Return to Transcripts main page


Star Of Kony 2012 Campaign Speaks Out; U.S. Plans For Afghanistan Withdraw Unchanged; Rebekah Brooks, Others Arrested In England; Republican Primaries Move South

Aired March 13, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


MANISHA TANK, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM. This is where news and technology meet. I'm Manisha Tank at CNN Hong Kong.

And we begin this show in Afghanistan. This is where anti-American protests break out after the killing of 16 Afghan civilians, but the U.S. president says he won't speed up a withdrawal from the country.

His story was part of a video that went viral faster than any in history. We'll hear directly from one of the boys abducted by warlord Joseph Kony's forces.

And two years before his country hosts the World Cup, the powerful and controversial head of Brazilian football steps down.

Well, we start in Afghanistan where hundreds of people marched in anti-American protests over a deadly shooting spree authorities say was carried out by a U.S. soldier.

Well, death to America and death to Obama were among the chants from these student demonstrators in Jalalabad. Afghanistan parliament has called for the suspect in Sunday's killings to face public trial in Afghanistan itself. 16 civilians, including nine children were killed in these attacks in two villages. The Afghan Taliban issued a statement threatening to take revenge by killing and beheading any Americans in the country. Very strong words.

Well, President Obama described these attacks as heartbreaking and offered his condolences to the Afghan people. He also said it does not reflect the behavior of the majority of U.S. forces.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been an enormous strain for a decade now on our men and women in uniform. And obviously what happened this weekend was absolutely tragic and heartbreaking, but when you look at what hundreds of thousands of our military personnel have achieved under enormous strain, you can't help but be proud generally. And I think it's important for us just to make sure that we are not in Afghanistan longer than we need to be.


TANK: President Obama.

Well, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the incident will not change NATO's course in the country.

A local council member in Kandahar Province, meanwhile, says rockets and gunfire were heard near a funeral for one of the victims of the attacks. Let's get the latest from Sara Sidner who is in Kabul.

Sara, first of all, just tell us a little bit more about what you've seen in response to these attacks.

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've seen what you just mentioned. We're seeing protests in Jalalabad, which is in eastern Afghanistan, a long way away from Kandahar where this massacre happened on Sunday, allegedly committed by a U.S. staff sergeant, army staff sergeant. We had heard today from a council member in Pundui District (ph) where the massacre happened on Sunday. He said that today while they were going to a funeral for one of the people killed, that there was actually a rocket attack.

Now what you're seeing right now is not the video, obviously, of where this actually happened, where there was an actual funeral. They were inside of a mosque praying. This RPG attack and then that was followed by small arms fire. And so that's what the very latest what we're hearing form the Pondui District (ph).

What you're seeing there is video from Jalalabad where there were protests, hundreds of people out on the streets, most of them university students, who were saying, you know down with America, down with Obama.

We did also hear today from the Taliban itself. The Taliban sent me an email this morning. And I want to just give you an idea of exactly what was said in that email. Let me show you partially what they said. They said, "we once again warn the Americans that the mujahedeen will not accept anything other than taking revenge. With the help of god, we will take the revenge of every Afghan by killing and beheading Americans anywhere in the country."

So that is a strong, strong statement coming from the Taliban after this incident.

And this incident, as you know, follows a couple of other incidents that have really caused a strain in the relationship with the Afghan people, the Afghan government and the NATO coalition forces. The first one being in January where U.S. troops, there was a picture showing them allegedly urinating on dead Afghans. And then secondly you had this U.S. troops, the burning of the Korans that caused a terrible uproar here that turned violent, 40 people killed in that, including several service members.

So this comes on the heels of two other incidents. And I'd like to let you listen to what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. is dealing with at this point when it comes to the relationship with Afghanistan.


LEON PANETTA, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We've been through a series of challenging events over these last few weeks in Afghanistan. And as I've told President Karzai when I talk to him, we seem to get tested almost every other day with challenges that test our leadership and our commitment to the mission that we're involved in.


SIDNER: And NATO forces are of course on high alert, especially after this latest line from the Taliban threatening to behead any Americans in the country. There is heightened security at bases and heightened security in any place that is considered also a soft target.

And, you know, we should mention, though, that these funerals are still ongoing. We understand now that in the Pundroy District (ph) there have been several Afghan soldiers who have been wounded in this rocket attack that was followed by small arms fire. We are trying to get more details coming from that area -- Manisha.

TANK: OK. What about this talk of a possible public trial in Afghanistan. Do we know anything else about that? You know, right now details even on the person responsible for this massacre, well those are sketchy right now as well.

SIDNER: We've gotten quite a bit more information on the person that is accused in this massacre that happened on Sunday. We are told that he's an army staff sergeant, that he's around 30-years-old, that he has served several tours of duty in Iraq and that in 2010 he was involved in a rollover vehicle accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury. He was treated for that brain injury and told that he was still fit for duty after some time and ended up doing his first tour of duty here in Afghanistan. This was his first tour of duty.

He's also known to be a sniper who can kill from a whole 800 meters, we're talking 800 football fields away. So quite highly trained soldier.

What we also know about this call for a public trial is that basically the U.S. has said that that isn't going to happen, that the person, whoever is responsible for this will go through the normal military channels if it is indeed a member of the military -- Manisha.

TANK: OK. Sara, thanks very much for that. Sara Sidner live for us there in Kabul.

Now they risked their lives staying put, but now people fleeing Syria could face a hidden danger -- land mines. Human Rights Watch is accusing the Syrian army of placing mines along the borders with Turkey and Lebanon. Inside Syria there appears to be no end, meanwhile, in sight to the violence.

OK, so this footage appears to show an injured man. He's being dragged to safety before coming under fire from a sniper. CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of these images. The United Nations, meanwhile, says more than 8,000 people have been killed in a year of unrest.

Well, as this violence in Syria continues, activists say at least 19 civilians were killed today as well as 12 security forces killed in an ambush by defecting soldiers. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been following the latest developments from the Lebanese capital Beirut. He joins us live and can bring us up to date. What's the latest, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the death toll today has now risen to 22 people, seven of whom killed in Idlib where government forces seem to be preparing some sort of onslaught in that particular northern city and also six killed in Homs from continued shelling, that that now having change its focus from Baba Amr in the west to more central districts where apparently some remnants of fighters there, or people who fled Baba Amr are now hiding out.

You mentioned earlier on there land mines and deep concerns the day. Human Rights Watch coming forward and saying that they have evidence, growing reports of mines being placed in the key border areas between Turkey and Syria, and Lebanon and Syria where refugees are crossing. Yes, also supply lines, perhaps, for rebel fighters in that particular area, but the major concern being that these land mines placed Russian devices, many of them with a very explosive charge attached to them, can -- have already begun to kill civilians and may in future wound many more.

This, frankly, indiscriminate targeting of people, I would say trying to get away from the violence inside Syria, Manisha.

TANK: Nick, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the world, really, these days who doesn't know, or hasn't heard through social media or through news outlets about what's happening in Syria. A lot of people asking what can the international community do about it? A lot of people asking what can this group the Friends of Syria do about it?

PATON WALSH: Well, they are supposed to meet again in early April. And frankly, not much has happened since their first meeting in Tunisia. This group of western and Arab nations trying to pressure Syria into changing its course of action. But as you said earlier on, we're now in a death toll of 9,000 people. Today, declared an official day of mourning where they are trying to remind the world community that this sort of -- this death toll continues to rise on a daily basis.

Yes, Kofi Annan visited Damascus, is now in Turkey meeting opposition leaders. And the diplomatic process continues. But it hasn't really brought any clear result. There's been no obvious change at all in the Syrian military's posture and their continued pursuit of civilians and opposition fighters. And I think the concern will certainly be that we've now set another date some point in the future in the next two to three weeks for yet another meeting. But so far the UN and all diplomatic pressure hasn't stopped the killing on the ground, Manisha.

TANK: OK. Nick Paton Walsh, thanks for bringing us up to date on that story, the latest on those developments in Syria. Live for us from Beirut.

Well, we're live from CNN Hong Kong. You are watching NEWS STREAM.

Still to come on this program, the U.S. Republican presidential race is on in the south. Ballots are cast today in Mississippi and Alabama. We'll have a live report as voters take to the polls.

The world has seen him in the video. Now we bring you closer to the story. Jacob, the central figure of Kony 2012 tells us of his struggle and his hopes for the future of Uganda.

And the clothing that can get you killed: how a popular western style of dress is proving deadly for young men in Iraq. All that and much more coming right up.


TANK: Reports in the British media say the former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, is one of six people arrested in the investigation into phone hacking in the UK. Let's get more from our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance. He's standing by at Scotland Yard in London.

And Matthew, I think a lot of people are going to be very interested in this development.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. If it's confirmed that Rebekah Brooks is one of those six individuals that's been arrested by the police forces across Britain, a hugely significant development. She's been arrested once before, of course, in July of last year.

But according to a police statement here, issued at Scotland Yard in central London the police officers worked in conjunction with the (INAUDIBLE) prosecution service before they made these arrests, the implication being that there may have been more evidence that's come to light which gave them a reason to re-arrest Rebekah Brooks and of course the five others.

One of the five men who have been arrested is her husband, allegedly, Charlie Brooks, who is a race horse trainer. He's also a writer in newspapers here in Britain. And so it's a big operation, it seems, and it's only the latest in this operation wheating (ph), as it's called, which is the British police investigation into phone hacking by members of the media into phones of celebrities and various other people in this country.

45 people have been arrested now, Manisha.

TANK: OK. In terms of the arrests, Matthew, can you give us a bit more detail about what it is they're being arrested for. Do we know any of that right now?

CHANCE: Yeah. Again, the police have issued a statement saying they've been arrested for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, which is obviously a very serious offense. We don't know exactly what the details are bout what evidence they've got,what exact elements of that they're being accused of.

Obviously in the past, Rebekah Brooks, for instance, has denied any knowledge of a wide scale culture of phone tapping, hacking into people's voice mails at News International. She is, of course, the former chief executive of News International, the former editor of The News of the World, and the former editor of The Sun newspaper as well.

Yet, you know, we'll see what comes out as we get more details on what exactly she's being accused of on this occasion. But again in the past she said she had no broader knowledge of this phone hacking taking place, that may now appear not to be the case.

TANK: Yeah, it seems like it might be the beginning of another phase in this investigation.

We'll leave it there. Thank you very much. Matthew Chance there updating us in these latest developments out of London.

Now over the last several days millions of people around the world have seen this rather controversial video about an African warlord Joseph Kony. The hits are starting to slow, but Kony 2012 has been seen nearly 76 million times, and that's on YouTube alone. And if you count official clicks uploaded by users, then this campaign has more than 112 million views.

Well, one trend monitor says it's gone viral faster than any other video. Visible Measures says Kony 2012 hit the 100 million mark in just six days. Clicks of Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent took nine. Meanwhile, Friday, that is of course the music video that people love to hate, that took 45 days. And Justin Bieber's Baby took 56.

Now you may have noticed those are mostly music videos. Well, Visible Measures is actually saying, and let's see if we can bring this up for you -- here you go -- Visible Measures saying only two social video ad campaigns have ever topped 100 million views, and one of them is Evian's Live Young -- that one over there. And there you go, you can see it there. And that took more than a year to reach that particular milestone.

Well, Kony 2012 features a victim of the Lords Resistance Army named Jacob. David McKenzie met up with Jacob in Uganda. Here's his story.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You may recognize this face, but Jacob Acaye was a lot younger then.

You go to school here.


MCKENZIE: Yes, that's how you know English so well.

ACAYE: I know.

MCKENZIE: He has touched millions in Kony 2012, the film that made the brutal Uganda warlord Joseph Kony famous.

ACAYE: We're worried. (INAUDIBLE) Then they will kill us.

MCKENZIE: Tens of millions of people have watched this film, but you don't like to watch it.

ACAYE: Yeah, just like because it brings a lot of memories. And like, sometimes I get sad watching it.

MCKENZIE: Jacob wanted to show us his story. We traveled with him to his village where LRA rebels came in the middle of the night to get him.

ACAYE: So yeah, this is the real village where I was abducted.

MCKENZIE: They bashed down the door of his hut and tied him to his cousin. They took 40 children that night.

Jacob says when his brother tried to escape the LRA, they dragged him back and executed him.

ACAYE: They made him to be an example for us, to not let us escape, which was so sad, like seeing him being slaughtered in front of us. It's hard. It's really hard. It's very hard.

MCKENZIE: Jacob knew he had no choice. He had to escape. And a few days later he did. He ended up in Gulu (ph), huddled with other children still fearing for his life.

During the reign of Joseph Kony, Jacob and other children would stream into the town of Gulu (ph) at night so they could stay safe. They slept together in what was called night shelters. They became night commuters. But things have changed.

Now, up to more than five years of peace in northern Uganda. The night shelter is a bus stop. Children move freely day or night. And many say the campaign to capture Kony is just too late. But not Jacob.

ACAYE: If it is still happening up until now as we are talking, people are still dying even now, there are still being abducted even now and then why is it too late? It's is not too late. It's not late.

MCKENZIE: The LRA has left Jacob's village and has taken its brutality to other countries. But he says that justice must be done for what was done to all of Kony's victims and what was done to his brother.


TANK: Well, we can speak to David McKenzie. He's on the line with us now. And get a bit more perspective on this.

David, you know, obviously you met Jacob. You had a chance to catch up with him, speak to him. What really stood out about how his life has changed and those others in Uganda, how their lives have changed as a result of this video?

MCKENZIE: A few things stood out (INAUDIBLE). Has been massively changed by his contract with Invisible Children. But while there has been heavy criticism of the online campaign that (INAUDIBLE). You do get a sense from Jacob and from the fact that a lot of children were helped directly by this charity.

You know, he said to me that when they came and first met him and said they would come back. He said there was no chance they were going to come back. And they did. And they helped him get through high school. He is now studying law in Kampala (ph).

So (INAUDIBLE) someone who could be abducted, family destroyed in many ways, and then going to college that meas there are some direct benefits.

The other thing is (INAUDIBLE) have been able to do that story some years ago. Go to (INAUDIBLE) that village was a ghost town. But that's six, seven years ago here in Uganda. So certainly Kony has moved on. Northern Uganda is very safe. And many feel that, you know, the story of the LRA has reached peak some time ago and are on some level it's been forced -- Manisha.

TANK: All right. David, thank you very much for bringing us Jacob's story in particular here on CNN. It's been fascinating to follow him on this latest part of his journey.

Well, Invisible Children is responding to its critics. And David was talking about them just then, in a new online post. The CEO goes over Invisible Children's model, its finances, and the Kony 2012 campaign in this eight-and-a-half minute YouTube video. So far it's been viewed more than 35,000 times.

The group is also asking people to tweet more questions to them with the hashtag #askICanything. So you might want to do that.

Coming up here on NEWS STREAM, we find out why young Iraqi men are apparently being killed for dressing like westerners. That's here on CNN. That's right after the break.


TANK: In Iraq, they have been labeled deviant and social outcasts. What's their crime? It's wearing western clothes. Brian Todd tells us why dressing differently has become deadly for some young Iraqi men. And we do need to warn you that this report contains graphic images.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On the streets of Baghdad, this is a very different and dangerous look. A western style with longer hair, tighter clothes. It's called emo. And if you're a young man in Iraq who wants to look like this, it could get you killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a very strong wave of killing people who are such called emos, or gays, you know people who look different than the usual Iraqi people, you know, tight jeans, long hair, maybe goatee.

TODD: We spoke to a human rights activist who didn't want us to use his name or show his face. He says he's not gay or emo, but has longer hair, listens to heavy metal music. He says he shaved his goatee out of fear.

What is the atmosphere like in Baghdad now for people like yourself just to walk around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, basically when I was coming to the CNN bureau here in Baghdad, I -- there were two checkpoints who told me to cut my hair unless there is a -- they will kill me with a (INAUDIBLE) not them, but they were like advising me so people won't kill me with a block cement -- cement blocks.

TODD: A senior Iraqi interior ministry official, not authorized to talk to the media, tells CNN at least 14 young men perceived to be either gay or dressed in emo style have been killed in Baghdad in recent weeks. Human rights activists put the number much higher. And they provide graphic evidence -- photos posted online show people believed to be victims because of their appearance.

It's not clear exactly who is killing them, but activists have given CNN copies of warning letters and lists like this one distributed in conservative neighborhoods like Sadr Ciy in Baghdad, lists identifying potential gay or emo targets. There are also serious questions about whether the Iraqi government is able or willing to protect these men.

Last month Iraq's interior ministry released a statement saying it was following the emo phenomenon, or devil worshipping, also saying we have the approval to eliminate it as soon as possible. And that the so-called moral police would enter schools in Baghdad.

The ministry later issued a statement saying it's received no reports of emos being murdered. It warns vigilantes from attacking. And says those dressed in emo style will be protected.

One young man who says he's not gay, but wears tight jeans and shirts, says he's not taking chances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't do, like, the emo thing and clothes. I can't do that anymore. I'm afraid I might get killed.

TODD: Contacted by CNN, a State Department spokesman says it is monitoring this closely, has expressed concern to the Iraqi government. And "we strongly condemn the recent violence and killings in Iraq by groups who appear to be targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or personal expression." The spokesman also points out that in recent days Iraqi parliamentarians and religious leaders, including Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, have denounced these attacks.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


TANK: A reminder, you're with NEWS STREAM.

Still to come on this program, he's the frontrunner in the U.S. Republican presidential race, but Mitt Romney has his work cut out for him today. Why he may face an uphill battle with southern voters. That's coming up here on CNN.


TANK: I'm Manisha Tank in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines.

As violence continues to rock Syria, president Bashar al Assad has set a May 7 date for parliamentary elections, that's according to the Syrian parliamentary Web site. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch accuses the Syrian army of planting land mines near the borders with Turkey and Lebanon to prevent people from fleeing.

Hundreds of students protested in the Afghan city of Jalalabad, chanting anti-U.S. slogans and burning an effigy of President Obama. It's the latest response to the deaths of 16 civilians who authorities say were killed by a U.S. soldier in Kandahar on Sunday. The Taliban has vowed to avenge the killings.

Far right leader Marine Le Pen is set to run in France's presidential elections. Her National Front Party confirmed that she has secured the backing of 500 elected officials, a requirement that's needed to stand in the election. Le Pen's political platform has centered around anti- immigration and anti-European Union policies.

Well, speaking of elections of one kind or another, it's probably the biggest that you get, voters in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Alabama are heading to the polls today. Republican presidential campaign frontrunner Mitt Romney is coming off a string of victories in last week's Super Tuesday contests, but he failed to achieve decisive blow. And in the south he's facing pretty stiff competition from two of his rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

Jonathan Mann has more.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mississippi and Alabama are side by side in America's deep south -- mostly rural, poor, and conservative. Mitt Romney, a big city multimillionaire with two Harvard degrees can almost seem like he's coming from another country discovering local culture and cuisine.

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Morning, y'all. Good to be with you. I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits, I'll tell you. Delicious.

MANN: As a stranger in the south, Romney faces tough opposition in the two primaries today. Small potential setbacks after a pretty good streak. He won six out of 10 states last week on the busy day of balloting known as Super Tuesday. And over the weekend he followed it up further afield with wins in the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, which all have their say in the Republican nomination too.

RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you so much for being my first stop in the state of Kansas.

MANN: Only Rick Santorum, who won three states on Super Tuesday, also added to his total with a victory Saturday in Kansas.

Those primaries didn't decide the race, but they did distribute a lot of delegates, the real prize heading to the Republican nominating convention in August. The presidential nomination goes to the candidate who collects 1,144. Right now, Romney is more than a third of the way there with twice as many as Santorum, his closest competitor, who in turn has nearly twice as many as Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul rounds out the race.

But this week could be a good one for Gingrich. The only southerner in the contest, he's already won his home state of Georiga and neighboring South Carolina as well. Santorum and Gingrich both call themselves the conservative alternative to Romney who is widely viewed as a moderate. And they're competing for the conservative vote.

CHIP SALTSMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think what we're really going to find out over the next couple of weeks is how much is Santorum and Gingrich hurting each other. I think if the early polling we've seen from out of these states they're almost split right down the middle which gives Mitt Romney and opportunity to win one of these states.

MANN: There are also contests in Hawaii and American Samoa, but those races pale by comparison with getting a sense of the candidates in the south.

The Republicans expect to do very well in the south in November's presidential election, especially if they pick the right candidate.

Jonathan Mann, CNN.


TANK: Well, polls have been open for about a half hour now. CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser is in Gardendale, Alabama. He's monitoring the vote and he joins me now live.

So what are you hearing so far?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Pretty busy so far right here in Gardendale. We're about 30 minutes north of Birmingham, the biggest city here in Alabama. And yeah a lot of people coming to vote already this morning here in Gardendale.

Jonathan Mann summed it up pretty well, these are two very conservative states dominated by social conservative voters, Tea Party supporters, you'd think that would not be in the crowd that Mitt Romney would do well with, but Manisha, as you can see from the most recent polls out here in the last couple of days, it's basically neck and neck between Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich for the top spot here.

Maybe Gingrich and Santorum are dividing up that conservative vote and could, could let Romney win a state. But -- and if he does, that would be a very big deal, because this is not supposed to be Romney country. Even he has been lowering expectations here in Alabama and Mississippi calling it an away game using a sports metaphor -- Manisha.

TANK: Yes, indeed. And it feels like that kind of a sports race as well at times, but given what we're seeing in terms of the numbers and after we digest everything that happened with Super Tuesday, could there still be an opportunity for a turning point in the fortunes of these candidates?

STEINHAUSER: Yeah -- Mississippi and Alabama could do what Super Tuesday didn't do, and that is bring some clarity to this race for the Republican presidential nomination. Everybody it seems came away a winner to one degree or another on Super Tuesday. But if Newt Gingrich does very, very well here in Mississippi and here in Alabama and in Mississippi it could really hurt Rick Santorum's argument that he is the conservative alternative. He is looking for a one on one race with Mitt Romney.

If Newt Gingrich does not do very well here in Alabama and Mississippi, this is almost home field advantage for Gingrich, well you're going to hear a chorus, a chorus grow louder and louder for Gingrich to drop out of the race -- Manisha.

TANK: So these polls have just opened just a half hour ago. How much longer is this going to go on? And I don't know, if you had to put your bets anywhere, what would you say? I know it's difficult, but hey, you're the expert.

STEINHAUSER: Polls are going to be open here for about 12 hours here in Alabama and Mississippi, ending at about 7:00 local time here.

As for the race for the nomination? It's not going to end today, no doubt about that. It's going to go on at the least until late April with a very good chance that it can go through the primary process which ends in early June. And listen, there's talk by Gingrich, talk by Santorum, even Ron Paul the congressman from Texas, that they'll take it all the way to the convention in Tampa, Florida in late August.

So stay tuned, this story is far from over, Manisha.

TANK: Yeah, I'm sure we're going to be talking to you a lot more. And I have to say that from an international perspective, it's an incredible -- it's an incredible lesson. Like, it's incredible to learn about this democratic process in the U.S. It's really quite amazing.

Thank you, Paul, for bringing us up to date.


TANK: Now you heard Mitt Romney talking about grits in the report that we played just a couple of minutes ago. And for anyone who doesn't know, that's probably quite a lot of you, he was talking about a porridge like dish that's made from mashed corn. And as Jeanne Moos reports, this southern side dish has been a hot topic in the Republican popularity contest.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yankee candidates down south feel like they have to grit and bare it.

ROMNEY: I like grits.

GINGRICH: I understand grits.

JOE PESCI, ACTOR: What is a grit anyways?

MOOS: Grits are what some call the latest primaries, after Mitt Romney fell into a steaming pot of grits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Creamy, perfect grits.

MOOS: All Governor Romney did was try to joke around about grits.

ROMNEY: And I'm learning to say y'all. And I like grits. And things are -- strange things are happening to me.

MOOS: And if you think that's cheesy, it got cheesier.

ROMNEY: Morning, y'all. I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits, I'll tell you.

MOOS: Then Newt Gingrich started to stir the pot.

GINGRICH: Unlike one of my competitors, I have had grits before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stir it continuously.

GINGRICH: As a Georgian, I understand grits. I even understand cheese grits. I even understand shrimp and grits, how's that?

MOOS: And once the grits were bubbling hot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then ad a few dashes of hot sauce.

GINGRICH: If you don't understand grits, there's a pretty likelihood you don't understand the rest of the south either.

MOOS: For those of us who don't understand grits, they basically consistent of ground corn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always like butter on mine, or gravy, sometimes tomatoes.

MOOS: You say tomato, I say tomaters. And if you've never tasted grits, the author of the Gone with the Grits cookbook says.

DIANE PFEIFER, AUTHOR: You'll learn to love them.

MOOS: Better learn fast, before the southern primaries are over.

Cousin Vinny came south and after only one serving of grits, he was able to use what he'd learned to cook his adversary on the witness stand.

PESCI: How could it take you five minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit eating world 20 minutes.

MOOS: And Newt is trying to trap Mitt with his grittiness.

GINGRICH: With shrimp, with cheese, with gravy, I get it.

MOOS: And Mitt, next time Newt mocks you about grits, just tell him what Flow the waitress told her boss in the TV show Alice.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

ROMNEY: I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits, I'll tell you.

MOOS: ...New York.

ROMNEY: Delicious.


TANK: Everything you needed to know about grits.

Just ahead here on NEWS STREAM, she exudes grace and style. And her classic designs have become synonymous with the red carpet. In our leading women series we focus today on the fashion designer Carolina Herrera.


TANK: Now they are among the world's most powerful and innovative leaders. In our new series leading women, we're showcasing individuals who are standouts in their fields. This week, Felicia Taylor introduces you to a designer who has cemented her place in the world of high fashion, Carolina Herrera.


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carolina Herrera has been defining elegance for more than 30 years with a sense of style she was born with in her native Venezuela.


TAYLOR: As founder and designer, Herrera is the embodiment of her brand, exuding an easy grace even when wearing her signature classic white shirt.

HERRERA: You know, the white shirt is so easy. For me, it's like security blanket.

TAYLOR: Herrera start in fashion was an unlikely one. At the age of 42, with no official training, her friend Diana Vreland (ph) urged her to design a collection of dresses. Armed with natural talent, Herrera launched her fashion company in New York in 1981. That expanded to include Bridal in 1987. And by 2008, CH was born, Herrera's lifestyle collection that also includes menswear.

And today, the Herrera collection can be found in more than 280 stores in over 100 countries, earning profits that top hundreds of millions of dollars.

HERRERA: Fashion never stops. There is always a new project, a new opportunity, so many things going on.

TAYLOR: This is Carolina Herrera.

HERRERA: It's almost ready. So wonderful.

TAYLOR: As a style icon herself, Carolina Herrera ensures each one of her designs lives up to the Herrera name.

What do you -- what is the perfect definition of the Carolina Herrera brand? I mean, in terms of what you want women to have as the impression?

HERRERA: I think women in Carolina Herrera, I like them to be sophisticated and I like them to be classic with a modern twist.

TAYLOR: Named CFDA womenswear designer of the year in 2004 and recipient of the Jeffrey Bean lifetime achievement award in 2008, Herrera is firmly part of fashion's foundation.

Celebrities have favored her chic and elegant designs for decades with Tiny Fey most recently wearing one of her dresses at the Academy Awards.

On this day, she's doing her final model fittings before the debut of her fall 2012 line at New York's Fashion Week.

HERRERA: I mean, the ribbon can be tighter.

TAYLOR: For a designer, Fashion Week is a make or break it moment. So Herrera is hands on every step of the way.

HERRERA: So you're taking off a little bit of the train? Just a tiny bit? Oh, right. All right.

TAYLOR: Back stage on the day of her show, Herrera is a little hard to keep up with.

HERRERA: They're looking wonderful, Orlando (ph). And then we stole this (ph).

How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm good. How are you?

HERRERA: You look great.

TAYLOR: Always demonstrating a poised sense of power among the chaos.

This is the moment before a fashion show begins. What goes through your mind?

HERRERA: Before we begin? My darling, I cannot explain it to you. I have my -- my stomach is full of butterflies.



HERRERA: You know, what it is, it's excitement. If you don't have the energy, then you're flat.

TAYLOR: And you're never flat.

HERRERA: No, you need the energy, because you need the excitement.

TAYLOR: Adding to the excitement, well known fashion heavy hitters come back stage to wish Herrera well.

HERRERA: Oh, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I was just shopping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you feeling? You look beautiful.

HERRERA: And you. I love the way you -- I love the way you look.


HERRERA: It's like a little...

TAYLOR: And with a few last minute adjustments, it's time for the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember elegant, happy, pretty. This is not a funeral.

HERRERA: Sometimes, when you have shows and you have -- I don't know how many editors and press in the shows, you cannot be only showing the classic look that is the one that sales, but you have to show a fantasy.

One of the ways we show in this very tall and thin girls, we're showing them because when you have all these people sitting there and dreaming they buy that dress they're going to look like that.

Fashion is a dream. It's difficult and there are many aspects of fashion that are very difficult, but if you love it like I do, because I really have a passion now for fashion, it's not easy, but nothing is easy in life.

TAYLOR: For someone who entered fashion late in the game, Herrera has created a brand that symbolizes timeless glamor. We'll learn more about Herrera in the coming weeks. Her life in Venezuela as a mother of four daughters, and how she stays current in a business that's forever changing.

HERRERA: I love it. I love it.


TANK: Carolina Herrera.

Now you can see much more from our series on our Web site. And you can find statistics there on the balance of power in board rooms as well as tips on how to get the best tech jobs, that's at

It's time now for a sports update. And there with an unusual and rather unlikely record set in England's Premier League on Monday, the man who can tell us what that record was is Don Riddell. He's in London. Hey, Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Manisha. Thanks very much.

Arsenal have had their critics this season, but they are on an impressive run of form at the moment. And they've even set, as you say, a new Premier League record. The Gunners have won five consecutive games. And they've come from behind to win their last four. No team has ever done that before.

Newcastle took an early lead at the Emirates Stadium last night, but Arsenal hit back immediately with Robben Van Persie's 26th league goal of the season. And if you could all three points deep into injury time with a dramatic winner from Thomas Vermaelen. Arsenal are fourth in the Premier League, just a point behind their big North London rivals Spurs.

Just over two years to go until the next Football World Cup, but the most powerful man in Brazilian football will not be a part of it. The head of their football federation, Ricardo Teixeira has stepped down citing ill health as the reason for leaving his post. The 64-year-old had been at the head of the organization since 1989, presiding over two World Cup titles and five continental titles as well.

But recently his tenure was plagued by allegations of corruption. In 2001 he was investigated by the Brazilian government for 13 alleged crimes ranging from tax evasion to money laundering. Last year, he was also questioned over his role in the sale of TV rights for a friendly between Brazil and Portugal. He was never convicted, though.

And FIFA say that they haven't received an official communique from Teixeira. And so at present, he remains a member of FIFA's executive committee.

Tiger Woods has been showing some very impressive form so far this year, but you may know that he was forced to pull out of last week's World Golf Championship event with an injury in his final round. Understandably, there was some concern, but he says the Achilles tendon strain isn't that bad. He was clearly limping after playing his tee shot at the 12th hole and there was dramatic television coverage as he went straight to his car and drove away from the course.

His rapid exit prompted speculation that it was serious, but he later issued a statement which suggested it wasn't as bad as feared and hopefully just precautionary. And so it proved after a physician examined the former world number one Tiger tweeted, "got good news from doc tonight, only mild strain of left Achilles. Can resume hitting balls late in week and hopeful for next week."

There's a lot of excitement that he's going to be in great form going into the Masters. Of course, the new world number one Rory McIlroy in great form too. The year's first major could be a great one. Back to you, Manisha.

TANK: Yeah, Tiger fans everywhere are going to be very happy about that.

Thank you, Don. Don Riddell live for us from London.

Up next here on NEWS STREAM, parts of western Europe could welcome some rain right now as a drought there deepens. We're going to check the forecast. And that's just ahead.


TANK: Hello again.

Well, you may have heard about it, a stew is brewing at the World Trade Organization over rare Earth minerals. China produces about 95 percent of the world's supply, which is vital to the technology in particular. Rare Earth minerals are used to make all kinds of products like our touch screen right here. They could also be found in smartphones, hybrid cars, energy efficient light bulbs and nightvision goggles.

The U.S. accuses Beijing of hoarding the valuable minerals for its own use and is challenging export restrictions at the World Trade Organization. The U.S. says the European Union and Japan have joined Washington in this case.

China says any restrictions are for environmental reasons and are in line with WTO regulation.

A foreign ministry spokesman says "our policies tackle not only the export of rare Earth, but also its production and exploration."

It went on to say that China hopes other countries with rare Earth reserves join the efforts of shouldering this responsibility to meet global demand.

Despite their name, rare Earth minerals are not rare at all, there are large deposits in other countries that in fact include the United States.

Right, well, let's get an update on the weather situation. A little bit earlier we were indicating to you that there has been this ongoing drought in western Europe. A lot of people suffering as a result of that. Mari Ramos is standing by at the world weather center to tell us a bit more.

And you know, we're not just seeing this in the UK, we're seeing it in Spain and other countries too.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right. This is ongoing. And it is a problem across many parts of Europe effecting millions upon millions of people.

Now one of the areas that you normally would not associate with drought would be the UK, particularly the southern parts of the UK. You get a lot of rain normally. Well, the last two winters have been much drier than average. And that has left us with a rainfall deficit of about 50 percent across these areas in some of the more densely populated areas of the UK. And we talked about that a little bit yesterday.

Well, there was a new report that came out today from Environment UK talking about some of these things. For example, in East Anglia, the last six months have been the driest ever since they began keeping records. And this is very significant, because this is just one example of many areas. In some cases, rivers have -- and creeks have gone completely dry. They say that you would normally see that in September, but by January they should be filled up with water again. And we haven't seen that this year. And the ground water levels are also very low.

And yesterday, I was telling you about the effect, the environmental effects for fish, for wildlife, for all of those environmental things that are the first ecosystems that begin to feel the effects of the drought. And of course of agriculture, for farmers. You guys know what I'm talking about as well, because you have been dealing with this for the last two years.

Now we're seeing it as a bit more widespread. And we're already seeing about a dozen public water supply companies putting their drought plans in place. And this could mean restrictions becoming water restrictions becoming more widespread.

And what about if this gets worse as we head into the spring and the summer? And that is a concern, because thousands upon thousands of people will be congregating across the southern -- this particular area that's suffering from drought as we head into the Olympics. So they're trying to make it easier, sustain demand is what they're calling it during the Olympics.

A lot of that has to do with rainwater harvesting, in other words from the roof tops, from other areas, to try to get water, make it a little bit more efficient in other -- sometimes you have those even if they change the faucets sometimes that can help save some water even when people are washing their hands.

And this sounds kind of gross, but the backwash of the pool will be recycled. Ew, for what? Well, most of this recycling that we're seeing is for non-potable, in other words, water that you and I would not be drinking. And they use it for maybe flushing toilets, or cleaning floors, or things like that. But this is a big thing, because as black water recycling plant could actually bring us an additional amount of water that could be used for other things, not for drinking, and that could really help out.

And like you said, it's not only affecting parts of the UK and England here, but also as we head across western Europe notice those areas have had also significant deficit of water. And we've only had about 25, about a quarter of the rain that we should have had by now across Portugal and Spain. And those are among the hardest hit areas with this drought.

Back to you.

TANK: All right, Mari, thank you very much for that.

Well, I'm afraid that's it from NEWS STREAM for now. But the news continues here at CNN. My colleagues Andrew Stevens, Ali Velshi, and Chalres Hodson are up next with "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY." So stay right there.