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Gunman Holds Four Hostages at Bank in Toulouse; Miami Heat One Win Away From Championship; Antonis Samaras to Be Sworn in as Greek Prime Minister

Aired June 20, 2012 - 08:00   ET


ANNA COREN, HOST: Hello, I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. We begin in Greece where the head of one party is announcing there is a new government.

We're also watching southern France where a gunmen is holding four people hostage.

Plus, confusion and uncertainty: conflicting reports over Hosni Mubarak's condition temporarily overshadow anger at Egypt's military rule.

And another famed footballer heads east. We'll tell you what is luring Didier Drogba to China.

After much political uncertainty, the head of the socialist PASOK Party says Greece now has a government. Well, it would be formed by three parties. New Democracy, which finished first in Sunday's parliamentary elections, third place finisher PASOK and the smaller Democratic Party of the left.

Well, the new coalition will face some tough decisions when it gets up and running. Well, our Matthew Chance joins us from Athens -- Matthew.


Within the last few minutes Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of PASOK the socialist party here in Greece and one of the main coalition parties in a would-be government, has come out and said that the conditions have been shaped for a coalition. They're now drafting the text of the coalition agreement, which of course has to be signed by all the parties.

There are cabinet issues which he said will be resolved by this evening. That's talking about what the face of the Greek cabinet would look like. It's such an unpopular government, potentially, with the economic measures it has to push through. Neither the socialist nor the Democratic Left that you mentioned when they join in the coalition with the New Democracy Party which one the biggest share of the vote in the elections on Sunday, neither of those smaller parties want any of their MPs to be cabinet members, but they intend at this point it seems merely to provide a vote of confidence for the government which will be obviously run by, led by New Democracy.

The message, said Mr. Venizelos of the PASOK Party for the international community is that Greece has a government finally. But the challenges of that government very uphill indeed. It's still obviously to be finalized with the signatures, but once it is in place and Greek media are reporting that it could be as early as this evening that the new prime minister Antonis Samaras is sworn in by the president, the challenges it will face is very steep indeed trying to implement what will be extremely difficult economic reforms and attempting at the same time to renegotiate some of the clauses of the bailout plan that's been imposed on Greece by its international creditors, to try and ease some of the hardships, some of the unemployment, some of the poverty that's being endured by Greeks.

And so, again, a very difficult situation for this incoming government to take grasp of -- Anna.

COREN: Yeah, Matthew, let's talk a little bit more about those challenges. Once this new government comes into formation obviously it will want to readdress or perhaps revisit that bailout package which of course was established during the phase of negotiations. Many feel that it was imposed upon Greece. How much bargaining power will this government have as to having some room to move?

CHANCE: Well, not a lot of bargaining power, it doesn't seem. But, you know, because European officials, particularly the German Chancellor has been pretty hard-line when it comes to insisting that Greece must stick to its financial commitments. Again, though, at the same time there have been other European officials that have appeared a bit more sympathetic to the plight of Greece, understanding that the severity of the austerity measures that the country has endured over the past several years are perhaps unsustainable

Also, the country's economy in this period of political stagnation. Since the last elections just six weeks ago, the economic position of the country has deteriorated even further, meaning that there will inevitably have to be some kind of a reexamination of the deadlines that Greece has to meet. It's already missed some of the deadlines it had committed to and so there's going to be a renegotiation of sorts at any point.

Again, you know, the incoming Greek government, though, saying to its electorate and one of the basis on which it was elected is that it will go back to Brussels and will try and get as much wiggle room from its international creditors in Europe and in the International Monetary Fund as it can, Anna.

COREN: Matthew Chance joining us from Athens, thank you.

Well, as Egypt waits to find out its next president, there are conflicting reports about the condition of its last leader. Well, the ruling military says it will announce the results of the presidential runoff election on Thursday. Well, meantime the condition of former president Hosni Mubarak remains unclear. The state news agency reported on Tuesday that the 84-year-old is clinically dead. Well, that was quickly denied by Egypt's military rulers who say Mubarak is in critical condition.

Well, across Egypt there is growing uncertainty and mounting concern that the nation's fledgling democracy is threatened. Our Ivan Watson joins us now from Cairo.

Ivan, there are two big stories playing out in Egypt, but let's first start with the deteriorating health of former president Hosni Mubarak. What do we know?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's remarkable here is we have not really gotten an update from the military rulers, no press conferences from any military doctor taking care of Hosni Mubarak in some 16 hours, which says something about the culture of secrecy and information control that officialdom here enjoys and also perhaps explains why many Egyptians are so skeptical and suspicious about their rulers and the information that comes out from them.

The last information we got were denials from the military council. That was basically in phone calls to independent generals on that council denying that Hosni Mubarak was in fact clinically dead, saying that he'd suffered a heart attack and a stroke and that he had been placed on life support. His lawyer has said that Hosni Mubarak's wife Suzanne has been able to join him at his bedside after he was moved to the Mahdi Military Hospital.

So no further updates really in more than 14 hours now. And a lot of Egyptians that we've talked to have expressed suspicion arguing that this is some kind of a smoke screen, that the authorities are crying wolf, that they're trying to divert attention from the very real and serious questions about Egypt's future political system that are far from resolved right now -- Anna.

COREN: Yeah, well Ivan let's talk more about that, the disputed election results which both parties are claiming victory. We should know the official results by Thursday.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets overnight to protest the military's new powers. Are we likely to see more anger today?

WATSON: Those were -- the protests we saw in Tahrir last night were mostly Muslim Brotherhood supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate for president Mohammed Morsi. And they protested peacefully and dispersed by around 3:00 in the morning. Morsi, of course, is claiming victory in the election. We haven't gotten official results, but state media have reported results similar to the Morsi campaign projecting that he won 52 percent of the vote.

And now a group of independent judges who oversaw the elections have published their unofficial projections, also predicting that he has won the election. That is still being disputed by the Ahmed Shafik campaign who claim that he has gotten 51 percent of the vote. Hopefully there will be some kind of an answer on Thursday about who, in fact, won this election.

But the battle lines have been drawn now between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military council over what powers the president will have and whether or not Parliament was in fact dissolved by a court order last week. The Muslim Brotherhood, of course arguing no, parliament should not have been dissolved. And also arguing that the military council should not have grabbed additional executive powers that it allotted to itself in a decree Sunday night as the votes for president were still being counted - - Anna.

COREN: Ivan Watson joining us from Cairo. Many thanks.

Well, it was a city that just months ago witnessed shootings that shocked the world. Well, now there is a hostage situation at a bank in Toulouse in France. Well, four people are being held. And police tell CNN the gunmen claims to be a member of al Qaeda.

Well, let's go straight to France for the very latest. Our Jim Bittermann is in the capital. Jim, what do we know?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anna, that hostage situation is still going on. Two elite teams of hostage negotiators, one from Bordeaux and one from Marseilles, were helicoptered into Toulouse just a short while ago. And they're waiting to establish contact with the hostage taker.

Apparently this started as an armed robbery in a bank that went badly wrong. According to one report, the gunmen went into the bank, demanded money, demanded cash, and when he didn't get it, fired a shot in the air and then took the hostages which include the bank's director and three employees.

And of course, what set everybody on edge here is that Toulouse as you mentioned was the -- it was the scene of a really bloody shootout over the last couple of months. Back in March, there were seven people killed, including three soldiers, three children and a school teacher by a guy named Mohammed Merah. And then Merah himself was killed in a police shootout. And during the three week period when those shootings were occurring, in fact people were really on edge in Toulouse, because they didn't know where the gunman was going to strike next. And now we have this situation developing once again.

And the police have evacuated a nearby school, that's nearby by this bank branch where the hostage takers -- taker is in action. And he's also -- the local businesses have also been evacuated, sealed off the neighborhood. So I think it really has added to the sort of nervousness down there -- Anna?

COREN: Jim, this hostage taker, as you say, claims to have links to al Qaeda. There are also reports the he wanted to speak to the police that shot Mohammed Merah back in March. After Mohammed Merah's death, there was an investigation into whether he had any accomplices in the death of those seven people that you mentioned. Are people drawing any links to this hostage taker?

BITTERMANN: That's the natural tendency, because this is all taking place today just a few hundred yards from Mohammed Merah's house. And the brother of Mohammed Merah is still in jail in connection with the kind of links he might have had with his brother's actions back in March so I think there is -- there are some links being made I think for that reason the police are taking it very seriously, more seriously than it might have for just a normal armed robbery gone wrong.

So I think they are taking it very seriously because there's a feeling this may be connected to something larger, but we really don't know yet until the negotiators get into action and start talking to this gunmen, they really won't -- we won't have an idea of exactly what the situation is.

COREN: Jim Bittermann in Paris, thank you for that update.

Well, still ahead on News Stream, as the company at the center of Japan's nuclear crisis admits its failings, the people of the evacuation zone continue to count the cost of the disaster.

Well, the U.S. State Department releases its latest report into human trafficking and estimates that tens of millions are still enslaved around the world.

And striker Didier Drogba makes his move from Chelsea to China official.


COREN: Well, the company at the heart of Japan's nuclear crisis has admitted it wasn't prepared for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Well, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO as its known, has released its final report into the catastrophe that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people close to the stricken power station.

Well, TEPCO says it failed in three key areas after the event. It admits it was slow to disclose plant data, largely due to the concurrent power outage. It says other vital information was withheld from the public, but it wasn't its intention to hide that information. Well finally, TEPCO says its decision not to use the word meltdown could have given people the impression that the problem was smaller than what it actually was.


MASAO YAMAZAKI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TEPCO (through translator): There are opinions pointing out that we took too much time before disclosing information. We've been hiding the necessary information and that we have been trying to give less serious impression about the situation by not admitting the occurrence of meltdown. We have all reasons for these points, however we recognize these points should be improved.


COREN: Well, the human impact of the nuclear disaster goes far beyond the risk of radiation. The upheaval caused by displacement has traumatized many in the shadow of Fukushima. A spate of suicides has only deepened the crisis as Kyung Lah reports.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mikio Watanabe (ph) returns home to the house of his dreams and of his nightmares.

"I can still see it in my eyes," he says. His wife of nearly 40 years on fire. "Her legs and this part of her body was still on fire," he says. "I tried to put it out. I burned my hands. But her body was already stiff."

Hamako Watanabe (ph) had doused herself in kerosene and lit herself on fire, her husband too far away to react in time.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster changed everything says Watanabe. The triple meltdown last year rained radiation down on their home and their community forcing them into an evacuation center. Their jobs lost. The home where they raised their three children only safe for a brief visit.

The happy and loving grandmother changed. The joyful person Watanabe met in elementary school became unrecognizable in a deep depression. Before her suicide, she begged her husband for one last visit for their land.

"We lost everything," he says. "We were forced to evacuate. We lost our jobs. I lost my wife in such a terrible way. I really lost everything. I feel an unspeakable rage. If I don't do something my wife is just another suicide case."

Who do you blame for this?

"If there was no nuclear accident we wouldn't have gone through this terrible thing," he says. "This is TEPCO's fault."

In a landmark case, Watanabe is suing TEPCO, the owner of the crippled plant, blaming the utility for his wife's suicide. Watanabe hopes his lawsuit will push TEPCO and the government to stop treating the nuclear accident like it's a natural disaster, instead compensating and treating victims for a man-made accident.

TEPCO says in a statement to CNN that it will not comment on lawsuits filed against the company.

TEPCO is continuing to clean up the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, working with the government to decontaminate the surrounding community. It's a massive effort, impacting a huge region 10 times the size of Manhattan Island with more than 160,000 evacuees. Acre by acre, crews bag soil contaminated with radiation.

This is hardly a sign of hope. Evacuees have no real time line, no real answers as to when it will ever be safe to live here again. That sense of hopelessness is what Watanabe says drove his wife to commit suicide. He and his attorney believe what happened to her is just the tip of the iceberg.

"Watanabe's case is very symbolic," says his attorney. "All of Fukushima feels the same way. Their despair and their anger that they have no foreseeable future stands behind this case."

There have been a dozen high profile suicides among evacuees since the nuclear disaster. But no one is officially keeping track of how many evacuees are killing themselves or how many families are struggling with this loss.

Watanabe continues to visit his home at least twice a week, walking amid memories and filled with regret. He refuses to carry one more, that his wife's suicide is ignored.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tawamata, Japan.


COREN: Well, one person is dead and at least 44 have been injured after parts of western Japan were hit by a powerful tropical storm. The Japan Meteorological Agency says evacuation orders were issued for more than 150,000 people in other parts of the country as the storm known as Guchol progress. It was a typhoon before making landfall.

We'll have much more on that typhoon in our check of the weather. Also ahead, not every country is equal when it comes to fighting modern day slavery. Find out which nations are getting high marks and which ones are getting a failing grade.


COREN: The CNN Freedom Project has been shining a spotlight on the effort in modern day slavery. And a U.S. government official says that is helping to raise awareness about the issue. In Washington on Tuesday, the State Department issued its annual trafficking in persons report. It estimates 27 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. And U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says governments need to do more to enforce laws against trafficking.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: These victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys, and their stories remind us of what kind of inhumane treatment we are still capable of as human beings.


COREN: Well, here you can see the world color coded by the rankings of each nation in 2012. Each country is put into one of four categories. And let's break it down.

Well, tier one countries are making efforts to combat slavery and meet minimum standards. Well, they include the U.S., Canada, Colombia, Nicaragua, most of Europe, Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia.

Well, the light blue countries are tier two. Most of Latin America, parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The State Department says they are not yet in full compliance, but are making serious efforts.

Well, the tier two watch countries are in yellow. They include parts of Africa, south and central Asia, and Russia and China. Well, these countries pose some reasons for concern such as the number of victims may be increasing, or there may be a lack of new evidence that the country is making good efforts.

Well, the tier three countries are in red, as you can see there. They include nine African nations, Cuba, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Iran, and the newest nation added to the list Syria. Well, the U.S. State Department says they are not complying and they're making no efforts to do so.

Well, Hala Gorani spoke to the U.S. ambassador who was leading efforts to monitor and fight human trafficking.


LUIS CDEBACA, U.S. AMBASSADOR: The trends we've been able to identify, though, is that there's more victims being identified worldwide. Almost a 30 percent increase from this last year to this year. We think that that's not because there's more victims, we think there's more political will, awareness, people are seeing the CNN International, the Freedom Project. Folks are working on this at the higher level in governments.

And, you know, what we think is happening out there...

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So how do you measure success? I mean, if because there's more awareness then more victims are sort of identified and people talk about it more readily and combat it maybe more effectively, then how do you measure whether or not you're being successful?

CDEBACA: Well, I think right now we're at the stage where we measure success by that increase in victims being identified. It's not going down, because we don't have the baseline yet. To me, I measure success by some of the countries that have had their first ever slavery prosecution. Brunei this year, the first time they've ever prosecuted somebody for forced labor.


COREN: That was U.S. Ambassador Luis Cdebaca speaking to Hala Gorani.

Well, you can share your thoughts on the fight against modern day slavery on our website, that's all at

Well, still ahead on News Stream, despite the violence continuing in Syria, United Nations says it's determined to remain.

And power problems, what now for Pakistan after the sacking of the country's prime minister. We'll take a close look.


COREN: Welcome back. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. You are watching News Stream. These are your world headlines

Greek television is reporting Antonis Samaras will be sworn in as the new prime minister in just half an hour's time. The new coalition government will include his New Democracy Party, the first place finisher in Sunday's parliamentary elections. Well, PASOK and the much smaller Democratic Party of the Left. The new government will have to tackle the difficult issue surrounding the bailout, the controversial austerity measures.

A gunman is holding four people hostage at a bank in the French city of Toulouse. Well, police tell CNN the gunman claims to be a member of al Qaeda. They say it appears to be an armed robbery that went wrong. And nearby residents have said police have told them to stay inside and keep their doors locked.

There are conflicting reports on the condition of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The state run Middle East News Agency reported on Tuesday that 84-year-old Mubarak is clinically dead, but a general and Mubarak's lawyer both say Mubarak is in a critical condition.

Afghan officials say a suicide bomber on a motorbike targeted a NATO- Afghan security patrol in eastern Afghanistan. They say the attack killed at least 11 people in Kos province (ph). 15 people were injured in the blast.

Despite escalating violence in Syria, the head of the UN supervision mission there says UN observers will stay in the country for now. Well, UN patrols and activities have been suspended since Saturday as unrest continues to surge across Syria. Opposition activists say fresh killing has killed dozens of people on Wednesday.

Well, Russia has said it supports the UN's peace plan for Syria, but it has come under criticism for supplying the Syrian regime with weapons. Well, now Moscow is firing back at claims. Russian President Vladimir Putin issuing his stance on the Syrian regime.

Well, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Mr. Putin indicated at the just wrapped G20 summit that Syrian President Bashar al- Assad should not remain in power. However, (inaudible) quotes Russia's foreign minister as saying Mr. Cameron's claim does not correspond to reality.

Mr. Putin himself told reporters that it is up to the Syrian people and no one else to determine their country's future.

Let's go to Arwa Damon in Beirut, Lebanon for more on the latest developments on Syria -- Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anna, it most certainly is a country that grows more violent by the day. Opposition activists reporting at least 34 deaths, the bulk of those happening in a Damascus suburb, while the Syrian observers worry for human rights is saying that at least 28 members of the Syrian security forces were killed after fierce gun battles between them and members of the Free Syrian Army, the rebel fighting force. The bulk of those casualties happening in the coastal city of Latakia when elements of this rebel fighting force attacked a military base.

And while global powers continue to try to debate and find resolution to the crisis, there is one young man amidst all of this who is trying to help out whichever way he can.


DAMON: 24-year-old Peter Kassig is hardly who you would expect to find within these walls. A former army ranger, also certified as an emergency medical technician, treating wounded Syrians as a volunteer at a hospital across the border in Tripoli, Lebanon.

PETER KASSIG, AMERICAN VOLUNTEER: There is this impression just to leave, that there is no hope, you know. That's when it's more important than ever that we come in against all odds and try to do something.

DAMON: It was soul searching that led him here.

Peter joined the military in 2006, briefly deployed to Iraq with the Rangers in '07, was honorably discharged for medical reasons.

He went to college as a political science major, but couldn't shake the degree of separation he felt from his peers.

KASSIG: We each get one life and that's it. You get one shot at this. We don't get any do-overs, you know. And like for me it was kind of put up or shut up. The way I thought I didn't have a choice, you know, like this is what I was put here to do.

I guess I'm just a helpless romantic and I'm an idealist. And I believe in hopeless causes.

DAMON: So this past spring break he packed his medical kit and headed for Lebanon.

KASSIG: I got you. I got you.

OK, I'm not doctor. I'm not a surgeon. I'm not a nurse. But I'm a guy that can help, like, clean up bandages, help clean up patients, like swap out bandages, you know, help run IVs, make people's like quality of life a little bit better.

DAMON: Despite the initial cultural shock and ongoing language barrier, he's bonded with those he works with. Mostly, Syrian refugees, doctors and nurses who were forced to flee their homeland and are now treating their countrymen in Lebanon.

Peter says that in Iraq he was spared the worst of war's horror, only to find it here. Some of those they treat are rebel fighters, others the innocent victims of a spiraling conflict.

Lulea (ph) says she and her three children were run over by a military jeep as they were escaping from their besieged village. She ended up with a crushed spinal cord and has only just now started to regain feeling.

It's been quite difficult for Lulea (ph) to talk about this. She's obviously very emotional and in tears right now, but she was saying that all she wants is to be able to hold her children in her arms once again and to be able to walk and hold them and go back to her country.

In another room, Yasmin (ph) smiles devilishly as she says she's seven. She's actually five. She and her family were fleeing the fighting when their vehicle was fired on, her older siblings who stay off camera say. Yasmin (ph) got hit. She suffered bullet wounds in both of her little legs.

"It just itches," she says still grinning.

This type of exposure to what was an alien conflict has utterly changed Peter.

KASSIG: We have to think about the reasons why as a country we chose to help certain people and not others. We have to think about why we just chalk the Middle East up to like this complex enigma that, you know, we'll just never understand because they're so different from us. But at the end of the day, they're like really not.

DAMON: Madwan (ph), a nurse from Homs hopes that what Americans will finally understand.

"We are not what the regime says we are, terrorists and al Qaeda," Madwan (ph) explains. "Peter knows we are good people who love joking and laughter. We just want to live."

Taking a break in the room where they all sleep, Peter says, America needs to rediscover its humanity.

KASSIG: Decide for yourselves, like you're seeing it like this is real, you know. It's scary stuff, you know, and it's sad what's happening to people here. Sometimes you've got to take a stand, you know. Like you've got to draw a line somewhere.


DAMON: It is, of course, taking that stand that has not only Syria so heavily polarized and divided, but the international community as well. And as we do continue to report every single day, the victims continue to mostly be the innocent civilians caught in the middle of all of this, Anna.

COREN: Certainly a tragic situation. Arwa Damon joining us from Beirut, thank you.

Well, let's now turn to western Myanmar. As many as 90,000 people have been forced to leave their homes due to violence. Well, that is according to the World Food Program. Demonstrations have taken place outside the UN headquarters in New York to raise awareness of the unrest which has recently flared up between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar. The World Food Program has managed to reach 66,000 displaced people in the past week, but poor transportation is making access difficult.

Well, outside the country, Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is being honored for her work for peace. Well, she is continuing her tour of England. Suu Kyi received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater Oxford University on Wednesday. It had originally been awarded to her back in 1993.

On Thursday, she will address both houses of the British Parliament.

Well, Pakistan's national assembly is set to elect a new prime minister on Friday. Yousef Raza Gilani was ousted after Pakistan's supreme court ruled he was ineligible because of contempt charges.

Well, Reza Sayah has been speaking to three high profile Pakistanis to help explain a complicated political situation.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pakistan's supreme court sacked Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani. What does this mean for the future of this country? To make sense of all this, to sort things out, we've set up cross talk Pakistan with some of the most prominent names in this country.

Hamid Mir may be the most famous anchor here in Pakistan. Naveed Chaudhry and aid to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. Dr. Ayesha Saddiqa prominent author and analyst.

Let's start with you Mr. Chaudhry, Mr. Gilani was a member of your party. Do you dispute that this was a huge blow to your political party?

NAVEED CHAUDHRY, PRESIDENTIAL AIDE: It is, but it is a good judgment. You see we've considered the judgment as a political judgment, it's not a legal judgment for us.

SAYAH: Mr. Gilani refused to follow the supreme court's orders to reopen old corruption charges against Mr. Zardari. Did the prime minister take the fall for a president many thought should be charged with a crime?

AYESHA SADDIQA, AUTHOR AND POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, as a party man he stood by the party which is important. But I think predominantly the party did not want symbolically -- even symbolically to want to touch this issue.

SAYAH: There's no love lost between the judiciary and the civilian government. Was this decision justified or was it politically motivated?

HAMID MIR, TV NEWS ANCHOR: Yousef Raza Gilani, he was following the instructions of his party. He was not behaving as the prime minister of the country. And I think that it's a great day in the history of Pakistan the supreme court have established the rule of law. One party is not supreme in this country.

SAYAH: Was this a great day, or was this decision politically motivated?

CHAUDHRY: No. It's a politically motivated decision.

SAYAH: The ruling by the supreme court, justified or politically motivated?

SADDIQA: There are both arguments here.

SAYAH: Which one do you make?

SADDIQA: There seems to be this friction between the judiciary and the government. And that perception will persist.

SAYAH: The fact remains that the Pakistan People's Party still dominates parliament. Nothing changes, Hamid Mir, does it?

MIR: It's not easy for Pakistan People's Party to appoint a new prime minister right now.

SAYAH: So you're saying the sharks are circling, that some political parties that are partners with the Pakistan People's Part, you're going to take advantage of this and exploit it possibly?

MIR: Because they have the full right, because they are a political party and they're going to contest the election.

SAYAH: Is this Pakistan's version of democracy at work? Or is this the same old clash of institutions while the entire country is suffering.

CHAUDHRY: (inaudible) way. How they are (inaudible)

SADDIQA: I do think that it is a clash of institutions.

SAYAH: Does it help the country or not?

SADDIQA: It doesn't. Pakistan is a democracy in transition. And we are seeing today reflects those deep structural imbalances.

SAYAH: Here's what everyone outside of Pakistan wants to know. What's better Pakistan today or Pakistan in 2008 when the civilian government took over?

CHAUDHRY: There's no doubt that Pakistan is better, because we are in the transition of a democracy.

MIR: Here we have a supreme court which is independent.

SADDIQA: It still a weak democracy and a democracy in transition with numerous problems looking at it.

SAYAH: Two of our speakers say Pakistan on the right track, the third says the jury is still out. Important days here with Pakistan. As usual lots of drama with a lot at stake.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.


COREN: Still to come on News Stream, in hot water: asylum seeking WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could face arrest. We'll have those details next.


COREN: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has made a bold move to stop his extradition to Sweden. He is at the Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking political asylum. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning into an investigation into alleged sexual assault. Well, you'll remember last week Britain's top court dismissed an application seeking to reopen his appeal, curbing his options through the court system.

But according to London police, Assange's latest move means he could face arrest. With more on this story, we're now joined by Nima Elbagir in London.

Nima, this would seem the latest twist in an ongoing saga.

NIMA ELGABIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yeah, it's been an absolute marathon of a torturous legal process. And this came completely out of left field. We had even some of Assange's closest supporters saying that this was a completely unexpected move.

The final avenue that was available to Julian Assange was to take it to the highest European court, the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg to see if they could overturn the UK supreme courts decision. But clearly Assange and his team didn't fancy their chances with that one. And he walks into, as we understand it, the Ecuadorian embassy around just after midday here local time and has now spent the night in the embassy.

And that is really the crux of his current issue with the British police force. By spending the night out of the residence that was registered on his bail application, he has now breached his bail application by not being present at that registered address, Anna.

COREN: Nima, as you say he is at the Ecuadorian embassy. I think many people are asking why is he seeking asylum in Ecuador?

ELBAGIR: well, the Ecuadorian president is famous for being a left- win populist, for having some pretty anti-U.S. sentiments which we saw when he was a guest on Assange's television show last month on Russia Today. President Correa seemed very sympathetic at what Assange calls his legal ordeal.

And this is a question now that's being asked, was Assange given any sign that he would be welcome, that his asylum application would be successful, because we have had prior form on this before. Back in 2010 Julian Assange said that he'd been offered residency in Ecuador at the beginning of his legal problems. CNN was then told by the Ecuadorian government that actually this was a personal invitation rather than an official one from the Ecuadorian president. So now really that's what we're waiting to find out.

What is clear, though, is that this has become a real diplomatic impasse. We're expecting the Ecuadorian ambassador to visit the British foreign office later today and formally inform them of everything that's happened since Assange arrived at the embassy, Anna.

COREN: Yeah, it really is quite extraordinary. And apparently Ecuadorian officials are seriously considering his application for asylum.

Nima Elbagir joining us from London. Many thanks for that.

Well, just under two weeks ago Euro 2012 kicked off with 16 nations competing for the title. Now, only eight are left. Well, let's join Alex Thomas in London for the very latest. Hello, Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Hi, Anna. England and France have claimed the final two places in the European Football Championship quarterfinals. Although both countries were expected to qualify there were a few surprises on the fight -- there were a few surprises on the final night of Group D games. And we're going to explain more by looking at these in closer detail.

Wayne Rooney: on his return after a two game suspension, the Manchester United star scoring the only goal for England against Ukraine in a 1-0 victory. While the Ukraine were aggrieved over a goal that wasn't given, more on that in a second.

Slightly more straightforward in the other Group D match were Sweden were surprise 2-0 winners over France. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sebastian Larsson with the goals there, which leaves as we showed you a bit earlier in Group D, England as group winners now on seven points ahead of France and Ukraine just missing. Both co-hosts now out.

That means that we have a knockout stage in the quarterfinals looking a bit like this with the Czech Republic and Portugal going head to head tomorrow in Warsaw followed by Germany against Greece, the so-called battle of the bailout, some behind the scenes political intrigue surrounding that one. They want to play each other more than this touchscreen wants to work I can assure you. That's happening the 22nd of June in Gdansk. Followed of course by Spain against France. Now that will be a blockbuster contest in Donetsk on Saturday. And England thought they would have been facing the defending European champions Spain, instead they're up against Italy another clash of two European giants taking place on Sunday in Kiev.

So as we say neither of the host countries through to the knockout stage.

There was a sense of outrage from Ukraine, though, after they had a goal disallowed against England when the match officials didn't spot the ball across the line. In fact, there had been an offside earlier in the buildup, but it certainly brought the issue of goalline technology back to the fore. Although Euro 2012 organizers UEFA are against using video replays, the head of football's world governing body Sepp Blatter admitted on Twitter today, "after last night's match, goalline technology is no longer an alternative, but a necessity."

Turning away from football for a moment and the Miami Heat are one win away from their first NBA championship since 2006. They've taken a 3-1 lead in their best of seven series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook had a huge game for the Thunder on Tuesday night. This driving layup part of a whopping 43 points in the game.

But Oklahoma couldn't match Miami's all around performance. Mario Chalmers chipping in with 25 points, the same as Dwayne Wade. LeBron James had 26 points, the crucial one coming in the dying seconds. Westbrook fouling Chalmers who then goes on to make both of his free throws and allow Miami to win 104-98.

The Heat can seal the title in game 5 on Thursday.

Now let's go back to the touchscreen, a bit of fun trickery for you -- not trickery, trippery, really, but to illustrate the Chelsea's UEFA Champion's League hero Didier Drogba has become the latest global football star to move over there to China. He's joined Chinese superleague club Shanghai Shenhua. They've signed the Ivory Coast international on a two- and-a-half year deal contract reported to be worth around $15 million a year. I'm sure that wasn't the main reason, Anna, why he made the move. Back to you in Hong Kong.

COREN: I just want to very quickly say I'm glad it's not just me that has misbehaving touchscreens. I'm in good company. Thank you. Alex Thomas joining us from London.

Many people see pictures in the stars, but what about on another planet? Even NASA says that crater on Mercury resembles a famous cartoon mouse.


COREN: Welcome back.

Let's get a check of the weather with our Mari Ramos who is keeping her eye on this typhoon over Japan. Hello, Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hello. Yes. You know, this is the storm I told you about yesterday -- actually we've been talking about it pretty much all week. It was a typhoon it made landfall in Japan. The storm has since weakened and it made landfall as a tropical storm, Anna.

And it gets kind of confusing sometimes, but I do want to show you that today compared to yesterday now that the storm has moved on. Much, much better weather. The winds slight generally in Tokyo. At this time yesterday they were gusting to more than 70 kilometers per hour.

We have some pictures to show you from Japan overall. And you know, when the winds are this strong -- we saw winds in excess of 130 kilometers per hour at some of those outlying islands there just even near Tokyo, you know, an umbrella is not going to be much help to keep you cool -- keep you dry, I should say.

The streets were deserted for the most part across the region, because the rain was so heavy, especially at night. Bullet trains and some other modes of transportation were suspended, other commuter trains were suspended as a precaution more than anything because of the strong winds and because of the heavy rain associated with this weather system.

We had heavy rain all up and down Honshu. Even Tokyo had 70 millimeters of rain. Sendai farther to the north, they had a month's worth of rain in just a period of 24 hours. So pretty significant rainfall.

You can see that now looking at much drier conditions across the area, but a lot of heavy rain beginning to approach. You know what that is? That's the next tropical system that's going to affect pretty much the same general area.

We're talking about this other tropical storm that has formed. Now this is Tropical Storm Talim. It's pretty disorganized. And a lot of the moisture getting pulled northward along this boundary here. This is a picture from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. And the rainfall here has been tremendous. Look at the size of those waves. I can't believe people are still on the beach. You can see those high rocks that are trying to protect the coastline. But Kaohsiung had in 48 hours, in two days, over 200 millimeters of rain, Hainan 145. Over the mountains, it was even more than that. So it's pretty significant stuff here. The storm is right over the water right now, over Taiwan. I do want to show you right over here -- we don't have that -- but anyway, the rain has been very heavy here. We're expecting the storm to continue trailing northward and then eventually even get closer to Japan as we head into maybe the next 24 to 48 hours.

Back to you.

COREN: All right, Mari. Good to see you. Thank you for that.

Well, people around the world know Mickey Mouse and his pal Pluto, but now the cartoon character is linked to Mercury as Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even other planets have mice, or at least a certain mouse.

What do you see?


MOOS: It is a photo of Mercury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it looks like Mickey Mouse. See with the ears.

MOOS: The planet closest to the sun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see Mickey Mouse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Mickey Mouse with the ears.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like Mickey Mouse.

MOOS: Maybe it's something else it could be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, Photoshopped.

MOOS: Definitely not.

This is a NASA photograph taken by its Messenger Mission spacecraft showing.

DAVID BLEWETT, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Three impact craters on Mercury's service.

MOOS: The larger one forming Mickey's face is 65 miles across.

BLEWETT: The effect of the mouse ears is enhanced because of the shadows in the craters.

MOOS: Actually, it wasn't a leader, but a summer intern working on the Messenger Mission who first noticed Mickey's image in the craters.

There's a name for seeing a pattern where none really exists.


MOOS: There's a man on the moon, a mouse on Mercury and an elephant on Mars?

An elephant shape formed by lava flowing on the red planet.

It's a stretch to us, but some saw this shape as a mermaid on Mars. The most famous Martian face had the most believers, until it was discredited by even better images.

And check out Big Bird formed by the dark spots in the suns corona. NASA even put out a helpful side by side image.

Remember when Mork, the alien on the Mork and Mindy show offered interplanetary travel advice.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Oh, don't ever go to Pluto. It's a Mickey Mouse planet.

MOOS: It turns out Mercury is the Mickey Mouse planet, inspiring puny headlines, "Mickey on Mercury? That's Goofy."

Do you think Disney is colonizing Mercury?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they would if they could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Disney might want to claim copyright infringement on that.

MOOS: Hey, Disney might as well milk it. After all, Disney bought Mickey Moo, a cow born with Mickey's silhouette on his. And this cow has Mickey on his head. So if you see Mickey on Mercury? Join the club.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COREN: That does it for us here at News Stream. Thanks for your company. World Business Today is coming up next.