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Fragile Cease-Fire in Al-Qusayr; Escalating Violence on Border Between Sudan and South Sudan; Conduct of American Forces in Afghanistan; London Olympics: 100 Days and Counting; WikiLeaks Founder Produces Talk Show

Aired April 18, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

And we begin with a look inside Syria and clear signs that the country's cease-fire is not working.

Now, China renews its pledge to investigate the death of a British businessman, a death that contributed to the downfall of a major political figure.

And we look at the debut of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's talk show.

As gunfire and shelling rocks Syria again today, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations acknowledges the country's cease-fire is not holding. And reports the body count is growing are a deadly confirmation of that.

But Syria's staunch ally, Russia, is pointing the finger at Washington as allies for the failure. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that they are pushing the Syrian opposition to work against rather than with the al-Assad regime, and it claims that flies in the face of U.N. efforts to curb the violence.

The opposition says at least 13 people have already been killed today and that 70 people were found dead on Tuesday.

ITN's Neil Connery visited one city where violence has decreased but has not disappeared.


NEIL CONNERY, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): In Al-Qusayr they're still dying. Cease-fires and peace plans offered no protection to Radwan Awad (ph). Opposition activists say he was killed in a mortar attack on his home. The imam says his killing is proof the Syrian regime is lying about a cease- fire. Another family yearning for justice and convulsed by grief.

Wherever we turned in this city the regime's troops were never far away. On the other side of this hole in the wall, proof Syrian army soldiers are going nowhere, despite all the talk of cease-fire. This is the rooftop of the city's hospital.

We're taken to another house where we managed to film a Syrian army tank still in the heart of Al-Qusayr. Under the peace plan, the regime should have withdrawn its heavy weaponry from populated areas days ago. Not here. The threat is real as ever.

On our journey it was clear the situation has improved as the level of violence has dropped. But people here fear that won't last. The devastation left behind in the run-up to the cease-fire by President Assad's forces a reminder the stakes couldn't be higher.

In a makeshift clinic run by the opposition, Dr. Hasim al-Sain (ph) tells me he struggles to cope with the scale of suffering.

DR. HASIM AL-SAIN, RUNS MAKESHIFT CLINIC: I cannot understand why they must die. Bashar al-Assad is a doctor. How he can do like this I cannot understand.

CONNERY: Just a few hundred meters from the Syrian army positions, the opposition feel brave enough to demonstrate.

(on camera): For the people of Al-Qusayr, this is a real opportunity to express their anger towards the regime. But how long will any of this last? Given the situation on the ground, there's widespread skepticism that any peace plan can actually succeed here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe two or three weeks, not more. And they will come back (INAUDIBLE).

CONNERY (voice-over): In the city's graveyard they're burying Radwan Awad (ph) and asking, how many more will follow him? Where does this all end?

Neil Connery, ITV News, Al-Qusayr, Syria.


STOUT: As Damascus ostensibly welcomes U.N. monitors, two new voices are speaking out publicly against Bashar al-Assad. The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the U.N. have produced an online video calling on first lady Asma al-Assad to stop her husband and call for an end to the violence.

Now, Ivan Watson has more on the latest developments from Istanbul, Turkey, and he joins us now live.

And Ivan, first, the Syrian foreign minister is in Beijing. What is he saying, and has he brought China even closer, on side with Syria?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's clearly trying to circle the diplomatic wagons, Kristie, as members of an anti-Assad coalition have been gathering in France this week to talk about sanctions and perhaps new pressure against the Syrian regime. During a statement in Beijing, the Syrian foreign minister said that his government would be open to expanding the current mission of unarmed military observers from the United Nations from six who are in place right now, to perhaps as many as 250.

Listen to what he had to say.


WALID MOALLEM, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): First, we hope to send a number of observers to areas we consider highly tense. I believe the number 250 observers is logical. We don't know why they want to use helicopters, but if the need arises, Syria will offer its own helicopters at the observers' mission disposal.


WATSON: Now, Kristie, another senior Syrian official has been quoted saying that the nationality of the observers would be determined by the Syrian government, they would withhold the right to reject observers from countries that they don't approve of. In addition to that, the violence continues six days after the cease-fire was supposed to go into effect, with Syria's state news agency reporting that six security forces were killed by an improvised explosive device on a roadside in the northern province of Idlib, and a seventh was killed today in the southern province of Daraa.

Meanwhile, opposition activists in Daraa are telling us that Syrian security forces raided the town of Busra al-Harir, in Daraa, today, setting fire to the homes of at least three activists there. And that city has been targeted, they say, by Syrian artillery in recent days -- Kristie.

STOUT: And as the violence goes on, we're hearing these voices against Damascus. You mentioned in France, where an anti-Assad coalition is gathering, and also a new video denouncing the first lady of Syria. Tell us more.

WATSON: Well, this is certainly a new pressure tactic, the likes of which we have not seen before, a video produced by the wives of the French and German ambassadors to the United Nations which really goes directly after the conscience of the first lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad.

Take a look at a portion of this video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and his supporters. Stop being a bystander. Stand up for peace, Asma. Speak out now for the sake of your people.


WATSON: There you go, Kristie, a video directly accusing Asma al-Assad of being complicit in the violence against the Syrian people, violence that has claimed more than 9,000 lives over the last year, and which the U.N.'s high commissioner for human rights has said could lead to allegations that the Syrian government is complicit in crimes against humanity. The video probably not likely to make much of a dent in the Syrian first lady. She, in her previous media appearances, has stood very much by her husband.

And in a series of e-mails that were leaked after activists hacked into the Syrian government's Web servers, it showed that the Syrian first lady was actually buying, ordering thousands of pounds, British pounds' worth of furniture and vases from London companies and shops at a time when people were being killed by Syrian security forces in Syria -- Kristie.

STOUT: Diplomatic wives going after the conscience of the Syrian first lady with an online video. Interesting tactic, indeed.

Ivan Watson reporting.

Thank you.

And turning now to escalating violence on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. Now, much of the fighting is centered around the lucrative oilfields of Heglig, which were seized by the South last week. But the tensions date back much further than that.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan last July. In 2005, a peace deal ended two decades of bloody civil war. More than two million people died in that conflict. Now, the U.N. Security Council has condemned the fighting and has discussed imposing sanctions on both countries.

Our David McKenzie is following this story from Nairobi, Kenya. He joins us now.

And David, first, can you describe the scale of the violence?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the violence has been there for some months now, actually, Kristie. It all came to a head though in this current round of fighting last week, when Southern Sudanese soldiers moved into Heglig, an oilfield which provides a great deal of Sudan's or Khartoum's oil. But we're getting initial reports that the fighting, which has been focused on Heglig and towns like Bentiu, which is a Southern Sudanese town where, allegedly, Khartoum-based air force trains (ph) from Sudan has been bombing.

There is an indication that the fighting has spread at least to parts of northern Baraghazal, which is west of this area. That's a Southern Sudanese state bordering on south Kortatam (ph), in the north. So there is troubling -- there are troubling signs, Kristie, that what is a localized conflict could, you know, move into a full-scale war -- Kristie.

STOUT: Fears of all-out war. So what is being done to deescalate the conflict? And is the African Union playing a role?

MCKENZIE: Well, the African Union should be playing a role. They are the group in charge of negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan. Those were supposed to happen, the latest round of those, in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, earlier in April, but those were called off when tensions started to rise yet again in these disputed areas.

Now, the African Union is calling on both sides to go along the agreed borders, as well as pull out of Heglig and stop any aerial bombardment. The problem is, is that the borders themselves are not agreed upon. They were one of several key elements that were put aside when the negotiations happened to stop the long civil war and to eventually lead to South Sudanese independence, which happened in July, Kristie.

The problem is, is that issues like the border demarcation, oil-sharing, as well as the fate of southerners living in Sudan, in the north, have all been kind of left aside. And as many people feared, these are now coming back to haunt what was a lengthy peace process.

STOUT: You know, we've been looking on our screens faces of some of the victims caught up in the violence there.

David, what is the humanitarian need on the border? And has the latest fighting made a desperate humanitarian situation there even worse?

MCKENZIE: Well, we do need to talk about two things. One is the immediate crisis now, which has been caused by this uptick in fighting. There's also just a long-term issue with insecurity in these border regions.

So you've got existing refugee (INAUDIBLE), displaced populations in the refugee camps like Yida, near to Bentiu town, which I was describing earlier. Humanitarian workers there saying that their biggest issue now is supply lines coming from the towns which have been under attack in recent days.

Obviously, the security situation is making getting non-food items and food and particularly water to these refugee camps very challenging. Another thing to think about, Kristie, is that the rains are coming to South Sudan in one to two weeks, maybe slightly more. While that may not be an issue in some parts of the world, the rain in South Sudan is really a deal- breaker. It means that movement is very much impossible in large parts of this very underdeveloped country.

Well, the problem now is they're dealing with an influx of something like 400 people a day, according to the International Refugee Committee into places like Yida, and just helping those people is very difficult. When the rains come, it's going to prove nearly impossible.

STOUT: Well, so many issues confronting the people there at the border.

David McKenzie reporting.

Thank you.

Now, it is day three of the mass murder and terrorism trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the man accused of killing 77 people in Norway last year. Now, yesterday, Breivik told the court that he would carry out his murderous rampage again, without hesitation. And today reports say that he claimed that, "Anyone could do what I did. All it took was a" -- in his words -- "backbone."

However, the prosecution was focused on whether Breivik acted alone, and he was questioned extensively over contacts he claims to have made with militant nationalists in Liberia and London. And the court must decide whether Breivik was sane when he carried out the July 22nd massacre.

You're watching NEWS STREAM on CNN. And coming up, Osama bin Laden's widows facing deportation in Pakistan. We'll have the latest.

And a tail of intrigue more suited to the silver screen. One of China's most powerful politicians embroiled in a scandal and his wife arrested in a murder probe. And now the plot thickens.

And it's 100 days until the Olympic games kick off in Britain. Now, will it be a sprint to the finish for the host country? We're live in London just ahead.


STOUT: Osama bin Laden's three widows and two of his daughters are set to be deported from Pakistan. Now, the women have been in Pakistani custody since U.S. forces killed the al Qaeda leader last May. They've been serving a 45-day sentence for living in the country illegally. The women completed that sentence on Tuesday night and could be deported back to their home countries at any time.

Now, leaked pictures apparently showing U.S. soldiers posing alongside the bodies of suicide bombers in Afghanistan are likely to raise more questions about the conduct of American forces. One U.S. soldier tells the "L.A. Times" he leaked the photos to draw attention to what he calls a breakdown in leadership and discipline. The U.S. military has ordered a criminal investigation.

Nick Paton Walsh has more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, NATO have taken the rare step of apologizing for the contents of these pictures ahead of their publication by the "Los Angeles Times," expected later on today. They've issued a statement in which they roundly condemn these images, which apparently show the bodies of dead Afghan insurgents who died in suicide attacks being posed with by United States Army soldiers. Now, they were apparently taken, according to ISAF, in 2010, but have only now been leaked to the press.

Let me read to you some of General John Allen -- the ISAF commander's statement. He says, "The actions of the individuals photographed do not represent the policies of ISAF. This behavior and these images are entirely inconsistent with the values of ISAF."

He strongly condemns these particular actions. But to be honest, after the past four months, NATO are becoming used to and practiced in the art of damage limitation. In January, we had the instance in which United States Marines apparently urinated on the corpses of dead Afghans. Then we had the mistake in burning of Korans by NATO soldiers, also apologized for. And then the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians in Panjwai, Kandahar.

So, a deeply troubling narrative of the past few months for the NATO campaign here as it inches towards its end. It's unclear what the Afghan popular reaction will be to these pictures when they are eventually published, but at the end of the day, this simply adds to a growing toll of bad news for NATO towards the end of its decade-long war here.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Paktika Province, Afghanistan.


STOUT: Now, the "L.A. Times" has just published those photos, and CNN is assessing them before putting them on the air.

The U.S. and Australia have eased some of their sanctions on Myanmar following dramatic reforms by the government, including the recent by- election where pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party won all but one of the seats it had contested. Now, meanwhile, Suu Kyi will be making her first trip abroad since being released from decades of house arrest. Norway announced that she will be visiting the country in June.

Now, Suu Kyi won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize but was unable to attend the ceremony in Oslo because she was under house arrest.

Next on NEWS STREAM, China's one-time political star is now entangled in a growing scandal, as his wife is under investigation in a murder mystery. But how much do you know about Bo Xilai? Our Beijing bureau chief shares his memories and sheds light on the deepening scandal.


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

Now, China is renewing its commitment to thoroughly investigate the death of a British businessman. The Neil Heywood case has unfolded like something out of a movie -- allegations of illegal money transfers, betrayal and foul play. But it is very real and has caused a powerful Chinese politician his career.

Lindsey Hilsum takes us through the latest twists.


LINDSEY HILSUM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was ostensibly a meeting about cultural ties, but the prime minister also had draft (ph) Li Changchun, number five in the Chinese Community Party's hierarchy about the murdered British businessman Neil Heywood. He died in a Chongqing hotel last November, possibly of cyanide poisoning. It's been reported that the city's then-leader, Bo Xilai, initially ordered his police chief, Wang Lijun, to investigate.

But when Bo's wife was implicated, he sacked Wang. Now all three, Bo Xilai, his wife, Gu Kailai, and Wang Lijun are under investigation by the party.

Today, the foreign secretary was eager to avoid accusations that the government had failed to press the Chinese about Mr. Heywood until it became a scandal.

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We have demanded an investigation. The Chinese authorities have agreed to conduct such an investigation. There's been a further discussion about that this afternoon.

HILSUM: Heywood's body was found in the Nanchang Lijiang Holiday Hotel on November the 15th, and cremated without autopsy.

WANG KANG, CHONGQING BUSINESSMAN (through translator): It's like hiding (ph) in a quiet area very suitable for carrying out a murder, as no one would notice.

HILSUM: Bo Xilai had hoped to get one of nine places on the Community Party's politburo's standing committee in this autumn's leadership change. No longer. His political enemies are happy to see him disgraced and his allies weakened.

The government says Bo will face the law. But in China, judges are party functionaries.

LIU WEIMIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): The Heywood case has entered the judicial process, and China is conducting an investigation. Investigation takes time. I believe China will handle the case based on law and release information in real time.

HILSUM: Neil Heywood's Chinese widow, Wang Lulu, isn't talking to journalists. His car, with its "007" license plate, is still in the driveway of their Beijing home, and his death is still a mystery.


STOUT: Lindsey Hilsum there.

Now, Gu Kailai's family and friends believe Heywood was a British spy who may have tried to blackmail her. Now, that is what a source close to Gu's family told our Jaime Florcruz. He first met Bo Xilai in the late 1970s, when they were students at Peking University, and these are pictures from class reunions over the years.

Jaime Florcruz joins us now live from CNN Beijing.

And Jaime, how do you remember Bo Xilai as a student and as a person?

JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: I remember him as a smart, a charismatic and a quite friendly student at that time. He was very keen to find out what's going on overseas, in other countries, in other cultures. He was especially keen to practice his English with foreign students like me, because it turned out that he -- his ambition was to become a foreign journalist, a Chinese journalist posted overseas. But instead, he went on to rise the ladder of the Communist Party, became a city mayor, a minister of commerce, and later a provincial leader.

And along the way, he made a lot of enemies. He had a lot of admirers, but he also made a lot of enemies who thought of him as an arrogant and over- ambitious -- dictatorial, even -- who allegedly was willing to do anything to reach his ambition. And now he's in the middle of this very sensational story, perhaps the most sensational political scandal to hit China in many years -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Bo Xilai's wife, Gu Kailai, was also a student at Peking University. Can you tell us about her?

FLORCRUZ: I didn't know her personally, but I heard from fellow classmates how she was much admired as a charming, beautiful and talented student. And later, he (ph) became a power lawyer who did her own business deals. He (ph) also wrote at least two books where he proudly recounted how she won lawsuits in the U.S. for Chinese companies.

I have lost touch with Gu Kailai's -- and their recent business deals. But he is now implicated in this mysterious death of the British businessman, Neil Heywood, and her relations with him -- Kristie.

STOUT: And what is the status of the relationship between Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai? How much do you think Bo really knew about his wife's alleged dealings with Neil Heywood?

FLORCRUZ: Well, Bo defended, stood by his family. Even a few days before he was actually dismissed, he said in a press conference that their enemies were pouring dirt on his family, and he defended them. He projected an image of a power couple who loved each other, but a source told me also that, in fact, in recent few years, the two have drifted apart -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, with so much unclear on this story, we very much appreciate your clarity and your insight.

Jaime Florcruz, joining us live from Beijing.

Thank you.

Now, still to come here on NEWS STREAM, just 100 days stand between the British capital and the biggest sporting event in the world. We'll have the latest on the buildup to the 2012 Olympics and find out if the city is really as ready as it seems.


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

As violence continues in Syria, despite a UN backed ceasefire, the wives of two UN diplomats have made a video which they urged the wife of President Bashar al Assad to speak out against her husband's crackdown on protesters. Now meanwhile, the Syrian government says it welcomes the arrival of the UN ceasefire monitors.

It's day three of the mass murder and terrorism trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the man accused of killing 77 people in Norway last year. Now prosecutors are questioning Breivik about claims he had contact with other ultra-nationalists. Now a judge has ruled his testimony will not be televised.

Osama bin Laden's three widows and two of his daughters are set to be deported from Pakistan. Pakistani judge has ordered the women deported after they served a 45 day sentence for living illegally in the country. That sentence has now been completed. As likely, the women will be sent back to their country's of citizenship: Yemen or Saudi Arabia. Now they have been in Pakistani custody since U.S. forces killed the al Qaeda leader last May.

Now 26 sports, 10,000 athletes, and millions of tickets: it all gets underway 100 days from now when the Summer Olympics begin in London. Now organizers say the city will be ready to host a massive event, but preparations have been hit by reports of a spiraling budget and concerns about security and transport. And to give you some perspective of the pressure on the transport system, 800,000 people are expected to use public transport to travel to the games on its busiest day.

Now London's busiest tube station, Waterloo, services an average of 57,000 people during peak hours.

Now for more on the build-up to the 2012 Olympics, let's bring in Jim Boulden. He joins us now live from London's Trafalgar Square. And Jim, 100 days to go, just how ready is London?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as far as the Olympics itself, London is very ready. The venues are built, the village is ready, all the infrastructure is in place. The question really is, of course, about transport. But first let me show you the clock behind us. You'll see there, as you said, 100 days to go. This cock has been sitting here in Trafalgar Square for the last few months. And there will be another seven hours and 25 minutes until the actual opening ceremonies.

The reason for that, Kristie, is they're going to start at 12 past 8:00 in the night. In other words, 2012, if you think of the 24 hour clock.

Now when it comes to transport, that has always been the biggest worry. For the last seven years since London beat out Paris to get these Olympics, transport was always going to be the issue. They're advising people who live here to leave. They're advising companies to stagger people's work, to actually commute to different parts of the country or to telecommute. They're also telling people that maybe want to stay at the office and go to the pub afterwards until the tourists go home and go home later in the evening.

It will be very crowded. It will certainly be the biggest challenge for London, Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, transportation, a key concern.

Also some talk about the legacy of the games. The motto of the event, I understand it was unveiled today. It was, quote, inspire a generation. But Jim, will the games have a lasting legacy for the UK?

BOULDEN: Well, they are different legacies. One of the legacies that it probably will not meet is the sporting legacy. Every city says we're going to get more kids involved in sporting. Well, that actually probably hasn't happened and won't happen. And it's always very hard to measure that.

But as far as the infrastructure legacy, it's going to be huge. Permanent Oympic pools, another brand new stadium, permanent venue for the bicyclists. There will be a huge park, the biggest park built in Europe since Victorian era will be what the Olympic Park becomes afterwards. So the legacy itself is going to be phenomenal for the very, very dirty and poor part of London.

You know, there's nothing like a deadline to actually get people to think about how to change to a part of the city. So that legacy is definitely going to be met, say the organizers. They're very excited about the post use of the games. In fact, they're going to knock down the basketball court and they're going to take that somewhere else. They're not going to have the -- beach volleyball, that's a temporary venue. They're not going to leave white elephants, they promise.

STOUT: So the infrastructure built out as well as the sport will be something to see. Jim Boulden joining us live from London, thank you.

Now security is obviously a top priority for organizers. And Dan Rivers takes a look at where things stand on that front.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: London has always taken its security seriously. The Royal Navy College has been in Greenwich since 1873 and used to train some of the finest military minds back in the days when Britain was a superpower of the sea. And it's that tradition that organizers are keen to uphold during the Olympic Games.

So much so that in December, the security budget for the event was raised by $450 to $850 million by the British government. So were the original plans naive?

JAMES BROKENSHIRE, MINISTER FOR CRIME AND SECURITY: It's very much been about the preparations, the details examination of the make-up of venue security. In many ways, the Olympic Games is the greatest sporting show on Earth. We're not going to leave anything to chance, because we want to ensure that the focus is on sport, on that achievement on the Olympics and not on security issues.

RIVERS: The new plans include 13,500 troops providing support as well as the Royal Navy's HMS Ocean being moored in Greenwich which is where I met Colonel Richard Kemp, the former member of the Cobra crisis committee for a boat trip along the Thames.

COL. RICHARD KEMP, FRM. MEMBER COBRA CRISIS COMMITTEE: Cobra is the national crisis management committee. It bring together all elements of the British government, the intelligence services, the police, the military so that all of the efforts can be coordinated in dealing with the crisis.

RIVERS: So we're here on the Thames right where HMS Ocean is going to be moored during the Olympics. What will she bring to the operation?

KEMP: It's a very, very sophisticated communications platform. The military will be basically enhancing the capability of the overall Olympic security operation in a range of tasks from the water-born security we've spoken about through to anti-aircraft security.

RIVERS: The security operation will be a joint effort between the military, the government, and the police.

Time for a stop to find out what the police priorities will be.

Is this going to be the biggest security operation this country has ever seen?


I mean, we've had, you know, very high profile events. We had the royal wedding, for example, last year. But this is multiple events happening in multiple locations, it's not just the Olympic sites themselves it's the infrastructure, it's the underground system, it's the electricity system, all could potentially be targets.

RIVERS: (inaudible) are used to organizing thousands of events each year, but the Olympics is the biggest, the most complex for a generation. And as the clock ticks down to the opening ceremony everybody is hoping they've got the security dimension just right.


STOUT: Now staying with sports, the Champions League is down to the semifinal stage. Alex Thomas joins me with more from London -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. Yes, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho claimed a draw would have been a fairer result after his team lost the opening leg of their semifinal against Bayern Munich 2-1.

For the first time this season, Real found themselves behind in a Champion's League game. But Mesut Ozil scored in the 53rd minute to cancel out Franck Ribery's early goal in Germany. And Mario Gomez eventually bundled home his 12th goal of the season in the dying seconds to give Bayern victory.

Later on Wednesday, the second semifinal kicks off with Chelsea against Barcelona at Stanford Bridge in West London. This is Chelsea's sixth semifinal appearance in nine years. They haven't reached the final since 2008 and was denied another tilt at the title 12 months later when Barca knocked them out of the last four stage with a late goal from Andres Iniesta. So this game has been billed as something of a revenge mission for Chelsea, although the current Barcelona team is of course a lot stronger now than it was then, although they will be affected by having to play a Classico against bitter rivals Real Madrid this weekend in between the two legs.

Barca trying to become the first team to successfully defend a Champion's League title. So they're English opponents know they need to play smart.


ROBERTO DI MATTEO, CHELSEA MANAGER: I think it's fair to say we need two perfect games from our point of view against this team. So -- but I think also that, you know, with the effect in the last six weeks we've been performing very well. You know, that gives us that belief that we can produce two perfect games against this team.


THOMAS: And our reporter, Amanda Davis, will be reporting live from Stamford Bridge later here on CNN.

Now as you've just been hearing, it's 100 days to go until the start of London 2012. What we didn't tell you is the emergence of a new Olympic sport. If you're a Harry Potter fan you'll know exactly what I mean if I tell you that Quidditch will be played at the games this summer -- OK, OK, it's not an official Olympic sport, but the international Quidditch Association as they've shown on their web site here says it's organizing players to wander the Olympic village in robes carrying broomsticks, or quaffles as they're known. We may even see a few Potteresque round-rimmed spectacles I would think.

Organizers haven't revealed, Kristie, how they'll actually get off the ground, because in the movies they're flying aren't they?

STOUT: That's right. But first to 50 wins. So they know the rules. Alex Thomas, thank you very much indeed.

Still to come here on News Stream, the clash of the tech titans might be about to turn cordial. Apple and Samsung are set to sit down and talk through their patent problems. And we've got all the details straight ahead.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Well, a long running legal fight between Apple and Samsung over their smartphones may soon be coming to an end. Now according to a court filing cited in numerous reports the CEOs of Apple and Samsung will meet within the next 90 days to try to settle their dispute. Now this battle is just one front in a global legal war over smartphones. It has prompted a flurry of lawsuits and counter suits between some of the biggest names in technology.

Now this is just a small sample of the many legal fights in the industry as tech giants claim their rivals have infringed their patents in some way. And the potential prize if you win makes it worth the fight.

Now when Nokia won a legal fight against Apple, they got $600 million in royalties on every iPhone sold. Now that last part is crucial. Now Microsoft's Windows phones may lag their rivals in the market, but when a customer walks into a store and buys an Android phone instead of a Windows phone, Microsoft still makes money. Why? Well, it's because Microsoft has an agreement with many Android handset makers to share patents in exchange for royalties. So, you can see why having a good library of patents can be almost as important as having a good product.

But it has left to some strange situations in the industry like the fight between Apple and Samsung. Now this one is especially interesting, because Samsung actually makes many of the components inside the iPhone.

Now the meeting between Apple and Samsung does not necessarily mean that they will come to an agreement, but it shows that Apple's new CEO is adopting a very different approach than that of its last one.

Now Steve Jobs was said to be furious by what he regarded as Android phones copying Apple's work. In his biography he said this, quote, "I am going to destroy Android because it's a stolen product."

Now Jobs adds that he had no interest in settling with Google, something his successor Tim Cook may disagree with.

Now ahead here on News Stream, he is still under house arrest, but that didn't stop Julian Assange from hosting the debut of his new talk show. So who had the honor of being his first guest? We've got the details on CNN.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now let's get your global weather forecast. And reports of some pretty terrible conditions in Turkey. Mari Ramos joins us from the world weather center with that and more -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this is a disturbed area of weather that has been affecting this region for awhile already. The winds have been picking up. In some cases up to 50 kilometers per hour across portions of the eastern Mediterranean. We're going to go ahead and start to show you the pictures first of all.

Let's go ahead and roll the video. This is from Turkey. Look at that, that is a boat that caught on fire -- a yacht I should say -- that caught on fire near -- right near, near the (inaudible). And pretty incredible pictures there as you see that, because you can see the people kind of jumping in the water trying to escape. They were actually lucky that no one was injured, everyone was rescued, and that it happened in a busy maritime area. In other words, where they would be able to get rescued. But the seas were so rough and the winds so strong that the flames spread very quickly.

You can see from these images right here how widespread the rain has been. There's damage to roofs in some cases. There's also damage to power lines and trees that came down. Really dangerous conditions as the winds howled through this area and across the Aegean Sea. These are incredible images that we're looking at there.

So some injuries attributed to this. And Turkey is not alone, we have seen similar conditions spreading across the eastern Med. to the shores of the eastern Mediterranean and even across parts of Egypt where reportedly there they've had some problems with ports that have been closed near Alexandria for example and also problems with visibility with flights that have been had to have some problems in the last few hours. And this is going to continue.

This is what that area of low pressure looks like here. You can see it spinning right across the Aegean. It's going to stick around, we think, for the next 24 to 48 hours. And it's really going to deepen.

What that means is, it's going to get stronger. And with that, the winds will get stronger. We're going to get even more rain across these areas.

And notice how the moisture stretches all the way up here across much of eastern Europe and all the way up into Russia even.

And then back over on this side of it, you can see it moving into the eastern Mediterranean. That's pretty significant in its own as well because high winds in those areas including the possibility and the potential for more flooding in some cases, because you've had already so many times over and over where you've had so much rain.

So strong winds, heavy rain, and even the possibility of isolated tornadoes, particularly across western parts of Turkey. But we could even see some of that across the Baltics and all the way down even into Greece and Cyprus, so keep an eye on this as we head through the day today. I think this is going to turn out to be a big weather system.

And don't forget here across the western side of Europe also raining, strong winds, just not as severe as what we're having in the southeast.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast.

And Kristie, you know, these storms are holding together pretty well. When they move off the central Med. and then make its way across the Middle East. And over and over we've seen this weather pattern pretty much holding it together. Here comes the next storm system. And that one already kicking up some blowing sand and dust across Egypt, across Jordan as we head into Iraq. And then we've also had other storm systems that have already moved through here and giving us some significant wind problems and dust problems across the Persian Gulf.

Look at Cairo right there. 46 kilometer per hour winds in the last six hours or so, even stronger. Blowing sand and dust continues to be a concern as that moisture moves in. There's Iraq blowing sand and dust. Kuwait has had blowing sand and dust and rain even in the last couple of days with all of these storm systems move through here.

Also, over Qatar we have blowing sand and dust, back over toward Abu Dhabi, through the strait of Hormuz and coming all the way out here to Oman.

Let me show you this picture right here from Google Earth. You can see it along the Persian Gulf this kind of hazy stuff that you see there, that's all of the dust that's still suspended up in the air, still pretty significant. Expect travel delays and dangerous conditions for anyone of course on the ground. Back to you.

STOUT: Incredible how you can see that via satellite. Mari Ramos, thank you.

Now he may be under house arrest, but WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has found ways to stay in the spotlight. Now this time it's not his whistleblowing website raising eyebrows. Atika Shubert shows us Assange's new gig.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor and newly minted talk show host scored a great get with his first guest, Hezbollah's elusive chief Hassan Nasrallah patiently answering questions via satellite link from a secret location in Lebanon.

In a promotional interview for Russia Today, the home of the new show, Assange said he was expecting criticism.

JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: There's Julian Assange, enemy combatant, a traitor, getting into bed with the Kremlin and interviewing terrible radicals and (inaudible). But I think that's the sort of -- it's a pretty trivial kind of attack on character. If you actually look at how the show is made. We make it. We have complete editorial control.

SHUBERT: But not much new was revealed other than Hezbollah's attempts to mediate the violence in Syria, rebuffed by the opposition, according to Nasrallah.

Assange asked questions from his temporary home in the English countryside where he is under arrest as he fights extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual misconduct, conveniently providing the embattled WikiLeaks editor with a much needed platform, he told Russia Today.

ASSANGE: They're not dealing with a standard interview. They're dealing with someone who is under house arrest, who has gone through political problems that they (inaudible). There hasn't been anything yet on TV...

SHUBERT: Russia Today is the first to license Assange's latest project. It's a channel seen as the voice of the Russian government. That may not seem to square with Assange's self-proclaimed role as a champion of transparency, but he insists the show is independently produced and Russia Today only the first of many. Italian news outlet L'Espresso (ph) has also confirmed plans to air the show.

The World Tomorrow closes with some specially created music from Hip Hop artist MIA. And the credits are cheekily redacted in a reference to WikiLeaks controversial document expose.

Now matter what the reaction, it seems Assange has succeeded in putting himself and WikiLeaks back in the spotlight.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


STOUT: Now let's go over and out there with a visit to one of the most popular sites on the Internet. Now millions visit daily to snap up the latest best sellers, but before you pay for your literature, you might want to double check your literacy. Now let me explain. In recent times, the number of titles have appeared on Amazon that may look like the real McCoy, but could disappoint you on delivery.

Now this is the genuine article, Stieg Larssen's hugely popular "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" retailing here for $9.99, and this appears to be a thinly veiled imitation called "I Am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Karen Peebles retailing for more than $75.

Now this is the popular book "New Moon: The Twilight Saga" Stephanie Meyer, on sale for $7.99. And this is what appears to be a rip-off titled "Twlight New Moon" by James Crofton, yours for a mere $84.57.

Now the current best seller is the erotic romance "50 Shades of Gray." Here's the real deal. It's available for $9.57. And "35 Shades of Gray," an apparently bogus bodice ripper is sadly out of print.

And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. WORLD BUSINESS TODAY is next.