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Amnesty International Accuses Turkish Government Of Human Rights Abuses; Silvio Berlusconi Backs Italian Prime Minister In Confidence Vote; Typhoon Wutip Slams Southeast Asia; Chemical Weapons Team Arrives In Syria; CNN Heroes: Nicholas Lowinger; How Much Is Twitter Worth?

Aired October 2, 2013 - 08:00   ET


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

Now breaking news from Italy, now Silvio Berlusconi drops his bid to topple the government saying that he will back Prime Minister Enrico Letta in a confidence vote.

Now chemical weapons inspectors begin the difficult task of locating and destroying Syria's chemical stockpiles.

And as Twitter prepares to reveal its IPO, we examine how it plans to turn a profit.

Now Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta faces a crucial confidence vote any minute now. And things are looking up for him after a dramatic turnaround by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Now Bed Wedeman is following breaking developments in Rome for us. He joins us now. And Ben, Berlusconi is now backing the prime minister, but Berlusconi called for the vote in the first place. So why the U-turn?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Really, Kristie, to quote Shakespeare, it's all a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Mr. Berlusconi just a little while ago in parliament just in remarks in the senate said that he would give a vote of confidence to Prime Minister Letta. This was after it became clear that many members of his party, the Popolo Della Liberta, The People of Liberty or freedom, would in fact vote in favor of the government. This after a severe backlash by many prominent figures in the Italian business community in politics and others to the attempt by Silvio Berlusconi to bring down this coalition government that joined the right and the left together and this was a government that was formed only after two months of wrangling.

So there's so much at stake in terms of the economy, with unemployment running at 12.2 percent, youth employment topping 40 percent.

Italy in its longest recession since the Second World War. Many people on both sides of the aisle, so to speak, felt that this is not the time to engage in political shenanigans. And I think Mr. Berlusconi saw the writing on the wall in parliament.

LU STOUT: Yeah, he saw the writing on the wall. Berlusconi has been forced to back the prime minister today. But is Berlusconi still a political threat? If the prime minister survives the confidence, which as I understand it, it is happening right now or very soon, can Berlusconi regroup and reunite his party? Can he trigger another political crisis in the future?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think it was one astute observer of Italian politics noted just a little while ago this is a huge development. This shows that Silvio Berlusconi is no longer the puppet master of Italian politics, that he has been -- he's facing an internal revolt and that from here on in he may be on a slow decline.

And also keep in mind, Kristie, that on Friday a parliamentary committee will consider ejecting him from parliament, because of course he has been convicted of tax fraud. And one of the parts of his sentence in that conviction is that he will be banned from public life.

So in a sense he's become almost so radioactive that even members of his own party are starting to distance themselves from him.

LU STOUT: Yeah, Berlusconi definitely under fire, but Enrico Letta, the prime minister, I mean he is also on not too stable ground as well. I mean, assuming that he will have the vote to win this confidence vote -- we're looking at live pictures of the Italian parliament right now -- will his government still be strong enough, still be stable enough so he can go out and carry out those much needed economic reform for Italy?

WEDEMAN: Well, it will be stable enough to continue to operate, but some of these reforms are quite massive, including electoral reform aimed at sort of streamlining the currently very complicated Italian political system.

Will he be able to carry on what he began back in April? Yes. Will he be able to push it through? Probably.

But really the major reforms that Italy needs to get the country moving again -- cutting the red tape, cutting down the bureaucracy, cutting some of the excess spending that goes on maybe a bigger task than Enrico Letta himself can deal with.

LU STOUT: All right, dramatic day for Italy. Ben Wedeman reporting live from Rome for us. Thank you, Ben.

Now we've been showing you those live pictures from inside the Italian parliament as they come up to the confidence vote. And we will continue to follow it during the show as we wait for the vote.

Now they have got the go-ahead from President Bashar al-Assad. And now international chemical weapons experts are on the ground in Syria. And today, they begin their mission to destroy the country's chemical arsenal by the middle of next year.

Now that stockpile is huge. It's believed to be about 1,000 metric tons, that's according to U.S. intelligence.

So what lies ahead for the inspectors? Well, the team, it plans to visit nearly 50 sites. And this map shows some of the locations where it's believed the weapons are being stored or produced across Syria.

Now the team of about 20 experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons faces a very daunting task. Many of the sites are in, or require travel through, rebel held areas and combat zones.

So some are asking, is this mission impossible?

Now for more, I'm joined now by Jomana Karadsheh, she joins us live from Abu Dhabi. And Jomana, the OPCW, the team is now inside Syria. Tell us what is phase one of their mission?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, that team that arrived in Damascus yesterday is an advanced team with 19 inspectors from the OPCW and 14 UN staff members. The first thing they did was they established a logistics base that they will be using for planning their mission. And what they begin now is the verification phase. What they have to do is, as you remember, the Syrian regime declared its chemical stockpiles and chemical facilities last month. So what they have to do now is verify the sites and the stockpiles.

Now they also at the same time have to plan for phase one, that is for the destruction of all of Syria's production and mixing facilities for chemical weapons.

There's a deadline coming up for that in less than a month, by November 1. That's the deadline set by the UN security council and the OPCW for Syria to destroy these facilities.

So the first thing they have to do now is plan ahead for that phase with a deadline of less than a month to go.

LU STOUT: You know, Jomana, this is such a daunting task. It's being called Mission Impossible. I mean, what do you think will be the biggest challenge ahead for the mission. Will it be just identifying the chemical stockpiles inside Syria, which may be hidden, which may be being moved around, or the physical act of destroying that arsenal?

KARADSHEH: Well, as you mentioned earlier, Kristie, the number one challenge in this case -- you know, of course, always missions for the OPCW are really tough to try and eliminate stockpiles of chemical weapons in any country. But of course Syria is different. This is an active war zone, you know, active combat.

And as you mentioned, some facilities of those 50 sites that they will probably be going to are in, you know, across frontlines. To try and get to them will be really challenging.

Now in terms of dealing with these stockpiles, of course it depends on what state they're in, whether they're raw, whether they're mixed. There are lots of technical things that they will be dealing with and that will also set the timelines of how long it will actually take to do that.

But, of course, the OPCW has said rather than using the techniques they usually use, the usual operations they use of destroying these chemical weapons stockpiles. What they might do in this case is a less time consuming one where they render these chemical weapons unusable rather than destroying them. And as you mentioned, the deadline for destroying and eliminating all of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles is the first half of next year. So a very, very challenging task.

LU STOUT: Yeah, the deadline is looming. And if Syria does not get rid of its chemical arsenal by then, what would be the consequences?

KARADSHEH: Well, as we saw back in August, of course, it is a very dangerous situation.

We saw chemical weapons being used in Syria, up to 1,400 people killed in that chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. Of course, you also have the UN investigating seven other incidents where chemical weapons may have been used in Syria.

So this is the number one concern here that the use of chemical weapons, that could happen again in Syria.

And, of course, another concern for the international community is that these chemical weapons in this war zone may be unprotected and they could fall into the wrong hands. Of course, there are a big number of Islamist extremists, jihadists groups who are operating in Syria. And of course the fear is that they could get their hands on these chemical weapons too.

LU STOUT: All right, Jomana Karadsheh reporting for us. Thank you.

Now a general who defected from the Syrian military tells CNN that he believes Bashar al-Assad will never give up his regime's chemical weapons. In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, the general said that some stockpiles have not been declared and are being hidden from the disarmament team that's currently inside Syria.


BRIG. GEN. ZACHER AL-SAKAT, SYRIAN DEFECTOR (through translator): The locations of the most of the scientific research centers in Syria and the storage facilities are known and under surveillance. Thus, he will give up those centers and facilities for sure without lying. That said, however, Bashar al-Assad will not give up the chemical stockpile.

There are four secret locations inside Syria while in the meantime there are current transfer of chemical weapons to Hezbollah and Iraq and from there to Iran.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And still to come, as the U.S. government enters its second day of the shutdown, we'll look at the impact and how the crisis can be resolved.

Plus, Myanmar President Thein Sein makes his first visit to the state of Rakhine amid violent unrest.

And damning accusations leveled at the Turkish government of gross human rights abuses. We'll give you all the details up ahead on News Stream.


LU 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 an about face in Italy that could save the prime minister. But now we turn to another government in crisis, the American government.

Now the government shutdown has forced President Barack Obama to cancel plans to travel to the Philippines and Malaysia. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will go instead.

It's still unclear Mr. Obama will attend the Asia-Pacific economic cooperation summit in Indonesia later this week or remain in Washington to deal with the budget crisis.

Now remember, a group of House Republicans is trying to block a new health care law and is tying the issue to legislation that would fund the federal government.

Now Democrats say that they're holding the nation hostage to their drive to derail the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But, as President Obama acknowledged in this tweet, major components of the health care law went into effect as scheduled on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, House Republican leader Eric Cantor, he tweeted this picture with the caption, quote, "we sit ready to negotiate with the Senate."

Now the House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi responded by saying it only took you 192 days and a shutdown.

Now even some high profile Republicans acknowledge that efforts to undue Obamacare will fail. Let's get the state of play right now with Brianna Keilar. She joins us live from the White House -- Brianna.


And all of this now affecting President Obama's international travel schedule. He was supposed to be going to Asia for a four stop trip. We now understand two of those have been cancelled. He called the heads of the Philippines as well as Malaysia last night to let them know that he won't be making those stops on his trip. Those were the more social visits.

He still, as we understand it, is on schedule to go to Indonesia and Brunei for two summits. So what are seen as the more important parts of his trip.

As this showdown over the shutdown continues.


KEILAR (voice-over): The impasse in Congress is no closer to being resolved this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion to table is agreed to.

KEILAR: But nearly 800,000 federal employees off their jobs for a second day, President Obama is blaming Tea Party Republicans for shutting down the government over their objections to Obamacare.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They demanded ransom just for doing their job.

KEILAR: He's urging Congress to act.

OBAMA: Allow the public servants who have been sent home to return to work.

KEILAR: Tuesday night, House Republicans tried to fund the government piecemeal, starting with veterans, national parks and the city of Washington, D.C.

REPRESENTATIVE PHIL GINGREY (R), GEORGIA: We're ready to talk. They have rejected that. We have to send that back every day.

KEILAR: Their first attempt failed, most Democrats voting no.

REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: This is a waste of time. It's not going any place.

KEILAR: What's worse, we're about to hit the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew again warned Congress that if it doesn't raise the U.S.' ability to pay its debt, it will default October 17th. GOP leaders blame Democrats for refusing to sit down and negotiate.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: My goodness, they won't even sit down and have a discussion.

KEILAR: President Obama said his signature program isn't up for discussion.

OBAMA: The affordable care act is still open for business and it is here to stay.

KEILAR: Frustrated taxpayers made sure their voices were heard, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are tired of a Congress that can't govern this country. You guys are worthless!


KEILAR: Now there are some new poll numbers out on American's opinions about the debt ceiling, which is quickly approaching. 56 percent say it would be bad if the debt ceiling isn't increased. 38 percent say it would be good. And Kristie, it's 51 to 43 percent who say it's more important to raise the debt ceiling than to delay Obamacare, because we're expecting that the whole debt ceiling and the government shutdown could be wrapped in together.

So you have a majority who say that, you know, that's more the priority than getting rid of Obamacare.

LU STOUT: Yeah, it's a majority speaking out there in this very emotive issue.

Now we heard that Republicans, they're saying we're ready to talk. They've called for more negotiations (inaudible) here Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. But Brianna, for international audience, could you explain that what's happening right now, this government shutdown in the U.S. is not the way that laws are usually negotiated in America.

KEILAR: No, it's not. And it's not something you see very often. The last time that we saw a shutdown there were actually two, one which was just for a few days, and then another for a few weeks. That was in 1995 to 1996.

A little different circumstance there, because actually it was the year before President Clinton was up for reelection.

So it kind of became a bit of political battle.

The end game was that Republicans in the congress were kind of the losers on that end. And so it wasn't really seen as effective, Kristie. And not only were Republicans the losers, but really everyone loses. President Clinton didn't fare so well initially right after the shutdown. So it's not even really a way that I think a lot of politicians look at as an effective way to make their point. This isn't something that happens very often.

And the point that you're hearing from President Obama is that even as you shut down the government, you don't shut down Obamacare, because that money has already been put aside. The truth is, there is really a minority of lawmakers who think this is the way to go, but you have a lot more Republican lawmakers who are worried about the influence of Tea Party voters, because remember they're up for reelection here in about a year.

LU STOUT: So what will be the end game this time around? I mean, how will this shutdown be resolved?

KEILAR: Well, the end game is really somebody has to cave, from the perspective of the White House it's not going to be them. They say they're not going to buckle on the President's signature health care reform law. And what's interesting here is you have these two tracks going on. You've got the shutdown and then you have the debt ceiling, which we're expected to hit here in a few weeks.

If the shutdown continues to drag on, if this isn't resolved here in the next, you know, several days, you could see all of this kind of squished in together so that there's going to have to be some sort of agreement that reinstates government funding, that makes sure the debt ceiling is increased, and if certainly the debt ceiling isn't increased, that's really a much more negative effect than a shutdown, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Brianna Keilar reporting for us live from the White House, thank you.

Now in the meantime, nearly 1 million federal workers are being forced to stay home without pay. National parks, monuments are shuttered. As Chris Lawrence found out, many Americans are fuming.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Washington.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wheelchair bound veterans came just to see the World War II Memorial, only to be greeted by barricades.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: I don't get it. I don't get it. I'm furious.

LAWRENCE: Members of Congress seem surprised, but when they vote to shut down the federal government, monuments do, too.

HARKIN: If I can walk around here why can't I walk down there? It makes no sense.

LAWRENCE: That's exactly what some are saying about negotiations on Capitol Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like our government is wasting our taxpayer money.

LAWRENCE: Onlookers applauded as the veterans broke past the barricade.

JAMES BROWN, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: Well, it fills you with pride, and make you proud that you were part of it.

LAWRENCE: Lawmakers who came to greet the vets also laid blame for those barricades.

REP. STEVE KING (R) IOWA: This is a spiteful decision that was ordered from the White House.

LAWRENCE: The politicians made no mention of their own role.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: We're trying to protect the lives and the health care of these wonderful veterans who did for us.

LAWRENCE: But as they postured within a mile of the memorial, thousands of federal workers were being furloughed.


LAWRENCE: Sent home without pay, they're scared for themselves and their co-workers.

SUSAN LAKE, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: I just bought a house. Think of the mortgage payments.

LAWRENCE: Angry, worried and incredibly frustrated.

GOLDSON: Because I don't see why we the people should really suffer because of their disagreement.

LAWRENCE: Despite it all, the shutdown won't stop one woman's 93- year-old father who will get to see the memorial that honors him.

LAKE: We're just glad he got on the plane this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're still going to enjoy this day?

LAKE: Oh, yes, it's going to be great.

LAWRENCE (on camera): And the thing is flights and hotels are already booked for a dozen more veterans trips during the next week. Park officials say they are looking for guidance on how to handle those. Translation? We can't believe the folks in charge left us here to block elderly veterans from entering an open concrete space.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And ahead after the break, a report from Myanmar. The country's president visits an area plagued by religious violence. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: All right, live from Hong Kong, you're back Watching News Stream.

Now there is a fresh wave of violence in Myanmar. Buddhist mobs have been torching homes in the troubled Rakhine State. And reports say a 94- year-old woman was among five Muslims killed. And police say four Buddhists are being treated after they were attacked.

Now it comes as the country's president Thein Sein arrived in the troubled area. It is the first time he has visited the site of the riots since violence broke out one year ago. And he is again calling for calm.

Now CNN correspondent Paula Newton is in Yangon with more.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of rioters set fire to dozens of Muslim homes in Rakhine State. Now this is a continuance of that violence between Buddhists and Muslims here in Myanmar that's been going on for several months. One Muslim woman was killed and dozens of others were injured.

Now coincidentally, this took place just hours before the president of Myanmar was already scheduled to travel to the region. It is his first visit to the region when violence broke out there more than a year ago. And he acknowledged that the government must find a way to settle down this simmering violence in that region.

THEIN SEIN, MYANMAR PRESIDENT (through translator): Our international reputation was damaged, but our explanation to the United Nations and to countries in our region convinced them to understand us. The most important thing is we shouldn't allow these things to happen again.

NEWTON: Now that was actually echoed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter who was here on a visit last week and said that this is a test to make sure that Myanmar is capable of meeting its international obligations where human rights are concerned. But Muslim families that spoke to CNN said that in the area itself police seemed incapable or unwilling to protect them.

Paula Newton, CNN, Yangon.


LU STOUT: Now, still ahead here on News Stream, setting the record straight for Iranians and tourists in Tehran. We'll tell you what they think you should know about the Islamic Republic.

Tough talk from Israel as Benjamin Netanyahu zeroes in on Iran's new leader. We'll bring you perspective from Jerusalem.


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

Now former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has unexpectedly dropped a bid to topple the government. Berlusconi announced that he will back the current prime minister Enrio Letta in a confidence vote. You're looking at live pictures from inside the Italian parliament where that vote is happening right now.

Again, the about face, it came after members of Berlusconi's own party suggested that they would defy him.

Now the U.S. government shutdown is now in day two. And there is little sign that either side is ready to back down. House Republicans try to restore funding to a handful of programs, including Veteran's Affairs. But the measures did not win enough support. And Democrats are refusing to negotiate piecemeal.

Now the leader of Greece's far right Golden Dawn Party is due to appear in court. Nikos Michaloliakos was arrested on Saturday along with other lawmakers from his party on charges of forming a criminal gang. Now three of them have just been released from jail pending a trial, while a fourth was kept in detention.

Now South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has hired a team of U.S. forensic experts to help his defense at his murder trial next year. Now Pistorius, a double amputee, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February. He denies the charge. Now the trial is due to start in March.

Iran's president is in the middle of what some have called a charm offensive with the west. Now many people in Tehran say that they feel their country is misunderstood.

Now Reza Sayah asks them to set the record straight.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks to a hard-line leadership, decades of isolation and its conflict with the west, Iran and its people remain a mystery to much of the world. Iranians complain the only image of Iran the outside world often sees is the one on TV news and Hollywood movies, an image that depicts Iran as a rogue and dangerous (inaudible) with a backward population.

The best way to get to know Iranians is to speak with them directly. So we did. We heard one thing over and over again, we are not what you see on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know the (inaudible) has terrorism, but you show me here which one of us is terrorism.

SAYAH: "These are all lies," says break maker Hossain Mohamedi (ph). "The people of Iran are the best in the world."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really sad for me, because here in bazaar I can see lots of tourists that's they came in to our country and they were just surprised, you know, how kind people are here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love them if they love us, also we love them more than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like you make something tell me with some tourists that they have been here.

SAYAH: Interviewing tourists seemed like a good idea. After all, it's a little harder to accuse tourists of bias and favoritism towards Iran.

Finding tourists was surprisingly easy. Stephan Romana (ph) and their dog Funny (ph) are hitchhiking through Iran.

Which mean beautiful in Farsi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which means, beautiful in Farsi. And especially the people, because while they are so hospitable, they're really nice.

SAYAH: Ryan, Solma (ph) and their little girl Julia are here from The Netherlands.

This is a tour group from Finland. They, too, said their perception of Iran didn't match reality.

RYAN HENDRICKS, TOURIST: It's what you see on television is so totally different than what it really is.

SAYAH: When you told your friend, your family you're going to Iran, what did they say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were surprised. They said, didn't you find any other destination?

UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: My daughter-in-law said to me, are you out of your mind?

UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: What we get in the TV news is not true, it's the other side. And we see here, very friendly people, a lot of history, good food. Very nice country, indeed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not so frightening as I thought. Absolutely lovely.

SAYAH: Rami Atori (ph) says his t-shirt sums up what Iranians are all about.

"Everything is solve through friendship," says Atori (ph). "War, sanctions, and conflict never solve anything."

Reza Sayah, CNN, Tehran.


LU STOUT: But Israel's prime minister says that Iran's new president should not be trusted. Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN general assembly on Tuesday.

Now let's bring in CNN's Jim Clancy. He joins us live from Jerusalem. And Jim, it was a pretty blunt speech from Netanyahu, can you tell us more about how he made the case against Iran?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, he went out swinging, I would say. And I think the people here, the reaction anyway, here in Israel has been that the prime minister was able to take a lot of the wind and much of the charm out of the sales of Iran's president Hassan Rouhani.

"He wants his yellow cake and to eat it, too," that's how the prime minister put it.

The prime minister made a case for Iran's involvement in terrorism. How Iran hid its nuclear program underground and how the new president himself had written in a book how he used the appearance of moderation to keep Iran's nuclear program moving along.

Now, these aren't people on the streets, these are people that see Iran in a completely different way. This is intelligence information, if you will. The people on the streets of Tehran don't see what the Revolutionary Guard is doing. They don't visit the prisons and talk with the people that are held there, because of their opposition politically, even former politicians are held under house arrest.

All of these problems are what the prime minister pointed out.

The Israelis well know they have little option, but to keep up the pressure. And the pressure is the economic sanctions that forced Iran to seek negotiations. They want to keep them in place.

The military option was also there, said Mr. Netanyahu. But most think so long as Israel's biggest ally, the Americans, are negotiating with Tehran, that is highly unlikely and said they're going to try to convince Washington and the west to demand the complete dismantling of Iran's nuclear project.

That's how he tried to sell it at the UN.

Certainly, stripped away some of the charm that we saw in the previous week. But there's still a long way for them to go -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, he tried to sell it, but did his speech work? I mean, did it succeed in at least temporary -- tempering the optimism out there, especially in the U.S., about a new, more reformist Iranian president?

CLANCY: Up to a point it was successful. I think what's happening here is they're hearing the same thing over and over again from the Israelis and people now see something new. They see the opportunity for talks. They wonder where that could lead. They wonder if that could bring them a solution.

I think Ban Ki-moon, in speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu after the address at the UN made it clear that there was a very small window during which Iran would have to prove that its nuclear program was a peaceful one. And the Israelis are just going to try to drive home the point that you've got to remove that entire program if we are going to feel safe.

LU STOUT: All right. Jim Clancy reporting live from Jerusalem for us. Thank you, Jim.

Now, the Turkish government is coming under some scathing criticism in a new report issued by Amnesty International, the group accuses police there of massive human rights violations in response to the anti-government protests that rocked Istanbul and Ankara this past June.

You may recall the demonstrations began as a sit-in against the construction of a shopping mall and then turned into a series of violent clashes.

Now the Amnesty report says that protesters were shot, beaten, even sexually abused.

Now our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins me now live from Istanbul. And Ivan, just brutal abuse is detailed in this report from Amnesty. What more does the report reveal?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, again, as you mentioned, the report accuses Turkish police and the government of basically using massive amounts of force against peaceful protesters, accuses them of firing tear gas canisters and plastic bullets at the heads and torsos of demonstrators, of sexually abusing female demonstrators, and of beating demonstrators resulting in the deaths of at least one demonstrator and the shooting death of another demonstrator in a separate incident with live ammunition.

Amnesty joins several other international human rights organizations in calling for a ban of the sale of tear gas and pepper spray to the Turkish government and calls for an independent investigation into these allegations of abuses.

It must be noted the Turkish government says it has launched an investigation into possible abuses of force by the riot police and at least one Turkish police officer is currently standing trial for beating a protester in the city of Esquesha (ph) here who later died of his wounds -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now, this week, Ivan, the Turkish government unveiled a new democratic reform package. What does it look like?

WATSON: This was a long awaited package of reforms that the Turkish prime minister called a historic step forward for his country. It removes a ban on women wearing Islamic head scarves in public institutions, though women are still not allowed to wear head scarves if they are judges, police officers or in the military.

It allows the Kurdish language to be taught in schools, but only in private schools, not in public schools.

And it removes a ban on the letters Q, W, and X, which are used in the Kurdish alphabet, but not in Turkish.

It also expands the definition in sentences for hate crimes if they're committed against people for reasons of ethnicity or religion. There has been a chorus of criticism saying it's not going far enough.

The Turkish president, in fact, in a speech to parliament yesterday said that Turkey really has a long way to go still. It needs to fully establish an independent judiciary, an independent and free press as well as strong constructive opposition parties.

And, Kristie, it's worth noting that he also warned about the polarization, politically and culturally in Turkey, polarization that has led to an explosion of protest art over the course of the most turbulent summer in recent political history. Take a look.


WATSON: Angry words of political defiance. This hip hop call for freedom by rapper Osbi (ph) hit the internet during one of the most turbulent summers in modern Turkish history, a tumultuous period during which the music video's director says he's seen an explosion in Turkish political art.

OGLU BARAN KUBILAY, MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTOR: Besides being politicized, it became much more smarter. And not people know what they want to say. And they feel much braver than ever, you know, to use it in their art to show it through their art.

WATSON: Protests first erupted in Istanbul last May as an environmentalist sit-in against government plans to bulldoze a park in Istanbul and replace it with a shopping mall.

Since then, the government has repeatedly used force to crush what it describes as illegal street protests.

While Turkey's prime minister has repeatedly denounced and threatened anti-government protesters, Turkey's president recently told journalists he was proud that demonstrations had largely been organized over environmental concerns.

Those concerns now reflected at Turkey's most prestigious art festival, the Istanbul Vianal (ph), where several exhibits criticized the recent glut of government-backed mega construction projects.

BIGE ORER, ISTANBUL BIENNIAL DIRECTOR: We see a bowl hitting the facade of the (inaudible) building. I mean, she wants to make reference to how the buildings are, you know, are demolished.

WATSON: Last month, Istanbul's municipal government painted this staircase gray to cover up local man's decision to paint these steps the colors of the rainbow. The resulting popular outcry forced city authorities to back down. And now the rainbow staircase is back and other rainbow steps have popped up across this city.

CENGIZ AKTAR, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, BAHCEAEHIR UNIVERSITY: People are buying the colors then themselves. They are paying for it. And they are going ahead with it.

WATSON: Political scientist Cengiz Aktar argues this is a healthy trend for Turkish democracy.

AKTAR: The fear is gone. As soon as the fear is gone, people started to express themselves everywhere and in every fashion and way.

WATSON: In this political climate, even a staircase can become a potent political symbol.


WATSON: Now, Kristie, it's worth noting the Turkish prime minister repeatedly insulted and threatened anti-government protesters throughout the summer. The president, long an ally of Prime Minister Erdogan, has taken a different position. He has said he was proud that the Gezi Park protesters were, quote, "a new manifestation of our democratic maturity."

And these increasingly public, divergent statements coming from the president, a largely figurehead position Abdullah Gul have prompted a lot of people here to suspect he may be preparing himself for a run for the post of prime minister in the year ahead -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, incredible divergent views at the top and in general as your report mentioned just then, the fear is gone. Art if flourishing in a new Turkey. Ivan Watson reporting live for us from Istanbul, thank you.

Now you're watching News Stream. And still to come, we've got a closer look at Twitter as it prepares to go public. It's got the name recognition, but just what is its true value? Stay with us.


LUI STOUT: Now the U.S. government may be closed for business, but it doesn't look like that will stop Twitter from posting its IPO documents on the SEC website. Now the social network is set to make the IPO paperwork public some time this week. And it's a good opportunity to see just where Twitter stands.

Now it's safe to say that Twitter has built a strong following as a platform for people to share their views as the company itself boasts it's a place where Captain Kirk can communicate with an actual astronaut in orbit around the planet.

Now Twitter is full of newsmakers, celebrities, reporters, but it's also got parody accounts and spammers.

So that got us thinking about the fundamental value of Twitter. I mean, just what is its purpose? Who uses it really? How will it make money?

Now let's hit all those points with our regular contributor Nick Thompson. He is the editor of the New

And Nick, you use it, I use it. It's fun. It's handy for news. But what is the purpose of Twitter?

NICK THOMPSON, NEW YORKER.COM: Well, the purpose of Twitter is to engage in conversations. It's a great way to follow the news and to respond to people who are posting stories. Lots of people use it to comment on television. They're watching a show, they're commenting on it as it goes. It's a good way. It's in many ways it's replaced RSS readers as the way we get a stream of constant information coming in.

So for people who are comfortable with the service and people who really like the service, it's a very useful source of information.

LU STOUT: Yeah, it's a new RSS reader. It's a new water cooler. But who uses it? And how much traffic does it generate compared to, let's say, Facebook?

THOMPSON: A tiny fraction. I mean, that's one of the most interesting things. So if you look at mobile phones, which is the most important thing to look at, because people are moving towards mobile phones, people spend about 1.4 percent of their time on Twitter and they spend about 20 percent of their mobile phones on Facebook. They actually spend significantly more time on Instagram than they do on Twitter.

So Twitter has this very high public profile, because it's very exciting, it's tied to celebrities, a lot of people in the news use it and talk about it. But the number of people on it is large, but not as large as you might think.

The number of people in the United States who use it every day is 7 million, which is a big number, but it's not a massive, massive, massive number.

LU STOUT: No. Not at all. And a key question for the upcoming IPO, how will Twitter make money?

THOMPSON: Well, that's actually -- modified, it's 7 million people who use it on mobile phones in the United States every day.

How are they going to make money? They make money on what are called sponsor tweets and promoted tweets. So a company wants to get people to engage with their brand, so they'll, you know, they'll write a tweet and it'll appear at the top of your Twitter stream. And then somebody clicks it, it shares it. The company pays money to Twitter.

There are also companies that pay Twitter in order to get followers. When a new user signs up, Twitter recommends that they follow the company.

And then they make money through something called promoted trends. So there's a little module on Twitter which tells you what people are talking about and you can say that, hey, they're talking about my company and put it at the bottom of that.

So they make some revenue. They're going to make about $600 million in revenue this year, and maybe about $952 billion (sic) next year. Those are still pretty low numbers. They're very low numbers compared to Facebook. I mean, there is, you know, one-fourth of the revenue that Facebook had when Facebook went public.

So Twitter is going public at a pretty early stage in its revenue growth. The trajectories are all good, but the numbers are all quite low.

LU STOUT: Yeah, especially when you compare it to Facebook.

Nick Thompson of the New, thank you so much for that chat. We'll talk again next week.

Now, back to school shopping, it is a yearly ritual for many kids and their parents, but imagine what it's like for children whose families can't afford even the basic essentials like a pair of shoes.

Now in this week's CNN Heroes, we introduce you to a 15-year-old boy who decided that wasn't right. And he decided to do something about it.


NICHOLAS LOWINGER, YOUNG WONDER: September is back to school, and for most kids that means back to school shopping.

I used to take those things for granted, until I realized that there were a lot of kids who didn't have those sort of luxuries. I remember my first shelter visit, seeing kids who were just like me, the only difference being they had footwear that was falling apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was nervous to go back to school. My shoes were old and too small for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I lost my job, I had to decide either to spend money on the shoes or medicine or diapers.

LOWINGER: Kids get blisters on their feet because they have to wear whatever shoes they can get. It just wasn't right.

My name is Nicholas Lowinger. I'm 15. And I give new shoes to kids living in homeless shelters across the country.

My family's garage is filled to the brim with boxes full of new shoes. Shelters send us orders with the kid's name, gender, shoe size. I've donated new sneakers to over 10,000 kids in 21 states.


LOWINGER: Homeless children, they shouldn't have to worry about how they'll be accepted or how they'll fit in.

Tiana (ph).


LOWINGER: It's more than just giving them a new pair of shoes, I'm helping kids be kids. Their self esteem goes up. Their whole attitude on life changes, that's really what makes it so special for me.


LU STOUT: Such an amazing young man.

Now you're watching News Stream. And still ahead on the program, just when you thought that you were safe from an hour from any mention of Justin Bieber, we will have the latest on the Bieb's antics. Now this time, some are calling the singer's diva demands while visiting China.


LU STOUT: All right. Some breaking news in from Rome. The Prime Minister Enrico Letta has survived the confidence vote. Decision day today for Italy's government, a challenge put forth earlier by Silvio Berlusconi, but then he decided to backtrack and back Mr. Letta in the end. And this news just in, the prime minister of Italy has won the confidence vote.

Live pictures there from the Italian parliament.

Welcome back. You're watching News Stream. Now, time for your world weather check. And a story of lost and found at sea.

Now two more fisherman, they were rescued after boats sank during a typhoon earlier this week. Let's get the details with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: It really is an amazing story of survival.

Before I show you the pictures, I want to show you when and where this happened. Remember earlier this week we were talking about Typhoon Wutip. It made landfall here across northern parts of Vietnam, caused a lot of damage there. And this right here is the track of the storm.

In this area, right in here is where there were five boats with fishermen in it, more than three of the boats, at least, are believed to have sank -- you've got to think about it -- when these boats sank the water here was churning up maybe 5 to 7 meter waves and winds howling at more than 160 kilometers per hour. They sought refuge near these islands, but unfortunately it wasn't enough, 88 of them went into the water.

Now let's go ahead and look at the pictures, because this is an amazing story of survival. Here you see this from rescue workers. It's like finding a needle in a haystack. It's why they make those things orange. You can spot them from far away. You see the life raft there. And of course they are being pulled to safety. Two more.

At least four of them are confirmed dead. It's a very sad situation, of course. They were given water and were allowed to call their families.

It's amazing to me that they're walking around and they look fairly healthy after so many days at sea. So at least two more found. The rescue here goes on. They have at least four planes, several helicopters and at least five ships that are out there trying to find now in the calmer seas there after the storm.

Come back over to the weather map over here, amazing there. This is also after the storm. This is from Thailand. You know, that storm made landfall in Vietnam, caused a lot of heavy rain across southeast Asia. Thailand has been pounded by heavy rain. This is a picture from our iReporter Lee (ph). And he said that -- iReporter was saying that these areas are completely flooded. You have a road that you can go through, but where people live and where people work, like that farmer woman that you see there, completely flooded.

Cambodia suffering the same fate.

The reports out of here are that at least 30 people have been killed in flooding. And at least 30,000 homes have been damaged.

This one, I don't know, does it count as damaged or not? I can't tell you, but you see a woman sitting there on the steps.

In the capital, they are doing humanitarian food aid, because of the massive flooding. So many people have been displaced. I said 30,000 homes.

There's Wutip, and this is where it made landfall. Very heavy rain and flooding continues across these areas, Kristie, and unfortunately even though this storm is long gone, there's nothing left of it. The monsoon still in full swing and you can see a lot of rain expected here still. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah. Monsoon still in full force. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now the teen sensation Justin Bieber, his latest antics, have even the most ardent believers climbing the walls. But climbing walls is something the pop star himself is apparently unable to do. Consider the evidence. Now on his current tour of China, the man who has made a career out of his dancing his way across concert stages didn't have the legs to carry himself up the nation's greatest monument and instead, relied on his entourage to take the strain.

Now it is the latest sign that Bieber is taking his rise to pop royalty, perhaps a little bit too far.

But in fairness, that might be one of the few chances that the 5 foot 7 inch, or 1.7 meter tall star, gets to feel he's head and shoulders above the rest of us.

That is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.