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Unrest in Bahrain; Funerals held for three protestors; Drug violence in Mexico; Japan Cancels Remainder of Whaling Season
Aired February 18, 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, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet. I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.
Thousands march in Bahrain, as funerals are held for three of the protestors killed in the unrest.
As Mexico's drug violence rages on, we look at towns on the U.S. border, that are under siege by drug cartels.
And heading home, Japan cancels the rest of this year's winter whaling season.
Now, another big protest is brewing in Bahrain. Thousands of people are attending the funerals of three demonstrators killed in Thursday's violent crackdown. Marchers are waving flags, and some are chanting, death to the ruling family.
It is a show of defiance, as demonstrators vow that they will not quit. A total of six people have been killed, since protestors took to the street on Monday, demanding reform.
Now, let's find out what's happening right now. Arwa Damon, is at pro- government rally in Manama. She joins us on the line, and Arwa, what are you seeing?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well Kristie, there are masses of people walking down the street here, holding up pictures of members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, chanting, shouting out to us, that they love the king. They love their current leadership. They absolutely believe that this is the best way for Bahrain to move forward. It means status quo. Many of them very upset at what has happened.
One young woman, 18 years old, a senior in high school, coming up and saying that she fears that these ongoing anti-government demonstrations are going to be ripping the country apart. She said that the demonstrators have to think about the country's future, the economic future.
We're also hearing many of these demonstrators saying that they firmly believe that Iran is behind these demonstrators, saying that they are the ones who are trying to instigate the majority Shia population here, so that they can eventually bring down this regime.
This in stark contrast, of course, (inaudible) we have been hearing throughout from the anti-government demonstrators, who insist that the current government is trying to sideline the largely Shia population.
Also, we are hearing from the anti-government side, a lot of rage about the level of violence that was used against the demonstrators. We've asked a number of people here about the violence was used, how they view that. They believe that government acted in the way that it was best for the population. Two really very different perspectives from (AUDIO GAP).
STOUT: It sounded like our connection here may be breaking up. I'm just going to go ahead and try to ask you a question, nonetheless.
Over the last few days, we've been hearing reports of anti-government protestors chanting words like, there are no difference between Sunni and Shia. We are all brothers. Arwa, just how significant is that? Are Sunnis and Shiites united against the regime?
DAMON: Well Kristie, that's really varying, depending on who you talk to. The demonstrators are predominantly Shia. They are -they make up the - most of the country's impoverished - the largely impoverished. They feel that the government is not giving them a fair chance.
There are some Sunnis among them, as well. But here at this pro- government rally, we're also hearing that same statement that there is - that Sunnis and Shiites have lived in Bahrain side-by-side in peace for so long. But there is still great concern that this current standoff is going to deepen these sectarian divides.
Many people say that they don't believe that the sectarian divides exist, but then they will go on to say that they believe that it is Iran that is trying to stir up the Shia population against the government. So, we're getting a lot of mixed messages from the people who we're talking to, Kristie.
STOUT: All right, Arwa. Thank you for that. Arwa Damon, joining us live from Bahrain there.
Let's show you where Bahrain is located. It consists of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf. The main one is, Bahrain Island, a pear-shaped land mass, some 48 kilometers long, 16 kilometers wide. It is home to just over one million people. Bahrain is linked to Saudi Arabia by a 26 kilometer highway.
And here's where it lies in relation to other hot spots in the region. And we'll bring you all the latest developments.
Now, let's take you next to Yemen. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators are clashing with pro-government protestors in the capital. The fighting - it started after noon prayers. Officials say violence on Thursday killed four people.
Yemen's most influential religious cleric is calling for clam, as the unrest enters a second week. He is also floating the idea of a unity government. Demonstrators want long-time President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down. The crowd on the streets of Sanaa right now, is the biggest yet.
Mohammad Jamjoom is on the story. He joins us now from Sanaa. Mohammad, more violent clashes today. What's happening now?
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's right, Kristie. It was the eighth day of protests. The eighth consecutive day where there were anti-government protests, here in Sanaa. And the eighth consecutive day where there were clashes between pro- government and anti-government demonstrators.
Let me set the scene for what happened. Early today, right after Friday prayer, a group of 1,500 anti-government demonstrators started marching through the streets. They started right - right outside of a mosque next to Sanaa University.
They started marching. The crowd started swelling, as they were marching. Once they got about two miles away from the mosque, and from Sanaa University, a group of about 100 pro-government gang members descended upon them.
Now, there were riot police that were trying to separate the two crowds. But the pro-government gang members - they started throwing rocks. Some of them were yielding their daggers. I saw some of these pro- government gang members that were wielding their sticks, that were hitting anti-government demonstrators, that were not provoking them in any way.
The anti-government demonstrators, largely students, were chanting, peace. They were saying that they wanted the regimen of Ali Abdullah Saleh here, to come to an end. But they wanted to do so by peaceful means.
Now, there were anti-riot police on the scene. They were trying to disburse the crowds at one point. The anti-government demonstrators were surrounded on all sides - one side by riot police, one side by the pro- government demonstrators. They eventually disbursed.
Now, we're hearing from activists. They're trying to figure out when they can regroup later in the day. Right now, the protests are over, for the time being. But Sanaa isn't the only place where protests happened today.
In Tiaz, we have 10,000 people that have gathered in Freedom Square there. A grenade was hurled into the crowd. Twenty-two people injured there, according to eye witnesses. And in Aden we have 3,000 people, anti- government demonstrators, that are demonstrating there as well. And, as of yesterday, there were four people killed in Aden, due to those anti- government demonstrations.
STOUT: More of these pro-government protestors there in Yemen. You describe them as - as gang members. I mean, just who are there? Are they genuine supporters of the government? Are they paid by officials?
JAMJOOM: This is the question that keeps coming up. The government denies that they are paying anybody to go out into the streets. And whenever we speak to any pro-government demonstrators, they say they are there of their own volition. They are there because of their love for their country, and the love for the unity of their country. They want Ali Abdullah Saleh to stay in power.
But the rights activists that we speak with - the ones who have been harassed over the last few days, over the past couple of weeks - they're saying to us, that there's no way that any pro-government demonstrators here could be that mobilized, and that organized, to continue to descend upon these anti-government demonstrators the way they have, in the last few days.
They say it's just simply impossible for gangs here, to be that organized without getting help from the military. Again, it's an argument that's been going on. But the anti-government demonstrators feel they're being harassed. And they're asking for the government here to let them demonstrate peacefully, and to let them express their opinions.
STOUT: So, as these violent clashes continue between these pro- and anti-government (factions), is the overall tone of the protest still very much anti-government, expelling the regime?
JAMJOOM: Absolutely. And what's interesting about what's happening in the last week, versus what happened a couple of weeks ago, when the uprising started happening in Egypt, and when everything was going in Tunisia, there were opposition groups here - opposition parties, political parties - that were trying to get demonstrators out into the streets, to try to back the president here into a political corner, to try to get concessions from him.
Well, they got those concessions, about a week-and-a-half ago. Yet after that, the opposition parties, they started a dialogue with the president. And yet, youth here - the students, the activists - there's a rising momentum.
A rising tide of anger, among these people here. They have continued to go out into the streets. The crowds have built each day. Today was the largest we've seen in the past week. The students we're talking to, they say they're fed up. They don't believe the president will make the concessions that he's promised to. They want an end to his regime.
They're not calling for anybody to replace him. They're saying, they want to demonstrate peacefully. They want an end to his regime. They want a government here that will work to secure their future, and they don't think that's happened.
STOUT: All right. Mohammed Jamjoom, joining us live from Sanaa. Thank you.
A human rights watch says Libyan security forces killed 24 protestors during Thursday's Day of Rage. The group says some of the worst violence happened in the Eastern city of El Bayada. CNN could not independently confirm that death toll. Funerals are expected there, and also in nearby Benghazi, which is also seeing demonstrations. It is unclear, if they will spark further protests.
And in Iran, thousands of people are marching in pro-government rallies today, to counter opposition protest that turned deadly in Tehran on Monday. The government is blaming an outlawed opposition group for the death of a young man there. But was he a protestor, or a government supporter?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The body of Sana Jala arrives in his hometown, in a casket. Hundreds of pro-government demonstrators in the northeastern city of Kermansheh, paid tribute to the 26-year-old student, allegedly shot and killed during protests on Monday, by Iran's opposition movement.
Iranian authorities say Jala was a regime loyalist. A member of the besiege, a pro-government militia group. They posted online what they said was Jala's besiege ID card. And blamed anti-government protestors for his death.
But Iran's opposition movement says the government is spreading lies about Jala for propaganda. An opposition leaders web site says Jala was a theater student, and among the protestors on Monday when gunned down by security forces. The web site describes him as a pro-democracy activist. A picture shows him posing with the late Ayatollah Ali Hussein Montessori, a reformist cleric and fierce critic of the regime's leadership.
On Tuesday, a supporter of Iran's opposition movement, told CNN's Anderson Cooper, Jala was a classmate, and one of the protestors, not a regime loyalist.
SARA: Unfortunately, one of our friends from the University of Art, found out Jala was killed yesterday. We are - we had entered a phase of serious, strict mourning.
SAYAH: Iran's hardliners had an answer for those who refuted Jala's loyalty. The editor of Iran's leading hardline paper suggested Jala mingled with reformists, because he was a secret informant. Iranian authorities say Mohammed Muldhari, was the second person killed in Monday's demonstrations. He too, was killed by protestors, they say. Another claim, the opposition movement calls a lie.
Monday's protest marked a comeback for Iran's opposition movement, after a nearly one-year absence, and renewed its bitter rivalry with the regime. Entangled in the conflict, the identity of two young men who lost their lives.
The deaths of Sana Jala and Mohammed Muldhari, already escalating tensions between the government and the opposition movement. The opposition movement calling for more demonstrations on Sunday to remember these two men. Obviously, it's highly unlikely the government is going to approve setting the stage for another potentially explosive day.
Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.
STOUT: Now, a large crowd is gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Egyptians are marking one week since President Hussein Mubarak's resignation. Thousands of people are waving flags, and beating drums. They're calling it A Day of Victory. But it also serves another purpose - to remind the country's new military rulers that the people are watching the reform process.
Top military leaders dissolved Parliament. They suspended the Constitution. And vowed to remain in charge, until elections can be held in six months or so.
Now, with turmoil across the Arab world, the economists has put together, what it calls, a shoe-thrower's index. It ranks countries according to how close they may be to the brink of social unrest.
Out to calculate the index, the magazine took into account several things. The population under 25. The number of years the government has been in power. The level of corruption. And the lack of democracy. The GDP per person. And the level of censorship. Now, let's take a look at some of the numbers. Egypt, was not the very top of the list. But out of 100, with 100 being the most unstable, Egypt received about 68. Now Bahrain, which has seen some very violent protests in recent days - it ranked 38 on the list.
Now Yemen - it tops the list, with the highest number of 87. As a comparison, the UAE - or United Arab Emeritus - let's see how it scored. It is among the lowest, with a 26. And Libya - Libya has seen a number of violent protests all across the country this week. It ranks second highest on the shoe-thrower's index, as 71.
You, are watching NEWS STREAM.
And up next, the view across the border. It's a constant reminder that extreme danger is too close for comfort.
And ahead, how one U.S. Sheriff, is trying to keep Mexico's drug violence at bay.
And Japanese officials say, the constant pressure was too much. Now, they have cancelled this year's seasonal whale hunt.
STOUT: We're back. You're watching NEWS STREAM.
And, let's give you the very latest on the situation in Bahrain. Now, thousands have been taking place in a funeral procession, honoring the protestors who were killed in a deadly crackdown that took place on Thursday. In total, about six people have died in Bahrain. Of course, that's fueling the anti-government protests, that continue to happen there in that country.
And joining me now on the line, is pro-government and member of Parliament. He joins us on the line from Manama. Welcome to NEWS STREAM.
How do you describe what is happening in your country? Is it an uprising? Is it a revolution?
ISA AL KOOHEJI (via telephone): Hello. Hello.
STOUT: Hello. This is Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Is this Isa Al Kooheji?
AL KOOHEJI: Yes, speaking.
STOUT: Mr. Al Kooheji, can you hear me?
AL KOOHEJI: Yes, I can. Can you hear me?
STOUT: OK. How do you describe - loud and clear - how do you describe the recent events in your country in Bahrain? Is it an uprising? Is it a revolution? What's going on?
AL KOOHEJI: It's not an uprising. It's not a revolution. I would please - first of all - I would appreciate if you give me enough time to answer every single question that you would be asking, and not stopping the answers.
Now, this is not an uprising. It's not a revolution. Unfortunately, the outside media has been covering one end of the story, and not the other. Personally, I have been trying to contact every single media source from outside, and nobody has been taking me on.
I was walking in the peace march over here, and I saw a reporter and I asked her, who are you? And she said, I'm with CNN. I said, can I go on? And, this is how I came on. So, this is not a revolution, no ma'am. And, this is not an uprising. It's a peaceful, pro-government, pro-democracy that we have over here.
As on the other side, if you want to ask what happened, that has been covered by the other (inaudible) news people that are saying it's a revolution. No, it's not. It's about 5,000 people who are versing, 1.4 million people who want the government. And those people are saying nothing but they want more power in the government. Well, we are living it today. Hello?
STOUT: There have been days of clashes between anti-government protestors and the police. Have you been talking to the anti-government protestors, or to any of their organizers, about their grievances, and their demands?
AL KOOHEJI: I am very, very sorry for what has happened. Every loss of life from my fellow Bahrainis hurts me. But, if we want to demonstrate, there is proper channels to be taken. If the proper channels are not taken, then things could escalate. Hello?
STOUT: Do you or fellow pro-government politicians know who is organizing the anti-government protests?
AL KOOHEJI: The anti-government protest you are seeing, every single media coverage that is happening, BBC covering people in England talking about Bahrain. People are living in England, and they are talking about Bahrain. And they're saying, well, political refugees over there.
Those people who are over there do not talk for the people of Bahrain. If you want to talk to the people of Bahrain, please contact the merchants that you have in Bahrain. Google Bahrain, and get the people and let them see how many people are there. How many businessmen are there. Pick up a phone and call them.
I'm not talking, only talk to the demonstrators, and only talk to the politicians. Talk to the normal people. Why does that - doesn't happen? Up until today, it has not happened. Why? Because the outside media wants to show one side of the story. And that is 5,000 people that have been demonstrating.
Of those 5,000 people who have been demonstrating - if you back in history, it's the same people since the 80's. So, what are we talking about over here?
STOUT: Sir, I can hear - all of our viewers can hear quite clearly - that you are angry. For the record, just remind our audience - CNN has invited you -
AL KOOHEJI: Excuse me.
STOUT: A pro-government politician -
AL KOOHEJI: I am really -
STOUT: To speak to us on air. And our Arwa Damon is also covering a pro-government rally, in addition to the coverage that we've been giving to the anti-government protests, and the crackdown that has been taking place in your country - that has taken the lives of at least six anti-government protesters.
A question that I have for you. Sir, are you still with us?
AL KOOHEJI: I am with you, but I did not hear half of the question that you are saying, or half the statement you made.
STOUT: OK. Well, let me get to my question now. Opposition groups have promised for a major protest this weekend. We have seen - on the back of that deadly crackdown that took place early Thursday morning - that security forces are not afraid to act.
What kind of security response could we see this weekend, if there is a major protest?
AL KOOHEJI: Did we ever hear about the security people that got ran down by the car? Nobody's talking about that. The security people, when they went in, there are media demonstrations that were put in on TV yesterday. It was clear. From both sides, there might be - mishaps. OK. Mishaps.
But we cannot judge a whole country on the same thing. We cannot say the whole country has a problem, no. It's a minority. Please make that sure - it's a minority. I do not see everybody. And, unfortunately, the media is talking about Sunni and Shia.
We're not Sunni and Shia in Bahrain. We are only Bahrainis. We are not Sunni and Shia. Make that clear.
STOUT: Mr. Al Kooheji -
AL KOOHEJI: We do not have -
STOUT: Loud and clear.
AL KOOHEJI: Hello?
STOUT: Mr. Al Kooheji, thank you very much for joining us here on CNN. That was Isa Al Kooheji, a member of Parliament in Bahrain, joining us live there on the phone.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back, right after the break.
STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, on a Friday night. You are back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now, the 10th Cricket World Cup is being co-hosted by Bangladesh. And the World Cup, in any sport, is a chance to broaden that sport's international appeal.
Sara Sidner now reports. This time Cricket, has a chance to go beyond its own established borders in the sub-continent, and bring the game to girls.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a country that loves the game of Cricket, this should not be an unusual site. But what you are seeing, is extraordinary.
On this field, girls are doing something that has long been reserved for the boys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen girls playing Cricket anywhere in Bangladesh before, a spectator remarks.
SIDNER: That is because, girls aren't normally given the chance to play. They're generally given less value in society, than boys.
What were people in the neighborhood saying, when you started to play Cricket?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): At first, people asked, why are girls playing Cricket? It's a boys' game. This is a bad scene, player (Rohima Bibimoni) says.
SIDNER: Back in the slum she lives in, the neighbors taunted her father, saying he was ruining their religiously conservative society, by allowing his girl to play. He almost gave in to their demands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Then I thought, I could not do anything in my life, so why not let my daughter do something, he says.
SIDNER: (Moni's) father is illiterate - never given a chance to go to school. But, instead of marrying (Moni) off at the age of 14 - the age his wife married him - he allowed (Moni) to take classes in a school run by BRAC, a non-governmental organization. And he learned a few things from his daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I could not sign my name, before I started learning from my daughter. And now, I can write my name - and some other names, he says.
So, when BRAC, with funding from UNICEF, decided to start a girls' Cricket team, (Moni) convinced her parents, and went from a shy teenager, to the captain of her team.
(ROHIMA BIBIMONI) (through translator): God willing, some day, I will be able to play on the national team.
SIDNER: OK. You're still shy. (Laughter) You're the captain.
There are dozens of girls like her. And enough teams, to have a cross- country tournament now. There's only enough money, though, to hold a handful of formals Cricket training sessions, from volunteer coaches. But these girls, take what they can, and work with it.
It's hard to root for just one team in this thing, considering the hardships that these girls have been through. And I have to admit, that I'm a bit of a soft touch when it comes to girls and sports, because I was one, a young, shy girl, who gained enough confidence, to play a little collegiate volleyball.
You seem to feel very proud of these girls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, of course. I am very proud. (through translator) My team's not playing very well, but you know, we've been able to bring the team from so far, with the help of BRAC, it's a miracle, he says.
But the proudest of all, is (Moni's) father.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am now happy. She's learning, and she's playing, he says. I'm delighted with this thing. People from all across Bangladesh, watch her play. She is our pride.
SIDNER: No matter if their teams win or lose, these girls have already aced, some of life's biggest tests.
Sara Sidner, CNN, cheering on the Bangladesh.
STOUT: You can tell they love this sport.
Up next here on NEWS STREAM, Japan is calling it quits for this season's winter whale hunt. This all because of a team of activists.
Coming up, Japan's whaling woes.
LU STOUT: Egyptians are celebrating what they call the day of victory. Just take a look at these incredible live pictures from Tahrir Square. Hundreds of thousands of people are there. Their converging on Tahrir Square in Cairo to mark one week since history happened, one week since Hosni Mubarak stepped down after 30 years in power. Now this crowd that you're seeing on your screen is said to be the largest crowd to date. We're hearing estimates of hundreds of thousands of people gathering this day in Tahrir Square. Organizers of this gathering, they say that they want to show the world that the revolution is not over.
Masses of people, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians there in Tahrir Square. You're looking at live pictures on your screen celebrating the one week anniversary of the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Now Tahrir Square is where this is happening. And of course we all know Tahrir Square was the epicenter of that 18 day long protest movement that led to the end of the Mubarak regime. But this march, it has another purpose, not only to celebrate but also to serve as a reminder to the military that Egyptians, that the people there, are watching the ongoing reform process as Egypt makes this transition to election to take place in some six months from now.
And I understand that celebrations like this are taking place in other cities across Egypt, but here we are seeing a record setting crowd, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians there in Tahrir Square this day, live pictures on your screen, celebrating a day of victory. Incredible sight.
Now in other news, Japan has canceled the rest of its winter whaling season, because it is concerned for the safety of its crews. Now Japan has permits to kill about 1,000 whales a year for scientific research, but in recent months Japan's whaling fleets have endured a series of high sea encounters with conservation groups that say that the hunting is not just for research purposes.
And as you can imagine, conservationists are celebrating this suspension. Now Kyung Lah has more on the skirmishes and the fallout.
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After collisions at sea, frigid water cannons, flares, and even illegal trespassing aboard Japanese whaling vessels, Japan's government announced that at least for this winter it's had enough. Battle with conservationist group Sea Shepherd over Japan's hunt for whales in the Antarctic waters.
"To protect the life of the crew and the safety of our fleets," says Japan's fisheries minister, "we have decided to cut short our research whaling at this time. It's against our will."
Japan's fleet of four whaling vessels will now return home. The first time since Japan began hunting whales here in 1987 that it's short a whaling season. Sea Shepherd's leader, Paul Watson, speaking to me via Skype from his ship still following the Japanese whalers in Antarctica, called it a victory.
PAUL WATSON, SEA SHEPHERD: We effectively shut them down. And we've now found a way -- once we're on them, they cannot kill whales. And so they didn't have any choice, really.
LAH: Japan hunts whales in these international waters despite a worldwide ban, calling it scientific research. The ban allows hunting whales in the pursuit of science. But because the meat ends up in markets and restaurants critics call the hunt a cover for illegal commercial whaling. Within Japan, not everyone supports the whaling program, but many still say it's a cultural right to eat whale and a decision that belongs to Japan not animal rights groups.
But Sea Shepherd has charged on for seven years tailing the Japanese whalers, each year getting more donations, more publicity and better and better ships. This year's futuristic Gojilla, a takeoff of how the Japanese say Godzilla, speeds circles around the whaling ships. Japan calls their aggressive tactics, like physically cutting off the whaling fleet that led to the sinking of a Sea Shepherd vessel last year, dangerous.
Sea Shepherd disputes that charge saying no crew from either side has ever been seriously injured.
WATSON: I think we're very stubborn and very persistent and we been down here and we've clearly frustrated them, because we're able to continue to do what we're doing.
LAH: Do you believe that this is the end of whaling?
WATSON: I'm hopeful that this is the end of whaling in the southern ocean. But if not, we will be prepared to be back here next year in order to combat it again. But I am hopeful
LAH: Japan's government has not commented on the future of whaling. Now one big factor is at play here other than Sea Shepherd, whaling in Antarctica is expensive. It's partially subsidized by taxpayers, and Japan's government is facing a massive spending deficit. Economics may determine the future of whaling as much as the bitter battle at sea.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
LU STOUT: Official Japanese whale hunts take place around the southern Ocean whale sanctuary. Now that sanctuary -- excuse me -- was established by the International Whaling Commission in 1994 and it roughly covers the waters surrounding Antarctica, that's about 50 million square kilometers.
Now we are on cyclone watch with our Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center. And Mari, you've got your eyes on Australia.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Still -- can you believe it? It's been an entire week, Kristie, that we've been talking about this cyclone across Northern Australia. It's the first one so far this season. And it's causing huge headaches across the region.
The pictures always show all this flooding going on, the high waves that are crashing along the ocean, and of course downed trees and downed power lines -- interruption to life and business for people here officially in Darwin as of yesterday we were already at the rainiest February on record, surpassing the old record set back in 1969 when another tropical cyclone actually just kind of sat around here and just rained for days. Now, we're way over that mark at 867 millimeters already of rainfall this month alone. This is a big deal, because you know, we could really use the water in other places. And this water is going to take a long time to go down.
There are severe weather warnings still in place even though the cyclone is continuing to just kind of die down, it's still bringing some heavy rain over this region. And it will move inland and eventually fizzle out. But the rain expected to last here at least another two days. I can't believe this. And here you see it again with accumulation expected to be along this area including Darwin again, an additional 15 to 25 centimeters not out of the question.
There were areas here that had over 100 centimeters of -- 100 millimeters I should say -- of rainfall in the last 24 hours. Darwin had about 45 millimeters of rain.
So this is what the cyclone looks like here. We're expecting it to continue kind of moving over this area over the next two to three days. So we'll watch what happens with that.
The other storm, Diane, is expected to stay out at sea over the western coast of Australia far away enough not to cause any kind of severe problems. So we'll be watching what happens with that.
I was hoping, Kristie, that today I could tell you that we had snow in the forecast for Beijing. This is an area that continues to be very, very dry, still in the midst of a moderate drought in the Beijing area proper. Areas farther to the south are actually in what's considered a severe drought. Well, guess what, no snow, no rain in the forecast even though that weather system that was coming through looked so promising. All we had -- all we got all day was just a little bit of clouds. Back to you.
LU STOUT: Very unfortunate for the scores of people there that desperately need some rain. Mari Ramos, thank you so much.
Now, drug violence makes it one of the world's most dangerous cities. Now 13 more people have been shot dead in Mexico's Ciudad Juarez in only 24 hours. Now police say the victims were killed in separate shootings throughout the city. At least two, a man and a woman, were shot outside a nightclub in a commercial district.
Now a U.S. congressman says one of Mexico's drug cartels may be behind the killing of a U.S. immigration agent. Jamie Zepata was traveling with a colleague on this highway in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi where they were ambushed on Tuesday. Zepata was killed. Now a Texas lawmakers says reports that he has received suggests the Zetas drug cartel ordered the hit. He says investigators found almost 100 shell casings at the scene.
Now along the U.S. side of the border, some residents say that they are close enough to see the violence and hear the constant sounds of guns being fired in Mexican border towns. Now Thelma Gutierrez caught up with the sheriff of one Texas county who's firing back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just opened fire on us, because we crossed the river.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sheriff Arvin West says there's a war going on just a few miles from his back door, a place he called Mayberry. He's warning residents to take up arms.
ARVIN WEST, SHERIFF, HUDSPETH COUNTY, TEXAS: I don't care what the rest of the country thinks. I could care less. My priority is my citizens in this county.
GUTIERREZ: Sherriff West says several Mexican towns in the Juarez Valley that runs along the border of Hudspeth County are now under siege by cartels who are trying to control smuggling routes into the U.S.
WEST: They will protect their load of drugs at all costs.
GUTIERREZ: From U.S. Interstate 10, it's a quick dash to the border. And this high speed pursuit deputies chase SUVs packed with drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're loading the dope.
GUTIERREZ: One gets stuck in the Rio Grande on the Mexican side. The drug haul is unloaded right in front of U.S. officials who can do nothing but watch.
The sheriff says the cat and mouse chases to the border a few years ago were the good 'ole days. Now, entire towns have fallen to the cartels and they've unleashed a campaign of terror where hundreds of families have been chased out of places like El Port Benia (ph), their homes set on fire. And a much more grisly end for cartel enemies, some of whom have been beheaded and dismembered and left in plain view.
WEST: See this little village right now? See those houses rooftop way over there?
WEST: I think that's Banderas, the drug cartels run them people off.
GUTIERREZ: Sheriff West showed us what he's up against.
WEST: We're going to climb up.
GUTIERREZ: The locals call this Jurassic Park Fence, because it looks like it can keep dinosaurs out. But the sheriff calls this a joke.
This is part of the international barrier between Chihuahua, Mexico and Texas. It's a 13 foot tall steel gate, but take a look at what happens right here, it ends and all you see are posts and some barbed wire.
In the last two years, three chiefs of police have been murdered in the Juarez Valley. The sheriff says it would be suicide if he crossed over the border.
You have no law enforcement counterpart on that side.
WEST: No. Not anymore. The last one I had contact with, they cut his head off and put it in an ice chest. There hasn't been anybody to step up to the plate since then.
GUTIERREZ: Sheriff West says there's only seven miles of fence along the border, 91 miles are wide open. Even though 300 extra border patrol agents have been sent here, he says a county road crew was recently shot at.
Farmer Joe Calpond's (ph) land runs right up to the border, and so does Gale Carr's (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our home. This is our little piece of the American dream. You know, I'm third generation on this farm, grow up here. My whole childhood, I have memories of going back and forth to the little town on the other side of the river.
GUTIERREZ: But now they say they can hear and see evidence of the violence against innocent families for themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can see the fires from here. Port Renidez (ph), you know is just what is it, a mile from us here, maybe?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One night I sat on the balcony of my house and I listened -- I counted to 120 and finally stopped. It was like pop, pop, pop. It was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
GUTIERREZ: Carr (ph) says he worries about family and friends who were there and says the exodus from the towns continue. More than 2,500 Mexican troops have been sent into the Juarez Valley. Even so, we saw smoke billowing from a home burning right across the border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's to the point to where I wonder why we're spending millions of dollars in Afghanistan when our next door neighbor is a fallen government, basically.
GUTIERREZ: Carr (ph) says he's not a vigilante. And he doesn't believe in militias.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's my rifle.
GUTIERREZ: But says if the violence spills over, he and the farmers are ready to be the first line of defense.
Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Fort Hancock, Texas.
LU STOUT: North Korea has completed structures at a second missile launch site. Now according to globalsecurity.org, the facility is seen as, quote, a major step in North Korea's quest for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could possibly strike the United States. Now it's located here in the northwest of the country. And our official source tells us that the location would allow North Korea to launch heavier payloads and launch them at such an angle to avoid missiles flying over other countries.
Now let's take a closer look at the new satellite imagery that has brought officials to this conclusion. Now this has been provided to us by GeoLine (ph). On this image you can make out quite clearly the facility. It's right here. It's now complete with swing arms and a moveable launch pad. It is not clear if the electronics needed are -- for a launch are in place.
Now at the other end of the site, right over here, that area has yet to be developed. It's thought that that is where the fueling will take place.
Now the intelligence community, they're watching this site. They say that there is no indication that the North Koreans plan to test launch in the near-term. And the U.S. Defense Department would not comment on this image to CNN.
Now up next here on News Stream, the Canadian government says it knew it was possible and now it has happened. Ahead, how the country is dealing with an unprecedented cyber attack on official government networks.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now we have pictures coming in from Egypt and Bahrain, countries experiencing polar opposite emotions: we have victory in Egypt and anti- government demonstrations in Bahrain. Now right now on your screen, you're looking at images -- live images there from Tahrir Square. People celebrating a day of victory. They are marking one week since Hosni Mubarak was forced out of power.
Now we're also monitoring the situation in Libya. It is much harder for us to show you today any pictures from Libya because media restrictions are much, much stricter there.
Now this might be Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi riding through the streets in an open air car on Thursday, perhaps trying to counter the anti- government emotions that have been running high. But unseen, further away from Tripoli in Benghazi, we have 100,000 protesters today.
Now some 25 people have been reportedly been killed there in recent days. And opposition groups, they say that the killings were done by revolutionary committee members in civilian clothes. Now there are other reports that mercenaries have been brought in from parts of Asia, and perhaps in an effort to avoid having Libyans shooting at Libyans.
Now at CNN, we have not confirmed any of these reports, but we are working hard to bring the latest coverage from their end from across the Arab region. And we will continue to follow the events there.
Now Canada, meanwhile, says that Treasury Board, and Finance Departments have been targeted by computer hackers, but officials say -- they're not saying much about the attack. More now from Alison Crawford.
ALISON CRAWFORD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The federal government is under an unprecedented cyber attack. The security breach has forced two of the government's biggest departments to severely restrict access to the internet. And the agency responsible for Canada's cyber protection is scrambling to destroy the threat and determine how much information has been stolen.
Sources tell CBC News government networks have been hit with a sophisticated cyber attack originating from computer servers in China. The hackers struck here, Treasury Board and the Finance Department. After infiltrating internal networks, they stole the e-mail identities of high ranking government officials to trick staff into changing key passwords. They spread the malicious program by hijacking online identities to send infected documents to employees. They trolled government networks for weeks without a trace, hunted for specific documents, and snuck information out to the hackers through the internet. That's why the government's communications security establishment has sealed off access to the internet at Treasury Board and Finance. It's trying to wipe out the attack and find out how much sensitive information has been stolen. The government has been warned about attacks like these for years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's important that these things be dealt with and be fixed. And the government is vulnerable, presently, to attacks.
CRAWFORD: Civil servants at Finance and Treasury Board have had almost no access to the internet for a month. Those who require regular access to external web sites have been allowed to work from home or Wi-Fi hot spots in coffee shops.
LU STOUT: Now Canadian officials say that just because the attacks were reportedly traced back to servers in China, it does not mean the attack originated there.
Now up next here on News Stream have you ever opened the fridge and almost eaten Fido's food? It can happen, but imagine actually doing it on purpose. Now these two women have and they say they plan to keep it up.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the opening race of the F-1 calendar is under threat. Don Ridell joins us live from London with the latest on the Bahrain Grand Prix. Don.
DON RIDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kristie. Well it remains in real doubt following this week's political upheaval in Bahrain. The sport's 12 teams are testing in Barcelona today and are due to discuss the matter later this Friday. And the F-1 boss now accepts that the curtain raiser to the 2011 season may have to be canceled.
A number of people have been killed and hundreds more injured during police clashes with anti-government demonstrators in the capital city Manama. And with the race due to be held on March the 13th, Bernie Ecclestone is concerned that it might become a target for demonstrators seeking publicity. All F-1 teams are due to test in Bahrain at the start of next month in a fortnight's time, but the teams have asked if they can test in Barcelona instead.
Ecclestone himself plans to wait a little while longer before giving his take on the future of the race. Now he did have a few words to say on Thursday. He said we'll make a decision by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. If things stay as they are, then the answer is no. If it's not quieting down by Wednesday, I think we will have to cancel probably.
Now what have rickshaws, high flying acrobats and the Canadian rock musician Brian Adams got in common? Well, they all featured in Thursday's lavish opening ceremony for the 10th Cricket World Cup. The $30 million event took place in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, which is co-hosting the world cup with India and Sri Lanka. Fourteen teams are going to be taking part, and the captains of each of them were paraded around the Bangabandhu Stadium in rickshaws watched by the Bangladeshi prime minister and the president of the ICC. The tournament starts tomorrow on Saturday. It runs until April the 2nd.
The only match we'll see the Bangladesh team taking on India in Dhaka. India area among the favorites to lift the world cup trophy for a second time nearly three decades after their first victory in England. Australia currently top the one day world rankings, but their form in the 50 overs game have been erratic, making them by no means a safe bet to win their fourth world cup in a row. But they're hoping that their experience will make the difference.
And finally, it seems as though Manchester City can buy any of the world's best players, but of course that's not entirely true, however their opponents in the Europa League this week published a match day program which showed a massive Manchester City squad of pretty much the best players on the planet. When looking for a team photo, Aris Thessaloniki were absolutely sloppy with their research and they managed to pull from the internet a spoof image that contained the likes of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Chelsea's Didier Drogba, and Real Madrid's Kaka, all of them in the unmistakable blue of Manchester City. It even featured a where's Wally picture.
As soon as the mistake was realized, the Greek club pulled the program, but not before some had already been sold. And Kristie, those programs that did make it out onto the market I think are going to become pretty hot property, a bit of a collector's item, one them is already on eBay. There's about four days left on the bidding. It's already up to 51 pounds the last time I checked.
So if you want to get your hands on a very rare piece of sports memorabilia, there you go. Stick a bid in.
LU STOUT: You know, the cycle that you bid these days is just getting faster and faster. But, you know, I call it from America, Where's Waldo. He was too easy to find there. I mean, not much of a challenge. But nonetheless...
LU STOUT: Don, thank you very much. I know, he's just right there. Yes, Don Riddell, take care. Have a great weekend.
Now time now to go over and out there. Now we're taking you to Kyrgyzstan where lawmakers have approved a new name for a mountain? So what's the big deal? Now it is called The Peak of Vladimir Putin. Yes, the prime minister of Russia now is a namesake in the Tien Shan Mountain range. Now one Kyrgyz lawmaker is apparently worried that Mr. Putin might be offended, because the 4400 meter mountain is smaller than others in the area. But, we should point out that he's only person given the honor. Now others include the former Russian president Boris Yeltsin and Santa Claus.
That is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today with Charles Hodson, Maggie Lake and Andrew Stevens is next.