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Libyan National Football Team Plays First Post-Gadhafi Tournament; Turkey, France Clash Over New Armenian Genocide Law; Gingrich Wins South Carolina; Year Of The Dragon; Arab League Remains In Syria

Aired January 23, 2012 - 00:08:00   ET


ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWS STREAM where news and technology meet. Hello, I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. We start in Syria, where the government is saying to an Arab League plan calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Newt Gingrich rides a surge of support from the South Carolina primary. We'll break down the numbers behind his rapid rise in the U.S. Republican race. And with fanfare and fireworks, the world welcomed the lunar year of the dragon.

Well, the Syrian government is rejecting calls to form a unity government. And for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his deputy. Well, the Arab League proposed the move on Sunday at a meeting in Cairo. It urged the Syrian government to begin discussions with the opposition within two weeks, but already, Syria has rejected the proposal describing them as blatant intervention in its internal affairs.

Well, meanwhile, the Arab League says it plans to extend its monitoring mission in Syria, but Saudi Arabia won't participate.


SAUD AL FAISAL, PRINCE, SAUDI ARABIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The crimes committed against our Syrian brothers must stop. And therefore, my country has decided to withdraw its monitors due to the fact that the Syrian government has not implemented any aspects of the Arab solution, who's objective is mainly to put an end to the Syrian bloodshed.


COREN: We are going to Arwa Damon, who joins us on the phone from the embattled city of Homs. And Arwa, you are on a government trip to Homs. Tell us what have you witnessed? I believe you've been to a military hospital?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been quite interesting, Anna. We were at a military hospital. And there, you really begin to see the toll that the fighting has been taking on the security forces. And one also gains a greater understanding for just how intense the battle has become between the Syrian Army and the free Syrian army. That is the umbrella organization that's largely made up of defectors. In the hospital, we saw a young man who had just been shot in the head. He's in the intensive care unit. He'd just been brought in a half an hour before we arrived. We spoke with a number of doctors there. And they were telling us that on a daily average, and bear in mind, this is just in one city, but in homes and around it, the casualties are getting at the military hospital. Five people, five soldiers are dying a day they're saying, and another 30 are being wounded.

Driving through the city itself, I would say 70 to 80 percent of the shops were shut. Those in the area that we were in, it was very close to the center of the city itself, were without power. Before it was--they get it on eight hours of power a day. And the vast majority of areas in the city, the government escorts we were with would simply say it was too dangerous to go to. In fact, for the better part of the time that we were inside the city of Homs, I would say around 20 minutes, we were hearing at times sporadic gunfire and at other times fairly intense sustained machine gunfire echoing through these narrow alleyways.

Residents in this particular area, and it was a predominantly Christian area, were saying that this has become their daily lives. They've had to adjust their (INAUDIBLE) to this, because they say this type of gunfire, the battles that have been raging around them are something that they are not familiar with. And it most certainly seems as if the opposition, the pre-Syrian army, whatever other armed elements there are gaining more and more ground when it comes to the city of Homs. But it's really emerged as the epicenter of these ongoing clashes between government forces and those of the opposition, Anna.

COREN: Yes, Arwa, you, of course, are getting the government perspective. Are they allowing you to speak to the local residents and get a feel for how the residents are feeling?

DAMON: You know, it's a lot of complex emotions for many people, no matter which side of the spectrum they fall on. Those two (INAUDIBLE) the government speak about how they're under assault by these armed gangs, these terrorists.

We spoke to a couple of young women who own a shop, who were afraid to actually speak on camera, because they said they were afraid of criticizing what they were calling these armed gangs, saying that they would come after them--and said they were afraid to publicly voice their support for the government. But at the same time, one (INAUDIBLE) and said that we weren't getting the entire picture. She said that she (INAUDIBLE) by the government. And that is why she is unwilling to speak on camera.

A number of residents also were just expressing their fears. And they were also trying to describe what a confusing situation it was for them, their reality is entirely altered. At the end of the day, they said they used to live in a fairly secure environment. And now their lives have been taken over by this uprising, by violence they can't fully comprehend, by circumstances they can't fully comprehend. The situation remains murky for us as journalists, but also for residents who cannot make sense of the violence, who are struggling to comprehend exactly how (INAUDIBLE) their country has found itself in this situation.

We're also hearing more and more people reluctantly talking about their fears that their culture's beginning to disintegrate, that the social fabric that is Syria is beginning to disintegrate. And what many people are especially concerned about is the fact that there seems to be no viable solution out there, nobody from either side is able to put forward a proposal that is going to even begin to remotely bring both sides to the negotiating table at this stage.

COREN: Yes, there really is a sense of hopelessness, obviously, the Arab League's proposals been flatly rejected. They're now appealing for the U.N. So it'll just be I guess a matter of time to see how the international community reacts. Arwa Damon joining us from Homs. Thank you.

Well, joining now to another embattled leader, Yemen's President Ali Abdulluh Saleh is on his way to the United States for treatment of wounds he suffered in a bomb attack in June. He's being described as a private medical visitor. Well, en route, Mr. Saleh stopped in neighboring Oman. Before he left Yemen, the parliament approved a controversial law granting him complete immunity from prosecution. Well, in return, after months of anti government street demonstrations, Mr. Saleh will step down from power next month. Well, in a speech broadcast on Yemeni state TV on Sunday, he apologized to his people.


ALI ABDULLUH SALEH, YEMENI PRESIDENT (through translator): I demand a pardon from all the sons of the nation, men and women. The shortcomings occurred during my 33 year term. And I ask for forgiveness. And I apologize to all the citizens of Yemen.


COREN: Well, Mr. Saleh also called on protestors to stop demonstrating, and to start a new page with the new leadership. He is expected to return to Yemen next month.

Well, an historic day in Egypt. The company's parliament is convening for the first time since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year. Well, these are pictures of the lower house preparing for its first sitting session. Well much of the focus will be on overseeing the drafting of a new constitution, but the military government still holds the reins of power in the country. Well, many say progress hinges upon cooperation between those leaders and their political counterparts. The military has promised to hand over responsibility after presidential elections in June.

Well, Islamist parties hold a majority of seats in the new parliament. For more, let's bring in senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman in Cairo. Now, Ben, when we speak about these Islamist parties, obviously, we must mention the Muslim Brotherhood. They have won almost what half the seats in Parliament. You know, not long ago, they were a criminal organization. And Hosni Mubarak, yes, tell us how will they shape the Egyptian parliament.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I think that's the big question everybody's asking. Now the Brotherhood certainly is far more moderate than the second largest party in the 508 member of the-- members of the lower house of parliament, that other party is the Salafi Noor (ph) party, which got around 23 percent of the vote. And they are much more hard lined.

The Brotherhood, even though it's illegal under Hosni Mubarak, was actually allowed to operate. Their members would run for seats in parliament as independents, but everybody knew where they were coming from.

Now the Brotherhood, obviously, their first priority given the dire state of the Egyptian economy, is going to be to somehow get the economy working again. Egypt's foreign currency reserves have been half since the beginning of the year. Unemployment is up. As many as 4,500 factories have shut down as a result of the unrest that followed the revolution. So there does seem to be a lot of pressure from ordinary Egyptians on this parliament to simply get life back to normal.

Now I'm outside the parliament now, where there's several hundred people demonstrating, calling for the military counsel that currently runs this country to--down to their two very different narratives here, those who want to return to normal, and those possibly a minority who want this revolution to carry on. Anna?

COREN: Yes, Ben, tell us about those two narratives, because obviously, this is an historic day, as we mentioned in the introduction. The inaugural session of his new parliament, but are there people who feel that this is just more of the same?

WEDEMAN: Nobody's suggesting it's more of the same. There is a feeling that this is sort of as the first experiment in democracy for Egypt. And therefore, they will point out to the fact that the-- that (INAUDIBLE) Christians make up about (INAUDIBLE) percent of the population, only occupy at best about 1.5 percent of the speech. So they're not going to be well represented. Women also, only 12 seats out of 508, they're also--their voice is probably not going to be heard very well in the parliament also.

Many Egyptians you speak to will tell you that they don't expect this parliament to last more than a year or two. And a constitution still has to be drafted. A president has to be elected. The supreme council of the armed forces is pledging to step down, cede power to civilians in June. But until that happens, there's going to be a lot of uncertainty about what role this parliament, what powers this parliament actually had.

COREN: Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joining us from Cairo. Thank you.

One year after Egyptians rose up to demand change in their country, Ben has been speaking to five people who participated in the protests. We'll hear their accounts of events of the last year in a CNN special Egypt Unfinished Revolution. That's Tuesday at midday here in Hong Kong right here on CNN.

Well, you watching a train coming up. Just following orders was Francesco Schettino called to take the Costa Concordia closer to shore? We'll tell you what Italian media are reporting.

And after a series of deadly terror attacks, we get the latest live from Nigeria.

Who will face Obama in the November presidential elections? Well, a surprise win in South Carolina shake up the Republican presidential hopefuls?


COREN: Well, the captain of the Costa Concordia says he was ordered to maneuver the cruiseliner closer to shore by the ship's owner. The claims reportedly come from late transcripts published in Italian newspaper "La Republica."

According to Italian media, the ship's captain Francesco Schettino apparently told investigators that he got away from the ship on board a motorboat that may have hit people in the water. Well, Italian officials say rescue workers will go on looking for 19 people still missing from the accident. On Sunday, divers found another body on the ship, bringing the death toll to 13.

Well, now to Nigeria, where the northern city of Kano is recovering from a series of explosions that killed almost 160 people on Friday. Well, President Goodluck Jonathan toured the area on Sunday. The theme, charred buildings and neighborhoods in ruins. Islamists group Boco Haram (ph) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks. Well, government officers and police stations were among the targets. A military official says the number of deaths is expected to rise.

Well, authorities have lifted a daytime curfew imposed now to the bombings. CNN's Nima Elbagir is monitoring the story from Lagos in Nigeria.

Nima, we know that both Muslims and Christians have been called on to heed a day of prayer. Tell me will these attacks unite or divide this country?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what these attacks really represent here, Anna, is a broadening of the scope of Boko Haram's area of operation. They've mainly been in the Northeast up until this point to go west into Kano. And there are also other attacks in Bauchi (ph) state in which 11 people were killed. Some of those also civilians.

So even if there is a day of mourning, that the president has been (INAUDIBLE) even if people do start speaking about the possibility of this unifying Nigeria, the only thing that's unifying them at the moment, this is what we're hearing for the people we're speaking to, is fear. There really is a sense of the security situation here is unraveling. You have those attacks across the north. We also had reports over the weekend that have now been confirmed to us by the U.S. embassy that a U.S. citizen has been kidnapped in the (INAUDIBLE) Delta state.

In addition to a bomb attack on a bridge in President Goodluck Jonathan's home state, there really is a sense that the Nigerian government is unable to cope with these attacks coming from all sides, bearing in mind that this was a man who stepped up after the fall of (INAUDIBLE) was killed. He was never really anybody's first choice of candidate.

We've also been hearing from a lot of people that those Muslims who are in the south are a minority. And those Christians in the north are a minority. Many of them are wondering if it's time for them to move to places where there is at least some sort of safety in numbers.

COREN: Now tell us a little bit more about the group responsible for these attacks, Boko Haram (ph) they want an Islamic state, but how widespread is their support?

ELGAGIR: Well, what's pretty interesting is that Boko Haram (ph) really doesn't seem to have a centralized institutional infrastructure. So there are some parts of the group who are calling for a completely new form of Islamic law in the north of Nigeria. There is already (INAUDIBLE) out there. And there are others that calling for an overthrow of the government.

What has emerged from this situation really is that the government who believes that it's affirmed their belief, the Boko Haram (ph) has tentacles stretching across Africa, security sources have been telling me that they believe that Boko Haram (ph) has been training Wilel Shabab (ph) militants in Somalia, the strike against the passport immigration offices over the weekend they believe to be retaliation for the deportation of hundreds of Nigerians and Chadeans who they say have been working with Boko Haram (ph). And Chad is quite far east from Nigeria. So they do believe that this part of a militant network that is across Nigeria. And that's why they're calling for help from the international people who support them, because they think that this is not just a Nigerian problem anymore, Anna.

COREN: Nima Elgagir in Lagos , Nigeria, thank you for that.

Well, you are watching NEWS STREAM. Coming up, Turkey and France launched a war of words as both countries accused the other of genocide.


COREN: Asia is welcoming in the year of the dragon. We have fireworks, (INAUDIBLE) floating and lanterns. And here in Hong Kong, it is no exception. Well, these are live pictures of the 17 international Chinese New Year night parade with a theme of this year's grade is "World City, World Party." Both the public holiday here with carnival atmosphere. As you can see, these pictures are coming to us from the other side of the harbor at Tim Dao Choi (ph). So people are certainly celebrating. And well, as you expect fireworks into the night.

Well, there's a new man in charge of the company that makes the Blackberry. Thorsten Heins will be the new CEO of Research in Motion. Well, he is replacing co-chief executives Jim Basillie and Mike Lazaradis. Well, the two had come under plenty of fire as Blackberry struggled to compete with Apple's iPhone and handsets running Google's Android.

Well, just take a look at how may apps are available for each system. Well, Android is approaching one million. Well, Apple has half a million, but there are just 43,000 Blackberry apps available. Well, that is apparently sent by employees upset with Lazaradis and Basillie have been published on sites like Boy Genius Reports for months now. Well, the company was also hit by a major outage that left many Blackberry service, many without Blackberry service such as last year. And it was criticized for releasing a tablet that couldn't even access email on its own.

So where does RIM go from here? Well, it's now pinning its hopes on an update to the playbook tablet that adds email capability. It's also set to release phones running its latest operating system, Blackberry 10 later this year.

Well, meanwhile, the head of the file sharing site shut by U.S. authorities appeared in court in New Zealand. Well, Kim Schmitz better known as Kim Dotcom was arrested with three others last week after global operations had shut down Megaupload. The site was targeted for apparently hosting pirated content.

The U.S. is seeking to extradite him on criminal charges. Dotcom's lawyer says his client is innocent and should be granted bail.

We're getting reports of heavy snow in India and Pakistan. For all the details, let's go to the weather center with Mari Ramos. Hello, Mari.

MARI RAMOS, METEOROLOGIST: Hello, Anna, good to see you. Well, happy new year, right?

COREN: You, too.

RAMOS: Start of the new year with--thank you--with some very heavy snowfall across India. Very cold conditions also across much of east Asia. We'll go over that in just a moment, but I do want to kind of give you a follow up of the story that was--that we were talking about over the weekend with a very heavy snowfall across the northern portions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.

Man, I thought my commute this morning to work was tough. Look at this man right here on a bicycle in heavy snow in traffic. Notice the bags he's wearing over his hands to try to stay dry. He is wearing gloves as you can see as well.

This is just another example of this very heavy snow that we've had across this area. This is in the mountains farther to the north. You see a line of people. This is a so-called rescue line, because there were people that were trapped in the snow here. It was deadly. Over 20 people were killed because of the heavy snowfall in some of these areas.

Temperature wise, you know, as we go down to Kandahar, it's about 5 degrees. Islamabad is at 12. New Delhi, you're at 1. So temperatures here comparatively mild to that pool of cold air that is moving across the northern half of Afghanistan. We're going to see this continuing to kind of edge toward the east. And as that happens, that cold air will continue to make some more snowfall, I'm afraid, for areas. In some cases, 15 to 25 centimeters of course in the highest elevations. It will be much more as we head to the lower elevations, we'll be looking more at the way of rainfall.

This is what the actual projections look like. And notice across some of the valley areas here of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, I should say border over into Pakistan, that's where we could see the heaviest snowfall expected. That's, of course, where the coldest air is.

Overall, though, the fog not as big of a problem today across parts of India as it has been before. And as we continue moving to the east, look at Hong Kong, only 10 degrees right now as we celebrate the new year. Zero in Shanghai. So we definitely have that pool of colder air continuing to move along. There's Beijing at minus 10, a frigid temperatures.

When you factor in the wind, feels much colder than that. Minus 11 in Seoul and only 1 degree right now in Tokyo. So definitely feeling that winter chill. I think that's called a springtime festival, right? Anyway, we do have a-it's very dry though. The only weather features, this one right here, coming in across the central portions of China. Not a lot of snow associated with that weather system for now.

I want to give you a quick update also on this tropical cyclone that we've had across the Mozambique Channel. We had Chandra first. That one moved into Madagascar. Then Dando that moved in into the southern part of Mozambique. And that's the same one that brought not just the devastating rains across Mobuso (ph), but also in the Kruger National Park, remember, that last week. And now, we have a new one. This one is a tropical cyclone Funso. Funso is expected to stay over the Mozambique Channel. Winds are already gusting close to 230 kilometers per hour, but the rain I'm afraid will continue both in Mozambique and also in Madagascar as it's moving very slowly.

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

Oh, came in the middle of the night. Look at these pictures, Anna. If you look closely, when the light flashes, it almost looks like there's a funnel cloud there in the background. It's pretty scary stuff. Now there it is. You saw that?

There are already reports of at least many people killed in overnight storms across the southeastern U.S. More than 100 injuries already reported. And it's not entirely over yet. Pretty scary as the storms come in through the middle of the night. Sometimes it's hard to see where they actually are. If it wasn't for the light, it wouldn't be able to see any of that at all.

Now if you come back very quickly over to the weather map, I'll show you where the storms are now. Right, where are they? There they are. Right in this area, right in here, it looks like most of them are dying down before they reach Georgia before they reach the Atlanta area, but still Alabama getting some pretty strong storms. So tornados in January, very rare, but they do happen. Back to you.

COREN: And they could be heading your way, Mari--

RAMOS: Oh, I hope not.

COREN: --there in Atlanta.

I must say I love storms. And I love watching the lightning, but we don't want any-


COREN: --any destruction to come from it. That's for sure. All right, Mari, good to see you.

RAMOS: Sure.

COREN: We'll catch up a little later. Still to come NEWS STREAM, we'll bring you details of a surprise result in the South Carolina primary, one that could have blown the race to win the Republican party's presidential nomination wide open.

And Gabrielle Giffords, the U.S. Congresswoman who was shot in the head last year, is giving up her seat.


COREN: Welcome back. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. These are your world headlines.

Syria's government is rejecting a call from the Arab League for President Bashar al Assad to hand power to his deputy. The Arab League is proposing a series of reforms to end the turmoil following months of anti- government protest. But according to Syria's official news agency the government calls the League's proposal a blatant intervention in Syrian affairs.

International Criminal Court has just confirmed charges against four Kenyan officials. Kenya's current deputy prime minister is among those charged. The charges are connected to more than 1,000 deaths in post- election violence back in 2007.

Wire services are reporting that the European Union has agreed to ease some sanctions against Myanmar. AFP (ph) says the move is intended to encourage further reforms. Well, some of these bans will be suspended as a first step.

A war of words is being fought between Turkey and France over the killing of Armenians during Ottoman Empire nearly 100 years ago. It's a very sensitive issue in Turkey and has already prompted Ankara to recall its Paris ambassador and cancel bilateral visits.

In the next hour, there could be more fireworks. The French Senate will vote on legislation that calls the killings a genocide and bans any public denial that it took place. Well, Turkey has threatened new sanctions if the bill passes.

Well, Ivan Watson joins us now from Istanbul with the very latest.

Ivan, give us some background to this story and tell us why the French government is doing this?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a looming showdown to well put it. One of the lawmakers who proposed this bill argued that France has already made a law that criminalizes denying the Nazi holocaust and the genocide of European Jews and that people are penalized a year in prison and/or 45,000 euros fine if they deny that. The French parliament in 2001 officially recognized the massacre of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 as a genocide and thus to be fair to the survivors of that massacre, of that genocide it must criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide.

But some political scientists, Anna, are arguing that this is being done for political considerations. Take a listen.


CHRISTIAN MALLARD, SENIOR FOREIGN ANALYST, FRANCE 3 TV: It's clear that it has been done by President Sarkozy starting to put this thing on the table for electoral reasons. There is an Armenian community in France which would be, of course, voting on the next presidential elections in three months and a half from now.


WATSON: And that's an argument that the Turkish prime minister and his government have picked up as well. Their arguing that France is using history for political games. The Turkish prime minister coming out, Anna, today and repeating that that argument and also claiming that this law would be against freedom of expression in France and also against human rights.

The Turkish position of course is that they vehemently oppose the term genocide when it comes to that dark and bloody chapter of this country's history -- Anna.

COREN: Yeah, Ivan, just on that theory that was spoken about by your guest. I mean, there are some half a million French of Armenian descent in France. And I'm just wondering how much of that, you know, plays into the presidential elections this year. Have we heard from Mr. Sarkozy about this theory?

WATSON: Well, we do know that Mr. Sarkozy is having a tough time in the polls a little bit more than three months out from the election. There is enthusiastic support from the Armenian diaspora in France for this -- the passage of this law as well as in Armenian as well. There have been protests against it by the Turkish community inside France.

Just last week, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, he wrote the Turkish prime minister Erdogan trying to explain the justification for this law, but that is not passing muster for the Turks. They are threatening sanctions against France. They've already frozen joint military exercises and allowing French military planes to fly over Turkey for example. And they're threatening further sanctions as well. And these are two big trading partners, more than $13 billion in trade between France and Turkey in the last year alone, Anna.

COREN: And two countries also that have come a lot closer in their relationships in the last year with the rising -- uprisings in the Middle East.

Ivan Watson joining us in Istanbul. Thank you for that.

Well, first it was no intention, then it was April, now it's Tuesday. Mitt Romney is releasing his tax returns.


MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My tax returns for 2010, which is the last returns that were completed, I'll do that on Tuesday of this week. I'll also release it the same time an estimate for 2011 tax returns. So you'll have two years. People can take a good look at it. We'll put them on the web site. And you can go through the pages.


COREN: Well, it marks a sharp turnaround from when Romney said he had no intention of releasing the information. But following criticism over his tax rate, which is thought to be around 15 percent because most of his income comes from investment. He is releasing the information.

Well, now detention turns to the Florida primary. The multimillionaire admits he made a mistake in holding off for so long. Well, Romney's support plummeted in South Carolina last week from frontrunner to runner-up.

Well, it was former House speaker Newt Gingrich who secured the top spot in the South Carolina primary after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire Gingrich found his voice in South Carolina. Well, his success is attributed in part to his performance in debates, but also Mitt Romney's tax issues which saw the former frontrunner shed support.

Well, let's show you his rapid rise to the top. This was how things stood on Wednesday. Romney with a 10 point lead over Gingrich among likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina. But by Thursday morning that lead had shrunk.

Well, according to another poll Gingrich's support was up 7 percent to 30 percent of the electorate. Romney's popularity had also climbed a little as you can see to 37 percent. But Romney's lead had shrunk by 3 points overnight to 7.

Then by Saturday morning after that spectacular hosted debate in which Gingrich tore into moderator John King. Gingrich's support had rocked up to 40 percent according to yet another poll. Meanwhile, Romney's plummeted down to 26 percent.

And that is pretty much how it finished. Gingrich won 40 percent of the vote to Romney's 28 percent.

Well, it was quite some turnaround in South Carolina. As Jonathan Mann reports, Gingrich picked up votes in areas many were not expecting.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now the outcome was a surprise to many of us, but there were more results that were a surprise as well. We asked voters in exit polls to describe themselves across a whole range of data -- their gender, whether they consider themselves born-again Christian or evangelicals, when they made up their minds, and how they identified themselves by party. And what we found, obviously, is that Newt Gingrich did very well, he did well even across categories we weren't expecting.

We'll leave across the others for now and concentrate on gender, because what we found really did surprise us. When you break down the numbers, Newt Gingrich impressed women. He got 38 percent of women's votes.

Now remember, this was a candidate when the closing days of the primary campaign was facing questions about his marriages, whether his infidelity to his second wife affected his character. It got nasty for a time, but you can see women, who many people thought would abandon Newt Gingrich, stayed with him, a plurality voting for him over Romney, over Santorum, over Ron Paul.

So a lot of surprises in South Carolina, but women may have been the biggest of them.


COREN: Jonathan Mann reporting there.

Well, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is stepping down from public office. Giffords, the representative for Arizona says she wants to focus on her recuperation. Well, she sustained a serious brain injury when she was shot during a deadly attack that killed six people in Tuscon last year.

Well, Giffords made the announcement on her web site.


REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, (D) ARIZONA: I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover.


COREN: Well, this marks the end of a remarkable decade in office for Gabrielle Giffords. In 2002 she became the youngest woman elected to the Arizona state senate. Well, four years later, she earned her spot in the U.S. Congress.

Well, then on January last year Giffords was shot in the head during a campaign event in Tuscon. Well, this photo with her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly, was taken the day after the attack.

Well, four months later, Giffords' campaign office released this image showcasing a miraculous recovery, but with her body still bearing the scars of her traumatic injuries.

But Giffords says her career is certainly not over. She's planning a return to public office in the future. Fittingly, her final appearance will be in the place she made her name on Capitol Hill to State of the Union Address in Washington.

We certainly wish her all the very best.

Well, still to come on News Stream, for them their battle lay off the pitch. We'll tell you the remarkable story of Libya's national football team as they play their first international tournament after the fall of Gadhafi.


COREN: Well, the African Cup of Nations kicked off on Saturday. It pits Africa's best football nations against each other. And among the big names is a team that's had more on their minds recently than football, that would be Libya.

The country is making its first appearance at a major tournament after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi. Although they lost one-nil on Monday in their first group game to host Equatorial Guinea, but even getting to this point was some achievement considering that two of the current squad actually fought with the rebels. Hard to believe isn't it?

Well, now let's speak to someone who followed the Libyan team as they qualified for the cup of nations. James Montague is the author of "When Friday Comes: Football in the War Zone." And he joins me now live from Jerusalem.

James, this is certainly quite a story. You followed this team very closely. Tell me what was it like for them trying to play football when all the violence and the tragedy was unfolding back home.

JAMES MONTAGUE, AUTHOR: Well, Anna, you have to remember that when they started, when the coach of Libya, the Brazilian Mark Spaceta, was hired, Gadhafi was very much in power. There was no chance of ever thinking of him not being there. So they started a qualification campaign under the Gadhafi era flag and the Gadhafi era national anthem.

And when the civil war broke out many of the players felt conflicted. They felt that they couldn't really, you know, play on the same team that really flew the flag for Gadhafi. So one of the players who started the game against Equatorial Guinea actually left the squad and decided to fight on the front line in Jevo Nefuso (ph) which was really an incredibly brave thing to do.

And so once Gadhafi had fled office, a lot of his fellow fighters plead with him to return to the squad for the final qualification game against Zambia which they did. And then it's an incredibly inspiring story they returned tot he squad and fought out a dramatic nil-nil draw and managed to qualify under a new flag and under a new national anthem.

COREN: James, I understand that Gadhafi was never a fan of the game. Why is it?

MONTAGUE: Well, well his son Saadi was an incredibly -- well, he thought he was good at football. He was incredibly passionate about the game and put himself as captain of the national team. And during this time the national team actually came in the worst national teams, according to FIFA.

But what actually happened, Gadhafi was intensely jealous of football. There was a story I was told about how he would see graffiti on the streets of Tripoli, names that you didn't recognize. When he was told they were footballers he immediately decreed that all footballers weren't allowed to be named by name, just by a number. So he saw football as a kind of a threat to his popularity.

COREN: James, tell us the obstacles that this team has had to overcome? Obviously, you know, after the rebels overthrew the Gadhafi government what did they encounter?

MONTAGUE: Well, I mean after they -- I mean, the first thing they had to do was work out what to do with their badges, because they were wearing the green badge, the flag of Gadhafi. So they had to change their kit. They had to put a rebel flag on. They had to then think about what national anthem they wanted to sing. So they ditched the Gadhafi era national anthem and they brought back the previous national anthem.

But the problem was that when they were playing abroad, these qualification matches, a lot of the governments didn't recognize the NTC so they would have to get into an argument with each government about which national anthem they would play. I mean, even before the Equatorial Guinea game, the opening game that they played for the African Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football still had the original flag on their web site and actually threatened not to play the game unless they changed it. Lucky they changed it at the last moment. They had their national anthem and they had their flag and they managed to play. Unfortunately lost 1- nil, but I mean the fact that they're even here in the first place is a miracle.

COREN: That's right. Huge achievement all the same. James Montague, football writer joining us from Jerusalem, we appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, coming up next on News Stream, we'll bring you all the latest action from the Australian Open and show you the highlights of the Chinese New Year festival as well as some predictions for the year ahead.


COREN: Well, time now for a sports update. And the Super Bowl match- up is all set. And there have been some big upsets on Monday at the Australian Open. Our Don Riddell is in London with all the details. Hello, Don.


Serena Williams' hopes of winning a sixth Australian Open will have to wait for at least another year after the 12 seed was knocked out of the tournament earlier today. Williams was trying to battle through the pain of a leg injury, but Ekatarina Makarova showed absolutely no sympathy as she disposed of the American 6-2, 6-3. Williams missed the Open last year due to another injury. So Monday's loss was actually her first defeat in four years at Melbourne Park.

Meanwhile, the 2008 champ Maria Sharapova came through a tough match against Sabine Lisicki. The Russian had to come from a set down against her German opponent, but she eventually triumphed 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 after two and a quarter hours on court. She'll play the unseeded Makarova next in the quarterfinals.

And Nishikori of course a huge upset in the men's draw beating the sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets and becoming the first Japanese player to reach the quarterfinals here in some 80 years. The 22-year-old Nishikori dug his heels in and outlasted his French opponent coming out on top after more than three-and-a-half hours to reach his first grand slam quarterfinal. He's a product of the (inaudible) Academy in Florida. And he'll play Andy Murray next.

Taking place right now, a match between the world number one Novak Djokovic and Australia's two-time grand slam winnner Lleyton Hewitt. And as you can see the hometown favorite is putting up a fight. After Djokovic took the first two sets, Hewitt took the third. He trails by 3-2 in the fourth.

Meanwhile the fifth seed David Ferrer has cruised into the quarterfinals beating Richard Gasquet in straight sets.

Now the Super Bowl is set for 2012. And it's going to be a repeat of the title match in 2008 between the Patriots and the Giants. New England will be out to avenge what was a bitter defeat against New York when the two meet up in Indianapolis in two weeks time.

The Patriots were up against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. And it was tied at 3 in the second quarter when BenJarvus Green-Ellis picked his way through the crowd to score his first ever postseason touchdown. That put the Patriots 10-3 ahead.

But the Ravens got themselves right back into contention. In the third, Joe Flacco's quick pass sent Torry Smith on his way. He dodged a tackle and took it in for a 29 yard touchdown and a 17-16 lead.

And they added another three points before Brady and the Pats responded in the fourth. Fourth and goal for the New England quarterback and he torpedoed his way in for the touchdown and a 23-20 lead.

The Patriots were almost home and dry, a seventh Super Bowl appearance was just over the horizon, but the Ravens had one last chance. Flacco picked out Lee Evans for what looked like a touchdown, but Sterling Moore made a brilliant defensive play to deny the Ravens. Still they could have tied the game with a field goal. Billy Cundiff, normally so reliable from that distance, but he shanked it to the left. And that was that.

Heartbreak for Baltimore. The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl.

The Giants and the 49ers also went to the wire for the NFC Championship. New York had the edge in the third quarter, but Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis for a 28 yard strike and a 14-10 San Francisco lead. That was Davis' second touchdown of the game, by the way.

But things were about to go pear shaped for the 49ers. Cole Williams was in position to return the punt in the fourth quarter, but he made an absolute meal of it allowing Devon Thomas to recover the ball. And they made the most of it. Eli Manning, then, picked out Mario Manningham for a 17 yard score putting New York in front by 17 points to 14.

But San Francisco had an answer. With the ball at midfield, Smith scrambled for 17 yards to set up a field goal which tied the game up at 17 and sent it to overtime.

You know possession is crucial when it gets to this stage of a game, especially with a Super Bowl on the line. The Giants took the kick. It went to Williams again. And again he fumbled it. Again it was Thomas that recovered the ball setting up a decisive Giants field goal.

Four years ago, Lawrence Tynes kicked an overtime goal to send the Giants to the Super Bowl. He did it again from 31 yards out as the Giants nicked it by 20-17.

Thrilling stuff in both games there. And we'll have much more on those stories and more in World Sport in about three hours time.

COREN: Don, I know that the Super Bowl is exciting, but not as exciting as Lleyton Hewitt still in the fight in the Aussie Open. That makes me very happy. You've delivered some great news.

RIDDELL: You would say that.

COREN: I would. I have to. I'm Australian. But I love him. He's great. He's gutsy.

All right. Thank you.

Celebrations taking place across Asia to welcome in the lunar New Year. In Beijing, folk artists perform the traditional lion dance at a temple fair.

Well, these are women praying at a Buddist temple in (inaudile) on the Hindu majority island of Bali.

Well, in Thailand, SCUBA divers performed an underwater dragon dance in Bangkok.

And in the Philippines here's a fire breather performing in China Town in Manila.

Then we have an even more unusual tribute by the U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett. Take a look at this.




COREN: What a voice. Warren Buffett you must release a record.

Well, 2012 is thought to be particularly lucky as it represents the year of the dragon, the most powerful animal in the Chinese Zodiac. So let's take a look at what could be in store for some big names in the news with Feng Shui master Raymond Lo who spoke to Kristie Lu Stout.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The new year is traditionally the time for a little crystal ball gazing to find out what the future. This is the Chinese New Year, we'll cast aside the crystal ball and do it the Chinese way. And to take us through what the year of the dragon has in store for some of the world's movers and shakers I'm joined by Raymond Lo, professional Feng Shui practitioner and Chinese astrologer here in Hong Kong.

Great to see you again Raymond.

This is a picture of the Chinese Zodiac. And on the Chinese Zodiac each year corresponds with one of 12 different animals which is then associated to one of five elements like fire, water, wood, metal, and earth. And then all of that data can be brought together for you to look at someone's birth date of the zodiac and you will tell someone's future.

How does that work?

RAYMOND LO, CHINESE ASTROLOGER: I actually the Chinese calender is (inaudible). And when we look at a person's birthday we can know how is the composition of elements. And this element into (inaudible), element coming from the year. So therefore we can see they conquering you, are they supporting you, so just how we tell the fortune.

LU STOUT: OK. Let's go through our list here of movers and shakers, find out what's ahead for them.

Now we all know where and when he was born, because we've seen his birth certificate. This is U.S. President Barack Obama. This year is a big one for him, because he's seeking reelection. What will the year of dragon bring for Mr. Obama?

LO: Actually Mr. Obama is an earth person. We define this by his day of birth is earth. And he's a strong earth. Earth sees water means money. So therefore we expect because of this he will see more money, that means the economy of America will improve.

LU STOUT: So do you foresee that he will be reelected?

LO: I think so. So far I don't see any difficulty.


I know you're on Facebook, so you know who this person is, right, Mark Zuckerberg. Last year was very interesting for Zuckerberg and Facebook as Facebook was again under fire for privacy policies. And also users were all upset about the changing of some of the settings and interface. What will the year of the dragon bring to Zuckerberg?

LO: He's an earth person like Obama. So when earth sees dragon, water means money. So actually this guy is just starting his very good luck for 20 years of money.

LU STOUT: Now this is not a person, obviously, but one of the biggest news makers from last year, the euro. And the euro does a birthday. It was born, what January 1, 1999. So it's a tiger, like me. What will the year ahead bring for the tiger?

LO: They, I check January 1st was a water date. And when water sees water it's a competitor. Competitor we call (inaudible) your money. So you have to share the money. That means it's not very strong sign about the economy aspect of Europe.

LU STOUT: The new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. We know his birthday. We know January 8, but we don't know if he was born in 1983 or 1984 which would be the year of the dog or the year of the pig. Either way, what's in store for Kim Jong-un?

LO: If he's born in '83, the dog is under (inaudible) clash. That means he's into a troublesome year.

LU STOUT: Not good to hear.

Raymond Lo, thank you very much for giving us an idea of what's ahead. Thank you.


COREN: Time will tell.

That is News Stream. Thank you for your company. I'm Anna Coren. World Business Today is coming up next.