CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEWS STREAM

Three Buildings Collapse In Downtown Rio de Janeiro, 3 Dead, 19 Missing; American Forces Turn Over Security To Afghans in Jalalabad; Hundreds Of Animals Struggle For Survival in Fukushima Exclusion Zone

Aired January 26, 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 Brazil where a 20 story building collapses in Rio.

And incredible scenes in Australia. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is rushed to safety after being mobbed.

And.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But even as their bodies were being taken out of the water, as the vehicle was being dragged from out of the locks, police say they were learning something very different about what went on here that night, and more importantly what was going on in the Shafia (ph) household.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: A shocking case in Canada where parents are accused of murdering these young women for the sake of family honor.

Now this morning in Rio de Janeiro a desperate search continues after three buildings collapsed Wednesday night in the city's historic center. Now the buildings were near the municipal theater located in a busy commercial and financial area. A CNN affiliate is now reporting three bodies have been found and 19 people are said to be missing.

It is not clear what caused the two buildings to fall, but witnesses say they smelled gas and heard a loud explosion before the buildings went down.

And for the latest developments and the implications for Brazil as it prepares to host both the 2014 soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics Shasta Darlington joins us now live form Sao Paolo.

And Shasta, now up to 19 people are believed to be missing. They may be inside the buildings. So how is the rescue effort proceeding?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right Kristie. Right now on the scene dozens of rescue workers, firefighters, some 60 men with sniffer dogs, earth movers. They're digging through that rubble. They're desperate to find these 19 people missing. And obviously hoping to find them alive.

Now as you mentioned unfortunately all they found so far this morning are the bodies of three people who died. They still haven't been identified so we don't even know if they're among these 19 who have been reported missing.

And remember, these three buildings, according to residents, were commercial buildings. So they were largely empty. But on the other hand we've had neighbors who have come out and said that no they know that their daughter was inside. One man told a TV station that he was on the phone with his wife who was inside one of those buildings when the accident happen. The line crashed and he hasn't heard from her since. He just doesn't know what happened to her.

So there are a lot of people who are very desperate to figure out what happened to their loved ones. This search will go on. I'm sure we'll have more news during the day.

But as you mentioned, the timing is also very important. This is the historic heart of Rio de Janeiro just a few steps from that municipal theater where it just so happened, Barack Obama delivered a speech last year.

This is sort of post card historic Rio de Janeiro where in two years they'll be holding some of the matches for the World Cup. Two years after that, Rio de Janeiro is going to host the Olympic games. So the big question here is how could this have happened? And what are they going to do to make sure these kind of accidents aren't happening on the eve of these big events, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And Shasta, why did this happen? Are we any close to finding out why these buildings collapsed?

DARLINGTON: That is, of course, one of the major questions, Kristie. And while last night a lot of people were talking about smelling gas. There was an explosion. This morning, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes said that he thought that was not likely. That the most likely cause, in fact, was a structural failure.

Now these were three buildings. One of them was 20 stories. And in that building apparently on two different floors some reforms were being done. Obviously it's too soon to really know the cause, but that's what people are focusing in on right now. Were those reforms structural reforms? Had they maybe gone a bit too far? And could that have caused this accident, Kristie?

LU STOUT: And more on the greater implications of this. This incident, it follows a suspected gas explosion at a restaurant in Rio which killed three people. Just how sound, how stable, is the general infrastructure in the city which is due to host the World Cup and the Olympic Games?

DARLINGTON: Absolutely, Kristie. I mean, what we've talked about in recent weeks is how they're going to prepare new infrastructure: roads, airports. And so when you see some of the established infrastructure crumbling like this, especially in these periods of heavy rains where the city and the state of Rio also suffer from landslides, this is going to raise some alarm bells and people are going to have to wonder can the cities and the country be ready? And those are questions that can only be answered over the next couple of years, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Shasta Darlington joining us live from Brazil, thank you very much for that.

Now the father of a U.S. aid worker held hostage in Somalia for three months says he hopes to be reunited with his daughter today. Now early Wednesday in Somalia, U.S. special forces rescued 32-year-old Jessica Buchanan and her Danish colleague 60-year-old Poul Thisted in an overnight raid. Buchanan is now on her way to a U.S. military base in Sicily. U.S. officials say the nine gunment holding the hostages were all killed.

And Nkepile Mbuse reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NKEPILE MBUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've been speaking to people here in Nairobi, Kenya, people who knew Jessica Buchanan who have worked with her and they are so relieved that she came out of that daring rescue alive, very successful mission by U.S. special forces.

We spoke to the head of the school where she used to teach here in Nairobi. And he described her as a well loved person, a committed teacher, somebody that everybody was very, very worried about and that they had been hearing rumors that she would be released and then they'd be disappointed because it wouldn't happen. And when that statement by President Barack Obama was released confirming that she had come out alive, he says that they cried tears of joy.

He described Jessica Buchanan as somebody who was a bit of a risk taker (inaudible). Anyone who comes to east Africa to teach is a bit of risk taker. And I really -- he said it in a lighthearted way, but this really underscores just how dangerous working in Somalia is. This is one of the most dangerous places on the planet at the moment -- suicide bombings, piracy, kidnappings, abductions are happening all the time. And the fact that Jessica Buchanan and her co-worker came out alive is really being celebrated here in Kenya right in Nairobi.

Nkepile Mbuse, CNN, Kenya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now let's look back at how the rescue played out. U.S. President Barack Obama gave the go ahead early Tuesday Somali time. It took place here in Gaddado in the center of the east African nation.

Now U.S. special forces, they parachuted into the area from fixed wing planes. And among the units involved, SEAL Team 6. Now that is the same elite unit that killed al Qaeda Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year. But it's not clear if any of the same Navy SEALs involved in that assault took part in this operation.

Now the troops, they took fire as they advanced on foot to the compound. A Pentagon spokesman says all nine Somali kidnappers were killed in the strike.

Now the Navy SEALs entered the compound where they found the hostages in an enclosed outdoor area. Now none of the SEALs were injured in the operation. And the hostages, they were then rushed into waiting helicopters and flown out of Somalia.

And this is where they went, it's a U.S. base in Djibouti, a tiny nation north of Somalia. And Somalia's transitional government welcomed the operation on Thursday.

Now Jessica Buchanan's father says news of the rescue has left him with an overwhelming sense of patriotism.

Now it seems no one outside of the U.S. president's trusted circle new about the U.S. raid at the time, but some reporters attending Barack Obama's State of the Union say that they were puzzled by a remark the president made just before he started his address. Now Jonathan Mann explains the connection.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First, a clue: when President Obama arrived he congratulated Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Tantalizing, but inexplicable to the millions watching on TV.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good job tonight. Good job tonight.

MANN: And then the State of the Union itself which immediately began with praise for America's military personnel. The very first name he mentioned was the infamous target of an American military attack.

OBAMA: For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.

MANN: The president knew then that Navy SEALs, the same unit which killed bin Laden in Pakistan in May, had just carried out a daring and successful mission in Somalia rescuing two hostages, American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thirsten in Denmark, seized in October, were freed unharmed.

The American commandos were still on their way home as the president was speaking, but reported no casualties. Nine kidnappers were reported killed.

One of the few other people in Washington who knew the secret was on television too listening to the president's speech.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can tell you that the president personally authorized this. We have our special operations forces. I'm not going to go in more detail than that who are by the way the most incredible warriors this world has ever seen. They said it was the time...

MANN: Obama is running for reelection. And the State of the Union speech culminated with a plea for cooperation from Democrats and Republicans in congress. He urged lawmakers to be more like America's men and women in uniform.

OBAMA: As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward and our future is hopeful, and the state of our union will always be strong.

MANN: Jonathan Mann reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And more an update on the two hostages who were rescued in Somalia, word just in, that they have just arrived in Italy.

Now after mounting international pressure and increasing oil sanctions, Iran may be ready to negotiate. According to state media earlier on Thursday Agence France Presse reports that Presidemt Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he is willing to sit down with world leaders and discuss Iran's nuclear program. Now the last round of nuclear talks broke down in January of last year. On Monday the UN posed an embargo on Iranian oil exports.

Now ahead here on NEWS STREAM, the race for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination is a statistical dead heat in one key state. We'll look at the political fight in Florida.

Plus, allied forces hand over another area in Afghanistan. But what is the state of the security they leave behind?

And a shocking murder trial in Canada. Soon a jury will decide whether a mother, father, and son conspired to kill four female family members in the name of so-called family honor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now in Canada, prosecutors are making their final arguments today in a shocking murder trial. A mother, father and son are accused of murdering four members of their own family. And prosecutors say their parents believe their three teenage daughters had dishonored the family.

Paula Newton reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In so many ways the Shafia sisters were typical teens: smart, beautiful, they enjoyed going out with friends and flirting with boys. But that's what might have gotten them killed.

It was during a family vacation in June 2009 when the car carrying 19- year-old Zainab, 17-year-old Sahar, 13-year-old Geeti, and the woman they knew as auntie Rona Amir Mohammed mysteriously plunged into this open canal, drowning all four.

The girls' parents' tearful interviews explained it was a horrific accident during a pit stop on their trip back from Niagara Falls. The parents of the girls took the car out for a spin while the rest of the family remained at the hotel in Kingston, Ontario.

But even as their bodies were being taken out of the water, as the vehicle was being dragged up from out of the locks, police say they were learning something very different about what went on here that night, and more importantly what was going on in the Shafia household.

Suspicious police bugged the Shafia minivan. What they heard, they say, evidence of first degree murder.

Investigators claim hours of wiretapped conversations reveal how and why parents Tooba Mohammad Yahya and Mohammad Shafia along with their son Hamed planned the murders. They also learned the so-called auntie, Rona, was in fact Mohammed's other wife, co-wife to Tooba is a secret polygamous marriage.

Mother, father, and son were charged with murder in the summer of 2009. Now they're on trial. They've all plead not guilty.

Prosecutors are relying heavily on the bugged conversations. In one, Mohammed Shafia (ph) says in the Afghan language Dari, "I say to myself you did well. Would they come back to life a hundred times, you should do the same again."

In another, "may the devil defecate on their graves. This is what a daughter should be? Would a daughter be such a whore?"

CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD, EDITORIAL WRITER: The wiretaps are extremely damaging to all three of them.

NEWTON: Columnist Christie Blatchford has sat through all the evidence -- every wiretap, every witness. She's become an advocate for the victims.

BLATCHFORD: We've been treated to the amusing sight of defense lawyers saying well when you said, may the devil (EXPLETIVE DELETED) on their graves, what did you mean by that? Well what other possible explanation but that is there for any of these things?

NEWTON: But interrogations of the family never uncovered a motive. Why would a mother, father, and brother kill four members of their own family? The prosecution contends these were honor killings carried out by parents from a very conservative Afghan background to punish rebellious, increasingly westernized daughters. Zainab ran off to marry a Pakistani man her parents hated. Sahar wore revealing clothes and had secret boyfriends. And little Geeti was failing in school and calling social workers to get her out of a violent home. Auntie Rona was their advocate.

Exactly how these girls died is also a mystery, but the prosecutors say they have clues -- a shattered headlight on the family Lexus matches the damage on the rear bumper on the girl's car suggesting it was rammed into the canal. Police also believe the victims have been killed or beaten unconscious before the car hit the water, that would explain why they didn't escape even though their seat belts were unbuckled and the canal was only 7 feet deep.

In one of the most chilling conversations recorded, Mohammad Shafia labels his daughters dirty whores. Steadfast, he says, my conscience is clear.

Prosecutors are now trying to prove that to the Shafias, honor was more important than life even if it meant killing their three daughters.

Paula Newton, CNN, Kingston, Ontario.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now defense lawyers made their closing arguments on Wednesday. And Patrick McCann, the attorney says the idea that these deaths were honor killings is preposterous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICK MCCANN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's such a rarity. I mean, the evidence says it's almost unheard of in Canada, little in North America. What was going on with these girls even if you accept what they were telling their teachers and shelter workers and so forth can't conceivably be likely that it was an honor killing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: The jury could begin deliberations as early as Friday.

Now in its coverage of the case, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation notes a number of other recent criminal cases in Canada involving the murders of teenage girls or young women all by members of their own family. Among them, in 2003 the father of a 17-year-old girl in the western province of British Columbia was convicted of stabbing her to death. Now prosecutors say he disapproved of her romantic relationship with someone from a different ethnic group.

In another case, in 2007 a 16-year-old girl from Ontario was found strangled in her home. Her brother and father later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. And reports say the girl's friend said that she had argued with her father about wearing a traditional hijab.

And the issue of gender based violence is now part of the Canadian government's study guide designed for people wanting to take the test to become Canadian citizens. It says that Canada does not tolerate what it calls barbaric cultural practices, including forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honor killings.

Now NEWS STREAM continues after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: We're coming to you live from Hong Kong. You're back watching NEWS STREAM.

The founder of a breast implant company at the center of a global health scandal has been arrested. Now Jean-Claude Mas was taken into custody in southern France earlier today. And his colleague, the former director of PIP, was detained around the same time. Hundreds of thousands of women around the world received the company's implants which authorities say contained non-medical grade silicon. Now the implants were banned in 2010 and the company went bankrupt later that year.

Now being mocked on national television rarely goes down well, but for a politician planning a comeback it's even worse as the former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf is findning out. Reza Sayah reports on the lookalike who is causing a stir on a popular satire show.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WASEEM ANSARI, ACTOR: I am General a Perez Musharraf.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are not General Musharraf, but he definitely looks like him.

ANSARI: Yes.

SAYAH: And he plays him on TV.

Meet Waseem Ansari, a cast member on We'll Always Have Hope, a weekly comedy show that takes aim at Pakistan's politicians.

You look just like him.

ANSARI: Yes.

SAYAH: Every week hours of make-up and rehearsal transform this cast into less than flattering caricatures of Pakistan's leaders past and president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

SAYAH: Some say you should never make fun of Pakistan's great leaders.

ANSARI (through translator): The problem with Pakistani leaders is even when we make fun of them nothing changes.

SAYAH: Today, more than a dozen political satire shows are on Pakistani TV. Each week millions tune in to see funny men mock what many here view as the corrupt and inept world of Pakistani politics.

Who is the easiest person to make fun of, to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Musharraf.

SAYAH: With plans for a comeback, Pakistan's former military ruler is a favorite target these days.

General Musharraf obviously has a lot of political enemies in Pakistan. In this scene, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik and another provincial minister are looking for him. They happen to sit right next to a park bench with him and they show him a picture saying have you seen this man and that's when General Musharraf makes a run for it.

Each Monday and Tuesday the cast works non-stop to shoot the show here in this 50-year-old rundown studio in Lahore. The budget is low, they say, the salaries even lower.

So you found some of these actors on the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, off the street or...

SAYAH: So you see them and you say you look like so and so you're hired for the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, yeah.

SAYAH: The cast insists every Pakistani leader is fair game. But the show clearly gives Pakistan's fearsome army a free pass.

Some say that if the show really had courage they would make fun of the army and the spy agencies. What do you say to that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment.

SAYAH: No comment.

Short and sweet.

Poking fun at Pakistan's leaders apparently has its limits. But Pakistan's comedy shows are having fun pushing those limits.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Lahore.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Ahead on NEWS STREAM, the U.S. Republican presidential race is getting tighter as candidates prepare to face off in Florida.

And we'll go inside Japan's exclusion zone. Residents left the area long ago, but what about those left behind?

(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 founder of a company at the center of a breast implant scandal has been arrested. French police say Jean-Claude Mas, the man behind the company PIP, was taken into custody near the city of Toulon. Now PIP went out of business after it emerged that the implants contained non-medical grade silicon.

Now the father of a U.S. aid worker held hostage for three months by Somali gunmen says he hopes to be reunited with his daughter in the next 24 hours. Now 32-year-old Jessica Buchanan was one of two aid workers snatched in Somalia last October. On Tuesday she and her colleague, 60- year-old Poul Thisted of Denmark, were freed by U.S. special forces. And they have no arrived at a U.S. base in Sicily.

Now emergency workers are searching the rubble of three buildings that toppled Wednesday in downtown Rio de Janeiro. At least three people were killed and 19 are still missing. Authorities don't yet know why the buildings crumbled.

And what started as a special Australia Day ceremony for emergency service workers in the country's capital ended with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott fleeing from the event flanked by police. Now Prime Minister Gillard was presenting medals at the ceremony in a Canberra restaurant when nearly 100 aboriginal rights protesters began banging on the windows and chanting words like shame and racist.

Australia Day marks the arrival of British settlers in 1788, something that is sensitive to aboriginal people, many of whom remain socially and economically disadvantaged. Now the several protesters charged after the prime minister's car. Police say that there were no injuries and no arrested.

Now there was one casualty, though, and that is Ms. Gillard's right shoe. She appears to have lost it in the chaos of escaping. And it was later seen in the hands of an aboriginal rights protester looking to sell it to the highest bidder.

Now a statistical dead heat, that is how close the U.S. Republican presidential contest has become in the next big primary state, according to the latest CNN, Time Magazine, and ORC poll.

Now here is the choice of nominee according to likely voters in the Florida Republican primary. You can see Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich are in a virtual tie right now. And these numbers, they were compiled after last weekend's South Carolina primary which Newt Gingrich won quite convincingly.

And here are the poll results from a week earlier. And there was a much bigger gap between Romney and Gingrich. In fact, Gingrich has almost doubled his support since then. And the biggest loser appears to be Rick Santorum who slumped 8 percent despite news of his victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Now the four candidates are preparing for their final debate ahead of next week's vote. And our political editor Paul Steinhauser joins me now live from Jacksonville Florida.

And Paul, looking at the numbers just then, there was a wild swing for and against the two frontrunners, but what else is revealed in the polling data?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, when you break these numbers down, Kristie -- and you are absolutely right, these number not just with our polls, but everybody's polls have been swinging all over the place this entire cycle. If you don't like the way things are, I guess, just wait a few minutes and it'll change.

But let's break down our numbers. You mentioned Newt Gingrich on Saturday had a big double digit victory in South Carolina over Mitt Romney and the rest of the field. Look at this, from our poll we started on Sunday, and you can see right there, just Sunday alone Newt Gingrich ahead of Mitt Romney in the battle for Florida.

But then go to the Monday and Tuesday numbers, and well things change it seems. Gingrich's momentum has cooled off. And in these numbers looking only at Monday and Tuesday, it appears that Romney is on top over Gingrich pretty convincingly. So maybe Gingrich's momentum coming out of South Carolina is starting to fade here among people who are likely to vote in Tuesday's primary.

One more number I want to show you from our CNN/Time/ORC poll, Kristie, look at this one -- 25 percent of those people we questioned who say they're likely to vote say, guess what, I'm backing this candidate or that one, but I may change my mind. That's what makes this debate 12 hours from now right behind me here at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida so important. This is the last showdown between these four candidates before Tuesday's primary. This is the last chance for a lot of these candidates to make an impression with these voters who may change their mind Kristie.

LU STOUT: Well, so many undecideds still out there, this race so fluid. Thursday, 8:00 pm local time, will be the CNN GOP debate there in Jacksonville, Florida.

What kind of showdown should we expect to see?

STEINHAUSER: You know, let's go back to the last debate here in Florida. It was on Monday. And we saw basically a role reversal, Mitt Romney on the attack. Mitt Romney very aggressive against Newt Gingrich. And Newt Gingrich not really on the attack, not really defending himself. It was very different than what we saw in those South Carolina debates the previous week where Gingrich did quite well.

So the thing to look forward tonight in this debate is does Romney continue to be aggressive in going after Newt Gingrich? He was effective in doing that on Monday night.

The second thing to look for, Newt Gingrich, will he be more aggressive -- will he be more stepped up and go after Mitt Romney? Gingrich is known as an attack dog in these debates. He does very well. He did not do that Monday.

And finally, one other thing to look at, the gentlemen on the side -- Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania; Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, will they get more actively involved? They seem to be out of it on Monday night. They need to step up their performances here.

Again, this is the last debate before Florida's Tuesday primary. 50 delegates at stake. And it's winner take all, Kristie. Whoever wins this primary gets all 50 of those delegates.

LU STOUT: And I wondering if I could ask you a question about Rick Santorum. I mean, despite being declared the victor in Iowa, his polling numbers are falling big time. So what happened to his campaign?

STEINHAUSER: Yeah, you know, Santorum was hoping for a little bit of a boost in South Carolina. Remember, he was declared about a week ago, just before the South Carolina primary. He's known as a very strong with social conservatives, but he just didn't resonate enough, I guess, with people in South Carolina. He doesn't seem to be doing it here.

Both Santorum and Paul, Kristie, seem to be looking ahead past Florida. They feel they can't win here. And so they're looking for the next contests -- Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri. And they're kind of going to put their energy there in those early February contests to hope to kind of reignite their campaigns -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Paul Steinhauser, thank you very much indeed. Take care.

And you can watch the debate live on CNN in just under 12 hours from now. CNN's Wolf Blitzer will be moderating as Republican hopefuls go at it again just days before the Florida primary. It's Friday, 9:00 in the morning in Hong Kong.

And again just days ahead of the Florida primary Newt Gingrich is saying that he is shooting for the moon. At an event in Florida near NASA's Kennedy Space Center, he discussed plans to create a moon colony if elected president.

And Gingrich said this, quote, by the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon. And it will be American.

Now U.S. president Barack Obama, he canceled the lunar landing program in 2010. And Gingrich has been a long-time advocate for space exploration. In fact, early in his career he proposed to allow American residents of the moon to petition for statehood, which he admits is the weirdest thing he ever done. But Gingrich's space ambitions don't stop at the lunar surface. He wants to see a propulsion system capable of getting to Mars by the end of 2020.

Now still to come here on NEWS STREAM, we get rare access inside the exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan where homes are deserted, businesses left behind and animals abandoned. The distressing stories of dogs, cats, even ostriches left to fend for themselves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We checked the radiation on the ground, much higher than in the air, at a level that's not harmful in the short amount of time we're here, but the challenge for the government is the accumulative effect of the radiation on the people of this community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: That was Kyung Lah reporting this week from inside the 20 kilometer exclusion zone that surrounds the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

And the plant, you'll remember, it was damaged by the magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami last March. Those events triggered the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

And if you were watching that clip closely, you may have noticed that she measured ground radiation at about 41 microsieverts, that's according to the Japanese government. And that is just less than this, it's less than a dose of radiation you'd get from a chest x-ray. And to put that in perspective, on April 18th, one month after that nuclear disaster struck the Fukushima Daiichi plant 110 microsieverts per hour of radiation were recorded in the air in one part of Akuma a town 3 kilometers away. In other areas, radiation readings were much lower.

Now again, according to Japanese government data, the radiation you'd be exposed to on a round trip flight from Tokyo to New York is about 200 microsieverts. Now remember those flights last around 13 hours each way.

And other medical procedures expose you to higher levels. A chest CT scan for example exposes you to 7,000 microsieverts of radiation each time.

And now take a look at this number at the top here, 250,000 microsieverts, that is the upper limit of radiation permitted for Japanese emergency workers per year. Now the global average dose of natural radiation we receive each year is around 1 percent of that.

Now tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. And decontamination programs are underway. And still the situation remains serious, and not just for humans. Now homes and belongings were left behind by residents, but animals also had been abandoned. And CNN wanted to check out conditions for them, so Kyung Lah went into the exclusion zone with a group that's allowed to work there.

I've got to warn you, some of the images in this next report are disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: We are heading into the exclusion zone. This is the 20 kilometer mile radius around the Fukushima nuclear plant. And this is the area that the government has said the radiation is too high for people to live in. Some 70,000 people have evacuated out of the area. Now we wanted to see it for ourselves.

What strikes you first is what you can't see, the people, gone almost an entire year. Time has stood still, except for the animals.

Something that you see all over this area is there's livestock. These are animals that have been abandoned for almost a year now.

A scene repeated across the exclusion zone throughout these small farming towns -- cows, ostriches, domesticated cats, and dogs now running wild who have managed to stay alive in desperate conditions. The remains of those who haven't litter the region.

Animals rights group United Kennel Club Japan found this female puppy about six weeks old dead from apparent disease.

"Poor dog," says the volunteer.

The group came into the exclusion zone last month with the government's permission to rescue strays.

Then a sound from the back of the house. Another dog is alive, a puppy, and moments later they find the mother.

Rescuers cage the traumatized dog and carry out the dead puppy.

The dogs, two surviving puppies and the mother, are now out of the exclusion zone in the UKC shelter.

Can you believe almost a year after this disaster there's still stray animals all over this area.

"It's shameful," says Yakimoro Hoso (ph). "We kept asking the government to rescue these animals from the beginning of the disaster." He adds, "that there must have been a way to rescue the people and the animals at the same time."

Japan's environmental agency tells CNN it wants to rescue as many livestock and animals as it can, but has chosen to take a prudent attitude because of the risk to humans in the contaminated area.

This shelter is now home to 350 cats and dogs all from the exclusion zone, the survivors. But now the next challenge. UKC has tracked down almost all the owners who can't care for them since the residents, victims of the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, remain homeless themselves.

Kyung Lah, CNN, from inside the exlcusion zone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Powerful reporting there by Kyung Lah. In Japan's exclusion zone time stands still except for the animals.

Now let's get a check on global weather conditions. Millions, in fact, are affected after months of heavy rain in Colombia. Mari Ramos joins us now from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this has been an ongoing, slow developing disaster that's happened in Colombia. Like you said, millions have been affected. About 3 million is what the government estimates have been affected in one way or another by this fury of floodings. Many people have been left homeless. And even though the rains have subsided somewhat, there are still areas that are suffering.

This is a very -- this picture really struck me. Here you see a man trying to save what he can from his home, including the TV which is high up on the wall. You can see the roof of the home there and how high the water is inside the houses. You know rarely do we get a chance to see what's happening inside the homes of victims of flooding. And see we can see it clearly. And this is a case of the haves and the have nots, right? You either have a boat or you don't. And when you don't you've got to walk through the filthy, muddy water of the Cauca River.

This is in a valley in central Colombia where the rain has been heavy up in the mountains, but because the river levels are so high already any amount of rain that falls can cause some serious flooding. There are red alerts across that entire valley area because of high water.

Now I do want to show you this from people in a shelter that have been able to go to a shelter. And for the most part, as you can see over Colombia we're looking at generally drier weather conditions. Most of the moisture has actually shifted farther to the south into Peru who have had floodings recently and also into Bolivia and Brazil. So we're seeing a drier weather conditions.

This rain was brought on by La Nina. Some of you are asking, well, what's La Nina. La Nina, the opposite of El Nino. When El Nino happens we have the equatorial waters that are usually somewhat warmer than average. Whe La Nina happens they are cooler than average. And the effects are different.

For example, across northern South America we tend to see above average rainfall across these areas. And that, of course, includes Colombia. It doesn't usually last through March, but it can. In this case we're in January. And it looks like the rains have somewhat eased up. And hopefully it will stay like that and give them a chance to dry out.

As we head into South Africa, this is an area that usually gets heavy rain between November and April. Remember yesterday we were talking about all of that heavy rain across the Mozambique channel with three tropical cyclones in just a period of three weeks. So this is another example of La Nina at work. And of course we have the flooding across Australia.

And also, believe it or not in Fiji -- let's go ahead and roll the pictures from Fiji if we could. I want to show you what's happening here. There are -- there's a curfew from dusk to dawn in some areas because of all of the heavy rain. It's very unusual for them to get such heavy rainfall, but of course with La Nina at work this is what we're seeing.

And last but not least, the flooding in Australia. I do want to show you that as well, Kristie. And you can see here that the flooding has continued, unfortunately, and we probably will see more of that in the next few days to come, especially in the eastern half of the country.

Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.

OK, let's switch hemispheres and talk about the weather across Europe, because I do want to show you some pictures. You know what, it stopped snowing in Davos, but it is really enough already. It looks like the snow will come back tomorrow, though, even though today has been generally drier, but it's still very cold and that snow continues to pile up. The forecast looking at Thursday, today, partly cloudy, but look at the rain. That snow returns on Friday and also on Saturday.

This picture is a little strange when you first look at it. You see the snowman, but that's a mannequin. When I first saw it, it kind of freaked me out a little bit. This is from Serbia. The snow has been extremely heavy across southeastern Europe. It's expected to stay that way as we head even into tomorrow. There are warnings posted because of heavy snowfall, particularly Romania, and also into Bulgaria. The heavy snow shifts to the area south of the Black Sea by the weekend.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Heavy snow warning in effect. Mari Ramos there, thank you very much for that.

Now three people have been killed and at least 30 injured after a suspected car bomb exploded in southern Afghanistan. And among the wounded are three British soldiers who were protecting the area around the governor's compound in Lashkar Gah.

Now the attack comes as coalition forces hand Jalalabad in the east of the country over to Afghan control.

Now the pace of NATO's handover has lead to fears of resurgence of the Taliban in some areas. Our Nick Paton Walsh joins me now live from CNN Kabul.

Nick, NATO is leaving so what kind of society does it leave behind for the people of Jalalabad?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely the key question as we see this slow transition from the coalition to Afghan security forces. Today in Jalalabad and yesterday we got a glimpse, though, of people's real fears. Certainly it appears music shops, the Taliban not a huge fan of pop music, are being regularly targeted. No one is entirely sure who by, but it probably is the insurgency. And of course local officials to saying to us they're not sure they actually have the police to tackle the real law or power it seems in Jalalabad, and that's the illegal guns run by local warlords.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATON WALSH: America on Thursday handed Jalalabad, Afghanistan's jostling border boom town, over to Afghan security forces. But that doesn't mean security for this cassette shop. In a country where hard liners like the Taliban would ban pop tunes, the music has been silent here for awhile.

GHANI LIWANAI, MUSIC SHOPKEEPER (through translator): I'm not playing it to protect my life. We don't know who has targeted our shops 18 times this year. But keep the music off to save my life.

PATON WALSH: Whoever keeps bombing music shops across town, injuring many and recently killing an 8-year-old boy, Ghani Liwanai keeps on selling tunes.

LIWANAI (through translator): I'm resisting only because I don't want them to start hassling everybody. If I stop today, tomorrow they could go after cosmetic shops, the next day after women's tailors, destroying people's livelihoods.

PATON WALSH: America is slowly leaving, that much is clear. But what's not is what kind of society their blood and treasure (ph) leaving behind for ordinary Afghans. In this city, it's dangerous even to sell music, but also remarkably in this bustling economy and claims that Afghans can handle their own security, it's also dangerous just to do business.

Haji Farooq wants to sell his business and move to Dubai and now sends his daughter to school with two bodyguards. Gunmen, he says linked with local authorities who wanted money shot up his office a fortnight ago. Now his own guns, he says, protect him from the authorities.

HAJI FAROOQ, LOCAL BUSINESSMAN (through translator): The whole time during the Taliban government Afghanistan got rid of such things and nobody could raid your home. If the situation is bad now, how much worse can it get when foreign forces leave.

PATON WALSH: One remarkable thing in Jalalabad, a provincial capital that's still blighted by militancy, is how few police we saw.

How many police are there actually available today to help...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says that like the numbers too low.

PATON WALSH: A top Afghan official agreed.

MOHAMMAD HANIF GARDIWAL, DEPUTY GOVERNOR (through translator): There are some warlords (inaudible) illegal groups despite our security forces efforts to stop them. In Nangahar (ph) I acknowledge that the number of our police force is fewer than we need. But we emphasize on quality over quantity.

PATON WALSH: You didn't really have much choice in this, did you? This is time table imposed upon you, really, because the Americans are leaving.

GARDIWAL (through translator): At the very beginning we gave our wish list to our leaders. We told them that after the transition all ministries should deliver services to the people here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are transitioning, because the Afghan people are ready. They want the responsibility for their own security. And they are capable of taking on the responsibility.

PATON WALSH: The Afghan president's envoy, Ashraf Gani (ph) watching the flag come down for the last time. Moments earlier he too had been berating the power of warlords here.

The pomp and patriotism unable to hide a vivid emotion. For better or worse, this, here for America is over.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PATON WALSH: Now certainly that is the key question Dr. Ashraf Gani (ph) you saw earlier in that piece really having to actually himself speak out strongly against the influence in Jalalabad of warlords, gunmen who some say are affiliated to local authorities there. And some even suggest may have links towards the insurgency.

So huge fears, I think, from locals about the kind of climate that's being handed to them and the coalition after a decade here surely asking themselves exactly what level of society that had hoped to leave behind in Afghanistan -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: So much uncertainty ahead. Nick Paton Walsh reporting. Thank you.

Now up next here on NEWS STREAM, they are at it again. The greatest rivalry in today's tennis resumed in Australia. So who won the latest clash between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal? Don Riddell will have the answer next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the two biggest names in tennis went head to head yet again, this time at the Australian Open. And Don Riddell joins me now to tell us more about the latest meeting between Federer and Nadal -- Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, thanks very much. Rafael Nadal has made it through to the final of the Australian Open after yet another epic encounter against his great rival Roger Federer.

Nadal will play either Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray for the title thanks to his fifth consecutive win against Federer in a grand slam tournament.

You know Federer hasn't beaten Nadal in a grand slam since Wimbledon 2007, but he made a terrific start here leading by 4-1 in the first set. But Nadal pulled his way back only to lose the set in a tiebreak.

The pair of them were playing some incredible tennis and especially Nadal in the second set. Check this one out. He chased it down and whipped the winner in from well off the court. 6-2 for the set, match tied.

The shot making and the standard of play was impeccably high as well in the third. And that's when you really sensed the tide was turning in Nadal's favor. Federer was good, but not good enough. The set went to another tiebreak and Nadal stormed into a 5-1 lead. Federer gamely saved four set points before eventually losing the set.

Nadal now 2-1 up and the fourth set went with serve until at 4-all, Nadal got a crucial break. That was another super passing shot and Nadal was on the brink of a fourth consecutive grand slam final. Federer saved two match points, but by this stage the end was inevitable and Nadal finally closed it out in just under three and three quarter gripping hours.

Now the Women's Tennis Association has revealed that it's working with younger players to try to reduce the amount of shrieking and grunting that some find so off putting about the women's game. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you should try watching Saturday's open final between two of the loudest in the business, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Just keep your finger on the volume button.

Belarussia's Azarenka, the world number three booked her place in the final by knocking out the defending champion Kim Cljisters. They split the first couple of sets, but Azarenka had too much in the decisive third. She will now play in her first grand slam final. And you can see what it meant to her. She was visibly emotional at the end.

At stake will be the title, of course, and also the world number one ranking.

Sharapova booked her place in the final by avenging her defeat in the Wimbledon final of last year. She got the better of the world number two Petra Kvitova also in three sets. Sharapova won the first set, but the Czech lefthander rallied to take the second. And Sharapova made things hard for herself serving no less than 10 double faults throughout the match. But ultimately she prevailed in what was a grueling encounter, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 the score. The 2008 champion now has a chance at another title in Melbourne.

We'll have much more on those stories and the rest of the sport for you today in World Sport in three hours time. See you there.

LU STOUT: Don Riddell, thank you.

And finally we're going to Over and Out There with a picture from way out there, a world from space. Now NASA released this picture of the Earth stitched together from multiple pictures on January 4 this year. And it is one of the sharpest images taken of our planet. NASA calls this shot the blue marble.

And that is NEWS STREAM. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

END