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The Queen Meets the Former IRA Man; Syrian Refugees Need Aid; Is London Ready for Olympic Crowds?; Gen. Allen Visists Pakistan; Cyber Crime Arrests

Aired June 27, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, and welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet. And we begin in Syria, where the president says his country is in a state of war. And United Nations warns of deepening sectarian divisions.

Plus a previously unthinkable meeting. Britain's Queen meets a former IRA commander in Northern Ireland. We'll take you live to Belfast.

And just 30 days away, London gets dressed up for the Olympics, but is it ready for the crowds?


STOUT: Now one and a half million Syrians are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. And that was the statement made before the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, following a report into abuses and violence in the country.

The most recent example of that was this attack on a TV station in southern Damascus. Now three employees have a channel that supports the government were killed in an explosion. Syria describes it as a terrorist attack, and the media are now very much a part of the fighting.


OMRAM ZO'BI, SYRIAN INFORMATION MINISTER (through translator): The incitement by media outlets against Syria in Arab and foreign news stations, without naming them -- you know what channels I imply -- the incitement to create massacres, the incitement to kill, the incitement to violence is related to this morning's attack of freedom of expression and the dignity of journalists at work.


STOUT: Now Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has made no concessions to those demanding his removal. But he has now admitted something that opposition groups have been saying for months, that Syria is in a state of war. ITV's Bill Neely reports from inside Damascus.


BILL NEELY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officially, he's welcoming his new government. Some welcome -- no warmth, tough words. President Assad looking as isolated, aloof and rigid as he's ever looked. He gave them a blunt warning in words he's never used before.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We are in a state of real war, in every aspect of the word. And when we're in a state of war, all our politics has to be concentrated on winning this war.

NEELY (voice-over): He's talking of war within. His neighbors are making their own military moves.

Turkey is sending in the tanks, not into Syria, but to reinforce the border with a country (inaudible). Turkey's parliament is pumped up, its prime minister announcing military rules have changed. Syria won't be warned again.

It has stirred up a hornet's nest. Syria did it by shooting down one of these, a Turkish jet. But a NATO jet, too. Antagonizing the world's strongest military alliance.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: We consider these acts to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms.

NEELY (voice-over): But NATO made clear there won't be a military response. The West is still unwilling to confront Syria's president and his regime with brute force. These are President Assad's troops.

It's unusual, because they're moving through the capital, Damascus, to fight in its suburbs, not just troops, but tanks and anti-aircraft guns. Once Damascus was a stronghold for these men and their president. Now it's a battleground they dare not lose.

From dawn on the edge of the capital, the sound of conflict (ph), the monitors from the United Nations can hear, but can do nothing about. They're all dressed up, but they've nowhere to go. Their bosses say their mission is suspended. But this conflict isn't suspended. Assad's army is still bombarding rebels in Homs. The smoke and flames of the revolution now spreading all over Syria.

NEELY: For months, the world has been engaged in a bit of (ph) a hair-splitting argument, is this a civil war or is it not? President Assad has not answered that question. He says it's a war from all angles. Now war is a word he wouldn't have dared utter a few months ago, because it would have been seen to be conceding something that he didn't want to concede.

Well, he's said it now. I think it will unsettle an awful lot of people, including many of his supporters, who were, perhaps, in denial. Many, too, here in Damascus, Damascus has seen even today a really quite fierce fighting. This conflict is spreading. It's becoming more militarized, more internationalized.

We had NATO today, condemning Syria. The world's strongest military alliance is antagonized. A NATO plane, a Turkish jet, was shot down. So I think, day by day, the violence is intensifying and I think the president's use of the word "war" just adds to that.


STOUT: Bill Neely, reporting there live from Damascus, a report that was filed earlier in Damascus. Now a senior U.N. official says that the violence there has now reached or even surpassed levels seen before April's cease-fire. And that saw the Syrian delegation walk out of a U.N. debate that followed the report on human rights abuses in the country.

Our Rima Maktabi, she is watching Syria from Abu Dhabi. She joins us now.

And Rima, the deadly attack, first let's talk about that. This attack on a pro-Assad TV station, it's being condemned, not just by the government, but by journalists and activists. What are you hearing about the attack?

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly will be condemned, because attacking journalists, whether they work for the regime or against it is not something acceptable by anybody. But this is the outcome of a year-long of heated debate between the regime and the opposition.

Basically Al Ikhbariya is a news channel, and that's what the word means in Arabic. And it's part of the state TV, Syrian state TV. And it's the mouthpiece of the government. And the rebels have been accusing this state TV of spreading rumors and saying things that are not accurate, like saying that the armed groups are terrorists.

Now the minister of information said this is instigated by media owned by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. And by this, he means Al Jazeera Arabic, owned by Qataris and Al Arabia news channel, owned by the Saudis. So it's a media war, also.

STOUT: Also let's talk about the U.N. report. The United Nations now says that Assad forces may be to blame for many of the deaths in Houla. Can you walk us through the findings of the Syrian report?

MAKTABI: This is a group of U.N. investigators that were looking at human rights violations in Syria and they found so many. They said that there is a flagrant violation of human rights in Syria. They said it's on a large scale and across the country.

They said most likely it's the Assad forces that committed the al- Houla massacre that led to the killing of 108 people in the same incident.

He -- the report didn't say it's the Syrian army; they said Syrian forces belonging to the government, most likely they are referring to the socks (ph), and they also said that the situation is deteriorating and they, interestingly, they talked about a sectarian war somehow, sectarian struggle and strife that's growing in Syria.

STOUT: And also, Rima, Bashar al-Assad, he now says his country is at war. Also the U.N. says fighting is worse now than before the cease-fire in April. So what next? Should we expect the fighting to escalate even more now?

MAKTABI: Bashar al-Assad's statement yesterday is very, very important. It's the first time probably since the uprising started in Syria that the president says he's at war or his government is at war, and he doesn't only specify terrorists and armed groups. He's talking a whole- scale war.

So it is expected to be a long one. I've spoken to sources here in Jordan and the UAE and Saudi Arabia. They think that the Assad regime is still relatively strong on the ground. The military defections are significant, but they're not large enough to topple Assad. And that is going to be a long struggle in Syria and a longer chain of violence.

STOUT: Rima Maktabi, watching the situation for us, live from CNN Abu Dhabi. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now despite the violence continuing, there is still no breakthrough over how to respond to Syria's crisis internationally. Take a look at this. It's a tweet by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice. And she is hid out at the U.N. Security Council force (ph). She says, standing by rather than standing up.

Now the U.N. and Arab League special envoy, Kofi Annan, has proposed a new international meeting on Saturday.

But the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, says she will only attend if those participating agree that there must be a political transition within Syria. And that is something that Russia says only Syrians themselves can decide. Now Clinton is expected to meet Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov in St. Petersburg (ph) this week, where the issue is likely to be at the top of the agenda.

Now Australian rescuers have pulled more than 130 people from the waters between Australia and Indonesia after a ship capsized. About 150 are believed to have been onboard when it turned over near Christmas Island. The ship is the second to capsize in the area in the past week. It is a common route for people seeking asylum in Australia.

Now still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, the final countdown is on toward Mexico's presidential election. And at the heart of that battle is the country's notorious drug war.

Now giving birth should be a time for celebration. But in Afghanistan, there are many reasons to be fearful. We'll examine the country's infant mortality.

And both Portugal and Spain (inaudible) moment we'll preview the (inaudible) Liberia at Euro 2012.




STOUT: Welcome back. And now two big developments out of Egypt. Now one involves President-Elect Mohammed Morsi's choice for vice presidents. And our spokesman says one will be a woman, a first in Egyptian history. And the other will be a Christian.

Now the other big story, a court overturned a controversial ruling that allowed the military and intelligence forces to arrest people without a warrant. Now that was previously reserved for police officers.

And now to Mexico, where it is the last day of campaigning for presidential candidates. Now a major concern for voters is what the next leader will do about the drug war that has claimed so many lives. Now senior Latin American affairs editor, Rafael Romo, reports.


RAFAEL ROMO, SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): It wasn't just the fact that there was another shooting. What made headlines was that it happened at Mexico's largest airport during the busiest time of the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We were really very confused. We didn't know whether the attackers were people dressed as police officers or if it was a fight among real police officers.

ROMO (voice-over): Officials say the attackers were federal police who opened fire on fellow officers investigating them for drug trafficking. President Felipe Calderon says a corrupt police force has been one of his greatest challenges.

FELIPE CALDERON, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (through translator): The fragility, weakness, corruption and vulnerability of police agencies and prosecutors and a good portion of the country made Mexico incapable of defending itself. And it also allowed corruption and the power of criminals to grow exponentially.

ROMO (voice-over): Calderon's administration, ending in December, has been defined for its crackdown on organized crime, a crusade that has had mixed results.

ROMO: On the one hand, the president says, his government has captured 22 of the 37 most wanted criminals in Mexico. On the other hand, his critics say, drug violence has left more than 50,000 people dead since he took office.

JORGE CASTANEDA, FORMER MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Some people think President Calderon was right in being atypical and declaring a war that no one had declared before. And some people, like myself, feel that he made an enormous mistake, a costly mistake in human lives, in jobs, in security for people.

ROMO (voice-over): In the last five years, Mexicans have seen catapults (ph) tossing drugs across the border, hit men shooting from armored trucks fitted with swiveling turrets. Plenty of gunfights between security forces and criminals and gruesome murders, including hanging bodies and beheadings.

President Calderon suggests criminals are lashing out like a wounded beast. The future, he says, is at stake.

CALDERON (through translator): We're leaving behind a fundamental legacy for Mexicans, a Mexico where criminals can no longer act with impunity, a Mexico where they're prosecuted, face justice and pay for their crimes.

ROMO (voice-over): Mexicans go to the polls on July 1st to choose a new president. The four candidates battling for the job have not specified how and if they will pursue the war on drugs that Calderon started -- Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: At the moment, one candidate has a double-digit lead in the polls. But there is growing discontent with the idea of his party's return to power. Now frontrunner Enrique Pena Nieto is part of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, which ran Mexico for 71 years until year 2000.

And then there's Josefina Vazquez Mota, the Conservative National Action Party or PAN, Mexico's current governing party. At age 51, she is Mexico's first major party female presidential candidate. Now by law, President Felipe Calderon cannot run for a second term.

And there's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD. Now Obrador, he served as Mexico City's mayor and ran for president in 2006, but lost by less than 1 percent.

Now up next, giving mothers in Afghanistan a fighting chance. Health workers are training others, hoping to lower the death rate during childbirth. Their efforts, coming up on NEWS STREAM.




STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you are back, watching NEWS STREAM. Now Iraq's prime minister has called for an early election according to a statement on his website. That is further deadly attacks hit the capital, Baghdad. Eight people were killed in the southeast of the city in two bombings. Nearly 180 people have been killed in June alone.

Now the U.S. commander overseeing the war in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is in neighboring Pakistan. And with more on the visit, Reza Sayah joins us now, live from Islamabad.

And Reza, General Allen, he is there to meet with Pakistan's top general. What's on the agenda?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of things are on the agenda, Kristie, a lot of issues that these two countries haven't been able to resolve over the past few months. These two countries say they're partners, but obviously many aspects of this relationship have been put on ice over the past seven months, ever since that NATO airstrike back in November of last year killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Over the past few weeks, things haven't really gotten worse, but they haven't improved, either. These two countries haven't been able to resolve a number of issues. One of them is the concern by Washington over the Haqqani Network.

This is a militant group widely believed to be based out of the district of north Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal region, believed by Washington to be fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan, accused by U.S. officials of targeting NATO troops and carrying out some of the deadliest, most spectacular attacks against Western targets, against NATO targets in Afghanistan.

Washington's position is Pakistan should do more to go after they Haqqani Network. Pakistan says we're doing enough. Our troops are stretched thin with other operations.

About an hour ago, we spoke to the senior adviser to the prime minister on interior affairs here in Pakistan, and he told us if Washington has evidence, if the Haqqani Network is fueling the insurgency, they should reveal that evidence. Here's Mr. Malik.


REHMAN MALIK, PAKISTANI SR. ADVISER TO PM ON INTERIOR: Whatever the name game is going on at the moment, perhaps it is for to Haqqani (inaudible) from Pakistan. I absolutely deny it. What is important is that if any group (inaudible) Pakistan for a visa (ph), Pakistani, any competent (inaudible), we have a question for the troops (ph). We will be very happy to look into it. But what is important, parliament. If parliament in our country is sovereign and if parliament has taken some decisions.


SAYAH: That was Mr. Rehman Malik, senior adviser to the new prime minister here in Pakistan, talking about the demands put forth by the Pakistani parliament when it comes to U.S.-Pakistani relations.

Those demands include an end to drone strikes, fees for NATO supply trucks coming through Pakistan and, of course, an end to the drone strikes, as we mentioned before. None of those demands have been met by the U.S., and that's why we're still at loggerheads, Kristie.

STOUT: So many demands from both sides. Again, these are cross- border attacks by the Haqqani Network. That is a top U.S. concern in Pakistan. But just how much control does Pakistan have over the militants and the border region where they're based?

SAYAH: Well, look, there's seven districts across Pakistan's tribal region, and there's plenty of evidence that Pakistan is going after these militant groups in six of those regions. But they haven't gone after the Haqqani Network. There's accusations by Washington that perhaps there's links of partnership between the intelligence agencies here and the Haqqani Network.

But they have yet to put forth evidence of that. And Pakistan's position, as we've mentioned before, is, look, we've given up thousands of troops, sacrificed thousands of men and we're doing what we can. And at this point, that's where things stand right now.

And the U.S. is pretty much confused why Pakistan won't go after them. Do they want to and they can't? Is there a partnership and that's where the debate stands at this point.

STOUT: All right. Reza Sayah reporting, thank you very much indeed for that.

Now a recent study found that Afghanistan is the most dangerous country to be a woman, especially if you're expecting a baby. Mohammed Jamjoom shows us how aid organizations are working with the government to make pregnancy and birth safer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language.)

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Learning to handle a difficult birth, young women in this Kabul medical institute will soon join the growing number of midwives in a country where being a mother is ranked among the worst in the world. These students are trying to change that grim statistic.

Amaza Katawazi (ph) says she wants women in far-flung provinces to have access to good medical facilities, doctors and midwives. The remoteness of this clinic in Badakhshan (ph) province means many women can't reach it in time to deliver. Less than two-thirds of Afghan women have access to a nearby facility.

RACHEL MARANTO, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Many, many mothers and children will never see a trained health worker, a doctor, a nurse or a midwife in their lifetime. And that really needs to be improved and turned around.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): So Save the Children, along with other NGOs and foreign donors are funding programs in conjunction with the health ministry to improve the chances of mothers and children's welfare and survival.

In Afghanistan, a woman dies from pregnancy-related causes every two hours. Many of these women lost mothers, sisters and cousins this way. They've also buried their babies. They decided to change things. Now they're volunteering as community health workers in a pilot program in the district of Aguldara (ph). They're illiterate, so they're learning from pictograms.

"It's good work," proudly says mother of six, Noorzia. "In my village, maternal mortality has gone down 100 percent in the last two years."

Noorzia's village may be an exception, but the overall project is judged successful. Most women now give birth in facilities in the presence of qualified health workers.

JAMJOOM: Often it seems trying to find a positive story in Afghanistan is like searching for a needle in a haystack. NGOs point to a certain success in the reduction of mother and child mortality rates here in recent years. But according to Save the Children, women in Afghanistan are still 70 times more likely to die in childbirth as they are from a bullet or a bomb.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): Just one reason why midwifery programs like this one are so important. Ten years ago, there were about 500 midwives in country. Today, there are some 3,000. But many more are needed.

"Their main goal should be serving mothers," says Turpekai Azizi, "and decreasing the rate of maternal mortality."

A noble goal, but one that could be in serious jeopardy, women and aid workers fear, if foreign funding falls off once coalition troops withdraw - - Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Kabul.


STOUT: Now, still to come on NEWS STREAM, a symbolic step. Queen Elizabeth meets former IRA commander, Martin McGuinness, during a visit to Belfast.

And tens of thousands of people are displaced as wildfires rip through Colorado and the U.S. We'll bring the latest on that.



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

Now, in Syria, three people were killed in an attack on a pro- government TV station in Damascus. The government says armed terrorists blew up a part of the studio. Now senior U.N. official says the violence in Syria has now reached or even surpassed levels seen before April's cease-fire.

Australian officials say 136 people have been rescued from a ship that capsized and sank about 200 kilometers north of Australia's Christmas Island. Now the ship is believed to have carried people from Afghanistan. At least one person is said to have died, but Australia prime minister Julia Gillard says most who were on board have been rescued.

Now the leaders of France and Germany are to meet in Paris to try to strike a deal on the eve of a crucial E.U. summit. Now French president Francois Hollande is expected to urge German Chancellor Angela Merkel to support plans for sharing debt liability across the Eurozone. But Ms. Merkel has made it clear that she strongly opposes the idea.

Now a simple gesture with enormous significance. This is a moment when a one-time icon of the Irish Republican Army met the head of the state he still craves freedom from. And Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, is a former IRA commander. And this handshake with the Queen marks a major political event.

Now the complexities of what became known as the Troubles are simply too many to mention. But here are the basic facts. Now the predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland, with its capital in Belfast, is a part of the United Kingdom and remained there after the largely Catholic Irish Free State made its first move from London rule in 1922.

Now, that geographical is now the Republic of Ireland. But as we see so often in the world, you can't just draw a line between allegiance.

Now, tensions bubbled for decades before boiling over into violence in 1969. And that violence, it came to a head in 1972, on what history has recorded as Bloody Sunday.

The killing of 14 then by British troops during a civil rights march in the city of Londonderry, or Derry, led thousands to sign up to the IRA. And its campaign of extremist nationalism continued until an official cease-fire in 1997.

But the killing on both sides did not stop there and The Troubles have claimed the lives of nearly 3,600 people over the decades.

Now, as the body count grows, the political rhetoric only strengthened. And we look back on some of the key players and key quotes from The Troubles, starting with the man of the moment, Martin McGuinness.


MARTIN MCGUINNESS, DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND: That's the reason I like the IRA, because we will not the fight until the freedom (INAUDIBLE) that we have put to Mr. (INAUDIBLE). IAN PAISLEY, FORMER MP/NORTHERN IRELAND FIRST MINISTER: No more! No more! No more!

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN PRESIDENT: We're no better or no worse than anyone else.

MARGARET THATCHER, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We have, in Northern Ireland, unionists and we have republicans. And we have to try to find a political framework which will be acceptable to both.

ADAMS: We want to do business with the unionists. We want to extend the hand of friendship with them and to them. But it has to be on the basis of equality.

JOHN MAJOR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: My commitment means that no one can go behind your backs, not today, not tomorrow, not at any time.

ADAMS: We have all come a very long way in the process of peace making and national reconciliation. We're very conscious of the man people who have suffered. We owe it to them to build the best future possible.

PAISLEY: I believe that enormous opportunities lie ahead for our providence.

MCGUINNESS: And the British government has to face up to the reality that the people that we represent will not accept an internal settlement with the North. They want to see equality. They want justice and they want an all Ireland settlement.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces. And for that, on behalf of the government, indeed, on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.

ADAMS: There isn't a day in my life that I am not offended by the fact that I live in a partitioned Ireland. There isn't one day. I don't get up one morning without feeling a sense that this island is partitioned and that I've got an English monarch ruling me.


LU STOUT: Now, the queen's visit to the province is partially intended to heal remaining wounds. But it's also opening up old ones.

Nic Robertson is in Belfast and joins us now live -- Nic, the handshake, it was deeply significant, as well as the queen's choice of wardrobe color.

Your thoughts on the symbolism of today's meeting.


LU STOUT: OK, unfortunately, it seems like we have a technical issue there with Nic Robertson.

We'll try to reconnect with him a little bit later.

And now to the Middle East, where Jewish settlements in the West Bank are one of the most contentious issues between Israelis and Palestinians. So it's no wonder this week's eviction of settlers from homes built on Palestinian land has met with fierce resistance.

Elise Labott now reports.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Piles of tires surround the Ulpana neighborhood. Right-wing Jewish activists prepare to resist the demolition of five apartment buildings.

MICHAEL BEN HORIN, GOLAN HEBREW MOVEMENT: We are preparing for every option. We believe in God and the fact that Jews love each other. We will win and not get to any struggle.

LABOTT: Nearby, a Palestinian mosque has been set on fire. Graffiti warns Ulpana -- war.

Tensions are building ahead of a July 1st deadline for residents to leave. The Israeli high court ruled the buildings are on private Palestinian land and ordered the eviction of some 30 families.

Among them, Brad and Mikhail (ph) Kittay and their daughter Hannah (ph), who moved from Australia two years ago.

BRAD KITTAY, UPLANA RESIDENT: We were looking for a nice place to bring up our kids, to raise our family. We liked the quiet. We liked the greenery. We liked the neighbors.

LABOTT: The tranquility they wanted is about to be shattered.

KITTAY: For us, this home signifies a lot more than just a place to live. This is our independence. This is our pride. This is our family.

So it's very difficult to be told one day that you have to be out.

LABOTT: On the other side of the hill, in the Palestinian village of Dura al-Qara, Habri Ibrahim Hassan waits.

(on camera): And where's your?

HABRI IBRAHIM HASSAN, LAND OWNER: My -- my land is right on top of that mountain over here. I can't even see where my land went.

LABOTT (voice-over): The land on which Ulpana was built, he says, has been in his family for almost 300 years.

HASSAN: In my mind, remembering, going back to 60 years ago, when I was a young boy, it was -- we used to grow grapes in that land.

LABOTT: For almost 20 years he which had as the West Bank settlement of Betel expanded. His five year battle led to the court ruling which declared the land his. Now he hopes to bring the land back to the village of Dura al-Qara and his family.

(on camera): There is someone else living on your land right now, a family who's about to lose their home.

How do you feel about those settlers?

HASSAN: As a human being, I feel sorry for them. But they have done something wrong.

We talk about democracy, right?

Well, the right for ownership is (INAUDIBLE) in the markets (ph).

LABOTT: The Kittays are preparing to leave peacefully, but they don't think moving will solve anything.

KITTAY: I think that if we can reach peace through this process, well, then I'm happy that my house is a sacrifice for that. Unfortunately, I don't think that -- that my house being destroyed will bring the peace.

LABOTT: Some previous evictions have been far from peaceful. Six years ago, settlers clashed with Israeli security forces as they demolished the hilltop settlement of Amona.

The residents say they'll go quietly. But others may not.

Elise Labott, CNN, in the West Bank.


LU STOUT: OK, time for a global forecast. There is a tropical storm forming near the Philippines.



LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And let's return to today's historic handshake between the queen and Northern Ireland's deputy prime minister.

Nic Robertson is in Belfast.

He joins us now -- and, Nic, first, what are your thoughts on the multi-layered symbolism of today's meeting?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the symb -- the principal symbolism here is, is the handshake. And it has to be the handshake, because, in many ways, Martin McGuinness and the queen were mortal enemies. It was the queen's government that was trying to ensure the writ of authority in Northern Ireland and it was Martin McGuinness who was trying to, as a commander in the IRA, trying to throw out her forces.

Three and a half thousand people were killed. A thousand of them were soldiers and policemen in Northern Ireland. The IRA largely responsible for that. The queen's cousin killed.

But this handshake is symbolizing that if these two people can put their differences -- their bloody differences behind them, then so can everyone else in Northern Ireland. And that's what they're trying to communicate.

But the fact that the queen chose to wear green today is also interesting, significant and symbolic. This is a country or a province that is divided over -- on sectarian lines. It's divided on the issue of nationalism, either with Ireland or with Britain. And in some ways, the tribalism here extends to colors. The Catholics often associated with green, the Protestants with blue or perhaps orange, on occasion.

So the fact that the queen chose to wear green is also a subtle, symbolic message to the republicans, to the Catholic community in Ireland. Just a subtle message that she understands, she hears, she knows -- is in touch with them and their feelings (INAUDIBLE).

So, so very much a multi-layered (INAUDIBLE).

LU STOUT: The queen wore green today. She wore blue yesterday. We screened a photo of that joins us now -- Nic, the handshake is an incredible peace-building gesture.

But how much reconciliation is actually there?

ROBERTSON: There's a lot of reconciliation, but it's slow and there are a lot of people who would say that the queen shouldn't shake McGuinness' hand because he has royal blood on his hands. The queen -- the IRA killed the queen's cousin 1979, Earl Mountbatten.

There are people who say that the -- McGuinness shouldn't shake the queen's hand, because he has stood against her reign for the -- for so many decades now and he's giving up on his principles and -- and justice, as well, for those many people here who were killed by British soldiers and who don't feel that there have been proper inquiries. So at that level, there's a -- there's a -- there's a sense that -- that both of them have given something up.

The overriding -- the overriding message here -- and this is the one that really seems to capture people's imagination -- that although the process is slow, this is a very important step forward. McGuinness has said that this is a message to the -- the hundreds of thousands of partisans in Northern Ireland that -- that it's time to move on together, whichever direction they're going in. He still wants a united Ireland.

But -- but that's, perhaps, that the idea that this meeting and the handshake is supposed to communicate, which is, it is time to forgive and forget. And -- and it it time to -- to move on and all (INAUDIBLE).

LU STOUT: All right, Nic Robertson on the line from Belfast.

Many thanks, indeed, for that.

Now, whether you are a sports fan or not, there is no getting away from it. In exactly one month, the Olympic Games gets underway in London.

Erin McLaughlin is at the city's historic Tower Bridge as the countdown begins -- and, Erin, the rings have been lowered into position behind you.

With just one month to go, how ready is London?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, organizers say they will be ready in 30 days time, Kristie.

They also say that if you're going to throw the biggest party in the world, well, you'd better get dressed for it.

And that is what those Olympic rings that you see behind me, suspended from Tower Bridge represent the dressing of London. Boris Johnson was on hand as they dropped those down earlier this morning. He's the London mayor.

Take a listen to what he had to say about the rings.


BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON MAYOR: They are -- they're fantastic. I think they're wonderful. And to -- to some people, I think Donald Pierre de Coubertin said that they symbolize the five Olympic virtues of athleticism, competition, sportsmanship, poverty, chastity -- I can't remember what they were -- where they were, really. But they're there -- that -- it was that kind of thing.

But for me, what they stand for is the hoops we've had to go through to get London ready.

Number one, getting those venues ready. They're on time. They're under budget.

Number two, getting the police ready, getting the security system -- it's in a fantastic shape.

Number three, the transport network. It's had massive investment and it's going to cope magnificently well.

Number four, the look and feel of the city -- how -- how is London going to respond to the influx of visitors?

We've got everything lined up.

Number five is obviously the athletes. You know, we've got to beat France and we've got to beat Australia, we've got to beat Germany. And -- and -- and haul in those gold medals. But that's -- that's not my job, thankfully.


MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the -- with 30 days to go, Kristie, there is still much work to be done. Organizers say they are putting the finishing touches on some of the temporary venues still under construction before the Games. The permanent venues, they're -- they're -- they're assembling what they call the overlay. That is what takes a normal ordinary venue and turns it into an Olympic venue. Think scoreboards, timing systems, facilities for the athletes, facilities for the -- for the media.

All of that still being put into place. In the words of one organizer, well, there are thirt -- there are 30 days left to go and every day is going to count -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yes, with so much (INAUDIBLE) prep still underway.

Now, Erin, there are concerns about London's transport system.

So how will the city cope with the movement of all the athletes, the fans and the locals during the Games?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that is a key question, Kristie. On the busiest Olympic day, organizers say they expect some three million people to come through London alone and -- and -- and ask any Londoner, and on the best of days, getting around the city can be a challenge.

Organizers say they are preparing for this and they have asked businesses to be prepared, as well.

Business -- some local businesses have gone so far as to open satellite offices outside of London so that their employees can get to work. They're encouraging some employees to take their vacations during that time. Some have even gone so far as to install sleeping pods, Kristie, in their offices to make sure that employees can get -- can do their jobs.

LU STOUT: Creative solutions there.

Erin McLaughlin reporting for us live from London.

Thank you.

Now, unlike the Olympics, you don't have to wait a month for the next Euro 2012 football match. Portugal and Spain, they kick off the semi- finals in around six-and-a-half hour's time.

Let's join Alex Thomas in London for more -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie, you and I both know our producer. It couldn't wait another month for more football action. But Spain is just two wins away from an unprecedented third successive major trophy and the reigning world and European champions' next obstacle is Iberian neighbors, Portugal.

The Spanish have been forced to defend themselves against accusations their playing style has become boring, saying it's their opponents' negative tactics that are to blame.

Portugal are trying to reach the European championship final for the second time in the last three Euros. Their Real Madrid star, Cristiano Reynaldo, will be under pressure to add to his Euro 2012 tally so far of three goals.

In tennis, Roger Federer is continuing his quest for a record-equaling seventh men's title at Wimbledon. The Swiss star is already in control of his second round match against Italy's Fabio Fognini. He raced to victory in the opening set, 6-1, and is leading 3-2 on the second with a break of Serb (ph).

On Tuesday, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, the fourth and second seeds respectively, breezed through their first round contests.

And Serena Williams put aside the shock defeat of her sister Venus on the opening day between her match in straight sets. Murray was particularly impressive, sparking hopes of a grand slam breakthrough in what is a big year for Britain.


Huge -- huge summer, I think, for British sport, really. (INAUDIBLE) the Olympics is going to be, I think -- I think it's going to be amazing. I'm looking forward to it. Into -- to play some great tennis. There's going to be a lot of -- a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations.

THOMAS: One player who knows all about pressure and expectation is Andy Murray. Now this time each year, Britain's only genuine Wimbledon contender is the subject of an intense media storm. Some wonder if he's really got the home court advantage.

When it comes to tennis, it's just a myth that, you know, it's just a disadvantage to -- to be playing in front of a -- a home crowd and getting all the support that it puts extra pressure on you.

But I think if you look over the years, there's -- there's normally -- it's normally helped players raise their game when they've been playing at home.

THOMAS: Neil Harmon has spent the last nine years covering Andy Murray for the "Times" newspaper. He'd like nothing more than to see Murray end Britain's 76-year wait for a men's grand slam winner.

NEIL HARMAN, TENNIS CORRESPONDENT, "THE TIMES": But I've never written about a British player winning a major. So that would be absolutely stunning. It's all about dreams. You know, we -- we, as a -- as a nation would love to see it.

THOMAS: High expectations again for the man many hope will give Britain another reason to celebrate this summer.


THOMAS: Now, take a look at this hole in one with a difference, because the hole is moving at over 120 miles an hour. Ex-Formula 1 racing driver and -- David Coulthard and pro-golfer Jake Shepherd teamed up to set a very unusual world record, the further golf shots to be caught in a moving car.

Take a look.


THOMAS: There you go. The ball was traveling at 178 miles an hour and Coulthard (INAUDIBLE) positioned his Mercedes Benz SLS Roadster perfectly to catch the ball 300 yards away from where it was hit, unlike many Internet video sensations, this wasn't a trick. The stunt was verified by "The Guinness Book of World Records."

So in this instance, Kristie, seeing really is believing.

LU STOUT: Yes. And I'm glad the driver had a helmet on, especially a helmet with a target on it, apparently.

Anyway, it must have (INAUDIBLE).

THOMAS: Yes, they didn't even shout fore! did they?

LU STOUT: An incredible stunt there.

Yes, no, they didn't. But then again, with the roar of the engines, you couldn't really hear something like that. But cool video.

Alex Thomas there.

Thank you.

Now, you're watching NEWS STREAM.

And up next, do you remember this?


TOM HANKS, ACTOR: They try other people on and see how they fit. But everybody is an adjustment, they say. Nobody's perfect. There's no such thing as a perfect.


LU STOUT: We look back at the life and career of movie screenwriter Nora Ephron.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And the tech world is awaiting a new player in the tablet market this Wednesday. Google is gearing up for its annual I/O Conference. That's input/output, in geek-speak. And the event is widely expected to be the launch pad for the Google Pad, or Nexis 7, as it's going to be known.

Now, the Google I/O, it's taking place at the same venue as Apple held its just two weeks ago. But the Nexus 7 is predicted to compete more closely with Amazon's Kindle Fire than the higher priced iPad.

Now, whatever the details turn out to be, we'll bring them to you right here on NEWS STREAM.

Now, an international cyber sting has nabbed hackers in the U.S., Japan and several other countries. And the suspects are accused of stealing credit card and banking information then exchanging them online.

Alison Kosik has more.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. law enforcement has announced a major crackdown on stolen credit cards and other financial fraud. It's the result of a two year undercover operation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Twenty-four people worldwide have been arrested, 11 in the United States and 13 abroad.

The sting operation centered on a sophisticated hacking group that authorities believe stole credit card and bank information online and exchanged it with each other over the Internet, literally buying and selling stolen ID, credit cards and other counterfeit documents.

There's no word on how many people were scammed before the ring was disrupted, but the U.S. attorney's office does say law enforcement protected over 400,000 potential cyber crime victims and prevented over $200 million in thefts.

Authorities were able to catch the alleged cyber criminals by setting up a fake online forum for those involved to network and communicate. They say this sting represents the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history directed at this type of cyber financial crime.

In New York, I'm Alison Kosik.



But the news continues at CNN.