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DNA Sample Confirms Identity of Kidnapped Austrian Girl; France Boosts Troop Commitment to U.N. Peacekeeping Force

Aired August 25, 2006 - 12:00   ET


COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: She spent eight years in a kidnapper's dungeon, but now an Austrian teenager is home with the family that never gave up hope.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: French and Belgium soldiers arrive in Lebanon to bolster that U.N. peacekeeping operation. How much manpower is really needed? At least one European leader is openly asking that question.

MCEDWARDS: Facing arrest. One of the world's leading human rights campaigners is in hot water with the mullahs in Tehran. In a rare interview, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi tells us why she's in trouble and what is hurting her cause.

QUEST: And an ancient ruler parades through the streets of Egypt. All hail Ramses II.

Hello and welcome to our report, broadcast around the globe.

I'm Richard Quest at the CNN Center.

MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.

From Vienna to Beirut, Tehran to Cairo, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

QUEST: By jingo, just when you thought it was time to sort of put your feet up and get ready for the weekend...

MCEDWARDS: By jingo?

QUEST: Yes, by jingo. My grandfather used to say that.

There used to be -- it could be a very busy day. The weekend may be upon us, but there are weighty issues in the discussion by world leaders at this hour. And much of it is centered on who is sending what to southern Lebanon.

MCEDWARDS: Just moments ago, we learned that France will be leading the U.N. peacekeeping force. That's one thing taken care of.

QUEST: Yes. And we're also learning more about the number of troops that will be going. And we ought to point out that all this information that we are getting has just been announced at a news conference in Brussels within the last 15, 20 minutes.

MCEDWARDS: So we're going to have extensive coverage of that story in just a moment.

But we're actually going to begin with the story that has everyone talking all across Europe.

QUEST: It's extraordinary.

She left home as a child. She is returning as a woman. What happened in between was a harrowing ordeal and a parent's worst nightmare.

It was March, 1998, when the -- 1988 (sic) when the 10-year-old Austrian girl Natascha Kampusch vanished into thin air. A nationwide search yielded nothing. And as eight long years went by, her family went from deep shock to ever-present angst over what had happened to her.

Now it has been confirmed that teenage girl found in a garden near Vienna is, indeed, Natascha. DNA evidence has proved that. And the chilling reality of her lost years is slowly emerging.

It is, indeed, every parent's nightmare.

Matthew Chance has our report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She's been hidden from the world for eight long years. Now one of Austria's most disturbing mysteries appears to have been solved and the shattered family has their daughter back.

BRIGITTA SIRNY, MOTHER OF NATASCHA KAMPUSCH (through translator): I always firmly believed she would return someday. I cannot say how happy I am.

LUDWIG KOCH, FATHER OF NATASCHA KAMPUSCH (through translator): It was hell these eight years. There was not a single hour when I did not think about her. It was hell.

CHANCE: These were the last images of Natascha before she disappeared back in 1998. She was just 10.

Her abduction gripped Austria, but as the years passed police found no trace, and she was given up for dead. But all the time she was here, in a cramped dungeon built by a suspected pedophile under his garage, not 10 miles from her home. Inside she had a bed, a sink and a toilet, and books, from children's stories, to serious literature.

(on camera): Well, this is the house in Strasshof where Natascha was held for more than eight years. You can see there are police outside now guarding the entrance. For most of the time she was held securely under lock and key, but over the years, the man she came to call her master became increasingly careless, and eventually she saw an opportunity to escape. (voice over): This is the man police say imprisoned Natascha, 44-year-old Wolfgang Priklopil. Neighbors say he was quiet and polite, if reclusive.

After Natascha's escape, he threw himself to his death under a train. Damage to the innocent girl, though, remains uncertain.

SIRNY (through translator): Natascha just threw her arms around my neck. I am so proud of that child, that she found the opportunity to escape.

KOCH (through translator): I purposely didn't talk about the ordeal with her. We only discussed the future and about how things used to be.

CHANCE: For Natascha and her family, reunited after eight years, things will thankfully never be the same again.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Vienna.


MCEDWARDS: Well, the U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, says Europe is providing the backbone of the expanded U.S. peacekeeping force for Lebanon, calling a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Brussels a success. Annan says the European Union will provide more than half of the promised 15,000 troops.

Now, Annan also made a major announcement about who is going to lead the force.


KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I have asked France to lead UNIFIL 2 until end of February 2007, when the rotation will then go to Italy. Italy will provide the next command after February 2007.


MCEDWARDS: French President Jacques Chirac is defending his cautious approach to committing to the troops. He met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris a day after announcing that France will boost its contingent to 2,000 troops.

Mr. Chirac says he would have looked like a mad dog if he rushed any decision. Vintage Chirac right there. He also questioned the target number for the expanded U.N. force.


JACQUES CHIRAC, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): My feeling is that the figure that was mooted at the beginning by 15,000 for a reinforced UNIFIL, as far as I was concerned, I thought that was an excessive figure, because it's very difficult for me to understand that. We're talking about a territory that is half the size of a French (INAUDIBLE). And how can we have 15,000 Lebanese troops being deployed, as well as 15,000 UNIFIL forces? I'm not sure there would be room for both.


QUEST: The French government's decision to send five times as many troops as it initially had pledged didn't come lightly. Officials say they made sure that all the bases were covered by walking through the potential trouble spots and insisting on guarantees from the United Nations.

CNN's correspondent in Paris Jim Bittermann has details in this exclusive interview with the French defense minister.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Madam Minister, thank you very much for joining us here today on CNN.

Let me begin by asking you about this mission you're sending your troops off on. Exactly how risky is this mission going to be?

MICHELE ALLIOT-MARIE, FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): It's a risky mission. Of course, for now, the cease- fire is being respected. But we know that the situation is fragile, as seen in the events of the past few days. That's why from the very beginning, I asked for a mandate from these new forces, a mandate specifying their mission, saying exactly what the troops on the ground had the right to do and what they don't have the right to do.

BITTERMANN: The president said last night that he was satisfied with the new rules of engagement and the chain of command. Can you tell us a little bit exactly how on the ground that's going to work, as far as the chain of command is concerned particularly?

ALLIOT-MARIE (through translator): Yes, this is a problem that we, the French, are very familiar with, because we paid very dearly for the fact that certain previous missions were too vague with chains of command that were not sufficiently clear. And what generally happens is that troops are left on the ground without the right to defend themselves.

BITTERMANN: You're thinking there of Bosnia and Lebanon.

ALLIOT-MARIE (through translator): I'm thinking of Bosnia, where we lost many men, but I'm also thinking about what happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

BITTERMANN: Just so we have an idea of how this will work on the ground, what happens if the United Nations forces finds a Hezbollah team about to launch rockets, or if the Israelis, as they've done in the last few days, should launch an attack across the border into the cease-fire zone? What will be the stance of the United Nations forces? What will they do?

ALLIOT-MARIE (through translator): That's exactly what we wanted the U.N. to make clear. The representatives -- in particular, a French general -- whom I sent to New York were assigned the task of imagining the various scenarios that could take place so that we could say exactly how the peacekeeping troops should and could react and also what they cannot and should not do. In that case, if they're threatened by, for example, a Hezbollah group, they'll be able to react immediately using force.

They will also have access to heavy weapons which will allow them to enforce the rules. They will not be charged with disarming Hezbollah. I want to emphasize that. Disarmament is not part of the resolution.

BITTERMANN: And in the case of Israel, if they were to cross the border and carry out an attack? What would...

ALLIOT-MARIE (through translator): Exactly the same thing.

BITTERMANN: And would you expect the troops to be deployed along the border with Syria?

ALLIOT-MARIE (through translator): As for the issue of the deployment of troops along the Syrian border, we don't think that that's the role of the French military.

BITTERMANN: Should the French remain in command of the...

ALLIOT-MARIE (through translator): We have been on the ground, we have held the commanding role for several months. What we are proposing is simply that we continue in this role as commander since we already hold it, with a general already in place, and in six months, at the end of the general mandate, in just a little over six months, we'll see what the situation is. At that time we could very well imagine handing the commanding role over to someone else.

BITTERMANN: Madam Minister, thank you very much.


QUEST: Jim Bittermann talking to the French defense minister.

Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ehuld Olmert is seeing his approval ratings plummet for the way he handled the war in Lebanon. Many Israelis feel that the conflict was a failure because it didn't crush Hezbollah, or, indeed, free the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, which, of course, was what it was all about in the first place.

A poll published in Israel's largest daily newspaper shows 63 percent want Mr. Olmert to resign. Only 29 percent believe he should continue to lead. The poll also showed only 11 percent of Israelis would vote for Olmert if an election were held today, 22 percent said they'd back the Likud party leader and the former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MCEDWARDS: Well, earlier this week on YOUR WORLD TODAY CNN's Jim Clancy followed a Lebanese boy as his family returned to a home crushed by an air strike. You may remember this story. It gave us a real glimpse of how children view the consequences of this war.

Well, today we want to go across the border to meet an Israeli boy scarred by this conflict as well.

Our Paula Hancocks has that.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Litchy (ph) family enjoys some quality time together now that calm has returned to northern Israel. But behind the smiles this family is struggling to cope.

Thirteen-year-old Koby (ph) was badly injured while running to an air raid shelter during a Katyusha attack on day one of the war. He had to have his spleen removed in an emergency operation.

A few days later, the hospital he was in was hit by another rocket. He was thrown 20 feet across the room and lost consciousness. He left hospital after a few weeks, but his father says he has changed.

He tells us Koby (ph) used to be constantly laughing and talking. Today, he sits on the couch and hardly moves, only to follow his dad wherever he goes. He says it's hard to believe this is the same child from two months ago.

Koby's (ph) mother shows me his room where he used to spend much of his time. Now he won't stray far from his parents and usually sleeps in their room.

His physical wounds are responding to treatment, she says. Dealing with his psychological trauma is another matter.

Koby's (ph) older brother Matan (ph) is home for the weekend from southern Lebanon, where he's nearing the end of his military service. It took a week for the news of his brother's injuries to reach him.

He tells me he knows his mother cries. He knows his father...



We're going to break into our international coverage right now because we have a late update on the medical condition of former President Gerald Ford.

We are hearing from his office that yesterday former President Ford successfully underwent an angioplasty procedure. That would be on his heart, of course. He is at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and the former president has been there since August 15th.

His office goes on to explain that during the procedure stents were placed in two of his coronary arteries in order to increase the blood flow through those arteries. They say he was returned to his room at the Mayo Clinic. He is resting comfortably. He is surrounded by his wife Betty and family.

And they're not giving out many more updates, they say, for several days.

Of course, the news just in recent days is the former president had a pacemaker inserted. He is well into his 90s. And his treatment continues.

We are working on getting more information on the former president's condition. But former President Ford undergoing an angioplasty procedure at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

We'll have more for you in just a bit. Right now, a quick break.


QUEST: Welcome back. You're watching CNN's YOUR WORLD TODAY.

Let us go now to Keith Oppenheim, where we're reporting that Gerald Ford has successfully undergone surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

So Keith Oppenheim joins me now to bring us up to date with what we know.

What was the surgery all about?

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an angioplasty procedure that the former president had as of yesterday.

First of all, Richard, officials here at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have been relatively tightlipped about the medical procedures that are being given to the former president. But they did tell us in a statement just a few minutes ago that on Thursday, yesterday, that the former president was given a balloon- like procedure, an angioplasty, to clear up two arteries.

They put stents that were placed in two of his coronary arteries to increase the blood flow there. And following the procedure, Gerald Ford was brought back into his room at the Mayo Chinic, where they say he is resting comfortably with his wife, the former first lady, Betty Ford, as well as his children and his family.

On Monday, Gerald Ford received a pacemaker here. He has been at the Mayo Clinic for a week and a half. And keep in mind, Richard, Gerald Ford has been hospitalized four times since December.

In January, he had pneumonia. In July, just last month, he had shortness of breath and was hospitalized for a couple of days in Vail, Colorado.

Now he's having a couple of procedures here at the Mayo Clinic, which is very much an investigative medical place to figure out what's going on, with the pacemaker operation, and now coronary procedures with angioplasty to clear up any problems he may have with his heart.

Richard, back to you.

QUEST: Keith, any form of procedure, medical procedure on a man in his 90s is of a degree of seriousness. But from what you can gauge from the medical people you've been speaking to, do they seem relatively relaxed about the former U.S. president's condition?

OPPENHEIM: Well, they seem very guarded, is perhaps the best answer. He is 93 years old. And your comment is well taken, because our sense is that he has been in generally frail condition, although he's been a very hardy man for much of his life. So it's a little hard to say whether this is kind of just a routine thing, where he'll probably be fine and that he'll get back to his regular life, or if it's some suggestion of a downward trend at his -- his point in life.

QUEST: All right, Keith.

One thing of which we can be certain, politicians on both sides of the political aisle in the United States will be wishing the former president well.

Keith, many thanks.

MCEDWARDS: Well, Iran is a country known for restricting free speech, among other things. Now a prominent human rights activists and a Nobel Peace Prize winner is facing arrest in her own home.

Aneesh Raman joins us now via broadband from Tehran with more on this.

Aneesh, interesting story.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Colleen, Shirin Ebadi, as you say, facing arrest. Her organization now deemed, she says, illegal. And she says with the world focused on a nuclear Iran, the world is ignoring a bigger issue.


RAMAN (voice over): She is the only woman from the Middle East to win the Nobel Peace Prize. A face known worldwide as a champion for human rights. But back home, stature gives way to simplicity, and it is on this nondescript street in Tehran where you find this small sign that this is the office of Shirin Ebadi.

She met me for a rare interview, fearing that she herself would soon become a casualty of her own struggle.

SHIRIN EBADI, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER (through translator): There's a recent order from the interior ministry which says that if we continue our work, we will be subject to prosecution.

RAMAN: Ebadi's work is defending those jailed, she says, for no reason, many kept in prison on charges of espionage for expressing dissent. Now her group has been deemed illegal. The interior ministry says it doesn't have a permit.

The co-founder of the group has been sentenced to five years in jail on charges of disclosing confidential information and opposing the state. And Ebadi now faces arrest at any time. It is, for her, a familiar prospect.

EBADI (through translator): I have been jailed before, before the Nobel Prize and after. I was summoned to court as a defendant, and on one occasion because I had shaken hands with the French president.

RAMAN: In Iran, it is forbidden for women to shake hands with men.

Ebadi is undeterred by this latest threat, surrounded in her office by like-minded activists. This, a picture of her with two other Nobel winners. But her fight these days is growing more difficult.

With the world focused on Iran's nuclear program, on its relationship with Hezbollah, she tells me that attention has turned away from her struggle for human rights. It has been, she says, forgotten, left to Iranians to fight as best they can.

EBADI (through translator): Iranians hate violence and they're not satisfied with their situation. But they express their demands in a nonviolent way. The people of Iran are reformists.

RAMAN: Iran has long faced international pressure over its human rights record. And now with the country's leading human rights activist facing arrest, Ebadi can only hope that the world, now seemingly preoccupied elsewhere, will once again take notice.


RAMAN: And Colleen, as of tonight, Ebadi has not been arrested. But she says it could come any day -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: You know, she has done so many courageous thing, as you point out. And here she is, once again, stepping up to try to push the human rights issue when it's not really on the agenda.

I mean, when you got the chance to talk to her, did you get -- did you get the sense that she's afraid of anything right now or completely fearless in the face of this?

RAMAN: Completely fearless. I was actually amazed by it. Not just by how simple her surroundings are, how simple she carries herself, given the statute that she has internationally, but her defiance against all odds.

She's had tense times before. She's been in jail before. And she challenges everything that comes against her.

She said she was brought into court for shaking the hand of the French president. She refused to appear. And they simply didn't follow through with her. But she is defied at every step and seems intent on doing so from here on in -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: Aneesh Raman, thank you so much for bringing that to us. Appreciate it. QUEST: Now, we have much more ahead, as YOUR WORLD TODAY continues.

He's seen controversy over public statements before.

MCEDWARDS: That's for sure. We'll tell you why a "60 Minutes" interview turned into such a headache for New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.

QUEST: Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is looking to reduce his economic dependence on the United States. China might provide the answer he seeks.



KAGAN: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta.

More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. First, though, let's check on stories making headlines.

Breaking news about former President Gerald Ford. We hear he is recovering from an angioplasty procedure at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Let's go to our Keith Oppenheim for the latest on that -- Keith.


That's right, we have learned just minutes ago from officials here at the Mayo Clinic that yesterday former president Gerald Ford had an angioplasty procedure. An angioplasty is using a catheter- guided balloon to expand arteries that are blocked. In specifically his case, President Ford had stents placed in two of his coronary arteries that had some blockage.

And he is resting comfortably, we're told, with his wife Betty there, as well as children and his family. The hospital also said that they will not have statements for several days. An indication that he may be recuperating here for some time.

He's been here at the Mayo Clinic, Daryn, for a week and a half. And on Monday, he had a pacemaker inserted in his heart. He has been hospitalized four times now since December -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right.

Keith Oppenheim, live from Minnesota.

Thank you.

Let's go to the phones now. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our senior medical correspondent, is on the phone.

Sanjay, what can you tell us about when a man of Mr. Ford's age and condition has a procedure like this? DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, a couple things, Daryn.

Obviously, he's had a couple of issues with his heart now over the last week or so. He was -- this recent hospitalization brought him in on August 15th.

It's interesting, you know. I imagine that when someone comes in like that, they do all sorts of tests, including EKGs. It sounds like they found a couple of things at that time, including an abnormal heart rhythm, which they wanted to put this pacemaker in for, which was done on Monday, as Keith just mentioned. But they also must have had some indication that the heart just wasn't getting enough blood flow.

This is not uncommon in someone of his age, as you alluded to. There are different ways to sort of treat this thing.

Angioplasty, where you actually put the balloon in, is one procedure. And then the sort of -- the second part of that same procedure is to go ahead and put stents in as well, to sort of hold open the blood vessels.

These are procedures that are done in people who are usually elderly. But, you know, again, 93 is getting on the older side, even for procedures like this.

I just got off the phone with some of the folks at Mayo as well. They say that he is resting comfortably. He is with his wife Betty. People do usually recover after a procedure like this pretty well.

KAGAN: Earlier this week when he got the pacemaker, weren't some people critical of doing that, that you shouldn't put a man of this age through that? How do you make those decisions?

GUPTA: You know, it's a -- it's a good question. You know, you've got to remember that the vast majority of people who get those procedures are, you know, usually older than 60 or 70 in the first place. That's a very skewed demographic.

You know, it's funny, Daryn. I talked to one of my colleagues at Emory who's a cardiologist, and he said, yes, we put a pacemaker in a gentleman who was 104 years old just recently. So, you know, I think as you and I have talked about in the past, it's not so much about the age in years as it is what we call physiological health.

There are people who are 80 who have the bodies of 50-year-olds, and, unfortunately, vice versa. So it really depends on how well you can think someone can tolerate the procedures, how well they're going to come through some of the anesthesia. All indications are that he's done well with both those issues.

KAGAN: Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.




MCEDWARDS: The U.S. Senate Department has launched an official inquiry into allegations Israel used American-made cluster bombs in Southern Lebanon. A U.S. official says the State Department wants to determine if Israel violated any type of agreements between the two, restricting when this type of weapon can be used.

Jim Clancy reported on the danger of the unexploded cluster bonds earlier this week from Tyre.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the only way to get rid of those bomblets. Before the blasts, some were taped to secure the triggers, but others had already armed themselves and couldn't be touched.

Jihad Samhan (ph) maps cluster strikes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From what we're seeing on the ground, there's tens of thousands of cluster bombs everywhere, scattered everywhere.

CLANCY: Anxious villagers south of Tyre have reported hundreds of sightings. They're welcoming Frederick and his team with Arabic coffee. But there isn't time. Cluster bombs have smashed through windows and now lie inside homes. Some of their deadly cargo may be underneath or anywhere up to a kilometer away.


MCEDWARDS: All right, so that's the stuff we're talking about here. And for more now on the U.S. angle of this story, we're joined from Washington by our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, the way I understand this, I mean, the fact there was an agreement between the United States and Israel isn't that unusual; this is how it's done. The question is, was it violated?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That is the question, Colleen. When the U.S. sells weapons overseas there are many conditions put on those sales by the U.S. government. Those conditions generally remain classified, so there aren't a lot of details in this case about exactly what the conditions were upon the Israelis. But the State Department says they haven't launched this inquiry after getting information from humanitarian organizations working in Southern Lebanon.

What the IDF is saying, for their part, is the following. They are saying that, quote, "All the weapons and munitions used by the IDF are legal under international law and their use conforms with international standards."

But clearly in the case of cluster bombs or any type of ground- launched cluster sub-munitions, something that disperses over this wide type of area, indiscriminately attacking whatever may lay in its path, the question on the table would be whether they were -- these weapons were being used at specific targets, or just over a wide area where there might be some expectation civilians would be in the area.

And when you look at this map provided by the United Nations, it's a little tough to see, but all of the red dots you see are more than 200 areas south of the Litani River, where they believe they have located cluster munitions on the ground. So it's going to be a tough problem in the months ahead to get all of this cleaned up, make sure that people are not injured by them, but also finish this inquiry to find out whether the Israelis used them, how they used them, and whether it was a violation of the U.S. standards of use -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: Understood. Barbara Starr, thanks for that -- Richard.

QUEST: Now we've been reporting this morning about the E.U. meeting, deciding how many troops to send to southern Lebanon as part of the United Nations force.

CNN's European political editor Robin Oakley was at that news conference and put the probing questions to the U.N. Secretary- General.


ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Will the peacekeeping force in Lebanon be patrolling the Syrian border in order to prevent arm supplies getting to Hezbollah? Will it, at any stage, play any role in disarming Hezbollah? And will it really start to there be on the ground within days, rather than weeks?

KOFFI ANNAN, U.N. SECY.-GEN.: The resolution does not require deployment of U.N. troops to the border. It does indicate that if the Lebanese government were to ask, we should assist. The Lebanese government has not made any such requests.

As to your question on disarmament, let me be clear. Resolution 1559 asks for disarmament of all militia, national and nonnational, and this was reaffirmed in Resolution 1701. The understanding was that it would be a Lebanese -- the Lebanese -- who disarm.

I think it is also generally accepted that disarmament of Hezbollah cannot be done by force. It has to be political agreement between the Lebanese. There has to be a Lebanese consensus, and an agreement among them to disarm.

In fact, before the war, this issue was part of the national dialogue going on in Lebanon, and I hope they will return to it in earnest. Obviously, if at some stage they need advice or some help from the international community and they were to approach us, we would consider. But the troops are not going in there to disarm. (END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: A quick reminder, Kofi Annan says he's confident of getting the 15,000 troops needed for the increased peacekeeping force. And already Europe has said it will provide up to 6,900 of those troops.

MCEDWARDS: Still to come here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, a royal sendoff. One of Egypt's biggest tourist attractions is on the move, I guess you could say.

QUEST: Well, yes, nice. Slowly does it. Well, when you get to that age, several thousands years old, you don't want to be rushing, let me tell you. And they weren't. An 83-ton ancient statue was moved through downtown Cairo, slow.

MCEDWARDS: And are you a Scorpio? Watch out, Pluto's planetary demotion might be affecting your horoscope. We'll take a close look at that. Don't go away.


QUEST: Welcome back. Seen around the world. In fact, there are more than 200 countries across the globe so you are in excellent company. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International.

Some are calling it just a marriage of convenience. China has a huge appetite for energy, and the oil-rich country Venezuela is looking for new markets. Sounds perfect. President Hugo Chavez also wants to reduce Venezuela's dependence on the United States as its biggest customer for oil. How will all this play out?

From Beijing, our correspondent Stan Grant reports.


STAN GRANT, CNN BEIJING CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A welcome with all the trimmings. Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, getting down to business, and the business is oil.

HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We hope to arrive, within a few years' time, to produce half a million barrels a day for China.

GRANT: Chinese and Venezuelan officials signed off on the deal. They hope to meet their target of half a million barrels a day by 2009. By the end of this year, China will already import at least 200,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude each day, but it's a deal not without its problems for China.

DAVID ZWEIG, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: They'd love to have Venezuelan oil. Probably for them, the trick is, can they manage Chavez so that he doesn't become a big problem for them with the U.S. and still be able to get the oil. GRANT: After keeping quiet for two days, Chavez used a news conference in Beijing to lash out at Israel -- comparing the recent attacks on Lebanon to the acts of Adolf Hitler -- and chided the U.S. for trying to block Venezuelan's bid for a seat on the U.N. Security Council. He praised China.

CHAVEZ (through translator): In the name of the Venezuelan people, I would like to thank Hu Jintao for his support in our bid to join the Security Council.

GRANT: Hugo Chavez is seen as a thorn in the side for the United States in Latin America. Yet, the U.S. remains Venezuela's biggest oil customer. Chavez is keen to develop other markets; oil-thirsty China is crucial.

(on camera): China, though, keen to play down the tricky politics of its relationship with Venezuela, while continuing to develop bilateral trade. Hugo Chavez, though, facing off with the United States, no doubt knows the value of having a country like China in his corner.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.


MCEDWARDS: Well, this week on "INSIDE AFRICA," talk show host Oprah Winfrey and her new project in Africa. For more on this, Nadia Bilchik joins us. And I love this story, because it's one of those projects that is just going to touch so many people on this continent.

NADIA BILCHIK, "INSIDE AFRICA": It's an extraordinary story, Colleen, I mean, because we know Oprah is very well-known throughout the world for her talk show, but she's also an unbelievably world- renowned philanthropist. Oprah was in South Africa this week to check on the $40 million school she's building for underprivileged girls.

CNN's Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange caught up with her as she told a group of girls they had made the cut.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I brought you all here today to tell you that you will be a part of the very first class of the Oprah Winfrey ...


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And just like that, 150 young lives were transformed in an instant.

(on camera): What does this mean, this moment right now? What does it mean?

WINFREY: Oh, it is a complete, full circle moment in my life. It is -- I feel like it's what I was really born to do.


BILCHIK: Well, you know, Oprah has a passion for South Africa and an extraordinary relationship with Nelson Mandela.

MCEDWARDS: Well, she does, and I know that that was part of what got her involved in this.

BILCHIK: Absolutely.

MCEDWARDS: You're hosting "INSIDE AFRICA" on Saturday.

BILCHIK: Correct.

MCEDWARDS: We'll see more of you and Jeff Koinange on this?

BILCHIK: Well, yes, and we'll hear more about this extraordinary school which she says is for underprivileged children who have higher grades. But, you know, Oprah always says she was blessed with education and she says she wants these children to have the same opportunity and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy opens on January the 2nd with an extraordinary library that has a fireplace. So you'll hear about all that on "INSIDE AFRICA."

MCEDWARDS: Love it. OK, we'll wait to hear more. Thanks a lot, Nadia. Got to leave it there. Appreciate it.

QUEST: Now, there's plenty more ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY. Being number one is a good thing, or so we're told.

MCEDWARDS: Right, well, what about if you're ranking the drunkest city in the United States? Do you want to be number one? We'll tell you the city that is.

QUEST: The most drunk.

And it's not a planet anymore. Yesterday we had a lot of fun with the question of whether Pluto was going down the toilet, but some serious business -- what does it mean for your stars? We'll be looking at the tea leaves on that question in a moment on CNN.



ZAHI HAASS, SUPREME COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES: If you make anything with plan, scientific study, you can do it. I think the movement of that statue proved many things for us.


QUEST: Now forget about bringing the mountain to Muhammad and all of that, this was a monumental move of monumental proportions. The ancient statue of Ramses II has a new home near the Egyptian pyramids outside of Cairo, a delicate journey, very slowly. Well, when you're 3,000 years old, you don't get around as fast as you used to. Ramses will have some good company. It will be near King Tut's mummy and other treasures. It's 125-ton granite statue, and it's been proudly displayed at the Cairo Square for more than half a century. Heavy pollution in the area has damaged the more than 3,000-year-old monument. It was time for a move.

MCEDWARDS: All right, well, like your lager?

QUEST: Savor your stout.

MCEDWARDS: People certainly do if they are in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and maybe a little bit too much there.

QUEST: has named Milwaukee as America's drunkest city. Milwaukee was once home to four large breweries.

MCEDWARDS: And it's actually got an average yearly temperature of 46 degrees Fahrenheit, so no wonder it's bottoms up. In second place, Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, the people of Columbus, Ohio, Boston, Massachusetts, and Austin, Texas apparently also like their booze a lot.

QUEST: Forbes ranked 35 U.S. cities based on state laws and numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. They broke down, state by state, the percentage of drinkers, heavy drinkers, binge drinkers and alcoholics.

MCEDWARDS: Sort of a dubious distinction, that one.

QUEST: Pluto's planetary run came to a close on Thursday when the world's top astronomers said it just didn't have what it takes to be called a planet. In the end, it's just a new category. Pluto's still Pluto, right, maybe not for astrology buffs.

To explore the potential repercussions of the cosmic reshuffle, the astrologer Shelley Von Strunckel join us now. Shelley, why do we care? Why, astrologically speaking, is it important?

SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL, ASTROLOGER: Each sign is associated with a planet, or a heavenly body, because here we've got to be careful. You for instance, Ares is associated with Mars, Gemini is associated with Mercury. But Pluto's demotion to astrologers isn't quite as much of a big deal as it is to astronomers, because of course we've always used the sun, which isn't a planet, and the moon, which is a satellite. So for us it's a slightly different ballgame.

QUEST: Right. Now, as we look at the stars, which sign needs to be wary?

VON STRUNCKEL: Now, I think what you're seeing is that Scorpios should worry, because Pluto's been associated with the sign Scorpio, and it still is, because as I've said, we haven't demoted Pluto. In fact, we've been watching it for some time, because it's actually the naughtiest planet of them all. Do you know the rest of them go obediently around in a circle, whereas Pluto is in an ellipse. And it's also, everyone else is flat like a flat and Pluto's at an angle.

QUEST: Are you saying, Shelley, that you are still going to keep Pluto as a planet and are still going to give it credence when looking at astrological charts?

VON STRUNCKEL: We are, indeed. And as I said, it's mostly because we haven't actually been using, entirely, planets all along. We've used the moon. As anyone who is a cop or runs a bar can tell you, when the moon is full, something happens, and that's down to a heavenly body that isn't a planet.

But also, I have to tell you, Scorpios, the sign that's said to be ruled by Pluto, are pretty powerful people. I mean, for instance, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton. Now, would you like to discuss with them losing their planet?

QUEST: At that point, we shall take our leave of yourself. Hillary Clinton -- all right, yes, your point's made. Have a good weekend, Shelley. Many thanks, indeed.

What are you?

MCEDWARDS: I am sure they're losing sleep over it right now. I'm Gemini actually, so I feel much, much better knowing that all my moons are in the right houses.

QUEST: I'm a Pisces, so the world is safe for Colleen and myself.

MCEDWARDS: And that is it for this hour.

QUEST: I'm Richard Quest at the CNN Center.

MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards. Thanks so much for joining us.



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