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Protests Continue in Tunisia; Suicide Bomber Kills 60 at Police Recruitment Center in Iraq; Beijing`s American Side

Aired January 18, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

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


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

I`m Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

A new government is in place, but protests continue on the streets of Tunisia.

Washington prepares for a visit from China`s president.

And as Steve Jobs takes a leave of absence, we look at the impact on Apple.

Tunisia has a new interim government, but the violent protest that forced it into existence are not over. Now, demonstrators are fighting the continued presence of old regime members in the new cabinet. Now, that cabinet contains opposition leaders, but it`s headed by this man, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi.

Now, he took the reins after the departure of longtime president Ben Ali last week. The so-called "unity government" has not brought unity on Tunisia`s streets. And U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a return to stability, but stability seems a long way off. And that could impede the new government in its ultimate goal, leading Tunisia toward new elections.

Ben Wedeman joins me live from Tunis with more.

And Ben, you got caught up in the protests earlier today. What happened and what`s happening now?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie. Let me just explain to you why I`m here, because down there, on Habib Bourghiba (ph) Avenue, it`s been about three hours of a running battle between these protesters and the police.

The protesters are calling for this current unity government that was formed just yesterday to go. They want everybody with any association with the former regime to be fired, to be out, to have no power. And, of course, that includes the prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, the interim president, the foreign minister, and the interior minister.

And already, we`ve heard that several ministers have quit. One minister is saying that they`re not going to join the government since they actually hadn`t accepted the post in the first place.

So what happened to us is we were right in the middle of that demonstration, which is now -- basically, what happens is a couple hundred people will congregate, and then what they`re trying to do is reach the ruling party headquarters, which they want to, they say, peacefully occupy. The police will then rush in, firing tear gas all over the place, oftentimes at very close range.

In fact, I was caught in a back alley with about 30 other people, a very tight alley. And they fired a tear gas canister right inside, and this is really strong stuff. This is tear gas that really just makes you -- you have to stop whatever you`re doing. You cough, you hack, your nose and your eyes are running. And it`s been like that now for three hours.

Now, I did hear from eyewitness, because we`re not there right now -- we`re here -- that, in fact, just a little while ago, the army stopped the police from pursuing protesters. People credit the army with actually having stood down, and that was why Ben Ali, the former president of Tunisia, left the country. So there`s a lot of hatred for the police, but a lot of admiration and respect for the army -- Kristie.

STOUT: The protesters making it clear that they do not like the interim government. What government do they want to see, and will the prime minister bow to their demands?

WEDEMAN: The prime minister may not have any choice. If many of the ministers who initially had expressed a willingness to join this government pull out, the government may simply collapse.

What`s interesting is that the movement that popular protest had led to the fall of the regime here had no apparent leaders. There was an opposition, but it was sort of window-dressing opposition, now a real strong anti- regime movement. And therefore, people are waiting for exiled leaders to return, people from the Muslim political tendency, old labor leaders who are coming back. Many of these -- in fact, one of these leaders just returned today to a fairly raucous welcome at the airport.

So what people want is new -- not new faces, but people with no association with the former regime. That seems to be condition number one -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Ben. Thank you for that.

Ben Wedeman joining us live from the Tunisian capital.

Now, the turmoil in Tunisia hasn`t just affected its citizens. Given its status as a popular tourist destination, many others have been caught up in the chaos. Among them, a group of Swedish hunters who ended up beaten on the streets.

Rima Maktabi has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As their wound images appeared on Facebook, Tunisians say to be (ph) reported that they were what appeared mercenaries bent on creating chaos out of disorder in the country. It showed them being beaten by a mob and security forces, and in possession of assault guns and ammunition cartridges.

(on camera): We encountered these same men several hours later here in this hotel where we`re staying. After spending hours in army custody, they were staggering, dazed, confused and injured in the dark corridors.

(voice-over): We helped them get medical treatment and connect to the Swedish consular official dispatched to get them back home. The results of many kicks and baton blows were evident under examination.

(on camera): He`s saying your rib is not broken, most likely.

(voice-over): Some of the injured men read news of their own fate on Swedish Web sites. They told us they were all friends and brothers from the Uppsala area of Sweden -- a farmer, a fireman, a technician. Anything, they said, but mercenaries.

MAGNUS JOSEFSSON, BOAR HUNTER: We are 12 tourists getting here for holiday in one week to hunt wild pigs in the forest in south Tunis, and up in the mountain. And then now we were on our way home to Sweden. It was a mob in the street, and we were -- the taxi driver tried to take us to a hotel.

MAKTABI (on camera): People on the street, were they able to see the weapons? If you`re passing in a car, where were their weapons?

JOSEFSSON: In the car, but you could see it from the windows, I suppose. And that was very, very, very bad. I`m sure that it was the army who was saving our lives, because I don`t think I`d be sitting here if they hadn`t come.

MAKTABI: Do you think the people in the streets understood?

JOSEFSSON: Yes, I think. I think.

MAKTABI (voice-over): Despite their ordeal, the men said they bore no ill will towards their Tunisian host and would not rule out a return visit during less turbulent times.

(on camera): You don`t hate this country?

JOSEFSSON: No. No. I don`t hate any country in the world. And not Tunis either. It`s a lot of good people living here.

And this, I think, maybe, can happen in several countries in the world, but it`s just circumstances. You`re in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I hope for Tunis people, that they can have new elections and get stabilized this situation for people. It`s not good for anyone in Tunis, in Tunisia, but it`s like this.

MAKTABI (voice-over): Rima Maktabi, CNN, Tunis, Tunisia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And turning now to a deadly attack in Iraq. At least 60 people were killed, scores more wounded, after a suicide bomber struck at a police recruitment center.

Our Jomana Karadsheh is in Baghdad, about 160 kilometers from the city of Tikrit, where the bomber struck. She joins us now -- Jomana.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie.

As you mentioned, according to an Interior Ministry official, at least 60 people were killed and more than 150 others wounded. As we understand from security officials in the city of Tikrit, at about 8:00 a.m. local time today, hundreds, about 300 would-be recruits, had lined up outside this police station waiting to apply for jobs with the security forces when a suicide bomber got amongst the crowds and detonated his vest.

And it was a total scene of carnage. And what we saw at the hospital there in Tikrit from pictures we got there, it`s a scene of chaos, people just in shock and totally dazed. And it`s mostly these young men who had come to apply for jobs with the security forces.

The hospital there, General Hospital in Tikrit, was so overwhelmed with the number of victims they received, they had to transfer some to hospitals in other cities. We`re also being told that mosques in Tikrit were calling on people to go and donate blood.

This is definitely the deadliest attack, single suicide attack in Iraq, in months. While a number of -- the overall levels of violence have significantly dropped over the years, attacks like this, Kristie, do continue.

STOUT: And Jomana, with Iraqi police recruits being targeted in such an obvious and devastating way, how many Iraqis are willing to serve their country?

KARADSHEH: Well, if we look at the past year, Kristie, these recruitment centers have been a favorite target of groups, especially like Al Qaeda in Iraq, that has claimed attacks like this in the past. And it really hasn`t deterred many from going and applying for jobs.

But the main reason here is the high levels of unemployment, and the security forces and government jobs are the number one employers here for these young men, especially the security forces. So I doubt that this will have much of an impact on how many we would see coming out to serve as we`ve seen in the past.

STOUT: Jomana, thank you very much for that.

Jomana Karadsheh joining us live from Baghdad.

And still to come on NEWS STREAM, we look at Chinese President Hu Jintao`s trip to Washington. U.S. concerns about China`s military might.

And "Baby Doc" is home after 25 years in exile. Some Haitians are not putting out the welcome mat. A look at what lies ahead for the former dictator.

And you`ve probably heard about it by now. Apple`s Steve Jobs is taking a break for medical reasons, and now investors are asking, how will the company perform in his absence?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, China`s president is set to arrive in the U.S. capital just under eight hours from now. Hu Jintao is making a state visit to Washington. Chinese flags are flying around the White House to welcome him.

But alongside all the pomp and circumstance lies some serious repair work. Mr. Hu and his host, U.S. President Barack Obama, are expected to talk about trade, currencies and security.

Now, China is trying to soften its image abroad, and for the next 26 days, huge screens in New York`s Times Square are showing the promotional video called "Experience China." Take a look.

Now, this is a shorter version of the 60-second spot. It`s airing as a paid commercial on our partner network, CNN USA. Now, the commercial aims to improve American opinions of China. And as you can see, it stars ordinary Chinese people alongside with famous faces there.

Now, U.S. influence is also evident in China. Stan Grant checks out the sounds and tastes of Beijing`s American side.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know China`s changed when an aging CNN reporter can jam with a young Beijing rock band. Chinese youth are embracing everything American, including good old rock `n` roll rebellion.

HELEN FENG, LEAD SINGER, ZIYO: "Rock `n` roll is life!" And it was almost like a slogan. And couldn`t really explain why rock `n` roll is life. "Rock `n` roll is life!"

GRANT: Helen Feng is the lead singer of Ziyo. Chinese-born, American- raised, with a ton of attitude, sometimes too much even for other Chinese.

FENG: I talk like this. You know, I talk like I`m from California.

GRANT: In 2003, newly returned to China from the U.S., Helen headed to the guitar shops, met some players, and formed her band after auditioning with an American rock classic.

(MUSIC)

FENG: "Sing down there." And I was like, "OK, well, I can`t sing Chinese songs." And he says, "Well, OK, well, what do I know in English? Oh, `Hotel California.`" So they were playing "Hotel California," which apparently every guitar --

GRANT (on camera): So it`s "Hotel California," that started your band, right?

FENG: Yes, "Hotel California" started my band.

GRANT (voice-over): American culture is winning over people here, even in spite of political and economic tensions. China embracing Western music, movies, and fashion, and --

(on camera): Oh, I hope to get about half a dozen of these and take them home. I love cupcakes.

Carol Chow is another woman bringing an American flavor to Beijing life. Like Helen, she was also born in China, but moved to the U.S. when she was 5 years old. She studied art, but now has latched on to the "Sex and the City" inspired cupcake craze.

CAROL CHOW, FOUNDER, CC SWEETS: And then one day one of the girls was like, you know, "Where`s the one that`s in `Sex and the City`? Where`s the pink cupcake? I want the pink one."

GRANT: She`s opened her store, CC Sweets, in a Beijing apartment block called, what else, Central Park. Carol is married to an American. Their 4-year-old twin daughters attend bilingual Chinese-English school, a perfect blend of East and West.

But don`t think it`s all so rosy in China. The culture can bring people together, but as Helen Feng says, misunderstandings, even hostility, still exist.

FENG: So, actually, I think, in general, Chinese people don`t necessarily distrust foreigners. But the feeling is that they don`t understand us. They distrust us.

GRANT: Such distrust falls to Carol`s twins` generation to try to sort through. Right now, though, the biggest thing in their world is mom`s cupcakes.

(on camera): This is the taste test.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have chocolate, too!

GRANT: You have chocolate, too. This is the taste test. We`re going to find out, are mommy`s cupcakes good? Are they good? OK, let`s taste.

Ready? Mmm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yummy in the tummy.

GRANT: Yummy in the tummy. She couldn`t have said it better.

(voice-over): Stan Grant, CNN --

(on camera): Yummy in the tummy.

(voice-over): -- Beijing.

(on camera): Very good.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: They do look very good.

Now, a big change is taking place at China`s zoos. That`s according to one animal rights group. Now, Animals Asia says performances like you see here are now banned, but the rule does not apply to venues such as circuses.

Now, a report last year by Animals Asia documented several cases of cruelty. It says trainers brutalize animals to teach them tricks and keep them locked up in terrible conditions. Animals Asia says it hopes zoos in China seize the opportunity to become places of education.

Now, he is home, but not necessarily welcome. We`re in Haiti, where some now say former dictator "Baby Doc" should face charges.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now, the former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier`s return to his homeland has pushed at least one person to seek criminal charges against him.

John Zarrella is following this story and joins us now live from the Haitian capital.

And John, how are people there reacting to the return of "Baby Doc" Duvalier?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we mentioned there Michele Montas, who was the former -- worked with the secretary-general of the United Nations, spokeswoman for the -- former spokeswoman for the secretary-general of the United Nations. Her husband was killed here, murdered here during the rule of "Baby Doc" Duvalier, so her reaction is she`s ready to go forward to seek some sort of a criminal complaint, file a criminal complaint against Duvalier. She says she has a prosecutor that is willing to work with her on that.

There was also, we`re told, a meeting last night including some government officials to kind of figure out what actions they might be able to take against Duvalier, up and to, including arrests, although very few people here are using that word. I think there`s a little bit of concern about trying to bring this man in and actually arrest him. So it`s really questionable right now, what exactly is going to happen with Duvalier. We should have a better idea this morning, at about 10:00 a.m. as to what he plans to do, finally clearing all that up, we think.

There`s a news conference scheduled. That would be in about an hour and 40 minutes, where he is expected to tell us why he came, why he chose this particular time, how long he plans to stay here in Haiti.

Those are the questions everyone wants answered. And hopefully they will get answered today. There is some speculation that Duvalier might leave the country within three or four days, and that could preclude anyone actually getting papers filed or criminal charges filed in time to stop him before he leaves -- Kristie.

STOUT: So we`ll be hearing very soon from the man himself. And of course you`ll be covering that for us here at CNN.

In the meantime, what impact does his mere presence have on the political scene in Haiti, especially in regards to efforts to elect a new president?

ZARRELLA: Well, I think that if he should choose to stay, or if he should choose to leave and then decide to come back, and they allow him to, it further muddies the waters. There is some speculation that perhaps he might throw his support to one of the candidates who is supposedly in the runoff in, of course, this election that`s been highly disputed. No one is quite sure who is supposed to be in the runoff besides the number one candidate.

There`s some shuffling between who`s second and who`s third. So there is certainly the possibility that he`s here to do that. Some people have said he`s here to play king maker. And at the very least, it muddies the waters the longer that he stays -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, John. Thank you very much for that.

John Zarrella joining us live from the Haitian capital.

Now, the U.S. drug czar will be spending most of this week in Colombia. He is expected to discuss changes that the U.S. will make to the so-called "Plan Colombia." Now, the original idea was to slash the flow of drugs from Colombia into the U.S., and that has not happened.

As Rafael Romo tells us, both sides agree a new approach is needed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s the largest producer of cocaine in the world and a key supplier of heroin to the United States. According to the CIA, Colombia produces more than 500 metric tons of cocaine a year, most of it for the U.S. market.

Martha Lucia Ramirez is a former minister of defense and one of the architects of Plan Colombia. Ramirez says the $7 billion plan has helped Colombia fight narco-terrorism in the last 10 years, but the high drug demand in the U.S. makes it difficult to eradicate production at home.

MARTHA LUCIA RAMIREZ, FMR. COLOMBIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: I really believe that the American strategy against drugs is not enough. It`s probably a failure. It`s something that they have to make a review.

ROMO: Colombia welcomes U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske this week. His visit includes a progress evaluation of Plan Colombia. Experts say the plan has improved security, but has fallen short on reducing drug production in the region.

AURELIO SUAREZ, SECURITY ANALYST: And the quantity of the drug production of the (INAUDIBLE) countries like Bolivia, Peru and Colombia is one of the same of 10 years ago.

ROMO: Salud Hernandez, a journalist who has traveled extensively in areas where coke has grown says drug traffickers just move to a different area if attacked by the army.

SALUD HERNANDEZ, JOURNALIST: There`s still drug dealers, there`s still a lot of drug trafficking, still a lot of crops in many regions of the country.

ROMO: What`s even more troublesome, the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue says roughly 90 percent of cocaine sold in the United States still comes from Colombia.

(on camera): Colombia`s problems go well beyond drug trafficking and security. Fifty percent of Colombians live in poverty, and 60 percent have no regular employment. Now that security has improved, many are asking the government to focus on issues like social inequality and long-term development.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Bogota, Colombia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: It is a big day for Apple. Investors have their eyes on the company`s earnings. But will they stomach an Apple without Steve Jobs at the top? We explore the possibilities with the "Cult of Mac" editor.

And another state in Australia gets hit by flooding. And we`ll tell you where the water is headed now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

A new government has been formed in troubled Tunisia, but demonstrators are fighting the continued presence of the country`s old regime. Opposition leaders have joined the ruling party in power following the departure of President Ben Ali last week. But protesters say that does not go far enough, and hundreds have stormed the streets of Tunis.

In Iraq, at least 60 people were killed and scores more wounded in a suicide attack. The bomber detonated an explosives-packed vest near a police recruitment center in Tikrit, 160 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Washington is getting ready to welcome China`s president. Hu Jintao is making a state visit. Mr. Hu will have meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama and a State Dinner at the White House on Wednesday.

Apple is due to release its quarterly earnings later today, one day after this man, CEO Steve Jobs, announced he`s taking another medical leave absence. Now, COO Tim Cook will take over day-to-day running of Apple, but Jobs will maintain his role as CEO.

Now, for Apple, CEO Steve Jobs is synonymous with the brand. So what will his medical leave mean for the company`s future?

Leander Kahney, the editor and publisher of the "Cult of Mac," joins us live from San Francisco.

Welcome to the program.

And Leander, without sounding insensitive here, what does Steve Jobs` poor health mean for Apple`s upcoming products?

LEANDER KAHNEY, EDITOR & PUBLISHER, CULTOFMAC.COM: Well, in the short term, nothing. They have, you know, a deep product pipeline. They`ve got products lined up for the next generation - the iPod and the iPhone and, you know, a roadmap for the product for the next three to five years. So in the immediate short-term, you know, nothing. The company is well prepared for his leave of absence. Nothing really is going to change in the next three to five years on the product roadmap front.

STOUT: OK. So no impact on the iPad 2 or the next generation iPhone, but what will happen to salesmanship at Apple? I mean Steve Jobs is very well known for giving compelling product intros. Will that be lost without him?

KAHNEY: Oh, certainly, yeah. There`s no one there that puts on a show like Steve Jobs. But they have Phil Schiller, the head of the marketing, and he`s a pretty funny guy. But he doesn`t have the same sort of magnetism that Steve has. So, yeah, that will certainly suffer.

STOUT: And Apple`s long-term future without Steve Jobs, what are your thoughts?

KAHNEY: It`s a good question. You know, obviously it`s not going to have the same magic without him. But I think look at Pixar, his other company, while he was running Apple, Pixar was turning out, you know, a string of blockbuster movies and he had set up the creative processes at Pixar and it was able to execute without him micromanaging everything that went on there. And I think the same is going to be true at Apple. He`s got a really good deep bench of executive talent. They`ve got these great creative processes at the company. And I think it`s going to manage without him.

STOUT: Interesting parallel with Pixar there. And very near-term, Apple is set to announce corporate earnings later on Tuesday. What are you looking out for? What are you expecting to hear?

KAHNEY: I think it`s going to be a massive, blockbuster quarter. They sold I think more Macs, iPhones, iPads than even the analysts are expecting. They were talking about a really huge quarter. I mean, maybe $2 billion above Wall Street estimates. So I think it`s going to be another massive quarter, best ever in Apple`s history.

STOUT: OK. And any insider information from you about the iPad 2 in particular?

KAHNEY: No, there`s lots of rumors. It looks like it`s going to have a really beautiful big screen. It`s going to be a really gorgeous looking device.

STOUT: And also have to ask you, any insider information on Steve Jobs` health and what exactly is ailing him? What is the word in Silicon Valley?

KAHNEY: Well, there`s just a lot of speculation. You know, no one has any really good information. It`s - you know, people are hoping it`s to do with his liver transplant, that the drug regime is under the immunosuppressants impacting his health. Of course, everyone is hoping that it`s not a recurrence of the cancer.

STOUT: Does Apple have a rock solid succession plan in place? And could Tim Cook very well be running the company some day?

KAHNEY: Well, it certainly looks that way, yeah. Tim Cook is the anointed successor. It`s got a great team, you know, one of the best management teams in American business and there`s lot of people that I think will fill some of the roles that Steve has been performing there at Apple. So Tim will continue to run the company day to day, but the product design of course is headed up by Jonathan Ive, a London born designer, the marketing is run by Phil Schiller. He`s been there forever, very competent marketer. So there`s a lot of people that will fill, you know, at least part of Steve`s shoes.

STOUT: You mentioned the team, but these are individuals who really have not been sharing the limelight with Steve Jobs. So do you think over the years has it been wise for Apple to allow its brand to be so closely aligned to a single individual?

KAHNEY: Well, it worked great while Steve was there, because this is the crunch time, this is the point where that strategy doesn`t look so - it looks a little fallible. But, yeah, I think it worked great. You know, it was very wise of them to use Steve as a figurehead. And everyone knows that Apple is Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs is Apple. I mean, he`s done a great job being a figurehead for the company, really humanized it, really put a human face on such a big company.

So, yeah, of course now when he`s stepping down there`s a vacuum. But I think Phil Schiller is a very funny presenter. He`ll do a good job with the product presentations.

STOUT: All right, Leander, it`s an absolute pleasure talking with you. Leander Kahney of Cult of Mac. Thank you very much indeed.

KAHNEY: Thank you.

STOUT: Now, Apple and Steve Jobs. They`ve had a long history of introducing products that transform their industry. And let`s start with Apple`s original product, the computer. Now the Apple II made the computer affordable enough for anyone to own. And then the Macintosh made it accessible for anyone to use.

Now, the iPod, it surpassed some and well can become the personal music player of its generation. And the iTunes Store, it transformed the music business. It is now the world`s biggest music store.

And then there was the iPhone, tuning the mobile phone into a proper computing platform in its own right.

And finally there`s the iPad. Now whether it will have the same impact as the others, that remains to be seen, but when you consider the number of tablets unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronic Show, it is clear that the tech industry takes its lead from Apple. And that company takes its lead from one man: Steve Jobs.

Now for more on Apple and the effect yesterday`s announcement had on the market stay tuned for World Business Today in half an hour with Andrew Stevens, Max Foster and Maggie Lake, that`s 10:00 pm in Hong Kong, 2:00 pm in London, 9:00 am in New York.

Now from the couch to combat, the U.S. air force is taking gaming to a whole new level. Reynolds Wolf reports on how virtual training in the U.S. pay off on the battlefields of Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, our mission is to conduct a humanitarian supply operation in the village of Suna (ph).

Our dismount should be right here in this area.

We`re supposed to meet up with the village mukhtar. The village mukhtar is going to introduce us to the hospital administrator.

You know, we brought you some stuff for your hospital. We brought you some stuff for the school as well.

If we encounter small arms fire, gunners you will return fire.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Although it may look real and sound real, it isn`t actual combat. It`s reality based training at Moody Air Force Base where airman learn lessons without worrying about paying the ultimate price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surviving first contact is pretty much everything. That first couple of seconds may be the different whether you live or die that day or if you guys all go home.

WOLF: To help them meet that objective, realism is key. This block of buildings in rural Georgia is modeled after an Iraqi village half a world away. To the garb of the attackers to the weapons they use, the idea is to mirror what troops will be seeing in the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try to get the conditions as close to down range that we absolutely can get it to get in the heads of the troops of what we need to concentrate on.

WOLF: This firearms training center is a simulated war zone. Although the battlefield can change, the mission remains the same: to defeat a virtual enemy.

SR. AIRMAN PETER PAZZANITA, U.S. AIR FORCE: Going over there, you`re not going to know what to expect.

WOLF: I know it`s impossible to replicate it perfectly, but is this pretty close?

PAZZANITA: Oh, it`s pretty dang close. You know with the buildings setup, the hills, the mounds, it`s pretty close. And with ours, you can see here that we really don`t have too much to hide behind. And in fact, that`s reality.

WOLF: This virtual training isn`t limited to ground forces. With a flip of the switch Captain Rick Mitchell is flying over Kandahar.

CAPTAIN RICK MITCHELL, U.S. AIR FORCE: We`re going to find these tanks. We`re going to prosecute them with a 30 millimeter cannon.

The simulator is almost exactly correct in the exact layout of the land that the guys are actually fighting in right now.

WOLF: How valuable is this training, especially for someone who has not been in the theater?

MITCHELL: Incredibly valuable.

Trail to shoot me. I am to offer a threat react. When we`re done with the simulator, we`re able to evaluate if my threat reaction maneuver was enough to defeat the threat.

WOLF: At the end of the day no two exercises are ever alike. So from the cockpit to the firing line and to the convoy on patrol, no equipment is damaged, no bullets fired and no lives lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousand 9, 10 go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys get to go back today and they get to talk about what did we do good today? And they`re going to talk about what did we do bad today? And somebody says, well I you know, I got shot in the leg in training. Guess what, it wasn`t training. And that`s the bottom line, bottom line right there, the training we do pays off on the battlefield tomorrow.

WOLF: Reynolds Wolf, CNN, Moody Air Force Base.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, weary Australians are getting more water, another wave of flooding has hit the southern state of Victoria and rain still threatens already swollen rivers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Now, cleanup is now underway in northeastern Australia. Huge parts of Queensland have been under water for weeks. Now they say the flooding could be Australia`s most expensive natural disaster ever. At least 20 people were killed.

Now the disaster is spreading to the south. Heavy rain is pushing rivers Victoria up to record levels and helicopters are delivering emergency supplies to the state`s rural areas. Now dozens of towns have already been evacuated. This scene is form the botanical gardens in Horsham.

Now Nick McCallum of Seven Network Australia shows us more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK MCCALLUM, SEVEN NETWORK AUSTRALIA: As the floods peak at lunchtime, street after street in Horsham turned into rivers. The central business district overwhelmed on the main street, Harvey Norman and Betta Electrical cut off.

Only the dedication of his mates prevented serious inundation of an emotional Chris Dunmill`s home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these guys come and helped.

MCCALLUM: What does it say about your community?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s great.

MCCALLUM: John Loft (ph) and Sherie Timland (ph) evacuated their home. They returned to find their floors covered in water.

Better luck for Steve and Sally Mycroft (ph) who wrapped plastic around their house to keep the water out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the water is right up here, but there`s none, there`s not a drop come through.

MCCALLUM: They had a few problems with the sewage backup in their shower, but the rest of the house stayed dry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About the time I toured around the house that the house is still dry. Very, very happy.

MCCALLUM: More than 580 properties were flood affected. So many residents were like retirees Cliff and Diane Bacon (ph), determined to save their home after they devoted almost 30 years to it. They battled all night with pumps and sand bags.

But by first light, they`d given up: their home inundated and they`re left devastated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did what we could, but we couldn`t win.

MCCALLUM: Nearby, a major community effort to save the home of the Bacon son Lucas and his wife Britt (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, it`s pretty special I think. I`ve seen anything like this before.

MCCALLUM: Today, after a 24 hour battle, the day past and they declared victory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m pretty happy. And my wife`s happy to, so happy wife happy life.

MCCALLUM: The good news for locals is that this water is actually receding, but the bad news is it`s receding at the same pace it rose, that is very, very slowly

It could be days before people can return to their homes and their normal lives.

Nick McCallum, Seven News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: What`s next for Australia. Let`s find out with Mari Ramos. She joins us now from the world weather center.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christie, you know at least we have some dryer weather conditions moving in across Australia which is some good news there, right? We still have several flood warnings in place, though. And I want to show you first of all the satellite image. You`re going to see a lot of wet weather here across the northern tier of Australia, that`s where the rain is going to remain. However, Queensland still has six flood warnings in place, New South Wales has about eight or nine, and Victoria still has about 12 flood warnings in place. And all of these that I`m referring to are river flood warnings, areas where the rivers are extremely high and could still cause some serious damage. There are some areas where the rivers haven`t crested, particularly down as we head into Victoria and also across Queensland, some of those areas that were affected in the last few weeks - some of the smaller towns are still getting those rivers cresting.

So it`s a very serious situation, but at least it`s dryer, the weather a bit more comfortable. If anything a little bit on the warm side.

Notice here across the north, that monsoonal tropical will continue bringing up all of that wet weather. Still some scattered rain showers across the southern coast of Queensland here and into New South Wales, but much dryer in comparison to what we had before. And you know what, ending on a little bit of good news for Australia, you know, it has been extremely wet and these waters are starting to slowly recede across the regions. So at least that`s a little bit of relief in sight. There`s no more rain in the forecast for now. And that should really help things out for you. Let`s just hope that happens. And I know it`s such a struggle for people having to deal with that serious flooding.

And staying on the flooding theme, quite a mess across the Philippines. The rain has just been relentless. And just in the last 24 hours, new areas still getting some very heavy rain. Most of these has actually been in the southern Philippines. But look at these rainfall totals, over 150 millimeters of rain in some cases. And that`s significant. We`re going to see that shift, that focus of the rain move a little bit more into the central Philippines and that`s a concern, you know, because we`re still dealing with the aftermath of all of that serious flooding and mudslides and so many people have had to be evacuated. So we`re going to still monitor this, because the risk for light to moderate rain continues, but any amount of rain that falls here is still going to be of concern.

Last but not least, China. Let`s go ahead and roll the video from China first of all, because it`s been serious across some area - ice, freezing rain, snow, all of these things are putting a damper on holiday travelers. And, you know, they`re expecting a record number of travelers this year for the lunar New Year, Christie. You know, you have a little fun on the streets, life goes on, but it has been extremely difficult. We`re still dealing with very cold conditions.

I want to show you one more picture, come back over to the weather map. Look at this picture right here. This is what it looked like in Haiti, extremely crowded with that way - a lot more many people that are traveling right now that some of you are still - when you get the bad weather, it really makes the situation very serious.

Back to you.

STOUT: Incredible photographs there. Mari Ramos, thank you so much.

Now two of the favorites to win the Australian Open were in action on Tuesday. Kate Giles has all the action Down Under. She joins us now. Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that`s right, Christie. All the way in the lead up to the Australian Open what we`ve been saying is that Kim Clijsters was the favorite for the tournament on the women`s side. But you know, she did wobble a bit in her very last game before the Open started. That was the final of the Sydney International which she lost.

But you know what we`ve seen today, I have to say don`t read all too much into that loss. She really did look great in the first round in the Aussie Open, the number three seed, just embarrassing the former world number one Dinara Safina.

Now Clijsters was in complete control of this one. It was a very, very lopsided encounter. The first set was over in a lightning 20 minutes. And the second went by in just 24. All in all, it was all over in 44 minutes and just two sets. Safina didn`t even win a single game.

Now she is, in fact, the first ever world number one to suffer a 6-0, 6-0 defeat in the Open era. And she`s lost in the first round of her last two Grand Slams now. And that means that she is in danger of dropping out of the top 100 for the first time since 2002.

What about Vera Zvonareva, she`s the world number two of course, but she has not yet won a Grand Slam title. She does look like a contender in Melbourne, though. The Russian had a great 2010 of course. She got to the final of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. And she made it through to round two of the Aussie Open here with ease. Zvonareva breezing past Austria`s Sybille Bammer 6-2, 6-1 was the score in that one. And that, again, didn`t even last an hour.

And another quick one, Australian fifth seed Sam Stosur, she crushed American wildcard Lauren Davis in just 53 minutes.

The former world number one Jelena Jankovic, seeded seventh in this, she ended a six match losing streak. She went through 6-0, 7-6. But another former world number one, Ana Ivanovic is out. She was beaten in the first round by Russian Ekaterina Makarova in three sets - 3-6, 6-4, 10-8.

Well, there`s a real gem early on on the men`s side. Australian Lleyton Hewitt versus Argentina`s David Nalbandian. The two long-time enemies with a rivalry that stretches all the way back as far as their junior days. And both came into this tournament in pretty good form. And on the back of good showings at their previous tournaments.

As you can imagine the home crowd, of course, very strongly on the side of the Australian Lleyton Hewitt and, well, he did make a promising start. He won the first, but Nalbandian came straight back and won the second. Well, that`s how they went on as well. Hewitt in the third. Guess what, Nalbandian eats up the fourth. Really is a tight one, 7-6 at four sets.

So it was a five setter, this match. Nalbandian looks to be in control of the fifth, but Hewitt fought all the way back to close it to 5-5. Whose nerves would hold up? I can`t tell yet, it`s still going on. They are tied at 6-6 in that fifth set. Very, very tight indeed.

Let`s tell you about the men`s top seeds. That`s Raphael Nadal, of course. He was given an easy route through to the second round. Now not that he wasn`t about to take it by right, of course. Raphael Nadal was leading 6- 0, 5-0 when the Brazilian veteran Marcus Daniel had to pull out injured with a left knee problem. Now Nadal is going for what they call a "Rafa Slam" which would make him the first man to hold all four major titles since 1969. And he`s looking pretty good from what we did we yesterday to do it as well, Christie.

STOUT: A Rafa Slam, love it. Thank you very much, Kate.

Up next here on NEWS STREAM, we`ve all heard the term pussy-footing, but what is it like to be puffy pawed? Well, at the domestic goddess Martha Stewart whose close encounter of the canine kind sent her to the emergency room. The barking that story straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back. Now it is the news that geeks everywhere have been waiting for, scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia say time travel may well exist. It`s all to do with a strange quantum phenomenon called entanglement that I`m going to try to explain here.

Now take these two particles, one and two. Now these two particles can become so deeply linked that if you change the state of this one, the other one will immediately change in exactly the same way no matter how far apart they are. Now it`s lead some to call it a form of teleportation. Now what scientists in Australia discovered was that this effect doesn`t just work through space, it works through time as well.

Now it`s all very complicated, but the gist of it is this: it is possible for this particle to travel from the past to the future without existing in the time in between. Basically time travel, but only on the quantum level.

Now time travel can be achieved here on the NEWS STREAM set thanks to the flux capacitor app. Yes, this is Doc Brown`s Y-shaped time travel engine on the iPad. And with it, you can zip into the past with graphics and sound from the Back to the Future movies. But if you doubt it`s effectiveness, consider this, it also doubles as an alarm clock.

Now you know what they say, let sleeping dogs lie. Just be careful where you let them lie, because they might just kick you in the mouth. Now as Jeanne Moos reports, that is precisely what happened to the domestic doyenne Martha Stewart.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s weird. What some dogs will do in their sleep. But in this case, the sleeping dog belongs to Martha Stewart and this is what it did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh - ah.

MOOS: But it`s what Martha did that`s curious - posting over 30 photos on her blog showing her her emergency room experience in graphic detail.

MARTHA STEWART, MARTHA STEWART LIVING: And there`s no needles. Oh my god, they were fantastic.

MOOS: Not the kind of needles you use to, say, crochet snowflakes, she means the kind they stick in your face to put in nine stitches. And with each photo was a Martha-esque caption - more stitches, the tying is quite complicated, not looking too happy.

The culprit was Francesca.

STEWART: But don`t call me Frannie.

MOOS: One of Martha`s two French bull dogs. They have their own webisodes.

ANNOUNCER: And now it`s time for Chew It Over with Francesca and Sharkey.

MOOS: Francesca didn`t chew Martha, she head-butted her as Martha bent over to say good-bye to her sleeping pet.

STEWART: Bang! I startled her and I ended up in the hospital.

MOOS: The woman who grooms Martha`s horses documented every step form injecting the anesthetic to - ew, as one fan posted. Others noted how marvelous, how flawless her skin looked in the close-ups.

STEWART: I look pretty good for being in terrible agony for god`s sake.

MOOS: But there was one photo that had us in stitches and it had nothing to do with Martha`s stitches.

Even in her misery as a plastic surgeon stitched her up, Martha couldn`t help noticing northern West Chester Hospitals decor. The photograph was captioned...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ceiling border in the little patient room could use some updating, don`t you think?

MOOS: That`s got to go agreed Martha`s fans. Posted one, "it brings to mind Oscar Wilde`s dying words, either this wallpaper goes or I do. Thank god you aren`t dying."

Some of Martha`s fans offered her a little decorating advice of their own.

"A little bead work on the stitches would have been a nice touch, or maybe a little tassle on the end of the suture string."

"Martha Stewart Living becomes Martha Stewart Stitching. From gore to decor."

Jeanne Moos, CNN...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elegant living from a dog`s perspective.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now it`s time to go over and out there. And as you know, the Chinese president Hu Jintao is arriving in the U.S. later today, but as far as I know he`s not traveling by fighter jet. Check this out, this is an alternative view of Mr. Hu`s trip to Washington from - you guessed it, Taiwan`s Next Media. The guy was famous for animating news events like Tiger Woods` infamous Thanksgiving crash.

Now, in their rendition of Hu`s trip there was no handshake for Mr. Obama. Instead, using him for valet parking. Exaggerated, insensitive to say the least. Now the animated Hu then tosses money at Fed Chief Ben Bernanke before moving into the White House and taking over as the most powerful man in the world.

Well, it is from the same company that illustrated the currency dispute between the U.S. and China as a rap battle throwing signs.

And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN.

We`ve got "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" with Max Foster, Maggie Lake and Andrew Stevens up next.

END