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Syrian Kurds Flee To Iraq; Macau Company Develops Electric Motorbike; Syrian Rebels Besiege Three Northern Airports; Scientists Search Russian Lake For Meteor Remains; British Authorities Meet With Supermarket Chiefs Over Horse Meat Scandal

Aired February 18, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

As battle rages for control of three airports in northern Syria, thousands of families are running from the daily death and destruction. But their destination may surprise you.

Plus, we'll be live at this remote lake in Russia as scientists search for space debris after Friday's meteor strike.

And why parents grieving the loss of a child in China are also mourning the loss of a financially secure future.

And first we turn to Syria's civil war. Rebel fighters move forward in their offensive to capture airports near Aleppo in the north. Now clashes for the city's international airport has been going on since last week. And there has also been fierce fighting for these airports surrounding Aleppo.

Now the opposition says that this is a strategic move that could provide an edge in its fight for the country and act as a symbolic blow to the government of president Bashar al-Assad. Nick Paton Walsh reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Around Aleppo, rebels can already see their prize. It's key international airport, a hub for cargo planes, a vital artery for what's left of the regime in Syria's north.

It's now surrounded mainly by steeled Islamist fighters better armed, carrying the weapons they took from the army brigade that fled their advance. The battle of the airport, rebels say, began Tuesday.

To Aleppo's east, airport, one of their targets, its outskirts struck by jets Sunday.

North is (inaudible), seized for weeks.

And southeast is Nairab (ph) here also encircled by rebels.

The aim, to deny the regime places to land fighter jets and supplies in the north. That would be a major victory for rebels.

The regime again putting on a brave face. The prime minister addressing parliament Sunday touting their take on a troubled plan for peace talks. "I call on everyone from this podium," he said, "to be involved in this political process in order to save Syria. We can tell everyone we've put forward all the guarantees that aim to make this political process a success."

But even this only possible when the lights came back on after a lengthy power blackout across the country's south.

But the stranglehold around the regime has a downside, its use of horrifying firepower. This unusually large crater near Aleppo, rebels say, caused by a scud type missile fired from the south. Last month, near Daraya caught on tape exactly what one of these ballistic missiles can do.

The more the regime feels threatened, many fear, the more it will respond with savage force.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And let's get more from Nick Paton Walsh who joins us now live. And Nick, in your report just then we heard from the Syrian prime minister touting a plan to start peace talks. But will there be talks?

PATON WALSH: Well, the question, really, whose plan are you talking about? There is this move by UN-Arab envoy -- Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to try and get two sides talking what he refers to as UN premises, the location of that not entirely clear. And he believes and acceptable delegation, to quote him, can be found from the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition to come to that particular table.

Remember that the Syrian opposition want nobody from the military or security apparatus to attend those talks. And the regime themselves keen to have nobody, they refer to, as having blood on their hands there too.

So an awful lot of preconditions. The opposition is melting away to a degree. But there seems to be a slight gap between what the regime want these talks to be about, which is their idea of a strategy involving a national charter, some of the sort of sponsored internal opposition they have in Damascus involved, and of course an outcome which by no means sees Bashar al-Assad leaving power and the opposition for whom the departure of Assad is really the one thing they want to see. Plus, whatever they get, they have to sell to rebel fighters who find the mere idea of negotiation abhorrent, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Also, Nick, a new report from the UN commission of inquiry on Syria is out. Both sides guilty of war crimes. But will there ever be a trial?

PATON WALSH: That's the key point. And there are many, of course, will suggest that talk of war crime trials in the future -- when you're trying to get political negotiations off the ground -- is in some degree unhelpful. But of course the victims of these crimes want to see justice at some particular point.

Carla del Ponte, one of the authors of this particular report, spoke earlier about what will be eventually a list, a sealed list, of high level people to blame in the regime who they will be handing over eminently. Let's see what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLA DEL PONTE, FORMER ICC PROSECUTOR: Of course we were able to identify high level perpetrators, and we will indicate that in a list that will remain sealed, because what we need is a tribunal taking place, conducting a formal investigation and be able to issue an indictment against such perpetrators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PATON WALSH: Now what's key in this UN report is they believe that the government violations significantly exceed those of the rebels. They point out 12 instances they've documented in which regime jets have targeted bakery queue lines, clearly a civilian target. They say defectors have spoken about how they aren't encouraged to make a distinction between military and civilian targets. And on top of that, they also say that there have been instances in which clear civilian areas have been leveled by the regime, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Nick Paton Walsh reporting for us live from Beirut, thank you.

Now the chaotic exodus of Syrians fleeing the country's civil war shows no sign of ending. The United Nations refugee agency says hundreds of thousands of people have now sought shelter in neighboring nations. And of those, more than 219,000 Syrians have retreated south to Jordan while 185,000 have made their way west to Lebanon. That's only those have registered with the UNHCR. Almost 100,000 more refugees have contacted the agency in Lebanon, that means this small country is bearing the greatest burden from the displaced Syrians.

Now elsewhere, the UNHCR says that more than 181,000 Syrians have crossed into Turkey while some 17,000 have made their way to Egypt. Now another 90,000 headed east crossing the border into Iraq and that's a total of almost 700,000 people who have left their homes. And that number is rising daily. Now the UN refugee agency projects that by June, in four months, Syria's refugee population will have hit more than 1 million people.

Among the thousands who have fled their homes are Syrian Kurds who live mainly in the north of the country. Now they have been making their way into the Kurdish part of Iraq. Now a shortage of food has forced them to pack up their lives and to leave. And Arwa Damon witnessed the exodus firsthand.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The steady flow of man and beast extends as far as the eye can see trudging along this old smuggling route between Syria and northern Iraq, some too young to walk, or know why they've left home. Hunger forced them to leave.

Syria's Kurds have been spared the worst of Syria's bloodshed, but they are experiencing the same crippling shortages. A man cradling his crying baby turns and says to us, "we can't live. We had to run away."

His family made the trip from a Kurdish neighborhood in Aleppo, weaving between front lines. It took them five days, most of it on foot.

The Kurdish authorities of northern Iraq have made this into a semiofficial border crossing run by their own fighters, the Peshmerga, not Iraqi guards. It's an emergency step, they say, to deal with the numbers fleeing, and make it easier for supplies to reach those who have stayed behind.

For some, it's a business, packing mules and horses with products bought in Iraqi Kurdistan to sell in Syria, or carrying as much as they can.

Along the side of the road around half an hour, 45 minute walk from where everyone is crossing is this small market. And it sells just about anything that they can't find inside or that has become too expensive. Here we've got the stacks of frozen chicken, product of USA. And inside, basic things: lentils, rice, macaroni, they're also selling a lot of candles and these lanterns here, too, because of the lack of power in Syria.

Said (ph) and his friends are determined to tough it out at home in Syria, but two years of upheaval have brought rampant inflation and unemployment.

"There is no work," Said (ph) says. "We can't afford to buy things at the market." So once a week they hike into Iraqi Kurdistan.

So even things like this are in short supply in Syria, your basic plastic pitcher to pour water from. So they've had to come into Iraqi Kurdistan to buy it. In Syria, this costs around $2. And here it's less than a dollar. And cigarettes -- he's bought cigarettes as well.

It's far from your typical shopping trip. They want to show us how they get here.

We climb a hill for a better view.

So basically they're forced to take this long, winding dirt route, they can't just go straight over, because they're concerned about the fact that the land on either side are actually mined. So the Peshmerga have given them these leaflets warning them about the mines and the unexploded ordinance that exists.

24 year old Assim's (ph) voice echoes through the hills, a song he wrote about all they've had to endure.

"We don't want death and killing," he says he's singing. "We want peace and freedom and security."

Peace, freedom and security, a dream far more distant than these hills.

Arwa Damon, CNN, on the Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria border.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, people in central Russia are still reeling after that visit from space. We'll have a live report from the frozen lake where pieces of an exploding meteor landed.

And the horse meat investigation in the UK is turning up the heat on suppliers of meat. The government wants answers from the nation's top food sellers.

And we'll bring you new detail in the murder case involving Oscar Pistorius. Officials are revealing specifics about his girlfriend, how she was shot and killed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: And life is returning to normal in Russia after a rare meteor explosion over the Ural Mountain. Emergency workers in the hard hit Chelyabinsk region, they spent the weekend repairing damage. The meteor shockwave, it shattered glass in thousands of buildings and at least 1,000 people were injured.

And now scientists are scouring the impact area. Now they are paying particular attention to this lake as they look for meteor fragments.

Now the search has had mixed results. Now Phil Black joins us live from that frozen lake in Chelyabinks. And Phil, tell us what have scientists been able to discover there?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, they have found what they believe are fragments of the meteor that tore through the sky here on Friday morning.

This is a very cold spot as the temperature begins to plummet and the sun is dropping here -- we've been here through the day, but throughout this, we've still seen locals coming here to take a look at this site, because this is a confirmed impact point from that meteor. Just over my shoulder behind me you can see where those people are standing is the mark left in this frozen lake from what people say was the impact.

People who saw the meteor crash down here say the result was snow and ice being thrown up high into the air and a big cloud of steam.

Scientists believe very strongly that there's a big piece of the meteor somewhere now beneath this ice, beneath 10 meters of water, on the bottom of the lake. Some divers have been in to see what they can find. They weren't able to find anything, they say. The visibility was poor. They're going to make another go, they believe, when the snow and ice melts here in the warmer months.

But, what they have found here on the surface are smaller fragments, roughly thumbnail sized, not very big. But they say that the makeup of these little fragments very high in iron, consistent with what -- consistent with other meteorite fragments that have been found from impacts in other parts of the world, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And as this scientific investigation and the cleanup is taking place, the healing as well -- I mean, over 1,000 people were injured, many of them children. How are they coping?

BLACK: Well, I think a lot of people are now quite relieved to have lived through that -- having lived through the fear, the chaos, the panic that existed in this region for those few moments as the meteor tore through the sky, as people were hit by that very powerful shockwave.

We've been speaking to a lot of people over the last few days. And when they reflect upon it, they say they still very easily, very clearly feel the fear, the uncertainty, in many cases the sheer terror that they experienced during those 30 or so seconds that the meteor made its descent through the atmosphere towards the Earth's surface. In particular, children are still, their parents tell us, very scared as a result of what they experienced, what they lived through.

We've been meeting the children whose parents say that they are too scared to stand close to windows and glass. And ask if that window or glass is likely to explode again in the future.

So the superficial damage, the physical damage, is pretty light both to the buildings and in most cases to the people as well -- broken windows, some cuts and scratches. But in some cases, people are going to be really thinking about this and dealing with this for time time to come Kristie.

LU STOUT: That's right. I mean, this is a terrifying event. And thankfully not a deadly one. But will there be a warning ahead of the next one? I mean, is there some sort of a program in Russia to pinpoint asteroids and meteors before they strike next and enter the atmosphere?

BLACK: Well, there isn't yet, nothing like that yet at all. But we've heard a lot from Russian officials and Russian politicians over the last few days in saying there should be, and they believe there will be. And they say they're going to try and accelerate some sort of program. Perhaps it will just be a Russian built designed run program, or some have also been talking about the need to really try and tackle this problem in an international sense, to work with all the countries of the world to have something to offer, or could possibly have something to offer to such a program, because the threat, obviously, could potentially be a global one as well, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Phil Black, joining us live from Chelyabinks, site of that rare meteor explosion. Thank you so much, Phil.

Now scientists are examining small fragments of the meteor and the bits that reached the Earth's surface without being vaporized. And NASA says that the meteor measured 17 meters before it entered the Earth's atmosphere. Now that is roughly the length of one train car on the tube. Now the U.S. space agency says it released as much as 500 kilotons of energy. Now that is 30 times more powerful than the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan during World War II.

Now let's leave the meteorite story for now. And this is a visual rundown of all the stories we're covering on the show today. And now I want to get more on the horse meat mislabeling scandal being discussed at dinner tables across Europe.

Now the UK's environment secretary is to meet executives from British supermarkets in the coming hours. He has called for complete overhaul of Europe's food testing system. And is set to ask how retails intend to restore public confidence in the beef they buy. Now British food safety officials say thousands of alerts are sent across Europe each year about concerns over food product.

And CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is following developments. He joins us now live from CNN London. And Nick, how far reaching is the horse meat crisis in Europe? And what are authorities across the zone doing about it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, I suppose one of the ways that it's being measured of how far it's having on impact, the surveys that are being done on consumers and here in Britain, a quarter of all people now say they are less likely to buy processed meat and 67 percent of people, that's more than two-thirds, say they are less sure about what they are buying from what is says on the label from what the products is, that they are concerned about that.

And that is what Owen Patterson, the Secretary of Environment, will be pushing the supermarket bosses when he meets with them inside the next hour that what the government in Britain is saying that the supermarkets are the last line of defense before the consumers, and they must guarantee that what their products that they sell on their shelves say on the label, that this matches the reality of what's inside the packet.

But we've already heard pushback from some of these supermarket bosses themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALCOLM WALKER, CHAIRMAN ICELAND FOODS: Retailers are not to blame for all of this. Retailers do stringent checking with their suppliers. This came from left field. It was unexpected. And it's all right now, the media and government are saying, well you should have checked. We are checking all the time. And what you're reading in the paper now is that maybe (inaudible) was warned about this 18 months ago and did nothing. So don't blame -- don't blame us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: So what is becoming clearer here is that what it will take to oversee and administer the changes in the processing, in the handling of meats down the lines in the crossing of borders by different meat products, by the paper chains that were initiated by the movements of these pieces of meat is going to take a long time to clear up and to get that consumer confidence back on track, the quickest and most efficient way the government in Britain has determined, at least, is to make the supermarkets accountable despite their grievances about how all this is being handled, Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, it is incredible how consumer attitudes are changing in a big way as a result of this horse meat scandal. And we heard just then from Malcolm Walker saying retailers are not to blame. So if we are to pinpoint one group, one agency, one authority, I mean who is to blame? How did horse meat get labeled as something else and get into the food chain?

ROBERTSON: I think what's becoming apparent is that this is beyond the scope of blaming one person, one group, one institution. I mean, we've heard from the Irish agriculture minister just last week saying that -- exactly that, that no one person is responsible. He declined to describe it as a problem of epidemic proportions. However, alarm bells were rung. We've heard from the British food standards agency saying that letters were exchanged between Denmark, Italy and Hungary last year over concerns that horse meat from Denmark had perhaps got into the food chain erroneously.

We heard from the food standards agency saying that there were many thousands of messages like this communicated. Clearly it appears, at this stage at least, that there was little followup or real alarm raised. And we heard in Britain in 2011 that one of the scientists involved with the food standards agency at that time wrote to the secretary of environment, the who is leading the charge against the supermarkets right now complaining and saying that there was a real possibility of horse meat getting in the human food chain here erroneously again.

So the alarm bells have been out there. And at the moment it's far too complex a situation to be able to point the finger in one direction. And it does appear that there -- blame is going to be laid at many people's doors yet on this.

LU STOUT: Yeah, incredible, the warnings have been out there, have been out there since 2011. Nic Robertson on the story for us. Thank you, Nic.

Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up next, China's one child policy is well known, but not the pain felt by parents who lose their only child. And there's another effect you may not have considered. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.

Now, concerns about China's one child policy are growing. Some people once supported the rule are now critical of it. And for one family, in particular, the change heart has to do with the loss of their only son. Matthew Chance shares their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: The name on the headstone is of Tian Yao (ph), his parents' only son. He died of cancer last year at just 21, leaving this family shattered.

"Other families are celebrating the spring festival together," his mother cries. "But look where we are."

This is China's one child policy gone tragically wrong.

At their apartment in Beijing, Tian Yao (ph) lived and died. There's no bitterness here, just concern about how they will manage in a country where pensions are low and children are expected to look after their parents in old age.

TIAN LIANPIAO, FATHER (through translator): A lot of people before us and after us supported the policy. We supported it. But the current policy does not have a concrete plan. And although little by little they are trying to make it complete, I think that the government will not care for us. We're 50. As we get older, what will happen?

CHANCE: Of course, for a parent, the loss of a child is always deeply traumatic and sad. But here in China, because of the strict one child policy, the death of a daughter or a son, can be even more devastating, depriving millions of families not just of a loved one, but of a future.

Help is scarce, but at the offices of beloved delivery hotline, an aid agency in Beijing, childless pensioners are offered counseling and financial support to enter retirement homes. But organizers say the Chinese government should do more.

XU KUN, CARE WORKER (through translator): They need a policy for the consequences of the one child policy. What you see is middle-aged and elderly people facing the difficulties of growing old without anyone to depend on. They must quickly implement policies that compensate them for this.

CHANCE: Back at their son's grave, the parents of Tian Yao (ph) are overwhelmed.

"Let's go now," sobs his mother. "But we'll be even more sad."

For many of China's bereaved parents, mere compensation could never be enough.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your headlines. Now police say five people have been killed and at least seven wounded after two suicide bombers attacked a government office in Pakistan' Peshewar area. Security forces exchanged gunfire with militants after the assailants threw grenades and entered the building. Now political parties were gathered inside, and the site also houses the tribal court. It is not known if the political meeting was a target or if the militants were trying to help the prisoners escape.

Now the British prime minister has arrived in India on a mission to win new investment. David Cameron's 100 strong delegation is the biggest of its kind that has ever accompanied a British prime minister. However, the trip is in danger of being overshadowed by allegations of fraud relating to a $750 million helicopter deal that India made with an Anglo- Italian company in 2010.

Now bosses of Britain's biggest supermarket chains are meeting with the government under pressure to restore public confidence in food. The meeting comes as consumers continue to reel from news that many beef products had been mislabeled, and in fact contained horse meat. Now Britain's environment secretary has called for a complete overhaul in food testing to prevent another similar scandal in the future.

And we are continuing to watch what Nigerian police say is the kidnapping of seven foreign workers in the offices of a construction company. And for that, Vladimir Duthiers joins me now live from CNN Lagos with the very latest. And Vlad, first some background, who has been kidnapped? And exactly how were they taken?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Here's what we know, Kristie. Seven foreign nationals were kidnapped in Bauchi State in northeastern Nigeria. There was an attack on a prison prior to the attack on a construction camp. The construction company that runs that camp is the Lebanese owned Sitraco. Seven foreign nationals were taken during that raid. And subsequent to just in the last hour or so, we've had confirmation that the group that has claimed responsibility for carrying out these attacks is the Boko Haram offshoot known as Ansaru.

This is a more shadowy group. Not a lot of information out there about them. But what we do know is that they, unlike Boko Haram who have targeted churches and schools and security forces in northeastern Nigeria, Ansaru has targeted in the past foreigners, and foreign interests. And just last year in December, they raided a construction company that was owned by a French company and kidnapped a French construction worker in mid-December of last year.

Prior to that, in March of 2012, it is said, and they have claimed responsibility, for the kidnapping of an Italian construction worker along with a British construction worker. That ended in disaster when British special forces, along with Nigerian authorities, tried to rescue those two hostages and they were killed in the subsequent attack.

Now hard -- sort of an offshoot of Boko Haram, but seemingly with very, very different motivation. And so far in each of those cases where they've kidnapped foreign nationals, Kristie, they have not asked for ransom -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Interesting. So CNN has confirmed that this group Ansaru is behind this kidnapping. And given the threat of Ansaru and Boko Haram, and of course criminal elements inside Nigeria, just how common is the kidnapping and targeting of foreigners in the country?

DUTHIERS: Well, you know, it used to be very common in the 90s and early 2000s in the southern part of the country, in the Niger River delta area. And there you tended to see kidnappings that were for money. These are kidnappings of oil executives, of people working in the gas industry. The kidnappings would occur. The money would be demanded, sometimes paid, hostages released. It tended to be -- there tended to not be any violence tied to those kidnappings.

This is a very different -- this is something that we haven't really seen all too often in Nigeria which is the targeting of foreigners by a militant Islamist group. And that is what is -- is just a little bit different, although they have carried out attacks and kidnappings in the last couple of years, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, a very worrying development. Vladimir Duthiers joining us live from CNN Lagos. Thank you very much indeed for that update.

Now, let's turn to the case of the South African athlete Oscar Pistorius. The man called The Blade Runner is due in court on Tuesday. And police have charged him with the murder of his girlfriend. Pistorius has rejected the allegation. His management company says that Pistorius has pulled out of five upcoming races to focus on the legal proceedings. And on the same day Pistorius returns to court Reeva Steenkamp will be buried.

Authorities have said little about the possible motive for the shooting, but prosecutors plan to upgrade charges to premeditated murder. Nkepile Mabuse has more on how her death has shocked South Africa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the shopping center just up the road from Oscar Pistorius' house, there's still shock and disbelief that the eight time Paralympic medalist is accused of murdering his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

"I saw them the Sunday before the shooting," this man says. "They were holding hands and looked so happy."

"I'm very upset," this man says. "He was very generous. He tipped us more than $10 every time. The only reason I never went to bed hungry was because of Oscar Pistorius."

The double amputee, the first ever to compete in the able-bodied Olympics, is charged in the death of model Reeva Steenkamp. CNN has been told investigators believe that in this high security complex where he lives, Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a closed bathroom door and then carried her downstairs where she died.

His family says he's innocent.

ARNOLD PISTORIUS, FATHER OF OSCAR PISTORIUS: We have no doubt here is no substance for the allegations. And that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refute any possibility of a premeditated murder, or murder as such.

MABUSE: This is where Oscar Pistorius spent the weekend in a police cell with a charge of premeditated murder hanging over his head. Just around the corner from here is Pretoria Boys High, a school that prides itself with producing some of South Africa's greatest achievers. Among them, Oscar Pistorius.

The case has reignited a debate over gun control and the high levels of domestic violence in the country.

RACHEL JEWKES, MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL: When we look at all murders of women, our rate of murder of women in South Africa is about five times higher than the global average.

MABUSE: She says tougher gun laws instituted in 2000 significantly reduced the overall homicide rate in the country, but not intimate partner murders.

JEWKES: Many countries in the world don't even collect data on the proportion of women who were killed by intimate partners. But a country like the United States does have those statistics, enables us to make a direct comparison. And there we see that South Africa has a rate that is three times higher than the rate found in the U.S.

MABUSE: Pistorius, who has not yet issued a plea, already is assembling a high profile defense team, an indication he's approaching this case with the same determination that has won him international acclaim in athletic arena.

Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Johannesburg.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned from Cuba on Monday. He had been undergoing cancer treatment there. And Venezuela's information minister, Ernesto Villegas says that Chavez is having trouble speaking, but says that it's only temporary.

Now Hugo Chavez announced his return on Twitter. In a series of tweets, he thanked god, the Venezuelan people, and Fidel and Raul Castro. He says that he will continue his treatment in Venezuela. Now Chavez used to be fairly prolific on Twitter, but these are his first tweets since the first of November.

Now a sports update is straight ahead as the NBA's best players show off in the annual all star game. Alex Thomas will have all the highlights next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now these videos make up a visual rundown of all the stories we're covering on News Stream this Monday. We've already taken you live to a remote lake in Russia where scientists are searching for fragments of a meteor. And just ahead, we'll meet the Spanish family whose tsunami survival story inspired one of the movies hoping to win an Academy Award.

But now it's time for sports and the NBA's all star game. It was the weekend when basketball's big names came to play. And not for the first time the West got better than the East.

Let's join Alex Thomas in London for all the details -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. Yeah. From husband and wife, singer's Jay-Z and Beyonce, the world's fastest man Usain Bolt, there were almost as many celebrities in the crowd as on the court for this season's NBA all-star game. And for the third year running, the best in the West got the better of the Eastern Conference's top players.

LeBron James didn't dominate in quite the same way as he normally does for The Heat. This impressive slam part of only 19 points on the night. And it was L.A. Clipper's star Chris Paul who picked up the MVP award after 15 assists. Oklahoma's Kevin Durant benefiting on more than one occasion. Durant was on court longer than anyone else. And he scored a game high 30 points.

Now Kobe Bryant also turning provider for the Thunder star. Durant down 13 from 24 shots.

Let's take a look at James losing the ball again. This time Blake Griffin takes advantage. The Clippers star racked up 19 points, although Paul added 20 of his own as the West went out winners by 143-138.

Motor racing driver Danica Patrick is known for changing perceptions in her sport. And she certainly added to that reputation after becoming the first woman to claim a pole position in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series. And not only that, she did it for next weekend's famous Daytona 500 race.

Although Danica was quick to point out that a qualifying lap isn't as difficult as winning the race, she hopes her performance may prove inspiring.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANICA PATRICK, DAYTONA 500 POLE-SITTER: I love that to go beyond racing it in general. I mean, just to kind of break gender barriers I feel that one of the coolest things is to be able to think that parents and their kids are having that conversation at home about it and to, you know, I've heard stories about a little kid, a little boy or girl, saying, but mommy, daddy, that's a girl that's out there racing. And then they can have that conversation to say you can do anything you want to do and gender doesn't matter. Your passion is what matters.

And that's cool.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: Rafael Nadal has sent out a warning to his rivals at the top of men's tennis after winning the Brazil Open. He beat David Nalbandian in straight sets to show he's on his way back to his best. Last week, the Spaniard lost his first tournament since returning from a seven month injury layoff. He now says he's feeling better than ever.

And Serena Williams' coach says the American is trying to beat the records of Matrina Navratilova and Chris Evert after becoming the oldest world number one in the history of women's tennis. The landmark for Williams came despite losing to the woman she replaces at the top of the rankings Victoria Azarenka.

Azarenka took the opening set and then lost the next before claiming the Qatar Open title with victory in the deciding set of the final. But according to her coach, Williams is now targeting the 18 grand slam titles of Navratilova and Evert which would take her up to second in the all-time list just behind Steffi Graf.

That's all for now, back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Alex Thomas there, thank you.

Now, no one is saying who had the better score in what might have been the most interesting round of golf so far this week. Barack Obama teed off with Tiger Woods Sunday at a course in Florida. This is the first matchup between the president and the golf pro. And rounding out the foursome were Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and the outgoing U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk.

Now in the Chinese territory of Macau, scooters can be seen winding through the traffic every day, but their popularity means a lot of pollution. So what about electric scooter? Now that means charging a battery, which can take hours.

Andrew Stevens tells us about one company that has a plan to make them both clean and convenient.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Macau, motorcycles are the way to beat traffic.

"All the cars, buses, taxis, tour buses, and so on just get stuck in traffic. If I have to go to work or deliver important documents, I can ride a motorcycle instead."

Motorcycles make out around half of the more than 200,000 vehicles here. Alexandre Chan (ph), chairman of Oasis in the electric motorcycle company, says the motorcycle's popularity has meant more pollution.

ALEXANDRE CHAN, CHAIRMAN, OASIS (through translator): The huge increase in motorcycles has dramatically increased the health risks facing the city, because cars and motorcycles are different in their pollution output. Cars have components that can reduce the pollutants in their output, but motorcycles do not have them, because motorcycles are smaller and cheaper.

STEVENS: That's why Chan wanted to go electric, forming the first company to design and assemble electric motorcycles in Macau. He says Oasis electric motorcycles can reach top speeds of 60 kilometers an hour, travel 80 kilometers on a full battery, and start at a price of around $1,500 US dollars. And of course electric means zero emissions.

But the biggest hurdle for electric has been convenience. It takes six hours to charge one of the batteries, and a charging station may not be easy to find.

ERIC CHENG, HONG KONG POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY: Compared with a petrol version (inaudible) petrol station so that means to refuel the vehicle will be quite easy. But for motorbike, electric motorbike, then it's very hard to find many charging stations. And everything will be the charging time. For a Petrol refuel, it's only three minutes, but for the vehicle charging, probably really several hours even with a quick charger we still need half an hour.

STEVENS: Currently there are two charging stations in the Macau, but the government has plans to set up nine more.

CHENG: I think in the future if we can deal with the charging time to (inaudible) time, and also important energy content. So perhaps half the time to charge you can go for several hundred kilometer. So that's in the near-term what we have been thinking.

STEVENS: Until then, Chan wants to set up a leasing program to ease the charging burden.

CHAN (through translator): You drive your motorcycle to a lot, leave it to charge, and take another one. This cuts down on time waiting for it to charge. This makes it more convenient for everyone, more convenient for the citizens.

STEVENS: He hopes Oasis can help put Macau on the map in new ways.

CHAN (through translator): I wanted to let people know Macau isn't just for gambling. Our manufacturing industry can also meet world standards. We can also help the world in reducing pollution through technology.

STEVENS: Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, we will meet the Spanish couple whose heroic story of survival is shown in the Oscar nominated film The Impossible.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now what is the most you've ever paid for a jacket? Does more than $600,000 sound excessive to you? Well, that was the price that was paid for this garment, but it is a piece of history. It is President John F. Kennedy's Airforce One bomber jacket. And despite a pre-auction estimate of $40,000, the price had shot up to $629,000 by the time the bidding closed.

Now time now for your world weather check. And in Indonesia, reports of more fatal floods and landslides. Let's get the details now with Samantha Mohr. She joins us from the world weather center -- Samantha.

SAMANTHA MOHR, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Oh Kristie, we have had torrential rain across the region. Of course it is the rainy season here in Indonesia. We're nearing the end of summer, the last month or so of summer. And since Saturday, most of this occurring on Sunday, we've had 242 millimeters. Normally in the month of February they get around 382. So about two-thirds of their monthly rainfall occurring in just 24 hours. And this is what resulted from all of that rainfall.

Folks up waist deep in flood waters here. A landslide occurred as the folks were cleaning up from a previous landslide. They had heavy rain last week. So folks getting around by boat, flooded homes, flooded apartments. As a result of all this, many people had been moved from their homes. And also 15 fatalities, 15 people died as a result at these heavy rains, three of those were children.

And unfortunately, this is a wet pattern for us this time of year. You can see here on the satellite picture of that moisture moving from east to west, this is south of the equator, of course, near the intertropical convergence zone which very active for much of the year, but especially this time of year in the Southern Hemisphere.

So we're continuing to see heavy rain. In the next 48 hours more rain is expected, not as heavy as we saw over the weekend, but we'll continue to see these episodes of heavy rain off and on at least for the next month or so. So already saturated ground causing problems there.

Over to Europe. And we have two different weather patterns here with a big ridge of high pressure that's making for a mild weather pattern. And then a trough of low pressure allowing wintry weather to move on in. This is actually the snow moving in the next 48 hours. And that's a result of that trough in the jet stream allowing weather systems to slide right through, bringing in that cold air. And winter, of course, continuing across much of eastern Europe, while in western Europe it's mostly sunny and springlike.

But we are dealing with some fairly substantial snowfall amounts in Norway into Germany and Poland as we head through the rest of today.

So Berlin could see some air delays there. We're expecting overnight to see some 45 to -- 45 minute to an hour delays in Berlin. Copenhagen could also see some halfhour to 45 minute delays. And Stockholm and Barcelona could also see some minimal delays.

But boy the temperatures -- loving it, pretty mild for this time of year in Glasgow and in London at 10 degrees for Tuesday. And Paris, you're looking at 8 degrees. While the cool temperatures continue here in Berlin in Vienna for the most part.

And then as you can see, here's some of these temperatures feeling pretty good the next few days while the slight cooling trend in London and into Paris as we head into the next few days. We'll stay a little bit below average for this time of year. No big polar express coming through, but definitely a little cooler. So enjoy the mild temperatures while they last.

Kristie, back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Good news for folks in that part of the world. Samantha Mohr there, thank you.

Now British actress Naomi Watts is one of this year's Oscar hopefuls. She has been nominated as best actress for her role in The Impossible. Now the film is based on the story of a Spanish family who survived the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Al Goodman introduces us to the real life inspiration for the film.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AL GOODMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In The Impossible, Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor portray the parents with three sons on Christmas vacation in Thailand in 2004. Maria Belon and her husband Enrique Alvarez are the real parents who survived the tsunami with their sons.

MARIA BELON, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR: So the fears you think you have they become nothing when something really, really becomes...

GOODMAN: Belon collaborated on the film script to put in realistic details. It was partly shot on location where the tsunami hit.

ENRIQUE ALVAREZ, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR: Even the situation when the wave came, you know, so I was playing in the -- a small swimming pool with the kids, then the ball went out and then Lucas was out of the pool just trying to get the ball.

BELON: If I would see the film from outside I would say I was unable to go through that, but once you are there you are able of that and more.

I mean, we have so much strength inside ourselves that it's incredible when you discover that.

GOODMAN: The tsunami separated the family members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scared.

GOODMAN: Fear is a major theme in the film.

EWAN MCGREGOR, ACTOR: I'm scared too.

ALVAREZ: If you are by yourself you don't have a reason to keep going, then you know the fear can really, you know, take you. But if you have a reason to keep going like, you know, helping your -- or finding your kids and your wife, et cetera, then you have -- you know, an inner motive to go beyond fear.

GOODMAN: Maria was badly injured. Yet while in hospital sent her oldest son to help other families find their lost loved ones.

BELON: That's the only reason of sense of meaning of life is helping each other, taking care of each other. I mean, those moments, hard moments, that becomes really, really everything becomes black or white. I mean, you help and you forget about yourself.

GOODMAN: The boys, then, were just 10, seven and five years old. The family, shown here at the film's world premiere in Toronto last September, the boys like to go surfing.

Some family members also attended the recent London premiere along with Naomi Watts.

BELON: I wanted to do this story because of -- I mean, many, many people can't tell the story, so I feel I should be there for them.

NAOMI WATTS, ACTRESS: Whether you know about the tsunami or not, it's a story that we can all connect with, the need to survive, who we want to survive for and why.

GOODMAN: Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: An incredible story of family and survival.

Now before we go, a look at something very different -- look at a very messy festival in Chile that's happening. Thousands of people turned out for what's called the War of the Tomato. They lobbed 40 tons of tomatoes at each other. And local farmers, they provided the ammo for the event. Tomato lovers, don't fret here, the tomatoes, they were not sale quality. So no good food was wasted, but quite the food fight spectacle there.

And that is it, that's News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.

END