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London 2012 Opening Ceremony Celebrates Best Of Britain Past, Present, Future; London in 1948; Rebels Send 300 More Troops To Aleppo

Aired July 27, 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: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

And we begin in London. The excitement builds as the Olympic torch makes its final journey through the city. We're now only hours away from the start of the games.

And we'll look at the continuing fallout from U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's criticism of London's preparations for the games.

And we will continue our coverage of the civil war in Syria with a closer look at the weapons being used by both sides.

Now we are just eight hours away from the official opening of the 2012 Olympic Games. Up to one billion people could tune in as the world's greatest sports spectacle officially gets underway in London. It will start with the $42 million ceremony celebrating the landscape of the United Kingdom as well as the work of its famed writer William Shakespeare.

The iconic torch is making its way to the heart of the Olympic Park in east London. And earlier, it traveled through the maze of Hampton Court Palace, that was the residence of the Tudor king Henry VIII. And it took a trip along the River Thames courtesy of the royal barge Gloriana.

Now London's Olympic Park is about to be transformed into what is being described as Isles of Wonder. And Zain Verjee is there.

And Zain, this is it. The opening ceremony is just hours away. Set the scene for us.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, over the past few weeks, Kristie, we've only heard things about a possible transport catastrophe, budget arguments, ticket fiascoes, all that has been pushed aside because today is the big day.

And there is so much anticipation. London is buzzing, Kristie, people are excited, enthusiastic, and really looking forward to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games. It'll happen in the stadium behind me. I'm still hearing musical morning. They're just putting the final touches on that.

60,000 spectators, more than 10,000 athletes and at least 4 billion people, Kristie, around the world will be watching. It's going to be exciting. And they're billing this as one of the greatest spectacles, an epic one on earth.

You described that they were going to basically use the theme of William Shakespeare's the Tempest, the Isle of Wonder. And you're going to see scenes recreated with Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, as well as a secret showdown, we hear that there may be between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort.

It's going to be divided into different phases, the opening ceremony. And details are beginning to be leaked out and reported in all the local newspapers here. So we're keeping on top of that. But London is really very excited. 5.3 million visitors are here to celebrate the Olympic games.

LU STOUT: Well, Zain, we want to get more details, more buzz from you. We're going to check in with you later in the hour. Zain Verjee live from London for us. Thank you.

Now here are a few videos from earlier this week in London. As you can see, our correspondents are enjoying some very sunny weather. And if ever been to the UK you will know that this is a precious thing indeed, but it is a little gloomier today. So after a glorious few days, could an outbreak of rain make proceedings all the more British?

Let's get the latest from Tom Sater. He's at the world weather center. Tom, do you have any good news for us?

TOM SATER, CNN WEATHER CORESPONDENT: Oh, Kristie, I do. As you can hear CNN's Olympic theme behind us here, I've got great news really. Cloud cover, sure it's shrouding the area right now. And there have been a few passing showers.

But you know, morning rainfall it reminds me of an old weather proverb, "morning rain is like an old lady's dance, it doesn't last very long." But here's what we are looking at. Look at this, this is the last thing we want to see, there's a strong tightly wound area of low pressure so close to the Olympic ceremonies tonight. But look at the classic comma shape here. A cloud line moving right through the area with associated showers have been, you know, making their presence known. In the morning hours, they had a few showers through the northeast. But look at how close they were to the heavy amounts of rainfall staying in the channel. The good news is there is drier air moving in that's going to help erode the cloud cover.

Winds may kick up a little bit, but you take a look at our forecast, this runs through Friday, clearing skies. There may be a few fair weather cumulus clouds that move across the area. But Saturday is looking decent right now. It's just where will that area of low pressure go?

Take a look at the temperatures. On Wednesday, 30 degrees, the hottest temperature all year in London. And then that was topped by yesterday's 31 degrees. But we're looking at 22.

So cooler air is moving in. Drier air is moving in. It could not be better.

And as we take a look at the forecast, for this evening at 9:00 pm, opening ceremonies, 20 degrees Celsius. That's 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We've got great visibility and a little breeze.

So things could not be unfolding better. And coming up at the end of the newscast here, I'll share Saturday's forecast with you as well as a look at Sunday. And one of those days does contain a little bit of rainfall. So let's enjoy it while we can.

But the cloud cover will start to move out.

LU STOUT: All right. Good news indeed. And (inaudible) big theme by the way. Tom Sater there. Thank you.

Now the question of security has remained, well, questionable in the run-up to the games. First, the big contractor hired to guard the games submitted it couldn't meet its target. And then we have the story of an 11-year-old boy passing through a British airport and reaching Rome without a ticket or passport. And that's left some asking is London fully prepared?

Dan Rivers joins me now live from London. And Dan, can you just describe the security presence around you and across the city?

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Well, we're on top of an open bus here in London right by the houses of parliament there, right in the heart of what is probably the most sensitive area outside of the Olympic village itself. There is a very heavy security presence everywhere. Obviously thousands of people -- 9,500 people on top of the 31,000 we're told that normally guard the capital.

Into that mix as well, though, are about 18,200 soldiers who have also been mobilized, some of them guarding venue security, some are filling in for where the security firm G4S was unable to provide private security guards. That's been an ongoing fiasco that I think now is largely over. I think they feel that they've managed to plug the gap with soldiers and police.

But nevertheless, it has put a real strain on resources here. We spent the morning, well touring all this fantastic open top bus, seeing some of the security preparations underway. You can see over here that these are some of the private security guards. This guy in a florescent jacket. There are vehicle checkpoints all the way up White Hall here which is close to normal traffic.

Over here a market, our cameraman can just pick that up, we've got mounted police just going across Westminster Bridge. And this has been kind of echoed across the capital here.

Almost every street corner you look on there are police, there are soldiers, there are private security guards and vehicle checkpoints all over as well. So that gives you a kind of sense of the massive security operation that is underway here in the capital.

The message from the government, from the home office and from the Olympic organizers, though, is despite the teething problems with G4S, that private security firm, they feel now everything is now in place to ensure they've done everything they can to make these games secure and safe. You can't rule out something happening, of course, but they feel they've got contingencies now covered in case the worst case scenario is realized.

LU STOUT: And Dan, it's such a massive operation. Is the security intrusive? What does it feel like as a visitor or resident there?

RIVERS: Actually, you know, I think London feels pretty good at the moment, because if you look around there's not really that much traffic here, partly because some of these roads are closed, but partly because -- I mean, a lot of people have left their car at home. They've heeded the warnings. We were in the transport control room this morning. They were telling us so far traffic is about 15 percent lighter than it would be normally.

It feels, actually, like a kind of Sunday or something. It's very quiet. There is a real holiday atmosphere here. It's certainly getting a real sense of anticipation with people looking forward to that amazing ceremony this evening that Zain was talking about.

So, so far, touch wood, I think things have gone pretty well barring that initial problem with G4S. Apart from that, you know, the government is saying this proves that our contingency planning was robust, because we were able to plug the gap that G4S left within a few days. And now as you can see you know the traffic is light. It's moving well. The trains are working. The buses are working. People are able to get around.

And it's not raining either. That's the miracle. It was forecast for showers today. So far we've had a few drops of rain, but it's very warm and the weather is great.

LU STOUT: Yeah, so far so good it looks great out there.

And can you just tell us ab out the task at hand? We know that millions of people are expected to walk through Olympic Park in the next few weeks, give us an idea of the scale of the security challenge in London?

RIVERS: OK. So -- I mean, they are talking about this being the biggest security operation in peace time since the Second World War basically. It is vast. We've got more soldiers deployed on the streets of London and across Britain than are currently deployed in Afghanistan, about twice as many, 18,200.

Now they're always going to have soldiers in the mix, but that's been increased by about 5,000 on top of what they originally planned because of those problems. Then of course the police, about 9,500 extra police on top of the 31,000 that would normally be guarding London when an event like this isn't on. And then G4S guards as well, the private security guards, about another 5,000 or so. The numbers kind of going up every day added into that as well.

And then of course you've got all the other services. You've got ambulance, you've got fire brigade, police. I mean, here again is just a kind of illustration. Right there it's a traffic jam of police cars and vans. And we're seeing that a lot around Central London at the moment. You know, a lot of unmarked police cars zooming around as well, more than I've every seen in London before, more than I saw during the jubilee or any of the other events that we've covered recently in London.

So it is pretty unusual to see this many police. It's an impressive event security operation, but one they feel is now robust. They feel that they have got everything in place now for this evening's opening ceremony.

You know, the risks are obviously there. There is risk of Irish Republican terrorism. There is risk of, you know, Islamic terrorism. There's risk of, you know, civil disobedience or other problems. But they've (inaudible) all of those.

The COBRA meeting room is just around the corner in Downing Street. Now that's where the prime minister is now meeting every day with different officials to go through the latest information to go through any problems that are occurring.

So (inaudible) thank goodness...

LU STOUT: All right. Dan Rivers there, unfortunately we just lost him at the end, but an incredible view and vantage point there. Dan Rivers on the move through London.

Now one high profile visitor to London has joined the chorus of doubt over London's readiness for the games. In a less than diplomatic step on his first foreign tour as a presidential candidate. Mitt Romney told a U.S. TV network that there were disconcerting signs in the build-up to the event. He later toned down those remarks.

Now Romney is widely credited with the success of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but British Prime Minister David Cameron seemed quick to point out the smaller scale of that challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are holding an Olympic games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. I mean, of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic games in the middle of nowhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Cameron's response may have been equally undiplomatic, but he's got a point. Now the population of London is equivalent not to the population of Salt Lake City, nor indeed Utah as a whole, but the population of Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada combined.

In terms of money, the London games will cost British taxpayers more than $14 billion. In 2002, U.S. taxpayers spent $1.3 billion.

There are about five times as many athletes involved in the London games and Paralympics as there were in Salt Lake City, almost 15,000 across the two games compared with fewer than 3,000 10 years ago.

Consider the people power required to make the games happen. In London, between volunteers and staff that number rises to 200,000 during the games. In Utah, it totaled 28,000.

And what about the big moneymaker, ticket holders? Well, just before the Salt Lake City winter games, fewer than 1.5 million tickets were sold. In London, it's closer to 11 million.

Now up next, fearing the worst. The U.S. sounds an alarm bell as the fight for Syria's commercial capital enters what some say could be the decisive battle.

And once called the Jackie Kennedy of China, the wife of disgraced politician Bo Xilai faces murder charges. We'll bring you reaction in Beijing.

Also ahead, a Japanese family seeks answers surrounding their daughter's suicide. They say she was a victim of bullying. We'll tell you what they are doing to fight for justice.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now the battle for Aleppo, Syria's largest city, could soon intensify as the United States is sounding an alarm bell. Washington says it fears Syrian government troops may carry out a massacre in Aleppo.

The U.S. State Department says it has receive credible reports that pro-regime forces are deploying tanks and using helicopters in their offensive against rebel fighters.

Meanwhile, activists say a Syrian lawmaker who represents the city of Aleppo is the latest politician to defect to the opposition. The announcement comes as the U.S. again vows to step up pressure on President al-Assad's regime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTORIA NULAND, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: In the absence of being able to work in the UN we have to redouble our efforts with like- minded nations outside of the UN. So that is what we are doing, trying to work through our sanctions committee to strengthen and squeeze the regime. You've seen new sanctions just in the last couple of weeks from the EU, from others, to do what we can on the humanitarian side.

But most importantly now, to work with the opposition on the plans and the principles that have to under gird a democratic transition, because he is going to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Now rebel commander says 300 more fighters are being sent to Aleppo to counter the government offensive there.

While the opposition remains out gunned, its firepower is growing in large part due to seized military weapons. Ivan Watson reports from inside Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Syrian rebel fighters show of captured weapons of war. These are the largest guns we've seen yet in rebel hands: a vehicle mounted mortar that fires giant 120 millimeter rounds, an armored personnel carrier, and an anti-aircraft gun mounted on a pick-up truck. This one has gotten use in battle.

"A couple of weeks ago I shot down a helicopter," says Jamal Awar (ph), a bus driver who is now a rebel.

Moments later, a helicopter flies high overhead.

So we're looking at a helicopter that's circling over this town right now. And we're hearing gunfire. And this is what scares the fighters the most. This is what has been killing the most rebels that we've come across, the most casualties.

This chopper came from the embattled city of Aleppo located just six miles away from the rebel held town of Anadan (ph).

The Syrian rebels say they're fighting for freedom from the Assad regime. And they've succeeded in pushing out government security forces from this town of Anadan (ph). But look at the cost. There isn't a single civilian resident left in this town. It's been blasted and is almost completely deserted except for fighters.

The town is scarred by artillery fire and eerily empty.

This is why this town is so deserted. Two days ago, three people, Kurds from out of town, were driving this small vehicle, small truck up this road and they were hit from a military checkpoint it looks like right about here. It still smells like rotting flesh right now.

A fighter tells us there's a government army base out in the farmland just a few miles away. And the soldiers there fire at us. Bullets whiz overhead as we film a defaced statue of the current Syrian president's father Hafez al-Assad.

Nearby in the mansion of a wealthy businessman we find a squad of rebels taking up temporary residence. They show me an entire armory of weapons they say are captured from Syrian security forces. It's a small arsenal stacked up next to the original house owner's gilded chairs and dainty pillows.

Have you even captured armor? This -- what happened to the guy you captured this from?

"He died," the rebel commander says. "God willing, he went to hell."

Unlike Libya, these rebels don't show off by constantly firing their weapons in the air. Syria's rebels aren't getting nearly as much help from the outside world. For these fighters, every bullet is precious.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Anadan (ph), Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Incredible reporting from Ivan Watson.

Let's turn to China and the scandal surrounding disgraced politician Bo Xilai is back in the spotlight. As we first told you on Thursday, his wife has been charged with murder. She's accused of poisoning British businessman Neil Haywood. And the British government has welcomed the charges. A statement from the foreign office says, quote, "we are dedicated to seeking justice for Haywood and his family. And we will be following developments closely."

Now no trial date has been announced, but one analyst says the case could be resolved within the next couple of weeks.

Now the scandal has highlighted corruption in the government. Communist party officials are keen to have the affair wrapped up before the leadership transition later this year. Now remember, Bo Xilai was tipped for a promotion, but got sacked the same day his wife was arrested. He is not a suspect in Haywood's murder.

Now prosecutors say Bo's wife was afraid the Britain could harm her son, Bo Guagua. Now a China watcher calls that revelation the one real surprise in the charges.

Meanwhile, the fate of Bo's former deputy Wang Lijun, that remains a mystery. It's believed that he could face treason charges for going to a U.S. consulate about this case.

Within China, experts say Wang's offense is considered more serious. Eunice Yoon has more reaction from Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Beijing the papers are full of stories about victims of the recent floods, but a political storm of equal significance is brewing in this country. The wife of disgraced Chinese politicians Bo Xilai was formally charged with the murder of a British businessman setting the stage for the most sensational criminal trial China has seen in 30 years.

Even though Bo Xilai did a lot of good, we don't know a lot a bout his wife's character. In a brief statement, the official news agency Xinua said prosecutors found Gu Kailai and her house aid has poisoned Neil Haywood. She and Haywood had been longtime friends, but authorities say the two had a falling out over a financial dispute. The report found that she had feared Haywood could be a threat to her son's safety. Haywood was found dead in his hotel room back in November in the city of Chongqing, the city where her husband had governed.

Gu and her husband are sometimes referred to here as the Kennedies of China. They're both charismatic and powerful. But his downfall was triggered when his police chief, Wang Linjun, fled to a U.S. consulate after disagreement with Bo over the mysterious death of Haywood. The case was being closely followed by the public, even though stories about it are being downplayed in the state press. And comments about the murder charges blocked on social media.

"If she's found guilty of murder, she should definitely be punished according to law."

Gu was prosecuted in a court in a city 1,000 kilometers east of Chongqing in the province of Anhui possibly for the sake of impartiality. However, a trusted family source tells CNN, Gu's family didn't know she was in Anhui until last week. They say her legal counsel was appointed by the government, not by the family. She could face the death penalty if convicted.

Her husband's name was left out of the statement, leading some to believe that the authorities are still deciding on the fate of Bo Xilai, a once rising political star of China.

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Bullying in school. Now one couple says that is what drove their 12 year old daughter to commit suicide. Their fight for justice next on News Stream.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong you're back watching News Stream.

Now on Thursday we told you about the alarming rate of teen suicide in South Korea. And today we turn to Japan where a couple who lost their daughter to suicide seven years ago is fighting a legal battle with her school over whether or not she was bullied. Paula Hancocks reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Shinjin Nakai (ph) lights a candle for his daughter Yumi as he has done every day for the past seven years. Yumi committed suicide at the age of 12 jumping from a condominium building. Her mother Setsuke (ph) says she had complained of being taunted by classmates earlier that year.

"I called the school and spoke to her teacher," she tells me. "She said I'll deal with this problem and never got back to me. So we assumed it was solved."

The parents show me the suicide note which hints at the bullying. Yumi wrote, "it may be because of some of my classmates, studies and exams."

But the parents are still fighting a legal battle with the school and the board of education which they say were negligent in stopping the bullying, more properly investigating her suicide.

"I asked to see the school's report, but was refused," her father says. "I just want to know the truth. Why did she have to die? Unless I know, I just can't except her death."

The board of eduction denies a cover-up saying the school did investigate her death, questioning students and teachers, but found no evidence bullying caused her suicide. The board also says it reported the results of the investigation to her parents.

The most recent court ruling also found a link could not be drawn between bullying and Yumi's suicide. The parents launched an appeal on Monday.

One case of bullying here in Japan has been in the headlines for weeks, the details of which have horrified people. Japanese media alleged that a boy who committed suicide last year by jumping from a building had previously been forced by his bullies to practice killing himself. The school, the board of education, and also the police have yet to decide if they believe there's a link between the bullying and the suicide.

SACHIKO HORIGUCHI, ANTHROPOLOGIST, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: I think the problem of the schools, the board of education and the school being to accept the fact that there's some bullying. I think that's quite -- that could be quite common in many schools, that is increasingly become difficult to deny that with the recent case. I think we've seen more cases being reported.

HANCOCKS: That's what Yumi's parents are hoping. They say only when they have acknowledgment of her bullying and closure will they be able to finally bury her ashes in the graveyard.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Japan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Just a heartbreaking story.

Now the Japanese education ministry has announced plans to set up a task force against bullying. It will identify cases of serious bullying at an early stage, advising and guiding eduction boards and schools and taking measures to prevent any recurrence.

Now the ministry also announced plans to conduct an emergency survey of schools and develop appropriate countermeasures after analyzing the results.

Now the last time London hosted the Olympic games was just after the Second World War. The UK, and indeed the whole world, was a very different place then. We will go back in time later on News Stream.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now Syrian rebels say that they are sending reinforcements to the city of Aleppo. They are expecting a government offensive after Friday prayers. Opposition activists say 40 people have been killed across Syria today.

Now Facebook has released its first set of results since it became a public company. And it's a pretty good start even though it did not impress Wall Street. Now revenues slightly exceeded expectations in the second quarter, up 32 percent on last year, but Facebook's stock tumbled to a new low in after hours trade dropping 10 percent to $24 a share.

Now with just seven-and-a-half hours to go before the Olympic games' opening ceremony kicks off there's one big question being asked in Britain, who will light the Olympic flame in the stadium? As the torch nears the end of its epic journey with the crews along the Thames in Central London, it's a clear favorite with book makers is Roger Bannister, the first man to complete the four minute mile.

Now let's stay with the Olympics now and go live to London where Zain Verjee and Jim Boulden are gearing up for the greatest sporting show on earth. Let's first go to Zain.

And Zain, as just mentioned, the opening ceremony will kick off in a few hours. Have you been hearing final preparations for it?

VERJEE: I'm hearing the final preparations for it right now. And actually they are rehearsing the famous moving music of Chariots of Fire right now. They're just putting the final touches on that magnificent tune.

Now there's been a lot of buzz about the opening ceremonies. What are we going to see? Now, look, I don't want to be the one to ruin everyone's surprises here, so I'll tell you what the British newspapers have been covering also very heavily about what we will see.

Well, one part of the opening ceremony is really going to be about the Victorian era, about the idyllic era in Britain. You're going to see farmers, live cattle, sheep, water, chickens. They're going to recreate that age. And then it's going to move to the industrial age. You're going to see steal workers, perhaps even the Olympic rings suddenly coming up out of the ground and lighting on fire according to one of the reports that I have been reading.

But really it's going to be the best of Britain past, present and future.

They're going to have some magnificent music, the music of Amy Winehouse will be there. Paul McCartney and the Beatles tunes will be there, probably closing the show as well. And the rest of it, I'm not going to ruin all your fun and tell you, but it's going to be very exciting. 007 is going to be there. There's going to be a reference to Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort.

And just a sense of the fantastical, really, because the whole theme of the opening ceremonies is based on one of the most famous Shakespeare plays known as The Tempest where the theme there was the Isle of Wonder. That's all I'm going to say. I want you to watch and wonder in just a few hours -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Ooh, so the best of Britain will be on show. Thanks for giving a taste of what's to come.

Now let's go to Jim Boulden for the travel and Jim, what does it look like where you are right now.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, I'm at Waterloo station, Kristie. And he has a good connection right to Stratford (inaudible). So we can expect a lot of people to be coming through here if they have tickets to the opening ceremony. But so far this week it's been relatively good in London. You know there are a lot of fears that transport would be one of the issues. And what the organizers have said is that they will be using the special network of roads to make sure that athletes and officials and media get to where they need to be getting.

So of course that (inaudible), that doesn't mean there's anybody (inaudible) London. But frankly, they've told us who live here, don't drive in London. Terrible idea. And today we saw the torch going up the Thames. So they weren't having to close roads to get the Thames -- I mean, to get the torch up to the park. So that's also been pretty good.

But these train stations have been fine, absolutely fine. Heathrow has been fine this week as well. A lot of people have been going through there, but they really stacked it up. And here we see volunteers helping people as they come off the train before they head to the Underground. And for people like me who live here, these pamphlets have been mailed to us this week to tell us exactly what's going to happen in our neighborhood. But I've got to tell you, a lot of people have left town, that's the truth Kristie. I've been getting lots of seats from lots of trains this week -- maybe not next week, but this week has been pretty good I have to say.

LU STOUT: Yeah, so that's been helping to ease the congestion a bit.

Now let's get back to Zain at the Olympic bureau. And Zain, we've got to talk about the politics. Any more fallout from Mitt Romney and his negative comments about the games he made yesterday?

VERJEE: Yeah. You know, he really messed it up for much of the country here. I mean, he's been slagged off in all the newspapers here for saying basically that the games ahead of the opening ceremonies was a little bit disconcerting, you know, referring to the organization, some of the fiascoes, the focusing on the security issues as well. That's been getting the headlines here. But basically all the newspapers, everyone you've talked to is being extremely critical saying yeah thanks, but no thanks. Even the Prime Minister David Cameron, you know, hit back and said the games are going to be just fine.

There was even a reference to, well, the -- you know, the games in Salt Lake City weren't all that great. There were some mistakes being made too.

So Mitt Romney being very criticized here, I mean, the Republican presidential candidate. And this was supposed to be a trip where he's really sort of out there on the global stage, talking about foreign policy and being a little bit diplomatic. But his comments were not diplomatic at all. And this country a little bit annoyed and critical, but brushing it off, too, because they're focusing on the big day today. And they really want to pull out all the stops and make it happen.

LU STOUT: And happening, it is -- it is going to happen soon. This is it.

Back to Jim Boulden at Waterloo Station. And Jim, to accommodate all the people, all the traffic going to and from the venues, I understand that these games lanes have been set up. How are they working out?

BOULDEN: Yeah, as I mentioned earlier there's something called the Olympic road network which is miles and miles of roads. Now, not all of that is closed to everybody. What that means is there will be lane restrictions (inaudible) turn left or turn right. Those are going through from Heathrow airport down to Stratford in East London. They will be going through Hyde Park and they will be going through the south bank area to make sure that the diplomats and people who need them can get from the big posh hotels in Hyde Park to the events.

But only certain parts of those are also going to be restricted, just those special cars with special tags. And so there has been some complaints as well. But it's actually that much road.

Next week we'll see whether or not it really impacts traffic in London. The taxi drivers do not seem very happy about it. They sort of staged one hour demonstrations a few weeks ago. They had another one last week, because they want to be able to use these lanes. So they think they're not going to make as much money from the games as maybe they had originally thought.

But bottom line, people need to take other transport if they have tickets and they don't have the special tags. Most of us, of course, don't have the special tags.

LU STOUT: Yeah. Well, it's seven years in the making. Right now seven hours away from the official beginning of the London games. To Zain and Jim, a big thank you to you both.

Now as far as the action on the field is concerned, football has taken center stage over the last couple of days. Pedro Pinto joins us now. He's got all the details -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. The men's football tournament started with a shocking result. Reigning world and European champions Spain lost to Japan on Thursday. Yuki Otsu goal in the 34th minute gave the Asian nation a famous victory at Glasgow's Hampden Park. Spain were reduced to 10 men just before halftime and never really threatened. It was Japan who could and should have scored more goals in this Group B encounter.

The hosts, team GB, were held to a 1-all draw by Senegal at Old Trafford. Greg Bellamy strike was canceled out by a late goal from Moussa Konate for the African side. So that was the final score there, 1-all.

Gold medal favorites Brazil got their campaign off to a winning start by beating Egypt in Cardiff. They took a 3-nil first half lead thanks to strikes from Rafael, Leandro Damiao, and Neymar. They took their foot off the pedal after the break and nearly paid for it. Egypt made it interesting by scoring twice, but Brazil managed to hold on to a 3-2 win.

Well, archery is the only event that is taking place today. And one of the favorites to win gold in the individual category is South Korean Im Dong-hyun. The 26-year-old already has two team gold medals from previous Olympics under his belt and now has his sights set on an individual title this year.

The truly remarkable thing about Him is that he is legally blind. In his better eye, he has 20-100 vision which means he needs to be five times closer to an object than someone with perfect vision.

South Koreans are known to excel in this sport, having won more medals than any other country since 1972. Our Christina MacFarlane tries to uncover the secret to their success.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The bow and arrow is still being used to do battle, only today it's in the Olympic arena. As the world's best archers rally themselves for London 2012, South Korea are looking to maintain their number one status.

So why are Korea so successful in archery?

SUK DONGEUN, ITALY ARCHERY COACH: Big difference from other countries is the motivation. For example, they shoot more than 300, 400 arrows per day.

JANG YOUNG SOOL, SOUTH KOREA ARCHERY COACH (through translator): In Korean culture, we're required to use our fingers. For example, we use chopsticks to pick up tiny pieces of food. So this might be the reason we are good at sports which require us to use our fingers.

MACFARLANE: The remarkable Im Dong-hyun is one of the world's best archers and a Korean superstar. He holds the world record for the best ever score in competition, not bad for a man who is partially blind

How are you able to hit the target without being able to see it clearly?

IM DONG-HYUN, SOUTH KOREAN ARCHER (through translator): I've trained for over 10 years, so I'm used to it. And it doesn't bother me. I prefer not to wear glasses, because it might change my senses. So I try to make everything the same as usual.

MACFARLANE: Korea have proved so successful that competing nations have decided if you can't beat them, join them.

LEE KISIK, USA ARCHERY COACH: I'm South Korean, but I worked with the Australian team last two Olympics too. So whichever country they need help, I just be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to know what technique and what method they use. But I can't say. There is no secret. Who worked harder than others really.

MACFARLANE: For South Korea, this improved competition has meant intensified training and focus. But for Im Dong-hyun, the dream of winning the men's individual gold at London 2012 is what drives him towards perfection.

DONG-HYUN (through translator): I would be honored to win a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. I would be achieving a huge personal goal. This sport has allowed me to travel the world and meet world class players. It is a friend and a partner to me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PINTO: So watch out for the Koreans in the archery event.

Looking ahead to the first full day of the Olympics on Saturday, this is what's on the menu, a total of 11 gold medals are up for grabs. American swimming superstars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will be in action in the 400 meter individual medley.

At Wimbledon, the tennis tournament gets under way.

And Italian fencing legend Valentina Vezzali goes for a sixth Olympic gold medal in the women's individual foil.

I can't wait for all the action to begin properly after the opening ceremony, Kristie. That's a quick wrap of what's ahead. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Fencing and Phelps ahead, it's going to be fun. Thank you very much indeed, Pedro.

Now just ahead, Facebook releases its first quarterly result since it's bungled stock market debut. And despite a healthy bottom line, it seems investors were not impressed. And we'll tell you why after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the social networking giant Facebook may now have fewer friends after reporring its first quarterly earnings since it went public. Now the result sent its shares plunging to an all-time low in after hours trade. Laurie Segall breaks down the numbers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Everyone has been waiting for this report. And talk about pressure, it's the first time Facebook released numbers since its rocky debut into the market. Now the results were in line with Wall Street estimates, but not enough to excite investors. Shares fell around 10 percent after hours.

Let's take a look at those numbers. Now Facebook generated $1.18 billion in revenue for the quarter, that's up 32 percent from the same period last year. And also posted a profit of 12 cents per share. Now analysts are expecting sales of $1.15 billion, so the number was a bit stronger than expected, but not enough to impress investors.

We also got a look at Facebook's biggest moneymakers. Number one, advertising. It now account for 84 percent of the company's total revenue. $992 million came from ads. But the other source of revenue, Facebook's payment business has been flat. Mobile game makers Zynga posted week earnings Wednesday. And get people to pay for games and other virtual goods is critical to growing Facebook's payment business. So it's something they're going to have to work on.

Now mobile is a top priority for Facebook. As we found out today, Facebook now has 955 million monthly users. And more than half are logging on from their smartphones. That was the first thing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned on the earnings call. He said mobile usage has jumped 67 percent over the last year. That doesn't necessarily translate to money. One thing he kept emphasizing on the earnings call was sponsored stories.

Now think about when you look at your news feed and you see your friends like the coffee shop or here she liked the clothing store. Businesses can now pay to have those appear as ads endorsed by your friends in your feed. So that's how they're planning to make money off of smartphone users. And it seems as if they've actually had a little bit of progress on that front.

Facebook is making a million dollars a day off of those ads. And half of that is coming from mobile. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: All right. Thank you.

Now Zuckerberg also apparently denied reports that Facebook was building its own phone. On a conference call with Analysts, Zuckerberg focused instead on apps for existing phones like Android devices or the iPhone.

Now Zuckerberg said, this, "there are lots of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren't really building out a whole phone, which I think really wouldn't make much sense for us to do," unquote.

Now it comes a day after the latest in a series of reports that Facebook was building its own phone.

Coming up next here on News Stream, the opening ceremony in London is just hours away. And while the world waits for that, I'll take you back to the last time London hosted the games.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And throughout the hour we've seen grayer skies, but no rain in London. So what's the Olympic forecast? Tom Sater joins us now live from the world weather center -- Tom.

SATER: Kristie, things look fabulous. In fact, we're going to go back and revisit the satellite picture again. Take a look, classic text book example of it just spinning so close to the Olympic ceremonies this evening. What will the forecast be like?

Notice the cloud line right across the London area. But slowly and surely we're going to see the sky start to really clear up.

Here's a look at the radar. They just missed by getting a deluge of rainfall for the overnight period and for the morning hours. But as the rain moves out, the drier air will start to move in. You can see this on the satellite picture. This is the forecast. Great news. This is called a dry slot. We still have the spin, that area of low pressure that is diving southward, but this dry slot does prove to give us one splendid day for Saturday, the first full day of events.

As we look at the winds -- now, keep in mind today, archery competition, there isn't a sport in the Olympics that weather doesn't play a major role in than archery. You've got the humidity of the air, the visibility, the density of the air and of course the winds. But one thing about the weather, it is the same for all the competitors. And they are within range. And that's good news.

Currently, 22 degrees, skies slowly clearing up. Visibility has increased from six kilometers to 10. So we take that morning rain out of the forecast, look for increasing sunshine. It gets cooler, but a splendid day on Saturday. And would a British Olympics be without a little British weather? Unfortunately we have to introduce a 60 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Sunday, which means 60 percent of the area may see a little bit of rainfall.

But give us some time, Kristie, we're going to try to tweak this the best we can. But things are looking great for opening ceremonies tonight with a temperature about 20 degrees, that's 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Looks good.

LU STOUT: All right. Great news. Tom Sater with the Olympic fanfare. Thank you.

Now, the wait is over, the 2012 London Olympics are upon us. And this isn't the first or even the second time that the British capital has hosted the games. Nick Glass takes us back to the one in 1948 which took place after some very dark days.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: It's grown, as we all know, into a commercial behemoth. Billions of dollars on television rights, sponsorship, and new stadiums. The 1948 Olympics were a quarter of the size, strictly amateur, and so frugally hosted they were called the austerity games. These were the first Olympics after the war, the first since Berlin in 1936. Old sporting idealism was rekindled along with the Olympic flame.

DOROTHY MANLEY, 100M SILVER MEDALIST, 1948: It all altered when money came in to it, really. That's a few Olympics back, wasn't it? But up until then, I mean, we knew we weren't getting any payments on it, but we did it because we loved it.

GLASS: Taking part was more important than winning. So Red Baron Coubertin's Olymipc creed visible from every seat at Wembley stadium.

Germany and Japan weren't invited.

Marketing was relatively discrete, a coca-cola concession under the stands, and a full page ad under the souvenir brochure.

German prisoners of war helped build Olympic way, the pedestrian walkway that led to Wembley. A new stadium has since risen on the site of the old. The original dated from 1923.

Basically, it was a greyhound racing track with a football pitch in the middle. Converting it into the main Olympic stadium in 1948 took just two months.

The new Wembley still has the tablets of stone, a roll call of the 1948 gold medalists. One name recurs, the sprinter F.E. Blankers Koon. Fanny Blankers Koon from Holland. She won 4 gold medals in eight days. The flying housewife, as they called her, won the 100 meters. Dorothy Manley came second.

MANLEY: Well, I was feeling terribly nervous, because I had never run in an international race before. So...

GLASS: Never?

MANLEY: Never, no. So coming out on to the track and seeing all these 80,000 people there is a bit sort of...

(LAUGHTER)

MANLEY: When we were on our marks and the gun went, I thought that I'd caught a flyout, because I really got a good start. Mind you, I would never have beaten Fanny, because she was a wonderful athlete. But I do -- I was disappointed I wasn't a bit closer to her.

GLASS: The Olympic rings still symbolically link us all together, but the greatest sporting show on earth has changed unimaginably in scale and spirit. The entire budget in 1948 was about $30 million, or roughly what they spent this time just on the opening ceremony.

The Olympic games of London 2012 may well come in a little under budget. It will still cost $13.5 billion.

Nick Glass, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now we want to bring you a better sense of the world in 1948. It was the year of the infamous headline "Dewey Defeats Truman." Of course he was President Harry Truman actually won a second term.

The state of Israel was established in May of 1948.

The first sports car bearing the name of Porsche was manufactured.

And exactly three months after the London Olympics ended. Prince Charles was born at Buckinham Palace. He's the little boy here on the left.

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

END