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Religions Clashes In Rakhine State Leave Thousands Homeless; Syrian Rebels Detonate Bomb Near Damascus Hotel; Children With Autism Leave Chinese Parents With Tough Choice; Possible Typhoon Heads Towards Hong Kong; Fabrice Muamba Forced To Retire
Aired August 15, 2012 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. We begin in Syria where a large blast has hit the capital Damascus, close to a hotel where UN monitors are staying.
Also ahead, a major mine in South Africa suspends production after nine people die in union related violence. We'll take you there live for the latest.
And branding ban, how Australia is changing the way it sells cigarettes. What that could mean for the tobacco industry in other countries.
Now Syrian rebels are claiming responsibility for an explosion that rocked the heart of Damascus. Now Syrian state run TV says a bomb on a diesel tanker exploded. It says it happened behind a hotel where several UN monitors are staying. It says the monitors are OK, but three other people were hurt. Now the rebels say the UN staffers were not the target.
The UN's humanitarian chief is also there in the capital to meet with Syria's foreign minister. She was not at the hotel and she is safe.
Now a Dutch correspondent in Damascus tells CNN he saw the explosion and that it came from inside a heavily guarded military compound.
Now today's blast in Damascus, it comes less than one month after a massive explosion in the capital killed four members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, including his brother-in-law.
Now Syrian rebels claimed responsibility for the July 18 attack, which struck the national security headquarter.
Now south of Damascus, opposition supporters celebrated the July bombing in the streets of Daraa, that's where anti-government protests began 17 months ago.
Our Nick Paton-Walsh is monitoring develops in Syria from Beirut, Lebanon. He joins us now. And Nick, what is the latest you're hearing out of Damascus?
NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this blast does appear to have been incredibly close to that hotel you mentioned where UN monitors were saying. One official saying she normally stays in a room whose window backs straight on to where this blast occurred. But as you say, UN officials, Syrian state media and the Free Syria Army saying that there were no UN casualties and this state media saying three people were injured. And FSA making it clear that were targeting an AKM meeting it appears in a building there linked to the defense ministry where they seemed to have place this bomb beneath a diesel tank nearby.
But it's important to stress, as you say, just how close this is to the heart of the regime, echoing that blast a month ago in which four senior officials were killed and chipping away at that sense, I think, of invulnerability that the Syrian regime so badly needs in the heart of Damascus. Control of that capital so vital if they want to show they retain a functional grip on the country.
But as the day has progressed, we've heard further reports of violence in the city. The Syrian observatory for human rights saying in a number of neighborhoods there have been continued clashes and also claiming that they've targeted the new building of the Iranian embassy with rocket propelled grenades and also the prime minister's office. So really, rebel guerrilla tactics trying to shake that feeling of a Syrian regime's grip on the capital after also clashes that occurred this weekend, Kristie.
LU STOUT: And that the UN's emergency relief coordinator, Valerie Amos, she is there in Damascus. Again, she is safe, not harmed by that blast. She is there to gather information on the immense humanitarian need inside Syria. What is the back drop to her trip?
PATON-WALSH: Well, you have this ongoing violence in Damascus. You have reports of war planes striking targets in the east in the city of Deir e-Zor. And of course you have the continuing standoff or clashes happening in the major city of Aleppo.
One observer saying to me they thought they detected a slight lull in fighting there, but this is still 4.5 million people living in a city where there are pockets of intense violence.
Human Rights Watch, just to give you a little idea of this one picture of the deteriorating situation for people on the ground there, Human Rights Watch saying that twice in the last week a hospital in that city had been apparently targeted by war planes, killing six civilians and of course damaging that building, making badly needed and scarce medical care in that city even scarcer, Kristie.
LU STOUT: As are civilians trapped by the violence, displaced by the violence. An immense humanitarian need on the ground.
Now Nick, the Free Syrian Army is claiming responsibility for the attack today in Damascus. It also claimed that it shot down that government jet, a claim I made earlier this week. I mean, these may be propaganda victories for the rebels, but are they making actual progress, actual gains against Syrian troops?
PATON-WALSH: It is inordinately hard to tell who has the upper hand militarily. I mean, we're not talking about conventional front lines here that move, giving you an analyzable sense of progress. This is guerrilla warfare that continues street by street week in, week out.
At the end of the day the Free Syrian Army, unless they see a major change in their equipment or strategy are always going to be outgunned by the heavily equipped Syrian regime forces, often working with a top end Russian military equipment, although U.S. officials believe that is beginning to show signs of wear and tear.
Essentially I think people -- analysts, are looking for that military machine to begin to question the need to fight, to find its will ebbing. And therefore almost decide to withdraw itself from the fight rather than seeing some sort of conventional defeat on the battlefield where the rebels managed to get the upper hand militarily. But this is becoming a war of perceptions. And blasts like what we saw today in Damascus really chip away of that sense of regime control, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Nick Paton-Walsh live from Beirut on the story for us. Thank you, Nick.
And to South Africa now. It began with a handful of miners walking off the job over a salary dispute, but in a matter of days it escalated into clashes that have killed at least nine people. Now a power struggle between two rival unions is fueling the violence at the Marikana platinum mine, that's north of Johannesburg. Security has been tightened. Hundreds of police officers are in patrol. And helicopters are flying overhead.
Now Lonmin, the British based operator of the mine is shutting down the site temporarily. Nkepile Mabuse joins me now live from Rustenburg, South Africa.
Nkepile, this was a brutal and bloody clash between two rival unions. Can you tell us more about what happened and also the toll of the violence/
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Kristie. And the situation here remains calm, but very, very tense. Behind me, I don't know if you can see, there are hundreds of mine workers who have gathered on a hilltop, some of them wielding machetes and traditional weapons. And as you've said, are hundreds of police officers deployed to this area to maintain some calm, because since Friday 10 people have been killed, the tenth victim found yesterday not very far from where I'm standing right now. Many of these victims, in fact all of these victims, Krisie, killed in the most brutal manner. Two security guards set alight, two police officers hacked to death. This man that was found yesterday also hacked with machetes.
It's a situation that has the country worried and putting a lot of pressure not only on the policemen paying the calm, but from the rival labor unions to really speak to their members to either go back to work and stop the killing, or get into some kind of negotiation. These miners are demanding more pay, obviously, and the management is saying this is not the time to demand more pay. We have a two year long pay agreement with you and basically you'll have to just stick to this two year long agreement until the next opportunity to negotiate pay increases.
So how this whole situation is going to be resolved, Kristie, nobody really knows at this moment.
LU STOUT: And it's not just the local community there in South Africa, but world markets are holding their breath. I mean, the mine is the world's third largest producer of platinum. So how long will it be out of operation? How much production will be lost?
MABUSE: Exactly. We're being told by the mine that the number of miners that are pitching up for work, of course the majority of them are scared to be killed for going to work, because that is what has happened to their colleagues. Less than five percent are pitching up for work. So production at a bare, bare minimum. We're told that it's only in the processing plants that there is production. The rock drill operators that are needed to take out that raw material are still on strike. They're saying that they're not going to go back until their wages are increased. And some of the unions are saying they cannot go back, their members can't go back until these perpetrators have been found and jailed, because it's not safe for their members to go back to work.
So definitely production is being affected. We saw a similar thing happen earlier this year at Impala platinum, which is the second largest platinum producer in the world. And there the strike lasted for six weeks. So Lonmin is hoping that this is not going to last that long, because that really affected the bottom line at Impala platinum mine.
LU STOUT: As you just mentioned, we've seen flareups in violence before in South African mines. And we have this unresolved dispute between these two rival unions. A question about security. We know that South Africa is a big mining country. Just how much security is in place at the mines there?
MABUSE: Well, usually, Kristie, the mines actually employ their own security personnel. And unfortunately two of them, as I explained earlier, set alight and burned to death. So they've had to call in additional security measures from the South African police services and also have military police that are in this area monitoring the situation. This is unsustainable. These police need to do their regular work. They cannot be here forever. So it's very, very urgent for the situation to be resolved amicably, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Nkepile Mabuse joining us live on the scene. Thank you very much indeed for that.
You're watching News Stream. And up next, taking to the water in protest. Now tensions rise between Japan and its neighbors over disputed islands.
And cigarette packs like the ones you see here are set to change dramatically in Australia. Find out why public health advocates are cheering and tobacco giants are not so happy.
And we'll take a look at the struggles faced by children with autism and their families in China.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now Japanese police have arrested five people who landed on a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea. Now the boat carrying activists from Hong Kong Macao and mainland China was surrounded by Japanese coastguard officials as it approached the islands which are claimed by both China and Japan. Now they are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. And the surrounding waters are thought to contain rich gas deposits.
Now Japan is also embroiled in a diplomatic row with another group of disputed islands, this time with South Korea. And as Paula Hancocks reports, several South Koreans have taken to the water to make their point.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Three days of relay swimming just to prove a territorial point. A group of South Korean swimmers, led by local rock star Kim Jong-hyun, headed for disputed islands this week that both South Korea and Japan lay claim to. Bad weather meant just two swimmers arrived Wednesday.
Known as Dokdo in South Korea, Takeshima in Japan, the argument over who owns these isolated and almost uninhabited islands has raged for decades. With the rocky land comes fishing rights and potential gas reserves.
The dispute even reached the London Olympics after a South Korean footballer held up a banner saying Dokdo is our territory. Park Jong-woo has had his bronze medal withheld, but claims he was not making a political statement and simply took the banner from a fan.
President Lee Myung-bak raised diplomatic tensions last week by visiting the islands, the first South Korean head of state to do so. Standing next to a sign saying Korean territory and a large South Korean flag, his message could not have been clearer.
Japan recalled its ambassador to Seoul in protest.
President Lee also said Japan's emperor should apologize for Japan's colonial rule if he wants to visit Korea, comments that have angered some Japanese including government minister Jin Matsubara (ph).
He says, "President Lee's remarks on the emperor as well as his visit to Takeshima is not appropriate action for a leader of a country. I believe his remarks were disrepectful."
Matsubara (ph) was visiting the controversial Yakashuni shrine (ph) in Tokyo with other lawmakers, a shrine which honors Japan's war dead, including some convicted of war crimes, a move which will likely anger Seoul as well as other neighbors.
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has also entered this diplomatic row saying that Presidnet Lee's comments were hard to understand and also regrettable. This latest diplomatic spat between the two neighbors is at this point showing no signs of easing.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
LU STOUT: A landmark ruling in Australia, the high court snuffs out a lawsuit from global tobacco firms. Find out why supporters say the whole country could now breath easier.
LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream.
Australia has upheld the world's first law banning branding on cigarette packs. Now beginning December 1, tobacco products in the country must be displayed in uniform plain packaging and have graphic health warnings. It comes after the country's high court rejected a challenge by tobacco giants who had argued the law infringed on their intellectual property rights.
Now Alex Hart of Australia's seven network filed this report.
ALEX HART, 7 NETWORK: Innocent observations about a guilty pleasure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's looks girly. I just like it.
HART: A British commercial demonstrates the appeal of cigarette packets to children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just makes you almost happy by looking at it.
HART: But this is what they'll be looking at in Australia from December.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have taken on big tobacco and we have won.
HART: The high court today stubbed out the claim from tobacco companies that our world first plain packaging laws were unconstitutional. It also ordered them to cough up the government's legal costs.
KYLIE LINDOFF, CANCER COUNCIL: They know this has an impact, so this is a great outcome for public health.
HART: And an outcome which has big tobacco fuming. It warns cheap counterfeit smokes will now flood the market.
SCOTT MCINTYRE, BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO: We think over time potentially it could actually increase smoking rates.
HART: As for smokers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an addiction. No, I'm not buying it for the packaging.
HART: No difference?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
HART: The smoke hasn't entirely cleared yet. The government is still facing two other legal challenges claiming it has breached international trade rules. And they could result in huge compensation payouts.
CHRIS ARGENT, PHILIP MORRIS: Plain packaging won't reduce smoking, but it will impact the value of their brand.
HART: If Australia succeeds, the UK government, and many others, are considering following suit.
GIRL: I think this one looks actually quite pretty.
HART: Alex Hart, Seven News.
LU STOUT: As more laws against tobacco advertising come into force we're seeing them disappear from places that used to be dominated by them. Now Formula 1 used to be full of ads for cigarettes. McClaren was one of the most successful teams of the 1980s. And their cars racked up wins while painted the same colors and design as a packet of Marlboro cigarettes. Now Marlboro and McClaren, they later parted ways.
Now this is what the current McClarne F1 car looks like in the team's new colors of silver and red and with no tobacco ads, at least no obvious ones.
Now Ferrari caused controversy with this barcode design on their 2010 car. Critics say that the design resembled the logo of Ferrari's sponsor Marlboro and were in an attempt to get around the ban on cigarette ads. Now Ferrari denied that it was an ad for Marlboro, but they removed the barcode anyway.
Now is it too late to apologize? One of the top batsman in the world of cricket hopes not and says England future hangs in the balance. Pedro Pinto joins us now with more on the story -- Pedro.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. England batsman Kevin Pietersen has apologized to the England and Royal Cricket Board for sending provocative texts to South African players during the second test between the two nations at Headingly. It's believed some of the messages were critical of Pietersen's own captain Andrew Strauss. As a result of this ongoing controversy, Pietersen was dropped from the England squad for the third test against South Africa.
According to the captain, Strauss, the incident has affected morale and unity within the squad, that's why some players think they're better off without him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM BRESNAN, ENGLAND BOWLER: It's not just one guy that's going to be able to do it for us, it's a team effort. We all need to pull in the same direction. And I'm sure that will happen this week, you know, whatever happens I think we'll be gunning for a win, which is the way we play our best cricket. It's positive. It's aggressive. And that's what we need to do to win this game of cricket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Pietersen, who released a statement apologizing for his actions on Wednesday said in a recent interview posted on YouTube that he hoped his England career would not end shrouded in controversy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN PIETERSEN, SCORED 149 IN 2ND TEST V SOUTH AFRICA: Playing cricket for England, I love being part of an England team. I love being part of a successful England team. We are a successful England team. And it would be -- it would be sad for me to finish the -- especially the way things have been running through the media in the last three or four days. It would be really sad to end a career like this.
So, sitting down with my family, my advisers, my close friends, we've decided, and I've decided, that it would be a lot better to finish my career for England on a positive note rather than one that's being developed at the moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Pietersen's England future is still in jeopardy. We'll get a sense of whether his recent apology has been accepted when the squad for the world 2020 tournament in Sri Lanka is named this Saturday.
Two high profile French footballers are involved in a controversy of a different kind. Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery are to face trial for allegedly soliciting an under aged prostitute. The Paris prosecutor's office told CNN that Ribery who plays for Bayern Munich, and Benzema who is at Real Madrid will appear in court to answer charges of aggravated pimping. The long running case started tow years ago when authorities were investigating a prostitution ring in Paris. Neither player has denied sleeping with the escort in question, but both have said they did not know she was under age.
The news has of course disrupted the preparations for France's first match under new manager Didier Deschamps. Les Bleus are taking on Uruguay in Le Havre later on Wednesday. Both Benzema and Ribery are expected to feature in this friendly. There are many other players missing through injury and suspensions, though, that's why Deschamps says he'll use this game against the South Americans to try out a few new tactics before their World Cup qualifying campaign starts later this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIDIER DESCHAMPS, FRENCH NATIONAL TEAM MANAGER (through translator): Playing a friendly, even if it's important against Uruguay, which isn't just any nation in global rankings, still prepares you a bit. It's true that the match is important, because it can help us prepare for the one coming up in Finland in September. It enables us to see things differently.
If I didn't do it, then I wouldn't know. And afterwards I could do it during a qualifying match. But it's always better to have a trial run beforehand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: While France versus Uruguay is just one of a series of high profile friendlies that are taking place on Wednesday, here's a look at some other ones. Defending European and world champions Spain are taking on Puerto Rico. England and Italy are clashing. And Switzerland, Sweden and Brazil face off in a rematch of the 1958 World Cup final in the same stadium where that title match took place. There's a clash of titans in Frankfurt where Germany host Argentina.
We'll update those scores later throughout the day on World Sport. That's all for now. Kristie, back to you.
LU STOUT: Yeah, a lot action on Wednesday. Pedro, thank you.
Now still ahead here on News Stream, Myanmar's religious violence. We have a firsthand look at the conflict that has forced tens of thousands from their homes.
And a hidden crisis, the struggles facing children with autism in China.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now Syrian rebels are claiming responsibility for an explosion in the heart of Damascus that injured three people. State run media says a bomb on a diesel tanker exploded behind a hotel where UN monitors were staying. No UN monitors were hurt. And rebels say the UN was not the target.
A South African platinum mine has temporarily shut down following days of violent clashes that left at least nine people dead. And the mine, located northwest of Johannesburg, has been at the center of a dispute between two rival unions. Now protests began last week after workers walked off the job following a dispute over salaries.
Australia's high court has backed one of the toughest tobacco laws in he world. It's ruled that cigarettes must be sold in uniform packaging with graphic health warnings. It comes after the court rejected a challenge by giant tobacco companies who claim that the law infringed on their intellectual property rights.
Standard Chartered bank has agreed to pay $340 million to settle New York regulator's accusations that it processed billions of dollars of sanctions busting Iranian transactions. Now the swift settlement avoids a potentially embarrassing public hearing that was due to be held today.
Now Myanmar has earned international praise for its recent steps toward democracy, but inside the country it has struggled with ongoing violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the state of Rakhine. Now the government has banned independent observers from the affected region, but a crew from Britain's Channel 4 news was able to gain access. And they came face to face with some shocking scenes. Here is their report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's only one way to get to Sittwe, the largest city in Rakhine State, but it isn't easy, security is tight and travel is restricted. The Burmese government has banned independent monitors and foreign journalists. Local reporters are censored. Our team, the first foreign crew to get here.
The city was quiet, but it felt extremely tense. Until recently, Sittwe was almost evenly split between the Buddhist community and local Muslims, also known as the Rahinga. But the vast majority of Rahinga had gone. Several mosques had been razed and this one badly damaged.
We drove to the largest Muslim section of the city, called Narsi (ph). It was home to 10,000 people.
You can still see the brick foundations of people's houses. And there are bits of china and scraps of clothing lying around the place. But this community, this bustling community has cease to exist. It's like looking at the aftermath of a natural disaster, except human beings did this.
Members of the local Buddhist community picked their way through the rubble looking for bits of metal or vegetable roots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It seems strange here, all this empty space, this was their village.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The destruction had nothing to do with them, they told us. The Rahinga had burnt their own houses down.
KO BA SHWE, FIRE VICTIM (through translator): They set fire to their own houses so the wind would take the flames onto our homes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who would set fire to their own homes?
SHWE (through translator): Yes. In fact, they burnt their own homes to try and burn down the whole community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It began with an allegation that three Muslim men had raped and killed a Buddhist woman. And it was followed by fury. 10 Muslims were killed in retaliation, homes were torched, a rival gangs were settled scores.
Burma's military was called in to calm the situation, but the suffering and the violence hasn't stopped.
The hatred runs deep, so the government has responded by separating the two communities. 60,000 Rahinga have been moved into camps located well outside Sittwe. Passage to these areas is strictly controlled, few people, including humanitarian workers, have been allowed in.
However, we managed to meet the occupants of several camps, including a group who had been living on this water-logged site for a month.
People were hungry. And many of the children looked malnourished. No one wanted to be here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm from Sittwe, but I don't want to stay here. I want to go to Bangladesh. We're really suffering.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were accompanied by armed security officers. And it was difficult for people to speak openly. But in view of our cameramen, some held up signs asking the UN special envoy to Burma for help.
Secretly we were passed notes. "Can't get food." "Have no clothes." "Can't go anywhere."
A mother of three asked to speak to us in her tent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are living on rice and beans. It's not enough. We haven't got blankets. When we were in town, we could buy food for the kids, but now we can't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The occupants of these camps are not allowed to leave. And their return to their homes in Sittwe seems increasingly unlikely.
It is a source of great anxiety for few people here can support themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We have no jobs and our kids can't work. I used to run a shop in Sittwe, but I came here in the rain with nothing but my bare hands. No money. Nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aid agencies told us the situation here is desperate. But they are struggling to provide assistance.
Back in Sittwe, aid workers face hostility from members of the local Buddhist community who plastered their views all over town. The UN and international NGOs are accused of favoring the Rahinda, a view that's widely shared. Aid workers have been threatened here. And food shipments blocked. These are the words of one activist.
KHAING KAUNG SAN, ACTIVIST (through translator): There are poor Buddhists in this state as well, you know, but the NGOs give support only to the Muslims. So why doesn't the UN treat people equally?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 8,000 members of the local Buddhist community were made homeless in Sittwe. The majority have taken shelter in city temples, although several were damaged in the violence. The conditions are cramped and uncomfortable, but there's enough food to go around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, we've got the support we need and local government has been helping us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But these temporary residents told us they're not prepared to live with the Rahinga again. The temples abbot offered this bleak vision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't think people can co- exist again. The Rahinda are extremists. They're very religious and they hate us. They would try and take revenge. That's what I think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is little charity left in Rakhine state. And the Rahinga have few friends here. No politician seems willing to support them. No wonder, then, that many are dreaming of escape, of reaching these islands off the coast and finding passage abroad. And there seems little alternative at the moment for a life in a water-logged camp with nothing to live for.
This is Channel Four News in Rakhine State, Burma.
LU STOUT: Desperate scenes inside Myanmar. Now this ethnic Rakhine demonstrator is holding up a sign. It says "Save Arakan." That's the former name of the state.
So how did the situation get so out of hand? The recent unrest, it stems from May. It's when a local Buddhist woman was raped and killed. And the Rahinga Muslims, they were blamed for the crime, sparking revenge attacks. And as clashes escalated, the government declared a state of emergency in June.
Now up to 60,000 Rahinga Muslims were forced from their homes in the regional capital of Sittwe and placed in camps.
Now this is an image from the group Human Rights Watch which says people desperately need food, shelter, and medical care. And this dire situation, it has sparked protest outside of Myanmar like this one in Indonesia. And there are now fears that the instability could spread.
Coming up next here on News Stream, in China some parents say that they're willing to sacrifice everything to care for their children who have autism. But will they have to sell their homes to paper treatment and schools. Their story is next.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now in China, millions of parents are struggling to care for a child with autism. In a country where the condition is still seen as a stigma by many, they face a heartbreaking choice and give up everything they own to get costly treatment, or see their sons and daughters become virtual outcasts. Stan Grant reports.
STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Being autistic in China isn't just a personal struggle. The sufferers of their families are too often shunned by a country that simply doesn't understand. What's being called the loneliness disease is a lot more lonely here.
"I feel depressed and helpless," this father says. "I don't know how to deal with this."
Manchi (ph) says he will never leave his daughter's side. Sometimes it seems she barely knows he's there. But he is. And he takes every step with her.
"It's really hard," he says. "All we can think about is her immediate treatment. We can't even think about the future."
Manchi (ph) has brought his daughter here to a special center for autistic children on the far outskirts of Beijing. This is rare in China. Parents and teachers complain of a lack of such facilities.
"In China, not many people know about autism," the director of this center says, "only recently have people become aware. In developing countries we have little knowledge and few facilities. Parents don't want anyone to know their child has the illness. This is going to take time to change."
There are 30 children here from toddlers to five and six years old. The government helps to pay for this facility. They get specialized one- on-one care. Many autistic children respond positively to animals. And music therapy is often a key to unlocking what can be a secret world.
Children with autism love music, this teacher says. When they sing and dance, they feel happy.
Medical studies in China show autism is the country's number one mental illness, yet a recent survey by the Shenzhen Autism Society in southern China reveals an alarming lack of professional or government support. The survey of parents and carers shows families carry the overwhelming financial burden. Sending his child here costs Manchi (ph) about $700 a month, more than his entire month's salary. He says he may have to sell his house to pay for his daughter's treatment.
"This is the only way to save our child," he says. "We can afford it in the short-term, but not for long."
But it is either this or watch his daughter cast aside. And that would be an even greater price to pay. Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.
LU STOUT: A deeply moving story from China there. You're watching News Stream. And up next, the Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, he has become one of the most talked about figures in Washington, but it's not just his political prowess described in the headlines. We'll tell you more after the break.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now there's a growing controversy in the skies. Now with inquiries, public awareness of sexual attacks on children, some airlines are seating men away from kids on planes, even if they have no reason to suspect them. Now for several men that policy seems an awful lot like discrimination. Here's Sandra Endo with the story.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On board a virgin Australia flight, Sydney firefighter Johnny McGirr says he was profiled simply because he is a man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as I boarded I was a potential pedophile.
ENDO: Since he was sitting next to two young boys who were unaccompanied by adults, he was asked by the airlines to switch seats with a female passenger. It is Virgin's policy to make sure there are no male passengers or empty seats next to children flying alone. McGirr complained to the airline and explained how he felt.
JOHNNY MCGIRR, PASSENGER: It was interesting, really ashamed (ph) like I had done something wrong and embarrassed.
ENDO: In a statement, Virgin says "This has been a long-standing policy that was based on customer feedback, and in light of recent feedback, we are now reviewing the policy. Our intention is certainly not to discriminate in any way."
It's a controversial policy. In 2010, a man sued British Airways for sex discrimination and won after being forced to move away from unaccompanied minors sitting next to him. Right now there's no major U.S. carrier that specifically prohibits men from sitting next to unaccompanied children. And since there's no nationwide Department of Transportation policy for airlines, carriers are left to figure out what's best. Children safety advocates support what some international airlines are doing.
JOHN SHEHAN, NATL. CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN: We're trying to prevent child victimization. We know that these -- that the overwhelming majority of sex offenders are male, so by removing that situation, you're lowering the risk.
ENDO: Travelers we spoke with have mixed views about the policy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be fine as long as the airline has a watch on what he is doing and he's monitored. I don't -- I think that is discriminatory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because my kids, I feel you know unless I am not there with them or another parent, I would feel more comfortable if the policy was in effect.
ENDO: Many domestic travelers we spoke with also didn't even know this policy existed on some airlines. We also reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union. They did not want to comment on this story.
Sandra Endo, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: Now here in Hong Kong a tropical storm may be approaching. Let's get more now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, we're starting to see a little bit more interest in the story across mainland China now that the storm has passed through the Philippines and is started to get a little bit closer.
Now the typhoon one signal is up in Hong Kong. This just means that a storm is nearby and may, it may, affect you. So kind of time to start planning and seeing what's going to happen. We already had one storm at least affect that Hong Kong area.
I want to show you some of the rainfall totals that we've had from the storm in the Philippines. And notice again pretty impressive, over 400 millimeters of rain some of these areas. And in Manila proper, we've had about 25, maybe 30 millimeters of rain, so it hasn't been too bad. But some of the areas farther to the north, that's where the rain has been the most impressive, like Baguio, that's where we have almost half a meter of rainfall already recorded. And they could still see more rain. Subic Bay, over 200 millimeters of rain.
This is a picture from Balacan. And what we have here is again a lot of standing water. Not as bad as last time, but definitely a lot of dangerous downpours. And, you know, there are so many things that come with it. It's not just, OK, it rained and it got flooded, you've got to remember that there are still thousands of people that are staying in shelters, people that have not been able to go home. There are problems with waterways that are, you know, just overwhelmed with the amount of rainfall.
And then there's this, look at this guy right here. You can see him there in the rain coat. You see all the water coming down through this area. This is in Manila. And I'm going to go ahead and move out of the way here. And look at this picture. This really impressed me. And in so many ways.
Of course, it's a hilly area. The roadway pretty much about to collapse there it appears, because everything has just kind of been washed away on the bottom due to landslides, but the road is still open. One land is closed, but the one lane is open. You can see cars still kind of going over the road here. Very dangerous conditions. I couldn't stress that enough.
Now you can see right over here that we have the storm that has moved back to sea. The center is about 100 kilometers offshore from northern Luzon. It made landfall in this area right in here, crossed over. Now that it's back over the water, we could see the storm intensify again, possibly into a typhoon.
Now there's a couple of things that are happening here. It could intensify. And it's also bringing that moisture, that flow of moisture onto this western side of the Philippines and that's still a concern. So before we get into the forecast, I do want to show you that we still have that impressive rainfall totals across some of these areas here, including this eastern -- this western side, maybe eight, 15 centimeters of additional rainfall, to areas in northern Luzon over 25 centimeters so that is still a huge concern.
But the good news for the Philippines is that as the storm continues to move away, and you can see that happening here in this forecast, that influence of moisture will start to diminish. And that's definitely some good news there.
Last but not least, the forecast for you guys in Wendong (ph) province, we could be looking at a landfall probably around this time tomorrow already. So this is going to happen fairly quickly. It's moving at about, almost 30 kilometers per hour. So that's significant. It should be crossing this area here, making landfall in Wendong (ph) province. We still have that margin of error. It could be farther to the east or farther to the west. How much that moves will actually, Kristie, depend on what kind of influence you get there in Hong Kong. But then after that, it moves inland. And of course the main concern with this is going to be the amount of rain that can come with it. And it could be significant and cause flooding and landslides. And of course we have the wind. It could be a typhoon.
Back to you.
LU STOUT: Yeah, definitely want to watch in the next 24 hours. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.
Now the U.S. President Barack Obama and his new immigration policy, it comes into effect today. The program is expected to affect hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. But as Rafael Romo reports, it's a bittersweet moment for many families.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are multiple forms to fill and documents to obtain.
ANNA RAMIREZ, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: I'm scared to get my hopes up.
ROMO: Anna Ramirez and her sister Juana are applying for deferred action. The Obama administration policy will allow some documented young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to legally stay here for two years.
RAMIREZ: I didn't have a choice to come here. But I have done nothing bad here.
ROMO: The Ramirez sisters were toddlers when they were brought to this country by their parents. President Obama says suspending deportations for these young immigrants is the right thing to do.
BARAK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a temporary, stop gap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.
ROMO: To qualify, applicants must have entered the country before the age of 16, been in the country for at least five years, have a high school diploma or be enrolled in school, and have no criminal record. Those who served in the military are also eligible.
According to Immigration Policy Institute, nearly 1.8 million young immigrants may be eligible for deferred action under the Obama administration policy. Those who meet the requirements will get a work permit, which would also allow them to get a drivers license.
CHARLES KUCK, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: And nobody is going to get a green card out of this, nobody is getting anything more than a promise after the next two years we won't depart you. But it gives hope to kids. When you give kids hope, you see great benefits in communities.
ROMO: Opponents say the policy rewards those who broke the law. And since it's temporary, it doesn't really help anybody.
MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: ...executive order, is of course it's just a short-term matter. It could be reversed by subsequent presidents.
ROMO: However, for the Ramirez sisters, coming out of the shadows means everything.
RAMIREZ: I went to school here. I grew up here. I don't -- I whole life is based here. So I would consider myself a U.S. citizen, but I'm not.
ROMO: They say they have great pride in their heritage, but cannot imagine going back to the country of their parents.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
LU STOUT: Now both U.S. presidential candidates are in key battleground states this week. Mitt Romney addressed a crowd of coal workers and promised American energy independence by the year 2020 if he's elected to two terms.
Meanwhile in Iowa, President Barack Obama touted alternative energy like wind power as a jobs creator. Mr. Obama wraps up a seven city bus tour on Wednesday.
But forget the presidential candidates for a minute. Americans just can't seem to keep their eyes off of Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan. And no it's not because of his views on the economy or foreign policy, but rather for his muscles and fitness. Jeanne Moos explains why some Ryan watchers are shouting take it off.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We don't have to look hard to find an Olympic swimmer soaking in a tub in a Speedo to sell Louis Vuitton designer bags or to find Tim Tebow wearing only the skin- tight bottom half of his uniform in September's "GQ," but when it comes to VP hottie Paul Ryan, he's hiding a six- pack.
A lot of people are looking for it, search "Paul Ryan shirtless" on Google. At one point it was the second most popular terms folks were searching under his name, though it since dropped to fourth.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": This is why I love America. A man is nominated to potentially lead our country, one of our first thoughts is, I wonder what his nipples look like.
MOOS (on camera): Yes, yes, of course we should be concentrating on weightier matters.
(Voice-over): But everybody has heard by now that Congressman Ryan is a devoted follower of an exercise program that sounds like a secret weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order P90X now. The sooner you go extreme, the sooner you'll look extraordinary.
MOOS: But it's hard to tell how extraordinary Paul Ryan looks in that bulky jacket. On "Politico" --
RYAN: I keep my body fat between 6 and 8 percent.
MOOS: But your chance of seeing that lack of body fat is about zero percent. This sleeveless photo of Ryan with his exercise guru is about as shirtless as he gets. Even though TMZ built its photo gallery as "absclusive." All it was was photos of Ryan fully dressed.
(On camera): One Web site didn't just scour the Internet. It begged readers for help finding shirtless photos.
(Voice-over): "Better yet, if you have your own, send those in." So far, nada. Better not to end up like former Congressman Anthony Weiner, having your chest analyzed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's a shaved chest.
MOOS: Or even banished by Barbara Walters.
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Take that off, please. I don't want to keep seeing it.
MOOS: Forget Vladimir Putin or Senator Scott Brown, Paul Ryan is the pin-up no one can pin down. So some are resorting to fake Facebook pages and photo-shopped images, but in reality, instead of shirtless, it's all shirts.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Wearing plaid shirts together, wearing white shirts, wearing blue shirts, and here they are wearing Lycra.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's everybody looking at?
MOOS: These days the last thing you want is a chest so overexposed it's recognizable even without your head.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Wiener-gate man.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
LU STOUT: Oh.
And finally we have this news just in to CNN. The footballer Fabrice Muamba has retired. Now you might remember Muamba is the player who collapsed in the middle of a match with a heart attack. It was a terrifying moment for spectators watching in the stadium and on TV, but one that Muamba incredibly survived. In a statement his club announced that he will not be able to continue his football career. Muamba says the decision was made on the recommendation of his medical team.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues on CNN. World Business Today is next.