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Dominique Strauss-Kahn Resigns From IMF; France, Sex and Politics; President Obama's Speech on 'Arab Spring'

Aired May 19, 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.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn steps down from the IMF, strongly denying the sexual assault allegations against him. Now, will he walk out of Rikers later today?

Plus, it is being Called Cairo II. The U.S. president prepares to make a major speech on the Middle East.

And human smugglers stopped by an x-ray machine. This shocking image, it shows people packed into a semi-trailer risking their lives to reach another country.

Now, promising to fight sexual assault charges, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned as managing director of the IMF. Now, he resigned by letter late on Wednesday, and in it he wrote this: "I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and especially, I'm going to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence."

Now, he repeated his denial of the seven allegations against him, allegations that he sexually assaulted a maid in his New York hotel room on Saturday. Now, his lawyers will appeal to the New York Supreme Court today to release him on bail.

Now, we will have more on that bail application later in the show, but for now, I want to focus on Strauss-Kahn's resignation and its ramifications at the IMF. And to do that, we're joined now by Jim Bittermann, live in Paris.

And Jim, first of all, how is news of his resignation being received in France?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it almost was expected here, because I think he's kind of being written off. Over the last 72 hours or so, there's been a sort of shock and disbelief, but now I think there's some acceptance to the fact that he's going to not be there for the presidency, not going to be there for the presidential candidacy in 2012, and not be there at the IMF either. Basically, it's impossible for a big institution like that to go very long with what one of the Europeans said yesterday, a power vacuum at the top, and that's certainly what we have right now.

So I think there will be a real bid to make sure that things get done so that he's replaced. It may take a few months, according to some of our people at CNN, and it may take a few months for that replacement to be named. But already, people are scrambling for the job because it is a big, important job, it has a high salary, and it's very prestigious. So there's a big scramble.

And one of the people who's a frontrunner right now is Christine Lagarde, who is France's current finance minister, 55 years old. She's basically very well known here and on both sides of the Atlantic. She was head of the Baker & McKenzie law firm in Chicago, so she's well known in the United States, as well as here.

The only drawback probably is the fact that she's coming from France, and that's where Strauss-Kahn came from. So, as a matter of fact, she may not be one of the real favorite candidates. In terms of her personality and her profile though, she certainly would fit the bill.

Now, in addition to Christine Lagarde, there's other from Europe who are in the running. By the way, Christine Lagarde said today that the candidates in Europe should unite -- the European countries should unite behind one candidate.

So among the other people in the European environs, there's Kemal Dervis. He's 62 years old, from Turkey, former Turkish finance minister and the head of the UNDP. And he's pretty well known as well.

And then, in addition, there are a couple of other high-profile figures -- Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of Great Britain, 60 years old. But he's thought to be -- it's thought to be unlikely that he would get the support of the British government. And Axel Weber, who is 54 years old, former German finance minister.

So those are the Europeans in the running. But in addition -- and this post has traditionally gone to Europeans -- but in addition to the Europeans now, there's a big push on from the developing world, and there's a number of candidates from the developing world who would like to be in the running, too. And so I think it's going to be a real kind of a cat fight here about who gets this job and whether it says something new about the future of the IMF, or whether they fall back into traditional patterns and give it to one of the Europeans -- Kristie.

STOUT: So a number of contenders for the top job there at the IMF from both the developing and the developed world.

I also want to ask you more about attitudes in France about how this case has been handled in the U.S. There's been a lot of criticism there about the U.S. legal system -- for example, the privacy laws there -- the perp walk, et cetera.

Is there a strong cultural difference in how the two countries are viewing this case?

BITTERMANN: Absolutely. I mean, the way criminal cases are handled in France is completely different than the United States in many, many details. And I think that perp walk is a perfectly good example. You wouldn't see that in France.

At least you wouldn't see someone in handcuffs, because for about 10 years now, it has been illegal here to photograph anyone in handcuffs, because the French believe that that suggests culpability. So, in fact, you don't see it here ever.

You don't see courtroom images, basically because cameras aren't allowed in courtrooms once a trial begins. So that's a whole new difference for people.

On the other hand, it should be said that while there's a big reaction to Strauss-Kahn being in court, the fact is there was not a similar reaction when Americans were on trial in American courts. These kinds of images of O.J. Simpson and Mike Tyson and other kind of high-profile figures, Michael Jackson, in court in the United States, there was no protest here. But there is now that it's Dominique Strauss-Kahn in court -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Jim Bittermann, joining us live from Paris with that.

Thank you very much, Jim.

Now, in French politics sex scandals are nothing new. But as Ivan Watson reports, the Strauss-Kahn case is different and could change things forever.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): France is reeling after the arrest of the man who might have become the country's next president. The Dominique Strauss-Kahn case breaks precedent here because the charges involve rape.

ERIC FASSIN, AUTHOR, "LE SEXE POLITIQUE": There has never been a public discussion of sexual harassment by a French politician. There are two interpretations. One is that there's a French exception; sexual harassment does not exist in the French political class. The second interpretation, which I find much more plausible, is just that the media haven't talked about it.

WATSON: The French media have long had unwritten rules when it comes to reporting on politicians' private lives.

BENOIT HAMON, SPOKESMAN, SOCIALIST PARTY: When a French journalist knows that there is relation between one politician and a girl was not, for example, his wife, he will not write about that.

WATSON (on camera): Why?

HAMON: Because that's private life.

WATSON (voice-over): Most famous, the case of former president Francois Mitterand. For years, the French press never wrote about his longtime mistress or his illegitimate daughter, who stood aside his wife at his state funeral.

HAMON: Newspapers and TV try to respect the private life of politicians.

WATSON: Strauss-Kahn's arrest may change all that.

PATRICIA LOISON, JOURNALIST: It's the first time that in France we're seeing how a private life can destroy a career and has global consequences.

WATSON: This week, on Patricia Loison's news show, journalists debated the code of silence regarding sex and politics.

LOISON: Many very powerful, intelligent, influent (ph) French journalists are asking questions today about how we are doing our job.

WATSON: Why, for instance, didn't more reporters investigate the case of Tristane Banon, who claims Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in 2002? For one thing, her mother helped cover up the alleged assault.

In this interview filmed after Strauss-Kahn's arrest, Anne Mansouret said she told her daughter not to press charges after the incident to protect her reputation.

(on camera): Shame, self-censorship and strict privacy laws may have all helped keep past potential scandals out of the French media. There's also been a tolerance for "boys will be boys" behavior in the corridors of power. The days of French indifference towards sex and politics may now be over.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Paris.


STOUT: Now, Osama bin Laden is dead, but al Qaeda seems determined to keep his voice alive. Now, the radical Islamic group released this audiotape on Wednesday. Now, CNN cannot confirm its authenticity, but al Qaeda claims it was recorded shortly before bin Laden was killed. It is 12 minute long, and the speaker praises the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and calls for, in his words, "the united Muslim nation to stay true to its beliefs."

Now, Osama bin Laden may praise the Arab Spring, but some analysts say the revolutions undermine al Qaeda's reason for being.

Now, CNN's Fareed Zakaria argues that the terror organization came into existence because of bin Laden's belief that the regimes of the Arab world were oppressive. And the Arab Spring has seen some of those regimes toppled without protesters resorting to terrorist activity.

Polling data from the Pew Research Center also shows bin Laden's influence among Muslims was already on the wane. Before his death, they surveyed six predominantly Muslim regions and countries. Now, we're showing you results from just three of those regions right here.

Now, only a third of Muslims polled in the Palestinian territories -- that's the blue line at the top right here -- voiced a lot or some confidence in bin Laden to "do the right thing" in world affairs. Now, that is down from 72 percent, when the question was first asked back in 2003.

Support in Jordan for bin Laden shows the greatest decline in recent years. Confidence in the al Qaeda leader there, it fell dramatically in year 2006. You can see this big dip right here. That was after the suicide attacks in Amman.

Now, this year's data for Pakistan, which is the red line, that data not available yet. But in the nation where bin Laden was eventually found, last year's survey show that confidence in the al Qaeda leader had fallen 34 percent since 2005.

It has been nearly two years since a U.S. president called for a new beginning with the Muslim world. The follow-up to Barack Obama's Cairo address has big ambitions, and we'll bring you the preview from Washington.

Meanwhile, disturbing reports from Bahrain say the government is targeting more than demonstrators. Security forces are allegedly going after the protesters' places of worship.

And a human smuggling operation busted by x-ray machines in Mexico, and hundreds of people are rounded up.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, in just a few hours, U.S. President Barack Obama will lay out his vision for the Middle East and North Africa following a wave of popular protests across the region. Now, he will pledge financial help for Egypt and Tunisia, and talk about the Israeli/Palestinian peace process, as well as addressing issues in Libya, Syria, Iran, and the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Now, this is take two for the U.S. president. It has been almost two years since he stood before a crowd in Cairo and called for a new beginning between the U.S. and the Muslim world.

Now, will President Obama be able to gain the ear of the Muslim world again?

Ed Henry is CNN's senior White House correspondent. He joins us now live from the White House.

And Ed, Obama has been criticized for acting too timidly and too late not only in Libya, but in Yemen and Bahrain, also in Syria.

Will we hear tougher language from the U.S. president in this speech?

ED HENRY, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Some tougher language, Kristie, when it comes to issues like Syria. You've seen this White House in the last couple of days, in part because of the criticism that you mentioned, that they've been too timid in going after President Assad, you've seen the White House step up in the last 24 hours with some tough sanctions aimed at the president, himself, as well as top officials in his government. But it's not going to be tough on everyone, because the whole approach from this president since the Arab Spring began is, basically, there's no one-size-fits-all approach for the entire Middle East and North Africa.

Interesting, because as you look back two years now since that speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, that speech didn't mention Libya, didn't mention Syria, didn't mention a whole lot of things that are now front and center in the region. But in fairness to the president, obviously we didn't know some of these things were going to be happening two months ago, let alone two years ago.

And so what White House aides say this president wants to do is sort of take a step back now that there's been so much tumult in the region, try to take stock of where we are, and try to lay out some specifics where the U.S. can help some of these fledgling democracies.

You mentioned some aid. About $2 billion the president is going to pledge to Egypt and Tunisia. Also talking about creating a new trade partnership with the region. Also setting up a fund to try and spur some investment in the region.

All of that is aimed at the root cause of a lot of the peaceful protests which, as you know, they were not just about human rights. It was also young Arabs angry about economic inequities and frustrated that they couldn't get a job, frankly. And so the White House realizes that one of the most important things the U.S. can do is foster some investment in economic growth in the region -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Ed Henry, joining us live from the White House with a preview there.

Thank you, Ed.

Now, the U.S. president's speech, it comes just one day after the White House imposed those tough sanctions on Syria. And they specifically target President Bashar al-Assad and six of his top aides. Well, Washington is trying to send a clear message that Syria's regime will be held accountable for its increasingly bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

But Damascus is denouncing the U.S. sanctions. In fact, state TV there blasted the U.S., saying its priority is to "serve the Israeli interest."

Arwa Damon is following this story from Beirut. She joins us now.

And Arwa, tell us more about the reaction from Damascus.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, Damascus most certainly is remaining defiant. Not entirely surprising for this regime. And just to share a bit more of what state TV reported, attributing it to an official source, they said that, "These sanctions have not and will not affect Syria's independent decision-making and its resistance in the face of continuous American attempts to control its national decision-making and the completion of comprehensive reform."

Remember, this is a regime that, in the light of ongoing international condemnation, and the fact that sanctions have already been slapped against it back in March, continued to carry out this military campaign that has been condemned by various international leaders and by various human rights groups. If you remember, back in the end of March was when the U.S. initially slapped additional sanctions on Syria. And since then, we saw the military campaign intensify -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. The U.S. president is set to speak in just a few hours from now. Just how closely will the Arab world listen to Barack Obama's upcoming address?

DAMON: Well, Kristie, the Arab world most certainly is going to be paying attention to what the president has to say. But amongst a number of Arabs that we have been talking to, there is not an illusion that the president is going to be putting forward any sort of groundbreaking policy changes when it comes to how the U.S. treats the Middle East.

A lot of Arabs fully believe that the U.S. is selective when it comes to choosing which countries and how it is going to be upholding Democratic reforms. Many Arabs believe that the U.S. will only do so when it's in its own interests. But perhaps more importantly, when it's in the interest of America's number one ally in the region, and that is Israel.

And again, Syria, critical, playing into that picture, too, because Syria does, at the end of the day, share a border with Israel. Syria is capable, to a certain degree, of creating instability in Israel. And all of these are factors that the U.S. administration most certainly is considering when it comes to dealing with Syria.

But most certainly, people will be watching. But there was widespread disappointing following President Obama's initial speech some two years ago. So people are not expecting any major groundbreaking changes at this stage.

STOUT: All right. So some pretty low expectations from there.

Arwa Damon, joining us live from Beirut.

Thank you for that.

Now, the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council has left Yemen empty-handed and furious. Now, once again, coming close to an agreement for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

The embattled president had asked for five people from each side to sign a deal that would set into motion a transition of power. Now, officials say the opposition complied, but Saleh considered them unsatisfactory and refused to provide five signatures from the government.

Now, there is also struggle brewing within the border of Bahrain. As Amber Lyon reports, activists say the Sunni government is trying intimidate the Shia majority by targeting their religious sites.


AMBER LYON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If a picture is worth a thousand words, what would this one say? Resilience?

Opponents of the Bahraini government say it's razing Shia mosques and shrines as a way to crush them. Activists say they've documented nearly 30 destroyed Shia religious sites in the past two months using satellite images. They also shoot video secretly, hiding from security forces, from inside homes and cars, and late at night.

Different Shia mosques, same picture. Security forces surround the building, then a bulldozer moves in.

Worshippers return later to salvage anything they can. Troops dismantle this mosque. Next, a parade of military vehicles in dump trucks drives away with the ruins.

Some are lifted away. Others are torched. Burnt Korans lie in the rubble.

Human rights activists say worshippers have even been attacked with tear gas. CNN is unable to verify the authenticity of these videos, but Amnesty International says Bahrain's opposition faces a relentless and violent crackdown. The kingdom's Shia majority has played a big part in the opposition to the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty, which is Sunni.

NABEEL RAJAB, BAHRAIN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: (INAUDIBLE) genocide targeting the Shiites. (INAUDIBLE) everything selected (ph) to history relating to their culture. This is cultural genocide, which is very dangerous.

LYON: The government says it is not targeting religious buildings, insisting it is removing only makeshift constructions built illegally. The foreign minister denied any mosques have been demolished.

International organizations like Human Rights Watch have also accused the Bahraini authorities of shooting unarmed protesters, torturing political prisoners, harassing doctors and patients.

RAJAB: Is this an environment for (INAUDIBLE)? It is not at all. But for us, as human rights defenders, we have to push for dialogue (INAUDIBLE). And none of our people, none of our human rights defenders want to see a bloodshed.

LYON: But the space for dialogue in Bahrain is shrinking.

Amber Lyon, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: Some very unsettling pictures there from Bahrain.

Up next here on NEWS STREAM, Japan's economy is sliding into recession as thousands of businesses are affected by the tsunami. Now, two months after the disaster, our reporters recount the harrowing stories from the first days of the crisis.

Coming up, stories of survival from Japan.


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

Now, bad news for Japan's economy. The country has officially fallen into a recession.

In the first quarter, GDP fell at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent. Now, that is a steeper slide than expected, and it is Japan's second GDP drop in a row.

Now, that, in part, is due to the country's industrial industry. It took the biggest hit on record in March. Industrial output was down more than 15 percent in just that month.

Now, 10,000 businesses in the tsunami region were affected by the disaster, and 600 are expected to close.

Now, March 11th, Japan was hit by three catastrophic events -- a massive earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster.

Now, CNN's reporters fanned out across Japan, meeting with victims, and bared witness to the devastation. Well, months later, they share the harrowing stories they heard at the height of the crisis.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not the images of the destruction that I will have a hard time forgetting. It's actually the people we met.

The son who was holding on to his father, and he was watching his mother, his elderly mother, wash away, and the tsunami ripped his elderly father from his arms. So he wouldn't leave the rubble of his house because he wanted to fulfill his duty as the son and give his parents a proper burial.

(voice-over): "My parents will be sad unless they're together," he says. "I have to find them and bring them together."

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, the story of Ashi (ph) is I think someone I won't ever forget.

He's a retired gentleman, like so many people are up and down that coast of retirement communities. He's driving his car.

So you were looking out your windshield and you saw the water coming?

There was no way he was going to escape. And then things just started hitting his car. "Bang, bang, bang, bang" is what he was describing. And then his car started to fill up with water.

Eventually, he pushed his door open, but then gets pinned back in his car. He's got these terrible wounds on his hips and his legs as a result.

He survived physically. And I think that that was part of what he wanted to tell us, that he was alive. But just to talk to him for a few minutes, he's a haunted man.

He lost everything. Everything that he owns in life he showed us. It was sitting next to his hospital bed.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There was one fisherman that we spoke to in a small fishing village called Rioichi (ph). The village itself was almost completely obliterated. There were very few buildings still standing.

This fisherman had gone back to where his house used to be. It was just rubble at this point. And trying to find anything he could that he could take to his new home, anything that he could find, any memory that he could see, and was sifting through the rubble.

(voice-over): He breaks down when he remembers the wave coming over the wall as he ran to the hills with his wife.


STOUT: A look there at our powerful weekend special. It's called "Witness to Disaster: Japan." You can hear more from CNN reporters about the devastating stories they heard while covering that unprecedented disaster in Japan. Watch it on Saturday, 9:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, 5:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi, right here on CNN.

Now, coming up next on NEWS STREAM, he has been behind bars for almost a week now. But today, the former IMF chief is launching another bid for freedom. We'll have that, as well as the battle to succeed him.

And remember the Unabomber? Well, he still owes millions of dollars of compensation to his victims. We'll tell you how he's being made to pay.


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

Now Queen Elizabeth has offered her deepest sympathy to the victims of Britain and Ireland's turbulent past. Her words of reconciliation came during Wednesday's state dinner at Dublin Castle. The queen's Thursday agenda includes a visit to Ireland's National Stud at Kildare. Now that's a world center for horse breeding.

Now the U.S. is set to offer economic aid to Egypt and Tunisia. President Barack Obama is expected to make the pledge in a policy speech on the Middle East touching on uprisings across the region. Mr. Obama hopes to help boost democratic reforms in the region.

A new message, said to be from Osama bin Laden, praises the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Now a radical Islamic web site say the audio only recording was made less than a month before bin Laden was killed. And CNN cannot verify its authenticity.

And our top story today, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has stepped down as the head of the International Monetary Fund. Now having been refused bail, he is being held in News York's notorious Riker's Island Jail. Now Strauss- Kahn's alleged victim is cooperating with police, that's according to her attorney. And he says that she is under great emotional strain.


JEFFREY SHAPIRO, LAWYER: She's doing remarkable considering what she's been through starting with this attack. She's had not a moment of peace since then. She's not been able to go home. She been separated from her daughter for a considerable period of time. She doesn't know what her future will be. She hasn't been able to get professional help of any sort. She's been subject to the interrogation -- the cooperation, I would say, with the New York City Police Department and the District Attorney's office. Had trouble sleeping. Has to wear the same clothes for three days because she didn't have a change of clothes.

But if someone could withstand all of that and keep their head held up high and operate, she's been able to do it. So extraordinary.


STOUT: Now with his resignation, Strauss-Kahn will have lost not only a hefty salary, but as Brian Todd reports, some pretty decent perks as well.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His political enemies recently made hay out of this: a picture of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a socialist stepping into a Porsche worth at least 90 grand. The car is not even his, but the head of the IMF does seem to live well enough to afford the ride.

Take his salary, more than $440,000 a year. That's more than President Obama makes. And Strauss-Kahn pay no taxes on it. This at a time when one IMF critic says the institution imposes stark conditions on the governments it lends money to.

PETER CHOWLA, BRETTON WOODS PROJECT: Not only are the taxpayers in borrowing countries paying for that salary, but then they're actually having to pay the costs in a second, which is that they have to undertake the policies the IMF demands, which often hurt particularly ordinary, working class people.

TODD: An IMF spokesman responds pay increases for IMF officials are below the rate of inflation. But Dominique Strauss-Kahn's perks don't stop at his straight paycheck.

One of Strauss-Kahn's best perks, an annual allowance of more than $79,000 tax free to spend as he likes, according to his contract, to maintain a scale of living appropriate to his position. Plus he gets reimbursed separately for entertainment expenses. An IMF spokesman says the institution does not pay for this $4 million house in Washington or for other properties reportedly owned by Strauss-Kahn and his wife in Paris, and Marrakesh, Morocco.

IMF staff assigned outside the U.S. do get housing allowances. Analysts say that people like Strauss-Kahn who aren't American and work at the Washington headquarters get other benefits.

JOHN SEWELL, NEW RULES FOR GLOBAL FINANCE COALITION: They get allowances for keeping their kids in school, they get health care, they get properly generous vacations.

TODD: It's also in Strauss-Kahn's contract that he and anyone in his family fly first class whenever he's on official business.

I asked John Sewell, who has monitored global banks for 40 plus years about Strauss-Kahn's take-home.

You don't have a problem with the salary?

SEWELL: I don't have a problem with the salary. I think this is one of the world's most important jobs as reflected by the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn played an absolutely central role in dealing with the global financial crisis that we are hopefully moving out of.

TODD: Sewell also credits Strauss-Kahn with drastically reforming the IMF and making it relevant again after a period when few countries wanted to borrow money from it.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: Now there is a blistering heat wave in Pakistan. Several cities there have record high temperatures. Let's get the details now with our Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this heat wave is coming in at a time where there's already a water shortage across many areas of Pakistan. And not just Pakistan, but across south Asia. Even though they had all of that rain back in July last year with those devastating floods, a lot of that water is not water that people can drink. There's still a lot of problems in their recovery from all of that. And when you have cities like Lahore, Islamabad, and even Karachi setting record for high temperatures you know that it's taking a toll on the population.

Even markets have been closed at times because it's just so hot during the day that it's unbearable at times to even go outside.

These are the actual air temperatures that you're looking at here from the last 24 hours. So this is what it feels like in the shade. If you're outside, if you're doing any kind of activities, it's going to feel even hotter than that, especially when you factor in the humidity.

There is a little bit of moisture that's still trickles in here, so the heat indices in some cases are feeling sometimes like 60 degree Celsius in some of these areas. That is unbearably hot conditions that really can take toll on the human body significantly. So you need to be extra careful, make sure you're drinking a lot of water.

If you are visiting this part of the world, I guarantee you, you have never seen temperatures like this before. And you really need to be prepared.

Conditions like this are expected to last at least through Friday. So we still have at least another 24 hours of this. And even as you head into the weekend it will be hot, just not -- just deadly hot like it's been right now.

What happens this time of year is that it gets very, very hot across this area. The sun is beating down on this region. There's little, or no cloud cover. And you get a heat low that begins to develop. What happens, this is really the beginning of the southwest monsoon. This is what triggers the rainfall in a way. So when that area of low pressure forms over the land, high pressure is over the water.

The next step is because of the difference between these two things, the air from the high pressure and from the water begins to flow over that and. That moist air is forced to rise over the land and that gives way to thunderstorms.

We're still a long ways away, though, from the southwest monsoon. The latest advisory from the Indian weather department, the Indian (inaudible) is they're saying that maybe as we head into the 30th of May we'll begin to see in the southern portions here of Kerala start to see the start of the southwest monsoon. It takes long time for that to progress to areas to the north. So we have a long ways to go when it comes to these very hot temperatures that continue to affect the subcontinent.

So, keep that in mind over the next month or so. The temperatures will remain hot. This heat wave, though, hopefully coming to an end as we head through the next few days. Just look at these temperatures. 46 right now in Sukkur, 44 in Lahore, and 39 in Karachi.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast.

Kristie we're still going (inaudible) stories continues to be the situation along the Mississippi River. Vicksburg, Mississippi cresting, the river there right now. Situations like this, unfortunately, will become more calm. And because it will take weeks for the water to go down from levels like the ones that we're seeing here.

This is actually surpassing the record that was set back in 1927. This is the highest the river has ever been in Vicksburg, Mississippi. This is significant. So the river there cresting at about 17.5 meters already.

As we head through areas farther south, we're looking at places like New Orleans. The river actually holding steady here, because of situations like this.

Let's go ahead and take the video from my ireporter here, Connie DuBois (ph) shot this video at the Morganza Spillway. Kristie, what I really wanted to point out in this video is the volume of water that is going out through here. So it's not just a trickle. Look at the force of the water. This is huge volumes of water. You are going to think -- try to put it in terms where we can maybe understand a little bit better. You can probably fill 200 Olympic sized pools here in a matter of minutes.

That powerful water, because all of this water is being let out north of New Orleans as we head into areas downstream the river is not expected to be as high.

Back to you.

STOUT: Yeah. It's what we're seeing on the screen right now that is helping to ease the pressure off of other communities downstream including New Orleans. Thank you very much for that update there. Mari Ramos, thank you.

Now on Tuesday, Mexican authorities detained more than 500 illegal immigrants headed for the United States. And by Wednesday, the majority had been sent back to their home countries. And Raphael Romo has more on this high tech bust.


RAPHAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the revealing x-ray image that prompted Mexican immigration authorities to stop two suspicious semi-trucks in southern Mexico. The cargo, illegal immigrants from all over the world who were crammed into trucks and paid thousands of dollars to travel in what Mexican officials describe as inhumane conditions.

Mexican authorities detained a total of 513 migrants, most of them came from Central and South American countries, mainly from neighboring Guatemala as well as El Salvador, Ecuador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.

Surprisingly, there were also migrants from as far away as India, Nepal, China and Japan. The drivers of both trucks were also detained.

The two tractor trailers were stopped in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas which borders Guatemala. It's a region that's increasingly as being used by criminal organizations to smuggle immigrants.

Officials say the migrants are now receiving food, shelter and medical assistance while the Mexican government reaches out to consulates and embassies to arrange for the return to their home countries. Mexican immigration authorities say the migrants paid as much as $7,000 each to travel to the United States. Evidence suggesting an international organized crime group is behind the smuggling operation.

Another large, widely diverse group of illegal immigrants was stopped in Mexico earlier this month. On May 10th, the Mexican federal police detained 183 migrants in the state of Puebla, including some from Sri Lanka, India, Egypt and Tibet.

Southern Mexico is increasingly becoming a major crossing point, not only for Central Americans, but also immigrants from all over the world. According to Mexico's National Migration institute, about 25,000 illegal immigrants were arrested last year in the country. This figure, of course, is only a fraction of the total number of immigrants who enter the United States through Mexico.

Raphael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: Now let's take another look at that X-ray that tipped off Mexican authorities. You can see people squatting right inside, the one's standing, they had to hold on to ropes so that they would not fall over on the winding mountain roads.

Now I want to show you just how far they would have to stay in those dangerous conditions. The nearest U.S. border is near Brownsville, Texas. Now that is more than 1,100 kilometers away.

Now ahead here on NEWS STREAM, he terrorized the United States for nearly two decades. And now, the U.S. government is auctioning off his memorabilia. We'll tell you why next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it has been nearly 15 years since the Unabomber was sent to prison. And now Ted Kaczynski's personal belongings are up for auction. Now U.S. government officials say it is an effort to raise money for his victims. But as Jeanne Meserve reports, the auction is drawing mixed reactions.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The hallmarks of the man known as the Unabomber, a hooded sweat shirt, sunglasses -- up for auction on the internet along with writing, diplomas, books.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the money that we gain from this is going to go back to the victims.

MESERVE: Three people were killed, 23 injured in a string of bombings between 1978 and 1995. This 35,000 word anti-technology manifesto now for sale cracked the case. When it was published in 1995, a man stepped forward to identify his brother as the Unabomber. Ted Kaczynski, a brilliant mathematician, had been living a hermit's life in a 10 by 12 foot cabin in the Montana woods.

The man who headed the FBI task force investigating the bombings remembers combing through the cabin for evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to stop the search on the third day, because we found a live bomb under his bed ready to mail.

MESERVE: Up for auction, the bow and arrow Kaczynski used to hunt for food, the tools he used to fashion bombs from auto parts and scraps of wood, also thousands of pages of writing, some of them in code. In one journal, Kaczynski talks about gathering hair from the floor of a bus station bathroom.

TERRY THURCHIE, FORMER FBI OFFICIAL: Then in his subsequent bombs he would place some of those hairs between the layers of tape so that if we ever found those hairs and did DNA, we would have -- we would be on the wrong trail, because the DNA wouldn't be his.

MESERVE: Kaczynski is now serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison. He failed to get the courts to stop the auction, which one critic compares to the sale of Nazi memorabilia.

MARK OLSHAKER, AUTHOR: I think it's really a misguided idea. All it can do is help create this cult of notoriety around somebody like Ted Kaczynski who really doesn't deserve it.

MESERVE: But others say Kaczynski is already notorious for his angry words and his gruesome deeds.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: Now some true believers predict that this will be the next to last ever NEWS STREAM. Now they tell Jeanne Moos we should all make the most of our last few hours on Earth. And hear what they have to say next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Miami tried to get even with Chicago in the second game of their NBA playoff series. Don Riddell joins us now from London. He's got the highlights -- Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. Well, the Miami Heat knew they really had to regroup after losing the opening game of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals in Chicago by 21 points. And on the evidence of their game 2 performance in the Windy City on Wednesday, they made the right changes.

A big game needed of this man, Dwayne Wade, for Miami to step it up, while Derrick Rose wanted to repeat his huge performance for the Bulls from game 1.

The first quarter winding down here. Luol Deng with a buzzer beating 3- pointer. He scored 13. Bulls up by 7 at that point.

The Heat were managing to keep the score pretty close in the second quarter here. LeBron James getting it up to Dwayne Wade for the alley oop slam. Game tied at 32.

James had a great night. Here he is again on the drive. This time going it alone. LeBron often plays best when his back is against the wall. And this game was proof of that.

Now for the third, James coming up with the steal and going in for the lay- up and the foul. A 3-point play there for LeBron. And the Heat were ahead.

But in the fourth quarter, the Bulls pulled back even. It was looking dangerous for Miami. Deadlocked at 73 apiece. And the Bulls were now charging.

But the Heat had an answer, more specifically LeBron James had an answer. James has come through when it mattered in this post season as he chases his first NBA title. LeBron just took over, scoring of Miami's last 12 points, 29 points and 10 rebounds in all from him. Miami won it by 85-75.

LeBron is looking forward to playing three -- playing game 3 and 4 in Miami, because he has been battling a bad cold in Chicago.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT FORWARD: Do you hear my voice? You know, I put it all on the line tonight, do whatever it took for our team to win. And I'm glad that we got a few days. I'll get back down to that great weather we have in Miami and hopefully I can get over it before we play game 3.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel you've taken control of this series now?

JAMES: No. It's just started.


RIDDELL: Porto are the new Europa League champions having beaten another Portuguese side, Braga, by a goal to nil in the final in Dublin last night. Radamel Falceo scored the winner, a record 17th goal in the competition this season. It's already been a great season for Porto. And they can complete an amazing treble, winning the Portuguese Cup next weekend.


ANDRE VILLAS BOAS, PORTO MANAGER: It's my first final. And I experienced incredible feelings in the game. So I believe that the players have the same feelings as well. It's a pity that it wasn't the world spectacle, that's the reality, but there's nothing new in European Finals. The spectacle not being fantastic.


RIDDELL: Well, whatever happens in the cup final, it's already been an incredible season for Porto and their young coach.

Andre Villas Boas is the youngest ever to manage a team to a European Cup victory. He's just 33. And in his first full season at Porto, they've gone undefeated in the league. In fact, they've only dropped points in three matches, winning an incredible 84 points out of 90.

Kristie, if you're looking for the next Jose Mourinho, you can stop looking. He's right there.

STOUT: Incredible, amazing achievement there. Don, thank you and take care.

Now for our general viewers I've got some bad news for you, the world is apparently about to end. Now Jeanne Moos talks the believers who say it could happen this weekend.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I hate to be judgmental, but when you keep seeing Judgment Day this Saturday, the end of the world is almost here, it doesn't improve the daily commute.

Here's what's supposed to happen around 6:00 pm Eastern Time Saturday.

TONY SHALLASH, JUDGMENT DAY BELIEVER: The largest earthquake the world has ever seen. There aren't going to be any banks, the buildings will collapse. It's going to be quite awful.

MOOS: Like the disaster movie 2012 arriving early, earthquakes worldwide. Believers will experience rapture, heavenly ascent, while nonbelievers will stay for a few hellish months until the fiery end of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 97 percent of the people God will destroy.


MOOS: The generally low key and polite folks who believe this need tough skin as they hand out their leaflets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all over. It's all over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you this time next year.

MOOS: And you're convinced, you're absolutely convinced.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The Bible guarantees it.

MOOS: The Bible as interpreted by this California preacher Harold Camping, head of Family Radio. Lately he's been getting some flak.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My Bible warns about false futures. And buddy, you are one of the worst.

MOOS: Camping miscalculated his last end times prediction for 1994.

What happens if on Sunday we're all still here and there's no earthquake...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there will be an earthquake.

MOOS: This retired New York City transit engineer spent $140,000 for subway and bus shelter ads warning of judgment day.

That's your life savings.


MOOS: On Saturday, where will Robert Fitzpatrick be?

FITZPATRICK: As of now I'm planning to be in Times Square.

MOOS: With media tagging along expecting to see him with egg on his face, or in rapture.

And if those in heaven need someone to take care of the pets they leave behind, you can arrange with services like After the Rapture Pet Care and Eternal Earthbound Pets to have non-Christians take care of your animals.

One non-believer wants to celebrate We're Still Here Day on the 22nd. For some of us, the 21st is problematic.

But this is my birthday. To put this on me is just weird.

So if my birthday on the 21st, what do you recommend I do?


MOOS: And maybe celebrate early.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy doomsday, dear Jeanne. Happy doomsday to you.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


STOUT: Happy doomsday.

Now it is time to take you over and out there with the latest guidance on what to do if you're faced with the swarm of the undead hoping to eat your brain. That's right, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they have issued emergency preparedness guidelines for the zombie apocalypse. Now there are a lot of the guidelines for any emergency, which is kind of the point.

Now the city says that you have to start by putting together a kit, an emergency kit. And it points out that first aid supplies won't help much if you're bitten by a zombie, but hey, Band-Aids could help mask the alluring scent of blood if you happen to step on a nail.

Now next, it is time to put together a zombie apocalypse plan. And that includes steps like, pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case zombies invade your home.

Now the CDC did point this out, they say that if flesh eaters start hitting the streets, the CDC will investigate it much like any other disease outbreak, putting researchers in the field to find the cause and the cure for the zombie outbreak.

Now the advice is set to be the CDC's fun way to get us all prepared for emergencies.

And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.