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NASA's Juno Begins Orbit of Jupiter; Two Suicide Bombers Strike Inside Saudi Arabia; ISIS's Ramadan Campaign; Security Warns They Can't Protect Olympic Visitors in Rio; Laos's Growing Movie Culture. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired July 5, 2016 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:14] ANDREW STEVENS, HOST: I'm Andrew Stevens in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream.
Islam's holy city of Medina is one of three Saudi cities hit by terror attacks in the closing days of Ramadan.
Rio police warn travelers they will not be able to protect them as violent crime is on the rise with the Olympics less than a month away now.
And NASA's Juno spacecraft successfully orbits Jupiter as it probes the gas planet's mysterious atmosphere.
Muslims around the world are marking the end of Ramadan, but over the last days of Islam's holiest month we've seen a wave of terror in parts of
the Middle East and in Asia. ISIS has either claimed responsibility or suspected in many of those attacks. The terror group had called for
attacks during Ramadan. And now hundreds of innocent people have been killed in a campaign of terror.
Well let's start in Saudi Arabia. And there's been no claim of responsibility a day after three suicide attacks in the kingdom. Only the
bombers were killed in two of those attacks, but in the holy city of Medina where the Prophet Muhammad is said to be buried, a suicide bomber killed
four people. The other bombing struck near the American consulate in Jeddah today and outside a Shiite mosque in
Well, joining us now to talk about those attacks is our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson.
Nic, the bomber blew himself up in Medina very close to one of Islam's holiest shrines. Why would that be a target?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There were two reasons. One, the target, the actual people who were killed, if you will -
- and we don't know if they were precisely the target, or the sort of larger environment where they were that includes the shrine to the founder
Targeting the Saudi security forces is something we've seen ISIS claim responsibility for inside Saudi Arabia over the past year or so. So it may
have been that they were targeting this checkpoint of Saudi security forces killing four of the officers there, injuring
others. But the bigger picture has to be why would they choose to do it in this city? They could choose a checkpoint like that in almost any place in
You have to look at it this way, I think, that it was to send a message to the royal family that, you know, the king of Saudi Arabia is the
custodian of Islam's two holiest sites. When all the people come to Mecca, and Medina, as part of their hajj or just umra to Saudi Arabia, they come,
if you will, under the protection of the Saudi monarchy. So this really is a slight, an attack at undermining the authority and the respect for the
Saudi monarchy. And there are many countries in the world that would potentially use that against the Saudis.
So I think that is why Medina was chosen. A message to Saudi's rulers.
STEVENS: And Nic, as I said at the start of the show, it's not just Saudi Arabia, there have been attacks across the Middle East, and also in
Asia -- 300 people dead, more than 300 dead during the month of Ramadan, which is the holiest part, or the holiest time on the Islamic calendar.
Why is Ramadan seen by ISIS as a time for these sort of outrages?
ROBERTSON: Well, they called for their supporters to attack around the world during Ramadan. They said that this will be a more auspicious, a
more holy time. You know, the narrative that ISIS trades on is that, you know, if you're a suicide bomber and you kill yourself you will go to
paradise, you will have so many rewards there, so many brides, so many virgins, not only that but your family, your wife, her family, all of them
can get a speedy passage to paradise. That's what they say during the rest of the year.
During Ramadan, the belief, if you subscribe to ISIS's radical propaganda, the belief then becomes that this is even more auspicious, that
this is religiously even better for you, better for your family, better for your relatives. So it's in that narrative that ISIS is trying to play
here, of course, that's how they persuade people.
The reality is what ISIS appears to be trying to do is to create a major global statement in a
confined period of time. They've been criticized, you know, most people think of ISIS and al Qaeda as pretty much joined at the hip -- pretty much
are joined at the hip, but al Qaeda has even come out and said these attacks, the one at the Istanbul airport for example, you're killing
Muslims. That's what they're telling ISIS. So these attacks, the ones in Saudi Arabia, and the other ones that we've seen, Dhaka, slightly
different, they chose foreigners there for the most part to kill.
But mostly it is Muslims that are being killed here during what is the holiest time.
It's unfathomable to the vast, vast majority of Muslims around the world, Andrew.
STEVENS: Yeah, as I said more than 300 now dead in the month of Ramadan.
Nic, thanks very much for that. Nic Robertson there, international diplomatic editor.
Now, we're learning more about the terrorists who carried out the siege on a cafe in the capital of Bangladesh. Although ISIS has claimed
responsibility, officials are insisting the attack was carried out by home grown militants, not ISIS. They describe the attackers as, quote, normal, regular guys who hung out at cafes, played sport and had
Facebook pages. They're said to be well-off university students with a secular background.
We're also learning more about what actually happened from the co- owner of the cafe where the attack took place. He spoke to CNN's Alexandra Field. And Alex joins us
now live from Dhaka.
And what has he been telling you, Alex?
Well, Andrew, first of all, we're now learning from police that this attack was carried out by five men, not six, which is what officials had
originally said. They now say five men carried out the attack, one man survived, four others died. The sixth person who was initially identified
as an attacker, it now seems, according to police, was actually one of the victims of the attack, an employee of the restaurant.
The staff at that restaurant was on the phone with one of the restaurant's owner while this
hideous attack took place on Friday night. The owner tells me he had left a short while before the gunmen burst in firing shots, lobbing explosives,
taking hostages and killing so many of the innocent customers who were there. He said it was frequented by a group of regulars
who were well-known to the staff.
The owner tells me that much of his staff was able to escape. They knew the ways out of the restaurant. A big group ended up on the rooftop
of the restaurant, some of them had to jump to save their lives. But as the shots were ringing out (inaudible) the owner of the restaurant...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI ARSALAN, CO-OWNER, HOLEY ARTISAN BAKERY: I called them as soon as I heard the news and they told me that they were hiding, there were sounds
of gunfire. These guys they were hiding -- they'd all run to the roof. So I asked them if everybody was safe. They said yeah, everybody that we know
of. I mean, at least the foreign chefs and all they are all with us. I asked them if they barricaded the door. They said they had. And then I
asked them if they thought anybody was hurt. And they said, well by the way these guys were firing, definitely we think some people are gravely
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: Investigators discovered the scene of a massacre inside that restaurant where so many people were killed. Other staff members managed
to hide for hours inside a bathroom. More of the staff hid in the kitchen before the gunmen found them and led them into the restaurant, passed the
bodies of the victims.
The owner of the restaurant says he isn't sure if he can ever open another place. He says he doesn't know if he could bear the responsibility
of another attack. And he tells us that his staff tells him that at one point during the attack the gunmen, who maintained a calm demeanor, who
were comfortable with their weapons, demanded to have the password for the wi-fi inside that restaurant. Photos that purport to be the victims were
uploaded onto a website affiliated with ISIS during the course of the attack.
CNN can't authenticate those photos, but there are reports from the staff of the restaurant owner are that the gunmen inside were asking for
that wi-fi password and seemed intent on communicating with the outside world, Andrew.
STEVENS: OK. We're having little problems with the communications, but we will persist, Alex.
You've been reporting that one of the attackers disappeared some four months before he -- his photo was seen as one of the attackers in this
outrage in Bangladesh. Is there any idea where that gunman was during those four months?
FIELD: Look, initially, the families of the son just disappeared. He walked out the door on
February 29. They had no idea where he was, and because he hadn't showed any signs of radicalization or extremism they thought perhaps he'd been
kidnapped, perhaps he had eloped. They had come up with all kinds of ideas.
Then the father began to entertain the idea that perhaps his son had joined up with the Islamist group. He said his son had an interest in
religion. He thought that his son was immature, highly impressionable, and perhaps susceptible to the pressures of recruiters. The father tells me
that he still does not know exactly where his son was, but since he he saw the
pictures of his son identified as an attackers on that ISIS website, he can only believe right now that he was spending time with his Islamist group.
He does not know if they remained in Dhaka or not, Andrew.
[08:10:23] STEVENS: OK. Alex, thank you very much for that. Alexandra field joining us live from Dhaka.
Now the attacks in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are part of a deadly final week of Ramadan, especially in the Iraqi capital. Families there
grieving the loss of some 215 people who died in a truck bombing attack. This gives you some idea of the devastation, walls crumbled by the sheer
force of that explosion, and the buildings stripped to their skeletons. Three days after rescuers still digging through the rubble. But the
likelihood of finding any survivors now is slim.
Even in a country familiar to such violence, this attack stands out as the deadliest Iraq has seen in some 13 years. ISIS has claimed
Now, the European Parliament is meeting right now to debate the impact of the UK vote to
leave the European Union. The EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says Brexit campaigners failed to plan for a victory and has accused
campaign leaders of abandoning ship.
Nigel Farage announced that he's resigning as head of the UK Independence Party and last week
Brexit campaigner, and in many ways the front man, Boris Johnson, revealed that he won't be running for prime minister.
Five other names are in the running, though, to replace the outgoing Prime Minister David
Cameron. Britain's Conservative Party is holding their first round of voting right now.
Mr. Cameron, who was a prominent remain campaigner, announced that he'd be resigning in the
wake of the Brexit vote.
Well, let's go to our political contributor Robin Oakley now who is outside parliament. And Robin, is there any real doubt who the next leader
of the party is going to be and who the next prime minister is going to be?
ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: There is doubt about everything in British politics at the moment, Andrew. And although we have
a strong front-runner in this contest, there have been so many changes and so many sudden knives in the back, and sudden revelations about people's
past and so on, that there's no guarantee of anything.
But Theresa May, home secretary, that's interior minister for six years, is a strong front-runner
in the campaign. She's got the support of around 120 out of the 330 conservative MPs who will vote in the initial stages of this contest,
that's as many votes as the other four candidates put together.
But there's also quite an impetus behind Andrea Leadsom who is a leading leave campaigner, or was in the referendum vote along with Boris
Johnson and Michael Gove.
Now, Michael Gove has destroyed Boris Johnson's chances by stabbing him in the back and saying he's not fit to lead the party or capable of
doing so and standing himself instead. But he's probably only got about support of about 25 or 30 MPs.
Other candidates we've got Stephen Crabb the pensions minister, probably putting a marker down for a future leadership contest. And Liam
Fox, veteran ex-defense minister who will only probably get a handful of votes and is expected to be knocked out at this first stage.
Because the process is now, that the Conservative MPs go on voting between the five candidates with the lowest vote dropping out each time
until they're left with only two candidates who will then be put to conservative members across the country, 150,000 people, roughly, will
choose the next prime minister of Britain -- Andrew.
STEVENS: And you mention Andrea Leadsom there getting the support of Boris Johnson. Does Boris Johnson still have any credibility, because he's
been savaged from so many sides by not entering the fray after Michael Gove turned on him. A lot of people saw that as sort of, you know, he was
running away after leading this campaign.
So does he still have currency among the Tory Party?
OAKLEY: He still has a certain following, yes, because he's been one of the most attractive personalities in politics for some time. I think
his credibility as a potential leader or senior minister has been very badly damaged.
But yes, he does still have allies. And of course very significantly, he entered this leadership contest of the five remaining by saying that
Andrea Leadsom was kind and brave and trustworthy, very much a dig at Michael Gove, the man who saw him down.
And it's all got to that stage now, it's getting brutal. It's nasty. It's personal. A lot of the MPs, of course, trying to decide which star to
hit, which star to hitch their wagon to for the future. And people making deals, being offered promises of jobs if one or other candidate wins the
But certainly, Theresa May, I think, is standing a little bit above the fray at the moment, and she came forward with a plan for an early vote
on renewing Britain's nuclear deterrent system the trident nuclear deterrence system, as if to show that she was dealing with the big issues
while other people were still squabbling about position.
But it's not all over yet, it's been such a strange contest so far there may be more revelations to come, Andrew.
STEVENS: Strange, indeed. I mean, many people saying you couldn't write about that.
Robin thank you so much. Robin Oakley our political contributor in London.
Now Brexit means that the UK will not get any EU funding for many, many industries. But some fishermen in Cornwall are willing to take the
hit as long as they can say good-bye to EU rules.
Now, Phil Black has more.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: James Roberts doesn't really want to be ferrying us around today off southern England's Cornish
coast, he'd rather be doing his job: fishing.
JAMES ROBERTS, FISHERMAN: There's an abundance of fish and we're just not allowed to catch it. There's a nice run of haddock here just a couple
miles out from where we are now, but I can't go catch them.
BLACK: The reason James can't go out to the haddock, his designated quota for that species is tiny.
ROBERTS: That really is a box, a box and a half -- one of those boxes and maybe half again and that's my monthly quota.
BLACK: It's one of the fishing rules set by the European Union. There are many, many more.
ROBERTS: They've been managing our fisheries, and they've seen the decline of our fisheries.
BLACK: In James's home port, Newland, fishermen have been raging against the EU for decades. Little surprise they were big believers in the
campaign for Britain to get out.
When you think of the EU, what are the thoughts and feelings that come to mind?
ROBERTS: Well the sooner we can get away from them the better really.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Well, I think we hated it from the minute we joined it.
BLACK: Donald Liticomb (ph) has been fishing out of Newland for 37 years. He's thrilled with Brexit, but predicts a messy divorce for his
UNIDENITIIFED MALE: There's going to be lots and lots of arguments, who owns what fish, what rights they have got to come into this water.
Then it's going to be for us to work off the French coast or the French borderline. Are we allowed into the French waters. There's going to be
complications all over the place.
BLACK: It's hard to know precisely how many fishermen voted to leave, but we didn't meet any who wanted to stay, even though EU grants helped pay
for some boat upgrades, training, and port facilities, and much more across Cornwall, as well. The EU has dedicated hundreds of millions of pounds to
build infrastructure and encourage business.
But 56 percent of voters here still supported Britain's exit. Not everyone is convinced it was the right move.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: And I suppose the one question I would have is, if we weren't in the EU, would central government given Cornwall that kind
of money? It never did in the past.
BLACK: And will they now is the question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: that is the big question.
BLACK; What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well now if we're out, we will find out.
BLACK: Are you optimistic?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not holding my breath.
BLACK: Local authorities have shown greater optimism, some say audacity, by demanding the British government step in and cover the soon to
be lost EU millions. Like a majority of voters across the UK the Cornish people backed Brexit and like the rest of the country, they still don't
know all the consequences of that choice.
Phil Black, CNN, Newland, southern England.
STEVENS: You're watching News Stream. Still ahead on the show, what more could possibly go wrong for Rio? Well, the Olympics are just a month
away and an alarming new warning this time from the city's police.
Plus, incredible scenes from the deadly flooding in China. We've got the latest.
[08:21:11] ANDERSON: That is the view looking across Victoria Harbor to downtown Hong Kong. A beautiful, clear night here it is, too.
Welcome back, you're watching News Stream.
Now the Rio Olympics are just a month away, and as if the lead-up wasn't scary enough, this is the image greeting international tourists now
as they fly in. The protest sign reads, welcome to hell.
It's a stark warning from Rio's police who say that they won't be able to protect anyone when the spotlight is on the city. CNN's Arwa Damon has
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rio's police are marching straight to the international terminal, to give not an Olympic
welcome but a warning: we won't be able to protect you.
Violence is on the rise here and officers say they haven't been paid in months. The government says the claims are legitimate and is working
towards normalizing the situation.
But to the officers, it's hardly reassuring. These two men, "Paolo" and "Joel" -- not their real names -- operate under a different set of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If I talk, I can be punished or even arrested for this.
DAMON (voice-over): They are with the military police, fighting what they call Rio's hidden civil war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are numbers, nothing more. You encounter a drug trafficker armed with lots of ammunition and you only
have 20 bullets. It's absurd.
DAMON (voice-over): They risk talking to us because they say they've watched their fellow officers die to preserve Rio's image, not to protect
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have a very common saying here in Brazil, "for the English to see." I believe that the politicians
here are doing everything for the English to see.
DAMON (voice-over): "For the English to see," meaning put on a show for public consumption. They say the city's scant resources are used to
patrol tourist hot spots, like Copacabana, instead of favelas like Mare, where the criminal gangs run the streets.
(on camera): Even in an event like this that is meant to be raising awareness about police brutality, we're constantly being stopped from
filming, which is just an indication of just how tense things are right now. There's a lot of concerns about (inaudible) filming on (inaudible).
(voice-over): The government's own statistics show the number of people killed by police, including civilians caught in the crossfire, has
nearly doubled in the last year. Human rights groups say the police are not just poorly trained but trigger-happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They don't care if there is a child in the middle. They shoot their target.
DAMON (voice-over): State security officials tell CNN that they have taken measures over the years to expel officers for inappropriate behavior
and say they have decreased the use of heavy weapons. But in Mare, residents say the raids are increasing and indiscriminate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It seems like there's an order to put fear in the people so they stay calm, so they don't cause trouble in
the city because the foreigners can't see that the city is chaotic.
DAMON (voice-over): And they probably won't.
Over the next month, the federal government plans to flood Rio's tourist zones and Olympic venues with troops. But for Rio's residents,
living in the shadow of the games, it's security they will never see.
STEVENS: And Arwa Damon joins us now from the Olympic Village in Rio.
A very interesting report, Arwa. It just shows sort of just how disenfranchised so many people
in the capital are. Is there a sense anywhere that you've come across that people are getting a little excited about this, given this relentless
drumbeat of negative news?
DAMON: It really hasn't been at the level that one would expect it to be. And I think that's mostly because, as you were alluding to there,
Andrew, people really did feel that the games coming to Brazil would bring with them certain benefits for the population, that the government would
finally be forced to deal with key critical issues such as pollution and security and that really hasn't materialized.
Yes, the games will go ahead. Yes, the games will be very heavily secure. They're going to be sending some 85,000-plus security personnel to
protect the venues and the tourist zones as you saw in thatre port. They're going to be screening people who are arriving. They're already
undergoing significant background checks for those who are going to have access to the Olympic venues. And of course the visitors will be going
through x-ray machines, and also have their bags screened as they go through as well.
But that's all as you saw again in that report for the games. When it comes to the reality that people are dealing with, and this is what has
been so bitter I think for the population, is that their lives have not necessarily improved. In fact, some will tell you that after the games
they fear that the situation is only going to getting worse.
STEVENS: Arwa, thank you very much for that. Arwa Damon joining us live from Rio.
Now, flooding in southern China has taken the lives of at least 186 people in the last six days. The soldiers you see here are carrying
sandbags to a dike in central China. Some pretty dramatic images we've been getting back, too. Take a look.
STEVENS: A torrent of water sweeps away cars and cascades down you a mountainside as China faces its worst flooding since 1998. Heavy rains are
causing havoc across 26 different provinces in central and southern China, impacting 33 million people, that's according to China's flood control
The department says at least 56,000 houses have collapsed, and economic losses are already
over $7 billion U.S. dollars.
Firefighters used boats, ropes, even their shoulders, to rescue the stranded. In Guizhou Province, they carried a pregnant woman and her two
children to safety after they got caught in a flash flood.
In the city Erzhou, the soccer stadium flooded looking more like a giant bathtub.
China's meteorological agency says this year's rainfall has been 21 percent higher than average, and the forecasters warn more heavy rain and
thunderstorms are to come.
On top of the flooding, eastern China is now bracing for Typhoon Nepartak. The first season,
Nepartak currently on track to make landfall by Friday.
STEVENS: The news just keeps getting worse for those areas of China.
We're going to take a short break. When we come back, NASA has pulled off an historic move on its Jupiter mission. The journey that began five
years ago, at this moment at the launch of the Juno probe. The mission details just ahead.
[08:31:45] STEVENS: NASA has marked an historic moment after a wait of some five years. Its Juno space probe is now successfully orbiting
Jupiter and is ready to start feeding information about the giant gas planet.
But getting Jueno into orbit wasn't easy. It all hinged on a tightly timed maneuver by NASA back on Earth and the team was ecstatic when they
pulled it off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK NYBAKKEN, NASA PROJECT MANAGER, JUNO: So tonight, through tones, Juno sang to us, and it was a song of perfection. Do you realize that
after $1.7 billion -- billion mile -- they're going to kill me. After a 1.7 billion mile journey, we hit our burn targets within one second on a
target that was just tens of kilometers large. Isn't that incredible? That's how good our team is. And that's how well the Juno spacecraft
GUY BEUTELSCHIES, DIRECTOR OF SPACE EXPLORATION SYSTEMS, LOCKHEED MARTIN: There's a saying, you know, it's not rocket science. Well, today,
yeah, it really was rocket science, OK. So, to put a spacecraft in orbit around the most intense planet in the solar system, you've got to fire the main engine at
exactly the right time, at exactly the right place. That's not easy. And it may look easy when you watch it, but behind the scenes, there's a
tremendous amount of work that goes on, there's a tremendous amount of pride and dedication and passion that this team has put in to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEVENS: Not often you see the hardball press supporting like that either.
So, what makes that maneuver so impressive is that Juno was traveling at a speed of over 250,000 kilometers an hour when NASA had to slam on the
brakes. By comparison the space shuttle flies at around a tenth of that speed.
Juno, though, not just built for speed, it's also geared to withstand radiation from Jupiter. The planet has a huge magnetic field that some
20,000 times more powerful than Earth's. It's also got intense belts of radiation so Juno's core electronics are sealed in a titanium vault to
The probe is to collect data about how jupiter was formed and to take the highest resolution images of the planet ever taken.
So why is NASA sending Juno to Jupiter? It's not the first spacecraft to go there, but there's still a lot we don't know about the biggest planet
in our solar system.
Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chao told CNN how Juno is going to study the planet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEROY CHAO, RETIRSD NASA ASTRONAUT: It's got an amazing array of sensors on it that's going to study the atmosphere and peer down below the
clouds. It will give us an idea of how much water, therefore how much oxygen is involved in the composition of the planet. It's going to give us
some clues as to whether or not it has a rocky core. There's some ideas that it does, some ideas that it doesn't. And so it's going to be setting
both the gravitational as well as these intense magnetic field lines and the radiation involved in the side of them.
So it's really going to give us a great look that we haven't had before in about, you know, kind
of the biggest planet, and the biggest mystery of a planet that we have in our solar system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[08:35:09] STEVENS: Now, Juno is being monitored by the mission team on Earth, but it does have these three very tiny Lego crew members on
board. This closest figure here is Galileo named and modeled after the famed scientist who discovered Jupiter's four biggest moons. And the two
behind him are the Roman gods Juno, and Jupiter.
Those Lego figures part of an educational program designed to inspire kids to study science and maths. Good luck with that.
Now, you're watching News Stream. Still ahead, it's a small nation with a big appetite for movies. We'll look at the growing industry for
movie theaters in Laos just ahead.
STEVENS: Welcome back.
Now Laos may be one of the smallest economies in Asia, but it's got no shortage of movie fans. And businesses are starting to take note.
In today's road to ASEAN, Mallika Kapur explores how one Thai company is trying to expand into Laos by capitalizing on the local taste for pop
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Vientiane has often been
called the sleepiest capital city in Southeast Asia. Setting foot on these streets in some ways feels like a step back in time.
But near the banks of the Mekong, cranes dot the skyline. And there's even the occasional traffic jam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) because of economic growth. Now Vientiane (ph) we are living in now modern times. So it's good for us and
for the country.
KAPUR: For (inaudible), his wife and their two sons, the dizzying pace of that change translates into a new way to spend their evenings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and my parents kind of see World of Warcraft, right.
KAPUR: This is the first modern multiplex cinema in Laos. The Pieteps (ph) come here once or twice a week, choosing from five screens,
and three kinds of popcorn.
The company that opened these theaters just one year ago, Thailand's Major Cineplex group, says it's counting on them to keep coming back.
VICHA POOLVARALUCK, CEO AND FOUNDER, MAJOR CINEPLEX GROUP; I think at least Laos could have 80 to 100 screens in the next five top ten years.
KAPUR: Major CEO runs a cinema empire with more than 500 screens across ASEAN, including this flagship location in Bangkok.
He says the decision to enter the Laos market was based on keeping a close eye on where their customers were coming from.
POOLVARALUCK: So every time we opened, you know, a movie theater we know that on the weekend you see a lot of Laos, customer across the border,
come and watch the movie.
KAPUR: Moviegoers in Vientiane may not be ready for Thailand's fully stocked bar and VOP rooms, but Major says they're so confident in the
spending power of a rising Laos middle class that two more locations are in the works, set to open by the end of next year.
POOLVARALUCK: In the beginning we have a lot of the students. Right now we have a lot of
families with kids.
KAPUR: Narute Jiansnong overseas the Laos operation. Sure they've had some growing pains, he says.
[08:40:08[ NAURTE JIANSNONG, MAJOR CINEPLEX GROUP: The main difficulty that we have been (inaudible) is the movie culture is not there
yet. So, basically we're trying to do it more of the movie premiere, with a lot of stars, because what we need is the repeat customers to coming
KAPUR: They may be starting small, but in order to grow big, Major Cineplex says it's focus is now firmly beyond the Thai border.
Mallika Kapur, CNN.
STEVENS: He's only done one season of the iconic car show but Chris Evans says that he's quitting BBC's Top Gear. Evans was one of the
presenters who took over after the BBC fired former host Jeremy Clarkson.
As Max Foster reports, the show missed the mark for this season's performance.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris Evans is a huge name in British television, and a very well-known car enthusiast, but he
just couldn't seem to make his version of Top Gear work.
The latest overnight figures for his latest show did blow 2 million in the UK, and that was well below what Jeremy Clarkson ever achieved. At the
end of the last series, fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, he was bringing in something like 6 million viewers in the UK.
Chris Evans was coming under huge pressure in the British newspapers for losing so many viewers in such a short space of time. And he bowed
out less than two months into his new series.
A lot of the criticism was around how he didn't have chemistry with his co-presenter, Matt LeBlanc and it does seem as though Matt LeBlanc is
going to stay in position, but a huge pressure on him now to try to create a comeback for Top Gear when he's only been two months into the job, too.
This is the BBC's biggest earner around the world. And it's desperate to see this one through.
Max Foster, CNN, London.
STEVENS: A lot of people saying the Stig should go, as well.
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