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South Africa Hosts World Dignitaries for Mandela's Funeral; Today Begins 10 Days Of Mourning In South Africa; Protests Continue In Thailand Despite Call For New Elections; Protests Continue In Ukraine; French Troops Give CAR Rebels Ultimatum

Aired December 9, 2013 - 08:00   ET


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

Now Thailand's political turmoil, the prime minister calls for new elections, but protesters are still on the streets.

In Ukraine, barricades and barbed-wire in front of government buildings. Are there any signs of compromise in Kiev?

And an emotional week in South Africa to honor Nelson Mandela. We have special coverage live from Johannesburg.

Now in Thailand, protesters show no sign of backing down despite key concessions from the prime minister. Now the parliament has been dissolved, but tens of thousands are still on the streets. That is a situation in Bangkok this hour.

Now Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called for new elections, bowing to mass protests that have gripped the capital for weeks now. And despite that announcement, police say at least 100,000 people rallied in Bangkok today.

And on Sunday, opposition party members resigned from parliament saying that they could no longer work with the government.

Now let's get more now on the mood in Bangkok. Our Anna Coren joins us now live.

And Anna, protesters, they are still on the streets en masse. I mean, why? What do they want?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: they are out there en masse, thousands. And just to revise that figure, Kristie, we heard from officials a short time ago. And I believe there was something like 200,000 people, at least, taking to the streets in front of Government House today, extraordinary numbers, the largest protest to be held here in Bangkok since this all really ignited two weeks ago.

But as you say, the prime minister, she has said that parliament will be dissolved and that elections will be called. That election date set for early February. However, that does not appease the anti-government demonstrators, which are still out on the streets in their thousands. They want her to resign. They also want a neutral caretaker prime minister to be installed. And they also want a people's council put into place. That is the ultimate goal.

Now Kristie we know speaking to experts here in Thailand, they say that is unworkable.

So where does that leave the opposition? Well, we know that if elections were called -- or have been called, I should say. If elections take place on the 2nd of February, which is the plan, that Yingluck Shinawatra and her government will be reelected. That is the overwhelming feeling here in Thailand. They have the majority, much of that coming from the rural north.

So this is the problem facing the opposition, which is why, Kristie, there is going to be protracted. There is no resolution whatsoever. This is going to certainly drag on.

LU STOUT: Now as you said, the elections will be held by February 2.

But what is Yingluck Shinawatra's party's choice? Do they want her to run in the election?

COREN: Well, that's a very interesting question, because we did speak to a government source today that said, look, there is no guarantee that they will want Yingluck Shinawatra to run. However, we know that she is an extremely powerful person, her brother even more so, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted from power here in 2006 during a military coup. He has since been in exile living in Dubai.

But he really is the root of the problem. The demonstrators not only want the government out, the also want the Thaksin Shinawatra family, the Shinawatra family, really, their influence to be no longer here in Thailand. He's an extremely wealthy man. He's a billionaire. And they claim that he buys votes.

Now his supporters say that he has simply designed policies tailored to the rural poor, those who have benefited, really, from his policies while in government. However, if an election is called regardless of whether Yingluck Shinawatra is prime minister as the leader of that party it's more than likely, Kristie, that the Pheu Thai Party will come back into power.

LU STOUT: All right Anna Coren reporting live for us from Bangkok. Many thanks indeed for that.

Let's talk more now on talks with Shinawatra, the eldest brother of Yingluck Shinawatra. He has been a polarizing figure in Thai politics for the last decade. His allies have won every national election during that time. Now Thaksin became prime minister back in 2001 riding to power on a wave of populist support. And his policies won the love of the rural poor, but made Thailand's elite uneasy.

Now Thaksin was reelected by a landslide in 2005. The military staged a bloodless coup while he was out of the country in 2006, but the pro- Thaksin People's Power Party won the following election in 2007.

Now a court ruling later dissolved the PPP amid large yellow shirt demonstrations.

And then a parliamentary vote in 2008 put Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in office. Now he lost to Yingluck Shinawatra in the next general election following deadly street protests.

And Ms. Yingluck's spokesman talked to CNN earlier today and he explained why the government believes new elections are necessary.


TEERAT RATANASEVI, THAI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: We need to let the whole Thailand, whole Thai people decide, not just the group of protesters decide what's going on in Thailand, because we stand is we like to see Thailand to be the democratic country, not to give the power to any group of people, but we need to see that Thai people have the right to go out and work and make Thailand become the democratic elected country.


LU STOUT: Now meanwhile, the leader of the protest movement says the protesters want a new feature for Thailand without the Shinawatra family in power.


SUTHEP THAUGSUBAN, PROTEST LEADER (through translator): Today, everyone has done their best for Thailand. We have totally eliminated the Thaksin regime from Thailand today.


LU STOUT: And over the weekend, Thaksin Shinawatra posted a message on Facebook saying Thai politics are, quote, "cruel and cold-blooded." Now he also defended himself against accusations that he has not been loyal to the kind, saying this, quote, "I've been accused all along to the extent that I have to live in exile for seven years despite the fact that I want to serve the country, the people and the royal family."

Now it is the first time he has publicly addressed these ongoing protests.

Now South Africans have begun a national week of mourning for former president Nelson Mandela who died last Thursday aged 95. Now you're looking at live pictures outside Mandela's former house where people have been flocking to pay their respects to the iconic South African and to celebrate his life.

Now on Sunday across the country churches, synagogues and mosques all held prayer services. Now we're going to take you live now to a special joint sitting in South Africa's parliament and they right now, they are paying tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Now family members and president of South Africa Jacob Zuma are among those expected to speak during this session.

And on Tuesday, more than 90 world leaders are set to attend a huge memorial service. The U.S. President Barack Obama will be one of them along with some former U.S. presidents. And we'll show you a live picture of Air Force One momentarily.

Now the week of mourning, it will culminate in a state funeral service on Sunday, so lets cross live now to Errol Barnett. He is outside Mandela's former home in a suburb of Johannesburg. He joins us now. Errol, what tributes have you seen there?

ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, just look right next to me. What you're seeing now is another example of a musical tribute and homage to former president of South Africa. This group of men you see in front of me happen to be a musical troupe from Nigeria.

And we talk about various countries, you mentioned U.S. President Barack Obama on his way here in the next hour or so, perhaps Nigeria's president is on his way. (inaudible) is a (inaudible) as well as the Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

It is really a (inaudible). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Notably off the list is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reports saying that for financial reasons, for cost reasons he will not be making it to the first full memorial service we will see here in South African on Tuesday.

But indeed in this fourth day of 10 days of national mourning -- just look at the faces around me, a diverse South Africa, the new South Africa, a unified South Africa has come together to thank the man who they credit for bringing the country out of the dark days of apartheid and easing it into democracy when for it didn't look possible. It really could have gone the opposite direction. If you look back only 20 years ago, many people thought that this couldn't happen.

But 20 years later, South Africa is stable. It is peaceful to some -- by some measurements it is prosperous. And those you see around me have come to Nelson Mandela's home simply to say thanks and to pay respect to the man they credit for bringing this nation together.

You mentioned Tuesday's massive memorial event at FNB Stadium. It seats 90,000 plus. There are three overflow stadiums. And Kristie as a way of allowing as many South Africans as possible to attend this event, 41 trains will be transporting people for free, buses will be doing the same.

And Wednesday through Thursday, when Nelson Mandela's body will be lying in state at the union buildings in Pretoria, itself significant because it's the same location he was sown in as the first democratically elected and black president some 20 years ago, each morning Wednesday through Friday the government will facilitate a kind of procession along the streets of Pretoria to allow more South Africans like you see around me to come out show their love, show their appreciation, it all culminates this upcoming weekend with a final formal funeral at Mr. Mandela's ancestral homeland of Qunu.

So that's the outlook for the week. Those are some of the updated guests who will be here.

Some are saying it could be the largest gathering of world leaders in Africa ever all for one man, Nelson Mandela, who helped bring a nation together.

Now we've been looking at some of the various aspects of his life and his legacy. It's going to be a busy week for Nelson Mandela's remains. His body, you might say, will be as busy this week as he was in life. He famously had to retire from retirement after serving one term as president of this country and became an international icon for reconciliation peace and democracy.

Our Robyn Curnow has looked into the retirement -- from retirement of the late Nelson Mandela.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Retirement Mandela style. He left public office but still tried to change the world. His personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, has been by his side ever since the early days of his presidency, says their schedule was relentless.

ZELDA LE GRANGE, MANDELA PERSONAL ASSISTANT: We went probably about 12, 14 trips a year in those years after his retirement. So it was hard, it was traveling, you know, all the time.

CURNOW: Mostly, he was raising money for causes close to his heart: children and HIV/AIDS. But there were always strings attached, says n the first years we traveled nonstop. And then after his retirement, I refer to it as the crazy years and we just worked nonstop and traveled all over the world.

LE GRANGE: If you feel obliged to do certain things, you'll do it, but then you have to assume there's nothing like a free lunch. He would raise money from people and people would expect favors in return. If a company builds a school, they would like him to come and visit the company. So, I mean, everything it was like a snowball effect, you know, the pressure just got too much and that's when we said stop.

CURNOW: So, in 2004 Mandela retired from retirement.


CURNOW: These are some of his grandchildren. And they say their grandfather lived a simple life.

MBUSO MANDELA, GRANDSON: If you come into the house, you will see him in his chair, legs up, newspaper in his hand, always, or watching news.

MANDELA: I really love you.

CURNOW: But Mandela still liked the limelight.

LE GRANGE: The thing of Madiba is that he always enjoyed being connected to people. So if he had to stay at home and never see people, it would be the worst thing you could do to him.

CURNOW: Even though he withdrew from public life, the public had trouble letting him go.

MANDELA: What truly matters are the small acts of kindness.

CURNOW: At 90, defined by ill health and frequent hospitalizations, and his final months as the public held a vigil outside his Pretoria hospital, he remained resilient, fighting until the end.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria, South Africa.


BARNETT: And you can hear more celebrations around me, Kristie. (inaudible) we talk about Nelson Mandela's leadership style that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has confirmed his attendance to this week's events for Nelson Mandela. So, a man who has been in power 33 years compared to a man who stepped down after just one term.

Truly Nelson Mandela continues to stand out even in death -- Krisite.

LU STOUT: All right, Errol Barnett joining us live from outside the former home of Nelson Mandela. Raucous scene there as people pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and to celebrate his life and legacy as he will.

Now, as you heard after Nelson Mandela left public office, he devoted himself to humanitarian causes. And you can carry on his charitable work. We have links to his organizations on our website

Now, let's bring you live pictures.

U.S. President Barack Obama is right now boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews. He is en route to go to Johannesburg South Africa where he will attend that huge memorial service in Johannesburg to mark the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. Live pictures there.

The U.S. President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama will be there for this huge memorial event to take place Tuesday in South Africa along with 70 other dignitaries, global leaders from around the world, including three former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush will be there.

Live pictures there of Air Force One. U.S. President Barack Obama will soon begin his journey to Johannesburg to remember Nelson Mandela.

Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up this hour, in the war torn Central African Republic, we go on patrol with French Troops trying to calm the violence there.

Also ahead, protesters in Ukraine tear down a symbol of Russia. And they want their government out. We'll give you an update from Kiev.

And accused of double dealing, North Korea confirms that a once powerful uncle of leader Kim Jung un has been dismissed.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now militants in the Central African Republic are facing an ultimatum right now. They're being told to hand over their weapons by Monday or French troops say that they will start disarming them by force.

Now the UN-backed contingent from France began arriving in the capital Bangui on Saturday as well as the northern city of Bossangoa.

Now violence between Christian and Muslim groups in the Central African Republic has left hundreds of people dead.

Now a temporary cease-fire over the weekend allowed aid agencies to assess the work ahead.

Now the French troops are there to restore order so the country can hold democratic elections.

Now Nima Ebagir has been in the war torn city of Bossangoa for the last two days. She witnessed the arrival of the French firsthand. Let's go to her now live.

And Nima, French soldiers, they are there on the ground. What is the latest on their attempt to restore order?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far it's calm, tense, but the calm is holding. Most of the militia here have seen the extent of the armaments that the French have been carrying. We saw a lot of it.

It was never really the plan for them to come up north this quickly. The French defense ministry has said that predominately there -- what they were looking at was stabilizing the capital first and foremost and then slowly spreading out into the region.

But circumstances here in Bossangoa very much forced their hand. We had days of violent retributive clashes between Muslims and Christians here. One of the camps, it doubled in just two days of fighting. It went from about 3,000 people to about 8,000 people.

And the African peacekeepers, whose camp we're in right now, they were over -- they were holding the line, but they were overstretched and there was a genuine concern that these refugee camps could be overrun in revenge by those two communities.

So, for the French it was a straight 14 hour drive from Bangui. We saw some of them when they were arriving in some of the soft tops. You could really see what that effort had taken out of them.

And all the while, French jets were flying really low overhead.

The message they were sending that we're here, we're armed and we're serious.

For now, (inaudible) are being heard by the militias, but we're not talking about groups that have very defined structures of command. That is the worry.

They had a midday local time deadline. They've slightly slipped over that, but they're making all the right noises. We've been seeing some of the militias driving around looking like they're moving towards their containment areas. But nothing is for certain. There have been clashes reported in the capital Bangui at the airport between French soldiers and militiamen there.

So, for a lot of the civilians, they're optimistic, but they're also very, very watchful, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Nima Elbagir joining us live from the Central Africa Republic. Thank you very much indeed for your reporting there, Nima.

Now, to a significant development in online surveillance and our privacy. Now eight of America's biggest tech companies, they have united to urge the government to reform its surveillance activities. And here they are, some of them bitter rivals, but now all united for a common cause. They want governments to be more transparent about their actions and for them to collect less data.

In a joint letter to the U.S. President Barack Obama, they said this, quote, "this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual. Now this undermines the freedoms we all cherish." And it adds, "it is time for change."

Now this is a start. But playing devil's advocate, it's only a start. Some companies are conspicuous by their absence. There aren't any telecom companies, the very people who we rely on for communication who could easily track our every move online.

And what about Amazon and Cisco, leaders in cloud computer?

Or finance companies like eBay or PayPal and credit card providers that know so much about what we do and buy online.

Of course, they may join the so-called coalition in the future, but for now it's just these eight who are leading the charge.

You're watching news Stream. Still ahead, a top official dismissed and a shakeup in the world's most secretive regime. More on what's happening inside North Korea coming up.


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

And right here, this is a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. Now we've already updated you on the political tension in Thailand, despite the prime minister's call for new elections. Now later, we'll take you live to Kiev where protesters are blocking government offices.

But now let's turn to North Korea. Now North Korea's state news agency has confirmed reports that the uncle of the regime's leader has been dismissed from office. Now Jang Sung-taek was considered one of the most powerful men in the regime, second only to leader Kim Jong un. So what did he do to rouse the ire of his nephew? Paula Hancocks reports.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not just the announcement of a political shakeup, this unprecedented statement from North Korea shows a dramatic fall from grace for one of the most powerful men in the country.

Kim Jong un's uncle Jang Sung-taek was expelled from the ruling Worker's Party. This image from state run television shows him seemingly being escorted out of a meeting by military personnel.

Jang and his allies are accused by Kim Jong un of trying to build their own powerbase within the party and selling of the country's resources at cheap prices, threatening North Korea's economic development.

Jang, who was often seen side by side with Kim Jong un is also accused of womanizing, using drugs, gambling and eating at expensive restaurants.

Experts say that this could be the end of a consolidation of power by Kim Jong un and a very public warning to anyone thinking of challenging that power.

Others believe if Kim Jong un's authority was complete, he would have no need to get rid of Jang so publicly.

But observers agree that this is the biggest upheaval in the power structure of the country since Kim Jong un took power in December 2011.

It's not known at this point where Jang Sung-taek is.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


LU STOUT: And now an update on the 85-year-old American man who is detained in North Korea. Now Merrill Newman arrived back on U.S. soil over the weekend after being free from North Korea where he was held for weeks. The Korean war veteran told California's Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper that he was treated well in custody. And as for that apology letter that North Korea claimed that he wrote, well Newman apparently said it was clear that the letter was not written by a native English speaker like him.

Now just ahead here on News Stream, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians brave freezing temperatures to protest against the government and aim a symbolic gesture at Russia.


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

Now officials in Thailand say some 200,000 protesters have been on the streets of Bangkok on Monday. Now that is the largest demonstration we have seen since these anti-government protests began.

Now the protests continue despite concessions from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who is dissolving parliament and calling for new elections for early February.

Now South Africans are gathering outside the home of Nelson Mandela to celebrate and pay tribute to his life. Now this is the scene there in Johannesburg right now.

Now meanwhile, more than 90 world leaders are on their way to South Africa for Mandela's memorial service. U.S. President Barack Obama boarded Air Force One just a short time ago.

In Ukraine's capital, meanwhile, protesters are still on the streets a day after they pulled down and demolished a statue of Vladimir Lenin. Now the demonstrators are demanding their government step down and want closer ties to the EU. Many of the protesters accuse Russia of economically bullying Ukraine into backing away from a European trade deal.

Now we can cross live to Kiev now and go straight to our Diana Magnay. And Diana, what kind of protest action have you seen there today?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm standing overlooking the (inaudible) Independence Square. It's difficult to give you an estimate of the number of people, it's in the sort of single thousands. But the atmosphere is quite cheerful. You're seeing speeches on the stage, a lot of cheering.

And as we've seen over the past, you know, few weeks of this protest, around the outskirts of the square you have these barricades that have been put up and riot police standing alongside the barricades, the protesters there helping people come in, come out. And inside the square, tents that have been put up, there are sort of oil vats with fires in them where people are warming themselves. There are places for coffee.

You know, so the atmosphere is quite cheerful. But as we saw from the message that Yulia Tymoshenko, the imprisoned opposition leader said yesterday, she told the protesters that they were in this for the long haul and that the choice they were making was really between a descent into a dictatorship or a move towards greater liberalization, democracy which is the choice of Europe which these protesters are here demonstrating for.

LU STOUT: Yulia Tymoshenko telling the protesters that they're in it for the long haul.

I wanted to ask you, Diana, about that event on Sunday. The pulling down of that statue of Vladimir Lenin, a hugely symbolic and dramatic moment. Do you think that reinvigorated the protest movement? How is that event interpreted there in Kiev?

MAGNAY: Well, it's definitely one of those events that then reverberates around the world, because of the symbolism of that moment. And the cheering when that statue came down was huge amongst the protesters.

Obviously Lenin symbolizes for these people the Soviet Union. And you'll hear from protesters here that they fear that Yanukovych and the Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to bring Ukraine back into the sort of dark ages, as they see it, into a form of Soviet Union. So for them, toppling that Lenin statue was very important.

That said, the man statues of Lenin have been removed from the streets of Kiev over the years. This was not, you know, the biggest or the largest of them. But of course a moment that resonated here and across the social media around the world, the toppling of that statue.

LU STOUT: Yeah, indeed.

Diana Magnay joining us live from Kiev, thank you very much for that update.

Now in Singapore, hundreds of people have rioted in the city-state's Indian district. It appears the be the city-state's worst outbreak of violence in Years.

Now it began after a bus struck and killed an Indian worker. And police units responding to the disturbance, they were attacked by a growing crowd.

Now police eventually brought the riot under control and then made a number of arrests.

Now let's turn back to South Africa. As we saw earlier, large crowds have been paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. And there will be memorial ceremonies this week. And on Sunday, he will be laid to rest.

Errol Barnett is in Johannesburg. Let's check in with him once again. And Errol, people continue to gather outside the home of Nelson Mandela where you are. Set the scene for us.

BARNETT: Absolutely, Kristie.

It's just a sense of euphoria here for a country who feels that this one man, Nelson Mandela, sacrificed his freedom, sacrificed time with his family all to bring this country together and to introduce democracy and justice.

Just in the past few hours while I've been here this morning, we've seen various bands come through playing music, people singing, groups young and old of all demographics showing appreciation for Nelson Mandela. We also saw his eldest grandson who would be the next male heir in the Mandela bloodline, Mandla Mandela, come here and join in and dance with a brass band that was performing here just a few hours ago.

You may remember over the summer of a June-July months when there was a bit of a family dispute over Nelson Mandela's final resting place, Mandla being from the chief of Mvezo, which is where Nelson Mandela was born, saying he had -- he had the authority to say where Nelson Mandela's final resting place would be, the rest of the family saying, no, they wanted to be included.

The Qunu group won out. That is where Nelson Mandela's formal funeral will be on Sunday, but not before this entire country turns out to bid farewell.

U.S. President Barack Obama, as you mentioned earlier, already on his way with First Lady Michelle Obama in addition to a few former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carters.

Let's not forget other international leaders on their way. The official tally 91 sitting heads of state. This very well could be the largest gathering of world leaders on the African continent ever.

It's a massive logistical challenge for the government in the days ahead. Tomorrow's event on Tuesday is the first memorial service where we will finally see the first formal event in this country. And that receives Nelson Mandela's body lying in state throughout the week. And his funeral, as I say, on Sunday.

I spoke to one woman earlier, a woman Ralisha (ph) about how she feels South Africa is moving towards the future without Nelson Mandela. Listen to what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Mandela is a great inspiration to both myself and my family. And we are truly blessed to be South Africans at the moment. And although this is such a sad moment that we are loss of our president, we are blessed to have had him and his change in our country. And it's going to be a great change for our kids as well. So truly a blessing.

BARNETT: I mean, there are a number of racial segregation in this country was intense. It was brutal. Today, though, 20 years after Nelson Mandela's, you know, ascent to the presidency there are still divisions in the country. They seem to be more economic. Where do you feel your country is heading now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are divisions, but we are working on them. It's a very positive route that the people of South Africa are taking. And the younger generations are more positive. And they are working at harder pace towards it. And there are less racists, something like that. So it's a brighter future.


BARNETT: Now, those born after the end of apartheid in this country are called the Born Frees, those who didn't know the injustices of apartheid.

David McKenzie saw on Sunday during a national day of prayer there are those here in this country who remember it all too well. Take a look at David's report.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At churches and synagogues and mosques throughout South Africa it's an official day of remembrance for Nelson Mandela. And that's perhaps no more poignant than here at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church. And the bullet holes and cracks in the windows from past struggles are a testament to that.

Regina Mundi was the center of the anti-apartheid struggle here in Soweto. Most famously on June 16, 1976 when young students rebelled against the education system and were fired upon by police. They streamed throughout these neighborhoods and sought refuge in this church.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For us to actually remember a great man like Nelson Mandela, it's one of the great churches that have seen black people through their struggle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) was a great leader. He is someone that we can all learn from. Everything that he's done for us South Africans and everyone else around the world, us children can learn from him, can learn a lot from him.

MCKENZIE: This priest said in his sermon that he hopes that Mandela wasn't a one of a kind. He's asking his flock to say in the future, maybe another Madiba, another Mandela can rise from South Africa and secure the peaceful prosperity of this country for years to come.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


BARNETT: And if you can hear me over the music, I can say that South Africa's racial problems (inaudible) they were during apartheid, but there are major inequalities in this country (inaudible). We'll let the music play as well as CNN's continuing coverage of the life and death of Nelson Mandela goes on. We'll be back after this short break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

This month in our "Art of Movement" segment, we are exploring the world of physical theater where stories are told through gesture and expression. Now Nick Glass headed to Paris to meet a man many consider the greatest clown of our time to find out how his award-winning show has managed to captivate audiences around the world.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On a cold November morning, Slava Polunin takes his bed boat to saunter down the river at his home outside Paris. It seems that an entirely natural mode of transport for a clown.

SLAVA POLUNIN, CLOWN (subtitles): A clown inspires people to live. As Fellini said, a true clown makes a washerwoman wash, a drunkard drink and a painter paint.

GLASS: Slava Polunin is the world's supreme clown. He revolutionized the art form, moving it out of the circus and onto the stage, becoming a household name in native Russia as he did so. Slava's snow show has won an Olivier Award and toured over 50 countries.

BRADFORD WEST, CLOWN, SLAVA'S SNOWSHOW: When I saw Slava's Snow Show I decided to be a clown. My image of clown was just, you know, in a circus. (SINGING)

And then when I saw this show and I saw people moving on stage so expressively and so economically as well I knew I had found, you know, my sort of form of art that I had been looking for.

GLASS: Slava started clowning as a child in the Soviet Union after seeing Charlie Chaplin as a kid in 1921. Later, on state television in the 1970s, he used his wordless clowning to mock the authorities without falling foul of draconian censorship.

POLUNIN: At the beginning of my career it was like I was in a childhood phase of clowning. My clowning was full of movement. I moved as if I were a child when you were full of so much energy that you think you could jump to the sky.

Today, my perception of clowning is that you should be able to move just one centimeter and make the audience react as if you moved an entire mountain.

GLASS: Slava became a minimalist bringing back poetry into clowning, somehow lost in the crude of buffoonery of the circus. Today, his home is a dreamlight surreal world feeding both his imagination and his performances.

POLUNIN: In order to learn how to move my body, I had to study all systems of the world. For example, butoh dance, a contemporary Japanese dance of death. I studied rock 'n' roll to learn how energy captivates us. I mastered tango as well, the most passionate dance in the world. I studied the various poses of Disney cartoon characters as they create the most comprehensive system of how to transition from one pose to the next.

Our body is an excellent instrument like a piano or a violin if you use it well.

GLASS: Modifications are needed when Slava's Snowshow is on tour. American audience expects more pace, Spanish more passion, French more poetry, yet movement -- fast, slow, lyrical or frenzied remains the universal language.

POLUNIN: Even if my legs stopped moving, I would still roll myself onto stage in a wheelchair and perform just using my arms and continue to inspire.


BARNETT: We are live in Johannesburg, South Africa as the entire nation comes out to pay respects for their former president, the man known as Madiba. Our continuing coverage goes on after this break as we hear from those close to him and how they're dealing with his passing. I'm Errol Barnett in South Africa. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream.

Now in the United States, an ice storm is causing travel havoc, but is the worst yet to come? Let's get the forecast with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. I think we're starting to see a little bit of that light at the end of the tunnel as far as that frozen precipitation goes across many parts of the eastern U.S., which has been the latest ones to get in on the action here with this very nasty, nasty winter weather.

These are some of the current temperatures right now. I want to show you how cold it is even back over here as we head over into portions of the Midwest. You know, it's colder -- excuse me, warmer in Anchorage, Alaska right now than it is in St. Louis. So that kind of gives you an idea of these very -- these extremely cold conditions that we continue to see.

Dallas right now at zero. They could have some freezing fog again today.

And then back over here as we head over toward the east coast, New York City and Washington, D.C. right at 1 degree right now, just above freezing.

Let me go ahead and show you some of the videos, though, of all of this nasty weather that we've experiencing. This is the latest video that came in. And this is from Yonkers in New York. And car pileup. Talk about a pileup, huh, those cars really do appear to be one on top of the other. Frozen highway. You know, you can't stop and they couldn't stop. And in many cases, you can see some very serious, serious accidents from this.

Apparently from this particular event, there were no life threatening injuries, even though there were some injuries reported. The highway since then has been reopened. But how scary does that look?

Let's go ahead and look at another pictures, this one from Wisconsin. And here, also, the ice and the snow and of course the inability to stop vehicles, very serious car accident in this part of the United States as well. And this has been repeated over and over and over.

So anyone that was traveling across that eastern -- central to eastern portion of the U.S. was running into situations like this, thought traveling by car -- well, you know what it's too dangerous. We know there's ice and snow on the road. Maybe you want to fly? Well, that was pretty difficult too.

Our next piece of video shows us all of the hundreds and hundreds -- actually there were several thousand flights that were canceled across the country over the weekend, because of this nasty weather that continues to plague much of the region.

And, you know, it's not all fun and games, but sometimes the games do go on. And these are pictures from the National Football League.

Look at these games, Kristie. I know Ravi (ph) our producer would be loving these right now. This is from Philadelphia. The -- you know, these are some of the most amazing pictures when you see these tackles happening right into the snow banks.

You know, they'll play football no matter what it's doing outside, except for maybe lightning I think is the only reason they would go indoors.

And these are some definitely some diehard fans to just be out there.

But anyway, come back over to the weather map. Those pictures are pretty amazing.

I want to show you what we can expect. This is what we have now. These are some of the snowfall totals that we had over the last couple of days. It's still pretty significant stuff. Washington, D.C. just had 3 centimeters. The concern for D.C. is the possibility of from freezing rain. And basically what that is, the raindrops fall out of the sky and then the ground is frozen so they freeze on contact. And they cause a layer of ice like what we had in Dallas remember last week and earlier over the weekend, also across other parts of the U.S.

But it looks like it just might be a very cold rain falling, because the temperatures have managed to stay just above freezing. Notice the snow across the Great Lakes and all the way back over toward the east.

And this is what Dallas could have, and that's freezing fog, which is pretty much the same thing, Kristie, except that droplet, of course, much, much smaller is the fog. It's liquid, but when it touches anything like a tree or grass or, you know, anything like that it will turn into ice immediately like in that movie when the little kid, remember, puts the tongue on the frozen -- remember in A Christmas Story.

LU STOUT: Yes, A Christmas Story.

RAMOS: That's what happens.

LU STOUT: That's right, it is a holiday classic.

RAMOS: Liquid on the tongue and then the pole is frozen and that's why the tongue -- so same thing right over here, except of course with water. Best explanation I could come up with.

LU STOUT: And thank you so much for that holiday favorite shoutout during your weather segment, much appreciated.

And that image behind you of the freezing fog. That's absolutely stunning. Yeah.

Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now before we go, let's get one more update on the commemorations that are taking place in South Africa this week to honor Nelson Mandela. Now he passed away last Thursday and our Errol Barnett is in Johannesburg outside Mandela's house. He joins us once again live.

And Errol, the people behind you, they are there to mourn, but also to celebrate the life of Mandela. What have you seen and heard?

BARNETT: Precisely. We've seen people showing love and respect to one another, showing love and respect to the man they credit for bringing an end to the racist apartheid regime, which threatened to tear this country apart for decades, particularly the 1980s after the international community placed sanctions on this country truly forcing it to allow ANC members, that's Nelson Mandela's party, to be freed and to allow the country to choose their leaders. They would ultimately choose Nelson Mandela, an icon who passed Thursday late in the evening just left of where I am in his home.

At this moment, we know that his wife -- I should say the late president's wife Graca Machel has been receiving guests in accordance with tradition within the household. A number of people have come and gone, including Nelson Mandela's oldest grandson -- his oldest male heir Mandla Mandela.

We've also been able to speak, these past few hours, with some of those closest to Nelson Mandela, like his personal assistant. Robyn Curnow sat down with her and had this exchange to see how she's holding up since the passing of her boss.


LE GRANGE: It's obviously it's sad, there's sadness in the house. But there is also definitely I have to say a undertone of celebration almost, I want to say. People are celebrating Madiba's life. They are grateful. People are coming together, people who haven't seen each other for years.

So that's the incredible thing about Madiba it's bringing people together again even in his death.

CURNOW: He was suffering, I understand, quite a lot in those last few months. I mean, is there a sense of relief perhaps is the wrong word that he's at least free from that.

LE GRANGE: Yes, well you know what Mrs. Machel and the family made sure that he wasn't in any pain through the doctors, of course, and he wasn't suffering. But, you know, Madiba was such an independent person, he was such a proud person that it must have been difficult for him. So it is in a way -- it is letting go -- it had to come at some point, yes.

CURNOW: What was it like when you saw him for the last time? Did you know you were saying good-bye?

LE GRANGE: At the time I didn't. But I made sure that I said the things that needed to be said.

CURNOW: Do you think he heard you?


CURNOW: What did you say?

LE GRANGE: I told him I loved him.

CURNOW: Was it hard seeing him like that?



BARNETT: And Kristie, I can tell you that being here today over the past few days you come across every now and then someone who has had the great fortune of meeting the late Nelson Mandela. I met one South African earlier who told me he had quite a casual calm and humble exchange with the man who he saw as such a towering figure. And one joke, which I recall today is when Nelson Mandela used his sense of humor when he met the Spice Girls, of all people, back in 1997 saying that it was a big moment for him and that it was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Of course, using a bit of his humor with the Spice Girls just one aspect of great man who this country is coming together to send off.

Truly it will take all of South Africa to make this next week run smoothly, all of them coming together for the man they credit for bringing them together -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Errol Barnett joining us live from outside the former home of Nelson Mandela, thank you.

And you can find complete coverage of Mandela's life and legacy right here on our website. Among other things, there is a fascinating report on London's anti-apartheid movement and this photo gallery of Nelson Mandela through the years. You could find it all at

And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.