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Street Battles Between Troops and Tribesmen in Yemen; NATO Extending Stay in Libya; Japan's Prime Minister Holds on to Job

Aired June 2, 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.

A dramatic escalation in fighting overnight in Yemen. Some warn the country could be on the brink of civil war.

Russia bans vegetables from the European Union, hoping to keep out a deadly E. coli outbreak.

And a group of elderly citizens in Japan volunteer for one final and critical job in the radiation-contaminated frontline around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Now, residents of Yemen capital say that their city is a battleground. They say 1,000 armed tribesmen have entered Sanaa to join the fight against government forces. A security official says that clashes near the airport have stopped flights in and out of the country. Explosions have been heard near the presidential palace.

And clashes have also been reported recently in Taiz. Now, the city has been a center of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

CNN has not been granted access to report from inside Yemen, but our Mohammed Jamjoom has been reaching to his contacts there, and he joins us now live from CNN Abu Dhabi.

And Mohammed, what is the latest on these street battles between troops and tribesmen in Sanaa?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, according to all the eyewitnesses and residents that I've been speaking with in Sanaa in the last several hours, they're saying it has gotten so much worse in the streets of Sanaa. People are reporting hearing explosions throughout the night. Gunfire ringing out intermittently throughout many parts of the city.

Now we have reports from a government official that the airport, in fact, while it is not closed, all inbound flights coming into Sanaa, all outbound flights leaving Sanaa have been halted because of security concerns because there are clashes that have spread even closer to the airport. So a very, very bad situation by most accounts. It's deteriorating.

I spoke to a government official several hours ago who really fears for the capital city, because if something doesn't happen soon, he believes this kind of fighting could go on for weeks or even months. He's not sure how the situation has deteriorated as badly as it has in Sanaa, but it has.

And now, to add even more volatility into the mix, we heard from residents that up to about 1,000 armed tribesmen affiliated with the Hashid tribe -- the Hashid tribe is the tribe that's fighting government forces in Yemen in these pitched street battles -- but up to 1,000 more armed tribesmen entered Sanaa in the last few hours, overnight and into this morning. They're there to support the tribes that are fighting the government forces there. It just sounds so bad, and that it's getting worse. And everybody I'm speaking with is just worrying if Yemen again is now on the verge of full-scale civil war -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, with the chaos clearly escalating there. Now, Mohammed, just stay with us for a moment. Let's take a step back and look at how all this started.

Now, the violence in Sanaa escalated after President Saleh backed out of a transition plan, and that waffling from him has happened again and again.

Now, on February the 2nd, President Saleh, he announced that he would not seek reelection once his term ends in 2013. He also promised not to hand power over to his son. But the next day, thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Sanaa.

Now, on February the 23rd, after dismissing the demonstrators, Mr. Saleh made a concession. He proposed a unity government to oversee parliamentary elections. The opposition said that was not enough.

And then, on March the 2nd, they presented the president with a roadmap for his exit and transition, but on March 18th, some two weeks later, that was when the violence really deepened. At least 40 people were killed in a large protest outside Sanaa University. And President Saleh, he declared a state of emergency.

Now, shortly after, on March the 21st, now several political leaders, military leaders, they abandoned Mr. Saleh. And two days later, the president offered to step down by the end of the year. Now, the opposition demanded his immediate recognition.

And then, in April, the GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council, led mediation efforts. And by the end of the month, both sides agreed to a transition deal in principle. But signing that deal proved to be very problematic. President Saleh, he refused to leave the country, fearing a coup in his absence. And after weeks of additional demands by President Saleh, the GCC suspended its efforts on May the 23rd.

Now, some of Yemen's tribes had participated in the protests, but the street battles involving the Hashid tribe, that only started a few weeks ago.

Now let's bring back our Mohammed Jamjoom, live in Abu Dhabi.

And Mohammed, this is such a complex, multifaceted conflict in Yemen. There are battles between troops and three very different groups. You have the tribal groups, the militants, and the nonviolent protesters.

So just how fragmented is the country?

JAMJOOM: Kristie, Yemen is a very fragmented society, it's a very complex society, with a very complex tribal structure. But it's gotten even more complex in the past few weeks.

Let's talk first about the tribes.

Now, you have the Hashid tribesmen. This is the largest tribe, most powerful tribe in Yemen. They're battling it out in these pitched street battles in the capital with Saleh's government forces.

Now, one thing that makes this even more complex is that President Saleh is in fact a member of the Hashid tribe. Now, the Hashid tribe is a very, very big tribe, thousands and thousands of members. But in March, what you mentioned before, when these attacks took place on anti-government demonstrators in Change Square in Sanaa, and up to 40 were killed that day, once that happened, more and more tribal leaders in Yemen, more and more government officials starting turning their back on President Saleh.

The leader of the Hashid tribe, Sadeq al-Ahmar, was one of them. And when he turned his back on President Saleh, more and more of those tribesmen did, that eventually led to a deteriorating situation between the relationship of those tribesmen and the president, and now you're seeing these battles going on in the streets of Sanaa.

Another area, the anti-government demonstrators. Anti-government demonstrators still coming out by the tens of thousands in various cities across Yemen, asking for President Saleh, demanding for President Saleh to step aside. But they've been meeting increased violence.

Now, you've gotten a lot of international condemnation from different groups, including the U.N., calling on President Saleh and his forces to let peaceful assembly take place within Yemen. But in Taiz, in the past few days, many anti-government demonstrators fired upon. Eyewitnesses, residents, medics in that city say that they were fired upon by government forces.

The government denies that, but the U.N. is saying that they have reports of up to 50 people were killed in the last four days by government forces firing on peaceful anti-government demonstrators. That's another flash point of what's going on.

And then let's talk about a city like Zinjibar in Abyan province. That's a city in a province known to have a problem with militancy, known to have a problem with al Qaeda. Militants have taken over that city in the past few days. They're having fights with government forces there, too.

A terrible situation. Violence spreading throughout the country. Many different types of fights going on right now, really increasing the worry for the regional stability because of what's going on in Yemen -- Kristie.

STOUT: You mentioned three different flash points, three different faces of the conflict inside Yemen. President Saleh, as you mentioned, has been abandoned by his tribe. He has also faced calls from his ally, the United States, to step down.

OK. Here is the latest statement by the U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Saleh was given a very good offer that we strongly backed by the Gulf countries. And, you know, we cannot expect this conflict to end unless President Saleh and his government move out of the way to permit the opposition and civil society to begin a transition to political and economic reform.


STOUT: So, Mohammed, the U.S. is urging President Saleh to move Yemen forward by signing a GCC to hand over power. But at this point, is mediation, is international pressure even going to make a difference there?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, it appears that it won't make a difference. It appears that Secretary of State Clinton's comments haven't made a difference.

There's been increased pressure by U.S. President Barack Obama, by U.K.'s prime minister, by the U.N., by so many different international bodies and countries for President Saleh to keep to his commitments, to the promise he made before, sign some sort of power transfer deal. Well, it hasn't happened. It doesn't look like it's going to happen.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, they had really stepped up and taken the lead on this. They had sent their envoy to Yemen many times in the past month and a half, but it kept ending in failure. More and more parties were signing on to this accord, parties from the opposition and the ruling party.

President Saleh, in the end, would always find a way not to sign. He's still saying he's not going to sign. So much international pressure being put on him to do so. He's not doing it.

Now, within Yemen, you have very influential tribal chiefs. This is in a country where the tribe basically rules. Loyalty to the tribe is stronger than loyalty to any government figure.

You have many different tribal leaders in that country asking President Saleh to come to the negotiating table, to make sure something can be done so that Yemen isn't plunged into civil war, and still nothing is happening. So the question becomes, if this kind of internal pressure from very influential tribal chiefs in this country isn't working, how is any kind of international pressure going to work? And right now, more and more officials that I'm speaking with both inside and outside of Yemen are scratching their head and bewildered as to how Saleh, with so much pressure being put on him, is still clinging to power -- Kristie.

STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom, joining us live from Abu Dhabi.

Thank you very much indeed for helping us to make sense of this very complex and chaotic situation there in Yemen.

Now, NATO has announced that it is extending its mission in Libya. Our Brian Todd reports that is just one more sign that the pressure of Moammar Gadhafi is reaching a critical point.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's rarely seen in public. He's just lost eight generals from his command and his oil minister. And now, the NATO alliance vows to keep up the pressure on Moammar Gadhafi, announcing it will extend its mission in Libya for at least another 90 days.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: This decision sends a clear message to the Gadhafi regime. We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya.

TODD: That's the publicly stated goal, but on the ground, NATO has intensified its air campaign, hitting Gadhafi's command and control structures, bringing in French and British attack helicopters with more close strike capability. All while NATO officials say they're not specifically targeting Gadhafi.

Is that realistic to buy that line from them?

PROF. PAUL SULLIVAN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Publicly, they can say certain things, but the inference is that there are other goals involved.

TODD: Analyst, Paul Sullivan, says the signals are obvious. European leaders and President Obama have decidedly shifted their tone on this mission.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Time is working against Gadhafi, and he must step down from power and leave Libya to the Libyan people.

TODD: And published reports cite NATO officials describing a new strategy of driving Gadhafi out, but the extension comes after some tough criticism of NATO's effectiveness over the past two months.

REP. LEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, (R) FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHAIRWOMAN: NATO-led air strikes in Libya have inflicted serious damage on Gadhafi's regime's war machine. Yet, loyalists troops continue to demonstrate cohesiveness and operational superiority over rebel forces.

TODD: Contacted by CNN, a NATO official countered saying that by hitting Gadhafi's command post, NATO forces have degraded his ability to attack rebel forces and civilians. Sullivan says NATO has effectively destroyed Gadhafi's anti-aircraft capability, but --

(on camera): What has he got, though, that could hit those helicopter gun ships?

SULLIVAN: If they're low enough, an RPG could cause enough damage. Think of Mogadishu.

TODD (voice-over): An incident like that could mean a swift end to NATO's mission. But even if that doesn't happen, Sullivan warns of other political problems for the alliance.

(on camera): Sullivan says Gadhafi has clearly got the ability to drag this out. And if he does, some NATO member nations won't have the patience to extend this mission much past September.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


STOUT: In the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi, a car bomb exploded on Wednesday outside a hotel housing foreign diplomats and journalists. Now, the blast has sent smoke billowing into the air from the parking lot of a hotel.

And this was the chaotic scene after the smoke cleared. There were no reports of any injuries from the explosion, but Libyan rebels were quick to blame Moammar Gadhafi for the attack.

And in the western Libyan city of Misrata, children stayed off the streets for weeks as their homes turned into battlegrounds. Now the weapons of that besieged city have become toys.

Now, Sara Sidner looks at Misrata's wartime playground.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A stark illustration that children can find fun anywhere with anything. These are Misrata's children playing on some of the very tanks that left them screaming in fear and unable to leave their homes.

Six-year-old Calpara Mar (ph) is using the tank as a stage for a grand performance, belting out chants obviously said to her by the adults in the city. "Don't send baby's milk. We want arms for the revolutionaries," she sings as loud as her little voice will allow. The other children chime in.

The little climbers are unafraid of these massive weapons that Moammar Gadhafi's forces used to destroy parts of their city. "Tanks do not scare me because he used them to bomb us mercifully. Now they're all burnt out."

There isn't much thought given to the possibility that these machines can be dangerous even though they've been rendered useless on the battlefield. Most of the parents can only think of giving a bit of relief to their little war survivors, some of whom were not allowed to go outside for weeks on end.

SALEM ALI RAJAB, MISRATA RESIDENT (through translator): In the first three months, the kids lived under harsh pressures. There was no school, nothing. Just imprisoned in their own homes. Now they are letting out a lot of energy in fun games.

SIDNER: Salem Ali Rajab is one of the few parents who ushered his two children to the swing set on the downtown city square and would not allow them to gravitate too close to the massive machines lined up for show a few feet away.

RAJAB: When we came here, my little girl looked at me and asked, "What is this?" It was the first time she saw a tank. "What does a tank do?" she asked. It was really a weird thing for them to witness, but at the same time, when you see children playing over a tank, you get the impression that it's the beginning of peacetime.

SIDNER (on camera): Judging from the smiles on the faces of the children, you might think that the city has pretty much come back to normal. It hasn't. There's just a new reality here. Tanks have become toys, and the background for this playground are burned-out and bombed buildings.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Misrata.


STOUT: At least 22 security forces are dead after a bloody firefight in northwest Pakistan. Now, the battle started after more than 200 Afghan militants crossed the border and attacked a security checkpoint. A senior police officer says that the firefight lasted more than 24 hours.

Well, coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, Japan has had six prime ministers in the past five years. Naoto Kan, he faced a no confidence vote today. Did he survive? We'll tell you the results.

And the chill between China and Google just got frostier. The claims and counterclaims over an e-mail hack attack.

And as an E. Coli outbreak raises fears across Europe, some countries are taking drastic steps. Find out what Russia is doing when we come back.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Japan's prime minister has survived a no confidence vote, but says he will step down after the nuclear crisis is over. Now, critics accused him of poor leadership in the wake of Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami, but he still won almost two-thirds of the vote.

Kyung Lah has more.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Japan's prime minister survives and holds on to his job, at least for now.

A day of political high drama in Tokyo. The lawmakers, filing in one by one, and voting either for or against a no confidence motion. This motion, if it had passed, would have meant that Prime Minister Kan would have to either resign in 10 days, or dissolve parliament and call a snap election.

Well, in the end, the motion went down 298-152, so he retains his job. But what happened here in Tokyo is being viewed on the streets, especially in the streets of the tsunami region, with a large measure of disgust.

Remember, in the devastated areas in the tsunami zone, there are still more than 100,000 people living on blankets in evacuation centers. There is no infrastructure, they have no jobs. There is no clear roadmap for them on what's next.

So, with all of this happening down here in Tokyo, many up there view it as a political circus when there is still so much work to be done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are no members of parliament who care about people. They use fancy words, but it's only for their own political election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is not the time to do this. This should be the time that people are United for Japan's recovery.

LAH: The prime minister, before the vote in parliament, pledged that he would eventually step down. That may be what actually saved his job today. So there will be more political turmoil in Japan, just not today.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


STOUT: Now, Russia is banning vegetables from the EU. And coming up next, we will bring you the latest on Europe's deadly E. coli outbreak as authorities try to track down the source.


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

Now, I need to warn you that the images in this next story are disturbing. Now, Australia activists and others are demanding a ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia after an investigation showed brutal animal abuse there. An animal rights group followed Australian cattle from the docks to 11 Indonesian slaughterhouses and openly filmed inside.

Now, the group taped cattle being kicked, flogged, and sometimes bleeding to death. Now, Australia has suspended live cattle exports to those 11 abattoirs, but Animals Australia says that is not enough.

Australia exported more than $700 million in live cattle last year, and Indonesia is their largest importer. Now, the abattoirs, they are supposed to use the Muslim practice of Halal to slaughter cattle, but that is not what Animals Australia found.

Now, the group says this: "The animals are supposed to be treated well and should be facing Mecca when they are slaughtered. Our investigation discovered that neither of these things were happening."

Now, the group also filmed animals being killed and butchered in front of other animals, which it says against Halal practice. Now, the director of Indonesia's Veterinary Health Department says that if that really happened, it is unfortunate.

Now, Australia's agricultural minister has appointed someone to look into this situation.

Russia is banning fresh vegetables from the European Union. State media reporting that EU vegetables will no longer be allowed into the country because of a deadly E. coli outbreak that has swept across Europe.

Now, so far, it has killed at least 16 people. All but one of them in Germany. It left more than 1,000 people ill in 10 countries. And authorities have not been able to pinpoint the exact source of the contamination. Now, the new Russian ban, it broadens an earlier ban on fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and salad greens from Germany and Spain.

Our Matthew Chance is following developments from Moscow, and he joins us now.

Matthew, how is Russia enforcing this ban?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's enforcing it pretty strictly, Kristie.

First of all, it's instructed the Customs officers on the borders and ports of Russia that take in these vegetables to turn them back if they come from the European Union. But it's taken additional measures as well.

STOUT: OK. Unfortunately, it sounds like we just lost our Matthew Chance there and the connection we had there to Moscow. Our apologies for that.

You're watching NEWS STREAM.

Still a head on the program, scenes of devastation in the U.S. from yet another deadly twister, but this time it was far from Tornado Alley.

And proposing the ultimate sacrifice. Now, some of Japan's older citizens, they want to help battle the country's nuclear crisis.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong. And you're watching NEWS STREAM. These are your world headlines.

Now, there is fierce fighting in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. Residents report loud explosions near the presidential palace, and flights to and from the airport have been halted. Residents also say they saw around 1,000 armed tribesmen marching on Sanaa earlier on Thursday.

Now, China says any accusation that it was responsible for large-scale hacking of Google's e-mail users is baseless. Google says hundreds of users were tricked into giving out their passwords. It says Chinese hackers targeted senior U.S. officials, military personnel, journalists, and Chinese political activists.

Now, Russian state media say a man has been charged with the murder of the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Now, she was shot dead outside her home in Moscow in 2006. Now, Rustam Makhmudov was reportedly arrested at his parents' home in Chechnya.

The World Health Organization says Europe's E. coli disease outbreak has spread to 10 countries. Scientists have not been able to pin down the source of the outbreak, and they admit that initial repots that it came from Spanish cucumbers were wrong. Now, Russia, on Thursday, banned imports of fresh vegetables from the EU.

Now, let's go back to our Matthew Chance. We have reestablished that connection with him in Moscow.

And Matthew, you were telling us earlier how Russia is carrying out this ban.

CHANCE: That's right. Because the fact that the European Union officials have not managed to pinpoint this E. coli outbreak, and because the outbreak has gone on for so long, what Russia has done is imposed this ban on all the ports and borders of Russia, instructing Customs officials there to not allow fruit and vegetables from the European Union into the territory of Russia.

But as I was saying earlier, they're also taking this additional measure of seizing any fruits and vegetables that have already been imported from supermarkets, from warehouses, and things like that. And that's led to complaints from the European Union officials, who say that the Russian action is disproportionate.

Well, there's been -- the Russian government, officials coming out and saying, well, we're doing this for precautionary measures, nobody in this country wants to get sick. And they've said they will write to the European Union trade commissioner to explain their position.

But the other thing that Russian health officials are doing, they're advising the Russian public at this point who may have already bought fresh fruits and vegetables that were sourced from European Union farms not to eat them. Instead, to buy local produce.

And so, as I say, a very strict enforcement of this ban on produce from the European Union -- Kristie.

STOUT: Matthew, is there a political dimension to all this?

CHANCE: Well, on the face of it it's not. As I mentioned, Russian government officials saying that this is purely a protective measure. I think the words they used is that nobody in Russia wants to get sick. And so there are legitimate concerns in this country about what's happening in the European Union with their fruits and vegetables, and there's quite a lot of vegetables from that region that are imported into Russia. There are genuine health concerns.

But I think it's also true that Russia is also compared with the European Union on all sorts of levels, but particularly on its health and safety standards. And so what we've had today are remarks coming from the chief Russian health doctor, Gennady Onishchenko saying that this shows essentially that the -- the European health standards what were all lauded and which everyone says Russia should adhere to are not as good as everybody makes out.

And so I think there's a, you know, again a legitimate ban from the Russian point of view, but some pleasure being taken in the fact that it came from -- it's on the European Union food.

STOUT: Matthew Chance joining us live from Moscow. Thank you.

Now search and rescue crews are hard at work in Massachusetts. Now it is the latest U.S. state hit with a deadly tornado outbreak. But they are very rare there.

Now let's get more on this phenomena from our Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. It is rare, not exactly tornado ally when you think about New England, right Kristie? And this just kind of reminds us that tornadoes can really happen anywhere. And according to the National Weather Service there have been 150 tornadoes since 1950 precisely in Massachusetts.

You know what? Let me first show the area of the world we are talking about. We're still dealing with this area here along the northeast. They're not expecting severe weather today, but they could -- which is good for their clean-up efforts.

I want to go ahead and show you the video. Let's go ahead and roll that. This is incredible video coming in to us from this area.

The tornado hit around rush hour time. You can see here just the clouds, how they were swirling around sucking up all of that water from the Connecticut River.

We talk about water spouts earlier in the week, remember? That's a tornado over water. Well, this is a tornadic water spout, forms over the river and then begins to move over land. This image is captured by a power cam positioned perfectly over this area. And you can see all of the debris flying around, people were running for their lives when they saw this coming across there.

You can see how it just continues on over the city and over the water there in Springfield, Massachusetts. Really a scary situation for people there.

Fortunately today even though it will be warm, it will not be any kind of weather like this for people there.

I don't want to tear you away from those images. I know it's difficult.

The severe weather today expected to be here in areas, possibly here in the south and maybe along the northern plains again. Some tornadoes are possible in those areas.

And Kristie, you're not going to believe this one. There was a tornado warning in Northern California yesterday as well. I think we have those pictures to show you.

Look at that, there was a tornado reported -- not confirmed yet by the National Weather Service -- near Yucca City, near Sacramento. What they're saying is that it did cause some damage mostly to agricultural facilities. The rain was coming down pretty heavily, though, at times across some of those areas.

Come back over to the weather map over here. Let's go ahead and move on and talk a little bit more about the weather in the U.S. The areas that need the rain are not getting it, which is mainly here across portions of the south. For example, El Paso, Texas right on the Mexican border, the last time that they saw any kind of precipitation was snowfall remember, which was so rare anyway. And that was back on in February. They haven't had any amount of rain since. That makes it 118 days without any kind of measurable precip.

We were talking also about the potential for tropical developments. Some scattered rain showers across north Florida here, but overall there are two areas that the National Hurricane Center is watching, one in the Gulf, and one in the western Caribbean.

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

I was talking to Robbie just a little while ago before the show, Kristie, our producer. And he was telling me how hot it is in Hong Kong. But let me tell you it's not as hot as it is in other areas here across Asia.

Look at these temperatures as we head into south Asia -- 38 right now in Multan. Sukkur reporting 39. And it's 42 in Karachi. You're doing a little bit better because you've had a little bit of cloud cover and some rain that moved through, some pop-up thunderstorms that have really changed the dynamics there, but you're not going to get any kind of a real relief until the monsoon makes its way to areas farther north.

Now look at these temperatures across the Middle East here, summer like heat. Oh yeah, you're not kidding, huh? Temperatures in the 50s across portions of Kuwait and into Iran as well, and that's in the shade not counting the humidity. So we're really dealing with some extreme heat across these areas, very dangerous conditions.

And, you know, Kristie we can't just say, oh people are used to it, because it's really this is extreme temperatures, some 10 to 12 degrees above average for this time of year.

STOUT: You know, everyone who is in those affected regions, they need to take care and be smart about the situation. And Mari, thank you very much indeed for that.

Now let's take you next to the United States. We're going to right to the site of that deadly tornado that Mari told us about earlier.

Jason Carroll joins us now live from West Springfield, Massachusetts. And Jason, what have you seen there?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to tell you, it's been -- at this point we've been seeing a number of damages, damage from different neighborhoods, specifically this neighborhood that we're in right now.

You can take a look behind me. You can just see the devastation that was exacted on this neighborhood when the tornado tore through here.

This home that you see here destroyed. The home behind it lifted of its foundation. The roof torn off. That's what we've been seeing, pockets of destruction throughout the area of Springfield.

STOUT: And Jason, I mean this phenomena, a tornado in Massachusetts it is so rare. So how are people in the community, how are officials making sense of this disaster?

CARROLL: Well, you're absolutely right. I mean, actually the last time people who have lived in this area say that they've seen a tornado of this type of destruction was back in 1953. So obviously when some of the warnings came through people were not prepared. They thought it was going to be a strong thunder storm and that was it. So imagine the surprise and the shock, quite frankly, for some of the residents here when the tornado touched down.

And may I add, it's not just one, but they're now saying there may have been as many as four tornadoes that touched down in western Massachusetts. This is definitely not tornado alley. That's something that when you hear about in the United States, you hear about things like that happening in the south or places like Kansas. But you look down this street, it certainly looks like tornado alley now.

STOUT: I mean, it's incredible the scene behind you. It almost looks like a movie set. The devastation there.

Jason Carroll joining us live from Massachusetts. Thank you very much indeed for that live update.

Now the Japanese are well known for their strong community values. And so perhaps should be no surprise that hundreds are prepared to put their lives on the line to end their country's nuclear crisis. And these volunteers, they were all over the age of 60.

now Kyung Lah reports on what some are calling the suicide corps.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In this cramped office, these seniors are leading the charge to get retirees back on the job for one last and critical call.

You want to do this?


LAH: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm (inaudible) eldest people.

LAH: Age says 72-year-old Yesoteri Yamata (ph) is a plus when the work site is the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a place still dangerous, highly contaminated with radiation after the tsunami caused a full meltdown in at least one of the reactors.

These workers are the front line to control the national crisis at high risk of exposure and long-term health impacts. The elderly, says this group, don't worry much about anything long-term.

"Death becomes familiar as we get olders," says 69-year-old Kasiko Suzaki (ph). "We have a feeling death is waiting for us. Not that I want to die, but we're not afraid of it."

She's not the only one, 250 volunteers, all over the age of 60 are now compiled in this database calling into the group, volunteering to work at the plant, a team calling themselves the skilled veterans corps an idea that Japan's point man for the nuclear crisis initially brushed off last week saying, quote, "our principle is that we should stick to procedures that will not require such a suicide corps" a label these seniors reject saying they prefer doing what's right.

"My generation, the old generation promoted the nuclear plants. If we don't take responsibility who will?"

We called TEPCO at their Tokyo headquarters. They would not speak to CNN on camera. A spokesperson had this to say, though, about the elderly volunteers "thanks, but no thanks. We have plenty of employees."

The seniors, though, don't buy it. The government has already told the nuclear regulatory agency that it needs to come up with a system to boost the number of workers implying they are concerned about a worker shortage.

Workers like Heikara Tagawa (ph), a temp who once worked at the Fukushima plant.

"Nothing can make me go back to work there," he says. He called the levels of radiation too dangerous.

Whether concerns of a worker shortage or the persuasive seniors, just this week the same government point man who called the seniors a suicide corps appears to be less resistant to the idea of elderly volunteers.

He now says, "I met the leader of the group," says Goshi Hosono. "And we've started a discussion looking for any possible practical next step.

Do you think that the government will let your group work at the plant?


LAH: One more chance saying these graying citizens to truly serve in the twilight of their lives.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.



STOUT: Welcome back.

Now sometimes a picture says it all. Now this is a ballot from Wednesday's election for the president of FIFA. And as you can see there is just one name on it, Joseph S. Blatter. And even the proceedings in Switzerland may have seemed surreal for some, it did not stop the vote from going ahead.

Alex Thomas can take us through the results -- Alex.

ALEXT THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, Sepp Blatter has begun his fourth and final term as FIFA president. Now as you can see from that picture of the ballot paper, the 75-year-old stood unopposed in Wednesday's election after his only rival Mohammed bin Hammam quit the presidency race last week.

186 of the worlds 208 football associations voted for Blatter at FIFA's congress meeting ending any speculation the president wouldn't survive the storm of controversy that has engulfed the sport's governing body over the last week.

A proposal by England's FA to postpone the vote was comfortably defeated. However, Blatter did make concessions to his critics, suggesting a number of measures to reform FIFA.


SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT (through translator): We have been hit. I have been slapped. We are standing and we will no longer be slapped, because we have created the necessary means to react against what we (inaudible) troubles so they say (ph). Transparency. Transparency in international matters and on the transparency will be shown as to control of the activities of FIFA.


THOMAS: On to Canada, a proud ice hockey nation, as most of us know, but one of their biggest teams, Vancouver Canucks, have never won the Stanely Cup. They're hoping to change that in the coming days. And after game 1 of the final series they have the edge over the Boston Bruins.

This was a physical way to start off the best of seven series on the very ice that Canada took Olympic gold last year. And some rough stuff, Patrice Bergeron his finger bitten by Alex Burrows. There was some crushing hip checks as well. Check out that one from Vancouver's Dan Hamuis on Milan Lucic.

Boston (inaudible). That was in the second period. No goals at that point.

It looked like it was heading for overtime thanks in large part to the heroics of Boston's goalie Tim Thomas in the third period who denied Alex Burrows and a breakaway from Victor Oreskovich.

And finally a one-timer from Maxim Lapierre.

Vancouver had 69 shots. They must have wondered if they were ever going to find the back of the net. With just 18 seconds remaining they did. Jannick Hanson found Raffi Torres for a last gasp winners delighting the crowd as the Canucks went up in the series.

The 19th season Saquille O'Neal was literally and figuratively an NBA giant, that's a quote from the league's commissions David Stern after the 39-year-old announced his retirement. At over 7 feet tall, Shaq was one of the biggest and heaviest men ever to play in the NBA, using his strength and power to get the better of his opponents. He won three consecutive championships with the Lakers and he claimed a fourth NBA title after moving to the Miami Heat.

His long career, Shaq also played for the Magic, the Suns, Cavaliers and Celtics, finishing with averages of nearly 24 points and 11 rebounds.

This is how he broke the news to his fans on Twitter.


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, CELTICS FORWARD: We did it. 19 years baby. I want to thank you very much. That's why I'm telling you first. I'm about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon.


THOMAS: Shaq's known for a lot of things, nicknames being one of them. He seems to have acquired at least one new one at every stage of his career. Originally, the Big Diesel. He's also gone by the Big Aristotle. The Big Shaqtus. The Big Shamrock. And even The Big Baryshnikov. I think you can see a theme emerging.

O'Neal has now asked his fans to come up with a new name that's appropriate for his retirement. Kristie, I'm absolutely hopeless at this. I was scratching my head for ages. How about LackaShaq. Any good? Back to you.

STOUT: That's good. That's pretty clever. But I loved Kazam. It was a bad movie, but a good nickname. But LackaShaq very appropriate given what was announced earlier today.

Alex Thomas joining us live from London. Thank you very much for that.

Now just a day after a report that the U.S. government plans to classify some cyber attacks as possible acts of war, Google has announced evidence of an intensive hacking campaign it says came from China. Now the attack targeted e-mail accounts of senior U.S. and South Korean government officials, journalists, and Chinese political activists. Now Google says the attacks originated in the city of Jinan in China's Shandong Province.

Now there is no direct evidence that the hackers were working for the Chinese government, but Google is not ruling out the idea that the hacking may have been state sponsored.

Now the hackers used a technique called spearfishing, that's sending e-mail specifically tailored to appear important to the person targeted. For example, one e-mail sent to a U.S. government official had the subject line, quote, "draft of U.S.-China joint statement."

Now having clicked on the link, they were then taken to a log-in screen similar to this one. Now this is the real Gmail log-in page, but the one that they were taken to had some subtle differences. For example, there was a pale blue bar across the top right there. And some of the icons and text were from an older version of the Gmail page.

Now Google says it detected and disrupted the hacking and notified the affected users.

A little earlier, CNN spoke to author and journalism professor Andrew Lih. And he told us how Google is boosting security for its e-mail users.


ANDREW LIH, AUTHOR: Earlier this year they started something that was, you know, more of what you see in the corporate world in terms of computer security. So it's what they call two factor authentication, or two stage, or two levels of authentication. So this requires you to not only type in something you know, which is like your password, but also to incorporate something that you have.

So some folks might be familiar with a device like this that kind of looks like a digital football, a bank or a corporation might give this out to employees when you want to log in to your site in addition to your password it brings up a 6 digit number that you need to key in to the web site, a verification code.

So not only are corporations using this, or banks, now Google has expanded this so that ordinary users of Google Mail and Google accounts can actually download a little iPhone app that provides the same type of function.

So in addition to entering your password, you have this little 6 digit code that changes every minute that you need to key in as well.

So even if someone steals your password, they really won't be able to get into your account because this number keeps changing and they won't have access to this number.


STOUT: Andrew Lih there.

Now China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded by saying it |attaches great importance to internet security and regulates the internet accordingly. And that it firmly opposes computer hacking or any illegal activity that harms net security. And will punish anyone engaging in such activity. Computer hacking is an international problem. And China is also a victim, it said. Adding any accusation linking China to such activity is baseless and with ulterior motives."

Now Microsoft showed off the feature Windows on Wednesday and it looks like this. Now this is the touch interface for Windows 8 and Microsoft's Jensen Harris explains the changes.


JENSEN HARRIS, MICROSOFT: First thing that you're going to see when you start Windows 8 PC is the start screen. The start screen is this personal mosaic of tiles. Every app on your system is represented by a tile.

Now tiles are embedded in icons for a couple of reasons. They have a little more space for the app to show its personality, like the weather app can just show you the temperature without you having to open it.


STOUT: Now the next version of Windows is designed to run on tablets as well as regular PCs so this is Microsoft's attempt at building a new interface that works on tablets. And it is a huge departure from this, the desktop and the icons that we're all used to seeing.

Now Windows 8 will also have a traditional desktop running under the new touch interface for regular PCs. And Microsoft has done something similar to this before. Do you remember this? This is Microsoft DOS. Now originally Windows was effectively a prettier graphical skin that was posted on top of DOS. It was an attempt to make computers easier to use for people scared by the text interface of DOS.

Now up next here on News ST ream, this one it goes below the belt. U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner says he did not post a naughty photo on his Twitter account, but it has become quite a political pickle. We'll explain next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now this is an American politician who is used to the media glare. Sarah Palin's tour of the eastern United States is throwing the spotlight, though, on one member of her family. Our Jeanne Moos reports that Piper Palin maybe stealing the show.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If a teacher asks Piper Palin what she did for her summer vacation she can leap right into the We the People bus trip saga who very people have their very own bus.

How many 10-year-olds can say they've been hounded by the press?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't step on the (inaudible) please.


MOOS: Or had pizza with Donald Trump.

SARAH PALIN: We had great pizza with him. It was real New York pizza.

MOOS: Or went motorcycle riding with mom on the back of dad's bike.

Oh sure, she had to entertain herself, cramming gum into her mouth while she listened to mom give interview after interview. And sometimes she had to physically drag her mom away. And occasionally it took...

PALIN: Where's the school?

MOOS: Not just one tap on the shoulder, not just two...

PALIN: fact Todd, our guide.

MOOS: Three taps and she's out finally.

But even a kid...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Piper, what did you think of the Statue of Liberty?

MOOS: Isn't immune to the lure of the limelight. In a role reversal mom watched while Piper described her favorite part.

PIPER PALIN: Seeing the torch.

MOOS: We haven't seen this much of Piper Palin since she first made her mark at the Republican convention.

Made her mark on her brother Trig by liking her hand to slick down his hair. A CNN producer was so smitten by her sassy behavior at the convention that she named her dog Piper. Here Piper! The one in the Snoopy t-shirt.

The trip hasn't been all excitement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Supporting the troops.

MOOS: Piper looked momentarily bored and hot on a scorching day touring Ft. McHenry.

Some say Piper is acting like her mother's miniature bodyguard. She's been seen leading her mom with outstretched arm.


PALIN: Contemplating what...

MOOS: And FOX 29 in Philadelphia captured what looked like a body block as Piper wedgerd herself between a reporter with a mic and her mother. The move provoked tweets that Piper was head of Palin's security and a bouncer press secretary in the making.

Watch how she handles the media onslaught.

Get that microphone off of me.

When the media roll up, there's only one thing to do.

PIPER PALIN: Roll up the windows.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

PIPER PALIN: Roll up the windows.

MOOS: New York.


STOUT: She's a little girl in charge there.

Now here come the Weiner jokes. U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner is in a bit of a pickle over what was posted on his Twitter account. It is an up close and personal picture of a man in his unmentionables. Now Weiner says that he was punked by a hacker. But he also says he can't be sure that that pic isn't of him.

Now here is what he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Have you ever taken a picture like this of yourself?

REP. ANTHONY WEINER, (D) NEW YORK: I can tell you this, that there are -- I have photographs. I don't know what photographs are out there in the world of me. I don't know what things have been manipulated and doctored. And we're going to try to find out what happened.

But the most important reason I want to find out what happened is to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Obviously someone got access to my account, that's bad. They sent a picture that makes fun of the name Weiner. I get it. Touche, Dr. Moriarty. You got me.

At the time it happened, I tweeted right away that I got the joke and I continued on with my life. And I think that frankly that's what I would encourage everyone to do.


STOUT: Now Blitzer then pointed out that the congressman would know if those were his underpants. All this talk about airing your dirty laundry in public.

That is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. In fact, we have World Business Today up next.