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Women In Cairo Stand Up For Rights; Tens Of Thousands Gather for Chokri Belaid's Funeral; Massive Manhunt Underway In L.A. For Suspected Cop Killer; Blizzard Bears Down On U.S. Northeast; Beitar Jerusalem's Offices Torched
Aired February 8, 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: Now tens of thousands of Tunisians are paying their last respects to slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid. Now you can see his widow here draped in the flag. And the funeral procession, it made its way through crowded streets in the capital which have seen protests since Belaid's assassination on Wednesday. Mournings carrying posters, flags, and flowers have flooded Tunis today.
And elsewhere, riot police have fired tear gas at dozens of demonstrators. Live pictures from Tunis on the scene there, riot police gathering in anticipation of any more clashes today. Now this area has been a flashpoint for protests in the days since the death of Belaid.
Now let's take you live to Tunis and our senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is standing by. And Dan, first, there's been this massive gathering at the funeral. Can you describe the scene?
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was just quite incredible. Tens of thousands of people turning out to pay their last respects to Chokri Belaid. I mean, it was most of the way into the cemetery it was shoulder to shoulder, you just could not move. There must have been tens and tens of thousands of people that turned out. The cemetery itself was just a sea of people.
The funeral is going on right now, but in the center of Tunis again there have been more disturbances as I speak. We've got that live shot up here. You can see riot police on one street corner below where we are. But in all the little side streets around here, there have been sporadic clashes and tear gas fired for a third day.
LU STOUT: More tear gas being fired in anticipation of more violence. We know a general strike is taking place today, and of course what is a fear to be a flashpoint episode this funeral of the opposition leader. Speaking of whom, who killed Chokri Belaid? What's the latest on the investigation into his killing?
RIVERS: Well, at the moment there seem to be very few leads. I mean, there was a report of a man who left on a motorcycle with an accomplice, you know, thought to be about 30 years old, but no official claim of responsibility. I mean, a lot of people here of course are blaming the Ennahda ruling Islamist party for allowing the climate of violence to grow to such a point Islamist groups felt they can strike at an icon of moderation and secular Tunisia. But nothing concrete in terms of arrests or anything like that.
I think to be frank, the authorities are so busy just trying to keep law and order and stop the riots, but there's not much that we've been given in terms of information about the actual investigation -- the murder investigation.
LU STOUT: OK, understood. Dan Rivers joining us live from Tunis. And we'll talk again in about half an hour from now. Dan Rivers there.
Now police in Iraq say at least 26 people have been killed in multiple car bombings. A pair of car bombs went off in the Baghdad neighborhood of Qademiya (ph). It's mainly a Shiite area.
And here, you can see the aftermath of those deadly explosions. Separately, two car bombs went off near a bus station in Hillah (ph), that's about 100 kilometers south of Baghdad.
U.S. officials say the White House rejected a proposal last summer to arm Syrian opposition fighters and that the issue is now, quote, dead in the water. Now the officials say that the proposal was developed by top national security leaders, including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CIA Director David Petraeus. And testifying in front of a Senate committee in Washington on Thursday, both U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said that they had backed last year's plan to provide weapons to Syrian rebels. The White House has resisted arming rebels over concerns about extremist groups who have infiltrated their ranks.
Now inside Syria, fierce fighting continues in many cities, including the capital of Damascus. Opposition activists say that at least 161 people were killed on Thursday.
And on the other side of Syria's civil war is an army that still appears loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Now Fred Pleitgen traveled to Homs and shows us what life is like for Assad's forces on the frontlines in this exclusive report.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Taking a breather from fierce house to house combat in the city of Homs. The front line is just around the corner, and many of these soldiers have been fighting here for months.
The Syrian military has been fighting urban combat for over two years now. None of the soldiers here are willing to speak to us on camera, because they say they need special permission, but they assure us that their morale is not waning.
Between front line clashes and manning checkpoints, Syria's army is strained and stretched thin, but still appears mostly combat ready.
Much has been reported about abuses committed by soldiers fighting for the Assad regime, like the indiscriminate use of heavy weapons in urban areas, including tanks, artillery, and war planes. The United Nations say both the Syrian army and opposition forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In Homs, this family grieves for a son.
This was 19-year-old Ali Suleiman (ph), a soldier killed a week ago. His mother says Ali's body still hasn't been brought back from the front.
"Him on the front lines was painful for me," she says. "But I was with him hand in hand defending this country. I handed him to god, a sacrifice for the homeland."
The Syrian regime says its army is on the offensive against opposition forces. But this army is also suffering heavy casualties.
We were given access to the military hospital in Homs. The most recent batch of wounded hit by a suicide bomber at an army base. Survivors said about 20 soldiers were killed.
"The first explosion was at the gate," he says. "We went out. And it was awful seeing our comrades on the ground. As we went out, a second car came. We opened fire, but he drove into the building. The explosion caused the whole building and residential houses to collapse."
A senior doctor says the medical teams here are increasingly dealing with severe burns, the result of improvised explosive devices used by growing numbers of Islamist extremists.
"It's the same terrorism the Europeans and Americans faced in Iraq and Afghanistan," he says, "and allowed the French to fight outside their country in Mali. They insist on not seeing it here despite all the casualties and destroyed homes."
The international community says Syria's army has committed many atrocities, but in its ranks many soldiers have also paid the ultimate price defending a regime that's fighting for survival.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Homs, Syria.
LU STOUT: Now there has been a new development in the UK phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's News International. 144 people have received settlements from the company. Atika Shubert joins us now live from CNN London with more details. And Atika, tell us more, who has reached a settlement with News International?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONENT: Well, we've got 144 of them, some of them very big names: Jude Law of course, you might know -- excuse me, that was from a previous case. This would be Hugh Grant in this tranche. Also, the Duchess of York Sara Ferguson. Psychic Uri Geller, of course he was a friend of the late Michael Jackson. Those are some of the famous names.
But there is a lot of people who were not celebrities who also received settlements, including for example, a Catholic who was counseling the family of Charlotte Church the singer, and this is a particularly interesting case, because as you know what was happening was that the News of the World was essentially accused of hacking into the phones of these -- of celebrities, of people associated with celebrities in order to find out their plans, where they were going, all kinds of details.
And so what the lawyers of what a lot of these hacking victims have argued is that it created an incredible amount of distrust. They didn't know who was leaking this information. And you can imagine in the case of a Catholic priest this is particularly harmful that his information was being hacked by the press, somehow leaking out. It caused an incredible amount of distrust between him and Charlotte Church's family.
So these are just some examples of people who won settlements, 144 in all. We do not have exact numbers. The lawyer for Hugh Grant said he did win substantial damages and the lawyer for Christopher Ecclestone, another actor, said that he had also received sincere apologies, Kristie.
LU STOUT: So settlements made today to Hugh Grant, to Sarah Ferguson and 142 others. There were previous settlements. You mentioned Jude Law as well as the actress Sienna Miller.
We know that over the years News Corps has paid millions in settlements and legal fees related to the phone hacking scandal, but is it enough to shore up its reputation?
SHUBERT: Yeah, I mean, this -- the settlements are one way to try and draw a line underneath it. The question is, is it going to be enough? This is actually only the second tranche of settlements. You might remember, of course, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, they received about a year ago settlements in the range of between $40,000 and up per victim of hacking. So the question is how much longer is this going to go on?
There are still other victims who have yet to settle. For example, I believe there are about seven or eight who have refused the settlement offer from News International and have said they want to go on and take it to court, even further. That trial will begin in June, I understand. And so there's no -- it doesn't mean that this is an end to the issue. So News International will have to keep dealing with these settlements as they come forward.
It's also interesting to note that many -- some people are still being notified that they might have been victims of hacking. So this could go on for some time yet.
LU STOUT: Wow, that's incredible. So there could be more settlements. More payouts to come. Atika Shubert reporting for us live from CNN London. Thank you, Atika.
SHUBERT: Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up, as Egypt braces for Friday's protests we'll hear from women speaking out against sexual assault and intimidation.
And a major manhunt continues in the U.S. New leads in the search for a suspected cop killer.
And the Dreamliner is cleared for test flights as Boeing battles to get its super jet back in the air.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
You're watching News Stream. And this is a visual rundown of all the stories we're covering in the show today. And we will continue to follow the situation in Tunisia. And a little later, we'll look at how a storm is causing travel disruption on the U.S. east coast. But now, a manhunt is underway on the U.S. west coast. Now police in California are hunting for a suspect in three murders who may also be hunting for them.
Christopher Dorner is a former policeman who has written an angry letter declaring war on the Los Angeles Police Department. His manifesto says he wants revenge for being fired from the LAPD in 2008. And CNN's Casey Wian is in Los Angeles with more on the search.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A possible break in the hunt for Christopher Dorner as authorities find his truck burning near Big Bear Lake, California. Officers fan out, rifles drawn, as they search nearby woods and go door to door.
SHERIFF JOHN MCMAHON, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We will keep working on it until we are able to either locate the suspect or determine that is he no longer in the Big Bear valley.
WIAN: Dorner, a former Los Angeles cop, has threatened to hurt L.A. police officers and their families, police say in retribution for being fired in 2008. He allegedly laid out his plan in an online manifesto, saying, quote, "I never had an opportunity to have a family of my own. I'm terminating yours."
Dorner also attempted to contact CNN, sending a parcel to Anderson Cooper, in it a hand labeled DVD with a yellow post-it note that reads "I never lied," an apparent reference to his firing when Dorner claims he was forced out after reporting alleged police brutality. Also a coin wrapped in duct tape, which was inscribed with "Thanks, but no thanks Will Bratton," the former chief of the Los Angeles police department.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chances are he would have received it from me. It would have been the custom I have of when somebody activated to the military, heading overseas.
WIAN: CNN is cooperating authorities. Police say it began Sunday in Irvine when Dorner killed two people, Monica Quan, the daughter of a former LAPD captain, who represented Dorner in front of the police board that eventually fired him, and her fiance. Three days later in San Diego, police say Dorner attempted to hijack a boat. Then early Thursday, Dorner fires at police officers in Corona who were assigned to protect someone connected to Dorner's threats. One officer was hurt. Later in Riverside, two officers fired upon in what police call a cowardly ambush, one seriously hurt, the other killed. Dorner's manifesto states "The attacks will stop when the department states the truth about my innocence publicly."
SERGIO DIAZ, RIVERSIDE POLICE CHIEF: He's told us what he intend to do and so far he's done it.
WIAN: Leaving the community on edge, wondering when the violence will stop.
LU STOUT: And Casey Wian joins us now live from Los Angeles. And Casey, I know it's very early this hour where you are, but this is a massive manhunt. What is the latest right now?
WIAN: Well, the massive manhunt throughout nine counties in southern California continues. What's making it more complicated is those law enforcement officers who are trying to find Christopher Dorner are also potential targets themselves because of this online manifesto where he says he's, you know, got a vendetta against the Los Angeles Police Department and he's already allegedly shot at other officers throughout this region. So the police have been ordered in many agencies throughout the region to travel in pairs, because of the potential threat that exists.
Also, the investigation in the community of Big Bear, the mountain community north of here continues. Police do say that they expect schools and the ski slopes in that community to reopen today, but it appears that they are not much closer to finding this man right now.
LU STOUT: And Casey I don't know if you had a chance to talk to officers in the LAPD, but in this hunt for Dorner, he's an ex-cop, LA police are tracking someone who was one of their own. How are they taking this in?
WIAN: Well, it makes it very difficult, because clearly he has been trained by the Los Angeles Police Department. He was also trained by the United States military. He has high powered weapons. He also has nigh vision goggles. And he's familiar with the way that the people who are looking for him operate, so that makes it that much more difficult to catch him. And the longer it takes, the more likely it is that he could be gone from this area -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, Casey Wian reporting. Thank you very much indeed for that.
Beyond Dorner's training and his intent, as you just heard from Casey, what makes him so dangerous is that he's armed.
Now Joe Johns shows us some of the weapons he's suspected of carrying.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In his manifesto, Christopher Dorner said to news organizations, he says he has a Barrett 50-caliber rifle. So, take a look at it. It's probably something like this. It's a larger rifle that has a bigger kick. Some say it's a sniper rifle and it can put a round on a target from a mile away. Those rounds are huge.
Just to give you a sense of how big the rounds are, let's take a look right now if I can move this down. Here you go. Just an idea, comparing it to some of the rounds from resolvers, for example, a 357 magnum or a 45 long Colt, it's a pretty big round. And now, let's take a look at how it compares to a $5 bill. So, that gives you at least some sense about what we're talking about here.
It's well known that 50 calibers are good anti-vehicle guns because you can shoot straight through a vehicle's engine block. In fact, LAPD pointed out at one of these news conferences that one of the encounters this morning, Dorner allegedly disabled a vehicle at the scene, which would make sense if this was the type of rifle that was used in the shooting. Former ATF official, Mike Bouchard, told us just how much damage this weapon could do.
MIKE BOUCHARD, FRM. ATF OFFICIAL: You can disable cars, if a S.W.A.T. team was coming with heavy armament. There's a good possibility that it could penetrate that. It will penetrate ballistic vest, ballistic shields, any of those kinds of things.
JOHNS: The other weapon mentioned in the manifesto is this thing, it's a little scary, too, the SA-7 MANPAD, a Russian-made shoulder mounted, surface-to-air missile launcher. It is illegal in the United States. In fact, the State Department says on its Web site, anyone with knowledge of an illicit MANPAD should immediately contact the FBI.
LU STOUT: Joe Johns there.
Now not only is the missile launcher illegal, but the rifle is illegal in California as well. Not even the police are allowed to have the 50 caliber rifle that Dorner claims to have.
Now an update on Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner. Now the plane, it has been grounded worldwide for three weeks because of battery problems, and that grounding means that new Dreamliners may not be delivered on time. Norwegian Air says Boeing said there might be a possible delay in delivering their new Dreamliners. And this comes as the National Transportation Safety Board says it has identified the exact battery cell that caused an electrical fire on board a Dreamliner in Boston last month. But the NTSB still hasn't pinpointed why the fire started. It says it will also investigate Boeing's initial testing program, which led to the certification of the Dreamliner's lithium ion batteries. Now the federal aviation administration has approved test flights of the plane.
And it's worth remembering that even though the Dreamliner is the first aircraft to use lithium ion batteries, the technology is commonly used in consumer electronics. It's safe to say that many of you watching right now probably have many lithium ion batteries at home. If you have any of these devices -- if you have phones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, game consoles, if it's a portable device with a battery made in the last two years it probably has a lithium ion battery.
Now there's much more to come right her on News Stream. The streets of Egypt's capital can be a very dangerous place for women, but now there's a group determined to protect women from sexual harassment in Cairo. Stay with us.
LU STOUT: It's Friday night here in Hong Kong. And welcome back. You're watching News Stream.
Now Egypt is bracing for more mass protests today. Opponents of President Mohamed Morsy have called for Friday demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere across the country. In fact, 38 opposition groups are backing the rallies demanding a new unity government and amendments to the constitution among other issues.
Now Egypt's protection of women and their rights has been called into question amid growing reports of assaults and intimidation. It is particularly dangerous for women to take part in opposition marches in Tahrir Square. But now volunteers are on patrol in an effort to keep women safe. Ian Lee reports from Cairo.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A chaotic night on the streets of Cairo. A group of women moving through the crowd chant against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsy. Suddenly, a gang of young men and boys pushes toward them. In Egypt, it's not the tear gas or bullets women fear the most, it's sexual assault and harassment.
Journalist Shorouk El Attar knows this fear first-hand. Showing us where a mob attacked her near Tahrir Square.
SHOROUK EL ATTAR, JOURNALIST: I didn't know what to do. I just shouted. I was like seeking help, maybe. I don't know. But when I did so, it was horrible. It went crazy. It went very crazy. I couldn't see anything but a bunch of people around me -- surrounding me from everywhere, every direction. And like harassing me everywhere, like berating me.
LEE: Shorouk and her sister fought off dozens of men.
ATTAR: I had this moment when I was about to lose my consciousness and I controlled it because I felt if I lose my consciousness here I'll be gone, I'll just die.
LEE: Sexual harassment isn't just a Tahrir phenomenon, we've seen it plague Egypt for decades. But it's only recently, since the revolution, that we've seen it become more violent and more organized.
Many Egyptians turn a blind eye to the problem anxious it will tarnish the revolution and country's image. This man puts up a sign against sexual harassment. Moments later, someone has removed it.
Egypt's governments, past and present, have failed to address this issue. And often the women themselves are blamed for provoking the trouble.
ATTAR: We're always blamed. And it's always religious. It's always about what's the women should be wearing and should -- they should be wearing hijab. And when you show them some photos and some evidence for harassment for girls who are covered up and with hijab, they all -- they have to find something to blame on the girl.
LEE: But women, and men who recognize their rights, are fighting back. Graffiti on the walls display defensive options for women. Here, the newly formed and ambiguous black block tries to protect women who want their voices heard.
And then there are the Tahrir bodyguards. When the sun goes down, they go to work, patrolling the streets in packs during protests, to help women at risk.
TAREK NOJARA, TAHRIR BODYGUARD: So it might be like 20 -- sometimes it reach 100 of people trying to harass women, only one woman, and so our volunteers we train them to -- how to deal with it. We know how to go inside. And then we take her out.
LEE: Being on the front lines puts their members in jeopardy as well. This video allegedly shows a woman being attacked by men with knives and sticks. Tahrir bodyguards can be seen struggling to rescue her.
NOJARA: We are here. And we are fighting the sexual harassment. And one day this is going to be stopped from all the Egyptian streets. I mean Tahrir is just a start to move from Tahrir to all streets. And this is our next plan.
LEE: Unfortunately, they weren't there when Shorouk El Attar was attacked. She needed medical treatment, but says she won't be deterred.
ATTAR: We didn't get any of our demands after the revolution. The regime is the same. And everything the same. So this is the reason I still go to Tahrir Square. And what happened will not make a difference.
LEE: One woman for whom the revolution is worth the risk.
Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, people across the northeastern U.S. get ready for the big one, the big blizzard that is. We'll bring you the latest forecast in a minute.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now tens of thousands of Tunisians are in the streets of the capital to pay their last respects to slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid. His assassination on Wednesday triggered protests across Tunis. Elsewhere in the city, riot police have fired tear gas at dozens of demonstrators. Now this area has been a flashpoint for protests in the days since the death of Belaid.
Hugh Grant is among 144 people who received settlements from Rupert Murdoch's News International for phone hacking. Hugh Grant's lawyers said that he received substantial damages. Another actor's lawyer said he also received sincere apologies.
A suicide bomber on a motorbike has blown himself up near the city of Gao in Mali. Witnesses say that he drove into a group of Malian soldiers and detonated his vest. One soldier was killed. It is the first reported suicide bombing in Mali since French troops entered the country four weeks ago to try to drive out the Islamist rebels.
Now nearly 3,000 flights have been canceled as the northeastern U.S. braces for a major blizzard. As shops are packed, lines have formed at gas stations as people prepare for the worst. And motorists have been warned to stay off the roads when the storm hits later today.
And we are closely watching the situation in Tunis, Tunisia. And new clashes have taken place between police and protesters amid mourning for a slain opposition leader. Let's bring back our senior international correspondent Dan Rivers. Dan, what's the latest?
RIVERS: Well, I'm -- have a bit of bird's eye view on the main boulevard in the center of downtown Tunis. And again, crowds are gathering at one end of it at the northern end. Several hundred people. In the last half hour since I spoke to you, Kristie, again we've seen sporadic clashes with the police firing tear gas, chasing protesters down side streets. Many of the police on motorbikes armed with batons and attacking people that way.
I think the big fear, though, is that the tens of thousands of people who are currently at the cemetery waiting for the burial of Chokri Belaid, there's a suggestion that all those people are going to march into the center of Tunis. And if that happens, I think we're going to have a very volatile situation.
LU STOUT: Yeah, you're reporting there have been clashes. Tear gas canisters have been fired. We know that police, security officers are there at the scene. What about the military? Are they on standby to step in if needed?
RIVERS: They are. Yeah, we've seen armored personnel carriers on the streets. Haven't seen any soldiers playing an active part, but there certainly there is a military presence here. It's fairly small where we are, but we have seen military helicopters hovering overhead as well. One assumes that they are there as a last ditch backup in case things get really out of control here.
I think the really big problem, though, is controlling that sea of people that are currently at the cemetery. And if, you know, tempers get inflamed and people decide they want to march on the ministry of the interior it's very difficult to see how they're going to be stopped.
LU STOUT: You know, tempers are inflamed. And when you talk to the protesters who are out there this day, what are they telling you? Why are they out there protesting?
RIVERS: Well, we spoke to several people -- the people are coming up to us and say help us save our country, help us, you know, fight for freedom. I think they see that Chokri Belaid's assassination is a tipping point. And they're very concerned about the direction in which this country is heading. They felt that the whole point of the revolution was to overthrow dictatorship of the totalitarian regime of President Ben Ali. Now they feel that they are beginning on a slippery slope back towards that kind of repression and extremism. And they're just terribly concerned that the government, the Islamist led government isn't protecting people, isn't offering security, and isn't guaranteeing human rights here. And that, they say, is what the revolution was all about.
LU STOUT: Wow, the tension is clearly high. Tunisia is at a tipping point. Dan Rivers is there joining us on the line live from Tunis. Thank you, Dan.
Now in Nigeria, police are investigating the killings of nine people who were working for a government polio vaccination program. Now these attacks happened in the northern city of Kano. And the World Health Organization says Nigeria is only one of three countries that has failed to stop the transmission of polio, the others, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Let's get the latest now from Vlad Duthiers who is in Lagos. And Vlad, I mean, why would polio vaccinators be murdered there in Nigeria?
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a good question, Kristie. The reason is there are Muslim clerics that have called the vaccination program for polio a way by which the west will sterilize young children. And so people who follow these clerics, people who may not have the proper education to know that this is actually beneficial to them, have resisted efforts to have vaccinations. And this is exactly what the police think may have happened.
I spoke to one gentleman who works for an entity that is pursuing this eradication of polio in Nigeria. And he says that this is true, that there are Muslim clerics that have called for attacks on westerners who try to vaccinate children, but that in fact it's a fallacy. Obviously polio is a huge killer. The World Health Organization says that since 1988, they were -- you had 350,000 cases. They brought that down 99 percent so that you only had about 650 cases worldwide in 2011.
Now in Nigeria, the government from the President Goodluck Jonathan to the State Governors have all made it a priority to try to eradicate polio in Nigeria. But last year there was a slight uptick. They had about 120 cases in the country, that was up from the previous year 2011.
So this is an initiative that everybody from the government down to the NGOs are focused on, but there is -- there are small pockets of resistance, especially in the Muslim north, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, this is such an infuriating story. You have clerics calling for an end to polio vaccinations in a country that still desperately needs it. I mean, on the flip side, is there a public awareness campaign to tell people that polio vaccinations are safe and that they are very much needed?
DUTHIERS: There has been. As I said, the government here in Nigeria has really made it a priority to eradicate polio in this country. The governors of the states have also made it a priority. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made it a priority to eradicate polio in Nigeria, and in fact eradicate it in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well.
But this is similar to some of the attacks that we have seen, actually, in Pakistan. The Taliban there has also targeted polio vaccinators in that country for the very same reasons. This one gentleman that I spoke to today, who is part of an effort to vaccinate people across Nigeria said that in reality what happens is that when you hear the west, when people hear "west," they immediately think that it's something that is sent to harm them and in fact it's simply not true. And so they're battling that, that's a challenge for all the health workers that are vaccinating children, especially in the northern part of the country. You don't see it so much in the southern part of Nigeria, but in the northern part where this incident took place it's something that continues to be a major, major challenge, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Wow, polio vaccinators there in Nigeria up against so much, including securing their own safety. Vlad Duthiers, thank you.
Now the northeastern United States, it is bracing for a fierce winter storm that's expected to bring heavy snowfall from New Jersey to Maine. And people all across the eastern seaboard are stocking up ahead of the blizzard. They're clearing store shelves and waiting in long lines at gas stations. Now the storm is on track to hit the same part of the country that was slammed by super storm Sandy just last October.
Now it's the combination of two systems that makes this storm definitely one to watch.
And for the very latest, let's go to Mari Ramos, she joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Kristie. Yeah, let's talk about this storm. It is a pretty intense weather system. And it is that merging of these two storms, the ones what's just giving this a lot more attention and a lot more power.
What we have is an area of low pressure right here in the Mid-Atlantic region. That one is beginning to rise here to the north. So that's picking up a lot of moisture as relatively warmer air. And then there's another weather system coming in across the Great Lakes. This one has some moisture, not that much, but it definitely has a lot of cold air.
When these two systems merge together, we end up with this larger storms that intensifies very, very quickly and just rides right along the coastline here. The result is very heavy snowfall across mainly the northeastern U.S. here and very strong winds.
Some of the hardest hit areas, some of the areas that we're expecting to have the largest effect, as you mentioned, some of those areas his by super storm Sandy back in October. Those areas are going to get some very heavy snowfall, probably very strong winds, and even possibly coastal flooding.
But the epic snowfall is expected to be farther north in the city of Boston. And that's where we have our CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons. Hello, Indra. I can see the wind starting to pick up just a little bit there. What's the latest going on from Boston?
INDRA PETERSONS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, Mari, I want to imagine that you are here in Boston, Massachusetts. It's been a mild winter. We have 15 inches below normal for snowfall. And now there's reports of this huge monstrous blizzard headed this way. I mean, this could break records. We could break the record of 24 inches of snowfall in a 24 hour period. And we could potentially in Boston here break the record of the all-time blizzard where we saw 27.5 inches of snow and that was broken in 2003. So that's what we're potentially watching here.
Currently, conditions generally mild considering what's coming our way. Temperatures here right at the freezing mark. Winds, we're seeing about some 20 mile per hour winds out there. And visibility is great.
I actually want to show you the customs tower here behind me, because that's less than a quarter mile away. Now we always know when we see blizzard, we watch to see whether or not we lose visibility less than a quarter mile. So we're going to be tracking that as we go throughout the day today.
Now we're expecting as we go through late afternoon into the evening hours to see snowfall rates here of two to three inches per hour. Now if that's not bad enough, we're going to be seeing gusts of upwards of 50, 60, even 70 miles per hour not out of the question.
So when all is said and done, I could be standing here in three feet of snow. Some models even bring it higher than that. You add in the snow drifts that can be going over my head. So this is a monstrous storm.
And the good news here, people are adhering the Mayor Menino's warnings. They are staying indoors. They're not going out today if they don't need to. Schools are closed after noon today. Everthing is going to be shut down. Cars will be off the road. Everyone will be indoors.
And again, the crews are ready. They have over 600 trucks here, 4,500 are on standby. Even the National Guard here is on standby if need be. And the good news, with all the residents I've talked to, they feel confident, you know, that everything will be just fine. They're going to stay at home and resume business as usual come Monday.
In fact, I can tell you, in just the last few minutes starting to see a couple of snow flurries coming down.
So, yeah, the worst is yet to come.
You know, the people in New England, in Massachusetts they -- you'd say, well, they're used to these harsh winters. This makes it a little bit different, because of the gravity, because of how much snowfall is expected.
Now you mentioned the preparations there. Flights have been a huge concern. Have you seen anything with people maybe worry a little bit more where they think they're just going to clean this up pretty quickly and be able to go back to work on Monday?
PETERSONS: Yeah. Right now we're reports over 3,000 flights canceled. That, of course, is all of the northeast. And, yes, as far as you're talking about the concern, people are concerned. With all those trucks in place, with the National Guard in place, they're saying we're used to this. We trust our mayor and the government that this will be under control. The good news, of course, this is ahead of the weekend. So they'll have several days. This should start to clear out of here by Saturday.
But keep in mind, the winds will still be here. So those snow drifts, the low visibility will still be here through Sunday. Planes are expected to start to return by late Sunday, but that's only to start up service as we go back through Monday.
So hopefully after the weekend things will go back to normal.
RAMOS: OK, great. Well, you guys stay safe, stay in touch. That's Indra Petersons reporting to us from Boston.
And I'm sure -- I want to see the snowfall that high like you said, you know, a meter of snow, quite a bit. And like she said, starting a little bit of snow flurries there.
Kristie, these are the two weather systems that I was telling you about. This one right here with the rain that's already bringing a little bit of snow into portions of New York. And then this one right over here is the other one and it's going to be the merging of these two what's going to bring us the problems.
And those snow flurries she was talking about is probably a little bit of that that you see there. But the worst, so to speak, is yet to come. This entire area under a blizzard warning right now. Winter storm warnings for other areas.
And remember, it's not going to be just New England that's going to get this very heavy snowfall, it's going to be areas farther to the south all the way down into Virginia, possibly close to Washington, D.C. and portions of the eastern Great Lakes in particular are still under those winter storm warnings through the rest of the day today.
And one other thing that she mentioned, those 3,000 plus fights that have been canceled, Kristie, that is a huge deal. I saw tweets earlier today from the Paris airports saying we have a lot of flights canceled, of course, to the northeast and that is affecting other flights. British Airways was also saying call ahead, because we have a lot of flights canceled into those areas. And so with that many flights canceled, people all over the world are really could be impacted by this if you have any kind of travel plans to this very busy northeastern corner of the world.
And here in the U.S., forget it, this is going to take a long time to clear that backlog of stranded passengers.
Back to you.
LU STOUT: Yeah, highly disruptive, major nor'easter. And here's hoping that everyone is prepared for it. Mari Ramos there, thank you.
Now before the storm hits Boston, the Lakers were actually in town to play the Celtics. So who came out on top in the clash between the NBA's biggest rivals? Amanda Davies will have all the highlights next.
LU STOUT: Let's go live to Tunisia and at this very moment, the body of slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid is arriving at the cemetery there in Tunis under military escort. Now we've been watching scenes, crowds of people at the cemetery site at the funeral underway today awaiting for this moment.
Now Chokri Belaid, he was killed earlier this week in what's been called a political assassination. And what you're seeing there live scenes from the cemetery at the body of Chokri Belaid arriving at the cemetery under military escort.
Now his killing earlier this week, it has sparked days of clashes and violence in Tunisia. In fact, tens of thousands of Tunisians were in the streets of the capital to pay their last respects to him, to Chokri Belaid. And elsewhere in the city this day, riot police they fired tear gas at demonstrators.
Live pictures there from Tunisia as the body of the slain opposition leader Chokri Belaid arrives at the cemetery for his funeral under military escort.
And we'll continue to watch the situation there.
Now, racial tension in sport is surfacing once again. Amanda Davies joins us now with more -- Amanda.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kr istie. Yes, I can tell you the general manager of the Israeli Premier League side Beitar Jerusalem has told CNN in the last half an hour or so whilst they thought people might be angry at their signing of two Muslim footballers, they never expected the level of reaction to the decision that they've received. Itzik Kornfein has been speaking after the club's offices suffered an arson attack in the early hours of Friday morning. And that is just a day after four fans were charged in connection with racist incitement.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld has said the fire caused extensive damage to the premises next to the team's main training grounds and that the police are investigating a link to protests over the team's signing up of two Chechen Muslim players last month.
The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the violence as shameful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICKY ROSENFELD, JERUSAMEL POLICE SPOKESMAN: If we're looking ahead over the weekend, we're going to be carrying out security assessments into the level which has to be implemented for Sunday's game where Jerusalem Beitar will be playing against Sakhnin, the Israeli-Arab football team of Sakhnin.
But at the moment, specifically where we are in Jerusalem, the investigation is continuing and our units are working on finding exactly who is behind this incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: Well, "we will get you" is the message coming out of Australia as authorities step up their fight against doping discovered within professional sport in the country. And the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, John Fahey, said he expects tougher penalties to be adopted in response to the growing use of new generation performance enhancing drugs. While no one has yet been named from the investigation, doping agencies have urged the cheats to come clean to help fight the problem.
The Australian crime commission inquiry talked about widespread criminally linked drug programs. They accuse coaches, support staff, doctors and pharmacists of being involved in the provision of drugs to entire teams in a vast number of sports.
And the WADA director-general believes that the financial rewards in sport make performance enhancing drugs just too tempting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL HOWMAN, WADA DIRECTOR-GENERAL: The world of sport and money has just accelerated beyond belief over the last five or six years. The amount of money in sport now is staggering. You have that sort of money, you have greed. Where you have greed, you have crime. And that's why the criminals have got involved.
When it comes to doping substances in many countries of the world it's legal to distribute them. So you make a huge amount of profit for no risk.
So it's little surprise to me that this has occurred. It's a shock that it occurred in Australia, but I would like to suggest that it will be in other countries as well. And once we get to know that sort of information, people will be even more shocked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: And finally some news from the NBA. And the LA Lakers saw Dwight Howard back in action on Thursday night, but still suffered their worst defeat of the season against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics welcomed Howard, Kobe and Co. with Kevin Garnett just six away from reaching the 25,000 point milestone. And in the second quarter he got there with this faeaway jumper on Earl Clark. He gave the Celtics a 10 point lead and saw Garnett make history as just the 16th player to achieve the feat.
The Lakers struggled all night, though. Here in the third quarter, down by 14 when Paul Pierce struck. In fact, he scored 12 of his 24 points in the third. And the Lakers committed 12 turnovers on the night, this one from Kobe Bryant throwing the lazy pass to Steve Blake. It was stolen by Avery Bradley, very un-Kobelike, although he did bank 27 points off the bench.
It summed up the night for the night for the Lakers, though. The Celtics won 116 to 95, their sixth straight win.
That was it just a short round-up from me, but I'll be back with more in World Sport, of course, in about three hours time, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right. Amanda Davies there, thank you.
Now 25 years after first putting on the white vest, Bruce Willis is back in the latest Die Hard movie. So a time for a quick look at that and the rest of the movies opening this weekend.
CHRIS MOZINGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an explosive weekend in theaters.
BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: Need a hug?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not a hugging family.
WILLIS: Damn straight.
MOZINGO: Bruce Willis returns to the Die Hard franchise. The action moves to Moscow in A Good Day to Die Hard making its world debut in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore before going global next week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be dead.
MOZINGO: Warm bodies, a mix of zombies, romance and comedy is the number one movie in the U.S. Now the Zom-Romcom opens in a handful more countries, including the UK, Italy and Brazil.
The fairytale hit Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters also expands internationally adding theaters in Australia, Belgium, and Poland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do it the hard way or the easy way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd like to pick the easy way.
MOZINGO: And Melissa McCarthy of Bridesmaid's fame rips off Jason Bateman in Identity Thief. The comedy is coming first to the U.S., Croatia and Taiwan.
I'm Chris Mozingo and that's your new movie minute.
LU STOUT: And staying with movies and time for something completely different, a lot of snow shoveling action. If you're wondering what you're watching, it is a parody of Les Miserables performed by the South Korean air force. I can tell you that the video was posted to the air force's official YouTube channel, but I can't tell you why. Maybe they're just big fans of the movie.
Now, up next here on News Stream, flying like a squid out of water. Up next, Japanese researchers say that these sea creatures can fly faster than the Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now an American TV ad from Sunday's Super Bowl really got people talking. And some say the kissing commercial was disgusting, but it has definitely spawned some high profile imitators. Now who else, but Jeanne Moos reports.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ever since that GoDaddy Super Bowl ad aired, odd couple mouth-to-mouth has enjoyed a resuscitation. Jay Leno even proposed a replay with "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit model Bar Refaeli.
JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Any chance we could recreate the ad?
BAR RAFAELI, MODEL: Sure, pucker up.
MOOS: Things went from funny to kinky when Justin Bieber started making out with a mannequin...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justin! No, Justin!
MOOS: ... on Jimmy Fallon's show, and then he missed when he tried to make a basket with the head he'd just kissed.
One of the world's best soccer players got kissed on the head Wednesday by a fan who ran out on the field and tousled Lionel Messi's hair.
Another memorable lip lock got laughs when a mustachioed Will Farrell kissed an older woman on a bus in a Super Bowl spot for Old Milwaukee Beer. Two unforgettable kisses in one Super Bowl.
(on camera): Hey, stop averting your eyes. Stop squirming in your seat. You remember the song from "Casablanca."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): You must remember this. A kiss is just a kiss.
MOOS (voice-over): But even we see this next kiss is special. "The Today Show's" Willie Geist was doing a Valentine's segment, getting briefed on flavored lip balm called Kiss Sticks. One person applies peaches, the other cream, and when you kiss, you get...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peaches and cream.
AL ROKER, NBC METEOROLOGIST: How does that work?
WILLIE GEIST, CO-HOST, NBC'S "THE TODAY SHOW": No, Al, that's not going to happen here on "Today".
MOOS: But, oh, yes, it did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoo!
ROKER: Peaches and cream!
MOOS: The odd couple kissing trend is spreading like mono, which brings us to the 11th commandment: Do not speak ill of your kissing partner, even when you do more than 45 takes.
RAFAELI: He's a sweetheart.
LENO: And is he a good kisser?
RAFAELI: You tell me.
LENO: Yes, I guess that's true.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
LU STOUT: I just don't want to see that Justin Bieber kiss again.
Now, you've heard of flying squirrels, but what about the flying squid? Well, this picture, it was taken by professor Jun Yamamoto (ph) of Hokkaido University. Now his group captured this often rumored, but rarely documented phenomenon. The researchers say that they are the first to figure out exactly how a squid can fly and how it takes flight. It shoots out a jet of water, then -- should I act out for you -- it extends its fins and arms like wings. And the flight, it lasts about three seconds in total.
Now the species is small. It's about 20 centimeters. But get this, it can fly 30 meters, that's 150 times its own body length. And the maneuver is thought to be a defense mechanism. But being airborne has its own risks, for example, it increases the likelihood of this seagull having squid for lunch.
And that is News Stream. World Business Today is next.