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Strikes Boost Egypt Protests; Wael Ghonim: 'Ready to Die'; Pakistan Suicide Attack

Aired February 10, 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.

Now, thousands of workers go on strike in Egypt, as protests continue against President Hosni Mubarak.

We examine the rise in attacks against Indonesia's minority religious groups.

And it's the day the music game died. The "Guitar Hero" franchise comes to an end.

Anti-government demonstrators in Egypt are enjoying renewed momentum as thousands of workers are swept up in a wave of strikes. Now, they're demanding better pay, as well as transparency and executive salaries. Their discontent is adding fuel to Egypt's nationwide protest movement.

Now, President Hosni Mubarak has vowed to fast-track constitutional change, but the change many Egyptians want involves his presidency. As Mubarak holds onto power, the demonstrations continue and, in recent hours, hordes of anti-government protesters have pushed police away from Abdeen Palace in central Cairo.

Frederik Pleitgen joins me live.

And Fred, it's day 17. What is happening right now in Cairo?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the developments at Abdeen Palace of course are very significant, Kristie. It's not the presidential palace where Hosni Mubarak stays. However, it is a very important venue here in Cairo. It's one of the places where Mubarak very often greets other heads of state and has people visit him there.

So it certainly is another new development where we see these protests that have been going on here, as you say, into day 17 now, where we've seen them spread to other parts of the city. Of course, they're now not only here in Tahrir Square, but also in front of the parliament building, and now Abdeen Palace as well.

And you were mentioning the strikes that were going on. That, of course, is fueling the situation as well. We're not sure if all of them are actually related to the wider protests that are going on, but they certainly are piggybacking off those. And, indeed, we are hearing that some of the workers who are on strike are also joining the demonstrators as well.

And in light of that, the situation that we're looking at most closely right now is the one on the Suez Canal, where, apparently, yesterday 2,000 workers from a steel mill and a shipyard that's owned by the Suez Canal Port Authority went on strike. We've been in touch with the Suez Canal Authority, and they have been telling us that so far, there has been nothing that would have influenced the shipping on the Suez Canal.

They say 50 ships went through there yesterday, and they say the Suez Canal is fully open. However, it is, of course, something that internationally is of great concern, because it's such an important shipping route -- Kristie.

STOUT: The workers who are striking at the Suez Canal and elsewhere in Egypt, are they interested in regime change, or are their demands purely economic?

PLEITGEN: Well, it seems from what we're hearing right now, that most of the demands are purely economic. I mean, what we've been hearing, for instance, from the workers of the Suez Canal is they're striking for more pay. We're hearing from textile workers who are striking in Mahalla, in the northern part of the country, who want more pay, as well as better contracts. There's other workers in the petrol chemical industry who are also on strike, who are also looking for longer-term contracts.

So it is really -- most of it seems to be related to financial issues. However, as I said, a lot of them -- or some of them, at least -- seem to be also joining these anti-government protests. And of course they are doing all of this in a very volatile and very difficult situation for the government as well, where the last thing that the Mubarak regime needs at this point is on top of the people who are at Tahrir Square and at other venues all across Egypt to also have labor action going on that they'll have to tend to as well -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Frederik Pleitgen, joining us live in Cairo.

Thank you.

Now, the city of Cairo has been under the global spotlight for more than two weeks now. But communities in the shadow of Egypt's capital are not immune to the upheaval.

Arwa Damon travels beyond Cairo.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We travel an hour outside Cairo, to the farmlands of the Nile Delta to see how life in rural Egypt is being impacted. People in this village are very wary of journalists. We leave our cameraman, Christian (ph), in the car when we initially approach a group of men. After a bit of convincing, they let us film, though suspicion remains.

"Work here is fine. The country is peaceful. There are no problems," Mohamed declares.

"That's not exactly the case. There were demonstrations, and people were on the streets fending for their livelihood," Ahmshad (ph), off to the side, tells us.

As the crowd gathers, we start speaking to Abeer.

"My real opinion? Whether Hosni stays or Hosni goes, what's important is that the youth gets jobs," she states.

This mother of three works at a doctor's office, making less than $30 a month, not even enough to cover the electricity bill. In typical Egyptian hospitality, she grabs me by the hand and invites us back to her home. Her husband, a day laborer, is out looking for work, which he hasn't been able to find since the demonstrations began.

Ages 6 to 11. As you can see their childhood is not easy.

Skyrocketing prices have made making ends meet nearly impossible for most of the population in these parts of Egypt, where life is more of a monotonous but desperate struggle to survive, though few dare say that out loud.

Abeer invites us inside and away from prying eyes.

(on camera): We'll come in and film the bedroom. It's where she, her husband and their three daughters all sleep. She wants us to see how they don't have any closet space. So their clothes basically are stored in these cardboard boxes.

(voice-over): In the privacy of her home, Abeer breaks down. "The situation is horrible. To be honest, I don't know. I don't know how to cope," she sobs. "You can see for yourself. Everything is horrible. I can hardly feed my children."

"I am uneducated, illiterate," she continues. "I don't know if the government should stay or go. All I know is that people like us need to be able to live."

She calls her children inside, pointing to them, saying, "Look at how dirty they are, their stained clothes. I can't bear them having to live like this. Please, please. We just need help. We just need jobs," she begs, hoping that by risking speaking out to us the world will listen.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Faiyum, Egypt.


STOUT: Well, one man's online activity has seen him cast as the unofficial leader of Egypt's protest movement. Since his release after 10 days of government detention, Wael Ghonim has risked further punishment with frequent anti-government tweets. And today has been no exception.

In fact, this morning, he tweeted this: "I'm honored to represent 250,000 Egyptians to convey their demands to the Egyptian government while collaborating with other activists." Now, that's in reference to the estimated 250,000 people gathered in Tahrir Square at the height of the protests.

Now, later, he added this: "I promise every Egyptian that I will go back to my normal life and not be involved in any politics once Egyptians fulfill their dreams."

Now, the hash tag "Jan25," that refers to the first day of Egypt's street protests.

Wael Ghonim may be happy to take a back seat if the revolution succeeds, but as he told our Ivan Watson, he is ready to die to make that happen.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armed with little more than a laptop, Wael Ghonim does not look like the leader of a revolution. But look how the people react when they spot him in the streets. Strangers call out his name, embrace him, even stop their cars in traffic just to say hello.

(on camera): Did you plan a revolution?


WATSON: What was the plan?

GHONIM: The plan was to get everyone on the street.

WATSON (voice-over): Along with a group of young Egyptian activists, this 30-year-old marketing director for Google worked in his spare time to organize the January 25th protests that sparked a grassroots revolt.

(on camera): Was this an Internet revolution?

GHONIM: Definitely, this is the Internet revolution. I will call it Revolution 2.0.

WATSON (voice-over): But after the third day of protests, secrete police snatched police off the streets.

GHONIM: No, I was targeted, of course. They wanted me.

WATSON (on camera): What was going through your mind at that moment?

GHONIM: I was super scared.

WATSON (voice-over): During the week and a half Ghonim spent blindfolded in solitary confinement, the Egyptian uprising just kept growing. When he was finally released on Monday, Ghonim emerged to discover a city transformed.

GHONIM: When I went out to the street, I can't tell you my feelings. I can't tell you. I was so proud of the people.

WATSON: But he also learned many of his fellow street protesters had been killed in days of bloody clashes with Egyptian security forces and gangs of government supporters. More than 300 dead, according to Human Rights Watch.

This Egyptian Internet revolutionary now has a warning for the man who's been president almost as long as he's been alive -- the time for negotiation, Ghonim says, is over.

GHONIM: This president needs to step down because this is a crime. And I'm telling you, I am ready to die. I have a lot to lose in this life. You know, I work -- or now, as I'm on a leave of absence, I work in the best company to work for in the world. I have the best wife. And I have - - I love my kids.

But I'm willing to lose all of that for my dream to happen. And no one is going go against our desire. No one.

And I'm telling this to Omar Suleiman. He is going to watch this.

You are not going to stop us. Kidnap me. Kidnap all my colleagues. Put us in jail. Kill us.

Do whatever you want to do. We are getting back our country. You guys have been ruining this country for 30 years. Enough. Enough. Enough.

WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN, Cairo.


STOUT: And you can watch Ivan Watson's exclusive interview with Wael Ghonim in full on the iDesk. That's at 10:00 in New York; 3:00 p.m. in London; 11:00 p.m. here in Hong Kong.

Now, Pakistani military officials say at least 27 army recruits have been killed in a suicide bomber north of Peshawar. Some 42 are wounded.

And this attack, it happened at a military training center. And police say a teenager in a school uniform walked onto the grounds and blew himself up. They say he was only about 14 years old.

The Pakistani Taliban is claiming responsibility for the attack. Now, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban says that the group targeted the military for being what it called pro-American.

Our Reza Sayah is following the story from Islamabad. He joins us live with the latest -- Reza.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie. Like you said, the Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for this attack, an attack that, according to police, was carried out by a teenage suicide bomber about 14 years old. And police say the suicide bomber was wearing a school uniform, and he made his way onto a military training facility in the district of Mardan, in northwest Pakistan.

And while these military recruits were training, he managed to blow himself up, killing 27 army recruits and injuring 40 others. Police say he was either carrying the explosives in a bag that he had, or he was strapped with a suicide vest.

Now, inside this facility you also have a school where army recruits send their children. And police say it looks like this teenage suicide bomber was trying to blend in with those students, and the plan worked. A lot of people killed, obviously, 27 army recruits.

Azam Tariq, the spokesperson for the Taliban, told CNN that the Taliban was behind this attack, and he had a warning -- that as long as the Pakistani military supports the U.S. and supports U.S. foreign policy in this region, they will continue to target Pakistan security forces -- Kristie.

STOUT: And separately, Reza, Pakistan and India have agreed to resume peace talks. How did this come about?

SAYAH: Well, it came about after months and months of talking. Of course, the peace talks with the broad dialogue of talking about all the issues fell apart after the Mumbai attacks in 2008. For the past year, Pakistan and India have had some high-level talks about how to proceed, but their positions were different.

India insisted in talking about terrorism only. They wanted the Pakistani militants who were allegedly behind this bombing in Mumbai to be tried and sentenced.

Pakistan, on the other hand, wanted to talk about other important issues -- the water dispute, the disputed territory in Kashmir. But it looks like the two sides have apparently agreed to talk about all issues. Not just extremism, not just militancy, but all issues. And considering that these two countries have been bitter rivals for years, decades, this is a significant step, just the fact that they're sitting down face to face and talking -- Kristie.

STOUT: Reza Sayah, joining us live from Islamabad.

Thank you.

And still ahead on NEWS STREAM, they are acting out their own deaths, but the radical technique to save South Koreans from suicide is no game.

Children of the revolution. Meet the youngest Egyptians hitting the streets to help forge a better future.

And how to survive a nuclear attack. The risks are greater than ever, but we'll show you why the chances of survival may be as well.


STOUT: Now, in Indonesia, the terror trial of a radical Muslim cleric was adjourned just moments after it started. Abu Bakar Ba'asyir -- you see him there in white -- will be back in court on Monday after his lawyers said they needed more time to prepare. He is accused of plotting terrorist attacks and helping set up a militant training camp. He denies all wrongdoing. In the past, prosecutors have tried to link him to bombings in 2002 and 2003, though to date he has only been convicted of minor offenses.

And still in Indonesia, the past week alone has seen three separate attacks targeting the country's minority religions. Now, police are investigating amid heightened security, in a country generally praised for religious tolerance.


STOUT (voice-over): A Christian church under attack, one of several destroyed in central Java on Tuesday by an anti-Christian mob. It all started after a local court handed down a five-year jail sentence to a Christian man accused of blasphemy against Islam. Muslim protesters wanted a harsher penalty.

Anger is building once again against minority religions in Muslim-dominated Indonesia, and Christians aren't the only targets.

This was the scene on Sunday outside the home of an Ahmadiyah sect preacher in Java's Banton (ph) province. A mob of more than 1,000, some wielding knives, sticks and rocks, barged past police and raided his home. Three Ahmadiyah were killed and six injured.

The brutal attack was captured on mobile phone, and the video handed to Human Rights Watch. This footage has triggered outrage among Indonesia's moderates.

Ahmadiyah Muslim minority followers are reviled by many Muslims because they believe Muhammad is not the last prophet. Indonesia's 200,000 Ahmadiyah live in fear.

FIRDAUS MUBARIK, AHMADIYAH FOLLOWER (through translator): In many places our Ahmadiyah friends can no longer safely pray and continue their daily lives. They live in fear. Some can't go back to their homes.

STOUT: Police say they couldn't stop this radical group, the Islamic Defenders Front, and their sweeping operation against the Ahmadiyah in west Java on Wednesday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the attacks on national television, his strongest statement so far on the issue. He said, "Those groups proven to have violated the law engaged in violence and caused unrest. They need to be dissolved, then ways should be sought to do so, in line with the law and democracy."

But human rights groups say the government is not doing enough. One group recorded 261 attacks against Indonesia's minority religious followers last year, up more than 20 percent in 2009.

BONAR TIGOR NAIPOSPOS, SETARA INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY: The government is feared (ph) to prepare (ph) the citizens -- their citizens. And then the government doesn't take this issue seriously.

We are new in Indonesia. Islam is wonderful because (INAUDIBLE). If you want to get power, you need support from the Muslims as a political consequence.

STOUT: Indonesia has several laws and government decrees that help curtail religious freedom, like the 2008 decree that prohibits the Ahmadiyah sect from spreading its beliefs. Some legislators want the government to revise or revoke them.

For now, the Ahmadiyah and other minority religious groups are hoping and praying that they won't have to bury any more loved ones.


STOUT: The U.S. ambassador in Indonesia has issued a statement. It deplores the violence and calls on the Indonesian government to protect the rights of all communities.

It is a shift in tone from remarks made by the U.S. president when he visited the country last November. Then, Barack Obama lauded Indonesia's spirit of religious tolerance.

Now, still ahead on NEWS STREAM, are HP's new tablet computers too little, too late? We'll be taking a look.

And --


STOUT: -- it is the end of an era as the "Guitar Hero" video game franchise is axed.

That's next.


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

Now, one of the world's biggest PC makers is taking aim at the next frontier in computing -- tablets and phones. HP unveiled two phones and a tablet on Wednesday. Now, what's different about HP's devices are that they do not use Microsoft's Windows or Google's Android. Now, they are running on software from HP itself.

Now, webOS, a mobile operating system it acquired when it bought Palm last year, and that means HP's phones and tablet are capable of tricks like rivals like the iPhone and the iPad aren't, like the ability to swap information just by putting the two devices on top of each other.

Now, there's just one potential problem for HP. Now, HP's tablet is not due out until the summer. Many analysts expect Apple to take the wraps off the next iPad before then.

Now, meanwhile, the so-called Facebook Phone has finally surfaced. Well, almost.

TechCrunch posted this video demonstration of the INQ Cloud Touch. Now, it's not branded as a Facebook phone, but it is built around the social networking site. And it uses Google's Android operating system to do it.

Now, TechCrunch says it is likely aimed at the lower end of the market, at Facebook-loving teens.

Now, a big rock franchise comes to an end, but we're not talking about a band. Now, the game "Guitar Hero" has been given the ax. And the publisher behind the game that turned these classic guitars into a living room staple says it will close the unit that makes "Guitar Hero."

Now, Activision Blizzard blamed the demise on a dramatic drop in demand for music games. And as the genre grew in popularity, the company pumped out "Guitar Hero" games at an ever-increasing pace.

Now, take a look at this. Between 2005 and 2007, they released four "Guitar Hero" games in three years. The next year, well, check it out. In 2004, they released four games in that year alone. And in 2009, Activision Blizzard released seven games in total, including spin-offs like "DJ Hero" and "Band Hero."

Now, still to come here on NEWS STREAM, a new generation speaks out. We hear from the young people who stand to gain most from the uprising in Egypt.

And laying suicide to rest, the controversial message being used to combat South Korea's most shameful statistics.


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

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

Military officials in northwest Pakistan say at least 27 army recruits are dead and 42 wounded after a suicide attack. It took place at a military training center near the city of Peshawar. Officials say the bomber was a teenager around 14 years old. The Pakistani Taliban is claiming responsibility.

Now, terrorism is high on the agenda in just-announced talks between rivals Pakistan and India. There have been no high-level meetings between the neighbors since the 2008 Mumbai attack blamed on Pakistani militants. India's foreign minister tells CNN that she is cautious about this approach.


NIRUPAMA RAO, INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: There are no organized solutions. And we need time, we need patience to resolve many of these issues.

So we're not raising high expectations at this moment. We're not setting over-ambitious objectives, because that would be counterproductive. But this is a reengagement. You have to see it in that light. And we have to hope for the best.


STOUT: In Ireland, authorities say six people are dead, another six injured, after a small plane crashed at Cork Airport. The Irish Aviation Authority says the plane crashed trying to land in poor visibility, causing a fire and scattering debris over a large area.

A second winter storm in as many weeks is blasting parts of the U.S. Now, freezing temperatures and snowfall are hitting the Deep South. Weather warnings and advisories are in place across 10 states from Alabama to Texas. Now, the deep freeze is expected to move eastward.

U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has spoken here first words just a month after being shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona. Now, Giffords requested a piece of toast for breakfast and she's said to be improving her speech every day. The Arizona Democrat is undergoing rehabilitation at a hospital in Houston, Texas.

Protesters in Egypt are keeping up the momentum today still demanding that President Hosni Mubarak leave office immediately. They are being backed up by thousands of striking workers who are demanding better pay. Now the petroleum, railway and telecommunication industries are among those hit by walk-outs.

Now tonight, many of them will go to sleep on concrete and then tomorrow rejoin the protests that other children in the future may someday learn about in school. Now Frederik Pleitgen introduces us to some of the youngest faces of Egypt's anti-government movement.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the demonstrations on Cairo's Liberation Square get into swing, 11-year-old Yusuf Said (ph) and his brothers and cousin are often right in the thick of things. They know all the chants by heart. After all, they've been here for most of the time the protests have been raging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When I wake up I pray then I attend morning exercises before breakfast, then I come to the tent and wait a little bit before joining the protests.

PLEITGEN: The family stays in this tent right on Liberation Square. Yusuf (ph) and his siblings say they witnessed much of the violence that occurred here as pro and anti-Mubarak protesters clashed -- rocks and Molotov cocktails were hurled back and forth and Egyptian soldiers fired in the air to try and separate the opposing sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I wore a hard hat on my head for protection from rocks. When I saw them throwing rocks, I stayed on the side of the road until they finished, then I came over here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was there during the violence. The pro-Mubarak protesters were standing alongside of us and all of a sudden they started throwing rocks and taking a corner of the square. Later, we saw some entering the square with camels and horses. They acted like nuts

PLEITGEN: Parents have been bringing their kids here ever since demonstrations kicked off more than two weeks ago, but it's really been the time after things have become less violent, more peaceful that more and more children have shown up here and some are actively participating with demonstrations.

On Wednesday, we even saw what was by all accounts the first all children demonstration. Chanting many of the anti-Mubarak slogans the grown-ups use, the young ones tell us they know what they are fighting for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We want the whole regime to end, because they are not making our lives any easier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When I finish college, I want to be able to find a job. When I speak with a policeman, I want him to respect me as a citizen. I do not want police brutality.

PLEITGEN: Parent and older relatives of the youngest protesters tell us they want their children to experience what many believe is history in the making.

MOHAMMED MOSTAFA, PROTESTER (through translator): It's the birth of freedom. I'm proud because I would like them to live in honor. Witnessing this event will engrave in them love for this nation, loyalty, freedom and respecting change. I want them to be free.

PLEITGEN: 11-year-old Yusuf (ph) says he doesn't mind the hardships of living in a tent. He says he believes his family is doing it for his future.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Cairo, Egypt.


STOUT: Our next story, it takes us to a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world -- South Korea. The statistics are alarming, in the past 10 years the annual tally of suicides more than doubled. Paula Hancocks looks at the work of a group in Seoul that is helping Koreans keep death at bay by experiencing it.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A slow walk through the snow to their final resting place. A man in black meets the South Koreans to their coffins laid out in the woods, a radical technique using the concept that only by dying can you truly appreciate life. The work of Kim Ji-Ho (ph) and his health group Beautiful Life.

He says, you can't understand death simply by talking about it. People truly experience death by participating in it and being reborn with a pure state of mind.

Kim Byoung-Su (ph) runs a busy dental clinic in the expensive part of Seoul. Treating 30 patients a day, he is well respected. But there's one thing his patients and his family do not know.

He tells me, every day I want to turn a gun on myself. Every moment I'm awake I think about suicide daily, but I can't do it because I have too many responsibilities. Kim says the seminar will be for life, it's his last chance to beat his suicidal thoughts.

By dealing with death head on with this group, Kim Ji-Ho (ph) is trying to demystify it. As part of the treatment, the dentist has to write his suicide letter, his final word to his wife and children. He is then dressed in burial clothes and walks out into the night and into the woods.

Kim kneels beside his coffin and the final prayer is given signifying his funeral. Then, in silence, he gets in and lies down. His hands and feet are tied before the coffin is closed. And then they wait.

Mr. Kim will stay inside his coffin for around 20 minutes. Now it is usually longer, but it is well below freezing here tonight. He can't see anything and he can't hear anything. And I'm told that it's this sensation of being buried alive that can have an amazing impact on a suicidal mind.

A coffin is opened. Kim Byoung-Su (ph) rises. The burial process is over.

Back inside, he rereads his suicide letter. Then he tells the group, I want to put on a tuxedo and take my wife on a cruise. She's gone through a lot because of me and has always tried to help. Whatever she wants, I will do for her.

Three hours ago, Kim wanted to die. After being buried, he's now making plans for the future.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul, South Korea.



STOUT: Welcome back.

Now barely a week has passed since the U.S. dug itself out of a winter storm of historic proportions, now millions of people having to do it all over again. Another load of freezing weather is blasting across the southern state bringing normal life to a halt. Now from Tennessee, Martin Savage reports.


MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here we smell again, the second blizzard in a week is burying and battering the nation's midsection and is pushing frigid temperatures and snow deep into Dixie.

They were sledding on Beale Street in Memphis, the home of the blues was covered in white.

You've got a Chicago hat on, are you from Chicago?

PAUL GILLESPIE, MEMPHIS RESIDENT: Born and raised in Memphis. This is the only warm hat I could find.

SAVAGE: In a flash, the powerful storm dumped a foot to a foot-and-a-half of snow in parts of Oklahoma that didn't need any more. Heavy snow also fell in central Kansas. In Newton, it was slow or no going for drivers while the city resorted to construction equipment to clear streets.

Winter storm warnings stretch across the south all the way from northern Louisiana to northern Georgia. The same system reaches all the way into Virginia with nearly the same results.

The driver of this pick-up probably thought things couldn't get much worse, he was wrong.

All along the storm's path, folks are fed up and frustrated as the snow just keeps on coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been sliding everywhere. And I even got (inaudible) tires and it's still slick.

SAVAGE: Back in Memphis, Ron Andrew and his wife Karen weren't that impressed with the snow. After all, they're from Alberta, Canada.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I phoned home this morning, it was minus 27 and snowing at home. So, yeah, this is still a break for us.

SAVAGE: In Memphis, I'm Martin Savage.


STOUT: Frigid temperatures in the Deep South. Our Mari Ramos is there. Mari, how does it feel? And what is the forecast?

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me tell you Kristie, I'm not from Canada. So, yes, this is very, very cold for us here that has lived in this part of the U.S. for a long time. And, you know, for portions of Oklahoma, for example, this has been the snowiest February on record. So we're looking at some pretty intense snow falls here.

The snow has moved on, though, across this part of the southern plains -- Arkansas, 61 centimeters of snow. In Little Rock, they had 17 centimeters of snow. So this has been quite a bit -- Memphis 10. We got lucky here in the Atlanta area, only about maybe 2 to 3 centimeters of snow has fallen. Some snow flurries outside still as I was driving in this morning. Almost nobody on the roadway, so that was kind of dead. But schools are open. And they are actually -- it's looking pretty good. The temperature is expected to warm up.

There will be some travel problems from the mid-Atlantic all the way down to Florida. Snow to the north and that rain that could be heavy farther to the south. But as far as the snow goes, it's going to be in this area here of the Carolinas, everybody else should start drying out. And the temperature trend for the next few days is for a warm-up. There is definitely a taste of spring coming across the Deep South. So, we deserve it, I must say.

I want to take you to Europe very quickly. Temperatures generally mild. And we're starting to see some of the snow that you've had across this area start to melt. The coldest air still here across the eastern half of the continent. And this is pretty typical, of course, for this time of year notice that that extends all the way across -- even into areas to the south through the Balkans and even chilly in Athens at 14. Not too bad. But 6 in Istanbul and 5 in Belgrade.

Most of the weather systems are still sliding across the northern portion here of the continent and that's where we're going to see the snow again. It's going to be across this northeastern portion here, very snowy winter already, very snowy fall. As we head into the spring, they are preparing for floods in this region. It's always something to watch out for, so they are doing a dry run so to speak for lack of a better term here across -- this is in Belarus. They're training. These are firefighters and rescue personnel training for this possibility of having significant flooding across these areas once it begins to warm up.

So from too much snow to possibly some problems here now with a tropical cyclone. This is Madagascar, we are in Southeastern Africa. This storm is starting to get better organized. It should remain fairly stationary over the next 24 to 48 hours and then after that start moving over that region. We'll monitor it and we'll tell you all about it.

Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.

Kristie, it's a struggle for farmers across parts of Northeastern China. They were already having a hard time with their crops with the cold temperatures, and of course its lingering drought. Some people are saying it has not rained where they live in -- since September. So that's very significant. The drought is expected to unfortunately to affect a wide swath of land here across Northeastern China. And this is going to be a problem in the days and weeks to come. The UN even said earlier this week that this could affect the winter wheat crop across this area. You can see this areas in the darkest colors, they are suffering from severe drought and that's significant. Unfortunately, we're not expecting anything good as far as rain, nothing too significant, maybe a few scattered rain showers across this region here.

A lot of the moisture will be moving across the Korean Peninsula and then back toward Japan. And you guys I know do not want any more snow there. It's staying dry, though, as we head here to areas across the south and even in the Philippines you're starting to get a little bit of a break when it comes to the wet weather. They're not looking too bad.

Let's go ahead and look at the temperatures -- minus 3 for you in Beijing, minus 3 in Seoul, 5 in Tokyo and wow, kind of warm in Hong Kong at 21 at this late hour. Kristie.

STOUT: That's why I got the short sleeves on.

RAMOS: There you go.

STOUT: Thank you very much, Mari, and take care.

Now in the U.S. scientists, they've been discussing the possibility of a dirty bomb attack. Now here's the bad news, the risk of a nuclear attack by a terrorist group has gone up. And now the good news, your chances of surviving are better than previously thought. Deborah Feyerick has the latest research.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Imagine if a major city like Los Angeles were to be attacked by terrorists using a radioactive dirty bomb, or improvised nuclear device.

How realistic of a threat is that?

PARNEY ALBRIGHT, LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY: Nuclear weapons are hard to get, but you can't say the probability is zero.

FEYERICK: That probability preoccupies nuclear experts like Parney Albright, head of global security at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Now a study for the Department of Homeland Security finds outside the hot zone, surviving an atomic blast is possible.

BROOKE BUDDEMEIER, LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY: So this is sort of the silver lining of the fallout cloud, fallout decays rapidly. If you can just avoid those high radiation zones in the first few hours, you can save your life.

FEYERICK: Physicist Brooke Buddemeier analyzed the mushroom cloud, finding hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved -- not by running from danger, but by getting inside and staying there in the center of a building to escape radioactive fallout.

You hear something, the best thing to do is really to just run inside and get to and seek shelter.

BUDDEMEIER: Absolutely. And that's a great all hazards response plan. If there's any kind of toxic material in the environment, it's good to get inside, especially to the core of the buildings that offer the best protection.

FEYERICK: The mushroom cloud carries radioactive particles miles into the sky, finding shelter in those few minutes before the particles fall to earth is crucial.

BUDDEMEIER: Stay there 12 to 24 hours if you don't any better.

FEYERICK: Cities offer the most shelter and therefore the best protection. Experts charting the direction of the plum would then guide response officials to determine evacuation routes.

But the best way to survive, says Albright is preventing a bomb in the first place, improving detection at border crossings by using weapons-grade radiation tools like this one and keeping uranium and plutonium away from terrorists altogether.

ALBRIGHT: If a nuclear weapon went off in the United States, it would be an apical (ph) event. It would change the way we live. And so it's a threat that no matter how unlikely, it's something that we would have to pay serious attention to.

FEYERICK: Last summer, emergency officials received information to help prepare people now so they know what to do and how to respond quickly. Sure the odds are small, but disaster preparedness officials say were it to happen, there would be no room for error.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


STOUT: Now still ahead on NEWS STREAM, not even Spider-Man could have sensed this critical mauling. Just ahead, we'll explain why the web slinger may have finally met his match.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the actress Lindsay Lohan has denied stealing a necklace valued at $2,500 from a Los Angeles jewelry store. Lohan, seen here, on her way to court was released on bail after pleading not guilty to felony grand theft, but the judge warned her not to push her luck. That was a reference to her checkered past. Now this is the freckled preteen Lindsay Lohan attending the premiere of that Disney movie The Parent Trap. Her career then gained momentum. He hit the big-time in that movie Mean Girls in 2004.

Now with the star on the rise, Lohan's private life took a plunge. She entered rehab to try and combat a drug problem in 2007. And then a drunk driving incident later that year resulted in this photograph that has come to define her. Now Lohan has been in and out of court and rehab several times since.

Now a big night for some of football's biggest names as France and Brazil staged a rematch of the 1998 World Cup final. Kate Giles is here to tell us all about it -- Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't quite as convincing at the 3-nil win, but a win is still a win. The French hoping this one in Paris - - we can show you some of the highlights -- how friendly it was, though, is a bit of another question, actually.

Nil-nil in the 40th minute, and Brazilian Hernanes makes a vicious looking challenge on France's Karim Benzema. It really looks more clumsy rather than malicious, but no question about it, that right there is straight red card.

Well, the question for 10-man Brazil soon became a little bit too much. Just 15 minutes later after that sending off Benzema tapping one in and scoring his third successive international match goal. France win that one 1-nil.

What about the World Cup runners-up Holland? They went in search of their sixth straight win when they played host to Austria, this one in Eindhoven. And the Dutch, well they were on fire again. Half an hour played and Theo Janssen combines with Wesley Sneijder who struck home just a brilliant volley. Take a look at that. Sneijder the main man in a team that was actually missing a number of their top stars on that night.

The Dutch would then double their lead almost straight after break. Erik Peters finding Klass Jan Huntelaar for the header.

And Holland's third goal came from a penalty that was after Florian Klein handled in the 71st minute. Dirk Kuyt converting there from the penalty spot.

The Dutch scored 3, the Austrians 1.

Well let's talk about club football. And Barca may have the better of Real Madrid on the pitch right now, but off it Real Madrid are still undoubtedly the kings of world football. For the sixth year in a row Los Blancos have been named the richest club on the planet, that was by Deloitte's influential football money league. Now Deloitte say that Real earned more than 438 million euros last season. And that was 40 million more than Barca earned.

Now their money league looks at the 20 wealthiest sides in the world, this is all based on the financial figures for 2009-2010 season. You can see the list of the top six. There are no changes actually in that one from last year. The biggest change comes a little bit lower down, it's Manchester City, they climbed nine places overall, they've moved up to 11. Now overall, England has seven clubs in that top 20, Germany and Italy both have 4 teams and there are three from Spain and two as well from France.

So there you go, you can see who is doing well and whose bank balance is looking rather good at the moment, Kristie.

STOUT: That's right, all the numbers there out there on display. Kate, thank you so much.

Now wannabe superheroes need not apply, Marvels' first family have found a fill-in and it's a familiar face to comic book fans. Now take a look at this, the Fantastic Four will become the Future Foundation next month with Spider-Man set to join the team. There he is along with The Invisible Woman, The Thing and Mr. Fantastic.

Now Spidey is replacing the Human Torch who was killed in January's addition trying to save his family from an army of insects. It's a sad ending for the original superhero team which first burst onto the comic book scene back in 1961.

Now when it comes to a new Broadway show, Spidey might need a little help from his friends. Now the creators that were hoping to unmask a superhero spectacular instead it's turned into a big budget tangle of technical problems and injured actors. And the critics, they've been brutal. Our Jeanne Moos explains why they are climbing the walls.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look out, Spider-Man The Musical, you've been bitten by that venomous, poisonous species: theater critics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was such a mess.

MOOS: The Washington Post said, no super powers needed to sniff out this sticker. Shrill, insipid mess, a musical aimed squarely at a Cub Scout demographic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really thought it was great. I loved it.

MOOS: But in the press, Spider-Man was spider pan. The Lost Angeles Times said "incoherence isn't much fun to sit through." New York Times' chief theater critic Ben Brantley called it a...

BEN BRANTLEY, NEW YORK TIMES: Gelatinous blob of a concept.

MOOS: These verbal wounds follow all of the actual injuries four so far, including a stunt man who got cheered as they carried him off to the hospital.

The New Yorker put a hospital ward full of Spider-Man on its cover -- keyboard cat played Spider-Man off the stage.

The $65 million production is said to be Broadway's most expensive show ever and critics are asking where did all the money go?

BRANTLEY: Even Mary Poppins across the street, you know, it has flying people and they look like they're flying. Here, it's just people strapped into harnesses as if it were, you know, a second tier carnival ride.

MOOS: Its full title is Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. But Spider-Man's producers would like to turn off the critics. A spokesman for the show released a statement saying this pile on by the critics is a huge disappointment.

The show is still in previews. Changes are still being made and any review that runs before the show is frozen is totally invalid. But reviewers say the show has pushed back its official opening for months.

To Spider-Man's defense comes a very prominent fan, a guy who is no stranger to theatrical productions, usually his own. Here's Glenn Beck's review.

GLENN BECK, RADIO SHOW HOST: Spider-Man is the eighth wonder of the world.

MOOS: What leaves the audience in wonder is when a glitch occurs in the aerial razzle-dazzle, the actors have taken to improvising as they are left dangling.

BRANTLEY: Saying, you better watch out Spidey. You know, they're known to drop people on the audience. The applause was thunderous after that. We were all part of this shared experience of Spider-Man, the disaster.

MOOS: Who are you calling a disaster puny mortal?

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


STOUT: Now I'm sure you haven't forgotten, and if you have, there is still time to avoid getting into trouble, but we are now only four days away from Valentine's Day that time of the year when we lavish the object of our affection with love. But what if that object of your affection is just that, an object?


GOLLUM: My precious. They stole it from us.


STOUT: This is Gollum in the Lord of the Rings took an unhealthy interest in that One Ring to rule them all. Researchers at Arizona State University believe that people can actually fall in love with their most treasured possessions. The study found that some of us are happy to shower as much time, money and affection on inanimate objects as we are on living, breathing loved ones.

And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" with Charles Hodson, Maggie Lake and Andrew Stevens is next.