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NEWS STREAM

Violent History in Syria; Lethal Legacy in Libya; Tackling Human Trafficking in India

Aired August 4, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

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


ANNA COREN, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

Hello. I'm Anna Coren, in Hong Kong.

Demonstrations continue across Syria as the U.N. Security Council condemns the government's crackdown on its civilians.

Plus, Somalia's hunger crisis worsens as more of the country is declared to be facing starvation.

And battling human trafficking, we follow one determined Indian cop on patrol in the red light district.

We begin in Syria, where state TV is reporting that President Bashar al- Assad says he will now allow a multiparty political system. Well, that follows increased criticism from the international community over his handling of anti-government uprisings.

On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement strongly condemning Syria's use of violence against civilians. The government crackdown has been escalating in recent days, especially in the city of Hama, where witnesses say army tanks now occupy the city center, communications have been blocked, and food and other supplies are running out.

Activists say more than 2,000 people have been killed across Syria since the uprisings began back in March, but fear is especially high in Hama now. And as Arwa Damon reports, residents there say the government's latest violence resembles another bloody crackdown from the city's past.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The voice says, "The tanks are attacking Hama."

It began at daybreak on Wednesday, the Syrian military offensive everyone warned of and feared. Communications and power, cut off.

The crackdown documented in videos like these, shot by residents hiding in buildings, surrounded by plumes of smoke. The sounds, unmistakable.

Residents say there are many snipers and they are even unable to bury their dead. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of these videos and is currently not allowed to report from Syria. But all the evidence points to a massive show of force by the regime.

The voice on this clip says, "1982 is repeating itself and you Arabs are silent."

(on camera): In 1982, the current president's father launched a bloody crackdown against an armed uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama. Many thousands were killed, according to human rights groups. Huge swathes of the city razed to the ground.

(voice-over): But Hama remained hostile to the regime. After deadly demonstrations in early June, and an apparent shift in strategy, Syrian security forces largely withdrew from the restive city, ceding it to the demonstrators. It became the beacon of the Syrian uprising, often compared to Egypt's Tahrir Square.

Activists say tens of thousands took to the streets on Friday, demonstrating peacefully. Some even declared that Hama had been liberated.

Small-scale military incursions failed to scare people off the streets. So, with massive demonstrations planned for the holy month of Ramadan, the crackdown began on Sunday. And on Wednesday morning, the lethal blow. The Syrian military entered and occupied the city. Many unable to escape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's difficult to know what the number of dead people or wounded people because snipers are rising here, and so we cannot go outside our homes. I cannot go outside my area because there's no communication with others.

DAMON: Food and medicine in short supply. Residents say they fear a humanitarian crisis and a massacre and echoes of 1982.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Well, let's now go to our Arwa Damon, who joins us live from Beirut in Lebanon.

Arwa, from all reports, a massacre did take place in Hama, and the government is showing no sign in easing up on its crackdown.

DAMON: That's right, Anna. And what is especially disturbing is that, as we just heard from that one resident in Hama, communications are still cut off. And it seems like the military is still fanned out throughout the city.

We have been trying to get in touch with residents of Hama, but satellite cell phone networks are not working, as have other organizations, a lot of the activist groups as well. No one has been able as of yet to ascertain the extent of the damage or even get an accurate death toll, so people are incredibly, understandably terrified that a massacre could be taking place while the world is watching it, unable to see or know exactly what's happening inside that city.

COREN: And Arwa, despite the reports that a massacre could be taking place, protesters are still saying they will continue to take to the streets every night during Ramadan and rally. I mean, these are people who are not deterred, are they?

DAMON: And they're not deterred because they say they have absolutely no other choice. Last night, after this military frenzy in Hama began across Syria there were multiple locations where there were demonstrations, people turning out in the thousands, if not in larger numbers. But at the same time, there were again reports of casualties.

At least four people were killed in these demonstrations, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. But what this is an indication of is the reality that exists in Syria right now, and that is that these demonstrators are and have been willing to risk their lives and keep taking to the streets. They realize that they cannot let Syria go back to the way it was. They have no choice but to try to push forward.

We asked them over and over again why it is that they're willing to say such a great risk. And they say that they don't want their children, the next generation, to suffer under the same regime that they did. But at the same time, they are fully aware of the intricacies and the complexities that exist and the challenges that are going to lie ahead for them.

COREN: Arwa, as we know, the U.N. Security Council came out and condemned this crackdown. Do you think this will affect the Syrian government at all? And any sign that there could be potentially U.N. intervention?

DAMON: Well, at this stage, any sort of U.N. intervention, especially a NATO-style intervention that we saw in Libya, most certainly is not on the table, nor is that what the opposition is asking for. But this statement that came out yesterday, this presidential statement, is highly unlikely to have any sort of an impact on this government.

It was a fairly weak statement. It went only so far as to condemn the human rights violations. It called for restraint. It did not call for an independent investigation into what has been taking place in Syria.

And we have to remember that this is a government that has remained defiant in the face of much graver threats to it. At the same time though -- and this is what's interesting about the way the government is handling the situation, and it is causing some analysts to call its behavior schizophrenic -- at the same time, the president signed off on these two decrees, a new electoral law, as well as this new multiparty political law.

Now, these are some of the reforms that the government did promise. But at this stage, activists are saying that they're quite simply window dressings. The government is trying to buy political time, political capital, so that it can continue with its military offensive.

When it comes to this multiparty law, yes, that might be taking effect. But at the same time, the constitution -- Article 8 of the constitution still guarantees the supremacy of the ruling Ba'ath Party. And so even that action by the government is not likely to have any impact on the opposition or any impact on their determination that now it's time for the regime to go.

COREN: Arwa Damon in Beirut.

Thank you.

Well, in Egypt, court proceedings continue against members of the Mubarak regime. Former interior minister Habib el-Adli appeared in court in Cairo Thursday on charges he ordered the killing of protesters during Egypt's revolution. He'll face the death penalty if convicted in that. He's already been sentenced to 12 years in prison for money laundering.

On Wednesday, Hosni Mubarak and his two sons appeared in court, and the former president denied all charges against him. Mubarak's next hearing is set for August 15th.

In Libya, rebel forces are finding a lethal legacy. As more and more towns come under rebel control, troops are discovering minefields left behind by Moammar Gadhafi's retreating military.

Michael Holmes reports from Qawalish in western Libya.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Libyans on the front line of their country's war, in a public park. Their enemy, landmines, and they come armed with simple metal probes, a couple of metal detectors, and no protective gear.

They say they found 2,500 mines in this area alone set by fleeing Gadhafi forces. The first one discovered when this car hit it. Three people inside survived.

MILAD AL SAIDY, LIBYAN REBEL DE-MINER (through translator): We try as much as possible to clear this area as quickly as we can. We don't want to hear any bad news about this area, that the mine has gone off. We feel the responsibility.

HOLMES: Milad Al Saidy has been a de-miner for 16 years. Here, he leads a six-man team; three formally trained, three who learned on the job. Every day local people volunteer to help out. Amazingly, no one has been hurt.

AL SAIDY (through translator): It's very, very dangerous, but people are insisting they want to work with us to secure the lives of the innocent, the children, so families can come without the fears of landmines.

HOLMES: Rebels say it has become a tactic of Gadhafi forces. As the rebels push forward, leaving behind deadly fields of mines, tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of them.

(on camera): And this is what they're finding in the ground around here. This is a Chinese-made tank mine designed to blow up armored vehicles and the like. Now, these are actually Brazilian-made anti-personnel mines.

What happens is these anti-tank mines take a fair bit of pressure to detonate. And what Gadhafi forces have done around here and elsewhere around the country is bury these and put these on top.

Now, these take a lot less pressure. They blow when a man treads on them. And then the anti-tank mine blows as well. It takes out a lot more people.

(voice-over): Mines in this area alone have wounded more than a dozen rebels, and there are minefields right across the country slowing the rebels in places and risking the lives of civilians.

AL SAIDY (through translator): The work is very important, even under the sun in Ramadan. The circumstances command us to work.

HOLMES: Observing the rules of the holy month of Ramadan, members of Milad's team neither eat nor drink during the scorching summer days, pausing only to pray.

Milad returns to his vehicle. The good news, no new mines today. He knows, however, there will be more -- many of them.

AL SAIDY (through translator): There's no date or time when our work will stop. The more we advance, the more landmines we are facing.

HOLMES: Michael Holmes, Qawalish, western Libya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Ahead on NEWS STREAM, this officer takes us inside a New Delhi brothel for the CNN Freedom Project. The result of the raid may surprise you.

Plus, agonizing scenes from Somalia. We'll go live to Mogadishu, where aid groups are struggling to meet overwhelming needs.

And Australian authorities search for the person behind an elaborate fake bomb and a very real extortionist.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COREN: Well, police in India's capital have made human trafficking one of their top priorities. Just a few weeks ago, officers in New Delhi raided a brothel, rescuing nine young girls. And the CNN Freedom Project has been following the case closely.

Well, five of the rescued girls have been confirmed as underage, one of them only 10 years old. The suspected manager of the brothel, a former prostitute herself, has been arrested. She faces charges of kidnap, rape and forcing girls into prostitution. The officer in charge of the raid hopes to arrest the owner of the brothel soon.

Well, rescue efforts like that one are becoming more common in India. In New Delhi, one policewoman is leading the charge against human traffickers. She patrols the streets of a red light district every night with a simple goal: not to allow one minor girl to work there.

Well, our Mallika Kapur went along with here on one of her patrols.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's a quiet determination in the way she walks and talks.

SURINDER KAUR, STATION HOUSE OFFICER, NEW DELHI POLICE: I want no minor girl or no foreseeable girl to be here in this place.

KAPUR: This place is G.B. Road, the heart of New Delhi's red light district. It falls under the jurisdiction of the station house officer, Surinder Kaur. She says about 2,000 prostitutes live and work in this area. They come from all corners of India, some from Nepal and Bangladesh.

Police say many are underage, sold into the sex trade by human traffickers. Kaur tells us when she found out she'd be in charge of a red light district, she promised herself she'd make a difference.

KAUR: Being a lady, being a mother, being a sister, and being a daughter, I'm doing something for the girls who are living over here.

KAPUR: She patrols the area every night. A tip-off from the rescue foundation NGO brought her to this brothel one recent night.

(on camera): Can you tell us a little bit about that night?

KAUR: I didn't tell anybody, not even to my driver also. He was not aware that I'm going there (ph), because I don't want to leak any information to anyone so that the rescue operation -- I don't want any rescue operation to fail.

KAPUR (voice-over): She found nine girls inside who she says looked under the age of 16. Kaur's team took them out immediately. Because prostitution is not illegal here, the focus is on the rescue of young girls.

Tonight, Kaur takes us along on a night patrol. And with no prior notice, up these stairs to a brothel. The men inside run for cover.

KAUR: People?

KAPUR: But the prostitutes greet Kaur warmly. Seeing our camera, they cover our faces.

(on camera): I'm really surprised, because here you are, the police officer in charge of this area. You drop in at a brothel, and you seem to have a very cordial relationship with the girls.

KAUR: Yes, because I have -- two years, I have a very good relation with them. I told them that I am for your help, not putting you behind bars without any reason. If you are living over here with your own consent, and you are doing this profession willfully, then after (INAUDIBLE) you can carry on this. What can I do?

KAPUR (voice-over): She asks if anyone wants to come away with her. "She keeps offering to help us," says this prostitute. "She says she will buy us a ticket to go home, but we are helpless. You won't understand."

"Please don't give this place a bad name. To us, it's a temple. It's what feeds our families."

Kaur says she can't force them to leave if they want to be there.

KAUR: If there's any minor girl, maybe she can run away from that place. But they know that they are living willfully, and I will not say anything to them.

KAPUR: But she reminds them they can call her any time.

Back at the police station, Kaur counts her files that show she's rescued 89 minor girls from neighborhood brothels over the last two years.

(on camera): Before you took this position, your predecessor, how many minor girls did he or she rescue?

KAUR: (INAUDIBLE) in my police station, I have seen there are five to six -- or seven to eight minor girls have been rescued during that period.

KAPUR: Before you came here?

KAUR: Yes.

KAPUR: So that is a massive jump in the number of minor girls rescued.

KAUR: Yes. Yes.

KAPUR (voice-over): Kaur shows us what keeps her going. Each photo and statue here, she says, a gift from someone she's helped. This oil lamp, she lit it on her first day on this job. She says it brings her strength. It's been burning continuously for almost two years.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, New Delhi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Amazing work, isn't it?

Well, Surinder Kaur and her team are clearly passionate about tackling human trafficking. There is a lot of work to be done across India to end the practice entirely.

Well, earlier, I spoke to Bhamathi Balasubramaniam, additional secretary at India's Ministry of Home Affairs. I asked her how many more brothels across the country she thought were still using underage girls.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BHAMATHI BALASUBRAMANIAM, ADDITIONAL SECRETARY, INDIA MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS: This really is only a small example of the systemic change that the Ministry of Home Affairs is bringing in to fight this crime of trafficking. You know, the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for law enforcement in the country. Although it is the state's subject -- when I say "state," it's a federal subject. But the central government has intervened to take this very welcomed but unprecedented initiative to see that the law enforcement agencies are sensitized, the capacities are built to deal with the subject in a child-friendly, in a victim-sensitive way.

And therefore, we have a whole lot of such events, such incidents -- such events coming up in the country. And the main role that the Ministry of Home Affairs is playing is to see that if a child is missing from, say, Kolkata, and if she lands up in Mumbai, we are coordinating between the Mumbai police with the Kolkata police. So the kind of interstate ramifications of this crime is being slowly captured through the work of the police in the country with a facilitation provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

COREN: A 10-year-old working in a brothel, that is a horrific thought. How does it make you feel?

BALASUBRAMANIAM: Well, that's terrible. And we are not going to be -- there's absolute zero tolerance.

We are ensuring that there is zero tolerance to children being trafficked, and that's how we are having to work on a whole spectrum of issues. It's on a continuum, say, from the village to the destination site. And we in particular are very, very clear that no children should be allowed to continue being trafficked or remain in prostitution.

COREN: Other than conducting more raids, how else do you plan to stop underage prostitution.

BALASUBRAMANIAM: I think that's a very large issue. It's a developmental issue. It's an educational issue. And I think we need to focus on schoolchildren, people who drop out from schools, or people who are going into schools.

You know, for varying reasons children are picked up, their trafficked. So I think a lot of awareness and sensitization work has to go on, and I think this is a work that we share with another ministry called the Department of Women and Child Development, who look into these issues of awareness and sensitization through NGOs, through school curriculum, et cetera, et cetera.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: They've certainly got a huge job ahead, but we certainly commend them for their work.

Tomorrow, NEWS STREAM and the CNN Freedom Project explore what the future can hold for those rescued from trafficking. We'll be talking about rehabilitation programs with the founder of anti-trafficking charity Apne Aap. It provides former victims of sex trafficking in India with education and job skills, aiming to break the cycle of poverty that made them vulnerable to traffickers in the first place.

Well, that is this time tomorrow, right here on NEWS STREAM.

Coming up, one of golf's bests, Tiger Woods, gets back in the game.

The suffering in Somalia grows as the famine continues to spread. We'll have a live report from Mogadishu.

And after 10 harrowing hours, police in Sydney realize they've been called to diffuse a fake bomb. The extortion attempt was very serious.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COREN: Hello. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. And you're watching NEWS STREAM. These are your world headlines.

A Syrian rights group says four more people were killed in the government crackdown around the country Wednesday following evening prayers. A lot of the violence is now concentrated in the city of Hama. Witnesses say army tanks now control the city center and government forces have been firing indiscriminately.

Authorities in Australia are searching for the person who strapped a fake bomb to the neck of an 18 year old girl on Wednesday. Investigators are treating it as an extortion attempt. So far they say they have no suspect.

The Japanese government is firing three top nuclear officials for their handling of the country's nuclear crisis. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, crippled by the tsunami and earthquake back in March, has led to public questioning of the nation's nuclear policy.

The trial of Egypt's former interior minister Habib al-Adly has been adjourned until August 14. Well, he's accused of ordering the killing of protesters. The country's former president will appear in court next on August 15. Hosni Mubarak denies charges of corruption and of playing any role in the deaths of more than 800 anti-government demonstrators.

Well, the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia is increasing. Well, three more areas of the country south of just moved past the UN's threshold for famine. Well, you can see those areas here. They are Afgooye corridor in the Shaybeli (ph) region west of Mogadishu and in parts of the capital itself.

Well, these latest additions bring the total number of officially affected areas to five. And all are in places where aid workers have been struggling to get to. That is because the al Qaeda linked militant group al Shabbab controls much of the south and has banned almost all western assistance.

Well, for the latest let's go to our Nima Elbagir. She joins me now live from Mogadishu. Nima, it is hard to believe that this crisis is worsening. And 11 million people, more than 11 million people facing starvation. You have witnessed this yourself. Give us a sense of the enormity of this catastrophe.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anna, when first arrived over a week ago the issue here really was about getting the aid out into the -- those displaced people who are in the Somali militant held areas where the al Shabbab have banned any western aid groups from operating. Today, even here in the capital Mogadishu, where aid agencies can reach the problem is becoming not just getting the aid in, it's also getting the aid to those most vulnerable of communities.

We went along to a UN wet feeding center, as they call it, to see some of the options that the aid agencies are trying to pursue to reach those vulnerable communities.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELBAGIR: The humanitarian crisis in Somali is deepening. And aid agencies are trying to use every means necessary in their fight against hunger and starvation.

The World Food Program, through its local partners, is supporting so-called wet feeding programs where food is precooked before distribution.

We feeding only happens in the direst of humanitarian situations. The last time aid agencies rolled out a wet feeding campaign was in Haiti. For those people that you see queuing here, this is the only guaranteed meal that they have.

And wet feeding is especially necessary in Somali. Increasingly here, the hungry and vulnerable are being targeted for the little aid they are receiving.

CAPT. JACKIE AMONO, AU CIVILIAN LIAISON: It (inaudible) situation to (inaudible) that their food should be cooked. And everybody benefit. It's better that way other than they leave us taking away their food.

ELBAGIR: But it's not just corruption that worries them. One woman who was too scared to speak on camera said her son was killed by members of the al Qaeda affiliated al Shabbab group for accepting western aid.

For these desperate communities, it's a seemingly never ending struggle. They must fight to protect even what little they have.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ELBAGIR: The UN, Anna, has said that they need $1 billion US dollars to be able to effectively address this crisis. They've only received just a little over 40 percent of those pledges. This situation is now as much about the slowness of the response of the international community as it is about access into those desperate areas, Anna.

COREN: Nima, one UN body has said that this famine will continue to at least December if not beyond. I mean, can aid groups realistically cope with that?

ELBAGIR: Well, there is a lot of difficulty. You know, this famine didn't come out of nowhere. We've had drought warnings year on year. Everybody is aware of the security situation on the ground in Somalia and yet people really haven't been investing in trying to secure any kind of means to deliver aid.

People in Somalia have been dying for a long time. It's just they're dying now in greater numbers. And the international community really hasn't thought through how they would ever be able to respond if the situation escalated as it now has done.

There is an African Union force here about 9,000 troops that's trying to secure the aid corridors. They're trying to secure the areas around the displaced people so that even when they flee the al Shabbab area, they're not still vulnerable to them.

But they're doing all this without a lot of support from the world. There was an AU pledging conference that was due for this week, that's now been pushed back until the end of August. And there really just doesn't seem to be the sense of urgency that needs to be here, Anna.

COREN: Yeah, the international community really must sit up and take notice and help. Nima Elbagir in Mogadishu, we certainly appreciate all your reporting coming out of there, thank you.

Well, Somalia's famine has produced some powerful imagery which has allowed the world beyond Somalia to better understand what it's like for the people who are experiencing it. Well, this week the New York Times chose to run a photo essay documenting the disaster on its front page.

Well, CNN's Errol Barnett spoke with the photographer Tyler Hicks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tyler, there's some revealing images, but overall I'm wondering how does what you saw in Somalia compare to other major disaster areas that you've been to, Haiti for example?

TYLER HICKS, NEW YORK TIMES PHOTOGRAPHER: Well, I'd say that this was absolutely the worst condition that I've seen as far as when I went to the hospital. It's just absolutely desperate. Every single hospital room was filled with people. The people had actually spilled into the hallway where children were put on not only cots, but on any surface they can put them. Children were vomiting. They were covered in flies. Some of them you couldn't even tell if they were alive. They really just were skin and bones. And until they were shifted or moved by their parent, you can see that they were actually alive.

Although, while we were at the hospital actually one three year old girl died. And her father carried her out of the hospital to be buried in one of the new camps that had been set up in Mogadishu.

BARNETT: And Tyler, you mentioned that picture of the children with the flies on the face, which is just disturbing to even look at. What can you tell us about that child, about that scene, what was happening?

HICKS: Well, this is in that same area that I spoke of. And I -- the problem is that these people who are arriving are so poor that they don't even have enough money to buy simple mosquito net. It only costs a few dollars. So there are just thousands of flies that are infesting these children, spreading more disease and sickness around.

And this is not an uncommon sight. This child wasn't just one out of the masses, this is what you see on all these children not only in the hospital, but actually outside the hospital in the camps where they're flooding into the city. You see it everywhere.

BARNETT: Now you said that some of the children that you had taken pictures of that were nearby had actually died. What happened to the child that we see in the picture that's extremely emaciated laying on their side. What happened to that child?

HICKS: Unfortunately, because of the security situation in Mogadishu, our movements are very limited and we can only actually go out during certain hours of the day with security. So we're not able to do the kind of follow-up that we'd like to. So I don't know what happened to that child, but for that child and a lot of the others the outcome is not very good.

BARNETT: So Tyler, what do you think is needed to improve the lives, even just slightly, of so many of these Somalis?

HICKS: Well, ultimately if the Islamic militant group, Shabbab, which has ties to al Qaeda would loosen their rules and allow western aid into Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia, that would completely help these people.

I was recently in another part of -- where there are IDPs coming into Kenya, but where they are getting this aid, where they don't have that problem, and it's a completely different situation. You have NGOs from all over the world, food distribution, people are getting the help they need. Not in Mogadishu, not in other parts of Somalia, especially southern Somalia where these people are literally cut off from the outside world and the help that they need.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks speaking to Errol Barnett there.

Well, as we have heard millions and millions of people throughout the horn of Africa need help urgently. If you go to our web site at CNN.com/impact you'll find a list of reputable aid agencies working in the region. Just click a name to link to their web site to make a donation and make a difference. Again, that's CNN.com/impact.

Well, turning now to what's being called an unprecedented campaign of cyber spying. 72 targets, 14 countries, and potentially billions of dollars in lost revenue and stolen secrets. And as Brian Todd tells us, some experts believe one single entity is behind it all.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Remember all the recent hack attacks we've reported on? Groups like Anonymous and Lawlsec crashing the web sites of the CIA, Sony and PBS? According to a new report that was just a nuisance compared to one massive series of cyber-attacks targeting dozens of governments and companies around the world.

DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, MCAFEE INCOPORATED: Really, what we're witnessing is the largest transfer of wealth in the form of intellectual property in history.

TODD: We spoke with Dmitri Alperovitch from the cyber-security firm McAfee Incorporated who discovered the attacks he calls Operation Shady Rat.

Who were the targets of this attack?

ALPEROVITCH: Every single industry you can imagine from IT industries, energy industries, governments, non-profits, the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Association of Southeast Asian States.

TODD: Alperovitch says six U.S. government agencies, a dozen defense contractors are among those that have had data stolen over the past five years. Data, like information on summits, military secrets, other sensitive projects. A common method used, according to Alperovitch, spear fishing.

What's that? I spoke with Jay Bavisi, president of the firm EC Council, that train cyber-security personnel from the Defense Department and elsewhere to think like hackers.

Jay, Leo here is the bad guy. He's the hacker. He's spear fishing me. What does he do?

JAY BAVISI, PRESIDENT, EC COUNCIL: So what Leo is doing is actually sending you an e-mail.

TODD: Right. Here's my e-mail. I'm getting it. It looks like it's from someone I know, right?

BAVISI: Exactly. It's from someone you know. It's a very harmless e-mail asking you to click on the link. And if you were to click this link it's going to download a piece of malicious software on your computer.

TODD: And hackers sometimes use your personal e-mail to get in.

Bavisi says what the hackers are counting on is me as an employee using my work issued computer to access my personal e-mail. So if I do that, click on a link and an e-mail from a hacker, download that malicious software, that means the hacker is onto my employers' network and can move around.

The report's author says these attacks were so large and sophisticated they can only come from a government. He won't name one, because he says he doesn't have hard evidence.

I spoke with cyber-espionage expert James Lewis.

What government could have done this?

JAMES LEWIS, CTR. FOR STRATEGIC INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: There's only a few countries that could pull this off. You can narrow it down to two: China and Russia. And when you look at the target list that's all in Asia you have to think China. Who else spies on Taiwan?

TODD: The report lays out a circumstantial frame that could point to China, the fact that the hackers targeted the U.S. and several Asian governments, American defense contractors and the fact that none of the targets are in China.

Contacted by CNN, an official at the Chinese embassy called that assertion unwarranted, irresponsible, an attempt to vilify China. He says China is itself often a victim of hacking and wants to work with other countries to prevent it.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Ahead on NEWS STREAM, the alarm was false, but the crime was real and the shock remains. Now the wealthy suburb in Sydney tries to recover from a bomb scare and extortion plot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COREN: Well even Australian prime minister Julia Gillard says it sounds like a movie plot. For 10 hours in a Sydney suburb a bomb squad worked to remove a suspected bomb from the neck of a terrified teenager, Madeleine Pulver (ph), but the device turned out to be fake. Well, forensic investigators are now combing the Mosman mansion where all this happened. The girl's father is Bill Pulver. And he is the successful CEO of a software company.

Well, Jacqueline Maddock of our Australian affiliate Network 10 has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JACQUELINE MADDOCK, NETWORK 10 CORRESPONDENT: 10 agonizing hours are written all over the tortured faces of Madeleine's parents.

WILLIAM PULVER, VICTIM'S FATHER: We particularly want to thank all of the people last night that did an extraordinary job helping our beautiful daughter.

MADDOCK: Bill Pulver's only daughter, the apparent victim of his multimillion dollar success. The HOC student should have been studying inside the Mosman mansion, instead she was attacked by a masked man who strapped what she was told was a remote controlled bomb to her neck.

DEP. SUPT. LUKE MOORE, NEW SOUTH WALES POLICE: There was a letter attached to this device, a note attached to this device that did make certain demands. We are treating this as an attempted extortion.

MADDOCK: The letter is believed to have made reference to a character in the novel Tai-Pan by Australian born author James Clavell. And the investigations began bomb disposal experts worked tirelessly to free Madeleine, held prisoner by the device inside her own home.

PULVER: Maddy particularly wanted to thank those few officers who spent many long hours sitting with her showing little regard for their own personal safety in her immediate vicinity last night. They were an incredible comfort during a horrific ordeal.

MADDOCK: At Madeleine's private girl's school, trial exams are suspended and students offered counseling.

PULVER: She also wanted to thank an extraordinary group of friends, family, neighbors who were kicked out of their homes last night and a wonderful, wonderful group of friends from her school and teachers from her school who were just incredibly supportive. In particular, a few of her school friends were standing at the end of our street for about seven or eight hours wishing her well.

MADDOCK: The wealthy Mosman community left reeling, wondering how this horrifying ordeal which reads like a Hollywood thriller could have unfolded in these (inaudible) street.

Jacqueline Maddock, 10 News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Well, still ahead on NEWS STREAM, a new Spider-Man character casts a more diverse version for the 21st Century. Details after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COREN: Well, Google is accusing Microsoft and Apple of a hostile and organized campaign to attack its mobile operating system Android through what it calls bogus patents. Well, let me explain the issue for you. Google gives away Android for free to handset makers like Samsung, Motorola and HTC, but recently Android handset makers have faced lawsuits from companies like Apple and Microsoft accusing them of infringing on patents and demanding that they pay royalties, driving up the cost of making an Android handset.

Well, in this blog post Google's chief legal officer says Apple and Microsoft teamed up to buy patents from Novell to use against Android, but Microsoft disagrees.

Well, in this tweet, Microsoft's chief legal counsel says that Microsoft asked Google to bid on patents together, but says that Google turned them down.

Well, later another Microsoft executive tweeted this picture of an e-mail where someone from Google turned down Microsoft's request to jointly bid on patents.

Let's now get an update on the weather. A typhoon is marching across the western Pacific and threatening many in its path. Our Pedram Javaheri has the very latest on the storm's track.

And Pedram, what's it up to?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, it's finally beginning to approach populated regions here across portions of Okinawa. And again, this has been a storm system that has been very, very photogenic. It's very symmetrical still as of this hour and still going through that eye wall replacement cycle, that secondary eye trying to form as the storm system remains very strong.

And the winds right now, about 175 kilometers per hour, gusts right over 200 kilometers per hour going in that westerly direction.

Again, the city of Naha there in the southern tip of Okinawa, going to see landfall here we think sometime in the early afternoon hours on Friday. And then this storm system begins working its way toward the East China Sea and our friends in Shanghai have to be very aware of the storm system, as I'm sure they are.

And you can just see the scale of this as they measured over 1,400 kilometers in diameter from one end to another. And I just want to share with you some video coming out of the Island of Okinawa and also coming out of China showing you the devastation and the destruction already as this storm system begins to approach this area.

We know the officials out there in Japan have canceled flights in Okinawa. You can see the large storm surge associated with the storm system as it still sits several hundred kilometers away from the island, but again it is going to approach it here in the next 12 or so hours. And as it does, you're going to see conditions go downhill.

And even already in China officials are preparing folks out there where they have called back fishing boats back to the shores there because of the expected swells associated with this storm system.

And back in 2005, we had a Typhoon Matsa that made landfall in this general area and caused a lot of concerns. And officials are comparing this to possibly something to that extent.

So that's what we're tracking for you. So let's track exactly where it's going to head in the next couple of days.

Broad area of high pressure now centered over Japan. Our friends in Japan getting a little bit of a break in the action here, but what this high pressure is doing, with that (inaudible) flow around it actually deflecting the storm system and beginning to take it more of a northerly track. Again, east China around Shanghai, about early afternoon on Sunday is when we're looking at this storm system to make landfall or at least brush by Shanghai. So that's the initial track on that. And eventually work its way out towards the Yellow Sea where cooler waters should begin weakening this storm system and pushing in strong swells also towards portion of northern area of the Bohai Bay.

Now let's take a look at your city by city forecast.

COREN: That was Pedram Javaheri there with our forecast.

Well, if you were able to pull back Spider-Man's mask you wouldn't find Peter Parker under it anymore. The universe of Marvel Comics, Spider-Man's original alter ego is dead.

Well, now replacing Peter Parker as the web slinging superhero is a half African-American half Latino teenager called Miles Morales. Well, his crime fighting debut came on Wednesday. Marvel Comics says the multiracial Morales represents the diversity of the 21st Century.

But race aside, the characters of Morales and Parker apparently have a lot in common. They are both nerdy, both good at math, and both live in New York, and both have those fantastic web slinging powers.

Still, it's a big change for fans to take in. Spidey has become one of Marvel's most recognizable heroes since his creation in 1962.

All right. So Peter Parker isn't Spider-Man anymore, but how much does that rock the foundations of the comic book world? Well, this sort of thing has happened before. For instance, we all know that Bruce Wayne is Batman, right? Yes. The Gotham City millionaire is the original caped crusader. But his original sidekick Dick Grayson also served as the Dark Knight for a time. And for that matter, comic trivia fans there have been three Robins -- Grayson, Jason Todd and Bruce Wayne's son Damian.

But there's only one Superman of course. After all Clark Kent didn't even wear a mask, just glasses. Well, not so. We've dug up no fewer than five alter egos aside from Clark Kent. One is John Kent, son of Superman and Louis Lane. The others include a cyborg and a very angry, angry alien.

Well, if you've seen the new Green Lantern movie, you'll know the man behind the mask is jet pilot Hal Jordon. Well, yes he was Green Lantern, but not even the first. Railway engineer Alan Scott was the original character. And there were five others after him.

Are you still with me?

Well, it all goes to show nothing is a certainty not even in a fictional universe.

I think I need to brush up on my comic knowledge.

Well, that's it for NEWS STREAM, but the news certainly continues here at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is coming up.

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