Return to Transcripts main page


Syrian City of Taftanaz Devastated After Attack; British Press Ethics Inquiry; Escalating Conflict Between Sudan and South Sudan; Bo Xilai: Anatomy of a Scandal

Aired April 24, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET



I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

James Murdoch takes the stand again as a British inquiry tries again to find out exactly how much he knew about phone hacking at News International.

Tensions between Sudan and South Sudan reach the edge of war.

And they're often hailed as one of the best teams of all time, but Barcelona faces an uphill battle against Chelsea in the Champions League.

James Murdoch in court and under oath. Right now the Murdoch empire's heir apparent is being grilled at the Leveson inquiry into British press standards.

Now, Murdoch has again denied that when he took charge of the company that owned the "News of the World" he knew phone hacking was widespread. And we'll have more on his evidence in a moment, but first let's recap how Rupert Murdoch's youngest son ended up on the witness stand.

You'll recall that the Leveson inquiry was set up after a series of allegations about phone hacking at the "News of the World" newspaper. The British tabloid was forced to close last year amid allegations its journalists had hacked the phones of celebrities and of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Now, widespread outrage followed. Inquiries were set up to look into British media ethics and claims of corruption of public officials. Both James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch testified at the British parliamentary inquiry last July and, there, they denied any knowledge of phone hacking and apologized sincerely to the victims. Rupert Murdoch declared it "The most humble day of my life."

It cost James Murdoch his jobs at both News International and BSkyB. However, he remains deputy COO at News Corp.

And then another embarrassing admission, this time of e-mail hacking at Sky News. Now, the head of Sky News, John Ryley, told the Leveson inquiry that Sky News had hacked into private e-mails twice. He argued there was a public interest in doing so.

Now, James Murdoch is expected to spend most of Tuesday giving evidence in front of the inquiry, and then there'll be his father, Rupert Murdoch's turn in the hot seat.

Dan Rivers has been following developments and he joins us now live.

And Dan, from the inquiry so far, what picture are we getting of James Murdoch, his level of management, his level of governance, his attention to e-mails?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, he's very much stressing that News International is just one of six companies in Europe that he was responsible for, that he was not aware crucially of this so-called smoking gun e-mail, a four-level e-mail that contained transcripts of 35 intercepted phone calls that showed that phone hacking wasn't just the work of one rogue reporter, reporter Clive Goodman, who was imprisoned, along with a private investigator, it was much more widespread than that. He was questioned again about this. This is something he's been grilled on twice before politicians.

Again went over similar ground today, setting up his position that, basically, in the course of this litigation by Gordon Taylor from the Professional Football Association, it was drawn to attention of lawyers in their company that there was this e-mail. But he maintained that he didn't really know what was in it, just that there was evidence in there that meant they would have to pay out some million pounds in cost and damages, way more than would normally be the case, but he didn't know why.

Here's what he said.


JAMES MURDOCH, NEWS CORP. EXECUTIVE: And I was told sufficient information to authorize them to go and negotiate at a higher level, and I was not told sufficient information to go and turn over a whole bunch of stones that I was told had already been turned over. I was given repeated assurances, as I've said, that these practices -- that the newsroom had been investigated, that there was no evidence. I was given the same assurances as they gave outside.

I've been very consistent about it. And I don't think that, short of knowing that they weren't giving me the full picture, I would have been able to know that at the time.


RIVERS: So he's very much sticking to his script that he wasn't told by his editor or by his head of legal what was in this e-mail. They, both Tom Crone and Colin Myler, have contradicted that, saying he was fully aware of what was in that, suggesting that James Murdoch was involved in a cover-up about the widespread nature of phone hacking at News International.

LU STOUT: Right, he is sticking to his script, but do you think the inquiry and the public at large are buying it? Do you think that James Murdoch, with his testimony so far, is succeeding in separating himself from the hacking scandal?

RIVERS: Well, there's some pretty damning evidence about. I mean, there are chains of e-mails to which he has replied, pointing out this evidence.

His whole defense in some ways has been, basically, he didn't read the e- mail chain properly, he just got back off a long-haul flight from Hong Kong, he was with his kids. And then in meeting, it's basically he said- she said. You know, he's saying he wasn't apprised of the details of this, repeatedly saying he only joined in 2007, this all happened long before he joined, and trying to sort of say, you know, one side joined, yet then things changed and I was led to believe that the whole thing had been cleared up.

But he was asked pointedly, well, did you get to the bottom of the failure of the system as to how this was allowed to happen? And on that point he was less clear.

In the last hour or so he's been grilled closely on his relationship and, indeed, News Corp. and News International's relationship with different politicians in the U.K., and the political influence or otherwise is supposedly exerted. In particular, made reference to a meeting that he had with David Cameron before Cameron was prime minister in September, 2009, in a pub called The George (ph), where they discussed whether or not "The Sun" newspaper would back the conservatives in the forthcoming election, a decision clearly that many feel in the past has swayed elections one way or another.

And so another interesting insight into the close relationship that he and others at News International had with politicians. Also reference to a pre-Christmas dinner with Rebekah Brooks, the prime minister, at which he was present as well, in 2010, which he acknowledges they discussed the controversial bid to buy the remaining shares in BSkyB.

LU STOUT: That's right. It's been a far-reaching inquiry today looking into political relationships as well.

Dan Rivers, on the story for us.

Thank you, Dan.

And now to the escalating conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.

Cross-border bombing raids, ground fighting, and a rise in rhetoric are all ominous developments. South Sudan's president now reportedly says Khartoum has "declared war" on his country. AFP reports the remark was made in a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Now, President Salva Kiir is in Beijing to lobby for investment in South Sudan's oil industry. Despite international condemnation of the recent bombing, Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, has rejected negotiations with the South. On Sudanese government radio, he promised to communicate with the South "through guns and bullets."

Now, control of the border oil fields is a major factor in this conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. AFP reports Sudanese warplanes bombed South Sudan territory overnight.

For the latest, I'm joined now by David McKenzie. He joins us from the CNN bureau in Nairobi.

And David, what is the level of conflict between Sudan and South Sudan?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the level of conflict isn't at a full-scale warlike situation at this point. You know, it's worth remembering that when Sudan was one country, they fought a civil war for many decades on and off and more than a million were killed. So this area really knows war. Unfortunately, it has had to deal with war, and often it's the civilians who pay the price.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): The immediate aftermath of an air strike. The target may have been a key bridge near Bentiu, a town near South Sudan's border, but the result, more civilian bloodshed.

A 10-year-old boy charred beyond recognition, the latest victim of a bitter dispute, a dispute many thought would end after South Sudan's military, the SPLA, withdrew from an oil field claimed by Khartoum.

MAC PAUL SOUTH, DIRECTOR, SUDAN'S MILITARY INTELLIGENCE: (INAUDIBLE) the government and the council of ministers, for the SPLA to withdraw from the bridge. And we withdrew, but there has been continuous provocations from the Sudanese army and its militia, all its popular (ph) defense and southern militias to our borders.

MCKENZIE: The SPLA took the Heglieg oil fields earlier this month. They say this edited video shows at least part of the operation.

The occupation drew swift international condemnation, with the U.N. Security Council threatening sanctions. Under intense pressure, the South announced a withdrawal, and Khartoum was quick to declare victory.

DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN, SUDANESE AMB. TO THE U.N.: And a great honor for me, and with great jubilation, I would like to convey to you that our heroic armed forces, Sudanese armed forces, have chased out the aggressors today.

MCKENZIE: When South Sudan split from the north last year, issues of border demarcation, citizenship rights and oil sharing were left unresolved. Most of Sudan's oil is in the south, but it's shipped and controlled through the north. Oil cooperation has broken down completely.

Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, has used the Heglieg dispute to rally domestic support in a country still smarting from its divorce from the south. Visiting the gutted facility on Monday to a hero's welcome, there was little talk of peace.

OMAR AL-BASHIR, SUDANESE PRESIDENT (through translator): There will be no negotiations with those people. Our talk with them will be through guns and ammunition, because this is the only language they understand. They understand nothing except that.

MCKENZIE: Sudan denies that it is bombing the south. New satellite images from the Sentinel Project, an independent monitoring group, shows Sudanese fighter jets, bombers and attack helicopters allegedly positioned within easy range of South Sudan and its oil fields.


MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, the deep irony of this tension is that while Sudan's people have, particularly in the south, dealt with years of conflict, and we were all optimistic that maybe they're getting out of it, that the two countries really need each other in terms of oil production. So any conflict between them makes their economic success even less likely -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: So much tension, a fear of war. There have been many calls for both sides to resume peace talks, but given their difficult history and the rising rhetoric, how likely is peace at this point?

MCKENZIE: Well, the likelihood of an all-encompassing peace is very unlikely at this point. This is not the first tensions and conflict that has happened between the two sides. And, in fact, internally, within South Sudan and Sudan, there have been months of aerial bombardments, according to Human Rights Watch and others, in the southern parts of Sudan, as well as internal fighting in South Sudan.

Now, interestingly, one of the major players in this is China. China is the biggest consumer of Sudanese oil exports. And Salva Kiir, as you said, who's in Beijing today, and unusually the Chinese parliament had pretty direct statements to make about an external conflict.


LIU WEIMEN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): We believe that oil is the economic lifeline for both countries. To maintain the stability and sustainability of the oil cooperation is consistent with the fundamental interests of both countries. It is also consistent with the interests of Chinese enterprises and their partners.


MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, China is obviously deeply vested in both Sudan and South Sudan's oil fields, but for man years they helped and backed Khartoum in its civil war. So they're playing a very tricky diplomatic game now.

LU STOUT: Indeed.

David McKenzie, reporting.

Thank you.

Now, Chinese politics, financial dealings, and a possible love affair. One insider speaks up about fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

A city devastated. A visit to the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in Syria.

And we'll see how some artists in Cuba are getting a helping hand from friends and strangers in faraway places.

All coming up on NEWS STREAM.


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

Now, Wukan was, until recently, a fairly unremarkable southern Chinese village. But late last year it became a byword for people power in the world's most populous country. And this Tuesday, that power has been underpinned by the expulsion of two former Wukan officials from the ruling Communist Party.

Now, village residents first rose up against those authorities last September, accusing them of illegal land grabs that left them out of pocket. And provincial officials in Guangdong were forced to intervene after the story went global, promising justice and allowing the people of Wukan to elect new representatives.

And now the state-run Xinhua news agency reports that two of the former officials face charges of corruption and election-rigging. They've also been told to return tens of thousands of dollars in illegal games.

Now, the Wukan affair may seem like a distant memory to Communist Party leaders in Beijing as they fight to contain a much bigger problem. The fallout from the dismissal of Chongqing provincial chief Bo Xilai rumbles on, still providing more questions than answers. But Stan Grant tracked down one of the few insiders willing to speak out on the scandal.


STAN GRANT, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chongqing, a choking city of more than 30 million people in southwest China. The hazy smog hides secrets here -- a murder investigation, allegations of spying, cozy alliances that have led to the public disgracing of the party powerbroker who, until last month, ruled this city with an iron fist.

"I know I'm taking a little risk by agreeing to this interview," he says. "Several foreign media say they can't find one single person to speak to in the vast city of Chongqing. No one will go public. This is sad."

Wang Kang knows this city. A scholar and insider who moves in Communist Party circles, he has followed the key players and, unlike others, says he will not be silenced. He says it all leads back to this man, Bo Xilai, the former party chief of Chongqing.

Bo is the son of a Chinese communist revolutionary hero. Here, he tried to make his mark. He drove out criminal gangs, locking up or executing the ringleaders. All of this to a soundtrack of old-style revolutionary songs and slogans. Smashed black, seen (ph) red, he called them.

"Extortion of confessions through torture was commonplace," Wang says. "There were too many unjust and mistaken cases."

China's fabled Mao Zedong became Bo's role model. Wang says Bo tried to recreate the Mao era and frightened communist reformers and made new enemies.

"He's been playing the role of Mao's successor," he says. "I think it's been a huge misjudgment. Going back to Mao's path is definitely not an option. That's been a dead end. Mao led a road to ruin."

It's also led to Bo's ruin. His inner circle turned on itself.

In February, his top cop fled and sought asylum in a United States consulate. Diplomatic, political and business sources now paint a picture of a man fearing for his life after linking Bo's own wife to the murder of a British businessman.

Neil Heywood was a fixer. He linked British firms with Chinese companies. He did work for a company run by former British spies. Married to a Chinese woman, he befriend Bo Xilai and his wife, Gu Kailai.

Somewhere it all allegedly went sour. Rumors abound, hard to substantiate, but explosive. Now Chinese police suspect Bo's wife had Heywood killed.

"In the official report, it says that Gu was involved in the murder of Heywood. As for her motive," Wang says, "it somehow became impossible for Gu to end this relationship with Heywood. My guess is both factors exist. They were involved both financially and romantically."

And this is the hotel on the outskirts of Chongqing where Heywood was found dead. CNN gained access and found a place well past its glory.

(on camera): This really is such an unlikely place to be at the center of this scandal that has so gripped China. This is a very, very nondescript hotel, certainly not the sort of place that you'd associate with the rich, powerful and famous.

(voice-over): From a rundown hotel, to the corridors of the Great Hall of the People, the downfall of Bo Xilai is not just about a man in disgrace. Wang Kang says China glimpsed its very future, a return to the Mao era, hard-communist rule or more freedom and reform. Wang says a leader has fallen, but a country may have saved itself from a return to a disastrous past.

Stan Grant, CNN, Chongqing.


LU STOUT: Coming up here on NEWS STREAM, a creative solution for a creative industry. Crowd funding support for artists in Cuba after the break.


LU STOUT: Now, all the creative talent in the world doesn't guarantee an audience, but there is one crucial catalyst -- money. And the challenge is especially tough when you live in the developing world. But as Patrick Oppmann explains, artists in Cuba are getting a helping hand thanks to the Internet and the kindness of strangers.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Music fills the air in Havana, sounds that this group of local documentary makers are trying to preserve.


ALEJANDRO MONZON, CUBAN FILMMAKER (through translator): I am simply a huge fan of music, and I was born in a country where music is hugely important. Wherever you go in Cuba there's music.

OPPMANN: They hope to document musical traditions throughout Cuba, but right now can't afford to. Finding funding on this cash-strapped and isolated island can be near impossible for many artists, until now. It's called Yagruma, the first Web site to use crowd funding to support the arts in Cuba.

(on camera): So the Yagruma Web site is actually incredibly easy to use. You just come here to and you look for a project that you think is worth funding. And a click or two later, and you are funding a project in Cuba.

(voice-over): The site was built by tech-savvy Cubans living in Spain who wanted to contribute to their homeland.

UBALDO HUERTA: Get Cubans from abroad to participate in Cuban, you know, life, in a way. It costs us nothing to shell out $20, $30, and it goes a long way in Cuba.

OPPMANN: Once they are fully funded, projects receive money wired from abroad.

Harold Rensoli received $1,500 for the stop motion films he creates on basic computer equipment. Harold says he is amazed that total strangers want to support his project.

HAROLD RENSOLI GARCIA, PROJECT FUNDED BY WEB SITE (through translator): My project wasn't about (INAUDIBLE) or much less politics. It came from a personal place, but it connected with people, and that truly amazes me.

OPPMANN: So far, Yagruma has financed five projects, with another 10 seeking funding. The finished works will then be uploaded to the site so that artists here can connect with audiences far from Cuba's shores.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


LU STOUT: Now, up next, when the Syrian army rolled through Taftanaz, it left a bloodbath in its wake. That was two weeks ago. And coming up, we return to the devastated city to find it's still reeling from the attack.

And what a British journalist saw on the back streets of Bahrain during the Formula 1 right before being arrested and deported.

Stay with us.


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

Now former News International chairman James Murdoch testifies before an inquiry into British media ethics. He told the Leveson Inquiry he stands by his insistence that he knew little of the scale of phone hacking at his family's media empire when he took charge of its UK newspaper group.

Now Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte goes before parliament to formerly explain why his government fell. It collapsed on Monday with over disagreement with one of his coalition partners over budget cuts. An election is expected within months.

Palestinian officials have been quick to criticize Israel's decision to legalize three West Bank settlements. They were built in the 1990s and are considered illegal under international law. Palestinians say Israel's move undermines efforts toward a peace deal.

Now fighting in Syria continues despite increased efforts to impose a UN brokered peace plan. Now activists report fresh attacks by government forces in several cities, including Hama and Homs, killing at least 11 people. In the capital Damascus, an intelligence officer was killed. The violence comes as the UN sends more observers to try to implement a ceasefire. Now the U.S. and European Union have stepped up pressure to end the violence by authorizing new sanctions against the Syrian government.

Now earlier this month government forces attacked the city of Taftanaz. Now residents in the city say the violence against the once opposition stronghold killed dozens and left it devestated. ITV's John Irvine returned to the city.


JOHN IRVINE, ITV CORRESPONDENT: Two weeks after the massacre, the flowers on the mass graves may be wilting, but the painful memories are still fresh. Ali is here every day. His brother, Bashar, one of those shot. 12-year-old Mawa (ph) comes, too. She remembers her cousin very fondly.

In the village of Taftanaz, the Syrian army slaughtered at least 60 people in the course of a day. Men, women, and children, some shot, others crushed in buildings, several burned beyond recognition.

MOHAMMED KHALED, WITNESS (through translator): When the tanks came in to town at around 6:00 in the morning, the shelling started. Innocent people were dragged out of their homes and killed. I'm talking about children as young as five-years-old. Anyone they saw was killed instantly.

IRVINE: When we were here a month ago, Taftanaz was relatively busy. Since then, the army rampage has left dreadful scars. They destroyed property, possessions and lives. Cars were either shot up or torched and crushed by tanks. Prominent people in the village saw their homes leveled.

The Assad regime has been telling its people and the rest of the world that it's been combating terrorism, but this looks a lot more like collective punishment, the systematic destruction of homes and businesses. The attempt at crushing of dissent, shown by people unable to defend themselves.

Nothing was sacred, not even the mosque. The shelling here underscores the sectarian nature of this conflict. Army officers from the ruling Shia sect have ordered the destruction of this Sunni village.

And despite the death and damage, dissent in Taftanaz lives on. There are fewer protesters than before, many have fled. Those who remain show their defiance regardless of the bombs and bullets.

Now far from Taftanaz, we were taken to see a Syrian army checkpoint. The rebel had a hand gun. His enemies have a T-72 battle tank that you can just make out here. The inequality in weaponry means that while the uprising continues, it's not getting anywhere. And if the tanks roll into Taftanaz again, the people here won't have a chance, not a prayer.

John Irvine, ITV news, Northern Syria.


LU STOUT: And now, over to Bahrain where the Formula 1 Grand Prix took place on Sunday despite days of anti-government protests. Now the government have put a ban on journalist visas during the weekend of the race, but a crew from Britain's Channel 4 remained. Reporter Jonathan Miller, his crew, and a local driver, they were all taken into custody. Now they have since been released and deported without their cameras and computers.

Now this is what Miller had to say about the situation in Bahrain.


JONATHAN MILLER, BRITAIN CHANNEL 4: They have one leadership have interesting things to consider, you know. It really called their judgment into question as to whether it was appropriate to run that race, particularly this year in Bahrain when it was clear that things weren't over, that they weren't settled. And for all Bernie Ecclestone, the ring master of the Formula 1's determination that it was quiet and peaceful in Bahrain, it is not.

And, you know, I think F1's reputation in the eyes of the broader world will probably have been damaged. The message that the protesters very clearly gave to the cameras, my own cameras included -- these amazing posters that were being held up by, you know, women, children as they marched down the streets under -- and clouds of tear gas -- said to not race over our blood. And essentially that is what F1 did.


LU STOUT: Now Jonathan Miller also tweeted about his time in Bahrain, saying, quote, I met some lovely people, but not many were cops.

Now the Formula 1 race is over. So the sports world is now turning its attention to the Champion's League semifinal between defending champion's Barcelona and Chelsea tonight. And Alex Thomas is in London to preview a potential blockbuster match -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie. A precious place in UEFA Champion's League final up for grabs in just a few hours time. The big question is whether Chelsea or defending champion's Barcelona will be the ones to book a trip to Munich for the May 19 final.

Chelsea with a 1-0 lead that they take to the Camp Nou. But their coach Roberto Di Matteo has admitted his side will need a bit of luck. The London club have already flown into Catalonia. They got there on Monday. And they have a bit of luck, because striker Didier Drogba who scored the decisive goal in the first leg and missed Chelsea's Premier League match with Arsenal over the weekend has recovered from that knee injury in time for his side's biggest match of the season so far.

As for Barcelona, well Lionel Messi has been given the all clear after suffering from an gastric problem. The European champions haven't had the best preparation, suffering defeat to La Liga rivals Real Madrid on Saturday. But manager Pep Guardiola insists that won't affect his side.


PEP GUARDIOLA, BARCELONA MANAGER: There's no (inaudible) in the legs, maybe in the mind, but we're going to try to not -- don't have tired in our heads. So in this situation, the semifinals in the Champion's League, no matter if we play three days ago or we play yesterday. Tomorrow we'll be ready to compete, to try to move on to the final, to move on to Munich.

PETR CHECH, CHELSEA GOALKEEPER: We are in the (inaudible). And we have 90 minutes game to reach the final. So I think it's great to be in a position like that, but I think that as I said, everything can go quickly in football. And up to now we know we have a good advantage and we feel confident tomorrow. You know, the game can be completely different, but you know we are confident that we are good enough position to go through.


THOMAS: Well, it's things like Chelsea surprised everybody by winning that first leg in London last week, 1-0. A very different story at the Camp Nou, though. Just take a look at the 63 goals that Lionel Messi has scored this season. Their 24 attempts back at Stamford Bridge to just five for Chelsea. 754 passes, dominating possession by 79 percent. But interestingly, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has been such a success in recent years for that side. Of all the 52 teams his side have faced, Chelsea are the one team that Barcelona haven't beaten. So Blues fans can certainly hold on to that.

Now let's go from arguably the best sports team in the world to one of the worst. And the Charlotte Bobcats are just two defeats away from a very unwelcome record in the NBA. A lot of pressure, then, on Charlotte head coach Paul Silas and his team were trailing the Washington Wizards by 19 points at this point in the second quarter.

Nene with the slam, part of his 18 points as the Wizards extend their lead.

Now to pick up John Wall with a huge half court alley-oop to Jan Vesely for another slam as Washington leap further ahead just before half- time.

And those two players link up time and again. Wall to Vesely again in the third quarter for another slam. The same pair turn this game into slam city for the Wizards who race to a 101-73 win. Charlotte's 21st straight loss.

If the Bobcats lose their final two games they'll have the worst winning percentage in NBA history. And all that with a chairman who is none other than Michael Jordan, Kristie, arguably the best player in NBA history. And the Wizards were the second worst team in the NBA. To lose to them by that much shows just what sort of trouble Charlotte are in. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, it's brutal to be a Bobcat right now. Alex, thank you very much indeed. Take care.

Now the latest in our series on Leading Women, that's next on NEWS STREAM. Meet one of the most powerful female executives in the tech sector, and a three Michelin starred chef. These high achievers up next.


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

Now Google executive Marisa Mayer and Michelin star chef Anne-Sophie Pic have both achieved tremendous success in industries traditionally dominated by men. And they have some advice for women wanting to break through the glass ceiling.

Now here's Felicia Taylor and Becky Anderson with this week's Leading Women.


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORREPSONDENT: After graduating from California's Stanford University in 1999, Google exec Marissa Mayer says she had 14 job offers.

MARISSA MAYER, GOOGLE VICE PRESIDENT: I think the quote (ph) might be interesting for that reason. Here's a frame. Here's how you move it. Does that makes sense?

TAYLOR: She chose the start-up search engine for very clear reasons.

MAYER: I felt like the smartest people were there. I felt like it was a risk and I felt like it was something I wasn't really prepared to do.

TAYLOR: She remembers an intense and grueling environment, but didn't mind it.

MAYER: At my first five years at Google I pulled an all-nighter in the office at least once a week. And I think that that intensity was something that was really important and key overall to the success and growth of search. And I also think it was important to the growth of the web.

TAYLOR: Mayer would like to see more women in the IT industry.

MAYER: There is such a stereotype of the hacker -- the pasty-skinned guy with the thick bottle glasses, the pocket protector, the blue glow coming off of the monitor, right. And people think that if they're going to be good at this, that's what they need to do. And I think, you know, one of the things that I feel is really important is for women to be able to see a multiplicity and different role models and say, oh, you know what, you can be good at technology and like fashion and art. You can be good at technology and be a jock. You can be good at technology and be a mom, right. Like, being able to see, you know what you can do it your way you can do it on your terms.

Like if you get those little like -- plans for the (inaudible)

TAYLOR: In more than 10 years at Google, the company says Mayer has launched some 100 features and products. And as one of the most powerful women in high tech, the multimillionaire is a familiar face on the tech circuit, like at this appearance in Paris during The Web, Europe's biggest tech conference.

Mayer has achieved great success on her terms by stretching herself.

MAYER: I've got four pieces of advice. One is, work with the smartest people you can find, they really will elevate you. Two is do things your not ready to do, because in the worst case you'll fail and you'll learn that that was beyond your abilities, but in the best case you'll surprise yourself and actually be able to do it. Then there's the inverse of that which is work in an environment where you're extremely comfortable. And my final piece of advice is work for people who believe in you and invest in you.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Becky Anderson. World renowned French chef Anne-Sophie Pic is the only living female with the coveted three star Michelin honor.

Born into a family of famous chefs, her professional journey was still an uphill one, and a surprise even to herself.

You consider yourself self-taught.

ANNE-SOPHIE PIC, CHEF: Yes, completely. But it was difficult for the beginning for me because it's like you are to climb a mountain, you know, you don't know where to go, where to begin with.

ANDERSON: At the start of her career, Pic felt being a woman would be an inconvenience, as she put it, in a physically grueling, male dominated work space. Now, though, she's an advocate for helping other women on their path.

PIC: I'm very affirmative to the woman in the kitchen, because physically it can be tired before men. And to me I think they are strong.

ANDERSON: Pic credits one of the toughest life moments for giving her the drive to succeed. She took control of her father's kitchen without formal training, motivated to gain back one of the Michelin stars his restaurant lost after his death.

PIC: It's like a respect of my father's memory. It was important for me to (inaudible) because it says to me I lost a star in 1995. And that I have to gain it again for him.

ANDERSON: The secret to success, Pic says, is reshaping a weakness into a strength.

PIC: People who used to work with me, some of my sous chef by the back (ph) always told me it was interesting to work with me because I was (inaudible) I was not like this. I was open, because I was not taught by someone telling me you don't have to do that. So it was wide, very for me.

ANDERSON: At 42, Pic now sits at the top of the culinary world. As she looks to the future, she hopes she's remembered one day for her unique style.

PIC: Professionally, formerly recognized my (inaudible) and to my style of cuisine of course, for it's (inaudible) I think it's the same. To marry flavors. I would like people to think about me in good terms.


LU STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM. And next, a check of the world weather forecast. And it looks like the sky is on fire in these auroras. Mari Ramos has all the details coming up next.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, storms, heavy rain, and bring hurricane force winds to parts of western Europe. Let's get details now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this storm system has kind of lingered here for quite awhile, Kristie. It is still continuing to bring some very strong winds, but I think the strongest, at least for now have these -- these are some of the numbers we have from the last 24 hours. In Toulouse, they had almost 130 kilometer per hour winds. Think about it, 120 is the threshold. Above 120 is considered hurricane force. So this very strong weather system, not only did it bring wind, but also very heavy rain and you can see that here across southern parts of the UK.

Well, by the way, there are still some advisories there because of some heavy rain.

Like I was saying, the winds are starting to ease up just a little bit throughout the day today, but don't let your guard down just yet, definitely not a good beach day again. We're going to see very high wind and very high waves all along this area from the channel here all the way down to the Bay of Biscay. In some cases we could see waves three to four meters crashing on shore. And then some winds as high as 100 kilometers per hour.

This is what the satellite image looks like. We have one weather system here. There's that in between, quote, unquote break I was telling you about. Definitely some cooler temperatures with that air getting pushed -- pulled I should say -- from the north into some of these southerly areas. And then here comes our next weather system.

And with this one, this next system that is in line here we are again going to see some pretty intense weather. That heavy rain again pounding areas of southern parts of the UK, also parts of Ireland and in some cases over 50 millimeters of rain are possible. Expect significant travel delays. And wind up to 100 kilometers per hour. And not just on shore, some of those advisories are well inland along the mountains here of northern Spain. So this is pretty significant and definitely something you want to be keeping an eye out for.

Temperature wise, as I was saying, it was still remaining a little bit on the cooler side, especially for this late in the season.

Let's go ahead and move on. I very quickly want to update you on the weather situation across east Asia. Now we still have some reports of blowing sand and dust coming in from that system that we had over the weekend. So a lot of that still coming in behind this weather system here. For Beijing proper, we've actually had some rain, some misty conditions, and in some cases even moderate rain be reported.

Still some cloud cover sticking around. I don't think you'll see a problem with dust in this particular area, but we'll be monitoring this as it continues to move toward the east.

Now there is something else that we want to talk about, and that is the heavy rain. In some cases, localized flooding will be a concerned across the Korean Peninsula, back towards western Japan as we head into Wednesday. So keep an eye out for that as we head through the next 24 hours.

Let's got ahead and check out your forecast next.

Digging out and cleaning up from the wet, heavy snow that fell across portions of the eastern United States. These pictures all the way from North Carolina. So we're really talking about the deep south, in some cases, getting some very heavy snowfall.

Across the northeast it was even worse, about half a meter of snow falling in parts of Pennsylvania, power outages, and of course lots of road closures.

How about a storm system of a different kind, this one a geomagnetic one. Oh, I love these pictures, Kristie. These taken overnight tonight actually, or just a few hours ago, in Minnesota. Now this is happening, of course, because we had a solar flare just a couple of days ago. It was huge, remember, but it wasn't pointed toward Earth. So we're just getting kind of side-swiped by it. And there's a G2, geomagnetic level two, storm system in place right now and that has given us these amazing northern lights.

Now if you are watching from one of the higher latitudes, I want to tell you, you may want to keep your eyes open overnight tonight.

Now the southern extent of the possibility for lights is this line that you see right over here, that would include northern parts of the UK, parts of central Scandinavia, Alaska, the northern tier here of the U.S., so maybe even as far south as New York, not New York City, but New York State we could see some auroras. And keep an eye out in New Zealand and Tazmania maybe, just maybe.

Back to you, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, those are amazing pictures. No filter added. Amazing visuals there at the auroras in the sky. Mari Ramos there. Thank you for the share.

Now let's go over and out there with the story of a plucky and indeed clucky space adventurer. After the end of the shuttle program America desperately needed some new astro excitement so what does the U.S. unleash to secure its status in the space race? Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a new breed of super shuttle? Nope, it's actually just a bird, a rubber bird.

Meet Camilla, the mascot of NASA's solar dynamics observatory. Now this chicken proved she wasn't chicken as a group of California high school students blasted her 40 kilometers into the stratosphere attached to a helium balloon. And her mission was to measure the effect of the biggest solar radiation storm since 2003. And according to NASA she carried four cameras, a cryogenic thermometer and two GPS trackers. And all this was packed inside a lunch box which thankfully did not contain fried chicken when it parachuted back to Earth.

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