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Syrian Government Now Blames Foreign Media For Inciting Sectarian Violence; Egyptians Protest As Presidential Results Delayed; Greek Fans: Win Against Germany Bigger Than Sport
Aired June 21, 2012 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNA COREN, HOST: Hello, I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
We begin in Egypt where tensions escalating amid a delay in election results. We'll take you live to Cairo.
Plus, after a decades wait for justice, victims of accused bomb maker Umar Patek are spending hours listening to his verdict.
And Uganda debates harsher penalties for gay people and banned groups that says are promoting homosexuality.
Well, we had expected to hear official results from Egypt's hotly contested presidential election today, but the country's election commission has now delayed that announcement for what one official says will be a day or two. Well, that is certain to raise tensions in a country that is already on edge.
Well, you are looking at pictures from Cairo's Tahrir Square a bit earlier on Thursday as supporters of both presidential candidates have been gathering daily.
Well, each side accuses the other of voting irregularities. A recent move by the ruling military council that had curbed the incoming president's powers while increasing its own is only adding to the anxiety.
Let's go straight to Cairo where Ben Wedeman joins us with the latest -- Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anna. According to the presidential election committee there are 400 complaints that they've received from both campaigns, the campaign of Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister. So they need to investigate all those 400 complaints before they can make the announcement. Of course as you said, today was supposed to be the big day, but now we don't know, they've said, until further notice. So it could be a day, it could be two, could be three.
In the meantime, the Muslim Brotherhood has organized an open ended sit-in in Tahrir Square to protest against the constitutional court's overturning, or rather ruling whereby the parliament was dissolved. The Muslim Brotherhood also wants the justice ministry to reverse a decision whereby the military is given basic police powers allowing the military intelligence and the military police ot arrest, detain, and interrogate civilian suspects.
Last night there was a very large crowd in Tahrir, probably -- Tahrir Square, probably the largset crowd we've seen in quite some time there. So all the elements are there for quite a lot of tension and potentially a serious showdown between the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which had said last November that it would hand over full power to a civilian government by the beginning of July -- Anna.
COREN: Ben, the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, they've really been fighting for decades so I guess this is only going to play out. Tell us, people on the streets, are they cynical about this delay?
WEDEMAN: More than anything they're concerned. I mean, if you look at the Cairo stock market it has been dropping now for a week. Yesterday falling by 4 percent. The Egyptian pound is at its lowest level in years against the American dollar. There is a sense that this country is sort of starting to get a bit out of control in terms of simply the standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military council.
So people are seriously concerned. We know that for instance expats have been told in many cases to leave the country temporarily until the situation calms down. There is a sense that immediate future is looking rather murky, Anna?
COREN: Ben Wedeman joining us from Cairo. Many thank you for that.
Well, now to Indonesia where a court has resumed delivering the verdict in the terrorism trial of Umar Patek for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings. Well, more than 200 people were killed in the explosions in two night clubs on the Indonesian island. Well, most of the victims were tourists including 88 Australians.
Well, the reading of the verdict has already been going on for several hours as five judges take turns reading from a 270 page document. Well, Patek is charged with premeditated murder for his role in the Bali bombings as well as helping build bombs for a series of attacks on Christmas Eve in 2000. Well, he spent almost a decade on the run before being caught in Pakistan last year.
Well, one of the people who testified at the trial is Australian Peter Hughes, a survivor of the bombings. Well, he remembers vividly the events of that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER HUGHES, TESTIFIED AT TRIAL OF UMAR PATEK: You're out and about having with your friends and you're walking into a bar, a night club just to have a couple of quiet drinks with a few of your friends and before you know something goes off behind the bar and it happens to be a suicide bomber. And as you get out the car bomb goes off and it was chaos. And, you know, I wouldn't wish that on anybody, but it was tough work to push through and to see a lot of people that were -- you know, just crying for help and not being able to do anything very quickly was heartbreaking. And I kind of wish that it never happened, but obviously it didn't. And it's a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, Hughes suffered from severe injuries and burns in the blast and fell into a month long coma.
Well, a ship has capsized off Australia's Christmas Island, some 200 people believed to be asylum speakers no board. But authorities say many may have got on illegally, making the numbers unclear.
Both Australia and Indonesia have dispatched rescue vessels to help recover some items.
Well, turning now to Syria, dozens more people are killed in clashes. Aid agencies say hundreds of civilians are trapped in their communities, many of them sick or injured and lacking basic provisions.
Well, the International Committee of the Red Cross is demanding unhindered access to one such community, the old city of Homs. Well, despite assurances from the Syrian government and opposition forces, it is still waiting. Well, the organization says fighting continues in several of the city's neighborhoods. And opposition groups report more fatalities there.
Well, Arwa Damon is monitoring events across the border in Lebanon. Arwa, before we get to the violence, there are reports that a Syrian fighter pilot has defected to Jordan. What do we know?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anna. According to the official Jordanian news agency, this fighter pilot requested an emergency landing. And upon landing in one of Jordan's military airports then asked for asylum. This all happening at around 10:45 in the morning.
The Syrian Arab news agency was in fact reporting that it lost communication with this particular fighter pilot around that time as well. So this most certainly is the first time that we are seeing this type of a defection at this stage, Anna.
COREN: Arwa, as we were mentioning in the introduction, more violence. What is the latest?
DAMON: Well, according to one of the opposition activist groups there are at least 60 people who have been killed today. A lot of those casualties happening in the southern province of Daraa there are reports of yet another massacre taking place in that province that killed, according to the local coordination committees, at least 18 people. There are reports of more casualties in Homs. We were talking about Homs earlier there as well.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent have both been trying to access neighborhoods in that area. They have received assurances from the government and from opposition fighters that there would be some sort of a lull in the violence, a pause in the fighting that would allow for the evacuation of civilians, but that has not yet materialized at this stage.
COREN: Arwa, of course one of the main problems in determining the truth about what is happening in Homs is the ongoing restrictions on foreign journalists entering Syria. But speaking on Russia today, and I want you to take a listen to this, President al-Assad's media adviser claim those restrictions do not exist and she said foreign media has actually exacerbated the violence. Here, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOUTHAINA SHAABAN, BASHAR AL-ASSAD'S POLITIACL AND MEDIA ADVISER: There are tens at least of satellite (inaudible), who made themselves part of the war on Syria, inciting sectarian wars, fabricating facts about what's happening in our country. And unfortunately now media is very important in the lives of people. Not everybody can go to Syria to see the truth for themselves, they have to rely on media and that leaves a lot to be desired, the coverage of Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, CNN is certainly one organization that is covering the story every single day. Our Arwa Damon has been inside Syria.
Arwa, what do you make of these accusations?
DAMON: Well, these are accusations that the government has in fact been leveling since the onset of this uprising, blaming foreign media, blaming especially the pan-Arab networks for allegedly inciting the violence. These allegations are pretty much entirely baseless. We, for example at CNN have been trying to apply for visas to gain access to Syria. We have not been granted visas since January.
The government has been allowing access to some media organizations, but effectively cherry picks who it is going to let in for how long and does continue to a certain degree to try to control access and movements of organizations that are allowed inside the country.
There is much to be said for the fact that it is incredibly difficult to determine exactly what is transpiring and one cannot be allowed into a certain area when you cannot see for yourself exactly what is taking place. And that most certainly does bode quite a challenge for those of us who are trying to cover this story, but the Syrian government has always continuously blamed foreign media and blamed foreign backed terrorist organizations for the uprising. This is not really anything new that we're hearing.
COREN: Arwa Damon, as always, we thank you for your reporting.
Well, still to come on News Stream, nerves are rattled in Toulouse, France after a gunman took hostages at bank. We'll tell you how the standoff ended.
Greece and Germany have had their battles lately, but who will emerge victorious when the tension plays out on the football pitch?
And where next for Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder is seeking asylum in Ecuador, but British police and Sweden's prosecutors have other ideas.
COREN: Well a siege at a bank in the French city of Toulouse ended Wednesday after the gunmen was wounded and his hostages were set free. Well, police say the suspect held four people several hours before attempting to fire at officers. It happened close to the area where back in March a gunman wanted in connection with seven murders was killed after a standoff with police.
Here's Dan Rivers.
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can see, this area of Toulouse is still in lockdown after that six hour siege. Of course, everyone here fearful that this was a repeat of the terrible events in March. It's taken place just a few hundred meters where Mohammed Merah was holed up for three days then. This time it appears it was a man with mental problems who had gone into a bank, took four people hostages, two were released. And then at about a quarter to five local time police went in, freed the remaining two hostages and injured the man.
They were at pains to point out that they did everything they could to take him alive, a criticism that was leveled at them over their handling of Mohammed Merah in March. But people here have told us they can't believe that for a second time violence has visited this normally quiet area of Toulouse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We're soon going to become like Chicago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Like Chicago, why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator: Because there's so much shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's an area of Toulouse that's normally very peaceful. Not much happens here. And now we've had two major incidents in the space of a short time. And I wouldn't want to get used to it.
RIVERS: Initially the man claimed there were religious motivations for his actions, but later the authorities said his claims were badly defined and badly expressed. It appears in this case there was no al Qaeda connection.
Dan Rivers, CNN, Toulouse.
COREN: Well, Greece's new prime minister is expected to unveil the details of his cabinet later today. The New Democracy Party leader Antonis Samaras was sworn in on Wednesday, that's after an agreement on forming a coalition government was finally reached after 224 days of political limbo. The new prime minister says things can only get better from here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIS SAMARAS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): With god's help, we'll do everything we can to get the country out of this crisis as soon as possible. I will ask the new government with hard work to offer the Greek people tangible hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, Greek state TV says Samaras has been meeting the heads of his two coalition partners today as they get down to business on the economy.
Well, some analysts are predicting Greece is headed towards a euro exit with Germany to blame. But it's got nothing to do with politics. Fred Pleitgen explains.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "We have to defeat Germany. We have to defeat Merkel," Greek fans chanted after their team advanced in the Euro 2012 championship showing that Friday's quarterfinal match against Germany will be about a lot more than soccer.
"Finally we can show the Germans that they may have the money, but we have the team," this fan said.
But the Greeks currently need Germany's money to keep their country from defaulting, even though many scoff at Chancellor Angela Merkel for perceived tough conditions attached to financial solidarity.
Clemens Wergin of the Die Welt Newspaper sees anti-German sentiment on the rise in Europe and questions whether it might be better if the Germans lose the soccer match.
CLEMENS WERGIN, DIE WELT: Of course after that's not the soccer fan in myself, but that's the foreign policy gu.
PLEITGEN: Germany is Europe's economic and political powerhouse, its economy virtually unscathed by the crisis. Berlin is setting the terms for Europe's bailout measures for troubled EuroZone countries. And now possibly soccer superiority. Wergin believes that could be too much.
WERGIN: If we appear to overpowering over Europe, then other countries will just team up against us and will try to counterbalance this kind of dominance. And I think a victory in the European soccer championship will probably drive home the idea that Germany is just too overpowering in Europe.
PLEITGEN: But the Germans have been waiting 16 years to win a major international soccer title and have big hopes for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
The public viewing fanzone in Berlin is ready to go. And hundreds of thousands are expected to come here for the decisive quarterfinal match. But while most Germans will tell you they believe that solidarity with Greece is a good idea, that solidarity doesn't extend to the football pitch.
Fans certainly didn't see the benefits of their team losing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Definitely not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because Germany is much better soccer team than Greece is. We're like third place in worldwide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, football I think it's a different thing to the financial thing. So I think football -- soccer, soccer and a lot of things politic.
PLEITGEN: Clearly a view many Greeks don't share. To fans in Athens, the Euro 2012 quarterfinal will be a big match with huge political implications.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
COREN: And Euro 2012 action kicks off later Thursday with the Czech Republic battling Portugal. We'll have that in our full sports update.
Well, homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. And now the African nation has taken a step that has alarmed human rights activists. We'll have a live report here on News Stream.
COREN: Human rights groups are condemning Uganda's plans to ban dozens of organizations it claims promote homosexuality. On Monday, police raided one group, detaining several people. Well, some 38 nongovernmental organizations would be affected by the new ban.
Well, homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. And our David McKenzie is in Nairobi in neighboring Kenya.
Now David, what is going on sounds extremely alarming.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is alarming to the Lesbian and gay community in Uganda for sure, Anna. What we are hearing directly from the ethics minister in Uganda, the east African country that 38 groups or so are non-governmental groups planned -- he planned to de-register or ban from the work which he says is, quote, promoting homosexuality in Uganda.
Now these groups, though, he hasn't named them specifically, would more likely be groups that might have some outreach to the gay population in terms of HIV/AIDS work, health provisions, and even legal assistance. But you know there are very few NGOs in Uganda that work specifically and only with the gay community. So human rights groups as well as NGOs in Uganda up in arms telling me that if this comes into effect, it could affect all Ugandans not just gay Ugandans.
It comes in the wake, as you said, Monday of a police raid on a meeting of regional gay rights and human rights activists in the -- near Kampala the capital. Police came in. They detained the people for several hours. No arrests happened. But activists say there is a pattern of harrassment from police. And that they live in fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a place where you keep threatening people all the time what would you expect where you know that if you are sitting somewhere you could be arrested, if you know that if you could be talking to someone you know perceived to be, you know, something might happen to you. Wouldn't you live in fear?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Well, Anna, this comes in the context of the anti-gay bill which is -- well, that's what it's been called by activists. It's a bill that they hope to push through parliament, at least several parliamentarians hope to push it through parliament. (inaudible) even life imprisonment for, quote, repeat offenders who were seen to being gay.
It must be said the Uganda is not the only country in Africa, or in fact in the world that has laws on the books against homosexuality. Most of them, though, are grandfathered in from the colonial days. And most countries don't actively pursue prosecution of its gay citizens -- Anna.
COREN: David, what has been the reaction from the international community?
MCKENZIE: Well, the reaction has already been pretty harsh and swift -- well, hard and swift. The State Department in the U.S. saying particularly this gay bill with the rumors it might be tabled at parliament again that this is not just on and that they might even look to punish individuals who are pushing it through.
It's really an ideological battle in a way similar to the culture wars in the United States between a large part of the Ugandan population who might not be very comfortable with openly gay citizens as well as the lesbian and gay community which is pushing for a more open society and the donor community. There has been a lot of grumbling from politicians in Uganda that the donor community, particularly the EU and the U.S. have been pressurizing them on this issue unfairly in their eyes.
But, you know, according to human rights groups and people I've spoken to in Uganda today, they say it's a very troubling sign not just of a turning of the screws on groups pushing for gay rights, but also in general on civil society groups in Uganda who they say are one of the few voices that can stand up to the government, which has very little real opposition politically in the country.
COREN: It certainly is very alarming what is taking place in Uganda. David McKenzie joining us there from Nairobi. Thank you.
Well, Uganda is not an isolated case. There are 80 countries with laws on the books against homosexuality. Well, according to Amnesty International, there are seven countries where same sex relations are punishable with death.
Well, shown here in red, they include Iran, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Nigeria.
Well, the Dalai Lama has lavished praise on Britain's Prince Charles calling him a very close friend. During a tour, the gardens of Charles' home in London, they stopped by a group of journalists. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TENZIN GYATSO, DALAI LAMA: I always consider him since my first meeting very close best friend. And I -- whenever I meet as people I always look on the human level, not their rank or something. So like President Bush, I always look on a human level, so I felt he's a wonderful, nice person, very straightforward, no formality. From first meeting, I developed something, very closeness feeling.
Now here, this gentleman, right from the beginning, I felt a very nice person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, it's (inaudible). The Dalai Lama was comparing Charles to George W. Bush, not the elder Bush. Charles simply laughed and said he'd do his best.
Well, still ahead, the Fast and Furious case of Eric Holder. Well, a U.S. attorney general is under fire.
And no rest for the WikiLeaks founder. What next for Julian Assange? We've got the latest here on News Stream.
COREN: Welcome back. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. You're watching News Steam. These are your world headlines.
Well, judges in Indonesia are partway through reading out their verdict in the trial of Umar Patek, but haven't said yet if they find him guilty. Patek is accused of helping make explosives to bomb attacks in Bali back in 2002 where more than 200 people were killed. Patek is also accused of taking part in a series of deadly attacks on churches in Indonesia to use earlier. And stay with CNN for the verdict.
Election officials in Egypt delayed releasing the result of the presidential runoff vote. Authorities say they're still reviewing appeals by the contestants following last weekend election. Well, both candidates, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi and former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, has declared victory.
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is back in London preparing to address both houses of parliament. She's also expected to meet Prince Charles and his wife Camilla as the cliMaxx of her first visit to the UK in 24 years.
Well, according to a government official, a court in Pakistan has ordered the arrest of the candidate nominated for prime minister. Makhdoom Shahabuddin was linked to a scandal involving the illegal import of a drug during his time as health minister. Well, president Zardari has summoned parliament to meet tomorrow to elect a prime minister to replace Yousef Raza Gilani who was ruled ineligible to hold office.
Well, the U.S. House committee is recommending that Attorney General Eric Holder be held in contempt of congress. It stems from the investigation into a botched weapons tracking program known as Fast and Furious.
With more on this, we're joined by Joe Johns in Washington. Joe, what can you tell us?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anna, the political battle is likely headed to the courts now, but it's the policy question that could be with us for a long time. The idea of the government allegedly putting more than 1,000 guns in criminal hands, for many it's just a little hard to believe that somebody did not pull the plug on Operation Fast and Furious before it even started.
JOHNS: In September of 2009, ATF agents started an investigation by allowing firearms to go walking into the hands of suspected criminals. ATF was tracking the guns, hoping to catch some big fish in the violent world of the crime cartels, especially south of the border.
Fast forward to December 2010, a little over a year later, one of the worst scenarios imaginable: a border agent, Brian Terry, gets killed in Arizona. And firearms from the Fast and Furious operation are found on the scene.
January of 2011 congress is asking questions. Republican senator Charles Grasserly of Iowa launches an investigation.
February 4th of 2011, the Justice Department wrote a letter to congress asserting that nothing improper was done in the operation, a letter they later would have to acknowledge was misleading.
And by May 2011, Republican congressman Darryl Issa confronts Attorney General Eric Holder about the operation at a hearing, asking him when he first heard of it.
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.
JOHNS: Members that come out later seem to suggest Holder's office may have been put on notice of the operation much earlier. Holder later said what he didn't know about at first was the ATF's controversial tactics.
From then on, a steady drum beat of developments. Last June whistleblowers and family members of Brian Terry appeared at a congressional hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just was flabbergasted. I just -- I didn't believe it at first.
JOHN DODSON, SPECIAL AGENT, ATF: The guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and in Mexico. And yet we still did nothing.
JOHNS: By August, heads had started to role as the top guy at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was reassigned. In October of 2011 in a letter, Holder said he never saw the memos about Operation Fast and Furious.
A month later, the story started changing just a bit. Lanny Breuer, a top Justice official, told congress about an earlier program, which by the way had gone on during the administration of George W. Bush. That program also allowed guns to go to Mexico. It was called Operation Wide Receiver.
Breuer pretty much apologized for not speaking up and calling out the ATF for questionable tactics way back when.
LANNY BREUER, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was involved in this exercise. And as all of this has come to light, that I have been thinking about it, realized that I should have back in April of 2010 drawn that connection. I've expressed that regret personally the attorney general of the United States. And then I determined that I should do it publicly as well.
JOHNS: And not long after that, appearing before the senate, Eric Holder acknowledged problems with the so-called gun walking operation that happened on his watch. Since then, congressional committees have asked for thousands of documents claiming the Justice Department wasn't up front about Operation Fast and Furious, suggesting there's been some kind of a cover-up which the Justice Department denies, Anna.
COREN: Joe, let me ask you this, what are the implications for President Obama considering this is an election year?
JOHNS: Well, number one, it's clear there was some type of mismanagement that occurred with this Operation Fast and Furious. I think everybody agrees on that. But during a political year, it's also pretty clear that Republicans see an advantage in this, because one of the things you can do during an election year is bring up the question of scandal. Of course, that's something the Obama administration would very much like to stay away from.
They're not going to be able to put a lid on this for a long time, though it's not clear also that congressional Republicans are going to get to the bottom of it this year, because the whole thing could end up in the courts. And that could go on for a long time.
COREN: Sounding rather complex there. Joe Johns in Washington. Many thanks for that.
Well, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spent a second night in Ecuador's embassy in London. There are reports the decision on his request for political asylum could come later Thursday. Well, if he does leave, he could face arrest by British police on breach of bail charges.
Well, Assange's audacious bid for asylum has created quite a diplomatic tangle. CNN's Nima Elbagir joins us from outside Ecuador's embassy in London. And Nima, any indication as to which way this is going to go?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely none whatsoever, Anna. We are waiting as you as are most people around the world it seems. This case really has such a glare of publicity on it. The deputy foreign minister told reporters in the Ecuadorian capital that we should expect today a response from the Ecuadorian authorities.
And also interestingly he actually divulged some of the details of Assange's application for asylum. He said that Julian Assange is claiming in his application not only that he is at risk of being extradited to the U.S. by Swedish authorities, but that also he feels unsafe to return to his home country, to Australia, because he believes that they are aiding and abetting a U.S. bid to find him guilty of espionage, they say. And possibly sedition, which he believes could possibly carry the death penalty, Anna.
COREN: Nima, we know that police have said that he has breached his bail conditions by going to the embassy there in London. Would this affect the extradition process at all?
ELBAGIR: Well, the Swedish justice ministry released a very brief statement in which they made very plain that they expect, as they said, the British authorities to carry out their responsibilities under the European arrest warrant. They say they're aware of this asylum application, but it seems that as far as they're concerned nothing has changed.
Among the steady stream of this that we've seen going in to see Julian Assange today was a representative from the MET office, interestingly, and he came out and briefly spoke to reporters here and confirmed again that if Julian Assange does leave the building as it stands he will be arrested, Anna.
COREN: All right. Nima Elbagir, joining us from London. Many thanks for that update.
Well, one man who definitely isn't crossing any borders this Thursday is Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. Well, the 55-year-old says he has been told not to leave China despite the expiring of bail conditions imposed after he was charged with tax evasion.
Well, Ai supporters famously sent him money to pay that bail a year ago. And here you can see some of the yuan that were thrown into his garden.
But the artist did not get things all his own way. Well, authorities denied his petition for a public hearing and ordered him to take down this website which monitored his activities during detention by cameras around his home. Well, this is what it looks like right now, just a white screen.
Ai has been told he must stay in the country while police investigate other alleged crimes. According to Reuters those include possible pornography.
Well, let's now get a check of the weather with our Mari Ramos who is keeping her eye on a storm over Japan. Hello, Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hello. Yes, this is that same storm I was telling you about pretty much all week, Anna. It seems like we start talking about this every day, but it's still a big deal. The name of the storm this time is Talim. Remember, we had Guchol first? Now we have Talim. Talim was a tropical storm, it's the one that dumped all that rain over Taiwan and parts of China. And it has moved over Japan now.
Fortunately it has weakened so the winds are not that big of a concern, but the rain is still a huge deal. Look at this, in Miyazaki they had over 200 millimeters of rain just in the last 24 hours. That's very significant, because it's still raining over some of these areas. And in Kochi, they had 138 millimeters of rain in just a period of 24 hours.
So we're going to see that rain continuing to spread here across this area.
This is what's left of the storm. You can still see that cluster right here over western Japan, but because this same area that so much heavy rain with the last tropical system with Guchol that was also a tropical storm, the concern is still there for flooding and mudslides. And even though the storm is a lot weaker and it's moving rather quickly over this area, for places here in Kyushu and Shikoku we could see 15, 25 centimeters of rainfall not out of the question at all. And notice the rain spreading back over into Honshu in cases 8 centimeters of rain expected just within the next 24 to 48 hours. So that's very significant and definitely something we need to monitor closely.
But you know what, not everything is bad, or terrible when you have a tropical cyclone. I want to show you something really interesting that they say only happens when tropical cyclones move across Japan. And it has to move over central Honshu. Not everything is what it seems. Look at that, Anna, this is a picture of a very rare cloud caught on tape right over Mount Fuji.
Fudishi Kumo (ph), that's what they call it in Japanese, meaning hanging cloud, was seen on Wednesday morning. They say it only happens when the winds on Mount Fuji are very strong or during tropical storms like what we had over the last couple of days. It did catch everyone's attention. The sky was bright and clear and blue and this beautiful cloud, which is almost like a lenticular cloud, it almost looks like a UFO, young and old alike wanted to photograph it. Absolutely love that.
Anyway, come back over to the weather map over here, let's keep talking about other types of clouds, the kind that are not so pretty, the ones that are bringing us heavy rain still over Taiwan and parts of China.
Very quickly over China, I want to show you some pictures of the flooding, not necessarily from the tropical storm, but as this tropical storm was moving through you were spared form the worst. Still the winds were quite strong, in some cases gale force, across these areas. There were some reports of flooding, also reports of landslides and ships were ordered to return to shore. The weather there is still very unsettled. And if you come back over here to the weather map I'll show you all across this area right here, still a lot of rain. You have the thunderstorm warning even in Hong Kong. We are expecting more heavy rain across this region in the next day or so. So still tonight.
Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.
And there's more. Check out these pictures. This is from the U.S. state of Minnesota. They had over 200 millimeters of rain that just fell in a matter of hours that caused some significant flooding. You know how I'm always telling you don't drive through flooded roads, it's extremely dangerous, you don't know what's underneath there? Well, we have one man's story that fortunately had a happy ending. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK WEBBER, CAR OWNER: Water was gushing everywhere. And when we came it looked like the rest of the road. You know, we obviously didn't see it or we wouldn't have drove in it. And all of a sudden out of the blue, snap, it felt like a car accident. And you know over time the road just kept giving away and giving away. So it's -- we just sat there helplessly watching the car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: How scary is that. He did end up saving -- you saw the car there on the bottom of that hole in the ground.
And these are pictures of the zoo. The peacocks are fine, but the zoo in Duluth, Minnesota did get flooded as well. And there was so much water that some of the animals managed to escape from their cages, including a seal that was found there. And all the animals were recovered and they are safe.
And that is a look at your world weather. We are going to take a quick break. Don't go away. More News Stream in just a minute.
COREN: Well, famous footballer and his sponsor Nike have fallen afoul of the UK's advertising watch dog. A tweet posted by Manchester United's Wayne Rooney who has over 4 million followers said this, "my resolution to start the year as a champion and finish it as champion." Well, it was followed by a hashtag to Nike's make it count campaign. British reports said the Advertising Standards Authority has banned the Twitter campaign saying it broke the rules because the tweet did not clearly say they were ads.
Well, there are no more slip-ups allowed for the eight countries left standing at the Euro 2012. We've reached the knockout stage in the opening quarterfinal match kicks off in just under six hours time. Let's get much more now from Alex Thomas. Hello, Alex.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anna. Yes. Either Portugal or the Czech Republic will be the first nation through to the Euro 2012 semifinals. The two teams battling it out at Poland's national stadium in Warsaw later on Thursday. Portugal are sure to start as slight favorites out of qualifying from the so-called group of death ahead of the fancy Dutch team. And they beat the Czech Republic 3-1 when these two nations met in the group stages of Euro 2008. Portugal's opponents admit they'll be focusing on trying to stop Real Madrid star Christiano Ronaldo.
Now he's South America's brightest football star, but Brazilian wunderkind Neymar won't be playing in this year's Copa Libertatores final. Santos were trailing Corinthians 1-0 going into the second leg of their semifinal on Wednesday night. And Neymar made his mark in the first half when this cross from the right came back off the post and fell at the feet of the talented youngster, an easy tap in for him, but it clearly meant a lot in the context of the tie.
However, Corinthians equalized from this second half free kick. The ball finding Denilo unmarked at the far post. And he made no mistake. So Santos crash out losing 2-1 over the two legs.
The other Copa Libertadores seminfinal will be played on Thursday when six time champions Boca Juniors host Universidad de Chile in Buenes Aires. Both are winning the first leg in Chile 2-0.
Now LeBron James has been brilliant in the NBA finals, it's fair to say, but the three time league MVP says that even though the Miami Heat are just one win away from the NBA title he can't afford any feeling of smugness. James, in fact, said before this one that he feels blessed to even be playing in the finals, something that many players never get to do in their careers.
He and his teammates on the brink of making good on their promise to Heat fans that they would win the title. Game five is in Miami later. The Oklahoma City Thunder trying to stop Miami from closing it out. Once again, a lot expected of King James as he's known, although he's trying to keep it in perspective.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT FORWARD: My approach won't change and it won't be difficult. You know, I have a job to do and my job is not done. You know, I've been very focused and I'm determined, you know for us to play at a high level. So I will make sure my guys are ready for gave five. And we will be prepared. The coaches will give us a great gameplan. And I'll make sure my teammates are ready to go out and executive it.
I have no idea what I'll say before we go out there. It kind of just comes to me when I'm walking out there and I'm starting to get ready to go out there on the floor. But hopefully whatever I say will inspire out guys to go out and give a good show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: And don't forget we're live in Poland later for more on Euro 2012 in World Sport. That's just over three hours' time. And I can see, Anna, the reason you're so smartly dressed today is because you're looking forward to that big match like the rest of us.
COREN: Of course. Of course. I try to be smartly dressed most days. But thank you for pointing that out. All right, Alex, catch you later. Thank you.
Well, it's not every day that we get to report that man bites dog. Well, guess what, today we can. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They say take a bit out of crime, but this is about taking a bite out of a crime fighter.
TRAVIS GLASPIE, BIT DOG: The dog went for my upper thing up here. And I ain't never been bit by a dog or nothing so I bit the dog on the ear.
MOOS: 22-year-old Travis Glaspie has some bite marks all right, but the dog's look worse.
This isn't just a man bites dog story, it's a man bites police dog as police dog bites man.
Wilmington, North Carolina officers and police dog Maxx were chasing Glaspie, a convicted felon wanted for shooting a firearm into an occupied car. Maxx got Glaspie by the leg while the suspect tried to get the dog off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was actually poking at his eyes.
GLASPIE: I was terrified. When the dog came up here on me I just -- I just bit the closest thing. I just bit the dog and that's what got him off me.
MOOS: Did the dog yelp when the guy bit him?
DAVID PELLEGRINO, WILMINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Of course. Yes he did.
MOOS: The bite on Maxx's ear required stitches.
PELLEGRINO: Maxx was bleeding pretty bad. I was covered in Max's blood. I didn't know ears bled that much.
MOOS: Lest you think man bites dog only in movies like The World According to Garp, we even heard of woman bites dog when this woman was being attacked by a rottweiler. This man says he bit his neighbors growling dog after its messed with him and his dogs for years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was intoxicated. Plus I'm manic depressive. I hadn't been on my lithium and I had a mood swing. You know mood swings?
MOOS: There were swings of a different sort during Glaspie's arrest.
GLASPIE: So he pulled the dog off me and punched me again like bam, bam.
MOOS: Did you hit him twice?
PELLEGRINO: I did hit him twice. When he was poking the dogs eyes out, and also when he was chewing on his -- or biting on his ear I did.
MOOS: Glaspie admits biting the dog wasn't exactly a smart move. On the other hand...
GLASPIE: That got the dog off me. So evidently I must have did something right, because I could have been killed.
MOOS: Maxx by the way is doing fine. It was his first bite, dog or human. After only 10 months on canine duty, he's already looking a little dog eared.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
COREN: My heart goes out to that puppy dog.
Well, just ahead it's the case of dino wars between U.S. and Mongolia. Who is the rightful owner of this 70 million year old skeleton. We'll give you all the latest on this fossil feud.
COREN: Well, it's believed to be 70 million years old and U.S. officials say it's traveled halfway around the world since being found in Mongolia. But it seems this dinosaur skeleton's journey is not over yet. There is an international dispute over its rightful ownership. Mary Snow reports.
MARK NORELL, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: This is our 50-27 Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen. And it's the closest relative of the Tarbosaurus from Mongolia.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If anybody knows about dinosaurs, it's Mark Norel. He heads the paleontology division at the American Museum of Natural History. For more than two decades he's been traveling to Mongolia where the rule is any fossils excavated are the property of Mongolia. So when he saw this dinosaur skeleton in an auction house catalog, he suspected it was a tarbosaurus dating back 70 million years.
NORELL: In my mind at that point I could immediately tell that I felt that it was looted. So that sort of spurred me on then to start calling a few people on the phone and say well I'm going to write this letter and then I'm going to send it to you guys and you can do what you want with it.
SNOW: Word quickly reached the president of Mongolia who in turn contacted Texas attorney Robert Painter for help. Painter has experience in Mongolia. And after finding out about it just two days before the auction he raced to get a restraining order from a Texas judge and flew to New York.
ROBERT PAINTER, ATTORNEY: So as soon as they started the auction I just stood up and I held up my phone and I said I'm sorry to interrupt, but I have the judge on the phone and I wanted to let you know that what you're doing is violating the court's order.
SNOW: But it was too late. A bidder had already bought the dinosaur skeleton for more than a million dollars. The court, order, though put a hold on everything. Customs documents say authorities claim the relics were valued at just $15,000. Painter believes the bones were looted from a desert in Mongolia, made their way through Japan, to Great Britain, Florida, Texas, and finally ended up in New York where they now sit inside this storage space in Queens.
Federal prosecutors want a court order to seize them.
Heritage Auctions believes its consigner purchased the fossils in good faith and says, "we have cooperated in the investigation process for paleontologist to expeditiously examine the skeleton. And we will continue to cooperate with authorities."
If no one had stepped in, what typically would happen?
NORELL: A variety of things. I may have been bought by a private individual, you know, to decorate the foyer of their corporate headquarters or even their own homes in some cases. There are unscrupulous museums around the world, unfortunately, who don't really have a problem trading in looted materials. So it can really go all over the place.
SNOW: Immigration and Custom Enforcement plans to seize the skeleton later this week and make sure it's safely returned to Mongolia. Now what's unclear is what happens to the person who brought it into the United States two years ago. And whether they were even aware of what they possessed.
Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
COREN: Well, everyone loves having a day out in the summer holidays, but where are our favorite places to visit around the world? Well, to find out the social network Facebook measured the most popular places for its users to check in across 25 cities.
Well, the top tourist spots include unsurprisingly the Champs Elysees, the Coliseum in Rome, and Times Square in New York.
Well, sports stadiums, particularly the choice in U.S. cities as Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as in Tokyo and Aukland.
Well, concert venues were also quite popular, I believe, if it will come up. (inaudible) the top check in for both London and Dublin.
Well, a casino was the first place in Johannesburg and shopping malls and public parks also lead the list for several cities.
But one of the less obvious favorites was in Oslo, Norway where the most popular check-in is, that's right, the chain restaurant TGI Fridays.
Well that is it for this addition of News Stream. But the news continues here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.