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Pakistan and China; Al Qaeda After Osama bin Laden; Queen Elizabeth's Visit to Ireland

Aired May 18, 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, Pakistan's prime minister says China is his country's best friend. Now, what does that mean with Islamabad's strained ties with Washington?

Plus, Britain's queen visits the site of what's known as the first Bloody Sunday. It's a stop loaded with symbolism on her historic trip to Ireland.

And she became an icon of the Libyan revolution when she publicly accused the regime's soldiers of rape. Now Eman al-Obeidy gives CNN her first full-length interview.

There is fresh violence in Pakistan. Police say dozens of militants attacked a security checkpoint in the country's northwest on Wednesday. Now, that follows clashes on Tuesday between NATO and Pakistani forces in the same border region. Now, in that incident, NATO says its helicopters in Afghanistan returned fire across the Pakistani border after they took fire from Pakistani forces, but the Pakistani military says the incident started when a NATO fighter jet entered Pakistani airspace.

Now, this new dispute could put a strain on efforts to patch up relations between the two countries. Earlier this week, Pakistan agreed to return the tail of the U.S. helicopter that crashed during the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. Now, there had been concerns that Pakistan might pass the technology on to one of its allies like China, and that is where Pakistan's prime minister is right now.

Now, Prime Minister Gilani arrived in Beijing, saying that China is Pakistan's "best and most trusted friend."

Now, Stan Grant joins us now live from CNN in Islamabad.

And Stan, what does Pakistan's prime minister want from China?

STAN GRANT, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's interesting, isn't it, Kristie, the timing of this, the language that's being used here? This most trusted friend at a time when the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, well, people are talking about a real trust deficit there.

Now, what does Gilani want? Well, clearly, there's a symbolism involved at this time when the Pakistan relationship with the U.S. is not at its best. And there's been criticism and finger-pointing on both sides. He's able to go to China and call China an all-weather friend, its most trusted friend, its long-term and best friend.

There's a tangible side to this. They're looking for trade. Trade, at the moment, between the two countries runs at about $9 billion. Energy is also important, with China also committing to build two civilian nuclear reactors.

But really, this is a relationship about Pakistan's place in the region and its relationship with China. China we've seen as a real counterbalance here to India. And, of course, India, being Pakistan's longtime foe.

So, this is, in one way, a snub, if you like, or certainly an indication to the U.S. that Pakistan has other options in China. And also, a reminder to India about the closeness of the Pakistan and China relationship -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Stan, you're reporting in Pakistan, but you're also an experienced China watcher. Now, with U.S./Pakistan relations so frayed right now, is this an opportunity for China to get in and undermine U.S. influence in Central Asia?

GRANT: Well, certainly China has an extensive presence in the region, not just here in Pakistan, but also in Afghanistan. You're talking about China sharing borders as well. And, of course, China's interesting relationship with India, to put it mildly, this is seen as an emerging rivalry, two emerging powers in the region, and countries that have a very uneasy relationship, particularly along some of the disputed border areas.

So there is this strategic position here for China, but it's also a chance for China to show that it is a major player in the region as well. And as I say, because of Pakistan's tense relationship with the United States at the moment, it also gives Pakistan another option here to say, look, we have this relationship here with China.

It's replete with irony, isn't it, Kristie, if you look at this? Because here is Pakistan, an Islamic country, fighting a battle with Islamic militancy, and cozying up to a communist, atheist country in China. And if you go back even further in history, initially the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, which really began during the 1950s, it began because the U.S. was looking to Pakistan to be a part of the anti-communism bloc in the region. How times have changed -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes. It's interesting how the map changes over the years.

Now, Mr. Gilani, as we talked about earlier, he is said that China is his country's best and most trusted friend. Well, what about Afghanistan? Does Mr. Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, want to bring Afghanistan somehow into China's camp? Again, to shift the balance of power in the region.

GRANT: Yes. This had actually been talked about in the days certainly before the killing of Osama bin Laden. There had been a lot of speculation about Pakistan trying to nudge Afghanistan closer to China, or certainly try to get China more interested in forming a closer bond with Afghanistan.

And again, you need to see this, Kristie, in the context of the ongoing rivalry with India. One of the real concerns in Pakistan, and has been the concern for many, many years, is that Afghanistan, a stable Afghanistan, an Afghanistan after the U.S. and NATO pull out, may look to form an even closer alliance with India.

We know that the Karzai government, in the past, has given every indication of wanting a closer relationship with India, and that has Pakistan nervous. If it can nudge Afghanistan closer to China, well, once again, that sets another way of blocking India. And so much of what happens here in Pakistan revolves around that ongoing tension with India, not just this relationship with China, not just this relationship with the U.S., but also the relationship it has with the militants.

Some militant groups it goes after. Other militant groups it is sore (ph) to accommodate and even use in the past as a strategic -- another layer of defense against what they see is the Indian threat -- Kristie.

STOUT: So many geopolitical repercussions as we see close ties between Pakistan and China.

Stan Grant there.

Many thanks, indeed, Stan.

Now, the Pakistani military says another senior al Qaeda operative has been arrested. Now, U.S. officials say he is not a household name, but he is believed to have been working with core al Qaeda leaders.

Now, meanwhile, there are reports that al Qaeda has tapped a temporary replacement for Osama bin Laden.

Our Dan Rivers joins us now from London.

And Dan, who is this new caretaker al Qaeda leader?

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a man called Saif al- Adel, who is a former Egyptian special forces officer, a key figure in al Qaeda for many years. He was head of -- or chief of their sort of military committee and, more recently, of their security committee.

It's important to stress we're being told that he is only being seen as a sort of caretaker to run al Qaeda while consultations go on to pick a successor to bin Laden. He is not being seen as a successor to bin Laden, simply as a sort of manager, if you like, who knows a lot of the key people, who can try and keep the operation under way, as it were, while they are under intense stress from the intelligence that was gathered at bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan by the drone strikes.

And we're getting the impression from this source, a former Libyan jihadist who knows Saif al-Adel personally, that they are really having to change their entire operating procedure as a result of bin Laden's assassination by the U.S., changing the way they use couriers, they pass messages, and so on. And that's making the consultation about who should take over for bin Laden very complicated.

STOUT: And Dan, what more do we know about al-Adel's technical expertise and how al Qaeda could change and grow under his, albeit temporary, leadership?

RIVERS: We're being told that what he brings to the table for al Qaeda is a knowledge of how army intelligence works and how big armies operate. He's a former Egyptian special forces officer himself, and he brings that kind of analysis, military analysis and strategy, to the table, how to outwit the Americans and the Pakistanis on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

That's the main thing, not so much that he's sort of an expert bomb maker or anything like that. He's more senior than that, he's more strategic than that. But he is not seen as a sort of religious leader, you know, as almost a sheikh, as bin Laden was. He's seen as more of a sort of hands-on manager of how the organization operates on the ground.

STOUT: All right. An interesting perspective there.

Thank you very much indeed.

Dan Rivers, joining us live from London.

Now, Queen Elizabeth II's groundbreaking visit to Ireland is now on what could be its most significant day with a visit to Croke Park, a potent symbol of Irish independence.

Earlier this morning, she headed to the Guinness Brewery in Dublin before attending a service at the National War Memorial Garden, honoring Ireland's war dead. And later today the queen visits Croke Park Stadium, where in 1920, British troops opened fire on a crowd watching a football match. Fourteen people were killed.

Now, CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney has been following this historic visit, and she joins us now live from Dublin.

Fionnuala, tell us more about the significance of Croke Park on the queen's itinerary.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you've alluded to it, Kristie, there by talking about what happened at the height of the civil war, when 14 people watching a Gaelic football game were killed by British forces. This is in retaliation for the murders of 14 British intelligence officers earlier in the day. But really, Gaelic football and Croke Park is the home to all kinds of Gaelic games, but it's very closely identified with republicanism and nationalism and the Irish language.

So by going there, really, the queen, again, making more of this healing visit where she wants to try and bridge the gaps between Ireland and Britain and put away, as David Cameron referred to, as the closing of a chapter and the opening of a new one.

She'll also be going to Dublin Castle later this evening, which is behind me. And she'll be making a speech at a state dinner which David Cameron will also be in attendance.

And so, really, this visit proceeding according to plan. There was a meeting earlier in the day with the Irish prime minister, the newly elected Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny. But both sides really wanting to be seen here to put the relationship between Britain and Ireland on a new and firmer footing, not only because both sides feel it's time to put the past behind them, but also because of the economic difficulties and relationships with Europe, and the huge trade that goes on between the two countries, to try and establish this on a new footing.

STOUT: Now, this is the second day of a four-day visit. How has the royal visit proceeded so far? Have there been any protests?

SWEENEY: Well, there were pockets of protests yesterday, and we understand there will be some pockets of protests throughout this visit. But it's very hard to gauge how much support there is from the Irish people for the queen because the roads are being blocked off. Everywhere she travels is heavily fortified with barricades and security forces, some 10,000 police and army on duty throughout this visit, and indeed the visit of President Obama.

But there seems to be a benign acceptance, at the very least, that Queen Elizabeth is here and that perhaps it's time to move on. For some people though, particularly of a certain generation who might remember their parents and their parents' role in the civil war, along which party politics to this day are still decided, will find this visit hard to deal with. But it's hoped by both sides here, both governments, that once this visit is over, that there will be a huge sigh of relief and then there will be a continuing further normalization of relations.

STOUT: All right.

Fionnuala Sweeney, joining us live from Dublin.

Thank you.

Coming up next on NEWS STREAM, we'll take a tour of Dominique Strauss- Kahn's current home, New York's notorious Rikers Island jail.

And we'll visit a town with no residents as the Mississippi River flooding creates a ghost town in the southern U.S.

And we talk to the woman who first caught the world's attention when she publicly accused Gadhafi's men of rape. Now, she is now living in exile and talking freely.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is not talking about his plans for the presidential race next year. Now, he was widely expected to give a hint about whether he would run for reelection in 2012 during today's Q&A session with the media. Now, instead, all he would say is that an announcement would be made in the future.

Now, turning now to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case, the head of the IMF is facing mounting pressure from some to resign. Now, he is accused of multiple counts. The most serious one carries a maximum 25- year prison term if he's convicted. We many know when Strauss-Kahn heads to court again on Friday.

But in the meantime, he is dealing with a seriously damaged reputation. And right now Strauss-Kahn is on suicide watch at New York's infamous Rikers Island jail. It's a common practice for high-profile inmates.

Mary Snow shows us around.



MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside these walls, Dominique Strauss-Kahn now spends his day in an 11 x 13 foot cell. Most prisoners share barracks with about 50 beds in them. Because of his high profile, a prison spokesman says he's separated from other inmates.

It's a far cry from the luxury suite at New York's Sofitel Hotel, where he stayed before his arrest, with some rooms going for as much as $3,000. While hotel guests there were offered a breakfast choice of a five-ounce black Angus sirloin steak with eggs, or maybe Eggs Benedict, along with a morning cocktail such as a $20 glass of champagne Pommery, breakfast at Rikers consists of one apple and banana, a box of Mini-Wheats cereal, two pieces of toast, milk, coffee or tea.

Strauss-Kahn will be eating alone and won't have contact with other prisoners, who number 13,000 to 14,000 on any given day. Attorney Ron Kuby, who's been visiting clients at Rikers for decades, says things have changed since violence dominated the jail in the early '90s.

RON KUBY, ATTORNEY: Its name is synonymous in popular culture with brutality, with brutality, with corruption, with jailbreaks, with people banging cups on bars. None of which is true anymore. But it still exercises a very powerful hold on the imagination.

SNOW: Most of the inmates there are waiting to go on trail and can range from low-level drug dealers to murderers. Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon, was once held there. So was David Berkowitz, A.K.A. the Son of Sam serial killer.

In recent years, rapper Lil Wayne spent some time there on a weapons possession charge. Strauss-Kahn is able to leave his jail cell, says a prison spokesman, and can go outside for an hour a day but will be escorted by a corrections officer. Inside, he's allowed to periodically walk around his housing area corridor where he watched TV.

KUBY: Everything is difficult. And the most difficult thing, I think, for any particular person is to deal with the -- the dehumanization, because you're just one of 13,000 people, and to deal with being cut off from the outside world.

SNOW (on camera): In his first day at Rikers, a Corrections Department spokesman says Strauss-Kahn had one visitor but declined to say who it was. Inmates here can have three visits per week, up to three people per visit, and that's not including attorneys who are given access to their clients on any given day.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


STOUT: Now, if the name of the IMF chief's prison rings a bell with you, it's probably because Rikers Island is often mentioned on American TV cop dramas and in rap songs.

To find out more, head to the NEWS STREAM blog. Just go to

Now, ahead here on the program, running from rising waters. Now, U.S. residents along the Mississippi River head for higher ground. we'll show you the toll it is taking there.


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

Now, massive flooding continues to wreak havoc in the southeastern United States. Now, many residents like this couple in Vicksburg, Mississippi, have been forced to flee their homes.

Martin Savidge takes a tour through the flood zone.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So let me show you where we're headed today. We're going up to this area. It's called Eagle Lake. It's north of Vicksburg. The only problem is we know this whole area which includes the main road in is flooded. So we're trying some other way.

(voice-over): Reportedly, floodwaters have left the community of nearly 1,000 people completely cut off. On the way, we find Highway 61, the road we drove just two days ago, now under water.

Even the detour around the flooding was flooding.

(on camera): I think that's the way you would have gone.

(voice-over): With the main road to Eagle Lake also blocked, we take the only route left, driving atop the mainline Mississippi Levee. Fifteen minutes later, a park sheriff's deputy car signals we're here. And as far as it seems, we're the only ones here.

Eagle Creek is another victim of the flood. Totally dry and almost completely empty. I'm talking eerily empty. With levees on two sides straining to hold back a watery Armageddon, and with access roads flooded, in an emergency getting people out or getting help in would be difficult.

MARTIN PACE, SHERIFF OF WARREN COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI: Out of just the abundance of caution, we asked the people of Eagle Lake to evacuate the entire community.

SAVIDGE: People began moving out 10 days ago, leaving a ghost town of 600 empty houses behind.

(on camera): Hey there.


SAVIDGE: Good, thank you. How are you?

(voice-over): Roderick Maxwell was the only person we found to talk to. He was looking after his dad's convenience store, which was closed due to a lack of customers.

(on camera): Do you have a Plan B? I mean, if for some reason the levees broke, what would you do?

MAXWELL: Hook by GPS up and leave out on the levee. That's it.

SAVIDGE: Well, it's very peaceful.

MAXWELL: Yes, it's very quiet. That's why I'm getting a vacation right now, really.

SAVIDGE: Normally this would be a pretty busy time out here. It's the spring -- fishing, outdoor activity. Not these days.

(voice-over): Now is probably when I should let you know not all the residents have left. The ones with the badges and guns are still here.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Eagle Lake, Mississippi.


STOUT: Entire communities turned into ghost towns, water swelling along the Mississippi.


STOUT: Now, two months ago, I'll never forget it when this story broke. Eman al-Obeidy, she ran into a Libyan hotel saying she had been raped by Gadhafi's men. And she made her way out of Libya and is now speaking out from the safety of exile.

Coming up, we'll bring you CNN's interview with her.


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

Now Queen Elizabeth continues her landmark tour of Ireland today. This morning she laid a wreath at a memorial honoring Irish soldiers who died in World War I. And later she'll head to Croke Park Stadium in Dublin where in 1920 British troops opened fire on a crowd watching a Gala football match. 14 people were killed.

Now pressure is building for Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be replaced as the head of the IMF. In France, the header of the governing UMP Party says the issue must be resolved in the coming days. Now Strauss-Kahn is charged with sexually assaulting a maid in a New York hotel on Saturday.

Now Russian president Dmitry Medvedev is keeping his cards close to his chest. Now he was expected to reveal his plan on whether to stand for reelection in 2012 today, but instead all he would say is that this was not the right time and that an announcement would come in the future.

And police in Pakistan say 60 militants attack a security checkpoint in the northwest of the country killing two security officers. Now 10 militants also died in the gun near a village near Pashawa (ph), that's according to police. Now the violence comes just one day after clashes erupted close by involving Pakistani soldiers and NATO aircraft.

I want to warn you, our next report contains some graphic images. Now the U.S. and the European Union are looking for ways to step up the pressure on Syria to stop its brutal crackdown on protesters. And as Jill Dougherty reports there are new and disturbing images from inside Syria.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest chapter in Syria's horrors, reports of a mass grave near the city of Daraa, the limbs of victims protruding from the earth. Amateur video shows the scene, but with international media barred from Syria CNN cannot verify its authenticity. The Syrian government denies the claim calling it slander.

Syrian government forces have killed nearly 1,000 people according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as many as 10,000 have been arrested. Tuesday, Clinton pointed the finger of blame directly at President Bashar al Assad.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Assad talks about reform, but his heavy handed, brutal crackdown shows his true intention.

DOUGHERTY: U.S. officials tell CNN they see no indication Assad is going to turn around. One official saying it may be too late to change course given what's happened.

CATHERINE ASHTON, EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: This is extremely urgent. And if the government really does, as it keeps telling us it does, want to see some kind of change it's got to be now.

DOUGHERTY: The European Union is discussing more sanctions, arms embargoes, travel bans, and asset freezes on Syrian officials, possibly against Assad himself. And a U.S. official tells CNN that Washington will announce its new measures within days.

With daily images of increasing violence in Syria, the top Mideast adviser to President George W. Bush says President Obama in his Thursday speech on the Middle East cannot remain silent.

ELLIOTT ABRAMS, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: He's going to need to say something about Syria. 1,000 people have been killed in the streets of Syria and the president has not yet personally said anything about it. So I think that's really critical.

DOUGHERTY: One factor holding the U.S. back from condemning Assad directly has been concern over who or what might come next.

Now, one U.S. official tells CNN it might be time to take the chance that with Assad gone things just might get better.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, the State Department.


STOUT: Now questions are being raised over the whereabouts of this man, Libya's oil minister. Now media reports say that Shokri Ghanem is the latest high level official to quit Moammar Gadhafi's government. It is believed that he has fled to Tunisia. Now Tripoli denies that Ghanem has defected.

Now you will remember Libya's foreign minister resigned at the end of March while on a trip to London. At the time western officials said that they hoped his defection would prompt others to make the same move.

And you may remember the name Ayman al Obeidy, the Libyan woman who became a symbol of Libya's repression. Now security forces dragged her from the Tripoli hotel where international journalists were staying, screaming that she had been raped by Gadhafi's men. Now she is living in exile and is no longer afraid to speak out.

Now she sat down with our Nic Robertson for this interview.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She is free. And in her first full interview, Ayman al Obeidy reveals how vulnerable the brutal rape by Gadhafi's forces has left her.

What are you going to say to your parents when you see them on Saturday?

AYMAN AL OBEIDY, ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM (through translator): I do not know. I feel it's a difficult problem. I've tried many times not to think about it.

ROBERTSON: Her tears speak of lost innocence and a daughter's love for her parents.

They stood by her. After her rape her father finding her a fiancee when some in this culture might have disowned her, even killed her for dishonoring the family name albeit out of her control.

Her parents traveled from rebel-held eastern Libya to join her in Qatar. She fled here from virtual house arrest in Gadhafi's stronghold Tripoli over a week ago. It's their first meeting since they saw Gadhafi's thugs attacking her on TV in a Tripoli hotel two months ago. She had gone there to tell journalists of her rape.

Only now, safe from Gadhafi, can she talk freely about her abuse.

OBEIDY (through translator): I never used to hate people in this way. But now I reached this level where I abhor them.

ROBERTSON: Only now can she explain how she endured gang rape and penetration with a gun.

OBEIDY (through translator): I was telling myself to defy them. These animals cannot slip without punishment. I must speak out no matter how much people would talk about me and would blame me and would ask how would a Libyan woman and a Muslim go on the media and say this? All these things did not matter to me. I must take my rights. I felt I must expose the regime. They must receive their penalty.

ROBERTSON: And only now is she revealing her rape was just the beginning of her torment.

Her character assassination by state TV and the government spokesman cut even deeper.

OBEIDY (through translator): Sometimes words are worse than beatings or rapes. They put a great deal of psychological pressure on me. And they did not try to be credible or transparent in what they said about me. They did not even give me a change to respond.

ROBERTSON: Her chance, when it came, was to escape. And it couldn't have come soon enough.

OBEIDY (through translator): If I had stayed in Tripoli, I would not have known what was going to happen to me, I would have awaited death and I would not know which door it would have come from.

ROBERTSON: But the odds of making it alive across the border were not good. Her mountain drive with two deserting army officers could have ended in disaster.

OBEIDY (through translator): We felt afraid. We felt there was heavy fighting ahead. We could die in it. But after we went up and got to the rebel controlled gates we asked and they said the fighting was a little far from where we are.

Once we got to the crossing gate, there was fighting going on. Grade (ph) rockets and other artillery. So we got afraid. Everyone was running, not only us.

But we arrived to Tunis safely.

ROBERTSON: Still, she didn't feel safe. But that would come 2,500 miles later in Doha.

OBEIDY (through translator): I felt that it's over, Gadhafi, he has no control over me. He's not capable of returning me. I felt my soul is liberated. I'm able to talk like I want, live like I chose. I was living in fear and terror. And I was tired psychologically. But when I arrived to Doha, I felt comfortable, as if I had forgotten all these problems that happened to me. I felt so relieved.

ROBERTSON: Rebel leaders, for whom she has become a star attraction, were taking care of her. But already her new world is closing in.

OBEIDY (through translator): I do not feel I'm completely freed, because I do not have a life here yet. You know what I mean? I don't have a private life of my own. And they fear for me. That's why they put these guards. But if I asked to go somewhere, they allow me to.

ROBERTSON: Decisions she hadn't had to face now seem pressing. The fiancee her father found.

Are you looking forward to meeting this man?

OBEIDY (through translator): I asked him to come to Doha so I can meet with him, but he refused. But my parents are talking with him and he made an agreement with my parents. The marriage will not be imposed on me. And we will take a period to court each other. And if we feel we are not compatible or not comfortable with each other, each one of us will go their separate ways. He actually requested this from the beginning. And my parents requested this of him. And he accepted the stipulation.

ROBERTSON: Incredibly, though, again all the odds, Ayman al Obeidy is not looking for pity.

OBEIDY (through translator): It changed my view of people and view of life. And it taught me that people should not give up when problems happen to them. On the contrary, if you face it and do not feel ashamed, they will find that everyone loves them and they will love life.

ROBERTSON: Can you ever forgive what they did to you?

OBEIDY (through translator): No. No. Impossible. Could you forgive them?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you forgive them?

ROBERTSON: Who did that?

How could you?

OBEIDY (through translator): Impossible. I cannot. Even if I forgave them, the people won't. No one will forget what they did to me. It's not only I who went through this, but many Libyan girls were subjected to rape by Libyan forces. And they were not able to speak out.

Maybe people will look at me as a symbol of the Libyan opposition because I exposed the truth. On the contrary, I opened the door that no one else could open. They were too scared. But I opened it without planning it. And after I opened it, I was on the media and I spoke to human rights organizations about what happened to me.

I call on all girls, not just in Libya, but in the whole world to speak out and not be afraid.

ROBERTSON: Ayman's story is far from over. She is on the road to recovery. But the demands on her are huge. Little in her life has prepared her to be the icon of a revolution.

But icon, she undoubtedly is, replacing Gadhafi and Lockerbie as the images of Libya. With the face of freedom, of rights, of standing up to tyranny.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Doha, Qatar.


STOUT: Ayman al Obeidy's alleged attackers have yet to be brought to justice. Libyan officials say at least one of them has accused her of slander. But with al Obeidy outside Libya action in either case seems unlikely.

Now stay tuned, there's still more to come here on News Stream.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now in China, one of the world's oldest pandas has passed away. No Ming Ming died on May 2 in southern China after living in captivity since 1979. She was 34 years old. Now all day I've been asked for my reaction to the news, so I blogged about it. Find out why I have been called a panda hater over the years and how I have indeed changed. Just go to

Now yesterday we saw Miami and Chicago go head to head in the East. And now the NBA's Western Conference finals are indeed underway. And with all the action from game 1 is Kate Giles -- Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Kristie. As you said, the NBA Western Conference finals began on yesterday. It was game 1. This was between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Now the Thunder, they must have been pretty weary, that was after their full seven game series in the semis. But the bigger problem for them turned out to be Dirk Nowitzki on the other side of the court for Dallas Mavericks.

Dirk Nowitzki was just in masterful form. He made an impact right from the very beginning of the game knocking down 10 of his first 11 shots. This is the form, of course, that we've seen Dirk in to help his team bulldoze past the Lakers. It really was an incredible performance from the power forward.

This is the German powerhouse again getting the ball on the block and banking home the pull away jumper.

And in the fourth quarter, Dallas's Jose Barea making a big contribution after bank as well. He splits the lane here and finishes with the scoop lay-in and the foul. 21 points for him. And the Mavs with the 9 point lead.

The Thunder did enough to keep close, though. And in large part that was thanks to this man, Kevin Durant with a 40 point performance.

Dallas did have an answer, though. And no surprise for you, it came from this man -- Dirk Nowitzki finishing with 48 points. The Thunder are certainly going to have to improve their tactics of how they contain the big German going forward.

Jason Terry adding to Dallas' numbers as well. 24 from him.

The Mavs win it 121-112. They win game 1.


DIRK NOWITZKI, DALLAS MAVERICKS FORWARD: I'm really looking for my shot early. I was working a lot on my shot. Obviously, we had a week off. Was in the gym a lot every night. And it paid off as in really look for my shot early and was able to get a good rhythm. And, you know, for a shooter obviously when the first couple go in it's even better for the confidence. And just attack from there.

So, yeah, it was a good game.


GILES: Well, the German notched an NBA playoff record of 24 for 24 free throws. Nowitzki broke the NBA playoff record for free throws made without a miss. Previously, that one was held by Boston's Paul Pierce with a 21 for 21 game in 2003.

He made his 48 points on the night with just 15 attempted shots. Nowitzki fell two points shy of his playoff career high of 50, which he set in game 5 of the 2006 Western Conference finals.

This is the German's sixth career playoff game with 40 or more points. He also contributed 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocked shots.

Dirk will now be on his home court in Dallas on Thursday. That's for game 2.

Well it is a big fan today for fans of Portuguese football. The big day for them. That's with two Portuguese sides -- not one, but two, about to go head to head in the final of the Europa League. Red Hot Porto and Sporting Braga will battle it out in the Irish capital Dublin.

Porto are looking to win an historical treble this season. Their 33- year-old manager Andre Villas-Boas is aiming to emulate Jose Mourinho's feat of winning the league, the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League. Although when Mourinho won it, of course the competition was still called the UEFA Cup.

On the other side will be a Braga team that are playing in their first ever European final. The teams met twice this season in Portugal with Porto winning both of those games.


ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS, PORTO MANAGER: I think it reflects a bit the quality of Portuguese football. I think it's the championship that people don't normally focus a lot, which is the reality, because the media impact of Portuguese football is not a lot. But if you see in any big squad in Europe there's for sure one or two Portuguese players. And that reflects what is being done in the Portuguese clubs and in the Portuguese leagues.


GILES: Well, there were no points at stake in a charity match which was played in Duisburg in Germany between Borussia Dortmund and Team Japan on Tuesday night. The newly crowned Bundisliga champions faced a side made up of Japanese players in the Bundisliga and German players who play in Japan with the proceeds going to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami which rocked the Asian nation in March.

Dortmund scored the first two goals of the game through Markus Feulner and Daniel Ginczek. But Dortmund's very own Shinji Kagawa pulled a goal back for Team Japan. 2-1 the final score.

Nice to see that they're still doing their part to aid that relief over there, Kristie.

STOUT: That's so very good to see. Kate Giles there. Thank you very much indeed.

Ahead here on News Stream, we are celebrating an American TV icon. Oprah Winfrey gets the mother of all sendoffs ahead of her show's final farewell. And we were there. We have all the details next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Space Shuttle Endeavor has docked with the International Space Station for the very last time now two days after we brought you the launch live here on News Stream.

Now it seems the shuttle crew, they were eager to see the ISS astronauts. And the crews opened the hatches about an hour ahead of schedule. Endeavor has brought a pricey piece of equipment to the ISS, a $1.5 billion particle physics detector. And the shuttle's 16 day mission will include four space walks now the final one scheduled by shuttle crew members.

Now pop star Justin Bieber is in Tokyo for a concert Thursday night. But before he takes the stage Justin Bieber took some time to meet with the victims of Japan's natural disaster. And Kyung Lah was there.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In one of the stranger gatherings at the U.S. embassy -- politicians, victims of Japan's natural disaster, and a teenage heart throb.

Singer Justin Bieber who is here in Tokyo performing two concerts met with nine children from the tsunami region. These are children from some of the hardest hit towns. The pop star had initially wanted to perform in the tsunami area, but that simply wasn't possible, so his music label arranged a brief meeting with some of these kids. They took pictures. And he asked them to attend his concert tomorrow night.

For these children who have had such a hard two months, it's a brief break from tragedy.

JUSTIN BIEBER, SINGER: Things can get better. And things will get better. There's only, you know, there's only good times to come from this. So, again, my prayers go out to all of the families and everybody.

CROWD: Justin!

LAH: And although we're not sure if some of the kids from the tsunami region actually knew who Justin Bieber was, certainly there are plenty of girls outside who know who Justin Bieber is who were waiting here hoping just to catch a glimpse.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


STOUT: Now after 25 years, an American TV institution is coming to a close. The Oprah Winfrey Show will soon have its final taping. And on Tuesday night Hollywood stars, they showed up in droves to celebrate the woman dubbed the queen of daytime TV.

Our Kareen Wynter was there. She joins us now live from CNN Chicago. And Kareen this was a star studded event. Who was there?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: The hottest ticket in town, really Kristie. Oh, where do we start? Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Will and Jada -- oh my gosh, the list was endless. And it was after all a big surprise for Oprah. You know, she has to be in control. She shapes everything that happens in her life, right? Well, not last night.

She agreed to let her executive producer take charge. She didn't know what to expect. And, you know, we were right backstage and we saw it unfold. And you could see as one guest after another, Kristie, walked on stage, she was so personally touched. She was grateful to have her fans there, grateful to have all of her famous celebrity friends. And you could see her mouthing at times, oh my gosh you're here for me.

One really key moment was when basketball veteran Michael Jordan, he played for the Chicago Bulls, walked on stage. It was like a kid in the candy store. She was so genuinely touched. We spoke with so many of her famous friends, including Madonna who reflected on this amazing woman and all of her accomplishments in television over the last two decades.


MADONNA, SINGER: She's just all heart. I mean, she's an incredible woman. To be near her and to, you know -- I mean, the great thing about Oprah is that even if you don't know her personally you feel like you know her personally. And that's, you know, a talent that she has to -- you know, she's very accessible.


WYNTER: Genuine heartfelt stories, heartfelt stories we heard all night long. Again, not just from the stars, but for real people. You know, that mom at home who watched Oprah in her living room the last 25 years, to even students. There was -- there were more house students there really, really talking about what Oprah meant to here -- to them.

Oprah, of course, very, very generous. She's contributed -- contributed to their school over the last several years. And so we just heard so many personal, touching stories from people who she's really touched in so many ways, Kristie.

STOUT: Now I understand that Maria Shriver was also there after news broke that Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a child outside their marriage. How did she appear to you?

WYNTER: It was one of the bigger guests to see on stage. You know, when she walked on, she walked on with Gail King who's, of course, Oprah Winfrey's best friend. And both of the women they've known Oprah for more than, you know, three decades. And so they go way back. And so it was definitely in light of everything that she's going through, it was really important for her to be there last night.

She didn't say much, but she looked stunning. She was wearing a navy sequined dress. She walked out on stage. And, you know, she really thanked Oprah for their friendship over the last several years, thanked her for teaching her, you know, honesty -- how to be truthful. And Oprah then chimed in and said, you know, you're the real deal.

And so -- you know, it was well received from the audience. And just a very, very touching moment there. And it was really telling to see that despite everything that she's going through with the scandal that it was important enough for her to make it out last night to really, really share that moment with her friend.

STOUT: Yeah, great moment there. Thank you very much indeed. Kareen Wynter joining us live from Chicago.

Now it is time to go over and out there. Large parts of China are covered with a rather disgusting red and green sludge. Now residents have been scattering, seeking cover from highly propelled seeds and shattered shells. In fact, no farmer is without a pair of safety goggles there as they tend their fields, and it's all because of these -- steroid enhanced oversized exploding watermelons.

Now thousands of monster melons have been blowing up in eastern China after farmers sprayed the wrong growth hormones on their crops turning their watermelons into big, fat, fruity landmines.

And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.