly happened in Wardak (ph) it's symptomatic of broader fears of the Taliban getting back under the skin of daily life in Afghanistan. The Taliban representatives did oppose girl's education, but the fact they let the school open at all whereas before they've insisted on religious education shows a curious kind of evolution in the Taliban. Sometimes they chose moderation.

They didn't want to shut the school entirely, because that would be unpopular with locals. They just wanted to remind everybody who is in control of it.

How long this moderation lasts and how far it extends is uncertain. But what is clear is as NATO eyes the exit after a decade here, how far from its original promises so much of Afghanistan has fallen.


PATON-WALSH: What is really curious here is the admission from this government official that this is going on, that in some areas the Taliban is stronger. They allow them to change how much the study of whatever different subjects to keep the school open, that was from a deputy minister for education no less. I think we may run the risk of seeing more compromises like this between the Afghan government and the insurgency as ISAF begins to draw down.

Bear in mind, Afghan security forces really lack the power to check the insurgency right across the country. And what's also fascinating in some ways is that this kind of compromising already happening just after the peak in the curb of ISAF's troop numbers here. It tells you an awful lot about what's been achieved in the past and what kind of society Afghanistan may be in the future, Kristie.

LU STOUT: So the Taliban still has a grip on many parts of Afghanistan.

Separately, Nick, an announcement from the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker. What can you tell us.

PATON-WALSH: He said that he will be leaving this post with regret this summer. That was after reporters earlier today, confirmed by the U.S. embassy's Twitter account here. And it hasn't been telegraphed this was coming. So there's many people, of course, trying to work out exactly what the original timing of this tenure was supposed to be. But certainly there's been a very long, difficult year for a man in his position. He has just negotiated strategic partnership agreement with the Afghan government. They were very long, tense negotiations. And I'm sure had been a tiring year in a man of his lengthy career, may perhaps be looking to slow down. That's just my interpretation, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Nick Paton-Walsh with that. Thank you very much indeed.

Now it is no secret that the internet in China is heavily policed by the government. Now not so well known, perhaps, are the citizen groups that scour the internet trying to stamp out rumors.

Eunice Yoon reports.


EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Images of military tanks rolling in Beijing sparked rumors of a coup in China before proven false and stamped out thanks in part to self-described rumor hunter Dohan Jong (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No matter the circumstance, spreading rumors is wrong.

YOON: The internet researcher heads up the Rumor Refuting Alliance, a group of journalists, lawyers, and other citizens who pledge to root out rumors on the internet here. The Chinese internet is heavily policed by censors who often scrub the web of sensitive key words like the Dalai Lama or military coup.

Social media sites allow net savvy citizens to dodge the controls and spread information fast before the government tightens its rings again.

But amid talk of political in-fighting ahead of a leadership transition, these sites have come under greater restrictions in a country that already bans players like Facebook.

JEREMY GOLDKORN, FOUNDER, DANWEI.ORG: There's such an outer layer of scrutiny as a foreign player. And Facebook is already well known for being a tool used by revolutionaries and activists. And that's not something the Chinese government wants in China.

YOON: Doe (ph) denies his group is backed by the government or are censors. But the former editor at state run news agency Xinua thinks the internet, with its half billion users, needs controls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If anything, there are too many platforms for discussion which has lead to an increase in rumors. Without regulations of social media, people can curse others anonymously, destroy reputations, and spread rumors freely.

YOON: So this is a rumor?


YOON: Over the past year-and-a-half Doe (ph) has enlisted nearly 500 supporters who give his group tips. His rumor hunters scrutinize photos like in the case of the false military coup and sometimes travel to investigate cases before posting their findings.

Those found to have spread rumors have faced punishment, accounts are deleted, and sometimes there are arrests. Doe (ph) says China needs more rules to prevent unnecessary scares. Yet some here argue that tight controls are the reason so many buy into the rumors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Something spreads on the internet, I tend to believe it is true because the government may not speak the truth.

YOON: Yet in Doe's (ph) playbook.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE (through translator): Rumors don't reveal the truth, they cloud the truth.

YOON: The mantra of his truth squad, sworn to hunt down rumors no matter where they lead.

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.


LU STOUT: Now there is some skepticism, however, about the so-called rumor hunters and whether they or not they working for the government. Now Hu Yong from the China Media Project at Hong Kong University argues that often rumor may turn out to be fact, not fiction, "so oftentimes information will emerge incomplete or even in error, and it is difficult to dismiss it directly as rumor." It goes on to say, quote, "in a deeper sense, rumor is one way and means by which we come to recognize our society a form of knowing."

Now the world's second tallest structure has opened to the public in Tokyo. The Tokyo Sky Tree is more than 600 meters tall and over 200,000 people are expected to go there on the first day alone. But if you want to join them, here's a warning, only those with advance reservations will be allowed up to the observation decks before July. Now aside from being a tourist attraction, it also serves as a broadcast tower to pump TV signals across Tokyo.

Now the Sky Tree is truly enormous. It is double the height of the Eiffel Tower, but it's still well below the height of the world's tallest building. Now let's put the Burj Khalifa in Dubai right next to the Sky Tree. And as you can see the Burj Khalifa it still towers over it. It's almost 200 meters taller than the Sky Tree.

Now up next, rising to the top: when we come back, a look at one of Norway's top business women and the secret to her success. It's part of our Leading Women series. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now they have fought the odds and made it to the top of their fields. And this week as part of our Leading Women series, we asked fashion designer Monique Lhuillier and Norwegian businesswoman Kristen Skogen-Lund about their key to success. And here is the answer they gave Felicia Taylor and Becky Anderson.


MONIQUE LHUILLIER, FASHION DESIGNER: So right now I'm doing fittings on my pre-fall collection.

All right, Michelle, let's have you walk for us.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, has been building her business for more than a decade.

LHUILLIER: I start the process by sketching out the designs. But for me, the magic happens when I have it on the model's body and when I see the fabric move and the way it drapes on the body.

We should tack this in the center back so it doesn't get lost.

The magic also begins when I work with beautiful fabrics. And that's where the inspiration starts. I'll view lots of fabric and I'll be like, these are speaking to me and then that will start the color palette.


Hands in the pockets. Great. Good height.


TAYLOR: Lhuillier was inspired to create beautiful gowns right out of design school.

LHUILLIER: So beautiful.

TAYLOR: It started when she couldn't find the right wedding dress for her own nuptials. Her husband, Tom, a business major, became her company's CEO. And together, they grew a small line of wedding dresses into a successful design house.

But that success meant sacrifice along the way.

LHUILLIER: What I realized when we were starting our company, when we were building our company is that you have to give up everything personally in the very beginning, because it's all about the business. There's no balance at that point, it's all about work.

Ton and I have been married for 17 years. And we didn't start our family until our 11th year of being married, because we really gave up everything to start this.

TAYLOR: Lhuillier not only designs for well known personalities, she also has a more affordable line that is sold in department stores. Lhuillier also has created a line of china, crystal ware, and home fragrances.

A little confidence in what she was building gave her the tools to persevere.

LHUILLIER: It takes a lot of tenacity in the beginning and really a beautiful product will shine in the end. And so you just have to stick it through and believe in yourself.


Having confidence is a central theme for Kristen Skogen-Lund. She's held many executive level positions in international companies such as Unilever and Coca-Cola. And before she became executive vice president of Telenor, she was the first female managing director of a major media company in Norway.

But Lund admits it took her some time to feel comfortable in the role of boss.

KRISTEN SKOGEN-LUND, VP TELENOR: When I started to work for Coca-Cola and I had two guys working for me and I was the marketing director and they were marketing managers. And when I first met them I was really shocked, because they were so tall, they were like 6 feet 4 tall and I thought it was very weird that I should be the boss of someone who was that tall.

I've gotten more used to bossing now, you could say that.

ANDERSON: For Lund, believing in one's self is crucial. And when she gives inspirational talks, she points out why certainty is crucial to good business.

LUND: I tried to focus on this thing about your own confidence and security that you just do yourself such a big favor by allowing yourself to gain confidence and to focus on nine times out of 10 on your strengths. I really believe that insecurity is the root cause of a lot of bad management and a lot of bad behavior. It's not because the people are bad, it's just because they're not secure.

ANDERSON: Despite all of her success, Lund tries to remain grounded, even admitting one of the biggest obstacles she's faced since she started out in the business world, insecurity.

LUND: I guess I didn't realize how good I was. And I certainly wasn't comfortable with it. I didn't want to speak out. I was afraid that others would dislike me. I was -- I still am, actually, afraid that people will accuse me of thinking I'm something special. I really don't want to have that attached to me. And I really don't want to be perceived that way. I still worry about that.

I really believe in optimizing what you do at the moment and then possibilities will occur and you just need to be open minded to those possibilities when they come to you.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up, debris from Japan's tsunami disaster is now washing up on Alaskan shores and locals are worried that there is a lot more to come. We will go live to Yakutat in Alaska for an update.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And as I was telling you before the break, tsunami debris has been found washing up on the shores of Alaska. For months now Mari Ramos has been tracking the story for us. And she joins us now from the world weather center with that -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, you know the tsunami debris arrived somewhat earlier than the original forecast models had predicted. And I think it surprised a little bit some of those marine scientists that were tracking the tsunami debris.

When the earthquake happened in Japan there were about 5 million tons of debris estimated that were generated from all of that destruction of those waves just a little bit over a year ago. Now NOAA estimates that about 70 percent of that debris actually sank very close to the shore and that's causing some problems for fisherman and for marine traffic in this area right along the coastline here. But much of that, about 1.5 million tons, is believed to have been carried out to sea by the different ocean currents.

Now most of the debris was no longer visible by satellite any more back on April 12, 2011. But they had been tracking it through models, in other words, they input the data, they see how the ocean currents are actually working, and they estimate how long it would take for that marine debris to reach the way that the currents are headed, which would be the coast of North America.

You mentioned the coast of Alaska. The coast of Canada, we've had some debris reported there as well.

We have our reporter Casey Wian in Yakutat, Alaska. And he has found some of that debris. And he has that story for us. Hello, Casey.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. I'm actually on the banks of an estuary right outside the fishing village about 15, 20 miles outside the fishing village of Yakutat, Alaska. Over there, you can see that narrow strip of sand. Just on the other side of that is where we gathered all of this debris.

Now that faces the Pacific Ocean. Debris wash up onto that beach. It has been for years. But locals here say they're seeing things they've never seen before in amounts they've never seen before. Things like this, spray foam that's used in building construction they believe is from buildings in Japan. These giant black buoys that are used in oyster farming in Japan. And also these pieces of Styrofoam buoys.

They're very concerned about the impact that this is going to have on the local environment and the local wildlife. And believe it or not, it's even worse in a place called Montague Island, Alaska which is just to the northwest of here. Let's take a look at that.


CHRIS PALLISTER, PRESIDENT, GULF OF ALASKA KEEPER: This is urethane spray and building foam. And we have -- we just never got much of that before. And now if you walk up and down this beach you can see big chunks. Look at it all down this beach. That came out of fresh building structures.

These big buoys, we would find maybe half a dozen or a dozen of those a year, now right on this coast here they're all over the place.

And I've never seen a big yellow one like this. It's pretty big.

But these, I've seen pictures of story jars in Japan that -- huge jars, acres of these things stacked up before the tsunami those yards are empty now and this is where they all are.


WIAN: And now the big problem that these people are facing is how do they clean all this up? They've got locals going out, environmentalists, volunteers going out to some of these beaches to gather this material up, try to get it off the beach before it breaks down and impacts the wildlife.

Part of the problem, though, is that these places are so difficult to get to, many of them you can't get to them unless you've got a boat or a helicopter, and just the job of getting this off the beaches and somewhere else is going to be really difficult over the next couple of years -- Mari.

RAMOS: Yeah. One of the amazing things is to see all of that debris that's there in front of you. You mentioned the Styrofoam, that has to be very concerning for environmentalists, for marine biologists, because it's very dangerous for the wildlife in that region.

And you have a drum in front of you -- yeah.

WIAN: Yeah. Here's the problem with this Styrofoam, it breaks off in these little tiny pieces and small birds, small fish, crabs ingest this. What they tell me is that makes them think that they are full so they don't eat what they should normally eat. That makes them weaker. That makes them more susceptible to predators. And it makes them die in some cases.

So they're really in a rush to try to get this off the beach before it gets into the food chain. And there's already some evidence, locals are telling me, they're seeing more birds dying this year already. And this stuff has only been coming for a couple of months. It's going to be coming for months and months more.

RAMOS: Casey, the other thing that I see right there in that pile of debris that you have collected there is that red drum in front of you. Is that empty? Is that full? Do we know what these containers even have?

WIAN: It's got some kind of liquid in it. We don't know what was in it initially, but it looks like some sort of a case can. It has various Asian language characters on it. We don't know specifically where that came from. But that's the kind of stuff that they're seeing that's sort of the great unknown. They don't know how many of these things are going to have toxic chemicals in them. We did pick up a small jar that had some sort of a toilet bowl cleanser in it. And obviously that's not something you want to get into the water onto the beach.

That's the big thing that they're worried about now, because all of this stuff is relatively light and has come here quickly blown by the wind. The heavier stuff, potentially the stuff that may still have chemicals in it, is still on its way.

RAMOS: Well, excellent reporting there, Casey Wian. You stay safe there with your crew. Thank you, that was very enlightening there with all of that debris. That's Casey Wian in Yakutat, Alaska talking about the marine debris. And you heard him right now say that most of the stuff is still out at sea, that's what the computer models are also indicating the highest concentration of debris may take another year or perhaps more, Kristie, to actually reach the coast of North America. Definitely a story that we'll be following for a very long time. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, that was incredible seeing that pile of debris in front of Casey just then. To imagine all that stuff and more making that long journey across the Pacific Ocean. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now most of us at some point have probably relaxed on the sofa and silently thanked whoever invented this -- the wireless television remote control. Now that man, Eugene Polley, he died over the weekend in Illinois. In 1955, he introduced the Flash-Matic remote, the first ever wireless remote control for television giving Polley nicknames the founding father of the couch potato, the czar of zapping, and even the beach boy of channel surfing. Eugene Polley was 96.

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