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President Hu's State Visit; Trade Ties; Silvio Berlusconi Sex Scandal

Aired January 20, 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.

All smiles as the president of the United States hosts the president of China. But will Hu Jintao face a more hostile reaction from Congress?

Fresh protests in Tunisia as demonstrators gather outside the former ruling party headquarters.

And full-size bumper cars, but these drivers won't be smiling after icy roads leave cars slipping and sliding in the U.S.

Now, China's president is spending a second full day in Washington. On Wednesday, Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama celebrated their countries' similarities. They toasted common values like family and education. The elaborate meal capped off a day of discussion, which included the sticky issue of human rights.

Now, it was the first formal State Dinner for China in 13 years, but some top members of Congress turned down their dinner invitations, and that's who Mr. Hu will be meeting today.

Our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, joins us live from Washington.

Ed, first, let's talk about last night's State Dinner. Give us the key details.

ED HENRY, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, this was a lavish affair. It's rare for President Obama to roll out the red carpet like this. He's only had a couple of these big dinners. All kinds of celebrities, especially with a Chinese-American flavor.

He had Michelle Kwan, of course a figure skater. He had Yo-Yo Ma, the cellist, actor Jackie Chan. But also a lot of sort of big politicos, of course, because there was a lot of substance as well done yesterday before the dinner.

And at President Obama's table alone, there were four presidents: President Obama, President Hu, and two former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton. Also at that table, Secretary of State Clinton, as well as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, John Kerry.

So a lot of heavyweights. And so it's sort of a mixture of partying, as well as substance.

They had business executives like Jeff Immelt of GE there, highlighting the fact that, yesterday, there was a lot of talk between these two presidents about the U.S. and China trying to work together on issues like trade, trying to move toward some sort of reform of their currency. But they also agreed to disagree over human rights.

President Obama making clear at a joint news conference that they had some frank talk about their difference on human rights. And, in fact, that's a big issue on Capitol Hill, where there are lawmakers in both parties who are concerned about this red carpet treatment for the Chinese president, including Chris Smith, a Republican of New Jersey.

Look at how he put it. It was pretty stark.


REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: To President Obama and Secretary Clinton, please be very specific in your conversation with Hu Jintao. Just a glossing over of "we talked about human rights," something on a list of talking points, simply won't cut it. Be specific and press this man, who I believe ought to be at The Hague, being held to account for crimes, rather than being treated with a State Dinner.


HENRY: Now, you can hear that, pretty strong words there. Chris Smith, this congressman, suggesting that Hu Jintao should be at The Hague instead of at a State Dinner.

That gives you an idea of how there is real division here in Washington about whether Washington's close ties with China really are a good idea long term -- Kristie.

STOUT: Is what we heard from Chris Smith just giving us a sampling of the kind of reception Hu Jintao is going to get when he goes to Capitol Hill later today?

HENRY: It does. Look, there are going to be other lawmakers who will be polite. There's no doubt about it. I don't think it's going to be some crazy scene or anything.

But I think, look at what happened with some of these leaders in both parties who skipped this dinner. I mean, you had the Democratic leader, very close to this president, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was invited and said he didn't want to come to this dinner. Now, his staff says it's because he was flying back from his home state of Nevada, but it's interesting that he also did a local TV interview calling Hu Jintao a dictator.

And then you had the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who has said he wants to work with President Obama. He skipped this invite as well. His staff says that's just because he's going to meet with Hu Jintao today on Capitol Hill, didn't feel the need to go to the dinner, said that he rarely goes to these.

The last time he went was a few years ago, when Queen Elizabeth got a State Dinner. Obviously, a little less controversial figure there, Queen Elizabeth, than the Chinese president coming.

President Obama trying to make the case, look, we've got to work with China despite our differences, but there are some folks in both parties here in Washington who are just not finding that -- Kristie.

STOUT: Ed Henry joining us live from the White House.

Thank you, Ed.

Now, U.S. lawmakers have often complained that China's currency policies give it an unfair advantage in international trade. Now, its latest economic growth figures could fuel even more criticism.

China has recorded double-digit growth in 2010. Its economy expanded 10.3 percent. That is up from an impressive 9.2 percent surge the previous year.

Now, China's strong economy makes it a very valuable business partner for the U.S. Billions of dollars in deals have been announced on Mr. Hu's trip.

Now, let's bring in our senior international correspondent, Stan Grant, live from Beijing.

And Stan, a major export deal was signed. Give us the details.

STAN GRANT, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kristie. You're talking about a billion potential customers here in China for U.S. companies. And China has long complained that it doesn't get -- or, rather, the United States has complained that it doesn't get a fair slice of this market.

Well, there have been some deals announced here. They're always announced whenever you see major meetings like this. We saw it last year, when the British prime minister came here and announced deals with China as well.

These deals, $45 billion worth of deals, covering about 70 companies ranging from manufacturing, to technology, to agriculture, 12 states -- across 12 states in the United States -- providing about 200,000-plus jobs. So, this is significant at a time when the United States has unemployment around about 10 percent.

But it's also a symbolic gesture here. It shows that China is saying it is going to open its markets a little bit more to the United States. And that's something the U.S. has been pushing for. Just how far that will go though ultimately is still the unanswered question -- Kristie.

STOUT: In addition to new acquisitions, china has also offered new pledged on intellectual property rights and contract bidding. But will China honor those promises?

GRANT: Yes, this has always been a very, very difficult issue, exactly protecting patents, protecting intellectual property rights. You know, Microsoft was involved in these meetings with President Hu in Washington as well, and Microsoft in the past has said that of the people in China who consume their products, only one in 10 actually pays for it. It's an indication of just how difficult it is to protect intellectual property.

China has been cracking down. And just a personal story if you wander around some of the DVD and CD stores that sell these pirated goods here in China. About a month or so ago, some of the stores in my area were cleaned out, they were shut down. But guess what? Went back again a couple of days later and business as usual, everything back on the shelves.

As much as they try to shut it down, it simply comes back again. It's widespread and it's lucrative -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Mr. Obama, he also said that deeper business ties are crucial to improving the U.S./China relationship. But is it really? I mean, given the fact that there's so many other issues between the U.S. and China like human rights, security, the environment?

GRANT: Yes, there are so many issues, so many flash points. You mentioned there human rights, and we heard from President Obama, raising that. Incidentally, whenever we talk about human rights here, our signal is blocked, we're blacked out on CNN, our broadcast here in China.

Yes, there are other tensions, particularly China's military buildup, the U.S. relationship and military exercises with Japan and South Korea, causing tension here in China. But on some areas they're trying to work together. And the economy here is key.

You know, China still needs the United States. It needs to be able to sell into the U.S. market. The United States is looking at opening up more opportunities here in China, particularly with high unemployment in the U.S., and trying to get their companies a foothold.

You know, exports have multiplied 12 times here over the past 20 years, so there has been significant growth. But China also is a developing country, it needs to continue to grow, it needs to diversify. And, of course, the pressure is going to be on to try to give preference to their own companies, but the U.S. trying to prize (ph) open that market today, and perhaps we've seen a bit of a gesture with these new deals that have been announced -- Kristie.

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

Stan Grant there with the view from Beijing. And we will have more from Stan a little later in the show. He has his eye on the resurgence of Shanghai. And find out why foreigners are once again flocking to the Paris of the East.

The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is mired in a sex scandal involving a teenage girl. On television, Mr. Berlusconi defended himself over charges that he paid for sex with a young woman when she was a minor. Now, the girl, a Moroccan-born dancer, is now 18.

Now, she has denied having sexual relations with the Italian prime minister.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you received presents.

RUBACOURI: Well, I received 7,000 euros the first evening that I went to his house because I had just arrived in Milan, and it was a little bit difficult living there.


STOUT: But Prime Minister Berlusconi has never denied knowing her or that she went to his Milan home.

Now, let's get more now from our Dan Rivers, live from Rome.

And Dan, just how is Silvio Berlusconi explaining himself?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is saying, first and foremost, that there was no kind of impropriety between him and Ruby, that they did not have sex. Secondly, that she told him that she was 24 years old and not 17, as she was at the time that they met last year, that he took pity on her. She went on TV last night with a long, involved account of a harrowing upbringing in Morocco, and the fact that she said that she was raped at a very young age, and Berlusconi was the first person really to show her any kindness, that according to her, Berlusconi lent her $10,000 to further her education.

So they're not denying that they knew one another, but it's the nature of that relationship that's come under the microscope.

Now, this is the 389 pages of leaked documents from Milan prosecutors which include intercepted phone calls of Berlusconi's friends and Ruby's friends. These paint a very different picture, according to prosecutors, one of sleaze, vice, of prostitution, of wild orgies at Berlusconi's house that involved the prime minister as well, all of which are being angrily denied by Berlusconi himself.

He came on TV last night, here in Italy, for 10 minutes or so, basically rebutting every single point of that, saying this is all a smear campaign, it's politically motivated, it's orchestrated by his political enemies to bring him down, the government will go on and he won't resign.

STOUT: Now, Dan, Silvio Berlusconi, he has been the ultimate political survivor. As you've been reporting, he has survived multiple no confidence votes. But can he survive this?

RIVERS: Well, I think there is a sense that even from those who support him, that this is going just a bit beyond the pale. Even if these allegations are never proven -- and there is not yet the smoking gun piece of evidence that's come out to prove that he's done anything wrong at all - - there is the political fallout from this.

And the political fallout is one of image of Italy's reputation abroad. And all of these swirling allegations, these suggestions, the innuendo, the headlines, the TV confessions from Ruby and suggestions from others is painting a pretty bleak picture.

It will be difficult for prosecutors to prove the charges that they are trying to put against Berlusconi; namely, procuring a minor for sex and of abusive of power. The abuse of power comes from his alleged phone call to a police station when Ruby had been arrested on suspicion of theft, intervening, if you like, in that case and abusing his position as prime minister.

All of this is going to be very difficult to prove. But even his allies here are beginning to say that things have gone too far, that Italy's reputation is on the line, and it's really tarnishing the image of Italy abroad.

But he is remaining steadfast, as I say, refusing to step down. He's actually increased his majority in parliament. So, if anything, his position is stronger than it was when I was here just a couple of months ago.

STOUT: All right.

Dan Rivers, live in Rome.

Thank you.

Coming up next on NEWS STREAM, rescue crews in Brazil battle thick mud as they search for dozens of people who are still missing. We've got a report from one of the worst-hit areas.

Tunisian ministers resign from the former ruling party, but protesters are demanding that they also resign from government.

And lost and found after more than two decades. Abducted as a newborn, a woman finds out the truth online. And we'll tell you more about the amazing reunion.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, the floodwaters in Brazil are starting to recede, but as they do the loss of life is becoming more apparent. More than 750 are dead, dozens of people are still listed as missing.

Shasta Darlington reports from one of the worst-hit towns north of Rio de Janeiro.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day, more bodies. The death toll in Brazil keeps rising. More than 700 people were killed when violent floods and mudslides ripped through hillside towns northeast of Rio de Janeiro, making it the worst natural disaster in the country's history.

(on camera): This is the landscape that the rescue workers are having to deal with. As you can see, the rivers still fill up quickly with rain. They have to dig through this mud. They've got some sniffer dogs out here.

But what they're looking for are bodies. There are still dozens, if not hundreds, of bodies, according to people who live here and the rescue workers.

(voice-over): Marcio's (ph) house was completely flattened. "I found my mom," he said. "She's alive, but in the hospital. My dad didn't survive."

We made the trip up river into Teresopolis in a helicopter provided by Brazil's armed forces.

(on camera): Now the reason that the helicopter has given us this ride is because they tell us they want us to show the world the reality, the destruction that has occurred here. They suspect there are many more deaths, and they want the world to see what's going on.

(voice-over): They look for survivors. The day we visited, they found some 200 people cut off from the rest of the city. They also found more dead.

Major Carlos Falcon coordinates rescue operations in Teresopolis.

(on camera): There are going to be a lot more bodies.

MAJ. CARLOS FALCON, MILITARY POLICE: Yes. Unfortunately, I think in my evaluation, I think there may be (INAUDIBLE) found until now.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): The homeless, thousands of them, end up in shelters like this one. Elizabeth (ph) says her nephew died. So did five neighbors.

"We heard people shouting, 'Help! Help!' Even children," she said. "When it got light out, all we could see were corpses." "Now," she says, "it's time to start rebuilding."

But back in the rubble, rain continues to drench workers and anxious neighbors.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Teresopolis, Brazil.


STOUT: Now, the floodwater is starting to recede, and yet many more deaths are feared.


STOUT: Up next here on NEWS STREAM, reunited after 23 years. A woman abducted as a baby finds her own mother again. We'll have her story next.


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

Now, a baby girl snatched when she was just days old is now back with her biological mother. They have been apart for 23 years.

Alina Cho is following this incredible story from CNN New York -- Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, incredible is right. What happened to little Carlina White -- not so little anymore -- is remarkable.

You know, the last time that Joy White saw her daughter Carlina, she was just 19 days old, three weeks old. There she is then. This is her now, 23 years later, screen right, as an adult.

Now, on Friday, Carlina White was reunited with her birth mother. The family's prayers two decades later finally answered.


PAT CONWAY, AUNT: Carlina was a missing link, and we have gotten her back! In the name of Jesus, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

ELIZABETH WHITE, GRANDMOTHER: She was just like she had been around us all our life. She was no stranger. She was just -- you know, just fit right in.


CHO: Imagine the catching up that they have to do.

It's a story that made national headlines when it happened 23 years ago. Carlina White, an infant from Harlem, again, just 19 days old, was taken to the hospital for a high fever, and she was apparently kidnapped by a woman posing as a nurse.

At the time, it stunned the city, it stunned the nation. It stumped the New York Police Department. Detectives were left with no leads.

And this is how her mom reacted to the news all those years ago --


JOY WHITE, MOTHER OF MISSING BABY: I hope she's all right. I hope she's taking good care of my baby.


CHO: Just heartbreaking to hear that.

You know, Carlina was never heard from again. She was raised under a different name. She was reportedly abused.

And in her teens, she began to think something was wrong when she wasn't able to find her birth certificate. Now, that led her to the Internet, where she actually found baby pictures of herself on the Web site for the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children. And in the end, remarkably, she found her own way home. She called detectives herself. Now, to be sure, the New York Police Department took DNA samples, and of course they were a match.

Kristie, the big question now remains, who kidnapped Carlina all those years ago? Authorities have not identified any suspects, but they could face federal charges. A lot of people, of course, asking, is the suspect the person who raised her all of these years? Authorities, as you might imagine, are remaining tight-lipped -- Kristie.

STOUT: It is an incredible story, this young woman solving her own kidnapping. Incredible.

CHO: You don't hear about that every day.

STOUT: Alina, thank you so much. No, it's a big story. Alina, thank you.

CHO: You bet.

STOUT: Now, still to come here on NEWS STREAM, Tunisian ministers, they resigned from the former ruling party, but protesters surround party headquarters to demand that they resign from government as well.

And what else have we got on the show? Well, I hope you don't mind if we just let this one slide.


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

In Brazil, the death toll from what's being called the country's worst ever natural disaster just keeps on rising. At least 765 people have been killed in floods and mudslides, dozens more listed as missing. Heavy rain has transformed hills in Rio de Janeiro State into tombs of mud and debris.

Italy's prime minister is once again denying that he paid for sex with an under-aged girl. Prosecutors in Milan are investigating two charges against Silvio Berlusconi - abuse of power and allegations he paid a minor for sex.

U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is now able to stand up with the help of doctors. Now this breakthrough came just two weeks after she was shot in the had outside a grocery store where she was meeting with constituents. Giffords is to be moved to a rehabilitation hospital in Houston this week.

Now Chinese President Hu Jintao is set to meet with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill one hour from now. On Wednesday, Mr. Hu talked with U.S. President Barack Obama for several hours. The Obamas also held a state dinner at the White House in his honor.

Now around 200 people attended the formal event. Let's take a closer look at the guest list. Now, Chinese stars like the actor Jackie Chan, they were invited, and so were famous Americans of Chinese descent, including the designer Vera Wong. Interesting to note, though, that First Lady Michelle Obama chose to wear an Alexander McQueen gown to the big event.

Now business leaders with ties to China, like Microsoft Steve Ballmer, they were there, so was the chief of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein. Now Henry Kissinger, who made groundbreaking trips to China during the Nixon administration, he also attended. And you might not recognize this couple, now that's Kenneth Roth of The Human Rights Watch and his date.

Now in the early years of the 20th Century Shanghai was a place where the very rich went to have a very good time. Now that changed when the Communists took control, but as Stan Grant shows us Shanghai now has a new lease on life.


STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Inside this nightclub you could imagine it's the 1930's again. Shanghai, the Paris of the east, is in full swing. Andrew Bolden (ph) is riding the wave, bringing back burlesque, reliving Shanghai's glory days right here in his club that used to be a Japanese temple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can hardly keep a good town down.

GRANT: And Shanghai is a good town, right?


GRANT: Shanghai is sparkling again, a melting pot of people and cultures. At night a dazzling cityscape, by day a city of contrasts: great wealth and gritty back streets.

Spencer Darlington came here in 1995 and fell in love with it all. The accent is all Texan.

SPENCER DARLINGTON: And then at night it becomes one of Shanghai's red light districts. So a lot of shady bars.

GRANT: But he can just as easily switch to local Shanghainese.

10 years ago he quick the high flying world of finance to indulge his love of the city's buildings.

DARLINGTON: This was all purple and white marble inlaid dragons intertwined, you know, adding good positive Feng shui to the flat.

GRANT: That may be someone's taste, but they...

DARLINGTON: Well, that's true. The different - it wasn't mine either, see.

GRANT: He's restored more than 20 old Shanghai apartments, recapturing the look and feel of the 1920's Shanghai French concession area. A time before Japanese occupation, war and hardline Communists turned out the lights.

You belong here. This is where you became who you are in a sense.

DARLINGTON: Ask me in 20 New Years.

GRANT: When Spencer came here, the few expats in Shanghai all knew each other, now Americans are everywhere.

Kelly Lee is Chinese, but American born and raised, trained as a Chef in Paris, now running Shanghai's most popular Mexican restaurant. Confused? Well, imagine how the Chinese feel.

KELLY LEE, CHEF: The Chinese usually don't come to me and look at me and say I am American. Those come to me first and say like, you're Chinese and a little strange. Where are you from?

GRANT: Well, from a Mexican to a microbrewery in the evening, Kelly is bringing a bit of American culture here to Shanghai. And it's paying off big time. Cheers.

Kelly Lee now has six restaurants across the city, employing nearly 200 staff. While some in the U.S. worry China is stealing their jobs, for Americans like Kelly, Shanghai is the new promised land.

LEE: You know, every year I keep saying to myself I'm going to go back to the States, I'm going to go back to the States, but every year that I'm here I find that there's just more opportunities.

GRANT: These old jazz players have seen it all. As young men, they played the soundtrack to Shanghai's heyday, A Wonderful World. Now the music is playing again, a new generation. And out front tonight, a Chinese trumpet player from Seattle. American in China in Shanghai in perfect harmony.

Stan Grant, CNN, Shanghai.


STOUT: And you can find more of Stan's reports online. Just log on to Learn more about one of the world's fastest growing economies plus analysis of President Hu's trip to China - rather to the U.S.

Meanwhile state media in Tunisia, they report that every member of the country's old regime has stepped down from what was the leading party. Now the problem for many Tunisians is they are not stepping down from their government posts. Now demonstrators gathered outside the party headquarters on Thursday. And their message is unwavering, everyone associated with the ousted president Ben Ali has to go. Period.

Now we've been following the tweets from our Ben Wedeman. He's been tweeting from the Tunisian capital, was reporting on air for CNN. Let's share what he's been tweeting in recent days. He's been micro-blogging even in the midst of some of the most heated street protests there. His profile name, easy to remember BenCNN. Let's take a lot at some of his updates. And we'll start in the early hours of Monday this week.

He tweets this, "hotel reception calls, close your window. This is the last time we'll ask you. Shooting continues."

And the next day, after running with the police while tracking protesters, the team encounters violence at close hand and Ben tweets this, "too much teargas, lots of people beaten in Tunis demo.

And drama again today. Before he came on air he writes, "shooting in the air soldiers blocking entrance to RCD hq." RC headquarters is the headquarters of the ousted ruling party.

Now to continue the story, just follow Ben, BenCNN on Twitter.

In fact, he joins us now on the line from Tunis.

And Ben, protests today outside RC headquarters. What have you seen?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we see, Christie, is there are more than - I'd say around 2,000 people outside the headquarters. They've been chanting and singing their Tunisian national anthem and they became extremely excited when we saw the first two letters of the RCD in Arabic being thrown from the roof of the building. And that, of course, elicited wild cheers and clapping.

Now the army is keeping people from actually entering the front gates, but people would like very much, it seems, to get inside. They want to basically tear down everything that's a symbol of this party that in form or another has ruled this country since it became independent in 1956.

Now the central committee of the RCD was dissolved today. And we've seen, of course, that the interim president and the prime minister who are both members of the party suspended their membership two days ago. But it seems that the pressure from the streets is continuing, people demanding that anyone with any association with the former ruling party no longer be in power - Christie.

STOUT: Well, the people have spoken. The protesters, as you mentioned, they want anyone associated with Ben Ali to be out. But will the interim government listen?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly it's hard to ignore these protests which at root have been going on for four days now. Already several ministers who have enshrined (ph) this unity government have resigned. So it may be simply impossible for the unity government to ignore the protests and the defections from within its ranks - Christie.

STOUT: All right. Ben Wedeman joining us live from Tunisia. Thank you very much indeed.

Now while those protests continue, political leaders throughout the Arab world are watching the events in Tunisia with trepidation. Now the governments of neighboring Algeria and Libya face civil criticism and then apparently inspired by Tunisian events have set themselves on fire in Egypt and Mauritania. Now the unrest has even spread to Amman, the capital of Jordan from where Ivan Watson now reports.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A small, peaceful but potent protest in the Jordanian capital. Hundreds gathered in front of Parliament on Sunday complaining about poverty, unemployment and the soaring cost of living.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are these kids, how are these young people who are just graduated recently - what (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think this government is going to be able to do anything. I think this government should go.

WATSON: And from the crowd, a shout out to another Arab city located more than 1500 miles away. A salute, they chant, from Amman to proud Tunis.

Like many other Arab countries, Jordan is feeling the ripple effect of the street protests in Tunisia.

ADIL SHAMEYLEH, REALTOR: When they saw what happened in Tunisia it was contagious. So it came to us and people started to go, hey, why don't we do like what the Tunisians are doing?

WATSON: There's a reason, political analysts here say, when nearly every Jordanian you talk to feels such sympathy for Tunisia.

LABIB KAMHAWI, POLITICAL ANALYST: The Tunisians revolted against problems that exist in Jordan, exist in Egypt, exist everywhere. And they have the same syndrome, you know, the vicious dictator who wants to rule and run the country forever.

WATSON: Jordanians have been struggling under the burden of rising commodity prices. As the price of food and fuel have gone up, living standards have plummeted.

Should leaders in a country like Jordan be nervous right now?

KAMHAWI: They are and they took measures.

WATSON: Last week the Jordanian government announced a $225 million plan to slash taxes, lower prices and create jobs. But government officials insist comparing Jordan to Tunisia is like comparing apples to oranges.

AYMAN AL-SAFADI, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF JORDAN: And what happened in Tunisia is enormous, it's historical. Is it relevant to Jordan? No in a lot of ways. Is it something that - can we compare the two situations? Absolutely not.

WATSON: Unlike the Republic of Tunisia, Jordan is a monarchy where it's a crime to criticize the king. And the authorities wield an extensive security apparatus that has prevented political turmoil and carefully stifled dissent.

So far, angry Jordanians have focused their wrath on the country's prime minister, but he serves at the pleasure of King Abdullah. The worse conditions get, the more a newly emboldened population may challenge taboos and start to blame the man who really runs the show here in this little desert kingdom.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Amman.


STOUT: Now I want to give you some breaking news that's coming into us now from Iraq. Now police say at least 30 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in two explosions south of Baghdad. Now the blast that targeted Shiite pilgrims in the city Karbala. It's about 100 kilometers from the capital. And we'll bring you any more information on this as information comes in.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back right after this.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the favorite to win his fourth straight Grand Slam was in action at the Australian Open today. Kate Giles always has her eye on Rafael Nadal. She joins us now. Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Do I really, Christie? Not any more than any other sports reporter, I can assure you that.

He was, though, looking very, very smooth at the moment at the Australian Open. He played earlier today. Now remember, there is of course a lot at stake for him there as well. He's going for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. And that, if he gets it, would make him the first man to hold all four majors at the same time since 1969, that was the last time that was done.

Well, the Spaniard didn't lose a single game in his first round. And in the second, he lost just four in total. Nadal breezing past the American Ryan Sweeting 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. It took him an hour and 40 minutes only.

Well those opening two matches surely do make Rafa the favorite for the title over in Melbourne, especially of course, after Roger Federer had to put in five sets and an awful lot of sweat to get past Gilles Simon on Wednesday.

Well, Rafa also has an interesting match-up coming next. He'll play the much hyped local teenager Bernard Tomic. Now the Aussie has underlined his potential by upsetting the Spanish 31st seed Feliciano Lopez in three sets. That again was played today.

Now the odds are heavily weighted of course in this one. Rafa, remember, is the world number one. He's won his past 23 Grand Slam matches. And he is going for Grand Slam title number 10.

What about Tomic? Well, he is an 18-year-old wild card ranked 198 places behind the reigning French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Nadal seems pretty relaxed about this one.


RAFAEL NADAL, TENNIS PLAYER: What can I do different? Practice a little bit tomorrow, rest in the hotel? Maybe going to go to watch the aquarium. I didn't know this year - I go every year, so I go.


GILES: OK. Over on the women's side, number 17 Jelena Jankovic has had to face suggestions that her best tennis is now behind her. Jankovic is one of three players to make it world number one without ever winning a Grand Slam. There is certainly no chance of that happening in Australia, anyway, Jankovic was knocked out in straight sets by the world number 54, China's Peng Shuai. The former world number one made 39 unforced errors. That was 19 more than he opponent.


JELENA JANKOVIC, TENNIS PLAYERS: I was not forced to make, you know, the errors that I made, especially like I mean at crucial times of the match. And I mean, as top player - I've been number one in the world. And it's tough to, you know, sometimes accept, you know, those mistakes and really at times I couldn't even believe I can do this. And why am I doing this?

But it's, you know, tennis. It's sport. And, you know, just have to stay positive. You just have to, you know, learn and keeping working hard and hopefully come back.


GILES: All right, let's talk basketball. And NBA fans who have been following the trade talk saga surrounding Carmelo Anthony knew that it looked like we were going to see him to go to the New Jersey Nets for the rest of the season, but he did look unlikely to stay on after that. That meant, of course, that the Nets would lose the players that they gave up in the trade to get him and then eventually they would lose Anthony. Not a great deal, right?

Well, the owner of the Nets would agree with that. Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has pulled the plug on the talks to bring Anthony over to New Jersey. Prokhorov said that the deal took too long, became too costly, and distracted his team. And when he was asked if he thought that Anthony would have signed the extension deal with the Nets, he said he had no idea.


MIKHAIL PROKHOROV, NETS OWNER: You know, I never met with Carmelo, and I never spoke with him. Maybe he send me e-mail, but really I don't use computer, and that's why maybe I haven't missed it. I might have missed it. Or maybe I carry (INAUDIBLE) got lost...


GILES: There you go, Christie. That deal is off. And we now have to wait and see how long it drags on for again until we find out where he is going.

STOUT: All right. Gave us the sports round-up. Thank you very much, indeed.

And now here is a very rare glimpse of how mammals deal with death and grief. Now this Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins appears to be taking care of a dead member of the pod. You can see how it's supporting the dead dolphin on its dorsal fin while using its mouth to nudge it along. This footage was taken by an aquarium worker off the coast of Kagoshima in southwestern Japan. Kagoshima City Aquarium says the two dolphins may have built a strong relationship in the pod.

Now still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, a terrifying experience for anyone behind the wheel, but some terrific viral videos of cars sliding on ice.


STOUT: Look out below! Drivers in Beachview, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh, they had a treacherous time on Tuesday. Snow and rain created an ice patch on that hill. And part of the problem is that it was sunny on the other side so the ice there melted, so drivers did not expect the slippery conditions on the shady side. And this scene is getting replayed over and over on YouTube. And they are not allow, recent wintry blasts in the U.S. has left a lot of roads covered in ice and Jeanne Moos brings us the best dramatic drives.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's become almost an winter sport - no, not ice skating, car sliding, like this almost choreographed ice dance down a hill in Spokane, Washington, or this pick-up picking up speed headed backwards in Colorado Springs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch out! Watch out!


MOOS: It's the pick-up truck drivers who think they can beat any hill no matter how icy. And now that everyone has a camera phone, like Ian Smith, we're all able to see the carnage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This sucks dude. Look at your cars. Is this your car?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at your car! Oh my god!

MOOS: Ian shot pile ups that damaged more than 20 vehicles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Get out of the way.

IAN SMITH, AMATEUR VIDEOGRAPHER: It was cool to see all the crashes and to see - thank god nobody got hurt, because I would feel bad saying it was really cool.

MOOS: And it's paid off for Ian, his video has attracted advertisers like Cheapo Auto Quotes for insurance, TV outlets have licensed his video, a tire company might use it in a commercial.

What was the street called where all this happened?

SMITH: South Carefree and Powers.

MOOS: Carefree?

SMITH: Yeah, Carefree.

MOOS: Oh, it's care free all right.

SMITH: Oh my god.

MOOS: We thought we'd hand out some medals for some of the most nerve wracking slides.

For the best spin, we award the bronze medal to this pick-up in Spokane, kind of reminds us of a spinning skater.

For speed and elegance, we award the silver medal to this Jeep.

SMITH: Oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED) here comes another one. Oh, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

MOOS: For dumbest attempt, and for striking more than one vehicle, the gold goes to this cocking pick-up.


MOOS: That thought it could go where no one else was able to.

But the truck didn't stop there, it kept on sliding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tried to tell him.




MOOS: Did we mention the guy who shot this video performs hip-hop? This pick-up was on its way all right.

Jeanne Moos, CNN...


MOOS: New York.


STOUT: Poor guy.

Now time to go over and out there. A sale of NASA knickknacks that wraps up today. And there are some strange objects up for grabs. For example, free dried pot roast.

Now even the auction web site describes it as amazingly unappetizing. I'm just quoting here. Now this brown bag of moon food, it will set you back more than $500.

But it will take nearly $3500 to buy this dime. Now the ten cent coin, it flew in Gemini III. The mission's flight initials, GT3 are scratched near Roosevelt's chin.

And then, there's the unofficial fourth crew mate of Apollo 12. The web site says Miss August 1967 was snuck on board as a prank. And get this, the next bid will pass $14,000. And that we think is just priceless.

But before we go, we do have some news just in, breaking news out of Europe from Ireland. Now the embattled prime minister, Brian Cowen, has called for new elections on March 11, that's after six government ministers resigned within 24 hours. Mr. Cowen has been under pressure to resign following the country's well publicized economic problems last year. We will continue to follow more on that story as well as the recent violence in Iraq here on CNN.

And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.