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Strongest Storm on Earth This Year; Twitter Goes Public; Pope of the People; Olympic Torch In Space; TEPCO Begins Removing Fuel Rods from Fukushima; Film "Pandora's Promise" Explores Nuclear Energy

Aired November 7, 2013 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we are talking about the strongest storm anywhere in the world this year. It is called Typhoon Haiyan. It's expected to hit the Philippines tomorrow. And you can believe this, winds equivalent to a category five hurricane, most powerful hurricane on measurement scale. Just for comparison, Hurricane Katrina was just a category three storm but killed more than 1,700 people. Superstorm Sandy was just a category two storm that killed more than 150. Thousands of people, including a lot of tourists, are evacuating ahead of Typhoon Haiyan. Want to bring in Chad Myers, joining us from the CNN Weather Center.

Chad, how big is this going to be?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This is probably one of the top 12, so the top dozen, of all storms ever seen on this planet with the satellite or in person. That's how big this is. It is not as deep as Gilbert and Wilma in the Atlantic, but the wind speeds are higher than those storms because of the eye is so small.

This is just the most incredible picture I can show you. This eye, right there, it - it just -- it reminds me of Andrew, slamming into south Florida, as the eye of Andrew got smaller and smaller. Now, Andrew's eye was the most important part of that storm because that's where the big wins were, 150, 160 miles per hour. This storm is sandy- size in width. This is the entire country of the Philippines.

And so, there's a lot of bubble here. There's a lot of water under this storm. There's going to be storm surge, 50 to maybe 60 feet. All the people along the eastern shores of the Philippines will be moving out and getting to higher ground as a cat five hurricane, 175 miles per hour. Right now they're thinking -- they don't fly planes into these storms out here. They're thinking about 190 miles per hour right now and it will still be 150 when it moves south of Manila.

Now that's the good news. The forecast is south of Manila by 150 miles. There still will be damage in Manila and there's still an awful lot of people out here. The next - the biggest storm, even this is smaller than the one that's going to hit tomorrow, killed 1,900 people in 2012. And it hasn't been a good year for the Philippines. Look at all of the storms that have crossed that nation. It has been ugly out there, and this is the biggest one of the year so far.

So that's why we say, it's always typhoon season, even though there comes an end of hurricane season out here in the Pacific - MALVEAUX: Yes, sure.

MYERS: The water stay warm and they can be - it can be typhoon any month of the year, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Chad, is there anything - I mean in light of the fact that we've got this warning, we know it's come, is there anything that people can do there? Because I imagine that the damage could be extraordinary if people don't pay attention, at least don't prepare for what is going hit them?

MYERS: Well, the good news is, if there is any, is that this area here is not as populated as Luzon up into Manila. This is where the real, densely populated area will be. We will lose people no matter what you can do. There are -- this is almost, at some point, for some people on these islands, an unsurvivable storm.

They want to get on the opposite side of the island if they can because all the upslope will make all the rain and there will be massive flooding, the winds -- if you get a wind at 175 or 190 miles per hour, it doesn't even matter what kind of a building you have, it's going to sustain some damage. It's get low and stay out of the water. That's the big thing right now.

MALVEAUX: All right, Chad, we're going to be following this throughout the afternoon and into tomorrow. Thank you. Appreciate it.

MYERS: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: Well, this, of course, it's fueled revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa. What are we talking about here? This is a platform that is for everybody, all of us, performers, presidents, even the pope uses it. Well, now, people around the world, you can own a piece of this. We're talking Twitter. This is the hugely successful social networking website.

Well, now, it is trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. So the big question today, can you buy? Is it really only for the rich, the real, real rich? We've got Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange and CNN's Money tech correspondent Laurie Segall in New York to answer all those questions, what you need to know about this.

So, Alison, want to start off with you here because we saw the trading started at something a little bit higher. It was like $45 a share. That was three times higher than we expected. What happened?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Well, what happened was the demand for this stock, it went up. It went up more than had been expected. So you saw those estimates go higher.

You know what's interesting? I asked one trader what he thought about that $45 initial price for this stock. He said it's insane. That he wouldn't even recommend this stock to his grandmother. But, hey, this is just one idea.

You think about what this stock went for last night in the initial offer. It was $26. This is the price that went to those very exclusive investors, to the banks underwriting it, like Goldman Sacks and JP Morgan. They sold it to their institutional clients, which were mutual funds, hedge funds, and pension funds. They're the ones who got in on that $26 price. Everybody else getting in on the $45 price. You see it there. Shares are up more than 76 percent at this point. This happened to be, by the way, a huge feather in the cap for the NYSE, which kind of duked it out for the listing with the Nasdaq.


MALVEAUX: All right, Alison.

Laurie, we want to go to you here, because you've been following Twitter for a while. We've all been following Twitter. But you've had a chance to talk to some of the executives about this day. How important is this for them going public?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: Oh, this is huge for them. I've got to tell you, back in the day, I sat with co-founder Biz Stone, downtown in Manhattan, and I kept say, Biz, tell me, what is this Twitter thing? I mean, why did you name it Twitter? And I was asking the question so many people were asking.

And walking into the New York Stock Exchange today, seeing it draped, you guys see it, you saw it right there, draped with this huge Twitter signage and seeing #ringin, hearing New York Stock Exchange traders saying things like, 'I just signed up for Twitter,' and, you know, 'I have a million followers' and joking about it, you see the cultural impact. And it's just been huge. And I will say, you see it right there, ringing the - ringing the bell. That's Patrick Stewart from "Star Wars" (sic). They want to make it about the users. That's why they had their biggest Twitter users ring the bell and not the executives, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: That's pretty cool. Laurie, the question I have is, the more followers you have, do you get a discount at all? Do we know?

SEGALL: Maybe that's somewhere in the business plan. They're still kind of hashing out the business plan. But I'll let you know. I hope so. That's incentive for us, right?

MALVEAUX: Just another reason to follow.

All right, Laurie, thanks again. Laurie Segall, Alison Kosik, thanks for joining us.

In Greece, we're looking at this. Riot police storming a TV station in the capital, this is Athens, where journalists, they've been fired. Well they're now holding a sit-in. Now these are scuffles in the street. Police fires tear gas after the protesters. They were forced out of the building. The government fired all 2,600 employees, took the public broadcasting station off the air -- this was back in June -- because they had these big budget cuts. Well, Greece has gotten now a multibillion dollar bailout to try to help its battered economy.

And Pope Francis offering comfort to the sick. This image of the pope hugging a man with a severe skin disease, it has gone viral. Well, coming up, the pope of the people, he's kissing babies, he's talking about divorce, is even addressing the church's view on same-sex marriage. But can he change the church's long-held positions and does he even want to?

And then, radioactive water still sitting inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. CNN has rare access to the plant and what it's doing to clean up two years after an earthquake and tsunami hit.

Then, Iran wants it, the U.S. has it, and environmentalists question it. We are talking about nuclear energy. How the thirst for power has more countries willing to do almost anything to get it.


MALVEAUX: Pope Francis has the whole world talking about him again. And we mean the whole world, not just religious circles. It is not something that he said, but rather something that he did. It was just one brief simple act of human compassion. Pope Francis, yesterday, in St. Peters Square, saw a man with a severe skin disease, and you can see there, the man has tumors and boils all over his body. And the pope took the man in his arms, he kissed his head and he prayed.

Pictures of this quiet moment, they are now going viral. People who follow the pope, they are not surprised by seeing this. We know his personal touch, his connection to everyday people, it's already legendary. So I want to bring in John Allen, our senior Vatican analyst, to talk a little bit about this.

And it's not surprising, really, John, when you see what the pope is doing. He has done so many things that really people just don't expect. And he is really getting away from this kind of lofty, elite image of his office. He's got a Twitter account. He's driving this old beat-up car around the Vatican. But he's directly reaching out to just regular folks. What does he want to do? What is he trying to do?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, I mean, first of all, you're absolutely right in terms of the way this pope has captured the world's imagination. I mean he just crosses the 10 million mark on Twitter. Polls show him with astronomic approval ratings. When he was in Brazil in July, he drew more than 3 million people to Copacabana Beach and - shattering, by the way, the previous attendance record held by the Rolling Stones. And any time you're trumping Mick Jagger, that's real celebrity.

But beneath all of that, I think what he's trying to do is lift up what he considers to be the most important Christian message right now, which is mercy. God's tender compassion for broken people. And he really is trying to be the pope of mercy. That's what we saw in that unforgotten image from yesterday. And, quite clearly, that message is resonating.

MALVEAUX: John, I don't know if you can answer this question, but do we know how that moment came about where he met that young man and he cradled his head? ALLEN: Well, typically, this was at the pope's general audience, which he does every Wednesday. And typically what will happen is severely ill or disabled people are given front row seats at that event. And the pope's security personnel typically will identify some of them who either have expresses a special need to have a moment with the pope or just on their own initiative and will put them in the proximity of the pope so he can come into contact with them. Now, that was practice under John Paul and Benedict too, but obviously there is something special about the love this pope, Pope Francis, has for coming into contact with these folks.

MALVEAUX: And you and I just spoke a couple days ago. I mean, this is something where he puts out this survey, asks the parishioners, asks people around the world, what do you think about same-sex marriage, what do you think about divorce, what do you think about single moms raising kids? I mean these are the kinds of things that the church really did not reach out to the catholic, to the parishioners and ask them those questions. Is he a revolutionary in some ways? Is he trying to change the church or the faith?

ALLEN: Well, look, what he does on doctrine or structures, we don't know yet. But in some ways I think the point is, he already has achieved a revolution. I mean eight months ago, when we were on CNN's air talking about the church, we were talking about sex abuse, Vatican meltdowns and so on. Today, we're talking about a charismatic pope that has the world's attention. If that's not a revolution, I'm not sure we've ever seen one.

MALVEAUX: All right. Well put. John Allen, thank you. Appreciate it, as always.

Bollywood arriving at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama showing off her Indian dancing skills. All a part of the White House's Diwali celebration. It's the Indian Festival of Light. Mrs. Obama danced to some Hindi tunes, along with a group of Indian Americans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we have lift-off. Lift-off of the Soyuz rocket and the TMA-11M spacecraft on a truly Olympic --


MALVEAUX: A picture perfect blastoff from Kazakhstan this morning. A Russian rocket carrying the Olympic torch and three astronauts to the International Space Station.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And hatch is open between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station. Mikhail Tyurin in the view. And also in the view with him, the Olympic torch that was brought up with the Soyuz crew.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: Pretty awesome. Two cosmonauts going to take the unlit torch on its first over spacewalk. That's happening this weekend. It's going to be returned to earth on Monday with three astronauts.

And CNN getting a rare access to a troubled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. How it is trying to get rid of radioactive water still that's sitting inside that plant, two years after an earthquake and a tsunami hit.

Then, was he or wasn't he murdered? Yasser Arafat's widow believes that he was poisoned, but the potential proof now has been destroyed.


MALVEAUX: A big milestone today in the cleanup of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, nearly two years after the earthquake and tsunami caused a nuclear meltdown, the plant operators are just now beginning to remove fuel rods from a crippled reactor.

You might remember these dramatic pictures taken after the disaster. These cars, homes, swept away by that tsunami. Fukushima was the second-worst nuclear accident in history after Chernobyl. A study has found now increased cases of thyroid cancer in children in the aftermath of the fallout. But it's going to be years before we learn the full extent of this disaster.

Now, Fukushima is about 150 miles north of Tokyo, and Paula Hancocks, she takes us on a tour of the nuclear plant, earlier today.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, it was a trip into the heart of the nuclear power plant, and it was intended to show TEPCO making progress in trying to stabilize the plant.

Five kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the final check point, only authorized vehicles are allowed past this point. Arriving at the plant, the first thing we see are the huge water tanks that hold the toxic water that's been used to keep the reactors cool. We're actually inside the plant now, and we're off to get the hazmat suits and the protection before we go into the more contaminated areas.

So here you can see all the journalists getting ready. This is effectively what the workers have to go through every single day. There are strict rules about what we can and can't film, but this is the part of the plant TEPCO wants us to show, Reactor 4. You can't get much closer to heart of the Fukushima disaster than this. This is why TEPCO's brought us here.

We're in the Reactor 4 building, the building that suffered that hydrogen blast in the days after the disaster, and this is the cooling pool. Inside there, there are 1,500 spent fuel rods, and what the company's doing over the coming days is to remove those fuel rods to a more stable location, they say. They insist it is a routine operation. They've done it many times before. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To remove it --

HANCOCKS: The fuel rods will be removed and transferred to a cool 100 meters from the damaged reactor building, an operation TEPCO's calling a milestone in the recovery effort. Officials say they do not believe the fuel rods were damaged by debris falling into the pool after the explosion, but they won't know for sure until the operation begins. The large pieces of debris have been removed from the pool, the plant chief tells us. We used an underwater vacuum cleaner to remove the smaller pieces, but there may be tiny pieces left.

Nearby, we're shown the water storage tanks up close. Recent leaks have made the issue of contaminated water one of TEPCO's immediate concerns. The tanks can hold a total of 400,000 tons of water. Three- hundred-seventy-thousand tons of space have already been used. In this building, the effort to process the toxic water to remove some of the radioactive elements is ongoing. And on the ocean front, barriers are being built to protect the plant from another tsunami, and to stop an estimated 300 tons of toxic groundwater seeping into the Pacific Ocean every day.

These yellow and pink tanks that you can see mark where this barrier is. It's effectively liquid cement that they have injected all the way along here to try to keep the contaminated groundwater within the power plant itself and not seeping into the Pacific.

Stopgap measures continue in tandem with the delicate but essential operation at Reactor 4, a key step in the effort to stabilize the plant. After months of preparation, TEPCO says it is now ready to start this operation which it believes should take one year to complete.



MALVEAUX: Thank you.

Rethinking nuclear power despite the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, a change of heart for some environmentalists, we're actually going to tell you about this thought-provoking, very controversial documentary that examines whether or not what you know about nuclear power is actually true.


MALVEAUX: So, we live in a nuclear world. There are hundreds of nuclear power plants around the globe in more than 30 countries.

We're talking about the U.S., the U.K., China, France, have all tested nuclear bombs. Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and Iran are some of the countries that have or are developing nuclear technology. Pakistan and India also have tested nuclear devices.

We have seen accidents at nuclear power plants here in the United States, of course, at Three Mile Island, and more recently, a meltdown in Japan at Fukushima. So when you think of nuclear power, it can also bring up images of cancer rates and -- well, just destruction everywhere.

Now, a new, provocative CNN film looks at whether or not nuclear power could hold the key to fighting climate change and providing the planet with cleaner energy. We're talking about this, "Pandora's Promise." Environmentalists, they've now flipped the script. They were once again using nukes for power. Now, they are for it.

So let's dive into it with our two guests here, the film's producer, Robert Stone, joining us New York, and Carl Pope in San Francisco. Pope has been a leader in the environmental movement, also former executive director of The Sierra Club. So welcome to you both.

Robert, you know, this is --


MALVEAUX: Good morning.

I saw this. It is provocative. It is controversial. People are going to be debating this and asking a lot of questions, as we have throughout the week.

What struck me is it's very personal. You talk about the fact that people remember those images of hiding under desks to prepare for a nuclear weapon, some sort of attack, that they saw these explosions, the tests they did, in nuclear weaponry. And they also made connections with cancer and radiation. A lot of that is debunked, at least according to your documentary. But some says it goes too far, that it's pro-nuclear, to the point where it's propaganda. Address that criticism, first.

STONE: Well, look, I think I, like most of my generation, conflated nuclear weapons with nuclear power. We were against nuclear weapons, and we thought if we could get rid of nuclear power we could get rid of nuclear weapons.

But, in fact, you know, times have changed. We're not living in the 1970s anymore. The Cold War's over. We live in a world that's going on 9 billion people where we're adding the energy equivalent of another Brazil to the planet every year.

And, right now, almost all of our energy's coming from fossil fuels, so we need to put everything on the table. Environmentalists need to put everything on the table of non-CO2-emitting sources of energy and see what works.

And when you do that, that's what drew me to make the film, when you do that, you have to look at nuclear energy. And the more I looked at it, the more I realized that almost everything that I had been told by people like The Sierra Club and other organizations that I had revered and given money to turned out to be wrong.

And I urge people to watch the film and judge for themselves. I mean, I'm not an activist.