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South Sudan To Pull Troops Out Of Heglig Region; Force India Withdraws From Second Practice Session In Bahrain; Syria Strife; French Presidential Election
Aired April 20, 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 Bahrain. Protests continue in the country while Formula 1 teams practice for Sunday's Grand Prix.
South Sudan pledges to withdraw troops from a disputed town and to ease tensions with its neighbor.
And as Norway puts a man on trial for mass murder, we'll look at the country's unique prison system.
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes sports and politics should not mix, but in Bahrain this weekend there may be no choice in the matter. Now, one thing is for sure. The drama surrounding Sunday's race is not restricted to events on the track.
As anti-government protests intensify in the Gulf state, so do security concerns in the building to the big event. Ecclestone, no doubt, was forced to acknowledge a clash of sport and politics when he visited the Force India team earlier. We're hearing that two members of that team have now left Bahrain after a petrol bomb exploded near a car they were traveling in as an anti-government protest took place.
Now, while most drivers have stressed that Sunday's race should go ahead, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg is quoted by the BBC as saying they should not have been put into that position. The warning signs have been evident all week, with pro-democracy demonstrators holding anti-Formula 1 signs during one rally on Monday.
The first practice session passed without incident this morning, and the second is under way right now. But the real test will arrive with the start of official qualifying on Saturday.
Now, last year, the turbulence of the Arab Spring forced organizers to cancel the Grand Prix, but can this year's race go ahead without incident? In a moment, we'll hear from "WORLD SPORT" Alex Thomas on the drivers' feelings, but first, let's talk to Frederik Pleitgen, who had been reporting for CNN from Bahrain, only to have his visa renewal request denied by authorities.
And Fred, more government protests today in Bahrain. What is the latest you're hearing?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, I just got off the phone with a member of the opposition a couple of minutes ago, Kristie, and they're telling me that there are already protests in several Shiite villages around the capital of Manama. They also say that there's a very heavy police presence on the ground. This is something that we've heard confirmed from several sources, that there is more checkpoints to be seen, that there's more police officers in the streets, not just in the capital, Manama, not just around the Formula 1 circuit, but also in the Shiite villages, which, of course, have been the flash point of these protests.
The latest numbers we're getting is that 15 people were injured in protests overnight, which began about 7:30 p.m. local time. They say that they clashed with police forces, who used pellet shot guns, as well as tear gas, to disperse the crowd.
This is something that's done very frequently. Pellet shots is not actually something that we saw when we were on the ground, but certainly the use of tear gas is something that is very frequent, also the use of stun grenades as well.
One interesting thing that the opposition member told me is he said there are going to be a lot of protests today. And one of the things that the villages close to the Formula 1 circuit are going to try and focus on is they are going to try and disrupt the main road that leads from the capital city, Manama, to the Formula 1 circuit. So we're going to wait and see throughout the day how far they get, what that is going to bring in terms of making that Formula 1 practice -- of getting between that in any way, shape or form -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: And what is the mood in Bahrain? When you were there, was there a sense of general unease about the race?
PLEITGEN: Certainly was. There certainly was a mood of general unease about the race.
It's very, very hard to discern what part of the population or how large a part of the population is actually for the race and how large a part is actually against the race. Certainly, the opposition will tell you that the majority of the people are against the race, but government tells you the majority are force the race. It's very difficult to see where the middle ground actually lies.
But it certainly is the case that the race seems to be flaring up those sectarian divisions, which, of course, were very big in Bahrain to begin with. And it's certainly one where you feel that people are looking to this weekend as almost a make-or-break point in their country.
A lot of people are very edgy, not just the majority Shiite population that's staging the protests, but also many people among the Sunni population who want this race to go forward and many who feel that Bahrain is getting a bad name through these protests. And, of course, one thing that we have to keep in mind is that this race is also a very, very important economic factor for Bahrain. It gives the country hundreds of millions of dollars directly and, of course, they also use this as a platform to promote the country and to try international investors, for instance, that Bahrain is getting back to normal -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yes, but not quite giving them the PR that they had expected. Now, hang tight, Fred.
Let's go to our Alex Thomas, who joins us from the sports desk in London.
Alex, what are the drivers thinking of right now? Are they sharing this general sense of unease?
ALEX THOMAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: It depends who you speak to, Kristie.
As you mentioned earlier, the Force India have been affected by the anti- government protests. Four of their team were caught up in a car when a petrol bomb exploded nearby. Their car itself wasn't being targeted, it was just a coincidence they were caught between police and protesters, and no one was hurt. But as you mentioned, two Force India team members have since left the country, and we believe they asked to leave as well.
Interestingly, today, it looks as if in that second Prix practice session ahead of tomorrow's qualifying, the Force India team have not sent out drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul Di Resta, just looking at the live timings. And neither of those two drivers' cars have recorded a time. So it looks like they have done what they promised to do, or threatened to do, you could suggest, which is not take part in the second Prix practice so that all their staff can get back to the hotel in daylight and avoid another incident as they experienced before.
You mentioned Nico Hulkenberg as being one of the few drivers to speak out on this. Most have been very quiet ever since Formula 1 bosses said last week the race would go ahead.
This is what Hulkenberg had to say to the media yesterday, though. He said, "Whether it is right or not, I don't really know. I'm not a politician, I'm a Formula 1 driver. But it should not really be happening, should it? It is not good that we have to worry about it. Let's see and hope that the rest of the weekend is good and calm."
His teammate Paul Di Resta said it was an uncomfortable situation. The drivers themselves don't have as big a voice as, say, in the days of (INAUDIBLE). But Pedro De La Rosa, a former driver and head of the drivers association, told a French news channel it's not a concern. Our view is that we don't know about the situation and we have to trust the FIA. I'm sort of paraphrasing what he said there.
And Jenson Button, the McLaren driver who's second in the drivers' standings for the season so far, while saying some things of concern last week, is now suggesting that he's also on the lines that, look, Formula 1 care about our safety. If they say the race can go ahead and we'll be OK, we need to trust them -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: So a lot of hope and trust that Sunday's race will go ahead without incident.
Alex Thomas reporting.
Thank you. And we'll talk a little bit later here on the program.
Now, qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix gets under way at 2:00 p.m. local time on Sunday. That is 7:00 p.m. in Hong Kong and midday in London. And the race itself is scheduled to begin on 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. That's 8:00 p.m. in Hong Kong and 1:00 p.m. in London.
Now to Syria, where the situation, it seems to be deteriorating further more than one week into a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. This YouTube video is said to show the city of Homs being shelled by government forces. CNN cannot verify when or where the video was taken. And activists say at least nine people have been killed in fighting across the country today.
Paris hosted an international meeting on Syria on Thursday at the so-called Friends of Syria gathering. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for tougher sanctions against the Bashar al-Assad regime, including an arms embargo and travel sanctions.
An advanced team of U.N. monitors is in Syria to observe the cease-fire, with plans to increase the size of the mission in the coming days.
Ivan Watson joins me now live from neighboring Turkey.
And Ivan, we've seen video of these big protests today in Syria. What's the latest on that and the violence inside the country?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, since this uprising began more than a year ago, Friday has been the traditional day of defiance, when people come out to the streets and call for the downfall of the regime. And this day has been no different.
We've seen protests. You're watching a live stream now from a town in the southern district of Daraa, where the uprising basically began more than a year ago. And we've had protests from the far south, on the Jordanian border, all the way up to the northern edge of Syria, the Kurdish region near the town of Qamishli, near the Turkish and Iraqi borders.
Now, what's interesting is that the head of the tiny United Nations observer mission in Syria told journalists yesterday that the observers will not be patrolling on Friday. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLONEL AHMED HIMMICHE, HEAD OF INITIAL U.N. MISSION IN SYRIA: We don't want to be used, Ivan, as a tool for -- I mean, for escalating the situation. So we (INAUDIBLE) Fridays.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Now, he's got a point, because if you look at the first days of this observe mission -- and there are only six blue-helmeted, unarmed military observers in Syria right now -- they have been mobbed by demonstrators as they've traveled around the country, which just gives you a sense of how desperate the opposition is to get their voices heard in the outside world after more than a year of violence that has claimed the lives of more than 9,000 people. In some of those cases they've been able to have conversations, and we witnessed through opposition videos that are uploaded -- it looked at one point that the observers were talking to an officer, a defector officer in that opposition Free Syrian Army who claimed that his community was surrounded and that the army was firing at any vehicles that drove past their checkpoints. But in other cases, violence has exploded as the observers have moved through.
We know that there was gunfire as they were patrolling a neighborhood of Damascus two days ago. There was gunfire in the southern city of Daraa when they were traveling through there. Not clear who was opening fire. Opposition, of course, blaming the Syrian security forces of violating the cease-fire and shooting when crowds of opposition demonstrators have gathered around the U.N. observer mission -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Ivan, there are only six U.N. observers inside Syria. And at the United Nations right now discussions are under way to send more into the country.
If more are authorized to go, what kind of impact will that have on the cease-fire?
WATSON: Well, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants to expand this to 300. We have the spokesman for the U.N. special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, has said that two more observers will arrive on Monday.
Syria's a big country. Nine or 20 or 100 observers isn't enough to cover a country where thousands of people have been killed, tens of thousands are detained, systematic allegations of torture as well. You need a large group. And the hostilities are still very much under way, even though the U.N.-brokered cease-fire has been in effect for more than a week.
The head of the U.N. has said that this cease-fire is incomplete. However, it seems that everybody is pinning all their hopes on this cease-fire plan because they don't have an alternative, they don't have a plan B. And even though you had foreign ministers from around the world gathering at basically an anti-Assad coalition meeting in Paris yesterday, and you had the U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, coming out and suggesting harsher measures against Syria, no concrete decisions were made.
And that seems to be because nobody is ready to go the next step, which would potentially involve military action. Nobody seems to have the political will or the desire to escalate this crisis any worse than it's already gotten, which is basically a civil war -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Ivan Watson, reporting for us live from Istanbul.
Thank you very much indeed for that update.
Now, the first round of the French presidential election, it takes place on Sunday, and we will take you live to Paris to tell you who's leading in the polls ahead of the vote.
And it's been another grueling day for victims' families as accused mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik testifies in Norway. We'll take a look back at his first week on the witness stand just ahead.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Just two days to go. France votes in the first stage of presidential elections on Sunday. There are 10 candidates on the ballot. It's largely shaping up as a race between the two front-runners, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
Now, opinion polls have Mr. Hollande as the favorite to oust the French president. With more than 30 years in politics, Hollande has never held a government post.
During Sarkozy's tenure, the European debt crisis has cast a big shadow and unemployment has reached a 12-year high. Now, the state of the French economy has been at the forefront of the election campaign.
Let's go now to Senior International Correspondent Jim Bittermann in Paris.
And Jim, it is the last day of campaigning. What's happening today?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, there's last-ditch meetings going on with the various candidates, including Mr. Hollande and Mr. Sarkozy. They're going to be having meetings right -- almost up until midnight tonight. That's the cutoff.
At midnight tonight, no more campaigning of any sort. And then there's a zone of silence until Sunday morning, when the voters get a chance to express themselves -- 8:00, the polls open here.
It has been a long and very hard-fought campaign with plenty of ups and downs. It has not always been a cakewalk, and I thought I'd just do a little story to show you about that, Kristie.
BITTERMANN (voice-over): It can be a wonderful thing being a French politician running for office, standing out there in front of the thousands and letting the crowds massage your ego with their cheers and applause, getting in touch with your roots out on the campaign trail, and enjoying a taste of the nation's treasures. Yes, it's not so bad, as long as you don't run into someone who disagrees with you.
The fact is, France is a country which likes to get up front and personal with its politicians. As many have found out, sometimes the hard way, the French make a close connection between the person and the politics. Take Marine Le Pen, for example. She always talks a tough line on immigrants, so you'd think she'd want to take care when visiting places where there are some. You might just get sprayed with water or worse.
"I've come to expect this kind of thing," she told the journalists. Well, OK. It probably does go with the territory if you're an extremist. But what about middle-of-the-road politicians like Francois Bayrou? He never suspected a few years back that someone was lurking about, ready to get him.
And while, to some extent, just being out in the public means being exposed to physical expressions of political opinion, nowhere is safe. You can be up there on stage taking a few notes one minute, and the next be covered with flour by someone who's not so respectful of presidential candidates.
Those who follow French politics say getting physical can be a sign of frustration.
MADANI CHEURFA, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: When we ask people, "What do you think about the candidates?" people say that the candidates are not honest, they only think about themselves. What (INAUDIBLE) what we call the volatility of the voter.
BITTERMANN: Volatility is the least you can say. According to opinion polls, one out every two voters have changed their minds about who they support since the beginning of the campaign.
And long gone are the days when nearly two-thirds of the French said they liked President Sarkozy. When he tried to campaign in Bayonne at one point, he was bombarded with boos and scrap paper. And he had to take cover at a local bar, where the president ended up serving coffee to the presidential party.
All part of a politician's life here these days. If you want the votes, you have to put up with the voters.
BITTERMANN: And Kristie, while some of the voters out on the streets are saying they're happy to see the end of this campaign, there may be some candidates who feel the same way -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: You know, it was incredible just then, hearing the French president being bombarded with all those boos. Jim, what is the outlook for Nicolas Sarkozy? Could he lose this election?
BITTERMANN: Well, not this election, because this is the first round in the two-round elections. So the fact is that, on Sunday, he will probably come out either first or second place. It's virtually impossible for one of the lesser candidates to come up in second place. However, it has happened in the past. We had that famous 2002 election when Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen's father, came out in second place, to the surprise of everyone.
So I think it's basically going to be Hollande and Sarkozy going into the second round. And in that case, in fact, according to public opinion polls, Sarkozy is going to lose if the opinion polls hold. But between the two rounds there's a lot of deals to be made, as well as a debate or two, and those debates could be very decisive in terms of voter decision-making -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Jim Bittermann, reporting live from Paris.
Now, CNN will be following the French presidential elections all weekend, with special coverage beginning on Sunday. Hala Gorani and Jim Bittermann are reporting from Paris, plus Becky Anderson is in London, bringing you news and analysis of the first round of voting as the polls close. It starts Sunday at 9:30 p.m. in Abu Dhabi.
Behind the killings. Anders Breivik takes the stand again in Norway and tells the court about his terror role model as he carried out the massacre that took 77 lives.
Stay with us.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now, Anders Behring Breivik is testifying again today at his massacre trial in Norway. He has already said he killed 77 people to protest multiculturalism. And today he told the court he got inspiration for his gun and bomb rampage from militant Islamist organization al Qaeda. Breivik told the court that he studied the group's terror methods for five years, picking up tips like wearing a police uniform for his gun attack.
Now, Breivik began testifying on Monday, and that is when he entered a not guilty plea and gave a right-wing salute before the court. The ultra nationalist sat and listened impassively as the court described his 77 victims' injuries, but later that day Breivik was momentarily overcome, moved to tears as the court screened his own propaganda film. And then, on Tuesday, one of the judges was removed from the case after it was revealed that he had advocated the death penalty for Breivik online the day after the July rampage last year.
Later in the week, Breivik confessed to wanting to handcuff and decapitate the former labour prime minister of Norway and said he planned to film it on an iPhone and upload it onto the Internet. Now, that was also the day Breivik testified that he played video games as a way to train for his shooting spree.
And today, Breivik told the court that he was "normally a very nice person and likeable." Now Norway is bracing for week two.
If Anders Breivik is convicted, his sentence would hinge on his mental state. If the court found him insane when he carried out the rampage, he would be placed in a psychiatric institution. But if sane, Breivik would spend many years, and perhaps the rest of his life, in prison.
Diana Magnay visits one low-security prison in Norway and finds prisoners there have many benefits.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are no walls, no wire, no handcuffs here on Bastoy prison island, just the water all around. But few try to escape.
(on camera): There are 115 inmates on the island, and competition for spaces is fierce. You have to apply, you have to show motivation. And it doesn't really matter if you're convicted for a minor crime or if you're a murderer.
(voice-over): This man, who does not want to be identified, is here for drug-related offenses. He's taking courses in computing to prepare himself for life outside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) you'll be locked up many times and then you have only one hour to go outside, you know, for something like fresh air, something like that. You go to work, you come back to (INAUDIBLE), you go out for fresh air for one hour, then you come in -- come back. Maybe you have some food, some dinner. They lock you around 8:00.
But here, nobody locks you.
MAGNAY: Tom Christensen spends his days tinkering with machines. His only fixed appointment, the roll call four times a day.
TOM CHRISTENSEN, BASTOY PRISON INMATE: You can fix your own food, you can buy it in the store here, and you almost live here as you do outside.
MAGNAY: But prison officers say some inmates do have trouble taking ownership of their lives after years in stricter jail regimes elsewhere in Norway.
JOHN FROYLAND, TEAM LEADER, BASTOY PRISON: Some people come here and they can't take it. You know, it's too much freedom, it's overwhelming. They want to go back to the high-security prison.
MAGNAY: Inmates here know they're lucky. This is as good as prison gets, probably the world over, though even Norway's high-security prisons treat their inmates with the same basic respect.
MARIANNE VALLON, HEAD OF PRISON ADMINISTRATION FOR NORWAY: We aim at gradual progression towards freedom, and we believe the only thing that prisoners are deprived of is their liberty. So everyday life in prison should be as much like as everyday life outside prison, because we believe that gives society the best security.
MAGNAY: And it seems to work. Just 20 percent of prisoners in Norway re- offend once they're out, well below those in the U.K. or U.S., where more than half of all prisoners are back behind bars within a couple of years if they're released.
(on camera): Bastoy Island is pretty unique. Although Norway has several open systems, none of them are quite like this, but it should give you a sense of how the Norwegians view their penal system, that it's based really on rehabilitation, rather than on retribution. The whole idea that the closer you are to the society that you're about to go into, the easier it is to reintegrate.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Bastoy Island, Norway.
LU STOUT: New developments in the clash between Sudan and South Sudan. There are signs that a dispute over a border oilfield may be cooling down.
And the group behind Kony 2012 is trying to keep the attention on warlord Joseph Kony by getting people to put up posters today. We'll take a fresh look at the campaign.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines.
Now police and protesters clashed today in Manama as racing teams held their first practice sessions for Bahrain's Formula 1 Grand Prix on Sunday. Demonstrators are calling for greater rights for the country's majorit Shiia Muslim population.
In Syria, report at least nine people have been killed so far today in violence. Now Russia says it (inaudible) delegates and Syrian opposition groups to Moscow next week to try to find a political solution to the ongoing conflict. The international community is urging Syria's government to fully implement Kofi Annan's peace plan.
Presidential candidates in France have just a few hours left to secure the public's support with an official campaign blackout to start at midnight local time. Now CNN polls suggest Socialist Francois Hollande will win Sunday's first round of voting ahead of current president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Now South Sudan will withdraw its troops from the disputed oil producing region it ceased from Sudan last week. A government spokesman says forces will be removed from Heglig in three days. South Sudan seceded from Sudan last July.
And tensions between the two nations have sparked fears of an all out war. Nima Elbagir has been following these developments from London. She joins us now live. And Nima, first, that announcement from South Sudan plans to withdraw troops from the disputed area. Can you tell us any more about that?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are still waiting for further details, Kristie. But our understanding is that within the next three days, South Sudan will be pulling back further south across that border. This comes, of course, after they were receiving a lot of international condemnation. Even the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon at one point stepped in and called on them to withdraw.
The issue is, of course, that although this is a welcome development, a very dangerous stalemate remains in place. We spoke to one of the Amnesty delegations that just came back from visiting that border and he said that they're seeing several hundred refugees pouring over that border, because of the ongoing tensions even away from the conflict region. This is what he had to say, Kristie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX NEVE, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think beyond statements we need to see diplomacy in action. There clearly needs to be some very concerted pressure brought to bear on the Sudanese government to end the kind of campaign it is waging in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile: indiscriminate attacks need to end now, immediately, not somewhere in the future. The indiscriminate aerial bombardment, in particular, but even the nature of the ground attacks that have been launch -- indiscriminately is putting civilians at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: The issue, of course -- the issues of course, Kristie, that brought us to this stalemate all still remain in play. There is still no agreement over the transit fees that the south will pay the north to take that oil to market. There's no agreement on that contested border. And there is no agreement over the status of the civilians of both countries.
At the moment, there are several hundred thousand Southern Sudanese in the north who as it stands in October will find themselves stateless with an increasingly beleaguered South Sudan unable to bring them back and absorb the huge cost that that's going to entail.
As you heard there, Amnesty International is now calling for the international community to try and intervene in a very real manner before this humanitarian situation gets worse, Kristie.
LU STOUT: We have a refugee crisis, extreme violence, various claims have been made, but what has been the death toll of these latest clashes at the border?
ELBAGIR: I mean, that is really part of the issue. It's very, very difficult to verify. You know we've had counter -- claim and counter claim between north and south, but no independent observers have been able to go into these areas and see for themselves what is happening. That is one of the reasons why South Sudan's incursions so far over the border was met with so much condemnation. It was one of the few tangible things that people could point to and say, well we know that happened, but other than that this whole conflict has been so opaque and difficult to verify.
And these areas are very difficult to get to. We only know about those hundreds streaming over the border, because those are the people that we can see. But there are so many people still deep inland in those contested areas whose humanitarian situation we have no idea of, Kristie.
LU STOUT: And your thoughts on the clash on the border and the situation in Darfur? Is the north-south conflict destabilizing Darfur?
ELBAGIR: Well, the worry is that many of the Darfur rebel groups have now joined up with those rebels in Blue Nile in Southern Kordorfan in the contested areas and that, you know, the U.S. State Department has called for the south to stop supporting these rebel groups. And that's one of the issues that's been exacerbating the conflicts between north and south is that both sides have been supporting internal rebellions.
And so the concern is that while all of this is fomenting and that the northern government is concerned with the issues in Heglig where most of its oil wells comes from that you have this massing of rebel groups that will destabilize other parts of the country. It really is just an incredibly worrying situation.
And while the international community is trying to deal with the situation in Syria, many observers like the Amnesty delegate you heard from are worried that this is slipping through -- slipping through everybody's fingers and that more people will suffer and die, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Nima Elbagir on the story and on the stakes. Thank you very much indeed.
Now it is a big day for the group behind Kony 2012. Now Invisible Children is calling on its supporters to promote justice for Joseph Kony by taking to the streets and putting up posters. You'll remember this video about the African warlord, it recently went viral, Kony lead the Lords Resistance Army, or LRA, and is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
Now the campaign aims to bring about his arrest. But along with the film's success came criticism and lots of it. The video has been called overly simplified. And others question the group's finances and accused it of profiting from the conflict.
One of its founders was hospitalized after a breakdown his family said was brought on by exhaustion and stress.
Now supporters praise Invisible Children for spreading awareness of the LRA. And one trend calls Kony 2012 the fastest ever video to go viral with 100 million views in just six days. Now most watched it here on the official YouTube page. And Invisible Children posted part 2 earlier this month.
Now Beyond Famous addresses some of the criticism mentioned earlier, but fewer than 2 million people have seen it. And the question is, how many will take part in this day of action?
Now Uganda's government is among the critics of the Kony 2012 campaign. Last week the prime minister's office put out its own video. It's called visible Uganda. And so far, it has just over 2,000 views.
Now we've heard all about what's happening off the track in Bahrain, but when we come back I want to give you all the latest about what's happening on it. The standings after the first two practice rounds right ahead.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now it was an Olympic moment that stopped the world. Now this picture became one of the most iconic images of the 20th Century. So what inspired these two athletes to turn the Olympic podium into a platform for protest? And what happened to them after the games?
Don Riddell has their story.
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The protest was over in minutes, but the iconic image lasted for decades. The infamous Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics spoke volumes globally about prejudice in the 20th Century and it forever changed the lives of the men on the podium.
How did it make you feel seeing the inequality. Did it make you angry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It made me feel that I needed to be somebody. I needed to stand up for rights.
RIDDELL: Sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos were among a group of African-American athletes that wanted to use the '68 Olympics in Mexico to make a statement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our platform was to try and educate people, make them realize hey, man, it's great for you to have your 15 minutes in the sun at the Olympic games, however, it is greater to do something that will last throughout the duration of time, to make an adjustment for the better for society.
RIDDELL: Frustrated at the inequality within American society and the U.S. Olympic team, America's black athletes originally considered a boycott. One of the country's greatest black track stars, Jessie Owens, was dispatched to talk them out of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to remind Jessie as well as maybe Jimmy Hines (ph) and Larry James as well, you know, that Jessie Owens ran against horses after he got back from Germany to support his family, because he couldn't earn a living. Here is a man that confronted Hitler, won four gold medals, and then still was depicted as an old black guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was decided then that there will not be a boycott and each athlete would represent himself according to how they felt the country represented him. And that's what happened.
So that gave us the flexibility to do what we thought necessary.
RIDDELL: But winning gold and bronze respectively in the 200 meters, Smith and Carlos got their chance to make a stand. The response was immediate. And the repercussions were permanent. Both men were kicked out of the Olympics and off the American team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you like a fire storm? We had the American delegation where a lot of those individuals that was there didn't particularly understand and went into a rage about they was experiencing in that particular time. And we knew that we was in Hell's kitchen so to speak.
RIDDELL: They were widely criticized and shunned by their peers. Death threats were made. Employment opportunities were scarce. And the pressure even drove Jon Carlos' wife to commit suicide.
And even though society has improved 43 years later, both men feel there is still a long way to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want the society to think outside the United States that we are fair, honest, and just society and anybody that does misdeeds, they will be dealt with in the most severest way. This is not true.
LU STOUT: Now here on NEWS STREAM, we've been looking at, of course, the weather in our own back yard. Hong Kong is seeing some intense thunderstorms this week, but as you can see there is now a break in the clouds. Now will it last? We'll check your forecast straight ahead.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the day started out all right, but quickly degenerated into thunderstorms here in Hong Kong. So what's the forecast as we move into the weekend? Mari Ramos joins us now from the World Weather Center. Tell me, Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Kristie. Get the rain coat. Get the umbrella. You know, pack a lunch, because it's going to be awhile.
You know what, it's still very unstable across much of that area there in Hong Kong. And it hasn't looked too bad right now, but again we're looking at the possibility of some pretty strong thunderstorms popping up. It's been about three days of some heavy rain. We went ahead and put up the last two days, the last 48 hours. And look at that, some areas over 200 millimeters of rain. Hong Kong, nothing to sneeze at with 100 millimeters of rain in two days.
It has lead to some localized flooding in some areas. And authorities are saying, you know what, be careful because some of those higher river levels are starting to go up. And some roadways are getting flooded so you need to be extra careful now that you've had so much rain over this region, you know, the ground is saturated so it does happen -- it can happen very, very quickly.
Watch out for flash flooding, too, as you head into some of the outer lying areas not just in Hong Kong, but all up and down the coast here, because you are seeing considerable amount of rain, you're heading into mountainous areas, of course, and that's always a challenge.
Notice all of the moisture -- the stronger thunderstorms are popping up right here in the South China Sea. That area of low pressure will continue riding along to the north. And then the heavy rain is going to start to move in away from the coastline as we head into late Saturday and into Sunday and then back toward the Korean Peninsula and even into portions of -- eastern parts of Japan here. So that's definitely -- western Japan I should say, excuse me -- something to watch out for and look for the travel delays.
You can see it right over here already. The rain showers popping all up and down the coastline here. (inaudible) a little bit with the air quality in Beijing today compared to yesterday. And then notice again those strong thunderstorms just offshore here.
Watch out for travel delays as well. It's going to be one of those evenings and then one of those days on Saturday again.
Give you a little bit of cloud cover across parts of India. Some thunderstorms popping up here across the south. This really helps with the heat. It has been pretty warm across these areas. See the difference? New Delhi at 33 instead of 38 like you had a couple of days ago. Still hot in Hyderabad as you can see right there. Mumbai looking at 35 and 32 in Chennai.
When you look at the temperatures -- so you're seeing a little bit of an improvement. And in spite of the cloud cover you've had over the last couple of days today, your temperatures shot back up in Kuwait City for example. And still blowing sand and dust being reported across southern portion -- eastern portions of the Persian Gulf here. Look from Qatar to the UAE back over into even Oman.
Blowing sand and dust continues to be a problem as these storm systems just plow on through here.
Notice, also parts of Iran reporting dust. And some of that will eventually be heading into Pakistan.
Your weather forecast up next.
Kristie, well you know we've been talking of course about the Space Shuttle Discovery quite a bit. And yesterday it was finally starting to get moved into its new home at the Smithsonian. I have some pictures to show you of -- I love this picture. Look how cute that is, nose to nose space shuttles. Shuttle love happening here. Enterprise on the left, Discovery on the right. You can see how rugged Discovery looks after being the most space traveled space shuttle in history. There you see it.
As Enterprise was moving out and Discovery was moving in.
And in honor of Discovery, NASA decided to share some ring tones for free with everyone. And I tweeted this yesterday. And you guys absolutely loved it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...the ladder. The (inaudible) are only pressed into service about one or two inches...
RAMOS: That's one of the ring tones that you can get. That one is from Apollo 11. The Eagle has landed and one giant step -- one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
The next one is from Apollo 13. Listen to this one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Houston we have a problem here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Houston, say again please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston we've had a problem.
RAMOS: You know, my dad -- my dad is going to love that one. He already put it in his phone. I think the one I'm going to put on my ringtone for my phone is going to be Discovery takeoff STS 131, which I went to and maybe STS 135 which was at (inaudible) which I was also there for the final shuttle mission.
Back to you, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Mari, you are such a nerd. And now...
RAMOS: I am.
LU STOUT: And now I know where you get it -- your dad. Your dad, because he has these ring tones too.
RAMOS: And my daughter.
LU STOUT: I think it's great. I'll check it out. That's right, spreading it.
Mari Ramos there, thank you.
Now let's go back to our top story as the Bahrain Grand Prix is underway this weekend despite protests in the country. Alex Thomas joins me now with more on how the Friday practice sessions went -- Alex.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Mari, we were telling you -- I just called you, Mari, there Kristie. You can be Mari for two minutes if you want to.
We were speaking at the top of the hour about Force India threatening to pull out of the second practice session. And that's exactly what they've done ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, they've done it just to calm the safety fears that some of their staff had after two of their members were caught up in an incident earlier this week when a petrol bomb exploded near a car. They were caught between police and protesters.
And the reason that Force India pulled out of the second prix practice session is to ensure that they can tidy up and get back to the hotel in daylight hours.
Now one of the Force India driver, Nico Hulkenberg said yesterday it should not really be happening, should it? It's not good that we have to worry about it.
Their cars are working OK, though, because he and Paul di Resta took part in the first practice session. Di Resta was third. The timings were topped by McClaren's Lewis Hamilton, the current championship leader ahead of Sebastian Vettel who was last season's driver's champion. And Nico Rosberg who won in China last week was fourth in those initial timings.
We'll get you the second practice session times without the Force India cars involved later in World Sport.
Let's move on to some other sports news for you, though. In less than 24 hours after the death of his grandfather, Novak Djokovic continues his Monte Carlo Masters campaign later. It remains to be seen what kind of physical shape the world number one will be in as he takes on Robin Haase in the quarterfinals. Organizers described him as mentally, physically, and emotionally spent after his third round victory.
Djokovic learning that his granddad Vladimir passed away whilst warming up for this match. Apparently his tears, what eyewitnesses said.
He was facing Alexander Dolgopolov and was visibly shaken early in the match, going down 6-2 in the first set. He showed his fighting spirit to come back and win in three sets. And you can hear what the crowd thought of his amazing superhuman effort, not for the first time as far as Novak Djokovic is concerned.
No interviews for him afterwards.
In the NBA, Miami tightened up the race for the Eastern Conference, denying the Bulls the chance to secure a top spot -- excuse the pun -- things are pretty heated. Richard Hamilton and Dwayne Wade both receiving double technicals. And some more theatrics with LeBron and the Bulls John Lucas getting involved as well.
There was basketball in amongst the fights. The Heat playing without Chris Bosh for the second straight game. LeBron leading the scorers. A nice reverse layup here in the third quarter, part of his 27 points and 11 rebounds.
Wade got in on the act as well, having 18 points and 5 assists.
The Bulls could have clinched the top seed with a victory, but the Heat just too strong on this occasion. The final score was 83-72.
Meanwhile, there's big news out of Orlando, the Magic's center and six-time all star Dwight Howard is out for the season. He's due to undergo back surgery later. And he won't take part in the NBA campaign, or the London Olympics we believe.
That's all the sport for now, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.
LU STOUT: Alex, thank you.
Now some are calling it the worst viral music video of the week. A couple of teenage girls singing about their troubles has gotten a lot of attention. And as Jeanne Moos explains, that may not be a good thing.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's got a lot to live up to. Does it deserve the title worst song ever?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell did I just watch?
MOOS: You just watched "Hot Problems" about how hard it is to be hot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two tone deaf...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suddenly decided to open their mouths and produce this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't even know why it exists.
MOOS: So that everyone on the web can talk about it.
Meet the high school seniors with the hot problems.
You do consider yourselves hot girls or you don't?
LAUREN, DOUBLE TAKE: I wouldn't say we're that hot girls, but you know something about it.
MOOS: Lauren and Drew are California girls who wrote the lyrics in two hours and recorded the song at a friend's studio just for fun, they say.
Did you guys ever mean to be singers?
DREW: No, not at all. We really didn't consider ourselves musically talented.
MOOS: Neither does most of the internet. One critic posted bleeding ears with three words. Make it stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their voice -- like you're not even singing.
MOOS: Can't anyone say anything nice.
Yes. We found someone who asks "is it bad I found this hilarious? Methinks this is a joke."
DREW: I guess you can say it's a joke.
MOOS: They didn't seem sure.
People are comparing it to Rebecca Black, much ridiculed hit.
It may not be flattery, but others are imitating Hot Problems.
How did you feel about seeing some of the reviews that said things like, "this is the death of music."
LAUREN: All the negative criticism that we're getting we're just really kind of brushing it off our shoulders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd rather go to a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) barber shop and let Stevie Wonder give me a free hair cut before listening to that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
MOOS: Now he's hot.
Jeanne Moos -- I can't get it out of my head -- CNN -- except we're hot -- New York.
LU STOUT: Now we're coming to the end of the show here, but we are keeping our eyes on a large protest underway in Egypt's capital. Let's bring up some live pictures of Cairo's Tahrir Square -- rather these are recent taped pictures -- and what you're seeing on the screen, it is a rally against the ruling military council, but there are competing messages within that crowd.
Now some of the anger has to do with the election commissions decision to ban 10 presidential candidates. Now that is nearly half of the candidates running in May's election.
Now we'll bring you much more in the hours ahead right here on CNN, but that is NEWS STREAM. "WOLRD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.