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Journalists Killed in Libya; Blurring Battle Lines?; iPhone Privacy Worries

Aired April 21, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


ANNA COREN, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

Hello. I'm Anna Coren, in Hong Kong.

Well, two acclaimed photojournalists are killed in Misrata, highlighting the violence gripping the Libyan town.

Japan seals off the area around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

And researchers reveal that the iPhone may be secretly record every move its owners make.

In Libya, reports that opposition fighters have taken control of a border crossing with Tunisia. Well, according to the Tunisian state media, the border crossing fell under rebel control Thursday. Well, in western Libya, the U.N. now says government attacks on Misrata could amount to international crimes.

Civilians are still lining up to escape their besieged port city. The U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is recommending the U.S. send $25 million in aid and services to Libyan rebels. Well, Italy, France and Britain have already said they'll send military advisers to rebel strongholds.

Well, by reports, thousands of civilians and rebel fighters have died in the civil war. Their individual stories, largely untold.

Well, among those countless dead, we bring you the stories of two more victims, acclaimed photojournalist Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington. Well, they risked their lives documenting the bloodshed in Libya and were killed in Misrata Wednesday, hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Well, journalist James Hider tells CNN about their final moments.


JAMES HIDER, "TIMES OF LONDON": Tim and several other journalists were on one of the main streets on the front line in Tripoli. They were filming the battle between the Gadhafi forces and the rebels. We understand that a mortar landed very close to them.

I was at the small hospital that now functions as one of the few remaining hospitals in Misrata as Tim and the others were brought in. And Tim died while I was standing there.


COREN: Well, during James Hider's report, you can still hear the violence in the background.

In the days before his death, Chris Hondros was in the front lines of Ajdabiya. What he found there were rebels so under-armed, they couldn't even be called soldiers.


CHRIS CONDROS, PHOTOJOURNALIST: It was just bystanders, teenagers. They don't even have weapons. They didn't even pretend to have weapons.

Essentially, we're standing out here, if you look at it clearly, with three or four armed trucks. You know, we're standing out here with three or four trucks that actually have ammunition, so -- versus the Libyan army, who's fully mortarized, mechanized and armed down the street with who knows how much?


COREN: Well, in a statement, his employer, Getty Images, says, "Chris never shied away from the front line having covered the world's major conflicts throughout his distinguished career, and his work in Libya was no exception."

Well, Tim Hetherington was world famous for his gritty portrayals of battle zones.

CNN's Becky Anderson looks at his life and his work.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He traveled the globe documenting some of the world's deadliest conflicts. His profession was his life.

Born in Liverpool, award-winning photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent eight years in West Africa, where his images of civil war in Liberia brought to the world the reality of the conflict that had until then gone unnoticed. He then turned his attention to Afghanistan, where he spent five years capturing award-winning and iconic images of life on the front line.

He was awarded the Grand Jury Prize in 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival for "Restrepo," his directorial debut, a film which also earned him an Academy Award nomination.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fear is always there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to die here.


TIM HETHERINGTON, PHOTOJOURNALIST: Often when I'm working in a very pressured situation I can almost flick the off switch and go into a default of filming. And later on I come to, and it shocks me, what I've done. And that's just something I've been able to do, and that's perhaps why I realize that I'm good at what I do.

But it does have the side that it is very dangerous. I remember being in (INAUDIBLE) and firefights, and realizing -- a guy said to me -- I was filming close range, and he said, "Did you see the tracers pass between our heads?" And I hadn't. And, you know, later on I saw the trees behind me all shot up, and I realized we were very exposed.

And I'm in default, and that can be a funny thing later to understand.

ANDERSON: Hetherington thrived on his work. He lived with his characters and told their stories to millions around the world. That was his talent and that was his mission.

His final assignment was for "Vanity Fair" in Libya. His last Twitter post read, "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata, indiscriminate shelling by Gadhafi forces. No sign of NATO."

Tim Hetherington was 41 years old.


COREN: Well, Greg Campbell traveled to Libya with Chris Hondros, and he's now returned to the United States and joins us live from Denver, Colorado.

Greg, firstly, we are very sorry for your loss. I know that you were friends with both these men, in particular Chris. Tell us about them.

GREG CAMPBELL, JOURNALIST: Yes, I was friends with Chris Hondros dating back some 25 years. Chris and I met in high school when we were 14 or 15 years old, and our careers have dovetailed. And he and I covered many places together in Sierra Leone, in Nigeria, and in Kosovo, and of course most recently last week in Libya.

Tim I knew by reputation, of course, but I only met him two days before I left Libya last week. But I got to know him pretty quickly. A great guy, and we clicked pretty immediately.

COREN: I can imagine in that sort of situation. I'm sure that's exactly what happens.

Now, we understand that Chris and Tim were working with a group of other photographers in Misrata. Do you know the situation leading up to the attack?

CAMPBELL: I'm afraid I don't know much more than what's been reported, but it sounds that, indeed, they were in a group of photographers. And in my time with them, traveling with them in Libya, that was sort of the standard operating procedure in order to be safe, as I'm sure you're aware.

Journalists have been kidnapped by Gadhafi forces with alarming regularity, so it was sort of the mode of operation for us to travel together for safety's sake. Unfortunately, it seems that perhaps in this situation, maybe they were grouped a little bit too closely together. There's really no telling exactly what may have happened in this situation, but indeed it sounds like they were traveling together, as is sort of standard in situations like this.

COREN: Greg, like you, Tim and Chris have covered war zone after war zone. What is it about this job that makes you risk your life to tell the story?

CAMPBELL: You know, I think the pure and simple answer is that it's important for people to be there to witness what is going on in situations such as Libya and in many of the war zones that Tim and Chris have covered. Without having someone there to bear witness to the atrocities of war, it simply would go unnoticed. And, of course, in that situation, atrocities could occur with regularity, without any accountability.

And bringing attention to these matters to the world stage, that's the type of thing that leads to change. And I know certainly for Chris, and from what I've learned of Tim, that that was their motivating factor, was to expose the truth of warfare in these various circumstances in the wars that they covered so that there could be change in the world.

COREN: Greg, you had just returned from Libya. Do you think their deaths will deter other journalists from covering this story?

CAMPBELL: I hope not. And I must say, I don't think so.

The people that I encountered in Libya were of a caliber that are unique in many people in the world, and Chris and Tim of course were at the top of that caliber. They were very brave, they were very forthright. They were also very safe.

And they recognized the importance of the work that they were doing. And, in fact, when I was there, it was still quite dangerous. I believe that there are 18 journalists who have been detained by Gadhafi forces, and that fact, although concerning to everybody who was involved in reporting from Libya, it didn't deter anyone from the job that needed to be done. And I'm confident that the people who are still in Libya and the people who will be arriving to continue covering this story will show the same type of courage and medal as Tim and Chris did.

COREN: Greg, you were working with Chris the whole time that you were in Libya, and I understand that you gave Tim your flak jacket before you left. Tell us, what will you remember about these men?

CAMPBELL: You know, I spent the entire day remembering, especially with my friend Chris. You know, I've known him for so long. But I think one indelible image that's been with me all day was the last time I saw them both together.

When I was leaving Benghazi for Cairo, a long overland trip, the two of them saw me off over breakfast. And I mentioned to Tim that I was leaving my flak jacket behind because the day before, we had gone to the front lines, and he didn't have any body armor or any personal protection. And so I left it behind so that he could use it.

And we shook hands and gave hearty farewells to one another. And I was completely convinced that I would see them again in another place and time. And unfortunately, that's not the case.

COREN: Well, Greg, we certainly appreciate you coming on the show and sharing these amazing stories.

Greg Campbell there, a journalist, joining us from Denver, Colorado.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

COREN: Well, as the violence in Libya mounts, several Western nations have announced plans to send military officers to advise the rebels without themselves engaging in ground warfare.

Well, CNN's Barbara Starr has more on what some analysts say could be mission creep.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Libyan rebel groups beg for more help amid the rising violence, France, Italy, and Britain are now putting military advisers on the ground to aid the rebels. The British foreign secretary made clear his troops will have a limited role.

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: These are not fighting forces. So, they are not going to engage in battlefield activity. These are advisers. These are people who know about organizational aspects. They are not people who are there to fight a war themselves.

STARR: For the U.S. military, the Vietnam conflict remains a long shadow. U.S. troops first went there as advisers. It would become a full-fledged war. Advising can become a slippery slope. Advisers need supplies, security, their own weapons.

PETER BROOKES, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: We have mission creep going on here. I think that's the concern here. This is a bit of an escalation, even if it's a small group of people. And I'm not sure what effect it's going to have on the ground. That's something that we're just going to have to see.

STARR: The Obama administration still says no U.S. ground troops but it is now sending the rebels aides and non-lethal military equipment.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are moving to authorize up to $25 million in non-lethal commodities and services to support Transitional National Council and our effort to protect the civilians and the civilian populated areas that are under threat of attack from their own government in Libya.

STARR: Most of the supplies will come from the Pentagon.

MARK TONER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We're talking about things like radios, non-secure radios, body armor.

STARR (on camera): In a way, the U.S. equipment and the European military advisers do go hand in hand, because a main priority now is to get the rebels better organized and better able to communicate between themselves and with NATO.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.


COREN: Well, rioters at an Australian detention facility have burned nine buildings in a show of frustration over rejected requests for asylum. Immigration officials sent (ph) 100 detainees at Sydney's Villawood Center took part in the protests. At one point they pelted firefighters with roof tiles. No one was injured. A few detainees continued their protests Thursday night.

Australia has a policy of mandatory detention for unauthorized arrivals into the country while their claims to stay are processed. Well, last month, violence broke out at a detention facility on Australia's Christmas Island. An independent inquiry will now investigate both incidents.

Well, coming up on NEWS STREAM, iPhone alert. It turns out your Apple gadgets may be secretly tracking each and every place you go. We'll show you the kind of data trail you could be leaving over time.

Japan enforces the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant more strictly, but not before our Stan Grant got a glimpse inside.

And as protesters angry at the results of Nigeria's election chant the name of Muhammadu Buhari, the opposition leader talks about accusations of ballot box fraud.


COREN: Well, strong sales of the iPhone helped propel Apple to record earnings, but it's also at the center of a potential privacy problem. Well, two researchers say they have discovered that iPhones and 3G iPads have a hidden tracking file. Well, that file records the devices' location at random intervals and stores it on any computer that you sync with your phone. Well, the researchers say the data is usually kept by mobile operators, but this is far easier to access.

Wired's John Abell explains the problem.


JOHN ABELL, WIRED.COM: The real problem though is that it's also accessible to anybody with a very simple program that was released today by the security expert who discovered this. So if you have an unsecured computer, as most of us do, and you have an angry spouse, or a lousy kid, or a co-worker with a sense of humor, they can get this information and know where you've been.


COREN: Well, let me show you what he's actually talking about. Well, the researchers released an application that reads the tracking file and turns it into a map. Well, we used one of our iPhones and, well, we can confirm it works.

You can clearly see the recent journey of our NEWS STREAM producer Robby (ph) through Tokyo, and starting here at the airport. Well, then to central Tokyo. It tracks through cell sites. So its cluster in central Tokyo represents a lot of cell towers combined. Well, the phone correctly recorded visits to Yokohama, down here in the south, as well as a convention center right here.

Well, the raw data actually records your location up to the second, so anyone with access to your phone or computer can get an accurate picture of where you've been and when you've been there. Well, it sparked a range of reactions online, everything from outrage to people saying that the secret tracking is cool.

Well, the researchers say there's no evidence that this information is being transmitted to Apple, but they also have no idea why this data is being collected to begin with.

Well, Japan is now enforcing the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant. The plant has been leaking radioactive material since the earthquake and tsunami that hit on March 11th. Well, residents near the plant were swiftly evacuated, but authorities say they're now slowly coming back either to pick up possessions or to stay.

The Japanese government says it's putting its foot down to ensure public safety. Police have been stationed at checkpoints around the exclusion zone, and each household has been told they can only return for a maximum of two hours to collect their belongings.

Well, CNN's Stan Grant was reporting from inside the exclusion zone for a short time on Wednesday. He joins us live from Tokyo.

And Stan, obviously people want to go back to their homes. It's been more than five weeks. But clearly it's not safe.

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, deemed not safe by the government, and this has been the situation throughout, Anna. As you'll recall, when this nuclear reactor started going into what they consider a partial meltdown, the efforts to try to bring it under control, the spiking levels of radiation really created the concern about the potential harm for people, especially within that 20-kilometer radius.

Now, interestingly enough, as we approached it yesterday, we found -- and we had an independent analyst with us who was measuring the radiation -- we found the levels were not particularly that high. In fact, they were higher about 30 or 40 kilometers earlier than that in farmland. We actually found a much higher reading there.

Now, as a result of that, we were allowed to go in by the authorities, and we only limited our time on the ground, of course, to limit our exposure there. And we wore protective clothing, especially a cover across my face. But we didn't find those spikes in radiation there.

That said, of course there is the ongoing concern about this and what is unknown. It's really the fear factor, particularly in the minds of the people who come from that area.

We did meet one man, the only resident we came across while we were there. He had come back in to try to retrieve some materials, some property, to check on his family home. He said to me that he was very concerned. He doesn't believe what he's being told by the government.

He's very concerned about the impacts on his health. He wonders if or when he will ever be able to go back there.

But there was a very eerie scene, Anna, while I was there, widespread destruction because of the tsunami. You certainly saw evidence where people had to flee their homes, and flee their homes very quickly.

There was clothing still hanging in the wardrobes, there were family photos. There were possessions left in houses. Many of the houses, of course, damaged by the tsunami, but those that are left standing, of course, contaminated, and that's where the concern is, with this ongoing contamination -- Anna.

COREN: Yes, an amazing scene to witness.

Stan, how hard is it for authorities to actually police this exclusion zone?

GRANT: Yes, that's a good question, because when we were there yesterday, we did see people driving in and out. Now, the police had set up a roadblock there, and they were inspecting people as they went in and out. And people who did go into the area had to have some protective clothing on, at least a mask over their face.

Though, letting residents back in at that point. I wouldn't say it was a constant stream, but there certainly was a presence of cars going through that exclusion zone. But people certainly weren't staying there for any great length of time. And we didn't come across a lot of people, particularly in the village that we were in.

But now, of course, they're getting a lot tougher. They're now talking about limiting the number of people who can go in. I think you mentioned a little bit earlier there, only one person per household is allowed to go in. They must wear protective clothing, they must be tested for contamination afterwards.

They're also talking about fines now for people who can't (INAUDIBLE) this law and actually do enter the exclusion zone without permission or flouting the law in some way. So, if there is a concern, I suppose that is going to raise more fear in people's minds. What are they not being told if the government feels they have to crack down even harder?


COREN: Stan, you talk about the fear factor, and I guess TEPCO has come out in the last couple of days saying that people hopefully can return to their homes within six to nine months. That's when they're hoping to really full contain the situation. But when do you think people will realistically go back?

GRANT: Well, six to nine months, the people that I've spoken to are certainly raising their eyebrows at that and wondering, you know, if you look at the images, you look at the effort to try to bring the nuclear plant under control, the radiation that has been peaking and dropping, the workers who, at various times, had to be evacuated themselves from the nuclear plant, it does raise concern in people's minds they'll be able to meet that six-to-nine-month deadline. And then you get into when people will actually feel safe.

As I said before, I spoke to one man there who wonders whether he will ever go back. He doesn't have a family. He's in his 30s, he wants to start a family at some point. He's concerned about any residual implications there, whether he'll pass on anything to any children that he may have. And he certainly questions whether he could raise a family back in that area.

So it's also -- this is not just something that's going to affect people for a year or two years, it's going to change people's lives, people's futures. This man that I spoke to, his family had been farming that land for 150 years. So you're seeing a real generational shift there now if he doesn't go back to that land.

A lot of the houses I saw, too, there, Anna, are just not habitable. They're going to have to be pulled down. They're going to have to rebuild again. That's an expense. Who's going to pay for that?

You're looking at insurance payouts, insurance costs. You're looking at compensation. That's another issue that's going to have to factor in here.

There are so many steps before you even get to the point that people are feeling comfortable to go back and being able to start their lives again -- Anna.

COREN: Yes. As you say, it's such a long road ahead.

Stan Grant, good to see you.

Stan Grant, in Tokyo.

Well, up next on NEWS STREAM, lessons the nuclear industry should have learned. Twenty-five years have passed since the Chernobyl disaster, but one of the site's senior engineers says Japan is repeating mistakes made a quarter of a century ago.

Plus, we hear from the leader of Nigeria's political opposition, as post- election violence displaces tens of thousands of people.


COREN: I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. And you're watching NEWS STREAM. These are your world headlines.

The United Nations says Libya could be committing international crimes if it's using cluster bombs to attack the city of Misrata. Well, cluster bombs are banned by many countries for doing indiscriminate harm to people. Two renowned photojournalists, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondrus were among those killed in Misrata on Wednesday.

BP has filed a lawsuit against the maker of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform's blowout preventer. It comes a day after the anniversary of the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history. The suit says the device had a faulty design and failed to prevent oil from flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Well rioters at a detention center in Australia have burned down 9 buildings in a show of frustration over rejected requests for asylum. Well, they pelted firefighters with roof tiles and furniture. No one was injured.

Japan has banned people from going within a 20 kilometer radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The power station has been leaking radioactive material since the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th. Well some residents have been returning recently to collect their belongings. The Japanese government says the new crackdown is to protect their health and safety.

Well, Japan's nuclear crisis is only matched in magnitude by the disaster in Chernobyl 25 years ago. Well, hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from the radioactive site in what's now known as Ukraine. Well, Matthew Chance met one Chernobyl engineer who lived through it all.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've come to the Ukrainian national museum of Chernobyl, a permanent exhibit to the world's worst nuclear disaster that took place 25 years ago. It's full of artifacts like this Geiger counter and this old uniform and newspaper headlines. And also these very poignant black and white photographs from the period that this one is a couple of old women, obviously being told to evacuate their homes, carrying whatever belongings they could.

Here some photographs of some of the men, the liquidators, who were deployed by the Soviets, to clean up the radioactive mess in the reactor core. Of course, they were often exposed to extremely high doses of radiation and they died, these people died. The little radioactive symbols in the corner of the photograph to show that they died because of radiation poisoning.

You look at these photographs and you think it's from an ancient period. It looks much longer ago than 25 years. But of course it is very recent, relatively speaking, and the effects of Chernobyl are still very much being felt today.

And in fact to discuss that we've got with us Yuri Andreyev. He's a former senior engineer at the Chernobyl plant. And he now heads and NGO which lobbies for more rights for the survivors of Chernobyl. Yuri Andreyev, thank you very much for being with us.

Tell me, what are the needs of the survivors of Chernobyl today 25 years on.

YURI ANDREYEV, CHERNOBYL VETERAN (through translator): The most common health problems that they have are cardiovascular diseases, psychological problems as well as eye, respiratory diseases. I too getting most of those illnesses in various degrees.

CHANCE: Now as you see the situation in Fukushima unfold in the news now, what are your feelings about how that disaster compares to what happened here in Chernobyl 25 years ago?

ANDREYEV (through translator): Of course, the magnitude of the disaster at Fukushima is different than that of Chernobyl. In our case, some 20, 30 tons of nuclear fuel was thrown into the air. But it's unfortunate that they repeated some of our Chernobyl mistakes. The Japanese tried to pour water onto the melted fuel which caused both an explosive mixture and the accumulation of an enormous amount of radioactive liquid. Unfortunately, the Chernobyl lessons weren't learned too well.

CHANCE: And when you come to a museum like this and you see all these incredible images on the wall, all the reminders of what happened in Chernobyl, do you think it was worth it? Do you think that the benefits of nuclear power are outweighed by the risks?

ANDREYEV: Although we have all suffered in this terrible accident, we still understand at this point that there is nothing to replace nuclear energy, therefore, I think that we shouldn't take any hasty decisions. Above all, we need to make nuclear energy much more secure.

CHANCE: Well this is a three dimensional model in this museum that shows what happened to Chernobyl reactor number four. You can see that explosion completely destroyed it. For 25 years, Chernobyl has been seen as something of an isolated incident. The only category 7 nuclear accident the world had ever seen. But of course now it's no longer alone. And even though there are big differences between what's happened in Fukushima, you do get a sense that both of these accidents now have become kind of twin monuments to what can happen when nuclear power goes wrong.

Matthew Chance, CNN, in the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev, Ukraine.


COREN: Well, let's now turn to Israel where a group of the nation's top intellectuals and artists have submitted a petition calling for the creation of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. Well CNN's Phil Black is in Tel Aviv and joins us now. Phil, I believe this protest began over an hour ago. What's going on?


Controversial action here. There's been some fiery scenes. This, the location where in 1948 Israel's first prime minister declared Israel to be an indigent state. Well today a group of this country's most notable, most honored academics and artists come here and read a declaration that they've all signed which declares their support for a Palestinian state. And it has been received with some support by those here, but also significant opposition.

A bit of a crowd gathered, chanted that they were traitors, that they are in fact, according to the political right in this country (inaudible) not represent the large portion of the Israeli population. And they accused the intellectuals, the academics who came here today, what they say was (inaudible), but accused them of acting (ph) along with this country's enemies -- Anna.

COREN: Phil, why are they making this declaration now?

BLACK: Well, they say partly because this is the week of Pass Over, the time that honors when Israelis were freed from slavery. But in a bigger sense this is very much jumping on the back, but it's an ongoing Palestinian initiative. The peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel are currently stalled. But in the meantime, the Palestinian Authority is getting on with what it says is the job of state building. It's told is to build infrastructure, the institution, roads, hospitals, security forces that will allow a Palestinian state to be recognized as such by the international community later this year.

That is the goal of the Palestinians today. These Israelis have come along. And so they believe it's time that they've voiced their support for the action as well, open up the conversation within Israel. And from what we've seen today, this is going to be the ongoing -- very heated conversation -- Anna.

COREN: All right. Phil Black in Tel Aviv, thank you for the update.

Well, a Toronto man is facing a charge of first degree murder in the killing of a York University student. Qian Liu, a Chinese national was murdered in her apartment over the weekend as her boyfriend watched in horror over the internet half a world away. Liu's parents have just completed a long, sad journey from China to claim her body.

Well, Ben O'Hara Byrne spoke with them.


BEN O'HARA BYRNE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a journey no parent should ever have to make. Seven months ago, their only child left to study English in Toronto. Now they're going to bring her body home.

"At the beginning, I didn't believe it was true," her father says. "She was very hard working, an outstanding girl."

23-year-old Liu Qian was found in her apartment near York University, a crime in part witnessed on webcam an ocean away in Beijing by this man. Her boyfriend didn't want to be identified, but spoke for the first time publicly about the horror began with a 1:00 am knock on her door.

"She opened the door and it looked like they knew each other pretty well," he says. "They said hello and he borrowed her cell phone."

And in the park where they first met as kids, he talked about their agonizing final moments together.

"He wanted to hug Liu Qian, but she said no and fought back," he says. "I was so helpless, I could not calm down until in the end the guy closed the computer."

He tried desperately to get help to her, but couldn't until it was too late.

"Canadian police want my computer," he says. "An expert could help to find clues."

The 23-year-old's family and friends say she was home sick, but that she had gotten used to Toronto and was hoping to stay there to continue here studies. They also say she never gave any indication that her life might be in danger.

"It's normal to be worried about your children when they're not with you," he says. "I had many concerns, but never imagined this."

Ben O'Hara Byrne, CTV News, Beijing.


COREN: Well, Nigeria's north has been in a state of turmoil since last weekend's elections. Deadly protests rage on over Goodluck Jonathan's recent presidential win. And thousands have fled the area.

Well, many there are rioting in the name of Mohammadu Buhari. The opposition leader spoke candidly about the situation in a rare interview with our Christian Purefoy.


CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: International and Nigeria services are calling these elections a dramatic improvement, the presidential election a dramatic improvement from past elections held in the last 12 years in Nigeria. And yet you are rejecting the results. Why is that?

MOHAMMADU BUHARI, NIGERIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: And I believe them, but (inaudible) improvement. But to us, it's not good enough. And we are going through a constitutional and legal means to make sure it is corrected.

PUREFOY: Well, you can test the results now. In the past few days we've had young men across the north burning buildings and killing people and chanting your name. Have you asked them to stand down and stop the violence?

BUHARI: When it's a spontaneous reaction of people on the rigging of the election it's beyond my control. I didn't ask them to do it. But I said I don't advocate violence.

PUREFOY: But the problems appear to have been on both sides. For example, when we were in the north we saw under aged children voting for you.

BUHARI: Are you sure they voted for me?


BUHARI: I see. OK.

PUREFOY: Is this, to put it bluntly, the pot calling the kettle black? Both sides rigged? Well, which side rigged better than the other?

BUHARI: Let the court proving that. (inaudible) find out individual (ph). We are short-changed by 40 percent, that's not acceptable. I don't believe that 40 percent of under-aged that voted for me. But we have proved that 40 percent of our votes being discounted through computer fraud. We have good evidence. We have given it to (inaudible). They agreed to do something about it. And they ignored it.

PUREFOY: You have lived through Nigeria's civil war, numerous military coups, regional and religious politics is a dangerous divide in Nigeria. Are you concerned about where this is going?

BUHARI: Our state of development is it stabilized? And this is a fact of life. But our biggest hope is mercy fighting (ph) (inaudible) system. In no part of the country in the last 12 years of PDF (ph) has any part of the country have reacted so spontaneously to political (inaudible). It didn't happen in the last 12 years. Ask me for proof (ph), please. Not (inaudible). We'll go to the courts.


COREN : Well, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan issued another plea for an end to the violence today saying his government will take any lawful action necessary to preserve the peace.

Well, coming up on NEWS STREAM, unrelenting rain -- Colombia continues to battle deadly and destructive flooding. We'll tell you if there's any relief in sight. You're world with an update is next.


COREN: Well, Hundreds of wildfires are sweeping across the U.S. state of Texas already scorching more than 400,000 hectares. Well, the fires are the worst the state has ever seen. Crews from several states have been called into help.

Ed Lavandera has more.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The relentless waves of fire erupted here along Hell's Gate Drive. You can see how these low level trees and the dry brush just act as fuel. In a matter of seconds these flames devour all of these trees, dried up and keeps moving on this way.

For these volunteer firefighters from Lone Camp, Texas, Hell's Gate is a fitting backdrop for the showdown they're about to face with these wicked flames.

BOZO HENDERSON, LONE CAMP FIRE DEPARTMENT: It's hard to stop. The ground is all dry and everything. There's no moisture anywhere. There's nothing slowing it down.

LAVANDERA: The wildfire shoots over a mountain ridge. And Bozo Henderson, yes that's his name, knows the fire is pushing right at them. They're the last line of defense where Hell's Gate hits Highway 16.

HENDERSON: It jumps 16, I don't know what's going to happen after that. It's just going to be ugly.

LAVANDERA: What's the fear over here?

HENDERSON: There's another fire back over here. And we're trying to keep it from merging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to get to the safety zone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what do you think? Can I have an engine down here at this house?

LAVANDERA: Brandon Thornburg (ph) tells me the flames shooting from the treetops reach up to 100 feet high and that temperatures deep in the woods could reach well over 3,000 degrees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you see it's -- the flames are just racing...

LAVANDERA: Look at that, look at that, look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wave after wave, they keep exploding and creating new head fires. The one down below is coming our way. It's actually...

LAVANDERA: They're splitting up a little bit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It' actually splitting like this and coming this way.

LAVANDERA: Other fire teams set backfires to slow the flames. An aerial tanker shoots over the hot spot dumping fire suppressant, but the flames are now at the edge of Hell's Gate.

So we've been doing live reports from here, but the winds have shifted. And as you can see it's starting to blow everything back on us. And we've been told by firefighters that we need to get out of this area.

We race out of the area through the thick, smoky haze, the firefighters standing their ground until the end. One of the Lone Camp firefighters would tell me later this was one of the few battles they won on this day.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Opossum Kingdom Lake, Texas


COREN: It's a frightening situation, isn't it?

Well, for more on those conditions in Texas let's go to our Karen Maginnis at the world weather center -- Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Anna. And it is so tinder dry there. The winds are very erratic. We're starting to see the winds die down just a little bit across west Texas, but it is the entire state that is being affected with as you heard more than 400,000 hectares that have burned there. It is very tinder dry.

Even though a little bit of moisture has moved in across the region as we can see over the last 12 hours just a spattering right across central and southern Texas, it's not been enough to dampen so many acres and hectares that have burned over the last several weeks, especially across west Texas.

Unsettled weather still prevailed across southeastern portions of the United States. Where you see these blue shaded areas, reports of some damaging winds. Several tornadoes reported as well as large-sized hail with a line of storms that raked across the southeastern U.S.

Our other big international weather story is the severe flooding that is taking place across Colombia. And this is still considered the dry season. And we will start the rainy season very soon, but the ground is absolutely saturated in some areas.

Just to give you an impression of some of the rainfall totals from the 16 divisions that have been affected by the severe flooding, take a look at some of these rainfall totals. In some cases well more than 100 millimeters.

Here you can see some pictures from Colombia of what has happened as a result of days and weeks and months of severe weather. Already 85 people have been reported dead from the flooding. Last year, more than 300 died from severe weather there as well.

All right, as we move in across the portions of northeastern sections of Colombia, this is where we had reports of mud slides over the last 48 hours, a mud slide that claimed the lives of 14 people in a bus that were traveling there.

It is also affected some of the coffee growing regions across Colombia as well.

Here you can see one lone puppy dog remains from a house that is surrounded by the flood waters across this region.

And it looks like Beijing that has been seeing some very warm temperatures now starts to pick up a little bit in the way of showers. And temperatures considerably cooler with readings expected for Friday around 17.

Islamabad soars to 32 degrees. And for Tokyo, could see some showers with the next weather system and 18 degrees.

Now look at these international forecasts.

As you take a look across northern Honshu, still picking up and cleaning up after the disaster from the tsunami and the earthquake, we'll expect some showers and cooler temperatures to move through that region -- Anna.

COREN: Karen, good to see you. Thank you for that.

Well, just ahead on NEWS STREAM, copying Kate. Since Prince William proposed with a shiny sapphire, sales of the gem have soared. We're sizing up some rings fit for a royal. That's next.


COREN: In just eight days' time Kate Middleton's hand will bare a royal wedding ring -- I'll get it out. It will join the glittering ring she received from Prince William on their engagement. But you don't need to be nobility to sport a sapphire like Kate's. Replicas of her ring are selling fast. So Adriana Hauser went to try on a few for size.


ADRIANA HAUSER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michael Arnstein, thank you so much for being with us. CEO of the Natural Sapphire Company.

Has the royal engagement, Michael, helped your business in any way?

MICHAEL ARNSTEIN, CEO, NATURAL SAPPHIRE COMPANY: In 2008 when the recession hit, just like every other business we were under tremendous pressure and financial problems were everywhere. And now, just a short two years later, it's been a total reversal for us.

HAUSER: It's the same ring Prince Charles gave Princess Diana for that engagement. Was the hype, then, the same or is there more hype now?

ARNSTEIN: The demand was strong then, but now I don't think that the demand has ever been so strong for sapphires than -- since the engagement of Kate Middleton.

HAUSER: 1981, that ring was valued more or less at $50,000. What is the value of that ring right now?

ARNSTEIN: The value of the ring that Kate Middleton wears on her hand is estimated at millions of dollars, because she's wearing it, she owns it. If that stone was purchased on the open market, it probably would be about $250,000 U.S.

HAUSER: And the one you're showing us, why don't you tell us about that piece?

ARNSTEIN: This ring is basically a designed replica of Kate Middleton's engagement ring. This particular ring is -- has a sapphire that's 10.11 carets. It's got 2 carets of diamonds. It's set in platinum. And it's selling for $150,000 U.S.

HAUSER: Can I try it on?

Now I really feel like a princess.

And I see here that we have different sizes, different prices I assume. Why don't you tell us what we have here?

ARNSTEIN: Everybody's got a different price point. So we're very happy to offer rings as low as $1,000 U.S. and all the way up to rings that cost over $1 million.

HAUSER: $1.5 million. We have to zoom into this. I think my hands going to fall. Look at this.

Michael, who wears this? Have you gotten any requests for this?

ARNSTEIN: I'll be completely honest and say that we haven't had any requests for 100 caret sapphires, but we're pretty confident that there are quite a few women out there who want to have jewelry fit for a queen.

HAUSER: And I understand you're going to be in London during the royal wedding?

ARNSTEIN: I told my wife. I said, honey, I'm going to the royal wedding. And she thought that we were invited. Of course, we're going there to showcase sapphires and tell the world how fantastic this stone is.

HAUSER: Michael Arnstein, thank you so much for being with us.

ARNSTEIN: My pleasure.

HAUSER: And if you don't mind, I'm taking a little souvenir with me. Pleasure to meet you.



COREN: If only she could.

Well, that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues here at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is coming up next.