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Beijing's Fifth Generation; Picking up the Pieces After Hurricane Sandy

Aired November 8, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet. And we begin in China.


STOUT: As the country gears up for a once-in-a-decade leadership change, what does Beijing's fifth generation really mean?

And more extreme weather hits the northeast, which is still trying to pick up the pieces after superstorm Sandy.

Also one big issue is likely to get Barack Obama's immediate attention as he gets back to business and we'll take a look at the role social media played in his winning campaign.


STOUT: The next few days will largely set the tone for the next decade in China. A new slate of Communist Party leaders will be put in place during the 18th national congress. President Hu Jintao is stepping down as party general secretary as President Xi Jinping is expected to replace him. Mr. Hu identified party priorities in his keynote report to delegates and issued this warning:


HU JINTAO, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): Combating corruption and promoting political integrity, which is a major political issue of great concern to the people is a clear-cut and long-term political commitment of the party. If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the party and even cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state.


STOUT: Quite a warning there. Mr. Hu's predecessor, Jiang Zemin, has had a prominent place at the party congress opening. It's seen as a sign that the 86-year-old still holds a lot of influence. Months of background bargaining has gone into selecting China's next group of leaders, and it's thought that most will be allies of Jiang, not Hu.


This gathering is held once every five years, so this is just the 18th such meeting since the Communist Party was founded 91 years ago. But remember, the party only came to power in 1949, and that's when Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China. Chairman Mao ruled until his death in 1976.

The second generation was led by Deng Xiaoping with power transferring roughly every 10 years after that and, next, to Jiang Zemin and most recently to Hu Jintao. And now China's 5th generation of leaders is expected to take over with Xi Jinping at the helm.

Let's take you to Beijing now. Senior international correspondent Stan Grant is standing by.

Stan, good to see you again. Let's talk about that corruption warning by Hu Jintao. It just underscores the challenge for the party to not only rule China but to also stay in power.

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Kristie, there's been a lot of debate leading up to this congress about the future of the party and the legitimacy of the party.

We know (inaudible) contract the party has had with the people here is basically being to make them rich while the economy was growing, while people were being lifted out of poverty, while people were flocking from the provinces to the cities, finding employment, then things were good.

We know the economy is starting to slow; the gap between rich and poor is getting wider. We've seen more social unrest and that's what's prompted these warnings today. We've heard similar warnings in the past from Premier Wen Jiabao, who said that the system is unsustainable as it is, and the people, the party needs to be more responsive to the people.

Well, President Hu Jintao -- and you just mentioned this before you came to me -- is issuing this warning about corruption, that corruption could bring down the party and, indeed, the state itself. (Inaudible) the past year with the Bo Xilai scandal, of course, Bo being the party chief of Chongqing, now purged from the party; his wife's been jailed for murdering a British business associate.

There's no doubt that it's a very, very timely warning for the new generation of leadership, Kristie.

STOUT: Sounds like the next leader of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, Stan, will he be a strong leader or will he govern under the shadow of those before him?

GRANT: Well, Hu Jintao is expected to hang around a little bit longer and continue to be the head of China's military. So he'll still continue to look over Xi Jinping's shoulder, if you like. But when he becomes the boss of the Communist Party, of course, the Communist Party being the all- powerful organ of the state here, he will effectively rule the country.

Next year he will be installed as president, expected to be installed as president of China. We don't know a lot about him; he's been someone who's risen quietly through the ranks. We know that he is the son of a former Mao-era revolutionary.

We also know he's married to a folk singer in China; in fact, most people probably are more aware of his wife in China than Xi Jinping himself. But over the past year his profile has risen. He's been introduced to the international stage, met foreign leaders. Analysts, though, say it's very difficult to try to predict exactly what type of leader he will be.

One thing is for certain, though. The days of the Supreme Leader, of the Mao Zedong figure are over, even though Mao himself continues to be a potent symbol.


GRANT (voice-over): Mao's back. The father of modern China is everywhere, his image held aloft by young Chinese, a symbol of power.

Anti-Japanese protesters have looked to Mao Zedong for strength as China claims control of disputed islands. China's modern-day leaders look timid in comparison to the revered revolutionary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The current leaders should be as strong as Mao.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): For the Chinese people, he represents belief -- a great man.

GRANT: China today is so much different from Mao's era, a time marked by revolution, famine, the debts of tens of millions. But no matter how modern-day politicians try to distance themselves from Mao's legacy, they can't escape his shadow.

GRANT (voice-over): President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao are ending their terms at the top and will not be revered as Mao. To some Chinese analysts, (inaudible) been 10 years of lost opportunity and failure.

"These 10 years without them accomplishing anything but following old customs without innovation," says this analyst, "can even be described a politically backwards. It could be seen as a mark of shame in the Communist Party history."

One Chinese leader has learned the hard way about trying to recapture the spirit of Mao. Bo Xilai, then party chief of the sprawling metropolis of Chongqing held mass Mao revolutionary-style rallies. He encouraged revolutionary slogans and songs, but critics say he went too far.

"I think it was a huge misjudgment of Bo. Going back to Mao's path is definitely not an option. That has proven to be a dead end. Mao led a road to ruin."

Bo is now in disgrace, stripped of his party positions, facing prosecution. He's been at the center of a political scandal that has rocked the secretive Communist Party. His wife is in prison, convicted of killing a British business associate.

And all of this in a year of political transition, a new generation set to take the helm, headed by Xi Jinping. Like Bo, Xi is a princeling. His father once part of Mao's Adonis (ph) Revolutionary inner circle. But this is a different Communist Party Xi Jinping inherits. The days of one Supreme Leader are over.

MIKE CHINOY, CHINA ANALYST: This is, of course, a system that's built on consensus. It's not structured any longer to have a single dominant figure like a Mao Zedong or a Deng Xiaoping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think that Chairman Mao is a rather extreme person. We don't really need those who are too extreme. Instead, we need people who can connect China with the international community. In the long run, this would be best for China.

GRANT (voice-over): Xi Jinping is a son of China's past and a leader of its future. He knows that Mao may be useful as a potent symbol, but not a model for leadership.


GRANT: And today we once again got that message loud and clear from President Hu Jintao that they need to move forward, not look backwards as far as the party's concerned if they want to be able to ensure their future.

The big challenge to the incoming leadership, Kristie, is to take those words of Hu Jintao and make them matter. This is not just about telling people what to do, it's about showing the rest of the people in China what the party can and is prepared to do.

STOUT: (Inaudible) putting into action. Stan Grant joining us live from the Chinese capital.

Thank you, Stan.

For the first time ever, this carefully choreographed event is taking place in the era of Sina Weibo. As we told you the words for 18th party congress have been censored. The people are still posting about it and one popular and now deleted item showed a bored Jiang Zemin listening to Hu Jintao's speech.

Some China watchers, including those on CNN's list right here, say that their Twitter accounts have been compromised. The China Media Project and others have been notified of hacking attempts. It is unclear who is behind the acts.

On Tuesday, the U.S. reelected President Barack Obama and still ahead, we'll have a closer look at relations between the world's two biggest economies. China analyst Christopher Johnson will join us live from Washington.

Now Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says foreign intervention in his country would have a domino effect around the world.


STOUT (voice-over): That warning comes as a Syrian opposition group meet with Western leaders today to discuss an alternative to the al-Assad regime. Representatives from Britain, France and the U.S. are in Qatar to discuss a democratic political transition. But in an interview with "Russia Today" TV the Syrian president has warned against outside interference.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT: I think the price of this invasion, if it happened, is going to be more than the whole world can afford, because if we have problems in Syria, then the world has lost its stronghold of secularism and stability in the region, and coexistence. I think it will have a domino effect that affects the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

And, you know, the implication on the -- on the rest of the world. I don't think the West is going in that regard. But if they do so, nobody can tell what's next. I'm not a puppet. I wasn't made by the world and made by the West to go to the West or to any other country. I'm Syrian. I'm made in Syria. I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.


STOUT: Bashar al-Assad there, warning of a domino effect. Now more than 32,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict so far.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, first it was superstorm Sandy and now snow, another powerful storm strikes the northeastern U.S. We'll have a live report.

And U.S. President Obama returns to the White House following his reelection. But there's no honeymoon period. I'll tell you about a potential financial crisis that could be looming for the U.S.




STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM. Now so far we've covered the transition of power in China and later we'll look at how social media played a part in Barack Obama's reelection. But let's stay in the U.S. and the northeastern part of the country just cannot get a break from the weather.


STOUT (voice-over): A storm is battering towns that are still trying to recover from superstorm Sandy, which tore through last week. More than half a million people across the region are still without power. Some residents in low-lying coastal areas have been evacuated again in the face of this latest storm's mix of rain, wind and wet snow.


STOUT: One woman whose home was flooded by Sandy says that this latest storm has made everything worse.

Rob Marciano joins us now live from Staten Island, New York.

And, Rob, first Sandy, now this: how is it affecting the community there?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Kristie, it's hard to believe and they really didn't grasp the situation until it started happening last night with all the snow coming down. And quite honestly, we got more snow than we expected to get and it's still lying on the ground in grassy areas behind me.

Thankfully, now, though, the sun has come out and the storm's moved off towards eastern New England. But to give you an idea, during the height of Sandy, the water was up and over my shoulders as this area inundated by storm surge.

So a lot of these houses still standing, but their lower floors completely destroyed by floodwaters and, in some cases, like this house here, actually shoved off its foundation. Obviously that's -- you know, you can't live there. And then they brought in some Dumpsters just to kind of clear out some of what's left of their own badly damaged, up and down this street, slushy, slushy mess.

So this, yes, definitely not what these folks needed. Talked to a lot of people on this street, some of which stayed in their homes overnight last night, the Cameradas were one family who described to me what they're going through emotionally and physically.


NICK CAMERADA, NEW YORK RESIDENT: I went through the most pain that I ever went through in my whole life from being electrocuted, trying to get back into my house. Watching all my possessions and my family practically almost dying.

DIANE CAMERADA, NEW YORK RESIDENT: This has been a week from hell. I mean, you know, I'm grateful that I have my family.


MARCIANO: Here we are, nine, 10 days after the storm; there's been another house -- another night in that cold house; they just got their kids off to school, so life trying to go on. But it's very, very difficult, Kristie, with this heavy, wet snow.

People that got their power back on, a lot of them lost it again last night. We've had 16 hundred -- thousand people more without power on top of the 600 that still have yet to be restored since Hurricane Sandy came through here over a week ago, Kristie.

STOUT: And, Rob, it is cold there. And scores of people are still without power. So what are they doing to get by and what kind of help do they need?

MARCIANO: Well, you know, people are coming together; there's private organizations, there's community organizations that are coming around, passing out hot soup and blankets. There are shelters, but not everybody wants to leave their homes, quite honestly. There's been some looting problems, at least immediately after the storm, so you can see why you want to stay.

And then want to -- you know, you're always drawn to your house and you don't want to be too far away from it. You want to try to, you know, get some sort of normalcy back, get your kids off to school, you know, start cleaning up.

So for that reason, people stay in their homes. And right now, it's dark and very, very cold. It will warm up over the weekend, but it's been a tough, tough nine days, that's for sure, Kristie.

STOUT: Indeed. Rob Marciano joining us live from Staten Island, thank you very much for that update there.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. Coming up next, with a late-night, low- key return to Washington for Barack Obama after the excitement of his reelection victory. And now there is heavy lifting ahead. We'll have that after the break.



STOUT (voice-over): Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM. And it's back to business for U.S. President Barack Obama after winning four more years in the White House.

He returned to Washington late on Wednesday, having secured a convincing victory, but with the balance of power in the Capitol essentially unchanged. The president faces tough negotiations with a majority Republican House on the looming fiscal cliff. That is the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in at the end of the year if no deal is reached on deficit reduction.


STOUT: President Obama made social media history on election night. Moments after CNN projected his win, the campaign posted a photograph to Facebook and Twitter of the president hugging his wife. The caption: "Four More Years."

And that image, it was sent around the world, becoming one of the most popular posts ever. So far, it's been shared half a million times on Facebook and has nearly 4 million likes. And it's been retweeted nearly 800,000 times. For more on what was social media's big night, let's bring in our regular contributor, Nicholas Thompson.

Nick, good to see you. He's the editor, of course, of

And, Nick, Obama, he didn't just win the election as just mentioned. He also has most popular tweet of all time. So you consider that like the grand finale for a successful social media campaign?

NICHOLAS THOMPSON, NEWYORKER.COM: I think absolutely. This is a very successful social media campaign. They did a very good job in using social media to raise money during the spring and summer and then the early fall. They used extremely well to help push certain means, for example, Romnesia. That was just something they pushed very much towards the end of the campaign.

And then they used social media extremely well to get out the vote, probably the most important use of social media. And they were just good at it. That tweet is a very good example. It's funny, it's classy; the image is slightly surprising, the text is the right length -- people can add words above it. It was very smart.

Now all that said, if social media determined the election, Obama would have won 93-7, not 51-48. So it clearly didn't play a complete role.

STOUT: Does that mean they embraced the right photos, the right captions, the right memes? And Team Obama also emerged or embraced emerging social media platform, you know, like Google Hangout back in the day when that was new, to the relatively hot social news site Reddit. What do you make of that?

THOMPSON: Well, that was -- the use of Google, Google Plus Hangout and Reddit was extremely interesting. And what the Obama campaign has said after the election is the reason that they embraced Reddit, which is used mostly by young geeky men, is partly because it was cool, partly it made the world excited.

He did a little "Ask Me Anything," where the public could ask him questions and he'd answer, but also because a lot of the people, they were trying to focus on him, getting out the vote. People who they thought might not vote but could be persuaded to vote were on Reddit.

And so they had done -- used computers to do a lot of demographic analysis and figured out that that was one of the groups they needed to target. So both shows the way the campaign used data very intelligently and the way it embraced new, edgy, somewhat risky social media.

STOUT: Now another social media phenomenon, election night was Nate Silver. Now he -- talking about data, he's the big data hero after he correctly called the vote. Tell us about him and just how did he get it right?

THOMPSON: Well, so he's been building a model for, I mean, at least the last two years on how the election would come out, based on what the polls say, what -- how the polls have predicted actual votes in previous elections with the economic fundamentals are. He hasn't explained exactly what's in the model, but we've a pretty good idea from the posts he puts out every day.

And it's an extremely complex system. And what was so interesting is that he became a lightning rod in September-October, actually more also late October, when a lot of people thought, hey, you know, Romney's really catching up on this, and you're looking at Silver's projections and Obama still had a 67, 73, 85 percent chance of winning.

And so when there was panic among Obama supporters, people would go to Nate Silver's site and say, oh, actually, he's still going to win; and Republicans would say, no he's wrong; he's another example of the biased media.

I kind of think of it sort of like the debate over global warming where there's a fraction of people that really look at data, that build complex models and have a system that predicts how things will go, and it's largely right. And then there's a bunch of people who don't really believe that and have, you know, skewed numbers and bogus numbers and bogus analysis who come back at it.

So one has to hope that Nate Silver, who really does call it as straight as he can; there's not a tiny bit of bias in his body. He is a statistician, a mathematician.

One hopes that his success and the attention on his model and its accuracy will not only, you know, rebound to his credit, but also to the credit of people who try to use rational analysis, who try to use numbers to understand complex systems. So let's hope that's one good outcome of this election.

STOUT: That's right. I mean, he's turned into sort of a social media hero and this is a data geek. He's called the election, social media becoming a powerful channel to rally the vote.

What do you think this all means for the future of politics? Do you think campaign teams really need to invest more in technology; and the people who really get technology?

THOMPSON: Yes, I think that was one of Romney's mistakes, is that his -- if you look at his Twitter feed, his Facebook feed, his use, for example, of Instagram, a lot of his supporters -- Republicans are great on Twitter and Facebook. A lot of the sort of influencers around the ether are terrific.

But from the central campaign point, Romney didn't really have the right voice. It was a little bit spammy. It wasn't quite as exciting. And of course, Obama had some sort of -- lots of silly tweets and Facebook posts, but Obama, you got the sense of, you know, real people who really understand how social media works. Their timing was very good.

Romney, it was kind of off; they weren't as engaged. Now Romney did have great data crunchers. They did do a meeting -- I mean, he comes out of the consulting world. There was a lot of mathematical analysis of how the vote works. But actually, in using social media to captivate people, it didn't do that great a job.

And finally, I think, the key point, and the thing I think we'll learn is that a lot of Obama's success comes from Get Out the Vote. And one thing we know from getting out the vote is that seeing people on social media, saying, "I voted," encourages people to vote.

So if you can do it in an ecosystem where people are talking to each other and are proud of having gone to the polls, that really does matter. And that's something that social scientists and political scientists have been studying and learning. And I think this election will be one more big data point for that.

STOUT: Yes, social media can indeed lead to social participation. That is a very, very powerful thing.

Nick Thompson of, thank you so much. And we'll talk again next week.

THOMPSON: Thank you, Kristie.

STOUT: Now you're watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come, power politics. In the U.S., Barack Obama remains at the helm. But in Beijing, delegates are gathering for what will be a historic transition -- a look at how that will affect U.S.-China relations after the break.



STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.


STOUT (voice-over): A powerful earthquake off the coast of Guatemala killed at least 48 people on Thursday. That's according to the government. This 7.4 magnitude quake was felt throughout Central America and as far north as Mexico City.

Another powerful storm is pounding the northeastern U.S.; the so- called nor'easter comes just over a week after superstorm Sandy devastated much of the region. What snow and rain have been falling in areas where hundreds of thousands of residents have been without power since Sandy tore through?

With just seven weeks until the end of the year, reelected U.S. President Barack Obama faces the daunting task of finding a compromise with the Republican majority House over deficit reduction. An agreement is needed in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in if no deal is reached.

China has started its once-in-a-decade leadership transition. President Hu Jintao spoke at the start of the 18th Communist Party national congress. He is stepping down as the party's general secretary and is expected to be replaced by Vice President Xi Jinping. And soon, China's new leadership will step onto the world stage.


STOUT: And in the United States, President Barack Obama has just won another four years in office. So what will the once-in-a-decade transition in China mean for relations with fellow superpower the United States? For a closer look at this, want to bring in China analyst Christopher Johnson.

He is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; he joins us now from a bureau in Washington.

Chris, good to see you.


STOUT: And you know, we have heard a lot of heated anti-China rhetoric on the U.S. campaign trail made by not just Romney but by Barack Obama. Now that he's been reelected, will that rhetoric go away?

JOHNSON: I think we'll see certainly a decrease in the rhetoric now that we're not on the campaign mode, especially you know, a lot of the talk about jobs going overseas and China being involved in that process and so on.

That said, I think we've seen a pretty clear pattern coming out of the Obama administration over the last couple of years of a desire to protect U.S. manufacturing from Chinese competition, to protect U.S. intellectual property, things of that nature. And I expect that to continue into the second administration. So it's going to be a challenge for the leaders on both sides to manage those tensions.

STOUT: Now there's a lot of talk about a U.S. strategic pivot to Asia. What does that mean for China. I mean, should China be anticipating a more confrontational approach?

JOHNSON: Well, I think a lot of that is going to be how China itself chooses to define the strategic pivot. And this is one of the critical issues. I think because the Chinese leadership has been very distracted with the leadership succession, there really hasn't been a top-level analysis of what the U.S. strategic rebalancing policy means for China's external security environment.

And in the absence of that high-level leadership assessment, these kind of voices who are saying this is all about containment have been allowed to kind of run free within the Chinese system. So suspicions about U.S. intentions have built very strongly.

And it's going to require some action by the top Chinese leadership to kind of tamp that down and get the -- to arrest the drift that we've been seeing in the bilateral relationship.

STOUT: China's undergoing a leadership transition of its own. Is China's next generation of leadership under similar pressure to prove that they're not soft, that they can stand up to the U.S.?

JOHNSON: Well, this may be one of the fundamental problems that we're going to see in the relationship here over the next couple of years, Kristie, is that when we had some previous tensions that arose in the wake of the global financial crisis where there were a lot of people in Beijing, calling for a more asserting Chinese approach, Hu Jintao and some of the people around him, because they're already very secure in their positions, were able to tamp down a lot of that noise and reemphasize the desire for healthy bilateral relations.

These new leaders are having to prove their credentials, as you just pointed out. And that may make things a little more difficult, if there is a dustup with the U.S. And we have many problems that we're facing with them, especially in relations with Japan, and other territorial disputes in the region.

STOUT: Your thoughts on Xi Jinping and what kind of leadership he will bring to China, what kind of relationship will he bring between the two superpowers?

JOHNSON: Well, Xi Jinping is very interesting in this regard, I think. So far, I think he's shown every sign that he will continue the policy that we've seen under Hu Jintao and before him under Jiang Zemin, of putting the U.S.-China bilateral relationship as the center of China's most important bilateral relationship and emphasizing good ties.

In fact, Xi, when he was here in February in Washington, talked about creating a sort of new style of great power relations. Of course, that phrase itself suggests that China, at least, fears that there is a possibility that it could be an old-style of great power relations, another Cold War looming.

So how Xi will choose to do that and what kind of pressures he's under within the system to respond stiffly to the United States, what constituencies he's going to have to play to, I think will largely define how he's going to shape the bilateral relationship.

One last point on that is that every sign coming out of Beijing, including their congratulatory message for President Obama yesterday in Xinhua, they're saying effectively that the ball is in the U.S. court to get the relationship stabilized. And that's something that Washington probably would not agree with.

STOUT: And Xi Jinping, he was a protege of Jiang Zemin. I don't know if you had a chance to see the opening of the party congress, but we saw Jiang Zemin enter the Great Hall of the People, number two in line, right after Hu Jintao.

I mean, it's incredible, because you know, he left office 10 years ago. But it seems he still wields a lot of power. How much power does he have? How much influence does he have?

JOHNSON: Well, I think, Kristie, he has a considerable amount of influence, as I think we're about to see here a week from today when the new leadership lineup is rolled out. All indications are that several people who have close ties to Jiang Zemin will be promoted into the politburo standing committee.

There's been substantial rumor, when I was in Beijing last week, I heard a lot about this, that he has been playing a huge role from behind the scenes. Interestingly this time, not just on personnel, but also on policy, pushing for a more reformist tone to Hu Jintao's work report that was delivered yesterday, and dressing up his sort of involvement in the personnel process as a criticism of the lack of reform and the lack of movement, especially in the economic space during the last 10 years of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao's leadership.

So I think we're going to continue to see Jiang's influence felt very strongly. And it's a sign that the system still has a lot of work to do in terms of its political maturation. An 86-year-old who effectively hasn't been in office for 10 years has that much power and influence over the new lineup.

STOUT: That speaks volumes. Chris Johnson of CSIS, joining us live from Washington, thank you so much for your analysis and insight there.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Kristie, good to see you.

STOUT: Now in addition to Xi Jinping, who is likely to steer China for the next 10 years? We have compiled a list of top contenders for the politburo standing committee. You'll find it at It's part of our complete coverage of China's important leadership transition.

Let's go live now to Frankfurt, where European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is holding a news conference, explaining the bank's decision to hold a key interest rate at a record low of 0.75 percent. European and U.S. markets dropped on Wednesday after Draghi warned that the Eurozone crisis is taking a toll on the German economy. There will be much more on his comments coming up on "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY."

Now time for your global weather forecast. We've got more now on that one-two storm punch in the American northeast. I mean, after superstorm Sandy, millions are dealing with another big storm, a so-called nor'easter. For more let's go to Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center.


MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, a nor'easter's just another name for winter storms that affect that particular part of the world, Kristie. And normally this would be a big deal anyway. We would be -- we're dealing with record snowfall across the northeast, significant snowfall. Look at these numbers right over here. We're only in early November.

Yes, it snows every once in a while in November, but in New York City and in Newark? They got -- get this -- take all the snow they get in December -- in November, which isn't much, plus all the snow that they get in December, put that together and that would still not amount to these numbers right over here.

So it's very significant snowfall, record-setting snow. This alone would have caused significant power outages. But of course we're dealing in the aftermath of Sandy. And that has just set a whole new set of problems. Let's go ahead and listen to what one person there had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got back our power on last Friday, and it's back out again today. So frustrated is a fair word.


RAMOS: And there you see it, those power lines coming down on those - - there were so many trees that were already damaged from what was superstorm Sandy from the wind that came through there. And now this heavy, wet snow, just going right on top of those power lines has left at least 40,000 people -- additionally 40,000 people.

That was last night's counts, according to CNN's Susan Candiotti. Those numbers may actually go up this morning once they're able to get out there and see what's going on. And now they're going to have to start all over. This is really pushing that recovery process back for people.

The other thing is it's very dangerous, because temperatures have plummeted to below freezing in the overnight hours, and many people don't have any way to heat their homes. So that's still a huge concern. And if you have travel plans to the northeast, think (inaudible) over, I can go now, right? Oh, not so fast.

There were over 1,000 flights that were canceled just in the last 24 hours. That will slowly start to pick up again as far as air travel. Look at all those cancellations. You never want to see that when you're at the airport . There you see that circulation in the clouds still, in the radar here. A lot of this coming down now, very cold rain.

That snow, for the most part, will continue to melt. But will still have maybe a few areas to watch as far as snowfall. Look at Boston, 40 -- almost 40 kph right now. So it's still quite windy across these areas. In some places visibility reduced significantly. Notice all the moisture continuing to trail northward so there are still some areas that will get additional snowfall.

It's hard to believe over the next 24 hours and a lot of that will come in the way of snow. But there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. This is New York City.

Thursday, waking up to freezing temperatures; Friday, maybe just slightly above freezing and then by Saturday we return to more seasonal conditions all across the northeastern U.S. and that's really going to help things out as far as the situation. It's just going to feel a lot better. And so hopefully we'll get a little bit more of that recovery ongoing.

And speaking of recovery, they were trying to recover overnight from this very powerful earthquake that continues to be one of our top stories here at CNN. This earthquake that happened yesterday morning just offshore here in Guatemala, it was a 7.4, a very dangerous earthquake that affected areas all along the coastline here.

The shaking was pretty significant over these areas and there were reports of damage in at least as we reported earlier here on CNN, at least 40 people lost their lives. This is the shake map. You can see these areas that had strong to very strong shaking. This is where a lot of the damage happened. But not only here, I want to show you on here. Let's go ahead.

This is that same area without that shake map. And as we move into (Inaudible), one of the larger cities, they sustained quite a bit of damage. This is about 2,300 meters above sea level. So this is one of the areas that suffered a lot of damage.

And then remember, we're high up in the mountains here, temperatures very, very cold overnight, San Marcos, one of the areas that suffered quite a bit of damage. Most of the deaths coming from this area. I want to show you some of the pictures of what people are having to deal with there.

You're going to see the homes that have been in some cases crumbling down, some walls, in some cases entire homes. They also had a lot of deaths related to landslides that happened. As you can see from these very mountainous areas. The other thing is, notice people, even in the daytime, they're wearing jackets.

Temperatures overnight here can actually get to near freezing. So this is a huge concern for authorities as well as people are afraid, in many cases, to go back into their homes because of all of the aftershocks that they've had to endure.

We will keep you posted on that story and anything else, of course, weather wise and everything else right here on CNN. Don't go away. We'll take a news break -- we'll take a break right here on NEWS STREAM.




STOUT: Now we have told you about the major leadership changes taking place in China right now, but in addition to political movements, China is shifting culturally and artistically. We spoke to sculptor Xiang Jing about how her work captures the spirit of the world around her.



XIANG JING, SCULPTOR (from captions): My sculpture is just a channel. Sculpting is ideal for creating something in a space, be it a person or an object. It's something real. It captures something of the world we live in. I'm interested in people. I'm interested in presenting people's emotions.

I was born in 1968. I lived through the Cultural Revolution, then the Reform and the Opening Up period, then the recent ears of rapid economic growth. These have been the decades of most dramatic changes in China. Meanwhile, contemporary Chinese art was born and developed within the last 30 years.

I spend most of the time thinking. I would draw a sketch, some kind of drawing with the measurements which I give to my assistants to work on. They then make a steel structure. I use clay to give it form. It's a very traditional way of sculpting.

Every time I work on a project, I eat very little, sleep very little and become very, very thin. But that is only physical exhaustion. The most torturing time for me is when I'm thinking through the whole structure. The actual work takes a year and a half to complete.

This horse was questionable last year; it's part of my latest series. When I was working on these two, I felt that as they both have their eyes closed, they might never be able to communicate with each other.

However, they are getting closer and closer together. These two faces give you the impression that the nostrils are breathing, as if they're smelling something. Their mouths look as if they are about to open. It is a feeling.


I often revisit my previous works. Those works were not really well done. The more I've done, the more mature I've become. And the more thought I've put in. When I look at them, I get very touched all of a sudden. I want my art to awaken the senses of each onlooker.



STOUT: That's mesmerizing work there.

Now just a few weeks ago, the Celtic almost pulled off a shock against mighty Barcelona in the Champions League. And the team hit again in Glasgow last night. So could they get the better of Barca? Now Alex Thomas will join us after the break with the results, next.




STOUT: Welcome back. Now if you exclude Real Madrid, Barcelona has won every single match this season. Well, (inaudible) latest Champions League action, Alex Thomas in London can explain.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Kristie, just trying to put this into some perspective. But for only the second time in 17 games this season, Barcelona have been beaten. The four-time European Cup winners suffered a sharp 2-1 loss away to Celtic in Wednesday night's Champions League action.

A day after celebrating their 125th anniversary, Celtic gave Scottish football a massive boost with goals from Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt, meaning the Glasgow Club now has a good chance of reaching the knockout stage for the first time since 2008, a fairy tale story, really, for Celtic and their fans.

The winner scored by a teenager on his debut, even a late goal from Lionel Messi couldn't change the result, although Barca remained top of Group G with 9 points; Celtic now above Benfica and Spartak Moscow in the race of the last 16.

Now they were the most talked about team since LeBron James joined the Heat but the L.A. Lakers have failed to live up to their pre-season hype and the pressure on head coach Mike Brown certainly mounting after the Lakers went 1-4 for the first time in nearly two decades, Randy Foye with 17 points and Al Jefferson with 18 were just too good for L.A. in that game at Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.

Jefferson added 10 rebounds as well as those points, and Utah Jazz outscored the Lakers in three of the four quarters, despite Kobe Bryant's 29 points. It was a 95-86 win for the Jazz.

Team Sky says Bradley Wiggins is expected to make a full and speedy recovery despite being taken to hospital after getting knocked off his bike. The 32-year-old Tour de France winner and Olympic champion was hit by a van while cycling in northern England. It's thought he suffered fractures to his wrists and ribs and he spent the night in hospital.

Well, later on "WORLD SPORT," you can see a CNN exclusive, hot on the heels of our chat with Jose Mourinho, we've flown back to Madrid to speak to Jose's star players, Cristiano Ronaldo, and our colleagues at "Time" magazine have sat down with charismatic Italian striker, Mario Balotelli. He's not content with being second best.


MARIO BALOTELLI, FOOTBALLER: One day when I finish to play football, I will -- I will -- I hope I can say I've been the best player in the world.

THOMAS (voice-over): Much more from that and the Ronaldo interview on "WORLD SPORT" in just over three hours' time.


THOMAS: But before we go back to you, Kristie, I've got to show you; it's amazing American football action.


THOMAS (voice-over): This is from a school game in the Utah Pee Wee League. This player really seems to be a cut above the rest. Watch the little thing sprinting past the pole, breaking tackles, even taking some big hits, really cut in her uniform, very, very small player. And guess what? It's an 8-year-old girl. More than a million hits on YouTube, this one.

It's Sam Gordan. She racked up 35 touchdowns, 65 tackles last season. No wonder her proud dad put that film together, absolutely astonishing. Is that something you'd tried as an 8-year old, Kristie?

STOUT: No, I hate to say it's definitely not. I -- no, I'm sorry.

But was she playing with the boys there? Is she destroying the boys, this 8-year-old girl?

THOMAS: She's playing with the boys, more than a match for her -- the boys on her team.

STOUT: Love her.

She is my new hero. Love that video there.

THOMAS: It's great video.

STOUT: She's (inaudible) along, isn't she? Yes, great stuff.

Look at her go.

Alex Thomas there, thank you.

Now today's Google Doodle, right over here, it commemorates 165 years since the birth of the author, Bram Stoker. It's his birthday today and it pays tribute to his most famous novel, "Dracula." Now Stoker was not the first writer to explore the gothic genre.

The ghost of Catherine Earnshaw had long haunted "Wuthering Heights," and Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" had already shocked Victorian readers. But "Dracula" was the first modern novel to define the vampire as we know it.

And from "Twilight" to "True Blood," Stephen King to Anne Rice, comic books to video games, Bram Stoker's masterpiece continues to inspire. In fact, one group, 24/7 Wall Street estimates that the vampire industry could be worth nearly $10 billion. And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.