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NEWS STREAM

NTC Fighters Enter Last Gadhafi Stronghold; Israel Urges Direct Talks With Mahmoud Abbas Amid Palestinians' Bid for U.N. Statehood; Yemen Crackdown; Palestinian Statehood Plea To UN Still Go; Typhoon Bears Down On Japan

Aired September 20, 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 I want to take you straight to breaking news in Libya. Anti-Gadhafi fighters have just entered the southern city of Sabha, and you'll remember this was one of the colonel's last remaining strongholds.

Our Ben Wedeman is traveling with the revolutionary fighters, and he reported this just minutes ago as the NTC troops entered the city.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman, coming live to you from the southern Libyan city of Sabha. We are with troops of the National Transitional Council, who have entered this city just within the last 45 minutes.

As you can see, they're encountering at this point no resistance from loyalist forces. There's a sparse presence of civilians on the street. These are all troops who have come into Sabha from all over the northern parts of Libya. They've driven 700 kilometers to get to the city.

This is, as I said, the fourth largest city in Libya. We don't know about the situation in the center of the city, whether it is still occupied by loyalist forces or not.

Now, there was much talk in the preceding days that this might be a big battle, that there would be a lot of resistance, because Sabha is traditionally thought of as a city loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. But what we're seeing so far is very little in the way of resistance.

Amid (ph) this celebration, I watched as one of the green flags of Gadhafi's Libya was brought down from a water tower and replaced by the red, black and green banner of pre-Gadhafi Libya. I see just up ahead they're clearing away some of the barricades that were in the streets. But as I said, the only gunfire we have heard until this point has been celebratory gunfire. We did see some smoke rising from the center of town, but surprisingly, there is not much in the way of resistance.

We do know that overnight, too, rebel fighters were killed, four were wounded in an uprising from around Sabha's international airport. But it would seem the southern part of the city -- in fact, one force came from the south of (INAUDIBLE) north. And certainly this city has (INAUDIBLE) for the future of Moammar Gadhafi (INAUDIBLE) Libyan city of Sabha.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, this is video that you will only see here on CNN. That was our Ben Wedeman reporting earlier from inside Sabha. Again, NTC fighters have entered the city.

Now, meanwhile, the NTC is still struggling to take control of the entire country. More than 20 revolutionary fighters have been killed in Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte in recent battles. The NTC says loyalist forces are hiding amongst civilians there, and they have also accused pro-Gadhafi fighters of starving civilians in Bani Walid and killing anyone who tries to join the revolution. An NTC spokesman says its troops are planning a major assault on Bani Walid today.

Meanwhile, world leaders are gathering in New York for the 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly, and they're arriving just in time for a high- stakes diplomatic drama. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas plans to apply to the U.N. Security Council on Friday for a full statehood for his people, and that would put him on a collision course with the U.S., which promises to veto the request.

And behind the scenes, diplomats are scrambling to find a graceful way out. And we're told that one possibility might be for Mr. Abbas to bring a letter to the council seeking statehood, but not forcing a vote.

Now, whatever happens, Palestinian leaders say it is well past time for change for their people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SALAM FAYYAD, PRIME MINISTER, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL AUTHORITY: The next volatile step and one that is overdue is an end to the Israeli occupation. If you really think about it, it's a key objective of ours. That is, to have a state of our own where we Palestinians can live as free people, the dignity. Along the way, of course, there are diplomatic processes, there are several political tracks and activities that have been undertaken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Israel says the Palestinians' unilateral bid for statehood could further destabilize the area that's already quite volatile.

Now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging Mr. Abbas to take part in direct talks instead, and the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. tells CNN that Palestinian leaders are making empty promises to their people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON PROSOR, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: This is like a bit of in the world of fantasy, or I think a march of folly, because what happens, you raise expectations, you do something symbolic, which is really very nice, and it doesn't change anything on the ground. So what happens with the people? You raise their expectations, frustrations are raised, and there's no real essence in what happens on the ground.

And then what happens, that people, you know, go over to violence. And especially now, I think the most important thing -- and the Israeli prime minister -- we're not against the Palestinians. We're not against a Palestinian state. The Israeli prime minister is saying that day in and day out.

Yes, are we able to really forfeit everything that we think is important? No. Is it hard? Yes, it's very hard.

I've been personally in those negotiations for many years. But that's the only way to move forward. There are no shortcuts to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now, CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney joins me now live from Jerusalem.

And Fionnuala, U.N. recognition is largely symbolic. So why is Israel so concerned?

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Israel is concerned for a number of reasons. It's all about borders here and land in this part of the world. And, of course, what you heard the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. refer there is the idea that expectations will be raised on one side and quieted and dampened distinctly on the other side.

This is also taking place against the uprisings that have been in the Middle East throughout this year. And there is a sense that Israel is becoming somewhat more isolated given the deteriorating relations between Israel and Turkey and Israel and Egypt.

But one might think that given Israel's strength in the region, that there wouldn't be so much to worry about, as I found out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY (voice-over): Diplomatic tensions in the region may be on the rise, but on the Dead Sea, some 1,200 Israelis were taking a more -- well, relaxed approach to an issue that deeply concerns them. But even as the volunteers bared all to take part in a photo shoot to highlight the environmental plight of the world's lowest and saltiest body of water, Israel's leaders were outlining their campaign strategy for this week.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The first goal is to ensure that this move to bypass negotiations does not succeed and is stopped in the Security Council. The second goal is to address the General Assembly and present our truth. And in my opinion, the general truth, which is our desire for peace.

SWEENEY: More than 20 years ago, the late Yasser Arafat made a declaration of Palestinian independence that is yet to result in a state. But Israel, while saying it's committed to the creation of a Palestinian state, is scrambling to make sure its voice is heard this week in New York.

Even a mere upgrade of Palestinian status at the U.N. could give them the authority to take Israel to the International Criminal Court. There are murmurings in Israeli government circles that if the Palestinians were to succeed, Israel might take punitive measures by stopping money transfers to the Palestinian Authority or ending security cooperation. Any measures could be self-defeating.

BARAK RAVID, "HAARETZ" NEWSPAPER: One of the problems is that anything you do will, in the end, harm Israel, because if Israel stops the money transfers to the PA, the PA will collapse and the security -- the Palestinian security forces will collapse, and violence will erupt.

SWEENEY: Israel's coalition government is stable, but moving forward on the peace process might open divisions, and it has serious challenges on the diplomatic front with two of its nearest and strongest allies. Relations with Turkey and Egypt, two powerhouses in the Middle East, have taken a nosedive. Egypt's interim leaders, now obligated to acknowledge the populist causes of the masses, as Turkey flexes its diplomatic muscles in a region still swaying to the beat of a democratic drum.

And so, this week, New York is seeing a plethora of high-level Israeli politicians all trying to present their case against the declaration, but also just may be hoping to find an opportunity to move things forward.

DAN MERIDOR, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER: Let's use New York for negotiations. Jerusalem and Ramallah are only 20 kilometers away, but it seems that we'll have in some day in New York a new (ph) opportunity.

SWEENEY: Mahmoud Abbas' presence at the U.N. won't result in a Palestinian state next week. Perhaps like that photo shoot at the Dead Sea, it has certainly concentrated a lot of minds.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: And it's just after 8:00 in the morning in New York, of course, as you know, Kristie, and what people will be expecting is another day of intense diplomatic and political discussions on the sidelines with the United States, Israel, and of course involving the Palestinian Authority.

STOUT: All right.

Fionnuala Sweeney, joining us live from Jerusalem.

Thank you.

Now, another issue taking center stage at the United Nations, Libya. Take a look at this.

Libya's three-colored flag is flying outside U.N. headquarters in New York. It is the same flag used by the country's revolutionary fighters and interim government. And at the U.N. later today, U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with the head of Libya's National Transitional Council.

And we'll have much more on this story just ahead.

But first, I'm going to take you now to another flash point in the Middle East, Yemen. And witnesses there are saying a violent crackdown has left dozens dead.

Numbers are hard to verify, videos difficult to come by. But if you take a look at this, this is what's claimed to show an attack on demonstrators in the southern city of Taiz. The worst violence has been in the capital, Sanaa, where residents say security forces have fired rockets and bullets at anti-government protesters.

And there are reports of more fighting in the Yemeni capital in the past few hours. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom joins us now live from Muscat, in neighboring Oman.

And Mohammed, what are you hearing?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, I've been speaking to activists and demonstrators in Sanaa today, and they're telling me that they're absolutely terrified by what's going on, that it's really horrific. This is the third day of carnage, they're saying, still battles going on in the streets.

They're hearing constant shelling and shooting all night and all day long for the third day going, and they're really afraid as to what exactly this means. Many are saying they're afraid that this is the indication that Yemen is slipping into all-out civil war.

As you mentioned before though, it's not just Sanaa where there's violence. Also, in the southern city of Taiz, eyewitnesses have told us there have been clashes there between tribesmen that are loyal to trying to protect demonstrators in that city, anti-government demonstrators, and the Republican Guard there.

But we've seen so many scenes that have been posted on YouTube. We can't verify the authenticity of these videos, but they seem to confirm what we're hearing from activists there on the scene as far as how many hundreds of thousands of people are out on the streets and how much violence they are witnessing. We're hearing that there are water cannons, that there's tear gas being dispersed to try to clear away protesters, and that it's just getting more chaotic by the hour -- Kristie.

STOUT: Mohammed, you've been reporting on this story from the very beginning. The unrest there in Yemen has been ongoing for most of the year, so why is there this sudden surge in violence?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, what we're being told right now by many of the people on the ground, the eyewitnesses that we're speaking with, is that you basically -- essentially, in the capital, in Sanaa, you have a battle going on between different military factions. One faction are soldiers that are loyal to a general who defected from the army and went to the side of the revolutionaries earlier in the year. And the other side of that battle is the Republican Guard. The Republican Guard is run by the son of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A lot of fire concentrated in the hands of those two military factions. And because of that, there's a lot of innocent bystanders and protesters, we're told, that are being caught in the middle.

Essentially, what we've heard -- and this is hard to confirm completely because we're not there on the ground and we can't get visas right now -- the problem is that you have protesters who are trying to protest and call for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. They're being protected by this faction that is loyal to the general who defected, and because of that, that faction is clashing with the Republican Guard, that's trying to protect palace installations.

So it's very chaotic. It's hard to get specific answers as to what's going on, on the ground. But we've heard from medics there and eyewitnesses, a lot of deaths, in the dozens, the past few days. Wounded, the number in the hundreds as of now -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Mohammed, President Saleh is still out of the country. He's hundreds of miles away, in Saudi Arabia. Just how involved is he in ordering the crackdown? And is his son calling the shots?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, right now President Saleh is in Saudi Arabia. And there's been a lot of speculation that perhaps he won't return to Yemen. There's been a lot of international pressure put on him to stay out of Yemen, to stay in Saudi Arabia, to step aside, and there's been a lot of pressure applied on him to sign a deal that's backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council that would have him basically transfer power peacefully to his vice president, and then to the opposition, and then call for presidential elections in the next three to six months.

The problem with that is that President Saleh, even though he says he agrees with it, he has repeatedly refused to sign on the dotted line. He's still in power.

Last week, he indicated that he would give power to the vice president, authorize the vice president to sign this accord on his behalf, but that hasn't happened. A lot of backroom deals going on right now to get that thing signed, but it hasn't happened, and the real chaos and tension is playing out on the streets in Yemen, where these battles keep going on -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Mohammed Jamjoom, joining us live from Oman.

I hope you get that visa. Thank you very much for staying fixed on the story for us.

Now, events are unfolding fast in Yemen, and the situation is also in focus half a world away, at the U.N. The 66th General Assembly is under way, and you can see the flags of member nations outside the building.

The leaders have a host of issues on the table this week, including the new Libya and Palestinian statehood, but the meeting begins with a problem that impacts everyone -- health. We'll tell you what's being done to control the growing threat from obesity and non-communicable disease like diabetes and cancer.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

And let's return to one of our top stories, Libya in the spotlight at the United Nations today.

CNN Senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth joins us now from our bureau in New York.

And Richard, NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil is there, probably just hearing the news that his forces have entered Sabha. What is on his agenda today, there at the United Nations?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, very important for him, a one-on-one meeting with President Obama. There is no doubt he would not be here in New York at the General Assembly session if it wasn't for U.S. action igniting NATO raids following the U.S. pushing at the Security Council for a resolution, where China and Russia and others signed on, though it wasn't clear at the time to them maybe that there would be such swift military action.

So, for the new fledgling Libyan transitional government, key meetings with the United States. They're going to need to rely on the United States and other Western countries who will meet at a Friends of Libya this morning for money, guidance, assistance and support. And Moammar Gadhafi's has not gone away yet.

STOUT: The credibility of the NTC, it was shaken when it gave those inaccurate statements about the capture of Gadhafi's son. There are also concerns about how united the group is.

So how much confidence do world leaders have in the NTC?

ROTH: Well, I think it's the only game in town. They do have confidence.

As we've seen though with other countries, instant revolutionaries and rebels suddenly can turn in different directions. The West and other countries have not been as involved, certainly, in 40 years with Moammar Gadhafi on the scene leading his Green Revolution. So now there's a chance to start fresh.

One U.S. official saying it's important to get it right, not to just do it quickly. They would like to know from the Libyan government their plans.

The U.N. will be on the ground providing assistance in the next three months with some ideas and think tank people before a bigger United Nations operation is expected to be there regarding monitoring and the establishment of elections, free elections, that certainly they have not been used to in Libya. And that Libyan flag representing the National Transitional Council and the efforts it achieved in overcoming Gadhafi is now flying at U.N. grounds. Gadhafi's green flag has been up, alphabetically order, in the U.N. ranking there outside the United Nations.

STOUT: All right.

Richard Roth, joining us live from New York.

Thank you.

So who still supports Gadhafi? Our Nic Robertson found a man in Niger who fought for the loyalists in Libya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wanighi tells me he signed up as an unpaid volunteer as a gesture of thanks to Gadhafi.

MOHAMMED WANIGHI, PRO-GADHAFI FIGHTER (through translator): He did for us what our leaders didn't do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: You'll hear more of that conversation straight ahead, right here on NEWS STREAM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

And let's go back to that breaking news you've had from Libya. Anti- Gadhafi forces have entered the southern town of Sabha. Our Ben Wedeman, he's been traveling with the revolutionary fighters. We're trying to get back in touch with him, and once we do, we'll bring him to you live, right here on CNN.

Now, just before the break I introduced you to a pro-Gadhafi fighter. He's now in Niger, but says he might go back to Libya. And his motives may not be what you suspect.

Nic Robertson has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Dusk in a remote, dusty African town on the edge of the Sahara. The man I've been waiting to meet all day is about to show up, a mercenary just back from fighting for Gadhafi. He spent time on the front lines in Misrata, where Gadhafi's forces were accused of killing civilians.

WANIGHI (through translator): We were given the order to cleanse the city street by street, road by road, to just follow in the streets. So, if someone fires at us, we just fire back, and if they hide behind a civilian, how can you say he's a civilian?

ROBERTSON: Mohammed Wanighi, a 33-year-old from Niger, tells me he drove over the border to Libya in March, direct to an army base.

WANIGHI: I had all the weapons I needed, like a fantasy.

ROBERTSON (on camera): You had an AK-47, RPG?

WANIGHI: Everyone had a Kalashnikov. Some have rocket-propelled grenades. Others have portable, recoilless rockets.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The town where we meet, where he lives, Agadez, is poor -- dirt poor -- unemployment beyond calculation, aspirations stunted.

(on camera): That's the road to Libya, several days' drive along dirt tracks, over mountains and across deserts, just to get to the border. Agadez itself is 950 kilometers, 600 miles, 12 hours' drive, along sometimes torturous roads from the capital. It is on the fringes of government control, and the government admits there is little it can do to stop young men from here joining Gadhafi's forces.

(voice-over): Wanighi tells me he signed up as an unpaid volunteers as a gesture of thanks to Gadhafi.

WANIGHI: He did for us what our leaders didn't do -- built us a hospital, paved our roads, gave us street lights. What are we supposed to do, sit with our arms folded while he's having problems?

ROBERTSON: He is no amateur fighter -- a toreg (ph), a minority with a history of rebellion here. Wanighi fought in one of those revolts against Niger's government, one widely rumored to be supported by Gadhafi.

WANIGHI: For me, he's not losing the war. He just left Tripoli. But that's not his hometown. Maybe the rebels got Sirte and Bani Walid. Then, yes, at that moment we could say the war is over.

ROBERTSON: But he doesn't think that's about to happen anytime soon. And even if it does, says the fighting will go on.

WANIGHI: Even if they get Gadhafi, it won't be over, because Libya will become like Somalia and Iraq. There are weapons everywhere. Everyone has a gun.

ROBERTSON: He left as rebels flooded into Tripoli, but tells me he and his friends are considering going back to fight.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Agadez, Niger.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now back to the breaking news in Libya. Anti-Gadhafi forces have entered Sabha.

Our Ben Wedeman is there with NTC fighters. This is something you'll see only on CNN. And Ben joins us now live.

What is happening around you?

WEDEMAN: What I'm seeing, Kristie, is the NTC fighters are really fanning out across the city, going in sort of every direction. What they're particularly interested in are the residences of Gadhafi, former Gadhafi (INAUDIBLE), associates, relatives.

I'm at (INAUDIBLE), which apparently is a house of one of the relatives. And I did watch as a young man brought out a very large sword that he picked up from inside the house. They said there are also weapons and ammunition in that house.

But really, what we're seeing is a fair amount of local inhabitants have come out to cheer on the fighters. We see others who seem to be hanging back. They're just possibly not altogether enthused about the arrival of those fighters. Sabha was traditionally thought of as a town that was sympathetic to Moammar Gadhafi, but what we've seen so far -- and I stress "so far," because we haven't really had a complete run of this city, which is the fourth largest city in Libya -- we haven't seen whether all parts of the city are now under the control of the NTC forces -- Kristie.

STOUT: NTC troops -- and you're traveling with them -- have entered Sabha, but will they be able to take and hold on to the area?

WEDEMAN: Well, by the looks of it, I mean, there really isn't much in the way of fighting. I've been in much smaller towns and villages in Libya where there was much more of a battle.

As far as I can tell, I mean, I'm not hearing much more than celebratory gunfire every once in a while. I've seen a plume of smoke coming out from the horizon, a bit to the west of here, but it doesn't look like a major battle is going. Quite to the contrary.

Everyone was expecting, Kristie, a large, bloody battle to take Sabha. But so far, not much of a battle. Pretty much, the city just let them in without a fight -- Kristie.

STOUT: There were claims that Moammar Gadhafi is there in Sabha. What is the NTC saying?

WEDEMAN: We're getting mixed messages. Some press reports saying that Gadhafi was spotted in the Manshia (ph) neighborhood in northern Sabha, but speaking to local residents, they say they have not seen any sign of Moammar Gadhafi.

Now, field commanders are telling us they believe that Abdullah Senussi, one of the people on the wanted list, and his former intelligence chief is in Sabha, or may have been. And also, (INAUDIBLE), who is one of the sons of Moammar Gadhafi, was reported to be in Sabha.

But you have to keep in mind, Kristie, that this is a part of the country that's lived for many years off of smuggling to sub-Saharan Africa. And therefore, there are many ways and tracks and guides who will help whoever wants to flee Sabha into Niger or into Chad. There are people who can do it -- Kristie.

STOUT: And I understand that you're traveling with the NTC fighters, but have you had a chance to see or talk to any of the residents of Sabha, the civilians there, and how they're reacting to this development?

WEDEMAN: Well, no. I had a chance to speak to quite a few, because they're sort of -- in some areas they come up and mob the car. We are, as far as I know, the only live camera in (inaudible).

So lots of people came up and they said they're happy that Libya is free that they were with the revolution from the beginning, but because of suppression by security forces they weren't allowed to come out. But the ones who come up to you are obviously the ones who are happy to see the arrival of the NTC forces.

I have to stress, however, that we were in a town about 70 kilometer north of here yesterday evening where a lot of people were coming up to me and saying they still liked Gadhafi. So I think that although the supporters are probably staying in homes (inaudible) or behind closed doors, maybe in a day or two or three when they seem a little more confident they'll start to come out and express themselves, peacefully perhaps, peacefully otherwise -- Kristie.

STOUT: Well, this is an incredible development and Ben Wedeman you're there to witness it all and to share it with us. Thank you very much indeed. Ben Wedeman joining us live from inside Sabha. Now that's footage you would only see right here on CNN.

Now you're watching News Stream, I'll be back right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now anti-Gadhafi fighters have just entered the southern city of Sabha. And you will remember this was one of the colonel's last remaining strongholds. A CNN team traveling with the NTC forces say they have encountered no resistance so far.

A powerful explosion has rocked Turkey's capital Ankara. Witnesses describe a terrifying scene with cars exploding and debris falling. (inaudible) press quotes the interior minister who says three people died and 15 were injured. He says a bomb caused the explosion.

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the U.S. military which barred openly gay people from the armed forces is no longer in effect starting today. The law drawn up in 1993 meant gay service members risked being discharged if they went public with their sexual orientation. President Obama signed a bill repealing the law in 2010.

Now diplomats are scrambling to prevent a showdown at the United Nations over a bid for Palestinian statehood. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas plans to request formal recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN security council on Friday. The U.S. has vowed to veto that. Now diplomats are trying to hammer out an alternative by which Mr. Abbas would deliver a letter to the council requesting statehood, but not forcing a vote.

Now the path to peace in the Middle East is well-worn. There have been many steps forward in the past two decades, but many setbacks as well. As the international community works to avoid a diplomatic showdown over Palestinian statehood at the UN, CNN's Wolf Blitzer takes a look at America's role in the struggle for peace.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: President Bill Clinton brings Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to the south lawn of the White House for the signing ceremony of the Oslo accords.

There was a dramatic handshake. At the time, nearly everyone was optimistic that it wouldn't take all that long to resolve the key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process including refugees, settlements, Jerusalem, and borders. That optimism was misplaced.

November 4, 1995 Rabin is assassinated by a Jewish extremist.

YASSER ARAFAT, PLO LEADER: I am very sad and very shocked for this awful and terrible crime.

BLITZER: Early 1996, Israel is struck by a series of Palestinian terror attacks and suicide bombings. And by May, Israelis elect a hardliner as their new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

October 23, 1998 President Clinton tries again. He invites Netanyahu and Arafat to the Wye River Plantation in Maryland. It winds up with another ceremony at the White House, but progress is limited.

BILL CLINTON, FRM. U.S. PRESIDENT: There can be no success without principle compromise. The road to peace, as always, is a two-way street.

BLITZER: Just as he's wrapping up eight years in the White House, Bill Clinton gives it one more try, this time engaging Arafat and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David outside Washington. Barak was willing to give up all of Gaza and most of the West Bank. That territory would then become the new Palestinian state. But as Clinton later told me in an interview, Arafat rejected that proposal, insisting on a complete withdrawal.

September 2000, the second Palestinian intifada begins. Then all of the key players start changing. In early 2001, George W. Bush becomes president of the United States and Ariel Sharon is elected prime minister of Israel. In 2003, the road map to peace is proposed by the Mideast Quartet composed of the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union.

November 2004, Arafat dies and Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, becomes chairman of the PLO.

2005, Sharon unilaterally expels Jewish settlers and withdraws Israeli security forces from Gaza.

ARIEL SHARON, FRM. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The world is awaiting the Palestinian response, a hand held out in peace or fire? We will respond to an outstretched hand with the olive branch. However, we will respond to terrorism forcefully.

BLITZER: In 2006, Hamas, which the U.S. and the Europeans consider a terrorist group wins Palestinian elections and takes over the Gaza Strip. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority which control the West Bank won't allow Hamas to get involved in any peacemaking efforts or decisions.

November 2008, America elects a new president who promises change.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To those who seek peace and security we support you.

BLITZER: June 2009, Barack Obama pushes his vision for a more democratic Middle East right in the heart of Egypt.

OBAMA: I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed.

BLITZER: In 2011, the Arab Spring beings transforming the Middle East.

May 2011, President Obama publicly goes further than any American president before him with this pronouncement.

OBAMA: We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.

BLITZER: Prime Minister Netanyahu calls the 1967 borders indefensible. And relations between the two allies are tested.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now News Stream will keep you posted on the Palestinian bid for statehood and all developments at the UN general assembly this week.

121 heads of state and government are gathering in New York. And for only the second time in history a health topic is on the agenda. Now the UN kicked off the week with a high level meeting on non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. They kill three in five people worldwide. It's a massive annual toll.

Now Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is trying to get nations to put the issue high on the development agenda. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now live from the UN with more. And Sanjay, why is non-communicable disease in focus this week?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think in part because of the numbers you just cited, Kristie. For some time now there's been this concern that non-communicable diseases, these chronic diseases, it was believed -- they were believed to be diseases of the developed world, of the more wealthy, of the affluent. But in fact quite the opposite is true in many places around the entire world. So a lot of these types of diseases, of which many are preventable, even some of the cancers, they realize not only has a significant health toll on younger populations of people than believed, but also a significant economic toll as well.

People being pulled out of the labor force, medical resources going to treat them, again in many places around the world. And the estimate over the next 10 years $7 trillion in preventable costs, because of preventable disease could be avoided.

So, you know, I think that's -- that's sort of a large overview of the focus. But they're also finding, I think Kristie, more than anything else at this point in history this idea that some of these problems have solutions, that they can address some of these problems even in places that are very resource poor is part of what's driving the discussions here, Kristie.

STOUT: So what is the action plan from here to stop the trajectory of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease?

GUPTA: Some of the answers are obvious to everyone, I think. Tobacco is still a big focus, more than a billion people still smoke around the world. They think that number can go up to 2 billion over the next 10 to 15 years. So a lot of places where smoking and tobacco has not been addressed as steadfast for example as it has here in New York City is going to become a big focus.

But also the idea that, for example, liver cancer, cervical cancer, some of these types of cancers can be prevented with vaccines and trying to make those vaccines available in many places around the world.

And then just the lifestyle that again we associate typically with more affluent countries, the types of foods that we eat that lead to heart disease and stroke and things like that, those types of things are being addressed as well.

But I think, you know, it is not -- it is about individual choices in terms of lifestyle decisions, but also about how societies are trying to look at chronic disease and their prevention. You hear about heart disease in younger and younger people around the world. And I think again most of these heads of state here realize that something can be done about this relatively easily.

STOUT: And it seems like a lot of the risk factors for these diseases are lifestyle related, meaning individuals and not the government can really make a difference if they made healthier choices. So are consumers simply not getting the message?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I mean probably no one knows this better than me about trying to get a message across to people about eating right and exercising and things like that. I think it sometimes falls on deaf ears for sure, but I think what ends up driving this, as we saw 10 years ago when HIV/AIDS was also thought to be due to lifestyle choices and as a result there are obstacles in terms of trying to do and achieve some of the success over the last 10 years. You see some of those same obstacles with regard to non-communicable diseases.

So that is going to be a stumbling block I think for people, but ultimately I think if healthier food choices are available, more activity becomes the norm again in all places really on Earth, than some of these things, some of these diseases can be really addressed in terms of prevention. That's going to be what they call here at the UN the best buy, spending millions of dollars now to avoid trillions of dollars in costs later on.

STOUT: Dr. Sanjay Gupta joining us live from the UN. Thank you very much indeed.

Now ahead here on News Stream, rescuers are struggling to reach remote areas in and around India rocked by a powerful earthquake.

Plus, in the eye of the storm again. Japan braces for a typhoon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now rescue efforts are continuing after Sunday's earthquake ravaged a border region between India and Nepal. And as you can see, the epicenter of the magnitude 6.9 quake is located in a mountainous part of India making it difficult to provide immediate relief. And then on top of that heavy rain and landslides have blocked roads. And according to India's home ministry the road between these two towns is still closed. Now the path is part of the national highway 31, which connects the northeast of India with the rest of the country.

And in Japan, people are preparing for a major typhoon there. More than 1 million people have been urged to leave Nagoya, but as of Tuesday afternoon the city says just 60 -- 60, six, zero, had evacuated.

Now more residents are expected to flee before the typhoon hits on Wednesday. And several areas of Japan have already seen heavy rain. And don't forget, this storm comes about two weeks after that deadly Tropical Storm Talas.

So let's get more details now from our Mari Ramos. She joins us now live from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, let's go ahead and start with that, with Talas which was just a couple of weeks ago. It killed a lot of people. It was a deadly storm in Japan. It brought record amounts of rain. And the ground is still saturated. It takes a long time to get rid of all of that water.

And they've actually lowered the threshold for warnings in the hardest hit areas of Japan that were hit by that Typhoon Talas. And those are those two areas right there.

You mentioned Nagoya. This entire region is actually under -- in red right now, under a warning because of the potential for flooding and for rain.

One of the big concerns on Nagoya is because it's so low lying, there's a lot of bays and rivers, and the concern is that a lot of water could wash up into these bays and slow down how these rivers are actually coming down here. They've already had I think it's almost 200 millimeters of rain in the past two days. So it is very significant.

The storm is still fairly far away, but they're getting a lot of rain well ahead of it. Winds -- this storm has really intensified -- 176 kilometer, gusting to more than 200. You know what, I'm going to show you where the warnings are. There they are.

This is from Japan Meteorological Agency. And look at all of this, almost every single province in Japan from Honshu all the way down to Shikoku and Kyushu are in red for flooding, landslides, heavy rain, gusty winds, gale force winds. And you know what, one of the things that is really important with this is that we could really see that core of strong winds move through some of the most densely populated areas of Japan right into the main island of Honshu.

The red is the typhoon force winds, or the hurricane force winds. And look at that, even moving possibly right over, or very close to Tokyo proper. So this is a concern.

The storm will be weakening by then, but there is a concern that we could see that core of strongest winds move through that area.

So the wind is one thing. And of course, Kristie, the rain is a huge, huge concern. 200 millimeters of rain already in Tokushima, Oita has had over 245 millimeters of rain, and that's just in 24 hours.

And look at this, there's way more rainfall to come here. This is really going to be a thing to monitor over the next couple of days. The areas in red, those localized heavy areas of rain, 25 centimeters of rain easily coming down in the next couple of days as the storm moves through here.

Back to you.

STOUT: And Mari, you're also keeping your eye on a satellite that could soon come crashing down to Earth. What's going on here?

RAMOS: Yeah, this is pretty interesting story. If you haven't been following it, this is a climate satellite that's now dead. And it's a piece of space junk basically. We have some pictures of space junk to show you. Have you ever seen this? It looks like a scene out of that movie, that Disney movie remember, WALL-E when they saw -- when you see all the space debris everywhere. Kind of that same situation.

Well, there are literally thousands of pieces of space junk that are kind of floating around so to speak. A lot of those burn up before they enter the atmosphere.

Come back over to the weather map. We're going to go ahead and look at that particular satellite that we're monitoring. This is that tracking it in real time.

The satellite right now would be over Argentina, but it's still in orbit. What NASA is saying that this satellite is actually starting to fall. And not exactly sure, Kristie, which is the really interesting thing, where this satellite will actually fall.

We're following the track of it right now. And like I said, it's moving over Argentina. It doesn't mean that this is where it's going to fall.

They're saying that it could really be anywhere in the world. A footprint of a bout 500 kilometers around the satellite is what they're saying would be the most likely scenario. And it could be anywhere, they said, anywhere in the world. But right now they're looking maybe somewhere between Canada -- maybe Canada, maybe South America. So it's still a really big target. We'll have to see what happens Thursday -- late Thursday, early Friday.

STOUT: Yeah, it's a very scary prospect here, but most of the satellite will have broken up once it enters the Earth's orbit, right? There's not a real health hazard or threat here.

RAMOS: Well, actually some of the pieces could be very large, over 300 pounds, about 130 kilograms by the time they actually fall to Earth. So they're saying if you find one, don't touch it. It could still be dangerous.

But they're saying that there's not a big threat to human. There's only a one and I think 130,000 chances -- 1 in 32,000 chances that it could actually hit a human.

STOUT: OK, good to know.

Mari Ramos, thank you very much indeed.

Mari, I know that you love all things space, you're definitely going to love this. You're looking at a video of the Earth at night from space. Now this is time lapse video made from hundreds of photos taken by an astronaut on board the International Space Station.

Now we're going to pause the video, because I want you to take a look at these clouds coming up on the right. And when I hit play, you will see what lightning looks like from space.

Now those bright flashes that you see right there on the screen, those are thunderstorms as seen from orbit. Now these photos were taken as the station flies over the coast of the Americas from North to South. And there is plenty of amazing detail to see in this video. So please check it out on our Facebook page Facebook.com/newstreamcnn.

Now a city seemingly full of peeping Toms, but they may have finally met their match.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a peeper peeper. And I'm very persistent. I - - in some ways I relate to he obsession, because I'm obsessed with watching them.

STOUT: A man on a mission just may earn the thanks of countless women. Find out if the peeping Toms get their just desserts at long last.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Rugby fans were served up a feast of tries at the world cup earlier today as the two sides playing both made history. Don Riddell has more -- Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks very much, Kristie.

Italy's rugby players had a great day at the world cup, thumping Russia in their pool C game and scoring more than 50 points in the tournament for the first time.

The Azzurri were absolutely rampant at Trafalgar Park, scoring a total of 9 tries, the first of which came after only six minutes. Italy's captain Sergio Parisse made the touchdown. And he was inspirational for his side, setting up another two tries before half-time.

In the 23rd minute here, he broke through the Russian defense passing to Giulio Toniolatti for what was his second try of the game.

Italy 24-nil ahead.

Now Russia gave a good account of themselves in their opening game against the USA, but they found the going much tougher here. Alexander Ynyushkin scored their first ever world cup try. It was historic, but academic in the end.

The Italians were well clear by halftime thank to another Parisse move, Eduardo Gorri (ph) the scorer that time.

And into the second half, more offense from the Italians. Outside center Tomasso Bienvenutti (ph) chasing down his own kick to score his second try of the game as Italy romped to victory by 53-17.

They'll be disappointed to have conceded three tries, though, and admit they'll have to work on their defense before taking on Ireland and the USA.

That's all we got time for, Kristie, but we'll have much more on world sport in two-and-a-half hours time.

STOUT: All right. Don Riddell, thank you very much indeed.

Yo, peeping Toms in New York City, watch out. Jeanne Moos reports they are getting a taste of their own medicine.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is the keeper of the peepers, using his video camera to document what happens on these couple of steps in New York's Union Square.

NORMAL BOB: Peeping is the act of staring up girl's skirst.

MOOS: This artist who calls himself Normal Bob found the peepers so outrageous he began recording them.

NORMAL BOB: This is methods of a peeper 2. And here's a row of peepers here. Stay tuned for methods of a peeper 4 where I'll be discussing front row peeping.

MOOS: His mission...

NORMAL BOB: You know, make a joke out of them, expose them, humiliate them.

MOOS: Women who sit on steps in skirts beware.

NORMAL BOB: A peeper pack, where more than one, two or more peepers gather.

MOOS: Now for legal reasons we had to blur the faces of all of the peepers which is a shame, because it hides what gives them away, their eyes.

Forget their obvious movie techniques like dropping change. Real peepers position themselves right in front of the woman.

NORMAL BOB: He made a passenger window onto his lap while he was sitting like this and he was looking. Here he goes, making the window, looking back through the window.

MOOS: A peeper contacted Bob through his web site to set him straight.

NORMAL BOB: What they're actually doing is trying to cover their eyes so that the girl can't see where his eyes are aiming.

MOOS: Peepers use baseball caps and cell phones to hide their eyes. Bob has an acronym for their techniques.

NORMAL BOB: The MACMA is the make-believe acting casual milling about.

MOOS: Though sometimes they don't even bother acting busy.

NORMAL BOB: Just stand and stare, just no shame to the game.

MOOS: Women tend to either be oblivious or to ignore it. And when we told this actress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is creepy. It is creepy. But I mean, relax and enjoy it. Thank god I have my purse between my legs.

MOOS: But their audacity is amazing.

NORMAL BOB: Sitting directly between them staring up their skirts.

MOOS: And if peeping isn't bad enough there's picture peeping. This guy seems to walk around with his video camera rolling held low. It's illegal to surreptitiously record someone's private parts. But plan old peeping isn't against the law.

As for Bob himself.

NORMAL BOB: I'm a peeper peeper and I'm very persistent. I -- in some ways I relate to the obsession, because I'm obsessed with watching them.

MOOS: Wherever you got them, keep them to yourself.

Jeanne Moos, CNN...

NORMAL BOB: This is front row peeping at its best.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

END