Return to Transcripts main page


Syria Asks UN To Protect It From Outside Aggression; Syrian Intervention Tough Sell For U.S. Lawmakers; Art Of Motion: Contortionism; Remembering David Frost; Tornado Near Tokyo; Spike In Radiation Readings At Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Aired September 2, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to NEWS STREAM where news and technology meet.

Now Syria asks the UN to prevent any aggression against it as world leaders decide on what action to take.

A sharp spike in radiation levels has been detected in parts of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

And huge crowds in Spain meet Real Madrid's latest multi-million dollar star Gareth Bale.

Now Syria's president has asked the United Nations to prevent aggression against his country, but Washington has already pressed the pause button on U.S. military intervention. President Barack Obama says a strike on Syria is necessary, but he wants approval from congress and that vote is expected next week.

But no matter how it goes, Mr. Obama could still decide to go ahead with military action.

Now two influential Republicans are to visit the White House to discuss Syria with President Obama. Administration officials were calling other lawmakers to make the case for military action.

Now Congress is currently on a break, but some members have returned to Washington.

Dana Bash surveys the mood on Capitol Hill.


DANA BASH, CNN CORREPONSDENT (voice-over): One after another lawmakers emerged from a classified briefing intended to convince them to authorize force in Syria supremely unconvinced. Republicans --

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R), TEXAS: Certainly the mood in the district that I represent is, do not do this, and I honestly didn't hear anything that told me I thought to have a different position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a no based on the information that I have now.

BASH: And many of the president's fellow Democrats.

REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: I'm still very skeptical about the president's proposal. It's not clear to me that we know what the results of this attack would be meaning will it be effective?

BASH (on camera): If a vote were taken today, would be a yes or no?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I honestly cannot say.

BASH (voice-over): Democrat Janice Hahn took the red eye from California seeking answers that left with lots of questions.

REP. JANICE HAHN (D), CALIFORNIA: We want there to be some consequences. What is that? Is that just going to war? Is that bombing? Is that killing more people? I'm not there yet. I would not vote for it today

BASH: To be short, the president does have some support.

(on camera): Where are you right now, are you a yes or a no?


BASH (voice-over): But to get enough yes to pass, one thing is clear. This version of authorization the White House sent Congress Saturday night must be changed.

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: The biggest single concern among the members may very well have been a very broad request for authority with a supposedly very narrow intent to do anything.

BASH: That concern is bipartisan. Lawmakers say they want to limit the authority they give to the president, specify a time frame for military strikes that make crystal clear no boots on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blank checks are even partial blank checks.

BASH (on camera): And this is a blank check.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is a partial blank check the way it's currently draft.


STOUT: Dana Bash reporting there.

And Russia also remains unconvinced. Let's bring in Phil Black from Moscow. And Phil, how is Moscow reacting, in particular, to the evidence presented by the U.S. of the reported chemical attack?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russian position, Kristie, is they don't think there is enough evidence to implicate the Syrian government in using chemical weapons. Today, the foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says he's seen information provided by the United States, but it was short on detail.

They asked for more information, more details and were told that's a secret, the sources are secret, so therefore that's not possible.

So a great deal of disbelief still from the Russian government.

Sergei Lavrov speaking today made comparisons between what they're hearing now and the situation 10 years ago when the United States was arguing to go to war in Iraq.

And he spoke about how this is part of an ongoing double standard when it comes to U.S. and western policy in the region.

Take a look at what he said today.


SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We can see the double standards. There's a personalized moment when distaste for some dictators leads to the necessity to topple them, but not some other dictators who are allies of our western partners.


BLACK: So while the United States and its allies claims there is conclusive proof implicating the Syrian government, the Russian position is still that actually there's a lot of evidence and logic that suggests the Syrian opposition was responsible for using chemical weapons on this occasion.

And the Russian theory goes that the opposition have used chemical weapons against the (inaudible) as part of a plan to manipulate international opinion and trigger some form of foreign intervention D Kristie.

STOUT: Now, in the United States President Obama is trying to bring lawmakers on side to agree to take military action against Syria. If the U.S. decides to go ahead with that, how is Russia prepared to respond?

BLACK: There's not a lot Russia can do. It's already said that it will not get involved militarily, so that line will not be crossed. Russia says that it will simply continue to try and argue in favor of applying international law. Russia believes that any sort of action that is taken without a mandate from the UN security council will be illegal. Russia believes that the only way to solve this crisis is diplomatically.

So before all of this escalated because of the alleged use of chemical weapons, Russia and the United States were working together on bringing together some sort of big, international peace conference involving all parties, no preconditions in the hope of settling this around the table.

Russia says it will continue to try and achieve that, but it believes that if military action is taken with the intention of punishing Assad for using chemical weapons or aiming to deter him from using them again in the future, he still thinks that will be enough to delay any chance of a peace process for a long time, perhaps indefinitely, because the Russian minister Sergei Lavrov today said that should that happen it will remove all incentive from the opposition to sit down at a table and talk.

He believes they want to push for an outright military win. And that is why they are very keen to see some form of international intervention in Syria -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Phil Black reporting live for us from Moscow, thank you.

Now Russia is not the only country that has blocked the UN security council from action against Syria. China has as well. But Beijing says it supports the UN's chemical weapons investigation.

Now China's foreign ministry spokesman says that the international community must wait for those results.


HONG LEI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): We are gravely concerned that some countries may take unilateral military actions. We believe any action taken by the international community should abide by the purpose and principles of the UN charter as well as basic norms governing international relations.


STOUT: OK. Now NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, he is giving his monthly briefing in Brussels right now. We expect him to address the situation in Syria. Let's bring in the live video feed and let's listen in.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: ...of individuals allies as they consider the way ahead. Make no mistake, NATO is an alliance of democracies and our democracy does not make us weaker, on the contrary it is the essential source of our strengths.

But as the situation in Syria demonstrates, we continue to face significant security challenges and it is vital that we are prepared to meet them.


STOUT: OK, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO chief speaking there live, monthly briefing in Brussels.

Earlier on, he condemned the reported chemical attack in Syria. We're still awaiting additional word from the NATO chief on the situation there.

On Friday, he said that the alliance had no plans for military action. If there is a change to that, we'll bring that to you right here on NEWS STREAM, but we will continue to monitor that live press event underway in Brussels for you.

Now meanwhile, the Arab League says that the international community must do more. Now the senior international correspondent for us Nic Robertson, he joins us now live from Amman, Jordan. And Nic, the Arab League says that action should be taken against Syria. But what action? And what is it prepared to do?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the interesting thing from looking at the resolution from the Arab League in Cairo in Sunday. They don't specify exactly what, but implicit in this resolution, according to diplomats I talked to who have been close to the process, they say there is the implicit support for U.S. strikes here.

Saudi Arabia was leading the way trying to get a strong a resolution as possible from the Arab League. It contains three parts. It contains condemnation of the attack, attribution, blaming Bashar al-Assad's regime for the attack, and then that calls, as you say, for the international community to do something.

The Saudi foreign minister said Syria's crossed the line, we cannot continue to watch what is happening there.

But why has the Arab League stopped short of explicit support for strikes? Well, the Arab street, if you will, is very much opposed to any kind of western intervention in any Arab nation. And certainly there's an understanding on the Arab street as well that what Bashar al-Assad is doing is wrong and it's the balance of these two things that diplomats I've talked to here say is difficult for the Arab League.

But what they've tried to do really under the direction of Saudi Arabia is, if you will, give a strong political signal to Barack Obama, to the U.S. congress, to the French while they debate this issue as well about continuing forward on the track of taking actions, despite the fact the UN is not going to clear that path.

STOUT: Now they -- Jordan, where you're reporting from, is a very key U.S. ally in the region. What is its stance on any U.S. led action against Syria?

ROBERTSON: Well, right now its position is it's not going to be used as a launching pad. The government here has said that they want to see a diplomatic solution. But it's very clear witness there -- both at the Arab League and the work they've been doing behind the scenes to bring about a strong as statement as possible is that they do believe strikes are necessary.

There is concern, very big concern that the security and stability of Jordan is at stake, not just with the strikes, but there could be potentially a backlash, although they play that down. But the concern that the longer this goes on in Syria, the stronger groups like al-Nusra?

STOUT: OK. Our apologies for that technical glitch just then, but Nic Robertson just then reporting live from Amman, Jordan.

Now you could find more regional reaction right here on our website. This is all part of our complete coverage of the Syrian crisis. Among other things, there's also this piece by CNN's security analyst Peter Bergen. And in it he writes, quote, in going to congress for the Syria authorization, we see not only the former constitutional law processor and pragmatist in Obama, but also the calculated risk taker. You can read the rest at

Now you're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, dozens injured after a tornado rips through parts of eastern Japan. We'll go live to the world weather center for more details.

Also, the ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, he will stand trial. We'll check in with our correspondent in Cairo.

And later, Real Madrid confirmed signing Gareth Bale a reported recordbreaking deal.


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 a little bit later, we'll cover the radiation spikes at the crippled Fukushima plant in Japan but there's another story that we're following in Japan. Believe it or not it's a tornado. It ripped through the eastern part of the country earlier today and meteorologist Karen Maginnis joins us for more from the world weather center -- Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Let's see, it has been very spectacular, because typically we don't hear about such devastating tornadoes, maybe a weak tornado here and there, but this one was fairly significant in that it did produce quite a bit of damage, a number of injuries, dozens of injuries reported.

But take a look at what happened -- this was on Monday afternoon right around Tokyo. Fairly quiet, still a lot of moisture well to the west, but then we watched this eruption, this super cell just to the north of Tokyo.

Take a look at these images. Now typically it's thought that Japan is fairly immune to tornadic activity, because it's surrounded by moisture, thought to be kind of a stabilizing factor. But plenty of damage reported here, extensive damage with downed trees and power lines, buildings destroyed. They're saying that an elementary school -- the children were let out about noon time, but several hours later this tornado did touch down, the building there was severely damaged, about 30,000 people reported without power at the time.

We don't have any reports -- official reports of fatalities, but they are still assessing the situation right now.

But produced all of this? Well, we have jet stream move across the region, a stalled out frontal system in the area, so that will be the trigger mechanism for rainfall and thunderstorms and then this return flow coming in from off the surface of the ocean.

So you get these colliding weather systems, you get some lift in the atmosphere, also some twisting motion and that's what will produce this type of weather.

What happens later on? We go into the next 24, 48, 72 hours. Here is our latest tropical storm. To the south, it looks like it's bypassing Taiwan, that is the good news, because they have been inundated with very heavy rainfall over the last month or so with staggering amounts. Almost three, four times the normal monthly average.

Well, going into the next 72 hours it looks like tropical storm Toragi (ph) is going to be moving into southern Japan. We'll watch out for the potential for very heavy rainfall, destructive winds and the potential for tornadoes.

This one, Kristie, was rated perhaps at an F2, possibly an F3. We'll keep you updated. Back to you.

STOUT: Yeah, it's a big one.

Karen, many thanks indeed for the update.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, purported to be a world record move, star footballer Gareth Bale signs with Real Madrid. We've got the details just ahead.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, this is NEWS STREAM.

Now Egypt's former President Mohamed Morsy will stand trial on charges of incitement of murder and thuggery. He is accused of encouraging violence against opposition protesters in clashes last December when at least 10 people were reportedly killed.

Now Morsy was ousted in July during widespread protests against him. And the charges Morsy faces are not unlike those leveled at his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Now Karl Penhaul is in Cairo and joins us now live with the latest. And Karl, what has been the reaction there to the charges?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Really, there has been no reaction on the street, Kristie, to news of this announcement that he will -- that deposed President Mohamed Morsy will face these additional charges. That really -- because we have seen some of the steam run out of the protests led by pro-Morsy supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The top flight leadership, as you know, has now been arrested. And that realy leads to not necessarily a lack of organization on the streets, because the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters can still get boots on the streets, but it does seem to have led to a lack of ideas about how they can take their fight to oppose the July 3rd military coup. So I wouldn't exactly expect any major reaction on the street to this news of the additional charges being levied at Mohamed Morsy.

But as you say, of course, very much similar to the charges that deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak is facing. And as we know he is now out of prison under house arrest.

And if you look at the common thread in all of these killings, then behind a lot of the killings we see the police and military. And right now they are very much in power and are under scrutiny by nobody but themselves, Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, a very significant to hear that there is no pro-Morsy protest reaction to the news this day of the charges that Morsy is now facing.

And now that Morsy will stand trial as well as 14 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood is under major political pressure, legal pressure, what hope is there for a political resolution to this crisis in Egypt?

PENHAUL: I think nobody is talking at this stage any longer of a political resolution to this crisis. That was something that was on the table very early on. But it's quite plain now that the military believes that it has the upper hand and it's pushing its case by arresting top flight leadership, but also taking apart lower tiers of the Muslim Brotherhood as well.

And as I say the -- out on the streets, although protesters still turn out, still chant against the military coup after Friday prayers, they really seem to have no appetite, understandably so, for taking on the military head to head.

We observed one at Friday prayers just gone. And the order there to demonstrators was to steer clear of any military or police checkpoints to avoid the kind of bloodshed that has been seen in the past.

But beyond standing in the street and demonstrating in their own neighborhoods, very little new ideas about how to step up their protests and how to push out the military leadership.

So certainly the military leaders seem to think that they've probably won this one for now, Kristie.

STOUT: Karl Penhaul reporting live for us from Cairo. Thank you, Karl.

Now let's step over here to take a look at the most expensive man in world football. Gareth Bale has just been unveiled by his new club Real Madrid who reportedly paid a world record fee for the Welshman.

Alex Thomas charts Bale's rise.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Signed as a 17-year-old by Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, it took Gareth Bale a few seasons to make a mark in England's Premier League and earn recognition beyond his own shores. Described as quiet and hard working, Bale's annual goal tally reached double digits for the first time in the 2010-2011 season.

A hat trick against Inter Milan in the Champion's League group stage made headlines across Europe.

Used as a left back when he was younger, Bale's career has benefited from a move up the pitch. And he's now regarded as an attacking midfield player.

The Wales international is very fast and fit with the ability to regularly beat the opposition an win matches on his own. His shooting has improved. And last season, across all competitions, he scored a total of 30 goals.


STOUT: And their new star was just unveiled in front of thousands of fans at Real Madrid's home stadium.

Al Goodman is live outside the stadium now. And he joins me live. And Al, what's it like over there?

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Hi, Kristie. Well, we are back outside the stadium. We were inside the stadium for this unveiling of Gareth Bale. 20,000 fans according to the Real Madrid club telling us, but clearly an enormous amount of excitement. And they lined up here right behind me for hours waiting to get in.

Now many of his Spanish schools have not gone back for the fall course, so most of the people in the crowd were young, chanting Bale. It's interesting they were chanting Bale and also Bale in Spanish. So they'll try to figure out what his name is.

But he spoke to them in Spanish, that sent the crowd into a roar. And all of this in Spain's deep economic recession, 26 percent unemployment out here in the streets of Madrid. So any news considered good news. And the Galacticos of Real Madrid and their whole massive marketing machine, the shirts are already on sale for Bale number 11. They've always been kind of in their own universe apart from the rest of society -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Al Goodman reporting. I like how he's called Bale there in Madrid. Thank you, Al.

Now let's get more on the Bale signing, what it means for Real Madrid. Amanda Davies joins me now from London.

And Amanda, how will Bale fit in with Real Madrid? And can they now challenge Barcelona for the Spanish title?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's the big questions, Kristie. And those thousands of fans who were queuing outside the Bernabeu will be hoping that they see what we've seen here in England for the last few years. Last year, Bale was a club record scorer. He scored 21 goals in the English Premier League for Spurs. He's got lightning quick pace. And Spurs are hoping that Real Madrid, I should say, are hoping that he'll fit into their lineup and help the club so that elusive tense European crown that they've been searching for for such a long time.

But the interesting thing with this is, yes, we're talking about a world record transfer deal over here in Britain, but actually Real Madrid haven't confirmed that. And many people suspect that that's because they don't want to upset their other star player, Cristiano Ronaldo who, of course, moved to Madrid in 2009. He was then the world record transfer when he moved from Manchester United.

It'll be very interesting to see how Bale links up with Ronaldo.

They've also brought in another young fantastic player Ifco in this closed season. He scored three goals in three games since moving from Malaga.

And of course they've got the new manager this season, Carlo Ancelotti has replaced Jose Mourinho. He's said very quickly he wants to move on from that counter attacking play of Jose Mourinho to bring a little bit more flare and ambition on the pitch.

And if all those things combine then, yes, you would very much expect them to be challenging with Barcelona not only for the premiera liga title, but also in Europe as well.

The big question, though, is how is Gareth Bale going to cope with the pressure of moving to Real Madrid? He's only 24 years of age. The President Florentino Perez said in that unveiling, we're so glad the dream he had as a kid has become a reality, but -- turning to Gareth Bale -- he said you should know you've come to a club with the biggest demands in the world.

And we've seen before, Kristie, British players making that move to Real Madrid and really not being as successful as they were maybe billed as being -- the likes of Michael Owen, the likes of Jonathan Woodgate.

And so there are still some question marks particularly with that ridiculous amount of money we're talking about.

STOUT: Indeed. And can he handle the pressure? A very key question.

Amanda, while we have you, what other deals are in the works on this last day of the transfer window?

DAVIES: Yeah, the clock is ticking. It's now 1:28 here in London. The transfer window slams shut at 11:00 this evening. And as is often the case with these deals, when one big move happens, that then leads to a domino effect with other moves happening.

And frankly now, Real Madrid having spent all this money nee to recoup a little bit. So they're making a lot of the headlines at the moment and not just because of Bale, a former world player of the year Kaka who moved from Italy to Real Madrid only four years ago for 56 million pounds, he's just gone back to Milan on a free transfer, which is quite incredible. He didn't really want to leave at the time, many people suspected. So a two- year deal has been confirmed for Kaka.

But the other one who a lot of people are expecting to happen in the net couple of hours is Mezut Ozil, the Real Madrid midfielder, the German international. He said just last night he didn't want to leave the Bernabeu, but it seems Real Madrid have decided he is one of the players who they would like to see the back of.

He's in Germany at the moment. He was meeting up, of course -- this is an international break at the moment. So he had moved to Geramny, or had gone to Germany to meet up with his international team, but is expected to be announced as an Arsenal player in the next few hours. He's undergone a medical in Munich.

People talking about a 42 million pound deal, that's $65 million.

There is some talk, though, that PSG might be there with a late bid to try and hijack that move to Arsenal.

In the end they're saying it's up to the player to decide.

And we've got a live blog on the CNN world sport website, Kristie, where you can keep right up to date with everything that happens over the next few hours.

STOUT: All right, the updates all there and with you. Amanda Davies there, thank you.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, a sharp spike in radiation levels at the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima. And we'll tell you just how bad it is there.

And it's back home for Nelson Mandela. The 95-year-old spends his first night there since being in the hospital in June.


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

Now Russia says it doesn't buy U.S. claims that Syria used chemical weapons on its own people. Now Russia's foreign minister says when he asked for more detailed evidence, he was told it is all secret. Now the minister says that means there are no facts.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama continues to rally lawmakers ahead of a vote on military strikes on Syria. Over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. had obtained evidence that deadly sarin gas had been used in the Syrian conflict.

Now deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsy will stand trial on charges, including incitement to murder. State media say 14 members of the Muslim Brotherhood are also charged. They relate to deadly clashes near the presidential palace in Cairo last year.

Now tens of thousands of households are without electricity after a tornado hit eastern Japan just north of Tokyo. Several dozen people have been injured and were taken to hospital. Now there was widespread damage to buildings and homes.

And more bad news coming out of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Now Tepco, the company in charge of cleanup efforts there found a sharp spike in radiation levels in some pipes and tanks holding contaminated water. Now in all, four hotspots were found. The highest reading, it measured 1,800 millisieverts per hour. Now that is 18 times higher than a recording taken at the same spot just over a week ago.

And if exposed, a dose like that could kill a person in just four hours.

But Tepco downplays the reading saying the radiation is largely beta radiation that dissipates over short distances and can be easily blocked using thin sheets of metal or foil.

Now remember, there was a 300 ton leak reported just two weeks ago. So the big worry here is that there are new leaks at these hotspots.

But Tepco has denied this. They say just a single drop of contaminated water fell when Tepco staff pressed on insulation material around a pipe.

Let's check in now with CNN's Paula Hancocks.

Now Paula, Tepco is downplaying the spike in radiation levels, but just how bad is it?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, certainly Tepco is downplaying this. This is what they have done all along. What we're hearing, though, is from the nuclear regulator, the NRA. We're hearing from the chief this Monday. And he was saying that there are suspected leaks that are giving out toxic water. At this point they don't believe that beyond the banks, though, there are any higher levels of radiation. And also the water levels within those tanks are not much lower. So it doesn't appear as though there are serious leaks as though -- like the ones we saw just a couple of weeks ago.

But of course this is just another setback in the number of setbacks we've seen that this crippled power plant. And a lot of them are surrounding these actual water tanks themselves, hastily erected temporary storage tanks. And the worry now is they are simply not good enough.


STOUT: 30 foot waves engulfed Japan's northeast coast, destroying almost everything in their path. Almost 19,000 are believed to have died after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

The Fukushima Nuclear power plant was crippled. Three reactors suffered a meltdown, causing the world's worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century. But it's not over yet.

This weekend, the operator of the plant admitted radiation levels near a water storage tank are 18 times higher than thought, at levels that could in theory kill an unprotected man in four hours.

Tepco only realized the spike when they started to use a more sensitive measuring device.

The company is struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water.

The head of Japan's nuclear regulator said Monday, Tepco has been dealing with this issue in a haphazard way with stop gap measures. They're simply dealing with one crisis after another. So many things are missing from their overall plan.

Two weeks ago, Tepco admitted 300 tons of radioactive water had seeped into the Pacific Ocean after leaking from a storage tank. The regulator wants hundreds of identical tanks to be replaced and admits some low level contaminated water may have to be deliberately released into the ocean.

An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris washed away from Japan after the tsunami. Some of that has reached U.S. shores. A recent study predicts contaminated water could reach parts of the U.S. early next year, but at very low radiation levels.


HANCOCKS: Now the Japanese government has been so concerned about the number of setbacks we've seen recently at Fukushima that they have decided to get more heavily involved in the cleanup. And on Tuesday, we are expected to hear a set of emergency measures from the government itself that they say will deal with the vast volume we have of highly radioactive water -- Kristie.

STOUT: You know, it's good to hear that the Japanese government is definitely going to play a bigger role in all this. And this latest radiation reading, this spike reported over the weekend, as to a number of setbacks, as you put it, and concerns about Tepco, should Tepco, and does Tepco need outside help, help from outside Japan in terms of inspection or sealing the leaks permanently?

HANCOCKS: Well, a couple of weeks ago Tepco really gave one of its first indications that it was open to international help and they said that it would be the international community and the international experts that would need to do more to try and solve the problems at this crippled power plant as well as those within Japan and as well as the government itself.

We did hear one question to the head of the nuclear regulator today asking why there hasn't been more international help and why Japan is not seeking this help. And he did point out that there is a three person expert team at the moment that is helping advise the NRA and also advise Tepco -- one from the UK and one from the United States. And certainly they have that expert opinion.

But certainly I think many people are questioning why the doors were not open sooner, why Tepco did not admit sooner that it needed help and why the government didn't step in sooner -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, it was such a worrying ongoing story. Paula Hancocks, your solid reporting, measured analysis, very much appreciated. Thank you.

Now China is ramping up its fight against corruption. State Media have announced authorities are investigating Jiang Jiemin, a high ranking official, over a serious disciplinary violations. Now Jiang is in charge of supervising state owned firms and was formally the head of the China National Petroleum Corporation, or CNPC, it's the country's largest oil producer.

According to the China Daily, the investigation is focused on Jiang's time there.

The case is possibly tied to oil field contracts and suspected payouts.

Now Jiang is not the only one at risk. Analysts believe that this is part of a larger corruption probe into the retired domestic security chief Jo Yonkang (ph). Now Jo (ph) was also a former head of the CNPC. And if a probe does happen, Jo (ph) will be the most senior official to be investigated in decades.

Now Nelson Mandela, he has spent his first night back at home since being admitted to hospital in June. The anti-apartheid leader was discharged from the Pretoria hospital where he has been treated for a lung infection.

Now he 95-year-old will continue receiving medical care at home where he will remain under intensive care.

Now Robyn Curnow joins us now live from CNN Johannesburg. And Robyn, can you tell us what lead to the decision to release Mandela from hospital?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, his family and his medical team, we understand, have been having discussions for some weeks about discharging him from hospital. This is not because he was getting any better. I think there was a sense from all of those close to him that they wanted him in the comfort and privacy of his own home.

Now the reason that the decision to move him over the weekend, I think, was just a matter of timing and safety. I mean, transporting a very frail 95- year-old from Pretoria to Johanessburg, it's a 45 minute drive in a ambulance, was fraught with its own dangers.

So I think this is a situation that has been in the works, in the planning for some time now.

STOUT: Now he's still in critical condition. So has his home been reconfigured for his care?

CURNOW: Absolutely.

We understand even before this three month hospitalization that his room essentially was like an intensive care unit. So the government has stressed that he's not going to get any lesser care by being at home. And if you think about it, it is an ICU, so they have -- the doctors will be, you know, washing their hands, they'll be wearing masks.

However, I think it's a more friendly environment. We understand that there's more sunlight streaming in through windows, that it's a warmer room than the one on the hospital.

But still, I mean, just if you picture it, a lot of machines. We know there's a ventilator to help him breath. There's dialysis to support his failed kidneys. We also understand there might be cardiac monitors, other machines trying to monitor bodily functions. Also, sadly, if you think about it, there will be a number of tubes, intravenous tubes, catheter, feeding tubes as well as obviously the ventilator tube and the dialysis tube.

So Nelson Mandela is still under very high care, 24 hour monitoring. And I think many people around him are very glad he's at home, that he is in the comfort and privacy of his own home. But everybody fully aware that he is still gravely ill.

STOUT: And we know that there were these ongoing vigils outside the hospital in Pretoria. But what's the scene outside his home in Johannesburg? Are people still leaving messages there?

CURNOW: No. It's far more of a suburban environment. The hospital was in a public road in the middle of a city center. His home is in a sort of leafy suburban area. So the police have actually cordoned off much of it. They're definitely not letting the media go very close particularly to the entrances.

Cars are still being allowed to drive past the house, but essentially in terms of onlookers, in terms of well-wishers, in terms of journalists, you know, not allowed as close as they were to the hospital.

STOUT: All right, Robyn Curnow reporting live for us. Thank you.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come, we get a rare look behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil to meet some of the world's best contortionists. Stay with us.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now on this month's Art of Movement, we meet some of the most flexible performers in the world. Now the art of body contortion is a rare skill. And Cirque du Soleil contortionists train for years to bend their bodies into incredible shapes.

And as Nick Glass found out, Mongolians do it best.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In an intentionally sensual Cirque du Soleil show, a pair of contortionists perform in water. The act is called the Water Bowl. And since it was premiered here almost a decade ago in Zumanity, it had been much imitated elsewhere.

There are about 20 contortionists working in Las Vegas, and almost all of them from Mongolia. What's intriguing, in Zumanity is the partnership -- one girl is Mongolian, the other a former Russian acrobat.

I don't know how old you were when you became a contortionist?

GYULNARA KARAEVA, CONTORTIONIST: 17. At 14, I finished acrosport, the professional sport was done for me. And then I went to circus school. And I looked around and I go, oh, this girl is so flexible I think I need to improve my flexibility. And I just started to stretch more and more and more every single day from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

GLASS: What could you do before and what additionally could you do afterwards?

KARAEVA: For example, imagine this is my legs could go that much and now they can go that much. And all I had to do is invest time. I would sit in a split for 10 minutes on each leg one chair here, one chair there and I would just sit for 10 minutes.

Struggle, sweat and cry, but I knew what the result is going to be -- long, beautiful legs.

GLASS: You becoming a Russian contortionist.

KARAEVA: Russian style. But I was always looking up to Mongolians. I was like, oh, they're so flexible.

GLASS: Why Mongolia?

ODMAA BAYARTSOGT, CONORTIONIST: It's more I would say why Mongolian. We are the best. It's true.

Our technique, our perfection, it's different than Russian contortion and Chinese contortionist.

GLASS: Before every show they warm up for half an hour or more. The back must be warm and kept warm to bend. It seems somehow irresistible -- down on my knees, chin up, we quickly formed a pyramid -- Mr. Inflexible at the bottom, the incredible flexibles on top and around.

ANGELIQUE JANOV, CORTORTION COACH: Five minutes we have to go on stage contortion act. We need to work and train five years only for five minutes act.

GLASS: Five years.

JANOV: Yes. A lot of training, a lot of work.

GLASS: We watched them from the wings. They all made it look so effortless.

What do your parents think of you now?

ENKHJARGAL DASHBALJIR, CONTORTIONIST: They always tell me that they are very proud.

GLASS: Have they come here to see you?


GLASS: What do they say after the show?

DASHBALJIR: They have tears in their eyes and it's such a joy to see.

GLASS: Mongolian contortion is much admired, especially within the circus community. The Russians and the Chinese have their own contortionists, but there is a sense in which no one does it better than the Mongolians with such grace, such fluidity, modest and forever smiling they beguile us all.


STOUT: They make it look so easy, absolutely stunning as well.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And up next, the world is celebrating the life and mourning the loss of veteran journalist David Frost. We'll take a look back at his remarkable life and the one interview he'll always be remembered for.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the fifth time maybe the charm for Diana Nyad. She is close to completing her swim from Cuba to Florida. The 64-year-old set off from Havana on Saturday. And a look at how far she has gone.

Now the map, it shows Nyad's current position. It's less than 16 kilometers from landing in Key West. Nyad's team says that could happen less than eight hours from now.

Now she's already gone farther than anyone else without a shark cage.

John Zarrella shows us what she is up against.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It seems nothing could keep Diana Nyad from returning to the open waters. At age 64, she's determined to become the first in the world to swim from Cuba to Florida. Last night, she broke the word for distance, swimming farther than anyone without a shark cage or protection from the elements. She's been swimming for more than 45 hours now and says this fifth attempt will be her last.

DIANA NYAD, ENDURANCE SWIMMER: There's a fine line between having the grace to see that things are bigger than you are and to let your ego go and there's another edge over that fine line where you don't want to ever, ever give up. And I'm still at that place.

ZARRELLA: Here's what she's up against. A growling 103-mile swim estimated to take 80 hours in shark infested waters between Havana, Cuba, and Key West. And then there's these, box jelly fish. Their venom is among the deadliest in the world attacking the heart, nervous system and skin cells. It's the jelly fish that thwarted her early attempts.

So, this time, she's using a custom-made silicon mask to protect herself face and lips from jelly fish swims. But it makes it tougher to breathe. She first attempted the treacherous swim in 1978 when she was 28 years old.

Thirty-one years past before she attempted it again twice in 2011 and again last year. She kept up her strength eating and drinking while floating on her back. She says, this is her last chance to achieve her extreme dream.

NYAD: I hope next time I see, it will be to celebrate instead of, say, oh, here we go again.

ZARRELLA: That celebration may be just strokes away.


STOUT: John Zarrella reporting there.

And Nyad says she wants to show people that it never too late to chase your dream. Now her team is tweeting with the hashtag #extremedream. And people are posting messages of encouragement.

Colleen Garrett got the news of Nyad's progress in the middle of the night and tweeted, quote, "Won't be able to sleep now." She adds, "When I'm 64, I want to be as strong as you."

Now a legend of the cinema is retiring. Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki won't make any more movies. Miyazaki is famed for his animated films. He won an Oscar for Spirited Away and won plenty of fans for films like My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke.

Miyazaki's latest film is attracting controversy for its subject matter -- a profile of the man who designed Japanese fighter planes. It's called The Wind Rises.

And finally, the world of journalism has lost one of its most respected voices. The family of David Frost says he had a heart attack on Saturday while on a cruise ship where he was scheduled to give a speech.

Erin McLaughlin has a look back at his career and the interview for which he will always be remembered.


DAVID FROST, LEGENDARY INTERVIEWER: One, you could get a million dollars and you could get it in cash. I know where it could be going.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sir David Frost was, perhaps, best known for his pointed interview style.

FROST: Two, your major guy to keep under control is hunt.

MCLAUGHLIN: And at no time was that more evident than his 1977 interview with former U.S. president, Richard Nixon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me stop you right there. Right there.

MCLAUGHLIN: It was a historic battle of wits that lasted until Nixon was compelled to say what the American public yearned for most, an apology.

FROST: And I know how difficult it is for anyone and most of all you, but I think that people need to hear it and I think unless you say it, you are going to be haunted for the rest of your life.

MCLAUGHLIN: At the time, Frost was a legendary talk show host in Britain, known for holding the country's prime ministers to account. But until the Nixon interview, he was little known in the United States. Frost paid Nixon $600,000 for nearly 30 hours of access. Money he paid out of his own pocket.

FROST: If one had completely failed to get anything out of Nixon, any admissions out of Nixon, it would have been pretty disastrous.

MCLAUGHLIN: Far from a disaster, the interview became the landmark achievement of his career, the stuff of movies. He was played by actor, Michael Sheen, in the 2008 academy award nominated drama, "Frost Nixon" which was based on a stage play by the same name. Frost interviewed seven American presidents and eight British prime ministers.

FROST: If you could choose one to lead the country you were living in, which one would you choose???


FROST: George Bush, Sr.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Because -- and the reason is that I just found him somebody who is -- he was wise, he was cautious, he knew what he was determined to do.

MCLAUGHLIN: He would relish key moments, great lines from his subjects like one from South African archbishop, Desmond Tutu.

FROST: I said, now, I always think of you as an optimist. And he said, I'm not an optimist. I'm a prisoner of hope. Great phrase.

MCLAUGHLIN: Most recently, he had his own program on the international network, Al Jazeera English, but for years, he was the staple of BBC morning television. "Breakfast with Frost," which he would end with his signature sign off.

FROST: Do join us again the same time next week. Until then, top of the morning. Good morning.

MCLAUGHLIN: Sir David Frost was 74.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


STOUT: And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.