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Tunisia Tensions; Political Realignment in Israel; Referendum in Southern Sudan

Aired January 17, 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.

After a weekend of unrest, Tunisian leaders attempt to form a unity government.

Thousands return to Southern Sudan, anticipation that it may soon become an independent nation.

And we look at the winners and losers.

And the online verdict on the Golden Globe Awards.

Tunisian leaders are trying to form a unity government. The country's president for the last 23 years fled on Friday, pushed out by weeks of popular protests.

Now, sites linked to Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali like this cafe owned by his nephew have been targeted by demonstrators. Now, the military has moved to restore calm. Tanks and security forces can be seen throughout the capital.

But just a short time ago, riot police used tear gas to break up a protest in Tunis. Now, the crowd was rallying against Ben Ali's party and had moved toward its headquarters. Members of the previous government are expected to hold positions in the new one.

Our Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman has details on that demonstration.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After a weekend when people were headed in to go out on the streets, now we have our first demonstration. Monday morning, life seems to be getting back to normal in the Tunisian capital, but this group of demonstrators is coming out to demand that the ruling new Constitution Party, the party of the deposed president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, being thrown out of power.

At the moment, the current power structure is that the prime minister and the acting president are both from the new Constitution Party. What these people want is to see that party completely thrown out of power. They want to see the Tunisian constitution completely revamped to suit the new situation, people calling for democracy and supporting -- voicing their support for the army, which they feel was instrumental in throwing out Ben Ali.

I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Tunis.


STOUT: Now, other peaceful demonstrations took place in central and southern Tunisian towns.

Rima Maktabi joins us on the line from Tunis.

And Rima, is the protest moving growing today, or is the situation calming down? What's your read?

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was supposed to calm down after the unity government was announced today, the Miti Alike (ph), some of the names of the ministers. And it seems the people of Tunis don't like some of those people who are going to take part in this unity government.

The people of Tunis do not seem satisfied. There are demonstrations in the center and in the south of Tunisia. And apparently there's a major meeting for opposing parties and human rights organizations and the unions to decide what to do about this.

The people of Tunis do not want anyone from the old regime in the new government. This may delay the government, and they delayed (INAUDIBLE).

STOUT: As you mentioned, there is speculation that a new unity government will be announced today. Any more information on that front? And will this be a government that the people of Tunisia will support?

MAKTABI: This is what everyone is trying to work on, but I've spoken to opposing political parties. They said they're aware of what the Tunisian people want. But on the other hand, they are also aware that this country has been run by the same ruling party for the past 23 years or more.

They said -- I spoke to one official in the opposition party. He said, "We cannot simply assume power overnight. We need a transitional period. Those people from the ruling party should remain with us until we organize fair elections, presidential elections."

So the coming hours are really decisive -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Rima, there's been a lot of discussion about whether the protests and the political changes in Tunisia is a red flag for other Arab countries. I mean, is it -- are there major regional ramifications here?

MAKTABI: Well, government and the media are not reporting this yet, but this doesn't mean it's not happening. We've been hearing some information about things happening in certain areas in the Arab world, not specific so far, but leaders in the region are observing what's happening in Tunisia seriously.

They are taking notes and there may be changes in the coming days, because this is the first time, probably, in the recent history of Arab nations that the people themselves revolt rather than political parties opposing political parties, or coup d'etats.

STOUT: It is an incredible moment in history to watch unfold.

Rima Maktabi, thank you very much, indeed.

Rima joining us live from the Tunisian capital.

Now, the sort of scenes that toppled President Ben Ali are very rare in the Middle East. Analysts say that the fallout from these demonstrations will be closely watched by Algeria, Egypt and Yemen. Now, Libya's leader, Moammar Gaddafi, has already warned Tunisia is heading for "more unjustified chaos." Now, Colonel Gaddafi has also suggested social media sites and WikiLeaks played a role.

He says this: "All these cables posted on WikiLeaks and other items on Facebook, YouTube and other tools are used to spread lies about us."

Now, the cables that Gaddafi refers to are from U.S. ambassador Robert Godec. Let's take a look at a couple of them.

Now, Godec wrote this back in 2008: "One Tunisian lamented that Tunisia was no longer a police state, it had become a state run by the mafia."

Now, in another, Godec detailed a lavish dinner given for him by President Ben Ali's daughter and her husband. And he wrote this: "Their behavior make clear why they and other members of Ben Ali's' family are disliked and even hated by some Tunisians. The excesses of the Ben Ali family are growing."

But the U.S. assistant secretary of state says that this information is not new. Now, P.J. Crowley tweeted this: "Tunisia is not a Wiki revolution. The Tunisian people knew about corruption long ago. They alone are the catalysts of this unfolding trauma."

Now, WikiLeaks has just received a new batch of secrets. A Swiss banker turned over two disks that he says holds secret offshore records. We'll have a live report on that story a little later in the show.

Now, Israel's defense minister is turning his back on the Labor Party he has led since 2007 and is forming a new, independent faction. Former prime minister Ehud Barak and four other members of parliament announced their plans to leave Labor today.

Our Kevin Flower joins us now live from Jerusalem.

And Kevin, who is in this breakaway faction, and why are they leaving Labor?

KEVIN FLOWER, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Kristie, it's a dramatic day in Israeli politics, as you alluded to. And what's happening here is that the Labor Party leader and the current Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, is bringing four members of his old Labor Party, creating a new faction called the Atzmaut faction, which is short for "independence." And they are leaving the Labor Party because of what they say is infighting and just problems that cannot be solved without dividing the party into two.

Now, specifically what they're saying is that they want to create a new party that is centrist, Zionistic and democratic. One of the criticisms that these breakaway -- that Barak and these four breakaway Knesset members had is that the Labor Party was veering too far to the left and that it was no longer relevant anymore.

Now, this is a major, major development on the domestic scene here. The reaction from the remaining Labor Party members was very swift. One saying that Barak was "out to destroy the party." He said, "The curtain has come down on the glorious Labor movement."

Three Labor ministers who were part of the coalition government of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu have quit their ministry positions. They will be leaving the government altogether.

So, what we have, Kristie, basically, is a realignment of coalition politics here. The Labor Party before, with its 13 members, was a member of the right wing coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu. With this change, what happens is Barak and his four followers are likely to remain in the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, but the remaining Labor members are going to leave that coalition altogether.

So, in the end, it leaves Benjamin Netanyahu with a smaller coalition, but at the same time, a much more stable coalition in the eyes of many political observers here. So a lot of people are saying that Netanyahu comes out the winner in all of this -- Kristie.

STOUT: What needs to happen before this new faction can be considered a new legitimate party?

FLOWER: Well, there are a number of things that have to happen. First and foremost, it's not a new political party yet. Like you said, it is a faction.

It has to go through a formal registration process. There's lots of legal work that needs to be done, work in the Knesset before it becomes its own party. And at this point, it's not clear whether anybody else will be joining that party or whether this is just going to be a party of those five people.

So, a strange day in Israeli politics. I think it will become a lot clearer in the days and weeks to come to see how the government is going to be shaped -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Kevin Flower, live in Jerusalem for us.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, the ongoing political uncertainty on Sunday. Former dictator Jean- Claude Duvalier, known to Haitians as "Baby Doc," arrived back in the troubled country after 25 years in exile. Now, Duvalier has been living in France since he fled Haiti during a revolt, and he returns at a time when the Caribbean nation is struggling to choose a new leader. An election runoff scheduled for Sunday was postponed amid fraud allegations, but the reasons for Duvalier's appearance are unclear.


CONNIE WATSON, CBC REPORTER: A couple of reporters who managed to get into the airport while he was waiting to clear Customs said he mentioned the phrase, "I've come to help." But when reporters put that question, we never did get a chance to talk to Duvalier tonight, but his wife came out to talk to us. And when we asked her why he's here, and did it have anything to do with the current political crisis in Haiti, she said in Creole, "It has nothing to do with that at all."


STOUT: Well, here's some background on Jean-Claude Duvalier.

The 59-year-old is the son of another Haitian leader, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Now, "Baby Doc" rose to power in 1971, following his father's death. Just 19 years old at the time, Duvalier became one of the world's youngest heads of state.

He was known for brutal suppression of his opposition and even declared himself "president for life." Duvalier remained in power until 1986, when popular protests forced him to flee into exile. As we mentioned, he lived in France until his surprise return to Haiti.

Now, still to come on NEWS STREAM, the floodwaters in Brazil have killed hundreds. But now these survivors are facing a new problem, not to mention the possibility of more rain.

And playing video games is just a bit of harmless fun, right? Not according to a new report that warns of the risks of too much gaming.

And we've heard of dance hall music and reggae, but a combination of the two? Well, the hot hybrid is coming to a club near you.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, as Haiti's election woes continue, a different kind of vote has gone more smoothly in Southern Sudan. U.S. President Barack Obama is among world leaders praising a ballot that could see Africa's biggest split in two. Nearly four million people were registered to vote in the referendum to decide whether the south should declare independence from the government based in northern Sudan.

Now, the vote has given thousands of Southern Sudanese living in the north a reason to return to their homeland. But while the defining mood is one of optimism, the reality that awaits them is far from ideal.

David McKenzie reports.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They went north to flee war, find jobs. Now, after decades in exile, they finally made it home.

(on camera): The people on the shore are waving to welcome them, but for these Southern Sudanese living in the north, it's been a long journey. Some of them haven't even seen their homeland.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Docking at Juba's decaying port in the White Nile, they pour into south with little more than hope. Building from the ground up in this camp in northern Barakazel (ph), arriving to the poorest state in one of the world's poorest regions.

(on camera): It doesn't look like much, but this straw structure, or reguba (ph), is the only place where the women and children can sleep when they arrive. And during the daytime, they push their belongings up against the side of this, because this is the only place that the clinic can operate.

DR. VINENT KAHI, IRC MEDICAL COORDINATOR: It's really an experience. But in emergencies, somehow we have to provide the care, wherever we are.

MCKENZIE: You have to do the best you can.

KAHI: We have to do the best we can.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): As do the returnees. The shift from urban to rural is tough. Most all the returnees say they are happy to come home, but these teenagers were born in Khartoum.

They say they know nothing about cattle or farming. They'll just wait for the factories to come. And there are no signs of that happening any time soon.

After a week living at Juba Port, aid groups are encouraging people to leave. But Angelo Andrago (ph) says he knows no one. There's no place to go. After 25 years in Khartoum, he says he was lured by messages that promised a lot but delivered little.

"I wanted to come to my country," he says, "but they shouldn't have told lies on the TV. If someone had just called me up and told me what it was like, I wouldn't have come."

He's now living under a tree. But Angelo (ph) says he'll make it work for the sake of his children and his country.

David McKenzie, CNN, Juba, Southern Sudan.


STOUT: The death toll from Brazil's devastating floods continues to rise. At least 631 have been confirmed dead in the state of Rio de Janeiro alone. And now, as the military works to rescue those stranded, the authorities are warning of the possible spread of waterborne diseases. All eyes there will be on the weather forecast.


STOUT: And up next here on NEWS STREAM, too much of a good thing. Now, can excessive gaming increase mental health problems? We'll explore the evidence next.


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

Now, three victims remain hospitalized nine days after a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Now, doctors have upgraded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' condition from critical to serious. She was shot in the head at a political even on January the 8th.

The trial of accused gunman Jared Loughner could be moved to California. "The Washington Post" says court officials believe the case has received too much pretrial publicity in Arizona.

Now, Loughner's alleged motive remains unclear, but the attack has provoked criticism of mental health care in the U.S.


REP. TIM MURPHY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Unfortunately, people are going at the low-hanging fruit, and they're blaming a political discourse which may have some role in the underlying aspects here. But we also need to look at -- I mean, there'll be other things that come out -- the music, the video games, the social ways that people handle anger.


STOUT: There are reports that Loughner was into online gaming. While we don't know to what extent or what his mental health condition is, there is new evidence that excessive video game playing can increase mental health problems.

Our Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now from CNN Center.

And Elizabeth, what mental health problems does this new research link to video games?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's take a step back and look at what was going on with these kids who were doing, Kristie, what the study authors called pathological game. And what the study authors did is they looked at 3,000 kids in Singapore. They were about between third grade and eighth grade.

And what they found is out of those 3,000 kids, about nine percent were what they considered pathological gamers. In other words, they would lie about how much time they spent gaming. If the parent tried to stop them from gaming so much, from spending so much time gaming, they would become irritable. And these were kids who were spending more than 30 hours a week gaming.

And the result of spending that much time -- or I shouldn't say the results, but what they found those kids who were pathological gamers, were more likely to suffer from things like depression, anxiety and poor grades -- Kristie.

STOUT: But how do you know which came first, the game addiction or the mental health problems?

COHEN: Right, exactly. It's a classic chicken-egg thing, isn't it? You don't really know which one comes first.

For example, let's say you have a child who is somewhat depressed. And so maybe they try to lose themselves in video games to make themselves feel better. Well, perhaps the result of that is they end up becoming more depressed because they become more isolated from the real world.

The more isolated they become from the real world, the more they want to game. So this is the kind of thing that -- it sounds like a snowball, and it builds upon itself.

STOUT: And what does the video gaming industry make of this study?

COHEN: The video gaming industry says that this study was not done well, that it actually -- that the people who did it kind of handpicked the kinds of kids who they wanted in the study. And here's a quote from what they said in a press release: "There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and video games cause harm."

They dismissed this study altogether -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Elizabeth. Thank you for that fascinating and very controversial study there.

Now, here is the game that Loughner is said to have played. It's called "Earth Empires." It is not very well known, but it has a hard-core following.

Now, "Earth Empires" is a free online strategy game. Players control a country and compete with countries all controlled by other players -- trading, fighting wars, and forming alliances. Interaction with other players is a key part of "Earth Empires," and the game, it boasts of its strong community.

Now, in this statement on the official Web site, the game staff say that they are shocked and saddened by the events in Arizona, and have posted all of Loughner's posts in the game's forums for anyone to read.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, they are second only to the Oscars on the annual awards circuit. And we'll tell you who won what and, of course, who wore what at the Golden Globes.

And the NBA is looking for a slam-dunk in China. Find out how the association is working to keep basketballs bouncing all the way to the bank.


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

Police in Tunisia's capital have fired shots in the air to disperse protesters. The North African country has been rocked by protests that drove the president from power on Friday. It could see yet another change of leadership in the next few hours, when a new unity government is announced.

Flooding and landslides in Brazil have claimed the lives of nearly 700 people, and now authorities are warning of the potential threat of waterborne diseases. Now, with more rain in the forecast, it could get worse before it gets better.

In Lebanon, lawmakers have postponed talks on forming a new government. The Shiite militant group Hezbollah, led by the man on your screens now, Hassan Nasrallah, and its allies brought down Saad Hariri's coalition last week. Nasrallah says his party will not support Hariri's return as prime minister.

A referendum in Southern Sudan which could pave the way for the region's independence has been hailed a success. Votes are now being counted after a weeklong process that saw millions turn out to shape their homeland's future.

New WikiLeaks revelations could be published within weeks. No, this isn't more Cablegate. The whistleblower Web site has just received secret Swiss banking documents.

Atika Shubert joins us from the Frontline Club, live in London, where the handover happened a short time ago -- Atika.


The press conference just ended a short while ago. And basically, Rudolf Elmer, the Swiss-banker-turned-whistleblower, turned over two CDs with financial documents to WikiLeaks, documents that he says will basically show the kind of tax evasion that has been happening behind all of these banking secrecy laws particularly in Switzerland.

Now accepting that on behalf of WikiLeaks what Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder. And he, of course, had his own legal troubles and he was able to briefly get away from the house where he is technically under house arrest, although he is able to leave that house at certain hours of the day. He came here very briefly to make a statement, accept those documents, and then has now returned. Now, no names were mentioned in the press conference today, but Rudolf Elmer has said that those contain information on 2,000 clients.

Now WikiLeaks has said they are going to go through this information, vet it, and when they have finished with their process of vetting they will be making what Julian Assange says was a full revelation of these documents on their web site, Christie.

LU STOUT: So when will that be? When will the documents actually come out?

SHUBERT: Well, it's a good question. But basically WikiLeaks is pretty backed up with a lot of documents right now. But Assange said that it would be at the earliest a few if they could find a team to delegate and go through these documents. But it could be even longer, there's quite a few documents to go through. And as Rudolf Elmer himself has pointed out, it really needs to be finally investigated. It really needs to go through with a fine tooth comb. And that could take a long time.

LU STOUT: All right. Atika, thank you for that. Atika Shubert joining us live from the Frontline Club in London.

Now 20 years have passed since images like this - an Iraqi tank during Operation: Desert Storm were on our TV screens and in our newspapers. Now the U.S. military operation proved successful in removing Saddam Hussein from Kuwaiti soil, but as Jamana Karadsheh reports two decades on remains fresh in the memory and a bone of contention between the two Gulf nations.


JAMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INNTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Football: cause for national pride, but at this match between Iraq and Kuwait there are memories of a rivalry that goes far beyond the pitch. And while the era of Saddam Hussein, the man who ordered the invasion of Kuwait is now over, the impact of his move is anything but.

JOOST HILTERMANN, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Kuwait, of course, was traumatized by the invasion in 1990, 20 years ago now. And it has yet to overcome the fear that Iraq will yet again want to show that Kuwait is the 19th province rather than an independent neighboring state. And Kuwait will want some kind of guarantees that the past will not be repeated.

KARADSHEH: The Iraqi government has offered assurances that the new Iraq is no longer a threat to the world. But there are other issues including: demarcating the two countries' maritime borders in the Gulf, missing persons and property, locating more than a 1,000 missing persons or their remains, and for Iraq to return Kuwaiti government documents that went missing during the invasion.

Another issue, and perhaps the most contentious, is war reparations. Iraq has paid Kuwait around $30 billion to date. And Kuwait says it's still owed more than $20 billion. That money would come from Iraq's main income: oil revenues. Iraq believes it has paid enough and says it's still trying to recover from years of war.

ALI AL-DABBAGH, IRAQ MINISTER OF STATE: We do need all each and every penny that we do need it for reconstruction of our destructed country. Iraq is fully destructed and the money at this time are deferred now 10 years to 20 - 2020, we do need the money, because Iraqi people in need for huge services.

KARADSHEH: Many Iraqis who suffered the dark days of Saddam Hussein era sanctions feel they have been punished twice: by their former dictator and by his actions. Now, 20 years on, a move toward improving the strained ties between Iraq and Kuwait. In the biggest symbolic step yet, Kuwait's prime minister visited Baghdad on Wednesday, the highest ranking Kuwaiti visit since the invasion.

The two sides agreed to work bilaterally involving outstanding issues. And Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is expected to make a visit to Kuwait soon.

HILTERMANN: Now we see a thaw of sorts. We'll have to see how far it goes with mutual exchanges of government leaders. And that could lead to a peace treaty of some sort, or you know, there's a fair number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved. But all of them are resolvable. And I think if the political will is there, it can be done.

KARADSHEH: Analysts say while there are signs of progress being made, the real issue is essentially a lack of trust on both sides. And building that trust will not be easy. Jamana Karadsheh, CNN, Baghdad.


LU STOUT: Now Hollywood's finest turned out in force for the annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Now some stars were nervous about their chances of success, others were just nervous about falling foul of the hosts caustic wit.

Kareem Winter reports.


RICKY GERVAIS, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking or as Charlie Sheen calls it breakfast.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This year's Golden Globes ceremony kicked off with host Ricky Gervais raising a glass and immediately taking aim at some of Hollywood's targets.

GERVAIS: Our first presenter is beautiful, talented and Jewish apparently. Mel Gibson told me that. He's obsessed.

WYNTER: And although no one was safe from the British comedian's sharp tongue, one movie was a safe bet.


WYNTER: The Facebook drama The Social Network took all four trophies, including the night's biggest award - best motion picture drama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, the kids are all right.

WYNTER: The best picture comedy/musical went to The Kids Are All Right with star Annette Bening also taking home a Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical.


WYNTER: Other movie acting nods went to The King's Speech leading man Colin Firth who was crowned best actor in a drama.


WYNTER: And Black Swan's Natalie Portman was named best actress.

Supporting actor Globes went to The Fighter stars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.


WYNTER: This year's Globes was filled with Glee when it came to the small screen categories. FOX's megahit earned three statues including best TV series comedy or musical along with acting nods for Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boardwalk Empire.

WYNTER: On the drama side, HBO's Boardwalk Empire was named best TV drama with the series leading man Steve Buscemi earning best actor.

STEVE BUSCEMI, ACTOR: I'm going to try to talk fast before that sad music comes on.

WYNTER: There was no interruption, only applause for Michael Douglas who closed the show. The actor recently announced that he has beaten throat cancer after months of rigorous radiation treatments bringing the audience to its feet.

DOUGLAS: Just got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation.

WYNTER: Kareen Wynter, CNN, Beverly Hills.


LU STOUT: A standing ovation for Michael Douglas there, but which stars made themselves sitting targets for the fashion police? Now, we've been trolling Twitter in search of public opinion.

Let's start with someone who is largely deemed to have got it right. Take a bow January Jones of Mad Men fame. Now this striking Versace number has some commentators saluting and others salivating.

@kirkfox puts it succinctly, "January Jones is my favorite month."

And @lover says this, "I'm pretty sure the whole world now knows who January Jones is."

Now let's move on to someone who is a little bit more divisive, the British Actress Tilda Swinton.

@jessest.john is apparently not a fan tweeting, "best dressed girl Emma Stone, best dressed man Tilda Swinton.

@spencerking writes, "with every passing year Tilda Swinton comes closer and closer to becoming David Bowie."

But at @frauboard is kinder remarking that, quote, "Tilda Swinton's wardrobe choices never disappoint."

I've got to agree with that one.

Now let's to someone who probably knew exactly what people would say about her outfit but went ahead and wore it anyway. Helena Bonham Carter's Vivian Westwood frock inspired the Washington Post's Jen Chaney to suggest that, "it looks like the 80's threw up on her."

And @lordvortamort7 predictably makes reference to Ms. Bonham Carter's Harry Potter character. He notes that she's wearing different colored shoes and tweets, "you know why? Because evil does whatever it wants."

You're watching News Stream.

Up next with 300 million basketball players, there's a definite market for the NBA in China. But it's not all one way. Look at the partnership that could produce the next Yao Ming.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it may have a centuries old relationship with basketball, but it was thanks to this man, Yao Ming, that the sport has really boomed in China in the last few years. Now Terry Baddoo reports on the NBA's two way partnership with China.


TERRY BADDOO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: According to the NBA 300 million people take part in basketball in China which began playing the game in the 19th Century. The NBA's interest in China dates back a quarter century and was increased in the past few years.

HEIDI UEBERROTH, PRESIDENT NBA INTERNATIONAL: China's market is very important. It's our number one market outside the United States. And in almost three years ago, in 2008, we did serve an unprecedented staff and created an entity called NBA China. We brought in five strategic investors and it was really about helping us grow the game and grow the incredible opportunity.

BADDOO: While the financial benefits are obvious, the NBA's interest is not purely mercenary. And the league is also committed to developing the Chinese game at grassroots.

EUBERROTH: To give you a couple of examples, we're in the second season of a coach's program that we're doing with the Chinese Basketball Association. We also just recently announced a training center in Dongguan in southern China focusing on youth development. But then we see growth, and have seen growth - double digit growth. In fact over this past several years since the formation of NBA China and well into the future in a number of the different businesses.

BADDOO: One of the key figures in promoting the NBA brand in China has been Yao Ming. The charismatic Chinese center joined the NBA in 2002 as the number one draft pick of the Houston Rockets. Since then he's grown into a national hero in his homeland where his success inspires millions.

TAD BROWN, CEO HOUSTON ROCKETS: His impact has really been the game of basketball and the growth of the game of basketball and the growth of the NBA globally. He has taken the league to heights that they would never have realized without Yao Ming in China. And subsequently, he's boosted the Houston Rockets in the same fashion.

And I know that Yao has really been instrumental in talking to the national team and working with national team officials to say how can we develop more players, how can we get our younger players further along in their progress so that they can become NBA players in the future.

BADDOO: Presently, the only other Chinese player in the NBA is Yi Jian-Lian who joined the league in 2007 when he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks. He currently plays for the Washington Wizards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you go back to China, is it hard to get around? Does everyone know who you are now?

YI JIAN-LIAN, WASHINGTON WIZARDS: Yeah, because you know, home country is always great, very nice. And there are a lot of fans. Everybody knows it's me.


JIAN-LIAN: Feels great.

GREGG BIBB, WIZARDS EXECUTIVE VP: I think the National Basketball Association, David Stern, Heidi Ueberroth has done a great job of engaging China and the general population there and really growing the sport of basketball. And obviously, the more players who can come from China and play in the NBA, the better long-term for that initiative. But at the end of the NBA. It's the best basketball league in the world. And you've got to be able to play to get on the court no matter where you're from.

BADDOO: Of course, the expansion in China has not been a slam dunk for the NBA, which has had to contend with the vast size of the country and its cultural differences. While being sure to work in tandem with China's own basketball associations.

However, with the exhibition game staged there having sold out, and a regular season game under consideration, it's a partnership that seems to be blossoming.

Terry Baddoo, CNN, Atlanta.


LU STOUT: It was a big weekend in the NFL and the Australian Open is now underway. Kate is here with some news just in from the English Premiere League. Kate what you got?

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and that's right, Christie. Lots of reports coming in right now saying that the Sunderland striker Darren Bent has handed in a transfer request. Now the English striker has been one of the most consistent scorers in the Premiere of late. Since August 2005 he has scored 81 Premiership goals. Now only Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba have scored more than that. And in fact, they've only scored one more. They scored 82 each. So really not much more than him at all.

Now reports suggest that he could be heading to Aston Villa. That would of course be a long way down the Premiership table for Bent. He's at Sunderland, remember they are currently in 6th and Aston Villa, his potential destination are in 17th. We will of course confirm that for you just as soon as we can.

All right, let's move on with the NFL. And this weekend was the second round of the playoffs. Now in the AFC, the Patriots met the Jets. New England with the top seed in the conference. They had a regular season record, remember, of 14-2, including eight straight wins to end their campaign. So no question about it in this one, the Patriots were definitely the favorite. But the Jets coach Rex Ryan has talked a big game ahead of the showdown. He declared that the results will come down to his ability to outwit the Patriots coach, Bill Belichick. Well that big promises there, of course, could become good. Let's take a look.

In the second quarter here, the Patriots are three nothing up, but the Jets will change that. Mark Sanchez to LaDanian Tomlinson with a seven yard touchdown. Mark Sanchez now with another pass, a 15 yard touchdown. This time the Jets are up. It is 14-3 in their favor.

Well, the Patriots will get in the fourth, but the Jets are too strong on the offense. Quarterback Mark Sanchez, he airs a pass into the end zone for Santonio Holmes with a seven yard touchdown catch.

Now, less than two minutes left, Shonn Green runs for a 16 yard touchdown. The coach Rex Ryan comes good on his promises. The Jets shock the Patriots 28-21 was the score.

Well that certainly was a big win for New York. The Jets do have a big task ahead now, though, they'll face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. That is coming up next Sunday.

Now the Steelers advance after beating Baltimore 31-24 was the score in their game. That was actually a big, big comeback in the second half.

All right, let's show you what happened in the NFC where the Seattle Seahawks met the Chicago Bears. Now Seattle is the first 7-9 playoff team in the history of the NFL. So on paper, it certainly looked like it was going to be an easy ride for Chicago.

Maybe not though. The Seahawks beat the Bears in Chicago in October. So it wasn't undoable. But the Bears weren't about to let that happen again. Chicago Quarterback Jay Cutler hits Greg Olson for the 58 yard touchdown strike. And Chicago goes 7-0 up.

Into the second quarter, Cutler is on the quarterback draw. He takes it in for the six yard touchdown. And Chicago are 21 and the Seahawks are yet to get on the board.

I'm going to go to the third. Cutler gets his second touchdown of the day. This one came from nine yards out. The Bears are just rolling 28-0 was the score.

Pretty well the big performance from Jay Cutler and his first ever playoff game. He threw for 274 yards and two scores and he rushed for 43 yards and he picked up two touchdowns. The final score 35-24 for Chicago.

So, for the NFC title Chicago will face the Green Bay packers who destroyed the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday. Now, those two teams are no strangers. This will in fact be the third meeting this season and the 182nd meeting between the two in the 90 year series.

All right. Tennis for you. And it is day one of the Australian Open. The first tennis major of the year, of course. Now the men's defending champion headlined the first day of play in Melbourne. Who was it? Roger Federer. And he made pretty strong start this time. He absolutely thrashed Slovakia's Lukas Lacko. The 23-year-old ranked number 97. He didn't do much wrong, but he just couldn't hold his own against the world number two. 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 was the score. And Roger with that is through to the second round.

And Raphael Nadal, of course, world number. He's play his first match tomorrow on Tuesday. That's against Marcos Daniel of Brazil, Christie. He's world number 93, 32-years-old. And I think he might have a tough time a bit.

LU STOUT: All right. Thank you of the preview there.

And we're going to stay in Australia now. Freshwater Beach near Sydney is where it all started. Now they've been surfing there since 1914. And that's where the current World Junior Surfing champ likes to hang out. And here's a look at that famous beach through the eyes of Laura Enever.



LAURA ENEVER, SURFER: Hi, My name is Laura Enever. I am 19-years- old. And I'm from North Narrabeens in Sydney Australia. So we're at Freshwater Beach right now. And this is pretty much the birthplace of surfing in Australia. They have these statues right here. And this is the Duke. The Duke came here from Hawaii in 1914 way back in the day. So he kind of started surfing Australia. And the first person to actually surf in Australia was a girl who The Duke actually picked up off the Freshwater Beach and they went out in tandem together. So that's pretty cool to know that the first surfer in Australia was actually a girl.

And this is Freshwater Beach. That's where they went surfing the very first time.

At the beginning of 2010 I won the ASP World Junior Championship here at North Narabeen. And so that was amazing way to kick start my year last year. And I end up qualifying for the Woman's World Tour, which is pretty much the big leagues in surfing. Ever I'm Sydney, any of the northern beaches, everyone in Australia, we all love the beach. It's pretty - it's a huge part of our culture. And it's really amazing.

So I've traveled the world, seen so many beaches. But I still think Northern Beach is the prettiest beaches in the world.


LU STOUT: I'm just loving that surfboard came. And Laura, you are amazing.

Up next here on News Stream, prepare to move with the music, a Jamaican dancer team is retaking the spotlight all over the world. Find out what's fueling it's popularity and pick up a few pointers.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Jamaican dance hall music was born in Kingston in the late 1970's. A faster version of Reggae, typically with electronic beats, dance hall saw its first crossover success nearly 20 years ago. Isha Sesay explains why the genre is now rising on the world stage.


ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESOPNDENT: Dance hall, reggae's rebellious cousin, received international acclaim thanks to the Canadian TV talent show So You Think You Can Dance. Canadian born dance hall expert Jay Blaze choreographed a segment for the program. Blaze says it's not an easy dance form to master.

JAY BLAZE, DANCE CHOREOGRAPHER: The power, the beauty, the attidude of it, it's reall hard to teach someone that. It's not a standard form of dance. It's not something where I can teach you in an eight count.

SESAY: Nonetheless, international dance hall following is undeniable. This music and dance form take over dance halls around the world from Jamaica to Japan.

Blaze says that dance hall's worldwide appeal is owed to the imaginative dance moves and the unique way the body moves.

BLAZE: Your hip could be going to he right and your upper body could be going to the left. We primarily use our core and our thighs. It's very heavily influenced by African dance. There's a flow that goes - travels from the back up to the next and then down through the chest and it's just like a circle. Our shoulders are down. We're hunched low. That's what makes dance hall different.

SESAY: New York based international dancehall performer Skarat is from Anigua. He believes social media broadens dancehall's appeal, because fans across the globe can contribute in realtime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before it was everything came out of Jamaica, it had to come out of Jamaica or it wouldn't be real, it wouldn't be original, you know. But right now through the internet, through MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, especially YouTube, it's like everyone has developed their own style.

SESAY: Which was provided dancehall performers like Skarat (ph) a way to escape from poverty, an opportunity to travel and help his family which includes 16 brothers and siters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you go home, you can really take care of the people in your community. It's so rough seeing people that you grew up with fighting for food, fighting for clothing.

SESAY: Blaze and Skarat (ph) feel that Jamaican dancehall culture hasn't gotten credit for its innovations and now mainstream rap and R&B artists are beginning to add elements of dancehall to their performances.

BLAZE: Usher who came out with the thunderclap, you know, and then there was Fat Joe with the whole lean back, all these are Jamaican dances.

SESAY: With a passion and creativity associated with Jamaican dances that will likely continue to influence the mainstream.

Isha Sesay, CNN, Atlanta.


LU STOUT: Now let's go over and out there with an artistic tree. You probably heard of Christ Ofili, the artist known for working wonders out of elephant dung. And just last year, we told you about a sculpture of Kevin Bacon made entirely from bacon. But have a look at this modern masterpiece, it's Leonardo DiVinci's Last Supper recreated in lint, that's right, laundry fluff.

Now the artist, Laura Bell from Michigan needed to do about 800 hours of laundry to gather the materials. It then took her 200 hours to complete the mural measuring 14 feet by 4. And that inspired us here at News Stream to try something a little less ambitious.

Now I popped out to the local laundramat this afternoon and just look what we were able to create within half an hour. Now we're just warning if you want to try this at home, there's quite a lot of stranger's hair tangled up in this tour de force and at least one of the team smells like a dirty washing basket.

Now it's worth the effort, though. I'm sure you will agree.

And that is News Stream. World Business Today is next.