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A Look At China's Shanghai Towers; A Look At North Korea's Countryside; Interview With Zetas Cartel Hitmen; State Department Urges U.S. Citizens To Leave Yemen; Amazon Founder Buys The Washington Post

Aired August 6, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And this is News Stream.

Now a news icon is sold to a digital mogul. How will Amazon founder Jeff Bezos change the Washington Post?

The U.S. issues a new warning urging citizens to leave Yemen immediately.

And we look at Wikipedia's attempt to change the look of the online encyclopedia by adding more video.

Now today, you can say that news and technology are meeting head on in Washington. Now the founder of has agreed to purchase a newspaper considered an institution in the United States. Now Jeff Bezos is buying the Washington Post and other papers for $250 million. He takes control from the Graham family, which has published the Post for four generations.

But they have struggled in recent years along with others in print media to turn a profit. And Bezos addressed the challenge in a staff memo. He writes this, quote, "the Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long reliable revenue sources and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news gathering costs. Now there is no map and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."

Now the home page of the Washington Post website underscores the difficult situation. As you can see, the adds here are for digital subscriptions and the new app for the iPad.

Now still, the sale it came as a surprise to many. Just two months ago, the Washington Post put a paywall on its website. Now the strategy is a way to bring in online revenue. And the New York Times made the move awhile back. And it's been considered a success.

Now Bezos plans to take the paper private, which may alleviate some of the pressure to turn a profit.

Now let's bring in Rana Foroohar from New York. Now she is CNN's global economic analyst and also an assistant managing editor for Time Magazine.

Rana, thanks for joining us. And tell us what happened to the Washington Post and why has it been sold to Jeff Bezos?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, it was a huge surprise that Bezos was the buyer, but it was not a surprise that the post was going to be sold. For the last few years, the Graham family, which has owned the paper for decades, has been laying out the path forward and saying that the paper was going to need to make a big leap to the digital era and eventually a profit.

Now they admitted that they've been unable to make that turn.

I spoke to some staffers since yesterday, and people are actually quite optimistic about Jeff Bezos, even though it was a surprise to many, because this is a guy who is known possibly next to Steve Jobs as being the biggest leader of the digital age, the biggest sort of technological sort of visionary. And he has a vision that includes long form journalism and serious media.

If you think back, the Amazon Kindle was really the device that first got people consuming long form media and books voraciously, even more than Apple. They were at the forefront of that. So this is a guy who understands how technology can change everything and how to reinvent businesses.

LU STOUT: You know, it's interesting that you mention that tone of optimism among staffers inside Washington Post, and that you bring up the fact that Jeff Bezos is a revolutionary. I mean, he is the mastermind of e-commerce and online retailing. He is a true digital native.

But how will he be able to apply his expertise and his unique experience to this newspaper?

FOROOHAR: Well, nobody knows what the strategy is, yet, but there's a couple of things to keep in mind. Bezos and Amazon understand digital content as well as devices, and that's really crucial.

You know, I don' think that we're going to see an end to the print newspaper right away. It's interesting, because a lot of people in old media are more pessimistic about print than technologists, actually. I think that he's going to come in. I'm sure he's going to have a very deep, new, digital strategy. I'm sure he's going to learn D or excuse me, teach folks how to leverage this incredible brand across a number of platforms.

But perhaps most importantly, I think that he will be able to knit together the really world class editorial operations of the Post with the business side. If you look at a lot of local newspapers in the states, and the Post is, you know, still D even though it has global aspirations, a local paper that gets most of its advertising from local retailers in Washington. So you've got global coverage, but a very local business model.

And I think that someone like Jeff who understands global business will really be able to bridge that divide and that's crucial for the success of an organization like this.

LU STOUT: Yeah, a lot of hope about what Jeff Bezos can bring to the Washington Post. But why did he do this? I mean, why did Jeff Bezos want to buy the Washington Post? What's in it for him?

FOROOHAR: Well, if I had to guess -- and he hasn't said -- I think it's probably a mix of canny self-interest and actual commitment to the media business.

So if you think about it, this is a very wealthy tech entrepreneur who has done a lot of lobbying in Washington, right. And he's been on -- on -- you know, you could argue the right or wrong side of things like arguing against sales tax for Amazon, certain privacy issues, intellectual property issues. So surely he wants to have a platform and a voice for some of the issues that he cares about.

But I think he's also somebody that is excited about media and would like to be the guy who can help old media and help news in particular really make this leap. And if he can, boy that's going to mean big things not just for the Washington Post, but for the entire news business.

LU STOUT: Yeah. And Rana, let's make it personal. I mean, you are a print journalist. What do you think about this? Are you apprehensive about the deal and what it means for print journalism -- I mean, we know that Jeff Bezos, he can be pretty ruthless about margins. -- or are you hopeful for the future?

FOROOHAR: You know, it's a very interesting question. I've actually written some negative pieces about Amazon in the last year. I mean, this is a company that comes in, you know, like a giant squid into every industry and puts a lot of profit pressure. There's always a race to the bottom when Amazon comes into your business, whether you're a book seller or a seller of vacuum cleaners.

So, you know, there's a lot of reasons to dislike this company. But, hey, it's a great business model. And from the point of view of someone who would like to see news as a defender of democracy, frankly, survive and thrive, I'm excited about it. I think to the extent that he comes in and brings his business expertise and doesn't mess around with the coverage, doesn't try and use this as a platform for his own personal issues, but really invests and helps this organization, this storied, important organization make that leap. It's a great thing.

LU STOUT: All right, Rana Foroohar, thank you so much for joining us. Take care.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

LU STOUT; Now some media professionals have reacted to the sale with sadness. The Atlantic's James Fallows, he admits that he learned the news from Twitter and not traditional media. And Fallows says that he is still hopeful. He compares Amazon's billionaire founder to the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Fords.

Now Fallows writes this, quote, "let us hope that this is what the sale signifies, the beginning of a phase in which this gilded ages major beneficiaries reinvest in the infrastructure of our public intelligence."

Now moving now to the Middle East where the U.S. State Department has issued a warning to U.S. citizens in Yemen, urging them to leave the country immediately. Now all non-essential U.S. government staff were also ordered out. And two U.S. military transport planes landed there to help in the evacuations.

The urgent warning comes days after the U.S. intercepted a message between al Qaeda operatives. And in it, al Qaeda leader Aymen al Zawahiri told the leader of the group's Yemeni affiliate to, quote, "do something."

Now this development comes on the heels of a big outcry in the U.S. over the National Security Agency's Internet spying program Prism. It is not clear at this point how the U.S. intercepted al Zawahiri's message, but U.S. lawmakers have cited recent intelligence gains in their defense of NSA surveillance programs.


SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, (R) GEORGIA: These programs are controversial. We understand that. They're very sensitive. But they're also very important, because they are what lead us to have the -- or allow us to have the ability to gather this chatter that I referred to. If we did not have these programs, then we simply wouldn't be able to listen in on the bad guys.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: The NSA program is proving its worth yet again. And to the members of the congress who want to reform the NSA program, great, but if you want to gut it you make us much less safe. And you're putting our nation at risk.


LU STOUT: Now The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald responded to Senator Chambliss on Democracy Now. Greenwald pointed out that collecting every piece of data actually makes it harder to search for actual terror plots. Now Greenwald is, of course, a journalist who first wrote about the Prism program.

Now, in Yemen, the U.S. and other western embassies remain closed. And security sources say a pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four al Qaeda militants today. Officials won't say who they are targeting, but CNN has been told by multiple sources that they are two Yemenis of high interest.

Now the first is the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the second is Ibrahim al Asiri, said to be the group's master bomb maker. Brian Todd has more on him.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. intelligence officials have said he could be the most dangerous terrorist America faces: Ibrahim al-Asiri only 31 years old, master bomb maker for the group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He could be involved in the current threat stream.

A U.S. intelligence officials tells CNN al-Asiri is the, quote, "golden goose of that al Qaeda affiliate. They're guarded about his communications, determined to protect him."

CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen says that's for good reason.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The ability to smuggle a potentially undetectable bomb onto a plane or some other location, I mean, that's golden for al Qaeda.

TODD: Western intelligence officials say al-Asiri is behind the foiled 2009 underwear bomb plot to bring down an airliner approaching Detroit on Christmas Day, and a 2010 plot to send bombs in printer cartridges in cargo planes bound for the U.S. Both plots were foiled at the last minute.

In 2009, al-Asiri even planted a bomb on his own brother in his underwear or a body cavity. The brother got close to Saudi Arabia's counterterror chief and set it off, killing himself but not the Saudi minister.

(on camera): What does it say that he does this with his own brother?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN'S TERROR EXPERT: He says that he is absolutely ruthless, but not only is Ibrahim al-Asiri absolutely ruthless, he is according to leading explosives experts in the west, really good at what he does. He's produced the most sophisticated devices ever seen from al Qaeda.

TODD: Last year, U.S. officials say al-Asiri was behind another foiled plot to send another bomb in the underwear of a terrorist on a commercial plane bound for the U.S. The head of the TSA called that a next-gen device.

JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: It was a new type of explosive that we had never seen and either attempts in U.S. or around the world by terrorists. So all of our explosive detection equipment, which screens over a million checked bags every day just in the U.S. wasn't calibrated to detect that.

TODD: John Pistole said that device had what he called a double initiation system: two syringes of chemical detonators instead of one. And, he says, al-Asiri encased that bomb in household caulk so the explosive vapors couldn't be detected by machines or dogs.

(voice-over): Had this young mastermind trained others?

BERGEN: I think the understanding is that he has instructed other people in his techniques. Now, he's obviously a pretty skilled bomb maker. You know, to what extent has he replicated himself, I don't think it's clear.

TODD: Could al-Asiri's newest bombs, the one's he's made since last year, evade detection by those TSA body scanners? That's not clear. The TSA would only tell us it has a multi-layered strategy to detect explosives, including what it calls the best imaging technology.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: Now, you are watching News Stream. And still to come, people in Pakistan may soon be able to type YouTube into any browser and actualy get on the site as the government ban heads to court.

The international Wikipedia conference is coming here to Hong Kong. It is still days away, but we have a preview.

And what's the relationship between building a super tall skyscraper and the country's economic growth? CNN's David McKenzie will have the surprising answer in a report from Shanghai.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today.

We started with the sale of the Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. And much later in the show, Paula Hancocks will share her reporter's notebook on North Korea.

But now to Pakistan where a court is about to consider whether the government has the right to block YouTube. Now Pakistani authorities blocked the site last year after clips from the controversial film "Innocence of Muslims" appeared on the site. And now some of the country's prominent singers and songwriters are calling for the ban to be lifted, saying their work is taking a huge hit.

Saima Mohsin has the story.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rapper, singer and songwriter Adil Omar is a rising star in the music industry. We caught up with him on set filming his latest music video. Raised in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, he was discovered on social networking site MySpace. And as an independent artist without a record label signing, he's relied on YouTube to reach both a domestic and international audience.

ADIL OMAR, RAPPER: It put me out there internationally. I've worked with major artists. I've been in the mainstream press. I've been able to -- I'm not just some kid sitting in Pakistan, I'm someone who travels and tours the world and someone who works with my idols, and someone who has all these amazing opportunities because of YouTube.

Every artist here has the potential to have these amazing opportunities.

MOHSIN: He believes his videos going viral have led to his success. He's collaborated on tracks with international artists like Cypress Hill, Everlast, Xzibit, and Slash from Guns N Roses.

OMAR: I was doing pretty well before as an independent artist, but as soon as it did get banned, I released by debut album, which came out to a very good critical response, but a very poor commercial response.

I'm getting about a tenth of the promotion I was getting before and I have about the tenth of the sales that I was initially getting and what I projected for myself.

MOHSIN: Advertising revenues that come from online hits are crucial for artists like him.

Omar's last major single, Paki Rambo, generated more than 320,000 hits on YouTube. But one of his first singles to come out after the YouTube ban got just over 30,000 hits.

Pakistan has had a rocky relationship with the web, blocking Facebook, Twitter, and even Tumblr in the past. But the YouTube ban is the longest running known active online censorship in Pakistan's history.

(on camera): When CNN reached out repeatedly to Pakistan's information technology minister, we got no response.

FURHAN HUSSAIN, BYTES 4 ALL: We do not need dictatorial nannies to tell people what to watch and what not to watch and what decision to take and how to take it, because after all it's a democracy, it's not a dictatorship anymore.

MOHSIN (voice-over): Bytes 4 All is an organization fighting for digital rights in Pakistan. It's run a poster campaign, collaborating with graphic designers and artists to peacefully protest. There was no response from the government.

Then they wrote to the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression.

Now Bytes 4 All is calling for the ban to be lifted.

HUSSAIN: We filed the petition, because it is in direct violation of the constitution of Pakistan. It violates the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of access to information of the citizens of Pakistan.

MOHSIN: And for Pakistani talents like Adil Omar, it's the way to develop a career.

OMAR: What I'd like to see happen is for YouTube to open up again for Pakistani artists and musicians, to be able to earn money again and make a living, to be able to reach an international audience again instead of just be -- instead of just be confined to Pakistan.

MOHSIN: Saima Mohsin, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan.


LU STOUT: That was Saima Mohsin reporting.

Now according to a Google's transparency report, YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan for 322 days. Other countries can relate. Now, for example, the site has been blocked in Tajikistan for 74 days, in Iran for 1,514 days, and even longer in China at 1,596 days, that's almost four-and- a-half years.

Now right now in Hong Kong, there is a spotlight on Wikipedia, that's because the annual Wikimania conference is being held here this week. And this year's theme is the future of Wikipedia and Wikimedia. But in the last 10 years, the look and feel of the site hasn't changed much.

Now earlier I spoke to Andrew Lih as the author of the Wikipedia revolution. And I started by asking him when we'll see more interactive features.


ANDREW LIH, AUTHOR: One of the great things about Wikipedia is that you can get the information very quickly. Look at the text. The writing style is pretty much the same. And it's really been a great resource.

But once you go down a little bit deeper to the multimedia and visual features, while you have pictures like this, you know, you look at the article for dance, there's no video of dance, you go to the article on soccer or football, there's no video of sports going on there.

So this is really kind of the next frontier of Wikipedia, to add nice rich multimedia features like video.

LU STOUT: Is this going to happen?

LIH: It's going to happen. It's already happening. But there are a number of hurdles, because Wikipedia is dedicated to open source software and free content, the way that you upload video to Wikipedia is rather complex, because they don't want to run into problems with patents and royalties.

LU STOUT: That's right, copyright is an issue. Everything has to work under the creative commons license. But, I mean, what happens when you have something that is commercial content, but it is historically relevant like a clip from Bruce Lee's last movie.

I mean, when does it become Wikipedia worthy and OK to put on the page?

LIH: Right. I mean, the site that most of us are used to seeing video on like YouTube, most of what you see on YouTube would not be appropriate on Wikipedia or would not be allowed on Wikipedia.

So they're very stringent about copyright. And it has to be either content you've created yourself and released to Wikpedia, or it has to be public domain and the copyright is expired. So that's not a lot of content. So it means that you need to be very careful about that.

LU STOUT: Another hurdle is money. You need a lot of money to be able to host multimedia content. And we always see those earnest appeals by Jimmy Wales himself, those banners at the very top, give us some money. Can Wikipedia afford to go multimedia?

LIH: That's a good question.

One of the things they're doing right now is upgrading the infrastructure so that it's one thing to store lots of text pages, 4 million text pages. 4 million videos takes a lot more hardware and a lot more bandwidth to do that.

So they're in the process of upgrading the servers to allow this to happen.

LU STOUT: And let's talk about those who create Wikipedia. I mean, what is the contributor population? What does it look like?

LIH: So, since 2007, the user population of Wikipedia has been slowly declining, but there's some understanding that, you know, there's 4 million articles on Wikipedia. You probably don't need as many people today as you needed 10 years ago to build an encyclopedia.

On the other hand, there are some problems with this. It's 90 percent male in terms of its editing population, which is not a good balance in terms of gender. And you also want to keep volunteers coming through the door. Who knows if the volunteers you have today will be here five years from now.

LU STOUT: So 90 percent of the editors and writers who make up the content we see on Wikipedia are male. So what is going to be done to change that?

LIH: So there are some significant efforts in this area. The Wikimedia foundation oversees this has a special position now for trying to bridge the gender gap, to analyze what the problems are and to make the software easier to use for anyone so that when you go into Wikipedia and start editing, you don't have to have a lot of technical expertise. It'll look a little bit more like Facebook or Twitter like social networks that you're used to. And that when you click edit, it doesn't look like computer code, it's actually like using Microsoft Word or something easy to edit.

LU STOUT: So, as -- it also becomes more social media oriented. From a user perspective, is it going to look a little bit more like Facebook in the years to come?

LIH: Right. So right now it's very sparse. But if you log in and create your own password and user name, you might actually have little notifications at the top saying, hey, someone liked what you did. They gave you a little virtual gift. Or, they're thanking you for some options that you've made in Wikipedia.

So it's really nice, because right now when you start editing, you really don't get a lot of positive feedback for what you do.


LU STOUT: Andew Lih speaking to me earlier about what's next for Wikipedia.

And now to a deeply disturbing story: autopsies are scheduled for today on two children that officials suspect were strangled by a snake in Canada. Now the five and seven year old boys, they were sleeping in an apartment above the reptile store, this one right here. And police say that they think the 45 kilogram python escaped its enclosure and slithered up through the ventilation system.

Now you're watching News Stream. And still to come, China is reaching for new heights with the Shanghai Tower, but if history is any guide there may be an economic downside to pushing the limits. We'll explain.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You are back watching News Stream.

Now it happens often enough in big cities around the world. Someone gets the idea to construct a building that scrapes the sky like a tall exclamation mark. That's happening right now in Shanghai.

David McKenzie takes us to the top for a glimpse of the potential downside.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In less than two decades, the eastern shore of the Huangpo (ph) River went from farmland to financial center. And Shanghai's tower skyscrapers have a new standard bearer.

(on camera): So we're heading up to the Shanghai Tower. It's not finished yet, but when it's done it's going to be more than 600 meters, more than 2,000 feet. It's going to be the tallest building in China.

(voice-over): And the second tallest in the world.

From the start, the plan was to go super tall.

(on camera): It's quite extraordinary how it just dwarves these tall buildings next to it. You can see almost the whole of Shanghai.

But there are already taller buildings in the works here in China. And with the economy slowing down, it still seems to be that in China bigger is better.

ART GENSLER, FOUNDER, GENSLER: They're certainly not bashful about wanting the tallest building. They have the tallest building in China here in Shanghai. They wanted something that was a symbol. And I believe this building will be the symbol of China.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): It seems almost inevitable that China will push to the very top. But the dismal (inaudible) has a downer.

Andrew Lawrence's dreaded skyscraper index.

ANDREW LAWRENCE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CIMB SECURITIES: I started the skyscraper index back in '99. And the basis of it was that what we found was a coincidence between the completion of the world's tallest building and a financial downturn.

MCKENZIE: Some more infamous examples: the Empire State Building goes up and America falls into the Great Depression, in Malaysia the Petronas Towers rise and Asian Tigers fall, Dubai builds the Burj Khalifa and the Emirate goes nearly bankrupt.

For 150 years, building the tallest building required inflated expectations, says Lawrence.

LAWRENCE: From (inaudible) to economic point of view you would anticipate that you would have a large run-up in credit for an extended period that would encourage developers to go out and build and ultimately someone would want to build the world's tallest tower, which would typically mark the peak of a cycle.

MCKENZIE: And China could soon reach that peak. The mega sky city project planned in (inaudible). It will be the world's tallest building. It's just waiting for approval.

But if history is anything to go by, China may want to aim a lower.

David McKenzie, CNN, Shanghai.


LU STOUT: Now the Burj Khalifa is currently the world's tallest building. So how does the Shanghai Tower stack up? Well, we've placed them side by side. As you can see, the Burj, it just towers over it.

But China's plans for Sky City is expected to beat the Burj by 10 meters.

After the break, we'll talk about an ambitious food security program in India. If successful, it would help feed millions. But can the government afford the high costs?

And stare into the eyes of a killer. Former assassins for the Zetas drug cartel speak out from behind bars.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Now the U.S. and Britain are urging their citizens in Yemen to leave the country. The U.S. is evacuating its citizens and all non-essential U.S. government employees. And Britain is withdrawing all staff from its embassy in Senaa. The U.S. State Department says there is a major threat to security.

Now a group that monitors the violence in Syria says rebels have captured a military airbase near Aleppo after months of fighting. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a jihadist group called The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was among the units that carried out the attack. It represents a boost for the rebels following a string of defeat to Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Now Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf failed to appear at a court hearing today. His lawyer says that he stayed away because of credible threats against his life. Musharraf was due to be indicted in connection with the killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007. And the case was adjourned until August 20.

India is debating an ambitious plan to fight hunger. And in a nation where an alarming number of children are malnourished, supporters say it is long overdue. But others say it is a ploy to buy votes at a price that the country cannot afford.

Mallika Kapur has the story.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anar Rajpar (ph) lives in a traditional Indian extended family. At mealtime, seven or eight people eat together. The food goes fast. Rajpar (ph) earns around $125 a month working as an electrician. He says his monthly food bill is double that figure.

"It's tough to feed the family," he says. "I have to make compromises."

Recognizing that millions go hungry every day and nearly half of its children under the age of five are malnourished, India passed a food security ordinance in July, one of the most ambitious food aid programs ever attempted. It guarantees very cheap food grains to almost 70 percent of India's 1.2 billion people.

(on camera): The food security bill has triggered a fierce debate in India. One side argues morally it's the right thing to do. Others say, economically speaking, India can't afford it.

(voice-over): The government says food subsidies will cost around $25 billion annually, or around 0.8 percent of GDP.

This economist says once you price in all the provisions of the bill it will cost much more.

SAJJID CHINOY, JP MORGAN: The cost could easily go up to another half a percent of GDP. So you're looking at incremental cost of about .5 percent. The total cost would then be 1.5 percent of GDP, which is very large by any standard.

KAPUR: Particularly for an economy that's slowed to a 10-year low, is fighting high inflation, and has a massive fiscal deficit.

The food will reach the poor via India's current public distribution system notorious for leaks and corruption. That's another drain on the economy.

Given the troubling economics, this columnist says the timing of the food bill is politically motivated. India holds its general elections next year.

KG SURESH, VIVEKANANDA INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION: The congress government has to realize that it needs something that would overwhelmingly tilt the (inaudible) in its favor. And there cannot be a more landmark scheme or legislation or ordinance, whatever you call it, than to provide cheap cereals at something like prices as petty as rupees one, two and three.

KAPUR: Rajpur (ph) will be able to buy one kilogram of rice for less than a cent. At the moment, he pays 50 cents for it.

"It will become so cheap, it will be really good for my family," he says. "I really hope it happens."

If it does happen, he tells us, the party that provides it will get his vote.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


LU STOUT: Now new concerns have emerged over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Operator Tepco tells CNN that contaminated water is leaking into the bay next to the Fukushima plant, an issue a spokesman for Tepco says, is serious.

Now the plant's operator also says it's trying to create an underground barrier to stop more contaminated water from seeping out, but a nuclear power plant designer says that Tepco maybe fighting a losing battle.


MASAHI GOTO, FORMER NUCLEAR POWER PLANT DESIGNER (through translator): The situation is already beyond what Tepco can handle. If it were possible to take proper measures, they would have done it already, right? It's not as if Tepco is refusing to do what they can, they're doing everything they can, but there are no perfect solutions.


LU STOUT: Now, others are not as kind to Tepco. In fact, last month the head of the U.S. nuclear watch dog said Tepco did not have a proper plan to protect Japanese citizens or the environment,.

Now the leader of the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico may have been captured in July, but Miguel Angel Trevino leaves behind a legacy of violence.

Now two former assassins who worked for him told Ed Lavandera how they got into the business of killing.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look into the eyes of Gabriel Cardona and you see a baby-faced 26-year-old, then he blinks and you see something else, another set of sinister eyes staring back, these tattooed on his eyelids.

These eyes are a window into the sole of a drug cartel assassin.

(on camera): In all, how many people did you kill?


LAVANDERA: No idea. You lost track?

CARDONA: (inaudible) when you're in Mexico.

LAVANDERA: I mean, could you guess? Are we talking about 10, 20, 30, 50?

CARDONA: Between 20 and 30.

LAVANDERA: Gabriel Cardona says he was 15 years old when the Zetas Drug Cartel recruited him to kill. He was part of a secret crew of hitmen made up of American teenagers living in Laredo, Texas, along with this man, Rosalio Reta.

Cardona and Reta spoke with CNN from the Texas prisons where they're serving life sentences for murder. Both men say they worked for Miguel Angel Trevino, the ruthless, violent leader of the Zetas Drug Cartel who was recently arrested in Mexico.

ROSALIO RETA, CARTEL HITMAN: I've known this man, he (inaudible) do something that he won't do himself. And that's why a lot of people followed im.

LAVANDERA: How much control do you think he had of Nuevo Laredo and that whole area of northern Mexico?

RETA: Absolute control.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Reta says he was 13-years-old when two friends brought him to the Mexican town of Nuevo Laredo just across the border from Texas. He says his friends took him to a ranch on the outskirts of town. And he says that what he saw there changed his life forever. In an instant, he went from being a 13-year-old sixth grade student to a killer.

RETA: He pulled up and just I couldn't believe what I was seeing, people getting tortured, killed, decapitated. It was kind of hard to believe, because I knew that day my life had just changed forever.

LAVANDERA: Reta then says an argument broke out. Miguel Trevino, the boss, wanted to know why Reta, the stranger, was there. Reta says Trevino handed him a gun. They stood over a man tied up on the ground.

(on camera): What does Trevino tell you?

RETA: Just to kill that person. I had to -- I had to do it. What other option do I have? If I don't do it, I know what's going to happen to me.

LAVANDERA: And then after you did it, were you -- you shot him?

RETA: Yes, sir.

LAVANDERA: How many times.

RETA: Multiple times.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A 13-year-old assassin was born.

RETA: That first day I had to take somebody's life, that's the day I'm never going to be able to forget. After that, I didn't have no life.

LAVANDERA (on camera): But you kept on killing after that first time at that ranch.

RETA: I had to. That's what a lot of people don't understand.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): That's what Reta says now. But in this police interrogation video, the young killer relished the deadly power he wielded.

RETA: You feel like Super Man.

LAVANDERA: Reta bragged to a Laredo police detective that killing made him feel like Super Man, that taking the gun out of his hand was like taking candy from a kid.

How in the world did it come to this for two American teens?

(on camera): Cardona and Reta grew up here on Lincoln street just a few blocks away from the Mexican border. This is the neighborhood where they became friends. Like many people around here, they each had families on both sides of the border in Mexico and the United States. They could easily move back and forth between both sides. And as it turns out that's exactly what the Zetas Drug Cartel was looking for.

(voice-over): Cardona says as a teenager, he started stealing cars and selling them in Mexico. Then he started carrying drugs and weapons across the border, working his way up the cartel ranks to become a hitman. Cardona dropped out of school in ninth grade.

CARDONA: It was great.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Did you feel like you could do whatever you wanted, you were untouchable?

CARDONA: yeah, it gives you that sense, it gives you that sense that you can do whatever without being -- without being touched, or I mean, having that sense of power.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Cardona says cartel leaders supplied him with thousands of dollars a week, a Mercedes and a house. The money was seductive and intoxicating for these teens who came from the ramshackle streets of a Texas border town.

(on camera): You enjoyed the money, but did you enjoy the killing?

CARDONA: You enjoy the money, you don't enjoy what you're doing either --

LAVANDERA: But it doesn't seem to bother you that much.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Cardona and Reta say they would wait for the phone to ring. A Zetas member would give them a name and they'd go hunting, killing one rival in this car while the victims' wife and child watched.

Each time, these men say they were paid $5,000 to $10,000, sometimes more, depending on how important the target was.

(on camera): Did you feel like you were the king of the town?

CARDONA: You think that. That's not (inaudible) at that time you never think that it's going to end, because it just keeps coming.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Eventually, Laredo police caught up to them. Cardona was arrested in a raid; Reta fearing he was going to be killed while working a job in Mexico turned himself in to American authorities.

RETA: I couldn't take it anymore, that's one of the risks I took that I just couldn't take it anymore. It was real hard for me, it was -- I can't -- I wasn't living my life.

LAVANDERA: Both Cardona and Reta are locked away, but they leave an ominous warning, there are others, they say, just like them, ready to take their place, lured by the riches and power drug cartels provide.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Laredo, Texas.


LU STOUT: Wow, very chilling profile of two killers.

You're watching News Stream. A bit later here on the program, we'll go inside North Korea for a look at life outside of Pyongyang. It's a view rarely seen by outsiders.


LU STOUT: Now, it's a name associated with soup in many parts of the world, but Campbell's plans to launch more than 200 new products in the coming months. And at the helm is this week's Leading Woman Denise Morrison. Now she spoke with Felicia Taylor in Camden, New Jersey where Campbell's was founded back in 1869.


DENISE MORRISON, CEO, CAMPBELL'S: Hi, Verne (ph), it's Denise. How are you doing?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As president and CEO of the iconic Campbell's Soup Company, Denise Morrison recognizes the brand's rich history.

MORRISON: These are wonderful, wonderful, tasty products.

TAYLOR: But, has her eye on the future.

MORRISON: As we focus forward and we look at the next generation of consumers, Gen Y, there's 80 million of them. And what they want is they want delicious, they want tasty, they want affordable and they want easy.

TAYLOR: Morrison took the helm of the 144 year old Campbell in 2011.

(on camera): So I'm sure you don't have anything like a typical day?

MORRISON: There's no typical day in the life of a CEO.

TAYLOR (voice-over): Once in the top job, Morrison orchestrated the largest acquisition in the company's history at more than $1.5 billion.

And why was Bolthouse a reasonable acquisition?

MORRISON: Bolthouse Farms brings to Campbell's a fresh beverage and it also opened up a whole arena in what we called packaged fresh.

TAYLOR: Still, soup is the company's iconic product, marketed over the years as a hearty meal for American families.

(on camera): When it comes to the international market, has it been difficult to translate that?

MORRISON: We've -- in some markets we've adapted Campbell's recipes to the marketplace and what the consumer wants to eat. In some countries, we didn't introduce Campbell's, we either acquired a brand or partnered with somebody.

TAYLOR (voice-over): The company boasts hundreds of brands. And says it plans to launch more than 200 new products over the next year.

(on camera): Did you always believe that you'd get to the CEO chair?

MORRISON: I set a goal at a very young age. I didn't know it was called CEO, but I knew I wanted to lead a company. And I believe it was inspired by my home life. My father was having a lot of fun. And I said, somebody I want to do that.

TAYLOR: How do you feel that life is changing in the corporate American market?

MORRISON: I think we've made tremendous progress on women's advancement at the entry levels and in the middle management level. But by the time you get to the top, it's where are the women? You know, there's 21 CEOs in the Fortune 500.

TAYLOR: That's not a lot.

MORRISON: And one of them is my sister, you know, so we've got more work to do in the senior executive ranks. We've got more work to do in the boardrooms.


LU STOUT: And next week, hear more about the unique upbringing that Morrison credits with her career. And there's also much more Leading Women coverage online, including a look at the top female comedians appearing at this month's art festival in Scotland. You can find it at Women.

And when we come back, images most of us have never seen before. Up next, a reporter's view of life in the North Korean countryside.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now there have been high temperatures for parts of China. And Shanghai may have hit a record today. Let's get the latest with Mari Ramos. She is back and she joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.


Yes, I am back.

You know, what, good to see you.

And not much has changed since, you know, when I went on holiday until now for you guys across eastern China and actually across much of Asia.

I want to show you first of all satellite image over here. And first of all, take a look at this, wherever you don't see the clouds and the rain and it's generally sunny it is stifling hot. Temperatures this time of year rise very, very quickly. It's very hot. It's very humid. We're getting a little bit of moisture moving above Beijing right now, or near Beijing and that's helping with your temperatures. But once again tomorrow, those were expected to shoot up yet again.

You mentioned that high temperature, or that near record high temperature in Shanghai. The reason we're saying maybe a record high is because 41 is their all-time record high temperature in Shanghai, that means that it's never been hotter than that since they've been keeping records. That's pretty significant, 41. And we think that that's what they're going to get today. Officially it's 40.6 degrees. When you round that off, it goes to 41 degrees. We've got to wait and see in the next couple of hours and see what the temperature actually ends up being. So this could be an all-time record for Shanghai.

And if you look at the next couple of days across the these areas, it doesn't seem -- there doesn't seem to be any kind of respite from the heat. Look at Wednesday 38. I really think it's going to be a little bit higher than that, probably close to 40. And then on Thursday, the forecast is 41, forecasting a record high temperature. That doesn't normally happen.

So we're really looking at some extremely hot temperatures, extremely dangerous heat that is moving across these parts of China, of East Asia. This is very significant information. And I think people really need to watch out for these very hot temperatures, try to stay in the shade as much as possible, drink water, go to places that have air conditioning, but that is going to be a challenge across many of these areas, because it extends - - its affecting millions of people in the region.

So that's going to be something to monitor.

Farther to the south, we do have a tropical system in the making. You see that right there. Right now it's a tropical depression, tropical depression 10. It is bringing some moisture here across southern parts of China again. So we could see some flooding, potentially, for you guys in Haiku (ph) back over into parts of Vietnam, even into Thailand, maybe even as far south as Cambodia we could see some heavy rain showers associated with this weather system.

It hasn't formed just yet, but it could become a tropical storm in the next 24 hours or so. It's moving rather slowly, so the amount of rain could be pretty significant here as we head through the next couple of days.

So definitely something to monitor, Kristie. We will of course keep you in the loop.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right, Mari Ramos there, thank you very much indeed.

Now North Korea remains a very closed society. And the few outsiders who venture there are mostly confined to the capital city, Pyongyang. But CNN's Paula Hancocks made it to the North Korean countryside. And here, she shares some images to give us a sense of what life is really like there.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Driving out Pyongyang, I'm very aware this is a journey few foreigners ever made. The high rises give way to lush green farmland, every single field as far as the eye can see has been cultivated, growing maize, wheat and rice, unexpected in a country where a quarter of its children have severe malnutrition according to the United Nations.

Some crops were damaged by heavy rains, which my military minders seemed upset to see.

Driving three hours north to Yang Sen County (ph), I see men and women working in the fields, but not a single piece of farming machinery.

Vehicles were rare. A car is a luxury the average North Korean cannot afford.

We're stopped at a number of military checkpoints set up because of the heavy rain.

(on camera): So basically we're stopped here on one of the main roads out of Pyongyang. This is a pretty major road in North Korea. It was flooded yesterday because there's been so much heavy rain. And on the other side, half of the road has completely crumbled away. It's dropped maybe 20 foot.

(voice-over): We drive over this buckled bridge very slowly. It collapses the very next day.

Heavy rain hits the town of Yang Sen (ph), an area the regime is promoting for tourism. But an overnight storm proves too much for the hotel's electricity supply.

The next day, while filming the swollen river, I noticed a small boy fishing with a crudely made net. He takes whatever he has caught to a man sitting by the side of the water. Nearby, a family washes their clothes in the river, suggesting running water is a luxury in this region. Even the hotel water was not constant.

Another man has brought soap to the river to wash his hair and clothes. Then a security official appears from nowhere and tells me to stop filming.

Back on the official tourist route, we visit the impeccably groomed gardens of Puyon Temple (ph).

(on camera): The Buddhist Temple in North Korea, which is not something you would expect, considering the official line in North Korea is that they are non-religious, really that the religion is the Kim Dynasty. And you can see here, it's been beautifully preserved, these temples. We spoke to the monk just a moment ago. He said there's about 25 monks here. And they service about 2,000 people in the local community.

Chung Byok (ph) tells me people come mainly on Buddhist holidays to take part in ceremonies and pray.

But the only people we saw was a group of school children. They, too, were on the official tour.

North Korea claims it is tolerant of different religions, as shown by this temple, but many experts would disagree.

I see two different countries: a sanctioned tourist view, and the poorer view I see through the bus window, some of which I'm forbidden to film.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Yang Sen (ph), North Korea.


LU STOUT: Incredible look inside North Korea there.

Now NASA is marking a milestone for its Mars rover Curiosity. It landed on the Red Planet one year ago. It's a task so challenging that the U.S. space agency called it the seven minutes of terror. And since then, Curiosity has been busy. It sent more than 70,000 images back to Earth, including this high res self-portrait.

Now of course Curiosity is equipped with more than cameras. It is a highly sophisticated lab built to test the Martian soil. And Curiosity can fire lasers, which it has shot some 75,000 times, to investigate the composition of those targets.

Now it can also drill, has analyzed samples from key rocks. And the rover has found pebble deposits, evidence of ancient flowing water on Mars.

Now Curiosity is currently traveling to Mount Sharp. And the trip has been slow going. Curiosity spent six months in one place. It has covered a total of 1.6 kilometers.

But to quote NASA administrator Charles Bolden, wheel tracks now will lead to boot prints later.

And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.