Return to Transcripts main page
Photographer Critically Shot At Liberation Newspaper In Paris; Rare Storm System Causes Destructive Tornadoes In Midwestern U.S.; On The Road: Polish Ballet; NASA launches Probe To Study Mars' Upper Atmosphere; Violence Rages In Libya Over Militias; Chinese Families Excited, Cautious About Lifting One Child Policy; Czech Republic Defends David Cup Championship
Aired November 18, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
France orders police to protect the nation's newspapers after a shooting in Paris. And that's not the only violent incident we're following in the French capital.
Plus, the U.S. heartland is hammered by a tornado outbreak. Dozens of twisters have been reported, some of them deadly.
And 10 days after the typhoon in the Philippines drones reveal a new view of the damage as they search for people who need help.
We begin in Paris where there have been two gun attacks within the past few hours. The first one at the French newspaper Liberation. Police say a man armed with a shotgun walked into the lobby and opened fire. A 27-year-old photographer's assistant was shot in the chest and is in serious condition.
The French interior minister says police are being sent to the offices of all national newspapers. And he spoke just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANUEL VALLS, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): We will do everything in our power to catch this individual. In our country, we cannot accept those who attack our fundamental rights, a right that women and men have always fought for all over the world. Lives have been lost over this right. I'm thinking of our two RFI journalists who were executed a few days ago in Northern Mali. And here in the heart of Paris, we cannot accept these acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: The second attack took place in La Defense neighborhood of Paris. The International Bank Societe General says a man opened fire in front of its headquarters there. No injuries have been reported and police are investigating.
Now long after that incident, a man told police he was carjacked in the same neighborhood. Police say the man dropped off the assailant near the city's famous thoroughfare the Champs Elysees.
In other news now, people across the Midwestern part of the United States are trying to recover after ferocious weather over the weekend. Dozens of reported tornadoes tore up everything in their path across several states on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: This man was literally praying for his life as he captures video of a funnel cloud ripping through the town of Washington, Illinois. It was just one of 81 tornadoes reported on Sunday.
Meteorologists say it's highly unusual for this kind of storm system to erupt in November.
Parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio were devastated when a combination of cold dry air, warm moist air and wind shear created a turbulent brew of extreme and lethal weather.
At least six people have been killed and many homes have been completely destroyed. And on this Monday morning in the United States more than half a million customers still don't have power.
CNN's George Howell is live in Kokomo, Indiana. And he joins us with more.
George, now that it's daybreak, what are you seeing around you?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just a few minutes ago, we heard from the mayor here of Kokomo and he told me that the state of emergency has been lifted in this town. That is good news. And also to reiterate the fact that no one was killed. There were no serious injuries given what happened here. But with light of day, as the sun comes up here in this city you can get a good sense of just how strong the winds were.
You can see the roof here that collapsed on top of a fire truck. And even the firefighters here will need a little help digging out.
Just a few minutes ago, we saw them walking by the fire truck really trying to figure out what their next move will be. And you see plenty of devastation, a lot of damage in this town, no significant injuries, no fatalities but a lot of property damage that people will be cleaning up today.
HOWELL (voice-over): New police dash-cam video captured this twister in Boone County, Indiana Sunday, watch as it passes dangerously close to this semi truck. The damage in Indiana so extensive, more than 160,000 residents found themselves without power this morning. Entire communities were destroyed. The force even toppling a car in this Starbucks parking lot. Patrons were temporarily trapped inside, but lucky for the escape.
Tornado warnings were issued across the region last night putting Wisconsin, Missouri and Ohio all on edge. This time lapse shows the storm overtake the Indianapolis skyline Sunday afternoon. The resulting tornadoes tore across multiple towns, crews in Kokomo worked in darkness, headlights from their emergency vehicles the only source of light in one of the hardest hit areas in Indiana.
The storm brought wind gusts powerful enough to tear the top from this home sending it flying to the mild of the road. A fire station nearby was nearly demolished. This man searches through what used to be his living room. Damage from the storm system spread to neighboring states, like Wisconsin. Trees were uprooted and houses sustained extensive damage in Allenton.
You can hear and see the strength of the storm blowing fast through St. Louis and in Milwaukee, thick black clouds moved in, in just a matter of minutes.
HOWELL: Now, we know that the cleanup work will start today, a lot to be done and also the governor will be here to tour a lot of the damage here in Kokomo. Back to you.
CHIOU: All right, George, thank you very much. That's George Howell there in the state of Indiana in the U.S.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, newly released video has emerged of the terrifying storm surge that did so much damage when Typhoon Haiyan pounded the country 10 days ago.
In this dramatic video, you can see it looks like tsunami. The wall of water slamming into the eastern coast of Samar Island wiping out trees and houses. An aid worker shot the footage from the top floor of a boarding house and survived to tell the tale.
But many people are still missing in the Philippines. Drones are now being used in the search and rescue effort. And they are also providing a bird's eye view of the catastrophic damage. Karl Penhaul has more from Tacloban.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been ten days since the super typhoon ripped through the Philippines, and as the death toll continues to mount, new video is emerging showing how a huge tidal surge dragged away homes and people.
But it's only if we send a video camera into the air that you can begin to get a handle on the true dimension of this disaster.
Look around you, and imagine how it must have felt standing here on Magallanes Street in Tacloban City as the towering war of water raced in from the ocean.
But take a look, the pictures speak clearly for themselves. Wherever you look, international organizations and government rescue teams are hard at work pulling away debris still looking for bodies of the dead trying to bring relief to the survivors.
But seeing the scale here, you begin to understand how daunting a task that will be. It's a task that could take months, maybe years, to rebuild.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, Tacloban, The Philippines.
CHIOU: And the death toll keeps rising. The latest number that we have is 3,976 people were killed from that typhoon, 18,000 injured and more than 1,600 still missing.
Well, extreme weather events like Typhoon Haiyan are a talking point at the United Nations climate change summit currently underway in Poland. The conference is in its second week. Delegates from 200 countries are paving the way for a new global treaty ahead of a 2015 deadline.
A short time ago, CNN's Paula Newton spoke to the UN's climate chief about the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the discussions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINA FIGUERES, UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: One single event cannot be incontrovertibly linked to climate change, no single event can. And the World Meteorological Organization takes a while to figure out the impact on climate change. So, there is no natural disaster that is only caused by climate change. What climate change does is it increases the frequency and the intensity of extreme weather events. And there is a likelihood -- how much remains to be determined by the World Meteorological Organization that that event could be one in which the intensity was influenced by climate change.
But whether it was or wasn't, the point is that it is the types of disaster that we are already seeing and that we will continue to see happening more frequently and more intensity around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: With Australia, Japan and Canada reconsidering their measures to address climate change, activists organized via Poland's Green Party were out on the streets. Around 1,000 people marched to protest global warming.
And still ahead right here on News Stream, a CNN exclusive. Our reporter managed to cross from Kenya to Somalia without showing any ID.
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant calls it a significant step. We'll show you a delicate cleanup operation that is just getting underway. Plus, it is equally recognizable, but still such a mystery. Now NASA hopes to learn more with a mission to Mars.
CHIOU: You are watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today.
We've already told you about the deadly tornado outbreak in the United States. Later, we'll tell you about an operation to remove hazardous fuel rods from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
But now we have an exclusive report for you from Kenya. It's been nearly two months since Somali militants stormed Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall and killed dozens of people there. In the wake of that attack, the Kenyan government has increased security along the border with Somalia. But in her exclusive report, Nima Elbagir tells us some people are still finding ways to slip into Kenya undetected.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the border between Kenya and Somalia. Now we can't show you this for security reasons, but either side of this border is a pretty substantial security setup and that has only grown in size and scrutiny in the aftermath of the Westgate attack in Nairobi.
But this isn't the only route into Somalia. Hacked out of the outgrowth, this is where traffic flows. The panya routes, so-called rat routes, used by smugglers to cross back and forth undetected. Branching brazenly off from the government roads, they're certainly a smoother ride in spite of the Kenyan government's efforts to beef up border security.
Up through these smuggler's routes, we've managed to enter Somalia from Kenya. And without any checkpoints, without being asked for ID, without seeing any sort of government presence.
Night falls and it's rush hour on the panya route. People and goods ferried back and forth. Everyone is too afraid to stop for long here, even to help the stranded families we see along the way.
Many are escaping the uncertainty back home in Somalia, but some are seeking to enter Kenya undetected for their own ends.
The panya routes end in the Dadaab Refugee Camp, currently the target of the Kenyan government's post-Westgate anger. Authorities believe that during the build-up to Westgate, al Shabaab operatives traveled from Somalia, through the panya routes and hid among the refugees in the camp. And it's from there the Kenyan authorities say that they and other undocumented people made their way through government checkpoints and deeper into Kenya, often hiding in plain sight.
This is one of the public buses plying their trade on the road between Dadaab and the Kenyan capital. We wanted to see for ourselves how this works. So we board one of the buses and ask the conductor about the fare. He gives us a price. We say we don't have documentation and the price goes up from about $12 for both of us to $230.
The conductor says it will buy me and my companion the use of fake Kenyan IDs and a safe trip.
Don't worry, he says. You're not alone.
We count out the cash and he hands us IDs from a stash he's been handing out through the bus. That's all it takes.
We don't need the IDs, but others on the bus do.
As we arrive at Garissa, the main town in northeastn Kenya, we're told to line up at the checkpoint.
Just out of the hidden camera's view, security officers scrutinize thumb prints with the help of a magnifying class, comparing them to the IDs, fake or real.
We overhear a woman take a Kenyan police officer aside. Bluntly, she tells the officer she has no valid papers. All the passengers, including the woman with no documentation, are waved back onto the bus to continue their journey to the country's capital.
I show my official papers and join them.
The Kenyan government has now signed an agreement with Somalia, hoping to clear Dadaab by voluntarily repatriating its residents. But will that be enough to protect Kenya.
CHIOU: And that is the question.
Now after that report, Nima spoke with Kenya's interior minister in his first interview since the Westgate mall attack. Nima joins us now live from our bureau in Nairobi.
Nima, what did he have to say when he described how easy it was to move from Somalia into Kenya?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pauline. Well, he wasn't that surprised. He said the Kenyan authorities were aware of these loopholes, as he called them, and the impact that corruption within Kenya's institutions was having on the country's security. Take a listen, Pauline.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH LOE LENKU, KENYAN INTERIOR MINISTER: We have noted that that is a challenge. And we have studied a process that we think will ultimately give some good results. Coming to the police, we have also started a vetting process. The process just begun last week, this vetting process, that will see a number of corrupt officials removed from the system.
People are noticing that there is a new requirement for service in terms of integrity. And that those who will not meet that threshold will not be allowed into the service.
Yes, it has been a loophole and an avenue for insecurity and that is where we had to fill up that gap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: He also told us, Pauline, that the network responsible for the Westgate attacks, the al Shabaab network, was able to operate on a regional level and needed a regional response. And this is something that he would be working closely with his neighbors in -- across East Africa on -- Pauline.
CHIOU: Yeah, and let's see if that pact really does hold. Nima, it was very much an eye-opening story. Thank you very much. That's Nima Elbagir there live from Nairobi.
Let's return to our top story right now, which was two gun attacks that happened earlier in Paris. Jim Bittermann now joins us on the line.
Jim, this is a very fluid situation with a lot going on in just the past couple of hours. Tell us what you know about what happened?
JIM BITTERAMNN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically I think police are trying to sort this out right now. The first thing that happened was at about 10:15 local time this morning when there was a man with a gun, came to a Liberation newspaper on the (inaudible) in Paris and fired two shots with his shotgun. He managed to pretty badly injure an assistant photographer who was in the lobby at the time. And then a second incident -- and police are not confirming that these two are related -- second incident took place about two hours later outside of a bank across town in the suburb of La Defense, which is just outside the Paris boundary.
In any case, there was a shot fired outside of the Societe Generale Bank.
And then just a short while after that, there was a carjacking very close by. A gunmen, or someone armed -- and it's not clear that he had a gun, some people said he was armed with a grenade -- took a driver hostage and forced him to drop the perpetrator nearby, drop him in a rather large intersection nearby and he disappeared.
So the police launched a helicopter. They have been trying to find that gunman.
There's also another incident involved here that took place on Friday, and that took place at our sister network BFM here in France, where a man came in with a shotgun, threatened the receptionist and then tried to fire the shotgun. It didn't go off. He emptied the shells out and said next time I'm going to make this work and that was on Friday.
Then we had the incident in Liberation Newspaper this morning followed by these shots outside the bank.
So it's not clear exactly how these are related, although the gunman in the Friday incident and the incident at Liberation this morning the descriptions match. They're saying that it's some -- an older man, 40 years old or so, with a closely shaven head and a rather large man -- Pauline.
CHIOU: OK, Jim. So the descriptions match, yet the police are hesitant to say whether or not these incidents are connected since they are under investigation.
Do the police have any indication what the motive might be if these incidents are connected?
BITTERMANN: No, I don't think so at this point. I mean, I don't -- but the two incidents that do seem to, at least, at this stage match up fairly closely are the incident at BFM on Friday and the Liberation newspaper today, two journalistic centers and the description of the man involved due to have some similarities. So -- and both -- in both incidents, it was a shotgun that was used.
The bank shooting, and that's another thing, it could be related, it might night be related it could be just some other act of violence that took place randomly today.
CHIOU: OK. A lot going on in Paris. Jim, we know you're going to be on top of it. Thank you very much. That's Jim Bittermann with the latest on the two shootings early this Monday morning in Paris.
In other news now, the tennis season comes to a close with a rare achievement in the Davis Cup. We'll have more on that right after this short break.
CHIOU: Time now for a look at sports. And a tennis update. Amanda Davies joins us now live from CNN London. Hello, Amanda.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pauline. Great to see you. It wasn't the end to the year that Novak Djokovic was looking for, but it's the Czech Republic who are celebrating victory in the Davis Cup final. They beat Serbia 3-2 to successfully defend their crown after it went right down to the decisive final rubber in Belgrade.
Djokovic did what he could in Sunday's reverse singles. He beat Tomas Berdych in straight sets. The world number two recorded his 24th straight win 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 it finished. And that leveled the tide at two matches each. So it went right down to the final match and that meant it all came down for the young Serbian player Dusan Lajovic, the world number 117 against the world number 44 from the Czech Republic Radek Stepanek. Stepanek proved just too strong. And in the end, he won comfortably 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
So, the Czech Republic just the fifth country to successfully retain a Davis Cup since 1981.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADEK STEPANEK, 2-TIME DAVID CUP CHAMPION: It's something magical, you know, working for this my whole career, getting there at the age of 34, 35 twice in a row. You know, I've been dreaming about this trophy my whole life, my whole career, you know, and suddenly it happens twice. It doesn't come, you know, from anywhere. You have to work hard for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: Pauline, great scenes in Belgrade despite the fact it was the visitors who went home with the trophy.
But that's the end now of the men's season officially, but all the players already in training to kick things off for 2014 before we know it.
CHIOU: Yeah, already looking ahead.
All right, Amanda, thank you very much. Amanda Davies there live from CNN London.
Well, technology giants Microsoft and Google are about to roll out new technology to block child pornography on the web. Under pressure from the UK government, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt says, quote, "we've listened. And in the last three months put more than 200 people to work developing new state-of-the-art technology to tackle this problem."
He goes on to say that "we fine tuned Google search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing."
The new software will block 100,000 terms identified from child protection experts as leading to illegal content.
Well, it's been the worst fighting in Libya since the revolution which toppled Gadhafi two years ago. We'll get the latest from Tripoli.
Plus, the delicate and dangerous work of removing nuclear fuel rods from Japan's severely damaged Fukushima power plant. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
The French interior minister says police are being sent to the offices of all national newspapers after a man was shot in Paris at the newspaper Liberation. Authorities say the victim is in serious condition.
Also on Monday, the bank Societe Generale says a man opened fire in front of its Paris headquarters. No one was injured, but a man was later carjacked in that very same neighborhood and dropped off the assailant on the Champs Elysees.
At least six people are dead after powerful tornadoes tore through the Midwestern part of the United States on Sunday. Dozens of homes were destroyed. The Illinois town of Washington was one of the hardest hit.
Officials from Boeing and U.S. federal safety experts are helping a Russian investigation of a jetliner crash from Sunday. All 50 people on board were killed. Russian authorities say the 737 Boeing crashed on landing in Kazan (ph), which is a city about 700 kilometers east of Moscow.
The Libyan army deployed dozens of troops and armored vehicles on the streets of Tripoli on Monday. On Friday, 43 people were killed in deadly fighting involving militias. Also on Monday, the deputy head of Libya's intelligence services was freed a day after being abducted by unidentified gunmen.
We want to bring you more now on one of the two shootings that took place earlier today in the French capital. Francois Sergent is an editor for the Liberation Newspaper. And he arrived shortly in the reception area after the shooter opened fire there.
Here's what he had to say just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCOIS SERGENT, EDITOR, LIBERATION: I saw a man lying on the floor. There was one people of Liberation helping him (inaudible) of Liberation. The man was visibly in shock and he was talking a little bit. He had just been shot, I think, a few minutes before I came on the scene.
CHOIU: And Francois, was this in the reception as you entered the building or was this actually in the newsroom?
SERGENT: No, it was in the reception. It was the first floor of Liberation just on the first level. And the man entered the (inaudible) Liberation and just shot at random.
CHIOU: Did you see the man as he got away?
SERGENT: No. No, no, no. I think he has left a few minutes before I came out of the lift.
CHIOU: And this is an unfolding situation. As I mentioned, there had been a shooting outside the headquarter of Societe General after this shooting at the newspaper office. And now we're just getting some wires saying that there was a car jacking in La Defense and the driver was forced to drop off the assailant on the Champs Elysees.
Is it your impression that this is all connected and this is the same man?
SERGENT: We can suspect it is connected. It's right close from La Defense on the Champs Elysees. So it's possible. On the police we saw this morning was also making a connection with an attack on Friday night against an all news TV BFM and also at the reception a man came with the same kind of gun, a sawed off gun, but he didn't shoot at BFM what he did at Liberation he very seriously injured one photographer.
CHIOU: So the person who was shot who is in serious condition at Liberation was a photographer. Is that correct?
SERGENT: The man was shot at the reception of Liberation. He's a photographer. And he is very seriously wounded according to the police, yeah, to the hospital where he has been transported.
CHIOU: And that was Francois Sergent who is an editor at La Liberation. And I spoke with him just a little bit earlier after a shooting at his newspaper office.
Now let's turn to Libya where security is deteriorating by the day. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has this report.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was the bloodiest day in the Libyan capital since the fall of the Gadhafi regime more than two years ago as hundreds of unarmed residents marched on the Tripoli headquarters of powerful militias in the coastal city of Misrata to try and evict them on Friday. They came under heavy fire from the militiamen. And the peaceful protests soon escalated into an armed confrontation. Scores were killed, hundreds wounded.
For months, frustration among Libyans has been growing over the state of lawlessness in their country. Revolutionary fighters who were once hailed as heroes are now the militiamen who threaten the stability of Libya. Hundreds of heavily armed groups with competing agendas have carved the country into their own fiefdoms. The weak government has failed to disarm them and has struggled to build a national army.
Capitalizing on the anger that is continuing to mount on the streets, the Libyan prime minister renewed his government's demand on Saturday.
ALI ZEIDAN, LIBYAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The departure of militias from Tripoli is a command that is not up for discussion, it is a necessary and urgent demand.
KARADSHEH: But the prime minister's words offer little promise to his people. Last month, Zeidan himself was kidnapped by one militia in Tripoli and released a few hours later by another militia.
As Libya faces its most serious political and security crisis since the revolution, the message from the streets of the capital is one of defiance and determination. People want the militias disbanded. But in a country awash with weapons and armed groups, many fear the situation may spiral out of control.
CHIOU: And that was Jomana Karadsheh in the capital of Tripoli. She joins me now live with the very latest on this situation.
And Jomana, it has been two years since the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime, so why have the militias refused to disarm?
KARADSHEH: Well, speaking to a lot of these militiamen, Pauline, they would tell you that the government has been slow to form the police and army here. But really they're in a catch 22 situation where the government is really unable to establish the security forces until the militias lay down their weapons and join the security forces.
Now in the past few hours, Pauline, the streets of Tripoli here today remain really empty. It's a very tense situation here in the capital. This is the second day of a general strike where (inaudible) even reports of clashes in a southern district of Tripoli looking into more information about what is going on there.
Also, the government released a statement saying that units of the Libyan army have been deployed to the capital to secure Tripoli. But some Libyans I've spoken to, Pauline, are saying what army?
The fact is the army remains, by all estimates, only a few thousand men within that army. They are outnumbered and outgunned by the militias who really are the ones who control the streets.
CHIOU: All right, Jomana, thank you very much. We apologize for the audio quality. You're cutting in and out. But we did get the general gist of what you were saying. That's Jomana Karadsheh there describing the very tense and unstable situation there in Tripoli.
To Japan now and the massive cleanup that's underway at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. More than two-and-a-half years after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the plant, the operator Tepco says it has begun removing its fuel rods.
Tepco has been widely criticized over the cleanup. And earlier this year, Japan's industry minister compared the company's efforts to a game of whack-a-mole. In all, it's estimated the cleanup will cost $50 billion.
More on the story now from CNN's Kyung Lah in Tokyo.
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Day one down, several hundred more to go. At the Fukushima nuclear plant, workers have successfully and safely moved some nuclear fuel. Tepco, the operator of the nuclear plant, released these images. What you are looking at is the inside of reactor number four. And this is the very first time since the triple meltdown that Tepco has managed to move fuel rods at the spent fuel pool.
So how is this happening? Well, think of it as pickup sticks, except dealing with highly radioactive material. It is a painstaking process.
That cylinder is lowered into a fuel pool. It is basically a reinforced steel transportation container. Tepco says on this first day they managed to move four fuel assemblies into the cylinder.
Now the operation is split into two phases. The first phase where we'll focus on 200 unused fuel rods. The second phase will be much more precarious moving 1,300 rods of spent fuel. It is a tough job.
Tepco has to manage to keep temperatures stable, avoid rubble from the disaster and make sure there is no further spread of radiation. It has been a good day one, says Tepco. They expect this operation to take a full year all the way through 2014.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
CHIOU: Now on Friday we told you about China's decision to make some changes to its most well known and controversial policies. It was announced the government would abolish labor camps and relax its one child policy. Those were some of the 60 decisions made during a four day meeting of top Communist Party officials.
Well, Chinese people have reacted positively to the news and so have investors. Take a look at the stock markets today. In Shanghai and Hong Kong, they closed up nearly 3 percent by the end of the session.
But as David McKenzie tells us, even though couples now have the option of having a second child, it may take years for them to be able to afford it.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At a restaurant at the outer edges of Beijing, Tian Zhang's (ph) family gathers to celebrate her birthday and praise new changes in China's one child policy.
Because now school teacher Hou Fang is allowed to have a second child.
HOU FANG, SCHOOLTEACHER: And if I have one more child in the future I wish that the number could be three.
MCKENZIE: For three generations the one child policy shaped their family.
Tian Zhang's (ph) grandmother was one of nine children, but the law forced her to have only one. It was the same for Fang.
It made Tian Zhang (ph) the center of their world like in most Chinese families.
But Fang and her husband remember their own childhoods.
"As far as I'm concerned, if she had a little brother or a sister it would be better for her," he says, "because I'm an only child too. I was always lonely growing up."
Millions of couples in China will now be allowed to have a second child. It's one of the most significant reforms to the one child policy since the late-70s. But has the Communist Party acted too late?
FANG: Internally, I'm very happy, excited. Unfortunately, at least for our family, I could not afford to raise one more child.
MCKENZIE: Like many couples today in China, Fang says they are saddled with debt, struggling to handle soaring prices and expected to support their aging parents.
"As we get older, they're going to take care of all of us elderly," she says. "How are they going to be able to do that?"
The changes in the one child policy are meant to secure the future of China by giving a choice back to families. But for many, perhaps, it's a choice they cannot afford to make.
David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.
CHIOU: Experts say China's one child policy has slowed the growth of the country's working population and led to a boom in China's aging demographic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROF. WANG FENG, FUDAN UNIVERSITY: China has had more than 20 years of below replacement fertility. So in comparison to the other countries, China has at least a 10 more years of a time lack. And the China will live with that consequence. The later you reverse the policy, the longer the whole society will have to live with the negative consequences of the policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Currently, 194 million people are 60 or older according to China's state run news agency. Now that's about 14 percent of the population. By 2050 that number is expected to swell to 437 million, or 30 percent of the population.
You can get complete coverage of China on our website. For more on the reforms or a look at Beijing's military might, just log on to CNN.com/China.
Well, counting down to a mission to Mars, NASA's latest explorer is ready to launch. We'll have more right after this break.
CHIOU: In just a few hours, NASA will launch its latest mission to Mars. Known as MAVEN, it stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission. Scientists hope to find answers to key questions they've been asking for decades now.
Maven will gather clues about the Red Planet's climate history. Scientists hope the data it collects will help them understand how Mars lost much of its atmosphere. And that could eventually help answer the question was there ever life on Mars?
Well, earlier I spoke to NASA administrator Charles Bolden and asked him to explain more about Maven's mission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: The big question we are hoping to answer with MAVEN is what happened to its upper atmosphere, how did the sun's -- the solar winds and other factors scrape its atmosphere off and contribute to it becoming a cold, barren planet the way it is today. That's the big question.
CHIOU: And one long-term goal that NASA has is to eventually send astronauts to Mars to 2030. But what conditions do you need to find on Mars to make that possible? And what kind of scientific advances does NASA have to make in order to make this a very realistic goal?
BOLDEN: You know, I think in order to send humans to Mars in the 2030s we -- and to do it comfortably, we need to understand a little bit more about the Maritan environment. We'd like to know what -- you know, we know there's plenty of water there. We'd like to know a little bit more about its atmosphere and whether or not there is any hope that the atmosphere is somehow going to be restored with time such that we -- when we live there you could do it without the need of modules and suits and the like.
So, every little bit we can learn about its atmosphere and its surface and sub-surface will be beneficial to humans.
CHIOU: And now if you collect all that valuable data and it all goes well with Curiosity and all goes well with MAVEN, what can you do, what are the possibilities, what can you do with all of this data?
BOLDEN: Oh, we are going to use that data, combine it with data that will come from -- we've got another mission that we're launching in 2016 called Insight. And Insight is actually going to land on the surface of Mars and then core deeper than we've ever been able to do before. So we'll be looking well under the Martian surface with Insight.
We have Mars 2020, which is another rover very similar to curiosity that's going to go to another area on the Martian surface. And by that time we're hoping that we will know -- we will understand the planet even better than we do today. So it'll go to an area that we think stands an even better chance of having harbored life at one time.
So it's a gradual progression of getting humans to the planet in the 2030s such that we're very comfortable that we understand this strange red planet and that we can put humans there and have them survive for long periods of time.
CHIOU: And that was NASA administrator Charles Bolden speaking to me a little bit earlier.
Now MAVEN will be joining some other NASA devices already on or around Mars. The satellite Odyssey blasted off for the Red Planet back in 2001. In 2006, it was joined by the Mars reconnaissance orbiter. And the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity have been on the planet surface since 2004 and 2012.
Now MAVEN is scheduled to orbit Mars in September. It takes quite a long time to actually get there. And in September, that will be around the same time that India's Mars orbiter is due to arrive. It was launched nearly three weeks ago.
So very, very exciting stuff.
Well, now we've got to talk about the weather. And back on Earth, the deadly tornadoes in the Midwestern part of the United States. Samantha Moore is live at the World Weather Center. And Samantha, these tornadoes, more than 80 of them, really covered so many states. It was just a huge swath when you look at that map behind you.
SAMANTHA MOORE, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: That is right. We had over 26 states affected by this severe weather outbreak, Pauline. And they were moving so fast. This is the radar as that line of deadly storms moved through central Illinois. And we had two notable tornadoes that were very strong probably anywhere from the EF3, EF4 range on the enhanced Fujita scale, which is very strong.
We had a tornado in Washington, Illinois as well as in New Minden, Illinois. And we have winds gusting in the city of Chicago, that huge metropolis, up to 138 kilometers per hour. So it was a deadly wind event.
Here are all the storm reports that came in. As you said, 81 tornadoes, 413 destructive wind reports and hail 41 reports, large hail of one to two inches. So just incredible here as this line of destructive storms moved on through.
This is the one line I want to focus on right here. As you can see, it was aimed at Chicago. And these storms were moving to the northeaster at around 55 miles per hour.
Let's take a look at that video as this huge tornado was bearing down on Washington, Illinois. Now that is southwest of Chicago. And as it moved in, just terrifying with this incredibly strong destructive winds.
We have video from a storm chaser in that area showing as it's on the ground. That's exactly what he said, "It's on the ground." You can see that debris flying around far in advance of this deadly tornado.
And then the aftermath here. You can see the destruction, three miles long in this community, that's how long the tornado was on the ground, then it skipped up and came back down again.
So let's show you that -- look at that destruction, incredible.
So here's that line of storms. I just wanted to zoom in and show you exactly how this town looks of Washington, Illinois. You can see that it is a suburban community with a lot of homes in the area, that's why we saw that destruction.
That's the same storm that kept this whole path all the way to the edge of Chicago. Thank goodness it lifted right before it hit this huge metropolitan area, because it could have even been worse than this, believe it or not, Pauline.
CHIOU: So that was at least the one good thing that ended after all of that, that it lifted and did not quite hit Chicago. The windy city.
All right, Samantha, thank you very much. Samantha Moore there at CNN weather center.
Well, still ahead on News Stream, we are on the road in Poland where the country's national ballet is coming of age.
CHIOU: All this week, CNN's "On the Road" series will explore the customs and culture of Poland from their underground treasure to their innovation and dance. Paula Newton shows us the places, people and passions unique to this eastern European country.
First up, Warsaw's national theatre where two decades after the end of Communism the country's national ballet is moving in a new creative direction.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Make no mistake, for Poland's national ballet this is not about regaining past glory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three, four -- better, very good.
NEWTON: It's about something much more ambitious: making history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just can feel with (inaudible) back.
KRZYSZTOF PASTOR, DIRECTOR, POLISH NATIONAL BALLET: I'm here because I'm Polish.
I'm thinking in for everyone in Poland, you know, not only for the ballet dancers, but also in other jobs, you know, one has to be innovative, creative and I think the art that's the importance of art that we should sort of be in avant garde of this creativity and innovation.
NEWTON: Krzysztof Pastor is the ballet's director, a passionate man who has come home. He is the world renowned choreographer still resident choreographer with the Dutch National Ballet. But his mission is here now, creating a dance company that ambitiously reflects Poland's rebirth after years of traumatic wars and repression.
PASTOR: You know, I said myself once that somebody ask me what I think of how the company should be in the future. And I think it should reflect the society, you know, with ambitions, do something innovative, again, creative, again, and you know I have to say that I want the company to be dynamic and daring.
NEWTON: Even if, like me, you know nothing of ballet, you will appreciate this, the sheer athleticism is striking, the grace and skill breathtaking.
To hear Prima Ballerina Marta Fiedler tell it, the potential of this dance company could only be fulfilled with Pastor's homecoming.
MARTA FIEDLER, PRINCIPAL, POLISH NATIONAL BALLET: We were really happy, because we thought that it will be really an opportunity for us to change something, you know, from the old years when everything was so strict and so closed, actually, not open to the world. So he changed a lot of things of thinking of showing the dancers how it's supposed to work.
NEWTON: Part of being open and creative means this is an international company. It's now a place where people from outside Poland want to dance and work.
PASTOR: Go attack. Voila.
Our mission is to go outside and show that we are a young, dynamic, innovative and creative company. I think that I already accomplished something, but I'm also aware that there's still a, you know, a long way to go.
NEWTON: Pastor's passion for ballet so poetically captures the new energy here, a bold energy, that resonates with ambition and beauty.
Paula Newton, CNN, Warsaw.
CHIOU: Beautiful to watch.
Well, most people who visit Poland tend to go to Warsaw or Krakow or even to the beach in Sopot, there's also somewhere else to see, a place that has five rivers, 12 islands and more than 200 bridges. I'm talking about Wroclaw. The city's Istagramer's have managed to capture some of the city's best images. And tomorrow, we will bring you the view through their lens.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.