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Saleh's Surprise Return to Yemen; Clashes Erupt in West Bank; The Prospect of Palestinian Statehood Prompts Israeli Concern; Palestinian Protesters Clash with Israeli Security; Mahmoud Abbas Undeterred At United Nations

Aired September 23, 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 with another slump for the world's stock markets. Traders are limping to the finish line after a week marred by calls for caution from some of the biggest names in finance.

Plus, Yemen's president is now home. Some crowds celebrate on the streets of Sanaa, others protest Ali Abdullah Saleh's return.

And all eyes on the All Blacks as New Zealand gears up for the most hotly- anticipated game of the Rugby World Cup.

Now, it has been another volatile week on the stock market, so let's get straight to the numbers. And as you can see, we've got a number of red arrows across the board in Europe, some significant losses.

Earlier, markets rose on the back of a promise from the G-20 nations to take all necessary steps to stabilize the economy, and it was a similar story in Asia. The markets in Hong Kong and Sydney both lost around 1.5 percent. But the standout loser today was in Seoul.

The KOSPI ended the day down more than 5.7 percent. So what's driving all this volatility?

Now, let's go to another story that we're watching today all across the West Bank. Palestinians are preparing to watch today's upcoming United Nations address by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Giant television screens have been set up in city centers, but tensions may also be reaching a boiling point in some areas, as Mr. Abbas prepares to request U.N. recognition for a Palestinian state.

We are seeing clashes erupt near a West Bank checkpoint. Palestinian youth have been burning tires and throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, who fired back with tear gas. And we will keep you updated on the situation there as we bring you live pictures and updates from there on the ground.

Now, let's turn our attention to Yemen. Media reports say that President Ali Abdullah Saleh has called for a cease-fire, and here you see a massive crowd in Sanaa. They're celebrating his sudden return, but large protests against his homecoming are also taking place.

And you'll remember, Saleh, he survived an attack on his palace back in June. This is how he looked in his first public appearance from Saudi Arabia. That's where he received medical treatment. Now, Saleh suffered severe burns and shrapnel wounds in the attack.

And here he is on Monday with the Saudi King. Saleh, he looks significantly better after three months of recuperation in Riyadh. And still, few thought he would keep his pledge to return home.

Now, let's bring in our Mohammed Jamjoom, who has many contacts in Yemen. He joins us from the neighboring Gulf state of Oman.

And Mohammed, what is the latest you're hearing about the clashes in Sanaa?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, just to reiterate what you mentioned a week ago, we have it confirmed now that President Ali Abdullah Saleh has called on all the different warring parties in Yemen to a cease-fire. He wants to see a cease-fire and easing of tensions. That's been reported on state television. There's now a statement on the state-run news agency.

As far as the latest on the streets of Yemen, eyewitnesses, activists, even politicians, they're telling me the situation remains very, very tense. Reportedly, earlier, there were some clashes, a few injuries. It's calmed down since then, although there are still tens of thousands of people in the streets of the capital of Sanaa.

You have tens of thousands of pro-Saleh demonstrators that are out there waving placards, showing the picture of Ali Abdullah Saleh, and waving Yemen flags. We've heard reports that military units today were firing rounds of celebratory gunfire upon hearing the news of Saleh's return.

But on the other side of that fence, in Change Square in Sanaa, you have tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators camped out there. That has been the epicenter of the anti-government movement for months now in the capital.

We also have reports of thousands of demonstrators that are demonstrating against Saleh in other cities in Yemen, as well as Taiz, in the south. So it's very tense, and the people that I'm speaking with are saying they are concerned that later in the day there could be clashes because it is volatile, because there have been clashes this week, and because there are so many different people out there, both pro-government and anti-government in the streets now, and they're worried that they could (AUDIO GAP).

STOUT: OK. Mohammed, we lost you for a quick second there, but I think the line has been reestablished.

More on this cease-fire announced. Some media reports saying that President Saleh has called for a cease-fire even as his mere presence, his return to the country, is stoking more violence. So, Mohammed, can a cease-fire even be reached at this point?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, that really remains to be seen. I mean, we've seen so many mediation efforts on so many fronts the past few months, really in failure. Even the last few days, when there were clashes going on, the vice president tried to call for a cease-fire. That was a very tenuous cease-fire. There were still clashes taking place in the past few days, and that was even after hundreds of people were wounded and dozens of people killed in the past week when clashes had happened and the international community was condemning the Yemeni government for the violence and calling for all sides to calm down.

You know, President Saleh is a very controversial figure, and there's a lot of anger in Yemen directed at him. Government officials I spoke with today and activists all said to me they didn't think he was going to come back. Even though Saleh has been promising to return, and he's been defiant about that, everybody seemed to think that he would bow out gracefully, stay in Saudi Arabia a bit longer, empower his vice president to sign a power transfer deal.

For months now, several people have said -- many, many governments have said that they believe that if Saleh returned, that it would make Yemen more volatile at a time when that country can't afford any more volatility because there's so much chaos there. So it really remains to be seen, if he can effect a cease-fire, even though he is trying to at this hour -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Mohammed Jamjoom, joining us live from Oman.

Thank you very much for that.

Now, let's go back to the West Bank. We're seeing pictures of clashes near a checkpoint, and these are live pictures. And as you can see, Palestinian youths are there walking on the street. Earlier, we saw youths burning tires, throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, who fired back with tear gas. And all of this, it comes as Palestinians are preparing to watch today's upcoming United Nations address by the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

You can see there a Palestinian protester wearing a gas mask there in the West Bank. And you can see tensions have already risen to a certain degree, and they could reach a boiling point in some areas, as Mr. Abbas prepares to request U.N. recognition for a Palestinian state.

Live pictures there of the West Bank. And we'll continue to monitor the situation for you here on CNN.

Now, let's show you some taped pictures earlier of the scenes I described just now of the Palestinian youths, the protesters, facing off with the Israeli soldiers. I think we have that video queued up for you.

It's taped images earlier. Let's bring it up for you in just a moment. But as I say, we will continue to watch the situation there.

I think here it is right now.

OK. Now, these are taped scenes from the West Bank. This, from about an hour ago. We're seeing Palestinian protesters there in the street earlier, clashing with Israeli soldiers. Already tension ahead of an historic moment to take place later today at the United Nations, when, in just a few hours, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, will be addressing the U.N. General Assembly.

You see quite clearly there in the West Bank tires being burned by the Palestinian protesters there. And we continue to watch this situation, some dramatic images here. Again, these are taped images from about 40 minutes -- about an hour ago from the West Bank clashes erupting there in the West Bank.

And now we turn to live pictures from the scene. You see people there with gas masks, emergency workers there arriving at the scene. Now the ambulance there in the background, obviously in response to the events that we witnessed in earlier footage some 40 minutes ago.

And, of course, all this taking place ahead of that anticipated address by the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, at the U.N. General Assembly later today, where he's expected to deliver a letter to the U.N. secretary-general requesting full U.N. membership and recognition for a Palestinian state. There were fears that a veto of that statehood bid would result in renewed violence in the area, as we're seeing here.

We're seeing confrontation, clashes erupting already in the West Bank, ahead of that address by the Palestinian Authority president. Live pictures there from the West Bank. We will continue to watch this scene for you as it plays out.

OK. I understand that we have Richard Roth live in New York, joining us now just to --

And Richard, it is incredible. Just hours before the Palestinian Authority president is due to speak, already reaction there on the West Bank.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: And that's what some had feared, this type of violent reaction, perhaps, if the U.S. vetoes the planned Palestinian statehood bid to be submitted, which you mentioned earlier.

I'm joined by Elise Labott, CNN's State Department correspondent.

Elise, you've been following this story for years, like myself. You've traveled with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Tell us what the Palestinians have told you privately about their statehood bid and whether they think it could really succeed.

All right. I guess we don't have Elise there, or I don't see her. But Elise has told me certainly in her many conversations with the Palestinians that they are willing to certainly take the chance.

One of their foreign dignitaries, Nabil Sha'ath, has said, look, we're not the Mafia, we deserve our own state. We're willing to call -- we're not bluffing. We want a state. And they're going to give it a few weeks, at least, at the Security Council.

Kristie, the Palestinian leader, Mr. Abbas, is going to meet privately with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and he will formally give him the letter. And then, in that speech, which should be greeted by large applause in the assembly hall, he's going to talk about his statehood bid.

Israel thinks it's a counterproductive effort, it will not help produce long-lasting peace talks that will lead to a two-state solution. Everybody knows this statehood bid is coming though. So there's been a lot of talk whether the Palestinians have been up or down in their lobbying efforts. It's here, and now comes the diplomacy at the Security Council regarding the votes -- Kristie.

STOUT: You know, Richard, it has been incredible. All this year, we have seen a number of regimes topple and fall in North Africa and the Muslim world, across the Arab world. We thought that the Arab Spring would be the focus at the U.N. General Assembly this week, but because of this Palestinian statehood bid, the crisis in the Middle East, and these events that we're watching unfold live on our screen, the confrontation between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers there on the West Bank, this has become the focus there at the U.N. General Assembly.

Your thoughts on that?

ROTH: Yes, but it's -- the real focus is going to be inside the Security Council in the next few weeks. Will the Palestinians get the needed nine votes from the countries -- of the 15 countries on the Security Council?

They don't want to have the embarrassment of not even getting that. I think they'd rather have the veto they expect at least as a badge of honor that they tried.

The United Kingdom prime minister, David Cameron, said a resolution, a statement, statehood like this, that's not going to work. It needs two sides talking together. Israel has to stop building settlements.

It's going to be an interesting state of play at the U.N. when the whole show of the General Assembly leaves town. But, yes, violence has been a concern, but there's been violence before in this situation.

For the Palestinians, they feel like they've been left out as everybody has covered all the hoopla from Tunisia to Yemen and where there have been efforts. They feel now is the time, they need to join the ranks, be the 194th member of the U.N.

Whether that indeed happens, not clear. They could always go for the upgraded observer state status in the General Assembly, some new rights, some new powers, but still not with the flag hanging outside the building and the full rights of the United Nations member country.

STOUT: All right.

Richard Roth there, joining us live from New York.

Thank you, Richard.

CNN's Kevin Flower is joining us next. He's monitoring the situation there.

And Kevin, how do you explain these events that we're seeing now live on our screen? Are protesters anticipating a veto to the Palestinian bid for statehood?

KEVIN FLOWER, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Kristie, it's worth noting --

STOUT: OK. Unfortunately, we lost Kevin Flower there. We'll try to resume that connection with him.

But as you can see, nerves are on edge there on the West Bank. Live pictures there on your screen in the Palestinian territories and in Israel, ahead of today's speeches by leaders Abbas and Netanyahu.

Fionnuala Sweeney reports as some Israeli settlers are taking matters into their own hands.


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A nighttime military activity gets under way in the Israeli settlement of Susiya in the West Bank, but this is not the Israeli army. These are local settlers on exercise.

The scenario: a Palestinian gunman has come into their settlement and taken over their house. All are volunteers, reservists in the Israeli army, teachers, farmers, businessmen and lawyers by day. By night, fast responders prepared to defend their settlement in the event of an attack until the army arrives.

Often a flash point for violence between Israelis and Palestinians, the West Bank is a little more tense than unusual these days now that Mahmoud Abbas has gone to the United Nations to seek recognition of a Palestinian state. What might happen on the ground after he leaves New York is at the back of everyone's mind.

YITZHAK KLEIN, SUSIYA RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE (through translator): We have no interest in what's happening this month of September. However, we won't let anyone into the town because that's what we're here for.

SWEENEY: The team coordinates their actions with the Israel Defense Forces. Their equipment is issued by the army. Elsewhere in the West Bank, on a main road used by both Israelis and Palestinians, people power of a different kind. But these are not Palestinians showing support for Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N., but local and international members of recently formed committees, first responders to any attacks on Palestinian villages.

TOM ROBERT, POPULAR COMMITTEE: We just got a call from (INAUDIBLE), just south of Nablus. Settlers from Yitza (ph) settlement have just come into the village, and they're attacking people in the village and attacking cars and property.

SWEENEY: The cars are welcomed and guided through the village in question to the spot where the Israeli army has been keeping settlers and villagers apart. The committee's stated purpose, to document disturbances to pass on to human rights groups and journalists in order to help Palestinian villagers. Their actions aren't coordinated with the Israeli army.

FOUD ATTA, POPULAR LOCAL COMMITTEE (through translator): Journalists are not interested in the story here, and the coverage of Palestinians being attacked by settlers is neglected. That's why we're trying to document what's going on here. We hope in the future we can help more.

SWEENEY: By the time they arrive at the scene of the trouble, the settlers are nowhere to be seen. The Palestinian youth now turn their anger on the army. They're soon dispersed by tear gas from the soldiers. When the diplomatic smoke clears in New York, thousands of miles away, nerves on the ground will still be unsettled.

Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN, Jerusalem.


STOUT: And still to come here on NEWS STREAM, fans are fighting for the hottest tickets so far for the Rugby World Cup. One nation's All Blacks attack long-term rival's France this weekend.


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

And you're looking here at a video rundown of all the stories we're covering on the show today. And like many people around the world, yes, we're also keeping an eye on the satellite that is heading back to Earth in the coming hours.

Now, here's a look at the live Google tracking map. And keep in mind, the satellite travels thousands of kilometers in just minutes, and it is tumbling in unpredictable ways. So NASA says it is still unable to say exactly where it will come crashing down.

So let's take a closer look at this six-ton spacecraft.

Now, most of it, it's made of aluminum, and it will burn up in the atmosphere, but the bits labeled here could reportedly make it to Earth. And the largest is estimated nearly 160 kilograms.

We'll continue to keep an eye on this for you.

Now, they are one of Europe's leading football clubs, but Arsenal have made their worst start to a season in more than half a century.

Let's turn to Alex Thomas for more on that and the rest of sports.

Yes, and some interesting thoughts from star striker Theo Walcott in just a second, Kristie.

We start though with golf's Tour Championship which is developing a "Back to the Future" feel for Keegan Bradley. The 26-year-old rookie finds himself once again in the city where he won last month's U.S. PGA championship.

And this birdie at 14 put him into the lead at a different Atlanta course, East Lake. Bradley beat Jason Dufner in that major in August, and Dufner is very much in the mix again, picking up a shot at the 15th to join his fellow American at four under par.

Now on to Chez Reavie at the next hole, another player getting the short stick working well, birdie parts moving him to four under two.

Hunter Mahan dropped a shot at the 17th, but recovered in style at the final hole, again for a birdie to finish three under par. The ball racing into the hole.

But it was Bradley who was the star turn on Thursday. A birdie at the penultimate hole was his fourth on the back nine, put in six under for the tournament, a lead of two strokes.

Now, Arsenal striker Theo Walcott has described the club's recent bad runner results as "relegation form." Speaking to CNN, the England international admits the team needs to improve defensively and says things can't get any worse. He also gave his backing to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who's been under pressure following the site's (ph) poorest start to a season in more than half a century.


THEO WALCOTT, ARSENAL PLAYER: And the results, as we've seen, are not great. If you want to read the league, you know, the way we start it looks like relegation form. But we just can't dwell on it now. We need to forget about the results.

We managed (ph) to get three (ph) goals (INAUDIBLE) and still lose two goals away from home. (INAUDIBLE) for a long time and we still lose. So we just need to get it right as a whole defensive unit, not just that form (ph), the whole team. We just need to, you know, defend better and just look on the up now. It can't get any worse.


THOMAS: You can see a full version of that interview with Pedro Pinto and Theo Walcott in a few hours' time on "WORLD SPORTS."

Now, Australia has bounced back from its shock Rugby World Cup defeat to Ireland last week by thrashing the United States in the latest Pool C match.

The Wallabies started this game strongly, showing their intent with an early try. Quade Cooper to Kurtley Beale, who set up Robert Horne to score the first try at the match. Although the U.S. worked hard to keep this game as a close contest, and J.J. Gagiano went over for a U.S. try and caught five points back, the fans though were little to cheer about after that as Australia began crossing the line almost at will.

(INAUDIBLE) passing to Mitchell here, who dragged several U.S. players over the line with him. And there was even a hat trick for Adam Ashley-Cooper. This one, running almost the full length of the field to score his third try of the game. Australia winning 67-5.

That's all the sports for now -- Kristie.

STOUT: Alex, thank you.

And still to come on NEWS STREAM, a sneak peak at our new CNN Freedom Project documentary.


ANIL KAPOOR, ACTOR: Human slavery in today's modern world, it's unacceptable, it's unpardonable. We should try our best to do whatever we can to eradicate it completely.


STOUT: Bollywood star Anil Kapoor tells us how he is working to help end sexual slavery in India.


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

Now supporters of Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh are out in force on the streets of Sanaa celebrating his homecoming. And government officials say he is now returned to the country after three months in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. Media reports say President Saleh is calling for a cease fire to stop the escalating violence between loyalists and dissident forces backing anti-government protesters.

Now the pope is in the eastern German city of Erfurt on the second day of his state visit to Germany. And earlier today he met with members of the Muslim community and called for greater dialogue and mutual respect. On Thursday, he celebrated mass with worshippers in Berlin and thousands marched in protest against his visit.

And the Palestinians are going ahead with their bid for full UN membership. And later today, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will submit and application to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon. Now the United States has vowed to block the bid should it reach the security council. And President Obama says peace talks with Israel must get back on track.

And ahead of today's UN address by the Palestinian Authority president Israel is on high alert. Looking at live pictures from the West Bank clashes have erupted at the Qalandia Crossing there in the West Bank now Palestinian youth earlier. We saw the taped video. They confronted Israeli soldiers. They were hurling rocks, burning tires. And soldiers had fired back with tear gas. We see live pictures there from the scene. Israeli soldiers there armed in riot gear anticipating more confrontations with Palestinian protesters there at this crossing at the West Bank.

Now a number of Palestinians were planning to turn out outside, large TV screens have been set up in anticipation of this address by the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will be -- he's due to give that address at the United Nations later today in just a few hours. And right before that, deliver that letter to the UN Secretary-General requesting full UN membership.

The Palestinian quest where statehood has been in focus at the UN General Assembly all this week. Early this week in Ramallah we had our Fionnouala Sweeney report on the peaceful rallies in support of this Palestinian bid for UN statehood, for UN recognition. And today we're seeing these -- as the confrontation between Palestinian protesters, Palestinian youths there at the West Bank and Israeli soldiers.

Now things have tempered down a bit, but earlier about an hour ago we did see scenes of Palestinian protesters throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, burning tires, burning other objects there, confronting the Israeli security presence there. And right there on your screen they are both in fact live pictures. As you can see a few Palestinian protesters are there on the streets.

And the Israeli security forces are clearly out in force. And we continue to watch the situation there. Two different vantage points. Live cameras there at that crossing in the West Bank.

Now we will continue to follow these pictures throughout the show. You can continue to watch them in the little video box that we will place in the bottom corner of the screen.

Now meanwhile, at the United Nations, the requests for Palestinian statehood, recognition could be doomed to fail even before its made. Let's get more now from our senior UN correspondent Richard Roth in New York. And our U.S. State Department producer Elise Labott.

So, Richard take it away.


The clashes probably shouldn't surprise anyone. And there's going to be a lot of emotion later on when Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, formally announces the statehood bid by the Palestinians. Elise, what do you think? We've seen these demonstrations this morning in -- in the Middle East, but this really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. And is that really going to deter the United States from vetoing any statehood bid in the security council?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN PRODUCER: I don't think so, Richard.

But I just spoke to a senior Israeli official and some Arab diplomats and this is what everyone was fearing all along that this bid by Palestinian President Abbas would create such expectations, raise expectations so that if it wasn't going as people would hope that it would that it would lead to clashes, even perhaps a third intifada on the ground. And that's why the Israelis, the United States, and the Arabs -- one of the main reasons they were trying to tamp down expectations.

We both know from covering the UN for so many years that this bid in the UN Security Council is a dead end. It's not going anywhere. The U.S. is going to veto. And it's also even making -- trying to get those crucial votes to make sure that it can't even be put to a vote.

Now maybe President Abbas can go to the UN General Assembly at some point. But they are not going to get their bid for the UN Security Council. And that's why the U.S., Israelis, the Mideast Quartet -- the U.S., EU, Russia and the United Nations trying to put together this framework to jump start negotiations, because as Secretary Clinton has said the road to a Palestinian state does not lead to the general assembly floor in New York, it leads to Jerusalem where the parties should be sitting down and having negotiations, Richard.

ROTH: Abbas risked bringing these hopes up so high. What do you think of the strategy used by the Palestinians timing this statehood bid during the General Assembly week?

LABOTT: Well, some people think it's a brilliant political tactic, because the international community is dancing on a pin right now. President Abbas has all the cards, everyone is trying to see what -- that he's going to do and how they can get him to back down. The Arabs do not think this is a good idea at the UN Security Council. He is undeterred. He is going. And that's why there's so much pressure now to put together this quartet statement that President Abbas can agree to and can relaunch negotiations and probably -- and hopefully back things away from the United Nations.

President Abbas is really leaving a sword on the head of the international community as he goes back after his speech to the Palestinian territories, meets with his aids, meets with his legal committee. And he's going to let this brew for a couple of weeks before he decides what to do.

ROTH: And inside the security council the Palestinians need nine votes. I mean, the U.S., UK, may not even have to veto. You covered the United Nations Security Council. The Palestinians now, they've been lobbying this week. What happens -- this is not an instant statehood bid, which many people think was going to happen after this meeting.

LABOTT: Definitely not. I mean, the U.S. is trying to line up its votes to block against. The Palestinian officials that -- I've been walking with Palestinian officials that are trying to line up their votes on the Security Council. So even this President Abbas is not pushing this to a vote this week. He wants to line up the vote, maybe not for a final vote, maybe to have it in his pocket as the political chip as he tries to sweeten the pot, up the ante, for the peace negotiations on this quartet statement.

It's very -- a lot of intricate delicacy -- delicate diplomacy. And it's also a lot of high stakes politics.

ROTH: Speaking of delicacies, you've been talking, you've been eating with the Palestinian pancakes one morning. Definitely will have to play out.

Elise Labott in from Washington. Back to New York where she used to cover the UN with me.

Kristie, big for the Palestinians. The Israelis say it's all counter productive and potential for violence of course today or in the future in the region. Back to you.

STOUT: Richard Roth, Elise Labott, big thank you to you both.

Now quote, dreadful, despicable and abhorrent. Now those are just some of the reviews pouring in from world leaders after Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad took his turn at the UN podium on Thursday. And Brian Todd reports what Mr. Ahmedinejad said (inaudible) part of the room.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was classic Ahmadinejad. Less than seven minutes in, Iran's president blasted the U.S. and other western powers, though not by name.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Who abducted falsely tens of millions of people from their homes in African and other regions of the world during the dark period of slavery? Who used the mysterious September 11th incident as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iran?

TODD: He made this reference.

AHMADINEJAD: Who used atomic bomb against defenseless people?

TODD: But he never mentioned his own country's controversial nuclear program, believed by western intelligence to be developing a bomb.

Analyst Hillary Mann Leverett writes a blog on Iran.

Why do you think he didn't mention the nuclear program?

HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I think Ahmadinejad did not mention Iran's nuclear program because for Ahmadinejad and politicians in Iran across the political spectrum they believe Iran has a natural right to a nuclear program.

TODD: Ahmadinejad instead went off on supporters of Israel, implied that September 11th was a western conspiracy and that Osama bin Laden was killed to cover it up.

Led by the U.S., one western delegation after another walked out of the UN General Assembly. A spokesman at the U.S. mission there said Ahmadinejad turned to abhorrent anti-semetic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories.

Britain's Prime Minister was more succinct.

Leverett says these speeches help Ahmadinejad build popular support among Iran's neighbors in the Middle East who've often competed with Iran for influence there.

But they help him domestically as well. Ahmadinejad has had internal conflicts recently with the man who wields the real power in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It began, analysts say, when Ahmadinejad tried to assert his own power and fire some of Khamenei's allies. Since then, analyst Karim Sadjadpour says Khamenei's tried to immaculate Ahmadinejad.

KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Khamenei has allowed Ahmadinejad's opponents to really ravage him. And in a sense it's been useful for Khamenei, because Khamenei likes to wield power without accountability. He needs a president like Ahmadinejad who had accountability without power.

TODD: Ahmadinejad may have only one or two of these speeches left. He's term limited and will leave office in 2013.

But analysts say he and Iran's other leaders still value these speeches at the UN, conspiracy theories and all, because they do help Iran gain credibility in the Middle East. They say expect the next Iranian president to do the same, though maybe not with the same fervor.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: OK. Now lets take you back to the West Bank where we're monitoring these clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces there. Our Kevin Flower is there at the scene. He joins us now. And Kevin, can you describe the scenes of confrontation that you've been witnessing today.

KEVIN FLOWER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Kristie. It's been going on at a checkpoint here in the West Bank. It's called the Qalandia checkpoint. And this is a sort of a massive checkpoint of concrete walls and fortifications and separates the West Bank from Jerusalem.

And what's been going on here for about the past hour or so is Palestinian youths, and I have to tell you several dozen of them, just a short time ago started throwing rocks and bottles towards this -- towards this checkpoint and towards the Israeli security position along this checkpoint. And it's worth noting that today -- on a Friday, this is normally a (inaudible) day in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Oftentimes the Israelis will -- the Israeli military will put restrictions on Palestinians who can enter into Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

So that is the usual state of affairs. And (inaudible) that there are clashes here and rock throwing. And what we see today is more of that.

And obviously it takes on a little more sort of symbolic significance today as this Palestinian Authority president is going to make his speech.

I will say that most (inaudible) who are out throwing stones. They are certainly aware of what is going on politically. But this is as much of a protest about the state of their lives generally. It's something that like I said it's happened almost -- you know, almost weekly. It happened here just a few days ago.

And what we've seen from the Israeli military is that they have been responding with tear gas and rubber bullets and trying to push these rock throwers, these protesters back. I would say that the Israeli military response to this kind of thing has been fairly restrained.

This is (inaudible) plays out sort of like a cat and mouse game between protesters and the military. But the problem is it often has very deadly consequences. Just two days ago, one of these protesters was blinded apparently in one eye and (inaudible) by a rubber bullet. And it is not unheard of, not uncommon for people to be killed (inaudible) -- Kristie.

STOUT: That's right.

And thank you for contextualizing this for us, because these scenes that we're witnessing here, they do take place regularly on Fridays here in the West Bank, a scene that underscores the tension between Palestinians and the Israelis. We saw just moments ago Palestinian youth, masked, hurling a rock across and over the razor wire there.

But, Kevin, today is a particularly significant day. So to what extent has Israeli security and Israeli's military presence been stepped up in advance of Mahmoud Abbas's expected address at the United Nations?

FLOWER: In a word, massively. Israeli security, those (inaudible) and the Israeli military has been stepped up dramatically. Just at this checkpoint here, (inaudible) military (inaudible) three times, maybe even four times what we would normally see on a Friday. (inaudible) West Bank by the Israeli military has increased dramatically. A lot more security in and around the Israeli settlements that dot the West Bank.

There's also been security coordination between (inaudible) around the Israeli military as well.

So there are a lot of -- there have been a lot of concerns at least running up to the speech at the UN.

I would say by and large, the fear (inaudible) security (inaudible) massive clashes, that is not really materialized in the way that some Israeli security officials predicted, Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah. And just to reiterate here, what we're witnessing now is a state of confrontation that regularly plays out on the ground on Friday, particularly the sensitive day there in the West Bank.

We're looking at live pictures there. You see a bulldozer moving toward the camera. We have Kevin Flower on the line.

But Kevin, there are concerns that however this statehood bid plays out at the United Nations that there could be renewed violence, perhaps even another intifada on the ground there.

FLOWER: That has been one of the fears, and it's one that has been expressed by -- and especially by the Americans and the Israelis. The theory goes that it once -- one the Palestinian president tries to achieve some sort of statehood and even if he gets some sort of declaration from the UN of quasi statehood, the thought is that that will actually change nothing on the ground for Palestinians in their day-to-day lives. And thereby create a series of sort of frustrated expectations that could translate into violence (inaudible).

But also people are saying it's just something that could play out in the weeks and months ahead. And what it is, really isn't the lack of a political horizon that a lot of people say is not healthy for this ongoing 60 plus year conflict.

If one side, and let's say it's the Palestinians, feel that there is nothing -- that there's nothing on the horizon, nothing that's going to get better for them, the likelihood of violence becomes that much greater because they feel that they've got nothing to lose, Kristie.

STOUT: Kevin Flower joining us live from the West Bank. Thank you very much indeed for that update there. And you're watching CNN. We'll be back right after the break.


STOUT: Welcome back.

You're watching News Stream. Let's turn to sports and rugby fever in New Zealand.

Now earlier, Alex Thomas, he told us about Australia's win against the USA, but home fans have their eye on tomorrow's match instead. And demand is so high for this weekend's clash between France and New Zealand that some fans are prepared to miss out on plenty of the action just to be in the stadium.

Alex Zolbert explains.


ALEX ZOLBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Aukland it's hard not to notice there's a rugby tournament going on. And this just might be the hottest sporting ticket on the planet this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big match. Big match. Yeah, New Zealand-France. Amazing.

ZOLBERT: New Zealand's All Blacks taking on France, a team that's knocked them out of two previous rugby world cups.

Look online for last minute tickets to this opening round match and expect to pay about 350 New Zealand dollars, that's nearly $275 US.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all sold out. And we can't buy one.

ZOLBERT: And so in recent days more seats have been put on sale. They're even discounted. The reason why? From afar, these seats here at Eden Park look like they could be some of the best in the whole house. The problem is the view. You're almost looking up at the pitch. And you'll have to contend with the horde of photographers running the sidelines.

Some are happy to watch on TV, for free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably stay at home or go to my brother-in-laws and watch it at his house.

ZOLBERT: Or they can take part in other contests like France versus New Zealand in wine tasting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Front row with the big, muscular players from Bordeaux, Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz (ph). And then we put like this scrum half, it's a cheeky little Rose who is darting around the place.

ZOLBERT: New Zealand won the contest, by the way.

But whether it's wine or rugby this weekend, it's All Blacks and Le Bleu.

Alex Zolbert, CNN, Aukland.


STOUT: You're watching News Stream. We'll be back right after this.


STOUT: OK. Welcome back.

And let's get an update on the path of the parts of UARS, the so- called falling satellite. Mari Ramos joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, this is a great story. And of course everyone so curious and wanting to know what is going to happen with this satellite.

I want to show you a few different products, a few different types of scenarios to kind of help explain what we're expecting here. First of all, too early to tell where this will actually re-enter the atmosphere and what areas might be impacted. Let's just go ahead and say that right off the bat.

I want to show you this animation, this one is from AGI. And there you see the orbit in blue of the Satellite. What they're expecting is, and there you see the velocity there to the -- on the top left of your screen, how quickly it's moving. They expected that between 80 and 45 kilometers in altitude it begins to burn up. The friction that it will come into contact with the atmosphere will burn up and break up the 60 ton satellite. It's about the size of a bus. But notice that those pieces will continue moving in the general direction of the orbit as it breaks up.

They believe, they estimate, that some 26 pieces would actually make it intact, or at least -- not intact, but in pieces to the surface of the earth. The estimated size of the debris region is about maybe about 800 kilometers across.

And the chance they will actually hit the ocean and not land is actually pretty large, because the ocean covers most of the Earth, right? So they're thinking the bigger chance, of course, that it will hit the water and not any kind of a land or populated area.

So the odds are with us when it comes to that.

So keeping that in mind what I just showed you, let me go ahead and show you where some of these potential entry areas that we're looking at here. And this is from a company called Aerospace Corporation. And they're federally funded here in the U.S. And they help kind of -- the federal government some of these scientific and technical things.

So, the projected re-entry path, it's going to be Saturday at 58 GMC (ph). And this is only a projection, OK. This can change. And I want to explain to you why, because of the orbit that this is actually following. If it enters around that time, it should follow a line close to this orange one right over here. But if it comes in earlier than projected, it would follow more some of these green lines over here. And this is plus or minus seven hours. So it's like when the cable man tells you they'll be at your house between noon and 8:00 pm, it's kind of like that. You really don't know. And there's a huge margin of error here.

I'm running out of time. One more thing. Let me get out of the way here, this is where the satellite is actually right now, off the coast of South America. That is the latest updated information that we have. We'll be tracking it of course right here at CNN.

Kristie, back to you.

STOUT: And of course you'll be tracking it. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

And time now to go over and out there with a finding that would shock Albert Einstein. His theory of relativity is the pillar of physics and says that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Well, it may be time rewrite the science books. A group of European researchers, they say that they have clocked a neutrino going faster than the cosmic speed limit of 299,792 kilometers per second. And naturally that finding is stirring up controversy. Even the scientists themselves are asking other researchers to check the result. So for now, E still equals MC squared.

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