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NEWS STREAM

Belgium Attack Kills 6, Injures Over 100; Kabul Blast Survivors; Islamist Parties Win Most Votes in First Stage of Egypt Elections; Interview with Chris Ayres; Twitter Hits New Record For Tweets Per Second; iPad Cleared For Takeoff

Aired December 14, 2011 - 00:08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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 Belgium. The country is still trying to understand why one man went on a rampage that killed four and injured over 100.

Also, we will hear the incredible story of one young girl in Afghanistan who survived a deadly blast.

And as the war in Iraq winds down, we'll get a unique view of war reporting from a self-confessed coward.

And we begin in Belgium, where the city of Liege is recovering from an attack that killed six people and injured at least 120. In the latest development, police say that they have found a woman's body in the home of the gunman who went on a deadly shooting spree in a public square. And police believe the dead woman was the attacker's cleaner and that he killed her before going on the rampage.

The attacker has been identified as 33-year-old Nordine Amrani. He opened fire on shoppers from the rooftop of a city building, and police say he then turned the gun on himself. And one of his victims was a baby who died later in a hospital.

Want to show you were all this unfolded. Liege is the third largest city in Belgium after Brussels and Antwerp. It's located about 100 kilometers east of the capital, and here is where the violence happened. It's called Place Saint Lambert. It's a busy square in the center of Liege that was hosting a Christmas market filled with shoppers.

And earlier, prosecutors spoke at a news conference there in Liege, and CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson was there. He joins us now live.

And Nic, what did the prosecutors say about this horrific act of violence?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps the biggest headline from the prosecutor was that the police really don't understand what turned him from a hardened criminal who spent time in jail for arms racketeering, for growing and selling large amounts of cannabis, and also being suspected on sexual crimes, what turned him from that type of criminal into a killer, a killer who had no compunction about mowing down with automatic weapons women, children, anyone who was in front of him, throwing grenades at them. They don't understand that.

But what the prosecutor said is they've been learning a number of things. They say 124 people treated in hospital. Many of those were serious injuries, but also many of them, she said, who have got psychological trauma and who need help with psychological trauma. But overnight, she said the police made another gruesome discovery, a body of a woman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELLE REYNDERS, LIEGE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR (through translator): Our first search took place yesterday on Rue de Pampine (ph). At this address, a pistol was discovered, as well as spare parts that could come from weapons.

A second search took place on Rue Bonne Nevel (ph), where, in 2008, the plants were discovered. In this hangar, the investigators found the body of a woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Now, the plants that they're talking about is the cannabis plants. And the body of the woman, police are saying, was a cleaner. And they're not saying how she was connected to Nordine Amrani.

If you look down behind me there, you can see some of the tributes that are beginning to be laid for all those victims. The large teddy bear there really an indication for the sympathy of the families whose children were injured and, of course, that young baby, less than 2 years old, who was caught up in Amrani's shootings before he turned the gun on himself.

The question many people here are asking though is, why did he do this? Why did he become a killer? One lady, however, told us, really, what's more important to her at the moment is feelings and support and sympathy for all those victims, the families whose loved ones who are still in hospital at this time -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nic, the attacker, he left no note, no explanation. Will we ever know his motive?

ROBERTSON: I think perhaps the police are really just beginning to dig into that. And very likely, they will learn some things.

There's a lot of speculation already. This man had served over 40 months in jail. There are reports in the local press that perhaps he didn't want to go back to jail, that he had been told to report to the police station here.

We understand from a source that he was reporting to answer questions about sexual harassment, about possible rapes, and very serious questions leveling sexual allegations against him. The indications were he perhaps could have been due to go back to jail, or could have been charged to end up back in jail. The police said he had come back to their attention since he had been out of prison for the last year.

There's speculation that perhaps he just didn't want to go back to jail. But even that doesn't explain why he would kill his cleaner and then why he would come and kill everyone here.

One lady we talked to here who was a witness, who was just feet away when the attack happened, told me for her today -- and she was still shaking with fear and concern when I talked to her -- she said, for her, Liege is such a quiet place, this was, for her, like 9/11, that it was horrific, that it was unexpected. She's still traumatized. For her, very difficult to come to terms with, as with so many other people here -- Kristie.

STOUT: An entire community there in shock.

Nic Robertson, joining us live from Liege.

Thank you.

Now, it has been just over a week since a suicide bomber approached a Shiite Muslim shrine in the Afghan capital, where families were gathering to worship. And among the crowd, two young sisters who were streaming in with their family. And Nick Paton Walsh picks up the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shia Muslims at worship, it was the worst blast to hit Kabul in a decade of war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus.

WALSH: Little summarize the sheer, indiscriminate terror more powerfully than this picture. Tarana, age 12, surrounded by the dead and wounded outside the shrine doors. She survived, but seven relatives, including her brother, did not. She remembers that moment.

TARANA, BLAST SURVIVOR (through translator): A man came to hold me and take me away, but I refused, because I wanted to take my brother out of the wreckage. Then my father found me. I was almost unconscious. Since then, I can't sleep.

WALSH: Next to her, wounded sister Sunita. She kisses here brother's image. Sunita is still too weak to learn of her brother's death, and Tarana keeps up the pretense he's still alive.

TARANA (through translator): Yes, I miss him. He is at home.

WALSH: Sunita has got shrapnel and a fracture in her leg. In pain, she still remembers how the young farmer dressed like he worked at the shrine, argued with the gatekeeper, and then blew himself up.

SUNITA, WOUNDED BY BLAST (through translator): When I opened my eyes, I saw my brother below me and my grandmother on top of me with shrapnel in her heart.

WALSH: The war swirling around them, Tarana's wounds are fading. Her memory is not.

TARANA (through translator): I saw half the bomber's body. Everyone was killed and injured, but I was standing.

WALSH: Her father is clear about who militants most Afghans blame for this. "Pakistan took responsibility," he says, "and it was the work of Pakistan."

(on camera): Well, only a few pockmarks in the walls act as a reminder of a blast that's now claimed a total of 80 lives. An extremist group out of Pakistan called the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Afghanistan have claimed responsibility, although many doubt they're capable of such a precise and bloody attack in a foreign country. Still, (INAUDIBLE) Pakistan is rising, as are fears of further sectarian violence.

(voice-over): The shock remains. The fear, that this is something new, something more terrible than a decade of war has yet brought upon an exhausted people.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kabul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And coming up right here on NEWS STREAM, Egyptians pour into polling stations today for the first fully free elections in years. And we'll look at what the country's political future may hold.

And we will hear from the Syrian state TV cameraman who has risked his life to speak about what he says are lies he was made to film.

And as U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq, the threat of war remains very much alive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, about 18 million Egyptians are now getting their chance to vote in the country's first election since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and one of the places now going to the polls is Mubarak's hometown. Islamist parties captured the most parliamentary seats in the first round, and those groups were banned under the former president. They're expected to build on their gains, and many traditionally conservative regions are included in this stage of voting.

Let's take you live to a polling station. Journalist Ian Lee joins us from the Giza district of Cairo.

And Ian, what kind of a turnout are you seeing today?

IAN LEE, JOURNALIST: Well, Kristie, the turnout today is not as strong as we saw the first round, but this is over the course of two days. So we're waiting to see what will happen later today and tomorrow.

I talked to a judge earlier who said that he's expecting to get 60 percent turnout today. So that's a pretty high number, but so far we're seeing smaller lines than we saw the first round, but still a pretty strong turnout.

STOUT: And what is the mood at the polling stations? Are voters there optimistic for change in Egypt

LEE: Well, there's really two moods we're seeing.

The first one, we are seeing really excitement. People are enthusiastic about voting. They think -- they're optimistic about the future.

But then we talked to a man who said that the country is going to the dogs. He said that Egypt is looking like it might become another Pakistan as these Islamic groups gain ground. So there's definitely two sides. We have those who are excited about voting for the first time, and about having their voice heard, but then others who are saying that they are afraid of what could happen when these Islamist parties come to power.

STOUT: And what happens next, after today? This is a three-stage election process, right?

LEE: That's correct. So, right now, we're in the second stage, and that includes Giza and other small villages outside of Cairo, around Egypt. So we have roughly 18 million people who are eligible to vote today. And so then we have a third round and the final round, and that will encompass all three, all of Egypt, and will have been -- that will finish the parliamentary elections here. But so far, it's shaping up to look like a very large victory for the Islamic parties.

STOUT: All right.

Ian Lee, live in Giza for us.

Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, with security forces in Syria cracking down on protesters, a YouTube video purports to show two Syrian sergeants defecting. Details with our latest news from Syria, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now, Syrian activists say at least six civilians have been killed by security forces. And most of Wednesday's deaths were in Hama. And we're hearing that Syrian army defectors have attacked another convoy of government forces in retaliation. And the U.S. has warned protesters to remain peaceful and resist armed conflict.

Journalists have not been granted free access to Syria. Ivan Watson is watching developments from neighboring Turkey, and he joins us now.

And Ivan, what more have you heard about this latest attack by Syrian army defectors?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, you know, this week was supposed to be the first round of provincial elections which the Syrian regime has proposed as a measure of reform to try to help stem some of this unprecedented opposition movement in Syria. And instead, we're seeing -- of course from the outside -- images of cities that look very much like war zones.

Let's take a look at some video that has emerged from opposition groups from the city of Homs, where you see an empty street. You see this man sweeping up the street and then stepping back in and picking up a rocket- propelled grenade launcher, and very calmly aiming at a Syrian armored personnel carrier very close by.

This is an incredible change from an opposition movement that began last March with protesters chanting peaceful and carrying olive branches to what is increasingly looking like an armed confrontation between rebel fighters and Syrian security forces. And if we move up to the northwestern border province of Idlib, that's an area where we've seen a lot of clashes between Syrian army defectors.

We've seen videos of dozens, scores of men in uniform chanting against Bashar al-Assad, brandishing their weapons, and then, in subsequent days, severe clashes in Idlib province, in this border area, with the Syrian government accusing what it calls armed terrorists of crossing back and forth across the nearby Turkish border. Those are claims that the Turkish government are denying.

Meanwhile, it is very clear that there is an armed opposition element up there in that area clashing with the Syrian military. According to the local coordination committees, one of the opposition groups, at least 13 people have been killed across Syria today in the very many hotspots around the country. And again, according to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, more than 5,000 people have been killed, Kristie, since this protest movement first began last March.

STOUT: The crackdown goes on. The death toll climbs.

More about these Syrian army defectors. How big a threat are they to Damascus? Judging from those YouTube videos, they seem to be well-armed, but are they well-coordinated, and are they growing in number?

WATSON: Very hard for us to tell from the outside. And one of the opposition armed groups which its leadership is in residence here in Turkey, in exile, the Free Syrian Army, it has claimed to have tens of thousands of members. And those do seem to be exaggerated, because at the same time, that group has been calling on the international community to establish some kind of no-fly zone and a buffer zone that defectors could flee to, to escape the Syrian security forces.

There's no question that the Syrian military and the Syrian security forces have more weapons, more tanks, more aircraft, helicopters. But it is also apparent that there is a growing number of Syrian rebels who are acquiring weapons and who are not afraid to use them in retaliation against the Syrian security forces. And that is also creating splits within the Syrian opposition movement itself, with some activists still insisting that this should be an unarmed opposition movement so that it can maintain the moral higher ground. And other members saying, no way, too many of our brothers and children have been killed, and the only option we have right now is to fight back against the Syrian government.

The Syrian regime, of course, has insisted from the very beginning that the opposition movement consists of armed terrorist groups, some of them linked with al Qaeda.

STOUT: A very critical moment this week in the Syrian uprising.

Ivan Watson, joining us live, on the story for us.

Thank you, Ivan.

Now, the Syrian government insists it is not targeting civilians, blames the violence on "armed terrorist gangs." And Rima Maktabi, she speaks to a man who says his job forced him to promote that point of view and ignore what was really happening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "My name is Younis Alyousif," he says. As a former photographer for the television channel that supports the Assad regime, he knows exactly what it will mean to go public and tell his story.

Alyousif says his job was manufacturing truths. Now he says he has to tell the truth even if it means he risks his life.

YOUNIS ALYOUSIF, FMR. CAMERAMAN FOR SYRIAN AL DUNYA TV (through translator): I've been threatened, but God is the protector.

MAKTABI: Alyousif managed to escape Syria with his family, joining other Syrian opposition members in Cairo. In addition to his family, he also brought his stories, stories he says of deception and lies.

Among the worst lies he fabricated, he says, are the ones he filmed in this town, Jisr al-Shaghur. It's the town near the Turkish border where the Syrian army crushed dissent back in June. He says he was sent to the town's sugar factory to prove that allegations of atrocities by the military were false.

ALYOUSIF (through translator): There was news that there were rapes and that the officers were forcing the women to be naked. The next day we went there to deny the news.

We would bring the women to one side and shoot the other empty side. We shot all the sugar factory as if there was nothing happening there. The other side of the factory was full of men. Some men were covered with blood, and there were doctors treating their feet after beatings and torture.

As I was leaving the factory, a soldier asked me, "Why didn't you film yesterday, when women were naked and you could hear the women being raped?" He told me, "Why didn't you film them when they threw the empty bodies in a grinder, the one that grinds beet roots? Then bodies were thrown in the Asi (ph) River."

I was scared to question them. The next day I went back and asked about the soldier. I was told he fled, he defected. It was then that I knew there was something.

MAKTABI: The Syrian government has refused CNN's requests to report on the unrest, so it is not possible to independently verify Alyousif's claims. He did produce documents showing he worked for Al Dunya TV as a cameraman.

For the last nine months, the world has watched at least two versions of the news from Syria. Social media videos shot mostly by activists show a brutal crackdown by government security forces. On the other hand, the pro-government Syrian media show what they say are terrorists and armed groups attacking civilians.

Alyousif says he is burdened by the violence he recorded and the denials he says he often fabricated. His face seems full of regret. He believes his parents, brothers and cousins are now at risk because he has gone public.

ALYOUSIF (through translator): I took the decision for all the people of Syria, not for my family only.

MAKTABI: A man who admits telling lies with his camera, now begging the world to believe his words.

Rima Maktabi, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, the United States is moving ahead with its plan to remove its last remaining troops from Iraq by the end of the year. And we'll go live to Baghdad for the perspective from there when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

The Afghan woman who was imprisoned after she was raped has been freed. Gulnaz was sentenced to 12 years in prison for adultery after she reported that she was raped by a relative.

Now Belgian authorities are trying to find out a gunman went on a shooting spree in the city of Liege on Tuesday killing five people and wounding 120 others. Police say 33-year-old Nordine Amrani opened fire on shoppers from the rooftop of a public building. Local prosecutors says he then took his own life, but did not leave a suicide note.

The former legal chief of the News of the World has told an inquiry he is pretty sure that owner James Murdoch knew about evidence of illegal practices by the paper's reporters. His testimony follows the release of an email chain showing that Murdoch was told about widespread hacking at the tabloid and that he replied to one of the messages.

Now reporting from a war zone is not for the fainthearted, so Hollywood correspondent Chris Ayres admits he was terrified when he accepted the call to cover the U.S. invasion of Iraq for the Times of London. And as you can see here, he's not exactly the picture of a war correspondent.

And in his memoir of the experience, it's called War Reporting for Cowards, he recalls worrying that he will, quote, "scream like a girl when faced with any danger while on embed with U.S. troops."

But as time goes on, he learns to survive and better understand the battalion he's with.

Now Chris Ayres, he spoke to me from CNN Los Angeles. And we talked about the first days of the war and his thoughts on Iraq's future as U.S. troops withdraw.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS AYRES, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: It was terrifying. I mean, I didn't really believe until the very last minute, until we actually crossed into Iraq, that the war was going to go ahead. I mean it seemed like such a huge undertaking, you know. And I think that my bosses in London thought that the embedding scheme was going to be a bit of a joke. We thought that we'd all be put up in a hotel and shown, you know, slide projections of a tank or something when in fact we were put right on the front lines. And I was in a forward reconnaissance unit that went -- we were one of the first people in and we went and staked out positions for the artillery to go.

And it was unbelievably frightening. I mean, it was an incredible onslaught at first sight of the war.

LU STOUT: Now given your experience, or perhaps I should say lack of experience, why did you accept this assignment?

AYRES: Well, I mean, when you're a journalist and an editor asks you to go to war. I mean, you know, you don't really say no. I mean, it's no good for your career. Also, you know, it's very glamorous. It's a cool job to have. And I thought I could probably get away with it without being put in any real mortal danger. And I was, of course, horribly wrong when it came to that, because I was in terrible danger, as all the journalists were who were in Iraq.

LU STOUT: Can you describe the moment when you were most afraid?

AYRES: Well, I think sort every second of every day -- I mean, it was the longest -- you know, I was with this reconnaissance unit for about two weeks and it was the longest two weeks of my life. But we got stuck a few times and lost. There were these terrible dust storms where, you know, these huge winds sort of whipped up and all the dust from the desert came up and you couldn't see in front of your face. And we got lost and stuck in one of those storms and a unit of Iraqi tanks decided to attack us that night.

And it was probably one of the only major pieces of resistance that the Iraqi army performed, but we got stuck right in the middle of it. And it was absolutely terrifying because we just didn't know where we were. We were lost. It was pitch black. There was all this dust and mud everywhere. It was pretty frightening.

LU STOUT: Now we all got to watch the invasion from a distance, but on the ground how much did you know? How much did you really know about what was going on?

AYRES: Oh, I mean, I think nothing. I -- you know, I asked questions all the time of our unit commander. And he would just sort of ignore me. And I'm not sure he knew that much either. I mean, when you're actually boots on the ground -- I mean, war is organized chaos. And, you know, the situation changes so fast. There are so many rumors, inaccurate rumors. We knew very little.

I mean, I used to think that my mom sitting at home in England watching TV probably knew an awful lot more than I did.

LU STOUT: But isn't there something that you learned about the war on embed that perhaps viewers at home around the world weren't able to get a sense of?

AYRES: Yes. I mean, that's -- you know, we had very little sort of tactical awareness and we didn't know the big picture, but what we did see as embedded journalists was, you know, we got a front line view of actual on the ground combat. And that's really priceless as a journalist. That kind of material is unbelievable, because you're seeing people in the moment. You can't fake anything. I mean, it's real fear, real emotions.

So in terms of recording all that it was extremely valuable. And the embeds -- the embedded journalists, although they were sort of -- they were pretty compromised in the -- you know, we were being protected by the Americans, so really we had a very one-sided view. But it was really for a couple of weeks that was the only view you could really get, because if you were outside of the military in the battlefield you stood a very high chance of being killed in the crossfire.

LU STOUT: Now you wrote about the war in Iraq in your book "War Reporting for Cowards." It's a memoir, but do you have a point of view about the war? And especially this point in history as we approach the true pull out?

AYRES: You know, the book is very -- it's sort of apolitical. I mean, I talk about the politics of the war, but I didn't really take a line on the war. I could see the logic of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. I mean, he was a monster. And, you know, he saw what he'd done to the Iraqi people as we went into the country and it was -- it was horrific.

At the same time, you know to me even at the time just a huge undertaking of invading the country the size of Iraq and then taking control of it afterwards. It seemed sort of impossible at the time. And I couldn't figure out how they would do it. And of course it just -- it didn't go well. I mean, it's amazing to believe that it's eight years now I think since the invasion and people are still -- the Americans are still there.

You know, so was it worth it? It seems like -- I mean it was so many lives and so much money. It's hard to see the logic in hindsight.

LU STOUT: Now eight years since you were on embed there in Iraq, what are your personal feelings as we approach the troop withdrawal?

AYRES: You know, I mean I'm just glad it's over. It's -- I hope that the troops who lost their lives in that conflict have something to show for it in that I hope that Iraq ultimately becomes a stable, peaceful country. I mean, it would be horrible if we pulled out and then the country just descended into chaos and violence again. And obviously there's probably a chance of that happening.

So, I mean, I just hope that the country makes it. I hope it gets through it and, you know, at least those lives were worth something in the end.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Author and journalist Chris Ayres there with his reflections on the war in Iraq. And he lasted just 9 days in the desert.

Now, for many U.S. soldiers, their time in Iraq has been a much longer ordeal, but the a tier mission is gradually coming to an end. And Arwa Damon has been following the troop withdrawal. She joins us now live from Baghdad.

And Arwa, U.S. troops are leaving, but they're also handing over security to the Iraqis. So how is that effort coming along?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've actually been handing over security to the Iraqis for the last few years. If you'll remember they initially withdrew from the various cities and towns and then they began to largely be confined to their bases over the last year, switching over into that advisory role. So when it comes to the on the ground handing over of the day to day security responsibility, that has been going on for quite some time now.

But the big change is going to be when it comes to things like America's air assets, its intelligence assets, those are things the Iraqis are still going to continue to struggle with. Even Iraqi generals will tell you that they still lack the capability to defend their own air space, and to a certain degree fully be able to defend and seal their borders. Those are issues that they are going to continue to need training on.

They're also going to continue to need equipment. They are going to try to purchase it from the United States. There are a fair number of deals with that regard. But when it comes to the day to day security operations those are pretty much in Iraqi hands at this stage, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And what is the mood among Iraqi soldiers? Are they ready to secure their own country? Or do some wish the Americans would stay?

DAMON: Well, it's a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to the Iraqi soldiers. There are some who do at this stage believe they can maintain at the very least the current levels of security, albeit that does run at around 200 to 300 Iraqis being killed a month. There are those who feel that the U.S. should have been able to stay around longer, that they do need more training, that they still have much, much more that they can learn from having a direct day to day interaction with the U.S. military.

But one must also remember that the U.S. drawdown right now is directly a product of the Iraqi government not requesting it. And there are many analysts who are saying that that is a direct result of Iran's influence here. The Iraqi government effectively calculating that it is not worth aggravating its neighbor Iran. Iran, of course, wanting to see the Americans all out.

LU STOUT: Now, the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. He is still hopeful that the relationship will continue even after the last U.S. soldier leaves. What has he been saying about the United States investing in Iraq's future?

DAMON: Well, he is incredibly hopeful that the relationship is going to move from being a military one to one that is more focused on politics and perhaps even more so on business investment. Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki was addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce declaring Iraq is open for business.

Now when it comes to U.S. investment in Iraq, according to the Chamber last year, for example, it was around $2 billion. This past year that has jump up to $8 billion. In total, in the last year according to the Chamber there's been about $70 billion worth of foreign direct investment.

That aside, though, there is the opportunity in Iraq. And that is what the prime minister was underscoring for much, much more investment. But of course companies coming to Iraq still have a number of concerns, especially when it comes to security and corruption, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Arwa Damon joining us live from Baghdad. Thank you.

Now CNN has been shining a light on modern day slavery and the work being done to stop the horrific practice. Now some of the groups we have told you about are getting a big boost. Now Google is giving $11.5 million to organizations that fight slavery and human trafficking. The donation will go to 10 groups. And they believe it will free about 12,000 people from slavery and prevent millions more from being victimized.

Now still ahead, we will get the latest in sports as well as an update on the case of Jerry Sandusky, the former college football coach accused of molesting minors.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it is an 85 year old tradition, Time magazine chooses a person or a group of people that the magazine thinks most influenced the news of the year. Well, Time has just made its choice for this year, 2011, and that person is the protester. The magazine's editor cited mass and often effective anti-government protests in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. And indeed this year this went on.

As Time editor Rick Stengel put it, quote, "they dissented. They demanded. They did not despair."

Now the magazine also held a separate people's choice vote online. And that poll had two parts: most and least popular. And the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won in both categories.

Now there has been an unexpected twist in the sex abuse case which has scandalized college sports in the United States. Now Pedro Pinto joins us with that story and more -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who faces multiple counts of alleged sexual molestation of minors, decided along with his attorneys to waive a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. That's a surprise. Prosecutors had been prepared to put 11 witnesses on the stand yesterday, including some of the young men who accuse Sandusky of sexually abusing them while they were children and teenagers.

The former coach faces more than 50 counts related to allegations of sexual molestation revealed in a grand jury report last month as well as backing out of the preliminary hearing at the last minute. Sandusky also waived the scheduled January 11 arraignment after entering a not guilty plea on the charges against him and requesting a jury trial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're ready defend. We've always been ready to defend. Today's waiver has nothing to do with conceding anything. There have been no plea negotiations. There will be no plea negotiations. This is a fight to the death. This is the fight of Jerry Sandusky's life. This goes beyond the Penn State-Miami game in '86, this is -- this is the game of his life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINTO: There's another legal game developing in the states: two men who say they were sexually abused by a former assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University have filed a defamation law suit in New York against the university and its long-time basketball coach Jim Boeheim.

Bobby David and Mike Lang accused ex-Syracuse associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting them during the 1980s and 90s. Boeheim initially supported Fine, accusing Lang and Davis of fabricating their accusations.

Topping football news, Santos has qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup. South America's continental champions beat Kashiwa Reysol of Japan in Tokyo. Santos had a 2-nil lead by half-time thanks to goals from Neymar and Borges. Reysol pulled a goal back after the break, but Santos answered with yet another strike, this time from Danilo. They will now take on the winner of the other semifinal between Barcelona of Spain and Al-Sadd of Qatar.

Here in Europe, many of the continent's top teams will be in action in the final round of Europa League group matches. Paris St. Germain are amongst them. The French club desperately need a win in order to qualify for the next round.

The French club are currently third in Group F. And could find themselves crashing out of Europe even if they manage to beat already qualified Athletico of Spain. The pressure on manager Antoine Kombouare is rising. And if PSG fail to advance to the knockout stages, he could lose his job.

The club's new billionaire owners from Qatar expect success. And they have been disappointed with the side's performances at home and abroad. Kombouare has said that he will do all he can in order to help his side move on in the competition.

That's a quick look at sports headlines for this hour. Kristie, back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Thank you very much indeed for that, Pedro.

Now you heard this announcement on your last flight: turn off all electronic devices before take off and landing. And after Alec Baldwin, he had a bit of a problem with that rule. And we have a feeling that he won't like a new policy for American Airlines.

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LU STOUT: Now a possible late season typhoon is developing east of the Philippines. And Pedram Javaheri joins us from the world weather center with the latest on that and more -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie. You know, it's been quite awhile that we haven't talked about a tropical storms and typhoons impacting portions of the Philippines, but certainly this feature has potential for some damage here later on into the weekend across portions of the Philippines. And right now it's about 1,500 or so kilometers just to the east of the Philippines outside of the island of Palao. And, yeah, it's just a -- really a complex of thunderstorms right now. But the Joint Typhoon Warning Center here listing this as tropical storm number 27, listed to become a typhoon -- possibly Typhoon Washi (ph) here by the time we get towards, say, Saturday on into Sunday across portions of Samar (ph) here.

So winds going to be up to 120 kilometers per hour. So barely gets up to that typhoon status. But the concern right now, again, is going to be heavy rainfall right along the coast with some large storm surge there.

And currently sitting at winds about 65 kilometers per hour, but you can expect the storm to double in intensity by the time it nears the coast there of the Philippines. And the rainfall totals, again, upwards of say 8, 15 or so centimeters in some concentrated regions at it approaches land.

And very unusual to see this, we don't see it every single day from middle to later portion of December. It does happen once in awhile, but certainly the storm system will make its impact felt across the Philippines by the time Saturday comes around.

And if you're curious, 2011, tabulating some of the numbers, 19 named storms. On average we should have 26. So, yes, it has been a little below average as far as typhoons. 11 so far we've seen. 17 is the average to date. But notice the super typhoons right up to par there. We get the really top of the food chain typhoons in place. And we're talking about, of course, Nesat, Hainan, Nalgae, these storms are the ones that impacted portions of the Philippines and eventually moved on into areas within Southeast Asia.

But there you go, travel plans overnight, turn to Thursday and up to Friday up to 90 minutes out of Taipei associated with winds. Tokyo, general light delays there. Seoul, we have a few snow showers in the forecast. That'll give you 15 to 30 minute delays possible. And Kuala Lumpur also coming in with about 30 minute delays. All of this associated with some thunder storms in the area.

And Kristie, this is the latest here in the weather center.

LU STOUT: All right, Pedram. Thank you. And take care.

And iPads are now cleared for takeoff. Starting on Friday, pilots for American Airlines will be allowed to use their Apple tablets in the cockpit. They will take the place of paper flight manuals. And yes, pilots can keep their iPads on during takeoffs and landings. Passengers, though, will still have to power down our electronic devices.

Now Twitter says that it has set a new record for tweets per second last week. But you might not believe what triggered the surge in tweets. Now usually major news or sporting events lead to Twitter hitting new highs. For instance, the death of Osama bin Laden, or the women's world cup final.

But the previous record was set earlier this year during the MTV Video Music Awards, almost 9,000 tweets per second were sent during the awards. But last Friday, Twitter saw almost 25,000 tweets a second. Why? Because the film Castle in the Sky was being shown on Japanese TV. And fans of the film decided to tweet a quote from the film all at the very same time.

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

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