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NEWS STREAM

Syrian Diplomat Defects On al Jazeera; Former FIFA President Accused Of Taking Bribes; Verdict In John Terry Case Expected Tomorrow Morning; Venezuelan Opposition Leader Confident Ahead Of Presidential Election

Aired July 12, 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. And we begin with a scandal at the top of world football. The man who ran FIFA for decades is accused of taking bribes. And the man who runs it now is accused of knowing about it.

And we take a close look at how doctors managed to crack the case of the mystery illness killing children in Cambodia.

And the hit TV show with the dubious honor of being the most downloaded of the year. And we're not talking about legal downloads.

Now allegations of corruption are kicking around FIFA once again. This time, world football's governing body has been hit with bribery charges. Now Swiss court documents say two top officials pocketed more than $14 million back in the 1990s. And they are former FIFA president Joao Havelange and his ex-son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira.

Now Havelange was football's most powerful man from 1974 to 1998. And the 96-year-old is still an honorary FIFA president. He is accused of receiving at least half a million dollars from a now collapsed marketing company.

Now Teixeira was on FIFA's executive committee. And he was forced to resign earlier this year. This as prosecutors allege that he pocketed nearly $13 million.

And then you the current FIFA president Sepp Blatter served under Havelange, and he is under intense pressure to provide answers about how much he knew. FIFA points out the prosecutors did not name Blatter. But the Swiss court did call FIFA a deficient organization and says it must have known about any bribery.

Let's get more now from Amanda Davies -- Amanda.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. This is extremely damaging for FIFA, these allegations. You can't really underestimate that. Firstly, because of the people who are involved. As you say, Joao Havelange who is still the honorary president of world football's governing body, Ricardo Teixeira who was in charge of organizing the 2014 World Cup up until a couple of months ago, and then Sepp Blatter now of course the head of world football but at the time in question here he was the general secretary. And the documents released suggest he knew at least about one payment that was made to Joao Havelange.

The big question is why if people in the organization, as suggested, knew about this, why was nothing done? In fact, why as things seems to suggest, why was it actively covered up?

FIFA of course arguing that their steps, their ethics committee, their attempt to clean up football are what has released this document at this moment. They're saying, you know, they're pleased at these documents have been released. Blatter, of course, has been forced to answer all these questions before -- the Bin Hammam affair, the Jack Warner affair.

And leading journalist Martyn Ziegler suggested that despite these recent allegations he doesn't feel it'll have too much of an impact on the future of Blatter. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTYN ZIEGLER, CHIEF SPORTS REPORTER, PRESS ASSOCIATION: Blatter, he's going to face questions about why he did nothing, but these are questions that he's been dealing with for the last 10 years. I can't see that he's going to step down now. He's going to say he's already said he's going to leave in three years time. I think he'll ride out this storm as well. He can point toward the reforms that FIFA are making.

But there's still the issue of dealing with this troubled past and why -- you know, Joao Havelange is still the honorary president of FIFA. I mean, he's at 96, he's a very old man, but why is FIFA having this man as their honorary president if they know that he's taken kickbacks?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIES: That was Martyn Ziegler, Kristie. The big question for me, though, is how many more of these stories can come out on Sepp Blatter's watch. You know, any other organization at some point the head person has to at least take some of the responsibility. And as you question if Sepp Blatter was in any other organization, whether he'd still be allowed to keep his job.

LU STOUT: Yeah. And the cumulative damage of any more revelations to come for FIFA. And also, Amanda, this corruption scandal is not the only bad news coming out of football today, there's also this story about spot fixing in the English Premier League.

DAVIES: Yeah, well FIFA are big investigators themselves. They are actually now also investigating some claims that have come from a former Southampton player Claus Lundekvam. Southampton, of course, a former Premier League side, one of the sides that was there in the first year of the English Premier League. And Lundekvam is saying that while he was there, spot-fixing in the dressing room was rife. Claims of things like the first yellow card, or the time the first ball was going to go out of play.

It has to be said his former teammates, former captain Francis Binalli (ph) and Matt Latisier (ph) have strongly denied this.

But let's have a listen to some of the claims the Lundekvam has been making.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLAUS LUNDEKVAM, FRM. SOUTHAMPTON PLAYER (through translator): You could manipulate certain events of a match -- the first throw-in, first free kick, or something else. It was easy for us to gamble on it, because we had the possibility to do it. I'm not proud of it, but the betting companies paved the way for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIES: So these claims, Kristie, mean that some of Southampton's games in the late 90s through to the mid-2000s are now being questioned, specific incidents to be precise. But both the English Premier League and the football association have refused to comment on these allegations per se.

The football association, though, have released a statement. And in part it reads this, "the FA has strict policies on this and our sanctions are wide-ranging. Football works closely with the gambling industry to monitor all markets and activity and we have a unit focused on maintaining the integrity of the sport"

But as you said it's just the timing of this really. It's the timing of this combined with the allegations surrounding football's governing body that once again puts the beautiful game into disrepute, doesn't it?

LU STOUT: Yeah, it's quite a day for football isn't it? Amanda Davies reporting. Thank you.

And the racism trial that has threatened to derail his career has finally drawing to a close. Chelsea football captain John Terry is accused of racially abusing an opponent during a match last year. It's a charge he denies. And a verdict, it could be handed down as early as today.

Our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has been following developments. He joins me know live from London. And Matthew, we are waiting for this verdict.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and the magistrate within the past few minutes has adjourned the court here at Westminster in central London saying that he'll have his verdict ready tomorrow afternoon. So Friday at about 2:00 pm local time, 13 hours or so from now. For the rest of the afternoon, the court has been adjourned while he considers his judgment.

But all throughout the course of this morning, the defense and the prosecution have been summing up their final arguments that the prosecution making the point, they say, that John Terry is guilty of straightforward racial abuse with those sexual swear words coupled with the word black that he admitted uttering on a pitch last year during a football match against Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, both Premiership sides.

Of course, the words came within the context of a sort of barrage of abuse that was flowing between John Terry and his opposing player Anton Ferdinand, but the prosecution made the point that the context doesn't matter, it's whether the phrase was meant as abusive, as they say it is, or whether it was meant as repetitive as John Terry claims that it was.

The defense in their summing up said that the prosecution case entirely depends on speculation. Only Terry knows what he heard or what he thought he heard because there's no video evidence of what Anton Ferdinand had to say. He also spoke the evidence given by another Premiership footballer yesterday Ashley Cole saying that he saw or thought he believed he saw the word black being uttered by Anton Ferdinand.

If Terry's words were not meant as -- were meant as repetition from Ferdinand than the defense said that should be the end of this case -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Key details from the trial, verdict out today or latest by Friday. Matthew Chance reporting live from London. Thank you, Matthew.

Now John Terry's case is drawing comparisons with another incident involving a Premiership footballer. Now two weeks before the case between Terry and Anton Ferdinand, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was accused of racially abusing an opponent. Now Suarez was eventually found guilty and banned for eight matches, but unlike Terry Suarez wasn't involved in a criminal case. Now his was handled by the English Football Association.

So two Premier League footballers, both accused of racial abuse in the same month, why were they handled differently?

Now John Terry's case emerged after a member of the public emailed a complaint to police. Now the case was then investigated and eventually resulted in the trial. Now that is the key difference between Terry's case and that of Suarez.

In that case, the victim of abuse told the referee what had happened. The referee told the English FA which investigated, charged, and found Suarez guilty. Now the police weren't involved at all, that is why that case never went to trial.

Now first, a general and now a diplomat. Signs and cracks are appearing within Syria's government as another senior member defects. His message to the Syrian military straight ahead.

And we are in Cambodia where doctors have diagnosed a mysterious killer illness. How they did it? That story up next.

And we all need it to survive, but finding water is becoming a daily struggle in India. All that and more when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back. Now from it's message to the manner of its execution, it was a major blow to Syria's president. Now first the first time a senior diplomat in Bashar al-Assad's government has defected to the opposition. And it is this man, Nawaf al-Fares is the former Syrian ambassador to Iraq.

And it was a very public act of defiance, a televised statement to the Arabic TV channel al Jazeera. In it he says, quote, "I declare that I have joined from this moment the ranks of the revolution of the Syrian people." And he urged others, particularly members of the military, to do the same adding "turn your cannons and your tanks toward the criminals in the regime."

Now this is not the first high profile defection in Syria. Just last week, Brigadier General Manaf Tlass fled the country. And he was a senior member of the elite Republican guard and a close friend of President Bashar al-Assad.

And consider this, now both of these defections have taken place since the U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford posted this message on his embassy's Facebook page. In it he urges members of the Syrian military to reconsider their support for Damascus, a message that has been clearly echoed today.

Now Fares is now reported to be in Qatar. And let's go to our Mohammed Jamjoom for more on this story. He joins us now from CNN Abu Dhabi. Mohammed, just how damaging is this defection to Bashar al-Assad.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, so damaging in fact that the Syrian foreign ministry this morning felt compelled to issue a statement about it. They issued a statement saying that Nawaf al-Fares had been relieved of his duties. It went on to say that he had made statements contrary to his job to defend the positions of the country and its issues, which requires legal accountability and discipline. It also said he no longer has anything to do with the Syrian embassy in Baghdad.

Now this is a big deal not just because it's the highest ranking diplomatic defection thus far in Syria but also considering where it happened. Nawaf al-Fares has been ambassador to Baghdad for four years, since 2008, that's when he was appointed. His appointment was called important because of the strategic importance and connection between Iraq and Syria. Iraq and Syria are countries that have very strong ties. And Iraq is a country that has been loathe to criticize the Syrian regime even at a time when there's international condemnation of the Bashar al-Assad regime's crackdown on the protesters in Syria.

So, considering the fact of where this ambassador was, that makes this even more of a bigger deal -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now this diplomat, he has urged other senior Syrian politicians and members of the military to follow him and also defect. Will they?

JAMJOOM: Well, that's the key question. You know, we've seen these last several months several military defections. We've seen more and more people in the military, rank and file as well as sergeants and generals saying they were defecting. Then as you mentioned a little while ago last week you had Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, somebody who is Sunni, somebody with very close ties to the government, high ranking with the Republican Guard there, that's an elite unit of the military in Syria. That was an apparent defection. He fled the country. That was a big deal. Now less than a week later, this defection happens.

So many people wondering if this will encourage not just more military defections, but also more diplomatic defections -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And also the situation inside Syria, I'm seeing reports of shelling in an area of Damascus. What have you heard?

JAMJOOM: Today we're getting more disturbing reports of violence in and around Damascus. One report from the Syrian observatory for human rights saying that the suburb of Niwan (ph) in Damascus was raided by regime forces Thursday morning, that many were arrested, that homes were destroyed as troops conducted house to house sweeps. We also got reports that the outskirts of the suburb of Kfar Souseh in Damascus that a number of rounds landed, but there's no information on casualties.

Once again raising questions as to just what's going on in the seat of power there in Syria. The fact of the matter is that over the last several weeks we've had more and more reports of clashes and of raids happening in and around Damascus and that's making many people question if Bashar al- Assad and his security forces, if their grip on power there is starting to crumble just a bit -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, so much upheaval in all forms there in the Syrian capital. Mohammed Jamjoom on the story for us. Thank you.

Now as cowardly as it gets, that's what a government official in Yemen told CNN about an attack at a police academy that killed at least 10 people. The official says it's because targets were cadets, not soldiers or fighters. It's happened in the capital Sanaa. And it's been described as bearing the hallmarks of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Now in Cambodia, parents and doctors, they finally have an answer to the question that's been haunting them since April: what was killing Cambodian children. And the answer, a lethal mix of pathogens and the inappropriate use of a steroid to treat the illness. Now doctors have been working around the clock to crack this medical mystery. Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke to them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The only thing the doctors knew for sure was when the children arrived at the hospital, they were dying and fast, a fever, convulsion, and encephalitis, and then the lungs completely destroyed.

Since the end of April, doctors in Cambodia struggled with a medical mystery.

(on camera): And that mystery was ultimately solved right over here. Blood samples from those sick and dying children were eventually brought to this laboratory, analyzed -- as you see right over there -- and eventually they concluded that there were several different pathogens. There was Enterovirus 71. There was streptococcus suis and also dengue.

And all of those infections were made worse by the use of steroids.

(voice-over): To crack this case, the lab had to work backward. First, eliminate known viruses like avian flu, SARS, and Nipah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing that goes through your head is to try and determine whether this is one of the usual suspects that you haven't detected before. If it is, has it mutated or changed in such a way that it causes more severe disease, or is it something completely new?

GUPTA: Epidemiologist Dr. Arnaud Tarantola and virologist Dr. Phillipe Buchy, two French doctors living in Cambodia, solved the mystery.

(on camera): One of the things that we have heard several times now from the World Health Organization is no steroids should be used. They seem to say that steroids made this problem worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you have a dying child, you try to use what you have at hand. And they were right to try that. Now, whether or not it helps remains to be determined.

GUPTA: I don't want to belabor this point, but they really seem to indicate that it hurt, that these infections a lot of times they can be a problem, but they are not particularly dangerous, but something pushes them over the top. And they thought that the steroids seemed to be a common denominator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the cases that we reviewed, almost all of the children died and almost all of them had steroids.

GUPTA (voice-over): Steroids can be a potent antiinflammatory, but when given to children with aggressive infections, steroids can also suppress the body's own immune system, allowing the infection to become even worse, as was the case with Enterovirus 71, also called EV-71.

(on camera): You hear about a lot of different viruses, avian flu, Nipah virus. EV-71, as far as they could tell, really had not been in Cambodia before for sure. Why does it suddenly appear like this and why does it appear with such a vengeance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like this has emerged strongly probably because it had not circulated to the same -- with the same intensity in the past years.

GUPTA (voice-over): It is believed that a slight variation in the EV- 71 made the virus stronger. And the steroids made the body's resistance even weaker.

(on camera): So, case closed. It sounds like the case is closed from your standpoint?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think we can close the case.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Phenom Penh, Cambodia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: There you heard it, a breakthrough in Cambodia.

And meanwhile in India, a nation in crisis. Now India is reeling from water shortages around the country. Taps are going dry in cities and villages. And it's only getting worse.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You are back watching News Stream.

Now clean water is something not all of us can take for granted. In India, many people struggle to find any at all. Sara Sidner takes us to the capital where access to safe drinking water remains a daily battle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mother of six Shazabi (ph) uses as little water as possible to do her chores. The only way she gets water is by filling up heavy buckets from a neighborhood spigot and lugging them home. And she worries what she brings home isn't safe to drink.

"We get sick two or three times per month," she says. "I can't afford bottled water."

Her seven-year-old daughter Morsnin (ph) isn't feeling good now.

"My stomach aches and gurgles," she says.

Just next to this filthy water filled with trash and sewage is where the neighborhood queues up every single day. And they do so because this is a tap that the government turns on three times a day. Without it, they wouldn't have access to clean drinking water.

This neighborhood just on the edge of the capital has never had water piped to its home. Besides this spigot, people here get water from illegal groundwater pumps installed by those who can afford them. And this guy, who exhausts himself everyday running his water supply business.

"There is no sanitation here, just so many complaints," he says. "So I thought, let me get a water filter and supply clean water to these people in order to help them and make some money."

He charges about 18 cents per bucket, a price business owners can afford to pay each day, but few others here when many make less than 2 dollars a day.

India has struggled to maintain enough clean drinking water for the masses. The country has 17 percent of the world's population, but only 4 percent of the world's renewable water sources. Demand is growing while issues such as leaks and pollution strip away the supply.

T.M. Vijay Bhaskar is an official with India's department of drinking water and sanitation. He says rural India has a whole range of issues depleting its water.

T.M. VIJAY BHASKAR, INDIA DRINKING WATER & SANITATION DEPT: Because we are rural, drinking water is dependent on ground water. Ground water levels are going down, because of exploitation and irrigation by farmers and by (inaudible). We are (inaudible) and people for drinking water.

And as you go deeper and deeper you find more and more contaminants. It may be arsenic, it may be fluoride, it may be other different (inaudible) now we are finding in nitrates, salinity, now uranium has also been found in some places.

SIDNER: While the government implements programs to combat some of the problems, its biggest cities are struggling too. This year, an acute water shortage has hit the capital.

New Delhi relies on other states for much of its water supply, but has found itself in a tug of war to get it.

There are still entire neighborhoods where these trucks bring in the only water supply. As soon as the truck is visible, thirsty crowds emerge.

Bimla (ph) fills as large a bucket as possible, because the truck only comes to her neighborhood three times a week.

"At times there are (inaudible) and we have to return empty handed, she says."

When every drop of water maters, the fight is ultimately for survival.

Sara Sidner, CNN, New Delhi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up, a Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez says he is fighting fit as he gets the all clear in his cancer battle. Find out how he plans to tackle his reelection bid.

And from Hollywood blockbuster to bootleg sensation, we'll tell you about the popular TV series that's become the number one hit on the black market.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now FIFA is under pressure to explain why it took no action after Swiss court documents say two top officials pocketed more than $14 million back in the 1990s. They accuse former president Joao Havelange and former executive Ricardo Teixeira of taking bribes.

Now Syria's ambassador to Iraq is now said to be in Qatar after defecting from the government. Nawaf al-Fares announced that he was resigning in a statement on the Qatari TV channel al Jazeera Arabic. And he has urged members of the military to follow his lead.

Now former commander Ratko Mladic has been taken to hospital interrupting his ongoing genocide trial. Spokeswoman for the International Criminal Tribunal said that Mladic complained he was feeling unwell and was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure. Mladic is accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia during the 1990s. His hearing is to resume on Friday.

An attack in Lahore, Pakistan has left nine prison guards dead and at least two wounded. The Taliban has claimed responsibility. Officials say masked gunmen opened fire at a house where dozens of prison guards were staying. Most of the victims were in Lahore for military training.

Now Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has declared that he is 100 percent cancer free. He says that he will now turn his attention to winning another term in the presidential elections on October 7. Now Mr. Chavez's battle with cancer is front and center in Venezuela. And some say he'll get some sympathy votes because of it.

But his opponent says the president's health should not be a factor in the race. Paula Newton found out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At his campaign headquarters, state TV is blaring and Henrique Capriles is fuming.

"They're attacking me every minute," he says. But that they're talking about him at all may not be a bad thing.

We sat down with the leader of Venezuela's opposition at a time when many voters are fixated on Hugo Chavez's battle with cancer with most polls showing Chavez would be reelected.

Can you see why in their opinion, they are not willing to take chances with you?

HENRIQUE CAPRILES RADONSKI, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (subtitles): That is a big lie. I feel that many times, some people have this perception of Venezuela. That in Venezuela the poor are with the government and those who are not poor are not with the government. It is a big lie, it is a falsehood.

NEWTON: It seems for months now Capriles has been trying to refashion his image against government accusations that his pedigree is too rich, to slick, too pro-American. His grass roots campaign showcases him as a man of the people, a young, successful governor working hard for average folks.

RADONSKI: I have two major issues. Employment and security. Those are the two greatest issues.

NEWTON: It's a message that hasn't been easy to deliver some days as voters are riveted by the saga of Chavez -- how he's doing, how he looks, can he beat cancer? When he last returned from Cuba after his latest bout of cancer treatments, the Venezuelan president made special mention of the opposition saying they were desperate, repeating past ridicule that they were losers.

The fact remains Chavez and his illness now dominates everything about this campaign. Capriles knows he'd have a better shot at winning against a healthy Chavez, or...

(on camera): This is a tough questions, but would it be better if Chavez died before the election?

RADONSKI: Not for me.

NEWTON: Why not?

RADONSKI: Because I think I that it is very important that first off, I do not wish him any ill will, because I am not a person who wishes bad things on others. I hope that he has a long life because I would like him to see the changes.

NEWTON: But his popularity has gone up since he's been sick. There's a lot of sympathy for Mr. Chavez now that he's been sick.

RADONSKI: Head to head, head to head.

NEWTON: Capriles claims the race will still be close even though the government has millions of dollars at its disposal to influence votes.

Do you think Hugo Chavez is buying votes right now?

RADONSKI: I am not saying, this is not a process of buying votes. It's trying to use a propaganda machine to construct an alternative where I am the leader. I believe without a single doubt that we have the best opportunity in the last 13 years, to win these October 7 elections. But it is not simply just about winning the election, but about governing Venezuela well.

NEWTON: And with that, Capriles says he wishes Chavez better health, a long life, and yes, an early retirement.

Paula Newton, CNN, Caracas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now take you back to the Asia-Pacific region here. And reports of heavy rain in Japan. Mari Ramos joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, we were talking yesterday about the forecast here of the heavy rain across not only the Korean Peninsula but also as we headed toward Japan. It's pretty significant rainfall totals in the last 24 hours. Look at this, 393 -- and that's amazing -- millimeters of rain in Asosan. As we head farther into other areas, 190 -- Oita had 164. Kochi had 98. And I think even Hiroshima had about 60 millimeters of rainfall.

You want to see what that looks like? These are all areas of western Japan. Let's go ahead and take a look at the pictures -- amazing images. Can you imagine if you're a passenger on that bus how you would feel at that moment? Look, this woman's bike is getting carried away by the force of the water.

This is in Komamoto (ph), one of the hardest hit areas there. Extremely dangerous conditions as water rose very, very quickly. And there are advisories and warnings posted all up and down not only in Kyushu and Shikoku, but also into the mainland into Honshu due to heavy rain even at this hour. And also the possibility of not only more flooding, but also the threat for landslides with so much rain that has been falling not just now but remember in days past Japan has had a very wet start to the summer on the heels of a very wet spring. And you can see there those amazing pictures.

Come back over to the weather map over here. This is what we have -- notice all of this moisture still trailing over Japan. Still some heavy rain as we head to areas farther to the south. And here comes another push of wet weather coming off the Yellow Sea moving into the Korean Peninsula extending all the way back even towards Shangahi you'll get some significant rainfall we think in the next 24 hours, maybe 5 centimeters or rain and you could really use the rain there.

There's also other areas across China that are getting some rain -- way more than they need. This is in Chongqing. Let's go ahead and show you the pictures there. Water everywhere. This happened in the early morning hours today. The water rose very, very quickly in some cases up to 40 centimeters of accumulated water. Chaos, of course, for the morning commute. Does it get better? Of course once the rain finally ended around noon.

Come back over to the weather map. Very quickly, notice the heavy rain back over here also across the Philippines and even into parts of Southeast Asia. So a lot going on here weather-wise. This is just east Asia.

Let's go ahead and check out the rest of the world right now.

Hey Kristie, I want to update you on a story that we've been following here on CNN and that is this avalanche that happened in Mont Blanc in France. I want to show you some of the pictures that just came in. This is in Chamonix. You see a helicopter search and rescue operation. This helicopter taking off from Chamoniex in the Mont Blanc region in France to look for the missing.

Now in the latest update we know that at least nine mountain climbers were killed when a 6 foot 6 wall of snow came crashing down on them in the French Alps. Police said here you're looking at a picture of one of the survivors coming in to the Chamonix area there. He is being escorted by search and rescue personnel. You see the other personnel there on the side mountain rescue. And it was called around 5:25 am local time.

They said the avalanche was triggered when a sheet of ice dislodged. Nine other people have been taken to the hospital with slight injuries police said. Some of the climbers were able to make their way to their base camps.

We will continue monitoring this story as well as all of the other breaking news stories here on CNN. Don't go away. More news on News Stream in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now in Russia, a fight is brewing: the government wants to restrict what Russians can browse on the internet all in the name of protecting them from harmful content. But the opposition disagrees and thinks the move is politically driven and aims to silence their voices.

Phil Black has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Imagine a world without free knowledge. For 24 hours, that was the ominous message on Russia's Wikipedia site, its banner blacked out, the site shut down. It was a protest against the proposed law that would allow authorities to ban internet sites in Russia.

Vladimir Madeco (ph) is the head of Wikipedia in Russia. "The law is a big threat to the development of the internet in Russia," he tells me. "It could lead to the situation where people won't get access to Wikipedia or any other sources of information."

Wikipedia is not alone in its concerns, other major internet sites, including Yandex, Russia's biggest search engine, and VKontakte, its biggest social network, have also declared their opposition to the law. But their campaign and widespread public outrage hasn't persuaded the country's lawmakers. On Wednesday, the law was passed by Russia's lower house.

ANTON NOSIK, BLOGGER: This law opens innumerable opportunities for abuse.

BLACK: Anton Nosik who is one of Russia's most popular political bloggers, is one of the tens of thousands of people who have been regularly rallying in Moscow since late last year demanding greater political freedoms and an end to President Vladimir Putin's rule. The movement has been fed and organized online through sites including Facebook and Twitter. Nosik fears the law is designed to silence the opposition's voice online.

NOSIK: Now if you are building a Chinese style firewall, if you block access on the last mile which is physically in Russia, if you block -- you put filters with ISPs you can block any foreign resource.

BLACK: The ruling United Russia Party, which is responsible for this law, says it's not about political censorship, it's designed to protect children from pornography and other content which could harm them. But in this country, many people believe the internet is the only place where genuine political debate has been allowed to flourish. And they fear the government is now trying to control their last unregulated platform for dissent.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now the activist group Reporters Without Borders puts out an annual enemies of the internet list. It considers Russia a country under surveillance, citing cyber attacks and arrests of bloggers. Now others in the surveillance category include France and Australia. Now India and Kazakhstan are new additions.

Now Reporters Without Borders says Thailand will likely be put on the enemies list next year for its lese majeste laws. Now Bahrain and Belarus have made that list already. And they join China, Syria, and Vietnam among others.

Now HBO's Game of Thrones has earned a dubious honor. It is the most pirated TV Show of the season. Each episode is downloaded by an average of 3.9 million users, making its illegal audience as large as its legitimate one. Dan Simon has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you marry me?

DAN SIMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Despite a plethora of ways to watch TV -- on tablet, phone, or computer, you still need an old fashioned cable or satellite subscription to watch certain hit shows like The Game of Thrones on HBO. Well, that lead to a big fan of the show to create this: a website called take my money HBO. It's an online petition to try to convince the cable channel to offer up internet only subscriptions to its popular HBOGO service.

ANNOUNCER: HBOGO, the streaming service that brings you the entire HBO universe at your fingertips.

SIMON: Cable and satellite would be bypassed entirely.

The site says, "we pirate Game of Thrones. We use our friend's HBOGO log-in to watch Trueblood. Please HBO, offer a standalone HBO Go streaming service and take my money."

All of this raises a compelling question. If the technology is available, why won't HBO allow fans to pay separately for the service who want it? In other words, why won't HBO take their money?

MELISSA GREGO, BROADCASTING & CABLE: Technically HBO could make this happen. They could make HBOGO a standalone service with the flip of a switch, but right now they have no financial motivation to do that.

SIMON: Melissa Grego is executive editor for Broadcasting & Cable. She says channels like HBO don't have the infrastructure in place to offer an market a standalone internet service. But the bigger problem, the partnerships with cable and satellite companies who heavily promote and reap in substantial profits for the channel. Those relationships, she says, are too important to undermine.

GREGO: The minute they start offering HBO as a standalone product without the need of a cable subscription, you know, you get potentially into trouble with the Comcasts and the Time Warner Cables of the world.

SIMON: HBO is owned by CNN's parent company Time Warner. A channel spokesman told us, "we're greatly flattered by the attention. For now, however, there is no economic upside to offering a standalone HBOGO service."

The notion of a la carte channels is picking up steam now that people have tons of different ways of viewing content. The problem, no one has been able to figure out the business model.

BRIAN COOLEY, CNET: You look at a company like Apple with all the juice in the world, they still haven't been able to crack that code and say let's get everything out of the vaults in Hollywood and make it available let's say on a reasonably priced monthly pass -- 20, 25 bucks a month, click and watch anything you want. That would completely change the industry.

SIMON: The question is whether those changes would reduce earnings for Hollywood. Until it's clear that cutting the cord wouldn't hurt their bottom line, campaigns like this may get attention but will probably go nowhere.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

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LU STOUT: Now of course there will always be people who want things for free, but we wanted to take a closer look at some other possible reasons why some shows are pirated online. Now take the new HBO show The Newsroom. The debut episode, it aired a couple of weeks ago in the U.S. It prompted plenty of discussion online, whether on Twitter or sites like The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, even The Guardian in the UK. So you can read about the show almost anywhere, but watching it is a different story.

It doesn't air on HBO here in Asia until August. So we look for other yet still legal ways to watch it. Now HBO put the entire first episode up on YouTube, but here's what you see when we try to watch it from Hong Kong. It says it's not available in your country.

Now we tried HBO's streaming site, HBOGO, and then we got this message. Again, not available in our country.

And it's also not available on iTunes or Amazon.

So one of the strange quirks of modern life, the internet it may connect us across borders, but there's still some online boundaries based on where you physically are.

Now it was supposed to be a routine journey for passengers on a flight to Miami were caught off guard when their plane was hit by severe turbulence. As John Zarrella reports, experiences like these have contributed to the growing popularity of websites that can predict air turbulence right around the world.

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JOHN ZARRELLA (voice-over): Thunderstorms: in the summertime, they are particularly hard to avoid. And when you're flying, the turbulence they cause can make for a bumpy, choke-the-armrest frightening flight. Late Tuesday was just such a moment.

Passengers on board an American Airlines flight from Aruba coming into Miami thought it was over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never felt something like that in the past. Basically with the noise and the bumps, you just think that it's going down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought we were going to die. It was scary.

ZARRELLA: About a dozen people suffered minor injuries. Two flight attendants and a passenger were taken to a local hospital, treated and released.

Eight-year-old Javier Silva was in the bathroom when the plane started shaking.

JAVIER SILVA, PASSENGER: When I closed the door, the airplane started jumping around. And I hit myself in the knee.

ZARRELLA: The American flight was about 30 minutes outside of Miami Tuesday afternoon, beginning its initial descent, when it encountered what meteorologists say was severe turbulence. The violent shaking lasted about 15 seconds. According to airline officials, there was nothing on radar to indicate turbulence in the area.

PABLO SANTOS, METEOROLOGIST: It is these cells right here where you see the reds that you're going to see the planes trying to avoid...

ZARRELLA: Pablo Santos says he's not surprised nothing was indicated on radar. Santos, the National Weather Service meteorologist in charge of the south Florida office, says the turbulence caused by thunderstorms can be experienced miles away from the storm.

SANTOS: Planes do not fly through thunderstorms. You normally see them being routed around thunderstorms. But sometimes thunderstorms, especially very strong thunderstorms, they can disrupt the air flow for ten, 10 miles away from the thunderstorms.

ZARRELLA: Very simply, turbulence is a disturbance in the normal flow of the air. With their rising and sinking air, thunderstorms can really mess up the atmosphere. So what's the best time to fly to avoid turbulence?

PETER MURRAY, TURBULENCEFORECAST.COM: I would tell them that the best time of day to fly is early morning. ZARRELLA: Seven years ago, Peter Murray created TurbulenceForecast.com. Today, Murray's site gets 35,000 visitors a month. They can view maps that display the potential for turbulence anywhere in the world, nearly real-time.

MURRAY: The maps update every 20 minutes. Most of them update every hour.

ZARRELLA: According to the FAA, there have been 64 serious injuries from turbulence incidents in the past six years. The FAA says two of three passengers who died in turbulence-related events since 1980 were not wearing seat belts, even though the seat belt sign was illuminated.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: I'm going to bookmark that website.

Now what you are about to see, it may work if you want to cheat on a math test, but sneaking a look at the words on your palm while performing the national anthem in front of a large crowd, well that is a bit more obvious. Some forgetful moments coming up next.

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LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now we have heard many versions of the American national anthem. From amateurs to professionals, they've all belted out the tune with varying degrees of success. So what does it take to deliver a stellar performance? Well, Jeanne Moos takes a look at some of the less than subtle tricks adopted by those in the limelight.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So far, so good. Country star Luke Bryan was singing the anthem at the all-star game when right before he got to the ramparts part he oh so subtlety glanced at his hand. Some of Bryan's fans suggested he was just looking at his watch so he'd be on time for the stealth bomber fly-by. But others suspected a Star Spangled cheat sheet as one sports commentator tweeted, "Luke Bryan sings the National Anthem the way I used to take geometry tests."

Oh say can you see -- the lyrics written on me.

Bryan definitely didn't want to end up like Christina Aguilera at the Super Bowl getting the words wrong. We've written the right ones on the screen.

By the dawn's early light, what was so gallantly streaming over Twitter was Luke Bryan's heart-felt and charming confession.

"I had a few key words written down to ensure myself that I wouldn't mess up. I just wanted to do my best. I promise it was from the heart."

The last key words we remember written on someone's hand were energy, tax cuts, and lift American spirits on Sarah Palin's palm.

SARAH PALIN: You've got to start reigning in the spending, we have got to jump start these energy projects.

MOOS: Luke Bryan had plenty of energy. And at least he didn't come to a full stop like Michael Bolton.

On the bright side, by looking at his hand, Michael Bolton got an extra 1.6 million views on YouTube.

Watching stars sing the Star Spangled Banner is a little like watching a tight rope walker cross Niagara Falls, we wait for a stumble, but whatever you do don't look down.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

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LU STOUT: That's such a painful moment.

Now we are about two weeks away from the opening ceremony in London, but there have already been an Olympic victory of sorts. Now no gold medal, though the golden arches were indeed involved. Now British media report that Olympic workers had grown frustrated with McDonald's monopoly on french fries. Evidently its sponsorship gives McDonald's sole rights to sell them, the only exclusion being fish and chips, the key word here and. So no chips without the fish. Now rules are now said to be relaxed for workers, but not for spectators.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.

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