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As Rhetoric Heats, North, South Korean Joint Industrial Complex Remains Open; Egyptian Comedian Bassem Youssef Detained For Insulting President Morsy, Islam; Kenyan Supreme Court Upholds Presidential Election Results; Andy Murray Leap-Frogs Federer, Becomes World Number Two; Interview with Game of Thrones Co-Creator David Banioff; Cuban Blogger Yoana Sanchez Allowed To Travel Outside Country
Aired April 1, 2013 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: I'm Fonnuala Sweeney at CNN Center. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Standing up to threats from their neighbor in the north, South Korea's president warns Pyongyang to expect a strong response to any provocation. We take you into an intense fire fight on the front lines of the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. That exclusive report just ahead.
Plus, Egypt interrogates a television comedian. Now it's the country's new found freedoms that are being questioned.
South Korea's president has a clear message for North Korea, hit us and we'll hit back, hard. Park Geun-hye told her senior defense and security officials that any provocation by the north would be met with, quote, "initial combat without any political considerations."
Now this comes after weeks of rhetoric from North Korea and its leader Kim Jong un. The north now says it's in a state of war with South Korea and its biggest ally the United States. And today there was a closely watched meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang.
So, let's take you live to the South Korean capital, Seoul. CNN's Kyung Lah is monitoring all of the developments for us. First of all, Kyung, let me ask you about that plenary session in Pyongyang. It would, obviously, be monitored by the international community, particularly South Korea, but every word must be watched for clues over the weekend.
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly every word is being combed over. And it is something that does happen regularly, something that we might, you know, take a glossy look at. But this time, every single word is being inspected, because the tensions here on the Korean Peninsula are much higher.
But there wasn't anything that we could draw specifically by reading the tea leaves from it. It seemed almost ordinary. Something else that we noticed that, you know, again we would not particularly pay attention to was the delivery of those F-22 stealth bombers from the base here to run in the South Korean drills. There are joint U.S.-South Korean drills. The F- 22 stealth fighters have been a part of this before. But now every single move is being paid attention to. Why? Because tensions are just that high on the peninsula.
There is a concern from the Pentagon as well as the South Korean government that there may be a miscalculation. So especially with the ante being raised with the comments from the president here in South Korea, there is worry that any misstep could lead to a bigger conflict, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: And is there any sense at all in South Korea about -- or insight, rather, Kyung, into what is actually happening in North Korea in recent weeks that has seen these tensions escalate to the extent that they have?
LAH: Well, there's certainly this concern over the last several months that within North Korea that this young leader -- remember, he's only 28, 29 years old just doesn't have the support. He needs to get that support somehow internally within North Korea. So you do that by making sure that the regime knows you are strong, by being the biggest gun in the room. And so that's really what every -- all the analysts, all the people within North Korea, the defectors, they believe that that's really what's happening, that the comments may be directed toward the United States, but this is about this young leader trying to shore up support within the military elite, but also within the people.
There is also those ongoing economic factors within North Korea. With less money coming in, with those sanctions, they are being squeezed more and more. So what do you do with less? You get your people to work harder and by trying to whip them up into a frenzy, that's one way they may be able to do it.
SWEENEY: And yet this is a man who says, Kim Jong un, that a nuclear North Korea will actually improve the economy. And while it's often easy to escalate the rhetoric in a war of words, do you see any path at all that might allow a deescalation to pull North Korea back from what may be in coming weeks the brink?
LAH: You know, I was actually speaking to one analyst in the states who says it's very hard to read the tea leaves of a crazy person. And that really what you have here at stake. It's very difficult to know exactly what's going on inside the hermit kingdom. The philosophy of Kim Jong-il, passed down to his son is you raise the bar, you make -- you become louder and louder and you try to bring the United States to the table.
But in this case, with angering China, with angering Russia, with all of these moves perhaps that is not going to work this time. And so, you know, it doesn't seem to make sense, but very little about North Korea makes sense.
SWEENEY: All right, we leave it there. Thanks so much for that insight there. Kyung Lah in Seoul in South Korea.
We're going to stay with this story, though, because although tensions are heightened between the Koreas right now, it appears to be business as usual at the joint industrial complex the two sides share. Hundreds of South Korean workers continue to cross the border every day to go to work. And as Jim Clancy reports, the joint venture could illustrate the real state of relations between the two Koreas.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Several hundreds South Koreans trudged off to work Monday. And the media turned out like it was opening night in Hollywood. Many see these workers as evidence Kim Jong un will not make good on threats to take the Korean Peninsula to war.
The plot is simple: rogue state launches satellite in orbit, United Nations security council slaps it with sanctions, an outraged young leader responds with an underground nuclear test, more sanctions, treaties torn up, phone lines cut, a crescendo of threats and a vow to finish it all by launching a massive strike on the mainland United States.
Through all of that this roadway behind me remained open. Those cars and trucks are bound for North Korea in the Kaesong Industrial Park, a joint venture of the North and South that produced a half billion dollars in goods in 2012. It is a bellwether for the real state of relations between North and South.
The flow of raw materials, food, and fuel, and the finished products define the very limit of Pyongyang's contact with the west.
PARK MYUNG-SOOK, NORTH KOREAN WORKER (through translator): If the Kaesong Industrial Complex improves the relationship, then it forms the link between the south and north. But if this doesn't work, potentially all ties will be cut.
CLANCY: More than 120 South Korean companies employ 53,000 North Koreans at Kaesong, which is just across the DMZ inside North Korea. Almost 800 South Koreans work as managers.
The North Koreans earn a modest wage, around $135 a month. Taxes and fees earn Pyongyang desperately needed hard currency. Even South Korean workers are required to bring U.S. dollars into Kaesong to pay for their lunch or other expenses -- more cash for the North.
Officially opened in 2005, the Kaesong Industrial Park could have, should have been bigger by now. South Koreans say they like working with their counterparts from the north, but Kaesong has an unwritten rule: don't talk politics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We get along with North Koreans fine at work, but we try to avoid topics not related to work, because it could get sensitive.
CLANCY: So far, talking politics hasn't gotten anyone, anywhere when it comes to North Korea. But where politics has failed, the business at Kaesong is slowly succeeding.
The script is far from finished, but there's still hope for a happy ending.
Jim Clancy, CNN, near the DMZ in South Korea.
SWEENEY: Let's turn to another country where tensions remain high: Afghanistan. As foreign troops prepare to pull out, there's still the monumental challenge of how to deal with the Taliban. Afghan president Hamid Karzai was in Doha this weekend to look at ways of kickstarting talks with the group, including the Taliban possibly opening an office in Qatar. But, until a breakthrough is reached, it looks as though U.S. and NATO troops will continue to battle militants on the ground.
Well, CNN has witnessed some of that violence firsthand. Our crew was with a group of soldiers when a fierce firefight broke out. Anna Coren now with this exclusive report.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As rounds of gunfire ring out in the distance, U.S. special forces run straight into the thick of it. They're the military's elite, and this is what they're trained to do. They don't just fight back, they hunt down the enemy.
We come under heavy machine gun fire less than 400 meters away. An income round flies close overhead. We take cover behind a mud-brick wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep going.
COREN: With the attack coming from three different directions, special forces spread out across open farmland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Around the backside. Right on the back side.
COREN: Their only cover in this fertile valley, low lying ditches and sparse undergrowth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. This is what we're going to do. We're going to keep continuing up this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) riverbed until we get to the left side. We want (inaudible) and flank it with us, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) let's roll.
COREN: For a brief moment, they paused. A special forces operator targets the enemy firing position with a 40mm grenade launcher. But the firefight rages on.
We got intelligence that there was an IED maker in this area with a number of associates. We've come into these open fields, The soldiers are taking fire. We don't know where the enemies, but do know that there's a Taliban stronghold about a kilometer from here at the base of these mountains.
With enemy fire getting closer, special forces are exposed as they move along the banks of the river.
A soldier reloads, preparing for another assault.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, move it.
COREN: We run towards the compound where insurgents stage one of their attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Push it down this way, all right? Let's go.
COREN: They quickly secure the area not knowing what's behind these walls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody looking back that way?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope.
COREN: Movement inside has everyone on high alert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody just ran across the door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yep.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And back again.
COREN: Soldiers locate the enemy firing points with spent cartridge cases littering the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're Taliban, which we're getting reports that they probably are. Then they may not necessarily live in these areas, which means that when they go into other people's compounds that they make it -- some intel relayed back to us. That's what we're hoping on.
COREN: Apache helicopter gunships circle the valley searching for the enemy who have made their escape. But they've already vanished, blending back into the community and the landscape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I admire our resiliency and their conviction for sure. There's a degree of mutual respect, but you know, it doesn't -- it doesn't mean we want to kill them any less.
COREN: While America's war may be finishing up soon, these brave soldiers know it's yet to be won.
Anna Coren, CNN, Nidrab (ph), eastern Afghanistan.
SWEENEY: Praying for their former president, South Africans mark Easter with the hope that Nelson Mandela will make a full recovery. Coming up on News Stream, we'll go to Johannesburg for a live update on his condition.
An Egyptian comedian summoned for questioning accused of insulting Islam and the president. Is the new government using tactics made famous by the old guard?
And dramatic satellite images emerge from Myanmar after sectarian violence left towns literally burned to the ground.
SWEENEY: India's supreme court has said no to the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis. It's discussed the drug makers bid to patent its cancer drug Glivec. Novartis says the verdict discourages innovation. For years, India didn't accept drug patents and became the source of generics. Now there's a new patent law, but it has a higher than usual standard to grant one.
We'll have much more on this story in the next hour here on CNN. Stay tuned to World Business Today for that.
A statement from the South African president's office says Nelson Mandela's condition is improving. CNN's Isha Sesay is in Johannesburg keeping an eye on Mandela's health and the mood of the nation as it anxiously waits for news on his condition.
Isha, presumably good news among the South Africans today after this word.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're certainly heartened by the statement put out by the South African presidency on Sunday. And it was the most latest update on Nelson Mandela's condition in which they say that there is a report -- they would like to report a further improvement in his condition. And the statement also said that he'd had a restful day, that would have been on Sunday, and that he continued to receive treatment.
Now just to bring our viewers up to speed. On Saturday in that statement also put out by the office of the South African presidency we learned that Nelson Mandela had been admitted to hospital due to a recurrence of pneumonia, that he'd also been treated for a lung infection and was now able to breathe without difficulty. In that statement on Saturday, they also went on to say that he was improving and comfortable.
And you really -- Fionnuala you summed it up that this is indeed a story that people here in South Africa and around the world are anxiously following. This is indeed Nelson Mandela's third hospital stay in four months so clearly this frail 94 year old has some quite severe health problems.
But President Zuma also went on to thank the thousands of South Africans who had been praying for Mandela at Easter Services across the nation and also give thanks to people around the world that are keeping Mandela in their thoughts, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: Isha Sesay, thank you very much for that update there from Johannesburg.
Kenya's supreme court has upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's victory in last month's presidential election. CNN's Nima Elbagir has more on the country's action and on Kenya's way forward.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a landmark ruling. Kenya's supreme court unanimously voting that the March 4th presidential poll here was free and fair. And in the light of that ruling, a historic concession, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, whose party brought the court contest petition in the first place has decided that he will abide by the supreme court's ruling in the interest, he said, of soldiering on and rebuilding a unified Kenya.
RAILA ODINGA, KENYAN PRIME MINISTER: I pledge to abide by the court's decision. I wish the president-elect, honoral Uhuru Kenyatta, and his team well. The future of Kenya is bright. Let us not allow elections to divide us. Let us reunite as a nation.
ELBAGIR: But if Mr. Odinga was, as he put it, seeking to put the greater good above his own personal ambitions, it wasn't without some reservations. He regretted, he said, that the supreme court justices had disallowed some of the evidence put forward by his legal team of, as they claim, discrepancies on the basis that they would not have enough time to fully look into the issues raised or on the basis that some of the evidence had been put forward simply too late. He regretted, he said, that Kenyans will never fully know what happened on March 4th.
But of course that 2007 contested poll still casts a very long shadow here. And for many Kenyans, whether they voted for Mr. Odinga's rival Uhuru Kenyatta or not, this has been cause for celebration. That April 9th inauguration date that's currently being projected will be a day of celebration for Kenyans across the political spectrum, a time, as many have put it to me, to finally put the past behind them and start a new chapter in Kenya's history.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, Nairobi.
SWEENEY: Well, Kenya's democratic process does have some influence beyond its borders. Kenya is east Africa's biggest economy and a crucial trade route to the rest of the continent. It provides an important buffer of stability in a volatile region. Somalia and its fledgling government is a neighbor to the east. And the politically tense Sudan and South Sudan are nearby as well.
Kenya is also a major U.S. ally in the war against Islamic militants and has remained relatively peaceful while civil wars have raged in neighboring countries.
Still to come on News Stream, a controversial coaching choice for one British football club. Paolo Di Canio is giving Sunderland fans a lot to think about.
SWEENEY: Hospitals in China are on alert for a strain of bird flu that's claimed two lives. China's state news agency says the H7N9 substrain hadn't been found in humans before. The two men, aged 27 and 87 lived in Shanghai. A woman in a nearby province infested with the strain is currently in critical condition. Authorities don't know how the trio contracted the virus.
Turning to sport now. And Andy Murray has returned to his highest ever world tennis ranking after a hard fought victory in Miami. Let's join World Sport's Alex Thomas for all the details. Hi, there.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fionnuala.
Andy Murray has leap-frogged Roger Federer in the world tennis rankings after beating David Ferrer in a match the Scot described as brutal and one of the toughest Master series finals he's ever played.
The Spaniard raced into an early lead, taking the opening set by 6-2, but in the second set needing just one point to win the Sony Open. Ferrer challenged a line call instead of playing on. And Murray's shot was ruled in after a video review. Ferrer later admitted it was a bad decision and one he wants to forget about.
Murray took that set. And in the second longest final in the event's history lasting two and three quarter hours, the Scot claimed victory to move up to second in the rankings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY MURRAY, WORLD TENNIS NUMBER TWO: Yeah, I mean I think, you know, any time you're moving up the rankings that's a good sign. I mean, the number one goal for me during the year is to try and win the major events, you know, and then the ranking takes care of itself. If you can play well in the biggest tournament. But getting to number two is, you know, it's a good achievement. You know, I hope I can go higher, but that's incredibly difficult right now with the guys around the top of the game to get there. But I'll give it my best shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: NFL player JJ Watt through a 73 mile an hour ceremonial pitch as the new major lead baseball season got underway in Houston. It was the Astros first game since their switch to the American League.
And Justin Maxwell's hit at the bottom of the fourth put the home team into a two run lead.
The score had advanced to 4-2 at the bottom of the sixth. And that's when Rick Ankiel smacks it to deep right field for three more runs. And the Astros end up winning 8-2, their first season opening victory since 2006.
Now former British former secretary David Milliband has quit the board of English Premier League Football Club Sunderland after it had appointed Paolo Di Canio as the team's new manager. The former Milan, Lazio, West Ham, and Celtics striker has described himself as a fascist in the past and famously gave a Nazi style salute to fans in 2005. Di Canio has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the relegation threatened club.
It's Champion's League quarterfinal week. And after opening up a seven point lead in Ligue, Paris Saint-Germain now face the might of Barcelona. We sent Pedro Pinto to France over the weekend to see how their preparations are going. He's been speaking to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and new signing David Beckham.
Becks told Pedro, he still hasn't turned his back on international football.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BECKHAM, PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN MIDFIELDER: One of the reasons why I've never retired from the England team is because if there's ever an opportunity to play for them again, then I'm available. You know, I wouldn't want to come out of retirement to be part of the team, you know. So that's one of the reasons why I've never retired. If there is any chance of me playing for my country again, I would never turn that down.
So, you know, I'm -- like I said, I'm almost 38 years old, so the chances are very slight, but you never know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: You never know if Becks will play for England again, but I do know that you can see the full interview in World Sport later on Monday. It's around 11:30 tonight Central European Time.
I'll have another sports update for you in a couple of hour's time. Until then, back to you Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: Thanks indeed.
Positive thinking there on the part of Mr. David Beckham.
Well, there's much more to come on News Stream. Pakistan's election campaigns are well underway despite violent attacks and threats of more. We'll check in with one high profile candidate.
And violence has a small town in the U.S. state of Texas shrouded in fear. Weeks apart, two prosecutors are shot and killed. We'll take you to the Lone Star State for the latest on the mystery.
SWEENEY: I'm Fionnuala Sweeney at CNN Center. And you are watching News Stream. These are your headlines.
The president of South Korea has warned if North Korea attacks there will be retaliation. Park Geun-hye promises a strong response to any northern aggression. Meanwhile, over the weekend the U.S. deployed stealth fighter jets to take part in military exercises with South Korean forces.
A suicide bomber in Iraq has driven an oil tanker into a police station. Interior ministry says at least nine people were killed, 20 wounded. It happened in Tikrit about 150 kilometers north of Baghdad. In the capital, two policeman and a civilian have been shot and killed in separate incidents.
India's supreme court has rejected a bid by Swiss drug maker Novartis to renew a patent on its cancer drug Glivec. India's health care is heavily reliant on access to cheap generic versions of drugs. Novartis condemns the verdict, saying it discourages innovation.
Two airlines, Qantas and Emirates have begun a new partnership, joining forces on operations for the next five years. The deal hopes to resuscitate Qantas and will increase international air traffic through the Middle East using Emirates global hope at Dubai.
Pakistan's general election is set for May 11. And candidates are campaigning around the country. Political parties face huge rallies in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. Authorities in Lahore shut down mobile phone networks as security precaution. But a liberal party's campaign event in the northwest was hit by a roadside bomb that killed two people and wounded six.
One of this year's leading candidates is well known both inside and outside Pakistan. Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is on the campaign trail with former cricketer Imran Khan.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi above Pakistan's fabled mountains, Imran Khan, former international cricket star, now the country's fastest rising politician, is on the campaign trail. Elections are just weeks away, May 11.
We've just landed in Swat. It's about 50 minutes helicopter ride about four hours drive from the capital Islamabad. A few years ago, this area was overrun by the Taliban. Khan's security is going to be a concern here.
Armored car, high speed convoy, soldiers line the road. It's the new normal for Khan. An ascendency that has seen him turn this tiny movement, the Justice Party with just one parliamentary seat, into a national party capable of breaking the political status quo, winning dozens, possibly scores of seats from the established parties.
There are tens of thousands of people here, a huge number in this mountainous region. Khan is the upstart candidate who wants to use his charisma to change these people, to move them, get them to believe that they vote for him, they vote for change, they vote for something different.
IMFRAN KHAN, MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE PARTY: There is only one way to win it, and that is to have a public movement against the old political houses, the old political parties.
ROBERTSON: And that's part of his pull here. Most view him as a rarity, an uncorrupted politician.
Khan has got a tough political battle on his hand. The two big political parties here have been in power for decades. They're rich. They got the support of hundreds of thousands, millions of people across the country. When they look at Khan, they say he's politically inexperienced, politically inept.
But Khan has broad appeal. Rural conservatives here, he advocates talking to the Taliban.
KHAN: The key to peace in Pakistan lies through the tribal area people.
ROBERTSON: He also won over many of the young, urban, educated middle class. And is reputed to have more Twitter followers than any other Pakistani politician. If his party wins enough votes to form a government, and right now that is still a very long shot, he vows to do what he says other politicians have not and look out for the poor.
Khan has no problem getting the numbers out to come and watch, no problem at all getting them excited, but the real challenge is going to be come May 11th, getting them to turnout and vote for him and break with their past.
Nic Robertson, CNN, the Swat Valley, Pakistan.
SWEENEY: We're getting a clearer picture of the damage from the recent sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims in central Myanmar. These are satellite images released by Human Rights Watch. This shows the town of Meiktila last December. And this is the same area after groups of Buddhists torched it in late March.
The town was the worst hit of the violence. Human Rights Watch says almost 450 homes were severely damaged or destroyed.
Now, this is video of those attacks. The violence spread to nearby towns. Officials say at least 43 people were killed, more than 1,300 buildings were damaged or completely burned to the ground.
The UN estimates 12,000 people have been displaced by the violence and are living in temporary camps. Their government has imposed a curfew and has sent troops to the area.
For the first time in almost 50 years, privately owned daily newspapers are available in Myanmar. Four Burmese language dailies have hit the news stands. A total of 16 weekly papers have been given the OK to go daily. It's the latest reform to Myanmar's media industry, part of the reform to its political system after military rule officially ended in 2011.
Residents of Kaufman, Texas are on edge after a district attorney and his wife were shot and killed, but it comes just months after the attorney's deputy was killed. Officials haven't linked the three deaths, but they say it is a logical conclusion.
CNN's George Howell has the latest.
MIKE MCLELLAND, KAUFMAN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We're going to find you. We're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, and we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A promise from Kaufman County, Texas, district attorney Mike McLelland two months ago to the unknown killer of an assistant D.A. in his office -- a promise, though, he would never see fulfilled. Saturday night, police found the bodies of the D.A. and his wife Cynthia at their home.
DAVID BYRNES, KAUFMAN COUNTY SHERIFF: They both had been shot, and we are in the process of completing the crime scene workup right now.
HOWELL: An investigator says police found several shell casings inside the home from a high-powered rifle.
BYRNES: It's pretty obvious it's unnerving, and it's unnerving to the law enforcement community, it's unnerving to the community at large.
HOWELL: There are no suspects. And the sheriff's office has not officially said whether the McLellands' deaths are connected to the killing of Kaufman County assistant D.A. Mark Haase, who was shot outside the county courthouse in January. The sheriff says extra precautions are being taken to protect county elected officials, as well as the public.
BYRNES: There will be complete security at the courthouse tomorrow, visible security.
HOWELL: McLelland said his coworkers were like a family, but they all knew their job came with risks.
MCLELLAND: When you deal with bad people on a regular basis, you know that there's always the potential for these bad people to do something bad to you, because they've already done something bad to somebody else. And so, they could always concentrate and backlash on you.
SWEENEY: Wow. CNN's George Howell reporting there on the tension cloaking a quiet Texas county after the murder of two DAs in as many months.
Well, time now for a check on weather news. And we're getting a glimpse of dramatic new images of the weekend flooding in Mauritius. Mari Ramos is at the world weather center with that.
Amazing pictures, I understand.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is really very dramatic stuff. Before we get to the pictures let me show you about the areas that we're talking about.
Let's go ahead and zoom in here with our Google Earth image. We're talking about Mauritius here off the coast of Madagascar way down in the southern portion of the Indian Ocean.
Now these islands usually get their heaviest rainfall when you have a tropical cyclone move through here. This time around, there was no tropical cyclone, it was some very strong rain that moved through Saturday afternoon causing significant flooding.
Now we don't have the numbers for Port Louis, which is where some of the most dramatic flooding occurred, but in Vacoas, for example, they had 250 millimeters of rain in just over 24 hours compared to their monthly average of 247 millimeters of rain. So this kind of gives you an idea of how intense the rainfall was. And these pictures, Fionnuala, will really, really paint quite a picture. Quite an image. Take a look.
This image appears to be taken inside a bus. And you can see how high the water was rising and how panicked people were as that was happening. These are aftermath images. And they are pumping water outside a building.
Some of the early reports that came in suggested that a log of the flooding, of course, when it flooded, it trapped people underground, inside these buildings. And that's why we are seeing so many deaths. At least 10 people were killed. So scary when you see that people's belongings just kind of strewn all about.
Our next piece of image-- of video, it's still images from the day the flooding happened. And this, again, paints -- gives you a great example of what was going on. The water rose very quickly. People were trapped not only in buildings, but also on the street in their cars. Some were swept away by the strong currents.
We are getting drier weather now across this region, so that will give people a chance to clean up and dry out. And I know that any amount of rain that falls here will be a concern for inhabitants.
Look at that car completely submerged.
But I can tell you that it will be somewhat drier over the next couple of days.
Look at the satellite image over here. You can see some scattered clouds moving through, but overall that weather system that was affecting you has moved on. And I think we'll see drier conditions there.
So moving on, let's head to another part of the world. I want to take you to China. You had some very heavy rain as well, particularly in Guangdong and in the Hong Kong area. I was looking at some of the latest numbers for Hong Kong. And even though you've had since Wednesday 104 millimeters of rain, think of the average for March here. It's about 82 millimeters of rainfall. When we add everything up, all the rain that you've had since January to now, you're still about 30 millimeters below your average. It's hard to believe when you see pictures like this.
Let's go ahead and roll the pictures from Guangdong.
A lot of rain here. People stranded on the roadways. Fortunately, no serious injuries in this part compared to what we saw in Mauritius. That was just violent rainfall. But it is causing a lot of problems, businesses that have lost merchandise, people that can't get around, they can't get to work, flights that were delayed, road -- of course, trains that were delayed. You just couldn't make it through some of these roadways because of -- there was so much water.
As we head through the next couple of days, come back over to the weather map here, we'll still see some scattered rain showers over the next couple of days, remaining cloudy and unsettled, that's not going to change too much, unfortunately, for you here. Kind of need the rain, but just not all at once.
The heaviest downpours are going to be back over here toward Japan, so that's definitely going to be the area to watch.
And I just want to mention a couple of things for Beijing. Even though it's going to stay dry, I'm a little concerned about the air quality, that's always an issue when we have these very still, still days for you.
With that, let's go ahead back to you, Fionnuala.
SWEENEY: All right. Mari, thank you for that update.
The new pope led Easter Mass for some 250,000 people who gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sunday. Pope Francis showing once again his determination to be a pope of the people, holding babies and stopping to kiss a disabled child in the crowd. His message, a plea for peace around the world, an end to violence in Syria, harmony between Israelis and Palestinians and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.
Well, still ahead on News Stream, from the web to the world stage, a Cuban blogger denied the right to travel for years now gets the chance to take center stage.
SWEENEY: He is an Egyptian television comedian who is watched by millions, but that was no laughing matter for public prosecutors in Egypt who summoned Bassem Youssef for questioning over the weekend. He was accused of insulting the president and Islam. And even though he's been released on bail, the case has raised concern about freedom of speech in Egypt.
Ian Lee now reports.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A welcoming more suited for a rock star than a wanted man. Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef arrives at the high court in Cairo.
A mob of admirers, chants his name, as he struggles to enter the building. The public prosecutor summoned the comedian for questioning about accusations that he insulted President Mohamed Morsy and Islam. Here, Youssef pokes fun at Morsy speaking English on a trip to Germany on his show The Program.
MOHAMED MORSY, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT: (inaudible), girls and alcohol don't mix. (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
BASSEM YOUSSEF, COMEDIAN (subtitles): He's got a point. Gas and alcohol don't mix. Just like English and Arabic don't mix. And just like religion and politics don't mix.
LEE: Millions tune in weekly to watch the Jon Stewart of the Middle East. He's even met the man he calls his main inspiration.
But his popularity by pushing the boundaries of free speech comes with a price. Youssef faces more than a dozen lawsuits over his show, which the prosecutor says is insulting not just only to the president, but to Islam itself. And Youssef is a practicing Muslim.
YOUSSEF: You want to go to prison? You want to go to prison? Oh, yeah? So cool!
(subtitles): More importantly I just want to thank the people that stood by us and defended us.
LEE: Recently, many people critical of the Morsy government have either been arrested or brought in for questioning, a tactic reminiscent of the Mubarak regime. The question is now, will the Morsy government get away with this?
H.A. HELLYER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Whether they release him today or they keep him, this makes them look incredibly bad and can only be interpreted as harassment or trying to stifle any freedom of speech in this country with regards to the presidency or indeed authority in general.
LEE: Despite the pressure, Youssef has remained defiant throughout.
YOUSSEF (subtitles): In any case, I know that we are a satirical show and we should probably ease things down a bit, but today we're going to talk about an issue that's pretty serious. It will cause waves and might not be so funny.
LEE: Youssef was released after his questioning by the prosecutor, a free man after posting a $2,200 bond.
Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.
SWEENEY: Well, Bassem Youssef will give us a clearer idea of what happened when he speaks to Christiane Amanpour later on CNN. You can watch the interview at 8:00 pm London time. And that is 3:00 pm in New York.
Another person who suffered for speaking out is a lady who for years was denied the right to travel outside Cuba. But, by using the internet, she was able to give the world a fascinating glimpse of life inside the Communist country and now can travel abroad and speak out in person.
Patrick Oppmann reports.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Denied the right to leave Cuba for yeras, blogger and government critic Yoani Sanchez is now making up for lost time.
YOANI SANCHEZ, CUBAN ACTIVIST (through translator): I'm going to go to all the places that for five years, I couldn't visit. When I return in three months, having done my own trip around the world in 80 days, I will be a better citizen, I will be better informed, a better reporter, and a better Cuban.
OPPMANN: And better traveled. Yoani Sanchez left Cuba in February shortly after the government of Raul Castro abolished the country's exit visa requirement. It's still not clear why after so many denials they allowed such an outspoken critic to leave the island.
She has since visited Brazil, Mexico, the Czech Republic, the United States. At each stop, blasting what she calls the heavy hand of the Cuban government. She has taken her call for change in Cuba to meetings at the White House and with top Cuban-American lawmakers.
It's a long way from her humble beginnings, blogging about the frustrations of living in a Havana apartment building without a working elevator and trying to feed her family off meager government rations.
Even though her blog is no longer blocked in Cuba, Sanchez is still better known outside her country.
Most Cubans we spoke to here on the streets of Havana say they don't read Yoani Sanchez's blog. The internet remains tightly controlled and very slow here in Cuba. And as well Cubans say they're already aware of their country's problems.
Sanchez's writings reach far and wide with the help of volunteers like M.J. Porter in Seattle who help translate the blog from Spanish into 20 other languages.
Porter says Sanchez challenges the appeal of the Cuban revolution overseas.
M.J. PORTER, TRANSLATOR: She's made an impact that people will look back decades from now and maybe appreciate the impact that she has had in changing people's perspective. I like to say, you know, hopefully there's just maybe a few thousands fewer Che Guevera t-shirts in the world thanks to Yoani.
OPPMANN: It's not clear yet if the blogger will pay a price in Cuba for her outspokeness.
Sanchez says friends warn her that the Cuban government, which calls her a mercenary in the employ of the CIA, could prevent her return to Cuba.
SANCHEZ (through translator): I don't think that could happen. If it did, all it would mean is that instead of returning legally via an airport, I will come back on a raft.
OPPMANN: On Monday, Sanchez takes her tour to Miami, the heart of the anti-Castro exile community. And no doubt her criticisms will again hit close to home.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
SWEENEY: In two days, Michael Jackson's wrongful death civil trial is expected to get underway in Los Angeles. It comes several years after he died from an overdose of sedatives. His family says concert promoter AEG Live is to blame. And that they owe the Jackson family billions of dollars. Why? Well, the lawsuit claims AEG hired former Dr. Conrad Murray who administered the fatal dose of Propofol. Well, Murray is serving a four year service for involuntary manslaughter.
First, it was the smartphone, but how about a smartwatch? Next on News Stream, we'll introduce you to the inventor of the Pebble, a product many are calling the watch of the future.
SWEENEY: Here on News Stream, we've been keeping a close eye on a company called Pebble, something of an overnight success story in Silicon Valley. The key to its appeal, making smartphone technology wearable. Dan Simon has been talking to Pebble's CEO and taking a look at their functional fashion statement.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Technology for life's most thrilling moments. Google is betting big with its forthcoming glass, a wearable computer with a built-in camera. You'll be able to record pictures and video just by saying OK, glass, record the video.
It is all part of a new trend known as wearable technology perhaps the biggest emerging trend since the smart phone. A new category of devices called smart watches is already selling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This enables hands free conversations anywhere at any time.
SIMON: Even after venture capitalists initially snubbed what is turning out to be one of the hottest new products in tech.
(on camera): Where did the idea for this smart watch come from?
ERIC MIGICONSKY, PEBBLE: The idea came actually from me while I was cycling. I had my phone in my pocket and I wanted to see what was happening on my phone.
SIMON (voice-over): This is Eric Migiconsky, the inventor of the Pebble. It may look like an old fashioned Casio, but the Pebble represents the watch of the future. Hard to believe that inside this small generic looking building he and his small company have stunned Silicon Valley.
(on camera): The Pebble works by connecting to your phone via Bluetooth so all of those phone calls, e-mails, and texts show up on your wrist. You can actually feel it vibrating. That can come in handy when it's tough to reach for your cell phone.
MIGICONSKY: Having your phone out is inconvenient and sometimes dangerous. It's much better to be able to just glance down and see the key portion of the message right on your wrist.
SIMON (voice-over): But the people who seem to know the valley the best, the venture capitalists, thought the Pebble sounded like a loser and didn't give them a penny. They missed out -- big time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my smart phone and this is my Pebble.
SIMON: That became evident when Eric decided to raise money through the crowd funding web site "Kick Starter."
MIGICONSKY: The project was live on Kick Starter in 30 days and within the period of 30 days, we raised $10.2 million.
SIMON: Now they can't make these watches fast enough. You might say the Dick Tracy era has now finally arrived. Another watch called the "Martian" allows for real conversations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about meeting us for lunch at 10:00?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cool.
SIMON: Nay-sayers might wonder have we officially jumped the shark as technology loving consumers? In our quest to stay connected, is society filled with way too much gadgetry? I guess that's up to each person, but if history is any indication, we'll soon be seeing lines not only for what you can hold but what you can wear.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
SWEENEY: Well, the third season of the hit TV show Game of Thrones has just premiered in the United States, but it is, of course, a worldwide phenomenon. Well, the HBO series delivered audiences of nearly 4 million an episode last season. And for the uninitiated, Game of Thrones explores as Medieval alternate universe with some dragons and magic thrown into the mix. The TV series is based on the hugely popular series of novels by George R.R. Martin. Five have been published so far. He's writing more.
Well, CNN's Jake Tapper dissected the TV drama with co-creator David Benioff.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He has expressed concern that the series might overtake how fast he's writing these books.
DAVID BENIOFF, SERIES CO-CREATOR, GAME OF THRONES: Yeah.
TAPPER: So what are you going to do?
BENIOFF: We're hoping that, you know, that George will get there in time, because it's what's best for all of us obviously.
We spent a week with him a few weeks ago in Sante Fe talking about how the series ends, you know, and you know having this long wonderful conversations about where all the characters are going, because we want to know -- even though some of the stuff won't happen for years to come, it's really important for us to know the direction of the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The battle is over. We have won.
TAPPER: The award-winning show is also the winner of this dubious distinction.
BENIOFF: We were the most illegally downloaded show in the world. And one episode was illegally downloaded 4.8 million times. If we could just get 99 cents from each of those 4.8 million people, how many more -- you know, all the scenes that we wanted to have in season three that we couldn't have that extra scene with the dragons, or we could have had one more -- that big battle scene that we wanted that we couldn't get, we probably could have afforded.
SWEENEY: And we should also mention that Game of Thrones airs on HBO, a network owned by CNN's parent company Time Warner.
But before we go, a few more tech notes to share with you. we all know YouTube is the service where users can upload and share video, but it turns out that wasn't really the point. In a video of its own, YouTube revealed it's been running a secret contest for the last eight years. And as of today, the website will be offline. It won't be back up until a winner for the best YouTube video ever is selected is announced in 2023.
Meanwhile, Google Maps has a new layer to their popular maps. Not only will you be able to view street and terrain maps, you'll now have the option to see treasure maps, pointing out where millions of dollars of treasure is buried all over the world.
And you know those high tech glasses that Google is coming out with to deliver instant information right before your eyes? Well, the British newspaper The Guardian is launching its own pair of goggles to compete. You'll be able to get instant Guardian reviews just by looking at a movie poster or the signage of a restaurant. Truly innovative, but does it all sound too good to be true? Well, it is. It just might have something to do with today's date, April 1.
And that is News Stream. No joke. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.