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NEWS STREAM

Barclays CEO Steps Down; Syrian President Admits Regret For Shooting Down Turkish Plane; Profile of TZA CEO Ester Levanon; Maria Sharapova Crashes Out Of Wimbledon

Aired July 3, 2012 - 8:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

We begin in Syria as President Bashar al-Assad says he regrets a shooting down of a Turkish jet and look at the growing strength of the rebels inside Damascus.

And the growing scandal at Barclays where chief executive Bob Diamond has now resigned.

And fears that freedom of speech rights are being restricted in South Korea.

"If only it did not happen," now those are the words of Syria's president in an interview with a Turkish newspaper. It is a rare expression of regret from Bashar al-Assad. But he wasn't talking about the past 16 months of conflict, it was a specific reference to his forces shooting down a Turkish fighter jet. Now the incident last month prompted Turkey to heighten its military presence along the border with Syria and raise diplomatic tensions between two countries. And now Reuters reports that Turkey says it scrambled jets for a third straight day on Monday after Syrian helicopters flew near its border.

And inside Syria, there is growing evidence that the conflict may be hitting a little closer to home for Bashar al-Assad. ITN's Bill Neely has traveled to Damascus and reports on the growing strength there of Syrian rebels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL NEELY, ITN CORRESPONDENT: The face of revolution in the heart of the capital. These are Syria's rebels and they're getting closer to President Assad. It's not that they've reached Damascus, they live here, and they patrol openly, driving us for hours to the very front line at the war against their own regime.

These men of the Free Syrian Army say they control this area and that regular Syrian troops have no power here. There is certainly no sign of them here. This is one of several suburbs in Damascus where President Assad clearly has lost control.

An air force drone is buzzing, watching overhead. Rebels are often hit from the air -- rockets, artillery, killed by their own former comrades.

He was in the army.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

NEELY: And now he has left.

They have few weapons. They're young. But this, they say, is a war they will win.

And these are their victims in a conflict that has just had its bloodiest week. Syrian soldiers are now being buried by the dozen. These men died in Douma on the edge of Damascus, 42 of them in a day and a half of fighting.

The survivors console each other. But these men have reason to worry, the army death toll is now in the thousands. The pity of war, shared by both sides, but this army is accused of a pitiless bombardment of civilian areas in a war they, too, say they will win.

You are sure you will win this war?

"Yes," he says, "we are ready to die, but they will."

They've come to the funerals directly from the battlefield. Behind them, 16 empty coffins, ahead of them the battle for Damascus that in the suburbs has raged for days. Countless civilians, soldiers and rebels, victims of its deadlock.

Bill Neely, ITV News, Douma.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: A colonel who defected from the Syrian army spoke exclusively to CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the horrors he witnessed in the country. He says the international community needs to take urgent action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is there some kind of situation that would make it easier for officers from the army to defect?

ABDALHAMID ZAKARIA, SYRIAN MILITARY DEFECTOR: OK. I'll tell you honestly the international community deserted us. No one cares for our -- the bloodshed in Syria. We only have word and promises, but in fact it's just much ado about nothing. If the international community helped (inaudible) northern and southern part of the country, the defection will be so easy. And I here have a message to the American people, how do you dare to look at your (inaudible) while the children in Syria are killed on a daily basis, or so I want to ask Mr. Obama. Does your presidential chair worth all the bloodshed in Syria? Why you are keeping silent?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: An urgent plea for international action there.

Now this might look like a complicated map, but it makes a simple point about what some say is happening in these cities across Syria: torture. Human Rights Watch says it has identified widespread evidence of abuse. It released this report called the torture archipelago. It's a term that brings to mind the forced labor camps of the former Soviet Union.

Let's get more now from CNN's Ivan Watson. He's been monitoring the crisis in Syria from Istanbul in neighboring Turkey. And Ivan, it's a sickening story this network of torture chambers.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not a new one. I mean, we've been hearing over the course of the last year and several months during this uprising activist after activist, former detainee and prisoner, all telling us these totally disturbing stories about just the things that they're using to torture prisoners, the most mundane things: a car tire, a car battery, cables, boards. And using these to inflict pain in what Human Rights Watch says is a systematic state policy of violence against Syrian citizens in a network of torture chambers and dungeons that it is calling the torture archipelago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON: Besaat ereeh, Dulah (ph), Fillakah (ph), Arabic names for torture techniques that former prisoners and security officers say are systematically used by government security forces across Syria.

OLE SOLVANG, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH RESEARCHER: We have documented the use of torture in 27 detention facilities scattered across Syria. And, you know, what we found is that torture is widespread and systematic.

WATSON: A new report published by the group Human Rights Watch maps out dozens of detention facilities where prisoners say they've been routinely tortured. Human Rights Watch is calling it the torture archipelago.

SOLVANG: It is a network of torture centers -- of torture chambers -- that the authorities are using to intimidate, to punish people who dare to oppose the government.

WATSON: Human Rights Watch interviewed scores of torture victims, some of whom were only children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): On the third and last time they took me in for questioning, they pulled out my nails with pliers or something like a screwdriver.

WATSON: These testimonies are very similar to those gathered by CNN over the last 15 months.

This opposition activist from Latakia says security forces beat him after handcuffing and blindfolding him when he was arrested in April of 2011. The torture continued throughout his 40 day detention.

"They used a car tire technique and bessat ereeh. They threw cold water on our naked bodies. And they also urinated on us," he said.

Torture victim accounts match those of former torturers like this former secret police officer. He defected months ago and joined the rebel Free Syrian Army.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We would put the prisoner in the besaat ereeh and start beating them. He would scream for God's sake so we would say OK bring the for God's sake stick. Every stick had a name.

WATSON: Human Rights Watch isn't just documenting abuses, it's also naming and shaming, publishing names and ranks of commanders of individual detention centers.

SOLVANG: By indicating the names and identifying the people responsible for these detention facilities, we're really putting them on notice that somebody will have to -- somebody will have to answer for these violations.

WATSON: Violations that the Syrian government routinely denies. But the evidence being gathered in reports like this one by Human Rights Watch is being prepared for that day when the dust finally settles in Syria, a day when many hope those accused of crimes against humanity will be brought to justice before an international court of law.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: Of course, Kristie, Syrian officials deny these accusations. And Syria's ambassador to the United Nations stormed out in protest of a recent meeting of the United Nations human rights council when Syria was repeatedly accused of crimes against humanity.

It's important to note that many activists say the spark that lit this uprising more than a year ago was the detention and alleged torture of teenagers in the southern Syrian city of Daraa who were arrested after writing anti-regime graffiti. Every activist you talk to points to that incident as the starting point of this uprising that is challenging the Syrian regime -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Also Ivan, we have new comments from Bashar al-Assad. He is now expressing regret saying I wish we did not shoot the Turkish jet down. Ivan, what else did he say about this incident?

WATSON: Yeah, this is in an interview in the Kamalist Turkish newspaper called Cumhuriyet. One of their reporters was invited to conduct an interview with Bashar al-Assad, this in the wake of the mess and the diplomatic spat between the two countries after Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet more than a week ago.

And Bashar al-Assad was in some sense is playing good cop. Instead of using the line of defense that his foreign ministry spokesman used just days after the plane was shot down that this was self defense, he stressed the argument that Syrian anti-aircraft defense mistook the Turkish jet for an Israeli jet. And this seems to be a new argument that the Syrians are using increasingly to defend their decision to shoot down the Turkish warplane without any warning fire or warning message, which is one of the chief criticisms coming from the Turkish side.

The Syrian president insisting he has no enmity against the Turkish people and he wishes that this had never happened. But that hasn't stopped the Turks from scrambling jets three days in a row -- F16s to the Syrian border in response for Syrian choppers approaching Turkish airspace. The Turks determined to show a muscular response to their shot down warplane and the two pilots who are still missing and feared dead now.

Another very interesting quote from this interview, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president saying, quote, "if millions of people in my country don't want me, of course I would step down. Why would I stay here in the presidency if I am not wanted." And I think it's safe to say that there probably are at least a million people in Syria who desperately do not want this man to be their president -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Ivan Watson reporting. Thank you very much indeed, Ivan.

You're watching News Stream. And up next a scandal at Barclays, it is rocking Britain's banking industry. As the CEO steps down, find out what the future holds for the UK's second biggest bank.

And the battle for the White House is heating up. And we'll tell you which states could have a big impact on the outcome of the presidential race.

And tensions on the Korean peninsula, how using Twitter has landed one South Korean in hot water. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now there is more fallout from the rate manipulation scandal that has engulfed Barclay's bank. Chief executive Bob Diamond has resigned effective immediately. UK's second biggest bank is dealing with an interesting rate scandal that has already cost the bank $450 million in fines. In a statement, Diamond says that his resignation was needed to protect the bank's reputation. And the bank's outgoing chairman Marcus Agius who had announced his own resignation just on Monday will remain in place for the time being to lead the search for a replacement CEO.

Meanwhile, British prime minister David Cameron says a parliamentary inquiry will look into banking standards and the rate manipulation scandal. And for more, let's bring in Jim Boulden who joins us live from London. And Jim, what's the reaction? Is the resignation shoring up confidence in Barclays and British banking?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's just the beginning, frankly, Kristie. You know, yesterday the chairman of Barclays said the buck stopped with him. We knew that wasn't to be the case. And now we have Bob Diamond resigning, certainly the most well known banker in the city of London in these towers behind me in Canary Wharf. Diamond was the face of British banking, so it wasn't a surprise really that he would resign. It was something that certainly the government was not supporting him.

But Barclays is only the first bank to be fined in this scandal. So we would expect more as well as we go along in this scandal.

But the finance minister, George Osborne, came out with a statement immediately after Bob Diamond resigned. Let's here what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE OSBORNE, BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER: I think Bob Diamond has made the right decision for Barclays, also the right decision for the country, because we need our banks focused on lending for the economy not on the scandals of the past. And I hope this can be the first step towards a new culture of responsibility in British banking, which is what the British public very much want to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOULDEN: Interestingly, Bob Diamond is to appear before a treasury select committee on Wednesday. We still expect him to testify. Now that he has resigned, maybe he'll have more to say than he would have said otherwise. So it would be a very interesting time on Wednesday when we hear what Bob Diamond has to say not only about what the bank did, what he knew while he was CEO about this schedule, and also about the regulators and whether or not there was any issue about whether they weren't regulating enough.

But the bottom line is, Kristie, this tower behind me on the left has lost its CEO, but the other towers and their CEOs are certainly going to be under fire as this investigation continues.

LU STOUT: It was interesting hearing from Chancellor George Osborne just then. He welcomed the resignation of the Barclays CEO saying he hopes that it is the first step toward a new culture of responsibility in British banking, but will it be that?

BOULDEN: Well, there are a number of scandals going on at the time. And the other ones are kind of inside baseball. There's payment protection insurance scandal going on. And the banks have had to pay billions of dollars back to their customers over the last few years. We had this scandal going on which is more esoteric if you will, but it involves interest rates not only in UK, but also in Europe. And more than a dozen banks are being investigated.

Yeterday, the prime minister said that criminal investigation is also going on with the UK fraud office. Barclays was fined not only here in the UK, but also fined in the U.S. And U.S. banks could be involved.

So it may -- it may take a long time for the banks here. Ever since we had a financial crisis in 2008. It could take a long time. And it could be a lot more house cleaning. I think that's what George Osborne is hinting to, that maybe the other banks were going to have to seriously look at the leadership of these banks ever since the economic crisis kicked off in 2008.

LU STOUT: Yeah, this could be the beginning of a major shake-up. Jim Boulden joining us live in London. Thank you.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, the U.S. presidential campaign and why a new poll may be causing some sleepless nights at the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream.

And the U.S. presidential election race could come down to a handful of so-called battleground states where the race is believed to be close. And the latest CNN/ORC poll indicates Republican challenger Mitt Romney may have the upper hand there.

Joe Johns takes a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even though the president maintains a slight edge in our nationwide polling, it appears to be a different story in the 15 battleground states, including Iowa where we met this group of young voters at the Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing Company in Des Moines. Our latest CNN/ORC poll indicates Mitt Romney is out to an 8 point, 51 percent to 43 percent advantage among registered voters in the 15 states we consider in play. The seven true toss-up states and the eight states leaning either toward the president or his Republican challenger.

Nic Potteburam has supported Romney since the Iowa caucuses and says he sees the candidates pragmatism as a key selling point.

NIC POTTEBURAM, IOWA VOTER: But if you look at his record in terms of his ability in the private sector, of being governor of Massachusetts, there's some -- definitely some interesting insight into his ability just to solve problems. And Barack Obama has had four years to solve some problems. I think he's lacked leadership in a lot of direction and so I think Mitt Romney is just really strong when it comes to just solving problems and being pragmatic.

JOHNS: The news is not all good for the Republican challenger, however. As the presidential election approaches, few things are seen as more important than voter enthusiasm and the incumbent president seems to have it on his side, at least for now. In March, only 46 percent of Democrats said they were enthusiastic about voting in November, and now that number is up to 59 percent, a 13 point increase.

KATHERINE VALDE, IOWA VOTER: I'm very excited for this election. And I've been really pleased the President Obama has put his neck out on the line for students.

JOHNS: For Romney, not so much. Republican enthusiasm has remained almost constant, 52 percent versus 51 percent now. It's a very different race from the last time Obama and Romney ran for president.

ABHAY NADIPURAM, IOWA VOTER: I think our generation is less connected with this election than they were in 2008 primarily because in 2008 most of us were first-time voters.

JOHNS: The poll also shows that 79 percent of voters say they've already made up their mind on who they're voting for in November. Anecdotally here in Iowa, we didn't find anyone who said they were still on the fence.

Joe Johns, CNN, Des Moines.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Iowa is one of those true toss-up states that Joe was talking about. They include: New Hampshire, Ohio and Colorado. And Florida, you'll remember, played heavily in the 2000 presidential election controversy.

Now political editor Paul Steinhauser, he is watching the race very closely. He joins us now live from CNN Washington.

And Paul, first I want to hear your thoughts on the latest CNN/ORC poll. We're seeing Obama with only a slight edge over Romney. So what happened?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: It seems the Supreme Court ruling may not have had a huge effect on the race for the White House, Kristie, and that's understandable. Listen, people in this country in the United States really have very strong opinions in favor or against the Affordable Care Act which is the official name for the Supreme Court -- for the health care act.

Look at this, 49 percent say they would vote for President Obama if the election were held today, 46 percent say Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger. This is of registered voters nationwide. And that is no change whatsoever from May, Kristie.

So this poll is conducted in the four days following the Supreme Court ruling on health care. So did the Supreme Court ruling have any effect? I guess not.

Go to the next number, this is interesting. We asked just that question. Did the ruling affect your vote for president? You can see right there, only a small amount of people, about 16 percent said yes I'm now more inclined to vote for President Obama. 30 percent, 3 in 10, said yeah I'm a little more inclined now to vote for Mitt Romney. But at the bottom there, Kristie, 54 percent said no effect at all right now in my vote for president.

So interesting on whether the Supreme Court did change minds, it doesn't seem so, at least as of now.

LU STOUT: Yeah, interesting, no impact there.

Now we've got to talk about the tweets from Rupert Murdoch. Now he offered some advice to Romney on Sunday essentially saying go out and hire some pros. And now, let's welcome to the touch screen. Murdoch says this, quote, "Romney people upset at me. Of course I want him to win, save us from socialism, et cetera. But should listen to good advice and get stuck in."

Now, Paul, you've been following Murdoch on Twitter. Any sound advice from there for the GOP candidate?

STEINHAUSER: This is a fascinating story. And another top executive -- a top executive here in the United States, Jack Welch, also tweeting something very similar over the last 24 hours on more advice for Romney to change his staff.

You know, Mitt Romney's campaign team, Kristie, his closest advisers have been with him for a long time. They were with Mitt Romney four years ago when he made his first run for the White House. A lot of them were with Mitt Romney in 2002 when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts in there with Mitt Romney for his four years when he was serving as governor of Massachusetts. And there is some criticism that maybe Mitt Romney should bring in some new blood, some different people to try to mix things up.

But I've got to say right now, you look at these poll numbers, Kristie, they're pretty tight. We've got four months to go, but it is a very competitive race for the White House right now.

LU STOUT: All right. And we've also learned that Mitt Romney, he plans to go to Israel to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu. What does he hope to achieve with that trip?

STEINHAUSER: This is interesting. We knew Mitt Romney was going to go to London for the opening for the Olympic games. And now we are learning, yes, he will go on to Israel, meet with Benjamin Netanyahu.

It makes sense. Listen, Mitt Romney does not have much of a track record when it comes to foreign affairs, international crises, so this is a way to bolster his resume, I guess you could say, meeting with an international leader. And also, of course, in the United States the Jewish vote is important. And Republicans are making a pitch for Jewish voters to come to their side. So for Mitt Romney to go to Israel is a logical idea.

Netanyahu's office, a senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister, saying that Netanyahu meets with both Democrats and Republicans from the United States. But they did call Mitt Romney a good friend of Israel -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Paul Steinhauser with the very latest, thank you for giving us the state of play.

Now still ahead, in South Korea, critics accuse the president of limiting free speech. That story next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Now Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond has resigned effective immediately. The bank's outgoing chairman Marcus Agius who announced his own resignation on Monday will stay on for now to lead the search for Diamond's replacement. And Barclays is dealing with the fallout from the interest rate scandal that has cost the bank more than $450 million dollars in fines.

Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has said he regrets the shooting down of a Turkish jet last month. In an interview with the Turkish newspaper he says he wishes it hadn't happened. It comes as Human Rights Watch releases a report documenting evidence of torture at the hands of the Syrian government. The regime denies such allegations.

A record breaking high temperatures are continuing across parts of the United States with extreme heat warnings issued Tuesday for several states. Now heat driven storms have caused widespread power outages affecting hundreds of thousands of people. And officials say some households may not get power back any time soon.

Now when South Koreans complain of a repressive government, do not assume that they're talking about their neighbors to the north. Now President Lee Myung-bak has been accused of abusing the national security law to stifle free speech. Some of the media complain of censorship. And one man says he got in trouble for a retweet.

Paula Hancocks has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Park Chung-sun (ph) is a photographer, but he's become well known in South Korea for a very different reason. After re-tweeting messages from North Korea's official Twitter feed, he found himself in jail accused of acts that benefit the enemy.

"I found the messages ludicrous," he says, "because they're so harsh and the language is so out-dated. They're funny. So I re-tweeted them."

But the South Korean government is not laughing, claiming Park (ph) has acted against its strict national security law, a law which Amnesty International says has a, quote, "chilling effect on freedom of expression."

Park (ph) is currently on bail awaiting his next court appearance. He could face up to seven years in prison for spreading North Korean propaganda.

He shows me a photo he took of himself with a bottle of whiskey. He then added the North Korean flag as the background as a joke.

"Hundreds of people found it inappropriate. I was arrested," he says. "They now use this photo to do parodies and as their twitter profile picture. It became a sort of symbol of solidarity."

The president's office and other government officials declined our requests for interview. But supporters of the law say it serves as a defense against North Korea.

The national security law has certainly been more widely used under president Lee Myung-bak. In 2008 when Mr. Lee took power, only five people were prosecuted on charges of pro-North Korean online postings. Two years later, that number had jumped to 82. But it's not just this law that's vital in freedom of speech, according to some South Korean media.

Smashing ice sculptures outside the national assembly is meant to symbolize smashing so-called parachuting, say these protesting journalists.

This labor union head tells me President Lee Myung-bak has appointed pro-government people as presidents of the media companies, what we call parachutes. He says they're now trying to censor our voice and stop criticism of the government.

The government has denied interfering in press freedom, but around 1,000 journalists from two different networks are still on strike. They're determined not to allow what they think as political restrictions on the fourth pillar of a still relatively young democracy.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now despite its problems, South Korea's press freedom is considered satisfactory by Reporters Without Borders. Now this is the group's 10th annual index. And South Korea, it fell slightly to 44th place, but North Korea is ranked second to last at 178. In fact, you can see it right here in black on the map.

But in fact no Asia-Pacific country cracked the top 10. And the report raised concern about conditions here in Hong Kong, citing a sharp deterioration in press freedom and called the increasing arrests and harassment of journalists a sign of worrying change in government policy.

Now thousands of people are fleeing from massive flooding in northern India as a result of the monsoon rain there. Let's get the very latest with our Mari Ramos who joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, this is a developing story across northeastern parts of India. This is now rain that's fallen, you know, in the last day or so. These are people that are suffering from weeks of rainfall from the southwest monsoon.

Let me first show you this picture that I have right here. And you can see the desperation in these people's faces. This man right over here, another one right over there, from this aerial picture taken over Assam. This is just an example. You see how they're facing up like that? They're looking at a helicopter that is flying overhead dropping supplies, or surveying the area here flooded.

Now I really -- you can really take a lot from these images. You can see how widespread the flooding actually is. This is just a small, small, tiny segment of the population affected.

Let's go ahead and roll the pictures from India, because they indeed quite dramatic. Water everywhere across some of these areas.

The monsoon is actually late, believe it or not, across most of India, but in this part, in northeastern India, is has come with a vengeance. And it has brought above average rainfall, in some cases 300, 400 millimeters every single day. And that is why we have such widespread flooding over these regions.

Now the other thing to remember is we're talking about thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people that are affected by the flooding, many of them having to flee, many more that are actually marooned in areas like that where they are just overtaken by all of that water.

Now we're continuing to monitor the situation here. If you come back over to the weather map, you'll notice we do again have some scattered rain showers. And a little bit more wet weather moving farther toward the west here. The monsoon could not quite making it to New Delhi yet. 35 degrees there, Jaipur clocking in at 44. That gives you an indication of how bad the situation there is and how desperate the rain is needed in the west still across parts of India.

Switching gears, Southeast Asia here we go. This is a picture from Manila in the Philippines. Here the rain has been quite heavy with an area of low pressure that hasn't really quite gotten named just yet. But it did cause some significant flooding not just over Manila and widespread across Luzon, but across the central and southern Philippines as well.

Look at some of these rainfall totals, pretty impressive across the area including Manila. There 110 millimeters of rainfall as you can see, still pretty impressive. This area of low pressure could become our next tropical cyclone once it moves back out into the Philippine Sea. So we're definitely monitoring it. And we could still see some very heavy rain associated with this weather system over the next few days, in some cases an additional 8 to 15 centimeters now out of the question.

And very quickly, across China I do want to bring you up to date on the situation here as well, because very heavy rainfall upstream from the Yangtze River has given way to these images.

I'll go ahead and leave you with these pictures of the Three Gorges Dam in China. For the first time this year, Kristie, it has opened up its loose gate. What does it mean? That the first crest of the river has reached the area. And to prevent any kind of significant flooding, they open it up. This does, however, cause some flooding further downstream. So first time this year that's happened, an indication of the heavy rainfall in that region.

You're city by city forecast is next.

You know what, there are record high temperatures across all of the northern hemisphere continents. There are temperatures from East Asia. We're still seeing temperatures well above the average across this region. And unfortunately more days of hot weather could come over this region with temperatures into the upper 30s easily and very heavy rain farther to the north. Hot and humid across southern parts of China and Southeast Asia there.

We're also looking at near record high temperatures across central and eastern Europe. Look at some of these temperatures, some 10 degrees in some cases, or 11 degrees above the average for this time of year. That's also very significant. And of course we've been talking for days already about the extreme heat across portions of the U.S., that is continuing.

I'm going to leave you with these really incredible pictures of what happens to the road in some cases. This is in Wisconsin -- ooh, there goes that car. Scary every time you see this video. The roadway actually buckled from the heat. They had marked it off, but this person didn't see it. And there you see the vehicle just taking a flip. The person was taken to the hospital, but not seriously hurt.

We'll take a break right here on News Stream. More news right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now as part of our Leading Women series we've been introducing you to some of the world's most powerful women. And today meet Ester Levanon who says women cannot succeed by being just equal to men, but got to be a whole lot better. Now she runs the Tel Aviv stock exchange. And it has expanded rapidly under her tenure. Here's Felicia Taylor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When she walks into a room, an aura of strength surrounds her, built in part by years spent with the Israeli security service. She's now the CEO of the Tel Aviv stock exchange, another high stress job, and a physician held by only a handful of women at stock exchanges around the world, but just don't point that out to her.

ESTER LEVANON, CEO, TEL AVIV STOCK EXCHANGE: The head of a stock exchange is the head of a stock exchange whether it's a man or a woman there is no difference.

TAYLOR: She exudes power, yet a glimpse into her family life shows her softer side.

This powerhouse with a great sense of humor is the head of the TZA, Ester Levanon.

Tel Aviv, Israel, the largest city in the country. It's known for its nightlife and beaches. It's also the country's business hub and has positioned itself as one of the world's biggest high tech hotspots.

Leading the charge is the Tel Aviv stock exchange.

LEVANON: We don't have natural resources in Israel. So when you don't have natural resources, you need -- you bring resources. And that's how the high tech community came to life.

TAYLOR: I met Levanon when she visited New York for a joint TZA, NASDAQ investor's conference.

How many women have ever done this before?

LEVANON: Well, actually I'm the first, of course, but not only the first woman to (inaudible) stock exchange, it not an economist at the head of the exchange, but someone came -- that came from IT. So that's a first from all aspects.

But that goes along with my theory about how women should go on in life. You have to be much better than men.

TAYLOR: Levanon's theory came from a manager who once told her he would only hire a woman if she was a much better candidate than a man. Levanon chose to turn his words into a lesson. And it led her to head up the IT department at the very macho Israeli Security Service.

LEVANON: And I say to, you know, not too loudly so they wouldn't hear, it was the most chauvinistic organization on the face of the earth, only men, no women managers, nothing.

TAYLOR: She became the first female manager who had to prove to the previously inflexible organization that her job and a computer department were vital. It didn't take long for that point to become clear during the first Lebanon war in 1982.

LEVANON: And truly I don't believe I had a moment to myself during war (inaudible), at home, during the night, I got calls all the time because they needed any kind of services from the IT division.

TAYLOR: Levanon went on to head up the IT department at the stock exchange. And 20 years later, she became its CEO.

SANDY FRUCHER, VICE CHAIRMAN, NASDAQ: She comes into a room and, you know, you think oh, grandma is here. But you turn around and what do you have? You have one of the smartest, one of the brightest, one of the most incredibly insightful people in the business.

TAYLOR: So it's not that she's a woman.

FRUCHER: No. It's not that she's a woman. It is that she is an extraordinary human being.

TAYLOR: Under Levanon's lead, the TZA stepped out of the emerging market and into the developed market index and now has more than 600 companies listed.

YONI SHEMESH, EVP AND CIO, TEL AVIV STOCK EXCHANGE: What you see here is truly automated exchange, fully automated clearinghouses, and the age of technology being established here in the exchange thanks to the work and the vision of Ester.

TAYLOR: To show how much the TZA is growing, Levanon takes us to see its new home under construction. This won't have a trading floor at all, but a bigger space for more computers to manage the exchange.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel like you're on the top of the world over here?

LAVANON: Yes. Of course.

TAYLOR: Levanon has reached a level of success that few women have achieved. And in the comping weeks she reveals her biggest fears, mistakes, and why she could never be a stay-at-home mom.

LEVANON: I have to tell you that once I stayed home for one week they went crazy, they wanted me out of the house.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And next week we'll introduce you to Katrina Markoff, a U.S. entrepreneur who turned her love for chocolate into a sweet business. And if you've missed any part of our series, just go to CNN.com/leadingwomen.

Now still to come, one of tennis' leading women had a bad day on Monday. Maria Sharapova, she crashed out of Wimbledon. We'll have all the latest as play gets underway on Tuesday with Alex Thomas next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Wimbledon tennis organizers -- pardon me -- have been trying to make up for lost time after rain delays on Monday. Now let's bring in Alex Thomas in London. He's got the very latest -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, hi Kristie. It's ladies quarterfinals day at Wimbledon, but organizers are also trying to finish off a number of men's fourth round contests delayed by rain from Monday. Play on the show courts started an hour early and a bid to get the matches finished.

Andy Murray has already been on and off court number one. In between the showers, he's two sets to one up on Marin Cilic of Croatia and leading 2-1 in that third set. You can see that Mardy Fish of the United States took the first against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who has leveled that match at one set all after a tiebreak in the second set.

On Monday, Novak Djokovic won his fourth round match in straight sets, but Roger Federer's progress wasn't as straight forward. The six time champion taking a medical timeout for a back complaint before going on to beat Xavier Malisse, a former semifinalist in four sets.

But it's the women's quarterfinals that are the highlights on Tuesday. Serena Williams is facing defending champion Petra Kvitova later, while the Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka plays Tamira Paszek of Austria.

The other matches in the last eight are an all German affair between Sabine Lisicki who knocked out Maria Sharapova on Monday and Angelique Kerber, while Agnieszka Radwanska takes on Maria Kirilenko. Radwanska and Azarenka also vying for the world number one spot after that shock defeat for Sharapova.

Now Maria De Villota, one of only two women drivers in Formula 1 has been rushed to hospital with severe head injuries after crashing during a testing session in the UK. De Villota was trying out the latest updates for the Marussia team's car, but reports say she inexplicably plowed into one of the support trucks after coming back into the pits. The 32-year- old, whose father raced in F1, is being treated in hospital and a further statement is expected later in the day.

Monday proved to be a tough emotional one for the American sprinter Jeneba Tarmoh who decided at the last minute not to contest the run-off against Allyson Felix for the last place in the USA's 100 meters Olympic team. Last month at the U.S. trials in Oregon the two training partners tied for third and they couldn't even separate it by a photo finish.

So there were options on how to settle this dispute, ranging from flipping a coin to a raceoff. And on Sunday everyone agreed to the later, but Tarmoh then pulled out, setting the whole thing into a bit of an anti- climax.

Spain footballers continue to bask in the glory of winning a third straight international title. La Roja return home to their capital city Madrid on Monday. And let's take a look at some of the scenes of celebration they enjoyed. A victory parade in front of the adoring fans who are getting used to it now after triumphs at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

The debate has already started as to whether or not Spain could be considered the greatest football team ever. They thrashed Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final on Sunday night. Al Goodman was watching that and the festivities.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The team arrived at Madrid's airport with the cup, the third major international trophy in a row, a first for any team. Spain's trouble, two European championships and a World Cup. A quick change and off to see King Juan Carlos. And then on to the bus for the victory lap through central Madrid.

It's a huge win for Spain, especially in the nation's deep economic crisis. There's a recession, unemployment over 24 percent, and a bank bailout in the works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This makes us forget, for a moment, the crisis we're living in this country, but we all support Spain. We hope this promotes tourism a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything feels better now today, because we are together and for one day we are happy now.

GOODMAN: But across Spain they're trying to keep the economic crisis at bay for another day until manana. This day, it's all about the fiesta and La Roja.

Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

THOMAS: That's all the sport for now.

You know, Kristie, at one stage they're eventually going to have to stop smiling in Spain, but not just yet.

LU STOUT: All right, now, back over to me. Alex Thomas there. Thank you.

Now for a next story, they are cute, they are colorful and cuddly, and they're in charge of whipping up the crowds at sporting events. Now team mascots, they're accustomed to being under the spotlight, but as Jeanne Moos reports one mascot recently attracted some unwanted attention.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His critics say that for a winner he sure acted like a loser. Seconds after this French runner won the 3,000 meter steeple chase event at the European championships in Finland, he slapped away a gift bag and then shoved a mascot, the mascot for Helsinki 2012.

It turns out that under that boxy, blue-eyed head was a flesh and blood 14-year-old girl.

Now Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad didn't know he was shoving a 14-year- old, but still...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's he got against mascots?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK.

MOOS: Reaction on the runner's own Facebook page was way worse.

"Bloody, stinky swine."

"Imbecile."

"What a psycho."

Benabbad has been hot-headed in the past. And since when a competitor head butted him, he came out swinging.

This wasn't the first time that the runner has had a run-in with a mascot. Two years ago, after winning the same race in Barcelona he gave the mascot a big hug, asked him to get down on his knees, then pushed him over.

We've seen mascots assaulted before, most memorably when a Pittsburgh Pirate player used his bat on a passing Italian sausage who fell and took out a wiener.

There have been cases of mascot on mascot assault. And we've seen mascots help run down rowdy fans, in this case with a belly flop.

Those who work as characters say something strange happens and you become dehumanized. People do things they'd never do to another human.

It could have been worse for Appy, the Helsinki mascot with happened to Elmo when he tried to spread cheer among school kids. Tickle Me Elmo became torture me Elmo until he managed to dance out of danger.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And finally, football's European championships, they've come and gone, but we've got one more treat from the tournament. Now we at CNN, we always try to stay impartial during any story that we cover, but sometimes national pride takes over. Now Pedro Pinto, he kept his cool on air, but some of the outtakes show you just how much the tournament meant to our crew covering Euro 2012.

And I'm going to leave you now with the best of the reactions. Stay with CNN. World Business Today is next.

END