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Nigeria on Strike; CNN Given Permission to Report From Inside Syria; Court Clears Malaysian Opposition Leader Of Sodomy Charges; Shipwreck off Coast Continues To Plague New Zealand; Massive Underground Facility Controls Flood Waters In Japan

Aired January 9, 2012 - 00:08:00   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 Nigeria, where a nationwide strike over fuel hikes brings the country to a standstill.

Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim is cleared after a two-year trial for sodomy.

And the prize for the world's best footballer is set to be announced in just a few hours, but can anyone really top Lionel Messi?

And we begin in Nigeria, a country now crippled by a wave of violent attacks and a nationwide protest. Now, in the northeastern state of Adamawa, a 24-hour curfew was imposed over the weekend after 30 Christians were killed in three days of sectarian violence. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out these attacks. And today, Nigerians launched a nationwide strike to protest the soaring cost of fuel, and there are reports of violent clashes with police.

Pump prices have doubled since the government stopped subsidizing petrol on the first of January. It says the decision will save $6 billion this year.

Labor unions are leading the strike action across Nigeria, and they want to bring the country to a complete standstill.

CNN producer Vladimir Duthiers is in Lagos. That's Nigeria's biggest city. And he joins us now live.

And Vladimir, what have you been seeing today?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN PRODUCER: Well, we started out the morning, when we got out to the streets of Lagos, the streets were deserted because everything has shut down because of a national strike day here in Nigeria. There are reports that people have been protesting all over the country.

Here in Lagos, we followed the son of the legendary artist, singer, activist, Fela Kuti, here to a park in Lagos where thousands of people gathered protesting, demanding that the government end fuel subsidies. The protests are actually happening a bit further away from me, but it's so loud, and there's so many people there, that we had to move a little further away from the actual protests. And yet, still, you can see sort of surrounding me there people everywhere in the streets, protesting.

They're angry at the removal of the fuel subsidies by President Goodluck Jonathan. The president says that these fuel subsidy removals are necessary, because he hopes to rebuild the Nigerian economy and the infrastructure. But the people here are angry and they've taken to the streets.

LU STOUT: All this action and anger there has been reaction to the government plan to remove fuel subsidies. But can you tell us how that decision is being felt among ordinary people in Nigeria? How is it changing their lives?

DUTHIERS: Well, people have to realize that most Nigerians live on less than $2 a day. So when the price of a liter of petrol doubled from about 40 cents a liter to now 86 cents a liter, so that is a real hardship for most people living here. And in Nigeria, the fact that most people don't even realize that Nigeria imports oil. With all this oil that they're sitting on here in Nigeria, they have to import their oil because they don't have the refineries to turn the oil into gasoline.

And so what people are saying is, if we're going to be part of one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, one of the benefits of that, especially if we're living on only $2 a day, is that we enjoy cheap fuel prices. But that's gone away now, and that's why they've taken to the streets in anger.

LU STOUT: And the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, he faces multiple challenges now -- this mass strike under way today, as well as the ongoing attacks by Boko Haram. Is all this adding up to a major political threat for him?

DUTHIERS: Well, the people that we've talked to say that these killings that you're mentioning, that you're talking about, Boko Haram killings in the northeastern part of the country, are putting real pressure on not only the president, but also the ordinary people here. Christians that have been attacked by the Muslim Islamist group Boko Haram thus far have not retaliated, but there have been killings almost -- practically every single day since December 25th, in which several churches in the northeastern part of the country were bombed.

Christians have not yet retaliated. President Goodluck Jonathan has called for peace and unity because this country is divided almost evenly between Muslim and Christian. But it's posing a real challenge. Not only now do we have this fuel subsidy issue, but we also have this sectarian violence that is sort of brewing, this undercurrent of sectarian violence that may break out over the next couple of days, next couple of weeks.

LU STOUT: Yes, tensions clearly on the rise there.

Vladimir, thank you for joining us live.

Vladimir Duthiers, joining us live from Lagos there in Nigeria.

Now, oil is the backbone of the Nigerian economy, and here's a sense of just how important it is.

Oil accounts for 90 percent of the country's exports and more than 80 percent of government revenue. The country's oil reserves are just as valuable on an international scale. For example, Nigeria is Africa's number one oil producer, and the number four crude oil supplier to the United States.

Turning now to Syria. And the Arab League says it plans to strengthen its fact-finding mission there.

Officials have called for more observers and more equipment. One hundred and sixty-five monitors are currently in the country. They've been criticized for not doing enough to stop the regime's violent crackdown on protesters. And the league says the success of the mission depends on the full cooperation of the Syrian government.

Now, it has been extremely difficult to know exactly what is happening inside Syria, and journalists have been consistently denied access. But now CNN has been given permission to report from inside the country.

Our Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson called us just a short time ago with an update on the situation from Damascus.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the more important details to come out of -- for the monitors, at least, the Arab League monitors here, who are here to verify that the Syrian government is abiding by what it's obligated to do in its agreement with the Arab League, which is remove heavy weapons and armed forces from civilian areas -- they're here to monitor that -- one of the monitors told me that the statement that the Arab League gave was important in two aspects. One, that it didn't condemn the regime of Bashar al-Assad, although he did say that the government still has a lot to do in terms of obligation. And the other point that he said that was important for the government of Bashar al-Assad was that the Arab League report stated that there were armed groups here than just the government security services, meaning the opposition has armed groups.

For the Arab League to say that, this monitor told me that would be an important thing for Bashar al-Assad.


LU STOUT: Nic Robertson reporting from inside Syria there.

And in Malaysia, after almost two years on trial, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is a free man. The Kuala Lumpur high court acquitted him of sodomy earlier today, and the judge said the DNA evidence was unreliable since it could have been contaminated.


LU STOUT (voice-over): When Anwar Ibrahim walked out of court victorious today, he was greeted by thousands of supporters overjoyed by the verdict. The decision surprised many, including Anwar himself. He spoke to CNN on the phone just after leaving the court.

ANWAR IBRAHIM, OPPOSITION LEADER, MALAYSIA: I was with my family. The children were ecstatic. And the crowd over there was just in disbelief. They know the system.

I was ready. I got my toiletries, I got my medicine all set for the -- you know, the possibility of going back to prison.

LU STOUT: A conviction, even if he only got a suspended sentence or refined, would have meant an automatic ban on holding political office. Anwar has all along claimed that the charges were trumped up and a blatant attempt by the government to keep the charismatic leader of the opposition out of general elections that are expected some time this year. Government officials have strongly denied any intervention in the trial and say the court's decision backs them up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not and it was never motivated by conspiracy by the executive or conspiracy by the government. It was a complaint by a private individual, and Anwar had his day in court. So did this gentleman. And the Malaysian judiciary has demonstrated its independence in coming to a verdict this morning.

LU STOUT: This is the second time Anwar has been charged with sodomy, which is illegal under Malaysian law. It can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

In 1998, after a very public falling out with then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, he was sacked from his post as deputy prime minister and charged with graft (ph) and sodomy. He was eventually convicted and jailed on both counts. Although the sodomy verdict was overturned in 2004, the corruption conviction carried a ban from official politics that lasted until 2008.

In the general elections of that year, his opposition political alliance made unprecedented gains. And while the ruling national front coalition managed to hold onto power, it had its worst showing since Malaysia gained independence in 1957.

Fresh from his victory in court, Anwar Ibrahim is looking to his political future.

IBRAHIM: I'm going to focus on the next general elections. But we want the independent judiciary (INAUDIBLE).

LU STOUT: He's not just free, he's free to practice politics.


LU STOUT: Now, Anwar says he is ready to start campaigning again, and already he has gone to Twitter to launch a rallying cry against the Malaysian government. Today, January the 9th, hashtag 901@anwaribahim tweeted this: "In the coming election, voice of the people will be heard and this corrupt government will be toppled from its pedestals of power."

Ahead here on NEWS STREAM, another well-known name in politics, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharaf, is pledging to return to his country despite an arrest warrant.

Plus, the next key date is approaching on the U.S. presidential calendar. We'll tell you why some charge the election process is unfair.

And the forces of nature cannot be tamed, but can they be redirected? We'll show you how the creative use of technology is working to stop flooding in Japan.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

"I am coming, Pakistan." With those words, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharaf pledged to return to his country later this month, and he says he plans to run in elections next year. Pakistani officials say a warrant has already been issued for his arrest in connection with the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Now, Musharaf's attorney says the threat of arrest is politically motivated.

On Sunday, Musharaf told Pakistanis that he "succeeded" 100 percent in leading the country. So let's take a look now at his time in power.

Now, back in October of 1999, he led a coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, becoming head of the government. And Musharaf then appointed himself as president in June, 2011. And over the next seven years as president, he clashed with the country's supreme court and amended Pakistan's constitution many times.

The changes gave his office more political power and allowed army officers like himself to serve as president. And he only stepped down as the leader of Pakistan's army the day before he was sworn in as president for the third time. That was in November of 2007.

Now, less than a year later, though, in August of 2008, he announced his resignation. Soon after, he left Pakistan for London.

In the summer of 2009, Pakistan's supreme court ruled that Musharaf had violated the constitution by declaring a state of emergency some 20 months earlier. But his political ambitions did not end there.

In May of 2010, Musharaf told CNN that he planned to reenter Pakistani politics. That was a year and a half ago, and those ambitions haven't gone away.

CNN's Reza Sayah spoke with Pervez Musharaf earlier on Monday in Dubai, where he joins us now.

And Reza, why does Musharaf feel so compelled to risk his freedom and return to Pakistan?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he says he's the right man to fix Pakistan's many problems. General Musharaf always makes things interesting, it seems.

We interviewed him here at his Dubai office a couple of hours ago. He has a home here in Dubai, as well as London. He spent time in those two cities. He went into self-exile in 2008.

This is obviously a man who doesn't lack confidence. He seems to relish being in the political spotlight. He's been away from it for the past four years, but now he says he wants to get back into it.

Last night in Dubai, he announced that he's going to come back to Pakistan later this month, some time between January 27th and January 30th. In Karachi, a gathering took in the address. General Musharaf says there were about 45,000 people there. Other estimates say the number is closer to 20,000.

Either way, it wasn't an earth-shattering event. It wasn't a remarkable gathering. He himself acknowledges he needs much more public support to succeed.

Here's a brief exchange we had with General Musharaf earlier today.


SAYAH: You told your gathering on Sunday you have to make a decision whether you want the same old political parties or leaders or you want a change in Pakistan.

Can you understand that many see you as one of the old political leaders?

PERVEZ MUSHARAF, FMR. PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: I am one of the old, but the difference is the other olds have not performed. They fear the country. They've been trying three times or more, every time failed. I have been trying once for 10 years and I succeeded.

SAYAH: The argument is you had your chance. For roughly eight years, you had some success, but ultimately, you failed and people wanted you out.

MUSHARAF: Again, illogical. Firstly, they are not performing. So therefore, there has to be somebody to perform.

Secondly, when they say I've had my time, I had my time in (INAUDIBLE), but I scored (ph) a century.


SAYAH: That was General Musharaf talking to us earlier today, as feisty and defiant as ever, making his argument why he believes he's the right man to fix Pakistan's problems. Again, he's coming back later this month. A lot of people waiting to see what happens -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yes. Interesting to hear him use that cricket metaphor there, too.

Now, what did Pervez Musharaf tell you about the threat of arrest upon arrival in Pakistan? How worried is he?

SAYAH: Well, he says he's concerned. He says he's not afraid. He says he's doing this for the country. But certainly it is a possibility.

It's not clear if he is going to be arrested. Officials from the civilian government have said yes, he will be arrested. The military has stayed quiet. Remember, the army chief right now is the same man that Musharaf appointed when he was in power. Some say it's unlikely that General Kayani is going to support his arrest.

There's also reports that he's going to go to Saudi Arabia -- General Musharaf is -- to get assurances from the Saudi government, which has a lot of influence over Pakistan, assurances that he won't be arrested. That's something he denies. He says he doesn't need assurances and he's going to go in and take his chances. It certainly should be interesting.

One thing to point out, even though he's making headlines, few observers believe he's going to make a serious impact on the political scene in Pakistan. But again, because of his name and his past, he's going to make the headlines, and he is.

LU STOUT: All right. Thank you very much indeed for sharing that interview with us.

Reza Sayah, joining us live from Dubai.

Now, after the break, we'll go live to Zurich. And can anyone stop Lionel Messi from winning his third straight award as the world's best footballer? Pedro Pinto will have a preview next.


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

Now, only hours from now, football's governing body, FIFA, is set to announce the 2011 Player of the Year. Among the nominees, Portugal's Christiano Ronaldo and Spanish star Xavi. But neither is expected to beat this man to the honor, Lionel Messi of Argentina.

He's shooting for a third straight award, and CNN's Pedro Pinto has more.


PEDRO PINTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the one party this year no player wants to miss. On Monday evening, the great and the good from the world of football will gather in Zurich to crown the best performers of the past year.

The top prize on offer is the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or. Lionel Messi of Argentina, Christiano Ronaldo of Portugal, and Xavi of Spain are the nominees. Few are betting against Messi taking home the award for a third straight year. The 24-year-old Barcelona star scored 54 goals in 62 games in all competitions for club and country, while the (ph) inspired (INAUDIBLE) to a league and champions league double.

Xavi claimed both of those titles as well, but the midfield maestro isn't expected to win the award. Messi's main rival will be Ronaldo. The winger fared even better than the tiny Argentinean in the goal-scoring stakes (ph), netting an incredible 56 times in 54 games for Real Madrid and Portugal. But a lack of silverware (ph) could go against him with the Spanish Copa del Rey, his only trophy of the year.

DWIGHT YORKE, FMR. MANCHESTER UNITED FORWARD: Right now, because of what Barcelona is doing, the way Barcelona is playing, I think Messi certainly was thinking he has the edge over it. But when you look at Ronaldo, what he's doing there single-handedly at Real Madrid is just phenomenal.

EDGAR DAVIDS, FMR. JUVENTUS MIDFIELDER: They're great guys, absolutely great personalities. And, you know, as a fan, you just want to see them flourish both, and may the best guy win.

PINTO (on camera): How tough is it to face a guy like Messi?

WOJCIECH SCZESNY, ARSENAL GOALKEEPER: It's tough. It's tough. But, you know, everyone knows Messi is the best player in the world. I personally think that in a few years, we'll be talking about the best player in history of football.

EDWIN VAN DER SAR, FMR. MANCHESTER UNITED GOALKEEPER: The thing with Ronaldo is, when I met him six years ago, he said, "I want to be the best player in the world." And probably a lot of people say that, a lot of players say that, but he's someone who really worked on it.

PINTO (voice-over): Brazilian superstar Marta is aiming to win the FIFA's Women's World Player of the Year Award for an unprecedented six times. The other nominees are World Cup winner Homare Sawa of Japan and team USA's forward, Abby Wambach.

There are other prizes that will be given out in Zurich. Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will battle it out for the Coach of the Year Award.

GABRIELLE MARCOTTI, ITALIAN JOURNALIST: I'll sound boring and I will say Pep Guardiola. And it's not just the football played in winning the champions league so seemingly effortlessly last year. It was also the philosophy that he brought and also that willingness to renew yourself.

You know, this year we've seen them move to a 3-4-3 at times, we've seen them use players in different positions. It's almost as if he's not content to sit with what he has, but he's always looking to go to the next level. And he's delivering results as well.


LU STOUT: And we will have more sports a little later in the hour. Can Tim Tebow continue his incredible run against the Pittsburgh Steelers? We've got the highlights coming up.

And we look at the heady process of the U.S. caucuses and primaries and tell you why some people think the system needs to be changed.

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

Now police in Nigeria have reportedly shot and killed a protester in the city of Legos. Heated demonstrations like this have been ongoing since the start of January when the government stopped subsidizing the cost of fuel. The Reuters news agency says three other people were also injured in the altercation.

Malaysia's high court has acquitted opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy. Anwar said that the charges were an attempt to end his political career. And the verdict has concluded a two year trial means that he is now able to run in this year's election.

Iran state run media say an Iranian-American has been sentenced to death for spying. Former U.S. marine Amir Hakmati was found guilty of working for the CIA. His family doesn't believe his confession was voluntary. Hakmati was arrested in Iran while visiting relatives in August.

And more talks between France and Germany about Europe's debt crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are meeting in Berlin with the emphasis on getting the EuroZone economy growing again. A key part of that is getting EuroZone countries to accept greater supervision of their budgets.

And U.S. Republicans still hoping to win their party's nomination have one last day to campaign before the primary in New Hampshire. And the race is now down to six major candidates. Opinion polls suggest that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will win tomorrow's vote.

And critics charge that the U.S. voting process flawed. And tradition aside, they say the system as it stands today shows statistical bias. Jonathan Mann has more.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United States is one of the world's oldest democracies, but many critics say this is no way to elect a president and here is why. The first two nominating contests are in Iowa and New Hampshire. A win in either state can give a candidate momentum. But there's a problem with giving those two states so much power, they're tiny. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Iowa is the 30th biggest state in the U.S. by population, New Hampshire the 40th. Together, they make up less than 1.5 percent of the population and yet they could decide the Republican nominee for president.

Another criticism is the state's racial make-up. 94 percent of Iowa residents white, New Hampshire is even whiter, more than 95 percent white. Those states don't reflect a country where fewer than two-thirds are citizens, but they still play a huge role in the process and give the winners a boost they can use in fundraising.

Which is the next issue: money. That's Mitt Romney's opinion, and the U.S. Supreme Court agrees. The court has ruled that corporations and unions have the right to free speech, including the right to run ads that address issues without endorsing a particular candidate. That allowed groups known as Super PACs, or political action comimttees, to raise and spend limitless amounts of money. Romney has been a big beneficiary.

ANNOUNCER: Haven't we had enough mistakes?

MANN: Restore Our Future is a Super PAC created to support Romney. It spent $3 million in Iowa to bash Romney's rivals and President Barack Obama too.

But it isn't just a Republican tactic. Priorities USA, a pro Obama Super PAC, raked in more than $3 million in the same period. Both groups, by law, aren't controlled by the actual campaigns, but they are led by former aids and supporters. That means a potential third party would need a huge bank roll to even think about running against the Democrats and Republicans. Including congressional races, one analyst believes $8 billion could be spent in the 2012 election, $8 billion. That's $26 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

After all is said and done, an American candidate can win more votes than his or her opponent and still lose. It happened most recently in 2000 where Al Gore lost to George W. Bush despite winning half a million more votes. Gore can blame the electoral college, the system designed by the founding fathers creates a winner take all race in each of the 50 states. Then those states cast votes for president regardless of the overall result. States that fell heavily to one party or the other where a candidate knows they'll win or lose can be safely ignored during the campaign. A handful of swing states like Ohio or Florida will decide the election.

Carry those two and a candidate can start picking out the drapes for the Oval Office.

Jonathan Mann, CNN, Atlanta.


LU STOUT: Now this is the fate of a cargo ship that ran aground on a reef off the coast of New Zealand in October last year. The Rena has split in two, spewing containers and other debris and triggering fears of a fresh oil spill. Now hundreds of tons of oil have already leaked form the ship. And New Zealand's environment minister has called the Rena's grounding the country's worst maritime environmental disaster.

And this is where the Rena is stuck, it's about 12 nautical miles, or 22 kilometers off the coast of New Zealand's North Island near the resort city of Tauranga.

Now this is the Rena this Monday as seen from an observation flyby by the Maritime New Zealand Agency. And the sections of the ship are now about 30 meters apart, but they are still lodged on the Astrolabe reef.

And this is the kind of damage that, compounded by the bad weather, saw the vessel split up. And even in this photograph from back in October it shows an already wide fracture on the starboard side of the stranded ship.

And then the ship, it was listing badly leading to dramatic images like this showing containers starting to spill over the side.

Now Maritime New Zealand now says that 150 containers have since been lost to the sea. And 12 containers, like this one in this image, have washed ashore. Now 40 more are floating in the water, but it could have been worse. Salvage crews have been working for months to remove containers safely from the Rena's holds.

And take a look at this, now on the left you can see the Rena as she was in October, piled high with containers. And on the right, just half of the ship is seen today, almost empty.

Now, bad weather is still forecasted in the area. Let's get the forecast now with Mari Ramos. She joins us live from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, those pictures are really amazing when you think about how large that ship was, how many containers were on board, how big each one of those containers is and to have so many of them lost at sea, that is a concern, because some of them could break up and some of that debris could float into those beaches. They say -- Maritime New Zealand said that 12 container ships have actually rested on the shore already like you mentioned. So that is definitely a big deal.

Now we've had worse weather. And of course over the weekend it was worse when ship was breaking up, but we're in between systems, so to speak. We have an area of low pressure that will be coming along. You can see a little bit of a circulation right there over the North Island of New Zealand. If that comes through, we are expecting some more rain across the area. So there's going to be a lot of different things that they're going to have to deal with over the next 24 hours at least.

Now the salvage crews can not get on board to actually remove containers off the ship or do any kind of work on any of the salvage operations, because the weather has been bad. Not only do they have to deal with those two meter swells minimum as we head through the next day or so, but also the winds will be quite strong. Anything over 20 kilometer per hour winds, those rescue personnel will not go onboard, because it would be too dangerous.

Now there's also going to be rain at times and poor visibility is still a huge concern. They have to make sure that everything is OK before they can actually continue their work not just on the ship itself, but remember on shore as well.

The crews are standing by waiting for breaks in the weather. We should see an improvement as we head to tomorrow night. So at least a little bit of a hope here so they can get their work going again. And that's just so painful for people to watch and have to wait. And they wonder why they're not doing more, because the weather is so bad. They just have to wait until it gets a little better.

And the weather will be improving across Madagascar here. Here you see the island of Madagascar, there's Mozambique. Here's the rest of Africa. And we had a tropical cyclone that made landfall in the last 24 hours. I did want to show you, though, that we're still expecting some heavy rain with this weather system. So that's still going to be a concern. The threat for flooding and mudslides even as the storm continues to dissipate over the high terrain there.

Let's go ahead and move on and talk a little bit about the weather in Asia. I want to start you in South Asia first of all. And let's head to Pakistan over here. Across the north Pakistan, Islamabad, of course a large city, over a million people in population. Well, the city kind of spills over a little bit over into the mountainous areas. And in the mountains, they've had their first snowfall since 2005.

This is actually pretty cool. For most people, a welcome sight. But it has caused some problems. Kids overall appeared to be enjoying it, but there have been some problems with transportation, with power outages, and of course it is still so cold over this region.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast next.

It's 11 in Islamabad right now. That's not too bad, right? It's of course much colder as we head into areas to the north. This is a picture from Srinagar in India. Talk about breaking the ice there, Kristie. They are trying to get moving through some of these lakes and river systems, but it has been very difficult. A lot of power outages in those areas as well.

As we head to east Asia, temperatures remain fairly cold, especially in the north. Bad air quality again, a problem for you in Beijing. And some rain showers expected as we head across through the Philippines, nothing to be too concerned about, but just some scattered rain showers in your forecast.

And in Europe, what a flip-flop of temperatures we've had. Still very warm here across the west. And the snowfall will continue in areas to the east. Watch for some heavy snowfall as we head back over into eastern Europe, Turkey, and also through the Alps. Some welcome snowfall again over these areas, but it remained warm here across much of the west. Above average temperatures.

It's 11 in London right now, Kristie. Talk about a January thaw. 11 will be the high over the next three days in the city. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Well, folks they better enjoy it. Mari Ramos, thank you and take here.

Now ahead on News Stream, peace on the peninsula, a new generation of South Koreans tries to break down barriers with the north. We'll get how that is affecting the country's relationship with China. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now South Korea is seeking China's help to keep the peace on the Korean Peninsula. Now President Lee Myung-Bak is in Beijing for the first major meeting between the two country's leaders since the death of North Korea's Kim Jong-Il.

Now CNN senior international correspondent Stan Grant takes a closer look at their complex relationship from a generation hoping to bridge the political divide.


KWON HYUK SANG, SOUTH KOREAN BUSINESS CAMP: Actually I don't like China. I hate Beijing.



GRANT: Kwon Hyuk Sang could never be called diplomatic. The 30-year- old Korean doesn't hide his feelings about Bejing. But he is part of a new generation breaking down political barriers to reach out to China. It isn't always easy.

SANG: Normally I really like to stay with Chinese people, but some people I really hate, because they are kind of rude.

GRANT: I met Sang over lunch at a crowded Korean restaurant. He works here in property development, linking Chinese investors with Korean projects.

He's been in China over four years. He studied Mandarin and speaks the language fluently.

Life is less expensive here, he says. He can eat out more. He doesn't have to log the long hours he would back home. He's formed friendships. But still, he says, there's a divide, especially when it comes to South Korea's ties to the United States.

SANG: China, the States, Korea, different three countries. So sometimes you can trust, but sometimes cannot.

GRANT: And there's the problem. China is wary of the U.S. troop presence in South Korea and joint war games off the Chinese coast. As analysts in Beijing say, memories of the Korean War die hard. The death of Kim Jong-Il has redrawn the battle lines. South Korea and the U.S. on one side, China lining up with the North and the fresh new leader Kim Jong-un. Any talk of a reunified Korean Peninsula still rings alarm bells to China's Communist Party.

TENG JIMENG, PROFESSOR, BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIVERSITY: China was -- is very much concerned about land border. And if there is a unified Korea and then it might invite a kind of possible intruder, because we still have fresh memory of the war in Korea in the 1950s.

GRANT: Still, there's a lot on the plus side. Trade between China and South Korean topping more than $200 billion last year. That means opportunity.

This is Korea Town, a little slice of Seoul right in the heart of Beijing. Here you can find signs in Korean, of course Korean restaurants and Korean people. According to some estimates, there are between 100,000 and 150,000 Koreans in Beijing.

And Kwon Hyuk Sang will be one of them for years to come. Who knows, he says, he may even marry a Chinese woman.

And did you ever have a Chinese girlfriend?

SANG: Yeah. For years. I OK, man.


GRANT: There are some things that break down all barriers.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LU STOUT: So if you were a North Korean watching North Korean television on Sunday, this is what you would have seen.

The news Supreme Commander Kim Jong-Un breathlessly described by the anchor as the genius among the geniuses in military strategy who skipped meals and did not sleep before finishing his first thesis on military strategy at age 16.

Now Sunday also happens to be the young Kim's birthday. He's either 28, 29, or 30 years old. Notably, there was no mention of that by North Korea's state controlled media.

Now coming up, negotiating mother nature. We take you to this amazing underground facility in Japan that's protecting farmers against the threat of floods. The details next on News Stream.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And time now for a sports update. And he is a player who divides opinion among fans of American football, but Tim Tebow has delivered another headline grabbing performance. Alex Thomas is in London with the details -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, he was a talented college player with an unorthodox style, so some expected him to struggle when it came to the professional game. But, you know, Tim Tebow surprised many NFL experts this season. And after guiding the Denver Broncos to 7 wins in 8 games, the quarterback did look out of his depth when they lost their final three fixtures of the regular season. However, against the suspect ankle of Ben Roethlisberger and the the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow's magic returned on the first weekend of the playoffs.

The Steelers took an early lead. But here's Tebow in the second quarter with a 30 yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal. And Denver moved into a 7-6 lead.

And the Broncos had increased their advantage to 14 points by the third when Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace takes the hand-off on the speed sweep into the end zone for the touchdown.

Denver's advantage was just 7 points in the fourth quarter when Willis McGahee fumbles and the Steelers recover. A crucial moment in the game, and it allows Pittsburgh to get back on level terms.

Take a look at Roethlisberger moving out of the pocket to buy some time, froze to the end zone where Jericho Cotchery makes a great catch to tie the game at 23-all. Even watching Bronco's legend John Elway was as gripped as the rest of us.

We're into over-time. And here's Tebow finding Demarius Thomas over the middle. Thomas races 80 yards for the game winning touchdown. That play taking just 11 seconds, the quickest ending to an overtime in NFL history. Denver beat Pittsburgh 29-23. That man Tebow back in the limelight.

On to the New York Giants who were hosting the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday's other wild card game. Pick it up with quarterback Eli Manning in the second quarter linking up with Hakeem Nicks for the four yard touchdown and a 7-2 Giants lead.

Now it's fourth and inches in the third. And the Falcons turned down a field goal chance to go for it. But Matt Ryan stopped short of a first down.

And just three plays later, Manning makes them pay. Throws over of the middle to Nicks who runs right down the field straight through the Falcon's defense. A 72 yard touchdown puts New York 17-2 up.

Pretty easy going for them, really.

In the fourth, Manning has plenty of time to find Mario Manningham. A 27 yard touchdown this time. It's all pretty easy for New York. And they win it by 24-2.

From one football to another now in the revival of England's FA Cup after an eventful match between Manchester's two biggest clubs and even more thrilling fourth round draw. QPR will host Chelsea, possibly pitting John Terry and Anton Ferdinand against each other. And there's some mention of peace talks between Liverpool and Manchester United after the two rivals were drawn to face each other at Anfield.

This is how United got to the fourth round. Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck leading the Premier Champion's attack. And after just 10 minutes, Antonio Velencia's cross was met by a determined Rooney. And his brilliantly timed header powered in off the underside of the cross bar.

Moments later, City down to 10 men after Vincent Kompany's airborne two footed challenge punished with a straight red card.

And United soon doubled their lead. The extra man counting, a City clearance deflecting off Samir Nasri. Danny Welbeck then whips it inside the far post. Worth another look. An excellent finish from the young striker. So much expected of him.

Before half-time United had a penalty kick. Rooney's first effort was save, but the striker followed up and headed the ball home in slippery conditions at Eastland.

Not the end of the match, though. Aleksander Kolarov firing home a free kick as 10 man Manchester City staged a second half comeback. With less than half an hour to go Sergio Aguero pulled another goal back for the home team. But they couldn't find an equalizer. And United held on to a 3-2 win.

Brace up there Kristie. That's all the sport for now. Back to you in Hong Kong.

LU STOUT: All right, Alex, thank you and take care.

Now it serves a very practical purpose -- preventing Japan's farmland from flooding. But a remarkable underground facility is attracting attention for a different reason. Andrew Stevens reports.


ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTENRATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You would never know from looking at this farmland about an hours drive from Tokyo that beneath the surface behind a government building near a skate park is an entrance to an amazing feat of engineering, something that looks like it's out of a sci-fi movie, it's actually one part of a massive water discharge tunnel, a vast complex built to prevent scenes like this -- flooding in the fields above.

TAKASHI KOMIYAMA, OUTER FLOODWAY MANAGEMENT (through translator): This region is close to Tokyo and has been developing at a very fast rate. Before, the region had many more rice patties, which acted as drains for the rain water, but those have been replaced by roads and houses. And there's a higher risk of floods.

STEVENS: Here's how it works. To prevent flooding from one of the rivers above, a series of tanks linked by a tunnel move water from one place to another. That tunnel runs about six kilometers, or 4 miles. And is connected to five massive storage tanks. How big are those storage tanks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This bank is 30 meters wide and 70 meters deep. An American space shuttle, or the Statue of Liberty could fit in here.

STEVENS: The system is powered by four massive pumps driven by gas turbines, essentially modified aircraft engines. And when set into motion, engineers say they can drain the equivalent of a 25 meter swimming pool in a second.

This towering cave-like structure helps stabilize the flows between the tanks and eventually pumps water into the Edo River.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Water comes flowing into here from the five banks and towards the pumps, towards the back of the tank. One of its functions is to store water underground.

STEVENS: In all, the drainage system has been used more than 50 times over the past 10 years. A complex solution to an age old problem.

Andrew Stevens, CNN, Tokyo.


LU STOUT: Wow, incredible pictures and incredible solution.

And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. WORLD BUSINESS TODAY is next.