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NEWS STREAM

Turkish Cypriots See Greek Cypriot Crisis as Chance for Cooperation; Pakistan to Compete in Street Kid World Cup; FAA Considers Relaxing Rules on Electronic Devices During Flights; Myanmar Military Steps In to Curb Ethnic Violence; Tomas Haas Stuns Novak Djokovic at Miami Masters

Aired March 27, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET

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


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

Myanmar's army chief says the army must protect minorities as the country's biggest city braces for a possible spillover of sectarian violence.

Demonstrations for and against same-sex marriage as the debate raging across the United States is heard in the Supreme Court.

And could your electronic devices soon be cleared for takeoff? Why the ban on your tablets and smartphones could be going away.

There are new restrictions in place in areas of central Myanmar where officials are trying to stop a wave of sectarian attacks. The townships of Gyobingaux, Okpo, and Minhla are under a dusk to dawn curfew. Groups of Buddhists have been torching Muslim homes and mosques there in recent days. This is the aftermath. Communities literally burned to the ground. At least 40 people have been killed and thousands have been displaced.

Meanwhile, Myanmar's army celebrated its 68th armed forces day today. The country was under military rule until 2011 when it began launching democratic reforms. But the military still has considerable influence. During the celebration, Myanmar's army chief vowed to maintain peace in the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. MIN AUNG HLAING, MYANMAR ARMY CHIEF (through translator): Our independence came from all Burmese people, including every ethnic minority. Therefore, we have to protect it. The conflict that is going on now, the army never wants that to happen again. It is our duty to be responsible for all people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: Well, troops have been deployed to central Myanmar, but tensions between the country's Buddhist majority and Muslim minority have been simmering for decades as Fionnuala Sweeney explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These latest ethnic attacks began last week when rioters set fire to the city of Meiktila, mostly Muslim owned houses, schools and mosques were burned to the ground by angry Buddhist crowds. All of this violence was reportedly set off by a dispute between a Buddhist couple and the Muslim owner of a gold shop.

Mandalay government declared Marshall law. Soldiers patrol the streets.

But arson attacks by other Buddhists spread to nearby towns, forcing thousands of mostly Muslim families to flee their homes. Police were criticized for doing little to halt the violence, but officials strongly deny the allegations.

YE MYINT, CHIEF MINISTER OF MANDALAY REGION (through translator): No, we're not weak in security. We have enough security personnel. They're everywhere.

SWEENEY: This is just the latest round of sectarian violence in Myanmar as it emerges from decades of repressive military rule. The country is predominantly Buddhist. Only 4 percent of its nearly 55 million people are Muslim. And as the unrest highlights, ethnic relations there are fragile.

Last year, clashes between Buddhist nationalists and Royinga Muslims killed scores of people. Most of the victims were Royinga, an ethnic group denied citizenship by Myanmar's government. Tens of thousands of them are living in makeshift camps. Many have tried to flee to neighboring countries in flimsy boats, but are usually turned back or lost at sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government of Myanmar is orchestrating these crimes.

SWEENEY: The plight of the Royinga has attracted the attention of the online activist group Anonymous. They've posted a video online accusing Myanmar's government of backing the violence and critical of the U.S. and the media for a perceived lack of response.

But for now, the situation in Myanmar remains tense with many fearing the ethnic violence could soon spread to Yangon.

Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Human Rights Watch is one of the international organizations closely watching developments in Myanmar. Phil Robertson is deputy director of their Asian division and he joins us now from Bangkok.

Phil, thank you very much for being with us. We heard that the army chief saying that they'll do whatever they can to preserve peace in the country, maintain peace in the country. And now with the army being sent in, does that leave you with a sense of trepidation, especially after nearly 50 years of military rule. And we saw how that went down?

PHIL ROBERTSON, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, obviously it does raise concerns about democratic reforms, because the issue is will the army ultimately cede control to the civilians. And with these kind of clashes taking place, can they? Clearly the Burma police have fundamentally failed in their duties to prevent this violence. And the video of Meiktila as well as the video from last year in Sitwe just showed the police standing around as mobs were attacking Muslims.

So, you know, the concern we have is really where is the accountability going to come? You know, will the army beyond the -- holding the situation in check now, will they be able to also demand accountability for those instigating violence?

RAJPAL: What is at the heart of these tensions?

ROBERTSON: Oh, well there's a lot of ethnic hatreds and bubbling tensions between these groups. Small things such as this confrontation at a gold shop, it set off the kind of communal tensions between the two sides you know built up over small slights. But also there are groups behind this putting out anti-Muslim tracks, accusing the Muslims of trying to take over Burma. So there are some dark hands involved in instigating hatreds against the Muslim minority in Burma.

RAJPAL: Is (inaudible) -- the government right now obviously what we're seeing right now with the violence and with the police not being able to control what is taking place in the country with entire cities being burned to the ground, is there a sense that the government is unable to maintain law and order?

ROBERTSON: Well, I think that the government is failing in its commitment to follow through and hold people accountable. I mean, one of the lessons learned from the violence last year in western Rakhine state was that the attacks against the Royingas were done with impunity. People have not been held accountable for those attacks. And that impunity has obviously spread to other parts of the country where people feel that attacks like this can be carried out. And once again they'll be able to get off scotfree.

RAJPAL: All right. Phil, thank you very much for that. Phil Robertson there from Human Rights Watch joining us from Bangkok.

There is concern this latest violence could spread even further. Already the United Nations says more than 12,000 people have been displaced and are currently living in makeshift camps. Meanwhile, Royinga Muslims living outside the country have been protesting against the violence in Myanmar. This demonstration took place in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia earlier this week.

Now the votes were accounted weeks ago, but the results of Kenya's presidential election remain in dispute. The nation's supreme court is hearing three separate petitions alleging wrongdoing. And tensions are running high.

Nima Elbagir has been following the developments for us. And she joins us now live from Nairobi. It took place -- the election took place March 4. It was relatively peaceful. There were high hopes, Kenyans had high hopes for this election that they would not be marred by any bloodshed. And while it was relatively safe and peaceful, they still don't have a clear leader.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, many of those we speak to, Monita, say that although they are very much tired of waiting and tired of the uncertainty they're very happy to see that due process is being done and is being respected, given. The last time Kenya had a contested election in 2007, over 1,000 people died and tens of thousands were displaced. Watching this legal process actually gives a lot of Kenyans hope that the institutions are in place and that fundamental reform, that sweeping constitutional reform that was put in place is working.

But there are very, very high stakes here. We can't pretend otherwise. The Supreme Court not only has to rule in terms of the freeness and fairness of this election, but it has to rule whether to decide whether or not to take Kenyans back to another election. So far they called for a partial count. 22 polling stations that were named in Prime Minister Raila Odinga's petition. Those votes are being recounted.

They now have to decide whether to concede to Odinga's other request and that's to allow the manual voter tally forms, for them to be scrutinized against the number of voters registered in each and every polling station in Kenya, because that's one of the big allegations here. Prime Minister Odinga and his team are alleging that the voter register was tampered with to such an extent that in a number of polling station the number of votes registered were less than the number of votes cast. So we're expecting today and tomorrow that this hearing will carry on. And anything within the next few days, perhaps even Saturday -- and that's the last legal day in which the supreme court can rule on this without asking for an extension, Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Nima, thank you for that. Nima Elbagir in Nairobi.

You are watching News Stream. Coming up, aid workers struggled to help a shattered Syria as continued violence forces some UN staff to evacuate.

And Cyprus' economic divide. We'll venture to the north of the island and see how it is faring amid the financial crisis in the south.

And then, what is marriage? Day two of a U.S. Supreme Court debate making waves across the nation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: You are looking at a video rundown of all the stories in the show today. We've already updated you on the unrest in Myanmar. Later we will delve into the same-sex marriage debate that's dividing the United States.

But now, let's turn to the situation in Syria. As violence continues to escalate in the war torn country, aid efforts have been struggling to keep up with the tremendous need. Now fresh fighting on the streets of Damascus is providing -- or driving some food aid out of the city. Alex Thomson reports now from inside the Syrian capital.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX THOMSON, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's new in its regularity, the rebel war visited upon Damascus city center every day now. They've hit a church, a park, a hotel, a TV station, a university, private flats, and a news agency all in recent days. At least four killed, more than 20 injured when several mortars believed fired by the rebels hit the Sana News Agency and the university law faculty next door.

This, then, the third day in succession that the rebels have shown their capacity to fire mortars into the city center here in Damascus apparently at will.

Syrian soldiers and militia left digging out the mortar fins. "See what the al Qaeda terrorists do to us?" They say.

Already this week, this in part is what has driven the United Nations out of town. Half their foreign staff being evacuated because of safety concerns.

We're leaving town with the UN's World Foot Program to check on a food distribution center. These should be monthly handouts of food at this distribution center outside Damascus, but because the UN often can't safely transport the food, it's once every three months for too many families.

KATE NEWTON, UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Last month, we had a warehouse which was shelled directly. So we had mortars coming through the roof of the warehouse and we still have around 1,000 tons of food that we can't rescue, which is enough food for about 40,000 families, sorry, 40,000 people.

THOMSON: Even this distribution center has come under attack.

We were due now to go and film some of the displaced people in this town, but in fact the UN mission has been aborted because there's shelling in the area and they've got to leave.

Minutes later, the UN missions ended, pinned down again by fighting.

NEWTOWN: We were planning to go back to Damascus. And we can't visit the collective center where a lot of people are living that we were hoping to visit, because there are snipers in the area and someone has just been shot.

THOMSON: The figures are frightening. According to the Red Crescent, 4 million displaced people inside Syria now. And the World Food Program is 65 percent underfunded.

Millions need help, few get it regularly. And caught up in it all, of course, the children who have lost homes, lost relatives, and seen far too much far too young.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He misses his toys, his cousins, his neighbors, his home, everything. He is very stressed and anxious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm from Yelda (ph). When the first shell came in, my little daughter started screaming uncontrollably. She opened the door and ran into the street yelling hysterically. Eventually I took her to the doctor. He just said it's psychological. It will pass.

THOMSON: In scores of shelters across the city you will find thousands of displaced children. Many are run by the government and they want you to know it.

Staff in government flag anoraks offer counseling, psychological help, or just plan personal hygiene advice.

"So hands up, who washes their hands after the loo?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We try to work with children forced from their homes. We bring them here to help them get over what they've been through, to try and protect their childhood with activities.

THOMSON: They tell us it's all about protecting childhood, getting these little ones to forget. Then, they encourage the same children to chant, "we love Bashar al-Assad heart and soul. We love Syria. We'll fight for Syria to the last drop of blood."

This may not be the best way to get these young people to forget the bloody political horror into which their childhood has descended.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Alex Thomson there reporting from Damascus.

The Cyprus news agency is reporting that the lenders behind the country's bailout have forced the Bank of Cyprus chief executive from his job. It says Yiannis Kypri has been ousted as part of the restructuring of the country's banking sector. CNN has not been able to confirm that.

Meanwhile, banks in Cyprus are closed for the 12th straight day this Wednesday. Limits have been imposed on ATM withdrawals, leaving many Cypriots short of cash. Officials are trying to work out how to avoid a run on the banks when they finally do open.

At the moment, that looks like Thursday. Cyprus agreed to a $13 billion bailout from the EU on Monday, but in return it must break up its swollen banking sector and raise billions from big depositors at its two main banks.

Well, the financial crisis in Cyprus has rocked the divided island's economic balance. While Greek Cypriots in the south are expecting years of recession and rising unemployment, the economy to the north is doing pretty well. Ivan Watson has more on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It takes less than a minute to walk across the so-called green line that splits the island of Cyprus in two. It's hard to believe this was once a tense and heavily fortified front line. Deadly clashes between Greek and Turkish Cypriots culminated in the 1974 invasion of the island by the Turkish army.

Nearly 40 years later, Cyprus remains divided with tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers still stationed in the north.

But nowadays Cypriots and tourists can travel freely between the Greek speaking south and the Turkish speaking north.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.

WATSON: It's here that we meet a vacationing British couple named Darrel and Beryl King.

DERRELL KING, BRITISH TOURIST: There are lots and lots holiday markers on this side. We've met lots and lots of Germans, but...

BERYL KING, BRITISH TOURIST: And English...

DERRELL KING: But there are -- I think tourism is developing in northern Cyprus in a big way.

WATSON: Unlike the crisis stricken south, the banks in northern Cyprus are working normally.

The banks are OK here.

RESAT SARP, TURKISH CYPRIOT UNIVERSITY STUDENT: It's OK. It's nowhere perfect.

WATSON: Right.

Turkey is the only country only country in the world that officially recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The north's isolation helped protect it from the financial troubles rippling across Europe.

KUDRET OZERSAY, PROFESSOR, EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN UNIVERSITY: In our history, maybe this is the first time that we feel better that we were not involved in the financial sector of Europe.

WATSON: Kudret Ozersay says the crisis in the Greek south may present an opportunity.

OZERSAY: This crisis can help the two sides to start cooperating with each other.

WATSON: There are already signs of this on a microlevel. Every week this young Greek Cypriot comes to the Turkish north to buy water pipes and tobacco.

SELIM ERDOGDU, TURKISH CYPRIOT: Like you went to another city, another country. It's very different on the other side.

WATSON: Would you like it to be reunified?

ERDOGDU: I don't think so.

WATSON: That sentiment is shared by a Turkish Cypriot from an older generation.

This tailor says his Greek cousins got what they deserved.

"They made this mistake because they never reached a peace agreement with the Turks," he says.

The tailor remembers a time when Turkish Cypriots lived side by side with the Greeks. But he says it's better for the two communities to continue living apart.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Lefkosa, in northern Cyprus.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Still to come, on the road to Rio. We check in on all the latest World Cup qualifying action.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Now, it seems if you write off the Spanish national football team, you do so at your peril. Alex Thomas joins us with more on that. Hi, Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Hi, Monita.

Football's world champions are back on track to defend their title in Brazil next year after beating France 1-0 to go back to the top of qualifying Group I. After a draw against Finland that left Spain facing the playoffs, the double European champions took the lead against Les Bleus in the second half of the Stade de France in Paris.

Arsenal fullback Nacho Monreal crossing from the left. And Real Madrid's Pedro scrambling the ball over the line despite the best efforts of Hugo Lloris. Delight for the Spanish, but you can see how close the Spurs goalie came to stopping it from going over.

The home team's chances of getting back on level terms were hampered by the sending off of Paul Pogba with two bookings in as many minutes. France's hopes disappeared along with the midfielder.

A late chance did fall for Manchester United star Patric Evra. However, when he headed Mathieu Valbuena's free kick goalwards, Spain's keeper Victor Valdez produced an important save.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICENTE DEL BOSQUE, SPAIN COACH (through translator): What we needed to do tonight was to secure the three points. It was also a good showing of maturity from my players. It is true that recently we have gone through a difficult patch. So the fault (ph) of being five points behind the French would have been quite a bad situation, which would have been difficult to deal with.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS, FRANCE COACH (through translator): We have three games left and so do they. It's not in our hands anymore, but we have more points to go get and then we'll see. The main thing is we will not be meeting Spain so we have nine points to go and grab.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: Steven Gerard admits his side stopped playing after a draw in Montenegro put England in danger of missing out on an automatic qualification squad. Roy Hodgson's men made a strong start when Manchester United's Wayne Rooney headed the first goal. However, the home team played better in the second half, equalizing a quarter of an hour from the end. And despite a late surge from England, Montenegro held on for a one-all draw that leaves them top of Group H.

Now 17 years after turning pro, veteran German tennis player Tommy Haas has produced a win that he described as unbelievable consigning Novak Djokovic to only his second defeat of the year. Haas will turn 35 next week, but is enjoying a purple patch as his career starts to wind down. And even though he was up against the defending champion and world number one at the Miami Masters in Florida, Haas outplayed Novak Djokovic taking this first set 6-2.

For awhile in the second it looked as if Djokovic would get back into this match. He'd only lost once since claiming the Australian Open for a third time in a row earlier in the year, but Haas inflicted the Serb's second defeat of the season. The second set was won 6-4. And he goes through to a quaterfinal against Gilles Simon.

We'll have more in World Sport in around four-and-a-half hours time. For now, Monita, back to you in Hong Kong.

RAJPAL: All right, Alex, thank you very much for that.

And still to come here on News Stream, same-sex marriage in the United States -- it is day two of a highly charged debate at the Supreme Court. We'll take you live to Washington.

And how many times have you been told to switch off your tablet or laptop on a plane? Well, that could be about to change, folks. We'll bring you details on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. And you are watching News Stream. These are your world headlines.

Authorities have imposed dusk to dawn curfews in three towns in central Myanmar to try to prevent further violence. At least 40 people have been killed in recent sectarian clashes between Buddhists and Muslims. President Thein Sein has promised to take action against those responsible for the violence.

North Korea says it is cutting off a key military hotline with South Korea. It is likely to affect the movement of people in and out of the Kaesong Industrial Complex where South Korean workers cross into the north to work. North Korea says the move is in response to joint military exercises that South Korea is holding with the United States.

The British government has lost another round in its long running legal battle to deport Abu Qatada. Britain wants to send the radical Islamic preacher to Jordan, but the court of appeal today ruled against the government's latest bid. Britain's home secretary has until April 17 to appeal the ruling.

The fifth BRICs summit draws to a close in South Africa today with an international bank that lends to the developing world on the horizon. Investment has been one of the major themes. And earlier, new Chinese president Xi Jinping said it was important to ensure equality in the global community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (through translator): We should vigorously promote the building of a global development partnership and strive for the common prosperity of all countries. One tree does not make a forest. In an era of deepening economic globalization, we BRICs countries should not just seek our own development, but also work for the common development of all countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: Well, the BRICs nations believe a development bank set up by emerging economies would be better equipped to meet their needs. But agreement on just how to fund it and where it should be based is still far from complete. And a leader has said further talks will be needed to finalize the plan.

The U.S. Supreme Court will continue its review of same-sex marriage again today. It is one of the most politically charged issues across the country. Emotions ran high outside the court on Tuesday. People on both sides of the debate are taking to the streets in protest and demanding action. But one justice suggested the court may take a cautious approach.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SAMUEL ALITE, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years. Same-sex marriage is very new. I think it was first adopted in the Netherlands in 2000. So there isn't a lot of data about its effect and it may turn out to be a good thing, it may turn out not to be a good thing, as the supporters of proposition 8 apparently believe.

But you want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the internet? I mean, we are not -- we do not have the ability to see the future.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

RAJPAL: Tuesday's arguments focused on proposition 8 which bans same- sex marriage in the state of California. Wednesday, we'll see arguments over the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us now from Washington. Jeffrey, good to see you. And it seems as though no real indication, there is no real indication as to which way the justices will rule. They are just as conflicted as the American public.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Indeed. It was an unusually opaque argument yesterday. Not only wasn't it clear how the justices were going to decide, it was not even clear what they were going to decide. There were certain procedural issues. There was the issue of deciding just for California or for all the states that don't have same-sex marriage. Only nine states have same-sex marriage out of the 50 currently.

So, it was not at all clear, at least to me, which direction the court was going yesterday.

RAJPAL: At the end of the day also boiled down to the argument over whether same-sex marriage is constitutional or not. And why shouldn't same-sex couples get the same benefits as heterosexual couples. It really comes down to something simple. Is it constitutional or isnt't it?

TOOBIN: Well, what -- to be a little lawyerly about it, what's clear is that the states can choose to have same-sex marriage, as nine of them already have. The question before the court is are all the other states required to have same-sex marriage.

Clearly its constitutional if a state wants to have same-sex marriage. The question is, is it discrimination against gay people to deny them the right to get married? That was the question the court was really focused on yesterday. And at least several justices appeared anxious not to decide that question, at least not yet.

Today is very different.

RAJPAL: And it also comes down to what kind of benefits same-sex couples would get or not get if they were denied -- if they were denied the rights -- a right of marriage. But the interesting thing is, support for same-sex marriage is increasing in America. We understand there was a poll that was released on Monday that said 53 percent of Americans support same- sex marriage. So what is the issue in the United States? I mean, we look at 11 countries in the world that see same-sex marriage as legal in the entire country. So why not America?

TOOBIN: Well, this has been a very fast moving social movement in the United States compared to say rights for African-Americans or even rights for women. The American public has moved very quickly on the issue of gay rights. But it is not unanimous by any means. And certainly there are very important regional differences in the United States on the question of same-sex marriage. The more liberal parts of the country, the west coast - - California, Oregon, Washington; the east coast -- New York and New England, are very much more in favor of same-sex marriage than the more conservative central and southern parts of the country. And that dynamic is driving a lot of the political conflict.

RAJPAL: And what's interesting, Jeffrey, I think some people are saying that -- given an indication to illustrate -- or just how huge of an issue this is, some people are describing it as this generation's civil rights movement.

TOOBIN: Very much. That is an analogy that is being driven, that is being made. And particularly by the supporters who say any way that the government treats gay people differently from straight people is like treating black people differently from white people, it is simply unacceptable. And that view is gaining enormous support -- and that's really what the court will be dealing with today.

The Defense of Marriage Act is a federal law that says that the states, even in the nine states that have same-sex marriage, the federal government will not recognize those marriages. So the married gay people in these states will not get the tax benefits, will not get the custody benefits, that straight people get. And the question is, is it permissible for the federal government to discriminate in this way, that is what the court is going to be hearing in a little more than an hour.

RAJPAL: All right. Jeffrey, thank you for that. Jeffrey Toobin there live for us from Washington.

Staying in the United States, former CIA chief David Petraeus says he is sorry. The apology came in his first public appearance since an extramarital affair derailed his career last year. The retired four star general was greeted by a standing ovation at the University of Southern California on Tuesday. He was there to honor veterans and reserve officers in training, but wasted no time in clearing the air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, U.S. ARMY (RET): Please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret and apologize for the circumstances that led to my resignation from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends, and supporters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: Well, some see Petraeus's appearance as a sign he will return to public life in support of his fellow veterans.

Now earlier this month, it was pocket knives, now it's those electronic devices we're always told to turn off before takeoff. As David Mattingly reports the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is considering changing those rules.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pads, pods, tablets, laptops, smartphones, they all keep us plugged in, online and on the air; everywhere that is except in the air when taking off and landing.

JOHN WALLS, CTIA-THE WIRELESS ASSOCIATION: It certainly appears that using an electronic device to read a magazine, to read a book is not a safety factor.

MATTINGLY: Anyone who flies could tell you how often the rule is ignored, but it's announced every single flight. Delta's safety video even tries to have some fun with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Electronic devices are turned off.

MATTINGLY: But using personal electronic devices below 10,000 feet is banned on most airlines because of the possibility their signals could interfere with aircraft systems. And this hasn't been without moments of rebellion.

Actor Alec Baldwin made headlines when he was kicked off an American flight for playing a game in 2011.

The FAA is now looking into changing the rules to allow some devices to stay on. Passengers are waiting for clarity for all the options available to them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that if it keeps the people on board safer and it messes up the stuff on the plane, then I think that's OK to do.

MATTINGLY: But flight attendants, the people who tell you when to hit the off switch also say it's a matter of getting your attention during the most sensitive parts of the flight.

VEDA SHOOK, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: If someone is listening to their music, or they have a -- they're watching a video and they've got their Beats on or their noise cancelling headphones, we want to make sure that if there is a situation that passengers need to hear and understand that they will be able to do so.

MATTINGLY: The National Assocaition of Airline Passengers actually agrees. Unplugging for a few minutes is a small price to pay for safety.

DOUGLAS KIDD, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AIRLINE PASSENGERS: So, we do not as passengers want to do anything that will interfere or distract the pilots at this critical time of the flight.

MATTINGLY: The pressure is to bring the rules up to date. With the proliferation of electronic devices, even the FCC urged the FAA to allow greater use of tablets, eReaders, and other portable electronic devices. Delta is also on record urging the FAA to expand use of electronic devices in flight, but limiting cellphone calls to on the ground only.

There's congressional pressure for change as well. Senator Claire McKaskill of Missouri says that the continued restrictions threaten to undermine public confidence in the FAA. The agency already allows pilots to use electronic tablets in the cockpit.

An FAA committee is due to report its recommendations this summer. Changes, if any, may not come until months later.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Bridging the gap between science and awareness in our Going Green series. Find out why some researchers say that's the first step towards saving our fragile ecosystem.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJAPL: Welcome back.

All this week, CNN is taking you beneath the sea surface. According to one study, half of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef has disappeared over the last three decades. CNN's special correspondent Philippe Cousteau is following a group of scientists studying the reef. And here's a glimpse of their dive around One Tree Island.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, the coral around One Tree Island was spectacular, but it was the life around the coral that was so startling. Reefs have been called the rainforests of the oceans and for good reason. Here in this remote corner of the Great Barrier Reef, the team recorded an ecosystem imbalance, a complex web of life vulnerable to change.

OVE HOEGH-GULDBERG, CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY: When you take the fishes out of the ocean, you take out the gardeners and the pest control officers. So ecosystems like coral reefs undergo fundamental changes.

So, thinking about what we're doing and looking for those ethical and ecological choices in, say, the seafood we eat, for example, is an enormous contribution.

COUSTEAU: Their data will take time to compile. New discoveries will continue to be made. But the team says there are things people can do right now to help preserve ecosystems like the reef around One Tree. For them, this expedition is as much about awareness as it is about the research.

This isn't science as usual.

There's no arguing that there's a tremendous gap between scientific knowledge and public knowledge. How did you decide on the model of the Catlin Seaview Survey to try and challenge that status quo?

HOEGH-GULDBERG: Well, I think you're exactly right. There's amazing scientific work being done, but it's being read by about up to sort of 100 people rather than the world. And we wanted to bridge this gap, well we need to bridge this gap between scientific awarenees and public understanding, because there's no point in doing the science if it's not being communicated, because if it's not being communicated, you don't get the support for action. And that's why the science is there to do in the first place to say what needs to be done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: All this week, we'll be bringing you more of those incredible reports. The entire program Going Green: Oceans airs on Friday. And go to CNN.com/GoingGreen to find showtimes and information.

First, it was pigs, now officials in China are trying to figure out who dumped 1,000 dead ducks into a river. The carcasses were found floating in the Nanhe River in China's southwestern Sichuan Province. State media reports they had been stuffed in 50 to 60 woven plastic bags. The ducks had since been disinfected and buried, but it is still unclear how they died. Officials say since the Nanhe is not a source of drinking water, there is no threat to public health.

But Chinese citizens have been expressing their fear and outrage on the microblog Sina Weibo. One user wrote, "river water contains heavy metals, or dead pigs, dead ducks, bottled water isn't safe either. What are we to drink?" Well that user still concerned despite the government's assurances on the drinking water.

Another user had this warning, "if we don't handle this, it'll be us human's turn."

And this user had a message for whoever dumped the ducks in the river, writing, "now there are dead ducks in the river. Where are these people's conscious? Do unethical things, there will be retribution."

There's much more on that story over the days ahead.

Taiwan has been rattled by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. Mari Ramos is at the world weather center with the details on that.

Hi, Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Monita.

You know, there have been several aftershocks since this quake right here across central Taiwan struck earlier today.

Now, this is the same area where back in 1999 there was a 7.6 quake that killed over 2,000 people. So, you know, they are no strangers to quakes in this area. Fortunately this one was not only weaker, it was also deeper. So it didn't cause any kind of significant damage. But it was scary.

I want to show you the pictures that we have from this area. You can see the buildings swaying. People were trapped in elevators. At least one person was killed when a building, a temple wall that she was standing by collapsed over here. But there are no reports, fortunately, of serious damage across these areas.

High speed trains were halted. There were people evacuated from buildings and from factories around the area. And there are reports of some roads blocked because of landslides.

So it's still an ongoing situation. Fortunately, like I said, no reports of serious damage across that area. So I wanted to go ahead and give you an update on that.

Let's go ahead and roll the next piece of video, because this next one is from China. And here there was some damage also but this time caused by wind. Winds up to 70 kilometers per hour toppled roadway signs that landed on top of cars, as you can see there. Oh, yeah, bad place to park.

Now this happened as the coldfront was sweeping through the Jialing area. And it did bring not only strong winds, but also descent -- a quick descent in temperatures. So they're expecting cooler temperatures there today compared to yesterday.

Come back over to the weather map and this is what we have. 11 in Beijing, 18 in Chingqing, 12 in Shanghai. Tokyo not reporting right now. But notice in areas to the south, still quite warm, especially as we head just to the south of Hong Kong. 27 in Da Nang, 29 in Manila. And it's even warmer as we head into areas here across Southeast Asia and then back over into parts of south Asia.

Across Southeast Asia, Bangkok for example, got its first 40 degree day so far this season. Temperatures are warmer than average. Some four to six degrees above average for this time of year. The -- you know, the warm temperatures stretch all the way back over even into India and Kolkata got a high of 38 degrees. 34 is the normal high for this time of year.

Of course, the monsoon now gone, right? What happens is once the monsoon is over and we get into these -- closer to the summer months, as the temperature rises very, very quickly until we begin to see the rains return.

This is a picture from Hyderabad. They're reporting -- they're actually celebrating their holy festival, or they were yesterday, amongst very warm, warm conditions. And also with the drought.

These areas right here that you see in red, Monita, these are areas that had less than average -- they're in a drought situation -- less than average rainfall. Mumbai, for example, hasn't had rainfall since October. So they really are waiting for the rains across these areas very -- they need them very, very badly.

For example, look at this lake right over here. This is back in March of 2013. This is a very important lake in this area. And just to give you an example of how little water they have, this is back in 2012. And you can see how it was larger. Now let me show it to you one more time. See, that's a big difference. And they really do need this water for agriculture and for other things. There are several lakes and rivers that are suffering the same fate here because of the lack of rainfall. So hopefully soon.

Back to you.

RAJPAL: All right. Mari, thank you.

Just ahead, from homeless and helpless to soccer success, we'll tell you how the beautiful game is changing lives in Pakistan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Well, Pakistan is better known for its love of cricket than it is for football, but the beautiful game is now giving street children a new lease on life and the chance to play at next year's World Cup.

Saima Mohsin explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kicking a ball is a simple pleasure most kids around the world might take for granted. But not long ago, these young people were wandering the streets of Pakistan's largest city homeless and helpless. Eves Remep (ph) was one of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We used to sleep and eat on the floor. We were totally dependent on others, on strangers, on begging.

MOHSIN: And no time for typical childhood playing. But they were taken under the week of the Azad Foundation, which helps street children by providing counseling, healthcare, education and football.

ALI BILGRAMI, AZAD FOUNDATION: It's teaching them how to tolerate things, it teaches them how to be friends with others, it tells them, you know, how to socialize.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE (through translator): We really feel football has made a huge difference to all our lives.

MOHSIN: And in an even bigger boost, Pakistan has been selected to go to the Street Child World Cup in Brazil next March.

BILGRAMI: We are very excited. And it is providing us a unique opportunity not only to highlight this issue, but to tell the world that a lot of positive things going on in Pakistan, not just terrorism or fundamentalism.

MOHSIN: But it's going to take some training over the next year to select the team to travel to Brazil.

HAARIS JADOON, COACH: When they first came to us, many of them, they didn't know about football. They were just picking the ball from (inaudible). They will -- I remember the first session they were like when they (inaudible) handballs.

MOHSIN: Up to 20 countries are expected to take part in the street children World Cup in Brazil. And Pakistan is taking a national team, making selections from each of the four provinces with children from Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, and Peshawar. BILGRAMI: It is also going to prove that these children can do what others can. They are not just crawling in the shadows of our society, they can be someone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is a lifechanging opportunity. None of us ever thought we could achieve so much. When we started playing football, our parents could see we were worth something and started wanting to support us.

MOHSIN: Eves Remep (ph) has been reunited with his family and the future looks brighter, but there are many other street children just like him hoping football can lead to a better life.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Karachi.

(END VIDEOATAPE)

RAJPAL: The clock is ticking down to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but it appear preparations have run into some trouble. Reports say this stadium due to host the athletics competition during the games, has been shut down out of safety concerns. Rio's mayor said at a news conference that the roof problems posed a danger to fans and the stadium will remain closed for as long as it takes to repair.

Its closure comes as Rio's iconic Maracana Stadium undergoes a makeover of its own. But many are concerned over delays in its reconstruction. It is set to host the World Cup next year.

Well, there's a new kind of streaming technology that's now up and running at one baseball park in the U.S. And as John Craven from WFMZ reports, anyone who uses it, well, forgive me for this, you're in for a good time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN CRAVEN, WFMZ: There's something new at Coca-Cola Park this week. It's not the new seats or a new brew, it's a game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the pee control urinal gaming system.

CRAVEN: That's right, a video game in a urinal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I like to refer to them, the X-Stream games.

CRAVEN: OK, so this is TV. So I can't exactly demonstrate how this thing works. But we can use a ketchup bottle to try.

Once we fill it up, you just step up and play.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a ski mobiler and you're going down the mountain side and you're aiming for penguins.

CRAVEN: Your stream controls the game.

KURT LANDES, LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS MANAGER: It's truly hands free. There's no pushing buttons on the screen.

CRAVEN: Lehigh Valley Ironpigs manager Kurt Landes got the idea from a water gun game at an amusement park.

LANDES: At this point, there are no other sports venues or no other venues period that have a urinal gaming system.

CRAVEN: And before you think this is all fun and games, there is an educational component to this. Ads reminding men to check their prostates will flash on the screen.

LANDES: This is a great way to reach your target audience, no pun intended.

CRAVEN: The team says the game is already a home run with fans.

LANDES: Twitter has blown up. Facebook -- the women are jealous.

CRAVEN: Streaming video coming to a stall near you next week.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Well, that game brings a whole new meaning to video streaming.

It's not the first time toys have been introduced into the little boy's room. This is in a shopping center here in Hong Kong. TVs to keep you occupied to go about your business as you do. But in case that's not exciting enough for you, how about a quick game of football while you're there? Now we're guessing you aim for the ball.

In Iceland, soon after the country's collapse, well you were able to aim for the faces of former bankers.

And in Germany, this -- yeah. I thought the idea was just to get it in the bowl in the first place. But that -- anyway, I digress -- that is News Stream, but the news continues here at CNN. World Business Today is next.

END