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Vice President Maduro Announces Presidential Elections Within 30 Days; Star Dancer Confesses To Acid Attack On Bolshoi Artistic Director; Real Madrid Sends Manchester United Packing; Migrant Workers Face Systemic Road Blocks In China; Pimps Troll Social Networks For New Girls; Electronic Glitches Delay Election Results In Kenya; Syrian Refugee Count Reaches 1 Million
Aired March 6, 2013 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
As Venezuela mourns the death of President Hugo Chavez, we ask what's next for the country.
The UN says there are now 1 million Syrian refugees and counting. Still worse, space to shelter them is rapidly running out.
And an old crime with a modern and disturbing new twist. Pimps using social networks to find their prey.
Venezuela is facing an uncertain future without its long-time charismatic and controversial leader Hugo Chavez. The 58 year old president died on Tuesday following a two year battle with cancer. Somber crowds have gathered in the streets of the capital of Caracas and at the military hospital where Mr. Chavez died.
On national television, the president's hand-picked successor Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that Venezuelans must remain strong and united.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLAS MADURO, VICE PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): My dear compatriots, much courage, much strength. We have to overcome this pain and this difficulty. We now have to be united more than ever with major discipline and collaboration. We are going to grow. We are going to be dignified, inheritors and children of a great man. He was and always will be Commandante Hugo Chavez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Mr. Maduro is taking over as interim president until there is an election. Venezuela's foreign minister says a vote will happen within 30 days. The government has declared seven days of mourning, closed schools for the rest of this week and also deployed troops in the streets to keep the peace.
In the next hour, President Chavez's body will be transported from the military hospital where he died to a military academy in Caracas. Thousand of people are expected to line the streets and to participate in the procession. Mr. Chavez's body will lie in state for three days at the military academy, so the public can pay their respects. A state funeral will be held on Friday and world leaders are expected to attend. Mr. Chavez will be laid to rest following that funeral service. The burial site has not yet been announced.
For the first time in 14 years, Venezuela does not have Hugo Chavez at the helm and there are many questions about what comes next. CNN's Shasta Darlington is live in Caracas with more. Shasta, Chavez had his loyal supporters and he also had his serious critics. So how are Venezuelans digesting this news?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, as you can imagine the country is divided. It's exactly the way he left it. So we do have thousands of people mourning him, many of them publicly, going out to the streets, but we also have many Venezuelans who have wanted to see an end to this era.
Although I have to say even they have mixed feelings about it. I spoke to one woman who said, I consider myself the opposition, but I also -- I can't feel like a member of my family has died.
He's been so present in every day Venezuelan political and social life. He's a presence who will definitely noted.
And I think as you mentioned this is -- this leads a lot -- leaves a lot of questions unanswered. So much of what he built here was around the personality of Hugo Chavez, but he also left an economy, much of it fractured, much of it destroyed, and a lot that the opposition say needs to be built on. For example, we have very high inflation. There's also a serious problem with crime. And many people say that the oil industry, what basically Venezuela lives off of, has been left in tatters. So these are challenges that any leader will have to face, Pauline.
CHIOU: And one of the questions left unanswered is who is going to lead Venezuela next. And Chavez was never officially inaugurated even after he won the elections last year, because he was so sick. But now we've got elections coming up within 30 days, presumably between the vice president Nicolas Maduro and the opposition leader Henrique Capriles who ran last year against Hugo Chavez. So, Shasta, how contentious do you think this election could be?
DARLINGTON: Well, Pauline, we've already had a kind of campaigning atmosphere even in the last couple of weeks. The assumption being, of course, that eventually Chavez would either die or be unable to really fully assume the presidential duties. So we've had Maduro who has a background as a union leader, a politician really built by Hugo Chavez himself taking a more anti-American stance, really stepping up the rhetoric. And at the same time, Henrique Capriles coming out in public accusing the government of trying to deceive the people and silence the opposition. So I expect we'll see a lot of that rhetoric really ramping up in the coming days and weeks.
But polls do indicate that Maduro will likely win on the back of the sympathy vote for Hugo Chavez. So we can see -- expect to see continuation of his socialist revolution as he likes to call it, at least in the short- term, Pauline.
CHIOU: And Shasta, you did mention oil, which is really the crown jewel for Venezuela. It is heavily subsidized within the country. And Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. So whoever becomes the leader of Venezuela next, do you expect anything to change in how they deal with oil and the production of oil in Venezuela?
DARLINGTON: Well, Pauline, domestically no. Of course, Hugo Chavez was a champion of keeping -- subsidizing prices and keeping them low. I believe Venezuela has the lowest gasoline prices in the world. You can fill a tank with about a dollar. But he wasn't the one who invented that policy, there were already subsidies in place. And I think that would be something that would infuriate Venezuelans if they can no longer get their cheap gas. I don't see that going away.
What we could see is a change in policy towards other countries. Venezuela also subsidizes oil for countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, policies that aren't necessarily that popular here in Venezuela, because Venezuelans want to see those revenues staying at home. And that in the mid-term, if Maduro or whoever the president is, can't justify them, we could see some changes in the mid-term, Pauline.
CHIOU: All right, Shasta, thank you very much. It's an important week as we look ahead to the state funeral on Friday and then the election within 30 days from now. Shasta Darlington there live from Caracas.
Well, President Chavez was a polarizing figure. A self-proclaimed revolutionary, he won support among Venezuela's poor for sharing the country's oil wealth with them and for increasing access to education.
But others accuse him of ruling with an iron fist. Jim Clancy looks at Chavez's legacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Venezuela's Hugo Chavez melded populist politics, socialism, and his own personally cult with blowtorch rhetoric. He relished being at the center of controversy. Little wonder his friends and foes read the Chavez legacy in stark contrast.
EVA GOLINGER, CHAVEZ ADVISER: He's made Venezuelans feel proud to be Venezuelan again. And that is something, I think, that really no other leader has ever done in that country before. In fact, they were doing the opposite.
ROGER NORIEGA, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Well, unfortunately, Chavez came into power in Venezuela promising the people that had been left on the margins and ignored by the political class in that country a new opportunity to participate in the economy, to participate in decision- making in the country.
Unfortunately, he's destroyed the economy and centralized all power in his hands, decimated the democratic institutions in the country and left Venezuelan democracy in even worse shape. So it's a pretty negative legacy.
CLANCY: Like Guevara, Castro, Allende, and others, Chavez's rhetoric often aimed at the United States or multinational corporations. It invoked the promise of a socialist utopia. But Hugo Chavez had what most other Latin American leftists did not, oil.
Venezuela has among the largest oil reserves in the world, along with Saudi Arabia. That oil wealth enabled Chavez to offer up free education and health care in his own country. Even cash-strapped Americans in the Bronx enjoyed Chavez's largess, with free heating oil in the dead of winter.
The price of his socialist agenda, Hugo Chavez himself. Term limits were abolished. Even his critics admit he could have gone on winning elections indefinitely. His biggest failure may be his unilateral success, a legacy of one. Before his death, critics said Chavez was leaving Venezuela in the control of narco-traffickers.
NORIEGA: Unfortunately, Chavez is already passing power to military folks who are -- really have criminal backgrounds, who, according to the U.S. government, are kingpins involved in narco- trafficking.
GOLINGER: Well, none of that has ever been proven. Yes, there are accusations out there. The United States government has placed several high-level Venezuelan officials on their own lists, where they say they have been involved in drug trafficking, but they have never presented evidence to back those accusations.
CLANCY: Hugo Chavez himself called Golinger Venezuela's girlfriend for her staunch support.
GOLINGER: We're seeing a Latin America that's much more unified and sovereign and independent than it was a decade ago, and this has to be credited to President Hugo Chavez.
CLANCY: But critics like Noriega say his alliances around the globe paint a different picture.
NORIEGA: Well, I don't want to engage in a lot of name-calling. He says he was a Maoist. He supported all of the fascist regimes in Libya and Iran and now in Syria. And so he -- as they say in Spanish, I can tell you who you are when you tell me who your friends are.
CLANCY: Friends and foes, the Chavez legacy is filled with both.
Jim Clancy, CNN.
CHIOU: Coming up next on News Stream, some two years of war have uprooted more than 1 million people from Syria. We'll show you their dangerous journey to safety.
Plus, counting the vote in Kenya, a technical glitch delays election results.
And police in Russia are reporting a confession in that bizarre Bolsoi ballet acid attack. They say the master mind was center stage the entire time.
CHIOU: The United Nations says more than 1 million Syrians are now refugees. And that means nearly one out of ever 22 citizens has fled the country's civil war. The UN's refugee agency tweeted this picture after announcing the alarming new number of 1 million. It says Meet Boshra, the millionth registered refugee from Syria. And the sign in her hands reminds us that she's just one out of a million people in this very desperate situation. She's also holding a small child there. The UN says around half of the refugees are children, most of them are under the age of 11.
Well, nearly 325,000 Syrians are seeking shelter in Jordan. And Nick Paton Walsh shows us the dangerous journey to get there.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Through the fence they stagger, like the ghosts of a country dying slowly fleeing for their lives, clutching what's left of them from war to limbo as refugees in Jordan, thousands every night.
The oldest left to carry Syria's very youngest. 21 wounded this night, terrified enough to be walking out with a chest wound.
Jordan's army wants us to see they're doing what they can, but they are being flooded: over 50,000 in about a month.
Shrapnel his his head, shielded by his mother.
A man arrives in agony and can't lift up either leg when the doctor asks him.
The darkness on the skyline is Syria, the shelling close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...fight Syria, but it's very close to our border right now.
PATON WALSH: Too close?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Too close.
PATON WALSH: On the other side of the wire are perhaps 400,000 homeless Syrians, some cannot wait for the shelling to stop.
This man in leather is one rebel helping their escape.
They've had this perilous ordeal making that crossing at night. We're hearing artillery quite close by, and now another ordeal awaits them, life in a country where they're increasingly unwelcome.
This is safety, but not the life they want. Even here, terror endures so fiercely, they hide from our camera.
And with warmth, comes the start of being herded into buses then into camps.
Jordan's welcome slowly exhausted by their sheer number. And it's just getting started.
These three, rebel fighters, boys really, but having dropped off their families going back to fight with the words of men.
"There are men left," he says, "but the families have fled in very large numbers in all of the city of Daraa. You can now count the people left on your fingers." Syria is emptying. Now the regime is moving on Daraa. And in the month to come, the exodus will increase.
The space left for them here shrinking slowly.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, on the Syrian-Jordanian Border.
CHIOU: The UN has thanked Syria's neighbors for keeping their borders open to refugees. And it's not just Jordan. The UNHCR says Lebanon's population has increased by nearly 10 percent, swelling from more Syrians. And Turkey has spent more than 600 million to set up 17 refugee camps. More are under construction. And Iraq has taken in more than 105,000 Syrian refugees so far.
The number of Syrians fleeing their homes has spiked recently. Here's a look at the number of registered refugees. Keep in mind these figures to not include people still waiting to register. But it gives us a sense of this escalating exodus. Nearly one year ago on March 7 of 2012 the UN counted more than 22,000 refugees. By July, it hit 100,000. And by January 9 of this year there were more than half a million registered refugees. The UN had thought it would cross the million mark in June, but obviously we're still in the first week of March, so it came much earlier which just underscores the crisis situation.
Now lets' turn to Kenya. And they may have to count votes in the presidential election one ballot at a time. Technical problems are casting a shadow over the process. And with little more than 40 percent of the votes counted so far, Uhuru Kenyatta is leading over his main rival Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Nima Elbagir is following the developments live from Nairobi. And Nima, what are the glitches today?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the commission was formed in the aftermath of the 2007 violence that erupted after the contested election then found that the main issue had been that there was a manual count of the ballots. And so it was found that there needed to be an electronic backup system so that while ballots are counted by hand at the polling stations in front of representatives of all of the candidates, at the same time as that tally is written down manually there also needs to be a text message, an SMS sent to the electoral commission service so that there are at the exact same time a record and a counter record of what the count is.
It's that electronic counter record that now is the problem. It seems like the server was just overwhelmed by the extent of the turnouts. And many of those returning officers were finding that when they were sending those SMS messages that they were getting server out of action messages back. That is a big concern, especially as there has already been claim and counter claim of electoral malpractice and voter fraud from both of the main contenders camps.
And if that wasn't enough, we're now hearing allegations of foreign intervention from presidential candidate deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta's camp. Take a listen to this, Pauline.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARITY NGILU, JUBILEE COALITION SENATE CANDIDATE: A British high commissioner in cahoots with one (inaudible) have been conversing to have the rejected voice tallied in an attempt to deny the Jubilee Coalition outright victory as indeed, or indicate as I showing at the moment. The British high commissioner should accept that Kenyans have spoken and their sovereign will should be respected and his role should be strictly limited to that of observer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: What you were hearing about there Pauline is another issue that has now raised its head in this election, the inclusion of spoiled ballots, because this was such a complicated election. It effectively was six elections in one. There's been a really high percentage of spoiled ballots. And when they are finally included in the total of votes cast as was carried out by the electoral commission, that's going to start impacting on the percentage lead that we see Uhuru Kenyatta having at the moment. His team are concerned that that will push this to a second round runoff.
So a lot of scrutiny, a lot of questions. And we're all just waiting to see where it goes now, Pauline.
CHIOU: So already there are so many problems are arising. I did want to ask you more about that early count with Uhuru Kenyatta leading in that. As we know he's facing trial at the ICC. And if he wins, the legitimacy of a Kenyatta government would of course be questioned, so were voters taking that into account when they actually voted?
ELBAGIR: Well, there was a sense that the ICC was becoming very much a part of this election. The worry that what we're seeing here is foreign intervention was definitely playing into the way voters were considering the candidates when they went in. In fact, in the president -- in the first presidential debate that was one of the biggest issues. Most voters here fear that the platforms of the candidates were definitely overshadowed about that.
And that's a question people are asking. Kenya is a very much a lynchpin state of this region and very western facing, very involved in the conflict in Somalia. How are the west going to continue to work with a Kenyan government that has not -- that might have, I should say, because we don't know the outcome of this election yet, might have a presidential candidate who is an ICC indictee, with a vice president who is an ICC indictee.
But, you know, what we should really stress here is that so far all the candidates are asking for calm, Pauline.
CHIOU: All right. Calm in the midst of all this complication. And Nima, thank you very much. We're explaining all the layers to this election. Nima Elbagir there live from Nairobi.
And coming up next on News Stream, another big snow storm moves across much of the central and eastern part of the United States. The CNN weather center will tell us what's still to come in case you're traveling to this area.
CHIOU: Welcome back to News Stream.
People in Chicago have lots of experience digging out from winter storms and they're getting walloped by the latest one, which is now making its way east. Schools and government offices are closed in Washington, D.C. today as this storm arrives. It has already left heavy snowfall in the Midwest and more than 1,000 flights have been canceled at major airports in this storm's path. Forecasters say 50 centimeters of snow could fall just west of Washington, D.C. but it may turn into a mix of rain and wet snow as the system moves eastward and nears the Atlantic Ocean.
Let's check in with Mari Ramos live at the world weather center now with more on this snow storm just in case you're traveling to this area. Mari, this one is covering a pretty large portion of the United States.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think this is a pretty interesting story even if people aren't traveling to this area just from the shear size of this storm. You know, the snowfall that's coming from this is actually quite beneficial because the area is in a drought. And they could definitely use it. But it's coming down all at once and that's a huge concern.
In Chicago, they had record setting snowfall just yesterday.
I love this picture. If you've ever been to Chicago, you see pictures of Chicago, you see this aluminum sculpture, it's very shiny usually, covered in snow now. And if you've ever been to Chicago, you know you've tried to take this picture yourself. It's actually record setting snow for yesterday. And the snow tapering off already, but it is very cold and very windy through those regions.
And look back over here, these are the areas that are now under that winter storm warning or winter storm advisory and even a winter storm watch that stretches all the way back up through the Massachusetts coast, including the city of Boston.
So we're going to be in this for quite awhile. Already more than 90,000 people have lost power. And it's possible that that number will continue going up, especially with the snow that's still falling in many areas.
I don't know if we still have that picture of Washington, D.C. There it is. I knew my director would know that I would want that back.
There you see it, you know, this very thick, heavy wet snow. Already areas just to the west of Washington, D.C. have gotten more than 6 inches of snowfall. So this is just a sign of things to come.
And remember what we talked about last hour, Pauline, how the snow probably wouldn't stick to the ground? Well, if you get enough of it heavy enough and quick enough, it will. And you're starting to see a little bit of that already.
But it does look beautiful as long as you don't have anything else to do like go to work. And a lot of people in Washington are not going to work.
This is the latest advisory back over here as far as the snowfall. If you come back to the weather map, maybe up to 18 centimeters up in the Baltimore/Washington area possible in the next 24 hours. And this is what the satellite image looks like as the storm continues to move away from the region. So there you have it, the storm will move away, very windy conditions, very wet, heavy snow falling through these areas.
Expect big travel delays. If you're traveling to the U.S. or, you know, you have connecting flights out of this region, a lot of big cities will be affected today. And then still tomorrow we could still be talking Boston and New York with big delays. So you know these kind of translate, sometimes, to the other side of the Atlantic and even to other sides of the Pacific.
And speaking of the Pacific, I love this, temperatures warming up. Even in Tokyo you could be up to about 20 degrees by Friday.
Look at these temperatures. 19 -- 19 in Beijing, some of the warmest temperatures so far this entire season. You are definitely getting quite the warmup here.
And quite a warmup also as we head over toward Europe where temperatures there have also been above the average for this time of year. So it's actually been pretty nice across Europe as well.
This is a picture from Germany. I showed you this one last hour, too, and you said how much you liked it.
You know what, I think we're going to stay with those relatively warmer temperatures and spring-like across the north. But in the south it's been a little different. Very windy conditions. In Marseilles they had winds in excess of 110 kilometers per hour. Wind gusts that high with a big area of low pressure right here in the central met.
I want to show you this picture very quick. I know I'm out of time, but just very quickly. Mount Etna. Isn't this spectacular? You're looking at the most active volcano in Italy, in Europe I should say, erupting again. No one was injured, but the images are just so amazing. I just wanted to make sure I shared that with you.
Back to you, Pauline.
CHIOU: Yeah, that looks incredible. My goodness. Wow. But I want to be on that dock with those people there in Bavaria, Germany. That looked like a nice place to be right now.
OK, thanks so much, Mari.
Well, coming up next on News Stream, as Venezuela mourns the passing of long time president Hugo Chavez, global leaders are reacting to his death.
Also, a vicious acid attack on the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director stunned the world in January. Now police say a star dancer has confessed.
CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. And you're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
The UN says the number of people who have fled Syria in the last two years has now topped 1 million. That means nearly one out of every 22 Syrian citizens has left their country. Those refugees have now nearly all dependent on the generosity of other countries and help from humanitarian agencies.
About 40 percent of the votes have been counted in Kenya's presidential election. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has taken an early lead over his main rival Prime Minister Raila Odinga. There had been technical glitches with the computer system to run the election.
According to Chinese state media, a man has confessed to killing a two month old baby who he found inside a stolen car in northeastern China. The man is believed to have stolen the vehicle after the baby's father left it outside a supermarket with the engine running. He's reported to have admitted strangling the infant and then burying it in the snow. The baby's body has not yet been found.
Venezuela is mourning Hugo Chavez. The 58-year-old Venezuelan president died on Tuesday following a two year battle with cancer. In the next hour, his body will be transported from the military hospital where he died to a military academy in the capital of Caracas. His body will remain there until a state funeral on Friday. The government says an election for Mr. Chavez's successor will be held within 30 days.
Well, Cuba has declared three days of mourning for Hugo Chavez. And many Cubans consider him a savior for providing cheap Venezuelan oil worth billions of dollars.
(BEGNI VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It is a loss, because Chavez helps our country a great deal. Without him, I think things will be a bit more difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Hugo Chavez also had a close relationship with Cuba's Fidel Castro. They frequently visited each other's countries and often traveled together. Mr. Chavez also had close ties with fellow leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales. Mr. Morales arrived in Venezuela just a short time ago for the funeral events this week. Earlier he said that Mr. Chavez, quote, gave all his life for the liberation of the Venezuelan people.
Well, the White House also issued a statement on President Chavez's death. President Obama said, quote, "at this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez's passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government."
There was also strongly critical reaction. U.S. Republican Congressman Tom Cotton said, quote, "I hope that the oppressed people of Venezuela will be able to live in freedom, not under miserable tyranny." He also said, "I look forward to working in the House to promote a free, democratic and pro- American government in Venezuela."
Well, Hugo Chavez had a very stormy relationship with the U.S. government. Just hours before Venezuela announced Mr. Chavez's death, it expelled two U.S. embassy officials, accusing them of plotting to destabilize the country. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Venezuela's vice president, Nicolas Maduro, announced a military attache in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas had been expelled for plotting against the government.
MADURO (through translator): The officers tried to get in touch with active military men in Venezuela, first to investigate military forces and then to propose to them to destabilize Venezuela.
STARR: The Pentagon identified the man as Air Force Colonel David Delmonaco. Venezuela's foreign minister later said a second U.S. attache was also expelled. The Pentagon would only identity that man as Devlin Kostal and said he had already been in the U.S. and won't be going back to Venezuela.
Washington denies the charge that any embassy officials were engaged in plots -- Chavez a thorn in the side of the U.S. for years.
HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Yesterday, the devil came here.
STARR: In 2006, he attacked President George W. Bush. CHAVEZ (through translator): Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer to as the devil.
In 2009, Chavez gave President Obama a book on American abuse in Latin America when the two met for the first time at the Summit of the Americas.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it was a nice gesture to give me a book.
STARR: But by 2010?
CHAVEZ (through translator): Obama to me, until now, has been a great disappointment.
STARR: The U.S. has accused Chavez of supporting radical movements in Latin America and even Hezbollah operatives. He's been a close ally of both Cuba's Fidel Castro and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chavez, experts say, always knew how to play all the sides.
CARL MEACHAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: He -- with one hand, he tries to be the eventual evolution of Fidel Castro to the left, and on the other hand, he tries to make nice, so it looks like he is not so bad.
STARR: The U.S. imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelan companies, including the state oil company, for supporting Iran. But still, Venezuela is an important economic partner for the U.S., about 500 American companies are represented in Venezuela.
Barbara Starr, CNN, The Pentagon.
CHIOU: You're looking at a visual representation of the stories that we're covering in News Stream on this Wednesday. Earlier, we told you about a snow storm gripping much of the U.S. and grounding more than 1,000 flights. Well, coming up, we'll tell you how social media is being used to recruit girls for the sex trade.
But now to a vicious attack at one of the world's most revered ballet companies. An acid attack on the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director in January turned the company upside down. Now police say a lead dancer has confessed to ordering that brutal acid attack.
Phil Black joins us now live from CNN Moscow with more details.
Phil, what are the details of the relationship between this lead male dancer and the Bolshoi artistic director?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, police say -- and they describe it as a hostile working relationship. And they say the motive for this attack stemmed from that.
Russian police have released this video, which I'm going to show you now, which shows Pavel Dmitrichenko confessing, they say. The clip is brief. And the confession is a little qualified. He's speaking in Russian. And he says he was responsible for organizing this attack, but not to the extent that it happened, those are his words.
What did happen, well that was back in January when Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi theater was outside his apartment here in Moscow when he said someone called his name. He turned. And that someone then threw a jar of acid, sulfuric acid, into his face.
Now Russian police say they have also taken into custody the person who threw the acid. They say he's confessed. So was a third person who they say acted as a driver that night -- Pauline.
CHIOU: Well, Phil, the Bolshoi Ballet is so famous around the world. So obviously it's a very, very competitive company, but is the Bolshoi known to have very toxic infighting?
BLACK: You're right, it is famous around the world as being one of the great cultural pillars of Russia and of ballet dancing internationally. And yes here it is known for its -- people haven't always said toxic atmosphere, but they have spoken about the rivalries, the feuds, the bitterness that does exist at a personal level in terms of competition between individual dancers, but also in a bigger sense with people within the ballet company disagreeing or advocating certain directions or styles and so forth.
So there's a lot of passion here, a lot of disagreements, a lot of intrigue, and that's why from the very outset, from the day of this attack, all the speculation, the suspicion has focused on this being the work of someone who Sergei Filin worked with. And he, himself, has said that all along, from that first day, and even since he has moved to Germany to continue his medical recovery there. He has insisted that it was someone he knew. Now, according to Russian police, they say that is the case -- Pauline.
CHIOU: And how is the artistic director, Sergei Filin doing right now? You just mentioned he is continuing his medical recovery. But how is he doing? Will he be able to come back and work again?
BLACK: He believes so. He's confident that will happen. He's undergone numerous surgeries both here in Russia and in Germany as well. The total recovery is expected to take some months still, but it's believed that his eyesight has been saved, although he could suffer some loss in the quality of that eyesight. He won't know precisely just what damage has been done until that recovery progresses a little bit further.
But whenever he's spoken publicly, he speaks in a very positive way. He says that he's still involved on a daily basis in the running of the ballet company, although someone is filling in in that role of artistic director until he makes a full recovery, Pauline.
CHIOU: All right. Phil, thank you very much for giving us that update on this tragic story. Phil Black there live in Moscow.
Well, cardinals gathered at the Vatican and they are into their third day of discussions of when to start the official process of electing the new pope. The Vatican spokesman says all but two of the 115 cardinals eligible to vote are now at the Vatican. One is expected to arrive today, the other on Thursday. The spokesman says the starting date of the conclave to choose the new pope has not yet been decided.
Beyond the Vatican, a group representing survivors of sexual abuse by priests has named what it calls a dirty dozen list, those are 12 cardinals who the group says would be the worst candidates for pope based on their handling of child sex abuse claims.
China's National People's Congress is underway in Beijing finalizing leadership changes and discussing the country's future. One of the government's key goals will be to narrow the wealth gap. Hundreds of millions have moved to the cities from the countryside in search of jobs, but activists say government policies have put many migrants in limbo and trapped them in an urban underclass. CNN's David McKenzie has more.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jen Wei (ph) elementary school seems like any other in China, the learning is a steady diet of repetition, and students like 13-year-old Liu Wen Ching (ph) are immersed in their subjects. Music, she says, is her favorite.
"I think music is beautiful," she says. "It makes me feel good. This place is good. I like it. I want to stay here."
But she might have to leave. Liu is a migrant. Jen Wei (ph) is a migrant school.
And the neighborhood is being dismantled to make way for new developments.
(on camera): This was once a thriving migrant community, but the government came with bulldozers in October, and flattened all of this. Advocates say that migrants here in China are getting squeezed out of the city.
(voice-over): 67-year-old Liu Ching (ph) says he's trying to salvage a meager income on what's left of his home.
"We collect bricks from the debris and sell them," he says.
12 years ago he came here to look for work, one of the many millions of migrants looking to tap into China's rapid economic growth.
"There used to be shops and restaurants," he says, "all the way down that street before this part of town was demolished."
ZHANG ZHIQIANG, MIGRANT LAWYER (through translator): It violates the rights of migrants to live and work here.
MCKENZIE: Human rights lawyers like Zhang Zhiqiang says the government is trying to create an underclass by enforcing the dreaded Hukou registration system in Beijing.
In China, families are registered as rural or urban. When rural migrants moved to the citizens move to the cities they live in a twilight zone. They can't access healthcare, social security, or even public education.
The government has pledged to reform the Hukou system, but for these migrants it's too late.
ZHIQIANG (through translator): I was very sad. And later I was enraged. First of all, it's hard for migrants to find jobs. It's not easy to survive. Then, when they finally find a job, they come here with the children and find places for their children to study. The government suddenly decides to take everything down.
MCKENZIE: So progress for migrant children is slow. Born in Beijing, the Hukou system still anchors them to their parents.
Liu (ph) won't get a certificate when she graduates. If the school is shut down, she'll move somewhere she's never been. She hopes her father's ailing heart get better.
"I just hope that my father will get well as soon as possible, that we'll be OK."
David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.
CHIOU: And there is much more to come right here on News Stream. The CNN Freedom Project will show you how social media are not free of social ills, including human trafficking. We'll explain.
CHIOU: The CNN Freedom Project marks our commitment to ending modern-day slavery. You may think that human trafficking is a thing of the past, but we're about to show you that it can feature some very modern social media sites. Being safe on the internet isn't just about guarding your own privacy and your profile as Laurie Segall now reports, it's also about making sure you or someone you know is safe from online predators, including pimps.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started with a friend request on Facebook.
"NINA", SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM: My mentality was he's cute. Let me accept him, and then, once I accepted him, they would message me.
SEGALL: They quickly developed a relationship.
"NINA": He sold me the biggest dream in the world. You know, I thought like he really did like me and we were going to live this fairytale life together.
SEGALL: What she got was a nightmare.
"NINA": He pretty much was like I'm going to put you outside and you're going to walk and catch dates. I was OK with it because I liked him. Well, he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, wanted to have kids. He really made it believable.
SEGALL: In a mouse click, "Nina" became a part of the growing number of victims recruited into sex trafficking on social networks. The other end of her friend request? A pimp (ph).
"NINA": I've been personally beaten with a pistol. I've been duct taped and put in a closet for 24 hours.
"LISA", SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM: The money part. I wanted money, that's why I did it.
SEGALL: Lisa who asked us to hide her identity was trafficked for much of her life. She's free now but still receives more than 20 messages a day from pimps.
"LISA": Whassup -- Whassup wit u boo?
SEGALL: Pimps are now using many different social networks to do everything from connect to brag about money.
ANDREA POWELL, FAIR GIRLS: Almost all of our girls who we're working with now aged 11 all the way up to 22, they are being recruited online, this Facebook. It's tagged, which a lot of people don't know is sort of like I call it like the creepy Facebook and then Twitter actually, Instagram, to a smaller degree.
JACK BENNETT, FBI CYBERCRIMES SUPERVISOR: Minors will friend people whether they know them or not just to appear to be popular and somebody who is a pimp can use that information to start looking at what makes a person tick.
SEGALL: Pimps were doing exactly that in Virginia's affluent Fairfax County. Revealed in a major 2012 case, gang members were using social networking sites like Facebook to solicit women. One of the defendants sent over 800 solicitations on Facebook, many to women still in high school. But those same pages used to recruit are also used to rescue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can also go and see who all "liked" this and that can lead me looking for girls who look like they need help.
SEGALL: Law enforcement sources say that Facebook reacts swiftly when notified of illicit activity on specific accounts. Facebook says it takes human trafficking very seriously and has built complex technical systems to flag and block such material. Tag.com says it has numerous tech and educational tools to empower and protect users and has a dedicated team to respond to unauthorized conduct on the site.
"Nina" and "Lisa," whose names were changed to protect their identities, are both still on the social networks where they were recruited. "Nina" says she's no longer looking for a boyfriend on Facebook.
"NINA": More pimps tell you the same thing. You kind of get the clue. And, you know, life is not a fairytale.
SEGALL: Lisa starts school this semester. When she enrolls, she plans to log out of Facebook for good.
Laurie Segall, CNN Money, New York.
CHIOU: And find out more about CNN's commitment to end human trafficking on our web site. Go to CNN.com/freedom where our latest reporting on this global concern and see what you can do to really take a stand. Check it out on CNN.com/Freedom.
And still to come right here on News Stream, why Manchester United fans are seeing red after an epic Champion's League faceoff at Old Trafford.
SEGALL: Manchester United sees red after their European Champion's League clash with a Spanish football giant. Mark McKay is live at CNN Center with more. And Mark, there was some unexpected twists in this match.
MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: There were. And to say that Manchester United supporters where you are in Asia and all across Europe are likely seething I think that's a good bet they are seething at the result that played out Tuesday at famed Old Trafford. The home side started well against Real Madrid. They lead through a Sergio Ramos own goal early in the second half of the return leg match, but arguably the decisive moment game in the 56th minute. Manchester United's Portuguese winner Nani set off for a high boot, looked as though he had his eye on the ball, but he was given the red card by the Turkish referee.
Reduced to 10 men, the English side lost their way. Real Madrid made the most of it. Luka Modric leveled the aggregate count at 2-all. And then a short while later, much to the dismay of Sir Alex Ferguson, it was Christiano Ronaldo capping his first game back at Old Trafford with what effectively was the match winner and the goal that sent Jose Mourinho's men into the Champion's League quarterfinals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE MOURINHO, REAL MADRID MANAGER: I tried to be honest. And be honest is to say that in my opinion the best team lost. But that's football. When we were against 10, we played very well for 10 minutes, you know, we created new problems Ozil wide and Luka and Kaka both behind the (inaudible) was a new problem for them that they couldn't solve with 10 men so we deserve credit for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKAY: Meanwhile, it was clear sailing for Borussia Dortmund in Tuesday's other Champon's League return match. The 1997 winners overpowered Shaktar Donetsk of Ukraine, winning 3-nil. That result means the German champions advance to the quarters 5-2 on aggregate.
Two more teams will reach the UEFA Champion's League quarters in the coming hours. It should be a stroll in the park for Italian Champion's Juventus at home. The Italian Seria A champions owning a 3-nil aggregate lead from winning the first leg overwhelmingly at Celtic. Tonight, in the French capital, all eyes on David Beckham and whether he'll make his Champion's League debut for his new team Paris St. Germain as they look to close out Spain's Valencia.
Hey, there was concern for Kobe Bryant Tuesday after the L.A. Lakers star turned up injured at his team's game with Oklahoma City. Bryant is seen favoring his right arm here after colliding with an opposing player. Fortunately, it was just a bruise to a his funny bone. Bryant would leave the court only to return a little later hoping to get the last laugh against the Thunders. Kobe did his part, dropping 30 points on the night, but the Thunder roll.
Watch Kevin Durant take the ball to the hoop. He stops, knocks down the short jumper, part of a 26 point effort. Durant's teammate Russel Westbrook contributed to the cause. Oh, this one is for the highlight reel, a thundering two-hand slam. He had 37 points.
Oklahoma City hand the Lakers their 20th road loss of the season. Pauline, the Nba playoffs will have a different look if Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers are not part of it. They are teetering on the brink.
CHIOU: Yeah, not a good run. All right, thank you very much, Mark.
Well, it was a small slip of the tongue, but it's prompted a huge media reaction. The front pages of British newspapers like The Sun right here are all abuzz with speculation that the Duchess of Cambridge is actually expecting a girl, that's because of a conversation that Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine apparently had with a well wisher on Tuesday.
Now the Duchess was visiting Grimsby in Northern England when she is reported to have received a teddy bear from a member of the public. According to one onlooker named Sandra Cooke (ph) Catherine responded by saying, "thank you. I will take that for my dah -- before she stopped herself in mid sentence."
When grilled about whether she is expecting a daughter, Cooke (ph) says the duchess simply said we're not telling.
Well, I guess we won't know until July when the baby is due.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues right here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.