CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEWS STREAM

Battle for Gadhafi Strongholds; Syrian Defector in Custody; EU Finance Meeting; Palestinians Plan UN Appeal for Statehood; Gadhafi Family Nanny Flies to Malta for Long-Term Care

Aired September 16, 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.

And we begin in Libya. NTC fighters are advancing on the former regime's remaining strongholds.

Plus, European finance ministers meet in Poland as they work to bring Europe's debt crisis to a close.

And it's something straight out of "Star Wars," but NASA says a planet with two suns really does exist.

Now, Libya's former rebels could face their fiercest battles yet. Reuters is reporting explosions and gunfire inside the loyalist stronghold of Bani Walid. The former rebels are also pushing deeper into Moammar Gadhafi's birthplace of Sirte.

You're looking at exclusive vide from a fighter inside Sirte. And we are just getting reports that a large column of NTC fighters has entered the city. The former rebels have been coming under fire from forces still loyal to Gadhafi, and we want to give you a sense of where the fighting is taking place right now across Libya.

Anti-Gadhafi forces have pushed all the way from Misrata, in the west, to Sirte, and hundreds of fighters have advanced on Gadhafi's hometown. They're also pushing into the desert town of Bani Walid after giving civilians there 48 hours to flee.

Now, further south, they're trying to seize the Gadhafi strongholds of Jufrah and Sabha. And Libya's new government is also trying to isolate the southern town of Al Qira. Now, that is home to Gadhafi's brother-in-law and the feared former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi. And also in the crosshairs, the southern town of Al Birak.

CNN's Ben Wedeman saw the gunfights and explosions and first hand there in Al Birak. He joins us now from there.

And Ben, what kind of fighting are you seeing in the area?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, today, it's actually relatively quiet. We're on an air base, the Jaloud Air Base in Birak. This was that night before last, the NTC fighters were able to take. But as we saw just a few kilometers from here, just about five kilometers down the road, in the village of Birak, they're still running into areas of resistance.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN (voice-over): The rebels told us the town of Birak was safe, but it wasn't.

(GUNFIRE)

WEDEMAN (on camera): We're in this town that is partially under the control of the rebels, but there are other parts of it that still remain loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. Obviously, this situation is very fluid at the moment.

(voice-over): Opposition fighters entered Birak Thursday morning, part of an offensive to gain control of the last loyalist strongholds in the south around the city of Sabha. Before the gun battle took place, it seemed peaceful enough. Birak resident Massoud Hasnawi (ph), a self-confessed revolutionary, pointed out to me all the parts of town that still supported Gadhafi, which seemed like most of it. But those here opposed to Gadhafi hate him with a passion.

Sabha native Al-Amin Shtawy burned the first books by the deposed leader he could get his hands on, then shot up his likeness --

(GUNFIRE)

WEDEMAN: -- and stomped him. He returned just a few weeks ago from studying banking and finance in the U.K. to join the revolution. He's looking forward to going back to Sabha.

AL-AMIN SHTAWY, SABHA NATIVE: It's my hometown. For three years, I don't be to Sabha. This is my first time to go to Sabha. I'm homesick for Sabha.

WEDEMAN: Outside the Birak Air Base, the second largest in southern Libya, an inferno of exploding munitions. Opposition fighters captured the base Wednesday night, but incoming rockets ignited thousands of artillery rounds buried underground. Inside the base, dozens of boxes with Soviet-era SA-14 surface-to-air missiles stored in the base's prison.

Casualties among the opposition fighters have been relatively light; resistance, halfhearted, commanders say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are just running. When they see us, they just run like rats.

WEDEMAN: They've taken several prisoners. Abwa Azoum Satar (ph) has been handcuffed to an unloaded machine gun in the back of a pickup truck. He told me most of the people in the area are still with Gadhafi. As for him, he said he's with whoever brings back electricity and water.

Reinforcements are pouring into Birak from around Libya. Pickup after pickup of fighters amassing for perhaps the final showdown.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN: And it seems that there is a concerted effort to go after these three last strongholds still loyal to Moammar Gadhafi: Sabha, here in the south; Sirte, on the coast; and Bani Walid, just south of Tripoli.

Now, on this air base, what we're seeing is that the fighters here have really come into a gold mine of weaponry, of equipment. There's a lot of airplanes scattered around the base, but they're mostly training in aircraft. Most of them haven't flown in four or five years.

Nonetheless, this base was hit by NATO. In fact, as you can see just right behind me, this is a fortified hangar, fairly modern, that was hit by what appears to be two large bombs. Otherwise, the air base is relatively untouched.

Now, the rebels say they're going to concentrate their forces here, sort of regroup, rest a bit. And then the plan is, Kristie, to move further south, 70 kilometers, to Sabha -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Ben, I want to ask a little bit more of the scene behind you. Is that an anti-aircraft machine gun? Could you identify that for us? And once they get hold of these weapons, just how capable are these fighters -- because many of them were civilians in a previous life -- to be able to use these weapons?

WEDEMAN: Well, what you saw was a 14.5 anti-aircraft gun probably made in Russia. They don't use them to fire at aircraft though. They use them horizontally, which makes them quite an effective, though dangerous, weapon. Even more dangerous at times because, of course, most of these guys have no military experience.

And what we've seen with this particular group that's driven almost 700 kilometers to this area was that, along the way, when they would stop overnight, in the morning they would have lessons in how to use them. And it appears that, oftentimes, many of the casualties that are treated from the opposition side aren't always from fighting with Gadhafi loyalists. It's from misuse, mistakes, misfires by these young men who suddenly have some very deadly weapons in their hands -- Kristie.

STOUT: Ben Wedeman, joining us live from Al Birak.

Many thanks indeed.

And amid the fighting, international diplomacy is also under way in Libya's capital. Now, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in Tripoli just one day after British and French leaders got a raucous welcome in eastern Libya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Thank you. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Loud cheers in Benghazi. British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to help the interim government hunt down Moammar Gadhafi. And both leaders spearheaded support for NATO's campaign in Libya, which is just across the Mediterranean from France and southern Europe, of course.

Now, in Syria, we are hearing more reports of violent crackdowns following Friday prayers. Activists say security forces raided a town near Homs just a short time ago, killing at least four people.

And meanwhile, activists are still angry at reports that a Syrian military defector who had fled to Turkey months ago is now somehow back in the country and in government custody. And they are pointing the blame at Turkey.

Now, for more, Ivan Watson joins us now live from Istanbul.

And Ivan, how is the Turkish government explaining the handover of the Syrian defector?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're saying they had nothing to do with it. Lieutenant Colonel Hussein al-Harmoush first popped on the scene last June when he came out publicly denouncing the Syrian government in uniform, in Internet videos that he appeared in, and calling on other soldiers and officers to defect and join the opposition. So, imagine the surprise when a televised confession was aired on state TV last night, during which he denied previous charges that he had made that he had been ordered to open fire on unarmed protesters when he claimed that the opposition really was a group of armed thugs and terrorists backed by the banned Muslim Brotherhood party.

And he also went on to accuse merchants along the border in Turkish territory of smuggling weapons into Syria, to the opposition. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. COL. HUSSEIN AL-HARMOUSH, DEFECTED FROM SYRIA (through translator): Smugglers from Turkey to (INAUDIBLE) are going through merchants. It's a border region. In each bordering area, there are weapons and dealer smugglers.

They know the smuggling routes. They smuggle money and weapons and other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Now, this man was last seen by Syrian opposition activists in a refugee camp along the Turkish border with Syria. He disappeared on August 29th, Syrian activists say, and his last words to one of them was, "I'm going to meet a Turkish security officer."

And then he disappeared. He was supposed to call back right afterwards.

His family is here in Turkey. He left his belongings behind as well, and then reappeared last night on Syrian state TV.

Now, the Turkish government has responded to accusations from some Syrian activists that have accused Turkey of handing Harmoush over to the Damascus regime. They responded by saying, "It is out of question that Syrian citizens are returned to Syria or any other country against their will. It should be particularly emphasized that recent allegations concerning a Syrian citizen named Hussein al-Harmoush are totally unfounded."

In the meantime, Kristie, the daily -- sorry, weekly -- cycle of protests on Friday by the opposition and the crackdown by the Syrian security services continue with more reports of deaths taking place on both sides of this ongoing uprising -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Ivan, Syrian opposition activists, they have been meeting there in Istanbul. A new national council was unveiled. Just how significant is this announcement?

WATSON: Well, you know, a number of groups, umbrella groups, have emerged over the course of this six-month uprising claiming to represent the revolution, the opposition in Syria and outside. And it has to be said that the opposition movement is quite split, is quite fractured, according to diplomats that I've talked to that are stationed in Damascus. There's no question though that there is incredible bravery on the part of the opposition inside of Syria who are coming out day after day, week after week, every Friday, despite the deaths of more than 2,000 people and widespread allegations of torture and arrests.

Another point to add, this week, just today, in fact, the Syrian government denounced the secretary-general of the Arab League that's headquartered in Cairo because he held a meeting with representatives of the Syrian opposition in Cairo on Wednesday. The Syrian state news agency coming out and saying this is a strong formal protest memorandum against Secretary- General Nabil el-Araby, saying he exceeded his mandate by meeting the opposition.

We have spoken with a representative of the opposition, and he said that they handed a list of requests, including that the Arab League suspend Syria's membership to that organization, and also impose a no-fly zone so that the government cannot get fresh deliveries of weapons or ammunition -- Kristie.

STOUT: So, further isolation for Damascus.

Ivan Watson, joining us live from Istanbul.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, taking charge of Europe's finances. American and European leaders begin two days of talks in Poland.

Plus, waterlogged in eastern India. Torrential monsoon rains prompt a huge rescue operation throughout the state of Orissa.

And this Ethiopian nanny is hopeful that she could leave the scars of Libya behind her. We'll bring you the latest in her story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, markets in Europe are enjoying a strong rally. They're higher in response to a joint effort by some of the world's major central banks. The U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, and the Swiss National Bank are conducting three U.S. dollar options before the end of the year to help the European banks shore up enough currency to fund loans and repay debts.

Now, the U.S. treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, is joining European finance ministers for a two-day meeting in Poland today, where securing financial stability in the eurozone is of course expected to top the agenda.

Jim Boulden joins us now live from Poland.

And Jim, is there any action coming out of these talks?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've had early morning talks that have now ended. The ministers are having their lunch before they have their afternoon meetings that will include the entire European Union finance ministers, all 27 countries and their essential bank governors.

And we did have a press conference. We heard from some of the members of the Eurogroup who came out and gave the usual statements about Greece needing to do its bit to get its austerity package in order and to bring its budget deficit down. We have heard again from Jean-Claude Trichet, the central bank for all of the Euroland, to say that the governments have got to do what they promised, and that is to get that second bailout to Greece.

And we heard from Jean-Claude Juncker. He's the head of the Eurogroup, and he also had some strong words for Greece and for the eurozone. Let's see what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROGROUP PRESIDENT: We greatly recognize the significant efforts made by the Greek authorities over the last year aimed at stabilizing public finances and reforming the economy. The continued full implementation of the adjustment program remains crucial to ensure fiscal sustainability, safeguard financial stability, and boost (INAUDIBLE) of the Greek economy. Therefore, we welcome the renewed, firm commitment from the Greek authorities to fully and decisively implement the adjustment program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOULDEN: Now, Kristie, there's a lot of interest, of course, that Timothy Geithner, the U.S. treasury secretary, is here. But in that press conference, it was made very clear they were not going to tell us what they told Geithner or what Geithner told them. We'll have to wait to see whether he'll make any statements later today -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, it is significant that Geithner is there. The U.S. economy is already weak. Could it suffer even more from a European banking crisis?

BOULDEN: Well, everyone here is worried about a second, double-dip recession, no doubt about it. We got some more numbers out of Europe as well that things are slowing right down to a halt.

But it was said very clear here there will be no stimulus packages, that austerity is the name of the game. And so there is definitely worries that anything that goes wrong with the banking system here in Europe could have a global recession, and that's why Timothy Geithner is here. He wants to make it very clear to Europe that they have got to do their part to make sure that doesn't happen.

STOUT: All right.

Jim Boulden, joining us live from Poland.

Thank you very much, indeed.

Now, police in the U.K. are questioning a UBS trader on suspicion of fraud. That, after the Swiss bank reported it lost some $2 billion in unauthorized trades.

British media outlets identify him as this man. His name is Kweku Adoboli. Now, CNN, we have not been able to identify -- or, rather, verify this identity, but we found this picture from his Facebook page.

Now, according to media reports, the last message that was posted on it earlier this month, it read, "Need a miracle."

Still to come here on NEWS STREAM, Pakistan is battling deadly monsoon floods again, and we will look at why aid supplies are not getting to some of the worst-hit areas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now, at least 26 people have died in the floods in eastern India, and 12 people are missing in the state of Orissa. Nineteen districts there were inundated with water after heavy monsoon rains in a neighboring region flowed in last week. India's Home Ministry says nearly 800 people in different parts of the country have lost their lives in floods since June.

With so many lives and livelihoods at stake, let's get the forecast for the region.

(WEATHER REPORT)

STOUT: Now, the Pakistani prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, he has canceled his visit to the United States for the U.N. General Assembly because of the flooding disaster there in Pakistan's south. Two hundred and forty-two people have died in just over a month of heavy rains.

Nick Paton Walsh visited one of the worst-hit districts where he watched people take desperate measures to get aid.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Badin, one of the worst-flooded areas, some aid is not getting through. Not because it's lacking, but because of these -- protest blockades.

(CHANTING)

WALSH: They won't let aid through to others until they get some.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of their -- they are (INAUDIBLE).

WALSH: The trucks sit idly behind. A few police here also sitting idle, waiting for reinforcements.

More aid sits here waiting because the police, who could escort it to the hungry, are busy escorting a VIP, the chief minister of the region who's visiting.

AMJED JAMAL, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Well, currently, what we have heard from our security colleagues, that there's big VIP movement in the town, and the local administration is busy escorting them.

WALSH: But these people need aid now, not arguments over it.

(on camera): Well, here, it seems quite still and serene, but you have to remember that just weeks ago, this was farmland. And even though it hasn't rained for nearly three days, still the water is not drained away.

(voice-over): Mohammed shows us where his house used to be until the rain swallowed it for the second year in a row. Now he and the children live just down the road.

"The government will drain the water, I guess," he says. "How else will it be taken out?"

Nature, particularly cruel here. Just once he built this shelter, the rains came again and washed it away. They rebuilt it, but on their own.

The chief minister, we think passing in this helicopter, part of a government that, for these people, watches from afar.

The rains have stopped for now, but the suffering, the disease and the hunger, they still (ph) begin.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Badin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM.

And coming up, Palestinians are making their presence known by taking a symbolic seat at the United Nations. But will the move help their push for statehood?

And she was badly burned as punishment in a Gadhafi household, but now the nanny is far away from the fear of Libya. And we'll bring you an update on her condition.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

Now, this image has just surfaced on the Internet of Anders Breivik, the man who confessed to killing 77 people in Norway in July. And it shows Breivik dressed in a police uniform holding a gun. It was filmed by security cameras just minutes before his killing spree. The photo first appeared on a Norwegian news outlet.

A Syria lieutenant colonel who defected to Turkey is back in Syrian custody. State TV showed the officer Hussein al Harmoush giving what it called a confession on Thursday night. Now Syrian activists are outraged and say the Turkish government has betrayed them by returning him to Syrian authorities. The Turkish government denies the claim.

America's Treasury secretary's attending a meeting of European finance ministers in Poland about the Eurozone's financial crisis. The United States is growing more and more concerned about the global impact of Greek debt.

And British police say one man has been found dead in a flooded mine in south Wales. The man was one of four trapped in the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea valley since early Thursday. Three others are still missing. The British government says it will carry out a full investigation.

Explosions and thick smoke billowing over parts of Libya today. Anti- Gadhafi fighters are trying to seize control of the few strongholds still loyal to ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi. Now hundreds of NTC troops have pushed back the Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte and into Bani Walid after giving civilians there 48 hours to flee.

And away from the battlefield Libya's new government is making a diplomatic push today. It has sent a delegation across the border into Niger. It wants the country to hand over members of Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle who fled there after troops loyal to the NTC captured Tripoli last month.

One of Gadhafi's sons, Saadi, arrived in Niger on Sunday.

Now the country's justice minister says it accepted him and the others on humanitarian grounds.

Now CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is in Niger following this story. He joins me now live from the capital Niamey. And Nic, will Niger bend to pressure and send Saadi Gadhafi home?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not clear at the moment. The government is hold a senior cabinet level meeting earlier in the day. This morning, that was aimed at answering that question. But until now the justice minister here has said that they won't send Saadi Gadhafi back out of the country.

I talked to Saadi Gadhafi yesterday. He said that he received assurances that he wouldn't be sent back to Libya.

That delegation from the National Transitional Council has not arrived in Niger yet. Their visit is still awaited. It's not clear exactly when they will land here, but it is expected at the moment from everything that we've been told so far that the answer will be for their request to take Saadi Gadhafi back to face justice in Libya that the answer will be no.

It could be that the government under international pressure may have changed its mind. They're holding a press conference, a news announcement in about four hours from now. So perhaps there will be a change then. But so far, they've given no indications, Kristie, that they're about to give in to international pressure to hand Saadi Gadhafi over back to the National Transitional Council -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nic, Niger is one of Africa's poorest countries. So why has it become a refuge for Gadhafi's family and his supporters?

ROBERTSON: It's not clear precisely why, but there are several reasons that could support it. One is that obviously it's close to Libya, that it has a border crossing. So Saadi Gadhafi, his entourage, and a group of senior army officers who crossed a few days earlier were able to literally drive out of Libya and drive into Niger. So that's one reason there.

But also I'm standing outside the grand mosque now, which is one of the grandest buildings in the capital Niamey. And it is a building that was donated by Moammar Gadhafi. And when I was talking to people here earlier on they told me that they liked Gadhafi. He supported Niger. That he has done road building projects, other things, as well as building this mosque. So it could be that the Gadhafi family, Saadi Gadhafi is sort of getting benefit from some of his father's largesse here in Niger.

Gadhafi has spent a lot of money in many African nations and Niger is one that has benefited from his spending power. And perhaps that is also benefiting his family right now -- Kristie.

STOUT: So the Gadhafi family presence clearly being felt and seen there in Niger.

Nic Robertson joining us live on the line from its capital Niamey. Thank you, Nic.

Now I want to bring you an update on the woman who worked as a nanny for the family of Moammar Gadhafi's son. Now you'll remember she says she was badly scalded as punishment. And now she's been flown out of Libya for her safety and for more medical treatment. Dan Rivers has her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Preparing to leave after an ordeal at the hands of the Gadhafi family that was as sickening as it was incomprehensible. Shwejga Mullah boards a specially chartered plane to fly to Malta for long-term treatment. Her relief and happiness welling over as the plane took off.

This is how we found the nanny to Colonel Gadhafi's grandchildren, lying on a mattress in an exclusive Gadhafi beach resort. She told us Colonel Gadhafi's daughter-in-law Aline poured boiling water over her head simply because she wouldn't beat their toddler to stop her crying.

As her plane touched down at the international airport in Malta, she was entering a different world: flowers and the sort of welcome according to visiting presidents. The Maltese prime minister has been personally touched by her story and has offered her long-term asylum and all the care she needs.

We road in the ambulance as she made the last leg of the journey to a state of the art hospital.

She says, "I feel relaxed. It was a little bit scary there, but now I am relaxed." And that's in part thanks to the compassion that the head nurse Mary Bezzina.

MARY BEZZINA, NURSE: Now the plastic -- the plastic surgeon is waiting for her at the emergency department at (inaudible) Hospital. So we start from there.

RIVERS: After one year, Shwejga's nightmare in Tripoli is over. She arriving here in Malta for world-class treatment in stark contrast to the awful suffering she's endured in Libya.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Malta

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And so far donors have given more than $38,000 to help Shwejga Mullah. If you want to learn more, just go to cnn.com/impact. And you will find links to a special page. It was set up Anti-Slavery International and CNN to help with her recovery.

Now the president of the Palestinian Authority is set to address his people in just a few hours on their upcoming bid for statehood at the United Nations. Mahmoud Abbas plans to push for full Palestinian UN membership next week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he will speak out against it.

And the United Nations chief says he sympathizes with the frustrations of the Palestinian people. But Ban Ki-Moon also called on both sides to resume stalled peace talks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY GENERAL: It's really high time to resume this issue to realize a two state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live first side by side in peace and security. That is the vision agreed upon by two sides and supported by all the countries around the world. So I'm asking them to enter into a meaningful negotiation.

And international community has a duty to create some conditions favorable to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: The United States has threatened to veto any Palestinian bid for full UN membership in the Security Council. And behind the scenes, the U.S. and the European Union have been trying to get the peace talks started again.

Richard Roth looks at all the options for the Palestinian bid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The nations of the world got yet another reminder from the Palestinians of their desire of a state of their own, a symbolic seat from Palestinian was flown in, arriving in New York at UN headquarters, accompanied by activists in the Palestinian UN delegate.

Despite having pressure before the upcoming General Assembly debate, achieving statehood on the world stage is not as easy as staging a photo op.

This is the potential first stop for the Palestinians to apply for UN membership. This is the UN Security Council. And though this chamber may pose the toughest obstacle to potential Palestinian membership.

Under the rules of the organization and the UN charter the Palestinians must first get approval from the Security Council in order to obtain membership and get their flag outside the building. However, in this room are permanent members of the Security Council who have veto power. And one of them, the United States, has vowed to deny any request for potential membership.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the parties. And the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah not in New York.

ROTH: If they want to avoid a U.S. veto, the Palestinians are very likely to come here next door at the UN General Assembly, already full of 193 countries.

RIYAH MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN U.N. OBSERVER: If one road is blocked, we will follow another one. But the objective is still the same. And as they say, there are many roads to lead to Rome. And we know that very well. And we will act accordingly.

ROTH: The Palestinians already have a seat here at the General Assembly, but their status is just simply known as observer. The assembly may grant them upgraded observer state status, not full membership though. But they may get more rights, which will allow them to join other UN style international organizations.

But their status would be on par with The Vatican. So in effect, their prayers to get a UN member state would not be granted.

With upgraded diplomatic status, the Palestinians may be able to demand action against Israel at the International Criminal Court. The Palestine's share could be a hot seat for other UN members.

Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: As Richard mentioned the U.S. has vowed to veto the Palestinian bid. Obviously Israel opposes the move. A couple of European countries have also been critical, so who supports Palestinian statehood? Well, most Arab League countries are in favor of it with Turkey's prime minister voicing strong backing for the bid.

Now U.S. officials are reporting the death of a top al Qaeda figure in Pakistan. A senior Obama administration official says that Abu Hafs al- Shahri was killed earlier this week. Now another official says he coordinated with the Taliban to carry out anti-American attacks.

And the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden has severely strenuous ties with Pakistan. But now top U.S. and Pakistani military officials are trying to mend fences. Now Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen is meeting with his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a NATO conference today. And it will be their first meeting since the raid on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Meanwhile controversy is growing over a presentation that was given earlier this year at an FBI training facility. It painted mainstream American Muslims as radicals and the Prophet Mohammed as a cult leader.

Brian Todd reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the often tense relationship with the Muslim community in the U.S. and law enforcement another potential problem: fallout over an FBI training presentation which claimed the mainstream Muslims sympathize with militants.

Wired Magazine says it obtained slide presentations from FBI whistleblowers. Slides that were shown at the bureau's training facility in Quantico, Virginia.

In a series of slides entitled strategic themes and drivers in Islamic law it says the Prophet Mohammed ordered the assassinations and executions of its critics, that Islam's world view is that there can be no peace between Islam and others until dar al Islam conquers and assimilates its adversaries. And it characterizes Mohammed as a cult leader for a small inner circle.

James Zogby of the Arab American Institute calls the cult reference horrific, says Mohammed didn't order his opponents to be killed.

I read him another passage.

Then he says these strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe, they are mainstream. What do you make of it?

JAMES ZOGBY, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Again, I say this is the propaganda of the Islamophobes. This is what they've been preaching. This is why they've been stopping the building of mosques. They want to paint an entire community, an entire faith community, as extremist and radical and violent and prone to violence. It's bigotry of the worst sort.

TODD: Contacted by CNN, the FBI wouldn't comment on that, would not allow us to speak to the analyst who wrote that presentation. An FBI spokesman acknowledged that that training session took place, but he says that was six months ago, one time only, that it was quickly discontinued, that policy changes are underway. And that that instructor no longer provides training for the FBI.

But the instructor is still an FBI analyst. Since September 11, the FBI has often invited Muslim leaders to talk with agents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: True or false, all Arabs are Muslim and Muslims are Arab?

CROWD: False.

TODD: I asked former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes if the counterterror agents he's dealt with would believe any of the points in that presentation.

TOM FUENTES, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: No. They don't believe it. And they furthermore believe strenuously in the strong outreach program.

TODD: Fuentes says the publicizing of this training segment could play into al Qaeda's hands for propaganda, says it could diminish the FBI's ability to get the American Muslim community to help in investigations. But he says hopefully the fact that the FBI acted so quickly to terminate the program may give the bureau more credibility with Muslims.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Ahead on News Stream, an incredible discovery in outer space. NASA finds a new planet that will have you seeing double. We'll explain what makes it so unique.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

And this was the moment a Russian Soyuz space capsule safely touched down in Kazakhstan earlier on Friday. It whipped up plumes of dust as it landed. And the three astronauts on board have manned the International Space Station since April and left a single three man crew at the orbiting observation lab.

Their replacements were due to arrive at the ISS on September 24, but their flight was delayed after a launch accident involving an unmanned Russian cargo shuttle last month. Now they won't head to the station until November 14.

Now more than 30 years ago sci-fi fans were introduced to a planet called Tatooine where the sunsets were just a little special. This, of course, is Star Wars: A New Hope and the twin suns who were drummed up by director George Lucas.

But now science fiction has become science fact with NASA's discovery of Kepler 16-b, the first planet known to definitively orbit two stars.

And this is NASA's impression of it. Now naturally the scientists who discovered the planet have nicknamed it Tatooine in homage to Luke Skywalkers home.

Here's Lawrence Doyle from SETI.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE DOYLE, SETI: You have to picture something before you can look for it. And so we wanted to acknowledge that they were the thought pioneers that, you know, had enough faith in circumbianry planets existing to put the hero of Star Wars on such a planet. And so least we can do is honor him when we find the real thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: But Kepler 16-b is not located in a galaxy far, far away. Well, in relative terms anyway. It's only 200 light years from Earth, meaning it would take you two centuries to get there if you were traveling at the speed of light.

Now from the surface of the planet, one of the suns would appear orange and the other red. And no two sunsets on Kepler 16-b are ever the same, that's because the suns change position in relation to each other with the planet taking a wide orbit around both of them.

Sci-fi fans will probably be disappointed to learn that this real-life Tatooine isn't home to Skywalker or any species. It is thought to be too far from its suns to support life as we know it.

Now 24 time zones, 13 languages, 1 message, the day long online broadcast to raise awareness about global climate change is now over, but the man who spearheaded 24 hours of reality the former U.S. vice president Al Gore hopes the message will stick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FRM. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Climate Reality project is a global effort to present the reality of what we are facing. So the extraordinary and unprecedented situation that has been created by a combination of factors. We've had this huge increase in population. And that's beginning to stabilize.

But because we rely on carbon based fuels, oil and coal particularly, for 85 percent of the world's energy we're burning it in ways that put all this heat trapping pollution into the atmosphere. 90 million tons every single day. And 20 percent of what we put up there today will still be there 20,000 years from now.

So the sooner we cut way back on that, the better chance we'll have of avoiding what the scientists say would be utterly catastrophic consequences in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: But not everyone is convinced by Al Gore's campaign. One of the groups critical of his environmental work, the Heartland Institute has updated its report on climate change. And it makes the following points.

It says, quote, "rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations by increasing crop yields will play a major role in averting hunger and ecological destruction in the future. Global warming is more likely to improve rather than harm human health, because rising temperatures lead to a greater reduction in winter deaths than the increase they cause in summer deaths."

And the report goes on to say that "even in worst case scenarios, mankind will be much better off in the year 2100 than it is today. And therefore able to adapt to whatever challenges climate change presents."

And, quote, "we find evidence that the models relied on by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, overestimate the amount of warming that occurred during the 20th Century, failed to incorporate chemical and biological processes that may be as important as the physical processes employed in the models."

Again, all that from the Heartland Institute.

Now ahead here on News Stream, Japan and New Zealand, they are facing off in a rugby showdown. And the All Blacks, they had some players out because of injuries, but did that keep them from delivering a blow up punch? Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

And now for a look at the day's sports stories. Don Riddell joins us live from London -- Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks very much, Kristie. New Zealand will be abuzz this evening following the All Blacks thumping win over Japan in the rugby world cup earlier today. The tournament hosts put a whopping 83 points on the board, scoring from almost every position.

Now Japan had put in their pretty decent performance in their first game against France last week. And although they weren't intimidated by the Hakka, they were soon very much on their back foot.

Scoring at a rate of roughly one try every six minutes, the All Blacks were rampant. 11 different players crossed over for tries. The Japanese were being overrun and totally out classed.

New Zealand had left their star men, captain Richie McCaw and also Dan Carter out of the team so they can recover from injuries. But you'd never have known it. The 15 that were picked had a point to prove.

The All Blacks were criticized for what was considered a below par performance in their opening game against Tonga. And they certainly didn't take their foot off the gas here.

Japan did manage one consolation try, but their 7 points were dwarfed by New Zealand's 83. And the jubilant fans at Waikato stadium saved one of the biggest cheers for last. Sonny Bill Williams came on to score his first test try for the All Blacks.

An easy win then. But the big test will be against France next weekend.

In golf, Justin Rose will tee off with a two stroke lead in the BMW championship later on today knowing that if he keeps it up, he'll qualify for a place in the finale of the FedEx cup next week in Atlanta.

It was clearly a good day for scoring at Cog Hill on Thursday. This is Webb Simpson, a player that seemingly come from nowhere to win a couple of tournaments this season and an opening round of 65 means he's just two off the pace from six under par.

Camilo Villegas, great shot from the Colombian there on the second hole out of the bunker and in for a birdie. He signed for a three under par 68.

To the ninth where Rose scored one of his nine birdies. That was a wonderful pitch on the par 5 hole. He couldn't miss from two feet. He leads by two on eight under par.

He's got Simpson and also the American Mark Wilson hot on his tail, though. Wilson ended with a terrific birdie put for his 65. Six under par is a great way to start.

And that's all we've got time for now, Kristie, but we'll have much more for you on World Sport in 2.5 hours time.

STOUT: OK. Don Riddell, thank you very much indeed.

And time now to go over and out there. And today I'm taking you to a grandiose palace filled with crystal chandeliers and pianos, but this is not the palace at Versailles in France, this is apparently the new headquarters of a state run drug maker in China. The Harbine Pharmaceutical Group (ph) located in the country's northeast. And photos published on its web site repeatedly amidst unbelievably luxurious interior covered by gold and marble. It also features tasteful reproductions of works by famous artists. And there's also office space to host royalty.

But it has not proven popular with people on the street. The photos, they triggered harsh criticism from Chinese netizens. And it's reported some even went so far as to hack the web site to express their anger.

And according to reports, the drug maker says that photos are from an internal museum. Most of these images have been taken down with the exception of a few exterior shots.

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

END