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Protests at Putin Inauguration; Austerity Loses in Greece, France; Facebook Puts on Roadshow for Investors; Juventus Clinches Italian Serie A Title
Aired May 7, 2012 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.
A vote against austerity across Europe. Socialist Francois Hollande will be France's next president. While Greek voters echo the call for change.
And Facebook makes a sales pitch to investors as it prepares for it's widely anticipated IPO.
Election signal a new direction for Europe. Voters in France and Greece have cast their ballots for change. And now Socialists are fighting in France. Francois Hollande will become the first left-wing president in nearly two decades. He defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in a runoff election. And in Greece, the center-right New Democracy Party took the most seats in parliament, but it faces an uphill battle to form a new coalition government.
And the message in both countries appears to be loud and clear, no more austerity. And voters punishing their leaders for painful budget cuts.
Now Mr. Sarkozy is set to hand over the reigns to Hollande on May 15. And senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann joins us now live from Paris. And Jim, first give us your analysis of the election result. We have very high voter turnout for an election win for Hollande. Why is that?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you know one of the things that happened here -- and there are in fact -- they are in fact going over the results this morning trying to figure out exactly what did happen, but one of the things that apparently happened is that Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate who urged her voters to follow her lead and vote a blank ballot apparently succeeded because there are over 2 million blank ballots that were cast yesterday.
Now normally those votes would have gone to Nicolas Sarkozy, because they are right-wingers who had no place else to go. They would have normally voted for the president. Sarkozy lost by about 1.2 million votes or so. And as a consequence, if he had gotten some of those blank ballots he very easily might have won -- or at least it was possible for him to win.
So as they are looking over things this morning, it looks like Marine Le Pen's strategy worked.
LU STOUT: What can we expect from the new French president in the immediate future, especially in regards to the EU debt crisis?
BITTERMANN: Well, I think there's a busy agenda ahead of Francois Hollande. He hit the ground running this morning around 9:30. He's got among other things an official duties and some unofficial duties. He's got to get his government together. He's got to name his cabinet. He's going to have to take part in celebrations tomorrow -- commemorations, rather, of the end of war in Europe -- V-E Day for celebrations. And then he's going to have to fly off to Germany to see Angela Merkel. He said he was going to do that.
The hand over of power, as you mentioned, takes place on the 15th. He's got G8 meetings coming up on the 18th and 19th in the United States and NATO meetings on the 20th and 21st. So a packed agenda for Hollande.
And in the midst of all this, he has to reassure his voters that he really meant it when he was talking about finding areas to concentrate on growth in the European Union rather than the idea of just austerity, austerity. And he repeated that again last night to his followers who gathered by the tens of thousands in the Bastille.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF FRANCE (through translator): The idea that finally austerity can no longer be something we should never support and that is the mission which from now on is mine. That is to say, to bring about a dimension of growth, prosperity, and future to Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMANN: So, Hollande got his -- has his work cut out for him. And by the way, Mr. Sarkozy has not completely disappeared. He's going to participate with Mr. Hollande tomorrow in these V-E commemorations here in Paris. And Sarkozy is also this afternoon in a planning session with some of the leaders of his party to try to figure out how the party can capture a majority of seats in the legislative elections which are coming up on June 10th -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: So no quick exit for Sarkozy just yet.
I want to talk more about the overall French political landscape. And we saw in those televised debates how the campaign got very personal between Hollande and Sarkozy. So is France much more politically divided after this election? What does that mean for parliamentary elections in June?
BITTERMANN: Well, that's going to be a good bellwether of exactly divided the country is. Mr. Hollande says he's going to try to bring people together and the Sarkozy was a divisive force. And in fact a lot of criticism was heaped on Sarkozy's shoulders in the wake of the debate earlier in the middle of last week basically when he took a kind of street fighter approach, accused his opponent of being a liar and a slanderer and things like that which a lot -- a number of people within his own party felt was just totally unjustified and a little bit over the top.
So there's a lot of sentiment out there that Sarkozy himself was a big factor in these divisions within France, but on the other hand there are pretty divergent political views, including those expressed by Marine Le Pen on the right, but also by Melenchon on the left, extreme left, and the extremist parties got about 30 percent of the vote in the first round of the election. So it's an indication that people out there have got a lot of different points of views and sometimes very extreme points of view.
And when these legislative elections come up, everybody -- all the same parties that were in there for the first round of the presidential elections will be in there for the legislative elections. And so you'll see some of that come out in some of these local elections as well, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right. Jim Bittermann joining us live from Paris. Thank you for that, Jim.
Now in Greece, voters punished the mainstream political parties. They are angry about job cuts, lower wages and other spending cutbacks. And now politicians have a limited amount of time to form a new government. As Matthew Chance joins us it will not be easy.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this Greek election has got to raise new doubts about the future of the EuroZone. Voters here delivering a punishing blow to the main political parties who supported the austerity measures imposed on the country leaving those parties struggling to form a governing coalition. There are horse tradings underway right now. But it's not going to be easy, because the two pro- austerity parties simply do not have enough seats in parliament to command a majority. And even if they can attract a third party into a coalition there are real concerns that it might not last. Political observers here bracing for what could be a prolonged period of political instability not just in Greece, but by extension the whole of Europe as well.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Athens.
LU STOUT: Now investors are observing the anti-austerity victories. Markets slumped here in Asia on those election results. But Europe appears to be backing off its earlier lows.
And Jim Boulden, he joins us now live from London. And Jim, what are you seeing on the markets right now?
JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Kristie. I think they've started the day on Monday morning in negative territory, but they are coming back. The euro also is coming back a little bit as well against the U.S. dollar.
It's not surprising you have a first blush reaction, especially when you saw the Asian markets. But let's be honest, these two outcomes have been predicted for a couple of weeks. Much of that has probably already been priced on the markets. You can see the Paris CAC 40 is actually a little bit higher today.
And we have very bad markets last week as well.
I will say, though, the Athens market is down between 6 and 7 percent Monday because of the sort of unstable future for the Greek government.
But we haven't seen much reaction in the bond markets. And of course it was the bond markets, Kristie, that punished the governments around Europe because of the budget deficits. And that's where we will be looking long-term I think or medium term, anyway, to see the reaction to what happened.
Greece has to form a government. We have to hear about Fracois Hollande's government -- you know, who will be his finance minister for -- et cetera. Meetings that he will have with Angela Merkel and then meetings with other European leaders. It will take some time to really see how this plays out.
So first reaction quite negative. Now things backing off I think a little bit -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Now as you mentioned really just then, political uncertainty for both France and Greece, but is the election result in Greece far more worrying for global investors? Should we expect as such more market volatility ahead?
BOULDEN: Well, a couple of weeks ago I would have said to you that the markets move beyond Greece and I think they had, because Greece got its second bailout. That second bailout is what the two parties that are trying to form a coalition have already agreed to. They have already agreed to the austerity measures. If they backtrack, then they simply will not get the second tranche of money in this second bailout in May and June.
So therefore there isn't a lot of choice some analysts will say for the Greek government. They have to continue with the austerity to get the money. They cannot get the money from the bond markets. The only way they can pay their bills is to stick to the austerity already agreed to and signed up for.
So the fact is they will be watched very carefully by Brussels and by the IMF to make sure that even with all the promises that had been made over the last few weeks they stick to the tough austerity measures. If they do that, the money will continue to flow into Athens.
LU STOUT: Yeah. What is the outlook for Greece not only in terms of its austerity plan and for its second bailout package, but its position in the EuroZone? What is the forecast for that now?
BOULDEN: Interestingly CitiBank came out with a report this morning that said that they thought it was a 50/50 chance that Greece would leave the Euro. They've raised that to 75 percent. However, we've said all along there is no mechanism to leave the Euro. To do that, the Greek government would have to basically break all the rules within the EuroZone and the European Union and create a currency out of nothing and change all the processes. And frankly it's almost unimaginable still to this day.
And last time I was in Greece they hear people on the streets, they want to keep the euro they just don't want to keep the tough austerity measures that they feel are being imposed on them by the outside. So if a coalition government can push through the next set of austerity and have it look like it's coming from within Greece, that might lessen some of the tension.
But the markets have moved on from Greece. It would be a real destabilizing effect if Greece becomes the center of attention again in the EuroZone. That would actually take us back, what, 12 months.
LU STOUT: Jim Boulden live from London, thank you very much for that analysis.
Still to come here on NEWS STREAM, he has dominated Russian politics for more than a decade. And now Vladimir Putin is back in Russia's presidential office, but it has not been the warmest welcome. What's in store for him now?
And still in limbo, a Chinese human rights activists Chen Guangcheng could be a step closer of realizing his wish of going to the United States.
And we'll tell you what Facebook is doing ahead of its IPO.
LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM. After last week's tricky diplomatic dance, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng could be closer than ever to a new life in the United States. Now U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says Chen will be granted a visa as soon as he applies for one allowing him to accept the offer of a fellowship at New York University.
Now Biden says he expects Beijing to stick to its word and let Chen leave, but there are few certainties in a story that has already seen several twists and turns.
Now the 40-year-old Chen who is blind remains in a Beijing hospital. His access to the outside world appears to be as limited as the outsider world's access to him. And Stan Grant reports now on a climate of containment.
STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We dared not cross this road. We've been warned to stay away. Inside this hospital is a man at the center of a tug of war between the world's biggest powers. Chen Guangcheng is still waiting to hear if he can travel to the United States and flee a country where he fears for his life. We are still waiting to speak to Chen.
Now these police have been put here to stop us going across the other side of the road. Wait.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to (inaudible) this area.
GRANT: That's right. But I'm just -- I cannot go any further.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Of course (inaudible).
GRANT: OK. Yeah.
So we've been told to move from there to here. We can't go anywhere near the hospital itself. Journalists have been issued a very stern warning -- if we're caught inside the hospital or even the hospital grounds our visas could be revoked and we'll be forced to leave the country.
It isn't just reporters under fire, Chinese security is fanning out rounding up Chen's friends or fellow activists. Many have been detained under house arrest or gagged. Her Perong (ph), a Chen supporter who helped him escape, has been released after police held her in a hotel for a week. Once among the most vocal champions of Chen's cause, she's now uncharacteristically quiet telling CNN simply I'm home and doing fine. But it's inconvenient for me to comment on Chen's case.
Extended Chen family have vanished. It all adds up to a climate of fear that Chen is desperate to escape.
Last week phoning in to a U.S. congressional hearing.
CHEN GUANGCHENG, CHINESE DISSIDENT (through translator): What worries me is my family. I can't get in touch with all my family members. They've installed seven surveillance cameras in my house. In addition, they have guards stay in my place. They are building an electric fence around my house. They even scoff, let's see what this blind guy can do to us.
GRANT: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing for talks last week walked into a diplomatic storm. Despite the smiles all around, China was demanding an apology from the U.S. after Chen Guangcheng's house arrest to the United States embassy. She flew out encouraged by moves by China to allow Chen to apply for a passport and seek a student visa for the United States. But Secretary Clinton knew the stakes were higher than just Chen Guangcheng.
HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: And this is not just about well known activists, it's about the human rights and aspirations of more than a billion people here in China and billions more around the world.
GRANT: From human rights icon to cartoon character. Chen has now crossed over into popular culture. Threats, intimidation and censorship, this Taiwanese news satire can see plenty to lampoon here from Chen's escape to his treatment by U.S. and Chinese officials. If only the reality was this funny.
Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.
LU STOUT: Now of course the Chen case is only the latest high profile story to rattle Beijing's corridors of power. Now CNN's Fareed Zakaria delves into the Bo Xilai affair, examining its implications for the Communist Party and China's relationship with the west. You can watch it on GlobalPublicSquare.blogs.cnn.com.
Now coming up right here on NEWS STREAM, the Facebook road show. The social networking giant releases a video to lure investors as it prepares to go public. Stay with us.
LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM.
And you would think a product like Facebook would sell itself, but with plans to raise as much as $13.6 billion with its IPO, senior executives are hitting the pavement talking to potential investors. Now the road show, it kicks off in New York today and the stock is expected to start publicly trading on May 18.
Now the Facebook offering is geared to be the largest internet IPO ever. And here to talk about it is CNNMoney's Laurie Segall. Laurie, good to see you.
And just how much work does Facebook really have to do to convince investors to buy it?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kristie, Facebook has to probably do a lot of work. I mean, it's a popular company right now. And it's one of those things where they've still got to make their case. You know, Facebook is on the road to go public. And starting today the company executives they are actually going on the road and they're going to try to make that case.
So here in New York they're starting it out. And they're going to pick some of the most influential investors and tell them why they should invest in the company.
Now we took a look at that pitch and we took a loo at all the details there and we broke it down.
SEGALL: We're weeks away from the largest internet IPO in history. Facebook is expected to go public in mid-May, but not before executives spend the next two weeks meeting influential investors and picking them on why they should buy shares in the company. It's a pre-IPO ritual called the roadshow and Facebook's kicks off in New York on Monday.
Now those meetings are private, but Facebook did post an online video that's available for regular investors to check out.
DAVID EBERSMAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: Thank you for taking the time to consider an investment in Facebook.
SEGALL: So what is Facebook touting to all those potential investors? Well, first of all lots of numbers. Facebook executives make it very clear that the company's sheer scale sets it apart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have over 900 million...
ANNOUNCER: Over 900 million...
EBERSMAN: We have over 900 million monthly users.
SEGALL: Those aren't the other stats on the roadshow video. There are now 300 million photos uploaded every day, 2 billion likes a day, over a billion comments a day, and over 500 million users on a daily basis. And Facebook is counting on those users for its revenues. The more people who are on Facebook and the more it knows about them, the better Facebook can sell targeted advertising.
SHERYL SANDBERG, COO FACEBOOK: In the United States, every day on Facebook is like the season finale of American Idol, the most popular show on television times two. For a narrowly targeted campaign, let's sale females 25-34, Facebook reaches the audience of 90 percent accuracy.
SEGALL: Facebook's VP of product, Chris Cox also gave potential investors a look at the future of Facebook and where it's turning its attention -- smartphones.
CHRIS COX, VP OF PRODUCTS, FACEBOOK: The things you do on a phone are extremely personal and social and they are exactly the kinds of things that Facebook is amazing at helping you do.
SEGALL: Just weeks ago, Facebook acquired mobile photo sharing app Instagram for $1 billion. Facebook's CFO told investors expect more of that in the future.
EBERSMAN: We believe mobile usage of Facebook is critical to long- term user engagement. So expect us to invest heavily in our mobile product experience, even if mobile modernization is uncertain and will take time.
SEGALL: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the opportunity to sketch out a world where we are in some ways connected to the service.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: So if you think fives years out I think we're going to reach this point where almost every app that you use is going to be integrated with Facebook in some way.
SEGALL: Facebook's roadshow continues for the next few weeks. We should note the roadshow is only part of Facebook's IPO pitch. It goes hand in hand with the company's prospectus that lays out risk associated with buying the stock. For maintaining high user growth to the threat rivals like Google and Twitter pose. We'll keep you posted as Facebook prepares to go public.
SEGALL: And so Kristie it's not clear whether Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be at these meetings, but many are speculating that he could definitely show up to pitch some of these investors. So, you know, we'll see if he's going to ditch the hoodie and put on a business suit and get in there -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, I kind of doubt that. It was interesting to look at that roadshow video and have you parse that for us just now. You can see Facebook is really concentrating on metrics and its commitment to its mobile platform.
Now that being said, the legendary investor Warren Buffet told CNN that he won't buy Facebook stock. So is that weighing on potential investor sentiment at all?
SEGALL: You know, I'm sure it could. What he said is we never buy into an offering. And he also talked a lot about the publicity around it, because I mean, this is a -- everybody is talking about the Facebook IPO. There's a lot of hype around it, but he's -- you know, you've got to take a step back and look and see is this going to be a good investment long-term.
Now what he said and what his partner said is, you know, we don't know -- we don't know about Facebook long-term. It's not a bad company, but I'm just not sure where it's going to be in five or 10 years. And Buffet said there's so many choices out there, you know why would I invest in this right off?
So, you know, that -- it depends on what kind of investor you are. If you're going to take a little bit more risk and that kind of thing. So it could definitely weigh on investors, but I will say I think there's a lot of interest in this right now. So I'm not sure if that's going to completely, you know, turn these people off.
LU STOUT: That's right, especially with small investors, retail investors also on board to buy up the stock. Laurie Segall, CNNMoney, thank you so much for your reporting.
SEGALL: Thanks, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Now up next here on NEWS STREAM, he is back in the top job, but not everybody is happy about Vladimir Putin's return to the Russian presidency. We'll be live from Moscow with that latest.
And there is skepticism in Syria as the troubled country holds its first multiparty parliamentary elections in decades. We'll tell you why opponents of Bashar al Assad are boycotting the ballot.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines.
Now Europe is watching France's next president. Socialist Francois Hollande says he is big on growth and he adds austerity can, quote, "no longer be something that is inevitable." Now he calls his victory a new start for Europe. Hollande defeated Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday's runoff election.
A tough road ahead in Greece for many voters deserted the ruling parties in Sunday's election. Now neither of the two main parties came anywhere close to winning a majority. And they have a limited time to form a new coalition government or call another election. Now voters are angry about wave after wave of austerity measures.
Voting in Syria's parliamentary elections has begun under tight security, but the opposition is urging voters to stay home. They say it's a farce and to keep President Bashar al Assad in power. Now three months ago, a constitution was adopted allowing candidates to run against the ruling Ba'ath Party.
Now polling stations are open across Syria today. Under a new constitution, the country is holding its first multiparty parliamentary election in decades, but the opposition calls the whole thing a farce and is asking voters to stay home.
Now the elections are being held despite ongoing violence. And Arwa Damon shows us a shelter in the besieged city of Homs.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And old woman walks back and forth sobbing incoherently. A voice off camera asks her, "what is wrong? Who hurt you?"
"They all did. They all did," she responds.
She is unable to explain what happened to her or how she ended up here.
This was once a school now turned sanctuary from people across Homs whose homes were decimated. And one only has to look at these images from one of the neighborhoods to understand what forced them to flee.
Families literally torn apart as artillery rained down. Gunfire still rings out. They can't return any time soon. Many of those here don't want to identified.
These siblings' father was killed, a woman who prefers to stay off camera explains. They were taken by pro-Assad thugs. They ended up in the house in an Alawite neighborhood where they had their hair oddly dyed and cut. No one knows why. They appeared on a pro-government TV station as lost children. Someone collected them and brought them here. Their mother's fate unknown.
The children don't react at all to the sound of gunfire. One shows where he was wounded in the arm.
Little Louai (ph) had gone out with his brother to get bread. His brother was shot in the head. Louai (ph) was shot in the leg and he ran to his brother's side. The boy's father rushed out. He was shot and killed. Louai (ph) somehow ended up here amongst strangers thrown together.
All they have to eat three times a day is cracked wheat with lentils and watered down yogurt. A volunteer says we cook and take care of around 300 people from all over Homs. Lunchtime conversation centers around death.
This boy says his father was killed on his way home from his cousin's funeral.
Once they are stabilized at various makeshift clinics, the wounded are brought here too. This man recalls how he was out getting food for his parents. And 20 relatives crammed into a home.
"I was stopped at a checkpoin," he says. " The soldiers searched my bags and then began to beat and taunt me. They told me to leave, but I refused. Not without the food. We need to eat I begged them. They threatened to detain me." Forced to leave, he was then shot twice in the leg as he turned the corner.
Another man says he was watering plants on his roof when suddenly the shelling started. Neighborhood youth were able to get him to a secret clinic. And then he was brought here.
"My house was destroyed," he says. "And I lost both my legs. I don't know where my kids, my family is. Are they dead or alive? I don't know." He implores the UN for help.
"We need security for us and for our children who are still alive." His voice cracks as he continues.
Those who are dead are gone, but what about those who are alive?
Arwa Damon, CNN, Beirut.
LU STOUT: More desperate scenes from Homs there.
Now earlier in the show we told you about how France and Greece are going in new directions, but it's more of the same for Russia. Now Vladimir Putin he has been inaugurated for his third term as president. It follows his four year stint as prime minister. Now Russian media reports that he has nominated Dmitry Medvedev, the latest president -- Putin's hand picked successor to serve as his prime minister.
Now Putin is set to serve a six year term. If he is reelected he could remain in power until 2024.
A large protest took place ahead of his inauguration. Let's bring in Phil Black live from Moscow. And Phil, Putin has taken the oath of office yet again. What did he say during that ceremony about his return as the president of Russia?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, you're right. It's his third inauguration ceremony. He is now the fourth, but was also the second president of the Russian Federation. And it happened all quite quickly during a lavish but brief ceremony in the Grand Kremlin palace.
Putin made a spectacular entrance I think across the red carpet through three halls of the palace before a crowd of thousands of people applauding him as he entered. Then took the oath of office, briefly, with his one hand on a copy of the constitution of the Russian Federation.
And then, in a speech, spoke about how serving the nation, serving the people of Russia is his meaning in life. He spoke somewhat of a familiar theme about the achievements of the last 12 years and about how this country has reclaimed its dignity, its strength. But he also spoke in a way that I think some Russians will react somewhat cynically to. He spoke about the desire to strengthen freedoms and rights under the constitution, about the desire to increase the number of people -- or the inclusion of the political process here. He was talking about democracy, essentially.
Let's take a little listen to a little more of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We want to live in a democratic country and we will where each person has freedom and opportunity to use his talents and energy. We will live in a successful Russia which will be respected in the world as an open and predictable partner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Putin also spoke about some of the difficulties that may lay ahead about the fact that he believes the decisions taken in the next few years will define this country for decades to come. Certainly it is not clear what he was referring to specifically there, but both Putin himself analysts and economists, they all agree that this is a country in desperate need of reform, whether it's the political system, the economy, it is a country that requires a lot of hard decisions, but may prove to be quite unpopular in the short-term. And the expectation is that Putin's third term as president will look and feel very different after the previous two before, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, a multiple challenges for Putin ahead in his third term. Of course, political opposition, one of them, there have been a wave of protests against him in Russia since December. Will the protest movement continue and how will Putin deal with his critics?
BLACK: Well, it's undergone a very recent surge just yesterday, the day before the inauguration. We saw it's estimated again tens of thousands of people on the streets of Moscow determined to make one last final point, one last final expression of their distaste for Putin's continued rule. And it was unlike any of the other protests we've seen in recent months because it was quite simply the most violent.
We saw people deliberately confronting police and security forces here. There were clashes both sides surged into each other numerous times. More than 250 people were arrested. It showed, I think, a degree of frustration among the protest movement, or some people within the protest movement, but they haven't been able to achieve more, but perhaps they hadn't been able to prevent a return of Vladimir Putin to the presidency, as much as they would have desired to do so.
And then, just again this morning while Putin was taking the oath of office, there were scattered groups. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, trying to make again some sort of demonstration in various areas of central Moscow this morning, but the police were quite swift and deliberate in crushing them. And again just today we've seen -- we're told by the police about 120 arrests here in Moscow, people trying to demonstrate against Putin's rule.
I think shows the feeling remains strong, the opposition, which has taken voice here in recent months, certainly remains. The degree to which it is prepared, though, to continue coming out onto the streets. Well, analysts to a significant degree think that's up to Putin and just what sort of leadership, what sort of policies he'd pursue. If he continues to take what some call an authoritarian line, then it is very likely we will continue to see protests and disruptions sitting and others, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Phil Black joining us live from Moscow. Thank you very much for that.
Now a powerful tornado ripped through eastern Japan. We'll have the details of what just happened north of Tokyo. And your global weather. All that and more coming up next on NEWS STREAM.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now video footage of an American kidnapped in Pakistan last year has emerged online. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the abduction. Now Warren Weinstein is seen pleading to U.S. President Barack Obama to give in to the terror group's demands to save his life. The 70-year-old was kidnapped last August in the Pakistani city in Lahore after three men forced their way into his home.
Now the man who once boasted he masterminded the September 11 terror attacks has appeared before a military court with four other suspects. Now the men refused to cooperate with authorities by protesting in silence. And it was 13 long hours before the frustrated court session was adjourned.
Chris Lawrence has more.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The 9/11 terror suspects turned their arraignment into a chaotic court circus, which left the victim's family members stunned.
EDDIE BRACKEN, BROTHER OF 9/11 VICTIM: They are complaining. And our families can't complain anymore. They took their lives. They took my sister's life. I wouldn't care if they were on a bed of nails, you know what I mean, but it's our justice system. And they have rights as of right now. And whatever the due course is and how the process works eventually they're going to either be in jail for the rest of their lives, or they're going to be dead.
LAWRENCE: Walid Benetosh (ph) came into court shackled to a chair. Later, when his attorney was alleging mistreatment, he took off his tunic and exposed his bare chest. The judge scolded him and told him put it back on.
Ramsy bin Alshiba (ph) shocked the courtroom by comparing American guards to dead Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He shouted maybe they will kill us and make it look like suicide.
And Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who once boasted he was the mastermind behind the attacks, refused to speak or even listen to the hearing through earphones.
DAVID NEVIN, COUNSEL FOR KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED: Now the government wants to kill Mr. Mohammed. They want to extinguish the last eyewitness to his torture so that he can never speak again about it.
LAWRENCE: One of the American defense attorneys came dressed in conservative conservative hijab and chastised the women on the prosecution team for wearing skirts saying the detainees had to avert their eyes to avoid committing a sin just by looking at them.
And so it went for hours -- silence and side issues dominating the hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said there was a particular paralegal who both in '08 and yesterday was wearing a short skirt and was a distraction to her client and therefore could not focus on a proceeding which might lead to his death. Could you respond to that?
BRIG. GEN. MARK MARTINS, CHIEF PROSECUTOR: I didn't think it merited or deserved a response yesterday. So I don't think it deserves a response today. The women on the prosecution team are dressed in appropriate and professional manner.
LAWRENCE: The next court hearing will be in June. But this had to be an embarrassment on all sides -- for those who pushed to have these men tried in a military commission here this cannot be what they had in mind. And for the Obama administration who promised to close Guantanamo Bay and move these trials to federal court, Saturday was a reminder of that failure.
Chris Lawrence, CNN, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
LU STOUT: And again that arraignment over the weekend, it was dragged out for 13 hours.
Let's get a check now on your global forecast. And Mari Ramos joins us for that. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. We're going to go ahead and start with an update on the tornado from the weekend. Did you hear about this? This is a tornado, it was a series of storms -- let's go ahead and clarify that -- a series of storms that moved across the central part of Honshu, this eastern part of Honshu here just north of Tokyo, a densely populated area. There is widespread damage across this region. And at least one tornado was spotted.
We have new video to show you. And it's actually pretty dramatic and pretty scary. Look at this. And I don't speak Japanese, but you can hear the panic in people's voices here as they watch this huge funnel cloud that's on the ground obviously kind of headed straight at them. You can see the tree line, you can see how high those trees are. They appear to be pine trees, at least some of them, from this angle. And then you begin to see the debris flying around.
You hear the noise the storm is making. Of course, the screams of panic. And then you look closely, you see all that debris flying around, some of it fairly close to where these people are. This is an extremely dangerous situation. And then, look at that, those sparks that you see there, those are transformers blowing up just behind the tree line, the trees getting shredded as the storm just whips right through that entire region.
Now if you're ever in this situation do not stand there and take pictures. You really need to take cover immediately. That man on a balcony, did you see them there on the left-hand side, this is extremely dangerous because you don't know which way the storm it's coming. It's hard to tell how far away it is sometimes. And any piece of debris could just come and fly right into you and hurt you very badly even if the storm is farther away.
So very, very scary indeed.
And there's one more video I want to show you before I run out of time, because this is the damage on the ground, Kristie. At least one person was killed, but authorities are concerned that we could see a little -- we could see that toll rising because there are some people that may be unaccounted for.
Like I said this is a very densely populated area where you can see how widespread the damage is. This is the cars that are turned over and there you see it a lot of damage to buildings and to infrastructure in that area.
Come back over to the weather map. We're not expecting any kind of a severe weather through here which is definitely could use still a little bit on the windy side and some scattered rain showers could be popping through this area throughout the overnight tonight and as we head into tomorrow.
Much more heavier downpours, beneficial rain overall, though we could see some flooding across Southeast Asia. Temperatures going down with the rain. We did see some pretty nasty damage across portions of northern Afghanistan here, that is where a storm reportedly rained down some eight hours worth of rainfall very, very quickly through this area. 100 people reported missing and 26 killed.
Watch for the storm as it moves across to the other side of Pakistan and over into Afghanistan I should say and into Pakistan. We'll be monitoring that closely. Let's go ahead and check out your forecast.
Oh, look at this Kristie. The supermoon. This is a picture from our iReporters around the globe. And I'm going to go ahead and tweet this link in just a little while so you can see some more of the supermoon. Of course the full moon during the perigee which is when the moon is closest to the Earth. It happens about once a year and every year. Spectacular. If you were lucky enough to witness it, ah, well you know what you got to see it.
I don't know if you guys have any more pictures of the supermoon. We're absolutely loving them. Everyone is talking about it still, because it was so phenomenal.
You could see it best when it was close to the horizon, but it was pretty spectacular as it moved up.
And we know what, we have a full moon for an entire week, Kristie, so there's still opportunities. It might not be super, but still looks pretty good. Back to you.
LU STOUT: It looks fabulous. Our iReporters did that. Some great images. Please tweet it out, I want to share it to my audience as well. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.
Now the European football season is coming to a close. And still to come, Juventus celebrates winning the Italian league. And we'll tell you who took a step closer to clinching the English League title as well.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the big winner at the box office this weekend, well, there was no competition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DOWNEY JR., ACTOR: It's what we call ourselves, Earth's mightiest heroes type thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an army.
DOWNEY: We have a Hulk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: The Avengers pulled in just over $200 million at the U.S. box office, the biggest opening weekend of all-time. Now the Avengers top the record set last year by the final Harry Potter film. And if you look at the top five here, you might notice a pattern. Now the Avengers, Dark Knight, and Spider-Man are all comic book heroes. The Hunger Games and Harry Potter both popular books.
And we looked further down the list. And whether it's Star Wars or Twilight or even Hangover 2 it's a similar story: all of them are either sequels are part of existing franchises. Even the Passion of the Christ, which made almost $84 million in its first weekend is based on one of the most popular books of all time: the Bible of course.
Now to find the biggest opening by an original film we had to go all the way to number 40, Avatar, James Cameron's record-breaking film made just $77 million on opening weekend.
Now some of the top European football leagues are winding down their seasons. Let's go to Amanda Davies in London to fill us in on what happened on the pitch on Sunday -- Amanda.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm more of a (inaudible) girl myself, it has to be said, in terms of the films. Yeah, six years after the shame of the (inaudible) match fixing scandal Jvay (ph) are back on top of Italian football after claiming the Serie A title on Sunday for the first time since 2003.
With a round of matches to spare, the Old Lady clinched victory after a 2-0 win at Cagliari combined with defeat for second place Milan. So Jvay (ph) more four points clear of the defending champions.
It's the culmination of a long road back for Juventus after being stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles and then relegated to the second division. Coach Antonio Conte, one of Italy's oldest clubs is back at the summit.
It's all over in Italy, but it's going right down to the final games of the season in England, though. And Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that Manchester City now have two hands on the English Premier League trophy after City beat Newcastle on Sunday to stay ahead of their rivals on goal difference. City needed to win to keep up the pressure on second place United heading into the last leg of the season. And it was two goals from Yaya Toure that made the difference at St. James Park. Both of them scored in the final 20 minutes to put City in touching distance of their first English league title for 44 years. As a result, it dashed Newcastle's hopes of playing Champion's League football next season.
In France, the pressure is back on Montpellier ahead of their League Un match against Rennes later on Monday. PSG regained the lead at the top on goal difference after coming back from two goals down to beat Valenciennes 4-3.
Carlos Ancelotti's side didn't get off to the best start. (inaudible) shot in the eighth minute deflected into the PSG net by Alex to Valenciennes one up. (inaudible) provided the threat again less than five minutes later. This time his shot saved with Remi Gomez (ph) finding the back of the net.
But it didn't take long for PSG to get on the score sheet. Jeremy Menez pushing up on a Valenciennes mistake for Nene to slot the ball home 2-1.
It was all square just a couple of minutes later, though. Nene on to Maxwell to make it two apiece.
Vilenciennes took the lead even before the break, this time (inaudible) sliding in from close range. From 3-2 it became 4-2 for the title challengers. This time Menez with his right foot. Valencienne did pull one back before full time, but it's PSG with the lead in the title race just. Montpellier can go back to the top with just a draw later on Monday.
That's it from me. Back to you, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, Amanda, thank you very much indeed.
As Amanda said Juventus have been crowned champions of Italy. And that means one of football's unique streaks has finally ended. Now this man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a special record. Now this is the first time in nine years that he's ending the year without celebrating a league title win. Now he won the league in Italy with Milan last year and the year before that he did it with Spain -- in Spain rather with Barcelona.
Now he won the Italian league with Inter not one or two, but three times. And before that, he won the league twice with Juventus. But those titles were later stripped by Italian football authorities due to a match fixing scandal.
Now his run, it began with Ajax in Holland back in 2004 and ended up spanning three countries, five clubs, in eight years. But all good things come to an end.
And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.