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YOUR WORLD TODAY

Russian Spy Poisoning: Britain's Main Suspect Turns the Tables; Hariri Administration: U.N. Approves Court to Try Killers; Tuberculosis Threat

Aired May 31, 2007 - 12:00   ET

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


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Motive for murder. A key suspect in the death of a former Russian spy claims the British government played a role.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A rift deepens. One group sees a U.N. move to prosecute suspects in Rafik Hariri's death as a challenge to Lebanese sovereignty.

CLANCY: His reign in the virtual world may mean prison time in the real one. A global spammer in custody.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States is taking the lead. And that's the message I'm going to take to the G-8.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCEDWARDS: The U.S. president offers a different plan as he rejects a European push to reject climate change.

CLANCY: It's 12:00 noon in Washington right now, 8:00 p.m. in Moscow.

Hello and welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.

I'm Jim Clancy.

MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.

From Bogota to Beirut, Seattle to Shanghai, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

CLANCY: The plots are taking new twists and turns. A son and a suspect, both speaking out in two cases of intrigue.

MCEDWARDS: Britain's chief suspect in the killing of a Russian spy is essentially turning the table on his accusers.

CLANCY: Andrei Lugovoi says he had no reason to kill Alexander Litvinenko, but the British Secret Service did.

MCEDWARDS: And in the other case, Lebanon reacts to the U.N.'s forming of a tribunal to investigate Rafik Hariri's assassination.

In just a moment, we are going to speak to the former prime minister's son live from Beirut. Jim will have that.

CLANCY: All right.

First, though, let's get to Moscow and those new allegations of who is behind the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.

MCEDWARDS: Yes. The man London wants extradited says British police need to look closer to home to find the real killers.

Ralitsa Vassileva has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He promised explosive revelations about the murder of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, and he delivered. At a Moscow press conference, Andrei Lugovoi, the man Britain accused of poisoning ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko pointed the finger of blame back at London.

ANDREI LUGOVOI, LITVINENKO MURDER SUSPECT (through translator): It is difficult to abandon the idea that Litvinenko had become an agent of the British special services who got out of hand and was then eliminated. If not by the special services themselves, then under their control, or their connivance.

VASSILEVA: Lugovoi offered no evidence of Britain's involvement, but claimed the British Secret Service had tried to recruit him to collect compromising intelligence on Russian president Vladimir Putin. The British government says it considers the case a criminal matter that has nothing to do with Britain's intelligence services.

Lugovoi insisted he was innocent and had no reason to kill former fellow spy Litvinenko. He said the man who was probably behind the murder was Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, granted political asylum by Britain. Lugovoi claims Litvinenko had documents on how Berezovsky gained British political asylum that would have jeopardized his status as a political refugee.

LUGOVOI (through translator): And if some of these documents, particularly related to those related to how Berezovsky obtained his status as a political refugee were made public, said Litvinenko, then Berezovsky would have enormous problems

VASSILEVA: Lugovoi also said the Russian mafia could have been involved. But British authorities say they have solid evidence to prove Lugovoi did it.

Litvinenko fell gravely ill hours after he met Lugovoi at the Millennium Hotel in London last November. British investigators found a trail of Polonium-210, which caused Litvinenko's slow, agonizing death, in various places Lugovoi had visited.

The ex-spy's accusations are likely to further strain relations between Moscow and London, already on a collision course over Moscow's refusal to extradite Lugovoi to Britain, offering to try him in Russia instead, something Britain refuses to do.

Ralitsa Vassileva, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Lugovoi, of course, is insisting he's not guilty. But Britain is unyielding.

The British Foreign Office had this to say: "Our position is clear. A request for the extradition of Mr. Lugovoi to face trial in a U.K. court has been handed over. We await the formal Russian response. And this is a criminal matter, not an issue about intelligence. A British individual was killed in London, and U.K. citizens and visitors were put at risk."

MCEDWARDS: All right. Well, let's bring in Ralitsa again in Moscow for a little bit more on all of this.

Ralitsa, what's going to be next here?

VASSILEVA: Both Britain and Russia are at loggerheads here. There's no way forward unless one of them yields.

As we heard in the report so far, Russia is saying we are willing to put Lugovoi on trial here in Moscow if Britain has solid evidence against him. Britain is saying, this happened on our soil, it involved a national of Britain. We want to try him here, extradite him.

Russia is saying, our constitution forbids extradition of our citizens to foreign lands to face trial. So it's just a stalemate -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: You know, a completely different issue, but also a source of real tension, this missile defense system being proposed for parts of Europe. Russia hates the idea. And the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, seems to be upping the rhetoric even more on this. Essentially, if I read the comments right, accusing the United States of trying to ignite another arms race here.

VASSILEVA: Yes, he made those comments today in response to questions about missile tests that Russia had conducted. And he said that Russia was perfecting its arsenal just to keep the strategic balance, because he said the United States had taken unilateral moves, that it moved in more troops in eastern Europe, it was planning a missile defense shield in central Europe. And Russia was just responding in kind.

Also, President Putin saying that he wants NATO to ratify the conventional arms treaty which Russia is abiding by, moving away hardware from European territories and troops, while he says that the United States is bringing in more troops, specifically Romania, Bulgaria, and planning a missile defense shield.

MCEDWARDS: Ralitsa Vassileva, thanks.

CLANCY: All right. There is mixed reaction to the U.N. Security Council decision to form an international tribunal to prosecute the killers of Rafik Hariri.

MCEDWARDS: That's right. Lebanon has until June the 10th to form a court on its own or the U.N. will do it.

CLANCY: That's right. We're going to be talking with the former prime minister's son in just a moment. But first, Brent Sadler gauges reaction in Lebanon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF (voice over): A noisy celebration in Beirut despite a security ban on fireworks. But mostly, the capital was quiet amid fears of a violent backlash as the United Nations Security Council agreed on an international court for Lebanon. But the move to bring suspected killers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri to justice was taken by a divided Security Council and a divided Lebanon.

Saad Hariri, the late prime minister's son and political heir, alleges Syrian involvement in this father's assassination. But the Middle East's highest profile murder mystery has yet to unravel.

(on camera): There has been no smoking gun to indict any Syrian or Lebanese officials for the Hariri murder. But there are ominous signs that the international court could make matters even worse for anxious Lebanese.

(voice over): This is Beirut's famed Hamra Street, a magnet for shoppers and political gossip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing without price. You have to pay blood to get your freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not only for Lebanon, for everywhere in the world. You know, they cannot escape.

SADLER: Hamra's traders already know their summer season is likely ruined by security fears amid powerful opposition to the way the court's being formed by Syria's allies in Lebanon led by Hezbollah.

AYMAN BASSAM, SHOP OWNER: It's going to be the end for everyone, I think, if the situation is going to stay like this.

SADLER: Beirut's beaches are ready for the summer, too, but Lebanon's internal feud spoils the climate.

WALID NOSHIE, BEACH CLUB MANAGER: The train is on the track. Will it reach destination? Will we see the end of the tunnel? This is going to take time, and we hope it will.

SADLER (on camera): Fresh tarmac covers the massive crater where Hariri and 22 others died. At a main road, the bomb site itself suddenly reopens to traffic.

(voice over): The timing was symbolic, but it sends a clear message to Hariri's killers that justice, it's hoped, is on the way.

Brent Sadler, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCEDWARDS: Now, Rafik Hariri and 22 other people were killed. It was back on February 14th of 2005, and it was by a powerful truck bomb. It was huge.

CLANCY: A huge bomb is right.

Just a month later, anti-Syrian street demonstrations reached a feverish peak as an estimated one million people joined together in what was branded the Cedar Revolution, protesters demanding the withdrawal of Syrian troops.

MCEDWARDS: Under intense pressure, Syria relented and completed the withdrawal of thousands of troops. And that happened by April 26th.

CLANCY: Now, within eight months, the United Nations report had concluded that senior Syrian officials most likely approved the assassination of Hariri.

MCEDWARDS: Within weeks, all six pro-Syrian ministers quit the government. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah calls for new elections or veto power for his supporters in the Lebanese government.

CLANCY: All right. We want to go a little bit further into this.

There's one individual, really, that has been working perhaps harder than all others to try to get this tribunal in place in his own country, or outside of it.

He is our guest now, Saad Hariri, the son of the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri. He's a Lebanese lawmaker, and he is the majority leader right now in the Lebanese parliament.

Thanks so much for being with us.

SAAD HARIRI, SON OF SLAIN PRIME MINISTER: Thank you.

CLANCY: There's so many assassinations that have happened in the past decades here. And as we look at the whole situation, how much hope do you have that your father's murder will actually be solved, that there will be justice?

HARIRI: I think, you know, Jim, this is the most important decision for Lebanon. Today, Lebanon -- or yesterday, this decision gives peace to this series of assassinations that happened over the past 35 years. And every time we had an assassination after assassination, nobody was punished for it. Yesterday, the Lebanese people, the Lebanese government, the international community, everyone that wants freedom and sovereignty of Lebanon, decided that this process must start punishing those who commit these crimes. And the message is very clear to those who commit these crimes.

CLANCY: Saad Hariri, the leader of the opposition, if you will, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has said that this is an action being taken by the United Nations Security Council that violates the sovereignty of your country, of Lebanon.

Is that true?

HARIRI: No, it does not violate. As you know, we have an international commission that is investigating under Chapter 7 the killing, the assassination of Rafik Hariri. This has nothing to do with the sovereignty of Lebanon.

It is the Lebanese people. It is the majority in the Lebanese parliament. It is the government of Lebanon who requested this tribunal.

We tried to resolve it in the parliament within the Lebanese consensus. We tried democratically.

They used undemocratic ways to stop the parliament from opening up. And then we went to the United Nations, the highest power, the highest legal power in the world, and we asked it to go ahead with the tribunal and to start it, because this series of assassinations in Lebanon and in the Arab world should stop.

We must send a message to those who want a democratic and free people that, no more assassinations and no more killing from regimes that are willing to go beyond their borders and kill other leadership who believe in freedom.

CLANCY: A tough question here. I don't know how much you can say, but you've obviously been able to hear some of the evidence. You're very close to all of this.

What is the evidence? How strong it is?

HARIRI: You know, we had three commissioners that came to Lebanon. We had Fitzgerald, who started the investigation, and then Mr. Mehlis, the commissioner, and now Mr. Brames (ph).

Fitzgerald said explicitly that there is Syrian implications within this assassination of Rafik Hariri. Then we had other bombings and other killings of (INAUDIBLE). And Mehlis -- the commissioner, said that there are Syrian involvement in the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

Now, Mr. Brames (ph) hasn't said much in who is involved in this assassination. But he followed the investigation that Mr. Mehlis has done.

What I'm trying to say, Jim...

CLANCY: Well, what do you think is the strongest piece of evidence? What have you heard? What is the strongest piece of evidence?

HARIRI: The strongest piece of evidence -- I think -- I think the strongest piece of evidence that we have is Syria's objecting for the tribunal. This is the strongest piece of evidence.

Why is Syria so scared of this tribunal? If it's innocent, and if it has not done this assassination, and if it has not committed all of these crimes, why is the Syrian regime so afraid of this tribunal?

We don't seek political revenge. We don't seek to prosecute people who are innocent. We seek to prosecute people who committed this crime.

We are seeking justice. We are not seeking revenge. I will not get my father back once this tribunal is finished. But what I will get is justice for Lebanon and justice for the free people of Lebanon.

CLANCY: The leader of the Lebanese parliamentary majority, Saad Hariri.

I want to thank you very much for joining us on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

HARIRI: Thank you, Jim. Thank you.

MCEDWARDS: All right.

And there is a lot more to come on our program.

CLANCY: That's right. He's been wanting for a long time for wreaking havoc on the Internet.

MCEDWARDS: Now one of the top spammers in the world will spam no more.

CLANCY: President Bush outlines his plan to combat global warming, but is he going to convince his critics?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very irresponsible, I think it's selfish for him to do that put other people at risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCEDWARDS: And passengers who traveled next to a person infected with a deadly disease are crying foul.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCEDWARDS: Welcome back to CNN International and YOUR WORLD TODAY. CLANCY: We're covering some of the news that the world wants to know. Trying to give you a little bit more perspective. It goes deeper into the stories of today.

MCEDWARDS: Yes, that's right.

Now, we want to turn now to the man infected with that potentially fatal and drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.

He has been moved from an Atlanta hospital to a medical facility in Denver, where he's supposed to receive treatment.

CLANCY: And this is of concern to people on at least two continents.

Meantime, officials in North America and Europe have been tracking down all of the passengers that traveled with this man.

MCEDWARDS: Yes. No easy task. As Rusty Dornin reports, health officials tried several times to convince this man not to travel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Unclear precisely when or where he contracted TB, but local officials say the man's doctor first told them about it on April 25th. Further testing showed it was multiple drug-resistant. On May 10th, a county doctor joined the man's own physician in warning him not to travel.

DR. ERIC BENNING, FULTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPT.: We are not a police authority. But we did tell him in no uncertain terms that he should not travel, and we told him the reasons why.

DORNIN: But he insisted his marriage and honeymoon plans were nonnegotiable, saying he would wear a mask while flying.

(on camera): The day after that meeting, health officials say they sent a letter to his house and tried to contact the infected man by phone to advise him again, please, don't travel.

(voice over): But they say they couldn't reach him.

On May 12th, he boarded an Air France flight to Paris with his fiancee. His strain of TB potentially infectious with exposures of eight hours or more. The flight to Paris, eight hours, 45 minutes. During the next few days, five more flights to the Greek islands, then Rome.

Back in Atlanta on May 16th, health officials identified his strain as XDR, the most extreme form of drug-resistant TB. That's when the CDC took over.

They reached man in Rome on May 23rd. They told him to turn himself into Italian health authorities. But he refused, telling an "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reporter... ALISON YOUNG, "ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION": He was very concerned that this would make it impossible for him to have some cutting-edge treatment in Denver that was planned. And he said he feared for his life.

DORNIN: So, as the CDC tried to figure out how to get him back to the United States, the man flew yet again to Prague.

Then on May 24th, he took a Czech Air flight to Montreal, and finally drove back across the U.S. border.

Reaching him by cell phone, a CDC official told him to drive straight to an isolation facility at Bellevue Hospital in New York. From there, he was transported to Atlanta. CDC officials say no charges will be filed.

DR. MARTIN CETRON, CDC: There were no legal orders in place preventing his travel, and no laws were broken. Since we've issued our federal isolation order, he's been fully compliant.

DORNIN: The CDC says he'll next be transported to a Denver hospital, where he might undergo surgery to remove the infected part of his lung.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Coming up, all of us should check our e-mail.

MCEDWARDS: That's right. You might be happy, actually. You might be seeing a lot less spam soon.

CLANCY: Now that one of the world's most notorious spam kings is in the clink.

MCEDWARDS: Yes, that's right.

And then later, we'll take a closer look at an ugly incident in Iraq that had nothing to do with geopolitics and everything to do with one family's vendetta.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

CLANCY: And now there's some news that probably affects you in a positive way. I think it did me.

MCEDWARDS: For a change anyway, right?

If you hate spam, face it, who doesn't, you might be seeing a lot less of it soon.

CLANCY: I hope so. It's all because a man described as one of the world's top-10 spam kings is now behind bars. MCEDWARDS: Yes, he's Robert Soloway, and he is in federal detention in Seattle, Washington, pending the results of a hearing that is to be held next week. Now it was just last week when a federal grand jury returned a 35-count indictment against Soloway. The charges includes allegations of mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering; add that to the list as well. On Wednesday Soloway pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

CLANCY: Spam, Internet slang for unsolicited and generally, if not always, unwelcome e-mail, has long been frustration on the web. Critics say Soloway has been a particularly obnoxious source. According to spamhaus.org, a Web site that tracks spam and its sources, Soloway has been a long-term nuisance the Internet, both in terms of the spam that he's sent and the people that he duped to use his spam service.

MCEDWARDS: Now this case reveals a kind of crime that sounds a bit like science fiction, computers worldwide secretly enlisted to commit these kind of crimes.

Jonathan Mann joins us now with some insight -- Jon.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like science fiction married to a horror movie, but it's really high-tech and big money. Criminals are able to sneak into people's homes and offices and snare their computers, turning them into what hackers call zombies, or robots. Make no mistake, you might even have a zombie robot computer of your own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN WILSON, SECUREWORKS: Actually, chances are very good. We have estimates that about once every 20 seconds that somebody tries to break into a home PC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANN: A computer gets turned into a robot when it's infected with code that allows an outsider to control it through the Internet. Sometimes the code is hidden inside e-mail, sometimes in pirated software, or in software that a crooked Web site offers you for tree. From inside a robot computer, it can be used to spread spam, attack Web sites or commit other kinds of crimes. Coupled into a robot network, or bot-net, with say ten thousand or a hundred thousand other computers, it can do thousands of times more damage. And in fact bot- nets are thought to be sending out most of the spam that's clogging computers around the world, some say 80 percent.

One guess from experts at Georgia State University is that there may be 75 million infected machines, 75 million, all of them up to no good. How can you tell if your computer is now a robot? Well, the truth is, unless you're an expert, you can't.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILSON: They will hide their activities, hide the fact that they're installed. If you go to look at the software that's installed on your computer, it doesn't necessarily display itself on there. So more commonly, these types of software will hide themselves. They make the removal of themselves extremely difficult as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANN: Your personal computer wouldn't necessarily make anyone any money, but your computer and thousands of other people's computers, sending out tens of thousands of e-mails every day, will send out enough to add up. If the authorities are right, the man we've been reporting on, Robert Soloway, made $750,000 doing it that way. It's the kind of crime that does pay if it can commandeer enough computers.

MCEDWARDS: It's fascinating, you know, how sophisticated this -- do all spammers use those computer armies that you were talking about?

MANN: The smart ones do, because The Truth is, it makes it very hard to find. They're all over the place, and the people whose computers they're using actually don't know that they're parties in committing a crime. Now they've arrested people in the past who didn't do it that way, and they were, by comparison, not so clever. One of them, a guy named Jeremy James was making, it's said up to $750,000 a month, but he was doing it from home. He was convicted after they basically found that he had a whole factory's worth of computer technology in his home in Raleigh, North Carolina.

One of the prosecutors said if he'd been a little smarter, he would have been a little harder to catch.

MCEDWARDS: Wow. And a little richer, right.

OK, Jon, thanks a lot. Appreciate that.

All right. Well, U.S. president George W. Bush has outlined a plan to cut down on what many scientists believe is the main cause of global warming. Mr. Bush is urging 15 major nations to agree on a global emissions goal for reducing greenhouse gasses. The president also urged nations to eliminate tariffs on clean-energy technologies. Mr. Bush outlined his proposal ahead of the G8 summit that is scheduled for Germany next week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRES. OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will work with other nations to establish a new framework for greenhouse gas emissions for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. So my proposal is this, by the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States would convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies, like India and China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: This announcement comes on the heels of other White House proposals this week -- sanctions against Sudan over Darfur, more money to fight AIDS in Africa. What is the president up to? It would seem to some that he's made a major turn here, or has he?

Let's get the view from senior political analyst Bill Schneider. What's going on with the president? Some would say he's suddenly green, he seems suddenly compassionate. He's still conservative, though.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POL. ANALYST: Yes, he is. And there's going to be a big issue with the G8 summit next week when the Germans and Japanese sponsor a measure that would combat global warming, set specific targets, mandatory emission requirement, and a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 2015 by half. The United States has rejected that approach and is likely to block it.

So the president wants to come out with something he can call his own, which is new negotiations, more flexibility, allow each country to meet the targets in different ways. Because he wants to show that he's not dragging his heels or holding the world back. He wants to establish -- re-establish an image as a world leader.

CLANCY: Global warming, though, becoming an issue for the American public as well. They're looking at it, and the Republicans are looking at an upcoming election.

SCHNEIDER: Right, and they're looking at the criticism being raised by a lot Democrats that the United States has lost support in the world, it's no longer as popular as a well-regarded a country. In fact, a lot of countries are criticizing the United States, and all of this has happened under the Bush administration.

Where did we lose our global leadership role? Essentially, the answer is Iraq. But the administration has also been reluctant, slow, bulky about global warming, about Darfur, about a lot of other issue, so Bush is trying to reverse that image with these initiatives.

CLANCY: Will it work?

SCHNEIDER: I doubt it because, you know, he's not signing on to the measures, particularly on global warming, that the European countries and Japan want. He's saying that these would do damage to the United States. A leaked memo talked about a fundamental opposition to the German position on global warming. So a lot of the world is going to say this is too little, too late.

CLANCY: Bill Schneider talking to us there live from Washington.

As always, Bill, great to have you with us.

Colleen, we have a little news?

MCEDWARDS: We do, Jim. Thank YOU very much.

We want to bring you more now on the man who went traveling despite having that infectious form of tuberculosis.

CNN has now made the decision to release the man's name. He is an Atlanta lawyer. And his name is Andrew Speaker, He is 31 years old. There is his picture there. This is according to multiple medical and law enforcement sources, telling this to CNN. Andrew Speaker, 31 years old. He is now in Denver where he'll receive treatment. There was a news conference in Denver when he touched down, where authorities did release a little bit more information about him, saying he's 31 years old. There's a lot of ethical debate around the right to a patient's privacy versus the public's right to know here. But there you have it, Andrew Speaker, 31 years old.

CLANCY: All right, we're going to take a short break here. When we come back, we'll take you to Venezuela for a live report.

MCEDWARDS: And that's going to be about protesters filling the streets, following that government decision there to force an opposition a television station right off the air. But is RCTV using the Internet now to replay its message?

CLANCY: Also, we're going to take you to Bashiqa, northern Iraq, the scene of an unspeakable attack. Has justice been serve there? Well, We're going to have a report just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCEDWARDS: And welcome back. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY right here on CNN International.

CLANCY: We're seen live in more than 200 countries all across the globe.

MCEDWARDS: That's right.

The U.S. President W. George is scheduled to meet today at the White House with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. This visit comes as security forces in Iraq are stepping up their hunt for five British workers who were kidnapped in Baghdad. U.S. and Iraqi troops are searching vehicles at checkpoints throughout the capital. The five men were snatched from a finance ministry building on Tuesday in a mock police raid, Iraqi officials say, was carried out by the Mehdi Army militia.

Now in Iraq, even something as routine as looking for a job can be absolutely deadly. Iraqi police say a suicide bombing at police recruitment center in Fallujah has killed at least 25 people. Police say the bomber set off his explosives vest as he stood among men lined up to apply for jobs on the force there. The recruitment center had only been opened since Saturday.

Violence, Colleen, has become an all-too common occurrence in many areas of Iraq. But one particularly ugly incident recently made global headlines after a crowd gathered and stoned to death a teenage girl.

Our Hugh Riminton headed north from Baghdad to get the latest in the investigation there that was promised by authorities.

I have to warn you, this report contains some very violent images that many may find objectionable.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Bashiqa, northern Iraq, and it was here last month that, according to local police, 2,000 people gathered to stone to death one of their own, a teenage girl. Seventeen year-old Dua Khalil Aswad's crime was to fall in love with a Sunni Muslim boy. Her murder, captured on cell phones, was soon flying by Internet across the world.

We have come here to find out the state of the investigation. The unusual religious architecture tells us we've arrived. Bashiqa is a Yezidi town. The people here believe they are miraculously ascended from Adam alone, not Adam and Eve, like the rest of humanity. And to preserve the purity of Adam's line, marriage outside the ancient sect is strictly forbidden.

The police chief, Colonel Hussein Muhammed Solei (ph), agrees to speak with us, but not on camera.

(on camera): Colonel Hussein says there has been a full investigation, and that 10 people are now suspects. Six of them have fled the area, four in custody, including the girl's cousin, who is said to be the very first person to pick up the stone and push it down on the young woman.

(voice-over): He faces potentially the death penalty, as does the girl's uncle and a clan leader, who allegedly ordered her to be stoned. Both have now gone to ground.

But what of the policemen, I asked, who are clearly seen standing by and watching. What disciplinary action against them? None, said Colonel Hussein, and none will be. The mob, he said, was too large; there was nothing the officers could do.

Less known than the stoning was the brutal reprisal a few days later. Sunni extremists stopped a bus and selected more than 20 Yezidi men. An al Qaeda-linked Web site showed their fate -- all were killed.

Bashiqa itself, at least on this brief visit, seemed relaxed and unafraid. I asked the colonel if he feared more sectarian killings, he replied, "Not at all. Things are friendly now." "Everyone," he said, "has had their blood, and that's enough."

Hugh Riminton, CNN, Bashiqa Iraq.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCEDWARDS: All right. Still ahead here on YOUR WORLD TODAY, for more than 50 years a station has been an institution inside of Venezuela, and there are huge protests around this now. CLANCY: They're out in the streets, but the station itself may be back on the air. We're going to take you live to Caracas (ph), Venezuela, as we'll hear from our correspondent on the scene.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCEDWARDS: Well, students in Venezuela have been protesting the government's closure of an opposition-run television station in Caracas this week. RCTV's broadcast license expired on Sunday, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has refused to renew it.

Harris Whitbeck joins us now from Caracas with the latest on the protests that have been going on there.

Hi, Harris.

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Colleen.

The streets of Caracas are a bit calmer this morning, the students have not come out to protest as they have in the last several days. However, over 100 of those student protesters are still in detention. They were detained by the members -- members of the Metropolitan police, and so far, leaders of the political opposition in Venezuela have made calls for those students to be released. Some of them are minors, are under age, and the calls have been made for them to be released to their parents' custody.

As far as what's going to happen next here, it is still hard to say. RCTV's license has in fact, been suspended and it is not expected for them to go back on the air. And as we've seen in the last couple of days, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has issued thinly-veiled warnings against Globovision, which is considered to be the other independent news --television station that consistently airs the opposition's views.

A lot of questions as to what will happen next. There has been a call for new protests to take place over the weekend, and since it is the weekend, those protests might be large.

Interesting though, is that in the last couple of days, it's been the students who have been on the streets, the students here in Venezuela as a mass movement have been pretty quiet in recent years, and this is one of the first times in many years that students as a mass movement have taken to the streets to protest what they say is a violation of their right to the freedom of expression here, Colleen. MCEDWARDS: You know, Harris, you mentioned that thinly-veiled threat from Hugo Chavez. And I mean, the rhetoric has been pretty extraordinary, even by his standards. He said at one point, or was quoted as saying at least, to the people of Globovision, "I recommend you take a tranquilizer and get into gear because, if not, I'm going to do what is necessary." How are his opponents reacting to that?

WHITBECK: Well, he's accusing Globovision of inciting his assassination. And he says that they were doing that by showing pictures of the -- an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II next to a commentator who is talking about Hugo Chavez. Some of Globovision's executives have been asked to meet with a -- a prosecutor, a government prosecutor next week to look into these charges. And that would be the judicial steps that would follow.

But, representatives from Globovision say they're used to this type of actions. They say that in the last six years or so they've received over 50 -- have been the subject of over 50 different legal actions that were initiated by the government.

MCEDWARDS: All right, Harris Whitbeck in Caracas. Harris, thanks very much.

CLANCY: All right, our viewers in Venezuela have been sending us some great pictures from the protest there this week.

MCEDWARDS: Yes, that's right. These pictures are a great way to get their perspective. And we want to share some of them with you now. Take a look at these ones. This picture is actually from a 26- year-old Adolce (ph). She says she's been following and filming the protests daily. She says the government has tried to sabotage the marches.

CLANCY: All right, the next picture here is from Louisa (ph), she is a journalism student, and she says the police started shooting pellets at the protesters, even though it was entirely peaceful, in her words. That's her report.

MCEDWARDS: And these are great pictures. We really thank you for sending them in. It's nice to see what's happening on the street level.

And we always want to hear from you if you've come across any news, wherever you are. Send us your pictures and comments about it. Just go to CNN.com and click on i-Reports. It's really easy, even I can do it.

CLANCY: All right, Colleen, it's a bird, it's a plane ...

MCEDWARDS: No, it's a man in a spider-man costume clinging to the side of a building.

CLANCY: French daredevil Alon Robert (ph) scaled China's tallest building, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai before being arrested by police.

MCEDWARDS: He climbed the skyscraper in 90 minutes, said that he sought permission from authorities but they turned him down twice.

CLANCY: So he just climbed it anyway.

MCEDWARDS: Whatever.

All right, that's it for this hour. Kyra Phillips and Rob Marciano are up next in the NEWSROOM. The rest of you will see more of YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Colleen McEdwards.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy, and this is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCEDWARDS: Well, students in Venezuela have been protesting the government's closure of an opposition-run television station in Caracas this week. RCTV's broadcast license expired on Sunday, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has refused to renew it.

Harris Whitbeck joins us now from Caracas with the latest on the protests that have been going on there.

Hi, Harris.

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Colleen.

The streets of Caracas are a bit calmer this morning, the students have not come out to protest as they have in the last several days. However, over 100 of those student protesters are still in detention. They were detained by the members -- members of the Metropolitan police, and so far, leaders of the political opposition in Venezuela have made calls for those students to be released. Some of them are minors, are under age, and the calls have been made for them to be released to their parents' custody.

As far as what's going to happen next here, it is still hard to say. RCTV's license has in fact, been suspended and it is not expected for them to go back on the air. And as we've seen in the last couple of days, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has issued thinly veiled warnings against Globovision, which is considered to be the other independent news --television station that consistently airs the opposition's views.

A lot of questions as to what will happen next. There has been a call for new protests to take place over the weekend, and since it is the weekend, those protests might be large.

Interesting though, is that in the last couple of days, it's been the students who have been on the streets, the students here in Venezuela as a mass movement have been pretty quiet in recent years, and this is one of the first times in many years that students as a mass movement have taken to the streets to protest what they say is a violation of their right to the freedom of expression here, Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: You know, Harris, you mentioned that thinly veiled threat from Hugo Chavez. And I mean, the rhetoric has been pretty extraordinary, even by his standards. He said at one point, or was quoted as saying at least, to the people of Globovision, "I recommend you take a tranquilizer and get into gear because, if not, I'm going to do what is necessary." How are his opponents reacting to that?

WHITBECK: Well, he's accusing Globovision of inciting his assassination. And he says that they were doing that by showing pictures of the -- an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II next to a commentator who is talking about Hugo Chavez. Some of Globovision's executives have been asked to meet with a -- a prosecutor, a government prosecutor next week to look into these charges. And that would be the judicial steps that would follow.

But, representatives from Globovision say they're used to this type of actions. They say that in the last six years or so they've received over 50 -- have been the subject of over 50 different legal actions that were initiated by the government.

MCEDWARDS: All right, Harris Whitbeck in Caracas. Harris, thanks very much.

CLANCY: All right, our viewers in Venezuela have been sending us some great pictures from the protest there this week.

MCEDWARDS: Yes, that's right. These pictures are a great way to get their perspective. And we want to share some of them with you now. Take a look at these ones. This picture is actually from a 26- year-old Adolce (ph). She says she's been following and filming the protests daily. She says the government has tried to sabotage the marches.

CLANCY: All right, the next picture here is from Louisa (ph), she is a journalism student, and she says the police started shooting pellets at the protesters, even though it was entirely peaceful, in her words. That's her report.

MCEDWARDS: And these are great pictures. We really thank you for sending them in. It's nice to see what's happening on the street level.

And we always want to hear from you if you've come across any news, wherever you are. Send us your pictures and comments about it. Just go to CNN.com and click on i-Reports. It's really easy, even I can do it.

CLANCY: All right, Colleen, it's a bird, it's a plane ...

MCEDWARDS: No, it's a man in a spider-man costume clinging to the side of a building.

CLANCY: French daredevil Alon Robert (ph) scaled China's tallest building, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai before being arrested by police.

MCEDWARDS: He climbed the skyscraper in 90 minutes, said that he sought permission from authorities but they turned him down twice.

CLANCY: So he just climbed it anyway. MCEDWARDS: Whatever.

All right, that's it for this hour. Kyra Phillips and Rob Marciano are up next in the NEWSROOM. The rest of you will see more of YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Colleen McEdwards.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy, and this is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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