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Sweden Culture Minister in Hot Water; Rape Video in South Africa Puts Eight Behind Bars; Paris Hosting International Meeting on Syria Crisis; French Election Plugged In; Rare Success Story in Afghanistan

Aired April 19, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET

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


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

And we begin in Afghanistan and the calls for international forces to speed up their withdrawal. We look at how cooperation has turned one village into a rare success story.

Syria signs an agreement laying out what U.N. observers can do in the country just as the U.N. cast doubts on the government's pledge to withdraw from cities.

And India successfully tests a new long-range missile which it says is just a deterrent.

A new mission and a new role for NATO in Afghanistan after 2014. Now, NATO ministers, they are wrapping up a two-day meeting in Brussels (INAUDIBLE) for military withdrawal from the war-torn country. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai is now calling for an accelerated handover from NATO forces in the wake of the latest scandal involving U.S. troops. Now, Karzai condemned photos showing U.S. soldiers posing with the bodies of suspected Afghan insurgents.

The end game, it calls for Afghan forces to take responsibility for their country's own security, but no one is any under illusion that that will be easy.

Nick Paton Walsh joins me now from Afghanistan's Paktika Province with a closer look -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, you've heard over the last week since the attacks in Kabul, and Australia saying it would speed up withdrawal of its troops from NATO, their claims of how well Afghan security forces are doing and how ready they are to take over security in the country. But it's a very patchy picture across this divide in tribally split, often, land.

We've been to one village in the east of the country called Marzak, a former insurgent stronghold where, for the very short term, at least, a deal between the Americans and the villagers of that area appears to be keeping the insurgency at bay.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH (voice-over): We're heading into what was once a key sanctuary for sophisticated insurgents with the Haqqani network, their route in from Pakistan.

COL. CURT TAYLOR, U.S. ARMY: Yes, this is Haqqani territory.

WALSH (on camera): The way of their getting their guys and their guns into Afghanistan.

TAYLOR: Absolutely.

WALSH (voice-over): But now the Americans can safely drive into here, Marzak, because of a deal they struck with a local tribe. And they give us a rare glimpse of this local militia called the Afghan Local Police, or ALP. Their tribe is mostly opposed to the insurgency, so America paid and armed them, helping out from a local school.

TAYLOR: One of the dynamics that occurred in Marzak is the tribe here was being preyed upon by a nearby tribe. The nearby tribe had a much greater support from the Taliban. They could come over here, and they had the weapons and everything else to extract resources from this tribe. By this tribe siding with the government of Afghanistan, now that gives them the capability to defend their own turf.

WALSH: Since that deal, the locals have had it quiet, but peace in Afghanistan is never that simple. On the 26th of March, nearby, a member of this ALP shot dead an American, Staff Sergeant William Wilson, before being shot dead himself. Colonel Taylor believes the Taliban persuaded the gunman to do it. Loyalties and power here are complex.

The first head of the ALP was fired. The tribe that sided with the Americans clearly also has some insurgents in it. But despite these setbacks, the Americans think it's safe for them to leave the school and Marzak. They'll only return occasionally now to this new base named after their fallen colleague. Much has changed, but as much could now change back.

(on camera): In the past, behind me a year ago things were different. The insurgency had a large encampment there and were in fact using the same school in the villages, their headquarters. American Special Forces came in and killed over 120 insurgents, but now the Americans are withdrawing. The question is, will the insurgency come back?

(voice-over): Villagers do warmly welcome the Americans, who hope the elders here will equally trust the Afghan government once they've left. But that's not a given if you talk to this local ALP commander.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I know it's true sometimes the government is corrupt and they're stealing. I know that our salaries are a certain amount, but when we get it, it's less. Still, we don't raise our voice or complain to officials.

WALSH: America here is intervening into tribal rivalries that have endured for decades with cash and power, but will this delicate arrangement last?

(on camera): This deal is fine for a short-term solution so you guys can leave. But in the long term, you're effectively just weighing up another side with a few more weapons, and they'll let them fight it out in the years ahead.

TAYLOR: The key has got to be that ALP is an extension of the government of Afghanistan, that the Afghan Uniform Police is the sponsor and supporter of the ALP program and it is not a tribal militia. And the more that we can promote that relationship and that dependency between the ALP and the Afghan Uniform Police, the more successful we're going to be.

WALSH (voice-over): In short, it's a gamble America must take because its time is up. And this front-line village will, in the summer ahead, learn if its future lies in its own hands, with rival tribes and warlords, or with a resurgent Taliban.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: What you've seen there is, in a way, the easy bit (ph). It's the months ahead that will be the real test of this very convenient relationship between the Americans and those villagers. The Haqqani network are bound to want to reclaim that vital staging ground for those troops, who are, of course, concerned, as you saw there, but the ALP aren't particularly trusting of the Afghan government.

And then, of course, there's the Americans. Their numbers reducing sharply in the months ahead. This area, still to be contested -- Kristie.

STOUT: A fascinating look into a delicate alliance there.

And while we have you, Nick, reaction from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the photos of U.S. soldiers posing with dead bodies? What is he saying?

WALSH: Well, he has waited a day to respond to the "L.A. Times" pictures and to NATO's preemptive apology of them. His words quite strong, saying that they were provocative and inhumane, and calling them disgusting.

Now, that is, I'm sure, voicing what many Afghans will be thinking themselves, and in fact also what NATO and much of the U.S. defense body said yesterday, before the "L.A. Times" even put two of these 18 leaked pictures out. It remains to be seen if that is -- Karzai's statement, in fact, awakens Afghan popular anger and is often sometimes the first many Afghans hear of incidences like that.

Not clear really if there's any widespread Afghan fury that's taken to the streets. Perhaps people still learning about it. But, still, we're looking now at months of bad news pouring out of this NATO campaign.

The Taliban keen to exploit the publication of these photographs, also condemning them, saying they would continue to wage their resistance because of them. But interestingly, also, suggesting that the "L.A. Times" would only have published them had American officials consented and pushed them to do so, quite the opposite of what has occurred in the U.S., where the Pentagon tried to stop the publication of those particular images. The Taliban obviously trying to seize upon this today -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nick Paton Walsh reporting for us.

Thank you very much, indeed, Nick.

And turning now to Syria, where an agreement has just been signed laying out the terms for the United Nations monitoring mission. Now, it comes after the U.N. said the government is not complying with an agreement to remove troops and heavy weapons from towns across the country.

Now, this amateur video purportedly shows a military convoy traveling through Daraa Province in southern Syria. Activists say 46 people were killed in widespread violence on Wednesday.

(CHANTING)

STOUT: And this footage is set to show U.N. observers caught in the crossfire. Gunshots were fired as they visited a Damascus suburb on Wednesday, but the U.N. secretary-general says the observers could not determine who was responsible for the firing.

In the meantime, several foreign ministers are meeting in Paris today for more talks on the crisis. Our Ivan Watson is following this story from Istanbul, Turkey.

And first, Ivan, could you comment on this agreement reached by Syria and the U.N.? Give us the details.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, both the U.N. and the Syrian government have confirmed that they've signed this protocol, but we don't know the details of the agreement and how it's going to govern the mission of the U.N. observers. We are tracking that tiny team of six U.N. armed military observers as they move around Syria today.

They've moved down to the southern Syrian city of Daraa, Kristie. That's where the uprising first began more than a year ago. And as you can see in this video from this morning, they're surrounded by demonstrators who are chanting there that they want the downfall of the Syrian regime.

Now, we've gotten more reports that we're trying to firm up that the crowd could have swelled to thousands in Daraa today and some reports of violence. We're going to be following that in the hours to come.

Meanwhile, yesterday, as this observer team was traveling around -- again, there are only six of them -- they were in a Damascus neighborhood called Arabin (ph), where they were surrounded by a similar crowd of opposition demonstrators waving flags and chanting that they want the Free Syrian Army, that opposition rebel force, to be armed. And then gunshots ring out and pandemonium breaks out as the demonstrators run for their lives and they accuse government troops of shooting at them. And it appears that the U.N. observer patrol also has to race out of there with sirens blaring.

And as you mentioned earlier, the United Nations says they do not know who opened fire. None of the U.N. observers were injured, though one of their cars was lightly damaged -- Kristie.

STOUT: And we know that Ban Ki-moon is also calling for more U.N. observers to be sent into the country.

Ivan, I wanted to ask you about the Friends of Syria meeting. It's under way in Paris. Russia is once again not there.

Does this meeting have any teeth to help end the crisis?

WATSON: That's a very good question. I mean, the Russians have been very critical of these meetings. The Russian foreign minister saying that these Friends of Syria meetings are seeking to undermine the U.N. Security Council and to foment more conflict inside Syria.

What's interesting to note is the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has come out with a very detailed report. And he's calling on the U.N. Security Council to expand the U.N. observer mission from that initial six, which -- to close to 300. And he also came out with this conclusion. Take a look.

"The Syrian government has yet to fully implement its initial obligations regarding the actions and deployments of its troops and heavy weapons, or to return them to barracks. Violent incidents and reports of casualties have escalated again in recent days, with reports of shelling of civilian areas and abuses by government forces. The government reports violent actions by armed groups."

Ban Ki-moon went on to say that this cease-fire is incomplete, that the observers enjoyed freedom of movement, but they were denied access to the city of Homs from the Syrian government, and added that there were attempts to intimidate demonstrators. So this cease-fire agreement still has big holes in it, big problems in it. Your question about whether the Friends of Syria will actually do anything, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

STOUT: All right.

Ivan Watson reporting.

As always, thank you.

Now, still to come here on NEWS STREAM, India calls its long-range missile test a success. Find out what that means for its neighbors.

And the controversy deepens around disgraced Chinese official Bo Xilai. We'll have the latest on the political fallout.

And in France, the campaign trail goes online, how the presidential candidates there are turning to social media to get the votes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Now, just six days after North Korea failed to send a long-range rocket into orbit, India says its latest missile test was an immaculate success. The Agni V was launched early this morning from Wheeler Island, off India's eastern coast. It is nuclear capable. India says it has a no- first-use policy and its program is designed as a deterrent.

India has, of course, launched rockets before, but none with the range of its latest model. Now, experts believe the Agni V has a potential to travel 5,000 kilometers. That puts it within striking distance of several nations, including some nuclear-armed countries. One is its neighbor China.

Now, Beijing and Shanghai are both thought to be within range, and so, too, is the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. In the other direction, India's big rival, Pakistan, sits well within the strike zone. Likewise, the Iranian capital, Tehran.

By now many people around the world are probably familiar with the name Bo Xilai. Once a rising star of China's Communist Party, his political fall continues to shake the country. "The Daily Telegraph" says dozens of people tied to Bo Xilai are now under arrest. Now, the report quotes a prominent Chongqing entrepreneur who claims the detainees include one of China's richest men.

Now, Bo Xilai was stripped of his senior party post last week. His wife is a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. China's pledged a thorough investigation. Bo Xilai's scandal highlights rifts in the ruling Communist Party, and Beijing is trying hard to contain it.

You're watching NEWS STREAM on CNN. And coming up, we're in France, where they're all atwitter about social media ahead of this weekend's election. New media is influencing the first round of the French presidential vote, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now, French voters go to the polls on Sunday in the first round of the presidential election, and the candidates are learning the playing field has changed. No longer is it enough to just keep babies and speak at campaign rallies, they now have to tweet and "like" as well.

Jim Bittermann discovers many candidates are now calling in social media experts to help them win the vote.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When an unknown singer and a relatively unknown candidate were linked up on the Internet a few weeks ago, it seemed clear France's traditional methods for choosing a president were gone forever. The 24-year-old fantasizing about the 60-year-old becoming president in her song "Take Power Over Me" was an instant hit, no doubt boosting the standing of extreme left-wing leader Jean-Luc Melenchon. And just one more bit of evidence that the Internet and politics are a match-up made in heaven.

As you'd expect in this campaign, there are the increasingly sophisticated candidate Web sites which have in, not so surprising ways, become platforms for publicizing a candidate's preachings, pleading for donations, and interacting with supporters. But it doesn't end there.

This is a briefing taking place at Francois Hollande's headquarters just before the candidate was about to appear on television. The volunteers are being instructed about how best to use their Twitter accounts to bombard the Internet with favorable running comments on their man's performance.

And that's not all in the way of instant feedback.

ARNAUD DASSIER, WEB EXPERT: People are fact-checking what candidates say. This morning on CBN (ph), I saw a guy from a Web site explaining that Nicolas Sarkozy was picking the truce (ph) at 43 persons, but Francois Hollande is picking the truce (ph) at 53 persons.

BITTERMANN: But Dassier, who worked on President Sarkozy's Web site in 2007 and is working for Francois Bayrou this year, says you just can't put anything out there.

DASSIER: That's why it's very important to have official profile on Twitter, to be marked as an official guy, to have a lot of followers, because it means that your credibility is good.

BITTERMANN: The candidates, themselves, who have become more or less adapted to this new dimension of campaigning are aware, sometimes painfully so, of the importance of that credibility issue in a time when every single utterance is captured on video and shared by someone, somewhere.

BENOIT THIEULIN, LA NETSCOUADE: There is no offline and online campaign, and it is a bit changed because (INAUDIBLE) behavior. Before, they could say or they could think, well, I could manage to say something to these people in this city which is a little not exactly the same to another people and to another public. Now they know it would be impossible to do that.

BITTERMANN: Impossible as well is keeping a lid on things. In elections past, the mainstream media have kept secret the results of exit polling on voting day until all the polls have closed, but this year it's almost certain that partial results of the exit polls will leak out and being appearing on Twitter and other social media sites, something that could influence turnout and votes as the election day wears on.

(on camera): France is a country where more than one person in three is on Facebook, and people say the Internet is second only to television as their principal source for political news. So, increasingly, it's a country where voter choice is directly linked to the new media.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Ahead on NEWS STREAM, the controversial cake that's causing a racial uproar in Sweden and has some for the culture minister to step down.

And we go on patrol with Bahrain's security forces as they clamp down on opposition protests across the country.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK_

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

Now India says a long range missile test was an immaculate success. The rocket has a reported range of 5,000 kilometers, which puts it within striking distance of major Chinese cities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the test adds credibility to India's security.

Now UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is confirming what Syrian activists are saying that the regime has failed to fully comply with Kofi Annan's peace plan. In a letter to the security council, the UN chief says Syrian forces have not withdrawn from cities. Now the Syrian government did sign a protocol today on the terms of the UN observer mission to Syria.

Now tensions are escalating between Sudan and South Sudan. At a rally in Khartoum, Sudanese president Omar al Bashir vowed he would never give up the disputed oil rich border region. Now the two nations have been engaged in sporadic fighting since South Sudan took control of the Heglig region last week.

Now videos go viral for many reasons, but a video that has made waves in South Africa this week serves only to shock and sicken. Cell phone footage, it shows the apparent gang rape of a mentally ill teenager in the township of Soweto. And the suspects, each between 14 and 20, they appeared in court on Thursday charged with the attack.

Now the video is focusing more attention on a crime that is all too prevalent in South Africa. By some estimates, a woman is raped in the country every 26 seconds.

Nkepile Mabuse joins me now live from CNN Johannesburg. And Nkelpile, it is just sickening how this video went viral. How did it happen?

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL: You know what, Kristie, the demand for this video is one of the many disturbing aspects about this story. Of course a majority of South Africans are absolutely shocked and appalled, but yesterday when the story broke #rapevideo was trending on Twitter. And there were people who were posting comments like these, Kristie.

"Is there a rape video making the rounds? Where is it?" Laugh out loud "want to see that.

Somebody else's "you have to check this out. Can't quit giggling."

Now very, very disturbing comments. And as I said, the majority of South Africans are absolutely shaken by this story. And the reason why it came to the attention of the authorities is that one mother saw her teenage daughter watching this video which had gone viral amongst school kids. She was so disturbed by it she approached a newspaper and the newspaper told the police. And of course that led to the arrest of seven men and an eighth one yesterday, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now there is widespread outrage in South Africa, but this is an issue. A woman is raped every 26 seconds there in the country. Is the government aware that this needs urgent attention? What are they doing to protect women against sexual violence?

MABUSE: The government is aware. There are ministers who are leading the call for these men to spend the rest of their lives in prison. Of course, they appeared in court today and they're facing preliminary charges of kidnapping and of course sexual assault and rape. And if it is found, Kristie, that this girl was mentally ill they'll be facing much more serious charges.

We understand -- I mean, when they appeared I'm sure we have pictures of them appearing in court today. They were hiding their faces, but the police tell us that while they were making this video, Kristie, they made no attempt to hide their identity. They looked like they were enjoying themselves. At one point, the girl is said to have screamed and begged them to stop. And they offered her 25 cents for her silence.

Now the government is aware of this, the community blames a broken criminal justice system saying that way too many rapists in South Africa get away with it and that's why these boys could even film themselves not even thinking that they would get caught, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And tell us more about the young girl, the victim of this video gang rape. What has happened to her? Where is she now?

MABUSE: You know, the girl was found yesterday after the police launched a search. She had been missing, Kristie, for four weeks. Her mother says that she reported her missing. That is still being investigated. The police believe that she was basically treated as a sex slave. And there are reports that there may be an additional video of -- where these men, the exact same men that appeared in court today, filmed another video of raping -- while raping her in another scene on another day.

Now she is currently being assist by counselors and they undergoing - - she's undergoing psychiatric assistment to determine, really, if she is well enough so that these charges could be amended if they needed to be if it is found that she is mentally challenged, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Nkepile Mabuse, thank you very much indeed for your reporting.

And now to some other images that are sparking outrage, this time in Sweden. Now the country's culture minister is apologizing after she appeared at a controversial art exhibit marking world art day. Now the event featured a cake depicting an African woman. The artist says the cake was designed to raise awareness about racial identity and genital mutilation. Instead, it is prompting calls for the culture minister's resignation.

Now a warning, viewers might find these images disturbing. Our Nima Elbagir reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the pictures igniting the race row threatening to engulf Sweden's culture minister. Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth is laughing and shown plunging a knife into a cake shaped like a stereotypical depiction of an African woman. The action was meant to mimic the female genital mutilation suffered by women across the African continent. The artist, Makode Linde, who covered in dark make-up as the head of the cake screams as the knife is plunged in. The minister still laughing feeds him from her fork.

The artist says he's trying to make people feel uncomfortable, to question themselves about their reaction to these images.

MAKONDE LINDE, ARTIST: The obvious racism that we can see within like -- like extreme right parties or neo-Nazis is very easy to point out and with your fingers, but it's of course very scary. But the kind of racism that I face on a more regular basis is much more subtle and like harder to point out exactly where it comes from.

So I think by like facing them, or facing myself even with this image I can sort of trigger an awareness within myself or within the viewer, I hope.

I think it's very important to raise questions about racial identity, or racial identities, rather, and to talk about.

ELBAGIR: The piece has certainly got people talking. Across social media sites, the pictures have inspired outrage and accusations of racism against both Linde and the minister. The Afro-Swedish Society has now called for the minister's resignation saying she should have been more responsible.

BARAKAT GHEBREHAWARIAT, SPOKESMAN, AFRO-SWEDISH SOCIETY: This is not an isolated event, you know, this is a series of events or episodes which have been degrading, discriminating, and demonizing black people. In that term, you know, we welcome the attention that it's getting so we can finally speak about the problems that actually exist and the reaction, or the lack of reaction from the cultural minister. We welcome this debate and discussion, because you know it proves that Sweden is, you know, really -- imagine doing this in America. Imagine doing this in a U.S. context, you know. I couldn't.

ELGABIR: In a statement published in the Swedish press, Liljeroth apologized for the controversy over her actions, but defended the artwork itself saying "the actual intent of the piece and Makonde Linde's artistry is to challenge the traditional image of racism, abuse, and oppression through provocation. It's perfectly obvious that my role as minister differs from that of the artist. Provocation cannot and should not be an expression for those who have the trust and responsibility of government representatives."

The controversy, though, shows no sign of abating. On Tuesday, the museum of modern art where the exhibition is staged received bomb threats. Although no explosives were found, it's clear the piece has touched on an uncomfortably raw nerve. Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, as Bahrain gears up for this weekend's Formula 1 Grand Prix, the country's controversial police force finds itself under special scrutiny. Frederik Pleitgen goes on night patrol to find out if the criticism is warranted.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Bahrain is getting ready for this weekend's Formula 1 Grand Prix, and the country's opposition movement is also in high gear. Now there have been several protests, some fueled by the hunger strike of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja which is now in its 71st day. Frederik Pleitgen went on patrol with Bahraini police who are feeling the heat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A call on the radio and Rashid al Jouder races to another protest. He commands a unit of Bahrain's special forces police. And now he's headed for a Shiite neighbor near Bahrain's capital.

RASHID AL JOUDER, BAHRAIN SPECIAL FORCES: What is the problem? (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

PLEITGEN: As the cops arrive, about 50 protesters confront them.

The police are now going block to block. As they move forward, they're getting pelted by the protesters with rocks and with tear gas as well. Now they say they're going to use escalation of force according to what the protesters do.

Bahrain's police is often accused of using excessive force, of quickly employing tear gas and shotguns and torturing detainees. Al Juda (ph) denies mistreating protesters. And this evening says he just wants to make them disperse.

They're going to give them a warning.

AL JOUDER: Half-time (ph) to everybody go home.

PLEITGEN: What if they don't go home?

AL JOUDER: We will go out again. OK?

PLEITGEN: Protests have been occurring daily in the Shiite villages around Bahrain's capital. And the clashes have been intensifying in the run-up to the Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend. And the event which these protesters see as a publicity stunt are the country's rulers to make it seem like the nation is more unified than it actually is.

On Wednesday, police used stun grenades to disperse the demonstration in the heart of the capital Manama in support of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja who is on a hunger strike.

Human Rights Watch says Bahrain's police has improved, but is still too heavy handed.

TOM MALINKOWSKI, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: They chase, you know, these young people through the streets into houses. They're hurling tear gas into people's homes. And what that does is it just -- it causes these young men to want to come out in even greater numbers the next day.

PLEITGEN: After the Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain was violently crushed by security forces last year, the government says police reforms have been implemented, though senior officers acknowledge more progress is required.

MAJ. GEN. TARIQ AL HASAN, CHIEF OF PUBLIC SECURITY, BAHRAIN: There are some steps that you could take immediately and solve a lot of the issues. However, there are issues that could need longer time to deal with, which is like things that has to do with training, reorganizing, you know, staffing.

PLEITGEN: Rashid al Jouder says his unit is called to up to 50 protests on some days. And, he says, he believes violent clashes will continue to increase with Formula 1 in town.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Maamir (ph), Bahrain.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Barcelona are often hailed as the most entertaining and skillful football team on the planet, but their star studded attack was blunted against Chelsea. Alex Thomas is here. He's got the details on their Champion's League encounter -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, hi, Kristie. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says Chelsea are now favorites to reach the Champion's League final after the English club won the opening leg of their semifinal 1-0.

Incredibly, it was a mistake from Barca's superstar Lionel Messi that lead to the only goal of the game. Chelsea breaking quickly. Frank Lampard passing to Ramirez who then crossed it to Didier Drogba and his left-foot shot beat Victor Valdez, putting the home team ahead at Stamford Bridge. Barcelona had plenty of chances themselves. They hit the woodwork twice. And their best chance arguably fell to Sergio Busquets in the dying seconds when one of those rebounds provided him with an open goal which he couldn't take.

So this is where we stand in the Champion's League. Two games down and two to go. They're really no nearer to knowing which clubs will contest the 2012 final. Chelsea will be happy to take a 1-0 need into the away leg of their semifinal against Barcelona next week. And the tournament's other Spanish side, Real Madrid also have to recover from a goal down if they want to eliminate Bayern Munich.

I will (inaudible) from the Chelsea manager, Roberto Di Matteo, but I don't think we can just now. You can hear more on that story in World Sport. We'll be chatting it through with football writer Julian Lauren (ph). And that's in around three and a bit hours time.

Some other football news for you now. An Italian player, Piermario Morosini who tragically collapsed and died on the pitch last week has been laid to rest in the northern city of Bergamo. Mourners gathered early at the church in the Monterosso District where Morosini grew up. Flowers, football stars, and banners tied to the railings with messages of remembrance.

Later in the day those numbers swelled to thousands of fans who turned up to pay their respects. Morosini died of some heart failure. And his story touched people all over the world. His mom, dad, and disabled brother all passed away when he was in his teens. And only his disabled sister survives him.

Morosini's former club Atalanta has said they'll pay for her care for the rest of her life.

The NBA playoffs tip-off the weekend after next. And there are still five post season spots to be decided. The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls will both be involved, but they're still vying for top seed in the east and face each other later on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, the Heat were up against the Raptors. And in the final seconds of the first half LeBron James powers his way to the basket and beats the buzzer as Miami takes a two point lead.

Then in the third quarter, the Heat scorched away from their opponents. Here's King James again with a fadeaway three, part of his 28 points on the night. Miami beating the Raptor 96-72.

We're at the Bulls. They were facing the Charlotte Bobcats. And here's a snappy move early on with Richard Hamilton finding Joakim Noah for the dunk. Noah had 12 points in all.

The Bulls outscored their opponents in every quarter. And here's Noah in the third. Hamilton drains the three, part of his game high 22 points on the night.

Later in the fourth, John Lucas III with a little shake and bake. Yet another 3-pointer for them. The Bulls handing Charlotte their 18th straight loss, winning 100-66.

More NBA in World Sport later on, Kristie. For now, back to you in Hong Kong.

LU STOUT: All right. Alex, thank you.

Coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, this man laid bare his frustration with airport security. He says it was nude, not lude. Police thought differently. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back to NEWS STREAM.

Now the storm over Turkey is moving on, but strong winds remain. Let's get the very latest now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, just even in the last hour winds have been pretty extreme across portions of Turkey, including Istanbul. Yesterday, I was telling you about that pretty nasty weather system that was coming in here and moving through that area.

Look at that, 130 kilometer per hour wind gusts in Turkey just in the last hour alone. That's pretty significant and an indication of things to come as we head into the last afternoon. In the evening hours and as we head in through tomorrow we'll start to see a little bit of an improvement, but notice even back over here back over toward the Aegean Sea and back over toward the Adriatic I should say there's still some moisture left over. And so we're going to see those windy conditions continue and still the possibility of some rain showers.

Not like yesterday, though, where we had a significant flooding over those areas.

Some scattered rain showers still remain here across northern parts of Turkey. And some of that moisture lingering on as we head all the back toward the Caspian Sea. There's still a little bit more, like I said though, coming in here from the west.

The wind where it's not raining, it is picking up a lot of dust. Not so much in Turkey, but as we head into Egypt and then back over here to the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean, that continues to be a big problem.

We're going to show you that in just a moment, but as you can see here with this weather system it is beginning to lift farther to the north. So a little bit of an improvement there in the south, but not here for areas farther north.

Also, quite windy and some pretty nasty conditions here as we head into parts of the UK. You can see that area of low pressure turning. We're starting to see some travel delays building again this afternoon. And the wind is quite strong back over here toward France and northern Spain and Portugal.

We need the rain, though, across this area. We haven't seen too much, but as we head through the next few days it's going to stay, I think, a little bit on the soggy side -- scattered rain showers, no -- nothing to write home about. But it will remain a little bit unsettled over these areas here in the west.

Like I said, we need the rain, so we can't complain too much.

As far as severe weather is concerned, again the possibility of some nastiness coming across here across southeastern Europe. Strong winds and possible hail as we head to the Eastern shores of the Adriatic and then also back over here into northern Spain and southern parts of France, particularly as we head into the mountains the possibility of some very strong winds, maybe some thunderstorms and hail.

Very quickly across the Middle East, this continues to be a concern. These storm system come out of Europe here. They move across the Middle East. And usually this time of year, we should begin to see them breaking down and not really having too much of an effect, but they have staid together. They're keeping it together long enough to bring you not only rain, but also plenty of blowing sand and dust. And that is still a concern.

This is a picture from earlier today in Baghdad, again, in the middle of the sand storm across these areas. We're seeing this from Iran, Iraq, and back through the Persian Gulf. At this hour all the way back over here as we head into southern Iran and to the UAE. We're still seeing some blowing sand and dust reports coming through back over toward Oman and even into Riyadh.

This has been ongoing and it's been pretty much every day for the last few weeks that we are seeing this problems and hours of quiet time. And then again we see the blowing sand and dust starting to pick up. You see it right here also in Qatar. Unfortunately, Kristie, this is going to be something else that we're going to have to deal with in this area as we head -- and not just this afternoon, but on and off over the next couple of days. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, not going away any time soon. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now it is one of the most annoying parts of air travel around the world: the necessary, but dreaded, security check. You feel sometimes like you've been stripped bare. Well, Jonathan Mann has the story for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE).

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You probably know the rules. And many airports you briefly surrender your hand luggage, your jacket, purse and belt, plus whatever is in your pockets. It's just routine.

What about pushing passed the routine to protest? A passenger at Portland International Airport, identified as John Brennan, was going through security for a flight to San Jose, California when he started taking clothing off for the search and never stopped.

Full figured at age 50, Brennan called it a protest against harassment by security screeners. Police charged him with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure. Israeli super model Bar Rafaeli kept her clothes on in a recent trip through security, but she complained on Twitter about an uninvited cuddle.

"I got a security pat down by a woman at the airport," she tweeted, "that made me feel very uncomfortable and left no doubt about her sexual preferences."

Instead of a cuddle, Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan got to cool his heels. He was stopped for an hour-and-a-half by airport security in New York this week after having been stopped for another lengthy security check on a previous visit to the U.S.

Now, after an official protest from the Indian government, Washington has a new protocol for visiting Indian VIPs who can make advance arrangements to ensure a smooth trip through the line. The rest of us just have to get used to it.

You know the saying, keep your shirt on.

Jonathan Mann, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

END