CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEWS STREAM

Guardian Reports UK Spied On G20 Participants; Turkish Unions Stage One Day Strike; Cheng Guangcheng Accuses China Of Pressuring NYU To Push Him Out; Robert Kraft Accuses Putin of Stealing Super Bowl Ring; Monsoon Rains Drown Mumbai

Aired June 17, 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: You're watching News Stream. And the man who leaked information about a U.S. spy program is making new allegations this time about Britain.

And coming up on News Stream, we'll tell you about Edward Snowden's latest controversial claims.

Plus, he grabbed worldwide attention last year when he fled to the American embassy in Beijing. And now, this Chinese activist says that New York University is pushing him out.

And Rose rises to the top. We'll hear from the winner of the U.S. Open, the first English golfer to claim the title in more than 40 years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream. And let's go to Turkey now where two leading trade unions have called for their members to walk off the job today. The nationwide general strike comes after more clashes on Sunday between anti-government protesters and riot police in the capital Ankara.

Now police in Istanbul also fired tear gas to keep demonstrators from returning to Taksim Square in Gexi Park which they had cleared by force on Saturday.

Let's go live to Karl Penhaul, who is following all of the developments for us live from Istanbul. And Karl, first, what is the situation in Taksim Square today?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Taksim Square -- Taksim Square now is basically clear of any protesters at all and that is being held by riot police and security forces to ensure that no protesters, neither the original Taksim Square and Gezi Park protesters make their way back or indeed any of the union protesters that we're expecting to try and make their way towards Taksim Square later in the day and of course in Gezi Park itself, while work has already begun on the projects that the prime minister has outlined there, that park is now entirely clear of the tent city that had been set up more than two weeks ago now.

But I want to tel lyou a little bit as well about what is going on here at the headquarters of one of those labor federations that has called today's one-day strike. It's a one-day strike, yes, in support of the Taksim Square protesters who were ousted from that area over the weekend, but it is also an indication that the original agenda of the protester has grown much wider to include broader demands, including the demands of these left-wing unions who want greater union rights, and like many other groups want a lesser authoritarian style of government and certainly don't want what they suspect Prime Minister Erdogan is involved in, and that's mixing religion with politics.

Now, numbers here right now are pretty thin, but that, they say organizers is not a worry, because what has been happening in the course of the morning and early afternoon is that workers have been meeting in their work places with union representatives. And what we expect them to do in about an hour's time from now is head from their workplaces, converge here, and in two other spots around Istanbul. And from there, they will coordinate and try and make their way to Taksim Square.

Now we do know that riot police are on alert there, but also in route as well, about 100 yards down this street, in fact, already two water cannon are positioned. It does seem likely that if protesters, union protesters today try and get to central Istanbul, they will be prevented, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Union protesters are involved, a nationwide strike has been called for today, how concerned is the government? And now that we have this strike action take place today, will that somehow influence the government's hand?

PENHAUL: Well, it must be said that it's a one day strike. And I put it to union representatives this morning why is this a one day strike and not an indefinite strike if one of your aims is to try and force concessions, further, broader, political concessions from the Erdogan government. And that union representative told me that basically one of our fights is to get broader union powers as well. He said, if we call a strike longer than one day, he said, we fear our members will be sacked from their jobs. We fear there will be a lockout. We simply fear that those who work in public sector jobs will simply be fired and contract workers will be brought in.

It doesn't seem likely at this stage that either the broader social protest or this union protest is really threatening the government of Prime Minister Erdogan. After all, we did see that show of political force that the prime minister staged yesterday with a rally by his supporters, but of course this protest, it must be said, is far from over. The fact that those protesters have been ousted from Gezi Park and Taksim Square, doesn't mean a lot, really. There was a fear that that could end the protest, that could splinter the protest. But really what has occurred is a ripple effect. As those protesters have headed back to their neighborhoods, then they have organized on a neighborhood level. And overnight last night, for example, you saw barricades being set up on main streets around Istanbul and running battles into the early hours of this morning between protesters and riot police, Kristie.

LU STOUT: The protest is far from over. Karl Penhaul reporting live for us, live from Istanbul, thank you Karl.

Now as this week's group of eight nations, or G8 summit, kicks off in Northern Ireland, further claims of government surveillance may give some delegates pause.

Now the UK's Guardian newspaper says that Britain's intelligence agencies intercepted delegates' communications during two G20 meetings in London in 2009. That allegedly included setting up internet cafes where agents could monitor delegates' emails and gain access to their passwords.

Now the newspaper also claims to have seen evidence suggesting that UK intelligence agencies cracked the security on attendees' smartphones to track their phone calls.

Now, the Guardian says that they were shown the top secret documents by Edward Snowden, the American computer analyst who also leaked details of U.S. government surveillance programs. Now senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is following all this from London. He joins us now live.

And Dan, how damaging are these latest leaks from Edward Snowden?

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've certainly generated huge coverage in the Guardian newspaper which has splashed it across several pages. Going into quite a lot of detail about what Edward Snowden claims and what these documents show the kind of tactics were of British intelligence services during summits like the G20 in 2009, which The Guardian says was targeted by MI6 and GCHQ, two of the spy agencies in the UK to try and get information about what various delegations were thinking -- not just delegations from countries perceived to be hostile to the UK, but from allies like Turkey and South Africa, using things like it's claimed setting up fake internet cafe's to try and lure delegates in who might feel that it was safer to log on to their email and internet cafe than in their hotel, thinking that would bypass any spying. Well, in fact, the whole internet cafe, it seems, was set up with that very intention.

Also hacking into people's BlackBerries to deliver real-time information to the British ministers involved with negotiations. This was all about the reforming the banking sector in 2009 to get an idea of what the other side are thinking. So, it's interesting stuff there.

There's been a lot of comment about this. Clearly, a lot of people suggesting that -- well, what you expect spy agencies to do that. It's essentially their job to spy not only on people that are overtly the enemies of the state, but also to further the interests of the country concerned, whether that's economic interests or foreign policy interests.

LU STOUT: And how are these leaks, which are again spying leaks made or revealed by Edward Snowden about the G20 summit back in 2009, how are they affecting the G8 summit currently under way?

RIVERS: Well, officially it's not on the agenda. The G8 summit is going to be talking about the three Ts as you've heard -- tax, transparency and trade. Clearly, though, people are going to be mindful of this story. And I would think would be exceptionally careful about what they say on email if they don't know all that already, and what they -- how they log on to their email and be very careful about what information is on their BlackBerry, because clearly they will have a glaring example in today's Guardian that these summits are targeted apparently by British intelligence and almost certainly by American intelligence and the Russians and the Chinese as well.

One would imagine, you know, that this is exactly the kind of place that the intelligence agencies will target just because you have a concentration of decision makers there who are ripe for sort of harvesting their information.

LU STOUT: All right. Dan Rivers joining us live from London, thank you.

Now Edward Snowden is still believed to be here in Hong Kong. And over the weekend, former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney said that he was, quote, "deeply suspicious about the former government contractor who was spying for China." That is the claim that China's foreign ministry is strongly denying.

(BEGIN VIDEO LCIP)

HUA CHUNGYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): It's completely groundless. We believe that the U.S. side should pay attention to the concern and the demands of the international community and the public over the issue and give the international community a necessary explanation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: In the U.S., the director of the National Security Agency, Keith Alexander, is set to release details of cases where he says the U.S. government surveillance programs exposed by Snowden have stopped a terrorist attack. Now that information could be published as soon as today.

Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up next, an English golfer wins the U.S. Open for the first time in 43 years. Justin Rose tells us how it felt to triumph and who he was thinking about on the links.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. And we started by hearing from Iran's president-elect. And later, we'll bring you an exclusive look at the forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

But now, we turn to sports and a landmark win at golf's U.S. Open.

Now England's Justin Rose won his first major tournament on Sunday. And Rose held off Australia's Jason Day and Phil Mickelson to win by two shots. It means, Mickelson has finished second at the U.S. Open a record sixth time. It's a tournament he's never won.

But the day belonged to the Englishman Rose. His final drive landed near the spot where golfing legend Ben Hogan took one of the sport's most famous shots. And Rose talked about that and much more with our Shane O'Donoghue.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: When you hit that shot off the tee on 18, you landed in a very special place. What was going through your mind as you arrived to the approach shot?

JUSTIN ROSE, 2013 U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: Yeah, I've got say it was a special moment when I walked over the hill and saw my ball sitting right there on the upslope in the middle of the fairway. The whole history of Hogan definitely popped into my mind from that point of view, because I know he hit the green and he two putted I think to get in a playoff. But...

O'DONOGHUE: Correct.

ROSE: Someone sort of chirped from the crowd, Rose, a good iron shot and two putt and it's yours. And that's kind of, in a sense, that's what all I was trying to do at that point, just had to really stand up there and be counted. I mean, it was a major. It was my moment. It was stand up and just deliver, really.

O'DONOGHUE: You looked very emotional as things sort of started to sink in with you, because I mean there's a lot in your background and your father's influence in you and the Americans obviously, you know, make a big deal of Father's Day. It's celebrated around the world, but I got the impression you were thinking a lot of him in that moment.

ROSE: I was. And I think -- I've thought about my dad quite a bit this week, even Saturday. I was driving to the course and I looked in the rear-view mirror and I saw my eyes. And that was one thing my dad always knew, he could tell by looking in my eyes if I was going to play well or not.

O'DONOGHUE: Really?

ROSE: And I kind of looked into the rear-view mirror and I was like I wonder how my dad thinks I'm going to play today.

So he was on the -- you know, I always knew the U.S. Open finished on Father's Day. And, you know, I've been in contention most of the week. And I kind of really wanted to have that moment where I could share with him and honor him, you know, because he sacrificed so much for me and he taught me the game. And, you know, I've seen Rory celebrate with his dad, (inaudible) celebrate with his dad, and you know, Furyk with his dad. And I've kind of always thought that moment must just be so special. And for me, today, it was special in my own way.

O'DONOGHUE: So what does it mean now to finally get over the hurdle and become at last a major champion Justin Rose?

ROSE: Yeah, I mean, it's interesting. You know, you say at last and absolutely I've been a pro a long time now, 14, 15 years. And...

O'DONOGHUE: But you were only a boy when you turned pro.

ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. But not until recently have I really felt ready -- truly ready.

You talk about -- you know you try and kid yourself you're ready, but this is one of the first majors I've ever played where I came in knowing that if I go about my business I'm going to be hard to beat.

It's just a really nice feeling to have had that cleared off the plate now fairly early. But in the moment, I'm just -- it's a lot of boyhood dreams all sort of paying off, if you like.

O'DONOGHUE: Just a fantastic victory for you. And a gentleman as well. And you went up against a gentleman in Phil Mickelson. Congratulations.

ROSE: Thank you very much. Appreciate it. It means a lot.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Rose is the first Englishman since 1996 to win any of golf's majors, but he's also the first to win the U.S. Open in 43 years. Now the last man to do it, Tony Jacklin won the U.S. Open all the way back in 1970.

Now, leaders of the group of eight nations are gathering in Northern Ireland. And there's U.S. President Barack Obama arriving in Belfast earlier. Up next on News Stream, we'll look at the issues he'll be tackling in their talks.

Plus, we have an exclusive report from the front line of Syria's civil war. We'll follow pro-government fighters battling to take control of one Damascus suburb.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now Iran's president-elect Hassan Rouhani says he will not forget his campaign promises. We're looking at live pictures of his first news conference. Rouhani has repeatedly used the word moderation to describe his priorities both at home and abroad. He says the election represents the ushering in of a new era for Iran. And he will work to improve the economy and build better relations with the rest of the world.

On the eve of the G8 summit, Britain's Guardian newspaper claims that UK agents ran surveillance operations during two G20 summits back in 2009. Now the paper reports documents show Britain's GCHQ spy center intercepted phone calls and emails of delegates while they were in London.

Nelson Mandela's family has thanked well wishers for their support. Now former South African president remains in serious condition in hospital for a recurring lung infection. In a statement released on Monday, the family says it has, quote, felt the closeness of the world.

The husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, has left the hospital where he was recovering from abdominal surgery. The Duke of Edinburgh walked out of the London clinic on Monday unaided. The 92 year old was admitted 11 days ago.

Now the leaders of some of the world's most powerful nations are using this week's G8 summit to pile pressure on Russia's president. They want Vladimir Putin to end his country's support for Syria's government.

Now Russia is the only G8 nation not to back a recent U.S. pledge to provide more help to Syrian rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime. U.S. President Barack Obama will discuss the issue one on one with his Russian counterpart this Monday.

Now government surveillance programs to measures to promote global economic growth will also be high on the agenda for the delegates there. And Jim Boulden is in Belfast. He joins us now live. And Jim, we have to talk about Syria first. How much progress will be made during the G8 on Syria, especially given the deep differences between Russia and the west?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie.

I think it's very hard to see how you could make progress on Syria at the summit here in Northern Ireland and mainly because already President Putin met yesterday in London with the host of of this summit, the prime minister of the UK David Cameron. And they spoke about Syria at that talk. And of course in the press conference afterward.

And so with that discussion, they don't -- they both then came here to meet with President Obama after he arrived this morning here in Belfast and then went off to the summit sight. And you could see Syria very much being one of the topics of the highest on the agenda outside of the economy. But it's hard to see how they can make any differences, despite the fact they are actually meeting one on one and eye to eye as opposed to talking on the phone -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And the host, David Cameron, he is keen to focus on tax, on trade, on transparency. Jim, can you tell us about the economic agenda there at the summit?

BOULDEN: Well, today there is actually a high level delegation of trade talks between the U.S and the European Union and their leaders who have come in from Brussels.

The hope is for David Cameron to be able to announce that there will be detailed negotiations between the U.S. and the European Union to try to broker a large free trade agreement between the two trading blocs. It would be quite significant if they could do that. There are many barriers that need to come down in order to have a free trade agreement. They have not been able to get one, or even to be able to have serious discussions about one for decades.

So if could announce that there would now be detailed negotiations, that would be a major coup for him.

He also wants to talk about transparency in shell corporations in overseas territories. You think of safe havens for taxes. He wants to try to get an idea how they can crack down on companies that he says -- international companies that are avoiding tax, even if they are by law actually doing what they can do, he thinks the government should do more. So he would like to see some movement there as well.

So you have a lot on this agenda here. Libya as well. You could imagine Turkey coming up in the next 48 hours.

So these leaders have a lot to discuss, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And about the summit itself, the G8 has long been a magnet for demonstrations, for protests, what is the security situation like there?

BOULDEN: Well, the security around the location is very tight. You, these things now take place in very remote places. And so this one is actually about 80 miles away from Belfast in a remote golf resort where people would normally be playing golf in the middle of the southwest corner of Northern Ireland. And there's been a large temporary wall built around the location, razor wires throughout some of the farms. And for days, people haven't been able to drive very close to there.

So some of the focus of the demonstrations have been here in Belfast here over the last few days. But I have to say, they've been quite small. And they have been very peaceful, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Jim Boulden live for us at the site of the G8 summit. Thank you, Jim.

Now Iran has stood by the Syrian government in Tehran. The new president-elect, he was asked about Syria's long civil war. And here is what Hassan Rouhani had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF IRAN (through translator): This is up to the people of Syria themselves. The ones who should decide regarding the situation of Syria is their own people.

(APPLAUSE)

ROUHANI (through translator): Of course we are opposed to terrorism. We're opposed to civil war. We're opposed to the interference and intervention of other countries that want to mettle into certain affairs. We are hopeful with the help of all the regional countries and the world we will see peace and tranquility restored to Syria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Iran's new president-elect there.

Now inside Syria, there has been no let up to the violence. Two bombs struck a military airport outside the capital of Damascus on Sunday night. And that was followed by mortar bombs being fired from inside the airport into surrounding neighborhoods according to a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army.

And fierce battles also continue in and around the capital. Government troops claim that they are taking back rebel held territory.

In this exclusive report, Fred Pleitgen follows fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fighting in one Damascus suburb.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The urban combat is fierce. In Yarmouk, a suburb of Damascus close to the city center. We're on the front line with Palestinians fighting for the Assad regime. Snipers do much of the fighting and death can come any second.

(on camera): This is a pro-government sniper position. And this fighter here just told me he sees a sniper through his scope from here. So we'll wait and see what happens.

(voice-over): The man said that shot took out a rebel fighter.

Yarmouk, which was set up as a Palestinian refugee camp by the Assad regime decades ago, bears the scars of war. But the pro-government fighters tell me like on other front lines in Syria. They are now turning the tide, winning back ground.

The commanders name is Abu Ehab (ph). I ask him who his enemy is.

"They are mostly islamists from al Qaeda and Jabat al Nusra," he says. "Mostly foreigners from the Emirates, from Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also Syrians and Palestinians."

A lot of the fighting happens inside the houses. And here, only a wall of sandbags separates the two sides.

The pro-government militiamen say the rebels knocked these holes into the walls when they owned this turf and rigged some of the passages with explosives when they fled.

(on camera): So the men tell us they've just recently retaken this house. And as you can see, the fighters that left here from the other side, they booby trapped this entrance here with what looks like a hand grenade or something. So anybody who would have gone through there and triggered that wire there would have been killed.

The pro-government fighters say they're angry at the U.S. after the Obama administration's announcement that it will help arm the opposition.

"We will keep fighting until we get rid of Jabat al Nusra and al Qaeda," he says, "and all other insurgents in Syria. And we're sure that god will be on our side."

In breaks from combat, the pro-government militiamen sing the praise of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, emboldened by recent gains on the battlefield but also worried what changes U.S. involvement might bring.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And exclusive look at the front line of Syria's civil war there.

And our correspondent, Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from Damascus. And Fred, you witnessed some pretty intense urban combat, including sniper fire. Are government forces -- do you sense that government forces, are they succeeding in their offensive, in pushing back the rebels from suburbs around the capital and elsewhere?

PLEITGEN: Oh, they certainly seem to be, Kristie. It's not only in that suburb in the Yarmouk district, but also in other places as well. There's a place in the center of town call Jobar (ph) where the government now says that it has the rebels surrounded in that area. They're pounding the place with artillery.

And they also launched a major offenses in the outskirts of Damascus in what's called the Damascus countryside, sort of south of the capital a couple of months ago. And they say that is bearing fruit as well.

So they are making progress, but the progress is really slow. I mean, the fighters that we were with there, yes, they took back a couple of houses, yes they said they were gaining ground. And of course they also have some big help from the Syrian military as well as far as heavier weapons are concerned, tanks are concerned, artillery is concerned as well. But it is very slow going to try and get through those houses and win that turf back.

So it's a difficult fight. It's one they say at this point in time they're winning, but it's also one where they say this is going to take a very long time. And then, of course, you have that big uncertainty over what the United States will do next and whether or not that's going to make a difference on the battlefield if, indeed, when the United States starts arming the rebels -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Also that incident overnight, a military airport just outside Damascus, it was struck by two bombs on Sunday. What's the latest on that attack?

PLEITGEN: Yeah, you know, I witnessed that attack. I was actually on this balcony right here when all of a sudden I saw a flash sort of to the right side of my eye. And after that, there was this gigantic explosion which was really a big fireball and smoke that came up. And you can tell something very big had blown up. I sort of thought it might have been an artillery shell landing there or something, but it seemed pretty clear quite quickly that it was indeed an improvised explosive device.

The news that we have is that apparently it was two bombs that happened at a military checkpoint near an army airbase, the Mezza Air Base (ph). It's a very, very important one. It's one that the Syrian Air Force does a lot of its flights into the country from. Also it's a very important one, because the actual Damascus airport is in quite a contested area.

So this is a place that, of course, the rebels will want to strike. The government for its part has really put checkpoints all over the place in that area. So it is a very important place. And clearly from what we're hearing from the opposition there seems to have been a lot of carnage. There's one opposition group that's talking about possibly a munitions dump having been hit. We have not gotten any information yet from the Syrian government, but that certainly was a large explosion. And we also heard mortar and artillery fire right after that. So it seems as though the government was striking back -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And Fred, you are a witness to war and carnage there inside Syria. And Syria is, of course, dominating the G8 summit in the UK despite those deep divisions between Russia and the west. What is the feeling there inside Syria about brokering an end, somehow, through diplomacy, an end to the civil war?

PLEITGEN: That's a very good question. I don't think that anybody on either side here believes that the G8 is going to make much headway in terms of that. It seems as though the positions are ones that are very difficult between the United States and Russia.

However, when you talk to the people here in Damascus, and even some people in the government -- I just spoke to the minister for national reconciliation. He says of course there needs to be negotiations. And of course everything needs to be on the table -- the structure of the society, the structure of the government here, who is going to be president, everything has to go, has to be on the table.

Right now, that's very difficult.

Of course, as the government makes these advances, it's unclear how inclined the government is to actually go to the negotiation table. And then of course you have the opposition on the other side who seems to be in complete disarray, really, as to whether or not they actually want to participate in all of this.

But there's certainly things that people will tell you again and again. They'll always say they believe that any sort of solution to this conflict has to be imposed by outside powers, probably the U.S. and Russia, but there's not many people at this point in time who believe that that is going to happen.

One thing, we still have time I want to say is that I've spoken to Syrians on both sides of the equation. And none of them want to kill their neighbors. I don't believe that this is yet a sectarian conflict, but of course it's one that's taking on ever greater sectarian undertones as all of this is going on. But certainly from our point of view it doesn't seem as though it's too late to try and broker some sort of solution, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Not a sectarian conflict, but taking on sectarian undertones. Fred Pleitgen reporting for us live inside Damascus, thank you so much for that, Fred.

And while the Russian president Vladimir Putin is feeling pressure on Syria, a rather unusual controversy has hit the Kremlin. Now straight ahead right here on News Stream, we will explain why the ring is the thing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now, Chinese activist Cheng Guangcheng says he is being forced to leave New York University. Now he claims that NYU is acting under pressure from Beijing. David McKenzie has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Cheng Guangcheng isn't new to the spotlight. Christian Bale tried to reach him in house arrest with a CNN crew. The actor roughed up for his efforts.

CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR: Why can I not go visit this man?

MCKENZIE: The self-taught blind lawyer is a tireless advocate for human rights in China, held prisoner with his family for 18 months at his home in Chengdong. In 2012, he made a dramatic escape, seeking refuge in the U.S. embassy in Bejing, sparking a diplomatic firestorm.

After tend negotiations he was allowed to leave and took up a fellowship at prestigious New York University.

Now, Cheng says NYU is pushing him out, because of the, quote, "unrelenting pressure of the Chinese Communist Party."

"Academic freedom in the United States is being greatly threatened by a totalitarian regime," he wrote in a statement.

Cheng says he must leave by the end of the month.

He claims he's been unable to meet with NYU's president John Sexton, hinting at the political sensitivities of his stay.

In a recent interview on CNN, before the current controversy, Cheng said that any compromise with the Communist Party is unacceptable.

CHENG GUANGCHENG, CHINESE ACTIVIST (through trnaslator): 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.

MCKENZIE: NYU, like several elite U.S. universities, has a growing presence in China with a new campus in Shanghai. And Chinese are the single biggest group of foreign students in the U.S. But NYU has hit back, saying they are puzzled and saddened by Cheng's fictional allegations.

"Mr. Cheng's fellowship at NYU and its conclusion have nothing to do with the Chinese government. All fellowships come to an end," the university said in a statement.

NYU says it has been extraordinarily generous with Cheng and his family. And despite the accusations, they say, they will continue to support the Cheng's. But this is a deeply embarrassing controversy for NYU and also poses some uncomfortable questions about the relationship of the Chinese government with U.S. universities.

David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Beijing has also denied Cheng's claim. A foreign ministry spokeswoman says, "Cheng Guangcheng went to study abroad as an ordinary Chinese citizen after completing formalities in accordance with the law." She adds, "I'm not sure if you got wrong information or Cheng Guangcheng is fabricating stories."

Now time for a look at the global weather picture. And there is a serious monsoon in India with parts of Mumbai under water. Let's get the very latest with mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie. You know, Mumbai is just one of the large cities that are suffering from just this tremendous deluge that has been going on across portions of India.

Now, it has been very intense. It's been moving rather quickly. And I want to show you, first of all, that steady stream of moisture that continues to move in here into these northern parts of India. In Mumbai, for example, look at this, in the first half of 2013, they have had -- it's amazing -- 756 millimeters of rain. We have to double check these numbers, because the rain is just so impressive.

It has rained for the last 12 days in a row.

Now when you look over here, that's about 376 percent of the average.

The pictures that you're looking at are not from Mumbai. I want to make sure that you understand that. Those are not pictures from Mumbai. These are pictures from northern parts of India where the rain has also been pretty intense. And you can see this building right over here that -- it's amazing, these pictures, that completely collapsed. There were people that were trapped in their vehicles, at least 23 dead in the rains that had been falling farther to the north.

And look, there goes the building. At least one family was killed in that building according to local media reports.

You can see how large the river got, how quickly the water swelled.

There are reports that in this area over the last three days it has rained about half a meter of rainfall.

This is an area that is in the plains, just in the foothills of the Himalayas. So all of this rain that falls further to the north eventually makes its way down into the Ganges and other tributaries farther south. So we're expecting this flooding, unfortunately, Kristie, to continue.

But coming back to Mumbai over here, they have also had incredible rainfall, over 300 percent of their average for this time of year compared to June of last year where they had had only three rainy days by this time and only about 40 percent of their average moisture. So pretty significant difference here when you look at these rainfall totals.

In the last 24 hours, Mumbai has had 184 millimeters of rain. Meanwhile, in areas to the north, Duhradun, which is very close to those images that I just showed you, they have had almost half a meter of rainfall in the last 24 hours compared to a monthly average of only about 200.

So really impressive figures the numbers that are coming out of here. When you look at our satellite -- excuse me, at the warnings right over here that are still posted, notice that they extend well into the north. And it's in these areas to the north, in the hilly terrain where most likely the damage will happen.

But when you talk about big cities like Mumbai, you have huge transportation issues, people that are stranded because of the heavy rain and areas that are completely under water including rainroad tracks and things like that.

So, the monsoon itself will continue making its way to areas farther to the north. What you're looking at here is a timeline of when this normally happens.

And you see the dates here along with these red lines.

Well, June 15 is supposed to be just north of Mumbai in the northern parts of India. These areas to the north are getting this rain very, very early. The monsoon already advancing as far north and west as Pakistan. And that is very unusual for this time of year. And the rain, unfortunately, has been relentless. When you look at the satellite image, you can see all the moisture here to the north. Meanwhile areas here farther to the south and east are finally getting a break, because remember how much rain they had in Bangladesh, eastern India and the rest of peninsular India to start off, or even before the monsoon season started.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right, Mari Ramos with the very latest on the monsoons. Thank you.

Now you're watching News Stream. And still ahead, a gift or an ill- gotten gain? Now the Russian president is accused of pocketing a pritigious Super Bowl ring. But Vladimir Putin says it was a present. We're live in Moscow after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream. And let's return to our visual rundown.

We're almost at the end of the show, but we have one final bizarre story to bring you. Now what is happening in this picture? Well, that depends on whom you ask. It's from 2005. And it shows Russian President Vladimir Putin putting on a Super Bowl ring.

Now the Kremlin says the ring was a gift from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. But according to the New York Post Kraft, in the red tie of the left, recently told an awards gala in New York he wants that ring back. And he suggested that the ring wasn't exactly a gift.

Now the diamond encrusted ring is kept with other official state gifts. And Phil Black joins us now live from Moscow. And Phil, what have you learned there about the ring incident?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, from the Kremlin we are hearing a very firm denial of the Robert Kraft version of events, which you've just touched on. He has said that back in 2005 when he met Putin as you saw in that image, he showed him this Super Bowl ring. Putin tried it on, made a joke about how it was so big he could kill someone with it. Then took it off, slipped it in his pocket and walked away just as Kraft was reaching out to take it back.

Now Putin's spokesman says that he was in the room at the time the ring changed hands. And everything he remembers seeing and hearing indicates that it was presented as a gift.

So he says it's very weird to hear this new version from Robert Kraft.

And remember back at the time, Kraft did issue a public statement saying that he intended the gift -- he intended the ring to be a gift to a leader and to a country that he respected.

But now, he says, he only did so after coming under some pressure from the White House of George W. Bush.

LU STOUT: You know it's such an incredible story. How has it been reported there in Russia? We know Mr. Kraft says that he told the story about Putin for a laugh, but are people laughing about this story in Russia? What's the reaction there?

BLACK: Well, among many Russians, among those Russians who don't like Vladimir Putin, those who come out onto the streets for big opposition protests, one of their favorite cries is "Putin vor (ph)," or "Putin is a thief." But they're usually talking about allegations of stolen votes or stolen government money, not jewelry as in this case.

But I think among those people who are of that mind, yes, there is some humor towards this story. And perhaps no great surprise.

From the Kremlin itself, though, no sense of amusement whatsoever. Putin's spokesman has said that if Robert Kraft is so upset, if he is suffering at the loss of his ring, then Putin will buy him a new one of the same value. But there is no suggestion of returning the original ring.

We asked them about that. They weren't even prepared to even discuss the idea.

So it seems there is certainly no indication that regardless of however that ring fell into Vladimir Putin's pocket, no suggestion it's going to be returned to the man whose name is actually engraved on it -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, so the ring is going to stay put there in Moscow.

Phil Black reporting for us, thank you, Phil.

Now here is a closer look at the ring in question. It has 124 diamonds, nearly 5 carets in total. And teams design their rings to commemorate a championship victory. And lately, they've gotten even bigger on the bling. The Baltimore Ravens, they are the 2013 Super Bowl champs. They just received their rings a few days ago. And the Ravens official website says it may be the flashiest ever. It contains 243 diamonds, plus an amethyst. And it's said to weight 380 grams, that's more than 13 ounces.

And the jewels aren't just for football. NBA teams also get championship rings. And this video on the Dallas Maverick's YouTube page, it shows how their 2011 rings were made.

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

END