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Morsi Moves Seen as Power Grab; Syrian Government Accused of Bombing Children
Aired November 26, 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): Egypt's president is set to meet top judges today after declaring that they were not allowed to overturn his decisions.
We go inside Myanmar to take a first-hand look at the flight of (inaudible) people (inaudible) an exclusive. We'll show you a flashlight that fires bullets and other real gadgets used by a North Korean spy.
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STOUT: The fall of Hosni Mubarak was meant to mark a new dawn for Egypt, but recent scenes in Tahrir Square are undeniably reminiscent of the last days of his leadership.
The current president, Mohammed Morsi, is in the firing line this Monday over a controversial decree that bans courts from overturning any of his decisions until a new constitution is drafted. The country's highest judicial body has slammed the edict and will discuss it with the president today.
Mr. Morsi says the decree is needed to hold corrupt officials from the previous regime accountable. But demonstrators who refuse to leave Tahrir Square see that Mr. Morsi's government is starting to take on the autocratic nature of his predecessor.
Not all judges oppose the move. And Morsi, for his part, says he is on their side. On Monday, his office stated the decree is aimed at preserving the impartiality of the judiciary to avoid politicizing it. Mr. Morsi stresses the move is temporary, but that's doing little to reassure protesters.
Members of Mr. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have been strongly supportive. But tensions rose when a 15-year-old member of the Brotherhood's Youth arm was killed in the northern city of Damanhour on Saturday.
Reza Sayah joins us live from Cairo with the very latest.
And Reza, Morsi, he'll be meeting with the nation's top judges shortly. The violent protest, very hard for him to ignore. But how far is Mohammed Morsi willing to compromise?
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's given no indication at this point that he plans to rescind some of these controversial decrees, and we're going to see if that position changes in the coming days.
But a few thousand protesters still out here in Tahrir Square, several minutes ago we saw a funeral procession for a protector who was actually killed before these controversial decrees were announced. Of course, last night we saw the first fatality of these protests after the decree.
That fatality a 15-year-old boy, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Youth group, killed in the northern city of Damanhour when officials say he was clubbed to death by anti-Morsi protesters. At this point, the Muslim Brotherhood doesn't look like they're using that fatality to stir up support.
But at the same time, there doesn't seem to be any end in this conflict; the leaders of the opposition faction who've gathered behind this in Tahrir Square still demand for Mr. Morsi to rescind his decrees.
A couple of hours ago we spoke to one of his senior advisers. And we asked him if that is a possibility.
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SAYAH: What kind of concessions are you willing to make?
This decision is up to the president of us (ph).
SAYAH: Is it possible --
DR. ESSAM EL-ERIAN, VICE-CHAIRMAN, FREEDOM AND JUSTICE PARTY: -- dialogue with our (inaudible).
SAYAH: Are you prepared to consider rescinding, adjusting some of these decrees?
EL-ERIAN: Decree is up to the president. We are accepting it. We may have some reservations. But as a whole we must take a step to forward not to backward.
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SAYAH: That was Dr. Essam El-Erian, one of the senior advisers to Mr. Morsi. It was tough to get a read on his position, but he seemed to be saying we'll talk and then maybe, maybe we'll consider concessions; of course the leaders of the opposition faction, their position is we're not going to talk until he pulls back, he rescinds his decrees, Kristie.
STOUT: We're looking at live pictures of a number of protesters gathering in Tahrir Square there in Cairo. But some have gathered to support Mohammed Morsi and his power grab.
How much support does he have in Egypt?
SAYAH: He's got a lot of support. The Muslim Brotherhood, his political movement, is a powerful organization with an entrenched structure. It would be misleading to report that this is a nationwide mass uprising against the president and the Muslim Brotherhood, and that's what makes these developments over these past few days very dramatic.
You have a number of opposing factions who are usually divided. They seem to be uniting, banding together in opposition. And then you have Mr. Morsi, who now has these new powers and the powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement behind him. We're going to see what happens in this conflict in the coming days, Kristie.
STOUT: This is a very significant moment for Egypt.
Reza Sayah, reporting live from Cairo, thank you.
Now as Israel continues to observe a fragile cease-fire with Hamas, the Israeli defense minister has announced that he is stepping down.
Ehud Barak says he is resigning from political life to spend more time with his family. At a news conference on Monday, Barak added it is important that other people take up key positions in the Israeli government. He was first appointed defense minister under then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2007, and has retained the job under Benjamin Netanyahu.
Barak says that he will remain in the post until elections in January.
Turning now to Syria's civil war and a warning: the video we're about to show you, it is graphic and disturbing.
Local opposition activists say at least 10 children were killed on Sunday --
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STOUT (voice-over): -- when government warplanes shelled a playground in the Damascus suburb of Deir al-Asafeer. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says, however, it is not known exactly what happened, why the children might have been targeted or why they were outdoors after a morning of shelling.
And this, this is a video uploaded to YouTube. It's said to show remnants of cluster bombs dropped on Damascus neighborhoods on Sunday.
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STOUT: In all, activists report some 117 deaths in violence on Sunday. And for more, Nick Paton Walsh joins me now live from CNN Beirut.
And Nick, any more details about what happened at that playground near Damascus?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you pointed out, Kristie, it does seem odd there would be children out in the open. One activist I've spoken to says they were effectively refugees with little other option in terms of shelter.
The shelling had been consistent in the past few days, but they were simply where they are currently living, where they're giving -- seeking shelter. They say that a cluster bomb landed in this open area. Now you've seen some of the remnants of this device, which they appear to have found in the area around there.
And of course, I should warn you the video of the aftermath you're about to see is very graphic. But what they say, this cluster bomb was dropped by a jet in retaliation, according to activists, for rebel successes nearby, seizing an air base in Marj al-Sultan. That's a key military facility for the Syrian regime.
The activists say there's a history of the Syrian regime launching these devastating attacks on civilian targets when they've sustained a significant strategic military loss. Now, of course, we can't verify those reports or that being the logic behind it or whether a cluster bomb was used. But the devastation in this particular village, absolutely remarkable, 10 children killed, as you say, Kristie.
STOUT: That's a terrible, terrible toll in this 20-month-old conflict. And, Nick, there are reports that Syrian jets have targeted a rebel command center near the border with Turkey. What have you heard? Were they successful?
WALSH: It appears not at this stage. Earlier reports from this village called Atme riclasa (ph) we've been to; there is FSA headquarters there, reasonably important one. They appear to have been targeted by Syrian jets in the past two hours. Two strikes, half an hour apart, both according to eyewitnesses hitting fields near this particular school.
There are other reports of subsequent strikes, also from jets, just down the road in another town called Ka, which does have refugee camps near it, but we're still piecing together exactly what's happened here. But let me give you some context, because these are clashes happening right on the Turkish border.
Just in the week after Turkey has requested NATO to provide Patriot missiles to take out aircraft that might be trying to do things exactly like this. And in fact tomorrow a delegation of Turkish and NATO officials are set to go to that border area to do a slight survey.
So an incredibly volatile area, Syrian jets flying around, reports unconfirmed that Turkish jets may have been scrambled, but a very fragile place indeed, Kristie.
STOUT: Yes, volatility at the border near Turkey.
Also Syrian rebels, they have taken more territory after capturing an air base near the capital. This took place on Sunday. What's the latest?
WALSH: Well, that's what I was referring to earlier on Marj al- Sultan. This is one key air base near the capital, where a significant amount of hardware, aircraft is said to be launched from. (Inaudible) precise details, but video that they've released after the capture does show helicopters there.
And this is one of a number of strategic symbolic successes the rebels have had against major bases like this in the past week. Day after day, across the country, we do hear these reports backed up by video, these substantial installations being seized, and many observers saying there could be a change in tactic here.
Rebels have given up on trying to surge into populated areas and cities and hold them, because they always get hit by airstrikes and artillery afterwards. Instead, they're going for the places from which these airstrikes and artillery are, in fact, launched, these bases, hitting them one after another after another, and that has a compound effect on their momentum, because not only are they putting the regime forces in check, they're also gaining weapons to fight back with them against so many of these bases have huge caches inside them.
So many observers are saying this could mark, perhaps, a turning point in the stalemate we've seen in the months ahead because now, day after day, bases being taken, rebels gaining weapons. In a sense, perhaps the momentum is certainly on the rebels' side, Kristie.
STOUT: All right. Nick, thank you very much indeed for the clarity on this story on the battlefield as well as the human toll. Nick Paton Walsh reporting live for us from CNN Beirut.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, mistaken as a thief, beaten and lynched, the mother of a college student killed by an angry mob speaks out.
And a pen full of poison and a gun that looks like a flashlight? The veil lifted on North Korea's spy gadgets.
And it's all about Sebastian Vettel, Formula 1's latest and youngest champion.
STOUT: There are growing fears a wider conflict could be looming in Congo. Rebels in control of the strategic city of Goma have rejected an ultimatum from African leaders to withdraw. Instead, the rebels are calling for direct talks with Congo's president, Joseph Kabila. Now M23 fighters beat back government forces to win control of Goma last Tuesday.
Regional leaders are now scrambling to prevent the conflict from escalating, and David McKenzie is covering the story from our bureau in Nairobi.
And, David, can African leaders deescalate the situation?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point it remains to be seen, because the rebel group, as you say, has denied that they're going to pull back from Goma. That deadline is at midnight tonight local time. Goma today is very tense. A rebel group, the M23, asked for people to go back to schools, students and young scholars.
But in fact, very few of them went back. And now it seems many of them are leaving because of the fear that that deadline will bring fresh fighting in the city of Goma. The rebel group, for their part over the weekend, Kristie, pushed further away on two new front lines, the north and to the south, really sparking fears of a widening conflict in this eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Also beyond that, towards the capital in Kinshasa, at the same time the African Union, regional leaders, all pushing for the group to get 20 kilometers outside of town and then start talks. The rebels say that they will only move out of this regional capital when they get what they want, and not before, Kristie.
STOUT: And what exactly do they want? Do they want talks, recognition, or do they want to take over the country?
MCKENZIE: Well, they say want to liberate Congo. Now whether that's just a ploy to get a stronger negotiating position is not clear. They say they want more representation in the army; they were part of the Congolese army up until April this year because of a peace agreement. And they do believe they want to have more power and potentially patronage in the eastern part of the Congo.
Now the rebels themselves have sent representatives this past weekend to the talks in Kampala, Uganda. It's unclear now whether they will get to the table. They want to talk with Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo before they make any military moves to deescalate the crisis.
The problem is that they're piling on the pressure from their communion, from the U.N. and from regional leaders. But because the U.N. forces are very large and expensive force, in fact, stood by while they took Goma, the rebels might feel emboldened to continue with their campaign.
A big player here really is the humanitarian crisis, Kristie. People say that they've been fleeing from their homes. Let's listen to two people who say they just want the fighting to stop.
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MUNAZO ROSSET, DISPLACED PERSON (through translator): The most important thing for us is peace. We want to go back to our homes because we grow our own food and do not depend on anyone. The food is too little here, and we are meant to share it for three days.
MARIA VIGABE, DISPLACED PERSON (through translator): We want to go back home. We want our children to go back to school. Our children are just suffering here at this camp.
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MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, the Oxfam, the U.K. charity, say tens of thousands of people have been pushed out from this recent round of fighting, staggeringly more than 800,000 people have been displaced from their homes in recent years in the eastern Congo because of the perpetual violence which troubles this region, Kristie.
STOUT: Suffering and chaos in Congo. David McKenzie reporting for us, thank you.
Now turning next to Nigeria, well, the mother of a college student says that her son's life ended in terror and violence after an angry mob mistook him for a robber. He was one of three students who were killed. And this kind of vigilante justice is raising an alarm among human rights groups.
Vladimir Duthiers reports on this story. And we must warn you, it contains very disturbing images and sounds.
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CHINWE BIRINGA, MOTHER OF VICTIM: I don't want to remember that. I don't want to remember that. My son is gone and he's gone.
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The loss of a son, horrible in itself, and the way he died, horrific.
Chinwe Biringa's son, Chiadika, was lynched, an incident captured on cell phone and posted to the Web. Shot in October, it shows Chiadika and three classmates from the University of Port Harcourt (ph), naked, bruised and bloody. They look dazed and appear to be pleading for their lives as a crowd surrounds them, screaming, shouting, inching closer.
STEVEN BIRINGA, FATHER OF VICTIM: The way he was murdered, with clubs, with knives, all his body from head to toe was filled with bruises.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): The beatings continued until someone lights a match and sets one of them on fire. As he screams in agony, another tries to crawl over to where he is, as if to save him before he, too, is engulfed in flames.
C. BIRINGA: When I saw the dead body in the ambulance, I collapsed.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): : What caused the mob to kill these young men may have been a simple misunderstanding. Chiadika's mother says one of the men was owed some money, and he asked his friends to help him collect the debt in the nearby village of Aluu. Within minutes, word began to spread that Chiadika and his friends were thieves.
C. BIRINGA: That guy now is amala (ph), armed robber, some robbers, broad daylight. Ah-ah, you would pick off minute you hear armed robbers, some robber, but they were like harmless, innocent kids.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): You'd think that if a citizen caught an armed robber, the first call would be to the police. But this is Nigeria, where sometimes critics say the police could be more dangerous than any criminal.
ERIC GUTSCHESS, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The public maintains deep distrust of the police, who are seen as ineffective, corrupt and, at times, complicit in crimes. The Nigerian police have failed to crack down on violent crime in -- especially in southern Nigeria which, many cases, communities have turned to mob justice or formed vigilante groups who carry out summary executions of criminal suspects.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): It happened to this young man, who is afraid to appear on camera.
DUTHIERS: When you came to visit a friend, the people here at the front gate thought that you were a thief.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DUTHIERS: And what happened then?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They club me, beat me in the arm, used everything to defeat me. It doesn't look where he's beating me.
DUTHIERS: What was going through your mind? What were you thinking?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was thinking that maybe he should not go and kill me.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): He escaped with his life, but barely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no money for him because suddenly, when the case happened, we went to the police station, you know that we were asked statement. At the end of the day, you have to drop something for them.
GUTSCHESS: And, generally, if you are a victim of a crime, you go to the police, you're asked to fund the criminal investigation. If you don't have the money to fund it and meet the incessant bribes of the police, the case is often dropped.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): In 2010, Human Rights Watch released a report, describing widespread corruption in Nigeria's police force and abuses against ordinary citizens. The Nigerian police deny these allegations.
In a statement to CNN, they say, "There's no denying that the Nigerian police force is not perfect. Nor are our critics like Human Rights Watch. But we are committed to improving our competency through training and retraining and to improv our service delivery."
The police say they've arrested and charged 13 people in the case of the Aluu Four, and the incident has seemingly galvanized the public. There are petitions and calls to end the culture of extrajudicial killings that has persisted for so long and killed so many.
C. BIRINGA: I want to do, want to know that they did not only kill my son, halfway they have killed me, too.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): But without the rule of law and a police force Nigerians can trust, this won't be the last time a mother loses a child to jungle justice -- Vladimir Duthiers, CNN, Lagos, Nigeria.
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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 we are keeping our eye on the situation in Egypt, where there's outrage over moves from President Mohammed Morsi.
And later, we'll show you the first-ever landing of a jet on a Chinese aircraft carrier.
But now to sport and history is made in Formula 1. Now there was a nail-biting finish to the season, and it ended with a record-breaking victory for Sebastian Vettel.
Let's join Alex Thomas in London for more.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Kristie, yes, Sebastian Vettel says he's overwhelmed after becoming the youngest Formula 1 driver to win three world titles.
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THOMAS (voice-over): The 25-year old took his third successive championship despite a horrendous start to the final race in Brazil for him, spinning off and dropping to the back of the field. And then Fernando Alonso could hit Vettel to the title and the Ferrari driver quickly moved up to third place.
(Inaudible) the Sao Paulo circuit hit by heavy rain and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus was one of many to lose control in the very difficult conditions. He finished 10th in the race and third in the championship.
Lewis Hamilton's final Grand Prix as a McLaren driver looked as if it might end in victory since he was hit by Nico Hulkenberg's car and was forced to retire.
And as a slight anticlimax when a crash by Paul di Resta forced the race to finish as little more than a procession, really, behind the safety car.
And that meant a victory for Britain's Jenson Button. Alonso was second, but that meant he earned three points too few to stop Vettel from claiming the overall driver's crown (inaudible) German star backing up to sixth place and admitting he did it the hard way.
SEBASTIAN VETTEL, F1 CHAMPION: As I said, with the damage on the car, losing radio and these condition, when you -- when communication is so crucial, stopping, you know, just a lap too early, not having the tires ready because communication wasn't there, you know, where to start, really. I mean, I think you guys had your show and we had to really fight, you know, until that end.
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THOMAS: In football, Rafael Benitez says the only way he can get the Chelsea fans on his side is by winning.
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THOMAS (voice-over): The former Liverpool manager was loudly booed in his first game as Blues boss, supporters literally spelling out their feelings with signs scattered around Stamford Bridge during Sunday's English Premier League match against Manchester City. The game finished 0- 0. Benitez, remember, replaced Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked last week.
The other big Barclays Premier League fixture on Sunday also ended goalless. So Manchester United emerged as the weekend's big winners in England, going top of the table with a victory over Tubiah (ph).
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THOMAS: Well, while Sebastian Vettel continues to rewrite Formula 1's record books, Rory McIlroy's doing much the same in the world of golf, a victory at the World Tour Championship in Dubai, leaving him with more than $7 million in prize money for the European tour season, more than any other player in history.
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THOMAS (voice-over): And the World number one needed an astonishing final day performance to clinch the title. His closest rival was fellow Brit Justin Rose (ph). This is Rose's (ph) excellent approach shot at the par 5 14th, slamming the ball at the front of the green. It then rolled up to, well, no more than 6 feet away from the cup. And that set up an eagle on his way to a -10 round (inaudible) 62.
However, even that effort wasn't enough to deny McIlroy. He took the lead with this birdie putt at the 17th, moving into -22 and then a gloss on the scoreline with another birdie at the last hole, a victory by two strokes for McIlroy, his fifth title for the season.
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THOMAS: I'll have much more on "WORLD SPORT" in just over 31/2 hours' time. For now, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.
STOUT: Alex Thomas, thank you.
You're watching NEWS STREAM.
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STOUT (voice-over): And up next, they are persecuted and homeless: the plight of Myanmar's Rohingya population. That story is straight ahead.
And why the pen was mightier than the sword for this alleged North Korean spy, an exclusive look at his tools of the trade, next.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.
Now more deadly violence in Syria, and we warn you: the video we're about to show is graphic. Syrian opposition activists say that 10 children have been killed by government shelling in a Damascus suburb.
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STOUT (voice-over): The local coordination committee has accused regime jet pilots of dropping cluster bombs on the playground as the children played. CNN can't independently verify those reports.
Egypt's president is meeting with senior judges today following an eruption of violence across the country. Protesters vented their anger after the president announced that he had given himself sweeping new powers. The decree strips judges of their ability to challenge presidential decisions, at least until a new constitution is put in place.
Mr. Morsi insists it is only temporary.
Separatists in Spain's powerful Catalonia region won big at the ballot box on Sunday, but Catalan Republican Left Party won 21 seats in the regions parliament. They can now form a majority with Catalonia's ruling Convergence and Union Coalition and later break away from Madrid. The Spanish government says it will block any referendum made by the region.
On Monday, a fire break out on a garment factory at the outskirts of the capital of Bangladesh and people say it was brought under control and no one was killed. And the blaze follows a weekend fire at a factory in Ascubia (ph) that killed 110 people.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered there on Monday to protest, and they want an end to harsh labor conditions and compensation for the victims' families.
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STOUT: During his visit to Myanmar this month, President Barack Obama made a plea on behalf of the country's Rohingya minority. They are Muslims in the northwest of Myanmar, who have suffered widespread discrimination, and many have been driven from their homes.
President Obama told an audience in Yangon that, quote, "for the sake of this country's future, it is necessary to stop incitement and to stop violence against the Rohingya.
Dan Rivers has been to the city of Sittwe to see first-hand what is happening to the Rohingya and he has this exclusive and disturbing report.
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DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Saulama Hafu. She's so malnourished her skeleton is straining at the skin. She can't even summon the energy to swat the flies. And look at her arms. She looks like a 2-year old, but she's 5.
This is a manmade catastrophe in Myanmar, formerly Burma. Amid the lauded reforms towards democracy, there is a humanitarian scandal in this country's far west Rahkine state.
Salmama's (ph) family live in a refugee camp, where the only food is rice. She's worried her firstborn will starve to death, but she has nowhere else to go.
They are part of a Muslim minority called Rohingyas, and they fled here because of this: ethnic cleansing. Rohingya villages torched, the terrified residents blaming Buddhist extremists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was organized, especially organized; systematically they did it. They had a prior -- they had made it their committed program. They want to make genocide to Rohingya.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Genocide. Genocide to Rohingya . That is why they did it.
RIVERS (voice-over): Those who haven't fled to the camps feel like they're living under siege. In Sittwe, the Rohingya community is living in terror behind fences.
RIVERS: This is the last Muslim quarter in Sittwe, and effectively it is a modern-day ghetto. The people here are trapped; they can't get out. And limited food supplies and medicine are coming in. And what happened right here is what everyone is worried about. Last June, an angry Buddhist mob turned up and torched 20 houses. And people here are worried the mob is going to come back.
RIVERS (voice-over): The Rohingya are stateless, not recognized as citizens by Myanmar, yet there are about a million of them. They say their families have been here for generations. Already the number of dead is thought to be in the hundreds, and the United Nations says more than 100,000 have been driven from their homes.
Buddhists nationalists here are unrepentant. I meet a local politician, who shows me photos of his followers injured in the clashes. He views all Muslims as foreigners who must be kicked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have no right to be citizens. They come from Bangladesh and they live here. They want to have this land. We never organized to fight or to use force. We are a proper legal party. We love peace.
RIVERS (voice-over): But a few miles away, a series of vast refugee camps. Rohingyas are arriving here every day, driven out of their homes, they say, by arson, murder and rape. Conditions are appalling in this cowshed, a thin layer of straw is all that separates these kids from the animal and human excrement below. And they are fast becoming ill.
Aid workers are thin on the ground. These foreign doctors can't show their faces because they couldn't get permission to work here and they're worried they'll be thrown out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had one 5-year old die, just brought into the clinic as she died, which was incredibly sad and.
We can do what we can, but -- and we know that we are helping them and saving some lives, but there's so many more that need to be helped.
RIVERS (voice-over): Saulama Hafu is just one of tens of thousands of children here. She got to see a doctor, but how many others here will die? Dan Rivers, CNN, Sittwe, Myanmar.
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STOUT: That's just so heartbreaking to watch.
Now on the eve of President Obama's visit, Myanmar's president, Thein Sein, he wrote to the U.N. secretary-general, promising to address the resettlement of displaced populations and the granting of citizenship. But he did not suggest a timeline for any changes of policy.
The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar since colonial times, but they are still considered ethnically Bengali. And Bangladesh challenges this term precisely on the grounds of the Rohingyas' heritage in Myanmar.
So, in effect, there are two nations, side by side, who have failed to make any agreement. In a report this month by the International Crisis Group, it's highlighted the main legal conflict in Myanmar.
Under its 1982 citizenship law, people descended from those who were in the country before independence in 1948 could become citizens within three generations. But local regulations make it difficult, time-consuming and costly to obtain key documents, like birth certificates.
Persecution over decades has led to tens of thousands of Rohingya fleeing into Bangladesh. But the U.N. Refugee Agency has told CNN that dacha (ph) is also reluctant to offer any more help. Now 230,000 Rohingya are already estimated to be in the country, but only 30,000 are officially registered. And all are said to live in what the U.N. has described as squalor.
Let's go to Europe next and there flood warnings are in place across the U.K. We have my colleague, Tom Sater, standing by at the World Weather Center with more on that.
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Kristie, in the last 24 hours, the number of homes that have been flooded in parts of the U.K. have jumped from 400 to over 800 homes. And hundreds more have been rescued. Now I have this photograph for you. When I first saw this, I thought the driver driving into these floodwaters was also texting at the same time. But it's a passenger.
Were they taking a picture or were they calling for help? Authorities have been begging residents not to venture out because they're not only putting their own lives at risk; they're putting the rescue workers at risk. Hundreds of roads have been closed and even highways as well. It's been a series of storms.
The last of three now just moving through the area, each one with its own characteristics, some storms dropped more rain, other systems had stronger winds. The first one, which was Wednesday night into Thursday is not even on the screen any more.
This was Saturday's storm now into Scandinavia, dropping almost 100 millimeters in an isolated place or two. But here's the last one, as it comes in, and this one ,I think, is going to slow down. Some areas are seeing an improvement as the waters recede. In other cases, that is not the point, as it continues now, the rainfall moves into northern areas of the U.K. and into Scotland.
Scotland has a couple flood alerts as well, and we'll run through those for you in a moment. On Wednesday, wind gusts, 80, 90, even 111 kph in the last 24 hours with that second storm we had winds up to near 70.
But here are the rainfall. And I want to point out Exeter, because a typical November, Exeter's average for the month is about 72 millimeters. On Saturday, the second storm dropped 79. This does not include today's rainfall. It does not include the 100 they had Wednesday night into Thursday. So the problems really started in the southwest.
They moved into areas of (inaudible), Wales; it continues to make their way northward. We have all sorts of problems. As you see, the circulation, as you look at the flood risk, as this gets extended northward, let me show you some of the pictures from up above, aerial shots.
As mentioned, 800 homes that are flooded, two fatalities, one on the first storm in Somerset yesterday, over the weekend, a 21-year-old woman in Exeter was unfortunately died from injuries sustained from a tree that fell over, Devon and Cornwall, the hardest hit areas, additional 60 millimeters yesterday. Now all it takes is another 10-15.
North Wales, major problems, amber weather warnings still in effect, two alerts as mentioned in Scotland, roads closed southwest of England and in the Midlands as well. Some say this is the worst in 70 years. Here's what we have as far as the alerts. Take a look at this, another indication how bad it's been the last 24 hours.
Flood alerts 290, 24 hours ago it was 150. On Saturday, we only had 46 warnings. And now we have 183, 89 of them are in Wales alone.
So, again, the situation will start to improve but then the cold air moves in, a good frost across the area. But rescue workers continue to get the message out. And for the most part, the waters will start to recede by late tomorrow. Stay with us. Kristie will have much more on this NEWS STREAM in a moment.
STOUT: Welcome back. Now China says it has achieved a military milestone, announcing on Sunday that it landed a fighter jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier for the first time. Official Shinhwa News Agency reports that the fighter jet, known as the J-15, landed on the carrier Liaoning, which was built using the shell of a carrier bought from the Ukraine back in 1998.
"People's Daily" online reported in 2011 that the Liaoning would be able to carry about 30 J-15 fighter jets and a crew of 2,000. The U.S. military, however, predicts it will be years before China is able to, quote, "achieve a minimal level of combat capability for its aircraft carriers."
Still, China has achieved a rare feat. And according to "Wired's" Danger Room, only six countries in the world operate fixed-wing aircraft on full-size carriers. The United States, Russia, France, India and Brazil are the other countries.
Now some viewers of the latest James Bond movie, "Skyfall," have lamented the relative lack of gadgets commonly associated with the franchise. In fact, the character Q makes a joke about the days of the exploding pen being over.
Well, in a Korean case of truth being stranger than fiction, Paula Hancocks finds out that the use of pens as spy weapons is very much alive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An assassination attempt foiled, a North Korean spy is arrested on the streets of Seoul. This was a year ago. And this is the first time South Korean intelligence officials are showcasing the weapons exclusively to CNN.
HANCOCKS: So how does this work?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This poison needle was made to look like a Parker ball point pen. There is a tube inside here. In order to activate it, we have to twist it towards the right three to four times and then press the top part like this.
HANCOCKS: If you're shot by this pen, what happens to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It would cause muscle paralysis very quickly, which would lead to suffocation and death.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): The second pen shoots a poison-filled bullet which penetrates the skin. The powdered poison is then released.
HANCOCKS: These pens look like that he belong in a James Bond movie. Is it new technology or is this quite old, quite basic technology?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These pen weapons are not new. North Korean spies have had this technology for about 10 years.
But this flashlight is new. I've never seen this weapon before. If you look at the front, there are three holes. There was a bullet in each hole. And here is the trigger. This is currently loaded and dangerous. Two bullets remain.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Forensics experts filed one bullet to test the gun disguised as a flashlight. It was accurate and deadly and almost impossible to identify as a weapon.
When police arrested the would-be assassin, he was carrying all three weapons; none had been fired.
This man was his target, defector and anti-Pyongyang activist Park Sang-Hak, renowned in South Korea for sending anti-regime propaganda leaflets across the border in balloons.
He was due to meet the would-be assassin who had claimed he wanted to fund his activism. South Korean intelligence agents stopped him at the last minute.
PARK SANG-HAK, NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR AND ACTIVIST (through translator): I didn't believe they would try and kill me on the crowded streets of Seoul. I thought the National Intelligence Service was overreacting.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): We show Park the weapons intended to kill him. He hadn't seen them before in such detail and seemed shocked.
PARK (through translator): You would notice a gun. But these weapons are so innocuous you could easily kill someone. I would have been killed instantly.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Park knows he's at the top of North Korea's hit list and has around-the-clock police protection. Having seen the weapons intended to kill him, he says he knows there will be more assassination attempts, but he will not stop his activism -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: And if you think that poison pens are ingenious, they're fairly boring compared to some of the weapons that intelligence agencies have dreamt up over the years. I mean, how could we forget this?
Charlie the robot fish -- the CIA museum website refers to him as an unmanned, underwater vehicle. They're not giving too much away. But Charlie contains a pressure hole and a ballast system as well as communication capabilities.
Now here is another CIA gadget, which you could say reeks of implausibility. What appears to be poo is actually pretty perceptive. Now the agency says that the Cold War-era tool was fitted with transmitters, able to detect the movement of people, animals or objects up to 300 meters away.
All right. Now you might think a pen seems innocuous. But what about this, an umbrella? Here in Hong Kong on a wet day you'd be forgiven for thinking people are using them as weapons, but according to the spy museum, this poison-filled rain protector was used by the KGB to kill a Bulgarian dissident in London in 1970s.
And finally, if you thought that the racy redhead Anna Chapman had put the glamor into Russian espionage, it's actually there decades earlier. The Cold War lipstick pistol is a single-shot weapon described by the spy museum as the ultimate kiss of death.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. Still ahead, it is bus versus car in the Indian capital. Public transport controversy gripping New Delhi straight ahead.
STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM and welcome back. Now we've given you an exclusive look at the tools North Korea gives its spies. And now we're going to switch to a huge problem for the Indian capital.
New Delhi is a congested maze of roads and vehicles and as more and more drivers get behind the wheel and now the battle lines are being drawn between two road rivals. Sumnima Udas explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (Inaudible) and sometimes even animals is a daily challenge in New Delhi. Every day, more than a thousand new cars are added to the streets, making India's capital one of the world's most congested cities.
But like any fast-growing megacity, Delhi, too, is working to make the mobility that matters easier.
It's built a metro system that now carries 2 million passengers a day, giant flyovers stock the city. But (inaudible) initiative the bus rapid transit system or BRTS, as it's known, is creating controversy.
SUNITA NARAIN, ENVIRONMENTALIST AND ACTIVIST: I don't think any other project in the world can be so small and yet have created so much noise. This city has over 5,000 kilometers of roads, and the BRT is only 5.8 kilometers.
UDAS (voice-over): But those 5.8 kilometer have become the center of a debate as road (inaudible) occupied by cars is being redivided to create special fast lanes for BRT buses.
Dinod Sharma (ph) takes the bus every day to work.
"Before the BRT bus, it used to take me two hours," he said. "Now it takes me 45 minutes."
UDAS: This bus rapid transit system was built to reduce traffic and allow users of public transportation a smoother ride. But you don't have to travel very far to see not everyone is happy.
UDAS (voice-over): Across the divider, it's bumper-to-bumper for cars. Retired army colonel Bibi Sharan (ph) says he's stuck in traffic for as much as 30 minutes whenever he travels this route, while the adjacent bus lanes remains empty.
BIBI SHARAN (PH), RETIRED ARMY: (Inaudible) empty. Why can't I use it? You can see the long queue right up in this place.
UDAS (voice-over): Sharan (ph) was so frustrated he even filed a case with the Delhi high court, arguing car users were being treated unfairly. The court ruled in favor of the BRT in October.
Among other things, it responded to Sharan's (ph) argument that traffic jams were a waste of time for the country's wealth creators, stating, ".these wealth creators, we are sure, would like to live in a developed country, and we remind ourselves that a developed country is not one where the poor own cars, it is one where the rich use public transport."
The debate brings to the forefront the underlying class divide in Indian society.
NARAIN: It is people in cars who believe that they are the ones who have the right over the road. The reality of the situation is that even now, (inaudible) of the people take a bus. Yet buses occupy less than 7 percent of the road space.
UDAS (voice-over): The government is extending the BRT corridor, which could mean even more congestion for car users. But environmentalists say this is exactly what needs to happen to compel more and more urban Indians to take the bus instead -- Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: It is no secret that space is a prime commodity here in Hong Kong, but what is a little more taboo is how to deal with the shortage of land available for cemeteries. It's becoming a major concern, given the city's aging population. But take a look at this. Is this a possible solution to the problem? A design consultancy has mapped out what they're calling the floating eternity.
Now the structure would have a rotating wall of 370,000 compartments, which people could hold the remains of their loved ones. Designed like a cruise ship, it would anchor along Hong Kong's coastline.
The designers say it would also honor Chinese traditions like bringing food during cemetery visits. And it would contain a deck for picnics, even a restaurant on board. And while the concept may sound bizarre, one member of the team behind it says it is the next natural step in Hong Kong's history of graveyards.
That is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.