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Novak Djokovic Wins Fierce Battle For ATP World Tour Championship; Florida Woman At Center of General John Allen Investigation; Syrian Artist Attempt To Portray Country's Despair; Profile of Argentine Talk Show Host Susana Gimenez

Aired November 13, 2012 - 08:00   ET


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

Now we begin with the investigation of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. He is accused of sending inappropriate emails to a woman whose name surfaced in connection with the Petraeus scandal rocking the CIA.

Also ahead, released on bail, but what next for Abu Qatada, the radical cleric who has avoided deportation to Jordan?

And the unexpected images of Syria's conflict. How the civil war is being reflected in the country's art.

Now the scandal that caused David Petraues his job as CIA director is now drawing in his successor in Afghanistan. Now General John Allen, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan is under investigation. The Pentagon is looking into what are said to be inappropriate messages he allegedly sent to a Florida woman identified as Jill Kelley. Now Defense officials says General Allen denies any wrongdoing.

Now Kelly triggered the FBI's investigation into Petraeus that uncovered his extramarital affair. Now government sources says the FBI was looking into harassing emails that were allegedly sent to Kelly by Petraues' reported mistress Paula Broadwell.

Now General Allen has been tapped to become NATO's supreme allied commander, but now that nomination is on hold.

I want to bring in Nick Paton-Walsh at CNN Beirut for more on this. And Nick, I mean, the details are incredible. These so-called inappropriate messages involve up to 30,000 pages of emails. Can you tell us more about how General Allen is just caught up in all this?

NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very early stages in this investigation. The key things that stand out are of course the person with whom he is alleged to have been corresponding in these 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails. And the fact that they appear to span a period of two years from 2010 when he was in charge of CENTCOM in Tampa, Florida to 2012 when he was the head of NATO and American forces in Kabul, Afghanistan.

We don't know what was in these emails at all. The content is not clear. But the ramification is obvious here. We now have the third acting or former head of ISAF forces in Afghanistan to be tainted with the brush of some sort of inappropriate conduct, recall standing with McChrystal fired for inappropriate comments to reporters, General David Petraeus prompted to head of the CIA but subsequently resigning after revelations of an extramarital affair, and now General John Allen.

What actually will happen on the ground as a result of this it isn't really clear, there are still only a few months remaining in John Allen's term on the ground in Kabul and much of the course of this war has been predecided and planned well ahead. So I don't think we'll see any impact on the ground in Afghanistan, but certainly the PR consequences are extremely negative, Kristie. And it's the last thing I think many in Kabul would need at this particular time.

LU STOUT: Can you tell us more about General John Allen himself? Tell us about his character and his impact on the war in Afghanistan so far.

PATON-WALSH: A deeply respected career soldier, someone I met originally in Iraq when they were working to fight the insurgency in Anbar Province, then promoted to head of Afghanistan. A glittering career, frankly, in many ways, many times seen as the right-hand man of General David Petraeus as he also rose through the ranks.

A man, to be honest, it was hard not to be impressed by. You would often meet him fully aware of how badly the campaign in Afghanistan was going, but he would have an understanding not only of what was going well, but more specifically of the challenges that endured that made you come away with a feeling that at least the person at the helm had an understanding of what the problems ahead were. A man, also, who inspired I think it's fair to say great loyalty.

A hard worker, but also somebody who one aid said who after many tours in Iraq, tired, not necessarily wanting another lengthy deployment, said he would always answer the call from General John Allen to go to Kabul. In Kabul, he told me a story how they originally met in Iraq. One thing that actually inspired some of this loyalty. The two men were sat in a dining facility in Iraq, a shell landed near that facility. And a young soldier leaped beneath a table for cover and John Allen stayed in his seat and just calmly bent down and said, son, we're not going to win the war from down there.

So for many of these people, these revelations of inappropriate conduct will come as an enormous surprise, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Very telling portrait of the man himself.

And also while we have you, what is the reaction inside NATO and your military contacts in Afghanistan to this widening scandal gripping first General Petraeus and now General John Allen?

PATON-WALSH: It's important to distance David Petraeus from this. There aren't any formalized allegations that there was any conduct while he was in charge of ISAF it's just the tiring, I think, of three successive commanders in a row, subsequently being accused of that. But I think it's early days for NATO. I don't think it will change anything really on the ground in Afghanistan at all. Everybody knew John Allen was leaving. They knew his successor was likely to be. And the plan for what happens there has been drawn up months in advance.

The impact will simply be on that sort of the air of scandal for many Afghans or outside observers, detractors of the war, being able to say that look the man in charge of the forces there is under internal investigation by his own military - Kristie.

LU STOUT: Nick Paton-Walsh reporting for us. Thank you, Nick.

Now the FBI investigation into Petraeus and his biographer and reported mistress Paul Broadwell appears to be continuing. Now FBI agents, they searched Broadwell's home in North Carolina on Monday. Now she and her family were not home at the time. And it seems every day there is a new twist in the scandal that is now having ripple effects from Washington to Afghanistan.

Suzanne Kelly takes a look back at how it has all unfolded so far.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): According to a friend of Petraeus, the affair began in November last year, two months after the retired general took the helm at the CIA. That same friend also reports that meetings between the two were infrequent, but at some point, Petraeus and Broadwell began communicating via personal e-mail accounts. E- mails that a government official describes as explicit.

Skip ahead to May of this year. That's about the time a government official says Broadwell began sending threatening e-mails to Jill Kelley, described as a family friend of Petraeus, who lives in Tampa, warning her to stay away. That official tells us that Kelley shared her concerns over the threatening nature of the e-mails with a friend at the FBI, and that prompted an investigation.

Sometime after Petraeus became aware of the e-mails, a government official says Petraeus told Broadwell to stop sending them and sometime around July, according to the friend of Petraeus, the affair ended. The source tells CNN that Petraeus indicated Broadwell might be obsessed with him and that Broadwell may have felt that she was warding off the competition by sending e-mails to Kelley.

At some point, both Broadwell and Petraeus were interviewed by the FBI and it was after that that things began to unravel quickly. The "Wall Street Journal" says Broadwell was interviewed in September and that Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the investigation then.

A senior intelligence official says director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was notified of the investigation by the FBI last Tuesday, Election Day, just at some polls were beginning to close. That same source says that on Wednesday, Clapper notified the White House.

Petraeus met with the president last Thursday and offered his resignation, which was accepted as the ordeal became public on Friday.

Suzanne Kelly, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: And the reach of that scandal just getting wider.

Still to come here on News Stream, the radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada is out on bail. And we will have the terms of his release in our live report outside his London home.

Also, banding together, a series of opposition forces put aside differences for a common goal: overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad.

And with China's Communist Party congress winding down, we ask a scholar about the next generation of Chinese leaders. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Now Muslim cleric Abu Qatada is out on bail in the UK after he won his appeal fighting deportation to Jordan. Now this is Abu Qatada leaving Long Lartin Prison. On Monday a panel of British judges ruled that it could not be guaranteed that he would receive a fair trial in Jordan where he is wanted on terrorism charges.

Now the British government accuses him of funding terrorist groups and even inspiring one of the 1911 hijackers. These are claims that Abu Qatada has denied. Now Britain's home office says the government will appeal the ruling.

And Britain has been trying to deport Abu Qatada for years, but his legal appeals have kept him in the UK. Nic Robertson has been following this story. He joins us from outside Abu Qatada's home in London.

And Nic, I understand that Abu Qatada just arrived at his home. How did he appear to you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he appeared as if he wasn't going to hang around in front of the dozens of cameras that were stationed around his house. There were perhaps more than 20 or even 30 still photographers, several camera crews here - television camera crews as well. And he literally got out of the black van behind me and within just a couple of paces was at his front door, in through the front door, and no one is expecting to see him come outside the house for the rest of today.

So it's very clear this is a man who now he's out of jail is going to go into his house and is going to be seen very - let's say very little in public.

What are his intentions, what are his legal team's intentions, what are the government's intentions to try to deport him from here, that's not clear. But we do know that the curfew conditions the government is putting on him means he will only be able to leave his house between 8:00 am in the morning, 4:00 pm in the afternoon, six 16 hours of the day he will have to spend in the house behind me, Kristie.

LU STOUT: So he will face a 16 hour a day curfew there at his home in London.

Now Nic, the British Home Secretary Theresa May, she wants to overturn the ruling. She wants to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan. Now she and the British government, they are determined. But what needs to happen next for them to succeed?

ROBERTSON: Well, what the special immigration's appeals commission said was essentially that testimony that have been given in trials in absentia in Jordan for Abu Qatada had been given under the pressure of torture and that the concern was that the appeals commission that even though the Jordanian government has guaranteed to give Abu Qatada a new trial has said that any evidence given under torture will not be admissible in court. The concern of the appeals commission is that still that evidence previously given allegedly under torture by two people may be influential in the case of Abu Qatada.

Now in the next few weeks the King of Jordan, King Abdullah, is expected to be in Britain. No doubt there will be conversations about what else the Jordanian government can do to try to ally and lay to rest those legal concerns about Abu Qatada's trial in Jordan. That seems to be the center of what the British government can do.

In the meantime, however, Theresa May and members of the opposition to the British - and British Parliament have said that that Abu Qatada is dangerous, suspected of terrorist - suspected of terrorism links and that they will continue to push. But precisely which legal maneuvers will they use? It's not clear, but undoubtedly it does seem that the Jordanian government would be expected in this case to try and give further public assurances of the nature of the trial Abu Qatada could face, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And Nic, tell us more about Abu Qatada. We know what he is suspected of. But who is he? And what is his ideology?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's very hard, of course, to tell somebody's ideology, but he - his sermons have turned up in the possession of some of the most radical and bloodthirsty members of al Qaeda - 9/11 - in a flat used in Hamburg by the group of the 9/11 hijackers, including the ringleader Mohammed Atta turned up in the premises belonging to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader - very bloodthirsty al Qaeda leader in Iraq. And there are other people who have committed terrorist acts who European intelligence agencies believe came to Britain to see Abu Qatada.

So that's - those are the charges aligned against him. You will find people here in London, particularly in the Muslim community who say, look, whatever this guy's ideology was 10 years ago he now knows that he can't step out of line in Britain. And they say that really it's just political pressure that's being applied to sort of placate a popular demand to see Abu Qatada extradited from the country. But the majority of people here really do think that he is a threat, really do believe he is a threat, and would like to see him go.

So of course it's very difficult to determine what the man thinks today, but he has been in and out of some of Britain's most secure jails over the past decade. And there's perhaps going to - can expect to have some very tight monitoring of exactly what he does in the coming months to the point perhaps being excluded from using the internet, to the point of being excluded from using mobile phones, restricted upon whom he can meet, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Nic Robertson reporting live outside the home of Abu Qatada. Thank you, Nic.

And now to Syria's civil war. And families are fleeing for the Turkish border as government war planes bomb the Syria border town of Ras al-Ain for the second day on Tuesday. Now the Syrian army has been fighting to regain control of the town after it fell to the rebels last week.

And the Arab League has formally recognized a new coalition made up of various groups from the Syrian opposition. The National Coalition Forces of the Syrian revolution marks the first time since the start of the civil war that rebel groups have united under one banner to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

Now you'll remember that the Arab League suspended Syria's membership one year ago. And Mohammed Jamjoom is monitoring the story live from neighboring Lebanon and he joins us now. Mohammed, Syria's various opposition groups are now united. It has Arab League recognition, but how much international support do they have?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Kristie. And it's significant that the Arab League has recognized this new coalition. You've also seen the U.S. hailing the formation of this group, the EU is being welcoming of the group. And we've heard the UK also very supportive of this new group.

The key thing is going to be what happens next. There is a mood of cautious optimism from the international powers that have wanted to support the Syrian opposition, but have found it difficult because in the past there had been so much divisiveness, so much fractiousness in those various opposition groups. Now there is this united front.

But it's going to be key to see how they actually try to form a transitional government now. There is a lot of hope that they can do this, that they can walk through the various steps that they need to form the committees that they need to then get this transitional government that would happen in the event of a post-al-Assad world.

The international community that has wanted to support the opposition in Syria has been frustrated because the deadlock of diplomacy, the fact that there has been no agreement at the UN security council to be able to take further action because Russia and China constantly veto any type of resolution dealing with Syria.

Now is the time to see if this unified group can actually work as a united front with the people on the ground in Syria to further the cause of the opposition - Kristie.

LU STOUT: We're seeing some diplomatic progress, but the violence goes on. And it just continues to rip apart the fabric of the country. Mohammed, how has the civil war been reflected culturally inside Syria?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, if you take a look at the art work that's emerging from Syrian artists right now, it's definitely taken on darker overtones, very much reflecting the chaos, the conflict, the brutal civil war that's going on in Syria.

Now a couple of days ago I had the chance to speak with three Syrian artists, friends since art school in Damascus several years ago who are exhibiting their works here in Beirut. Here is what they told me about the impact that the war at home is having on their works.


JAMJOOM: Don't let the bright colors fool you, pain inspired these paintings.

"Here is a person who wants to kill another person," says artist Anis Homsi (ph). "And here is a person who wants to defend this person from being killed."

Conflict infuses these canvases, namely the brutal civil war raging in Homsi's (ph) homeland of Syria.

"The violence pushes me to work more," says Homsi (ph), "to draw and paint. It's apparent in the faces, the abnormalities. Abstract images made all the more poignant when Homsi (ph) describes the horror of learning how close relatives of his had recently been executed.

"I never imagined this would happen to anyone in my family or that I would hear this news about anybody in my life at this time or even in the past," says a visibly upset Homsi (ph). "It really shocked me."

Homsi (ph) is one of three Syrian artists whose works are being exhibited at this Beirut gallery. The men aren't just close friends, they're also former classmates.

Before the start of Syria's civil war, the art scene in Damascus had been growing more vibrant. But as the situation deteriorated many artists fled the fighting and started showcasing their works in neighboring countries.

Wissam Shaabi left for Lebanon when it got too dangerous. His images, a dream of Syria.

WISSAM SHAABI, SYRIAN ARTIST: You know, artists know about the message - send a message for the people.

JAMJOOM: Here, Shaabi conveys an ideolized vision of peaceful coexistence. You'll see a crescent and a cross.

SHAABI: We will remain looking for the future where a bright future.

JAMJOOM: Just around the corner, the works of Fadi al-Hamwi highlight a very different feeling - dread.

FADI AL-HAMWI, SYRIAN ARTIST: You feel like some things (inaudible) can't happen.

JAMJOOM: As the last member of this group still living in Damascus, that's his every day reality.

AL-HAMWI: Inside Syria I can't see the people, I can't connect with them until now. If we start, we feel tired. It will show in your colors.

JAMJOOM: Colors as vivid as life on an artistic journey constantly reminding of death.


JAMJOOM: And they all told me that they struggle with the idea about if their art is enough to impact what's going on, but they say that they are artists, they see it as their jobs to try to document what they're seeing, hearing, and feeling - Kristie.

LU STOUT: Chaos on canvas, some very, very striking work there. Mohammed Jamjoom, thank you very much indeed for that report.

Now work has now begun to exhume the body of Palestine liberation organization leader Yasser Arafat from his mausoleum in the West Bank City of Ramallah. This comes ahead of an investigation into Mr. Arafat's death in 2004.

Now French authorities opened a murder inquiry after high levels of a radioactive substance were found on some of Mr. Arafat's belongings. His widow had lodged a formal legal complaint for murder.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, give you the sports headlines. We have two tennis greats battling it out on the courts. And we'll tell you who came out on top. All that and more next.


LU STOUT: A live view of Hong Kong. And coming to you live from Hong Kong you are back watching News Stream.

Now the men's tennis season ended in spectacular fashion with the top two players on the planet clashing in London. And that's where we find out Pedro Pinto who fills us in on all the details - Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, I was lucky enough to be there last night to watch the ATP World Tour finals. Novak Djokovic had already earned enough points to secure the year ending world number one ranking, but he proved he was the best player on the planet on the court by winning the tournament on Monday.

The 25 year old from Belgrade overcame the challenge of defending champion Roger Federer in the final at the O2 Arena after two intense sets.

The level of tennis played was incredibly high indeed right from the start. In the 7-6, 7-5 scoreline tells its own story of how close this battle was.

Federer was trying to win the event for the third time in a row and seventh overall, but it wasn't to be. After his impressive victory, Novak Djokovic told CNN's Alex Thomas just who he was playing for on Monday night.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, TENNIS PLAYER: A huge influence, he was very important person in my life first of all because he was the one who bought me the first tennis racket, he was the one that actually allowed me to realize my dreams and to play tennis that I fell in love with when I was four years old and he always believed that I can make it, you know. And he deserves - he deserves this victory and he's fighting his own battle right now. Unfortunately he's - for the last couple of weeks in the hospital, so I'm going to visit him tomorrow and hopefully bring the smile on his face with a trophy that is going to give him the extra strength to move on.


PINTO: Djokovic dedicating his victory to his father.

As a sports icon, Novak knows what it's like to be in the media spotlight. He also gets a lot of attention from fans everywhere he goes. But I doubt he ever had to deal with what Argentine football star Lionel Messi went through on Monday.

As the Argentine National Team touched down in Riyadh ahead of a friendly with Saudi Arabia. The Barcelona forward was absolutely mobbed as he walked through the airport.

There was plenty of security, but military personnel struggled to contain the crowds. At one point, Messi actually had a machine gun shoved in his face. He'll be hoping the marking from Saudi Arabia's players will be a little looser when Argentina play the locals in a friendly on Wednesday.

There's good news for former England captain John Terry. An MRI scan revealed there was no serious damage to the knee injury he suffered on Sunday. Terry was stretchered off in the first half of this weekend's Premier League game against Liverpool. Despite fears of a serious injury to his right knee, the club say it's not as bad as feared and that their captain will be out for weeks rather than months.

In the United States, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James put on a show helping his team improve to 6-2 early in the NBA regular season. James and company came out on top of a tough battle with the Houston Rockets who led for large portions of the game. But they just couldn't find an answer for LeBron, especially in the second half.

In the third quarter alone, he scored 16 points.

More from LBJ in the fourth. He was just on fire. No hope for Houston to contain him. James went on to rack up a season high 38 points in this ballgame while Miami led by three with just a few seconds left.

Last chance for Houston, but James Hardin can't connect. The Heat burn the Rockets in Houston 113-110 the final score.

Now that's a quick look at international sport for this hour. Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.

LU STOUT: Pedro, thank you.

Now up next, China's Communist Party, the Congress is winding down, but will a new set of leaders bring any real change? We'll explore that next on News Stream.


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

Now the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is under investigation about allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a Florida woman Jill Kelley. General John Allen's nomination for NATO's supreme allied commander is now on hold. He denies any wrongdoing. Now Jill Kelley is a friend of retired general David Petraeus and his family. And Petraeus resigned as CIA director on Friday over an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

Now Terror suspect Abu Qatada has been freed on bail in Britain. A panel of judges ruled that he could not be deported. The radical cleric returned a short time ago to his home in a London suburb. He is wanted in Jordan on charges of planning bomb attacks, but the judges said he could not be assured of a fair trial. The British government says it will appeal the ruling.

Now European Union finance ministers are discussing the EU budget in Brussels a day after Greece was granted more time to get a grip on its finances. Now Athens has been given two more years to meet deficit reduction targets. The president of the euro group says he is satisfied with the progress made so far. And we'll have more on this on World Business Today in just 30 minutes.

Now authorities in Belize want to question internet anti-virus pioneer John McAfee about a fatal shooting. Now Gregory Faull was found shot to death at his home near McAfee's home in this Central American country. Now Wired magazine reports that McAfee says he knows nothing about the killing and is now in hiding somewhere in Belize.

Now the man that was widely expected to be the next Microsoft CEO has left the company. Now Steven Sinofsky had been working his way up the ladder of Microsoft since 1989, even serving as Bill Gates' technical advisor at one point. But he is perhaps best known for his work with the Windows Operating Systems. As head of Microsoft Windows, Sinofsky was credited with rescuing the very unsuccessful release of Vista and then delivering Windows 7 which went on to become the best selling version of the OS.

And over the past three years, Sinofsky headed the development of Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface which were released last month.

Now Julie Larson-Green will feel Sinofsky's position as the new Windows chief at Microsoft. And our regular contributor Nick Thompson, he's the editor of the will join us on News Stream on Wednesday for more on this surprise exit.

Now let's turn to China. The communist party's 18th national congress comes to a close on Wednesday. And we expect to learn the new members of the politburo standing committee on Thursday. And that is when we should see Vice President Xi Jinping emerge as the party's new general secretary. And as part of my new program on China, I asked prominent blogger Hung Huang how she would explain the party hierarchy.


HUNG HUANG, CHINESE BLOGGER: I would do it like a corporation. You know, you have - you have a board. And the board is the politburo. They name the CEO. And then you have middle management, which are the ministers and the various commission directors and so on and so forth. So it's for me, it's really like a corporate town. It's like run as China Inc.


LU STOUT: Influential Chinese media personality Hung Huang there.

And while we await word of China's new leaders, there's a lot of attention on its outgoing and past presence. Now earlier I spoke to Willy Lam, he's a China scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. And I started by asking him about speculation about President Hu Jintao will step down as the head of the China's military commission.


WILLY LAM, CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Well, I think Hu Jintao at least stepping down because he wants to set an example for institution and processes instead of rule by men. So it's likely that he will vacate from all his positions. But it doesn't mean that he will just fade into the sunset, because he still has the largest faction in the party which is the Communist Youth League...

LU STOUT: Now back in the day Jiang Zemin did not step down from the top post in the military commission. He waited two years after he stepped down as General Secretary of the Communist Party before he did that. And moving 10 years on to the 18th party congress underway this week in Beijing. His presence looms large. Why is that?

LAM: Well, Jiang Zemin is still a powerful (inaudible) even though he no longer lives in Beijing. He's no longer concerned with the everyday matters of state. However, he is worried about his legacy.

LU STOUT: We're going to find out soon who will make up the power elite of the Communist Party. This is the politburo standing committee. Can we break it down in terms of how many will be Jiang Zemin proteges or how many will be more reform oriented?

LAM: By and large I think at least three of the seven members of the standing committee will be Jiang Zemin proteges. By and large, this is also a conservative line-up. It's unfortunately that two of Hu Jintao's close cronies will not make it even though they have reformist reputations and I think they earn high marks in their positions.

However, this new line-up is very much concerned with stability. So I think they will pretty much carry on with existing policy focusing on maintaining stability, retaining the party's monopoly on power and then pushing cautiously with economic and financial reforms.

LU STOUT: Now there's a lot of talk about factional fighting inside the party. And one party, two factions - the faction under Hu Jintao, faction under Jiang Zemin - is it really as clear cut as that?

LAM: Well, actually the factions nowadays have changed a lot. They're no longer based on the differences in ideology or major directions for the country. So the factions are fighting over very materialistic concerns such as family sits on the standing committee or the politburo or the central committee, which are going to different factions. And more importantly, how the economic pie will be sliced in favor of different factions.

So don't forget that major (inaudible) of the economy are controlled by 100 to 200 major clans in the upper echelons of the party. So these clans would want to maintain their hold on the power. And for that matter I think there's a good consensus amongst all the factions that the status quo should hold. There should be no redistribution of economic or political powers.

LU STOUT: Xi Jinping, what kind of leader will he be? Will he be able to somehow break free from the influence of his predecessors?

LAM: Well, Xi Jingping is a good guy. He's a consensus candidate. He's also a - well, he's also willing to work with different factions, so that's why he was chosen.

However, he's not a visionary or charismatic figure. So particularly in his first term when - which he hasn't yet consolidated his power base, he will just tow the line given to him by ex-president Jiang Zemin or President Hu Jintao. So don't expect anything dramatic in the first five years.

However, I think Xi Jinping realizes that expectations have changed. So it's possible that in his second term, that means stretching from 2017 to 2022 he might try at least more populist measures to narrow the (inaudible) gap - the gap between the rich coast and the impoverished hinterland, and also to force social welfare at least to ensure that people have enough money to spend, because I think they realize that consumer spending has to make up a bigger part of the GDP instead of just relying on exports and government investiments.


LU STOUT: Now as you heard in my conversation with Willy Lam, there are two unofficial factions in China's Communist Party. On one side, you have the populists led by Hu Jintao, and on the other so-called princelings, these are proteges of ex-president Jiang Zemin. And many China watchers think that Jiang's followers will outnumber Hu's on this standing committee.

Of course, there's no way to know until the names are announced on Thursday. And we have profiles of possible standing committee members online from the presumptive president to the woman who is poised to break China's glass ceiling. You could also read more about red capitalists and the struggle for reform.

Now Willy Lam, he wrote an opinion piece for us. You can find it at

Now, we have up in the skies a solar eclipse in Australia and New Zealand on its way. Let's turn now to Mari Ramos. She joins us at the World Weather Center - Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, yeah we're - what, maybe six hours away or so from the solar eclipse actually happening. Pretty exciting stuff. We have to wait until 2015 for the next total solar eclipse to happen. So this is kind of a cool thing. Let's just go ahead and talk a little bit about what we can expect with the solar eclipse.

First of all, you may know this already, just a little quick review here, solar eclipses happen when the moon as it goes around the Earth happens to get in between the Earth and the Sun. It passes right in between the two. And the moon covers up the sun. So to us it looks like the sun is completely obscured because of the size - the diameter of the moon. I guess the sun in this case is going to be covered about 87 percent when it gets to totality. So that's pretty good.

And of course scientists love this because it's a great opportunity to study the sun here from Earth. You may even be able to see Venus once that happens.

These are the times right here. And this happening basically tomorrow morning your time right over here in this part of the world.

Now this is the area where you will see the total solar eclipse, but there's a wide swath across the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand that will be able to see a partial eclipse. So that's still pretty cool.

Always remember to use proper eye protection before you look up at the sun, OK. Safety first always.

Let's go ahead and take a look a little bit closer in and some of these towns and cities that will be able to watch it across the peninsula. And Cairns, this is a very popular place to be tomorrow morning.

Now sunrise is just after 5:30 in the morning. So you'll get a pretty good view because the sun will still be low enough in the sky that you should be able to see it. And we're expecting clear skies, which actually makes it even better, right? So a lot of people will be out on boats across this area.

A little bit more cloud cover expected across New Zealand as we head into about 10:28 in the morning.

The greatest eclipse will be here, that's when it will be covered about 87 percent of the sun.

So it is a pretty good opportunity if you happen to be there. And of course if you happen to be there and you want to share your pictures, you know where to go, right? iReport, this is will a place to be. CNN and you can come, take a look at all of this information here. And of course give us your pictures as well.

Let's go ahead and take a look at your city by city forecast now.

Let's take a look at these pictures, this is from Tuscany in central Italy from Monday, pretty dramatic images coming out of this area after in some cases record rainfall fell.

Let me give you an example, (inaudible) in - right there in central Italy got about 200 millimeters of rain in just a period of 24 hours. Well, imagine this, they got 100 millimeters in six hours. That is why you see so much widespread flooding across this region.

In those 100 millimeters in six hours is more than they get the entire month of November, that is why these images are so dramatic. There was significant damage, overflowing rivers as you can see there. And of course a lot of roadways that were completely blocked by the rising water. Homes and buildings were damaged as well as crops as you can see there.

And this of course coming on the heels of record setting flooding in Venice as well. We've been telling you about this story throughout the weekend, keeping dry at all costs. Venice had the highest water level over the weekend since 1872. In the entire history of the city of Venice, this has only happened six times.

So that water level is still high again today in Venice. The aqua alta (ph) continues. This time a code yellow, not as high as what we had then.

And watch out for the severe weather also across the northwestern portion of Africa. That's going to be the next area of flooding to watch out for. We'll keep you posted of course in all of these weather stories and then news continues right here on CNN right after this break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Susana Gimenez says she can credit soap with launching her career. Now this week's Leading Woman went from model to media mogul. And now she's known as the Oprah Winfrey of Argentina. Felicia Taylor sat down with her.


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A glamorous setting for Argentina's glamor queen.

At a photo shoot for the next issue of her magazine Susana, she moves from pose to pose with a fluidity that only comes from experience. This is one of Argentina's most famous ladies, a woman who started modeling at 18 and quickly rose to fame in movies and theater before starting her own talk show about 25 years ago.

SUSANA GIMENEZ, TALK SHOW HOST: Always say to my audience, if you want something with all your heart, you get it. You get it. I swear it.

TAYLOR: And get it she has, starting first with a commercial for soap that made her one of the most recognized faces in many South American countries.

That was what really propelled your career.

GIMENEZ: Yeah, absolutely, soap. I'm very clean.


TAYLOR: She then won multiple awards for her television show. And now has the second most popular women's monthly magazine in Argentina. This model, actress, talk show host, magazine publisher and overall legend is Susana Gimenez.

Sometimes it seems as if the sun itself radiates from the effervescent Susana Gimenez. It is perhaps why her talk show, Susana, is one of the highest rated in Argentina.

You don't take a bad picture, do you?

I met Gimenez at her home in Miami where she's spending part of a sabbatical year off from her talk show.

They say that you're Argentina's Oprah, I mean is that a fair comparison? Do you like that comparison?

GIMENEZ: I would love to be her. No, but it's an incredible thing, you know, Oprah and I were born the same day. We have the same car, the same dog, and the same day of birth.

I used to live in Fisher Island first. And she was there. And I was, you know - I didn't ask - I didn't say hello.

TAYLOR: Were you shy?

GIMENEZ: Yes. I was shy.

TAYLOR: But you're not shy on television?

GIMENEZ: No, no. No, no, no. I'm not shy on television.

TAYLOR: Hard to believe this vivacious woman could ever be shy.

But she'd originally planned on having a much more subdued career as a teacher. Things changed when she got pregnant, married, and divorced at a young age. She then turned to modeling.

Why did you get married so young?

GIMENEZ: Because I was expecting a baby. It's hard for me to say now, but in that time it was terrible. Now it's, you know. And I get divorced and I say, oh my god I don't have money, I don't know what to do. And I present my pictures in an agency. They call me to pass like that behind the star of the commercial. And afterwards I make one that was a big kid in all America for soap.

I did it in one shot, it was winter. I was in a bikini in a river. So I have to say shock like that with the soap.

TAYLOR: From there, Gimenez says she took any job she could to support herself and her daughter Mercedes.

GIMENEZ: I worked too much, you know, I never say no. Yes, I can do everything. OK, I have to pay the rent. I work for the rent as for the girl.

TAYLOR: It's interesting, though, because if you didn't get divorced you may not have achieved...

GIMENEZ: Of course, I always say that.

TAYLOR: So it was a blessing.

GIMENEZ: Yeah, blessing, absolutely.

TAYLOR: She went on to land roles in major films, including the iconic La Marie. She starred in plays and musicals.

And by 1987, she was approached to host a talk show. The show, called appropriately enough Susana Gimenez has won 17 Martin Fierro's, Argentina's version of an Emmy, including Susana's win of the coveted viewer's choice platinum award.

And just four years ago, she launched her magazine, Susana.

And you're always the cover girl.

GIMENEZ: Yeah, always, like Oprah. I copied from her.

TAYLOR: In the coming weeks, we'll step into her life as a celebrity and the question she hates to ask her guests.


LU STOUT: She's incredible. Wow.

You're watching News Stream. And up next, Diwali, or the festival of lights, it's being celebrated right now. And we head around the world to see how people are marking this special day. Still to come on News Stream.


LU STOUT: Now there is still 48 days left in 2012, but that hasn't stopped Oxford Dictionaries from naming the word of the year. So, what's the winner? Well, that depends on where you are. Now in the U.S. 2012's word is gif. Yep, as in .gif. It is the compressed file format for images that could also be used to create simple looping animations. Now Oxford Dictionaries notes that the Gif, it turned 25 this year, but says it has never been trendier.

But there is a different winner in the UK. That word, it comes from a TV show, omnishambles. It means a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

Now as for the runners up, they include grexit and Eurogeddon. Also, Higgs Boson, and Super PAC.

Now Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is underway right now. And people mark the occasion with beautiful colorful lights. And Diwali is an important event on the Hindu spiritual calendar. In Sri Lanka, devotees offer a prayer at the Hindu Temple in Colombo. Now the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, India was also illuminated.

And Sikhs celebrate Diwali to mark the return of their guru who was freed from imprisonment in 1619.

And here's one from an iReporter in New Delhi who snapped this photo of people shopping in a market. iReporter Monica Khaled (ph) sent in this photo of a street in Singapore.

Gorgeous images all.

And that is News Stream. World Business Today is next.