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'Explosion' in Davos; Egypt on Edge; Uganda Activist Killed

Aired January 27, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

There have been reports of a small explosion taking place at a hotel in Davos, Switzerland, site of the World Economic Forum.

Let's cross now to our sister network, CNN USA, for more detailed coverage.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, they threatened specifically to attack this hotel. The e-mails seem to have come from an anti-World Economic Forum group, an anti-WEF group, as they're called.

They were threatening this exact thing. And obviously it was called a small detonation device.

It was in the back entrance of a large hotel very close to where all the meetings are taking place. It's called the Posthotel. Couldn't tell if it was thrown into the back entrance or the detonation device was already there.

It blew out a window. We are not hearing of any injuries. But this is a hotel -- an important one, T.J.

A lot of -- sort of the base of the Swiss government stays at this hotel during this World Economic Forum here in Davos. And also, tonight, there was a party planned that was going to have the special guest be former president Bill Clinton. That was scheduled for 6:30 this evening.

We think it's still going to go on, we're hearing. But again, it just gives you an idea of the context of just how important it is.

We're at the specific Congress Center where the meetings are being held. The hotel is about a half a mile away from here, T.J.

I was walking down the street and heard police in the area. It's a small town of 13,000. Police started to talk about the Posthotel when this first happened, and we got a sense that something was happening.

Even over the last half an hour or so, you see evidence of increased security now above some of the hotels now immediately adjacent to the Congress Center. You're seeing people on top of the roofs of these hotels, increasing security presence. So, no criminal injuries, but it seemed to be a criminal element, T.J., to your point.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Sanjay. We appreciate the update. We'll continue to update our viewers on that story.

But thanks to our Sanjay Gupta covering that for us.

STOUT: And that was Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN USA, our sister network, giving you the latest on the breaking news story coming out of Davos, Switzerland, site of the world economic forum.

A small explosion has taken place at a hotel there. No injuries are reported. It took place shortly after 9:00 a.m. local time.

We'll go back to Davos to talk to our Richard Quest live for more on the explosion there.

Now, in other headlines -- and welcome to NEWS STREAM, coming to you live from Hong Kong.

Now, anti-government protesters in Egypt are defying a security crackdown. They're gearing up for more major demonstrations Friday, and they could have a distinguished participant in their midst.

This man, the Nobel Laureate and opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, is expected to return to his homeland, and his presence may test a police force already accused of heavy-handed tactics.

Ben Wedeman explains the standoff on the streets.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The clubs come out; the crackdown is in full swing. Outside Cairo's journalists' union, the police put in practice the Egyptian government's latest decree.

(on camera): After Tuesday's massive demonstrations across Egypt, the Ministry of the Interior announced that it would have a policy of zero tolerance for any kind of demonstration like this one.

(voice-over): This crowd didn't get the memo, or e-mail, or Twitter, as the case may be. They chanted, "Mubarak, Saudi Arabia's waiting for you," referring to the country where deposed Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was granted refuge.

The model of Tunisia and its revolution increasing inspiring protesters like magazine editor Nour al-Hoda Zaki.

NOUR AL-HODA ZAKI, MAGAZINE EDITOR: We asked President Mubarak to go out. We asked President Mubarak and his son, Gamal, and all his family to go out like (ph) President Ben Ali.

WEDEMAN: Wednesday, demonstrations in Cairo were more scattered, hindered by a dramatically larger police force. But they were persistent, and the protests are spreading.

The message remains the same: it's time for change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people are oppressed. They can't handle Mubarak during 30 years doing nothing but corrupting the country.

WEDEMAN: Plain-clothed policemen grab stragglers and drag them away. Hundreds have been arrested, but more keep joining.

Cairo's main roads now swarm with security forces trying to control what is increasingly difficult to control --


WEDEMAN: -- a people that has suddenly discovered how much power they actually have.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo.


STOUT: Now, Friday's protest won't just play house to Egypt's opposition leader. The banned Muslim Brotherhood has also called on its followers to demonstrate.

Ben Wedeman joins me now live from Cairo.

Ben, is Egypt seeing another day of protests today?

WEDEMAN: Today the protests seem to be smaller in Cairo itself, but we've heard from our crew that went to Suez, where three protesters were killed on Tuesday, and they describe the residents there as seething. Yesterday, they fire-bombed the local police headquarters, and it's a very tense situation there. Meanwhile, in the city of Ismalia, north of Suez, we're hearing of large clashes between protesters and the security forces there.

Now, you mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood and this protest tomorrow. This is the first time that the brotherhood, which is the largest opposition bloc in Egypt, is actually coming out and actively participating in these demonstrations. And we've seen in the past, when the brotherhood tells its members to go out into the streets, you will see dramatically larger numbers than we've already seen here in Egypt already -- Kristie.

STOUT: The stakes are getting higher. So when will the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, come out, address the protest movement, make a statement?

WEDEMAN: Until now he's said nothing. And I spoke earlier today with a senior Egyptian official who denied rumors that are going around that President Mubarak may appoint a vice president for the first time since he's been in office since 1981. And there are also rumors of a government reshuffle, a new prime minister.

He denied all of those, and he said that as far as he knows, President Mubarak has no plans to make any statements in the coming days, which is something of a shock to Egyptians, who are saying Mubarak has to speak out, has to say something, given that the country is in such an uproar. They want to hear if there are any plans to meet any of the demands that have been made during these now three days of countrywide protests -- Kristie.

STOUT: And when the noted reformer Mohamed ElBaradei arrives, what impact will that have on the situation?

WEDEMAN: It's hard to say. You know, Dr. ElBaradei returned to Egypt earlier, last -- in the beginning of last -- much high hopes and expectations that he would play a leading role in sort of getting the opposition to join together and present a united front to the government. And in the meantime, he sort of disappointed people by staying on the sidelines, not really getting involved in the nitty-gritty of Egyptian politics.

He's arriving at Cairo International Airport this evening at 7:00 p.m. local time, and he's going to give a press conference afterwards. He says he will participate in tomorrow's demonstrations. But we'll see really how much support he actually has. Many people feel he hasn't really played as active a role as he could have or, in their opinion, should have, in all of this uproar -- Kristie.

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

Ben Wedeman joining us live from Cairo.

Now, unrest in Egypt has been simmering for years. The tension boiled over after protests in Tunisia broke new ground.

Now, those protests began after a disillusioned graduate student set himself on fire. And last Tuesday, a 25-year-old man here in Alexandria, he set himself on fire and he died from his burns. A neighbor said his suicide had nothing to do with Tunisia and everything to do with his own poverty. He's one of several recent cases of self-immolation in Egypt building momentum, and that resulted in Tuesday's so-called "Day of Rage," which was largely orchestrated by social media.

Now, CNN estimates that up to 20,000 demonstrators joined the main protest here in central Cairo earlier this week. A policeman died after being struck on the head with a rock. And on the same day violence erupted here, the port city of Suez.

Two protesters were killed outright on Tuesday. A third died from his injuries Wednesday morning. The protest led to the torching of a government building.

Now, other demonstrations have taken place as far afield as Sheikh Zayed in the northeast, and Aswan in the south.

Now, of course anti-government sentiment isn't just spreading throughout Egypt, it's crossing borders and inspiring dissent in some other parts of the Arab world. And as Brian Todd reports, what happens in Egypt could have serious implications elsewhere.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like their counterparts in Tunisia, they're calling for the ouster of a longtime heavy-handed ruler. As in Tunisia, they're frustrated by government corruption, sagging job prospects, and a rising cost of living. But there's no question, the stakes in Egypt are much higher than in Tunisia.

AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: If this regime were to collapse, or massive street demonstrations in response to violence and counter-violence on the part of the regime, you could see changes happening quickly in other areas.

TODD (on camera): Where else?

MILLER: Jordan, for example, which suffers from some of the same economic and political problems.

TODD (voice-over): Aaron David Miller advised six U.S. secretaries of state on the Middle East. He doesn't think the regime of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will fall soon, but Miller and other analysts point out.

Egypt is a crucial U.S. ally. It's the largest and most powerful Arab country. And unlike Tunisia, instability in Egypt directly impacts the national security of the U.S. and it's other allies.

(on camera): Instability in Egypt could cause real problems along the border with Israel, right?

MARC GINSBERG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MOROCCO: No doubt, because in the event that the Egyptians are preoccupied with internal issues, Hamas could very well take advantage by, in effect, breaking the blockade once again and bringing missiles in from Iran that could actually target Israel again.

TODD (voice-over): Marc Ginsberg is a former U.S. ambassador to Morocco. Like Miller, he worries about the rise to power in nearby Lebanon of a leader backed by Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group.

These analysts say Egypt's military likely wouldn't' let radical Islamic groups there like the Muslim Brotherhood take power, but they say those groups could stir violence that would disrupt something else near and dear to the West.

(on camera): Oil could be in the balance here, not only because of Egypt's production of oil and natural gas, but because of the Suez Canal, right?

MILLER: Absolutely. Geography is everything, and Egypt controls the canal, which is a key transshipment point not just for patrolling, but for other products from the Persian Gulf. You could also see a rise in prices if you have serious instability throughout of the rest of the region in Egypt.

TODD: Other big oil producers nearby, like the key American ally Saudi Arabia, are also nervous about Egypt's problems, but analysts say Saudi Arabia is more able to preempt that kind of instability because the Saudi government gives its people a lot more financial support and social services than Egypt does.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: Now, still to come on NEWS STREAM, was he a victim of hate? Months after being outed as gay by a newspaper, a Ugandan activist is bludgeoned to death.

Snowed under. As the eastern U.S. suffers another major winter storm, we've got the latest from the airports.

And Open to surprises, as Li Na becomes the first Asian to make a Grand Slam final. We'll tell you the two big names that have not made it.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, a wave of bombings in Baghdad has left at least 40 people dead and dozens wounded. The worst attack was in the mostly Shiite neighborhood in the northwestern party (ph) of the city. Now, 37 were killed and 78 wounded when a car bomb detonated near a funeral tent. Two roadside bombs exploded elsewhere in the city.

Now, a Ugandan gay rights activist who was outed in a newspaper last year, he has been bludgeoned to death in his home near the capital, Kampala.

Now, CNN's David McKenzie interviewed the prominent campaigner in October. David joins me live now from neighboring Kenya.

And David, you interviewed Kato. Did he ever tell you that he feared for his life?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he did, Kristie. In fact, he was paranoid when we met him.

David Kato is a prominent -- was a prominent gay rights activist living in Kampala, living just outside of Kampala. In fact, when we met him in October, he wanted us to meet him at a safe location. He wanted us to check that no one was following him. He was very paranoid and worried about his status as a gay rights campaigner.

He had just been outed by a newspaper, "The Rolling Stone" newspaper, no relation to the U.S. magazine, that had put him on the list of several Ugandans, they said, was the gay hit list, which they asked people to go and target these people and, in fact, "hang" them.

Well, now it seems like David Kato has been murdered. Yesterday, a friend of his went to his house, found him dead and bludgeoned in his house.

We must be very clear that it's not at all clear yet what the motive for this, whether it was because of his work as an activist, whether it was a robbery or something like that. But certainly when I interviewed David Kato last year, he was definitely very afraid.


MCKENZIE: Is there space in Uganda to be a man and openly gay right now?

DAVID KATO, ACTIVIST: No. Public space, we don't have that. By the way, the problem here is identity.

I can do (ph) with you, my friend (INAUDIBLE) when you don't know I'm gay. It's fine. You can drink and eat together. But the moment I identify that I'm gay, soon the problem comes.

MCKENZIE: So people can't be open.

KATO: No, no. It's difficult. You open up when you've already made a security plan for yourself, (INAUDIBLE). So (INAUDIBLE). The villagers want to set my house ablaze, they want to burn my house.

(INAUDIBLE) before my house is burned. Because the policymakers, they go out and say, arrest them, beat them. So they feel they have a (INAUDIBLE) right, OK, of beating, (INAUDIBLE).


MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, that was David Kato there, who's been tragically murdered in Uganda. Friends and family have gathered in his house. People were crying. His lawyer said they're ready to get to the bottom of this.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two very respected rights organizations, are calling for a full independent investigation of this case in Uganda -- Kristie.

STOUT: And David, tell us more about the work and legacy of David Kato. What impact did his work have on human rights and gay rights in Africa?

MCKENZIE: Well, his work had an impact in Uganda in that he had a voice. And very few gay men in Uganda, in much of East Africa, and, in fact, in Africa as a whole, are brave enough to have that voice.

He never really said he was a gay rights activist. He always said he was a human rights activist. But he was very strong in talking openly to the media, talking to people, anyone, who wanted to hear.

He was very against the Draconian anti-gay bill that is still in place before parliament and potentially could be voted on even before the election in Uganda. So David Kato was a strong voice in a community that is otherwise silent.

STOUT: And a very tragic loss, indeed.

David McKenzie joining us live from Nairobi.

Thank you.

Now, the 29 miners who were killed last November, one of New Zealand's worst mining disasters, died almost immediately. Those conclusions were presented by the coroner today at an inquest into the explosion at the Pike River coal mine.

Hopes were high at the time of the rescue, but the coroner said that it was never a possibility. The men's bodies remain entombed in the mine, and police have abandoned efforts to retrieve them because they say the mine is too dangerous to enter.

Well, coming up on NEWS STREAM, winter is slamming the U.S. East Coast with another serious snowstorm. We'll have a full report on the travel chaos.


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

On Wednesday, Rafael Nadal crashed out of the Australian Open, and today there's been another major upset.

Don Riddell joins us now from London -- Don.


You're absolutely right, Serbia's Novak Djokovic is the first man into the final of the Australian Open thanks to a stunning straight sets win over the reigning champion, Roger Federer, today. Djokovic, who knocked Federer out at the semifinal stage three years ago, before going on to lift his only major title, played some inspired tennis to deny Federer the chance to win a 17th Grand Slam.

For the first time in eight years, Federer doesn't have a major to his name. Djokovic will play either Andy Murray or David Ferrer for the title on Sunday.

There was an even bigger upset in the women's draw earlier on. The world number one, Caroline Wozniacki has been knocked out by China's Li Na, who will now become the first Asian player to compete in a major tennis final.

Now, neither of these two had dropped a set previously in a tournament, but it was Wozniacki that was fancied to reach the title match. She took the first set, and even had a match point to win. But Li held on to produce a sensation win: 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, the score, an historic achievement for Li and a landmark moment for Chinese and Asian tennis.


LI NA, WORLD NUMBER 11: I mean, it's good for my tennis career, of course. And it's good for me, good for my team. Maybe good for Chinese tennis.

I'm not sure. Maybe. But, I mean, also a difficult (ph) experience for my whole life because of the many players. They play a long time, but they never come to the final for a Grand Slam.

And today I got it. So hopefully I can do well in the next two days.



CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, WORLD NUMBER 1: Sometimes the matches are -- in tennis it's one ball that can change everything. And I didn't get my match playing (ph). And from then on, well, she was just better at the most important points, and she won the most important one, which was the last one. And of course right now I'm sitting here and I wish I would have won the match, and it's quite difficult to get through that one.

But, you know, I just need to get back on the practice court and keep working hard. And hopefully I'll get many more chances in the future.


RIDDELL: Li will need to recover quickly from more than two-and-a- half hours spent on court today. But she will relish her next opponent, Kim Clijsters. Li beat her in the final in Sydney earlier this month.

Clijsters has been considered the favorite for this title, and she really powered into the final with a straight sets win over the world number 2, Vera Zvonareva. The Belgian, who's seeking her fourth major title and her first in Melbourne, played her best tennis of the tournament so far, recovering from a break in the very first game to thrash her Russian opponent in less than an hour and a quarter.

So this is how it looks for the final on Saturday, the world number 3 against the world number 11. They know each other pretty well, having met six times before. Clijsters has won four of those matches, twice in majors. But it got the better of her in their last encounter, a thrilling final in Sydney.

All the same, Kim, a three-time U.S. Open winner, will undoubtedly start as the favorite when both players seek their first Australia Open title. It should be a great match -- Kristie.

STOUT: Oh, definitely. A lot of people over here are going to be tuning in for sure.


STOUT: Don, thank you so much.

Now, Li Na says she hopes to inspire more Chinese to take up tennis. Our senior international correspondent Stan Grant has reaction from Beijing.


STAN GRANT, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has been a long, long struggle for Li now. She's 29 years old, and that's old in tennis terms.

She had to reach the final the hard way. She was playing Caroline Wozniacki, who is the world's number 1. She was down to match point in the second set. She lost the first set, matched point in the second.

She rallied and recovered. She eventually won the second set and then took out the third. When asked afterwards what inspired her, Li Na said, "Quite frankly, the prize money." ' She has fought a very long, hard battle to get to where she is. Her father passed away when she was young. She was raised by her mother. And she very much credits her mother with giving her the inspiration and the will to go on.

Her mother, though, has not been able to watch one single match. She simply finds it too nerve-wracking. Lots of Chinese though will be watching this final when it takes place on Saturday.

Last year, 400,000 people just watched one Beijing television station alone when she made the semi final of the Australian Open. You can multiply that many, many times over when it comes to this weekend's final.

Of course, this is another step not just for Li now, but also for China. They've seen Yao Ming succeed in basketball, and now entering into a new realm here, a new frontier in women's tennis. She is the first Chinese woman to reach a final on this major Grand Slam final.

Will she be able to win? That, of course, is the big question here with so much expectation, so much riding on this.

The good news is she's meeting Kim Clijsters, of course a champion of the game. But a couple of weeks ago, in a lead-up tournament in Sydney, she beat Kim Clijsters.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.


STOUT: OK. You heard Stan mention Yao Ming earlier, and some people in China are comparing Li Na to the basketball star. And Yujia writes this: "Don't just look at the NBA now. Li Na beat her opponent in the semi finals. Get out and support her for the finals!"

And Xing Shui (ph) says this loud and proud on Twitter: "Go Li Na! Today, another Chinese name will be remembered by the whole world. Thanks to Li Na!"

And user Tianyuan hopes Li Na will bring fortune to China. She comments, "May Li Na bring power to support the Chinese stock market."

All right. Just some reaction there.

Now, a record-setting snowstorm, meanwhile, has struck the northeastern part of the U.S. yet again. Now, take a look at this. Now, these people, they paused for a bit of frosty fun, but the white stuff could create a big headache for travelers.


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

Now, Swiss police say a small detonation device has been found after an explosion at a hotel in Davos. The resort city is hosting top business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum.

Now, a WEF spokesman says the blast was caused by a firework that damaged one window. No injuries have been reported. Swiss media reports an anti-WEF organization had threatened an attack in an e-mail.

A large protest is expected again in Egypt on Friday and opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei is expected to return to the country to take part. Now, these are pictures of clashes from the port city of Suez on Wednesday night, the second straight day of protests against President Hosni Mubarak's government. He's been in power 30 years.

And a major winter storm has brought much of the eastern U.S. to a standstill. Now record snow that fell in several places including Philadelphia and New York Central Park. Now travel warnings remain in place, but forecasters expect the snow to ease off throughout Thursday. Now the snow has, of course, taken its toll on air travel. Hundreds of flights have been canceled. And two of the New York area's major air ports were forced to close. Now Reynolds Wolf joins me now live from another snowbound city, Boston. And Reynolds, what is the situation there?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Situation here in Boston is basically, I tell you, it's a very chilly sigh of relief. Things could have been a lot worse. If this storm system had been maybe a few degrees closer to the coast, or maybe farther back, the situation might be altogether different. But as it ended up, we had about 30 centimeters of snowfall in parts of south Boston. I tell you, the sun is coming up, the sky is beginning to clear up, the wind is also dying out which is phenomenal news. And now we're just left with a big mess.

I'm along with CNN photojournalist Bob Crowley (ph). Bob and I have been watching the situation all morning. Although the snow is heavy in some places, other spots the roadways are actually in pretty decent shape. I mean, you look down and you can see that things are pretty passable, city services are open. You've got your buses. We've seen taxis come through here with no problem at all. And the reason why things have been so great, right there, take a look at this. These guys have been riding these machines all around town all night long, and snow began around 7:00 local time. And they've had these plows out and about keeping the roads relatively clean. The sidewalks are also in great shape.

And because the sidewalks are OK and the roads are passable that means city services, at least city hall will be open today. So they are expecting everyone to show up.

Public school in Boston, however, are going to be closed which is great news for some of the kids. They get the opportunity to come out and play in this stuff. And speaking of the stuff, more snow will be in the forecast, possibly up to 10 centimeters of snowfall, as we have another storm system that begins to develop farther out towards the west.

That's the latest we have from Boston. Let's kick it right back to you in the studio.

STOUT: I read that thousands of Americans across the region are without power, without electricity. Is that also the situation in Boston?

WOLF: It is the situation in Boston. In fact, Suffolk County in Boston, they have about 3,000 homes that are without power. Hopefully, though, with the roadways being clear crews will be able to get out to begin to restore the power. Bob, let's move out of the way just a little bit. We've got these cars coming by.

Good morning to you, sir. Plenty of power in that car, and as I mentioned, plenty of power hopefully restored to those homes as we make our way through the afternoon.

Again, you know it's interesting, had this storm system been a little bit farther out toward sea, it may have allowed more of that cold air to come into the region. The moisture could have been heavier snowfall, greater power outages, and obviously more problems in on the roadways.

STOUT: All right, Reynolds. Thank you so much for that. Reynolds Wolf joining us live from Central Boston.

Let's go straight to Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center. Mari, correct if I'm wrong here, is this the third major incidents of extreme weather in the northeastern part of the U.S.?

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: This is the third one, and probably in the last four weeks. So it is significant, Christie.

You know what, first of all with Reynolds -- I'm jealous of the snow plow, because we don't have any snow plows here in Atlanta. And that's why it was such a mess. It's nice to see those streets there already cleaned.

Let's go ahead and take a look at a couple of things. First of all, the airports, the two major airports in New York like you said are closed until further notice, until they are able to clean things up. In Washington, D.C. one runway is open in one airport, another one in another. So there's a big travel delays. Call ahead. I was telling you yesterday, even if you were coming, you know, from the other side of the world, this is going to be a big storm and if you're coming from an international flight, you could see your flight delayed or canceled today and maybe even into tomorrow. So make sure you are aware of what's happening.

Now, New York City, 39 centimeter -- that's about 19 inches of snow. That's a lot. In Philly, about 38 centimeters of snow. In Washington, D.C. at Dulles, at the airport 23 centimeters of snow. So that kind of gives you an indication, Christie, of where we are when it comes to this mess.

And there you see it kind of coming in and then moving away, another nor'easter. And this is a weather system that Reynolds was talking about. So we'll get a little bit of a break throughout the day today and then more snow showers will be moving in later tonight and as we head into tomorrow.

This is the Canadian radar. And you can see the storm coming out of the northeastern U.S. and moving into the Canadian maritime. So you guys are next with this heavy snowfall here and the big travel delays. A little more prepared than many cities in the U.S. are, but this is heavy, wet snow and it could cause some power delays which has been the concern all along.

I want to show you some pictures from Washington, D.C. because these are pretty cool. And the snowball fight. You know, impromptu, best way. I think you need plenty of snow for a snowball fight, but you also need a place to take shelter is behind those bushes there, behind the benches, just a few tips here from the southern girl here. I have no idea. I think I've had two snowball fights my whole life. But anyway, pretty pictures there out of Washington, D.C.

And back over to the weather map. Let's go ahead and keep going now. I do want to talk to you very quickly about Japan. Volcano in southern Japan down her in Kagoshima has erupted. And this is a pretty large volcano. I want to show you, first of all, where it is. It's on longest mountain chain of more than 20 volcanoes. And this is the culprit right over here.

Let's go ahead and take a look at the video, amazing images here of smoke clouds billowing several hundred kilometers into the air. There are no mandatory evacuations, but ash has fallen along some of those towns along that region. There were some voluntary evacuations, a few flights that were canceled, but there is no major risk right now from this volcano. They are monitoring it closely. And we will, of course, keep you updated on that situation there.

Last but not least, I do want to talk to you about the situation in Australia. We do have two tropical cyclones that are going to be affecting that region. So I do want to tell you very quickly, Christie, we're monitoring both of them. One of them will be approaching New Zealand right over here, possibly as a tropical storm, and then the other one hugging the western coast of the country. Back to you.

STOUT: All right, Mari, thank you for keeping an eye on that. Mari Ramos there.

And now to Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai has administered the oath of office for a new government. And that ended a political stand-off sparked by last year's controversial elections. Mr. Karzai wanted to delay opening parliament, so a special court he established could investigate claims of election fraud. Now critics called the court illegal and wanted it eliminated. Eventually both sides agreed to allow prosecutions of election-based criminal cases using existing laws, not the special court.

So with the government stalemate settled, Afghanistan's politicians can focus on governing and dealing with insurgents. But as our Arwa Damon discovered, the country's justice system could be fostering future militants.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The prison in Maza-e Sharif is like many in Afghanistan: overcrowded, unsanitary, and in the winter bitterly cold. The makeshift cells at the Balk Prison are so crammed that some prisoners are even forced to sleep outside.

We haven't been allowed to film inside, but this jail was originally built as a house and now there are around 450 prisoners here literally living stacked one on top of another.

Around half of the prisoners are ordinary criminals, but the rest are Taliban. And the prison is their perfect recruiting ground.

GEN. MOHAMMED AZIZ, MAZA-E SHARIF SHERIFF (through translator): According to law, they should be held in separate facilities. We have serious criminals like the Taliban next to those who have committed small crimes. It's a constant worry for us.

DAMON: Aziz says Taliban fighters typically target vulnerable youth and drug addicts. Isla Mudin (ph), serving time for carjacking, started using opium behind bars. The 27-year-old says he's clean now and swears the Taliban never tried to recruit him. Aziz says it's a typical response. His spies behind bars have told him otherwise.

It's a problem across Afghanistan. According to the official in charge of the country's jails.

AMIR JAMSHED, GENERAL PRISONS PRESIDENT (through translator): If we put 1,000 Taliban behind bars, they will recruit a 1,000 more prisoners.

DAMON: At the Balk Prison, workers are building extensions to separate the prisoners. Similar projects are underway around the country.

JAMSHED (through translator): We are also continuing with the de- radicalization program. There are two groups of Taliban, the ideologues and those who join for economic reasons. They can be re-educated.

DAMON: The results have been not bad, he says.

This is a religious class at Kabul's Polytarke (ph) Prison, intended to ward prisoners away from extremism. It doesn't always work, one inmate told us he went from being an Afghan nationalist to believing the Taliban is the only solution. Afghanistan's prisons have become another front in the battle for the country's future. And it's far from clear who has the upper hand.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Maza-e Sharif, Afghanistan.


STOUT: Now the Colombian government says at least 20 people have been killed in a mine explosion near its border with Venezuela. It is the second explosion at the mine in less than four years as Rafael Romo reports.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The explosion happened just before 7:00 in the morning when the day shift was getting ready to take over from the night shift. Five miners who were having breakfast at the entrance of the coal mine were the first to be confirmed dead. 38- year-old Everet Prado (ph), one of the surviving miners, says he first heard the loud boom and saw huge amounts of smoke coming out of the mine. He was about to begin his shift. His brother-in-law who was finishing his is among the victims.

The coal mine is located about an hour away by land from the Colombian border city of Cucuta in northeastern Colombia.

Yamile Rangel Calderon, the mayor in the municipality of Saldinata, where the mine is headquartered, says at least on paper the mine followed all safety measures.

YAMILE RANGEL CALDERON, MAYOR OF SALDINATA (through translator): It's one of the mines with more safety measures to protect workers and integrity of the facilities. We're really sorry about what happened. They had all of their documents in order.

ROMO: Colombian civil defense officials mobilized at the site of the explosion bringing rescue personnel and helicopters to evacuate victims to the nearest hospital. A top official says the accumulation of methane gas, which is normally used in mining operations, could have caused the explosion.

COL. FERNANDO SANDOVAL, COLOMBIAN CIVIL DEFENSE (through translator): What the mine staff is telling us is that it was gas accumulation. It's a very difficult kind of accident. They have all of the industrial security measures, but a sudden gas leak can cause an explosion like this one.

ROMO: Thirty-two miners died in a similar explosion in 2007 at the same mine. According to the local mayor, it was later determined that the accumulation of methane gas was the cause of the explosion. The Colombian Mining Ministry has deployed accident experts to the site of the explosion.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: Now coming up here on NEWS STREAM, the Muslim world is set to undergo major growth. Look at the places expected to see the biggest rise.


STOUT: Broadcasting live from Hong Kong, this is NEWS STREAM. Welcome back.

Now a new study says more than a quarter of the world could be Muslim in two decades. Now the figures come from a U.S. think-tank, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Now let's break that down by region. Now nearly 60 percent of all Muslims will live in Asia. And that is a slight decrease from the current level. Now 1 in 5 will live in the Middle East and North Africa. Sub Saharan Africa will see the biggest increase. And just over 3 percent will live in Europe and the Americas.

Now let's dig a little deeper into those numbers. Wires editor for CNN Richard Greene, he wrote about the study for, he joins us now live from London. And Richard, walk us through the findings in Asia first.

RICHARD ALLEN GREENE, CNN WIRES EDITOR: Well Christie, I think the most interesting finding is that Pakistan is set to have the largest number of Muslims of any country in the world 20 years from now. It's currently number two behind Indonesia, but over the next 20 years Pakistan is projected to add 70 million Muslims. That'll make it the largest Muslim country in the world. India will remain number three. Now we don't think of India as being a Muslim country particularly, it's 13 percent Muslim, rising to about 15 percent Muslim over the next 20 years, but because it's such an enormous country that means it will have the third largest Muslim population in the world. In fact, about 1 in 10 Muslims in the entire world live in India.

That is even more -- China -- sorry, Christie go ahead.

STOUT: Sorry, sir. Go ahead, give us the statistics out of China.

GREENE: Well, I was going to say, China has the same sort of population pattern as India, it's not very Muslim at all. It's about two percent Muslim, but because it is such an enormous country that two percent Muslim means 30 million Muslims living there, more than -- that puts it in the top 30 worldwide.

STOUT: And how will Europe change in the next two decades?

GREENE: Well, the changes in Europe are very interesting, Christie. Two countries that have had a great deal of friction around their Muslim communities have been Belgium and France. Both of them have imposed legal restrictions banning the burqa, the Muslim head covering for women's faces. Both of those countries are predicted to go over 10 percent Muslim in the next 20 years.

But Europe as a whole, there's this talk of Eurabia, that Europe is being swamped by Muslims. And this report says very clearly that is not true. Twenty years from now, Europe has expected to be about eight percent Muslim. It's not the case that any country is heading towards anything like a Muslim majority -- Christie.

STOUT: And what about the United States? Will the Muslim population continue to grow there?

GREENE: Yes it will. The population is going to more than double in the United States, according to the Pew Forum. Twenty years from now the U.S. is expected to have about 6.3 million Muslims. Now that's still a pretty small percentage of the population. It's less than 2 percent. So that would make them comparable to Jews or Episcopalians in the United States today.

STOUT: And overall, is the Muslim share of the global population on the rise compared to other religions?

GREENE: Yes it is. And that's one of the clear findings here. Twenty years ago, about 1 in 5 people around the world was Muslim. Twenty years from now, the figure is going to be closer to 1 in 4. In fact, it will be slightly over 1 in 4. But the Pew Forum points out the rate of growth is slowing. This is happening across all populations, people are getting older, people are having fewer children per family, that's true of Muslims as well, but because there are so many Muslims of child bearing age it's going to take longer to slow down with that population than with the world as a whole -- Christie.

STOUT: Well Richard, thanks for parsing the numbers for us. Richard Greene joining us live from CNN London.

And you can explore more about this story on our web site. And you'll find this interactive map. It shows the growth of Muslim populations by country. Just log on to

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up Sony reveals its next portable PlayStation. Stick around to see this impressive touch screen toy.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now a U.S. billionaire, suitably named Robert Rich, is plowing some of his fortune into a British football team, but he hasn't gone for a Premiere League club, in fact, Mr. Rich has chosen an unfashionable, unsuccessful and underfunded team from northeast England. Alex Thomas has the story.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Robert Rich Jr. turned 70 this week and celebrated thousands of miles from home. The U.S. billionaire was visiting Bedlington Terriers, an amateur football club languishing in the ninth tier of English football.

ROBERT RICH JR, BILLIONAIRE: Along the way we found out that I had an ancestor who was a lord of Bedlington. So my wife said well why don't we secure that title for you? And I didn't know you could do that. And she did for it. And she got me the title of Lord Bedlington for Christmas last year. And then I figured, well, I better act lordly.

THOMAS: Rich is among the world's wealthiest businessman. But compared to the mega-rich foreign owners in England's Premier League, his spending at Bedlington is far more modest. The biggest outlay so far, a $30,000 scoreboard arriving in May.

RICH: You know, we'd made it clear we're not taking any equity in the team. We're not buying the club. We're here as sponsors. And as we got to know these guys and found out what they were doing, we learned a lot about the area and that this team had been under capitalized and had real financial issues and could use all the help we could give them.

THOMAS: The club almost went out of business a few years ago. None of the players are full-time footballers and only get paid expenses. And the ground isn't good enough to allow them to move up a division even if they win their league.

DAVE HOLMES, CHAIRMAN, BEDLINGTON TERRIERS: Every year is a struggle. You're always worrying where you're going to get your next, you know, bit of money in to pay the next bill that comes through the door. And that's the reality of what we are. You know, there isn't any money in football at this level, it's just done for the love of it.

THOMAS: This is a real David versus Goliath clash, only a lot friendlier. Bedlington Terriers' average crowd is around 120 people whereas one of Bob Rich's minor league baseball teams encouraged a million customers through the turnstiles each season for six years.

RICH: We'll help Bedlington wherever they want to go. And we'll -- we like these people. We know what they're up against. We relate to sports. And it's just been a nice new friendship.

THOMAS: The people who run Bedlington Terriers call themselves volunteers. And they're still pinching one another over the arrival of Bob Rich, even if he's not about to turn them all into millionaires. Nonetheless, they're more confident about the club's footballing future thanks to their American sponsor's money and expert business advice.

HOLMES: Surreal actually, you know just -- I see the guys all the time, you know, we're on a journey here, on a ride (inaudible) you know. And who knows.

THOMAS: Alex Thomas, CNN, Bedlington, northeast England.


STOUT: Now China's remarkable growth has led to a generation of young people who love to spend. And they have the money to do it. But they're not parting with their money freely. As Eunice Yoon explains, they're teaming up to drive a hard bargain.


EUNICE YOON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Like most people, Chinese office worker Jin Fun (ph) loves cruising for a good bargain. And in China, he has a new way of finding them. Every day, he surfs the Internet, buying almost everything at a discount, including his new Audi. He saved $1,500 on his car.

My family was so thrilled to save that much money, he says. They told all their friends. And now they want me to help them score good deals.

Jin (ph) is part of a growing number of young Chinese obsessed with discounts and deals. These new spenders are also clipping coupons, giving them the nickname The Coupon Generation.

PT BLACK, CONSUMER RESEARCHER: People have gotten wealthier, but we're still not talking about necessarily buying luxury goods across the board. So every penny counts. And using that money smartly is definitely something people look up to.

YOON: Group buying is the latest craze, people are coming together to buy things in bulk, even big ticket items like cars and houses.

To buy his car, Jin (ph) connected with four strangers on one of over 1,000 web sites across China competing to be like Groupon in the U.S. These sites hook up people looking to buy the same thing so they can lobby for hefty discounts, an irresistible draw for China's 140 million online shoppers.

People here have a tradition of haggling and nowadays just one person can't get prices down much, this manager says. With group buying you go in together and get far better deals.

International brands like Mercedes are benefiting from the frenzy. The luxury automaker arranged a group sale of its Smart Cars on Chinese e- retailer Tao Bao (ph). It sold more than 200 cars in less than four hours. With so many new start-ups, the government is talking about regulating the boom. But for people like Jin (ph) discount shopping is already a new way of life.

I'm at that age about time to get married, he says, so I've got to start looking for a house which he plans to buy once he finds a cut-rate group deal.

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Ningbo, China.


STOUT: Now Sony has taken the wraps off its next portable PlayStation. And here it is, it's the NGP. The handheld is due out at the end of the year. It's got a 5 inch screen, two cameras and the 3G wireless connection. But the unique feature, it doesn't just have a touch-screen, it also has a touch panel on the back.

So, let's see how the new handheld compares to other game consoles like this, the original PSP. Now the NGP, it has a bigger screen. It doesn't use the same discs as the PSP. And when the NGP comes out, it will compete with this one, Nintendo's 3DS. Now the 3DS is not as powerful as Sony's new handheld, but as the name implies, it's in 3D. But there is another competitor, and this one shares the PlayStation name.

Now gadget blogs, they have been completely abuzz with rumors about a PlayStation phone. And Gadget even has a picture of it. They say it's called the Sony Ericsson Xperiaplay. And it will run on Google Android.

Now, it's time to go over and out there. And we are heading to a galaxy far, far away. Now this blue square, it is the deepest image ever taken of the universe. Astronomers used the Hubble space telescope's new infrared camera to search the area. They believe it contains a compact galaxy that formed 480 million years after the big bang. That is just 4 percent of the universe's current age. It took 13.2 billion years for the galaxy's light to reach Hubble. And here is a NASA scientist to help explain those mindboggling figures.


GARTH ILLINGWORTH, NASA SCIENTIST: It's a little hard to think about, because of the billions of years involved. But a good analogy is, think about a baby and how that changes so dramatically in the first couple of years. We're looking back to when the universe was full of baby galaxies, as it were, and they're growing and changing very dramatically in this period.


STOUT: You can just feel his enthusiasm.

And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" with Charles Hudson, Pauline Chiou, and John Defterios is next.