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Lead Investigator in Pistorius Murder Case Faces Charges of Attempted Murder; Car Bomb Causes Carnage Outside Syria's Ruling Party Headquarters; Tech Titans Team Up to Reward Research

Aired February 21, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet. Another day in the dark for South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, but it's the lead investigator in the case in his murder case that's been in the spotlight after the Pistorius bail hearing. We'll tell you why.

A car bomb causing carnage outside the Syrian ruling party's headquarters in Damascus. We'll have more on the damage and the death toll.

And why some of the best known tech titans are teaming up to celebrate scientific research.

Oscar Pistorius is the one in the dark, but the athlete's trial has put South Africa's criminal justice system under scrutiny. First came Wednesday's testimony of improper police procedures, now another stunning development. The lead investigator faces attempted murder charges, but both prosecutors and the policemen thought they had been dropped. The incident happened in 2009. Well, the defense is making -- still making its final argument. CNN's Robyn Curnow is inside the Pretoria's court house and she's been tweeting about the proceedings. Earlier, she posted this picture of the wall of photographers awaiting Oscar Pistorius. She says Oscar's father stared ahead resolutely as all of the cameras captured his entrance. As the judge questioned the lead investigator, Robyn tweeted that the magistrate seems perplexed that police didn't look at cell phone records with urgency. And just a short time ago, she tweeted a closing argument from the defense saying, police's evidence was extremely poor, amounted to a monumental collapse of state's case.

Let's take you now live to Pretoria, and CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us from the outside the courthouse with more, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Monita, just a few minutes ago there was a flurry of activity in the courtroom when the magistrate cleared the courtroom amid some chaos. Pistorius going back down to the cells, but there was some kind of security threat, that's what journalists in the courtroom were told. When the proceedings began again, we've now heard really in the last couple of minutes from the magistrate who is questioning Pistorius's past alleged violent behavior, raising an incident in a restaurant where a pistol went off, and that in that incident, the magistrate is saying that Pistorius allegedly had threatened to harm somebody there. So, that being raised, and therefore, the possibility of probing the idea, if you will, that perhaps if Pistorius is out on bail, then somehow witnesses perhaps may feel less safe, so that is what's going on right at the moment. We heard the prosecution earlier in the day, again, raising that concerns that if bail is granted, that Pistorius may flee the country. A magazine article was read out where Pistorius was quoted as saying that the several months of the year he lived in Italy where he does his athletics, his running training. And the prosecution using that as an indication that he had somewhere else to go. The defense saying that he's an international figure, and he wouldn't be fleeing the country. Monita?

RAJPAL: Meanwhile, Nic, there's a lot of questions surrounding the lead investigator in this case. A lot of questions about whether or not or why he's still on this case when he himself is charged with attempted murder.

ROBERTSON: It's very interesting this morning, the lead prosecutor, Hilton Botha, was called by the magistrate to answer some questions. And he was asked if he was happy giving his evidence in English. Afrikaans is his first language. He said, yes, he was happy with the English. There were questions about why police hadn't searched more quickly for phone records to see if accounts of who was called and when right after the incident matched what they were being told.

So, that he was -- he was questioned over those issues, but perhaps what was starkly interesting was he wasn't questioned, that it wasn't even mentioned that these alleged attempted murder charge is hanging over his head, that has been reinstated allegedly. He has -- he was involved with several other officers in an attempted murder of seven people in a minibus, shots were fired at the minibus by the officers when they were chasing it, and the allegations also, charges also that the officers were drunk when they fired those weapons back in 2009. As you say, those charges have been dropped, but then reinstated. But no indication in the court that it's going to make a difference so far. But I think people here suspect that it will in coming days, if not over the following months. Monita.

RAJPAL: Nic, well, back and forth continues to happen inside that courtroom behind you. The fact of the matter is, Oscar Pistorius' image has certainly been put in question now, it's certainly been tarnished in some way, shape or form. We're looking at his sponsors now. They are also distancing themselves from him. The latest being Nike. What more do we know about that?

ROBERTSON: Well, we know that Nike has decided -- decided to pull its sponsorship. It perhaps in this situation seems almost inevitable that as the world learns more of the details, and people make out their own judgment calls, it's very clear that his sponsors feel uncomfortable with him being associated with their brand. And that's, perhaps, a bad indication for him in the long term of how this process, not just a bail hearing, but the eventual trial will go for him. It certainly gives an indication, which way public opinion is falling. Of course, large companies like Nike very protective of their image, and wouldn't want to be associated with the sort of scandal, that has been unfolding here at the moment. So, for Pistorius these are losses that he'll feel emotionally, but if he's inside jail, they're not going to have a very immediate effect on him. Monita.

RAJPAL: Nic, thank you for that. Nic Robertson reporting for us live from outside the courthouse in Pretoria.

Now, the judge has heard two very different versions of what happened in Pistorius's home on the night that Reeva Steenkamp was killed. Both scenarios lead from Pistorius's bedroom to the bathroom. The prosecution says Pistorius deliberately aimed at the toilets behind the door, and to do so, they argue, he had to stand to the side. If he had to shoot straight through the door, police say Pistorius would not have hit Steenkamp. There's another issue to consider as well. Was Pistorius wearing his prosthetic legs when he fired the gun? Prosecutors say he put them on before opening fire, the defense says he felt vulnerable, because he didn't have them on and thought a burglar was in the house. Ballistics are still working out of the angle of the shot, and that will prove exactly how tall Pistorius was when he fired the gun. Now, the Pistorius family has been in court showing their support for Oscar, and here you can see the track star looking at his father ahead of Thursday hearing. The family issued a statement saying, Oscar is not a flight risk because of his international exposure. Earlier, Oscar's uncle spoke about how the athlete is holding up.


ARNOLD PISTORIUS, OSCAR'S UNCLE: He's in extreme shock. And so, he's grieving, and this -- and I don't expect him to get over it even soon. And so he's still in the emotionally tough time.


RAJPAL: Well, the Pistorius family has also expressed sympathy for Reeva Steenkamp and her relatives.

Turning now to Syria, where a powerful car bomb has exploded in the center of Damascus. Opposition activists and state-run media say at least 35 people are dead, most of them civilians. State TV says more than 200 people are wounded. Activists say it happened in front of the headquarters of Syria's ruling party. We want to get more on this from CNN's Ivan Watson, who joins us now live from Istanbul. Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Monita, that's right. Devastating explosions are rocking the heart of the Syrian capital. The first one taking place in the neighborhood called Masra (ph). Very close to one of the offices of the ruling Baath Party. If you see the video and images of the aftermath, where it looks like dozens of cars were hurled across streets by the force of the blast, you just get a sense of how terrifying this was, with Syrian state media reporting at least 36 killed, and more than 237 wounded. Take a listen to what one of the survivors said to Syria's state television.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The Free Syrian Army. I'm from Iraq. The car blew up when I was in the area. Why? Why? Make our curse here. Is that the freedom that they want? Make our curse you, the FSA.


WATSON: That's right, with Damascus being still a residence for many refugees who fled the conflict in neighboring Iraq, including this woman, it appears. And moments after this major blast, Monita a resident of Damascus telling us that there were another series of explosions in another neighborhood towards the northeast, called Barze (ph). It appears to be at least one car bomb going off near the headquarters of one of the security agencies there, and then reports of some kind of clashes, possibly between rebels and Syrian government security forces, a very deadly bloody day in the Syrian capital today. Monita.

RAJPAL: Yeah, Ivan, in the middle of this, Russia, we hear is now pushing for cease fire talks. What more do we know about that?

WATSON: That's right. The Syrian government's close ally Russia working together with the Arab League trying to host some kind of peace talks. Listen to what Russia's top diplomat had to say.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Speaking of the Syrian conflict, we can conclude that both sides have understood that the military scenario does not work. And the need for dialogue is increasingly gaining ground, as you've already said. Not only do we support this initiative, but we also do out best to create the right environment for such dialogue to start as soon possible based on the Geneva communique and without any preconditions.


WATSON: Now, these proposed peace talks have not been very warmly received by the opposition. The Syrian foreign minister is expected to travel to Moscow next week, that is something he has done throughout the course of this near two-year conflict. The leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition Moaz al-Khatib has indicated he would go in March. There is a lot of anger and frustration from people inside Syria supporting the opposition about the possibility of him participating in negotiations. And Russia's role as a neutral broker is also being questioned, particularly since a container full of tank parts was seized from a commercial vessel headed from St. Petersburg, Russia to Syria last week by the government of Finland. Parts for military tanks, those are being investigated by the Finnish government. It's not the first time that there have been apparent military deliveries coming from Russia intercepted on the way to Syria. The Russian government denying that they were sending more military equipment to help arm its close ally, the Syrian military. Monita.

RAJPAL: Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson there reporting to us live from Istanbul. And because of the work of our reporters like Ivan Watson, all of us here at CNN have something to celebrate. CNN International has won the prestigious News Channel of they Year honor at the Royal Television Society award ceremony in London Wednesday night, executive vice president, Tony Maddox says the award is the testament to, quote, "the determination and fearlessness of our reporting."

You are watching NEWS STREAM. Coming up, Pope Benedict will soon be the first ex-pope in some 600 years, and before he retires, he maybe changing the rules. And think life a thief after the diamond heist in Belgium, we take a look at the diamond industry and ask how easy is it to shift 15 million in hard rocks?

Also, celebrating scientific research, tech giants get together for a good cause.


RAJPAL: Well, until now he has been known simply as Prisoner X, but new details are emerging in this tail of mystery and espionage. A man with dual Australian and Israeli citizenship died in an Israeli prison in December, 2010. CNN's Sara Sidner reports only now are we learning the man's identity and how he died.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The story begins where a life ended -- in a high security prison in Israel. This is where a man dubbed Prisoner X committed suicide in 2010. Not even the security guards were allowed to know his name. His attorney said he was imprisoned, but never convicted of a crime.

For two years, the prisoner story was silenced by Israel's military censor. The local media was forbidden from telling any details about Prisoner X, the reason given, Israel said, it was a threat to national security.

But an investigation by Australian Broadcast Corporation revealed the prisoner's identity. Ben Zygier, who also went by Ben Allen, an Australian-Israeli dual citizen. The network said he was a spy for Israel's famed intelligence agency, Mossad.

TREVOR BORMANN, CORRESPONDENT, AUSTRALIAN BROADCAST CORPORATION: We understand he was recruited by the Mossad and something very, very wrong happened in his spy career. And he was arrested and jailed in Israel in great secrecy.

SIDNER: Trevor Bormann's story was the first crack in the Israeli government efforts to keep the case secret. Suddenly, it was front page in Australia and Israel. Australian journalist Jason Koutsoukis shed more light on the story, saying he first heard about Zygier from an Australian intelligence source.

JASON KOUTSOUKIS, JOURNALIST: He'd actually been following Ben Zygier around. Attending the same lectures as him, so he had quite a lot of information about what he was doing in Melbourne. And he observed him mixing with a lot of Middle Eastern students in that - who were doing the same course. Students from Iran, students from Saudi Arabia, and -- and he -- and so he was under some level of surveillance -- just to what degree I don't know, but certainly people were onto him, and they were following him around.

SIDNER: A Kuwaiti newspaper said he may have been one of the assassins who showed up at a Dubai hotel dressed in a tennis outfit to kill a Hamas military leader. But Australian intelligence quickly said, not true. No one has been able to find out exactly what Zygier's undercover job was. The secrecy was so tight journalists couldn't even report the existence of the gag order.

DAN YAKIR, CHIEF LEGAL COUNSEL, ASSN. FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN ISRAEL: The security service has an interest to -- not to reveal problems that occur during the operations and this might influence the argument about state security, which in some cases is only a pretext to covering up a misdeed.

SIDNER: Apparently, anxious to avoid the perception, an Israeli court released a few details about the death of Prisoner X. "The deceased was found hanging in the shower of his security cell. Around his throat was a sheet that was connected to the window of the bathroom", it said.

Israel says Prisoner X was afforded all his legal rights. But the courts still has not used his real name. Local media are still restricted on what they write and say. Sara Sidner, CNN, Ayalon, Israel.


RAJPAL: Just to give you an idea what we're covering for you today here on NEWS STREAM. These videos make up a visual rundown on all the stories that we're covering on the show today. Earlier, we told you how the lead investigator in Oscar Pistorius' murder case faces attempted murder charges himself. And now, a question that hasn't needed to be asked for centuries until now -- where does the pope go when he leaves his post? Well, a Vatican spokesman said Pope Benedict may change the Vatican's constitution to allow a vote for his successor to begin before March 15th. The pope has announced he will step down one week from today. It's been centuries since the Roman Catholic Church has had to make such arrangements for the retirement of a pope. CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman looks at what's in store.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a retirement home being prepared to fit in ex-pope. A simple ex-convent, ideal for prayer and contemplation, a change for a man who for the last eight years has served as the spiritual leader to more than a billion Catholics the world over. And it's a brave new world for an institution where most popes have died on the job.

There hasn't been an ex-pope in almost 600 years, and with Benedict XVI, just days away from a retirement, there are all sorts of details, great and small that need to be worked out.

It's still unclear what his title will be. Perhaps, Bishop Emeritus of Rome. His public role has yet to be defined.

Vatican watcher Jack Mogaliatti (ph) suggests the best way to avoid problems is for Benedict to serve discreetly as an advisor to his successor.

"If he's not hidden from the world," he says, "he could become like an alternative reigning pope, and that could disorient the faithful who are already disturbed and upset by Benedict's resignation."

The papal retirement plan is fairly simple. Reports in the Italian media say he will receive a monthly pension of 2,500 euro. It's around $3,400. Room, board and domestic help will be provided by the Vatican.

Tailor Raniero Manchinelli (ph) has known Benedict for more than 25 years.

He explains that the ex-pope will wear a robe along these lines, but with a different color.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think he tells me he'll wear simple black like a simple priest, busy with prayer and writing books.

WEDEMAN: At least he will have a room with a view. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Vatican City.


RAJPAL: A chilly challenge for some of the world's top golfers- snow suspended the first day of the World Golf Championship's match played tournaments. That was in Arizona. Weird. Look at the details just ahead.


RAJPAL: They may be considered the best team in the world, but on Wednesday, Barcelona was second best in Milan. Amanda Davies joins us with more from London. Is there ever any room for second best in football?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there is when it's the second leg.


DAVIES: As long as over the two legs you come out best, you are OK, but yeah, with this one, it's Milan with the advantage after leg one, and coach Massimiliano Allegri thought it was a beautiful night after his side beat Barcelona two-nil in the first leg of their Champion League round of 16 encounter. Barcelona was very, very much the favorite heading into the game. This sounds (inaudible), but goals from the (inaudible) and (inaudible) have left Milan very much in the driving seat. Lino Massi (ph) was conspicuously quiet. It's just the second time this season the Bars have actually failed to score in a match. The Spanish side are confident they can make amends in a couple of weeks time, though.


MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI, AC MILAN MANAGER (through translator): I think it was a good match, and the boys deserve this result. They didn't give anything away to defense (inaudible), and they made the most of what we had. We didn't concede much to Barcelona. We did make some mistakes in the first half in our choices of passes. But we improved a lot in the second half, and the team grew and played at a higher level. It's an important victory, but it doesn't make us get through this round.


DAVIES: Interpol have taken a big step forward in the fight against match fixing in football with state police arresting Slovenian man Admir Suljic in Milan. He's accused of criminal association and of fraud and sporting fraud. Suljic has been a fugitive since December 2011 and was arrested at Milan's Malpensa airport after a flight from Singapore. He's conceded to be a cornerstone in the investigation that's known as Last Bet (ph), which is centered on match fixing. An investigation have shown his direct involvement in the transnational criminal group composed of individuals from Singapore and the Balkans that have dedicated to the alteration of football matches in the Italian League in the two seasons from 2009.

The chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has said they'll continue with their investigation into doping in cycling despite Lance Armstrong announcing Wednesday that he won't cooperate with them. Armstrong issued a statement saying that while he won't work with USADA, he would be willing to deal with other anti-doping officials. It was, of course, the USADA report that accused Armstrong of being at the center of a systematic doping program, which led to his lifetime ban from the sport and the stripping of his seven Tour de France titles. In a statement, Armstrong's attorney has said, "For several reasons, Lance won't participate in USADA's efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that would only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95 percent of the sport, which -- over which USADA has no jurisdiction."

And the world's top golfers are in Arizona this week for the World Gulf Championship's match play tournament. And for the 64-man field, the match play format is a departure from the norm, but it's nothing compared to what they faced in Wednesday's opening round. Have a look at this. Snow. A whole lot of it. Over the cactus, cacti, you know, I should say. Not often you see that. Play was suspended for the day as the white stuff blanketed the Dove Mountain (ph) resort. Only about three and a half hours of play was possible before the course became unplayable.

No matches were completed. World no. 1 Rory McIlroy never even made it onto the first tee. Not surprising when you see those pictures. Not a small amount of snow there. The forecast does look a little bit better for the rest of the week, though. Monita.

RAJPAL: Yeah, I bet they never factored that into planning, did they? Amanda.

DAVIES: No. But you can't really even practice for that, I don't think.

RAJPAL: No. No. I don't think you can. I mean rain, maybe -- but snow another story. It's actually in -- yeah. In Arizona. All right. Thank you very much for that. Amanda Davies there in London.

Well, there is much more just ahead here on NEWS STREAM. So, after you've stolen $15 million in diamonds, what's next? We'll tell you why it might not be so easy for thieves to unload their hot rocks. Plus, a big debut with a mystery guest -- Sony has announced the Playstation 4, but we still haven't seen it. We'll explain it later on NEWS STREAM.


RAJPAL: I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. You are watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your headlines. Oscar Pistorius' defense team has just finished making final arguments in the athlete's bail hearing, but the prosecution is just getting started, so there will not be a decision today. The court has seen another sensational turn of events. The lead investigator in the murder case is himself facing seven counts of attempted murder stemming from an incident four years ago.

A powerful car bombing in central Damascus has killed at least 35 people. That's according to state media and opposition activists. State-run TV says more than 200 people were wounded after the car bomb went off at a checkpoint in front of the headquarters of the ruling Ba'ath Party.

Fresh fighting is being reported in Gao, Mali. There are reports the courthouse there was set on fire, and that there have been - and that three rebels have been killed in fighting. A French-led military operation has been in Mali since January, attempting to drive Islamic militants from the north of the country.

Prosecutors in the U.K. say three men have been convicted of 12 counts of planning a terrorist attack. Court officials say the men were planning an attack bigger than the 7/7 bombings in London back in 2005. CNN senior international correspondent Dan Rivers fills in the background on this case.


DAN RIVERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The specter of another terrorist atrocity has stalked Britain since the 7/7 attacks in 2005. These men tried to do it again, but on an even bigger scale.

Irfan Naseer the ringleader; Irfan Khalid his deputy. Together with nine others, they planned to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs, each containing up to 10 kilos of homemade explosives.

DEP. INSP. ADAM GOUGH, WEST MIDLANDS POLICE: These are a group of committed, passionate extremists with a real intention of causing as many deaths and maiming as many people as possible. There is no doubt that not only have they got that intention, but they also crucially got the capacity, the technical know-how and the ability to carry out those intentions.

RIVERS: And this was their HQ, a suburban bomb factory at a house in Britain's second city, Birmingham. Evidence presented at trial showed how Irfan Naseer and Irfan Khalid traveled from Birmingham to Pakistan's lawless border lands in March 2009 for eight months, and again in December 2010 for seven months, where they recorded martyrdom videos and learned how to build bombs.

By 2009, al Qaeda training camps like this had been destroyed by drone attacks. Instead, the men trained behind closed doors in Mir-am Shah (ph) in Waziristan. By their return in the summer of 2011, West Midlands police and spies from MI5's headquarters in London were watching them, as the men pretended to fund-raise for a Muslim charity to bankroll their plot.

But then their plot started to unravel when 26-year-old law graduate Rahid Ahmed (ph) haplessly gambled with the cash on a currency trading web site. He lost a quarter of the money. The men's phone calls were intercepted. Their homes were bugged. So was their car. The men joked it didn't matter the vehicle's paperwork wasn't in order, because they'd be dead soon.

The men were going to use sports injury packs like this to build a homemade bomb. Covert surveillance at this house reveals the men planning to grind up the contents, heat it, and then disguise the noise of a test explosion by drilling into the wall.

This piece of paper contained the recipe for the bomb. The men tried to destroy the evidence, but neighbors started to notice unusual activity.

ALISON, NEIGHBOR: One day I saw them bringing in about 40 boxes, 40 boxes (inaudible) on the side. I'm not sure what was in it, but it was at that point that my partner said, they're terrorists.

RIVERS: By mid-September, police and security services felt the threat was too great. The men were experimenting with chemicals to make a homemade bomb. Just before midnight on September the 18th, they followed this car with Ashiq Ali (ph), Irfan Khalid and Irfan Naseer inside. They stopped them on Ladypool (ph) Road. After months of watching and listening, the plot was finally being disrupted.

Irfan Khalid described their plans as another 9/11, a date the men celebrated. A security source says they were just weeks or days from building a bomb. The target of the plot was never known, but surveillance teams heard the men talking about crowded places. If all eight rucksack bombs had gone off somewhere like this, the results would have been devastating.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Birmingham.


RAJPAL: The horsemeat scandal rocking Europe has now spread to Asia. One of Hong Kong's biggest supermarket chains has pulled some imported lasagna from store shelves. Officials say it was made by Findus (ph), the company at the center of the scandal. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic is the latest European country to detect horse meat in products labeled as beef. Last week, European Union governments approved DNA testing of beef products in order to determine the scope of the problem.

Japan and Australia are exchanging harsh words and threats of legal action over a whaling incident. It happened in the Southern Ocean on Wednesday. Boats from an Australian anti-whaling group had a confrontation with Japanese whaling ships. Sea Shepherd Australia says the Japanese fleet attacked its ships, but the Japanese fisheries agency says the Australian ships rammed the Japanese vessels. Video supplied by Japanese authorities appears to show the Australian ships chasing the Japanese fleet last Friday. Australia's environment minister is threatening to take the matter to an international court.

Let's get a check now of weather conditions and return of some bad air quality in Beijing. Mari Ramos is at the World Weather Center with those details. We thought we had it at least sorted for now.

MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, right? But you know what, those blue-sky days are just so rare and becoming even more so across so many areas of eastern China. Again, we're looking at a situation where the air quality monitors just continue -- those numbers continue to go up. This is one of the latest ones. We're in the hazardous level again in Beijing for this hour, and I think, as we heard through the next couple of days, we're probably going to stay in this higher end of the scale, or lower end, depends on how you want to look at it, because we're going to see high pressure kind of settling in across east China, and that's going to just make the situation worse.

So the winter lingers, minus 4 here in Beijing right now, minus 2 in Seoul, and notice back over toward Japan, we're also dealing with some pretty cold temperatures. Tokyo right at freezing. The risk of snow remains, particularly on this windward side here as we head over from the areas facing the east of the Sea of Japan. 16 in Taipei and 18 in Hong Kong. Manila looking at partly cloudy skies as we head into the overnight hours. We have some rain showers, remember, some pretty heavy rain moving across the central Philippines in the last couple of days. The remnants of that tropical cyclone have moved on now into the South China Sea, never really developed, but it did cause some heavy rain, not just the Philippines, but also into parts of Borneo, and now bringing it into the southern parts of Vietnam.

But returning to the north, you can just see just a little bit of cloud cover, kind of sticking around there. Whatever is left there, will kind of -- you see it trailing toward the east over the next 24 hours, and a quiet weather pattern ensues there with that flow coming out of the north, and that means some pretty cold air will be in place over the next few days. And then farther to the south, you see this right over here. We have that remnant of that area of low pressure I was telling you. Some heavy rain, like I said, the possibility of some isolated flooding across this region. Most of the rain, the heaviest rain, is actually staying out at sea. Just a little bit of good news there.

Now, let's go ahead and move on. I do have one update on another tropical cyclone. This one, this is Tropical Cyclone Haruna, and this one is in the Mozambique Channel. There's Mozambique, there's the channel, and there is Madagascar, so we're looking at the southeastern coast of Africa. Winds now gusting to about 200 kilometers per hour, so this is quite the storm. It has remained off shore, but some of the outer bands have been lashing the southwest coast of Madagascar here. We're expecting it to just clip the coastline here, still at hurricane strength or typhoon strength and continue moving into the cooler waters here of the Indian Ocean, so that will be something to monitor.

Last but not least, let's go ahead and roll the pictures and listen.

Monita, I don't know why, but this video just fascinates me. The heavy snowfall, which I always think heavy snowfall is really cool, and then a clap of thunder. Thunder snowcaps are on tape, this is in Wichita, Kansas, part of a huge winter storm system that has been affecting much of the U.S. and the central U.S. in particular. Just another example of how strong these thunderstorms have been, out in the Central U.S. affected now, and even (inaudible) for some severe weather without the snow in parts of the southeast. Back to you.

RAJPAL: That's just crazy stuff there. Thunder snow, never heard of that before. Learn something new every day with you, Mari. Thank you very much for that.

Now, many people are asking questions about how this week's airport diamond heist in Belgium was possible. Dressed like police, thieves drove through a fence via construction site on Monday, right up to a plane on the tarmac. They grabbed $50 million in cut and uncut diamonds from the cargo hold, and then drove off. The spokesman for the Brussels Airport defends security there, but says its proximity to one of the world's top diamond cutting centers increases the risk.


JAN VAN DER CRUYSSE, BRUSSELS AIRPORT SPOKESMAN: The security at our airport is certainly not less than at any other European airport. On the contrary, I would even say. But we are not only the capital of the airports of Europe, also the capital to -- the diamond capital of the Europe airport, and that means that we have a lot of these high-value goods, and that makes us attractive for people with wrong ideas.


RAJPAL: So, a large haul of diamonds sounds tempting, but what would a thief do with them? CNN's Zain Asher reports selling them might be harder than you think.



ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Straight from a Hollywood movie. Masked gunmen commandeering an armored vehicle during a botched heist, but in this real-life plot, things go precisely as planned. The thieves have already managed to steal the diamonds. Now they just have to sell them.

JOHN KENNEDY, JEWELERS SECURITY ALLIANCE: You don't just get $50 million or more, however much it is in diamonds, and then say, how are we going to get rid of this. They've arranged beforehand to do that.

ASHER: Usually with the help of fences, illegal wholesalers willing to buy stolen diamonds for less than they are worth and selling them at a profit.

DONALD PALMIERI, CHAIRMAN, GEMPRINT: Whoever thinks they are buying bargain-basement diamonds should be careful, because we're going to be able to find them sooner or later.

ASHER: Experts say these stolen diamonds might be sold for just 30 cents on the dollar, possibly ending up in a foreign country where controls are nowhere near as strict.

KENNEDY: We're talking India, Israel, countries that have very large diamond facilities.

ASHER: But the thieves will have to make sure the diamonds don't get traced.

KENNEDY: They may in fact try to conceal some piece of it for some period of time. They may not want to get rid of $50 million at once. It may be too difficult. There aren't a whole lot of people who are, have the means to come up with payment that quickly.

ASHER: They'll also be up against state of the art technology. Some polished diamonds have a unique fingerprint, allowing them to be matched to stolen diamonds in an international database.

PALMIERI: It's actually very simple. We just place the diamond, table down on the optical glass, we center it, we close the door, and we run it.

ASHER: Retailers are also strict about the diamonds they buy. Demanding a GIA grading reporting, which lists each stone's unique characteristics, possibly helping identify stolen ones.

So you will not accept any diamond from anybody that comes to sell to you diamonds without this report?

ADAM BAZELL, DIAMOND CONSULTANT, SHENOA & CO.: That's correct. It has to have a report showing that it's gone through the right institutions.

ASHER: Though retailers admit that even stolen diamonds can have certificates, and thieves will often have diamonds recut to make them harder to trace.

KENNEDY: The people they're going to sell them to are going to be corrupt people. They're not going to be selling it in the open market to the normal buyer and due course.

ASHER: And it is in every jeweler and diamond cutter's best interests that these stolen diamonds are recovered, because if too many stolen diamonds saturate the market, the price of diamonds could fall, and that impacts the industry as a whole.

Zain Asher, CNN, New York.


RAJPAL: Drivers in the capital of Peru have recently fallen victim to a new type of robbery. Thieves are preying on commuters who are stuck in traffic. Rafael Romo brings us more on that.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They come out of nowhere and quickly approach a white van. In a matter of seconds, the suspects rob the stunned passengers, brazenly opening the rear door, and then run away. Multiple attacks were recorded by Peruvian police cameras as they happened in broad daylight on busy streets. Police say the gang of thieves, which call themselves coyotes, took advantage of the fact their victims were stuck in traffic. They seem to primarily target taxis, but passengers in other vehicles were also robbed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They would break the car's windows and try to get in like that, or they would unlock the doors and attack their victims.

ROMO: In one instance, a bystander shoots a weapon in the air, and the suspects run away.

The attacks happened in Barios Altos (ph), a neighborhood in Lima, the capital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I tried to hold on to my purse, but then I noticed that they were armed, and let go.

ROMO: After weeks of surveillance, undercover agents with the Peruvian national police launched an operation against the suspects. The suspects tried to outrun the police officers, but they were all eventually caught. One of the suspects is 23 years old, the other three are only 18.

Police say the suspects stole nearly $45,000 from their victims in multiple robberies, going back to at least mid-January. They are being charged with multiple offenses, including armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


RAJPAL: Science and technology comes together to reward those striving to help others. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech titans team up for a good cause. We'll have that still ahead here on NEWS STREAM.


RAJPAL: Let's go back to our visual rundown of all the stories that we're covering on the show today. We've already shown you how thieves who lifted $50 million in diamonds from Brussels Airport might go about selling the stolen stash, and then just ahead we'll take a look at the highs and lows of actor and director Ben Affleck's career as Hollywood gets ready for the Academy Awards on Sunday, but now to Sony's big announcement. The Playstation 4. Even though Sony officially announced the Playstation 4, they didn't actually show the Playstation 4. Sony showed the new console's controller. It resembles the one we showed you on Wednesday with a touch panel in the front and a light bar for the motion controls. Now, the controller also has a button marked "share." That will allow you to share a live stream of the game you're playing with your friends. Sony also promises, though, that you'll be able to interact with the PS 4 using your phone or tablet. But they were vague on when gamers will get to buy it. All they would say is that Playstation 4 will be out in the fourth quarter of the year. We're talking about holiday season there, and they did not say how much it would cost.

Some of the biggest names in tech are teaming up in the name of scientific research. Top executives from companies including Facebook, Apple and Google have announced the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation. It awards $3 million each to 11 scientists for their research on diseases and the improvement of human life. Ali Velshi had the chance to sit down with two of the award's founders, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: We're just trying to set up this institution and do what we can from the sidelines of that work to reward and recognize the amazing stuff that all these folks are doing to cure diseases and expand our understanding of humanity, and improve all these people's lives in different ways.

So, we feel like that if we can recognize that work, then it can inspire a lot more folks to do similar work as well.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And when we -- when you announced the first round of winners, I have to say, of them, I probably could identify or recognize two or three of the things that they're noted for doing. They are working on highly specific things.

This isn't the 50 years later rewarding somebody for finding the cure to cancer. This -- these are incremental improvements that are really changing people's lives?

ANNE WOJCICKI, FOUNDER, 23ANDME: Yes, no. And I think that's a really important distinction about this prize and what we want to encourage is that we want to encourage people to take risk, make major breakthroughs, and then be rewarded in the near-term after that.

So, for some of these individuals, their discoveries were relatively recent, and they've done recent things that have been really significant, and we really want to get people in this -- in the life sciences to actually think big, take risk, and then recognize that there's a major reward that could come their way.

VELSHI: Now, your own family, Sergey carries a marker for Parkinson's disease, his mother has that. That's one of the things that you'd like to see some progress toward. What else are you looking at?

WOJCICKI: So, we're going to look at -- we're going to look across all of life sciences, but we're specifically interested, our family's always been really motivated to make major breakthroughs in Parkinson's disease.

And Parkinson's is really interesting to me because Sergey, my husband, he actually does have this genetic marker, LRRK2, that makes him high risk for Parkinson's disease.

So, it's a clue, and that's actually -- it's a really unusual situation where I actually think a lot of science is going to go, where we're going to start to understand that people have something earlier, and we actually have the opportunity now to potentially prevent it. And that's super exciting.

And that's one of the things I really want to encourage, is getting more and more people thinking about, wow, how -- we could potentially identify some of these people earlier, and then we can actually prevent disease rather than potentially curing it.

And my goal is to make anyone who's actually coming up with a therapy that you're taking to actually know who is that person who invented that.

VELSHI: And reward them and encourage others to go into it. You, by the way, your company that you founded, 23andMe, is that clue that many people can have, it's the first step in average people taking a swab and finding out what their genetic heritage is.

Mark, so you've got Anne, and you've got Sergey from Google, you've got Art Levinson from Apple, chairman of Apple, you've got Yuri Milner on this group that has financed a lot of companies that you might actually think of as competitors. This is sort of the face of the new technology. You're not all people who normally work together. Certainly in business, you're kind of competitors.

ZUCKERBERG: Yes, I think all these companies actually work together a little bit more than people think. But the big thing here is that science and technology are very closely related, and when you're building these information technology companies, the market rewards you and you can make a lot of money.

But a lot of these folks who are doing just such extraordinary work in science don't have the same opportunity, and because of that, I think it would just be a shame if a lot of folks who are growing up trying to figure out what they want to do now don't choose to go into such critical work because of that.

So, if by having these prizes, we can give an incentive and can kind of make some of these folks a little more well-known as figures that some younger students want to grow up to be like, then we're doing our job here.


RAJPAL: That was CNN's Ali Velshi speaking with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki. And as you heard from Ali there, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Apple Chairman Art Levinson and tech investor Yuri Milner are also part of this team.

Coming up here on NEWS STREAM, he may have been snubbed by the Academy, but actor and director Ben Affleck is having a pretty great year. We'll take a look at his career highs and some of the lows.


RAJPAL: Hollywood is getting ready for the 85th Academy Awards on Sunday, and one film to watch out for is the spy thriller "Argo," in the running for best movie. It is directed by none other than actor Ben Affleck, but his career hasn't always been top tier. Nischelle Turner has more on his big comeback.


BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: I'm thrilled. I never thought I would get to this place in my career at this point.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And what a career it's been for "Argo" director Ben Affleck. Fifteen years ago, he and fellow Boston buddy Matt Damon took home screenwriting Oscars for "Good Will Hunting."

AFFLECK: Thank you, thank you so much!

TURNER: He quickly became one of Hollywood's hottest young stars, but after early success came a series of flops like "Jersey Girl" and "Gigli," both co-starring Jennifer Lopez, to whom Affleck was once engaged. The couple dominated tabloid headlines throughout their relationship, which ended in 2004.

AFFLECK: I had some stuff that worked and some stuff didn't, and I ran afoul of the press a little bit and became overexposed, causing me to kind of turn around and question, what do I want to do in this industry?

TURNER: What he did was become a director, starting with "Gone Baby Gone" in 2007, followed by "The Town," considered one of the best films of 2010. George Clooney, co-producer on "Argo," credits Affleck's move behind the camera for the resurgence.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: He was in actor jail for a couple of years. We've all done it. He directed his way out of this.

TURNER: Which bring us to "Argo." Widely regarded as Ben's best directing project. It's been a box office success and was an early contender heading into awards season. Then last month, came the snub heard round Hollywood when Affleck was not nominated for best director at the Academy Awards, despite "Argo" getting a best picture nom. That snub, however, hasn't hurt him in the awards circuit -- quite the opposite, actually. Golden Globes, Directors Guild, BAFTAs, you name the award, Affleck has won it for directing "Argo." The drama is now a frontrunner in the Oscar best picture race. Whether Affleck will once again be the toast of the Oscars remains to be seen, but according to long-time pal Matt Damon, a lot has changed since their big night 15 years ago.

When we first saw you and Ben Affleck, you were these kind of kids about town in Hollywood

MATT DAMON, ACTOR: In one respect, it feels like yesterday, and then I look at, you know, we're both, you know, we're married, we've got these beautiful children, we've lived a lot of life.

TURNER: Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.


RAJPAL: And finally, we go over and out there, right to our doorstep here in Hong Kong. A man believed to be the world's oldest marathon runner plans to compete in his final race here this Sunday. Fauja Singh is 101 years old. He'll run in a 10-kilometer event on the sidelines of the Hong Kong marathon. Singh is an Indian-born Sikh, who is now a British citizen. Some have dubbed him the Turban Tornado. And get this, he began running at the age of 89. So there is hope for us all yet.

That is NEWS STREAM. The news continues here on CNN. I'm Monita Rajpal. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.