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Cardinals Meet in the Vatican; Toddler's HIV Cured; Kenya's Elections Examined; China's National Peoples Conference This Week; Florida Sinkhole House Demolished

Aired March 4, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN HOST: I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.


RAJPAL: (voice-over): As Kenya, votes Prime Minister Raila Odinga tells CNN he hopes the election is proof democracy is coming of age there. (Inaudible) interview in just a matter of minutes.

Cardinals from around the world gather in Rome. Top of their agenda: fixing a timetable for the process of picking a new pope.

And a 2-year-old girl treated at this U.S. hospital becomes the first child to be functionally cured of HIV.



RAJPAL: We begin this hour in Kenya, where it is the final hour of voting in a high-stakes general election. The government has vowed there will not be a repeat of what happened in 2007 when a disputed result led to bloodshed.

Eight contenders are vying to be president, including Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who cast his ballot today. He's running against his own boss, current Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who also voted a short time ago.

Most polling places have remained calm but violence has flared in some areas. Witnesses say bombs exploded at two polling stations injuring three people. Twenty people were also hospitalized after a stampede at a polling station south of Nairobi.

Before the polls opened, 10 people were killed, including two police officers and an attack on a police station in Mombasa. Well, CNN's Nima Elbagir spoke exclusively with one of the men who want to be Kenya's next president, current Prime Minister Raila Odinga. She joins us now from the vote tallying center in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Monita, Mr. Odinga seems very much to personify a lot of the mood that we're seeing from Kenyans from all walks of life here, just the sense of excitement and relief that this day has finally come, that this do-over of those horrific events of 2007 is here at hand.

Mr. Odinga had raised concerns in recent weeks about what he saw as the potential for vote rigging and corruption of the electoral reform process. But when I spoke to him today, he (inaudible) much more cheerful mood, Monita. Take a listen.


RAILA ODINGA, PRIME MINISTER, KENYA: Well, it's good, actually, that the day has finally come, that Kenyans now have an opportunity to speak to the ballot and I hope that they're going to speak loud enough and make informed decision to how they want this country to move forward.

ELBAGIR: You have raised, over the last few weeks, concerns about the electoral process.

ODINGA: Well, today is (inaudible) day. And as the (inaudible) say that taste of the pudding is in the eating. So we are going to see the kind of pie that we have made. Therefore, I want to be optimistic both from indications (inaudible) the country (inaudible) in Mombasa. I think that Kenyans have shown that they want change. And that's why they have turned up in such (inaudible) numbers all over the country.

ELBAGIR: There is an awful lot of scrutiny on Kenya today.

What do you want the world to hear from Kenyans?

ODINGA: I think the world is expecting a difference. There have been some kind of apprehension that there might be a repeat of what happened five years ago. And we have kept on assuring people that Kenyans are wiser, that Kenyans did not do the deed because they (inaudible).

They (inaudible) through the bush (ph) elections, that if the elections are conducted peacefully, and transparently as we hope they will be, there should be no cause for alarm. I think we want to demonstrate to the world that a Kenyan democracy is coming of age.


ELBAGIR: This is, of course, an election of many firsts, Monita; a new electoral system, new voting system. We are hearing some reports that that biometric voter registration system that's been put in place to stop the concerns about the allegations of fraud that Mr. Odinga had been speaking about previously, there are a few wards that have been raising concerns that they've had to switch to the manual voter system.

We'll be talking a little later with one of the members of the electoral commission here, and we'll let you know what he says, Monita.

RAJPAL: Nima, and (inaudible) for the most part, Kenyans are indeed excited and they are anticipating their moment to be able to cast their vote in these historic elections as they have been described. There have been moments of violence that have marred what has generally been a very exciting day for people.

But what has been behind this violence?

ELBAGIR: Well, there has been a concern for a long time that the secessionist (ph) movement along the coast in Mombasa, the Mombasa Republican Council, that they were planning something.

And indeed, Mr. Odinga said to us, as part of their interview, that intelligence sources have told them that Mombasa would be a potential flashpoint, and that they were mobilizing even ahead of a polling day, greater troop -- greater, so I should say, police numbers out to Mombasa.

But we have to be very careful with conflating the two issues, the violence that happened in 2007 between the supporters of the incumbent, current incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, and Mr. Odinga, who's running at the time.

And the violence that we're seeing now in the coast, this has been a long running concern, fed by this issue of weaponry coming across from Somalia and fed by tensions between people who perceive themselves to be the indigenous population of Mombasa and those they see coming in from outside.

So while obviously many people here are very sad to see this on this day, a day that they've been holding their breath almost, waiting for it, the same time they're trying very hard not to see this as a foreshadowing of anything else to come, Monita.

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

Now a team of Kenyan citizen journalists calling themselves digital humanitarians are using social media and innovative apps to make sure these elections are fair and transparent. See their action, their work in action ahead, right here on NEWS STREAM.

Well, more than 140 cardinals are meeting in Vatican City this Monday as they get ready to elect the next pope. They could set a date for their conclave, and that's when all cardinals under the age of 80 will meet in the Sistine Chapel to choose a successor to Benedict XVI. He stepped down on Thursday, citing ill health, the first time a pope has resigned in almost 600 years.

Dan Rivers is just outside the Vatican; he joins us now live from Rome.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Monita, it -- the general congregations, as they're (inaudible) underway. This is the sort of preliminary talks that they have about the issues facing the Catholic Church, the direction of the church and the attributes that the new pope ought to have.

Of course, informally, there are going to be lots of discussions in the corridors of the Vatican over lunches and dinners and coffees about who they think should become the next pope. But formally, no voting yet; they haven't even announced when the conclave officially begins.

There's another session of talks that start at 5 o'clock local time this afternoon for another couple of hours. This morning, we understand, about 10 cardinals have spoken; there was lots of ceremonials this morning with cardinals swearing an oath on the -- on the Bible and prayers and so on.

So a lot of formality to get this thing underway. And then we may get some more substantive decision-making this afternoon. The big thing, obviously, they've got to decide is when they're going to hold the conclave, which is basically where the 115 cardinals go into the Sistine Chapel to vote in secrecy for the next pope.

In terms of how it's conducted at the moment, well, it's being conducted in five languages -- English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. We understand that 142 cardinals are currently present; 103 of those are eligible to elect the next pope. Of course, those over 80 cannot vote. But 12 cardinal electors have not arrived yet. And they'll be coming in today and through Tuesday.

Well, CNN's crews have been out across the city, trying to catch cardinals and get word from them about what they feel are the issues going forward and, you know, who (inaudible) new pope should have. We spoke to one, Cardinal Napier (ph) from South Africa. Here's what he told us.


CARDINAL WILFRID NAPIER, ARCHBISHOP OF DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: The main concern was actually to get to know what we have to do in order to prepare ourselves for the -- for the conclave, in other words the discussions that have to take place beforehand.

Obviously, there are going to be questions about the situations in the different parts of the world, how the church is responding to those and so forth.

At this stage, it's too early to actually even give you indications of how things are going.


RIVERS: Of course, they're not allowed to come out and say who they're backing; this thing is all supposed to be done in secret. But I think it's fair to say a bit like a political summit.

A lot of the work before the conclave begins is done informally over quiet chats, sounding each other out, getting to know the different candidates, getting to know each other better and trying to reach compromises and agreements informally before the formal voting starts.

RAJPAL: Dan, so with a lot of these discussions are taking place; sure they're talking about the issues that are affecting the church right now; they're talking about the -- I guess from the geographic perspective, what kind of impact the next pope could have, whether or not they should be coming from part of the -- some of the developing countries.

But what about age? How much of the factor is that in the discussions in terms of the age of the next pope?

RIVERS: I think it will certainly be a factor, not the overriding factor. I think certainly theology and governance are the big things here, probably governance more than anything else.

I think an ability to tackle head-on the problems in the Vatican bureaucracy, the curia, and tackle head-on the allegations of sexual impropriety, of corruption that have dogged the Vatican for 10 years or more, that clearly is the first order of the day, someone that is willing to go in and shake the system up and sort it out, reform it, and someone who is above reproach personally, whose reputation is absolutely clear and those around him are absolutely clear.

But yes, of course, they don't want to appoint anyone who is really, really old. Clearly that would be counterproductive. But so it's going to be a factor. But not the overwhelming factor, probably.

RAJPAL: All right, Dan, thank you for that. Dan Rivers there, reporting to us live from Rome.

Well, in Egypt, at least five people have been killed with hundreds more injured in clashes in Port Said this Monday.


RAJPAL (voice-over): Violence spread across the city throughout the weekend. Tensions are high as the city waits for a verdict in last year's deadly riot at a football match.

Twenty-one people have already been sentenced to death for their roles in a so-called massacre at Port Said and 52 other defendants will find out their fates in five days. Seventy-four people were killed and 1,000 injured after a team from Port Said defeated rivals from Cairo 13 months ago.


RAJPAL: Still to come here on NEWS STREAM, a medical miracle: how a young child was functionality cured of HIV.

Queen Elizabeth II is in hospital for a second day. We'll bring you the latest on her condition.

And swallowed in his sleep, we take you to Florida and what's left of a home that was partially devoured by a giant sinkhole.




RAJPAL: There is new hope for babies born with HIV. For the first time ever, doctors are using the word "cured" to describe one young patient. They say a 2-year-old girl in Mississippi is now essentially HIV- free. Her name has not been released; she received relatively high doses of three HIV drugs, just hours after her birth.

Researchers think that could be the key to her successful treatment. Well, this case could change the future for others born infected. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now from CNN Center.

Elizabeth, they've been talking -- or they've been using the term "functionality cured." What does that effectively mean?

ELIZABETH COHEN, SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Functionality cured, Monita, what that means is that in tests that they usually use, customary routine tests, they can't find HIV in this baby.

When they do ultra, ultra-sensitive tests, they can find very low levels of RNA and DNA from that HIV virus. So but functionally, she's cured. She's not sick; they're not treating her for HIV. So functionally she's cured.

RAJPAL: Let's talk a little bit more on what doctors are saying about what was key to this little girl being treated.

COHEN: OK. First, let's go through this little girl's history, because I think that'll help explain what's going on here.

So this little girl was born to an HIV-positive mother. And the baby turned out to be HIV-positive as well. They put the baby on HIV drugs immediately, second day of life. And she was on them for 15 months.

At that point, the mother inexplicably just stopped giving them to her. We don't know why. The baby ended up being off drugs for 8-10 months. When she came back to the doctor at around 2 years of age, there were no signs of HIV.

And so the doctors were sort of shocked at, you know, how this could possibly have happened. They think that one of the reasons might have been is that she got drugs very early after birth and, secondly, those drugs, as you mentioned, were at relatively high doses, higher doses that you would usually give a newborn baby.

There were -- they gave her three drugs; usually they give one or two drugs. And again, at relatively high doses.

RAJPAL: So what could this mean, then, for other babies born with HIV?

COHEN: You know, it may mean that if you give a baby all three of these drugs, again, at these higher than normal doses for a newborn, perhaps the baby can just take those drugs, say, for a year and doesn't need to take them for a lifetime. And Rowena Johnston (ph), who was involved with this research, she talked about how exciting that could be.


ROWENA JOHNSON, THE FOUNDATION FOR AIDS RESEARCH DIRECTOR: Ultimately, if we are able to cure HIV infection -- and this is an if; we do need further research to confirm this -- but it really has huge implications because infants who are born HIV-positive may not, in fact, face a lifetime of HIV infection and a lifetime of anti-retroviral therapy, because maybe something that we can cure.

This might be applicable only to this population; but it really is a great, optimistic boost to our efforts to find a cure for HIV.


COHEN: You know, she mentioned it would be great if these babies didn't have to take these drugs for a lifetime. These drugs can be difficult to take and they can be very toxic.

RAJPAL: Regardless of what it is, it's giant leap forward, especially in the fight against HIV.

Elizabeth, thank you very much. Elizabeth Cohen there at CNN Center.

Protesters in Venezuela say they want the truth about President Hugo Chavez's health. Hundreds turned out for this opposition rally in Caracas on Sunday. They say they want proof that President Chavez is still alive.

Well, he hasn't been seen in public since December. Supporters also took to the streets. Some prayed for the president's recovery. It is still unknown what form of cancer Mr. Chavez has. Nearly two years since he started treatment.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth is in hospital for a second straight day. The 86-year-old monarch is being treated for symptoms of gastroenteritis. She was taken to a London hospital on Sunday afternoon in what's being described as a precautionary measure. We want to take you right now to London and Max Foster joins us from outside the King Edward VII Hospital with more on her condition.

Max, have there been any updates up until now?

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: No updates. We're hoping for an update. Obviously, a huge amount of attention on this hospital right now. The head of state of 16 countries around the world is in there. She's hasn't been in hospital for 10 years. She hasn't canceled engagements; a whole week's worth ever as far as anyone can remember. So there is concern about her condition.

But the palace playing it down a bit, saying she's in good spirits, in good health. I know that she has said she doesn't want to inconvenience the hospital in any way by having royal visitors here. So we're not expecting any visitors, either. I can say that Prince Philip is out on his own public engagements today.

So things are carrying on as normal. But she doesn't like fuss, Monita, so she doesn't like the idea of lots of people coming around and all of us being here. But the fact that she's in and she has gotten illness, which can be very serious for someone in her mid-80s, there is an acceptance, I think, that people are interested and concerned.

RAJPAL: What is pretty remarkable about this queen is that she's 86 years old, as we've been saying, but this is, what, the first time in 10 years she has been at the hospital? And she is known for her robust health.

FOSTER: She really is. It was 10 years ago she had a knee operation here, came out of the hospital. She did cancel an engagement back in October last year because she had a bad back. And we were told about this summit (inaudible) she's got at the moment on Friday. But she was meant to be spending her rest period at Windsor Castle on Sunday afternoon.

She was actually brought into hospital and I understand that the hospital doctors basically wanted her to have more direct supervision of her. So they wanted her to come in. I'm sure palace staff and the family urged her to come in as well.

But it can be a very serious illness for someone of her age, because there's this concern about dehydration. So perhaps she's getting rehydrated. Also worth noting that she's in here because of symptoms of gastroenteritis. We haven't actually been told that that's the diagnosis at this point, but we hope to get our later on today.

It may be tomorrow, though, because the palace, Monita, don't want to give a running commentary, they say.

RAJPAL: All right. Of course, she's going to say she doesn't want any fuss surrounding her. She is indeed quite a strong queen. Max, thank you very much for that, Max Foster there, our royal correspondent in London.

Well, as you'd expect, the Queen is guarded by the long arm of the law. And, yes, the long legs, too. This is the U.K.'s tallest cop. P.C. Anthony Wallyn stands 7'2" tall. That's 2.2 meters. His colleague here, he's 5'6" or about 1.7 meters. And in case you're wondering, the Queen is about half a meter shorter than the man they call the Big Ton (ph).

That's a pretty tall guy.

Still to come here on NEWS STREAM, a place in the Champions League is slipping away from Arsenal. We'll tell you why that is such a bitter pill to swallow for the North London football club. We'll have that in your "WORLD SPORT" update.




RAJPAL: So Arsenal suffered a huge setback in their bid to qualify for next season's Champions League. We want to take you straight to London then Pedro Pinto who has all the details.


PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Monita. Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League for the last 15 years running. But that streak could come to an end after the gun has dropped further off the pace set by the top four.

Arsene Wenger's side lost the North London Derby 2-1 to Tottenham on Sunday. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon gave Spurs a two-goal first half lead at White Hart Lane before Per Mertesacker got a goal back for the visitors. Tottenham are now undefeated in 12 Premier League games, a club record as far as Bale is concerned. He has now netted 13 goals in his last 14 league games, quite a run.

Here's what the top of the table looks like after the Derby. Spurs boosting their chances of finishing in the top four while Arsenal are now five points off the pace. There is one match on the schedule for Monday. Manchester City play against Aston Villa in Birmingham later today.

In the United States, the Chicago Blackhawks extended the best-ever start to an NHL season with a dramatic victory against archrivals Detroit. Chicago were down 1-0 late in the third period to the Redwings but managed to get an equalizing goal. The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane at the right place at the right time, to score.

The game went to a shootout, but that is when Chicago came out on top, Kaine coming up trumps again with the only goal in the tiebreaker. The Blackhawks have now gone 22 games without a regulation loss this season.

Hey, speaking of streaks, the Miami Heat's tied a franchise record on Sunday by winning their 14th straight game. The defending champions beat the Knicks in New York. The home team actually had a 16-point second half advantage at Madison Square Garden, but they couldn't hold onto it, even those Carmelo Anthony scored a game high, 32 points.

It's just that when you have the likes of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, you always have a great chance of winning a game. Wade nailed a couple of big shots down the stretch and James had another stellar outing with 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, Miami winning 99-93 as their streak continues. They are out in first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Just a few miles away from Madison Square Garden one high school player nailed a buzzer-beating shot that LeBron James would have been proud of.

New Rochelle were trailing to Mt. Vernon 60-58 with 2.9 seconds remaining when Khalil Edney's inbound pass was intercepted. But he somehow got it back and then nailed a dramatic game-winning shot from a long distance. What can you say about a shot like this, a 55-foot heave as time expired, giving his New Rochelle team an incredible victory as time expired.

And that'll be the kind of shot, Monita, that that young player will never forget. Back to you.

RAJPAL: I don't think he will forget it for a long time, Pedro. Thank you very much for that.

Coming up here on NEWS STREAM, Kenya's prime minister says he wants the country's general election to be fair and transparent. Meet the digital humanitarians who are working to ensure that comes true.

And the family of a South Korean missionary believes he was poisoned. Find out who they think wanted him dead.




RAJPAL: Hello, I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong and you are watching NEWS STREAM. These are the headlines.


RAJPAL (voice-over): Discussions about selecting the next pope begin this Monday as cardinals meet at the Vatican. They could set a date for their conclave. That's the gathering at which cardinals under the age of 80 will elect a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI, who retired last week.

There's new hope for the world's HIV sufferers. Doctors in the United States say they have essentially cured a 2-year-old girl who was born HIV positive. They started treating her with three antiviral drugs within 30 hours of birth. They say the presence of the virus in her blood is so small that standard clinical tests can't detect it and she won't need lifelong treatment.

In Kenya the polls are scheduled to close in about 30 minutes. Voters are choosing a new president, senators and local candidates. The deputy prime minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta can be seen casting his ballot here. There are reports of scattered violence, though; three people were injured when bombs exploded at two polling stations.

Ten were killed in a pre-election attack at a police station in Mombasa. Well, Kenyan prime minister and presidential hopeful Raila Odinga also cast his ballot earlier this Monday. The East African nation is trying to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2007 when more than 1,200 people died in post-election violence.

Nima Elbagir reports on the so-called digital humanitarians who are using social media to try to keep the peace.


ELBAGIR: During the violence that marred the 2007 elections here, citizen journalists were crucial in helping to pinpoint the worst affected areas, and none more so than Ushahidi, which means "witness" in Swahili.

You now have been working on different ways to ensure that this election is transparent.

DAUDI WERE, CITIZEN JOURNALIST: What you see here is a team full of digital humanitarians, the people that deal with the data that we get into the system.

(Inaudible) elections, that's also the name of a platform that we have deployed for this election. So we are partners in all across the country, sending us information but also very frankly information that we net (ph) and second to that we use as a technology platform. (Inaudible) and the various apps that go along with it.

ELBAGIR: Because apps are really cool. You've actually got one on your phone right here. And people go online and they download the app and then anywhere in the country, if they see something that they have concern about, they just go into the app and report it or they tweet it or they take a picture. And it reaches you immediate.

WERE: Yes. We see, you know, (inaudible) and we reach you where you are.

ELBAGIR: You're going to introduce us to some of the guys who are doing some of this monitoring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to be sure that that report is correct because we can't upload a report just because it has come from a citizen and give the wrong information, maybe give a wrong alarm of something like that.

So we've got to get our staff on the ground who are trained, who are verifiers on the ground. They will be able to go to the city and verify that it does happen. And then because they actually, you know, they are trusted and when they communicate to us, then from that point, we upscale it.

ELBAGIR: For those people out there watching this and who are worried about what's going to happen come Election Day, what's your message (inaudible)?

WERE: Well, you have the power in your hands to protect your vote. And that's what we're doing as ordinary citizens, working together to protect our vote and our electoral process.


RAJPAL: Nima Elbagir reporting there.

Now here you can see that software in action. These dots represent reports sent into this website about how the elections are proceeding across Kenya. And you can see a lot of those are coming in from big urban centers like the capital in Nairobi.

Reports include voting irregularities, staffing shortages at polling stations and security issues. As Nima mentioned in her report, the idea is to increase transparency and the accountability of election officials.

Switching gears now in Pakistan, police search for clues in a massive bombing in the city of Karachi. It happened on Sunday. A vehicle packed with explosives blew up, killing 45 people. About 150 are injured.

The bomb ripped through two apartment buildings, setting one of them on fire. The death toll is likely to rise as rescue workers continue to comb through the rubble. The bombing is just the latest in a series of large-scale attacks targeting Pakistan's minority Shiite population.

Strength and stability, that is the image China is trying to project as it embarks on a once-in-a-decade leadership change. Delegates from across the vast country are gathering in the capital of Beijing. The National People's Congress gets underway on Tuesday. David McKenzie has more now on the pivotal meeting and why it is coming at a critical time for China.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The delegates are streaming in to the Great Hall of the People here in Beijing for a series of important meetings. They have them every year, but this year, the National People's Congress in particular is crucially important. It will bring in a new raft of leaders to rule China. And many people believe that China is at a crossroads.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The 3,000 delegates of the NPC are a virtual rubber stamp for incoming President Xi Jinping and his top leadership. But they face many challenges.

Number one: the economy. Manufacturing, export and investments sparked China's meteoric rise. But now the government wants to move to a consumer-driven model, anchored on urbanization to avoid the much dreaded hard landing. The goal is to grow the middle class.

MCKENZIE: "To unify under socialism and strive for a well-off society," it reads. But propaganda aside, with the middle class growing, there's a real sense that cracks are appearing.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): This winter, China has seen its worst pollution in living memory, angering a population already jaded by a series of high-profile scandals, like the spectacular fall of party kingpin Bo Xilai. It's all tainted the reputation of the Communist leadership.

And protests for accountability online and on street corners are increasing. But while domestically the party is under pressure, internationally it's flexing its muscles. Standing up to its neighbor, Japan, over a disputed chain of islands, launching its first aircraft carrier and trying to match the influence of the Obama administration's so- called pivot to Asia.

This week, Chinese leaders are looking to project strength, not just locally but on the global stage.

MCKENZIE: The NPC is a stage-managed event, so don't expect any surprises where China's going is anyone's guess. But with new leaders coming in, one thing may be more certain, that they'll prioritize power and stability over reform -- David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.


RAJPAL: New questions have surfaced over the death of a missionary in China. His family in South Korea believe he was poisoned and that North Korea was involved. Anna Coren reports now from Seoul.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 14 years, Kim Ha- young had been doing God's work, a calling that would ultimately lead to his death.


COREN (voice-over): In August 2011, the 46-year-old South Korean missionary was working in Dandong, China, helping North Koreans cross the border and defect when he suddenly dropped dead. His wife, speaking publicly for the first time, had called him 15 minutes earlier.

"He told me he was meeting a North Korean defector and would then come home," she told me. "An hour later, I got a call and raced to the hospital. I found him dead with foam coming out of his mouth."

Hospital officials said the father of two had committed suicide by swallowing pesticides. His wife is convinced he was poisoned by a North Korean agent.

"He was aware of the dangers. He knew his work was a treat to the North Korean regime. But we never thought it would cost him his life."

An official autopsy by the Chinese government would reveal there was no poison in his system. When we contacted authorities, they refused to comment.

Fearful of a cover-up, his wife went to the morgue before his body was cremated and collected samples of his blood on a glove. She returned South Korea and gave it to officials.

COREN: Government authorities here in Seoul won't speak to us on camera. But they have shown us the official forensic report on the investigation into Mr. Kim's death. It reveals that poison was detected on the blood samples at a level that would kill a person immediately.

COREN (voice-over): It's not the first time North Korea has been implicated in attacks against South Korean citizens using a poison-tipped needle, like this one disguised in a pen. In 1996, a South Korean diplomat working in Vladivostok was poisoned. The following year, a North Korean couple claiming they wanted to defect were caught trying to poison a politician.

And in 2011, a North Korean spy was arrested in Seoul during a foiled attempt to kill a prominent activist. Fellow missionary Soksahuen (ph) says his friend feared for his life.

"Before his death, we'd heard a rumor that Mr. Kim was on North Korea's terrorist list. His murder has frightened other missionaries. But we must continue his work."

One of the people Mr. Kim helped was Kim Myongok (ph). She and her family were starving in North Korea when he helped them escape.

"I was so upset when I heard the news. We would have died in hunger. He saved our lives."

One man was arrested in connection to the murder on espionage charges and sentenced to four years. But that's little comfort to his grieving wife.

"He was too young to die. We had so many plans and dreams. He was taken away from us in such a cruel way." Anna Coren, CNN, Seoul.


RAJPAL: Coming up next, here on NEWS STREAM, a Florida family's nightmare. These are live pictures as crews demolish a home that sits above a deadly sinkhole. There are more than memories in all that debris. Stay with us.




RAJPAL: Welcome back. You are looking at a visual representation of all the stories that we are covering on the show this Monday.

Now earlier, we heard from the Kenyan prime minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga about his concerns about the electoral process in his country. And then we told you about the remarkable story of an American toddler who doctors say has been functionality cured of HIV.

Now we take you to the U.S. state of Florida and a homeowner tragically swallowed by a sinkhole. Crews are tearing down what remains of this house in the Tampa suburb of Seffner. They started on Sunday but are going slowly so that they can salvage belongings for the family that lived there. But it seems they will not get back the most precious item of all. George Howell reports.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A demolition crew started work Sunday on a Florida home condemned because of a sinkhole that killed one of its occupants. Hundreds of spectators watched as a backhoe plunged through the roof, ripping down walls and putting pieces of the Bush family life on public display.

MIKE MERRILL, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY ADMINISTER: The family is very close-knit. Many of the family have actually lived in this house over the years; belonged to the grandmother and so they all have a very close personal connection.

HOWELL (voice-over): Crews helped salvage valuables, including military medals and an American flag. But authorities say it will not be possible to recover the body of 37-year-old Jeffrey Bush. He's the only one of six family members at home who was unable to escape when the sinkhole opened Thursday night. His brother, Jeremy, says he tried to save him.

JEREMY BUSH, SINKHOLE VICTIM'S BROTHER: And I ran in there and all I could see was this big hole. And all I see was the tops of his bed. I didn't see nothing else. So I went and jumped in the hole and tried digging him out. And I couldn't get him. All I could hear was -- I thought I could hear him screaming for me and hollering for me to help him. I couldn't do nothing.

HOWELL (voice-over): The search for Bush was called off when authorities said it became clear he could not have survived. Tearing down the home will give officials a better look at the sinkhole which is still expanding and help them find the best way to fill it. Several other homes had to be evacuated and people were only given 30 minutes to get their belongings.


RAJPAL: And George Howell joins us now live from Seffner in Florida.

And George, we understand that the demolition is taking place right now behind you. Give us an idea of what is actually happening.

HOWELL: Monita, certainly. And I'll step out of the way and show you. You can get a good, clear picture of it.

You see this track hoe, the 80-foot arm there, tearing down a side of this home, bringing as much of the debris -- and I say debris, but keep in mind there are a lot of valuables in there -- bringing all of that closer to the street so that the family can sift through and find things that they can keep.

Again, their goal right now is to get all of that debris out of the way so again that they can see the scope and scale of this hole, this sinkhole, that has grown under the home, Monita.

RAJPAL: This is an incredibly devastating and shocking story. It is something that is hard to imagine that could actually happen while someone is sitting in their home, and then they are swallowed up by the Earth.

What is going to happen now to this family? And are local and city officials actually going to be doing something to help them? And also to investigate how this could have happened in the first place?

HOWELL: Well, you know, certainly we understand that the family is getting a lot of help from the community. We also understand from the family that they do have some form of insurance. So you know that is a bit of good news in this terrible, terrible situation here. But you ask about these sinkholes.

Really, first of all, there's no way to predict these sinkholes in this area. It's just a common thing here in the state of Florida. It comes down to the water table being depleted in many parts of Florida. And many of these homes sit on limestone. So when the limestone becomes fragile, that's where you create these voids underground. You can have these sinkholes like this deadly sinkhole here.

Death in these cases is very rare in the state of Florida. But the sinkholes are not. And again, Monita, it's just the sort of thing you can't predict but is a scary situation.

RAJPAL: Yes. Our hearts go out to that family there. It's one of those stories that you never -- it's one of those stories that you just could never expect to hear about. George, thank you very much for that, George Howell reporting to us there from --

HOWELL: Certainly.

RAJPAL: -- Seffner in Florida.

Let's get a check now of the weather conditions. Let's go to Mari Ramos at the World Weather Center with more.


MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Monita, I want to actually start talking a little bit about that sinkhole a little bit more. A couple of the things that George was talking about, when you think about Florida and if you've either been there or seen pictures, whether you go to a river or to the Everglades or to the ocean, you will see this crystal clear water.

And then the beach is one thing. But in areas where there aren't any beaches, very rocky even in some cases. And that's that lime, so that's that coral that they're talking about that is -- makes up the foundation, the geology of the state of Georgia.

And it really is something quite amazing and sinkholes are very common in this part of the world. And look at this, this is just since 1954, all of the areas where sinkholes have been reported. And

in this area right in here -- this is actually dubbed Sinkhole Alley because sinkholes are so common. There's even this particular insurances that people have to have to make sure that sinkholes are covered within their homeowner's policy. It's a pretty big deal. And there have been over 3,000 sinkholes since 1954.

Most of these, of course, that's related to sinkholes are extremely rare. But as you can see, they are very common. And it is quite a scary situation for people there.

One of the things that really surprised me is how close our reporter was to where the sinkhole actually happened. He appeared to be almost right across the street. I'm kind of wondering, you know, if they evacuated the homes around there, you know, it's kind of scary to be that close to an area where they believe the ground might still be a bit unstable.

And the workers, the rescue workers, rescue personnel that's there digging through that home, trying to get access to that, that's also pretty scary as well, because like they said, the ground is still a bit unstable.

I want to show you another sinkhole. This is the -- from last year. This is from China. So I just want to kind of illustrate that. Sinkholes can really happen anywhere around the world. So you just never know. Some type of terrain, of course, more susceptible than others.

I want to move on and talk to you about the weather in Japan. This is a picture from this weekend. And this one taken just yesterday. This is an area where -- and these -- you see this right over here? So there's a highway up here and then right over here, this huge snowdrift. And this is a road, completely covered in snow.

Just to give you an example, this is where a vehicle found -- was found with four people inside, all four victims to the deadly cold weather in this area. There was another -- this could have been tragic, but fortunately nothing serious happened, except of course people trapped inside a train. A bullet train was derailed because of the heavy snowfall that they had over the weekend.

Most of this happened across the north in Hokkaido, Honshu getting the bulk of the snow right now. But a little bit of good news across East Asia, Monita, warmer days are ahead. It's already 7 in Beijing, 12 in Shanghai.

And over the next couple of days, it's even hard to believe, temperatures are going to be hovering almost close to 20 degrees in some cases. And I know it doesn't seem like a lot for you in Hong Kong, but people have been shivering up there in Beijing and across the Korean Peninsula in Japan. Back to you.

RAJPAL: I'm actually kind of missing the cold weather. Would you believe it?

RAMOS: I believe it.


RAJPAL: I know. All right, Mari, thank you very much for that.

Now in New York, Brooklyn's Bourbon brewing business is booming. Coming up, we introduce you to an urban liquor pioneer.




RAJPAL: Well, a few months ago superstorm Sandy battered much of the northeastern United States. Millions of people lost electricity; some of them for weeks. And a lot of couples hunkered down. Well, as Susan Candiotti explains, that could lead to a baby boom.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meredith Swarmstet (ph) is 20 weeks pregnant. She and husband, Hank (ph), are hoping to learn the gender of their baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The doctor will be right with you, OK?



CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Down the hall, Stephanie Tisch (ph) and her fiance, Bryan (ph), are also expecting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything going OK?



CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Meredith (ph) and Stephanie (ph) have more than their uneventful pregnancies in common. Both were stuck in a house without power during superstorm Sandy.

CANDIOTTI: OK, I have to ask and have you pinpointed the night? What? What happened?


HANK SWARMSTET: Pinpointed but, we think we have a Sandy (ph).

MEREDITH SWARMSTET: Yes. We think we have a Sandy baby.

CANDIOTTI: So there's no doubt in your mind that this -- there is a connection?

MEREDITH SWARMSTET: No, no. There isn't.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Same goes for Stephanie (ph) and Bryan (ph).

CANDIOTTI: So you were without power for how long?

BRYAN (PH): About a week.

CANDIOTTI: About a week.

TISCH (PH): About a week.

CANDIOTTI: That must have been tough when you didn't have power, especially at night.

TISCH (PH): It was. It was --

BRYAN (PH): Well, it was night all day long. It was night from 6 o'clock on.

CANDIOTTI: So what did you do to amuse yourselves?

BRYAN (PH): Well, there was no TV. So...

CANDIOTTI: Are you blushing (inaudible)?

BRYAN (PH): No, not at all. Not at all.

TISCH (PH): We just got closer, I guess. And then when --

BRYAN (PH): Shared a flashlight and...


TISCH (PH): Yes. No power definitely brought us closer. It was cold. It was very -- we had no heat.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Their doctor, Robert Rubino, says his New Jersey practice had a huge Sandy spike.

DR. ROBERT RUBINO, OBSTETRICIAN: And it got to the point where we had to stop seeing new obstetrical patients to the practice.

CANDIOTTI: This possible baby boom is based on science. Honestly, there's a study about this. Researchers over the years documented an increase in pregnancies not in areas where storm destruction was most severe, but in areas where damage was not too bad. And that appears to be what happened with Meredith (ph) and Stephanie (ph).

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): The study's author says it makes sense.

RICHARD EVANS, PROFESSOR, BYU: You may run out of power but you're not running for your life. There's probably more opportunities for reproductive behavior.

CANDIOTTI: So are you thinking about names?

HANK SWARMSTET (PH): We started that.

MEREDITH SWARMSTET (PH): We started to, but not Sandy.


TISCH (PH): Definitely probably not Sandy. Anything else, maybe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks great. Let's see if we can get you a 3D picture.

Looks like it's going to be a girl. So...


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Part of a possible baby boom that started when the lights went out -- Susan Candiotti, CNN, West Orange, New Jersey.


RAJPAL: I love that, "There was no TV."

Well, just a few years ago it was illegal to make your own whiskey in New York. Today Brooklyn's Bourbon industry is going great guns. Richard Roth checked out and tasted some of the borough's do-it-yourself Bourbon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lid is off in many places with the downfall of Prohibition!

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The year: 1933, and Americans were now allowed to make or sell alcohol after a 13-year ban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So these are the stills.

ROTH (voice-over): The year 2013, and for the first time since Prohibition ended, people like Colin Spoelman (ph) are urban liquor pioneers, making Bourbon in Brooklyn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little intense. It's a little --


ROTH (voice-over): Spoelman (ph) felt more intense in Brooklyn just a few years ago, when he was evading New York state laws still on the books outlawing manufacturing of whiskey, the kind that saw law enforcement stage high-profile liquor raids during Prohibition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got started making, you know, moonshine in my apartment. And it was precisely because I did become worried about people busting down the door.

ROTH: You were doing illegally --


ROTH (voice-over): New York State has finally relaxed its liquor laws and in trendsetting Brooklyn, entrepreneurs poured in.

SARAH LOHMAN, HISTORIC GASTRONOMIST, FOURPOUNDSFLOUR.COM: (Inaudible) are happy up in Brooklyn are because it's affordable, but also that there's a culture in Brooklyn that supports craft distilleries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is the barrel room. And in this room, there's about 450 Bourbon barrels.

ROTH (voice-over): Spoelman's (ph) Kings County Distillery was the first. Urban, made in Brooklyn in a 113-year-old house in what used to be the famed Brooklyn Navy Yard in the shadow of Manhattan.

Now to make the whiskey, the company gets some materials like wood chips right off the land.

Spoelman (ph) personally delivers some of his whiskey to neighborhood bars and liquor stores.

JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN, V.P., PARK AVENUE LIQUOR SHOP: Years ago we had next to zero as far as New York state products went. And the last 12 months, it's exploded on the scene.

ROTH (voice-over): Amid heavier demand, whiskey distribution is up nationwide, nearly 5 percent in just the past year.

At The Richardson bar in Brooklyn, some local pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York has a rich cocktail history, right? So it's only natural that like -- that Bourbon should be made here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It'll definitely be profitable, I'm sure. Brooklyn can sell the hell out of anything basically.

ROTH (voice-over): Leave it always to the bartender, though, to provide advice.

JON DEROSA, THE RICHARDSON NYC: Just because it's local doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be good. I mean, just to be frank.

ROTH: I'm not a drinker. Thus I'm the perfect person to determine the quality of this Bourbon.


ROTH (voice-over): Richard Roth, CNN, New York.


RAJPAL: The United States is starting its first full week of forced spending cuts and President Barack Obama called on Congress to find a compromise in his weekend address. But many people are still talking about something he said on Friday. Mr. Obama stated he did not have the power to, quote, "somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right."

Well, that touched a nerd nerve. The official "Star Wars" Facebook page quickly corrected the president, "It's Jedi mind trick." It seems Mr. Obama confused things with a "Star Trek" term instead. Actor Leonard Nimoy played Spock on the show. He tweeted this, "Only a Vulcan mind meld will help with this Congress."

The White House took the heat with humor. It tweeted, "We must bring balance to the Force." The picture uses fonts from both "Star Wars" and "Star Trek." But if you go to the link at the bottom,, it takes you here. The official White House plan to avert budget cuts. And that's what we -- or these nerds -- would call a Rickroll.

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