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NEWS STREAM

Egyptian Elections Begin Well, But Tensions Increase Across Arab World with Syria Sanctions and NATO Conflict in Pakistan; Egypt Holds First Post-Mubarak Election; Violence in Congo Persists Ahead of National Elections; Wales Football Coach Dies In Apparent Suicide

Aired November 28, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANISHA TANK, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A very warm welcome to "News Stream" where news and technology meet. I'm Manisha Tank at CNN Hong Kong.

A momentous day. We begin in Egypt where voters are lining up to cast their ballots in the first phase of an historic election.

No more business as usual. That warning to the U.S. from Pakistan's prime minister after NATO aircraft killed two dozen Pakistani troops.

And the world of football mourns Wales manager, Gary Speed, even as questions swirl about how he died.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TANK: Well, I mentioned it a second ago - Egyptians are voting in their first election since this year's revolution brought down President Hosni Mubarak's 30 years in power. Outside the square, people have been lining up at polling stations throughout the country. About 50 million Egyptians are eligible to take part in today's first round of parliamentary elections. Many people will be voting for the first time.

Well, ahead of this vote, CNN's Ben Wedeman spoke to Egyptians who said they wanted change, but they weren't sure about the legitimacy of this process. Some of those people said that they wouldn't participate in these polls. And others said they would, begrudgingly. Here, now, is Ben's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Official campaigning is over, but parliamentary candidate, Mahmoud Salem is still out at seven p.m., glad-handing potential voters. Part of a new generation of would-be politicians, Salem, who was in Tahrir Square during the revolutions, is responding to what he sees as desperation for new blood.

"The problem in this country is we don't have any young ministers," this man tells him. "Do they all have to be over 70 or 80 years old?" 30- year-old Salem gained fame as the blogger named "Sandmonkey" - a sharp- tongued, highly irreverent critic of the status quo.

He interrupted his campaign to return to Tahrir.

MAHMOUD SALEM, EGYPTIAN PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE: People in Tahrir aren't enjoying the process. They don't enjoy to go down and get tear- gassed and shot. Maybe a few do, but no enjoy - no. You know? They would like to live in a country in which the government actually functions. This revolution, more than anything, was about the roles between the citizen and the states. The state does not work for the citizen anymore on any level.

WEDEMAN: The streets of Cairo are full of election banners. Dozens of new legalized parties are running in the three round elections that begin Monday and end in January. But the short campaign was cut shorter when recent battles erupted in Tahrir Square. A corner of the capital that seems to dominate politics.

Here, not everyone is enthusiastic about the vote.

WEDEMAN: "There are some respectable people running," says interior decorator, Isam (ph). "But there's also riff-raff. People can't tell who's good and who's bad. The whole process makes us dizzy".

The square has become a political theater in which everyone is a player. For the people of Egypt, this year has been a mind-blowing trek through uncharted territory. First, they overthrew their dictator of 30 years and now, after months of upheaval and instability, they have the chance for the first time to vote in real elections.

Tour guide, Mohammed (ph) Ali (ph), is pulled in two different directions - attracted to the ballot box, but still committed to revolution.

MOHAMMED (ph) ALI (ph), TOUR GUIDE: I have never voted in any election, because it was totally corrupted and it was not called "election", it was called "forgery". Why will you think to give your vote if you are 100 percent sure that you wouldn't be respected, you wouldn't be counted. So it means you do not exist. So why to humiliate yourself and go to give your vote?

WEDEMAN: This time you'll go?

ALI (ph): I will go, and I'm back in the square.

WEDEMAN: In the space of less than 10 months, Egypt has changed beyond recognition. The people in power shows no sign of wearying of politics.

"There's no going back", says activist Mohammed (ph) Hamain (ph).

MOHAMMED (ph) HAMAIN (ph), EGYPTIAN ACTIVIST: I definitely think the wheel that has gone in motion in January will never turn back. I think we have had peaks and we have had downs. Right now, we're having another peak. Unfortunately, maybe it's not the peak we hoped for at a time like this. What I'm trying to say - definitely people will go and vote.

WEDEMAN: And if voting doesn't transform Egypt's creaking state, they'll stay in the streets until it does.

"I haven't felt any change", this young man sings. "So I came to Tahrir".

Ben Wedeman, CNN Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TANK: So, lots of mixed feelings and a lot of emotion there, as well. Now, Egypt's parliamentary elections start today and they go on until March. Here's why that process is going to last so long. We start here. Right now, we're in round one of the lower house elections. Voters in nine provinces, including Cairo and Alexandria can go to the polls. If necessary, a runoff will be then held on December the fifth.

Then comes round two, and you can see that there. That will be held in nine other provinces starting on December the fourteenth. The final round, well that starts next year with a runoff date set for January 10. The voting for the upper house - now, that's going to begin later in January. It will also be held in three stages. The last being in March of next year.

And keep in mind, all of this is just the parliament. Egypt's de facto leader has said presidential elections will take place by June.

Let's take you elsewhere in the Middle East for a moment. And the government of Kuwait has resigned over a dispute with opposition members of parliament. Agence France-Presse is quoting an opposition MP as saying, "The Amir of Kuwait has accepted this resignation".

But the Reuters News Agency says the Kuwaiti Parliament speaker is not aware of a decision to dissolve parliament. Reuters reports the cabinet's move aims to resolve demands that the Kuwaiti prime minister stepped down over allegations of corruption.

Now, we take you to Pakistan. And its military is denying reports that its troops may have triggered the cross-border airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers over the weekend. The deaths have drawn protests in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and other cities. NATO has apologized for the attack, but its words haven't eased the anger in Pakistan where demonstrators burned flags and shouted anti-American slogans. Military officials say they've shut down two NATO supply routes in response to this attack.

Though the incident has placed more strain, of course, on Pakistan's relationship with the United States at a time when both countries are trying to cooperate over the handover operation in Afghanistan.

CNN's Reza Sayah spoke exclusively with Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani. Reza, what can you tell us?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Manisha, any way you look at this, this is turning out to be a very messy situation both for Pakistan and the U.S. These are two countries that have faced a lot of crises, have had a lot of low points. But, in an exclusive interview with CNN today, Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, described this as the lowest point between Pakistan and the U.S. during his administration. He told us, "It's no longer going to business as usual with Washington". He said, "Pakistan is going to reassess its relationship with the U.S.". He also said, "Look, we can't continue the partnership with Washington unless we have public support". And he said, "Because of this incident and other incidents, that public support is fading fast".

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YOUSAF RAZA GILANI, PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER: You cannot win any war without the support of the masses. And we need the people with us. And such sort of incidents be making people moving away from the situation.

REZA: There's a lot of Pakistanis that are fed up - that would say, "Enough's enough". Has Pakistan reached a point of no return with its relationship with the U.S.?

GILANI: Business as usual will not be there. Therefore, we have to have something bigger so that to satisfy my nation, the entire country.

REZA: And what will satisfy your nation? What do you want?

GILANI: Exactly. I have referred, therefore, to the leadership of my entire country, who are the members of the parliamentary committee on the national security. They will deliberate and give recommendations to me.

REZA: Is your prediction that this relationship will continue with Washington?

GILANI: That can continue on mutual respect and mutual interest.

REZA: Are you getting that respect?

GILANI: At the moment, not.

REZA: You're not getting that respect?

GILANI: If I can't protect the sovereignty of my country, how can we say it's a mutual respect and mutual interest?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REZA: Clearly, Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, very angry after this incident, but it's important to point out that he was also very diplomatic - delivering some very thoughtful and measured statements, saying, "Look, I don't want to cut ties with Washington. I want relations to continue, but there must be changes". As you heard, he wasn't clear on what those changes are going to be. He said that's going to be up to parliament.

The Prime Minister did not comment on recent reports that it was Pakistani soldiers who fired first - that allegedly sparked this incident. Of course, Manisha, Pakistan's military has strongly denied those claims.

TANK: Yes. Obviously, I mean, you know, there's going to be some kind of inquiry - investigation into exactly what happened. And I don't think we can get into that right now. It's so early to tell. But here's the thing - you have people in Pakistan burning American flags right now. How much pressure did you feel was on Gilani to do something, and soon, given, you know, the popular movement right now?

REZA: Well, there's tremendous pressure on the Prime Minister and his government. Anti-American sentiment was already widespread and this incident has only fueled it. And the huge challenge for the Prime Minister and this government is addressing a public that's increasingly grown fed up with the U.S. foreign policy and Pakistan's relationship with Washington.

At the same time, addressing the pressure coming from Washington. And U.S. officials continuing to pressure Pakistan to do more in the fight against militancy. So, that's where the Pakistani Prime Minister is - having to balance Washington with public pressure. In the past, some how, some way, both Islamabad and Washington have overcome obstacles that were seemingly insurmountable. Indications are that they're going to do it again. There's no indication that they're going to cut off ties. But a lot of people eager to see how they'll resolve this one.

TANK: Yes. And a lot of different interests at play. We'll leave it there, Reza. Thanks for that. Such an important time to get that interview as well. Very interesting comments there.

Ahead, here on "News Stream", we'll look at what effect the Arab League's economic sanctions might have on Syria. Also, as Pakistan buries soldiers killed in that NATO attack, Afghanistan warns of potential military conflict with its neighbor. And polls are open, despite violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential elections.

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TANK: Of course, this is a momentous day for Egypt. Let's take you there now where Egyptians are lining up for the chance to vote. It's the country's first elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. We can get the latest, now, from CNN's Jim Clancy, who's been speaking with Egyptians in the capital as they vote. He joins us now, live from Cairo.

Jim, tell us where you are and how significant it is.

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, it is hugely significant. For one day, perhaps, this is the first day of voting in Egypt. A very celebratory mood. Perfect weather. And the focus isn't specifically here in Tahrir Square. But this is where thousands of people have come right now. Mostly, they are discussing the elections, what way it might go. They are aware of what they have heard on the news, what they have seen on the streets, Manisha. And that is that there's heavy turnout.

Let me show you what it looked like outside one of the polling places, today. Some of these polling places have been set aside just for women. And they were almost in a celebratory mood, feeling that they had really attained a change, telling us that, for the first time in their life, they were getting to cast a real ballot. Now, that applied to people young and old. In fact, I talked to an older woman as she came out, proudly holding up her purple thumb. It was marked with the ink to show that she had cast her ballot. Listen to what she had to say about the events of today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

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CLANCY: Now, you hear there about the hope that people have. That's something that is shared. They know that the outcome is, by no means, assured. What women, particularly here in the heart of Cairo, want to see is a complete separation of church and state. They don't want Islamists to be in charge of their government because they feel that will impinge on their rights. "We've been oppressed for decades", said one. "Today, we're beginning to feel free".

Manisha, back to you.

TANK: Jim, amazing. They are now being able to express their choice. Is everything orderly? Everything is going to plan? There's been no violence?

CLANCY: Well, no violence, at least here in Cairo. There are reports of some shooting incidents elsewhere in the governance outside of Cairo. That halted the voting in one area, I'm told, today. But mostly on the streets here in Cairo it has been very peaceful. It has been very orderly. There were some violations, perhaps, of the spirit - the letter of the law - on campaigning outside the polling places. We saw people handing out pamphlets or holding up placards. But that didn't seem to be influencing most people.

Most Egyptians today that we say at polling places, were very happy indeed to be casting their ballot and hoping for change and improvements in their country. Manisha?

TANK: Jim, most of the people next to you seem to be looking into the camera and sharing your experience. But otherwise, what is happening around you? Just tell us.

CLANCY: Well, if you look, Tahrir Square is awash in people. Maybe - if I get everybody to back up a little bit? Shway Shway, please? Let's get a picture and show here of some of the scene. You see, there have been political rallies held. Of course, there are a lot of street debates about the politics, Manisha. We have heard people chanting here. And, of course, you have your vendors - the regular people that are here.

All of the political parties - their tent encampments are over on this side. The Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood are in there alongside the liberals. Every camp is represented. Truly, Tahrir Square is pulling people together. And Tahrir Square is also going to perform more or less a check and a balance on how this electoral process goes ahead.

It's very complicated. It's not going to be complete until next March. But today, Egyptians have a feeling they have put their best foot forward. Manisha, back to you.

TANK: OK, Jim. We'll let you, you know, keep track of these amazing events that are happening in Cairo today. A very, very important day. Thank you so much for that. And you know, Tahrir Square really becoming the heart of all of this. And that beating heart for Egypt today.

Now, in the coming days, Arab League officials will be fine-tuning the details of economic sanctions against Syria. The league voted to impose sanctions at the weekend after Syria declined to allow observers into the country to monitor the government's response to protest demonstrations.

Iraq and Lebanon abstained from the vote. Qatar says the Arab League wants to avoid a foreign intervention in Syria.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The work which we are doing is to avoid interference. But if the international committee does not see us serious in this matter and have a result, I cannot guarantee that there will be no interference.

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TANK: Syrian state television says the move to impose sanctions lacks legality. So, for more on the situation, we're joined now by CNN's Nima Elbagir in London. Nima, obviously, this is a hugely momentous time for the Middle East. So why are the Arab League doing all of this now?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is incredibly symbolic, but I think, for an organization that has always been charged with utter ineffectiveness, what we're seeing is really a post-Libya reality. It was the Arab League that voted for the no-fly zone that then paved the way for NATO's intervention and NATO's air cover for the Libyan opposition.

And coming off of that, it's very difficult for the Arab League, then, to face down the reality of Syria without being seen to move on it. Really, in fact, the Arab League has already been criticized for moving too slowly. They moved very quickly on Libya. They have already given Syria an opportunity - that was in November - the Second Amendment in which they asked for Syria to allow in humanitarian observers. Syria initially agreed and then backed off from the cease-fire.

So, in fact, this has been a long time coming. But, for the Arab League, in this new world - this new post-responsibility-to-protect world - it has to be seen to be moving much more quickly. And, in fact, now, the Arab League is saying that, because of that abstention that we saw from Iraq and Lebanon, they're worried that these financial sanctions will not have the bite that they're intended to have, because these are t he two largest Arab trading partners for Syria.

The Syrian commercial bank is already sanctioned by the U.S. and the E.U. And the hope was that, now that the central bank is sanctioned, that this would cut off much needed foreign currency to Bashar al-Asad and his backers. The prime minister has said that they're going to take these sanctions to the U.N. Security Council in the hope that, when they are adopted by the U.N. Security Council, Lebanon and Iraq will have no choice but to comply, Manisha.

TANK: Nima, this is the thing, though, you used the word earlier in answering the question - "symbolic". And, you know, you've already alluded to the idea of these sanctions actually having teeth. In your experience of the region, in your experience of the Arab League, have things changed enough this time, then, do you think, that it will have teeth?

ELBAGIR: Well, you don't feel -

TANK: Oh, sorry, go ahead.

ELBAGIR: Well, I mean, it does feel like the Arab League is aware that they have to be more proactive on Arab issues. And really, a lot of this, you know, many people argue that the Arab League is being driven towards this (INAUDIBLE) because of their animosity towards Syria. But I think the Arab League is also being driven by self-preservation. There is a huge popular swell of support behind those fighting back against dictatorial regimes across the Arab world. And it's almost easier for these Arab leaders to be seen to be supporting other uprisings rather than giving in to much-needed democratic reforms at home.

So, although this seems like a difficult step to take, it's actually, for many of them, the easier. I mean, one of the countries that's come out very strongly is Sudan. Sudan is not, by any measure, a democratic country. And yet, it's kind of riding that wave of popular opinion across the Arab world and supporting the Arab League. And actually getting a lot of credibility for it at home, Manisha.

TANK: Well, certainly, the situation seems pretty liquid with all of these different countries moving to take action. Nima Elbagir, thank you so much for that from London.

Coming up here on "News Stream", Afghanistan says it will soon control half of its population as NATO and the U.S. withdraw from the region. But some believe the transition could lead to a resurgence of the Taliban. We'll have the details next, on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TANK: Now, Afghan troops will soon take charge of security operations in more areas of the country. President Hamid Karzai has announced transition plans for parts of these provinces. You'll recall that NATO troops already handed back the city of Kabul and Helmand's provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. That happened back in July as part of phase one. That also included these areas.

When phase two is complete, more than half the country will be under local control. But serious questions remain about the ability of Afghan troops to counter the threat still posed by the Taliban. Some volatile areas are set to be handed over. Nad Ali, in Helmand Province, has been the site of many British deaths in past years. And the city of Ghazni - well, that's surrounded by restive rural areas.

In the meantime, a senior advisor to Afghan President Hamid Karzai says tensions with Pakistan are near a breaking point. Ashraf Ghani told CNN the two nations are, "Close to an irreversible course toward conflict".

Well, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us from Kabul with more on this in a very delicate time.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. After this weekend clash between, it appears, NATO troops and Pakistani soldiers on the other side in which many Pakistani soldiers were killed. These comments you're about to hear are, of course, fascinating, because they illuminate the sheer depth of tension and fury, perhaps, felt from some of Karzai's top aides - top presidential advisors.

Now, I should point out, of course, that the idea of a war between Afghanistan and Pakistan sounds enormously remote to many right now. But there is a lot of anger building up here in Afghanistan because of recent attacks inside the city of Kabul, allegedly by Pakistani-assisted insurgents. And, of course, an assassination of a top peace negotiator in Kabul as well. Also, Afghanistan claims, assisted by elements from inside Pakistan.

So I asked earlier - I spoke to Ashraf Ghani, a key advisor to Mr. Karzai - how this left relations with Pakistan?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: After the assassination of Peace Negotiator Rabbani, is the peace process dead?

DR. ASHRAF GHANI, ADVISOR TO AFGHAN PRESIDENT KARZAI: What we have done is to name the key issue. This is not from an Afghan nation perspective and insurgents. It is a conflict fueled from the middle. And we need to arrive at a decision.

WALSH: By that, you mean talk to Pakistan?

GHANI: You need to talk to Pakistan and Pakistan needs to choose. Does it want to slide down in a path of three generations of conflict with Afghans? The assassination of President Rabbani has gelled the nation together.

WALSH: Against Pakistan?

GHANI: Against interference. And one or two more actions could put us in an irreversible course.

WALSH: You mean conflict?

GHANI: Conflict. And we've shown through our history that we are a match for any invader.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: Now, really this does show you exactly how high the tensions are from people like Doctor Ashraf Ghani. A more calm, almost philosophical part of the presidential circle, here. And these feelings still obviously apparent at a time when Pakistan and Afghanistan - ahead of a vital conference in Germany later on this week - really do need to be talking to each other more and more about trying to bring some kind of peace to the insurgency area here. Manisha?

TANK: Nick, I'm sure this is something we're going to be talking about more and more in the coming weeks. But I just want to go back to a story that you covered for us last week. And this was - this really moving story of Gulnaz, the rape victim, who was faced with just a horrible predicament. I know you have an update on her story.

WALSH: So let me just remind you what happened here. Gulnaz, raped by her cousin's husband, then accused of adultery because of that rape. Put in jail, gave birth to a child from the attack, subsequently forced into the future marriage, perhaps, of her attacker to legitimize that child. Now facing death threats, some say, from people who consider the dishonor she brought to be unacceptable.

Now, we have just heard from the Presidential Palace that they are to be calling - having heard about Gulnaz's case - there will apparently be, on Thursday, a high level meeting of the judiciary, chaired by President Karzai, which will discuss this issue. Not specifically just Gulnaz's case, but the issue in general. And, after that, they may choose to issue a further statement.

So, obviously clear progress here form the Presidential Palace. Taking into account Gulnaz's situation and clearly some potential action here form the judiciary. But I should point out, as of now, Gulnaz and her baby daughter remain in jail. Manisha?

TANK: Yes. A very sad situation for her, but very important that the issue has gone to the very top. Nick, thank you so much for that update.

Still just ahead on "News Stream", the indelible mark of an historic vote. We're live in Egypt to witness the country's first poll since the fall of former President, Hosni Mubarak.

People are voting in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well despite campaign violence and logistical problems. The polls have opened in one of Africa's largest and least-developed countries.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TANK: I'm Mansha Tank in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Egyptians are voting in the country's first election since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Some 50 million people are eligible to take part in today's first round of parliamentary elections. Some irregularities have been reported, that includes campaign activity outside some polls and some stations opening late.

Pakistan held a public funeral on Sunday for 24 soldiers killed in a NATO attack near the Afghan border on Saturday. The U.S. and NATO has expressed regret, but Pakistanis remain outraged. And now Pakistan is denying reports some unnamed Afghan officials that the air strike was a response to incoming fire from Pakistan.

The trial of 20 medics in Bahrain has been adjourned until January 9, that follows a controversial start to proceedings, which the prosecutors present weapons evidence that was not produced at the first trial. A military court convicted the medics of trying to overthrow the government. This time they are appearing in civilian court.

The Iranian parliament have vote to reduce diplomatic relations with Britain and expel its ambassador. Iran's official news agency says the move is retaliation for new western sanctions on Iran. Britain cut all financial ties with the country last week over concerns about Iran's nuclear program. They call Sunday's vote in Tehran regrettable.

OK, well let's take you back to Egypt now where polling booths are open and voting is underway in the country's first post-revolution elections on his this historic day. Ivan Watson joins us live from a polling station, I believe, in Cairo.

Ivan tell us a little bit about the mood there, because you know we spoke around this time last week and things were very different.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are. And there were concerns that this election might not even take place on time, but the polls have opened. There have been some problems at some stations reported -- getting ballot papers on time. At this polling station, people patiently waiting, hours in some cases, for a chance to vote.

Better, though, to ask Egyptians here. I just met Mahmoud here with his wife and daughter. They're coming to vote. And Mahmoud you were telling me this feels like a different election from previous ones. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Because -- because before have a governor was a dictator, but now there are no dictator. The people in Egypt they controlling the country, but no have the first maybe before some people playing money for the people to vote for them, but now there are no like that. They are all free, all different, all clean, and --

WATSON: Does this feel like a good day for Egypt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, yeah. Very good -- very nice day.

WATSON: And have you voted before in elections in Egypt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I voted before in elections.

WATSON: Before you did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, but they're forging everything.

WATSON: Not today you're hoping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not today. No. No. No. No. Today there is no forging.

WATSON: Well, there you hear it from Mahmoud, one voter with -- again with his wife and daughter who are coming who have a lot of faith so far in the electoral process.

Manisha, this election is going to go today (inaudible) voter two days to vote. The -- this is also only the first phase of three rounds of elections split up around the country for the lower house of parliament (inaudible) expected until at least January and then the second house of parliament elections are due to begin.

Basically Egyptians, if all go according to plan, are going to be going to the polls until March. It's going to be quite a long electoral season.

Back to you, Manisha.

TANK: Yeah, Ivan, hopefully if we don't get too much break-up on the camera, you know, you'll be able to answer this. There was some concern that some of the protesters were saying at the end of the day this is still being organized by the military that we don't want. Did they actually acquiesce in the end? Are they out voting?

WATSON: Well, the number we're hearing in Tahrir Square, demonstrators have diminished. And we had split opinions among those demonstrators whether or not to participate in the election. But I would say based on what I've seen today around Cairo is that it seems like people are showing their support for this process in numbers by just showing up at the polls.

At one other polling station we were at, the line of women alone waiting to vote stretched around the block. And I think that's a powerful signal about where many Egyptian feel it's best to express their political opinion right now. Many just showing by casting their ballots that they support this process so far.

TANK: Yeah, and a very powerful message for what we think of the whole concept of democracy.

Ivan, thank you so much for that update and really bringing up into the picture of what's happening right there in front of that polling station.

Well, Egyptians have thousands of independent candidates from dozens of political parties to choose from. Our Ben Wedeman posted this diagram to Twitter. I think it says it all. It says "simple, isn't it?"

Well, we can't tell you about all of them, there are quite a few, but here are some of the biggest for you. And we can start off here.

Now the Freedom and Justice Party is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. It's expected to do well in this election.

Then we have the liberal Free Egyptian Party. It can be considered the counterweight to the Muslim Brotherhood. This party is secular, though founded by a Coptic Christian.

Then we have Al-Nour -- and here we go, it means Party of Light. It's the first set up by Salafists since the revolution. It wants to see Egypt guided by conservative Islamic principles.

And finally we can talk about the Socialist Popular Alliance. It's part of a bloc called the Revolution Continues. The party appeals to young people who helped toppled Hosni Mubarak in the first place.

Now we're going to take you to the Democratic Republic of Congo where parliamentary and presidential elections are pushing ahead in what is an atmosphere of general mistrust and heightened violence. Just a short time ago gunmen attacked a polling station in the country's second city of Lubumbashi. Several people were killed there.

We'll have more on that in just a minute, but first take a look at this video from the capital Kinshasa on Saturday.

Dangerous situation. And you're looking at fighting between supporters of rival political groups again on Saturday, which left at least two people dead.

These elections are the Congo's second since the civil war ended in 2003. Incumbent Joseph Kabila and 10 other candidates are vying for the presidency there. More than 18,000 candidates are contesting 500 parliamentary seats.

The Congo is one of Africa's largest countries. At the same time it remains one of its least developed. And its poor infrastructure poses yet another challenge to today's vote

CNN's David McKenzie is following the situation from nearby Kenya. And he joins us now live from Nairobi and he can shed more light on the situation there for us.

First of all, amid this heightened violence, how can we expect this election to go?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well it's too early to tell, really, Manisha. As you said a very complex election, more than 18,000 parliamentary candidates for elections in a country the size of Western Europe. So what you have is this vast country, very little developed, and also a situation with a lot of tension in the lead up to this election.

That video you played of the clashes this weekend in the capital Kinshasa really is video of the opposition candidate supporters, one of the main opposition candidates clashing with police rather than with other supporters of Joseph Kabila. What had happened is they banned all election rallies on that day and then (inaudible) one of the main opposition groups formed this rally and was put down pretty heavily.

There's been a lot of criticism by opposition groups saying that Joseph Kabila has in a way pre-rigged this election because of the way that it suits the incumbent. He came in in 2001 to the presidency when his father Laurent Kabila was killed by his own guards. And since then he has ruled this very divisive country, huge country where he's very unpopular particularly in the capital.

So it's in the capital where some of these hardest fought parliamentary votes will happen in Kinshasa and also in Kinshasa and other major towns like Lubumbashi that you suggested where we will look for any flash points as the results come out.

And you know, one of the -- or the main rival to Kabila, Etienne Tshisekedi he said that he's already the winner of this election.

So this kind of -- the vote has been stacked away against a peaceful resolution. But we're all hoping certainly for those who followed the history of Congo closely that this will be resolved as really the first major democratic test for this country since the UN brokered elections in 2006.

TANK: And it's definitely a very important test.

We alluded to the complexity of it before with the number of candidates given the number of seats. What can we say about that? Is it going to take a very long time to get this election -- to get through this election in the first place given the complexity?

MCKENZIE: Well, there were reports of many of the stations in the remote areas not even receiving ballot papers. And the ballot papers themselves look like at some times a phonebook, as it were, relatively thin one, but certainly a phonebook of a medium sized city. And these thousands of parliamentary candidates in a country where literacy is very low -- just the nuts and bolts of holding this election is very difficult.

As I said, in 2006 it was the UN that basically ran the election in the Congo, the first democratic one since years of war had wracked the major country in Africa. But since then, certainly those electoral processes have been handed over to the government itself and people have been accusing, again, Joseph Kabila of putting his friends in charge of the independent electoral commission in the DRC.

So you've got a combination of just massive logistical problems with the fact that many people feel the incumbent is trying to push the election in his direction.

The other thing, though, to point out is there's no run-off in this election, which is very unusual for a populist country. So if someone wins by a tiny margin, then, with even a small amount percentage of the electorate they can win in a winner takes all in that first round of elections. There will be no run-off. And so certainly it's pointing towards the incumbent winning.

And with both sides saying that they've already won, essentially, you do have that tension ratcheting up towards a possible, you know, standoff in the coming days.

TANK: Well, it certainly is a historic day for the DRC just as it is over in Egypt as well. Democracy very much at work.

David McKenzie, live in Nairobi, thank you so much for that.

Just ahead here on News Stream, tributes and questions: the football world is mourning the death of Wales coach Gary Speed and is waiting to hear more details of how he died.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TANK: It's time now for a sports update. And unfortunately we have to start with sad news. The football community is coming to terms with the tragic death of Gary Speed, a popular and well respected player and manager. Let's go to Don Riddell in London for more details on that story - - Don.

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

Yes, football fans, players, and reporters remain in a profound sense of shock following the sudden death of the Wales manager Gary Speed over the weekend. It's believed that he took his own life at his family home in England. He was just 42 and seemingly had so much to live for. Tributes have poured in from FIFA, UEFA, the Welsh FA, and many of his former teammates and colleagues.

But the circumstances of his death remain very much a mystery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOBBY GOULD, FRM. WALES NATIONAL TEAM MANAGER: He was my captain of Wales. He would do anything for you. He turned Welsh football around. He had a wonderful career. He got a lovely wife and two sons. And it just keep -- I just keep shivering and shivering and shivering thinking about what has gone on. It's a question that's being asked.

BRENDAN RODGERS, SWANSEA CITY MANAGER: I couldn't -- again really it was some (inaudible) to Gary there last week. And I seen him on the TV the other day and he was one of the most handsome men you'll ever see. And he looked fantastic.

So, but it's so -- without obviously knowing all the details of it, it's just so, so sad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: In other news, Roger Federer has once again ended the tennis season on a high, while his tennis rivals coughed and spluttered their way to the end of the season, the Swiss master finished in supreme form winning the season ending tour finals for a record sixth time.

For the third successive Sunday, Federer was up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. And he looked pretty comfortable in the opening set here. Playing in what was his 100th career final Federer assumed control early on and took the set by 6-3.

At that stage, a 17th consecutive match win looked very much on the cards and it certainly looked that way as he established a 5-2 lead in the second set. But Tsonga is no pushover. Remember he came from two sets down to beat Federer at Wimbeldon this year. And he saved several match points to set up a tiebreak. Once there, he turned up the heat and leveled the match.

By his own standards, Federer may have had a disappointing year, but he's still a ferocious competitor. And when he broke Tsonga here to go 5-3 up in the third he knew the victory was almost secure.

In his 100th final, Federer claimed his 70th career victory and the sixth at the world tour finals. That's now one better than Peter Sampras and Ivan Lendl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER FEDERER, TENNIS PLAYER: It is what champions are made of is like when after a big loss that you are able to come back and prove yourself that, you know, losses to happen and they're human, you know. And Novak has had an amazing year as the player of the year. Rafa, we know how well he was -- how strong he was again on clay. And so for me maybe there was not so much to win in a period where it was tough for me.

That I've been able to save best for last is amazing. And then to write history here in London now winning my sixth world tour final already is a record which I'm very proud of, of course I'm exhausted now and I want to go on vacation, but I am looking forward to next year, because usually when I do finish strong I also start strong again the following season. So I'm very happy at this very moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: Manisha, he got the trophy, got a check for over a million pounds and he's also regained his world number three ranking. Back to you.

TANK: Yeah, no wonder he's exhausted and wants to go on a vacation. Who can blame him.

Don, thank you so much.

Now the latest UN talks on climate change kick in Durbin, South Africa. Ahead, we'll look at what may be new (inaudible) what we've seen before.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TANK: The annual United Nations climate change conference is underway in South Africa. Delegates from around the world will be in the city of Durbin for the next 12 days. And topping the agenda is the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, it's due to expire next year.

Neither China nor the U.S. has ever signed the Kyoto pact. And both countries are participating in these talks.

Now, let's talk about other global issues. Plenty of folk in northwest China, some rain in India, though it's coming to an end, and a forceful tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea those are just some of this evenings weather headlines here in Asia. Let's cross over to Guillermo Arduino who can see us in as well.

I've already exhausted getting to all of those.

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: And that's just part of (inaudible). If you think of Europe with a lack of snow with ski season already in progress it's a nightmare, so we'll talk about that.

Well, let's see we have this tropical cyclone here behind us. You see India behind me. And as we already say, Manisha, the monsoonal season is over in India except same can be applied to Thailand. With the presence of a tropical cyclone that we get more rain. So even though the monsoonal flow is gone, we may see problems with tropical cyclones.

This seems to be the case with here because we have some accumulations in India. You see these -- look, 40 centimeters, almost 50 centimeters in Karaikal on the eastern coast. So we are going to see what impact this cyclone has on the other coast.

But overall this is the path the cyclone is taking. The exact path is not confirmed yet, but the Joint Typhoon Warning Center is going with this forecast.

So watch out Oman -- actually you've been hit hard this year. And we are going to see the likelihood of a cyclone making impact here in the Arabian Peninsula. So we have time to track it down, three days, and we'll still start to see the problems.

Problems also in northern China with a lot of fog as you see. We are going to say goodbye to that case, but behind the front that we have right now in northern China we're going to see some accumulations of snow in northern sections. We don't think that that is going to impact Beijing proper significantly, but we have the chance.

And also Japan with rain, South Korean with rain. The Korean Peninsula in the dry in general for the time being and temperatures actually quite mild. You see when -- especially when you think about Hong Kong and Taiwan and even parts of Japan. So these are the current temps -- 23 in Hong Kong, very comfortable actually. This is the time of the year to go to Hong Kong. It's fresh enough. 32 for tomorrow for Manila.

And we continue to see the dry pattern over here in parts of China as well.

But the problems persist in Europe with a lack of snow. And we have the warmest and driest autumn months and days. We do not have snow in the lower elevations. Some up there, but it's not good enough. You know, it's not good.

So we have some problems, some stories to follow through very, very closely in these parts of the world -- Manisha.

TANK: All right, Guillermo, thank you for that literally some global travel. You took us all over the place with the weather there. Thank you. Guillermo, always great to see you.

And that was News Stream for you. But the news continues here at CNN of course. World Business Today is up next. Don't go away.

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