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YOUR WORLD TODAY

Middle East Conflict; Purported bin Laden Tape Mourns al- Zarqawi's Death; U.S. Army Orders Criminal Investigation of Iraq Deaths; Inside the Lives of Egyptian Street Children

Aired June 30, 2006 - 12:00   ET

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


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hopes on brute force. Israel blitzes Gaza, but still no sign of the abducted soldier that began it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You find them under bridges. You find them in city center, in the squares, in tourist areas. They have become a part of daily life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Pricking the conscience of Cairo, the small figures that cast long shadows on Egyptian streets.

GORANI: Europe clamors to close Guantanamo but shuts the door on accepting its inhabitants.

CLANCY: And time out from all that political jazz. Two world leaders get a little R&R down at Graceland. And we do mean rock 'n' roll.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani. And those are among the top stories we're following for all of you this hour

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. From Gaza to Berlin, from Paris to Cairo, we're there, covering YOUR WORLD TODAY.

Five days into the crisis over a kidnapped Israeli soldier, we're hearing directly now from the head of the government that Israel is holding responsible.

GORANI: Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya spoke in public today even as Israel keeps up a military offensive in Gaza.

CLANCY: Let's get right now to John Vause in Gaza for the latest.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Jim.

Israel may have put a ground offensive on hold, but it continues to fire artillery rounds, especially in the north of Gaza, and carry out multiple airstrikes. And a few hours ago, the first fatality of this conflict. A militant from Islamic Jihad was killed by an airstrike. Israel says he was trying to fire an anti-tank missile. And for this embattled Hamas government, a show of support today with thousands of Palestinians in Gaza taking to the streets after Friday morning prayers. And from Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, his first comment since this military offensive began. He accused Israel of a much broader objective of trying to destroy his government and says this military action is only complicating efforts to try and win the freedom of the 19-year-old Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit.

Israel, though, says for now it is showing restraint, trying to give negotiators from Egypt and Qatar more time to win a diplomatic breakthrough, to win the freedom of the young corporal. So far, though, there's been no sign of life, no video, no photograph from the hostage-takers, but the assumption is he's still alive, still being held somewhere in southern Gaza -- Jim.

GORANI: John, this is Hala. What about that conditional release deal we heard about yesterday? Hosni Mubarak speaking to that government-controlled newspaper, "Al Alharam (ph)," that Hamas made offers to Israel? What about that? Is that completely dead or it's still in the cards?

VAUSE: Well, I wouldn't say it's completely dead, but certainly from the Israelis, they don't seem to be taking it seriously. In fact, at one point, they were saying they knew nothing of it and that conditional release apparently came from -- apparently that conditional release -- that release actually came with a number of conditions. And the Israelis have said in the past that there will be no conditions for the freedom of the young Israeli corporal. They want him released, they want him released immediately -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. John Vause live in Gaza City -- Jim.

CLANCY: The airstrikes in Gaza, of course, as we heard they've knocked out bridges, water systems, and a major power plant. The United Nations now warning that that is pushing the densely-populated strip ever closer to the edge of a humanitarian crisis.

Paula Hancocks will be along with us shortly. She'll be taking a look at some of the hardships that families are facing there.

We're also going to be talking with Jan Egeland of the United Nations.

GORANI: All right. In the meantime, both support at home and abroad for Palestinians during that Israeli offensive in Gaza. But Muslim worshippers attending weekly prayers in Jerusalem this Friday say that people are suffering too much. Attendants gathered outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem to pray for Palestinians in Gaza.

A much less somber protest took place in Istanbul. Thousands gathered to voice their opposition to the Israeli offensive. Protesters burned the Israeli flags in some cases, as well as the Danish flag. That's in a nod to that month-old controversy that surrounded a newspaper cartoon earlier this year. All right. Now let's turn our attention to something -- to another news item this hour. Western intelligence experts are poring over a new message that is believed to be from Osama bin Laden.

CLANCY: In fact, the CIA, we are told, has now confirmed it was his voice on an audiotape. In the message that's contained on that, bin Laden mourns the death of al Qaeda's leader in Iraq and taunts the U.S. president, George W. Bush.

David Ensor's been tracking it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On the new 19-and-a-half-minute audiotape posted on the Web, the speaker purporting to be Osama bin Laden praises the slain al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a lion of jihad, saying he died in a "shameful American raid." The CIA is abling the tape to authenticate the voice, but an intelligence official said she has no reason to doubt that it is indeed bin Laden, who addresses President Bush directly.

OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): I say to Bush, you should deliver the hero's body to his family and don't be too happy our flag hasn't fallen. Thanks to god, it has passed from one lie to another lion in Islam. You have prevented Abu Musab from entering his homeland alive. Don't stand in his way now.

ENSOR: The tape comes just over three weeks after Zarqawi's death and less than a week after a videotape from bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: They don't seem to be feeling the heat of the war on terror because they're releasing these tapes. We've had three from Zawahiri in the last three weeks. We've had three from bin Laden in the last three months. It's their way of staying relevant.

ENSOR: Addressing President Bush, bin Laden also said that, "We will continue to fight you in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan." "We will drain your money," he said, "kill your men, and send you home defeated."

(on camera): Analysts say the tapes are also an effort by al Qaeda central to capitalize on the popularity of Zarqawi among Islamic extremists, even though bin Laden's deputy in the past urged Zarqawi not to kill so many Shiites in Iraq and was ignored.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Now to a scandal that is hitting an industry that is worth millions and millions of dollars. Just two days before cycling's biggest race, two of the sport's biggest names found out they would not be among the competitors. Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich are among several athletes who were withdrawn by their teams by this year's Tour de France because of doping allegations. The teams acted after receiving details of an investigation being conducted by Spanish authorities into the use of performance-enhancing drugs among cyclists.

Ullrich won the '97 Tour de France and was a runner-up on five other occasions, a huge aim in the world of cycling. Basso won this year's Giro d'talia, the equivalent of the Tour de France in Italy. Both were considered favorites in this year's event.

The Tour de France is looking for its first new champion in nearly a decade. This year's race is the first since the retirement of American champion Lance Armstrong, who won the last seven tours -- Jim.

CLANCY: You know, I think for a U.S. audience it's hard to describe the find of fever that has gripped all of Europe, Latin America right now. The World Cup quarter final match between Germany and Argentina already under way in Berlin. The play has resumed after halftime.

Alberto Ayala (ph) has just scored a goal to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. You can almost hear it from here. The winner of the match will go on to the semifinals to face the winner of today's Italy-Ukraine contest.

There's a little bit of a World Cup update for you -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. We'll be following that for you. Also, our top story, a closer look at that growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

CLANCY: As Israel is clamping down -- and a lot of people understand why -- Palestinians say they're hurting, they don't have water, they don't have electricity. We'll talk with the United Nations' top man in humanitarian affairs.

GORANI: And later, the two leaders may be tossing a baseball for now, but the Japanese prime minister is all shook up about another excursion.

CLANCY: This is a very fun story.

Don't forget to e-mail us your thoughts on the matter. Why is Elvis such an enduring legend?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back.

Covering the world on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

And welcome to our international and U.S. viewers, up to speed now on the latest.

And we return to that crisis in Gaza. The airstrikes there have knocked out bridges, water systems, and also a major power plant. Now, the United Nations is warning that is pushing the densely- populated strip closer to the edge of a full-blown crisis.

Paula Hancocks looks at the hardships many families are facing there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's lunchtime for the Abu Al-Gurion (ph) family. Eight of them share the same plate in the one room they call home.

Life has always been hard for them in Gaza. Since the airstrikes, they say it has become impossible.

The father says, "I am not coping with any of this. There's no electricity, there are no fans. I live in one room. I am a human being. I should be able to live like any other human being."

Nafat Mohammed (ph) has a serious kidney disease. He can't work and he needs a blood transfusion every three days, treatment that takes most of his money.

Since the airstrikes, he says he can't find anyone willing to drive him to the hospital. Ambulances are too busy to pick him up.

Nafat's (ph) wife says, "From this room to the end of the house he gets tired and has to sit down and rest, so imagine him walking to the hospital."

The family receives flour and sugar from aid agencies, but that's it.

His wife says, "They're doing all these airstrikes because of one Israeli soldier. So what do you think about this family of eight people and no one is doing anything to help us?"

This power plant served three-quarters of Gaza until the Israeli air force destroyed it. Two days on, the transporters are still smoking. It could take up to six months to be repaired, but that depends on whether Israel will allow new ones to be brought in through checkpoints. Israeli warplanes returned to the area Thursday night, destroying underground cables.

(on camera): This power plant is insured for $48 million, and it's also insured for political risk, which in theory would cover the cost of these attacks. But there's a problem. It's covered by a U.S. agency, and the U.S. has cut off all funding for infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza since Hamas took power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It certainly has gone beyond the normal kind of infrastructure damage with which we have had experience in the past.

HANCOCKS (voice over): The U.N. is calling for Israel to allow emergency supplies to cross into Gaza to help almost one million people here classified as refugees.

Paula Hancock, CNN, Gaza City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Let's get more on this situation now. We're joined by Jan Egeland. He's the U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

Mr. Egeland, thank you very much for being with us.

You've been in contact with people in the Gaza Strip. What's the most pressing need right now? Is it that power plant?

JAN EGELAND, U.N. UNDER-SECRETARY GENERAL: That power plant is a real disaster for the civilian population of Gaza because it's not only wiping out electricity to norma household activities, it is also threatening water supply, sewage, sanitation.

Gaza is a crowded place, 1.4 million people, half of them children. And they are disproportionately carrying the brunt of the effects of this military and political conflict. All sides have to show restraint. The civilians must -- must not be hurt.

CLANCY: At the same time, there's a lot of people that ask the question, if the Palestinians didn't want this, didn't they set themselves up for it with the militants and that they're not nearly getting enough of the credit for the dire situation the Palestinians find themselves in?

EGELAND: Well, certainly to kidnap this young corporal inside of Israel was the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. It should not have happened. But those who suffer now for the retaliation are not predominantly the few who was behind this action, but hundreds of thousands of children who are now without water, without electricity.

It is a very, very explosive situation. We do not need more hatred, more hostility, more people planning new terror. We need to build bridges and not to bomb them.

CLANCY: Now, this power plant, as I understand it, is insured by the U.S. government, or an agency of the U.S. government, to the tune of $48 million. From your reports from the field, how much damage is there, and is there a problem repairing it? Because, as you well know, the U.S. is not sending any money to the Hamas government.

EGELAND: No, indeed. I mean, these sanctions, these restrictions which are now on the Palestinian areas for political reasons really also hurt indirectly the civilian population, because few and fewer have work, and more and more money transfers that are vital for society are not taking place.

That power plant which was bombed, which is a predominantly civilian installation, and thereby shielded by international law, that will take months and months to fix. So for many months, Gaza will be without much of its electricity needs for water, sanitation, and so on. And that is our primary concern.

At the same time, of course Palestinians must not attack Israel and Israeli civilians. It will lead to these enormous retaliations. Both sides have to come to their senses.

CLANCY: When you look at it right now, this situation, are you even able to move in any medical, any food supplies, any of the emergency supplies that may be needed? Because as I understand it, Gaza is pretty much shout down.

EGELAND: It's shut down, it's sealed at the moment. Even food supplies do not go through this pipeline, which means that the generators are running water pumps that are not having electricity because the power plant was bombed, they will run out of fuel very soon.

We cannot get in supplies at the moment. We did evacuate most of the international assistance staff.

Our hope is that normalcy can be restored, at least in terms of access to the civilian population. We have to shield the civilian population as we try to find political solutions.

CLANCY: Jan, how much time is there? People talk about the looming crisis, on the edge, on the brink. How much time really?

EGELAND: Well, if it is like this, it's only days until they run out of water to run water pumps, for example. And then we would have a complete disaster. But, of course, there's been a downward spiral now for month after month, with fewer and fewer having work, fewer and fewer having even a regular supply of money to buy food and so on.

It is a very explosive situation. And the only way to get out of this vicious cycle is that both sides take a step back and say, let's not provoke more hatred, let's try to build bridges, and let's shield at least the civilian population on both sides.

CLANCY: Jan Egeland, U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

As always, thank you very much.

EGELAND: Thank you, sir.

GORANI: All right. We're going to take a short break here on YOUR WORLD TODAY. Then, an update on the World Cup just ahead.

CLANCY: And then a little bit later, they're young, they're afraid, and they are all alone. We're going to take a heartbreaking look at a trend becoming all too common in Egypt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta. More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just minutes.

First, though, let's check stories making headlines here in the U.S.

Confession tossed. A judge has thrown out the confession of 9- year-old Jessica Lunsford's accused killer. The judge said that John Couey had requested a lawyer but was not given one. The Citrus County, Florida, sheriff says the case against Couey is still solid and he chief supports his investigators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF JEFF DAWSY, CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA: You're sitting now 15 months after we found Jesse. The day we interviewed John Couey in the investigation, we still believed Jessica was alive. OK?

Those guys were on the premise of looking for a live child. OK?

I'm not saying it's right to violate anybody's rights, but, you know, when you're involved in this case, I don't think they went up there maliciously. I don't think they were overly emotionally involved. I think they were very methodical in the way they went about doing their business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: That trial is set to start on July 10th. Prosecutors are going for the death penalty.

A guilty plea from New York's former top cop. Bernard Kerik gained notoriety as the city's police commissioner during the September 11th terrorist attacks. He appeared in court this morning. Kerik pleading guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts while he was a top city official.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNARD KERIK, FMR. NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: (INAUDIBLE)

QUESTION: Are you sorry?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Clearly something wrong with that audio there. Our apologies. The charges against Kerik are misdemeanors. He won't face jail time. He withdraw as a nominee for Homeland Security secretary in 2004 because of ethics questions.

The worst is over, the hard part just getting started. Floodwaters are slowly falling in the Northeast today. Now residents must remove the mud, muck and other debris left behind. In Pennsylvania, the governor has declared parts of the state a disaster.

In upstate New York, nearly 3,000 people are still in shelters, many others are in their homes with no power or drinking water. Train service in the area is shut down, so is part of the Erie Canal.

Drinking water also a concern in Trenton, New Jersey. That city's water filtration system has been switched off due to debris. The mayor says some residents may not be able to return until Tuesday, which leads us to Reynolds Wolf with a look at the weather across the country.

Hi, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Daryn.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WOLF: That's a look at your forecast. Let's send it back to you, and we'll have more weather coming up very soon.

KAGAN: All right, Reynolds. Thank you.

WOLF: You bet.

KAGAN: The Shuttle Discovery is ready for liftoff tomorrow. NASA says the only thing up in the air is the weather.

There's a good chance that thunderstorms will keep Discovery on the ground. The seven crewmembers will be on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

The launch comes despite safety concerns by some NASA engineers. This will be the second shuttle flight since the Columbia tragedy in 2003.

A little bonding time for President Bush and Japan's prime minister. Setting aside important issues like Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea's nuclear weapons, they have some fun planned today, and they're about all shook up.

The president taking the prime minister on a visit to Graceland. They're at Graceland in Memphis right now.

Walt Disney World has reopened its Rock 'n' Roll Coaster. That, after the death of a 12-year-old boy.

Authorities say the youngster passed out and died a short time after riding the roller coaster. Today, Disney says no mechanical problems were found on the ride and that it's not to blame for the boy's death. The youngster's father says his son has been in good health. An autopsy is being performed today.

Dishing it up for the president, the Memphis restaurant owner serving up some famous barbecue to the president this afternoon. It's on "LIVE FROM" at the top of the hour with Kyra Phillips.

Meanwhile, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a quick break.

I'm Daryn Kagan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy and these are some of the stories that are making headlines around the world.

The Palestinian prime minister demanding an end to the Israeli offensive in Gaza, saying it is aimed at destroying his Hamas party- led government. Ismail Haniya spoke in public on Friday for the first time since Palestinian militants kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Israel, though, keeping up the air strikes, the artillery attacks, but at the same time announcing that it delaying a ground assault, at least in northern Gaza.

GORANI: Also in the headlines, an audio tape said to be the voice of Osama bin Laden mourned the death of terror mastermind in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Bin Laden called al-Zarqawi "a lion of jihad," saying he died in a shameful American raid.

CLANCY: Two of cycling's biggest names among several -- they are riders withdrawn by their teams from this year's Tour de France because of doping allegations. Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were among the favorites to win this year's Tour de France. The team suspensions come after Spanish authorities released information from an ongoing investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in bicycling.

GORANI: We turn now to another allegation of abuse by U.S. troops serving in Iraq. The U.S. Army has ordered a criminal investigation into the deaths of four members of one Iraqi family.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now with details on this -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hala, this criminal investigation ordered up very quickly after the allegations came to light about an incident that actually dates back to March of this year near Mahmoudiya near Iraq.

Now apparently what has happened in the last few days, a soldier undergoing a stress debriefing from the 502nd Infantry Regiment from the 101st Airborne Division -- and that is very important. That is the unit, of course, where those two U.S. soldiers were taken by insurgents and then murdered just a couple of weeks ago.

A soldier undergoing a stress debriefing from that incident said he had heard that soldiers back in March may have been involved in the rape and murder of Iraqi civilians. They started looking into this in the unit, and another soldier also reported much of the same incident. Neither of them saying they had witnessed the alleged incident, but the second soldier saying that he saw bloodstains on other soldiers' clothes and he heard them conspire to commit this act.

So now a full-blown criminal investigation is under way. And we are told by military sources it all revolves around allegations that at least two soldiers were involved in the rape of an Iraqi woman and then at least one of them murdered the woman, a child and two other adults in a house. All of this now under investigation -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, Barbara Starr, live at the Pentagon. Thank you, Barbara. Jim.

CLANCY: We're getting some reaction in from Europeans to that U.S. Supreme Court decision telling the Bush administration find another way to try detainees at Guantanamo. Europe largely welcomed this decision. They've been calling for the facility to be shut down from some quarters. But many ask who is willing to accept detainees from their own country, and you hear a deafening silence.

Aneesh Raman has more on that from London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Where there is fierce skepticism of George Bush and his war on terror, there is also grave concern over Guantanamo Bay. After the Supreme Court's ruling, many in Europe are now hoping that the end is near.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Bush has said he was waiting for this decision. So now there is no excuse but to close Guantanamo Bay.

RAMAN: There are a dozen or so detainees in Guantanamo Bay from Europe. Another 19 have been released. Shafiq Rasoul (ph) is one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to do with these people? Leave these people in Guantanamo for the rest of their lives and never get tried? It's just ridiculous.

RAMAN: But what do you do with the with the detainees? Germany's chancellor recently told President Bush the facility should be shut down, but hers is one of at least three European countries that will not accept citizens or former residents detained there.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has criticized Guantanamo Bay, but he has also consistently reminded the British people these are extraordinary times.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Let no one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing.

RAMAN: That might be why the chorus of Europeans celebrating the Supreme Court ruling is largely made up of human rights leaders who want European politicians to be a part of the solution.

CLIVE STAFFORD SMITH, BRITISH HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS: We in Britain have ten residents in Guantanamo, many of whom are refugees. They can't go back to Libya. Omar DeGuys (ph), if he goes to back to Libya, will be killed or persecuted. And so countries like Britain have to step up and take refugees to give them asylum.

RAMAN (on camera): In Europe, it is easy to find those who want Guantanamo Bay shut down. Harder, though, among politicians to find and answer as to what should then be done with the detainees.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Still ahead, we're going to take a much closer look, as you well know, at the plight of Egyptian street children.

GORANI: We'll show you what it's like to wander the streets of Cairo with little hope of a better life, and what some people are doing to help. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Well, they are cheering in the stands. German fans have something to celebrate. Quite a few beers were spilled, I'm sure.

GORANI: It's the quarterfinals and they just equalized in their match against Argentina. The score right now, 1-1.

CLANCY: All right. Looking at another story now. In the bustling streets of Cairo, they're almost -- almost -- invisible.

GORANI: But look more closely, and you can see the city's street children lurking pretty much everywhere.

CLANCY: Their plight has been virtually ignored by ordinary Egyptians for years.

GORANI: But today the government and charities are working hard to change that, as I found when I walked on the streets of Cairo. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI (voice-over): You've got to be a tough kid to survive on these streets. Hussein (ph) looks like a typical Egyptian 14-year- old, but like hundreds of thousands of street children in Cairo, his is a story of loss and survival. He's been out of school for years and Hussein says he misses his parents.

SIMON INGRAM, UNICEF EGYPT: You find them under bridges, you find them in city center, in the squares, in tourist areas. They have become a part of daily life in Cairo and other big cities of Egypt.

GORANI: They range from helpless toddlers to older teenagers, hardened by years of living rough. Some completely abandoned, sleep outdoors. Others have homes, but don't go to school and work full- time on the street, selling trinkets or shining shoes. Often the victims of violence, they sometimes use drugs to numb the pain.

It's a nationwide epidemic in Egypt, in a country where poverty means some families need to put children to work just to make ends meet. But one that some small determined charities say it is their mission to fight. Hope Village is one of them. From so-called mobile units like this one, social workers give kids sandwiches, a doctor checks on a little boy's black eye, while others get some much-needed attention with a quick card game on the sidewalk.

But Hope Village coordinator Ashraf Abdul Maname (ph) says he needs more than the two vehicles this charity operates to make a real difference in Cairo.

(on camera): How many more would you need to you do think to address the problem a little bit more effectively?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the Cairo, we need more than 10 to 15 mobile units to cover most of the area daily.

GORANI (voice-over): Inside the van, there is Hussein again. He clowns around, plays rough with his street buddies. The effects of life on the street is everywhere, blood from a face cut on one of the boy's trousers, skin conditions from the dirt and grime. And I noticed Hussein's hands were once badly burned. He tells me it happened in a house fire.

But if surviving on the streets is tough for boys, it's even worse for little girls. Some gather here at one of Hope Village's day shelters. They are more vulnerable, simply put, often the victims of abuse, rape and unwanted pregnancy.

It's so dangerous to sleep when it's dark out. They stay up all night and fall from exhaustion during the day, like these little girls, sleeping on the shelter floor.

There, I meet Fatima (ph). We draw fish and the sea on the wall. She spells her name, but can't read mine. She's 14 and she can't read or write. She sleeps at a bus station.

When asked why she ran away, Fatima breaks into uncontrollable tears. I'm told later her father left home, remarried, leaving her mother unable to provide for the children.

For UNICEF's Simon Ingram, aside from poverty, family break-up is another major reason kids in Egypt end up on the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A father or mother remarries, more children arrive from the previous marriage, strains, stresses, tension becomes more evident in the family, and that could lead one or more children to say I've had enough, I want out, I'm leaving.

GORANI: I want to hear more of Hussein's story we met earlier, so we followed him to a day shelter where boys can wash up and relax for a few hours before heading out to beg or work.

There, he tells me the fire that left his hand badly burned also killed his mom and three female relatives. The same year, his father was sent to jail on drug charges.

"Do you think about it often," I ask him?

"It's better not to," he answers.

Tough Hussein puts on a brave face. He shows me a bracelet his father made for him in prison with his name on one side and his dad's name on the other. The kid who first looked more likely to pick my pocket instead breaks my heart. Back on the streets of Cairo, authorities tell us children are sometimes employed by organized gangs. On my way back to the hotel every evening, the same kids latched onto our car, trying to sell us jasmine flowers or tissues. This is a prime spot, frequented by tourists, and not just any kids can work here.

So I asked the government official in charge of dealing with street kids for an interview. She says Egypt is finally starting to address the issue head on, with public campaigns aimed at telling Egyptians and the police that these children are vulnerable, not pests or criminals.

MOUSSHIRA KHATTAB, EGYPTIAN MINISTER FOR CHILDHOOD: There is more awareness among the police that these children are (INAUDIBLE), and we're amending the law now to have a chapter for a child victim. These children are victims, and they must be treated as victims.

GORANI: When the system does work in Egypt, street kids end up in shelters like these, pristine compare the to the day centers I first visited. Here, boys sleep, go to school and are prepared for adulthood in a healthy environment. Nine-year-old Waleed (ph) is living here until his mother can afford to take him back home. The boys are making drawings where they would like to spend their summer holiday.

And although a center like this can only take a few dozen children, among the hundreds of thousands out there, for social worker Ashraf (ph), this labor of love is well worth the effort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before I had this feeling to be a father. I used to treat them as a student or, you know, any younger brother, but since I get my own children, I start to feel the feeling of a father.

GORANI: Before leaving Egypt, I want to go see Hussein again. Driving around, we find him, selling trinkets opposite the Sayeed Azaynab (ph) Mosque in Cairo, perhaps with less bravado. He smiles again for the camera.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, for our international viewers, check out this and other stories on "INSIDE THE MIDDLE EAST," which I hosted this month from Egypt. It airs at 8:30 a.m. GMT and 2:30 p.m. GMT Saturday, and at various times throughout the weekend.

CLANCY: Still to come right here on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

The prime minister and the King. We'll tell you why Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is headed to Graceland for a spiritual audience with the king of rock 'n' roll.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Well, if you watch TV long enough, you see a lot of those official state visits with the dinners and the red carpets, but how often do you see leaders really getting to have some fun? GORANI: Well, not very often apparently, seldom enough for us who to highlight. Rarely does an official visitor to the United States get the chance to visit Graceland. For the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a state dinner to the White House came with that side trip, the home of Elvis Presley, of course.

CLANCY: Graceland. U.S. President George W. Bush playing the part of tour guide. You see, the prime minister is a fan of The King. And after all, who isn't?

GORANI: As Atika Shubert in Tokyo found, he's not alone.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Quick, name Japan's biggest, or at least most famous, Elvis fan?

(MUSIC)

SHUBERT: No, not him. Here's a hint. He's running the country.

JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: I want you, I need you, I love you.

SHUBERT: That's right. Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is cuckoo for The King. That's him bursting into song during a CNN interview. Koizumi is such a fan, he released an album of favorite Elvis songs, a best-seller in Japan. He's crooned for Tom Cruise, danced with Richard Gere. No wonder President Bush wants to take Koizumi on a personal tour of Graceland.

Just what is it about Koizumi and The King? Well, they do share the same birthday, January 8, but is it true that Koizumi's coif is modelled after the royal 'do?

We asked the experts: Koizumi, and Elvis -- well, actually just two guys that look like them.

Akita Matusta (ph) met us as Koizumi at the Love me Tender in Tokyo, next to a life-size statue of The King. He's made a career out of channeling the prime minister on stage, so we asked him, in character, what does he think of Bush and Koizumi doing Graceland?

"I do wonder what the world thinks," he says. "Some Japanese call me Bush's poodle, you know. I don't mind being called a dog because, honestly, Japanese are obedient like dogs. I consider myself more of a dog trainer."

Tommy Taiguchi (ph) has been an Elvis impersonator for more than two decades and he takes it seriously.

"We welcome this visit. "It will be big news," he says. "The name of Elvis Presley and Graceland will be heard around the world. People might say who is this Elvis guy that the prime minister and president are visiting?"

In fact, he recommends that Koizumi pick a special song to serenade Bush with, an early Elvis hit.

KOIZUMI: I want you, I need you, I love you

SHUBERT: The good news is, Prime Minister Koizumi already knows the words.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well The King, of course, will always be The King, drawing visitors from throughout the world to Graceland.

CLANCY: And who should know better than Kevin Kern. He's with Elvis Presley Enterprises.

GORANI: He's here with us now.

Kevin, before we get to you, we would like our viewers to see a little bit of Junichiro Koizumi humming famous Elvis Presley songs. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOIZUMI: Love me tender. Wise men say, only fools rush in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: President Bush either didn't remember the words ...

GORANI: ...or chose not to join in.

CLANCY: Yes, chose not to create a diplomatic incident. They look to be having fun anyway. That what, the leopard room? What do they call that?

GORANI: I don't know. The Jungle Room, I think.?

CLANCY: OK.

GORANI: Anyway, Kevin Kern would know. Let's ask him. Where are they here, Kevin?

KEVIN KERN, ELVIS PRESLEY ENTERPRISES: They were in the Jungle Room there. And that is where the prime minister, as well as the president, were visiting. And, of course, we all know the prime minister loves Elvis, and he knows most every tune so, yes, he was singing inside the mansion and what better place to do it.

He was a huge Elvis fan and he finally got the vacation of a lifetime today here in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. And it's Graceland. It's the place to be today. CLANCY: Yes, OK. You're right there at Graceland. Did you get any word on things that he wanted to do, specifically wanted to see when he went there?

KERN: You know, it was just whatever we were willing to show him. We have gone all out to make this a very special visit for the prime minister, the president and the first lady. We even pulled out one of Elvis' cars, a 1955 Fleetwood pink Cadillac. It's that famous pink Cadillac that we're so familiar with seeing.

It's even parked on the front lawn right now just for the prime minister to see, as well as some other things that are not typically on display here at Graceland. We pulled some of those things out of the archives to show those to the prime minister, and president and first lady.

GORANI: All right, Kevin. For our viewers, we want to replay, because we didn't refer to it when it happened -- replay Junichiro Koizumi striking that Elvis pose with the sunglasses on there. I understand he got some gifts. What were they?

KERN: We did extend some gifts. You know, Lisa Marie Presley is the sole owner of Graceland and she, of course, has the archives. And the president, the prime minister and first lady were all given gifts, that once belonged to Elvis.

The president was given a belt buckle, the prime minister was given an authentic Elvis movie poster in Japanese, and the first lady was given a TLC necklace. And, of course Elvis would extend jewelry to lots of family and friends, and the ladies would typically get a TLC pendant with a lightning bolt on it, that the first lady received.

CLANCY: You know, President Bush -- the Prime minister Koizumi seems really enthused. He's having a great time. President Bush seems a little bit bored. I mean, did he let his hair down when the cameras were gone?

KERN: You know, I'm sure he did. I mean, you can't help but have a good time at Graceland. This is one of those places you have to come and see and check out. It is truly one of the most unique, historic home tours anywhere in the world, and folks from all corners of the globe come to Graceland to tour this mansion and now we all know why, of course. And the president has now been here so, you know, we call this the White House of Rock 'n' Roll here in Memphis, and it truly was today.

GORANI: All right, Kevin Kern, of Elvis Presley Enterprises joining us live there from outside Graceland. Thanks very much.

KERN: You're welcome.

GORANI: Now, was it the famous hips, the curling lip or the music?

CLANCY: Yes, that's right. If you think Elvis Presley is still The King of rock 'n' roll, you aren't alone. Japan's prime Minister visiting Elvis' Graceland estate, as we noted with President Bush. So we've been asking you a question.

GORANI: Why do you think Elvis is such an enduring legend? I had to do that.

And viewer in the United States writes to us, "Elvis had it all, a voice, charisma, talent. Thousands of years from now, people will wonder who was this king called Elvis?"

CLANCY: Dong in Dubai says, "I was born in the '60s but I was never an Elvis fan. I guess part of it is the mystery behind his death."

GORANI: All right. Thanks for those answers. Keep sending your replies to our "Inbox" at YWT@CNN.com.

CLANCY: That has to be it for this hour.

GORANI: All right. "LIVE FROM" is up next for our viewers in the United States.

CLANCY: For our viewers around the world, join us for more of YOUR WORLD TODAY straight ahead. I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with us. This is CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOIZUMI: Love me tender.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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