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Xi Jinping Becomes New Chinese Leader; Escalating Tensions in Middle East

Aired November 15, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I`m Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

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STOUT (voice-over): The mantle of power has passed. There is a new chief of China`s Communist Party but what kind of leader will Xi Jinping be?

We`re also keeping an eye on escalating tensions in the Middle East as Israel continues a deadly assault in Gaza for a second day and rocket attacks claim lives in Israel.

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STOUT: We begin in the Middle East, where fears are growing of a potential dangerous new ground war. And Israel is apparently not ruling that possibility out.

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STOUT (voice-over): Israeli airstrikes have been pounding Gaza for the second straight day. The Israel defense force says its strikes have targeted 100 militant rocket launching infrastructure sites. In turn, rocket after rocket has been fired into Israel from Gaza.

Caught in the crossfire here, Israeli and Palestinian civilians. Officials say at least three Israelis and 13 Palestinians have died. And the escalating violence comes one day after Israeli strike killed a top Hamas military commander.

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STOUT: Hamas` military wing says Israel has opened the gates of hell on itself. And the violence is rising, even as the U.S. Security Council calls for maximum restraint. Let`s go straight to Sara Sidner. She joins us live in Gaza City.

And, Sara, this is a day filled with more airstrikes. What is the latest?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More airstrikes and more rockets coming from Gaza into Israel. And when you talk to either side, whether it is senior leadership in Israel or senior leadership of Hamas, who I just spoke to moments ago, they`re both saying the same thing, that if there are more airstrikes or that there are more attacks on Gaza, for example, then Hamas is going to retaliate.

Israel`s saying the same thing. If more rockets come in from Gaza, then Israel will have to take action against Hamas here in Gaza. So a situation, it seems to be ratcheting up, not calming down. And we`ve -- since we`ve been here, we`ve heard at least 15 airstrikes and we`ve also been on the border with Israel and we`ve heard at least 15 rockets coming in from Gaza so far.

We know there have been at least 196 rockets that have entered Israel since the death of the Hamas military wing leader. That happened yesterday and we know that there have been at least 150 airstrikes here in Gaza City.

STOUT: Tension and violence clearly escalating there. Sara, today was the funeral of the senior military leader of Hamas. What did you see of it?

SIDNER: Thousands of people were in the streets. We saw his body being carried from one place to the next and finally to the mosque and then to his tomb. What we do know is that there is a very emotional response to this, because he had not just considered the military leader of Hamas, but also one of the founders of Hamas, one of the symbolic leaders of Hamas.

People here who backed Hamas find this to be a terrible day. And so they`ve been out in the streets. We`ve seen shooting in the streets in commemoration of his death. A lot of emotion, a lot of anger, but we`ve also seen a lot of emotion from civilians because they are also paying the price. We know now that 15 people have been killed, many of them civilians, nine of them militants, two of them children, Kristie.

STOUT: Sara Sidner reporting live for us from Gaza City, thank you.

Now to China and its once-in-a-decade leadership transition. And what political theater it was.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to welcome the Standing Committee members.

STOUT (voice-over): And the cabinet`s Great Hall of the People (inaudible) group of seven men, all named to the Politburo Standing Committee. They walked onto the stage and they were led, as expected, by Xi Jinping, the new head of the Communist Party and the military. He is expected to add president to his title early next year.

And Xi, he warned of the, quote, "many severe challenges" that the party faces, including corruption and bureaucracy. And he also spoke about his dream for China.

XI JINPING, HEAD OF CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY (through translator): Our people love life and yearn for better education, stable jobs, more satisfactory income, greater social security, improved medical and health care, more comfortable living conditions and a more beautiful environment.

We want our children to grow up well and have better jobs and more fulfilling lives. The people`s desire for a better life is what we shall fight for.

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STOUT: So what can China and the world expect from the leadership of Xi Jinping?

CNN`s Stan Grant joins me now live from Beijing with more.

And, Stan, what should we expect?

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Xi Jinping has been slowly introducing himself, not just to the world, but to his own people here over the past year or so. His profile has increased in expectation that he would take this position as general secretary of the Communist Party.

And today, in his first address as chief of the party, he laid out the groundwork, some of his vision for the future of China, very much revolved around the people, being more responsive to the people`s needs, taking some of these emerging economic and social problems and, of course, dealing with the issue of corruption.

He certainly comes to China, the leadership in China, at a very critical time.

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GRANT (voice-over): This man is now one of the most powerful people on the planet. Xi Jinping heads the Communist Party; next year he will officially become China`s president.

But who is he?

MIKE CHINOY, CHINA ANALYST: Xi Jinping is in many ways an unknown commodity. He`s risen to the top of the Chinese system by being very, very careful not to disclose what he really thinks.

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GRANT (voice-over): Xi`s journey begins in the days of revolution, his father a hero of the Communist Party, an acolyte of party patriarch Mao Zedong. Xi is a princeling, a privileged son of the Communist Party. Those who know say Xi Jinping will always put the party first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s part of a consensus to keep the Communist Party as the only ruling party. Any so-called liberty must only be on the condition of the survival of one party dictatorship.

GRANT: Xi Jinping inherits a country straddling dangerous fault lines. The economy is slowing; the gap between rich and poor is getting wider, and there is more social unrest. He also takes over a party facing a real challenge to its own future. President Hu Jintao has warned that if the party doesn`t tackle corruption, it could bring about the collapse of the state.

With so many challenges facing him, there are those who doubt Xi is up to the task.

JIANG WENRAN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA: I have made serious reservations whether Xi Jinping or his new leadership, collective leadership core would be able to do much more.

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GRANT (voice-over): A year ago, Xi would have been hard to recognize, even for Chinese. Now he`s unmistakable. He joins the pantheon of China`s leadership. This man, who was raised on the legacy of the Mao Revolution now stands in Mao`s shadow. He has 10 years to leave his own mark.

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GRANT: Now Xi Jinping in his speech today said that China has a lot to learn from the rest of the world, and the world has a lot to learn from China as well. And we are going to learn a lot more about this man, who has been somewhat of a mystery so far: Xi Jinping.

Kristie?

STOUT: All right. Stan Grant reporting for us live in the Chinese capital, thank you.

And as you`ve mentioned, Xi is not just the new Communist Party chief. He is also the new head of the military.

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STOUT (voice-over): Going into the 18th Party Congress, many China watchers thought that President Hu Jintao would retain his military position. But in a break from his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, Mr. Hu gave up that job along with his party title.

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STOUT: And for more, and more Mr. Hu leaves behind for China`s next generation of leaders, let`s bring in Victor Gao. Now he was once an official with the Chinese foreign ministry. He used to translate for the late Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, and he joins us now live from our studios in London.

Victor, it`s good to see you again and thank you for joining us on this day.

And as I just mentioned --

VICTOR GAO, FORMER OFFICIAL, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY: Thank you.

STOUT: -- Hu Jintao, he did step down as the head of the military commission, quite unlike what Jiang Zemin did 10 years ago. He held onto the post, even after he stepped down as the head of the Communist Party.

So why did Hu Jintao do this? Why did he give it up?

GAO: I think history will give a lot of credit to Mr. Hu Jintao for enabling an accelerated transition of power from the 4th generation to the 5th generation. If you look at Xi Jinping right now, he is not only the party secretary general of the party, but also the chairman of the Communist Party`s Central Military Commission.

This actually will put him in a more coherent, more effective position to complete this transition, which will include the transfer of the presidency from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping in March 2013. And this will put the new lineup of the leadership in a more effective way to deal with all the challenges that China will be faced with in the coming 10 years.

So I think history will give a lot of credit for Hu Jintao, for being selfless and for being very noble and very kindhearted, enabling this transition in a much more effective way for the benefit of China and, hopefully, also, for the benefit of the world.

STOUT: So you believe that this is going to be a clean break? And after Hu Jintao steps down as president next year, he will also stay out of political life? Or is he going to stick around, behind the scenes, like the kingmaker, Jiang Zemin?

GAO: No, I think Mr. Hu Jintao will remain the Chinese president until the National People`s Congress in March 2013. And thereafter, if we use all the presidents in the Chinese history, he will remain a very, very important political force for a couple of decades.

So I think we will see Mr. Hu Jintao again and again at important political events going forward in the coming one or two decades.

STOUT: All right. Victor Gao, thank you very much indeed for your thoughts on the legacy of Hu Jintao.

And Victor Gao, he will be back later this half-hour to share his insights on reform with the new party leadership as well as Li Keqiang, the man expected to be named China`s next premier.

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STOUT (voice-over): Also ahead, we`ll bring you the latest on Israel`s airstrikes in Gaza and the continuing rocket attacks into southern Israel.

Also up next, right here on NEWS STREAM, a woman`s death in Ireland has sparked protests and new questions about the country`s strict anti- abortion laws. Stay with us.

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STOUT: Welcome back.

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STOUT (voice-over): Now we are continuing to watch a volatile and dangerous situation unfold in the Middle East. Now Israel has launched a blistering assault on what it says are terror sites in Gaza. It insists it`s defending itself against rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.

Palestinian militants, they`ve responded in turn, sending dozens more rockets into southern Israel. Officials say at least three Israelis and 13 Palestinians have been killed. Today`s violence follows Wednesday`s killing of a top Hamas military commander in an Israeli airstrike, a man Israel says had blood on his hands.

Hamas` military wing says Israel has opened the gates of hell on itself.

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STOUT: Now returning to China and the country`s new leaders take over at a very critical time. The next president, Xi Jinping, faces many challenges ahead. And just to name a few, outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao told a U.N. conference back in June that more than 100 million Chinese still live below the poverty line. The country`s wealth gap is widening. So while money is being made there, it`s actually going to fewer hands.

Now corruption, it has been an ongoing problem and it`s been hurting the party`s legitimacy. Hu Jintao warned at the start of the Congress that failing to address it could, quote, "prove fatal" to the party.

And there`s also been growing unease about environmental conditions in China. Mr. Xi addressed the environment earlier on Thursday and many expect him to place greater emphasis on the problem. And as the world watches, the economy is undoubtedly one of the biggest issues on the agenda.

China`s new leadership says that they want to improve the lives of average citizens. So earlier we asked one economist just what can be done.

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FREDERIC NEUMANN, CO-HEAD OF ASIAN ECON RESEARCH, HSBC GLOBAL RESEARCH: Well, this has been for several years now really a challenge for Chinese leaders to generate shared growth. The headline numbers are very impressive but there`s a sense among the average population it didn`t quite enjoy the spoils of these tremendous gains.

And therefore, the government will now have to build out a social security system. We`re building out a pension system, for example, to help share the wealth a little bit. And this is clearly something that was acknowledged today. And that`s something that probably we`ll see reforms being implemented over the coming year to that -- to that end.

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STOUT: Now these -- bring it up for you -- these are the seven men tasked with changing and bringing that change to China.

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STOUT (voice-over): And we`ve talked a lot about the one at the top, Xi Jinping.

But what about the man expected to be the next premier, Li Keqiang? Now Li Keqiang, he joined the Politburo Standing Committee in 2007 and unlike many government officials, the 57-year old, he has degrees in law and economics. And he`s quoted in a U.S. diplomatic cable as published by WikiLeaks, as calling China`s GDP figures "man-made." Those are his words.

And people wonder if Li Keqiang will be a power for reform.

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STOUT: Now on that point, let`s bring back Victor Gao again. He`s a former foreign ministry official. He was translator for Deng Xiaoping. He joins us live from London.

And, Victor, Li Keqiang, he`s been promoted; he`s set to be the next premier. He`s known as a straight talker and as a reformer.

But what else should the world know about him?

GAO: I think Li Keqiang will need to play a very important role in the coming 10 years. Most likely he will be the next prime minister. However, his government and party affiliation is very different from that of Xi Jinping. And he is a protege of Mr. Hu Jintao and he had his roots very deeply embedded in the Chinese Communist Youth League camp.

And he need to learn how to play the second fiddle. He need to be a strong, effective second person, next to Mr. Xi Jinping in the coming 10 years. And also I think he is not in a position to be complacent, because the Chinese economy is changing and facing numerous challenges.

So he and his colleagues at the state council need to be tirelessly dealing with the ever-changing nature of the Chinese economy and also the ever-changing nature of the challenges that China will face.

Therefore, he need to be very, very staying on top of the day-to-day operation of the government and coming up with effective, creative ways to deal with the economic challenges that China will face in the coming 10 years.

STOUT: You know, there`s so much expectation for Li Keqiang to be a reformer. And yet as you said, he has roots embedded in a very powerful faction of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Communist Youth League. And Victor, for outsiders looking in, the 18th Party Congress -- and when we look at the video, it just looks like the changing of the old guard with really not that much change.

So will there be any real reform in the next few years under these new leaders in the Politburo Standing Committee?

GAO: Well, two points. First of all, I think ever since Deng Xiaoping launched China onto the path of opening to the rest of the world and political and economic reform, we have been benefiting from the wisdom and courage and vision of Deng Xiaoping. And China does not need to strike out a new path or new road map for growth.

However, I think, because China is facing new challenges and new circumstances for new leadership under Xi Jinping and under Li Keqiang, need to come up with new ways of dealing with the ever-changing circumstances.

That means while you`re keeping to the path chartered by Deng Xiaoping, unwavering and sticking to the legacy of Deng Xiaoping, they need to come up with solutions which will keep popping up, new challenges that China will need to face. And we cannot afford to be complacent.

However, we cannot afford to stop trying and coming up with more creative ways to deal with the challenges. This is the big challenge for Li Keqiang as the prime minister.

STOUT: Indeed, indeed; achieving, as you said, stability but also new solutions for new, changing China at the same time. This is the challenge for Li Keqiang and the entire Politburo Standing Committee.

Victor Gao, joining us live from London, thank you so much for lending us your expertise and your insight there.

Now the world is watching these changes at the top in China.

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STOUT (voice-over): Hundred of journalists have been covering the 18th Communist Party National Congress this week. And after the break, we`ll go live to Beijing to get a long-time China watcher`s view of the events.

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STOUT (voice-over): Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you`re back watching NEWS STREAM.

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STOUT: Now the unveiling of China`s new leadership, it came after months of secret negotiations between rival factions of the Communist Party.

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STOUT (voice-over): The party`s National Congress is held once every five years, and this latest one was known as "shi ba da", or the 18th Big, because it`s the 18th such meeting since the Communist Party was founded some 91 years ago.

But remember now the party only came to power in 1949. That`s when Mao Zedong established the People`s Republic of China. And Chairman Mao, he rules until his death in 1976.

The second generation was led by Deng Xiaoping with power transferring roughly every 10 years after that. And next Jiang Zemin and most recently to Hu Jintao. And now China`s 5th generation of leaders is taking over with Xi at the helm. In a speech today, he warned that the party faces many challenges.

JINPING (through translator): In the new environment, our party faces many severe challenges and there are many pressing problems within the party that need to be resolved.

The problems among our party members and cadres of corruption, taking bribes, being out of touch with the people, undue emphasis on formalities and bureaucratism, must be addressed with great effort. The whole party must be vigilant against them.

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STOUT: The Communist Party`s National Congress is always a carefully choreographed political performance. And this year, it attracted a huge amount of international attention.

For more, I`m joined now live by CNN`s Beijing bureau chief, Jaime Florcruz, who is covering this, his sixth congress.

And Jaime, let`s first talk about Xi Jinping`s speech, because it got a lot of praise online. A number of Chinese denizens saying that they like his speaking style, it`s more informal style. So is the new chief of the Communist Party in China getting likable in China?

JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Kristie, I was in the hall when Xi Jinping met the press and gave his speech. I watched -- I listened to his speech. I watched his body language. And of course, it`s wrong to judge a person just by one public appearance or one speech. But he did come out as a quite spontaneous and accessible man.

He spoke without the usual stock phrase and stilted slogans. And instead, he spoke in human terms. For example, he spoke about how Chinese typically want a good life, a good education, a stable job, good medical and social security as well as a good house and a beautiful environment. And also for their kids.

And that`s kind of language has a lot of resonance among ordinary Chinese. And perhaps that`s why a lot of people are finding him likable.

Of course, I mean, it`s not -- it`s relatively easy to do that because his predecessor, ex-president Hu Jintao, set a fairly low benchmark, Kristie.

STOUT: Now, I mean, as you said, Xi Jinping, you know, he spoke on human lines, but he`s still pretty much stuck to the party script. And I mean, you`ve covered, what, six party congresses? And outside looking in, not so much drama happening during the last week, but am I missing something here?

FLORCRUZ: Well, a lot of the drama happened, you know, behind the scenes. A lot of them were backroom negotiations among factions. And in fact, perhaps, to me, what stands out is the sight of old, retired officials, like former President Jiang Zemin attending the congress and even casting ballots.

In fact, maybe President Jiang Zemin was the biggest or one of the biggest winners in this party congress, showing he`s still influential behind the scene. And also he was able to put a lot of his proteges in top positions. So, yes, he seemed like he`s come out as the kingmaker, Kristie.

STOUT: And also, a moment to consider Bo Xilai. I mean, this was supposed to be his week. Back in the day, he was a contender, a contender to be up on that stage on the Politburo Standing Committee. Your thoughts on what Bo Xilai must be thinking right now?

FLORCRUZ: Well, he must be thinking that, you know, he`s missing the boat now. He`s politically dead. And you know, in China, politicians in China rise not by sticking out or standing out with, you know, brilliant political ideas or grand visions.

Instead, they all kind of pretend, you know, they keep a low profile, they follow the rules. They pretend loyalty. And that was probably Bo Xilai`s biggest lesson. He did follow rules and he stood out and he was a big target. So now he`s been dismissed and he`s awaiting trial, Kristie.

STOUT: (Inaudible) Bo Xilai, a cautionary tale for future party congresses.

Jaime Florcruz, joining us live from Beijing, thank you.

Now we`ve explored many angles of China`s leadership transition right here on NEWS STREAM from the roadblocks to reform to the pulse of the average person in China. And the status of U.S.-China relations, you can find all of these interviews at CNN.com/NewsStream.

Now here on the program, Israeli airstrikes pound Gaza. More rocket attacks on southern Israel. And could the showdown escalate into all-out war? We hear from both sides, next.

And there`s new controversy over Ireland`s anti-abortion laws after a 31-year-old woman who was denied an abortion dies in the hospital. Her story right here on NEWS STREAM.

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STOUT: Now it has been a momentous day in China.

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STOUT (voice-over): Power has been handed to a new slate of leaders. Vice President Xi Jinping unveiled as the next head of China`s Communist Party and military.

Now the latest on our other top story, the continuing Israeli assault in Gaza, it is sparking fears of a new all-out war in the region. Israeli warplanes are targeting what Israel says are Hamas terror sites in Gaza. Meanwhile, militants are firing rockets into southern Israel. And all this after a top Hamas military commander was killed in an Israeli strike on Wednesday.

International alarm is growing. The United Nations held an emergency session late on Wednesday and urged maximum restraint. And Egypt recalled its ambassador to Israel and is condemning what it calls Israeli aggression.

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STOUT: Israel uses a high-tech weapon called the Iron Dome to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas.

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STOUT (voice-over): And it`s actually a sophisticated air defense system able to intercept short-range rockets. Israel says the system has been used to stop more than 100 rockets fired from southern Gaza during the past several years.

Israel currently has four Iron Dome batteries in operation with a fifth being added this month. And each battery has radar. Four missile launchers and more than 50 missiles. And the cost: about $37 million apiece. Israel is currently testing an upgraded version. It`s able to defend against missiles coming from further away and potentially from Iran.

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STOUT: Mark Regev is the Israeli prime minister`s spokesman. And on CNN just a short time ago, he said that Israel is doing what it must to defend itself against rocket attacks by Hamas.

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MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: We are targeting the Hamas military machine. We`re targeting the command and control. We`re targeting the missile launching facilities. We`re targeting their missile storage facilities. We are dealing a blow to Hamas, which I hope, when we come out of this, will bring a period of quiet.

Ultimately, there`s no solution but peace. We all understand that. We want peace with our Palestinian neighbors. We understand that. But Hamas is an enemy of peace. Hamas is dedicated to destroying the State of Israel. They say any Palestinian who negotiations peace with Israel is, of course, a traitor to their extremist agenda.

And so it`s important to understand that we are defending ourselves today, but we still, at the same time, extend a hand to our Palestinian neighbors. We want peace. We want reconciliation. We`re ready for negotiations.

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STOUT: Now you heard what Israeli spokesman Mark Regev had to say.

Now the Hamas spokesman, Osama Hamdan, joins me now on the line from Qatar`s capital, Doha.

Mr. Hamdan, welcome to NEWS STREAM. We heard just then from Mark Regev, the Israeli prime minister`s spokesman. He says that Israel is hitting your rocket storage sites. Your response to what he`s saying? Has Israel successfully targeted these sites?

OSAMA HAMDAN, HAMAS SPOKESPERSON: Well, it`s clear that (inaudible) military target. They are (inaudible) and till now the outcome, 13 people were killed, five of them were children, three of them were women. And two of them, they were Hamas militants and the number 13 is an old man. They are not targeting military targets. They are targeting the people in Gaza.

And I have to say clearly Israel is still acting as an occupation and they are (inaudible) that they have (inaudible) and the outcome of any process, political process, is supposed to be an end of the occupation.

STOUT: Now there are casualties; there are fears of a ground war. So what is the latest thinking inside Hamas about what will happen next? Are you preparing for war? Are you preparing for a possible ground incursion?

HAMDAN: Well, the one who`s supposed to be (inaudible) or not is the one who started the war. The Palestinians, they left (inaudible) before. They were occupied by Israel and since that time, till now, they are not living with these because of the (inaudible) occupation. So the Israelis who started the war and the Palestinians have no choice.

They have only one choice, to resist the occupation and to defend their land, their people, their future of their children. So, yes, we are defending ourselves and we have to do what we are supposed to do. And the one who`s supposed to be asked why he launched the war and why he`s continuing (inaudible) Israel and the occupation, the Israeli occupation.

STOUT: Now Hamas is striking back, today three Israelis died in a rocket attack.

How much longer will the rocket fire go on? What`s the end game here?

HAMDAN: Well, I think the one who`s responsible for that (inaudible) who has declared the war against Gaza and to start with that. And the people of Israeli must question him. There was a calm situation, why he started the war and why he killed some seniors of Hamas and why he`s doing that. He is killing. The Israeli people just to (inaudible) and the elections.

That was, of course, Netanyahu. (Inaudible) Israeli (inaudible) to bring the Israelis back and to tell them, well, I am the man who is ready to defend you. So that`s me. So the one who`s responsible for the Israeli (inaudible) is at the first and the end, is Netanyahu, (inaudible) and Barak.

STOUT: Negotiating with the Israelis, talking with the Israelis, truce talks out of the picture?

HAMDAN: Well, there are an indirect arrangements through the Egyptians three days ago and that lead to cease-fire. And the one who break that is Israel.

Now both the Palestinians and the Israelis cannot trust the Palestinians and the Egyptians cannot be able to trust Israel. So I don`t think that the problem is on the Palestinian side. It`s on the Israeli side. And we need an international guarantee that Israel is (inaudible) any cease-fire if that was agreed on.

STOUT: Osama Hamdan, spokesman for Hamas, joining us on the line, thank you.

Now let`s turn our attention now to Ireland, where a woman`s death there has sparked a renewed debate over the country`s strict anti-abortion laws. Savita Halappanavar: she was 17 weeks pregnant when she was sent to the hospital complaining of back pain. And her husband says doctors told her she was having a miscarriage, but refused to perform an abortion. And she later died.

Nic Robertson reports that her death has touched off a wave of protests.

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NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Happier days, dancer Savita Halappanavar, dancing with a friend; her family now mourning her loss. The 31-year old died in an Irish hospital, refused an abortion that could have saved her life.

PRAVEEN HALAPPANAVAR, SAVITA`S HUSBAND (from captions): They knew they can`t help the baby, why did they not look at the bigger life?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): This, an interview, recorded with "Irish Times" journalist Kitty Holland, that has ignited a firestorm across Ireland and beyond.

KITTY HOLLAND, "IRISH TIMES": The abortion issue is the most divisive issue in Irish society and there`s a huge pro-life lobby and an equally vocal pro-choice lobby. It`s an extremely emotional issue.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Now triggering fierce debate in the Irish parliament.

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN LEADER: It is reported that she died of blood poisoning after, according to her husband, being refused a termination while miscarrying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deputy Adams, there are two investigations taking place at the moment. I think it`s only right and appropriate that the facts be determined by those of those investigations.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): As reported by the "Irish Times," Savita was admitted to Ireland`s Galway University Hospital Sunday, 21st October, suffering back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant, was miscarrying and told she`s likely lose her baby.

Seven days later, she was dead. She had pleaded her doctor for a termination, but for 21/2 days while her fetus had a heartbeat, they refused.

HALAPPANAVAR (from captions): On Tuesday morning, she came back and said that "I`m sorry, we can`t help you because it`s a Catholic country. We can`t help it, it`s a Catholic thing." So we just said that, that, "She`s not Catholic, she is a Hindu, so why, you know, impose the law on her?"

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The hospital at the center of the case has already begun an investigation. While they will not comment on the details of the case, in a written statement they say, "In the case of a sudden maternal death, these procedures are followed: notification of the death to the coroner. Notification of the death to the HSE`s National Incident Management Team. The completion of a maternal death notification form. These national procedures are being followed by Galway University Hospital."

None of this enough to prevent passions far beyond Ireland from being lit. This demo outside the Irish embassy in London gathering not just to remember Savita, but stop a repeat of her tragic death.

ROBERTSON: Savita`s husband, Praveen, is back with her family in India, all coming to terms with their loss of a wife, of a daughter, of a first grandchild, a death everyone here hopes won`t be in vain, that it will lead to a change in the Irish abortion law -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

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STOUT: Complicated and heartbreaking story.

Now this just in to CNN, officials say the U.S. Justice Department will announce it has reached a deal with BP over the company`s role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Justice Department officials tell CNN that BP has agreed to pay a record criminal penalty. They say it tops $1.3 billion that fires were (ph) paid back in 2009 in a separate incident.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, it killed 11 people and it polluted shorelines across the Gulf Coast of the U.S. Now a lot happening, a lot of news breaking this hour. Also in the world of weather as well. Let`s go straight to Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center.

Mari?

MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Kristie, we are going to start taking a look at the weather in Southeast Asia this time around. We had a short-lived tropical depression that formed. This is that little disturbance that I`ve been telling you about for the last few days, just here moving into Vietnam. It has brought some very heavy rainfall.

Look at this, in just the last two days, 239 millimeters of rain as we head into another location in Malaysia. They had over 107 millimeters of rain. This is all just this activity that continues across here. The southern portion of the South China Sea. But I want to focus a little bit more on Vietnam, because you have been getting some extremely heavy rainfall, a little bit out of season.

We should be looking at dry weather. They had been drier earlier, but now we`re starting to see this very slow-moving system just kind of drifting right over this area. It`s not going to intensify into a tropical storm (inaudible) or anything like that.

But because it`s moving so slow, it will bring you some very heavy rain, and I`m concerned for the potential of flooding and of course, mudslides when we about the very mountainous (inaudible). Some of that moisture`s also training back over toward Cambodia, so you`d -- (inaudible) something to be aware that you could get some very heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours.

In some cases maybe up to 8 centimeters of rain. The heaviest rain, though, I think will be along the coast of Vietnam and it should be begin winding down as that area of low pressure starts to kind of dissipate there.

Temperature wise, no big surprises here as we head across the southern half of the continent. New Delhi at 22, still generally very dry conditions across the sub-continent. It`s not until we get over here into the (inaudible) islands a little bit across Sri Lanka that we see the moisture and then like I showed you here across Southeast Asia and down over into Indonesia and Malaysia.

As we head north, oh, Beijing, that reporting, but you`ve been right around 6 or 7 degrees at the last couple of hours and the temperatures will be plummeting to near freezing again in the overnight hours. Look at Seoul already, 2 degrees. Well, you do have a pool of colder air that`s moving in to this region and another winter storm that`s starting to develop here across central parts of China here.

You can see that leading edge right over here and the clouds that`s starting move in, the clouds have already moved in to Beijing. I think we`ll see probably some light snow moving across this area in the overnight hours tonight and into tomorrow.

But the thing to watch with this weather system, after this brief period of quiet weather that we`ll see across northeastern China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan, with this area of low pressure developing, it starts to pick up moisture here from the south.

And we could see along the front some very heavy rain starting to move in anywhere from Shanghai all the way down as we head over into Hainan. We will take a break right here on NEWS STREAM. Don`t go away. More news in just a moment.

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STOUT: Now in our "Human to Hero" series, we shine a spotlight on rugby star Jean de Villiers. Now in June, he was named captain of the South African rugby team. And while that is a dream come true, the celebrated athlete also knows what it means to fight your way back from adversity. And he knows you only hold onto the jersey for a very short time while the legacy lasts forever.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) warrior. They are going to war. You know that you (inaudible) the trophy (inaudible).

JEAN DE VILLIERS, SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY CAPTAIN: You know, it takes 20,30,40 games to build up a good reputation, but it takes one bad (inaudible) reputation down again. I think that respect drives me to be able to earn that respect and I think that takes time.

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(Inaudible) in the history of the game and also the (inaudible) captain of my country.

I grew up in a house that (inaudible) was always a part of. Whenever my parents and friends would ask me what I was going to do when I grew up, when I was (inaudible) want to play rugby. I got a contract straight out of school and I always represented South Africa and (inaudible), you know, (inaudible) fortunate to be able to take it right to the top.

(Inaudible) on the pitch is taking the decisions and making sure that I get my message across to the team. I like it when things change (inaudible). (Inaudible) we had (inaudible) training.

(Inaudible) is a muscle like another muscle in your body and you need to actually train it the same that you`re going to the gym and work out to get your muscles bigger, the same you need to do with your eyes, being able to make quick decisions and see what`s in front of you.

(Inaudible) a lot like chess, you know, sometimes you (inaudible) all over again and (inaudible) make the opposition think that you`ll do the same again and then you change the next move. So I think that`s (inaudible) I can strategize. But I think I`ve got the ability to keep a team (ph) together.

I`ve had four knee surgeries. I`ve had shoulder surgery, I`ve had a bicep (sic) rupture and I`m due for a wrist operation as well. So all in all, I think with my surgeries, that`s kept me out of rugby for close to 40 months. It really is bad and while you`re going through it, it`s -- you don`t always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Part of the time, you sort of blame everyone for what happened to you. But you just need to take it on the chin and move on and work harder to get back to the top.

(Inaudible) my rugby team is something that`s very unique, first of all, and it`s something that I`m very proud of. And it`s something that (inaudible) unbelievable legacy and history.

(Inaudible) the first (inaudible) was good for me, and I really enjoyed the time working with him. And it was -- it was a different coach. I -- he had different methods.

Then in 1995, World Cup final was probably one of the most special days I can remember, sitting around, watching it with one of my best friends and just the joy that we had after we won and just seeing everybody outside and rooting, it showed what sport can do you in a foreign nation and definitely what rugby can do in South Africa.

We believe as players (inaudible) I believe as a captain that, you know, you`re only the holder of the jersey for a very short time. And the history able to give the jersey back in a better state than what you received it in. I feel at home when I`m on the rugby field. I know it`s something I`m good at . It`s something that I enjoy.

When you run out onto the pitch and there`s, you know, 60-70-80,000 people supporting you and cheering for you and when you score a try, that just -- that energy that goes through you and that makes rugby quite special. And knowing that you`ve got 14 other guys on the field, striving towards the same goal and trying to achieve that is pretty good.

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STOUT: A great moment in sport and South African history.

You`re watching NEWS STREAM. And up next, it may have just been a friendly match, but a Swedish striker`s latest goal against England has football fans buzzing.

Alex Thomas joins us with that story and more from the world of sport, next.

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STOUT: Of all the goals scored during 56 international football matches on Wednesday, one got the whole world talking.

Let`s join Alex Thomas in London for more.

Alex?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Kristie, to many football fans, he`s a genius; to others, he`s arrogant and overrated.

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THOMAS (voice-over): But on Wednesday night, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic almost single-handedly destroyed England, scoring all his country`s goals in a 4-2 win. And the last of them was a spectacular overhead kick from 30 yards out after England keeper Joe Hart failed to clear the ball properly.

Ibrahimovic, who`s divided opinion playing for Ajax, Barcelona, Milan and PSG down the years, becomes the first player to score four times in a single match against England. Global social media was buzzing about the stunning goal.

English footballer Joey Barton, on loan at Marseilles, tweeted, "If only the English F.A. could have given Ibrahimovic a cap or a run out before those pesky Swedes nabbed him." I think he was joking.

There`s this tweet from @NutmegRadio: "Zlatan Ibrahimovic has to be the most runs his mouth but backs it up player in the game, no?"

"WORLD SPORT" contributor from "Sports Illustrated" writer Grant Wahl commented, "If you`re going to score a transcendent goal, you might as well do it against England," adding #Ibra #Maradona. He scored an amazing goal against England in the 1980s.

And another clever tweet said "Robin Van Persie scores when he wants. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores the way he wants!!"

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THOMAS: And to think Sweden England wasn`t one of our top picks when we previewed the international action. Loads more reaction, including actual video of that wonder goal -- sorry to tease you so much -- in our show in just over three hours` time. We`ll also have an exclusive excerpt from our special half-hour program about Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

For now, back to you, Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Looking forward to that. And love that colorful Twitter reacts just then. Alex Thomas there, thank you.

And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

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