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Chen Guangcheng to be Allowed Application for Student Visa to U.S.; Japan Shuts Down Last Operational Nuclear Plant; French Presidential Candidates Spend Every Available Minute Campaigning; Dangers in Mexico Spawn Business Opportunity for Security Firms;

Aired May 4, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to News Stream. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Now there are signs today of a possible way out of a diplomatic dilemma. Why Chen Guangcheng could study abroad in the U.S.

Plus, Japan prepares to pull the plug on nuclear power for the time being. But some in the country say it should have been done earlier.

And don't tease the animals: what not to wear to the zoo.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is speaking out about the diplomatic firestorm over blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. At a news conference in the Chinese capital just a short time ago, Mrs. Clinton said that she is encouraged by the statement today from the Chinese government that Chen can apply to study abroad.

Now Clinton also said that U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke spoke with Chen on Friday and that Washington will stay in touch with Chen.

Let's get the latest now from Stan Grant in Beijing. He's been following Chen's saga even before Chen made his dramatic escape from house arrest. And Stan joins us now.

China is now saying that Chen can apply to study abroad. So do we have a potential resolution to this crisis?

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It might be a little bit soon to talk about a resolution, but certainly we can talk about the door opening there, Kristie. What the Chinese are saying now is that like any Chinese citizen, Chen can apply for a passport and then seek a visa as a student to study abroad in the United States. But of course it's not just any Chinese citizen, is he? He's someone who has captured world attention, someone that China in the past is considered an enemy of the state and was locked up in jail for four years, under house arrest for 18 months. So clearly these circumstances are very, very different. To even acknowledge his rights in this way does give a glimmer of hope and that's what Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, was talking today as well. She said the progress appears to be made here.

She also stressed that the U.S. is going to continue to do all it can to deliver a better life for Chen, for him to be able to have the life that he wishes to have. She said all along I have acted on his wishes and also according to U.S. values.

This whole saga has brought into very, very sharp focus this relationship between these two giants: the United States and China. The (inaudible) biggest economy, the world's second biggest economy. Many predict China will overtake the U.S. in the next 20, 25 years. They have many, many issues in which they have to cooperate, but also big divides, big divides in -- when it comes to values, and especially when it comes to the touchy issue with human rights.

Secretary Clinton said that what they're trying to pull off here is unprecedented in historical terms. A rising power versus an established power, which she welcomes China's rise and its continued prosperity. This is what she had to say.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States welcomes a strong, prosperous and successful China. We want to see China not only deliver economic prosperity its large population, but also play a key role in world affairs. And our country and our people gain far more from cooperation than from competition. So we are committed to pursuing a positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship.


GRANT: So they look at pursuing this relationship. All the while, of course, the litmus test for the quality of this relationship, the future of this relationship -- Chen Guangcheng -- sits in a hospital here in Beijing surrounded by Chinese security as he has said repeatedly in fear for his life if he stays in this country and wishing to go abroad.

Now the U.S. ambassador here, Gary Locke, has met with him, that he is now received an official request from Chen to study abroad. The wheels may be in motion. There is still some way to go through that, Kristie.

STOUT: You know, Chen is almost like a virtual prisoner there in that hospital in Chaiyung District (ph) in Beijing.

Earlier, he told CNN that his situation was dangerous, that prompted this reversal of thinking why he wanted to get out of the country. What about the situation for his family and his friends, activists who helped him escape? Are U.S. officials looking out for them as well?

GRANT: Well, the position of the U.S. all along has been that they should not be any retribution metered out to people who are friends or supporters of Chen. Of course, we've seen that happening. You've seen the images of pro-Chen supporters being dragged, physically dragged away from outside the hospital.

We've known that people that we've spoken to in interviews expressing their support for Chen, people who helped Chen in his escape from house arrest have also been arrested at various times, questioned, some of them have been released. They've also been gagged and told not to speak out any more.

China is still playing a very hard line here. They're still demanding an apology from the United States for harboring Chen in the embassy. And today, the foreign affairs spokesman here also said that China expects the U.S. to do a lot more if they want a better relationship with China.

As for Chen's family, this is really crucial here, because Chen Guangcheng left the embassy fearing as though things may be a little bit brighter, that maybe his family would be able to live safely and freely. He very quickly came to the realization that was not the case when he met his wife and his wife talked about the threats and indeed the punishment that the family had received since he fled house arrest.

That's what's prompted him now to take this step and try to seek another life in the United States, a life he says we can live free, a life that he can't live here in China -- Kristie.

STOUT: And that hard life from Beijing being stated very clearly in state run media.

What are official media sources saying about this crisis? And how much do the people in China know about this full story?

GRANT: Yeah, that's a really good question, because in the days when the crisis was really brewing after the house arrest, the days when Chen was inside the embassy, there was no coverage at all. Then we started to see a brief mention, a mention after he left the embassy and a mention that China wants an apology from the United States.

Speaking to local people here today, they're telling me that they're seeing more coverage this. Chen Guangcheng's name is being mentioned. The whole saga is being played out. The fact that he may be able to go and study abroad in the United States. But also there was a very clear message here that the bad guys in this, if you like, are the United States and also Chen Guangcheng.

It's almost as if the government here is preparing the population for any future news, for any eventual outcome here that sees Chen moved to the United States, that they blacken Chen's name if you like. Also paint the U.S. as the villains. But in a pragmatic solution, they get the problem off their shores -- Kristie.

STOUT: Our Stan Grant joining us live from Beijing. Thank you very much indeed.

Now the U.S. is pushing back against claims that officials may have rushed Chen out of the U.S. embassy in Beijing and then did not stay in touch with them. Now a senior U.S. official says a U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, accompanied Chen to the hospital on Wednesday. You're looking at a picture of Gary Locke with Chen.

Now other U.S. officials, they stayed with Chen until 6:30 pm local time and then spoke to him twice more that evening by phone.

Now the following day, Thursday, U.S. officials say that they spoke with Chen again by phone in the morning. And they then went to the hospital and met with Chen's wife and family for an hour-and-a-half.

Now U.S. law professor Jerome Cohen is Chen's friend and has been giving him some advice by phone from New York. And Cohen told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that he believes the Chinese government will let Chen leave the country to save face.


JEROME COHEN, FRIEND/ADVISER TO CHEN GUANGCHENG: The whole is watching. I think the Chinese leaders, however angry they are at him and at the U.S. government for interfering with their sovereignty, they're practical people. They're going to want to get rid of him and his family in the most humane appearance possible.


STOUT: Now Cohen also says that he would be proud to host Chen if he does come to the U.S.

Now we're keeping an eye on a large protest that's happening right now in Egypt's capital. Now this is the scene in Cairo's Tahrir Square. These are live pictures on your screen. And these scores of protesters are there to voice their outrage over Wednesday's deadly attack on demonstrators outside the defense ministry. In that event, at least 11 people were killed. And activists say that they are upset also with the slow pace of reform. And some are concerned that the military leadership, the interim leadership in Egypt may be trying to delay a transition to civilian rule.

And all of that translating into that outpouring of anger and dissent. Scenes of protest we're looking at once again in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Live pictures there on your screen. We'll continue to monitor the situation there.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, France's political future. Now polls show Socialist candidate Francois Hollande is in the lead in the last day of campaigning for the presidency. How will the latest endorsement affect the race?

Japan: anti-nuclear protesters have their way for now. Now the country is due to shut down its last working nuclear reactor this weekend.

And in California one student's extracurricular efforts to upgrade his dorm room.


STOUT: I'm coming to you live from Hong Kong. You're back watching News Stream. Now Japan will become the world's first major economy without operational nuclear power plants this weekend. Its last reactor is shutting down for maintenance, leaving the country dependent on other energy sources.

Now public opposition to nuclear power has skyrocketed since last year's earthquake and tsunami lead to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Now Japan has 50 nuclear reactors at 17 power plants across the country. You can see them here in yellow. And there are two more reactors under construction and another 10 proposed or planned for the future.

Now before the disaster, these reactors produced almost one-third of Japan's electricity. But now the debate is raging over the future of nuclear energy in Japan. Now Kyung Lah reports some are asking whether the economy can thrive without it.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a wake-up call, literally, a nighttime visit at the front doorstep of Japan's prime minister's residence. Protesters demanding from the top that the world's third largest economy stay free of nuclear energy.

"Restarting the nuclear reactors is the same as starting a war," says this protester. "It's the same as murder."

That populous rage boiling more than a year after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster with reactors still spewing lethal radiation. Tens of thousands of evacuees near the plant unable to return home, Fukushima is a worst-case scenario unifying public fear of nuclear energy. Post- Fukushima, reactors have come off line in Japan one by one.

And when they've tried to turn them back on, politicians and utilities have faced a true fight from the community. This weekend, Japan becomes the first major developed economy to see the modern era without any nuclear energy.

JUNICHI SATO, GREENPEACE: I think it is not easy, but this challenge is worth fighting for, because there is an increasing chance of the earthquake in Japan. So that has a significant risk to the Japanese people and the Japanese economy. So the only way forward is to start the shift the energy source from nuclear to other sources of energy.

LAH: That may be easier said than done. 30 percent of Japan's energy came from nuclear. So what's currently keeping the power on, what's keeping Japanese factories running: increased imports of foreign fossil fuels at a huge cost to this economy. And the government and corporate Japan is already saying that it won't be able to keep up the pace this summer when energy demands peak.

A leading ruling party politician bluntly laid out the repercussions.

YOSHITO SENGOKU, DPJ DEPUTY POLICY CHIEF (through translator): We must think ahead to the impact on Japan's economy and people's lives if all nuclear reactors are stopped.

LAH: Japan could, in some sense, be committing mass suicide.

But economists don't blame the anti-nuclear camps, many point the finger at Japan's government.

JESPER KOLL, JP MORGAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR: The issue is that the private sector of Japan, the government is taking its time. It's a very emotional, highly politicized debate, and the end result is very, very slow or no decision making at all. After all, if you don't have an energy policy, quite frankly you don't really have an economic policy, because everything revolves around energy.

LAH: Japan's prime minister has promised a clear energy policy sometime this year, perhaps this summer right in the middle of the biggest test of energy any developed economy has ever seen. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


STOUT: After the Fukushima disaster, some European countries announced plans to move away from nuclear energy in the future, but there's still a lot of nuclear plants on the planet and plans for more.

Now according to the IAEA, there are 436 nuclear power reactors in operation worldwide, a further 62 are being built. In fact, South Korea broke ground Friday on the construction of two new nuclear reactors with plans for 12 more.

Now Samsung unveiled its latest flagship smartphone on Thursday, the Galaxy S3. And the Android powered phone, it has a faster processor and a larger screen, but also adds some similar features to its main rival the iPhone like voice recognition and the ability to stream media to other devices. Now it's due out in the U.S. in the summer months before we're expecting to see the next iPhone.

And the two companies have been locked in a series of patent disputes. The case between Apple and Samsung has grown so large that a U.S. judge ordered both companies to reduce it to make it easier for the jury.

Now according to all things deed, the judge said that the size of their claims were, quote, "cruel and unusual punishment to a jury." They have until Monday to slim down their claims or the judge might push the trial back to next year.

Now gamers playing the next Call of Duty game might battle a familiar face. Still ahead here on News Stream, we'll show you just what gamers uncovered in trailers for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.


STOUT: I don't think you can see it outside, but there is a thunderstorm underway. I think you just saw a flash of lightning.

And live from Hong Kong, you're watching News Stream.

Heavy rain here in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the region. Let's bring in Mari Ramos at the World Weather Center for more. And Mari, this weather it's a buzz kill for me. It's a Friday night. Not looking good for my weekend.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You know, what, and I think it's going to stay like that where it's hot and then it's very humid and then you get these strong thunderstorms that pop up usually in the late afternoon or the early evening like we are having right now. And like you said, you're not alone there in the Hong Kong area. Let's go ahead and take a look at the weather map over here.

Let me go ahead and start you off, first of all, with the temperatures. So hot, really. I mean, could it get any hotter? Well, mother nature said no, it can't, because that's why we're bringing the rains in.

Look at over here in India. You haven't really had any rain, 42. But as we head over here across Southeast Asia we've been telling you three to six degrees above the average, that's the actual air temperature. When you factor in the humidity it feels much hotter than that. And we're really starting to see the rainstorms just blow up in the last few hours here across much of Southeast Asia. Some of these rainfall totals pretty impressive, even close to 90 millimeters of rain as we head into parts of peninsula Thailand.

This area has not been as hot as the interior portions here of Thailand. And as we head across toward Myanmar and then back over into Laos and Cambodia and in Vietnam. Again, Hanoi was almost 40 degrees again today.

So what happens is you have very hot temperatures temperatures, a lot of humidity and once the heating of the day really gets going you'll start to see these strong thunderstorms pop up. And I think what we're going to see as we head into the week, especially across Southeast Asia here, that is going to continue.

Be extra careful because the possibility of flash flooding is there. That means water that rises very, very quickly. Even if it's not raining where you are, if it's raining uphill -- or I should say, upstream, it could get flooded very, very quickly. So be extra, extra careful as you go about your business in these areas.

And then the other amazing thing, Kristie, here is that across much of Southeast Asia almost all the way up toward Hong Kong we are still experiencing drought conditions, below average rainfall. And much of Thailand continues to be in a moderate drought.

I want to show you some pictures that we have from Thailand and the drought. And we're spending some time on this, because the hardest part to imagine -- do we have a video for Thailand? There it is. The hardest thing to imagine is how these areas were covered in, what, two meters of water a few months ago and now they are having to truck water in to some areas. It's taking a toll on people, it's take a toll on agriculture. It's taking a toll on animals also. So we're talking about some very dangerous conditions here.

Somebody trying to cool off there in that pond there.

Come back over to the weather map. There's thunderstorms, look at that, almost no rain and then all of a sudden they just blow up across the entire region. And you had about the same time as some of that happen for you across Hong Kong.

Also, I've been noticing how warm it's been. It's 28 degrees right now in Hong Kong. I want to show you Beijing. Beijing is 28 degrees also. That's kind of hard to imagine, right. Kristie, I know you lived in Beijing for a long time. And they've had some very warm conditions. I think tomorrow again is going to be another very hot day. And you haven't had any rain to cool you down here either. And we could really use some of that.

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

Hey Kristie, maybe this will get you in the weekend sort of mood. You heard about the super moon. Well, the super moon is basically the brightest full moon of the year. It happens when the moon is at its closest point to Earth. You've got to remember that the moon's orbit is not exactly perfectly round, it's a little bit of an oval shape. And it's called apogee when the moon is the farthest away from the Earth. When it swings back around and it's at its closest point to Earth it's called the perigee.

So when we have a perigee and a full moon at the same time, the moon appears -- and not only does it appear, it's actually a lot closer to earth, some 55,000 kilometers closer. And it's going to appear brighter and it's going to appear larger.

But you know, it's hard to tell sometimes how much bigger its actually going to look up into the sky. So what experts are saying is trying to catch the moon -- or try to catch a glimpse at the moon -- when it's still low on the horizon like here, because I'm sure we all have this experience where it just looks huge out there when it's low on the horizon. So that's going to be the best time to catch it when the moon is starting to rise.

Hopefully those thunderstorms that you've been having will stay away.

Enjoy the super moon tomorrow night.

STOUT: Oh, thank you. Yeah, we should all get moon struck this weekend.

Mari Ramos there. Thank you, take care.

Now earlier this week we showed you the first trailer for the latest game in the blockbuster Call of Duty series. And now gamers have had time to dissect footage of the game and they've made a very interesting discovery.

Jonathan Mann has more.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Call of Duty is a series of video games that boasts 40 million active players, a virtual world war with 40 million fighters. One offering in the Call of Duty franchise sold so many games so quickly it reportedly grossed $1 billion faster than any entertainment product in history.

The new addition is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. This time the bad guys are computer hackers who want to create mayhem with their keyboards. And they look a little familiar.

Remember the Guy Fawkes mask from the Graphic Novel and then the movie V for Vendetta? Occupy Wall Street protesters appropriated the disguise, instantly identifiable as vaguely ominous and anti-establishment. The mask is even come to represent the computer hackers who call themselves Anonymous as they disrupt targets ranging from the Church of Scientology to the Office of Australia's Prime Minister.

The mask turns up in a series of promotional videos for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 as the face of the new enemy, the geeks who have former White House aid Oliver North so nervous.

OLIVER NORTH, FRM WHITE HOUSE AID: I'm not worried about a guy that wants to hijack a plane, I worry about a guy who wants to hijack all the planes.

MANN: So are the gaming geeks of the Call of Duty culture playing virtual war against a real life computer geeks of Anonymous? Geek against geek in a parallel geek universe? Anonymous may find a way to disrupt it, but in the meantime, Call of Duty will muster more fighters for more mayhem and make more money.

Jonathan Mann, CNN, reporting.


STOUT: If Anonymous really are the villains of the new game they might seem like an odd target given their history. Anonymous is a loose affiliation of online activists that carry out hacking attacks in support of various causes. Now their targets include anyone from Middle Eastern regimes to the Church of Scientology.

Now last year, Sony's Playstation network was knocked offline by hackers. And that forced the company's executives to bow in apology to users. Now Sony blamed Anonymous for the attack.

Now Anonymous, though, one of its Twitter accounts, they deny that they had any involvement, but the very nature of Anonymous, with no proper chain of command, means someone could have carried out the attack while claiming to be part of Anonymous.

And given what happened to Sony, maybe they're not the sort of entity you would want as an enemy.

Now the clock is ticking for France's presidential candidates. And as campaigning wraps up, we'll have a look at where they stand going into Sunday's vote.

And lion, and tigers, and bears of baby. You might want to think twice about how you dress your kids on a trip to the zoo.


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

Now Hillary Clinton says she is encouraged by, quote, progress in the diplomatic crisis surrounding Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. At a news conference in the Chinese capital, the U.S. secretary of state praised Friday's statement by Beijing that Chen can apply to study abroad. Now the U.S. State Department says it expects Beijing to expeditiously process travel requests by Chen. Now he remains at a Beijing hospital after leaving the U.S. embassy on Wednesday.

The two men competing to be president of France are making a last push for support ahead of Sunday's runoff vote. Now under French law, campaigning must end at midnight tonight. Now the Socialist candidate, Francois Hollande, is ahead in the polls, but support for incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has been rising slowly.

At least eight people have been killed in twin bomb attacks in Russia's Dagestan region. At least 20 people were wounded. The second explosion came as emergency responders arrived after the initial blast. Now Russian security forces are fighting to contain an Islamist insurgency in the north Caucuses region.

And this news just into CNN, the all important April jobs numbers from the U.S. And the U.S. jobs report, it shows 115,000 jobs added. Now that is less than analysts had been expecting. The unemployment rate, it fell to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent in March. And the feds watching closely the monthly jobs number. It tends to have a big impact on the markets. April and May figures are especially important in determining whether it moves toward another round of quantitative easing.

Now the French presidential race has taken an interesting twist for Socialist challenger Francois Hollande getting the endorsement of centrist candidate Francois Bayrou. Now it is a blow to President Nicolas Sarkozy who is already trailing Hollande in the opinion polls. And there is not much time left ahead of Sunday's runoff election.

Jim Bittermann joins me now from Paris with the latest. And Jim, it is the final day of campaigning. What are the candidates doing in this final push?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not -- everybody is going to be campaigning right up to the last minute. And in fact, no one is wasting a minute here. We just watched the end of the meeting with President Sarkozy. He's down in the Vondet (ph) which is the conservative part of France.

Hollande has got two meetings scheduled this afternoon. He's going to be campaigning in the eastern part of France and then flying over to the southwestern part of France for his final campaign stop of this campaign. And I think you can kind of see a little exhaustion setting in in both men, both of the candidates as well as the people around him. These last few days here have been very, very hectic indeed as the candidates have tried to maximize their appearances on television, their appearances in person, et cetera, et cetera. It's required a lot of travel. It's regard to a lot of early starts.

And we had -- earlier today we had a little meeting with Hollande's campaign manager at the press club. And the fact is he was looking in not so good shape at all, coughing heavily, hadn't shaved in awhile. And I think it showing all the evidence of someone who is trying very hard to get his man elected -- Kristie.

STOUT: You know, you mentioned this exhaustion setting in on the campaigns, on the candidates, what about the electorate? How many people will turn out to vote this weekend?

BITTERMANN: Well, that's going to be a key question to the way the election turns out, I think. Basically the French have now been exposed to the ideas of these two men for some time now. And I think as you watch the opinion polls go by day after day their opinions have become more and more crystallized. There less and less doubt, there's less and less uncertainty and certainly on undecided votes as we move closer and closer to the election. We're down now to I guess about 10 percent undecided.

So I think people have pretty much made up their minds. It's really a question of whether they turn out on Sunday. The French make it very easy for people who are going to be out of town or going to be working or for whatever reason can't make it to a voting place there's a system called procreation (ph) where you can get somebody to vote for you.

You can do that with just one person, but -- and the one person can only take one person to give him instructions. But he's supposed to vote according to the instructions. So there are ways to make sure that your vote counts. And President Sarkozy today in his remarks to that crowd down in the Vondet (ph) said look every vote does count and don't be fooled by what you're seeing in the media, don't be fooled by the pollsters. They're wrong. France is feeling differently.

Of course Mr. Hollande see it just the opposite -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Election Sunday. Jim Bittermann live from Paris. Thank you.

Campaigning in France, it ends at midnight local time. And that means an end to publishing new opinion polls as well. Now we told you how the Twitterati got around French election law restrictions during the first round of voting under the #radiolondres, the radio frequency used by the French resistance during World War II. They kept on tweeting. In fact, according to Reuters, Sarkozy got the monikers Rolex for his reported love of fancy watches and platform shoes for his diminutive stature.

Now Reuters says that alliances for Hollande include flan and Gouda.

Now by the buzz has already on Twitter now it looks like they are ready for another round.

Now Greece is also heading to the polls on Sunday. And voters will cast ballots in parliamentary elections, the first since austerity measures were put in place. And popular anger over those reforms is boosting support for extreme political parties. Matthew Chance takes a closer look at one far right group.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They were on the lunatic fringe of Greek politics, but now the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn and their Neo Nazi ideology is striking a popular chord.

Opinion polls suggest the party, which blames immigrants for Greece's problems, could for the first time win seats in parliament. Amid economic angst and popular disgust with traditional parties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are all (inaudible) our money. And now they have all big houses and now all the Greks are very poor and we can't live like humans.

CHANCE: At a shop in Athens, the party's swastika style logo is emblazoned on official t-shirts. Activists say demand is surging for their regalia and their message. Despite allegations I put to one of its leaders the group is linked with violent extremism.

ILIAS PANAYOTAROS, GOLDEN DAWN CANDIDATE AND SHOP OWNER: Sometimes there have been some big accusations about us. And in the end what was it? It was between (inaudible) Pakistan, but they -- someone from Pakistan beat another guy from Pakistan for their own reasons and he was blaming us and so on and so forth. We have proof for this. You can just go and...

CHANCE: Are you denying members of the Golden Dawn carry out violent attacks against immigrants?

PANAYOTAROS: Yes. Maybe they are protecting themselves.

CHANCE: Are you -- are you saying you acknowledging they do do it.

PANAYOTAROS: Maybe they are protecting themselves like people...

CHANCE: And now you're explaining it.

PANAYOTAROS: Yeah. People -- no, no, no, no. I'm saying that the situation -- the situation in Greece is terrible. People are going out from their homes and they are robbed, raped, killed for nothing.

CHANCE: It's one striking feature of these elections. Analysts say once fringe views have started to attract mass appeal.

It's still pretty clear, though, that the mainstream political parties like this one (inaudible) are much more popular than those parties on the fringe. The extremists are not expected to win back over. But the impact of their rise has been very acutely felt. For instance, this party, the New Democracy, has already (inaudible) will be much more (inaudible) on illegal immigrants, essentially tipping its hat to those right wing concerns.

And as Greece prepares to go to the polls, extreme views it seems have moved to the center ground.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Athens.


STOUT: Now for two more journalists covering the perilous crime beat in Mexico has proved deadly. Photographers bodies were found dismembered and dumped in plastic bags in the canal in the violent torn Veracruz State on Thursday. The grim discovery occurred on World Press Freedom day. And it came just four days after investigative report Regina Martinez was found beaten and strangled to death in her home.

Amid a raging drug war, Mexico has become one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists. Now since 2000, the Human Rights Commission says a total of 76 journalists have been killed for doing their job. And that's not counting the latest murders.

Now the drug war has been big business for a private security firms in Mexico. Rafael Romo puts one leading agency to the test.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An armed robbery in broad daylight, but in a fraction of a second, the assailant is disarmed and subdued. It's a mock exercise, part of a training drill for bodyguards at a Mexican security firm.

VICTOR HUGO AGUIRRE, OWNER, VIP PROTECTION: Hands and eyes, hands and eyes all the time.

ROMO: Victor Hugo Aguirre is the former officer in the Mexican army was training in intelligence, tactics and weapons. Nine years ago he opened the VIP Protection, a firm that provides security for foreign executives and high profile clients.

AGUIRRE: They say, OK we need security. I need bodyguards. I need guards in my home. I need technology for my car. I need security measures in my home.

ROMO: Helping meet that need in Mexico are firms like Aguirre's. He says the number of security firms tripled to more than 500 as violence increased exponentially in the last few years.

Now we're going to demonstrate a situation in which I'm a politician at a public event and all of a sudden I'm attacked. Let's do it.


ROMO: In this scenario, I'm an armed criminal about to commit a robbery.

Give me your money!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, easy. Take it easy. Here, take my wallet. I'm cooperating.

ROMO: That was fast.

Aguirre's company then offers different kinds of armored vehicles.

JIM DA SILVA, VIP PROTECTION: We're looking at a 2010 level five security anti-ballistic Suburban.

ROMO: I was noticing that the windows, the glass is extremely thick.

DA SILVA: It's extremely thick. It is also level five. It is resistant to a .45 caliber weapon, to a hand grenade, and anything below that.

ROMO: For clients with higher security needs, they offer vehicles fitted with panic buttons. Once activated a panic button sends an alarm signal to a command center in Mexico City and teams are dispatched.

RAUL SANCOVAL, VIP PROTECTION: And you just have to press for three seconds and it will send a signal to this center -- common center.

ROMO: Also available, reinforced concrete barriers resistant to .45 caliber weapons and even a grenade blast.

Of course, not all scenarios are life threatening. It may just be an unwelcome handshake.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Mexico City.


STOUT: Now the final of the world's oldest football competition is this Saturday. And still to come on News Stream, Patrick Snell will preview the FA Cup final next.


STOUT: We're live from Hong Kong on a Friday night. You're back watching News Stream.

Now most college dorm rooms are decorated with posters, maybe a few things from home, but you won't believe what one creative freshman in California has done to his room. CNN's Dan Simon pays a visit.


DEREK LOW, UC BERKELEY STUDENT: I just wanted to build this to learn how to do it.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Derek Low is a freshman at UC Berkeley. He's majoring in electrical engineering. And he's made his college dorm room his laboratory. It's a technology wonderland -- automated curtains, motion sensors, and voice commands.

LOW: So I can be in my bed. I just shout out sleep mode.

SIMON: Are just a few of the features that Derek spent three months creating. When he uploaded this video to YouTube, Derek unofficially became recognized as having the coolest dorm room on the planet.

What's your favorite thing about it?

LOW: Party mode of course.

SIMON: Derek showed us his party mode -- spinning disco ball, lasers, strobe lights, and techno music all controlled from his laptop. Here it is in all its glory.

As you can imagine, it's attracted some campus attention. Berkeley housing authorities were concerned about electrical wiring modifications, but found no issues. Nonetheless, Derek says he'd been summoned to a campus hearing anyway to explain things.

LOW: They said I had some violations of residential policies. I broke a few rules. I modified a dorm. My room is a fire hazard. I'm disturbing my neighbors. But look around, everything is fine. No one is complaining.

SIMON: As Derek shows us, he used tape and binder clips to put the equipment in place and didn't drill any holes. The whole system, he says, can be dismantled in a few minutes.

His name is Derek, but there's a sign on the door that says Brad. That's not anybody's name who lives here, it stands for Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm. Derek also bought a fog machine for the room, but hasn't used it in fear it will set off the fire alarm. With only 10 days left of school and students now studying for exams that's probably a good call.

Dan Simon, CNN, Berkeley, California.


STOUT: Love that party mode.

Now time now for a check on all things sports. And it's a busy weekend as ever. Here's Patrick Snell at CNN Center.


Things were a lot simpler when I was a college student back in the day. Thank you very much. We're going to start with the latest on that tragic death of former NFL star Junior Seau. It's now reported in the L.A. Times that his family are to allow researchers to study his brain for evidence of damage as the result of concussions. Now it follows confirmation that the all-pro linebacker had committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest at the age of 43. Although he did leave no suicide note, an autopsy confirming suspicions that he had taken his own life at his home on Wednesday morning. Friends and family say they have no indication that Seau was battle depression that recent research has linked to multiple concussions suffered by NFL players and other sportsmen.

Well, there's nothing quite like the magic of the English FA Cup. Chelsea, this year's European Cup finalist is facing league cup winners Liverpool at the world famous Wembley Stadium in London. Both teams absolutely desperate to get their hands on the coveted silverware to make up for largely disappointed league campaigns.

Kenny Dalglish's 'Pool, a win is badly needed. There's Luis Suarez there, the Uruguayan striker. This would some way appease the fans who have seen their team slump to eighth in the English standings. The Anfield Reds are seven time winners of the world's oldest cup competition. Their last success coming back in 2006.

Now Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea are also looking to make it a cup double this season. The Blues, captained by John Terry, have the Champion's League final to look forward to in Munich. Fernando Torres could get a good run-out as well. He'd been in great form recently. That European Cup final coming up in Munich against Bayern.

But success this weekend would mean a seventh FA Cup for the club. They want it back just to remind you back to back seasons in '09 and 2010.

The NBA's New York Knicks were playing shorthanded against the Miami Heat on Thursday, this is because of a hand injury to one of the Knicks most important players.

Let me just recap what had been going on. Amare Stoudemire suffered a cut to his left hand after punching the glass case of a fire extinguisher in frustration after his team's game two loss in Miami on Monday.

The Heat also thought that they might not be at full strength. You see Chris Bosh becoming a new father early Thursday morning in South Florida. Congratulations to you, Mr. Bosh. The proud dad, though, was back in New York in time for the big tip-off.

Well, the Knicks desperately needing to win game three at Madison Square Garden as they gain faith. The Heat -- and it was the first time the new dad strike first, hitting the three to give the Heat their first lead of the game there 6-4 Miami.

The Heat on the fast break now. Dwayne Wade looking to set up the dunk for LeBron James to jam it home for the alley-oop and The Heat comfortably control 11-4.

D-Wade catching fire in the third, scoring eight straight points for the Heat to regain the lead. And then it was more from LeBron by the end. He hit eight straight points. The Heat win it. And they're now 3-nothing up, comfortably up in the series.

So the Knicks are in trouble, but don't expect Jeremy Lin to bail them out this time. Lin scene practicing this week on his surgically repaired left knee all but ruling himself out of game four of the series of Sunday. The second year guard who took the league by storm back in February saying he felt a bit of pain in the knee the morning after the scrimmage and feels the injury hasn't healed quickly enough for him to make a return to the court. Wise move not to rush that.

Big weekend of sports. That's it for now. My English FA Cup prediction -- 2-1 Chelsea. There you go.

We'll see.

STOUT: All right. We'll hold you to that. Patrick Snell, thank you. Enjoy the weekend.

And we'd like to update you on a story that we brought you last month. Do you remember Igor Vovkovinskiy? Now this is his Facebook page. And he's pretty hard to forget. At 234 centimeters, or 7 feet, 8 inches tall. And his feet are the size 26.

Well, we are pleased to report that Igor's long and difficult search for a pair of shoes that fit has a happy ending. Reebok has stepped up to the challenge of crafting his custom made footwear, fitting Igor for a pair of sneakers. And they're even footing the bill.

But the $40,000 Igor raised online won't go to waste. He's planning on using it to pay for custom made boots, sandals, even dress shoes.

Now coming up next on News Stream, a sheet of glass -- now that is all that is keeping this lioness away from this small child. And check out that zebra striped outfit. A hair raising experiences at the zoo next.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now southern Japan, a lost parakeet showed that Polly wanted more than a cracker. It was a happy reunion for this parakeet Pico who went missing from his home last Sunday. His owner didn't know where he was, but he turned up at a hotel and was able to give his address to the police. That's a smart bird.

Now, when you go to the zoo there is a reason why the animals are on one side of the glass and the people, especially the kids, are on the other. Now Jeanne Moos has a report you don't want to miss.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's the new jaws. Eye of the lioness at the Oregon zoo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jack, look behind you.

MOOS: Obviously thought Jack was a tempting morsel, a prey item says new director Kim Smith.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just like if you had your house cat looking at birds outside the window.

MOOS: Does that kid's hoodie outfit remind you of anything?

Jeff's mom says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looked like a tasty baby zebra.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say hi kitty, kitty.

MOOS: Kitties and kids make for popular viral videos, whether it be fearless Sophia or...


MOOS: The understandably freaked out boy named Harper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's OK. He can't get you through the glass. It's OK.

MOOS: Kids are dangled like bait.

Parents give instructions.

They put patty cake with paws to music.

And it's not just lions, it's black leopards. It's Grizzly bears. It's polar bears.

Japanese TV show even dressed up a girl as a baby seal to tempt a polar bear.

And while an orangutan might spit, a gorilla can really give you a scare.

But maybe you'd like to see things from the gorilla's point of view.

Those silly humans mocking, beating their chests. And often...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lay on the ground.

MOOS: Mom and dad argue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was this not funny?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's terrifying. What if he broke the glass?

MOOS: Like in the Family Guy as he drew a face on the octopus. Oregon zoo director says that's not going to happen with a lion. The glass is designed to standards. And even if it did it would crack, not break, sort of like what happened what Taz the gorilla charged the glass two years ago at the Atlanta zoo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The glass held. I mean, it's actually three panes of glass fused together. And the interior pane is the one that actually got a crack in.

MOOS: So knock yourself out. Now one, and a two, and a three.

Jeanne Moos...



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants to eat our baby.

MOOS: New York.


STOUT: Before we have to go, we have to mark an important day in the calendar. It is the fourth day of May, or Star Wars day. Why? Well, think about it. May the 4th be with you. None geeks feel free to grown.

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