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Battle for Benghazi; U.S. Role in Libya; Japan Nuclear Crisis

Aired March 21, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Air strikes hit Moammar Gadhafi's compound as the coalition enforces a no- fly zone.

More trouble at a stricken nuclear power plant in Japan, as smoke pours out of two reactors.

And Twitter turns five. We'll look back at the milestones along the way 140 characters at a time.

Allied air strikes rain down on Libya, and this one hit part of leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound. The message from the coalition: we will do what it takes to protect civilians. Our Nic Robertson says it appears that cruise missiles did heavy damage, and we'll be speaking with him live in just a moment.

A coalition official says the building was bombed to cripple Gadhafi's military capabilities. A no-fly zone is now in place after a weekend assault on air defense sites. Libyan officials say women and children have been killed. The U.S. and France dispute the claim.

Now, the regime has made repeated calls for a cease-fire, but members of the coalition say actions speak louder than words. And according to one witness in Misrata, loyalists have not let up. Now, he told CNN that there was "absolute destruction and carnage," with tanks and snipers terrorizing the western city. CNN has not been able to independently confirm that, but coalition air strikes have given a reprieve to rebels in Benghazi.

Now, some people believe that they may have prevented a massacre in the opposition stronghold. Here's Arwa Damon.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This here is the tip of a missile that would have been fired from this Russian anti-aircraft weapon system. There's still a fire smoldering inside.

This is a radar-guided system. The force that took this out would have had to have been massive. This vehicle weighs at least 15 tons.

Just in this small area we can see at least half a dozen burning military vehicles. There's four charred bodies back there. We're hearing that there are many more.

This battlefield graveyard, it stretches for kilometers. Gadhafi's military had been slowly advancing on the poorly-trained and ill-equipped opposition fighters, but it did not stand a chance in the face of modern foreign air power.

Just to give you an example of how ancient some of the machinery the opposition fighters have been using, this here is a World War II Willys Jeep that they found at one of Gadhafi's army bases. They say that they've piled into it right now with the mission of chasing down pro-Gadhafi elements who managed to escape into the farmland.


STOUT: Now, U.S. firepower is currently at the forefront of this operation, but Washington says it only plans to lead for a few days.

Now, let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence.

And Chris, first, give us an update on the allied fight against Gadhafi. How much progress has been made?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you listen to some of the officials here at the Pentagon, Kristie, tremendous progress in terms of taking out what Colonel Gadhafi had in terms of air defenses. It began with launching Tomahawk missiles from U.S. and British ships in the sea.

After the French made an initial bombing run to take out some of the tanks and like that, they started lobbing hundreds of these Tomahawk missiles from the sea. And that was primarily because Colonel Gadhafi did have these surface-to-air missiles that could reach up to, you know, say, 200 kilometers, 300 kilometers off shore. And, so, that was the first barrage. And then Sunday, we saw some of the jets taking off, and we had a description of an intense bombing run just south of Benghazi in which some of the fighter jets hit not only air defenses, but also Colonel Gadhafi's infantry units as well, some of his tanks and infantry units there to drive them out of Benghazi.

At this point, they say his air defenses, while not completely destroyed, have been minimized to the point where they can start flying these regular no-fly zone patrols.

STOUT: And Chris, what is the U.S. intention toward Colonel Gadhafi? Is regime change at all the picture, or could the fighting end with the Libyan leader still there, still in place?

LAWRENCE: That's where we're getting some conflicting signals, because, you know, from administration officials, we've been hearing that Colonel Gadhafi must go, while from military officials, we've been hearing that that sort of is not the parameters of what the Security Council resolution was, which was simply to protect the people of Libya from any persecution and to make sure that he wasn't flying his air support and to allow humanitarian aid to come in. So there seem to be two different goals.

Yesterday, we heard a Pentagon official publicly say that Colonel Gadhafi himself is not a target, that he's not on any target list or anything like that. And, yet, coalition forces did hit his compound yesterday. I spoke with a coalition official who explained that Colonel Gadhafi personally was not a target, but that at his compound, he had certain command and control ability that they wanted to take out -- Kristie.

STOUT: And that's why he was targeted.

Chris Lawrence, joining us live from the Pentagon.

Thank you, Chris.

Now, right now, the whereabouts of Colonel Gadhafi are unclear. A coalition official says the Libyan leader, again, was not the target, but as we mentioned, his compound has been hit.

Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson got an up-close look at the damage. He joins us now.

And Nic, what did you see?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appeared to be a four-story heavy concrete building reinforced with heavy, strong steel rebar reinforcement. And it appeared as if two missiles had struck the roof of the building, collapsing the roof down forwards, over two floors, spewing concrete debris over an area of perhaps 100 yards, blowing out windows in another adjacent building.

The building, government officials told us, had no one in it at the time that it was hit, that there were no casualties in this. The government officials expressed concern, anger and surprise that the Pentagon spokesman had said not long before that Moammar Gadhafi's palace compound inside of Tripoli wouldn't be a target. This is a very large compound area, several square miles.

The government official told us it's a compound used by officials who work there at the palace, by guards, by their families. But the building that we saw a couple of journalists had visited before, and they told us this was a building that they've been in a sort of VIP protocol building that they've been in adjacent to a tent not far away, but where Moammar Gadhafi meets VIPs and officials. We were told just a few days earlier, this is where the Chinese, Russian and Indian ambassadors had come to, to meet with Colonel Gadhafi. But no sign of him when we were there at all -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Nic, looking at the damage from the ground level, could you make out the impact of that air strike on Gadhafi's overall military capabilities?

ROBERTSON: It didn't seem to have to us there at night -- I mean, the missile struck at perhaps about 10:00, 10:30 at night, and we were taken over there a couple of hours later. So it was a little after midnight, and it was very dark. And the only lights illuminating the area were the camera lights.

They didn't appear to us, from what we could see, the perhaps 15 or 20 minutes we were on the site there, that it had -- that this particular building had any military significance. Obviously, we weren't able to get under the parts of the building that were completely collapsed and crushed, but it didn't have cables coming out.

Really, in fact, when you looked inside the rooms that weren't damage, they had very little in there at all, not even a television set or anything like that. So, from what we could see, the building seemed to be as the other journalists who had been there before described it to us -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. And also, the civilian toll. Any indication of civilian casualties since the allied attacks in Libya began?

ROBERTSON: Well, the government seems to be getting into a bit of a credibility gap on the issue of civilian casualties. They talked about 48 people, civilians, being killed, and talked about hospitals and schools being targeted. They haven't shown us, taken us to see any evidence of that. And they were very quick to take us to this compound and show us this particular building.

And when they took journalists yesterday to see the funerals of 26 people, most of the graves were left empty by the time the journalists left because the only burials that had taken place had happened before the journalists arrived. And from the family members who they were introduced to at the gravesites there, there were conflicting accounts about the people in those graves. So the only casualties we've actually seen are the ones shown on state television about an hour or so after the first bombardments here in Tripoli, and those appeared to be soldiers, men of fighting age.

They were being visited by army officers, and we were told -- or our viewers were told on state television that they had been injured by shrapnel, one of them quite seriously. So it's not been shown to us yet in a clear and -- a very clear and obvious manner that there have been civilian casualties that we can say that we've seen -- Kristie.


Nic Robertson, joining us live from Tripoli.

Thank you for that report, Nic.

Now, up next, just when it looked like progress was being made in Japan's nuclear crisis, another setback. We'll have the latest from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in just a few minutes.

And on Twitter's fifth birthday, a look at how Twitter is changing history online and on the ground.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, just as it appeared that progress was being made at the troubled Japanese nuclear plant, another setback has prompted yet another evacuation. Smoke was seen billowing from the damaged number 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, some 240 kilometers north of Tokyo, Monday afternoon. And then, a short time later, plant owners said it is also rising -- smoke also seen rising above the number 2 reactor.

Now, these developments follow optimism that electricity could be restored to both the number 3 and number 4 reactors, paving the way for reinstatement of cooling systems. Now, the plant has been on high alert since Japan's magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami 10 days ago.

As the struggle to cool those reactors continues, a new concern has emerged. Now, winds around the affected nuclear power plant have shifted and threaten to blow radioactive material toward heavily-populated areas to the south.


STOUT: Now, today's setbacks will only likely feel international concern. And Anna Coren joins me live from Tokyo with more.

Now, Anna, more on the smoke seen rising from two reactors at the plant. Give us the details. And do we know the cause yet?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Kristie. And I think that is the real concern here. We don't know what the cause of the smoke is. We don't know what is in that smoke and whether it is in fact signaling a meltdown. So that is what people are trying to get on top of.

We do know that smoke is coming from reactors 2 and 3. Reactor 3, of course, has been the main problem for authorities at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. That is the one where we saw the explosion and the fire, the high pressure levels yesterday of gas, that major buildup there.

So, this smoke, we just don't know what it is. We're on the phone to TEPCO, the company that runs the plant, trying to press for more details. But at this stage, Kristie, they're being extremely tight-lipped.

Now, we know that all 420 workers on the site, they have been evacuated to a nearby building. We believe that smoke is still continuing to rise from both those reactors.

But that is all the information that we have been given at the moment. But it's certainly sending alarm bells ringing through Japan -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes. Two very alarming signs, the smoke and, as you just mentioned, evacuations.

Anna, Mari, just now was reporting on the shifting wind currents. Instead of heading out toward the sea, they're now heading south, toward more heavily-populated areas.

Are you getting a read on radiation levels in and around the plant?

COREN: Not at the moment. We have obviously asked TEPCO for that information, but they have been less than forthcoming. But obviously this is of major concern, Kristie, because these are heavily-populated communities not just around Fukushima, around that plant -- and we know that exclusion zone has been set up around the nuclear power plant -- but for those surrounding areas. And when it's drifting further south, as you and Mari have just mentioned, that is of huge concern.

We know that higher levels of radiation have been detected in food, in items such as milk and spinach. And as a result, the government has banned the sale and shipment of both those products. And obviously a much wider investigation is now under way to see if other food products have been affected.

But I guess as this continues, as the days go by, we will find higher levels of radiation in certain products, and that, as we know, Kristie, certainly just gets people very worked up, very concerned about what this could do to them and their families.

STOUT: And back to the nuclear plant, officials were training workers today to spray the damaged plant with concrete. So, after the seawater helicopter dumps and the water cannons, is this going to be the next major operation to contain the nuclear threat?

COREN: Well, the vice president of TEPCO just held a press conference, and journalists were, I guess, attacking him, saying, you know, "You don't have a strategy in place. You seem to be so reactionary."

So these methods, it would seem that whatever is happening they are responding to. It's a bit of a Band-Aid operation.

They haven't been too forthcoming with an overall plan other than to contain the situation, to cool those reactors. We know that they've been spraying water on many of those reactors, trying to cool them down. They had established power lines, power cables to reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4. So that, of course, is encouraging, and it was certainly encouraging before we saw that smoke coming from reactors 2 and 3.

That means that they are able to establish electricity hookups to all those four reactors. But we cannot confirm whether the electricity can get those pumps working to cool those inner reactors, get those cooling systems up and running. We do know, however, Kristie, that 5 and 6 is operating. So that, of course, is some good news for authorities there.


Anna Coren, joining us live from Tokyo.

Thank you.

Now, another radiation warning emerged Monday involving food contamination. A World Health Organization spokesman says that the radiation problem in Japan's food supply is more serious than previously thought.

On Sunday, the sale of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture was banned, along with spinach from neighboring Ibaraki prefecture. Both were found to contain levels of radioactive iodine and cesium exceeding government limits.

Well, up next here on NEWS STREAM, Twitter is celebrating its fifth anniversary. And coming up, we'll look at how it's changing the world online and on the ground.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Twitter is celebrating a birthday this Monday. So we put together a few tweetastic numbers to mark the occasion. And let's start with five. That's how old Twitter turns on Monday.

And then, here's a number we know well, 140. Now, developers limited the number of characters because they wanted tweets to fit inside mobile phone text messages.

And how about 6,939? That is the record for the most tweets sent per second. It was set just as the clock struck midnight on New Year's in Japan this year.

Now, here's one more twitter number for you -- one billion. That is the numbers of tweets sent in one week.

Now, before it was Twitter, it almost became Jitter, as the co-founders tossed name ideas around. And one of them worked as an ambulance dispatcher and thought a system could be devised to keep track of people the same way he kept track of ambulances.

And as CNN's Poppy Harlow reports, the rest is history.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Let me just say a couple of words about that Twitter nonsense.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember when you first heard about Twitter? Did you think it was just crazy? Some comedians did.

LETTERMAN: Have you hooked yourself up to the Twitter thing? It's stupid. It's just crap. I'll tell you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Yes, let's tweet these twatters tween their twinks -- Twitter!

HARLOW: But then came Ashton Kutcher.

ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: If I beat CNN to a million followers, I will literally go and ding-dong ditch Ted Turner's house.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Do you think you can take on an entire network? Do you know how big we are? Do you know what CNN is? CNN, we'll bury you.

HARLOW: Let's just say we didn't win. And the queen of media got hooked, proving the power of celebrity.

A.J. HAMMER, ANCHOR, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Look at who has the most followers on Twitter. You've got Gaga, you've got Bieber, you've got Britney, and then you have Barack Obama. I think that says a whole lot.

HARLOW: Speaking of our tweeting commander-in-chief --

PETE DOMINICK, HOST, SIRIUS XM'S "STAND UP!": President Obama was with the Russian president, and he actually called Twitter "Twitters," pulling a President Bush moment.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And during his visit to Silicon Valley this week, he visited the headquarter of Twitters.

HARLOW (on camera): Well, Twitter is now 5 years old, and this is where it made its public debut, here at Music and Media Festival South by Southwest.

What did you think when you first heard of Twitter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That it sounded ridiculous.


HARLOW: What is Twitter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a little silly, but addictive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't really know what it was at all.

HARLOW: What do you think about it now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's pretty big. I use it every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought nobody was going to publicly announcing, like, short messages about irrelevant stuff, and now everybody's doing it.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN: When the plane went down in the Hudson, the first actual picture came from a Twitter user who was at a ferry nearby. So, all the media, you know, they were all posting this picture that came straight from Twitter.

HARLOW (voice-over): And then history was marked in 140 characters.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The message is coming from Twitter not only from inside Iran, but from outside.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's being said across the Twitterverse today?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I want to tell you that we are twittering tonight.

HARLOW: Revolutions were born and dictators overthrown.

DAMON: Demonstrations that began over Facebook and Twitter taking on a life of their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That connection to people halfway around the world, you're paying attention to that now in a way that you wouldn't have done before.

HARLOW: But is Twitter here to stay? And is it really worth billions.

SEGALL: Now they have over 200 million users. People are tweeting. People get it. The big question is kind of, how do you turn those tweets into a profit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not profitable right now. We've got plenty of time to take this model and grow it.

SEGALL: There were recent reports that it's between $8 billion and $10 billion. I mean, let's be honest, they haven't really even hashed out a business plan.

DOMINICK: People will try to replicate and recreate. There's only one Twitter. It will not die the way MySpace went. Twitter will live on forever!


STOUT: Well, Twitter is still playing a vital role in the stories we're covering now. One of the most eloquent voices of the Libyan rebellion used Twitter to get information out of Libya, and it cost him his life.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mohammed Nabbous died Saturday. He was killed by a sniper's bullet. In the early days of the uprising, Nabbous dared to report on what was happening inside Libya despite the knowledge that doing so put his life at risk.

Now, one month ago, he spoke to CNN's Don Lemon.


LEMON: You believe that your life is in jeopardy just by making this call and talking to us now.

MOHAMMED NABBOUS, LIBYAN REBELLION: Of course. I do. There've already shut down two of my SIM cards, my personal SIM cards. This is not mine. This is just a random card I was given to be able to speak to you.

LEMON: Thank you so much, and be in touch. And be safe. OK?

NABBOUS: I'm not sure I will be there tomorrow, because I'm not sure if I'm going to survive tonight. But there's going to be a lot of groups (ph) tomorrow with you, hopefully.

LEMON: Hang on. Do you think the situation is that bad, that you believe that people won't survive overnight? Is it that bad?

NABBOUS: I'm telling you my friend has died already, and also 100 (ph) people died. I don't know what's going to be worse to you.


STOUT: Now, journalists and family have been going online to speak out in the wake of his death.

Now, Andy Carvin leads National Public Radio's social media strategy, and he had been working closely with Nabbous. And just hours after the news of his death broke, Carvin tweeted this: "I live-tweeted Mo's stream last night until 1:30 a.m. Then I went to bed."

"I feel so selfish. I should have stayed up. If I'd known."

And then Carvin writes this: "Let's drop the word 'citizen' from citizen journalist. Mohammed Nabbous was a journalist who died in the line of duty. He was Libya's Cronkite."

And CNN's Ben Wedeman, he tweeted this about Nabbous: "Mohammed Nabbous was one of the courageous voices from Benghazi broadcasting to the world from the beginning. Smart, selfless, brave."

Mohammed Nabbous' wife reached out using the journalists' live Internet feed. And she said, "Please keep the channel going. Please keeping posting videos. Move every authority. You have to do something against this. Don't let what Mo started go for nothing, people."

And there's also a Facebook group in honor of Mo Nabbous, as he was called.

As the conflict in Libya spirals, the U.N. secretary-general warns that thousands of lives are at risk. We'll tell you how the Arab world is reacting to this weekend's international intervention.

And meeting the spokesman for a nuclear crisis, Stan Grant sits down with Yukio Edano, the man millions of Japanese are struggling to trust.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM and these are your world headlines.

Now efforts to cool troubled reactors at a Japanese nuclear plant have hit another setback. The Fukushima Daiichi facility was evacuated Monday after smoke was seen billowing from the damaged number three reactor. The plant's owners say smoke is also coming out of the neighboring number two reactor. Now problem has followed a government directive banning the sale of some food products from surrounding areas citing high radiation levels.

Now coalition missiles have flattened parts of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound. Now a U.S. military official says Gadhafi was not the target. He says the weekend assault has taken out much of Libya's air defense system. It's part of a broad international effort to protect civilians.

In Syria, witnesses tell CNN that at least one person died in deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces. The clashes broke out Sunday in the southern city of Daraa. Now they came as a delegation from Syria's president offered condolences to the families of two people who died in violence on Friday.

In Yemen, three top generals are now declaring their support for anti- government protests. One of those generals says he will order his troops to protect protesters demonstrating against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Now the government official tells CNN that six other officials, including a provincial governor and several ambassadors are also supporting the demonstrators. Fifty-two protesters were killed in violence on Friday.

Now for more on the situation in both Syria and Yemen, let's bring in Mohammed Jamjoom. He's following develops from Abu Dhabi. Mohammed, Yemen first, how much support does the president have left?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, at this stage, Kristie, not much. He's losing support by the minute in Yemen virtually. So many people have resigned today. As you mentioned earlier, a wave of top officials, including Yemen's ambassadors to Japan, to the Czech Republic, their military attache to Russia, you've also had several prominent business people who are in the GPC and the ruling party that have resigned, the deputy speaker in the parliament. It's getting worse and worse for President Saleh. This is really pushing him into more of a corner.

I've spoken to Yemeni government officials today. They say that because President Saleh won't step down they're afraid they're going to be seeing more military clashes. You have now troops that are on the ground from these three top military commanders that have announced their support for the protesters today. So there are troops that have come out to Sana'a to protect the demonstrators. This has to potential to cause quite a lot of violence.

If there are attacks, or more attacks against the demonstrators outside Sana'a University, and there are tens of thousands that are out there even today, this could really erupt into a violent scene and to more clashes and that's the concern I'm hearing from so many top government officials right now and witnesses the on the ground -- Kristie.

STOUT: You know, if Yemen's president is forced to step down will there be a power vacuum? Who can step up to replace him?

JAMJOOM: This is one of the main concerns for the allies of Yemen -- who would replace Saleh? Saleh is somebody who, even though right now there's a rising tide of anger against him throughout that country, the fact of the matter is he's been somebody who has been able to lead that country, unify those tribes -- it's a very fractured society. The problem there is now everybody who is calling for him to step down, they're not rallying behind anybody else. So if Saleh steps down there is a power vacuum. The opposition there also very divided and a very divisive group.

So nobody for the protesters to get behind either, whether it's the youth movement, whether it's the opposition, whether it's the activists, whether it's the separatists in the country's south either. So a lot of problems.

And many people are concerned that if Saleh would step aside, and there is a power vacuum, a group like al Qaeda, which has made -- the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has made Yemen its hub in the Middle East, that they could try to step in and cause political turmoil and cause more violence in the country -- Kristie.

STOUT: And meanwhile over in Syria, violent clashes taking place there over the weekend. Is a revolt taking root in Syria?

JAMJOOM: Well, right now the indications are a lot of popular anger there. We've seen for the past three days protests. We've seen at three protesters killed. On Friday, there were two that were killed when there were demonstrations in the southern city of Daraa. Then on Saturday there was a funeral. There were more clashes with security forces. On that day Syria's Interior Ministry announced they would put together an investigative committee to try to get behind what happened and see who caused the aggression as they said and prosecute the aggressors.

Then the next day the president actually announced his condolences for family members of those who were killed, but there were clashes that day and another protesters was killed.

So right now Syria very much looking like the next country in the region where this protest movement is going on and couple possibly continue in the days to come -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Mohammed Jamjoom joining us live from Abu Dhabi. Thank you very much indeed.

Now let's turn back to Libya now. The UN chief is underscoring the dire situation there. Ban Ki-Moon addressed the Arab League in Egypt where emergency talks took place.


BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: Now it is important that international community speak with one voice, to implement fully the security council resolution. Thousands of lives are at stake. We could see a further humanitarian emergency. We are moving quickly to take effective action.


STOUT: Earlier comments from the Arab League secretary-general were critical of the coalition airstrikes, but a statement released after the group's emergency meeting said Amir Moussa's remark was taken out of context. Now Arab support was a crucial factor in passing the UN resolution 1973 and Qatar says it will help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya.

But overall, the role of Arab nations in this war is not a simple picture. Reza Sayah reports.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The launch of the no-fly zone over Libya swift and aggressive. From air and sea, U.S. and French forces pound the Gadhafi regime's military forces and air defense systems along the Libyan force. In Cairo, Egypt, Libya's Arab neighbor, many backing the operation.

"He left the international community no choice because he's killing his own people," said this woman.

"A man that kills his own people deserves anything that comes his way."

This by public support for the no-fly zone and unanimous support last week by the Arab League, a block of 22 Arab countries. Arab nations were absent in the initial stages of Operation: Odyssey Dawn. Egypt's armed forces say they won't participate.

:MAJ. GEN. HAMDY BEKHIT, (RET) EGYPTIAN ARMY; There are some fears about the execution of the resolution.

SAYAH: One military analyst, retired Egyptian Major General Hamdy Bahhit says no Arab nation's leadership wants to be linked to the death of fellow Arab civilians.

BEKHIT: This is a matter of dignity, a matter of honor. I can't use Arab forces against Arab people.

SAYAH: Bekhit says Arab nations are likely to stay out of the initial stages of a no-fly zone where air strikes are common, odds of civilian casualties high.

Analysts say once the operation shifts from an attack mode to more of a patrol mode, some Arab nations like the United Arab Emirates with one of the largest and most modern fleet of fighter jets in the region would take part in the operation.

Gadhafi's propaganda machine is already spinning the no-fly zone as a western operation against an Arab nation. That's why for U.S. and western powers Arab involvement is critical. The t op military official in the U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen said Qatar is moving its forces to the region. What Qatar's forces will do is unclear. So is the role of Arab nations as symbolic or active participants in a rare military campaign against a fellow Arab state.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Cairo.


STOUT: And now some news just into us here at CNN. Now four journalists were reported captured by pro-Gadhafi forces in Libya last week have been released. The New York Times journalists are now in the Turkish embassy in Tripoli. Now this, according to Turkeys ambassador to Libya.

Now he has been front and center as Japan deals with a nuclear crisis. And up next, for chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano maintaining the trust of the Japanese people has been an uphill battle. We hear his story next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now amid the negative headlines emerging from Japan, this weekend produced one story of genuine hope. An 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson, they pulled alive from the rubble of their home in the city of Ishinomaki. Now this is Sumi Abe the grandmothers whose rescue has provided many Japanese with renewed optimism. And she and her grandson were trapped in their kitchen where they reportedly survived by eating supplies from their fridge.

Now she's been talking to the media from their hospital bed today with more than 13,000 people still missing, though, their story has an all too rare happy ending.

Now the aftermath of this disaster has proven a massive an unexpected test for the already shaky leadership of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Now his spokesperson Noriyuki Shikata joins me now on the line from Tokyo.

Welcome to CNN. And my condolences to you and the people of Japan as you manage this crisis. And my first question to you is about the nuclear situation. Smoke has been seen rising from reactors two and reactors three at Fukushima Daiichi. Do you know the cause?

NORIYUKI SHIKATA, SPOKESPERSON FOR JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: Well actually, there's lots of smoke coming out of the three. And actually in two hours or so the smoke was stopped. And we are looking into the cause of this smoke, but so far we have found out that there is no significant change of pressure level of nuclear reactor container.

STOUT: OK. Hundreds of workers were evacuated from the plant, though. When do they plan to return?

SHIKATA: Well, are taking precautionary measures to protect the workers. Now there are about 700 people working on site. And we are going to let the workers go back to the site so then the safety is concerned.

STOUT: Let's focus on reactor number three. Smoke was seen rising from it today, it was hit by an explosion last week. Is number three the most badly damaged reactor? And has it suffered a major breach of containment?

SHIKATA: We have not found any evidence of a major breach of the container. And we have been carrying out massive water spraying operations from the air and the ground since Thursday. And the temperature level overall has been declining. So we -- of course, we need to tackle more, but I don't think the unit itself is showing fundamental failure at this juncture.

STOUT: What is the current radiation level inside or outside the plant? Do you know?

SHIKATA: Well, I don't have the specific figures with me, especially we need to check out how the radiation level has been changing this evening because of the smoke coming. And we will announce those results through (inaudible) know the data.

STOUT: OK. Now officials were training workers today at the damaged nuclear plant on how to spray it with concrete. So when would that concrete operation begin?

SHIKATA: Well, concrete operation is something that we wish to carry out as soon as possible. And that's for the pool at the up side of the structure. And we are hoping that we will be able to do it within the next day or two.

STOUT: Within the next day or two. And meanwhile, food safety -- high levels of radiation have been found in spinach and milk near the damaged plant. So what steps is the government taking to make sure that these tainted products don't enter the Japanese or global food supply?

SHIKATA: Well, I think Japan is taking the strictest food safety measures. And we are -- we have decided that we will stop the shipments of those possible food products. And we are making sure that they will not be exported. So we think that a (inaudible) of distributed Japanese food products are concerned there is no impact on human health of whatsoever.

STOUT: OK. Noriyuki Shikata, Japanese government spokesperson. Thank you very much indeed.

Now one man has in many ways become the reluctant face of Japan's nuclear crisis over the past 10 days. Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano has appeared on our screens each time a new development unfolds. And Stan Grant sat down with him.




It's no wonder Yukio Edano is feeling the strain. For the past 10 days he's barely slept. He admits to an hour here and there in his chair. He's only been home once. Hour after hour, day after day, the chief cabinet secretary fronts the media. Each appearance by the man in the blue jacket marks another twist and turn in Japan's efforts to stave off nuclear disaster.

Each day, each hour do you feel like you are winning, you're winning this fight?

YUKIO EDANO, CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): We should never be an optimist. We will take nothing for granted.

GRANT: But Edano's role as designated point man has brought him as much scorn as fame. He's asking people to trust him with their lives, reassuring the nation that rising radiation levels will pose little threat. Many in Japan say they simply don't believe him?

Can you guarantee that you're not hiding anything, that what you are telling the people is the truth?

EDANO (through translator): Yes, we have always shared all the information with the public. But this situation is dynamic. Announcements may be delayed. And that may cause confusion. But we will do more to make sure to remove any gap.

GRANT: Now, another scare to deal with -- contaminated food. Traces of radioactive material in milk and spinach. Not enough to cause illness, but would you eat it?


GRANT: Of course. And your family?


GRANT Throughout this interview, he never flinches. His hands clasped in his lap and his shoulders rigid, but sometimes a smile we haven't seen before when talking about his wife's support. And just the merest flinch only when I ask about the personal toll.

This look like it's upsetting you a bit.

EDANO (through translator): Very frankly, I can't afford to think of how I feel right now. I am just committed to my work and my responsibility.

GRANT: This messenger many simply will not believe has a job to do.

Stan Grant, CNN, Tokyo.


STOUT: Now in Japan's disaster zone temperatures are on the rise. A little bit of good news there, but rain is on the way in some areas. Let's get the forecast with Mari Ramos. She joins us once again -- Mari.

RAMOS: Kristie, over the weekend we really saw temperatures return to more -- even above seasonal values across many areas of the affected region there in Honshu including maybe up to 11, 12 degrees in places like Sendai. The thing is that with the temperature rise, they have seen some of that snow melting. So even though they haven't had anything huge as far as rainfall, we have seen some areas that have reported flooding.

We have a little bit of moisture moving in, a lot of low clouds as we head through the overnight hours as you can see here. And then generally quiet, though, as we head to areas farther to the south. The onshore flow still does continue. Remember we talked about that in the last half hour.

This is a picture from Kesennuma. Any amount of rain that falls here, even if it's light, it's going to cause flooding. There, you know, drainage systems aren't working. It's a big problem. And people unfortunately are just having a real hard time getting around. So it's still chilly, not as cold as it was before, it's not below freezing, but the snow that fell on the ground is melting.

So, what do we have coming up as we head through the next day or so? We have an area of low pressure that is approaching and that will bring us a change in the wind direction. We've had the winds coming onshore, that is going to continue for another 24 hours or so here across central parts of Honshu and then once area of low pressure moves on, we're going to see the return of the cold air here across areas of northeastern Japan, particularly these areas affected by the quake and the tsunami all the way down -- even all the way down to Tokyo we're going to see the cooler air returning and that offshore flow also coming back.

In Sendai the rain, we think, for Tuesday. So already starting overnight tonight and into tomorrow. And then a little bit drier as we head into Wednesday and Thursday. So somewhat of an improvement. But look at Tokyo. Remember Kristie when I showed you in the last half hour those air particles that will be remaining close to the ground, a lot of that has to do with the rain, because it kind of pushes the air down. There's going to be a lot of mixing as well.

So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rainy days with poor visibility expected across the region. And you can see that again right over here with all that moisture, snow in the mountains, and then we return to drier weather as we head through two days from now. Back to you.

STOUT: OK, Mari. Thank you very much for that.

And still to come here on NEWS STREAM, the top two players in the world faced off in the Indian World Final. And let's just say they served up a treat. We'll bring you that in a moment.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You are back watching NEWS STREAM. And he is one of the hottest players in men's tennis right now, and we're not talking about Roger Federer or Raphael Nadal. Our Don Riddell is here to tell us more -- Don.


Rafa or Roger, that really was the question being asked ahead of the 2011 tennis season, but in hindsight we were missing something. Nobody thought to ask how Serbia's Novak Djokovic would contribute to the excitement. It turns out that he has the ability to seriously challenge two of the greatest players of all-time.

Within the space of just 24 hours, Djokovic beat both Federer and Nadal at the BMP Parabas Open at Indian Wells moving up to second in the world rankings and claiming this title for the second time.

He played Nadal in the final Sunday. And the Spaniard was looking comfortable winning the first set 6-4. You would put your house on Rafa at that point. He's won 95 percent of his career matches from that position. But Djokovic fought back. He was determined defensively and made some superb shots to take the second set by 6 games to 3. And he carried that momentum into the third taking a 3-nothing lead against the world number one.

Nadal was struggling particularly with Djokovic's drop shots at the net. Nadal was making mistakes as he did on match point. But take nothing away from a brilliant Djokovic performance. He is undoubtedly the form player right now. His 4-6, 6-3,6-2 victory was his 20th consecutive win, a run that includes the Australian Open. He hasn't lost at all this year.

Now for the cricket fans among you we now know the line-up for this week's quarterfinal matches at the world cup. Let's take a look for you. Pakistan will meet the West Indies in Bangladesh on Wednesday. There's a mouthwatering clash between Australia and co-hosts India on Thursday. Friday brings with it a quarterfinal meeting between New Zealand and South Africa. And whoever wins the match between Sri Lanka and England in Colombo on Saturday will complete the semifinal lineup.

The final, by the way, is going to be played on April 2nd in Mumbai. CNN world sport will be there. Back to you.

STOUT: All right, Don, thank you very much for that.

And it's time to take you over and out there. As we've see said Twitter is celebrating its 5th birthday today. And on Twitter you can click on a start to make a tweet as a favorite. So what better way to celebrate Twitter's big day than to look at some of the Twitterverses favorite nuggets of 140 character wisdom.

Now there is no official favorites counter on Twitter, but we did find Fab Star which claims to list the most favorited tweets ever.

Now at the top of the list, no surprise, is Justin Bieber. Two months ago he tweeted this, quote, "all girls should feel beautiful. A real man knows to treat a lady like a queen."

Now the fellow pop star Kanye West, he also makes the list. About six months ago he famously tweeted this, "I'm sorry Taylor." That's one year after he interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. I guess better late than never.

But it's not just famous people who make it big on Twitter. There are also comic tweets like this one right here. About a year ago rough diction tweeted this, "my internet is so slow it's just faster to drive to the Google headquarters and ask them in person."

That is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. And we'll be joining our sister network CNN USA for more on Libya and Japan next.