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Russian Sergei Magnitsky Convicted Of Tax Fraud Posthumously; Irish Parliament Conducts Marathon Debate Session; Typhoon Soulik Set To Slam Into Taiwan; U.S. To Deliver Four F-16s To Egypt; Lac-Megantic Residents Enraged At Railroad Company; Interview With Google Loon Project Manager Nigel Snoad

Aired July 11, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


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

Now this hour, a marathon debate on a controversial abortion bill after an all night session. Ireland's parliament is preparing to pick up where they left off.

Flooding in China triggers a massive landslide.

And Google's plan to bring internet access to the rest of the world with balloons.

An abortion bill has kept politicians in Ireland debating until dawn. The draft law aims to save a woman's life by allowing her to end a pregnancy if it threatens her life or if she is at risk of suicide. Now lawmakers in Dublin will continue to debate the legislation in the coming hours.

Now the bill is supported by the government, which holds a majority in parliament, but it is so divisive, Irish MPs are still arguing over amendments to it.

Now activists on both sides of the issue have been gathering near the Irish parliament building. And our senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is following this story for us from London. He joins us now.

And Dan, the debate first, what are the attack points that are delaying this vote?

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is almost getting into sort of filibusters territory, isn't it? They went until 5:00 am local time this morning having gone the entire night talking about this. There was supposed to be a vote at midnight. That got put back to 5:00. In the end, that vote didn't even happen. They all went home. They're having some sleep. We're told they're going to be back in the chamber at 5:00 pm local time this evening, so that's in about, what, four hours from now.

We just have no idea how long they're able to carry on debating and how long they will carry on debating.

The opposition are calling it a shambles. The government is defending it saying they want to give everyone the chance to have their say. And they are clearly having a lot of their say.

It's an incredibly divisive point that this has been a real bone of contention for decades in Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country, of course, where abortion has been illegal in line with the teaching of the Catholic church.

But there has been confusion, Kristie. Since 1992, the supreme court ruled in a case called Case X which was involving a 14-year-old girl who was raped and who said she was going to kill herself if she wasn't allowed to have an abortion. The supreme court ruled in that case that abortion -- if the life of a mother is at risk, it would be legal. But it's been confusing.

This law is aimed to sort of give clarity to the situation. There is support for this in the coalition and in the parliament. Some of the amendments that have been voted on have gone through about 138-24. So there's a thumping majority of more than 100, it's just getting to that vote.

LU STOUT: And Dan, let's give this ongoing debate and this bill a human face and talk about Savita. To what extent is her death last year -- this is the 31-year-old Indian woman who died in Ireland after suffering miscarriage -- to what degree is she the driving force behind this piece of legislation?

RIVERS: This is Savita Halappanavar who is the Indian dentist who tragically died last October during child birth. Her pregnancy went terribly wrong. She died of septicemia, of blood poisoning. Now the doctors at the time didn't perform an emergency abortion, which it's been claimed could have saved her life. And that's really brought this issue into sharp focus. The ridiculous situation where a mother dies, the baby dies as well, and the mother could have been saved if an abortion had been legal.

The doctors -- you know, basically dithered. They weren't sure. It's being claimed retrospectively that they did have the legal right to do this in light of that 1992 supreme court ruling that I told you about, but it caused real outrage and anger in Ireland amongst the politicians, the political classes, who felt enough is enough, something has to be done to clarify the law and to save the lives of women in the future.

What's controversial about this law, though, it's not just in medical emergencies that abortion will be permitted, it would also be when a woman says she is suicidal as a result of falling pregnant, and that is especially controversial for those who oppose this law. It would mean the women in question would have to convince a panel of doctors and psychiatrists that she really is suicidal.

But the situation at the moment is equally farcical. You've got a situation where about 11 women a day travel over the border either to Northern Ireland or to the mainland Britian to have abortions. And so clearly, you know, they're facing a very tricky situation where abortions are happening on a regular basis for Irish women, they're just having to travel for it. And they obviously want to avoid another case like Savita.

LU STOUT: Yeah, something has to change.

Dan Rivers joining us live from CNN London, thank you.

Now at least 18 people have been killed in a massive landslide in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. And the state run Xinhua News Agency reports that rescue efforts are underway. It cites local officials as saying more than 100 people are missing or cannot be reached. And the landslide has buried 11 homes. It was triggered by days of heavy rain that have also called widespread flooding across Sichuan Province. Around 370,000 people have been affected by the floods.

And even as Sichuan deals with the floods, southern China is bracing for torrential rains from Typhoon Soulik.

Now check out the map of its path. This massive storm system is just barreling toward Taiwan. It is set to hit the north of the island on Friday night. And according to state media, the Chinese government is urging authorities in several provinces to monitor Typhoon Soulik around the clock to relocate residents in dangerous areas and call fishing boats back to port.

Let's get the very latest from the world weather center. And meteorologist Jennifer Delgado is standing by for that -- Jen.

JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kristie. Yes, we are tracking Typhoon Soulik. And the winds right now 215 kilometers. If we put this in the Atlantic and we talk about the winds, this could be a category 3, certainly a very strong system. And we're starting to see the center and the eye starting to come back you're seeing on the satellite imagery.

The wind, as I said, 215, but it's moving to the west at 22 kph. We're expecting it to make landfall in the northern part of Taiwan as it looks like late Friday as well as into Saturday and to the overnight hours. That means you have about 36 hours out to prepare for this. So if that means officials are calling for you to evacuate, you certainly need to listen to this forecast.

As we go through the next couple of days, here's the forecast, 48 hours out making its way right along the China border, very close to the Fujian as well as the Zhejiang Provinces. And it looks like even as it makes its way there, it is still going to be a typhoon.

I can tell you this, certainly the rainfall totals are going to be impressive, more than 75 centimeters of rainfall is expected across parts of Taiwan. Of course, this is going to the threat to landslides. And that heavy rainfall certainly will makes its way over to China's coastline. And in area you're seeing in orange, we're talking about the potential for winds of 200 kph and rainfall totals 200 to 400 millimeters. And certainly that is going to lead to flooding.

And speaking of flooding, let's go to some video coming to us out of China. And what you're seeing here, just more of the devastation. This is out of the Sichuan Province. This was captured yesterday. You see the rushing water there. Homes destroyed, people were displaced. And we're also talking about businesses. Water everywhere. In some of these locations, more than 300 millimeters came down in less than 24 hours.

As I take you back over to our graphic and we talk more about the Sichuan Province and the area there that's been picking up all this rainfall, well it's all because this boundary system has become stationary. But the region here is also enhanced because of this oregraphic (ph) lifting from the mountains. This enhances the moisture. And that's why some of these areas have picked up more than 300 millimeters of rainfall anywhere you seen in red.

Really just an incredible amount.

Keep in mind, this is typically about a monthly average.

As I show you on the satellite imagery, we still have some storms off to the west and that's right along the boundary system. So more of that rain is going to be heading into the forecast, but the heaviest rainfall certainly is going to be in the northern parts of China as well as into the Korean Peninsula, especially as we go through Saturday. And of course we'll continue to follow Typhoon Soulik.

Kristie, a lot going on in weather.

LU STOUT: Yeah, very, very challenging conditions across China, across the region. Jen Delgado there. Jen Delgado, thank you.

Now the U.S. says everything is on track to deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt despite the Egyptian military's ouster of President Mohamed Morsy last week. Now the jets are part of a $1.5 billion annual aid package for Egypt.

Let's bring in CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. And Barbara, I mean given the political unrest in Egypt, why is the U.S. going ahead with this delivery?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, this all gets to the point of why the U.S. is not yet calling it a coup, of course, by the Egyptian military, because simply they don't want to. The assessment right now in Washington is it is better to keep a relationship, a security relationship with Egypt, with the Egyptian military, and press very strongly for that transition to a civilian government. So that is why they are going ahead.

This is a longstanding agreement dating back to 2010 to sell some 20 F-16s. This is the latest shipment for the assessment right now from the Pentagon. They will go ahead. And they will try to ship those four, depending on security conditions on the ground. But their plan right now is to go ahead with is. And then there will be another eight to go to finish up the deal.

Whether they decide to call it a coup will be a different question and a different answer -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And I read that the U.S. defense secretary has been speaking regularly to the head of Egypt's armed forces. What have you heard about those talks?

STARR: Right. Well, you know, you're seeing the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is talking to his counterparts, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff here in Washington General Martin Dempsey talking to his and of course Secretary of State John Kerry. All efforts being made between the Obama administration and the Egyptian military to make sure there is a transition plan back to a civilian government and to really press to reduce the violence and the unrest in the country.

If there is no transition to a civilian government, that's going to make it very tough, because under U.S. law there cannot be arms sales to countries where military coups have taken place. So they want to press very much to maintain the security relationship in the region and not have to get to the point where they'll have to call this a coup.

LU STOUT: And in the meantime, what can you tell us about the total aid package that Egypt currently receives from the U.S.? What's in there? And how much is it?

STARR: Right.

You know, this is the one that dates back to 2010. It's about $1.3 billion . It involved about 20 F-16s, additionally some armored battle tanks, other material. And of course, once you have an armed package like this, what you really have is the long-term relationship. This will be followed by additional sales, maintenance, spare parts, repair work, all of that. So this is a very much long-term effort to keep Egypt in the column of being a military ally of the United States to keep the U.S. having access to Egyptian air space, ports, bases in the event of a crisis in the Middle East. This is really a key to the U.S. security relationship in the region. And that's why, once again, the U.S. wants to see Egypt transition back to civilian role -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, strong context there. Barbara Starr joining us live from the Pentagon, thank you.

Now he appeared to show no remorse, that is what one witness in the court room said about Boston Bombing suspect about Dzokhar Tsarnaev. Now he has pleaded not guilty to April's deadly attack. We'll go live to Boston next on News Stream.

Also, Edward Snowden has offers of asylum, but how will he get there? Why the NSA leaker's options are limited, dangerous and expensive.

Also ahead, the sound of music and the role it plays to help people with dementia.


LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today.

Now earlier, we told you about the typhoon heading for Taiwan. And then later in the show, we'll look at criticism of the U.S. agency investigating the crash of Asiana flight 214. But now, we're going to take you to Boston where the surviving marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev has made his first court appearance.

Now Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to all 30 counts stemming from the April 15 attacks that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others. He's also charged in the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer three days after the marathon attack.

Now more than two dozen bombing survivors were also in the court room for the arraignment hearing.

Now let's get more on this from our Deborah Feyerick. She joins us live in Boston.

And Deborah, just how did Tsarnaev appear in that court room?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was just so interesting to be in that court room when he walked in. We can tell you that the people who had been lining the marathon route, the people that Dzohkar Tsarnaev is now accused of targeting, they were in the court. They were looking for answers. They really didn't get many.


FEYERICK (voice-over): Under heavy guard, armed security and police divers searching the harbor outside the courthouse, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arraigned Wednesday. As police outside lined up to honor slain MIT officer Sean Collier, inside, some 30 victims and family members sat shoulder to shoulder, watching, listening -- and for mom Liz Norden, hoping for any sense of remorse.

LIZ NORDEN, VICTIM MOTHER: No remorse, like he smirked at people in the courtroom.

FEYERICK: Speaking in a thick Russian accent, Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 charges against him, including use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people.

Tsarnaev's two sisters sobbed when they saw their brother. His feet were shackled, his hand was in a cast and it appeared he suffered some nerve damage to his face. He looked back at his sisters and smiled repeatedly, seeming to ignore both the judge and the seriousness of the situation.

Norden whose two sons lost a leg during the attack had a hard time watching the women.

NORDEN: I mean, it bothered me when they cried. I wanted them to come to my house and see what my boys go through every day and see how we feel.

FEYERICK: The hearing took less than 10 minutes. Tsarnaev returned to prison where he will celebrate his 20th birthday this month.


FEYERICK: Now also in court were some of Tsarnaev's high school wrestling buddies. And I spoke to them. And they said, two things stood out. First of all, the Russian accent that he used to plead not guilty, they say when they knew him he had no trace of a Russian accent, certainly not as heavy as it was that they heard in court yesterday.

The second thing they noticed was his demeanor, his body language, the way he was moving and fidgeting and touching his face and looking around. They say that's not the easy going guy they'd known and had befriended.

LU STOUT: You know, that's incredible, that change in body language and behavior and also in his accent as well.

Now Deborah, Tsarnaev plead not guilty to all charges. And there's quite a number of them. Could you walk us through the main parts of the charge list?

FEYERICK: He -- I'm sorry, Kristie, I don't know if I heard the question correctly, but of the 30 counts, 17 of them are death penalty eligible. And one of the lawyers that he has is a lawyer who is very skilled at getting people off the death penalty. Really, what they're trying to do is they're going to try to get life in prison, assuming he's found guilty of the charges against him.

But right now it's sort of a tactical move to enter a non-guilty plea. And then the lawyers take it from there.

The trial, they expect it to be about three to four months, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Deborah Feyerick joins us live from Boston, thank you very much indeed for that. Now there is a lot of speculation over what Edward Snowden's next move will be. Now the former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency faces charges of espionage after he leaked information about U.S. government surveillance programs.

Now Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have all offered him asylum, but as far as we know Snowden is still way on the other side of the world and the transit area of the Moscow airport. As Phil Black explains, even if Snowden accepts on of those asylum offers, getting there won't be easy.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The direct route isn't an option, that would mean flying through Europe, the same countries that recently refused access to the plane carrying Bolivia's president because they suspected Edward Snowden was also on board. There's only one path that guaranties avoiding the sovereign air space of countries that might be willing to help the United States get Snowden back.

And it's a long journey via the Arctic and the Atlantic, around 6,800 miles, a potentially risky flight, almost entirely over water on one tank of fuel. Without an aircraft capable of making that journey, Snowden's options become much more complicated. He could head south through the Middle East. It's possible a Russian friendly country like Syria would allow him to transit its air space or even land but where to from there?

He'd have to pick a path across Africa, around countries which receive substantial foreign aid from the United States. There is no obvious or easy course but if successful, he could then make the final jump across the Atlantic to Venezuela. All of this assumes Edward Snowden has the money to hire a private aircraft and a willing crew or the backing and resources of a country that is determined to defy the United States.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.


LU STOUT: And coming up later on News Stream, we take a look at the healing power of music and how it's helping patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.


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

Now nearly 8 million people are diagnosed with dementia every year, that's according to the World Health Organization. And patients with severe dementia require around the clock care.

All this week, our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been showing us an innovative approach in the Netherlands. And today, we see how music helps the residents of Hogewey.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: In comparison with Hogewey's other residents, Ben is a lucky man. These days, he can still manage to get a few words out here and there. But doctors warn his Alzheimer's Disease is rapidly progressing.

(on camera): I hear a lot of music here, people singing, piano playing. How important is music?

YVONNE VAN AMERONGEN, HOGEWEY CO-FOUNDER: Music is very important, because people with dementia, we see the people with dementia -- and it's scientifically shown also -- the music is part that in the brain that functions the longest. We -- I've even seen people that can't talk anymore, they don't have the words to talk, but they can sing songs. I've seen people playing instruments.

Music is wonderful.


LU STOUT: The healing power of music.

Now we know that most types of dementia cannot be cured, but as you've seen music can improve patient's quality of life and to help them communicate.

Now let's hear more now from Dr. Sanjay Gupta who joins me now live from New York. And Sanjay, music is clearly very therapeutic for the residents of Hogewey, but I want to ask you what are some of the best ways to treat dementia?

GUPTA: Yeah, there are a few different medications that work on specific parts of the brain, most of them there's no particular cure for this, Kristie. And you know, there's obviously a lot of research going into this. But along the lines of that music again, it's fascinating to me -- and I just love watching that video, but the idea that these songs as somehow gets -- they stay in your brain and the language, the words of the songs are stored on one side of the brain, but the tune and the melody is stored in another part of the brain. So when you watch people who hardly can speak start to sing, they're activating all these different parts of the brain and it's crossing over from one side to the next, it's just absolutely fascinating to me.

With regard to dementia, a lot of the focus has been on prevention overall, everything from -- you know, the same things that benefit your heart, can benefit your brain to cognitive exercises, physical exercise overall, but again we're learning more and more about how to treat this as well.

LU STOUT: And what are some tips that you have for caregivers. I'm thinking about our viewers worldwide who are watching this and perhaps dealing with a parent or grandparent suffering from dementia?

GUPTA: It's one of the most challenging things, I think, as a caregiver to take care of someone with dementia, more so than just about every other disease out there. I think there's a couple of things beyond the obvious. A lot of situations are going to be different.

A lot of it has to do with making sure that you can provide, obviously a safe environment for the person, but also to make sure that you take care of yourself as a caregiver. And that may sound rather obvious, although it's one of those things that is largely ignored. And I think caregivers - - it can be a 24 hour a day, seven day a week job. So making sure you rotate some of the responsibilities with other family members, getting support for yourself, but also making sure that the person is seeing their doctors, their neurologists if it's dementia specifically, their primary care doctors if they have other health care problems. And also talking about the possibility of whether or not some sort of place like Hogewey or a facility like that might be a good option.

LU STOUT: Some strong and very, very sensitive advice there.

And finally, what sort of testing can be done for dementia or Alzheimer's for that matter? And how reliable are these tests?

GUPTA: There's not a specific blood test or a specific brain scan that can say, for sure, that someone has dementia or Alzheimer's type dementia. There was a study a few years ago where people actually looked at the cerebral spinal fluid of people who had mild to moderate memory loss trying to predict whether or not they would develop Alzheimer's. And you can predict that using that spinal tap procedure.

But besides that, it's really -- it's hard. It's clinical diagnosis. The key is when memory loss starts to interfere with your activities of daily living. When you're just not able to perform or function any more the way you used to because of memory problems, that's when you know it's time to see somebody and possibly get some of these treatments.

LU STOUT: That's the warning sign there. Sanjay, thank you so much for your insight. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joining us live from New York, thank you.

And do tune in on Friday for the premiere of our World's Untold Stories documentary. Again, it's called Dementia Village. It airs at 11:30 pm here in Hong Kong. That's 7:30 in Abu Dhabi.

Now this is News Stream. And coming up next, days after Asiana Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco, more details are emerging about the plane's final moments from the pilots to the passengers.

And anger in Canada after a deadly train derailment. A devastated community demands answers from the rail company.


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

Now people in Taiwan are watching and waiting as Super Typhoon Soulik closes in. Now the storm is expected to hit the island Friday evening. And authorities say fierce winds and torrential rains are on the way.

Now meanwhile in mainland China, heavy downpours are already responsible for deadly landslides in Sichuan province. The state run news agency Xinhua said at least 18 people have died and more than 100 are still missing.

Now the United States says it will go through with the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the coming weeks. Now the planes are part of an existing military aid deal. And the U.S. has not said whether it regards the removal of President Mohamed Morsy as a coup.

Now Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to charges connected to the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. The 19-year-old suspect is accused, along with his brother, of killing three people in the attack and later murdering a police officer. His brother was killed by being pursued by officers. And Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted.

Now the wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 is being cleared from the runway. And the plane crashed on Saturday at San Francisco International Airport. And two of the 307 people on board the flight were killed. The victim's families visited the scene of the crash on Wednesday. An airline source says that they wanted to see where their children died. Now survivors were taken to the wreckage afterward.

Now the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, continues to investigate the cause of the crash. And NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman has been providing regular updates. But that slow trickle of information has come under criticism from a pilots union. And the Korea Times reports that Seoul has also raised objections saying the briefings could lead to premature conclusions.

Now Hersman has said that transparency is crucial.

Now her latest briefing revealed that Asiana Flight 214 contacted air traffic control at around 2,000 feet, but received no response.

Now the second attempt happened at 1,000 feet when the flight was then cleared to land.

And then, at 500 feet, the flying pilot says that he was temporarily blinded by a light. The NTSB is looking into the source.

Now the pilots noticed that they were too slow and too low at around 200 feet. And they told investigators that the auto-throttle did not regulate speed as expected.

Now the crew's actions after the crash are also being examined. And some experts have defended the pilot's decision not to order an evacuation until a fire was reported. Now flight attendants then tried to get passengers out as quickly and safely as possible. Kyung Lah has more.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Through a packed international terminal, one flight attendant in a wheelchair and five of her crew spoke to reporters crying throughout their brief statement, a visibly shaken crew prepared to leave San Francisco where they survived Asiana Flight 214 just days before.

"The families who suffered losses are in my prayers," says the cabin manager. She added her airline is working as quickly as possible to recover from this accident.

The NTSB says the evacuation of the aircraft did not begin until 90 seconds after the plane came to a stop. As these flight attendants helped passengers escape, they tried to put out a fire in one section of the plane. It was a hectic evacuation amid a burning, smoking and dark cabin. Holes punctured in the walls, evacuation slides that opened inside the aircraft pinning two of the flight attendants.

But still, fairly successful, given that all but two passengers survived.

DEBORAH HERSMAN, NTSB CHAIRWOMAN: About two minutes after the crash, the first emergency response vehicle arrived on scene. And approximately three minutes after the crash, the first extinguishing agent was started to apply to the aircraft on the right side.

LAH: Adding to the chaos, some passengers grabbed their carry-on luggage as they evacuated.

Look at this picture, that's two duty free bags purchased in Asia.

Other passengers pulled down roller bags.

Chinese bloggers were outraged, blaming Chinese passengers. One writing, "at least one man said in an interview that he first grabbed his luggage, then grabbed his children.

Another writing, "outside the plane, many were carrying their luggage, even duty-free liquor. When I saw this, I felt ashamed."

Former airline pilot and now author Patrick Smith called it human nature to grab luggage, but a dangerous instinct when aboard a burning Jumbo jet.

PATRICK SMITH, FRM. AIRLINE PILOT: It's irresponsible. It's reckless. There may have been circumstances where it was relatively calm and moving certain belongings was a way of clearing the pathway a little bit. But on the whole it's just a terrible idea.

LAH: An additional six flight attendants remain here in the United States primarily because they are injured, they are in the hospital, they cannot fly. Among those six, three flight attendants who were ejected from the plane.

Kyung Lah, CNN, San Francisco.


LU STOUT: And you heard Kyung mention that the passengers who grabbed their bags before evacuating the plane, one was an executive for Taobao, China's largest ecommerce website. Xu Da took to Sino Weibo to defend himself. And he wrote this, quote, "I have to clarify. First, we didn't stand in the aisle to take our things. Second, our passports, money, etc, were all in our luggage. It would be difficult if I didn't take it with me."

Now police in the Canadian province of Quebec have delivered some grim news to residents in the small town of Lac-Magentic. They say the 30 people still missing after a runaway train crashed and exploded last weekend are most probably dead. As Anna Coren reports, the town's residents are directing their anger at the rail company.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Under tight security, the man in charge of the company that owns the runaway train finally confronted an angry community now at the center of one of the worst rail disasters in recent history.

EDWARD BURKHARDT, MONTREAL, MAINE & ATLANTIC RAILWAY CHAIRMAN: I understand the extreme anger. And beyond that, I will do what we can to address the issues here. We can't roll back time.

COREN: Five days ago, a freight train carrying 73 cars of crude oil derailed and exploded, wiping out the heart of downtown Lac-Magentic. Officials on the ground now believe as many as 50 people were vaporized, although only 20 deaths have been confirmed at this stage.

BURKHARDT: If I lived here, I would be very angry with the management of this.

COREN: Police say they found evidence of tampering on the locomotive and have launched a criminal investigation. Separately, the engineer has been suspended without pay over whether or not enough brakes were engaged on the train.

But that didn't stop local residents from directing their anger at the train company as this morning township demands answers.

PATRICE LAFRAMBUISE, RESIDENT: It's a bomb that is on the railroad. Why is it normal, that is acceptable?

COREN: And for those reliving the horrors of that night, they describe the scene as apocalyptic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will all die. We will die. It's the end of the world.

COREN: For Therese Custeau (ph), her world will never be the same. Her son Real (ph) lived in the town center and hasn't been heard from since, his home no longer standing.

"For days I've lived in hope that my son would call, that he was still alive, but I know in my heart he's gone."

The family has given DNA samples to investigators, but this 79-year- old mother is fearful they will never locate her son's remains.

"I don't know if they will ever find his body," she says, "if I will ever be able to bury my son. There is nothing left down there. That is my greatest fear."

For Real's (ph) younger brother, he is filled with sadness and regret.

RICHARD CUSTEAU, BROTHER OF MISSING PERSON; We always said we are busy, but we realize that we are never always too busy to visit our family now. And when (inaudible)...

COREN: Anna Coren, CNN, Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.


LU STOUT: Now we have heard of people being convicted in absentia, but in Russia there's a rather unusual case of a prominent investment lawyer who has been tried and not convicted even though he's dead.

Let's go to Phil Black at CNN Moscow for the details. And Phil, just walk us through the verdict of the Sergei Magnitsky case.

BLACK: Sure, Kristie.

A Russian court has effectively convicted a dead man on tax charges. Sergei Magnitsky died three years ago, and that death while in custody was, in itself, considered to be a great injustice at the time and condemned internationally, because Magnitsky was only arrested after he blew the whistle on what he said was a $230 million tax scam. And both he, and his boss at the time, a western investor named William Browder both openly accused Russian government officials of involvement in that tax scam.

Now, no one has ever been held to account or punished for Magnitsky's death while he was in jail, but now both he and William Browder have been convicted on tax charges. The same or similar charges as they leveled against people who they say were corrupt government officials and criminals as well.

So people who support Magnitsky say this is yet a further insult, yet still a further injustice to an honest man who was jailed and ultimately died because he did what he believed was right -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And his death, it turned into a major diplomatic row between Russia and the U.S. Do you think today's verdict will revive those tensions?

BLACK: Well, his death became an international issue, because his boss, Bill Browder, traveled the world lobbying, telling politicians in governments about the case. And he had his greatest success, he believes, when the United States passed what is known as the Magnitsky Act, which was a bill preventing access to the United States, denying visas, but also freezing the assets of any Russian official implicated in Sergei Magnitsky's death and other human rights abuses as well.

The reaction from the Russian government at the time was absolute fury, this was late last year. Russia saw this as interference, as unwarranted, hypocrisy, and criticism of Russia's human rights record from the United States, a country which it says does not have a clean human rights record either.

And it culminated when Russia passed its own legislation in response banning U.S. families from adopting Russian children. It was a nasty episode. Relations have still not fully recovered between these two countries as a result. And people who support Magnitsky now say that ultimately he was put on trial in order to damage the brand, if you like, the reputation of that legislation so that Russia officials can say it is effectively named after a man who is now a convicted criminal under Russian law.

But also to ensure that other countries, perhaps across Europe who are considering similar legislation to the Magnitsky Act, will not do so. That's what they believe was ultimately they motivation behind this posthumous trial -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: That's right, supporters of Magnitsky say that this trial was politically motivated. Was it?

BLACK: Well, that's what they certainly maintain. And as I say, they say the motivation there was to stop further international condemnation, to stop other governments like the United States passing similar legislation to the Magnitsky Act which could in some way further damage or enrage the reputation of Russia in this way.

So they believe that by going after Magnitsky's name, by blackening that name, by also blackening the name of Bill Browder who -- his former boss who is now Magnitsky's greatest advocate, they therefore damage or blacken the name of this U.S. legislation. Certainly they can sell it to a Russia domestic political audience that way.

But as I say, these people also believe that they will stop other governments across Europe from implementing other similar legislation against Russia officials as well, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Phil Black joining us live from Moscow. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now Google's latest internet initiative is way out there. Just ahead, a member of the team behind Project Loon tells us why it's not all hot air.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

You're watching News Stream. And let's go back to our visual rundown now. In a few minutes, we've got some amazing video to show you. And we will explain what happened on this highway.

But now to a unique new project from Google. Now believe it or not, in this networked age some 5 billion people are still offline, but Google has an out there idea to change all that with balloons. Now to be more precise, hundreds of high pressure balloons floating in the stratosphere providing internet access to remote and underserved areas and bringing people back online after disasters.

Now Project Loon is the latest initiative from the tech giant's innovation lab Google X.

Now it was launched last month in New Zealand and Nigel Snoad is part of Project Loon and a project manager for's crisis response team. He joins us live from New York.

And Nigel, first why use balloons when there are communication satellites already out there. Why balloons?

NIGEL SNOAD, GOOGLE: Well, thanks for having me, Kristie. People like to think that internet access, particularly to remote and difficult areas is kind of a solved problem and that satellites or terrestrial systems, ground stations and normal communications means will get us there. And frankly it won't. We need, really, something that changes the game a little bit. And so we were thinking about how to do this and thought that perhaps a chance to really cut the cord, if you like, and provide internet access from sort of a mobile platform of sort of a ring of balloons flying around the world would give us a chance to really provide some low cost access to really remote and underserved areas.

And the way to think about it might be that if, you know, that having access on the ground is -- has a lot of challenges. There's rainforests, there's lakes, there's oceans. And there's a lot of cost involved in doing ground-based access. And satellite access is incredibly expensive as well.

LU STOUT: ...cost and you can get to hard to reach areas. Could you tell us more about the specs? What are the balloons made of? And how do you control them to deliver consistent connectivity?

SNOAD: Yeah, so this is really kind of exciting. I mean, traditional weather balloons fly up, they pop, they rise up to about 20 kilometers altitude. And the balloons that we use are super pressure balloons as you said earlier and they're made out of sort of polyethylene, which is a bit like what you have plastic bags made out of. And we very carefully constructed them. They are about 15 meters across. They carry a payload which has got some electronics, which is communications antennas like a cell tower in the sky, if you like, and solar power stations. And they fly up and sort of fly around the world.

And they don't burst like normal weather balloons. We want to keep them up there floating around for eventually up to 100 days. That way we can have a ring of balloons, we hope, that can provide internet access to a whole range of different places that are really difficult to get to with normal technology.

LU STOUT: So -- and if they can fly up there for just 100 days, is this a solution best suited for a humanitarian crisis? I mean, to provide connectivity in a disaster zone in a set period of time?

SNOAD: Well, we think it's going to be useful for all kinds of people, all kinds of times. But during a crisis, connectivity is really important, because information in itself is really life saving I've seen over the years. And anything that can do this in a way for remote areas at a low cost, much cheaper than satellites is something we're really going to celebrate and hopefully will make a real difference.

But it's really -- it's important to note, it's really early days now. It's a great, real exciting project. We're thrilled to have it out there. But we've got an awful lot to learn, a lot to do still.

LU STOUT: Yeah, you just had a pilot test in New Zealand. How did that go? And how soon will it turn into a viable, launchable system.

SNOAD: Look, it was real exciting for us. I mean, we launched about 30 balloons over about two weeks. We had our first public users. And it went really well. And we tested the launch technology. We had a balloon that we flew halfway around the world to see how that would go for our longest flight ever, about 12 days. And it was, as I said, it was real exciting for us. It worked really well. Everybody was thrilled, including those people who got access for the first time in some remote communities in New Zealand.

And the next stage for us is to keep testing, keep trying and then build out to something that we hope in the southern hemisphere flying around the world at that latitude, we can have a ring of balloons to provide connectivity. And that's our next big, big challenge.

LU STOUT: And also why? I mean, the benefits seem obvious, but why does Google believe that global internet connectivity is so important?

SNOAD: Well, if you think about it, the -- aside from serving people in remote areas who -- this is a new way to reach them in a really cost effective way, we also believe that -- I mean, ultimately challenges like poverty are in part an information problem. And so providing connectivity to people for -- so they can access market information or educational information is a really important piece about solving some of the world's really difficult problems.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and it's such an elegant solution. And Nigel Snoad of Project Loon, thank you so much for joining us here on News Stream. And good luck.

SNOAD: Thank you very much. Thanks a lot.

LU STOUT: Now for tourists visiting Japan, a trip to Mount Fuji is often near the top of the to-do list. For the rest of us, well we can gaze upon the peak on Google Earth. But now Google plans to map the path up the mountain using its street view technology. You have Google's trekker team is climbing the almost 3,800 meters to the summit carrying a special camera. And CNN's Diana Magnay is joining them for the hike.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we're about an hour away from the summit of Mount Fuji. It's up there. You can see it within reach 3,776 meters of it. We're here at 3,450 meters at base station 8.5 where we're going to be spending the night. And that's not because we're being lazy, it's because we are due to meet up with Google Street View trekkers who we were due to do this whole journey with. They had technical problems quite near the start, which means that their camera has had to be rebooted. They assure us now that it's all back on track and that they're fine. But they are meandering up this mountain, which has taken us about 7, 8 hours to get up at a leisurely pace.

Fuji is the world's most climbed mountain. It's something that even I with not an incredible level of fitness have been able to do without much problem. You just need a good pair of hiking boots and good mountain gear, because it does -- the weather does change pretty fast.

But we've been incredibly lucky. We've had great weather.

Fuji, of course, is this volcano, an active volacno still beloved by the Japanese last month declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site not because of its amazing natural beauty, but actually because of its cultural contribution to our planet, because of the inspiration that its been to artists and poets throughout the centuries.

We will be up there very early tomorrow morning, so please tune in when we, and hopefully Google Street View too, manage to make it up to the top of Fuji.

Diana Magnay, CNN, on Mount Fuji, Japan.


LU STOUT: And you can track Diana's progress to the summit of Mount Fuji on Twitter by following her at @DiMagnayCNN. And she has already posted some breathtaking pictures from the climb. And we hope to have more from Google's trek to the top tomorrow right here on News Stream.

Now coming up, we have got some draw dropping video for you. It begins with a coffee cup on the back of this moving car, but it doesn't end there. Find out what happens next right after the break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back to News Stream.

Now, let me ask you a question. Have you ever left something like some food or papers on the top of your car and then driven off? Well, we want to show you how one motorcyclist pulled off a daring rescue of a coffee cup. And Jeanne Moos has the amazing video.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Riding on his motorcycle, Nate Boss (ph) is used to seeing the gorgeous snow-capped mountains near Orem, Utah. What caught his eye was the snow white of the cup on the dark SUV's bumper.

NATE BOSS (ph), MOTORCYCLIST: When I saw the cup I was like, well, this lady just has a cup on her bumper.

MOOS: To the rescue Nate gave chase. And then, as calmly as if he were picking it up at a Starbucks drive-through window...

BOSS (ph): It wasn't a big deal to me. Like, getting close to her I wasn't really that nervous.

MOOS: Nate figures he was doing about 40, with his head cam rolling. He says he decided to deliver the cup to the driver on a whim.

BOSS (ph): Make her day, I guess.

MOSS: When she made a turn, he followed her, and a few seconds later managed to show her the cup. She saw but didn't pull over.

BOSS (ph): I kind of thought it would be cool if I was able to do the handoff while moving. And sure enough, she just rolled her window down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter! BOSS (ph): When she poured it out, I was like, "Man."

MOOS: Nate said he sort of wished she'd taken a drink out of it, but he wasn't insulted that she dumped what looked like milk or milky coffee.

(on camera): Of course, there are worst things than a mug that you can accidentally leave on your car.

(voice-over): A Seattle police officer drove a few blocks with this assault rifle lying on the trunk.

A teen mom in Phoenix got arrested when she allegedly left her baby in a car seat on the roof of her car and drove 12 miles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The car seat toppled and was discovered by a motorist later in an intersection.

MOOS: The baby was fine. The mom pleaded not guilty to child abuse and DUI. Police say she told them she'd just smoked marijuana.

Better a mug than a mug shot.

(on camera): There was one other time Nate played good Samaritan from his moving motorcycle, when he spotted a Pontiac with a dangling gas cap.

BOSS (ph): I screwed it in and closed the lid.

MOOS (voice-over): Closing gas caps, returning cups, he's Santa on two wheels. And we heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight...

BOSS (ph): Woo-hoo!

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...


MOOS: ... New York.


LU STOUT: Too cool.

Now 100 years ago this week, Death Valley set the hottest temperature ever recorded in the world. It was 57 degrees Celsius, or 134 degrees Fahrenheit. Now some thing never change. The National Weather Service says that last month was Death Valley's hottest month on record. And that has led to an exceptional plea from Death Valley's park rangers. You can see it on their Facebook page. Stop trying to fry eggs on the sidewalk.

Now they are tired of cleaning them up.

Now the rangers also posted this cooking lesson on YouTube. Use a pan and a lid, then add intense desert sun.

As you can see, it works. And that's no yolk.

That is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.