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U.S. Drops All Charges Against Ricin Suspect Kevin Paul Curtis; U.S. Authorities Visit Russia To Interview Tsarnaev Parents; Apple Stock Drops After Profits Plunge 18 Percent; Bayern Munich Stuns Barcelona 4-0; First Case Of Bird Flu Confirmed Outside Mainland China
Aired April 24, 2013 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Now this man has just been asked to form a new Italian government. It's been two months since inconclusive parliamentary elections. And we'll get the latest from Rome.
The World Health Organization warns a new strain of bird flu is unusually dangerous as the first case is confirmed outside mainland China.
And a city in recovery: Boston's Boylston Street, the scene of last week's terror attack reopens.
Now it is the most visible sign yet of Boston's recovery. Now the city has reopened the site of last week's terror attack. You are looking at live pictures of Boylston Street. And crews, they worked through the night to repair the damage caused by the deadly bombings on that street. And police are moving several makeshift memorials to a park where people will be able to pay their respects to the victims.
Now the attack on the Boston Marathon, it killed three people. It wounded 264 others. Dozens remain hospitalized.
Now, the soul surviving suspect could be moved out of the hospital in the coming days. Now Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's conditions have been proved from serious to fair. He's been responding to questions from investigators slowly revealing details about the Boston Marathon bombing.
Now U.S. officials have also traveled to the Russian Republic of Dagestan. And they're hoping to interview the suspect's parents.
Now let's bring in Phil Black. He joins us now live from CNN Moscow. And Phil, any update from that U.S. delegation in Dagestan?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, they left Moscow and traveled to Dagestan late yesterday. And we understand that interview could take place as soon as today. And the U.S. embassy here is keen to impress the fact that this is all happening with cooperation. Now, we are in total cooperation with the Russian authorities.
This meeting, this potential interview is significant, because it would be the first time U.S. authorities have the chance to directly quiz the parents of the bombing suspects. And in particular, ask them some pretty important questions about what their eldest son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev got up to when he visited them in Dagestan in early 2012.
We know that he entered and left Russia. And there was a six month period between when he came here and left. And one of the lines of inquiry in the United States is the possibility that it was during his time in that very violent part of the world that he was exposed to things or people, that his experiences there in some way contributed to his radicalization. And that in some way contributed ultimately to those events in Boston.
It will also be the first chance for the suspect's parents to tell U.S. officials precisely what they think. And we know they've been telling us for a couple of days now they do not believe their sons were capable of what it is that they are accused of doing. And they believe they have been set up by U.S. authorities -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, and these U.S. investigators working very closely with the Russian government on this. And this visit comes amid a lot of questions about whether the U.S. missed major warning signs from Russia. What can you tell us?
BLACK: Well, this is a key thing on which we still have some very important questions that haven't been answered yet, largely from the Russian side. We know that back in 2011, the Russians ask the FBI to look into Tamerlan Tsarnaev, that they were worried about him for some reason, that he had shown up on their radar as a potential threat, because he had become a follower of radical Islam. We've been told that by the FBI.
And the FBI says they looked into him, didn't find anything, went back to Russia, reported back, asked a few more questions, didn't hear anything again.
So what we still don't know is precisely what it was that raised Tamerlan Tsarnaev's profile to the point where Russian security services noticed him. Why they were worried about him, why they asked America for help, and ultimately a key part of the process of dissecting whether or not the ball was dropped on this somewhere.
We'll be analyzing that relationship, the cooperation between U.S. and Russian security and investigative services, whether or not they could have worked together more closely than they did, whether enough information was passed back and forth.
But I think today with U.S. officials visiting Dagestan speaking to his parents for the first time, it is very much a key step in that process of finding out precisely what happened -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: And as we have this U.S. delegation in Dagestan today to interview and talk to the parents of the suspects, CNN has had an editorial team on the ground in Dagestan on the story for days. So what is the latest understanding about what Tamerlan did in Dagestan and also in Chechnya? Did he get any training? Did he get any outside help?
BLACK: Well, his friends, his family all on the ground there in Dagestan say no, that's not the case.
They tell the story that when he first arrived in Dagestan to visit them, by that point when they first saw him they were surprised by the transformation that had taken place with him. They believe that by that point he had already become much more religious, much more devout, a much more serious Muslim than he had ever been before, more serious than the rest of his family. And they say they believe that is something that he taught himself or was exposed to in the United States before he arrived in Dagestan.
Other than that, they say that when he was on the ground there visiting his family. He traveled around to visit some family members and some friends and that's essentially it, they deny any claim that he was exposed to any sort of Jihadist or militant element during his time in that Russian region, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, so early days yet in this investigation. Phil Black on the story for us live from Moscow, thank you.
BLACK: Now, it is not clear if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security knew that the elder Tsarnaev brother was on the FBI's radar dating back to 2011. The Homeland Security Department is charged with monitoring travel. And Secretary Janet Napolitano, she faced tough questions from lawmakers on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, (R) IOWA: Was your department aware of his travels to Russia. And if you weren't, the reason.
SEC. JANET NAPOLITANO, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The travel in 2012 that you're referring to. Yes. The system pinged when he was leaving the United States. By the time he returned, all investigations had been -- the matter had been closed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now, according to some accounts, the brother's apparent radicalization may have roots in the United States. Brian Todd explores that angle.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A U.S. government official says the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been cited by suspects Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as motivating factors in the Boston Marathon bombings. Investigators still have to determine if that information is accurate.
Tsarnaev has already told investigators they acted alone, that his older brother Tamerlan was the driving force behind the attacks, motivated by Jihadist thought, defending Islam. But how did Tamerlan Tsarnaev become radicalized. U.S. government sources say the younger brothers told authorities there was an online component to the radicalization, watching videos. A government official says the preachings of American born jihadist Anwar al Awlawki, killed by a U.S. drone attack, were likely to have been among those videos.
But was there someone else involved in the older brother's radicalization? His uncle implies there was someone who had sway over him.
RUSLAN TSARNI, BOMBING SUSPECTS' UNCLE: I know some guy who became somehow friend -- Tamerlan's friend who completely just took his brains away.
TODD: It's not clear who that is. As to when, the uncle says he noticed his older nephew's radicalization as far back as 2009. But there are other pieces to the puzzle.
A key question, where did any radicalization of Tamerlan Tsarnaev occur? We know he went to Dagestan in Russia last year for several months, but it's not clear if it occurred there. Did it happen here at the mosque in Cambridge that he attended where he had two well-known outbursts? We came here to put that to mosque leaders?
Those leaders say in those outbursts Tamerlan Tsarnaev blasted them for what they say is their moderate theology. They say they told him to back off. And if he did it again he'd be cut off.
YUSUFI VALI, ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF BOSTON: What's clear from what these two, you know, incidents is that, you know, the radicalization didn't happen here, you know, in the center. If it did happen -- because we're still learning so much about this case, you know, different accounts...
TODD: Maybe the most puzzling question why? What triggered Tamerlan's radicalization?
Luis Vasquez, who befriended Tamerlan at Cambridge Ridge and Latin High School later coached younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in soccer. He says he last saw Tamerlan about three years ago. When I asked Vasquez why his friend drifted toward radical Islam.
LUIS VASQUEZ, FRIEND OF TAMERLAN TSARNAEV: The only thing I can think of, I only want to say what I'm sure of, is that one of the sources of this could have been some kind of dissatisfaction of the bad, slow transition to coming to another country from a different one as a teenager. That's never easy.
TODD: Vasquez now shares the sentiments of people at the mosque, perplexed as to why the man they knew drifted in that direction and angry that he did it.
Brian Todd, CNN, Boston.
LU STOUT: Now, in Canada, a second suspect in an alleged terror plot is due to appear in court today. He is identified as 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier and his alleged accomplice 35-year-old Raed Jaser appeared in court in Toronto on Tuesday and was later returned to custody at a federal facility.
Now Canadian police say that Jaser and Esseghaier were plotting to bomb a passenger train as it traveled from New York from Toronto. Jaser's lawer says his client will vigorously fight the charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN NORRIS, RAED JASER'S ATTORNEY: He's in a state of shock and disbelief. He's anxious to see the evidence that the crown says that it has against him. And we will move forward in that way.
He intends to defend himself vigorously against these charges. Look forward to assisting him in that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: And Canadian police say that the suspects were getting support from al Qaeda elements in Iran. But according to Iran state media, the country's foreign minister calls that, quote, ridiculous.
Now you're watching News Stream. And still ahead on the program, after months of political stalemate it looks like Italy could soon be getting a new government. We'll take you live to Rome.
Plus, an eight story building collapses in Bangladesh's capital killing dozens. Authorities fear that many people are still trapped inside.
And a case of bird flu outside mainland China. We'll tell you where this deadly disease has turned up now.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
And right here is a visual representation of all the major stories we're covering on this Wednesday's News Stream. And earlier, we told you about the delegation from the U.S. embassy in Moscow that has traveled to Dagestan to interview the parents of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers.
But now, let's turn our attention to Italy. Now it looks like Italy's political impasse is over. The Italian president has asked center-left politician Enrico Letta to form a new government. Now that could end months of political uncertainty.
Now the announcement comes just days after Italy's president was reelected to the top job. And Ben Wedeman is in Rome with more.
And Ben, tell us more about Enrico Letta. Who is he?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Enrico Letta is by Italian political standards, at least, a spring chicken, a whipper snapper, only 46 years old. He's a deputy in the Democratic Party, the center-left Democratic Party. But it may be premature to say he's the next Italian prime minister. He has been chosen by the Italian president Giorgio Napolitano to form a new government, but in the last two months there have been similar attempts to form governments and they've failed.
Now he has to consult with the three major parties in Italy at the moment: his own party, which is very split at the moment, Silvio Berlusconi's People of Liberty Party, and the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo, that comedian turned politician.
So there's no guarantee at this point, even though he has been tasked as a -- as the next possible prime minister, that he actually will even fulfill that role -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Well, Letta has been named. His first task, a very important one, is to form a new cabinet.
Now Italy has been without a government since the end of February. So, Ben, what has it been like there inside Italy, was that political paralysis at all felt on the street?
WEDEMAN: Well, actually they do have a government. It's a caretaker government that was led by Mario Monte who was the technocrat prime minister appointed back in November 2011. On the streets you don't really feel it. Italians, in fact, don't have a lot of respect for politicians or the government. But certainly the business community would like the stability of a government, a properly elected government in place, to run the affairs of the country. LU STOUT: All right. Ben, and one more question for you and then you can get that glass of water, what -- if a new government is successfully formed under Enrico Letta -- I don't know -- it sounds like he just lost me.
All right, Ben Wedeman there joining us live from Rome. Our apologies for that. But again, Italy after months of political deadlock, Enrico Letta has been asked to form a new government, a major task, a major challenge ahead there.
Now meanwhile in Bangladesh, an eight story building has collapsed on the outskirts of the capital in Dhaka. And the national news agency reports more than 70 people have been killed, hundreds of people there are injured. The building has several garment factories inside in a shopping mall. It was a commercial building.
Now the top U.S. military officer meanwhile is in China. Now General Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs Chairman, says that Washington wants a deeper relationship with Beijing. And those ties have been strained by an increasing American presence in Asia, among other things.
Now Dempsey met with his Chinese counterpart General Fang Fenghui. And the two discussed regional tensions and agreed to hold joint disaster relief and anti-piracy exercises later this year.
But, this is what's on our radar, it is particularly worth noting General Fang's comments on cyber security. He said this, quote, "if the security of the internet cannot be guaranteed, then results may be as serious as a nuclear bomb."
Now hack attacks have emerged as a major point of contention this year with each side accusing the other of cyber espionage.
Now you're watching News Stream. And Bayern Munich have one foot in the Champion's League final. Will they face Ronaldo and Real Madrid? I'll preview the second Champion's League semifinal after the break. Stick around for that.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, a sparkling night outside, you're back watching News Stream.
Now let's return to one of our top stories in the region here. An eight story building has collapsed on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Now Sumnima Udas joins me now with the very latest. She is live from New Delhi in neighboring India.
And Sumnima, the latest on the collapse and the rescue effort, what can you tell us?
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, eyewitnesses tell CNN that they believe at least 1,000 people could still be trapped underneath that rubble of that eight story building.
Now army officials have been conducting much of the rescue operation there, say at least 70 people have died, another 700 have been injured. And they, too, believe that many more could still be trapped underneath that rubble.
Now I spoke to an army officer earlier who is conducting some of this operation. And he said that they've been working frantically since 9:00 in the morning, so eight hours ago, trying to pull out as many survivors as they can. But the rescue operation is still very much on -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: You know, it's such a frightening situation with, as you're reporting, 1,000 people may still be trapped inside the rubble after this collapse. Can you tell us more about the building itself? I mean, what kind of companies were inside. And was there any sign, any indication that the building just was not safe?
UDAS: Well, the building was actually about 25 kilometers outside of Dhaka, the capital. It's in the garment district area. And inside this building, there were about four garments, factories, a bank, and at least about 300 shops, according to the state media there. So a commercial building with a lot of activity.
Now as far as what could have caused this building to collapse, investigators are still looking into it, but they did say that there was a crack that they detected in that building on Tuesday according to state media reports. And the home minister of Bangladesh has come out and said that the proper building codes were not followed and that proper construction materials were not used in this particular building -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, that was the case for this specific building, but building collapses, also building fires, they're all too common in Bangladesh. So why do these deadly events happen again and again and again?
UDAS: That's right. There was a fire in a garment factory just in November and more than 100 people died in Bangladesh.
And a building collapse of this scale actually hasn't happened in Bangladesh since 2005. But it is very common in this part of the world. If you remember in Mumbai, in India, a building collapsed about less than three weeks ago. Scores of people died. And the main reason, again, is shoddy construction work and violation of building codes.
What happens here, Kristie, oftentimes is that contractors get approval to build a building to a certain height and they build the foundations accordingly, but then they keep adding the floors and the foundation many times is not able to support these tall buildings -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: You know, it's such a terrible disaster just raising more questions again about safety standards there in Bangladesh.
Sumnima Udas reporting, thank you very much indeed for that.
Now let's get a check of your global weather forecast. We have our Mari Ramos standing by -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. Yeah, we're going to go ahead and start int he Americas. You know, tragic those images of the buildings collapse. Sometimes you associate that with rain and when they have very heavy rain you'll see those building collapses, but it's very dry in the subcontinent right now, including Bangladesh. And I'll talk about that in just a moment.
Let's go ahead and start in the Americas, because I want to show you what's happening here in the U.S. and Canada. Let's go ahead and start with the pictures from Canada, really amazing images. Look at the rooftops covered in snow and then water everywhere. This is in Ontario. And they're dealing with 100 year flood here. The water is rising very quickly in many areas. They have issued a state of emergency. This is in what they call the cottage country in the outskirts, small towns, along rivers, very flat terrain usually. But a lot of water. And water at levels that they haven't seen in quite a long time.
They are evacuating people from the areas affected and the concern is that the water may continue to rise over the next couple of days because they've had such heavy snowfall and then also some rainfall.
Yesterday was their warmest day so far this entire season. They've been averaging about 5 degrees Celsius and now they're all the way up to about 12 degrees and so the snow is melting very, very quickly.
Let's go ahead and roll the next piece of video. This is the farther to the south, all the way down in St. Louis, Missouri right in the United States, in the heartland even. The Mississippi River, again, very high. It crested here in St. Louis, also in the Peoria area where the Illinois river also has flooded cities in that region.
Now in St. Louis, they have walls here to protect the city. Farther downstream, that is not the case. And there are concerns for areas farther downstream, because without those walls to defend the towns and the farmland and things like that we can see some significant flooding as the river just continues to rise farther to the south.
Come back over to the weather map very quickly. You can see that the rainfall is still an issue across this region, so not just the snow melt, additional rain that's still going to be a concern. And the rain stretches all the way up from the Great Lakes down over into the Deep South. And the flood warnings are the areas that you see right in this region here. So that's still a huge concern.
The rain showers will continue moving right along this area. And that will probably cause some travel delays for that region.
Very quickly across Europe. We're still dealing with some very warm temperatures. And that's actually a little bit nice. This picture from Bath in England, notice the temperature still quite warm -- 14 in London right now, 21 in Paris, 20 in Kiev. And farther to the south, we're still dealing with pretty much the same, a little bit of rain showers across the central Med are still a concern. You can see it there on your weather map. But the rest of the region actually quite dry,.
I want to see if I can make if very quickly to the temperatures across the subcontinent. That is still a concern. And I'm going to go ahead and tweet those out to you, because -- apparently I don't have my weather map ready. So that's my fault.
Let's go ahead and head back to you, Kristie.
But there is no rain in the subcontinent, but temperatures are very warm. Back to you.
LU STOUT: OK. We got the headline, at least, on air here on CNN. Mari Ramos there, thank you very much indeed.
Now time now for the sports headlines and what was expected to be a close contest in Munich on Tuesday ended up as a one-sided thumping. Amanda Davies joins us with more -- Amanda.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it was one of those nights, Kristie, that you really couldn't believe your eyes watching the football. And it's very much a talk of a changing of the guard now in European football. Barcelona's Jordi Roura has admitted his side need a miracle to come back from their first leg semifinal thumping, as you said, to Bayern Munich, their worst defeat in Europe in 16 years. The Bundesliga champions produced a crushing 4-0 victory in Germany.
Lionel Messi did play for Barcelona, but he was still struggling with his injury. And his side really just couldn't compete at the Allianz Arena. Goals from Tomas Muller, Mario Gomez, and Arjen Robben leave Barca with a mountain to climb to book their place in next month's final.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDI ROURA, BARCELONA ASSISTANT COACH (through translator): The result is very big, very difficult. Again Milan, we overturn a 2-0 deficit, something that nobody had ever done before. Obviously, 4-0 is very difficult, but our obligation, the team's obligation due to the club's glory, forces the fight to the limit in the second leg and keep trying until the referee ends the match.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: Of course both of these semifinals are Germany against Spain. It's advantage Germany from the first tie, but the Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has said his side will be going on the attack as they square up to Borussia Dortmund later on Wednesday, so much so that the Portuguese coach has named his lineup already.
It was Real Madrid that came off second best when the two sides met in the group stage of the competition last year, but Dortmund have suffered a blow ahead of the game where the news that midfielder Mario Gotze will be joining rivals Bayern at the end of the season.
Away from football, the Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni has been charged after 11 horses at his stable tested positive for anabolic steroids. He'll appear in front of a British Horse Racing Authority disciplinary panel on Thursday.
Zarooni has been charged by the BHA with multiple breaches of the rules of racing. He's a trainer, of course, for the Godolphin stable, which is overseen by Sheikh Mohammed, the monarch of Dubai. And on Monday, the trainer admitted making what he described as a catastrophic mistake.
The United States Justice Department has formally filed a case against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and his company. And American government is suing Armstrong under the false claims act, accusing him of defrauding the Postal Service by taking millions of dollars of sponsorship money while flouting the rules of professional cycling by doping.
It says it's looking to regain triple the amount of sponsorship funds given to Armstrong and his team between 1998 and 2004. It's approximately $40 million.
That's just one of a number of cases now that have been issued against Lance Armstrong, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, Amanda Davies there with the very latest. Thank you very much indeed for that.
You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, it is being called an unusually dangerous virus. And now there's a case of H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China for the very first time. We'll tell you where.
Plus, a stunning twist in the ricin letters investigation. The man accused of sending poisonous mail to the U.S. president has been released.
LU STOUT: Welcome back. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream and these are your world headlines.
Now an eight story building has collapsed near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. And the government says more than 70 people have been killed, hundreds are believed to be injured. Rescue workers are hunting for survivors under the rubble.
The death toll from the H7N9 bird flu has risen to 22 and for the first time authorities are reporting a case outside of mainland China. Officials in Taiwan say a 53-year-old man there who had been working in eastern China has a confirmed case. In total, there have been 108 cases in China.
Australian police say that they have charged a man with hacking a government website earlier this month. They said the 24-year-old claims to be the leader of a hacking group called LulzSec. He could get up to 12 years in prison for accessing restricted data without permission.
And this street struck by two bombs in Boston, Massachusetts is reopening to the public nine days after the deadly terror attack. U.S. diplomats have gone to the Russian Republic of Dagestan to interview the suspects' parents. The delegation from the U.S. embassy in Moscow is trying to learn more about the two brothers blamed for killing three people and wounding hundreds.
Now investigators are also looking to whether this online magazine, published by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, helped the suspected bombers. Now Barbara Starr tells us more about that.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: How did the Tsarnaev brothers learn to make the bombs the government says they used to attack the Boston marathon. This online al Qaeda magazine called "Inspire" is just one possibility the FBI is looking at.
In 2010, "Inspire" published this article, make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom, a recipe experts say has been downloaded around the world.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: There are a number of striking similarities between the devices described in the criminal complaint in the Boston incident and the magazine.
STARR: Similarities like the use of pressure cookers, BB pellets inside the devices contained within an adhesive material, very similar to what "Inspire" calls for. And explosive powder was used in Boston, "Inspire" preached recruits to use that material.
"Inspire" also called for using multiple devices in crowded areas. And...
CRUICKSHANK: Another issue of "Inspire" that recently came out included advice about how to launch a successful attack in the west and advised to launch an attack against a sporting venue, a crowded space.
STARR: A senior U.S. official tells CNN investigators need to determine what the men learned online in any number of website, but also whether they had help and who sold them the bomb making materials.
CNN commissioned experts to show David Mattingly how to detonate a bomb in a pressure cooker.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are now over a quarter of a mile away from where we left that pressure cooker. But that's still not far enough to avoid flying shrapnel. So we're watching from inside a bunker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2, 1...
STARR: Leaving still the questions in Washington.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I don't know if these young men were motivated by the information they've received or whether it was overseas, whether it was due to the internet and various influences there. But what we do know is that they change from apparently normal young people who are living in this country into terrorists.
STARR: "Inspire" magazine is put out by al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen. A regular contributor in the past, the American born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlawki who has been known to be a motivational source for other attacks in the past. That's why there's so much concern. Awlawki died in an American drone strike in 2011.
Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: Now a tragedy often inspires generosity. And the Boston bombings are no different as Bolyston Street reopens to pedestrians for the first time since the attacks. Boston's mayor has announced that $20 million dollars has been raised for the one fund Boston. That's a charity set up to help the victims of the bombings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM MENINO, MAYOR OF BOSTON: I met Amaiya (ph), her strength and courage, we are here for you. We'll help you move forward. We'll support you on these difficult times. We need information. We will aim to give it to you. We need connections to each other. We'll help make those connections. We need resources. We'll help direct you to them. And when people around the country have reached into their wallets to reach out to you, make sure their generosity gets to you right away.
We'll get through this together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: And if you would like to help those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings, you could check out this web site CNN.com/Impact. You'll find links to the One Fund Boston and other groups that are working to help the victims.
Now authorities in Taiwan have confirmed the first case of the new string of bird flu outside of mainland China. A 53-year-old man who had just returned to Taiwan after working in Jiangsu Province on the mainland has been infected with H7N9. And this comes after Chinese officials reported four new cases on Tuesday, now, including the first in the Eastern Province of Shandong.
And according to official figures, about 108 people have now been diagnosed with the virus, 22 have died, 72 are being treated in hospitals.
Let's go now to our Ivan Watson. He is in Beijing. And Ivan, again this is the first confirmed case outside Mainland China. Can you tell us more about the patient. How did he get infected and thus bring it into Taiwan?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was working in China from what the Taiwanese center for disease control says and then about three days after he returned to Taiwan earlier this month, he started coming down with flu like symptoms and his condition deteriorated until he was eventually hospitalized and actually intubated. And just today, Wednesday, doctors found that he tested positive for the H7N9 bird flu virus, this new virus that has been found previously only on mainland China and only discovered within the last three to four weeks.
Now, what the Taiwanese health officials have added to this, which is disturbing, is they say that the patient says he never came into contact with live birds or with uncooked poultry meat, which lends -- leads you to the question how did he get sick in the first place? And that is what health care workers are working so hard to try to figure out here in China right now. Is this a flu virus that is being transmitted person to person -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: And as we...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIJA FUKUDA, ASST. DIR.-GENERAL FOR HEALTH SECURITY, WHO: This is one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we have seen so far. But I want to give you a caveat, or give you a little bit of context, we really are at the beginning of our understanding of this virus. And right now, we may just be seeing the most serious infections and it may be possible that there are people who have mild infections. So we don't really know that right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: OK. And there we were listening to a soundbite from Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general for health just describing how lethal this virus is.
I've been talking to Ivan Watson, our correspondent in Beijing.
Ivan, can you comment on that? I mean, as the outbreak spread and is now confirmed case for the first time outside mainland China in Taiwan, there are a lot of concerns, but about just how lethal H7N9 is. Your thoughts on that.
WATSON: Well, the WHO officials did say that this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans. They don't know, as we just heard, whether there are many more milder cases of this virus in China, or asymptomatic cases of the virus that perhaps it's not as lethal as it looks. If you do the math it's about 20 percent of known cases have ended with the death of the patient.
Another point that they brought out is it is much more contagious and transmissible from poultry to humans than previous strains of the bird flu virus like the H5N1. That is also a concern.
And there's perhaps a bright note here, a silver lining, one of the WHO officials said that there was some evidence to suggest that when the live poultry market in Shanghai was closed near the beginning of this month. The number of cases of bird flu popping up in humans in and around Shanghai dropped somewhat, which suggests that that may be an effective measure to try to stop the spread of the outbreak -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, very heartening news there, but as you pointed out earlier, the new case in Taiwan, the man had not been exposed to birds or poultry during his stay. Very alarming line there in the CDC report.
A last question for you, Ivan, while we have you. We know that the golden week holiday is soon approaching, this is the first week of May. There will be hundreds of millions of travelers from mainland China going to Taiwan, going to Hong Kong, going beyond Asia, Europe, et cetera. Any concern from health authorities about the spread of bird flu during that time?
WATSON: You know, we heard from this joint committee of both Chinese health officials and World Health Organization officials that have just conducted this study. They did not raise any alarm about travel of human beings, about movement for the upcoming holiday. What they said was the priority right now was to have strict -- to really inspect patients, to be vigilant at the health clinics to spread the word about the handling of birds and especially uncooked meat to make sure that chicken, for instance, is cooked to more than 70 degrees Celsius. And they say those are the key measures to take right now to help try to control this.
And also to continue very much studying this very new strain of the virus with concerns that it could mutate and that would of course be -- present some new problems.
The biggest issue that could affect people in this part of Asia is whether or not the virus is seen to transmit from person to person. If that is -- if conclusive results of that are found, then the health officials say there's going to be a very different situation that everybody has to face.
LU STOUT: All right. Ivan Watson monitoring bird flu H7N9 for us live from Beijing. Thank you very much indeed for that update.
Now let's return to our video rundown now. Earlier in the show -- well just then we took you to the Chinese capital Beijing. WHO officials, again they say they new H7N9 strain of bird flu is one of the most lethal influenza viruses they have seen so far.
But now let's go to a twist in the case of toxic letters sent to U.S. politicians, including the U.S. president. Now the American man that police had arrested and accused of sending letters tainted with poison to U.S. President Barack Obama and two other officials has been released. Now all charges have been dropped against Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis after new information became available, that's according to a U.S. prosecutor.
Now for more on this story, let's go live to Victor Blackwell. He joins us live from Tupelo, Mississippi. And tell us more about this new information. I mean, what exactly lead to the decision to drop the charges and ultimately free Paul Curtis?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the question we've been trying to get an answer to, Kristie. This U.S. attorney, Felicia Adams, says that, yes, there is not information. What that is, she has not said.
Also, the FBI here in the U.S. they're not saying much about the investigation into the letters to President Obama, a senator from Mississippi and a judge here in Mississippi or why they originally arrested Paul Kevin Curtis.
But Curtis himself is speaking now that he's out of jail. He says that he loves his country. He respects the president and would never try to harm an elected official. Actually he and his attorney believe that he's been framed by someone who is holding a grudge against him.
I want you also to listen to what he said about the time that he spent in jail after these allegations were made.
(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)
PAUL KEVIN CURTIS, FORMER RICIN SUSPECT: The last seven days, staring at four gray walls like gray like green, green grass of home, not really knowing what's happening, not having a clue why I'm there, just being in a state of overwhelm is the best way I can describe it.
When you've been charged with something, and you just -- you've never heard of ricin or whatever. I thought they said rice so I said, I don't even eat rice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So the central question still stands: who sent the letters to these three public officials? Federal officials here do not believe that Paul Kevin Curtis sent them, who sent them? Well, we know that there are media reports that a second home here in Mississippi is being searched in connection with this investigation. Maybe some answers there. Still working to get more information about that, Kristie.
LU STOUT: OK, so a second home being searched. Hopefully soon we'll get an answer to that question who is behind the sending of these poison letters to U.S. government officials.
Can you talk more about Paul Curtis himself. And we just heard from him just a moment ago. He is an Elvis impersonator, musician. I even read that he says he's a certified reflexologist. So he is a bit different. But take us back to last week. Why was he under suspicion?
BLACKWELL: Well, it's a connection to something that was written in the letters and also on his Facebook page. We know from law enforcement officials that there was a line in the letters that was sent from people who are close to the investigation. I am KC, and I approve this message.
Of course, he's known mostly as Kevin Curtis, initials Kevin Curtis. That line also found in a posting on his social media website on his page. So that was originally the connection. The question is, was that placed in the letter as framing him by someone who is holding this grudge?
LU STOUT: All right. Victor Blackwell on the story for us live from Tupelo, Mississippi. Thank you very much indeed for that update.
You're watching News Stream, and still to come it is crunch time for Apple. Quarterly earnings plunged and without a new product on the horizon, how will this tech titan perform in such a competitive industry? Details after the break.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now Twitter is being blamed for Tuesday's flash crash on the U.S. stock market. As you can see, the Dow, it plunged 140 points right around 1:00 pm in the afternoon. And it quickly recovered and it closed higher, but what was behind that big drop? Well, it was a tweet, this one, it appeared on the Associated Press account. And it read, "breaking: two explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured."
Now it turns out that the AP had been hacked. You can see it used another account to spread the word.
Now the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility. And Twitter security has come under criticism before. The AP not the first company to have its account hijacked.
And for months, there's been talk that Twitter is working on a two- step authentication process to make logging in more secure, but Twitter has not commented on the expected upgrade.
Now, it looks like the tide may be turning for Apple. The tech titan says its profit fell 18 percent during the last quarter, the first year, year on year profit decline in over a decade. But it's hoping to address the concerns of investors by boosting its dividend and more.
Felicia Taylor breaks down the numbers.
FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Apple investors have been pleading with the company to show them the money and start spending some of the massive $144 billion cash war chest it has accumulated over the years. And in a surprise announcement Tuesday, Apple did just that. The tech giant announced that it would increase its share buyback program by more than $50 billion. It's also raising its quarterly dividend by 15 percent to $3.05 a share. That news helped to briefly lift Apple stock by over 5 percent in after hours trade.
It also helped sugar coat a lackluster earnings report for Apple.
The maker of iPhones and iPads reported its first year over year profit decline in over a decade. Profit margins are being squeezed as people are opting to buy older versions of the iPhone. And Apple is warning that sales will miss expectations in its current quarter.
It's no secret what is slowly growth at a company that was once the darling of Wall Street. Apple sold almost 38 million iPhones in the quarter, but it is facing competition from smartphone competitors like Samsung. And Apple hasn't had a major new product launch since October.
Apple assured investors on its conference call that it is hard at work on new products and new product categories such as the much rumored Apple TV, but still no word on when those products will be released.
Felicia Taylor, CNN, New York.
LU STOUT: And last September, Apple temporarily became the most valuable company on the planet. Its shares hit a high of around $700. But since then, they have slumps, wiping nearly $300 billion from Apple's market value. And to put that into perspective, that is more than the entire worth of Google.
Now Apple's challenge can be down to market saturation. In fact, according to the research firm IDC, this year, half of all phones sold around the world will be smartphones. So the concern for Apple must be that everyone who wants or can afford a smartphone already has one. That means for its business to grow, it needs to win consumers away from its competitors, or rely in existing Apple customers upgrading their iPhones.
Now there is one bright spot for Apple, though: the iPad. Tablet sales are rapidly outstripping that of PCs and as yet Apple does not have a serious rival in that market. In fact, it sold 19.5 million iPads in the last quarter.
You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, is it a bird, is it a plane? It is a man in a wing suit. Up next, a look at how this extreme sportsman managed to plunge through a tiny hole in the side of a mountain called the Bat Cave.
LU STOUT: All right. Jumping from a great height with nothing but a wing suit on? It is not for the faint of heart. But one extreme sports pro took even that to the next level. Jeanne Moos has more.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's one thing for James Bond to pull incredible stunts flying a plane, but a real flesh and blood guy whose goal is to fly through a hole on a Spanish mountain wearing a wing suit? That's winging it.
27-year-old Alexander Polli jumped out of a helicopter and flew at a top speed of around 150 miles per hour toward the mountain, moving his body to control his direction.
ALEXADNER POLLI, FLEW THROUGH MOUNTAIN: By pulling your shoulders up, pulling them fowards.
MOOS: He was aiming for a 20 by 20 foot hole he calls the Bat Cave.
POLLI: That is magic, one of the biggest loves of my life, you know, flying your body.
MOOS: To practice, he tried busting through 2013 targets. And before that, he tested his control by knocking off foam poles. But rock isn't foam.
(on camera): You're heading for the hole. Are you thinking I could easily smash into the rocks?
POLLI: No, absolutely not. None of that.
MOOS: Alexander is a pro (inaudible).
POLLI: I did it full month of yoga and metitation.
MOOS: He made the attempt only once. And it was a hole in one. The flight lasted a minute and a half. He opened his parachute and floated to the ground.
The Bat Cave was almost the same size as the gap between buildings that two of his wing suit pilot friends flew through last month in Brazil.
Alexander has flown behind water falls. He's even buzzed his mom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, there he is, my baby. Oh my god, listen.
MOOS: Alexander doesn't lack nerve, but he does lack a sponsor. He's even trying to sponsor himself by starting his own clothing company.
His first t-shirt will feature a flightless penguin dreaming of flying like an eagle.
And if you're tempted to fly, you can buy a decent wing suit for $1,200 or $1,300 bucks.
Of course you'll still need a parachute and tons of sky diving experience and lessons in wing suit flying.
Just the other day, Alexander scraped his arm skydiving when his main parachute didn't deploy properly.
POLLI: It wrapped around my arm and I had to cut it away and open the reserve.
MOOS: Compared to sky diving, wing suit flying is like a cross between a flying squirrel and the flying nun.
Though even Alexander hasn't done this yet.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
LU STOUT: Oh, that kid is brave and very, very crazy.
Well, before we go, take a look at this picture. It shows the South Korean president Park Geun-hye shaking hands with the Microsoft founder Bill Gates and it has stirred up a storm of controversy, especially in South Korea. Now that's because Gates is seen with his hand in his pocket. It is potentially poor etiquette, especially when meeting a head of state.
Now some say that he was too casual, others see it as a sign of disrespect. And the image, it appeared in a number of Korean newspapers, a few cropped the offending image. But the buzz, it only grew. The Korean Herald says that Bill Gates was one of the most searched key words on South Korea's most visited search engine. And President Park's office reportedly brushed it off as an American style of greeting.
Now that is arguable, but it's fair to say it is Gates' style of greeting. Here he is with then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, hand firmly planted in pocket. And that's only one of many other instances. And we're guessing it's just a habit that Bill Gates can't shake.
That is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.