Return to Transcripts main page


Apple iPad 3 Available Today; Sachin Tendulkar Scores 100th Century; Tropical Cyclone Set To Hit Northwest Australia With 170 KPH Winds; No End In Sight For Violence In Syria

Aired March 16, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And we begin with an amazing sporting feat. Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has hit his 100th international century underlining his status as one of the greatest cricketers of all-time.

As Afghan president Hamid Karzai hosts the family of victims allegedly killed by a U.S. soldier, we're learning more about the soldier himself.

And Apple fans around the world finally get their hands on the new iPad.

It was a record a long time in the making. Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar has become the first man to score 100 runs 100 times, 100 international centuries. It is a feat no other cricketer is even close to. And it highlights why the man known as "the Little Master" is revered by India's cricket mad population.

Let's get more -- much more on this record. World Sport's Alex Thomas is live in London. He joins us now.

And Alex, give us a sense of just how big a milestone this is.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: This is a massive achievement, Kristie.

Sachin Teldulkar has literally re-written cricket's history books. And it will take a brave man to say that his record will ever be broken, perhaps one day it will be. But to give you an idea of how far ahead, just in terms of pure numbers, he is -- as you said, that was his 100th international century that he's just hit against Bangladesh playing for India in a one day international match. And the next best person on that list is the former Australia captain Ricky Ponting who is still playing who is on 71 test and one-day international 100s. That's 29 centuries behind Sachin Tendulkar.

So, you know, I mean, I can't do my math now, that's more than 50 percent isn't? More than almost 50 percent more than the next best batsman. So Tendulkar is so far ahead in terms of pure statistics, Kristie.

But Tendulkar's popularity and his achievements are so much more than that. It is impossible to overstate how popular Sachin Tendulkar is in India, arguably the country that's most passionate about the sport of cricket, more than any other nation in the world, perhaps. And I had the privilege of going to his home city of Mumbai this time last year for the cricket world cup. India won it on home soil. And the celebrations were just out of this world. And Tendulkar was the focus along with the then captain M.S. Dhoni.

You know, Tendulkar is almost 39-years-old now, Kristie, although to look at his sort of boyish looks he doesn't look a day over 30 really. He's still going strong. That is quite an advanced age for a batsman. He wasn't just carrying on going to get this 100th 100, although maybe that played a part in his thinking.

He was on 99 international 100s for so long. The 99th coming in that world cup against South Africa this time last year. And for all the innings since then, cricket fans around the world have been on the edge of their seats biting their nails every time he got close to it. He got into the 90s at least twice if not three times. And each of those occasions we thought this would finally be the time when Sachin Tendulkar makes cricket history.

It wasn't to be until today against Bangladesh. Sachin Tendulkar now the first cricketer ever to score 100 international 100s.

LU STOUT: That's right, an unprecedented achievement as you said, not likely to be repeated any time soon. Can you give us a sense of his legacy? Where do you think Tendulkar will rank in cricket history?

THOMAS: Well, the most obvious comparison made between Sachin Tendulkar and Don Bradman, he was an Australian batsman back in the 1920s and 1930s. And "The Don" as he's known is often regarded as the Mohammed Ali if you like of cricket, the greatest ever that we've seen. His average score was just under the 100 mark. I think he needed to score something like six runs in his final ever match and without before I think at the Oval against England. And maybe I haven't got those figures quite right, but I meant that "The Don's" average finished on 99 point something. So he wasn't quite there.

I mean, Tendulkar's average is nowhere near that. In test matches, he averages around 55. In one-day internationals he averages 44 runs. Those are still very good figures when compared with everyone. But he just crocks up so many runs over the years, more than 15,000 in test matches, more than 18,000 in one-day international.

And you know "The Don" before he passed away once said to his wife while watching Sachin Tendulkar in his early international career, you know, that little chap reminds me a bit of myself. And that is possibly the ultimate compliment for Sachin Tendulkar. And it's going to be an eternal barroom debate as to whether Don Bradman or Sachin Tendulkar were the batsman ever.

In my opinion it has to go to Tendulkar purely because of the huge amount of pressure on his shoulders as a cricketing icon in cricket mad India -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: I love that news photo that we were showing just then of Tendulkar. It appeared as if he was looking to the heavens saying finally, finally I've achieved this.

Alex Thomas reporting on this major, major milestone in the world of cricket. Thank you.

Now in other news, charges against a U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians could come within weeks. The suspect's lawyer John Henry Browne says the staff sergeant could face the death penalty. Now the soldier's name still has not been released, possibly to protect his family.

Now he has been moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait. And many Afghans have called for him to be tried in Afghanistan. Now Browne acknowledged the case is a tricky one politically and questioned why his client was in Afghanistan to begin with.


JOHN HENRY BROWNE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it's of interest that we have a soldier who has an exemplary record, decorated soldier, who was injured in Iraq to his brain and to his body and then despite that setback...


LU STOUT: Now Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Afghans have lost trust in international forces. He now wants troops out of villages and called for them to speed up the transition process.

Now retired U.S. Army Major General James "Spider" Marks says that is a good idea under these circumstances.


MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET): We don't take our cues, we don't follow orders from President Karzai, but he's our host. We're there at his request, let's be frank. So clearly we have an agreement with President Karzai. And in this particular instance, it makes sense both to the United States and to Afghanistan, that we lower the international heat, we lower the U.S. profile, get out of the villages. Get back on to the forward operating bases and the protected area where the U.S. soldiers and marines on the ground routinely operate and emanate their operations from.


LU STOUT: Now Mr. Karzai is hosting the families of the victims at the presidential palace. Nine of the 16 people killed in Kandahar were children, most of them belong to one family. And authorities say some victims were shot in their beds in the middle of the night and their bodies were set on fire.

Now we're still learning about the man allegedly responsible for this horrific crime. And according to his lawyer, the soldier is in his mid-30s and a decorated staff sergeant. He joined the military after September 11 terror attacks. And shortly after the shooting he learned that he was trained as a sniper, taught to kill from 800 meters away. And this was his first time in Afghanistan, but he had served three tours in Iraq.

And that is where he was injured twice -- one was a traumatic brain injury. And in the other incident, he lost part of his foot.

His lawyer says the soldier underwent counseling, had been told he would not be redeployed.

Now the lawyer also offered more insight into the soldier's mental state, saying somebody in his unit was gravely injured on the day before the shooting rampage. But the attorney rejected reports circulating that his client's marriage was in trouble.

Now Sara Sidner has been reporting on the story for us. In fact, she just came out of the presidential palace in Kabul where Hamid Karzai met with victim families. And Sara is on the line now.

Sara, what did you hear out of this meeting?

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Basically, Mr. Karzai walked in after all of the villagers came and sat around a table, a large conference table. And some interesting comments made by the villagers, most of them saying that they not believe this is just the work of one soldier. Mr. Karzai responded to them saying based on what you're saying you're telling me the killer is not one person.

He also talked about a conversation that he had this morning with U.S. President Barack Obama. He said that the president was upset with him and asked him why he had announced that he wanted a transition to having complete Afghan forces take control of the country to happen faster, to happen in 2013 as opposed to 2014.

He also said he will appoint someone to investigate this. Someone will be at the top of the investigation. But was very upset with the Americans for not being able to speak with the soldier who said that they had ask, the government had asked to be able to interview the soldier accused in this massacre that left 16 civilians dead, but the Americans did not let that happen -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: The victims' families who were talking to Hamid Karzai you heard it just then, saying that they believe it was more than one U.S. soldier behind the massacre that took place in Kandahar last weekend. Currently there is just one U.S. soldier being investigated. He is now in Kuwait.

There is a lot of pressure on the United States right now to have him moved back into Afghanistan to be tried in Afghan courts. Is that likely to happen at all?

SIDNER: You know, at this point you are hearing from the soldier's defense attorney who says that is not going to happen. We also talked to some U.S. officials about it and they said, you know, this person that is - - will be put through the military justice system as anyone would. But there's a -- just one moment -- that there is a section in place, an agreement in place that basically governs what happens with soldiers accused of something like this. And that agreement stands. It does not appear that he will be back.

However, they will have to speak with (inaudible) people who were here, witnesses. And they'll need a translator. So it will have to see how it all shakes out. But his defense attorney has said that he is not going to be tried here in Afghanistan.

LU STOUT: All right. Sara Sidner joining us live from Kabul with the very latest. Thank you very much indeed, Sara.

And turning now to Syria, a couple of hours from now Kofi Annan, the UN special envoy to the country, will brief the security council on his diplomatic efforts to broker some sort of a cease-fire.

And while the violence rages, a UN team is planning to visit some of Syria's hardest hit areas to assess the humanitarian situation. It will be accompanied by government minders. Meanwhile, on the first year anniversary of the uprising, cities across Syria saw more fighting and more deaths.

Now now footage is set to show clashes between rebel fighters and government forces in the province of Idlib this week. Now CNN can't verify exactly when or where this was shot.

And the poster of this video says it shows Free Syrian Army fighters blowing up a Baath Party building in Idlib. Activists say at least 46 people were killed on Thursday.

Now Arwa Damon is following this story from neighboring Lebanon. She joins us now live from the capital Beirut.

And Arwa, Kofi Annan, he will brief the UN security council. Are people inside Syria are hopeful that will help end the violence at all?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, they're not. And that is first and foremost, because they've reached the stage where they no longer believe in anyone's word, they no longer believe in dialogue, and they no longer have faith in the international community's efforts. And if we look back at Kofi Annan's visit to Damascus, he spent the weekend there just this past weekend. He met with the president twice. Following that, he said that he had laid out a series of proposals. And it most certainly seems at this stage as if those proposals have all been rejected by the Syrian government. And you have two very polarized entities hardened against one another.

You have the Syrian government that is insisting it's going to continue to target what it's calling these armed gangs that are intent on bringing it down. And you have the opposition that is refusing to lay down it's weapons until there is some sort of genuine cease-fire in place.

So at this stage, no, inside Syria there is absolutely no hope whatsoever that Kofi Annan's briefing to the United Nations is going to bring about any sort of concrete change to their situation.

LU STOUT: And can you tell us about the situation inside Idlib? We know that thousands have fled the violence. We've seen the violence on YouTube videos, but what's been happening in Idlib this week?

DAMON: Well, the Syrian government moved into Idlib early in the week. There were four days of pretty intense clashes centering on the provincial capital, the city of Idlib itself. At the end of that, the Free Syrian Army said that it had to withdraw. They said that this was a deliberate move, but they also said that they had to withdraw because they quite simply ran out of ammunition.

And this is a trend that we've been seeing throughout. The minute that there are intense, prolonged battles, the Free Syrian Army tends to be out-gunned, runs out of ammunition, and is forced to withdraw from these various areas. The Syrian government is currently in control of the vast majority of the city of Idlib itself and has moved on to clearing, as it says, other villages, towns, some of them right up against the Turkish border of what it is calling these terrorist armed groups.

Activists, though, have been saying that the government is carrying out something of a massacre. They were saying that yesterday they found dozens of bodies that had been executed. They had gunshot wounds to the heads, their hands were bound behind their backs.

But again incredibly difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that is taking place. The only thing we know for sure is that more people are dying by the day, Kristie.

LU STOUT: It is Friday, traditionally a day for significant protests in Syria. Has there been any action today. What have you heard?

DAMON: We have been seeing some demonstrations and the seam on this Friday because as you'll remember every single Friday has it's own theme, is the call for immediate military action.

But just to put it into a bit of perspective, when the opposition goes out and demonstrates at this point in time, because the Syrian security forces are so spread out throughout the entire country, they can only come out in alleyways. And it takes them hours, if not days, of planning to even put together the smallest and quickest of demonstrations, because they need to determine where government forces are positioned. They need to figure out what sort of escape routes they have. So for the opposition, even a demonstration of just five minutes is deemed a success.

And yes, one year on, they do say that they are going to continue to demonstrate, because at this point in time it's pretty much all that they have left. And many of them lament, deeply lament the fact that they do have to call for international military intervention, because they say it did not have to boil down to this. They say they started out as peaceful demonstrators. Now, yes, it has morphed into an armed rebellion. And now, yes, they say they've been pushed to such a degree where they feel like they have to call for international military intervention or else they say the regime is quite simply going to kill them all, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Arwa Damon joining us live from Beirut. Thank you.

You're watching News Stream coming to you live from Hong Kong. And coming up next, the wait is over, but has it been worth it? Apple's new iPad, it hits the stores around the world.

And a rising star hits rock bottom in China. Communist Party powerhouse Bo Xilai, he seemed destined for the top, but not anymore. We'll have the reaction.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the long awaited new iPad has gone on sale today, prompting thousands of people around the world to line up outside stores to try to get their hands on one.

Now the latest version of the tablet computer features a higher definition screen and a 5 megapixel camera. Now stores in Asia opened first. And these are the launches in Australia and Tokyo and the overnight lines in New York.

And here in Hong Kong, the queues were decidedly more calm than usual. Now previous product launches have caused chaos as people clamored to get the latest design, but this time Apple stores posted signs specifically telling customers not to line up. Instead, they were told to go to this website to request a reservation for an iPad to be picked up the next day. However, it seems some people didn't get that message. In fact, two customers, they flew in especially for the launch and they have resorted to desperate measure to make sure that they don't go home empty handed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're flying in (inaudible) for (inaudible) new iPad for me, for my friend. And go back to go home really stay that five hours. And we came (inaudible) in Hong Kong and stay...


LU STOUT: Someone please help these guys out. Now on the east coast of the United States, stores selling the new iPad have just opened. Let's go live to Maggie Lake who is in New York where people have been camping out over night.

And Maggie, describe the scene at the Apple Store there in New York.

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, a lot of enthusiasm despite the fact it is a rainy, miserable, cold day here in New York City. I'm just going to have you take a look, a little break in the action. The people are pent up in this area behind me. And it snakes all the way around the city block. Hundreds of people online, some of them have been here overnight, some since the wee hours this morning.

The store is open. A lot of cheering going on every time the next wave of people are allowed in. And those with their new iPads come out. We spoke to one fellow who has been here for three days who insist it's worth it.

As you were just mentioning, you know, the reviews and some of the new features on the iPad, people like them, but most tech experts say no major innovation here. It doesn't matter to these people.

And I should point out, a lot of the people on this line, at this particular store in Manhattan, are international, people from all over the place, trying to get their hands on one. They're often cheaper here to buy and take back home.

$499 for the lowest wi-fi model. The old iPads are cut by $100. That's also drawing people in. Some people are upgrading from the 2s, some people are buying their first one. Some still have the first tablet. So a little bit of mix of everything here.

Certainly, these are the Apple diehards. But the line is expected to be pretty steady all weekend and sales be brisk.

I also want to mention, Kristie, in addition to the usual Apple antics that go on at one of these events, there are a handful of protesters concerned about the working conditions at Apple. They're here trying to get people to sign on to a petition. But they are far outnumbered by the Apple enthusiasts -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Interesting mix of people there.

Now I know you've been watching Apple shares for a long time, Apple stock hit $600 for the first time on Thursday. It is the world's most valuable company. Do you think Apple will continue on this trajectory of more value, more growth, and what we're seeing behind you, more buzz?

LAKE: You know, Kristie, no matter what, money manager, investor you talk to, everyone either owns Apple, is trying to figure out how to get more of it. It's an incredible story. I was talking to an analyst yesterday about whether it can continue.

Wall Street targets are anywhere from in the 700s to 900, believe it or not, for this stock. There are a lot of people who are a little bit concerned about how rapidly it's rising. It's up 45 percent year-to-date. But there's a lot of emotion -- I asked specifically does sales of this iPad matter to the stock price? They said not necessarily. It's the whole environment, it's the whole Apple story that they're watching.

One other thing, we of course don't recommend what investors do. Everybody's portfolio is different. But one analyst yesterday said if you like the Apple story, but you're worried about the price, think about buying the QQQ, the NASDAQ 100. They are a big percentage of that. It gives you some of the upside momentum, but maybe protects you a little bit in case there is a sharp correction.

So something to think about for our viewers -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. On the stocks, on improving our portfolio, on the new iPad. Maggie Lake has crossed it all for us. Thank you very much indeed. Take care.

Up next, he was once a political heavyweight in China. And Bo Xilai appeared destined for a top leadership post, but that came crashing down this week. Reaction to the scandal that has gripped China when we come back.


LU STOUT: That is Hong Kong on a Friday night.

And you're back watching News Stream.

Now North Korea is planning to launch what it says is a rocket mounted satellite to mark the 100th birthday of its late former leader Kim il-Song. Now the secretive state calls it an Earth observation system. But there are worries the launch could be a cover-up for long range missile testing, which would be a violation of a UN security council resolution. And neighboring South Korea calls it a grave provocation.

Now the launch could also threaten a deal with the U.S. to provide food aid.

Paula Hancocks joins me now live from Seoul, South Korea. And Paula, what is North Korea's intention with this launch?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, one North Korea expert that I spoke to said first of all that he was very surprised at this announcement. The other observers have said that they were taken by surprise as well by the announcement. But what they believe it is at this point is North Korea is trying to remind the world that it is still dangerous. It's trying to remind that world, according to this expert, that it is still trying to develop its weapons technology at the same time as it is making political deals. And that's what he believes the reason for this is.

Now remember it was only two weeks ago that North Korea did agree that deal with the United States. North Korea said that it wouldn't carry out nuclear tests, that it wouldn't carry out any long range missile launches in return for U.S. food aid.

Now undeniably, that deal now hangs in the balance. We have no word at this point whether or not it will go ahead. But we did have a response from the United States in the early hours of the morning for the U.S. from the State Department showing how important this issue was to them. And they called the plan by North Korea highly provocative. They said it's in violation of UN security council resolutions which were put in place back in 2009 when North Korea carried out its last missile launch.

Now it effectively says that North Korea is not allowed to use any of this ballistic missile technology. So it is in direct violation according to the U.S.

South Korea had a similar response. The foreign ministry saying it was a grave provocation undermining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea, though, has insisted that it is a peaceful project. It has insisted that it will abide by relevant international regulations. And if it does go ahead, it'll be between the 12th and the 16th of April. This is a very important time in the North Korean calendar. This is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim il-Song, the founder of North Korea.

So this is why North Korea wants to do it at this point. But many experts and observers say that they were taken aback that North Korea would carry out this kind of launch at the same time as they're trying to do a deal with the United States -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Paula Hancocks joining us live from Seoul. Thank you.

Still to come here on News Stream, some fresh hope for the families of these two British journalists detained in Libya. We'll have the latest.


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

Now the lawyer representing a U.S. soldier who allegedly went on a shooting rampage in Afghanistan says he is concerned the soldier was sent back to war after suffering a brain injury. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, meanwhile, is meeting the families of the 16 people that the sergeant allegedly killed last Sunday in Kandahar Province.

Now UN special envoy Kofi Annan will brief the security council on Syria later today. A UN Team is expected to visit several provinces in Syria to assess humanitarian need. He'll be joined by government minders. Activists say at least 46 people were killed in Syria on Thursday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has announced that he is stepping down as leader of the Anglican Church. The 61-year-old has served in the roll for 10 years and will finish at the end of the year. Starting in January, he will become master of Magdalene College in Cambridge.

And Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has finally pulled off an amazing feat. He has scored 100 runs 100 times, 100 international centuries. He is the first cricketer ever to reach that milestone.

Now let's put Tendulkar's record into perspective for you. And here's a comparison of the numbers. As I said, he sits on 100 100s. Australia's Ricky Ponting is number two on the list, but he has just 71. And behind him, is South Africa's Kallis who has just 59 international centuries.

Let's get more now on this amazing accomplishment. Lawrence Booth is editor of the cricket publication Wisden. And he joins us now live.

Thank you for joining us here on CNN. And just how big an achievement is this?

LAWRENCE BOOTH, WISDEN EDITOR: It's massive, Kristie. You just put it into perspective there by naming the two guys who are closest to him. And it's basically Tendulkar first, daylight second, and Ricky Ponting third 29 100s behind Tendulkar. It's testimony to many things, but one of the greatest things it's testimony to is Tendulkar's longevity. He's been playing cricket, international cricket since 1989, so his career has spanned four decades, that's one way of looking at it. When you look at most international cricketers is they've play for a decade, 10 years, maybe a bit longer. They're doing well. But Tendulkar has just kept going, absolutely phenomenal.

I can remember him scoring his first international 100 in England at the age of 17 in 1990. And he looked pretty special then, but I don't think anyone could have said any individual would go on to score 100 international 100s.

LU STOUT: Now we saw how far the others are behind Tendulkar. Do you think anyone can match his feat?

BOOTH: Probably not. Ponting is nearing retirement. Jack Kallis is next on 59, so he needs another 41 and he's in his mid-30s. So, no, I don't think so. I just don't think that sportsmen these day play for as long as they used to. Cricketers earn a lot more money more quickly these days. There isn't perhaps the same impetus to span a career out over 23 years as Tendulkar has done.

So -- and very few have his dedication nor his skill. You know, you have to have a -- it's a melting pot of many qualities. And Tendulkar is unique in the modern era.

LU STOUT: Tell us more about Tendulkar's career? He played in India when he was just 16 years old -- this is back in 1999. Did he have the spark of greatness then?

BOOTH: Yes, his first test match against Pakistan. And he was facing some of their great bowlers just when they were nearing their peak really. And he took some blows, but he held firmly. He was only a teenager, don't forget. And then to score that 100 to save a test match in England in Manchester in 1990 was a famous innings. And there's a great picture of him walking off the field in the end. He's just sort of cherubic looking guy, obviously wasn't shaving yet. And he had these English cricketers who are about twice his age standing around him and applauding him. And was like -- it was literally men against boys, but he slowly asserts himself. And it got to the stage where if Tendulkar didn't score 100 you were surprised.

He had a bit of a struggle in the last year. I think it's a year and four days between his 99th and his 100th international 100, but, you know, I think when a guy has played that long you're allowed a blip or two aren't you?

LU STOUT: For sure.

Now Tendulkar, he's achieved so much. And he has set so many records. Is this record the crowning achievement of his career?

BOOTH: Well, it is an achievement. I mean, he won -- he helped India win the world cup last year. And that was their first world cup victory for 28 years. And it was in his hometown of Mumbai. He was shouldered around the field by his teammates. And that felt like a -- that felt like a crowning moment. But of course cricket loves its statistics. It's a bit like baseball. Their numbers are always looming over the players. And there was this number of 99 looming over him. And it gathered a kind of evil momentum of its own. People, every time they watched him that the pressure mounted and it's taken him a year to get -- so in a statistical sense this will go down as the crowning glory.

But I think it's a relief as much as anything. He's got this monkey off his back. And he can now enjoy whatever the rest of his career is for what it's worth.

LU STOUT: That's right. He's finally achieved this. Lawrence Booth of Wisden. Thank you very much for calling in and giving us your reaction, your analysis to this major moment in cricketing.

And we will have much more on this in world sport just over four hours from now.

Now after weeks in the hands of a militia, two British journalists, they were handed over to the Libyan government on Wednesday. And now they are waiting to learn their fate.

Now Gareth Montgomery-Johnson, and Nicholas Davies they were working for an Iranian broadcaster when they were detained last month. And they could now face charges of entering the country illegally, but their families are hopeful they may be released.

Now CNN's Nima Elbagir recently spoke to the sister of Gareth Montgomery Johnson. And Nima joins me now live from London. And Nima, what did she tell you?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a situation, Kristie, that for many of us is completely unimaginable. Mel Gribble has for weeks now turned her home into a nerve center in the campaign to secure her brother's release. She allowed us to visit her in her home and spoke to us about the release on hearing that her brother had finally been transferred over to the central government authorities, but also the hugely emotional journey that she's been going through in recent weeks. Take a listen, Kristie.


MEL GRIBBLE, SISTER TO GARETH MONTGOMERY-JOHNSON: It has been a very slow, but very quick whirlwind of stress and anxiousness and lack of sleep and, you know, it's just been an incredible journey really. And it has been an all consuming full-time job to try and ensure Gareth and Nick's release.

ELBAGIR: As far as you know, had Gareth applied for a visa before going into Libya?

GRIBBLE: He had passport that was up to date. That wasn't an issue. He's got valid accreditation of which I've got copies of. I've got copies of his passport. These were things that, you know, as a family -- you know, we made it important to keep. And also, you know, photograph of him. And so in case.

With regard the visas, I know that there was some difficulty with visas and he applied for visas in Malta. But there was no -- there was no secrecy connected to that. Visas were an issue for everyone.

ELBAGIR: And you just had some good news, you've had some hopeful news.

GRIBBLE: Yes. Yes. He has -- well, they have both fortunately left the hands of militia and with the Libyan government. And we're very sort of buoyed up by this, because we feel there's a process in place. We feel that the embassy can do appropriate diplomatic work now. They're in the right environment. And it's safe.

ELBAGIR: So how did you feel when you heard that it was a militia that had detained him?

GRIBBLE: Well, it is -- it is just a physical and emotional terror. You know, you're body is almost cut into two, but that's because you don't know as well. It's -- it is fear of the unknown.

You know, I know very little about the situation out there. I just know that there's conflict, there's unrest. There's angst going on. And, you know, somewhere along the line lots of people get caught up in all of this. And it's terrifying.

ELBAGIR: So what happens now?

GRIBBLE: We're just waiting again. The -- we know he's in the hands of the government. This is good. We're just waiting to see really what the outcome is now. They've obviously got to go through their own questioning, their own liaising with the British embassy. And we just look forward to hearing some more good news in the next day or two.


ELBAGIR: As unfortunate, Kristie, as this situation has been for the family, it's also really encapsulated detentions and the problems that are plaguing Libya post-Gadhafi. That a militia that has no official status has been able to hold on to these men for so long in Tripoli itself and that it's taken such long negotiations for them to be handed over to the central government has only really increased the concern that many people have felt about Libya's status and stability, Kristie.

LU STOUT: This transition underway in Libya, and uncertainty for the families of these two British journalists. Nima Elbagir joining us live. Thank you very much for that report.

Now just a few months ago, Bo Xilai, he appeared set for a top job among China's leadership, but that all changed for him this week as the fallout from a scandal leaves his political career in ruin. We'll get reaction from China next.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it is one of the biggest political scandals to hit China in recent years. No Bo Xilai had been a rising star, a possible contender for a bigger leadership role in the Communist Party, but that all changed this week when he was ousted as the party secretary in Chongqing. It happened amid a scandal involving his former police chief.

Stan Grant reports reaction to Bo dismissal is mixed.


STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The sacking of the Communist Party chief of this city is absolutely captivated China, not just because Chongqing, a population of more than 30 million is considered by some measurements the biggest city in the world, but it's because Bo Xilai himself is what the Chinese call a princeling. He was the son of a Communist era revolutionary and ally of Mao Tse Tung. He was a man seen as a rising power within the Communist Party. During this leadership transition year, he was expected to enter the inner sanctum of the Communist Party, the nine member standing committee of the politburo. But that has all come crashing down with his sacking.

We're here on the streets to try to get some sort of a reaction to what the people of Chongqing thing about this change in their lives.

"I felt lost after watching the news. And my heart was heavy," this many says. "I think with his intellect, wisdom, and character he should be the next premier."

"Bo Xilai has done so much for the people," this lady says, "helping the elderly and the poor, making the city greener and safer."

Bo Xilai has waged a campaign against crime, busting gangs and arresting thousands of people. But his right-hand man, former police chief and vice mayor Wang Lijun spectacularly sought refuge in an American consulate earlier this year, claiming he feared for his safety allegedly harboring evidence against Bo. That set off a chain of events that of course spilled over to the annual national people's congress and now Bo's removal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the detail (inaudible) we cannot know.

GRANT: No one knows the truth.


GRANT: No one knows the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With -- nobody can know. We know nothing.

GRANT; Bo Xilai has made a real feature of his leadership here a revival of the Mao era. People have been encouraged to see revolutionary songs, they've been Maoist slogans around the city. He's been a very charismatic figure, but also a divisive figure on the national stage. While the reaction to him here has been positive, online there's been jubilation at his sacking.

Whatever people may think of him, though, the career of this man once counted for the highest levels of office now appears to be in tatters.

Stan Grant, CNN, Chongqing.


LU STOUT: No Bo Xilai's political career has been played out in the spotlight, but how much do we know about the private side of this very public figure? Well, CNN's Jaime Florcruz met Bo when the two were studying history at Peking University. And he tells us that Bo, he enjoyed practicing his English with all the foreign students.

Now for more insider detail on Bo Xilai, just visit Jaime's blog. You can find it at

Now a tropical cyclone is set to make landfall in northern Australia. Details now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this has been such a slow moving weather system. It has been affecting mostly offshore interests there off the coast of Australia. About 80 percent of Australia's oil production comes from this northwestern portion of the country. So when you have to stop oil production, well, it kind of beings to take its toll.

Port Hedland also one of the most important ports in the region here as far as container shipping. That also has had some operations disturbed by approaching Tropical Cyclone Lua. It's been kind of meandering off the coast already for about a week or so. Now finally getting ready to move inland very close to Port Hedland as you can see here with winds close to 170 kilometers per hour once it actually moves inland.

This is a significant storm. Aside from the wind, we have to be concerned about the rain and high waves that will be affecting this region as we head through the next few days.

These are the cyclone warnings that we have that are already posted across this area. So they're waiting for the onslaught of wind as the storm moves in probably within the next 24 hours. Very significant indeed. And you can see all of the moisture across this area. It will continue moving in. And the potential for flooding, of course, remains.

A lot of mining industry also in this region. A lot of mining interests in this region, I should say. Those will probably be affected as well by the heavy rain in the coming days. And of course you have the population that will be affected by the storm. The most important thing.

Notice that there's a lot of moisture here across the north of Australia. This is another tropical cyclone that was kind of making it forming, but it never really did. It's brought very heavy rain across this region. And you can see in some cases, wow, over 400 millimeters of rain already this week. That's way more than their monthly average. And unfortunately it looks the rain will continue across this region.

So definitely, we were talking about the petroleum in this area. You can see how important it is for industry as well and for the economy of the people of Australia, and the people that live here as well.

Let's go ahead and move on. I want to take you to Thailand. You know, Kristie, I show you guys sometimes these maps of the fires, the satellites that pick up the fires that are burning. It really surprised me when I saw this right now. This proportionately shows the amount of fires that are here across southeast Asia. And this is a huge concern. Of course many of these fires are intentionally set. One of the areas that continues to see a lot of problems with the fires. As we get closer, you can see how they are relatively small. Those icons are exaggerated so that you can see them.

But you can see here across Chaem Mae in particular. And even as we head down into Bangkok even though the fires are not necessarily in this area, the haze continues to affect the region.

Before I show you the haze, JJ -- our producer -- can you zoom out one more time, because I do want to show something kind of important. Go to that first view.

Look how many fires we have across southeast Asia compared to as we head to other parts of Asia and even as we head over to the Philippines, a disproportionate amount of fires in this region.

The haze is a problem. Take a look at these pictures that we have for you. These are from the Bangkok area. And the royal -- Bureau of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation is now on call to try to make some rain happen here, because unfortunately, Kristie, it has been so hazy it is affecting people and they're hoping they can get some rain going. Unfortunately, I can tell you, it looks pretty dry to me. I'm not expecting any kind of significant rainfall over that region.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, Mari, that was very unsettling image of what looked like a region on fire. But thanks for zooming in and giving us the context. And here's hoping for perhaps some rain for them. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

Now today is the day that Apple fans are getting their hands on the new iPad. And here it is. We will have more on the iPad launch and the sad story of someone who didn't get one next.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now one of the biggest sporting events in the United States right now is the annual college basketball tournament that determines the national champion. They call it March Madness. And Jeanne Moos met some guys who took that spirit to new heights.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Most basketball players are tall. Sinking one from this height is ridiculous. Now we've seen basketball trick shots from a Ferris Wheel, and a trampoline. A trio of Michigan guys...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Scott. Can you give us some basketballs?


MOOS: Took the basketball trick to new heights and shot the swish from three angles.

Of course the question everyone wants answered is how many tries did it take? Let's crunch the numbers.

How many basketballs did you actually take up in the chopper?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We took about 25 up in the chopper with us.

MOOS: Scott Ericcson (ph) says they made dozens and dozens of trips dropping around 25 balls each time. Freeze it.

You can actually see the ones that missed scattered all over the place.

One, two, three...

We finally nailed this one from 192 feet, which is not the highest shot ever made. Guiness says this one is, 212 feet, 5 inches.

An Australian trick shooting group called How Ridiculous got a basket from atop a lighting tower over a cricket field after more than two-and-a- half hours of trying.

So the Michigan guys aren't highest, but they think bombarding the net from a chopper is still pretty cool. Their last viral video hit was almost a year ago. It was a 10 minute rendition of American Pie that required much of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan to be closed down as they did one continuous take as thousands of extras lip synched. They used a chopper for the last shot of this one too.

They're dedicating their latest video to March Madness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the altitude we were shooting at, the terminal velocity of the ball was around 100 miles per hour.

MOOS: Which could be terminal to living creatures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an Angus beef farm.

MOOS: Did you guys hit any cows?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No cows were harmed in the filming of this video.

MOOS: But they say they did hit a few cow patties. Talk about an American pi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did we clean them all up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we just let Scott keep using them.

MOOS: Somebody should have called a plow.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: Now let's go back to the launch of the new iPad. And here it is. And if it looks familiar, well we did show parts of it to you last week. I mean, Hong Kong based tech blogger Chris Chang, he showed off what he said was the back of the new iPad. He claimed he got hold of the parts months ago from contacts in China.

And just to prove that the parts were available in China well ahead of the launch, well Chris left some of his third-party new iPad covers with us. And if we put it on, you can see it's a perfect fit. Remember, those have been on sale in China for weeks, before Apple revealed the new iPad.

Now, while we have ours, there's some disappointed people out there, such as this man. As we heard earlier in the show, this customer, his name is Murat Amerov (ph). He flew into Hong Kong all the way from Kazakstan which can be at least a 20 hour journey. And when he arrived he realized it's not just as simple as getting in line, he needed to register on Apple's web site to get one.

So his solution was this, holding up his old iPad with a plea for someone to sell him the new version. Let's hope his tenacity has paid off.

And that is News Stream. World Business Today is next.