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Seized Files Give Insight into Al Qaeda Attack Plans; Heat Rages in Asia, England Gets Doused; U.K. Phone-Hacking Report; Violence Continues in Syria; China's Chen Guangcheng Dilemma
Aired May 1, 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.
I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.
A highly-anticipated report on phone hacking calls Rupert Murdoch unfit to lead. We'll go live to London for details.
Plus, pure gold. That's how U.S. intelligence officials describe a cache of al Qaeda documents, and CNN has an exclusive report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you know where it comes from?
(voice-over): "Yes," she says.
(on camera): Where does it come from?
(voice-over): Sometimes it comes from the garbage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Forced to feed their children from the garbage. We show the plight of the poor in the Philippines.
Now, he is one of the world's biggest media tycoons, but a British parliamentary committee says Rupert Murdoch is not fit to run a major international company. The media magnate and his son James have come under fire for what the committee called willfully ignoring a spiraling hacking scandal that brought down the tabloid the "News of the World." Also under attack are that newspaper's former editor, Colin Myler; the tabloid's top lawyer, Tom Crone; and former executive chairman of News International, Les Hinton. Now, those three men are accused of misleading the committee when they were called to give evidence.
The findings could prompt regulators to force Murdoch to sell his controlling stake in British Sky Broadcasting. And with the scandal still unraveling, the damage to News Corp. might not stop there.
Dan Rivers joins us now live outside parliament in London.
And Dan, harsh criticism directed straight at Rupert Murdoch himself. You've looked at the report in full. Walk us through.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.
This is it here. It was looking into whether this committee had been misled by various people from News International during the course of their investigations into phone hacking. The most controversial paragraph on page 70, as you mentioned, about Rupert Murdoch saying specifically that, "He is not a fit and proper person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."
Now, the committee was split as to whether to include that particular paragraph about Rupert Murdoch along party political lines. Basically, the ruling Conservative Party voting against the inclusion of that paragraph, Labour and the lib Dems voting for it. But they were all agreed on the fact that Tom Crone, Colin Myler and Les Hinton had misled their committee, a serious charge, effectively misleading parliament.
They went on to talk about, as you mentioned, willful blindness, that Les Hinton was complicit in a cover-up, that News International wished to buy silence in this affair and make the problem go away. So an absolutely blistering attack, a controversial paragraph about Rupert Murdoch. That will be debated, as to whether that should or should not have been included. The conservative members of the committee saying it was beyond their -- it's not their job to tell News Corp. who should run their company, their job was solely to decide who had effectively lied to parliament and misled parliament.
But what will happen now is that this report will go before the House of Commons, it will be voted on by members of parliament here in Britain. They will almost certainly vote it through.
We're not really sure what will happen next, because this has never happened -- well, it hasn't happened since the 1950s. They may be called to apologize to parliament, which would be pretty humiliating for Colin Myler, Tom Crone and Les Hinton. There may be other sanctions as well, but, also, the ripple effects of this for News Corp. and its corporate empire as to whether Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch can continue to have the support of their shareholders given this blistering attack by a parliament select committee here, well, that's up for debate.
LU STOUT: Now, Dan, Tom Watson, on the committee, he said that many hacking victims have still not been informed. So will there be more allegations to come?
RIVERS: There could well be, yes. And they made kind of reference to the fact that they still haven't got all of the information that they want to.
Tom Watson, in particular, has led the charge against the Murdoch empire, as he sees it, has been the most vocal of all of the members of this committee. And today, during a press conference, he was absolutely withering in his assessment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM WATSON, LABOUR MP: It's been 10 years, one month and nine days since "News of the World" hacked Milly Dowler's phone. Five days ago, Rupert Murdoch admitted there was a cover-up at News Corporation. We found News Corporation carried out an extensive cover-up of its rampant law-breaking. Its most senior executives repeatedly misled parliament, and the two men at the top, Rupert and James Murdoch, who were in charge of the company, must now answer for that.
In the view of the majority of committee members, Rupert Murdoch is not fit to run an international company like BSkyB.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS: The committee also found that it was simply astonishing that neither Rupert nor James Murdoch knew that their rogue reporter defense was complete rubbish until December, 2010, until comparatively recently. They felt that they had more than enough evidence to know that hacking was widespread in their company.
LU STOUT: Yes, blistering criticism in this report, now available online.
Thank you very much for the debrief.
Dan Rivers, joining us live.
Now, turning now to Syria, where activists say at least 25 people have been killed by government forces early today. The opposition also says that 12 Syrian soldiers were killed in clashes with defected soldiers. And the violence continues as a U.N. observer mission in the country expands.
Now, ITN's Bill Neely is among a small group of journalists inside Syria, and he filed this report from Damascus.
BILL NEELY, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): This is what Syria's cease-fire looks like. Every day the facade is being torn off it.
It died another death in Idlib, when two suicide bombers blew up military and intelligence headquarters, killing nine soldiers and civilians. The regime says terrorists did this, they are breaking the cease-fire. Whoever did it, the cease-fire is in tatters.
U.N. troops here to monitor it were 200 yards from one explosion. Their leader concedes they cannot stop the crisis or the violence. Their mission may be in crisis soon, and they admit it's difficult with two dozen men and no guns in a country locked in civil war.
Their Norwegian leader told me, "We'll do our best."
MAJ. GEN. ROBERT MOOD, HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN SYRIA: These observers cannot solve the problems by and in themselves. Everyone engaged in the violence have to decide to give the political process, to give a peaceful solution a chance.
NEELY (on camera): You know also that there is no cease-fire at the moment to monitor.
MOOD: We can make it. The Syrian people have a choice. The soldiers of the world, unarmed, are here to make a difference.
NEELY (voice-over): But the regime's men are armed, and this is no cease- fire.
The U.N. chief says the regime is mostly to blame for breaking it. The regime says he's biased.
FAISAL MEKDAD, SYRIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: This is correct.
NEELY (on camera): He's biased?
MEKDAD: He's biased, very biased.
NEELY: Activists say it's Syrian troops who are killing people, and killing people in their hundreds since the cease-fire was announced.
MEKDAD: I think this is a big lie.
NEELY: But you concede you are protecting your people, as you put it, by opening fire.
MEKDAD: We have to protect our people. When we are attacked by mortars, then we shall not, I mean, answer to these people with the flowers. When the gun is pointed to your eyes or to your head, what can you do?
NEELY (voice-over): He assured me the regime will cooperate fully with the observers, but he claims the U.S. and France want the mission to fail, and France wants military action against Syria.
MEKDAD: This is more than crazy, this is stupid. And it shows that this leadership is irresponsible.
NEELY: The defiant minister met the optimistic observer, but they hardly see eye to eye. His are now the eyes of the world in Syria, but the regime's men will be giving him and his observers a cold, hard look.
Bill Neely, ITV News, Damascus.
LU STOUT: Now, still to come on NEWS STREAM, Chen Guangcheng and Bo Xilai, two men from very different backgrounds who are both proving problematic for the Chinese government.
And it's one year since al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs. Now top-secret documents are providing rare insight into the terror network's tactics.
And scavenging to survive, what the poorest people in the Philippines are forced to eat to stay alive.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng reportedly could receive asylum in the United States within days. Now, that is according to a U.S. human rights group quoted in the "South China Morning Post."
In a daring escape, Chen, who is blind, managed to flee house arrest last week. It's believed he has taken refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, even as previously scheduled talks between the U.S. and China are set to begin this week.
Now, Stan Grant reports Chen's bold, and for the Chinese government, a highly embarrassing escape is the latest crisis facing Beijing as it prepares for a once-in-a-decade leadership change.
STAN GRANT, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chen Guangcheng and Bo Xilai, two men from very different worlds in the same fractured country. Together, they are the symbols of turmoil that are prizing open the secretive China in a way not seen for decades.
JAMES MCGREGOR, CHINA ANALYST: They're very nervous. I haven't seen China this nervous since post-Tiananmen in 1991, '92. They just don't want -- it's like they don't want a spark to go anywhere, so they're pouring water on anything that could cause any problems.
GRANT: Chen, the blind activist, jailed, beaten and locked in his home after campaigning against alleged forced abortions. Now free, he is staring down China's leaders.
In a video released online, he directly addresses Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, and he wants hard answers. "Premier Wen," he asks, "is this just local officials flagrantly violating the law, or do they have the support of the central government?"
China's only answers so far, an information blackout and more arrests of dissidents. State media is not running the Chen story. Weibo, China's Twitter, is being heavily censored, search terms blocked.
Many Chinese people remain oblivious to the drama. On the street we could find only two people out of nearly 40 who even know who Chen is. The blackout is apparently working.
"It was on Weibo," this man says, "and some people are still re-posting. It went on circulating for a while before the topic started to get censored."
Yes, in the rest of the world, this is headline news after Chen's amazing escape from captors who locked him down in his village home. According to his supporters, he's been sheltered here at the United States Embassy in Beijing.
(on camera): China and the United States are saying nothing publicly. Privately, though, sources say there is a flurry of backdoor diplomacy to try to diffuse this political time bomb that could rupture already brittle relations between the two powerful countries.
(voice-over): But Chen Guangcheng is not the only leaked (ph) fuse in China. One of the party's own, Bo Xilai, remains under house arrest. The sacked chief of the massive metropolis of Chongqing is under investigation for flouting party discipline. His wife, suspected of murdering a close associate and British businessman.
Chinese insiders, though, say this saga is not just about alleged crime, but a fight for the country's political soul. On one side, Bo and his other hard-line supporters reviving Mao-style revolution. And on the other, pro reformers.
"Bo's case is very delicate for the central government to handle," this analyst says. "It can't just be limited to discipline, corruption and murder, however severe. It must be more than that, or Bo and his supporters won't fully yield."
Chen Guangcheng, the voice of the poor and powerless, and Bo Xilai, the son of power and privilege, two lives defined by China's past, two lives whose fates could now well answer many questions about China's future.
Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.
LU STOUT: Now, you heard Stan say that Chinese authorities are blocking keywords like "blind" on China's popular microblog Sina Weibo to keep reports of Chen's flight from circulating within China. So creative Web users have been coming up with code words to try to get around the censorship, code words like "Abing," the name of a blind Chinese musician. Another code phrase, "The Shawshank Redemption," drawing parallels between the famous prison movie and Chen's daring escape. Now, also going viral, "UA898," for a United Airlines flight that Chen was falsely rumored to be on.
Chinese authorities, they caught on and they blocked those phrases. They've also blocked other keywords, including "Dongshigu," the name of Chen's home village, "U.S. Embassy," and "CNN."
Now, the U.N. secretary-general is praising Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's efforts to advance the cause of democracy in her country. Ban Ki-moon visited Suu Kyi at her home in Yangon, and he told her he supports her decision to take the oath for the country's parliament despite objecting to the wording. Ban says that there should be no turning back on the road to democracy.
Now, in the Philippines, hunger and desperation drive some people to extreme measures. Almost one-third of the country lives in poverty, and Kyung Lah shows us how they survive on scraps of garbage.
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fried chicken, a staple of the fast-food diet in the Philippines. Meal over, it disappears off the tray into the trash. When night falls, the restaurants close. That trash makes its way here, to Filipa Fabone (ph).
(on camera): What are you doing here?
(voice-over): "Sorting the garbage," she says, "looking for papad (ph)." Papad (ph), food made from fast food garbage scraps. She's paid just over $1 to a trash dealer for these bags.
(on camera): Do you think it's still good to eat?
(voice-over): "Yes," she says. "This one, this is meat."
As feral cats compete for her garbage, Fabone (ph) tells me papad (ph) is safe.
(on camera): You don't think children will get sick eating it? No?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
LAH: "The chicken smells bad," says Fabone (ph) the next morning. She's brought her find back home.
(on camera): How many people will this feed today?
(voice-over): "A lot," she says. "I will sell out in minutes."
Her first customer, Morena Sumanda (ph). She buys it for about five U.S. cents, an entire day's pay for her family. She washes it, readies her pot, prepares the vegetables, and then fries it. Her toddler son Nino (ph) begs to eat it.
Do you know where it comes from?
(voice-over): "Yes," she says.
(on camera): Where does it come from?
(voice-over): Sometimes it comes from the garbage.
(on camera): You may be wondering, how can one person eat another person's garbage? Well, in this case, the food chain is following the economic chain. These people, these children, they are at the very bottom. They live in shanties, and their view is of a garbage site.
Manila's garbage comes here, a 30-minute drive from the wealthy downtown to these outskirts. They live in it and they eat it.
MELISSA ALIPALO, PHILIPPINE COMMUNITY FUND VOLUNTEER: The poor always have fewer choices. They always have the -- their last resorts are so beyond our imagination.
LAH: Like this?
ALIPALO: Like this.
LAH (voice-over): Melissa Alipalo is with the Philippine Community Fund. The not-for-profit built this school hoping to lift the children out of the garbage. But the school learned books weren't enough. Students daily were sick and worm-infested from papad (ph). PCF now feeds their 450 students two meals a day during the school year, but it's a constant battle for funding and to convince parents to find other, usually more costly ways to feed their children.
Niko's (ph) mother makes no excuses. This is what she can afford, and it's better than nothing.
"By the mercy of God," she says, "this is enough."
Kyung Lah, CNN, Manila.
LU STOUT: And that story from Kyung Lah is part of our special coverage of the Philippines. And all this week we're looking at the country's challenges and opportunities.
Now, it has been exactly one year since the death of Osama bin Laden, and investigators are getting rare insight into the inner workings of al Qaeda thanks to more than 100 secret documents they say were hidden inside a pornographic movie. Nic Robertson has an exclusive look at the chilling terror plots revealed in those files.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines.
Now British parliamentary committee has deemed Rupert Murdoch unfit to run a major international company. In a report published just two hours ago, politicians said that Murdoch and his son, James, have willfully ignored the extent of illegal phone hacking at the now closed News of the World paper. Now several other News International executives are accused of misleading the committee when they were called to give evidence on the scandal.
At least 100 people are feared dead after a ferry split in two and sank in a river in northeastern India. Authorities say the boat was overcrowded and was about to dock after a storm. Now 40 bodies have been recovered and 90 passengers had been rescued so far.
Now the Colombian military says new aerial surveillance video indicates rebel fighters are trying to use civilians as shields while shooting at military aircraft and soldiers. Air force has released this video of last week's raid by FARC rebels that killed four people.
Now it is exactly one year to the day since U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden at his compound in Abottabad, Pakistan ending a decade long manhunt for the al Qaeda leader. And since then, there has been a remarkable development in the intelligence war against the terror group.
Now investigators say top secret documents expose frightening new clues about what al Qaeda may be plotting. And Nic Robertson has this exclusive report.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: As U.S. Navy SEALS were preparing to storm the now infamous compound in Pakistan a year ago, two of his recently trained European recruits were sneaking out of the country on a mission to cause carnage. They were headed for Vienna and Berlin.
But not long after they returned to Europe, one of them was being questioned at this police station. He was arrested and searched. And hidden in his underwear, police found memory recording device like these. Buried deep in the devices was a pornographic video and hidden in files inside that were what police believe were more than 100 secret al Qaeda documents.
Inside a file marked Sexy Tanya, protected by an almost invisible password, a treasure trove, including al Qaeda's road map for future operations, a document called Future Works.
Investigative journalist Yassin Musharbash was the first to report on the documents. One plan.
YASSIN MUSHARBASH, JOURNALIST: It contains an idea that we haven't heard so much about and that is to take jihad to the seas. It is easier than I guess what they mean is then, you know, to attack aviation.
ROBERTSON: A plot to seize cruise ships set out in chilling detail.
MUSHARBASH: He said that we could hijack a passenger ship on the sea and then use it to pressure -- to pressurize the public. What he most likely means is that, you know, that they would then start executing passengers on those ships and demand the release of particular prisoners.
ROBERTSON: They would dress passengers in orange jump suits, mimicking al Qaeda prisoners in GITMO. Executions would be quickly uploaded to an al Qaeda website.
Hijacking a cruise ship wouldn't be new territory for Islamic radicals. Palestinian terrorists famously attacked the cruise ship the (inaudible) in 1985 murdering wheelchair bound Jewish American Leon Klinghoffer, then throwing his body overboard.
Whether al Qaeda used that incident as a model is unclear. The new al Qaeda documents called Future Works and appears to have been written in 2009 by al Qaeda's senior leadership.
U.S. intelligence sources tell CNN this information is pure gold, but it contains details of some of al Qaeda's most dangerous attacks, including the attack on the London subway seven years ago. One source says that this is the most important haul of al Qaeda documents this year outside of what was found in bin Laden's compound.
Another plan revealed in these documents, more attacks like the operation by Pakistani militants in Mumbai, India, 10 gunmen on a shooting rampage, 164 innocents killed.
German intelligence sources say these two men who came back to Europe last year may have been tasked with planning a similar attack. Maxid Luden (ph) and Yousef Ochek (ph) are now on trial at this Berlin court. Prosecutors allege their job was to recruit a network of suicide attackers.
MUSHARBASH: We do not know what these two young men were actually up to, but there are certain information in those files that would make it plausible to assume that they probably were thinking of the Mumbai attack.
ROBERTSON: The pair have denied being members of a terrorist organization and their trial continues. And that would make sense. The documents reveal how al Qaeda isn't just focused on the big catastrophic attack.
MUSHARBASH: The author seems to be convinced that al Qaeda should be pursuing a two track strategy of low cost, low damage attacks and largescale attacks.
ROBERTSON: Like the 9/11.
The reason being that if al Qaeda were to pursue only largscale attacks and those are foiled, then they have nothing.
ROBERTSON: Indeed, a year after these documents were written, European intelligence agencies were scrambling to investigate a Mumbai style plot, rounding up a cell based in Germany and sparking an unprecedented State Department travel warning for Americans in Europe.
MUSHARBASH: Would I say the Euro plot is off the table? No. But I believe that the general idea is still alive. And I believe that as soon as al Qaeda believe that they have the capacity to realistically go after that sort of scenario they will immediately do it.
LU STOUT: Now these documents show al Qaeda's determination and how it is adapting to try to stay one step ahead of intelligence agencies. And with more on this extraordinary story, Nic Robertson joins me now live from CNN London. And Nic, from your report we can clearly see al Qaeda still have the ambition to cause carnage. What other information were the investigators able to get access to?
ROBERTSON: Well, in this trove of material, Kristie, there were 141 al Qaeda documents. And one of those documents was written by a man called Rashid Rauf. This is the first time we've seen his account of the 7/7, 7/21 and the liquid explosive airline plots here that emanated from here in Britain. And it's important, because this is the first time we've seen al Qaeda's own assessment of how and why it pulled off these attacks.
Counterterrorism officials consider Rashid Rauf one of the top al Qaeda organizers. He handled all the plotters in that case. There were -- what jumps out from that document is how lucky Londoners were that the second attack on the 7th -- 21st of July 2005 didn't work, because the attackers hadn't been able to talk to their handler Rashid Rauf the same way that he had talked with the 7/7 bombers. And if they had got that phone call through then their bombs would have gone off. It shows how lucky Londoners were.
It shows, as well, that al Qaeda was also considering planning to attack the Bank of England and the Gleneagles Summit, the G8 meeting in Scotland that summer.
What we see from this, and the conclusion from that report was how al Qaeda changed its tactics to adapt to the situation. The liquid airlines plot was an adaptation of techniques, because they thought they couldn't buy the explosives. The attacking the subway and not the summit was because they thought that would be an easier target.
So what we're learning in all these documents is why and how al Qaeda is changing its thinking and targeting.
LU STOUT: The organization is changing its tactics, but what about the organization itself. I mean, today we're marking one year since the death, the killing of Osama bin Laden, what is left of the al Qaeda network and what threat does it really pose today?
ROBERTSON: Well, one of the things we can learn again from these documents, the sort of future works document, the one that talks about the hijacking of the ships, the Mumbai style attack, was written in 2009, but we've seen al Qaeda members try to continue to pull that off in 2010 and 2011 in Europe. So clearly they're continuing to try.
They also talked about in these documents about how their increased drone strikes in Pakistan are affecting their capability so much so that some of their operators aren't even plotting attacks. They know that counterterrorism officials are watching out for them. So they know it's harder for them to operate. They're trying to take measures to do that.
So the indications are al Qaeda wants to keep trying, but for sure its capacity to attack has been diminished, at least those attacks that are coming from the Pakistan tribal border regions with Afghanistan.
But al Qaeda is also growing capability in places like Yemen. It's got camps now in Libya. It would like to try and exploit the situation in Syria. So all of these places and locations are going to certainly pose a challenge for counterterrorism officials trying to thwart al Qaeda, achieve these objectives.
Capacity down, the threat absolutely not gone at all, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Nic Robertson joining us live from London. Thank you very much indeed for that.
And even now, one year after the death of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda remains a global threat. And now Matthew Chance examines the state of the terror group and the impact of bin Laden's death on his supporters.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amongst some British Muslims, Osama bin Laden was a hero. His killing by U.S. forces a bitter blow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will continue to produce the likes of Osama, the likes of Ali bin Walid (ph), the likes of Salah Huddein (ph).
CHANCE: These were the angry scenes outside the U.S. embassy in London when President Obama came to visit shortly afterwards.
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Obama terrorist.
CROWD: Obama terrorist.
CHANCE: Most British Muslims don't share these views, but analysts say the global cult of bin Laden is still thriving after his death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't think bin Laden has been forgotten. And he will never, ever going to be forgotten. I think bin Laden (inaudible) himself very well now within the (inaudible) Islamic context now. And (inaudible) treated in certainly places (inaudible) you know. And it will remain, it will remain for a long, long time.
CHANCE: The influence of bin Laden on radical Muslims in Britain and elsewhere has been profound. This video message is given prominence at meetings like this one. Some radicals viewed his 9/11 attacks as no different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which followed. And his killing has done little to change their minds.
ANJUN CHOWDARY, MUSLIMS AGAINST CRUSADERS: Now the Muslims have a point to prove. This jihad will not begin and end with shepherd (ph) Osama bin Laden. The mother will want to give birth now to a second Osama bin Laden so he can be in the front line as well.
CHANCE: Few doubt the killing of bin Laden last year dealt a powerful blow to al Qaeda. The network lots its charismatic leader who evaded capture while masterminding attacks for years. But the truth is the man is still revered in some quarters. Analysts say the organization he led remains a dangerous threat.
True, al Qaeda's influence may have declined in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but analysts say elsewhere, from Somalia to Mali to Yemen, al Qaeda appears to have expanded its reach by affiliating with local groups.
In Syria, it may not yet be a huge player, nor does the network appear to have played much of a role in the Arab Spring uprisings of last year, but analysts say it's constantly looking for opportunities to insert itself.
So you think it would be a mistake for the United States, for instance, to think that because Osama bin Laden has been killed the war on terror has been won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way. No way. No way. It is wrong. It's still yet to say that and as I mentioned it's not war against terror, it's war against global revolutionary insurgencies. They have many (inaudible) around the world. And they are very active. And from time to time, for certain reasons, maybe a military reasons, some just go kind of go like a local fire.
CHANCE: And a year after his killing, it seems the cult of Osama bin Laden lives on.
Matthew Chance, CNN, London.
LU STOUT: Now up next, she's been called one of Norway's most powerful women. A new business woman Kristin Skogen-Lund. And find out why she is at the top of her field. Our Leading Women series is up next.
LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, your back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now every month we profile extraordinary women who are leaders in their fields. Now this first day of May, we introduce you to Kristin Skogen-Lund. She's been called one of Norway's most powerful women. And she says she has a bit of a killer instinct that allows her to be ready for anything. She told Becky Anderson what it's like to sometimes be the only woman in the board room.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristin Skogen-Lund is a rare breed in Norway's business world. As executive vice president of one of Norway's largest companies, Telenor, and president of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, she is very often the only one wearing a skirt in a meeting, a fact that doesn't phase her one bit.
KRISTIN SKOGEN-LUND, VP TELENOR GROUP: I don't even think about it. I'm so used to it.
ANDERSON: Named by CNN Money as one of the 10 global women on the rise, and by Capital Magazine as Norway's most powerful woman, this mother of four says she is ready for anything.
SKOGEN-LUND: I think I have some of that killer instinct and I put myself in uncomfortable situations and I don't allow myself not to deliver.
ANDERSON: This is Kristin Skogen-Lund.
It's a cold winter's morning in Oslo, Norway. In the pre-dawn hours, hundreds of people start arriving at one of Oslo's most exclusive restaurants resting on a hill overlooking the city. They're gathering to hear from some of the biggest names in what could be a major partnership between Norway and Germany, a discussion about energy sharing between the two countries.
Among the list of presenters are Norway's minister of petroleum and energy Ola Borten Moe, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schoeder, and Kristin Skogen-Lund. In her role as president of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, or NHO.
SKOGEN-LUND: I receive a lot of attention for being a woman. And I get, of course, often asked questions that I never would have been asked if I were a man, not so much how did you get here, but often more how do you manage it all. And of course you can choose to get sick and tired of it and you can choose to just accept it that it is a bit unusual being a female in this position. So it doesn't really bother me.
If I can to some extent serve as an example that it is actually possible to do it and still have a reasonably normal life, then that may be serve -- might serve a purpose.
ANDERSON: As president of the NHO, Lund represents employers in Norway. And together with the labor union's organization and the government, she helps shape Norway's economic policy.
Lund also oversees billions of dollars in revenue for the telecoms group Telenor. And as head of the company's Nordic region and head of digital services.
SKOGEN-LUND: It's a bit like I have two jobs. I actually have three jobs if you don't add the fourth being a mom and all that.
And then I'm actually meeting the boss of a Japanese gaming company that we're looking at entering into a corporation with later. So, it should be an exciting day.
ANDERSON: What she calls an exciting day is filled with tough decisions. She takes it all in strike, switching between formal meetings and some that are more casual. And this situation, our cameras following her every move.
And did you notice her office? Well, it's a desk with a view, but in a very non-upper management way it's situated in the middle of an open office space.
The executive vice president sits across from her executive assistant next to the people who manage the company she oversees.
SKOGEN-LUND: Sit there on equally sized desks and I really enjoy that, actually.
ANDERSON: Lund was named most powerful woman in Norway by Capital Magazine which formerly has only given the distinction to politicians. Despite all of her success, Lund tries to remain grounded.
There are many more revelations to come. In the coming weeks, Lund will share insights on her approach to work and life.
SKOGEN-LUND: I am not very technical, or strategic about things. I live very much every day for that day. And I think my life has shown that if you have that attitude and you have an open mind, opportunities will arise, but they won't arise in the way they expected them to.
LU STOUT: Up next, after a dry winter, Britain is getting battered by a very soggy spring. And Mari Ramos will be joining us right ahead. She'll have the full weather forecast. So stick around for that.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
And the heat continues in south and southeast Asia. Mari Ramos is at the world weather center. She joins us now with more -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: It definitely is hot. And some people say it's not the heat it's the humidity, but you know what Kristie, either way we're dealing with some of the hottest temperatures we'll have pretty much the entire year as we wait for those monsoon rains to start.
These are some of the latest temperatures that we've had across the region. And in many cases, particularly across southeast Asia we're looking at temperatures three to six degrees and sometimes even more above the average for this time of year. So if it feels hot, you're right, it is hotter than usual across many areas.
Bangkok, whew, you got up to 40 degrees today. That's pretty significant. Hanoi also to get to 40 degrees is very significant as well.
So we really are dealing with some extreme temperatures across these areas and really no relief in sight.
I want to talk to you a little bit about this area. Remember how we talked in the last few months we were talking about all of the flooding that happened across Southeast Asia and how significant that was, an area the size of Spain I remember kept saying was under water across Thailand and the rest of the region here in Vietnam and in Cambodia, in particular. Well, this is what it looks like right now. This is the current fires. These are picked up by satellite. And of course they're exaggerated in size, so really not this big, but they're this size so that we can actually see them.
So this is very significant. When we get in a little bit closer here into this part of Thailand, the central and southern part of Thailand, this is what the current fire situation looks like.
I was talking to a few of you on Twitter earlier and telling you about the fires -- the grass fires that are kind of coming up here even near Bangkok. Well, those are not even popping up on our satellite as you can see here, but the larger fires are.
So this is a problem, of course, and it continues to be a problem.
Well, this is what the map looked like six months ago precisely to the day, Kristie. The darker areas are the areas that were covered in water. It's hard to imagine that these areas that had maybe a meter or two, or three meters of water just six months ago now are so parched and so dry that water has drained completely from these areas and now we have these fire problems in these hottest times of the year where there's little or no rainfall. And that's very significant.
So we're still dealing with some pretty intense heat: 32 in Chiang Mai, 35 in New Delhi, 42 in Ahmadabad, and Karachi 37. You've also been getting close to the 40 degree mark during the heating of the day. 32 in Bangkok right now.
And then as we head over toward the Philippines, you guys here also complaining about the heat -- 29 in Manila right now and 30 in Hong Kong.
I want to take you to Europe now and show you a little bit about what's happening in this part of the world. Let's go ahead and show the pictures from the UK, because this is a big deal here too. Look at that, Kristie, water as far as the eye can see -- this is in Somerset, one of the wettest areas that we have found. They had over 100 -- over 200 millimeters of rain so far this month. We are talking about some of the wettest conditions ever recorded across parts of the UK. Somerset is one of them.
Overall across the UK, we're coming back from having the driest March on record to having the wettest April on record. And that is a big deal. Water warnings continue for floods. There's over 132 flood advisories right now posted across those areas as that water is expected to continue. So we are here talking about the most significant rainfall ever recorded since they've been keeping records across the UK. You can see it here. The records go back to 1910.
Back to you.
LU STOUT: There you have water levels. Mari Ramos, thank you very much for the update.
And now let's go over and out there with a quiz question. What do the three men on the screen next to me have in common? Well, hellraising from Oasis front man Liam Gallagher, former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and Argentinian football legend Diego Maradonna. Well, the last of the three is the giveaway, they were all at the Etihad Stadium last night to watch Manchester City's triumph.
Now Gallagher is a lifelong City fan, Thaksin once owned the club, and Maradonna, he was cheering on his son-in-law, the striker Sergio Aguero. Three men celebrated a much needed three points.
And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.