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Battle for Gadhafi Strongholds; White House to Announce 'Buffett Rule'; Dominique Strauss-Kahn Expresses Regret; Blast Rocks Wealthy Karachi Suburb; 6.9 Earthquake Felt on Nepal-India-Tibet Border

Aired September 19, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

And we begin in the south of Libya --


STOUT: -- where revolutionary fighters are being welcomed as they battle for full control.

And we'll also tell you what Dominique Strauss-Kahn had to say as the former IMF chief speaks out for the first time after criminal charges against him were dropped.

And U.S. television's biggest night also shines bright for the British.

First on NEWS STREAM, we're taking you inside the war for Libya. The battle remains volatile, and there are dangers not only for the fighters but, as you will see, for our own correspondents and producers on the front lines.

A month after rebel fighters stormed Tripoli and chased out Moammar Gadhafi, they still do not have control of the entire country. East of Tripoli, the fighters are trying to regroup near Gadhafi's birthplace of Sirte after gunfire and rockets pushed them back this weekend. And they're also regrouping near another Gadhafi stronghold, Bani Walid, after retreating from there in chaos.

But a much warmer welcome has greeted revolutionary fighters as they push south toward a third Gadhafi stronghold, Sabha. Our own Ben Wedeman is with them and filed this exclusive report for us.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It didn't take long for them to learn the slogans of the revolution. "Raise your head high. You're a free Libyan!" chant the residents of the southern town of Winsly (ph), suddenly free Sunday of the rule of Moammar Gadhafi. And it seems everyone has come out to embrace the rebel fighters.

In town after town, they wave the pre-Gadhafi Libyan flag, all happiness and smiles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The freedom is wonderful. There's many, many emotions, you can't say. I'm so happy, I'm so glad.

WEDEMAN: The ragtag column of civilians-turned-revolutionary fighters encountered scant resistance as they swept through the oasis towns east of Sabha.


WEDEMAN: Shots -- indeed, many shots -- were fired, but mostly in wild, noisy celebration, not in anger.

(on camera): In most of these towns it's the cause of (INAUDIBLE) liberation. The fighters come in and their convoy (INAUDIBLE), cheering residents, and then they drive right out of town.

(voice-over): This sweep through the south is more of a show of force than the arrival of the new order in Libya. What happens after the men with guns move on is unclear.

Some of them have doubts about the sudden conversion to the revolution in a part of the country traditional loyal to Gadhafi. University physics student Mohammed Arhuma (ph) isn't convinced.

MOHAMMED ARHUMA (ph), PHYSICS STUDENT: Right now -- before, it was a lot of people with Gadhafi. But right now, everybody is disappearing. You know what I mean?

WEDEMAN: But Winsly (ph) resident Mohammed Abdullah (ph) insists the village is completely behind the uprising that ousted Gadhafi from power. "All the people are with the revolutionaries," he says. "One hundred percent?" I ask. "One hundred percent," he responds.

The relative ease with which this area has been taken has left the young fighters in high spirits. At midday they find shade in a mosque, singing the songs of the revolt.


WEDEMAN: It's the experience of a lifetime for university student Mohammed Ramadan (ph), whose family comes from Sabha, a Gadhafi stronghold.

MOHAMMED RAMADAN (ph), STUDENT: Today is the most amazing feeling in my life. I feel it now. Now I'm -- I'm on the moon now, actually. I'm very happy.

WEDEMAN: He may come back down to Earth if the newly-liberated towns change their town.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Libya, free! Gadhafi, go away!

WEDEMAN: Ben Wedeman, CNN, Winsly (ph), southern Libya.


STOUT: The battle for Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte took a very frightening turn. Our own Phil Black and his producer Ian Lee came under fire as the revolutionary fighters were beaten back by Gadhafi loyalists.

I want to bring in Phil Black. He is now in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

And Phil, you went through a nightmare this weekend. Can you take us back to Sirte, when you and the team came under attack?


What we saw was very different to the position or the circumstances that are often being described by the National Transitional Council. It often says that the fall of these remaining holdout cities is imminent. But on the ground, there is far less reason for hope.

The commanders there will tell you they are up against an enemy that is committed, prepared, and fighting in a battleground in which it has an edge. They are concealed within these urban environments. They can attack suddenly and with deadly effect.

As you say, we saw it for ourselves. Take a look.


BLACK (voice-over): Revolutionary fighters advancing through Sirte. The commander sees movement in the distance. He calls for one gunman to fire. The rest of the unit joins in, shooting wildly. They come under fire.


BLACK: An ambulance is hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. They and we are caught in the open.

(on camera): It started with one of them seemingly taking a potshot. (INAUDIBLE) something in the distance. A lot of our fighters had opened up. Then there was some big return fire.

(voice-over): CNN producer Ian Lee was hit.

IAN LEE, CNN PRODUCER: I've been shot.

BLACK (on camera): You're all right.

Get down. Let's go.

Go! Go! Go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Watch the left. Get down.

Right side -- go to the right side of everything. Go. Go. Go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it. Good. The other way.

BLACK (voice-over): We stop to check Ian's injury.

(on camera): It looks like there is still a piece of shrapnel inside. You can feel it?

LEE: Yes, I could feel it. When he was moving around, I could feel it inside.

BLACK (voice-over): At a nearby field hospital, medics help Ian, while dealing with their own grief.

(on camera): A colleague of these men was killed in the same attack just meters away from where the RPG we think hit the ambulance that was near us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our colleague. He's a paramedic, and at the same time he's an ambulance driver.

BLACK: What was his name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Khalid Sepati (ph).

BLACK: And how old was he?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's about 27, 28.

BLACK: Tell me about him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, in the morning, at 9:00, he wake up me in my bed in the hospital. He tells me, "Here we go to the front line." We are joking that the ambulance -- we are coming here. He is very happy.

Suddenly, he came to us. He died.

BLACK (voice-over): This medic was there, too. He saw his friend die, but he must keep working.

Casualties keep coming. On this day alone, more than 20 revolutionaries are killed in the chaotic battle for Sirte.


BLACK: The revolutionary fighters do have bigger numbers, bigger firepower, and that would perhaps explain why the revolutionary leaders are optimistic or confident that this could all be settled very quickly. We're expecting an updated statement from them in just a couple of hours. It will be interesting to see if that confidence still holds after what has now been a cycle for several days of continually advancing, retreating again, and then advancing and trying to fight for the same territory once more, all the while, of course, also suffering significant casualties -- Kristie.

STOUT: It was a terrifying scene from the front line. Thank you so much for sharing that story with us.

Phil Black, joining us live from the Libyan capital.

Now, a man claiming to be Moammar Gadhafi's spokesman says the former regime still has millions of followers and will not surrender. The colonel's whereabouts remain unclear, but we know that his wife and that these three Gadhafi children, they are in Algeria.

They were accepted on humanitarian grounds. Niger said the same when it took in Saadi and is refusing requests to turn him over.

Now, Khamis and Saif al-Arab are believe to have been killed during the revolution. The rebel claims about Khamis could not be verified.

Now, Saif al-Islam, the familiar face right over there, he was last seen late last month around the time that Tripoli fell. And his brother Moutasim is also missing, and so is Milad, Gadhafi's only adopted son.

And then there's Hanna. Gadhafi said his adopted infant daughter was killed 25 years ago in a U.S. bombing, but now there are reports that Hanna may be alive. We will explore that mystery later on, right here on NEWS STREAM.

Also ahead, Dominique Strauss-Kahn says he regrets his moment of moral weakness. We'll find out what else he revealed in his first interview since returning to France.

And this year's Emmy awards were especially family friendly. We'll bring you the big winners and the surprising losers.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, all eyes will be on Washington later on Monday, when the U.S. president is set to deliver his debt reduction plan. Mr. Obama hopes to cut $3 trillion from the national debt over the next decade, but it would come at a controversial cost. Medicare spending is likely to be targeted, as well as the pockets of the most wealthy Americans.

The White House is expected to announce details of what's being called the "Buffett Rule" as part of the debt-cutting plan. And for more, Brianna Keilar joins me now live from the White House.

And Brianna, details first. What is the "Buffett Rule"?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The "Buffett Rule," Kristie, according to senior administration officials, isn't so much a specific tax proposal, as it's sort of -- I guess you could call it, and they're calling this, a guiding principle as the president lays out his deficit reduction plan. It's the idea that people who earn $1 million or more per year, a considerable amount of money, should be paying the same percentage of their income in taxes as the middle class, as people who learn less money.

It's named after Warren Buffett, of course, one of the wealthiest men in America, very respected by a lot of people. And he has often complained, Kristie, that in terms of a percentage of his income, total income, which would include salary, as well as investments and all, he pays a smaller percentage than his secretary pays, and he has said that isn't right. So you'll be hearing the president when he takes to the Rose Garden at 10:30 a.m., really talking about how this is something that his plan really supports.

STOUT: Now, the Republicans are already weighing in. How are they responding to the "Buffett Rule"?

KEILAR: They don't like it. They're calling it -- we've heard from a lot of Republicans over the weekend. They were calling it class warfare.

We heard from the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan. He said it may make good politics, but it's not good economics. And Republicans are saying that, ultimately, this will kill jobs, that this would be a hindrance for small businesses, and that, really, that's something that needs to -- small businesses need to be helped in this economy to create jobs. And they say this is counterproductive.

STOUT: And what about Americans? How many Americans are on Obama's side on this issue?

KEILAR: You know, this is pretty interesting, Kristie, because when you ask Americans, "What do you think about taxiing the wealthy or the wealthier Americans?" The majority -- and this is according, I should tell you, to some poll numbers that we took, CNN/ORC, that we saw from about six weeks ago. But we should say, there's really nothing that has happened that would really change I think the opinions of people. We've heard that from our polling expert.

About more than 60 percent of people said, OK, this is fine, tax the wealthy. But when you start breaking it down along partisan lines, Democrats, many more of them, about 80 percent, say, yes, that's fine. Independents, they're about 60 percent. And then, when you go to Republicans, only 40 percent of them say it's OK.

So you can kind of see as Republicans on the Hill say no way to taxes, and the White House is saying this is the way we want to go, you can see that they're all answering to different constituencies that feel very different about this issue.

STOUT: All right. The details of this plan just hours away.

Brianna Keilar, thank you very much for giving us the preview.

Brianna there, joining us live from Washington, D.C.

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expressing regret over his encounter with a hotel maid in New York. He made the comment in his first interview since a U.S. judge threw out the sexual assault case against him.


DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN, FMR. IMF DIRECTOR (through translator): It was a weakness. It was greater than a weakness. It was a moral weakness, a moral mistake.

And I'm not proud of this. I regret this. I regretted it throughout these days, through these four months, and I believe I've not finished regretting this.


STOUT: In the interview, Strauss-Kahn also denied any violence or aggression towards his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo.

Now, our senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann has followed all the twists of this case from the moment Strauss-Kahn was pulled off a Paris-bound plane on May the 14th and arrested, right up until now. And Jim Bittermann, he joins me now live from Paris.

And Jim, Strauss-Kahn, he's given his side of the story to a journalist who is a friend of his wife. So how much did he really reveal?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the fact is, he went further than I think a lot of people thought he would go. But on the other hand, he really didn't give us all the real details of what took place in that hotel room in New York. And a lot of people were saying exactly that in reaction this morning.

You saw in that sound bite I think some of the contrition. People were saying this morning that Strauss-Kahn appeared contrite, but still combative. And one of the points where he was combative on was on the details of what happened.

He said several times that all the accusations against him were false, and that even the prosecutor backed him up on this. And here's the way he put it.


STRAUSS-KAHN (through translator): You need to read carefully the report of the prosecutor. What does it say? It says that Nafissatou Diallo lied about everything. Not only about her past, but about the facts.

The reports says that she gave so many different versions of the facts, that the prosecutor could not believe it any longer. He says, in almost every interview we had with her, she lied. It was surreal. That is the word he used.

The charges were dropped because there are no more accusations. If there had been the slightest accusations remaining, then there would have been a trial.


BITTERMANN: And those people who have read the prosecutor's report carefully say that, in fact, while it does tend to back up what Strauss- Kahn just said, the fact is that he was stretching the truth somewhat, was stretching the prosecutor's words somewhat to support his case -- Kristie.

STOUT: Strauss-Kahn was once the front-runner for the French presidency. So, Jim, can he ever rehabilitate his image to return to where he was?

BITTERMANN: Well, one of the most revealing polls was the one that came out yesterday morning, just before his intervention on television last night, basically saying that 53 percent of the French were hoping that, instead of defending himself last night, he would resign from politics entirely. He of course didn't do that.

He says that, in fact, he is running for nothing now. He's going to sit back and reflect. He said, "My whole life has been given to the public. I'm going to try to see what my role is going to be going forward." And so when asked about his future, basically he was saying, we'll wait and see.

So he's leaving the door open to come back, but I'm not so sure the French are going to want him back anytime soon -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Strauss-Kahn, he also still faces an accusation of attempted rape by a French writer. This is an attack that took place some eight years ago.

Where does that case stand now?

BITTERMANN: Right. In fact, he mentioned that in the interview last night.

Basically, he said that that's imaginary on the part of the accuser, a young lady who, eight years ago, said that he tried to rape her when she went to interview him. In fact, the case is before a prosecutor. The complaint by the young lady is being weighed against Strauss-Kahn's own testimony, which took place shortly after he came back. And the prosecutor is going to have to decide whether there's enough grounds there to lay charges, and so far he hasn't made that decision -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Jim Bittermann, joining us live from Paris with the very latest.

Thank you very much indeed, Jim.

Still to come here on NEWS STREAM, the brightest stars of the small screen, they get their chance to shine.


STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now, all the glitz, all the glamour, but no big surprises at television's big night in Los Angeles. It was a "Modern Family" affair at this year's Emmy Awards. The ABC show taking top comedy honors, and CNN's Kareen Wynter was there.


GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: And the Emmy goes to "Modern Family."

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Emmys celebrate the bastion, original television. But in the end, it was all about repeats.

"Modern Family" repeated as Best Comedy. The show about a nontraditional extended family has won TV's top prize in each of its first two seasons.


WYNTER: "Mad Men's" repeat was even more impressive. The '60s-era series won Best Drama for the fourth consecutive time, beating back a challenge from newcomer "Boardwalk Empire."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us and our families, this is an incredible dream. Thank you.

WYNTER: While the show was honored, "Mad Men's" leading man lost out as Best Actor in a Drama. That went instead to Kyle Chandler of "Friday Night Lights."

Best Actress in a Drama went to "The Good Wife's" Julianna Margulies.

(on camera): "Glee's" Jane Lynch pulled double duty Emmy night. Not only was she nominated in the Best Supporting Actress comedy category, but she also hosted the show.

(voice-over): She pre-taped a bit with the cast of "Jersey Shore" and tossed gentle zingers at the stars, including an 89-year-old nominee.

JANE LYNCH, ACTRESS, "GLEE": Oh, there's Betty White. She's the reason we start the show at 5:00 p.m.

WYNTER: Lynch may have scored as host, but she lost the Emmy to "Modern Family's" Julie Bowen. Not that she was bitter about it.

LYNCH: There are losers, and I am one. And it hurts.

WYNTER: Julie Bowen's TV husband, Ty Burell, won for Supporting Actor in Comedy. On stage, he paid tribute to his late father, acknowledging he might find it strange that his son wears makeup at work.

TY BURELL, ACTOR, "MODERN FAMILY": "Dad, just think of me as a very masculine lady." And he would say, "I do, son."

WYNTER: One of the night's surprises came not in an award, but from a presenter. A subdued Charlie Sheen, fired from "Two and a Half Men" last season, made a surprise appearance to announce Best Actor in a Comedy. He offered best wishes to his old show.

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: And I know you will continue to make great television.

WYNTER: Best actor in a comedy went to Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory," in another repeat. He won it last year, too, but Best Actress in a Comedy did go to a newcomer -- Melissa McCarthy of "Mike & Molly," who was jokingly topped with a tiara.

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS, "MIKE & MOLLY": Wow. This is my first in best pageant ever.

In a billion years I didn't think that was going to happen. Not at all.

WYNTER: It was a night for all of TV's best to claim their crowns.

Kareen Wynter, CNN, Hollywood.


STOUT: It was also a good night for Britain at the Emmys. Oscar winner Kate Winslet took home her first Emmy for her lead role in the HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce."

And period piece "Downtown Abbey" won four awards in total, including Best Miniseries and Best Director.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, is this the face of Hanna Gadhafi? The baby girl believed to have been killed 25 years ago may now be all grown up, and a doctor. We sort through the rumors swirling in Libya.


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

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

Controversial higher taxes on some wealthy Americans and spending cuts to Medicare are set to be part of U.S. President Barack Obama's forthcoming debt reduction plan. A proposal for cutting the national debt by roughly $3 trillion over the next decade will be unveiled later on Monday.

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has called his encounter with a hotel maid in New York a moral failure. He expressed his regrets in his first official interview since a U.S. judge threw out the sexual assault case against him. Strauss-Kahn denied any violence or aggression towards his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo.

And in southern Libya, anti-Gadhafi forces have been greeted with loud cheers as they have rolled into town after town. But even though they're meeting little resistance there, it is a very different scene in other parts of the country. Former (ph) rebels are trying to regroup and push back into Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Sirte, where they say 20 of their fighters were killed on Sunday.

And if there was one moment when Moammar Gadhafi had the world's sympathy, it was when he claimed U.S. bombs killed his baby daughter Hanna. But now we're learning that story may not have been true.

Jill Dougherty searches for answers in Tripoli.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dictator and his daughter. What happened to Hanna Gadhafi, the adopted daughter of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi? Libyans are full of conspiracy theories.

They said she might be alive. Or he sent her abroad, this woman says. Or maybe she's here.

If that sounds confusing it is.

This is where the mystery begins in the rubble of the Gadhafi compound hit in a U.S. raid in 1986. It's here, the colonel claims, his young daughter Hanna (ph) was killed. But was she?

After the raid, the doctor told reporters there was no question little Hanna (ph) was dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Severe fracture, you know. Very bad. The (inaudible) fracture. And we called the surgeon to come here. And when he came, you know, she was shocked and unfortunately she died.

DOUGHERTY: But 25 years later some Libyans we spoke with are skeptical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's just another propaganda, a dictator who lived to lie, actually, you know, to his people.

DOUGHERTY: Gadhafi claimed he adopted another girl and called her Hanna (ph) in honor of the daughter who died. There are pictures on the internet of Gadhafi with that girl. And a picture of her at her sister Aisha's (ph) wedding. When that girl grew up, she became a doctor.

At the central hospital of Tripoli CNN obtained documents showing that a doctor named Hanna Gadhafi (ph) was on staff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: the work that we did.

DOUGHERTY: Dr. Hatem Yousef told me he worked with her, that she was very professional, but her private life was a closed book.

DR. HATEM YOUSEF, CENTRAL HOSPITAL IN TRIPOLI: We did talk to her. I mean, personally her personal life was on -- that's not was -- not for up for discussion. I mean, we didn't discuss these things, you know. And she is who she is.

DOUGHERTY: While the rest of the doctors had to make due with old furniture in their lounge, Hanna (ph) had her own well decorated office complete with an espresso machine, three phones, an external line, an internal line, and a line directly to the Gadhafi compound.

Staff here at the hospital say on the day that the rebels invaded Tripoli Hanna (ph) stayed right up until the last minute. Her guards insisted that she leave and they finally did.

Where Hanna (ph) fled is a mystery.

When the rebels entered Gadhafi's compound August 23rd, they found Hanna's personal medical files. But which Hanna (ph)?

"Of course she didn't die," this woman says. "All the media outlets are writing that she's alive."

Some Libyans think little adopted Hanna (ph) actually wasn't killed back in 1986, that Gadhafi was lying.

Why do you think he would lie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why he lie, because people feel sorry for him and keep fighting and keep killing each other, you know.

DOUGHERTY: Others think Gadhafi really did adopt another daughter.

Still others, like the vice director of the hospital think Hanna (ph) is the biological daughter of Gadhafi by a woman other than his wife.

DR. ISAM BIN MASSOUD: (inaudible) you know. And, you know, the face, things like Gadhafi it's his blood. That's what we know -- that's what we think. But the real truth, we don't know, really.

DOUGHERTY: And neither it seems does anyone else in Libya know for sure.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Tripoli.


STOUT: Well, a powerful bomb has killed eight people in Karachi, Pakistan. The victims include a woman and a child who was walking to school. Nick Paton Walsh is following developments from CNN Islamabad. He joins us now. And Nick, who was the intended target of this attack?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this bomb was in the back of a pick-up truck, weighing nearly a third of a ton in terms of the explosive on it. It was aimed at a senior police official there called Choudry Mohammed Aslam (ph).

Now he had been on the front lines of the police operation there to track down, capture and kill Taliban militants hiding out in Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city. 18 million people there providing a great hiding place for some Taliban militants.

This bomb detonated. The picture you're seeing now showing the devastation it caused, catching this woman and her child as they passed by innocently on the way to school, it seems, and also killing six security guards. Clearly, a calculated attack of some precision here, some callousness too.

The Taliban, Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility for it. And the police chief himself, who survived, saying that he has had threats from the Taliban before because of what he's done. And the Taliban are saying they will continue to pursue top officials like this who are tracking them down, because, quote, "these people have to face the hate." -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nick, is this a new tactic for the Pakistani Taliban, targeting senior officials and getting personal by targeting the neighborhoods where they live?

PATON WALSH: It's not new in terms of they haven't previously tried this kind of targeted assassination. That's very much a Taliban tactic on both sides of the border, frankly, Afghanistan and Pakistan both militias relying upon that.

But, yes, in the last few weeks we saw a very similar attack in Quetta targeting the frontier (inaudible) boss there. And also this attack today, trying I think, perhaps the Taliban to show they have a little more precision, a little more accuracy in terms of their reach. And certainly this attack targeting a very elite neighborhood of Karachi.

We're talking significantly wealthy people here, an area that's not heard this kind of violence normally. Neighbors describing the blast as feeling like an earthquake to some. So definitely shocking in terms of the suburb that it particularly struck, Kristie.

STOUT: And will this attack demoralize Pakistani security, which is already grappling with a challenging security environment, especially after the bin Laden raid earlier this year?

PATON WALSH: That's an interesting question. I think it's always -- these things always make both sides of the conflict loathe each other more intensely. And I think it's fair to say that the police officer himself has said he would like to get vengeance against the children of the Taliban who carried this out, according to televised comments.

So certainly that there is definitely that level of added animosity in there, but quite whether or not there is sort of already dysfunctional to a certain extent, the Pakistani security apparatus will suffer more because of this kind of targeted assassination remains to be seen, Kristie.

STOUT: Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from Islamabad. Thank you for that.

Now Reuters News Agency is reporting that 54 people are dead after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked the border of Nepal, India, and Tibet. And rescue teams are racking through rubble in the search for survivors.

Now this is the quake's epicenter. It's located in a conservation area. It's some 68 kilometers from the city of Guntoch (ph) in India's northeast Sikkim State and where these were the scenes this Monday. Buildings have been warped. And the quake and the resulting aftershocks, they set off landslides along with heavy rain that has been blocking roads and hampering rescue efforts.

And officials in Sikkim say more emergency crews are being deployed this Monday. And to give you an idea of the quake's power, this is the kind of destruction the quake racked almost 600 kilometers away in Calcutta on Sunday. In all some six Indian states were affected.

And 272 kilometers east of the quake's epicenter is the Nepalese capital Katmandu. And police there say three people, including an 8-year- old girl, died when a wall of the British embassy collapsed. And you can see from these images, they were taken southeast of the city, just how long the clean-up operation will take. Walls were torn down, homes reduced to rubble.

On top of it all, rescuers and survivors, again, they've been dealing with rain. So let's get the details now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: All right, Kristie, this time of year the rain tends to be pretty significant in this corner of the world. And that's going to be one of the big concerns that we're going to have to deal with in the days to come.

This is the latest warning, and this is from the India MET department. And it does include these areas of northeastern India. Notice that it also borders Nepal and also into Bhutan as well.

Bangladesh will see some very heavy rain as well.

This is significant. And at least through tomorrow. And after that, we'll begin to see a little bit of a -- not a lull in the rainfall, but at least less rain than what we've had so far. So keep that in mind.

Let's go ahead -- and you showed us the epicenter just a little while ago. And I want to go back to this image, because it's very important, I wanted to illustrate to people what we're dealing with as far as terrain is concerned. You mentioned the landslides. And whenever you have a powerful earthquake in a mountainous area, one of the threats is landslides. And here of course we're talking about some of the highest mountains in the entire world, very rough conditions and very difficult to get there.

Yeah, Mount Everest is not too far away from here either.

When you're dealing with this kind of terrain, you always have the threat for mudslides, or landslides I should say, that are triggered by the quake. But now we're at the end of the monsoon season. And I was reading a blog by David Petly (ph) from Durham University in the UK. And he always talks about landslides when they happen all over the world. And he was talking about this case in particular with this earthquake, how because it was so powerful, and because the ground is so saturated with rain, the threat for landslides continues to be very large.

You mentioned that British embassy in Katmandu, this is a picture of that by the way of that wall that collapsed. And you see the rescue workers they're working in the dark and working in the rain, because it has been raining.

So when you look at the satellite image over here you'll notice this entire region getting pretty good activity as far as rain showers. Much drier though as we head over into Pakistan and the rest of India. The monsoon continuing its very slow retreat through these areas. But in these areas of the northern Bay of Bengali as we head over into Nepal and eastern India, this entire region will continue to see rainfall pretty steadily we think, not just for the 48 hours, but probably for the next weeks to come until the monsoon eventually moves out of this region.

How much rainfall? Well, maybe five, eight centimeters not out of the question in the next 48 hours. So that could be pretty significant. It could trigger more landslides and makes the situation more difficult for rescue workers in that region.

I want to take you to the east. Now here's China, here's the Korean peninsula. There's Japan. There's two tropical cyclones that are skirting Japan. This one, that's just causing you big waves here off the coast of Honshu. Not going to worry about that one too much, because it's going to be out of the picture. But we have another one, and this is a tropical storm. And this one is already bringing not only high waves to coastal regions of western Japan, but also some rain. And the rain is going to last night just overnight tonight, but as we head through the next two days.

As Tropical Storm Roke continues to approach the area, the rain will be the biggest concern here for Japan. Threat for flooding and landslides a big concern. And of course expect significant travel delays.

What about your (inaudible)? Let's go ahead and check that out next?

32 in Tokyo, that is pretty warm conditions in Tokyo for this time of year.

Let's go ahead and head to Europe, because I do want to talk to you about the warm temperatures here. And we do have some cooler air that's pushing in from central into eastern Europe. So that 25 in Budapest today will definitely go down by tomorrow. That 31 in (inaudible) will feel more like into the lower 20s as we head through tomorrow.

We're even seeing a little bit of a cool down across places like Rome and even into Madrid that had been in the 30s as we ended the weekend. Athens still at 29 at this hour. But you saw that pool of cooler air right in this area here in the middle of western -- we should say of central Europe. That includes in Munich, by the way, where it's only 9 degrees right now. Kristie, the big party is on in Munich. You know what I'm talking about, October Fest. It's the largest outdoor festival in the world. And right now they're having to deal with a little bit of rain through that region. You know, this is area of low pressure that extends all the way from Scandinavia all across central Europe and now beginning to to cross through the Adriatic here. Looking a lot nicer here for France and Spain and south of France also looking pretty good right now.

Let's go ahead and head back to you.

STOUT: All right. Thank you, Mari.

You know rain is not going to spoil a festival all about beer. You know, the party is going to go on.

RAMOS: That's right.

STOUT: Mari Ramos, thank you very much indeed. Take care. Happy Monday.

Now Russian politicians and businessmen, they certainly have a reputation as tough guys, but this could be taking it a bit too far. Now here's a clip of a TV debate between two prominent Russian businessmen. Tensions are obviously rising between the banking magnates Alexander Lebitiv (ph) on the left, he's in the gray suit, and the property developer Sergei Polansky (ph). And Lebitiv (ph) lands a jab in Polansky's (ph) face.

He knocked Polansky (ph) off his chair. He throws another punch, which misses, and Polansky (ph) for his part, he doesn't appear to be hurt. And later, reports say that Lebitiv (ph) justified the assault by saying Polansky (ph) behaved in an aggressive, threatening manner. And he claims he had no choice but to quote, and I'm quoting here, "neutralize him."

So who exactly is Alexander Lebitiv (ph), a man not afraid to get physical if he feels insulted? Well, he is reported as being a former KGB agent who made his fortune in banking. He owns the British newspapers The Independent and the Evening Standard.

Now Lebitiv (ph) is also co-owner of Russia's leading opposition newspaper with ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Forbes magazine lists him as number 564 on its year 2011 world's billionaires list with an estimated net worth of some $2.1 billion. So this man who owns all that did this.

You know, we have to watch it again.

No word yet on any charges will be filed when he throws that punch.

On repeat here.

Now on the collision course at the United Nations. Up next on News Stream, the Palestinians are pushing ahead on a controversial bid for full UN membership. Israel predicts failure, but will Israel be the one that's surprised?


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now this week we could see one of the most dramatic diplomatic showdowns in years at the United Nations as the general assembly convenes. And despite vehement opposition from Israel and the United States, Palestinian leaders are pushing for full statehood from the UN security council.

Now supporters carried a symbolic chair to the UN. There were also demonstrations in the West Bank. But Germany warns of a dangerous confrontation if the push for statehood continues. And even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he expects a very difficult situation.

Now the U.S. is promising to veto any move by the Palestinians to get full UN membership from the security council, but the Palestinians have another option. Our senior UN correspondent Richard Roth walks us through the complicated process.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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.

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.

RIYAD MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN UN 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 full UN member state would not be granted.


STOUT: Now just ahead here on News Stream, he is the newly crowned U.S. Open champion. But Novak Djokovic came crashing back to Earth on Sunday quite literally. Alex Thomas will show you how next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now he barely had time to draw breath after the U.S. Open, but some of the biggest stars in men's tennis they were back in action at the weekend. And this hectic schedule has attracted some criticism as Alex Thomas can tell us now -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, it's been another wave of dissent from the world's top tennis players after a grueling round of Davis Cup matches. Their planning to meet at a tournament in China next month to discuss the busy international calendar with a possibility of strike action not being ruled out.

The long running issue came to a head over the weekend, especially in the semifinal between Serbia and Argentina. This is Juan Martine Del Potro taking the opening set against the new U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic. Djokovic initially stumbling in the opening set, although he carried on playing.

And this all came less than a week after Djokovic's arduous triumph at Flushing Meadows in the U.S. Open. The Serb's frustrations clear to see. He then collapsed in pain during the second set and was forced to retire handing victory to Argentina.

The world number one close to tears and eventually had to be helped off the court.

So the defending David Cup champions are out. And Argentina will face Spain in the final. Rafael Nadal producing a herculean effort to inspire the Spanish to victory over France. Because like Djokovic, Nadal had also contested that U.S. Open final last Monday.

He was facing Joe Wilfred Tsonga. And this the second of two singles matches in three days. The world number two showing no ill effects from his demoralizing defeat to Djokovic at Flushing Meadows. He took the opening set against Tsonga 6-love, didn't let up in the second set taking it by 6-2.

There was no way back for his French opponents. Nadal winning the final set by 6-4 and then criticizing tennis bosses for the busy calendar. Andy Murray said much the same after Britain's Davis Cup match.

Nadal's mood won't have been helped by the performance of his favorite football team on Sunday. Sami Khadira was sent off as Real Madrid suffered a shock 1-nil defeat in La Liga away to Levante.

Real boss Jose Mourinho accusing the home side of being good at the dirty side of football. It means they lost ground on Spanish champions Barcalona who hammered Osasuna 8-nil on Saturday, although of course it's Valencia who are top of the table.

And despite repeated denials, talented Brazilian forward Neymar is still expected to sign for Real Madrid later on Monday according to reports in the Spanish and Brazilian press. Although he wouldn't leave Santos for Spain until next year.

Now like Barca, England's defending champions are scoring goals for fun. And Manchester United have made their best start to a season under manager Alex Ferguson after beating Chelsea 3-1.

Chris Smalling headed United into an early lead. And they doubled their advantage eight minutes before half-time with a spectacular solo goal from Nani.

Wayne Rooney made the score 3-nil before Fernando Torres eased the pressure on his place by pulling back a goal for Chelsea. But it was five wins out of five for United. And they are at the top of the Barclay's Premier League.

That's all the sport for now, Kristie. Back to you in Hong Kong.

STOUT: Alex, thank you and take care.

Now a new development in Singapore is fusing man-made technology with nature. Liz Neisloss checks out the steel super trees.


LIZ NEISLOSS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's gardening in a hard hat. But this isn't your typical garden, this is Singapore, a country with plenty of seed money to go green with style. The delicate plants are growing vertically in a 40 meter frame made of steel and concrete. They are aptly named super trees.

These are a few of the 18 super trees in one of Singapore's most ambitious green project. Garden by the Bay will cover 101 hectares in downtown Singapore. Its aim, to bring together the best of nature and technology.

PETER MORRIS, GRANT ASSOCIATES: The scale of the super trees is unmatched. People have done planted naturally inspired structures before around the world, but never on this scale and never this quantity. And never in the heart of a city.

NEISLOSS: When completed, these trees will display a staggering array of fauna. Some will even have solar panels to power other features in the garden, including two state of the art conservatories.

We're here inside one of the major architectural features of this garden. This is one of two massive conservatories built to demonstrate different climates. The plan is to fill this space with more than 200,000 plants, plants from nearly every continent.

To keep this conservatory cool in Singapore's tropical environment engineers developed a biomass energy system -- dried leaves, grass cuttings and horticultural waste from around Singapore.

KENNETH ER, GM, GARDENS BY THE BAY: What we wanted to do which is set a new benchmark in the way we develop gardens and also the way we manage it. I think this project has required us to actually go beyond just landscape architecture and architecture in itself. And then pulling together multidisciplinary team of people from horticulturalists right through to mechanical engineers, civil engineers and environmental engineers to actually put together the solutions and integrate the solution and design for the gardens in itself.

NEISLOSS: The project won't be finished until next year, but interest is already high. Features, like the super trees are sure to please the crowds, but will visitors walk away with a greater understanding of the environment?

KIAT TAN, CEO, GARDENS BY THE BAY: The vow is the hook, because this is a garden to bring in people who would normally don't go to gardens. And so you have to wow them first, bring them in, and then show them actually beneath all that wow there is a very serious message here of biodiversity and sustainability.

NEISLOSS: The government has put $800 million behind this message, an investment for what organizers say will be a blue print for green spaces in the future.

Liz Neisloss, CNN, Singapore.


STOUT: And finally it is time to go over and out there. And mark a key day, because today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Aye, the founders of this web site they've been encouraging people to talk like a pirate on September 19th since 1995. And it has gained steam on social media ever since.

Now just look at this, it's even recognized as a day on Google.

So if you want to impress your mates with more than just an arr, and an aye, let's give you a taste of more advanced pirate lingo. And while you can call someone a lubber, that's short for landlubber, or drink some grog, if you really want to insult someone, you want to call them a bilge rat.

Now according to, the bilge is the lowest part of the ship and it's filled with slime. So a bilge rat is a rat that lives in the worst part of the ship.

And the site also has the top 10 pirate pick-up lines, but we thought we'd better stay away from reading those outloud.

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