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Pope Francis Officially Inaugurated; Scientists Study Pollution In China; Cyprus Banks Close Ahead Of Controversial Bailout Vote; Iraq War Anniversary; Leading Women: Oprah Winfrey

Aired March 19, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


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

A pope for the people: Francis officially becomes pontiff.

Also ahead, pain in Cyprus. Will parliament vote for a bailout that beats up small bank customers, or will lawmakers risk the nation's finances?

And 24 bombs explode across Iraq on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. led invasion. We'll look at what has changed and what has not.

Now first, history in the making at the Vatican today.

At an open air mass in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis was officially inaugurated. He received the fisherman's ring, symbolizing his role as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Now it is not the customary solid gold, but is gold plated silver instead, reflecting Francis' desire for simplicity.

In a homily, Pope Francis called for protection of the poor and the weak. And he said his role will be one of service. And displaying his signature informal style, Pope Francis entered St. Peter's Square before the mass in an open top SUV. He circled the packed square for 17 minutes, waving to the huge crowd, kissing babies and blessing a disabled man.

And now, he is receiving dignitaries from around the world. You're looking at live pictures from Vatican TV.

Let's go straight to our Ben Wedeman. He's been witnessing firsthand this historic papal event unfolding today at the Vatican. And Ben, through his gestures, Pope Francis, he showed a bit of his personality. What were you able to see today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were actually quite close to Pope Francis as he was going around St. Peter's Square in that open Popemobile. And this is unusual, because normally he's behind -- the pope is behind bullet proof glass. At one point, he stopped and descended from the Popemobile and went up and blessed a handicapped man. Obviously for his security, this is something of a concern, but for the ordinary people in St. Peter's Square, it was a thrilling morning. They listened to his homily where he stressed not using the sort of terms that he would have heard from Benedict XVI who was a deep thinker, an intellectual within the church. He spoke in plain language about the importance of paying attention to the plight of the poor, the disenfranchised, the prisoners. So it was a very moving experience for the many.

Now according to the Italian authorities somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people attended this inauguration ceremony. And in fact, until 2:00 pm today, the public transportation in Rome is free for anybody who wanted to come to this event -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: He bypassed the Popemobile. He spoke in very plain language during his homily, presenting himself as a sort of pope of the people. And Ben, now that he has been officially inaugurated, what is priority number one for Pope Francis?

WEDEMAN: Well, priority number one is to focus on the problem we heard from so many of the cardinals before the conclave. And that is modernizing the so-called governance or management of the curia, essentially the Vatican government. There's a feeling that it needs to be brought into the 20th Century, let alone the 21st Century.

Now he has to appoint his senior staff. At the moment, he is still working with the staff of Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. And we are expecting in the coming week to get a better idea where he's going to be going, what he will be focusing on when we start to see who he is appointing to help him in his role as the pope -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Ben Wedeman, thank you very much indeed for that. Joining us live from Rome.

And again, live pictures there from Vatican TV as we see the new -- newly inaugurated Pope Francis receiving dignitaries from around the world.

And while ecstatic crowds greeted Pope Francis today, there is one person who admits in the past she prayed that he would not be elected pontiff -- that's his own sister. She says that she was being selfish, because she didn't want her brother to leave Argentina. Now, she also told CNN that she thinks Francis will be a pope of the people.


MARIA ELENA BERGOGLIO, POPE FRANCIS' SISTER: I feel that the church opened its doors and told the world here I am, I belong to everybody, not just one continent. I absolutely belong to everybody.

But if we don't accompany the change we're demanding of the church with a personal change of heart, then everything will be in vain.


LU STOUT: The pope's sister also says that Francis called to tell her that he had been elected pope shortly after white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel. And Francis joked that she would have to call their other relatives, because if he called everyone it would empty the Vatican coffers.

Now turning now to the situation in Cyprus where Europe's latest bailout may be blowing up. Now banks in Cyprus have closed at least until Thursday to stop panic withdrawals as lawmakers prepare to vote on the island's $13 billion planned bailout. Now a bailout that would take money from people's personal bank accounts, it could yet change, though. Parliament is said to be considering a proposal that would scrap some of those controversial taxes.

Now, as you might expect, Cypriots are fuming with one person calling the bailout plan outright theft.

ITN's Emma Murphy has that.


EMMA MURPHY, INDEPENDENT TELEVISION NEWS: They held their hands in protest and not inconsiderable despair. These of Cyprus say they are furious with their government and other Eurozone leaders. They are the people who are having to carry the weight of the E.U. bailout. The banks will get 10 billion Euros to keep them afloat, but Cyprus has to find 5.8 billion more. It would come through a levy, meaning these people will lose between six percent and nine percent of their savings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like people putting your hands in your pockets and receiving something. It's outright theft. And this is something that should not have happened in Cyprus.

MURPHY: These are the people who are really suffering. They saved their money. They put it in the bank. And they believed that it would be safe. Then they woke up to find that their balances had gone down considerably and they couldn't even get access to cash, little wonder after promises from their president that their money would be protected, they're now so angry.

SUE HALL, BUSINESS OWNER: We do probably about 50 weddings a year.

MURPHY: Sue Hall moved to Cyprus to run a wedding company.

HALL: My big concern is the business, because most of the money in my business account actually belongs to brides that have paid for weddings here. So, you know, what do I do? Do I ask them for more money or do I have to carry the loss?

MURPHY: Banks are closed until Thursday. And there's a limited amount of money left in the cash points. The Cypriot government has to get parliament to agree the deal or the bailout fails. They're not confident.

HARRIS GEORGIADES, CYPRUS MINISTRY OF LABOR AND SOCIAL INSURANCE: We shall face a total collapse of the banking system and of the whole Cyprus economy.

MURPHY: Such talk may well be brinksmanship. If not, these people and many more across Europe face futures which will be forever changed by the events of the past three days.


LU STOUT: Now, Cypriot lawmakers are due to vote on the bailout later today. And Jim Boulden joins us now live from Nicosia. And Jim, assuming that this vote won't be postponed, will the government have enough support for it?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's not assume yet, Kristie, that it won't be postponed. I mean, it's been postponed twice before, so they have pushed it off until 6:00 local time this evening when the parliamentarians will start to debate here in the parliament. We don't know the details of what they'll debate, that's the issue.

So we've already had the Green Party say they won't vote for it, because they're not happy with what seems to be the latest incarnation of this proposal, and that would be that anybody with 20,000 euros or less in their bank account would be exempt in total. The idea there, of course, is that people with small amount of savings would be exempt.

The question is, then, how does Cyprus make up that shortfall? Will they increase the levy for people over 100,000 euros, for instance? That's the wheeling, dealing I think that's going on right now.

We know the president has been speaking to Angela Merkel, the chancellor in Berlin that will most likely have to speak again this afternoon, because he's going to have to -- whatever deal is struck here, he'll have to get approval, or at least tacit approval from the paymasters in northern Europe. And also then take it to parliament and try to get it through.

Now one party, certainly not the president's party, has an overall majority. It has to have coalition partners and others agree to it. So I suspect right now a lot of wheeling, dealing going on -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And one more question for you, I just can't get over this idea, this idea that's making Cypriots there so angry. The idea of taking money directly out of people's bank savings. I mean, how did that come about?

BOULDEN: Well, Cyprus -- OK, give me two seconds I'll explain this. Cyprus is actually a wealthy country. Its bank system is bankrupt because of what happened in Greece. Here, you have people who are reasonably well off. You have a lot of Russian expats who have money here, you have a lot of British expats who have a lot of money here, a lot of Greek expats who have money here. It's a country of 800,000 people, but its banking sector is multiple times the size of the economy.

So the country itself can't bailout the banks, because they're too big. Who has got the money in the bank accounts? About a third of it is foreign money. So the idea was from the northern paymasters Germany, The Netherlands, Finland say we're not going to give you all the money for a bailout to bailout your banks and start again. You have to put some of the money up yourself. This was the compromise made in the middle of the night. Very unpopular obviously across the board in this country. And now backtracking and wheeling and dealing to try to fix it. In the next couple of hours we'll see whether they can do that, or put off the vote and try again tomorrow.

LU STOUT: It's incredible, in Cyprus banks are 800 percent of GDP there. And that is just the root of the problem. Jim Boulden joining us live from Nicosia, thank you.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, Syria's opposition government has a new leader, but what impact could he have on the conflict?

And choking in China. We have got staggering footage from a very polluted Beijing.

And 10 years ago, U.S. and allied forces, they launched their attack in Iraq. And 10 years on, there's still more bombs and bloodshed in Baghdad.


LU STOUT: Welcome back. And you're looking at a video rundown of all the stories in the show today. And we have told you about the inauguration of Pope Francis under sunny skies in Vatican City. But later we'll look at the smog that has frequently choked China.

But now, let's turn to the Middle East where Syria's opposition has elected a new leader. Now this is the man that Syria's main opposition coalition has chosen to lead its provisional government. Ghassan Hitto, seen here in a YouTube video of a protest in the U.S. last year, he has been elected opposition prime minister. He is a former information technology executive who lived in the U.S. for many years.

Now he was elected at an opposition meeting in Istanbul. Our Nick Paton Walsh is following all developments from a bureau in Beirut. He joins us now live. And Nick, is this new opposition prime minister a credible alternative to Bashar al-Assad?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, and as far as Bashar al-Assad doesn't have any credibility with the rebels, yes he is certainly more credible. But he's got a very tough job ahead of him.

The plus is that the opposition now have an executive, a government in exile. In some ways, the international community can hold them responsible, channel aid through them. And in a speech he's giving now, according to reports, his comments -- he's already talking about taking refugees back, asking for diplomatic recognition. And that is going to certainly solidify people around him and remove those growing fears of the vacuum in the event that Bashar al-Assad's regime collapses suddenly.

The negatives are that he's been out of the country for much of his career, only recently returning to Turkey. That may be a boon for the international community, might consider his U.S. citizenship a mark of some sort of credibility that they can hang their coat upon. But the real problem is going to be, does he have traction with fighters on the ground. Are they going to listen to his administration. And if he runs into problems or the infighting, which has always marred the Syrian opposition, is the potential failure of his potential administration going to be catastrophic for the opposition as a whole, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And more near-term, what impact could his appointment have on the conflict itself. Could he be generating more international support? Could that translate into more arms for the rebels, more weapons support?

PATON WALSH: Well, we are seeing this flurry of activities around the rebels, bolstering their support. We are seeing John Kerry yesterday saying he wouldn't stand in the way of UK or France if they chose to arm Syria's rebels.

Now the opposition have a government in exile in many ways, and that is just heaping the pressure upon the Syrian regime. It doesn't really change the balance militarily, because those weapons are far from arriving, but it does increase the psychological pressure. Those around Assad now perhaps seeing the day when they have to think about fleeing perhaps being a little bit closer.

We are still a long way off, though, from that point, but when you begin to see the international community coalescing around one point of focus, that just adds extra pressure, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And the latest on the fighting itself, there are reports government forces striking near Lebanon, what have you heard?

PATON WALSH: Well, that was yesterday on the border region between Lebanon and Syria near a town called Arsal (ph), very much a rebel stronghold. Apparently, according to a local source we spoke to, two Syrian jets fired three rockets hitting derelict buildings. Now that has been called a significant escalation by the U.S. State Department and a serious new violation of Lebanon's sovereignty by the French government, and of course caused outcry in Lebanese government here as well.

Lebanon is in a very tricky position, because it's trying to stay very much out of this conflict, the sectarian divide of which very much mirrors its own sectarian problems. And of course Hezbollah, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad form a significant part of the government here.

So very tricky territory for them. And the fear being, I think, that if the strikes continue, or cause Lebanese casualties, that could set off violence inside Lebanon, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Nick Paton Walsh reporting live from Beirut for us. Thank you.

And now, a new arrest in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. A senior Pakistani official say Qari Abdul Hayee is suspected of helping to arrange the kidnapping. Now Pearl was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He was abducted in the city of Karachi while researching a story about Pakistani militants. And Pearl was beheaded by his captors who later sent a video of the killing to U.S. officials. Four other suspects have already been convicted for their roles in the murder.

Now later today, Barack Obama departs on his first trip to Israel as U.S. president. His four day tour also includes stops in the west bank and Jordan. On Wednesday, he will hold talks with Israeli president Simon Perez, but he's not expected to make much headway on the Israeli- Palestinian issue.

Now he will also hold a joint news conference with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two have had a rocky relationship in the past. Netanyahu is said he does not think Mr. Obama understands Israel's security challenges.

On Thursday, Mr. Obama will stop in the Palestinian territories, meaning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. And then it is back to Israel for more events in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

And on Friday afternoon, President Obama heads to Jordan with talks with King Abdullah.

Now, China's economic rise has come at a cost. The air in the capital is a time so toxic, it is dangerous to breath in. We'll see if anything is being done to clear that. That straight ahead right here on News Stream.


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

Now air pollution in Beijing and elsewhere and China has been off the charts for much of this year. Now Sunday's sun is just completely blotted out by a blanket of smog. In fact, there's a joke in the finance world, the time to worry about China's economy is when the sky is blue and the air is clean. And right now, the economists may have no concerns, but health officials do.

David McKenzie looks at the problem and what's being done to fix it.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The government tried to ban fireworks this year after the worst pollution in decades, but Beijingers can't be stopped. Dr. Gong Yan is here for a very different reason. Party scientist, part detective, he's sniffing out the source of Beijing's pollution problems.

DR. GONG YAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, ACEF (through translator): Right after setting off fireworks, if close enough, the levels can increase 10 times.

MCKENZIE: Dr. Gong is tracking PM2.5, tiny particles of matter. The reading is beyond hazardous. But fireworks aren't the main cause of pollution he says. To find out what is, I go to his lab where he studies the tiny particles.

Why are these particles so dangerous?

YAN (through translator): We got these particles from the steel factory.

MCKENZIE: PM2.5 pollution can embed deep in the lungs, increasing the chances of heart attacks and lung disease.

YAN (through translator): If these particles aren't healed, it is hard for our bodies to metabolize them. They are made of heavy metal components.

MCKENZIE: Coal plants, car emissions and factories are all to blame, says Gong.

Environmental activists say that China is choking on its own growth.

(on camera): Well, there is blue sky somewhere above, but this area is just blanketed with smog. You can smell and even taste the air here. Factories and power plants like these need environmental assessments before they're even built. But even state media admits the pass rate is nearly 100 percent.

ZHO RONG, CLIMATE AND ENERGY CAMPAIGNER, GREENPEACE: The laws is quite old, especially take a look at the air pollution it was published like almost 20 years ago.

MCKENZIE: Fines often cost less than factory fixes so they just keep on polluting.

More than 8,000 people died from PM2.5 exposure in 2012. And that was before apocalypse, a period of air so bad this winter that it literally went off the charts.

The government has promised to meet their own acceptable standard by 2020 by limited cars on the road and enforcing protection rules.

RONG: (inaudible) we might take even longer, like 2050. We might be achieve the (inaudible) standard. So I think this time that is quite disappointing. It's not, like, really fast.

MCKENZIE: So scientists like Dr. Gong are working as fast as they can to fight pollution. But for many, China's economic rise has already come at too great a cost.

David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.


LU STOUT: As David points out, air pollution there so thick you can smell it, even taste it.

Let's check on current conditions in China. Samantha Moore is at the world weather center with that -- Samantha.

SAMANTHA MOORE, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, yes. A little bit of improvement this morning, Kristie, as the day progressed. And we saw a little mixing in the atmosphere. So 141 particles per cubic meter as we saw that front move through and the winds pick up and a little bit of the atmospheric mixing occur. So that tends to improve it at least temporarily.

So you can see the front moving on through here bringing in the light rain today and then as we head into the next week to 10 days it's something like a very stagnant pattern setting up with high pressure that causes the air to sink and that could likely lead to more air quality woes across much of the area due to the fact that we're not seeing them mixing in the atmosphere.

On the other side of the globe, we have some major storms to talk about in the U.S. with a severe side and a snowy side that has impacted travel. We have some pictures to show you of the impacts of the system.

Look at this hail. This is golf ball sized hail that could hold in this windshield coming out of Pearl, Mississippi. He tried to get out there and cover his car, but to no avail. He has vehicle damage for sure.

And we also have storm damage across much of the deep south as this same system swept to the east. This is out of the Atlanta area, Floyd County specifically as they are cleaning up from some severe storms there. They have the tornado teams out today looking to see if there was an actual tornado in this area. But definitely a lot of wind damage and a lot of people without power.

And now the snowy side of the system as the system moved through the northeast during the overnight hours and still bringing in heavy snow across the northeast causing real problems out here on the roadways, stranding some vehicles on the icy roadways.

And we're going to see some impressive accumulations, well over a foot in some of these areas, as this frontal system pushes toward the east. Here's where it is right now bringing that heavy snow in all across the northeastern U.S. Here's the line as it moved through the deep south. Check out these wind gusts in Columbus, Mississippi measured up to 142 kilometers per hour and baseball sized hail, tennis ball size in Stockbridge, Georgia. And that's why we saw so much hail damage.

So as the low moves into the northeast, still some very heavy snowfall here as we head through this afternoon and then during the evening hours, we should start to see it taper off a bit.

New York City has already seen 10 centimeters. Wakefield, Mass 25 centimeters. And 13 centimeters in the Boston, Mass area. And still that snow coming down heavily.

So delays in Boston as well as across eastern Canada and Nova Scotia -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Samantha, thank you very much indeed for the travel warnings there.

You're watching News Stream, and coming up next, bombs exploding in Iraq 10 years to the day since the U.S. led invasion. How much has really changed in the past decade? We'll take a closer look next.


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

Now Pope Francis is greeting dignitaries from around the world. And earlier on Tuesday, he was officially inaugurated as the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and displaying what is fast becoming his trademark simplicity and spontaneity Francis entered St. Peter's Square in an open top SUV waving to the cheering crowd.

Cyprus is weighing a very difficult decision: press ahead with a deeply unpopular plan to rebalance the country's finances and take an international bailout, or condemn the state to likely bankruptcy? The parliament is getting ready to vote on a controversial $13 billion bailout that would tax bank accounts in Cyprus.

Suspected war criminal Bosco Ntaganda has surrendered to the U.S. embassy in Rwanda and asked to be transferred to The Hague. Ntaganda is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, and sexual slavery. Now the incidents date back to when Ntaganda was a Congolese rebel commander who was later integrated into Congo's national army as part of a peace deal before defecting again.

Police in the Indian city of Agra have arrested a hotel owner on suspicion of attempting to rape a British tourist. They told CNN that the woman jumped from her hotel balcony after the owner repeatedly knocked on her door and insisted on giving her a massage. Doctors say the woman has no serious injuries. This incident comes amid nationwide outrage over recent gang rape cases.

A string of bombs exploded in and around the Iraqi capital today, on the tenth of anniversary of the U.S led invasion of Iraq. At least 48 people were killed. It's not clear if the attacks are related to the anniversary. So far, there's no claim of responsibility. Following the bomb attacks, the Iraqi cabinet has postponed local elections in two provinces.

Ten years ago today Saddam Hussein defied a U.S ultimatum to leave Iraq, and the U.S and its allies invaded.

Two Tomahawk missiles launched Washington's early strategy of "Shock and Awe". And within days, the large statue of Saddam Hussein famously came toppling down in Baghdad's Firdos Square. And the White House declared, the regime is gone. Of course, as we know, the conflict raged on. Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon has reported from Iraq for CNN throughout the years, and she's back in Baghdad, where she joins me now live.

And Arwa, on the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq, Baghdad has been hit by these daily car bombs, and it just brings up the question, to what degree did the U.S. campaign stopped the violence there?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it most certainly helped to decrease the violence after we saw the U.S. troop surge, but it really wasn't the only factor that played into that. You also simultaneously had the creation or the existence of what was known as the awakening councils, who were was mostly Sunni insurgents who then decided to fight al Qaeda rather than fight the United States, and you also had the Shia militias by and large also laying down their weaponry to a certain degree. So, most certainly, the violence we see today does not compare to what we saw in 2005 to 2008, although I have to say this morning very much felt like another day when Iraq's violence really, was at its worst, and that is what reverberates amongst the Iraqi population when they see the kind of explosions that we saw taking place this morning in Baghdad. It really brings back such horrific memories.

STOUT: Yeah, it is horrific seeing that lack of protection, lack of security for Iraqi civilians happening today. And Arwa, an update on democracy in Iraq. And over the years, you've seen elections take place in the country, we've seen those photos of proud Iraqis that are holding up their fingers showing that smudge of indelible ink, but is Iraq truly a democracy today?

DAMON: Well, look, Kristie, voting is one thing; creating a true democracy is something else altogether. Is Iraq slowly hobbling in that direction? Yes, to a certain degree, it is. But is this a full-fledged healthy democratic nation at this stage? Absolutely not.

STOUT: And the U.S. presence in Iraq, have all the Americans left Iraq? What kind of presence does the U.S. still have there?

DAMON: Yeah, they most certainly have, in terms of a fighting force. What exists here is pretty much what exists in many other countries. There are less than 200 U.S. service personnel, all falling under the umbrella of the embassy, whether it's security for U.S. embassy, State Department officials who work here, or whether they are with the office of security cooperation, which exists, but yeah, the U.S. military is gone. Security right now is fully in the hands of the Iraqi security forces.

STOUT: And Arwa, I still can't believe it's been ten years since the start of the war. What have you learned during your latest return there to Baghdad?

DAMON: Yeah, it's hard for everyone who we've been speaking here to actually believe that ten years have in fact gone by, with all of the pain with which they look back on the last decade, and it's really been quite crushing on this last trip to see just how devastated this country really is.


DAMON: There is a bustle to Baghdad's streets that suggests routine, a normal. But this is still a city of blast walls and checkpoints. The violence that ripped Iraq apart after 2003 permeates everything.

Where those boys are right now with their bikes, that is where the vehicles would pull up. The victim would be dragged out of the trunk and then shot in cold blood. In those days, you wouldn't see children gathered here for a game of soccer. Instead they would all have been crowded around witnessing an execution.

As we were recently filming along the river, our Iraqi producer Muhammed (ph) couldn't help but to remind me of more grim moments.

At the peak of the sectarian violence, people were regularly recovering dead bloated corpses from the waters of the Tigris River that vines its way through Baghdad, cutting it in two.

We had just spent the afternoon on Mutanabbi, or Book Street, which has seen its own horrors.

This here is Baghdad's Mutanabbi Street. It's where you can find all sorts of books and old magazines and newspapers. It's a historic meeting place for the country's intellectuals to come here, go shopping, gather at cafes, debating anything from politics to poetry. But it has been targeted in the past. The most devastating of which was an attack that happened in March of 2007.

Some say that massive blast tore out the soul of this street. Sure, it's busy today, but the revival you see is now brittle. The place is haunted by the past.

(on camera): Wow. So, this is from the Ottoman Empire. It's the oldest Iraqi currency that is bought here. It's around 100 years old, he's just saying, right now.

(voice over): Adnan Shehli (ph) said he's been here for the past 50 years. Still alive, because he was sick the week of the bombing. His stand is just outside the iconic Shabandar Cafe, a long-time intellectual hob. The owner, Hashim Mohammad (ph), was friendly, happy to let us film. But then we asked him for an interview, and he instantly hardened. Four of the owner's sons and his grandson were killed in that 2007 attack. We wanted to speak to him today. He has spoken to CNN in the past, but this time he refused. He was still carrying understandably so much pain and anger. He said, I don't want to speak to any American networks. America killed my sons. Bush killed my sons.

And that is the logic of many Iraqis. Although the country was ravaged by insurgent bombings, the Americans were ultimately to blame. For most of them, the last decade is not defined by the moment of Saddam Hussein's capture or execution, or even free elections. It's the memory of the last time they saw a loved one, before they were inexplicably, randomly murdered or have cheated death themselves.

Many say they hardly recognize their country anymore. And they say real hope for the future becomes harder to find.


DAMON: And that sentiment was, of course, amplified again now for the bombings that took place here in Baghdad this morning. At least 19 explosions, reminding people once again that the violence here is not over, and that their country, even at this point in time, is not entirely stable or secure. Kristie.

STOUT: Arwa Damon, reporting for us live from Baghdad. Thank you.

(inaudible) conflict that killed some 4,800 coalition troops and by several numbers at least 116,000 Iraqis. And then, there are the survivors. Six years ago Arwa brought as a story of this little boy, Youssif (ph) who was badly burned in an attack in Baghdad. A CNN viewer helped to pay for him and his family to travel to the U.S. so that Youssif could receive the medical care he needed. Dr. Sanjay Gupta now brings us this incredible story of strength.


YOUSSIF: So, this is like our classroom, I sit in that seat over there.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's amazing to me what a typical American 10-year old kid Youssif has become.

YOUSSIF: (inaudible) faster.

GUPTA (on camera): This was Youssif, just five years old at the time. He was attacked by masked man right in front of his home in Baghdad. They poured gasoline on his face and then set him on fire.

(on camera): What's the first thing you remember about all that?

YOUSSIF: I just like remember a doctor, then a sponge, it's like huh.

GUPTA: In Iraq?


GUPTA: They had a sponge?

YOUSSIF: And they (inaudible) like scratching on me or something.

GUPTA: Trying to take off some of the ...


GUPTA: ... burned skin.

(voice over): Youssif's parents were desperate to see their boy smile again. So just months after the attack, they came to the United States with a single suitcase.

Their living expenses and their medical expenses, all of it was paid for by the kindness of strangers, and we have followed their journey since 2007. Youssif has had 19 operations, a total of 61 procedures to help correct the burn damage.

(on camera): We're going to have any more operations, what would you want to have? What would you want to have done?

YOUSSIF: Like over here.

GUPTA: On your right ear?


GUPTA: What would you? Let's see here. You want it to be more like your left ear?


GUPTA (voice over): Youssif's father still doesn't want to show his face for fear of retaliation.

(on camera): Do you tell people what happened to him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to tell them when they ask. I mean sometimes it bothers me when they don't ask and they keep just looking. It's really bothering me.

GUPTA (voice over): But it doesn't bother Youssif.

He's a happy kid. He's smart. Confident. His parents say, he never complains, he never asks about the scars on his face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope he's not going to ask, even when he grows up, that's going to really bother me a lot. He is going to come to me and say, like why my face is that? I don't know what I'm going to answer.

YOUSSIF: And soon I could see that there is like one, two, three (inaudible).

GUPTA: Youssif's parents say all of this still feels like a dream.

And do you have a hard time making friends at all?

YOUSSIF: No. It's like - is it - like whenever a new kid comes like (inaudible), like it's just friends.

GUPTA: Is that right?


GUPTA: Is anybody ever mean to you?


GUPTA (voice over): He's been at the same school, with the same kids, since first grade. But come June, he'll say good bye to this familiar place because up next is middle school.

(on camera): Do you worry about when he goes to a new school now, that he is going to get teased?


GUPTA: How does a father prepare his son for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to be strong and then we have to make him strong too.

GUPTA (voice over): Once victims, now a family, full of strength. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Canoga Park, California.


STOUT: Youssif's surgeries were covered by a California's State program for children, and still, Youssif's family, they face a number of financial difficulties, for example, most of the items you just saw in Youssif''s apartment, they were all donated by people from all over the country. Now, if you want to donate, you could do so on Twitter. @Youssifiraqi, all one word, it will put you in direct contact with Youssif and his family.

Of course, the overwhelming majority of people who survived the conflict in Iraq are still in Iraq, and some of them recently stepped up to CNN's open mic in Baghdad to share their views and their memories.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Salamu aleikum.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Salamu aleikum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, but when the American soldiers came to us with a very title (ph) to save us, they smashed our cities and our society. And now we are suffering of poverty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was wrong. We probably could have toppled the regime on our own without your help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): After U.S. troops came to Iraq, things went backwards on all levels, the basic services deteriorated, we didn't see progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're miserables. You can say now we are suffering worse than in Saddam's period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have more freedoms and elections, but on the other hand, the negative aspect was a rise of terrorism, the armed groups that surfaced after the war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The message to the U.S. administration is that it's time to change your regional policy, stop supporting Israel as an American colony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): U.S. government made a big mistake by coming to Iraq, because you haven't accomplished anything. My message to the Iraqi people, vote for change, it's in your hands.


STOUT: And don't miss a CNN special presentation, "Iraq: Ten Years ON." Arwa Damon shares her reflections from the early days of the war until now. It's Friday night at 11:30 in Hong Kong right here, on CNN.

Now, you're watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come, what has media mogul Oprah Winfrey been up to since the end of her day time talk show? We'll tell you after the break.


STOUT: Welcome back. Now, she is known around the world by just her first name. Oprah. Host of the day time talk show in the U.S for some 25 years, and now she's running her own network, and inspiring women to follow their dreams. Our Felicia Taylor profiles Oprah on this week's "Leading Women."


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From media personality to mogul.

OPRAH WINFREY, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, OWN: My dream is that the channel will be the home base for people who are seeking the best of themselves.

How a TV talk show host became one of the world's wealthiest, most powerful and most inspirational women?


TAYLOR: Using her influence to help others follow their own dreams.

PATTIE SELLERS, SENIOR EDITOR-AT-LARGE, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: She has never stopped thinking about, OK, I have a platform, I have a TV show, what more can I do with it than the normal person would do? Something constantly pulls at her to do more. And I think she feels it's a higher calling. It's a responsibility.


TAYLOR: A responsibility that comes with being Oprah Winfrey. Not just a person, but the brand.

WINFREY: I'm Oprah Winfrey, and welcome to the very first national Oprah Winfrey show!

TAYLOR: Including her self-named TV show, that started in 1986.


TAYLOR: And ran for 25 seasons.


TAYLOR: Harpo, her own name spelled backwards. The production company she founded to produce her show and others and now, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, the cable company that she launched in 2011.



TAYLOR: But Oprah says, her most important job is not on her resume at all. She considers herself a teacher who instructs others on how to better themselves.

WINFREY: I reached the point in my life where I don't just want to do nice things or do good things. I really want to be able to change people's lives forever. And I strongly believe that the way to do that is by changing the way people think about their lives.

DR. MEHMET OZ, HOST, "THE DR. OZ SHOW": That's why I'm always joking you call her Professor Oprah.

TAYLOR: Dr. Memet Oz was a regular guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She became his television mentor. Eventually giving him his own show in 2009.

OZ: She likes to impart information, meaningful information to people - the kind of information that as a kid when you had the best teacher of the world, you walk out of class, say, oh, my goodness, Eureka, those are such cool ideas to take away! That experience will change my life.

TAYLOR: Empathy and positivity are qualities Oprah brings to her leadership style as well.

SELLERS: A lot of successful women don't like being called "women leaders". Oprah's comfortable with it. And one reason, Oprah is comfortable with it, is because she cares about women, women are her audience, she speaks to women, and frankly, as a leader, she has - she has a very sort of female management style.

WINFREY: I believe. I believe-

TAYLOR: Her goal ultimately is to inspire others to be their best.

OZ: What I love the most about watching Oprah inspire others is how passionate she is about giving people confidence that they matter. She's never taken her eye off that desire to make a difference in people's lives.

WINFREY: And what do I want? I don't want to just be successful in the world. I don't want to just make a mark or have a legacy. The answer to that question for me is I want to fulfill the highest, truest expression of myself as a human being.


STOUT: You can find out a lot more about Oprah Winfrey and why she's teaming up with another of this month's leading women, Arianna Huffington, by going here, logging on to our web site, Now, February the 1st. That was the last time the Miami Heat lost a basketball game, and now the team are chasing history.


STOUT: Welcome back. And the Miami Heat just can't stop winning at the moment. The NBA champions, they did it again on Monday night. Alex Thomas joins us from London with all the details. Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Kristie. Arguably the best player in the NBA right now needed to show all his star quality to extend the Miami Heat's record breaking streak. LeBron James helping the champions recover from 17 points down to win their 23rd game in a row. Their latest win puts James and the Heat second on the list of all-time streaks, behind the 1970 to '71 Lakers. However, it was the Celtics who dominated the opening quarter in Boston, with Kevin Garnett out and (inaudible) was the inspiration for the home team as they surged into an early lead. However, the Celtics were outscored in each of the next three quarters. That was LeBron James with the big jam. Boston still in front with the end of the game in sight, though thanks to Green's outstanding solo display, he racked up a career best 43 points on the night. It was only in the dying minutes that the Heat edged in front, going on the 13 to 4 (ph) run, with Mario Chavez (ph) claiming 21 points, and (inaudible) over the line with some huge shots in the final minute. LeBron ending up with 37 points and 12 rebounds. The reigning MVP described the Heat's latest win as awesome. The final score, 105 to 103, Miami faces James' old team in Cleveland on Wednesday.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: No matter (ph) who the uniform for those guys, they got championship DNA, and we got to work for it, so you know, we were down, a lot of times tonight. More than we would like to be, but we got enough defensive styles (ph), executed offensively, and I was able to make one more play down the stretch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to keep hearing about this streak. It's now 23. What does that mean to you guys?

JAMES: It means a lot to the simple fact that we got better, once again. This is a hostile environment and we're forced to come here and get a big win on the road today, it was awesome.


THOMAS: Now let's remind you, the Miami Heat now move above Houston into second on their own on the list of all-time NBA winning streaks. They are still 10 shy of the 33-game run put together by the Lakers in the early 70s.

Former European footballer Michael Owen has announced his retirement. He'll quit the sport at the end of the season. The 33-year-old said on his web site that the time was right. Owen played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United. He played 89 games for England, scoring 40 goals, more than all but three players in the country's history. More on WORLD SPORT in just over four hours time. For now, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.

STOUT: Alex Thomas, thank you. Now, EA boss John Riccitiello is stepping down. The announcement comes shortly after a botched launch of his flagship Sim City game. Now, based in the cloud, the servers failed, leaving a lot of people that bought the game unable to play it for days. But that's not all. Electronic Arts has been struggling with the changing gaming market. It's also warned investors to keep expectations low ahead of its next earnings release. Riccitiello will step aside on March the 30th.

And finally, if you love mobile messaging and hate adverts, you'd probably heard of WhatsApp. Well, according to Tech Crunch and other sites, it is switching models. Now, they report that WhatsApp will bring in an annual subscription service for new IOS users, just like the apps it makes for other platforms. So we don't know exactly when it will happen, but it's expected to be this year. That is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues on CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.