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YOUR WORLD TODAY
Myanmar Protests: Third Day of Crackdown by Military Government; Washington's Change of View on Global Warming; Russian "Chessboard Killer" Goes on Trial
Aired September 28, 2007 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Brutal force. Soldiers in Myanmar drag away activists, fire teargas, occupy monasteries and cut Internet access. But the protesters keep on marching.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And the president on the climate. U.S. President Bush calls them the worst polluters to set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It is 10:30 p.m. in Yangon, Myanmar, noon in Washington.
Hello and welcome to our broadcast around the globe.
I'm Jonathan Mann.
MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.
From Moscow to Washington, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
Well, we begin with the anti-government protesters in Myanmar, because they are facing an intensified crackdown by the ruling junta.
MANN: It's getting even worse. Soldiers fired into crowds for a third day in Yangon, and the government took another step to try to stop the world from finding out.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, that's right. Public Internet access was shut down on Friday. The Web, of course, has played a crucial role in showing images like this, of the protests. And what does a government like this do if it doesn't like the images? It cuts off access.
MANN: State media are reporting that nine people have been killed, but diplomats say the number could be a lot higher and cited witnesses who saw rows of bodies on the street.
MCEDWARDS: Well, the U.N. special envoy to Myanmar is waiting to enter the country, waiting in Singapore. Myanmar's military government has agreed to issue him a visa by Saturday.
MANN: Protests against the junta were seen in several countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and France. People are speaking out everywhere.
MCEDWARDS: Well, the government is making another attempt to break the momentum here.
MANN: Troops have set up no-go zones around five key Buddhist monasteries and confined the clergy indoors.
MCEDWARDS: James Blake has the latest now, and it looks like the government may be getting the upper hand.
JAMES BLAKE, REPORTER, ITV NEWS (voice over): It's been a morning of relative calm on the streets of Yangon this morning. There are reports of 1,000 protesters on the march, but no more. Perhaps the army's violent crackdown succeeded in its aim yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finally, the (INAUDIBLE) to disperse the crowd.
BLAKE: Burmese state TV this morning said the protesters had tried to steal guns from the security officers. She confirmed nine people were killed and 10 injured.
There was also a warning against listening to British or American radio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: BBC and VOA airing skyful of lies.
BLAKE: Reports also coming in that some Burmese army officers are now refusing to fire on the crowds.
MOE EYE, DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA: The army core division (INAUDIBLE) was ordered to shoot the monks, but the army refused to shoot the monks. So now, today, another army division was replaced in Mandalay. So two division armies are deploying in Mandalay, but they are confronting each other.
BLAKE: Overnight at the United Nations, the foreign secretary asked world leaders to support the monks in Burma.
DAVID MILIBAND, U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: I call on the regime to allow peaceful protests, encourage national dialogue, and promote genuine reconciliation. Let us today send a message to the monks on the streets of Burma. We support your demand for a democratic Burma. And let us take a message from the monks on the streets of Burma. The human desire for freedom knows no bounds of race or religion or region.
BLAKE: If the monks in Yangon have been largely silenced by the army, around the world protests have intensified against the regime and its allies. In Malaysia, demonstrators faced riot police as they marched on the Chinese and Russian embassies. In Australia, the crowds scuffled with police.
Now the world waits to see how the Burmese police will react to their protests today.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MCEDWARDS: James Blake reporting there.
Well, if you're not familiar with the geography of Myanmar, it may appear as though the demonstrations have been taking place all over the country. But Myanmar is actually a big place. And the rallies and clashes that we've been showing are happening in the country's two largest cities.
You've got Yangon in the south, and Mandalay, about 600 kilometers to the north. Now, in Yangon, three locations in particular have been focal points for these demonstrations.
You have got the Sule Pagoda. It's been the site of some of the largest protests. And then in central Yagon, there's the Shwedeagon Pagoda. That's another important religious site.
And then on the north end of the city, the home of detained pro- democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She is a hero in this country, hugely controversial. She has won the Nobel Prize, and hundreds of demonstrators marched to her home earlier this week to greet her, but they were then blocked from doing so again.
MANN: It's not even clear she's still there. There were reports that she was moved to a prison.
Myanmar obviously a dangerous place for activists or for outsiders simply trying to cover the story. In fact, the government has refused to allow outside journalists to report from inside Myanmar.
Our own John Vause is monitoring things from neighboring Thailand and joins us now with the latest -- John.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Jonathan.
Well, it seems no one is getting into Myanmar and almost nothing is getting out. The flood of videos and photographs that we've seen in recent days is now just a trickle. That is proof, if you needed any, that the Myanmar authorities have now severed that Internet connection, severed the voice to the outside world, if you like, for those pro-democracy demonstrators. But some information is getting out.
One resident in Yangon did tell CNN that army troops were sweeping through the city streets this morning, warning residents over loud speakers that they should stay indoors after 12:00 noon local time. But according to bloggers, thousands defied those orders.
They gathered in the city's main marketplace. And also, we're hearing from bloggers that there has been sporadic gunfire across the city for most of the day.
This comes after Thursday's clashes between the army and pro- democracy demonstrators. And there is now a disturbing new videotape of just what took place on Thursday. These images may be disturbing to some of our viewers, but they show one man being shot at pointblank range. And it's believed he is the Japanese freelance journalist Nadsi Kenzi (ph) who was there working for a Japanese news agency. His death has been confirmed by the Myanmar authorities.
And this is what he was doing at the time. This is the video from his camera when he was shot by authorities.
The Japanese government has asked for an explanation. A statement on Myanmar state-run television says his death was an accident, one of nine people who died during those clashes on Thursday. But Western diplomats now say the death toll must be much higher.
MANN: John, outsiders are wondering what they can do. There are statements coming from diplomats, there are statements coming from the White House. But a lot of people are saying that really China is the only outside actor that could have any influence at all on these events. That's a country you normally cover.
Is the leadership in China susceptible to pressure from outside, or from its own people on this, for that matter?
VAUSE: Well, I have just come from China, and, in fact, there's virtually no coverage of this story in the official state media across most of the country. It's been relegated to the international section of the newspaper, and it is being reported as a call for restraint on both sides. As a skirmish, as a local uprising.
Certainly nothing like we have been seeing on the Western media. And that is for a number of reasons.
The last thing the Chinese want to show their people is a pro- democracy movement on their doorstep. And certainly, because the Chinese people are not getting the information, there is no pressure from the population on the Chinese authorities to act because, quite simply, China is unlikely to support a mass democratic movement born of a religious base. And this is a very difficult position for China, because what it really wants out of anything in this region is stability.
Stability is good for business. Stability means it can go into Myanmar, it can help itself to those vast resources. And that's what this military dictatorship gives China. It gives it stability, but it doesn't want a bloodbath on its doorstep a year out from the Olympic games.
So it's in a bit of a tight spot right now -- Jonathan.
MANN: CNN's John Vause in Bangkok.
Thanks very much.
Another country now, another struggle over democracy. The supreme court of Pakistan has handed an early victory to the country's president, Pervez Musharraf. The high court dismissed legal charges to General Musharraf's bid to seek another five-year term as head of state.
Now that ruling allows him to run in elections October 6th, while retaining his role as army chief. Aides to the president say he's offering a deal. He'll give up his military title if he wins another term in office as president.
MCEDWARDS: Well, global warming front and center in Washington in this day. U.S. President George W. Bush is calling for action at a conference on climate change. A conference that he organized.
He's urging all countries, including developing nations, to set a long-term goal for reducing greenhouse emissions. Now, Mr. Bush says technology can play a role in solving the problem and he advocated the use of nuclear power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Together, our nations will pave the way for a new international approach on greenhouse gas emissions. This new approach must involve all the world's largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, including developed and developing nations.
We will set a long-term goal for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem. And by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCEDWARDS: But look, this is not an easy issue for the U.S. president, because ever since he came to office, even before that, frankly, the president has changed positions on the whole question of climate change.
Miles O'Brien has been keeping watch on Washington's many moves on this.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The science is solid. A warming Earth could mean dangerous changes in the years ahead. But when science collides with politics, the chemistry isn't always pretty. And White House pronouncements on a warming Earth have been all over the map.
Head to head with Al Gore in a 2000 presidential debate, candidate Bush wasn't so sure about global warming.
BUSH: Global warming needs to be season very seriously, and I take it seriously. But science, there's a lot -- there's differing opinions, and before we react, I think it's best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what's taking place. O'BRIEN: Then, before the election, Bush promised to force limits on greenhouse gas emissions. But in an interview a year later with CNN's John King, Vice President Cheney asked for a do-over on that promise.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a mistake, because we aren't in a position today to be able to do that, in terms of sort of capping CO2 emissions.
O'BRIEN: This year global warming was back on the front burner, making the A-list for the State of the Union Address.
BUSH: These technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.
O'BRIEN: No one expects a breakthrough from this meeting, but the president's supporters say it couldn't hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see how it could be anything other than a positive, and I believe Prime Minister Blair will agree, to get the major economies of the world, to get the nations that are responsible for 80 percent of the carbon emissions.
O'BRIEN: But even Bush's first EPA administrator says the U.S. has left the impression that it won't lift a finger to help.
CHRISTIE WHITMAN, FMR. EPA ADMINISTRATOR: He said we're out of here, gone, and we're not going to regulate climate. And the rest of the world interpreted that as flipping them the bird, frankly, on an issue which they cared a great deal.
O'BRIEN: Miles O'Brien, CNN, Washington.
MANN: We're going to take a break. And then a really strange story, a serial killer with a macabre love of chess.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, this is a Russian man accused of dozens of murders. He's on trial in Russia. And we'll have details from Moscow coming up.
MANN: Then, a miraculous rescue. A missing U.S. woman on the brink of death saved by her cell phone.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, this is quite a story.
And a book of records for all time. From the sublime to the ridiculous, for 53 years now, Guinness has been chronicling it all.
MCEDWARDS: Welcome back to CNN International and YOUR WORLD TODAY.
MANN: We're seen live around the globe this hour. We're glad to have you with us.
We want to take you to Moscow now, to a gruesome murder trial that's under way, a Russian man accused of killing 49 people. But there's more to it than even that.
As we hear from Matthew Chance, he charted his crimes on a chessboard.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He could be Russia's most prolific serial killer, self-confessed and unrepentant. The country's media has dubbed the 32-year-old Alexander Pichushkin as the "Bittsa Maniac," after the area terrorized in a five-year killing spree.
(on camera): Well, this is the heavily-forested Bittsa Park on the southern outskirts of Moscow, where Pichushkin is alleged to have carried out his serial murders. He'd lure his victims here with the offer of alcohol, getting them drunk on vodka before viciously beating them to death and dumping their bodies.
(voice over): Police say they've recovered dozens of corpses. Some with sticks and vodka bottles rammed into their shattered skulls. Pichuskin's name and telephone number was found on a piece of paper in the home of the last victim, a woman he worked with at a local market.
A Russian TV news channel was invited to film and broadcast this dramatic confession.
ALEXANDER PICHUSHKIN, SERIAL KILLER (through translator): If they didn't catch me, I would never have stopped. They have saved many lives.
CHANCE: He's now on trial for killing 49 people after being judged sane.
(on camera): But Pichushkin says he carried out many more murders, with the bizarre aim of killing one person for every square on a chessboard. Some of his victims, he says, are still buried in this dense forest.
(voice over): And Pichushkin brags about what he says is the real number.
PICHUSHKIN (through translator): I actually committed 61 murders, 60 of them in Bittsa Park. I committed my first murder in 1992. It was my classmate.
CHANCE: So this trial isn't about innocence or guilt, but seeing justice is done for the families of the many victims of Russia's chessboard killer.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MANN: A story now of a woman fighting for her life, in critical condition. But even so, lucky to be alive. She had been missing -- get this -- for eight days.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, this is a disturbing story.
Police found Tanya Rider's car right there. It's down a steep ravine. This is just south of Seattle, Washington.
Police say the car plunged off the highway. It was buried so deeply in brush that nobody found it.
MANN: Rescuers had to cut off the roof of the car to get her out, and they found her by tracing her cell phone signal.
Her husband, Tom Rider, spoke to CNN a short time ago. He's thankful that she was found, but he's angry, too, because it took so long.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDER, TANYA RIDER'S HUSBAND: This, the cell phone beep, saved her life. I wish they had done it earlier.
QUESTION: They tell us those are private records, and even you being her spouse can't release those cell phone records.
RIDER: I think something ought to be done to change that, because had they pinged her cell phone when I first asked them to, she wouldn't be in the condition she is now. She wouldn't be fighting for her life.
She'd probably have, you know, the minor injuries that she had, a broken clavicle, a cut on her forehead, and, you know, be leaving the hospital tomorrow instead of looking at I can't imagine how long a recovery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCEDWARDS: Tom Rider distressed there. He says his wife suffered kidney failure and dehydration from being trapped for so long.
Her condition is really serious. I was reading reports earlier. I mean, she is fighting for her life. And, you know, he said he was questioning why it took so long. And he was actually going to be questioned in this.
MANN: He was. He said he knew police would consider him a suspect. So he said, OK, don't get a warrant, come search everything, ask me every question you can. Just find my wife.
And it took them days before they really (INAUDIBLE).
MCEDWARDS: He was about to take a polygraph test when the pinging of the cell phone came through. They narrowed her down to a couple of kilometers radius from the nearest cell phone tower. That's how they fount her. Unbelievable.
MANN: Lucky. I don't know if "lucky" is the word.
What a story.
Well, a very different kind of story. The bunny who wears a bow tie is now offering Britain a salacious shopping spree.
MCEDWARDS: What could this be? Later this hour, we'll take a trip to London's new Playboy store, where sex is not the only thing that sells. Believe me.
MANN: And he worked in the U.S. for 11 years, saving every cent. But when he tried to leave, officials stripped him of his savings, all $60,000 worth. Why?
MANN: Let's welcome back the viewers joining us from around the globe, 200 countries and territories, including the United States. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Jonathan Mann.
MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.
Here are some of the top stories we're following for you this hour. Troops in Myanmar fired shots into the crowds today. This is the third consecutive day in a crackdown on these protests that have been going on.
State media report nine people have been killed, but one witness is reporting seeing 35 bodies in rows, on the streets. Truth is, we just don't know. Soldiers have sealed monasteries to keep monks from leading the demonstrations. The government also shut down public access to the Internet.
MANN: Pakistan is also trying to find its way to fuller democracy, and its supreme court has handed an early victory to it's president, Pervez Musharraf. The high court dismissed legal challenges to General Musharraf's bid to seek another five-year term as head of state. Now, that ruling allows him to run in the October 6th election while retaining his role as army chief.
MCEDWARDS: U.S. President George W. Bush told a conference of major energy using nations in Washington today that the world had a problem with climate change. And that he would lead a plan to fix it. The president did not say that he would accept mandatory emission controls, a controversial issue. And he added the solution to lowering green house gases would be found through new technology.
We're turning now to the crisis in Myanmar. The military took control in 1962 and it's ruled the country with iron grip ever since. Tim Lister tells us how Myanmar, also known as Burma, got to this point.
ANNOUNCER: In the victorious battle of Burma ...
TIM LISTER, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the Second World War, the British and Japanese fought a merciless campaign for control of Burma keenly aware of its strategic location and natural riches. When the guns fell silent, Japan was defeated, Britain exhausted, Burma gained independence almost without a fight.
But it also had no working institutions and an ethnic insurgency that would go on for decades to deal with. The army stepped into the breech, quickly growing to a force of more than 200,000 men and has been there ever since.
1962 was the watershed when a candidate the generals didn't like won elections, General Ne Win mounted a coup. He ruled Burma for a quarter century. Launching what he called "the Burmese way of socialism". It was ruinous, a bizarre mixture of nationalization and astrology. While Asian tigers like Thailand and South Korea roared, Burma stagnated, spending at much as 40 percent of its income on a huge standing army.
Because he thought nine was a lucky number, Ne Win abolished the currency overnight. Replacing it with banknotes that could be divided by nine. And like Idi Amin, in Uganda, he also expelled thousands of ethnic Indians, despite their vital economic role.
Ne Win occasionally dabbled with democratic change but never let it flower. Just before the democracy protests in 1998, he warned, if the army shoots, it hits. There's no firing into the air to scare.
He was followed junta even more secretive and hardline. One of its first moves to change the country's name from Burma to Myanmar, with The Adaptation of Expression Law. Since 1992 Than Shwe has emerged as the senior general in the junta. Occasionally, the regime has allowed Aung Sun Suu Kyi, the beacon of the pro-democracy movement, to travel in the country. But for 12 of the last 18 years, it's kept her under house arrest.
Observers say Than Shwe and two other senior generals make all of the major decisions. Such as suddenly moving the country's capital from Yangon to a remote northern town, giving civil servants hours to pack and move.
The most flagrant sign of the regimes remoteness from it's poverty stricken citizens was the lavish wedding for Than Shwe's daughter last year. Videos of the wedding posted on YouTube enraged democracy activists at home and overseas. Some observers estimate that the wedding gifts were worth $20 million.
If history is any guide, Than Shwe and his fellow generals won't see dialogue as a way out of this crisis. They see the military, not estimated at 400,000 strong, as the only guarantee against anarchy.
Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.
MANN: Notice how we haven't seen Than Shwe or any of Burma's leaders over the past few days? The generals trying to keep control from behind the scenes, through all of this. One of the amazing aspects of events in Myanmar as they've been unfolding is just how information has been getting out of that isolated country. Ordinary people, armed with still cameras, and video cameras, and cell phones have been capturing the chaotic and increasingly deadly situation.
MANN (voice over): In the beginning, it was just a peaceful protest in Yangon. And Benjamin Valk was just a tourist, but equipped with a video camera, he instantly became and eyewitness in a country that doesn't normally let the outside world watch.
BENJAMIN VALK, I-REPORTER: I looked around, and there was nothing that would prevent me from filming, or from feeling threatened or anything like that. I thought that maybe I had recorded something that people would really want to see. So I sent it to CNN.
MANN: And throughout our coverage this week, a global force of individual online activists, also turned to I-Report. Together, they achieved something that was essentially impossible before, showing the world what is happening inside Myanmar.
CNN Correspondent Dan Rivers has been inside the country. He knows just how important their work has been.
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The information and the pictures and the photos we're getting from I-Reporters is crucial because it's telling the world what's going on. They are the world's eyes and ears in this sort of situation because we, as journalists, can't fulfill our role properly because we're banned by the authorities from going in.
MANN: And it seemed the more force the military junta used, the more photos that came in from pro-democracy groups outside the country. A few members explained how they were able to work. They asked to remain anonymous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A friend of men actually emailed it to me. So they took some pictures and I went to the CNN Web site, I-Report. And then from there I upload all these pictures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got this diary from my friend, he sent it to my e-mail.
MANN: But the military junta maintains tight control over the Internet and blocks access to web-based e-mail. So just how are the people in Myanmar getting their images out?
They cannot access this Internet site. They cannot access it directly so they have to use some kind of proxy to pass this -- the filter from the government site.
MANN: A proxy server. A computer application that allows people to surf the web anonymously, even inside Myanmar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now days, we have our own media. The youngsters, like my nephew, Dromas (ph), and his friends inside are very active.
MANN: When the government used brutal force to put down a democratic uprising in 1988, few people saw it. Technology and courage mean that can't happen again.
RIVERS: The regime knows all too well, that these pictures are getting out to the outside world. That President Bush and other world leaders are seeing it, are condemning it, are reacting by putting more sanctions in place. So, the time lag is a lot less than it was in 1988.
MANN: For the first time in Myanmar, the world watches in real time.
MANN: And it's time now to hear what you have to say as the crackdown in Myanmar continues.
MCEDWARDS: You have been writing in. You have expressed a lot of different thoughts on the protests. Let's take a look at a few of them right now.
Elo, from Nigeria, says, "How many people need to die before we know it's time to act? It seems like the world just sits down and waits for genocide to happen, and afterwards we cry and organize conferences."
MANN: Justin, from Myanmar says, "Burma is now under attack by the military government. I think the USA and U.N. should take action on the Burmese military regime."
MCEDWARDS: And Huruma in Tanzania says, "It is time for the U.N. Security Council to act against those regimes before we experience another Myanmar some where else. In East Africa already we have experienced that."
MANN: The protest movement has been moving through the Internet. Send us your thoughts via Internet. Send us e-mails. We'll read your responses on air. The address is email@example.com.
Up next, we'll take a look at the plight of Iraqi refugees.
MCEDWARDS: War has forced them out of their homes. But once they're out, they only face an uncertain future.
MANN: And your place, or her place, anyway, in the record books. Stay tuned for some really strange stuff.
MCEDWARDS: Welcome back. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International.
MANN: We're seen live in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe.
For many Iraqis facing the continued descent of their country into chaos has finally -- well, it's just become too much. More than 2 million of them have now fled their homes, and fled their country, and become refugees. It's getting harder, though, every day. Jim Clancy has their story.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): More than 2 million Iraqis have staggered to the exits of their country to escape the violence. Syria and Jordan took in almost all, but now warn they can handle few, if any, more without massive outside help.
Almost a 1.5 million Iraqis fled to Syria, clutching passports as their currency to safety. As many as 800,000 more escaped to Jordan. In Amman, Sanaa Abdul-Hadi sits with her children in a cramped, two- room apartment that is all they can afford.
"There is no security in Iraq, so there can be no life in her country," she says she does not see the situation improving despite the increase in U.S. troops. Like thousands of others, her family has requested asylum outside the Middle East. She says they will go anywhere they can.
The United Nations says such requests more than doubled in the first half of this year. The Iraqi refugees we talked to are grateful to Syria and Jordan for taking them in, but most are barred from paying jobs, health care is scarce, and children who have missed years of school need special classes to catch up to their peers. Many young Iraqis don't have a chance.
Jassam (ph) works in a laundry for just $3 a day. He says he would rather go to school, but the money he earns here pays the bills for 13 family members living in a single room. Many refugees have exhausted whatever savings they had. Hope is exhausted, too.
WISAM JIJIS, IRAQI REFUGEE: Some had hopes to return home in the near future. But I think that dream is gone now. It has disappeared. They're hoping now for a better future outside the Arab world.
CLANCY: All along what is calls Baghdad Street in Amman, Iraqi refugees community discusses it.
"The big concern is to return. The big topic is to go back," says this former army general. But he predicts it may be 10, 15 years or more before that is possible. He isn't the only one coming to that conclusion.
No jobs, no opportunities for their children, and even facing the risk they could be deported back to Iraq, are all prime reasons these refugees are increasingly looking elsewhere to build new lives. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees reports receiving less than half of the $270 million requested to build schools, hire teachers, and help countries like Jordan and Syria that are overwhelmed by this refugee crisis. In the words of one UNHCR field worker, a an entire generation of Iraqis is losing its access to education.
(On camera): The human rights group, Amnesty International says the world, and particularly those countries that back the invasion of Iraq, have an obligation here. They say some efforts have been made, but it is not nearly enough. Hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance. Jim Clancy, CNN, Baghdad.
MCEDWARDS: You know, Jim just mentioned how the U.N. says it needs more money to deal with Iraq's refugee crisis. Antonio Guterres is the agency's point man on the issue. He is the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, of course. And our Hala Gorani asked him how he is tackling such a huge task.
ANTONIO GUTTERRES, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: We're having, today, the biggest displacement crisis in the Middle East since '48; 2 million people displaced inside Iraq and 2 million refugees outside.
Those refugees outside do not live in camps. They live in the neighborhoods, in towns, they live in the Moscows, the Lampores (ph); they live in Amman. And they constitute the biggest, the biggest, urban refugee case load in the history of UNHCR.
Now, urban refugees are a very complex problem, and the dramatic situation of poverty in many of these communities, in the neighborhoods in the periphery of big towns, is tremendous. And the support of the international community has been very limited, when we compare it with the dimension of the problem.
And of course countries like Syria and Jordan have been extremely generous. They have been sharing their meager resources, their education system, their health systems. The impacts on their economies and their societies have been tremendous. Their populations have increased by 8 to 10 percent, and you can imagine even in water, electricity, and things of this sort, how tough it has been for these countries. And they have been supporting the refugees without -- let's be honest -- the meaningful amount of support and recognition from the international community that would be required.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Now from the UNHCR's perspective, does the United States need to shoulder more responsibility when it comes to Iraqi refugees, since this refugee crisis was created as a result of a U.S.-led invasion?
GUTERRES: There's now an important corporation of the West in relation to our activities. There is a commitment to increase resettlement numbers. But of course ... GORANI: But it really hasn't been followed though?
GUTERRES: But of course, let's be clear. We're facing such a huge problem that everybody, not only the United States, I think we need to look at international community as a whole. There's a huge responsibility for the international community to support the Iraqi refugees themselves, and support the host countries that are really coping with the challenge, they might not be able to sustain.
MCEDWARDS: And you know, if you're interested in making a donation to help Iraqi refugees, you can do so. You can do so at UNHCR.org. You can also go to CNN's Web site, "Impact Your World" and there are lots of resources there to -- if you want to make donations. Go ahead and check out "Impact Your World" at CNN.com.
MANN: Question: Who built the world's largest chocolate igloo?
MCEDWARDS: I don't know. Do you want to tell me?
MANN: And who ever managed to put the most rattlesnakes in their mouth?
MCEDWARDS: Which end of the snake? That's what I really want to know.
If you care about stuff like this -- and you know, we clearly do -- you'll find the answers to these and other fascinating questions in the latest "Guinness Book of World Records".
MANN: Rags Martel has the story, but first, this warning -- and my God, if we have to warn you about this -- you're already in trouble. The warning is this. Don't try any of this at home.
RAGS MARTEL, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Breaking records is never easy. Martin Lapka (ph) found out the hard way. The German eventually shattered a record and became the first man to run through 10 panes of safety glass in a minute.
This is the dizzying world of the Guinness record breakers 2008. For the record, Ukrainian Leonid Stadnik (ph) has taken over as the world's tallest man. At 8'5", he towers above the previous record holder by eight inches.
Jackie Bibby (ph) also made it into the book. He broke his own record and stuffed 10 rattlesnakes in his mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one, go.
MARTEL: Britain also has its share of bizarre records. Including the most synchronized swimming ballet switches in one minute. Katherine Pounder and Rebecca McHenry managed 71 last November.
And Ed China is the proud owner of the world's fastest office. His converted Rover complete with water cooler, reached 87 miles an hour on the race track. For those trying to slim down to a controversial size zero, take a look at Kathy Young. She holds the record for the world's smallest waist, it measures just 15 inches.
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MCEDWARDS: That's gross.
MCEDWARDS: That's just gross.
MANN: We're going to move on.
MCEDWARDS: Let's do that.
Still ahead, beyond just bunnies, more fun and games.
MANN: "Playboy" is back in London with a brand they say is aimed at women, not men.
MCEDWARDS: Oh, sure. We'll have that story when we return.
MCEDWARDS: Well, you know, the bunnies and the legendary mansion are still around, but this is not your father's "Playboy", shall we say?
MANN: Well, no, it's not. Hugh Hefner is back in his PJs at the ranch and there's a woman now in charge of the whole thing.
MCEDWARDS: Yeah, that's right. And women, not men, are now apparently the target market, as Becky Anderson discovered in the opening of "Playboy's" new flagship store in London.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Champagne and bunny girls as "Playboy" celebrates the opening of its flagship European store.
Surprisingly, for a brand so heavily associated with sex, it's the lack of anything overtly sexual that you first notice, as you walk in. Surely, "Playboy's" legacy is more lecherousness than liberation. Not according to the company's CEO, Christie Hefner.
CHRISTIE HEFNER ANSA, "PLAYBOY" CEO: The store is bringing the brand to life and is, I think, very reflective of that sort of sense of fun and sexiness that the image of the rabbit stands for. ANDERSON: "Playboy" started as a magazine in the '50s, and has through the ages received celebrity endorsement, adding glamour to what otherwise be regarded as a grubby business. Founder Hugh Hefner is still living the life in his U.S. mansion. But it's his daughter who controls the fate of the company.
Despite what on the surface, at least, looks like a more conservative company these days, "Playboy" still has its critics.
BEATRIZ CONCEJO, BIN THE BUNNY: Pornography is sexist. Pornography is about the exploitation of women and children. It's not harmless. To market it as something harmless and fluffy and fun, is to make pornography normal and acceptable.
ANDERSON: In London, "Playboy" faces stiff competition from a vast number of high-profile rivals that are already well established in the market. But Hefner is convinced the market is big enough for everybody. And reaction, at least, from those first through the door was generally positive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What brought me in was the lovely girl sitting at the door. She was very welcoming so I decided to come in.
ANDERSON (on camera): In an era where sex sells, you might be forgiven for thinking this store would be a temple of titillation, but in the retail business, at least "Playboy" is playing it safe. Becky Anderson, CNN, London.
MANN: I confess it doesn't even seem risque anymore. It just kind of seems '60s and "Rat Pack" and dated to me.
MCEDWARDS: And now it's in London. There you go.
MANN: There you go. That's all for this hour. I'm Jonathan Mann.
MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards. You're watching CNN.
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