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Nokia, Motorola Unveils New Phones; Summer Of Rain Turns To Floods In Asia; Syrian Regime Continues Assault on Its Own Cities; Christiano Ronaldo Unhappy At Real Madrid; Empty Chair Speech Big Hit In Hollywood

Aired September 5, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


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 Syria where we take an exclusive look inside what was once Syria's commercial capital, the ruined city of Aleppo.

And Michelle Obama revs up the Democratic crowd as she tries to help her husband get reelected.

And Nokia is set to unveil new phones in just over an hour, but can they distract consumers from next week's expected reveal of the iPhone 5.

Every hour, every day the awful death toll in Syria's brutal civil war rises with ordinary men, women, and children bearing the brunt of the violence. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon now describes the situation as grave and deteriorating. This envoy, Lakhtar Brahimi says the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions.

Opposition activists reported another 75 people were killed on Wednesday, including 54 by midday in the battleground northern city of Aleppo.

Many neighborhoods in this once thriving commercial hub are now filled with fear. We must warn you that this next report from Aleppo contains images that are very disturbing. Here's Nick Paton-Walsh on the aftermath of an attack.


NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dawn in Aleppo brings the clatter of gunfire above, a people hunted by the regime's helicopter gunships. And as dusk nears, it is to the roar of bomber jets.

It's that sound that terrifies ordinary residents of Aleppo daily: jets coming in low overhead and never knowing really until you hear the blast exactly what their target is.

There seems to be no pattern to the attacks unless they are designed to sow fear among the civilians.

A helicopter we heard earlier may have fired the rocket that hit this house. It's fathers and neighbors here frantically coordinating the rescue. Hands and shovels, inside a building that could still collapse onto them.

They say the air strike came in about four hours ago, but still they're racing frantically to pull they say nine people still stuck under that rubble, including a father and child.

Throughout, also, the fear the helicopter could strike again. They find the first body. The little girl is lifeless. The blanket providing little dignity. Near her, moments later, they find her father's body.

"I swear to god we've been destroyed," this woman screams. "I swear to god Bashar al-Assad is killing us."

Then, at the hospital where more bodies from the rubble are brought, the toll of the missiles becomes clear. Five, later nine, children, aged from four to 11 from the same extended family. In all, 11 people died.

Then, a brief respite from the carnage, one lone survivor.

"God is great," he says, "Bashar is a dog." God willing, he'll witness Bashar's death.

They say Hussein survived because when the rockets hit, he was feeding from the breast of his mother Narja (ph). She was crushed under the rubble and killed, but her body protected him. A year old, he was born into Syria's bloody revolution and may yet survive it still.


LU STOUT: A harrowing look there at the terrible toll of Syria's civil war.

And reporter Nick Paton-Walsh joins me now live from Hatai (ph) in neighboring Turkey. And Nick, we saw them just then, Hussein, the one year old boy, he was pulled alive from the rubble, truly a miracle that he is the only survivor. So what will happen to him, an orphan of this war?

PATON-WALSH: Well, we don't know exactly where he is now. I can say that there were relatives around the hospital. So surely he is in the care of his extended family, 11 of whom killed in that particular incident. But across the city there are many orphans every day in the hospital where we were at. Plenty of children brought every day, have injuries treated. Some even suffering from malnutrition, others killed outright by the bombardment across the rebel held areas, Kristie.

But an incredibly, incredibly fraught situation for all civilians: day and night air strikes, helicopter gunships, mortars, artillery raining down upon them, Krisite.

LU STOUT: Yeah, more on these government jet attacks. I mean, they are random, they are deadly. What are the rebels using to counter the air strikes? What kind of anti-aircraft weapons do they have?

PATON-WALSH: What we saw in Aleppo, they have very slight heavy weapons. They have heavy machine guns that have an anti-aircraft element to them mounted on the back of trucks. They sometimes try and use them, particularly against low flying helicopter gunships. We have seen in videos near Damascus, some elements success with that tactic. But they are constantly crying out for better weapons to remove this element of regime superiority in the air -- the jets flying over them, the helicopters flying over. The jets themselves we believe not actually the MiGs with the high technology, sold to them by the Russian government, but in fact training jets adapted to lob bombs as they pass over in bombing runs; so not accurate, but all the same incredibly terrifying.

We heard from one of the rebel commanders there that they had recently in the east of the country found what they referred to as cobra anti- aircraft gun. We're not quite sure they're referring to, but they touted that as a success and hope they will be able to use those against the jets and helicopters above, Kristie.

LU STOUT: But still by and large they're under equipped. But are they becoming more organized as this civil war continues?

PATON-WALSH: It's hard for us to see that. I think it's fair to say that there are elements of rebel groups that are more sophisticated, that have defected army officers in them, that have commanders who perceive the need to have a coherent strategy, but certainly many of the Free Syrian Army groups we were with, and we spent about five days with one particular unit on one particular street in the old city, the results of which you'll see in our report tomorrow, they were very ramshackle, it was very much an ad hoc unit, a lot of young men in it with very little training, very little discipline, some older figures within that trying to get them to have some sort of strategy. But at the end of the day here the major problem is the lack of communication.

They don't have good radios. The cell phone network is down for days at a time, so it's hard for news, frankly, of what's happening around the city to pass around the population. And the rebels a lot of the time, it seems to be, a scattered approach with very little coherence.

Although in Aleppo itself there are key targets, the radio station, and predominantly the airport, because the rebels know if they take that facility that's now held by the regime, they can cripple their ability to control the skies and therefore this key city could potentially fall into rebel hands, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now in your report, Nick, we saw Syrians rush to the scene of that deadly air strike just digging with their bare hands and shovels to look for any survivors. Just how lacking is equipment for such rescues there in Aleppo?

PATON-WALSH: I saw some heavy digging equipment in the city, but it can't always arrive on the scene. When we got there it was four hours after the rockets had crashed into that house and people were still digging with shovels. They're digging by hand using blankets to carry away what they could or bags.

At one point, we did see a man with a cutting tool that was able to cut through some of the metal from the rubble, but really this is by hand in that particular instance. The people there scrambling to save lives when they can, but in that particular case, really, too late for all but one -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Nick Paton-Walsh reporting, thank you very much indeed.

Now Turkey has provided sanctuary to some 80,000 Syrians who have fled over the border since the revolt began. It also hosts opposition groups and is a vital supply route for fighters and weapons into Syria.

Now the Turkey Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan, he sat down with Christiane Amanpour and told her that he is very concerned that the civil war in Syria could pose a threat to his country and beyond.



TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): One of the biggest things, and not only for Turkey, but the entire region and the world is that he is not (inaudible) information is the deployment of weapons of mass destruction, and chemical ones, of course.

If the slightest suggestion of such an attempt should emerge, not only Turkey, but the attitude of the entire globe is going to change forever. And that's my biggest concern.

AMANPOUR: Do you think the weapons of mass destruction are under control right now? Do you think it's possible that Assad would use them or that they would get into the hands of terrorists?

ERDOGAN (through translator): In the light of the intelligence that we have received so far, they are still being possessed by the regime. They are secure within the regime's possession right now, but if you were to ask me if those weapons of mass destruction could be used against the people of Syria, in the light of everything that we have seen so far, I can say, yes, those weapons can e used against the people of Syria.

And this is something that slipped out of the tongue of Bashar al- Assad.


LU STOUT: Now the prime minister also said that he believes that the United States is holding back on stronger action against Syria because of this year's presidential election. Now we have more on that coming up right here on News Stream.

By many accounts, it was a rousing speech that touted her husband's vision. Will the momentum continue to day two of the Democratic National Convention.

Plus, hundred of Afghan soldiers have been detained or let go as the military there cracks down on so-called green on blue attacks. We'll bring you the details.

And the battle of the smart phones continues to heat up. Nokia and Motorola beat Apple to the mark with new offerings, but how will they hold up against the rival iPhone?


LU STOUT: Now Afghanistan has arrested or discharged hundreds of soldiers over insider attacks. So far this year more than 40 NATO troops have been killed by Afghan security forces or insurgents in uniform. They're known as green on blue attacks. And the rising frequency recently prompted U.S. forces in Afghanistan to suspend the training of local police recruits. Now the Afghan president Hamid Karzai promised strict measures to deal with the problem.

Anna Coren joins us now live from CNN Kabul. And Anna, tell us more about these arrests. Do they take place across the country, or in the Taliban held areas?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, according tot the defense ministry it's all across the country, not just the Taliban stronghold areas of the south and the east. So that would suggest the Taliban certainly has its tentacles across all of the country, but this is a dramatic development, the fact that they have sacked and detained hundreds of Afghan army soldiers.

The reason being, of course, as you mention, those green on blue attacks. Afghan soldiers turning on the coalition troops that are training them. And so far this year, Kristie, there have been 45 attacks. Last year there was a total of 35. So we know that they are increasing and they are causing great alarm.

But I did speak to a U.S. colonel yesterday. And he believes that only 25 percent of these attacks are inspired by the Taliban, that are part of the insurgency. He says that the rest are from personal grievances, from cultural differences, and also from the psychological impact of being at war for 11 years. This war, we must remember, is about to enter its 12th year.

Let's now listen to what the defense ministry spokesman had to say.


GEN. ZAHIR AZIMI, AFGHAN DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): Based on our investigations hundreds of Afghan army soldiers have been detained and sacked from the army over the incident of insider attacks. We seriously launched investigations independently and jointly with other Afghan security departments as well as international forces. This is a big concern for the Afghan president and the Afghan defense ministry.


COREN: Now we need to remember that there are 195,000 Afghan soldiers, so this reflecting a couple of hundred who have been sacked and detained. We do need to remember that it's not everybody.

Now I asked ISAF, the International Security Assistance Force, as to whether they had any roll in these sackings or the detaining of these Afghan soldiers. And they said, no, that this was completely an Afghan initiative -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: You mentioned that there have been 45 attacks in the last year, dozens of NATO troops have been killed by these insurgents in uniform. If these insider attacks go on, will NATO rethink its commitment to Afghanistan?

COREN: You know, Kristie, sadly I think there's no doubt that these insider attacks will continue. It is just one of those things that I think everybody is resigned to knowing that this is just going to continue. But they are taking these measures. They are cracking down on who they believe are insurgents who infiltrated the army and the police force.

You mentioned that U.S. forces have suspended training while they revet about 1,000 new police recruits. They've also set up this guardian angel program which coalition forces, extra coalition forces, armed coalition forces are now watching the training so that if they suspect anything that they can get on top of it.

So certainly these measures are being taken.

You know, ISAF and NATO, they are here to finish the job. That being until 2014. And that is when foreign combat troops will exit Afghanistan.

I guess, Kristie, the question is will Afghanistan be ready? Will their security forces be ready to take over? And at the moment, everybody must remain hopeful -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Anna Coren reporting live for us from Kabul. Thank you.

Now a six day work week, that is what the people of Greece could be facing as the body overseeing the country's bailout gets its way.

Now according to several reports, the so-called troika is insisting that Athens implement radical labor reforms that include increasing the number of maximum working days per week to six. The demands were made in an email from the troika to two Greek ministries that was leaked to the media.

Representatives of the EU, the ECB, and the IMF are back in Greece to assess progress on reforms and to determine whether or not the country gets the next installment of the bailout.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, Motorola and Nokia, they are both set to unveil their latest smart phone offerings, but can they hold up against their big rival Apple? We've got the details next.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream. And next week will be huge for gadget fans as some of the biggest names in tech unveil their latest products.

First up, Nokia. In just over an hour they are set to unveil new handsets running Windows Phone 8. And a little later it's Motorola's turn, they are expected to show off an update to their Razr line. Tomorrow, we'll hear from Amazon. They haven't said what their event will be about, but given that the Kindle Fire is sold out on Amazon. We'll probably see a new version of their tablet.

And then finally, Apple sent out these invitations for an event on September 12. And the clue for what this event is about, it's in the shadow there. It's hard to see, so we ran it through Photoshop. There you have it, you can clearly see a five there as clear an indicator as any that Apple will unveil the iPhone 5.

And while Apple is known as one of the world's most secretive companies, recently there have been more leaks, meaning this time we might actually have seen what the iPhone 5 already looks like. Now the iPhone repair site iRescue is one of many that has managed to get what they say are iPhone 5 parts and to assemble them.

Now this is apparently a picture of the iPhone 5's battery in its case. And this is what the completed phone is expected to look like according to the Japanese blog iLab Factory. It's supposed to be thinner with a longer screen and has a new smaller dock connector.

But before Apple, it's Nokia and Motorola's turn. And Maggie Lake is in New York where Nokia's event will take place. And Maggie, what can we expect to see from Nokia?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The rumor mill has been busy, hasn't it Kristie? For Nokia, we expect the next generation of Lumia phones. If the rumor mill delivers, they're supposed to be in a variety of colors with the 920 and 820, the 820 being smaller, with some new, cool features.

First of all, they're going to be the latest version of the Windows 8 Operating System, but they're also said to have Pureview camera technology, which is Nokia's, which is supposed to be excellent as well as a wireless charger. Now they wouldn't be the first to do that, but it sort of hasn't really taken off yet. So you wouldn't have to search around for a phone jack, especially for somebody who travels. You know that sometimes can be an inconvenience.

There is a lot riding on this for Nokia. You know, most analysts have either a hold or a sell on this. The stock has just been in a tailspin. And a lot of people think that they need these phones to be a hit if they hope to survive.

For Microsoft, it's a little bit more complicated. Certainly not do or die, but take a look at these figures I'm going to show you. It is important that these phones succeed for Microsoft as well. If you look at smart phone marketshare, Windows 3.7 percent. That's all they have in terms of penetration compared to the Android, which is 68. Of course we know that's on many different phone makers. And Apple at 17 percent.

So if Windows, if Microsoft wants to be a viable third ecosystem in mobile they really need to start making traction with the consumers. But Kristie, as you know, they don't have the apps that people like. We'll see if they could start to turn it around with this.

LU STOUT: Yeah, Nokia and Microsoft, they have a lot banking on this launch.

And what about Motorola? What is it going to unveil later today?

LAKE: Right. So for Motorola it is more about the handset maker, because of course Google behind it with the Android we just talked about is doing quite well in terms of being a rival to Apple. Motorola, however, really lost its crown. And when you talk about Android phones it's Samsung Galaxy lineup that really seems to be talked about as the rival for the iPhone, so Motorola needs to come out and also really make a splash here.

The rumor is that it's going to be an updated Razr. Of course there was a time when they were at the top with those Razr phones. So people talking about Razr, talking about maybe an edge to edge screen, which some people really like the idea of, and maybe some sort of hi-def capability which you don't really know about. That, then, is going to happen a little bit later this afternoon. So they're going to have to follow on Nokia.

But, boy, consumers certainly have a lot more to choose from it would seem, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And what about timing? I mean, why are the biggest names in tech unveiling their latest products this week?

LAKE: Yeah, all at once on the same day. You'd think they'd want to sort of get their spies out there and spread it out a little bit, so they can at least see all the limelight for one day themselves. Because of the iPhone, because now they know that iPhone is coming out. I mean, it had been rumored to be around this timeframe for some period. They want to try to get out there first, try to get consumers' attention before they get online, spend all that money, and have an iPhone.

I mean, this is part of the sort of magic that Apple's had is this ecosystem, the fans, their dedicated, they line up. These phones are expensive. You're not going to go buy and try one of these other phones if you've already upgraded to the latest version of the iPhone.

So they're trying to get out there and get enough buzz going that they'll sway some people, or at least have them hold off from the iPhone until they get to test drive a few of them. So they're all piling out before Apple.

And Kristie, we were talking about these events, a lot of them seem eerily like Apple events. Everyone sort of taking a page from that success book it seems.

LU STOUT: Yeah, they want to steal the march on Apple, but good luck with that.

Maggie Lake joining us live from New York, thank you.

Now the FBI is denying that a hacker group stole details about millions of Apple users from one of its computers.

Now AntiSec, this is the political branch of the hacker collective Anonymous, released this message. It contains links to what the group says is over 1 million IDs of iPhones and iPads. And each Apple device has a unique device identifier, or UDID, it's a string of 40 letters and numbers a little like this fake example we created.

So if someone gets your UDID, they could potentially use it to discover more about you through your phone.

Now AntiSec says that they've collected some names, phone numbers, and addresses, and they say that the IDs came from an FBI computer.

But the FBI says there was no evidence that it came from then, which leaves the question of where the leak really did come from.

Now it came up here on News Stream. The first lady and a Texas mayor gave the crowd cheering on day one of the Democratic National Convention. A look back at what they had to say and a look ahead to day two.

And chairs, chairs everywhere, an acting legend speaking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, it's the unusual speech that's still got people buzzing.


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

Now the Turkish prime minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan says Syria has become, quote, a terrorist state. And the UN's new peace envoy has described the situation in the country as catastrophic. The UN says more than 100,000 Syrians fled the country in August, the deadliest month of the conflict since the uprising started last year.

Now one of the most wanted figures from the late Moammar Gadhafi's regime, a former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi has been handed over to Libya's transitional government. He was arrested in western Mauritania in March. Now Senussi is also wanted by the international criminal court for alleged war crimes.

Now hundreds of striking miners staged a march near the Marikana on Wednesday. And earlier this week, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of miners at a gold mine not far from Johannesburg. Last month, 34 miners were shot dead by police during a protest in Marikana.

Afghanistan's defense ministry has sacked or arrested hundreds of soldiers as it continues an investigation into insider attacks. Now so far this year, more than 40 NATO troops have been killed by Afghan security forces, or insurgents in uniform.

And as we head to day two of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, many are still raving about the highlight of day one: First Lady Michelle Obama.

Now she moved the audience with her address on Tuesday, but she did not focus on the political race. Instead, she spoke out about her husband's personal side.


MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Well, today after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are. No it reveals who you are.


LU STOUT: Now the first lady was not the only speaker in the spotlight on Tuesday night. This man, the mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, he gave the most significant address of his political career as the first Latino keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Now he set a different tone with his speech almost immediately going on the offensive.


JULIO CASTRO, MAYOR OF SAN ANTONIO: Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave students there a little entrepreneurial advice. "Start a business," he said. But how? "Borrow money if you have to from your parents," he told them.

Gee, why didn't I think of that?


LU STOUT: Now there's more to come on the second day of the convention.

Dana Bash joins us now live from Charlotte, North Carolina with more. And Dana, before we get to day two, first your thoughts on Michelle Obama's speech. She fired up the faithful, but what has she achieved for her husband's bid for a second term?

DANA BASH, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you what Obama officials say that they were hoping that she achieved and that is to be a kind of character witness to explain the person that she knows both when it comes to the personal, talking about the kind of father he is, the kind of boyfriend he was before she married him, having a rusted out old car. Those are the kind of stories that we heard before, but the White House and the Obama campaign felt that it was necessary to kind of reintroduce Barack Obama the person, because they feel that that has gotten lost in the presidency over the past four years.

The other thing that she really, clearly wanted to do is to kind of remind voters, particularly Democratic voters who were really fired up four years ago, that he's still the same guy, that the presidency didn't change him that much. But there's another -- there's a whole host of constituencies that she was trying to aim at and one of the main ones was women. Listen to what she said.


OBAMA: He's thinking about the pride that comes from a hard days work, that's why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work.

He believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care, that's what my husband stands for.


BASH: Do you hear that last part there talking about women and their bodies and choice? That is also proof that Michelle Obama is a very, very savvy politician. She's just not just the mom-in-chief, or the wife-in- chief as she was talking about last night, she really pushed the issues. And she also not so suddenly took a few whacks and her husband's opponent Mitt Romney talking about the fact that her husband didn't spend a lot of time trying to make a lot of money, a not so oblique reference to the Republican candidate.

LU STOUT: Yeah, she was going after Mitt Romney and the Republican platform in a big way there, and that was a great example of it.

Now, a question about who is next at the DNC, we have the former U.S. president Bill Clinton. He is set to speak on Wednesday. What should we expect, how much impact could have on this race?

BASH: Well, President Obama's team is hoping the answer to that is a lot, a lot of impact. Look, he is by far the most popular Democratic figure right now. He is, I think you can even ask Republicans in this country and they will tell you that they believe he is one of the best, if not the best communicator in this country, has been since he was president and that hasn't changed.

And what they're hoping, particularly when it comes to the economy is that he will remind people that it is doable. It, meaning you can take a very bad economy and make it good, because when Bill Clinton left and you hear him in every speech he gives, and I can't imagine he's not going to talk about it tonight, there was a surplus, and that surplus was gone for a lot of reasons by the time President Obama took office.

So that -- I think it's mostly the fact that he can turn a phrase, and he can gin up a crowd better than anybody, but it's also on the substance and on the economy that he's got credibility.

LU STOUT: All right. Dana Bash, joining us live, thank you very much indeed for that preview from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now CNN, consider us your resource to understand the U.S. presidential race. Just go to And you'll find everything from polls to analysis, plus a live blog of the Democratic convention. You can follow along with all the developments there in North Carolina.

Now the founder of the World Wide Web has unveiled his latest project. It's called the Web Index. And it catalogs which countries and governments are best harnessing an open and free web and which aren't

Matthew Chance spoke to Tim Burners-lee about the Web Index.


TIM BERNERS-LEE, DIRECTOR, WORLD WIDE WEB FOUNDATION: It's always been a massive ongoing project when it was -- and so I've never stood back and thought, yes, we're doing all right, we're doing terribly. It's always a question what do we have to watch out for in terms of facts and what are the (inaudible) opportunities.

So I suppose the fact that we're bringing out this index, which is looking at how in the world the web is trying to ask that question, how are we doing? It's, in a way, the fact that we're asking this worldwide question is a sign of the times. It shows instead of just being a something which a few geeks started up doing, or people just in English speaking developed countries have been doing, this is something which is happening across enough of the world for us to think, you know what, for those people who don't have it now, it's unfair in a way. So that's a big -- so the fact that we can actually think about the 19 percent of the world should be using it instead of just 20 percent it's a sign of how it's come of age and really become a global thing.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you think is now the greatest barrier to greater usage of the World Wide Web internationally?

BERNERS-LEE: It depends where you are. I mean, in some places it's - - there isn't much connectivity. In some places it is that -- in a lot of places in the developing world, the lack of a device. There may be a signal. So the question is can you afford the connectivity. Can you afford the device. When you've got a device, could you afford one which had a web browser on it. Is there -- is anything -- information in your language. And that varies hugely country to country.

What we try to measure is really the impact. So socially is the web helping you get a job. Is it helping you with your health? Is it helping with education? Is it helping with the governments of the country?

CHANCE: Have you detected as part of this web index an indication that there are lots of countries that are seeking to control the flow of information that's going to their citizens through the internet?

BERNERS-LEE: Well, interestingly enough that's something which is very current and a current worry. In fact, when you -- it's difficult for us to find data. Not surprisingly, when you look at a country, the countries which tend to control the internet. There's not -- there's no obvious data about it. So measuring that is difficult.

CHANCE: How much of an impact do you think we've seen events like the Arab Spring uprisings have on government's treatment of the internet, it's obviously demonstrated its -- I don't know, it's transformational impact that it can have. It can topple regimes.

Isn't it therefore more likely that certain regimes may seek to control it?

BERNERS-LEE: I think certain regimes were already well on top of controlling the internet. I think what happened where, for example, each - - the Mubarak regime in Egypt disconnected -- just turned the internet off, effectively, just isolated the country. People realized, the big thing that changed is people realized that actually the internet is not like the air we breathe. You know, if -- it can be there one moment and gone the next. Suddenly people started, wait a moment, by asking questions. Who can turn off my internet?

So the countries had already put in a lot of plans to control the internet. What happened was that suddenly the person on the street suddenly started becoming aware of the issue.

CHANCE: Here's a question we've had from one of our Twitter followers on CNN. The internet has brought many advantages, but do you think it's had any negative effects on social interaction?

BERNERS-LEE: I think the internet allows people to communicate. So what you get with the web is not really web pages, it's really humanity connected. So, yes, obviously there's good and bad out there.

I am totally an optimist about humanity. So I think right now -- and my observation is that with time the good prevails is that people end up being more respectful of people who are different from them. And people end up slowly breaking down the cultural barriers between -- which have been between warring factions, and make them between people who are peaceable. So I think in the long run I think things are getting better.


LU STOUT: All right. Tim Berners-Lee there.

Now this just in to CNN, the former police chief at the center of China's biggest political scandal in decades has finally been charged. The Xinua News Agency says that Wang Lijun has been charged with defection, abuse of power, and bribe taking, and also bending the law for selfish ends.

Now Wang was Chongqing's police chief where Bo Xilai was the party chief. In February, he fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu and allegedly blew the whistle on the death of the British businessman Neil Haywood. Now Bo's wife Gu Kailai confessed to Haywood's murder last month. And she received a suspended death sentence.

You're watching News Stream. We'll be back right after this.


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

And this is a visual rundown of all the stories we're covering today. We have shown you an exclusive report from inside Aleppo. And now we're going to see an amazing rescue in China.

Now Mari Ramos, she has more on that from the World Weather Center. She joins us now -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, this is really quite an amazing rescue. And you've got to think about how things like this happen all the time. People getting trapped in flood waters and they have nowhere to go.

Let's go ahead and roll the pictures and I'll tell you what was going on. So this man was on the banks of a river. And you're going to see him in just a moment. Those are the rescue workers there at the top of the cliff. And there's the man way down at the bottom. There he is. He started climbing up the cliff, because the water kept getting higher and higher. Well, they had no way to get to him. So they finally decided to lower down on a rope a life vest.

So that's not all. He had to get instructions to then put on the life vest and jump in the water.

So he jumped into the water. And of course the current is very strong. And he is counting on the rescuers further downstream to be able to grab him and pull him up to safety.

The elderly man has said to be recovering from his ordeal. Just an example of how quickly the water can rise and people can become trapped. Very lucky that he was able to be pulled to safety. And amazing that this rescue was able to get caught on tape. Wow, that just gives me chills when I see him just -- his face there as he comes up that cliff.

Let's go ahead and talk a little bit about this and what's causing all of these problems, right? If you look over here across China, well, there's not that much, right? It doesn't seem extremely active. The thing is that it's not the rain that's falling now -- you guys have heard me say this before -- it's the rain that's been falling for days and days and days. And that continues to be a problem, because the river levels are just so high.

It's a similar situation as we head into Southeast Asia. Here we're, you know, already toward the middle, toward the end -- ending part of the month so we still have all of September to go through as far as rainfall over these areas.

And it has been quite heavy across many parts of Thailand, for example.

I want to take you to the areas of Northern Thailand. Last year we talked so much, remember, about the flooding in Bangkok. Well, this is farther to the north, this is along the Ping River, which is one of the largest tributaries for the Chao Phraya River farther to the south. It runs right through the middle of Chiang Mai. And it's here where the river levels are so high.

I want to go ahead and show you the pictures of this river here as well. And you can see it, the water just gradually getting higher and higher, already reaching to some of the residences along the river banks. These are not protected rivers, in other words there's no walls to retain the water. So when it begins to rain, the water -- and they begin to get full, close to record high levels in some cases, we just tend to see this recurring problem of these rivers just bursting their banks.

Come back over to the weather map very quickly, there you see the scattered rain showers all across Southeast Asia. There's Thailand right there. You know, Phucket had, what, almost 90 millimeters of rain in the last 24 hours. It just gives you an example of how heavy this rain can be at times. Also across Laos, Cambodia, back over toward Vietnam.

And if you are watching from let's say India or Bangladesh, or these areas here across South Asia, there the rain has been very heavy as well, Kristie. This is a picture from Kolkata. The monsoon rains here also quite relentless causing significant flooding. There's the satellite. It looks like a line from the upper areas of the Bay of Bengal all the way across the southern portions of Pakistan. Heavy rain in Karachi too.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, searching all across the region there. Mari Ramos, thank you.

And this just into CNN, Reuters is reporting that the U.S. embassy in Brussels has been evacuated. Police are believed to be investigating two suspect vehicles thought at this stage to contain gas bottles. And we'll continue monitor that situation for you.

Now let's go to sports now. And tennis fans hoping to see some action from the U.S. Open today, they're sweating over the weather. Play could be washed out again.

Pedro Pinto joins us now with more -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. It's the seventh year in a row that rain has caused major disruptions at the season's final grand slam event. There are fears that the men's title match will have to be pushed to Monday for the fifth year in succession.

Now on Tuesday, play was delayed for six hours. Maybe it was good news for Andy Roddick, because it meant his career was extended at least another day. The American has announced he'll retire after the U.S. Open. And he is an underdog in his quarterfinal match against Juan Martin Del Potro. Their match was stopped in the first set tiebreak.

There was just one match completed on the women's side of the draw on Tuesday. It saw world number one Victoria Azarenka beating Samantha Stosur in three sets. The Belarussian was on fire in the first set, winning it 6- 1. She then struggled a little in the second with the defending champion Stosur battling back to win it 6-4. The deciding set went to a tiebreak. Azarenka managed to take that to advance to the semifinals of this tournament. For the first time in her career, she was relieved to have pulled through against Stosur in what was a tough contest.


VICTORIA AZARENKA, TENNIS PLAYER: I think everybody prefers to win maybe a little bit easier than this way, no doubt. But it's definitely, you know, gives a lot of boost, you know, and energy knowing that you go through the fight to win, because it's -- it's ironic to hear that, I think, but I enjoy the fight. You know, I enjoy that struggle, that pain that we go through, that incredible moment that you feel relieved after, you know, you gave it all in every point you had.


PINTO: Here in Europe, Christiano Ronaldo continues to dominate the football headlines. The Portuguese star stunned the football world this past weekend by saying he was sad by the Spanish club. The winger didn't celebrate either of his goals against Grenada on Sunday. There had been some speculation that he was unhappy because he hadn't been offered a new and improved contract, but he says it's not a financial issue.

Christiano took to Twitter to express his feelings. He said "I'm accused of wanting more money, but one day it'll be shown that this is not the case. At this point, I just want to guarantee to the Real Madrid fans that my motivation, dedication, commitment and desire to win all competitions will not be affected. I have too much respect for myself and for Real Madrid to ever give less to the club than all I am capable of."

He then goes on to salute the Madrid supporters as well.

Now Ronaldo will play for Portugal this weekend in a World Cup qualifier. Maybe he'll talk about that situation again after the national team commitment, Kristie. It's definitely a story that football fans around the world are following with a lot of interesting.

LU STOUT: Yeah, but ahead of that, Pedro, you know him quite well. So why is Christiano Ronaldo sad?

PINTO: Well, it's -- I think it's a combination of various factors. I was with him last week at the UEFA Champion's League draw. We spoke before and after the ceremony which also featured the European Player of the Year award which Andre Iniesta won. Ronaldo was one of the finalists. And he was really hurt by the fact that he wasn't crowned the best player of the season considering he won the Spanish league. He had just helped Real Madrid beat Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup as well.

And what's going on here, I think that was a trigger point, because he feels he's not getting enough PR, enough support from Real Madrid. And he thinks that Barcelona do a lot more for Messi, for example, than Real Madrid do for him.

So he had a meeting with Florentino Perez, the president over the weekend. And he expressed that. He also reportedly said he doesn't feel he has much support from a part of the team, of the players. He doesn't feel much love from the fans.

So now it's just a case of seeing if anything changes. Jose Mourinho, the manager, also spoke with him over the phone because he was with his Portuguese national team now, Ronaldo.

It's something we'll continue to follow. I think it's the fact he thinks he just should get more respect from the club, the fans, and his teammates. And he's expressing it in this way.

If it's the right way or not, that's for everyone to have their personal opinion on.

LU STOUT: Well, he is a high achiever. He wants recognition. He wants respect. He wants support.

Pedro Pinto there, thank you.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, which invisible people are sitting in these chairs? A Hollywood super star gives late night comedians a treasure trove of new material: the empty chair phenomenon after the break.


LU STOUT: Heads up meat lovers, McDonalds is going vegetarian. The fast food chain plans to open its first veggie only outlet next year in India. Now the restaurant will be in the city of Amratar (ph), built near the city's golden temple, the consumption of meat is forbidden there.

Now McDonald's restaurants in India have already taken beef and pork off their menus due to the religious practices of Hindus and Muslims. They make up most of India's population.

As you can see here, the burgers made of fish and chicken. And according to their website, they have already been selling vegetarian burgers like this one. It's called the McVeggie.

Now it may be the world's most famous empty chair, the one Clint Eastwood addressed at the Republican National Convention. As Jeanne Moos reports, his unusual speech has prompted a host of imitators.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even at the Democratic convention, a chair is no longer just a chair. Clint Eastwood is lurking there.

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: What do you mean, shut up?

MOOS: No one is shutting up about the chair.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "COLBERT REPORT": Please welcome Clint Eastwood's chair! MOOS: When Clint finished talking, someone came to take the chair away, but it seems to be haunting the Democrats now. When Newark Mayor Cory Booker fell at the Democratic convention and hurt his ankle, someone tweeted, "Oh, that must hurt. Use Clint Eastwood's chair."

EASTWOOD: What do you want me to tell Romney?

MOOS: First it Eastwooding, when people took pictures of themselves pointing or their pets staring at a chair. And then there was the invisible Obama Twitter account, followed by the comedians. Bill Maher called Clint Eastwood's routine a metaphor for the Republican Party.

BILL MAHER, HBO'S "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": A confused old person yelling at something that doesn't exist.

MOOS: Jon Stewart wondered why the president the Republicans described bears so little resemblance to the one he knows.

JON STEWART, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": There is a President Obama that only Republicans can see.

MOOS: It's celebrated in song.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Chair, you made me look worse than my hair.

MOOS (on camera): At first, the jokes were mostly about Clint Eastwood. But then the tables were turned, the chair swiveled.

(voice-over) Romney supporters declared National Empty Chair Day, prompting an outpouring of empty chairs with teleprompters, an empty chair occupied by an empty suit. An empty chair bowing to the Saudis.

(on camera) Swivel to the right wing.

(voice-over) Even Sarah Palin tweeted an empty chair with a booster seat on it.

(on camera) Swivel to the left wing.

JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": After watching Clint Eastwood, be honest. Be honest. Sarah Palin is not looking too bad now, is she?

MOOS: But instead of the love, say, Pee-wee Herman shows his special chair.

PAUL "PEE-WEE HERMAN" REUBENS, ACTOR (singing): Hey Chairy, I love to sit on you.

ALISON MORK, VOICE OF CHAIRY (singing): Hey, Pee-wee, I love it when you do.

MOOS: One mash-up took a scene from "Gran Torino" and kicked the butt of invisible Obama chair. In the words of Luther Vandross...

LUTHER VANDROSS, SINGER (singing): A chair is still a chair.

MOOS: This chair's not going anywhere fast.

VANDROSS: Even when there's no one...

MOOS: This chair has legs.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: Now we are continuing to watch the situation unfolding in Brussels. A vehicle parked near the U.S. embassy is causing security concerns there. Reuters is reporting that the embassy has been evacuated. We'll continue to watch that, bring you the latest, as it happens. But for now, that is News Stream, World Business Today is next.