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NEWS STREAM

Nigerian Government Cracks Down On Muslim Majority North; Rumors Swirl Around Facebook IPO Offering; Sony CEO Steps Down; Mitt Romney Wins Florida Primary; Brutality in Syria

Aired February 1, 2012 - 08:00:00   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.

And we begin with the company once known for being on the cutting edge of technology, Sony, as the ailing electronics giant replaces CEO Howard Stringer.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney records a comfortable victory in the Florida primary.

And while diplomats debate Syria's fate at the U.N., the death toll inside the country steadily rises.

"Make Believe." Now, that is the corporate slogan of Sony. The electronics giant and entertainment giant is hoping to turn its fortunes around.

Now, for the past seven years, this man, Howard Stringer, he's been at the helm of the company, but his tenure as president and CEO is coming to an end. Under his watch, Sony's business has suffered. The company is facing its fourth straight year of losses. Its share price fell 54 percent last year.

And enter this man, Kazuo Hirai, the executive deputy president who also ran Sony's PlayStation business. He has been named as the new president and will take over in April.

Now, Hirai will take over a company that once stood proud over the entire tech industry. And Sony has a long history of innovation and iconic products from the Walkman to the Trinitron television to the CD, jointly developed with Philips onto the PlayStation.

But the PlayStation, it was introduced all the way back in 1994. And what was the next iconic Sony product? Well, it was the line of Clie PDAs which failed to take off. And the AIBO and other consumer robots, they were canceled. And Sony's BRAVIA TVs are lagging behind competitors.

And one analyst told Andrew Stevens that part of the blame lies with Howard Stringer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN COLLETT, LOUIS CAPITAL MARKETS: We're looking since 2009 at 50 (ph) percent underperformance on the Nikkei, and that was (INAUDIBLE) to a natural disaster. So, yes, I think with a depleted balance sheet, a basic inability to change the company and coordinate it, there was a lot of -- obviously, I think he has the right idea, but the question is delivery on those ideas.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: So, it wasn't a lack of vision, it was more a lack of operational.

COLLECT: Yes. The issue with Sony is it's an institution in Japan. It's actually a dinosaur.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Called it a dinosaur.

Now, Sony employees 160,000 people worldwide.

Kyung Lah joins me now live from CNN Tokyo for a closer look at the company's next leader.

And Kyung, the Kazuo Hirai era, it will officially begin on April 1st. What more do we know about his background?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's more of a content and networking guy. He's not really -- doesn't have a background in the area that is needed most, that needs work in Sony. That is, the gaming, the hardware area, the television.

He came up through CBS Music. He's known as more of a creator and creating those types of things.

The question is whether or not that sort of background is going to really translate as to helping Sony really tackle its problems, if anyone is going to be able to tackle those problems, that is. And so he's also known as someone who is a bit of a gentleman, and so the hope is, is he's going to be able to capture some of the hearts and minds of the Japanese employees underneath him. But whether or not that's going to translate into true structure changes at Sony, that is the big question -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, a lot of hope and high expectations for him to turn the company around.

Let's talk about Howard Stringer next. I mean, he's been one of the world's most famous CEOs. What will be his legacy as soon to be former chief executive at Sony?

LAH: At least here in Japan, he's going to really suffer by comparison to another CEO, another CEO that's very popular, who has really been viewed as a much bigger success. That is Carlos Ghosn of Nissan.

Howard Stringer is really someone who came in as a Westerner leading a Japanese company who's really going to perhaps make the huge splash that Carlos did. But he wasn't able to do that. So that's really going to be his legacy, as the Westerner who wasn't able to achieve what Nissan was able to.

STOUT: And also, the reaction in Japan to the news? I mean, this came out just one day before Sony's expected earnings announcement. I mean, everyone knew that Kazuo Hirai was groomed to become the next Sony CEO, but did the timing of this announcement throw people off there?

LAH: Well, a lot of people did expect -- at least the industry expected -- that if there was going to be an announcement, it would be timed as some sort of quarterly financial result. Tomorrow's third quarter financial results are expected to come out. We are expecting to see both Stringer and Hirai there talking together.

The timing of it, everyone knew that this was going to happen, as you mentioned. The rumor mill had been working for quite some time, and it had been getting louder and louder. And the expectation was that this announcement was going to be coming very soon.

This was perhaps the earliest that the industry had expected it to come out. Perhaps it might be timed a little bit later, we thought, with Stringer's announcement of a retirement. But certainly the elevation of the rumor mill volume certainly probably pushed this a little sooner than we expected.

STOUT: All right.

Kyung Lah, joining us live from Tokyo.

Thank you very much for that.

Now, we often think of Sony as just being a company that makes gadgets, but Sony's reach is much wider. In fact, between its electronics division, its music division, and the CD production unit, Sony DADC, Sony has the rare ability to not just make music, but make the disks that hold the music, and make the CD players that make the music.

And then there's Sony's Financial Services division which provides insurance and banking. Now, believe it or not, Financial Services was Sony's most profitable division in its last quarter. And according to "BusinessWeek," that made one analyst quip this: "Sony is a life insurance company with a money-losing TV business."

Turning now to the U.S. presidential campaign trail, and the results are in. Mitt Romney is the big winner in Florida in the Republican primary there. And after a fiercely competitive campaign, Romney prevailed over Newt Gingrich, who landed in second place.

And the results cement Romney's status as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, and he's placing the economy at the center of his campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're (ph) not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them. The challenge right now -- we will hear from the Democrat Party the plight of the poor, and there's no question it's not good being poor, and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. But my campaign is focused on middle income Americans.

My campaign -- you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich. That's not my focus. You can focus on the very poor. That's not my focus.

My focus is on middle income Americans, retirees living on Social Security, people who can't find work, folks that have kids are getting ready to go to college. These are the people who have been most badly hurt during the Obama years.

We have a very ample safety net, and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. But we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor. But the middle income Americans, they're the folks that are really struggling right now, and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Let's take a look at how the numbers break down. First off, the results from Tuesday's primary in Florida.

Mitt Romney, he won by a large margin. He got 46 percent of the vote. Newt Gingrich, he trailed behind, with 32 percent. But the bigger picture is not so clear.

Now, in order to win the GOP nomination, the candidates, they need 1,144 delegates. Romney picked up all 50 delegates in Florida, raising his tally to 84. And while he's ahead, he's still far from the magic number needed to clinch the nomination, meaning this picture could change dramatically in the months to come.

Joining us now from Florida is Hala Gorani with more on the presidential race.

And Hala, a big victory for Mitt Romney. How did he do it?

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after the South Carolina defeat for Mitt Romney, he essentially turned more aggressive, more of the kind of negative advertising on airwaves in this big media market, Florida, probably helped him. But there was also a good debate performance in Florida as well, the last debate before voters went to the polls.

As you said, it was a decisive victory for him. In fact, here is the front page of "The Tampa Tribune," "Romney in a Rout."

So, the big question for Romney and for the other candidates as well, and Newt Gingrich, who came in second, is what happens next? And there are many more caucuses and primaries to go, all culminating in what's called Super Tuesday here in the United States, the first week of March.

I want you to listen to what both of the front-runners -- or, I should say, the front-runner and his rival, Newt Gingrich, said after the results came out yesterday in Florida. Listen first to Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Our opponents in the other party have been watching, and they like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak. But I've got news for them. A competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. And we will win.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: And when we gather back here in Tampa seven months from now for our convention --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, the same people who said I was dead in June and July and said I was gone after Iowa, who seemed totally quiet the night of the South Carolina victory are now going to be back saying, what's he going to do? What's he going to do? What's he going to do?

So I just want to reassure them tonight, we are going to contest every place and we are going to win. And we will be in Tampa as the nominee in August.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: So here you have two men saying they're going to be in Tampa, where we're coming to you from. This is where the Republican National Convention takes place in August. This is the convention, of course, that crowns the Republican nominee, the man who will challenge Barack Obama for the highest office in the United States.

So, what is going to happen next? How did Newt Gingrich, by the way, after South Carolina, perform so poorly after his win in South Carolina? Well, there are several factors.

First of all, he has a lot less money. So he has a lot less money to buy advertising space, to buy commercials on television and on the radio in Florida.

And also, I mentioned the debate performance for Romney which was positive, the last one before voters went to the polls. Well, his debate performance was considered poor by some analysts, compared to the debate performances in previous forums that helped propel him to the top in South Carolina -- Kristie.

STOUT: So you told us why Mitt Romney won, why Newt Gingrich lost Florida. Let's talk about Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Santorum, a distant third in the race there. Ron Paul came in last.

What's next for them?

GORANI: Well, that's a good question. They actually sat out Florida. These candidates don't consider that there was really anything they could do. They don't have the money, they don't have the organization that the two other candidates have.

They've moved on to other states -- Nevada and other places. So they are really counting on the states that they feel they can lock up if they strategize properly. Rather than just extend themselves too far, they are going to focus on other states that they think they can win.

Now, what does Newt Gingrich want? Because that's also a good question. Newt Gingrich wants to be able to focus on those southern conservative states, including Georgia. That's where he's from, where he feels like if he is able to get enough delegates by winning some of those states, he will become a true challenger to Mitt Romney.

This could turn into a long, drawn-out slug-fest up until the convention or, at the very least, up until Super Tuesday. So this is not a done deal, though the front-runner status of Mitt Romney certainly appears solid today -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, a lot of delegates up for grabs in just the month of February alone.

Hala Gorani, live from Florida.

Thank you very much.

Now, coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, it's been almost a year since the uprising in Syria began, and we'll bring you images that show the sheer brutality of the conflict and its effect on the Syrian people.

In China, a fishing village took on a government they accused of corruption last year, and now residents are taking a democratic leap forward.

And in Nigeria, the government responds to terrorist attacks that have left many fearing what they say is targeted persecution.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Now, a debate in the United Nations Security Council is turning into a showdown over Syria. Arab and Western leaders are supporting a draft resolution calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, but Russia and China are blocking the move, calling it meddlesome.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is pushing for unified action, but the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, says interfering in Syria won't help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMB. TO U.N. (through translator): We are convinced that at a time of an extreme internal political crisis, the role of the international community should not be one of exacerbating conflict or meddling by the use of economic sanctions or military forces. No. It should be fostering dialogue so as to seek an optimally effective and smooth resolution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now, the diplomats are expected to continue the debate today.

At least 57 people have died in Syria over the last two days. That's according to an activist group. It says more than 7,000 people have now died in an uprising that began 11 months ago.

As we have reported the story, we've been careful about what video we choose to share with you, and today we're showing you more graphic images than ever before. It is very difficult to watch, but we feel that it is necessary to show you how the conflict is affecting the people of Syria. And CNN has decided to show most of this YouTube footage without blurring it. And again, we have to warn you that many viewers, you will find it distressing to watch.

Arwa Damon reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the latest nauseating video posted online in the nearly 11-month-old Syrian uprising. Six members of one family, we're told, four young children and their parents, slaughtered.

"Look, his hand is still gripping his mother's hair," the voice on the tape says. "Look at his arm. Look what they've done to him," the man continues. "How much longer can we bear this?" another voice says, as the camera moves over to the lifeless body of the boy's sister.

Their mother lies on the floor next to them, one of her eyes gouged out, an image too gruesome to show.

Opposition activists who blame government loyalists for the killings say the video was shot in the Karam al-Zatu (ph) neighborhood in the flash point city of Homs, the second such video to emerge from that very same neighborhood.

This clip was posted on Thursday, eight members of the same family killed, most of them children.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of these videos or who was responsible for the deaths, but the images speak for themselves. In some parts of Syria, the killing seems to be growing more barbaric by the day. The battles, more intense.

On a recent government-sponsored trip to Homs, while briefly allowed access to Syria, we saw first hand just how tenuous the situation had become. The government only deemed one neighborhood safe enough for us to visit, a predominantly Christian one. And even there, gunfire echoed down the alleyways. People on both sides of the spectrum and those caught in between fearful and angry.

Videos posted since then appear to show fierce-pitched battles between armed rebels and government forces, as the Syrian regime renews its efforts to regain control in Homs and other areas. A massive plume of black smoke from a damaged oil pipeline engulfs nearby buildings as gunfire echoes in the background, just another image from 11 months of devastation and death.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: A gut-wrenching report there by Arwa Damon. The extent of the bombardment truly horrifying.

Now, Western journalists are heavily restricted in Syria, so Arwa joins us now live from Beirut.

And Arwa, so many Syrians are suffering. And still, there is no U.N. resolution on Syria.

What is the humanitarian consequence of no meaningful international action there?

DAMON: It just means that this death toll is only going to continue to rise. Just today, there are 48 people reported killed by the Local Coordination Committees, this umbrella network of grassroots activists. Almost half of those deaths happening in a town that is in the countryside surrounding the capital itself.

The issue is not just trying to bring about resolution to the violence, but it is also boiling down to trying to prevent the severe polarization of Syrian society, the fragmentation of people potentially along sectarian lines. The longer this drags on, the more we're seeing these sectarian undertones beginning to rise to the surface, the more we're seeing both sides, those pro-and-anti-government hardening against one another. And we're seeing this uprising becoming more and more weaponized.

And the situation risks escalating out of either side's control if there isn't some sort of international action sometime soon to try to bring about some sort of resolution before Syria ends up falling into the worst-case scenario, and that would be of a civil war, be it along sectarian or other lines -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Arwa Damon on the story for us from Beirut.

Thank you very much, indeed, for your reporting.

Now, up here on NEWS STREAM, they felt cheated, they felt robbed. And after fighting for their rights, one fishing village in China is now using the ballot box to control its future. Details when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now, it was a monumental day in Wukan, China, as residents of the fishing village took a step toward democratic reform. Thousands turned out to vote in Wednesday's elections, the first of two aimed at selecting new local leaders by March.

You'll remember the southern Chinese village had been at the center of unrest for months. It started after residents accused the local government of stealing their land and selling it to developers over the past decades.

Their frustration came to a head back in mid-December. News of a recent sale of almost 1,000 acres of land sparked protests by the villagers. They said they had not received any compensation from the developer and that they relied on the land for their livelihoods.

Now, the protesters, they drove out the government officials and they set up barricades like this one made from tree branches to prevent police from entering the village. And they suspect that one villager -- his name, Xue Jinbo, was beaten to death in police custody. You can see his portrait being carried through Wukan by his family here, but his body still has not been returned to his relatives. And state media reported that Xue died of natural causes.

Now, he was suspected of leading protests that led to the riots back in September, and that unrest left scenes like this in its wake.

Xue's family is still struggling to deal with his death and their life under the government's watchful eye.

Stan Grant recently went to Wukan to speak with them and find out how much has changed since the protests.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (through translator): "There's no welcome for us in Wukan. The party's secretary is here. You guys will be kicked out if they see you," this man says. "Hurry, leave, hide. At least hide for now."

(on camera): I'll just go around the corner here.

(voice-over): Hide, we do. Waiting near our car, we watch as the Communist Party heavies leave. It seems everyone here is under suspicion. Police try to warn us off even before we arrive, but no one in Wukan is under more scrutiny than the Xue family, a family grieving for a father who was taken by the police and never seen again.

XUE JIANWAN, DAUGHTER OF PROTEST LEADER (through translator): Dad was like Superman to us. Whenever problems came up, we always thought of dad first. Even when he couldn't be at our side, he always helped us solve the problems.

GRANT: This is Xue Jinbo when he was alive, a vocal critic of local officials that people here say are corrupt. For months, he helped lead protests over land seizures. This video given to us by the Xue family shows how violent the police crackdown has been -- people kicked, punched, bloodied and beaten.

Xien Cheng (ph) was arrested along with Xue Jinbo. His story is a story repeated over and over here of powerless people exploited and abused.

"Our biggest wish is to bring justice to those evil, corrupt officials who blatantly act above the law," he says. "That was Xue Jinbo's goal, and it's the common goal for all the villagers now. We hope the fight to rid us of corruption will continue forever."

Xien (ph), too, is closely watched. Within minutes of going outside, he's seized upon and warned off speaking to us. But he tells me off camera of how he was interrogated for 30 hours straight. He says police threatened to beat him. He claims he saw Xue Jinbo's body swollen, bruised and unconscious in his cell.

Other people here, too, have the suspicion Xue was beaten to death. "His death was such a case of injustice," this villager says. "He died in the hands of corrupt officials, but we still don't have an answer to that."

Answers, that is what Xue Jinbo's family want. Officials say an autopsy shows he died of heart problems, but there are no medical records, no photographs, and as yet, no body.

XUE (through translator): It's a stalemate right now. The government insists dad died of illness. We reject that explanation, because dad never had any of the illnesses they described. We also saw injuries all over his body. We demand them to release the surveillance camera footage of what happened at the detention center.

GRANT: Officials here will not talk to us. Everywhere, there are banners telling people to support the Communist Party.

These protests grabbed world attention. In the end, officials offered concessions, and a protest leader has been appointed the new Communist Party secretary. It was hailed as a new beginning. A month later, little has changed.

Police warn locals not to speak to us. We are told to leave the village. Graffiti-sprayed walls denounce the Communist Party.

The Xue family stands as a symbol of powerlessness here, a family mired in grief, a family left with more questions than answers, and the memory of a man they cannot even lay to rest.

Stan Grant, CNN, Wukan, China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, we'll bring you expert insight into Mitt Romney's victory in Florida and tell you what it means for the U.S. Republican nomination race.

Also, will Facebook file for initial public offering today? We'll have the latest on the rumor mill which suggests the company could raise billions of dollars.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now Syrian activist group says at least 48 people have been killed across the country today. This YouTube video is said to show a mass funeral procession through the streets of Damascus on Tuesday. The UN security council continues discussions today on a draft resolution calling for President Bashar al Assad to step down. Russia and China oppose it.

Now Sony's president and CEO Howard Stringer is stepping down. The Japanese electronics giant has struggled under his leadership. Sony shares fell 54 percent last year. Former head of Sony's Playstation business Kazuo Hirai was tapped to replace stringer beginning April 1.

Now WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is at Britain's supreme court today for the start of a two day hearing in his appeal against extradition to Sweden. Assange is threatening allegations of sexual assault in the country. The WikiLeaks founder denies all wrongdoing and says the case is politically motivated.

Now after a decisive win in Florida, Mitt Romney has cemented his status as the frontrunner in the race for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination. However, rival Newt Gingrich has vowed to stay in the contest until the end. Now in February, Republicans in seven more states will vote for the man they want to stand for election against President Barack Obama.

And joining us now from Washington is the director of the school of media and public affairs at George Washington University and former CNN correspondent Frank Sesno. And Frank, it's good to see you. Welcome to the program.

Mitt Romney, he swept to victory there in Florida. We need your analysis here. How did Mitt Romney win?

FRANK SESNO, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Mitt Romney won by spending a lot of money, going very negative, being more effective than he's been in any campaign so far because he sounded more genuine and just pounding Newt Gingrich in terms of Gingrich's unreliability, irascibility, his changing positions -- Gingrich's own -- and the baggage that he brought from his years in congress.

Romney was relentless. The voters in Florida were less hardcore conservative than they were in South Carolina where Gingrich won last. So this was a huge win for Romney.

LU STOUT: So a relentless Romney gave him the win. Let's talk about Newt Gingrich. He lost in Florida, but he promised to remain in the race, quote, "probably six months unless Mitt Romney drops out earlier," unquote. So how will his defiance affect the party and the overall race?

SESNO: His defiance is classic Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich runs as the angry man. And this year he runs as the angry man. And even though he's from Washington, because he's angry at Washington that resonates.

The problem that Newt Gingrich has is he does not have a lot of money. He does not have a lot organization. And so last night when he offered the concession speech that wasn't a concession. He never conceded. He never congratulated Romney. What he said was 46 states to go that he intends to trudge along the way.

His problem, though, is he's not got a deep organization. He hasn't got lots of loyalists who have been out working for months or years to organize his followers as the primaries and caucuses move west. So he's got a very, very tough road to hoe here.

But I -- he will stay in it. He will stay as an alternate vote to Romney. He will give conservatives a way to express themselves against Romney. Of course there are two other candidates in as well. So I don't think he's going away any time soon.

LU STOUT: And what does the result there in Florida mean for the U.S. President Barack Obama? I mean, we are seeing a brutal and increasingly brutal GOP campaign. Mitt Romney, he's the frontrunner for now. So what do you think the White House is thinking? How should Obama's team assess the situation?

SESNO: Well, you know, they probably don't mind it terribly, because it's not done yet. But what's starting to happen is there is starting to be, in certain circles anyway, more of a sense of confidence in the Romney campaign and a sense in inevitability that he's the man. So what Romney is trying to do is pivot and spend a little less time on Gingrich. He can't take his foot off of his neck just yet, because Gingrich as I said is not going away. But in his speech last night, Romney was focusing his attention, most all of it, on President Obama and his failed presidency, as Romney refers to it. And the fact that he hasn't led -- instead has followed a now should get out of the way.

So increasingly this is going to turn on Obama. I don't know that the White House has got to be desperately worried about it yet, but they know that they have got to arm their way into the middle of the debate here. And that it's increasingly going to be aimed at him.

LU STOUT: And looking ahead to February. Seven states will vote. Is Mitt Romney a shoe-in here? Is he the one best positioned to do well in most of these states?

SESNO: He's certainly best positioned. I wouldn't say he's a shoe- in, because this has proved to be a very unpredictable election. I think that that the most important thing that observers of American politics need to keep in mind this year is the United States is a very angry place. It's angry at Washington. It's angry at the media. It's angry at the failure to put people back to work. And so when there's that much anger, there's unpredictability.

Now that being said, where these races go west now, they go largely into caucus states. That means people don't just vote, they actually have to show up in sort of a town hall meeting type assembly. They actually have to get in their cars and go someplace. That requires a lot of organization on the ground, campaign volunteers and workers to get people to show up and to speak out.

Romney has got the advantage there because he's been organizing literally for years. Gingrich has not been well funded and is not well resourced there. So he doesn't have the organization on the ground.

The other thing this month is not a lot of debates. Newt Gingrich has thrived off of free media. The debates where he's face to face with the other candidates. Where he's interviewed. That kind of thing. So this is a tougher one for Gingrich now. The month ahead is going to be more Romney territory. But he's not a shoe-in.

LU STOUT: And one more question for you before we go. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, what's next for them? And could one of them be jockeying to be a vice presidential pick?

SESNO: I don't think there's any chance that anybody would pick Ron Paul as a vice presidential pick. I think what he's jockeying to do is to be the alternate, to be the gadfly, to be the ongoing voice in the Republican Party and in the national debate. And there's always speculation that he could mount some sort of quixotic third party run at the end of the day, though he continues to duck that issue.

Rick Santorum on the other hand, I think clearly is positioning himself for other and maybe bigger things. His campaign actually says that he is the legitimate conservative alternative to Romney, because he is steadier, more predictable than Newt Gingrich is. But Santorum, as well, does not have the organization, does not have the money in any objective view of things to see how he can actually prevail.

So he's in it to propel his image, to keep his issues out there and perhaps to position himself for something bigger down the line.

LU STOUT: All right. Frank Sesno, live from Washington, a please. Thank you.

SESNO: Likewise. Thanks.

LU STOUT: Now for all the latest coverage and analysis on the U.S. presidential campaign just go to CNN.com/politics.

Now to Nigeria now where nearly two weeks ago a series of coordinated attacks left more than 200 people dead in the city of Kano. Now the killings prompted the authorities to mount an aggressive military response. But now the people in the north of Nigeria are accusing the government of running a campaign of targeted persecution. Nima Elbagir has more from Kano.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The aftermath of a Nigerian government raid on the house of a man they accuse of sponsoring the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Neighbors say he and his pregnant wife were in their home when security forces opened fire demanding that he let them in.

The voice you can hear is that of his adopted mother. She told us she arrived in the house to find blood pools by the bedroom door and no sign of her son or his wife.

Too scared to criticize the government on camera, she asked that we only play an audio recording of her interview. She said despite repeated requests to authorities, no one has told her where her son and his wife are and whether they are dead or alive.

January 20, the day everything changed here in Kano. A devastating coordinated attack at the heart of government left over 200 people dead and the authorities in disarray. The government has now gone on the offensive, scooping up dozens of suspects in often bloody battles.

The Nigerian military has not responded to CNN's request for comment. But security forces insisted that the target of the Kano raid was a Boko Haram sponsor and that their security sweep continues across the north of Nigeria.

In their most recent search operation, 11 suspected militants were killed. But questions are starting to arise as to whether these raids are in keeping with due judicial process.

For years now, many here in the majority Muslim north have complained of federal government neglect. But since the threat from Islamic militancy group Boko Haram has grown, many Muslims here tell us that they believe what was once benign neglect is now turning into targeted persecution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing is very, very terrible. I (inaudible) most of the Muslim now is that we are officially (inaudible). A lot of people are in bed like this still (ph). (inaudible).

If I look the way my religion asks me to be, I supposed (inaudible) attacked by the military or police like that.

I think there are some people -- those who are enemies of the Muslims that done this thing. I just think like that, because we Muslims, we are not a terrorists.

ELBAGIR: Boko Haram are now pressing home their advantage with almost nightly attacks on police stations and government road blocks. The pressure is on for authorities to show they are up to the challenge. But the worry is that the growing sense of agrievement (ph) felt by Muslims could ultimately back-fire in the militants favor.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Kano.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM, we'll be back after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now rumors that Facebook could be on the verge of filing an initial public offering are reaching fevor pitch. It is expected to happen as early as today. And reports say that Facebook is seeking to raise up to $5 billion, making it the biggest internet company IPO ever. And the site could be worth an estimated $75 to $100 billion.

Now at $5 billion, the Facebook IPO would easily eclipse the previous record set by Google back in 2004 that came in just under $2 billion.

Now Maggie Lake is following the story for us from CNN New York. And she joins us now live. And Maggie, so is the filing going to take place today?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we just don't know, Kristie. But certainly from all the news reports that are coming out, everyone expects that it is going to happen. It will be a surprise if it didn't.

Those numbers you mentioned, though, they are staggering, aren't they? I mean completely eclipsing Google. We didn't think that was possible even just a couple of years ago. And that $5 billion estimate, by the way, is conservative. A lot of people think based on investor demand that could easily grow to $10 billion.

What's so critical about today, though, is it's going to give us the most detailed look yet we have into Facebook's business. A lot of the numbers that are thrown around to date are just estimates. This is a private company. It doesn't have to release its financial information to the public. So we're going to start to get details about how much money they actually make. How do they make their money? Is it from advertising? How much of it comes from a cut they take from third party vendors -- the game makers like Zynga. That mix is incredibly important to investors everywhere, not only the professional investors, but the retail investor may be sitting home saying listen I love being on Facebook. Is this a stock I want to own?

It is a huge debate that's raising. We talk to people on both sides. Let's listen to one person who think that Facebook is going to be worth this kind of valuation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATE WESTHEIMER, TECH ENTREPRENEUR: Well, what I think is exciting about Facebook is the fact that they haven't really pushed the gas, you know, on driving revenue. They're doing pretty traditional ads right now. You know, display advertising like you even see on a newspaper's web site. And they know that they can try new things and they can really try to push it farther and they're not yet. And they're still making billions of dollars of revenue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAKE: So that's the pro camp. Of course, Kristie as you know I'm sure you've heard a lot of the skepticism out there because they're likely to price and have this massive valuation right out of the gate a lot of people are wondering can you live up to that? Just because you have a lot of eyeballs, does that translate into money? Can you monetize them. And that's a big question.

LU STOUT: Yeah, let's talk more about that skepticism, because investors just last year had warned of a second .com bubble inflating after that LinkedIn IPO. So has that talk gone away entirely? Are people talking more like that tech entrepreneur we heard just now who seems to have the Facebook fever? Or is Wall Street maybe not that confident in the value of the social web?

LAKE: You know, Kristie, I have to say there are as many on one side as the other. It's really interesting when you talk to people. It's not skewing one way. And it's not sort of the enthusiastic tech crowd versus the Wall Street crowd. Even with on Wall Street there's a lot of disagreement.

One of the main concerns you hear from skeptics, and it's important to sort of give voice to this is that, yes, it's very popular. Yes, they have the potential to make a lot of revenue, but if you're going grow at the kind of rapid rate that a $100 billion valuation requires you're going to need to do more advertising, a lot more advertising. And you're going to possibly need to think about selling or mining user information. Both of those are potentially big red flags for users. It would change the experience and raise a lot of privacy concerns.

But that's what they're worried about. It's really the pricing. They like Facebook as the model, but can it grow enough and walk that line with users to justify that valuation. It's a really valid point.

LU STOUT: That's right. Just how much more money can milk out of personal data.

Maggie Lake joining us live from New York with that. Thank you very much indeed.

Now let's shift gears and talk about the world weather forecast. There is a cold spell. And it is a deadly one. It's gripping Europe. Let's get details now with Mari Ramos. She's standing by -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey Kristie. Now much has changed across Europe in the last couple of days where we have this very cold air that continues to invade much of the continent.

Now I want to start you off, first of all, showing you some of those early morning lows so you can get an idea of what we're dealing with here. Against we picked cities across eastern Europe because this is where the coldest air is actually situated. Bucharest, this is the fourth day in a row where you wake up with temperatures that are below 20 degrees Celsius - - minus 20 Celsius. Your average for this time of year is minus 4. Just gives you an indication of how widespread, how rough these conditions are for people.

Poland, you're on the list now, minus 18 for your morning low this morning. Minus 6 is your average temperature for this time of year. So we're really dealing with some extreme cold.

In Kiev, schools have been closed. In some cases schools and universities because of the extreme cold.

And this is a picture from Sofia in Bulgaria. First you had the heavy snowfall. Now you're dealing with this dangerously cold conditions.

You know this lady walking with her face exposed and her hands without clothes. The skin can freeze in just a matter of maybe 20 to 30 minutes, exposure to this kind of cold weather.

Let's go ahead and roll the pictures. We have pictures from Italy, first of all. And look at the heavy snowfall falling across Turin. Now there are some travel delays, some disruptions to railway, to of course on the roadways. And also at some of the airports across northern and central Italy because of the heavy snowfall so make sure you call ahead.

We're expecting some heavy snow to continue across this area. And I'll show you that in just a moment.

Now let's go ahead and head to Greece where the snow was falling right at sea level. There you see the water, there you see the snow.

Now this is a big concern across Greece, because people here are not accustomed to seeing these kinds of temperatures.

Now this is going to be unfortunately something that we're going to see again as we head through the day tomorrow. Let me show you why. This picture right over here, which I love, Kristie, because it looks absolutely beautiful -- the oranges with the snow on top. You know, it's going to ruin those oranges, first of all, and just an indication of how cold. That's a picture from Nice in France.

The cold air continues to move to the west. And for places like France, for example, Paris, and London, that's going to be the coldest air that you've seen in quite a long time. And if you thought it was cold today, just wait until tomorrow, because it's going to be worse.

The snowfall is going to be across this central portion of the Med where that moisture from the Mediterranean is meeting up with that extremely cold air. Look at Bologna. They could see an additional centimeters of snow. That snow also continuing to spread across southeastern Europe back over toward Greece, maybe even in Athens.

But it's getting better across the south, though, because after the snow is over, Kristie, I think by Thursday it's still cold, but Friday and Saturday we begin to see a warm-up. But remember what I said about some other areas to the west -- Madrid, London, Paris, you're going to see the colder air move your way next. Back to you.

LU STOUT: OK. So folks there still need to be careful. Mari Ramos, thank you very much for that.

Now there is an ugly conflict that's brewing between Hong Kong residents and people from Mainland China. And some in this city are angry at the increasing number of mainland Chinese that are crossing the border to claim benefits here in Hong Kong. And today that anger went to print in a full page ad in the tabloid paper Apple Daily. Now the ad, it features the image of a locust, right here it's overlooking the city skyline of Hong Kong. And it reads, Hong Kong people we had enough.

Now this is commissioned by members of a forum called Hong Kong Golden and targets what are known as double-knot families, or children who were born in Hong Kong to parents who are not Hong Kong citizens.

And here is one woman's take on the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem is that we're the one -- we're the taxpayers, but they are benefiting from the taxes we paid which they didn't pay anything just by having their baby born here. So it's like you're taking the benefits off the taxpayers. That is why we're furious at the moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: And this Facebook page is also evidence of the growing discontent here. The name Against Mainland Pregnant Women Giving Birth Hong Kong. And this page has been liked by more than 100,000 people.

Now ahead here on NEWS STREAM cricket star Sachin Tendulkar is waiting to notch up his 100th international century, but Pakistan's former captain Imran Khan says it may be too late. We have that story and other sports headlines next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now Premier League leaders Manchester City were in action on Tuesday night. Let's find out how they did. Don Riddell joins me now from London -- Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks very much, Kristie.

Football's European transfer window has closed now for the rest of the season. And while there was some movement between clubs it was overall a relatively quiet period. Perhaps the most interesting player was not one that was traded, but one that wasn't. Despite a spectacular fallout between he and his club, Manchester City have been unable to sell Carlos Tevez.

And it was a bad night for City, because they were also beaten again in the Premier League, losing to Everton and surrendering their lead at the top of the table. They're now tied with their local rivals Manchester United.

Meanwhile, the Chelsea and England captain John Terry has been told that he won't have to stand trial for racial abusing another footballer until July, meaning that will be after this summer's European Championships. He's accused of abusing the QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in October.

Terry did not attend the first court hearing earlier today, but his lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf.

It present the Football Association with something of a dilemma at the tournament. They have stood by Terry so far. But he may have to play with Ferdinand's brother Rio in the heart of the England defense.

Now then Pakistan and India's cricket teams are two of the biggest rivals in world sport. And a comment by Pakistan's former captain is sure to have riled India's biggest star Sachin Tendulkar. 10 months after his 99th international century during a victorious World Cup campaign, Tendulkar is still looking for a landmark 100th ton. He certainly didn't get it during a dreadful test series against Australia.

Now Imran Khan says that he should have already retired and that he's missed the chance to go out on top.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IMRAN KHAN, FORMER PAKISTAN TEAM CAPTAIN: He's such a great player. There's still no replacement for him. Really he has to decide, but he must time it right, because you don't want to go as you quite rightly said, having lost 4-0 to Australia, not you know having a century, or not having got his mark. You know, if he goes now it's not -- he won't go out on a high. If he had left at the World Cup final, that would have been the ultimate high, certainly was for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: And the next chance for Tendulkar to rack up his 100th century will be in the first game of the one day series between India and Australia in Melbourne on Sunday.

Now CNN has learned that Caroline Wozniacki has parted company with her coach Ricardo Sanchez after working with him for only two months. The Danish tennis star missed another chance to win her first grand slam title last week when she was beaten in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. And that defeat also cost Wozniacki the world number one ranking. She's now gone back to being coached by her father.

Kristie, that's all we got time for just now. We'll have more world sport for you in a few hours time.

LU STOUT: All right. Don Riddell thank you.

And finally we want to return to our top story. On a day with plenty of news out of Syria and Mitt Romney's victory in Florida we wouldn't normally start the show with a company replacing its CEO, but Sony is no ordinary company. Now in his book on the company's history, John Nathan says the influence of Sony's founders can still be felt throughout the company today. He writes that they ran Sony as if it were a family business, not a multi-billion dollar corporation. It's an approach that gained Sony many fans.

Now Steve Jobs' admiration is referenced in his biography. And the book says that a young Steve Jobs used to study Sony's brochure to examine a product's design features.

And the gadget blog Gismoto published this love letter. It says this, quote, Sony, the products who defined gadgetry in my youth have lost its way. I miss loving Sony.

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

END