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Microsoft Unveils Windows 8 Update; Turkish Anti-Urbanization Protesters Clash With Security Forces; Sonar Image Might Be Amelia Earhart's Plane; Afrikaner-only Community Outside Pretoria
Aired May 31, 2013 - 08:00:00 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.
Now Syria says three westerners were killed fighting for the rebels.
Microsoft unveils an update to Windows 8, but can it boost the company's ailing operating system?
And more than 70 years after Amelia Earhart disappeared, some researchers say they may have found her final resting place.
Syrian state media reports that three westerners have been killed by government forces in the province of Idlib. It claims that the westerners were found fighting with rebels and had weapons and a map of military bases.
Now Syrian TV released footage of those items. It also shows a car riddled with bullet holes, three bodies, and what it says are the passports of two of the westerners.
Well, a family member tells CNN that one of the three was Nicole Lynn Mansfield from the U.S. State of Michigan. Britain has now verified reports that a British national was also part of the group.
Now Syria's President Bashar al-Assad says his government will attend a peace conference in Geneva next month, but the opposition Syrian National Coalition says they won't attend unless Assad gives up power.
Now the president spoke about the talks in an interview with Hezbollah television network al-Manar TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): We will have an official delegation to attend this conference and legitimate representatives on behalf of the Syrian people. Who will they represent? When the conference is over for us, we will return to Syria and to our homes and to our people. When the conference is over for them, where will they return to? Their five star hotels?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now President al-Assad, he went on to talk about his country's military contracts with Russia. Now Moscow has been criticized for selling missiles and anti-aircraft systems to Syria. But this Friday, a senior Kremlin aid has defended Russia's right to deliver the weapons.
Now Nick Paton Walsh is following developments in Syria from neighboring Lebanon. He joins us now live from CNN Beirut. And Nick, Bashar al-Assad, he is speaking out, but what exactly is he saying about the delivery of the Russian missiles?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a curious 24 hours, because Lebanese media reports of that interview to al- Manar TV had implied that he had said categorically that missiles, the S300s had already been delivered. These are particularly high tech sophisticated Russian missiles which have got some concerned could seriously impede further Israeli air strike, or in the unlikely event that NATO intervened, cause NATO casualties, too.
In the actual interview, though, he was a little more elliptical, not entirely categoric, just simply said this was a matter for their own military privacy to a degree and that they would -- Russia would fulfill the contracts previously agreed.
That's since been backed up, though, today by Russian state media report that have gone on to suggest that in fact this delivery may not take place until the Autumn, some suggestions that perhaps it may not happen until next year, in fact. So a lot of uncertainty as to when these will precisely arrive.
But we spoke to one defense expert who explained that even if they do get there, there's weeks perhaps not months until they're actually ready to be fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT HEWSON, EDITOR, JANE'S AIR-LAUNCHED WEAPONS: The text book way of doing this would say that it would take several months to be really operational and effective, but can you rush a capability in to have a quick and dirty defensive capability? Yes, you could do that in a week or two.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Certainly, this is the aim of the Assad interview. He is trying to look confident, trying to look like he has what he needs to fend off any future offenses. And this was becoming an increasingly a regional war, but of course we just don't know the reality on the ground when these vital missiles will actually get there -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, and capability issues aside, as the analyst pointed out just then, if and when Syria gets hold of all these Russian missiles, what impact will it have on the conflict?
WALSH: It's unclear, because these missiles themselves have never really been tested in open warfare against a modern air force, that expert went on to explain, like the Israeli air force or even in the unlikely event of a NATO intervention, the U.S. or any other western particular power.
So the question really is what effect will they have. That expert's suggestion was that they would probably significantly increase the chance of casualties on any air force trying to intervene in the air space in which they worked. And they also resemble, to a certain degree, the PATRIOT missiles placed along the Turkish-Syrian border by NATO.
So a gamechanger in terms of the level of sophistication they bring there, although at the end of the day I think he (inaudible) the lines of most modern air forces will have somehow worked their way around them, although will probably sustain some sort of casualties if they come up against them -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right. Nick Paton Walsh reporting live for us from CNN Beirut. Thank you, Nick.
And we've got some news coming into us now. There is unrest in the Turkish city of Istanbul. Ivan Watson is there. And Ivan, tell us more. There are protesters throwing rocks and bottles, tear gas being used. What have you seen, what have you experienced?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, we just got gassed here in our office. So I apologize, my eyes are streaming here.
This is Istanbul's Taksim Square. It's the fourth straight day of protests here. This is like the Times Square of Turkey's largest city. As you can see riot cops advancing here, they've been firing tear gas at demonstrators, firing right now, every few minutes. Firing water cannons as well. Demonstrators throwing bottles and rocks at them as we speak. This began for days ago when anti-urbanization protesters -- let's take a listen to what's going on here.
Demonstrators banging on the metal barriers here.
What started four days ago as a protest against a plan to destroy, demolish a park and build a shopping mall here in Taksim Square has now erupted into a largescale clashes in the streets. They're hurling rocks back and forth. And police firing tear gas.
Now we've reached out to the Istanbul municipality to find out casualty figures, how many people have been wounded. The police mounted a pre-dawn raid on what was a sit-in in the park, the disputed park. And these battles have been going on in the main streets of this city for the past six, eight hours.
Again, its as if the police were tear gassing Times Square in Manhattan, Kristie, on a daily basis for nearly four days. And this seems to have tapped into some real rage, particularly within secular segments of Turkish society who are boiling with anger against the Islamist rooted government here in Turkey -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: This is incredible. These are largescale protests in the heart of Istanbul there in Turkey. Tear gas is being used against the protesters. You got tear gassed on the way to the office and feeling the effects of that. And the reason why these protests are taking place, it's an anti-urbanization protest, is that right?
WATSON: That's how it started, Kristie. And I think there is anger within some segments of society, particularly here in Istanbul -- and more tear gas being fired right below our window -- anger at government backed projects, massive construction and developments projects -- building a new bridge across the Bosphorus Strait, a third airport in Istanbul, completely redeveloping this central square here in Instanbul where you have residents and local business owners complaining that they're never really consulted about this.
In addition to the frustration with the development, urban development plans, there is also frustration at what seems to be of diminishing tolerance from the Turkish government over any demonstration of dissent. The use of tear gas by the Turkish police, particularly in recent months, has become a weekly, if not daily, incident where it being satirized in Turkish satirical cartoons with people joking that the Turkish cops are offering to fire tear gas if children don't eat their vegetables at dinner.
We can see a water cannon being fired in the distance.
All of this is tapping into real frustration at the Turkish government, which is elected, frustration that's perhaps surprising considering that Turkey has enjoyed a period, a decade of real robust economic growth where people's standard of living has improved dramatically.
LU STOUT: You know, we're seeing live on our screens the use of tear gas, the use of -- excuse me, the use of water cannons. You were describing the use of tear gas. And we heard the firing of the tear gas canisters earlier. Why is the government responding in such a dramatic way? Is it seeing these what started as an anti-urbanization protest, is it seeing it as a some sort of a political threat?
WATSON: Well, this is not something new. A couple of weeks ago after residents of a border town that suffered one of the worst terrorist attacks in modern Turkish history, a Turkish border town on the border with Syria, more than 45 people killed, residents of that town, when they tried to hold a protest, Kristie, they were tear gassed by the Turkish police.
We also saw here on May Day, which is, you know, a traditional holiday for the left and the labor movement in Turkey. We had massive use of tear gas in the heart of Istanbul, Turkey's commercial capital. This has been an increasingly common use of police force against any gathering that is not sanctioned by -- I'm sorry, the tear gas is starting to overwhelm me here -- but this has been increasingly common use of force by the Turkish government, which has let a lot of critics to argue, listen, this government does not -- is acting authoritarian and anti-democratic. It does not allow public assembly and any show of dissent -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Well, I know you're dealing with the effects of that tear gas. Thank you very much for joining us on the air and giving us the very latest with what's happening with these protests, these dramatic protests taking place in the heart of Istanbul.
Ivan Watson joining us live from the Turkish capital. Thank you, Ivan.
Now we want to tell you about an American woman accused of drug smuggling in Mexico. Her name Yanira Maldonado. And she has been freed from jail. She's on her way home. Now that journey was interrupted nine days ago when Mexican authorities said that they found nearly six kilograms of marijuana under her bus seat.
Now the mother of seven insisted it was not hers.
Now it seems a surveillance video supported her claim. And now that she's free, Maldonado is expressing thanks.
Rafael Romo joins us now live from Nocales, Arizona. And Rafael, what more is Yanira saying about her ordeal?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, just try to imagine, Kristie, how difficult it must have been for Yanira Maldonado in the last two weeks. First, her aunt died in Mexico. And this is a woman that she loved very much. She attended her funeral. And on her way back from Mexico, she and her husband Gary Maldonado get detained and arrested, accused of smuggling drugs, specifically marijuana.
Authorities say they found as many as 12 pounds of the drug under their seats and charged her, not him, with drug trafficking.
After that, she gets sent to a federal prison and then transferred to a state prison in the state of Sonora just across the border from where I'm standing.
Every single day she would maintain that she was innocent, that she might have been framed, that she has never had any trouble with the law and that she did not understand why she was caught in the middle of all this.
Interestingly enough, Kristie, he case inspired a lot of sympathy in Mexico. And many people were just wondering and asking the government what had happened, because there was not clear evidence that the government had a case against her. And then the video that you mentioned, a video showing her boarding the bus with only two blankets, two bottles of water and her purse.
The couple boards the bus. And the point that the defense attorney was trying to make is that it would have been impossible for them to carry onto the bus almost six kilos of marijuana. And so that was a crucial piece of evidence that was introduced in the trial yesterday. And last night, just before midnight here local time, we hear about a ruling from the judge saying that she can go free.
Now she's a free woman and is back in the United States and about to be reunited with her children -- Krsitie.
LU STOUT: That's right, this American mom, this mother of seven, now on her way home.
Rafael Romo joining us live from Arizona, thank you.
Now you're watching News Stream, and still ahead, this South African community, it claims to have many benefits, but you can only live there on one condition.
Plus, he escaped from house arrest last year, but activist Chen Guangcheng says his family in China still needs help.
And what's old is new again, we'll check out Windows 8.1.
LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream. And this is a video rundown of all the stories in the show. We've already told you about westerners killed in Syria. And a little later, we'll show you what could be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart's plane.
But now, I want to tell you about Queen Elizabeth's visit to the Woolwich barracks.
Now she visited the scene of a British soldier's murder. Lee Rigby died after a knife attack last week. And today, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Woolwich barracks just yards from the scene of the murder. And the trip was organized before the attack.
Now one man has been charged with murder in relation to the attack. And an inquest into Rigby's death opened today.
Now Atika Shubert joins us now from Woolwich in southeast London, and Atika, tell us more about what happened during the queen's visit there?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, as you mentioned, this was a preplanned visit. It had been organized months before the attack, but Buckingham Palace very quickly after the attack made a statement saying that the queen would go ahead with this engagement undeterred. So, clearly it has become much more meaningful for people, it has much greater resonance because the queen basically came to visit the king's troops here. She met with them, shook their hands. But she also met with members of the barracks who coordinated a response to the attack.
And this is important. I think for many people, seeing the queen here, this was the home of Lee Rigby, it's where he was based, really does have great significance.
And you can just tell by the amount of flowers here, this is actually a small portion of the flowers. There's actually a much greater portion of flowers around the corner. This is actually the scene where Lee Rigby was attacked. And even today throughout the morning more than a week after the attack, we continue to see people come here putting down messages and flowers, really wanting to show their sympathy and support.
LU STOUT: It is truly very moving to see that makeshift memorial all around you.
Atika Shubert joining us live from Woolwich, thank you.
Now South Africans, they refer to their post-apartheid country as the Rainbow Nation. It's a term that celebrates the country's many cultures. But that doesn't apply everywhere. There is an enclave near Pretoria for white Afrikaners only. Anyone of color is excluded from living there, but they can visit with a prearranged appointment. That's what our Nkepile Mabuse did.
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's like stepping back in time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) name for me, initials and surname.
MABUSE: From the military clad security at the gate to the sculptures and flags on display, this is apartheid style living in democratic South Africa.
It's called Kleinfontein, a whites only private settlement about 30 kilometers southeast of the capital Pretoria.
Spokeswoman Marissa Haasbroek is unapologetic about the criteria for residents they want here.
Could I live in Kleinfontein?
MARISA HAASBROEK, KLEINFONTEIN SPOKESWOMAN: Kleinfontein is an Afrikaner cultural community. Are you an Afrikaner? Then you can't live here.
MABUSE: Afrikaners are white South Africans of mostly Dutch descent.
HAASBROEK: We are trying to preserve our own identity. We're a minority like the -- like Tibet is a minority in China.
MABUSE: How does living next to a black person stop you from preserving and practicing your culture?
HAASBROEK: Well, I can speak Afrikaans all the time like we can do inside Kleinfontein. I can't just be a Christian. I can't even have my own hero, because you're going to be offended.
MABUSE: The hero she's talking about is Hendrik Verwoerd, a former South African prime minister considered the architect of apartheid.
HAASBROEK: If you look over there, there's our community hall.
MABUSE: But as she shows me around the sprawling Afrikaner enclave, Haasbroek insists the people here are not racist.
HAASBROEK: My argument is that we won't allow white Afrikaner people here who are not aligned with our values.
MABUSE: Kleinfontein is not the only community of its kind in South Africa, Aurania (ph) in the northern cape is its better known sister settlement.
Aurania (ph) and Kleinfontein have 2,000 inhabitants, a tiny fraction of the country's Afrikaner population.
HAASBROEK: We don't really fell welcome, all that welcome, in the new South Africa. And if I look at we are saying please give us just a little bit of independence and everybody's coming down on us.
MABUSE: They already run their own school and build their own infrastructure. And while the settlement has been criticized by political parties and ordinary citizens, their right to self-determination is protected by the constitution.
Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Kleinfontein, South Africa.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And up next, Windows starts over -- well, kind of. Microsoft brings back some beloved features in the newest version of Windows 8, but will it win the critics over?
LU STOUT: A glorious Friday night here in Hong Kong. You're back watching News Stream. Microsoft has unveiled its latest version of Windows, Windows 8.1. It's an attempt to solve some of the problems and complaints that users sent its way when they saw the many changes in Windows 8.
Now take a look at an old version of Windows, Windows 7. Now it's got that familiar layout -- icons on the desktop, a few pages open at once, and that all important start button in the bottom left-hand corner.
Now, Windows 8. Can you spot the difference? Well, for starters there are no actual windows anymore, it is a totally different layout. Tile and panels designed for touchscreens and no start button.
And that annoyed Windows diehards. Microsoft's solution is Windows 8.1. It includes the famous start button and if you don't like this new touch friendly interface you can skip it and go straight to the desktop.
Now let's get more on the new version of windows with Tom Warren. He is the senior editor at The Verge. He joins us from our London studio.
Tom, good to see you. Now I read your piece on The Verge.com. You called this a significant update -- why?
TOM WARREN, THE VERGE: I think it's a significant update when you sort of combine all the minor sort of changes. They added in sort of a new search interface, which is clearly something that's going to sort of pull people away from Google, that's their sort of attempt. And they've also addressed, as you said, about the start button. So they've brought that back.
It's kind of, I described it as a semi U-turn, rather than a full U- turn, because it is a button, it's a visual sort of element on the screen, but what it actually does is it just brings you to the sort of tiled interface. So they're not sort of bringing back the start menu that many people will be familiar with.
LU STOUT: What seems to be the headline here with this upgrade is that start button. And with the start button back and other upgrades, it seems that Microsoft is listen, you know, it's listening to the critics. But is it enough, is the company ready to give its diehard user base what they really, really want from Windows?
WARREN: I think if you didn't like Windows 8 at this point now, I don't think what they're putting in right now would perhaps change your mind entirely. I think it's sort of still really early days for this -- for Windows 8. And what they're really trying to do is bring it to the touchscreens and the touch based computers. And there's -- really, there's not enough of those and there's not enough sort of real high quality ones.
So if you're like a desktop and mouse user, it's still not like the ideal piece of software to be using in that sort of environment.
LU STOUT: I mean, it's a touchscreen interface, after all, yeah.
And Tom, you say that the biggest change with this upgrade, visually, the biggest change is how the apps are organized. So the question is, app developers, do you think they'll like this more? Do you think they'll be more willing to make, you know, great functional apps for Windows 8.1?
WARREN: I don't know if it changes at developer's minds. I mean, we really don't know about it to really say either way. They're going to talk a lot about it at the end of June.
But I mean, in terms of the way it sort of lays the applications out, it's a lot better. So you can fit on like if you've got like 24 or 27 inch monitor, you can fit on up to four apps and stuff. Whereas before you'd only be at two, and that was quite restrictive, especially as these things are like fullscreen applications.
And so they're tweaking it, they're making it a little bit more, you know, easy to use on a desktop. But really this is a touch based operating system. And until we really get the ideal hardware to sort of be able to use it as a PC and as a tablet, it's still kind of in a gray area, I guess.
LU STOUT: Yeah. And one last question for you, it's about search. Search is supposed to be more powerful, it's more integrated in Windows 8.1. But what effect is that going to have on Bing, Microsoft's search engine that is definitely not Google?
WARREN: Yeah, well, I don't know -- like it's obviously powered by Bing, but it doesn't really bring you to the web interface with Bing that you sort of traditionally navigate to. So basically it's in the sidebar, so if you started typing on the start screen, you'd sort of be thrown into this search interface. So if you wanted to look up Marilyn Monroe, it would bring you up like basically a new interface where you could then break into applications and find out information and, you know, look at videos of Marilyn Monroe and all that sort of stuff. So it's kind of a neat little package and interface.
It's all powered by Bing behind the scenes, but I don't -- I don't think you can really tell that it is.
And obviously they're not going to allow sort of Google to offer that interface natively like they're offering. So I guess it will -- it will help people sort of get used to Bing. I guess that's part of the idea.
But I don't know if it's really going to have much effect for Bing as you know it today.
LU STOUT: All right, Tom Warren of The Verge on Windows 8.1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us.
You're watching News Stream. And just ahead, we'll give you an update on the situation in Istanbul. Police fired tear gas in the heart of the city after four days of protest. We'll go back live to Ivan Watson in Istanbul in just a few minutes. Stick around.
LU STOUT: Hi, I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now protesters have clashed with police in the heart of Istanbul. Police fired tear gas and used water cannons against demonstrators in the Turkish city. It is the fourth day of protests against urbanization of an area there in the city. And riot police are trying to disperse the crowds.
Now, U.S. authorities have turned their attention to a Texas resident in the investigation of a series of threatening letters. Now, two of the letters sent to the mayor of New York and a gun control group. Both tested positive for the deadly poison ricin. A third letter sent to the White House is still being tested.
And American woman released from jail in Mexico late on Thursday has returned to the United States. Yanira Maldonado had been arrested and accused of drug smuggling as she tried to cross into the U.S. from Nogales, Mexico. Now she said that she was extremely grateful to be released.
And fresh pictures have emerged from inside the house of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, including photos of the bloodied bathroom where his girlfriend died. Now Oscar Pistorius is due to appear in court next week for the start of a trial in which he stands accused of murdering Reeva Steenkamp.
Now let's go back to Istanbul to check on the situation there after tear gas was fired on protesters in the city. Ivan Watson is there. And Ivan, what are you seeing, what are you hearing now?
WATSON: Well, Kristie, the clashes are continuing now. It's the fourth straight day of protests, of police trying to crack down and stop people from holding anti-urbanization protests. And just take a look, right below our window here how the police have lined up with barricades, with shields. They're firing tear gas and paint ball bullets every 30 seconds or so. There's tear gas in the air. My eyes are burning.
And we have some demonstrators from a leftist group called The Socialist Democracy Party. They're hurling rocks and bottles at these police, these riot police.
This is just one little drama we're seeing in the heart of Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, its commercial capital.
These clashes are taking place in other streets. I can see clouds of tear gas about two or three blocks away from here. And imagine you have a very packed, densely populated area with people trying to get to school and back home from school, from university to their jobs and back. There are a great deal of businesses here as well. And all of these people are running around choking, covering their faces as these clashes go on and the tear gas is in the air.
Again, it's as if Times Square of Manhattan was being gassed on a daily basis for four straight days now. You can imagine what that would do to the population that are not part of the protest movement, or of the Turkish security forces -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, these protests have been going on for four days now. We've seen a very heavy riot police response, very disruptive for the residents there in the commercial capital of Turkey there in Istanbul.
Now in the vantage point right behind you, we see the riot police. I'm not seeing many protesters. I mean, after the tear gas, after the water cannon has been used today, how many protesters remain out there?
WATSON: The problem is is that the crowds have been dispersed. I'm hearing women screaming behind me. Let me get out of the way and you can just see how people are frightened as they're trying to stream through this very busy square, Kristie. And they're not necessarily part of this, they're trying to get about their daily life and being severely affected by the chemicals that are in the air.
Now this began four days ago as a pretty small protest, a sit-in in a park right to where we're standing, that the government planned to bulldoze and build a shopping mall in. And as the people tried to camp out there, the police repeatedly came in and raided them with pepper spray and tear gas. And instead of dispersing the crowds, they built day after day for four days when this morning when the police came in with water cannons, with tear gas, they managed to uproot everybody, and instead that has spread the anger in the streets to the surrounding streets of Taksim Square, which is the heart of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.
Now some of the people here, the demonstrators we've talked to, say they're trying to protect one of the last green spaces in Istanbul. Others are venting rage at the government of the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who they accuse of growing increasingly authoritarian and rejected forms of popular protest and dissent.
We've seen the largest number of journalists in prison in the world, really, in Turkey, in recent years. One blogger recently sentenced to 410 days in prison for blasphemy, Kristie. And we've seen that tear gas is being used on a weekly basis, it appears, by the Turkish security forces, to break up protests around the country, leading some columnists to call this the era of tear gas in Turkish history -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, in fact, you got hit with the tear gas on your way into the office.
Just then, we've been hearing these sounds of like shots being fired. Are those tear gas canisters being fired?
WATSON: Periodically, these are tear gas canisters, periodically these are demonstrators banging on the construction barriers that have divided Taksim Square, the heart of Istanbul, in a sign of protest.
It is important to note that the demonstrators, some of them are hurling bottles and stones. And that when the sit-in protest in the park was dispersed by the police using force this morning, there were burning barricades on one of the most important pedestrian avenues of this city as the cat and mouse games with the police continue throughout the city.
And highly disruptive, again, to the commercial capital of Turkey and really the beating, throbbing heart of the city. Millions of people move through this square every day. And I've been hearing from residents that the tear gas was going into the subway system network, Kristie. If you can imagine in that enclosed space people being hit by tear gas.
OK, we've got fresh rounds, canisters being fired.
People in an enclosed space in the subway system choking and gagging on gas that's wafting into our office now and affecting us in our workspace -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, yeah -- yeah. And also, I mean, this is the fourth day of these protests. Riot police are responding and in a very big way, a very dramatic way. We know that the protesters have been dispersed, but will they come back?
What are your thoughts about the protest movement there?
WATSON: I don't know where this will go from now. There is clearly a level of anger in certain segments of Turkish society that I don't think I've seen in more than a decade. And I don't know whether it comes from powerlessness when it comes to the political system. The elected government here has swept elections for more than a decade. I don't know if it comes from controversial policies recently, such as severe restrictions on the sale and distribution of alcohol, which is seen to be by secular segments of society as an attack on their lifestyle.
Or just -- we can see the riot police unleashing again, Kristie -- and this has been going on for more than six hours now. And we're going to be hit by fresh waves of gas, because it's coming up right below our office window right now.
And just to give you a sense of the space here. Around us, there are a lot of banks, tourist offices, airline offices, and strangely wig shops. And I don't know how these businesses are able to stay open with this kind of stuff in the air right now.
The Turkish government, the prime minister himself in response to the plans to demolish the park, which started this he said -- excuse me -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said we've made this decision, we're not going to compromise. So that gives you a sense that the Turkish government is in no means to back down. And we see -- excuse me -- the measures that they're going to take to deal with this protest movement.
Back to you.
LU STOUT: All right -- Ivan, you've got to go and take cover. You've got to go drink a glass of water or something. Ivan Watson you can hear just then feeling the effects of the tear gas. Tear gas being used by the riot police trying to clear the protesters, anti-urbanization protesters there in the commercial capital of Turkey in Istanbul. And not only the protesters, but also the residents of Istanbul, getting tear gassed on the way to the office today, including our own Ivan Watson.
Any more on the situation there and we'll bring it to you right here on CNN.
You're watching News Stream. We'll be back right after the break.
LU STOUT: Now just over one year ago, this man was at the center of a diplomatic uproar between China and the United States. Human Rights activist Chen Guangcheng led a dramatic escape from house arrest and then sought refuge in the U.S. And Chen spoke to our Becky Anderson about concerns for his family back in China and says that he wants Washington to help.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You allege that members of your family have been subjected to systematic persecution since you left, allegations in the past that Chinese authorities have denied. What evidence to you have?
GUANGCHENG (through translator): Of course I have evidence. People can conclude from the facts. Since April, they've been constantly attacking my elder brother's home. They've throne stones, bricks, dead chickens, dead ducks, and beer bottle bombs into the home at night.
My fourth brother lived some 50 kilometers from our village. The tires of his car were slashed one night by someone with a pretty big knife. After he changed on new tires, they were slashed again.
My elder brother's microblog account was canceled in Beijing.
Look, a small-time local hooligan just wouldn't have the power to cancel microblogs. This means the attacks were organized systematically.
ANDERSON: Does any of this, though, surprise you? And when you say you feel let down by Washington in that they are not doing enough to investigate what happened to you and indeed what is happening it seems to your extended family, what do you think Washington should do?
GUANGCHENG (through translator): I think Washington can definitely do more on the human rights issue. We can see they've reached lots of unwritten understandings with the Chinese Communist Party. With these understandings, I think the United States is selling out its very foundations like democracy, freedom and human rights. As we know, the Chinese Communist Party has not delivered on its promise to thoroughly investigate the criminal officials who had persecuted me and my family in Shendong Province over the past few years and to resolve the case publicly.
They also promised to ensure the safety and civil rights of my family and friends, but they've done none of these things. However, President Obama has agreed to the wishes of the Chinese Communist Party to not support me openly promoting human rights in the United States. In fact, he has fulfilled this demand very well.
On this matter, the White House has never made any public announcements.
ANDERSON: Are you saying that you feel that when it comes to human rights abuses and the protest of human rights abuses, that the Americans have sold out to the Chinese?
GUANGCHENG (through translator): I wouldn't say it's a total sellout, but at the very least, the United States has not tried its best.
ANDERSON: If you knew what would happen to your family, despite what you feel as a human being, why do you continue to do this?
GUANGCHENG (through translator): When we are faced with evil, the best response is to say no. If you compromise with them, they ask for more. Today, you lower your head to him, tomorrow they will ask you to bow, the day after they will ask you to kneel down.
ANDERSON: Will you go back to China?
GUANGCHENG (through translator): I think in the future I will return to shore. This period of history, where only a handful of people in China can decide the lives of more than 1 billion people -- who can go abroad, who cannot, who can return, who cannot, this won't last for long.
LU STOUT: Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng there.
Now CNN reached out to Chinese authorities for reaction to his claims. And here is what we have received. The director of the propaganda office in Shendong province where Chen's village is located said he was not aware of Chen's allegations. And the head of the propaganda office of the Ya'nan County government denied the targeting of Chen's family saying, quote, "it is not true. It is impossible."
Now we also asked the White House for reaction, but have not received a response.
Now join us later on Friday for an in depth look at the Age of China and the country's increasing role as a global superpower to how China affects each of us individually. That's at 11:30 tonight here in Hong Kong, 4:30 pm in London.
Now you're watching News Stream. And we'll keep watching the situation in Istanbul and bring you updates as we get it. But also ahead, the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart has had historians scratching their heads for decades. And just ahead, we'll show you the sonar image that some researchers believe could offer a clue into solving the mystery.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now this blurry sonar image, it could be the key to solving a mystery dating back more than 70 years. A team of researchers investigating aviator Amelia Earhart's disappearance say this, could show a piece of wreckage from her plane. Earhart and her navigator, they went missing in a 1937 quest to circumnavigate the globe around the equator. And the grainy sonar image, it was recorded last year when search teams scanned the ocean floor near Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific. But it was March before an analyst made the connection to Earhart's missing aircraft.
Now I want to bring in the man who heads up the organization that captured that image. Ric Gillespie is the executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft recovery. He joins us via Skype from Wilimgton in the U.S. State of Delaware.
Thank you so much for joining us.
And you've been looking into this case for 25 years. Is that grainy image a big breakthrough for you?
RIC GILLESPIE, INTERNAIONAL GROUP FOR HISTORIC AIRCRAFT RECOVERY: Yeah. I'd call it a big breakthrough. Whether it turns out to be the smoking gun that we've been looking for, for 25 years, or another disappointment remains to be seen. But, you know, this isn't my first rodeo. We've had great leads before, some of them have turned out to be just what we thought they were and moved us further along on the investigation, others have turned out to be something else.
This one is promising. It's the right size. It's the right shape. It's in the right place.
LU STOUT: This is promising, you say. It could be a breakthrough, but it could also be a big rock. It could be something else. So, is there another mission in the works.
GILLESPIE: Oh, yeah. Yeah. We need to get back up there and check this thing out. We can analyze the sonar data forever, but you're never going to be able to conclusively identify it until you go there and physically visit the object, probably with a remote operated vehicle, cameras, a manipulator arm and see what it is.
LU STOUT: And tell me about the tools of your mission. I mean, it's just so complex. You need this autonomous, underwater vehicle, you need sonar technology. Just give us an idea of your mission and the technology involved here.
GILLESPIE: The first thing we had to do was map the underwater environment in a general way. That was relatively easy. Then we collected side scan sonar data for the primary search area, that was extremely difficult. The contractor that did it ran into all kinds of problems with the autonomous underwater vehicle, because it had never been deployed in an environment like that before.
This is a steep reef slope, a craggy underwater mountainside. And just the worst possible place to try to do sonar work. But we have no choice. It's what's it's like that.
And so you collect the data. Then the experts look at the data and pick out targets. There's something over here, there's something over here. And they send us with a remote operated vehicle, this is a thing that goes in the water with cameras on it and it has a tether back to the mother ship. And you swim up to these different things and -- no, that's a coral rock. Oh, that's a piece of shipwreck wreckage. We didn't -- at the time, we didn't find any airplane wreckage. We were kind of bummed about that.
But it was -- kind of bummed.
But it was March before in reexamining the sonar data, we see this target, this thing we didn't see at the time -- if we had seen it we'd have gone up to it and looked at it right then. But here it is looking really good.
But now here we are 7,000 miles away and needing to get back out there and raise a ton of money to do it.
LU STOUT: Yeah, and good luck with the fundraising so you can get back out there. Because you need to confirm this, whether or not that blurry image is indeed the wreckage that you're looking for. And if it is, if she was there on that island in the Pacific, what do you believe happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator on that island?
GILLESPIE: The picture is quite clear right now. Remember, we've been working on this for 25 years, all sorts of research, 10 expeditions out there.
Here's what happened, or appears to have happened. She -- having failed to find her original destination, Holland Island, she did find this uninhabited coral atoll that has a reef that surrounds it, that's smooth enough to land on, and it dries at low tide. She made a landing, came to a safe stop on the wheels and sent radio distress calls for at least five nights after she arrived, widely heard and believed.
But then rising tides and surf washed the airplane over the edge of the reef where it breaks up in the surf and the wreckage tumbles down the reef slope. Earhart and Noonan end up marooned a desert island where they survived for a time, but eventually die. Her partial remains were found in 1940 by a British administrative officer, but misidentified.
At first he thought he'd found Amelia Earhart, but then a doctor told him it was probably a man and so they dropped the whole thing.
We've found the castaways campsite where she died. We've recovered artifacts there that speak of an American woman in the 1930s.
Later, when the island is inhabited, the islanders who lived there find airplane pieces washed up that they use for their local purposes, cut them up for fishing lures and so forth. Then the Island is later abandoned again. In the now abandoned native village, we find pieces of airplane debris that are consistent with Earhart's airplane, but nothing yet that's got a serial number on it. No remains that have DNA. We need that smoking gun.
LU STOUT: You know, very, very, very compelling image there of the final days of the missing aviator, Amelia Earhart. But, you know, I really hope you can confirm things. Good luck with the fundraising. You need another mission. I hope to talk to you again later.
Ric Gillespie there on the search for Amelia Earhart. Thank you. What a great story there.
Now let's go to our Mari Ramos. She stands by at the world weather center.
A lot to get to, but Mari, an incredibly story there.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Fascinating. You know, I read so much about Amelia Earhart, but I never heard that version that she actually made it to the island and they found remnants -- or they think that they found remnants of the campsite where she and her aviator partners would have lived. Fascinating story. I do hope that they can confirm that. It's really, really incredible.
Well, let's go ahead and talk about the weather. There's a lot to cover. Like you said, I want to go ahead and start you with the pictures right away. This is China.
Oh, Kristie, these pictures are fascinating. So scary to get caught in a situation like this. Look at this, look at these pictures. The water rising very, very quickly, trapping several dozen people within the high water here.
You know, you should never, ever try to cross a flooded road. I cannot say this enough. And not just because they're on motorbikes, by the way -- cars, vehicles, anything can get rushed out very, very quickly into the water there.
This is just another example of how quickly things can change when the rain starts to come down.
You know, we're going to see more heavy rain along this frontal boundary that you see right in this area yet again.
It's been a little bit quieter here in the south and that's why it's been so hot for you guys, places like Hong Kong and Taipei and even as we head into northern parts of Vietnam.
We're going to see a little bit more in the way of rainfall, though, across these areas here as we head through the next 24 hours or so. So keep that in mind. Some of that rain will be locally heavy. And we could see, again, the potential for flooding. But it's staying dry to the north this time around and that's going to mean temperatures will be on the rise there as well.
Do we have pictures from last night? I want to show you this pretty cool images. This is from an asteroid, Kristie. Don't worry, you won't feel a thing. This big asteroid expected to pass about 5.8 million kilometers from Earth. The cool thing about this asteroid if, you know, of course there's a lot of cool things, is that it's considered a -- come back over to the weather map -- a binary asteroid. Basically it's got its own moon. Asteroids tend to travel in packs, but only about 15 percent of them. So it was quite a surprise.
It's quite large, 2.7 kilometers in diameter. It's about 27 football fields. So it's huge. And it will pass closer to earth at this time that you see right here. That's about 5:00 Atlanta time.
But far away, enough, again where it will be safe. They are monitoring, of course, the skies around Earth for any kind of asteroid.
How often do they happen? Well, basketball sized asteroids pretty much everyday. Car sized asteroids, about once a year. And huge ones like this, only one every 2,000 years. So this gives astronomers a great opportunity to be able to see something like this relatively up close.
The big ones, those only happen once every several million years.
Back to you. Happy weekend.
LU STOUT: Yeah, this big asteroid, it will fly by. But I will see you on Monday. Have a good weekend. Mari Ramos there.
Now, I want to update you on the situation in Istanbul. Now protesters there, they've been clashing with police in the heart of the Turkish city. The air is thick with tear gas as the riot police try to disperse the demonstrators.
Now this is the fourth day of protests against urbanization of an area there in the city. Live pictures of riot police there in Istanbul.
This is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. Keep it here.