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Deadly Landslide in South Korea; Torrential Rains and Flooding Across South Korea; Live Address From Norwegian Prime Minister; Norway Investigation; Naming the Victims; US Debt Deadlock; Debt Ceiling 101; How US Political Makeup Created Deadlock; Feeling Famine

Aired July 27, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Heavy rain triggers a deadly landslide in South Korea, killing at least 32 people.

US Republican leader John Boehner goes back to the drawing board on his proposal as the clock ticks away and the pressure mounts on the US to raise its debt limit before it could default.

And there's exactly one year to go before this stadium sees the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Rescue workers are rushing to save lives near the South Korean town of Chuncheon, where hillside has given away in heavy rains.

It happened just after midnight, as many families were sleeping. Dozens of people have died and others are being treated for injuries.

This disaster comes as rising water levels have cut off many parts of the country. Paula Hancocks reports.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The death toll has been steadily rising here in South Korea as torrential rain continues to pummel the peninsula. Now, this is the rainy season, we're used to rain here, but not to this extent.

This is the Han River, which cuts through the middle of Seoul, and usually you'd have the banks up to about 150 meters until you come to the water. Cars have been stranded, homes have been flooded. As you can see, the Han River is flooding pretty significantly.

And over the past 24 hours alone, there's been 400 millimeters or 15.3 inches of rain just in Seoul alone.

Also, there have been a number of deadly landslides that have been triggered by this heavy rain. There was a deadly landslide near the city of Chuncheon, just two hours east of Seoul, and it's claimed the lives of more than a dozen people.

Many of them are college students who were doing volunteer work in the area. They were staying a local inn when the landslide caused the roof to collapse.

The local media is referring to this weather as "water bombs," showing that this sheer volume of torrential rain isn't usual.

And it's not over yet. The Korean Meteorological Agency has issued a special heavy rainfall alert in the center of the country.

One official tells CNN that three quarters of the rain that has fallen during this rainy season has fallen in just the last 24 hours. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


STOUT: You just heard it from Paula Hancocks, there. Very heavy rain, and it's not over yet. Let's get an update on the conditions there in South Korea. Mari Ramos joins us from the World Weather Center. Mari?

MARI RAMOS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Kristie. This is the Han River right here, where Paula was just reporting from. And as you can see, it's a very large river. It runs right through the middle portion of the city.

And when this river floods, even though it has very good barriers to contain the flooding for the most part, but when you see such heavy rain like what you saw now, you're going to see some significant damage along these areas.

So, that's going to be one area of concern, particularly as we head into areas farther downstream, where the flood barriers may not be as good.

Now, I want to take you, also, to an area farther to the south. There was some reports of some serious damage in the southern portion of Seoul. I can tell you that areas as far south as Suwon had over 150 millimeters of rain in the last 24 hours.

And now, you mentioned also the area where they had the deadliest of the landslides, Chuncheon, right over here. This is also an area that is not only surrounded by water but, as we zoom out a little bit, you'll also notice that it's almost in a basin. So this area, prone to flooding as well.

The landslide occurring, of course, in the hilly terrain, and you can see how that goes almost all the way around the city. When you have situations like this, very vulnerable to not only flooding, but also to mudslides because of the topography of the region.

This area's not alone. Farther to the east as we head into Sokcho here, we've also had almost 150 millimeters of rain in the last 24 hours, most of that coming down in the last 12 hours or so.

So the flooding is widespread across not just South Korea, but you've got to remember that when you have significant flooding across South Korea, North Korea will also probably see some significant flooding, as well.

So, that's definitely something that we all need to keep an eye on. Over the next 24 hours, the potential for heavy rain is still present across these areas.

Let's go ahead and go to our -- my weather maps. I want to show you a couple of things so that we can talk a little bit more about the forecast.

We saw situations like this where sometimes the most dangerous place that you can be during a flood is in your vehicle, and here you see hundreds, literally hundreds of people that were trapped in their cars at the height of this storm.

And this picture's just so terrifying, Kristie. This is a landslide just in the southern portion of Seoul. You can see how it just went right through this building, and you can see a worker there on the side. All of that debris spilled across that area.

This tremendous amount of rain that has fallen in this region in the last 24 hours coming from the same weather system that caused all of that heavy rain for you guys in Beijing.

Now, you're starting to see these thunderstorms here that are starting to pop up. Typical, in a way, for this time of year, getting enhanced right now. That is why that rain warning is still in place here across this central portion of the Korean peninsula.

Notice -- weather knows no borders -- across South -- North Korea, as well, we're going to see some very heavy rain over the next 24 hours.

So, on top of what's already there, you can expect another eight centimeters, probably locally heavier rain into mountainous terrain, and still, when everything's so wet and everything's so saturated, the potential for flooding and mudslides is still there. Kristie, back to you.

STOUT: Mari, thank you for that forecast. And here's hoping that the community there, people there are ready for the onslaught of more bad weather. Mari Ramos, there.

As we've been reporting for a while, now, Norway is on edge on the back of those dual terror attacks that took place in the country last week.

Now, the Norwegian prime minster, Jens Stoltenberg, is addressing reporters right now. He's speaking from his home in Oslo. Let's listen in.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER: Young best and brightest politicians lost their lives.

And I think that it's hard to understand for people outside Norway how great a symbol Utoya is, because Utoya is an island where we have had political discussions and political -- and it has been an arena for political discussions for decades.

And I myself have been there every summer since 1974. So in a way, my own political education, my own political development is very much related to the camps and the discussions at Utoya since the beginning of the 1970s.

And now we have new generations of young politicians who have taken part in their political discussions, and Utoya has been an important part of that, and now so many of them lost their lives at Utoya.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President, Katena Prezzos (ph), Chi (ph) Italia. You said that this nation has not to feel intimidated. This morning, though, the Central Station has been closed for three hours because there was a threat.

I'm asking you, do you think or are you afraid and people are afraid that there can't be, not someone connected to Breivik, but someone who can emulate what he did?

STOLTENBERG: I don't -- I'm not able to comment specifically on what happened at the Central Station because I'm not informed about the details about that.

But in general, of course, every society needs security measures, and we have security measures also in Norway. And of course, we are even more aware of any dangers now than before the attacks.

But I think in general, the picture is that Norwegians, they want in a way to defend themselves against violence by showing that they are not afraid of violence.

And that was the strong message from Norwegians going into the streets on Monday, where we had hundreds of thousands of Norwegians marching with flowers, with roses and all uniting in the same message of not being afraid and not being intimidated by the violence.

So, that's the main message. And then, of course, the police have their work to do, and we need, also, ordinary security measures in addition.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Stoltenberg, my name is Rochester Han (ph), I'm with RTL Television in Germany.

We see the mourning in the streets, we see the Norwegian people mourning but, on the other hand, obviously, there starts the discussion whether Norwegian laws are strong enough to keep Mr. Breivik in prison for the rest of his life. Some Norwegians feel that he might be released much too early, even if it's in 21 years.

STOLTENBERG: First of all, I would just express a general view, and that's a very important part of our democracy is that we have separation of powers between the government and the courts.

And therefore, I will not intervene, I will not have any opinion about the work of the police and the courts, because they have to do their job.

We have the possibility of long sentences, also, in Norway, 21 years is a long sentence. In addition, we have a system of preventive detention, which makes it possible to have people in longer in jail, if that's regarded as necessary to protect the society.

But in -- I think we have to now await the investigations, we have to wait for the decisions of the court before we comment on the sentences.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good afternoon, Mr. Prime Minister. I'm Si Yuse (ph) from Sina (ph) News Agency. I wonder why in the Utoya Island the death toll just declined from 86 to 39 -- 69. And what are the statistics based on?

STOLTENBERG: First of all, I would recommend you, when it comes to all these operational facts, to ask the police, to ask those people who are in charge of the rescue operation to answer those questions.

But the police have explained that in the chaotic situation at the island, many people were -- missing, and then some people were counted twice. And then, when they were able to go through all the bodies, they were -- they saw that some people were counted twice and, therefore, the number has been reduced.

This is, in a way -- this has happened before in similar -- in other kinds of accidents where many people have been missing.


STOUT: Now, we've been listening to Norway's prime minister addressing reporters live in Oslo.

And early on, we heard him mention the victims of that shooting spree on Utoya Island, and he called the victims the "best and brightest young politicians" of his country, and also drew a link between himself and Utoya Island as being the source of his own political education.

The prime minister was also asked a question about fear and whether Norwegians were fearful of more attacks, and to that, he answered this, quote, "Norwegians want to defend themselves against violence by showing they are not afraid of violence."

And as an example, he cited what happened Monday night as hundreds of thousands of Norwegians took to the streets in Oslo and elsewhere, holding roses into the skies.

As you heard addressed in that press conference just now, Norwegian police have lifted a bomb alert at Oslo Central Railway Station. It was evacuated after a suspicious suitcase was spotted on a bus. Media reports say a bomb squad determined that the bag was not dangerous.

Authorities are taking every precaution after last week's bombing in Oslo and massacre on a nearby island, armed undercover police are on patrol, and investigators are searching this farm owned by terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik. Nic Robertson explains what they are looking for.




ROBERTSON: Then, smoke rises over the farm where Anders Breivik is believed to have prepared his attacks.

Investigators at the remote hideaway that Breivik used as a cover to buy fertilizer for his deadly bombs using a controlled explosion to detonate a device they found at the farm.

Breivik says he had 6,000 kilograms of fertilizer delivered here, more than six tons, half of it for bomb-making.

ROBERTSON (on camera): For over four days, now, forensic officials and military have been combing through this property to determine how much fertilizer they can account for. What they learned will be critical in understanding if there is another bomb on the loose.

JON FITJE, PST ANALYSIS DIRECTOR: We measure the fertilizer that we think that he has bought and the amount that we think he will use in the explosion, and what is left on the farm. So, this is also something that the investigation must answer.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): And right now, Norway's intelligence officials admit that numbers don't add up. Only one bomb set off by Breivik so far. The forensic cleanup in the center of Oslo still underway.

FITJE: He has mentioned 900 kilos. The experts say that it could vary plus or minus. And this is something that is a start. There's still some uncertainty connected to it.

ROBERTSON (on camera): An uncertainty measured in hundreds of kilograms or more?

FITJE: The uncertainty is big enough that we think that this must -- we think we have to try to get clarity in this.

ROBERTSON: Enough to be another bomb, potentially.

FITJE: Potentially, yes.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Breivik's lawyer says his client won't help.

ROBERTSON (on camera): What is he saying to the police when they ask about the missing fertilizer?

GEIR LIPPESTAD, ANDERS BREIVIK'S LAWYER: He doesn't say anything about that.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He also says Breivik won't tell the police about the two cells in Norway and the others in the West whom he claims will continue his fight.

FITJE: We're not sure whether this actually represents a possible threat or not. And this is the priority in the investigation, now, to get this clear.

ROBERTSON : The question everyone wants answered, is Norway safe from another outrage? So far, no clear answer. Nic Robertson, CNN, Oslo, Norway.


STOUT: Norway police have started releasing the names of victims. This Facebook tribute page has been set up for those who are dead or missing. So far, authorities have only named four of the people killed, and they have promised to provide an update each day at 6:00 PM local time until there is a name and face for every life lost.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. Still ahead, we will get the latest from the United States as the country's politicians race to raise the country's debt limit before a possible default.

And in the Horn of Africa, no news is bad news. More people seeking help for their families, aid workers wait for any word on when lifesaving food and medicines will arrive.


STOUT: Welcome back. Turning now to the US debt crisis, and with the deadline fast approaching for the US to raise its borrowing limit, there is a big setback for one Republican proposal.

US House Speaker John Boehner and his team have gone back to the drawing board again, delaying a crucial House vote on raising the debt ceiling.

The US Congressional Budget Office said that Boehner's proposal did not include as many spending cuts as initially promised, so it's being reworked.

The setback means a House vote is not likely until Thursday at the earliest, and more delays mean more pressure on Congress to reach a quick compromise. There are only six days left before the US could face its first ever debt default.

So, how did the US get in this mess in the first place? Ali Velshi explains what the debt limit is, why the US has one, and how a default could impact the US economy and investors around the world.


ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This debt ceiling is about money that has already been spent.

I like to use the analogy, it's like going to Best Buy and buying a TV and then deciding later on that, you know what? I spent too much money. I'm just not going to continue paying for that TV. Well, you know what? You bought the TV. You use the TV. You've got to pay for the TV.

The debt ceiling's exactly the same as your credit limit on your credit cards, except it's for everything that you borrow. It's like having one super loan. The United States is one of the few countries in the world that, by law, they have to keep on voting to increase the credit limit. Most countries just continue to borrow more.

So, the debt ceiling is the absolute top amount of money that the US can owe to anyone at any given time, and it's about $14.3 trillion.

So, in order to raise that ceiling so the US can borrow more money to keep things going, the debt ceiling has to be increased by Congress. This has happened many, many times before. It's usually fairly routine. This time, it's not.

The United States borrows money by issuing bonds. They're a promise to repay money at a particular interest rate over a set period of time. The reason they do that is because the US is thought to A, be a safe investment.

There are some countries where they issue bonds, but you're not quite sure what the future of that country looks like.

The second and probably more important thing is the US is a good bet. It's got the highest credit rating. That's the position the United States has been in because it has always paid its debts as promised and on time, so the world clamors to buy US debt.

The US actually hit the credit limit on May 16th, but the treasury secretary has been able to keep the wolves at bay. He's been able to move piles of money around and basically keep us solvent until August 2nd.

If we get to August 3rd and we've not raised the debt ceiling, somebody somewhere isn't getting paid. Now, some people think this is going to be a catastrophe. We don't really know whether it is or isn't, because we've never done this before, we've never been in this situation. The world's best borrower has never actually even threatened to default, so we're not sure how it's going to happen.

Republicans are basically saying, "We'll increase the debt ceiling the way the president wants, but we want guaranteed spending cuts now. We want to fix the US budget so it doesn't continue to drive us into this level of debt forevermore."

Many Democrats are taking the position that this is not the time in the recovery that we're in to start cutting government spending.

Consumers and businesses have not yet recovered from the effects of the recession. They're not spending enough. The government has replaced that spending, and if you pull back now, you risk putting us back on the track of an economic downturn.

Increasingly, this debt limit conversation has really changed the way people think about it. So the truth is, the reality lies in the middle of the two extremes, and both sides have brought the other side a little bit further to the middle.

Who knows whether we're close enough? The reality is it probably will pass, and it's going to be done with a lot of people holding their noses.


STOUT: Ali Velshi, there. Now, there is still a lot that still needs to be done before world markets can breathe easier.

Any plan to raise the debt ceiling must be approved by both houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. And the reason it's being stalled is largely because of the political makeup of those houses.

Out of 435 House members, Republicans are in the majority. They hold 240 seats, and a quarter of those are members of the very conservative Tea Party Caucus. And without their support, Republicans lose the majority and possibly the power to push any plan through. And that is what Speaker Boehner is struggling with right now.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, the Democrats, they outnumber the Republicans 51 to 47, and that's where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is relying on support for his plan.

Often, it is hard enough getting support from both houses of Congress. It's even more difficult when they're controlled by opposing parties, but what makes this debt decision especially difficult is that the parties themselves can't even agree on the best course of action.

And if they do, if they do manage to pull it all together before Tuesday's crucial deadline, the legislation still must be signed by the US president Barack Obama.

Up next here on NEWS STREAM, famine in Somalia. We will take you to a Kenyan refugee camp where only the weakest children can get help for now.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM. To the Horn of Africa, now, and the Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya, where families are arriving even at this moment.

They come after having walked for days from as far away as Somalia and with little to no food or clean water.

The UN had hoped to begin airlifting food to the region as early as yesterday, but says that the flights have been tied up in bureaucracy. As Martin Geissler shows us, the children are especially weak.


MARTIN GEISSLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're arriving at an alarming rate. And in Hagadera's intensive care ward, every case is an emergency.

JOHN KIOGORA, DOCTOR, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: The child is stable for now, but very weak.

GEISSLER: Twenty-two beds in this small room, jammed in against each other and some of the patients are doubling up.

KIOGORA: Literally, the number increases twice daily into each group.

GEISSLER: But it's not just space they're short of.

GEISSLER (on camera): So, you're needing very basic medications.


GEISSLER: But you need it soon.

KIOGORA: Yes, we need it soon. Now, actually, not tomorrow. Because every day we don't have those resources, the children will not make it. Most of them will die.

GEISSLER (voice-over): It is as stark as that, and a journey to the camp's admissions center showed us the scale of the problem.

Ten thousand people arrive at Dadaab every week. They've escaped a famine and a civil war in Somalia, but the journey has taken its toll.

Harima (ph) walked here with seven children. It took them a week. "I'm so worried," she told me. "We've no money, no food. We haven't eaten for four days. My child is sick."

Adam Bashir (ph) is clearly unwell. He's had a fever. His body started swelling, his mother says.

GEISSLER (on camera): Shall we take this child and have him looked at now? Can we take him to the center to get him measured just now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you can take him, yes.

GEISSLER: Because I think he's sick.


GEISSLER (voice-over): A tape around the upper arm is the simple test for malnutrition. Adam Bashir's reading is yellow. He is malnourished, though not severely. But the doctor has other concerns.

They couldn't keep him in, though. Only life or death cases get precious ward space here. Cases like Menage (ph), who came in yesterday. At seven months old, he weighed just six and a half pounds, way below a healthy birth weight.

Doctors hooked him up to a drip and, overnight, he's put on a pound. More than fifteen percent of his body weight. He is still terribly frail and vulnerable, but he's moving slowly in the right direction.

I asked his mum how she felt. She answered with one word. "Delighted."

Across the ward, Adeni Brahim (ph) is improving, too. After a week at death's door, he's finally gaining weight, little by little. His father feeds him, drop by drop, through a nasal tube.

If these two young boys survive, they'll stay in this ward for a fortnight at least, and they'll be joined by many more. The staff here will do what they can, but they, like the children, need help.



STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Now in the U.S. a vote on a Republican plan to break the stalemate over the debt ceiling has been postponed until at least Thursday. The bill was unveiled by House Speaker John Boehner who is Republican, but even some members of his own party oppose it. Now the Congressional Budget Office has questioned how much money it would actually save.

In South Korea, a landslide near the town of Chungcheon has killed at least 32 people, dozens of others are injured. It happened just after midnight as a hillside gave way under heavy rain. Several cities in the country's center are under a special heavy rainfall alert.

The British government no longer considers Moammar Gadhafi in charge of Libya. Now Foreign Secretary William Hague says the UK will now deal only with the National Transitional Council.


WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: In line with this decision, we summon the Libyan (inaudible) here to the foreign office this morning and informed him that he and other regime diplomats from the Gadhafi regime must now leave the United Kingdom. We know longer recognize them as the representatives of the Libyan government and we are inviting the National Transitional Council to appoint a new Libyan diplomatic envoy to take over the Libyan embassy in London.


STOUT: In exactly a year from now, the eyes of the world will be on the stadium you see here as the 2012 Olympic games begin in London. Now let's go live to just outside the stadium right now. Our Don Riddell is in London's Olympic park -- Don.


Yes, a lot of excitement in London today as the organizers are marking exactly one year to go, 365 days until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 games takes place in this 80,000 seat stadium behind me.

The big celebration today is that the aquatics center has opened. I'm going to show you a little bit of video from inside this new venue. This is the lat of the major venues to be completed. They've already opened the velodrome and the athletics stadium and now the aquatic center.

As you can see, it's a rather splendid arena, some 17,500 thousand fans will be packed into there when the swimming gets underway in a year's time. And swimming is usually the first major event of the Olympic games. And so I think once the opening ceremony is out of the way next year, we'll all be looking at what's going on there in the pool.

The organizers are absolutely thrilled with the way things have gone so far to have 90 percent of the infrastructure completed with a full year to go means that they are well on course. They're not complacent, but they're certainly very satisfied with how things have gone so far.

Let's bring you right up to date with the development of the Olympic park with Atika Shubert.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The landscape of London changing before our very eyes as Olympic venues pop up around the capital. To some extent, the games can be reduced to a series of numbers.

Who can run 100 meters in under 10 seconds? Can anyone jump further than 9 meters? What dive is worth 10 points?

But it isn't just the competition that can deliver extraordinary figures, coming up here fascinating facts about the game.

So this is the Olympic stadium. It is the heart and soul of the Olympics park. It has a capacity for 80,000 people. And this is where the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics will be. Now when the designers created this structure a key word was sustainability. In fact, it only took 10,000 tons of steel to create this. That may sound like a lot, but it is in fact the lightest Olympic stadium ever created.

For our second stat, we turn to the Olympic stadium project manager who let's us know a little bit more about his creation.

IAN CROCKFORD, OLYMPIC STADIUM PROJECT MANAGER: The low ball in a 25,000 seat and we built that permanent, so it's an all permanent structure. And up above, we've got a very flexible 55,000 seat terracing, which is demountable. So at the time we didn't think we'd get the demand for the full 80,000 seat bowl in the future. Perhaps we have now. We've got a lot of people interested in that full capacity bowl, which is great, because it is -- you know, it can stay up, but it's just designed in a way that could be taken down if we want to.

SHUBERT: To get into the stadium, you need of course a ticket. And at the moment, they are like gold dust. Almost 2 million people applied with 23 out of 26 sports selling out almost immediately. 17,5000 of those spectators will be inside the aquatic center watching the swimming events.

Just around the corner from the swimmers are the cyclists. The velodrome has seating for 6,000 people who will sit under a net roof constructed from 17 kilometers of steel cables, twice the height of Mount Everest.

Next is time for a fact a little closer to home. The International Broadcast Center could fit five jumbo jets wing to wing in the building. Instead, it will host 20,000 broadcasters, photographers, and journalists who will be flat out 24 hours a day.

JEROME FROST, HEAD OF DESIGN, ODA: So far we've had around 200,000 visitors, members of the public come around the site. And the demand is insatiable. So I think that will only increase over the next year or so. And, you know, there is a real buzz, there's a real sense of excitement, I think, around -- across the population now. We're all looking forward to 2012.

SHUBERT: Now all the facts and figures, perhaps the one of most interest to residence here in the UK is the fact that 75 percent of what's spent here is on legacy, which means that all of this will be made available to the public after the Olympics are done.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


RIDDELL: Rarely has the International Olympic Committee been so complimentary of an Olympic project with a full year to go. The IOC president Jacques Rogge is here today as is Sebastian Coe, the game's organizer, and the London mayor. And there are a host of Olympic celebrities here as well, including one of the all-time greats, the two- time gold medalist Ed Moses.

I spoke ot him a little while ago. And he was saying that he think London has the potential to be one of the all-time great Olympic cities.


EDWIN MOSES, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Barcelona was the first Olympic games that I went to as a non-competitor. And I honestly had no idea that these kind of things were going on. We were always focused on the field. I love Barcelona, Sydney. And I think London will be comparable to that in terms of a great city in the world.

And of course, I loved the L.A. Olympics, because I was home.

RIDDELL: And you won there.

MOSES: And I was able to win.

RIDDELL: You won in front of a home crowd in L.A. of course. They were all rooting for you. Does that help you? Does that hinder you? Because the home athletes that are going to be competing here, there is so much expectation of them, isn't there?

MOSES: Well, it can help. It's a great expectation to run at the Olympic games at home. You have a whole lot more people rooting for you than against you. But what -- as an athlete what you have to do is really be able to survive the throngs of the crowd rooting for you, because it can literally blow your mind, it can blow you out of your mental state and cause you problems.


RIDDELL: It's all good though.

Kristie, you know, just being able to compete in an Olympics is for many a once in a lifetime event. Being able to compete in your home Olympics, well that almost never happens. So for the British athletes next year, this is going to be quite an incredible experience.

STOUT: Now Don, a few years ago we were feeling the same excitement as China prepared to host the Olympics. Now three years on, my colleague Stan Grant in Beijing looks at the legacy of the Beijing games.


STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The eyes of the world were fixed right here. This is the fabled Bird's Nest, the stadium of the Beijing Olympics, a place of dreams that now hold so many memories. And four years later, the people are still coming.

"It's a memory that will last forever," he says. "It made China greater and stronger."

A giant screens around the stadium those magical moments live on. The grand opening ceremony, the lighting of the cauldron, and of course those extraordinary athletes.

TRACEY HOLMES, CCTV ANCHOR: The Olympics brings you everything -- you know, there's great passion, there's great tragedy, there's a real sense that the world comes together.

GRANT: Tracey Holmes is a sports broadcaster at the China Central Television, a various international networks she has covered nine Olympics winter and summer. She's doing her PhD on the Olympics and politics.

HOLMES: When people talk about politics and sport not mixing, well I think they don't understand the Olympic games. It's all about politics. And it's all about politics. And it's all about making changes in a country.

GRANT: China's Olympic games was a political statement, she says, one world, one dream. That was the official games slogan. But this was China's world, a coming out party for an emerging super power.

The cost of all this officially $15 billion, unofficially three times higher, an expensive public relations campaign.

HOLMES: There were lots of negative images surrounding Beijing and China before 2008. And now when you look at the images that are shown, it's of modern cities, it's of new infrastructure, it's of winning and glory and power.

GRANT: One of the winners was not even on the track or in the pool. Gao Shin (ph) was a sports marketing graduate who heard about the so-called green Olympics and saw big bucks. He formed an irrigation company, bid for the contract to water the Olympic park and stadium and found his fortune.

"It was a $30 million yuan bid, $4 million," he says. "Winning the project laid the foundation for our company."

He now has contracts all over China. His company turning over millions of dollars a year.

All of Beijing's Olympic venues are still in good use. The Bird's Nest Stadium is a tourist attraction, the Water Cube is being transformed into a water park drawing people in their thousands.

China is still celebrating. The all powerful Communist party is marking its 90th anniversary. China's influence and power continues to grow. It topped the medal tally in 2008, the most dominant sporting nation on Earth. But for all the glory, one painful image remains. The pride of China, at the time the reigning world and Olympic 110 meters hurdles champion Liu Xiang limping off the track, crippled by injury. His anguished face is still beamed around the stadium. This is China's unfinished business. Liu Xiang's bid to win the gold medal in London that eluded him in Beijing.

"I've come to see this stadium. I can see Liu Xiang running. Even though he didn't, I still feel he did. We Chinese are proud of this."

So the Beijing Olympics are really just a memory now. Of course, what remains is this magnificent stadium. The torch is being passed to London. Full steam ahead, London 2012.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.


STOUT: So Don, what lessons has the London organizing committee learned from the Beijing games?

RIDDELL: Well, you know, they've learned a lot of lessons. They were all there. They soaked up the atmosphere. They were keeping a very close eye on how the Beijing organizers were running those games. But you know they've been learning lessons from Olympics way past, going back to you know Sydney and Athens as well.

But I think London really is determined to do things its own way. This is a major international city which is well used to putting on major sporting events. Of course nothing reaches the magnitude of the Olympics, but London is pretty well versed. And I think they're very keen to do it their own way. They're certainly not going to spend the kind of money that the Chinese spent on hosting the Olympics, but I think they're going to be just OK.

They do have to worry, perhaps, about the transport and congestion in London. And they're working on schemes on how they can perhaps persuade some Londoners to keep out of the way and make a bit of a room for all the athletes and visitors that are coming in.

But you know, when I asked Seb Coe, the games' organizer, I said what do you think is really going to make London stand out against all the other Olympics. And he just said in one word London. That will be the difference.

And on that note, we are continuing our coverage of the Olympic buildup. Right throughout the day there are events here at the Olympic park and also Trafalger Square. You can watch those on CNN and World Sports throughout the day.

And also, Kristie, tomorrow we have a half hour special called Aiming for Gold which is profiling the buildup to the games.

STOUT: All to look forward to.

Don Riddell joining us live from London. Thank you, Don.

Now up next here on News Stream, we are going to take you to Afghanistan next where another suicide attack has taken place. Now this time, the mayor of Kandahar was targeted and was killed. Details after the break.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now some U.S. officials are casting doubt that the Taliban actually carried out all the attacks it has claimed. Many Afghan politicians are now asking whose next. David Ariosto reports.


DAVID ARIOSTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you're an Afghan woman and a member of Parliament, you tend to take your security seriously, especially when you have two young girls to look after.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm proud of my mom's member of Parliament. But I sometimes -- sometimes I'm afraid that my mom life in the risk.

ARIOSTO: How do you feel about when you hear your daughter say something like that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They sometimes stop me from going to Parliament because they feel it's too dangerous, but...

ARIOSTO: When you hear your daughter say that?

FAUZIA KOFI, AFGHAN PARLIAMENT MEMBERS: I'm kind of disappointed to see -- to see that they're actually feeling the choice, they're feeling the risk.

ARIOSTO: But Fauzia Kofi, a leading woman's rights activist, is no stranger to violence even as a little girl.

KOFI: My father was killed by Mujahideen. He was like killed in front of -- he came to talk with Mujahideen to ask them not to fight, because he was a member of Parliament. And then he was killed. My brothers were killed. It happened to -- our family doesn't have a good memory of politics.

ARIOSTO: She believes that latest threat came last week when she received a call from a colleague inviting her to a dinner party.

KOFI: When -- I was (inaudible) was on of the MPs who was assassinated. He called me that evening to invite me for this dinner in the president adviser's house. (inaudible) never, ever calls me and decides that he was my colleague in the Parliament. They also influence our colleagues. There was somebody behind this that was motivating to invite more MPs and especially me.

ARIOSTO: She never attended the party, but the man who invited her was gunned down by militants alongside President Karzai's advisor. As authorities investigate, Fauzia believes she was a target and remains one.

KOFI: This is not only time, even during my campaign I was -- there was planned for me -- to assassinate me. But the two people were arrested by security. They spent two months in jail and then they were released.

ARIOSTO: So what do potential targets like Fauzia do to make themselves safer?

KOFI: We don't do much. The only thing I did after Ahmed Wali Karzai's assassination was I kind of rotated my bodyguards.

ARIOSTO: The president's half-brother was shot dead in his home by a long-time bodyguard, the most high profile in a series of recent assassinations of senior officials that the Taliban have taken credit for.

So is this, then, part of a shift in Taliban tactics? The answer depends on who you ask.

KOFI: What we believe is that the Taliban have actually taken a new strategy. The safest place in the world can be you at home. This is where you feel safe. If the homes are not safe anymore, and if people you meet and people you trust they could also be influenced, then where is safe?

BRIG. GEN. CARSTEN JACOBSEN, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE: These are obviously high value targets. We are still assessing what the reason is behind these killings. They are not necessarily Taliban assassinations in particular where it comes to the brother of Karzai. We have to see whether this was a murder case.

We do not see a general shift in Taliban tactics.

ARIOSTO: I put the same question to a former Taliban represenatative.

ABDUL HAKIM MUJAHED, HIGH PEACE COUNCIL MEMBER: I think this is the nature of any battlefield, any war situation, that each party of battlefield they are trying to show their capability and their strength.

ARIOSTO: In the meantime, people like Fauzia and her daughters must endure life as targets.

David Ariosto, CNN, Kabul.


STOUT: Now he has been a guest right here on News Stream. And do you remember this commercial? It was an online hit after first airing during last year's U.S. Superbowl. And now the boy behind the mask has moved on to a new challenge. We'll tell you what it is next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now we have new video just into CNN. It is showing the moment a bomb went off in Norway's capital. Now this is surveillance video from a store in Oslo. It's about one block away from where the blast took place.

Now take a look, everything is at first normal and then everything shakes. And you can see people running out to the street to find out what happened.

Now the bomb, it went off near government buildings, and that bomb attack killed eight people. Now of course we will continue to follow the latest from Norway as we have more.

Now let's move on now to the United States. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill faced a little activist with a big following. Sanjay Gupta has more.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've been following the story of Little Max Page for some time, this crazy cute kid. He is the little mini Darth Vader as you see there. And he says he's taking the force to Washington.

What a lot of people may not know about Max is that he was born with a heart condition, required eight operations in six years, got his care at a Children's Hospital of which there are only 56 in the country. He met a lot of kids in the hospital that are like him that need specialty care. He also met kids who need Medicaid to help get their care. And he realized, along with his parents, that some of those things are now threatened with all the talks that are going on in Washington. So he went to Washington to lobby on behalf of these things. And had a meeting with Senator Grassely.

Take a listen.

MAX PAGE, BORN WITH CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT: Can you tell the president this? If he cuts -- if the budget gets cut, he needs to realize his daughters might need it. So if he cuts -- if the budget makes the cut about 75 percent off it's going to be really bad for maybe his daughters.

GUPTA: As you can see there, Max making a personal appeal to the president and the president's daughters.

Again, just 56 of these Children's Hospitals in the country. They're responsible for not only taking care of a lot of sick kids, but also for training the nation's future pediatricians and pediatric specialists.

LAWRENCE MCANDREW, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS: When you have less money you have less options of providing that care. So you may not hire the physician, you may not offer the clinic, you may not have the program that's necessary for the child. It's not something that's going to happen overnight, but over time the whole effort to support children's health care is weakened if you don't adequately fund it.

GUPTA: And both sides could have an impact here in terms of what they're proposing. The White House plan could potentially impact the number of pediatricians trained in the future. And the Republican deal, as far as we can tell, could have an impact overall on Medicaid in terms of cutting its funding.

So Max, good luck, may the force be with you. And back to you for now.


STOUT: He is crazy cute that kid.

Now China's dissident artist Ai Weiwei, he was an active Twitter user before his recent two month detention in Beijing and it's been widely speculated that one of the conditions of his release was a self-imposed ban on social media. So this came as a big surprise. Ai Weiwei's own account on Google+. Now he posted a photo of himself, shirtless, with a caption, quote, "here's proof of life." Now Google+ is blocked in China, but Chinese users of the site can access it by using a variety of circumvention tools like virtual private networks.

But how many users? Well, according to Chinese internet analyst Isaak Mal (ph), there are just 20,000 active Chinese users on Twitter, but he believes that on Google+ there are about 100,000 Google+ users in Mainland China. So given its growing popularity there, Google+ may give Ai Weiwei more far reaching platform for his message.

And finally, I want to leave you with the story of a German shepherd whose really from Germany and who defied death. Near police officers are being hailed as heroes, they rescued this dog on Monday 4 kilometers out in the Atlantic Ocean off New York.

Now Charlie is an eight month old canine whose owners bought him in Germany. The owners had just collected Charlie at JFK air port and on the drive home, the pooch jumped out of the car, ran into Jamaica Bay where he was apparently swept out to sea.

Now harbor patrol police out in the water spotted Charlie and hauled him back to safety.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.