Return to Transcripts main page


Battle For Sabha; Libya Welcomes World Leaders; Palestinians Push for Statehood; Waiting for Help; NASA's New Rocket Design; Man Arrested In $2 Billion UBS Trading Scandal; USA Wins Rugby World Cup Match Against Russia

Aired September 15, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


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

I'm Kristi Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

And we begin in Tripoli, were two high profile leaders have just given a news conference.

David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy say they will help Libya successfully complete its revolution.

Plus, waiting for relief in Pakistan -- we hear from villagers who say no one has come to their aid.

And many Mexicans have used the Internet to speak out against drug violence. But now they have received a gruesome warning, believed to be from the criminals they are trying to expose.

STOUT: Libya is rolling out the welcome mat for two world leaders, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nikolas Sarkozy are both in Tripoli. And they arrived in the Libyan capital under tight security to meet with Libya's new leaders on Thursday. Both had drummed up support for NATO's campaign to protect Libya's people from Moammar Gadhafi's tanks.

In a joint news conference a short time ago, Mr. Cameron pledged commitment to Libya's new future.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITAIN PRIME MINISTER: I'm delighted to be here to show support for the National Transitional Council for all they're doing in Libya. There's still more work to be done. There's still a long way to go. But I think to show international support for the NTC, for Chairman Jalil, Prime Minister Jibril and what they're doing. I think it's important to be here. Britain played a role, which I'm very proud of. But in the end, this was what the Libyans did themselves. And I wanted to come and congratulate them and work out how we can help next as they rebuild their country.


STOUT: But deep divisions still threaten to tear Libya apart, even with ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi on the run, many of Libya's interim leaders are from the east, in particular, Benghazi. And fighters from the west are chafing at their authority.

And in the western town of Zawiya, which fought a long, hard battle, the NTC chairman urged unity on Wednesday.


MUSTAFA ABDEL JALIL, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL (through translator): It is your duty, first of all, is to unite yourself and stop all the strife and the -- and the jealousy and all the differences. And if you do not want to waste martyrs' blood just like that, so you have to get together and stick together, which has not -- Libya hasn't seen for a long time, between north, south, west and east.


STOUT: Well, Gadhafi loyalists still control at least three cities, including Sabha, deep in the Sahara. And the fight for Sabha is shaping up as one of the next big battles. The anti-Gadhafi fighters heading there en masse.

Let's find out more now from CNN's Ben Wedeman in Southern Libya -- and, Ben, what are you seeing there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What I'm seeing behind me is the -- one of the ammunition dumps at the Al-Birak air based. It's the second largest air base in Southern Libya.

This fire has been going on now for several hours at this air base. It was hit, according to revolutionary fighters, several hours ago by Gadhafi loyalists' artillery. They, in fact, control this base, they took control of this air base last night with minimal casualties. We did see one loyalist soldier who was killed and we've seen several prisoners already today.

But what we've also seen is large reinforcements coming in from other parts of Libya. A large contingent just arrived of probably about 100 vehicles from the town of Jadu. That's in the Jabou Nafousa region of Northwestern Libya.

So it does appear that there's a major offensive going on in this part of the country. This, of course, is one of the last remaining strongholds of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya -- Kristi.


WEDEMAN: (voice-over): A timeless desert scene until a pickup arrives. The calm and quiet of the Sahara has been disturbed by the arrival of a force heading to loyalist strongholds in the far south. But this is a fighting force in the making. They're learning, literally, as they go along.

In the early morning cool, Ahmed formerly in Gadhafi's army, is giving a lesson in how to use a rocket propelled grenade launcher. Everyone gets a chance to shoulder it, get used to the feel of it. It's only a matter of days, at the most, before they'll be in battle.

Ahmed concedes it's a tall order to cram months of training into a few hours during the journey to the front. "Of course, of course," he says. "But over the next day or two, we'll try to teach them"

What follows are more lessons in the art of the heavy machine gun, how to load it, how to fire it.

And then an anti-aircraft gun.

Not everyone is new at this. Sixty-one -year-old former soldier, Mohammed Arabi (ph), can chant and cheer with the best of them. The plan is to try to negotiate a peaceful surrender in the largest southern city, Sabha. All indications so far, however, point to a bitter fight for the south. It could be Gadhafi's last chance, warns Commander Ahmed Hasnaui (ph).

"Their biggest concentration is in the south," he tells me. "We even have information they want to set up an independent entity to be ruled by all the figures of the old regime."

It's not all about fighting, however. A large number of doctors and nurses has also come along, with trucks and ambulances full of medicine. And not just the usual material for battle wounds. There's a humanitarian side to this mission.

Dr. Hatem Abu Bakr was a car dealer in Tripoli before the revolution. He says he made more money selling cars than practicing medicine.


There are two missions. One part of the mission is to keep all the people with us in the front lines safe. The other part is that Sabha is now closed since one month and I think all the stocks are near to zero.

WEDEMAN: Most essential is water. They've brought thousands of bottles. In this heat, dehydration can be deadlier than a bullet. By midday, the force finally starts to move.

(on camera): Now they're finally moving out, but it's still a long way to go. More than 300 kilometers to the front lines outside Sabha.

(voice-over): It will be a long, hot and difficult journey.

(on camera): And it does appear that they have approached not Sabha itself, but the town of Al-Gira. And that is the (AUDIO GAP) of Abdullah Senoussi, the intelligence chief of Moammar Gadhafi and a man who's been issued a red notice by Interpol, which basically is a request to all police (AUDIO GAP) forces in the world to arrest him on sight -- Kristi.

STOUT: And, Ben, as we're looking at this incredible video behind you of this weapons depot that used to belong to pro-Gadhafi forces, is now up in flames, just how battle ready are pro-Gadhafi troops?

How equipped are they there in the south of the country?

WEDEMAN: Well, it's -- it's really difficult to say, because we don't have access to that site. But as you can tell, this is just one arms depot in a very large base where we're told there are other hangars and arms depots inside the space. So they certainly have a lot in the way of equipment and ammunition. But it does appear that they may be running low on people willing to continue to fight on behalf of Moammar Gadhafi.

And I have to tell you the force (AUDIO GAP) as you saw in that report we did earlier, they're really learning as they go along. They're not a professional military force in any sense of the word.

But they're still making progress. They've still come all the way down here to (AUDIO GAP) about 600 kilometers at this point. And somehow they've (AUDIO GAP) they've succeeded against a force that certainly, until a few months ago, was far better trained, far better equipped -- Kristi.

STOUT: All right, Ben.

Many thanks, indeed for that update.

Ben Wedeman joining us live from the front lines there in Southern Libya.

We've got to apologize for that choppy connection there, but we all got the gist of ben's report just then. Incredible scenes behind him.

Let's find out more about David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Libya.

Now, CNN's Jill Dougherty joins us live from Tripoli -- and, Jill, we heard earlier Cameron, Sarkozy, they have pledged their support. They are the most senior Western leaders to visit a post-Gadhafi Libya.

And what has been the reaction there?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no reaction yet, Kristi. These men just made their comments.

But you can bet that the people of Libya would be happy to hear what they said. After all, the mere fact that they were here, world leaders coming into a city that was controlled by Gadhafi very recently, in fact, coming in, making this very public appearance with the two leaders of the NTC, the the National Transitional Council, it was symbolic and it was important. And the message was, we will stand by you.

And then also, there -- there was some movement, really, you'd have to say, in terms of what to do about Gadhafi. President Sarkozy saying Gadhafi must be arrested. And then Mr. Cameron going further and saying that we will help you to find him.

Let's hear exactly how he said that.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITAIN PRIME MINISTER: Security. As you've said, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Prime Minister, we must keep on with the NATO mission until civilians are all protected and until this work is finished. We will help you to find Gadhafi and to bring him to justice. And we also want to help you to take the dangerous weapons out of Libya, whether that is surface to air missiles, whether it is the mine that will prove such a problem to your people.

And today, Britain is committing itself to helping you with taking that mine out of Libya.


DOUGHERTY: And that does go further than they have gone before, because, after all, the NATO mission has always been described as having one purpose, and that was to protect the people of Libya. It was never described as a manhunt against Gadhafi. And now you have Mr. Cameron, the prime minister from Britain, saying we will help you find him.

Also, the NTC says that it is sending a delegation to Niger on Friday to ask that government to hand over any of the Gadhafi people who might be in custody. And that, at least, is one important person, that's the son of Moammar Gadhafi, Saadi Gadhafi.

There were a couple of other poignant moments, Kristi, that I'll point out. President Karzai vehemently denying press reports that there was any prior agreement or any preference given or asked for, as he said, to France for helping Libya in this revolution. He said we did it because we wanted to help.

And then finally, at the very end, President Karzai saying that he was dedicating this visit, actually, to Syrians, saying that: "I hope one day that young Syrians will be given the chance that the young Libyans have."

So Sarkozy moving the -- the ball even further in this Arab Spring area to another country where people are already, for some time, being oppressed by the government.

STOUT: Jill, thank you very much, indeed, for giving us the headlines coming out of the press conference there in Tripoli.

Jill Dougherty joining us live on the line just then.

Let's go to Jordan next, where anti-Israeli activists are planning to protest outside Israel's embassy in Amman, starting in just a few hours from now.

The embassy staff usually head back to Israel every Friday and Saturday. But the Israeli government ordered them to leave early over concerns that the planned protests could turn violent.

Now, protesters in Cairo, they ransacked the Israeli embassy just last week.

Elsewhere in the region, a group of international envoys is holding talks with Israelis and Palestinians to try to talk the Palestinians out of seeking full U.N. membership. Now, the Palestinians say they are prepared to submit a formal request to the world body as early as next week.

Now, CNN's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Kevin Flowers, joins me now -- and, Kevin, what is the latest coming out of these talks and why are U.S. and other Western officials so concerned?

KEVIN FLOWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristi, they're -- the Americans are here, the Europeans are here, Tony Blair is in the region, as well. And they are all trying to get, as you said, some sort of eleventh hour deal that will resume negotiations, long, moribund negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians started again, but primarily trying to -- to head off this Palestinian bid for seeking international recognition of a Palestinian state.

And so this is the second time in just two weeks that the envoys from the Obama administration, Dennis Ross and David Hale, have been here. EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, is here, as well, working on this.

And just a little bit earlier today, the Palestinian foreign minister spoke to reporters. And he made the Palestinian Authority position very clear.

This is what he had to say.


RIYAD AL-MALIKI, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY FOREIGN MINISTER: We have decided to submit our application for full membership. At the same time, we have said that until then, we -- we are open to any kind of suggestions, ideas that could really come from any side in order for the renewal of the negotiations.


FLOWER: Now, the ideas that the Palestinians would like to hear would be night -- that the talks be based on 1967 borders, that that be the basis of this -- the starting point for talks. They also want to hear that settlement construction in the West Bank would completely stop while these negotiations are going on.

Now, for its part, Israel and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, he had a press conference today, too. And he said that he would be making personally the speech at the U.N. next week. There had been some doubt whether he was going to be making that or not. He said he was going there to speak the truth about the situation with the Palestinians. And he also echoed a common refrain from the Israeli government.

This is what he had to say.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I am going to the U.N. and President Abbas Abu Mazen is going to the U.N. We could spare the trip. It's all of 10 minutes from here to Ramallah. Sit down and negotiate. Direct negotiations, that is the simplest way to begin the negotiations for peace and the only way you're going to complete the negotiations for peace is by starting them.


FLOWER: Now, despite all of the eleventh hour diplomacy, these American envoys, European initiatives, Quartet initiatives, there is not a lot of hope here, Kristi, that these efforts are going to produce any sort of breakthrough.

But the real question is will the Palestinian Authority make this bid in the Security Council that would bring about a -- an American veto or will they, instead, go to the General Assembly, where they're ensured to get a majority vote -- Kristi.

STOUT: All right.

Kevin Flower joining us live from Jerusalem.

Thank you very much for that.

And ahead here on NEW STREAM, desperate scenes in Pakistan only one year after the country's massive floods and heavy rains again take their toll on families and their livelihoods.

Plus, Kabul attack examined -- analysts say Tuesday's assault on the U.S. Embassy there may have been, in part, a battle for publicity.

And the Swiss bank, UBS, has posted a $2 billion loss and one single trader may be to blame.

We've got that and more still ahead.

Stay with us.


STOUT: Now, floodwaters in Pakistan have killed at least 233 people and have washed away the livelihoods of many more. An estimated 80 percent of cash crops in Sindh Province are ruined and more than one million homes have been damaged. Well, 300,000 people are living in emergency camps and half of them are children.

Well, the Pakistani government and aid agencies say that they are doing their best to provide relief from the rising floodwaters.

But Nick Paton Walsh traveled to the flood zone, where he found many victims are still waiting for help.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before the rains came, they had little. Now, they've moved onto the roads to save even less. We're heading into an area devastated by weeks of monsoon rain, toward some of the five million Pakistanis who've been affected by floods.

The village of Shabek Luld lost the houses once here when the rains began, the mud raising this high up on the mosque. And now, at the end of the rains, the village lost these -- some lives broken, others lost.

(on camera): It was in the collapse of this house that a man died at the start of the rains. But the recovery that's already beginning here is people coping for themselves. They say they have not seen a single government official since the rains began.

(voice-over): During our visit, no sign of help from outside. The government and aid agencies say they're doing all they can. But here, the fear is simple. "With our crops submerged, how will we eat?"

"Nobody has come to our village," she says. "We're starving to death. We've been catching diseases. No one has come to treat us."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): All my crops are finished. We'll died of hunger. My kids don't have a home and we're living in a school nearby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm scared, because our houses have fallen and everything has been washed away.

WALSH: In last year's floods, their village was largely spared, never imagining the same rains could come again and take everything.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Shabek Luld.


STOUT: So will there be any relief for Pakistan's flood victims?

Let's check in with Maria Ramos.

She joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, ATS METEOROLOGIST: Kristi, you know, the -- the flooding is so widespread. The latest assessment from the U.N. says that about 17,000 square kilometers are still covered in water. And that's very significant. That's more than five million people affected. And a lot of that is crops, like what you mentioned right now.

As far as the rain, I think we've seen the worst of it already. In the last 24 hours, the heaviest downpours, as I was telling you yesterday, have been confined to areas farther to the north. I will tell you, for example, we had over 100 millimeters of rain in the last 24 hours. Even Islamabad had a little bit of rain. But Karachi only had six millimeters.

That just shows you that change in the weather pattern that we were -- that we have been expecting.

However, even if you don't get another raindrop, even if the monsoon finally does move out and leaves things dry here in Sindh, it's going to take weeks for that water to eventually drain out. So I think that's going to be one of the bigger challenges. And, you know, people need food, they need housing and they need help, of course. You know, health care in those areas, because there are so many people that have been affected.

Now, no additional water here in the south. But there is some rain showers to the north and some of this will eventually drain farther to the south. So that will be a concern, as well, in the days to come.

As we move through the next 48 hours, the next two days, the rains are going to be on the border here with India. Also, as we head over into these areas, notice that bull's eye right there. It could get up to 25 centimeters of rainfall. This is an indication of that monsoon continuing to travel more (INAUDIBLE) out of these areas and toward India and eventually make its way out of this region.

But you can see it again on our satellite image right over here. You might get some very heavy rain even in New Delhi overnight tonight and as we head into tomorrow.

Also, scattered showers, some of them very heavy, as we head into the northern portions here of the Bay of Bengal. You guys in Bangladesh have been getting tremendously heavy rain, and, again, all the way back toward Calcutta, we're going to see that develop momentum, eight to 25 centimeters in some isolated areas not out of the question.

Another area hard hit by the monsoon has been Southeast Asia. We have talked about the situation here for quite a while, from Vietnam to Thailand and Laos and, of course, into Thailand.

Now, take a look at the latest video that we have from that region. The latest estimate, some four-and-a-half million people, Kristi, have been affected here by the floodwaters. That's very significant. Major rivers have burst their banks. Also, here, we're at the end of the rainy season, so it takes a long time. It doesn't take much water, I should say, for those rivers to burst their banks. And the ground is saturated. The water has nowhere to go. And so they're in a dire situation here, as homes and businesses and schools have all been flooded. It's almost become a way of life as people try to just get their life together and go on living in situations like this, where water is just coverage everything -- back to you.

STOUT: You know, you can see that quite clearly, shin deep waters throughout in that video just there.

Maria Ramos, thank you very much, indeed.

And still to come on NEW STREAM, it's not quite infinity, but NASA could soon be sending astronauts to mars and beyond.


STOUT: Coming to live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEW STREAM.

Now NASA is ushering in a new era in space exploration. The U.S. space agency unveiled plans on Wednesday for this. It is called the Space Launch System, or SLS. And you're looking at a rendering of this new, powerful deep space rocket which NASA hopes to launch by the end of 2017. And NASA says it will eventually be capable of carrying more than 286,000 pounds into outer space, or about 143 tons. And that's roughly equal to 75 SUVs.

And NASA says it will also carry astronauts farther than anyone has ever traveled before, even to mars.

John Zarrella gives us a peek.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): NASA maintained there just wasn't enough money to do both -- build a new, big rocket and, at the same time, fly the space shuttle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the shoulders of the space shuttle, America will continue the dream.

ZARRELLA: With the shuttle now in retirement, the space agency unveiled its next generation rocket. It's longer than a football field, big enough to take astronauts to an asteroid and eventually on to Mars.

CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: President Obama has challenged us at NASA to be bold and to dream big. And that's exactly what we do. While I was proud to fly on the space shuttle, tomorrow's explorers will dream of one day walking on Mars.

ZARRELLA: To keep it affordable -- $18 billion over the next six years -- the rocket, called the SLS, for Space Launch System, will use considerable existing technology. Just like the shuttle, it will have boosters on the sides of a giant center fuel tank. Just like the shuttle, the boosters would be reusable.

But the spacecraft carrying the astronauts will be on top, not on the side. Studies show that increases survivability in an accident.

Called Orion, it is already under development.

JEFF GREASON, AUGUSTINE COMMITTEE MEMBER: Let's just say it's a rocket that I have difficulty finding the mission for.

ZARRELLA: Jeff Greason was a member of the Augustine Committee that presented the Obama administration with options for the future. Greason is skeptical. Because NASA is the only customer for such a behemoth rocket, there is no way to defer any of costs.

GREASON: It's a very expensive thing for NASA to maintain. And the result of that, as I see it, is that, if NASA does successfully develop this launch vehicle, there will be no budget to do anything with it.

ZARRELLA: Norm Augustine, the committee chairman, says, as costly as it may be, human exploration is just part of who we are.

NORM AUGUSTINE, AUGUSTINE COMMITTEE: I often say, does anybody remember the name of the first person who landed on the moon?

And everyone does. And I say does anyone remember the name of first robot that landed on the moon?

And no one does.

ZARRELLA: Building this new rocket, NASA and its supporters in Congress will say they will ensure the United States does not become a second rate spacefaring nation.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


STOUT: Now, ahead on NEW STREAM, unauthorized trading is costing Swiss bank UBS some $2 billion. We'll be live at the London headquarters with the details.

And a gruesome find in Mexico's drug war. And this time the victims were allegedly targeted for what they posted online.


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

Now British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarcozy are pledging their continued help to Libya's new government. They are in Tripoli for the first time since Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown. The ousted Libyan leader remains on the run, but Libya's National Transitional Council plans to set a delegation to Niger on Friday to request the return of Gadhafi's son Saadi.

Now the lawyer for two American hikers jailed in Iran has told CNN that he has filed all the necessary paperwork for their release on bail, but does not expect judges to act before Saturday. Now Iran has given conflicting messages over their possible release. Meanwhile, an official from Oman is said to be in Iran to help with negotiations for their release.

Now more than 200 people are dead in the flooding that has inundated parts of southeastern Pakistan damaging most of the cash crops in Sindh Province. And least 5.5 million people are now affected and forecasters say there is more rain to come.

And on the European stock markets, this is the way things stand. And as you can see, got some pretty good gains there. And this is all on the back of French president Nicolas Sarcozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that they are convinced Greece will remain in the Eurozone despite its dire financial situation.

Now the Swiss banking giant UBS says it has lost around $2 billion in unauthorized trading by a single trader. Now the bank says that could mean it reports a loss in the third quarter. Now joining us from outside the bank's London office is our Atika Schubert.

And Atika, I understand that a man has been arrested on quote, suspicion of fraud by abuse of position, but is there a link here?

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know yet. We're still waiting to hear from UBS, whether definitively this is the person responsible for those unauthorized trades. We're still waiting to find out.

The only thing we really know from London police at this moment is that they did make an arrest at about 3:30 in the morning. And that person was arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of office. That's all we know at this point.

We're still hoping to get some more word from UBS on the specifics of that $2 billion loss in unauthorized trades. How did it happen? Who was involved? And where did the money go? We're still trying to find out.

STOUT: It's more about how the news of this massive loss is affecting shares in UBS and its outlook for the future.

SCHUBERT: Yeah, I mean, this is really a dent in confidence. It's not going to break the bank, but UBS has said that it could cause a loss in its third quarter. So it's very damaging for the confidence in the Swiss bank. Remember, it was trying to rebuild all this after being bailed out by basically Swiss taxpayers just a few years ago. So it's going to be very hard.

But, you know, it's interesting, analysts that we've spoken to have said that basically you see these kinds of incidents happening in times of economic turbulence like this with a recession and so this maybe one reason it's actually happened. Here's what one analyst said when he spoke to us earlier.


RALPH SILVA, DIRECTOR, SILVA RESEARCH NETWORK: The issue is is that when we have economic turmoil, which we certainly have had for the past few years, the number of incidents like this actually increase, because some people are in fear of their own jobs or keeping their jobs so they try to fix things after problems have occurred, because they don't want to tell anybody.

And that's really what has probably happened here is he may have made a mistake and then he spent the rest of the day trying to fix it and in essence he just got himself deeper and deeper and deeper into the hole.


SCHUBERT: Now the challenge for UBS is going to be how to keep that kind of risky behavior in check and how to convince its clients that everything is going to be OK.

STOUT: Yeah, and what has been the general reaction in London and Switzerland -- across Europe to the news? Are there now calls for less risk, more regulation?

SCHUBERT: Well, there's been a lot of disappointment in this. I mean, remember it was just a few years ago where we saw basically the record breaking case of Jerome Kerviel using about $6 billion. And after that happened, a lot of the bank said we're going to put a lot of these checks and balances in place, make sure this kind of risky behavior is basically, you know, put in its place and that there's a lot more oversight.

So people are now questioning, you know, what happened here? How is this apparently allowed to happen?

So these are the questions that are being asked right in the middle of a debate about whether or not there should be more separation between investment banking and personal retail banking. That's a debate that's ongoing here in London, but also in Switzerland. So this, what's happened here, is bound to play into that.

STOUT: Atika Schubert joining us live from London. Thank you very much indeed.

And do stay with us on CNN for much more on the UBS investigation in World Business Today. That is at the top of the hour with Andrew Stevens at the world economic forum in Dalian, China; Nina Dos Santos in London; and Maggie Lake in New York.

Now anti-government protesters plan to take to the streets across Syria again on Thursday to mark six months since the start of the uprising. And the death of one organizer is weighing heavily on protesters. Activists say Ghiyath Mattar was arrested last week and tortured. His body was returned to his family over the weekend. Anderson Cooper spoke to a close friend of Mattar's whom we're calling Ameer for his safety, but I've got to warn you, you might find some of this video very hard to watch.


AMEER: He was a very nice guy. He was very smart. He was brave. He was very lovable. He was smart. He was brave, courageous.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're seeing video of his body. On his body, what do you see. It looks like there are bruises along his chest. What are those?

AMEER: Actually, I don't know what kind of torture they used with him. There are marks of maybe electrical shock, or I don't know what. And the abdomen I -- under his belly button, there is like a stitch (ph).

COOPER: Why is it so important for you to risk your life to speak out? And why was it so important for him to risk his life and speak out?

AMEER: Actually this is our weapons to speak out. We have no other weapon.

COOPER: Ameer, do you worry now about you getting caught? Do you worry now about being taken yourself?

AMEER: Actually, it doesn't matter. If I've -- I -- to be frank, sorry not to be caught -- not to be caught by them. But this happened, so what? My friend was killed under severe torture. And my other friends are under -- are arrested now. And they are -- there is a very big risk of them to have the same destiny -- has already had.

So it doesn't matter for me if I've been caught, so -- because the revolution is going on. And I'm very sure of our victory.

COOPER: Really, you're sure of your victory even though your friend is dead and your other friends have been imprisoned and they may come for you, you believe that you will get freedom, that Syria's people will have the chance for freedom?

AMEER: Definitely, there is not -- there is no chance for this regime to maintain what he -- what it had already broken. But the freedom is coming. This is a belief that we have here.

COOPER: Ameer, I hope you see it.

AMEER: Hopefully very soon.


STOUT: And so far activists say that more than 2,600 people have been killed since the uprising in Syria began in March.

And meanwhile in Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan officials are still investigating what happened near the U.S. embassy in Kabul? Now Taliban fighters attacked the heart of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan's capital on Tuesday. And it took almost a full day before coalition and Afghan forces could finally restore order. And as CNN's Chris Lawrence reports, this attack may be about more than just a ground battle in Kabul.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Taliban fighters held out for 20 hours firing machine guns and RPGs at the U.S. embassy in Kabul. But the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan doesn't sound impressed.

RYAN CROCKER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN: If that's the best they can do, you know, I think it is actually a statement of their weakness.

LAWRENCE: That's probably not how it looked to the Afghan kids screaming inside a school bus, or the five Afghan police officers the militants killed, 11 civilians died too, half of them children.

CROCKER: These were five guys that rumbled into town with RPGs under their car seats. You know, this really is not a very big deal.

JEFF DRESSLER, INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR: Tactically, the operation certainly was a success. I mean, it garnered international headlines. It was just days after 9/11.

LAWRENCE: Analyst Jeff Dressler has made numerous trips to Afghanistan. He says the Taliban has been trying to expand its presence around Kabul for years. They use historical connections with nearby tribes, intimidate some, and pay off others to get a foothold, which allows it to launch attacks into the capital.

It's true that no Americans were killed. Firing RPGs from 800 meters away is not going to do major damage to the embassy. And there's a danger in making too much of one day.

DRESSLER: It's relatively difficult to execute attacks like that on a regular basis inside Kabul. The Afghan security forces do a pretty good job of keeping things locked down there.

LAWRENCE: But in a country where most people are illiterate that nuance gets lost.

DRESSLER: It does certainly represent their ability to create the perception that they're overrunning Kabul and then really force Afghans to question whether or not Afghan security forces can protect them.

LAWRENCE: U.S. officials say the Haqqani Network is responsible for this operation. The attack makes clear they are not interested in reconciliation with the Afghan government and are still able to operate from their safe havens in Pakistan.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.


STOUT: Now it is the most shocking message sent so far to people speaking out about Mexico's drug violence on social media. The bodies of a young man and women were found early Tuesday morning hanging from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. That's just across the border from Laredo, Texas.

Now I need to warn you that the next images are very graphic in nature. As you can see here, the young man and woman, they appear to have been tortured. She was tied with a rope by the wrists and ankles. She had a severe abdominal injury. The man was tied with a cable by the wrists and his right arm was partially severed.

And then this troubling poster was found nearby.

Now CNN Espanol correspondent Diego Laje joins me now to talk us through this story. And Diego, what does this sign say?

DIEGO LAJE, CNN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: This sign says, careful this is what's going to happen to those who like snitch or tell on the internet. They mentioned two blogs. They say, pay attention we're going to get you.

STOUT: So it's a direct warning to bloggers in Mexico.

Do we know who wrote this, who is behind this?

LAJE: We're not sure, but it says Z at the bottom right. And this means Zetas presumably. And it's a gang that's operational in this part of Mexico.

STOUT: The Zetas Cartel.

Now I understand you've been working the phones, talking to bloggers there in Mexico. After this gruesome incident what are they thinking right now? What are they telling you?

LAJE: Well, they're extremely worried. It's very hard to even get the minimum amount of information, even identifying yourself as a CNN journalist, of course offering all guarantees, it's very, very hard.

STOUT: Yeah, you've been following -- oh, here's a blog right here, Narco -- Blog Del Narco. Just one of the many blogs that people of Mexico have been relying on for coverage of the drug violence there.

You've also been following reaction on Twitter from users of social media, prolific bloggers of the Narco Guerre in Mexico. We could bring up a few tweets here to find out, with your help, to translate the reaction.

What is being said here?

LAJE: Sure. This says, stop it. If they shut us off today, we would have lost the ground we had won. It's the time to show what we're made of and hashtag #NuevoLaredo which is the location of all these.

STOUT: That's where that lynching, the hangings of those two bloggers took place.

This, an act of defiance, a display of defiance from those using social media saying they will not be intimidated.

Let's bring up some more reaction here. What is this say, Diego?

LAJE: This says denouncing these evildoers through social media should not be taken lightly. This reads, two people were hung for this in Nuevo Laredo. It's interesting that the description is Roman 12:31. It's the Biblical line that says you should defeat evil by doing good.

Just a quick translation of that.

STOUT: A biblical reference there.

First, we're going to have to wrap it up there. But thank you very much for keeping an eye on this story. And we really do want to follow here on News Stream. Diego Laje, thank you very much indeed.

Now I'm going to take you to London next. And Facebook, BlackBerry and Twitter representatives, they face questioning by a Parliamentary committee over the use of social media to coordinate last month's UK riots. And the lawmakers, they want to find out how much social media contributed to the violence and looting that spread across London and the country in August.

Many of those involved in the riots have appeared in court, including these two men Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan who incited rioting by posting messages on Facebook. They were sentenced to four years behind bars.

Now Windows has dominated many of our computer desktops for decades and now it's getting a whole new look for the touch screen generation. But will Microsoft help beat off tough competition in the tablet computer market? That's just ahead on News Stream.


STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream. And this is the future of Microsoft Windows.

Earlier this week Windows 8 was unveiled to software developers at the build conference in California. And this is a radically retooled operating system. It's a touch interface designed to run on tablets as well as regular PCs. And it is a massive departure from this, Windows 3.1.

Launched way back in 1992, this was Microsoft's first successful step at the desktop interface. Note the menus and windows and dialogue boxes here all to be operated with the keyboard and a mouse.

And for years, Microsoft stayed with the desktop metaphor. And in 1995 had a massive hit with, this brings back memories, Windows 95. It brought computing to the masses and introduced all of us to the start button. And within a few years it would become the most successful operating system ever made.

But along with the hits, there were plenty of misses from Microsoft over the years. I mean, take Vista for example. And even though described here with the words stunning, breakthrough, entertaining, many didn't think so. In 2007, Vista launched with mixed reviews and consumers decided to stay with its predecessor, the aging Windows XP.

But, with Windows 8, Microsoft has embraced tablet computing. And now I want to get Nicholas Thompson's view on all this. Nicholas is a contributing editor at the New Yorker and a weekly feature here on News Stream. Nick, good to see you.

What are your impressions of Windows 8?

NICHOLAS THOMPSON, NEW YORKER: Well, so far people seem to really like it. I mean, it hasn't been out in the wild, it hasn't been publicly available so we don't know whether general consumers will find it easy and intuitive, but it seems like a very smart design. It's obviously lovely as you can see from the images. It has features that iOS, Apple's operating system does not have, that makes it easier for Apps to talk to each other.

It's touchscreen based, which is what we're moving towards. It's very much integrated with the cloud, so you can store a picture in the cloud so it's sort of in the ether and then will be available through this operating system on your tablet, on your home PC, on your Xbox. So it allows you to integrate your different devices.

It seems like it's a pretty darned good thing for Microsoft.

STOUT: And Nick, right here behind me it's a screen shot of the Windows 8 developer preview that Microsoft launched earlier this week. And the big question is what are the app makers thinking? Will the world's app makers buy into this?

THOMPSON: Well, that's the huge question for Microsoft. So what they've done is before they start selling it to consumers -- I mean, it won't be available to us for another year, is they're giving it to developers. And they're saying to developers, look, this thing is great. It's going to work on all sorts of devices, there are all sorts of technical details they're releasing.

They say, OK developers, spend your time building apps for us. Because what they need is they don't need just to make a good operating system, they need a good operating system that then other people will build apps on top of.

So this is a very important selling moment.

So far they seem enthusiastic. They seem to like the chips that are used on it. They seem to like things about it. But we'll see. Once you get into the nitty gritty of coding it can be difficult.

And also, remember, this new operating system that Microsoft has put out is an evolution in many ways of the phone operating system they put out a year ago which all the reviewers loved and the gadget folks loved, but which hasn't really sold that much. So it's not all sunny for Microsoft right now.

STOUT: Yeah, so despite the initial enthusiasm, it really is wait and see.

Now, Nick, we have to talk about chips next, historically Intel chips. They powered personal computers for home and business use and ARM, the British chip maker has made chips for smartphones and tablets.

Now Microsoft is showing off Windows 8 tablets powered by ARM, not Intel. So is this the end of the Wintel alliance?

THOMPSON: It's not the end of it. I mean, they did distribute tablets that also had Intel chips in it. But it's for the first time it's showing that the duopoly of Intel and Microsoft is eroding.

There's been tension brewing between the two companies for quite some time now. And the other important point is that ARM's chips are better at providing information at low power. So it means that they can last longer. And if you have a tablet or a phone you want a chip that doesn't require a lot of electricity so that your battery can last 10 hours. Right now ARM is better at that than Intel.

So Microsoft is saying well we've had this long great relationship with Intel, but we're talking to ARM right now. And in fact one interesting thing we saw yesterday is that Intel did an event with Google's Android operating system. So these two old friends, inseparable, are now - - they're starting to date other people.

STOUT: Yeah. Microsoft is getting coquettish there.

Now, there's a big cloud that threatens to overshadow any tablet computing ambitions that Microsoft may have, and it is the behemoth that is Apple's iPad. And this chart right here, it just says it all. I mean, it's the most depressing chart I've seen in awhile. It's a survey out in August by Change Wave research. And you can see that when asked who is the manufacturer and tablet device are you planning on buying, a whopping 85 percent said an iPad. And none of the others even made it into the double digit percentages.

Does Microsoft and its hardware partners, do they even a chance here?

THOMPSON: I know this is a funny situation where you're rooting for Microsoft to break up a monopoly, you know, how things have turned. They're going to have a hard time. It's -- you know, the new operating system is good. It's not clear that it's massively better than iOS, but if you want to make the optimistic case from Microsoft's perspective, go back to the graphics you showed at the beginning.

When you showed the first Windows graphical user interface, the Windows 95, the one that set Microsoft the most popular operating system ever, that was an Apple design. That was something that Apple had built many years before.

So with computers and PCs Apple made these beautiful screens, the graphics, well before Microsoft did. Microsoft has never been a company that really comes up with, you know, fantastic new innovations. What they do is they wait for somebody else to come up with the fantastic new innovation then they follow and then they crush the original company. That's what happened with, you know, desktop processing, operating systems, most famously with browsers.

It's what they hope will happen with tablets, but that chart you just showed of 85 percent number, that's -- they've got their work cut out for them.

STOUT: That's right. But they are the masters of second mover advantage. So, wait and see.

Nick Thompson from the New Yorker, thank you very much indeed. We'll see you this time next week right here on News Stream.

Now coming up next, the rugby world cup continues. The United States faces an eager Russian squad. You've got to see it after the break.


STOUT: Welcome back.

And now a quick check of the days sport. And Don Riddell joins us live from London -- Don.


Let's have a very quick check for you.

The USA's rugby players are today celebrating a very hard-fought victory against Russia at the rugby world cup in New Zealand. While the Russians can proudly reflect on a commendable world cup debut.

There was a festive atmosphere among the crowd in New Plymouth. But no quarter was given on the pitch. And it were pretty miserable conditions.

The two teams threw everything at this game. Fly half Yuri Kryshnerev (ph) scored Russia's first ever world cup points with an early penalty there. But the Americans drew level with a penalty of their own and then took the lead with a well worked try from Mike Petry (ph) midway through the first half.

And ultimately, that try proved to be the difference between the two sides. Chris Wiles (ph) converted the try for a seven point lead, but would it be enough? Russia weren't done. No way did they want to see grown men in bikinis celebrating an American win. But the USA consolidated their lead with another successful kick from Wiles (ph) in the second half to put the Americans 10 point clear.

And although Russia were able to score another penalty from the boot of Constantine Rashkov (ph) three minutes from time, the world cup newbies had to settle for defeat.

They gave it their best, though, and it was a thrilling game. The USA won it by 13-6.

And Kristie, we'll have more on that for you in World Sport in 2-and- a-half hours time.

STOUT: All right, Don, thank you. Take care.

That is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.