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Rescued From the Rubble; Eurozone Crisis; Thailand Flooding Crisis; Andrew Stevens Reviews Boeing Dreamliner's First Flight; World Population to Hit 7 Billion On Halloween

Aired October 26, 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.

And we begin in eastern Turkey, where survivors continue to be rescued from the rubble three days after a deadly earthquake struck.

Plus, world leaders gather to hash out a plan to resolve the European debt crisis. We'll break down the hurdles they will have to clear to reach an agreement.

And the global population is ticking ever closer to 7 billion people. What impact will that have on the planet?

Now, we are learning of more incredible rescues in eastern Turkey, and they are happening some three days after a devastating earthquake ripped the region apart. In the hardest hit town of Ercis, now a mass of dust, metal and twisted concrete, rescuers pulled a 27-year-old woman out of a collapsed building just a short time ago. She has been taken to a local hospital with injuries.

Also today, onlookers applauded as rescuers dug a boy out of his destroyed home. Aid officials warn that hundreds, even thousands, more people may be buried in rubble, and they are enduring temperatures plunging to near- freezing at night. One survivor who was trapped for 33 hours says it was a living nightmare.

Even as the rescue effort continues, the death toll continues to climb. It is now at 461, and many survivors, now homeless, are trying to find shelter wherever they can.

Diana Magnay is in a badly damaged village in eastern Turkey. She joins us now live.

And Diana, describe the scene when the woman was pulled out of the rubble more than three days after the quake.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, that happened a little earlier today. We weren't actually on site, but I believe from the reports that we were hearing that she was a teacher pulled from the rubble in Ercis. And, of course, that was a huge relief. All watching in these moments when people are still pulled alive from the rubble give hope that over the next few days, stories like that can continue.

But I'll just tell you about the village where I am. It's the village of Guvecli (ph), one of the worst-affected villages in the region. And we'll just pan around and show you.

You know, 15 people lived in that home there, completely destroyed. They're all now having to live in this tent.

And if you pan around, you'll see the extent of the destruction. You know, a lot of these homes were built with brick, with mud brick, and they just literally collapsed.

Fifteen people died here. There are 200 homes, the vast majority of which are now uninhabitable.

So the alderman of the villages told us that his top priority is really to get more tents in. The tents are hugely overcrowded.

They say that aid is coming, but it's coming in dribs and drabs. And they feel that there should be more focus on delivering aid to the affected areas like themselves. But at the same time, you hear this very kind of accommodating sense from the people here.

They say, we know that this is a huge area that's being affected, and of course aid has to get to a lot of places. So we are waiting patiently. We understand that the government has a lot of work to do -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, there's aid needed for the survivors and also for the rescue workers. What kind of equipment are search crews using to locate more survivors in the rubble? Are they relying on technology, sniffer dogs? And do they need more aid, more assistance?

MAGNAY: Well, some of the search and rescue is very basic. It literally involves just keeping still, cutting off all generators, all heavy machinery, and listening to see if there are any noises, any knocks that are coming from within the rubble.

They use sniffer dogs. They also use sort of sound technology. They put things down inside the rubble with small cameras. That's how two of the people found overnight were discovered. So there's a variety of devices used.

But now the Turkish government has called for more help from the international community for the second phase of sort of dealing with this disaster. In terms of search of rescue, they have the facilities that they need, but they're now really looking for aid on the reconstruction front, to provide homes, tents, and then temporary housing for all the thousands of people left homeless. And remember, Kristie, 2,000 buildings were destroyed in this area from this earthquake.

So, many countries have already offered assistance -- Israel, France, Kazakhstan -- there are numerous countries; I could list them all -- who have already offered assistance to bring in sort of temporary units that people can sleep in, and really to look ahead to the way that people can get accommodations further down the line -- Kristie.

STOUT: Diana Magnay, joining us live from southeastern Turkey.

Thank you very much indeed for that update.

And now we want to update you on that incredible triple rescue that we brought to you live right here on CNN. Now, yesterday, a baby girl, her mother and the baby's grandmother were all dug out of the rubble in eastern Turkey. Born premature, the tiny 2-week-old Azra is recovering from her ordeal at a hospital.

You see here there in an incubator. And rescuers say getting to her was extremely difficult. And Azra's mother and grandmother, they were trapped, lying on top of each other.

Azra's mother managed to contact the rescuers, and the team's thinnest member inched through a narrow passageway to get to Azra.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I've been doing this job for 12 years, and it's the first time I've ever taken a living person out. The mother put her into my hands, and when we told her that the baby had been taken by the ambulance, she was even happier, and I was as happy as her.


STOUT: And Azra's mother and grandmother, they were then pulled out. But Azra's father is still missing.

Social media Web sites are helping people to track down their loved ones. And Google's Person Finder search database is now up and running in Turkey. And this is the Web page right here, and users can type in the name of the person they're looking for in Turkish or English. The application is now tracking more than 4,000 people in Turkey.

Google also used Person Finder following the disasters in Haiti, Japan, New Zealand and Chile.

International aid organizations are trying to help people in desperate need in eastern Turkey, and you can help as well. On our Impact Your World Web page, you'll find information on relief efforts and how you can make a contribution. That's all at

Now, leaders from all 27 EU member countries are meeting in Brussels today in a desperate attempt to solve the region's debt crisis and to protect the euro. The talks will focus on restructuring Greece's debt load, strengthening Europe's banks, and leveraging the eurozone's bailout fund. But what does all that really mean?

Let's start with Greece.

Now, Greece was the first eurozone country to need a bailout, and it is battling a massive budget deficit, with current debts of around 160 percent of GDP and growing. European banks outside of Greece hold a large portion of that debt, so a Greek default would have a negative ripple effect across much of Europe and the rest of the world.

So how can the EU protect its banks? Well, they can do that through recapitalization. That means forcing banks to increase the amount of money they have on hand.

It can be done by reducing how much they lend out or by raising more capital through share sales to investors. But analysts say that move is unlikely.

So, what happens if countries can't stave off crippling debt? Now, that is where this acronym kicks in, the European Financial Stability Facility, or EFSF, the 440 billion euro rescue fund. It was set up to provide loans to countries in need, but after pledging a large chunk to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, there might not be much left to save other debt-laden countries if they need help, like Italy and Spain.

Now, the two heavyweights in the eurozone crisis debates are France and Germany, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, needs crucial backing from lawmakers to beef up the European Union's bailout fund before that crunch summit later today.

Fred Pleitgen joins me now live from Berlin with the latest.

And Fred, Angela Merkel has taken the latest eurozone proposals to her parliament. How is that going?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, it seems to be going pretty well, Kristie.

The German Parliament is only a couple of minutes away from a crucial vote on the changes to the ESFS that they are going to put through. What we believe is that it seems as though Angela Merkel is going to get a very broad majority for the changes and the new leveraging mechanisms to the ESFS. However, a lot of those votes are going to be coming from opposition parties. In German Parliament, there are a lot of people in Angela Merkel's own governing coalition who are not very happy with these new leveraging instruments.

Angela Merkel held a fundamental speech at the beginning of this parliamentary session, and one of the things that she talked about is the belief that, with these new leveraging instruments, there could be higher risks to German taxpayer money. And she says she believes that that risk is certainly there, but that the risk is acceptable.

Now, one of the fundamental things that she also said -- and Angela Merkel is not someone who is normally known to talk fundamental politics and overarching views. But she did say that she believes that European Union is in a very difficult situation, and that now it is down to the fundamental values of the EU.

Let's listen in to one thing that she had to say.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We have a historical responsibility. The union of Europe's debt hour (ph) (INAUDIBLE) after hundreds of years made it possible (INAUDIBLE) all our possibilities and instruments to fight for the union. The consequences (INAUDIBLE) happen. We don't know.


PLEITGEN: And, of course, the operative thing that the lawmakers are trying to do today is they don't want to increase the actual money that is inside the ESFS, but they do want to increase firepower that it has and make it have up to about 1 trillion euros of firepower to be able to stave off any sort of issues with other European economies.

So, it is a tall task at hand. It is believed that Angela Merkel is going to have that vote go in her favor, and then, of course, she's off to that EU and eurozone summit which will take place later in Brussels. So, a very, very busy day for the German chancellor, as you said -- Kristie.

STOUT: Let's talk about Germany and France.

Now, these two countries, they're the heavyweights in this EU debt crisis debate. And how well are they working together as they attempt to reach some sort of resolution?

PLEITGEN: Yes. You know, a lot of people have called Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy the duo, the tandem of "Merkozy," but there certainly seems to be some cracks in that relationship, especially when it comes to financial politics.

One of the things that the French have always wanted is they wanted to get the ECB more involved in getting money to the ESFS, to be more involved in the sale-out. Angela Merkel says that she believes and the German politicians certainly believe that the ECB should, in fact, try to get out of doing that, and try to get out of buying bonds of countries that are in trouble.

One of the things that the Germans say is they feel that financial stability should be at the core of the European Union. That's also something that she said in her speech today, that the European Union must work harder towards becoming a financial stability union. That's certainly something which she was at times at odds with the French president.

Now, the other big thing is how big a hit banks are going to have to take in the bailout of Greece. Of course, this is about banks who have bought bonds from Greece, and some people are saying that they should take up to a 60 percent hit on the bonds that they have brought. Certainly, the French not very happy with that, because a lot of French banks do have a lot of those bonds. And so the French do fear that a lot of their banks could be in trouble. The Germans, however, say that the private financial sector has to take more responsibility.

So there's some places where they are at odds, but most people do believe that they will probably come to some sort of agreement today, which, of course, everybody says needs to be a very large and overarching one -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Fred Pleitgen, joining us live from Berlin.

Thank you very much for that.

And as leaders of the eurozone countries have their disputes over the crisis, so, too, do ordinary people. And we asked some French citizens how they feel about the bailouts.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm not at all pleased. I'm not going to tell you that I'm happy. These people have done whatever they want for years now. They haven't paid anything for years, and now we have to help them. I don't think that's right at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all in a bad situation. And I think Greece, yes, you're really in a bad way. And it's our duty to help them because it's the European Union. But I think the government and the people there have to make an effort.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When I see what's happening in Greece, in Spain, in Portugal, and in Ireland, it scares me. It really scares me, and I don't think it's right. It's not right, because once again, it's the big governments that decide things for everyone, for the people, and it's always the people that pay.


STOUT: Find out more about what France wants from the summit next hour with live reports from Paris and Brussels on "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY."

And now from big financial figures to another big number, a very big one, 7 billion -- or, more accurately, 6.9 billion and change. Now, that is the population of the planet right now, and by the end of the month it will reach 7 billion.

And CNN is counting down to that milestone, and we'll have some surprising facts from a new U.N. report on the state of the world population a little later right here on the show.

Now, ahead on NEWS STREAM, relentless tide. More floodwaters shove into Bangkok, and now the city's airport is shut down. What does this mean for evacuation efforts?

Celebrations in Tunisia over a historic vote. But will a new coalition government be able to unite the country?

And all aboard the Dreamliner. Our own Andrew Stevens was lucky enough to get a seat on its first commercial flight, and he'll be here to tell us all about it.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, months of flooding throughout Southeast Asia have taken the lives of nearly 800 people. That is according to the United Nations, which does not count hard-to-verify reports of additional deaths from severe weather in Myanmar.

Now, this year's heavy monsoon rains have affected millions of people in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, and in Thailand. You're looking at some of the latest video as floodwaters push further into Bangkok.

At this hour, the city's domestic airport remains closed, evacuations are ongoing.

Now, this natural disaster is quickly sending the Thai government into crisis mode. And Sukhumbhand Paribatra is the governor of Bangkok. He joins me now on the line from the Thai capital.

And sir, please give us a status update. How many districts in Bangkok are seeing the floodwater move in?

SUKHUMBHAND PARIBATRA, BANGKOK GOVERNOR: Actually, there are only three or four that are affected by flooding at the moment, serious flooding. But tonight, we are bracing ourselves for the worst.

The level of water in the river has been a record high for the last couple of days, and apparently there will be huge volumes of runoffs coming towards the city from tonight onward. And over the weekend, the point of highest tide will be very, very high, the highest this year. So we are bracing ourselves for the worst.

STOUT: OK. You're saying at this moment, only three to four districts in Bangkok are experiencing flooding, but you are bracing for the worst tonight.

So can you tell us how many districts in Bangkok will be flooded by midnight tonight?

PARIBATRA: I cannot say. I have given serious flood warnings to only nine districts out of 50. As things (INAUDIBLE), we'll assess the situation as it evolves tonight.

But I don't want the whole city to be panic-stricken. The flooding, when it comes -- the runoff, when it comes -- it will not be like in the provinces. We will have a warning period. And indeed, two days ago I had already warned these nine districts to be on alert.

So, in Bangkok, we do have a little bit of margin of safety in terms of time. But that doesn't mean I will rest easy. I will be on constant vigilance the whole night.

STOUT: Of course. Your prime minister says all parts of Bangkok are now vulnerable to flooding. So what is your crisis response right now? Are evacuations under way?

PARIBATRA: No. For one thing, you cannot evacuate the whole city. For another thing, the Thai people don't like to leave their domiciles.

So it's not a question of city-wide evacuation, but I have already prepared for the worst. For months, I have asked all the 50 districts to make preparations for everything including evacuation.

We have 85 evacuation centers right now, and only about 50 of them are being used, and not fully used either. So we are fully prepared.

The whole of the city, all the 50 districts, are prepared, but I don't think that the flooding will affect all the 50 districts within the next few days. Maybe next week, yes, but not today, tomorrow, or the next day.

STOUT: Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the governor of Bangkok.

Thank you very much for joining us on the line there.

Now, authorities in Singapore have arrested four citizens involved in an alleged international smuggling ring, and they are accused of circumventing U.S. export controls to get American electronics into Iran and Iraq. Those parts are radio frequency modules. They're often used to make remote wireless connections between computers and printers, but in this case, authorities are saying that they were used in remote detonation systems for roadside bombs, just like this one in Iraq.

Looking at the global trail of the case, it all starts in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and continues on to Singapore, which was said to be a transit point for those radio parts, and then finishes in Iran and Iraq.

And in the next hour, WORLD BUSINESS TODAY'S Ramy Inocencio, he will detail this path of alleged fraud and the slew of charges now facing the men involved.

Final results from Tunisia's elections have not been officially declared, but the An-Nahda Party is already celebrating. We'll have a look at that ahead on NEWS STREAM.


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

The final resting place of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is said to be a remote location in the desert. He was buried after being captured and killed outside his hometown of Sirte last week.

A Dubai-based TV station has aired what it says is exclusive video showing the ceremony before the burial. And the shaky images show people praying and someone reaching down into what appears to be a casket. The National Transitional Council says Gadhafi's son and former defense minister were also buried with him.

The United Nations and Libya's government are calling for an investigation into Gadhafi's death.

Now, Tunisia's moderate Islamist party is promising to form a new coalition government in one month. With final results still coming in, it is claiming a commanding lead in Sunday's historic election. But as Ivan Watson reports from Tunis, some Tunisians are weary of what the future could bring.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tunisia was the first Arab country this year to overthrow its long-ruling dictator. And on Sunday, Tunisians became the first people of the Arab Spring to hold an election -- a real election.

ALI BERGAOUI, VOTER: We waited, as I said, 50 years for that moment. So we are very proud to be Tunisian. I hope we will be an example for the whole world.

WATSON: International observers are already giving Tunisia's election high marks.

AMB. RICHARD WILLIAMSON, INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INST.: An Arab country can administer an election that's well run, that gives people an opportunity to choose their own destiny, that an Arab country can create a new reality for their people and give an example for others.

WATSON: The counting is still under way, and it's a complicated process. Preliminary results indicate An-Nahda, a moderate Islamist party led by this man, Rashid Ghanouchi, won the largest number of seats.

In a country crippled by double-digit unemployment, An-Nahda's highest call for social equality captured the imagination of many Tunisians frustrated after years of corrupt, authoritarian government. But news of An-Nahda's apparent victory isn't being welcomed in some upper-class neighborhoods. Many people here fear the rise of a religious party in this once fiercely secular republic.

ZOHRA MARZOUK, TUNISIAN RESIDENT: I'm scared about losing some freedom, some rights. So, especially women are scared.

WATSON: Nonsense, says the daughter of An-Nahda's leader.

SOUMAYA GHANOUCHI, TUNISIAN ACADEMIC: And I personally don't see any contradiction between Islam and between women's rights, women's rights through full political participation, and equal rights, equality for equality.

WATSON: At An-Nahda headquarters, party supporters were already starting victory celebrations Tuesday night. An-Nahda may have won first place, but it didn't capture enough of the vote for an outright majority in the future assembly. Its leaders say they will reach out to secular political parties to form a broad-based, moderate coalition that would represent all Tunisians.

(on camera): Tunisia passed a remarkable test. It's the first country of the Arab Spring to successfully hold free and fair elections. And now the victorious An-Nahda party will face the ultimate test, going from decades of opposition, persecution, and exile to now actually having to govern the country.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Tunis.


STOUT: And ahead on NEWS STREAM, the world is getting crowded. A lot more crowded. We will explain what this means for you.

And one way to escape the crowd, or not. A seat on board Boeing's brand new Dreamliner. Andrew Stevens tried it out, and he'll join me to tell us all about it.


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

In eastern Turkey it is now three days since Sunday's powerful earthquake. Now rescue teams are still finding survivors buried deep in the debris. Now earlier on Wednesday they pulled a young woman to safety. And searchers are racing time and a rising death toll. It is now at 461. And it's feared thousands of people are still trapped in the rubble.

Now leaders from the European Union are gathering for an emergency summit in Brussels. And they're trying to come up with a plan to contain the European debt crisis. The meeting comes after months of debate.

And Syrian state TV is broadcasting pictures from Damascus showing a large demonstration in support of President Bashar al Assad. The rally is in a square in the capital. It also reports of a pro-Assad rally in the northeastern city of Hassake.

And tear gas has been used against protesters in Oakland, Califorina as police move to disband an Occupy Oakland protest in the city center. Now officers say they deployed the gas after repeated requests for the 500 demonstrators to leave the downtown area went unheeded. Now the protests are part of the Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed and economic inequality.

Now you are looking at the current total of the world's population. And right now the U.S. Census Bureau puts it at roughly at 6.97 billion people, but a new UN population report says that will likely hit 7 billion within the next five days. And Jim Clancy takes a look at the ramifications.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: October 31, 2011, that's the date the UN says the 7 billionth person will be born on Earth. 7 billion, that's a crowded planet says Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and author of the "Price of Civilization."

JEFFREY SACHS, EARTH INSTITUTE: It took only 12 years to go from 6 billion to 7 billion. And it's expected to take maybe another 14 years to go to 8 billion. So the trajectory is still rising quickly.

CLANCY: Sachs says all those people mean more demands for food, more stresses on the land, and more loss of water. But that's not the biggest problem.

SACHS: The big problem is that in the poorest countries, families are still having six, seven, or eight children, that's what's putting this tremendous growth in population continuing, because in the high income countries fertility rates have come down to 2 children on average or even less.

CLANCY: This map shows you birthrates across the world. Multiple births above five are centered in Africa. Most lower birthrates are in developed countries. Dr. Sachs says rapid population growth in poor countries often creates conflict and political stress at borders. And on top of that, cultural values and available health care in developing countries creates a barrier to proper birth control.

Dr. Sachs also wrote an in-depth article on the 7 billion mark and what it could mean for the planet itself. You can find it at

Jim Clancy, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: And details of the UN population report have just been released. And we want to share some of the key points with you, and the global trends that are leading us to that 7 billion mark.

Now for starters, people are living longer. Now rapid global population growth began in 1950. At that time, the average lifespan was 48 years, now it's 68.

But the number of youth, that is not to be overlooked either. The UN says 43 percent of the world's population is under 25 years old.

And on average, women are having fewer children now than 50 years ago, especially in more developed countries. Now high fertility rates in poor countries, that continues to fuel the population surge.

Now the report also says that, well in general terms, the record growth is a testament to better living conditions, economic opportunities, and education, but that great disparities still exist between and within countries.

Now according to the Global Footprint Network, if everyone lived a lifestyle of the average America we would need five planets.

Now let's return to the map we saw in Jim Clancy's report now in just a little bit more detail. And almost all the population growth is happening in developing countries. As you can see on this map, industrialized countries tend to have low birthrates. Bosnia is the lowest at 1.1. Meanwhile, countries in Africa, they have the highest birthrates. The average woman in Niger has seven children. It's the highest of any country.

Now in Nigeria, the UN puts the fertility rate at 5.2 children for each woman of child bearing age, though it is not uncommon to come across families with 9, 10, even 14 children.

Now Christian Purefoy has a story of a midwife who is delivering civic education.


CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Giselle Hakonzu (ph) is a midwife in Nigeria's Makoko (ph) slum, a shantytown on the edge of Lagos where Giselle (ph) is trying to help manage a population explosion.

"There are 14 children in that home," Giselle (ph) says. "And eight children in this home. I helped deliver three of them."

Last night in her clinic, Giselle (ph) delivered another three babies.

Nigeria's population of 150 million is expected to more than double in the next 40 years according to a United Nations agency. And the reason, says Giselle (ph), is cultural pressure. In Nigerian society, a big family is seen as a sign of prosperity and success.

"If you give birth to one or two children," she says, "people will laugh at you. It's not our culture."

But sometimes a big family is more of a burden. Elizabeth Zanu (ph) gave birth last night to a boy. It's her fifth child. The problem is that she and her husband cannot support so many children.

"Our income is not enough," Elizabeth says. "We need someone to assist us."

Family planning is not really a concept in Nigeria. Only 10 percent of Giselle's (ph) clients use birth control. So she is trying to increase awareness through education.

"And as time goes on, people are listening," Giselle says. "I will not get tired. And will continue to enlighten them."

Hoping to give these families, and Nigeria, room to grow.

Christian Purefoy, CNN, Lagos, Nigeria.


STOUT: Now the world's population has grown at a steady rate over the years. In 1800, there were 1 billion people on Earth. By 1960, there were 3 billion. By 1987, the global population reached 5 billion. And by the end of this month, we will have 7 billion people on the planet.

Now the UN says that by the year 2050 there will be 9.3 billion people. And by year 2100 more than 10 billion.

I think we can agree that 7 billion, that's a big number. So we called on our ireporters to help us visualize just how big. Now check this out. This is an ireport from the Philippines. Veronica Mandoza of San Juan City, she decided to start with a grain of rice. And that grain of rice helps make a cup of rice, and five cups make 1 kilogram of rice. And to get to 7 billion grains of rice, you would need almost 200,000 kilograms of rice.

And in Santiago, another ireporter sent this one in. His name is Bernarda Schrumer (ph). And he decided to take a walk to help visualize 7 billion. And he figured out that taking 7 billion steps would take him around the planet 133 times and that he would not return home for 152 years.

Want to help us visualize 7 billion, or to check out the other ireports that's been sent in to us just click on to

Now coming up next here on News Stream, we have a review of the Boeing Dreamliner's very first commercial flight from someone who was on board. Stay with us.


STOUT: After flying into history on its first commercial flight, Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner. It landed in Hong Kong from Tokyo just a few hours ago and three years late and billions of dollars over budget. The Dreamliner is the first mid-sized plane able to fly long haul.

Now Boeing already has more than 800 orders for the aircraft. And our Andrew Stevens who was on the Dreamliner flight who took you to Hong Kong. He joins me now.

Andrew, you just touched down a couple hours ago.


STOUT: What was it like?

STEVENS: It was impressive. It really was impressive. I'm a bit of a plane spotter, a bit sad I know, but -- so I'm looking to be impressed. But even so, Kristie, it was. There were some really good innovations going on, on that plane. I wouldn't say it's completely different, but things like you walk in, the ceiling looks a bit higher. It's got really good lightning. They spent a lot of time, Boeing, working on the lighting.

They've done a lot on climate control.

Now personally I didn't -- I didn't sort of feel this, but what Boeing says that because this plane is made about 50 percent from basically high tech plastic, they can raise the humidity, because plastic doesn't rust, which is a good thing. So they can raise the humidity, which means you don't have to sort of get so dehydrated et cetera, et cetera. They can also raise the cabin pressure. So the actual trip itself, you come off the other end feeling a little bit more refreshed than normal. So that was good.

Personally, like I said, I couldn't really sort -- didn't see that.

But I just want to show you a couple of innovations that I found, which I think is actually excellent. Let's just take a look at this book. We took these pictures on the plane. Yes, there you go, standard airline window, except it's not a standard airline window, this is actually a third bigger than a normal airliner.

Now flick across to the next one. This is the same window about 15 seconds later. It's got a tinting program. So you can't -- you don't pull the slide down anymore. You press a button and a tint blocks all the sunlight out, say you're watching movies and whatever, but you can see out. It's really clever. And it's actually much higher so you can see around you much more. It's a much better vision, which -- someone like me who actually likes looking out the window, it's fantastic. So I get the best of both worlds on that.

And also, like I said about the lightning. Take a look at the lighting here. This is what they can actually do. And this is what they did, funny enough. This is the rainbow effect, but when you get on it, it's sort of sky blue, and then they say when you're eating they turn it into a sort of candlelight color, which is all supposed to help put you in the meet et cetera, et cetera. So they sort of thought a lot of these things through.

So as you can see, certainly some improvements there. Not your average sort of flight.

STOUT: There were other passengers on board. Did you talk to them? What was the general reaction?

STEVENS: Yeah, well, the general -- if I'm a plane spotter, these guys are in a whole different league, a lot of them. But generally really, really positive. I mean, they like the whole sort of -- they like the layout. The seats are pretty much the same, I'd have to say. But they like the fact that it feels more spacious, and the humidity and the climate feels different.

We asked a lot of people, here's what a couple people told us. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has to be the lighting and the windows. It's the new innovation. And then now taking off, I feel a difference with the fresh air. I really can feel the difference in the pressurization. I think I'm feeling a little different than typical. We flew over on a triple 7 and my ears were feeling it, but now I'm not feeling it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wide window. And engine -- quiet engine sounds. And the (inaudible).


STOUT: Now I also heard that it was a smoother ride. Is that right?

STEVENS: Yeah, absolutely a smoother ride. And again they've got this technology which they say sort of senses turbulence and the wings can actually alter to -- so you cruise across it as calmly as you possibly can.

But one guy -- I just have to mention this, he said after his wedding and the birth of his two sons, this was the most important day of his life.

STOUT: Oh dear...

STEVENS: Oh well, you know, but he's genuinely loved the whole experience. And a lot of people on that plane did.

STOUT: OK. Well, thanks for sharing the story with us. Andrew Stevens, thank you very much indeed.

All right. Now, let's shift now. We're going to talk about weather. It is storm season in the Caribbean. Mexico's tourist hotspot at Cancun is set for a pummeling from Hurricane Rina. And Mari Ramos, of course she's keeping an eye on it all. She joins us from the world weather center with more -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. Yeah, this is a big storm, you know. It's borderline category 3, that means it's about to become a major hurricane. And that could happen before it actually makes landfall.

Now what impact is it going to have over this Yucatan peninsula area? There's a lot of people who live there. There's a lot of vulnerable structures. And of course you have the resort area, some of the most popular in the Caribbean that are in this area. It's going to depend on how quickly this storm actually begins to make a turn to the north. If it takes a little longer than we can have a direct impact over the Yucatan peninsula. If it happens quicker than it might miss them, but move right over the Caiman Islands.

So this is what the storm looks like on satellite. Right now, most of the activity remains offshore, but there are rough seas. And those tropical storm winds will begin to approach the coastal areas probably of Belize or the Yucatan Peninsula, those eastern shores, as early as today.

After that, what we're expecting is going to be hurricane force winds depending on which way the storm actually goes. And then also some very heavy rain, up to 7 centimeters of rain are possible into some of these areas that could cause some flooding. Mudslides really not a problem, because we're not talking about mountainous terrain here. But flooding will be a concern.

And then we have the potential for the storm surge, which in some cases -- or in this case near where the eye actually makes landfall, Kristie, could be as much as two or three meters high. And this is a very low lying coastline so that water would have a lot of ground that it could actually cover. So that's very significant as well and one of the most dangerous that happen when you have a strong hurricane like this. So two to three meters, yeah, so it's very significant.

And then after it passes through this area, it could have an impact as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico, maybe this eastern side of Cuba. Too early to tell if it would affect Florida. We'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next 24 hours.

This is what it looks like as far as the rainfall. There's the heaviest rain. Again it's expected on that northeast corner of the peninsula area.

Let's go ahead and move on. I want to talk to you a little bit about the situation in Thailand, another one our top stories. Of course, you were talking to the governor of Bangkok early, Kristie. He's saying, well, he doesn't expect the city to flood, or all of the city to flood tonight, but maybe by next week, right. That's because this takes a long, long time for all of that water to drain. And then you have the obstacles.

Right now, one of the obstacles is going to be not only that the rivers are still full, but the high tide. Two weeks ago, it was because of the full moon, this week is going to be because of the -- the new moon. So that causes the river to actually back up and the water to drain slower, which makes the river level go actually higher.

Already, we've had record high levels along the Chapaya River. We're going to see what happens overnight tonight and into the next couple of days.

Kristie, back to you.

STOUT: Yeah. And another issue is the water can linger as well. That's what we see in the provinces there in Thailand. A lot to look out for. Mari Ramos, thank you as always.

Now still ahead here on News Stream, we have all the latest sports news and tourism's final frontier, plans for a space hotel. Stay with us.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now one of the top strikers in the world of football has been hit with a record fine. Pedro Pinto joins us with more from London -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, that's right. Carlos Tevez has been fined around $1.6 million, which is a month's wages believe it or not, by Manchester City for a breach of contract. Following a lengthy investigation into the Argentine international's alleged refusal to play in a Champion's League match against Bayern Munich last month the club released a statement saying they have found him guilty of misconduct.

Now this fine represents four weeks wages. Manchester City said Tevez had breached five clauses in his contract, including an obligation to participate in matches. Whether he'll play again for City remains to be seen.

Tevez has 14 days to decide whether to launch an appeal with the club's board of directors. According to several media reports here in the United Kingdom, he's also considering suing manager Roberto Mancini for defamation of character.

Controversy is also brewing at Chelsea. The Blues have been hit with charges from the English Football Association over their conduct during and after Sunday's west London derby with Queen's Park Rangers, which saw them reduced to 9 men. Manager Andres Villas-Boas has been asked to explain his post-match tirade against referee Chris Foy (ph) and his assistance.

Meanwhile, Chelsea captain John Terry is to face an investigation over claims he racially abused Anton Ferdinand. Video footage appeared to show Terry shouting a racist slur apparently towards the QPR defender who was the younger brother of Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand.

Terry has strongly denied the accusations saying it was a misunderstanding. The central defender has also been defended by his manager.

Manchester United have bounced back from their humiliating 6-1 defeat to City over the weekend. They comfortably beat Aldershot in the fourth round of the League Cup. As expected, Ferguson, the ManU manager made many changes to the side that crashed to City, and some delightful build-up led to rarely used Dimitar Berbatov firing the Red Devils ahead.

Four minutes before the break, Berbatov turned provider. The Bulgarian crossing from the right to allow Michael Owen to double the lead, his 12th goal in his last 12 league cup matches.

The goal of the game came after the break and from the foot of Antonio Valencia. How about that for a strike? No chance for the Aldershot keeper.

United with a morale boosting 3-0 win.

Next stop, New Zealand where the All Blacks are still celebrating their ruby world cup title. After partying with 200,000 people in Auckland on Monday, the team showed off the trophy to a further 100,000 in Wellington. Captain Richie McCaw called Wednesday's parade in the nation's capital, quote, "pretty awesome," end quote. It was New Zealand's first world cup title since 1987.

That's all the sports for now. More to come on World Sport in about two- and-a-half hour's time. Back to you, Kristie.

STOUT: Pedro, thank you.

Now the inquest into Amy Winehouse's death it reveals that the singer died as a result of -- this is a very legal term here -- misadventure. Now during the inquest, a pathologist said Winehouse died of alcohol toxicity. And her blood alcohol levels were over five times the legal limit to drive.

Now this is called the Dragon Capsule. It is designed by SpaceX to fly cargo first and eventually crew to the International Space Station. And Dragon's next liftoff could be as early as December 19. But the final launch date will be set by NASA, which is sponsoring the flight.

Now the Dragon, it will carry food, water, and other station supplies. And with the retirement of the space shuttle, NASA depends on partners to deliver cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station. So many will be looking out to see how the Dragon docks in orbit.

And we are also entering a new age of space tourism. Now there are plans for a space hotel to open by 2016. So would you go?

Now one of the world's first space tourists, Richard Garriott, went to the International Space Station three years ago. And he explains why.


RICHARD GARRIOTT, SPACE TOURIST: Space really is the final frontier. I mean, for the entire existence of humanity, you know we've been largely locked here on our planet. And only, you know, our lifetimes have humans finally left the surface of the planet.

You know, I'm still -- even though we've had 50 years of space travel, I'm still the 483rd human being to ever leave the Earth. That's a very small number of people. And what this new age promises us is that this new commercial -- new privatization age not only is the cost coming way down, which means that lots of not only good science, but lots of commercial activity, whether it's space hotels, whether it's mining asteroids, whether it's starting to, you know, explore deeper into space, all those things are now finally coming true.

I finally flew in October 2008, of course for me it was a pinnacle life experience. Launch, as opposed to being a violent, loud and scary event, which you might imagine from television or (inaudible) on the inside it's actually very smooth and quiet and surreal. I've described it like a ballet move lifting you ever faster into the sky.

Living in a space hotel, you know, includes two pinnacle experiences. One, you know launching, second one reentering at the end of your visit. And that's notwithstanding the 24 hours a day you'll spend floating around in space, which on its own is a pretty glorious experience. But also with the amazing view of looking back down on the Earth, which you know, is not only truly spectacular, but a deeply moving and life changing event. It (inaudible) something I'm very confident everyone would you know love to do.


STOUT: And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.