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Egypt Unrest: Day 16; Secret Detentions in Egypt; Silvio Berlusconi to Face Court?

Aired February 9, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

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


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Sixteen days on, and more protesters are still turning out in central Cairo.

Authorities say Toyota's electronics are not to blame for a problem that led to crashes in the U.S. and millions of recalls.

And Tiger talks. The fallen golf star talks to CNN about the year ahead.

Now, staying strong. A large crowd occupies central Cairo as demonstrators show their dedication to ousting President Hosni Mubarak from power.

Now, tents and tanks sit in Tahrir Square, but according to state media, Egypt's vice president says demonstrators are being disrespectful by calling for Mr. Mubarak's departure.

Now, the largest crowd in days turned up on Tuesday, and some have been gathered outside of parliament. That group outside the government building is digging in. Protesters have put up blockades on a nearby street.

Frederik Pleitgen joins us live from Cairo.

And Fred, the protest movement, is it growing? Is it gaining momentum?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly appears that way, Kristie. I mean, from what we're seeing right now on Tahrir Square, it doesn't appear as though the crowd is as big as it was yesterday. However, it is still substantial, and there's a lot more people who were actually camping out on the square. And they're really sort of making those tents and those tarhullens (ph) bigger by the day.

So it really looks as though more and more people are in it for the long haul.

And the other interesting thing that I just found walking over the square just a couple of minutes ago is that it appears as though more and more people from outside Cairo are actually joining the protests. I've spoken to some people who say they've traveled 200 to 300 kilometers to make it here and to protest.

And the third thing that's very interesting as well, Kristie, is that more and more families with children seem to be showing up. Now, the reason for that, many tell us, is that they now feel that it's actually safe to stay here.

Remember, we had a lot of violence, of course, last week, as pro-and-anti- Mubarak protesters were clashing. That's not been the case for the past couple of days. And so it appears as though many, many people now feel that it's actually safe to come here than it was before. And that really is drawing some very, very large crowds, and that, again, of course, is galvanizing the movement.

So, yes, Kristie, from our vantage point, it does indeed appear to be gaining momentum rather than losing it -- Kristie.

STOUT: Fred, I wanted to ask you about reaction from the United States. Now, here is a readout of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's phone call he made to the Egyptian vice president done up in a word cloud. And as you can see, one word in particular looms larger -- "immediate" and "immediately," as well as "opposition," as it talking to the opposition.

Now, Biden, he asked for the immediate end of arrests, immediate end of detention of journalists, and immediate end between (ph) emergency law.

He wants immediate action. But will Mubarak's government be forced to act? What is the likely response?

PLEITGEN: It doesn't look as though they'll feel like they're forced to act at all. I mean, from what we're hearing from the Mubarak government, they're still saying that they want Hosni Mubarak to stay in power.

The vice president has even said that he fears the danger of a coup of Hosni Mubarak stands down. That's certainly something that the government has been saying again and again. And quite frankly, we've been talking to some of the opposition parties who are among the talks between the Mubarak government and the opposition, and they say at this point in time, the talks are going absolutely nowhere, the government is being absolutely hard-lined in saying that Hosni Mubarak is staying in power.

And the other thing, Kristie, that we have to take into account in all of this, even though we have negotiations between the Mubarak government and established opposition parties, none of those represents the people down there. And a lot of the people down there say right now, their one single issue is Hosni Mubarak must stand down. Afterwards, they'll see what happens next.

So, at this point, there appears to be a deadlock, but on the key issue of the future of Hosni Mubarak, there's absolutely no movement whatsoever -- Kristie.

STOUT: OK. No movement whatsoever. On the face of it, it seems that Hosni Mubarak just wants to wait out the protest movement.

What is the toll then on Egypt? The longer this drags on, what impact will this have on the economy and on the people of Egypt

PLEITGEN: Oh, a massive toll. I mean, quite frankly, a large part of the country here is still paralyzed. I mean, a lot of people aren't able to go to work. A lot of children aren't able to go to school.

I mean, when you look at Cairo these days, you see that some people are sort of trying to pick up and restart their lives again. The traffic is picking up. Some stores are reopening. But key industries are just absolutely on the ground.

I mean, if you look at the tourism industry, for instance, I talked to one executive of an investment firm that has massive investments in tourism, and they said the hotels in this country went from being booked 90 to 100 percent to 10 to 20 percent. And that's across the board.

We've talked to people who have camels in Giza, and they say they've had no business for days. The pyramids are locked up and there's tanks in front of them.

So, at this point in time, it's costing the country a great deal financially. And also, of course, in the long term, the country's reputation is at stake, and it really is up in the air of when Egypt will be able to reestablish itself not just in tourism, but also for other foreign investors who want to do business here -- Kristie.

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

Fred Pleitgen, joining us live from Cairo.

Fresh faces are turning up in Tahrir Square as the protest movement gets a shot of new energy. Our Ben Wedeman explains what brought the latest batch of demonstrators into the streets on Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Hang in there," the reception line sings, "freedom is being born." This is how they welcome newcomers to Tahrir Square on yet another day aimed at keeping up the pressure on the Mubarak regime.

The square was packed, many coming for the first time.

DALIA, PROTESTER: I came today for the first time because I felt like I've been already too late to participate in these protests. And I think like nothing will make this regime go unless we keep on coming and keep on coming.

WEDEMAN: "I came to join the people in this revolution," says Ahmed (ph), a pharmacist who traveled from Upper Egypt. "It's always been my dream and the dream of every Egyptian to live this moment of liberation.

They say, "Mubarak, wake up. This is your last day." But they've been saying it for days now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are just fed up. We're really fed up. Get out of here now. It's our order.

WEDEMAN: But President Mubarak isn't taking orders. In fact, the government is striking back with a campaign on state television suggesting the United States is funding the protests, which have been infiltrated, it says, by Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and others.

Azza Al-Mahi has brought her father, Ahmed (ph), a university professor, for the first time. She says Mubarak should stop blaming others.

AZZA AL-MAHI, PROTESTER: It's over. There's no America. There's no Hezbollah. It's his fault. What we are in is his fault. It's not due to the Americans. It's not due to Hezbollah. It's due to him. And he has to understand that.

WEDEMAN: Some newcomers were motivated by this emotional interview on a private Egyptian satellite channel, with Wael Ghonim, one of the organizers of the protest movement released from detention Monday.

GHONIM (through translator): I want to say to every mother and every father that lost his child, I'm sorry, but this is not our fault. I swear to God this is not our fault. It's the fault of everyone who is holding onto power greedily and would not let it go. I want -- I want to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the interview of Wael Ghonim after this. This is the announcement to the end of the regime.

WEDEMAN: Premature, perhaps, but Tahrir is more crowded, more rowdy, more revolutionary than ever.

(on camera): It's difficult to say why, but clearly more, not less, people are coming to the square to join the protests. And the longer this protest goes on, the bigger a challenge it becomes to a government that would desperately like to ignore it.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

STOUT: Now, Wael Ghonim, the Google executive mentioned in Ben's report, insists that he is not a hero. Wael Ghonim is emerging as a reluctant leader in the protest movement.

Now, he addressed a cheering crowd in Tahrir Square the day after his release.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GHONIM (through translator): This country -- I have said this for a long time -- this country is our country, and everyone has a right to this country. You have a voice in this country. This is not the time for conflicting ideas or factions or ideologies. This is the time for us to say one thing only -- Egypt is above all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now, Ghonim's release came after days of international pressure, but there are many others who have also been thrown behind bars.

Ivan Watson examines the troubling trend.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It took nine days for the Egyptian government to admit it had detained this pro- democracy demonstrator, Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian executive for the company Google, who, in this emotional interview after his release Monday night, said he was snatched off the streets of Cairo by secret police.

GHONIM (through translator): All of a sudden, four people surrounding me. They were kidnapping me, and I yelled, "Help me!" But, of course, I knew these were security forces.

WATSON: Ghonim is by far not the only Egyptian to feel the heavy hand of the secret police.

(on camera): The police came in there?

AHMED RAGHEB, HISHAM MUBARAK LEGAL CENTER: Yes.

WATSON: Last Thursday, security forces raided the offices of this Egyptian human rights organization, seizing computers and taking away at least 30 human rights activists in blindfolds and handcuffs. The head of the organization estimates thousands of people have been detained in Egypt since protests erupted on January 25th.

RAGHEB: I'm sure in Cairo we have ten thousand cases (ph) arrested.

ASHRAF KENZY, FREED DENTIST: They arrested me under here, and they hit me. They hit me -- they punched me by hand and by leg and by everything.

WATSON: Ashraf Kenzy is an Egyptian dentist who was arrested on January 26th, along with hundreds of other protesters, and taken to a detention center outside Cairo.

KENZY: Five hundred in one big room. Five hundred. You know? So you cannot sleep.

WATSON: That is where the interrogation began.

KENZY: "Why you protest?" I told them, "I come to protest because I wanted to see -- for the corrupt -- I get crazy of this corruption, I get crazy of this oppression. I get tired of the -- of many bad things in my country.

WATSON: Last Sunday, CNN's Candy Crowley repeatedly asked Egypt's new prime minister about what appears to be a wave of politically motivated arrests.

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Let me ask you about arrests by the military police. Why are they arresting -- arrests?

AHMED SHAFIQ, EGYPTIAN VICE PRESIDENT: About what?

CROWLEY: About the detention of human rights activists. Why are you detaining them.

SHAFIQ: Oh. Frankly speaking, if there is some problem, it's not intended at all, my dear.

WATSON: Many activists say they don't trust the government's promises.

(on camera): Are you afraid of being arrested again?

KENZY: I am very sure they will arrest me again. I am very sure.

WATSON (voice-over): Kenzy was released after two nights in prison. Undaunted, he continues to make daily visits to Tahrir Square.

On Tuesday, Wael Ghonim, the Google employee held for a week and a half, was among the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallying in Tahrir Square. The protesters are calling him a hero of the Egyptian revolution.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: At least seven people are dead and scores more injured after three car bombs rock the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. This was the scene in the oil- rich city earlier today.

The police chief says that the bombs went off outside a Kurdish security force building and near two police patrols. Police say the coordinated attacks resemble the work of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Elsewhere, eight civilians were wounded when two roadside bombs exploded in Baghdad this morning.

Now, coming up next on NEWS STREAM, after millions of recalled vehicles, the verdict is out on Toyota's onboard computer system. Was it responsible for sudden, unwanted acceleration? We'll tell you.

And Tiger Woods' career was seemingly in the rough when seen here, apologizing for his indiscretions. But is it back on track now? He talks exclusively to CNN.

And we'll hear from Malaysia's former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, about whether the revolt in Egypt will bring change to the Muslim world in Asia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Toyota is breathing a sigh of relief. A 10-month investigation finds that electronic systems are not to blame for cases of unwanted acceleration in its cars. The U.S. probe found the instants were instead caused by one of three things, including these, sticky pedals -- I mean, literally leaving the pedal on the metal -- or these, floor mats. Now, they were prone to ride up and become tangled with the pedals. Now, the other cause, driver error.

The U.S. transportation secretary says Toyota is forking out tens of millions of dollars on safety in the U.S. alone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: They're going to invest $50 million in a safety program in Michigan. That's extraordinary. That shows that they really care about safety, that they want to set up shop, a shop about safety in our country. And so I think they've -- you know, they've understood that what we do here is serious business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Well, consumer complaints like this one led to the massive recalls for Toyota. Almost eight million vehicles were recalled during 2008 and 2009 for various defects, and at least 21 different models since the year 2000, including this, Toyota's flagship hybrid, the Prius.

Now, it was Japan's best-selling model last year, with more than 315,000 taking to the roads for the first time. Now, that was a new record for a single years. So, the car knocked off the top spot? Another Toyota, the Corolla, which has held the record for some 20 years.

Now, throughout the string of recent recalls, Toyota maintained its electronic controls were safe. And U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, for one, agreed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAHOOD: I told my daughter that she should by the Toyota Sienna, which she did. So I think that illustrates that we feel that Toyota vehicles are safe to drive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: The good news for Toyota, it sent shares up some five percent in Tokyo trade today.

Now, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could be set to face trial over allegations he abused his power and paid for sex with an underage girl.

Dan Rivers has been following this, of course, from London. He joins us now.

And Dan, will there be a trial?

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that's far from certain at the moment, Kristie.

What's happened today is that prosecutors in this case forwarded their papers to the judge. She now has five days to consider whether there is enough to effectively fast-track this case and indict Berlusconi, or whether perhaps it should go through a normal sort of preliminary proceeding where they go and analyze all the evidence and make a decision. She may also possibly decide that it's not in her jurisdiction, it's in the jurisdiction of a different court.

So there's a number of things that could still happen. But certainly, this is keeping this story in the headlines. It's deeply, deeply embarrassing to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, this allegation that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute, Karima El Mahroug, AKA "Ruby the Heart Stealer."

Both she and the prime minister have denied having sex with one another, but clearly there was some sort of friendship there, at least. She says she received 7,000 euros, about $10,000, from him. But as I say, denied that they had sex.

There's also this allegation that he abused his power by calling a police station where she had been arrested last May, intervening, asking the police to release her. He says he thought she was the niece of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, and that he was trying to avoid a sort of diplomatic incident, if you like. The prosecutors contend this was all part of a sort of cover-up to try and get her out of police custody because they had a relationship.

So lots of more damaging allegations that continue to swirl around in the Italian media and internationally. But Berlusconi himself has come out this morning again denying these allegations, saying they're groundless, saying it's mudslinging on behalf of his political enemies. And he looks like he's going to fight this all the way.

STOUT: All right. Dan Rivers joining us love from London with that.

Thank you, Dan.

Now, up next here on NEWS STREAM, when golf's Dubai Desert Classic tees up in less than 24 hours, can this world number three birdie and eagle his way back to a win? Here Tiger's own thoughts on the matter, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong -- yes, that is Hong Kong outside there -- you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now, after a personal scandal that seemingly sent his career in the bunker, Tiger Woods is back in the news, leading up to a major showdown at the Dubai Desert Classic. Now, Shane O'Donoghue caught up with the star golfer and joins us live from Dubai.

And Shane, what did he say?

SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was very interesting to be involved in an exclusive one-on-one with Tiger Woods, the current world number three, Kristie. And, you know, I've interviewed him many times in the past. It's always been very short and sweet at the end of tournament rounds and during tournament play. But this was a chance to spend more time with him, and we certainly engaged in quite a lot of conversation about golf, obviously, but we did dwell on certain aspects of his personal life.

And there was one question that I put to him which drew the following response, because I was quite interested to know how he is balancing his life now, because he does have joint custody of his children. And with that important part of his life to look after, how does he also cater for the golfing side of his life? But family certainly does come first.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It's all about them. So if they want to -- whatever they want to do, we do.

Obviously, when I don't have them, that's when I can practice a little more. But when I'm around them, it's all about them.

O'DONOGHUE: And what are they into? Are they into golf at all?

WOODS: Charlie likes to play a little bit. Sam is different. She's more creative, more artsy. So two very, very different people.

O'DONOGHUE: But do you just love spending time with them?

WOODS: Absolutely. I mean, it's the greatest thing in the world. It really is.

O'DONOGHUE: I mean, you have stated that to be a great father is much more important than winning major titles. Is that --

WOODS: Absolutely. Being present for your kids is far more valuable than anything you do. And to be around them, to be with them and help them grow, to share these experiences with them, is something so special.

O'DONOGHUE: Do they know what dad does? Do they know what kind of a star dad is?

WOODS: Dad plays golf, and that's about it. That's all they know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'DONOGHUE: So it was a very nice inside into Tiger Woods away from the golf course. But obviously golf is the big business when it comes to the Tiger Woods phenomenon.

What he did say though is that his life is a lot more balanced than it was, say, 12 months ago, when he was trying to get back into the game after all that had happened towards the end of 2009. But now we are here in Dubai, looking ahead to this massive tournament for the world's one, two and three, and the rankings are going head-to-head, seeing it off tomorrow.

At number one, England's Lee Westwood; Germany's Martin Kaymer is at number two; and Tiger Woods, the man full of intrigue here this week, he's at number three in the world -- Kristie.

STOUT: Shane, last year was Tiger's worst on the tour. He's down to number three. He's facing quite the challenge there in Dubai. So what is Tiger saying about his golf game?

O'DONOGHUE: Well, it's a work in progress. You know, what he really wants, what his big priority is, is to get back in contention (ph) and winning tournaments. He reckons that everything else will look after itself after that, because I did pose the question as to whether the priority was to get that number one ranking back. He just wants to win tournaments.

It could happen here. A lot will be unfolding over the next couple of days, and it will certainly be very interesting to watch.

STOUT: Very interesting, for sure.

Shane O'Donoghue, live in Dubai.

Thank you for that.

And one of Tiger's resolutions for the year ahead might be to tweet more. Now, he started using Twitter last year. He quickly amassed over 500,000 followers.

Now, for an early flurry of tweets, he's been quite lately. Now, his last tweet, it came around two weeks ago to reply to a question on which rapper he preferred, Tupac or Biggie? And for the record, Tiger answered, "Tupac."

Coming up next on NEWS STREAM, we'll bring you the latest on the uprising in Egypt 16 days after protests first began, as well as we'll be taking a look at how ripples of unrest are being felt elsewhere.

And they have been held hostage for years, but today the Colombian rebel group FARC plans to release five captives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

Now, three car bombs have ripped through the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, killing seven people and wounding 68. The blast appeared to target two police patrols and a security forces building. Police say the bombings resemble attacks previously carried out by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Italian prosecutors are turning up the heat on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Now, they have formally requested that he go on trial immediately over accusations he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl. Mr. Berlusconi denies doing anything wrong and says the accusations are politically motivated.

A South Sudanese minister and his bodyguard have been shot dead in Juba. An army spokesman says Jimmy Lemi Milla, the rural development minister, was killed by his driver, and the gunman has been arrested. The people of South Sudan have voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from the North.

Now protesters in Cairo look like they're in it for the long haul, more tents have sprung up in Tahrir Square where anti-government demonstrations are in their 16th day. Egypt's vice president says the protesters are being disrespectful to the country. They're calling for President Hosni Mubarak to leave.

Now anti-government demonstrations are also taking place in other major cities. Now state television reports that protests in the northern town of Port Said have attacked the governor's building in a disputable land. But Cairo is the epicenter. Now Arwa Damon gauges the mood in Egypt's capital more than two weeks since the start of the protests.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is one of Cairo's upper middle class neighborhoods: traffic is back, shops are reopening, things would appear to be normal. We've been talking to a number of people here, all of whom say normality has taken on an entire different meaning in today's Egypt.

Mohammed Said (ph) has been the proud owner of a butcher shop since Egypt's first revolution in 1952: a thoughtful witness to this nation's tumultuous history. He says he's seen worse. But the uncertainty of the current stalemate weighs heavily on him. Business is still down. He had been selling his meat on credit until the banks reopened. If there's one thing this man believes, it's that neighborhoods will weather this out by relying on each other.

The grocer next door, Abdullah Zahm (ph) slashed prices, taking an even greater financial kick to help people out. The most important thing, he tells us, is that we treat each other well. He has been reassuring customers that everything will go back to normal and he delivers to the homes of those too afraid to venture out.

At a hand bag and shoe store, we meet Mohammed, just one of many who took security into their own hands. I have been living and sleeping here for around two weeks, he tells us, because of the thieves and robbers. I have to protect the store.

Mohammed was saying that once curfew kicks in he's going to be heading right out to guard his street. Neighborhood watches are still ongoing, but he was telling us that now it is really only the young men of the neighborhood coming out in smaller numbers whereas in the beginning he was getting elderly and women partaking as well.

Not something anyone here is accustomed to, but Egypt is taking on a new form. There must be change. We need change, Sheikh Mohammed (ph) explains. I always spoke out, but before no one was listening.

As we chat at this (INAUDIBLE) stand, a woman who was listening interrupts. There is something called freedom and privacy, she declares angrily. I would never come to your country asking questions. This is between us Egyptians, she lectures Sheikh Mohammed (ph). Why are these foreigners interfering?

Another customer, filmmaker Wyatt Munduah (ph) has been confronting many debates like this in recent weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I fight my way through the people, try to convince them people should get together, people should stop the fighting and stop talking nonsense (INAUDIBLE) like you're looking down here when you should be looking ahead. What we are losing today is nothing compared to what we lost in the past 30 years with corruption and everything else.

DAMON: But just what Egypt is going to lose or win remains unclear to many here.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now Human Rights Watch says protests inspired by Egypt are being suppressed by other governments. Now the group says images of the uprisings in both Egypt and Tunisia have mesmerized the Arab public, but have terrified their rulers. Reports that Syrian security forces have detained six demonstrators on separate occasions. Now police also failed to protect protesters attacked in old Damascus. Now the group says Saudi Arabia briefly detained dozens of people at a rally in Jeddah last month. Political demonstrations are banned there.

And protests in Yemen prompted the president to promise that he would not seek another term. But Human Rights Watch says military forces used live and rubber bullets to break up a demonstration in Southern Yemen last week and 20 activists were arrested. Now the report also says Sudanese authorities used excessive force during largely peaceful protests in Khartoum and other northern cities.

Now the implications of Egypt's uprising are being carefully considered. A recent lecture in New York focused on lessons the revolution could have for the Muslim world. A Malaysian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim gave that talk. He joins us now live. Now Anwar Ibrahim, welcome to NEWS STREAM.

Now can these uprising in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere bring about meaningful democratic change?

ANWAR IBRAHIM, MALAYSIA OPPOSITION LEADER: The Egyptian experience is unique. We've seen Indonesia, Turkey in the past -- the transformation has been relatively peaceful. We need to negotiate with the people of Egypt, not with the tyrants and authoritarian leaders. They wait far too long. They've suffered immensely. It's time the international community looked at them and respect the sentiments of the Egyptian people.

STOUT: Now you are a controversial figure in Malaysia. You have become an advocate for democratic reform there. But can the change sweeping the Middle East reach Southeast Asia?

IBRAHIM: There are (INAUDIBLE) of what happened in Egypt is phenomenal -- either from the secularists or liberals or Islamists, the dictate of the Egyptian people that has enormous impact. Yes, Tunisia or Yemen does -- or do have a slight effect, but Egypt is important. It is a sense of learning the Muslim world. Malaysians in large numbers -- Indonesians, Pakistanis have somehow through students, through teachers, through imams have some form of experience with Egyptian institutions or -- and therefore they are looking at the Egyptian experience very closely. Many governments, including in Malaysia, seem to downplay the importance of that remarkable, phenomenal change to respect the voice of conscious of the majority of Egyptians. And I think we are monitoring and we see why democracy and freedom is demanded by the Egyptians and why can't it happen in other parts of the Muslim world?

STOUT: Now we're looking at live pictures of Tahrir Square in Cairo in this day. The anti-government protesters still turning out in force, in fact in greater numbers than before according to our correspondents on the grounds. Anwar Ibrahim, do you believe that the domino effect that started in Tunisia, that we're seeing in Egypt could in some way reach Malaysia?

IBRAHIM: Well, it has contributed to an extent a better understanding, because in the past authoritarian governments, including the Muslim government, would only say that security is paramount. But security and the home, these leaders do not have the legitimacy. Who appointed them in the first place? Who gave them that full authority to decide for the people? Whether Egypt or other countries, they have seen flawed process of elections.

So what is important is (INAUDIBLE) dynamics within the Muslim world that we want freedom and democracy and the clamor for change is not dictated by Washington or London or Paris, but by the people themselves.

It is also important, because we are also looking not only at Egypt, but how the United States and Europe see this. Is their politics and ambivalence, talking about democracy on one hand and tolerating the (INAUDIBLE) the repression of authoritative leaders and the corrupt establishment.

So it is very important that we give a clear signal we respect human rights, we respect the freedom and we let the Egyptians themselves decide their future.

STOUT: If change does indeed take root, what needs to happen to successfully make that transition from revolution to a functioning democracy?

IBRAHIM: We've seen this spectacular change, the peaceful transition in Indonesia and Turkey. In the Indonesian experience, under President Habibie, virtually a (INAUDIBLE) government, but what is important is not individuals not to just allow for some intelligence chiefs to decide for the future of Indonesians, but there Habibie and a team made clear decisions: free elections, judicially they must be independent and not function under the thumbs of the executive, media must immediately be free. In the case of Habibie in Indonesia, a day after he assumes the presidency all political prisoners were released, no more harassment, torture of the demonstrators or opposition, legitimate opposition.

STOUT: Anwar Ibrahim, opposition leader in Malaysia, former deputy prime minister, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us here.

And do stay plugged in on this story. Our correspondents in Cairo and Alexandria, they are constantly sending out updates. You can follow them here. It's a special list at Twitter.com/cnni/egypt.

Now for five hostages held by FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, release is expected soon. Now a complex operation is due to begin later today to free two politicians, two soldiers and a policeman. Rafael Romo has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Colombian guerilla group now as the FARC is supposed to release five hostages this week -- three members of the Colombian security forces and two elected officials. None of the five has been in captivity for more than three years, one was kidnapped last May.

The possibility of their release came about through negotiations among former Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba, the guerrillas and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.

PIEDAD CORDOBA, COLOMBIAN SENATOR (through translator): We recognize the willingness of President Santos to act swiftly so that these five people may return safely and quickly to their homes. The strict adherence to all of the aspects of this agreement will allow the happy ending to this humanitarian decision.

ROMO: Brazil is sending several helicopters that the International Red Cross will use to pick up the hostages in the jungle and transport them to airports at three provincial cities. The government will ban some flights around those cities as part of the agreement for the hostage release.

RODRIGO RIVERA, COLOMBIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): This restriction of military and police operations in these particular zones will include flights by the security forces.

ROMO: For the families, the release can't happen soon enough.

ERIKA GUTIERREZ, WIFE OF HOSTAGE (through translator): Let the hearts of all those people soften so that they quickly release all of the hostages.

MONSIGNOR RUBEN SALAZAR, COLOMBIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE (through translator): The country needs this kind of gesture to overcome this sorrow, this great anxiety we're suffering, specifically when it comes to the hostages.

ROMO: The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly known as FARC, have abducted hundreds of government officials and security forces since beginning their insurrection in the 1960's. The guerillas have released dozens, but an unknown number of hostages remain in captivity. It is not certain when they will be set free.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now we need an update on the flood situation in Sri Lanka, especially as devastation gets more and more clear. Mari Ramos has been monitoring the situation there. She joins us now live from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. I think that now that we're starting to get a little bit of a break in the rain, you know, relief efforts, rescue operations and even those people who have been affected will be able to get a little bit more done now. The water should very slowly continue to recede.

I want to show you some pictures taken earlier this weekend toward -- over the weekend. This is from the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. Here you see just one of the effects. You know, we normally don't think about this. We see all of that water, we all of the flooding, but there's a lot of little things that happen, little things that can turn into huge things like this woman here, for example, is getting her foot treated. There were several pictures like this on the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Facebook page. And, you know, these small injuries like this can turn severe when you're in a situation without clean water, without proper sanitation, bridges that are out, flood waters everywhere. So this is a huge concern. So little by little this work that they are doing, you know, really helping people out.

This is a picture from (INAUDIBLE). You can see there the rescue personnel taking people away from the flood waters to higher ground.

How widespread is the flooding in Sri Lanka? Well, I want to show you some of the latest figures that we have from this region. Normally, during the month of January they should get about 200 millimeters of rain, just a little bit as we head in through February. So far this year, in January, they have had over 1000 millimeters of rain. So think about that. They had -- 200 should be the normal, they've had over 1000 millimeters. So that has led to at least 40 people dead and over 1 million people affected. So that was back in January.

Now, they've had yet another round of very heavy rain with an additional 400 at least millimeters of rainfall. And that has led to more people affected by the flooding, including some of those same people that had been affected originally by this devastation.

So we're starting to see this area of low pressure starting to kind of fizzle out a little bit so that's good news I should bring you -- or somewhat of a relief. You saw some scattered rain showers expected and the heaviest rain, again, will be across areas to the south. So we'll still monitor this very carefully as we continue to move on through the next few days.

Other areas -- we're looking at 19 in New Delhi, we're looking at 19 also for you guys in Hong Kong. The coldest air farther north: 5 in Shanghai. We're seeing the return of the cold air for you in Beijing, -1, -4 in Seoul. And a push of cold air coming down here across Northeast Asia, that will bring you some windy weather we think and definitely the return of some snow, probably nothing for you guys in Beijing, though.

Let's go ahead your city by city forecast.

Hey, you know, some of you were expecting some rain showers maybe yesterday across portions of Saudi Arabia. I didn't really see any kind of rain. I think dust was a bit more common and might see just a little bit of blowing sand and dust throughout the rest of the day today with this passing cold front through here. Most of the rainfall totals have been across Iran, Iraq now staying dry. Watch for the windy weather as we head across the Persian Gulf. Still windy in Bahrain, look at that close to 30 kilometers per hour. And the winds having stopped for you guys across the northwest corner here of Europe, but let me go ahead and move out of the way so you can see it -- look at this, look at this big mess here across the east. This is happening because of a front that's moving through here. The wind should also begin to improve, Kristie, as we head through the rest of the day today and tomorrow -- anybody else, across much of the central part of Europe still doing pretty good.

I like ending on that, because it's a little happy news on the weather. Back to you.

STOUT: That's right, happy face. Thank you -- Mari Ramos there. Take care.

Up next here on NEWS STREAM, Barcelona fans they're celebrating again, and it's all thanks to this man -- Pep Guardiola. But it's not another three points. We'll bring you that in a moment.

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STOUT: Welcome back. Now Barcelona fans are celebrating a singing today, but it is not a new player. Kate Giles is here to explain all -- Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Kristie. And Barcelona fans are definitely going to like this one I can assure you of that. Pep Guardiola, the manager of course, has signed to stay on until the end of the 2012 season. Now that might sound a little short by usual standards, but it's actually Guardiola's preference. He prefers to sign one year extensions and not a long-term deal because he says that that maintains his motivation.

Well here is a look at why the Barca fans will like it, since Guardiola took over in 2008 the Spanish club has won two straight Spanish league titles, the Champion's League, the European Super Cup and a Club World Cup. Currently Barca are on a Spanish league record 16 game winning streak and the all important thing, of course, they are 7 points clear of second place Real Madrid.

Well, Barca star player Lionel Messi will take to the field against the hero of Real Madrid, Christiano Ronaldo when Argentina and Portugal meet for the first time in 40 years in Geneva this evening. That match is -- now that is the first time that they have met on international duty of course. This is being billed as a huge duel between the reigning world player of the year and his immediate predecessor. Both the two men in very good form at the moment, they currently top the Spanish scoring tops high one 24 goals each in Ligue. But the Portugal manager Paulo Bento has said that as far as he's concerned this is Portugal against Argentina, it's not about individual rivalry. And he says he doubts whether Ronaldo or Messi will see it that way either. It's certainly how the media is seeing it, though.

Let's move on with basketball and David and Goliath meeting in the NBA on Tuesday night. The Detroit Pistons, they are having a very poor season. They've won 19 but they have lost a massive 33 games so far. San Antonio, on the other hand are the best team in the NBA right now. They are the only team, in fact, with more than 40 wins and less than 10 losses. They met on Tuesday night. And this is the first of a six game road trip for the Spurs. And we might not have expected it, but it was actually a pretty close affair, at least in the first half anyway, 48-48 the score here.

Let's go right into the 4th now. The Pistons still hanging on. Bynum driving with a tremendous dunk there. He makes it a four point game, 80- 76, but the Spurs -- all right, with under 5 minutes to play the Spurs kick it up a notch. Manu Ginobili hits a three pointer and San Antonio at this point are now up by 9.

And then they will put it away. Richard Jefferson getting the pass and hitting the 3. The Spurs win it again. They really are in great form, Kristie. You know, this could be their season I would imagine.

STOUT: Yeah, but not quite David and Goliath in the end. Close game. Thank you so much. Kate Giles there.

Now up next here on NEWS STREAM, we have well a head shaking story, it's about this box and that woman and what she tried to ship inside.

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STOUT: Welcome back. Now they say there's an app for everything, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by this one -- an app that allows you to absolve your sins -- appsolution you might say, or iConfess? Now the way the makers of Confession, a Roman Catholic app, hence the name, they say that this is the real deal. They say it was created with the help of a couple of priests and it comes complete with the church's blessing, or at least that of a bishop in Indiana. Now the app, it even comes with the 10 commandments and allows you to keep track of your sins, but it is not designed to replace a trip to the confession box. And do not worry sinners, it is password protected.

Now between email and Blackberries, so much of what we send is online, but let's step back for a moment, because the next story I have to ask, could some of us have forgotten the basic concept of mail? Now Jeanne Moos has the case of a woman in the U.S. state of Minnesota who got it oh so wrong.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pets are mighty cute in a box or even with their head in a box, but who would put a pup in a box, take him to the Post Office and try to mail him from Minneapolis to Georgia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was mailed Priority Mail.

MOOS: They see Champion's priority was to mail a puppy to her son for his birthday.

STACEY CHAMPION, TRIED TO MAIL DOG: I wanted to surprise him really, really good by a poodle.

MOOS: Instead, she surprised post office workers last month when he package started to move and they heard panting.

At one point post office workers called the postal inspector for guidance and held the phone up to the box so he could hear the panting inside. Worried that the breathing was becoming less frequent, he ordered workers to open the box.

Champion admitted lying to the postal clerk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say that it was toy robot to the desk clerk?

CHAMPION: He kept throwing the box around. He kept throwing the box around, so I just told him it was a toy robot.

MOOS: Champion spoke at a hearing held so she could ask to get the pup back, plus a refund of the $22 she paid for postage. The poodle/schnauzer mix named Guess (ph) was taken to animal control after Champion was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

CHAMPION: They don't have no display what should be shipped and what should not be shipped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We always ask you is it perishable...

MOOS: The postal inspector figures the pup would have perished during the three day trip -- either suffocating or freezing in the unpressurized hold of an airplane. Champion did poke air holes in the box decorated with fake money, but tape sealed the holes shut. The hearing officers ruled the pup stays put at the animal shelter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disgraceful. You cannot tell me that you did -- that you thought you were doing the right thing.

MOOS: Maybe she thought her son would be opening the box in a happy scene like the ones on YouTube. This puppy will be put up for adoption. He has plenty of offers if Champion can't afford to board him until the animal cruelty charges are resolved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know you did wrong.

MOOS: Next time, keep the dog on the stamp.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: OK. Time to go over and out there and the U.S. spy agency is getting social: the CIA is now on YouTube and the photo sharing site Flickr. So what secrets are being revealed? Well, let this picture sum it up for you. Now it is a detection device. It is designed to blend in with the ground. Don't expect to see any of the flashy tools you see in James Bond, though, instead check out this. This is -- I can't believe I'm touching this -- this is Charlie, this is the robo fish. It's developed to study aquatic robot technology. Or here, a sneaky way to open your mail. This device was actually used during World War II, it can remove that letter without unsealing the envelope. And then there are these pictures of pictures. Every U.S. president since Truman has written a thank you note to the CIA and they are all online sweet but just a little bit boring.

That is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" with Nina Dos Santos, Maggie Lake and Andrew Stevens is next.

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