Return to Transcripts main page


More Warnings Issued To Gezi Park Protesters; Hong Kong Lawmaker Albert Ho Supports NSA Leaker; Adrian Covert Pits Xbox One vs Playstation 4; Violent Weather Headed for U.S. East Coast; UN Estimates Close To 93,000 Casualties In Syrian Conflict

Aired June 13, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


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

Now the source of a major U.S. intelligence leak speaks out, telling a Hong Kong newspaper that China was one of the targets hacked by U.S. intelligence agents.

We speak to the woman who went from a childhood in Mumbai's red light district to a scholarship at a U.S. university.

And insight into game design from the man behind one of the biggest franchises of the last 10 years, Gears of War.

Edward Snowden, the man behind a major U.S. intelligence leak has spoken to a newspaper here in Hong Kong. the South China Monrning Post, or SCMP, is the main English language paper in Hong Kong. It is not revealing details of how it conducted the exclusive interview with Snowden, but quotes him as saying he is still in Hong Kong and plans to stay.

Now Snowden believes that the U.S. will prosecute him for revealing secret government surveillance programs. One collects data on phone calls in the U.S. and the other called PRISM monitors the internet activity of foreign nationals believed to be overseas. And in new allegations, Snowden told the SCMP that U.S. intelligence agents have been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and Mainland China for years.

He says out of some 61,000 targets around the world, hundreds are in Hong Kong and the Mainland.

Now the paper was allowed to view, but could not verify documents supporting Snowden's claim.

Now the documents did not reveal information about Chinese military systems. Washington has often accused Beijing of cyber espionage. And when asked about the latest claim, one U.S. official said there is a difference between that and U.S. surveillance programs.


JEN PSAKI, U.S. STATE DEPT. SPOKESWOMAN: There is a difference between, you know, going after economic data and financial information that is part of the cyber attacks, or seems to be, and an issue which is the president has welcomed the debate on, which is -- and the administration has welcomed the debate on -- which is surveillance and going after people who mean to do harm.


LU STOUT: Beijing has stayed silent on Snowden, but the Chinese press is not.

David McKenzie joins us now live from our Beijing bureau. And David, Chinese state media, they've been having a field day today with Snowden's latest revelations. What kind of reaction have you seen?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've seen really, Kristie, is that state media in general is really reveling these revelations from Edward Snowden when he spoke to that Hong Kong newspaper saying that the U.S. is in fact hacking China as well as Hong Kong, but individuals, institutions, government and private enterprises.

Of course, this comes as you describe after months of allegations coming from the U.S. that China is the culprit in hacking both private enterprise and U.S. military and government installations.

So really it's been an opportunity for state media here in China to rub the U.S.'s face in it, to put it bluntly, to say that well we always thought that this was just a cover-up for U.S. actions and now this proves it.

So it did play into the hands of Chinese state media. Online, Chinese netizens discussing this quite a bit today, Kristie, on both sides of the fence. But certainly it's opened up a rather awkward discussion, even for Chinese government officials who have said that they have really, quote, "no information" on the case of Snowden and what's he's been saying.

But they did have this to say about the hacking allegations.


HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): We also would like to carry out constructive dialogue (inaudible) with countries including the U.S. based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and mutual trust. And you know that the two countries have also agreed to establish cyber working group and that a framework of strategic security dialogue. And we also think that the adoption of double standards will not -- will do no -- will bring no benefit to the settlement of relevant issue.


MCKENZIE: Well, in Beijing, there might be some government officials who find the timing of all of this quite awkward, in fact, Kristie. It's just days after Xi Jinping, the president of China, met with President Barack Obama in an informal talks in California. On top of that agenda, were these hacking allegations that have been flying back and forth. So this really just kind of bring out into the open allegations that, you know, maybe the two countries would rather keep on the back burner for now while they negotiate some kind of way forward on this issue -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, the timing is awkward. It is embarrassing for the U.S., but is it damaging? What kind of damage does it cause in the U.S.-China relationship?

MCKENZIE: I think it's too early to tell the damage that this will cause. Also, there's that kind of opaque threat that Snowden has given both to The Guardian and The Washington Post and now the Hong Kong paper that has really effectively said he has more leaks that he might be willing to expose. The fact that he's gone to Hong Kong, that he's already used that opportunity to talk about specific allegations relating to both Hong Kong and Mainland China would make authorities in the U.S. and I would imagine in China very nervous about what he might say next. Maybe he feels its his trump card, but certainly given that the tense and somewhat difficult stage that the U.S.-China relationship is in right now, in a way this could be seen as a distraction by both governments in their way of trying to forge that relationship in a positive direction.

So that kind of threat of what could come next is hanging over not just U.S. officials, but also I believe Chinese officials at this time.

LU STOUT: All right, David McKenzie joining us live from Beijing, thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, on Chinese social media, discussion of Snowden's hacking allegation, it started off slowly. That's partly because he was competing against today's successful space docking for netizen attention. But the comments about Snowden's claims have since picked up.

Renjia Lu say, "it is not surprising that U.S. monitors China, especially in such a network era.

And this user writes, "U.S. just criticized China about it. A thief shouting stop thief."

And Meiduan Dai echoes that sentiment, but adds, "I believe that China must have a similar monitoring system."

Now people here in Hong Kong are also speaking about Snowden. And a little later in this show, I'll be joined by Hong Kong legislation Albert Ho who is voicing support for the NSA leaker.

Now, the streets, at least for now, are calm in Turkey, but the tensions remain high. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued what he says is a last warning to anti-government protesters to end their demonstration in central Istanbul's Gezi Park. But many protesters say they will not leave until their demands are met.

Now rallies continued in Istanbul on Wednesday. People marched in one suburb showing support for the protesters camped out at Gezi Park. But the protests turned violent after demonstrators hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at police. They fired back with smoke grenades and water cannon.

A similar scene in the Turkish capital Ankara early on Thursday morning. Riot police also used smoke grenades to break up a demonstration there.

Now Prime Minister Erdogan delivered his warning in a speech in Ankara just a short time ago. And our correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has been monitoring all the developments from Istanbul. He joins us now live.

And Nick, more defiant talk from Turkey's prime minister. Tell us more.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kristie. The tone by many interpreted surely as a clock ticking. There's been suggestion, people reading what he said as effectively another deadline.

But we have heard Prime Minister Erdogan say his patience is running thin before. We haven't heard him say that women and children should leave Gezi Park as he did. And he also went on to say it belongs to the people of Istanbul, not the extremists and terrorists who he believe make up part of this protest.

But this morning, life is very much getting into a second morning in a row now, a rhythm of sorts. That central commercial area which police cleared in those violent clashes 48 hours ago remains open to traffic, to normal activity. We have those new barricades you can see there at the top of the steps here into Gezi Park as well.

And this has now become very much a thoroughfare for people on their way around the city. We saw numbers grow significantly last night. They ebb during the night. And now today again that sense of activity continuing.

We don't see any signs of people packing up. There are children here. There are a number of obviously women within the crowd themselves.

But look, I mean, you can see so much of the activity here has become routine. We said before, there's a library in there. People gathering around that particular tent. And a real sense of a community here which is digging in for the foreseeable future, Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, it's fascinating to see that, that despite the fact it looks like a thoroughfare right now, that there's a library there. People plan to stay there for near-term, so we should expect maybe more protests to come.

We know that the ruling party, they said that they may hold a vote, a referendum on plans to develop Gezi Park. Is that enough to diffuse the tension at all? How are protesters there reacting to that?

WALSH: Well, it's a confused position from the government in some ways. Although on one hand, they are offering the olive branch of referendum for the people of Istanbul to decide on this. Mr. Erdogan saying, in fact, he would meet tomorrow with leaders of his ruling party to discuss how that vote may actually occur.

But on the other side there's this quite almost threatening rhetoric from the prime minister about how people really do need to leave here.

We heard his spokesman, a deputy chairman of the ruling party last night say that this couldn't go on until the end of the world, I quote. But now today to repeat that and say women and children should leave, of course, brings that sense of menace.

Last night, a firecracker went off. There was minor panic over a stolen phone. Suddenly, everybody in this area races -- they begin to race for their construction plastic helmets. There's a swimming goggles on sale here to counteract the effects of tear gas. There is a real sense of tension and concern in case the police move in simply because this is densely populated when it's full -- when it was full last night, the hundred and thousands of people walking through, packing in, it was almost hard to move around at one point. Less people so right now, but that real outstanding concern.

And it should be one I'm sure shared by the Erdogan administration that a concerted police effort to move into this area and try and clear people out with tear gas, water cannons and the other equipment being used by the police repeatedly in the last 13 days across the country could cause injury. We've seen that before.

But a concerted effort here that must surely be the reason why we're seeing this continued rhetoric from the Erdogan administration trying to persuade people on their own accord so the need for a larger police operation isn't necessary, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from Istanbul at the scene of the protests calm for now, but the network will be checking in with you later in the day. Nick Paton Walsh there, thank you.

Now people who previously considered themselves apolitical have gotten involved in these protests. And many say that they felt compelled to do so. And when the police have tried to break up the demonstrations, the protesters have responded with weapons. Some have hurled rocks at riot police.

This woman here even using a slingshot. You can see she's wearing a mask to protect herself from police tear gas canisters.

And more extreme protesters have made Molotov cocktails, or petrol bombs, which they've used to set vehicles on fire. And others have lobbed firecrackers at police.

And then there is this, protesters locking themselves together to form a human barricade trying to prevent the police advance.

Now the tactic, however, is no match against the tear gas, the smoke bombs, and the water cannon that the police have used to disperse the crowds.

Now we have some breaking news for you here at CNN. And this is coming from Argentina. At least one person has been killed and 150 others injured after two commuter trains crashed in a suburb of Buenos Aires this morning.

And this, we'll bring up the video for you, it's the aftermath of the collision.

It happened in a western suburb of the city. And rescuers are seen here rushing to the scene to evacuate people.

We'll bring you more details as we get them.

Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up next, we hear about the hopes and fears of voters in Iran at Friday's presidential election.

Beating the odds, one Indian woman's inspiring life story. And she is still a teenager.

And strong winds and wild weather threaten the American Midwest.


LU STOUT: Now the United Nations has released a startling new report on the death toll from Syria's civil war. The UN high commissioner for human rights says that there have been 92,901 documented deaths in Syria from March 2011 when the conflict until April of 2013. But Navi Pillay also warns that the number of victims of the war is potentially much higher. And as the fighting between government and rebel forces increased, so too did the death toll.

Now Fred Pleitgen is in the Syrian capital Damascus where he's just returned from the front line. And Fred, first, a very, very grim statistic from the United Nations.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, totally grim statistic and absolutely appalling numbers. And as you said, what makes those numbers even worse is that even the UN says they believe that this is a very low estimate, because they actually have very strict benchmarks for the numbers they give out and from what is actually considered a death in one of these UN categories. They have to have the exact place of death, the name of the deceased, and they also check that with other records as well.

So it is something where they themselves believe the death toll potentially is much, much higher.

And certainly if you take a look at the conflict in the past two years, for the amount of time that it's been going on, it isn't very hard to believe that it is actually much higher than those numbers, even those high numbers indicated.

If you look, for instance, at Damascus today, we've seen some very heavy shelling of areas that are held by the opposition areas like Dariya (ph), areas like Zhobar (ph), which is very close to the center of Damascus, and that's something that happens every single day.

Now on the other side, you also of course have that government offensive which is going on, which began around the city of Qusayr, saw some very heavy fighting going on there. And now it appears as though government forces bolstered by Hezbollah fighters as well are moving to the north and could be attacking Aleppo in the time very soon.

So, you have this killing that's been going on for a very long time. All of it is becoming more sectarian with reprisal killings as well, though it (inaudible) the numbers would be that high.

But the real shame is, of course, that potentially more people, even more than 93,000, have been killed in this conflict. And it just keeps going on. And there really isn't any sight of it abating in any way, shape, or form. And that's also something where the UN says they are absolutely alarmed by what's going on in this country as they have been for a very long time -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: But Fred, there have been some efforts, some international efforts, to get peace talks between the government and the opposition. And I mean, there's such an urgent need after more than 90,000 people killed, can there be a political settlement soon?

PLEITGEN: Well, that's a very good and very loaded question, Kristie.

It's going to be very difficult. Of course, one of the things that's going on right now, as you've noted, is that the government seems to be on the march forward. They seem to have the offensive right now. And so therefore, they are obviously trying to bring themselves to a strong position if in fact some sort of peace conference takes place.

On the other hand, you have the opposition and those who support the opposition who, of course, are very concerned about this and believe they'd be weakened at a possible peace conference. And therefore they say they need more weapons in order to stop the government moving forward.

So, these two things are obviously diametrically opposed.

On the other hand, you also have the opposition which just splintered into many different groups, some of them also are Islamist groups as well. So it makes it very, very hard when you have all of these different players here in Syria. And then of course you have all of these different players in the international community who have very, very different interests.

So right now it seems really anybody's guess whether or not any sort of peace conference is going to be taking place.

Now, as you said, I've just returned from the front line. And I can tell you that the Syrian soldiers there seem to be very pleased by the way things are going for them. They say they believe they're going to make significant progress in Damascus as well. They believe they have the rebels cornered in many strongholds that they hold in Damascus and surrounding areas. And you can just feel that they have a lot more self- confidence than they do -- than they did when I was here last time about two months ago when things were looking very differently.

And they were telling me, right now they're planning for assaults on a lot of these districts that are being held by the rebels. And the thing that they have that they didn't have before is that momentum on the battlefield from those victories that they've had in the north of the country from the help from the Hezbollah fighters.

Again, you have fighters here in the Syrian army who wear these patches that show Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, so clearly they know where a lot of their victories are coming from.

But right now, it seems as though the Assad government is looking for decisions on the battlefield, and that of course also makes it very difficult for any potential peace negotiations to even get off the ground. As we said, right now it's not even clear when a possible peace conference in Geneva is to take place, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Understood. Frederik Pleitgen joining us with the very latest on this brutal civil war. And again he's reporting from inside Syria live for us from Damascus, thank you, Fred.

Now 50 million voters are eligible to go to the polls in Iran this Friday to choose a new president. And one big issue, the economy. International sanctions over Iran's disputed nuclear program are taking a heavy toll. And there's a shadow from the last election in 2009 which sparked allegations of massive fraud.

Now Erin Burnett takes a look at some of the main candidates and the issues.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're in the final hours and final days of the presidential election campaign here in Iran. A lot of these people are just coming from a rally for the major of Tehran, Mayor Ghalibaf who is obviously extremely popular here, although some of his supporters are telling me what we've seen and heard throughout the day, they're very worried about the sanctions and the sanctions are hurting this economy.

We also had a chance to visit the more reformist candidate, at least that's how he's been characterized by many, Hasan Rowhani's campaign headquarters. Interesting, his campaign manager told me that he would be open, he believes, to possibly talking to the United States after he's elected and negotiating on the nuclear program.

Totally different story over at the rally I just came from, from Saeed Jalili, the current nuclear negotiators, where we heard much more dramatic chants. And person after person was saying that the point of this election was resistance and standing up to the west and to quote, unquote arrogant powers.

One young man named Bahran (ph) sort of I think sums up what many people there had to say to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We're standing up to America's arrogance.

BURNETT: Outside of these rallies, the government is doing everything possible it can to avoid a repeat of 2009 when of course there were mass protests and unrest in this city and in Iran. It's going to be interesting to see what happens. Already, the universities, we were at Tehran University, one of the biggest in the country today. It was closed down. And the government formally told everybody, hey, the students could go home early for summer vacation, take an early holiday.

But everybody that we spoke to said that the truth is they don't want to have those students around. A lot of them were involved in the protests, expelled, some of them jailed after the 2009 protests. And the bottom line is that the government is doing everything it can to try to prevent that.

The key question will be turnout. And so far what we can tell you is, you see all these flyers here on the ground, people are very passionate the entire day. We've been seeing flyers, posters and rallies as the last couple days of the election finish.

Back to you.


LU STOUT: Erin Burnett there.

Now in the runup to the election, internet search giant Google says there has been a marked increase in the number of email-based phishing campaigns originating in Iran. Now phishing emails often direct people to fake websites in a bid to steal their private information like passwords.

Now Google says tens of thousands of Iranians are being targeted. And it says the timing of the attacks suggests that they are politically motivated in connection with Friday's vote.

Now he is a superhero many of us grew up with either in comic books or in the movies. And now the latest version of Superman is hitting the theaters.

Up next on News Stream, we talk to the stars of Man of Steel. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

As part of our week long series on comic book heroes, we are walking the red carpet -- or actually the blue carpet -- for the European premier of Man of Steel. Neil Curry looks at the latest incarnation of Superman and shows us how the legendary character has grown over the years.


NEIL CURRY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For a certain generation, Superman will always be represented by Christopher Reeve. The actor donned the blue spandex, red cape, and matching underpants for the first time in 1978.


CURRY: Returned to rescue the planet on three more occasions during the decade which followed.


CURRY: The Superman character was created by writer Jerry Siegael and artist Joe Shuster and was first published 75 years ago. San Francisco museum of comic art is among those around the world paying tribute to that landmark.

The world's most recognizable superhero has appeared in various forms and spawned some of entertainments most memorable catch phrases.


BOY: It's a bird.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not just anyone, Clark, you were sent here for a reason.

CURRY: Revisiting such sacred superhero ground in 2013 demanded something new, more than a new suit with underpants tucked neatly on the inside, something to match the marvels of Marvel studios recent blockbusters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can save all of them.

CURRY: It required a Man of Steel in the title and nerves of steel in the director's chair.

ZACK SNYDER, DIRECTOR: He's kind of a curious superhero, right, because he's the first. And so he's -- his powers and his mythology are in a really are clean and kind of understandable. And I think that, you know, every kid and the kid in all of us, you know, really wants Superman to be awesome.

CURRY: British actor Henry Cavill plays Kryptonian immigrant Kal-El who becomes the all-American hero we know as the S-man.

AMY ADAMS, ACTRESS: What does the S stand for?


On my world it means hope.

ADAMS: Well, here it's an S.

How about...

CAVILL: Excuse me?

First, I put on the suit was a very unique experience. The suit genuinely has like a physical force to it. And other people's reactions to me on set, people tend to straighten up a bit somehow. I don't know what it was. I mean, I felt like I was standing taller as well. And so I guess people around me just felt that energy off the suit as well.

CURRY: Amy Adams plays a feisty version of journalist Louis Lane whose ambitions extend beyond merely being rescued by Superman.

ADAMS: It's the cape, you know, it's what you put on when you're growing up. But we think you can fly and that you're superhuman and you choose to do the right thing. It's something that's just a little bit better than the rest of us and we all sort of strive for that.

RUSSEL CROWE, ACTOR: Good-bye my, son.

CURRY: And Russel Crowe offers fatherly Kryptonian advice from afar as he tries to deliver his super-son from danger and into the safety of a sequel.

CROWE: He'll be a god to them.

People talk in terms of the reboot of Superman and how it was the darkness of it that was attractive to people and everything, you know. And so they're assuming that this is going to be a similar thing, but I think this is the almost the opposite of that, you know. It's -- this is about hope. This is about hope and this is about, you know, a character who, you know we in some way shape or form we all aspire to either wanting to fly, you know, or wanting to have powers that we can use for good, you know, or evil. But that's the trick, isn't it?

CURRY: Fans of comic book characters can be unforgiving towards anyone who messes with their heroes. But already stirred by the trailers, many could barely contain their excitement at the European premier in London.

The filmmakers could only hope that such excitement would last a further two hours and 22 minutes until they emerge from the cinema into the dark night of London.

Dark Knight, now that sounds like a good name for a superhero movie.

Neil Curry, CNN, London.


LU STOUT: Man of Steel opens Friday in the U.S. and UK. And the film is a Warner Brothers production. The studio is owned by CNN's parent company Time Warner.

Now still ahead here on News Stream, the man who spilled U.S. intelligence secrets is set to get a show of support here in Hong Kong. Some say Edward Snowden's situation is an important test for the territory.

And this young woman grew up in Mumbai's red light district, but now she is leaving to follow her dream of a higher education. Find out how.


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

At least one person has been killed and 150 others injured after two commuter trains crashed in a suburb of Buenos Aires this morning. And this is the aftermath of the collision. It happened in a western suburb of the city. Rescuers are seen here rushing to the scene to evacuate people. We'll bring you more details as we get them.

On Friday, people in Iran will head to the polls to elect a new president. Now six candidates are in the running to take over from current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And one big issue on voters' minds is the economy which is suffering under international sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program.

The UN human rights office says it has documented the deaths of nearly 93,000 people in the Syrian conflict. And it says the true number of people killed is probably even higher. Now the report says that there have been about 5,000 documented deaths every month since July 2012.

The American computer technician behind the leak of top secret surveillance programs run by the U.S. National Security Agency has resurfaced. Edward Snowden told Hong Kong's South China Morning Post that he is not trying to hide from justice, but he will fight extradition from the Chinese territory to the United States.

I'm joined now by Hong Kong legislation Albert Ho. He is set to speak at a rally this weekend in support of Snowden.

Mr. Ho, thank you for joining us here on News Stream.

Why are you rallying in support of Edward Snowden this weekend?

ALBERT HO, HONG KONG LEGISLATOR: Well, first of all, I think this is a very important moment where, you know, our legal system may be put to the test. Mr. Snowden may be facing extradition proceedings. Now we have to make sure that the proceedings will conform with due process...

LU STOUT: But the legal system has not been put to the test yet, so why does this matter to the people of Hong Kong?

HO: This is a (inaudible) the first point.

The second point is that according to Mr. Snowden, it appears that our right to privacy may have been systematically violated by the American National Security Agency. I think we're entitled to know the truth. We're entitled to seek an account from the U.S. administration.

LU STOUT: Now are you in contact with Edward Snowden or anyone who represents him?

HO: Not directly.

LU STOUT: OK. Does he have legal representation here in Hong Kong? Do you know that?

HO: I think he will have. And will turn up sooner or later if he's going to face proceedings.

LU STOUT: Now in addition to being a Hong Kong legislator, you're also a practicing barrister. So what are the legal options for Edward Snowden?

HO: I think he can certainly plead that he is facing possible political persecution, or even torture. Now, if he can satisfy the court that the offense that he has alleged to have committed is of a political nature, then he can certainly seek to be exonerated, you know, from being taken away under extradition back to the United States.

LU STOUT: Now there is an extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the United States. So if charges are filed and the United States does request Hong Kong to extradite Edward Snowden back to the U.S., what will Hong Kong do?

HO: The Hong Kong government may firstly to take step to ensuring that the treaty provisions may be (inaudible) to find whether or not certain requirement are satisfied. The first criteria is to (inaudible) criminality requirement, namely they charged Mr. Snowden is going to face in the United States has similar, you know, provision in our statute book, then, you know, this is the first requirement that has to be met.

For instance, if you're going to be charged for treason. While we don't have such offense in our statute book, then he will -- that provision for extradition cannot be evoked.

You know, so -- and second thing is whether or not there are prima fascia evidence. And certainly whether or not the offense is of a political nature.

I think it's going to be resisted vigorously. And he will be receiving help.

LU STOUT: Now it has happened before. Americans have been extradited from Hong Kong to the U.S. And I've read that the process if indeed it was to take place for Edward Snowden here, it would take between three to five years, is that right? Why would it take that long?

HO: Firstly, you know, there would be preliminary proceedings to be started in the lowest court, acting as, you know, a goalkeeper. But if the court were to find one way or the other, I think possibly they would be appeal to a higher court by way of judicial review.

LU STOUT: And this is the key question, I think it's the key concern that you have. Would Beijing intervene?

HO: Under basic law, Beijing can have a final say if it takes to be if the central government takes the wheel that the matter is of a nature that may have impact on the foreign relationship between China and the United States.

But whether or not this matter fall within such an arena, that is something that has to be decided by the court.

But of course, you know, the central government may evoke its power of interpretation under the basic law, which is final and binding on the Hong Kong court.

But in this case, most of lawyers and politicians tend to think that it is quite unlikely that Beijing is going to intervene.

LU STOUT: Final question for you. Do you think it was a wise decision for Edward Snowden to come to Hong Kong?

HO: Really, it's a bit of (inaudible) stage. But, it's better to (inaudible) answer this question. But he may think that there is not many options. There are not many options open to him. You know, if he chose a country which may be famous for upholding the rule of law, but he may be fearful that such country may be overpowered by the United States, OK. They have seen the bigger leak case, you know, where Mr. (inaudible) was being -- is facing extradition proceedings in the United States and is now forced to seek asylum in an embassy.

So, he may have a lot of concern.

But Hong Kong is politically distanced from the United States. And he think that, you know, maybe this is a place where he find a bit of comfort and that he may be receiving, you know, a lot of support from people who have sympathy of him.

But, you know, the answer may surface later.

LU STOUT: And there's people showing sympathy for him, including yourself, who will show up at this rally to take place on Saturday. It's at Tutor Garden (ph) 3:00 pm here in Hong Kong.

HO: Right. Right.

LU STOUT: Mr. Ho, we have to leave it at that, but thank you very much indeed for joining us here on News Stream.

HO: Welcome.

LU STOUT: Now, to India and next we have an extraordinary story of determination and love. Now Shweta Katti, she grew up in Mumbai's red light district, surrounded by the sex industry, but today she was very optimistic about her future thanks to her mother and the efforts of a local charity.

Mallika Kapur has her story.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A popular Bollywood song. My mother says I will make a name for myself, Shweta Katti sings. The words are significant to her. Growing up in Mumbai's largest red light district, the 18-year-old says it was hard to imagine she'd ever lead it.

SHWETA KATTI, STUDENT: I used to live in up on the loft and down the sex workers used to work. So that was keep distracting, because I was always curious what they do in there, in the curtains.

KAPUR: She says men would ask her to sleep with them.

And you saw a lot of abusers?

KATTI: Yeah, yeah. (inaudible) you'll have to -- you'll have to face this, because I have faced it in...

KAPUR: Yourself?

KATTI: Life.

KAPUR: Have you been sexually abused?

KATTI: Yeah. When I was, I guess, 12 -- 11 or 12, I was abused -- sexually abused.

KAPUR: It was her mother, Vandana Katti (ph) who saw her through those tough times. Katti says she was forced to raise her children in a makeshift room above a brothel, because it was all she could afford. But she also dreamed of something better for her children.

"From the time my daughter was born, I wanted her to read and write. I didn't want her to endure what I did," she says.

KATTI: The only person who loved me -- who loves me.

KAPUR: Encouraged by her mother, Shweta moved into (inaudible) a charity for girls from Mumbai's red light area founded by Robin Churasia (ph)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone looks at these girls like they're poor them, they're victims, they're just, you know, going to suffer and have such terrible lives. But the fact is that people who go through all of these situations and experience these hardships I personally believe are going to make the most amazing leaders.

KAPUR: Churasia (ph) helped Shweta apply to college.

KATTI: I'm going to America and I'm really excited. I never thought I'll go out in America and study.

KAPUR: Her journey from a brothel to Bart College (ph) has got a lot of attention. Newsweek named her one of 25 women under the age of 25 to watch.

"I'm so happy. I'm so proud of my daughter," she says.

Shweta says she wants to study psychology so she can help women back home. And she hopes her story will inspire others in the red light district to dream big and live out the lyrics of the song, my mother says I will make a name for myself.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


LU STOUT: It is an amazing journey for Shweta Katti from growing up in Mumbai's red light district to studying on a scholarship in New York.

And she joins me now on Skype from Mumbai. And Shweta, thank you so much for joining us here on CNN. How do you feel about what's next, about going to America?

KATTI: Hi. I'm really excited. I don't know what I'm going to find out there, but I'm really excited this is going to be an adventure for me, a new place, new people, new culture. I don't know. I'm so excited for it.

LU STOUT: It's great to hear that you're so excited. And you have an incredible story. Again, you were raised in a red light district, in a brothel in Mumbai. And I want to ask about a positive side first. Who helped you? And who took care of you while you grew up there?

KATTI: My mom is my inspiration. And she's the one who encouraged me and who said you're going to do better. You are like amazing. And of course the sex workers who also I was -- with whom I were surrounded by, because my mom used to go to factory in morning like 9:00 in the morning and she used to come back at 7:00. So I used to spend most of my time with them. And they are like -- they're my inspiration. And that's why like because of them I am here, because of my mom and because of them I'm here.

LU STOUT: So you're mom and a network of women, they helped look after you. And of course we know that the red light district, it can be a dangerous place for children. So how did you manage to avoid the dangers and focus on your homework and your studies?

KATTI: I couldn't. I couldn't avoid it, because I was small. I was young. I didn't know how to deal with the situation. There were men who used to ask me do you want to sleep with me? So you (inaudible) from there. I was sexually abused. I couldn't (inaudible) I was so young to deal with it. But now, yeah, I am (inaudible) ignoring or avoiding it or to fight against it.

LU STOUT: You know, it's amazing that you've been able to battle so much. And you are such a confident, beautiful, smart young woman. Do you think your story can be repeated? Do you think other Indian girls and young women can do what you're doing and leave the slums and get a chance to go to university?

KATTI: It's not that I'm the only girl, any girl given (inaudible) given that kind of treatment can do this. This -- every girl has it in herself. It's just a matter of time and the way people treat girls.

If given a chance, everybody can do this, this is not like supernatural thing in me, but I got the opportunity, I got this chance. I had experiences like this. And, yeah, that's how I guess -- everybody can do this. And everyone can achieve this.

LU STOUT: Well, Shweta Katti, you are an inspiration, you are a rock star. Thank you so much for joining us here on CNN. And sharing your story with our worldwide audience. And all the best to you in your studies in America. Thank you and take care. Incredible young woman there.

KATTI: Thank you so much. Thank you.

LU STOUT: Take care.

Oh, she is awesome.

You are watching News Stream. Coming up next, Mari Ramos, she will be here with your weather forecast. And also up next, the latest on the severe weather in the American Midwest. Stay with us.


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

Now there is that huge and worrying system of storms moving across the American Midwest and also the fires moving unpredictably in the U.S. state of Colorado and elsewhere. Let's get the very latest on this with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

LU STOUT: Yeah, very busy, indeed. You know, that picture of Hong Kong, it looks like you guys have some strong storms there as well.

But let's go ahead and stay in the U.S. for a moment, because we have some pretty intense weather systems moving right along right now. And it all started yesterday. You showed this picture just right now. We call it the Willis strike. That's the Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower. You can see this amazing picture that was captured by a photographer there as the storm was rolling through. Winds up to 80 kilometers per hour. People left without power.

You know, these strong weather systems that just plow through here -- you can see it right here moving along these areas right now.

It did leave quite a bit of damage behind it. And it's expected to bring quite a bit of damage ahead of it now as it moves into the very densely populated areas of the northeast.

Look at this, we went ahead and tagged all of the reports of tornadoes, wind gusts and hail. I have a video of one such tornado, this one captured in Illinois, I believe it was. You're looking at these amazing pictures there of this tornado that was forming. This was one of about maybe 10 tornado sightings that happened during the afternoon yesterday. The system kind of died down a little bit overnight. It's fortunately no more severe weather like this was reported, but there were wind gusts like I said and even hail reported the size of ping pong balls.

Come back over to the weather map. We're going to go ahead and zoom into the northeast here. And I want you to see this line of storms that just continues to move right along.

Right in here is going to be where the severe weather is, moving right now into the Philadelphia area. I was tweeting about this just a little while ago. The U.S. Open happening there. A lot of people outdoors. We're expecting the weather to be quite intense here. And people really do need to take cover and heed the warnings anywhere from New York all the way down into the deep south. Large hail, strong winds.

It's going to happen in the morning hours here in the Northeast and then in the evening hours as we head afternoon and evening hours as we head into the southeastern U.S. So it is covering a wide area.

Very quickly across the western U.S. nothing in the way of rain, lightning that could spark new fires. Look at these pictures that we have from that region. It's really a sad situation, about 1,000 people had to be evacuated. There's 30 square kilometers that already went up in flames. You see these pictures of homes just burning, people are just barely able to leave with whatever they have.

Again, we're looking at near record high temperatures in these areas. We're still looking at the potential for some very strong winds. The red flag warnings are still in place. That means that conditions are going to be very, very good, or very bad depending which way we look at it for fires to spread very, very quickly across this region.

Come back over to the weather map. Last but not least, I do want to update you on the weather across Europe. Dry in Central Europe, but those rivers are still rising. Watching the Elbe to the north and of course the Danube as it continues to crest here to the east.

We will take a break right here on News Stream. Don't go away. Kristie will be right back.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now all week, we've been bringing you the latest from E3, the video game industry's biggest event of the year. And it is especially important this year, because it is the first time people can get their hands on Microsoft and Sony's new consoles, the Xbox One and the Playstation 4.

Now CNN Money's Adrian Covert puts the two consoles head to head for us.


ADRIAN COVERT, CNN MONEY: We're here at the Xbox booth at E3 where Microsoft is showing off the Xbox One, their latest console. A lot like the Playstation 4, they're not showing off the whole thing, but they do have playable demos of games along with hand's on time with the controller.

Compared to the Playstation 4, the Xbox One isn't that different under the hood. They essentially have the same exact components. And as a result, a lot of the games look and play the same.

But what really sets the two apart is their philosophy. Whereas Sony is focusing on the gamer, Microsoft is more about home entertainment. Another thing is that the Xbox One requires you to login oneline at least once a day. And you always have to have the Kinect camera plugged in at all times.

As a result, some gamers may or may not like that.

But one thing to consider about the Xbox is the fact it has a slightly stronger exclusive game lineup. The new Metal Gear Solid is coming to the new Xbox One along with the new Halo. And those aren't things you'll be able to get on the Playstation 4.

So Playstation 4 has some pretty strong exclusive titles of its own, but they come from franchises that might not be as well known. So that could be a big difference maker when it comes time for gamers to decide what Console to buy.


LU STOUT: Adrian Covert there.

Now we've seen what Microsoft and Sony have to offer, but what about Nintendo? Well, their new console has been out for almost half a year, but WiiU sales have been slow so far. And some publishers say that they won't bring their games to the WiiU until more people start buying it.

And here is how Nintendo responded to that.


REGGIE FILS-AIME, PRESIDENT, NINTENDO OF AMERICA: It's all about driving the install base, right. And so for us that's why Mario and Zelda and Donkey Kong and Pickmen (ph) and all of our key franchises are so important, because they drive the install base.

NPD, the research company here in the U.S. did a study looking at all of the top selling console games since they started tracking data. Five of the top 10 are Nintendo platforms. They are games like Smash Brothers, and Mario Kart, and Super Mario, and Zelda. All of the key franchises that we've showed off at this E3. And so it's perfectly understandable for a publisher to say Nintendo grow your install base, make it large and diverse, and I'll create games for you. We salute that challenge. And that's why we're bringing all of our top franchises to bear.


LU STOUT: Now all week we've also been looking at the people who make games. And today, we hear from the lead designer, one of the biggest games of the last few years, the Gears of War series.


CLIFF BLESZINSKI, GEARS OF WAR DESIGNER: I'm Cliff Bleszinski. I was the design director at Epic Games and now I am semi-retired, but potentially looking for new work.

Gears of War has been tremendously successful for myself and my former employer Epic as well as Microsoft. Occasionally the game is only seen for the blood and the chainsaw, which, you know, yes those are elements in the game, yes it's mature rated, yes it's almost slap stick violence, but at the end of the day the game actually had a lot to say about the war for oil and various xenophobic things kind of things that people are feeling in the world. And sometimes people only ever seen the chainsaw and the buff characters and the machismo in the game and sometimes miss some of the nuances that we were going for in there.

But at the end of the day, as long as the game is fun, that's really ultimately what matters.

One of my game designer friends Lee Perry wrote a blog about the idea of feel in a video game. And it's one of the most important things. If you look at, you know, Gears of War and how good it feels to slam into cover, or how nice the aiming feels in Call of Duty, that is the result of many months of work and fine tuning by somebody who knows clearly what they're doing.

When I was young and I started making video games, I knew that a certain amount of perceived values comes from people knowing a brand and knowing a name. This is America, it's a celebrity obsessed culture. I think more developers need to be known, you know. I think Ken Levine is a total rock star game designer. More people should know who he is, because Bioshock Inifinite is genius. David Jaffey -- all of these folks.

And I want to get to know them. And I remember as a child I wanted to know about Shigeru Miyamoto who is the genius behind Mario. I just think it's, you know, common sense to put these developers out there.


LU STOUT: Now Bleszinski is currently taking a break from designing games, but he says that he is hoping his next move will be to fund his own game development studio.

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