Return to Transcripts main page
U.S. Congress Flirts With Default; Interview with Sex Trafficking Survivor Chong Kim; Bosnia-Herzegovina Qualifies for First Ever World Cup; CNN Heroes Dr. Laura Stachel
Aired October 16, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Now the clock is ticking. U.S. lawmakers still have not agreed on a plan to raise the debt ceiling.
A powerful storm strikes Japan. A small island south of Tokyo is hit hard.
And Sarajevo celebrates as Bosnia-Herzegovina qualifies for its first ever World Cup.
Now the U.S. is creeping dangerously close to defaulting on its debts. With only hours to go now until the U.S. hits the debt ceiling. There's been a lot of talk, but so far little concrete action on Capitol Hill.
Now lawmakers are trying to reach compromise on a bill to end the paralysis in government before midnight when the Treasury says the money starts running out.
But lawmakers, they went home last night without a deal to allow more government borrowing after October 17.
Now still Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate say they may be close, but would any deal fly among House Republicans?
Now Jim Acosta is following all the developments from Washington.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Time is running out, the debt ceiling is in sight and the last best hope avenue voiding a potential default once again rests with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, who were back to working on a last-minute deal.
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: John Boehner will likely be in a situation where he will have to essentially pass the bill that is negotiated between Senators McConnell and Reid, and I believe that the House will first pass it and send it to the Senate.
ACOSTA: President Obama called for quick action.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have a whole lot of time so what I'm suggesting to the congressional leaders is let's not do any posturing. Let's not try to save face.
ACOSTA: The president appeared to put the blame on House Speaker John Boehner's inability to corral the Tea Party-backed Republicans.
OBAMA: There have been repeated situations where we have agreements, then he goes back, and it turns out that he can't control his caucus.
ACOSTA: That caucus is once again up in arms despite Boehner's tough talks.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I have made clear for months and months that the idea of default is wrong and we shouldn't get anywhere close to it.
ACOSTA: The speaker failed to convince House conservatives to line up behind Republican proposals to lift the debt ceiling and end the shutdown. It didn't matter anyway, as Reid said the GOP's plans were dead on arrival in the Senate.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Extremist Republicans in the House of Representatives are attempting to torpedo the Senate's bipartisan progress, with the bill that can't pass the Senate.
ACOSTA: That portrait of Washington dysfunction was all the respected Fitch ratings agency needed to see. Fitch issued a warning that may downgrade the nation's AAA credit rating, a potential repeat of what Standard & Poor's did after the last ceiling debate of 2011.
Although Fitch continues to know that the debt ceiling will be raised soon, the agency said the political brinksmanship could increase the risk of a U.S. default.
Some House conservatives were brushing off talk of dire consequences to come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think most folks understand October 17th is not the drop dead date. There are no payments due for a couple weeks.
ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: Now the U.S. hits the debt ceiling at midnight. Essentially that deadline is a red flag that the U.S. does not have enough money to pay all its debts. Now the U.S. Treasury Secretary has said that the U.S. will have around $30 billion on hand to pay almost double that amount in daily bills.
But it does not signal financial apocalypse, well not immediately anyway. Now the first signs of trouble will likely be seen on the world stock markets. Analysts say if the U.S. fails to make an interest payment on its debt, markets will crash.
Now some predict the Dow could drop some 1,000 points. Now it fell almost 1 percent on Tuesday.
Now the further the markets fall, the greater the chance of an economic slowdown.
Now interest rates will also start to tick up, meaning borrowing money will become more expensive and it'll become more difficult to get a loan.
Now in the U.S. recipients of Social Security benefits as well as Medicare and Medicaid payments could see delays.
And if the U.S. does default on its debt, the ripple effect, it will be felt across the globe, in particular in country's holding a lot of debt like China.
Now David McKenzie reports on the fallout there.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Deal or no deal: with just hours to go to a U.S. default, foreign leaders are getting very nervous indeed.
If the debt ceiling is breached and the U.S. can't pay its bills, China, the largest foreign owner of U.S. debt, will be one of the biggest losers.
The Chinese economy would have enormous exposure to a default. This country owns more than $1 trillion of U.S. Treasury bills. And economists tell me that officials at the People's Bank of China are preparing for a Doom's Day scenario, a default that would cause a global chain reaction.
YONGHAO PU, UBS WEALTH MANAGEMENT RESEARCH: So you have a start with liquidity risk, then you have a credit risk and also on this kind of chain reaction. I would imagine that if the U.S. does default its debt, the consequence of (inaudible) is going to be 10 times more serious than the Lehman Brother go under.
So the consequence is just enormous.
MCKENZIE: With unthinkable consequences, most economists still believe that U.S. lawmakers will broker a deal to avoid an unconstrained default. But the threat of a default has given Chinese state media a huge PR opportunity.
Xinhua proclaiming that the U.S. fiscal failure warrants a de- Americanized world.
WILLY LAM, THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: For the past several years, Beijing has been trying to project this soft power, namely that the China model perhaps is the best for the world, particularly for developing countries. So this fiscal mess, which Washington has gotten into I think has provided them with a good excuse, ample ammunition to shoot down the so-called American consensus.
MCKENZIE: It's a message that the Communist Party hopes plays well at home and abroad and pushes their agenda as the world's second largest economy to have more fiscal clout on the world stage.
China's wildly successful export-driven economy creates enormous cash surpluses. And for decades, the U.S. has been the only market big enough and safe enough for China's technocrats to park much of their cash and help their own export market thrive.
Even with the debt ceiling shambles, China doesn't have a quick fix alternative.
PU: Unless China's government willing to switching from export-driven model towards more consumption or more balanced growth model, you don't have much choice in fact.
MCKENZIE: A long-term goal of the Chinese government, yes. In the short-term, and even the medium-term, China will have to put up with D.C.'s dysfunction, because it still needs U.S. debt just as much as the U.S. needs China's cash.
David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.
LU STOUT: Now you're watching News Stream. And still to come this hour, death and destruction in Japan as the powerful typhoon hits the Tokyo area. We'll get an update on its path from CNN's Mari Ramos.
And her real-life story has been turned into a movie. A former sex slave tells CNN about her escape from a nightmare.
And it is qualifying time ahead of next year's FIFA World Cup. Find out which countries are making the cut.
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. Now we started with the debt ceiling deadline looming in the U.S. And a little bit later, we'll go live to Tehran for the latest on talks about Iran's nuclear program.
But, first, to Japan and the impact of a powerful storm there. Now soldiers south of Tokyo are searching for survivors after a typhoon lashed Japan's pacific coast. At least 17 people have been killed by typhoon Wipha. It has battered the small island of Oshima where landslides have crushed houses and blocked roads. And in Tokyo, hundreds of flights have been canceled.
Let's get more on this powerful and deadly typhoon. Mari Ramos joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEAHTER CORRESPONDENT: Those pictures are really amazing. Kristie, this has been a very powerful storm. It has been moving away from Japan, though, in the last few hours. You know, sometimes when we get these storms that are so -- when they get to this part of the world, the good thing, the only good thing that happens is that they move very, very quickly out of here as they start changing from tropical to extra- tropical.
But anyway, look at Tokyo. In 24 hours they had over 200, almost 250 millimeters of rainfall. When you think about their monthly average being only about 200, this is pretty significant stuff. You can see it right there. There was some flooding reported even around he Tokyo area.
Wind pretty strong in Tateyama they had wind gusts of 139 kilometers per hour. Farther to the south out to the islands, they had wind gusts to 160 kilometers per hour.
I want to show that video of the wind very quickly, because you know it kind of -- you see these pictures here, people out and about still battling the elements. I was talking to someone who lives in Japan and they were saying, well, it's kind of part of our culture here. People go to work no matter what, even sometimes when it's dangerous. And you can see that even though the streets are mostly deserted, there are still a few people out there trying to make it through their day unscathed.
But there were huge delays, of course. Traffic was shut down in many areas, trains were shut down in many areas. There were still businesses that didn't open. So it's pretty serious stuff there.
And of course you can get hurt pretty easily with any kind of flying debris that could be around there.
There's the water, very high of course from that, what 250 millimeters of rain that fell in just about 24 hours.
But the train seems to be running.
So very heavy rain, like we were talking about here around the Tokyo Bay area. We have to talk about Oshima, that island that you mentioned. Look at these rainfall totals, just incredible. 800 millimeters of rain in 24 hours. In six hours alone, they had over half a meter of rainfall. When you talk about this kind of rain in a steep area like this you're going to have landslides. And unfortunately these landslides were deadly.
This is the daily record of rain, by the way. The most rain in two hours ever recorded in Japan.
Let's roll the pictures, because I want to show you a few things that are going on here. Look at the trees just completely uprooted. Those are huge tress. Look at them in comparison to the size of the people standing by. There's one of the roadways. You can see how covered in mud, everything is. The homes look like splinters. This is where you had most of the deaths across Japan, the 17 people that have been reported killed so far. So serious situation. They're in a cleanup mode across these areas right now.
And you can see that trail of destruction that tails down the roadway there and those homes just completely demolished in some cases. That one only the foundation is left of that house right there. You see it right there in the middle of the screen right now. That one right there, it really pretty scary to think, you know, the power of Mother Nature happening so quickly there. Those people almost had no warning about those landslides at all.
Come back over to the weather map. This is another landslide. This is just in a suburb outside of Tokyo. And look at the boulders, the size of the boulders that they are having to deal with.
So, again, any time you have the mountains and you have the very heavy rain, you're going to have that threat of landslides and people need to be aware of the risks of the places that they live.
A new tropical depression, tropical depression 26 just south of Guam. This is going to be something to watch and monitor closely. Right now it's still very far away from any major landmass. But look at the track, again taking it in that general direction toward Japan. Way too early to worry about this, but we're definitely going to keep an eye on it. And you should kind of have it in the back of your mind if you live in this part of the world.
This is what Wipha looks like now. You can see it moving away here from land, but it is bringing some snowfall, Kristie, to Tokyo -- excuse me, to parts of Hokkaiddo here to the north, in some cases up to 29 centimeters of snowfall already across the mountains. When you have all that moisture, higher elevations and that cold air filtering in from the north. So just kind of interesting combination there.
Typhoon and snow at the same time. Back to you.
LU STOUT: All right, Mari, thank you so much for keeping up with all the storm activity and also just sharing with us those incredible images of the sheer power, the sheer force of those deadly landslides in Japan. Mari Ramos there, thank you.
Now in the Philippines, an update there, the death toll it now stands at 144 from that powerful quake that shook the central part of the country on Tuesday. And the hardest hit areas were Bohol and Cebu provinces. Almost 300 people are injured. And authorities say more than 20 are still missing. There are fears that they could be trapped in collapsed buildings.
You're watching News Stream. And still ahead on the program, she was abducted and sold into sex slavery in the United States. And this happened when she was just a teenager. Hear her harrowing story and find out how she escaped after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on now, baby girl. Be quiet now. Just breathe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Wow, powerful scene there from Eden. It's a film that reveals the nightmare of human trafficking. And the film is based on the real life ordeal that American Chong Kim suffered as a sex slave.
Now she in her life was stolen her when she was just a teenager.
Over the next couple of days, we're going to bring you special coverage as part of CNN's Freedom Project, it's our fight against modern- day slavery. Now why? Because slavery is very much alive and thriving. And it is robbing the lives and dignity of as many as 30 million people around the world.
Now Becky Anderson speaks to Chong Kim.
ANDERSON: She thought he was her boyfriend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be right back.
ANDERSON: But as recounted in Eden, the film based on Chong Kim's book "Not in My Town," he was a recruiter for the sex slave trade.
CHONG KIM: I didn't really know how to put my thoughts together at that moment. You're just in shock. All I could think about is the time when he caressed my face (inaudible) loves me and how much I believed in him. And then all of sudden it's a 180 and I'm thinking what happened? Where did it go wrong?
ANDERSON: You went through those initial days of captivity and then you were taken to an environment where there were other girls.
ANDERSON: And you were sex slaves.
ANDERSON: And you were sold to the neighboring community as sex slaves. Walk me through those days.
KIM: Each unit had about 20 to 25 girls in each unit. They were brought in from Europe, to Southeast Asia, India, Africa and then girls in the U.S. would be traded off. So it was like a giant human factory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is going to be a good day. I can feel it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn sure I don't have to explain to you the consequences if you cause trouble for me.
ANDERSON: Early on in her capture, Chong did try to escape. In the film, she runs to a house, but in reality Chong fled to a much more public place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop, stop, stop. I've got it under control. She's an addict. She's very dangerous. You don't want to get mixed up in this, you might get hurt.
KIM: I went to a shopping mall. People were gathering their kids and pulling away. And I said somebody help me, he's going to kill me. He's going to kill me. People pulled way.
He walked in with a military uniform, grabbed me by the hair, yanked my head back. And I saw the security went like this. And as soon as he threw me in the car, he said you're nobody. And that proved it.
ANDERSON: How long did this go on?
KIM: 1995 through 1997. And I ranked up as a madam in 1996.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can help you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to help me, you want to be a part of this?
KIM: That's when I started seeing the infrastructure of the organized crime. I started seeing how many corrupted politicians as well as very powerful people were also involved and fueling the fire as sex trade of children.
UNIDENIFIED MALE: I'm going to ask you if you are actually committed to this.
KIM: And I was like, well, who do I go to now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do, shoot her?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. You are.
ANDERSON: How did you get out?
KIM: I was in one of the casinos. And I saw the vent. And it made me flash back to my childhood watching a James Bond film and I said can you really crawl through there? You know, that's what my thought was. And there was a maintenance guy that would come. And I would play with the thermostat. And he would say why are you messing with the thermostat? And I said, how do you get out?
He goes, oh no, I can't tell.
And so basically I manipulated him by making him fall in love with me.
I really took probably close to a couple of weeks. And he finally told me that if I go through I will end up in the laundry chute. To go through there and then once I get there then I can go out.
ANDERSON: Are there many people who are still in the position that you were in back in the 90s?
ANDERSON: How many do you think there are? Are we talking tens, hundreds, thousands?
KIM: More than 1,000 as far as victims for madams it's a growing trend now. Women are taking over. They're getting tired of men controlling them, being pimps so they feel like you know what, a woman can do a better job. A woman can use her feminine charm to get more girls.
There was a story in New Jersey about a 17-year-old girl who sold her little sister, 7-years-old, to traffickers. And she made money off of her.
We're having girls going into junior high schools and high schools pretending to be friends with these kids in school.
ANDERSON: Do you live in fear for your life?
KIM: I do. But at the same time, I cannot get rid of the faces of the girls I couldn't save. I cannot get rid of the screams.
I was forced to watch a young child being raped and sodomized in front of me. And so it's always in my mind. And so I feel like when I speak I'm bringing voices together.
If we are the voters, then start asking questions to the leaders, "what are you going to do about these brothels that are in our town?"
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now at least 17 people have been killed after Typhoon Wipha slammed into Japan earlier on Wednesday, dumping record amounts of rain in some places. Now streets were flooded, trees brought down and several houses swept away by landslides. Now officials say most of the victims died when heavy rain triggered flooding and landslides on Oshima Island.
Now the death toll has risen to at least 144 people after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the central Philippines on Tuesday. It struck 600 kilometers south of Manila. Now Bohol Province was hit the hardest, some 291 people are injured in the quake and more than 20 are still missing.
Egypt says it is ready to face the consequences of deteriorating relations with the U.S. Those comments came in response to a U.S. decision to cut off some of the aid it sends to Cairo. Now Egypt's foreign minister told state media the country's security and dignity were, quote, "a red- line."
Another quote, "we're in good shape." Those words from Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid after the Senate adjourned late on Tuesday. Now party leaders are working on a proposed bill to end the financial stalemate in Washington, but it is not clear whether it will fly with House Republicans. Now the government says it will start running out of money if congress does not raise the debt limit by midnight.
Well, stock markets in freefall. Some financial institutions pushed to the brink of failure. Now those are just some of the nightmarish consequences that analysts warn we could see if U.S. lawmakers fail to raise the debt ceiling soon.
Now they meet again in Washington this Wednesday. And Jim Acosta is at the White House. He joins us now live.
And Jim, the world is watching. Will there be a deal in Washington?
JIM ACOSTA: Well, that's what we're waiting to see right now. Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are busy working on a deal right now. Basically the agreement as it stands at the moment, and of course these things could change hour by hour. The way it stands right now is that the government would be reopened and funded through January 15.
The debt ceiling would be lifted until February 7, that there would be a requirement -- new requirement for Obamacare, people who would have to -- people would have to provide income verification in order to receive some of the subsidies in that healthcare law. And then the final thing that is in this is that there would be a budget conference, a special conference of Republicans, Democrats to start working on a larger budget agreement.
So that's where things stand right now.
There are a couple of different scenarios that could emerge. One is that the Senate puts together this deal. They don't pass it, but they send the details over to the House where the House passes it first. And then sends it back to the Senate. The reason why they would do that is that that would make things move a lot faster. If they try to do it just in the Senate first and then go to the House, this could take a couple of days.
And that's why the White House, last night a senior administration official was telling CNN that they don't look at tomorrow as a drop-dead date, per se. they said that if the markets -- or at least they hope that if the markets see that there's work progressing here in Washington between the Senate and the House and that it looks like a deal is going to be reached. And it's just the procedural stuff that needs to be worked out that perhaps there won't be a very negative market reaction.
But that's really a sort of a finger's crossed scenario at this point, Kristie.
LU STOUT: So we're going to have to see whether this deal is going to be taken first up by the House or by the Senate. We know that there's been this Senate deal in the works for awhile now. If that goes through, what kind of support would it have in the House?
ACOSTA: Very uncertain. As you saw yesterday, House Speak John Boehner had a very difficult time corralling those Tea Party backed Republicans in the Republican conference. They were balking at the deal that John Boehner was presenting. And the reason why he did not bring a vote to the floor and get a vote is because he just didn't have enough of those Tea Party backed Republicans supporting him.
So the scenario that is emerging, and I think likely to happen, is that if this Senate deal takes shape and if there's agreement basically among Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, that deal would go over to the House without a vote in the Senate and that House Speaker John Boehner would have to bring it to the floor and count on nearly all 200 Democrats in the House to get it passed with a -- basically a couple of dozen Republicans to push it through and then it would go to the Senate and potentially get passed before midnight tonight.
That's probably the best case scenario at this point, which means you're going to have to wait and see what happens -- buckle your seatbelts.
LU STOUT: And a question for you about public opinion. I mean, everyone around the world is watching this play out, simply astonished. We know that Americans are very angry and that public opinion is firmly against Republicans. Is public opinion playing any role in this showdown? Would it somehow force the Republican's hand to sort of agree and reach a deal?
ACOSTA: I think it's really woken people up in the Senate. Senate Republicans have been saying really before all of this started that, hey, see we told you this wasn't going to work out. John McCain has basically said, "I told you so." He was warning all along that this idea that they were going to be able to get major changes to Obamacare through this debt ceiling default scenario was not going to work.
And there have been polls recently, the latest poll came out of the Washington Post and ABC News here in the United States that said that 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans are handling budget negotiations. Contrast that with the 53 percent that said the same of President Obama.
So there is a clear blame going on right now that many people in the United States simply just blame the Republicans. That has given Democrats a lot of leverage. The question is whether or not it scared House Republicans enough to get this passed.
LU STOUT: And the clock is ticking. Jim Acosta joining us live from the White House. Thank you, Jim.
Now the credit rating agency Fitch is warning it might cut America's credit rating. And right now, Fitch gives the U.S. a perfect AAA, but it says brinksmanship over the debt ceiling is putting that at risk. That has only added to investor worries.
Now Europe's main stock markets are trading lower this Wednesday. Meanwhile, here in Asia China's benchmark index, it closed down almost 2 percent. Only the NIKKEI in Tokyo managed to shrug of concerns about the looming debt ceiling deadline.
Now this isn't the first time U.S. lawmakers have pushed the country to the brink of a debt default. And as Brian Todd reports, it may not be the last.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even if there is a deal this time, that gnawing in your gut could well return in a few weeks.
NORMAN ORNSTEIN, RESIDENT SCHOLAR, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: You're governing by crisis, and that is no way to govern.
TODD: Congressional expert Norman Ornstein believes there will be more cans kicked down the road until the next shutdown or debt ceiling crisis. The chance now of a long-term so-called grand bargain, almost zero, he says, because on one side, far-right conservatives in the House will never agree to raise taxes, even a little. That would go back on their no taxes pledges. And Tea Party and other conservative leaders would work against them in their reelection bids.
ORNSTEIN: The nature of primaries, the fact that so many people live in homogeneous districts that become echo chambers, all of that makes it harder to overcome now a set of realities where our political process is driven by a small group of Americans who are more ideologically driven, and not by the vast majority of Americans who still say, come on, compromise a little bit and move us forward.
TODD: How did it get this way? Ornstein says it goes back to the financial collapse of 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Far- right conservatives, he says, hated the bailout.
ORNSTEIN: The resentment against political leaders working with Wall Streeters to bail them out while the rest of the country paid for it just deeply amplified the kind of resentment against government, per se. Then the continuing sluggish economy created the Tea Party movement.
TODD: But analysts say it's not just the Tea Partiers who have dug in and created this mess.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There's blame all around, including the White House.
TODD: Meaning democrats may feel they have had the upper hand politically, making them less willing to negotiate. It's created a more personal, deep-seated reason why a real long-term agreement between these key players may be elusive.
GERGEN: The trust has disappeared and it's increasingly being replaced by hatred. There is a lot of deep alienation and just plain don't like each other, don't want to sit down at the same table with each other.
TODD: Or as Noram Ornstein says it's become tribal in nature with leaders of both parties saying if you're for it I'm against it, even if I was for it yesterday.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: Now, Iran is sitting down with representatives from six world powers again today to talk over its controversial nuclear program. And after Tuesday's first day of talks in Geneva, both sides appeared cautiously optimistic. Now they are the first such negotiations since Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani was elected this past summer.
Now CNN's Reza Sayah joins me now live from Tehran. And Reza, we know that the Iranian negotiating team, they delivered a PowerPoint presentation there in Geneva, so-called roadmap going forward. What exactly is Iran offering at these talks?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this point, Kristie, that's a secret. All officials representing all sides of these negotiations say they will keep the details secret until these talks either fall apart or they reach a deal. But we can tell you what Iran's general position has been and what signals that they're sending. Indications are that Iran's leadership is perhaps prepared to suspend uranium enrichment at 20 percent, that would ostensibly make it impossible for Iran to make the fuel necessary to produce a bomb. There's also indications that they may be considering accepting broader inspections at some of their facilities.
What they are not offering, and they're very clear on this, is an end to their nuclear program. They say this is a peaceful nuclear program. They say they're abiding by international law and the guidelines of the IAEA. They also say they will continue enriching uranium at some percentage level, perhaps lower than 20 percent. And Kristie, these are the critical issues being discussed in Geneva.
So far as you mentioned, all sides appear to be cautiously optimistic, although we don't have an outcome yet.
LU STOUT: And lowering the level of uranium enrichment, if that happens that would be meeting a key UN demand. So that would definitely be progress there. Reza, what is pushing Iran to the negotiating table? I mean, is it the fact that we have a new president, a reformist, Mr. Rouhani? Or is it just the impact of years and years and years of these punishing economic sanctions?
SAYAH: Well, first off their position is that they're not being pushed to the negotiating table, that they're in the right and they've always been willing to settle this controversy for years. However, what's clear is there are new approach here, a more conciliatory, mild-mannered approach. Why that's emerged is unclear. Many decisions here within the leadership happen behind closed doors.
But certainly you can look at the facts on the ground, the economy is in deep trouble here. That, of course, is linked to the economic sanctions. And the leadership has to think the easiest way to improve the economy is to get rid of these sanctions. And the best way to do that is to reach a settlement when it comes to the nuclear program. Everyone here in Iran has a prediction with how these talks are going to go. And we heard some of those prediction by taxi hopping around Tehran.
SAYAH: The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world powers. Is there going to be a deal? What should Iran give? What should Iran get? Will the U.S. and Iran be friends again?
Here in Iran, if you want to gauge public opinion this is a good place to start, Tehran's taxi drivers, some of the most knowledgeable well read, educated cabbies in the world.
So off we went in search of taxicab takes on the nuclear talks.
So what do you think? Are you optimistic a deal is going to happen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am hopeful. What I want is for everything to get better for the people. We've been through so much hardship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have to be hopeful. But we don't want to sell out our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If some of the nations that everyone knows don't cause mischief, then I'm optimistic. Unfortunately, some want to take advantage of this situation, because they know better relations will jeopardize their interests. So they want to spoil things.
SAYAH: In any fair deal, you have to give something to get something. What do you think Iran should give up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): First off, Iran shouldn't have to pay a ransom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think it's fine if they come and investigate and see that Iran doesn't have bad intentions. Iran has good intentions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Iran shouldn't have to give up anything. We shouldn't have to give up our rights. What belongs to us is our business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't like for another country to come and make decisions for me. Everything should be based on friendship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The only thing we should give is confidence to the international community that we are not deviating from our nuclear program.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our nuclear rights belong to us. Why do other countries have theirs, but when it comes to Iran they say we can't have it? Why?
SAYAH: Now what do you think Iran should get in return?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Iran has to demand the right to the people that have been denied for years throughout sanctions and restrictions on oil sales.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We want them to lift the sanctions and give peace and calm to Iran so we can be friends with one another.
SAYAH: Do you trust the American government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): History is always the best teacher and source of information. If you look at the history of our relationship with America you can answer that question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If there are no more lies, that would be good. No more lies.
SAYAH: The always engaging Tehran taxi drivers. Some of them are skeptical, but most are cautiously optimistic. Everyone we talk to said Iran deserves to have a peaceful nuclear program, because it's their right. And everyone says they want a settlement in these nuclear negotiations because they want this 34 year old conflict with Washington and the west to end -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, that was fascinating to watch and to hear that sense of optimism, sense of hope about the nuclear standoff from the taxi drivers of Tehran. Reza Sayah joining us live from inside Iran. Thank you very much indeed for that.
Now, meanwhile in Brazil, demonstrations in support of striking teachers turned violent in some places. Now the teachers are demanding pay hikes. And Shasta Darlington reports from the streets of Sao Paulo.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thousands of Brazilians took to the street across the country today for what here is National Teacher's Day to demand better schools and higher pay for teachers.
Now most of the marches were peaceful, but here in Sao Paolo it got violent about an hour-and-a-half into the protest with a small group of protesters throwing rocks and the police firing tear gas. Again some of the protesters smashed the windows of a car dealership and invaded a popular furniture store. The police chased them in and arrested some of the accidents. And you can see right behind me the riot police are still on the hunt for those activists they believe are behind the vandalism.
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.
LU STOUT: Now we're used to Brazil wow the crowds at the World Cup, but what about Bosnia-Herzegovina? Now we'll tell you why these fans on the streets of Sarajevo have reason to celebrate just ahead.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
You're watching News Stream. And let's return to our visual rundown now. In a little while, we're going to tell you just what washed up on a California beach, but now let's turn to World Cup qualifying where it was a big night for England and some of the world's biggest football teams.
And let's get a look at who is in and who is not in for the 2014 World Cup.
Now World Sport's Alex Thomas joins us now from London. And Alex, who is already qualified for the World Cup?
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie.
Yeah, here we are with the 21 teams, nine flags here, 12 flags here. The 21 teams that have guaranteed a spot at Brazil 2014 next year. And that means we have 11 question marks about the countries yet to get through via the playoffs, which will be completed at the end of November, that World Cup draw at the beginning of December.
And let's start in Europe. And a wonderful moment for Bosnia- Herzegovina. Two decades after having to rebuild their war torn country, here they were with a goal from Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic getting the crucial 1-0 win at Lithuania. They were level on points in Group G with Greece, but went through on a better goal difference. Their first appearance at a World Cup finals.
England have been to a World Cup many times before, but often underachieving. Their manager Roy Hodgson has taken Switzerland to a World Cup finals, but now he had the chance to take his adopted country to -- it's his home country, I should say, to a World Cup finals, the biggest tournament in the world's biggest game.
And I think we're going to take a look at some of the action now. And the opening goal for England came from Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, his headband protecting that cut on his forehead coming off. He didn't mind that.
And England captain Steven Gerrard's just calming nerves in the dying minutes with a second goal. Victory over Poland, enough to keep them ahead of Ukraine in their group. And they automatically go through.
Let's take a look at all the teams that are through from the European Zone. Here's the list of them now. And you can see that the world and European champion Spain also got through on Tuesday night. Russia as well joining England and Bosnia were the other teams that have qualified after earlier games. And there are eight teams through to the European playoffs, including giants like France and Portugal. And that's how the European Zone looks, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, you gave us the list, some of the highlights, some of the celebration on the pitch as well. That's the situation in Europe, but what about in the Americas?
THOMAS: Only even more excitement on the other side of the Atlantic from where I am here in London. And it really revolved around Mexico. Ever present at the World Cup since 1982, bar Italia '90. Let's take a look at their match against Costa Rica who had already qualified. And this is Javier Hernandez, the Manchester United striker, equalizing for Costa Rica, but to Mexican dismay Costa Rica got another goal and ended up as 2-1 winners.
So let's take a look at the highlights from the United States against Panama, because at this stage Mexico were going out. Panama leader 2-1 against the United States. And here we are into injury time, over a minute of injury time gone. And now over two-and-a-half minutes, an equalizer from the United States, then a winner from the United States. They were 3- 2 winners. And they helped Mexico get through to a playoff, Kristie, against little old New Zealand. So Mexico should, with all due respect to New Zealand, get through to the World Cup, although their form will certainly have to improve.
LU STOUT: All right. Alex Thomas there with the highlights. Thank you so much for that.
Now, in some areas of developing countries, babies are delivered -- if you can believe it -- in the dark with the help of candles, or even a cell phone light. And that's because of unreliable electricity.
And this week's CNN Hero was inspired to act after she saw the problem first-hand. Now Dr. Laura Stachel launched a nonprofit that brings solar powered lighting to heath clinics. And she is one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013.
And you can vote for your favorite at CNNHeroes.com.
DR. LAURA STACHEL, MEDICAL ACTIVIST: There's a traditional African saying, "when you become pregnant that you have one foot in the grave." There are so many women dying in child birth in many communities. Pregnancy is feared.
In the last month, we recorded four women actually died due to complications.
When I went to Africa, I saw these women one after another coming in with complications and we didn't even have adequate light to treat them.
A lot of the clinics don't have any electricity. Midwives use kerosene lanterns. They may use candles. They use their cellphones to deliver babies.
Once I witnessed the things that I saw, I had to do something about it.
My name is Dr. Laura Stachel. I'm helping to provide a simple and reliable solar lighting and power source so that mothers and babies can be saved during child birth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very, very nice.
STACHEL: Hospitals and clinics receive the solar suitcase for free.
So the charge controller is very important.
The solar suitcase provides medical quality lighting. It charges cellphones. It has a small battery charger for head lamps and for the fetal dopplar that we include.
Perfect. That's it.
Mothers are now eager to come to the clinics. This shifted the morale of the health care worker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This light is going to bring good changes. It keeps me going.
STACHEL: Turn this on? There you go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
STACHEL: You're so welcome.
I really want a world where women and their families get to celebrate birth. And I would love to be part of making that happen.
LU STOUT: And Dr. Stachel is just one of our top 10 CNN Heroes. Now one of whom will become the CNN Hero of the year and receive $250,000 to further their work.
So who will it be? You decide. Just go to CNNHeroes.com to vote. You can vote once a day, every day if you like. You can share your vote on Facebook and on Twitter.
Now you're watching News Stream. And still to come, this superlong creature of the deep has washed up in California. So just what is it? We'll give you the answer after the break.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now in this month's On China, we want to take a look at the issue of corruption. Now Chinese president Xi Jinping has made it a policy priority to root out corruption at all levels, including within the Communist Party. Now I asked three leading China watchers why corrupt officials are known as tigers and flies.
LU STOUT: Now both Li Keqiang (ph) and Xi Jinping said that in this anti-corruption drive they're going to be targeting the tigers and the flies. What does that mean, tigers and flies?
LIJIA ZHANG, AUTHOR: The tigers -- by the way, this phrase, that's not his creation. Chairman Mao come out with this phrase in the 50s. The tigers refer to big corrupt officials and the flies little officials. And the truth is that so far, you know, the anti-corruption campaign most of the corrupt officials being caught are flies and very few tigers.
WILLY LAM, CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Xi Jinping has only caught one tiger, (inaudible) official, a very powerful former head of the CNPC, the China National Petroleum Corporation. And all of us observers in Beijing and Hong Kong are wondering whether he will do something to (inaudible) who is a member of the (inaudible).
LU STOUT: The ex-security chief of China?
LAM: Yes, yes. And also a senior member of the so-called petroleum faction, because he spent most of his career in the petroleum industry
So at least half of the wise ministerial and ministerial officials who Xi Jinping has brought to justice have close connections to (inaudible). So I think this is a very important litmus test as to whether Wan Xishan (ph) and Xi Jinping are willing to break certain conventions, because that is one well known convention within the Communist Party even though it is not publicized and that is former and current members of these (inaudible) committee are untouchable. You cannot touch them with criminal offenses.
LU STOUT: A lot of insight in that roundtable discussion. You can watch my full interview with Lijia Zhang, Willy Lam and Benjamin Lim (ph) on the latest addition of On China. You can catch it Saturday 12:30 in the afternoon right here in Hong Kong.
Now we don't normally end this show with animal videos, but you really have to see these.
Now first to Australia where an undocumented traveler had authorities on the hop at Melbourne Airport. A kangaroo hopped into the airport terminal, forcing part of it to shutdown. Now the injured animal headed straight for the pharmacy, which kind of makes sense in a way. And he was rescued by wildlife volunteers. And they've given it the name Cyrus after one of the rescuers.
And if you thought that was a good one, I'm going to show you what can only be described as a real-life sea monster. You're looking at a giant oarfish. And let me tell you, this is huge. It measures 5.5 meters, or 18 feet long. Not surprisingly, as you can see, it took some 15 people to carry it onshore.
A snorkler found the oarfish in the waters off California's Catalina Island. Now it was already dead when it was spotted on the sea floor, but it is still an amazing find. Oarfish are rarely seen dead or alive. They're believed to dive to depth of more than 900 meters, which means they are largely unstudied. What a creature.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.