Return to Transcripts main page
Barack Obama Addresses Modern Slavery At Clinton Global Initiative; Afghan Soldiers Take Over IEDs Disposal in Southwestern Afghanistan; Floods Continue In Northeastern India; Studies Looking At Adding Cellphone Radiation To Carcinogen List
Aired September 26, 2012 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
And we begin in Syria where a key military building in Damascus has come under attack by rebel forces. And a journalist with Iranian TV has been killed.
Also, Iran's president prepares to take the stage at the United Nations, but why is the timing of his appearance so controversial.
And unrest in Greece. On the day of a massive nationwide strike, the details are ahead.
In Syria, state run TV is reporting two explosions have hit a military building in the capital Damascus. Now Syrian rebel fighters are claiming responsibility for the bold attack, but details remain unclear. Now earlier, Syria's information minister told Syrian state TV the attack had failed. He said, quote, everything is normal and everyone is doing well.
Now, pro-regime Al-Manar TV reported that there was extensive fighting inside the building and government succeeding in killing, quote, all terrorist attackers. While an opposition group says that there were heavy casualties on both sides.
Now this journalist Maya Nasserr from Iran's state run Press TV was killed by sniper fire in Damascus.
And joining me now with the details Nick Paton-Walsh is live in Beirut. And Nick, what is the latest you're hearing on these blasts in Damascus that targeted the heart of the Syrian army?
NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me give you some context here, exactly where we're talking about. This is right on Mayad Square, central Damascus, the most important military building, arguably, in Syria coming under attack first from a car bomb, then from an improvised explosive device. Subsequently, heavy machine gun fire heard. And then reports from journalists inside that building of gunfire, exchanges between rebels and soldiers that continued for quite some time.
You can see here pictures of the aftermath, the sound of that gunfire from a quite close-up shot, somebody reasonably nearby. I mean, it's hard to really underestimate the psychological impact of what is yet another bid and successful attempt by rebels to get inside those key government lines right into the heart of their infrastructure.
Al-Manar television reporting that in fact actually according to their footage and their reporter inside who witnessed some of these battles that in fact the assailants, the rebels, appeared to have been wearing Syrian army uniforms, hence their ability to get inside. That's unconfirmed, but it still ads to that general, that psychological impact of an attack like this on those within the regime, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, a big psychological victory for the rebels, this strike in Damascus, it exposes the vulnerability of Assad's military apparatus, but does it show a rebel army that's getting more coordinated, that getting more strength in this long, drawn-out civil war?
PATON-WALSH: In truth, I think it's very hard for the rebels to ever be coordinated. They lack communications. They lack cohesion. They lack training. They lack discipline. They are fragmented across the country.
Perhaps what you're seeing from this high profile attack straight at the regime's core and perhaps in the last few days the statement from the Free Syrian Army that they are moving inside Syria their headquarters rather than being based out of Turkey, you're seeing perhaps attempts by them to show coordination, to show a strategy, to show that they have some sort of plan for the months ahead as we know enter 18 months of this civil war, Kristie.
LU STOUT: And Nick, a reporter for Iran's Press TV was killed by sniper fire in Damascus. This is just another reminder of the extreme dangers for journalists covering the crisis there.
PATON-WALSH: Absolutely. Mayar Nasser was killed by sniper fire, his employer Iranian state run Press TV have confirmed. And actually their bureau chief Hamid Muqtaz Hussein Muqtaza was in fact also injured in this attack. We understand from Press TV statement that they were in fact inside or around that particular building in Damascus we were just discussing when they sustained these injuries. And Press TV very clear who they hold responsible for this, saying it was the rebels who killed their correspondent and saying in fact they hold Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, who provide weapons and militants to kill civilians, military personnel and journalists responsible for killing Maya. So a real indication there about how the media are being caught up on both sides.
Maya Nasser, it seems, working a lot with the Syrian government to cover this particular story, but like many journalists so far, caught up in the cross-fire - Kristie.
LU STOUT: Nick Paton-Walsh reporting, thank you.
Now according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Syria has become the most dangerous place in the world for journalists to work. Now the group says at least 21 journalists have been killed since November of last year. Now that does not include Maya Nasser of Iran's Press TV whose death was announced today. Now many journalists have put their lives at risk as they uncover the unfolding story over the past 18 months. Now you'll remember in February, Sunday Times reporter Marie Culvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik lost their lives. Now they were inside a makeshift press center in Homs when it was struck by shelling.
And just last month Mika Yamamoto, a journalist with Tokyo based Japan Press died in Aleppo amid heavy fighting between rebel and government forces there.
Now Syria's three biggest cities, Aleppo, Homs, and the capital Damascus have seen much of the bloodshed. And Bill Neely traveled to these once thriving communities and shows us the heavy toll of war.
BILL NEELY, ITV CORRESPONDENT: In one city this would be bad enough, in three it's a disaster. But this is neither reality in the three main cities of Syria. The regime's troops fighting rebels for control of whole districts. Aleppo is Syria's biggest city and business capital engulfed now in the business of war. The damage is extraordinary, the death toll incalculable, Aleppo is being destroyed to make it safe.
Syrian troops are on the offensive in the country's third city, Homs, recapturing many areas from what they say are foreign fighters and extremist Muslims, rebels, they say, directly armed by Arab states.
In one district they took, they showed us what they said was an abandoned rebel headquarters, bags with Saudi Arabian markings scattered around, a makeshift scaffold with ropes and a meat hook was there. They said rebels tortured and hanged people here. We have no way of proving this.
The UN mostly accuses the regime of mass torture, but says rebels are guilty of human rights abuses too. But it's clear this is a dirty war here in Homs and in every city. No one is safe, no faith is spared, Christian church's and Muslim mosques a battleground.
But one man is an optimist, the new governor of Homs, Syria's third city.
"These rebels," he says, "will be beaten. And we'll win the war in Homs in one month."
One month, that seems very optimistic.
"One month," he insists. "But Britain and America should stop supporting terrorists. They are his master's words."
Throughout the interview, explosions echo across the city.
Explosions, too, in Syria's capital city today. One at a military base, bombs smuggled inside and detonated by rebels.
Here, too, troops cracked down on restive areas with brute force.
Three cities, one war, tens of thousands dead and at the United Nations complete failure to stop it.
Bill Neely, ITV News, Homs.
LU STOUT: Now Syria is front and center at the United Nations. It is day two of the UN General Assembly debate. And Arab and Western leaders are expected to ramp up the pressure on the Syrian regime. And all eyes will also be on Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is scheduled to take the podium at the UN a few hours from now. Mr. Ahmadinejad has sparked controversy and walkouts in several previous appearances.
Now he addressed UN General Assembly one day after U.S. President Barack Obama talked tough about Iran's nuclear program. I want to bring in senior UN correspondent Richard Roth at the UN now. And Richard, Ahmadinejad, he'll be taking to the podium shortly. Should we expect to see more walkouts? What will he say?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UN CORRESPONDENT: In what is expected to be Ahmadinejad's last appearance here as leader of Iran, the leader is probably going to say more controversial things. The Iranian leader in an interview with the associated press yesterday complained about bullying from America and in the past he has said that country's have used the Holocaust to pay ransom to Zionists.
It's also interesting that due to the scheduling here at the UN, Ahmadinejad is appearing on the holiest day of the year for Jews, Yom Kippur. Israel will not be in attendance at this address by Ahmadinejad or an address by anyone. However, other diplomats possibly are going to be walking out of their seats again, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Now the timing is uncanny. And his address will also be coming after some pretty tough talk from U.S. President Barack Obama on Iran's nuclear program. What did the president say?
ROTH: The president in effect again saying that Iran can't count that the west and other nations are going to allow for time to just keep going on while who knows what is going on inside Iran with its nuclear program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake, a nuclear armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained, it would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear arms race in the region and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That's why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that's why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: Now besides Ahmadinejad among the many speakers today, the new leader of Yemen and the new leader of Egypt Mohammed Morsi of the Islamic Brotherhood. And this is certainly an event that a couple of years ago would be seen as highly unlikely: the Islamic Brotherhood leader addressing the United Nations General Assembly.
Morsi met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last evening here in New York. At an appearance at the Clinton Global Initiative he talked about reflecting on the quandary between free speech and those demonstrations over the anti-Muslim video movie that erupted in the last few days. So it should be very interesting. A lot of people are going to watching. What exactly will Morsi be saying as he appears on the world stage with all sides maybe taking different views, ready to hear what they want to hear from Mr. Morsi, Kristie.
LU STOUT: That's right. As he makes his debut there at the assembly.
And Richard, take us behind the scenes when the big first day of the UN General Assembly. What did you see, what did you come across?
ROTH: IT almost feels like the first day of school on the international calendar here at the UN General Assembly. The first day features the traditional toast between world leaders, a luncheon, after the morning speeches. The speeches ran so long, they're trying to jam so many people in that there was no break even between lunch - between the morning and the afternoon. Ban Ki-Moon hosted it. Usually the President of the United States is there, instead it was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Ban Ki-Moon didn't appear overjoyed that the U.S. leader was not there. He left the building to go to the Clinton Global Initiative across town. The former U.S. president has skillfully once again over the last few years taken the spotlight away from the UN's big day for his own event. He did joke about a New York football team with one of the security people you'll see when leaving the UN grounds.
Ban Ki-Moon said, "well, maybe he had traffic problems, Obama, or some other reason, which would probably be the election. But he also said we hoped to see him next year, maybe. But if he doesn't beat Mitt Romney, he will not be back at the UN. Maybe Ahmadinejad won't be back anyway, either. Other leaders I'm sure will be here to fill the slots next September."
Kristie, back to you.
LU STOUT: All right. Telling details there. Richard Roth joining us live from the UN. Thank you.
You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, we'll take you inside one family's living room and show you how the devastating economic crisis in Greece is hitting home for the Middle Class there.
And also up next, cell phones, smart phones, BlackBerries, we are indeed a mobile society. Most of us know the advantages, but what, if anything, do we stand to lose? Stay with us.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
And with the Greek government looking at another round of austerity, public frustration once again bringing violence to the streets of Athens. Now tens of thousands of workers and people who would like to work are heeding union calls for a 24 hour general strike. And this was the scene just a short time ago as riot police fired tear gas at the protesters, some of whom have been throwing stones and petrol bombs. Now the government says that the cuts are needed to pave the way for the next installment of an international bailout, but the protesters say that the cuts are simply too much for families to bear.
The financial crisis in Greece has forced much of the middle class into unfamiliar territory: poverty. And many people who were once financially secure are now struggling to survive. Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance has a story of one family.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're a Greek family who have fallen through the cracks. In their rundown squat in Central Athens, three generations of this country's new poor are crowded in, not a regular job or a pension between them.
How much money do you get every month, all of you, how much do you get?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 200 euros.
CHANCE: 200 euros a month. And there are seven adults.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No (inaudible), but for babies. It's very difficult.
CHANCE: In the decrepit kitchen, she shows me how the cupboards and fridge are almost bear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see, nothing.
CHANCE: Until last year, she was a nurse, but the hospital closed, she told me, then her husband died. Now they're penniless like their neighbors and don't even qualify for state benefits.
Across Greece, families just like this one have been plunged into this dire poverty. Unemployment, food shortages, lack of medical care have all combined to push the standard of living in this country off a precipice. And few here can really see any easy or quick way back.
But there are some trying to help.
This is what you give a family with a girl going to school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two girls.
CHANCE: Two girls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two girls.
CHANCE: Oh, great.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This also.
CHANCE: Well, these are really nice bags. And they're going to be really - they're going to feel good at school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what we need. And for the younger kids, we give a doll.
And this is all to sort of lift people's spirits, to make them feel a bit - more dignified.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To feel normal. To feel that they have the right to live. What happened is that suddenly the middle class is disappearing. And we'll have only poor people and rich people. The rich became richer and the poor became a huge amount of people.
CHANCE: So deliveries of free supplies like this one have become essential, not just for a few struggling families, but to keep Greece's entire middle class alive.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Athens.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And after the break, our mobile society and the question: could mobile phones be harmful to our health? And what about the health of our children? We'll sort fact from fiction with our Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This is vital information you won't want to miss.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now all week, we're taking a special look at our mobile society, how mobile phones are changing our lives. You probably know all about the iPhone, but do you know about Maizu? Meizu is a small Chinese smart phone maker with a growing fanbase in China. Now the company was once known for making phones that seemed, well, inspired by the iPhone. But now the company is coming into its own with phones like this. The Meizu MX-4core. It's one of a wave of Chinese smart phones that are said to be well built, as powerful as Apple or Samsung's phones. And many of them even run on their own custom software. And some of them are even competing with Apple on design.
Now check out this handset by Oppo, another Chinese smart phone maker. Now it's Oppo finder is so thin it's even thinner than the iPhone 5. Now it's not 4G, but it is impressive nonetheless.
Now Xiaomi is the smart phone superstar in China right now. It boasts that it can compete with global smart phone brands on specs. And here's how the Xiaomi Phone 2 compares with the Samsung Galaxy S III. Other than the smaller screen, the Xiaomi phone beats Samsung's phone in terms of pure hardware.
Of course, phones aren't just about specs. It safe to say that most people don't know how much RAM is in their phones, but one expert told us about one number that makes a huge difference to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHANG, MIC GADGET: I like to spend a less enough money to get a similar performance from iPhone 5 and Galaxy Series. Yeah. And China's (inaudible) smart phone is a choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: So, how can the rest of the world get their hands on these Chinese smart phones? Well, you can't. They're only available in China. And Xiaomi didn't even want to lend us this phone. We had to borrow it from someone else.
Now, Meizu has an English website, but there is no way to buy the phone on here. They do have a store outside Mainland China in Hong Kong.
Now the growing popularity of cell phones has many people wondering whether they could be harmful to our health. Concerns have been raised about radiation emitted by the devices. Now let's dig in deeper with CNN's chief medical correspondent and brain surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And good to see you again. Thank you for joining us here on News Stream, Sanjay.
Now exactly how can radiation from your cellphone be harmful?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're talking about specifically here, Kristie, is something known as non-ionizing radiation. And that term is important, because it's different than ionizing radiation, that's what you typically think of, for example, with X-Rays. And people - people know that X-rays, you know, in large amounts can be potentially harmful. But with non-ionizing radiation, there's increasing concern that because of a variety of different things: the way that it changes the brain, specifically how the brain uses glucose, a sugar substrate, the way that it can actually heat up tissue around the use of the cellphone, there's concern that this non-ionizing radiation over long periods of time in large doses can be problematic as well.
So keep in mind - for example, here in the United States, Kristie, cellphones have only been really widely used since 1996. So it hasn't been that long. And they're still collecting data on this. But you see a little bit in the shifting in the tide. They now refer to this by the World Health Organization as a possible carcinogen.
LU STOUT: You're right. I mean, this is still an ongoing experiment in terms of the long-term effects. You really don't know.
We do know that many children are using mobile phones today. Are they the most vulnerable to health issues?
GUPTA: You know, I think so. And it's interesting, because you know if you look at how they do the safety testing, for example, on cell phones. I think it might be surprised. I actually visited one of these laboratories over here. And it's sort of decidedly low tech. I mean, that's a model that they use and they essentially hold up a - you know, a cell phone, a radiation source next to that. But it's sort of a one-size fits all approach. You know, and it's based on an adult male. Children have thinner skulls. So you could potentially absorb more radiation, and that's what a lot of experts in the field are concerned about.
But also, you know, just this notion that, again, most adults who are watching right now probably started using cell phones later in life. Kids who are - you know, kids now being born now are likely to use these cellphones their entire lives. So just the trajectory of their lives and having that radiation source next to them for so long, that's I think of concern as well.
LU STOUT: Now, none of us, including you, are likely to be giving up our mobile phones anytime soon. So what should we do? How should we reduce our exposure?
GUPTA: Well, you know, there's a couple of pretty simple things, I think. First of all, one thing to keep in mind is that this radiation source from your phone is not constant, it changes. It goes up in intensity depending on how weak or strong your signal is. So when you have a weak signal, you're having a hard time hearing, who hasn't had that problem, you're phone is likely sending off even more radiation trying to establish a signal. So a simple thing, if you're in a bad cell area, that's a good time not to use your cell, because you're probably getting more radiation.
But I think a simple thing and something that I do all the time is just using a wired earpiece of some sort. If you look closely at the manual that comes with your cellphone, nobody does this, but if you did it actually tells you not to hold the phone directly to your body, not to hold it directly to your ear.
Of course everyone holds a phone directly to their ear, so that doesn't make any sense. And the phones come with an earpiece of some sort so you use that earpiece.
Again, I think it's a pretty simple solution. And the more you move the radiation source away from your body, the radiation amount drops off pretty exponentially. So I think those two things, not using in a tough area and using the earpiece make a big difference.
LU STOUT: Yeah, great tips there. And I didn't know that fact about the bad reception, fascinating. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joining us live. Thank you.
And you can find more advice from Dr. Gupta right here on our website. Plus, we've got other stories about how mobile technology is changing our world. That's at CNN.com/mobilesociety. Or, check out the Our Mobile Society section on the CNN mobile apps.
Still ahead here on News Stream, U.S. President Barack Obama, he shines a light on a dark side of modern life. Details of his speech on human trafficking next.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now Syrian State TV reports two explosions hit a military building in Damascus. Now the government said a fight was underway to cleanse the building of rebels. An opposition group says there were heavy casualties on both sides. Syrian rebel fighters claimed responsibility for the bomb attack. And separately, Iran's Press TV says it's correspondent, Maya Nasser, has been killed by sniper fire while reporting in Damascus.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks in a few hours at the UN General Assembly one day after U.S. President Barack Obama warned Iran over it's nuclear program. Mr. Obama said the U.S. would do whatever is needed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
A South African court has charged Julius Malema with money laundering. He's been granted bail and is due back in court at the end of November. Now Malema once headed the African National Congress Youth League, but is now a fierce critic of President Jacob Zuma. Malema says the case against him is politically motivated.
Riot police and demonstrators are clashing in Athens where tens of thousands of people are protesting against more planned government austerity measures. Now already, we have seen reports of police firing tear gas, of protesters throwing stones and petrol bombs. And this is the first major street protest against the coalition government headed by Antonis Samaras.
Now after addressing the UN General Assembly, the U.S. President Barack Obama tackled another major global issue at the Clinton Global Initiative: human trafficking. Now Jessica Yellin looks at Mr. Obama's speech and a growing campaign to fight modern day slavery.
OBAMA: It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I am talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name modern slavery.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. President Barack Obama chose the Clinton Global Initiative to shine a bright light on a dark corner of modern life. Saying he does not use the word slavery lightly, President Obama spelled out some of the harsh realities faced by more than 20 million people around the world.
OBAMA: When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed, that's slavery. When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family, girls my daughters' age, runs away from home or is lured by the false promise of a better life and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists, that's slavery. It is barbaric and it is evil. And it has no place in a civilized world.
YELLIN: President Obama issued some new executive orders, increasing the effectiveness of the government's existing zero tolerance policy against human trafficking for government contractors, training for federal prosecutors, law enforcement officials, immigration judges and educators to help them identify and assist victims, more resources and assistance to victims, and a new task force to monitor and follow human trafficking trends in the U.S.
Besides these efforts, President Obama said the U.S. is trying to influence others.
OBAMA: We're doing more than ever with our annual trafficking report with new outreach and partnerships, to give countries incentives to meet their responsibilities and calling them out when they don't.
I recently renewed sanctions on some of the worst abusers, including North Korea and Eritrea.
We're partnering with groups that help women and children escape from the grip of their abusers. We're helping other countries step up their own efforts. And we're seeing results.
YELLIN: Simultaneously, a group of nine prominent global businesses announced a new coalition against human trafficking, including Microsoft, Delta Airlines, the Coca-Cola Company and ExxonMobil. The group is pledging new resources to fight human trafficking.
DAVID ARKLESS, MANPOWERGROUP: We feel it's time to stand up, to step out and say we are responsible for our companies, for our supply chains. And we can outreach to governments and other organizations globally to use our significant resources and influence to make some kind of in-roads into stopping this global pandemic.
YELLIN: From board rooms to the Oval Office, unprecedented efforts to combat modern slavery.
Jessica Yellin, CNN, New York.
LU STOUT: Now CNN's Freedom Project has been shining a light on the problem of human trafficking and searching for solutions. You can find more on that story at our website, CNN.com/freedomproject. You could also read more about the initiative and watch past reports from our correspondents.
Now Bayern Munich's players have continued their strong start to the season. Alex Thomas is in London with the details of their latest game - Alex.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, hi, Kristie. It's been more than two years since Bayern Munich were last crowned German football champions, an eternity for the country's most successful ever team. But striker Mario Mandzukic is warning the side to keep its feet on the ground after Bayern made it five wins out of five in the Bundesliga.
On Tuesday night, Bayern was up against Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena in Munich. And Bastian Schweinsteiger put the home team ahead in the opening half. Mandzukic then scored the first of his two goals after the break, doubling Bayern's lead with a header before putting the result beyond doubt with another strike less than 10 minutes later. A 3-0 win that puts Bayern two points ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt who drew with reigning champions Borussia Dortmund.
Now Europe and America's best golfers only have another two days of practice before the Ryder Cup tees off. And one of the unknown factors is how much home advantage might benefit the United States as they try to win back the trophy.
CNN's Living Golf host Shane O'Donoghue is our man at the Medina Club near Chicago.
SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Since the Ryder Cup really caught fire back in 1985, one of the outstanding highlights of any Ryder Cup has been the partisan support of the home crowd. This year the Ryder Cup is back in the United States, here in Chicago at the Medina Country Club. And Chicago is renowned for its love of sport. And both Justin Rose from the European side and indeed the United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love, have been confirming that the crowd really will be the 13th man for this series of matches.
DAVIS LOVE III, U.S. RYDER CUP CAPTAIN: Chicago is really an incredible sports town. And they're going to be fired up. It's going to be - it's an incredible big golf course and a big stage. And I think the first tee could be the loudest any of these guys have ever seen to start off a golf tournament.
JUSTIN ROSE, EUROPEAN TEAM MEMBER: You know, the Chicago sports fan - I've never been to a Bears game or a Cubs game, White Sox game, but I have some friends who do live in the city. And basically they can be walking along and if a TV is on, everyone stops to see what the score it. You know, a very, very passionate sports fan. And one of the biggest and best cities in America. So it's going to be a fun place to place.
O'DONOGHUE: The practice rounds continue for the next few days, but it's on Friday that he atmosphere and the volume will really ramp up when the official start of the Ryder Cup begins here in Medina.
Shane O'Donoghue, CNN, Chicago.
THOMAS: Now one man who doesn't need an excuse to lighten the mood is avid golf player and fan, comedian Bill Murray. And he pretended to steal the Ryder Cup as he entertained the crowds on Tuesday. Pop singer Justin Timberlake in the blue cap was his partner in crime.
We'll be live at Medina in World Sport in just over three hours time. For now, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.
LU STOUT: Alex Thomas there, thank you.
Coming up next here on News Stream, on patrol in Afghanistan, are Afghan forces ready to take over from NATO troops and hold ground against the Taliban? That story is next.
LU STOUT: Now across Afghanistan, joint patrols between Afghan and U.S. forces have largely stopped, but the dangers remain. Now Anna Coren takes us on a patrol with Afghan forces who are no in charge of finding and diffusing improvised explosive devices, or IEDs that lie in wait.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Above the dusty plains of southwestern Afghanistan, a U.S. military crew flies from Camp Leatherneck to Delaram , a trip once made by road now too dangerous because of all the IEDs planted daily by insurgents.
Delaram used to be home to more than 1,000 U.S. Marines, but only 28 remain. The drawdown here is in full swing and the transfer of power virtually complete.
CAPTAIN CHARLES ARVISAID, U.S. MARINES: We are concerned that with the drawdown that there would be a step back in progress, but the ANA have really taken a step forward.
COREN: The man now in charge is General Abdul Wassaya Milad from the Afghan National Army, or ANA. He controls 5,000 soldiers in some of the most dangerous territory in the country. And he's just been briefed on a possible IED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is an IED out by the police station?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
COREN: The Marines hand over a block of C-4, a military explosive. There was a time when the Americans would have been leading this operation, now the Afghans are in complete control.
The general takes us in his Humvee to the suspected IED three kilometers away.
Who reported the IED?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police.
COREN: The police. How did they find it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe some civilians...
COREN: Armed with a metal detectors, a drag rope and detonators, a bomb disposal team leads us to the location. We walk in single file in case any other IEDs have been laid on the road.
Recently, the Taliban have been planting IEDs that are almost impossible to detect, because they contain little, if any, metal, a sign the enemy is becoming much more sophisticated.
Lieutenant Jan Mohammed is leading this operation. The 30-year-old who learns less than $300 a month tells me, "I do this because it's my job. I'm prepared to lose my own life, but I don't want other people to die."
At the beginning of this year, the Afghan National Army here in Delaram had no idea how to diffuse an IED other than to shoot it or set it on fire. Well, now with the right training and equipment, they have the skills to disable these deadly devices.
After 20 minutes, the soldiers determine the site is clear, claiming the Taliban either removed it once it had been reported, or a local took the IED to claim the $100 reward.
In the last few months, there have been alarming reports of the Taliban returning to Delaram , even overrunning checkpoints. The general admits the Taliban are a resilient enemy and are constantly trying to infiltrate the ranks. And while there have been no insider attacks by the men under his watch, he says all commanders must be vigilant.
"We are in a very dangerous war against terrorists, an enemy that doesn't hesitate using anything to harm us."
The true test for the Afghan soldiers is whether they can maintain security on their own once the U.S.-led coalition leaves, a mission General Wassaya believes his men will live up to.
Anna Coren, CNN, Delaram , Afghanistan.
LU STOUT: Let's get a check now of your global weather forecast and the latest on the floods in India. Reports say that millions of people have been displaced. Mari Ramos joins us from the World Weather Center - Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Krisite, yeah, the conditions across this northeastern state of Assam have gone particularly bad. Authorities telling CNN earlier today that the number is up to 1.7 million already of people that have been affected by just this deluge of water across the region.
Let's go ahead and talk a little bit about the topography here, because this has so much to do with it. Over here you have India and this is the mighty Ganges River. And over here, as we head into eastern parts of India heading into Bangladesh, you have the Brahmaputra River. As we get in a little bit closer, this is Assam, this is a state that has been inundated by water.
Now authorities are telling CNN also that in the upper reaches here of the Ganges - excuse me of the Brahmaputra -- we're starting to see a little bit of relief. But as you can see, the Brahmaputra takes up almost the entire state. It's just dominated by the water comes down from the mountains, it drains across this very low lying valley. And in these towns and villages along the river are the ones that are experiencing the most flooding.
Downstream, that's when we see even the worst flooding as the water continues to edge down across these areas. Some of the other really interesting numbers coming out just today, 300,000 people up from 150,000, so that number has doubled of the number of people that are now in relief camps. And it's going to take awhile for people to be able to return to their homes. So about half of the state currently right now underwater. And that's a very significant number.
The number of deaths have also gone up. We have 18 dead now and at least 10 people that are missing. So a very tragic situation that continues to develop.
It's raining in some areas here, and that's a concern, but the main concern is the water that's already on the ground. Notice the rest of India and much of Pakistan remaining dry. We're still seeing some rain showers here as we head over into Southeast Asia and some of that rain will be extremely heavy again. And any amount of rain that falls over this area whee we are experiencing the monsoonal rains is going to be a concern over this region just because it has been so devastating.
Here's a closer look as to what's happening in Southeastern parts of Asia. Thailand has been widely affected. I'm getting a little bit more concerned now about Cambodia and southern parts of Vietnam, because that's where the monsoon trough has been most active in the last few days. So the rainfall totals here are likely to increase. And you can see a lot of yellows on our map, starting to see some purples. The purple areas indicate about 15 centimeters of additional rainfall in areas that are already flooded as we get now to the latter part of the monsoon.
Two tropical cyclones to talk about. We're not going to worry too much about this one, even though it's starting to move closer to Japan, but it's expected to pass safely away from it. This is a bigger concern. This storm has been sitting here for the last few days. The name is Jelawat. It has brought some very heavy rain across the Philippines even the storm is just offshore. It's not having a direct impact on the Philippines, but very high waves continue to batter the shoreline and you see those outer bands of the storm that are still affecting that region.
Amazing, this storm has winds of 250 kilometers per hour. It is expected to continue tracking to the north as you can see there, getting very close to Taiwan in the next few days. 24 to 48 hours we'll have to see what this storm does.
Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.
Yeah, there's a threat for severe weather again across the southern planes of the U.S., but it was across the northern planes where we saw pictures like this. We have some video to show you of funnel clouds. This is in the U.S. state of Illinois. You can see - scary, Kristie, whenever you see something like this. And these images taken by a professional as you can see there. These funnel clouds, some of them did make it to the ground, but there were at least two tornadoes reported. And there was some damage in rural parts of Illinois.
The next video, you can see it right there, some damaged farmhouses, some damaged homes. Fortunately no reports of series deaths - of injuries. Authorities were saying they could really see the rain swirling around them the winds were so strong. And you can see right there some of those big - big rigs, those big larger trucks that were damaged, a lot of trees that came down, and people left without power.
Autumn, fall, now this time of year you still tend to see tornado activity there, not as common, though, as we get usually in the spring.
Back to you.
LU STOUT: Yeah. And when a storm can take down a big rig like that, that's extreme weather. Wow. Mari Ramos there, thank you.
Now up next, diving deeper into the universe, NASA releases a new photo 10 years in the making with - it says it's the deepest ever view of the universe, an amazing view after the break.
LU STOUT: Now a 12-year-old boy is being called the luckiest dude in the world. He got his wish getting his first kiss. But who he got to kiss and how is firing up the internet. Jeanne Moos has more.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How does a 12-year-old manage to get a country music star to give him his very first kiss ever, sign language from the front row.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says, "Carrie, be my first kiss."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say we make that happen?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MOOS: Next thing you know, Carrie Underwood was holding Chase Carnick's hand on stage at this Louisville, Kentucky concert, but even before he came up he had an inkling she'd noticed him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She saw me and she winked at me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twelve years old. He's got the jump on me. I was 14 when I had my very first kiss.
MOOS (on camera): Just between us, was this really the first time you kissed a girl?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this was my first kiss.
MOOS (voice-over): But how?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are we going to do this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lip to lip.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MOOS: Chase cuts to the chase.
(on camera): This being his first kiss, Chase needed a little instruction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Close your eyes.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MOOS (voice-over): A first kiss never, ever to be forgotten, especially since it was captured on YouTube from so many angles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God.
MOOS (on camera): Well, what did you learn?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I learned to close my eyes and determination.
MOOS (voice-over): He later exchanged tweets with Carrie Underwood, hashtag #liptolip. His friends called him "the luckiest dude in the world. So not fair that you got to kiss her. How was it?"
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just amazing. I -- words can't describe.
MOOS: The words on his sign were outlined by his dad. Chase colored them in. The Carnick family needed a fun distraction. Right before Memorial Day, they got burned out of their house when lightning struck.
(on camera): Now a spark of a different kind, Carrie gave Chase a taste few other men have had, let alone 12-year-old boys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I learned something else too.
MOOS: What's that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wears cherry lip balm.
MOOS (voice-over): Carried away by Underwood and no matter how many country music awards she kisses, she'll never forget his first.
(on camera): Are you never going to wash your lips again or brush your teeth?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I brushed my teeth, but not my lips.
MOOS (voice-over): Not after they've been brushed by hers.
Jeanne Moos, CNN...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go, Chase!
MOOS: ...New York.
LU STOU: He's a winner.
Now time now to go Over and Out There, way out there.
Now this is the most detailed view of our universe ever. Now NASA calls it the extreme deep field. And this image, it took some 10 years go make. Now astronomers, they assembled it using photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. And it shows us galaxies up to 13.2 billion light years away, which means it has taken that long for their light to reach Earth. So this picture, it also provides a look back into time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARTH ILLINGWORTH, ASTRONOMER: Basically our whole solar system would be starting to be built up in this time. So it was a time when we were seeing the elements form, when the universe was being transformed, the first galaxies were being built up, a dramatic time in the period - in the life of the universe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now this image, it contains about 5,500 galaxies, but that's just a small sliver of the sky.
Now here is how the area looks compared to our moon. And it really just makes you visualize that we are truly just a tiny speck in a huge universe.
Now from deep space, to the deep beneath the waves. Google has unveiled the underwater equivalent of its StreetView maps. Let's bring it up and take a look at it. Now scientists, they teamed up with Google to take this, a virtual snapshot of the Great Barrier Reef. And these are the very first underwater panoramic images available on Google Maps. The clarity is pretty amazing there. You can check out the ocean floor essentially without ever getting wet.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.