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Brazil Flood Disaster; Tunisia Turmoil; Ivory Coast Crisis

Aired January 13, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Severe flooding triggers mudslides in Brazil, killing hundreds, while in Australia, thousands of homes are under water after floods sweep through the country's third largest city.

And one year on, Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks on the Haitian girl he operated on in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake.

Brazil is coping with a major flood disaster. Three hundred and forty-nine people have been killed by flooding and mudslides in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Another 24 are dead in Sao Paulo State.

And the worst damage so far is in a cluster of towns in a mountainous area northeast of the city of Rio. And in Sao Paulo, the Mariparo (ph) dam has given way, putting extra pressure on the Civil Fire Department.

Now, it has been raining heavily in Sao Paulo since the first of January, and forecasters say it could continue until the end of the week.

Let's go live now to CNN Center. And Rafael Romo, our senior Latin American affairs editor, joins us.

We have seen the death toll rise dramatically, Rafael. Why is that?

RAFAEL ROMO, SR. LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, Kristie, there were a number of mudslides the night before last. According to civil defense officials in Brazil, as many as 30. And in some of these locations -- for example, in Terresopolis and Nova Friburgo, the numbers had to be revised.

The death toll in Terresopolis alone is 146. In Nova Friburgo, 168.

And you see the images, Kristie, of what happened. Many of these people were sleeping in the middle of the night when the mountain basically gave way, burying entire houses with families inside overnight. So that's the reason why the numbers had to be adjusted. The officials in Brazil sent about 80 rescuers to the region, but as you can imagine, they're only beginning to do their job.

Now, we understand that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who took office on the first of this year -- she began her term with the year -- is going to be traveling to the area today, and has also declared an emergency area, and is going to allow an emergency fund of $466 million. But again, Kristie, these numbers may still be preliminary, and they, unfortunately, may increase in the next few days.

STOUT: Well, that's right, because a search for survivors, that is under way. Any update, any progress on that front?

ROMO: They're still working. The problem right now is that it's not so much the flooding that they're dealing with, but the mudslides.

Entire houses that were buried under the mud, and that's where the main work is going to be concentrated in the next few days. These are cities that are surrounded by mountains, and many of those mountains, after being soaked by more than a week of rain -- it started raining since the beginning of the year -- they just gave way and buried all of these houses. And that's the main challenge right now, Kristie, rescuing all those people who were trapped the night before last.

STOUT: All right. Rafael Romo on the story for us.

Thank you very much, indeed.

As we've already heard, Brazil is not out of the woods yet as far as the weather is concerned.


STOUT: Now, we're keeping an eye on another flooding crisis, the floods in Brisbane, Australia. They have started to recede after peaking a meter lower than many had feared, but the good news stops there.

At least 15 people have died so far this week, more than 70 others are still missing. Twenty-six thousand homes in Queensland state capital alone have been flooded, 118,000 homes have no electricity. Authorities warn it will take months, or perhaps longer, to clear the destruction.

Now, Australian newspaper headlines use few words to say it all. Now, the image on the front of this morning's "Daily Telegraph," it's almost apocalyptic. You see steel, glass and concrete rising, apparently inaccessibly from a wall of floodwater. The banner here, "City of the Damned."

Now, the "NT News" gives a wider perspective. Above the caption "Troubled Water," we see the same central business district, but in front of it, what seems like an entire city submerged.

And the "Herald Sun" travels west to the Lockyer Valley for its coverage, and suggests that the so-called "Bridge of Despair" could conceal the bodies of many who were unable to escape the torrent.

Now, CNN's Phil Black has spent the last few days in Brisbane. He has watched the city's residents await the deluge, and he is now watching them face up to the consequences.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Brisbane River is now dropping slowly. It peaked at a level lower than was expected, but still high enough to flood more than 20,000 homes.

The people who lived in them are now scattered across the city, staying in big evacuation centers, as well as with family and friends. And for many of them, it could be weeks before their homes are considered safe enough for them to return to.

Now, even while the floodwaters were dropping here, they proved just how dangerous they can be by claiming their first life in the city, that of a 24-year-old man who was swept away and drowned while trying to check on his father's property.

Brisbane, the state capital, is now one of more than 70 towns and cities across the state of Queensland that are flood-effected. The Queensland government says the recovery operation, after weeks of floods across a massive area involving multiple river systems, is now at post-war proportions, and it's going to take years.

Phil Black, CNN, Brisbane, Australia.


STOUT: Now, wherever in the world a flood wreaks havoc, images like this one become pretty familiar. The scale is dramatic; the damage is clear. But the distance sometimes reduces the impact for those of us watching in television. It threatens to move us less as viewers.

But today, the Queensland premier, Anna Bligh addressed the way that the world was viewing her state. Now, her words were direct: "Underneath every one of those roofs is a horror story."

Now, that statement will ring very true for the thousands of people returning to flooded homes in the days ahead. Nine Network's Sara Harris now reports.


SARAH HARRIS, REPORTER, NINE NETWORK (voice-over): Michelle (ph) and Richard Smith (ph) knew going home would be hard, but they didn't expect it would hurt as much as this.

MICHELLE SMITH (ph), RESIDENT: I expected it to be over the roof anyway, but it's just hard when you see it.

HARRIS: They had only bought in August, and had hoped to build a life with their four young sons here.

RICHARD SMITH (ph), RESIDENT: That's where we thought we'd be here, 40 years or something. I don't know.

HARRIS: The people of Fig Tree Pocket were once proud of their quiet, lazy suburb. Now they barely recognize it. The only way to get around is by boat after the Brisbane River swallowed up streets, front yards and homes. Almost the entire neighborhood has disappeared under water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, wow. But look. The stuff is still here. It's muddy, but the stuff is still here. Oh, thank you, God.

HARRIS: It's only by good fortune this woman still has a house to come home to. She tells us she feels blessed knowing so many of her neighbors are now homeless and heartbroken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just unbelievable. I cannot believe that I'll never have the privilege of living there. And what's going to be left of it? Nothing. We'll have to rebuild, I would imagine.

HARRIS: So much of the Brisbane River is bleeding, and the people who live on it and anywhere near it are hurting badly.

(on camera): Seeing the devastation from the air is one thing, but actually being this close and seeing home after home after home drowning in brown, murky water, it's just a whole different story altogether.

Over there, that used to be a tennis court. And somewhere under all of that water, that's the local park where the neighborhood kids used to play. No amount of preparation could have saved any of these houses. There is just so much water running through these streets, they simply never stood a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a pretty proud man. It's hurt me.

HARRIS (voice-over): It took this man a year of blood, sweat and tears to renovate his dream home. It's now ruined, but he won't be beaten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hear for the long haul. And you can replace stuff, you can replace furniture. We've got our lives.

HARRIS: Everyone here is determined to take back what the river stole from them once the shock and the water finally subside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rebuild, start lives again. That's what we do. It's all we can do.

HARRIS: Sarah Harris, Nine News.


STOUT: Queensland residents aren't just resilient, they've also been taking time to document the devastation.

CNN iReporter Mairead McKinnon sent us this photo of Brisbane's showpiece Suncorp Stadium. Not only is it flooded, Mairead says part of the stadium also caught fire after the floodwater short-circuited a generator.

And how about this shot? It was submitted by Leonard Kangar, who is also from Brisbane. Now, this was taken in the suburb of Opslee (ph), which is one of the communities listed as high risk. Leonard says the main road leading from here to the city has been completely cut off by floodwater.

Turmoil in the streets of Tunisia. It seems the government is cracking down on social media as riots rock the country.

Plus, return to Haiti. Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks the progress of a girl he operated on in the frantic days after the quake. This is a report you won't want to miss.

And her husband has been by her bedside since she was shot. Now a big development in this U.S. congresswoman's recovery.


STOUT: Now, protesters in Tunisia's capital have reportedly defied an overnight curfew. Riots like this have gone on for weeks in parts of the country driven by high unemployment and living conditions. Officially, 21 people have been killed in the protests, but labor unions and rights groups put the number higher. The government is investigating allegations that police have used excessive force.

Now, the riots are seen as the most serious challenge to the president, who's been in power for more than two decades.

Rima Maktabi sat down with the prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, to talk about the tense situation.


RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We heard from people and we read reports saying that the security forces are shooting at rioters and demonstrators, and there are snipers. Is that true?

MOHAMED GHANNOUCHI, TUNISIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): According to the information we have, this is not true. There's an inquiry to investigate the transgressions that might have happened.

MAKTABI: We saw those injuries where it negates that there has been live ammunition used against them. What do you say about that?

GHANNOUCHI: Information we have says that there were gangs that attacked police stations and armed forces, and attacked civilians. They used Molotov cocktails. And the armed forces hit back in self-defense.

MAKTABI: When we met the people, they said that they have nothing to do with (INAUDIBLE), unlike what the government is saying. What do you say regarding that?

GHANNOUCHI: What we know is that some groups infiltrated the crowd and caused violence. We don't mind peaceful demonstrations and freedom of expression. We want to listen to people and hear their problems so that we solve them.

MAKTABI: Is the step of firing the minister of Interior and bringing someone else is a result to the excessive use of power against demonstrators?

GHANNOUCHI: The replacement of the minister of Interior is to have a more objective inquiry, and for the investigation to be more accurate so that we know what really happened.


STOUT: Well, protests in Arab nations are rare. The demonstrations in Tunisia are even more unusual because they're being organized online.

Now, blog groups are spreading their news on sites like Facebook, but the government is hitting back. Now, the U.S. State Department has criticized that response, saying it is concerned by reports that Tunisian ISP providers have hacked into user accounts and stole passwords.

Now, YouTube has been banned in Tunisia since late 2007, but activists are uploading videos of these protests anyway. And the Committee to Protect Journalists says bloggers are being blocked.

Now, this is the Web site of one prominent blogger who says his posts are being censored. Media reports say another blogger managed to tell people about his arrest through foursquare. He turned on his phone, and it showed his location as inside the Interior Ministry building.

There are two days to go before the voting ends and weeks before the results are known in south Sudan's independence referendum. But former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who is observing the process, says he believes the referendum will meet international standards. Now, southerners are widely expected to vote to break away from the north.

And there's been more violence and death in Ivory Coast as the tense political standoff continues. At least five police officers were killed and three U.N. peacekeepers wounded in Abidjan. The self-declared president, Laurent Gbagbo, is still refusing to step aside after losing the election seven weeks ago.

And as Colleen McEdwards reports, there is likely to be more bloodshed.


COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a fight over the presidency, and it appears to be getting worse.

Tuesday, Ivorian security forces of the incumbent strongman Laurent Gbagbo cracked down on a district largely loyal to Gbagbo's presidential rival, Alassane Ouattara. Several hundred men reportedly began shooting and evacuating houses in the Abobo neighborhood in Abidjan. The U.N. patrols were blocked from helping the residents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): For 23 hours, we have not slept. The guys came to knock on our doors. They took my husband and son. They killed him, and they killed our children. Our children suffer, and we don't know what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They come to attack us with their bare hands. We are not armed here. We don't have guns here.

MCEDWARDS: Gbagbo's camp dismisses those accusations and says many police have been killed by armed Ouattara activists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In the morning, the police came to attack Outtara supporters. We came out and started to help defend the people.

MCEDWARDS: The clashes in Abobo left several dead. A trail of blood streaks the streets. Amnesty International says the recent violence is some of the worst that Ivory Coast has seen since the country's political crisis began.

Wednesday, the U.N. secretary-general's spokesman described another attack which injured three U.N. peacekeepers.

MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESMAN FOR U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: A mixed team of police and military personnel was coming back from patrol when shots were fired at it. This ambush occurred one day after the forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo blocked and looted a convoy on its way to re-supply the Gulf Hotel.

MCEDWARDS: The Gulf Hotel is the temporary residence of Outtara, the internationally recognized president. Despite international pressure, Gbagbo refuses to step down and leave the presidential palace. Ivory Coast's U.N. ambassador appointed by Outtara fears the nation is at the brink of genocide.

YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA, IVORY COAST AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We think it's not acceptable. That's one of the messages I tried to get across during the concentration (ph) I've conducted so far to tell we are on the brink of genocide, something should be done.

MCEDWARDS: As the crisis deepens, both men claiming the presidency, refusing to give up their fight.

Colleen McEdwards, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: LeBron James backs down. The NBA star denies hitting out at his former teammates in a tweet while his new team struggles against the L.A. Clippers. Kate Giles is here with more on that after the break.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

And LeBron James joins the growing list of sports stars getting in trouble for their tweets.

Kate Giles is here with more on that -- Kate.


You might remember yesterday, when we came on with sports, we showed you highlights -- if that's the right word to use -- of the Cleveland Cavaliers when they lost to the Lakers. Now, they didn't just lose that game. It was a record loss. In fact, they scored a franchise low 57 points.

And during that game, the former Cavalier, LeBron James, sent a tweet in which he said, "Crazy. Karma is a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Gets you every time. It's not good to wish bad on anybody."

Now, when he tweeted that, he did not specifically mention, as you can see, at any point Cleveland. But, well, it certainly seemed like that was where that tweet was directed.

But, surprise, surprise. LeBron has said that it wasn't a knock on his former team. It was just, in fact, how he was feeling at the time.

In fact, he said that it wasn't even from him. He was just passing on a comment from someone else. But his Twitter page actually gave no indication that it was a re-tweet.

Now, the Cleveland Cavs themselves didn't really seem to need any extra comment anyway. Mo Williams posted on his Twitter account that he was embarrassed by the game and he didn't want to show his face around town.

I don't blame him, to be honest. It was a bad, bad score for them.

Let's look at LeBron when he was in action for the Heat. This was on Wednesday, the day after he sent that tweet, playing the Clippers. And both teams wearing the shirts there to remember the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.

Now, in the first, the Clippers really rolling. Blake Griffin here at 16- 11. And then Baron Davis comes up with a slam.

Well, the Heat gave away 44 points in the first quarter. Now, that was the most allowed by the Heat in any course of this season. Very poor, indeed.

In the fourth, you're going to see LeBron James here. He's driving through the lane, but he hurts his ankle on the way. He has to hobble off the court for a few minutes as the play was continued.

He would get back into the play eventually. He can get the ball in the corner. He'd make the setback three-pointer. So he was shaking it off there and he would be all right.

Blake Griffin here. He was having a good game. Here he is with a top driving jump. He had 24 points and 14 rebounds on the ninth (ph).

And watch Blake Griffin again. Baron Davis, finding (ph) him under the basket. The Clippers win it 111-105. The Heat had one 13 games straight on the road, but that run is now over.

Well, as we all know, FIFA's decision to give the 2022 World Cup to the tiny nation of Qatar has not been popular across the board, and it certainly has met with widespread criticism.

Well, the UEFA president, Michel Platini, has now given us his two cents' worth. The Frenchman called for the tournament to be played across the whole of the Arabian Gulf, as opposed to just in Qatar. Now, that's an idea that was never actually discussed during bidding, but Platini said that that was of little importance. He says that in 12 years' time, the exact proposals that were made will not be remembered and all fans will want is a well-organized World Cup.

Well, the man in charge of FIFA, president Sepp Blatter, of course the ultimate target for lots of that criticism levied at FIFA over that Qatar decision, and on a number of other recent issues. They were all on the agenda when WORLD SPORT'S Pedro Pintu interviewed Mr. Blatter earlier on this week. A big, big get that was for his answers.

You need to make sure you tune in to "WORLD SPORT" later today at 10:30 p.m. London time.

Really lots of big issues there, Kristie -- Qatar, 2022, the whole FIFA voting process in general, and those allegations of corruption. So definitely interesting watching.

STOUT: Yes. A great get, a great interview.

Kate, thank you so much, and take care.

Up next, moving forward and making progress. Now, 12 months ago, this 12- year-old girl was close to death. We'll show you how she's doing now.

This woman also survived against the odds. We have some good news to share about the U.S. lawmaker attacked by a gunman.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

In Brazil, floods and mudslides have killed 349 people in the state of Rio de Janeiro. At least 24 have been killed in Sao Paulo State. Forecasters say the heavy rain could continue until the end of the week.

Flood waters are starting to recede in Australia's third largest city, but they're leaving behind a trail of destruction. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the recovery effort in Brisbane and elsewhere will be of post- war proportions. At least 15 people are dead, 70 are missing in the state.

Parts of Ivory Coast are under a government imposed curfew until Saturday. Officials say at least 10 people including several police officers were killed on Tuesday. Three UN peacekeepers were also wounded when they got caught up in crossfire. Supporters of Alassane Ouattara, internationally recognized as the president, are calling on self-declared president Laurant Gbagbo to step down.

Now Haiti has paused to mourn and remember the people who died in a devastating earthquake last year. Some survivors mark the first anniversary with song, others with prayer and still more with protest.. Ivan Watson shows us a nation struggling to heal.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A circle of faith a year after a catastrophic disaster. Thousands of Haitians gathering in stadiums for a multi-denominational prayer service one year after the earthquake. Some wore their Sunday best, others wrapped themselves in the flag of their wounded nation.

This is a chance for Haitians to come together and take comfort in each others company and in prayer. On the anniversary of a day that traumatized an entire society.

I'm very sad for all the people who died, says this woman. And I must thank god for saving me and the lives of my family.

For some Haitians, this was a day for more intimate gatherings. The Fourcand family gathered by the grave of their mother and tried to tell jokes.

DIMITRI FOURCAND, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR: She had said that she didn't want us to be crying over her tomb and stuff like that, and she wanted us to gather and have fun and talk about nice things and joke, you know, and things like that. So that's what we did.

WATSON: They buried Jesney (ph) and her husband next to the rubble of the house where she died. Memories of that terrible day still haunt the survivors.

FOURCAND: Until today I'm stressed, you know, because images of what happened a year ago keep popping in my head and it will - it was - I can't find the words to explain what I've gone through.

WATSON: Close to a quarter-million died in that earthquake. A cemetery where countless unclaimed bodies once lay to rot now displays quiet reminders of the victims.

One year later, despite billions of dollars in aid money, there's been little improvement for more than a million Haitians made homeless by the earthquake. So on the somber day, some Haitians sounded a note of protest. Hundreds of residence of the city's squalid makeshift camps carried signs that said if I don't stand up now, I'm condemned to live my life in a tent. They marched through a city still scarred by the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Port au Prince.


STOUT: And here's an update on the damage and reconstruction efforts. Now according to the World Bank damage from the quake is estimated to be almost $8 billion, although others claim that number is much higher. The Inter-American Development Bank says that reconstruction will cost up to $14 billion. More than 100,000 homes were destroyed in the quake, for Oxfam claims only five percent of the rubble has been cleared. And removal is estimated to cost more than $1 billion. Last year, donors pledged more than $5 billion for reconstruction efforts in 2010 and 2011.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta was in the Haitian capital after the earthquake hit last January and 12 months later he has returned to check on a severely wounded girl who he helped save. Here is Kimberly's story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: January 18, 2010, we got a call: Come quickly. A 12-year-old girl broken by the rubble, cement embedded in her brain. The U.S. military asked me to help. A month later, we received word that Kimberly is alive, doing well, and in fact ready to go home. It was time for a follow-up visit, a house call.

Now we expected her father to actually come here and meet us for this reunion, but we're told he didn't have enough money to get transportation to come down to this port, so instead the rescue worker who helped rescue Kimberly is going to come and collect her and take her back to her father.

Kimberly was healed. And it was so good to see that smile. Aboard the world class USS Comfort.

Just a typical 12-year-old showing off all the new toys that she's received.

Truth is, I wish I could end the story right here, but that would be unfair to Kimberly and thousands more like her.

(on camera): You know, this is part of what happens here in Haiti, you know, Kimberly obviously is doing well medically, but now this is really about the rest of her life and what's going to happen to her, how she recovers from all of this. They used to have a home, now they don't. He used to have a job, now he doesn't.

(voice-over): What you're looking at was her new home, her recovery room. Confusion sets in. Her eyes shift with the tragic realization. You see, because she's been in the hospital the last month, she doesn't even remember the quake. The quake that she now learns took away her home, her sister, her mother.

This was a remarkable day for Kimberly full of moments like this, but the image I'm left with is this one: a young girl with a brain operation struggling to recover in a place, in a country so devastated.

A year later, I had no idea what to expect or even where to find her. We ended up finding her living here in temporary housing in Port au Prince. You can tell right away she gained weight, and those painful reminders of what had happened a year ago, well they had healed. She making progress in other ways as well. She's now one of the 50 percent of Haitian children attending school. Her goal to be a doctor and help save kids.

Today, Kimberly is optimistic about her future. And after we saw her, so were we.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Port au Prince, Haiti.


STOUT: Incredible story there.

Now coming up next on News Stream, a sign of hope in Tuscon, Arizona. The U.S. congresswoman critically injured in the mass shooting opens her eyes for the first time since that assassination attempt. That story is next.


STOUT: Welcome back. Now to some encouraging news out of Tuscon, Arizona the U.S. congresswoman critically injured in a mass shooting has opened her eyes for the first time since that assassination attempt. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head on Saturday and the U.S. president Barack Obama lifted the mood at a memorial event when he announced Giffords' improved condition. He also spoke out about the six individuals killed in that horrifying attack and called on Americans to come together in the aftermath.

Now lets bring in our senior White House correspondent Ed Henry from Washington. And Ed, more on the U.S. president's memorial address. What was his core message?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Christie, I think as you noted, he really was trying to get Americans to come together and heal after a terrible tragedy, six people killed, more than a dozen wounded including that congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Interesting before his remarks the president actually went by the hospital and visited Gabby Giffords. She was still sort of unconscious, coming back, et cetera. And shortly after he left, the president found out that a few minutes later Gabby Giffords started reacting to some of her congressional colleagues who visited after the president. She actually raised one of her eyes. She put her arm out and tried to hug her husband.

So it's clear that she's getting better. She's recovering. She is very much alive and reacting to friends and family. And the president's message really was, look, there's been a lot of rhetoric flying around among Democrats and Republicans about whether either party contributed to this violence, the president said stop the blame game and start coming together. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: if his tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. But what we cannot do is use this tragedy was one more occasion to turn on each other.


HENRY: Now the president will have a chance to get more specific in terms of what he wants to do about both parties coming together a little bit later this month. About two weeks from now, he has the annual State of the Union address where he goes up to Capital Hill, addresses both parties, lays out his agenda for the upcoming year where now he's dealing with a Republican House, a tightly divided Democratic Senate and there's been a lot of predictions that it's going to be gridlocked and there's going to be a lot of angry words back and forth. And so I think the president's speech last night is sort of an olive branch to try to get both sides to put some of those angry differences aside and maybe come together on some of these big pieces of legislation on the economy, health care, other things in the days ahead Christie.

STOUT: So his address a call to heal. And on the same day of that address, Sarah Palin responded to the tragedy. And she called journalists and pundits, she charged them with the, quote, blood libel for linking the political rhetoric to the shooting.

Now what impact will those words have on her politically? And also on the national debate?

HENRY: It could have a big impact. You know, that phrase blood libel, many Jewish groups came out and said they feel that's anti-Semitic and was an attack on Jews. And Sarah Palin and her camp is insisting that's not the case, that's not what she meant. But I think the bottom line is, you know the president was able to kind of seize this moment last night, try to focus on healing and coming together and Sarah Palin in reacting to some of her critics yesterday may have come across as somebody who is still battling, still exchanging these angry words back and forth. And so I think there are a lot of people at the White House behind me feeling good that the president sort of rose to the occasion and they're going to let Sarah Palin and others on the left and right back and forth battle it out with their words, but he was trying to sort of, you know, rise above that, transcend that and not get into that debate back and forth about whether one side or the other caused this violence. He just wants to steer clear of that.

But it could have a real big political impact on Sarah Palin in the next couple of years if she decides to run for president. It could really back-fire on her, Christie.

STOUT: Ed Henry joining us live from Washington. Thank you for that, Ed.

Now more on Sarah Palin, the Republican has responded to her critics with a video posted on Facebook. But again with those two words, she wound up angering more people.

Now Brian Todd explains the controversy.


SARAH PALIN: We express our sympathy.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She first speaks in measured tones that some might call presidential about the tragedy in Arizona.

PALIN: America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week.

TODD: An extraordinary statement from Sarah Palin, the first time she's spoken substantially about the mass shooting in Tuscon and about the criticism she's received in the wake of it. It was Palin's rhetoric during the 2010 mid-term campaign that led to so much brush back after Tuscon. Her tweet to conservatives saying "don't retreat, instead reload" and her map targeting 20 Democrats with cross-hairs symbols, including Gabrielle Giffords.

There was never any link between Palin's words and the shooting, but some say Palin's brand of rhetoric led to a level of political vitriol that wasn't healthy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We ought to say that just goes too far.

TODD: To that, Palin spent most of the later part of her statement rejecting the criticism.

PALIN: Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own, they begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their first amendment rights...

TODD: With this, she seems to be going directly on the defensive. Does that work for her?

SUSAN PACE, USA TODAY: Well, she's making the case she can make that politics is politics played by both sides should not be wrapped in to this terrible tragedy.

TODD: Susan Page's newspaper, USA Today, has a new poll showing most Americans don't believe heated political rhetoric was any factor in the Arizona shooting.

But in chastising the media during part of her statement, Palin invokes a very controversial term, one with deep longstanding and very unpleasant reverberations in the Jewish community.

PALIN: Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn.

TODD: The Anti-Defamation League criticized her use of the phrase blood libel, which theologians say refers to the centuries old myth that Jews were killing Christian children.

SISTER MARY BOYS, UNION THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY: Often the explanation was given that Jews needed the blood of Christian and particularly Christian children in order to make their unleavened bread or matzo.

TODD: Sister Mary Boys says Palin never should have used that term in any current political context. It can be argued that many people don't know what blood libel means. Did Palin know when she said that? Contacted by CNN, a Palin adviser didn't comment on that or on any other parts of her statement.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: Now the U.S. President Mr. Obama ran that campaign slogan of hope back in 2008 and this poster by the artist Shepard Fairey, who you see standing with it right here, became an iconic image of his election. But it was based on a photo that was taken by the Associated Press. Now the Associated Press says the two sides have finally resolved their lengthy copyright dispute out of court. The AP says that they have agreed to share rights and to work together going forward. But you can say the hope deal, it still leaves room for doubt. The AP, it still has a lawsuit pending against Fairey's clothing company.

Now coming up, first it pummeled the southeast and now it's pounding the northeast, but this time New York's plows were quick to move the snow. We'll have the latest on the U.S. winter freeze.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now one of the oldest rivalries in the tech world is at it again: Microsoft is disputing Apple's trademark claim to the term "app store." Apple's app store is where iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users can buy and download mobile applications. And it's proven so popular that other companies have opened up their own app stores, they just can't call them, well, "app store." Check-out how rival companies have danced around the term.

Now on a Blackberry, you can visit "app world", but on Palm's Pre, it has an "app catalog," while Samsung's is simply called Samsung application store, Google has got the Android market, and Microsoft's version is simply called marketplace.

Microsoft claims app store is a generic term, and Apple shouldn't be allowed to trademark it, pointing out that among others Apple's own CEO Steve Jobs refer to the app store's rivals as, quote, app stores.

Now the U.S. is trying to cope with another major snow storm. After pummeling the southeast, it has now moved north. While hundreds of flights are canceled and the snow is piling up. Samantha Hayes reports.


SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESOPONDENT: It's a sight New Yorkers are getting used to: cars buried under mountains of snow. The third storm to hit the city in two-and-a-half weeks is pounding the northeast. Connecticut and Massachusetts could see as much as two feet of snow. And the area around Boston is facing blizzard conditions.

Connecticut's governor is urging residents to stay off the roads for their own safety and to make way for snow plows.

DAN MALLOY, GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT: If you're coming out of your driveway and you don't have a four wheel drive that's really good with good tires, you're probably going to get stuck.

HAYES: Tens of thousands of homes have lost power in Massachusetts. Schools were closed from Philadelphia to Boston and more than 1700 flights were canceled at New York's three major airports.

After facing criticism over his response to December's blizzard New York mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a weather emergency before the snow hit, which restricted parking and discouraged driving.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CIITY: The plows did not have to contend with buses and trucks and cars stuck in the middle of the streets and that made the job a lot easier.

HAYES: Severe winter weather has certainly left its mark on the U.S. There is now snow in every U.S. state except Florida.

In Washington, I'm Samantha Hayes.


STOUT: Now let's get more on the wintry weather there in the U.S. Mari Ramos joins us stateside with the forecast - Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey Christie. You know what, one of the biggest things right now, now that the snow is starting to move away is this plunge, this arctic air mass that is bringing extremely cold temperatures across the region. So we're dealing with temperatures that are going to be well below the average. You know it's bad when Atlanta here in the deep south has the same temperature as Chicago for example. And it's actually colder here than it is in New York City. The frigid air mass will continue making its way farther and farther to the south. And we could see near freezing temperatures again even as far south as Florida.

When you factor in the wind, though, that's when it really gets bad. It feels like minus 13 here. So I will not be going outside anytime soon. Let's clarify that. Minus seven, it feels like in Denver.

Now that area of low pressure, that nor'easter that we were just hearing about that affected the northeast, it is continuing to move away. The Canadian maritimes are the ones now that are getting the bulk of the action. And that will continue even as we head through the day tomorrow and that weather system continues to move away.

Look at that, radar from Canada now. And you can see that a lot of moisture is coming in off the water here, some of it in the form of rain, than you have that mix again. And then heavy snowfall as we head into areas farther inland. So kind of the same scenario that we had all along.

I do want to mention that we have a big storm system coming in here across the Pacific Northwest. This is a warm air mass so to speak, and it is depositing some snow up in the higher elevations and there are some avalanche warnings across many areas here as we head into the mountains because we had all that snow, more snowfall, and now warming temperatures and rain, and that's never a good combination. So that's something that we're monitoring closely as well.

I want to take you to the other side of the world and talk about the weather across Europe. This is a picture from the Rhine in Germany. This is that boat that capsized earlier today. First of all, it was filled with sulfuric acid. So far, it appears that it did not leak into the water, but we need confirmation on that still. It may - they're looking into the possibility of the - what could have caused it, but one of the things that could be a possibility is the very high water that has been reported not just on the Rhine, but on several rivers across Germany. Look at this woman's face, but look what she has to contend with, rising water across the region.

All of this happening because, well, it's too warm now. The temperature rose very, very quickly. You had that dense snow pack and it's melting rapidly. And the result has been these high water levels that that runoff continues throughout the region. So we're still going to stay with temperatures well above the average across this region over the next few days not just in Germany, but as we head into Poland as well. We'll be watching that next.

Let's go ahead and (inaudible)

Oh absolutely beautiful pictures. This is from Mount Etna, Europe's - one of Europe's most active volcanoes, Christie. And even those these eruptions look pretty violent, they're actually considered low level scale eruptions. Mount Etna, like I said, very active on the Island of Sicily in the central Mediterranean. The volcano became active yesterday yet again putting this kind of light show there for people to watch.

Now there is no danger right now to the nearby population, so that's good news there. And the other thing is that because these eruptions are strombolian in nature, in other words lower level, even though it goes up several hundred meters up into the atmosphere, it's not thousands of meters into the atmosphere like we've had with other volcanoes So, so far no volcanic ash advisory have been issued. So there is no danger for aviation. But we are of course monitoring what the volcanic ash advisory center out of Toulouse has to say. And we will bring you that in case it changes - Christie back to you.

STOUT: Mari, that's a low level eruption? That's incredible. I heard that strombolian - the use of strombolian. Good vocab word. Thank you very much for the sharing. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

Now it's time to go over and out there. And with that it starts as a tragic tale, the Canadian's Dan and Sarah Cannon (ph). They have been inconsolable since their beloved Burmese mountain dog Molly Jane went missing last week. Now they've gone to great lengths to get her back, handing out thousands of leaflets, and as you can see here, campaigning online. Sadly, all to no avail.

But here's the twist, Sarah is due to give birth in three weeks. And in the last ditch effort to find her dog before the big day, she's offered to name her unborn child after whoever finds the pet. Now this sent alarm bells ringing here at New Stream. Now what if Molly was found by a, let's say, Fifi Tricksabell Hutchins?

But then, we saw this - now the names appearing on this screen all belong to one man. A Scottish artist formally known as Nicholas Uzanski (ph). Now he since raided the alphabet to rack up 26 middle names and has adopted the four names Barnaby Marmaduke for good measure. He now has the second longest name in Scotland. But his friends still call him Nick. And in the unlikely event that he were to find Molly Jane, we'd like to think that the Cannons (ph) would opt for Nick as well.

And that is News Stream.