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YOUR WORLD TODAY

NASA Scrubs Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis; Al Qaeda Releases Videotape of Osama bin Laden with 9/11 Hijackers; Gordon Brown Favorite to Replace Tony Blair

Aired September 8, 2006 - 12:00   ET

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


JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: A fiery suicide attack targets U.S. troops in the Afghan capital as a finger of blame is pointed at the Taliban.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: A tiny patch of disputed land and the enduring desire to one day go home to Shebaa Farms.

CLANCY: When will he leave and when will he take over? The question swirling around Britain's top two.

GORANI: And Chinese revolutionary leader (INAUDIBLE) died 30 years ago. So why is the anniversary passing with so little fanfare?

CLANCY: Hello everyone and welcome to our report broadcast around the globe. I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani. From Kabul to Beirut, London to Beijing, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

CLANCY: Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai is calling it a heinous act that goes against the values of Islam and humanity.

GORANI: Now we begin with the deadliest suicide attack in the Afghan capital since the fall of the Taliban five years ago.

CLANCY: It comes as NATO is considering sending more troops to Afghanistan after a top commander there said the Taliban is showing what he called a surprising level of resistance.

GORANI: Now we'll hear from CNN's Anderson Cooper in Kabul in a moment. But first, more on that blast that killed 16 people, including two U.S. soldiers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI (voice-over): The suicide attack shook Kabul and left bodies scattered in the streets adjacent to the U.S. embassy compound. A charred vehicle burned fiercely after the attack. The force of the blast even sheared the bark off trees. The target had been a vehicle convoy that included U.S. troops, but most of the victims were believed to be Afghans. Immediately after the attack, American troops could be seen standing to watch over the scene and the body of a fallen soldier. "I was cleaning the street," said one eyewitness, who described the suicide attack and said it wounded his co-worker. "It's obvious the terrorists are trying to destabilize Afghanistan," said an official on the scene. The explosion shattered windows and nearby buildings, in what officials said was one of the most deadly attacks in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban five years ago.

It comes amid growing concern by NATO commanders that a resurgence of the militants is posing the greatest challenge yet to the western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai. NATO officials were meeting in Europe Friday to discuss an urgent request for thousands more peacekeepers to be dispatched to Afghanistan to confront Taliban fighters before the onset of winter.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: There are obvious links being drawn between this attack and two anniversaries. Ceremonies are already beginning to mark the assassination of legendary Afghan commander Ahmed Shaw Masud, he was killed in Afghanistan by al Qaeda operatives five years ago Saturday. And of course September 11th is only three days away. As Anderson Cooper surveys the scene from the Afghan capital, he reports, this attack is really being viewed in the context of a determined and bloody comeback by the Taliban.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's absolutely a sign of the resurgence not only of the Taliban, also but of their sympathizers. An intelligence source I've been talking to also point to an increasing adoption by the Taliban and their sympathizers of al Qaeda-style tactics. I mean you think of Masud's death as really the first suicide bombing in Afghanistan. That occurred in 2001. That was -- there was only one suicide attack that year. This year alone there have been some 70 suicide attacks. They have begun to adopt al Qaeda-style tactics and they are bidding very effective. Targeting coalition troops, but as Afghans will quickly point out, it is Afghan civilians who are often paying the biggest price. I mean two U.S. soldiers were killed today but some 10 Afghans were killed and 27 were wounded.

CLANCY: This week, the Pakistan government announced a deal that they cut with the Taliban, basically give them autonomy in Waziristan Province. How concerned are intelligence officials on the ground where you are?

COOPER: Very concerned. I mean really dismayed, I'd almost say. I just had a briefing with some intelligence sources today. They say, look, that Pakistan clearly has not done enough in their opinion to thwart the Taliban leadership. They say, you know, Pakistan may have made some high-level arrests of al Qaeda figures and, you know, we all know about those arrests that they've made, but they really have not arrested any major Taliban figures at all.

In fact, intelligence sources I talked to today said that they know that Mullah Omar, the reclusive leader of the Taliban, the man who has a price on his head, who was last seen in December of 2001, fleeing from Kandahar, they say he's living in Kwquetta (ph) or in the surrounding areas. They say they know it and they say that the Pakistan intelligence knows it as well.

CLANCY: Anderson Cooper on the story in Kabul, Afghanistan. Our thanks to you. Now Anderson Cooper of course is going to have more from Afghanistan on the next edition of "AC 360." That airs about 10 hours from now at 0200 hours Greenwich meantime or 10:00 p.m. eastern in the U.S.

GORANI: Now the White House is saying that U.S. President George Bush will deliver a prime-time address on Monday night to mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. CNN will carry that address live at 9:00 p.m. eastern time, 0100 GMT.

CLANCY: Now interestingly, just days before the anniversary, U.S. intelligence officials are now pouring over, trying to authenticate a videotape that purports to show al Qaeda leaders as they planned the 9/11 attacks. The Arabic language network Al Jazeera aired the never before seen videotape Thursday. It shows Osama bin Laden meeting with his top deputies, some of them now either dead or captured. But many analysts are wondering why such an old tape is surfacing now and why there have been no new pictures of bin Laden in the last two years.

GORANI: Well intelligence officials believe bin Laden could well be hiding out in a mountainous border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. And this week, the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that Taliban fighters were crossing that border. Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson gained rare access to the dangerous region of Waziristan and he has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): About half a mile, about half a kilometer in that direction is the border with Afghanistan. We're at a Pakistani army frontier post. They have 28,000 soldiers in this area, north Waziristan. The Pakistani government has been very keen to show us how they can patrol and secure this border so that Taliban can't get from Pakistan, move across the border into Afghanistan to strike the coalition troops. They've taken us on a helicopter tour of the border. They've shown us how mountainous it is. They've shown us there many different border posts in the area. This is typical of the border posts. It's quite an old building. They have a number of troops here who go out on nighttime patrols. The patrols here also go out during the day.

On the hilltops, either side, they have observation posts. They have tracks, roads, they've built hundreds of miles of roads to help secure the border here in the past few years. The Pakistani army has taken a number of casualties, several hundred killed in many cases by roadside bombs in the past year that have been planted by the Taliban and other insurgent elements in this particular area. But the government here says that the new deal has worked out with the tribes can work, can hold, that puts -- takes the army off some checkpoint, puts them in their bases, but allows the army to focus its strength along the border. And they say that's the most critical area.

They now have 97 of these border posts along the border, another 50 posts just behind those. Pakistani military now say that Taliban cannot get across the border in vehicles. They say possibly, possibly, one or two may be able to get across on foot. But they feel that they have this border now very well secured, stopping large numbers of Taliban leaving Pakistan, going across the border into Afghanistan, and striking at U.S. troops there. Nic Robertson, CNN, on the Pakistani/Afghan border, north Waziristan.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Al Jazeera has also aired a taped statement attributed to the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. It is a death order from Abu Hamsa Al Muhijir. He urges all al Qaeda followers to kill at least one American in the coming two weeks. He also blasts Sunni Arab participation in the Iraqi government saying they are betraying Iraq. Eleven people have been killed in bombings and other attacks over the past 24 hours in Iraq. The body of 14 people were found dumped in locations across Baghdad.

GORANI: Two explosions ripped through the crowded streets of a city in western India in what's being described as a terrorist act by the state's chief minister. Police say at least 33 people were killed and dozens more injured in the blasts near a mosque in Malegaon, that's about 300 kilometers northeast of Mumbai, the site of July's train bombings that killed 186 people. Friday's explosions took place as Muslims celebrated a festival. India's home secretary says the blasts were caused by two bombs rigged to bicycles. Authorities clamped a curfew on the city, which has a history of religious violence.

CLANCY: All right, we're going to take a short break here.

GORANI: All right, when we come back, we'll look at a patch of land that's small in size, but huge in significance for the future of Middle East peace.

CLANCY: And as Tony Blair prepares to hand over the keys to 10 Downing Street, we'll look at the man many believe is going to be moving in. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Welcome back. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY where we bring our viewers from around the world the international perspective on this day's top stories. We're pleased to have with us a democratic senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan join us now. He has just had an amendment accepted to an appropriations bill, a crucial amendment that calls for the U.S. to refocus on one thing that's been missing in the last five years and that is the capture of Osama bin Laden. Your motivation for saying that this has to be something in writing right there on Capitol Hill?

BYRON DORGAN, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: Well, you know, we had a news story about the CIA disbanding its special unit called Alex Station, which was designed exclusively to try to capture the top of the al Qaeda network, Osama bin Laden and others. That was disbanded and you know, it is five years after all. And in this year alone, 2006, Osama bin Laden has, on five occasions, released his audiotapes to us, the American people, the world. It's high time, I think, for us to understand that if we're going to have an effective fight against terrorism -- and we must -- you have to go after the head of the organization as well. He's the person that engineered the attack against our country that murdered 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11th.

CLANCY: President Bush has said very clearly that the war on terror is about much more than the capture of one man. He stressed that again this week. Let's listen to some of his comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: We have put in place the institutions needed to win this war. Five years after September the 11th, 2001, America is safer. And America is winning the war on terror.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Winning the war on terror, it is more than just capturing Osama bin Laden, isn't it?

DORGAN: Yes, it sure is, but let me make the point that the president mentioned Osama bin Laden 17 times in his 44-minute speech. So this is much broader than just capturing Osama bin Laden, bringing him to justice, and his top lieutenants. But it is about that as well. Because there's great symbolism here in the sense that five years later the United States of America is still receiving messages -- that people are receiving messages from Osama bin Laden, the engineer of the deadly terrorist attack against our country. He's still there. He's still out there. I think our country ought to provide focus and clarity about our goals here. Yes, we want an effective fight against terrorism generally, but specifically, we also want to take the head of this organization down.

CLANCY: Senator Dorgan, all around the world, some people are amazed that the United States military, the U.S. intelligence with all of its resources, hasn't been able to track down this one man most responsible for September 11th, in his own words. What kind of a message does that send to the world, do you think, that he has not been captured?

DORGAN: Well, obviously it doesn't suggest that it's either been the highest priority or that it's been the most effective search. But, you know, look, I said on the floor of the Senate yesterday, the fight against terrorism is not about Republicans or Democrats. We're one nation as we confront this new deadly threat to our country. And part of confronting that threat is the broadest possible opportunities to intercept terrorist plans and foil their plans and to destroy terrorist networks. But another goal I think that all Americans would share is that we ought to bring to justice the person that engineered and masterminded in his own words, engineered and masterminded the attack that murdered over 3,000 American citizens.

CLANCY: We have been told repeatedly that the trail has gone cold. You must have been talking to people in the military, the intelligence communities. What do they say about refocusing, as your amendment calls for the U.S. to do? DORGAN: Well obviously I can't describe things that have been a part of classified briefings, but, you know, I think the amendment stands on its own. I just think it's very important for us to provide clarity and focus. The president has described the broader war on terrorism and, you know, I share many of his goals and all of us want to --

CLANCY: But in a word, does the military intelligence community believe it can be done?

DORGAN: Well, you know what, this is a smaller world in many different ways. And I think it's very hard for someone to effectively hide if there are others determined to find that person. Osama bin Laden has done that successfully now for five years. He's probably had a great deal of help hiding. But our country needs to say that won't stand. We are going to fight terrorism. We're going to fight the people that mastermind and engineer it. And that includes the head of the al Qaeda organization, Mr. Osama bin Laden and his allies.

CLANCY: Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat, of North Dakota, our thanks to you for being with us.

DORGAN: Thank you very much.

GORANI: Well it's been called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Now U.N. officials warn the situation in Darfur, Sudan, risks an even more disastrous downturn. In a statement released Friday, U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres said that in Darfur, quote "A bad situation is worsening by the day." Guterres adds, "Hundreds are still dying amid ongoing violence and thousands are still being forcibly displaced," unquote. Guterres also warns that Sudanese troops could be preparing a major military offensive, which could result in the displacement of even more civilians.

CLANCY: Turning now to the Middle East where Israel has ended its naval blockade against Lebanon. Italian naval vessels patrolling now off the Lebanese coast at least until a reinforced United Nations force takes over. The blockade has been in place about eight weeks, ever since Israel launched its offensive against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Israel lifted its air blockade Thursday. The moves will spur economic activity in Lebanon as it rebuilds bridges, roads and homes destroyed by the war.

Well Israel says it hopes to complete its pullout from Lebanese territory in about two weeks. Israel's foreign minister met with her counterparts from Russia, Germany and Italy to discuss ways to consolidate the peace. Italy says it will soon to deploy more forces to southern Lebanon, opening the way for all Israeli troops to pull out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MASSIMO D'ALEMA, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: In a few days, we are going to deploy 2,500. Means I think in a week, 10 days, it's possible to have on the ground an effective force because the Spanish and French are sending the troops. It will be possible to withdraw Israeli troops.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: That was the Italian foreign minister there. Now on another issue, Israel says it's prepared to discuss the disputed Shebaa Farms if Lebanon disarms Hezbollah. Many "ifs" there. Shebaa Farms is a small patch of land on the Israel/Lebanon border which has been a source of contention for almost 40 years in the region between several countries. Paula Newton has the story of one farmer who still won't let go.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's no escaping history here in Shebaa. The Israelis are still perched on land Hussein Abdel-Hadi says is his. To try and prove it, the 71- year-old farmer fumbles through a plastic bag for the most precious thing he owns -- the deed to a piece of Shebaa Farms. He says the Israelis evicted him, his wife Soriya, and their children, back in 1967. And they lost everything.

HUSSEIN ABDEL-HADI, EVICTED FARMER: How do you expect me to feel? What choice did we have? You think we left of our own free will? Even God couldn't save us.

NEWTON: Hussein's claim on Shebaa has been kept in the bag for years, but he's never forgotten it. Now he's showing his deed to the U.N. and like other Lebanese farmers, hoping and praying he will finally reclaim what he says is his homeland. Shebaa Farms has a tortured history and most likely a complicated future. No more than about 25 kilometers or about 15 miles square and just over these mountains, it's a fertile patch of land with plenty of water, but its strategic value far outweighs anything practical. Most here, and crucially, Hezbollah, say it is Lebanese land, stolen by Israel. The U.N. has been trying to mediate for years, knowing there may never be peace along this border unless the Shebaa Farms issue is resolved.

(on camera): And now the Lebanese army is here in Shebaa. It's the first time in decades and it could be a sign that there is real momentum behind finally resolving this issue.

ABDEL-HADI: Now we have the army here. There is hope. We say in Shala, there will be an agreement and we ask God for reconciliation.

NEWTON (voice-over): And now after weeks of war, things may be changing here. The Lebanese army is daring to lay its claim on Shebaa, patrolling the border, and the international spotlight is again on this scrub of land. Hussein won't give up. He spent years cultivating other land and many more, stewing over the land he used to farm.

ABDEL-HADI: Is land precious to you or not? If someone came and kicked you out of your house, would that mean something to you? They kicked us off our land. NEWTON: It's been almost 40 years now and still this issue gnaws at him. It defines his life's ambition. If the Israelis want peace, he tells us, they have to give back Shebaa Farms. If not --

ABDEL-HADI: No, there won't be peace, no peace.

NEWTON: It's a sticking point that has kept Israel and Lebanon at war for years. And could still keep them from building peace. Paula Newton, CNN, Shebaa, Lebanon.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: And of course, all this involves Syria as well.

CLANCY: Absolutely. And a lot of people say that this could be resolved more easily, but there are sticking points over occupied territory, the Goalen Heights and other issues, still outstanding, all of it tied together. We're going to take a break, but still ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY, all dressed up, but they couldn't go any place.

GORANI: The astronauts were strapped in but this launch date was no luckier than the previous two for the space shuttle "Atlantis."

CLANCY: Plus, Tony Blair is leaving office, he says so. But eventually Gordon Brown's uneasy wait will have to come to an end. Just when, later, in YOUR WORLD TODAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody, I'm Heidi Collins at the CNN Center in Atlanta. More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. But first, a check on stories making headlines in the United States. A long manhunt in New York State may be ending today. Police now closing in on fugitive Ralph "Buck" Phillips. Federal sources confirm to CNN, police are chasing Phillips in a wooded area near the Pennsylvania/New York border. You're seeing some pictures there on your screen. Sources tell CNN troopers positively identified Phillips. They say he stole two cars earlier in western New York, then abandoned one and threw pepper in his tracks to throw off his scent. Phillips is suspected of shooting three New York State troopers, one of them fatally. And speaking to reporters a short time ago, a woman who lives near the wooded area where police believe Phillips is hiding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EILEEN ANDERSON, NEARBY RESIDENT: I was just down on my porch and the helicopters were flying around here. So all of a sudden I heard four shots right across up over the hill, in front of my house. Right in a row, four right in a row. And then -- then all -- then the helicopters have been flying around that spot ever since, for about 45 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been keeping your doors locked?

ANDERSON: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not worried?

ANDERSON: No. I've been kind of watching in front of the house in case he or whoever it is comes out of the woods, you know, over here, I've been kind of keeping watch across the road.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: News conference on the search is expected to happen shortly. We of course will have that for you, as well as any other updates or new developments as they happen. Also want to have you listen into some sound. Our affiliate WGRZ just spoke with the daughter of the golf course owner, that's the person who first reported seeing Ralph "Buck" Phillips. Let's listen to what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATHER BORTZ, DAUGHTER OF GOLF COURSE OWNER: Right now, there's just police all over the place. Like I said, there is a helicopter that landed across from our maintenance building out on the golf course. And there are state troopers out on the course and they are armed and they're just all over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Heather, we can't get this information out enough to the folks who may not have heard it or may not have been alerted by state police. Give us that description the police gave you once again.

BORTZ: Ok Bucky Phillips has on camouflage. He does have a gray sweatshirt tied around his waste. He has four handguns and one shotgun with him.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: He is also considered armed and dangerous and on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. Police closing in on Ralph "Buck" Phillips at this hour. We'll cover that for you and keep all the details coming in as we get them.

Meanwhile, no-go for "Atlantis." NASA scrubbed this morning's launch due to concerns over a faulty sensor on the external fuel tank. Technicians will empty the fuel tank to check on the problem now. That decision to scrub came after the six astronauts were already strapped in aboard the shuttle and the hatch had been closed. Meanwhile, NASA will try again tomorrow morning around 11:15 eastern and CNN will bring you that event live.

ABC network under fire for a miniseries about 9/11. The movie claims to trace the path to the attacks, but it includes dramatization of some of those facts. One of those protesting, former President Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think they ought to tell the truth. Particularly if they're going to claim it's based on the 9/11 commission report. They shouldn't have scenes which are directly contradicted by the factual findings of the 9/11 commission. That's all. I just want people to tell the truth and not to pretend it's something it's not.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: The network says it is premature to criticize the movie. It's still in edit just days before it airs. One ABC executive tells "The Washington Post" this morning, some minor changes will be made to the program.

Well, smoke so thick it looks like clouds. It's from a fire that spread quickly east of Sacramento, California. People there urged to evacuate. The fire is one of many burning in California and several other western states too. In Idaho, lightning sparked three more blazes there. That brings the total number of large fires to a whopping 17 in that state, more than any other state.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: And we will back in just a moment. Want to get you back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. And meanwhile, Kyra Phillips coming up at 1:00 in just about a half hour or so for "CNN NEWSROOM." Have a great day, everybody.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani. Here are the top stories we're following for you this hour.

Dire warnings from the United Nations about what is happening in the Darfur region of Sudan. The head of the U.N. Refugee Agency says the area faces a humanitarian catastrophe without quick action to improve security. Yet another warning -- Antonia Gutierrez (ph) also said hundreds are dying in the ongoing violence and thousands are being displaced. The Sudanese government rejects U.N. plans to deploy 20,000 troops to the region. Khartoum fears the international force could arrest government officials suspected of war crimes.

CLANCY: Two bombs rigged to bicycles went off as crowds left afternoon prayers at a mosque in western India. Police say at least 33 people were killed, dozens more wounded in the blasts. It happened in the town of Malegaon, northeast of Mumbai.

GORANI: The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the suicide car bomb explosion that killed at least 11 civilians and two U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan. The bomb targeted a coalition convoy near the U.S. embassy. Taliban fighters have proven to be a fierce and relentless enemy for coalition forces there.

CLANCY: British Prime Minister Tony Blair is heading to the Middle East right there. He's expected to visit Israel on Saturday. Some Palestinians say, though, Mr. Blair will not be welcomed on the West Bank because Britain failed to back calls for an immediate cease- fire in Lebanon.

Now, the trip comes on the heels of the announcement by Mr. Blair that he's going to be stepping down within the coming 12 months. The favorite to succeed him is Treasury Chief Gordon Brown.

European political editor Robin Oakley looks at the contrast in these two men's styles, and why the one time partners ended up at odds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICAL EDITOR (voice-over): When Finance Minister Gordon Brown was helping him win the last election, Tony Blair was happy to hand him an ice cream. He's much more reluctant to hand over the keys to Number 10 Downing Street. Such reluctance, many Labour lawmakers believe, has poisoned relations at the top.

Brown's supporters believe there was a deal before the 1997 election for Blair to have handed over his job long ago. Blair's supporters believe an impatient Brown eggs on his backers to undermine Blair. Brown's backers say Blair has lost touch with his own party. Blair's fans reckon he appeals to voters Brown could never reach.

Blair celebrates his freedom from party dogma.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I believe that we are at our best when at our boldest.

OAKLEY: Brown signals his party roots.

GORDON BROWN, CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Best when we're boldest, best when we're united, best when we are Labour.

You don't defeat the Tories by imitation or just by better presentation, but by Labour policies and Labour reforms grounded in our Labour values.

OAKLEY: The new, young conservative leader reckons that's how he could beat Brown.

DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER: He's an analogue politician in a digital age. Mr. Deputy Speaker, he is the past!

BROWN: A strong and strengthening economy...

OAKLEY: But Brown's steering of the economy has helped Labour win the last three elections. His boldest move, freeing the Bank of England to settle interest rates.

ED BALLS, LABOUR CITY MINISTER: That was a big decision which he took, a brave decision. It wasn't something people expected. In the early period, people were quite critical, but it's turned out to be a triumph, really.

But in Britain, we always used to have the biggest budget deficit or the highest inflation. And over the last few years, you've seen a recession in America, in France, in Germany and Japan, but not in Britain.

OAKLEY: Blair publicly praises the chancellor's record. But sometimes, you feel, he'd rather grip him warmly by the throat.

And with Brown as prime minister, the style would be different.

PETER RIDDEL, COMMENTATOR, "THE TIMES": Tony Blair is much more like Bill Clinton, a hands on-politician for the television age, I feel your pain, empathy and so on. Gordon Brown is much sterner, dourer, sort of a Scottish priest, coming from that Presbyterian tradition. He doesn't do touchy-feely things.

OAKLEY: Lately, though, Brown has been working to soften his image. More shots with children, including the two sons he's had comparatively late in life. More action man appearances. More schmoozing with world figures like Nelson Mandela.

He even turned up in the cockpit of the new A-380. And how did he feel in the driving seat?

BROWN: I'm here, but I've not been given permission to drive.

OAKLEY: Mr. Brown has long wanted to be driving Britain, too. No wonder Tony Blair's latest troubles seem to bring a rare smile to the chancellor's face.

(on camera): Mr. Brown's expected to get his chance around June of next year. But first, he'll have to win any leadership election following Tony Blair's departure. He's the strong favorite to do so, but Blair loyalists are warning if he's seen as plotting in the meantime to push Mr. Blair out any sooner, he could just wreck his chances.

Robin Oakley, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: What really happened on the path to 9/11?

GORANI: Now, a television drama series in the U.S. draws severe criticism for its depiction of what led to the September 11th attacks. More on that just ahead.

CLANCY: Plus, it's crunch time at the U.S. Open as the women take to the court in the semifinals. We're going to have a live update from Flushing Meadows.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Welcome back, everyone.

GORANI: Now, we're seen live in more than 200 countries across the globe. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International. Welcome. CLANCY: Three days from now, the world will remember the terror attacks in the United States. U.S. President George W. Bush is going to be making a primetime address to mark that fifth anniversary.

GORANI: Meantime, a TV dramatization of 9/11 scheduled for broadcast next week is already being heavily criticized. The ABC television network says the final edit is not complete.

Now, Brooke Anderson reports on fact, fiction and that dark day in American history.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PATH TO 9/11")

HARVEY KEITEL, ACTOR: Despite all the red flags, no one's taking terrorism seriously. Political correctness rules the day. And we're not safe yet. And no one seems to care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ABC's new miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," is raising the ire of former President Bill Clinton and some of his Cabinet officials. ABC says the miniseries is not a documentary, but a dramatization based on the 9/11 Commission report, interviews, and other published materials. It depicts events leading up to the September 11 attacks.

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: ABC doesn't seem very embarrassed about the fact that it's putting a movie on a serious, sensitive topic on the fifth-year anniversary of 9/11 that contains fiction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PATH TO 9/11")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What are your intentions, once you seize the target?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright both have written letters to Robert Iger, the head of Disney, ABC's parent company, to complain about what they call contrived scenes which bear no relationship to actual events, and scenes that are false and defamatory.

Neither has actually seen the miniseries, but Albright says she requested the opportunity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PATH TO 9/11")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The president has approved every snatch plan presented for review.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: But that's for review, George. This is actionable. I can't call him until we're all on the same page. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The ABC movie depicts Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser, as refusing to give approval to CIA people in Afghanistan who are seeing Osama bin Laden. They want to call in an effort to capture him. Berger insists that he feels defamed by the depiction of him as undermining an effort to capture bin Laden.

ANDERSON: Tom Kean, the head of the 9/11 Commission, who served as a consultant on the film, tells CNN that scene is subject to change -- quote -- "I believe ABC has gone back and looked at their sources. If it's not accurate, according to their sources, they're going to reconsider how they present that scene. So, we will see what the final version shows."

An attorney for former President Clinton sent a letter to Iger on September 1, saying, "ABC has gotten it terribly wrong," and calling on the network to either fully correct all the errors or pull the drama entirely.

ABC says -- quote -- "No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete. So, criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible."

People will get a chance to make up their own minds. ABC's miniseries "The Path to 9/11" is scheduled to air Sunday, September 10, and Monday, September 11.

Brooke Anderson, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: CNN plans extensive coverage on the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. This Saturday, Christiane Amanpour hosts a special replay of "CNN PRESENTS: In the Footsteps of Bin Laden." That is a look at what made Osama bin Laden the person he is today. It airs this Saturday at 1400 hours Greenwich Meantime.

GORANI: He's both revered and reviled. Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. There's stark reminders of him all over China. The thousands who still love him line up outside his tomb to take pictures and pay their respects. So why are there no official commemorations honoring the founder of the People's Republic?

Stan Grant takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even in death, Mao Zedong has his eye on China. His image looms large in the nation he ruled for more than a quarter century.

To some, the essence of Chinese kitsch.

WANG CHUNHU, STORE OWNER (through translator): I worship him a lot. I know a lot about him, and I like to read Mao's stories. Sometimes I even cry.

GRANT: To others, a god, thousands lining up every day to view his body, still on display in this mausoleum. And everywhere a heavy military and police presence, a legacy of his iron rule.

(on camera): How much does Mao still matter in China? Well, enough to tower over visitor to the forbidden city. Here, his massive portrait hangs over the gates like an emperor.

(voice-over): God, emperor, figure of fun, but to others, a tyrant, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people.

JUNG CHANG, "MAO: THE UNKNOWN STORY": Mao was as evil as Hitler and Stalin, and he has done as much damage to mankind as Hitler and Stalin. He bought tremendous suffering, and death and tragedy to the Chinese population.

GRANT: These images are being written out of new Chinese history. Modern textbooks are playing down Mao's tumultuous rule, study of the Cultural Revolution replaced by the economic revolution. Biographer Jung Chang says this hides Mao's legacy of driving China back into the dark ages.

CHANG: The Chinese were poorer in the 1970s then third world Somalia, in Africa. So Mao brought disaster and tragedy to the Chinese people.

GRANT: Sidney Rittenberg was Mao's translator, one of only few Americans admitted into China's Communist Party. He was jailed for 16 years, accused of being an American spy. He remembers Mao as, first, a great visionary, but one who led his people into what Rittenberg calls a holocaust.

SIDNEY RITTENBERG, MAO'S TRANSLATOR: He couldn't resist trying to turn up the speed and go as fast as possible. And so his social experimentation in order to reach this great new world just got out of control.

GRANT: Mao Zedong believes to truly understand, you must first understand contradiction. One, he said, becomes two. True of no one more than Mao himself.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right. You're too good. That's the last thing you'd expect one opponent to say to another, right?

CLANCY: Well, I don't know, at the U.S. Open, I guess anything's possible. We're going to tell you just who is that good, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDRE AGASSI: The greatest part about what I did was the chance to impact somebody's life for a few hours. I mean, that's really what you could do. That was the best part. They come and watch you play for two hours. My hope is somewhere down the line I can impact people for longer than that, and I don't know how that's going to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Tennis great Andre Agassi on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night, talking about his retirement, which follows his loss earlier this week at the U.S. Open.

CLANCY: Now his 20-year career on the court won him eight Grand Slam titles, including two U.S. Opens.

GORANI: Now we'll soon know who this year's winners are. And the men's semifinals are set and the women take center stage tonight.

CLANCY: Candy Reid has been covering this for us. Let's turn it over to her -- Candy.

CANDY REID, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks Jim.

Yes, we've got a beautiful day here at Flushing Meadows, New York. It really is spectacular. The sun is out, no wind at all.

And we have two hopefully fantastic women semifinal matches. In about 40 minute, the first one kicks off, it's Justine Henin-Hardenne against Jelena Jankovic. Now Justine Henin-Hardenne is certainly the big favorite in this one. She's won their only previous meeting. But, of course, she's five Grand Slam titles, whereas Jankovic is playing in her first Grand Slam semi.

So I suppose the big question is, will Jankovic, who comes from Serbia and is only 21 years old, will she be over-awed for this one? Though Justine Henin-Hardenne certainly is the favorite to move into the final.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: You need to play long, you need to try to move her, but it's not easy because she's hitting the ball very, very hard. So I think it's the best game I've played when I did beat her in our last six meetings, so it's been a good lead in to the match and I'm very happy with the way I did deal with the situations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Now, after that match between Henin-Hardenne and Jankovic, it's the big one. It's Mauresmo against Sharapova. It's certainly an advantage for Mauresmo heading into this match.

She's won all three meetings with the Russian and of course she's won two Grand Slams already this year, the Australian Open and the Wimbledon. You might remember in 2005, Mauresmo was called the best player never to have won a major. But now she's certainly on a roll. Then we've got Sharapova. She has won one at Wimbledon a couple of years ago. But since then she's lost in five semifinals. So Mauresmo's the one to beat and Sharapova's certainly got nothing to lose in this one.

Joining me now is tennis columnist from the "Boston Globe", the great Bud Collins. Bud, thank you for joining us.

BUD COLLINS, BOSTON GLOBE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Candy.

REID: Now let's talk about the Mauresmo-Sharapova match here. I would say Mauresmo perhaps has a little bit too much game, a little bit too much shot-making perhaps for Sharapova. And that's why she has such a good record against the Russian.

COLLINS: You know, I call this the dream and the scream. The scream of course is Maria. She reminds me of that painting by Edvard Munch, "The Scream". She makes so much noise.

But the dream is Mauresmo, whom the French call "Mo-Mo", because she never thought she could win a major. This year she's won two. If she wins this one she becomes the ninth in tennis history to have a triple. So there's a lot going, and she's never lost to Maria.

REID: So let's talk about the other match, we've got Henin- Hardenne. Of course she's likely to win this one. Do you think Jankovic, at this point, she's beaten three top ten players already this week, can she do it another time?

COLLINS: I think she's got a chance, not a very good one. But what a contrast, you've got the dour in there, Henin-Hardenne, she weighs about 100 pounds, although she says more, and then the happy- go-lucky Jankovic, whom I call the Belle of Belgrade, because when she won her match over Dementieva, the number five player, she didn't even know the score.

She came off, she said, I did win, didn't I? What was the score? She didn't know. She said, I broke her serve every time, no, really? Oh, my god, that was her favorite expression, oh, my god, oh, my god.

But she's come through that tough school, the military boot camp down in Bradenton (ph), and she's played against all these players. She's played against -- she says the fights on the back courts against Maria and against Golovin and everyone. So she's ready. She really has a great opportunity. But I think it's Henin-Hardenne.

REID: Henin-Hardenne is just someone who amazes me. We don't see her play that often, but she seems to get to the final or win the tournament every single time. How does she do that?

COLLINS: Well, she has tremendous coordination, she has that beautiful backhand. And as I say, she weighs probably about 115 pounds. But it's all coordination. She's got a fighting heart, although it was disappointing when she walked out on the Australian Final, saying she had a bellyache, the Belgian bellyache. It didn't go over very well with people. It didn't go over very well with Mauresmo. She'd like to get her and win it fair and square. Nevertheless, she's a tremendous competitor, Henin-Hardenne, and I think she has got -- she's been my pick to win the tournament.

REID: Thanks so much, Bud Collins. Now it's back to you in the studio.

CLANCY: All right Candy, thanks so much for that. And tell bud he's just not enthusiastic enough.

GORANI: No, not really, he needs to turn it on next time. All right. That's it for YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy, and this is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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