A Second Hong Kong Bookseller Shows up in China; China's Economy Reports 6.9 Percent GDP Growth for 2015; Remember Glenn Frey; Tennis



Reports 6.9 Percent GDP Growth for 2015; Remember Glenn Frey; Tennis

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Reports 6.9 Percent GDP Growth for 2015; Remember Glenn Frey; Tennis

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[08:00:19] KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, and welcome to News Stream.

Now China's economy grows at its slowest pace in 25 years but still in line with the government's target.

Another of Hong Kong's missing book sellers is found in police custody in Mainland China.

And as North Korea's nuclear missions rise, we get a look at America's first line of defense against attack.

The world's second largest economy is slowing down. China has posted its weakest annual economic growth in years, but investors don't seem troubled by the news. GDP grew 6.9 percent in 2015, down from the previous year's rate of 7.3. That is still close to Beijing's target growth of 7 percent for the year.

Our Asia-Pacific editor Andrew Stevens has been monitoring the news for us from Hong Kong. He joins us now. And Andrew, how should we read these numbers?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say there, Kristie, that investors weren't fazed by the news. In fact, I think there was a certain amount of relief from the news that the economy in China is growing at a 25-year low at just 6.9 percent for 2015.

And the reason I say relief is because there has been so much concern, so many worries globally, a wall of worry about exactly what is happening in China with the Chinese economy.

We've seen the roller coaster ride on the stock markets, the Chinese state intervention, very heavy-handed intervention. A Yuan policy, a devaluation of the currency that caught everyone by surprise and a lot of investors were thinking is Beijing losing control, is this an economy which is actually a lot weaker than many were suspecting?

So, we have the numbers today. And the analysts' comments, they crunched the numbers, and they say there are signs of stability, albeit at a much lower level but that stableness is there, which can be seen as a good sign.

So the chances of a hard landing, if you like, these economic hard landings that we talk about, when the economy becomes dangerously weak -- look at least at this stage pretty distant.

I got the chance to speak also today, Kristie, with China's richest , real estate mogul Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda. And I put it to him given the fact that his company is obviously very sensitive to the economic movements in China, did he think there was the chance of a hard landing.


WANG JIANLIN, CHAIRMAN, DALIAN WANDA GROUP(through translator): Absolutely not. I do not only use the word "not," but I have to stress, absolutely not. The main reason is there is vast demand for the service industry in China. It's true that there are difficulties in the investment in export sectors. Maybe there's zero growth, or even negative growth, but the service industry in China has great demand.


STEVENS: Wang is an interesting reflection of what's going on in the Chinese economy, Kristie, because he has made his money. He is worth about $30 billion, from massive real estate developments when the Chinese economy was going gang-busters. But he has been diversifying away from real estate, from this old-style economic development into much more consumer based products: entertainment, sport, things like that.

So, he is seeing this rise in the consumer part of the economy, which will help offset the slowdown in exports and investment.

LU STOUT: Yeah, so Wang Jianlin saying absolutely no hard landing here. So slower growth, though in China, no hard landing. But as China's economy slows, what does it mean for the rest of the world?

STEVENS: Well, it won't be sucking in as many imports. And we have seen that very clearly, or the reaction to that very clearly in the commodities markets.

China has built an enormous economy, an infrastructure network which is unparalleled to many, many countries, which has sucked in vast amounts of commodities. That is coming to an end, that cycle has been coming to end for some time, Kristie.

So, we have seen, we have all seen the big, big falls in commodity prices in iron ore, which makes steel, in oil which we talk about so much these days, the collapsing oil price, part of that is due to the fact that China is just not using the same amount of oil in its industrial growth.

So, that's one side of it.

And also, finished products as well. I mean, China doesn't only export finished products, it takes in a lot of finished products itself, it imports a lot. And countries around this region, in particular, where China is a key, or the trading partner, their economies are hurting because their export industries are slowing down as well.

The second biggest economy is obviously going to affect the world, but the question is how long does it go on? You'll remember that the Chinese authorities have been very clear in saying there is a new normal in China which corresponds to the new strategy of getting out of this old-style growth of making widgets to sell to the world, investing in highways and railways to this consumer-based economy and that has to mean short-term pain.

That's what we're seeing at the moment. It's being exacerbated by a slowdown elsewhere. So this is a slowdown, which is hurting everybody, not just China, and it will go on for some time.

LU STOUT: Yeah, China's GDP slowdown being called the new normal. Andrew Stevens reporting for us, thank you Andrew.

Now, China's economic slowdown and the state of the global oil market are both expected to dominate discussions at the World Economic Forum.

Let's go straight to our Richard Quest in Davos. And Richard, what's the thinking over there?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the thinking is going to be the sort of gloom and dismay, the despondency and the depression, if you like, that has started 2016.

Wherever you look, I mean, the market had the worst first week in its history of the year. Oil is down more than 20 percent, Brent crude. You have got regional tensions between Saudi and Iran that are inflamed. You have a pro-independence victor in the Taiwan presidential election.

So, it's not surprising that when the delegates, or participants, as they're called, arrive here in Davos, they will be very much be aware that this overhang of geopolitical issues. And the question is can they, in some shape or form, navigate a way forward?

Because Kristie, they don't come to decisions in Davos, they start to understand each other's position. They learn the lay of the land. And those two issues that you've talked about, China and of course Iran rejoining the global economy, will be big topics as people ponder what do they mean.

LU STOUT: You know, Richard just now we heard from China's richest man Wang Jianlin who said basically he's not worried about the GDP slowdown and that there are opportunities for growth especially in sectors like the services industry in China.

Do you think when the heavy-hitters arrive there in Davos, if they hear what Mr. Wang has to say, will they believe him?

QUEST: It doesn't matter whether they do or they don't, frankly Kristie, because the reality is they know they still have to be there.

This is about the long game. Everybody says -- look, everybody says China is in transition. It's the knee-jerk reaction. Whenever you ask anybody at Davos, they say China is going into a transition from a government investment led to a demand consumer led economy. It's going to take several years. It's going to be messy.

But they then follow up quickly by saying the Chinese know what they're doing and, secondly, it's still the game in town that you have to be a player in.

So nobody for a moment, and I mean not for a second, no serious player in the global economy is thinking let's ignore China at the moment, let's stay away until things clarify. They're basically saying, let's be engaged so that we're players so when the good times return -- and they may never be more than 8 percent again. The days of 8 percent, 9 percent 10 percent probably are gone for the forseeable future, but they want to be there.

LU STOUT: That's right. Be there in the long run.

Richard Quest joining us live from Davos. Thank you, Richard. Take care.

Now, there has been a deadly bombing in northwestern Pakistan. A local politician tells CNN ten people have been killed and 36 wounded in an explosion near a security forces checkpoint. Now, a woman lured to Syria with dreams of marrying an ISIS fighter is now trying to rebuild her life in France.

She says that she escape ISIS territory after being beaten and imprisoned. And she is now part of a de-radicalization program. Now, CNN's Atika Shubert has this exclusive report.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hanane was lured to ISIS territory in Syria with pictures like these, (inaudible) caliphate that was, in her words, a paradise. (inaudible) guided purely by Islamic principles.

Instead, she says, she was imprisoned, beaten, and accused of being a spy after refusing to marry an ISIS fighter.

[08:10:04] HANANE, SYRIA RETURNEE (through translator): I did not understand. These girls were supposed to be my sisters. They said they loved me. They said I was smart and important to them. They invited me to their house. We ate together. We were doing everything together. I never did anything wrong to them, but they wanted me dead because I refused to get married.

SHUBERT: Hanane She was lucky. An ISIS court ruled there were not enough witnesses to convict her. She managed to convince her jailer to let her go.

She spoke to us on condition we do not reveal her face. She is now in France, under police observation.

HANANE (through translator): When I got back to France I was considered as a girl who tortured people, like a monster who came back pretending to be a victim.

I didn't hurt anybody there. The only person I hurt was myself.

SHUBERT: Dounia Bouzar is the woman spearheading France's de- radicalization program, also Hanane's counselor.

DOUNIA BOUZAR, HEAD OF DERADICALIZATION PROGRAM(through translator): When they take you to priso, you go through the famouse square in Raqqa. You see heads on sticks. Not what you expected.

HANANE (through translator): I see people, their faces. They are without expression. I see the heads on sticks.

BOUZAR (through translator): And they put colored lights around the heads.

HANANE (through translator): Yes pink, green lights.

SHUBERT: Muslim and outspoken, Bouzar says she understands victims like Hanane, because she was the victim of an abusive relationship herself.

BOUZAR (through translator): The fact is, I went through a moment of my life when I didn't feel like myself, when I was dominated, when I thought everything was over. I think of that now as strength that shows that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

There is a future. I tell those parents that their children are going to make their way through this difficult moment. Your child will save others. I'm sure that their experience will help France in the fight against terror.

BOUZAR (through translator): So, you're nostalgic because you feel less empowered. You're not part of a group.

HANANE (through translator): Exactly, I am not in a group anymore. I don't have my shield anymore.

BOUZAR (through translator): And you feel vulnerable?

HANANE (through translator): Yes.

SHUBERT: Bouzar says the testimonies of returnees like Hanane are critical to turning recruits away from ISIS, but her work has also made her the target of ISIS death threats. She travels with at least two body guards.

BOUZAR (through translator): We're caught in a human chain and we become a wave crashing against these ISIS words. We will win because we love death more than you love life. We are constantly trying to prove that we will win because life is stronger than death. We get sucked into it. We need protection such as bodyguards so that we don't forget that there is still the danger out there.

SHUBERT: That is something Hanane cannot forget.

For those people who want to come back and feel like they won't be accepted back into society, what have you learned from the process and from speaking with Dounia?

HANANE (through translator): I always think of these girls. I am angry at myself because I could get out but I left them over there. Sometimes I think I should have stayed to plan a better escape and leave with other people who wanted to leave Syria.

I know there are some girls who want to come back, but they just can't. It's torture for a woman there, like you can't even breathe.

SHUBERT: Hanane says she now knows that paradise she was looking for exists only as ISIS propaganda. Acatastrophic mistake she is hoping that Bouzar can help to slowly undo.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Paris.


LU STUOT: Now, one of the Americans that Iran released from prison is now back in his home town of Boston.

Matthew Trevithick had one to Tehran as a student but was arrested and held for 40 days. Now, three other American detainees are recovering at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. They were part of a prisoner swap and have now reunited with their families.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, new information on the possible whereabouts of a missing bookseller. What police here in Hong Kong are now saying.

Plus, Hollywood's biggest awards show is facing a major backlash over this year's nominees. Why some celebrities say they plan to boycott the Oscars.


[08:16:22] LU STOUT: Police in Hong Kong say Lee Bo, one of five missing booksellers is in China. Now, in a statement Hong Kong police said that they received a letter from the Guangdong public security department saying they understood that Lee Bo is in the Mainland.

Now, Lee went missing on December 30 and was last seen near his company's warehouse. He holds a British passport.

A spokesperson for the British foreign and Commonwealth office said it remained deeply concerned about the possible detention of Lee and his colleagues.

On Sunday, Lee's business associate Gui Minhai appeared on Chinese state TV months after he went missing in Thailand, apparently confessing to his involvement in a 2003 hit-and-run incident.

Now, three other associates of the publisher, Mighty Current, have gone missing. It specializes in books critical of China's political elite and they also own a bookstore Causeway Bay Books.

Now, these mysterious disappearances have sparked fears over freedom of the press and illegal arrests in the territory. And although Hong Kong is part of China, it enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the governing principle called one country, two systems.

Pro-democracy campaigners fear that principle is Chinese police are accused of nabbing the men and taking them to the Mainland.

Protesters have called for the men's release. And Hong Kong police say that they've requested a meeting with Li Bo now confirmed by China to be in China.

Now, the Academy Awards is facing criticisms over the lack of diversity in this year's nominations, the same criticism they faced last year.

Now two prominent African-American celebrities now say they plan to boycott next month's ceremony.

Jeremy Roth has more.


JADA PINKETT SMITH, ACTRESS: Let's let the Academy do them with all grace and love. And let's do us differently.

JEREMY ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a video posted to Facebook, Actress Jada Pinkett Smith said she is boycotting the Academy Awards and won't be watching from home either. She made the dramatic announcement in the wake of a growing controversy over the lack of diversity among this year's Oscar nominees.

PINKETT SMITH: Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity, and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people.

ROTH: Her husband, Will Smith, is one of the actors of color who did not get nominated this year, despite critical acclaim for his performance in "Concussion."

Pinkett Smith said now it's time to reevaluate things.

PINKETT SMITH: Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, into our programs.

ROTH: Pinkett Smith is not alone in her frustration. On social media, many have vented over the lack of Oscar diversity. For the second straight year, the #Oscarsowhite has been trending online.

Spike Lee, meanwhile, said he's boycotting the ceremony as well. In a post on social media, the director asks, quote, "How is it possible, for the second consecutive year, all 20 contenders under the actor category are white."

Both stars said they wished their friends involved in the Oscars production the best. And Pinkett Smith praised Chris Rock, who will be hosting the show next month.

I'm Jeremy Roth reporting.


LU STOUT: For the first time in three years people in Pakistan can officially watch YouTube videos. Authorities there have lifted a ban on the site. A few days ago YouTube launched a localized version of its site. Now, Pakistani officials tell Reuters that they will be able to ask the company to block offensive material, but YouTube says the changes do not mean that all requests will be granted.

Free speech activists are demanding to know more about that arrangement.

Now, Pakistan banned YouTube in 2012 after a controversial anti-Islam film appeared on the site. The movie triggered protests across the Islamic world.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up, as North Korea boasts of its nuclear arsenal, a special U.S. military unit is on alert. An exclusive look at their base near the DMZ is next.


LU STOUT: All right. Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream. Expanding your business into a new country is always tricky. A lot depends on finding out how to cater to your new customers. And in this week's Road to ASEAN, we hear how one corporation plans to attract new business across Southeast Asia.


LU STOUT: It's a bottling bonanza: green tea drinks, flavored waters, millions of bottles are filled, capped and wrapped in this factory outside Manila every day.

ARNOLD ALVAREZ, VICE PRESIDENT, UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION: There's roughly 300,000 cases a day. It runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

LU STOUT: Arnold Alvarez is vice president of manufacturing for Universal Robina Corporation, or URC, a snack manufacturing giant based in the Filipino capital.

In the past year, URC sold almost $ 2 billion it beverages and salty and sweet treats, more than one-third of them outside the Philippines.

ALVAREZ: When you're starting new production lines, those are challenging, especially when you're starting products that are new in the market.

LU STOUT: But launching new products into new markets is how president and CEO Lance Boconui says he has built up the family business.

LANCE GOKONGWEI, PRESIDENT AND CEO, URC: People talk about the big opportunity in China, they talk about the big opportunity in India, I think lost in the shuffle is this big opportunity in the ASEAN region.

LU STOUT: Gokongwei wants URC to continue expanding across ASEAN. Indonesia may be the gold prize in terms of size, he says, but the company just opened its first production lines in Myanmar, which means now manufacturers in six different ASEAN countries. Cambodia and Laos could be next.

GOKONGWEI: Being early has a lot of advantages. You learn on the ground faster.

LU STOUT: There is no substitute for being there, Gokongwei says, because every market is unique. And he concedes they have not always gotten the formula right on the first try.

While apple and lemon flavored teas fly off the shelves in the Philippines, an attempt to tweak that same drink for Vietnam by using more traditional flavors like jasmine and oolong, flopped.

GOKONGWEI: You can't approach a market in a statistical or numerical way. You have to find a product that the consumer really wants.

LU STOUT: And although figuring that out is not an exact science, Gokongwei says with more than 600 million potential customers across the ASEAN region, the opportunity for growth outweighs any risks.


LU STOUT: Always not easy to crack a new market.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, an inside look at a first-line defense against North Korea. We have an exclusive report from the DMZ.

Plus the man who, together with his band mates, brought us Hotel California and other big hits. We look back on the life of Glenn Frey and the Eagles.



[08:30:37] LU STOUT: Earlier this month, North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Now, defense experts are skeptical, but as Pyongyang's nuclear ambition rises the U.S. isn't taking any chances. Paula Hancocks gives us an exclusive look inside an American unit stationed near South Korea's border with the north.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRRESPONDENT: North Korea marches closer to realizing its nuclear ambitions. Its recent nuclear test worrying the world.

Just across the DMZ in South Korea U.S. troops are on high alert. The 23rd chemical battalion is the first line of defense against chemical, biological or nuclear attack. Their mission today, to clear an underground facility used to store munitions. This scenario is staged, but the threat is very real.

The beauty of being able to train underground for this battalion is that it is far more realistic. North Korea's nuclear and chemical facilities are expected to be deep underground so that they're out of sight of satellites and drones.

This is the largest chemical battalion in the whole of the U.S. military based where the threat is greatest.

The troops discover yellow cake, or uranium, a substance North Korea is believed to possess.

LT. COLONEL ADAM HIBURGH, COMMANDER, U.S. 23RD CHEMICAL BATTALION: We take into account the newest intelligence to tailor our training to be ready for anything that they could possibly have or use on the battlefield.

HANCOCKS: For this battalion to be on the ground in Korea is vital, ready to move at any moment and familiar with the territory.

SGT. CAMERON ARMSTRONG, U.S. 23RD CHEMICAL BATTALION: Going into North Korea it's fairly likely that the mountainous terrain will provide caves and underground facilities for them to be utilizing as weapons facilities.

HANCOCKS: The unit has modified strikers that can operate ahead of the front line to detect radiation or chemical agents. Field labs can be set up wherever needed, testing samples that create a chain of custody that can then be used as evidence in the international criminal court.

The unit's motto is ready to fight tonight. The U.S. military's answer to the unpredictable threat north of the border.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, South Korea.


LU STOUT: Now, details are emerging about the lengths Mexican authorities are going to to make sure their most valuable prisoner does not escape for a third time.

The Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo was recaptured two weeks ago after breaking out of prison in July. A report in the leading Mexican newspaper El Universale says Guzman is guarded by dogs trained to detect his scent.

Now he is filmed at all times by guards wearing helmets with cameras on them and prison floors have been reinforced with steel rods to prevent another tunnel escape.

That report was written by Carlos Loretta Mola (ph) who says the information came from Mexico's national security commission.

Donald Trump is pumping up his push for the evangelical vote. The Republican frontrunner has a healthy lead in New Hampshire where he campaigned on Monday, but the race against Ted Cruz is tighter in Iowa with voting there just two weeks away. Trump is looking to chip away at Cruz's support.

Dana Bash has more.


TRUMP: We're going to have some fun, right?

BASH (voice-over): Appearing at Virginia's Liberty University is a rite of passage for GOP presidential candidates, even Donald Trump, who drew a big crowd beyond students required to attend.

TRUMP: I want a general where we knock the hell out of them.

BASH: He stumbled a bit, quoting Scripture.

TRUMP: I hear this is a major theme right here, but 2 Corinthians, right, 2 Corinthians, 3:17, that's the whole ball game. Where the spirit of the lord, right, where the spirit of the lord is, there is liberty.

BASH: It's 2nd Corinthians, not 2, a moment showing sharp contrast with Ted Cruz, who comfortably weaves Bible verses into speeches.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How can you know that I will follow through on those promises on the first days in office and every day afterwards? As the Scripture has said, you shall know them by their fruits.

BASH: But, so far, polls show evangelicals like Trump despite him not talking the talk of a typical Republican trying to reach them.

CRUZ: It seems Donald has a lot of nervous energy.

BASH: Still, a big part of the Cruz/Trump escalating war is a personality and character contest.

[08:35:01] TRUMP: He's a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him. He's got an edge that's not good.

BASH: Today, Cruz responded to being called nasty with a classically Cruz pop culture reference. But Cruz is no longer laughing Trump off. He is now following Jeb Bush's lead, questioning Trump's conservative credentials.

CRUZ: Ronald Reagan was a voice of consistency. And I am pretty sure that Ronald Reagan didn't write checks and support Democratic politicians.

BASH: And Cruz super PAC released this new TV ad trying to paint Trump as a hypocrite. As for Trump, his campaign clearly knows they have some image softening to do, going up on New Hampshire radio with a testimonial from his daughter, Ivanka.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: When I was a young girl, my father Donald Trump, always told me that I could do anything that I set my mind to if I coupled vision with determination and hard work.

BASH: Trump didn't just call Cruz nasty, he also went after him in a twitter tirade, for taking money from Wall Street, and much, much more. But that was all over the weekend. Come Monday, here in New Hampshire, and earlier in Virginia, not one word about Cruz, perhaps because Trump has been getting some blowback from conservative talk radio hosts who have a lot of influence with Republican voters, warning Trump not to go too far and alienating Cruz voters who may also be potential Trump voters.

Dana Bash, CNN, Concord, New Hampshire.


LU STOUT: Another legend in rock and roll has been silenced. We look back at the unforgettable music of Eagles guitarist, Glenn Frey.