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Jordan Strains To Take In Syrian Refugees; Brazilian Nightclub Fire Claims Over 200 Lives; Lionel Messi Youngest Player With 200 La Liga Goals; Heavy Rain, Floods Continue In New South Wales

Aired January 28, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


MONITA RAJPAL, HOST: Hello, I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

Families say goodbye to their loved ones after a fire in a Brazilian night club killed over 200 people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lights aren't allowed. They're still too close. It's far too risky.


RAJPAL: Families make the dangerous decision to escape Syria with darkness as their only cover.

And six months on, the venues lie empty. What happens now to London's Olympic facilities?

We begin this hour in southern Brazil where families and friends are mourning the victims of a fire that swept through a night club early Sunday morning. It left more than 230 people dead and more than 120 in hospital, most in critical condition.

A gymnasium there has been turned into a makeshift morgue as police continue combing through the remains of the club for answers as to how the fire started.

Well, the fire occurred in the southern city of Santa Maria. It is home to several universities and colleges. Authorities say nearly half of those killed were students from the nearby federal university of Santa Maria.

The fire happened here at the popular Kiss nightclub. A state fire officials says around 2,000 party goers were inside at the time, that doubled the club's maximum capacity.

Well -- and this was the scene outside the club as firefighters fought to put out the deadly fire. The roof had collapsed and several parts of the building, as you see here, trapping people inside. A state fire official says witnesses saw security guards blocking exits when the fire first started to stop people leaving without paying their bill, that created more panic.

Many died from smoke inhalation, while others were trampled in the rush to the exits. Authorities now say almost 80 people are in critical condition.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There are a lot of people scattered around the hospital's different departments as well as in the intensive care units who have not been identified yet. It isn't a big number, but the people waiting outside for news are desperate.


RAJPAL: A fire official told Global TV (ph) the club's license had expired in August, but the owner's say everything was in order and the club had been inspected by the fire marshall. Shasta Darlington is in Santa Maria and joins us now live.

So there's still so many questions, Shasta, as to what may have started the fire. But while all those questions are being asked, funerals for those victims are beginning today.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Monita, the cemetery is just a very sad sight. It's one funeral after another, almost in a line. We just came from there where two brothers, the only children and one family were being buried side by side. And again, it's just one family after another. This will go on all day. As you mentioned, there were so many bodies that the local gymnasium had to be turned into a makeshift morgue, so families were also holding their wakes in the gymnasium.

Right now we're just a couple steps from the nightclub where this tragedy happened and the investigations are going on. People are stopping, looking, trying to see if they can get more details, Monita.

RAJPAL: So the owners are saying that everything was in order and that the club had been inspected by the fire marshall. And now there's also talk that a pyrotechnics show that was going on inside the club when the fire started, authorities aren't actually saying that may have had started the fire. So there's still so many questions as they begin this investigation.

DARLINGTON: Well, that's right, Monita. And it is far from over. Right now there are investigators in the club. We are not allowed to go inside. We can stand here just a few steps away. But they are investigating all of these claims. Was it a pyrotechnic show that sent a spark up into the insulation, the sound proofing insulation as some people say? Was there another cause?

Were the exits -- or actually there's only one exit, was it free and clear? These are things that they're looking into. And while there has been a lot of talk back and forth, did the security guards keep people from leaving. Now, really, nobody wants to answer those questions until they feel absolutely certain that they know what they're talking about, Monita.

RAJPAL: And Shasta, as the entire nation of Brazil holds three days of national mourning, talk to us a little bit about Santa Maria. Is it -- was it a university town? We know there are a lot of university students who are victims of this tragic fire. Tell us a little bit about the area that we're talking about.

DARLINGTON: Well, that's exactly what it is. It's in the southern most part of Brazil. It's kind of an agricultural area. But there were four universities here, a lot of them specializing in agronomy and agricultural studies. And on Saturday night, in fact, there was a large party being held by the students at the federal university who are majoring in agronomy.

So this is -- it's a college town. It's a lot of people from southern Brazil. And we just talked to people here and everybody knows somebody who lost a relative. So everybody is really feeling this and taking this to heart, Monita.

RAJPAL: And all eyes are on Brazil right now obviously because of this tragic story, but also the country is trying to improve its safety record and security before the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. And a lot of eyes and a lot of pressure now on the nation to show that they -- their standards are up to scratch.

DARLINGTON: Absolutely. I've got to tell you, when you take a look at this club you can understand why. If this club was in order, and it's a club with the capacity of at least 1,000 people with one single exit and entrance, I don't know what that means, then. I mean, how can that possibly be in order? How can you prevent this kind of a tragedy?

There were no lateral exist, no rear exit. The firefighters had to break their way in. There were no windows. They broke through the front wall, the side walls. So again, we don't know the answer, but if this is being - - they have everything according to regulation, I just don't want to know what that says about the rest of the buildings.

RAJPAL: What kind of attention has this attracted in the capital and with the government?

DARLINGTON: Well, right now, Monita, people are really very focused on the families. And I think as the days progressed there will be more questions asked about who is to blame, what started the fire. But right now we had President Dilma Rousseff who cut short a meeting with European and Latin American leaders to come here to Santa Maria to personally oversee all of the rescue works. And her message was to the families to the people of Brazil, let's stand together, let's show that we're all here for these people in Santa Maria.

And I think for the time being that's what the message is going to be, Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Shasta, thank you for that. Shasta Darlington there live for us from Santa Maria.

And News Stream, of course we'll bring you more on the day's top stories. In just a moment, we'll take you live to Cairo where Egypt's president is facing down critics with a curfew.

The exodus from Syria continues to swell refugee camps around the country's borders. We'll have an exclusive look at one family's flight under cover of darkness.

And blowing up trains to make them safer. We look at efforts to limit the damage of terrorist attacks.

You're watching CNN News Stream.


RAJPAL: You are watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual rundown of all the stories that we are covering for you in the show.

Now we talked about the aftermath of the deadly fire in Brazil. Later we'll take a look at technology the promises to make trains more secure from terrorist attacks. But right now we want to take you to Egypt. And President Mohamed Morsy has put three Egyptian cities along the Suez Canal under a 30 days curfew after days of violent protests. 38 people were killed over the weekend after death sentences were announced for 21 people involved in last year's football game riot in Port Said. That riot saw 74 people killed.

Well, Mr. Morsy is threatening to clamp down tighter on demonstrators. CNN's Reza Sayah is in Cairo now and joins us with more. And Reza, it seems as though the country is going back to the days when Hosni Mubarak was in power.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In some cities that is the case, Monita. And he's not just threatening to clamp down on protesters, he is in those three particular cities. We've been doing our best to gauge the mood here throughout Egypt. And you get the sense that the anxiety, the uncertainty, the tension is escalating. We're moving to a potentially new stage in this political crisis, that's because the president has certainly raised the stakes in three cities with the declaration of emergency rule and curfews.

He made the announcement last night in a televised address waging his finger. He first delivered a stern lecture, a stern warning, demanding Egyptians to stop the violence and end the protests. And then he took his most aggressive action yet against protesters, declaring emergency rule and curfews in the city of Suez, Ismayaliah (ph), and Port Said, this after another weekend of violence, especially in Port Said. 38 people killed there. The violence and the protests, they've been taking place ever since last Friday, the two year anniversary of the 2011 revolution.

Last night, the president saying enough is enough. He's saying he had no choice but to take tougher action.


MOHAMED MORSY, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Those who attack the civilians and plans to disturb the security of this nation, we will deal with them severely. They will know, repeat, and everyone should know that the nations -- Egypt institution -- is capable to protect this nation and its people and its institutions.


SAYAH: It's emergency rule. And the curfews will last for 30 days, according to the president. The police will have extended rights. The people will not have as many rights. They probably won't be able to protest as freely. Remember, Egypt was under emergency rule for more than 40 years. Egyptians hated it throughout the country. This particular time it's limited to three cities, Monita, but now everyone anxious to see what the fallout is, how Egyptians who have lost their fear to protest are going to react. We can already tell you there's protests scheduled today in Cairo. And some clashes taking place in Suez -- Monita.

RAJPAL: And while all this is happening, Reza, Mr. Morsy is calling for dialogue, some talks to restore national unity. But some people say that the problem isn't the fractious divide, but Morsy himself.

SAYAH: That's the opposition's narrative -- the secularists, the moderates who claim that President Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood, his supporters have hijacked the revolution. For his part, Mr. Morsy says these protests and those accusations are unfair. He says he's doing his best to move the country in this democratic transition. He's calling for support, trust, patience.

The problem is, the other side, the opposition simply doesn't trust him. The president has extended an offer for dialogue. The opposition has rejected it. They've laid out conditions. They want the constitution to be amended. They want the president to take responsibility for these deaths. And they want a new government to take shape.

These are all very lofty demands, defiant demands. There's no sign that these two sides are going to sit down and talk together any time soon, Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Reza, thank you. Reza Sayah there in Cairo.

The French intervention in its former colony of Mali appears to be gaining some ground. There have been advances deep into the heart of territory controlled by Islamic militants. French forces are working alongside government soldiers to drive them out. Paris fears Mali could be used as a haven for terrorist groups. A spokesman for the military tells CNN that French lead troops have seized control of the airport in the historic desert city of Timbuktu. And are fighting their way to the center.

Well, the militants are reported to be leaving Timbuktu for the city of Kidal in the northeast. Malian troops and French soldiers secured a key victory last week when they took control of the city of Gao east of Timbuktu.

Well, the gains give more traction to the French-led troops battling Islamist rebels in the north of Mali.

Nima Elbagir recently returned from Mali. She joins us now from Nairobi in Kenya. And Nima, let's first start with the gains that the French-led troops have made so far.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said they took the historic city of Timbuktu after taking the largest city in the north Gao over the weekend with the help of Nigerian troops.

Timbuktu, although it doesn't signal a complete retaking of territory in the Islamist held north, is incredibly symbolic. It was the desecration of Timbuktu's historic sites and the fears that that instilled in people, that really brought the situation in Mali to international attention. If Timbuktu is now back in government hands, then that feels as much a symbolic victory as anything else, Monita.

But of course as you said, the militants have fled into the northeastern town of Kidal, that's up in some very remote desert and mountainous areas. And this is when it starts getting a bit more difficult. Pushing them back from the towns is one thing, but when they go up into that areas, the areas that they are most comfortable in and that they know best, that's when rooting them out will become more and more difficult, Monita.

RAJPAL: And there could potentially be more loss of life in that area as well. Speaking of losses as well, you talked about the desecration of parts of the sites in Timbuktu. What are we talking about and what kind of state they've left these cities and towns behind?

ELBAGIR: Well, there is a lot of concern for the state of the ancient manuscripts that were housed at Timbuktu. Timbuktu was a very famous center of Islamic learning. There are Arabic scripts. There are even some Turkish scripts from there. And there is a lot of worry about what could be happening in Timbuktu. We don't, as yet, have any confirmation of reports that many are hearing that some of these manuscripts have been destroyed. There is also concern that Timbuktu was taken after quite a sustained aerial campaign by the French.

But what we are hearing in quite a confirmed way is this worries some human rights organizations that it's not just from the French and the Malian fighting with the militants loss of life is happening, they're also really worried about attacks against anyone who looks Tuareg, which is one of the main ethnicities that the rebels, the Islamist rebels in the north, are drawn from. As well as Malian Arabs, or even anyone who just looks lighter skinned Malian.

One of the issues that delayed the international intervention post-Mali -- the Malian government being overthrown and the coup back last March was just the worry about the capacity of the Malian army, the worry about their ability to respect human rights more in as much as anything else. And that's what pushed it back.

Obviously events moved much quicker than the international community was expecting. And security issues meant that they had to move in quite quickly before they built up the Malian capacity.

The many human rights agencies are worried about whether the Malian government has what it takes to protect civilians in this conflict, Monita.

RAJPAL: All right. Nima, thank you very much for that. Nima Elbagir reporting to us there from Nairobi.

Well, amid the battle for Timbuktu, there are fears, as we've been reporting there, with Nima for the famed city's cultural relics. News agencies report ancient manuscripts have been burned like the ones you see here. Some of the fragile papers house their date back to the 13th Century.

Timbuktu sits on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. It's name is well known around the world. Its golden era came during Medieval times when it served as a major center for trade, commerce, and culture. Islamic scholars traveled from far and wide to study at the city's university. Its mud and brick mosques remain major attractions.

But the so-called city of 333 saints has suffered under the rule of Islamists. Militants are said to have destroyed some of the mausoleums of Timbuktu, demolishing half the town's shrines in just three days. And that's according to UNESCO, the UN's cultural body. UNESCO's director says the attack on Timbuktu's cultural heritage is an attack against the history and the values it carries. It goes on to say, "we call it an attack against humanity."

They were political rivals, but now it's all smiles for U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who have nothing but praise for one another.


RAJPAL: Welcome back.

She was considered the odds on favorite to be the Democrat's presidential nominee in 2008 with an eye on becoming the first female U.S. president, but then a political upstart named Barack Obama made history himself and picked Hillary Clinton to go along for the ride as his secretary of state. Now, Clinton is stepping down as President Obama's second term begins perhaps with an eye on another presidential run in 2016. And Mr. Obama said goodbye on a popular TV news magazine show. He was asked why he wanted her as his secretary of state.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was a big admirer of Hillary's before our primary battles and the general election. You know, her discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project I think and make clear issues that are important to the American people I thought made her an extraordinary talent.

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I was so surprised, because you know after I ended my campaign I immediately did everything I could to help the president get elected, because despite our hard fought primary we had such agreement on what needed to be done for our country.

OBAMA: Made for tough debates, by the way, because we could never figure out what we were differed on.

CLINTON: Yeah, we worked at that pretty hard.


RAJPAL: That was the president's first joint interview with someone other than his wife.

Kate Bolduan looks back at the rocky beginnings of what apparently has become a beautiful friendship.


KATE BOLDUAN, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have faced questions together before. Here in a 2008 presidential debate with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

OBAMA: I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us in the war in the first place. That's the kind of leadership I'm going to provide as president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: And of course --

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Clinton, that's a clear swipe at you.

CLINTON: Really?

BOLDUAN: Back then it was a very different relationship, in the midst of an already bitter rivalry.

OBAMA: While I was working on those streets, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Walmart.

CLINTON: You were practicing law and representing your contributor, RESTOCK, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.

BOLDUAN: But that relationship quickly changed.

CLINTON: I endorse him and throw my full support behind him.

BOLDUAN: Just as Hillary Clinton showed her support for President Obama, Obama showed his faith in Clinton.

CLINTON: I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the right person to lead our state department, and to work with me in tackling this ambitious foreign policy agenda.

BOLDUAN: What was Hillary Clinton's initial reaction when you told her, look, they're considering you for the possibility of secretary of state.


BOLDUAN: Philippe Reines is one of Clinton's closest aides.

REINES: I e-mailed her, I think it was the Friday after Election Day, after hearing it from two reporters. And I'm pretty sure her reply was something along the lines of, not for a million reasons.

BOLDUAN: If she was hesitant, why not just say no?

REINES: I think she did, or came awfully close. I think the president was very persuasive.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We're delighted to welcome Senator Clinton secretary of state designate.

BOLDUAN: Clinton was quickly confirmed. But how would she get along with the man who defeated her campaign? Could she work for him?

ELISE LABOTT, FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Everyone expected, including myself, that there would be a lot of division, a lot of Secretary Clinton going behind the president's back.

BOLDUAN: So was there any tension coming in between the two people at the top?

LABOTT: I think everyone's been surprised.

BOLDUAN: Surprised that while Secretary Clinton and President Obama have been separated often as she travels the world, they have maintained a unified front.

REINES: They very early on set a tone of, this is how it's going to be. She is my secretary of state, and from her point of view, he is our president. And she worked no anything contrary to that.

BOLDUAN: So, what was that moment that you think crystallized the relationship?

REINES: They were in Denmark for a climate change conference.

BOLDUAN: Obama and Clinton believe China and other countries resisting a pollution standards agreement were meeting in secret.

REINES: President Obama and Secretary Clinton were talking kind of alone, you know, in some hallway. And he said, let's go. And she said, let's go.

BOLDUAN: So they just kind of barge in?

REINES: They kind of barged in. They said, hey, guys, what are you doing?

BOLDUAN: We're here.

REINES: What's going on here? We're here. And they got the deal done.

BOLDUAN: They got that deal done, and went on to three more years sharing success, controversy, even tragedy as close partners.

REINES: And I think, you know, there are not a lot of people in the world who go through what they do, and, you know, it's the president H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton relationship, it's Carter/Ford, McEnroe/Connors, you know, whatever it is, when you're on the court after the fact, you're like, hey, you're more like me than not. We're bonding. For good or bad, we've been put together. And it's always going to be like that.

BOLDUAN: From rivals to partners, the evolution of this friendship has been something to watch over the last four-plus years. And is now entering a new phase as President Obama takes on his send term, and Hillary Clinton heads towards her last day as a top member of his cabinet.

Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.


RAJPAL: And still to come here on News Stream, the worsening refugee crisis in Jordan as Syrians flee the civil war at home.

And dramatic helicopter rescues in Queensland as the state faces another flooding disaster.


RAJPAL: Hello. I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. You are watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

And we've got this just into CNN, local media are saying in Brazil that at least two people have been arrested after 231 people were killed in a fire at a night club. It happened in the college town of Santa Maria. Brazil's Band News (ph) says one of the club owners and a member of the band were arrested. A fire official says at first security guards may have kept people from leaving the club.

Reports out of Algeria say two security guards have been killed in an attack on an oil pipeline. Sources in Algeria say the attack happened east of the capital Algiers. al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb is active in that region. Almost two weeks ago Islamist militants took dozens of hostages at a natural gas facility in southern Algeria.

A British Airways flight from Houston in the United States to Heathrow in the United Kingdom has made an emergency landing in Wales. The airline says the pilot decided to divert after a technical problem was detected. Engineers are now assessing the aircraft.

Doctors say former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon is registering significant brain activity, that's according to a recent brain scan on Sharon, presumed to have been in a vegetative state since a devastating stroke seven years ago. The doctors express caution, but say they are surprised at Sharon's level of consciousness has turned up some encouraging signs.

A key ally of Syria has a grime assessment for President Bashar al Assad. Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev says Mr. al Assad has made a potentially fatal mistake by resisting reform, but others say there's no end in sight for Syria's civil war. Thousands of people are trying to escape the violence.

Mohammed Jamjoom met some of the Syrian families leaving danger behind for an uncertain future in Jordan.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Darkness their only cover, families are fleeing for their lives. In an escape as treacherous as this one, you walk if you're old enough, no matter how young you may be. A mother's arms are reserved for the babies, her hands for whatever possessions she can carry.

This group of Syrians has just made the extremely dangerous journey into Jordan. They're being led to safety just over this hill by one of the Jordanian border guards. He's showing them where they need to go.

Lights aren't allowed. They're still too close. It's far too risky.

Some of the adults are relieved, but most of the children are simply stunned.

He told me that they left everything behind, left everything in their house behind. All they brought is the clothes on their back and the clothes in this bag. That's five children, there's his wife, everything else back in Syria where he said they can't return.

This 80-year-old woman was carried across. She hated leaving home, but she had no choice.

"The first day they killed my nephew," she says. "The second day they killed my niece, third day my cousin, fourth day another cousin."

Temporary shelter at hand. Papers are being processed as soldiers distribute food. A respite from hunger, yet some are too tired to eat.

Many recount their harrowing experiences.

"When we first got on the road, says this woman, it was extremely scary. I mean, we saw death all around."

With over 350,000 Syrians having crossed over since the beginning of the conflict, neighboring Jordan is bursting at the seams. Yet their borders will remain open and their border guard ready to help despite the difficulties.

"We welcome them on the border," says the commander of Jordan's border guard. "And then we take them to a safer area. And then we start treating the wounded and the injured."

Extremely cold temperatures only exacerbate the misery on this perilous pilgrimage that's nowhere near over.

Loaded on to a bus that will take them to their final destination, the Zaatari camp, where around 70,000 of their fellow citizens already reside. Syrian families so grateful to have been ushered to family, still absolutely shocked at the realization that they are now refugees.


RAJPAL: Well, as Mohammed was saying, as those refugee camps in Jordan are bursting at those seams, the money to fund them is running out. The UN will try to raise aid this week.

Mohammed joins us now live from Amman. Mohammed, how treacherous was that journey for these folks?

JAMJOOM: Monita, let me just try to set the scene. We were talking to these refugees right after they had crossed over the border. And we could still hear the sound of shelling going on in the southern part of Syria which was so close by. Beyond that, many of these refugees had been shot at by Syrian soldiers as they were trying to cross the border.

A lot of the refugees that have come over this past week have been injured and the Jordanian border guard have told us on many an occasion that it's not just dangerous for them to try to leave the town that they are in, but also in trying to get across that border. Why no illumination was allowed for those refugees as you saw in our piece that they were walking up that hill toward safety is because the Jordanian border guard is worried that these refugees will come under fire by Syrian regime forces, or Shabiha who are trying to prevent them from crossing the border.

So it's an extremely, extremely harrowing and treacherous journey for these refugees making it to safety, and then a very, very uncertain future in Jordan -- Monita.

RAJPAL: Then that said, Mohammed, how difficult is this refugee crisis for getting -- how is it getting for Jordan?

JAMJOOM: It's extremely dire right now. We've heard many Jordanian officials over the course of the last week saying they're not going to close the borders. They are still going to allow the influx of Syrians. But this is -- this is an exodus. Since the beginning of the month, there's been close to 40,000 Syrians who have come in. The numbers have increased exponentially. Just in the past week, at least 20,000 have crossed over.

Jordan says they simply cannot bear this burden, even though they're getting millions of dollars of aid already and expanding the camps here, they are going to need a lot more in order to provide the kind of assistance that these refugees need.

We spoke to the head of the Jordanian border guard, Brigadier General Hussein Al-Zuyud. And he told us about how taxing this was on their resources. Here is more of what he had to say.


HUSSEIN AL-ZUYUD, JORDANIAN ARMY (through translator): On the front lines at the crossing points, there are times when we have to stay with the refugees for 48 hours, which requires logistical tools and supplies, heating supplies and blankets. And all this is an added burden on us.


JAMJOOM: And Monita, we visited Zaatari refugee camp just a few days ago as well. We saw many new arrivals, families that had just gotten into the country hours before. They were literally putting up the tents that they had been given by the UNHCR with their own hands, shocked at the limited resources that were available to them.

I spoke to one man there who said that the hadn't been able to see a doctor after having arrived there two days earlier, despite the fact that he was in a lot of need and medical attention was going to be needed.

So it's a really dire situation. The officials here acknowledge that. Everybody says the number of refugees crossing is absolutely staggering. And they're going to need a lot more help in order to accommodate those fleeing such horrendous violence in Syria -- Monita.

RAJPAL: Mohammed, thank you for that. Mohammed Jamjoom there live for us from Amman, Jordan.

And we just wanted to update you on that news we brought to you from Brazil. Three people have been arrested after a deadly fire at a night club. 231 people died after that blaze in the college town of Santa Maria. And local media is saying one of the night clubs owners and two band members were arrested. One of the band members was a vocalist and the second was in charge of stage safety.

Of course do stay with us here on CNN as we continue to update you on this story as we get more information.

The state of Queensland in Australia is dealing with major flooding. Thousands of homes are under water. Helicopters plucked dozens of people stranded on rooftops in the city of Bandeburg (ph). There is a warning the water there could reach 10 meters. And residents have been issued a mandatory evacuation order. Flood water is also rising in the state capital of Brisbane. And rural towns are cut off without power or communication.

Well, we want to get more information on this from our Mari Ramos at the world weather center. Mari, how much more, I guess, can they expect?


MARI RAMOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, across Queensland we're starting to feel a bit of an end to the rain. That area of low pressure, that former tropical cyclone that had been pounding that region for so many days in a row is moving on and is now affecting actually places farther to the south in New South Wales. Sydney has been getting tremendously heavy rain today.

I'm going to show you some pictures -- and these are just so dramatic it's almost hard to take your eyes off of it, Monita. Look at this, this is a rescue of a vehicle that became trapped, fast rising flood water. You can see how high the water is. It's moving around a lot because it's a helmet cam from the rescue worker. You don't see him, but you see the people in the vehicle, including a woman holding a baby.

Can you imagine, what a dramatic situation, to put him inside a pouch. And I guess (inaudible) even though he's crying, or she's crying, is young enough to actually do this. I can imagine an older child would probably have been fighting this a lot more.

What a scary situation for the parents, for the people that were with the baby? And then, put him in this pouch and the rescue worker puts the baby in his arms and goes to safety as the adults wait inside the vehicle. The baby was safe and sound and so were the other two adults in the vehicle. But just an example of how scary -- there he is -- wow -- of how scary the situation actually is and how dramatic and how quickly the water can actually rise.

And these pictures of the howling winds, it looks like a hurricane, it looks like a tropical cyclone, but it's the remnants of a storm, but there was actually a tornado that made landfall in some of these areas -- oh, very scary -- and a lot of injuries happening with this. At least one person dead. And like we were saying, the water continuing to rise in some of these towns in Queensland because all of the rain that's fallen has to move downstream still. And there are about 25 flood warnings, river warnings, already posted in New South Wales and also in Queensland. And this is -- and this is why, because it's been raining in some cases they've had three, four times their monthly average in just a matter of five to seven days.

And even though it's dry now, all of that water still has to drain down as they continue to try to pick up the pieces of what's happening there.

Come back over to the weather map. This is where the storm is now. Look at that, there's not much left it, right, it doesn't look like a big deal, but it has been bringing some very heavy rain. Even into Sydney they've had over 50 millimeters of rain just in the last 12 hours or so. And they're going to get more. And there's actually a warning saying that as the storm moves farther to the south we could see winds as high as 90, maybe 100 kilometers per hour. So that coastal and river flooding will continue in the north, the bulk of the rain begins to move south, and then eventually starts to move offshore. But it will be very windy here still overnight tonight and as we head into the day tomorrow.

With that said, I want to switch gears and take you to another part of the world. This has also been one of our top stories, just a tragic situation in Indonesia. This is in Sumatra, very heavy rain falling here, at least two landslides killed 16 people in this area. And this is a picture from Java in -- this is Jakarta, of course, and look at all that heavy rain that has been falling.

Monita, you've heard before of weather modification. Well, they're trying to do a type of weather modification here in Jakarta, according to AFP/Getty where they are seeding the clouds before they get to the city, so try to make it rain in other areas and not in the city proper, because this area, metropolitan area where 20 million people have been getting so much heavy rain. There's a lot of flooding. And thousands of people still living in shelters from the flooding we had, what, a week, two weeks ago. And look at that, so much more rain on the way. I don't know if it's working, but at least their trying. Back to you.

RAJPAL: Yeah, indeed. All right, Mari, thank you very much.

Coming up here on News Stream, in an empty field, a bomb blast and a carriage. It's part of new research into how trains and their passengers can be better protected in an explosion. We'll have more on that after the break.


RAJPAL: They're mindful of past bombings on train systems in London and Madrid, researchers are experimenting with ways to make trains less susceptible to attack. Nic Robertson shows us some of the genius solutions they've devised.



ROBERTSON (voice-over): Windows explode, shattering into lethal shards. Seats, doors, and posts become unguided missiles. This dramatic slow-motion video shows what a terrorist bomb does to a train.

CONNOR O'NEILL, SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, NEWRAIL: When we did the initial test on the decommissioned vehicle, we were quite surprised with the large amount of debris.

ROBERTSON: In this university laboratory, researchers are trying to change that and revolutionize train safety.

O'NEILL: The speed at which these object travel is very, very high and can cause some severe injuries. If we can reduce the amount of debris, we can reduce those injuries and hopefully reduce fatalities.

ROBERTSON: Terror attacks in London in 2005, killing 52 people on the rail and bus network, and the multiple terrorist bombs detonated on Madrid trains, killing 191 people in 2004, triggered research by a European consortium.

Newcastle University in the north of England took the lead, with simple, cheap fixes to hold fittings like lights and speakers in place.

O'NEILL: We've implemented a tethering technology, which is a thin wire which will help retain them in place, so even if they do become detached from their mountings, they'll actually stay pretty much in position.

ROBERTSON (on camera): In a carriage like this, it means the post, the glass, the seats, would stay in place. They would be manufactured to bend with the explosion. They wouldn't fly around and become dangerous debris.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): O'Neill shows me the results of his three years of research: scores of materials tested, the best built into what he says is a more bomb-proof train.

O'NEILL: This is our prototype, which we built including new technologies to try and improve the performance of the vehicle.


ROBERTSON: Plastic coating on windows stops them shattering. Those that do fly out are emergency exits and remain intact. Doors don't fly so far, and there is far less debris.

(on camera): The changes, if and when they are made, could impact a huge number of people. According to the American Transport Association, 4.5 billion rail journeys are made very year, and in Europe, according to European Government Office of Statistics, it's 8.5 billion rail journeys made a year on mainline trains and commuter networks, like this one.

(voice-over): Which is why mass transit has already become a target for terrorists. Making trains safer is far more than an academic exercise.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Newcastle, England.


RAJPAL: Well, London appears determined not to get stuck with obsolete Olympic venues. In just a moment, we take a look at the transformation taking place right now. You're watching News Stream on CNN.


RAJPAL: You are watching News Stream. Let's show you back -- show you our visual rundown of the stories that we are covering today. We told you about the relationship between Hillary Clinton and the U.S. president. And later we'll show you about what's happening to London's Olympic venues now that the games are over. But first, football and the incredible feats of Lionel Messi and another day brings yet another record for the Barcelona superstar.

Let's join Alex Thomas in London for the details on that. Hi, Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, hi Monita. Surely, Lionel Messi's favorite song is anything you can do, I can do better after again stealing the headlines from rival Christiano Ronaldo.

The Barcelona megastar became the youngest ever to pass 200 La Liga goals after hitting the net four times as Spain's championship leaders beat Osasuna 5-1 on Sunday. Messi scored in 11 consecutive league games, also a new record. And his tally for the season already stands at 33.

And that overshadowed Christiano Ronaldo's own landmark day when he scored his 300 goal in club football as Real Madrid beat Getafe 4-0.

The Portugal international went on to claim his fourth hattrick of the season. And he now has 21 league goals from 21 games, although Real are 15 points adrift of Barcelona in the table.

Tiger Woods would almost certainly clench the 75th tournament victory of his remarkable golf career later on Monday after remolding his swing for a fourth time, Woods declared himself happy with every aspect of his game after moving to 17 under par after seven holes of the final round at the Farmer's Insurance Open. Bad weather means the event will need to be finished later on Monday, but Tiger isn't expected to falter at Torrey Pines, a course he likes so much that he's already won there seven times in the past -- with shots like that you can see why.

Let's take a look at the leader board confirming Tiger's dominant position after three rounds -- well, after three completed rounds and a bit of the final round gone. Fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney the closest challengers.

Now Kobe Bryant says the Los Angeles Lakers have come up with a new identity after another season high for assists helped his struggling team produce a shock win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He only scored 21 points, but had 14 assists and 9 rebounds as they beat the second best side in the west 105-96 win the second in a row for the Lakers, as they try to get back into the playoff picture.

A season ending knee injury for Rajon Rondo was announced during the Celtics latest game, slightly marring their win over the reigning NBA champions.

With less than 10 seconds on the clock, a 3-pointer from LeBron James tied the scores at 87 apiece and sent this game into overtime.

Paul Pierce outstanding for Boston with a triple-double. He sets up Kevin Garnett for the basket that levels the scores again. Later the Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade tries to draw a foul on Pierce and then attempts the fadeaway jumper, but doesn't hit the target. And this one heads into a second overtime period.

Now with just over 30 seconds on the clock, Pierce knocks down the jumper over LeBron to give Boston a one point lead and they eventually clench a 100-98 point win, ending a six game losing streak.

Now let's finish with this lucky escape for snow mobile rider for Jackson Strong. A midair trick going wrong. He loses his grip on the 450 pound machine which speeds off when it lands heading towards a group of spectators who have to quickly get out of the way. One fan did suffer minor injuries after the accident at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. The rider, Strong, wasn't hurt at all despite falling around 40 feet onto the snow.

Glad everyone is OK. That's it. More on World Sport in just over three hours time. Back to you, Monita.

RAJPAL: I guess he lived up to his name, huh? Pretty strong guy. Alex, thank you very much for that.

Now six months ago the eyes of the world were on these sporting venues in London, the site of the Summer Olympic games. So what happened to the area now? Jim Boulden fills us in.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The crowds are gone, the name has changed to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Snow is on the ground. But six months on since the opening ceremony, the transformation of the site of the London 2012 summer games is well underway. The organizers have been planning this phase for years.

DENNIS HONE, CEO, LONDON LEGACY DEVELOPMENT CORP: The original $14 billion budget for the Olympic -- for the investment in Olympic Park and the games themselves included some $500 million for the transformation of the park after the games. So it was always -- it was budgeted for from day one.

BOULDEN: Gone already, the field hockey arena. So are all the seats in the basketball arena. While the athletes' village is being transformed into community housing. Soon, more housing and schools will be built nearby.

What hasn't been settled yet, will the local football club West Ham agree to a 99 year lease to play in the Olympic Stadium. A final decision is expected in March.

So the Olympic Stadium's long-term use is still uncertain, but its short- term use is now confirmed thanks to some concerts and athletics this summer.

Two big summer music festivals are moving from Hyde Park to the Olympic Park. And concerts will soon be announced for the stadium.

JOHN REID, LIVE NATION EUROPE: The Olympic Park is very, very easy to get to. So -- I mean, as we find out when they put 200,000 or 300,000 a day through the Olympic Park it's a great transportation hub. It's a compelling venue, an iconic venue, and that was very compelling. What we found is artists want to play there, so that's a good thing.

BOULDEN: The goal is to have part of the park reopened by the first anniversary of the games. The security fence will be removed. Grass and trees will replace parking lots. And the observation tower will reopen.

Until then, tourists can book a free bus tour to see the transformation and soak up the post-Olympics atmosphere.

Jim Boulden, CNN, London.


RAJPAL: So let's take a look at how other Olympic venues have fared. Well, here is Beijing's iconic Water Cube during the 2008 Olympics. Well, it's now used for events such as this swimming contest, very cute, and even as a catwalk for this fashion show.

You want to take a look at Athens now, shall we? And here is a softball game back in 2004. And here is that same stadium eight years later. The Greek capital has been heavily criticized for spending so much on construction for the games and then letting the venues languish. The aquatic center suffered a similar fate.

A biopic of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is getting some mixed reviews.


ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: Freedom. This is freedom to create and to do and to build and -- as artists, as individuals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, you're overreacting. Even if you were developing this for freaks like us, and I doubt you are, nobody wants to buy a computer, nobody.

KUTCHER: How does somebody know what they want...


RAJPAL: Premiered over the weekend at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in the United States. Actor Ashton Kutcher has generally received favorable press for his portrayal of Jobs, but the movie itself is being called shallow, saccharine and unsophisticated. Ouch.

One reviewer says it's like a two hour commercial.

Apple's other founder Steve Wozniak is -- says it's totally inaccurate. Jobs opens in theaters next spring.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues here at CNN. World Business Today is next.