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'Day of Departure' in Egypt; Egyptian Military: Armed and Pivotal; Queensland Cyclone Cleanup

Aired February 4, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

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


ANJALI RAO, ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Anjali Rao, in Hong Kong.

Thousands gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square on a day protesters hope will be the "Day of Departure" for President Hosni Mubarak.

Australia's flood-hit state of Queensland reels from nature's fury again.

And securing the Super Bowl, how authorities are keep America's biggest sporting event safe.

Well, it's been called the "Day of Departure" in Egypt for embattled president Hosni Mubarak. Anti-government demonstrators have gathered in massive number in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The scene couldn't be more different than it was from yesterday.

Right now it's passionate, but peaceful. A large number of armed soldiers are patrolling the area. There is little sign of President Mubarak's supporters, who set upon the anti-Mubarak demonstrators in past days. Violent clashes ensued. Egypt's Health Ministry says eight people have been killed and nearly 900 injured.

Well, Mr. Mubarak's government has repeatedly said that it is time for protesters to clear out of central Cairo. But Vice President Omar Suleiman says the army will not use force. He talked to ABC's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday about the protesters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, "THIS WEEK WITH CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR": What will you do? Will you give an order?

OMAR SULEIMAN, EGYPTIAN VICE PRESIDENT: We will call them. We will not use any violence against them. But we will ask them to go home. And we'll ask their parents to ask them to come home.

AMANPOUR: But Mr. Suleiman, there are young people and their parents in that square. And they --

SULEIMAN: We will call their grandfathers.

AMANPOUR: And what if they don't leave? How long can you accept their presence in the square?

SULEIMAN: Unfortunately, there's a big pressure on them to stay.

AMANPOUR: Just to make it clear, you will not order the military to evacuate them from the square?

SULEIMAN: We will ask them to go home, but we will not push them to go home.

AMANPOUR: Never?

SULEIMAN: No way. No way. And I hope that they will recognize that they are not doing well for the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAO: But demonstrators say they are just happy (ph) not to leave until the president does.

Ivan Watson is watching the scene in Tahrir Square.

Ivan, in the past few days it's just been this feeling of tension and a rather sinister sort of sentiment. Today, it's totally different. It's rather a holiday atmosphere.

What accounts for that?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Not just a feeling of tension, but out-and-out bloody conflict, Anjali, in this very same square that we're showing you right now.

What's remarkable is that this was the scene of a bloody siege really up until early -- before dawn this morning, where you had combatants on the opposition side manning barricades and engaging in running street battles with pro-regime supporters. And about sunrise this morning, the pro-regime supporters disappeared, and now you have this massive gathering of people in a peaceful political rally that is quite joyous, festive, at the end of the day, despite the fact that there are many men walking around here bandaged and wounded from the battles that had been taking place here up until dawn this morning -- Anjali.

RAO: One of the people in that massive crowd is the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa. What does it say, that he is there?

WATSON: Well, he is one of the names that when I ask people here, who could potentially replace Hosni Mubarak, who could be the next president of this country after 30 years of rule by Hosni Mubarak, that is perhaps the first name that comes to mind, this popular former foreign minister and head of the Arab League. Another name that some people have mentioned, Mohamed ElBaradei, who visited this place several days ago, before the actual conflict erupted on Wednesday afternoon.

But to be fair, I don't think there is a concrete replacement in mind right now. You have different political parties, different agendas, different ideologies gathered here. They seem to be united on one front, and that is something they've been demanding for more than a week here, the ouster, the removal of Hosni Mubarak.

RAO: Yes. And this is being called the "Day of Departure," because that's what demonstrators say that they're giving him, until late today to vacate his position.

Any indication that Hosni Mubarak is any closer to actually doing that?

WATSON: Difficult to say. He did give an interview to the American news network ABC, and in that he said he was tired of his job, but that he would complete his term to prevent the possibility of chaos erupting here.

However, I think it's quite fair to say that you've had some -- close to civil war around this very same square for two days and two nights taking place. He was not able to prevent that from occurring, and, in fact, many of the opposition demonstrators here would argue that the very regime, the same regime, had a hand in organizing the violence and the attacks on what had been for days peaceful protests.

RAO: It must feel very strange, indeed, to you, Ivan, to be witnessing such a sea change in the atmosphere there. Good to talk to you.

Ivan Watson there on the phone from Cairo.

So let's remind you right now where this is all happening.

It is a small area in the heart of Cairo. The anti-government camp is in Tahrir Square. Demonstrations started there on January the 25th.

Now, in the area highlighted in red, it spread into the surrounding streets. President Mubarak's supporters were located over here, in the area that you see there shaded in blue. But as we have noted, they are absent today. Intense fighting between the two groups happened in between the two here around the Egypt Museum.

Now, one key player in the fight for Egypt's future has so far largely failed to take sides. That is the Egyptian military, a robust and respected force that could yet decide the fate of President Mubarak.

Jim Clancy explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While army tanks have been very visible on the streets of Cairo, soldiers have largely stayed out of the fray during the protests. But their support could make or break Mubarak's presidency.

Keep in mind, all four Egyptian presidents since the 1950s have come from Egypt's military. Hosni Mubarak himself is the former commander of the Egyptian air force. The country has more than 468,000 active personnel -- that's army, navy, air force and paramilitary troops -- with reserves of 479,000 more men.

It's the army that considers itself the guarantor of national stability, and the military is held in high regard by many ordinary Egyptians. Egypt's armed forces rely on conscription, which means all Egyptian men are required to serve in the military starting at the age of 18 for anywhere from one to three years, followed by nine years of reserve duty. But morale within the armed forces is said by analysts to be generally good, largely as a result of the higher standards of living for troops compared to the average Egyptian.

The U.S. has close ties with Egypt's military. Egypt, a key member of the coalition that helped liberate Kuwait in the first Gulf War. The two countries have held numerous joint missions, and hundreds of Egyptian officers study every year at U.S. military colleges.

Perhaps more importantly, the U.S. provides more than $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt every year. That has helped to pay for thousands of fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, and other equipment.

The question now is, what influence, if any, does the U.S. hold with Egypt's military? Ultimately, will Egypt's armed forces come down on Mubarak's side, or against him? Where they stand may ultimately decide Egypt's future.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAO: Well, the U.S. influence on Egypt stretches far beyond military matters. Politicians in Washington are pushing all sides in the standoff to begin the orderly transition to democracy. But the path to a new Egypt is littered with obstacles.

Kate Bolduan joins me live from Washington -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anjali.

Well, the White House and the Obama administration, they're really starting to turn up the pressure, albeit carefully. Of course, we're talking about mincing words, and they're being very careful and calculated whenever they come out with their message.

I'm told by a senior administration official that at the moment, there is not one specific plane, one specific proposal that the White House is pushing for the Egyptian government to take on to make this orderly transition of power actually happen. Rather, the national security spokesman, Tommy Vietor, told me just last night that they are actually, he said, talking with Egyptians about a variety of different ways to get this process moving forward. And, of course, reiterating and emphasizing the message that we've heard over and over again, that all of the decisions, the future of Egypt are in the hands of the Egyptian people, and those decisions need to be made by the Egyptian people.

But we are seeing very carefully, very calculated ways that the White House is kind of ramping up the pressure. They still publicly, Anjali, are not coming out to call on President Mubarak to step down, but they are, in their own way, walking the fine line of trying to get him to transition out, kind of get out of the way sooner, rather than later, so that this transitional government can get into place and, they hope, make some democratic reforms. But it seems right now the sticky position is, is getting all of the parties together at the negotiating table to get this dialogue long. It seems that that is being slow to start at best -- Anjali.

RAO: You speak of them ratcheting up the pressure on Egypt, Kate. How exactly are they doing that?

BOLDUAN: It seems that a lot of it is behind closed doors. It's a lot of the conversations that are going on. I'm told there are high-level conversations going on between U.S. and Egyptian officials.

Just yesterday, Vice President Biden spoke with his now counterpart, the vice president Omar Suleiman of Egypt, and got a readout of the phone call. And he said, in part, that Vice President Biden urged that credible, inclusive negotiations begin immediately in order for Egypt to transition to a democratic government that addresses the aspirations of the Egyptian people. That kind of emphasizes a lot of what we're talking about here.

We know that the priorities that this administration is trying to point out to the Egyptian government right now is, one, that they make a clear and concrete announcement about this transition, transitional government, this transition of power. And also, to stop the violence.

We've been hearing a lot of that, a lot of condemning, of deploring the violence that we've been seeing in the past couple of days. Those are the two priorities that we're hearing. But again, a lot of conversations going on. Where this process goes we're all kind of watching to see -- Anjali.

RAO: That we are, Kate. Thank you very much indeed for the update.

Of course we are keeping right across all the facets of the situation in Egypt for you.

Coming up next though on NEWS STREAM, it was the most powerful cyclone to hit Australia in a century, but Queensland is counting its blessings in Yasi's wake.

And in a sport that bares it all, how can you possibly get away with cheating? Well, you can't. Japan's sumo confessions are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAO: We are keeping an eye on the massive demonstration taking place right now in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The anti-government protests has felt almost festive at times with dancing and cheering. It is a sharp contrast to the violence of the last two days.

Egyptian state media report Amr Moussa has joined the crowd. He is the Arab League's secretary-general and a veteran Egyptian diplomat.

Meanwhile, the crackdown on journalists has continued. The Al Jazeera network says its office in Cairo has been raided by "thugs."

Now, residents in the Australian state of Queensland are assessing the damage caused by Cyclone Yasi. So far, the authorities are reporting no deaths or injuries from the Category 5 storm.

Mark Burrows of Australia's 9 News reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK BURROWS, NINE NETWORK (voice-over): Floodwaters in Ingham, devastation in Cardwell and Port Hinchinbrook as more damage is spotted from the air. The first casualty of Yasi was confirmed.

A 23-year-old man from a town south of Ingham suffocated by fumes from a generator.

ANNA BLIGH, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: He was sheltering during the cyclone in a closed room, but using a generator for power. This is a dangerous thing to do.

BURROWS: The power is out to 150,000 properties. Seven thousand people in evacuation centers are the ones with nowhere to go.

For the second time this year, the PM took an aerial tour of a Queensland disaster zone. Stopping at Innisfail, Julia Gillard visited a disaster management center, greeting the locals.

If there is a cleanup to be done, the troops move in. The biggest domestic deployment of the army in 30 years.

JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: A very big thank you for all of the work that you're doing. I know you've put in a couple of very intensive battles already to make a difference.

BURROWS: Before Cyclone Yasi, this was Port Hinchinbrook, the dream of Queensland businessman Keith Williams (ph). He poured his soul and millions into the marina and surrounding homes. Yasi took an hour to destroy it.

KEITH WILLIAMS (ph), BUSINESSMAN: Very hard to see, very noisy, and scary when the boats started coming up.

BURROWS: Before (INAUDIBLE) surge rushed in, boats -- some weighing 60 tons -- were picked up and tossed onto the shore and into homes.

We were there as Ellen Lever (ph) and her husband came down to inspect their 40-foot pride and joy.

(on camera): What was your reaction when you saw your boat, when you saw it for the first time?

ELLEN LEVER (ph), BOAT OWNER: We were so thrilled, because -- I'm getting emotional -- thrilled because it was still in one piece, because we love the boat.

BURROWS: It's easy to dismiss all these boats as the play things of the rich and fortunate, but, in fact, many couples had spent a lifetime saving up for these boats, and were planning to spend their retirement on them and cruise the outer islands. For so many, they weren't just boats. They were homes.

(voice-over): The Starbor (ph) family were sheltering in an upstairs bedroom when they saw the flotilla tumbling and rolling towards them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God. We're lucky to be alive.

BURROWS: Many boats are write-offs, many are at the bottom of the harbor. Yasi will be a dirty word around Port Hinchinbrook for years to come.

(on camera): Mother Nature, hey?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mother Nature, mate. Yes, she was a good one.

BURROWS (voice-over): Roadblocks are still holding traffic around the area that's being called Yasi's Ground Zero. Trucks line up to the north and south.

Joining the queue, those who evacuated their homes and are now trying to return to see if anything is left.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We threw stuff in the car when we left, but this may be all we've got left. We don't know. You know, it could be all gone. But we have no idea because we can't get through.

BURROWS: In Port Hinchinbrook, Mark Burrows, Nine News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(WEATHER REPORT)

RAO: Still to come here in NEWS STREAM, big men, bigger troubles. The sport of sumo is rocked by a match-fixing scandal. Stay tuned for the details.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAO: Getting you right up to speed now on the latest developments in Cairo.

Anti-government protesters have dubbed in "Farewell Friday." You can see their demands on signs like this in Tahrir Square.

Well, they want President Hosni Mubarak to leave power now. His supporters are largely ousted from a large protest in Tahrir Square today.

The military presence in the area has been significantly stepped up, and so far the rally has been peaceful. There are also protests in Suez and Alexandria. An anti-government official says a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at state security headquarters in a town on the Sinai Peninsula, sparking a fire but no injuries.

Mr. Mubarak says he cannot step down right now because he fears there will be chaos in Egypt.

Well, we turn now to Japan. And the country's most famous sport has been rocked by scandal that could shatter its treasured reputation. In what the government has described as an act of betrayal, three sumo wrestlers have reportedly admitted to involvement in match-fixing.

Kyung Lah reports on a very modern problem hitting a very ancient sport.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The scandal is rocking Japan's sumo world to its very core, the allegation some of the matches were not sport at all, but rigged.

"Three sumo wrestlers have admitted to match-fixing," announced Japan's minister who oversees sumo, saying publicly what had been rumored for years in Japan's national sport. Leaked text messages widely reported in Japanese media added fuel to the fire. In one exchange between two wrestlers, "Hit hard at the face-off. Go with the flow."

The reply, "OK with the flow. I'll put up a little resistance."

And another text, "When you charge Sumo X, lose."

And in another, "Can you give me a game? If not, I would like to have $200,000 back." The reply, "Sure."

The Japan Sumo Association apologized to its fans and pledged to vigorously investigate the text messages, but would not confirm the allegations of match-fixing.

Japan's prime minister expressed anger on the parliament floor.

"Sumo is our national sport," says Prime Minister Kan. "If match-fixing has occurred, it is a very serious betrayal of the people."

This is the latest black eye on an already stained sport. In 2008, police arrested a stable master and three sumo wrestlers for the hazing death of a 17-year-old trainee. The wrestlers pled guilty. The stable master was sentenced to six years.

Last year, police investigated wrestlers in an illegal baseball gambling ring connected to Japan's mob.

(on camera): But match-fixing allegations? They cut to the very core of the 1,500-year-old sport. So, deeply aligned with Japan's culture.

Lawmakers say a possible penalty, yanking the official public status of the Japan Sumo Association. Symbolically, that would mean sumo would no longer be Japan's national sport.

(voice-over): But more dire could be the impact on sumo fans.

"The should punish them harshly," says this sumo fan, expressing disgust.

In recent years, the sport has struggled to keep the stands full. Losing even more fans now could prove to be a blow not just to the ancient sport's image, but its very future.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAO: You are watching NEWS STREAM here on CNN.

Anti-government protesters in Cairo declare it the "Day of Departure." Will Egypt's president give in to the pressure? We'll have the latest from Tahrir Square.

And there could be a tiny ray of hope for job seekers in the U.S., but the unemployment rate is still expected to climb. January's jobs figures will be out soon.

Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAO: I'm Anjali Rao in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your headlines.

Music, dancing and thousands of voices chanting "he leaves, we don't leave" that's the scene in the center of Cairo right now. But who will actually leave on this so-called day of departure, that remains to be seen. Thousands of anti-government protesters are packed into Tahrir Square. The plan was to march to the presidential palace to tell President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately, but it's not clear is a march will actually happen.

Residents in the Australian state of Queensland are cleaning up and assessing the damage caused by Cyclone Yasi. So far the authorities are reporting no deaths or injuries from the category 5 storm. It said (ph) most of the larger cities, but it's still not clear how much damage was done in rural areas.

And in an extremely close vote, the Italian parliament has ruled that prosecutors cannot search the home of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Prosecutors had asked for the search to build their case that Mr. Berlusconi paid for sex with a minor. Because he is a member of parliament, the Italian prime minister has partial immunity which is why investigators had to ask for parliament's consent to carry out the search.

Well, this was the scene above Hong Kong Harbor a short time ago when more than 30,000 pyrotechnic shells were launched from barges. The city is celebrating the lunar New Year, the year of the rabbit. One of the highlights was a rabbit shaped firework.

Let's get an update now on our main story from Egypt where tens of thousands have again gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square after Friday prayers. Fred Pleitgen joins me now live from the Egyptian Capital. Just paint the picture for us, Fred.

FREDRIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anjali. Well, it's a very peaceful picture. I was just down on Tahrir Square and you're right, I mean it is literally tens of thousands who are there. And over one of the bridges over the Nile there is actually more people who keep coming in. There's quite a few at these security checkpoints, because security is actually still pretty tight. It's security that's actually done by the protesters. And you have to go through about six security checks before you're actually allowed to go on the square. And then on the square you have a lot of people chanting, you have a lot of people who are actually sort of conducting little picnics. And it really is a very peaceful atmosphere.

It's also interesting to see how a lot of people are bringing food that they hand out. You know, it's sort of a little food that they hand out to everyone and therefore everyone has something to eat. There's enough medical supplies. So right now it's a very peaceful atmosphere, and I think one of the reasons for that, Anjali, is also the fact that the military has massively increased its presence around the square. They've pretty much cordoned off large parts of the area, or almost all of the area where we've been seeing those raging street battles over the past couple of years -- past couple of days, I should say, sorry, but now those are in the hands of the military.

And also, we have word that apparently, these are also sort of more elite soldiers than we've seen here in the past. I'm told that some of them are actually Egyptian airborne soldiers who are more assertive and obviously really have the situation under control around Tahrir Square, Anjali.

RAO: So say that today's day of departure actually does come to past, Fred, that Mubarak leaves his position and a new order is imposed. That doesn't necessarily mean that people's day to day lives are going to change, right?

PLEITGEN: No, it certainly doesn't. And I don't think that most people believe that they will -- you know, they obviously are looking for a fundamental change and they realize that it would take a long time for that to actually to materialize. And obviously one of the things that many of these people, I wouldn't say are concerned about it, but are well aware of is the fact that there isn't really any sort of figure to take the place of Hosni Mubarak if in fact he does step down. I mean, people on the square are telling me they don't like Vice President Omar Suleiman either, but it's really difficult to find someone who would step into the void.

And I actually spoke to one of the guys who sort of -- he sort of semi-organizing a lot of the things that are going on, on the square: he's organizing the makeshift hospital and also a lot of the demonstrations. And he told me that people keep wanting him to step up and to sort of become the face of all of this, but he just doesn't want to do it. He says he's not the person to do that. He's happy to be one of these organizers, but he does not want to become the face of this protest. And it looks like a lot of people are feeling the same way. And that's why this is still a very sort of diffuse, a very faceless protest simply of a lot of people, more of an issue campaign than anything else, Anjali.

RAO: The focus is very much been on this square -- Tahrir Square. What's happening in other parts of Cairo?

PLEITGEN: Well, we're hearing that there is some pro-government demos in other places, but we've not been able to verify that at this point. Apparently the state media is reporting it. I'm not sure how big those are, how many people are showing up there or how well organized that is. Otherwise, you know, on a Friday things are fairly quiet. There still is a lot of issues, of course, for the people because there isn't anything in the way of security forces on the street, so a lot of these people are having to stay up at night to try and defend their property, trying to defend their neighborhoods. That's something that we've seen since the early stages.

Right now this whole country, really, is one that's on lockdown where you know there's no school, there's no -- a lot of the shops are closed. So a lot of people that we've been speaking to outside of Tahrir Square here say they would also like to have their lives back, Anjali.

RAO: Fred, good to talk to you. Thank you very much indeed for that. Fred Pleitgen there.

Now, anti-government demonstrators have also gathered in Alexandria. Let's get the latest now from Nic Robertson. He is live for us. Nic, what's happening where you are?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anjali very, very loud -- large and loud crowds here in Alexandria. Twenty to maybe 35,000 people on the streets, hard to put an exact figure to it because the protests has gathered inside, gathered in the (inaudible), marching slowly, slowly through the streets of the center of Alexandria. It has been peaceful. They are calling for the ouster of President Mubarak saying it's time to go. They are saying that we should stay united in our voice. Even today, we haven't seen this before, we had cars, even buses some strewn with banners joining the protests. There have been trucks with loud speakers systems in the trucks blasting out nationalist type songs, songs that are popular -- free-President Mubarak, very sort of nationalist, but in Egypt songs, sort of symbol of the unity of the people here.

Before these marches moved off, the demonstrators have gathered at a mosque in the center of Alexandria here. And the imam there has told them not to trust what the government is offering now, to call for the overthrow of the regime, to tell them that they are all united that they're not there representing a religion, or a political party, but they are just representing their thoughts and feelings to remove President Mubarak. So this clear effort to unify the message, give the people a unified face of demands and to keep the crowds here who have seen disparate aspirations beyond the removal of President Mubarak, to keep them all united.

And what we're looking at now is the large group of the protesters in the center of Alexandria stopped in prayer. They literally, thousands upon thousands of people, stopped in the streets to kneel down in prayer as part of their protest here.

But it's been very peaceful and very sort of slow moving through the center of the city here -- Anjali.

RAO: Has there been any sighting at all of any pro-Mubarak contingents where you are?

ROBERTSON: There has been one or two people sprinkled through the crowd, but security among the main body of demonstrators -- the anti- Mubarak demonstrators here -- has been tight, it's been self-regulated around the mosque. Earlier people were having their bags searched to make sure they didn't have weapons when they were approaching the mosque, which was sort of the central collection point. Now it's a little -- you know the demonstration is large people are sort of coming and going from the edges. There's less a sense of sort of security, more something sort of akin to almost celebration -- not quite celebration, because of the very strong demands that they are making, but it is a more relaxed feel. I'm looking at somebody down on the street there selling bags of sweets to the crowd from a large collection of bags held on a large stick over his shoulder.

So it sort of gives you the sense that this is more of a celebration. This crowd at this moment doesn't feel under threat, doesn't appear to feel under direct threat from anti-Mubarak supporters of whom there have only been one or two seen or heard from around here this morning, Anjali.

RAO: Nic, good to get the picture from you in Alexandria. Nic Robertson there.

Now Pierce Morgan will have a full hour on the uprising in Egypt. That's at 9:00 pm Eastern in the U.S., 10:00 in the morning in Hong Kong and 6:00 in Abu Dhabi. It is only here on CNN.

Now the U.S. government has just released its highly anticipated monthly jobs report. The economy added 36,000 jobs in January compared to 103,000 in December, that's fewer than Wall Street expected. Still, the unemployment rate fell to 9 percent. And we shall have more analysis on those figures for you a little bit later in the show.

Well, next here on News Stream, watching the terror (ph) at America's biggest sporting event, we take a look at security preparations for Sunday's Super Bowl.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAO: Let's give you an update now on events taking place in Egypt. The tagline for Friday was the "day of departure" suggesting protesters would step up efforts to force President Mubarak into stepping down. The reality has so far proven rather less dramatic. Anti-government demonstrators have gathered in massive number in Cairo's Tahrir Square, but the scene is one of peaceful protest. Many armed soldiers are patrolling the area, but there is little or no sign of President Mubarak supporters who set upon the anti-Mubarak demonstrators in past days. Al Jazeera television says its Cairo bureau was raided and ransacked in recent hours.

Sunday brings the biggest day of the U.S. sports calendar: the Super Bowl. It also brings a super headache to those in charge of security at American football's championship game. Jeanne Meserve sneaks a peek at their game plan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Sunday, 100,000 people will be in this stadium, 110 million people watching around the world, and that could make this a very tempting terrorist target.

Nipping out danger: security is a critical part of this Super Bowl and an integral part of this stadium.

And I wonder if in building this stadium you were thinking about that?

JERRY JONES, DALLAS COWBOYS OWNER: Well, yes. As a matter of fact all...

MESERVE: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent millions on security features including vantage points for law enforcement sharpshooters.

JONES: We've got a lot of place for snipers in here.

MESERVE: Multiple entrances allow faster screening and faster evacuation if needed. And surveillance cameras record virtually every inch of the venue. But more, much more is being brought to bear. Special radiological detection teams like this will be seeking out threats like dirty bombs.

DEBBIE WILBER, NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: There were 10 hits at last year's Super Bowl, all of them were determined to be medical isotopes.

MESERVE: When it comes to security, preparing for the game looks a lot like preparing for a war with specialized equipment and personnel from all over the country on hand to detect and deal with a wide variety of possible threats.

And on game day, airspace within a 30 mile radius of the stadium will be tightly restricted, patrolled by NORAD fighters.

What's the price tag?

MILT AHLERICH, NFL SECURITY: Well, we probably can't put an exact figure on that, because it's a little hard to define what an F-18 costs protecting the skies, but it's over $10 million I would say when it's all said and done. And from our side alone, it's $5 million.

MESERVE: There is no specific credible threat to the game, officials say, but the Tucson shootings and a rash of homegrown terror events are very much on officials' minds.

JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: And that's one of the reasons why we have the "if you see something say something" campaign, because we want everybody to be part of our security, there's a shared responsibility.

MERSERVE: That message is being spread well beyond the stadium. But despite all the preparation and precautions, officials admit they are still on edge.

What's your biggest worry?

JAMES SPILLER, CHIEF, DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT POLICE: You know, the biggest concern always is that people see something and don't say anything.

MESERVE: Organizers are trying to strike a balance. They want security to be visible enough that it's a deterrent but not so visible that it makes this less of a party.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, on the field at Cowboys Stadium.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAO: Well, the two best teams in American football will fight it out on Sunday, there was a titanic clash in the NBA on Thursday. Kate Giles has more on that -- Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right Anjali. Just a huge, huge game in the NBA last night as you said. They are the two-time defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers who were hosting the NBA's best team right now, that is the San Antonio Spurs. Let's give you a quick look at how this one played out.

Here Gary McNeil making the circus shot to beat the buzzer. That was the end of the first. What a shot that he made, behind the back in fact, when he flipped it in. The Spurs are four up.

All right, now into the fourth. The Lakers are still down four with just over a minute remaining at this point, but Lamar Odom brings the three there to bring L.A. within one.

Now, 4.8 seconds remaining, the Spurs Tim Duncan gets the inbound pass, the fade away jumper he misses, but Antonio McDyess tips it in and beats the buzzer. The Spurs win and make a huge statement with it, 89-88 was the score.

Well that really was the Lakers' chance to get a signature victory, which frankly they needed. They are now 4-5 in their last games. And significantly, they are 1-6 against the top five teams in the NBA. Right now they trail Spurs by 7.5 games in the western conference. And now they head on a seven game road trip.

All right, next game: the Magic and the Heat. Orlando has taken quite (inaudible) Miami in the offseason. The Magic's Dwight Howard mocking LeBron James' pre-game ritual. There's no loved lost in this one. But, well you have to say, an angry LeBron is not what you want on the other of the court: 23 points for him in the first quarter.

Orlando then making a bit of a comeback in the fourth quarter, and they are only down by six. But LeBron really was at his finest and his most ferocious. LeBron scored 51 points, made 11 rebounds and 8 assists. And that would be his ninth career 50 point game. And remember, of course, this is not just any game, this is a road game against a division rival and championship contender with the 4th best defense in the league. A really big performance there from James. The Heat win it 104-100.

All right, in football, a new era is dawning at Liverpool Football Club. The bad taste may well still linger in the mouths of many Liverpool fans after the departure of their fallen hero Fernando Torres, but there wasn't a glimpse of doom and gloom at Anfield on Thursday. Liverpool really are trying to look on the bright side. OK, they may well have lost a once celebrant (ph), but recently disgruntled Fernando Torres, but in his place are two young, hungry and talented strikers Andy Carroll and the Luis Suarez.

Now the pressure really is on those two. Carroll cost a staggering $56.8 million. That makes him one of the top 10 most expensive players of all-time, certainly not bad for a 22-year-old in his first full season in the Premiere League and who is currently injured. The Uruguayan international Suarez cost $37 million. And that has already started to pay dividends for the club. The 24-year-old scored on his Liverpool debut. That was in the 2-nil win over Stoke on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNY DAGLISH, LIVERPOOL MANAGER: The two are fantastic footballers and they're young. Luis came on last night, gives a lot of example of what we can expect to see. Andy's yet to be given the chance to do that, but at 21 years of age, 22 years of age, he's got fantastic offense. He's already part of England's squad and an (inaudible) fellows, he's a fantastic get (ph) and he's the best person (inaudible).

ANDY CARROLL, LIVERPOOL STRIKER: It was a lot of money. (inaudible) do what I need to do to prove that the money was worth it really. I mean, I'm here to score goals and create chances for the team and that's what I'm doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GILES: Now just how badly the Liverpool fans feel about Fernando Torres leaving is going to come very clear on Sunday, that's when Liverpool his old club plays Chelsea his new club, Anjali. And we'll have to say, I would not want to be in his shoes, not unless you have some kind of protective clothing and ear plugs I think.

RAO: Honestly, absolutely right -- couldn't have said it better. Kate Giles, thank you.

Still to come here on News Stream, Wall Street is busy analyzing the state of job lines in the U.S. We shall have the latest January figures for you.

And counting down to Super Bowl Sunday is the big day for what happens on the field will only be part of the story.

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RAO: We are continuing to keep an eye on the massive demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The anti-government protests felt almost festive at times with dancing and cheering. It is a sharp contrast to the violence of the last two days. Egyptian state media reports that the Arab League secretary general Amr Moussah has joined the crowd. The President Mubarak supporters have largely stayed away. And the al Jazeera network reports its office in Cairo has been raided by what it calls thugs.

So Wall Street investors are digesting the latest U.S. unemployment figures. Let's go over the numbers with Carter Evans. He joins us live from the NASDAQ in New York.

Carter, what have you heard?

CARTER EVANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anjali, well you know what, the analysts were way off this time. They were predicting that we would see an addition of 150,000 jobs in January and that the unemployment rate here in this country would tick up to 9.5%. The actual number was a lot lower. We added 36,000 jobs and the unemployment rate went down to 9%. So what's going on here?

Well, a lot of analysts right now are saying don't pay any attention to these numbers, because the awful winter weather that we've been having in this country in January had a big impact. The winter weather is the wild card here. In this country, you are not counted in the unemployment rate if you are not looking for a job. There are two conditions: you've got to unemployed and you've got to be looking for work. The winter weather was so bad across most of this country in January that a lot of people simply could not get out to look for work. That could be why the unemployment rate ticked down.

January -- by the way, also notoriously a bad month for the jobs picture in this country, but again, the winter weather playing the biggest factor in this. And a lot analysts today saying don't pay too much attention to it.

We saw the futures dive initially. They are pulling back a little bit now as investors begin to digest this information and add up all the details. Back to you.

RAO: Yeah, we're to get lots more on this on World Business Today at the top of the hour. Carter, for now, thanks very much indeed.

So American football fans are counting down to the highlight of the NFL season. The Pittsburgh Steelers will meet that Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. But as Jeanne Moos reports, to many viewers the real highlight is what goes on during the commercial breaks.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Forget Roethlisberger and Rodgers, the up and coming stars of the Super Bowl could be a pug, a beaver, a pint- sized Darth Vader, maybe even Adam and Eve. Most advertisers spend a bundle making professional commercials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the paws of clairvoyant woodland creature...

MOOS: Bridgestone Tires used a real beaver and a stunt beaver. But there will also be a half dozen homemade Super Bowl commercials -- Doritos and Pepsi Max asked folks to make their own ads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, babe, check this out.

MOOS: J.R. Birmingham (ph) created "pug attack."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always thought pugs running in slow motion was funny.

MOOS: So he borrowed a friend's pug.

There were over 5600 entries competing for cash and exposure. The sauna wasn't a finalist. Adam and Eve was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Different take on an old story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nah, I'm good.

MOOS: Some aspiring ad makers had the same creative concept for instance, the chip on the butt. Neither of those made the finals. But one called the best part did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You left the best part.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm pretty sure that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mmm, cheese.

MOOS: OK, that isn't as cute as say, Volkswagen's Super Bowl spot featuring a miniature Darth Vader who finally gets the force to work when his dad gives him a hand.

In the days leading up to the game some advertisers even release trailers for their commercials. For instance, the tale of a scorpion and the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales is to be continued. Ditto for another Bridgestone Tire ad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rod, you sent this e-mail reply all. You hit replay all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!

MOOS: But those are created by agencies. The amateurs stand to win up to a million bucks if their homemade ads make it to the top of the USA Today ad meter.

Now, if I were a betting girl, I'd put my chips on the pug.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, don't hurt my dog.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAO: Well, Jeanne may not be a betting girl, but Super Bowl is famed for football fans putting their money down. And why bet on the game outcome when you can bet on commercials, commentators, or costumes? Well, let's look at some options shall we?

Now to the famous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, bets are being taken on what Fergie from the Black-eyed Peas will wear during the half- time show. I'm betting not very much.

So here's another for you, Brett Favre was the last quarterback to lead the Packers to the Super Bowl. You can bet on how many times the commentators mention his name. Probably not as many times as the tabloids have lately, though.

And how long will it take Christina Aguilera to sing the National Anthem? The bets suggest it will take her more than 1:54. I'm betting that with all those vocal gymnastics she's got, it will take her at least that long to sing the last note.

And that is News Stream. But the news continues here on CNN. World Business Today with Manisha Tank, Maggie Lake and Charles Hodson is up next.

END