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NEWS STREAM

Libyan Rebel Commander Killed; Hitting the Debt Ceiling; Political Ramifications of Debt Crisis; Doctors Treat Somalia's Malnourished

Aired July 29, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Now, the head of Libya's rebel army dies. Where does this leave the rebels in the fight for Libya?

Republican Leader John Boehner delays a vote on his proposal to fix the U.S. debt crisis. Will lawmakers vote on his plan today?

And one year after devastating floods hit much of Pakistan, many of the victims are still waiting for help.

Mystery surrounds the death of this man, General Abdul Fatah Younis. Now, he commanded Libya's rebel army, and officials say that he was killed, along with two of his senior officers. But we do not know exactly where he was killed or, more importantly, who was behind his death.

Now, the chairman of the Transitional National Council made this announcement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MUSTAFA ABDUL JALIL, CHAIRMAN, LIBYAN TRANSITIONAL NATIONAL COUNCIL (through translator): In deep sadness, we announce the death of General Abdul Fatah Younis, the chief general of the Libyan army, and his two companions, Colonel Mohammed Khamis and Lieutenant Colonel Nasir al- Madhkur.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Younis had been summoned back to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to face questions about military matters, and reports say he has alleged ongoing ties to Moammar Gadhafi. You may recall that Younis defected from the Libyan leader's government back in February. He held the post of interior minister and was considered Colonel Gadhafi's second in command before his defection.

Now, Younis' death leaves the rebel army without a leader as the opposition claims advances in the west.

Ivan Watson joins us live from the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

And Ivan, is there any more information about the circumstances of his death?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. This assassination really raises the specter of the possibility of infighting among rebel ranks, the possibility of a power vacuum within the rebel military command, and a lot of questions about just how this general was killed.

According to the leader of the Transitional National Council, in a very short press conference that he gave last night in the rebel capital of Benghazi, he said that Abdul Fatah Younis had been summoned to Benghazi from the front line around the oil report of Brega and that the assassination occurred somewhere along the way. What was even stranger was he went on to say that they were trying to find Younis' body, as well as the attackers who carried out this alleged assassination.

There had been a lot of rumors, Kristie, at the time that he was being brought under arrest by the rebel council, and we know that he had engaged in power struggles with another rival rebel commander in the five months that this civil war has been taking place. There was some gunfire from Younis' supporters last night after the press conference announcing Younis' death took place, gunfire outside the hotel where the announcement was made.

We've been monitoring Libya Alhurra television, pro-rebel TV, which has been showing a live picture from Benghazi of Friday prayers and some speeches by supporters of Younis who have been vowing vengeance and also pledging support to the Transitional National Council.

Here in Tripoli, officials have been quite thus far, have not offered any official reaction to the death of a former comrade in arms of Moammar Gadhafi who defected early on to the rebel side. We're waiting for some kind of reaction from the Gadhafi regime to this very important development -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Ivan, what is the state of play on the battlefield? And what will be the impact of Younis' death on the rebels' ability to fight this civil war?

WATSON: Still trying to figure that out. It's important to note that the ground war is being fought on three fronts -- in the east, around that oil port of Brega; in the central port of Misrata, which is held by the rebels; and in the west, along the Tunisian border, where the rebels report they've made some gains in the last 24 hours.

Tripoli was being bombed by NATO warplanes last night within hours of the announcement of Abdul Fatah Younis' death, and there has been an increase in the amount of NATO bomb attacks here in the Libyan capital in recent days. Some of that footage we can show you. Sometimes the strikes are quite close and pretty frightening here.

But this was described by the U.S.' top military commander as a stalemate just a few days ago. It will be very interesting to see whether this could be a game-changer in this grinding and bloody five-month conflict, the loss of the main rebel commander -- Kristie.

STOUT: Ivan Watson, joining us live from Tripoli.

Thank you, Ivan.

And while Libya's rebels have struggled on the battlefield, they are making significant political progress. Now, the countries in red on this map, these are the countries that recognize the Transitional National Council as Libya's legitimate government.

Now, as you'll recall, on Wednesday the United Kingdom expelled Colonel Gadhafi's diplomats and turned the embassy over to the opposition group. That comes less than two weeks after the U.S. officially recognized the rebel government.

In Egypt, a demonstration for national unity is being dominated by Islamic groups. Cairo's Tahrir Square is packed with protesters. Some are political activists who have been camping there for weeks. They say that they are keeping pressure on the country's military rulers to implement promised reforms.

In Syria, a number of people are also expected to take to the streets after prayers. Now, let's bring it up for you.

This is a live Web stream. It comes from the city of Hama.

Now, protesters are trying to topple the regime of President Bashar al- Assad. If we can bring that webcam for you -- we'll bring it to you a little bit later on the program.

Now, meanwhile, our Arwa Damon, she says the slogan for today's rally is "Your Silence is Deadly." That is a criticism of the international community for not taking what they consider sufficient action against President al-Assad.

Meanwhile, in the United States, members of the House of Representatives could vote later today on Speaker John Boehner's bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. And if that sounds familiar, it's because they were meant to vote on the measure on Thursday, but the vote was postponed late in the evening after Boehner failed to rally enough support from within his own party.

He has been struggling to come up with a plan that meets demands of the party's more conservative Tea Party wing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The bill's not perfect. I've never said it was perfect, nobody in my caucus believes it's perfect. But what this bill reflects is a sincere, honest effort to end this crisis in a bipartisan way, to send it to the Senate, where it can receive action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now, Democrats in the Senate say that they will vote down Boehner's plan if it does eventually pass in the House. Both sides are holding caucus meetings on Friday to work out the next step.

And meanwhile, the clock continues to click toward the big August the 2nd deadline. And without a plan to raise the U.S. debt ceiling by then, the U.S. could face it's first-ever default.

Now, it is something that would not only negatively impact the U.S. economy, but financial institutions around the world. So, does the White House have a backup plan if lawmakers don't get their act together?

Mary Snow joins us now from CNN New York with more -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the president in this case is legally limited. One constitutional expert at Yale Law School looked at the scenarios where the president could bypass Congress if Congress doesn't reach a deal. And this expert took a look at the question of, could the government just print more money? The answer is, not unless it came in the form of coins.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOEHNER: It's a zip-a-dee-doo-dah day.

SNOW (voice-over): And just days until the government can no longer borrow money. If Congress doesn't reach an agreement in time, could there be a Plan B for President Obama to act on his own and raise money?

Fitting under the category of desperate times calling for desperate measures, there is actually some talk of issuing two $1 trillion coins. Why coins? Constitutional law expert Jack Balkin says there is a statutory limit on the amount of paper currency that can be in circulation, but not on coins. It's an idea he calls science fiction.

JACK BALKIN, YALE LAW SCHOOL: I think what it underscores is that people are now trying to investigate different ways of resolving an artificially created financial crisis, fiscal crisis. And I think the problem is that these solutions have been offered precisely because the situation we have been put in is so absurd.

SNOW: A potential option for the president that has been taken more seriously is the idea of him invoking a clause in the 14th Amendment where he would raise the debt ceiling without congressional authorization.

But the president himself has indicated that is not on the table.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have talked to my lawyers. They do not -- they do not -- they are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.

SNOW: One way for the government to raise money is to sell assets. Gold now at record highs is one of those assets. But --

JAY POWELL, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER: There is no likelihood of that at all. If the United States government were to announce that it was going to sell some gold to pay its bills, one can only imagine what would happen to the price of gold. You would want to be out of the way of that collapsing price.

SNOW: Jay Powell was undersecretary at the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush. He has been briefing members of Congress, saying he's been separating fact from fiction, even getting asked if the government can issue IOUs.

POWELL: If the debt ceiling is not increased, if no deal is made, then people need to understand there's no secret bag of tricks, there's no magic bullet that will allow us to avoid defaulting on our non-debt-related payments.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Bottom line, Jay Powell says, is there's nothing really the executive branch can practically do in the absence of a deal -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Mary Snow, live in New York.

Thank you for that.

And for more on the political ramifications of the debt crisis, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen joins us now from CNN London.

And David, this has become a huge test for the Speaker of the House. Now, why is it that House Speaker John Boehner was not able to get support from his own party, and what is at stake for him?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there's a great deal more at stake for the country and for the world, of course, but this is a crisis for John Boehner. If he cannot win this vote, he may well lose his speakership over time.

I think it's important to keep in mind that his problem is he has 240 members. There are no Democrats willing to vote for his plan. And he can only lose about 23. But see that in context.

That means he has about 90 percent of his caucus with him. He has 90 percent of Republicans in the House with him. There's another 10 percent that's holding out, and they want deeper cuts. They want something more significant.

They're the mostly Tea Party types who were elected with an avalanche of criticism of Washington coming from the grassroots of America. And it's been hard for him to corral. But right now they are in danger if -- I think they have to vote today. I think we've entered a crucial 24-hour period, and I think they will -- it will have to come up or come down today, because we don't have time now. We're down to the final strokes.

STOUT: That's right. We only have four days left.

Now, I want to ask you about the overall political tone of this debate. In the U.S., the debt limit has been raised dozens of times in recent years, but without the extreme partisan bickering that we've been seeing in recent weeks. So why is the climate so different this time around?

GERGEN: Well, I think the debt ceiling offered a tool, if you would, that Republicans could latch on to, to bring home and force reductions in spending. This fight has been brewing for a long, long time, and the United States is deeply polarized about the size and shape of government. How big should government be? How much should the federal government spend?

I mean, the Republicans basically want government to spend about 18 percent of GDP on its activities, whereas Democrats say no, we'd like it around 23 or so. That may sound small, the difference between 18 and 23, but when you translate it into dollars, it's actually huge. It's about $700 billion a year and a difference and a vision of what the government ought to do.

So, that's part of the fight. And there's also, frankly, a growing fear in the country that we've allowed the national debt to grow so rapidly, that it really could lead to the decline of America -- a reduction in growth, and in fact would impact the world.

There's a serious study that has been well accepted now across the world by two economists named Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. They're world class economists who have studied 800 years of financial crises, and one of their main conclusions is that a country which allows its debt, its public debt to grow to more than 90 percent of its gross national product, its GDP, is a country that's in trouble, and we'll see its growth rate decline and may stumble into a lost decade, as Japan did.

Well, the United States, if you add federal debt to state and local, it's past 90 percent now. And so there's a real fear of the direction we're moving.

And responsible people on both sides of the aisle want to get the debt down. The differences are on how you do it, whether you cut government a lot or whether you raise taxes and cut government some. And those are pretty fundamental differences.

STOUT: Yes, it's a clash of two fundamentally different philosophies.

The last question for you, David Gergen, you have been an adviser to numerous U.S. presidents. I wanted to get your thoughts on President Obama's leadership and his handling of the debt crisis so far.

GERGEN: Let me be very clear that all sides in this conflict have their fingerprints all over and bear responsible for this disaster. I mean, this is an embarrassment, for the United States to be in this position. It's telling the world our political system doesn't work very well and so forth, and certainly there are a lot of people very deeply concerned in the financial community.

Does the president bear some responsibility? Yes. Has his leadership been all that it should have been? No.

Much earlier in the game, where there was something called the Bowles- Simpson Commission that reported and had a pathway to a $4 trillion reduction in our deficits over the next 10 years, had Republican support within the commission, had the president seized that report back in December of last year and it pushed it with that kind of bipartisanship that went into the report, I think he would have secured an agreement a lot faster, and a much bigger agreement. Were there other moments along the way? Absolutely.

If Lyndon Johnson were in the White House right now he'd be bringing people in, he'd be knocking heads together, he'd be corralling people. He'd be exploiting their weaknesses, making tradeoffs, and you'd probably get a deal.

Barack Obama is a more cerebral individual. He has many, many strengths. Leading the Congress and corralling people in Congress is not one of his strengths.

STOUT: Incredible insight there.

David Gergen, joining us live from London.

Thank you.

Now, the U.S. debt problem has led to one curious statistic I'd like to share with you. Now, take a look at this.

At the end of Wednesday, July the 27th, the U.S. Treasury had a closing balance of just under $74 billion. But according to Apple's most recent earnings statement -- check it out -- Apple has over $76 billion in cash and marketable securities, meaning the U.S. Treasury has less cash on hand than the maker of the iPhone.

Now, Spain's prime minister has set a date for a general election four months earlier than planned. Jose Luis Zapatero says Spain will go to the polls on November the 20th, and that will allow a new government to be in power by the end of the year to help restore financial stability there.

Ahead on NEWS STREAM, the crisis in Somalia. U.N. aid arrives, but then the violence picks up. We'll get the latest on the situation there through the eyes of a refugee doctor.

Plus, it has been one year since massive flooding ravaged parts of Pakistan. We'll see how they're coping now.

And as Norway continues to mourn the massacre one week ago today, police there are meeting again with the man who has admitted he is responsible.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, many Somali families have fled the famine gripping the country. Some have walked hundreds of kilometers with limited food and water in the hopes of receiving safe assistance.

ITV's Martin Geissler brings us the latest on their plight and looks at the staff working for their welfare.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN GEISSLER, ITV NEWS (voice-over): This is the front line in the fight against Somalia's famine. With basic facilities and equipment, the staff at Hagadera do extraordinary work.

With each new day, John Kiogora and his team of medics know they'll face crises in this intensive care ward. They've seen it all here many, many times. And first thing this morning, they saw it again.

DR. JOHN KIOGORA, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: Very sick, you see. The child is severely malnourished.

GEISSLER: Abdi Rahman (ph) is 1 year old and unconscious.

(on camera): What are your chances of saving a child like this?

KIOGORA: Fifty-fifty now. We've seen a child like this and you just want to do your best.

GEISSLER: Every minute is crucial at this stage. The team give Abdi Rahman (ph) a glucose boost. Fluids now are his only chance.

(on camera): So there's still some reason to hope?

KIOGORA: Yes, there's some hope still. We haven't given up. You can't give up, yes.

GEISSLER (voice-over): Fifteen minutes were all it took for this dramatic change.

KIOGORA: The child is coming up, huh?

GEISSLER: Hooked up to a drip, the baby has been revived.

KIOGORA: Yes. So that's the most I keep saying, because the child (INAUDIBLE). He was actually dying (INAUDIBLE).

GEISSLER: Lunch for the staff in this field hospital is quick and simple. Then the afternoon roams (ph). Seven-month-old Minaj (ph), so ill at the start of this week, is improving, as is Abdi (ph). On the critical list for days, he's now eating solid food.

The work doesn't pay well, but there are priceless rewards.

(on camera): Being a doctor though, as a human being, that's just a magical moment.

KIOGORA: Yes. It's very good. It's something very (INAUDIBLE) to me.

GEISSLER (voice-over): Thirty years old, from a small town in the Kenyan highlands, John has learned fast he doesn't just save lives, he brings them into the world, too. He delivered this baby yesterday across the compound in Hagadera's maternity unit. Up to 80 children are born here each week.

(on camera): Dadaab is a hard place to start your life, isn't it?

KIOGORA: It is difficult. It's a hard (ph) place, but this is the best for famine, because (INAUDIBLE), and they get the care that you can give them.

GEISSLER (voice-over): This evening, in the intensive care ward, Abdi Rahman (ph) is receiving that care. But his chances are still 50-50. John and his team can't save everyone. The ward loses a couple of children most weeks.

KIOGORA: I've done my best to -- I mean, can't change the nature. I can only save the doomed and (INAUDIBLE) as far as medicine is concerned.

GEISSLER: Another long day over, there's a chance to reflect and prepare for whatever tomorrow might bring.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Martin Geissler reporting there.

And if you are looking for a way to help the victims of famine, you can start by going to CNN.com/impact. Now, the site, it has a wealth of information on how you can help, including links to reputable aid agencies working there in the region. Again, CNN.com/impact.

Now, ahead on NEWS STREAM, the waters may have receded, but a lot of the damage still remains. We'll see how Pakistan is coping one year on from its record flooding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now U.S. lawmakers are still in gridlock over the government's debt ceiling. Republican John Boehner, the U.S. House Speaker, had to scrap plans for a vote on his deficit cutting bill on Thursday. Not enough members of his own party supported it. Republicans may try again today. But even if the House passes the bill, Democrats who have the majority in the Senate have vowed to block it.

Now Libya's rebels have lost their army chief. General Abdul Fattah Younis was killed along with two officers. The circumstances of their death remain unclear. General Younis was Libya's former Interior minister and Moammar Gadhafi's second in command before switching sides in February.

A woman who worked on the campaign with the no defunct News of the World after her daughter was murdered has learned that her phone may have been hacked. As Sarah Payne previously defended the newspaper. In its final addition she wrote that it was a force for good.

And the only surviving gunman from the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai is challenging his death sentence. More than 160 people died in the three day coordinated attack. India's supreme court says Mohammed Ajmal Kasab's appeal was sent by authorities from the Mumbai jail where he is being held. And no date has been set for a hearing.

Now police in Norway plan to interview this man, Ander Behring Breivik today for a second time. They say that investigators have gained new information since the last time they spoke to him. Now that was one day after last Friday's terror attacks. Breivik has confessed to carrying out the shootings on Utoya Island as well as the bombing in Oslo. And he is currently in solitary confinement in a prison near Oslo.

Now it is one week to the day since Breivik's rampage left at least 76 people dead. And on this day a memorial service in central Oslo.

The youth movement of the ruling Labour Party organized the event. And members were holding a summer camp on Utoya Island when Breivik began shooting them. Now the pictures you are watching were filmed at the service just a short time ago.

In South Korea, rescue efforts go on, but the deluge just won't stop. The heaviest rains in a century have killed more than 50 people. Now outside Seoul people in five neighborhoods have been told to evacuate their homes. And most of those who died were overwhelmed by mudslides triggered by the rain.

Now the country faces a daunting clean-up operation. Paula Hancocks has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A huge amount has changed here in Seoul in just the last 24 hours. The sun is now shining, the weather has improved dramatically. And I brought you here to one of the inner city streams to show you just how radically the water levels have receded.

On Thursday I wouldn't be able to stand on this bridge. There was a ferocious torrent of water that was coming down here. The paths on both sides were completely covered and the water levels were several feet higher.

We've also had confirmation this Friday of just how historic these floods were. Korea's Meteorological Administration says that the past three days broke all records, 536 millimeters of rain fell, that's more than 21 inches. And also Wednesday was the heaviest daily rainfall in July since records began.

Now as well as the search and rescue operation, you are also seeing now the clean up operation. Volunteers are helping, the police, the military, civil service. There's 34,000 people working on the clean up operation nationwide, 11,000 in Seoul alone.

Politicians as well are also postponing their meetings so that they can be seen to be about and to be helping with the effort.

One concern at an artillery unit on Mount Umyon. The Defense Ministry tells us at least 10 landmines are yet to be retrieved around this military base due to these landslides. But the administration also insists that concrete blocks have been set up to make sure that they can't fly down the mountain into the civilian areas.

It is not just south Korea that has been affected, it is the entire Korean Peninsula. North Korea's state media says that these storms have caused severe damage across the country. The state run television, KRT, is showing video of flooded areas, of damaged crops, and also a collapsed bridge in the southern Hwanghae Province just north of the border with South Korea.

522 millimeters, or 20 inches of rain fell in 12 hours, according to KRT. We don't yet have word on any possible casualties from North Korea. And it's possible we won't hear word of possible casualties.

Now the worst is certainly over for the Korean peninsula. The weather has been punishing over the past few days. And the intensity of these rains have surprised everybody.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now one year ago a slow motion tsunami swept over Pakistan. That is how the United Nations chief described the devastating floods that covered nearly one-fifth of the country. And let's show you how that looks over Europe. Now those waters killed 2,000 people and destroyed 1.6 million homes, a huge affected area.

Now many people in Pakistan still are in dire need of help, but as Reza Sayah shows us, it is yet to arrive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Pakistan you find poverty in a lot of places, but where we are right now this is probably the depths of poverty.

In villages like Kut Almo (ph) in southern Sindh Province, the right kind of help never reaches children like Shulkit Ali (ph), a 5 year old boy with symptoms of liver disease. But when Pakistan's monster floods devastated the settlement one year ago, people here hoped the disaster would shed light on the wretched conditions they have suffered for years. They hoped help would finally come. But as a visit to Kut Almo (ph) makes clear, help has not come.

"Nothing. Nothing for the past year. We've had nothing," says Shulkit's (ph) mother Sabbab Bajaj (ph).

The 2010 floods left one-fifth of Pakistan under water, an area roughly the size of Italy. Residence of Kut Almo (ph) were among the thousands rescued and taken to refugee camps where they waited for months for the floods to recede. Eventually they came back.

Villagers here say over the past year at most three or four times aid workers have stopped by here, dropped off some building material and relief goods, but today they're still going without some of the most basic needs to survive.

"What has the government given us?" Says Khatim Shah (ph). "They just gave us a little something to eat, but it's gone. They have given us nothing."

Many of the homes remain demolished here. Most of the water pumps still don't work. There's about 120 kids in this village and none of them go to school. And here's why. This used to be their school and look at it.

Destroyed by the flood waters a year ago, you can see some flood debris. This is Khatim Ali (ph). That's the flood line. Look at him. He's pointing to the flood line up there probably about 15 feet high.

Most men here are farmers. The floods wiped away their land. Today many still don't have jobs.

Everywhere you look in this village there are signs of disease with no sign of medical help in a region with a history of neglect. A $20 vaccine would have probably saved Ishbak (ph) from polio when he was a baby, but today he's a cripple living in this flood ravaged village.

One year after Pakistan's floods, aid groups say hundreds of thousands are still homeless. The UN's appeal for $2 billion is not even three- quarters of a way to its goal. Shulkit Ali's (ph) family hope the floods would showcase his medical condition for the world, but that hasn't happened. With the media attention all but gone, his family asks if not now then when.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Southern Sindh, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Let's keep our focus on Pakistan and how that slow motion tsunami struck the country one year ago today. Our Mari Ramos is at the World Weather Center. She joins us now -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, those images that Reza was showing us is really amazing. And I remember a year ago when we were covering this story how surprised we were to see all of that rain and how it just kept going and going and it wouldn't stop.

Now you know that's what we saw right now with South Korea, with Seoul, with all of that historic rainfall. Well, that's kind of what happened in Pakistan, except the topography is different. And the rain didn't stop in Pakistan.

Let me go ahead and show you first of all this image. Can -- oh, I guess you can't see it, I'm sorry.

Well, let's go ahead and -- let me go ahead and show you kind of -- a little bit of an explainer of what actually happened here. First of all, the rainfall that happened on July 29 and 30, that's when we say that it started around this time. It was historical. They had in 24 hours more than 270 millimeters of rain. Compare that to their monthly average right here. That was significant.

When they had all of this rain across this northern portion here of Pakistan. And then, it just continued to rain over the next few days, an all-time -- new all-time record was made around that time. 70 percent above average rainfall in July, 104 percent above average as we headed into August. So this kind of kept going.

When all of that water came along it came down from the mountains, it flooded the Indus River. It flooded the tributaries. And all of that happened very, very slowly. Areas continue to flood. Some areas dams failed and then you had flooding in areas that had never flooded before. And that crest continued to travel farther and farther to the south very, very slowly.

I remember talking about that flood crest a week and two weeks and three weeks and four weeks after the flood still had not reached the sea, which was incredible. And then it took months for that water to continue going down.

Right now at least over the last two weeks we've had a little bit of above average rainfall across northern Pakistan. Below average rainfall in areas to the south. The southwest monsoon is in full swing right now. This is the rainy season again that we're dealing with here. The heaviest rain has actually been across parts of India. In some cases over 200 millimeters of rain in areas particularly in the north.

But, you know what, this is what we would expect. We haven't seen extreme amounts of rain like we did last year and certainly not in Pakistan. We've had some bursts of some very heavy rain across portions of India, but overall the monsoon is right around where it should be for this time of year.

Let's go ahead and take a look at your forecast now.

And talk about the differences from one country, from one area to the other. Paula Hancocks was just showing us from Seoul how the water had pretty much left the river and areas that she couldn't be standing a couple of days ago are generally dry now, because of the topography there in Seoul, that water drained very quickly into the ocean. In Pakistan, it took months for that to happen.

There you see the satellite image right now for the Korean peninsula. Much dryer now than it was just a few days ago. Some scattered rain showers expected. Some pop up thunderstorms on and off. Not out of the question over the next few days, probably a better chance as we head into late Sunday and into Monday, but we're not expecting anything like what we saw in the last few days. So a little bit of good news there, Kristie.

And finally, I do want to update you on Tropical Storm Nock-Ten. This is the one that moved first into the Philippines, then into the South China Sea. It's one that gave you the typhoon 3 signal in Hong Kong for a little while yesterday. That signal is down.

The storm actually made landfall in Hynan. And it is now moving into Vietnam.

A lot of rainfall associated with this weather system. It should continue to weaken as it moves inland. I am concerned about the rain, though. We'll watch it through the weekend here on CNN.

Back to you, though.

STOUT: All right. Mari Ramos there. Thank you and take care.

And ahead here on News Stream, discovering the truth. Now secrets that were submerged underwater are now finally coming to light. We'll have the latest on the investigation into the crash of Air France flight 447.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now this is a 3D sketch up of the Air Fracen jet that tragically went down during a flight from Rio to Paris two years ago killing all 228 people on board. Now the details surrounding Air France flight 447, including the cause of the crash, were largely a mystery until recently.

Now just this past May, the French authority BEA recovered the plane's flight recorders from the bottom of the Ocean. It has helped shape BEA's third report that has just been released.

Now Jim Bittermann joins us now live from Paris with more details. And Jim, walk us through the latest findings.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically this was the third but not the final report. The final report is expected at the end of the year. And basically with each one of these interim reports we're finding out a little bit more about what happened in the final seconds of that ill fated flight.

In this report, I think we're beginning to see more and more fingers pointed at the crew. Basically the report said that the crew had had no training for this kind of high altitude stall that they faced. It also points out, however, that there were a lot of things happening at once. Some false indications coming in from the various parts of the aircraft equipment -- a stall warning horn going on and coming off and giving a bad indication of whether the plane had actually stalled.

So pilots groups here, victims associations, and Air France are pushing back at the idea that the crew may have been to blame. In fact Air France said right after this report was issued a couple of hours ago, they said there's no reason at this stage to question the crews technical skills.

So as the Transport minister here said this morning, while these reports are giving more and more details of what happened, the actual blame for this crash, and of course there are million perhaps hundreds of millions of euros and dollars resting on the outcome in terms of the lawsuits involved, that the adjudication of any blame is going to wait for the courts.

So basically these reports are interesting reading. They're giving some indication. But like I said, a final report is due at the end of this year -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now this is the third in four reports. What is the bottom line here, Jim. After going through all these reports, could the tragedy of Air France flight 447 been avoided if the pilots were better trained?

BITTERMANN: Well, that's a good question. Well, the fact is they were getting a lot of contradictory information in a very short period of time. So they had to interpret the data that was coming into them.

Now if they had interpreted correctly, and there had been other times when this kind of air speed indicator problem had cropped up, the other times when the crews had successfully managed the situation. They didn't in this case. And of course that will be the argument that's at the crux of any kind of a court case.

It certainly is the argument right now, because basically when blame is finally affixed, either by the accident investigators or by the courts as the Transport minister suggested -- when blame is affixed, then of course if it's going to be Air Bus, the makers of the aircraft, or Air France who were providing the pilots and training the pilots, those are going to be libel for a lot of damages. So there's going to be a lot of argument over exactly that point.

Could it have been avoided? It could have been avoided, of course, if the equipment hadn't failed. It could have been avoided if the crew had performed better.

But one way or the other, those are going to be the arguments that are going to come out in court -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Jim Bittermann joining us live from Paris. Thank you.

And now to the latest twist in a scandal that has reached the highest levels of the UK. Now a mother who worked on a campaign with the now defunct News of the World tabloid after her daughter's murder now says that her phone was hacked.

Now senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is following the story in London.

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DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The official inquiry into phone hacking has been started by Lord Justice Brian Levenson in the building behind me. But only a few hours after he set out the sort of mechanics of how that long inquiry were run, there was another shocking allegation in the phone hacking scandal, the suggestion that Sarah Payne, the mother of the murdered 8 year old Sarah Payne, had her phone targeted by the News of the World.

Now this is especially shocking, because Sarah Payne worked closely with the News of the World to campaign for greater information about pedophiles living in different areas and campaigned for the introduction of the so-called Sarah's Law to give parents the right to know if a pedophile was living in their area.

Indeed, she even wrote an article in the last addition of the News of the World saying News of the World proved that it is a force for good.

In light of this suggestion that her phone may have been targeted by an investigator working for the paper, Sarah Payne's agent put out a statement saying that she was devastated by the news. It went on, "we are all deeply disappointed and are just working to get her through it."

Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the paper at the time, and the former chief executive of News International also put out a statement saying these allegations are abhorrent and particularly upsetting as Sarah Payne is a dear friend. The idea of her being targeted is beyond my comprehension.

It's an issue that Lord Justice Brian Leveson will no doubt look at as well as the wider issue of the ethics in journalism in the UK. And also allegations of a cozy and almost corrupt relationship between certain journalists and the police.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: The story that doesn't seem to end.

You're watching News Stream live on CNN. We'll be back right after this.

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STOUT: Welcome back.

Now over the years people have been finding the face of Jesus in many objects, but now we are hearing about some divine vines. Jeanne Moos takes a closer look at the holy foliage.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you see just overgrown vines on a telephone pole or does this look the big operator in the sky?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a figure of a -- oh my goodness, Jesus. Jesus. Jesus Chris.

MOOS: Now often these Jesus sightings require lots of imagination, whether it be Jesus on a moth, or Cheeto Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think God makes Cheetos that look like Jesus.

MOOS: Even the famous Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese could arguably be Madonna.

But this telephone pole in Middleton, Colorado strikes most people the same way.

What do you see here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh god. Oh, Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus on a cross.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus.

MOOS: Yeah. What do you see?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh!

MOOS: Folks pointed out what looks like a crown of thorns, the body's positioning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, and then look at the legs. See. Like, you know it's like -- yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His head's down like this. He's like that.

MOOS: But while you might think a telephone pole Jesus is pretty unique. It turns out he's not alone. Vine covered utility poles have been sprouting religious images for years all over the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does look like Jesus hanging on the cross.

MOOS: From North Carolina to Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a group of vines, man. That looks put there by him.

MOOS: This one in Lake Charles, Louisiana from last fall was said to be most striking when seen as you drove by. And while one local was quoted as saying you can't spray Jesus with Roundup, workers did cut down the vines. Officials were worried believers would climb the pole to touch the greenery then get an electrifying jolt.

Now if you're having trouble seeing Jesus on telephone poles, maybe what you need is the Jesus pan. It's supposed to put the image of Jesus right on food. Advertising for the Jesus pan says imagine serving heavenly hot cakes at the next church breakfast.

They'll flip!

Of course, the image of Jesus was much clearer when an episode of Glee focused on the topic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had made of grilled cheeses.

MOOS: Finn didn't just make the sandwich, he prayed to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear grilled cheeses, first of all you're super delicious.

MOOS: Can't say that about a phone pole that looks like a holy Chia pet.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's showing his feet to us.

MOOS: But what is he saying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's saying call your mother.

MOOS: New York.

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STOUT: Now shares of Nintendo, they plunged around 20 percent on Friday. And that was its biggest fall in the last two decades. And it shows how worried investors are about the company's direction. Now Nintendo had been enjoying plenty of success with the Wii. Now unlike the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, the Wii did not offer the latest high definition graphics, but instead used that revolutionary controller that sensed your movements.

But Wii sales have slowed, so Nintendo pinned their hopes on a new console, the 3DS. Now it is a handheld that can display 3D without the need for special glasses, but it hasn't quite caught on with consumers.

Now Nintendo has sold only 710,000 now forcing it to cut prices by 40 percent in Japan, over 30 percent in the U.S. Nintendo needs a boost and soon.

So this is the company's latest console. It's called the Wii U. And it's not due until the middle of next year.

Now we will have much more business news just ahead on World Business Today. That is it for News Stream. You're watching CNN.

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