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Greek Uncertainty; G-20 Summit Begins Two-Day Talks; Violence in Syria; Greek Prime Minister To Hold Emergency Cabinet Meeting Today; Rogue Bedouin Tribes Accused of Stealing Organs From Refugees
Aired November 3, 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.
We begin with these scenes from Syria, what appears to be shelling in the city of Homs, just a day after the government said it would stop all violence.
Now, the Greek prime minister's government stands on the brink as European leaders discuss the country's financial situation.
And protesters in the Occupy movement manage to blow (ph) sound from America's busiest ports.
We're going to get to Syria in just a few minutes. Let's begin with Greece.
Prime Minister Papandreou's government is under threat, and across the eurozone his call for a bailout referendum has not gone down well. Mr. Papandreou, he is holding an emergency cabinet meeting right now, while members of the Greek parliament debate a no confidence motion ahead of Friday's scheduled vote.
And these are live pictures of that debate happening right now in Athens.
Let's head straight to Greece now for the latest. Jim Boulden joins us now live from Athens.
And Jim, just how vulnerable is the government of Prime Minister Papandreou?
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that government is teetering on the brink of collapse, Kristie.
This cabinet meeting was supposed to start two hours ago. We were just told again, as best as we can tell, it has not started. And as we continue to see this day unfold, more and more members of parliament, including members of his own party and, of course, the opposition party, are calling for Mr. Papandreou to resign.
It could be very well that there's negotiations going on instead of that cabinet meeting. Some people are calling for a national unity government. In other words, you would have people from various parties getting together and trying to see through the next couple of months, with the idea that there would be an early election call. The elections here would normally have been in 2013. That is one of the scenarios.
We do know there's a split within the cabinet over what this referendum, which was to take place in the beginning of December, would actually be a referendum on the eurozone for Greece, not just the latest bailout. We also know, of course, the IMF has said that Greece would not get the next tranche of money until that referendum is held. But Greece says it could go until mid-December without that next tranche.
So all of this is up in the air right now. What we're waiting for, while this confidence debate goes on, we're waiting to hear from the cabinet itself of whether or not this government can survive even to tomorrow, or whether or not Mr. Papandreou will fall, which --
Meanwhile, the G-20 summit has kicked off in Cannes, and as expected, Greece is at the top of the agenda there.
Ali Velshi is there and joins us now live.
And Ali, how is the political situation in Greece being addressed there at the G-20?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, it's actually hard to believe that anything else is getting done. At press conferences, the question all are about Greece.
The president, President Obama, along with President Sarkozy of France, this morning issued a statement. They talked about the agenda items they'd like to get through over the course of the next couple of days here in Cannes. But honestly, it doesn't feel like anything is getting done except focusing on Greece and what's going on there.
Greece is the world's 32nd largest economy, but right now most of the world is depending on it. Greece is more influential today than it's probably been in more than 2,000 years.
It is the focus of fall attention, as leaders, as you see, have been starting to arrive over the course of the last hour or so. They're moving in to have discussions, but the technicals are all focused on Greece right now.
The concern is, that if this doesn't go through, if the struggles in Greece that Jim was just describing overtake this European deal, Europe is going to be in a big mess. And the matters they want to discuss at the G-20, the agenda items, are all about stability and global growth. All of that takes a back seat to what's going on in Greece.
All eyes, even here at the G-20 in Cannes, are on Greece right now -- Kristie.
STOUT: Are you hearing anything there at the G-20 summit about what's next for Greece, where the country is heading, and the political vulnerability of Prime Minister Papandreou?
VELSHI: You know, we -- obviously, he was not expected here until the last minute, when he was summoned here by Sarkozy and Merkel yesterday. It was a two-and-a-half hour meeting in which they spelled out two key points, which I'm not clear that those two points were meant for Papandreou, or they were meant for the Greek people.
The first point is that if there is a referendum, until the question of Greece signing on to this European plan is settled, not another cent will go to Greece. And we've just done the calculation that it seems that Greece can get to about the middle of December without another cash injection, after which it will end up in either an orderly or disorderly bankruptcy.
Point number two is that while this referendum may be about this particular European plan, it will end up being a referendum on whether or not Greece should stay in the eurozone. And both Papandreou and the French and German leaders agreed that if the Greeks vote this plan down, they are basically saying they do not want to be part of the eurozone anymore and use the euro as the currency.
So, this is all to underscore, Kristie, that this has now become a crisis.
On October 27th, we thought there was some solution to the European credit crisis. It now seems like we are fully back into crisis mode again -- Kristie.
STOUT: We're in crisis mode. The situation there in Greece is so fluid, can the leaders of the G-20 come up with a definitive action plan for the country? And what will be the final outcome of this meeting?
VELSHI: It's a good question. You see, the dynamic changed when Papandreou said he's taking it to the people for a referendum, because now it's unclear. Are you trying to make a deal with Papandreou? Are you trying to make a deal with that fractured parliament that Jim just described?
Is Papandreou getting ready to resign? Is there going to be a coalition government? Or are you now campaigning to get the Greek people to vote no to a referendum?
I mean, while everybody was frustrated by this call for a referendum, no leader in their right mind is going to say that taking a question to the people is the wrong thing to do. So they're stuck with the idea that the Greek people may have to vote on this.
It is unclear what the solution is, but what's happening is I think there are a whole lot of backroom negotiations going on right now to say, how do we, A, get this referendum off the table, or, B, if it is going forward, work out something where it actually doesn't end up defeating this plan? Because it would set Europe back a great deal. It's already affecting world markets. This is going to affect everybody in the world if this deal doesn't go through -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right.
Ali Velshi, joining us live from Cannes.
And you're looking at live pictures there on the screen at the bottom right-hand corner. You just saw the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, being greeted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as the ceremony is under way. The world leaders attending the G-20 summit arriving there in France.
And on the upper corner of your screen, you're looking at live pictures from inside the Greek parliament there in Athens as policymakers debate a no confidence motion right now, all ahead of that crucial vote on Friday.
And we will continue to keep our eye on this story for you.
And let's move next to the Middle East. And the promise of peace in Syria has apparently suffered a setback.
Now, only hours after an agreement was reached to end the violence, just yesterday the Arab League announced that President Bashar al-Assad's government agreed to pull back its forces and hold talks with the oppositions. Activists in Syria warn that actions speak louder than words.
This video is said to be from the flash point city of Homs earlier on Thursday, and the narrator is saying that government tanks are randomly shelling apartment buildings. Activists are reporting four deaths.
Now, CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of that video. Syria has restricted access to the country.
Arwa Damon is monitoring developments from neighboring Lebanon. She joins us now live.
And Arwa, the crackdown goes on. What is the latest you're hearing inside Syria?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to activists that we spoke to in the flash point city of Homs, the military presence has actually been beefed up, with additional units arriving overnight and in the early hours of the morning. The focus of the clashes and the crackdown seems to be the neighborhood in Homs that is called Baba Amr.
Now, this has been one of the main epicenters of this uprising since it all began. That particular neighborhood has, in fact, been under siege for weeks now.
One eyewitness that CNN spoke to was based in the center of the city, around 10 kilometers away from that neighborhood. He says the firing was so powerful, he could feel his bones shaking, he could see plumes of smoke rising from Baba Amr itself.
Another activist CNN spoke to very close by to that particular neighborhood, we could hear gunfire on the phone in that instance. And he was saying that they were using mortars, rockets, heavy machinegun fire. Both of these individuals also said that there were some pretty intense clashes taking place between the Syrian security forces and the Free Syrian Army, that is made up mostly of defectors.
Now, the Free Syrian Army had said that it would cease its operations against the Syrian security forces if the Assad regime ended its crackdown. It most certainly seems at this stage, the first day after that agreement that was reached between the Arab League and the Assad government, it most certainly has not yet gone into effect -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right. And more on that Arab League announcement. It had said that Damascus agreed to a peace plan, but what about the opposition? Does the opposition in Syria want dialogue with the government?
DAMON: Well, on that point, the opposition is pretty divided. Some of them do say that if the government carries out the other steps, which is ending the violence, releasing detainees, that they would be open to the notion of negotiating with the Assad regime. And many activists though say that they simply do not trust this government, and that the stage of negotiations, well, they have moved past that because of the extremely high death toll, because of the sheer brutality of it all.
And this is also an issue that the opposition itself has to somehow deal with. It is a fractured opposition, both within the country and outside of it. And they need to be able to present themselves as a cohesive, unified voice.
Arwa Damon, joining us live from Beirut.
Thank you very much, indeed.
And still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, tear gas, smoke and clashes in a California city. Occupy Oakland protests turn violent.
And flood misery in Thailand. First, the high waters came, and now authorities warn they may be bringing disease with them.
And man with a mission. A human rights activist tries to help refugees avoid a horrible fate. We expose organ trafficking in the Freedom Project.
STOUT: Welcome back to NEWS STREAM.
And again, you're looking at live pictures from Athens in the upper left- hand corner of the Greek parliament under way. They're debating a no confidence motion ahead of a critical vote on Friday.
In the other corner of the screen, live pictures in Cannes, France, where the G-20 summit is kicking off, and world leaders have been gathering and shaking hands with host, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, as they discuss global financial turmoil, the eurozone crisis, and in particular, the situation in Greece.
We will continue to watch both these stories, both these angles of the story for you, right here on CNN. Any new developments, we'll bring them up as soon as we can.
Now, economic tensions are boiling over in the United States as Occupy Oakland protests turned violent early on Thursday. You see here riot police clashing with demonstrators in the California port city. And police fired tear gas at several hundred people who they say threw rocks and fireworks at them after officers told them to disperse.
Now, things were a lot more peaceful on Wednesday, as thousands of protesters marched en masse to the port of Oakland. They essentially shut it down.
Dan Simon was in the midst of the crowd and filed this report.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an incredibly large crowd here in Oakland, California. Thousands of people converging on City Hall.
Why are they here? Well, take a look at this sign. You see at the top there it says, "Foreclose the 1 Percent."
Then, down here, "We are the 99 percent, from East Oakland, to the port, from Cairo to the bay. We demand an end to racist profiteering off foreclosures, immigrant detention, and dirty energy that fuels wars. We demand that banks be put in their place."
And that's what we've seen. We've seen protesters take to the streets, go in front of banks, picket those banks, trying to get their message across.
You know, this is the place here at City Hall where police came in a week ago and swept up the tents. Now those tents are back, but one thing we've noticed today is there basically hasn't been a police officer in sight. They've taken a hands-off approach, and throughout the day it's been a very peaceful protest. We haven't seen any violence whatsoever.
Dan Simon, CNN, Oakland, California.
STOUT: And despite the early morning violence, officials at the port of Oakland hope to reopen it on Thursday. It is the fifth busiest seaport in the U.S., with much of its trade, 59 percent, coming to and from Asia. It handles about $39 billion a year in exports and imports, and port officials say every day its closed, it hurts its workers, truckers and their families.
Now, today's unrest in Oakland, it follows last week's clashes there between riot police and Occupy protesters. And you can see the chaos.
Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, he fell to the ground after he apparently was hit on the head by a tear gas canister. Now, the video seems to show riot police throwing more tear gas at protesters who rushed to his aid. And Olsen, he remains in the hospital.
His skull was fractured, and he reportedly finds it difficult to talk. He's been communicating through written messages.
The Oakland Citizens Police Review Board is launching an investigation.
Now, Occupy protesters also made their voices and frustrations heard in another U.S. West Coast city, Seattle. Chanting, "They got bailed out, we got sold out!" they surrounded a downtown hotel where the CEO of JPMorgan Chase was speaking.
And across the country, demonstrators also took to the streets in Boston and in Philadelphia.
And take a look now at live pictures from New York, from Zuccotti Park. It is considered home base for the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the protesters have been camped out there in lower Manhattan for 48 days now.
We'll try to bring you those live pictures a little bit later.
Now, just a few months, even weeks ago, many Americans did not know about the spreading Occupy movement, but that is changing. According to ORC International, 64 percent of Americans polled say they have heard of the Occupy demonstrations. Thirty-six percent are still not familiar with it.
Thirty-six percent also say that they agree with the overall position of the Occupy Wall Street movement. That's up from 27 percent in early October. Now, 19 percent say they don't agree with the Occupy movement's stance.
Many of the Occupy movement protesters say that they were inspired to take action by the Arab Spring uprising. So, are the Occupy demonstrators now inspiring demonstrators seeking reform in the Middle East?
Ian Lee has more from Cairo.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm here in Tahrir Square, the center of Egypt's revolution. It was just last February that protesters here overthrew then-president Hosni Mubarak. That ousting and that of the Tunisian president influenced countries around the region, but it didn't stop there. That influence spread across the Atlantic into what would be called the "Occupy" movement.
But as the Occupy movement grows larger, what effect is that having here in Egypt? I talked to revolutionary Selma El Daly about the boomerang effect that is happening.
Do you see similarities in what's called for in the Occupy movement in the United States and what is being called for here?
SALMA EL DALY, ACTIVIST: Yes, for sure. The thing is, you know, like, governments, were not paying so much attention to the people lately, and especially with all the changing in the world, as you know. I don't want to go through many things, but (INAUDIBLE), with less food, more people, you know, you expect people to either starve to death or start fighting for their lives.
So, now it's kind of a survival movement, where the people are calling for the rights everywhere. It's either us or the money. It's either us or the power, and we are not going to die. We are not going to die.
We will stop, the movement, of having the rich getting richer, because the government wants them -- or has the same interests of the people who have money. And poorer is getting poorer because no one is interested. You can die, OK.
LEE: So, as the Occupy movement in the United States and around the world is growing, do you see them, in turn, influencing the movement and the revolution in Egypt?
EL DALY: The more I see these movements growing around the world, and the more I realize that people are realizing that they should empower each other and empower the people, and give them voice, the more I, myself, trust my revolution. We still have a very long path to go, honestly. Like, freedom is not that easy, even.
You go on calls for freedom every day, and too many people die for freedom. And you go on calls for food, for equality, for justice, and people die for these things. But the idea doesn't die with them.
LEE: While there are some similarities between Egypt's revolution and the Occupy movement, ultimately Egypt's revolution was about overthrowing a political regime. The Occupy movement is about changing a financial system.
For CNN, I'm Ian Lee, in Cairo.
STOUT: Now, let's bring up those live video feeds for you once again in Athens, Greece, as well as in Cannes, France. Or, rather, we just have that one video feed that I can see there from the G-20 summit under way in France.
There, you can see the back of Silvio Berlusconi, one of the many world leaders gathering there. Earlier, the U.S. president, along with Angela Merkel of Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, were making a few comments there. You can see Angela Merkel there in the background. Of course at the top, the U.N. secretary-general is also there at this meeting.
The G-20 has kicked off in France, and they're there to discuss the global financial turmoil, the crisis in the eurozone. And, of course, the main headline is this situation in Greece, the Greek prime minister, he had announced a planned bailout referendum. And currently in the parliament in Greece, ministers there are debating a no confidence motion right now ahead of a critical no confidence vote.
The government of Prime Minister Papandreou, teetering on the brink of collapse. And that is headlining this conference of G-20 world leaders.
And we're looking here at live pictures there in France.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back right after the break.
STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now, three former cricket players have been found guilty of spot-fixing, and today they learn their fate.
And CNN's Don Riddell joins us live from London with the very latest -- Don.
DON RIDDELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Kristie.
Well, all three have been sentenced to serve time behind bars as the spot- fixing trial was brought to a dramatic conclusion in London today.
The team's ex-captain, Salman Butt, was given the most severe sentence. He will serve two-and-a-half years in jail for his role in helping to manipulate passages of play in last year's test match against England at Lord's.
Mohammad Asif, who was at the time ranked as the second best test bowler in the world, has been given a one-year sentence. He and Butt were found guilty on corruption and cheating charges during the trial.
Asif won no ball in the controversial match. The 19-year-old Mohammad Amir bowled two no balls. Now, he pleaded guilty before the trial began. The judge ruled that he was a vulnerable and young player under a certain amount of duress, and so he was given a lesser sentence of six months.
The players' agent, Mazhar Majeed, who the judge considered to be the architect of the whole conspiracy, along with the captain, but was jailed for two years and eight months.
Phil Black witnessed a dramatic day in court.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These three players fought their into the court this morning through an international media pack. And then, once in the dock, they were again surrounded by people. The court was packed beyond capacity.
The judge said at the very beginning his remarks were going to be lengthy. He advised the players to sit throughout. They did. Everyone was absolutely silent as the judge read out his reasons for why he believed these men deserved nothing less than to go to jail for their crime.
As he read out the sentences, one at a time, the men were quite impassive. They did not react in any visible way. They were very somber. It is difficult to get a sense of just what they may have been thinking or feeling.
But yesterday, as their lawyers argued for them not to be sent to jail, they described men who had lost everything, whose lives were essentially ruined, and who they believed would not suffer any greater punishment than what they already had, should they be sent to jail. But in the end, the judge didn't agree. He said that their crimes were so serious, that only a jail term would suffice.
So, having arrived here themselves on the streets, on foot, today it is very likely that they will be going home in prison vans.
RIDDELL: That's all for now, Kristie, but we'll have much more on this story in "WORLD SPORT." We'll be speaking to the former ICC anti- corruption chief, Paul Condon. And we'll also be hearing from Pakistan. We've been speaking to Mohammad Amir's mother and brother.
Join us for that.
STOUT: All right. Comprehensive reporting there.
Don Riddell, thank you very much, indeed.
And we will get back to the situation in Greece just ahead here on NEWS STREAM.
And also, as Thailand continues to battle record flooding, we will bring you a unique look at what the residents there are forced to deal with.
And a match made in heaven -- or, rather, outer space. And we'll tell you why these images are such a big deal for China.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream.
And our top story this hour takes us to Greece where the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is coming under increasing pressure.
Jim Bolden joins us now live from Athens. And Jim, there's been a lot of chatter and speculation in the markets, and in social media. What are you hearing about what's next for Mr. Papandreou?
JIM BOLDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we keep seeing on the media and at the parliament building, there's a lot of people gathering, a lot of people discussing the fact that there is a very good chance that Mr. Papandreou is trying to find an exit strategy, that there is a very good chance that this government could collapse.
And the reason I say that is because there was supposed to be a cabinet meetings a few hours ago after all the upheaval over the last 24 hours. And that cabinet meeting last we checked hadn't started. And there's a lot of talk that certainly the opposition leader has said that he is willing to have a coalition government, a government of national unity as long as there is an election also scheduled sooner than 2013. So you would be talking about an election in the next few months, possibly.
One of the ideas is that maybe Mr. Papandreou's government simply cannot get through this idea of the -- of the confidence debate, the debates going on behind me at parliament. It started last night, Wednesday, goes throughout Thursday and Friday with a vote on Friday night. If it was likely that he wouldn't get that confidence vote, well then of course in parliamentary systems the prime minister usually falls and the government has to be reorganized another way.
So it could be that right now there is some serious debate going on of what comes after a Papandreou government, what that would mean. Would that mean a referendum on the euro would not take place in December? Would it mean that a national unity government is formed? Would it mean that the government -- the certainly the majority government, the majority party here in Greece, would they find another man to be the prime minister? We just don't know, but it could change at any moment -- Kristie.
STOUT: So with that bailout referendum, did Mr. Papandreou make a dangerous political gamble that could very well cost him his job?
BOLDEN: What he said last night in Cannes was very important. He said that he was looking for unity and he couldn't find it. It's obvious that it's divided this government, divided the parliament, and certainly divided the Greek people. They've had to call the IMF in, they've had to call the European Union in, they've had to have other people telling them what -- what taxes to rise, what budget cuts to make, what jobs to lose. It has not been Greece's decision. They have been trying their best to find ways in order to try to get the bailout money from the IMF and the EU. It's been a very, very difficult time.
Throughout it all, though, we did have a poll over the weekend where 60 percent of Greeks said that they opposed the latest bailout plan. No surprise. They've been through a lot of austerity. They've been through a lot of pain. And the economy is in recession. But 70 percent who were polled in that said that they wanted to keep the euro. They wanted to stay within the European Union. You hear that time and time again here.
This isn't an anti-Europe, this is not an anti-EU situation. It's about how to go forward. And as we saw in Ireland in December. That government collapsed after the IMF came in. A new government was elected early in -- earlier this year. And they kept the program going, because there really isn't much choice.
STOUT: You mentioned just now the majority of Greeks over the weekend said that they oppose the bailout plan, but what was their reaction to that planned bailout referendum. When that was announced, were the people of Greece angry with that?
BOLDEN: They were. They were angry. We spoke to a number of them on the streets yesterday. They were confused. They couldn't understand why if politicians had made a decision, that's how they put it to us, the politicians made the decision last week in Brussels. They did not like the decision, of course, because it meant more austerity. But however the decision had been made and they thought that was it and that they would have to go through all the strikes, the demos, they'd have to go through the tax rises as they've been doing for the last year. What they didn't expect was to be asked whether they liked the European Union.
And so the last 40 -- 24 hours we were debated would the referendum say yes to Europe or not to Europe, or would it just say yes to this bailout and no to this bailout. It does seem like if there is a referendum in early December as is now planned that would mean they would be voting here for the future of the euro -- Kristie
STOUT: Jim Bolden, joining us live from Athens. Thank you very much for that.
Now Greece will be high on the agenda at the G20 summit. World leaders have been arriving there in Cannes, France for the meeting which comes after the Greek prime minister announced that planned bailout referendum.
But France and Germany both say that Greece will not get any more bailout cash until after the referendum. But now the G20, pictured here on your screen -- U.S. President Barack Obama next to Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel -- they are all confronted with that political crisis in Greece along with the debt debate.
Now in other headlines, a small group of demonstrators faced off with police in an Occupy protest in Oakland, California. Police in riot gear, they fired tear gas at a group of protesters they say refuse to disperse. Earlier, the city's port was shut by the protests.
And activists in Syria say four people are dead following fresh violence in the northwest of the country. They say the deaths were in the Homs. Now CNN can't confirm the report, but it comes just one day after Syria agreed to an Arab League plan to end the violence.
Now 20 percent of the Thai capital is under water, that's according to a Bangkok government official. But it's unclear if flood waters will enter the inner city. Now emergency authorities have provided conflicting information about the areas still in danger. And so far the worst of the flooding has hit Bangkok's outer districts.
And we want to show you the state of a major road that runs through the city's domestic airport. Now this video is from World Visions James East.
JAMES EAST, WORLD VISION: Now this is kind of the point of no return, because it's very easy to get your engine flooded. I just hope we don't get stuck, otherwise we're in trouble.
(inaudible) a drain, a pothole, or I don't know, maybe something that's submerged.
The sad thing is we've actually got waves coming towards us. And we're literally on edge of floating.
It's worrying when you look ahead. You can see (inaudible) very low in the water.
The car is struggling now. You can feel it straining. And we've really got to get on ahead. We're actually creating a wave ahead of us as we drive down the road. And when I say drive we're barely driving. We're almost floating. You see the wave there in front of us? It's incredible.
Look at this, amazing, you can almost surf on that. Oh my goodness me.
Look at this. It's incredible.
And behind us, that's the car behind us. I can't believe we're doing this. I will never look at this road in the same way.
STOUT: Did you hear that James East just then showing us a vision and say you can almost surf in that. Incredible video there. One part of Bangkok clearly under water. Again, some 20 percent of the city has been hit by the flood waters.
Let's get the very latest now with Mari Ramos. She's standing by at the world weather center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, that video was really incredible. You know, to see that car going through that flood water like that. I've got to tell you, it gave me chills on so many levels.
The waves that we were seeing I think were from the other vehicles that were trying to drive by there, but if there was another break in any of those flood barriers, the water would come rushing into that vehicle. And the people inside the cars would really have no place to go.
The most dangerous place you can be during any kind of flooded situation is actually inside a car, because cars can begin to float very, very quickly and then you have no way of getting out. You can become trapped in that. And it's actually amazing to see people driving through a situation like that.
But it has been so long that these floods have been ongoing.
But you know you almost have nothing -- nowhere to go, nothing to do anymore, but almost to learn to live with the situation. And how do you get around? How do you get food? How do you get water for the people that are in these flooded areas.
There's an estimated 11,000 people in shelters in the Bangkok proper area. So they say that those numbers are not exactly too accurate. That was from an article in the Bangkok Post, by the way.
I'm going to show you this picture. Look at this. This is the flood waters. Look at all these areas in red. This is in Pathum Thani. It's just north of Bangkok. There's Sai Mai here to the south. There's also a lot of water there. Here's some of the major canals along this area. And the thing that you see there in red, that's actually that major roadway, that flood barrier that some people say is actually helping hold the water back in some of these neighborhoods. And even thought it's protecting other areas to the south it's keeping areas to the north flooded. So there's a lot of controversy on all of this.
And you mentioned the airport just a little while ago, the Don Muang Airport here in the north. I want to show you a really amazing picture. This is the airport right here. You can see neighborhoods around the outskirts of the neighborhood. And then, look at this, this is the after picture. It almost looks like a harbor as opposed to an airport where you see a little bit of the terminals kind of popping out there. This is not just one area.
Look back over here, you can see all of the change in color back over here as well. So every street, every block, every space in between the homes flooded. No telling how deep the water is in this case, you can only tell where the water is. But it could range anywhere from a few centimeters to even a -- you know, in some cases they estimated the water in the Don Muang neighborhood, in the Don Muang district over a meter-and- a-half deep. So that's very significant.
Something else new you could say that's happening here is the rise in temperatures, even this late. Look at the temperatures -- 30 degrees right now in Bangkok. When you factor in the humidity it feels hotter than that.
What we're dealing with here is an end to the rainy season. Once the sun begins to come out again you don't have the cloud cover to protect you anymore from the sun, so look at these temperatures. We'll be looking at highs in the mid-30s really as we head through the next few days and weeks. So that's very significant and very taxing as well for the people that are affected by the flooding.
Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.
I want to give you a quick update on the weather situation across Europe. Very messy weather conditions across the western half of the continent here across the western Mediterranean and even as he head back into Cannes for the G20 summit. We're looking at some very windy weather, winds close to 50 kilometers per hour just near Cannes there. This air flow from the south will continue, and in some cases we can see over 100 millimeters from rain bringing the threat for flooding and mudslides. Expect significant travel delays.
The ground here already saturated, because it's been raining quite a bit. Remember those pictures last week of the flooding in Tuscany in Italy.
So, Kristie, this is something we'll be monitoring as well.
For Cannes proper, look at that, rain, rain, rain as we head through Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Back to you.
STOUT: Bad forecast weather wise for the G20.
Mari Ramos, thank you very much indeed.
Now China has taken another step toward building its own space station by the year 2020. It's unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft has successfully docked with the Tiangong 1 lab module. And state TV broadcast live pictures of the delicate maneuver. It took place about 340 kilometers above the Earth's surface. And two more docking tests are planned for next year. At least one will carry a crew member.
Now it is called Death in the Desert, a CNN Freedom Project documentary. Ahead on News Stream, a look at the evidence in cases of organ trafficking in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now Death in the Desert is a CNN Freedom Project documentary. It is investigating the unthinkable horrors of human trafficking in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. And yesterday we saw how rogue Bedouin tribes exploit African refugees and illegal migrants on route to neighboring Israel. And today Fred Pleitgen shows us evidence of the region's black market in trafficking some of their organs.
Now I've got to warn you, this excerpt is both graphic and disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As head of the New Generation Foundation for Human Rights, Hamdi al Azazzy works to help refugees in Egypt.
HAMDI AL AZAZZY, NEW GENERATION FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: For a few years I hear from one (inaudible) about the spare parts, body spare parts. But I can't accept in the time it is true or not true.
PLEITGEN: It seems an outrageous claim. But Azazzy has evidence, a series of photos he took of bodies that were found in the desert. All of them have unusual scars in the abdominal area. Azazzy says he even knows where the operations are carried out. He claims corrupt doctors are in league with Bedouins involved in human trafficking.
Corneas, livers, and kidneys are the organs most commonly taken from the helpless refugees.
AZAZZY: After they take whatever they like, or the doctor chooses from this body, after take the body and take it away to the desert.
PLEITGEN: An incredible claim. So we took the photos to a forensic doctor in Cairo.
Dr. Saleh (ph) is the former head of Cairo's forensic department and an expert on the illegal organ business. He says the stitches on the bodies reveal they were operated on shortly before they died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are two kinds of scars. One is from postmortem autopsy and one from surgery.
PLEITGEN: On all the bodies, the scars are in the same place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good stitches. These are good stitches. Good stitches here.
PLEITGEN: And this is also the area of liver and kidney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is the area here is near the liver and kidney here. Kidney here and liver here.
PLEITGEN: So you could open here and then just take it out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And take it.
PLEITGEN: Extracting organs would likely kill a person in a matter of hours, Dr. Saleh (ph) says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He can open you up. Take it out. And just let you die. The mafia doesn't care whether your live or die. When they cut you open, they would give them anesthesia, not because they are concerned for your life, but from prevent them from crying out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT; And that was a short look at our CNN Freedom Project documentary. Again, it's called Death in the Desert.
And with more, Frederik Pleitgen joins me now live from Berlin. And Fred, how do the Bedouin feel about these charges of organ trafficking?
PLEITGEN: Well, I mean, certainly many of the ones that we were speaking to said they only knew very little about this. We were able to speak to one, a Bedouin, on the phone who said that he was actually involved in this kind of business for many years. And he, then, confirmed a lot of the things that were told to us about that gentleman Hamdi al Azazzy who works for that NGO.
But one of the things that we always have to keep in mind is that it is really only a tiny fraction of the Bedouins in Sinai who are involved in this. And a lot of them really are not looked upon very highly by their peers.
One of the things many Bedouins told us they said that they believe that these are obviously criminals who are doing this. These are people who are not accepted by other Bedouins. But at the same time they say that there's very little they can do about it, because of course one of the things we have to keep in mind is that the tribal ties within Sinai between the Bedouins are much stronger than the ties to the Egyptian state or to the police. So this is something where -- one of the things we asked the Bedouins actually was do you think that this is acceptable. And they said, no. We think it's unacceptable, but because there are these strong tribal ties there's very little they could feel that they can do about it, Kristie.
STOUT: Yeah, they still allow it to happen.
And this is a place that runs on illicit business. Is it similar to mob-like rule there?
OK, unfortunately it looks like Fred is unable to hear me. That was Fred Pleitgen joining us live there on that CNN documentary that he's filed. And again, you can catch this documentary in full later this weekend. Again, it's called Death in the Desert. It airs Saturday night 9:00 in Hong Kong, 5:00 pm in Abu Dhabi. Don't miss it.
Now ahead here on News Stream, presidential aspirations feel farther away for a leading Republican presidential candidate. With another allegation against him, can Herman Cain go the distance?
STOUT: Welcome back.
And here is a quick update on our top story. Now right now the Greek prime minister and his cabinet are in an emergency meeting. The prime minister is due to see the president after the meeting amid speculation that Prime Minister George Papandreou may offer to step down. Now this all stems from Greece's economic troubles and the prime minister's decision to call a referendum on a bailout deal engineered by European powers.
Now the U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has been hit with more allegations of sexual harassment. Now his team says the claims are baseless. And Joe Johns takes a look at the political fallout.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What was really behind this moment? Herman Cain has got all the lights and cameras on him, pressure is building to unlock a confidentiality agreement and allow an accuser to go public with her sexual harassment allegations against him. And suddenly Cain gets a little testy.
HERMAN CAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So don't even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, OK. Don't even bother.
JOHNS: Sure, it's got to be frustrating, but if Cain was also slamming the breaks on his non-stop talkathon to save his campaign, it would be none to soon for many who say he's already put his foot in his mouth.
Chris Metzler is a conservative independent who consults for companies on human resources issues.
CHRIS METZLER, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Crisis communication 101 you've got an issue, come out with the story. He's given at least five or six shifting accounts. And that's why he finds himself in the position that he finds himself in.
JOHNS: It turns out, though, that the Cain accuser whose lawyer is trying to shake her free from a non-disclosure agreement is not the only mystery guest in this confusing story. There's also a question about who leaked the details to reporters at Politico who first broke the story? Which could be important, because some Cain supporters claim it's a smear tactic to take out a strong, black conservative.
Some say it's equally likely that it came from someone in Cain's own party, though, either another contender's campaign -- no one has fessed up so far -- or some other Republican who wanted this potential dirty laundry out in the open sooner rather than later.
CHERI JACOBUS, U.S. REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Then he lives to fight another day, I believe. So better to have this now and to -- if it's uncomfortable for him to go through it, well this is politics and it matters. So I'm not sure that I wouldn't even consider it a favor that somebody is bringing this out now.
JOHNS: Joe Bennett, a lawyer for a complainant in the Cain case told me it's his understanding that the tip on the story came from a current or former member of the board at the National Restaurant Association. We reached out to current and former members of the board, but they didn't get back to us.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
STOUT: Now it's not every day an art gallery exhibit prompts calls to police, but take a look what's causing a big commotion in a small German town as we go over and out there. You're looking at a mock corpse of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. Now this life sized and very realistic looking sculpture is lying face down on the floor and is clearly visible to people walking by on the street. And some thought they were witnessing a crime scene and they called the police station.
The work's Chinese creator says he wanted to praise Ai Weiwei's criticism of corruption and censorship in China. And Chinese authorities detained Ai Weiwei for 81 days earlier this year.
And that is News Stream, but we will continue to follow the situation in Greece in the hours ahead. World Business Today will have much more on this story next.