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Unlocking al Qaeda's Plans; Fueling Terrorism; Reaction to Osama bin Laden's Death in Pakistan

Aired May 6, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Now, plotting until the day he died. Well, new details emerge about a possible al Qaeda plan to attack the United States.

Plus, has this piece of sensitive self-technology fallen into the wrong hands?

And painful lessons learned. Almost six years after the 7/7 bombings in London, we find out if lives could have been saved.

Also this hour, we'll be watching developments in Syria. Eyewitnesses tell CNN that troops are maintaining a strong presence around the southern town of Daraa and the western city of Baniyas. The show of force comes as pro- reform activists plan and stage more protests across the country. They're calling it a "Day of Defiance" against the government led by President Bashar al-Assad.

Now, CNN has not been granted into Syria and is unable to independently verify witness accounts, but Rima Maktabi is monitoring the situation for us, and she will bring us the latest a little bit later here on NEWS STREAM.

Now, meanwhile, in the United States railway operators have been put on alert. U.S. officials say materials collected from inside Osama bin Laden's compound such as computers, disks, hard drives, they all indicate that al Qaeda was planning more attacks in the U.S., and possibly on rail lines.

The potential targets included Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. But officials say that so far, they have no found evidence of any imminent terrorist threats.

Now, according to U.S. officials, al Qaeda discussed carrying out the railway plot on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Now, for more, Jeanne Meserve joins us now live from CNN Washington.

Jeanne, tell us more about the plots that were uncovered and when they were going to take place.

Well, first let me stress, Kristie, that officials are saying they have no indication that any attacks were imminent. This was something that was being discussed, specifically taking railcars off the tracks by putting obstacles on those tracks. The al Qaeda members, we're told by U.S. officials, discussed doing this on bridges and over valleys to increase the loss of life.

Now, as you mentioned, they did discuss doing this to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11, but the rail intelligence specifically did not mention, we're told, any specific cities or rail lines.

Now, there has been other information gathered from this safe house from where Osama bin Laden was killed, and in that there is other information indicating that al Qaeda still was focused on hitting big cities, specifically, New York, D.C., L.A. and Chicago, and also that they wanted to hit on specific important dates. Mentioned were July 4th, Christmas and the opening day of the U.N. General Assembly.

Many experts are saying this may be just the beginning.


MESERVE (voice-over): Agencies from across government are pouring manpower, specialized skills, and technical resources into the urgent hunt for information in the computers, flash drives, cell phones, papers, and other materials seized from Osama bin Laden's hideout.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING CIA DIRECTOR: This is probably the most important haul that we will ever get.

MESERVE: McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the CIA, says teams of government experts are likely triaging, prioritizing the search for the most dangerous information.

MCLAUGHLIN: What you want to find first and fastest is any indication of threats, plots actively under way. That's the first thing. Then, after that, you can start looking for patterns of relationships among people, ways of acquiring funding, ways of acquiring materiel, ways of communicating, possibly even some indication of who was in and out of that compound, and, therefore, some indication of what was the relationship between bin Laden's compound and Pakistan, if any.

MESERVE: In 2004, analysis of computers seized from Ahmed Ghailani, a suspect in the African Embassy bombings, revealed sophisticated surveillance had been done of U.S. financial institutions. The information was so detailed and alarming, it triggered a hike in the terror threat level.

McLaughlin says the materials seized this week may not lay out an entire plot, but the application of sophisticated math algorithms may extract small but key clues which fit together with other intelligence to illuminate a larger picture.

MCLAUGHLIN: We don't know yet how much of a blow this data is going to be to al Qaeda. But it could be a fatal blow. It could be the rough equivalent of what we had in World War II when we were breaking Hitler's communications or reading the Japanese Purple code.


MESERVE: Now, experts say that officials are in the early stage of exploiting this information. There's every expectation that we'll see more notices like the one that was issued yesterday about rail security.

Kristie, back to you.

STOUT: And Jeanne, the intelligence on these rail attacks unveil the ambition of al Qaeda and how bin Laden himself was more than just a figurehead.

Just how key a role was he playing until the end?

MESERVE: Well, we don't know the full answer to that. As I mentioned, they're still in the early stages of going through this material. When it comes to the specific rail attack, what I've been told by U.S. officials was this was being discussed by members of al Qaeda, but there is no indication in this particular instance that bin Laden himself has signed off on it, that he blessed an operation, or that anybody had been dispatched to carry it out -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Jeanne Meserve, joining us live from Washington.

Thank you.

Now, as we're seeing, Osama bin Laden's death does not mean the end of the terrorist threat from al Qaeda. And analysts say real progress against terrorism must include addressing its root causes.

Now, our Reza Sayah looks at what fuels violent extremism in the region.



REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many Americans cheered when they heard U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden, the man who, for nearly a decade, was the face of terrorism and Islamic extremism.

(on camera): But here in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, what many see as the root causes of extremism are still largely ignored.

TAHIRA ABDULLAH, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Bin Laden was a symbol, an illustration of a mindset and an ideology which lives on.

SAYAH (voice-over): Human rights activists Tahira Abdullah says that extremist ideology is fueled by crushing poverty in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where governments have failed to provide the most basic human needs. U.N. studies show in Pakistan half of the adult population is illiterate and earns less than $2 a day.

ABDULLAH: It is the lack of democracy. It is the lack of economic development. It is the lack of basic minimum needs, food, clothing, shelter, livelihoods. It is the lack of opportunities.

SAYAH: But there are many Muslim countries in the world where poverty and corruption haven't led to extremism, so why has it happened here?

AAYSIA RIAZ, POLITICAL ANALYST: Today, of course, U.S. presence is acting as a rallying point for these people.

SAYAH : Political analysts Aaysia Riaz says what is different in this region is the powerful perception that America is waging war with Islam. The perception intensified by an almost decades-long U.S.-led military occupation of Afghanistan, where thousands of innocent civilians who had little to do with al Qaeda or the Taliban, have been killed.

RIAZ: You talk to many people here who say things will not change in this region until the United States actually packs up and leaves.

SAYAH: Analysts say for decades, violent jihad has also been part of this region's culture, viewed as an effective strategy against oppression. Ironically, it was the U.S. that paid for and support extremist militants during the 1980s Afghan jihad against the Soviet invasion.

The U.S. now rejects extremism, but many suspect Pakistan's spy agency still maintain links to Islamic militants. Pakistan denies this, but skeptics say Islamabad's deed does not match its words.

RIAZ: Where is the commitment to the oust Taliban and al Qaeda on the part of the government of Pakistan.

SAYAH (on camera): The Pakistani military establishments complete break with all militant groups, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and better governance.

Getting all that done is going to be complicated and it's going to take time. But if they're not done, many here say, the death of Bin Laden won't mean much in the broader fight against extremism.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.


STOUT: As mosques in Pakistan hold Friday prayers, our correspondents are monitoring for any mention of the death of Osama bin Laden.

Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from Abbottabad.

And Nick, have you seen any reaction today to the bin Laden raid?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, we have seen today a small, fairly peaceful protest organized in one of the Islamic parts, about 600 people chanting for not a particularly long period of time, but chanting, "America go! America go! Your show is over!"

Fairly calm though, and I think that's been seen around quite a lot of the country where anti-American protest is quite common. We haven't really seen the massive outpouring of anger that quite often is preempted (ph) these sorts of days. So there has been some reaction, but not quite the scale expected.

STOUT: So peaceful rallies today.

Now, separately, a deadly drone strike took place today in north Waziristan. What does that say about the U.S./Pakistan relationship?

WALSH: Basically, that seems to be a new sort of type of dialogue between these two former allies who now have a very fractious relationship. There was a drone strike. Eight militants killed by perhaps a total of eight missiles on a compound in Batahel (ph) in the northern Waziristan area.

Now, really, this is important because of the timing, because the last drone strikes we've seen, many always now seem to come after a Pakistani demand that sovereignty be respected, that the U.S. curtail its drone strikes. (INAUDIBLE) got into a rhythm now where the Pakistanis say, please, can you desist? And seemingly, in the next 48 hours or so, there is a fairly substantial drone strike.

Now, that could be entirely coincidental, but it certainly shows the state in which the communications between these two allies are, at the moment, really the sort of (INAUDIBLE) practical actions playing out rather than the more diplomatic challenge (ph).

STOUT: It's interesting how you phrase it as the new dialogue between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Now, meanwhile, Nick, you're getting new details about bin Laden's life there in Abbottabad, there in the compound. How did he live up until the end?

WALSH: Well, actually we have a very interesting document we've obtained from local sources here which appears to be the last gas bill of the bin Laden compound. It may sound trivial, actually, but it does show some fairly interesting things.

One of the first things, of course, is who is it made out to? That's a man called Mohammed Ashad (ph), who most people -- or rather the neighbors -- accept was the man who set the compound up. We suspect that's probably a false name. I mean, would you really register yourself as being the man harboring the man's most wanted terrorist?

Another interesting fact on these pieces of paper which show, obviously, a rise in gas during the winter months. But one key thing is the information data in which these meters were put in which goes back to April, 2007. Now, that kind of (INAUDIBLE) suggestions from the Pakistani officials, that they were there for about five years, but it gives an approximate start date from when this compound's owners tried to make it habitable, or at least (INAUDIBLE) gas there.

Word from another government official here that, actually, there was an outstanding tax bill from local property tax on this property to the tune of about 60,000 rupees. That's about $700 or so, not a vast amount. And tax evasion here, frankly, is incredibly common, so you could even make an argument that, actually, by paying that bill, the people inside the compound might actually draw attention to themselves -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes. Painting an interesting picture of the al Qaeda leader there.

Nick Paton Walsh, joining us live from Abbottabad.

Thank you, Nick.

Now, Thursday marked a day of remembrance in the United States as Americans paid tribute to those lost during 9/11. U.S. President Barack Obama was in New York for the occasion and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Ground Zero. He also met privately with victims' families and visited Engine Company 54, a firehouse that lost 15 of its firefighters in the World Trade Center attacks.

Now, just ahead here on NEWS STREAM, another show of force in Syria. Tanks greet protesters' calls for a "Day of Defiance."

Plus, outgunned in Libya. Some rebels are taking on Colonel Gadhafi's forces with weapons twice as old as they are.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, demonstrators in Syria are staging a "Day of Defiance" against the government of Bashar al-Assad this Friday. Now, witnesses tell CNN the planned protests have been met with a strong military presence in the western city of Baniyas and the southern town of Daraa. Amnesty International says that more than 500 people have been killed in clashes between government troops and activists over the last month and a half.

Now, Syrian authorities have repeatedly denied CNN's request for access to the country, but Rima Maktabi is watching events for us from the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

And Rima, despite the crackdown, are there more protests today? Give us an idea of the scale of the demonstrations.

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It looks like those demonstrations are big today despite the crackdown. As you said, Kristie, at least six cities in Syria are seeing protests as we are speaking now. As you said, we're not on the ground, but we're monitoring social media and a lot of video uploaded on Twitter and Facebook.

As we see in front of us, these videos are coming from Madan (ph). It's a suburb of Damascus, and people are giving many chants, calling for freedom. And also, some chants are against President Bashar al-Assad in Madan (ph) and other parts of Syria. Today, the most important thing, also, is the capital witnessed some protests -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Rima, the protests, they began on March the 15th. And since then, what has been the civilian toll? How many people have been killed, how many detained? What is the overall humanitarian situation?

MAKTABI: Amnesty International talks about at least 500 people killed over the past five to seven weeks, mainly. And when it comes to arrests, human rights activists are talking about 3,000 people arrested so far with specific -- however, they say they expect the number to be much higher, and people arrested without them knowing.

Regarding the arrests, the latest coming from Damascus was posted on Facebook. One of the opposition members in Damascus called Rayal Saif (ph) was arrested today in a suburb of Damascus, in Madan (ph). His wife, on Facebook, posted the news.

We haven't been able yet to reach his family, but the Facebook page says he's been arrested. He's one of the opposition members and leaders -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, the sweeping arrest campaign there continues.

And what is the view from Damascus? What has been the regime's reaction to the overwhelming international condemnation from the U.S., U.N. and elsewhere of the crackdown?

MAKTABI: Analysts interpret that the withdrawal, the gradual withdrawal, announced by the Syrian government from Daraa as a reaction to the international pressure under the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. However, the regime always have been talking about terrorist groups, armed groups that are firing at security members and protesters as well.

Now, we talk to the people on the ground in Syria whenever we have the chance, and they tell us, "We're not terrorists. We're not Islamists. We are people who are longing for freedom."

STOUT: Well, Rima, thank you so much for staying on the story for us.

Rima Maktabi, joining us live from Beirut.

Now, Hillary Clinton is warning Libya's leader that the U.S. and NATO will continue bombing his forces until he stops attacking citizens. The U.S. secretary of state spoke in Rome at the second high-level meeting on the Libyan crisis. Hillary Clinton said Moammar Gadhafi must withdraw all forces from rebel cities that oppose his rule, restore their services, and allow humanitarian aid in.

Now, Libya's rebels are training themselves and young recruits to do battle against Gadhafi's forces, but as Sara Sidner found out, they say they lack weapons and basic supplies.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wide-eyed youth watch as their commanders give step-by-step instructions on how to handle weapons, most of which are twice as old as the young men who will use them. These volunteers were here when Gadhafi forces stormed their city, and they're itching at a chance to go to the frontlines.

Among them, Faisal Faraj, a university student who is now learning the art of war instead of studying science.

FAISAL FARAJ, STUDENT (through translator): I have never done this before, but I'm determined to learn and go on.

SIDNER: There is a lot of determination here, partly because there is deep suffering. Many of these young volunteers have friends, family members or neighbors who have been injured or killed as protesters in the streets or on the frontlines by Gadhafi forces.

FARAJ: In the beginning, we went out protesting peacefully, carrying banners and demanding more freedom. They responded with bullets and they were attacking us in a ruthless way.

SIDNER: Now, more than two months on, rebel leaders say young men are still showing up daily. But now they're able to train their fighters longer and better.

MUSTAFA SAGUZLI, ASST. COMMANDER, FEB. 17 MARTYRS BRIGADE: When the war started, it was almost like a picnic -- anybody who wants to fight can go by himself, carry an arm (ph) and go by himself.

SIDNER (on camera): Compared to the training they were getting in the very, very beginning, and the training they're getting now, has that trained?

SAGUZLI: Yes. In the very beginning, we had short courses of two weeks because the battle was moving so fast and we needed to have as much fighters as possible. Now it's taking one month to one month and a half.

SIDNER (voice-over): Mustafa Saguzli has no military experience, but he's using his skills as a business owner and computer programmer to program the troops. The fighters are even going into specializations now.

Here, the skill to refurbish a weapon is as vital as the ability to use it. Fixing these dinosaurs is a tedious process. There shouldn't be smoke after firing this refurbished weapon, so it has to be fixed again.

The tired spoils of war come in every now and then. These armed jeeps were captured from Gadhafi's troops in Ajdabiya. They are in poor shape.

Officials here say they have received a few new arms from the country of Qatar, but have long been calling for NATO to give more. It hasn't happened.

The volunteers who keep showing up here range from 18 to this 61-year-old retiree. Fendi Faraj came out of retirement to fight against the very military he used to serve.

FENDI FARAJ, FMR. GADHAFI SOLDIER (through translator): What I witnessed as far as the army attacking the people, I cannot allow an army soldier to remain in the service.

SIDNER: So Faraj has vowed to teach the young to fight against the regime, knowing firsthand there is a massive imbalance in training and weaponry.

(on camera): Are you worried about these young boys who don't have enough weapons and are willing to go to the frontlines?

F. FARAJ (through translator): No, no, no, no. The youth want to live free. And if they die, they want to die a martyr. We only have two choices, either victory or martyrdom.

SIDNER (voice-over): It is a choice these volunteers make willingly. Some have even warned their commanders, if they don't get arms soon enough, they will go to the frontlines without them.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Benghazi, Libya.


STOUT: And this news just into CNN. Al Qaeda has confirmed the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden. This is according to a U.S. monitoring group called SITE Intelligence.

As we all know by now, on Monday, bin Laden, he was killed in a 40-minute raid by U.S. Special Forces on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, some 100 kilometers away from the Pakistani capital. Bin Laden's body was buried at sea.

And now just in, we're getting word that al Qaeda, the international terror network, has confirmed the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden.

Now, we have a lot more ahead here on NEWS STREAM. Of course we'll have your sports headlines. A European golfing legend is fighting what he calls the hardest battle of his career. Don Riddell has an update on his fight against a brain tumor. That's coming up next.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

And are we hearing that the health of Seve Ballesteros has taken a turn for the worse.

Don Riddell is here with more on the Spanish golfing legend -- Don.


Within the last couple of hours, Seve Ballesteros' family has said that there has been a severe deterioration in his condition. Ballesteros is fighting a brain tumor, a battle he has described in the past as the hardest challenge of his life.

Kristie, I've been lucky enough to spend a bit of time with Seve. He is revered in European golf.

The Spaniard one five Majors during his career and helped establish European golf as a global force. He was the first European player to win the Masters and was a key player in Europe's Ryder Cup resurgence.

We will bring you any further updates on Seve's condition as and when we get them.

STOUT: Thank you very much, indeed.

Ahead here on NEWS STREAM, the U.S. monthly jobs report is due out any minute now. Now, will it be good news for the U.S. economy? We'll bring you the numbers.

And could the death have been prevented? A London inquest into the July 7, 2005 suicide bombings has finally come to a close, and we've got the verdict, next.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream and these are your world headlines.

Now a U.S. monitor in Europe says that al Qaeda has confirmed the death of its leader Osama bin Laden. Navy SEALS raided bin Laden's compound in Pakistan on Monday. Now, Site Intelligence says al Qaeda has confirmed on a jihadist web site that bin Laden was killed in that attack.

And documents seized from the home of Osama bin Laden suggests he was planning new attacks in the United States. That is according to a U.S. official who says al Qaeda discussed striking America's rail network on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Later today President Barack Obama will go to a U.S. base in Kentucky to meet the commandos who carried out the Pakistan raid.

Now Syrian pro-reform activists are staging protests in what they called a day of defiance this Friday. Now this YouTube video, it claims to show demonstrators in the capital Damascus chanting people want to overthrow the regime. Now witnesses tell CNN that tanks have been stationed outside the city of Banias after calls for protests there.

And the U.S. Labor Department has just released its highly anticipated monthly jobs report. It shows that 244,000 were added to the U.S. economy in April. That is well ahead of expectations. We'll have the complete breakdown of the numbers and a live report from the NASDAQ a little bit later.

Now a six month inquest into the London suicide bombings that killed 52 people back on July 7, 2005 has finally come to a close. And the question was whether deaths could have been prevented in the attacks that targeted the city's transport system. Atika Schubert joins us from outside London Royal Courts of Justice with the verdict.

Atika, walk us through the ruling.

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically Justice Howard (ph), as expected, ruled that all 52 of those that were killed on July 7, 2005 were unlawfully killed. She also ruled that there will be further inquests into the deaths of the four bombers.

Now, as you point out Kristie, the real question was whether any of these deaths could have been prevented. And because of that, she focused a lot on intelligence gather before the attack and emergency services responding after that attack.

Now, another thing that she read out today in her statement was basically saying that she believes that none of the 52 that died could have been saved if the emergency services had arrived any earlier. The reason being, she said, was because of the extent of the injuries from the blast.

She did, however, make a few recommendations, most of them towards the emergency services in terms of putting, for example, more medical facilities in tube stations where the attacks took place, better coordination between emergency services. She also made some recommendations to intelligence services for better record keeping.

The response has been from the emergency services and the government personnel there mostly positive, saying they would take these recommendations into account and that they hoped to respond and improve upon those things soon.

There was a statement from the Home Secretary saying that she was pleased to know that the coroner says that there was no way that -- there was no intelligence gatherers that could have prevented these attacks from taking place, Kristie.

STOUT: I don't know if you had a chance to talk to victims' families, but will this inquest put to rest the concerns and criticism over whether the attacks could have been prevented?

SCHUBERT: Well, there are a lot (inaudible) families here. And there's a range of different opinions. We do know from some of the families, they feel satisfied by this inquest saying that they feel that even though it was a very difficult process reliving a lot of the trauma, that it was good to get it out in the open to see what exactly led to the attack and how they responded hoping to avoid this kind of incident in the future.

We'll have to wait and see. There's actually a press conference going on at the moment with some more families. And they'll be making their own statement, Kristie.

STOUT: And also, what's next? I mean, some victim's families say that a full public inquiry is needed. Will that happen? Will there be another investigation?

SCHUBERT: I think it's unlikely. It really depends on how much the families want to push for it. At the moment, we've heard from 10 families, for example, that seem happy with this -- the coronoer's inquest. We'll have to hear from other families. But that sort of motivation at this point doesn't seem to be there.

It really seems that this inquest is here to give a sense of closure, whatever closure can be had from this. Of course it's going to be very difficult for the families, but at least a thorough investigative process has been done on the July 7th bombing and into looking into exactly what happened and how (inaudible) could have been responded.

STOUT: Atkia Schubert joining us live from London. Thank you.

Now we're turning now to Monday's U.S. raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. Now the mission also exposed a previously secret piece of U.S. military hardware, a stealth helicopter. As Chris Lawrence reports, if it had not crashed during the raid the world probably wouldn't know it exists.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The SEAL team coming to kill Osama bin Laden was just seconds from fast roping to the ground when one helicopter came down on bin Laden's outer wall.

GARETH JENNINGS, JANE'S AVIATION DESK EDITOR: Breaking in two as it did so with the main body of the helicopter falling into the compound where the SEAL team was. The tail section falling outside of the compound.

LAWRENCE: That crash revealed a secret to the world, America has a stealth helicopter.

JENNINGS: Never ever seen a cap like this on any variant of any Blackhawk.

LAWRENCE: Gareth Jennings monitors aviation technology for Jane's. He says army Blackhawks are normally painted olive green.

JENNINGS: And this particular one is in a gray color, not just any gray it's infrared suppressent gray.

LAWRENCE: Part of the fuselage is shaped like an F22 stealth fighter, which is designed to defeat radar.

JENNINGS: If you eliminate right angles in an aircraft design, radar waves can't bounce back.

LAWRENCE: Jennings says it's got extra rotor blades, which makes it harder to hear.

Compare the sound of a normal Blackhawk. With an experimental stealth helicopter.

Almost sounds like it's going away from you.

With bin Laden the target, the mission so dangerous it's unlikely this was the modified Blackhawks first flight. Remember, the American public learned of the F-117 stealth fighter during the invasion of Panama in 1989, 9 years after it started flying.

JENNINGS: And had this particular helicopter not crashed, we would still have no idea of its existence.

LAWRENCE: But now everyone knows. The SEALS blew up the main body of the helicopter in the compound. This was the part they couldn't get to. A U.S. officials confirms Pakistan has it now, which raises the possibility it could give the technology to others.

JENNINGS: That has to be of great concern to the U.S. Department of Defense, because with that technology the Chinese or any other third party can then either incorporate that technology into their own aircraft or they can figure out ways to defeat that technology.

LAWRENCE: Remember, the SEALS tried to blow it up, but at that point, they had the body of Osama bin Laden. They had been on the ground almost 40 minutes. So they had to weigh going back to set a second set of explosives versus getting away and completing the mission they were sent there to accomplish.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: Now there was also speculation swirling about one member of the Navy SEAL team. Media reports say a trained military dog assisted in the raid. Experts say the canine warrior would have been useful for sniffing out hidden explosives or even in finding bin Laden himself. Now the dog could have also played a role in helping to capture anyone trying to escape from the compound.

And if you happen to be wondering how you can get the dog to the ground from a helicopter? Just take a look at this picture. Now these are members of an army special forces team. And here up close is their canine companion. Dogs can even jump on their own from short distances, usually into water.

Now as for the breed, the New York Times is saying this. It's reporting that the dog was likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois.

Now there is a whiff of political change among the world's fastest growing city states. And we'll tell you why this weekend's vote in Singapore could result in a revamp of the old guard. Stay with us.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Japan's prime minister has called on the operator of a precariously located nuclear plant to shut down its reactors. It is located in the city of Omaezaki which rests on the junction of two tectonic plates. Now experts say that the Hamaoka plant should never have been built there. Prime Minister Naoto Kan wants earthquake and tsunami protections built at the facility. He says it could produce grave damage similar to the problems at the badly damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. As you can see, they're not located near each other.

Now scientists believe a strong earthquake is overdue in Omaezaki, but it is unclear the plant's owner will honor the prime minister's request.

Now Chubu Electric Power offered no immediate comment. The company had already planned safety improvements after the March 11 disaster.

Now, just one party has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965, but now there are small signs of change. Now on Saturday, Singaporeans will vote in the country's biggest and most competitive general elections ever, but for the first time in its history all but one constituency, that of the founding father Lee Kuan Yew, will have an opposition party on the ballot. Many constituencies include four or five seats.

Now the ruling People's Action Party, which is ruled by son of Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long is still expected to win Saturday's ballot, but this year opposition parties will be contesting 82 of the 87 parliamentary seats. Now the opposition has never held more than 4 seats before.

Now a total of some 2.3 million voters are eligible to vote in Singapore. And many will be going to the polls for the first time. And the political campaigning has been closely watched before, but with the spread of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, opposition parties are not able to reach out directly to voters bypassing more traditional state controlled media.

Now CNN's (inaudible) shows us how one young candidate is using her web savvy to challenge the status quo.


LIZ NEISLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A typical Saturday morning in Singapore, gathering at the local hawkers center -- family, friends, and food. But this morning a helping of politics is on offer.

Meet Nicole Seah, at 24, the country's youngest candidate running with the opposition National Solidarity Party and running in an election where voters are charged up about the cost of living and about low wage foreign workers in Singapore.

NICOLE SEAH, NATIONAL SOLIDARITY PARTY CANDIDATE: Singapore has really developed as a country on a whole, but what we do not realize is that there are many cracks beneath and there are many Singaporeans who are falling through these cracks.

NEISLASS: This is the first election in which the government is allowing campaigning through social networks. And for this candidate, the effect has been huge. Within the space of weeks, Nicole Seah went from an unknown candidate to the country's most popular politician on Facebook, surpassing Singapore's founding father in Facebook likes.

And this has generated attention in the state backed media.

SEAH: You have a lot of people sharing information online, sharing alternative viewpoints online, because there is little censorship. So because of that, you have so many people coming in together in such a short time to exchange all this information. And it drives up a lot of awareness, it generates a lot of buzz, and it makes people interested in politics for the first time in Singapore, because they have an ownership.

NEISLASS: The government backed Straight Times (ph) newspaper cites one in four voters are under 35 and says the internet is now the top source for political news in that group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I (inaudible) news to spread really, really quickly through (inaudible) no moderation so that it can be good, it can be not so good (inaudible) we know the real truth behind what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Young people have better education, so they can think better for themselves what is best for the people.

NEISLASS: But in a country used to years of one party rule, no one can predict what the impact of new media will really be.

The ruling party has their own younger candidate with a Facebook page. The two women running in the same constituency have been placed in a virtual face off with comments and videos being posted..

Still, in Singapore, campaigning is largely done the old fashioned way. And even a young politician knows the magic of holding a baby. On this day, a sea of white shirts signal the arrival of the ruling party, a PAP candidate had come to campaign. We were allowed to observe, but the ruling party rejected multiple requests for comment.

It would be hard to turn back from these shifts in political landscape. Raised on the internet, the next generation will continue to expect to have their choice.

Liz Neislass CNN, Singapore.


STOUT: Now in the U.S., April's monthly jobs report is out and it is much better than expected. Now to break down the data Carter Evans joins us now live from New York.

And Carter, this jobs report has blown away expectations. Walk us through the numbers.

CARTER EVANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, I mean we've had a couple of reports this week that indicated that we might be disappointed with this report. So this is welcome news.

The unemployment rate did tick up to 9 percent from 8.8 percent, but in a second I'll tell you why I think that may be a good thing.

The economy added 244,000 jobs in April. Now analysts were expecting to see 185,000 jobs added, so it's significantly more.

And why is the 9 percent? Why could that be a good thing? Well here's the thing, in this country, to be counted in the unemployment rate you have to have two things. You've got to be unemployed, and you have to be actively searching for work. Well, in the beginning of this year a lot of people gave up the search altogether, because it was really tough to find a job. The fact that the unemployment rate went up may show that more people are getting back out into the job market and looking for gigs. That means they think they can get a job again. That's pretty good news.

When it all nets out, the private sector itself added 268,000 jobs, Kristie. The public sector lost 24,000. 268,000 jobs added, that's more than the level that we need to maintain our unemployment rate. And that can actually bring it down. So that's good news. That's actually the best number since 2006.

STOUT: Yeah, more jobs added. The pace of growth not slowing. How will the markets react?

EVANS: Well, you know, the markets are reacting favorably to this. They're completely ignoring that 9 percent number and they're looking at the number of jobs added. Our futures were positive heading into this. The Dow futures were up about 10 points heading into this report. Currently, they're up about 110 points.

STOUT: All right. Carter Evans joining us live from the NASDAQ there. Thank you very much indeed.

Now still ahead here on News Stream, after a trip to the dentist, everything out of this woman's mouth is completely different. And we're not talking about her teeth, it's her speech that changed.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now we have reports of a cyclone forming near the Philippines. Let's get the latest with our Mari Ramos. She joins us now from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this is a storm that has been in the making for the last few days. I've shown you all of the heavy rain that has been happening here. And now we're getting really into the time where the concerns are really starting to mount. As the rain, very heavy as we were headed into the overnight hours tonight. And you can see the storm right over here. It is a tropical depression, which is basically the bottom of the food chain when it comes to tropical cyclones.

You'll have your little disturbance, your tropical wave, then your tropical depression, then you have a tropical storm, and then a full fledged typhoon. In this case, we're expecting the storm to intensify probably to tropical storm strength over the next couple of days.

Now when you look at it on satellite right over here, you'll notice that it continues to have that little bit of a spin. And it's moving so slow that the amount of rain that is expected to fall here across some of these areas, particularly in the central Philippines, Isa Mar (ph) in particular, is expected to be quite heavy.

Already, we've had some very heavy rain over the last few days. In some cases, over 200 millimeters of rain. This is just on top of what has fallen over the last few days earlier in the week as the storm was just starting to approach.

The main concern here is going to be the threat for flooding, of course, but also for mudslides. We're talking about areas that are very vulnerable to flooding and mudslides. So the area on alert, of course, because of this relatively minor storm system when you think about it, but with the potential to really bring extremely heavy rainfall across the region.

When you look at it right here, you see that area right there in that like lighter yellow? That is a computer estimate of over 75 centimeters of rain, and widespread over this region. You can see a lot of red. That connected to 25 centimeters of rainfall over the next two days. This is on top of what's already there.

So this is a big concern. I think people really need to be aware and prepared as to what is happening right now with tropical depression 3.

The storm, as you can see right over here, expected to continue moving to the north possibly scraping the coastline there, bringing that very heavy rain over those same general regions.

These are the names, by the way, the next name on the line is Aere as you can see there for the list of names here in the West Pacific Basin.

Let's go ahead and roll the pictures now from the U.S. These are images that are coming in to us from -- along the Mississippi River. You can see the flooded homes, the flooded roadways Kristie. It is a slow process. The river only going up about maybe, maybe a foot a day in some cases. And so we're not going to see those torrents of water gushing through like we see with flash flooding for example. This is going to be slow. This is going to be methodical. And it's going to take weeks for this water to crest in some cases. So very difficult for people in this area.

Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.

STOUT: Now we have more on the inquest into the killing of 52 people in London in 2005. Families of the victims are speaking out after the inquest. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...leaves us forever than knowing (inaudible) or not. We had emergency services (inaudible) over an hour. And (inaudible) and the for the inquest, but we don't even know the facts. We'll never know if they could have been saved or not (inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...relatives, how they feel (inaudible). How (inaudible) going forward?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll say something.

I can't see that in some ways it's going to change things (inaudible) in which we've waited five-and-a-half years for this. As (inaudible) said, we have moved on in many ways. But I would also say that what happened will stay with all of us for the rest of our lives, however much we've moved on, how much our lives change in a positive way.

I personally am very (inaudible) to see that the security services procedures are going to be looked at, but I still find that very worrying. When I was very shocked when I heard details about their record keeping, or lack of record keeping. And as we all know, the threat of terrorist (inaudible) has not gone away. And I think this is something that is very, very serious and that we really do need to make sure that these recommendations are implemented as soon as possible, because I for one am still concerned about this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's one of the concerns I have, certainly, is that these are recommendations and that there's no compulsion to even read them nevermind put them into practice. And because so many different bodies were involved, they'll chunk it down to the parts of the report that apply to them only and probably do very little -- I'm worried they'll do the least that they feel that they can away with. And there isn't a single overarching authority across all the various agencies to knock heads together and make sure something happens.

We've seen before at the King's Cross fire for example where the coroner made recommendations which were not implemented. And Dame Heather (ph) herself has said that she's not (inaudible) this report. And they put it on the shelf for 15 years. But there is no authority to drive it forward. And that is of great concern to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On that note, (inaudible) consider recommendations. I mean, what was your message to (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that when they say we will consider something.

STOUT: Families of the victims of the 7/7 transit attack speaking there in London reacting to the inquest that came out earlier today. The coroner investigating the terror attack and said that the victims were, quote, unlawfully killed. And just then, we heard from one of the victim's family members. She said that, quote, "we waited five-and-a-half years for this. But what happened will stay with us."

She goes on to say that she is heartened to hear that security procedures will be looked at.

Now suicide bombers said to be inspired by al Qaeda, they attack London's transport system on July 7, 2005. The inquest came out earlier today. Reaction there from some of the family members of the victims.

You're watching News Stream, but that is it for this program. But the news continues here at CNN. In fact, we have World Business Today up next.