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Egypt's Interior Minister Survives Assassination Attempt; World Leaders Arrive at G-20 Summit In St. Petersburg, Russia; Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch; Interview with Lego CFO John Goodwin

Aired September 5, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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

A blast apparently targets Egypt's interior minister as his motorcade drives through Cairo. World leaders arrive for the G-20 summit in Russia, with Syria high on the agenda. And Samsung unveils the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

World leaders are gathering in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the opening of the G-20 summit. We'll have more on that shortly. But first, a developing story out of Egypt. All state media reports, the interior minister has survived an assassination attempt. The news agency says a car bomb exploded near the minister's motorcade on the street in eastern Cairo. No one was killed, four people were injured. The minister has gone on state television to condemn the attack and for the very latest, I'm joined by Karl Penhaul live in Cairo. And Carl, what did the interior minister say?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Mohammed Ibrahim, Egypt's interim interior minister thanked God that he was alive. He said that it was a very powerful blast. He said that it was detonated remotely. Earlier reports from the interior ministry had described this as a car bomb, although in images from the scene of the blast, we also see the twisted remains of a motorcycle or a scooter.

So, unclear whether that bomb was packed into a car or into scooter at this moment. But the interior minister went on to say that his vehicle received part of the force of that blast and did sustain damage. He also said that four other vehicles traveling in his motorcade were destroyed by that explosion. He described it as a large explosion. And if you look closely at both still photographs and video coming from that scene, you see that within a block radius of where the explosion occurred on the street in Nasr City, that the force of the explosion appears to have blown out windows, up to the height of about three stories high, both in apartment blocks and in (inaudible) along that route.

We do understand that the motorcade was very close to the home where minister Ibrahim actually lived, and according to one eyewitness who spoke to CNN, he said it was a very common sight to see the motorcade traveling down that street at that time of day. So, given that this was part of his routine, that could have been something that the bombers were able to trace where - and for that reason, targeted him at that point on the route. What, of course, we don't have right now is any claim of responsibility as who might be behind this explosion. The interior ministry says they are still investigating that. Kristie.

STOUT: No claim of responsibility, but why would Egypt's interior minister be the target of an assassination attempt?

PENHAUL: Well, of course, given the political turmoil that Egypt is embroiled in right now, this attack comes almost exactly two months after the military coup that deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsy from power, and that as we've seen on the streets of Cairo, have led to a lot of protests that until now have been largely peaceful. Yet we have seen the occasional and sporadic presence of gunmen bearing different types of weapons in those protests. But essentially, the deaths (ph) that have come against the backdrops of those protests have largely been of the demonstrators themselves. But of course, many political analysts have been warning that as the resistance movement against the military coup continues, and if there is no peaceful political solution to this, that most political analysts have warned that that could open the way for armed extremists to take a role in this.

Possibly that is what is happening now, but that's only at this stage is only speculation, but certainly, the interior ministry being a key ministry within this interim military-backed government, it's the interior ministry that handled all the police operations across Egypt, and, of course, it's been the police that have been a forefront of putting down protests and demonstrations with many, many tragic results. In the last month, for example, according to all sites, there have been at least 1,000 people killed, most of those protesters, Kristie.

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

The G-20 summit gets under way in St. Petersburg, Russia, in less than an hour. The main focus is meant to be the global economy, but the debate over possible military strikes in Syria is likely to overshadow that, and all eyes will be on the leaders of Russia and the United States who hold opposing views on the conflict. U.S. President Barack Obama is pursuing limited strikes on the Syrian regime, as punishment for the suspected use of chemical weapons, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is standing by the country's longtime ally - Syria.

The relationship between Obama and Putin has steadily deteriorated in recent months over Syria and other issues. World affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The streets of St. Petersburg are decorated with banners for the G-20 summit. The theme - economic growth and jobs.

But the host, Russian President Vladimir Putin says it's a good opportunity to discuss Syria. Putin and President Barack Obama could have a chance to speak on the margins of the G-20 summit, U.S. officials say, but they are skeptical there will be any meeting of the minds. And in an interview with the Associated Press and Russia's state Channel One television, Putin was standing his ground.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The American people didn't choose President Obama for him to be nice to Russia, and your own servant was not chosen by Russia to be nice to anybody else. We work, we argue, we are humans, sometimes we irritate each other.

DOUGHERTY: Obama is urging Congress to approve military action in Syria. But Russians like Ilya, an I.T. analyst agree with their president that would be a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a great tragedy (inaudible) the world, I don't know what can be done here. Everything, which I can think about makes things worse. Everything.

DOUGHERTY: Putin wants Obama to provide evidence beyond doubt that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus. And Nikolai, a railroad workers, says at the G-20, the two presidents should lay their proof on the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): So let them sit down and we'll see who is right. And whose intelligence works better: American or Russian.

The two presidents are divided by more than Syria. NSA leaker Edward Snowden is still in Russia after being granted temporary asylum. Obama has been a vocal opponent of Russia's antigay propaganda law, and is expected to meet with human rights and gay rights activist, while here.

It's gotten personal. Obama saying while their talks can be productive, Putin sometimes looks like the bored kid in the back of the classroom. Putin questioning why Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, would want to launch a military attack against Syria.

DOUGHERTY: At this G-20 summit, it's still unclear which leader's argument will prevail. Jill Dougherty, CNN, St. Petersburg.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: President Obama has arrived in St. Petersburg for the G-20 summit. He and other world leaders will be officially welcomed at Konstantin Palace by Russian President Vladimir Putin. A welcome that could be awkward given the frosty Putin- Obama relationship, and for more, on what we can expect at the G-20, Phil Black, joins you now live from Moscow. And Phil, at the G-20, are we going to see what many are calling a showdown between Obama and Putin?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, there's going to be a lot of people watching when those two presidents do finally come face to face. I think it's going to be a most talked about, much analyzed handshake in the hours ahead. But this was always going to be an awkward encounter for these two men, because remember, the original plan was for Presidents Obama and Putin to get together for a big one on one summit here in Moscow, ahead of the St. Petersburg conference. That was called off by the U.S. administration, because these two leaders agree on so little. Democracy, human rights, Syria, the NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and since that meeting was called off, the differences on Syria have only deepened over this issue of chemical weapons.

And given that both men very much represent the opposing sides of the diplomatic debate, President Obama pushing for military intervention and punishment, President Putin saying there is not enough evidence to blame the Syrian government and making a broader point, that he believes any sort of military intervention in that country will have devastating consequences for the country, for the region.

Despite that very prominent roles in this debate that both men have, it seems unlikely at the moment that they are going to be expressing this views to one another directly. A lot of the leaders had one on one bilateral meetings scheduled through the conference, but at the moment, these two leaders, Presidents Obama and Putin do not. Kristie.

STOUT: You know, on the sidelines of the summit, President Obama, he will be rallying for support for military action against Syria there at the G- 20. What will Putin be doing? Will he have his own counter-campaign on the sidelines as well?

BLACK: What he says, he has a very busy schedule, sideline bilateral meetings with other leaders, and you can certainly expect that the issue of Syria will be equally discussed among the leaders that President Putin is meeting with - as those, with which President Obama is meeting with. We know that President Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron will be holding a bilateral meeting on the sidelines. And we know that David Cameron's position is very firmly behind that of the United States, even though his parliament has voted and prevented him from joining any sort of military strike. So, it is possible, in the absence of a meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin directly, that the job of trying to budge the Russian position, giving it one last shove, could come to America's ally, Britain, in this case. Kristie.

STOUT: And also, you know, in Sweden overnight we heard from President Barack Obama admitting that relations with Russia have hit a wall. For the U.S. president to say that, to conceive that, just how bad are ties between the two countries?

BLACK: Well, the real sign of just how bad things are was back when President Obama cancelled the big meeting that was supposed to take place here, in Moscow. That was an extraordinary diplomatic snub, because the message, effectively, was it's not worth our time. We agree on so little, nothing constructive will come from it. It's more pain than gain. And it comes at the end of what has been a cycle of degrading relations between these two countries, stretching back about 18 months or so. Roughly, from around the time it became very clear that President Putin would be returning to the presidency of this country. Since then, really relations have continued to slide. Syria has been a key sticking point during that time, and then recently, there was the issue of NSA leaker Edward Snowden. But, of course, broader human rights, political concerns, criticism for the recent law here in Russia banning what it calls the propaganda of homosexuality here.

So, a lot of really big differences. These guys don't agree on much right now. And it is certainly symbolic. Powerfully so, that the meeting here in Moscow was called off. But more than that, the fact that they are not even, at this stage, planning to talk to each other in a private room in St. Petersburg as well. Christie.

STOUT: All right. Phil Black reporting on the G-20 and during that report you've been looking at these live pictures of video feed moments ago of the meetings under way in St. Petersburg of the U.S. President Barack Obama, Susan Rice next to him, holding meetings with his Japanese counterpart, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Phil Black reporting earlier, a big thank you to you.

Now, back in Washington, the Obama administration's bid to gain congressional approval for a military strike against Syria is moving forward. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a resolution authorizing a military response. But as Chris Lawrence reports, the White House still faces an uphill battle with many lawmakers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This is the hard sale from the inner circle to take action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter.

LAWRENCE: Laying out the price of not acting.

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: There is absolutely a risk of escalation in the use of chemical weapons, if we do nothing.

LAWRENCE: And the cost of air strikes to America.

CHUCK HAGEL, THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It would be in the tens of millions of dollars, that kind of range.

LAWRENCE: One explosive confrontation shows the hard work ahead to win over the House.

REP. JEFF DUNCAN, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Mr. Kerry. You have never been one who has advocated for anything other than caution when involving U.S. forces in past conflicts. Is the power of the executive branch so intoxicating, that you would abandon past caution in favor for pulling the trigger on a military response so quickly?

KERRY: Because I volunteered to fight for my country, and that wasn't a cautious thing to do when I did it. We're talking about people being killed by gas, and you want to go talk about Benghazi and "Fast and Furious?"

LAWRENCE: Two U.S. Navy ships have left the Eastern Med, leaving four destroyers in the waters near Syria.

Questions remain, not about the strike itself, but what comes next.

TED POE, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: What do we do if they literally shoot back at Americans?

MICHAEL MCCAUL, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: But then, who's the other side? Who are the rebel forces?

LAWRENCE: Administration officials say they've kept the Syrian opposition from allying with extremists' fighters, but the clock is ticking.

KERRY: And people will resort to anybody they can find to help them accomplish their goal, and we would have created more extremism and a greater problem down the road.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And as Congress prepares to vote, CNN is keeping track of which (inaudible) way it might go right now. It looks like 24 Senators are set to vote "Yes.", and 16 plan to vote "No." But the majority are still undecided. As you could see, there are more Democrats in the "Yes" column, and more Republicans are saying "No." Now, that holds true in the House of Representatives as well. Remember, Republicans control the House, while Democrats have a slight edge in the Senate. Of course, opinions could change in the days ahead. Now, we are updating this tally three times a day. You could find it at cnn.com.

Now, Donald Rumsfeld has been intensely critical of the Obama administration. He served as Defense Secretary under Republican President George W. Bush, when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. Rumsfeld spoke to our partner network, CNN USA just a short time ago, and he was asked, if the legacy of the Iraq war is an obstacle for strike on Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: If intelligence were a fact, it would be called a fact, and not intelligence. And I think when Colin Powell went before the United Nations with George Tenet, the director of intelligence, talked about the intelligence they had in great detail, and then it turned out that stockpiles were not found, that people were cautious and began to recognize that intelligence is intelligence, and not necessarily a fact. But I don't think that's what's going on here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Rumsfeld also said that the Obama administration should have helped the Syrian rebels earlier, and so that the current proposal didn't go far enough.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. Coming up after the break, decontamination efforts at Fukushima. We bring you inside the exclusion zone.

And later, get the latest on the investigation into the death of Ariel Castro.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories that have got in the show today. And later we'll tell you why these toys are feeling a rise in profits at Lego, but now let's turn to the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan. We'll show you in a moment what decontamination efforts around the plant looked like today.

But first, I want to bring you up to date on recent events. Now, last month TEPCO announced that one of the tanks at Fukushima had leaked 300 tons of toxic water. Now, the leak - it was so bad, it prompted the country's nuclear regulator to declare the situation a level three serious incident. After that announcement, the government sent an inspection team to the plant, and the visit prompted some pretty harsh comments from Japan's nuclear watch dog. He called TEPCO's cleanup efforts haphazard and said the government would step in to help. Now, since then, new developments have led many to suspect fresh leaks. In fact, on Saturday, the company announced the discovery of several hot spots showing sharp radiation spikes. And just yesterday, TEPCO announced that one of the spot showed an even higher reading than before. As I mentioned, the government is stepping in. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the country will spend close to half a billion dollars to tackle the Fukushima cleanup. Now, for safety reasons an exclusion zone around the power plant is still in effect. And CNN's Paula Hancocks tells us more about decontamination efforts there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're within the 20 kilometer or 12 mile exclusion zone in Fukushima. And this is the area that residents were moved away from in the immediate aftermath of the disaster in 2011.

Now, you can see those (inaudible) activity behind me, cars are allowed (inaudible) are allowed back during the daytime now, because the radiation levels here have lowered, but they are still not allowed to stay the night. The government still worried about accumulative radiation, so people aren't allowed to stay here 24 hours a day.

Now, what you can see by the side of the road, is the cleanup operation is ongoing in different areas of Fukushima. And you can see what a painstaking operation this is. They're basically having to take away the top layer of the soil, which has radiation in it. They are also cutting back the grass, you can see that. They are combing through the bushes as well. It's a colossal task, to try and decontaminate this area. Just a bit further down you can see, there are thousands upon thousands of bags, where this soil is being collected, and where it's being stored, so not only is there a problem with where to store this highly radioactive water from the plant, but of course, in the surrounding areas, where do you store this highly radioactive soil as well. So, this is just another problem that government is having to cope with.

And of course, for people who live here, it is being very difficult. They still don't know when or even if they will be able to come back to this area. And this is really symbolic of what we are seeing in and around Fukushima. This was a very busy train line before. You can see how it is being overgrown by plants. It's clearly not being used since 2011. And this is part of the area that they are trying to clean up as well, but it's just symbolic of what has happened to the Fukushima area. Paul Hancocks, CNN, Fukushima, Japan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And the continuing problems at Fukushima could hurt Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Japan's Olympic Committee chief was pressed hard on the issue at a news conference in Buenos Aires.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TSUNEKAZU TAKEDA, JAPANESE OLYMPIC CMTE. PRESIDENT: The radiation levels in Tokyo is the same as the London, New York, Paris. Like all the major cities in the world. It's absolutely safe. 35 million people living there, the very normal conditions, no worry, nothing worry about for the -- such a problem. I already explained to you the radiation level in water or food is absolutely safe. Same as here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: The head of Tokyo's Olympic delegation there speaking. Now, in Buenos Aires on Saturday, International Olympic Committee members will vote on who gets to host the 2012 games. Istanbul and Madrid also in the running.

You're watching NEWS STREAM, and still to come, this three women endured abuse and torture at the hands of Ariel Castro. Now, Castro is dead. Pamela Brown has an interview with one of his victim's family members.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Come to you live from Hong Kong. You're back watching NEWS STREAM. Now, on Wednesday, we told you about the suicide of this man, Ariel Castro. He was found hanged with a bed sheet inside his prison cell in Ohio, and Castro kidnapped three women, he held them inside his house, subjecting them to horrifying abuse. And while some are asking how Castro was able to take his own life, while in protective custody. Now, Pamela Brown joins me live from Cleveland. And first, Pamela, what are the family members of the victims telling you.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are giving us inside into what - how the survivors reacted to the news of Ariel Castro's death. The survivors still are not talking understandably, but we have learned that, obviously, his death came as a shock, it was unexpected, but if anything, Gina DeJesus's aunt says it's helping them move forward with their lives even more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANICE SMITH, GINA DEJESUS' AUNT: It means we can move on with our lives now. It means, hopefully, we won't have to hear about Mr. Castro no more.

BROWN: A closure for Janice Smith and her family after the man who tormented her niece Gina DeJesus for ten years, killed himself in his jail cell after just one months behind bars in state prison.

SMITH: He knows what he did. He knows it was wrong. And I just think that he couldn't live with it. And I believe that's probably why he took his life.

BROWN: Smith says after welcoming Gina home in May ..

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BROWN: And seeing Castro sentenced to live in prison plus 1,000 years, she thought this horrible chapter for her family had ended. Now Ariel Castro's family is coming to grips with the loss of the man they once knew as a brother, son and father, not as a monster.

JUAN ALICEA, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: Even though he did all these bad things, and the family doesn't condone that. They will and they must grieve.

BROWN: Others cheer Castro's suicide, Amanda Berry's grandmother telling "New Day" "I love it. I feel so happy, but I wish he had starved to death or suffered more somehow." Prison officials say Castro hanged himself with a bed sheet inside this prison in Orient, Ohio. He was in protective custody, isolated from other prisoners and checked on every half hour.

GRAIG WEINTRAUB, ARIEL CASTRO'S ATTORNEY: He should have been on a suicide watch, and there shouldn't have been a watch every 30 minutes. There should have been somebody outside of a cell more frequently.

BROWN: On Seymour Street where the house of horrors once stood, signs of life and hope, a garden planted and the lives of Castro's victims now filled with promise.

SMITH: She's with our family, she's free, she's home, and I think that's what matters to her.

BROWN (on camera): And this is closure for her.

SMITH: This is closure for her. Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And back live here, take a look this is where Ariel Castro's home once stood. As you see, it is no longer there. It was demolished a few weeks ago, and it's been replaced with this green space as what the community had wanted and it's also a way, of course, for the survivors to move forward with their lives. Now, as for the investigation, and it's still very active, the (inaudible) prison telling us that a mental health evaluation was given to Ariel Castro when he was first admitted earlier last month, and that it denied the request from his attorneys for an independent evaluation because they said that the attorneys just didn't give a good enough reason. Back to you.

STOUT: It's a shocking development. I really hope that the victims have the strength to move past this. Pamela Brown reporting live from Cleveland, Ohio. Thank you.

You're watching NEWS STREAM, and coming up next, far from the comfortable halls where diplomats are discussing Syria's future are the dry and dusty refugee camps housing those who have fled the conflict. We'll talk to Syrians at one camp in Jordan after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Egyptian state media say the interior minister has survived an assassination attempt. A bomb detonated near his convoys that drove through Cairo's Nasr City. Four people were hurt in the blast.

A debate over military action against Syria is likely to overshadow talk about the global economy at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

U.S. President Obama, he met Japanese Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the summit earlier today. He said afterwards that they share the view that chemical used in Syria is a violation of international law and must be addressed.

Now, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a resolution authorizing a limited military response in Syria. The measure will go to the full Senate for debate next week.

But the bigger test is whether Mr. Obama will win approval from the Republican-led House.

And while world leaders debate what to do about Syria, there is no end to the flood of refugees. The U.N. says, two million people have fled Syria's civil war. A quarter of them have ended up in neighboring Jordan, but some are returning home despite the deadly violence. Ben Wedeman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The bus back to Syria is full, there is no room left. They are fed up and leaving the Zaatari (ph) refugee camp in northern Jordan, ready to risk their lives to return home. For those who waited for the bus, but couldn't get on, the angry realization they've lost even their place in the camp.

"We'll have to sleep here in the dust until the next bus," this man tells me.

Around 120,000 refugees live in this dusty camp. Just 15 kilometers or nearly ten miles from the Syrian border. Each family here has a story of loss and desperation.

Mariam (ph) shows me her 88- year old mother whose wheelchair is broken, who needs medicine.

"I want to get up, but I can't," she cries. In a tent I meet Abu Alya (ph), recently arrived in (inaudible) with his wife and five children. He's hesitant to appear on camera, he fled two weeks ago after the attack, in which the Syrian regime allegedly used chemical weapons.

"We thought our town was safe," he says. Then there were air raids, then they attacked with chemicals.

Abu-Shadi (ph) left with his family five months ago. He lost everything. "I saw the bomb dropping on my house," he recalls. We left with the clothing we were wearing.

"Everyone has left," Muhammad says, "The houses are abandoned, the situation was unbearable.

The (inaudible) are no longer under the threat of sudden attack, but the refugee's lot is replete with trouble. In a U.N. clinic, Jordanian doctors dress the wound of a woman attacked earlier in the day. They can provide treatment, but no protection. Jordanian police are hesitant to operate inside the camp.

Although life like the landscape appears bleak and barren, it's not without hope. In this desert, they find ways to supplement the blunt rations and earn some pocket money. The camp's main road jokingly dubbed Champs Elysees is lined with shacks selling vegetables, sweets, offering a variety of services and toys. And the children who make up more than half of the camp's population have found ways to have fun in playgrounds or in their own ways.

In the morning, 13-year old Mayed (ph) helps his mother with chores, in the afternoon, he flies his homemade kite made out of string, a few sticks and scrapped with plastic bates. His eyes on the heavens above today's woes. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Zaatari refugee camp, northern Jordan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And if you want to help the victims of Syria's civil war, you could start right here. A Web site. It gives you links to more than a dozen organizations already helping refugees all over the region. You can find it cnn.com/impact.

Now, the al-Assad family has ruled Syria for more than 40 years, with Bashar al-Assad rising to power after his father. And in a new documentary, CNN takes a behind the scenes look at Syria's first family. Nick Paton-Walsh has a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As war continues on, Bashar al-Assad is seen less and less in public, leading many to wonder if he's still in control of the regime.

THEODORE KATTOUF, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: I think Bashar is in control, by and large, of the Syrian regime. Because the regime needs him, and he needs the apparatus of the regime. He is the glue that holds it together for now. He can still claim to be, in some quarter, the president of Syria. He is the one who has dealt with foreign leaders, even if he's quite isolated right now. You know, it's said in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Well, the Alawite in their circle is rather blind when it comes to the external world. And how to deal with it.

So, Bashar, I think, is the indispensable man. Which doesn't mean that he has command and control of every military unit everywhere, or the Shabiha, the militias who sometimes carry out terrible atrocities. But he's still somebody that the inner circle has to consult with and listen to.

WALSH: His wife Asma al-Assad, once the darling of the Western media, now blamed for staying with the president as he directs a brutal crackdown against his own people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not clear to what extent she tries to influence her husband, or even wants to influence him. Since, obviously, as a mother and a wife, she's concerned for the safety of her own family, understandably so.

WALSH: The thousands of Syrian families now face misery as the war drags on and on, tearing the nation apart.

ELIZABETH O'BAGY, INSTITUT OF THE STUDY OF WAR: Syria right now is facing a complete humanitarian crisis unlike anything we've seen in years, refugees have been flocking to neighboring countries, and now you're having kind of problems in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, with these huge number of refugees. In Jordan, you have a refugee camp that has become the fourth largest city, and it didn't exist eight months ago. To that degree, this refugees are facing dire conditions.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Previous air for CNN's special "The Al-Assads of Syria" premiers Fridays night at 11 here in Hong Kong, at 7 P.M. in Abu Dhabi.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, Samsung's GalaxyGear: we'll show you what this smartwatch can do.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And let's go back to our visual rundown. Now, in a few minutes, Samsung will show us the features of its new smartwatch. But first, we want to take a look at Lego. Now, the Danish toy company says revenues are up 13 percent in the first half of the year, and that is largely thanks to customers here in Asia. Now, Lego reported 35 percent growth in the region, nearly nine times more than the American market. And Lego says, its new "Legends of Chimo" line has performed particularly well in Asia. Now, that launched this year, and those toys are also characters in Lego's original animated series. The company also says its Lego Friends line is going strong. As you may have guessed, the theme targets girls.

Now, Lego is trying to get more girls to build with bricks. And it's latest mini-fix series includes the first female scientist. Now, let's get more now from Lego, and we go live to company headquarters in Denmark. John Goodwin is Lego's chief financial officer. He joins us now, and John, welcome to CNN International. Welcome to NEWS STREAM. Let's talk about your sales report. Sales soared 13 percent during the first half of this year, thanks probably to Lego Friends.

And I'm curious about that, because Friends, when it first launched, it got a lot of skepticism, because it's very girly, it has these sets like suburban home and beauty parlor. When it launched, many people said that it reinforces sexist stereotypes. But why is Lego Friends such a huge hit for Lego?

JOHN GOODWIN, LEGO CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: Well, it's mainly hitting at that particular consumer interest. We're looking to design products that are relevant for a broad range of children, and different children's interests. And for a long period of time, we've had that evergreen products, like the Lego City line, and Lego Star Wars, but we felt there are number of children out there, particularly in the girls, that weren't getting themes that were relevant to their interests. So that's where we've developed Friends, that is specifically tailored to those - those consumers, those children that had those particular interests. And that seems to have really resonated well with a new setting of consumers that we have. Interestingly, in addition to our Friends that this primarily got that go interest, we were also seeing more girls' purchases of the evergreen lines on the back of the Friends introduction, because the whole experience of construction is getting more relevant for them.

STOUT: Interesting, so more girls are buying Legos or girls' parents buying Legos regardless of it's a gender product or not. I want to talk to you about Lego Cuusoo. Cuusoo is the Lego division that crowd sources. It basically allows the public, Lego fans to suggest new product designs. We noticed that the Back to the Future time machine, that is an example of a very successful Cuusoo project. Is Cuusoo Lego, is it just a branding exercise in outreach to the fans? Or is it an actual growing revenue stream for Lego?

GOODWIN: Well, it was aimed to keep consumers engaged and support, our fans in many ways. This really is an interest group that allows them to show their great reactions, some of them are absolutely fabulous in terms of the scale and size. So, not really for your average builder, but it's a wonderful forum, in which those enthusiasts can show their great constructs, and also engaged with like-minded individuals around the world.

STOUT: So, it sounds it's more like a fan outreach project at this point. Let's talk about Ninjago. Ninjago, very, very profitable theme for Lego. But a lot of fans have pointed out the cartoon. It was discontinued. And in the toy business, we know that cartoons are very instrumental to drive toy sales, so what led to that decision?

GOODWIN: Sorry, could you repeat the question?

STOUT: This is about the Ninjago, about the cartoon and even though the line of the bricks for Ninjago very successful, the cartoon was discontinued.

GOODWIN: Yes.

STOUT: You know, that definitely had a fan base.

GOODWIN: Yes.

STOUT: What led to that decision, if you happen to know?

GOODWIN: Sure, yeah, the Ninjago television series, as you rightly point out, and the products being super successful. But we're really on third year now of that - what we call a big bang intellectual property developments. And we're in the process now of migrating across to our new big bang thing, which is Legends of Chima, which is being a big driver of the first half results. And so, it's more of a phasing where we've had tremendous success with Ninjago, but now we're moving the focus across to Legends of Chima. There are still very strong Ninjago fans base there, but at least point in term we're looking to grow Legends of Chima, and that's where our focus is in this year.

STOUT: So, it's about phasing it what you know it to be your next really big hit. I have to ask you about the Lego movie.

GOODWIN: Yes.

STOUT: It's coming out in 2014. You know, I saw the thriller when it first came out, and it looks really good, it has some very old school appeal, it looks like stop motion animation made by fans of Lego. Was that intentional and what kind of box office return are you aiming for?

GOODWIN: I mean, we're working on that with Warner Brothers, they are the people who - that are pulling together the production. That is going to be out in the movies in February in next year, we're really excited about it. We're getting a lot of interest, and obviously, though our fans are out there creating new activities around it, but we're looking forward to that. We can't say anything with regards to the size and scale, that's more for the Warner Brothers to drive, but we're just excited to be able to partner with them on that - on that project.

STOUT: All right, John Goodman, CFO of Lego. Thank you so much for joining us here on NEWS STREAM. Take care.

GOODWIN: Thank you.

STOUT: Now, I should mention that Lego's animated Legend of Chima, which we were talking about, just then, it airs on Cartoon Network. Like CNN, Cartoon Network, is owned by Time Warner.

Now, international leaders are being welcome to the G-20 summit by the Russian President Vladimir Putin playing host. We're going to bring you some live pictures of the arrivals taking place right now at Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg. We're waiting for the moment of the handshake between the U.S. President Barack Obama, and the Russian President, the host of G-20 summit, Vladimir Putin. And the summit, it kicks off shortly with a working session followed in three hours by a working dinner. We'll continue to watch the arrivals of world leaders there, at Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg.

Now, we already know that competition is pretty fearsome on smartphone makers, but now it is time for the smartwatch war to begin. Now, Samsung has unveiled its latest gadget, it's called the GalaxyGear smartwatch. And the company says, it's an engineering marvel, but reaction on some tech sites has been pretty flat. Tech reporter Adrian Covert takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ADRIAN COVERT, TECH REPORTER, CNN MONEY: We're here with Samsung GalaxyGear, which is their first major smartwatch release.

So, can you just run us through some of the primary features of device?

RYAN BIDAN, SAMSUNG MOBILE: Yeah, absolutely. So, this is GalaxyGear. It's got a 1.6 inch superAMOLED screen, so big bright colorful display, and you navigate it by swiping it. So, just kind of swipe right to left through the different aps. I mentioned the big screen, and you take advantage of it.

With the gallery, some of the photos, swipe down to go back. Why it has photos on it? Because it's actually got 1.9 megapixel camera. So I can get 1.9 megapixel images, 720 p video, and then all of that information is actually sent automatically back to your Galaxy Note 3, so you don't have to worry about where is it going to be, how can I transfer it, how can I upload it, it's all back on your phone, and you can go ahead and transfer it on YouTube. Some of the other cool things are really about the bidirectional communication between the two devices. So, I can, for example, make and receive calls from my Galaxy Note 3 on my GalaxyGear. I can go ahead and use S Voice, so I can use star personal voice assistant technology, I can ask the weather, I can make a Twitter update. Your Facebook post, do all of that stuff right with GalaxyGear. Without having to pull my Galaxy Note 3 out of the pocket.

One of the things we've got is we're working with a bunch of different apps partners, and we'll have as many as 70 different applications available for the device at launch, so you see things on here like Tap (ph), and Runkeeper, our own pedometer software, our own chat on software, some other stuff. But basically, the idea being that it's a fully equipped system where I can manage and control the applications on my GalaxyGear from my Galaxy Note 3. So I don't have to worry about setting menus and how to I get software on it. I'll transfer it wirelessly over Bluetooth from piece of software called the gear manager.

COVERT: Get you. Now, in terms of devices, does it work with any Bluetooth smartphone?

BIDAN: So, right now it only works with the Galaxy Note 3. That's all - the only device it has compatibility with.

We're constantly working, and so there will be more information on that soon, but right now it is a Galaxy Note 3 exclusive.

COVERT: I got you. Watch is coming out (inaudible), is there a price yet?

BIDAN: Not sure we've - I think we've announced the price globally, it's 299, but we haven't announced any specifics yet about U.S. market availability.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, Adrian Covert was there, and he posted his take of the GalaxyGear to cnnmoney.com. It is safe to say that he was not impressed. He called it "unimaginative and ugly." Now, and much more, you could just read that right here. cnnmoney.com.

Now, let's take a look at Yahoo!'s new logo. Now, it's still purple, and that exclamation point is still there, but the font, as you could see, is spinner. Now, Yahoo! created a new, some face and the big reveal it came after month of teasers, but on Twitter, reaction to Yahoo!'s new look has been less than enthusiastic. Now, this is the first logo update since 2009.

And now, to New York. Politician Anthony Weiner is used to taking a lot of heat following his sexting scandal. But on Wednesday, things got very ugly on the campaign trail. Now, the mayoral candidate, he was caught on tape in a shouting match with the man who made a racial remark about his wife. Marissa Flores has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANTHONY WEINER: When have I told you that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't do what you did.

WEINER: What rabbi taught you were my judge?

MARISSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Embattled Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner in a war of words with a constituent on his final push to next week's Democratic primary. It all happened at this Brooklyn bakery after he paid for some traditional Rosh Hashanah baked goods..

SAUL KESSLER: You're a real scumbag, Anthony.

FLORES: But that's not all. Listen closely.

KESSLER: Married to an Arab.

FLORES: This man, Saul Kessler, makes a racial slur about Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin. Kessler tells CNN in a phone interview, "I did say that. I'm not going to deny it. It's just a certain feeling I have as a Jew."

WEINER: If you're going to say vile things about me and my family, you should expect that I'm going to go back at you.

FLORES: Weiner was highly criticized for leaving Congress after sending revealing photos of himself to women online, but this time, some voters are taking Weiner's side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the voter talked about his wife and called him a name, the man is human.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's just doing that because he needs to, like, keep it fresh.

FLORES: But these heated exchanges aren't anything new. This 35-year-old lashed out at Weiner during a campaign event.

And then there's Peg Brunda (ph), challenging him in Staten Island.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yours, my job would have been gone.

FLORES: While Weiner's popularity continues to plummet in the polls.

KESSLER: Think about your wife. How can you take the person-

(CROSSTALK)

WEINER: That is between me and her and my God.

FLORES: His notoriety is not going down without a fight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And for the record, Weiner's wife Huma Abedin was born in the U.S. to parents of Indian and Pakistani descent. She is a practicing Muslim, and Weiner is Jewish, as were most inside that Brooklyn bakery where that verbal confrontation and that story took place.

Now, as mentioned before, international leaders are right now being welcomed to the G-20 summit, being hosted by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Let's bring up the live video feed of the arrivals. It's all happening at Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg. And we are awaiting for the arrival of the U.S. president, Barack Obama. But right now you can see the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has arrived, and we'll shortly - there you go, the handshake with the host, Vladimir Putin. The photo opportunity taking place.

Now, the G-20 meeting, it kicks off shortly with a working session, followed in three hours by a working dinner. We'll continue to follow this live video feed, waiting for that moment, for the U.S. president, Barack Obama, to shake hands with Vladimir Putin. This is all taking place at the Constantine Palace, and once a meeting takes place between Obama and Putin, all eyes on that, because the feeling is, it's going to be an awkward one. Let's see the next world leader to appear is the leader of Turkey. There you see the Turkish prime minister there, Erdogan, shaking hands with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Now, we know where Vladimir Putin stands on Syria, that is not officially on the agenda of the G-20 summit, which is supposed to be focused on economic issues, but it will be dominating this summit there in St. Petersburg on the sidelines. Vladimir Putin is standing firmly beside Syria, hinting that Moscow even would retaliate if military action is taken outside a U.N. Security Council mandate. U.S. president is there to speak with world leaders on a variety of issue, and there you see the car, the arrival of the Canadian leader to the G-20 summit, but again, U.S. President Barack Obama, likely to be appealing for more world leaders to stand on his side, for his appeal for more -- for a military response, a military action against the Syrian regime.

Live pictures there of St. Petersburg as we await more world leaders to arrive at the G-20 summit.

Now, the G-20 summit is taking place in St. Petersburg. The main focus, again, is meant to be the global economy, but again, the debate over Syria is likely to overshadow the conference, and we'll keep watching this video feed, but for now, let's go to our Mari Ramos at the world weather center to get the very latest on your global weather forecast. Mari.

MARI RAMOS, METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Kristie. Beautiful day there in St. Petersburg, Russia. They are actually experiencing some warmer than average temperatures, clear blue skies. But anyway, let's go ahead and move on and talk about an area where they've had some pretty nasty weather earlier this morning, and I'm talking about the southern part of the UK.

Let me first, before we go to the video, let me first show you the area that we're talking about. It's here in the south. South of London. In Kent, and this is an area that's near the water, it's Isle of Chevy (ph). And in this area right over here, crossing this bridge, disaster happened. Around, just around that rush hour time when people are rushing to get to work, probably presumably schools, wherever they are headed to. Look at these pictures. Over 100 cars collided on this bridge. The pictures are truly incredible. When you see the video, let's go ahead and roll the pictures as we have it. What happens is you see one car right after the other that crashes into that area. This is the result of that accident. There were some people that were injured, some seriously, but no fatalities have been reported so far, which is extremely good news considering what happened here.

Witnesses are saying that visibility was reduced to near zero when this happened. Speed may have been a factor, but once the road gets blocked with one or two vehicles, it is almost impossible for the vehicles behind them to be able to see what is going on, and you can see these cars mangled up, one on top of the other. And when these pictures were taken, you could still see a little bit of that fog that continued to kind of dissipate in those early morning hours. This is an area near the water, so when you have the water of course there in the southern portion of the North Sea relatively cooler than the land, what happens is at night and in the early morning hours, as the land begins to cool off, you begin to see that water create the fog with the cooling of those temperatures, and that is precisely what we have across these areas.

I want to show you this right over here. This is a - what you're looking at is the green is the relatively humidity, and then you have the visibility into these areas. We don't have precise visibility reading for that area in particular, but here is the timeframe. And notice as we move on, in some of these areas like South End (ph) on the Sea, visibility reduced to practically zero, 0.1 kilometer. You can't even count that as good visibility of any kind. So this is what they were dealing with earlier this morning. It's possible, again, that we're going to see conditions like that again overnight tonight and into the early morning hours.

So wherever you are in the world, if you are in a situation where you can't see where you're going, slow down. Speed is one of the main, main concerns. We can't control the weather, but we can control how fast our vehicles are going. So that's a huge concern. Right now across the UK, we're looking at generally clear conditions overall, but we are starting to see our next weather system move. It already moved across Ireland, and it's moving across the central parts of the UK. It's going to bring some rain across those areas.

Everybody else pretty much staying dry, and we could really use the rain across the southern portions of Europe. Look at Paris, 31. Very warm conditions you see there, and ahead of this front, London, pretty hot at 28. And the rain continues for you guys there, Kristie, in Hong Kong, I'm afraid. Back to you.

STOUT: It sure does. Bad (ph) news here. Mari Ramos, thank you, take care. Now once again, let's go back to the G-20 summit. Taking place in St. Petersburg. International leaders being welcomed. Live pictures there of Angela Merkel. The German chancellor being greeted by the host of the G-20 summit, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Now this international summit of nations is taking place today and tomorrow, again, in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The main focus will be on the global economy but of course, the debates and the focus will be on the fate of Syria, and that global debate about military action, about possible military strikes on Syria, and that is what is likely to overshadow this conference, which is usually about economic issues and trade issues.

And all eyes in particular will be in particular on the leaders of Russia and the United States. You've been looking at the live video feed of the Russian president shaking hands with world leaders as they arrive to attend the conference there at Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg. The world's media and the world just awaiting the arrival of the U.S. president. As we know, both leaders of Russia and the U.S., they hold opposite views about what should happen when it comes to the fate of Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama, what he is pursuing, both on the international stage and with congressional leaders back at home, is limited strikes against the Syrian regime, as a response to that reported, to that alleged use of chemical weapons in a suburb of Damascus about two weeks ago. We know that the Russian president, he holds a very, very different view. Russian president, again, the host of the G-20 summit, there you're looking at live pictures, a sweeping view of the Constantine Palace. The Russian president holds a very different view about what should happen. And there you see the flag of the Argentinean flag. The leader of Argentina has arrived to shortly shake hands with the president of Russia. Vladimir Putin, we know that he is standing firmly beside Syria. There Kirchner and Putin shaking hands as she arrives to attend the G-20 summit.

But again, all eyes on Syria being sort of the focus of the summit, even though it is officially not on the agenda of the summit. Vladimir Putin, he has been hinting that he will stay on the side of the Syrians, even hinting that Moscow would even have a response, a plan, would retaliate if military action is taken without U.N. approval, outside of a U.N. Security Council mandate. And that is why at this moment, all of these cameras, and what we are right now waiting for that moment, for the U.S. president to arrive in the car there at Constantine Palace, to step out of the vehicle and to shake hands with Vladimir Putin.

Again, the G-20 meeting is kicking off today, shortly with a working session. Followed in three hours by a working dinner. And that's what we know of the agenda take place today. As we watch the live video feed of the leaders arriving at Constantine Palace for the first working session of the G-20 summit. Again, economic issues officially on the agenda, but it is sure to be dominated by Syria and the ongoing debate about military intervention there. Now the cars are approaching, the world leader to come out of the car and to shake hands with the Russian president, and this is Francois Hollande. He should be coming out shortly, the leader of France, and we know that France has been engaging in its own parliamentary debate about military action. Francois Hollande supporting Obama's view that there should be a firm international response against Syria for what happened two weeks ago, that alleged reported chemical weapons attack that took place outside of Damascus.

Live pictures there of Francois Hollande just walking into Constantine Palace there in St. Petersburg. And one more car arriving. Live pictures from St. Petersburg.

All right, it is the leader of South Korea. Earlier, we saw the arrival of other world leaders from India, China, France, Argentina and elsewhere, all there to attend the G-20 summit.

And here we see the arrival of the leader of Brazil. All right, Dilma Rousseff. Appearing soon, stepping out of the car, shaking hands with the host of the G-20 summit. All right, so far we've seen leaders arrive from Germany, France, Brazil, India, (inaudible) as well. All the BRIC nations. Brazil, Russia of course being the host, India and China in attendance there at the G-20 summit. Once again, the focus is on economic issues, that is what is officially on the agenda. But Syria likely to take center stage. There we see the arrival of the leader of South Africa. To walk shortly from the car, handshake, photo opportunity outside the Constantine Palace.

Also we saw the arrival of Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, earlier today about 45 minutes ago. We were looking at the live video feed of a meeting on the sidelines between the U.S. president, Barack Obama, and Shinzo Abe. And both of them, they issued a statement condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria. And again, that is the focus, and the reason why there is particular media attention about the G-20 summit is despite the fact that the main focus is meant to be the global economy, it is the debate over possible military strikes on Syria. That is what is looming large, and that is what is likely to overshadow the conference.

All eyes on the leaders of Russia and the United States, Russia being the host of the G-20 summit, and both of them holding very, very different views about what should happen next.

And here we have the arrival of what - it looks like, this is the arrival of the U.S. president, Barack Obama. We are waiting for the moment for him to emerge from that car. Remember, yesterday in Stockholm, he conceded that relations between Russia and the United States, have quote, "hit a wall," especially over the issue of Syria, among other issues. U.S. President Barack Obama to emerge from that car shortly. He'll step out of that vehicle, and we are waiting to see and to witness the handshake between the presidents of Russia and the United States. Let's watch.

And there you have it. A firm handshake, smiles for the cameras, but what many were anticipating to be an awkward encounter - as we know, U.S. President Obama is pursuing limited strikes against Syria as punishment for the alleged use of chemical weapons; Russian President Vladimir Putin on the standing beside Syria, hinting Moscow would even retaliate if military action is taken without the backing of the United Nations. Live video feed there from St. Petersburg with the G-20 now underway.

Now, let's go to WORLD BUSINESS TODAY and my colleagues there.

END