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Uprising in Egypt; Protests in Yemen; Cyclone Yasi Moves On

Aired February 3, 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.

Digging in. More violence erupts in the center of Cairo as protesters barricade themselves in Tahrir Square.

And a cyclone slams into Australia, bringing more misery to the flood- ravaged state of Queensland.

Now, pro-and-anti-government protesters are standing their ground on the streets of Cairo, but Egyptian troops have finally moved between opposing camps in the capital. Violence has died down in recent hours, though the situation in Tahrir Square remains tense.

Some demonstrators set up metal barricades overnight. They say they will not give up until President Hosni Mubarak leaves office. Other Egyptians say that they are tired of the unrest. They want life to go back to normal.

Now, state media report that Egypt's vice president and prime minister are sitting down with the opposition. Several opposition groups say they won't meet with the new government.

Now, meanwhile, Egypt's prime minister has apologized for Wednesday's attacks on protesters. Now, Ahmed Shafiq, he told state TV, "There will be an investigation."

Peaceful anti-government protests started on January the 25th. They are taking place across Egypt.

In Cairo, demonstrations have centered around Tahrir Square. It is in the heart of the capital near the Nile River. Now, fighting started Wednesday, when President Mubarak supporters entered the area, and clashes stretched north to the Egypt Museum. That's less than one kilometer away.

And we are still getting new looks at Wednesday's violence. Now take a look at this disturbing video that was posted to Facebook.

Now, this is said to show a police van in Cairo. You see people in the street rushing to get out of the way. The vehicle, it appears to hit a couple pedestrians, and it never stops.

And in Tahrir Square, our teams witnessed scenes of chaos like this one.

Now, the army was on the sidelines Wednesday as opposing demonstrators threw rocks and sticks at each other. Protesters even dug up stones from the street to use as weapons. Heavy gunfire was heard in Tahrir Square before dawn on Thursday.

Now, let's find out what it's like in Tahrir Square right now.

Journalist Ian Lee joins us on the line.

And Ian, will this be another day of chaos in the square?

IAN LEE, JOURNALIST: Kristie, it's really right now anyone's guess. If the army can keep the two sides separated, then that will be the true test, but it's definitely very, very tense right now in Tahrir Square and around.

I have been getting reports, phone calls from a human rights lawyer that I know that Hisham Mubarak Law Center was attacked by military police. And this law center is a human rights center.

Also, other human rights centers are reported to be raided. Sorry, let me rephrase that. They're being raided by police and people are being arrested. And when I say police, I mean military police.

But it's definitely very tense right now in downtown Cairo.

STOUT: Ian, the official toll from these clashes in the square now stands as our official numbers, five dead, over 800 wounded. But in reality, could the toll be much higher than that?

LEE: It definitely could be. I was talking to doctors in Tahrir Square today, and two of them had been working throughout the night. And they told me that they witnessed five people killed. But also, they told me that there was four other people who sustained gunshot wounds that they didn't think would make it much longer -- Kristie.

STOUT: Also reports of journalists being targeted in the square. What have you heard?

LEE: Well, what I've heard is that -- I haven't heard actually in the square itself. I've heard of journalists being intimidated in the square, but not in a broad extent. It's really coming from around Cairo itself.

I had a friend who was in Maadi today, which is just south of downtown, and they were attacked. He was attacked with another journalist by a mob. Another group of colleagues were in Dowi (ph), which is to the east of downtown, and they were attacked by the mob. In both instances, they were able to get away safely, but, you know, just talking to different journalists around Cairo, there is a sense of fear that journalists are being targeted by mobs and that if you go out onto the streets, you run a risk of being attacked.

STOUT: OK. Ian Lee, joining us live from Cairo.

Now, Egypt's health minister says five people have been killed, more than 800 injured, in Tahrir Square. Again, official numbers.

Ben Wedeman shows us how the wounded are getting treatment.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right off Tahrir Square, at what is a mosque that a few days ago was turned into a makeshift field hospital for people wounded in clashes and protests and whatnot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Hosni Mubarak! That's what he do. We will die for our freedom!

WEDEMAN: What we've been told is some of our other crews who were in Tahrir Square were roughed up by crowds of pro-Mubarak people. And certainly, as you know, our experience was that, yes, they're not very friendly to the media.

So we've been told to get off the square, to stay away. And then we were told to come back to the office. But given that -- to go back to the office, we would actually have to cross through sort of hostile territory. Our determination is that it is better to stay here, where people are more media-friendly, than to go out there, where we're watching that every few minutes, somebody comes in with a great big gash on his head from a rock.

So we want to stay here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay here and see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a journalist, right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who do you work with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A newspaper in Spain.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to say that these are the same thugs that are used by the National Democratic Party, the ruling party, that are usually used in rigging all the elections. So they are known. They take 50 pounds in order to come down and beat up people. So they are used to this kind of thing.

Now, they've been mobilizing from all the governors. They've been bringing them in by the busload in order to beat up -- beat the demonstrators.

The demonstrators were beating (ph) these people by saying, "We are peaceful. We are a peaceful resistance." And yet, they came down with the sticks and the rocks, and they're beating them up, and there are so many injured.



STOUT: The scene there in Cairo.

Now, in Yemen, like Egypt, a president who has held power for three decades has promised not to seek reelection. In Yemen, like Egypt, thousands of people have taken to the streets, arguing that this promise isn't good enough. And in Yemen, like Egypt, there's more than one side of the story.

Now, pro-government demonstrations have also taken to the streets of Sana'a, defying opposition calls for a "Day of Rage" march.

Now, Mohammed Jamjoom joins me live from the Yemeni capital.

Mohammed, what is the state of play?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, as of now, calm has returned to the streets of Sana'a. Earlier in the day there were two dueling protests in two different parts of the heart of Sana'a.

The pro-government rally was at Tahrir Square. The anti-government rally was about two kilometers down the road, next to Sana'a University.

I can tell you that even though those rallies were largely peaceful, and we did not witness any kind of clashes with security forces, or clashes between any of the various groups of protesters, nonetheless, when we went to these protests, the demos, there was a lot of emotion, a lot of heated rhetoric about what these different groups supported. On the anti- government side, we saw a lot of younger people here in Yemen, a lot of youth of Yemen that were saying they really were frustrated at the fact that they weren't getting the economic opportunity that they needed. They had no real hope for jobs.

The ones that had families said that they couldn't feed their families. They weren't being paid enough. And they said that this was the fact that President Ali Abdullah Saleh had yesterday said that he would no longer seek election in 2013. That just wasn't good enough. Despite the fact that the president had conceded to many of the demands of the opposition, they said this was their moment that they wanted to be out on the streets supporting the opposition, trying to get President Saleh out of office so that there could be real reform here.

On the pro-government side, we went to that rally afterward. We saw a lot of supporters of President Saleh.

Now, whenever there's been a large anti-government demo in the past week, the government here has really made a concerted effort to make sure they get groups of people that support the president also out in the streets as well. And to that end, there were thousands of his supporters, too. We don't know how many, but there were thousands there.

It was a largely festive mood on that end of that. The people were very emotional, saying that they loved the president, they really supported him, and they were sad to see him leaving office after 2013. They understood if he wanted to, they supported the decision, but they were actually blaming the opposition, saying the opposition, with their demands, were bringing some sort of destabilization to the country, and they really were hoping that there would just be dialogue between he opposing parties here -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Yemen has been in focus this week because of the protests. Yemen has also been in focus for over a year now because of the war on terror. Al Qaeda has an arm there in Yemen.

So how does this political instability affect the war on terror?

JAMJOOM: Well, this is something that's really concerning the allies of Yemen, particularly the U.S., and also the Saudi Arabian government. Saudi Arabia is just directly north of Yemen. Obviously, it's the largest oil exporter in the world. There have already been attacks launched towards the Saudis from al Qaeda in Yemen, and there have also been attacks launched towards the U.S. and other Western targets from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

Now, already, even before this protest movement started gaining momentum in the last couple of weeks, governments that are allied with Yemen have been very concerned about the state of security (AUDIO GAP). Yemen has been on the brink --

STOUT: OK. Our audio and also our visual with Mohammed there is cutting in and out. Unfortunately, we're going to have to leave it there.

Mohammed Jamjoom, joining us live via webcam from Sana'a there in Yemen.

Now, you are watching NEWS STREAM, coming to you live from Hong Kong.

Still ahead on the program, we will stay on top of the fast-moving developments in Egypt. Now, after the violence we showed you this time on Wednesday, Cairo's Tahrir Square remains very, very tense. We'll take you back there live and check the scene in other cities as well.

And we will also bring you the latest on a monster storm that has struck Australia. Queensland residents are trying to catch their breath after Cyclone Yasi blows through.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now let me give you an update from Egypt, where troops currently stand between opposing protesters in Cairo. Now, some stone-throwing has continued between the anti-government demonstrators and Mubarak supporters, but the situation is certainly calmer than at this time on Wednesday. Now, the anti-government side has set up a metal barricade in Tahrir Square, where heavy gunfire was heard before dawn this morning.

Now, all this follows violent clashes on Wednesday, which the health minister tells state TV five people were killed, more than 800 injured.

Now, peaceful protests are also under way elsewhere in the country, including Alexandria.

Turning now to Cyclone Yasi, it has battered homes, it has brought whole communities to a standstill, and left tens of thousands without power. But it could have been so much worse.

Now, the devastation brought by the cyclone in northeastern Australia is clear but, crucially, in a region already recovering from record floods, no deaths have been reported so far.

Anna Coren joins me on the phone from Queensland.

And Anna, I understand you were on your way to Townsville. And on the road, what have you seen?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been quite extraordinary, Kristie. They expected a monster, and that's certainly what they got. It was the biggest storm to have hit Australia.

As you say, we have been on the road all day, trying to get to Townsville, one of the hardest-hit areas. It was affected, and certainly where we are, just south of Townsville, has also been affected.

But the eye of the storm, which stretched from 100 kilometers wide, that is north of Townsville. We cannot pass here because of major flooding. No one can get into Townsville by road. There is flooding everywhere.

So we are stuck here, along with hundreds of other people --

STOUT: The prime minister is getting ready to address the media.

I'm sorry, Anna. I'm going to have to interrupt you there.

Egypt's prime minister is getting ready to address the media. Let's go live and listen to the news conference right now.


AHMED SAFIQ, EGYPTIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): -- patient with them and with us, and many (INAUDIBLE) understanding to the announcement of the president. They have went to demonstrations and gathered at the square, a second group, smaller. They marched in a civilized way, in a method which is similar to the biggest democracies in the world.

They have all been expressing their opinion. That was very honorable. And everyone has expressed his or her opinion. That is a civilized way.

But smaller things -- or smaller groups, something unexpected by groups. I personally cannot imagine even how those have been infiltrating, were they by individuals or by group infiltration? Were those organized or unorganized? Were their interventions in an organized way or random?

I still cannot realize that another group, when they attended, a fraction was brought out to -- for example, somewhere refusing stations in Mahmoud Square, others in a different square. I don't understand.

And they were looking for trouble. Then why did they approach the other group?

The youth are enthusiastic. They don't know about the old persons there. Where they have fueled those enthusiasm, clashes broke out between young people, young girls, young boys.

It appeared later, it seems, that they were holding their hands, means of fighting, whatever means. But it has resulted in wounds. And unfortunately, there were some fires, and that was a scene deplorable for the Egyptians. That caused the Egyptians to cry, to bleed. That wasn't imaginable as a state of war.

However, the health minister has attended there for three hours, together with his ambulances. And what was strange, that both sides were very hot. So some of them wouldn't agree to be transferred by ambulances to the hospital. That's unacceptable.

So we had a contact with a physician, a doctor who was treating both parties. This is a scene which is new for us, the Egyptians. Something happened which we have no previous experience about.

There was a lot of blood-spilling, a lot of losses, bleeding. I mean, deepening the wound. That's unbelievable.

I pledge before you that this matter won't be passed over. I'm in accordance through the designation, and the designation speech by the president. So a problem has already been brought out.

I pledge that there will be a full and deep investigation about the reasons for -- and the reasons for that problem. The absence of the security, that caused the lawlessness to everybody, which has caused harm of a lot of people.

People were out on the streets because of the lawlessness. And we have already, beside -- families were saying that had went into the streets in order to defend their children, but this investigation will be carried out.

We add to that the tragedy about the -- I promise that this matter will be investigated upon. This idea has it -- were there any groups behind that idea? Whoever was responsible for that will be brought to account openly, soon, God willing.

I pledge -- I urge all the media, all the press, and I was waiting as a gentleman who feels the responsibility. I did not know about this matter, but by the responsibilities I'm holding, I promise that this problem won't be repeated.

So those people who have helped them to enter fear, who allowed them -- who helped them, I say, however, this is the first time I attend this office an hour ago. But because of the present situation and the moral and human duty, I call upon my people. And whoever is involved or concerned about the matter, that is unjustifiable. And I say that were (ph) a provocation for that -- anyhow, that has happened.

And there will be a solution regarding the dialogue, or what's called dialogue or understanding, mutual understanding, I understand that by filling the gap between friends, I say that the dialogue, the meaning of all of the dialogue, that means that I'll never cling on my own opinions. I have something which is positive that I can -- I can understand, I can accept the other opinion. So what I believe in, that if I have certain requirements, I shouldn't believe that those are the only requirements to be fulfilled.

But I believe others have their own requirements. By God's will, we will be reaching a solution which will be (INAUDIBLE) for everybody.

Accompanied with all that, the safety of our children, and that we have to leave those places where they have been fortifying. I assure to them that -- I mean, I don't understand what has happened. This is not the nation of the Egyptian people. What has caused all that which has happened?

By God's will, we will collectively cooperate and try to get out of this crisis successfully. I promise to answer all the questions, but I hope questions should not be repeated. My mission towards you, my mission towards the foreign --

STOUT: You've been watching and listening to a live press conference there in Cairo. That was the prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, speaking. And he was pledging a full and deep investigation into the events that took place in Tahrir Square, the battle that cost the lives of at least three individuals -- five individuals, rather -- and wounded more than 800.

He called the battle, the siege at Tahrir Square "deplorable," an "unimaginable state of war," "a tragedy." Again, pledging a full an deep investigation.

But the prime minister, he also acknowledged this -- he claims that he has no knowledge about the pro-government forces that moved into the square and sparked those clashes that we watched happening live this time last night here on NEWS STREAM. He said, "I cannot imagine how they infiltrated. Are they groups? Are they organized?"

The prime minister claiming ignorance about who these pro-government forces are but again pledging a full and deep investigation into the brutal and bloody siege that took place in Tahrir Square. We'll continue to watch the events in Tahrir Square in Cairo as well as the rest of the country. You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back right after this.


STOUT: OK. Let's take you straight back to Cairo as we continue to watch the events taking place in Tahrir Square. We've been looking at clashes continuing to go on between the two rival factions that have gathered there in the square -- the pro-government forces as well as the anti-government forces. You can hear sounds of gunfire as well as the siren. It is day 10 of demonstrations and unrest in Egypt. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I lost ISP (ph).


STOUT: OK, tensions obviously still remain high there in Tahrir Square in Cairo. And the recent comments made just now, we carried them live to you from the Egyptian prime minister condemning the violence, having absolutely no pacifying effect from the situation there in the square as we can clearly see hearing the roar of the crowds and listen to the gunfire. We have our Fred Pleitgen who is there. Fred, what you seeing?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. Yeah, as you can see right now there's an honest good melee going on down there. The anti-Mubarak forces, they keep pushing forward and seem to be in control of large parts of territory that they hadn't been in control before. What they're actually doing is their trying to fortify their position with these metal sheeting shields. And they're fortifying those with sort of -- looks like sort of wooden planks to try and keep those in place.

Now the other side, the pro-Mubarak side, has been shooting at the anti- Mubarak protesters with these flash bangs. I guess it's sort of a fireworks that you shoot at someone and they sort of explodes at the end into a large flash. So these sides are really going at it right now, pelting rocks at each other. It is a very fierce battle that's going on here. And one of the interesting things that we've seen just now, Kristie, is that the military has completely disappeared off the scene here. The military is gone. I can see one military armored personnel carrier actually on a bridge on the other side of the Nile, otherwise there's a tank sort of in the vicinity, at least, somewhat in the vicinity. But otherwise, these sides are going at it, and there's nothing to stop them. I mean, the soldiers have completely retreated off the scene here at this point, Kristie.

STOUT: More on the military, you know, we've watched the military just stand by yesterday when the pro-Mubarak factions moved and the violent clashes broke out. They are not getting involved in this uptick in violence today in Tahrir Square. What is the position of the military? Are they neutral?

PLEITGEN: Well, they seem to be taking a pretty passive and neutral position right now. I mean, they are present at some places close to Tahrir Square, and they have been present here over the past couple of days, but as you said, they simply haven't been doing anything to try and keep these two sides apart.

Now earlier here, the military actually did try to do that. They fired into the air as these sides were going at it to try and pry them apart. I saw soldiers, actually, stand in the middle of these rock throwing matches just right in the middle of people throwing rocks at each other -- it might have been the anti-Mubarak protesters ready for another charge here. But now, the military has just completely evaporated from the scene here, which of course is really an issue, because these sides are just going at it and there is no force in between them to try to mitigate all this. So right now, it really is all out urban combat, if you will, there on the streets as the anti-Mubarak protesters seem to think that they can finish the pro- Mubarak protesters off and gain more substantial part of this area. They're already on top of a highway overpass that until last night was held by the pro-Mubarak crowd. And right now these battles down there are really, really fierce, Kristie.

STOUT: Now Fred, earlier we just heard from the Egyptian prime minister saying he doesn't know who these pro-government forces are, but from your understanding, your knowledge -- you're there on the ground -- who are they? Are they state sponsored? Are they paid vandals? Or are they street criminals?

PLEITGEN: Ah -- well, that's a very, very good question. I wouldn't say they are street criminals and I wouldn't say that all of these people are insincere -- by the way, they are now retreating even more, there's even more of them fleeing. I wouldn't say that all of these people are insincere.

Now, there were several thousand of them that came here yesterday. And it seemed to us that a lot of them seemed to be government workers. The anti- Mubarak crowd is saying that some of them are actually police officers. They claim that they found some police IDs, which I have yet to see.

The interesting moment I had yesterday, Kristie, is when I was at one of these pro-Mubarak protests is that they were chanting that Mubarak can't step down and that they would shed their blood for Mubarak. And then all of a sudden three of these guys came up to me and told me that they were actually employees of the National Petroleum Company and had been ordered to come there by their bosses. So it does seem as though maybe some of the national companies, some of the ministries might be organizing their people to come here, but certainly at this point the turn-out for the pro-Mubarak side is not very big, and it dwindled last night as well, Kristie.

STOUT: Fred, we've been hearing reports that Egyptian authorities are rounding up foreign reporters in Egypt. Have you been approached? Have any of your colleagues at CNN there on the ground been approached?

PLEITGEN: Certainly, we've all been approached in one way or another. And I wouldn't even say that it's necessarily Egyptian authorities. I'm also hearing some gunfire now again in the streets here, by the way. I don't necessarily think that it's Egyptian authorities. The military, by and large, has been quite fair actually with us. They don't want to be filmed, and they make that very clear, but they haven't ever tried to confiscate any of our stuff. In other places that has been the case. I've had people try to take our camera away from us, try to beat us. We've had one situation where we had to get out of an area very quickly. Of course, we've had other teams where the camera has been taken away and broken. We had another team -- of course, Anderson Cooper team which was roughed up by these -- by the pro-Mubarak protesters as well.

In general you can say that the pro-Mubarak crowd is very, very averse to western media covering this. We've had threats against us. The people clearly don't like this to be on TV. Whereas the anti-Mubarak crowd, they are very welcoming. I was able to make it into Tahrir Square earlier this morning and talk to these people. And they are actually quite welcoming. They try to help you to get in there so that you can report the story.

And there, of course, then you see what's going in there. We saw makeshift clinics where people who are being treated. We talked to doctors in there. We talked to people who had gotten wounded in the battles. But the Mubarak -- the pro-Mubarak crowd is really one where as a western journalist that you could get into very big trouble if you approach these people the wrong way, Kristie -- or even if you approach them at all really.

STOUT: Now, Fred, on our screens we're looking at what's happening in one corner of Tahrir Square, but what is the story outside the square and outside Cairo?

PLEITGEN: Well, outside the square and outside Cairo -- you know, the city and this country has basically been paralyzed over the past week, even more than a week now, and where people are trying to get on with their lives but they really can't: there's no security forces, there's no police in the streets to try and keep law and order, people are having to form these interim militias, arm themselves to try and keep their neighborhood safe from looters, a lot of shops have closed, schools are closed, businesses have closed so really it's a sense of paralysis.

The government is saying that there's been some pro-government protests and that there's been some very peaceful protests at that. That might very well be the case, but certainly there have also been a lot where violence has occurred. But on the whole, Egyptians that I speak to tell me that their life is basically in a standstill right now as right now we are hearing more gun fire. And as you can see, you can see more of those flash bangs here now. Those are basically sort of stun bangs that they fire into the air to try and disrupt the anti-Mubarak crowd. That is a pro-Mubarak crowd firing these flash bangs into the other crowd. It sort of looks a little bit like firecrackers. I'm not sure how much of that you can see seeing that it's daylight. I'm not sure how good the signal is, but right now that's what's going on here, Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, Fred, we -- at least I can't see it where I'm standing here looking at the return monitor, but we can definitely hear it. And thank you for sharing the story with us and telling us what's happening on the ground there Tahrir Square as well as outside throughout Egypt. Fred Pleitgen there.

Now, our CNN correspondents, including Anderson Cooper, they are among the thousands of people caught in Wednesday's violence in Tahrir Square. And he gives us a firsthand account of the very real fight for Egypt's future.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: My cameraman Neil Holdsworth (ph) and my producer Maryanne Fox (ph) and I were heading toward Liberation Square in order to report on both sides of the protests. In order to get there, we had to pass through a crowd of pro-Mubarak protesters.

(on camera): So it looks like the pro-Mubarak crowd has sort of gathered around the Egyptian museum, which is at the -- one of the entrances to Liberation Square. The military has this entire area cordoned off, so they wanted to keep the two sides separate if they are able to. At this point, it looks like the military is just kind of standing by watching what's happening. You can see behind me...

(voice-over): I was shooting this video on my Flip camera so as not to attract too much attention. Suddenly a man jumped out of the crowd and tried to grab Neil's camera. That's when all hell broke loose. People started throwing punches, pushing us around screaming.

We immediately decided to turn around and try to get to a safe location. Several Egyptian men helped us, but still the crowd followed throwing punches.

That man there had a knife in his hand.

We didn't want to run, because we didn't want the crowd to get emboldened thinking we were scared and chase us.

Calm down! Calm down! Hey, hey, calm down. Calm down.

New people kept joining in trying to punch us. We only had a block left to go when another guy came up and punched me in the head.

I've been hit now like 10 times. The Egyptian soldiers -- the Egyptian soldiers are doing nothing. Finally, we reached a safe location.

Where's Leah (ph)? Where's Leah (ph)?

All we were trying to do today was report on both sides of this conflict.

Anderson Cooper, CNN, Cairo.


STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back after the break, but first, a look at the situation in Egypt, in Tahrir Square.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now first a recap of our main story this Thursday out of Egypt. Now we just heard from the Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif who called Wednesday violent clashes a catastrophe and he has pledging a full investigation. The health minister says the violence that we witnessed live on our air in Tahrir Square on Wednesday killed five and injured more than 800. Now protesters are again gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square right now. They are also congregating in numbers in Alexandria, that's Egypt's second largest city.

Now in some area, anti-government demonstrators and Mubarak supporters continue to throw stones at each other. The anti-government side has set up a metal barricade in Tahrir Square. And we will continue to give you news on this developing story as we get it.

Now what is the future of news? You're looking at what Rupert Murdoch hopes is the answer. It's a newspaper that you can only read on tablets like the iPad. Now a subscription to The Daily will cost 99 cents a week. And because it's on tablet, The Daily features plenty of video, animation as well as links to Twitter and Facebook. Well some complain the app feels sluggish. The complaint echoed on, guess where, Twitter.

Now Google has just developed its new version of Android. It's known as Honeycomb. Now the software was designed especially for tablets, but can still power smart phones. Now Google's Matias Duarte.


MATIAS DUARTE, GOOGLE: What we set out to do with Honeycomb was to bring the touch experience to a large screen and make it a complete mobile computing experience. So it's not the same experience that you have on the phone. We're expanding it to be full featured. And that's not just about how long you're using the tablet, but it's also the amount of control you have no matter how connected you are, no matter how many e-mails or tweets you are receiving.


STOUT: And Motorola will launch the first tablet with Honeycomb later this month. Now another from LG is set to release in March. Google's new operating system is taking aim at Apple's iPad. And I spoke with Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg about the iPad and other tech trends.


WALT MOSSBERG, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Among the many other things Apple has done in the last 10 years that have shaken up all kinds of industries, they really are the first company to succeed in making mainstream a success out of the tablet. And, you know, with this whole multi-touch tablet, the iPad sold 15 million units in 9 months, which is pretty amazing. They have 60,000 apps that are just optimized for tablets. So...

STOUT: And corporates are buying them up too.

MOSSBERG: And corporates are buying them. It's -- which, and Apple of course has always disdained selling to corporations. They don't even have a sales force for it. So, that has caused everyone else in the rest of the industry to say we've really got into this. And they are also all afraid that it's begun to eat into laptop sales. People who have iPads are using them instead of their laptops for certain scenarios more and more all the time.

So a whole bunch of companies are doing it. There were 80 tablets shown at the Consumer Electronics Show which I slogged through in Los Vegas last month. And you're going to have an army of tablets that are running Android, you know Google's operating system which competes with Apple on the phone front. They are doing a new version of that designed for tablets. And Motorola will have the first one, but there's going to be a whole bunch of them.

What we have here is a Palm Web OS-based tablet that HP, which now owns Palm, is going to bring out. So that's going to be their entry. Rim, which makes BlackBerries, has a tablet called the PlayBook. So we're going to have a big tablet war in 2011.

STOUT: We have to talk about Microsoft. And Microsoft, a company of sort of pluses and minuses: on one hand you have major hits like Windows, like Office, like the Xbox, and then you have tablets and smart phones, really weak areas. How is the company going to address those weak areas?

MOSSBERG: Well, one point that I think is worth making is that, you know, they are still earning a lot of money from those major hits, but those major hits are -- have been around a long time. And as things move to the cloud, as things move to smart phones and tablets, Windows and Office are threatened. And even Xbox, which is much newer than Windows and Office, is threatened by casual gaming on some of these mobile devices. So, Microsoft has plans in place to do all this, but they are behind just as they were on the phone.

They were three years behind on the phone. They've begun to sell some of this Windows Phone 7 product, but they have a lot of work to do on the super smart phone side. On the tablet side, they are also behind. There are Windows tablets that are going to be shipping, a couple are already shipped. They run Windows 7 just like a Windows 7 laptop. They use stylus. They are kind of not what the ultimate contender would be. And they are mostly being sold into corporations. The companies that make them are privately are not that enthusiastic about it.

The big move Microsoft will make will come in conjunction with Windows 8 or whatever they wind up calling the next version, which as best as I can tell, will have an alternate tablet kind of interface that will be available. And they're going to try to say, here's a tablet that has all of Windows in it and there's no compromises. And I think that's their tablet strategy. And we'll see how it plays out.


STOUT: And just so you know, Walt Mossberg named the iPad the top new product of 2010.

You're watching NEWS STREAM on CNN. Still to come, as Asia welcome in the year of the Rabbit, we'll look at some geeky lunar New Year gifts.


STOUT: Welcome back. Now just a short time ago Egypt's prime minister asked protesters for patience as the government undergoes change. Now he also addressed Wednesday's violent clashes between supporters and foes of President Hosni Mubarak blaming a, quote, "complete disappearance of police and security forces." Now stone throwing between the opposing factions is still continuing in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The government says five people have died, more than 800 are injured. He's also hearing that journalists are being detained and the U.S. has condemned the intimidation of international reporters. We will continue to follow this situation in Egypt. We'll update you in the hours ahead right here on CNN.

Now today is the first day of the lunar New Year. It's considered one of Asia's biggest holidays as millions across the continent welcome in the year of the rabbit. In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has encouraged citizens to breed like their big-eared brethren in order to prevent a plunging population, but here in Hong Kong the emphasis has been on entertaining the young ones you already have.

Now nothing does that better than the annual New Year fair, which branched out from the expected bouquets and bunnies to offer some truly inspired tech toys. Now we can't talk tech without mentioning the popular iPhone app Angry Birds. Well, here we go, some cunning vendors, they have ripped the game large. In fact, using an inflatable bird, and usually comes with a slingshot so you can launch it at your friends in real life.

Now, and how about this, it's an iPhone 4 protective pouch getting to the New Year's spirit, it's called an iRabbit, that's the connection there. But this apparently inflatable case, it has a hold for your camera right here which can really take the bounce out of your bunny.

Now finally, we have this cushion. What's not to like about it? Now perhaps more than anything else at this year's fair, this piece of Facebook furnishing, it got the thumbs up from shoppers.

You can see more from our fair in our Facebook page, just go to

And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. We've got "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is up next.