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Crisis in Syria; Philippines Standoff; Demands for Data; Weiner's Losing Bid; "Expedition: Sumatra"; Pope Francis; Princely Plans; Guinness World Records; Cocaine "Baby Bump"
Aired September 12, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Geneva is at the center of diplomatic efforts on Syria at this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT (voice-over): U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived there for two days of talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. They are expected to come up with a plan on how and when Syria will hand over its chemical weapons to the international community
Meanwhile the United Nations weapons inspectors report on the suspected chemical attack outside Damascus will probably be published on Monday. That's according to France's foreign minister. Laurent Fabius says it will provide indications the Assad regime was behind the attack.
LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The reality is quite clear. A chemical massacre took place. Bashar al-Assad's government was in possession of the weapons and gave the order. It's quite clear.
STOUT (voice-over): And the U.S. has started sending arms to Syrian rebels, even though groups including the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army deny they have received any yet. Washington has been providing nonlethal aid, like the food rations seen here in this video for the very first time.
But a U.S. official tells CNN that like weapons and ammunition paid for by the CIA have reached what are described as "moderate" Syrian rebels in the past two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: The U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and the Foreign Minister Lavrov, they are expected to begin their negotiations in the coming hours. And CNN's chief U.S. security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is in Geneva with the very latest. He joins us now.
And, Jim, just tell us how will the details of this Russian plan be worked out, these meetings in Geneva?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the intention here, Kristie, is to move this from the 30,000-foot level to the ground level very quickly.
That's why Secretary Kerry has brought these experts with him, chemical weapons experts, security experts, so they can begin talking with the Russians about these three goals of cataloging, collecting and then destroying Syria's chemical weapons.
And that's really part of a test. And U.S. officials kept saying to me on the flight in that this is -- this is about testing whether the Russians and Syrians are sincere about this, whether they're serious about it.
And they're going to see that come out in these details, particularly the first test is going to be do the Syrians -- are the Syrians honest and forthcoming about all their chemical weapons sites? And that's one of the first things that Secretary Kerry and his team are going to be looking for.
STOUT: Going into this meeting, what did Secretary Kerry or his team suggest about what they think is the level of sincerity among their Russian counterparts?
SCIUTTO: Well, I think they're coming in here with a healthy dose of skepticism, but they also say they wouldn't be here if they didn't think the Russians were serious. It is, after all, a Russian plan. But they want to see if they're follow up that talk with real action. So you have a combination there.
Remember, for Secretary Kerry, he's been through a fairly tumultuous last two weeks. So a week and a half ago, he was giving a speech as it appeared that the U.S. was about to take military action. Then last week he was going to Congress to try to convince them to give the president the authorization to use force.
And now chapter three, just in these last two weeks, less than two weeks, is looking at this plan.
So you can understand with him going in, particularly, Kristie Lu, he's going to have to see something concrete early on.
STOUT: And if there is progress at this meeting there in Geneva, what happens next?
SCIUTTO: Well, they don't expect to come out of here with a written 10-point plan. But they want to have the outlines of a plan, that the Americans can bring back to their allies, the French, the British, present to others like China to say that, well, this could be a way forward, a concrete way forward.
So it's really a first step, but a very key step because if nothing comes out of that building behind me here, nothing that the Americans believe is truly concrete and sincere, then you have to talk about returning to this option of the use of force.
STOUT: And if this effort with Russia does not work out for that U.S., what would be the next move?
SCIUTTO: Well, we don't know but what the U.S. President Obama has said, Secretary Kerry and others, is that they're not going to remove the option of using force from the table, but they want to exhaust all diplomatic options before then. And this is that diplomatic option.
So a lot of pressure on these talks. Something real has to happen here. The American side says that talk won't be enough; they want specific plans, proposals, information from the Syrians and a real commitment from both the Syrians and the Russians about how we move forward.
STOUT: And this will be two days of talks there in Geneva. The world is watching. Jim Sciutto reporting live for us, thank you.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin takes a dig as U.S. President Barack Obama in an op-ed the Russian president wrote for "The New York Times," and his letter is addressed to the American people. And in it he criticizes this statement from President Obama's televised speech on Tuesday. Let's listen.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is not the world's policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong.
But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That's what makes America different. That's what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.
STOUT (voice-over): Now in his article, Mr. Putin argues strongly against military intervention in Syria and he ends with these pointed remarks for President Obama, quote, "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.
"There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: The overall tone of Mr. Putin's piece did not sit well with the chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. And he spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D): I almost wanted to vomit. The reality is, I worry when someone who came up through the KGB tells us what is in our national interest and what is not. And you know, it really raises the questions of how serious this Russian proposal is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: A pretty blunt reaction there.
Now for more on Washington's stance, senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar joins me now live.
Brianna, any reaction from the White House to that op-ed in "The New York Times" by Vladimir Putin?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie, we've been talking to some administration officials and you know, it's interesting because you heard Senator Menendez there say it raises the question of how serious Putin is in terms of a broker in this arrangement.
But the White House has said it's trying to focus on the positive. They say these comments are irrelevant. And they say that instead what you should focus on is the fact is that Putin is very much engaged in this process, one official saying he put this proposal forward; "He owns it," is what one official told CNN.
So that is really what they're trying to focus on. Also they sort of I think prepare if this is to fail that they feel that obviously Putin will bear a lot of the blame for it. So there's kind of I think two points to that statement, Kristie.
STOUT: The view from there in regards to these talks (inaudible) Geneva, I mean, going into these talks, there is that lack of trust between Russia and the U.S. and also about Syria, sincerity on their part as well. There are questions about whether removing a stockpile, a chemical one, from a war zone is even possible.
But is there still a sense in Washington that diplomacy can work?
KEILAR: I think there -- I think there's a lot of skepticism, Kristie. I don't think people, whether it's on Capitol Hill or here at the White House, are looking at this in a Pollyanna way, thinking, oh, yes; it's definitely going to work.
But I think that there -- I think what you're seeing is a reflection now, looking at this discussion between Kerry and Lavrov and also looking at the U.N. process, I think that Washington and the American people have been almost to the point of desperation wanting to find a way forward here besides military force to the point that even though, yes, they are skeptical of Vladimir Putin, the administration has long looked at Russia as this force that's trying to gum up the works, to delay things, to look out for Syria and to look out for motives that they don't feel obviously are pure, to say the least here.
But I think at the same time, despite that, they want to see if there could be a possibility here, because this is what the American people want; they prefer a non-military action. And there wasn't much support for what President Obama was pushing, a strike on Syria.
STOUT: Yes, it's what the American people want. The focus right now is on diplomacy.
But if the U.N. process doesn't work out, if this effort with Russia doesn't work out, will Obama push for that military strike against Syria?
KEILAR: So that's the line right now, Kristie. If you say to like the administration officials I've been talking to, I say, well, what if this doesn't work? Then where do you guys go from here? They say -- what they will tell you publicly is, well, then, we always have the option of military force.
But Kristie, you and I have been watching this play out here over the last couple of weeks. And we know that there's no appetite in Congress for this. The White House -- White House officials will say if this fails, then that increases the pressure on Congress to then approve military force.
I have to be honest: having covered Congress, now covering the White House, I'm not so sure that's how it works. It seems like Congress is very happy to have a diplomatic off-ramp.
I think the honest answer at this point in the sense that you get sort of behind the scenes here at the White House is that they're really quickly working to try to figure out what a plan C is. It's unclear at this point what it would be if this were to fail and if military force is really an option. It's an option in that there are ships in the Mediterranean.
President Obama obviously as commander in chief could go ahead physically and take -- could order a strike. But he's indicated that he's reticent to do so. He's indicated that he doesn't want to do so without Congress giving him the OK. And it just seems really uncertain that Congress would somehow push forward with that when they haven't up and to this point, Kristie.
STOUT: What is a plan C? Well, we'll have to address that, depending on the outcome of these talks underway in Geneva. Brianna Keilar joining us live from the White House, as always, thank you.
Now you are watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come:
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STOUT (voice-over): Gunfire rings out as a standoff between government soldiers and Muslim rebels intensifies in the Philippines. We'll have more on the hostage standoff.
And also ahead, Marissa Mayer answers critics who say Yahoo! should have done more to fend off NSA demands for data.
And now that Anthony Weiner has lost his bid to be mayor of New York, we explore what went wrong for his campaign. But perhaps we should be asking what didn't go wrong.
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.
Now we started with talks between the U.S. and Russia on what to do about Syria.
And a little bit later in the show, we'll tell you what is next for Prince William.
And now an update on the standoff in the Philippines. The siege on the southern island of Mindanao has stretched into day four. Rebels with the Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF, they launched an assault on the city of Zamboanga on Monday. As many as 180 people are being held hostage by the rebels. And the city's mayor is calling for their release.
The government is also caring for almost 13,000 people who evacuated the area. Fighting also broke out on the island of Basilan on Thursday. But the military insists that the situation is "under control."
Now the MNLF was founded by this man, Nur Misuari, back in 1971. Its goal is to establish an autonomous region for Muslims. Remember the Philippines is a mainly Catholic country. Misuari signed a peace deal with the central government in 1996 and under the terms of that agreement, he was named governor of an expanded autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao.
The current standoff is believed to be related to the government's peace deal with another group, the MILF, or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. It broke away from the MNLF decades ago to continue fighting for an independent Islamic state.
But this year the MILF, they reached a deal with the Philippines government that gives Muslims 75 percent of income derived from metallic minerals from the resource-rich island of Mindanao.
Misuari has completed that his group was left out of this wealth- sharing agreement. Last month he issued a new declaration of independence. Misuari has disavowed the hostage takers in Zamboanga. According to the city's mayor.
But the central government believes that he is behind it. I'm joined now by Brigadier General Domingo Tutaan. He is the spokesman for the Philippines Armed Forces and is in Zamboanga right now. He joins us live.
And General Tutaan, what is known first about the condition of the hostages, the 180 people being held by the rebels?
BRIG. GEN. DOMINGO TUTAAN, PHILIPPINES ARMED FORCES SPOKESMAN: Yes. (Inaudible) 183 (inaudible) that are being held against their will in the (inaudible) in the Zamboanga city (ph) right now. We are still very (inaudible) and very careful in our entire operations in order to prevent any civilian casualties.
STOUT: Have any of the 183 hostages been wounded?
TUTAAN: Per our report, there are none, but since the standoff started on Monday, last Monday, we have recorded about three (ph) civilians killed and about 20 of them are wounded. (Inaudible) sporadic fires being made by the (inaudible) group from the Misuari faction of the MNLF.
STOUT: Now local reports said that there were several hostages who were able to escape.
Is this true?
TUTAAN: That is true, Kristie, in the sense that during the sporadic fires made and then the members of the (inaudible) started their elevated response this morning, (inaudible), there were some who were able to get out. We are still looking at the numbers as part of this concern, because they were joined by other civilian (inaudible) area.
STOUT: OK. There have been just many gun battles in your effort to free the hostages, who are still being held.
Have there been casualties among members of the Armed Forces?
TUTAAN: Yes. (Inaudible) the members of the security forces, we have recorded like three of our soldiers and policemen killed and about 31 of them are wounded.
However, (inaudible) as far as the wounded are concerned and (inaudible) addressing the situation very, very carefully. The president of our nation has been declaring (ph) that our civilian population must be spared from any untoward incidents.
STOUT: And do you know who is the rebel leader? Who is leading the hostage takers?
And are you in direct contact with this person?
TUTAAN: There is a crisis management committee who is undertaking all the (inaudible) with a group of certain commander Javier Malik (ph) from the Misuari breakaway group, or this is the Misuari faction of the MNLF. So you have to correct me if it not the whole totality of the MNLF, but the faction under Misuari. It is commander Malik (ph) who has written the (inaudible) right now.
STOUT: Now this is day four of the hostage standoff. The violence has been intensifying.
How will this end?
TUTAAN: I'm sorry; I didn't get your last question.
STOUT: This is day four of the hostage standoff.
How will this play out? How do you plan to save the hostages and end the standoff?
TUTAAN: Are you referring to how this probably will end?
Our (inaudible) is to have a peaceful negotiation, a peaceful resolve to this incident and (inaudible) that there was an appeal made already by the mayor of Zamboanga city for the forces under Commander Malik (ph) to release the -- all the hostages and most especially the women and children, the elderly and the persons with disabilities.
STOUT: All right. Brigadier General Domingo Tutaan, joining us live from Zamboanga, many thanks indeed for giving us the very latest on the Philippines hostage standoff there.
Now the CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, she is defending the way her company has dealt with National Security Agency demands for data. At an event hosted by the tech website TechCrunch, she was asked why she hasn't defied NSA orders for information about foreign users.
And while limited in what she could say about company dealings with the NSA, Mayer did say that it makes sense for Yahoo! to work within the system. She added that the company pushes back against inquiries a lot.
Now on Friday, Yahoo! released its first government transparency report, and the company complied with 98 percent of requests for information from the U.S. government in the first half of this year. But because of gag orders, we don't know how many of those requests were from the NSA.
But Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, they have all filed lawsuits against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or FISA to be able to divulge that information.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come, what went wrong for Anthony Weiner? He has lost his bid to be mayor of New York. Take a look back at the campaign slipups, the scandals and, of course, the sexting.
STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now Anthony Weiner's attempt to return to public office as New York mayor has come to an end. He resigned from Congress in disgrace in 2011 after that sexting scandal and his admissions of yet more lewd conversations with women on the Web didn't do his latest campaign any favors, either.
Our Erin McPike has more on what went wrong for Weiner.
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anthony Weiner could have been the perfect New York mayor. Obviously, photogenic and generally beloved by all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go away!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show a little self-respect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go away!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you vote for someone who had done what you've done?
MCPIKE (voice-over): Well, this is New York, after all. Alas, after losing the race last night and coming away with just 5 percent of the vote, Weiner let us in on what went wrong.
ANTHONY WEINER, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN FROM N.Y.: We had the best ideas. Sadly, I was an imperfect messenger.
MCPIKE (voice-over): Ah. So that's what it was. Well, one of his other imperfections reared her head last night.
SYDNEY LEATHERS, WEINER'S FORMER SEXTING PARTNER: Apparently he doesn't think he can handle confronting me or me being in his presence.
MCPIKE (voice-over): Sydney Leathers, the 23-year-old woman Weiner used to enjoy sexting with.
LEATHERS: It just felt like I should, if I felt obligated.
LEATHERS: After being this involved in the situation.
MCPIKE (voice-over): But she shouldn't take all the credit. Sure, the sex scandal was a hiccup, but there was more.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: What is wrong with you?
MCPIKE (voice-over): MSNBC put it bluntly.
WEINER: I don't understand the question. What is wrong with me that I care so much about the issues that I fight for every day?
MCPIKE (voice-over): What's also wrong is that he didn't seem to get math.
WEINER: Here's my position. I am not trying to get one person's vote. I'm trying to get many people's votes.
MCPIKE (voice-over): It's an old campaign rule: you have to get one vote before you can get two and so on.
WEINER: Can I have your vote in 20 years?
MCPIKE (voice-over): This vote would be too young to count.
WEINER: That's not for you to judge, my friend.
MCPIKE (voice-over): And this might not be the wisest way to rack up more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's obvious.
WEINER: OK. (Inaudible) have elections.
MCPIKE (voice-over): But there are some that stood by him, defiantly supportive.
HUMA ABEDIN, WEINER'S WIFE: I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him.
MCPIKE (voice-over): And when it came to thank his wife, Huma Abedin, last night...
WEINER: Thank you very much and God bless you.
MCPIKE (voice-over): -- he didn't.
OK, so better luck next time. Surely for his next campaign, Weiner will flip the script and stop flipping out.
WEINER: This is the type of people you surround yourself with, (inaudible)?
MCPIKE (voice-over): But for now, that imperfect part of his personality just keeps getting in the way -- Erin McPike, CNN, Washington.
STOUT: Now the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, supports a richly diverse ecosystem, one that faces many threats from human activity. And launching this Friday, a CNN special eight-week series that takes you on a journey through the island's dwindling rain forests. And the first stop, an orangutan conservation camp. Here's correspondent Philippe Cousteau with the preview.
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: We have an amazing opportunity to see adult male orangutan that has been housed here at the sanctuary for many years, and to be trained to live in the wild. And this is actually Bobo -- that's the name of the orangutan -- second release and second attempt.
The first one wasn't successful. He was too old; he wasn't able to really adapt to living in the wild. This is the second opportunity to release him after a few more years of training and a lot rides on this for Bobo, whether or not he'll be able to live a wild life in the forest and help to replenish the population of orangutans here in Sumatra.
PETER PRATJE, FRANKFURT ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY: Again in the woods --
COUSTEAU (voice-over): Peter and his dedicated team have been rehabilitating orangutans for more than 10 years. Like most of the orangutans that are rehabilitated here, Bobo is a survivor of the illegal pet trade.
Peter explains that on the black market, baby orangutans can be sold for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Bobo was brought to Peter from North Sumatra, when his owner decided a five-year-old orangutan was just too much to handle.
COUSTEAU: When did you first rescue Bobo?
PRATJE: He was rescued probably five, six years ago. They are usually victims of opening (ph) of the forest. People going through the forest to ope med (ph), to extract timber. They come across a female, a mother orang with the babies, and try to kill the mother to get the baby and to sell it.
COUSTEAU (voice-over): Tragically, orangutans rescued from the illegal trade in endangered species can't just be released back into the rain forest because orangutans are so young when they're stolen from their mothers, they never learned how to survive in the wild.
So without the training that Peter and his team provide to teach them how to find food, how to seek shelter and avoid predators, the orangutans would die.
STOUT: Beautiful and fragile creatures. You can read more about the CNN team's trip to Sumatra and find out why that they only have one flashlight to share on a muddy mountain trail. Just go behind the scenes here, CNN.com/GoingGreen.
And tune in for the premiere episode of "Expedition Sumatra," the new eight-week series that starts this week, Friday night, 11:30 in Hong Kong and 7:30 pm in Abu Dhabi.
Now ahead here on NEWS STREAM, there are deadly ingredients that could be used in horrifying attacks. And coming up, we take a closer look at the very difficult task of finding and removing Syria's chemical weapons.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM and these are your world headlines.
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STOUT (voice-over): The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov meet in Geneva today. They're seeking a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. And the diplomats will be working on a Russian proposal to take over Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also been weighing in on the issue in an op-ed in "The New York Times," Mr. Putin warned against any outside military intervention in Syria. He also maintained once again that Syrian rebels were likely behind the August 21st chemical attack.
Satellite images of North Korea are raising concerns. It is restarting a dormant nuclear reactor at its Pyongyang facility. U.S. researchers point to two columns of steam rising from a building believed to house the reactor's turbines and electric generators. Now North Korea had said back in April that it would restart the facility.
In the Philippines, soldiers are trying to contain Muslim rebels, who are holding up to 180 hostages on the island of Mindanao. This standoff between the two sides is now in day four, where fighting also broke out on the island of Bakalan (ph) on Thursday. But the military insists that the situation there is under control.
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STOUT: France is waiting on the official U.N. report into the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria. The work continues on a resolution to take to the Security Council. For the latest, let's go now to CNN's Jim Bittermann in Paris.
And, Jim, where does that U.N. draft stand now?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Kristie, you could probably say it stands on hold. Basically I think that the French are taking a pause here while things go on in Geneva. Here's the way Laurent Fabius put it this morning when he talked about the timeframe involved in presented the resolution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FABIUS (through translator): On Monday, we'll more than likely get the reports of U.N. inspectors. Immediately after that, we'll work again on the U.N. resolution to see if security can really be ensured. And in the process, if we make good progress, we will move towards a so-called Geneva 2, in other words, a political solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMANN: So I think that, in fact, what we're going to see is the French waiting to see what comes out of Geneva, to find out what the sort of limits are and the wiggle room that the Russians may have and that they may present to John Kerry in Geneva.
And then from that, they'll restructure their resolution and present it to the Security Council, Kristie.
STOUT: And what is France saying about the sincerity of the Russians and its plan to control Syria's chemical weapons?
BITTERMANN: Well, I think that, like the United States, the French have been saying that every diplomatic channel has to be explored and we'll have to see how the Russians, how sincere they are.
But one of the things that Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister, said this morning as well is that he was skeptical at how easily this would be to enforce. And a lot of people are starting to come in on that tone right now. The fact is that there's tons of chemical weapons that have to be destroyed. They have to be first found and then destroyed.
And a consequence, people are skeptical that in a war zone kind of atmosphere that that can be done very easily. So there's a lot of skepticism about how this could be carried out.
And I think one of the things that the secretary of state, John Kerry, is doing in Geneva is trying to find out what kind of modalities the Russians are talking about. How are they supervised this whole kind of operation and how would it take place? And long would it take? Kristie?
STOUT: (Inaudible) skepticism. So if diplomacy fails, whether it's at Geneva or at the U.N., will France be prepared to help in any airstrikes, in any military intervention?
BITTERMANN: They've said it all along; in fact, they kind of took the lead on this and, again ,yesterday in a communique out of the presidential palace after the Defense Ministry meeting, Defense Committee meeting yesterday morning, the French again said that they are mobilized and ready to act in a military fashion if, in fact, there is no success on the diplomatic front.
So I think it's the same tone you're seeing, both from the United States and from France, and that is that diplomacy, if it works, will be great; but if it doesn't, military action is still there in the background and ready to put into play if necessary, Kristie.
STOUT: All right. Jim Bittermann joining us live from Paris, thank you.
As the U.S. and Russia hash out the details of this plan to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons, how would that process actually play out? Syria's chemical weapons are said to be stored in multiple locations. Tom Foreman talks to CNN military analyst General James "Spider" Marks.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you look at a map, you can see that the facilities where we believe the Syrians manufacture and store most of their chemical weapons are thoroughly interlaced with many of the cities where there's been the fiercest fighting in this civil war. That's why, General, you say there must be some ground rules before any controls can be put into place.
What do you mean?
GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Tom, there has to be a cease-fire. Look, you've had a country that's been a war for the last two-plus years. There can be no expectation that inspectors are going to have to fight their way in to get to these multiple locations to validate what's inside.
FOREMAN: What else do you need from the Syrian government?
MARKS: The Syrian government has to give them their data, has to give the inspectors the database. This is what we have and this is where it's located, so they can start to do their job.
FOREMAN: So let's say that that happens and you get past this first level and you go to the second level, which is basically the actual search for all of this stuff.
Here's a problem: you go into a warehouse, where the database says there should be all these barrels of chemicals, and instead you have a fraction of that many.
MARKS: Validity of that database the Syrians gave you gets tossed out the window, which really throws into doubt what are we going to be able to find at each one of these locations. It's going to take a lot of work.
Now the good news is you may have found some stuff. The difficult news is you've got to go find the stuff that's missing. That takes a lot of good intelligence, a lot of hard work.
FOREMAN: And that could be multiplied by hundreds of inspectors. And that's before you get to the final step, which you say is so critical here, which is the control and disposal of all of this.
Another scenario here some people say the U.N. should simply surround every location where they find this stuff, put cameras on it, put troops around it, keep it away from the government, keep it away from the insurgents.
Why wouldn't that work?
MARKS: Well, it could work. But here's the irony: the potential military action was not going to including boots on the ground, as the president told us. The diplomatic potential solution by necessity will. You have to have people around these locations to render themselves, render them safe in order to have some type of a persistent surveillance.
Now you can do that electronically, but it fundamentally takes people on the ground on all of these locations. This is a long endeavor. It could take months.
FOREMAN: Or maybe even years until the details are all worked out.
STOUT: OK. So we've heard about this strategy needed to remove chemical weapons from the country. But how will independent monitors be able to operate inside Syria? U.N. inspectors have already faced a series of setbacks getting access into Damascus. Nic Robertson looks back at the difficulties they faced.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first time independent monitors were sent to Syria, it didn't go well. Arab League monitors in Damascus in December of 2011 were forced to end their mission a month later, citing deteriorating conditions.
But the call for independent inspectors grew louder after numerous allegations of chemical attacks.
Just last month, a team of U.N. weapons inspectors was in Damascus, when a large-scale chemical weapons attack occurred. The inspectors wanted to visit the site, but were confined to their hotel by the Assad regime for five days.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I personally called the foreign minister of Syria and I said to him, if, as you say, your nation has nothing to hide, then let the United Nations in immediately and give the inspectors the unfettered access.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Finally, the team was given permission to inspect the scene.
But as the convoy passed through a buffer zone between government- and rebel-controlled areas, it came under attack. Unidentified snipers shot at the convoy multiple times hitting a vehicle but causing no injuries. And the team continued on.
KERRY: When the U.N. inspectors finally gained access, that access as we now know was restricted and controlled.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Restricted and controlled, a familiar pattern in Syria for inspectors trying to operate in the middle of a volatile war - - Nic Robertson, CNN, Beirut, Lebanon.
STOUT: A Syrian analyst quoted by top politicians in congressional hearings has been fired for lying about her qualifications.
Elizabeth O'Bagy was dismissed as an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War after falsely claiming to have earned her doctorate from Georgetown University. Only last week, she was cited by John Kerry and John McCain in their testimony at the hearings on possible military intervention in Syria.
She also had undeclared ties to the Washington-based Syrian Emergency Task Force. It's a group which supports the rebel cause. She says that association allowed her to travel more safely in Syria and she never tried to hide it. O'Bagy appeared in several TV networks, including CNN and because of the revelation about her false doctrine, she will not appear again as an analyst on CNN networks.
CNN.com is keeping track of all of the latest developments on Syria ,and you can also learn more about the country's chemical arsenal and how any weapons transfer might work.
Now many say Pope Francis is revolutionizing the Catholic Church by shedding protocol and encouraging social change. A CNN special takes a look at the pope six months after he was elected. And Becky Anderson reports on some of the reforms he's making inside the Vatican.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Another priority, which Francis is already tackling, is reforming the curia, the central governing body of the church viewed widely as ineffective. Francis has appointed a group of eight cardinals to review it.
CHRISTOPHER BELLITTO, KEAN UNIVERSITY: I bet the people in the curia are shaking in their cassocks right now.
I think this pope is, in many ways, an outsider. Sometimes it takes somebody from the outside to come in with fresh eyes, who's not beholden politically to a certain circle, to effect change.
ANDERSON (voice-over): (Inaudible) could be considered the first scandal of Francis's new administration is the allegations of corruption at the Vatican Bank. In June Italian police arrested a senior Vatican bank official for a reported money laundering scheme involving about $26 million.
Church watchers say not everyone is in agreement with Francis' reforms.
RITA FERRONE, WRITER, "COMMONWEAL" MAGAZINE: Well, whenever you try to change a bureaucracy, there is resistance. Anyone who works in a bureaucracy has their role and they have their position and if you change those roles and positions, there will be somebody who's unhappy.
BELLITTO: There's going to be some blowback. The honeymoon is going to be over. There are lots of people who are saying things like, "I want a pope who looks more like a pope." My response to that is, "Well, what the hell does that mean? Let's let Pope Francis be pope the way that he wants to be pope, not let other people dictate how he wants to be pope."
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: And the hard truth is the papacy is an impossible job. I mean, think about what we want popes to be. We want them to be media rock stars. We want them to be Fortune 500 CEOs. We want them to be political heavyweights. We want them to be world-class intellectuals and we want them to be living saints.
I mean, any one of these things is hard to do over the course of a lifetime. If you roll it all up together, it is a prescription for impossibility.
STOUT: A peek there at our upcoming CNN special, "Pope Francis: A Man of Many Firsts." You can see the premiere on Friday, 11:00 pm in Hong Kong, 7:00 in Abu Dhabi, right here on CNN.
Now after the break, he spent seven years in the military. So is Prince William ready for a change of career? We'll hear what's next for the prince coming up.
STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM and let's go back to our visual rundown.
In a few minutes, we'll show you some of the more bizarre records added to the Guinness Book of Records this year. But first, Britain's Prince William has announced his plans for the future. The prince is leaving the Armed Forces to focus on royal duties and charity work.
William was a search and rescue helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force. CNN's royal correspondent Max Foster is at Buckingham Palace. He joins us now. He's got all the details.
And, Max, tell us more about what's ahead for Prince William.
MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Well, it's a rite of passage, I guess, when a future monarch goes into the military, but then they leave eventually and they take on full-time royal responsibilities.
That's not actually what's happening here, although it is temporarily, if you see what I mean. So he's leaving the military. His tour of duty has ended with the search and rescue unit. But he may take another sort of public service job of some form next year.
But certainly this year, for the next year, rather, he is going to be out of the military; probably won't get back into the military. He's going to be working with his charities. So a big announcement today that he's got another conservation initiative in the works. So he's going to be working with all these charities over the next year. But he won't be in the military any more.
He has over the last couple of years been involved in rescues, which managed to save 149 people. So he really was working as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, hands-on, in a far-flung corner of the U.K. But that part of his life certainly is over. I think he's going to be based in London and working on many royal events now. We'll see a lot more of him, I think, Kristie.
STOUT: Prince William, he has been so dedicated to public service and to charity work.
Do you get the sense that he wants to become and is looking forward t becoming a full-time royal?
FOSTER: No. I think he wants to put it off for as long as possible, although there is more responsibility now for him and his father to take on duties from the Queen, because she's elderly in her 80s and is cutting back a lot on her public work. So they are being asked to do more. And the fact his tour of duty ended was an opportunity for him to take on a bit more.
But I think he will go back to work. He's not quite ready to be a full-time royal yet, because he gets this sense of normality from working and he wants to keep that, I think.
And the royal role is something he does sometimes struggle with largely because of all the attention he gets. He's not (inaudible) cameras, but he knows he's got to do it. Not quite ready to do it. But I think in future he will do it. But right now, he's just going to give it a go.
STOUT: Let's talk about the royal family in particular the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and, of course, Prince George. There's a big move ahead for them as they move into Kensington Palace.
Will they be able to have a modern, normal family life there in the palace?
FOSTER: Well, I think Prince George obviously plays into this, because he can now spend the next year really getting to know his son in that first crucial year. Maybe that's part of it. I think they will try to have some sort of normality.
It's difficult, but they've got George. They're home a lot at the moment and they've got this new home they're moving into in the next few weeks, which is this big ground apartment in Kensington Palace.
So I think they'll be settling in. They're a new young family and they'll be doing some royal work in London as well. Certainly they will find some way of getting some normality. But they're not going to get it necessarily in London. They're going to have to be tucked away in the palace.
As soon as they go out, they've got all these photographers following them and everyone sort of analyzing every little move that they make. Normality will always be difficult for them. But I think they're always going to try to seek it.
STOUT: Max Foster, reporting live from Buckingham Palace, thank you.
Now time for a check of the global weather forecast. We have another tropical cyclone developing in the western Pacific. And meteorologist Karen Maginnis joins us now from the World Weather Center with that.
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Looks like in the next 12-24 hours we will have a named storm across the western Pacific, looking a little ragged right now. But because it's over warm water, it could have some further development. This box indicates that there's a high probability that this will become our next tropical system, where it goes from here is really rather up in the air.
The computer models are suggesting it could track more towards the north. Approaching frontal system across Japan could kind of draw it in across that region or it could go to the south and just move just to the north of Taiwan.
But right now, as I mentioned, the computer models are not exactly perfecting where this is going to be headed. But in the next 48 hours it does look like it is going to gain that tropical cyclone characteristic with a fairly clearly defined eye and we'll have to watch its progression.
Let's go ahead and take you to the United States now and the state of Colorado. Right around Denver, just to the northwest, is a city called Boulder. This is some video that we're taking a look at of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
They're saying that they saw between 100 and nearly 200 millimeters of rainfall. The school has closed down. A number of roads are shut as well, already two reported fatalities in the region. They're not out of the woods yet. They are expecting more in the way of moisture; a lot of this is monsoonal moisture, very typical for this time of year.
What is not typical is to see something like this. And then in Thailand, in an eastern district, watch what happens here. This is at a school. It's believed that in the eastern district of Trott (ph) they saw water spout that moved onshore. When it does that, it becomes a tornado. And there you can see this would be a fairly weak tornado.
But nonetheless, there were some injuries to some school children. They're estimating between six and nine school children were injured. And there you can see what a terrifying event that that situation would present. They're saying also that 30 homes were also damaged across this region as well.
Well, for -- we'll keep you updated on what happens in the international weather and what happens with the latest in the western Pacific.
Kristie, back to you.
STOUT: Yes, incredible videos there from Thailand. I can't believe that was (inaudible) of a weakened, a relatively weak tornado. Wow, dramatic stuff. Karen Maginnis reporting thank you. Take care.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. And up next, we've got a contortionist, a vacuum collector and a skateboarding goat. And there is a common link. We'll tell you what it is after the break.
STOUT: OK. Here's a question for you.
What do a skateboarding goat, a vacuum collector and a contortionist have in common?
The answer? They've all earned a spot in the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records. Terry Kennedy shows us some of the more eccentric title holders.
VICTORIA KENNEDY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the largest to the smallest, to the just plain twisted, the new 2014 Guinness World Records book has it all. And European world record holders have some of the most eccentric entries.
LEILANI FRANCO, MOST AMAZING CONTORTIONIST: Whenever I'm at a party, my friends are always like, "Leilani, do a trick. Show people what you could do."
KENNEDY (voice-over): What she can do is twist and contort herself into clinching three titles in the Most Amazing Contortionist category, including fastest human backbend walk and fastest contortion roll.
She can even pour tea with her feet.
James Brown of London really cleaned up this year with the largest collection of vacuums and says his Hoover hoarding started when he was just a wee lad.
JAMES BROWN, OWNER, LARGEST COLLECTION OF VACUUM CLEANERS: Yes, I had about six or seven at any one time because we were limited to the space. So if I wanted another one, another one had to go. Then as I got a bit older, I used to sneak in a few more machines. And then it started to snowball from there.
KENNEDY (voice-over): Apparently goats can hold world records, too. Just take it from Happie, who can skateboard farther than any other goat.
MELODY COOKE, HAPPIE'S OWNER: After she became a Guinness World Records skateboarder, she's a little bit of a diva now. She's still very friendly and stuff, but sometimes she has this attitude and -- or this look in her eye. She's like, look at me; I'm a diva.
KENNEDY (voice-over): But Happie doesn't hold a candle to this fire- breathing dragon.
A German engineering company created the world's largest walking robot and it's fierce enough to draw knights into battle to save the damsel in distress -- Victoria Kennedy, CNN, Atlanta.
STOUT: That robot's just so cool.
Now you got to take a look at this. At Colombia's Bogota Airport, police have arrested a Canadian woman who at first appeared to be pregnant. And they say that she was actually trying to smuggle two kilograms of cocaine in her fake latex bump. Police say an inspector noted that her belly was unusually cold and hard.
Now before we go, we have news just in to CNN on our top story this hour. This just coming in: Russian television quoting the Interfax news agency. It's reporting that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirms that Syria will hand over its chemical weapons to the international community.
And the report quotes al-Assad as saying that American threats of military action did not affect the decision; rather, it was a result of Russia's proposal. We'll have much more on this in the hours ahead, right here on CNN.
And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.