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Egypt Protests Escalate; Iran-Israel Tensions; Crisis in Syria; John Terry Removed As Captain of England National Team; Deadly Cold Continues To Grip Europe

Aired February 3, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

And we begin in Egypt. You're seeing more clashes on the streets of Cairo right now, two days after a riot following a football match killed 79 people.

John Terry is removed as captain of the English national football team.

And the U.S. defense secretary reportedly anticipates a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities by Israel.

Mass demonstrations are taking place in Cairo right now to protest the handling of Wednesday's football riot which killed 79 people. Now, these images were taken just a short time ago in Cairo, where thousands of people gathered near the Interior Ministry. And police are responding with tear gas.

Today's protests followed clashes on Thursday. Two people were shot dead in the city of Suez after crowds attacked a security forces headquarters.

In Cairo, 900 people were injured in clashes with police. And protesters want to know how Wednesday's riots in Port Said could have happened, and they're pointing the finger at police and what they say was lax security. They're also calling for an immediate end to military rule, which is still in place a year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Let's go straight to Cairo now. Our Ivan Watson is on the line.

And Ivan, what are you seeing around you?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the anger and rage and fury from that colossal loss of life on Wednesday in the soccer stadium in Port Said now spilling over into the second day here in the streets of Cairo with demonstrators continuing their siege of the Ministry of Interior building. Now, we've spoken to authorities there, Egyptian authorities, who say that protesters have taken over a taxation building about a block away and that they've been hurling petrol bombs on to the police there, wounding more than 100 of them.

According to the Ministry of Health, more than 1,400 civilians have been wounded in clashes since yesterday here. The demonstrators, many of them carrying the flags and the colors of their team, Al-Ahly, which suffered so many casualties Wednesday night in that soccer stadium in Port Said.

We spoke with the executive director of the Al-Ahly Fans Committee earlier today, and he blamed the state security forces, the police, of either incompetence or some conspiracy that led to the deaths of so many people in that stadium.

Take a listen to what he said.


MAMDOUH EID, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AL-AHLY FANS COMMITTEE: They got trapped inside, and people traumatized were trying to run. And they all realized that the gate is closed at the other side. So they stampeded over each other, and people were stepping over each other's heads and killing each other. So those were not killed by -- the Masry fans were killed by our fans trying to get away.


WATSON: Horrific scenes there. The government has declared three days of mourning. The governor of Port Said has resigned after this massacre. And some of the top police officials there are being investigated by the government right now -- Kristie.

STOUT: As you reported, 1,400 people wounded in the ongoing clashes, two people dead in Suez, 79 deaths in Port Said. All the violence, all this unrest is a key test for Egypt's parliament. And how are they reacting and what will they do next?

WATSON: Well, there have been some intense debates. Yesterday was an historic debate in the parliament, where there were efforts to shut down the live broadcast of the debate. And then, evidently, the parliamentarians protested and managed to overturn that. So, expect to see more discussion, more furious debate taking place there.

The big question is now -- we've seen the violence on the streets here and in Suez, where two people were killed yesterday, step up after Friday prayers and after people have buried their dead, with at least 79 people killed on Wednesday night. And we have seen a huge fan base for one of the most popular football teams in Egypt riled up and basically blaming the authorities here in Egypt who had already angered other sectors of society, blaming them for the massacre on Wednesday. It's only further hurting the credibility of the ruling military council, which fairly or unfairly is being blamed for the lapses in security and what took place there.

Don't know what the siege of the Ministry of Interior is going to accomplish, but this is very reminiscent of what we saw, Kristie, last November here, where more than 40 people were killed as clashes erupted around the Ministry of Interior between protesters and riot police. That has been a frequent target of the anger of the revolutionaries in what has been a very turbulent year in Egypt. Just remember, we're at the one-year anniversary mark for some of the clashes that led to the downfall of the former president, Hosni Mubarak, a drama that unfolded in the streets behind me, in Tahrir Square, exactly a year ago today.

STOUT: Ivan, we know that you're staying on this story. Thank you so much for that report, and we'll be checking in with you later here on CNN.

Ivan Watson, joining us live from Cairo.

And just then you could hear the sirens behind him as emergency services arrive at the scene there in Cairo.

Now, Wednesday's deadly riot in Port Said, it was one of the world's worst ever incidents of football violence. It began after a match between the local side, Al-Masry, and the visiting rivals, Al-Ahly, from Cairo.

Ian Lee goes back to the stadium to try to piece together how the tragedy unfolded.


IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tensions were high as each side was shooting fireworks at each other, which isn't uncommon.

But what happened afterwards was extraordinary. What happened here was Al- Masry soccer fans emptied the stadium, emptied the seats, moved along this way, and they were coming over here. Over here we have the Ahly fans.

Now, we had -- security was right here, police were situated right over here. But what we're hearing from eyewitnesses is that they didn't stop the rush of people who were coming across the field. The people over here were having -- they had knives, they had swords, what we're hearing, all sorts of different weapons.

And moving across here, there were these yellow gates right here, what we have. And these yellow gates were open. Usually they're locked during games, but somehow they were open. And then police were standing right by them, doing nothing, from what we're hearing. You have all the Ahly fans. Then up in the stands, they're then trapped essentially, because the only ways to exit are really here, over here.

So what we're hearing is that these steel gates were open, the police standing by. So the crowd rushed through here. And if you look up here, you can see the stands. And there are all the people that were up in here, and there are really only a couple of exits that they had to choose from.

So as you can see, there was hundreds, if not thousands of people up in this area, very hard to move through to what looks like two different exits, potential exits. But what is very telling of this attack is coming up here, looking at the different seats, you can see blood in them. You can see where people were killed or kicked.

And we have -- right now we're hearing 79 people were killed. You can see where some of these people were killed from the massive amount of blood that is on the seat. But something that we're also hearing that is a bit more unnerving is that at the top here, fans were thrown over the side down onto the concrete below.

So the massive crowd of people came down here, thousands of people came through this tunnel. As you can see, people had left their shoes. They ran out of their shoes, and they came down here. And as they got down here, big metal steel doors were holding them in place, as you can see right over here, you can see right down here the big metal doors that were -- that were actually pushed down.

They broke through, a surge of people pushed through these metal doors right down here. And if you look right here you can see that this -- how these metal doors were held in place, but then they were knocked down by the surge of people.

And what we're hearing is a lot of people actually died right here when they couldn't break through, they suffocated when the -- when the huge surge pushed them against these doors. Eventually, the force breaking through here, and they were able to escape out this way.


STOUT: And that was Ian Lee reporting from Port Said.

Now, John Terry has been removed as captain of the English national football team. Now, Terry was set to lead England into the European championships in June and July, but he is facing trial over charges that he racially abused an opponent. Terry plead not guilty to the charges.

On Wednesday, Terry learned that the trial would be moved to July the 9th, after the European championships.

And in a statement, the English Football Association says this: "It is in the interests of all parties that John has the responsibilities of captaincy removed at this time." But, the FA says that Terry can still play for England if selected by coach Fabio Capello.

Now, strict British laws against potentially prejudicing the case limit what we and other media can say. The Crime Prosecution Service says it met with the FA to discuss potential prejudice if the captaincy was removed, but in its statement, the FA said that the decision in no way infers any suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge against John Terry.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, reports that the U.S. defense secretary thinks Israel could attack Iran this spring sparks a fierce reaction.

With violence continuing in Syria, a group of young activists splashed red paint on walls to remember a past massacre.

And police in Canada say they have busted a child pornography ring. Dozens of people are charged and more than 20 children are rescued.


STOUT: Now, two American tourists have been kidnapped in the southern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. A security official says that they were abducted by unknown Bedouins. We'll have more details for you as soon as we get them.

And speculation is growing that Israel could be edging toward a military strike on Iran's nuclear program. A senior Obama administration official says that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta anticipates an Israeli attack against Iran as early as spring. Israel is also ratcheting up the rhetoric.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said no option should be taken off the table to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. That came a day after Panetta said the U.S. could end its combat mission in Afghanistan next year.

Now, Iran's supreme leader swiftly hit back. Ayatollah Khamenei said war against Iran would be detrimental to the United States.

CNN's David McKenzie is following these developments from Jerusalem, and he joins us now.

And David, give us a sense of the very strong reaction there to Panetta's statement.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. In fact, the reactions weren't so much to Panetta's statement. The reactions have been coming here, the statements have been coming here in Jerusalem for many days now.

It doesn't seem like a day goes by without a senior government official or a former member of the army or intelligence making a statement, talking about the possibility of striking Iran's nuclear facilities. This war of words, as it were, is really ratcheted up, and the most blunt statement yet, really, came from Ehud Barak, as you said, the defense minister here in Israel who was speaking at a conference last night.


EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): Dealing with a nuclear Iran will be far more complex, far dangerous, and far more expensive in blood and money than stopping it today. In other words, those who say in English "later" may find later is too late.


MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, he also talked about an immunity stage which has been talked about a lot here in Israel, where the leaders here feel -- or at least say -- that there could be a point where the nuclear development gets to a stage that would be too difficult or too dangerous for Israel to contemplate any kind of military strike against Iran.

Now, it must be said that in the past few months, these sort of aggressive statements from Israel have come in waves. And really, right now, they're ratcheting up the rhetoric. It's making a lot of people nervous -- Kristie.

STOUT: Rhetoric being ratcheted up. How do Israeli leaders talk about and assess the threat that Iran poses?

MCKENZIE: Well, if you talk to Israeli leaders -- and we've talked to very senior members of the government who recently left the intelligence field here -- they talk about it in very strong terms, that it's sort of inevitable, in their eyes, that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. Others are less forthright about that.

Experts say, well, it's not really clear whether Iran has decided to develop a weapon. They certainly have a nuclear program, but whether they've actually made the decision to go through with a nuclear weapon is another matter. And definitely, Western capitals, leaders are nervous about these very strident comments coming from Israeli leaders, who are talking up the prospect of striking Iran.

This also plays into the very close, strategic relationship between Israel and the United States. You know, as we saw with those unusual comments from the defense secretary saying that there's a timeline potentially for Israel to strike -- April, May, June, he said, according to those sources and according to "The Washington Post" -- now, that kind of direct threat could be seen either as a way to apply diplomatic pressure on Iran for it to stop, as well as sort of push through the sanctions that the EU are proposing, or -- which is a very dangerous scenario, obviously -- that there could be a strike against Iran military. And that, people fear, would come from Israel, obviously, rather than the United States.

So, definitely a lot of tension in this region -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

David McKenzie, joining us live from Jerusalem there.

Thank you.

Now, a leading human rights organization is accusing Syrian security forces of torturing children. Human Rights Watch says it has documented at least 12 cases involving the detention and torture of children, and the report adds pressure to the U.N. Security Council as it debates a possible resolution on the violence.

So far, diplomats have failed to agreement. And the latest draft resolution drops the demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down, something Russia rejects. The draft does, however, support the idea of a Syrian-led transition to democracy.

Now, in Syria, activists are calling for huge protests today.

Let's get the very latest from CNN's Arwa Damon. She's following the story from Lebanon and joins us now live from Beirut.

And Arwa, the calls for another protest are to mark 30 years since the Hama massacre. And what are you hearing about what's happening inside Syria today?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the demonstrations do seem to be as they are just about every single Friday, fairly widespread, although demonstrators are facing increasing challenges when they do try to congregate in numbers. We are hearing again of at least 12 people who have been killed, some of them during these demonstrations, some of them in clashes in various parts of the country.

But you mentioned the anniversary of the 30 years since the Hama massacre back in 1982. The placards, the chants today all centering around that. Demonstrators saying, "We're sorry, Hama. Please forgive us." And that has been the scene, because what happened back then, no one wants to see that repeated -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Arwa, more on this disturbing Human Rights Watch report. Again, it says it knows of --


DAMON (voice-over): -- not in memory of those who have recently died in Hama, but the victims of the massacre 30 years ago, in 1982.

Manhal, one of the activists behind this video, is too young to remember those days, but he says he's fighting the same injustice. We reached him by Skype.

(on camera): How are you able to do this with all of the security forces everywhere?

MANHAL, SYRIAN ACTIVIST: We divided ourselves to teams. We make it so -- with many arrangements. So, three people on the start of the street, and three people on the end of the street, and three people to do the work.

We (INAUDIBLE) and make it with water and spread it on streets, on the river water. So, like, symbolic of the blood that had been shed in '82. We have been told that in '82, the blood was in streets.

DAMON (voice-over): A Syrian activist group sent out these images said to be of the aftermath back then, when the current president's father, Hafez al-Assad, mercilessly crushed an armed uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama. Huge swaths of the city were razed to the ground. Estimates of the dead range from 7,000 to 40,000.

Over Skype, El Mohammed (ph) -- it's not her real name -- breaks down as she recalls the devastation. "We suffered. I swear to you, we suffered!" she sobs. El Mohammed (ph) was just 20 years old at the time, newly married with two young children.

"We were all sleeping and we woke up to the sound of unimaginable bombardment," she recalls. "They took all of us into these large empty space. It was cold and rainy."

Her husband was taken away, along with men of all ages. "He was detained for 25 days," she tells us. "Upon his release, his back was bruised purple from the neck down. A year later, he was taken away again." It was the last time she would see him.

She found out from his cell mate he had been executed.

"They are repeating Hama, but this time all over Syria!" El Mohammed (ph) cries.


DAMON: And she is also, of course, very worried about her son, who is an activist. She was telling us that she fears that his children will be orphaned if he ends up killed just the same way his father was -- Kristie.

STOUT: And more on the plight of children in Syria. Human Rights Watch, in that report, again, it says that it knows of at least 12 cases of children there in Syria detained, tortured, shot in the streets.

And Arwa, we want to get your thoughts on the report and how such young victims have been caught up in the violence there.

DAMON: We've been seeing children being caught up in this pretty much since the onset, Kristie. One of the cases mentioned in this report is the story of a 13-year-old boy who says that he was tortured, electrocuted, had one of his toenails pulled out.

We actually met this very same child while we were here in Lebanon up in the north at one of the refugee camps. When you hear the children speaking about this, it is of course quite chilling. And many people will tell you that this is a regime that doesn't differentiate between children and adults. Many of these cases in this report just make your skin crawl.

There's one testimony that was given from an adult who was held in a cell saying -- with 70, 75 people. A number of them, his testimony says, were 15, 16-year-old children. Some of them even younger. And he actually was speaking about how some of these young boys were being raped, how one child came in and he was bleeding from the behind.

Again, it's just painting this image of these atrocities happening inside Syria, and it's these very atrocities that are really the driving force behind this uprising that we're seeing right now. This is exactly what it is that the demonstrators say they want to change.

STOUT: I just shudder hearing of these stories.

Arwa Damon, joining us live from Beirut.

Thank you.

Now, coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, police say that they have busted a huge child pornography ring in Canada, and details are emerging on the number of young victims there.

We'll have that story after the break.


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

Now, Canadian authorities have arrested more than 60 people in one of the countries largest ever child pornography busts. So far, 22 victims have been identified, and police say that they believe that there are more.

Paula Newton reports.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During the sobering announcement, police outline the details of an insidious child porn ring that has so far victimized as many as 22 children, maybe more. Sixty people including three teenagers have been charged with 213 offenses.

SCOTT TAYLOR, INSPECTOR, ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE: The charges included sexual assault, child luring, possession of child pornography, make available child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and accessing child pornography.

NEWTON: The children are now under government care after being rescued by authorities, and they're receiving medical and trauma assessments. But police say more victims are likely to be identified, and their chilling presentation shows why.

Police zeroed in on the explosion of child porn downloads in the last three months alone just in the province of Ontario. Almost 9,000 Internet addresses were identified, and police admit it's a challenge to keep up with the technology and the criminals.

TAYLOR: As you can see, each cluster that's clicked upon explodes like fireworks. Keeping on top of types of storage and transmission devices that these criminals use is also a never-ending challenge. We continue to make the best possible use of the tools and limited resources that we have to hunt down child predators and finally put them out of business.

NEWTON: Police here in Canada say they are trying to dispel the myth that these are Internet crimes with no victims. In fact, as this investigation has shown, the international consumption of child porn harms children and the Internet now leaves them more exposed to child predators.

(on camera): This bust netted one suspect as old as 69, another as young as 16. That teenager also charged with making child pornography.

Given the scope of this, police say they continue to work with other forces in North America and the United States, trying to hone their tech skills in making sure they try and stay one step ahead of the child pornographers.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


STOUT: Still to come here on NEWS STREAM, bitterly cold temperatures across Europe get deadlier by the day and show no signs of letting up. And devastating floods in Australia have left thousands stranded without power.

We'll get more on world weather after the break.


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

Now tensions are high in Egypt as violent confrontations continue between security forces and protesters. Clashes on Thursday left two people dead and 900 injured, but demonstrators are upset at how police handle, or they say mishandled, the football riot that killed 79 people on Wednesday.

Now a UN backed court in Cambodia has rejected the appeal of a former Khmer Rouge jailer who received a 35 years sentence in 2010 for war crimes. He said the court on Friday increased that sentence to life. Keung Guek Eav, commonly known as Duch, headed the 1970s prison where about 14,000 people died.

Now John Terry has been removed as captain of the English National Football Team. Terry was set to lead England into the European championships in June and July, but he is facing trial over charges that he racially abused an opponent. In a statement, the English Football Association says its decision does not infer any guilt on John Terry.

And this just into CNN, the U.S. Labor Department the U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January. That is far ahead of expectations. And that's compared to the 200,000 jobs employers added in December. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent. And to bring you more on those numbers from New York in around 10 minutes from now.

Now the death toll is rising from a cold snap that is holding Europe in an icy grip. Agence France Presse is now reporting some 136 people are now dead as the region struggles with sub-zero temperatures. And most of those deaths are in Ukraine. Reuters reports that 101 people have died from freezing temperatures this past week. And authorities have opened more than 2,000 heated tents like the ones right here, but for people who do not have heating in their homes. And in Poland, 29 people have died as a result of the cold.

And let's bring up a picture of the Vistula River in Warsaw. You can see large parts of it are frozen.

And in Poland's southeastern mountain temperatures fell to 34 degrees below zero Celsius.

And cold related deaths have also been reported across other parts of eastern Europe, including Romania, Bulgaria.

And it's not just Europe struggling with the low temperatures, here in Asia AP reports that heavy snow has blanketed northern Japan for weeks has killed 56 people there. Many of them have died as they cleared snow from roads or roofs.

Now let's get the latest on this cold snap that has been so deadly around the world. Mari Ramos joins us now -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. Yeah, amazing stuff when you see those pictures. It's really spectacular the amount of snow in Japan there. And of course the frigid temperatures across Europe.

Let's go ahead and start in Europe, because some of these totals, some of these low temperatures again this morning were just tremendous. Let's go ahead and take a look over here. Most of the coldest air is along eastern Europe. Kiev, minus 27. This is the coldest you've been this entire time. We're going to start to see temperatures moderating somewhat over the weekend. But, you know, when you're dealing with temperatures like this -- minus 20 it started off a week ago. Here we are a week later and it's minus 27. Minsk minus 27. Warsaw minus 23, that's also the coldest you've had this entire winter season. And in Berlin, you got to minus 15.

And on this side you see what the averages are supposed to be, some -- just differences are very large. And that is why we're having so many problems.

The purple in this case is the coldest air. I want you to keep an eye on that. Let's go ahead and start it back up. This is Friday. You're going to see that colder air continuing to retreat into this buble here across northeastern Europe. Now that means that for the UK, for France, for Spain, for Portugal, Corsica, Sardinia, even North Africa and most of Italy will begin to see a little bit of an improvement in the temperatures.

Also back here, notice, you see a lot more green coming up as we head into southeastern portions of Europe, for Greece, for Macedonia, even into portions of Bulgaria we'll see temperatures moderating somewhat. But very cold air will remain in place here across much of the Balkans still. And then also for Romania. And there's also the problem with the snow. We're seeing the return of the snow across many of these areas. In Italy it hasn't stopped. Again, another 25 to 50 centimeters of additional snowfall expected here. That's going to translate onto the other side of the Adriatic as well and all the way up to Romania. And that band of snow stretches all the way up into Russia as well.

And there's also the chance for some snow as we head into southeastern parts of the UK, including London as we head into the weekend, particularly Saturday night into Sunday through the low countries probably for Paris and then back over all the way over into northern portions of Spain.

So the weather improves in the sense of the temperatures, but now we're going to have even more snowfall, so that's still going to be a concern. Minus 3 right now in Paris, minus 6 in Berlin, minus 9 today in Moscow. And Athens, look at that, what a difference. Remember I told you your temperature will go up, you are at 13.

Very quickly I do want to update you also on what's happening in Japan, in particular, and across Asia. This is a picture from Afghanistan. Heavy snowfall in these areas as well, Kristie. So we really are dealing with some extreme temperatures in many areas. Beijing not too bad today at minus 6 compared to minus 11 yesterday. But look at Tokyo, minus 4. Windy weather expected this week there.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast.

In Australia, the problem is the flooding. So talk about weather extremes here, Kristie. I want to take you right over here into -- this is northern parts of New South Wales, the town of Moree. Expecting, or have had historic flooding here. The Mehi River flooding across area, trapping people on both sides of this main break that you see here.

On the ground, this was the situation. You can see the people trapped on the roadways as the water continued to get higher and higher. The rainfall totals across this area continue to pile up. This is in Moree. As we head a little farther to the north in the town of Mitchell, right on the border there with Queensland, or in Queensland I should say, the situation is not much better. Erin Edwards tells us more.


ERIN EDWARDS, 7 NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The mighty Maranoa muscling in on Mitchell. The town had been told it wasn't at risk. It came up so fast. Residents carry pets and (inaudible) through half a meter of water.

Rachel Mitchell's house was surrounded. The grandmother's home is filled with family photos.

Are you worried?

UNIEDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am now with the water in my house, then, yes.

EDWARDS: Everyone had to help to save home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I reckon we're about 500 thereabout.

EDWARDS: Children, holiday makers filled sandbags.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From (inaudible).

EDWARDS: Workers on their way home from South Australia were trapped in town, but kept working.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got caught here, so the crew has been giving them a hand.

EDWARDS: Anthony Rickson (ph) fought to save his home, but he knew it would go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, (inaudible) worse, but if it has to be it has to be.

EDWARDS: Grant Waldren (ph) is in the SES. While he was helping others, his own house was inundated.

Are you all right? You're house is just over there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'll be all right. (inaudible) all the same.

EDWARDS: The fire station is flooded, and evacuation center has opened.

The people of Mitchell have never seen anything quite like this. 2010, 1974, 1956 all big floods. But the Maranoa is now higher and rising.

Help is here. Swiftboater rescue team, extra police, and the Red Cross, veterans of every Queensland flood.

In Mitchell, Erin Edwards, 7 News.


RAMOS: You know, the town of Mitchell, that city there that we were looking at normally gets only about 50 millimeters of rain the entire month of February. So far, this week they've had over 270 millimeters of rain. That kind of puts it in perspective of how bad the flooding is in some of those areas.

Now to also put it in perspective, the flooding this time around across Queensland and New South Wales it's not as bad, at least not yet, as what we had last year around this time. So you can see that there's still some scattered rain showers here across these regions. And we're going to see those rivers continuing to rise, unfortunately.

As we head through the weekend, this weather system will continue to pull on through. Some scattered rain showers are expected across New South Wales, but the heaviest rain will not be in the south of Queensland anymore, but will be in the north as heavy tropical rain showers are expected in this region.

Kristie, we'll be monitoring that, of course, through the weekend here at CNN World Weather.

Just one more thing, this is about Twitter. We started seeing those messages about the town of Mitchell, those emergency messages coming through yesterday from Queensland authorities even through Twitter and Facebook warning people that the water was rising so quickly into those regions. So it was pretty dramatic to witness that as well. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, very dramatic to hear that. And thank you for sharing that to our wider audience here on CNN. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

Now police officers are dying at an alarming rate in a Mexican city just across the U.S. border. And the killers say it won't stop until their demands are met. Now senior Latin American affairs editor Rafael Romo brings us the details, beginning with the most recent killing.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The officer was shot and killed as he was heading home at the end of his shift. He was the eighth police officer murdered in the last two weeks in the middle of a war between police and organized crime in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico across the border from El Paso, Texas.

JULIAN LEYZAOLA, CIUDAD JUAREZ POLICE OFFICER (through translator): We have to show them that they can't be above the law or above authority. They're criminals. And they should be isolated, isolated in jail, or buried in the cemetery. They can't keep on intimidating or kidnapping people.

ROMO: In the last few weeks, banners appeared in Juarez threatening to kill one officer per day unless Chief Leyzaola resigns. After the eighth officer was killed, Mayor Hector Murguia made the decision to temporarily house most of the 2,500 police force in hotels with 24 hour police protection.

HECTOR MURGUIA, MAYOR OF CIUDAD JUAREZ (through translator): I had to respond to reality. I also decided that we were going to allow police officers to keep their duty weapons after their shift ended. We decided to send them to the barracks after the eighth death. We needed to do something about it.

ROMO: The attacks against police officers haven't stopped. A shootout between police officers and their attackers earlier this week left three dead gunmen and three arrests. Mayor Murguia stopped short of calling the situation a crisis.

MURGUIA (through translator): It would be stupidly naive not to expect deadly attacks in an open war against organized crime. What would you have us do? Do you want us to send messages to the criminals asking them to please put down their AK-47 and stop committing crimes?

ROMO: Three years ago, criminal groups successfully used the same tactic of killing police officers in order to force the Juarez chief of police to resign. This time around, however, Chief Leyzaoala, a former army officer who successfully brought crime down in the border city of Tijuana says he's not backing down.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


LU STOUT: Now still to come on News Stream, friends in high places. U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gets a powerful new backer. Will it help him on the campaign trail? You're watching News Stream.


LU STOUT: Now let's get more on the latest jobs figures just released by the U.S. Labor Department. Again, employers added some 243,000 jobs in January. But what does that tell us about the state of the U.S. economy? Maggie Lake joins us live in New York to break down the numbers. And Maggie, I mean that was a much better than expected report. So what's your takeaway?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it certainly was, Kristie, much better than many had been expecting. And it sort of solidifies this idea that the U.S. recovery is not only here and taking hold, but it's gaining strength a little bit. So very reassuring to financial markets. We're seeing stock futures move on that.

243,000 jobs added, it was really the private sector which is kicking in here, which again is considered key. And those gains were pretty broad based -- professional, business, leisure, hospitality, and manufacturing. A lot of hay being made these days about the fact that we're seeing manufacturing sector here in the U.S., which had been weak for, you know, more than a decade now really in decline showing some. So that's interesting.

Also important, the unemployment rate, which is the thing that you really see splattered across the headlines here, and it's what sort of the average American kind of connects to, that fell to 8.3 percent. Again, a bigger drop than analysts had been anticipating. And that comes at a time that the labor force numbers are moving up. It's a little technical, but people sort of think this is real, not due to some sort of adjustment or the fact that people are dropping out and not even bothering to look.

So that is very good news across the board, really encouraging for people who had been a little bit worried here in the beginning of the year. We had a little bit of momentum at the end of 2011, but there are a lot of fears that maybe the economy was going kind of stall out and that we were stuck.

The other important thing is this brings us up to the kind of numbers just approaching, but getting up to the kind of numbers that you want to see month after month if you are going to see real, sustained improvement in the jobs market. This keeps up with the population rate. You want to see something around 250,000 to 300,000 to get this unemployment rate moving and make this recovery really feel real and matter to the people who have been out of work for a long time.

So all around, a very good report, Kristie. We're going to be talking about a lot more on World Business Today coming up in just a bit.

LU STOUT: Yeah, I mean this is a pretty strong report, too. It kicked off the year. And of course, 2012, a big election year there in the United States. So what are you thinking about the job growth trend ahead? Is it -- there going to be more momentum? Or will volatility come back?

LAKE: Yeah, you know, for sure -- I mean, this is not, you know, pop the champagne cork. There are a lot of headwinds out there. And you'll hear people talk about them. You can believe there's probably a little bit of fist pumping at the White House this morning. They'll be very pleased to see this number.

It is an election year. And if you see that jobs market start to improve in a substantial way that is going to be a massive tailwind for President Obama. That is really going to help his chances for reelection, because in the end that's going to be one of the key statistics that might matter more than anything else a sense that people can find work. That's going to do a lot to boost consumer confidence. So it matters very much politically this year.

But we're not out of the woods. And you'll probably hear the administration be a bit cautious and not try to sound too celebratory. We still have a lot of people out of work. This is starting to move in the right direction, starting to get up to the kind of numbers you want to see for it to be a sustained recovery.

But you still have concerns about Europe out there. You still have businesses which seem happy to invest in equipment, a little bit more reluctant to invest in head count and hire people. And you also have consumers which still have a lot of debt on the balance sheets. They're still struggling.

So you have all those issues, but certainly hard to find something to complain about in this particular report, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Maggie Lake joining us live from New York. Thank you very much for that.

And time now for a sports update. And one of the leading contenders for Euro 2012 are looking for a new captain five months before the tournament kicks off.

Let's turn to Alex Thomas, he's got more details now -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, Chelsea star John Terry will not captain England at the European football championship starting in June. The Football Association say Terry won't lead the team until he has resolved an ongoing court case scheduled for the month after the tournament. The FA say they made the decision, because the role has such a high profile and because the additional demands on the captain before and during the competition.

A statement concluded that in no way does it infer guilt in relation to the charges against Terry.

Earlier this week we saw McLaren unveil its new car ahead of the 2012 Formula One season. And now it's Ferrari's turn, although the famous Italian firm has been accused of building an ugly looking vehicle. Take a look at this video and judge for yourself. Ferrari designers have blamed F1's new regulations for the shape of the front nose, which has attracted particularly criticism.

The rules state that cars this season must alter the height of the front section of the chassis, the position of the exhaust pipes and the mapping for the electronic engine management.

Now later this month the best in the NBA will be on show at the 2012 all-star game in Orlando. On Thursday the starters for both squads were announced. And four of the five Western Conference starters are from Los Angeles, either the Clippers or the Lakers -- Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant, and Andrew Bynum are in. Kobe receiving more than 1.5 million votes. Joining those four will be Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Making up the Eastern Conference starting roster teammates Dwayne Wade and LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. The game will be played on February 26 at the Amway Center in Orlando.

Now Thursday night in the NBA saw Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks take on Derick Rose and his Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls. Rose showing why he's the reigning NBA MVP with that slam and picking up a foul as well as Chicago took a 10 point lead. New York hanging tough, though. Carmelo Anthony with the alley-oop pace to Tyson Chandler for the huge slam which delighted Spike Lee, movie director in the crowd watching that one.

More from Rose now, puts in the lay-up finishing with 35 points -- fourth time in five games he's reached that mark.

Knicks, though, wouldn't go away. Here's Amare Stoudemare getting it down low, finishing with the slam. Two of his 34 points on the night. The Knicks moving with five.

In the final seconds with Chicago up by 3, though, Anthony driving the ball, throws the 3-point attempt. It doesn't go in. The Bulls hold on and beat the Knicks 105-102.

We'll have more reaction to the John Terry decision and a look ahead to the African Cup of Nations and lots, lots more in our World Sport a little bit later.

For now, back to you Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Good stuff. Alex Thomas thank you. Take care.

You're watching News Stream, and when we come back, find out why these dogs are wearing their dinner.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And here's some food for thought, a dog that's willing to ham it up for her master. The Food on my Dog blog is cooking up a storm on the internet. And Jeanne Moos introduces the pooch and her delicate balancing act.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If the way to a dog's heart is through its stomach then why is this dog wearing her food on her head? Try doing that with most dogs. But Tiger is not most dogs, she's the subject of a blog called Food on my Dog. From a sunny-side up egg, to a taco, to a chocolate glazed doughnut with sprinkles, Tiger stares ahead impassively whether it be Spam in a can or pepperoni on her snout. Tiger doesn't get crabby even when she's crowned with King crab legs.

Her owner demonstrates his technique with leaves of lettuce.

OK, lettuce is probably less tempting than say a hot dog. Still, Tiger's restraint is impressive.

The most commonly asked question seems to be, does Tiger get to eat what's on her head after? The answer is yes when it's something dog friendly. A replacement treat if it's not.

Tiger wears ham like a veil. Though we discovered ham, even on a dog named Sushi, is relatively easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ham on your head.

MOOS: To slip on an unsuspecting head.

That's called distraction. Good boy. Good dog. Yeah. What a good boy.

But Tiger even wears pizza as if it's a beret.

When we tried pizza on Sushi, she tried to lick it. And tolerated wearing it only reluctantly.

Good girl.

The Food on my Dog blog reminds us of another internet phenomenon from last year, the dog that balanced treats on his head. We saw him balance as many as 36 treats, barely moving a muscle until he got the order to release.

And no, he wasn't allowed to eat them all. He even balanced while on his back. Sort of makes the latest craze called breading cats seem like child's play. Multi-grain and wheat really seem to bring out their eyes.

Now that Food on my Dog has gone viral, fans want to know if Tiger takes requests. Request bacon? She took it.

Her favorite snack is Kraft singles. They've gone to her head. What makes this dog so irresistible? Is her ability to resist.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: Oh, it's just amazing.

Now it's often said that there's an app for everything. Now what about an app to keep your cat happy? Now Alexi Hamilton Smith (ph) shows us how it works.


ALEXI HAMILTON SMITH (ph): it's the ideal playmate for lonely cats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically the aim of this game is for the cats to protect the cheese.

SMITH: A cat for fury pales.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if we let a mouse go to chews on they'll start circling the cheese and take a nibble out of it.

SMITH: There's three games in all designed to stimulate, entertain, and they can show off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have a live system here and you can see their high score down at the bottom. So this is for their human parents to be able to tell how smart they are.

SMITH: Unlike any other cat app, it also has an automatic boredem shuffling system, a world first feature says student designer Saxon Cameron.

SAXON CAMERON, DESIGNER: So this is the game that I designed that you can just put down and say if you go out to work or out to the shops, it will repeatedly shuffle the game so the cat will remain...

SMITH: (inaudible) just eight weeks old, but she's obviously the cleverest. It only took her less than a minute to work out if she double tapped the app it will go to the main menu.

CAMERON: I wasn't expecting a cat to go around and try to figure out what the interface would work like, but it might have been an accident.

SMITH: Nevermind, it automatically defaults back to the game, another ploy to keep felines indoors and not on the hunt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For us, it's all about keeping indoor cats stimulated and excited, but they haven't got that natural environment to go hunting.

SMITH: Call the affection collection, it was part of a university charity project. The download is for free. Alexi Hamilton Smith (ph), 10 news.


LU STOUT: Very cute. But I'm just thinking about all the scratches on the screen there.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.