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Oscar Pistorius Indicted With Premeditated Murder; Bo Xilai's Trial Begins; Ninja Media Uses Smartphones To Cover Brazilian Protests; Europe Wins First Ever Solheim Cup On U.S. Soil

Aired August 19, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: A royal interview about fatherhood and family. And that was CNN USA's special coverage of the first official interview with Prince William since the royal birth. And we'll bring you the second part of that interview in about half an hour from now.

Now after the break, we'll get the latest international headlines. Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is indicted and set to go on trial. I'll tell you why many legal observers say the proceedings could take a year or more.

Plus, he was once considered a princeling in Chinese politics. Now Bo Xilai is set to go on trial for corruption. We'll have the latest.

And more deadly violence in Egypt as the nation remains more divided than ever.


LU STOUT: Now China's biggest political scandal in decades is set to go to trial on Thursay. Now Bo Xilai is accused of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. Once a rising star of the Communist Party, authorities say that he abused his official state position to seek financial benefits resulting in, quote, "huge losses to the nation and the people."

Now Bo has not been seen in public since the scandal first emerged more than a year ago. David McKenzie has more.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Disgraced former Communist Party kingpin Bo Xilai has vanished from public view for months. Now he'll make an appearance at his trial on Thursday in Eastern China on corruption charges, charges he denies.

It's a spectacular fall from grace for a man once considered a shoe-in for the highest levels of leadership in China, a princeling, part of Communist Party royalty.

He ruled megacity Chongqing with an iron fist and grew popular by cracking down on crime and promoting populist policies. He also made many powerful enemies.

And Bo was brought down by a scandal that rocked the party to its core. There are many twists and turns to the saga, but his wife Gu Kailai's conviction in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood sealed Bo's fate.

There are now questions about whether Gu will be brought out to testify against her husband. But one thing is certain, it's a key test for Chinese president Xi Jinping, a contemporary of Bo and a fellow princeling.

The party will portray Bo's trial as part of Xi's anti-corruption drive.

But analysts I've spoken to say it's also a way to send a strong message to other leaders to tow the party line.

David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.


LU STOUT: And if you want more information about how this scandal unfolded, check out our website for a comprehensive timeline.

Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up next, we will be live in South Africa as Oscar Pistorius appears in court.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong you're back watching News Stream. And on the day, Reeva Steenkamp would have turned 30. Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, he was back in court in South Africa today. Now he was formally charged with Steenkamp's murder and a date was set for trial.

Now you're recall that Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp at his home on Valentine's Day. His lawyers say it was an accident after he mistook her for an intruder.

Now Robyn Curnow was inside the courtroom for today's hearing. She joins us now from outside the courthouse. And Robyn, you've read the indictment. What does it reveal?


Well, the indictment I think basically reveals the state of the state's case against Oscar Pistorius. I think what is key is that they're still going ahead with planning to charge him with premeditated and planned murder. That's the toughest, the most severest charge they can bring against him.

Now what does that mean? What does that indicate in terms of the strength of the state's case.

We have with us legal analyst Kelly Phelps. She's also a law lecturer at the University of Cape Town. What does this mean?

KELLY PHELPS, UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN: Well, it actually doesn't have an impact on the conviction. The reason for that is murder, whether it's planned or premeditated or just regular murder, requires the same elements to be proved for conviction. But at sentencing, that's where the difference comes in, because planned and premeditated murder is subject to a mandatory minimum life sentence.

CURNOW: And from your reading of the indictment -- we've been sitting here at eight pages -- do you think that premeditated murder is stretching it a little bit? Are they kind of bringing a kind of tenuous angle to this?

PHELPS: I do think the premeditated aspect is a long shot. It's not impossible, because what it consists of premeditated murder is defined on a case by case basis. But generally courts have been unwilling to find a murder premeditated when it's happened on the spur of the moment. And in terms of the rest of the indictment, it appears that the argument the state is trying to make is that Pistorius and Steenkamp got into a heated fight, a heated argument and in the spur of the moment he decided to shoot her. And I think it will be difficult for them to fit that into the category of premeditated.

CURNOW: What is also interested about our reading of the indictment is that they're already trying to sort of poke holes in the defense's case, because Pistorius obviously coming right out of the front saying he thought she was a burglar. It was a tragic mistake. And they're kind of addressing that in the indictment already.

PHELPS: Yes, absolutely. They're saying that even if their version of events are not accepted by the court, they still dispute his version of events. He claims that he was under the mistaken belief that he was acting in self-defense whereas the state are saying that based on the evidence whoever he thought was behind that bathroom door, he clearly meant to kill them. He had the direct intention to kill them, and therefore the error about the person involved should not make a difference.

CURNOW: And in terms of Pistorius's defense, we know as they go forward that it's not just going to be a self-defense, (inaudible) about the fact that he is a double amputee and that he has a legitimate right or feeling of being scared of an intruder.

PHELPS: Absolutely, that will be a crucial aspect to his version of events being (inaudible) in the court. From two perspectives, both in order to escape a murder charge he would need to prove that he honestly and genuinely believed he was acting in self-defense. He would then lack intention for a murder charge. But in order to escape the lower charge of culpable homicide, the mistake would need to be reasonable. And he's going to argue that his relative vulnerability meant that it was reasonable for him to be under that level of fear.

CURNOW: And then one other thing, last thing is there is 107 witnesses listed from the state's point of view on the indictment. That's a lot of witnesses. What does that mean?

PHELPS: That's quite an incredible number, actually. I mean, when you consider that that's only the state's list, so the defense is going to want to put forward witnesses to counteract the evidence of the witnesses that the state puts forward. If they end up calling all 107 witnesses this is going to be an exceptionally long trial.

CURNOW: Now just months, years you say.

PHELPS: Yes, absolutely.

I think there's a chance they won't call all of the witnesses they've listed, but if they do it will certainly run into years.

CURNOW: OK. And what do you think having such a long list of witnesses says about the strength of the state's case. Do they have the evidence, perhaps -- or they're lacking evidence and now they're looking for circumstantial evidence to try and bolster their version of events.

PHELPS: Well, they either can mean that they've been exceptionally cautious and not leaving a stone unturned and bolstering all of their evidence, but equally it can be an indication that a lot of what they're relying on is circumstantial and they therefore need to put forward (inaudible) to back up the circumstantial evidence.

CURNOW: OK. Interesting times ahead. Kelly Phelps there, a legal analyst and law lecturer at the University of Cape Town.

Now the first phase of this trial begins on the third of March. And now that will take, as you heard from Kelly, you know, it's just unclear. But there will definitely be a number of postponements and of course it depends on how many of those witnesses are called over the next few months.

LU STOUT: Yeah, great legal analysis there ahead of the trial, as you said, due to begin in March of next year. Robyn Curnow joining us live from Pretoria, thank you.

Now, thanks to modern technology, it's easier than ever to record an event and then post it on the web. Shasta Darlington shows us one news team doing that on the sometimes chaotic streets of Brazil.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First cannister of tear gas is fired: a tense standoff between protesters and police quickly turns violent. On the scene, streaming it all live Ninja Media, a social media news team armed with smartphones and battery packs.

Anti-government marches that exploded in June have flared up again. In one of the latest protests, 3,000 people took to the streets and torched turnstiles, protesting against alleged corruption in the construction of the Sao Paolo subway.

Ninja reporter Hugo provided live video and running commentary. They're out in force against the government, he says.

Millions now follow Ninja Media on Facebook and live Twitcasts, looking for what they say is an unfiltered view of events.

(on camera): Everyone talks about the technology, but the idea is actually very simple. All you need is a smartphone.

(voice-over): Ninja Media's reporters work out of cooperatives, largely financed through art and music festivals. Young and tech savvy, they favor hoodies, scruffy beards and graffiti covered news rooms.

Here in Sao Paolo, 20 members also live at the headquarters.

FELIPE ALTENFELDER, NINJA MEDIA: This is the heart of the house...

DARLINGTON: Felipe Altenflelder shows us around and talks about their sudden popularity.

ALTENFELDER: We are talking about a ninja journalism, which is this journalism that's it's make it live without addition, showing the facts in the moment that they happen.

DARLINGTON: During the wave of protests in June that saw more than a million people take to the streets, many Brazilians accused large media outlets of focusing on the isolated groups of vandals instead of peaceful marches.

They turned to Ninja Media.

Altenfelder says they're now seeking crowd funding to beef up operations before big protests expected during elections and the World Cup next year.

ALTENFELDER: You have the whole world looking to Brazil. And we cannot just pretend that everything is all awesome, marvelous, and it's a good moment to show the contradictions.

DARLINGTON: They won't be alone.

Many Brazilians have followed suit, including this young woman who says she and her friends have just started Geisha Media, inspired by ninja and the desire to give Brazilians another perspective on events.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paolo.


LU STOUT: Now coming up on News Stream. Fresh violence is fanning the flames in Egypt as more protests are planned. State TV is reporting that 25 soldiers have been killed in (inaudible) in the Sinai. We'll have the latest.

Also, we'll bring you more of Prince William's first official interview since the birth of his son. The royal dad talks to CNN's Max Foster.


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

The South African prosecutors have charged Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius with planned and premeditated murder. His trial is set to begin on March 3 of next year. Pistorius admits he fatally shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day. His lawyers say it was an accident after his mistook her for an intruder.

A hostage standoff is unfolding right now in the German city of Engelstadt. Now police say an armed man is holding several people at the city's old town hall. In light of the situation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has canceled a speech that she was scheduled to make in the city today. We'll keep you updated on the situation as we get more information.

And in Eastern India, 28 people are dead and several more are seriously injured after an express train plowed into them at a train station. It happened in Bihar State as passengers exited one train and were crossing the tracks. After the accident, an angry crowd attacked the express train and its driver.

Egypt has closed its border crossing into Gaza after suspected militants killed at least 25 Egyptian soldiers near the border city of Rafah, that's according to state run Nile TV. Now the Sinai has seen frequent militant attacks even before the latest round of turmoil in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood has condemned that attack on Egyptian soldiers. It insists it will only use peaceful means of protest. Now the Brotherhood is calling for continuing demonstrations against the interim government. Egypt's top military chief is warning supporters of deposed President Mosry to give up their fight. Defense minister Abdel Fattah al-Sissi spoke on Sunday, his first public comments since Wednesday's deadly crackdown on pro-Morsy protest camps. Some 900 people have died in this week's violence, and that includes at least 36 Muslim Brotherhood prisoners who suffocated in this vehicle on Sunday.

Now Egypt's interior ministry says security forces fired tear gas during an attempted jail break.

Now the Brotherhood's political arm is calling for an international investigation. But the international community has been divided in its response to recent events. The European Union is due to discuss Egypt this week.

In the United States, some lawmakers are calling on the White House to cut off aid to Cairo. But others, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are stepping into assist the interim government.

Now remember, the unrest, it dates back to June, that's when large protests were held against then President Morsy. The military removed him from office on July 3. And his supporters have taken to the streets ever since.

Now the interim government declared a monthlong state of Emergency on Wednesday. And Cairo is under curfew. Let's take you now live to the Egyptian capital. Frederik Pleitgen is standing by. And Fred, just adding to the rising death toll there, dozens of prisoners were killed in the back of a prison van. Can you tell us what happened?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still trying to piece together what exactly happened. There are sort of several different versions of the events there, Kristie.

One of them was that apparently that prison convoy might have been attacked by armed gunmen, but later the official news agency took that back and said apparently in one of the vehicles there was somewhat of a mutiny. And when one of the guards came to take a look at what it was, the prisoners inside that prison van took that official as a hostage and then the authorities move in, fired tear gas into that prison vehicle and that's when those 36 people suffocated.

As you said, the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for an investigation. They, of course, put the death toll much higher.

But one of the things that's been going on since here is that the Muslim Brotherhood, the Morsy supporters, have been criticizing the security forces and especially the police of a heavy-handed approach to quelling the violence that's going on here.

However, many people here in Egypt are giving the police newfound support. Have a look.


PLEITGEN: Egyptian police units on the front line in the recent crackdown against supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy. Hundreds of protesters and dozens of policemen were killed in clashes. Security forces have been criticized internationally for their heavy-handed action.

But now Egypt's police is launching its own media offensive to show the casualties among its ranks.

The doctors at the main police hospital in Cairo say this officer was severely wounded when pro-Morsy protesters beat him. He didn't want to give details of the incident.

"These are things I don't want to talk about. It's not the time for emotional talk," he says.

General Dadir Hagezi (ph) is one of the doctors in charge. He showed us several policemen wounded in the fighting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chest, upper neck, shoulder. Gunshot.

PLEIGTEN: Dr. Hagezi (ph) claims despite the injuries, the men remain in high spirits.

"The morale is very high," he says. "And all those injured hope to return to the forces as soon as possible."

(on camera): The hospital says it's received dozens of patients like this one. They say many of the injuries, the wounds that these police officers have come from blunt weapons, things like baseball bats, things like batons, but also from knives and from guns as well. Most of the patients, of course, they can save, but many of them have very severe injuries and there are some people who have died in this hospital.

(voice-over): Egypt's police was long considered a brutal, corrupt and undisciplined organization. But they've seen a surge in popularity since the force took the lead in the crackdown on Morsy supporters. State TV recently aired live footage of the funerals of several policemen killed in clashes.

But police are accused of opening fire on protesters, and even some who are on the side of the interim government say Egyptians are turning a blind eye to the alleged abuses.

AHMED MAHER, 6TH APRIL MOVEMENT: It's (inaudible) in Egypt that the people can accept violence. And they can't imagine that this violence will be applied on them in the future. So maybe the reason for that, the people are afraid from Muslim Brotherhood, were afraid from terrorism.

PLEITGEN: Egypt's government calls the crackdown on Morsy supporters a fight against terror. Many Egyptians seem to agree and are willing to support hardline police action even as people on both sides are killed and wounded.


PLEITGEN: And both sides are not backing down, Kristie. One of the things that the Muslim Brotherhood announced today is that there would be at least nine further protest marches. They're set to begin in about an hour, mostly in and around the Cairo area, also in Giza. So again both sides showing no sign of backing down. The government for its side is saying that it will continue its hardline and even escalate if necessary, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Both sides very defiant, deeply divided there in Egypt. Frederik Pleitgen reporting live from the Egyptian capital. Thank you.

Now we will have more international news for you in just a few minutes right here on News Stream. But up next, we'll rejoin our sister network CNN USA for part two of Max Foster's interview with PrinceWilliam, the British royal's first interview since becoming a father.




LU STOUT: ...forecast with a focus on the tropical storm in the Philippines. In fact many parts of Manila are said to be waist high in water because of the torrential rain there. Let's get the details with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, yeah, people have been talking about this throughout the entire weekend and then again today. Most of the day the rain non-stop across parts of Luzon, including Manila. Manila proper getting some torrential rain. Schools were closed, businesses were closed.

Look at the face on these -- the fear that they have in their faces as this family gets rescued from the water. This is just outside of Manila in an area notorious for flooding. And, you know, they try to go on with life, people trying to save what they can out of the marketplace, for example, see if they can reuse it, see if they can maybe try to sell it even.

And you can see here, people just trying to cope with the high water.

It is a very serious situation. Look at these rainfall totals that I have for you here. In Ambulong, an area just to the north, 500 millimeters -- that's half a meter of rainfall in just a period of 24 hours.

And these are yesterday's totals. We don't even have today's totals yet, but they have been fairly similar.

Look at Manila, over 200 millimeters of rain. That is why you have such significant flooding.

What is going on? You didn't have a direct impact from that tropical storm that's out there. Tropical Storm Trami has been kind of over to the side here farther to the east. This storm is actually headed toward Taiwan.

What happens is you're getting some of the outer bands of the storm, and that is helping enhance the monsoon.

And I want to talk a little bit about this combination that's happening here that is bringing just this punishing rain across the area. It's called the southwest monsoon enhancement. So basically during this time of year, we have all that moisture that gets pulled in here off the South China Sea. That's pretty normal. It tends to be the heaviest rainfall of the year.

But then we have the combination that just helps increase it. And that is when we get a tropical cyclone just to the north and east here of Luzon. And that helps bring in even more moisture. And that is what you have right now. Unfortunately, until this storm moves away, that heavy rain, torrential rain, is going to continue. We still have some areas here that could get 5 to maybe 8 centimeters of additional rainfall. The storm itself headed in the general direction of Taiwan in the next couple of days.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right, Mari, thank you for the update on the storm and the devastation there.

Now let's turn to sport now and history was made at golf's Solheim Cup. The European squad won their first ever tournament on American soil. Our Shane O'Donoghue was there and tells us how they pulled it off.


SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Led by women's golfing legend Nancy Lopez, U.S. fans were whipped into a frenzy on the first tee Sunday despite the fact that the Americans would have to make an epic comeback on this final day of competition if they were going to win back the Solheim Cup.

But it was too much to ask as the Europeans made history by winning the cup on U.S. soil for the first time.

LISELOTTE NEUMANN, TEAM EUROPE CAPTAIN: This is just the ultimate best feeling right now. It is -- this is definitely the topping of the cake. You know, if I don't hit another golf shot, if I'm never on the golf course again I'll be super happy.

CAROLINE MASSON, GOLFER: We came here and we thought, you know, we might have a chance. We have a pretty good team. And then a really great atmosphere and the team, but to actually get it done. And for the first time in the States, it's just unbelievable. So proud to be part of that team.

SUZANN PETTERSEN, GOLFER: It's massive for women's golf, it's massive for the Solheim, for us to be historic on American soil in Colorado in front of pretty much an all-American crowd. They've -- we took it to them.

O'DONOGHUE: Suzann Pattersen was the headliner for Europe heading into the competition, but it was Caroline Hedwall who played her way into the history books by becoming the first player to win five matches in a single Solheim Cup.

CAROLIEN HEDWALL, GOLFER: It's just an unbelievable feeling. Just thinking back on it right now, I just can't believe I hold that plaque. It's just unbelievable.

O'DONOGHUE: Europe were the underdogs in part because half the team was made up players who had never experienced the pressure of this competition. But they came through in stellar fashion, including 17-year- old Charlie Hull (ph) who thrashed world number 11 Paula Creamer.

PAULA CREAMER, GOLFER: I'm gutted, obviously. I wish I could have gone out there and played a little bit better today. You know, it takes a team, but at the same time we all had our job to do and that was to get a point. And they played tough.

MORGAN PRESSEL, GOLFER: We just didn't bring our best game. And they're a tough team and we lost. And it sucks. And we're not very happy about it, but, you know, losing two Solheim Cups in a row is hard to swallow.

MICHELLE WIE, GOLFER: It's heartbreaking, but you know, they played great. There's nothing you can do about it. They played great. I mean, we got outplayed this week. We were out-putted this week. You know, I love my team, we played great, but they did better.

O'DONOGHUE: U.S. team captain Meg Mallon was very much aware of the danger posed by the underdog here in this Solheim Cup. And so it proved with the Europeans dominating from day one. They won their first ever back-to-back Solheim Cup and they achieved their first-ever victory here on U.S. soil.

Shane O'Donoghue, CNN, Parker, Colorado.


LU STOUT: Now, Rafael Nadal may be better known as the king of clay, but maybe he can be the king of the hardcourt as well. The Spaniard has now won all 15 matches on the hardcourt this season after topping John Isner in Sunday's Cincinatti Master's final.

However, Serena Williams wasn't as lucky in her Cincinnati final against Victoria Azarenka. Despite losing the opening set 6-2, Azarenka rallied back to take the title. Now she closed out the second set with the nifty backhand winner and she would carry the momentum into the final set.

Now the third set went to a tiebreaker, but with Serena serving to try and stay in the match, her return clipped the net. Azarenka wins her first Cincinnati Master's title and look to carry that momentum into the U.S. Open in New York.

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