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Religions Clashes In Assam Province Leave Thousands Homeless; South African Police Defend Use Of Deadly Force; Premier League Officially Begins
Aired August 17, 2012 - 08:00 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 in South Africa. Now police say clashes with mine workers have killed at least 34 people, but they say authorities were acting in self defense.
Also, a Russia rock band that sang out against Vladimir Putin. They have been just found guilty of hooliganism. We'll be live with the latest on their sentencing.
Plus, diplomatic fallout. How will the UK deal with Ecuador's decision to give Julian Assange asylum.
Now in South Africa, a search for answers is underway following deadly shooting by police that some are calling a massacre reminiscent of apartheid era brutality. At a news conference a short time ago, South Africa's police commissioner insisted officers had to use maximum force to protect themselves from striking armed mine workers on Thursday.
Now the shootings that were captured on camera. And a warning, what you're about to see is shocking and disturbing.
The police commissioner says 34 people were killed in Thursday's violence, 78 others were injured, 259 people have been arrested. And the shootings have sparked outrage among some in South Africa, but the country's police commissioner insists police only fired after striking mine workers armed with machetes and other weapons charged at them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIAH PHIYEGA, SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSIONER: They were met by members from the police who tried to repost (ph) their advance with water cannons, tear gas, as well as stun grenades. Ladies and gentlemen, that attempt was unsuccessful. And the police members had to employ force to protect themselves from the charging group.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now Thursday's shootings follow clashes between members of rival unions at the platinum mine.
Erroll Barnett joins us now live from Johannesburg. And Errol, we need more information here. What are you learning about why the police resorted to using live ammunition on the mine workers?
ERROLL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's all coming from the press conference you just aired an excerpt from, Kristie. The police commissioner saying that essentially the police officers felt that they were, their lives were in danger. Earlier this week, two police officers were killed at this mine during a clash with some of these protesting mine workers. They were in fact hacked to death with machetes. The police commissioner referenced that when she mentioned, or was asked why live ammunition was used. And she said that rubber bullets were, in fact, one of the methods implemented, but that Tuesday's attack and event proved what these miners were capable of. And so as she said there, they had to employ force to protect themselves from the charging group.
Now this has already reached all the way to the top of South Africa's political leadership. President Jacob Zuma has cut short trip to a regional conference in Mozambique. He's coming back to South Africa and will head to the Marikana platinum mine to take a look at how the police are conducting what is now an investigation, because the critical questions were was the use of force necessary?
Beyond what the South African police service said in this press conference, Kristie, there was also the actions we should watch of the IPID, this is the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. And according to their spokesperson they've been at the crime scene since yesterday. They're combing over details and evidence. And they still have more than 100 police officers to interview.
So although the South African Police Service said, hey, we had to use this force, our members had already been killed and they were under threat, there is an independent investigation taking place to see if those claims are in fact true.
LU STOUT: An investigation is underway into these shootings that took place at the mine on Thursday. Now violence at the mine has already killed 10 people. So how will the deaths from the shooting affect the tension that was already there, the tension between the two rival unions, the overall situation at the mine?
BARNETT: Well, the South African police service even acknowledged this today. They said things are still tentative. And they understand the sensitivities. You had relatives of some of the killed workers heading to the mine today to see if their loved one, their husband, were still alive, because they are missing. These men, many of them, are the soul bread winners for their families. Remember, this entire thing began because these mine workers, these rock drill operators, which is one of the dirtiest and dangerous jobs on the mine simply wanted a more livable wage. They make about $500 per month. And with the help of these unions they were asking for triple that, $1500 a month.
Their economic situation hasn't changed. And they are still experiencing what many people in the world are experiencing, the increased cost of living. But at the same time, Lonmin is also experiencing increased costs of operating its mine and the decreased value in platinum. So there's no clear path for a solution to the initial dispute. And now that so many people have been killed, the grand total being 34 from Thursday, 10 from earlier in the week, so at least 44 people killed, is certainly going to make things much, much worse and much more emotional as everyone here in South Africa looks for answers.
LU STOUT: Yeah, rising tension there at the Lonmin mine. Errol Barnett reporting for us. Thank you.
And turning now to that closely watched trial in Russia, a court in Moscow has just found three members of the punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism. Now the charges stem from February when the band performed a protest song aimed at Vladimir Putin inside a Moscow cathedral.
Now this is the performance that led to their arrest. In their song, it's called Punk Prayer, the women called on the Virgin Mary to drive out Putin.
Now prosecutors have called on the court to jail the women for three years on the charges which carry a potential sentence of up to seven years in prison. You're looking at live pictures from the court room there in Moscow.
The group has sparked outrage among Russia's faithful, which some members of the church branding the group as immoral.
Now the case, it has captured attention in Russia and throughout the world. It's prompted fierce debate about freedom of speech within Russia.
And Phil Black joins us outside the Moscow courtroom with more. And Phil, the guilty verdict is out, but we are waiting for the critical details now this sentencing.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, that's right. The judge (inaudible) as if they are guilty of the charge which fully is motivated by (inaudible) hatred. He's talking about the disrespectful nature of their behavior in the church. (inaudible) performed the Punk Prayer (inaudible) questions to all (inaudible).
Let me just set the scene for you where we are now. We're about 100 meters from the court itself where police have set up a large security operation to keep a large crowd away. Which you look around here, there are easily thousands of people who are standing at this (inaudible) waiting to hear...
LU STOUT: We'll try and reestablish the link to you, Phil, there in Moscow. Phil Black reporting. And our apologies there for the technical details. We'll try to fix that up for you.
Now you're watching News Stream. Still to come, we'll give you the latest details on that guilty verdict for the women in Pussy Riot there in Moscow.
Also to come, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks granted political asylum in Ecuador. But with the British police threatening to arrest him if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London. There's still plenty of question marks over his future.
Also ahead, in China Gu Kailai is set to find out her fate on Monday. She is accused of murdering British businessman Neil Haywood. And we'll be looking ahead to the verdict.
Also ahead on News Stream, kicking the habit or not? We'll have the results of what is said to be the world's biggest ever study on tobacco use. Stick around.
LU STOUT: All right. Welcome back. Let's go back to Phil Black in Moscow. He joins us from outside the Moscow courtroom with more on that guilty verdict that is out for the punk band Pussy Riot.
And of course we're waiting for the sentencing. And Phil, moments ago you were setting the scene for us outside the courtroom.
BLACK: Yeah, Kristie, there are probably I think easily a couple of thousand people here who came here to learn the fate of these women today. And it's a mixed crowd. There are simply inquisitive citizens. There are people who are clearly and closely aligned with the Russian Orthodox Church. And there are those who very clearly sympathize with the Pussy Riot girls. They're wearing t-shirts in some cases, those colorful face masks as a sign of support.
As we've been saying, it seems pretty clear they're going to be found guilty today. The key issue really is just what their punishment is going to be. And that is something the Russians themselves have been debating for the last five months or so, that's how long these women have already been in custody for. They could potentially under the law get seven years, and since prosecution has asked for a three year sentence.
But it comes down to does how great offense these women have said to have inflicted to the Russian people themselves. And certainly there are some Russians, particularly religious Russians, who believe those girls should not have been in that cathedral. They should not have performed in that way, behaved in the way that they did. And they claim that they suffered great moral and spiritual suffering as a result.
Equally so, I've also spoken to a great religious Russian people who consider themselves very close to Russian Orthodox Church who said these women have already had (inaudible) at this point, some mercy should be (inaudible).
LU STOUT: All right. Phil Black reporting for us live from Moscow. Thank you Phil. Unfortunately again that was a spotty connection with Moscow. Our apologies to the correspondent Phil Black and also to our viewers.
But we'll continue to keep tabs on this story as you see on this screen. Live pictures there from the court room there in Moscow. The Russian punk band Pussy Riot. They've been found guilty. They were charged with hooliganism. And we are awaiting their sentencing.
Now meanwhile, diplomatic tensions are high one day after Ecuador granted political asylum to the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange. Now Britain's foreign secretary insists his country will carry out its obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden where he faces sexual assault allegations. And William Hague says the UK will not allow Assange safe passage out of the country.
Now Julian Assange is currently holed up inside Ecuador's embassy. And he's been there since June 19. Atika Schubert joins us now live from London. Atika Schubert, what now for Julian Assange?
ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the big question. He's got asylum in Ecuador, but he just can't get to the country. As soon as he steps out of the embassy that means he's on British territory. And the British authorities have said they can and will arrest him and extradite him to Sweden. As far as Britain is concerned that is their duty to do so.
But it looks like Julian Assange may attempt to challenge that a bit. According to the Twitter feed of WikiLeaks they're not saying the Julian Assange will make a live statement, a public -- the first public appearance in months in front of the Ecuador embassy on Sunday. So that's the main event everyone I think is waiting for to see if he will actually directly challenge British authorities.
LU STOUT: Yeah. This has turned into a major diplomatic row between Ecuador and the UK.
What next for the British police? What can they do now, just wait and watch?
SCHUBERT: Really they can only wait and watch at this point. They cannot enter the embassy. It is something that has been brought up before. Ecuador, of course, has said that Britain threatened to storm its embassy, perhaps not quite the case. What appears that Britain did was point out that it is possible, legally, for Britain to strip the embassy of its diplomatic status thereby allowing police to go in. However, that is a process that would take months of legal wrangling. And of course it would be contested by Ecuador and a number of other countries. So that doesn't seem very likely.
More likely is more diplomacy, more negotiations, but the higher the tensions go, the fewer options there are for both Ecuador, for the UK, for Sweden and for Julian Assange.
LU STOUT: And just to back up a bit, why Ecuador? Why did Julian Assange choose to walk in to the Ecuadorian embassy back in June and claim asylum there?
SCHUBERT: Well, you know when WikiLeaks released that massive cash of diplomatic documents Julian Assange made a lot of enemies, but he also made quite a few friends, among them, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador who even though in some of these diplomatic cables painted a rather unflattering portrait of the Ecuadorian government.
Rafael Correa saw this as a sort of in league with what he wants, which is he has been more sort of anti-U.S. He has been more outspoken. And this sort of fit his agenda. He agreed to an interview with Julian Assange on his talk show. And during that interview Correa said that he would offer Julian Assange asylum if he needed it. And it seems that Assange took him up on that offer, walked into the Ecuadorian embassy and asked for asylum, something that he has now received. It's just that he can't get to Ecuador.
LU STOUT: That's right. And he's been there since June 18. Atika Schubert joining us live on the story for us. Thank you.
Now to China now which is awaiting the verdict in a murder case that has gained worldwide attention. Now Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced Bo Xilai is accused, along with a household aid, of killing the British businessman Neil Haywood. The family friend tells CNN that authorities will announce the verdict on Monday.
Now this is one of China's highest profile scandals in recent memory. And Dan Rivers takes a look back at Gu's time in the UK more than a decade ago to shed new light on the background to the case.
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She's been described as the Jackie Kennedy of China. Gu Kailai was super rich and well connected, married to Bo Xilai, one of the most senior bureaucrats in China. But now she's in jail after a closed door trial where she admitted poisoning British businessman Neil Haywood.
But the mysterious tale of Oriental poisoning has its roots here in the British seaside town of Bournemouth. Gu Kailai lived at this rundown apartment in the town for about two years until 2001. Neil Haywood would frequently stay here too. It was while she was living here that she saw the town's observation blimp, a tourist attraction visible from the apartment.
You can see why as soon as Gu Kailai went up in this balloon ride she wanted one for her hometown. She was a woman who was used to getting her own way and expected to be riding in one of these in China in just a few months time.
Giles Hall was approached by her in 1999 to supply a balloon like this to her home city of Dailian. Charles commissioned this promotional video to show her contacts in China how the balloon could become a major tourist attraction there.
But after the balloon was delivered the deal went sour. Giles claims she refused to pay the last installment of $160,000.
GILES HALL, BUSINESSMAN: It's actually a bit bitter and twisted about it. But, you know, there's no -- there wasn't any point in suing her or anything like that. We were never going to get the money.
RIVERS: Giles Hall says she had a fiery temper and regularly threatened him.
HALL: I mean, I was told that I'd get into trouble if I ever went to China. And the lady worked for us who effectively ran her out Bournemouth was told that if she turned up in China they'd kill her.
RIVERS: So there were death threats to one of your colleagues?
HALL: Oh yeah, yeah.
RIVERS: And you took those seriously?
HALL: Yes, indeed. Because we'd experienced her anger in various meetings over that period of time that she could get quite angry. And you'd certainly hear a lot of screaming and, you know, threats over the phone.
RIVERS: A source close to Gu Kailai's family in China dismissed these claims are rumors, which were not brought up in her trial.
Mike Wright worked as a bodyguard for Gu and Neil Haywood in Bournemouth and describes her as a nice lady, but he admits some of the people who came to visit her weren't. When three Chinese thugs turned up, he was ordered to stop them entering the building.
MIKE WRIGHT, GU KAILAI'S FORMER BODYGUARD: They would have meant business, I really don't know. But they weren't allowed in the front way. They weren't allowed in there, so they were menacing. I don't really know.
RIVERS: Mike Wright claims one room in the apartment was full of mysterious black packages.
WRIGHT: Oh, they were just black sort of tobacco type pages, quite long. Hundreds of them, in fact.
RIVERS: He never found out what was in those packets. He said they felt like wads of paper. But was it wads of cash?
In 2002, this land registry document shows the purchase of a luxury London apartment for more than a million dollars by Gold and Map Limited, a mysterious company in the British Virgin Islands. Gu Kailai's business associate, Patrick Devilious (ph), helped to negotiate the deal. And her son, Bo Guagua, used the apartment occasionally.
(inaudible) Court is a very exclusive address. It's where Lady Di used to live before she married Prince Charles. And the Emir of Kuwait is the owner of one of these properties. We don't know who controls Golden Map Limited, but whoever does has close links to Gu Kailai and a lot of money. The flat was bought without a loan, begging the question where did all that money come from?
Dan Rivers, CNN, London.
LU STOUT: Now still ahead on News Stream, how the crisis in Syria is affecting stability in Lebanon. A report from a correspondent Arwa Damon in Beirut.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream. Now it is said to be the biggest study ever of tobacco use around the world. And it's raising alarm bells about smoking rates in developing nations. Now the report, it was published in the British medical journal The Lancet. It finds that nearly half of all men in some 14 developing countries use tobacco. And that many women are picking up the habit at an earlier age.
Let's break down the numbers a bit more. Our Josh Levs has been pouring over the results. He joins me now live from CNN Center. And Josh, walk us through the study.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I will, Kristie. And I'll tell you, just to set the stage here for how big a story this is, the World Health Organization says that over the next century a billion people could die as a result of the use of tobacco. So what this new study did out of a university here in the United States in New York. They took a look at how many people are smoking in the world, how many people are using tobacco. And some of the numbers that they found might astound you folks.
Let's start off with this one. One example is out of Russia. They took a look at so many representative people that they're able to tell about millions of millions of people worldwide. They found in Russia 60 percent of men and 22 percent of women are using tobacco, that's in various forms, but the vast majority are smoking.
Let's jump over to China now. A lot of people know China a lot of smokers in that country is a big problem that the Chinese government has tried to take action on. Well, 53 percent of men and just 2 percent of women are using tobacco.
So this study took a look at other studies as well and found, you know what, they believe that in many parts of the developing world right now smoking is on the rise, but that is the exact opposite of the trend that's happening in much of the industrialized world like the United States.
I'll show you one more stat here. Take a look here. And the United States, it's been steadily going down for decades. And this is just one example. Adult smoking here dropped from 43 percent to 19 percent over the past 50 years.
So what's happening right now, as a lot of countries get people to stop smoking, tobacco marketers out there are reaching out to emerging markets. Health officials tell me they're reaching out to parts of Africa, to some poorer nations. They're also, Kristie, reaching out to more women and to more young people.
So right now that's where a lot of the concern is.
LU STOUT: You know, it's fascinating this mirror opposite trends in smoking around the world.
Now Josh, I understand that you've also learned about the impact the revolution in Egypt is having on smoking. What can you tell us?
LEVS: Yeah. You know we've done so much reporting on Egypt, but here's an aspect of it a lot of people haven't thought about. World health officials tell me that right now in Egypt smoking is on the rise big time as a result of the revolution.
And if you think about it, what happens is when a government goes away the regulations go away with that government. The Egyptian did have regulations to prevent smoking, to try to crack down on smoking in some places. But when the government goes away, so do those regulations.
Also, World Health Organization officials tell me that right now there's some marketing that goes on in environments like that that says you're free now, therefore smoke all you want, that cigarettes are somehow associated with being liberated, with being free.
The don't know yet about other countries that are having uprisings, but they do know the numbers are on the rise in Egypt. So it's quite possible to believe that other places where there's instability you get more people smoking. And obviously that's a tremendous health concern, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Fascinating cause and effect there.
And on this global smoking trends report are tobacco companies weighing in? What are they saying about the study?
LEVS: Yeah. You've got four big tobacco companies in the world. And I heard back from two of them when I asked, hey, do you have thoughts on this study? And what they each said in each case -- Imperial Tobacco and Phillip Morris International -- they told me, look, we follow all sorts of rules and regulations. We follow all the rules that we are supposed to follow.
And Imperial Tobacco said to me, look, we do go where there is demand for our products. There's a lot of packaging, a lot of information out there. People are in the position to make their own decisions about whether to smoke or not.
I will say, there's also some really good news. The World Health Organization tells me there's a lot of good news in several countries around the world. Turkey is a place where they are successfully cracking down on smoking to some extent. There's some other countries around the world, like Australia in which you see some success.
And right this week in Australia we had a big story, there was a court ruling this week involving packaging of cigarettes that people who were against smoking there was a huge victory.
So there are a lot of places in which you can see efforts underway to prevent smoking are actually working. And more than 170 countries have signed something called a framework to try to do something about it.
The concern right now really is for poorer nations that don't have the governmental strength to do some of the regulations that it takes to prevent smoking. So what health officials want to see is more and more countries in the world do something about it so we don't have the tragedy that some are predicting of a potentially a billion people dying over the next century.
That's right. A lot of stake here. And of course all this mounting to big concerns for big tobacco. Josh Levs joining us live from CNN Center. Thank you very much for sharing that study for us.
You're watching News Stream. And up next the violence in Syria, it is showing no sign of abating. And still the United Nations says it is pulling its observer mission out of the country. We'll have the latest as the unrest spreads to neighboring Lebanon.
Also, what is causing thousands of people to flee cities in India's northeast? We'll tell you after the break.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now South African police say 34 people were killed when officers fired on striking miners on Thursday. Police say they acted in self defense against the armed miners. And the bloodshed, it was captured on video and send shock waves through South Africa.
Now a court in Moscow has found three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism. The charges stem from February when then band performed a protest song aimed at President Vladimir Putin inside a Moscow cathedral. The three women are now waiting to hear their sentences.
Now diplomatic tensions are high one day after Ecuador granted political asylum to Julian Assange. Now Britain insists it will carry out its obligation to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault. Now he is holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London. Assange says that Sweden could send him to the United States where he fears he could face capital charges over WikiLeaks publishing of U.S. documents.
In Syria, there is new fighting and shelling in and around the besieged city of Aleppo and in the capital Damascus. As the fighting continues and diplomatic efforts stall, the UN has decided to pull its observers out of Syria. Now western and Arab diplomats will meet at the UN later today to try and find a way to end the bloodshed. The unrest in Syria is heightening sectarian tensions in neighboring Lebanon. There are tit for tat kidnappings in broad daylight which are sparking memories of Lebanon's own painful and long civil war.
Arwa Damon in is Beirut.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Syria's civil war is seeping into its tiny and vulnerable neighbor. One Wednesday, angry young Shias blocked the main road to Beirut's airport with burning tires after the head of a prominent Shia clan was abducted in Syria.
The Free Syrian Army had posted this video of Hassan el-Mikdad who they allege is a member of Lebanon's powerful militia Hezbollah, which supports the Assad regime.
Hezbollah denies el-Mikdad is one of theirs and the family also denies any association. But the kidnapping resulted in swift retaliation.
"This family has an armed section that kidnaps Syrians and Lebanese territories," claims one of the clan members.
Two of the kidnapped Syrians appeared in the video in front of a banner that reads the el-Mikdad Family Association.
The clan says they have taken hostage more than 20 Syrians affiliated with the rebels as well as a Turkish businessman and more will follow until Hassan is released.
Hassan's brother Hatid el-Midad (ph) vows there will be more surprises, suggesting the clan will not only target members of the Syrian rebels operating out of Lebanon, but others as well.
Tensions were already high over the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shias by Syrian rebels. The Lebanese government seems powerless to intervene, except to call for calm. The posture of government forces at the airport perhaps reflecting the government's paralysis held captive by dynamics it can't control.
The Lebanese are fed up, disgusted and disillusioned, and at the same time terrified that sectarian strife will break out once again. The wounds and the memories of Lebanon's own civil war are still fresh. And the Syrian conflict is not likely to spare the neighbor in its shadow.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Beirut.
LU STOUT: Now Ivan Watson is monitoring the situation in Syria from another one of its neighbors, Turkey. And he joins us now from Istanbul. And Ivan, you have another example of how trade and transit have been affected.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is a case of an Air France flight form Paris that was supposed in Beirut Wednesday night. And because of the troubles there and the armed gangs that were blocking the airport road, the captain decided to try to divert his flight. He wasn't able to get to a Amman and ended up flying the Air flight number -- Air France flight number 562 to neighboring Damascus.
Well, upon arriving there, the crew started asking the passengers, Air Frances press office tells us, for possible cash donations to buy fuel to refuel that plane. Why? Because Damascus airport, they were told, would only accept a cash payment to refuel the Air France flight. The plane landed for about two hours, we're told by Air France, before taking off and flying to Cyprus. And the next day landing in Beirut.
And this just shows us an example of how this spiraling conflict and tension is affecting what these trade routes that we take for granted and also the economic sanctions against Syria how they're hurting some of the most basic transactions needed to allow international travel -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: You know, the uprising has far reaching effects. And also, Ivan, the French foreign minister has paid a visit to Beirut. Tell us about his trip.
WATSON: Well, he's trying to highlight the plight of the refugees there. And according to the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, we're now up to at least 156,000 official Syrians who have fled and registered in neighboring countries. The bulk of them here in Turkey, more than 62,000 according to the latest figures, and some more than 42,000 in neighboring Jordan. Take a look at what the French foreign minister had to say while he was visiting a camp in Jordan.
(BEGIN VIDOE CLIP)
LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Events in Syria are leading to a considerable number of refugees and these refugees are in a very difficult situation. They must be helped. They must be accommodated. And it is not only they who are in a difficult situation, but the neighboring communities hosting them that are often poor populations in difficult situations themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: And in fact the 156,000 some odd refugees that are officially registered in neighboring countries, Kristie, they're just a fraction of the displaced population inside Syria. The United Nations says it's going to try to feed about a million people inside Syria in the weeks ahead. Many, many more people displaced internally and a piling up in houses and villages and schools wherever they can find shelter to escape fighting that in many cases have destroyed people's homes -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: It's incredible, the massive humanitarian toll of all this. And Ivan, separately, a crew of journalists was captured by rebels. What happened to them?
WATSON: Amid all the fighting, a report emerged that rebels had taken a pro-government TV station's TV crew hostage several days ago from outside Damascus. This is from the pro-regime TV station Alik Bariya (ph). Now we get reports from Syrian State Media that one of their crew, their four man crew was killed, a cameraman by the name Hatem Abu Yehiya (ph). On Thursday, Syrian state media reported that government security forces succeeded in rescuing the remaining three members of this team who were reunited in an emotional gathering with their friends and loved ones.
One of the members of the team went on to tell Syria's Sanaa News Agency that there is an international conspiracy against journalism and media and freedom of media inside Syria and going on to say that the rebels had tortured the Syrian TV crew while they were in the custody of anti- government rebels -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Ivan Watson reporting for us. Thank you.
Now thousands of people continue to flee Bangalore and other Indian cities after rumors of violence surfaced and those in fear are ethnic Assamese in the northeast of the country. Now the exodus, it was sparked after anonymous threats, spread in part by texts, that they will face revenge attacks.
Sumnima Udas has more.
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thousands of people from the northeastern state of Assam are leaving various cities across India after rumors that their community will be attacked. Assamee students and workers are flocking to train stations in Pune and Mumbai and Hijabad (ph). And in Bangalore saying they received text messages, threatening retribution for communal violence which has rocked their home state of Assam for the past few weeks.
In the past few days, police say at least 6,000 to 7,000 people have returned to Assam from various states.
Now the trigger for all of this, well police say just a few weeks ago back on July 19 two Muslims were killed by the Buddha(ph) community. The Muslims retaliated by killing some of the Buddhas(ph). And since then it's been attack after attack. And there's been widespread violence throughout the state.
Since then, police say at least 80 people have been killed and at least 300,000 people have been displaced. Tension between the Buddhas (ph) and the Muslims of Assam has been brewing for years. Some politicians blame all of this on an influx of illegal migrant workers from Bangladesh, from neighboring Bangladesh. They say too many of them have moved to Assam threatening the existence of the Buddha (ph) community with Assam.
Now Assam in the northeastern states in general is an area that has been largely neglected by the Central government and even the media. But with the recent state of violence, legislators in both houses of parliament wanted to know what is the government going to do to tackle the situation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without portioning blame, I would urge this house to send a message loud and clear to all the people of the northeast residing in different parts of our country...
UDAS: And the local police in cities like Bangalore are investigating the source of this after messes. Meanwhile, no new violence has been reported in the state of Assam.
Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi, India.
LU STOUT: Now English football fans have been waiting months for this. The Premier League is back. Now three months after a dramatic finale to last season, we'll look ahead to what we can expect this time around.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the new English Premier League season kicks off in just over 24 hours time. Manchester City will have to wait a little longer, though. They kick off the defense of their title at home to Premier League newcomer Southampton on Sunday. And Pedro Pinto spoke to the Daily Telegraph's football writer John Ley about City's chances this year.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: John, they did it with a last kick of the last season, but are Manchester City still the team to beat for the new campaign.
JOHN LEY, DAILY TELEGRAPH: I think they are simply because the players they've got are some of the best players in the world. They've been very frustrated by not being able to add too many players. They've got Jack Rodwell now. Whether he will feature immediately I doubt. But the facts are that Manchester City are still the strongest on paper and financially football team in English football.
PINTO: United ran them incredibly close last year. Do you still see them being the main challenger? Or can anyone else squeeze in?
LEY: I think United are the team who will threaten them most. I mean, there but for amazing circumstances, they would be the champions now. We may be saying who can challenge United?
Chelsea with -- will be there or thereabouts. We forget they are the champions of Europe and they've made some good signings.
PINTO: I wanted a quick word on Arsenal. Pick up on them, because I believe it's seven seasons now without a trophy. Time has to be running out for Wenger.
LEY: I believe -- personally believe he should have gone by now, maybe pushed upstairs. He's a very resolute man, very determined man. He's not getting any younger. He's in his 60s now. I think he's got something to prove. I know he's won the title two or three times. And he doesn't want to go out having not won it again, as you say seven years ago. That was the FA Cup and that was on penalties. I think it's eight years since they last won the title, which is the one they want. They also want to win the Champion's League as well.
I think if he wins nothing this year he will decide to go. I don't think Arsenal will ever push him, it will be his decision. And I think this may well be his last season if they win nothing.
PINTO: John, let's go for a quick round of putting you on the spot for some quick answers. Who will be an underdog we should look out for?
LEY: I think they've signed very well. And I think Queens Park Rangers will surprise quite a few people. Mark Hughes is in charge now. I think QPR are the team that will surprise.
PINTO: Who is the face of the Premier League?
LEY: Young face coming up if he avoids injury I'm going back to Arsenal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. I thought he did well in Euros. And I think he's a face for the future.
PINTO: So who is the most overrated player, then?
LEY: Well, going on Parsley Street, and I don't think it's going to get any better, sorry Fernando -- Fernando Torres.
LU STOUT: Now Pedro Pinto joins me now. He's in London with more on the big kickoff -- Pedro.
PINTO: Hey, Kristie. You know, it's time for fans around the world to get their minds and their hearts ready for another pulsating season. They'll be hoping that whatever money was spent by their clubs will lead to trophies won.
I wanted to take a look at the amount of cash that's been dished out by teams in Europe's big five leagues. What you're looking at right now is net spending, that's money received from selling players minus the money spent on buying players. And just look at the numbers from the premiere league, the teams there have lost a combined $300 million.
French and German clubs also spent more than they've seen coming in to their coffers. French and German teams not doing too well. But look Serie A and the Primera Division. On the other hand, the top division clubs there actually made a profit from their transfer dealings.
Let's get a little bit more on this. Looking at teams that have spent the most money so far. No surprise that Paris Saint-Germain lead the way. They've spent almost $200 million, including a lot on this gentlemen right here, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Here's a look at their major signings. A lot of money spent there, no doubt about that.
Here in England in the Premier League Chelsea have also spent a lot of money including on Eden Hazard. Their total right there $110.6 million, almost half of Paris Saint-Germain's.
Another team that's invested a lot of money, Manchester United. They also rank high among the big spenders. Shinji Kagawa, one of their transfers in. And of course Robin Van Persie that we've been talking about over the last day or so.
Now it's not just about the clubs that have spent a lot of money. It's also interesting to see which clubs haven't. And over the last few seasons, Manchester City have been dishing out the cash not this year. They've actually only spent a little bit of money on Everton's young midfielder Jack Rodwell.
In Italy, it's been slim pickings as far as the transfers are concerned. And Milan, they lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They lost Thiago Silva. And they haven't really invested a lot in the transfer market.
Last but not least, you wonder about Barcelona that have been pretty much the best team in Europe, in the world over the last three or four years. And they've made one great signing, giving his performances at Euro 2012. This player right here, Jordi Alba moved from Valencia. And that was pretty much it.
Now for more on the European club football season you could read my blog. Go to CNN.com/worldsport and check out my predictions for the new campaign. A few controversial picks there. So I look forward to getting your comments on that as well.
Now we've been talking about money. And one Premier League star was hit hard in the wallet on Friday. Rio Ferdinand was fined $60,000 for a crass tweet aimed at Chelsea player Ashley Cole. The Manchester United defender was charged with improper conduct by the English football association after endorsing a comment on Twitter that referred to Cole as a Choc ice, that is a slang term perceived as meaning that you're black on the outside and white on the inside. And he paid the price, literally, on Friday with that fine.
That's a quick look at sport for now dominated by football, you'd expect that. The new football season is just around the corner. Kristie, back to you.
LU STOUT: All right, Pedro, thank you and take care.
Now the new action flick the Expendables 2 is opening in theaters around the world. Jonathan Mann has a preview of that movie and some of the other new films hitting the big screen.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Blasting into theaters this weekend the Expendables 2. Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham lead this action packed ensemble hitting screens in some two dozen countries across North America, Europe and Asia. The shoot em up also marks the movie return of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: Your shoe is bigger than this car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't you be like other kids your age?
MANN: For family audiences ParaNorman opens in a handful of international markets. It's a creepy cartoon about a little boy who sees and talks to ghosts, forced to save his city from a zombie invasion.
Meantime, last week's number one movie The Bourne Legacy expands to more movie screens in the UK and Australia.
ANNE HATHAWAY, ACTRESS: There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.
MANN: But there's no stopping Batman. The Dark Knight Rises has now passed the $800 million mark at the worldwide box office and is on track to top $1 billion.
That's your new movie minute. I'm Jonathan Mann, CNN, Atlanta.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up, the Curiosity rover is making history as it roams Mars, but find out what else it's leaving in its tracks on the Red Planet.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now let's get the latest on the aftermath and the current path of Typhoon Kai-Tak, which paid Hong Kong a visit overnight. Mari Ramos joins us now from the world weather center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDNET: Hey, Kristie, yeah, this has been quite the storm. It's getting set to make its second landfall, this time right on the border between Vietnam and China probably within the next hour or so. I want to show it to you on the latest satellite image over here. Winds are still holding steady at 120 kilometers per hour. So it's still officially a typhoon. And it did brush, actually made landfall here across the coast earlier. Now it's moved back over the water. So it's maintaining its intensity. It's interacting a little bit more with land so getting a little more ragged and sort of draining out that moisture from the storm.
That means very heavy rain falling across these areas and the potential for flooding and landslides remains.
Notice that we still have that flow coming off the water here. Even for you guys all the way up into Hong Kong. And that's keeping the rain showers in the forecast as we head through the next, probably the next day or so.
And notice the wind. They're still pretty busy out here, but definitely better than it was yesterday. The bulk of the weather, of course, is going to be along this area here farther to the east.
So this is what it -- some of the rainfall totals that we had. 123 millimeters of rain, it's pretty significant. And farther to the south 200. So you see the difference between those areas in the fringes of the storm and those areas that are right in the path or more near the center of circulation.
But the path that we're expecting it to take is to move across this northern portion of the Vietnam-China border. And as it continues to dissipate that water will continue to get drained out so we're going to see more wet weather over these areas, eight, maybe 15 centimeters of rain not out of the question. Isolated areas could get even more than that as this storm makes landfall. So be extra careful.
So travel delays, also, along this area including Hanoi.
As if that wasn't enough, one storm goes away, another one begins to form. We're looking at an area that has a low potential formation for a tropical cyclone. It's just north of Luzon as you can see right there.
We're going to watch this, because it's looking a little bit healthier and it could be an influence in the weather for you in the Philippines in the days to come. So we will keep you posted.
Let's go ahead and take a look at your city by city forecast.
So Kristie, we've been talking quite a bit of course about Mars Curiosity and all the excitement that happened last week when it finally restarted. We started getting some pretty awesome pictures of what's happening there.
But I want to talk about Mars Curiosity and what's happening here on Earth. I bet you've seen this already, but this has become a bit of a web sensation and it's been all over Twitter and all over social media. Check this out.
RAMOS: So anyway, makes me kind of snap my fingers a little bit here. And no I will not be dancing, but this is a parody of course that other song. I'm thinking you know it. And they are of course talking about the Mars Curiosity team that are of course that were -- became so famous when they were so excited to see it make landfall. What do you think?
LU STOUT: Mari, I love this viral video. You know, it's proof that NASA is he new sexy. But of course it's something that you've known for years already, right?
RAMOS: Yeah, we've been on this -- we've been on this bandwagon for years, for years, yeah, especially Mary Cool (ph) and everybody has been talking about how cool -- how cool NASA seems now especially after that Mars landing.
LU STOUT: That's right. Mari Ramos: space hipster. You know, you knew NASA was cool before everyone else right.
RAMOS: That's right.
LU STOUT: I love you, Mari.
Thank you. Take care. Have a great weekend.
Now what is the weirdest thing on the Mars rover? Now that question, it was put to the team during a live internet chat on Thursday. And the answer, probably the Morse Code in the wheels. And there you see it, three lines that spell out JPNL which stands for Jet Propulsion Lab.
So as the Curiosity rover, it roams the Martian soil at a breakneck speed of 4 centimeters an hour, it will leave a little shout out to its very cool makers.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.