Return to Transcripts main page


Sepp Blatter Apologizes for Comments; Taliban, NATO Fight Over Twitter; U.S. Announces Diplomatic Mission to Myanmar

Aired November 18, 2011 - 08:04:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL: You've been watching live from Berlin. The British Prime Minister David Cameron speaking there alongside the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They've been holding talks. And of course at the top of the agenda is the EuroZone crisis. Just then you heard both of them pressing for action to stabilize the euro and also calling for budgetary discipline.

And on top of the EuroZone crisis they're also discussing a number of international geopolitical issues, for example the situation in Syria and Iran.

But the EU crisis is front and center. Of course this all taking place as the nations Italy and Greece are implementing new austerity measures with new governments in place.

Now, you're watching News Stream, and no U.S. secretary of State has stepped foot in Myanmar for more than 50 years, but if all goes according to plan that will change next month. Now the U.S. president Barack Obama, he is sending his top diplomat Hillary Clinton to the isolated nation. And Clinton will explore ties with Myanmar's nominally civilian government citing what he called flickers of progress toward reform.

Now Mr. Obama made the announcement after speaking on the phone with Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Burma fails to move down the path of reform it will continue to face sanctions and isolation. But if it seizes this moment then reconciliation can prevail and millions of people may get the chance to live with a greater measure of freedom, prosperity, and dignity. And that possibility is too important to ignore.


LU STOUT: Now the U.S. president is in Indonesia right now for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic summit. And Brianna Keilar joins me now live from Bali, Indonesia. And Brianna, you spoke to Secretary Clinton. What did she tell you about the upcoming visit?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, obviously this is a significant reaching out to Myanmar which as been one of the most authoritarian regimes in the world. You know, White House officials and certainly Secretary Clinton have really stressed these moves towards reform, the loosening up on political opponents and on the media and also the October release of 200 political prisoners.

But you're also hearing President Obama and Secretary Clinton saying this doesn't mean the U.S. is poised to lift sanctions on Myanmar, it doesn't mean that the U.S. is poised to establish diplomatic relations with Myanmar here in the immediate future.

She emphasized, as I spoke with her this afternoon, that this is the beginning of a process.


KEILAR: How committed do you think the government is to reform? And also do you think that their sort of actual concerns or do you give much merit to the concerns of some activists who say this is too premature for you to visit?

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, one of the reasons that I'm going is to test what the true intentions are and whether there is a commitment to both economic and political reform. I've talked to Aung San Suu Kyi, the president has. We've had many interactions with her through top officials along with others. And there certainly does seem to be an opening.

Now how real it is, how far it goes, we're going to have to make sure we have a better understanding than we do right now.


KEILAR: Now President Obama and Secretary Clinton, they're looking, Kristie, to see even more from Myanmar, more in the right direction as they've seen in the last several weeks. While they site some progress, obviously, on political prisoners, they note of course they are still -- there still are political prisoners that they also would like to see released, and specifically they'd like to see Myanmar address how it treats ethnic minorities. They say that's something that Myanmar has not made a lot of progress on.

And Kristie, when Secretary Clinton visits the country next month, probably on the earlier side of the month, she will be visiting with Aung San Suu Kyi. She'll also visit with President Thein Sein as well as other political leaders.

LU STOUT: OK. Now should Secretary Clinton's planned visit to Myanmar be interpreted or seen as America's endorsement of the government and its pace of reform?

KEILAR: They would say absolutely not, that it's not an endorsement. What it is, they will say, and this is how they're framing it, it is an opening. They're hoping that it is a beginning of a process. They say it's Myanmar's choice. It's entirely possible, they say, for Myanmar to backslide. But they note that there have been moves towards reform and they want to encourage them and they want them to go much farther than they already have, but they site a lot of movement on a lot of different areas - - political prisoners, as I mentioned the treatment of media, and just really a whole list that we've been hearing White House officials go through, but they want to emphasize they want to see a lot more, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Brianna Keilar joining us live from Bali. Thank you very much for that.

We've got a lot of news to cover here on News Stream, so please keep it here.

And just ahead, in fact, we'll go inside a brazen Taliban attack and just see how sophisticated they are. We'll take you live to Afghanistan to search for answers.

And two months, one question: what does the future hold for the global Occupy movement. We'll be live where it all began.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

You're watching News Stream. And turning now to Syria where some were predicting we may be seeing the beginning of the end for President Bashar al Assad. Now France's foreign minister says it is too late for the Syrian regime to survive.

Alain Juppe is visiting Turkey, Syria's one-time ally, to discuss the continuing violence against Syrian civilians. He says Damascus has had its chance to embrace reform and missed it. France and Turkey are now trying to step up the pressure on Mr. al Assad.

And a Turkish minister said this week electricity supplies to Syria could be cut off. The Arab League have given the Syrian leader the deadline of this weekend to stop the violent crackdown on protesters or risk sanctions.

Now pro-democracy demonstrations, they got going some eight months ago. And this week's rising civilian death toll is stocking fears that the bloodshed is spreading. Officials in Russia and Turkey are saying it is starting to look like civil war.

Now CNN like many other news organizations is not allowed into Syria, but Rima Maktabi is following the story for us from Dubai. And Rima, inside Syria now army defectors have again targeted symbols of the Assad regime. Can you give us the details?

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, every day we see another performance for the defectors and the Syrian free army. Every day they look stronger. However, this army is not -- doesn't have the proper weapons, or the support, or the money to continue in a long war. But maybe the more there are defectors, the stronger this army is.

Today, as we are speaking, I got the update from the Syrian activists and they're saying that only today 14 people have been killed so far. And it's still early afternoon in Damascus. And the day is still long ahead. The casualties are soaring every day. Since November 2, activists are saying more than 400 people have been killed. It's quite alarming, Kristie.

LU STOUT: What does the political opposition in Syria make of these army defector attacks against government forces? Do they want them to stop? Are they afraid it would lead to civil war?

MAKTABI: The political opposition is mainly out of Syria and they're divided into many groups. They're based in Egypt, Lebanon, in the Gulf countries and Turkey. They have not endorsed publicly, politically in front of the world that they support -- they haven't endorsed the defectors or the Syrian free army officially.

And there's a division between the opposition outside Syria and the opposition inside Syria. There are -- there's a different dynamic inside Syria. Protesters are on the one hand, and on the other hand you have these defectors. And the opposition outside is lobbying and trying to shape the international opinion. So when we talk about opposition, we're talking about so many groups -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And also international leaders, they've been ramping up the pressure on Damascus all this week to end the violence. And now Russia and Turkey are weighing in. Do you think they will be able to get Bashar al Assad to end the violence?

MAKTABI: Russia definitely has a say on Assad. It's still one of the major allies to Assad. However, Turkey has lost its close relationship with this regime. Turkey used to be a close friend to Assad's regime and not it is not. And Turkey is warning Syria, it was cut off electricity. And Turkey will play a major role in whatever happens in Syria in the future.

Now everyone is warning today and yesterday about a civil war. And it's important to understand that the Assad regime has used this rhetoric as a scarecrow saying if it's not my regime, the Assad regime, it's going to be a civil war.

Now Russia is saying the same, or as the U.S. and France it's not a civil war -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Rima Maktabi, joining us live from Dubai. Thank you very much for that.

Now the situation in Syria, it also divides politicians in neighboring Lebanon. Now two politicians from different parties nearly came to blows over it this week.

OK, so what starts as a heated discussion escalates when one man throws his water at the other. And the show host has to keep them from throwing punches, but can't stop them from hurling profanities.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, tens of thousands of people are packed into Tahrir Square. Now they are trying to pressure Egypt's military rulers. Now let's bring up some live pictures from Cairo of a very packed Tahrir Square so you can see. And the crowd, it opposes a constitutional proposal that would shield the military budget from public scrutiny.

Now the rally is also a show of strength by Islamist parties, though secular groups are taking part as well. And parliamentary elections are set for November 28.

You're watching News Stream. We'll be back right after the break.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You're back watching News Stream.

Now Afghanistan's grand council meeting, or Loya Jirga, is now in its third day. Now tribal elders and President Hamid Karzai are discussing the U.S. military presence in their country. They're holding talks under tight security in a tent near Kabul's intercontinental hotel.

Now that hotel was targeted by suicide bombers back in June. And a new video claims to show the planning and training for the attack.

Now let's bring in Nick Paton Walsh from CNN Kabul. And Nick why is this video so important?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is all really about the battle of perception happening here in Afghanistan. People want to show who is actually winning. Once we have ISAF, very slick communication machine, on other side we have the insurgency who at times release videos like this.

Now we can't 100 percent guarantee the authenticity of the images you are seeing, but we are talking here about a network attempting to show themselves training, highly organized, and able to operate with a degree of impunity as they have occasionally shown sometimes in the center of Kabul - - Kristie.

LU STOUT: And what does the video reveal in terms of the sophistication of their planning and training?

PATON WALSH: Well, it's very interesting. I mean, what some of the images they show have the insurgents sat around in a circle surveying a model of the very hotel they were to attack later on apparently, if these are the suicide attackers in question, showing their degree of forethought. And also a tactician standing over this model and suggesting tactics. The gunmen run to the roof, use that as a control tower to try and stop foreign or Afghan troops coming into that particular hotel. Really about showing that what this network could be is the Haqqanis who are part of the insurgency getting increasing attention because of the degree of sophistication they have, and of course accused of being supported and assisted by the Pakistani military -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And Nick the information war, it goes on between ISAF and the Taliban. What is the latest from the Twitter front line?

PATON WALSH: Absolutely. The last few days has been increasingly bitter exchanges between a man reporting to be a spokesman for Taliban on Twitter and the official press office of ISAF, or NATO here. Terse exchanges, really showing how valuable every single inch of the information here is at this late stage of the war in Afghanistan.


PATON WALSH: After a decade of lethal combat NATO and the Taliban are now fighting over something else, the last word. On Twitter for months now ISAF media, the coalition press office and AUBalki an apparent Taliban spokesman have been slugging it out.

First, they got personal over claims NATO had Afghan mercenaries in its pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "your officials admitted it dumb dumb."

PATON WALSH: "Dumb dumb? How the dialogue elevates. Look, nobody takes you seriously. Everything you type is wrong. Just stop."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "That's why they picked you for this job. If I wasn't here, you wouldn't have a job."

PATON WALSH: Neither side wants to talk about it on camera or show the face of their tweeter, but are both seem compelled into this ongoing war of words when NATO said it wants talks with a Taliban, it probably didn't have this in mind.

NATO admit this is a war of perception and the Taliban's information front is getting slicker. When tribal elders gather near the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul for talks on Wednesday, insurgents put this video online appearing to eulogize the suicide bombers who attacked that same hotel months earlier.

But direct conversation happens mostly on Twitter. On Monday, after reports the Taliban spokesman was arrested, they sniped over whether he was a civilian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Why are you capturing civilians?"

PATON WALSH: "So you're saying he was not a member of the Taliban? Is that what you want everyone to believe?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "You know not everyone is paid to sit behind a desk all day to tweet. Everyone else has a life to tend to."

PATON WALSH: Twitter is seen by very few Afghans, but influential among media and diplomats in Kabul. NATO have long had reporters and a TV channel to put out their message, but don't want to lose ground with the Twitterati. Getting into exchanges, though, may not help their message, some say.

LOFTULLAH NAJAFIZADA, CURRENT AFFAIRS, TOLO TV: I saw some of them this morning and they were so funny, to be honest. And I was wondering why ISAF should really reply. ISAF shouldn't do it, because Taliban probably won't consider all ethics of communications so it's good for ISAF to stay out of it and for not to engage in such communications.

It would be counterproductive for ISAF.

PATON WALSH: But they do, dozens a day, often just to deny false Taliban claims of ISAF casualties.

"Nope. Again, no ISAF helo shot down last night. Nice try. Did. Not. Happen."

"Abalkhi is truly the gift that keeps on giving."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "However has put you behind a desk needs to fire you and put someone more competent. You're making people laugh at ISAF's intelligence."

PATON WALSH: However infectious, these online spats remain after a decade of war of much more than words.


PATON WALSH: It's important to point out how few people in Afghanistan actually have access to Twitter, but obviously how vital it seems to both parties, ISAF and the Taliban, to have influence in this kind of arena among journalists, diplomats, NGO workers, politicians listening to this argument. And both sides desperate to be seen to be having the high ground -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, outside of Afghanistan, from my perspective and look in, it's been an incredible war of words to witness.

Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from Kabul. Thank you very much for your reporting.

Now the former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is denying allegations of vote tampering. The Philippine commission on elections has approved fraud charges against her. Now she is accused of manipulating the results of senate elections in 2007. Mrs. Arroyo was prevented from leaving the Philippines on Tuesday for medical treatment for what she says is a rare bone disease. Agence France Presse reports she was served with an arrest warrant today at her hospital bed in Manila. If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison.

Now ahead on News Stream, taking to the streets in cities across the U.S. Occupy protesters clash with police. Will we see more unrest today?

And FIFA boss Sepp Blatter says he's sorry for controversial comments about racism in football. But will he step down? We've got the latest ahead.


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

Now France's foreign minister says it is now too late for the Syrian regime and tougher sanctions are needed. Alain Juppe is in Ankara for talks with Turkey's leaders as both nations unite to put more pressure on Syrian president Bashar al Assad to stop (inaudible).

Now the U.S. may be ready to forge a new relationship with the government of Myanmar. President Barack Obama says Hillary Clinton will go there next month, the first visit in 50 years by a U.S. secretary of State. They made the announcement after talking by phone with Myanmar's pro- democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In New York, authorities say they do not expect delays on the city's subways, tunnels and buses today after Occupy Wall Street protesters staged a mass day of action on Thursday. Now there were violent clashes. New York police say 245 people were arrested. And Occupy protesters also took to the streets in other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, Oregon, and Boston.

And we want to give you a closer look at some of the images from Thursday, like this one out of New York City. And you can see a woman being dragged across the street by police officers. And the crowd is yelling at them to stop.

Now meanwhile, in Los Angeles you can see a protester here lying on the ground as several police officers try to arrest him.

And hundreds of demonstrators, they marched through L.A.'s financial district in support of the Occupy movement. And police say dozens of people were arrested.

Now demonstrators, they also marched in Chicago. At least 46 were arrested when they refused to move from a city bridge. And the protesters say they want to focus attention on jobs, not job cuts.

And the Occupy movement is one that is truly global. Now take a look at this image, it's out of London, just one many international cities that took part in Thursday's so-called mass day of action. An eviction notice hangs on a tent outside St. Paul's Cathedral, but demonstrators have said that they aren't going anywhere.

Now let's go to our Amber Lyon in New York. And Amber, are you seeing any Occupy activity there this morning?

AMBER LYON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm out here in front of Zuccatti Park. This is where the Occupy movement started two months ago in New York. And we see about a dozen protesters here in the park. Police came through here earlier in the week and they cleared it out. And now they say it's open, but they've actually only have two openings here and its surrounded by barricades. Protesters aren't allowed to bring in tents and other objects to camp out here.

This ground I'm standing on used to be covered in tents and supplies. People were living out there for two months straight, but it's since been cleared out. And during yesterday's movement, that's what caused a lot of the violence with protesters and police. And today we're seeing something a little new here. Police have put up zip ties on these barricades, because yesterday protesters were tearing the barricades down, because they see that as a symbol of them not being able to come back here and claim this park.

I want you to take a look at some dramatic YouTube video we got of a protester who had quite a gash in his head after some type of a conflict with police. We don't know exactly what happened. But what we were told by his friends, we've been interviewing this guy, he's been out here for two months straight. He was one of the first people to put a tent in the park. They say that as he was removing the barricades he was tackled by police. We don't have 100 percent confirmation as to what happened there.

245 people across New York arrested yesterday. Police say seven police officers were injured during these marches. Protesters tell us these were one of the largest demonstrations in this movement when thousands of people from unions came out to protest what they consider to be an inequality in the distribution of wealth here in the United States.

And this morning if you take a look at the scene out here, we're seeing about a dozen diehard protesters. They've been sitting out here all night. The majority of the protesters who were living in the park are now staying at homeless shelters, also in churches to stay warm. And they're not allowed to bring blankets out here, so you see some people with foil coverings, several layers of clothing just trying to stay warm.

But above all, the message we've really seen out here yesterday was one guy was holding a sign it said you can arrest one of us, two more will show up. You cannot arrest an idea. And that has really been the feeling of this movement as they continue to grow across the U.S. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about the mood among the Occupy protesters, because they've gone through a lot this last week: the eviction, the two month anniversary, the day of action, those violent clashes that you showed us just now. What are they thinking about what's going to happen next?

LYON: Well, every time we see any type of clash or when they were evicted, it's really galvanized the movement. It's been the opposite effect. On Tuesday when police game through here and cleared out all the tents, right after that the next day on Wednesday we saw almost double the amount of protesters out here during the day. And then you saw thousands of people taking to the streets on Thursday. And so as far as these -- the Occupy movement's concerns among some of the leaders they say it's only continuing to grow and cause this movement to galvanize across the U.S.

LU STOUT: All right. Amber Lyons joining us live from Zuccatti Park this morning. Thank you very much for that.

Now from a flood of water to a flood of trash as water recedes in parts of Thailand. And the scope of the cleanup comes really into focus. Let's get the latest now with our Mari Ramos. She joins us live from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey Kristie. I don't know if you've ever had this experience where you have things or items that get damaged, let's say in the rain or maybe a leak in your house or anything like that. Well, what happens is stuff that normally wouldn't be garbage becomes garbage because you can't save it, you can't fix it. You have to get rid of it. Mattresses, clothing, things like that that have to just be thrown out. In many cases furniture that will be completely damaged and it will be irreparable. That is what they're having to deal with across parts of Thailand.

And the streets look like this. Look at that. It really is a flood of garbage in many places. Not only is it very difficult to clean up, there is literally tons and tons of it.

They're taking up roadways like the one that you see here. In areas that haven't been flooded before are filling up with garbage. In areas where the water is receding, and of course the cleanup begins you really end up with quite a mess.

We have some video to show you from some of those areas. And you'll see that even though it's dry and it looks, you know, pretty good now compared to what it was before when the water was in some cases up to a meter deep. And even though the cleanup is ongoing there's just so much garbage everywhere as people start cleaning up their houses and cleaning up their businesses and really seeing what is there, what is left for them to deal with.

One community is actually asking people to bring their garbage in, because it's so hard for workers to go out and get it. So you bring your garbage in and they trade it for food. And in some cases now that the conditions are drier, burning has become one of the -- kind of ways to solve this problem, but that causes other problems particularly in the air quality which can get pretty bad across Thailand, particularly this time of year. So that's a lot of concerns that are going on.

So we go from one problem to another, unfortunately, in this part of the world.

And notice, it is dry. High pressure in place. We're in the dry season now, so conditions have changed completely. When you burn a lot of stuff, that smoke is just going to linger in the air for a long time. And you can really end up with some serious problems there.

I want to take you over here to the Philippines now. We've had some very heavy rain across these areas. I told you about that yesterday looking much better now. Most of the moisture has actually lifted northward. And these rainfall totals are tremendous.

Again, we're looking at portions of Taiwan, parts of China, and particularly Japan. Look at that, 295 millimeters of rain just in the last 24 hours. That's huge!

And there's more to come. That's going to be the big concern. You can see all the moisture right over here kind of trailing along this cold front. A lot of this moisture is from that -- what was it tropical depression over the weekend, that area that was looking like this could become a tropical cyclone near the Philippines, it drenched that area, it drenched southern parts of China and Taiwan, and now we're seeing that moisture affect the Ryuku Islands, the southern tip of the Korean peninsula and of course as we head back over here toward Japan.

As we head into the weekend, and even into Sunday, we're still going to be seeing not only the rain, but also wind. Watch out for the flooding. This could be a big weather maker.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast.

Let's talk snow from way too much precip. in one places to now enough in others. And we've had relatively warmer temperatures across much of central Europe and that is translating into less snow across the places where you want to see the snow.

I want to show you a before and after picture. This is from November 11 of last year 2010. Look at all the snow that's across this entire region. Well, when we kind of go forward in time and get here to where we are now you can see the difference, the lack of snow that is covering the alpine area. This is a concern, you guessed it, for ski resorts. This is going to be a problem as ski resorts can't open on time, businesses unfortunately suffer a little bit more.

Let me show you the before and after one more time. This is what it looks like now. Here's a couple of ski resorts in this area right here. And look, right there and right there. This is now. And this is what it looked like a year ago. Look at all the snow. So it is a big concern.

Want to see what it looks like on the ground, Kristie? Oh, not good. Empty ski lifts and a lot of green grass -- well, brown grass still on the ground. Back to you.

LU STOUT: No. It doesn't look like winter there. Wow. Incredible contrast there.

Mari Ramos, thank you and take care.

Now up next here on News Stream, a horrifying story: rape, stolen organs, a life with no hope, but did CNN's Freedom Project help to rewrite the fate of some of the most vulnerable victims of modern day slavery?


LU STOUT: Captivity, extortion, people trafficking. Now two weeks ago, a CNN documentary was called Death in the Desert revealed the horrific treatment of African refugees at the hands of smugglers. And since that report aired, hundreds of migrants have made it to freedom. Fred Pleitgen reports on a glimmer of hope in the battle against modern day slavery.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: African refugees enslaved, women raped, and organs stolen, all while being held captives by Bedouin smugglers in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Unmarked graves of dozens who never made it to their goal: a new life in Israel.

Unspeakable horrors uncovered in the CNN documentary Death in the Desert which aired in early November.

But since then, aid agencies report that scores of refugees have been released from Bedouin custody and have made it across the border to Israel.

WILLIAM TALL, UNHCR: What we've seen is I would say a quite a substantial increase in the number of people that have crossed since the beginning of November. What we've heard was about 1,300 from basically the first two weeks of November which is well over double the normal rate.

PLEITGEN: The UNHCR said it's unclear what so many of the refugees are all of sudden being released. Sinai is a lawless area where the Egyptian state has little authority, so it's difficult to know what impact the CNN documentary had.

But a chief for the Sawarka tribe (ph) says shortly after it aired, Egyptian intelligence officials put pressure on human traffickers and more than 600 African refugees were released without having to pay the massive sums normally extorted by criminal Bedouin gangs.

That matches what the UNHCR is hearing from the refugees who made it to Israel.

TALL: They were paying $20,000 a month. Money was being extorted out of them while they were in Sinai. They were there for long periods. They were very ill-treated, often tortured. Women, systematic sexual abuse, consistent, very credible testimonies. Whereas some of these people that have arrived recently in the past couple weeks they report having spent far less time in these centers in Sinai, these camps, and often paying far less money, $3,000, $3,500, which is far less than the average pre-November.

PLEITGEN: Whatever the reason, it seems clear something major has changed in Sinai. And people like Hamdi al Azzazy who runs the New Generation Foundation for Human Rights which tries to help African refugees in Sinai says it's about time.

So would you say that this is modern day slavery?

HAMDI AL AZZAZY, NEW GENERATION FOUNDATION: It's more than slavery, it's terrible. You can't -- you can't accept -- if you tell any person about the stories there nobody can accept you're talking, because they will answer you no you are joke. It is not a joke.

Is it true somebody do that in this time in the world?

PLEITGEN: It's unclear whether the increased number of refugees now crossing into Israel really marks a turning point in the treatment of Africans fleeing the turmoil in places like Sudan and Eritrea. But at the very least, it seems a few hundred of them have had a smoother and safer journey to what they hope will be a better life.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


LU STOUT: Now still to come on News Stream, backlash and backtracking. The head of world football says he is not going anywhere. But Sepp Blatter admits he has regrets. More on the controversy next.


LU STOUT: Now Sepp Blatter has finally said sorry for the controversial remarks about racism in football that he made to CNN on Wednesday.

Let's join Alex Thomas in London to get all the latest twists to the saga -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie. The head of world football has now apologized, suggesting there is no racism on the pitch and victims should shake hands with their abusers and say it's only a game. But Sepp Blatter says he won't resign despite the global outrage his remarks have caused.

FIFA's president told the BBC today, quote, "when you have done something which was not totally correct I can only say I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations."

While he was doing that interview the other man in this photo, Tokyo Sexwale, South Africa's housing minister and FIFA anti-racism ambassador was holding a news conference praising Blatter. The image on this news release was criticized by many, including England defender Rio Ferdinand for being a clumsy PR move. Although Sexwale said Blatter is not a racist, he disagreed with the president's original comments from Wednesday.


TOKYO SEXWALE, FIFA ANTI-RACISM AMBASSADOR: Once you use a racial slur, it doesn't go away. You cannot exchange it with a jersey. You cannot mitigate it with a handshake. That's why we call for, for action to be taken against players. Of course a lot of players have sometimes forgive one another for these type of things, but we should differentiate racial discrimination, racist remarks, from those remarks which are made because people are fighting for a ball. And they say also some things against one another such as examples I indicated.

But important, the other one sticks. You call somebody by their race of his mother, or you call somebody by -- you refer to his nose, you refer to his eyes. And by the way this is not just racism, it is also discrimination.


THOMAS: The criticism of Blatter has been fiercest here in the UK where British Prime Minister David Cameron has been scathing about the FIFA president's attempts to downplay the impact of racism on the pitch. Mr. Cameron said, "it's appalling to suggest that racism in any way should be accepted as part of the game. A lot of work has cone into ridding racism from all aspects of our society, including football. As many of our top sports stars have rightly pointed out now is not the time for complacency."

Meanwhile, in the United States former England captain David Beckham used an interview with CNN ahead the MLS Cup final to say he didn't agree with Blatter. I hope someone will do something about it.


DAVID BECKHAM, L.A. GALAXY MIDFIELDER: Something has to happen, because those kind of remarks from a man that is so high up in the game, you know, he's obviously not right. And it's obviously something that I personally don't agree with and I think everyone else doesn't agree with. You know, things can't just be sorted out by a handshake. Simple as that.

So what will happen in the future with Sepp Blatter, I have no idea. And obviously I have no power and control over that. But you know all I care about is keeping racism out of soccer and out of sport, you know, because it's not just in sport, it's in life in general. So it has to be stopped and we hope we're part of that.


THOMAS: And you can hear a full interview with Becks in the next addition of World Sport in around three hours time.

OK, let's switch to football of a different kind now. And Thursday night NFL match was a clash between the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets. It's all Denver's love him or hate him quarterback Tim Tebow versus the Jets Mark Sanchez.

And it was only 3-3 in the third quarter here with the Jets on the goalline. Bilal Powell tries to go up the middle, fumbles the ball, but as the replay shows teammate Mark (inaudible) recovers and the Jets take a 10- 3 lead.

Now the Jets, with the ball again, and Sanchez throws right, but it's picked off by Andre Goodman who takes it 26 yards for the touchdown. 10- all.

Onto the final quarter, New York up by 3. And Tebow decides not to pass, rolling out and sprinting upfield, avoiding one tackler, and kind of you know, stumbling his way into the end zone really. Maybe not pretty to watch at times, but it capped a 95 yard drive.

But a 17-13 win for the Broncos who are 5-5 for the season.

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

LU STOUT: Alex, thank you and take care.

And now to scare in the air, but it turned out to a big misunderstanding. Now the captain of a flight from North Carolina to New York had to use the bathroom as the plane approached LaGuardia Airport. And then the co-pilot contacted controllers with a strange story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the FO. The captain disappeared in the back. Went to use the restroom. By all indications, what I'm being told is he's stuck in the lav and someone with a thick foreign accident is giving me a password to access the cockpit. And I'm not about to let him in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey Chatauqua. You guys ought to declare an emergency and just get on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Left turn heading 220 Catauqua 6132. Situation resolved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounds good. You're all set now and everything's OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. We're all good and ready to start the approach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the captain. I'm back in the cockpit. Lavatory door malfunction. They're probably going to want to talk to you when you get on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 6132 just want to make sure. Was there any level of disturbance on the airplane?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Negative, the captain, myself, was in the lavatory and the door latch broke and had to fight way out of it with my body to get the door open.


LU STOUT: Now the man described as having thick foreign accent turned out to be a passenger. He heard the pilot struggling to get out of the bathroom and tried to alert the cockpit.

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