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Israel-Hamas Conflict; Syrian Rebels Take Key Military Base;
Aired November 22, 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, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.
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STOUT (voice-over): And we begin with the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. After eight days of intensive fighting, will it hold? We speak to both sides in the next few minutes.
Also ahead, making further advances: activists say Syrian rebels have taken control of a key military base.
And detained for comparing China's Communist Party Congress to a horror movie -- an intended joke that became no laughing matter.
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STOUT: For the first time in more than a week, the people of Gaza woke up to peace and quiet on this Thursday. Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire following eight days of airstrikes and rocket fire that killed 163 people in Gaza and five Israel.
Now the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced the deal, and it calls on Israel to halt all acts of aggression on Gaza and on Palestinian factions to seize all hostilities against Israel.
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STOUT (voice-over): Spontaneous celebrations erupted in Gaza after the truce was announced and some fired guns into the air to celebrate what they say is a victory over Israel's military.
Now Israel has also called it a victory, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says while he has agreed to give the truce a chance, he also holds open the possibility of future military action. And we're going to hear from both sides. In a few minutes, we'll hear from a spokesman for Hamas, but now let's speak to the Israeli prime minister's spokesman. Mark Regev joins me now live from Jerusalem.
Now we have a cease-fire and yet, Mark, after the cease-fire was announced, you said this -- this is according to "The Washington Post," that the level of confidence that Israel has in Hamas is zero. So do you believe that this cease-fire won't hold?
MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: First of all, we will abide by all our understandings with the Egyptians and we have an interest in the cease-fire holding because ultimately our goal in the entire operation was to bring peace and quiet to the people of southern Israel who are on the receiving end of those rockets launched by Hamas in Gaza for much too long.
Now I said to "The Washington Post" that we have confidence because Egypt is behind this agreement; Egypt is an important regional player and that the understandings have been reached with Egypt with the support of the United States.
And so with both regional and global support, we hope this cease-fire can hold and that the people of southern Israel would indeed enjoy an unprecedented period of peace and quiet.
STOUT: Because of the brokers of this cease-fire, you have confidence in the deal. Let's talk about the option of a ground invasion. I mean, despite the cease-fire, is that a ground incursion, still a possibility?
REGEV: Look, as long as the cease-fire holds, it'll be quiet and we hope that's the case. If Hamas breaks its commitments to Egypt, if Hamas breaks its promises to President Morsi, if they nevertheless continue to shoot rockets at our people, of course, we reserve the right to defend ourselves and to act. That's not our preference, but that's stating a fact.
We simply won't sit idly by if the terrorists in Gaza shoot rockets at our people. And I would ask you, what country on the face of this planet would sit by idly and see terrorists targeting cities? Of course, you would respond as we would in a similar circumstance.
STOUT: You think Israel reserves the right to act? Would that include a ground incursion?
REGEV: Look, if Hamas breaks its promises to the Egyptians, and they continue to attack us, I'd say all options are on the table, including a ground incursion.
Now I don't want to go there. I prefer, my government prefers, the Israeli people prefer that this period of quiet is maintained and I hope that the terrorists in Gaza have learned from their experience that it's simply not in their interest to shoot at Israeli civilians.
You know, we had a bad piece of news yesterday; we had the bombing in Tel Aviv. And Hamas showed the whole world who they are, because they said this is a good thing, that bombing people on a bus, civilians, they said that's legitimate; they praised that act.
We know who we're dealing with in Hamas.
I just hope that the Egyptians and the promises that Hamas has given to the Egyptians will hold and that we will see a period of quiet and that that quiet is reinforced by Israel's deterrent, that Hamas knows that if they do get out of line, if they do attack civilians, they first of all have a problem with their Arab neighbor, but they will also have a problem with Israel, that we'll act to defend our people.
STOUT: Now the cease-fire at this hour, it does continue to hold. Border crossings will be opened into Gaza in less than six hours. And if that happens, what are the terms? I mean, how long does Israel have to lift the blockade?
REGEV: Listen, it's important to put cause and effect in the right sequence. When we pulled out of Gaza in 2006, when we took out all the settlements, when we took out our forces, when we vacated the Gaza Strip and handed it over to the Palestinians, there were no restrictions. The restrictions were imposed as a result of the violence from Gaza into Israel.
They were shooting at our people. They were shooting rockets into our cities. You could expect to have normal relations. You couldn't expect to have normal border crossings when they were shooting at us.
If the situation changes, if now the border's going to be quiet, if now they're not shooting at our people any longer, of course, the restrictions, we are in a process and we've agreed to talk to the Egyptians about a process of easing restrictions, and we're happy to have that conversation based on the fact that the border will be quiet.
STOUT: Mark Regev, spokesman of the Israeli government, thank you very much indeed.
And now, with the Hamas (inaudible) of the cease-fire agreement, I'm joined on the phone by the Hamas representative to Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, who's in Beirut.
Now Israel has said that it is not confident that Hamas will hold the truce. So how do you respond to that?
OSAMA HAMDAN, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: Well, the fact that we are still not confident about Israel expecting the truce because everyone knows that before that the nation of Mr. Ahmed al-Jabari there was an arrangement between Hamas and Israeli mediated by the Egyptians for a cease-fire.
And that was not kept up for 48 hours by the Israeli side when they decided to assassinate and they had assassinate Ahmed al-Jabari. So the problem was that the Israelis have break down and violated the latest cease-fire.
We are still worried and we are still unsure that the Israelis may not respect the cease-fire. If they did that, the situation would continue calm. If they did that, we will continue respecting that. We have said that before. And everyone knows that the one who has postponed the cease- fire for 24 hours was the Israeli side until they receive pressure from the United States. The Egyptians know that and we know that.
We hope that they can respect -- we hope that they will respect the cease-fire and they will see and then the (inaudible) community will see the fact how Hamas respected all its -- the commitments and the ones who are violating the commitments were the Israeli side all the time.
STOUT: Now let's talk about what's happened in the last 20 hours. Now according to the IDF, three rockets have flown into Israel from Gaza. This is since the cease-fire deal came into effect. Now Hamas itself, you could stop your own rocket fire. But can you control and keep smaller militant organizations from breaking the truce?
HAMDAN: Well, there is no evidence that the Israelis are saying the truth. And what the IDF had said has no evidence. When we launched the rockets, they kept saying those are the rockets. But now they are not saying those words.
We are still committed and we are committed to that, and all the Palestinian organizations who participate in on that and they are committed. I believe some people in Israel, maybe in the IDF, maybe in the government, maybe in some political parties, they dislike the idea of having a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
They want to keep attacking Gaza without any restrictions. They want to have the upper hand in killing the Palestinians just like what they have done in those eight days, killing 150 civilians, one-fourth of them, they were children.
And around 20 percent of them, they were women. Some people are trying to say Hamas and the Palestinian organizations are not respecting the cease-fire; they are not committed to that in order to use that to reattack Gaza.
I think, according to what we have agreed on, if someone claimed such an attack, he has to show the evidence for the Egyptian side who has mediated the cease-fire. Until now there is no evidence until (inaudible) to the Egyptian side yet as I (inaudible) as far as I know.
STOUT: Understood. Now as a spokesman of Hamas, you're saying Hamas is committed to all the terms of the cease-fire agreement. But are all the factions of Hamas and all militant groups in Gaza on board with the cease- fire agreement?
HAMDAN: Yes, all the Palestinians organizations are on board. And there is no (inaudible) Hamas about this. It was said clearly by Mr. Khaled Meshaal, the head of the politburo, and it was said by Dr. Ramadan, the head of -- the secretary-general of Islamic Jihad.
And today it was said clearly by Mr. Ismail Haniyeh, the minister, the prime minister who said that as a government, we are also committed to the cease-fire. So clearly that everyone on board and this cease-fire was generated by the mediation of the Egyptians and the participation of all the Palestinian organizations.
We know that Hamas was (inaudible) and I think this is a good point for the benefit of Hamas, that Hamas is seeking the peace of the Palestinian people. We are seeking real security for the Palestinian people. It's not normal to accept being under the occupation, attack and killed by the Israelis and not trying to prevent that and protecting our people.
If there was a guaranteed security for our people, Hamas will not ask for more than this. We, as the Palestinians, are seeking to live as normal nations and our independent sovereign Palestinian state.
We don't want more occupation for our land and I think the reoccupation of the Palestinian lands will be for the sake of the stability of the region and it will be a clear evidence that the countries of this region are willing to create real stability and peace.
STOUT: All right. Osama Hamdan, spokesman for Hamas joining us on the line, thank you.
We are now some 20 hours into the cease-fire agreement. So far the cease-fire is still holding this hour.
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STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, the death toll mounts in Syria's ugly civil war. The opposition accuses government forces of bombing a building near a hospital in Aleppo, killing at least one doctor.
And jailed for an intended joke about China's leadership, how a Twitter user in China outraged authorities ahead of the leadership transition.
STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM and right here is a visual rundown of some of our stories. And take a look at the top row of the grid. I've already told you about the celebrations in Gaza over the signing of a cease-fire and given you reaction from Israel.
And now let's turn to the crisis in Syria. Syrian rebel forces made gains against the national government on Thursday. A network representing the opposition estimated the cost of their efforts. Some 42,000 lives lost across the country since protests began in March of last year. And activists say that six soldiers were killed as rebels took control of a military base near Mayadin.
The withdrawal of government forces follows a near three-week siege, but government troops remain active elsewhere. Rebels accuse them of killing at least 40 people in Aleppo, including 15 who were killed in the bombing of a building near a hospital.
Aleppo has been the scene of the heaviest fighting during the Syrian conflict. And what was once the country's commercial capital is a ruined shadow of its former self.
Nick Paton Walsh joins us now live from Beirut in neighboring Lebanon.
And, Nick, a hospital has been bombed in Aleppo. Describe the aftermath of this attack.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, uploaded video from activists shows obviously pandemonium after this blast. It appears to be an airstrike. One rebel commander there saying it did actually seem to be targeting the hospital, though the main structural casualty is the building next to it, four to five stories tall and completely collapsed because of the blast.
We understand from people there that much of the explosion hit the front lobby of this hospital. We were there two months ago, very often very densely populated there, people bringing their injured for treatment, one of the main places in this Shaar (ph) district in the east, a relatively open rebel-held area, also many rebel fighters come there for treatment, too.
(Inaudible) community next to us, people turning up there to find out what's been happening, journalists, activists, et cetera.
So clearly that death toll of 40 originally said, adjusted back down to 15; doesn't really begin to describe the impact it's going to have on people around there, because that's although so many people sought medical help, doctors there working so intensely under such difficult conditions to bring that. And we understand amongst the dead, too, were two nurses, Kristie.
STOUT: And also, Nick, Syrian rebels, they have been making some real significant advances recently. Just how much ground have they taken?
WALSH: Well, there's two particular instances you're referring to. One is a military base to the west of Aleppo, which was taken by rebel forces recently, quite substantial haul of some almost high-tech weaponry there.
That will be assisting the rebels in one of their key deficits, proper weaponry to take on the airpower that the regime has, but more recently today, announcement of the seizing after a three-week siege of a base in the east of the country near Deir el-Zour. Now the pictures of that do show a reasonably modest-sized installation.
But I think the key thing here is quite how symbolic that is to the regime. Once again, they have these little pockets of military strength around the country. They don't control huge swaths (ph) of turf in the population. They just leave the military there to bombard or have the ability to project their power.
Now that's gone in this resource-rich eastern area around Deir el- Zour, and it appears that quite a large part of that country is now pretty much in rebel hands.
So as you say these military bases, one by one, get picked off -- and there have been quite a number in the past month or so, that has a longer term impact on quite what Damascus and the regime there is able to do, particularly in that increasingly rebel-held north, Kristie.
STOUT: Begins by the rebels in Syria. Nick Paton Walsh joining us live, thank you.
Now you're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, jailed for a joke.
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STOUT (voice-over): A posting on social media websites can put you behind bars.
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STOUT (voice-over): Live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.
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STOUT: Now it started off as a joke. But what happened next was no laughing matter. Now just days before China's leadership change, Beijing financial worker Zhai Xiaobing, he tweeted a message comparing the 18th Party Congress to the next film of the "Final Destination" series.
Now, Zhai, he tweeted in Chinese this, quote, "Out of the 2,000 people inside, just seven will live, but the survivors will begin to mysteriously die off. Premieres globally on November the 8th."
Now while his Twitter followers may have had a laugh, the Chinese government did not find it very funny. Zhai was detained on November the 7th, just one day after he posted the tweet, for, quote, "spreading terrorist information."
Now as of Wednesday, more than 500 people have signed an online petition calling for his release, and news of his detention came just days after Indian authorities made their own arrests relating to social media content.
On Sunday, the Indian city of Mumbai was closed down for the funeral of a prominent politician. And when a 21-year-old girl questioned the move on her Facebook page, she was arrested. That's not all. They also arrested her friend for simply "liking" the post.
The two girls were charged with, quote, "hurting religious sentiments" and for violating the Information Technology Act under Indian law.
They were released after posting bail on Monday. And police say that they have ordered an inquiry into the case.
Now once again, Manchester City, they have failed to live up to expectations in the Champions League. Time for sports now. Let's get all the details from our Pedro Pinto in London.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, money can't buy you love. And guess what? It can't buy you European glory, either. Manchester City may have the most expensively assembled team on the planet, but they were knocked out of the Champions League for a second successive season at the group stage after failing to win any of their games in the opening stage so far.
City needed to beat Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the next phase alive. But they couldn't do it; 1-0 was the score.
Karim Benzema put Real Madrid ahead before Sergio Aguero equalized from the penalty spot for the home side. The result guaranteed Real a place in the next round and Jose Mourinho was happy he was not walking in Roberto Mancini's shoes last night.
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JOSE MOURINHO, REAL MADRID MANAGER: Till the last day, I admire the fact that the clubs support the managers and, you know, City's out of Champions League. But result with two big teams, Real Madrid and (inaudible) are good teams, very good teams.
And in this group, we knew from the beginning that the big team would be out. And it's good that was City, because Roberto can work without any kind of problem, I believe. Because if it was Real Madrid, I think the press wouldn't let me return to Madrid.
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PINTO: Mourinho's former club, Chelsea, have appointment Rafael Benitez as their new manager. He replaces Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked on Wednesday. The Spaniard who guided Liverpool to European glory in 2005 was given a short-term deal which will run until the end of the season.
He will be unveiled later on Thursday at the press conference taking place at Stamford Bridge in London. Benitez becomes Chelsea's ninth manager in the last nine years.
Thursday night's Europa League game between Lazio and Tottenham has been marred by fan violence. Two Spurs supporters were stabbed in Rome on Wednesday night. One of them was taken to hospital and is in critical condition. The Spurs fans were attacked in a pub in the Italian capital by hardline Lazio fans wearing masks.
Onto news of an amazing accomplishment in the world of cricket, Australia Captain Michael Clarke became the first man to score four Test double-hundreds in a calendar year as his side dominated South Africa on day one of the second Test in Adelaide. Clarke, who scored 259 not out in the draw on first test in Brisbane finished the day unbeaten on 224 from 243 balls.
"The first half may have been the worst basketball I've seen in 10 years." That's what Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni had to say after he watched L.A. lose to Sacramento in the NBA on Wednesday night. After three straight wins, the Lakers took on the struggling Kings and were expected to come out on top, but a lethargic performance saw them lose in Sacramento.
Kobe Bryant did all he could to keep his team alive. He had 38 points in the contest. But his teammates failed to deliver the goods and the Kings drained some big buckets down the stretch. Marcus Thornton with three of his 23 points as the Kings upset the Lakers 113-97.
So you could say new coach, same old problems for the Lakers, Kristie. Back to you in Hong Kong.
STOUT: Pedro Pinto there, thank you.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, celebrations in Gaza: they get a progress report on the hours' old cease-fire with Israel.
But as rockets flew this past week, we'll show you how on the ground bomb squads had a difficult and dangerous job.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.
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STOUT (voice-over): Now in a show of unity in Gaza City, supporters of Hamas and its rival faction, Fatah, are celebrating what they say is a victory over Israel's military. Now they gathered at a rally just a short time ago.
Wednesday's cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is continuing to hold after eight days of violence. And in televised remarks, the leader of Hamas said the end goal is the end of the occupation of Gaza.
Opposition activists in Syria say at least 15 people were killed in the government airstrike near a major hospital in Aleppo. And this video claims to show the extent of the damage, although we cannot verify it.
Across Syria, activists say a total of 108 people were killed on Wednesday, and more than 42,000 since the protest began in March of last year.
A rebel group now in control of the key city in the Democratic Republic of Congo says it plans to liberate the entire country. Its leader says once the rebels overthrow the government, they will call for an election. The United Nations warns that violent protests against Congolese authorities as well as the U.N. might spread to other parts of the country.
The BBC has appointed a new boss following the resignation of its former director general. Tony Hall is currently the chief executive of the Royal Opera House (inaudible) leading opera companies. He's also the BBC's former director of news. And the leadership change follows a scandal over a BBC news report that wrongly accused a former politician of child abuse.
Authorities in Pakistan say at least 31 people have been killed in a series of bombings across the country. The Pakistan Taliban have claimed responsibility. And the blast targeted Shiites taking part in a religious observance which Taliban considers offensive.
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STOUT: After eight days of fighting, a cease-fire between Israel and militants in Gaza is holding. But there is still deep distrust on both sides. And for more, CNN's Arwa Damon joins me now live from Gaza City. And Arwa, can Hamas enforce the cease-fire?
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It most certainly will to the best of its abilities, and it does seem, at this point in time, as if all of the various Palestinian factions are on board when it comes to enforcing the cease-fire, that Hamas has been declaring as a victory for it, saying that they did manage to stand up in the face of Israeli aggression.
We've been seeing celebrations ever since that cease-fire was first announced at night in Gaza and then earlier in the day today. People coming out, some of them saying that, yes, they were celebrating this victory against the Israeli forces, but others really just out in the streets, simply because for the first time since this all began eight days ago, they could.
The people of Gaza have been living well indoors; the streets have been largely deserted ever since this first began. Many of them have been completely and utterly fearful for their lives, unsure, they said, about where the Israeli strikes would hit.
We have been seeing the Israelis striking, not just military installations but buildings, residential buildings, where they believe that operatives would be hiding out and we've also seen them targeting some towers that were housing media and direct hits on media organizations believed to be affiliated or media organizations as employees were somehow played it with Hamas and the other parties here.
So people most certainly breathing a sigh of relief, but the fact that this does, for the time being, seem to be over. But there is, of course, a lot of concern that it could reignite once again, because at the end of the day, what we're seeing right now, yes, it's a first step, but it is still very much a short-term solution, Kristie.
STOUT: Now in addition to the end of the violence, now the term of the cease-fire deal, is that crossings into Gaza will be opened. And, Arwa, if that happens, what would that mean for the people of Gaza?
DAMON: Well, that point in the cease-fire agreement is really being considered a victory for those here. If the cease-fire holds for the next few hours, making it a 24-hour cease-fire, that then means that the Israelis should be easing up restrictions for t
he residents of Gaza. The border crossings should be open to allow freer movement of people, of goods. Of course, the Palestinians who lived here also hoping that Israel is going to somehow lift its naval blockade.
The Israeli government has alluded that it would perhaps be easing restrictions on the naval blockade, allowing ships to come through after, for example, they have been searched, because people here say that they really have been suffering because of the siege that the Israeli government has been placing upon them.
But it is, again, as it always is here, very much a wait-and-see scenario. We do know that negotiations are still underway in Egypt to try to iron out some of the details, some of the various ways that the cease- fire is going to be implemented, Kristie.
STOUT: Arwa Damon, live in Gaza City for us, thank you.
And if the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold, again, border crossings into Gaza due to open in less than six hours from now, and the talks are expected to begin on easing economic restrictions on Gaza.
Now let's go to Frederik Pleitgen. He's in Ashkelon in southern Israel.
And, Fred, what is the view there about the cease-fire support for it and whether it will hold?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly you won't see celebrations here in the streets of Ashkelon, even though the Israeli government also believes that it is the victor in the struggle that was going on, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just a few minutes ago giving a speech saying that a lot of Hamas' terror -- or they say terror -- infrastructure was destroyed, that especially along a lot of the longer range missile capabilities were destroyed by the Israeli Air Force.
Of course, Hamas, for the first time, able to launch rockets toward cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Israelis think that they have done a lot of damage to that infrastructure, but generally saying they believe that they have weakened Hamas considerably.
Now the view here on the ground from residents in Ashkelon -- and this is really one of the towns that has taken some of the most hits that have come from Gaza, is very different, people here much more subdued; people say they've all heard this in the past when they've had military campaign against Hamas by the Israeli Air Force, also by Israeli ground forces, that there would be some sort of truce and then a couple of months later or a couple of years later, a couple of weeks later, there would be rocket fire coming out of Gaza again.
So certainly people here don't really believe that this is a long- lasting solution. However, there are also those who say that, yes, this is the first time in a long time that they've been able to go outside, also go outside with their children and not have to worry about rockets raining on their heads.
So for the short term, they are obviously very happy about the solution, but very few believe that this is really a long-term solution to this crisis, Kristie.
STOUT: So short-term relief, though. Now, Fred, in the last week, you've been covering the military buildup at the border. Now had they been pulling back since the cease-fire was announced?
PLEITGEN: Yes. I mean, what we've been seeing as we went back to the border area between Gaza and Israel is that it seems as though that large military buildup is starting to withdraw. However, the head of Israel's armed forces has come out and said, at any given point in time, Israel's military would be able to conduct an operation if it is ordered to do so.
What we saw on the border area is we saw large collection areas that we went to, where soldiers were packing up their gear, where armored personnel carriers were being readied to be withdrawn back into their barracks and where a lot of those soldiers were getting ready to get on buses and then to leave that area. So it seems as though the withdrawal is going on.
However, we know that the Israeli military is monitoring the situation very closely, is keeping a close eye on the fact whether or not rockets are still being launched out of Gaza. So far, obviously, that's not the case; however, they do say if something changes, if the cease-fire is violated, they could go in a different direction very quickly, Kristie.
STOUT: Fred Pleitgen, joining us live from Ashkelon, thank you very much indeed for that.
We will continue to watch the situation in the Middle East and to see whether the cease-fire will hold.
But now let's move on to other stories and give you a check of the global weather forecast.
Our Mari Ramos is at the World Weather Center. She joins us now.
MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Kristie, I'm going to go ahead and stay right there in the Middle East, because the weather getting a little complicated. But you may have noticed in that live shot right there with Frederik Pleitgen, and even when we saw Arwa, it's getting a little hazy and cloudy behind them.
Rain is in the forecast for many of these areas and that could complication the situation for people there on the ground as well. Temperature wise we haven't seen a lot of big changes across the region, but we're going to start to see those temperatures go down just a little bit, especially in some of the higher elevations there.
Let me go ahead and show you the satellite image. And what we have is an area of low pressure.
You can see that right over here, as that continues to turn, it's bringing in some more of that moisture, moving into this region, the cloud cover is starting to increase, and there is the risk for some scattered thunderstorms as this area of low pressure moves in, some thunderstorms are possible, but also a little bit of widespread rain.
So there is the potential for some flooding. It doesn't take very much rain to cause flooding across these areas and to really make it very difficult for people to move around.
The low will continue making its way toward Iraq and then also remember that another thing that happens, sometimes ahead of these fronts, especially as we head back over toward Iraq and Jordan and maybe even into parts of northern Saudi Arabia, will be the potential for some dust storms as well.
So those are all those things to keep in mind as we head through the next 24 hours. You can see it again, over here, one more time. This is also bringing you a little bit of moisture across northern parts of Egypt. It doesn't rain very often there, but you may, again, see that risk for some cloud cover and some isolated rain showers, some sprinkles moving through there.
Drier as we head across the central Mediterranean. We have one weather system that's already moved along here across central Europe, that has brought you quite a change in weather there. A little bit drier, as you can see kind of in between. And here comes our next weather system.
And this one is actually bringing us some really complicated weather across the U.K. and Ireland and it stretches all the way down even into Portugal and Spain, and will continue to make its way through that region.
But I do want to talk a little bit about the weather here across the U.K. It's raining yet again across from west all the way into areas in the north. And let's go ahead and roll the pictures that we have from the U.K. --
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RAMOS (voice-over): -- because these are images from Wednesday. And across the south and west, they had some pretty heavy rainfall, and it was hard for people to kind of keep up with the amount of water that was flowing in from rivers that had burst their banks and creeks and then just kind of flushing, coming down through the roadways and trying to keep their homes and basements dry.
And you can see that right there, that effort continuing with sandbags. Now they had a little bit of a break yesterday and now the rain has come back. And there are heavy rain warnings posted over some of these same areas.
And also today's going to be a little different. Come back over to the weather map, because along with these rain and thunderstorms that's coming along, we could even see some pretty strong winds, maybe as high as 80 kph.
Yesterday we had some significant rainfall over these areas, as you can see here, up to almost 50 mm of rain and then again today. So that's going to be a concern. So the one band of heavy rain has moved on and another one comes in just as we head into your Friday, then drier, but cooler as we head into the weekend.
Last but not least, let's roll the pictures from the U.S. --
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RAMOS (voice-over): -- because I do want to leave you kind of with a little bit of a happy thought, so to speak. Yes, Thanksgiving here in the U.S. is today, so Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are. You know, there's a lot of traveling going on. It's some of the busiest times of the year; actually, yesterday was one of the busiest travel days of the year.
But still people are trying to make their way around those areas. On the top right, that open sign, yes, shops, a lot of them open for the first time on Thanksgiving Day in a long time, so that's happening today, people camping out for that.
And of course, you have your parade for Thanksgiving Day parade, the weather looking pretty good across the U.S. We are going to take a break right here on NEWS STREAM. But don't go away. More news in just a moment.
STOUT: Now he's an artist who takes his inspiration from the streets, turning scraps of waste material into stunning exhibitions like this. But in an industry that can have fickle tastes, what does it really take to stand out? Now we spoke to the man considered Africa's foremost contemporary artist, El Anatsui.
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EL ANATSUI, ARTIST (from captions): I think that art should make people feel they understand something about a material. Yes, I use very simple, commonplace materials.
It's a way of valorizing (ph) those commonplace materials as well as trying to let a human spirit know that -- assuming somebody is in very low spirits and meets my work, which is made from very low quality auto cap (ph), which you normally would see thrown on the streets, you know, it's should give that fellow some hope that, after all, there is something to be alive for.
Renaissance art was more like something you approach with the eyes. It's about copying from nature. But my predilection was for the abstract works because I think that they have more challenges in them and have more versatility of interpretation.
I was born in Ghana, southeastern Ghana; my home town is Anyaku. I spent my childhood growing up with my uncle who was a reverend in the Presbyterian Church. And so I lived in a mission house, a school, kind of was something brought in from Europe, modeled along European lines.
For instance, in art history, you were taught about European and occasionally Asian art, you know, and not anything about Africa. So right from the beginning, I've tried to indigenize my consciousness by way of ideas, by way of material and from that point I've been always working with material that I see in my environment.
I'm in New York to work on my piece which is being installed on the High Line in Chelsea. I'm there to instruct the mounting crew on how to get it up.
Oh, yes, I like that crease, but this one, they haven't gotten it yet.
Imagine the labor involved, in punching holes. This is manual labor.
You could do a 6-inch square in about two hours. So imagine the millions of punches, you know, of the nails that went into this.
Well, it's a good thing for one to be seen on this scale. It's challenging, you know, because you have so many eyes looking at you now, and that can be very daunting. I think an art form should be a replica of life itself. And life is constantly changing. And I want my artworks to be things which change as the situation demands.
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STOUT: Found objects turned into artwork, stunning.
Now you're watching NEWS STREAM and still ahead, it may not look so glamorous, but find out how much someone was willing to pay for a prime parking spot right here in Hong Kong.
STOUT: Welcome back. Now here in Hong Kong, it is no secret that property prices are high, to say the least. But you might not believe how much someone recently offered to buy a parking space -- some $640,000 U.S. Even by standards here, that is a huge amount. So what's going on?
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STOUT (voice-over): Ramy Inocencio explains.
RAMY INOCENCIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the hottest investment vehicles in Hong Kong are where they keep their motorized ones, and that would be in parking lots. In fact, this city has the most expensive spaces in all of Asia.
As proof, check out this space -- not the car, but the space right here. Turns out someone tried to buy this space for $640,000.
INOCENCIO (voice-over): The man who owns it works upstairs. Jacinto Tong is chief executive of a property firm that owns hundreds of residential and commercial lots across Hong Kong. Tong has been called a tycoon of parking spaces. His favorite is his own.
JACINTO TONG, CEO, GALE WELL GROUP: This one (inaudible) in another building. (Inaudible) go to the office (inaudible) elevator. (Inaudible), only 20 step, (inaudible) whole building, this is the best (inaudible) the package spaces here.
INOCENCIO (voice-over): That's right; Tong's got two. He says he won't sell, but if he did, he could bank $1.3 million. And he takes me on a tour to look at more. He owns a few hundred parking spaces across this dense urban jungle of skyscrapers, homes and offices to many of the city's 7 million residents. About two dozen spaces are here, valued at $250,000 each.
INOCENCIO: This is 433 here.
TONG: That's right.
INOCENCIO: And that is, on the map right here.
INOCENCIO (voice-over): And we calculate price per square foot.
INOCENCIO: So this is 8 feet here, 8 feet in width and this is 16 feet in length --
INOCENCIO (voice-over): -- which comes to about $2,000 per square foot, per square foot. That's crazy.
TONG: Crazy? Yes, it's crazy. Not here. Not in here.
INOCENCIO: No. Is it worth it?
TONG: (Inaudible), yes, you have found something and had (inaudible) same amount (inaudible).
INOCENCIO: Right, I guess it depends if there's a demand --
TONG: Because this is central Hong Kong.
TONG: In central Hong Kong.
INOCENCIO: And it's super expensive.
INOCENCIO (voice-over): With the potential price rises and big returns, many speculators are speeding in to take advantage. Hong Kong's homes have been slapped with property taxes and stamp duties since 2010 to deflate a housing bubble. But parking spaces aren't subject to those, which means there's easier profit to be made in parking money here instead of a home.
And in the past two years, the number of sales have soared about 26 percent.
INOCENCIO: But there's also the issue of practicality. With hundreds of thousands of dollars, you could buy a big house and you could sleep comfortably there. But if you buy a parking space, could you sleep comfortably here? That is the $640,000 question -- Ramy Inocencio, CNN, Hong Kong.
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STOUT: Nice one, Ramy.
Now Hong Kong is not the only place where you can expect to pay a hefty price for a parking space. On our website, we have a top 10 gallery of other cities with costly car parks. You can check it out: CNN.com/business.
Now the time has nearly come to say goodbye, and I know that goodbyes make some of us feel a little bit emotional. So if you're watching us in the Philippines, there's a good chance you've got a tear in your eye right now. But if you're watching us in Singapore, not so much.
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STOUT (voice-over): Now let me explain. A Gallup survey has found that Singaporeans are the least emotional people in the world. Only 36 percent of residents say that they feel positive or negative emotions on a daily basis, compared to 60 percent of Filipinos.
But for one day only, we'd like to change that. So get angry, Lion City! Let me hear you roar! Now you work more hours per week than any other major city; your cars are more expensive than anyone else's. Your politicians get paid more than any other country.
Not bothered? Then why not get happy? Now you have some of the best food and best health care on the planet. You have one of the world's lowest crime rates. And don't tell me that money can't buy happiness. There's a greater chance you're a millionaire in Singapore than in any other nation. So, come on, Singaporeans, just for today, let your emotions show.
And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.