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Ecuador Confirms Asylum Request from Snowden; No Sign Snowden Has Left Moscow; Palestinian Wins Arab Idol; Roger Federer Begins Defense Of Wimbledon Title; Verdict In Berlusconi Underage Prostitute Case Expected Today; Opening Arguments Begin For Trayvon Martin Murder Trial
Aired June 24, 2013 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauling Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Where in the world is Edward Snowden? Mystery surrounds the current location of the NSA leaker who fled Hong Kong on Sunday.
Nelson Mandela is in critical condition. We'll get a live report from South Africa.
And Palestinians celebrate as one of their own is crowned the winner of this year's Arab Idol.
The U.S. says send him back. Washington is calling for the extradition of Edward Snowden.
The location of the former contractor for the National Security Agency is unclear at this hour. He arrived in Moscow on Sunday after weeks of hiding here in Hong Kong. He is said to be trying to make his way to Ecuador.
An Aeroflot plane left Moscow for Havana, but there was no sign of Snowden on board.
The U.S. wants him arrested for leaking details about secret surveillance programs. The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks says it is helping Snowden seek asylum in Ecuador.
Now Ecuador's foreign minister is currently in Vietnam. And here's what he had to say about the Snowden situation earlier on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICARDO PATINO, EDUADORAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): I can only confirm we did receive a request for asylum for Mr. Snowden and we are analyzing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Now the U.S. has called on countries not to admit Snowden and to expel him if they do let him in.
CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us now live from Washington with more on the legal aspect of this story.
Jeffrey, first, let's start with how Snowden is actually getting around. The U.S. says it revoked his passport. And we're told that happened before he left Hong Kong. So how can he walk onto a commercial flight from Hong Kong to Moscow? And can he continue to travel without a passport?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in the ordinary course of things he could not travel without a passport. But this, of course, is not an ordinary case. And this is really under the control of the respective governments.
If China wanted him to leave, he was going to leave Hong Kong. China apparently wanted him to leave. Russia, at least, wanted him to arrive in Moscow. It's not clear if he's actually left the airport.
But this is much more of a political and diplomatic matter than it is a legal matter. In an ordinary case, sure, you need a passport to get around. But here, where this case is causing increasing embarrassment for the United States, governments that want the United States to be embarrassed are only too happy to waive some of the technical legal rules.
CHIOU: Yeah, and it's interesting, Jeffrey, because we just got a statement today just a few hours ago from the Hong Kong immigration department saying that they have no notice from the U.S. government that they in fact had revoked the passport of Edward Snowden. So they're saying we didn't know anything about this from the passport perspective.
But this is a cat and mouse game, so the longer this goes on will it be harder for the U.S. to actually extradite him?
TOOBIN: This is really going to be up to the government that controls him. He is now in Russia, a country that has very frosty relations with the United States now. He's thinking of going to Cuba, to Ecuador. It's obvious why he's picking those countries, because those are countries that have frosty or even worse relationships with the United States.
So it's really not a question of the legal -- the legal rights of the United States to extradite him, it's a question of do these governments want to turn him over. He's in a country that doesn't want to turn him over, at least not now. And he wants to get another country that doesn't want to do it. But it's not really about the law, it's about the power politics between the countries.
OK, let's talk about the charges themselves, because Edward Snowden is charged with espionage and also theft of government property. He apparently still has a lot of information that he downloaded from the NSA computers that he hasn't publicly revealed yet. So at this point, is the U.S. government pretty much at a loss in protecting that secret information?
TOOBIN: Totally. Total loss, because he is not under the control of the United States.
I would not be at all surprised if China took a look or made copies of the material he had before they let him leave Hong Kong. This is an intelligence matter for these countries. And remember, the material that Snowden was talking about, at least a significant part of it, was directed at China, was directed at Russia, so they certainly -- those countries certainly are going to want to take a look at this stuff.
And Snowden is in no position to stop them from doing it, or perhaps at this point he's just turning it over to them.
So this is an intelligence disaster for the United States. And at this point, as far as I can tell, the United States is really mostly powerless to stop it.
CHIOU: It's a disaster that's snowballing from country to country. Jeffrey, thank you very much for your legal perspective. Jeffrey Toobin there joining us live from Washington.
Well, Snowden traveled here to Hong Kong back on May 20. And he cited the territory's commitment to freedom of speech. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has harsh words for countries helping Snowden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: And I suppose there's no small irony here -- I mean, I wonder if Mr. Snowden chose China and Russia as assistance in his -- in his flight from justice because they're such powerful bastion of internet freedom. And I wonder if while he was in either of those countries he raised the questions of internet freedom, since that seems to be what he champions. But evidently, he places himself above the law, having betrayed his country with respect to the violation of his oath. And I think there are very serious implications in that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: As I mentioned with Jeffrey earlier, Hong Kong's immigration department says it has not received notice of Snowden's passport being revoked. The government insists he left through a, quote, lawful and normal channel. Washington says it is disappointed by Hong Kong. And one senator is now questioning Beijing's role.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: I had actually thought that China would see this as an opportunity to improve relations and extradite him to the United States. China clearly had a role in this, in my view. I don't think this was just Hong Kong without Chinese acquiescence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Meanwhile, here's what China had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): Hong Kong is a society ruled by law. According to the provisions of the basic laws of Hong Kong and the principle of one nation, two systems, the central government has always respected Hong Kong's special administrative region's decisions on legal cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Now Ecuador has confirmed it has received an asylum request from Snowden. Let's bring in Adriana Hauser now who is live from Quito in Ecuador.
Adriana, do we know when Ecuador will make a decision on whether or not to grant asylum to Snowden?
ADRIANA HAUSER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pauline.
Actually, we don't. And as a matter of fact, what we do know is that the Ecuador foreign minister has said that they will review that petition carefully, that there is the matter of security and that they will take their time. They did confirm that the asylum request was made, but they also said that they were going to review it with time. As a matter of fact, we could -- we -- foreign minister Ricardo Patino spoke earlier from Vietnam. And this is what he had to say regarding the request for asylum. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATINO (through translator): Let us end speculation, we will make the decision in time. We are analyzing it with a lot of responsibility and taking good care of it. Because it has to do with the freedom of expression with the security of citizens around the world, and therefore we have to analyze it deeply. And also with confidentiality of communications.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAUSER: So, Pauline, even though they may take their time and they may analyze this request carefully, there is a precedent. Let's remember that Ecuador granted asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. So we have that precedent there.
We also know from the website WikiLeaks that Snowden was going to actually take what they called a safe route to Ecuador. So that kind of confirmed that the intention is to ultimately make it here to Ecuador. But that asylum has not been granted. And we're waiting to see if, indeed, he arrived -- if Snowden arrived in Ecuador. And if so, if that asylum is granted.
Let's also highlight the fact that there is an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Ecuador, a bilateral treaty, but it was last ratified in 1941. It does not include crimes of espionage. So we'll see. We'll see if that treaty is actually honored or not. We'll see if Snowden arrives in Ecuador or not. We don't know exactly if he's on a plane going to Cuba, as we speculated.
If we ended -- if he ended here in Ecuador, it would end up being a very, very convoluted route to get here. He's actually looking for countries where he could safely hop from one country to another and ultimately make it here in Ecuador.
So we're waiting to see whether or not he lands here and whether or not he receives asylum.
Pauline, back to you.
CHIOU: Right. And Adriana, from what we know, there is no direct commercial flight from Moscow to Quito, so he would have to go somewhere in between.
Now you did mention Julian Assange and that he has asylum in an Ecuadorian embassy, the Ecuadorian embassy in London. So what is it about Ecuador's legal system that seems to welcome and protect whistle-blowers?
HAUSER: Well, like I said before, there is a treaty there -- there is an extradition treaty, so legally the U.S. could have -- could ask for extradition and Ecuador could grant it. The treaty actually was last ratified in 1941. It's full of what they call loopholes. For example, espionage is not actually included in that treaty that was last ratified.
So they could kind of use that to not honor that treaty.
Also, there are people here, there are people in the government here who believe that that information that Snowden revealed was actually important to citizens, that it was actually something they should be aware of, because it was a violation of their privacy. And they also believe that this is a matter of freedom of expression, a freedom of press and that the citizens should be able to know that the U.S. was actually monitoring certain online activities and certain phone calls. So that's the -- you know, that's basically what's behind that.
But like I said, that asylum has not been granted, so we cannot really say that it will until we actually know so -- Pauline.
CHIOU: OK. Thank you for keeping us up to date. That's Adriana Hauser live from Ecuador.
And you are watching News Stream. Still to come, Nelson Mandela's health takes a turn for the worse. We are live outside the hospital where he's being treated.
It is judgment day for Silvio Berlusconi. In just a matter of hours, a court will decide if Italy's former prime minister had illegal sex with an underage prostitute.
And Wimbledon is underway with a tough tournament ahead for defending champion Roger Federer. Find out who he'll face later on.
CHIOU: Former South African president Nelson Mandela is in critical condition at a Pretoria hospital. His condition took a turn for the worse over the weekend. He has been in the hospital for just over two weeks now with a recurring lung infection.
Well, earlier, South African president Jacob Zuma held a news conference in Johannesburg. He said that doctors are doing everything possible to try to make Mr. Mandela comfortable.
Our Robyn Curnow is live outside the hospital where Mr. Mandela is being treated.
Robyn, what else can you tell us about his care at the hospital?
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there.
Well, we know, of course, that he's in an intensive care unit, also that his wife, Graca Machel sleeps at this hotel and at this hospital at night and that he's visited during the day by his family.
What is also important to note is that outside the hospital, despite the security here at the entrance, there is a growing media contingent. Let me give you a sense of that.
So this is essentially got bigger and bigger since that news broke late last night that he was in a critical condition. Crews from around the world flying here -- flying in to South Africa literally setting up camp outside the hospital.
Now this is something that is really disturbing for the family. I spoke to them this weekend. And they say this is an invasion not only of his privacy, but their privacy as well. Take a listen.
MAKI MANDELA, DAUGHTER OF NELSON MANDELA: With all of this media frenzy, the camping in the hospital, you know people talking about things they don't know or understand, basically. Other people want to lecture us how we should behave and what we should do. Really, it's our dad. It's the children's grandfather. We've never had him in our life for better part of our years. This is in a sense quality and sacred time for us. And I would expect the world to really back off and leave us alone.
CURNOW: Some people have said that the family should let him go, that the doctors should let him go as if there was a choice that needs to be made.
MANDELA: In our culture, the Tembut (ph) culture, that I know, the African culture that I know, you never leave the person unless the person has told you please, my children, my family, release me. My dad hasn't said that to us.
So these people who want to talk about, you know, release him and do that, he hasn't said we should release him. And we haven't come to the end yet. It is only god who knows the end.
CURNOW: Is he aware of just how sick he is? Or has he kind of gone already even though he's still physically here?
MANDELA: No. I don't think he's gone. He's still here. He still opens his eyes. He still -- the touch is there.
CURNOW: OK. Well, such a disconnect, isn't there, between what the family wants, the privacy that they crave, and of course a sense of what the public, what South Africans want in terms of details of his condition.
While they say he's their father, South Africans believe that Nelson Mandela is the father of this nation. So very much a tug of war between those two sides of him.
Meanwhile, as you can see behind me at the entrance to this hospital, people, passers by, ordinary South Africans continue to walk there, stick up a letter from their children or their -- you know, their own family, put up a balloon, lay down some flowers.
There is a real sense that South Africans also feel like they're on this journey with someone who is part of their family.
So I think this is a -- this is a difficult time not only for South Africans, but also for Mandela's family.
CHIOU: Yeah, understandably so. A very difficult and delicate time.
Robyn, thank you very much for the update there. That's Robyn Curnow live in Pretoria.
Well, opening statements are due to start today in a case that has sparked a fresh debate about race relations and gun laws in the U.S. These are live pictures from the courthouse in Sanford, Florida where the trial of George Zimmerman will be getting underway soon.
Let's quickly recap the events surrounding this case for you. 29- year-old George Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder. Prosecutors say he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on the night of February 26, 2012. Zimmerman was working as the neighborhood watch captain in the gated community where Martin was staying temporarily. Zimmerman had called police to report what he said was a suspicious person and was told not to pursue that person, but he insists that he shot Martin in self defense. Martin was not carrying a weapon.
For the very latest now on this trial, let's go live to George Howell who is outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida.
George, what are we expecting to happen in opening statements today?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pauline, we will hear both sides lay out their case, their reasons, you know, for and against George Zimmerman in this case. And they will be talking to the jury. Again, a jury of six people who say that they have not yet made up their minds in this case. And when you look at the latest CNN/ORC Poll, a jury like that, a group like that, is hard to find. It shows that the majority of Americans believe that there is some truth in the charges against George Zimmerman, that's the court of public opinion.
But in this courtroom today, it will come down to facts, it will come down to evidence, and the ability of these attorneys to make their case.
HOWELL (voice-over): In the second degree murder trial against George Zimmerman, the first thing jurors will hear, opening statements. Attorney Don West will open for the defense team. Their goal over the next several weeks will be to convince jurors George Zimmerman acted in self-defense the night of February 26th, 2012. The defense aims to show Zimmerman as a man who was in a fight for his life the night he admitted to shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state has supplied every report.
HOWELL: John Guy will open for the state. Prosecutors must prove that Zimmerman was the aggressor. They'll argue he profiled and continued to pursue Trayvon Martin even after a dispatcher told him not to.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK, we don't need you to do that.
HOWELL: There's also the question of who was screaming for help on this 911 tape moments before the fatal shot.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: So you think he's yelling help?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: All right, what is your --
HOWELL: Prosecutors may also call on witnesses who claim it was Trayvon Martin screaming for help. But over the weekend, Judge Debra Nelson denied the testimony of the state's audio experts. CNN legal analyst, Mark Nejame called it a setback for prosecutors.
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Their audio expert was one of the major cornerstones of their entire case. From the beginning, we've been saying that whoever's voice it was crying for help suggested, in fact, showed that the other person was in fact the perpetrator.
HOWELL: The jury was sworn in last week, a panel of all women, five who attorneys say are white and one is black-Hispanic. Their identities kept anonymous in order to protect their privacy.
HOWELL: So we are less than an hour away, minutes away really, from opening statements here in Sanford, Florida. We already know that Attorney Don West, Pauline, could take some two hours to make his opening statements.
CHIOU: Well, George, in the meantime, there was a major ruling over the weekend where the judge banned certain evidence. Why is this so significant?
HOWELL: Right. Well, it came down to this, the state wanted to bring in its own experts who were basically able to rule out the possibility of this being George Zimmerman screaming on this 911 audio. You have to go back to that date, February 26, a lot of people called 911 a year ago. On one of those calls that was highly scrutinize, you hear someone screaming, "help! Help!" in the background. Was it Trayvon Martin, was it George Zimmerman?
Well the prosecution, they had their own experts who were basically implying that it was likely Trayvon Martin, which would play to their case. But now they won't be able to have those experts heard in this particular trial. They can call in witnesses. They can call in Martin's family, for instance. They can give their opinions, but we will not hear from experts giving their opinions, their insight into this case.
CHIOU: And the jury will not be able to hear that tape as well.
All right, George...
HOWELL: The jury will be able to hear the tape, but they won't be able to hear from the experts.
CHIOU: I got it. OK, very good. Thank you. It's a fascinating case. George, thank you very much. George Howell there live from the state of Florida.
Well, police in southern England say they've arrested a man in connection with the execution style killing of a family in the French Alps last year. The 54-year-old has not been named. Police say three members of the al-Hilli family and a French cyclist were shot dead on a remote forest road last September. The al-Hilli's two daughters did survive that attack.
Now we want to bring you a live press conference from Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino. Keep in mind that Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, has requested asylum in Ecuador. Let's hear from the foreign minister who is live now in Hanoi in Vietnam.
PATINO (through translator): Making public breaches and civil violations by the USA of their constitution, in essence, the fourth and fifth amendments as well as several treaties by the United Nations which are (inaudible).
I'll continue reading.
As a result of my political views and my exercise of freedom of expression, I have stated that the U.S. government is intercepting most of the world's communications. The U.S. government has announced publicly there will be a criminal investigation against me. Likewise, prominent figures of the U.S. Congress as well as several media has accused me of traitor and have made a call for me to be imprisoned or executed after having communicated this information to the public.
Some of the charges against me, (inaudible) by the U.S. Justice Department (inaudible) in the law, including the possible sentences -- life imprisonment.
(inaudible) six miles away from Washington, there is a jury which probably will have members of the Pentagon and the CIA and government agencies. This is the same district which is leading the Justice Department investigation against WikiLeaks.
Ecuador has granted asylum to the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange regarding such investigation. And it continues -- my case is very similar to the U.S. soldier Bradley Manning who published and leaked government information via WikiLeaks. He was arrested by the U.S. government and he was treated non-humanely during his jail term in solitary confinement before trial. This was determined by Juan Mendez, the UN against torture (inaudible). Manning has been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.
The trial against Bradley Manning has taken place now and secret witnesses have been summoned to court and secret documents have been submitted.
The communication ends. Mr. (inaudible), I think that because of the circumstances it is unlikely that I will have a fair trial or humane treatment before trial. And also I have the risk of life imprisonment or death.
And this is the end of the communication signed by Mr. Edward J. Snowden.
I'd like to point out a few things about this. First of all, there have been some questions made by the media in the last few hours. The Ecuadorian government would like to state that in previous occasions, we have said that we are going to act according to the principles contained in our constitution. They emanate from the universal declaration of human rights and other instruments in the framework of international law and human rights, humanitarian rights.
The Ecuadorian government places above its interests the principles, always the principles stated in the universal declaration of human rights. These will be a priority above any other pressure or interests.
Secondly, we would like to point out about -- something about the man who wanted to show light in relation to the freedom of all people. He now finds himself in a situation where he is persecuted by those who should provide explanation to the world's governments and the world's citizens in relation to the (inaudible) made by Mr. Snowden.
But unfortunately now the person who is denouncing is persecuted.
Thirdly, we would like to say also that in the last few days there have been mentioned the word treason. We have to ask, who has betrayed who? Some citizens, are they not loyal to their (inaudible) citizens and humanity after having revealed dangers against (inaudible)?
We also ask the question that is very current. There is complaint in relation to a secret and well executed plan for world espionage not only affecting the U.S. citizens, not only affecting the European citizens, but also affecting all the citizens in the world in breach of all of the rights of all the citizens of the universe.
Will this be betraying the world's citizens or betraying certain elites of power in a certain country, which is the right concept of betrayal or treason?
Couldn't that be useful to humanity to try and avoid having a situation of suffering. for example, information about the Iraq invasion, which was based on totally false information.
Wouldn't it -- it would have been convenient to have known about it before hundreds of people were assassinated and before a whole nation has been subject to suffering.
CHIOU: You've been listening to the foreign minister of Ecuador, his name is Ricardo Patino, talking about communication that his government has had with Edward Snowden who is the NSA leaker who revealed information about the secret surveillance program in the U.S.
No in that communication, the foreign minister said that Edward Snowden believes that he will not get a fair trial in the U.S. And he also hinted that he could be harmed physically.
Edward Snowden also compared his case to that of Bradley Manning who is the U.S. military private who leaked information on WikiLeaks awhile back. And he also said that his political views are a matter of freedom of expression.
So Ecuador is considering the asylum request. They are taking their time. They haven't made a decision yet.
We will keep you updated on this developing story throughout the next couple of days.
For now, we're going to take a quick break, and we'll be right back.
CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. And you're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines we're following.
Washington is calling for the extradition of Edward Snowden. The location of the former contractor for the National Security Agency is currently unclear. Snowden arrived in Moscow on Sunday. He is said to be trying to make his way to Ecuador via Cuba. And Aeroflot plane has left Moscow for Havana, but there is no evidence that Snowden is actually on board.
Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital. His condition took a turn for the worse over the weekend. The 94-year-old former South African leader is being treated for a recurring lung infection.
The trial of the man accused of killing unarmed American teenager Trayvon Martin begins today in a Florida courtroom. George Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder. He says he shot Martin in self-defense. The case has been the center of an ongoing debate in the U.S. about race relations and gun control.
Rescuers in northern India are trying to reach thousands of people still stranded by flood waters. More than 500 bodies have been recovered, but officials fear the final death toll could be as high as 1,000.
Now we have some extreme weather to tell you about. Rising flood waters have forced the evacuation of some 10,000 people in Alberta, Canada. This is Medicine Hat where people have been piling up sandbags hoping that will keep the water out.
The south Saskatchewan River is expected to peak today and cause record flooding.
Medicine Hat is not far from Calgary where flood waters caused massive damage last week. An official says power in the city center is expected to remain out for days, even weeks. So we've got a lot to talk about from the flooding in India and also the flooding in Canada.
Let's go to Tom Sater who is live at the world weather center -- Tom.
TOM SATER, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, both of these instances and events in India and Canada both have to do with just a deluge of rain, unexpected, but also becuase they were both high terrain areas.
When we talk about western Canada, Calgary is actually at the foothills. It starts the Canadian plains, but it butts right up against the Rockies. And of course the northern part of the Rockies, the Canadian Rockies.
So when you have heavy amounts of rainfall, all of that, of course, downstream into the significant metropolitan area, but about a million people in Calgary rain is still in the forecast. And as mentioned, the water is so high, of course they had to evacuate the downtown area, mainly because of the power outages and the threat for electrocution. Safety reasons mainly.
But you can see the terrain here.
Now light rain is in the forecast, nothing that's going to cause the rivers to swell anymore. It's more of a psychological event. But you can see the downtown area. Several communities still being told to stay away from home.
You have the Elbow River. Some residents will be able to return maybe in a day, day-and-a-half. On the Bow River, some are going to have to wait maybe a week or so. It's just too unsafe with so many structures that have been wiped off their foundations.
So as we watch the river, this is the Bow River, and of course it rose significantly and so quickly that many of course had to get out in a moment's notice. The problem is, we're not seeing a significant recession of the water. So again it remains high.
The flow, which is typically maybe 200 square meters per second on some of these rivers, over 1,500 square meters per second.
This is downstream.
Now this is Medicine Hat, you can see the community here. This is the south Saskatchewan River. They've evacuated 10,000 here because the river continues to rapidly rise.
So we're going to find that to be the event over and over.
In India, it's amazing. They are now heading into the second week of rescues. The military is doing everything they can using 11 large transport aircraft. They're clearing roads, bridges have been washed away. It's a tedious process. We had this picture just moments ago. Authorities say that along the Ganges River, the Ganga, the are 100 villages that have people that need to be rescued without shelter, without medical supplies, food and water. And unfortunately, even on Sunday, inclement weather with fog kind of descending in the area.
Now thunder storms, we have a severe threat still in the same region of Uttarakhand up into the Himachal Pradesh and even in the neighboring Nepal reporting as many as 39 fatalities.
But this is the last thing that we're going to want to see.
Now Chundrigar is more in the place. This is in the state of Punjab. But you get a little bit further to the north, the town of Shimla, the problems there. And many are saying, you know, we can't wait for the aircraft, we can't wait for the 36 helicopters that are transporting maybe five to 10 people at a time. And they're trying to traverse some of the high terrain. Unfortunately, we've got another area of low pressure that's moving heavier rain in toward the region, although most of it should stay south. This is going to go on for a couple of weeks.
And before I toss back to you, I have to mention we've had some heavy rain in Vietnam in the last 24 to 48 hours, 319, but Hong Kong -- Pauline, you had your fair share overnight through the day as well as you now have been looking at well over 137 now in the last 24 hours. Xiantao as well with 114.
We're going to watch this slowly lift to the north.
A lot of rain in some unexpected areas, unfortunately.
CHIOU: Yeah. And some of those photos that you showed us are just horrifying, especially in India where 50,000 people are stranded. So many challenges there.
All right, thank you for the update there, Tom. Tom Sater at the World Weather Center.
We move on to Italy now and what's happening there. A verdict is expected today in the trial of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. He's charged with paying for sex with a minor and also abusing his official power.
If Berlusconi is found guilty, prosecutors want him to serve six years in prison and be banned from politics for life.
Well, Berlusconi has always maintained that he's innocent.
Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is live outside the courthouse in Milan. Ben, do we have a sense of which way this verdict might go?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, we don't. We know that this morning the court met for about 10 minutes, the defense submitted a seven page document to be considered by the three female judges who will make the ruling in this case. These three judges apparently don't like to rush to judgment. So it may be some hours before we hear a final verdict.
Now if -- in case Silvio Berlusconi is found guilty, it's important to keep in mind that according to the Italian judicial system, he still can appeal the verdict twice. And according to some legal experts, that means that this particular case could go on for as many as five more years.
What's important to keep in mind, Pauline, is that this is not the only legal case that the former Italian prime minister is involved in. He is involved in one case of tax evasion related to his media empire. And in that case, by the end of the year he will have exhausted all his rights to appeal. In which case, in that particular instance he may be facing a prolonged ban on participation in public life as well as a jail sentence.
So, many headache for the former Italian prime minister. This is just one of them.
CHIOU: Yeah, many headaches, but Silvio Berlusconi is like a cat with nine lives. He keeps coming back. And keeps getting into politics.
What is the general sentiment about -- among public opinion about Silvio Berlusconi?
WEDEMAN: Well, with the Italians, they either love Silvio Berlusconi or they hate him with a passion. And it's important to keep in mind that in the elections that occurred here in February, that his party earned around a quarter of the vote. So he still has a core of supporters who come out, vote for him, and have been outside the courtroom this morning expressing their support for him.
But every one who loves Silvio Berlusconi, you'll find another one who doesn't. So it -- he's a very divisive figure in a very already divisive political landscape here, Pauline.
CHIOU: All right, Ben, thank you for keeping us posted as you preview this verdict that comes out from the three judges.
We'll be waiting along with you. That's Ben Wedeman there live in Milan.
Now U.S. senators are set to hold their first big vote on border security amendment. Among other things, it calls for the completion of 700 miles, more than 1,000 kilometers, of fencing along the border with Mexico. Critics say these kinds of measures do little to stop people who are really determined to get into the U.S.
Well, Nick Parker brings us an usual perspective on illegal immigration from Mexico.
NICK PARKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: El Alberto, an indigenous town with a history of mass migration to the United States.
(on camera): The U.S. border is 700 miles, or more than 1,000 kilometers in that direction. But tonight, in one of Mexico's most famously offbeat amusement parks, we're going to experience a simulation of what it's like to illegally cross the border.
(voice-over): As night falls, the tourists gather.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have some family who crossed to United States in that way. So it could be interesting for me to know that kind of experience. But I don't want to do like that.
PARKER: The aim of the hike is to educate on the dangers of border crossing to discourage further migration.
"In the last three years, our village has produced accountants and lawyers for the first time," says our guide. "What you're going to learn tonight is that it can be done if you want to."
And then, we were off.
It wasn't long before we were hiding from border guards.
KAREN NAVA, TOURIST: They must be here somewhere, find them.
PARKER: Then we were ambushed.
(on camera): The group has just been stopped by a gang of narcotraffickers, which illustrates some of the vulnerabilities these migrants face crossing the border.
(voice-over): The hike lasts for nearly four hours at a cost of $20 per hiker.
(on camera): This is actually really deep.
(voice-over): I quickly learned that I was not very good at this.
Eventually, some of our group were arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you trafficking people?
PARKER: And the rest were blind-folded and driven to an imaginary Dallas by the smugglers.
And here was the final surprise, a torchlit display for those who have died crossing the border and for those who stay to work in the village.
SERGIO CABRERA, TOURIST: There was a lot of excitement, a lot of curiosity at the end. It's fantastic.
PARKER: The park is expecting more visitors if, as many presume, the United States heightens border security.
The message of hope for Mexico's economic future is shared well beyond this park. Nick Parker, CNN, El Alberto, Mexico.
CHIOU: You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, these aren't people, they are puppets. And in this week's Art of Movement, we meet the master of these marionettes.
CHIOU: It takes creativity and dexterity to make marionettes dance and move with lifelike fluidity. Our Nick Glass looks into the art of performing with puppets.
NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It just seemed the instinctive thing to do: to kneel and to offer an index finger by way of handshake. This is stick man, a traditional wooden marionette -- long- limbed and beautifully languorous and balletic when he moves.
BASIL TWIST, PUPPETEER: I was into the artist Jacometti (ph) at the time when I carved them. So I was into long, skinny figures.
GLASS: From head to toe, stick man is about 20 inches high. The master puppeteer controlling his 16 strings goes by the marvelous and real name of Basil Twist. And Twist draws a critical distinction between forcing stick man to move in a certain way and animating him naturally.
TWIST: I'm not making him do anything specific. I'm kind of just using what's the natural pendulum action and I don't care where his legs go. I don't care where they land. And suddenly he comes alive in a different way than if I'm like trying to put the legs someplace. He -- there's some sort of like freedom in him just like bouncing. He has this natural pendulum in him. And once you know the weight and can feel it you can kind of let him do that.
GLASS: It's a small world, theater puppetry, but probably no one is more admired or more inventive than Basil Twist.
Twist's puppet ballet of Patrushka, created for the Lincoln center in New York in 2001. These are so-called rod puppets. And at about four foot high, they're pretty big. Each one requires three operators to move the rods attached to the puppets heads, arms and legs.
And Twist wanted to test dexterity to the limit. The puppets danced to Stravinsky's score like no other dancers.
TWIST: I wanted things that puppeteers would wonder how did they do that, because to make a puppet like that spin actually is hard, because every -- there's three people hold on to it. So to make him turn you actually have to let go of him and regrip him and pass him around.
GLASS: Symphonie Fantastique in 1998 was set in a water tank to music by Hector Berlioz. Things materialized and vanished, were transformed by a quartet of puppeteers working unseen in wet suits. Twist used fabric, feathers, tinsel, dyes, bubbles, anything he felt that worked.
With a fan at his feet, playing with a rectangular white silk in the studio, Basil Twist has helped reinvent the very vocabulary of his art form. Throwing the silk up, caressing it, being enveloped by it, leaving it to float and fall. Every ripple, every flutter is somehow different.
TWIST: That idea of bringing something to life, bringing the inanimate to life, that it has -- and that's -- the essence of that is that it moves, that it moves and that we actually believe that it's moving itself and that it has (inaudible).
GLASS: That's an absolutely entrancing things.
TWIST: Yeah. It's totally entrancing.
CHIOU: And that is the art of movement.
Still to come on News Stream, find out what got these Palestinian party goers so excited over the weekend.
CHIOU: Play is underway at Wimbledon, the most prestigious and unique of the four tennis grand slams. Right now, defending champion Roger Federer is playing his first round match on center court. But much of the attention before the tournament was on Federer's possible quarterfinal opponent, Rafael Nadal.
Now it's an usually early meeting for rivals who have met in eight grand slam finals. But Federer says he's not looking that far ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER FEDERER, TENNIS PLAYER: It was never supposed to be easy winning grand slams. And I'm ready for the challenge. I like tough draws. I don't shy away from them. There's anyway no control over it. You -- all you can control as a tennis player is who you play and who you face, that's not -- that's up to the draw to decide.
I have a very difficult draw with Rafa being in my quarter, but my focus is on the first round. And if you want to win the tournament here, you anyway, have to beat the best. And that's what I'm here for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: And Federer's title defense is off to a good start right now. He has won the first set and has a commanding lead in the second set.
Well, this was a scene on the streets of Ramallah in the West Bank on Saturday night. Crowds of people partying with posters of a Palestinian college student who had just won the televised Arab Idol singing contest. Mohammed Jamjoom has more on his story.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's given Arabs something to smile about, Palestinians a reason to be proud. When Mohammed Assaf (ph), a 23 year old from Gaza was crowned this year's Arab Idol, they went wild in the studio and celebrated in the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, you see, everybody going crazy. Everybody is happy. This is the best thing to happen to Palestine since god knows when.
JAMJOOM: In Ramallah, an eruption of euphoria. They chanted his name, danced in his honor, set off fireworks.
"I'm very, very happy," says this young girl. "I can't wait for him to come here. I'm so excited, I can't believe it. I can't believe it."
An outpouring of emotion. In Gaza, it was gridlock. Mohammed's hometown came to a standstill while Palestinians partied.
An extremely festive atmosphere for a population unaccustomed to happy endings.
With an incredible voice and an inspirational story, it didn't take long for Mohammed to become a heart throb and a hero. He made the difficult journey out of Gaza, but still barely made it to the tryouts in Cairo.
Another contestant heard him sing, and decided to give up his number to Mohammed could audition.
Charming audiences and judges early on, he was nicknamed The Rocket and became a fan favorite singing patriotic Palestinian songs.
The former wedding singer told me he was overwhelmed and humbled, that he'd just lived the happiest moment of his life.
"An artist is made by his fans," he tells me. "The love of your fans is better than all the money in the world. There's nothing better. And I feel like today that's what I won."
On stage after his big win, Mohammed was draped in a Palestinian flag dedicating the victory to his people. He said he still couldn't believe his luck, but more than anything he wants his success to challenge negative stereotypes, insisting Palestinians can overcome their dire economic and political circumstances.
"The Palestinian people can speak in a million languages full of beauty, love and peace to the Arab world and to the whole world," he says. "The Palestinian people don't love wars and killing and destruction."
It's clear now The Rocket has launched.
Mohammed Assaf is soaring to stardom, hoping against hope that when Palestinians hear his voice, they'll finally feel they have a voice.
Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.
CHIOU: And finally, you could say it was just another day at the office for Nik Wallenda, only this time when the daredevil set up shop, he commanded one spectacular view. Take a look at this video. Wallenda's high wire extended over a gorge just east of the Grand Canyon. The span was 427 meters long. It look him 22 minutes to walk very slowly across the cable. And as you can see just from your shirt it was quit windy up there.
Wallenda is hoping next to do a tight rope walk between New York's Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Amazing.
Well, that is News Stream, but the news continues right here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.