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France, Portugal Punch Ticket To Brazil; Israelis Push To Stop Deal With Iran; On The Road: Poland's Underground Chapels; Prince Harry To Compete In Race To South Pole; What's the Buzz About Bitcoin?

Aired November 20, 2013 - 08:00   ET


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

No retreat: Iran's supreme leader stands firm on what he calls his country's nuclear rights. But could negotiations in Geneva could be closing in on a compromise?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could help, you know, bring some closure to family and retrieve their loved ones, then it's a good mission.


CHIOU: A look at how man's best friend is helping search for typhoon victims in the Philippines so families can say a final farewell.

And they slice and dice for a cheaper price than their human counterpart. We'll show you the cutting edge noodle bot.

As world powers prepare for a new round of nuclear talks with Iran. The country's supreme leader is standing firm.

On Wednesday in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told an audience of militiamen there would be no retreat from his country's nuclear rights. The supreme leader then went on to say he wanted friendly ties with all countries, including the United States.

In response, audience chanted "death to America. Death to Israel."

Well, these latest talks are being held in Geneva. They bring together the five permanent members of the UN security council: Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. plus Germany and of course Iran. They're trying to reach a deal in which Iran would suspend parts of its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. But the trick seems to be in getting the balance just right, specifically world powers are still trying to work out issues involving uranium enrichment and just which sanctions should be relaxed.

Talks earlier this month ended without a deal with each side blaming the other.

Well, Israel is increasingly unhappy with these latest talks and with Washington, in particular. Ian Lee has that angle from CNN Jerusalem, but first we go to Reza Sayah who is following developments from the Iranian capital of Tehran.

Reza, it seems as if we're hearing a softer tone from the Iranian president and foreign minister. So how much are they willing to concede in order to get a deal done?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pauline, there are signs that Iran's leadership is prepared to make concessions because there are signs that they want to get a deal done.

But first off we should point out that these talks happening in Geneva, at this point they're not about a sweeping final nuclear agreement that will once and for all end this nuclear standoff. What we're talking about in Geneva today is an interim deal designed to boost confidence and trust between the two sides.

And within this interim deal, Iran has given strong indications that it's willing to make some concessions. There are strong indications that Iran is prepared to halt uranium enrichment at 20 percent. If they do that, that would seemingly make it impossible for them to produce the fuel necessary for a nuclear bomb. What they're not willing to concede is their right to a peaceful nuclear program, and just as importantly, their right to enrich uranium.

As with any negotiations, there's going to be sides where you have to give something to get something. Iran wants something in return. What complicates these negotiations that there are factions, groups and governments that don't want this deal to happen.

And the concern from the leadership in Iran is the longer these negotiations take, the more pressure is going to be applied by some of these groups and governments first and foremost Israel led by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has made it clear that this is a bad deal without the world knowing what the details of the deal are.

So Iran wants these negotiations to make progress to reach some sort of agreement. Again, a lot at stake. And many say it's not just about Iran's nuclear program here, that if a deal is reached, it would potentially be the first step in changing the dynamics, the landscape of geopolitics in the region and geopolitical alliances.

So lots of drama, lots of suspense, all eyes on Geneva for the third round of these talks, Pauline.

CHIOU: Yes, the third round in about five weeks.

Reza, one thing we do know is that the sanctions have really hurt the economy there in Iran. What is the average Iranian saying about the sanctions and how it affects their daily life? And is there enough public pressure to get those sanctions lifted?

SAYAH: They hate the sanctions. I mean, everyone you talk to says that these sanctions are unjust whether they're hard-liners, conservatives, liberals, progressives, pro-reformists, they want these sanctions eliminated.

The problem here in Iran, if you talk to people, is the economy. And certainly these sanctions have impacted the economy. They have reduced oil exports in Iran by more than 50 percent. That has led to inflation, unemployment. If you look at this population, this is a very sophisticated, educated young population. They want jobs. They want better lives. And they believe that the quickest way to improve the economy, to make that happen, is to get rid of these sanctions. And many voted for Mr. Rouhani, Iran's new president, to get a nuclear deal done so there's plenty of pressure on Mr. Rouhani and his administration in Geneva to make some sort of fair agreement happen.

At the same time, and this is just as important, Iran, Iranian people, Iran's leadership, they don't want to be viewed as backing down to western powers, Washington and Israel, they want a fair deal and they continue to insist that any deal without their right being recognized to enrich uranium and have a peaceful nuclear program is no deal.

CHIOU: Reza, great perspective there. And you did mention Israel's stance.

And let's go to Iran Lee who is in CNN Jerusalem.

Ian, Israel is telling the P5+1 don't be fooled by this charm offensive from Iran. Is Israel's stance still pretty much all or nothing?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, there's no question that Israel's stance is all or nothing. And they are trying to torpedo the deal that's currently taking place.

Now Israel has said that they're not opposed to talks, that they want talks with Iran, with the P5+1, but they say it's all or nothing. Either Iran gives up its nuclear program and then sanctions are lifted, or they don't give up their nuclear program and not only sanctions remain in place, but they want more sanctions in place.

And for Israel, this really is the number one strategic issue for the country. The whole country seems to be more or less behind prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his support for trying to get some sort of talks where it leaves Iran without a nuclear program. And they're trying to do this with multiple fronts, a full-court press in the United States. They have people there talking to the United States government trying to convince them that a deal to go forward that would ease sanctions a little bit to get a little bit from Iran is a bad deal. They also -- we also saw the president of France, Hollande, here recently talking to the prime minister about the deal that could go forward.

And also, today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Russia to talk with the Russian government to try to convince them that this isn't going to be in anyone's benefit. And they really believe that if you do lessen sanctions that this will be a slippery slope for the country, that sanctions -- if any crack in the sanctions could open it up to investment in Iran and really do harm for any sort of negotiations. They believe that that could be a path to -- for Iran achieving a nuclear weapon.

They love to point out a similar case with North Korea where sanctions were eased a little bit. And eventually North Korea was able to get a nuclear bomb. And that's what they're going with when they're pushing for this all or nothing deal, Pauline.

CHIOU: Interesting analogy there.

All right, thank you very much, Ian. Ian Lee there live from CNN Jerusalem with the perspective of Israel. And we also thank Reza Sayah there live from Tehran.

Well, all the P5+1 countries have nuclear weapons, or at least access to them. Russia has the most with an estimated 8,400 total nuclear weapons. The U.S. is second with 7,600. France, China and the UK have several hundred each. Germany is considered a non-nuclear state, but under NATO sharing, there are 150 U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in the country.

Well, still right here on News Stream, the latest on the nail biting football World Cup playoffs and a look at what's in store for upcoming matches.

What is Bitcoin? And exactly how does it work? We'll tell you all about the digital currency making waves around the world.

Plus, we will take you into America's death row to speak to one inmate days before his execution.


CHIOU: You're watching News Stream and you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. We have already told you about the hope in Geneva for a deal on Iran's nuclear program.

Later, we'll look at the buzz around Bitcoin, a virtual currency gaining legitimacy and also value.

But first, football. French fans went crazy after their team came from behind to beat Ukraine. They're among the latest to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

For more on this critical stage of the World Cup playoffs we are joined now live by Alex Thomas from CNN London -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Pauline, that France recovery was something else. But let me tell you about the pick of the European World Cup qualifying playoff games, because on Tuesday night it was all about the Zlatan v. Ronaldo show part two.

Portugal leading Sweden 1-0 after the first leg and their two big egos on either side again taking center stage, that free kick from Zlatan Ibrahimovic looking like it was going to signal a Swedish comeback until two quick goals from Christiano Ronaldo, their Real Madrid star at the other end. And his 26th career hat trick sealed Portugal's trip to Brazil next year.

So it really was Ronaldo 4, Zlatan 2 over the course of the two legs. Ibrahimovic won't be in Brazil. You can look forward to more amazing stats from Ronaldo who scored 36 goals in 22 games this season, quite unbelievably and is certainly set for that Ballon d'Or prize which will be voted for shortly.

But let's also show you some of the goals from the France-Ukraine match. Ukraine leading 2-0 from the first leg in their country. And back at the Stade de France Les Blues, despite the pessimism from many of the footballing public in France produced the first ever comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the first leg, a 3-0 win putting them through 3-2 on aggregate. And France coach Didier Deschamps rewarded with an extended contract after that game.

We will see France at the World Cup and it means probably we're going to see all eight former world football champions at the tournament starting next June, Pauline, because the only other place to be confirmed of the 32 nations is Uruguay, and they get to play their second leg against Jordan.

CHIOU: OK, so how do all of these results fit into the bigger picture as we look ahead to next summer?

THOMAS: Well, I mentioned Uruguay, they've got a massive lead over Jordan which is the only playoff game remaining. It means we know 31 of the 32 nations that will play at that World Cup next year. It's the biggest tournament of the world's most popular sport. Uruguay with such a big lead that we could virtually plug them in with the greatest of respect to Jordan. And then the picture is complete.

And it is a start-studded lineup. Despite real concerns over the likes of Mexico who also secured their qualification overnight and countries like France and Portugal, all the really big teams, especially in Africa, too, with the likes of Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast going through, are going to be at the tournament.

It's set to be a mouthwatering prospect. The only concern is, as always, after a long European football season, will all the star names have enough energy to give us an absolute entertaining show of football at that World Cup, Pauline.

CHIOU: I would hope so.

OK, thank you very much Alex. Alex Thomas there live in London.

Well, this may not be the way you'd expect to get your noodles, but coming up next on News Stream, we'll introduce you to the Chinese noodle bot. There he is. He's replacing human chefs in restaurant kitchens, possibly in one near you.


CHIOU: Welcome back to News Stream.

Poland was one of the few European economies that grew during the global economic crisis. But then it hit some road bumps suffering an economic slump. Now the country has a new finance minister. And as Jim Boulden reports, with Europe on the mend, Poland is looking at a full recovery.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unusual, though peaceful, protests in the streets of Warsaw. With Pols demanding jobs and better retirement security.

So what happened to an economy that continued to grow right through their recent economic crisis. Well, the first half of 2013 was not what Pols had come to expect. Austerity measures, like pension reform, took hold, economic growth ground to a halt. Some taxes and unemployment rose.

RYSZARD PETRU, POLISH ASSOCIATION OF ECONOMISTS: In 2012, Poland managed to have an enormous acceleration of the (inaudible) investments, especially due to EU -- Euro Championships that took place in 2012.

In 2013, the government has to lower significantly the public expenditures on road construction.

BOULDEN: Poland's building boom for the football championships came to an end, but more importantly consumer spending slowed. Being one of Europe's largest countries, the economy benefited from a growing middle class for the past 20 years. But growth in 2012 was 1.9 percent, down from the annual rate of 4.5 percent in 2011.

Now, though, the last half of 2013 is looking brighter.

GRZEGORZ PONIATOWSKI, SENIOR ECONOMIST CASE: Until the moment the GDP grow first driven by a very strong internal demand. But today's figures are driven surprisingly by a very strong expert.

BOULDEN: Though Poland is in the European Union, it has stayed out of the EuroZone. It's currency, the zloty, rose in 2012 hurting exports, but now has fallen in value, making its products even cheaper for its biggest trading partner: Germany.

Poland benefits from having a well educated by cheaper labor force, that's why manufacturers, like automakers, stamp out parts in Poland and ship them to plants in the west.

PONIATOWSKI: The key engine for growth is unit labor costs, which are much lower than in western European countries.

BOULDEN: But that makes Poland dependent on outside firms and the fluctuation of currencies. And painful restructural reforms are proving politically difficult. Critics say there is not enough money spent on research and development.

For instance, Poland still relies on coal for 90 percent of its energy. Despite calls for massive investment in alternative energies, Poland is falling behind the EU targets for renewables. In general, Poland suffers from a perception it's still an emerging market, which scares off some investors.

PETRU: But as far as investment sentiment, I do not see any optimism right now. And this is about Polish investment, but also the same happen - - the same concerns about international investors.

BOULDEN: But compared to its eastern neighbors, Poland has been a stable economy for more than two decades.

PETRU: 2013 was worse than expected, but compared to Europe or EuroZone you'll say still growth and it's not as bad as in many countries.

BOULDEN: And with Europe growing again, Poland is prized to benefit.

Jim Boulden, CNN, London.


CHIOU: Let's stay on the theme of finance and focus in on the Bitcoin. You've probably heard a lot about the digital currency lately. And if you're wondering what the Bitcoin buzz is all about, well, here's how it works. You download a virtual wallet onto your computer or your phone. It gives you an address which you can exchange with others in order to make payments. So it's a person to person transaction with no central bank in between.

You can also buy or sell Bitcoins for other currencies. And the value of the virtual Bitcoin has surged recently. It hit an all-time high of more than $900 on Tuesday before plunging just to above $500. And at last check, Bitcoin was trading at about $479.

Compare that to only a year ago when one Bitcoin cost just $12.

The spike in its price is partly due to recent comments from U.S. officials who called the currency a legitimate financial service.

But they're not the first to recognize that Bitcoin's potential promise. The largest Bitcoin exchange in the world is located in China.

For more on the rise of the Bitcoin, let's bring in our regular contributor Nicholas Thompson. He's editor for the New

Nicholas, great to see you once again.

Now, we had this hearing this week on Capitol Hill. U.S. lawmakers, and even the Fed chair made positive comments about at least the potential of digital currencies. So why has the Bitcoin suddenly seen this change in attitude?

NICK THOMPSON, NEW YORKER.COM: Well, I think for one thing in the United States, people in the United States are a little bit afraid the all Bitcoin transactions and the center of gravity for Bitcoin is all moving to China so it's time for U.S. regulators to start taking it seriously, because that would actually help to -- help them control it and help more of the transactions and more of what happens with Bitcoins go on in this country. So the United States government is starting to realize, wait a second, this is important, let's get involved.

Another big thing that happened was that about a month ago the online drug retailer, online drug marketplace Silk Road was shutdown by the FBI. Silk Road was known as the place where all of -- or many Bitcoin transactions took place. In fact, they're sort of synonymous with the word Bitcoin. It was shut down. Bitcoins didn't go away. It suddenly seemed like Bitcoins were more resilient. And not only that, people start thinking of them as more legitimate things now that the drug marketplace that they associated them with has gone away.

CHIOU: OK, so you talked about Silk Road. And that brings us to the issue of regulation. And it wasn't just Silk Road that went down, a Chinese trading exchange recently just closed up and suddenly $4 million of investors' money just disappears.

So we see that it is still sort of a murky underworld there. So how exactly do you regulate something like the Bitcoin which is so very new?

THOMPSON: Well, it's extremely hard to regulate. In fact, it's sort of the whole purpose of the Bitcoin was that it would be hard to regulate, right. It was created by an anonymous computer programmer who set it up in such a way that governments couldn't really track it very clearly. They couldn't control it -- or they couldn't control it completely. It was set up by a guy who didn't like the idea that the government could just print money and devalue the rest of the currency. So let's build a computer program that will break away from that system.

So how do you regulate it? That's something the U.S. government is grappling with and doesn't really have a clear plan right now.

The first thing you can do is you determine, OK, what exactly is it? How are we going to classify it? Then how are we going to classify the exchanges onto which you -- transactions flow. How are we going to regulate companies that accept Bitcoins and use Bitcoins in transactions.

So what the government is trying to do is first figure out how to categorize it, then come up with a set of rules.

What they found is that every time they come up with a rule it actually really helps Bitcoin, because it helps to legitimize it.

CHIOU: OK. I want to ask you what you think about it sort of an investment tool, because after this Capitol Hill hearing, we saw the value of the Bitcoin jump up 45 percent in one day. And no currency really ever does that. So, shouldn't that be a red flag to all of us that this kind of investment or asset, if you want to call that, could eventually lead to a bubble that bursts?

THOMPSON: Oh, absolutely, right.

The price of Bitcoins fluctuates wildly, that's why some vendors have been slow to adopt it.

But here's the investment case for Bitcoin, the way the system was set up there are only going to be 21 Bitcoins in circulation. They're printed at a regular speed. So if you believe that a large number of transactions, or you know, a significant percentage of the world's transactions will take place in Bitcoins over time, you know that the number of Bitcoins in circulation will be regulated so that -- so those Bitcoins will be worth a lot of money. And that's why Bitcoins have certain value.

On the other hand, the more that people view Bitcoins as an investment vehicle, and the less they spend Bitcoins, then the fewer Bitcoins are actually circulating, the less incentive there is for businesses to use them and people horde them, which means they're not being used, which in a way actually leads to a reduction in their value.

So what I'm saying is that this is a very immature and confused market. Some people think it's going to be worth tons of money, but if they're not adopted by lots of stores and if they don't really start to circulate, they won't be worth a lot. So it's in a very confused complicated place. It goes up. It goes down. That's a big problem for the currency at the moment.

THOMPSON: And we've seen it go down already since that Capitol Hill hearing.

CHIOU: All right, Nicholas, thank you very much for your take and your expertise there. Nicholas, thank you very much for your take and your expertise there. Nicholas Thompson there from New

THOMPSON: Thank you, Pauline.

CHIOU: Now, take a look at this, this army of robots could help fill a diner's stomach and a gap in China's labor market. David McKenzie now meets the noodle bot.



Mr. Suey (ph) started out as a chicken farmer, but when a flu virus wiped out his flock he searched for a new way to make a living.

"I went into a noodle shop and I saw the noodle maker made more money than me," he says. "But I didn't know how to make noodles."

So this amateur inventor built something that could.

Call it the noodle bot.

"With this robot, one minute, four bowls of noodles," he says. "For a chef, one minute, two bowls.'

So the noodle bot is fast and it's also versatile. Mr. Suay (ph) said he can do eight different types of noodles. This is the widest kind. He says he invented it to look like a person to give it that human touch.

"They designed it to look like a cartoon so that children like it more.

If I look at this, it looks a bit like you. You (inaudible)

"It's much more handsome than me" he says.

It took Suay (ph) three months to design the first, and years to perfect it.

They ship it across China and around the world.

So the factor floor is one thing, but the real test of the noodle bot is in the noodle shop.

Let's see the noodle bot in action. OK.

The customers love it, says Feng Guo (ph). They call him Ultraman (ph).

They call him Ultraman (ph).

But mostly it saves him money. He doesn't need to train, feed or give the noodle bot a place to sleep.

"It saves me energy," says the noodle maker. "It does the same noodles that I do. And it costs less than me."

But as labor costs rise in China, robots are starting to replace human labor.

"It's cheaper. In the future, the noodle bots could replace all the human noodle makers."

Chopping noodles today, but who knows what's next for the noodle bot.

ROBOT: David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.


CHIOU: There you go, an army of gourmet robots.

Well, China has sent its first group of aid workers to the Philippines to help hard hit areas recover from Typhoon Haiyan. We'll bring you the very latest.


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

Iran's supreme leader says there will be no retreat on what he calls the country's nuclear rights. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke out at international delegates meet in Geneva for the latest round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. Iran insists the program is only for civilian energy purposes.

At least 26 people have been killed in a series of bomb blasts in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The explosions happened early Wednesday and follow a similar wave of attacks targeting Shiite areas on Sunday. Sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites has risen in recent months.

At least one woman was killed and dozens hurt when the roof of a half- built shopping mall caved in. It happened near Durbin, South African on Tuesday. At least three people are still unaccounted for. An investigation into the cause of this collapse is underway.

Well, China is the latest country to send rescuers to the Philippines. A foreign ministry spokesman says relief workers from the Chinese Red Cross left on Wednesday and additional medical teams will be sent later this week. It has been 12 days since Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines. And the extent of the damage is still being assessed. The official death toll continues to rise and now stands at 4,011.

Survivors are trying to recover any way they can. In one small coastal town fisherman have turned their damaged refrigerators into boats to replace those destroyed by the typhoon. They've been using the makeshift boats to catch enough fish to feed their families.

Our Karl Penhaul is on the ground in the Philippines and joins us now from Tacloban.

Karl, you've been talking to a lot of survivors there and many of them are still looking for their missing family members.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I think there's a multi-track effort going on on the ground here right now. One of course is to take care of the survivors. And one of the good pieces of news there is that some of those aid bottlenecks now seem to be working out. And we are seeing a lot more aid starting to arrive here in Tacloban and being distributed in an even fashion to survivors, rations perhaps that may last them for up to three days at a time that almost too weeks after the super typhoon hit people still haven't recovered their loves ones from under the debris.

And we joined an American team that has cadaver dogs out there helping in this work.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a grim job, but somebody has to do it.

JIM HOUCK, DOG HANDLER, GLOBAL DIRT: We can help, you know, bring some closure to family and retrieve their loved ones, then it's a good mission.

PENHAUL: Balck Lab patella, her handler Jim Houck and rescuer Adam Marlatt are part of an American charity. They hunt for bodies in the wreckage of natural disasters.

ADAM MARLATT, GLOBAL DIRT: I'm going to get underneath the ship, because it looks like it just smashed everything and I guess one of the guys was saying that his whole family is down there.

PENHAUL: Today, they're down by Tacloban court. As the super Typhoon hit, it whipped up a massive wall of water. This is what's left.

MARLATT: The best way that I could put it would be the collateral damage of the earthquake of Haiti with the water impact of what happened after the tsunami in Japan.

PENHAUL; It's been a week-and-a-half since the storm. The recovery efforts are only just beginning.

HOUCK: The locals have estimated over 100 are deceased there.

PENHAUL: Atella (ph) sniffs out the dead entombed in the ruins of their homes.

HOUCK: Atella (ph), she started her training from eight weeks only. She's four years old now. We can see the debris, he nails sticking out. There's glass Everything. The dogs learn in their training to, you know, what where they're walking. But, you know, still you've got to watch for injuries of the dog.

PENHAUL: She's soon onto something.

HOUCK: She's pulling scent from over here. She pulling scent from there.

PENHAUL: Police and other volunteers lend a hand.

MARLATT: Now go to push from that side. Pull.

PENHAUL: Grudgingly the debris is giving back lost souls.

Since Patella (ph) arrived, she's helped find 10 bodies or more, but behind each number, there's a name, there's a family, and it's a grim score that her handlers say they'd really prefer not to keep.

MARLATT: It's definitely gruesome. And it's definitely a rough task -- do you want to pet her? She, she's nice. You can bet her. Yeah.

PENHAUL: But however rough, life must go on. Thanks to these cadaver dogs, a few more families will get the chance to say their last good-bye.


PENHAUL: It's hard to imagine just how terrible it must be for those families who almost two weeks after this cyclone hit are still looking for their loved ones. And in fact today we were down about half an hour away from Tacloban. We talked to a nurse who had lost a 4-year-old daughter called Angel when the super typhoon hit. And she said that the only way I'm able to come to turns with this is to carry on helping in my job as a nurse to help the survivors.

Since the typhoon hit, she has been asking for shifts of up to 24 hours so that she can attend to thousands of typhoon survivors who come in with open wounds looking for treatment. And when she has a few hours off she and friends and family will go out into the debris looking for her daughter, her little daughter called angel, her favorite color was yellow, her favorite ice cream chocolate. And I tell you that because beyond the numbers we still have to remember that in all this tragedy there are names and faces, Pauline.

CHIOU: Yeah. And it's stories like that, Karl, that really are heartbreaking and also inspiring. For example, Angel's mother still willing to help out the community even though she's suffering so much.

Karl, in your piece we saw so much debris around you. You had mentioned that some of the relief supplies are able to get in through those bottlenecks. Have the people even thought about how to cleanup and even rebuild their homes at this point?

PENHAUL: It's a -- when you look at the size of that debris field, it looks like an almost impossible task, doesn't it Pauline? There are dump trucks out there and there is some heavy lifting equipment, but what that heavy lifting equipment is doing right now is cleaning some of the major roads, some of the major arteries, so aid can at least fan out and get to some of the outlying communities.

It's going to take a lot longer to get into those small roads, and especially down by the shoreline where the impact of the water surge was heaviest. It's difficult to see how it will ever get done at all. In terms of rebuilding homes, well what survivors are doing right now, especially down by the shoreline, is simply scavenging for bits and pieces -- a tin sheet here, a piece of wood there. And putting up their own shelters. It's very temporary. But this is going to be a long-term process, because talking to a spokesman for one of the International Red Cross groups here today, he said yes they're giving out survival rations to families, perhaps they hand out in one go rations that will serve a family of five for three days. But he said that kind of aid effort needs to go on for at least three months.

Then you go to other communities where they live off growing coconuts and coconut oil in such like. Those plantations have been devastated. And according to his calculations, it takes about 10 years for a coconut plantation to become productive. What are these families going to be doing meanwhile, Pauline?

CHIOU: Good question. Gosh. Thank you for putting it into perspective for us and giving us a sense of what the survivors are going through day to day.

Karl Penhaul there live in Tacloban.

Well, this panoramic photo on our website really shows you the power of Haiyan. It was taken in Tacloban where Karl Penhaul is right now. And there is destruction as far as the eye can see. And you can see this photo for yourself and other images at our website

Tensions are high in a continuing diplomatic spat between Australia and Indonesia. Indonesia says it will suspend joint military exercises with Australia over allegations that Australia tapped the phone conversations of Indonesian officials, including the president and his wife.

Still, Indonesia's president sounded optimistic about rebuilding soured relations.


SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, INDONESIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I still hope. I'm sure Australia hopes, especially for the people of both countries that we can still establish good cooperation after we solve this problem.


CHIOU: Australia's prime minister is refusing to apologize. He suggested any alleged spying was part of efforts to protect Australia.


TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I deeply and sincerely regret the embarrassment that media reports have caused to President Yudhoyono who is a very good friend of Australia, perhaps one of the very best friends that Australia has anywhere in the world.


CHIOU: The allegations came from two Australian media outlets who cited documents provided by NSA leader Edward Snowden as their source.

The U.S. state of Missouri has executed convicted serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin after the Supreme Court denied a petition for a stay. Earlier, Franklin's lawyers won a postponement by arguing the lethal drugs they were going to use constitute, quote, "cruel and unusual punishment."

Now for the background, Franklin killed 22 people between 1977 and 1980 in an attempt to start a race war. He's also confessed to shooting Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.

Our Kyung Lah spoke to Franklin while he was on death row and asked about his three year killing spree.


JOSEPH PAUL FRANKLIN, SERIAL KILLER: The same length of time Jesus was on his mission, from the time he was 30 until he was 33.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And what was your mission?

FRANKLIN: Well, to try to get a race war started.

LAH: Do you think you're a hero to those hate groups?

FRANKLIN: Well, that's what they tell me, you know.


CHIOU: Franklin also said he was no longer a racist, that he was wrong and said he was sorry for his crimes.

Britain's Prince Harry is heading out on an icy adventure. And it's all for a very good cause. We'll show you what it is.


CHIOU: Britain's Prince Harry is on his way to Antarctica where he'll trek more than 300 kilometers alongside soldiers who were wounded in combat. Max Foster explains why.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Prince Harry certainly isn't shy of a challenge, but the royal's latest adventure will certainly test his meddle. In a race to the South Pole, Harry will trek more than 200 miles across Antarctica in temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees Celsius.

PRINCE HARRY: They're going to achieve something quite remarkable and in doing so will prove to everybody else that, you know, even when you've lost a leg, lost an arm or whatever the illness may be, that you can achieve pretty much anything if you put your mind to it.

FOSTER: Teaming up with British veterans, Harry will race to the finish line against teams from the United States and the Commonwealth.

And despite his royal upbringing, it's the prince's role as a soldier that's already won him praise from his fellow teammates and rivals.

SGT. MARGAUX MANGE, TEAM U.S.: It's good. He's laid back. We're not scared or anything to have him around. He's just another soldier along with the rest of us.

FOSTER: He's an army helicopter pilot who served in Afghanistan. And Harry has had plenty of training for this big race.

Back in 2011, he went on an expedition to the North Pole, which saw him diving into the freezing waters of the Arctic. But he had to withdraw from that expedition early to attend the wedding of his brother.

More recently, Harry traveled to Iceland for training. And even spent 24 hours in an industrial freezer in preparation.

But will it be enough? The winning team is expected to cross the finish line in time to be home for Christmas.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


CHIOU: That will be the incentive to try to get home in time for the holidays.

So what is the weather like in the South Pole? Let's ask Mari Ramos live at the world weather center. My goodness, what an extreme challenge. I wish the best for all of those teams.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: I know. It really is amazing. And I like that he was training in a freezer. You need more than just a few hours of training in a freezer, I think. But I think Prince Harry can handle it. If not, call me, Prince Harry, we'll talk.

Anyway, over 4,000 kilometers from Cape Town all the way as they head into Antarctica, that's one of the closer points. So, this part of the trek is pretty intense, indeed. But of course the worst of it is once they get to Antarctica and they have to walk, literally, or ride or try to get there to the South Pole and then the race is really on over 2,000 kilometers.

And get this, Pauline, check out the weather at the South Pole right now. Yeah, it's not a good day. It's minus 32 degrees, that's the actual air temperatures, with the winds blowing at about 27 kilometers per hour. It's not snowing, but there's already so much snow there that there's blowing snow. And that gives you almost zero visibility.

The wind chill, minus 47. Yeah, I don't know. OK, good luck teams.

Let's go ahead and move on and let's talk a little bit about Europe.

You know, this is a story that has really grabbed our attention and the world really. They had over almost six months of rain in just about 12 hours across portions of the central Mediterranean, in Sardinia in particular. 16 people have been killed in this region. And it is a pretty serious weather system. It is moving on, but there's so much cold air in place that where it hasn't been raining it's been snowing.

Look at the traffic in Saint-Etienne. This is in France. And not a good travel day at all across this region. Visibility near zero. There are huge traffic jams across this area. And the thing is, the snow is still coming down.

They're getting ready for more snow in the Netherlands. This is not snow, this is salt for the roadways. And they're using some of that today in preparation, because even in the Netherlands, even in Belgium, they're expecting some snowy conditions through the rest of the day today and as we head into tomorrow.

Look at these temperatures: 4 in Munich, freezing in Moscow, London it's only 4 degrees, 5 in Paris. And then as we head farther to the south, even if you were hoping for some warm conditions. Look at Rome at 15. Algiers at 12. This is just an indication of that very cold air that remains in place.

The snow? Yeah, it's going to be pretty widespread across this entire region. That's not going to change too much.

I want to show you one more picture, hope the producer let's -- gives me just like 10 more seconds. Look at this, this is from Iraq, all across the Persian Gulf area: Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, as we head through the UAE and even Saudi Arabia, very heavy rainfall. We'll be talking a little bit more about this in the hours to come. It's not over quite yet.

Back to you.

LAH: OK, we'll check in with you soon. Thanks so much, Mari.

Well, CNN has revealed its 2013 Hero of the Year. Chad Pegracke has devoted his life to cleaning up the Mississippi River and other U.S. waterways through his nonprofit called Living Lands and Waters. The group has removed more than 3,000 tons of garbage from nearly two dozen rivers.

And the hero of the year received $250,000 to continue his work. We've also made it easier for you to help him and all of this year's honorees. Here's Anderson Cooper to tell us more.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Anderson Cooper. Hopefully by now you've had a chance to check out the remarkable people we are honoring at this year's CNN Heroes and all star tribute. Each of them is addressing an important social issue in their own community in their own way, proof that one person really can make a difference.

And again this year we're making it easy for you to help them out.

Just go to CNN on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and click the donate button to support any of our 2013 top 10 CNN Heroes. You'll see a popup window like this where you can make a contribution through Amazon payments to one or more of this year's honorees. It's fast, secure and a 100 percent of your donation will go directly to your CNN Hero's designated nonprofit.

No matter how small your donation, you'll be helping the person who inspires you to continue their life changing work. We're proud to celebrate the work of all these everyday people changing the world. And through December 31 to offer you this simple way to make a contribution to their cause.

Again, from your laptop, your tablet, or your mobile phone just go to CNN Your donation in any amount help them help others. Thanks.



CHOIU: This week, CNN's On the Road is bringing you greater insight into the customs and culture of Poland. From underground treasures to their innovation and dance, Paula Newton explores the people and passions unique to this eastern European nation.

Today, we journey far underground to a sprawling labyrinth of chapels carved into a 13th Century salt mine.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We descend as if to the depths of Polish history and faith.

Mark, this is stunning. This is unlike anything I've ever seen before. Where are we right now?

MARK STRONJNY, MUSEUM GUIDE: We are in the most famous and the deepest underground church of the world. It's called The Chapel of Saint Kinga. Everything you may see around here was carved by three miners, amateurs.

NEWTON: Only three miners?

STRONJNY: Yes. It took them 67 years.

NEWTON: Everything I see here is salt?

STRONJNY: Reliefs, figures, altars, chandeliers made of salt crystals.

NEWTON: The floor?

STRONJNY: The floor also, which is one single block of salt 101 meters below the surface.

NEWTON: Salt as art? Well, the skepticism melts as you wind your way through this wonder of a mine shaft. It is a thing of beauty carved from the most basic of elements, rock salt.

For centuries, this was also a working salt mine, a real treasure for a Polish kingdom when salt was as valuable as oil.

This is a working mine, it produced salt for many, many years, centuries, really, why the art work? Why the sculptures, why? How did all this come to be?

STRONJNY: First, miners, they carved figures in chapels, in churches, on the ground. They wanted to have places to pray. Their work was dangerous. There were floods, there were fires. There were explosions of methane. So they wanted to pray.

So first, really, they carved figures in churches. We still have underground about 40 chapels.


STRONJNY: 40, exactly, 40.

NEWTON: This is a vast warren of artful beauty totally unexpected.

It's easy to forget when you're down here that this is salt, the kind that's usually next to the pepper.

And here is still another part of this mine, a place where we have an exclusive look see. But not before we don on some safety gear. Shop engineers here tell us of course they are working to keep the mine from caving in, but what really keeps them up at night?

STRONJNY: The most dangerous thing and the -- let's say the challenge which is still very important and dangerous is the water, fresh water.

NEWTON: Thousands of liters of water per day still seep into this mine.

During Communist days, many here worried about preservation, and more crucially, if the Soviets could really appreciate what this place means to Polish history.

Why do you think it's such an important place historically?

STRONJNY: Because it shows, I think, all parts of Polish history. They are all shown here in the mine.

NEWTON: Salt was as important to the Polish kingdom back then as oil or gold would be today. It sustained livelihoods, culture and faith. What's surprising is that it's all now perfectly reflected in the art and architecture of a place lovingly built, not by commissioned artists, but patriotic miners.

Paula Newton, CNN, Vialichka (ph), Poland.


CHIOU: And that is News Stream. But stay with CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.