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NEWS STREAM

Narrow Victory for Mitt Romney; Crisis in Syria; Taliban Opening Office in Qatar?; Maldives Reverses Decision To Ban Spas; L.A. Arson Suspect Investigated In Germany

Aired January 4, 2012 - 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 the U.S. state of Iowa, where Mitt Romney squeezes out a victory in the first step to see who will be the Republican presidential nominee.

After 18 years, two men are sentenced for the murder of British teenager Stephen Lawrence.

And is a popular tourist paradise really set to ban spa treatments, along with alcohol and pork? We'll speak to the president of the Maldives.

And we begin in the U.S. state of Iowa, where we're seeing the closest ever result in a Republican presidential contest. Now, more than 120,000 voted in the caucuses, but it came down to just eight.

Now, these two men, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former senator Rick Santorum, each won about 25 percent of the vote. But in the end, it was Romney who pulled ahead by the slightest of margins. He had been the front-runner for weeks, but a late surge by Santorum put him on the fast track, and it was neck-and-neck until the very last votes were counted.

It's more of a symbolic victory, and CNN estimates that Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul each walked away with seven delegates. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry got two a piece.

Now, the delegates, they will cast votes at the party's nominating convention. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination. As you can see, we are a long way from that.

But for the candidates every delegate counts. And Mitt Romney, he was all smiles when the final results came through. And he spoke to CNN a little earlier about the task ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I understand that there'll be a lot of attacks coming my way. That's the nature of this process, but I've got broad shoulders. And heck, if you can't handle the attacks at this stage, just wait until the White House and the DNC really launch their attacks. I mean, it's going to be blistering, but fundamentally, we're going to turn back to the president and say, Mr. President, you failed. You failed to get this economy going, and that was job one.

And I understand the economy. I'm going to make it work for the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now, for those candidates who didn't fare so well in Iowa, it may be decision time.

CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser looks at the winners and losers from Tuesday night and tells us where they go from here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you so much, Iowa.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR (voice-over): For former senator Rick Santorum, a momentous night. A photo finish with Mitt Romney gives the one-time long-shot candidate a huge boost.

SANTORUM: We will be in New Hampshire. We'll leave tomorrow. We'll spend our time there. And with your help and God's grace, we'll have another fun night a week from now.

STEINHAUSER: The former Massachusetts governor who is the overwhelming front-runner in New Hampshire is ready for round two next week.

ROMNEY: On to New Hampshire. On to New Hampshire. Let's get that job done.

STEINHAUSER: Texas Congressman Ron Paul is making his bronze medal sound like a gold.

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This momentum is going to continue and this movement is going to continue.

STEINHAUSER: For Newt Gingrich, a disappointing fourth place finish. But the former House Speaker remains ready to fight on, and once again blamed an onslaught of negative ads from Mitt Romney for his drop in support.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are not going to go out and run nasty ads. We're not going to go out and run 30-second "gotcha" -- I do reserve the right to tell the truth.

STEINHAUSER: Despite finishing last among the six candidates who campaigned in Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann also vows to fight on.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that I am that true conservative who can and who will defeat Barack Obama in 2012.

STEINHAUSER: But Texas Governor Rick Perry, who spent big bucks to campaign in the Hawkeye State, says he has a big decision to make.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race.

STEINHAUSER (on camera): We're hearing that Texas Governor Rick Perry will spend the rest of the week back in Texas to decide whether he continues his campaign, suspends it, or ends it. But for the rest of the candidates, it's on to New Hampshire, and the primary now just six days away.

Paul Steinhauser, CNN, Des Moines, Iowa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Nearly 40 percent of the people who turned out to vote in Iowa had never attended a caucus before. Each of them had their own reasons for selecting a particular candidate.

Now, Jonathan Mann has this voter snapshot.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The letter "C" -- think of the letter "C." When it comes to the Iowa caucuses, the votes tend to come from people who are more uniformly Caucasian. They're more white than the rest of the country. They're more likely to describe themselves as Christians. They're more conservative and more likely to live in the countryside.

Those factors have a big impact on the vote that the leading candidates received.

Let's have a look at the numbers from our CNN entrance poll and you'll see just what I mean.

We'll start out with the number of people who describe themselves as Evangelical or born-again Christians. That was an enormous portion of the population that actually went out to vote. More than half, which is roughly twice what it is nationwide.

Now, among voters who describe themselves as Evangelicals or born again, Rick Santorum won the majority of their votes. He did very well with social conservatives, value voters, as they call themselves. Among more secular-minded Republicans, it was Mitt Romney who prevailed.

Now let's move on.

It's no surprise when you know this about those two men that among voters who said that their top issue was abortion, Rick Santorum, an anti-abortion figure with seven children of his own, he did best among voters who made abortion their top issue. Romney, the former corporate executive, did best among voters who said that the economy was their top issue. Now, when it came to deficit hawks, the people who are most concerned about government spending, it's libertarian, anti-tax, anti-government spending figure Ron Paul who did the best.

Let me just show you though one more thing if we can about our exit and entrance polls.

What we found out is that people had specific leadership qualities in mind. If they wanted a candidate who could defeat President Obama, a figure who could appeal to moderate, mainstream and Independent voters, well, Mitt Romney got their votes. If they wanted someone who they considered a true conservative, libertarian Ron Paul got their votes. And if it was voters who wanted a figure who best represented their moral convictions, it was Rick Santorum.

Once again, we see the same trends through all of the voting. The people of Iowa have a very particular profile, and they chose candidates who represented that profile as well.

The numbers have been close, closer than they ever have been. One small state that sets the Republican race in motion with a muddle, a result that sets up the next race, New Hampshire, next week.

That's Iowa for tonight. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, as we've mentioned, Iowa's caucuses are just the first step on a long road to the Republican nomination. Now New Hampshire holds its primary next week, and the state, it looks locked up for Romney already. He holds a double-digit lead in the polls there.

Now, some candidates, they're skipping it entirely and they're moving on to South Carolina. It's a more conservative state than New Hampshire, with influential Evangelical Christian voters. And going back to 1980, it has a 100 percent rate of picking the eventual Republican Party nominee. But the biggest January battle will be in Florida.

Now, the state moved its primary up from March to January the 31st. It has 50 delegates up for grabs, and they are winner take all. But it is important to remember that these early tests do not necessarily tell us who the nominee will be come the Republican Convention in August, but they do tell us who it won't be.

Ahead here on NEWS STREAM, the head of the Arab League is due to learn more about the situation in Syria today at a key briefing.

Plus, we have an update on the German man charged in connection with one of the worst string of arson attacks ever committed in the U.S. city of Los Angeles.

And in the U.K., a mother says a court ruling against two men has brought her some justice 18 years after her son was murdered at a London bus stop.

That and more ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, the secretary-general of the Arab League is getting a briefing on Syria today from the head of the Arab Human Rights Council. That, as Arab League monitors prepare to issue a report on what they are seeing on the ground in Syria.

They're trying to verify whether or not the Syrian government is keeping a promise to end the crackdown, but criticism of their work is mounting. This amateur video, it appears to show Arab League observers in a residential area of Homs on Tuesday, and you can see a clear military presence. An opposition group says five people were killed on Wednesday.

Syrian authorities have restricted media access, so our Arwa Damon is following developments closely from neighboring Lebanon. And she joins us now live from Beirut.

And Arwa, concerns are mounting about that Arab League mission, a mission that has not stopped the violence. What have you heard?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, I just got off of Skype speaking with an activist in the city of Hama, that was also the scene of a pretty fierce crackdown, an ongoing crackdown, according to activists. And he was just expressing his sheer disappointment, frustration and disgust with the Arab League mission.

He said that when they came through on Tuesday, they barely stopped in one of the hardest-hit areas, that residents were chasing after their vehicles, made to feel like beggars. When they eventually did stop in another area, many people were too afraid to actually approach them.

Those that got up close like this one man we were speaking to said that, at best, the members of this mission appeared to be sympathetic, saying things like, "God willing, we'll be able to help you, this will end soon," while others simply nodded helplessly, were barely taking notes. And they were encouraging the activists to go to one square in Hama to file complaints, missing persons reports, casualty reports. And this activist was talking about what a ludicrous concept that was, because this particular square is, quite simply, crawling with security forces. And we've heard that same level of disappointment and anger with this Arab League mission from just about every single activist we've been talking to at this stage -- Kristie.

STOUT: So many concerns about the efficacy, about the independence of the mission.

When will the Arab League report on Syria? When will their findings be released and what will it likely say?

DAMON: Well, Kristie, we're expecting some sort of report to be released over the weekend. And according to one Beirut-based analyst, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion. He says that the Arab League is most likely to say that, yes, the Syrian government did comply with some of these protocols; however, it did not fulfill all of them.

What is critical to note, according to this one analyst, is what sort of measures the Arab League takes next. Does it in fact try to assert itself somehow? Does it take more severe measures against the Syrian regime, sanctions, for example? Or does it continue to be this toothless organization that everyone accuses it of being?

So it's still very much a wait-and-see scenario in terms of what actual measures are going to be taken. But again, the activists on the ground will tell you that this is not the time to be patient, this is not the time to be asking for more time, because people are dying every single day -- Kristie.

STOUT: And more on the volatile situation inside Syria. On Tuesday, there was an explosion at a gas pipeline in central Syria. This was a very violent explosion.

Any more information on what happened and who was behind that pipeline attack?

DAMON: Well, it happened very close to Homs, and this is, again, where you get these two competing narratives when it comes to Syria. The activists are accusing the government of carrying out this attack to try to blacken their name. They say at the end of the day, they're the ones who are suffering the consequences of it.

The government, in turn, is accusing foreign-backed extremists for being responsible for it. And this is where, again, you end up with this scenario of the two competing narratives where it's very difficult for us as the media to try to verify exactly what is taking place, because the government won't give us access.

And this goes very much to the crux of the issue of what is actually taking place in Syria, because it's neither black nor white. It is many shades of gray.

That being said, one of course must note that one of the main commitments of the protocol that the government signed up to was in fact to let the independent media inside the country as well. And that obviously has not happened either.

STOUT: And that's why you're forced to report the story from Beirut.

Arwa Damon on the story, watching Syria very closely for us.

Thank you very much, indeed.

Now, the Afghan Taliban, they say that they have reached a preliminary agreement to open a political office in Qatar. That office, they say, would be used for talks or negotiations. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is responding cautiously.

Nick Paton Walsh has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What is symbolic about this announcement, it is the first time in a decade that the Taliban have said they're willing to talk to the Americans without the usual precondition that all U.S. troops must leave Afghanistan before they're prepared to talk. The offer is reasonably slight though. They're willing to open this office in Qatar and hold talks in the event that Americans release some Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay.

Now, that release is far from a given. Many U.S. officials concerned about these men again being at large.

Also, people are wondering how this came around, about the process involved, because normally in peace negotiations, secret talks would initiate the process, and then you'd have a public announcement like this. Now, there have been secret talks between the Taliban and the U.S. and Afghan officials over the past years, but they haven't gone particularly well, so many were caught by surprise by this public announcement from the Taliban reversing their years-long-held policy.

The real question is, exactly how will these talks happen technically? One peace negotiator we have spoken to referring to this office in Qatar as being a bit like a football ground almost, neutral territory where people will turn up, hold these talks, and see what can actually come of them. But they come at an enormously complicated time in Afghanistan, concerns at how cohesive the insurgency is, whether they all answer to one leader, if that leader is in negotiation with the Americans. The Americans themselves talking regularly about the timetable for their withdrawal, their drawdown in the forthcoming two years, and still negotiating with Afghan officials what kind of presence they can have in the future.

So, today, what really should have a been a monumental announcement, the Taliban are interested for the first time in talking to the Americans, came a little confused in this deeply mired political landscape in Afghanistan. So, really unclear quite what today's announcement means.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, ahead on NEWS STREAM, 18 years after this London teenager was stabbed to death, a British court has just sentenced two men for the crime. The details just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now, a German man charged in connection with a string of fires in Los Angeles is being investigated in his own country for the same thing. German prosecutors say Harry Burkhart is under investigation for arson and fraud in German. The 24-year-old will appear in an L.A. courthouse later on Wednesday. He is thought to be behind one of the worst arson sprees in L.A.'s history.

Now, for more on this, let's speak to CNN's Fred Pleitgen. He joins us now live from Berlin.

And Fred, tell us more about what Burkhart is being investigated for there in Germany.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie, we made some calls about this to German authorities earlier in the day, and it appears that this incident happened somewhere around the Frankfurt area of Germany, where, apparently, in October of 2011, there was a fire inside a house in the town of Neukirchen. And the reason why the authorities believe that this fire was set on purpose is that the house was on fire basically only from the inside, and afterwards, investigators that went to the scene found two separate places where apparently the fire had been laid.

Now, the interesting thing and the reason why police are still investigating this case is that the house, in fact, belongs to the Burkhart family, and they are not sure whether or not it's Harry Burkhart or his mother, who is, of course, also in custody in the United States, or the actual owner of the house. However, it is their house which they own.

And keep in mind that, also, not just Harry Burkhart, but his mother as well, both of them, are no strangers to law enforcement here in Germany. Harry Burkhart, as we said, is under investigation for arson here in Germany. His mother also wanted with an international arrest warrant for several cases that are pending. Most of them also pertaining to fraud, mostly in the real estate sector -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, torching cars has been called a common crime in Germany. Is it? And why?

PLEITGEN: It's quite unfortunate, but especially in larger towns. You take a look at Berlin, you also take a look at Frankfurt, it is something that does happen quite frequently.

In fact, there was a spree here in Berlin earlier this year, in the summer, where a lot of cars were being torched, where the police was in fact not coming to terms with all of that, with looking for the people who were doing that. They have in the past finally arrested some of these people, but I can tell you from having been here at least a couple of days in the summer, that there were helicopters in the air over some neighborhoods. They were searching for these people, and many, many cars were indeed torched here in Germany. It is something that does happen off and on here in this country.

And one of the reasons why that's so interesting to so many people is, of course, many are now asking what could have motivated this man and in fact inspired the fact that he set so many vehicles on fire there in California. So, certainly this is something that does happen quite frequently. Whether or not he himself might have been involved in any car-torching here in Germany, that's something where investigators that I've been speaking to say there is absolutely no evidence to support that. But of course at this stage of the game, him having been removed from this country for such a long time, it's also impossible for them to exclude that -- Kristie.

STOUT: So a lot of questions still about his motive.

Can you tell us about the damage? I mean, Burkhart, he is believed to have torched dozens of cars in L.A., racking up a property damage bill of around $3 million. But what damage is he believed to have caused there in Germany?

PLEITGEN: Well, the damage, if you look at from this house fire, is that the house was just completely destroyed. And again, he was obviously attempting to get cash from his insurance company to try and get that money after that house was set on fire. And it's really something where the authorities told us they feel that it's a fairly blunt effort to try and get the money for this house, one of the reasons being that the claim to the insurance was made only a day after the fire had actually been put out. So the fact that all this happened so quickly indicates to them that this had to have been fraud.

So that's one of the things where obviously damages were caused here in Germany. But then you also look to Burkhart's mother, who I said is also wanted with an arrest warrant, and you have some media reporting 19 cases, most of them of fraud where people, of course, had money taken away from them. What she did, apparently, is she had a scheme going in the Frankfurt area where she would pretend to rent out apartments to people, she would collect deposits from these people, and then obviously never have these apartments available. So that certainly is something where a lot of damage was caused as well.

And one of the things that's being talked about a lot here in Germany is that she might very well be deported here to this country. She is, of course, in a deportation hearing that is set to happen very soon. That is, if she gets deported here, obviously he could face -- I wouldn't say significant jail time in the terms of decades, but it could be several years in prison that she is facing here in Germany -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Fred Pleitgen, live for us from Berlin.

Thank you very much for that.

Now, in the last two hours a British judge has sentenced two men for the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence. Gary Dobson will serve at least 15 years and two months in jail, while David Norris faces at least 14 years and three months behind bars.

Lawrence was murdered in south London in 1993. And Jon Clements looks at how the case changed race relations, policing, and the law in the U.K.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN CLEMENTS, REPORTER, ITV NEWS (voice-over): It's been 18 years in the making and was highly emotional. Thanks for the jury, relief at the verdict. But still, Doreen Lawrence was angry.

DOREEN LAWRENCE, STEPHEN LAWRENCE'S MOTHER: How can I celebrate when I know that this day could have come 18 years ago if the police who were meant to find my son's killers felt so miserable to do so. These are not a reason to celebrate. I want people to think of Stephen other than a black teenager murdered in a racist attack in southeast London in April, 1993. I know it's a fact, but I now want people to remember him as a bright, beautiful, young man, who any parent of whatever background would have been proud of.

CLEMENTS: Stephen's father, Neville, sat through the trial, too. His solicitor spoke for him.

JOCELYN COCKBURN, NEVILLE LAWRENCE'S ATTORNEY: "I'm therefore full of joy and relief that today, finally, two of my son's killers have been convicted for his murder. They will be sent to prison and forced to face the consequences of their actions."

CLEMENTS: It's a case that's haunted police, too. And Scotland Yard again today accepted those criticisms.

CRESSIDA DICK, DEP. COMMISSIONER, METROPOLITAN POLICE: We pay tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence's courage and dignity. They have contributed to major changes within policing the law, and indeed within society as a whole.

CLEMENTS: Gary Dobson and David Norris have spent 18 years denying they were killers, but today a jury found them guilty. The court was packed for the verdict, which followed eight hours of deliberations. As they were read out, Doreen swallowed. She looked up and said a few words, then she wiped a tear from her eye. A few yards away, Neville wept silently, too.

In the public gallery, Dobson's mother broke down, sobbing, "He's innocent! I know he didn't kill that man!"

As he was taken down, Dobson shouted at the jury, "You've convicted an innocent man! I hope you can live with that!"

They were caught by a cold case review which found compelling new forensic evidence. This microscopic spot of Stephen's blood had soaked into the collar of Dobson's jacket. Fibers were found on Norris' jumper from Stephen's clothes and his hairs were on his jeans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, the traditional Christmas retreat for the British royal family has become the scene of a murder inquiry. Now, police say that they found the remains of a woman's body near the queen's Sandringham estate in the east of England. Members of the royal family were alerted to the discovery on Monday night, and police believe the body had been there for between one and four months. They say she may have been murdered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JES FRY, DET. CHIEF INSPECTOR, NORFOLK CONSTABULARY: I think the circumstances indicate that she is probably the victim of murder. The body has been (INAUDIBLE) for some time, but again, the experts are here to establish exactly what that time frame is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Officials say they should have a complete DNA profile within 24 hours.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And with today's results in Iowa so close, ahead we will break down the numbers of the first vote in the U.S. Republican presidential contest.

Plus, we go live to the Maldives, where the country's supreme court is ruling on whether the country's hotels can offer spa treatments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now the U.S. state of Iowa has decided the closest ever result in Republican presidential contests. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum by just a handful of votes last night. Each won about 25 percent of the vote. Now attention now turns to the first primary vote in New Hampshire next week.

Now two men convicted of the racist killing of a black teenager in London in 1993 have just been sentenced to prison terms. A jury found Gary Dobson and David Norris guilty Tuesday of murdering Stephen Lawrence after new forensic evidence was recovered from their homes. Dobson was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Norris was sentenced to 14 years.

The Afghan Taliban have issued a statement saying that they have a preliminary agreement to open an office outside the country, possibly in Qatar. They also say the group is ready to talk and negotiate. This is the first time the Taliban have offered to negotiate without first demanding that U.S. forces leave Afghanistan.

A German national suspected of a string of arson attacks in Los Angeles is also under investigation for alleged arson and fraud in Germany. 24-year-old Harry Burkhart was arrested on Monday in connection with a spree of 52 fires, mostly in parked cars.

And in the end, just eight votes made the difference for Mitt Romney in Iowa. Now chief U.S. correspondent John King shows us why the contest was so close.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Clinton County, you don't think of this as much, you see it's a small county. 32 percent to 26 percent. This is the county that made the difference for Governor Romney tonight.

If you pull out this map and you look at the breadth of this you're seeing a lot of purple. That is Rick Santorum doing very, very well -- a lot of comparisons to the Mike Huckabee win. Mike Huckabee is all this orange four years ago. Rick Santorum all this purple this time. However, many of these counties where Santorum had that impressive victory that's where you find your Tea Party voters, your conservative evangelical born again Christians. He did very well in the areas with a small population.

Governor Romney's win, as narrow as it is, comes because he ran up margins, decent margins by Iowa standards, in the bigger places. 12.8 percent, nearly 13 percent in Polk County. Governor Romney did well there.

You come out to the east Cedar Rapids is in Linn County, 6.6 percent of the population: Governor Romney. Santorum third there, that's one of the reasons.

So as you watch this now, you have the closest race in Iowa caucus history. Wow. Governor Romney wins 30,015 votes.

You want to see something eerie? 25 percent, 30,015 votes. We go back four years, Governor Romney 30,021 votes. Six votes difference. 25 percent, the same exact percentage.

Six votes. He spent $10 million this time.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: In 2008.

KING: In 2008. He spent less this time. Six votes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: John King at the magic wall there.

Now Mitt Romney will be hoping for a more comfortable win in New Hampshire next week, but the tight result in Iowa could affect his momentum.

Now Patricia Murphy is the founder and editor of Citizen Jane Politics and joins me now from Des Moines, Iowa. Patricia good to see you.

We've got to talk about this margin of victory. Romney, he won over Santorum by just eight votes. So how much of a win did he really score there in Iowa?

PATRICIA MURPHY, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: Mitt Romney needed a win period. And he got it. But just like you said, when you look at the margin, and the fact that the margin is so close over somebody like Rick Santorum who just last week was down in the polls in fifth place. He was not expected to win. He was not expected to come even close.

So what this says as much about Mitt Romney is that there's a huge piece of the Republican Party that doesn't want him to be their nominee. And this sets up this dynamic. And to your point, with the very narrow margin, this sets up a split in the Republican Party with the moderate business Republicans getting behind Mitt Romney and the conservative, or Christian Republicans getting behind anybody but Mitt Romney. And it looks like that's going to be Rick Santorum.

LU STOUT: Now Patricia, off your Twitter feed I can see that you were there at the Rick Santorum victory party where they were celebrating that number two finish. Could you give us -- yeah, could you tell us more about the atmosphere there. And also why? Why did Santorum do so well in Iowa?

MURPHY: Santorum did so well in Iowa because this was the one state where getting around and meeting voters still really matters in the United States. Other places you just run a lot of TV ads. You do a lot of really big speeches and rallies and you can pretty much win if you got a message that people like.

In Iowa, voters expect to see you. And Rick Santorum has been driving around this state for one year in a pick-up truck. He's been to all 99 counties many times. I saw him in a tiny town called Armes City, Iowa. It's the fourth time he was there in the last year. So he really did the leg work.

And the momentum -- really just the energy at his party was unbelievable. These are people who have loved Santorum for a long time, but he was really the best kept secret in the Republican Party in their opinion. And now he is not a secret any more. They were absolutely thrilled, surprised that they were coming so close to winning, but having a lot of momentum to get out there.

I would also say there's a little bit of fear in the Santorum camp. They have a lot of work to do. He has a very small organization. He doesn't have nearly as much money as Mitt Romney. So they are thrilled with how well they did. And they are really hoping that the momentum helps them build a bigger organization and raise more money.

LU STOUT: You mentioned fear. And fear has got to be a factor for Rick Perry. He is now returning to Texas after that fifth place finish to, quote, "reassess his campaign." Do you think it's game over for him?

MURPHY: I think it's game over for Rick Perry. This is a man who has always been a very, very successful politician. He has never lost a race before. He's not somebody who wants to lose again.

He didn't really catch on here in Iowa. He got into the race really late. He got in, in late August. And again if you are competing against somebody like Rick Santorum who has already been around the state for months and months and months, Rick Perry just didn't catch on.

He also performed so poorly in the debates. Voters I talked to said I just can't get behind Rick Perry. I like him a lot, but he doesn't seem like presidential material. So Rick Perry, I think, got that feedback in the numbers that he had last night. I think he'll get out very soon.

LU STOUT: Now Rick Santorum, he doesn't have the war chest that Mitt Romney has, a point that you made just now, but could Rick Perry's supporters and the Tea Party could they be rallying behind Santorum and then give a decent challenge to Mitt Romney?

MURPHY: Absolutely. What you see right now are conservative leaders trying to get the rest of these conservatives -- somebody like Michele Bachmann, somebody like Rick Perry, people who have a little bit of support, but it would be a lot of support if it could all coalesce behind one candidate. Conservatives want to coalesce behind one candidate. It looks like that's going to be Rick Santorum. So if he could move forward in this race, pick up voters from people like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, even Newt Gingrich then he's got a real fighting chance.

It's always been a race between Mitt Romney and whoever is not Mitt Romney. And so that's a very, very large piece of the conservative pie -- or the Republican pie if Rick Santorum can get all of those voters. He is going to be able to wage a really strong campaign against Mitt Romney by virtue of the fact that he's just not Mitt Romney.

LU STOUT: I also want to get your thoughts about New Hampshire. Do you think the result in Iowa will at all affect the race in New Hampshire?

MURPHY: I think it will affect the result in New Hampshire in that Rick Santorum has a chance there. He's going to be the people -- he's going to be the person that everybody in New Hampshire wants to go see. They're going to want to know more about him.

This is a man most people in America have never heard of. He is a senator -- former senator from Pennsylvania. He's really not very well known throughout the country, not particularly well known in New Hampshire, although that's another state where he's been spending a lot of time. So they're going to want to see him. They're going to want to get to know him. It's another small state where they want to touch and feel these candidates and get to know them as a person. So it gives him an enormous amount of momentum that he never would have had if he hadn't been here in Iowa.

For Mitt Romney, he needed to win. Eight votes, he'll take it. He would have liked to have won with more. But he couldn't have come out of here with a second place, third place finish in Iowa and hoped to do well in any states beyond New Hampshire. So I think it's what he needed to do. He could have done a little bit better. But it helps a lot.

LU STOUT: All right. Patricia Murphy, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us here on News Stream.

MURPHY: Thanks, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now the race for the White House, it is just starting to heat up. And you can keep up with the campaign coverage on our web site. You can find it at CNNpolitics.com. And once you're there, check out the election center.

Now among other things, you can learn more about the candidates. Who is in. Who is out. Where do they stand on the issues? It's all at CNN.com -- or rather CNNpolitics.com.

Now here in the region, the Philippines is still recovering from Tropical Storm Washi. Now meteorologist Jennifer Delgado is closely watching the situation. She joins us now from the World Weather Center -- Jen.

JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. You're right, the situation is still critical because thousands of people are now living in tents. And we have some video in to show you the situation that's been going on in the Philippines ever since the Tropical Storm Washi made its way through parts of southern Philippines and that was on December 15.

And you're looking at people trying to go through debris. Now we do know that there are tents that have been brought out there, more than a 1,000. People are waiting in line to get some type of shelter, because they're still trying to go on, but as I take you over to our graphic here I want to give you an idea of the track of Tropical Storm Washi.

And again, it moved down towards the south as a tropical storm. Now a lot of people are always so worried if it's a storm. They think oh it can't cause as much damage. But of course it can. And of course in that region it caused widespread flash flooding. And as I show you on the satellite we've had some more areas of shower activity across the region over the last 24 hours. And as we go through the next 24 hours they'll continue to see more showers popping up across that region.

Of course, the model is not showing you a lot, but it doesn't take much of course when so many people are living without shelter. So again, we will be watching that area as we go through the next couple of days.

Another big story coming out of Asia, the big cooldown out there. Shanghai, temperature right now minus 10 and you can see -- or I should say minus 1 degrees there. 10 degrees in Taipei. And 12 degrees in Hong Kong. Your numbers are down about 5 degrees. In fact, they have a cold weather warning across Hong Kong. Chungching 4 degrees.

It looks like it's going to stay cold today as well as tomorrow. We're still talking temperatures being below average for this time of the year.

But I want to show you some images of people dealing with the cold weather. This is actually coming out of northern China there close to Beijing. And people walking around on areas that are iced over. And that's what happens when you get those strong fronts that come through and drop the temperatures down. It is the time of the season.

We're going to find out what the weather is like in your area. Stay with us.

And welcome back. That cold air is going to be ushering some fresh snow as we go through tomorrow as well as the end of the week. And you also notice some of that snow coming up towards north also affecting parts of the Korean peninsula.

Now if you want some relief from the cold weather, well Kristie you may know this area. Let's go to some video. And this was quite refreshing. This actually coming out of Heilongjiang Province up towards the north out of Daqing City. And you are looking at people taking part in hot springs. Oh, that looks quite refreshing. The temperature 40 Celsius inside the water. And when you're dealing with a temperature of minus 30 certainly some relief is needed. And apparently in Daqing City, the geothermal area layer is actually much more shallow than elsewhere around parts of China. So that warmth always rushes up and that's what you're looking at in the city people enjoying the hot springs.

So Kristie, all you need is that very unflattering shower cap or whatever you call that thing -- the cap and just get on in there.

LU STOUT: Yeah, or the equally unflattering black Speedos. But they're having a really good time.

DELGADO: They are.

LU STOUT: I'd like to dive in myself if I was there, yeah. Good stuff. Jen, thank you as always. Take care.

Now up next, the Maldives, it brings to mind sunshine, white sand, luxurious pampering, but the island nation recently banned spa treatments. Will that ban stay in place. We'll ask the president just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the same religion and different interpretations. This disparity is at the heart of an escalating struggle between ultra Orthodox Jews and mainstream society in Israel. As Kevin Flower reports, the tensions took a startling turn over the weekend with protesters from both sides provoking outrage.

(BEGIN VIDEOATPE)

KEVIN FLOWER, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For Israelis, it was a shocking and repulsive image: young, ultra Orthodox Jews donning yellow stars and striped prison uniforms reminiscent of the Holocaust. The provocative public display drew heavy criticism from all corners of the country, but for the even organizers their message: to stop incitement against the ultra Orthodox community had been successfully delivered.

The weekend protest is latest development in an increasingly acrimonious conflict, pitting members of the ultra Orthodox community known as the Haridit against the Jewish Israeli mainstream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll just walk a little bit, OK? Nam (ph), you want to walk just a little bit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?

And then we'll cross.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

FLOWER: The nationally televised story of an eight-year-old girl too terrified to walk to school for fear of being spit on and cursed at by ultra Orthodox neighbors enraged the country and capped off a series of high profile attempts by some ultra Orthodox males to enforce their strict form of gender segregation and rules of modesty on females outside of their community.

SHIRA BEN SASSON FURSTENBERG, NEW ISRAEL FUND: We see streets being separated on holidays. A separate street for men, a separate street for women. We see the buses. We see supermarkets. Women singing is not accepted.

FLOWER: Religious and government leaders have been quick to condemn the practices. And last week, several thousand Israelis rallied against gender segregation chanting they did not want their country being turned into Iran or being led by a Taliban minority.

Ultra Orthodox leaders warn that their community should not be judged based on the actions of a radical few. They say the situation has been overblown.

SHMUEL POPENHIEM, SPOKESMAN FOR EDA HARIDIT (through translator): The Hermedi (ph) community accepts the will of the secular community to live their lives in their neighborhoods as they wish. I do not want to impose by self on the secular public.

FLOWER: But the Israeli mainstream's divide with the ultra Orthodox community goes much deeper than issues of gender segregation. The Haridit make up 10 percent of the country, yet they are the fastest growing segment of the population and constitute a powerful voting bloc in Israel's coalition government.

There they have been able to maintain government subsidies for working age men to study Torah full-time. This, coupled with easily one exemptions for compulsory military service is for many Israelis a source of growing resentment says author and columnist Bradley Burston.

BRADLEY BURSTON, HAARETZ NEWSPAPER: What people are thinking is that this is absolutely unsustainable. That this -- that they can't go on providing these kinds of subsidize for this kind of lifestyle, especially if it seems that the same people that you're subsidizing are going to turn on you and they're going to turn on Jews everywhere because they don't like their behavior.

FLOWER: While the tensions that define relations between ultra Orthodox and other Israelis are not likely to lead to a permanent schism any time soon, there is a growing realization in the country that faith alone is not enough to keep it unified.

Kevin Flower, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And up next, we'll have a sports update as Serena Williams hope of a good start to the tennis season are hit by an injury. Alex Thomas will have more next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now in the Maldives, the supreme court is weighing in on the role of Islamic values in the government. Last week officials banned spas, massage parlors and the sale of alcohol in port. Now opposition groups have called for such action in the capital and other densely populated areas. But the ban was applied to all of the islands, nearly 1,200 total. About 100 of those were only developed after the first resort opened in 1972.

Now tourism is now the backbone of the economy. It accounts for 29 percent of GDP, bringing in about $600 million a year.

Now we're efforting a connection with the president of the Maldives. More on that story. And once we do get that connection we'll bring it to you right here on CNN. In fact, we have him here now.

Now Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, welcome to News Stream. And as I understand it you have weighed in on the matter. And you're making an exception for resorts in your country.

MOHAMED NASHEED, PRESIDENT OF THE MALDIVES: Well, you know, we are making -- we are not only making an exception to the resorts. We are saying is that we will apply the rule to everyone equally in the Maldives.

LU STOUT: OK. So -- but what prompted this turnaround, because there was a ban in place on spas. You have turned that ban around for spas at resorts. Why the change?

NASHEED: Well, basically one of the reasons why we had to ban was because on late December there was a fairly big demonstration in the Maldives calling for -- also to radical Islamic practices to be implemented in the Maldives. On the one hand the government did have to recognize their calls, or to a certain extent heed to the calls.

But also, more importantly, once this taunted these calls the whole -- the tourists who are coming here starting viewing the Maldives spas in a rather bad light. So as a quality control measure the government had to look into the issue and give confidence to everyone who comes to the Maldives.

The spas here in the Maldives are family establishments and they are not suitable places.

LU STOUT: OK. So again to confirm, there is no longer a ban on spas as well as pork and alcohol, but again this is for tourists at your resorts only. Is that correct?

NASHEED: No. The government wants -- what our government is going more than back. There is no ban on selling of alcohol, pork, spas, or any such practices.

LU STOUT: OK.

Now we are still waiting for the supreme court of the Maldives to make its ruling. When will that be? And how are they likely to rule?

NASHEED: Well, we understand that they're likely to be ruling in favor. Once the spas were banned, we understand that the people of the Maldives understood the gravity of the issue. And in many senses the silent majority woke up and they wanted to revert the rulings or the (inaudible) of the extremists of the 23rd of December.

LU STOUT: OK, when you say the court will be ruling in favor, you mean of over -- in favor or overturning the ban that's been in place?

NASHEED: In favor of overturning the ban that is in place.

LU STOUT: OK. And to what degree did economics speak in this situation? As you mentioned just now, tourism dollars accounts for about 30 percent of your GDP. At the end, what it economics that overruled religious dynamics and political dynamics in your country?

NASHEED: I think it's a combination of many things. One (inaudible) we are a liberal Muslim -- moderate Muslim country. And we have been a moderate Muslim country for the last 800 years. And suddenly the calls -- such extreme calls doesn't really quite find resonance with the majority of the people of this country.

There is a small minority who calls for a Taliban kind of state here. But it doesn't really have acceptance with the vast majority of the people of the Maldives.

LU STOUT: But the fact that your government did ban the use of spas in the first place, that could be very worrying to a number of international tourists worrying in the sense of a trend that could be taking root in your country. Is the Maldives becoming more religiously conservative? Are you seeing Islamic fundamentalism take root more and more there?

NASHEED: Well, we must take -- we must understand that there is rise of Islamic fundamentalism all throughout the world and specifically in Islamic countries. We have to take note of that and we have to be mindful of that.

But on the other hand, Maldives is one of the few Islamic countries who has come up with a multi-party democracy. We have established that we brought in the new constitution that a love for all the modern freedoms -- freedom of expression and so on and so forth. So basically we have to understand that Maldives is going through a transition. And what is happening right now is in mind very exciting to the extent that the silent majority want -- majority of the people of the Maldives are coming out and saying that they want to reject these extreme ideas.

LU STOUT: All right. Mohamed Nasheed, Mr. President of the Maldives. Thank you very much indeed for joining us here on News Stream.

As you heard just then, the president of the Maldives has just made the announcement that in a dramatic turnaround he has ordered resort spas to reopen there in his country.

Now unfortunately we're not going to bring you Alex Thomas with a sports update, but I can tell you about Serena Williams and her injury. Now the five time Australian Open champion has not been ruled out of the tournament just yet, but looked in considerable pain after twisting her ankle during a straight sets victory at the Brisbane International earlier. And after 10 minutes of treatment and a lot of strapping, Serena, she continued but later pulled out of the tournament on medical advice.

Now she has less than two weeks to recover before the Australian Open starts.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

END