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Rebels, Syrian Regime Use YouTube for Intimidation; Ethnic Violence Spreads Across Myanmar; Chinese Premier Meets Indian Prime Minister; Syrian Girl Receives Life-Saving Surgery from Israeli Hospital; Carlo Ancelotti Wants Out at Paris Saint-Germain
Aired May 20, 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.
For the first time in almost half a century, a leader of Myanmar is visiting the White House. Yahoo! is reportedly set to buy blogging site Tumblr for over a billion dollars.
And we'll go live to Everest to speak to a true pioneer of the first Saudi woman to reach the roof of the world.
For the first time in 47 years, the leader of Myanmar will visit the White House. Thein Sein is set to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama later on Monday. Relations between the two countries have improved rapidly since 2011, that's when a nominally civilian government took over from the military hunta.
President Thein Sein has pursued democratic reforms. And in return, his country has been rewarded by the west. But critics say much more needs to be done. And they point to the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in particular.
CNN's Dan Rivers joins us live now from Myanmar's main city of Yangon.
Dan, how big of a challenge is this for a country that's trying to put its best foot forward to the west?
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it is a considerable challenge. I mean, there's going to be plenty for the two presidents to talk about in Washington -- the booming economy here, the ongoing political reform, but it is this problem of ethnic violence between Buddhists and Muslims that I'm sure will be a difficult issue. The violence seems to be spreading and getting worse across the country.
I must warn some viewers may find some of the images in my report distressing.
RIVERS: It looks like an earthquake, but this is man-made destruction -- an entire Muslim neighborhood in Mektila, Myanmar razed to the ground by a furious Buddhist mob. I found Kien Tan-uu (ph) picking through what's left of her home. She tells me her cousin died here at the hands of the mob.
The violence was possibly sparked by rumors Muslims set fire to a Buddhist monk. It ignited longstanding community tensions resulting in this orgy of violence in March. In the past, these scenes have been confirmed to Myanmar's far west where ethnic Rohingya Muslims have been targeted. Now, the anti-Muslim sentiment is spreading to other parts of Myanmar, which is more than 2 million Muslims, about 4 percent of the population.
In Mektila, the Muslim community of 30,000 has fled, driven out of town in a barrage of stone. Now, they're in camps like this, hundreds of terrified families living in squallid conditions. No one wanted to speak openly on camera, fearing reprisals, but this man wants to know why it took so long for the army to stop the violence.
(on camera): In one of the worst incidents here, this religious school was set on fire by a Buddhist mob. Locals say 32 teenage students were burned to death inside, their friends and family were forced to listen to their screams of agony.
(voice-over): This video shows the school on fire. And here you can see the mob attacking young people as they're battered with clubs, you can see some are still alive. Officially, 44 died here, but locals say the death toll was much higher.
The police appeared powerless to stop the mob. The government condemned the violence, but it lasted a week. Some monks did try to intervene.
I spoke to one who claimed the school was attacked, because the teenagers inside were chanting anti-Buddhist slogans.
Somehow, Buddhists beliefs of peace and enlightenment are being twisted into a new extremist dogma, a destructive ideology suddenly prospering amid the new political freedoms in Myanmar which are allowing old, interreligious hatred to boil over.
RIVERS: One of the big challenges I'm sure President Obama will be asking President Thein Sein about is how they are going to try and get these Muslim communities to go back to these towns. At the moment, as you saw Mektila in the center of the country, they've been driven out, they're living in camps effectively a sort of form of ethnic cleansing really, entire neighborhood razed, the community driven out, living in camps, living in fear because you saw the kind of level of horrendous brutality and violence that's been metered out.
The criticism, also, that has been leveled at the government and President Thein Sein by implication is that they have been too slow to act. Yes, now the army seems to be providing some sort of protection, but this went on for a week before anything was really done, before the mob was sent packing. And so I think there's going to be, you know, questions to ask about how serious this government is in protecting these Muslim minorities, about 4 percent of the population here significant number of people, and how they're going to stop this violence spiraling and spreading across this predominantly Buddhist country.
CHIOU: Dan, even in your piece, we saw that the police seemed pretty powerless. And as you mentioned, the government seemed slow to react, but have there been attempts at a higher level, at the government level, for some sort of reconciliation between the Muslims and the Buddhists?
RIVERS: Well, I mean -- you know, President Thein Sein himself has condemned the violence. And I think, you know, it's reasonable to say that he's appalled by it, as many people internationally, in the international community are. The problem is, you know, just this slow reaction from the army. And, you know, perhaps I think they were caught off guard a lot.
This kind of violence has been bubbling away in the west of the country among the Rohingya community that we've reported on extensively. And the worrying trend now is that it's spreading to other communities of Muslims who are actually citizens.
Now, the Rohingyas, the government maintains, are not citizens of Myanmar, that's one separate issue. But the Muslims that we filmed with in the center of the country are citizens of Myanmar and should, one would think, enjoy the protection of the state. And they certainly feel like that they haven't had that full protection and they're going to want to hear reassurances from President Thein Sein in Washington that this won't be allowed to happen again.
CHIOU: OK, Dan, thank you very much for explaining the situation there on the ground.
And two U.S. congressmen are calling on President Obama to carefully evaluate U.S. policy towards Myanmar. In a piece special to CNN they write, "many bipartisan voices within congress strongly support using necessary caution in future relations with Myanmar as U.S. policy pivots towards Asia, we should establish firm benchmarks to give pro-reform forces within Myanmar, including ethnic and religious minority groups the appropriate leverage to foster democracy and also lasting civilian rule."
You just need to look at a map to see Myanmar's strategic importance to the United States. Its longest border here is with China and over here with India, which is a strong U.S. ally, of course.
Now Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in New Delhi today on his first official trip abroad since taking office. He says the visit highlights the importance Beijing places on its relations with India. Mr. Li met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first on Sunday and then again today. They discussed issues ranging from trade to their shared border.
In the words of Mr. Li himself, cooperation between the world's two most populous countries has global ramifications. And as you can see here, China with more than 1.3 billion people has the world's largest population followed by India which is quickly closing the gap. It has just over 1.2 billion people. And together, these two countries account for more than a third of the world's population.
Well, CNN's Sumnima Udas is following Li Keqiang's visit to India and she joins us now live from the capital of New Delhi.
Sumnima, what are the priorities for both countries?
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pauline, the Chinese premier and his Indian counterpart, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, just held a joint press conference. And the message that they were really trying to put across today is that, yes, there are differences between these two countries, between India and China, but that they are not rivals and that they are in fact partners. And in the words of the Chinese premier himself, they are friendly neighbors and will do nothing to jeopardize those relations.
In fact, the Indian officials have said they've never seen a Chinese premier become -- be so positive, or so proactive as far as India is concerned. And officials in both China and India have said this is a new chapter in Sino-Indian relations. This is what the officials in both China and India are saying.
But this visit, of course, comes just weeks after a tense standoff on the India-China border, if you'll remember, Pauline, when India says Chinese troops crossed over into Indian territory, about 20 kilometers inside the border and pitched their tents there. The Indians responded by sending their own troops to the area. And it took about three weeks for them to resolve this issue diplomatically.
But this continues to be an issue, and this was an issue that was discussed heavily in the meetings on Sunday and also today. And this is an issue that has been going on for years. China and India have fought a bitter war back in 1962 over this border dispute. They share 4,000 kilometer, much of it still disputed territory. And both sides have said that they will aim to work together to resolve this longstanding issue, Pauline.
CHIOU: So, we've seen the political tensions, but there are also important business ties. China and India being important trade partners. What kind of business agreement are they hoping to come up with?
UDAS: Well, both nations are very much aware that these two nations make up nearly a third of the global population and the potential power of these two massive economies working together, that's certainly what the leaders have been trying to focus on China is now India's largest trading partner, bilateral trade, or said about $75 billion in 2011. And they hope it will reach about $100 billion by 2015.
But there is a huge stress that the balance -- deficit -- the balance of trade is clearly in China's favor. And India has been hoping to address this concern. And the Chinese premier has said this is exactly what he is here to do. He will be traveling to Mumbai next, tomorrow, with a huge delegation of business executives in fields ranging from pharmaceuticals and IT and aviation. And this is certainly what they plan to work on.
It is unclear what exactly -- what kinds of deals will be signed, but certainly trade is what both countries are focusing on right now.
CHIOU: Sumnima, thank you very much -- Sumnima Udas on China's premier's three day visit to India.
And you're watching News Stream. Still to come on this show, we explore the more than 100 million reasons for Yahoo! to team up with the blogging site Tumblr.
Tornadoes have torn through houses and toppled trees across the American Midwest. We'll have the latest from Oklahoma just ahead.
Also, Syria's civil war is no place for a child, let alone a very sick one. We'll tell you about the length one little girl's family went to to get her life saving surgery.
CHIOU: See whole heck of a lot, so this is what we have for this Monday evening.
Well, Yahoo! is acquiring popular blogging platform Tumblr. Rumors that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer was in talks with Tumblr's founder David Karp has been swirling since last week. Now we've learned the Yahoo! board has approved a $1.1 billion cash deal. Now the company is expected to hold an event in New York later on today to officially announce the news.
So what exactly is Tumblr? Think of it as a mix between a blog and a Twitter feed. You can share your thoughts in text, or share a picture, or even your videos, but what makes Tumblr unique is the ability to reblog something, taking someone else's content and sharing it on your own Tumblr page.
Let me show you how this works. Well, here's an old post that we liked from the CNN brief Tumblr showing a picture of President Obama's handwritten notes on a speech. There you see it. Now I want to share that on the News Stream Tumblr. So just hit a button right here. And this allows you to add your own comment to the story if you would like. And when you're done, you just hit reblog and the content is sent to your own page.
And then here is the final product -- the original post living on the News Stream Tumblr page.
So, now you see how it works.
Well, Tumblr says it currently hosts 108 million blogs in 12 different languages. It doesn't post its user numbers on its website, but according to demographic research firm Quantcast it received 134 million unique visitors in just the past month.
So how does that shape up against other social media sites? Well, Twitter says it has well over 200 million active monthly users. Instagram has around 100 million. But Facebook dwarfs them all. The social network says it has five times more active users than Tumblr, which is around 751 million users each month.
Well, Tumblr was founded in 2007 by this man, David Karp, who is now 26 years old. In its early years, Tumblr -- he, actually, resisted advertising on the site, telling the media that ads were unlikely to inspire user's creativity. But as CNN Money's Julianne Pepitone explains, that will no doubt need to change after this deal with Yahoo!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIANNE PEPITONE, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Founder David Karp has been really blunt admitting publicly that monetization and revenue is not particularly important metric for us. That might fly when you're, you know, a 20-something startup founder and you're running this small, cool company, but, you know, Yahoo! is not just in this for the cool factor, they're obviously going to want somebody who will monetize that as well.
So but it did start recently serving ads. So they're kind of growing up a little bit and realizing that they do need a business model, but that has not been their priority to date. So it is a little bit of a gamble, you know, for both companies on that front, because you know Yahoo! is going to want this billions dollars to get them something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: The Yahoo!-Tumblr deal will be Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's biggest one yet at the company, but it's hardly the first. Yahoo! has acquired at least 10 smaller companies since she took the helm. And last week, the company tweeted this, "we recently added 22 entrepreneurs to our growing mobile team. Welcome to Yahoo!." Now that message refers to employees at mobile gaming company Loki Studios, Twitter pollsters GoPollGo, and rewards travel service MileWise among others.
And since joining Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer has also unveiled a revamped Yahoo! homepage, a redesigned Yahoo! mail and a new look for the photo sharing service Flickr.
Well, it was a weekend of violent weather across the Midwestern United States with people facing frightening scenes like this. And just ahead, the latest on the tornadoes and the destruction they left behind.
CHIOU: You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories in our rundown today.
We told you about the Chinese premier's visit to India. A little later, we'll tell you about one Syrian girl's unlikely savior. But now, we go to the U.S. and an outbreak of tornadoes across the Midwest.
CNN's Nick Valencia has been talking to people and assessing the damage upclose. He joins me now live with the latest from Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Nick, describe what you've been seeing today?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pauline, the sun has come up. And it's let us to see a new perspective of the damage and devastation behind us. We're at the fringes of the trailer park. And you can really get a sense of the power of this storm.
VALENCIA (voice-over): You can hear the roar as this half-mile wide tornado tears across the land headed straight toward Shawnee, Oklahoma. A total of 26 twisters plowed through four states in the Midwest Sunday, over 45 homes damaged, one person killed, and at least a dozen injured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming up on a handful of houses around here.
VALENCIA: The hardest hit, a trailer park near Shawnee, Oklahoma. Mobile homes toppled over, houses demolished.
Our affiliate KFOR pilot Jon Welsh says he's never seen anything like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you came over the Shawnee trailer park to begin with, were you not a bit astounded at the amount of devastation there?
JON WELSH, KFOR PILOT: Yes, just the -- I mean, I'm used to seeing trees ripped up. But the houses are usually there. This, it was gone. Everything was just -- it was just gone like you took the house, you put it in a gigantic blender, you turned it on pulse for a couple of minutes, and then you just dumped it out.
VALENCIA: The massive amount of rain dumped in the area had rescue workers scrambling through the devastation, to reach the injured before Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Electricity went out and then it was hit (INAUDIBLE) was like because there were tree limbs flying, we just kind of hunkered down and hope for the best.
VALENCIA: I-40 was littered with debris as two semis were overturned. This 18-wheeler blew off over the overpass and was practically flattened. Overnight, video of the rescue crew tossing debris around trying to find victims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brother-in-law called me and I was at home and he said that a tree had fallen on my mother's house and I needed to pick her up. She's 79 years old. She's diabetic. She's blind.
VALENCIA: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency in 16 counties. The residents fortunate enough to get under ground were in utter disbelief when they surfaced.
CATHY TALBOTT, TORNADO SURVIVOR: We were in the storm shelter and it was like a water pressure in our ears and the top came off. There's 13 people living in hour house, and it ripped off the top storm shelter. It sounds like a train and after all the noise and then when we came out the house and everything -- the trees and the electric -- we thought we were going to be trapped there all night.
VALENCIA: Tornadoes also ripped through three other states, Illinois, Kansas and Iowa. In Kansas, downed power lines and hail the size of golf balls cover the ground as this tornado blew through Wichita.
DARLA BRAUN, SURVIVED OKLAHOMA STORMS: It was very eerie. It was very dark. The sky got very dark. We went to the cellar and we were so thankful that we also had our brains and we knew to go.
VALENCIA: A sigh of relief as two missing residents from Shawnee trailer park have been found. But Oklahoma isn't out of the woods yet as more storms are expected throughout the rest of the day.
VALENCIA: And a short time ago, I spoke to resident Kimberly Graham who says she lost everything, her house was completely destroyed. She was able to evacuate with her seven-year-old son just before the tornado hit. She took shelter in nearby Shawnee with her parents. But her home, Pauline, is one of at least 200 in this county alone that were either damaged or destroyed. The American Red Cross puts that number statewide in the state of Oklahoma at at least 300, Pauline.
CHIOU: The pictures are so dramatic and devastating, but glad to hear that that resident is safe and her family as well.
Nick, thank you very much. That's Nick Valencia live from Oklahoma.
And let's talk some more about these tornadoes and go to Mari Ramos live at the World Weather Center. Mari, we talked about tornadoes in Texas last week and now tornadoes in the Midwest. Are we in the peak of tornado season?
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: We're starting to get there. May tends to be a month where we see a lot of tornadoes. We actually had a bit of a slow start to the tornado season this year and I'll show you in just a moment. But, you know, it had been so cold this winter that that kind of slowed things down just a little bit. And now we're revving things up. It has been very warm. And with these frontal systems coming through, there's just all of the ingredients that are coming together to give us this kind of severe weather.
Let's go ahead and look at the potential for severe weather again today. Strong wind, hail, and again the possibility of tornadoes covering a huge swath of land here across the U.S. and even up into parts of southern Canada here all the way to the great lakes all the way down even again into north Texas.
And those areas that were affected by the tornadoes yesterday could again see the potential for severe weather today. And even if we don't get tornadoes, remember strong winds, strong thunderstorms, ground to -- cloud to ground lightning, I should say, and the possibility of hail is still there. So it's going to be a rough day even for of course the residents there and for the rescue personnel and the cleanup personnel to kind of get things done across that region.
You know, we don't have any strong thunderstorms right now, but this is going to be the area to watch. Again, you can kind of see that front moving on through here so we'll continue to monitor that throughout the day today.
Now what we have is that colder air coming in and then that dry air here to the south and then that warm, moist air still pushing in. And so the result will be the possibility of severe storms again through the same general areas that we saw yesterday.
When it comes to tornadoes, you asked me just a little while ago, Pauline, about how often do they happen? Well, when we talk about tornadoes, usually the month of May and June tend to be the highest months. The deadliest months area actually back over here in April, but April was relatively low when it came to tornadoes because of the cooler temperatures. But we do tend to see that peak now in these high transition seasons right before the summer starts. And then it kind of tapers off and then we see a little bit of an increase again even as we head in through the month of September.
And then we talked about this, the scale of the tornadoes, how intense they are. You get -- go from minor all the way to what they call incredible. And the one that happened last week in Texas was a devastating in the EF-4 scale. So that's pretty intense.
Let's look at the pictures of the tornadoes from yesterday, because there are -- even though these look pretty intense, there aren't official estimates yet as to how intense these may have been. On the good side is these very intense devastating tornadoes are actually very infrequent, less than 1 percent of all tornadoes in the U.S. are an EF-4 or higher. You tend to see more of the lower class tornadoes, EF-0 or EF-1, those are the ones that are going to be more common. So at least they're not that frequent, which of course reduces the likelihood of so much widespread destruction and death. We'll have to see what they classify that as.
So, of course, come back over to the weather map. The U.S. and Canada do get tornadoes, northern parts of Mexico, but you know what, don't let your guard down. Be aware of the weather. They may not be as common, but tornadoes do happen in Europe. We saw some in Italy, remember, at the end of last year. We've seen them even in the UK and back over toward France, parts of India and Bangladesh and Napal have tornadoes, portions of China and also the Korean peninsula, Japan, the Philippines, tornadoes can happen in Australia, in New Zealand, and yes even into parts of South America.
What am I trying to tell you here, Pauline? It is a global phenomenon. Yes, they're more common in the U.S., but they can happen anywhere in the world, or almost anywhere in the world.
CHIOU: Yeah, we can see that.
Yeah, not just in tornado alley in the U.S.
RAMOS: That's right.
CHIOU: OK, thank you very much, Mari.
Well, coming up next right here on News Stream. YouTube videos like this one give us a glimpse of Syria's conflict, still others show the darkest side of the war and have become a weapon in their own right.
Meanwhile, an estimated 1.5 million Syrians have fled for their lives. For one young refugee that difficult act has led to a lifesaving surgery. Stay tuned for our exclusive report.
CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong and you're watching News Stream. Here are your world headlines.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on his first foreign trip since taking office. He's in New Delhi holding talks with Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister. Li said he chose to visit India on his first trip abroad to underscore the importance Beijing places on the relationship between the two countries.
Yahoo! is acquiring popular blogging platform Tumblr in a cash deal with $1.1 billion. The internet giant says that under the agreement, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business with founder David Karp remaining as CEO. Yahoo! says the deal gives the ownership of one of the fastest growing media networks in the world. In return, the internet giant has promised Tumblr users they will not, quote, screw it up.
At least one person has been killed in a hot air balloon accident in Turkey. At least 18 people were injured as the two balloons collided. It happened in Cappadocia where ballooning is a big tourist attracting.
In Syria, government troops are battling rebels for control of a key city near Lebanon. Opposition activists say Hezbollah fighters are standing alongside Syrian forces in Qusayr. Violence surged on Sunday with rebels reporting a government offensive.
And the video we just showed you came from Syrian state TV, but many images of this lengthy conflict have been shared through social media. Some depict atrocities and gross human rights abuses. As Nic Robertson explains, both sides are using the internet as a weapon of intimidation. And we should warn you, his report includes some very graphic images.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No image has revealed the growing depravity of Syria's conflict than this. A rebel commander cuts open the corpse of a government soldier and bites into an organ. And despite an international outcry, he defends what he did.
ABU SAKKAR, SYRIAN REBEL (through translator): I am ready to face justice and be brought to stand trial for my actions on the condition that they need to bring Bashar and his thugs to stand trial.
ROBERTSON: With an estimated 70,000 people killed so far, the Syrian war seems to become more cruel by the day. Dozens of videos so awful we can't show them even blurred. Of the others, this one appears to show government soldiers beating two men whose hands are tied. They set fire to the hair of one of them.
And here, soldiers kick and beat bloodied men who cower on the floor, their final fate unknown.
CLIVE BALDWIN, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: What we have seen and documented ourselves in Syria over the last two years has been at the level of the worst possible crimes against humanity. What you have now is because so many people have access to mobile phones with video that they can record themselves what they're seeing and what they put out.
ROBERTSON: Cruelty in combat is not uncommon. 20 years ago, I covered the conflict in Bosnia where atrocities based on religion and ethnicity were frequent. But this is different, in Syria the acts of barbarity are not only recorded, they're distributed through YouTube and other social media, transmitted across the front lines, intended to intimidate.
The al Qaeda linked al Nusra is strong in the town of Raqqah, so strong it can gather the townspeople for a public execution. Its fighters are about to shoot these three men bound and blind-folded. They're described as Syrian army officers. The message is clear, the laws of war don't apply here.
Humna rights groups say these videos may one day help deliver justice.
BALDWIN: The perpetrators should know that they will be essentially on the run for perhaps the rest of their lives. And because now we have a permanent international criminal court in The Hague, which is not going to disappear or go away.
ROBERTSON: Until then, it seems, there is nothing in this conflict that cannot be done, and certainly no one of capable of stopping it.
CHIOU: And Nic Robertson joins us now live from Hatay in Turkey.
Nic, the video we just saw in your story of the human rights abuses certainly just horrendous and so disturbing. At this point, is there anything the international community can do?
ROBERTSON: There's certainly a lot that the opposition want the international community to do -- arm them, give them the opportunity to level the playing field. They say that they can defeat Bashar al-Assad, but what seems to be happening is that in the brutality of the war here, the level of potential retribution in the case that Syria descends to a state where there is no national security force, and that seems to be the direction it's heading in right now, that the scale and scope of the type of bloodletting that people fear could happen, it seems to make it -- these videos seem to make it more and more likely that it will happen, because more and more people will become more and more deeply enraged.
The real solution that most people agree is for an end to the conflict as soon as possible, and that's what people on all sides here would like the international community to do, hence the conference the United States and Russia are trying to bring about to bring a political solution to Syria.
But really as we can see, the passions are so high, the reality of trying to get people to obtain -- to talk around a table right now just seems very difficult to imagine, Pauline.
CHIOU: Still, we are hearing about the diplomatic efforts and the conference that's supposed to take place in a couple of weeks. We're also hearing, Nic, that the Syrian government and the opposition is supposed to be at those talks, but do we know for sure if both parties will be there?
ROBERTSON: We don't. In fact, all the indications are at the moment, despite the sort of expectations raised a couple of weeks ago when Secretary of State John Kerry visited and talked -- met with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president in Moscow, that the sort of -- the international diplomatic rhetoric, if you will, seems to be dialing back expectations. The UN secretary-general just a couple of days ago said he still wasn't quite sure when the conference would be held. We've heard the French saying that the Iranians shouldn't be present. Of course, Russia would like to see the Iranians there. The Syrians believe that the Iranians should be there if the talks go ahead. They've been big supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.
But the expectations do seem to be being dialed back. We've been told, as well, that it wouldn't be at a senior governmental level initially.
So it doesn't seem that it's about to happen very soon. And we heard in an interview over the weekend with President Bashar al-Assad, he ruled out any possibility that he's about to step down, a precondition that many of the opposition are putting forward for any kind of talks. And he also dismissed talking to any of the terrorist groups, which for him means any of the opposition that's fighting.
So it's difficult to see how these talks can come about in a meaningful way in the near future, Pauline.
CHIOU: All right, Nic, thank you very much. Nic Robertson there on the Turkey-Syria border in Hatay, Turkey.
And for those fleeing Syria's brutal civil war, life is tough, and refugee camps are no place for the sick and the very young. War and disease threatened this little girl's life until life saving surgery came from an unlikely savior.
CNN's Sara Sidner has this exclusive report.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A four-year-old girl sits in a hospital singing a lullaby that asks God to protect a baby brother, but it is she who, not too long ago, was in the most danger of dying. A heart problem was slowly starving her of oxygen.
As she withered away, war arrived in her town and has been raging on for most of her young life.
The family is from Syria, and six months ago, they picked up and left. They don't want their identities shown for fear of retribution if they ever return home.
They escaped the civil war, but there was no escape from the child's potentially deadly heart condition.
She couldn't play or walk or talk. She would get so tired. She couldn't indulge in anything, her mother laments.
The family found themselves in dirty, desperate conditions in a refugee camp, no place for a very sick child.
But an Israeli organization called Save A Child's Heart heard about the sickly four-year-old war survivor, and soon she was in the hands of doctors at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel, a country technically still at war with Syria.
DR. SION HOURI, WOLFSON MEDICAL CENTER: We all have in the heart two pumps. She has only one pump in her heart working.
Now we have two big tubes in the heart, one going to the body and one going to the lung. The one going to the lung is severely narrowed.
SIDNER: So a team of doctors began a relatively simple operation. The organization which helped make this happen was founded in 1995 by a surgeon at this hospital. So far it's helped save more than 3,200 children.
SIMON FISHER, SAVE A CHILD'S HEART: We hope that we can contribute in a small way, first and foremost to the medical care of the children in our neighborhood, but we also believe that this also has the ability to bring people closer together, to bridge over stereotypes.
SIDNER: Save A Child's Heart brings children from all over the world.
To give you an example, in this room alone, which is the pediatric intensive care unit, the child in that bed behind the curtain is from Israel. The child right next door is from Sudan.
And doctors are particularly excited because this is the very first time that a child from Syria has made it here.
Three days after her heart surgery, this once breathless four-year-old Syrian girl is full of energy.
HOURI: So you can see the difference is absolutely crazy. Kids that were thought to be retarded all of a sudden start walking or talking. All they needed was a little bit of oxygen.
SIDNER: Her mother is relieved.
Thank God, thank God my daughter has recovered. She is so much better than before.
In a year's time, her daughter will have to go through one more surgery.
But after all the family has been through, seeing her daughter play and laugh without struggling to catch her breath is the closest thing to happiness she has felt since war destroyed their lives.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Holon, Israel.
CHIOU: And this is just in to CNN, at least eight people have been killed after two car bombs exploded in the capital of the Russian region of Dagestan. The incident happened outside a local Marshall's building. We are trying to find out more about this incident. And we'll bring you the latest as soon as we get it.
Well, still to come on News Stream, making history. We go live to the slopes of Mount Everest to talk to the first Saudi woman to scale the world's tallest mountain. We'll be right back.
CHIOU: We've had a stormy Monday night here in Hong Kong. And we had quite a light show a few minutes ago, but here the skyline of Hong Kong.
You're watching News Stream. And let's return to our visual rundown. Earlier, we told you about the tornadoes in the U.S. A little later, we'll go live to Mount Everest to speak to the first Saudi woman even to climb the world's tallest mountain, but now to sports and the future of some of Europe's top football coaches.
As the curtain came down on some of Europe's top football leagues at the weekend, it wasn't so much the teams that made the headlines, it was actually the coaches.
Pedro Pinto joins us now live from London with all the details.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Pauline.
It does seem like the managerial merry-go-round in Europe is about to start. Some famous faces could be in different places very soon. Carlo Ancelotti told reporters in France that he wants to leave Paris Saint- Germain. The Italian has his eye on Real Madrid who are parting ways with Jose Mourinho.
Ancelotti, who led PSG to their first league title since 1994 has been linked with Real for several months now and confirmed his desire to move to Spain on Sunday. However, the former Milan and Chelsea coach may have to wait awhile in order to get his wish. He does have a contract with the Parisians which runs until the end of the 2014 season. And the PSG board aren't too keen to let him go.
This is what President Nasser al-Khelaifi said in Paris, "it's his problem, not ours. We have even offered him another year on his contract. When you have a contract, you are usually obliged to honor it."
There was an emotional farewell for one of the greatest managers of all time here in England on Sunday as Alex Ferguson coached Manchester United for the final time. After 27 years and 1,500 games, the Scot bowed out at West Bromwich Albion in the final game of the Premier League season. The champions were denied a win as the match finished with an incredible scoreline of 5-5. Ferguson will be replaced by David Moyes next season at Old Trafford.
Rafael Nadal sent out a message to the tennis world on Sunday by crushing Roger Federer in the final of the Rome Masters. The Spaniard showed fans that he means business ahead of the French Open, which starts in just a few days. Rafa had beaten Federer on clay 12 of the previous 14 times they had met, and he took control early on this occasion by winning the first set easily 6-1.
It was a painfully one-sided encounter at the Foro Italico, reminiscent of the 2008 final, perhaps. Nadal in control throughout.
The performance confirmed Rafa as the favorite for Roland Garros. He wiped out Federer, dropping just four games overall with the match taking just 69 minutes. Nadal winning the title in Rome for the seventh time in his career.
The women's final in Rome was also one-way traffic as Serena Williams used the same score 6-1, 6-3 to beat Victoria Azarenka, meaning she dropped only 14 games in five matches all week. It was her fourth straight tournament win, taking the American's winning streak to a career best 24 matches. It was the 51st title of Williams' career.
In the NBA playoffs stateside, Zach Randolf and the Memphis Grizzlies were in unchartered territory on Sunday, never before have they played in the conference finals. They look to be a little overwhelmed by the occasion as they got crushed by San Antonio. The Spurs took a double digit lead in the first quarter and didn't look back.
They were dialed in from long distance, a barrage of three pointers in the second half helped the Spurs win game one. Tony Parker led the way with 20 points and 9 assists. Kawhi Leonard pitched in with 18 as San Antonio won big in Texas 105-83.
And by the way, game two of that series is scheduled for Tuesday.
That's all the sports for now, though. Pauline, back to you in Hong Kong.
CHIOU: OK. Thank you for the update there, Pedro.
Well, as if climbing Mount Everest wasn't enough, she's done so with the weight of a country on her shoulders. Coming up next, we'll take you to base camp for a conversation with Saudi Arabia's Raha Moharrak right after this break.
CHIOU: Over the weekend, a small group of climbers calling themselves Arabs With Altitude made their final push to the top of Mount Everest. They did so in the name of a charity to raise money for a series of Nepalese education projects. And at the same time, whether she wanted to or not, 27-year-old Raha Moharrak has been raising awareness on the issue of women's rights. That's because she's the first woman from Saudi Arabia to ever attempt the trek, let alone to achieve it.
And speaking of altitude, we're going to take you up very high, up more than 5,300 meters now, where we had reached Raha Moharrak live from Mount Everest base camp via Skype.
Raha, congratulations. Now you summited on Saturday. Tell us what that moment was like when you stood there at the summit? What did it feel like? What did you see? What did you smell? What was the feeling like on your skin? Describe that moment?
RAHA MOHARRAK, FIRST SAUDI WOMAN TO CLIMB EVEREST: It was absolutely surreal. It was really windy. And it was like an out of body experience. I felt like I was in an episode of a National Geographic or Discovery Channel. I couldn't believe it. I was standing on top of the world.
It was unbelievable, really.
CHIOU: What was the weather like, and how far could you see?
MOHARRAK: We could see pretty far, but it was very, very windy. So unfortunately it was just a moment on the summit, took a picture, celebrated with the team and came back down. It was extremely windy. And for me, I'm not used to that amount of cold from where I come from. It was very difficult.
CHIOU: Of course, because you are from Saudi Arabia where you don't quite have that kind of cold.
Now you have said, Raha, that you don't care about being the first Saudi woman and the youngest Arab to summit Mount Everest, as long as you inspire someone else to be second. Why should other people follow you? And what would you tell other women who come behind you?
MOHARRAK: I -- this was a personal challenge for me. And it was an absolute bonus that I was to be the first and youngest. But in the same time, who wouldn't want to inspire, who wouldn't want to change? And it doesn't have to be a mountain, it doesn't have to be climbing, it just -- I hope to change people's opinion about Saudi in general and Saudi women. And (inaudible) about themselves.
I really hope they can step out of their comfort zone and just dream, try to push your limits, you know. I hope that's what I do.
CHIOU: In fact, you come from Saudi Arabia, which is obviously a conservative place with limited women's rights. So what message do you hope the country of Saudi Arabia gets from your accomplishment?
MOHARRAK: You see, this thing has never been about women's rights for me, it's just -- I want women to challenge themselves, to think beyond what is expected of them..
CHIOU: Raha, if you can still hear me, I do have a few more questions. I'm not sure if our Skype connection has frozen. Keep in mind that we were pretty lucky to get a connection in the first place, because Raha was coming to us from base camp at Mount Everest.
Do we still have her? We don't have her? I think we just lost our connection, unfortunately, but we did -- we were able to speak with Raha. She is the first Saudi woman and the youngest Arab to have ever summited Mount Everest, an amazing accomplishment.
Well, let's just remind you where our guest was? She was live at Everest base camp, and that is at an altitude of more than five kilometers. The amazing thing is that Everest base camp is still over 3,000 meters below the summit of the world's tallest mountain.
In other news now, the unemployment rate in Italy has reached nearly 11 percent, but there are some jobs that Italians are just not interested in. As Ben Wedeman reports, the traditional Italian pizza is mostly made by non-Italians.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It can get pretty hot in the pizza kitchen. And for the pizzaiolo, the pizza chef, there's no time for rest. Increasingly, many Italians, however, can't stand the heat in the kitchen and are getting out of this most Italian of professions. Despite high unemployment, they're leaving it to others, like Gamal from Egypt, to make the dough.
And that's just fine with Gamal.
"It's an area where lots of jobs are available," he tells me.
He's been in Italy for almost a dozen years and recently was hired by the Tramonta Di Roma (ph) restaurant in the seaside suburb of Ostia (ph). Across this city, you're more likely to find a Bangladeshi, a Bosnian or an Egyptian than a local working the oven.
It doesn't phase pizza critic Armando, evaluating Gamal's (ph) work.
"It's good," he says, "the crust is thin as I and a lot of people here like it. And it's tasty."
And maybe pizza isn't really as Italian as is commonly thought.
According to some historians, pizza actually comes from Egypt anyway, so there's nothing unusual about having an Egyptian make your pizza.
"There's nothing odd about it," says Gamal (ph), a most practical man. "I'm here to work. If there's work, I'll do it."
And it doesn't really matter where the pizzaiolo comes from, the proof is in the pizza.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.
CHIOU: And that is News Stream, but the news continues right here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.