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YOUR WORLD TODAY
Lebanese MP Assassinated, 7 Others Killed; Golden Dome Mosque Bombing; Fatah Threatening to Take Revenge on Hamas in West Bank
Aired June 13, 2007 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Assassination in Lebanon. A fiery explosion in Beirut claims the life of a prominent lawmaker.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Chaos in the streets. Gaza becomes a full-fledged war zone, with Hamas apparently gaining control.
VASSILEVA: After months of bad press over its own tainted food export, China answers back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: China is sending a clear message: it's not the only country which has export control problems. And if the U.S. wants a diplomatic food fight, it will get one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: And Rome redux. Technology makes it possible for all of us to travel back in time thousands of years and immerse ourselves in the ancient city.
It is 6:00 p.m. right now in Rome, 7:00 p.m. in Beirut, Lebanon.
Hello and welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.
I'm Jim Clancy.
VASSILEVA: I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.
From Beirut to Beijing, Ramallah to Rome, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
A powerful explosion late in the day in Beirut is now being called an assassination.
CLANCY: Lebanese member of parliament Walid Eido was badly wounded in this blast and has died now at a local hospital, according to those sources at the hospital. He's a member of the anti-Syrian faction, a prominent member. He is associated with late prime minister Rafik Hariri.
VASSILEVA: Lebanese media report that Eido's son and two of his bodyguards were among those killed by that explosion.
CLANCY: Joining us now, are Beirut bureau chief, Brent Sadler.
Brent, what is the latest? Obviously seen there as nothing more than the continuing tragedy of this nation.
BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Jim. This is the assassination, it's said by the camp of politicians close to western-backed Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the latest in a string of assassinations against Lebanese MPs.
Walid Eido was indeed very close to the assassinated former prime minister, Rafik Hariri. He is indeed very close to Saad Hariri, the son and political heir of the former prime minister.
He was targeted, they say, by a bomb that went off as his car was passing through a sporting club on the seafront along the Kornish (ph), alongside the Mediterranean. Eido was killed, his son Khalid (ph) was also killed, and two bodyguards as well.
Also, we're hearing now the death toll rising. Internal security forces telling CNN the number of people is about eight, they say, so far. Still early days.
This is going to be seen as yet another anti-Syrian -- a blow to anti-Syrian political forces in this country -- Jim.
CLANCY: Another key member of that coalition is on the line with us right now.
Brent, I'm going to ask you to stand by.
I want to bring in Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader, who is on the line.
Mr. Jumblatt, how do you view this latest apparent assassination in Beirut?
WALID JUMBLATT, DRUZE LEADER: It's part of the Syrian killings of the Syrian regime, fomented by the Syrian regime against prominent MPs, (INAUDIBLE), journalists who oppose Syrian presence in Lebanon.
Now the target is to reduce the majority. We are the sitting majority in the Lebanese parliament. We have one less member, now killed. We still have a judge of four.
They might induced to kill four other members (INAUDIBLE) in September when we have the elections, elections (INAUDIBLE) Syrian president or Syrian (INAUDIBLE).
CLANCY: The Syrians have steadfastly denied any involvement in these killings. Why, with the targets being so obviously anti-Syrian, would they risk it?
JUMBLATT: From the start, when (INAUDIBLE) Syrian presence in Lebanon in 2004 (ph), part of assassinations. (INAUDIBLE), Rafik Hariri, (INAUDIBLE). From the start, when we dared to say no to Syrian presence, it started the series of assassinations. Then we got what we wanted in the international tribunal. But it seems with this bunch of assassins in Damascus, they don't care about international justice. Now they want to impose on us a president, a Syrian president.
Because we are a majority of the parliament, killing MPs, three more MPs, will reduce our majority and then be able to (INAUDIBLE). That's it. It's a cynical calculation, but that's my own assessment.
CLANCY: Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Druze community in Lebanon.
Thank you very much for being with us.
Brent Sadler, I want to bring you back in.
How much support does Walid Jumblatt have for that position?
SADLER: Oh, within the camp of Fouad Siniora, the prime minister, all those forces, political forces here that back Saad Hariri, the son and political heir of assassinated prime minister Rafik Hariri, absolutely 100 percent agreement within that bloc which represents a still majority in parliament. But as Jumblatt said there, Jim, that majority is becoming wafer thin, just four.
This has been a whittling away of that majority, says Jumblatt, with a deliberate aim to basically stymie the parliament.
CLANCY: It was at this seafront that Rafik Hariri was killed, right along the seafront there. How far away is this one, and where -- where are these assassinations taking Lebanon?
SADLER: Well, the geography of this is that the Hariri assassination was at one end of the famed Kornish (ph) that runs along the seafront in Beirut. This assassination of Walid Eido, this apparent assassination, is at the opposite end. And it was just off the main road.
I heard the blast, was shaken by the blast, and was talking at that moment to a Lebanese I've known for many years who said he feared another assassination at that very moment that blast went off. And that will be the fear of many Lebanese here, that this county, its security already fragile, its army fighting an Islamic militant war in the north of the country, is going to face further bomb attacks from still persons unknown and unproven to be guilty of any of these attacks in any court of law -- Jim.
CLANCY: Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler there, joining us, along with Walid Jumblatt, with the very latest on the story.
We'll continue to keep you updated.
Thank you, Brent.
VASSILEVA: There was also a significant bombing in Iraq to tell you about today. It was a bold attack on one of the most important shrines in Shia Islam. And it threatens to deepen the sectarian split in Iraq. The government is worried about retaliation and has ordered an indefinite curfew in Baghdad.
Hala Gorani is live in Baghdad with further details on this attack and fears over what comes next.
So, Hala, there's been suspicion that this was an inside job.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, there has been, and there already have been retaliatory attacks. We understand that two Sunni mosques were either destroyed or partly destroyed in Iskandaria, 50 kilometers south of Baghdad. One completely destroyed by a bomb attack, the other one partially destroyed.
Also, we're hearing that in certain neighborhoods across the Iraqi capital, Shia, Sunni and mixed neighborhoods, there has been increased shooting. Even from our location, Ralitsa, we've been hearing increased shooting. And the mood across the capital is tense.
The question now is, will all this make the internecine war in Iraq even worse?
GORANI (voice over): Iraq's famous Samarra mosque is now almost a pile of rubble. A year and a half ago, the golden dome of this Shiite holy site was blown up, setting off a deadly spiral of sectarian strikes. This time, bombers took out the two golden minarets of the Askaria mosque.
Gunmen and Iraqi forces began battling at the mosque around dawn. The bombers struck shortly after.
U.S. military commanders tell CNN they have no doubt this was an inside job. The explosives were smuggled into the shrine, according to them, with the help of security guards there to protect the mosque.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blames Sunni extremists and al Qaeda, but is also calling for restraint.
NURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): And we must have a strong reaction, but it has to be against those who stand with the Saddamists, the terrorists, and al Qaeda organization, and that the hands of all the civilians should be with the security forces in order to face all of the challenges ahead of us.
GORANI: The question tinged with fear, will this attack once again inflame sectarian conflict in Iraq, Sunni against Shia, Shia against Sunni? To try and stop it, a curfew was imposed starting at 6:00 p.m. local time throughout major cities in the country. But there are reports of shootings in some neighborhoods and concern reprisals for the attack will only make this situation worse across Baghdad and beyond.
Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said in a statement, "There is no Muslim who will do such an act at all, but it is the hidden hands of the occupation that wish us evil." Translation, the Americans are responsible directly or indirectly for the devastating attack that obliterated this holy Shiite shrine.
This is not what the Americans wanted to see. The increase in coalition troops and the Baghdad security plan, all designed to secure volatile parts of the country, have not produced the desired effect. And this brash attack will make any effort to pacify the country that much harder.
Security forces are moving in on Samarra, trying to limit violent reprisals and counterattacks as the country holds its breath, facing the real possibility of further sectarian carnage.
GORANI: Holding its breath, the entire country. We remember what happened a year and a half ago, when the golden dome of that Samarra mosque was blown up. That is really -- was really the fuse that sparked the sectarian strike that has gripped this country in the last 18 months.
And meanwhile, Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, has been holding crisis talks with his interior minister, his defense minister, the Iraqi president, as well as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq -- Ralitsa.
VASSILEVA: Hala Gorani in Baghdad.
Thank you very much -- Jim.
CLANCY: Well, if the Middle East appears to be in flames this day, it looks like that no more than on the streets of Gaza, where Hamas is tightening its grip on the north, seizing key positions in the south in the Gaza Strip. The militants gaining ground in their battle to control that.
On the streets of Gaza City, to the refugee camp of Khan Yunis, in the town of Rafah, Hamas is intensifying its fight against the rival Fatah faction for control. It has declared northern Gaza now a closed military zone, ordering residents to hand over their weapons. Militants also bombed a Fatah-aligned security headquarters in the south, claiming complete control of that.
As many as 70 Palestinians have been killed in just the past three days.
Peace marchers were fired upon. The president and the Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is blaming both sides for the escalating violence, calling it madness. He's reaching out to exiled Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal in hopes of reaching some kind of cease-fire.
VASSILEVA: Fighting between the factions is also spilling into the West Bank, where Fatah holds the upper hand. And it's promising to use that position of strength to exact revenge on Hamas if the offensive in Gaza continues.
Ben Wedeman has details.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Gunmen marked their territory, strutting into the main square of the West Bank city of Nablus, and letting loose with a deafening volley of machine gunfire. These militants from the Fatah movement's Aqsa Martyrs Brigade say this is their turf and Hamas had better stay away. With factional fighting wracking Gaza, fears are growing the violence will spread here.
"If we have to fight, we'll fight," says brigade leader Abu Aqubi (ph). "We don't want to, but we'll fight to protect ourselves."
Fatah has warned that if Hamas' Gaza offensive continues, it will pay the price on the West Baink.
(on camera): If Fatah does move against Hamas in the West Bank, it's already got the upper hand. Israel has jailed most of the group's civilian leadership, and the military leadership is deep under ground.
(voice over): Soon after flexing their muscles, Fatah gunmen went into action, besieging the offices of a Hamas-run television station and arresting its staff. And then exchanging fire with their Hamas foes.
Caught in the middle of this power struggle is most of the population of Nablus, the biggest city in the West Bank. Despite the looming specter of civil war spreading here, the old city's market is busy, but there are worries Gaza's decline into anarchy is a symptom of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.
"The problem is the security services don't obey the government anymore," says shopkeeper Ahmed Salem (ph). "They only answer to a few people."
This, combined with a feeling of hopelessness, from people who can only watch while gunmen shatter their dreams. "The two sides are fighting for the thrown," says vendor Abu Mohammed (ph). "And we, the people, are the ones who lose."
The men with the guns, however, probably aren't taking that into account.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Nablus, on the West Bank.
CLANCY: Well, two countries appear to be on the verge of a diplomatic food fight.
VASSILEVA: Ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY, China destroys a U.S. shipment of insect-infested pistachios. And some are calling the move payback. CLANCY: And shining the spotlight on the sex trade. Find out which countries the U.S. calls the worst offenders when it comes to modern day slavery and why one big name is not on the list.
VASSILEVA: And so many people, but so few names. Beijing's plan to deal with a severe surname shortage later on YOUR WORLD TODAY.
CLANCY: The Bush administration issuing its annual list of countries that it says don't do enough to stop human trafficking.
VASSILEVA: Sixteen countries were singled out for worst offender status. Among them, several U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf region.
CLANCY: But as Zain Verjee tells us, the most controversial part of the report had to do with one nation that wasn't even on the list.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A brothel raid in Thailand. Young girls, sex slaves. One kept a diary of her abuse on the wall, in video, shot by an advocacy group that says they freed them.
These girls in Cambodia are as young as five, for sale. Some have been released. Others still trapped.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: No one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave.
VERJEE: The U.S. says about 800,000 people are smuggled over borders. As many as 17, 500 end up in the United States.
The State Department is naming and shaming what it calls the world's worst offenders. Both friends and enemies are on a blacklist in a new government report and face sanctions if they don't clean up their act.
Raising eyebrows, India noticeably absent, with up to 65 million forced laborers and sex slaves in the world's largest democracy, according to advocacy groups.
KEVIN BALES, PRESIDENT, 'FREE THE SLAVES": It's obvious, it's out there. You can see it in the fields. You can go into the villages and just ask people, "Who do you belong to?" And they will tell you.
VERJEE: U.S. officials tell CNN about a heated debate between Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and his boss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, over whether to give India a pass from the harshest scrutiny. Negroponte wanted India blacklisted, Rice didn't, especially at a time when the U.S. and India are negotiating a nuclear deal. U.S. officials acknowledge power politics played a part.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be perpetuating a fraud to say that we don't look at multiple factors in our relationship with countries.
VERJEE (on camera): Secretary Rice agreed to evaluate India in six months, and if it hasn't cleaned up its act, it would be in trouble. A spokesman at the Indian Embassy in Washington say India has taken legal steps to combat trafficking and it has cracked down on offenders. He also added that making judgments like this about India in this report isn't helpful.
Zain Verjee, CNN, at the State Department.
CLANCY: It wasn't all bad news, however. The U.S. cited some nations were at least improving their record on human trafficking.
VASSILEVA: And among those, Belize, Laos and Zimbabwe, which were promoted to tier two, a status the U.S. uses to describe countries that do not fully comply with minimum standards but are making significant efforts to do so.
CLANCY: And it was a rare praise for Zimbabwe, of course. The U.S. usually very critical of that African nation, especially when it comes to human rights.
VASSILEVA: Well, one of the world's ritziest department stores may come under new ownership.
CLANCY: Details on a possible Barneys takeover coming up next here.
And then getting out of Gaza. Fierce new fighting has thousands of Palestinians just trying to escape. But many say they can't.
VASSILEVA: And how would it feel to walk through ancient Rome? An ambitious new project shows the Eternal City like you've never seen it before.
We'll also look later on YOUR WORLD TODAY. You don't want to miss that.
CLANCY: Hello, and a warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from more than 200 countries and territories around the globe, including here in the United States.
VASSILEVA: This is YOUR WORLD TODAY, I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.
CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. These are the stories that are making headlines right now. A powerful explosion in Beirut killed an influential member of the Lebanese Parliament, a man aligned with the late former prime minister and the current pro-western government. Security sources say Walid Eido was assassinated along with his son and two body guards in this powerful blast that was believed to have been a bomb-rigged car.
VASSILEVA: Iraqi insurgents penetrated and then bombed a sacred Shiite shrine in Samarra, further damaging the mosque that was bombed last year. U.S. military says it has evidence it was an inside job and that 15 Iraqi security forces have been arrested. They're accused of assisting with or actually taking part in the attack.
CLANCY: Hamas militants appear to be gaining ground in their fight for control of Gaza. They are claiming success over rival Fatah movement in northern Gaza, declaring the entire area a closed military zone. Militants also bombed a key Fatah security headquarters in the south. As many as 70 Palestinians have been killed in just the past three days.
VASSILEVA: Meanwhile, the fighting in Gaza is a battle between Hamas and Fatah loyalists, many Gaza residents aren't choosing sides. They're just trying to save their lives. And increasingly, they're looking to do that somewhere else. Isha Sesay has some insight.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gaza has seen its share of residents coming and going over the years. Now, the factional fighting there has a lot more people leading toward going, and yet, many residents are simply staying inside and out of the crossfire because for most, there's no way out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABU RAMI, GAZA RESIDENT: We were safe before. We had a beach, we had a sea, a place like no place in the world. Sadly, the security situation is not stable, so everyone is leaving. They cannot move or do anything in this country. The people are suffocating and they all want to leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Gaza residents may want to leave but leaving is not so easy. There are only a handful of ways out. There is crossing to the north is restricted to workers with permits to enter Israel. There are four other crossings into Israel but they're limited to commercial traffic. That leaves the Rafa crossing into Egypt. But getting there means navigating potentially dangerous roadblocks along the way, plus getting permission to enter Egypt is not a given and the crossing isn't always open.
Well, the U.N. says it was closed last month 24 out of 31 days, in fact. That leaves most with little choice but to stay where they are. Even if staying home isn't their first choice. In a poll taken in April of last year, 18 percent they'd said they wanted to leave if they could. By September that number had shot up to 31 percent. Among young people, it was even higher. Well compare that desire to leave with the actual population statistics. Nearly 1.5 million people live in Gaza's 360 square kilometers and it's projected population increase this decade is among the highest in the world at 3.8 percent. Which means a growing desire to leave is accompanied by a growing population that is staying put. For generations leaving Gaza or even expressing a desire to leave, was seen as a retreat from Israel. Now it's more about self preservation. The Palestinian leaders say the future of the Palestinians as a people is at stake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAEB ERAKAT, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: If this continues, if the Palestinian people start fleeing Gaza towards Egypt, towards the crossing and so on, this will destroy everything we stand for. I believe if we don't help ourselves as Palestinians now, nobody else will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Among the most popular destinations for Gaza residents who do cross the border and relocate are somewhat surprisingly Canada and Cuba. Both impose few restrictions on Palestinian travelers. Many who go to Canada seek asylum there, but those who flee to Cuba often don't even plan to go that far. They'll stop somewhere along the way instead of boarding their connecting flight.
VASSILEVA: We just heard Saeb Erakat express concerns about the future. What have we able to find out about what impact this actually has on the future?
SESAY: Well, there are growing concerns that this rise in the desire to flee Gaza could greatly harm a future Palestinian state because the sense is that what we're seeing is those who want to leave and those who are actually leaving are broadly speaking, the young and the middle class.
So we're looking at two things. We're looking at potentially a brain drain and secondly, we're looking at the Palestinian society being strict -- being stripped of its next generation. So in effect, what you're looking at is, should the day come where future Palestinians stayed, is actually on the ground, they would be lacking the vital brains they need to power it.
VASSILEVA: Happens with every conflict.
SESAY: It certainly does.
VASSILEVA: Thank you very much.
CLANCY: Well, China has launched a tough new zero tolerance policy, as it calls it, on U.S. food imports. This week inspectors rejected a shipment of American pistachio nuts. They say they were rancid and bug infested. The crack down comes as China's own exports have been facing increased international scrutiny. John Vause reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Just routine procedures, say the Chinese. Pistachio nuts from California impounded by customs officials because the shipment, they say, was infested with white heads. The ants pose a great threat to our forests and environment, says this news report on state-run television. This is the third time in less than a week U.S., goods have been destroyed or turned back by Chinese officials. Last Friday, the country's food safety authority announced on its website that American health supplements in raisins had failed to meet, quote, "the sanitary standards of China."
YANG JIANGYING, CHINA'S FOOD AND DRUG ADMIN. (through translator): We will take a zero tolerance approach in dealing with these cases, she says.
VASE: For months, Chinese exports have been at the center of scandals around the world. From poisoned toothpaste and cough syrup in Central America, to tainted pet food ingredients in the U.S.. But now China appears to be on the offensive.
RUSSELL MOSES, CHINA POLITICAL ANALYST: By and large these sorts of seizures are being done to essentially say look, we can play big as well as you.
VASE: In Beijing officials opened their food testing facilities to show it off to international reporters. And recently announced a five-year plan to improve standards and safety. And as for the recent bad press, media hype, says this government official.
LI DONGSHENG, INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE DEPT. (through translator): We should face the truth but it should not be exaggerated because it can cause panic. Actually it's not that serious at all, he says.
VASE (on camera): Chinese officials have turned away American goods before, but rarely so publicly. Analysts say China is sending a clear message, it's not the only country which has export control problems and if the U.S. wants a diplomatic food fight, it will get one.
John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
VASSILEVA: A top U.S. diplomat accuses Iran of sending weapons to insurgents across the Middle East including the Taliban. These aren't the first accusations but this time the U.S. says it has what it calls irrefutable evidence. Nicholas Burns, the U.S. Undersecretary of State, says NATO intercepted arm shipments to the Taliban. Burn's spoke to CNN's Owen Thomas.
NICHOLAS BURNS, U.S. UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE: General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said about six weeks ago, that the Iranians had been transferring arms to the Taliban inside Afghanistan. Some of those arms shipments have been intercepted by NATO forces.
It's quite surprising because, as you remember, the Iranians had been -- had said they were the mortal enemies of the Taliban in 2001 and 2002, but there's irrefutable evidence the Iranians are now doing this. It's a pattern of activity, if you see Iranians arming Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza and the West Bank and, of course, arming Shia militants inside Iraq itself. It's very violent and very unproductive activity by the Iranian government.
OWEN THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So you are actually saying that this is coming directly from Tehran? You've got evidence of Tehran government involvement in this?
BURNS: Well, certainly coming from the government of Iran. It's coming from the Iranian revolutionary gourd corps command, which is a basic unit of the Iranian government. That's the organization that is supplying arms to all the other different militant groups in the Middle East. So, it's not surprising that that should be the providence inside the government of Iran of these arms, but it's very disturbing. Afghanistan is a place that needs to be stabilized. There needs to be peace. There's an entire international effort to try to stabilize Afghanistan. And Iran is operating against the last U.N. Security Council resolution, 1747, passed on March 24th, which said that Iran must not transfer arms to anyone outside of Iran. And here it's doing it in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. So Iran is in out right violation of its Security Council commitments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VASSILEVA: Well, for its party, Iran has denied allegations, saying it would make no sense for the Shiite government to fuel a Sunni insurgency.
CLANCY" Could pro-Taliban fighters armed by Iran be responsible for the security breakdown in the western Pakistani city of Tank? Well, situated a little more than 100 kilometers from the border with Afghanistan, Tank has become a no-man's zone. Militants have carried out a number of raids on government buildings and businesses. Local tribal leaders say as many as one-third of the city's 150,000 people have now had to flee the fighting. .
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARDAR AHMED GUL, SOCIAL WORKER (through translator): The situation in tank is really bad. No respectable citizen can move freely. You cannot go out, meet friends and relatives. Life, honor and property is not safe here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: The failure of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to gain control over Islamic militants just one factor contributing to the political troubles threatening his administration, and that instability in Pakistan creates some uncertainties about the country's role in the worldwide fight against terror that's fostered by the United States.
Tom Foreman now gives us a closer look at the shaky relationship.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America is counting on Pakistan's president in the fight against terror, counting on his army to push against militants near the border with Pakistan.
But protest at home triggered when he suspended the chief justice of the Supreme Court have raised the pressure on Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf recently met with his top military brass and got a statement of support from them. A Pakistani spokesman tells CNN it was a routine meeting and the president has the military's unconditional support.
But even the fact that he had to ask for it could be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
MARVIN WEINBAUM, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SECRETARY: This would naturally lead to the conclusion that there may be some irritation developing here as well between the same corps commanders and the president.
FOREMAN: Yet Musharraf could turn signs of weakness to his advantage when he faces U.S. pressure to do more on combating terrorism.
DEREK CHOLLET, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: The game he plays is to ensure that he's the only act in town and all the other alternatives are so awful that we can only push him so hard.
FOREMAN: Pakistan's prime minister dismisses accusation that Musharraf may not last the year.
SHAUKAT AZIZ, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: Very sure that he will contest and he will be elected. For another term.
FOREMAN: What role would the military play if there is a leadership transition?
SAMINA AHMED, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: The military in Pakistan is very pragmatic. It's not an ideological military. If they have a change of guard and you have a democratic representative government which has popular support the military will fall in line.
FOREMAN (on camera): Analysts tell CNN it is unlikely that the military would be the first to turn on Musharraf. He is a former general himself, and he's made a point of promoting his friends in the military and letting his enemies retire.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
CLANCY: We're going to take a short break here. When we come back we'll take a look at how even the Eternal City needs a little help sometimes.
VASSILEVA: That's right. Coming up, what looks like a video game is actually given a new take on the ancient city of Rome.
CLANCY: Also, Ralitsa, what's in a name? Well, in the case of some highly popular names in china, some people say too much. We'll explain when we come back.
VASSILEVA: Welcome back. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY here on CNN International.
CLANCY: Seen live in more than in 200 countries and territories all around the globe.
Well, he rarely appears on Capitol Hill, so when President Bush makes a visit, lawmakers, they take notice. Tuesday he appealed to Republican senators who scuttled his immigration bill last week, offering to back an emergency spending measure aimed at securing U.S. borders. One GOP senator who supports the president says he doesn't think Mr. Bush changed any minds.
VASSILEVA: Well, opponents of illegal immigration say more people, including military personnel, are needed to secure the U.S. borders.
CLANCY: But what happens when those assigned to guard against illegal border crossings become involved in smuggling operations of their own?
VASSILEVA: Ed Lavandera explains that.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cell phone text message offers First Class Jose Rodrigo Torres a lucrative deal. Federal authorities say last Wednesday Sergeant Julio Cesar Pacheco sent these words: "We need to take 24 people to make that happen, and you will get $3,500. Does that sound good?"
Torres replied, "Twenty-four will be tough to fit, but I'll try." The next day, federal authorities say Torres picked up 24 illegal immigrants in Laredo and drove them in a van north along Interstate 35. According to those authorities, he managed to get beyond a Border Patrol checkpoint with the help of a third National Guardsman, Sergeant Clarence Hodge.
DON DEGABRIELLE, U.S. ATTORNEY: These 24 individuals and Mr. Torres and that van were actually never subjected to the typical immigration check that most people are subject to, that go through the checkpoint.
LAVANDERA: The van kept pushing towards San Antonio, until Border Patrol agents stopped Torres near the small town of Cotulla and discovered the illegal immigrants. They had done this before. According to court documents, the three men organized about seven other smuggling runs, and more were in the works. The day they were busted, Sergeant Hodge allegedly sent Torres a text message that said, "You want to do one tomorrow? They're supplying the van."
Torres wrote back, "Tell them I'll only do one run at no more than 20 people at $150 a person, and I want to leave at 1930 hours. And I'll go to San Antonio if they want."
DEGABRIELLE: It's unfortunate when members of law enforcement, whose job it is -- is to help us protect the border and maintain border security, are alleged to have violated the very laws that they're helping us to protect.
LAVANDERA: Texas National Guard officials say they're disappointed and that any breach of the public's trust will be thoroughly investigated.
(on camera): Federal authorities won't say if these three men were operating alone or if they were part of a bigger smuggling operation, but in the criminal complaint against the men, three of the illegal immigrants in that van say they were charged up to $2,000 to be smuggled.
(voice-over): The three accused have not entered pleas in court. Federal authorities describe Julio Pacheco as the ring leader, a far cry from the soldier who received the Purple Heart for injuries he suffered in Iraq.
His family say people shouldn't rush to judgment.
BENITO PACHECO, SOLDIER'S BROTHER: I don't want them to hurt his reputation because of he said-she said. Just get the facts and take it from there. My brother, to me, is an American soldier. He's a hero to many people. And I don't want that to change. He will always be a hero in my heart.
LAVANDERA: Big money flows in the underworld of human smuggling, and the arrests of three soldiers is a reminder that the temptation of easy money always lurks on the border.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
CLANCY: Well, coming up, the glory that was Rome.
VASSILEVA: And 21st century computer graphics, it all comes together in a digital reproduction of the eternal city at the height of the Roman empire.
CLANCY: Well, with big populations come big problems. And the world's most populous nation, China, of course, has to shortage of people. But what it does have, a shortage of names, and it's a big problem.
VASSILEVA: Just more than a billion people share just 100 names. There's so many people named Wong in China, for example, if they formed their own country, it would be the 7th most populous nation on Earth, outnumbering the populations of Germany, South Korea and Australia.
CLANCY: And then the 93 Wangs really aren't along. There are also 92 million Zhangs.
VASSILEVA: Eighty-eight million Lees. And 20 million people bear the surname Chen, Zhou or Lin.
CLANCY: Now with some many people and so few names, confused authorities try to find that picking out an individual is like finding a needle in the haystack. A lot of people have the same names. Try finding the right Lu Bo from 1.3 million others who bear the very same name.
VASSILEVA: So authorities have come up with a solution and it is -- they're planning to allow children to combine the surnames of their parents.
CLANCY; All right. So a child born to someone named Zhu -- Z-H- U -- and someone named Zhou -- Z-H-O-U -- could then be named Z-H-U or Z-H-O-U or Z-H-U-Z-H-O-U. Is that simpler?
VASSILEVA: Not the way you put it.
CLANCY: I'm confused already.
VASSILEVA: Imagine if they have a name like mine, to combine my family names. So I guess they're lucky.
CLANCY: All right.
VASSILEVA: Imagine how much confusion that would cost.
CLANCY: All right. Well, perhaps you've had dreams of fighting gladiators, or maybe you're just an armchair historian.
In either case, there's a new Web site that turns historical Rome into something like a video game.
Our Rome bureau chief, Alessio Vinci, takes a virtual ride through the Eternal City.
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Have you ever wondered how the coliseum appeared to Emperor Constantine when he ruled Rome almost 2,000 years ago, or what the city looked like in 320 A.D. when it was home to a million people? Well, now you can, thanks to this 3-D recreation, the brainchild of a group of international tech wizards. BERNBARD FRISCHER, ARCHAEOLOGIST: We can and we do take people inside the coliseum, and even under the coliseum, to the chambers where they kept the animals and we show how the elevators work to bring the animals up to the surface for the animal hunts that went on there. We can take you into the Roman Senate house. We can take you into the great law courts that line the plaza of the Roman forum.
VINCI: Using the latest technology and ancient maps, computer experts and archaeologists who worked for 10 years rebuilding most of the city as it once stood within the limits of its original 21- kilometer, or 13-mile wall, including building interiors and reproduction of ancient battle scenes on its triumphant arches. In fact, the program allows you to walk virtually anywhere through 7,000 buildings and 31 monuments and, for the most technology-advanced tourist, the virtual tour is also available on handheld GPS devices, a tour that will likely revolutionize your next visit to Rome, which today looks just as eternal as ever.
Alessio Vinci, CNN, Rome.
CLANCY: That should be fun.
VASSILEVA: That's fascinating.
CLANCY: A whole new outlook now when you go visit that city.
CLANCY: GPS enabled.
CLANCY: The technology is there. That has to be it for this hour. I'm Jim Clancy.
VASSILEVA: I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.
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