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Leveson Inquiry: Rebekah Brooks Did Receive Text Messages from Politicians; JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Admits Failures; More Details into al Qaeda Bomber; Opposition and Government in Syria Trade Blame; Dismembered Bodies Found in Jalisco in Mexico; Mexican Politicians Campaign Using Social Media; Rafael Nadal Upset About Defeat; The Philadelphia 76ers Last Minute Throw Wins them a Victory; Manchester Rivals: Manchester City and Manchester United Vying for League Title on Sunday

Aired May 11, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET



I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Now recent years, she's been one of the U.K.'s most powerful women. But over recent months, Rebekah Brooks has found herself in the firing line. And today, Rupert Murdoch's former right hand woman is facing tough questioning at the Leveson inquiry into British press ethics.

Brooks had denied knowledge of the legal phone hacking that brought down the news of the world; "The Tabloid", she once edited. But today's questions are as much about who she knew as what she knew.

Rebekah Brooks is not just notable for being at Rupert Murdoch's inner circle, she was also influential in the U.K.'s quarters of power. Enjoying close relationships with current British Prime Minister, David Cameron and at least one of his predecessors.

Mr. Cameron's former spin doctor and one time "News of the World" editor, Andy Coulson to the inquiry on Thursday that he was not aware of hacking under his watch.

And said that there was no collusion between the paper and the government. But Brook's bonds with the Britain's top power brokers have been put under the microscope today.

Atika Shubert is live outside the High Court in London now where the inquiry is taking place. And Atika, we've been listening to some riveting details about Rebekah Brooks and her ties to high level British politicians. Walk us through the highlights.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well it is very much under the microscope. It's really looking at just how closely she was linked to politicians, particularly to various British prime ministers. And how much influence did she wield, not just at one point as editor of "The Sun" but also of course chief executive of "News International."

And specifically, the Leveson inquiry is trying to -- is trying to figure out whether or not there's too much influence being wielded particularly by the Murdoch media. Now Rebekah Brooks has put up a very spirited defense.

And I just want you to take a listen to one of the ways she answered questions by Robert Jay QC. Take a listen.


REBEKAH BROOKS, FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NEWS INTERNATIONAL: Your power is your readership, it's not an individual power or you know it's readership power. So -- and I think that's really important.

It puts -- I think (INAUDIBLE) that if you fell under it both, you know the power of his office would go and I think just adding to his point. I think as it stands, the readers are the most powerful, it is their voice which is trying to reflect their injustices, their concerns, that we try and tackle. Their interest which I'm engaged in.

So I just don't see -- I think I quite remember what the question was but I was more reacting to the fact that every day, the readers kind of alert us as newspapers.


SHUBERT: There she's talking about how the power that she has that editors have comes from the readers. And that is something that can be abused because they're basically elected by people whether or not they decide to read the newspaper.

So she's been drilled on now is whether or not politicians attempted to (INAUDIBLE) with her in order to win the influence of Rupert Murdoch, something that she says did not happen, Kristie.

STOUT: You know, the focus of today's inquiries is not just the relationship she had with Britain's top officials but the power she may have wielded over them. What do you think would be the consequences of today's testimony on Brooks herself and also on the politicians named at the inquiry this far?

SHUBERT: Well we've already seen consequences really. I mean what we've seen for example British Prime Minister David Cameron, somebody who he is a friend of Brook, somebody who exchanged numerous texts with, has already said that he feels perhaps that the relationship between the Murdoch media and politicians were simply too cozy.

I mean there was a telling moment here, where there was a bit of back-and- forth exchange where she was -- Rebekah Brooks was asked if she received text messages from David Cameron. She said she did. And then how he signed off on this text messages with the words -- letters lol.

And that she had to correct it and say that lol did not mean lots of love and after that he stopped texting in that way. But it just goes to show the closeness of their relationship that they had this sort of back-and- forth between them on-going.

And that's really what the Leveson inquiry is trying to show is, was this sort of closeness inappropriate, was it too cozy and is there a need to regulate that sort of a relationship.

STOUT: You know, we also heard about Tony Blair appearing at her 40th Birthday party, a fascinating detail. Atika Shubert on the story for us. Thank you Atika.

The inquiry has just recess for lunch, we will continue to follow and bring you more testimony when they resume. So I'm turning now, to a surprise announcement.

The left ergo deface of the U.S. banking giant JPMorgan Chase, $2 billion in trading losses. CEO, Jamie Dimon says it was due to sloppiness and bad judgement.

Now the unit behind the losses had been expected to announce in a gain of $200 million and now it is expecting that losses for the second quarter of around $800 million. And this might not be the end of it either.

And he was, there could be more losses this quarter.

Now Felicia Taylor has more on what this announcement means.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The reason this was such a surprise announcement is that first of all it came after the closing bell. You kind of had to assume that there was going to be some unfortunate news or something negative about whatever Jamie Dimon had to say.

And because it came from JPMorgan Chase and it wasn't following any kind of an earnings announcement. So there was all kinds of hints that this was not going to be a good announcement and of course it didn't.

JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, the CEO announcing that because of some exposure that they had to risky trade, that they were going to issue basically $2 billion in trading losses which resulted about in about $800 million net loss.

That we know about right now. This also rounds some investments that was going on in their chief investment office through saying something called synthetic credit securities.

It meant to be a hedge against any kind of credit exposure to the market that JPMorgan had. But the problem came when they had to re-hedge against those trades and that's when the trouble actually began.

Jamie Dimon saying that frankly he considered it a bad strategy, badly executed, self inflicted and a egregious mistake. This is what he had to say on the conference call.


JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: The synthetic credit portfolio was a strategy to head the firms overall credit exposure, which is our largest risk overall in a stress credit environment.

We're reducing that hedge but in hindsight, the new strategy was flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored. The portfolio has proven to be riskier, more volatile and less effective in economic hedge than we thought.


TAYLOR: And indeed investors immediately plunged the stock's 7 percent when they heard this. Is come back a little bit and there're some analyst out there that actually -- they believe that this is a company that is going to survive and did buy the stock owing some of that, that debt that we saw after the closing bell.

And frankly, Jamie Dimon has been quite responsible to come out and be this kind of -- and issue this kind of transparent statement to show that yes they did make a mistake and he'd acknowledged if there's any kind of criticism they should accept it.

However, he did acknowledge that they're going to continue to build a great company. It's not going to stop them from doing it. And most importantly, this does not affect clients. And here's -- you can see this in perspective. Ultimately, he said there're going to be further quarters of weakness and that ultimately it could be up to a billion dollars in losses.

But this kind of a portfolio had maybe two even $300 billion in it. So, the other important thing is that Jamie Dimon said that they are going to absolutely continue with their dividends and stocks -- buy back, which means that they've got plenty of cash in their coffers, which is the most important thing.

The company itself is going to be fine. They admitted the mistake with JPMorgan Chase, it will be slightly weaker for a while because of it but not ultimately.

STOUT: That's Felicia Taylor reporting there.

Now JPMorgan Chase announced $2 billion in trading losses, that got us thinking what can you get for $2 billion?

Well you could buy the Los Angeles Baseball team the Dodgers or the photo- sharing App instagram twice or the piece of art that got a record breaking price at auction; Mark Rasco's orange, red and yellow. Well you could buy this, 23 times over.

You're watching NEWS STREAM live from Hong Kong.

And coming up, a corporate operation uncovered. More details about the man who foiled a plot to blow up a U.S. bound jetliner.

Friday protest in Syria, as the opposition and the government trade blame for the worst bombing in the 14-month old uprising.

And seeing eye-to-eye, in a television first for Egypt. Presidential contenders face-off.


STOUT: The lights are fully on-display here on a Friday night in Hong Kong, and you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now new details are emerging about the (INAUDIBLE) agent who foiled the plot to blow up a U.S. bound airliner. But press leaks about the operation have infuriated security officials. Chief among them, the former director of the CIA and current U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to protect the confidence that -- and the classification and the covet nature of this kind of work. And when news leaks take place, I can't tell you how much they damage our ability to be able to pursue our intelligence efforts.


STOUT: Despite those concerns, we are learning more about the mole and the bomb at the center of the foiled plot. Brian Todd reports from Washington.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has obtained new information on the agent who penetrated al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula and got that group's new bomb out of Yemen before it could blow up a U.S. bound passenger jet. The informant has strong western ties.

MUSTAFA ALANI, GULF RESEARCH CENTER: My information basically indicates that he's a British citizen with a genuine British passport. So basically he's an Arab origin -- a Middle eastern origin. But he is a holder of a British passport and this is the reason why actually -- one of the major reason why they recruited him.

TODD: Mustafa Alani is with the Gulf Research Center. He's being briefed by Saudi counter terrorism officials on this plot. (on camera): Alani says the operative had previously moved in Jihad's circles. He says that and his western travel documents made the agent attractive to al Qaeda's powerful branch in Yemen.

Alani says that group is determined to recruit operatives who can travel to the U.S. and with a British passport, that's easy.

(voice-over): Alani says after the mole was sent into Yemen by Saudi counter terrorism officials to pose as a willing suicide bomber, he received training on how to use the explosive device.

ALANI: He received training and he received instruction how to avoid detection in the airport, how to behave.

TODD: Alani says there was more than one person who Saudi handlers had to evacuate from Yemen.

ALANI: The person who made contact with him need to be evacuated as well. Because he's the link between the person and the intelligence service.

TODD: He says the bomb was flown by Saudi officials from Yemen to Saudi Arabia, then handed to U.S. officials. And he has new information on the bomb itself. Alani's understanding is that the device may have been designed to fit in a garment worn over underwear.

Alani says this device was more sophisticated than those used in the 2010 printer bomb plot and the 2009 Christmas day attack, both from that same group. A U.S. official tells us this latest bomb had redundancies built into it to make sure it worked. I asked CNN contributor Tom Fuentes about that.

(on camera): It could have been assembled with two detonation devices, two detonators to set it off. And how will that work?

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well there are a number of possibilities, I mean one detonator could be literally you know box matches. Another detonator could be a liquid chemical that will serve as an accelerant, put it in a syringe or a baby bottle something and inject it into the chemical to cause the ignition.

TODD (voice-over): According to Mustapha Alani, the device contained PETN, a white powdery explosive tough to detect with body scanning machines. This device was apparently smaller than those hidden in the printers. But Alani sources say, it contained at least 300 grams of high explosives even more than the device carried by the Christmas-day bomber.

And this is a demonstration of what his bomb could have done.

The Christmas-day bomber failed to ignite his device. Experts say the detonation charge built to set off the PETN explosives in that 2009 attack. And it's possible the attackers perspiration neutralized some key chemicals.

Fact is with the bomb maker in this latest plot very likely tried to eliminate. Brian Todd, CNN Washington.


STOUT: Investigators in Mexico, working to identify the remains of 18 people believed to be victims of drug related violence. Dismembered bodies were found in Jalisco state inside two abandoned vehicles on the highway leading to Guadalajara.

Some of the bodies were so badly mutilated that police are still trying to figure out if they are male or female.

Mostly the discovery was made near a popular tourism destination.

Mexico's fight against drug cartels is a top issue in the country's presidential election, and the candidates have embraced social media as part of their campaigning. But as Rafael Romo shows us social media is biting back.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): It's the video that has triggered a political scandal in Mexico. In it, a group of political activist is getting marching orders to go online and influence trends on twitter to favor a Mexican presidential candidate.

The video posted anonymously on the internet was allegedly shot last Sunday just before the beginning of Mexico's first presidential debate. Mexican media are calling the scandal twittergate. Experts say an explosion in social media in the last few years has forever changed the way candidates campaign in Mexico.

FERNANDO GUTIERREZ, SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT(through translator): There are more than 40 million internet users in Mexico. Eight million of them are going to vote for the first time. They are very frequent users of this communication technology.

Facebook alone has 30 million accounts in Mexico.

ROMO: Gutierrez says political campaigns have hired thousands of social media experts in Mexico and abroad. Their goal is to highlight positive aspects of specific candidates on social media while creating negative trends against their political rivals.

GUTIERREZ: There are series of practices that are not illegal since there are no regulations banning them. But for the purely ethical point of view, they're questionable. One of them has to do with hiring armies of people mainly young ones. Many of them aren't even in Mexican territory which is quite interesting.

Their goal is to position a specific message.

ROMO: According to Gutierrez, these practices include how they're officially inflating the accounts of political candidates so that they appear with a larger number of followers and they actually have another practise on twitter, is creating the so-called trolls with the purpose of minimizing negative attacks by targeting those who post them.

(on camera): At least one group of activist has said openly that it has organized its members to carry out internet activity since report of a specific candidate. The group defends its practices by reminding people that what they're doing is not illegal in their country.

Mexico elects a new president on July 1st, and that's when we'll know whether social media campaigning has had a real impact on voters. Rafael Romo, CNN Atlanta.


STOUT: On the surface of a tennis court can certainly affect a player's performance but really has the color of a surface caused such controversy.

When NEWS STREAM returns, we'll find out why the world top tennis stars so seen red over blue clay.


STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

And in tennis, a rare slip-up by the king of clay means he's both feeling blue and seeing red.

Amanda Davies is in London to explain, Amanda.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS PRESENTER: Hi Kristie, I think it's sad to say that the blue clay hasn't made any more friends in the last few days. Raphael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both threatened to give next season's Madrid Masters a miss if the controversial blue surface is used again.

The world number two Nadal was knocked out in the third round on Thursday beaten three sets of 15 serves(ph) by Fernando Verdasco. Nadal of course as he said he's known as the king of clay and have beaten Verdasco in all of their previous 13 meetings. Verdasco took the first set, six games to three.

But lost the second by the same scoreline. Nadal wasn't going to give up his title in Madrid without a fight. There was some exceptionally some fantastic points along the way.

At one point in the decider, Nadal was 5 to 2 up against his fellow Spaniard but his unhappiness at the slippery surface was evident and as he let the lead slip as well to force his earliest eight set in the clay court quarter event since 2004. 7 to 5 Verdasco won it in the third, had Nadal whose third painful defeat in 23 matches.

Let's just remind ourselves how rare a defeat on the clay is for Nadal. The last time he lost on the surface was almost exactly a year ago in Rome. In fact, in his entire career Nadal has lost just 19 times on the clay, on a rare occasion that he did lose tends to be for players like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer of course not to players like Fernando Verdasco.

To put it into context, Verdasco has lost five clay court matches this year. Nadal on the other hand has lost five matches in the last four years. That is how unhappy he is.

We will move on to the NBA, there where the Philadelphia 76ers is reached the second round of the play-offs for the first time in nine years. Knocking out the league's best regular season's team Chicago for the last hour 79 to 78 win.

In game six, Andre Iguodala who was the star for the 76ers (INAUDIBLE) free throws to give his team a lead in the closing seconds. Those desperation shots are no good so Chicago eliminated by Philadelphia in Six.

The countdown is on to D-day in the English Premier League as Manchester City looks to claim their first title in 44 years. The City boss Roberto Mancini has warned that Sunday's final game against relegation threaten Queens Park Rangers would be tougher than the Manchester derby against title rivals United.

City knows that as long as they equal United's results against Sunderland, the title will be theirs when he sat down with CNN's very own Pedro Pinto this week. The man of the moment Yaya Toureh said he's set on leading City to World domination.


YAYA TOUREH, MANCHESTER CITY MIDFIELDER: I think yes, because it was my -- it was the first objective I had when I was going there you know. Because if you want to make history, you have to win. Last year we did it when we won the FA cup and this year we decided we have -- I think we have to win something for this club you know.

And the fans were amazing this year and they helped us a lot in difficult moments and good moments and now I think we're doing everything for them.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS PRESENTER: You had a lot of highs this season, the win at Manchester United, huge. You had some lows as well and a lot was said about Carlos when he left. A lot about Mario always being in the headlines. How distracting was that?

TOUREH: It's difficult you know, sometimes it's difficult because when you have some important players, some big quality players like that, they make something wrong, sometimes it's difficult for -- because football is a game for the group you know. We live together, we see each other more than your family.

You see your family and you have to becareful you know because when somebody or when your teammate is wrong, it can affect the rest of all the players. I think that finally the most important thing is that because of -- never give up and continue to believe in ourselves.

PINTO: Are you surprised that Carlos came back and then he had such a big effect on the -- were you expecting that to happen back in the winter?

TOUREH: Of course yes, Carlos is an important big player who always -- hoping he will come back to help us because he's a very important player for us. Yeah, he did some mistakes but I think now he has apologized to everyone and he's shown to the fans he's back to fight to help his friends and his teammates to get the title.


DAVIES: Thirty seven matches down Kristie, one to go for this English Premier League season. We'll have more built up to what is being described as D-day on world sport, right here. In about three and half hours time you can join me then.

STOUT: And they vying for the title on Sunday, Amanda Davies, thank you very much indeed, take care.

You are watching NEWS STREAM live from Hong Kong.

And still to come, we'll explore who could be behind the deadliest single attack in Syria's violent upheaval.

And demonstrations like that when tragically wrong. Investigators uncover more bodies from the wreckage of a Russian jet.


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

These are live pictures from the U.K.'s Leveson inquiry into press ethics on Rupert Murdoch's former right hand woman, Rebekah Brooks is giving evidence.

Now Brooks has been questioned about her close relationship with British Prime Minister David Cameron. And she admits that she did talk to the PM about phone hacking allegations that ultimately brought down the "News of the World" tabloid Rebekah Brooks once edited.

A U.S. banking giant JPMorgan Chase has announced $2 billion in trading losses. The CEO Jamie Dimon says the losses were caused by sloppiness and bad judgement. And happening in the units whose trades are designed to hedge against risk.

And he warned that there could be more losses this quarter.

Now there were signs, a tense territorial dispute between China and the Philippines could be easing. While protest continues, Manila now says it is pursuing new diplomatic efforts to diffuse the month long stand-off over tiny land claimed by both nations.

Attempting to prompt China to suspend towards trips to the area.

Now let's return to our top stories.

Rebekah Brook's testimony at the Leveson inquiry. Now Paul Connew, is a former deputy editor of the "News of the World" and he joins us now from London with common.

And Paul, welcome to the program. What do you think would be the headline coming out of today's testimony from Rebekah Brooks.

PAUL CONNEW, FORMER DEPUTY EDITOR, NEWS OF THE WORLD: I think two themes mainly, perhaps for the more serious newspapers it's going to be the fact that she had a conversation with David Cameron about the phone hacking allegations as "The Guardians" story's mushroomed.

And curiously she was rather scant on detail of what she could remember about what he asked her and I think both Robert Jay QC the lead counsellor had lord Leveson appeared a little sceptical about -- you know perhaps scant recollection and one might argue you know that this was such a vital area to "News International".

And the civil actions involved were costing millions potentially but this was you know -- this would be stumped on her brain forever. But for the more popular newspapers I think it's going to be the -- what we might call lol agate perhaps that the prime minister was sending her texts -- was signed off with lol.

You know there was a little discussion about that, means lots of love or laugh out loud but I think laughing out loud will be a lot of semantics in this country which can sit as a great headline.

STOUT: There was an interesting one of course a bit earlier from Robert Jay about whether or not politicians live in fear of newspapers. Fear of a personal attack if they depart from what the paper wants.

Now, Brooks said "It's not fair to say that but in the U.K. and you're definitely well positioned to comment on this, are officials in troll of powerful editors like Rebekah Brooks?

CONNEW: Well I'm in PR and I meet the consultant now but I've been -- probably use the word as editor of the "Sunday Mirror" in terms of the "Daily Mirror" -- arrived(ph) with Mr. Murdoch, I've travelled with.

But when against him, in fair in troll, occasionally perhaps. But towards the lunch break of course, Robert Jay QC was unto a theme of the missing girl -- little girl Madelein Mccann and effectively he was almost accusing Rebekah Brooks of blackmailing number 10 and the Home secretary.

So actually we launched a police investigation or police review and when Rebekah Brooks you know strongly refuted that allegation, Robert Jay indicated that he had -- for the evidence he might call to actually stand up this rather aggressive line of questioning.

Because Robert Jay QC rather sort of a laid back, he's rather a clever probing but settled questioner but on that one he became quite aggressive and I think Rebekah Brooks would like to take him back by that.

And I think that's another angle which will certainly interest the both cruel casting and in print media tomorrow.

STOUT: And who do you think will be under the most scrutiny as a result of today's testimony. Do you think there will be more tension on how editors in the U.K. abuse their power with politicians or --

CONNEW: No, I think --

STOUT: British politicians need to be left available to powerful editors?

CONNEW: I think Rebekah Brooks having this since morning is going to -- especially the confirmation of the fact that David Camron did discuss with James Murdoch, the (INAUDIBLE) got to be now famous Christmas dinner party Rebekah in Rebekah's Brook's home.

That of course you know echoes the evidence given to Leveson last week by James Murdoch himself but it rather embarrasses the Prime Minister who -- but earlier had indicated to parliament that he hadn't discussed it or rather if everything improper was discussed.

But I think the labor opposition will be demanding some answers from the Prime Minister because they will say he was being economical with the truth.

He should have actually volunteered the fact that it was discussed because the impression he left they will argue, was that it hadn't been discussed and obviously now both James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks have rather contradicted that stand.

So, that could be very awkward and David Cameron of course has to appear before Leveson himself in a couple of weeks time and I think he will facing some very difficult questions about that.

STOUT: That's right. The British Prime Minister now has a lot to answer for.

Paul Connew, thank you very much indeed for joining us here on NEWS STREAM.

CONNEW: Thank you.

STOUT: Now protestors are back on the street of Syria. This is a day after two suicide car bombings killed more than 50 people, wounded hundreds in the capital Damascus.

Russia has blamed Thursday's attacks on outside forces and now the joint U.N. Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan is weighing an invitation to meet again with President Bashar al Assad. Now the attack was the single deadliest incident in Syria's uprising.

Arwa Damon is following the latest from neighboring Lebanon, she joins us now from Beirut. And Arwa, the Syrian government has blamed al Qaeda and foreign bad terrorist for the attack. But what role are these militant networks playing in Syria?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well the concern Kristie is that they are increasingly playing a growing role. Now as of yet there's been no direct link established with al Qaeda, the organization itself has not claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

There have been similar bombings than the one we saw yesterday over the last five, six months. That being said though there is this growing concern that militant extremist organizations are able to capitalize on the chaos and violence that exist in Syria and establish themselves.

We're also seeing the emergence of some home-grown militant network like the Armas Rafad that has in fact claimed responsibility for the major bombing that took place in Damascus and a lepos starting from back in January and opposition activist are warning, that they might not be able to keep control over this fringe extremist element.

Even though they don't necessarily support what it is using or the means that it is using to try to topple the Assad regime. So that is the growing concern here. The conditions in Syria are ripe for militant organizations, for potential organizations like al Qaeda to come and establish themselves.

STOUT: Very worrying signs, I mean well the opposition claims that it was Damascus, it was the regime who's behind the bombings. Arwa, how possible is that?

DAMON: You know Kristie, every single time a bombing like this takes place, every single time there is violence, both sides of this increasingly polarized conflict continues to blame one another. The Syrian National Council, the political entity in exile has come out and said that it is the Assad regime that is responsible for this violence.

The head of the SNC, where handled by U.N. had said that Kofi Annan's plan at this point is in crisis. There is also various talk that the Syrian government is perhaps turning a blind eye to militant organizations allowing them to carry out these types of attacks because this most certainly does play to the Assad regime's hand.

Did help them further their arguments that there are in fact fighting these foreign bad terrorist organization. That being said, there's absolutely no clear evidence of that is in fact what is taking place. So we continue to have in Syria, this incredibly complex murky situation that they're getting both sides blaming each other for the on-going violence.

And once again, no real solution in sight.

STOUT: Arwa Damon reporting. Thank you very much indeed for that Arwa.

Now Egyptians living abroad have began voting in the country's presidential election. And yesterday, the two leading candidates faced-off in the country's first ever televised presidential debate. As Ben Wedeman reports, many people hope, it is a sign of lasting democracy.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was two older men in suits and ties talking on television. But it's something Egypt has never seen ever. A real live presidential debate.

"I never expected anything like this" says Ahmed, a personnel supervisor. Although there are 13 presidential candidates, in this, the first debate, the two front runners faced off.

Former Foreign Minister and Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Moussa, and Islamist independent Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh.

The sparks didn't fly but they did debate the economy, education, health, foreign policy, the role of Islam in society and politics for about four gruelling hours.

For decades in Egypt, presidential politics was a monologue. Seven years ago Egypt did have its first multi-candidate presidential election but it was essentially a one man show. There were no debates.

The presence of a handful of challengers mere window dressing.

(on camera): So here we have Egyptians doing something that just a few years ago they could never have even imagined of doing. They arguing about who should be the president of Egypt.

(voice-over): In a pedestrian promenade near the Cairo's Stock Exchange, hundreds fill the sidewalks watching and cheering for hours as the questions and answers kept coming.

"It's gives people the idea that freedom is coming, that there is freedom of opinions" says Sama(ph), a stock controller.

"This is new to us, it's nice," adds Ahmed. "You can breathe freedom just sitting here watching them speak their minds."

WEDEMAN: Others weren't quite so enthusiastic.

Student Mohammed came here to get a break from studying for final exams and relax over a water pipe. He blows off all the talk of democracy.

"I'm fine with the dictators as long as long as he sticks to his word. As long as he's not corrupt," he says.

The candidates have had barely a month to campaign. Their posters are now all over Cairo and other Egyptian cities. It's been rough going in Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was over-thrown but for Wai(ph), a lawyer, was a moment to save her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As opposed, I'm really proud of those who are giving an example for -- well all the states and Middle East. In our democracy, we see the candidates are debating to win every vote from the people.

WEDEMAN: What a difference a revolution can make. It's Ben Wedeman, CNN Cairo.


STOUT: Now Greece has being in political limbo since Sunday's elementary election. Now socialist leader, Evangelos Venizelos, is now the third politician to try to form a government. And as Evangelos says he wants Greece to stay in the Eurozone.

And if he can't form a government, Greece will be headed back to the polls.

Rescuers have recovered 12 bodies from the site of a plane crash in Indonesia. On Wednesday, the Russian's Sukhoi's super jet 100 carrying 45 people on the flight demonstration disappeared from radar.

It was later found on the site of Mount Salak, a volcano south of Jakarta. A Russian flight analyst says, whether conditions may have played a role in the crash.


OLEG PANTELEYEV, AVIATION ANALYST (through translator): It's a little early to come to a conclusion on the cause of the air crash. But it's no worthy that the clouds were low and the visibility was poor when the accident happened.

Besides the jet was flying over a mountain area. All of these adds to the difficulty of piloting.


STOUT: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says Russian president Vladmir Putin has offered to help in a joint investigation.

Now coming up next to you on NEWS STREAM.

What would you do to win a trip into space?

Well some people in Seattle got exactly that chance. And we'll tell you who came out on top.


STOUT: Hong Kong on a Friday night, and thank you for watching NEWS STREAM.

Now this is a well known landmark in Seattle Washington. And to mark its 50th birthday, the space Needle is giving one lucky person a ticket into space. Lindsay Cohen of our affiliate "Komo" has the story.


LINDSAY COHEN, KOMO NEWS NETWORK: It was the end of a journey at 605 feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three-two-one start.

COHEN: Two finalist, out of fifty thousand racing to win a trip into space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three-two-one lock.

COHEN: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was on-hand to help in the last two challenges including a hair racing race surrounding the outering of the Needle. But back with their feet firmly planted on the ground.

BUZZ ALDRIN, ASTRONAUT: The winner of the space race 2012, Gregory.

COHEN: The winner was announced, Gregory Schneider of Tuscon who was overtaken by emotion.

GREGORY SCHNEIDER, WINNER OF 2012 SPACE RACE: This is just really fulfilling to me. I think space flight and the more people who get to see the world from a different perspective -- the closer we can all come.

COHEN: In winning, Schneider will get to experience his own sub-orbital trip into space including five minutes weightlessness. He just finished law school, has a baby on the way and can now add astronaut for a day to his resume.

SCHNEIDER: This is truly amazing, the time of my life.

COHEN: Runner-up Sara Cook of Washington D.C. says just getting to this point was while-worth it.

SARA COOK, RUNNER-UP SPACE RACE 2012: I wasn't the one who had in fact -- it was a really incredible journey throughout this whole thing.

COHEN: An incredible journey where the winner launches into space, going where few men had gone before. In Seattle Lindsay Cohen, "Komo", foreign news.


STOUT: Congrats to the winner there and I want to bring up our own space, Mari Ramos to talk more about the story.

And more for space exploration but you know I really would not raise my hand to get a ticket to go into space, little alone climb up to the top of the space Needle to get it. But that's just me, what about you?

MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah I don't know -- you know just watching that report I got a little few butterflies in my stomach, that's pretty incredible. How they were walking around the space Needle there. I want to show you, we have a space Needle right here behind me from google earlier.

But this is actually pretty cool. You know the space Needle itself, the very top where they climbed and rang that -- sounded like a bell or something -- a 184 meters. And that platform if we can get a little closer, the platform that they were walking around, this thing right over here Kristie, 158 meters above the ground.

I know they rehearsed done everything but that's still pretty scary. Now if you're the kind of person that would like to do something like this, I was looking at the website for space and adventures, and they were saying that it says on there, this is how much it costs for a sub-orbital flight like the one that man just won.

But you can do a free flight -- in other words a gravity free flight and that would actually come up to about a $165,000 to charter the entire plane which fits about 30 guests.

So about $5000 a person, that's not too bad right? Well you know, you can (INAUDIBLE) that kind of money in a free flights, free fall a little bit. I'm catching my breath, that's pretty exciting, let's go ahead and move on and talk a little bit about some other kind of weather.

A little bit of stuff happening closer to earth here, closer to home that might be affecting you as we head into the weekend. They're still waiting for the rain here in parts of India. Especially from New Delhi, they have to get water in some of the neighborhoods through trucks like the ones that you see there.

People have the make the lines for hours at a time in some cases. New Delhi not reporting your weather right now but you temperature, but it has been again close to 40 degrees today. And those temperatures, you can see its spread all across this area.

Kristie, 38 in Karachi, 42 in Ahmadabad but so really looking at some really a harsh conditions here as we wait for the months of the rain. A little bit of a cool down compared to yesterday. Beijing, look at that, 28 yesterday, 18 today, that's significant.

We've had a weather season move through here bringing some rain showers, not too much rain for Beijing but definitely a cool down in the weather. Now we're going to see again rain and thunderstorms that are, every once in a while and some of them are going to be pretty violent.

Take a look and listen to this.

You hear that, that is the sound of hail falling on somebody's car. Never a good idea to be driving around and that can damage your car pretty badly. It's really bad for plants and crops as well. And these are pictures from Thursday from China. Just an example of the intense weather storm systems that can move through from time to time.

The bigger the hail, the more intense the storm usually but even some more hail like that can cause some serious damage.

If we come back over the weather map very quickly, I want to show you strong storms rise in this area here. We're seeing some here across south east Asia as well and also some of them right over portions of the Philippines.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast, have a good weekend.

Hey Kristie, I read that Buzz, all the ones about the ceremony where that guy won the flight into space and he said that he's afraid of heights and that even though he's been into space and back, that he would not have walked around the space Needle either. So there you go, back to you.

STOUT: He's not such a tough guy after all, you know couple of years ago where you interviewed Buzz Aldrin here in Hong Kong for "TALK ASIA", he told me even though he was the second man on the moon he was the first man to relief himself on the moon.


RAMOS: Oh gosh, well there you go.

STOUT: So I don't know if you missed that. There you go. I love the guy though, Mari Ramos, thank you, have a great weekend.

RAMOS: You're welcome, bye.

STOUT: We're sticking with weather, when NEWS STREAM returns but not as you know it. Now the heir to the British throne forecast rain for Scotland but did he prove himself a prince among weather men?


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the people of Scotland were suffering unceasinable snow on Thursday. But viewers at BBC Scotland's lunch time news bulletin had their day brightened by a very -- say at least surprise. Prince Charles stepped up to the weather map at the Glasgow's studios and he stayed as cool as the conditions he forecast.


PRINCE CHARLES, HEIR TO THE BRITISH THRONE: The best of the dryer and brighter weather will of course be able to normalize in the far north of the mainland. So a little hazy sunshine to the castle of main Cape Ness.

With cold everywhere with temperatures of just 8 Celsius with a brisk north eastly wind. Thank God it isn't a bank holiday.



STOUT: So Prince Charles, he was apparently a crowd pleaser in front of the green screen but as Jeanne Moos shows us, other famous names have not fed so well.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was anything but low pressure when the anchor tossed to the weather man by saying your highness.

CHARLES: Well it's an unsettled picture as we heard towards the end of the week.

MOOS: The weather got the royal treatment.

CHARLES: The cold wet and windy across lengths of Scotland.

MOOS: As Prince Charles delivered the lunch forecast during a tour of BBC Scotland. Instead of someone holding the umbrella for the royal, the prince was holding the button that control the weather map.

The princely meteorologist read smoothly off a teleportal with occasional add-lip as he read, he realized places where the conditions were highlighted were once frequented by the royals.

CHARLES: The potential for a few (INAUDIBLE) -- who the hell wrote this script. As the afternoon goes on.

MOOS: At least the prince knows a high from a low.

PAUL LYNDE, LATE COMEDIAN: Is the H hot or humid, it's both.


MOOS: And the prince didn't knock over any cold fronts.

LYNDE: What was that name? What does that mean?

MOOS: As late comedian Paul Lynde did when he failed in at a Toledo Ohio station back in the late 70s.

LYNDE: 26 percent centigrade, 79 Fahrenheit, 41 percent chance of --

MOOS: Nor did Prince Charles adjust his bosom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all right.

MOOS: As Snooki did when she solved --

POLIZZI: Some late snow with some -- (INAUDIBLE).

MOOS: At a New York city station, and at least the prince knew not to wear green.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the one that we can't wear --

MOOS: A color Rex(ph) have with green screen technology. When Ellen budged into a Chicago newscast, she was sort of a mimy meteorologist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well look at this area of low pressure that's behind Ellen, she's poking it very well.


ELLEN DEGENERES, COMEDIAN: The low pressure came up --

MOOS: Time, the weather dog, was ordered to his usual insults.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clouds are coming into the sky -- or poor Hawaii.


We might have clouds on those -- screw your Hawaii.

MOOS: These two playboy bunnies --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me see that tail.

MOOS: Tried to pin a tail on the regular weather man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've already helped me more than you know.


MOOS: But how do you expect English speaking Tom Hanks to do the weather, a Spanish speaking univision. They're rising and falling faster than a barometer. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


STOUT: Now we should not be surprised by Charles' poor range of forecasting. Now over the years, a future king assured himself to be a jack of all trades.

Now recently, he put his ironing skills to the test against his daughter- in-law, the duchess of Cambridge. Now Kate, was great, Charles, not so much. And if that was a flunk, well the prince can at least slum dunk or at least look very intently at a hoop.

Now to the food court, Charles, he loves his chaw, he's quite with the cheese connoisseur and there's high cheese content in this guitar strumming protocol. Now with the prince, he's not being a musician, he is hanging out with them. And as you see him here with the spice girls and if there's one thing Charles cannot do, it is to hide his disappointment -- that's sporty spice.

Is the one, wiping lipstick off his face. And that is NEWS STREAM, "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.