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Cardinals Hold Special Mass Before Conclave Begins; Hong Kong 10 Years After SARS; Photo Essay Shows Syrian Refugees One Item At A Time; China's Underground Catholics

Aired March 12, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET

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


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

Now in just a few hours, these cardinals will begin the series of votes that will decide who will be the next pope.

Ten years on, Hong Kong still bears the scares of SARS.

And can Lio Messi save Barcelona? The European giants are on the verge of crashing out of the Champion's League.

All eyes are on the Vatican where the papal conclave is getting underway in earnest. 115 cardinals have gathered to elect a new pope who will lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Now he will succeed Benedict XVI who resigned last month.

The cardinals attended a special morning mass at St. Peter's Basilica today to pray for guidance. In just a few hours, they will proceed to the Sistine Chapel, the lowest ranking cardinal leading the way.

Now our senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann was at the morning mass. He joins us now live from the Vatican. And Jim, can you describe the mass? What did you see?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, it was quite a solemn affair this morning. I was there. I've got the book to prove it. It's a holy mass for the election of the Roman pontiff. You don't have many of these that come along. It's only when a pope that needs to be elected that the cardinals gather for this kind of a mass.

And there was a big group of cardinals here this morning, not only 115 electorate, but the other cardinals who are over 80 and will not be participating in the election, all went to the mass this morning.

And one of the things I found interesting was the way that the cardinals -- some of the cardinals who will be doing the electing, took a few moments before the mass actually began as they were filing, took a few moments to quietly pray. There's a chapel right very close to the altar at St. Peter's and a number of cardinals stopped there, knelt down and prayed just for a few moments before joining the rest of the cardinals for the mass this morning, Kristie Lu.

LU STOUT: Yeah, telling detail there, prayers before the vote.

Now the cardinals, they will soon move to the Sistine Chapel. And there the voting will begin. Jim, how it proceed on day one?

BITTERMANN: Well, the -- what happens right now is that the cardinals are preparing themselves to go into the conclave. There's going to be a processional later on this afternoon which they'll possess into the conclave or the Sistine Chapel. And then they'll declare in Latin that all people not part of the conclave should be -- should leave the conclave area and then they will lock the doors.

And once they've locked the doors, there will again be some prayers, but after those prayers, then, they will then take the very first vote, that should come around 7:00 New York -- 7:00 Rome time tonight, about 1:00 in New York. And in fact that vote will give us some kind of an idea -- or at least give the cardinals some kind of an idea who the frontrunner is.

We've been speculating about frontrunners all the way along here, but it's just speculation, because no one really takes any kind of public opinion polls amongst the cardinals, so there's no real way to know. And until this first vote comes down, the cardinals themselves don't know who the frontrunners are. And they'll take a look at the first voting results, and some may choose to join in with a mass of votes going from one cardinal to another, or it may turn out that they'll want to have more votes after that. They have to have two-thirds majority. There's only one vote scheduled for tonight. There will be two votes again tomorrow morning and two votes tomorrow afternoon if pope is not elected.

And of course we only have the chimney in the Sistine Chapel to know whether or not a pope has been elected. And we have no idea of how the voting is going until after it's all over and until after a pope has been elected, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And you'll be watching those smoke signals for us.

Now, Jim, this is such a secretive process. And it is difficult, if not impossible, to get into the minds of the cardinal electors. But you are a longtime Vatican watcher, what is the deciding factor about who the next pope should be. Is it about prayer? Or is it about politics?

BITTERMANN: Well, I think that there's prayer involved, but I think this time around -- and if you're asking me to make a comparison between the other three conclaves I've been at, I think this time around, there's a lot more concern about worldly concerns. I mean, it's a lot more secular, I feel, this time than in previous times.

When you ask a cardinal, they'll always say of course we're waiting for the Holy Spirit to intervene and tell us how to vote and who we should vote for. On the other hand, this time around there are so many issues before the church that I think the cardinals can't help but be thinking about what kind of a person there should be in the Holy See that would -- could address those problems in a correct fashion.

So, yes, I think that there's -- there is a lot of prayer going on. The cardinals are obviously hoping that they do have -- receive some divine intervention, but on the other hand they also know the problems and they probably have now gotten at least a feel for who among their brethren, their fellow cardinals, might be able to address the kind of concerns that they have about the future of the church, Kristie.

LU STOUT: So it's both prayers and politicking in the papal vote, a fascinating process.

Jim Bittermann joining us live from Rome, thank you.

Now once the cardinals are inside the Sistine Chapel, they could cast their first vote for pope today, or they could decide to wait until Wednesday. Now Jonathan Mann walks us through this complex and highly secretive process.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the oldest, enduring electoral system in the world, and many of its traditions have been unchanged for centuries. The conclave, which means locked with a key, dates back to a time where cardinals were locked in until they chose a new pope. Now it's the world that's locked out, figuratively speaking, as much of the conclave will take place behind closed doors.

The gathering begins with a morning mass in St. Peter's basilica. In the afternoon the 115 voting cardinals, those under 80 years old, enter the Sistine chapel where each will take an oath of secrecy. The penalty, automatic ex-communication.

After the oath, preparations are made for the election, taken by secret ballot. Lots are drawn to select three cardinals who will help collect ballots. Three more cardinals to count the votes, and three others to review the results. Printed on the ballots, the words eligo im summum pontificem, meaning I elect as supreme pontiff.

Each elector writes the name of one candidate on the lower half of the ballot and folds it in half. The cardinals are not allowed to vote for themselves.

Then in order of seniority, the cardinals take a ballot to the altar. Each places a folded ballot onto a small disc and then the ballot is dropped into a chalice. Once all the votes are cast, the ballots are tallied and the results are read aloud.

More than a two-thirds majority is needed to declare a winner, in this case 77 votes. If there is no winner there's another vote. If there is still to winner, two more votes are scheduled for the afternoon. Voting continues, up to four ballots a day, until there's a winner. The ballots are burned after each session an incinerator inside the chapel, sending off the most famous smoke signals in the world. If there's no winner, they're burned with a chemical that gives off black smoke, telling the crows waiting in St. Peter's square that a new pope has not yet been selected.

When there is a winner, the ballots are burned alone, giving off white smoke, a sign from the cardinals that they have chosen a new pope to lead the church.

Jonathan Mann, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And right now the cardinals are having lunch at the Vatican's Santa Marta residence. That's also where they will sleep at night during the conclave. They have drawn lots for rooms. This is just the second time the residence has been used to house cardinal electors during a conclave. The first time was in 2005 when Benedict XVI was chosen.

Now, several names have been mentioned as possible contenders. And they include Italy's cardinal Angelo Scola, shown here with Pope Benedict. Now Chris Cuomo has a closer look now at Cardinal Scola and the handful of other leading names.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here's what we know. The cardinals are ready to vote, the chimney is up, la estufa, the stove, is ready to make the world's most famous smoke. But beyond that, we are only guessing at who will be the papam habemus.

Unlike American politics, cardinals don't campaign and the debates here are more about what they want than whom. Still, certain names keep coming up; 71-year-old Angelo Scola is rumored among Vatican insiders to be a favorite for some obvious reasons. He's from Italy, which has more voting cardinals than any other country, and he's archbishop of Milan, which was Pope Paul VI's position.

Another cardinal in the running, Odilo Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil. His credentials, respected for his piety, leads the largest diocese in the world's largest Catholic country and relatively young at 63 years old, not to mention he has German ancestry, which may comfort the 61 Europeans voting. But in an odd twist, if neither can garner the required two-thirds majority, the cardinals may see it as a sign that neither is God's choice and drop both, just like the conclave did in 1978 when Pope John Paul II emerged as the surprise choice.

That opens the door to someone like Canadian Marc Ouellet. He's the head of the congregation that decides who becomes a bishop, which is a big job. He also has major ties to South America, which potentially makes him a uniter of the old and new church. This out- of-the-box alternative scenario is what fuels the prospect of an American pope.

To be sure, this is the first time Americans have even been mentioned. The two big names, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, known as taking a hard line on addressing the sex abuse scandal, and New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a unique combination of church conservatism and, as we saw at his mass, charisma.

ARCHBISHOP TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK: I'm ready to go home. I ran out of socks.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: Insiders say an American has but a prayer of being pope. However, if you're going into an election where only God could win it for you, the conclave is the place to be.

Chris Cuomo, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now still to come on News Stream, why millions of Chinese Catholics feel they must worship in secret and not in the state sanctioned church.

10 years after the outbreak, the legacy of SARS still haunts Hong Kong.

And as the fighting continues in Syria, a new photo essay shows the possessions that refugees cherish the most.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And you are looking at a video rundown of all the stories in the show. We've told you about the papal conclave. And later, we'll explore the state of the Catholic Church in China. But now we want to remember the epidemic that changed Hong Kong and the world. On March 12, 2003, the World Health Organization issued a global alert. People here in Hong Kong were catching a form of pneumonia that did not respond to standard treatment. And three days later, the new disease was named SARS for the first time.

We now know that it started in China, but by the time it was contained four months later, it had spread to more than two dozen countries.

Now SARS infected more than 8,000 people, 780 people died and Hong Kong had the highest fatality rate in the world. And the city still bears scars from SARS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CATHY KONG, SARS SURVIVOR: I talked to the virus. I talked to the disease. Go away. Go away.

LU STOUT: Cathy Kong is a SARS survivor. 10 years ago, she lived in Block E of the Amway Gardens (ph) apartment complex, the area of Hong Kong hardest hit during the outbreak. Cathy and more than 300 of her neighbors became infected with SARS.

KONG: I didn't know the situation is so severe, so scary until the moment I was discharged from the hospital and when I came home I got out of the taxi, I took my first step to the Amway Gardens (ph) shopping mall. Most of the shops were closed. It was quite dark in -- not light in the shopping mall. Not like its normal scene.

LU STOUT: In other parts of Hong Kong, usually crowded streets were deserted. People who did go out wore face masks. And they were in such high demand that even hospital workers fighting SARS had a hard time getting them.

DR. C.M. CHU, RESPIRATORY SPECIALIST: At the time we weren't really very well prepared, because we thought it was only going to be a smallscale outbreak. We didn't realize that there was an Amway Garden outbreak afterwards. So these masks were in very short supply at the time.

LU STOUT: Dr. C.M. Chu was, and still is, a respiratory specialist at United Christian Hospital, that's where many residents of Amway Gardens went for treatment. But at first, Dr. Chu and his colleagues did not know what they were fighting.

CHU: It was quite scary and we -- all of us I think in the team feels a very huge responsibility, because we -- eventually we had more than 100 adult patients admitted under our care with SARS. You know, people tend to romanticize the whole experience, but in fact it's quite traumatic for everybody. And I don't feel like a hero. I mean, I was trained to deal with pneumonia and that was only my job.

LU STOUT: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, SARS has not struck since 2004, but its legacy can still be seen in Hong Kong today. In the buildings around me, you will find signs with disinfecting schedules. You'll also find hand sanitizer dispensers. And when people get sick here in Hong Kong, they often wear face masks to avoid spreading it to others.

Cathy says she is happy to see lessons have been learned. She says SARS survivors are still healing, some physically, others psychologically.

KONG: I always tell myself it's OK and recover, that the disease is over and the disaster is also over. I'm OK. I always tell myself I'm OK. I'm the lucky one.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Cathy is a survivor. She is also an author. And she tells me she's writing a second book about her experience during the outbreak on healing after SARS. Now experts say that SARS went away as mysteriously as it appeared. And of course we have seen other outbreaks -- bird flu in 2007, H1N1, originally referred to as swine flu, it caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009, and recently there have been reports of a new SARS-like illness, it has sickened more than a dozen people mostly in the Middle East. Now the new illness in the corona virus family, and that includes SARS as well as the common cold.

Now the new virus is similar to one found in bats. And the World Health Organization is monitoring these cases, but for now it has not seen any sign of sustained human to human contact.

Now I spoke with WHO's director of global capacities alert and response Isabelle Nuttall. I started by asking her about the possibility of a deadly virus jumping the species barrier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. ISABELLE NUTTALL, WHO GLOBAL ALERT AND RESPONSE DIRECTOR: We could see at any point in time that same danger, that same type of even happening again. The human/animal interface continues to be there. A virus can jump the barrier from animal to human. And this is why we need to maintain constant, vigilant system of alert in order to report any unused (ph) event, any case of a disease that would be severe.

LU STOUT: And how do you keep that vigilance and chart the movement of pandemics? How do you monitor epidemics in a country to keep them from spreading internationally?

NUTTALL: So what has changed since SARS is that in 2005 member states of WHO have adopted what we call the international health regulations. This is a legal framework agreement that binds countries to immediately report to WHO any event that is of a severe nature that is unexpected that has potential risk to spread internationally. And what is important is that countries are respected when they report these events now.

At the same time, WHO is maintaining a 24/7 system of vigilance to constantly monitor what is happening everywhere in the world. And should we get to know about things before countries officially report to us, we are allowed to go back to the country, request verification and countries have within 24 hours a mandate to go to come back to us and tell us what exactly is happening in that country.

This is a way to facilitate transparency, sharing of information, and rapid intervention.

LU STOUT: But are all countries around the world being fully transparent with you about the people getting sick in their own borders?

NUTTALL: Yes. All countries are really reporting what is happening now.

It is more than ever important, and I would say almost impossible now for any country to hide anything. You know, technology, information technologies have moved so rapidly, everything is shared in 30 seconds around the globe through social media, thorugh different ways. We benefit from this increase in communication. This is to the benefit of transparency, this is to the benefit of the world.

LU STOUT: Now SARS, it spread to more than two dozen countries. It killed hundreds of people worldwide. Could something like SARS happen again?

NUTTALL: Yes. Unfortunately, anything like SARS could happen at any moment in time. This is why we do need to maintain the surveillance. We know that viruses change constantly, the jump from animals to humans. They move. They spread. And this is why that type of event could happen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And that was a call for constant vigilance from Dr. Isabelle Nuttall of the World Health Organization.

Now ahead right here on News Stream, with a number of Syrian refugees now over a million and counting, we consider what goes on in people's minds as they prepare to leave their homes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.

Now authorities in India have completed an autopsy of one the men accused of gang raping and fatally beating a woman on a New Delhi bus last December. Now the autopsy results have not been made public. It is not clear when or if they will be.

Ram Singh, he was found dead in his jail cell on Monday. And police say he hanged himself. His parents say he was murdered. His body has now been handed over to them. And the trial of Singh and four other men began last month. Authorities say Singh was driving the bus when the attack took place. The 23-year-old female victim later died of her injuries.

Now in Syria, both activists and pro-government media say fighting was fierce in the central city of Homs on Monday, the heaviest took place in Baba Amr, one of the city's poorer areas. Now government war planes are believed to have targeted at least one air strike there backed by heavy machine gun and mortar fire. And this video is said to show government forces firing rockets at Baba Amr from Homs University. Now CNN cannot verify its authenticity.

Rebels and government forces, they've been fighting for control of Homs almost since the start of the uprising two years ago.

Now Syrians in one city after another have had to face the reality of war. And Hala Gorani has this look at a new photo essay that puts that reality into perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you had to leave your home and escape to another country, ask yourself what would be the one thing you would take with you? The UN's refugee agency asked Syrians that question, documenting their answers in a moving photo essay. As over a million refugees have fled across borders sharing their personal stories of a brutal civil war.

Abdul carried with him the keys to his apartment in Damascus. He, his wife, daughter and her children fled after his wife was wounded in the fighting. They now live in a plywood shelter in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. He's not sure what's left of his home, but he says he dreams every day of returning.

"God willing, I will see you this time next year in Damascus," he says.

Yousuf (ph) took his mobile phone with him when he fled Damascus. He now stays in buildings in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and says this small piece of technology is his lifeline to his family, both hearing their voices and seeing pictures he saved on his phone.

"With this, I'm able to call my father," he says. "We're close enough to Syria here that I can catch a signal from the Syrian towers."

Laila (ph) is only nine. After her neighbors were killed, she and her family escaped. Their temporary home, a partially constructed house in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Laila (ph) took with her a special pair of jeans she wore to several weddings.

"When I saw these, I knew instantly that these were perfect because they have a flower on them, and I love flowers."

Tamara (ph) and her family left Syria after their home in Idlib was damaged.

"When we left our house, we felt the sky was raining bullets," she says of their journey to the Turkish border.

The 20 year old proudly holds her diploma, the refugee camp where she stays visible behind her. Tamara (ph) plans to continue her education in Turkey.

And the most important item to take with you doesn't have to be an object. 82 year old Ayman (ph) says his wife Yasmine (ph) is his most prized possession from his homeland.

"She's the best woman that I've met in my life," he says. "Even if I were to go back 55 years, I would choose you again."

The couple left their quiet life on a farm in Aleppo after their neighbor was killed and nearby homes were looted and set on fire.

They are the true faces of Syria, lives that will be forever changed, escaping from war, separated from everything they know and hold dear, taking with them their pride, their heritage and a little piece of home.

Hala Gorani, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Beautiful and haunting photos there.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, we visit a Catholic church in China that recognizes the pope as its leader in defiance of the state sanctioned church.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT (voice-over): Eurostar has suspended its cross-channel train service between London and Paris after the region was blanketed in heavy snow. Blizzards hit northern France, Belgium and other parts of Europe. Germany's Frankfurt airport has canceled flights to clear runways.

In India, authorities have completed an autopsy on Ram Singh. He was on trial (inaudible) in the death of a woman who was raped late last year on a New Delhi bus. Authorities ordered the autopsy after Singh was found dead in his prison cell. Police say he hanged himself. His parents say he was murdered. The autopsy results have not yet been disclosed.

The 115 cardinals who will choose the next pope are gathered at the Vatican. They held a special morning mass just a short time ago. And soon they will enter the Sistine Chapel for the conclave. They could cast their first vote for pope later on Tuesday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: Now in China, there is a state sanctioned Catholic Church whose head is the government, not the pope -- but millions of Chinese, they refuse to accept this and they worship in secret. David McKenzie has that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every Sunday, they come, villagers, mothers and children, packing a church with no pews and no roof, to an underground church in China.

REV. PAUL DONG, UNDERGROUND PRIEST (through translator): This village has 400 years of Christianity. It's tradition.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Father Paul Dong is the church's priest. He is clear about his loyalties.

DONG (through translator): For us Christians, the earthly head of the church is the Vatican; the spiritual head is our Lord Jesus Christ.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): I've come to meet Father Paul in Yutan (ph) village, a four-hour drive from Beijing. He leads a thriving underground congregation that defies the Communist Party's hold on the church.

Father Paul didn't go to a seminary. All he learned was by word of mouth.

DONG (through translator): We all inherited our faith from the older generation of priests. Before, the government was very strict. We were locked up in detention houses for reeducation because we didn't listen to them.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Communist China cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, calling religion "the opiate of the masses," but later formed a state-sponsored church. During the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution in the '60s and '70s, religious were all but banned.

DONG (through translator): We only had underground churches consisting of mass at home and Bible study. During the Cultural Revolution, they took away most of our church material, handwritten Bibles and old Bibles.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Things have changed. An estimated 6 million Chinese attending state-sanctioned Catholic Churches. But Father Paul's congregation, (inaudible) occasional crackdowns.

Unrecognized by the state, they can't even build a church. And the government has been cajoling, persuading and luring priests to the official church, says Father Paul.

DONG (through translator): Because of the government brainwashing, a lot of converts gave up their religion.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Of 100 priests in this area, only one other has withstood that temptation, he says. Father Paul may feel like he's nearly alone in his fight. But in this makeshift church, he's shepherd to many -- David McKenzie, CNN, Yutan village.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: And let's return to the Vatican for more on the papal conclave to select the next pope. Our senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is there at the Vatican. He joins us now live.

And, Dan, there are many papal contenders. But is there a clear front-runner?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think there is at the moment. Well, if you believe the bookies, it's Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, a truck driver's son, the youngest of two brothers, editor of "Communio" (ph). He's done a lot of outreach work with the Islamic faith through the Oasis project. So he's certainly someone with a good pedigree, if I can put it like that.

Also being seen increasingly as the reformer's choice, may get the backing of some of the American cardinals here, or that's not 100 percent clear. But he's certainly being seen as the favorite 2:1 odds the last time that I checked, although (inaudible) changing quite rapidly at the moment.

So that would bring the papacy back to Italy in some senses, but not really to someone who is seen as a -- as part of the curial establishment and a sort of conservative in that way.

Ironically, the candidate who's seen as much more part of the curia part of the Italian bureaucracy is a Brazilian candidate, the archbishop of Sao Paolo, Odilo Pedro Scherer from Brazil. He's quoted as about 7:1 favorite. So you've got this kind of curious split between a reformer outside the establishment who happens to be an Italian and the person who's seen as much more part of the establishment who happens to be Brazilian.

STOUT: Now it's interesting to hear the Italian Cardinal Scola being named as a front-runner and a reformist being considered. Now the cardinals, they will soon move to the Sistine Chapel and that is where the voting will begin. And we know there's no cameras allowed, jamming devices on, highly secretive process.

But can you just take us inside and give us a sense of what would be happening inside that room?

RIVERS: Well, I was there a couple of days ago, and it is just the most magnificent, sublime interior with those frescoes by Michelangelo and Botticelli. They will go in; there is a sort of ramp that's been built in the middle of the chapel out of wood. I think in order to level out the floor a little bit so that it's easier for some of the obviously quite elderly cardinals, many in their 70s, to go up to the altar.

Two sets of tables facing one another, either side of the altar, they'll sit there and then they will go through quite a slow, elaborate process of prayer, of thought, once they've decided who they're going to vote for, they'll write the name on a special voting card, which is then handed in, one by one, to three people, three of the cardinals who were chosen to count the votes, who are sitting up at the front.

They'll put them in a kind of urn, a chalice and then once all the votes have been cast -- which may take quite a lot of time, because there are 115 of them -- they will take them out and start to go through them and count them, threading them literally on a -- on a needle and thread so that they don't count them twice. The votes will be read out, one by one, as they're counted.

The cardinals are instructed to disguise their handwriting if possible so there's no chance of anyone recognizing who anyone has voted for. And really that first vote this afternoon, this evening, will be the first opportunity for the cardinals to weigh up which way this is going.

Experts are saying this is their first chance, really, to read how this conclave is going. We're unlikely to get an outright winner with 77 votes. But we'll get a sense then -- or they will; we won't know -- they'll get a sense then of who the frontrunners are.

And then it will be a question of adjusting their votes to try and back whichever of the cardinals they feel would make the best pope out of those ones that have emerged inside the conclave as securing a significant number of votes first time around.

STOUT: Well, Dan, thank you for telling us what's due to happen in just the hours ahead. Dan Rivers, joining us live from the Vatican, thank you.

And we've got a lot more on the conclave on our website, CNN.com. It has an interactive (inaudible) process from information about the electors to the next pope's first appearance. It's all at CNN.com/conclave.

And while the conclave begins in earnest, there are thunderstorms in Rome. Let's not read too much into that, but just get the forecast with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center.

Mari?

MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Kristie, it's like the heavens opened up last couple of hours ago across parts of central Italy, including Rome with some very strong thunderstorms that rolled through that area. Everyone having to run in and take cover because there was a lot of thunder and lightning and even some hail reported around those regions.

I want to show you the latest radar. And it kind of cuts off right before it gets into that Lagio ph area, right before it gets into the Rome area. But you can see that thunderstorm's moving in that general direction. In the last couple of hours, I should say we can see the storms kind of forming a little bit into the central portion here of Italy.

Some of these are going to be extremely strong, and notice back over toward Corsica and Sardinia, they're getting in on the action as well.

As far as Rome is concerned, yes, the weather's not going to be too people-friendly, let's say, for all of those people that are in the city, all of those hundreds of reporters and visitors and everyone else that they're with the high expectations, of course, in Vatican City.

I want to show you today, of course, the chance for some more scattered popup thunderstorms coming up. And then on Wednesday, I think it's going to be more in the way of rain. There's going to be a pretty gloomy day, windy also, the winds picking up. And a little bit of a break on Thursday, we go back to the rain on Friday. So pretty unstable weather across that area.

That's one way to look at it with those strong thunderstorms. At least it's not snow like we're getting here across portions of northern Europe, particularly northwestern Europe; Frankfurt, 12 centimeters of snow already. The airport there closed as you mentioned and the headlines. And as we head into France, the situation there also pretty dire.

But you know (inaudible), let's go ahead and look at the pictures because really, they paint quite a story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAMOS (voice-over): We're going to start in -- that's France, the northwest of France, completely paralyzed. This is what the sign said, particularly Monchant Covados (ph) in that northwestern corner.

They've gotten, in some cases with some estimates maybe as high as 20 centimeters of snow in some isolated spots. That brought the entire region to a standstill. High-speed railway has had to be canceled across that region because of the heavy snowfall that is affecting hundreds and hundreds of passengers across Europe, really, and on both sides of the channel.

Our next piece of video, we're looking at pictures from Germany. And here you can see how high the snow actually has become. No matter where you look across central Germany covered in snow and ice. This is very late in the season to be looking at this kind of weather.

So this is paralyzed (inaudible) people thought that they could just kind of hang out a little bit more and be looking more towards spring. But like I said, the airport is expected to stay closed for at least another hour until the snow starts calming down just a little bit.

And then finally, we have the pictures from the U.K. No fun at all, Kristie, to be stuck on the roadways, hundreds and hundreds of people stuck on the roadways because some of them as long as eight hours, because of the heavy snowfall, the snow, the ice that was falling, pretty dangerous conditions overall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAMOS: Come back over to the weather map, because the radars are pretty impressive as well. You still have that flow, that northerly flow coming in across the U.K., but the snow should be tapering off as we head into the afternoon and evening hours.

Notice back over here, though, still plenty of action across this northern swath from Germany all the way back over toward France. I think we could still see additionally, not so much in London, but in Paris, maybe another 4-5 centimeters of snow, not out of the question; big travel delays here, not so much at the airport, even though there are some.

But for those roadways heading into the city or into the airport, big, big delays. So be extra careful. Back to you.

STOUT: All right, Mari, thank you for the travel warning there. Mari Ramos, thank you.

Now still to come, our "Leading Women" series -- Arianna Huffington, she has built a media empire. And next, she reveals the challenges she faced on her way to the top, and the person who was her greatest mentor.

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STOUT: Welcome back. Now she is president and editor in chief of a U.S.-based media group that bears her name. And now the brand that Arianna Huffington created is setting the bar for other news blogs. This week on "Leading Women," it's part two of Poppy Harlow's interview with Arianna Huffington.

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POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York, a media capital and home base for the popular website "The Huffington Post."

Arianna Huffington launched it in 2005, calling it a one-stop site for news and opinion with attitude. She sold "The Huffington Post" to AOL in 2011 for $315 million and became president and editor of chief of The Huffington Post Media Group.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, MEDIA MOGUL: This playing out in --

HARLOW (voice-over): Eight years in, the company is expanding the Huffington brand, recently launching the streaming video network HuffPost Live.

HARLOW: How behind it are you? Is it here to stay? What do you see it becoming?

HUFFINGTON: Oh, absolutely. It's a major investment, a major commitment for us. We only launched in August and it's been a big success.

HARLOW (voice-over): Huffington jokingly calls herself a Greek peasant girl who found her way from her native country to study at Cambridge University in the U.K. and ultimately to the U.S.

HUFFINGTON: And that could potentially be the Achilles heel of the Republican Party.

HARLOW (voice-over): Where she became a power player and television fixture.

PATTIE SELLERS, SENIOR EDITOR AT LARGE, "FORTUNE": When Arianna started "The Huffington Post," she did the impossible.

HARLOW (voice-over): And Pattie Sellers is truly an expert on powerful women. She started and oversees the Fortune Most Powerful Women franchise.

Who would think of starting a business based on blogs written for free? It was -- it was crazy. And she had so many people betting against her. Somehow, through her sheer force of personality, created what is now one of the most successful online media properties out there.

HARLOW: Is there a mentor that is critical in your life?

HUFFINGTON: There is absolutely no question that there's no more important mentor for me than my mother was because she was so incredibly wise and because she focused on wisdom as opposed to just mere intelligence.

I mean it's very easy --

HARLOW (voice-over): Huffington is betting on the power of Oprah, teaming up with the media titan in 2012 to launch a version of Oprah.com on "The Huffington Post" website.

HUFFINGTON: It's been really great and especially as we are growing more and more into this area of how we do stress in our lives, how we live lives of more meaning and less exhaustion.

SELLERS: I know Arianna very well. And I know Oprah fairly well. And I see a lot of commonality between those two women. It's all about living a holistically successful life where you love your work and are good to yourself as well as others.

HARLOW (voice-over): And for Huffington, being good to herself means getting enough of one very important thing: sleep.

HARLOW: You gave this fascinating TED talk, and you said, "I have a device for all of you. Get more sleep."

HUFFINGTON: No, I actually said, "Sleep your way to the top."

(LAUGHTER)

HUFFINGTON: But I know there's a special glow after a good night's sleep, when you feel really (inaudible). You feel like, bring it on.

HARLOW (voice-over): After more than two decades in the spotlight, Arianna Huffington has achieved success on her own terms, but not without some hurdles.

HUFFINGTON: The biggest roadblock had to do with books being rejected. You know, I wrote 13 books.

HARLOW: I know.

HUFFINGTON: Not every one of them was successful. So you know, these were sort of failures along the way, if you want.

HARLOW (voice-over): With these failures, though, came a vital lesson.

HUFFINGTON: Very often it's out of these projects that may not have succeeded in themselves that other successes have been.

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STOUT: Welcome back. Now La Liga joins Barcelona are facing elimination in the Champions League. Amanda Davies joins us now for more.

Amanda?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. Yes, it's a seriously big day across Europe, a very big day for Barcelona as they look to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Milan to book their place in the quarterfinals. No team has ever come back from 2-0 down in the knockout stages to overturn that deficit.

But if Barca defender Gerard Pique insists, his team can do it. The Spanish League leaders can take heart from the fact they haven't lost a European title at camp now for more than three years. And they also have beat Milan in last season's quarterfinals and the semifinals in 2006.

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GERARD PIQUE, BARCELONA DEFENDER: (Inaudible) we have -- mentally we are -- we are ready for a good game. And I think that we have all we need to (inaudible) -- to beat Milan and go through to the quarterfinal. But in a game of football, you never know. Sometimes you think you are good enough and then Milan arrive, score a goal and that's it.

MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI, AC MILAN COACH (through translator): We are playing against the strongest team in the world. If we reach the last eight, it will be a piece of history for Milan. We are playing with a very young team. Some of them have no international experience at all. So the only way of dealing with this match is by being calm. And I think the boys will know what to do.

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DAVIES: So there will be a stellar cast on show in Spain tonight, and there certainly was in Rio on Monday, where Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Jessica Ennis and the European Ryder Cup team were the big winners at the Oscars of the sports world. They were all honored at the 2013 Laureus Sports Awards in Rio. And Pedro Pinto was there for us.

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PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There was plenty of glitz and glamor as the great and good in the world of sports and entertainment joined forces in Rio de Janeiro for the 14th edition of the Laureus World Sports Awards, which crowned the top athletes of the last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I loved working as (inaudible) for having true talent. I love that it was in Rio. I was the (inaudible) in Barcelona, which is a lot of -- a lot of fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So being able to be here tonight with all of not only these great athletes but these great actors and actresses from all over the world, it's something new to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always blvd that the greatest drivers of sports participation is the well-stocked shop window. And the window is never better stocked than when we all arrive at a Laureus celebration.

PINTO (voice-over): The top prizes on the night were won by Olympians, not surprising, considering some of the achievements of the London Games. Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis were voted Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year. The Jamaican sprinter couldn't make it to Rio, but the darling of Team GB was here, along with other winners.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been a whirlwind. It's been an absolute dream to come into (inaudible) and to have been able to perform the way I'd always hoped. And then, you know, to experience all these amazing awards ceremonies, to be here tonight with amazing sportspeople.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This makes everything and all the dedication and all the hard work (inaudible) the season or last season all that much more fulfilling to finally be the first (inaudible) hurdler to win a Laureus award.

PINTO: It was a memorable evening for all the athletes who took home one of these. It was also a memorable evening for Rio de Janeiro, a city that got a taste of what it feels like to host a major international sporting event, as the countdown continues to the FIFA World Cup and for the Summer Olympic Games -- Pedro Pinto, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.

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DAVIES: Kristie, I've been reassured Pedro has given that trophy back. But you have to say, a memorable night for him as well, interviewing Eva Longoria.

STOUT: Oh, yes, yes, I was wondering, why is she there?

DAVIES: She was hosting. She was one of the hosts of the event (inaudible) sports events that crosses over the divide. So lots of actors and actresses there as well, proper star-studded cast.

STOUT: Understood. Thank you very much indeed for that explainer. Amanda Davies, joining us live, thank you.

Now this is question Oreo lovers have been asking for more than 100 years. What is the right way to eat an Oreo cookie? Should you just bite into it or take it apart and savor the cream filling first? If you are not sure, help is out there. Jeanne Moos looks at some innovative Oreo- splitting technology.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The old way --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Oreo cream sandwich.

MOOS (voice-over): -- to un-sandwich the cream, step one. Pull apart Oreo.

Step two, scrape with incisors.

But now there's a more incisive way: Oreo separator machines. Nabisco is going against its own rule --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Please don't fiddle with the Oreo middle.

MOOS (voice-over): -- by commissioning investors to build machines designed to fiddle with the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then I've got this floss to kind of keep the creamy Oreo halves from sticking to the hatchet blade.

MOOS (voice-over): Who needs a tongue to scrape off the cream when there's this? This Rube Goldberg-type contraption is one of four separator machines commissioned as part of Oreo's cookie versus cream ad campaign.

Sure, there were setbacks along the way. But this is like reinventing the wheel: the Oreo separator wheel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The second blade on the other side of the wheel pops up, slices off the cream.

MOOS (voice-over): And then there was the device built at the University of Minnesota by these two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like the cookies on an Oreo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I like the cream.

MOOS: Oreo found the two product developers, thanks to a previous invention for which they were known. It's called -- we kid you not -- the ketchup crapper.

MOOS (voice-over): Bill Fienup and Professor Barry Kudrowitz were grad students when they designed the ketchup crapper for a competition. Now they've graduated to Oreos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step three, push top cookie into subject mouth.

MOOS: At least they didn't go hungry for the week it took them to construct this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were snacking while we were inventing.

MOOS (voice-over): HERB here never got hungry. HERB stands for Household Exploring Robotic Butler.

HERB: Separate.

MOOS (voice-over): HERB's been in development for seven years at Carnegie Mellon. Oreo separating is just a sideline.

HERB: Remove precious cream.

MOOS (voice-over): And wipe off anything that's left with a towel.

Guess who else is going to need a towel after heating the cream into a liquid state?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Atomize liquid cream and spray it into subject's mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I probably get about 20 percent of it in my mouth. It's kind of an exciting experience.

MOOS (voice-over): These machines don't take a licking. They take the place of licking.

HERB: Grab Oreo.

MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

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STOUT: Well done. And that is NEWS STREAM. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

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