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French Police Release Enhanced Photo Of Gunman; Egypt Stepping Up Security Ahead Of World Cup Qualifier; Toronto Mayor "Declares War" On City Council; On The Road: Wroclaw, Poland; Leading Women: Yingluck Shinawatra

Aired November 19, 2013 - 08:00   ET


PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to news Stream where news and technology meet.

A radical Sunni group claims responsibility for deadly bombings in Beirut, Lebanon. We'll have a live report.

Plus, who is this man? French police hunt for a gunman who shot and wounded a newspaper photographer and may have carried out more attacks.

And power struggle in Canada's largest city. Toronto's mayor clings to a title as the city council tries to push him aside.

We begin in Beirut where a radical Sunni group is claiming responsibility for two powerful suicide bombings outside the Iranian embassy today. At least 23 people have been killed. And as you can see in these images from southern Beirut, the fiery blast burned out cars and damaged buildings. Iran's ambassador to Lebanon confirms an Iranian diplomat is among those killed. 146 people are also reported injured.

The Lebanese army says the blasts were caused by a suicide bomber on a scooter and a suicide bomber driving an SUV.

For the very latest now, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins me live from Beirut.

Nick, what can you tell us about this group?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this group not particularly well known, but coming to some sort of prominence here after claiming responsibility for a number of minor scale rocket attacks launched from Lebanon toward Israel, proscribed late last year by the United States as a terrorist group. Linked, though, to al Qaeda, it is said and I think many, too, believe them to be acting under the same goals as the Syrian rebel movement to cross the border inside Syria.

Their statement claiming responsibility clear on two things. They want to see the Iranian backed Hezbollah movement, that's a key political and militant force here inside Lebanon that's involved fighting alongside Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian regime's forces in that civil war. They want to see them pull out of the Syrian conflict. And they wanted to see the release of prisoners too.

They also added some detail saying that the two, quote, heroes behind the attack -- that's their words, were in fact Lebanese Sunni men. Now that's important, because that's a bid to try and suggest that they're somehow acting in concert with sectarian tensions here inside Lebanon.

They're not, for example, Syrians attack a Shia -- Shia diplomatic post like Iran's embassy here inside Lebanon. They're in fact Lebanese people agree that that growing sectarian division. And that's the point that the statement is trying to make.

But the real fear, I think, too, is the nature of the tactics. Two suicide bombers in an attack like that has not been seen inside Lebanon, Beirut for decades at least, Pauline.

CHIOU: Well, Nick, the Iranian ambassador was not hurt even though this happened in front of the embassy. Has Iran said anything about these attacks?

WALSH: Well, there has been suggestions in state media. They blame Israel for this particular attack. Now of course that doesn't really have much evidence to back it up at all, but it plays into a broader theory that those backing the Assad regime inside Syria. This is complicated, but they somehow blame Israel for backing the Sunni rebels that they're fighting in that lengthy civil war there.

So, it's also in a way I think perhaps, too, we've seen Iranian officials keen on many occasions to not suggest this is an inter-Arab conflict that they're somehow caught up in. They tend to focus blame directly what they refer to as a Zionist (inaudible) and that's their parlance for Israel here.

We've all seen other suggestions from the Syrian regime that perhaps Saudi Arabia, a prominent backer of Syrian rebels, is somehow involved in this, too. But to be absolutely clear about this, the one sole claim of responsibility is from the Abdullah Azam Brigades. They're now said to have links to al Qaeda.

The real concern here, if Sunni extremist groups are bringing their fighters to the heart of Beirut, that spells extraordinarily bad news, particularly the suicide bombers involved for Lebanon in the months ahead, Pauline.

CHIOU: OK, thank you very much for explaining the nuances there. Nick Paton Walsh on the latest on these suicide bombings.

Well, turning now to the hunt for gunmen in Paris, police are asking for the public's help. Video released by French news channel BFM shows a suspect in their offices on Friday. Take a look at this, he threatened journalists there before leaving without opening fire. He even walked past an elderly man up the stairs there.

Then on Monday, a gunman entered the lobby of the newspaper Liberation. He shot a photographer twice in the chest. The victim is now in the hospital in intensive care.

Later, there was a shooting outside the international bank Societe Generale after which a man then reported being carjacked.

Jim Bittermann joins me now from CNN Paris with the very latest.

Jim, what kind of new information do police have about this man?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things is a lot of new images. And one of the things that the police have just issued in the last couple of hours here is much improved photograph of the gunman. And what -- it's notable in this photograph that he has changed clothes between the time of the carjacking and the time this photo was taken, and we believe that the photo was taken in the metro in the subway system here, he was organized enough that he was able change clothes before making a run for it and disappearing.

The police have some pretty good other leads as well. They're looking at DNA. The minister of the interior confirmed just a few hours ago that in fact they found DNA not only on the shotgun shells that were picked up BFM television, the shotgun shells picked up at Liberation and those fired outside the bank. They found DNA on those shells. And they also have got DNA matching DNA from the car that was carjacked.

So, they had some DNA. This gentlemen, this abductor, this shooter was in fact in prison, he said. He told the driver of the car that he carjacked that he had served prison time.

If that's the case, his DNA would be on a centralized list. All prisoners in French jails have their DNA taken as they are put into the jail. And he would -- his DNA will show up if they can make a match, then they'll have his identity and be a lot closer to tracking him down, Pauline.

CHIOU: OK, Jim, a lot of pieces to put together as police are putting those clues together. Thank you very much Jim Bittermann there live in Paris.

Turning now to the tragedy in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan. The country's disaster management council says the death toll now stands are nearly 4,000. As the relief effort continues. Help is finally getting through.

The World Food Program says that of the 2.5 million people estimated to need food assistance, nearly 2 million have now been reached.

But as you can see, the typhoon has utterly destroyed many, many people's lives. You're looking at what's left of Magayana (ph) street in Tacloban City.

If you want to help the survivors, log on to for more information.

Well, some are pointing to climate change as a possible factor in that super typhoon. And right now, the United Nations is talking about the issue at a conference in Poland. It's called COP 19, the 19th annual conference of parties. Nearly 200 countries are taking part.

The focus this year is how to effectively mitigate climate change and how to adapt to the changing planet.

The hope is also to get nations to agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce global warming. The target for a global climate agreement is 2015.

Most expected modest progress, although the UN's climate chief says a draft has been written for governments to review.

Now Poland is one country having trouble having balancing environmental and business concerns. As Paula Newton shows us the country is addicted to coal.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Travel to the depths of Poland, literally, more than a kilometer beneath the earth's surface and you'll find it: Poland's environmental future.

Coal: for decades it's been the lifeblood of the Polish economy and the main culprit in poor air quality, making this country's air the second dirtiest in Europe just after Bulgaria.

JULIA MICHALAK, POLICY OFFICER, CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK: Poland produces over 90 percent of its electricity from coal. Poland is coal addicted. And Poland won't move away from coal from one day to another.

NEWTON: The reason: money and jobs. The mining industry still employs more than 110,000 people here. Phasing out even some of its use would not come without short-term pain.

And it is here in Poland where the wider challenge of combating climate change is so stark.

As governments gather for the UN's climate change summit here in Warsaw, the Polish point from both government and industry can't be missed. There is little change of meeting climate change goals without abandoning much of the coal industry and the jobs that go with it.

JERZY BORECKI, MANAGEMENT BOARD, J5W SA (through translator): The logic is this: we want to fight to save the environment, we want to ensure that the damage we do to the environment is as minimal as possible, but we shouldn't put in place conditions whereby we don't want coal.

NEWTON: Poland would have to act today in an unprecedented way if renewable energy like solar and wind were to power this economy by 2030 and help it kick the coal habit.

(on camera): The truth is, Poland's investment in renewable energy thus far has been incredibly modest. And many worry that Poland's future still remains in dirty coal.

MICHALAK: Poland is going completely the other way. Poland is planning to increase its emissions after 2020. So the Polish energy strategy is not really coherent with the EU's view.

NEWTON: The debate rages not just here, but around the world. Poland now a pivotal member of an EU struggling to wean itself from coal, but worried the economic sacrifice might be too big to bear.

Paula Newton CNN, Warsaw.


CHIOU: The World Coal Association is hosting its own summit right now in Warsaw. And we should point out that Poland is not alone when it comes to coal use. In fact, the U.S. government says China consumed nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined.

Well, Caroline Kennedy meets Japan's emperor as she takes up her new post as U.S. ambassador. Next on News Stream, we'll take you live to Tokyo.

And later, the spectacle continues in Toronto as the mayor is stripped of most of his powers. But Rob Ford is vowing to fight back and even declaring war. We'll explain.

Plus, why the push of a button is credited with keeping women safe in Brazil. You're watching News Stream.


CHIOU: You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the story's we've got in the show today. We've already told you about the twin bombings that targeted Iran's embassy in Lebanon. Later we'll tell you about a dramatic city council meeting in Toronto that stripped the embattled mayor there of most of his power.

But now, let's turn to Tokyo. For decades, the Kennedys have captured the imagination of the American public. And now another member of that famous family is stepping into the global spotlight. Caroline Kennedy rode in a horse drawn carriage today to the imperial palace in Tokyo. She then presented her credentials as U.S. ambassador to the Japanese emperor.

Caroline Kennedy is the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy who was assassinated in Texas 50 years ago this week.

Well, thousands of people lined the streets in Tokyo hoping for a glimpse of Caroline Kennedy. CNN's Kyung Lah joins me now live from Tokyo.

Kyung, is it fair to say that this kind of reception is rare in Japan?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's fairly rare. This is actually a ceremony that is typical of ambassadors that are just beginning their new jobs.

What's different this time, what was very different this time is the woman who was riding the vessel and the people who were outside to greet her.



LAH (voice-over): Clutching cameras and waving, thousands of Japanese lined the streets to watch a daughter fulfill her father's sojourn.

"She's completing the mission he couldn't fulfill," says Jugo Shibazaki (ph). "This is significant here." JFK was to be the first U.S. president to visit Japan, but he was assassinated. Fifty years later, nearly to the day of his death, his only surviving child made her way through the streets of Tokyo by horse drawn carriage to the emperor.

She passed by many in this crowd who witnessed the first ever live TV images broadcast out of the U.S. to Japan 50 years ago, news coverage of the assassination, images of the two young Kennedy children seared into the collective Japanese memory.

"Caroline is like my friend," she says. "Of course, we are in totally different worlds but to me, she is special." This is the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for pop stars or the Japanese royal family.

Do you remember anyone ever getting this excited about a U.S. ambassador here in Japan? "Heck no" say the Watanabes (ph) who traveled 200 miles to be here. And ask anyone about job qualifications...

Caroline Kennedy doesn't have a lot of diplomatic experience. "That doesn't matter," she says emphatically, "she can do the job." "This is a country after all where blood lines trump all." Why American Nancy Nichols, who lives in Japan, says this child of Camelot is royalty here.

NANCY NICHOLS, SPECTATOR: Making a full circle and closing the bonds that we have and I think it's great.

LAH: After a brief ceremony with Emperor Akihito, Ambassador Kennedy returned to her carriage to begin her path in U.S.-Japan history.


LAH: Now, Ambassador Kennedy did say that she is looking forward to rolling up her sleeves and getting to work. As far as marking the historical significance of this week, she plans to mark that day privately. She is not planning, Pauline, of making any sort of public statements -- Pauline.

CHIOU: Well, Kyung, I'm so glad that you're covering the story because you have great perspective. You are our Tokyo correspondent for many years. Now you're based in the U.S.

What was the American reaction to Caroline Kennedy being named the U.S. ambassador for such a strong ally of America compared to Japan's reaction to her arrival?

LAH: Well, remember, she has a very special place in the memory of Americans as well, a child of Camelot. And so there are a good deal of supporters who felt that she should get the job, because she has been wanting to take a pivot into politics.

But there are a large number of critics, also, who say well why because she has his name and political ties should she be given this diplomatic post.

That's the sort of criticism you simply don't hear here in Japan. People here in Japan are much more receptive. They are very receptive, in the fact, that she has the ability to pick up the phone and get through to President Obama. That's something that is seen as quite an asset here.

So, while there are certainly more critics in the United States, even though they do have this special place for Caroline, not as many critics here in Japan.

CHIOU: An interesting comparison.

And very special day today. Thank you so much Kyung. Kyung Lah there live from CNN Tokyo.

Now, the leaders of Australia and Indonesia are facing off over a spy controversy. Media reports allege that the Australian embassy in Jakarta was used as part of a U.S.-led spying network in Asia. And that the mobile phones of Indonesia's president and his wife were tapped.

Australia's prime minister has expressed regret over these revelations, but has just stopped short of apologizing. And that has infuriated Indonesia.


TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: It's in no one's interest to do anything or to say anything that would jeopardize that relationship. And certainly I'm not going to.

MARTY NATALEGAWA, INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Every single decent and legal instruments that they can think of. It is nothing less than an unfriendly act, which is having already a very serious impact on our bilateral relations.


CHIOU: As a result, Indonesia has withdrawn its ambassador to Canberra in protest. And the Indonesian president sent a series of angry tweets on Tuesday over what he considers Australia's lack of remorse.

The game will go on despite concerns about safety. Next on News Stream, we'll tell you how is stepping up security in Cairo ahead of its World Cup playoff match against Ghana.


CHIOU: It is a critical week for country's hoping to compete in next year's football World Cup. Among the highlights and today's playoff matches. It's do or die for France as they are on the brink of missing out on a World Cup for the first time since 1994. And Iceland is hoping to become the smallest nation by population to qualify for a World Cup.

And a few hours from now, Egypt and Ghana take to the pitch in Cairo in their World Cup playoff match.

Now the game is scheduled to go ahead after the Ghanian team did accept security assurances from Egypt.

Let's go straight to Mohammed Jamjoom who is live in Cairo. Mohammed, this match is happening on the second anniversary of deadly protests in Cairo. What is the atmosphere like at the moment?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pauline, we're just above Tahrir Square. And from our vantage point, it's fairly calm so far.

Now there were some brief clashes, about an hour-and-a-half ago. This happened when supporters of Egypt's top general. General Abdel Fattah al- Sisi clashed with some supporters of what's called the Mohammed Mahmoud movement, these are people that have come out today to try to occupy Tahrir Square to commemorate a day two years ago when dozens of people were killed by the security forces here in Egypt.

Those two groups faced off at one point. There was some tear gas that was fired at the group so that they would then separate. They did. And it's been calm so far. There's a couple of hundred people as far as our best guestimate right now that are out there. There's a police chopper that's flying overhead. You can probably hear it behind me at the moment now too.

So the security forces are really trying to make sure that it remains calm in Cairo today.

That being said, though, there always is some volatility here, especially in Tahrir Square, on big days such as this.

As far as the big game tonight, that's going to start in a little less than three hours from now, as far as where we are here not a lot of enthusiasm about that game. The people that have come out to this part of the city really have a vested interest in the political part of the country? What's going on here? Complaints about the government and how the country is being run.

The rest of the country, they're excited about the game, but not really a lot of hope that the Egyptian team can win. They'd have to pull off a real miracle tonight. They'd have to win by at least 5-0 in order to advance to the World Cup finals. So that's going to be a really tough thing to do.

But a lot of Egyptians rooting for the team and saying it would be a good thing for the Egyptians to come out and support their team on their home ground -- Pauline.

CHIOU: OK. So we'll see what happens with the match, but back on the political front Mohammed, you said it is calm there. Are protesters still feeling that they're addressing the very same problems that they were protesting about two years ago?

JAMJOOM: Yeah. We were just out a little while ago in Tahrir Square talking to some of the demonstrators there. And no matter what side of the divide that they were on or what ideology they belong to, people we were speaking with were telling us repeatedly that this country is not in a good place. And some serious things really need to be addressed by the government to make sure that it advances.

Most of the people that we spoke with said, look, the economy here is still in tatters, it hasn't gotten any better. No matter which government has been in place, the people really haven't benefited. And so they feel like they're coming out day after day after day, that it becomes almost Sisyphusian for them, just you know pushing a rock up a hill and that it's not changing and they say it needs to change.

So even though there still is this vitality to these crowds, they want to come out. They want more people to join them. The fact of the matter is, they don't think that anything has changed and they're very cynical about the prospects for Egypt's future -- Pauline.

CHIOU: So, talking about the future, there are elections next year, presidential elections and the parliamentary elections. Even though there is that cynicism that you just mentioned, is there any sort of hope that those elections will change things?

JAMJOOM: Well, from the people that we've spoken with here today there is not a lot of hope that those elections will change things. Of course that is not a consensus opinion and that doesn't represent the broader portion of the population of this country. This is a huge country. It's a very diverse and eclectic population.

But those activists that come out no matter what part of the divide they fall on, they don't really believe right now that elections are really going to make that much of a difference. They hope that it will. They don't think that it will. And that's the problem.

And that's why there is so much concern that on a day like today when you have a game, when you will have supporters of General Abdel Fattah al- Sisi coming out to places like Tahrir Square, because it is, as the Egyptian media reports, his birthday. And because you have people trying to commemorate what they call a massacre that happened two years ago, you get that kind of a volatile mix all on one day. There's a lot of concern of what might happen.

But so far today it's been calm. Some scuffles earlier in Tahrir Square, but nothing major at this hour -- Pauline.

CHOIU: OK, Mohammed, thank you very much for covering the story on two fronts. The possible protests as well as the game in just a couple of hours. Mohammed Jamjoom there live in Cairo.

Well, still ahead on News Stream, parts of the U.S. try to recover after up to 76 tornadoes cut a path of destruction through the nation's midsection.

And the mayor or Toronto facing the cameras yet again. It seems he'll have even more time to do that after the city council takes a key vote. Stay with us.


CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

At least 23 people have been killed in two powerful suicide bombings outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Iran confirms an Iranian diplomat was among those killed. A radical Sunni group is claiming responsibility for these attacks.

French authorities are asking for the public's help as they hunt for a mystery gunman. On Monday, the suspect entered the lobby of the newspaper Liberation and opened fire. A photographer was hit twice near the heart and he's now in intensive care. Earlier, this video was released by French news channel BFM. It shows a man matching the suspect's description in their offices on Friday. He had threatened journalists there before leaving.

U.S. lawmakers are taking a closer look at virtual currencies like Bitcoin, A Senate committee is hearing concern's the Bitcoins can be used to anonymously carry out illegal activities, like buying drugs or trading child pornography. But Bitcoin users want the government to back off and to let the system blossom.

People lined to the streets of Tokyo today to welcome the new U.S. ambassador to Japan. That carriage carried Caroline Kennedy to the imperial palace. The daughter of the late American president John F. Kennedy then presenter her diplomatic credentials to emperor Akihito. Now there's been a lot of excitement in Japan over Kennedy' appointment, which comes just days before the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination.

Now we move to the latest in Canada. The mayor of Canada's biggest city is vowing an outright war in his ongoing battle with the city council. Rob Ford has been stripped of most of his powers as Toronto mayor following a series of embarrassing gaffes and his admission that he smoked crack cocaine.

CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us live from Toronto. Nic, why is he insisting on hanging on to his job?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he believes he's going to be proven correct. He believes that it he takes the council to court that he will win, they're wrong, and therefore public opinion will swing behind him.

And when you look at him in the council chamber yesterday, moments with his head in the hands, moments being very combative in there even taking on members of the public who were watching. There was just chaos and confusion through the whole lengthy five-hour-long process of coming to a vote and his outcry at the end? He's going to declare war.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The item is amended.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Mayor Ford went down 36 votes to five.

His answer?

MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: This, folks, reminds me of when I was watching with my brother when Saddam attacked Kuwait. You guys have just attacked Kuwait.


R. FORD: And you will never see something that -- mark my words, friends. This is going to be outright war in the next election.

ROBERTSON : The battle began even before the vote.

CROWD: Shame, shame, shame!

ROBERTSON: Another Mayor Ford moment he might like to forget.

In council chambers, shouting members of the public and then this. And this, accidentally knocking an elderly councilor to the floor, not his finest hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor Ford, your time's up. Mayor Ford?

ROBERTSON: In the battle to strip his powers, few in the council, except his brother Doug, on his side.

DOUG FORD, MAYOR FORD'S BROTHER: What is happening today is an overthrow of a democratically elected mayor, illegally. This is what you see in third world nations.

ANNOUNCER: Ford Nation comes to Sun News. The mayor of mayhem, like you've never seen him before. The booze, the dope.

R. FORD: You've heard the criticism and the councilors. Now, tonight, I want you to listen to me.

ROBERTSON: In new talk show, creating his own world, "Ford Nation."

R. FORD: I want to thank my supporters for sticking with me. I guarantee you'll so a change in the next few months.

ROBERTSON: His words, his message for an hour under control until he stepped out of the studio, falling over a photographer.

R. FORD: I didn't push her.

ROBERTSON: That's all he said.

R. FORD: I didn't touch her.


ROBERTSON: And that elderly councilor he knocked over in the city chambers, well he did go back and gave her a big hug, but he can't really be looking around in all seriousness expecting forgiveness here. People have really given up on him. The lies, the drinking, the drugs, it's just all become too much for so many, at least in the council chamber, Pauline.

CHIOU: And what about people on the street, Nic, what are they saying? Are they embarrassed about this? I mean, this is their mayor, the man who supposedly leads their city.

ROBERTSON: Yeah, I guess it depends which streets you go and talk to people on. If you go out to the suburbs where they mayor is from, he still has a hard core of support, people who voted for him because he's a fiscal conservative, because he said he would come to city hall and cut the overspending. They liked his message and to a degree they still do.

But there's a lot of people, even his sort of political supporters inside the city hall, and those people on the streets here who would have voted for those -- those members of the council here in the center of the city. They've given up on the mayor. They gave him chances when he said that he wasn't taking drugs. They believed him. Now they've learned that all to be lies.

And I think he's just become a real embarrassment for so many people. Some of his profanities, his inability to control his fiery temper, all of these things -- it's just mounted up. And people right now really, they -- the majority of people that we are talking to at least want the city to move on. But he still has those supporters, that can't be overlooked Pauline.

CHOIU: Politics certainly not boring there in Toronto. Nic, thank you very much for the latest there on the saga. Nic Robertson live in Toronto.

And as you heard Nic say, Rob Ford is not without his supporters. He was elected Toronto's mayor back in 2010 winning nearly half of all the votes cast. And those still sticking by him say he's kept his election promises to keep taxes low. And here you can see Ford taking photos with people at a suburban housing project.

And Ford himself insists that all his issues are personal and have had no impact on his ability to perform his duties as mayor.

Here's what he told CNN's Bill Weir.


FORD: You show me one other major city -- I've saved a billion dollars that has turned it around like I have? Our roads are getting done now. It's clean. It's safe. The crime is down. Things are happening. We have more cranes in the sky. We have more jobs. We've created over 50,000 jobs in one year last year.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take all of that, giving you all of that, couldn't you be even more effective if you were a little healthier?

FORD: Well, look, I'm trying to lose some weight. I'm working out. Doesn't that seem perfect?

WEIRD: But why not see some addiction specialist, just to make sure.

FORD: I'm not an addict.


CHIOU: And that was Toronto mayor Rob Ford speaking to our Bill Weir.


CHIOU: Now we turn to the United States where the death toll from Sunday's string of tornadoes has risen to eight. And survivors are picking up the pieces of their shattered lives. Hundreds of thousands are waking up this morning without power. Their belongings and in some cases their houses and their livelihoods have been destroyed.

Let's also talk about some deadly storms that have hit Italy, and namely the island of Sardinia.

Meteorologist Mari Ramos is live at the World Weather Center with more.

What are you seeing there, Mari?

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You know what, this are of low pressure has been affecting a wide spread region across central Europe. It's been bringing some heavy snowfalls for some, very heavy rain for others and of course what we saw in Sardinia.

Let's go ahead and roll the video, because the images are pretty impressive.

When you see what's going on here: thunder, lightning and of course lots of water as you can see from these pictures.

Entire neighborhoods became flooded very, very quickly. The death toll now stands at 16, Pauline. So this is a pretty serious weather system.

In some cases, they got more than a months worth of rain across some of these areas of the central Mediterranean.

And looks at those torrents of water. This is kind of stuff that you don't see very often, especially in this part of the world, of course, catching many people by surprise of the slow moving weather system brought all of that rain that you are seeing right there.

Come back over to the weather map. Let's go ahead and take a look at some more specifics.

So, this is -- in the daytime once the sun came up, it was a lot calmer. But of course the clean-up will continue with this significant flooding.

And there you see that area of low pressure. Look at some of these rainfall totals and wind -- 114 kilometer per hour wind there in southern France, 200 millimeters of rain there in Italy.

And then look over here in Algeria, North Africa also getting some significant rainfall, 120 millimeters of rain in just one day. They normally get 90 the entire month of November. So, this kind of gives you an idea of how intense this weather system has been.

That area of low pressure will continue causing some problems across the region, including the potential for some more severe weather, this time farther toward -- farther toward the east, especially here on both sides of the Adriatic -- heavy rain, strong winds, tornadoes, even the possibility of large hail. So a lot going on.

And because there's so much cold air in place where it's not raining with all of this moisture, that's right, you guessed it, snow. And the snow at times will be significant across portions of central Europe. For you guys in France and Germany even all the way over in through the low countries even when there are no mountains.

So this is pretty significant, the weather system that will be bringing you some big travel delays and of course more problems throughout the rest of the day today and even as we head through the day tomorrow until it finally begins to push farther to the east and then the headaches will be here for eastern Europe.

Back to you.

CHOIU: OK, you've given us fair warning, especially if we're traveling. Thank you very much, Mari.

Now we're going to turn to Latin America. And here's a sobering thought, UN agencies working to protect women say gender-based violence in Latin America causes more deaths and injury to women under the age of 45 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war. They say in Chile's metropolitan area, more than half of the women under the age of 50 have been abused by their partners and they say in Sao Paulo, Brazil a woman is abused every 15 seconds, that's less than the time it took me to tell you all of that.

Well, now officials in Brazil are turning to technology to try to stop this abuse before it happens. CNN's Shasta Darlington is live in Sao Paulo with the details and she joins us now. Shasta, tell us about this program.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, as you outlined, domestic abuse in Brazil is a huge problem. More than one in every five women has suffered from physical or psychological abuse, but they've come up with this creative solution in one city in particular that's already caught the eye of the United Nations and a number of governments across Latin America.


DARLINGTON: Jaina Maria shows us where she says her husband used beat her, time and time again.

"He grabbed me by the hair and slammed me into the mirror," she says.

The violence lasted four years.

At first, she was silent.

"He was the love of my life. I loved him so much," she says. "But then you get beaten again and again."

Even after they divorced and she obtained a restraining order, she claims her ex-husband would showed up with a knife.

That was when a court issued her a panic button to alert authorities the next time she was in danger.

Soon after, Jaina Maria activated it when her ex-husband appeared shouting at her from the street.

"The police arrived in four minutes," she says.

Her ex-husband was sentenced to 21 days in jail for violating the restraining order. He hasn't been back since.

Nearly 40 women in the city of Etoria (ph) have received the panic button after restraining orders failed to halt abuses, part of a pilot project launched this year by the state judicial system earlier for the city with the highest female murder rate in Brazil. There have already been five convictions thanks to the panic button.

We've come down to the police station here to watch a simulation to see how this works.

When the button is pressed for three seconds, a GPS signal is sent out. The victim's location and an alarm goes off at the police station handling the panic button project. The alert is then sent to the smartphones of four teams trained to respond. The victim's location appears on a map, so do dedicated patrol cars.

The device also starts recording ambient sound, which can later be used in court.

Pictures of the victim and her abuser appear on police smartphones. The nearest patrol races to the scene. So far officials say they've arrived in under 10 minutes every time.

Experts say it also works as a deterrent for would-be abusers.

Dr. Sonia Lyra is a gynecologist who specializes in female trauma at the Jayme Santos Neves hospital.

"The main damage to a victim is her loss of identity," she says.

Lyria was also a victim of domestic abuse, brutally beaten, she says, by her ex-husband for nine years.

She says the panic button not only helps stop violence before it happens, it gives women the security they need to rebuild their lives.

"If I'd had it," she says, "I would have re-established myself faster without the constant fear that he could hurt me or my children."

For Jaina Maria, she now has the confidence to leave her home. The day we visited was her first day at a new job.


DARLINGTON: Now this right here is the -- this right here is the panic button, Pauline. I don't know if you can see it. It's light. You can wear it under your clothing. It's actually made in China. And it can used in a number of situation as an alarm.

What makes this program so unique is the integrated approach. You've got the criminal record that police can access immediately, the sound around is recorded you can use it in court. And of course the police are trained so they know what to look for and who to look for when they get on the scene.

Talking to the women, the one complaint that they said they had is after the hold this button down for three seconds they don't have any way of knowing if it works. They're just sitting there waiting for the police to show up. So that's one thing they are working on.

What they'd like is some kind of a vibration, some kind of a signal sent back to these women so that they know help is on his way, Pauline.

CHIOU: Shasta with all that information that it gives out, including the ambient sound and the photos that pop up for the police. So it -- already it sounds like it's very effective.

Thank you very much, Shasta, Shasta Darlington there live from Sao Paulo.

And you're watching News Stream. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DARLINGTON: On Leading Women this week, the second part of our interview with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. We take a look at her family dynasty, her controversial brother and her future.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps one of the biggest adjustments for Thailand's first female prime minister, the constant scrutiny of the media spotlight.

Yingluck Shinawatra says she made the decision to enter politics in 2011 and to aim for the top because she identified with ordinary people and wanted to give back.

YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA, THAI PRIME MINISTER: I (inaudible) so I think we understand (inaudible) normal people.

LU STOUT: But you're not really a normal person, you come from a business dynasty. Your father was a very successful businessman.

The youngest of nine children, one of her earliest jobs was working in the family's movie theater.

SHINAWATRA: I filled popcorn and filled the movie tickets so I get used to the business then how we (inaudible).

LU STOUT: After attending university in (inaudible) and in the U.S. Yingluck Shinawatra rose in the ranks in the family's telecom empire and eventually led the family's property development firm. She says she navigated the transition to public service by drawing on those decades of private sector experience.

Her decision to run for office, following in the footsteps of her father who also served in parliament and her brother Thaksin, Thailand's charismatic and polarizing prime minister, who led the government for five years before the military removed him from power in 2006 and accusing him of widespread corruption, allegations he denied.

He is a controversial figure, but he also is a man of a lot of rich experience. What have you learned from him? And is he your mentor?

SHINAWATRA: I learned a way of his management style, because we have to follow him as the family. So that's why I absorbed his leadership and his success.

LU STOUT: And while Yingluck Shinawatra says she still has a close relationship with Thaksin, proving that she makes decisions based on her own experience and with the guidance of her advisors has been a constant uphill battle.

You're the youngest sibling. He's the older brother.

SHINAWATRA: People have the freedom to make decisions.

LU STOUT: Even though he called you his clone.

SHINAWATRA: Clone is mean same of the thinking, same of the management style, but cloning doesn't mean have to rely.

LU STOUT: And while her own political future is still at stake. Yingluck Shinawatra says the way she's met her greatest challenges so far and her continuing commitment to the Thai people speaks for itself.

SHINAWATRA: Even want to understand modern about the whole country needs, so we have to put your head, put your heart on that side so will be even make me have to drive the work harder to be proven that we can do better.


CHIOU: You can read Kristie's reflections on her meeting with the Thai prime minister. You can find it at

And next week we'll introduce you to Anne Sweeney. She's the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television group.

Now the challenge was on to capture the energy and vitality of one of Poland's most charming cities on Instagram. See the results just ahead.


CHIOU: This week, CNN's On the Road is bringing you some insight into the customs and culture of Poland.

Now when you think of traveling to the country, Warsaw and Krakow may come to mind, but have you heard of Wroclaw?

As Paula Newton shows us, there are plenty of stunning moments to be captured in what some call the Venice of the north.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How do you capture the energy, the vitality of a city? That was our challenge in Wroclaw, the charming Polish city latticed with water and bridges and yes picture postcard views.

The enchanting town square, the love bridge, the quirky gnomes scattered playfully in square and walkways. The best way to show you this place isn't the conventional way.

But we've decided to do it a little differently. And I've enlisted some help. And here they come. Hello, how are you?

Tomas (ph)?


NEWTON: The guides, Tomas (ph), Marsin (ph), Gregor (ph) and Marek (ph), friends and Polish patriots who love showing off their hometown in pictures.

Your challenge is to show me at least two quintessentially Wroclaw.


NEWTON: Pictures that will be inviting for people to come here to this city.

So, I'll meet up with you at some point. And I'll come and investigate what you're going. OK? Good luck.

Hey, Tomas (ph), what are you doing?

Hey, where are you? What's up? A cable car. We're going for ride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is for students. Kind of transportation.

NEWTON: So it connects their campus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, connects the campus.

NEWTON: To the university here.

But it's (inaudible) view you have out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We consider (inaudible) and the special power -- water tower.

NEWTON: Where are we going now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We met Gegos (ph).

NEWTON: Is he around here? Oh, there you go.

Hey, how are you?

So we're going to a water tower. You're not making this sound very good.

They make the mundane sublime. This historic water tower, the architectural detail, they know how to capture the essence of their city and what it means to them.

And this is the Wroclaw we wanted you to see, through their lens.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. Do you want to see?

NEWTON: Am I going to like what you have? I do want to see. Let's take a look.

Which two pictures do you want to show me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) this one.

NEWTON: This one, OK. And that is stunning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's some girls (ph).

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Some girls (ph).

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: Oh, it's a poet.

NEWTON: Oh, lovely. That's a lovely shot.

What is the new Poland and what does it mean to people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have, you know, lots of energy coming from especially young people who are not raised in the times that we were raised. And because when we were young, I mean us four and six, so we were raised in the times of Communism.

NEWTON: But tell me something, young people return, they return to the city, they return to this country. That wasn't the case when you guys first joined the EU.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the beginning, people started just leaving Poland. And now they're back because they just got experience being outside, working outside our country. And now they just come back with the ideas for businesses.

It doesn't have to be out there abroad, now we can do it here in Poland.

NEWTON: This is Wroclaw: dynamic and quirky as seen through the eyes of its future.

Paula Newton, CNN, Wroclaw, Poland.


CHIOU: And be sure to join us tomorrow when Paula visits a major tourist attraction just outside of Krakow, a salt mine turned into a museum which features stunning sculptures carved by the miners who used to work there.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues right here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.