Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Strategy of Web Hacktivists; Rage in the Streets of London; United Nations Tries to Save Rainforests
Aired December 9, 2010 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Hackers take their cyber war to the masses, releasing a DIY tool online. Now, they've tried and failed to take down Amazon's site, but say more attacks are on the way.
While they claim to be fighting for WikiLeaks and it's jailed leader, what are the consequences for the likes of me and you?
Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.
Well, one person has now been arrested in the Netherlands over the hacking, but this attack has its tentacles spread far and wide.
So just how big can it get and who will it affect next?
Joining the dots in London, I'm Becky Anderson for you.
Also tonight, China tries to keep the cameras out as thousands of miles away, the Nobel Committee prepares to honor a Chinese dissident.
And fighting the fees -- British students protest a hike in tuition costs.
But how does what the Brits spend back up against others around the world?
And do remember, you can follow the program on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/cnnconnect.
All right, let's kick off this evening. The soldiers in this world Web war are not lone wolves with a random beef to grind, but a group of cyber activists who have found a common cause, and that is freedom of the Internet. This global alliance is targeting organizations it believes are censoring the Web.
But the tactics of the hackavists themselves -- censorship. Atika Shubert has more on their strategy.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They call themselves Anonymous, a circle of hackavists, this time brought together to declare cyber war in defense of WikiLeaks.
(on camera): Well, our mission was to somehow identify members of this group, Anonymous. And it's impossible to do with 100 percent certainty, since they only communicate online and they don't give us any names or identities.
So this is what we did.
(voice-over): Since they issue their commands via Twitter, we followed the trail of their Twitter postings to an online chat forum and that's as close as we could get today -- a live, online chat with some of the people we believe are connected to the group Anonymous.
One member writes: "This is just a new way to fight. We will do whatever we can to try and progress the freedom of information any way we can."
Operation Payback is more than just hacktivists, however. It's become a grassroots movement. Anyone can become an Anon, as they are called. Volunteer your I.P. address and they use it to power their attacks. The more I.P. addresses they can use to deliver bogus requests to a Web site they're targeting, well, the better chance they can overwhelm the Web site and bring it to a crawl, creating a virtual traffic jam.
Anonymous is gathering fresh recruits inspired by the jailing of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. This hacker, who refused to be identified, says he had never participated in an attack before he joined Anonymous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because WikiLeaks made us all hackers of the world united together to tell the people that freedom of speech is free to everyone.
SHUBERT: So far, Operation Payback has been merely inconvenient. But the list of targets is growing. Amazon and PayPal are already in their sights and they have threatened to disrupt the payment system for both, after Amazon and PayPal stopped serving WikiLeaks.
(on camera): We will do whatever we can to try and progress the freedom of information. And I said, well, even if it's disrupting the daily lives of people who may have not have been involved, for example, of payments to MasterCard are disrupted, you are afraid of a public backlash?
And the response is, that people got involved in this. They are aware that this is disrupting normal living. In quotes, "Still, they are willing to help. It's a complex matter, but the goal is more important than the temporal damage."
So it sounds like they're saying the -- the ends justify the means.
You know, so -- so how far is this going to go?
How worried should companies like Visa, MasterCard and PayPal be?
Well, that's the beauty of Anonymous. No one really knows how big the support will be or who will decide to attack what.
Will there be negative attacks to gain fame or will people focus on sticking to the end goal?
We cannot predict anything, really. We just put the information out there and await the response.
(voice-over): That's frightening news for anyone caught in the war over WikiLeaks.
Atika Shubert, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: The inside track.
Well, the reach of this cyber alliance appears to be global. So far, it's apparently hit PayPal and Visa, as Atika said, flooding their Web sites with hostile traffic after the California-based companies stopped doing business with WikiLeaks.
for the same reason, MasterCard was struck on Wednesday, the attack bringing online payments to a crawl.
Well, of course, in Europe, the Web site for Swiss bank PostFinance was brought down after closing Julian Assange's account and Pay Back has been particularly active in Sweden. Just today, the Swedish government's Web site crashed. It followed attacks on the Swedish prosecutors and lawyers representing two women who had accused Assange of rape.
Well, authorities hit back today, arresting a teenager in the Netherlands. Dutch police allege the 16-year-old played a part in the attacks on MasterCard and on Visa.
But can this Web war actually be stopped?
Well, we asked Peter Woods, a so-called white hacker, who helps companies stop cyber sabotage.
This is what he said.
PETER WOODS, SECURITY ANALYST: You could try and attack the source of the attack. But it's all over the world. It's coming from thousands of different people at the same time. In order to be able to stop that, you've got to recognize what the attack looks like and individually block each of those people. This could -- this is not something you can do quickly and easily.
So pretty much everybody is at the mercy of this sort of attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Connecting the world here on CNN.
Now, the hackers group, Anonymous, obviously likes to stay undercover.
But our next guest says that he has been associated with them for years. He says he speaks for the organization and shares their views.
Gregg Housh is the administrator of a Web site which is called Why We Protest.
And he joins us now live from Boston.
Prepare to show your face, Gregg.
You say, then, you speak for Anonymous. We can't verify that, so talk me through it.
GREGG HOUSH: I have never said that I spoke for Anonymous. That -- that is something pretty bad to say in the eyes of Anonymous. Simply by being here in front of you, I'm not anonymous. You know, here's my name, here's my face.
ANDERSON: Right. OK, forgive me for that...
HOUSH: You know...
ANDERSON: But I thought when you spoke to my producer earlier on, that you'd said that you felt that you could speak for Anonymous.
Am I not right?
HOUSH: I can speak for what's going on. I'm sitting there on all the chat -- channels. I'm on all the Web sites. I've been involved in past Anonymous actions such as the attacks on the Church of Scientology. But I personally am not taking part in any of the illegal activities. I just am trusted but a lot of these people and I'm around all their inner circle.
ANDERSON: OK. So you're not complicit in what's going on at present, but you're aware of how things work. Tell us in your own words then what these guys are trying to achieve.
HOUSH: You know, everyone on there, being that there's so many people from so many different countries, have their own ideas. But it all revolves around the idea that information is free. And one of the big goals here is, you know, we -- we live in a free society, where the press has certain freedoms, journalists have certain freedoms. And from this side of the fence, it looks like WikiLeaks really is, you know, working as a journalistic organization. They -- they are working with "The Guardian" and all these other already existing journalistic organizations to do what they're doing.
So we believe they deserve those same protections.
HOUSH: And we find it very interesting that all these organizations are, you know, canceling their accounts or denying, you know, charges, like Visa, MasterCard, PayPal...
HOUSH: And listing off very clearly...
ANDERSON: Sorry, let me just...
ANDERSON: -- stop you there.
How, though, do the ends effectively...
HOUSH: No problem.
ANDERSON: -- justify the means?
How do -- the means being disrupting me and millions of our viewers from using a -- facilities like MasterCard, Visa, Amazon, which, let's be honest, and face it, they weren't able to bring down today, just before Christmas, for example?
How do they -- how do the ends justify the means, do you think?
HOUSH: This is a very tough balance to keep here. And, you know, I'm smiling because I've been asked this question a few times today. And it always leads to the fact that we really don't want to, you know, anyone on this site, be it the people doing all the legal activities like the mirroring and all that type stuff all the way to the people doing the DDoS and everything, we don't want to interrupt the public's, you know, livelihood.
ANDERSON: But you are.
HOUSH: We do want to interfere with their actions online, because, in the end, we want them on our side.
Some -- some people have been affected but in all honesty, even when Visa's Web site was down completely. You don't go to Visa's Web site to use your credit card. And their Web site had nothing to do with their payment processing...
ANDERSON: There weren't enough...
HOUSH: -- which was working perfectly fine.
ANDERSON: There weren't enough hackers today to bring down the Amazon site. My sense is we're talking about, you know, a couple of thousand people, 1,500 people around the world and we're giving you well, then, the oxygen of publicity, of course, tonight. The -- there could be more...
ANDERSON: -- by the time this story is over. And I -- I hope, you know, that we're not complicit in -- in what -- in what they're doing.
But there are -- you know, 1,500 doesn't sound like a lot of people to me. And they certainly weren't able to hit the Amazon site.
So what should we expect next?
HOUSH: Well, the Amazon site didn't go down, you are absolutely correct. But the numbers are a little short. You know, as of me leaving the heads of the studio here, there were over 30,000 people sitting in the -- the chat channels that are doing this. So it's still growing.
And, you know, the complicit line you used there, that -- that's a bit tough, because one of the reasons the DDoSes are so effective is not necessarily that sites go down but that every time these DDoSes happen, people like me and people like you end up talking about it.
ANDERSON: Yes, talk to me about...
HOUSH: So they're going to keep doing it...
ANDERSON: -- DDoSes because...
HOUSH: -- because it keeps generating the press.
ANDERSON: Remind our viewers what DDoSSes (ph) are. These are DIY online tools, of course.
HOUSH: Right. It's a DDoS. So they've got a tool that you basically, for the first time in the history of these types of tools, can volunteer your computer to join. You know, in the past, people had to go out there and actually be hackers. They had to be the bad guys. An infector machine with viruses, Trojans, these types of things, to build their botnets.
This time, the public is joining the botnet of their free will and giving up their computers and possibly with the knowledge that this is, you know, an illegal activity and they're still joining.
ANDERSON: Hmmm. They're probably seeing...
HOUSH: And a lot of that has to do...
ANDERSON: -- a couple of thousand...
HOUSH: -- with the press coverage that's been going on.
ANDERSON: Let me ask you this...
ANDERSON: The fact that in recent months, some of Assange's closest associates are rumored to have deserted him. They called him autocratic. They called him capricious. They've accused him of reneging on a -- on a promise of impartiality when he's gone after the states specifically.
Doesn't that make you and -- and those you've been observing conducting themselves in this way just feel slightly uncomfortable that many of -- many of Assange's closest associates are reportedly pulling back from him, they don't agree with what he's doing?
HOUSH: It does. There are people on this site that feel uncomfortable about that. But then there's the rest of us, who know that, you know, while Assange was one of the founders of WikiLeaks and he had a lot to do with, you know, what's gone on here, even with him behind bars, even if he were to disappear tomorrow, it wouldn't change anything. WikiLeaks would still be running. All the leaks would still be coming out. You know, the financial information that they plan on putting out in a couple of months is still going to come out, whether he is there or not.
So, you know, Assange isn't WikiLeaks. He is a -- a good spokesperson, in our eyes. And maybe not in those people that you mentioned eyes, but, you know, to us, he -- he seems like a pretty good spokesperson for it.
ANDERSON: Right. OK.
So how long does this go on?
ANDERSON: Let me ask you this.
How long does this go on?
Because he's behind bars at the moment. They're looking to extradite him to Sweden.
So even if he were to get off -- out of the case that they seem to be building against him in Sweden, does this now continue?
How long does this go on?
HOUSH: You know, in all honesty, everyone on the site has no idea. They want it to continue going until they've won. What -- whatever that means...
ANDERSON: But what's winning?
HOUSH: -- I mean that -- that's a lofty goal...
ANDERSON: Yes, what...
HOUSH: -- you know, freedom of information.
ANDERSON: That was my question, what -- what's winning at this point?
HOUSH: Well, I -- I would say the one conversation that I witnessed today that really, you know, kind of put things into perspective for me was people talking about how interesting, here we have all these cables and all these other things that have been leaked over the last, you know, four years of WikiLeaks, a lot of them being evidence of crimes. You know, I won't speak to specific ones, but, you know, you can find them all online in the cables.
And they are all being ignored. All the various crimes that here's proof, logged, right here, you know, here's what happened, here's the name, here's even the dollar value of what was in that briefcase that this guy took. You know, all of this is sitting there and instead of focusing on the people who we know have committed crimes, they're going after Julian and WikiLeaks -- you know, ignoring the Sweden case for just a moment -- you know, over here in America, they're going after him, trying to find any law they can charge him with. And they still haven't found one yet.
HOUSH: And yet the person who, right now, we don't believe has broken a law is sitting over here being prosecuted while all these people who have broken many laws that we have proof of are being ignored...
ANDERSON: But you...
HOUSH: -- that's really bothering people on the site.
ANDERSON: Right. Let me just say put this to you again, that you -- you can't answer the question, how long this goes on or what happens next, at this point, can you -- or even what the real point is?
HOUSH: In all honesty, no. I mean this is so new. This hasn't happened before. No -- no one has been through this. So we don't know where it ends...
ANDERSON: All right.
HOUSH: -- I -- I will say one thing, that, you know, the targets that keep presenting themselves by acting against WikiLeaks or acting against, you know, freedom of information, as long as they keep, you know, just stepping right up and raising their hand and saying that, you know, here I am, I'm on the other side, there will probably be attacks.
ANDERSON: Interesting. We're going to leave it there.
We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us this evening.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
The big stories of the day. Next, the Nobel dilemma -- what to do when your Peace Prize recipient is in jail. We're going to hear from the Nobel Committee about tomorrow's ceremony to honor Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo.
Later, a textbook case of how to use beauty to better the world. Model Noella Coursaris answers your questions.
This is CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.
I'm Becky Anderson.
Back in 90 seconds.
ANDERSON: All right, before we move in -- move on, just some news coming into the CNN Center here.
There is a setback for gays in the U.S. military. A short time ago, the U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic bid to open debate on repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service. Now, that possibly kills any chance for it to get passed in the current Congressional session. We'll have more on what is a big story for the U.S. a little later on here on CNN.
Moving on on CONNECT THE WORLD this evening, much of the world will watch tomorrow when jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. But people in China won't be able to view the ceremony, at least legally.
Stan Grant is in Beijing, where the government and the winner offer two very different messages.
STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): China is going to great lengths to try to shut down coverage of Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Prize. Outside
Liu's home, a strong police presence. Here, they move in on us.
(on camera): We -- we -- we're being stopped from getting any closer to Liu Xiaobo's house. This is where his wife has been kept under house arrest ever since he was given the award. She can't travel to Oslo to collect the award. Others are being stopped, as well. It's all part of the Chinese government's attempts to put pressure on individuals and other countries from being part of the ceremony.
As you can see, we're not going to be able to get any closer than here.
(voice-over): China has blocked out broadcast of any mention of Liu. Here, our CNN coverage going to black. To the Chinese government, the Nobel Prize Committee is encouraging a criminal.
"The Norwegian committee offers the Peace Prize to a prisoner who has breached the Chinese law," she says. "This is public support for criminal activity in China and a violent interference of the Chinese legal system."
This is the man at the center of the controversy, a man whose spirit transcends prison bars. "If you want to be a person with dignity," Liu says, "if you want to be an honest person, fight for human rights and free speech. Being in prison is part of that undertaking. There is nothing to complain about."
Liu was speaking to CNN before being sentenced to 11 years in prison for what China calls inciting subversion of state power. The writer and literature professor earned the ire of China's government for co-authoring "Charter '08," the manifesto released in 2008 calls for respect for human rights and democratic reform.
To the Chinese government, this was a threat it could not ignore. Liu and others rounded up and arrested, his wife enduring the sacrifice with her own defiance.
"It shows they are very fragile," Liu Xia says. "They're afraid of a pen, a voice, a different opinion. I think they are more afraid than us."
Liu's Nobel Peace Prize has seen him compared to the likes of Nelson Mandela, another laureate jailed for his beliefs. Liu has, in fact, been jailed three times in the past after supporting Tiananmen protesters in 1989. His lawyer now fears the Nobel Prize will mean an even longer prison sentence.
"Winning this prize doesn't necessarily help Liu Xiaobo get out of jail sooner," he says. "Winning the prize surely won't help reduce his sentence."
All the while, the man himself sits in a cell, but his fight for freedom -- his own and his country's -- undimmed.
"If you can be well in prison, faced it with a calm attitude, you can persist on this road and walk it to the end," he says -- a message that China cannot silence.
Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: It does seem easy to criticize China here.
But is that criticism warranted?
Well, I want to bring in Evan Feigenbaum of the Eurasia Group.
He joins me from CNN Washington this evening.
Evan, some say China is getting a raw deal, that the Western press is uniformly unflattering and unfair.
Do you buy that?
EVAN FEIGENBAUM, EURASIA GROUP: No, I don't. I don't think China is getting a raw deal. But I do think that there is a perception gap between many people in China and many people in the West.
You know, there are people on both sides who are prepared to say outrageous things about each other. But I think a larger challenge is that take a lot of reasonable people on both sides who are often talking past each other (INAUDIBLE).
ANDERSON: Yes, I wonder why that is. And, perhaps much of what we hear is about fear of power and possibly the nature of the regime.
Would you buy that?
FEIGENBAUM: I think there's something to that. I mean I think we need to remember, first, that China is a big and complicated place and there's greater diversity of views than there's ever been before. I mean the package that you just ran on Liu Xiaobo, for instance, there's no question the Chinese government is extremely upset about this. But there are plenty of people in China who are sympathetic to him, his plight and what he stands for.
But I think, you know, broadly speaking, you know, one of the challenges is that, you know, there are many people in China who have bought into a narrative that the United States in particular, but other countries, tries to contain China, keep it down, beat down its aspirations.
I don't think that's true. I think there are few countries that have done better than China over the last two or three decades.
But the reality is, is that perception is held by a lot of people...
FEIGENBAUM: And I think one of the challenges going forward is to deal with those perceptions.
ANDERSON: So, Evan, to those who say that we in the West demonize China, you say what?
FEIGENBAUM: Well, I don't -- you know, I think, at the end of the day, the way to deal with perception problems is by building a track record of cooperation on things. You know, you can't change perceptions easily. Many of us here in the United States, myself included, often think we're speaking truth to power about Chinese views and actions on certain issues.
But there are clearly people on the Chinese side who don't see it that way.
So the challenge really is to do things together, to build on common interests where you have them and turn them into complimentary policies in a way that allows you to build a track record of success. You know, at the end of the day, the United States and others, on all of these issues where many Chinese feel the U.S. is demonizing them, isn't asking China to do the United States or other countries a favor. Many people here think that we're asking China to act in its own self-interest. But it's not for us to tell Chinese what their self-interest is.
So at the end of the day, I just think the challenge is going to be to try to overcome perceptions through joint actions or complimentary actions on as many areas as we possibly can. But that's proving tougher to do these days, I think, than at any time in recent decades.
Even Feigenbaum of the Eurasia Group out of Washington for you this evening.
Sir, we thank you very much, indeed, helping us join the dots on one of the day's big stories.
That ceremony, of course, on Friday.
Well, cutting carbon emissions -- all this week on CONNECT THE WORLD, we're crossing continents to see how what is an urgent yet controversial mission is unfolding from South America and Africa to Australia and tonight to Indonesia. The country is the target of a controversial United Nations bid to save the world's tropical rainforests.
But is the project working?
Well, that's what we went to find out.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Indonesia -- one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world. But a reliance on logging and agriculture, especially palm oil production, has led to one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world.
Now, a combination of climate change science and international money could make it economically viable for Indonesia to keep its remaining forests intact.
Louis Verchot is a leading climate change scientist. He and his team are in Indonesia to measure carbon emissions caused by deforestation.
DR. LOUIS VERCHOT, CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL FORESTRY RESEARCH: As you can see, around us, we have a -- a very young oil palm plantation. Around the oil palms, you can see the stumps of the trees. The area was probably logged about -- between three and five years ago. And we're trying to understand how this changed from forest through a degradation and into oil palm resulting in different greenhouse gas emissions.
ANDERSON: When forests are cleared and drained to plant palm oil, the carbon stored in trees and soil is released into the atmosphere. There's serious money in keeping forests as carbon storage areas.
Earlier this year, the government of Norway pledged to give Indonesia up to $1 billion if it can prove a reduction in its emissions and halt deforestation. It's part of the Red Initiative, to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Agus Purnomo is a key figure in the government's climate change initiative.
AGUS PURNOMO, NATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLIMATE CHANGE: If you are living in an area that have no other economic activities, you are bound to cut the trees. But if there are other economic activities which will be created by this financial assistance, then the local communities, the local companies, the local governments will be able to continue their economic development activities without damaging the forests.
ANDERSON: There's one significant group of Indonesians the government has yet to convince. The forest homeland of these Orang Rimba people has all but disappeared. What's left is now within a state-controlled park. They can no longer make a living from the forest and are existing on its margins.
UNTUNG ABDULLAH (through translator): The forest is very important for the Orang Rimba. We are born in the forest. The huge woods are our home. We want the government to provide us with a reserve area so we can manage the land by ourselves and not break government regulations.
ANDERSON: As part of its new commitments, in January, 2011, Indonesia begins a two year ban on any new clearing of forests. The science and the money are in place, but will it be enough?
PURNOMO: It should be a no-brainer for decision-makers of the world to choose working on reducing emissions in Indonesia because it delivers three things instead of one. It reduces emissions. It alleviates poverty. And it conserves biological diversity.
Why is it so difficult?
Let's make it happen.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: The mission of cutting emissions -- tomorrow night, we wrap up our climate change week on the road. This is the ultimate green car. It runs on thin air. Find out how it works and how soon it will be on the market for you and me, right here on CONNECT THE WORLD tomorrow night.
Tonight, education is a right, not a privilege. Angry students voiced those words here in London ahead of a key government vote on tuition fees. We'll show you how these protests turned violent and what follows in parliament, up next.
ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD her on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson for you in London this evening. Coming up, chaos on the streets here. Students taking to the streets to protest against planned tuition fee hikes. The lawmakers did back the rises. So, what happened next?
Then, we're on three continents documenting what some describe as the "entitlement generation." Are our youngsters turning into whiners, or is it that they've got their backs up against an economic brick wall? We're going to ask the experts and the kids.
Plus, tonight's Connector of the Day. Well, it's all about model behavior. Noella Coursaris shows how her life on the catwalk seasoned her favorite cause in Congo.
Those stories are just ahead here in the show. First, for you, though, let's get you a check of the headlines this hour.
A group of hackers retaliating against websites they say are hostile to WikiLeaks have canceled an attack against Amazon.com. They say they don't have the resources for that. Instead, they'll dedicate themselves to going after PayPal. That says it's been attacked, but is operating normally.
In one of the latest leaked documents from WikiLeaks, diplomatic cables say Royal Dutch Shell has people in top Nigerian government offices and has access to everything being done in those ministries. Shell says they cannot comment on the cable content.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo will be represented at tomorrow's ceremony by an empty chair. Liu is serving an 11-year prison sentence in a Chinese prison. The country's blasted his selection and is blocking out all media coverage of the award and its presentation.
The African Union has suspended Ivory Coast until its post-election political chaos is resolved. An AU commissioner says the union will not allow Ivory Coast to participate in any of its activities until the president resigns in favor of his presidential rival.
Thousands of students took to the streets of London today outraged over their government's controversial plan to raise tuition fees. The protests turned violent, and students faced off with riot police.
Later, demonstrators attacked a car carrying Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. They broke a window and through paint over the vehicle. The royal couple were unharmed.
Dan Rivers joins me now with more on the protests and the vote in Parliament that prompted them. Dan?
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDET: Yes, down here in Parliament Square, things are largely quiet now. I think all of the protesters pretty much have been cleared out. There's a few fires still burning, you can see, in the middle of the street here. But the police about half an hour ago moved in with horses and cleared the last few hundred protesters out there.
There's a lot of sort of graffiti everywhere. This sort of sums it up a bit here, "First Greece, then Paris, now London insurrection." And a lot of these monuments around Parliament Square have also been tagged with graffiti.
If you have a look over here, they are starting to clear up the considerable amount of debris that was left behind after this -- what really turned into almost a bit of a riot, really, for several hours, with lots of missiles being thrown.
I had a quick chat with the commissioner of the metropolitan police as he toured around and congratulated his officers. He was praising the work of the police here, saying they'd done a fantastic job in the face of a lot of aggression from some elements of the protesters.
In the last few minutes, the prime minister, David Cameron, has put out this statement. "In our democracy, people are fully entitled to protest peacefully and make their views known, but the violence in London today is totally unacceptable." So, words from David Cameron. It goes on, "It's clear that a minority of protesters came determined to provoke violence."
RIVERS: Let's just spin around as we're talking here, and see more police vans going through. There are still pockets of skirmishes, but largely here, it's pretty quiet. As you can see, this was full of thousands of protesters even just an hour or so ago. They've all been moved on, now. We're not quite sure where they are. I think a lot of them have been dispersed and probably gone home.
It's been bitterly cold down here, as you can imagine, and I think a lot of them have felt they've made their point, now. The vote has gone through. Narrowly, but by 21 votes, and fees are due to rise for university students.
ANDERSON: Yes. In sum, you're just talking about that vote today, and we must also remind our viewers that the royal couple, of course, got slightly involved in the fracas today, although they are unharmed, of course. But just remind us, in sum, what this vote was all about today.
RIVERS: Well, this was the vote to raise the cap on university tuition fees. Here in Britain, university has been largely free at the point of use for students for decades. About ten years ago, fees were introduced by the Labor government. They were capped at 3,000 -- or are capped at 3,200 pounds, about $5,000. That cap now has been agreed on by the House of Commons today, it will be raised to about $15,000.
Now, that's provoked a lot of anger down here, especially because the junior partners in the coalition that forms the government here had specifically said in the last election that they would not raise this cap.
And the Liberal Democrats today were split down the middle. Some of them rebelled against the party line and the government, but their leaders, including Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, voted for this measure despite the barrage of missiles against the police and insults aimed at them out here. It must have been audible to them in there, but they went ahead with that measure.
ANDERSON: All right, Dan Rivers, there, in what is a largely quiet Whitehall this evening, around there, the Houses of Parliament. Just before we move on, I just want my producer to bring up the pictures that we here at CNN got of the car of Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. They were attending what's called the Royal Variety Performance, so, just around the corner from the CNN bureau.
That car, we believe, pelted with paint and other missiles. Sadly, the window broken just after we -- just before these pictures were taken. Camilla and Charles did actually go into that performance in the theater, apparently unscathed, looking a little shocked, I've got to say. They were just caught up in what was the fracas on the streets of London today.
So, just how much are students paying for college around the world? Dan just giving you a sense of what students here in Britain will be paying going forward. Well, in the US, the highest average fees are nearly $6,000 a year for public institutions and $22,000 and, in some cases, much more for private ones.
South Korea has roughly the same tuition as the current the UK average tuition fee, it's $4700. Italy is roughly $1200 per student -- sorry, per year. Students in Portugal paying about the same, and in Sweden and seven other OECD nations, public institutions charge no tuition fees at all. Here in the UK going forward, those fees will be capped at $14,000.
Well, next up, are we watching the rise of "Generation Me"? We've got the author who literally wrote the book on it. After all, one generation complaining about another is hardly news, so what's different now? We're going to find out for you, after this.
ANDERSON: Just a bunch of whiners or whingers? Or are today's kids getting scorched in the jobs desert? Members of the generation born between 1982 and 2002 are coping with something their grandparents knew only too well, a big economic depression. It's probably their grandparents.
Some pundits and professors say today's young are spoiled and overindulged. Well, have they got a point? For some answers, CNN's John Vause looked to China.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call them China's "Generation Me." These children of the children of the revolution are coming of age during a time of exploding wealth and unprecedented expectations.
Here in this up market nightclub in Beijing, some are looking for love, some for money while, for others, it seems the money begets the love.
And this mercenary approach to matrimony has given rise to a host of lowbrow dating shows. One of the most popular is called "If You Are the One." A panel of single women pull no punches asking a parade of bachelors about their cars, bank accounts, and property. But one young woman may have gone too far.
VAUSE (on camera): Tell me exactly, what is it that you said that caused all the trouble?
MA NUO, REALITY SHOW CONTESTANT (through translator): "No, I won't repeat it again," says Ma Nuo.
VAUSE (voice-over): That's because she sparked national outrage when a bachelor of modest means asked if she would like to ride with him on his bicycle, and she replied, "I would rather cry in a BMW." Words which she now says she regrets.
MA (through translator): "I didn't mean it, and I don't think about a BMW or a bike. I didn't receive any money from BMW. I said it just to reject the boy," she told me.
VAUSE (on camera): Ma Nuo's harsh, blunt answer and all the criticism that followed brought a clampdown by government censors, ordering the dating shows to tone down their rampant materialism. And their once high ratings went in the same direction not long after.
VAUSE (voice-over): Even so, the values of this younger generation are now being questioned, especially by older Chinese, like Sun Shixhuan, and his wife, Liangjie. Theirs an arranged marriage of 71 years, which survived famine and political upheaval. And, for them, it all seems like an end to traditional Chinese values.
CHEN LIANGJIE, MARRIED 71 YEARS (through translator): "We think you should run a family industriously and frugally and be easily satisfied. Those are old Chinese traditions," she told me.
VAUSE (voice-over): And her husband adds --
SUN SHIXHUAN, MARRIED 71 YEARS (through translator): "Marriage means love to me."
VAUSE (voice-over): One generation complaining about the next is hardly new, but in China, change has been rapid and breathtaking. So much so that Ma Nuo, the woman at the center of so much scorn and outcry, has taken her instant celebrity to the stage with a starring role in a play about what else but finding true love? John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
ANDERSON: In just a moment, author Jean Twenge will tell us why she thinks young people today are more confident than ever but, ironically, more miserable. First, though, we went onto the streets of the UK's capital to find out if "Generation Me" feels it's guilty as charged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we are materialistic, because we think whatever we have makes us feel better or gives us a better social standard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone's different, so I think it depends on what teenagers you know. I mean, some people could be all materialistic. The same goes for adults as well, so I think it's fair you can say that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think people can generalize and say that the younger generation is more materialistic, but there are a lot of people, I think, myself included, who aren't.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think that that generation is a bit more spoiled. They're used to a lot more amenities and it just becomes a way of life for them. They have, and they want to keep having. And a lot of times, maybe, they don't have to work as hard as maybe their parents had to work to get to where they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right. Well, Jean Twenge quite literally wrote the book on "Generation Me." The author and professor joins us, now, live from San Diego in California. Honesty, it's ugly. When and how did we start breeding a generation of narcissistic individuals?
JEAN TWENGE, AUTHOR, "GENERATION ME": Well, this trend has been going on for a long time. It probably started, at least, with the Baby Boomers, who were the original "Me" generation. And they begat "Generation Me," who takes it to this next level.
At first, with the Baby Boomers, it was about self-confidence, but it was all about doing this in a group for the greater good. And now, it's become, "Well, I want to focus on myself because it's about me and because I want more for myself."
ANDERSON: All right, Jean. Not everybody on the streets of London agrees with the way that you describe "Generation Me." Your research, I know, is specific to the States. We've heard a report from John Vause out of China, as well, tonight. Let's get some "Generation Me's" thoughts, as it were, out of New York. Have a listen to these. This is how people feel about their prospects.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I want to apply in the US, I think it will be difficult.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think it would be difficult?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard. There is no job creations, it's really slow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it's different than our parents' generation or an older generation when they were looking for jobs? Do you think now it's different?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very different, yes. They were lucky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I go to school. I'm not working.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You go to school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, when are you going to be on the job search, would you say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking for an internship within my school. So, I don't know if I'll be looking outside my college.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How have you been finding it? Have you -- are you optimistic about getting a job when you do graduate or when you start looking?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty difficult, due to the economics. But I'm pretty hopeful that I might get one after I finish my bachelor's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're asking how do I feel some people have jobs, some people don't? It is a shame that the people that have jobs are not actually qualified to have it, as opposed to the people that don't have jobs can do their jobs better. So it is a little bit messed up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Isn't it slightly unfair to suggest that all of these kids, lump them all together and say, look, they're spoiled, they think they're unlucky when, actually, they're facing economic prospects which are about as dire as they get at this point, aren't they?
TWENGE: Sure. So, what we're really seeing with "Generation Me" is a huge disconnect between expectations and reality. And that was true five years ago, when I first started working on the book. Because even then, when the economy was good, expectations were so high that the job market couldn't possibly live up.
And now, sadly, that's even more true. And it's absolutely true that not everybody in this generation is spoiled or narcissistic, but there are more who are when you look at the numbers. And this is not about what older people think, this is what young people say about themselves and their own personality traits and behaviors.
ANDERSON: What do you think the consequences of this generation is or are, then?
TWENGE: Well, there's going to be a lot of disappointment. Of course, that's already happened, when these high expectations hit the difficult reality. There's also a fair amount of anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are way up.
Here in the States, 10 percent of Americans are on anti-depressant medications. Even when you look at people saying on anonymous questionnaires, are you anxious, do you worry? Things like this. Those answers have gone way up, especially for the young generation.
So, there's just a lot unhappiness and disappointment out there because focusing on yourself doesn't really work all that well as a life strategy in the long run.
ANDERSON: We are talking about kids born in the 80s and 90s. I think my generation was Generation X, but I may even be too old for that. I'm not going to tell you how old I am, so we'll leave it there. What about those who were born sort of after the beginning of the turn of the century. What do you call kids who will be coming through going forth? Is it still going to be "Generation Me" or is it something else?
TWENGE: My favorite label for the folks born after 2000 is "iGen," because of iPods and iPhones, and that's also going to capture these individualistic trends. "I" for "individual" and "I" for first-person singular that we're already seeing with "Generation Me." This next group might take it even father.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Good to have you with us tonight. Jean Twenge, for you, an expert on the youth of today. Thank you, Jean.
Up next on CONNECT THE WORLD, not just another pretty face. Noella Coursaris is a model with a cause. We'll show you how she is changing people's lives. Your Connector of the Day just moments away.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Well, there is nothing "Generation Me" about tonight's Connector of the Day. For this model, philanthropist, it's all about giving back. Even as she makes her name across the world catwalks, model Noella Coursaris is bankrolling schools in Congo. Let's get you connected.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Noella Coursaris never intended to walk the runways. But for anyone who's seen her, it's not hard to see how it happened. The Congolese beauty moved to Europe at the age of five, leaving her hometown of Lubumbashi.
After being discovered as a teenager, she quickly rose up the fashion chain, leading shows and covering magazines. Since then, Coursaris has used her fame to help those not as fortunate back home. In 2007, she started the Georges Malaika Foundation, named after her late father, which works to provide education for young girls who are orphaned or raised in abusive households.
I spoke to her about her years of work and what she thinks is being achieved.
NOELLA COURSARIS MUSUNKA, MODEL: I'm from Congo, Lubumbashi, in the southeast of Congo. So, I was born there. And my father died when I was five years old, so my mother didn't have any resources to keep me, so she sacrificed to send me to Europe.
So, I grew up with family in Belgium and Switzerland, and I went to see back my mother after 13 years. And I think from this point I decided one day, deep down in my heart, I will do something back for my country so so many children in the streets having no education, so much poverty all over. And it was amazing, because Congo is such a rich country. I think it's from this point that everything starts.
ANDERSON: You have helped and organize, promote, a film called "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo." And you have been described as fearless. Are you?
COURSARIS: I think my family was very afraid that I go to speak at parliament in Kinshasa just before the screening of the documentary. My link is not with the documentary. My link is with the women and girls being raped.
And when we went to Kinshasa, I spent a lot of time with this woman that have been raped, not only once, they've been raped a few times and been mutilated, horrible way of sexual violence. And I think it was important to go there and show that it has to stop. That as a young, new generation, we want our country to be back, our country to stand.
ANDERSON: But Noella, it hasn't stopped. And just in the past few weeks, we've seen demonstrations on the streets in Congo again and again and again. What more can the world do? What do you think of the world coverage of the Congo?
COURSARIS: The news coverage is very good, because it brings attention and more people want to be involved. But I think what we really need now is to have action. We need good security around our borders. We need justice, we need impunity. We need to punish the people who are doing, not only the rape, but what it's causing. Because rape is a weapon of war. What is causing this war? If in one way, of the resources?
So, we need transparency in all these dealing, business, minerals, diamond, gold, and all of that. And really giving back dignity to the woman and woman can be a strong part of rebuilding the country.
And, yes, as a Congolese person, having my family there, I'm reading every day in the newspaper. We have so much positive things happening in the country. We have amazing people working there, we have amazing people that have skills. And that's what we want to show. But rape has to be really banished out of the world.
ANDERSON: I've got a question for you from Lluega. He says, "Do you think your beauty has helped you achieve things that otherwise would have been more difficult?
COURSARIS: Thank you for the compliment. I will say that I think I have sometimes to prove twice more of where I want to go and what I want to achieve.
ANDERSON: You think that, really, do you?
COURSARIS: Sometimes, yes.
ANDERSON: Another question from Johnny Liu. He says, "Are you optimistic that the fate of the Congolese people will get better anytime soon?"
COURSARIS: Yes, because the Congolese people have to take their own destiny in their hands and really want the change. And I think more 70 percent come, the solution come from inside the country.
ANDERSON: You talk about poverty a lot. Is that the crux of the issue?
COURSARIS: I don't understand why we have poverty. Congo is one of the richest countries in the world. We have the highest rates of malnourished children to higher rates of children dying under five years old. But we are using only two percent of the potential of agriculture in the Congo. So that we're not using at its full potential the -- what we have in the Congo.
ANDERSON: Noella Coursaris making an awful lot of sense for you as your Connector of the Day. Next week, we welcome The Hoff into the hot seat. For many of us, he'll always be the heroic lifeguard from "Baywatch" or the star of the 1980s sci-fi series "Knight Rider." We'll find out what David Hasselhoff is up to these days when he answers your questions as your Connector of the Day.
It's your part of the show. Your questions make it happen. Head to cnn.com/connect. Tonight, a couple of minutes left, we'll be right back.
ANDERSON: Those are the latest headlines from the team here at CONNECT THE WORLD in London. It is a very good evening. Don't go away, though. "BackStory" with John Vause starts right now. Good night.