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NEWS STREAM

Algerian Troops Comb Desert for Militants, Hostages; French Troops Consolidate Military Assets in Mali; Lance Armstrong Admits to Doping; Cape Verde Gets Ready to Play in First Ever Africa Cup of Nations; Interview with Betsy Andreu

Aired January 18, 2013 - 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.

A hostage crisis at a gas plant in Algeria continues as Britain's prime minister says the militants behind the attack are heavily armed and well coordinated.

Lance Armstrong finally admits to using performance enhancing drugs and describes himself as a bully and a jerk.

And snow falls in London leading to flight cancellations at one of the world's busiest airports.

In Algeria, hostage siege at a gas plant is now in its third day. It is happening at the remote In Amenas installation near the border with Libya. Now a U.S. defense official tells CNN that a U.S. aircraft is evacuating 10 to 20 people who were injured in the hostage incident. And they are said to be from the U.S. and other countries.

And within the past couple of hours, Britain's prime minister said those behind the attack were heavily armed and well coordinated. He added that the Algerian army is still pursuing terrorists and looking for possible hostages.

Now the U.S. Defense Secretary says those who attack the U.S. or its people will have no refuge.

And details about the situation on the ground remain unclear at this hour, but this man's experience is giving us some insight. Now Steven McFaul managed to escape from the hostage takers on Thursday. And his brother Brian spoke to CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN MCFAUL, BROTHER OF ESCAPED IRISH HOSTAGE: Yeah, we just found out recently that he'd been made to sleep with a (inaudible) tag around his neck or a strap around his neck. He had duct tape over his mouth and his hands tied. And then we found out how he got free was they were moving five convoy loads out of the compound or to a different part of the compound. And one convoy, one of the Jeeps (inaudible) there were five Jeeps. And the Algerian army had bombed the Jeeps. And out of the five Jeeps that were bombed, four of them were wiped out. And there were obviously they lost their lives, but lucky enough, for my brother, he was in the Jeep that crashed and he was able to make a break for freedom with the (inaudible) still around his neck

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Wow, a harrowing account there.

Now for the very latest, our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance joins us live from London. Matthew, tell us more about the ongoing operation to free the hostages.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's still a degree of lack of clarity when it comes to what exactly is taking place on the ground. David Cameron gave us an update -- gave parliament, rather, an update within the last hour or so, talking about how this was, of course, one of the most remote parts of the world, nestled in the middle of the Sahara Desert in Algeria, of course, 18 hours from the capital by car Algiers. And so a very difficult place even for the governments of countries whose nationals have been caught up in this crisis to get any clear information from.

It's emerged that David Cameron has been in regular contact with his counterpart in Algeria, the Algerian prime minister naturally, at least four times spoke to him before the Algerians made the decision to go in and conduct that military operation to try and rescue the hostages. Still not a great deal of detail about how many people are involved, how many people may have been killed in this operation. And how many people may have been set free.

Take a listen now to what David Cameron had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF UK: According to the information we have from the Algerian authorities the terrorists first attacked two buses en route to the Amenas airfield before attacking the residential compound and the gas facility at the installation. It appears to have been a large, well coordinated and heavily armed assault. And it is probable that it had been preplanned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Well, of course the assault has been coordinated, it seems, or has been carried out by this group headed by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an insurgent smuggler that operates normally from Mali. Belmokhtar has said that this attack was carried out because of the ongoing French military operation in the neighboring country of Mali. And the Algerian communications minister has come out and said that these militants are intent of destabilizing Algeria, dragging it into that war in Mali and also damaging its natural gas resources, which of course give it its essential independence and power in the region -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Very little clarity on this hostage siege taking place in a very remote corner of the world. Very little clarity about the status of the hostages. It must be such an ordeal for the families of the hostages. So what kind of support is the British government giving to them?

CHANCE: Well, as much as possible. But there's not a great deal of detail coming out on what support that's being given out, but obviously there will be counseling, there will be as much support as these people can be offered. But what David Cameron did say, interestingly, that -- yesterday there were believed to be some figure less than 30 British nationals that were caught up in this crisis. He wouldn't be specific on the numbers this time. But he said it was significantly less than 30 British nationals along with nationals from at least seven other countries as well, plus Algeria, of course, that are embroiled in this.

And so it's still a very delicate, very fluid situation. And so not until the full extent of the crisis and the consequences of this raid emerge are we going to get details on what's happened to everybody.

LU STOUT: Yeah. And back to the operation itself, so many lives are at stake here, lives of people from all over the world. Did Algeria unilaterally decide to launch this operation on their own? And can they succeed on their own?

CHANCE: Well, it seems that they did despite the efforts of various leaders around the world, not least David Cameron. He came out in parliament within the last hour saying that he'd gone to great efforts to try and coordinate between the various countries, between himself and Algeria. He'd made calls to the French leader, the leader of the United States as well as well as other countries to try and coordinate an international effort to try and bring this to a peaceful resolution.

There was an element of surprise in his voice when he said he got a phone call from the Algerian prime minister saying that this operation was already under way. The British government was not consulted beforehand, nor is it his belief that any of the other countries' governments were as well.

He's spoken directly on a number of occasions with President Obama in the United States in which presumably they shared their confusion about the actual situation on the ground.

But, yes, a degree of concern that the Algerians went ahead with this without international help. That help was offered. But David Cameron very clear that he laid the blame not at the hands, not at the feet, rather, of the Algerians but of the militants that started this in the first place.

LU STOUT: All right. Matthew Chance reporting for us on this fluid and ever evolving situation. Many thanks indeed for that, Matthew.

Now this is the man behind the group claiming responsibility for that attack in Algeria, but just what more do we know about Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Now he is the head of a group, it's called the Al Mokhtamid Brigade (ph) which means the Brigade of the Masked Ones.

Now the Algerian, he is considered a veteran jihadist. He's known for both hostage taking and smuggling anything from refugees to cigarettes. In fact, the later has earned him a nickname, Mr. Marlboro. And has been associated with al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb. But his position there is unclear.

Now there has been recent speculation that he may have split from the group, which is shrouded in secrecy, but we do know that he has cultivated allies and established cells across the North African region.

Now a former hostage of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb says that he is not in the least surprised by the attack at that gas field in Algeria. Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler says the group is constantly looking for this kind of operation.

Now he was held for five months. And told Christiane Amanpour about his experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT FOWLER, FORMER HOSTAGE: They grabbed me and my colleague Louis Gay (ph) and our driver just outside of the capital of Niger, Niamey. They took us 1,100 kilometers due north into the middle of the Saraha Desert. We stayed half of that time in one place, and in 25 different places for the other half. We never know when we would move or when we wouldn't. There was no shelter. There were no buildings. We lay in the sand. It was cold at night and hot in the day. The food was appalling. And every moment, every single moment I thought that it would end like your colleague Daniel Pearl in a tent with a knife at my throat and you'd all be watching it on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: A vivid account there. And we will continue to monitor the situation there in Algeria throughout this hour. So do stay with us for live updates and reaction as we get it right here on CNN.

And in neighboring Mali, the AFP news agency is reporting that government troops, aided by the French army, have recaptured the city of Konna in central Mali. Now French air strikes have continued to hit rebel targets in the area for at least four days. And that comes as the offensive draws in more international support.

On Thursday, European Union foreign ministers agreed on an operation to train Mali's military. Now the EU says it will send instructors, support staff and provide protection for 15 months.

Now the U.S. has also agreed to provide air lifts to move French troops and equipment into neighboring countries.

Now it has been a week since France first joined the offensive in the West African nation. Now Nima Elbagir reports from Mali's capital Bamako.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're hear at France's military base in Bamako, Mali. And just behind me you can see some of their newest arrivals -- French Mirage fighter planes. This is part of a broader consolidation of French assets from across Africa. And as military authorities have told us here, this operation is only going to grow and get bigger and bigger. Already, some of the troops have been moved to (inaudible) on the road north to the Islamist held north of the country and much closer to the front line as part of their broader intent to target jihadis militant cells around the country and to start retaking some of that territory that is now out of government control.

Nima Elgabir for CNN in Bamako, Mali.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now there's plenty more to come right here on News Stream. The former cycling idol Lance Armstrong comes clean about playing dirty.

And we'll hear firsthand accounts from a town on the front lines of Syria's civil war.

Also a bizarre story from American college football in which the death of a star player's girlfriend is more about myth than mourning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now one big lie: that is how Lance Armstrong describes the last 13 years. He's referring to his repeated denials to allegations of doping. But the cyclist finally came clean to talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Yes or no. Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, RETIRED CYCLIST: Yes.

WINFREY: Yes or no, was one of those banned substances EPO?

ARMSTRONG: Yes.

WINFREY: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?

ARMSTRONG: Yes.

WINFREY: Did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone, or human growth hormone?

ARMSTRONG: Yes.

WINFREY: Yes or no. In all seven of your Tour de France victories did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?

ARMSTRONG: Yes.

WINFREY: In your opinion was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping seven times in a row?

ARMSTRONG: Not in my opinion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: And that confession is a sharp contrast to the Lance Armstrong we've seen in the past. He was always quick to challenge anyone who questioned his victories.

Now Ed Lavandera reminds us of the many people Armstrong attacked for apparently telling the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARMSTRONG: Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lance Armstrong's path to glory and now shame has left a trail of personal destruction along the way, especially those who dared question how the iconic cyclist won seven Tour de France titles.

EMMA O'REILLY, ARMSTRONG'S FORMER MASSEUSE: To us the medical program is a drugs program, you know, so that was what it was always called.

LAVANDERA: Emma O'Reilly joined Armstrong's cycling team in the late 1990s. She worked as a team masseuse. But according to the U.S. Anti- Doping Agency report, O'Reilly also says her job involved transporting and delivering drugs for the cycling team.

The report says she once made an 18 hour round trip drive between France and Spain to pick up pills and even met Lance Armstrong in the parking lot of a McDonald's in southern France to deliver a drug package.

Armstrong once told her, now Emma, you know enough to bring me down.

O'REILLY: History has shown that I didn't have enough to bring him down. And I never wanted to bring him down, never ever wanted to bring Lance down.

LAVANDERA: But in 2003, she told her story publicly for the first time. Lance Armstrong sued her for libel and she says vilified her as a prostitute and an alcoholic. They settled out of court.

GREG LEMOND, THREE-TIME TOUR DE FRANCE CHAMPION: He's caused a lot of difficulty in my personal and business life.

LAVANDERA: Before Lance Armstrong, Greg LeMond was the most famous American cyclist, but when LeMond questioned Armstrong's close ties to the controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, a man who has been banned from cycling in Italy and by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong worked to get the bike company Trek to drop Greg LeMond's bike brand.

LEMOND: He's not somebody I want to even put energy into, to be honest. And I think he has his own issues, own problems that he'll have to deal with.

LAVANDERA: Then there is the story of Frankie and Betsy Andreu, once dear friends of Lance Armstrong, but when the couple refused to keep up the myth of Lance they say Armstrong turned on them, calling them bitter, vindictive and jealous. In 2008, Betsy Andreu says she got this voicemail from a friend of Armstrong's which she provided to the New York Daily News.

Here is part of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope somebody break a baseball bat over your head. But I also hope that one day you will have adversity in your lief and you have some type of tragedy. It's pathetic Betsy, I thought you were a better person than that.

LAVANDERA: Lance Armstrong's fiercest critics say he would do anything to protect himself.

In the end, it wasn't all about the bike, like his book proclaimed, it just might be all about the glory.

ARMSTRONG: It's also about the faith that people have put in me over the years. So all of that would be erased. So I don't need it to say in a contract you're fired if you test positive. That's not as important as losing the support of hundreds of millions of people.

LAVANDERA: Now that support could be gone forever.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Armstrong, he has addressed his behavior. In the interview with Oprah Winfrey he calls himself deeply flawed, and admits acting like a jerk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINFREY: Were you a bully?

ARMSTRONG: Yeah, yeah, I was a bully.

WINFREY: Tell me how you were a bully.

ARMSTRONG: I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative. And if I didn't like what somebody said -- and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether I viewed that as somebody being disloyal or a friend turning on you or whatever, I tried to control and and so that -- you know, that's a lie, they're a liar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Armstrong said that he will apologize to people for the rest of his life.

Some critics say he doesn't sound sorry. And they also point out that Armstrong did not admit to pushing his teammates to dope, something several close associates have said.

Now in the interview, Armstrong also refused to implicate others.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARMSTRONG: And I don't want to -- I don't want to accuse anybody else. I don't want to necessarily talk about anybody else. I made my decisions. They are my mistake. And I'm sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I'm sorry for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: But Armstrong may have to name names if he ever wants to compete in athletic events again.

Now the World Anti-Doping Agency says he has to make a full confession under oath, not on Oprah, if he wants any reconsideration of his lifetime ban.

Now the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency welcomed the interview as a small step in the right direction, but it says if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.

Now the International Cycling Union has also weighed in. The UCI president says this, "Armstrong's decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport."

Now remember, the UCI stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles after USADA's report. And he also recently was stripped of his Olympic Bronze medal.

Now a little later in the show, we will speak to one of the people who had her reputation attacked by Lance Armstrong. Betsy Andreu will join us live with her reaction to Armstrong's confession.

Now, it was the biggest match of the Australian Open so far. Maria Sharapova took on Venus Williams. So who won? Pedro Pinto has the answer next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: What a light display from Hong Kong on a Friday night. Coming to you live from the city, you're watching News Stream.

Now the reigning champion was on court at the Australian Open today, but the focus wasn't on how he played, but what he said. Pedro Pinto joins me now live from London to explain -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Kristie. The men's world number one tennis player was pretty clear about what he thought regarding Lance Armstrong. This is what Novak Djokovic said earlier today after Lance's interview was broadcast. "I think it's a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this. He cheated the sport. He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story. So I think he should suffer for his lies all these years."

The Serbian star talked about Lance Armstrong shortly after booking his place in the round of 16 of the Australian Open. Djokovic was looking for his third straight title and fourth overall in Melbourne, beat Redek Stepanek in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, and 7-5 was the score on Rod Lever Arena.

On the women's side of the draw, Maria Sharapova sent Venus Williams crashing out of the Aussie Open in a straight sets victory in the third round. The Russian, who was a champion at Melbourne Park back in 2008 was in rampant form winning 6-1, 6-3 in just 79 minutes against the experienced American.

Two of the biggest stars in the NBA went head to head on Thursday night. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers hosting LeBron James and the Miami Heat. LeBron wasted little time in getting into his high flying routine. How about this for the big dunk?

Meta World Peace kept the Lakers close in the first half. Nails a 3- pointer from the corner there.

But the Heat would make a run after the break. LeBron getting into the lane for the bucket and the foul. By the way, you saw the foul by Pau Gasol. He returned to the lineup after missing a few games with a concussion.

Kobe Bryant, you know he's going to get some big hoops down the stretch, and he did just that to keep the Lakers in it. But, you know what, LeBron James was just on fire. He scored a season high 39 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds. He was pretty much unstoppable as the Miami Heat won at Staples Center against the Lakers who have their two game winning streak snapped at home.

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Saturday with Zambia starting as the defending champions in South Africa, but its an historic tournament for Cape Verde playing in the tournament for the very first time.

CNN's Human to Hero series has been discovering that the tiny nation has big ambitions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FERNANDO NEVERS, CAPE VERDE FOOTBALLER: My name is Nando. I'm 34 years old. I'm a captain national football club Cape Verde. I'm a defender. Football is my job, it's my life. I'm two years national team Cape Verde. Sometimes it's not easy to play to Cape Verde, because Cape Verde don't have money, but sometime you just -- you must give your half for your country, because Cape Verde is still my land, but in the heart it's very big.

I speak thank you god Cape Verde is Africa Cup. It's something special.

LUCIO ATUNES, CAPE VERDE COACH: We're happy we qualified especially for the players who have been fantastic. So congratulations to them for a job well done. It's the first time Cape Verde have qualified, so the satisfaction is even bigger. We recognize the effort our country has made to support us, so we will do our best to repay the nation and do ourselves proud.

NEVERS: We are Blue Sharks.

I eat something just pasta and the fish, nothing more (inaudible) water. Think about much before (inaudible) four years I broke my leg. Now it's very good. Six years, six years be captain on my team.

Listen to me, captain is not just foot. You're captain here. You must to push your team. You must to push your team.

I look my player (inaudible) not scared. I feel confidence in my team.

Football in the Cape Verde is (inaudible). First you must go to church, after you must play football.

ATUNES: We will prepare well for the opening game of the African Cup of Nations against the hosts South Africa. I think the team will do well. Usually I'm an air traffic controller. I work at Sal International Airport in Cape Verde. Right now, I'm on special leave, so I can dedicate myself exclusively to football. But very soon I will be back to the control tower.

Our fans have helped us to get here. The fans are happy. Cape Verde is happy. So thank you to everyone who has helped us get this far.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PINTO: And it'll be interesting to see what Cape Verde can do in the tournament. They knocked out Cameroon in qualifying. Kristie, the tournament starts on Saturday. And I'm really looking forward to it.

LU STOUT: Yeah. Fascinating stories there and individual profiles there. Really enjoyed it. Pedro Pinto, thank you.

And you're watching News Stream. And still to come, a report from Syria on an apparent massacre of civilians. But opposing accusations make the blame far from clear.

And streets have become rivers in the capital of Indonesia. And we'll get an update on the latest toll and the conditions in Jakarta.

News Stream continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

In Algeria, a siege at a gas plant is now in day three. And a U.S. defense official tells CNN that a U.S. aircraft is currently evacuating 10 to 20 people who were injured in this hostage incident. Now they are believed to be from both the U.S. and other countries. Britain's prime minister says the Algerian army is still pursuing terrorists and looking for possible hostages.

Now French planes are continuing to strike rebel targets in Mali to try to drive back Islamist rebels who have taken over large parts of the country. And we have learned that the central town of Konna has now been retaken by French and Malian forces.

Now critics say Lance Armstrong did not go far enough in his doping confession. Now the cyclist has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles. But in the first part of a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong denies claims that he pushed his teammates to use banned substances.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told an Israeli newspaper that new Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank will be dismantled if his coalition wins next Tuesday's election. Now the polls predict an easy win for Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing coalition.

And the Syrian city of Homs has been the scene of much of the fighting and much of the dying in Syria's civil war. And ITN's Bill Neely's minders took him on a mission there with Syrian soldiers as he investigated a horrific story of the latest bloodshed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL NEELY, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A Syrian army movement on the move against rebels. They're fighting on the edge of Homs where 5,000 people have been killed so far, a toll that's just gone up dramatically, something terrible has just happened here. Covered by an armored vehicle, we walked to Haswiya (ph), the scene of a massacre. Both sides agree dozens were killed here. After that, they agree on nothing.

The opposition say 106 people were killed in these streets -- men, women and children shot and burned to death. They say forces loyal to the regime did this.

Local men came out of hiding. They hadn't seen each other since the fighting began. Each one had a story of loved ones murdered. But they claim it wasn't the regime who killed in cold blood, it was rebels.

You are saying the army did not commit a massacre here.

"No, it was armed men, rebels, dressed in black," they say.

And they were wearing a bandage that had A Allahu Akbar.

They say the gunmen were from a fundamentalist group linked to al Qaeda.

A woman, and five children were shot dead here, then their bodies burned, allegedly because they tried to stop the gunmen using the roof as a firing position.

Five children, the oldest was seven years old.

I can't prove any of these accounts. I saw no bodies.

The men said around 30 people had been killed.

The army commander denied killing civilians.

Then the troops brought out two men they said they'd found with a gun. The men shook with fear. One clasped his hands until a soldier's burning cigarette him him move them. The gun was an American weapon. The men's fate is unclear.

This woman knows the fate of her family. "The armed men killed my three children," she says. "They came at night. I couldn't tell who they were. We're just farmers. Now we have nothing."

A regime war plane circled overhead. The fight against rebels in Haswiya (ph) is still going on.

The governor of Homs is one of President Assad's men. He told me civilians were killed. He'll call it a massacre. But he says al Qaeda linked rebels, Jabat al Nasra (ph) did this.

"No, no. Our forces did not kill those civilians."

I can't say who did, but everyone has agreed dozens are dead, another mass killing in a dirty war.

Bill Neely, ITV News, Homs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Let's turn to Indonesia now. And Jakarta's business district is under water. Officials say at least 12 people have been killed by severe flooding there this week, five of them were electrocuted. Now a state of emergency has been declared as around 95,000 people are affected across the city. 19,000 have been evacuated from their homes.

Now January is typically the wettest month of the year in Jakarta. And the city government has warned that more heavy rainfall is on the way.

Now heavy snowfall in the UK is disrupting travel and has left 10,000 people without power. Wales has been particularly hard hit with a rare red warning issued there.

Now Erin McLaughlin is at the Heathrow Airport with the latest on flight delays. And Erin, what kind of impact is it having there?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie.

Well, greetings from a very snowy London. It's been awhile since I've seen snow like this in the capital. And it is having an impact on Heathrow Airport. So far some 240 flights have been canceled. The southern runway temporarily closed to allow for snow clearing procedures. Passengers have been told they can expect up to an hour long delays arriving and departing from the airport. They are told to check with their airlines before arriving and allow plenty of travel time to the airport, Kristie.

So Heathrow is an incredibly congested airport. Some 1,300 flights take off and arrive at this airport, one of -- the two runways here every day. It's incredibly congested. And therefore any time they have to shut a runway down to clear snow, it's about a 45 minute procedure affecting some 30 to 40 flights. And because it's so congested, those flights can't be moved or rescheduled for later in the day, which is why officials say that snow like this tends to have a greater impact on Heathrow than some of the other airports in Europe like Gatwick its London counterpart is about half the size.

Currently they say they're dealing with the snow, able to clear around the flights arriving and departing, so that single runway airport not affected so far by the snow, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And what about the additional airport. I mean, I'm seeing some automobiles moving behind you. What has been the impact on the road and also on the power grid across the UK?

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, well, the roads, Kristie, have been impacted as had EuroStar so far. They've had to cancel around four trains between London and Brussels. We've seen some impact on the railways here in England so far. So, you know, this is really just sort of the beginning of this snow event and we're waiting to see what it has in store for us next, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. As we hear it sounds like another plane touching down. Good luck there.

Erin McLaughlin joining us live from London Heathrow. Thank you.

Now there is heavy snowfall. It's having an impact across the UK. Let's get the forecast now with Mari Ramos. She joins us now from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, yeah, this is going to be an event just as she was saying there. We are still probably going to be looking at snow even as we head through the day tomorrow. And even on Sunday morning we might still be looking at some significant snowfall.

Now, look at this, you're looking at the radar here for London. Of course, the white is all of the snow. It's having an impact all across the region. The Birmingham Airport actually had to close down.

Those brighter whites that you see there, those are the heavier bands of snow. And we're getting one right now moving just over the city. And that is going to be affecting this area significantly.

So even though we've had snow already, our bands of the heaviest snow are yet to move in across the region.

And we have some pictures from London to show you. In and around the city as people move around kind of going about their business and you can see the snow coming down pretty steadily there in central London, starting to cover the roadways. One of the concerns is because temperatures are below freezing, some of that water that -- when it's melting when it hits the ground over night again tonight it could start to flood.

Now problems yet on the Underground or anything like that, but yes, traffic is a little bit busier than usual, just people have to go a little slower than normal and of course bundle up.

So not just the big travel delays -- and those travel delays at Heathrow just kind of expand across the entire region. London is also being affected and Gatwick.

So come back over to the weather map. Let's see what we have over here. A little bit of a wider view. You can see the snow stretching over Ireland as well. Some of this very heavy snowfall as well. And then behind that getting even more rain. As we continue traveling through this area, you will notice that temperatures do remain below freezing across the entire region -- not bitterly cold, but cold enough to support some significant snowfall.

And even in the London area -- look at that, we could get 8 centimeters of snow. It's quite a bit. That's just in the next 24 hours. So you definitely want to watch out for this. And if you have travel plans, oh, plan ahead.

This is a picture from France. A lot of travel delays here as well. At Paris airports, already they have some flight cancellations over this region. And the snow hasn't gotten there quite yet.

Heavy snowfall across southeastern Europe. Also very windy weather coming through. And what you see coming here over France, this is the leading edge of our next weather system, that will be affecting this area as we head into the weekend, a very large area and strong area of low pressure will be moving through here with heavy snowfall, very windy conditions and rain stretching even into the northern portions of Africa.

That was a lot.

Let's go ahead and take a look at Jakarta now, that was the other top story that we have here in weather. We're still dealing with some significant flooding as you mentioned, 170 percent of their average rainfall has fallen here. They've had rainfall 17 days out of the 18 days of this month already. So this is a huge, huge concern. You can see here that we're still getting some significant rainfall. We could see 5 to 8 centimeters of rain across this area over the next 24 hours.

And I want to show you something pretty interesting. This is on -- from the Jakarta Emergency Management. And what you have here, this is one of those crisis maps on Google. And we're going to go ahead and zoom in and Brandon if you can help me out here, this is that river that we keep showing you in those areas where that video was. There's that bridge.

Look at this, the water there already being reported at two meters, Kristie. This is just an example of how widespread the flooding across these areas are, three meters here. These are homes and businesses that are completely flooded. Thousands upon thousands of people already affected by the widespread flooding in these areas. And it's definitely a story we will continue to monitor.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Mari Ramos there. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, an update on our top story this hour, the hostage crisis in Algeria. Algeria state news agency now says that a total of 650 hostages have been freed from the gas plant that was taken by the militants. 573 of the freed hostages are Algerian. Now this operation is still ongoing. And there are still some hostages being held.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron he said that the militants behind the attack were heavily armed and well coordinated.

And we'll bring you the latest on this situation as we know more.

And just to repeat, Algeria's state news agency says 650 hostages have been freed from the gas plant seized by militants in the country.

Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up next she spoke out and she paid the price. So what does a whistleblower have to say about Lance Armstrong's confession? Find out straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now cyclist Lance Armstrong has admitted to doping, something he denied for years. That's perhaps vindicating to some of of the people who spoke out against him. And they include Betsy Andreu, wife of former teammate Frankie Andreu who said that she overheard Armstrong tell his doctor that he had used performance enhancing drugs.

Now she later testified about the incident. And Armstrong attacked her for it.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey asked him about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINFREY: Was Betsy telling the truth about the Indiana hospital overhearing you in 1996?

ARMSTRONG: I'm not going to take that on. And I'm laying down on that one.

WINFREY: Was Betsy lying?

ARMSTRONG: I'm just not -- I'm going to put that one down. And I don't want to -- and she asked me and I asked her not to talk about the details of the call. It was a confidential personal conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: That was basically no comment there.

Now Betsy Andreu joins us now live from CNN New York. Betsy, earlier I saw the interview that you did with CNN last night your time in the interview you did with Anderson Cooper right after that clip came out. And you were very emotional and very angry and rightly so.

It's now one day later, so how are you feeling, how are you taking it all in right now?

BETSY ANDREU, WIFE OF FRM. ARMSTRONG TEAMMATE: Lance did something monumental, which is admitted to cheating for every single one of his Tour de France wins. His intention, I think, was right, because he took that very first step to tell the truth. But then I truly think he dropped the ball. I don't think he should have gone on Oprah right off the bat, he should have met with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, USADA, and he should have met with WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency and he should have told them everything from how he got away with it from A to Z, because there's no way that he was able to get away with such a massive fraud all by himself, he was aided and abetted. And there are many questions that are left unanswered.

LU STOUT: And I want you to back up a bit now and to share with our international audience about the kind of damage that he did to you and your family. When you and your husband testified about Armstrong's drug use in 2005, what did he do to get back at you?

ANDREU: Well, it started back when Frankie refused to see Dr. Michele Ferrari. Lance really him to see him because seeing Ferrari, you'd get on a doping program and you would be stronger and faster and a better rider. And Frankie said absolutely not. When Frankie rode the 2000 Tour de France clean, his career came to a halt. He was chided by Lance for not being a team player. And subsequently when we had to testify against Lance in the FAA promotions case, what ended up happening was Lance would just be very disparaging of me in the media. And journalists would print Lance's words. I was bitter, vindictive, hateful, jealous. And they would take him at his word for it.

Then you see Frankie Andreu's wife is saying this about Lance Armstrong. And Frankie's employers would be saying what is going on here? Tell your wife to just lay off. Stay back. Don't respond.

And so it had that affect where I became a liability for Frankie to work in the sport.

LU STOUT: Yeah, Armstrong called you crazy and other things. Your husband was effectively blackballed from the sport. It must have had a huge emotional toll on you and your family the last decade plus.

ANDREU: Yeah, but if I would have gone -- if I would have lived with the lie it would have been worse than being at the end of Lance's wrath. I mean, it would have been.

LU STOUT: And that's why you chose to speak out. And you're the whistleblower in all this.

Now, Armstrong, he also said that he reached out to you and your husband, this 40 minute telephone conversation. He didn't want to talk about that at all with Oprah Winfrey, but what can you tell us about that call?

ANDREU: It was in a -- and I kind of got mad, because I think Lance used that to benefit him to say well I can't talk about the hospital incident, because she asked me this conversation is private. So that just doesn't rest well with me. It was a very emotional call. It was -- I do want to keep it private, because it was very -- it was private. But Lance was contrite to me. He was a lot more -- I felt a sincerity in the phone call that I really didn't see on TV. And to me that's, for personally that's more important.

LU STOUT: So he was contrite. You felt a level of sincerity. Do you think that you could forgive Lance Armstrong?

ANDREU: Well, you know, if I choose to forgive Lance that is a very personal decision. But it is a process. You can't -- it's not a light switch that you turn on and off. It's something that we have to work through. And whether or not Lance Armstrong with the entire truth, I have to forgive him. As a Christian, I have to come to terms with that.

LU STOUT: May I ask during that phone call did he ask for your forgiveness?

ANDREU: I'm not going to get into that detail. But I...

LU STOUT: That's fine.

OK.

Sorry, go on.

ANDREU: Oh, no, it was just -- it was, like I said, he was -- I felt -- Frankie and I both felt that he was genuine, that there was sincerity. And to me that's more important than him expressing that to me through TV. I'd rather have him do it one on one. And he did that.

LU STOUT: And do you feel that what Armstrong did not say to Oprah, and the fact that the world now knows the truth, does that give you a sense of closure now?

ANDREU: It did -- well, the USADA report, the addendum part II really was the -- it was closure. But for -- if Lance were to just right out -- it was a yes or no question. I wish Oprah would have followed up with Lance. It's a very simple answer. It's either yes or it's either no.

But it's -- this is a side I've been living with for well over a decade. And I think it's soon coming to an end.

LU STOUT: Well, you're an extremely brave woman. And thank you so much for opening up and sharing your story with us. Betsy Andreu joining us live from CNN New York, thank you and take care.

ANDREU: You're welcome. Bye.

LU STOUT: Now you're watching News Stream. And still to come on the program, the fallout from a college football star and his -- we all know the story, his nonexistent girlfriend. But who was behind the hoax?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now there is that unusual story from the world of American sports. It's taking place away from the field of play. Brian Todd tells us about a hoax involving a star college football player and a girlfriend that never existed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a hoax made all the more believable by his hushed mournful interviews, like the one he gave ESPN.

MANTI TE'O, NOTRE DAME LINEBACKER: I cried. I yelled. Never felt that way before. This is six hours ago, I just found out my grandma passed away and you take, you know, the love of my life. Last thing she said to me was, I love you.

TODD: But Manti Te'o's supposed girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who reportedly died of leukemia never existed. Te'o and Notre Dame say he was the victim of this hoax. Who perpetrated it? Deadspin.com, the sports investigative website that broke the story points to a young man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. CNN obtained a yearbook photo of him from 2008 when he was a senior Paraclete High School in Lancaster, California.

DeadSpin, citing friends and relatives of Tuiasosopo's, says he created the girlfriend and spread the myth online.

TIMOTHY BURKE, EDITOR, DEADSPIN.COM: They told us that he has been doing the Lennay Kekua fake online profile for several years, and, that he's caught other people in its trap but that they caught on way earlier than Manti Te'o did.

TODD: CNN cannot confirm Tuiasosopo involvement. We went to addresses, called numbers in Southern California listed for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and could not reach up. We caught up with Tuiasosopo's father, Titus, a former football player at USC and now a pastor at a place called the Oasis Christian Church of the Antelope.

He wouldn't speak on camera but told us "the truth will all come out, God knows our character." Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's uncle who gave us these pictures of him as a child tells us Tuiasosopo is religious and plays in a band at his father's church.

VINCENT AMITUANAI, RONAIAH TUIASOSOPO'S UNCLE: It's hard for me because I know the kid all his life, and this is the first time I've heard something like that.

TODD: DeadSpin says Tuiasosopo and Manti Te'o know each other. Notre Dame's athletic director who hired investigator in this case was asked if they're cousins or family friends.

JACK SWARBRICK, NOTRE DAME ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: That characterization does not square with my information, but I'll let the Te'os address it.

TODD: We could not reach Manti Te'o, his parents or his agent for comment. Tuiasosopo is a former player, himself, seen here as a quarterback at Antelope Valley High School. He's got relatives who play college and pro football.

(on-camera) I spoke on the phone with Marcus Tuiasosopo, a former quarterback for the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. Marcus said he's a distant cousin of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Markus didn't want to tape an interview. He said he can't say anything about this story, doesn't know Ronaiah well. But Markus did say that he and his family know the Te'o family.

(voice-over) Who is the woman depicted in social media photos as Manti Te'o's girlfriend? A woman we contacted whose name we're not airing says she realized her picture had been used for a fake Facebook page for Te'o's girlfriend.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Such a puzzling story.

And that is News Stream, but just a reminder, we are following the situation in Algeria. The state media is reporting that 650 hostages have been freed from the gas plant where militants were holding the hostages. Now there are more hostages still being held inside and we will be following this story in the hours ahead right here on CNN.

World Business Today is next.

END