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NEWS STREAM

Ariel Sharon Laid To Rest; Russian Gays Live In Secret; Upsets In The Women's Bracket On Opening Day Of Australian Open; South Korean President Says She's Willing To Meet Kim Jong un; Golden Globes Recap

Aired January 13, 2014 - 8:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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

Now Bangkok paralyzed as anti-government protesters camp out at some of the Thai capital's busiest intersections.

South Korea's president speaks to CNN and says she is still willing to meet Kim Jong un.

And American Hustle wins big at the Golden Globes.

But first, all this hour we're going to keep an eye on the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The man known as the bulldozer died on Saturday after eight years in a coma.

Right now you're looking at live pictures of the military funeral. It's taking place at his family ranch near the Negev Desert where he has been laid to rest next to his wife.

Now earlier his casket stopped off in the Israeli town of Latrun where in 1948 he was wounded during Israel's war of independence.

Now Sharon was a controversial figure in Middle Eastern politics, but a man who had a towering role in the history of Israel. We'll have more live from Israel in just a few minutes.

But now to Thailand and a major protest that organizers are calling the Bangkok shutdown. It is a demonstration so big it has caused Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to call a meeting to discuss possibly postponing next month's elections.

Now some 50,000 people, if not more, have taken to the streets blocking roads and surrounding government buildings.

Now they are renewing demands for the prime minister to step down.

Now the group organizing the protest calls itself the People's Democratic Reform Committee. It wants the demonstration to last a whole month and basically paralyze Bangkok.

Now protesters have laid siege to the seven major intersections in the capital. They include areas that are very popular with tourists, including Limpini Park (ph), which attracts both local and foreign visitors.

Now a major shopping destination is around Rasaprasong (ph) intersection. It's home to the Central World Mall, the largest in all of Thailand, and major hotels including the Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, and Intercontinental are also in that area.

Now last month, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament and called for early elections in February in an effort to appease the protesters. But they want much more.

Now Saima Mohsin joins us live from Bangkok. And Saima, what protest action have you seen today?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the morning started out with crowds thronging these seven major intersections as you explained where they were trying to come together, to block access into the capital, into the capital of Thailand.

And we started with around 50,000 people by midday.

This evening, the latest figures we're getting are around 100,000 people have thronged the streets to come out and show their disliking for this government, a government they believe to be corrupt. And they're not willing to negotiate with this government no matter how this government seems to be trying.

And so far the protests have remained peaceful, a carnival-like atmosphere, a lot of people almost celebrating their togetherness, they're coming together -- what a lot of people have said is, look, this is really tough for us to come out of our homes, to travel from around the country to put up a tent city, but they are speaking as one. They all, at least these people here in the center of Bangkok, want this government ousted. They don't want to see this election going ahead. They want reform before election. That's their mantra, if you like, they want to see a non-elected group of people come together to preside over governing Thailand instead of this current government, a government that they see has far too long been connected to the Shinawatra family, not just Yingluck Shinawatra, but her brother Tahksin Shinawatra who was ousted in 2006 coup.

So these people say they're here to stay. And as you can see in these pictures, they've taken over much of these key sections of Bangkok, which has actually meant that streets like the one I'm standing on right now, because we've come away from those crowds, are pretty quiet. Much more quiet than we'd normally see.

So within Bangkok, although there is a shutdown, so to speak, people can get around quite easily. And it seems that actually people have prepared for today and perhaps the coming days or weeks this protest will go on for. A lot of people taking to motorbike, taxis, using the public transport that is still running, whether it be the sky train or buses and also making their own arrangements as to perhaps work from home.

And also a lot of schools were shut down, which meant that people didn't have to come in to the center of Bangkok -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Up to 100,000 people taking part in this Bangkok shutdown today. They have issued their demands very clearly.

Now Saima, how is the government responding? And what is the government trying to do to maintain law and order?

MOHSIN: Well, let's take the law and order situation first, Kristie. 20,000 security personnel are believed to have been deployed across the capital. We didn't see much of that presence, to be honest, whether they were low visibility or plain clothes, we don't know. But certainly it has been peaceful.

And I suspect that plan was to avoid any confrontation. Incidentally, there are of course pro-government people, supporters of this current government as well. They've also stayed away from these areas, largely a lot of them are actually from outside Bangkok. So you have the suburbs or farther afield in the north of Thailand. And so to avoid any kind of confrontation, they've come out to show their support, but in different areas.

So there are a couple of flash points and hot spots, we're told, by the national security chief. But so far things seem to be calm.

Now as far as the government is concerned, of course it's already tried to appease the anti-government protesters by calling this election, by saying, hey, OK, you're not happy with us. We'll have an election.

But these people, they don't want an election, they want this government out immediately. And they want their own setup in place that they approve of --Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Saima Mohsin joining us live from Bangkok, thank you.

Now let's return now to the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. A military funeral is underway at his family's ranch in the desert region of the Negev.

Earlier, a state memorial service took place outside the Israeli parliament building, the Knesset, in Jerusalem.

Sharon died on Saturday after eight years in a coma. He was 85.

Let's go live to Jerusalem right now. And we're joined by our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman. And Ben, what tributes have you heard so far today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, what we heard beginning 9:30 this morning drew some time outside the Knesset was first of all Israeli President Shimon Perez, 90 years old, five years Ariel Sharon's senior talking about going back to the early 1950s when they first met when Sharon was a young commander in the Israeli army.

Sharon said that -- or rather Perez said that Israel put its head on Sharon's shoulders at the most critical times in its history. Of course, referring mostly to his military career that spanned decades.

Then we heard from U.S. President Joe Biden who talked about knowing Sharon for decades when he was a young senator of the United States meeting with him. He talked about Sharon filling the room, having a command of presence that really impressed Biden when he was a young senator.

We heard from the Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu who pointed out that there were times when Sharon did not agree with him and he did not agree with Sharon, but on the big issues they always saw eye to eye.

And we also heard from former British prime minister Tony Blair who is currently the head of the Mideast Quartet also talking about how Sharon sometimes left some debris in his wake, but was somebody who was always focused on the long-term welfare of Israel, the state and its security -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Has security been a major concern today?

WEDEMAN: It has, in fact. Keep in mind that the Sycamore Ranch where the funeral is taking place right now is just 7 kilometers, four-and-a-half miles away from the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this morning, according to the Israeli police, two rockets were fired from Gaza. They didn't land in Israel, but because of the possibility of missile fire, Israel has activated its so-called Iron Dome anti-missile system and has deployed hundreds of police in the area -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And as you look at these live pictures of the military funeral underway for Ariel Sharon, a question about his leadership. Earlier, at the official memorial, we heard from the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. He called Sharon a complex individual who, in his words, stirred strong opinions from everyone.

And, Ben, your thoughts on that? I mean, Ariel Sharon, he polarized opinion. He was a divisive figure, wasn't he?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly over the years, especially during the, for instance, the 70s and the 80s he was somebody who for instance for the United States was a cause of concern. He was, of course, the architect of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He was found indirectly responsible for not doing enough to present -- prevent the Sabra and Shatila massacres that left, according to some accounts, as many as 2,000 Palestinians dead, killed by members of the Christian Phalangist or Kataeb militia at the time, but they were conducting their operations in those camps at a time when Israel had full control of West Beirut.

And therefore, for the United States he was a real cause for concern. He was seen as sort of a bomb in the Mideast china shop. And it really wasn't until 2005 when he made the admittedly difficult decision to unilaterally pull out from the Gaza Strip, pull out as many as 8,000 Israeli settlers and troops that sort of his -- the perception of Sharon really changed among western leaders and certainly in the United States.

LU STOUT: He was indeed a divisive figure. Ben Wedeman reporting live as, again, we look at these live pictures of the military funeral underway for former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Ben Wedeman, thank you.

Now you are watching News Stream. And coming up next, Dennis Rodman, he has left North Korea but that doesn't mean he's out of the spotlight. We will tell you what sparked an emotional reaction from the basketball player earlier today.

And we will hear what South Korea's president says about the North's leader. Could a meeting with Kim Jong un be in the cards?

Also ahead, fears that al Qaeda is on the rise once again in Iraq. We'll hear from the U.S. marines who fought to bring them down one decade ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're looking at live pictures of the military funeral for the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. And this is taking place at the family ranch near the Negev Desert.

Now Sharon has been laid to rest there next to his wife.

Earlier today, a memorial ceremony took place outside the parliament buildings in Jerusalem. Mr. Sharon died on Saturday after eight years in a coma. He was 85.

Now, Dennis Rodman made an emotional public apology after arriving at the Beijing airport today. The former basketball star said that he was sorry for certain situations inside North Korea. But he insisted he has done nothing wrong.

Now he is on his way home to the U.S. after that controversial trip to Pyongyang to play basketball with the national team.

Now Karl Penhaul was in Beijing when Rodman touched down.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Basketball's bad boy, Dennis Rodman, is back from North Korea, back to face the music.

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'm just very happy for the fact that we are actually trying to do something good for the world. And that's what I'm happy about. And I'm just sad for the fact that everyone is trying to break this down into pressure on me. And I don't know why. I haven't done anything wrong. I mean, literally, nothing wrong. I'm sorry for what's going on in North Korea, about certain situations. I'm not God. I'm not an ambassador. I'm no one.

PENHAUL: When Dennis Rodman comes to the arrival hall, he'll be stepping into a sea of controversy. He's criticized for statements he made about imprisoned American missionary, Kenneth Bae, who has been accused of taking payment from the North Korean authorities. He's been ridiculed for singing happy birthday to Kim Jong-Un. (SHOUTING)

PENHAUL: Pandemonium with the press, travelers still trying to come out. Press gathered around both doors to see Rodman as he comes through. And now Rodman's security team are worried about the situation here. They're calling on the Chinese to do their job and to push the press back. Right now, there is no sign of that.

RODMAN: I'm sorry about all the people and what's going on. I'm sorry. I'm not the president. I'm not an ambassador. I'm Dennis Rodman, just an individual, just showing the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day. I would love to see -- I would love to see --

(CROSSTALK)

PENHAUL: As you can see, it's chaos here. More media today than any other day. Chinese police are in the middle there. Rodman's personal security team are in the middle there. He's just on the other side, unsure how he's going to get out right now.

(SHOUTING)

PENHAUL: He's scheduled to fly back to the U.S. sometime later Monday.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Beijing Airport.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now tensions remain high on the Korean Peninsula. Last month, South Korea's president said the North Korean leader was running a reign of terror. But an interview with CNN, the president says that she is willing to meet North Korea's secretive leader.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARK GEUN-HYE, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): The purging and execution of Jiang Sung-taek has come across as a huge shock to the Korean people as well as the world. North Korea has always been very unpredictable, but the level of unpredictability has in fact exacerbated.

I'm concerned about deepening volatility in the Korean peninsula and northeast Asian region.

With regards to meeting with the North Korean leader, when the need arises, I'm of course open to meeting with him. But now we see growing uncertainty and unpredictability here, so it is time when we put priority into robust national security and to make sure we can safeguard the well- being of the Korean people.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now with the execution of his uncle, in your opinion, is this the action of a man who has a firm grip of North Korea or is this the action of a man who is still struggling to take control of this country?

GUEN-HYE (through translator): I think it's possible that it can be indicative of both scenarios. Of course, no one knows with certainty what is going on in North Korea. Indeed, the purging temporarily strengthens Kim Jong un's power, but it can also signal greater vulnerability in the system.

So what is important for us is to wait and see and make sure that we have thorough preparations in place and to brace for every eventuality.

HANCOCKS: Your defense minister recently warned that there could be a possible provocation from Pyongyang between January and March, very specific time scale. How serious and how real is this current threat?

GUEN-HYE (through translator): Those assessments are not just made at home, but also internationally by experts all of which speak to the gravity of the situation.

One thing that is very clear is that any provocation will be met very firmly. I cannot be clearer about that.

HANCOCKS: And looking towards one of your closest neighbors, at least geographically, Japan, you haven't met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since both of you took power. There are historical issues. There are territorial disputes. But recently Mr. Abe did visit the very controversial Yasakuni Shrine where war criminals are enshrined knowing what the negative reaction would be from China and from South Korea. What does this tell you about Mr. Abe's attitude towards South Korea?

GUEN-HYE (through translator): With regards to Japan, I hope to move towards future-oriented relationship with Japan based on current understanding of history. In fact, it has been my desire to leave to my future generations a legacy of friendship and a legacy of being able to work together.

Indeed, we were able to move forward with Korea's relationship with Japan over the years, because Japanese political leaders have clearly stated through the Muryama (ph) as well as the Kona (ph) statement their current understanding of history and this has allowed us to move our relationship forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ?

LU STOUT: When President Park took office last year, she warned that antagonistic moves by the north could further destabilize rocky relations. And both countries have made statements recently calling for improved diplomatic ties.

Now on Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama is set to announce reforms he plans to make at the National Security Agency. As Erin McPike tells us, the president is under pressure to make changes at a spying agency that many believe has gone too far.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trying to end a worldwide uproar over NSA spying, President Obama will unveil how he'll keep his promise to reform government surveillance programs.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We may have to refine this further to give people confidence. And I'm going to be working very hard on doing that. And we have to provide more confidence to the international community.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: We can find better balance, end mass surveillance.

MCPIKE: The president has suffered months of blowbacks since Edward Snowden's revelations last summer that the NSA has been collecting personal phone records on every American and spying on world leaders including allies like Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel. He's called in experts, tech company leaders and in the past few days, key members of Congress.

SEN. MARK UDALL (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: There were many members of Congress there both house and the Senate that cover ideological spectrum who urged him to throttle back the collection of metadata on a bulk level. I hope he listens.

MCPIKE: He is deciding whether to accept recommendations from an independent review commission that include storing personal data outside the government with a private third party, possibly phone companies, and require government get a judge to approve access. A public advocate to represent Americans privacy rights when those decisions get made and that spying on foreign leaders get high-level approval.

PETER SWIRE, NSA REVIEW GROUP: We have many countries of common interest still having a more thorough process to really look through that and don't do it just because there's an opportunity to do it.

MCPIKE: Balancing security and privacy is a tricky political question and critics are bound to be unsatisfied.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: We can continue to refer to ourselves as a quote, unquote, "free country" when the United States government is collecting information on virtually every telephone call made in America, getting into people's e-mails, focusing on the websites that certain people are visiting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)?

LU STOUT: Now still ahead here on News Stream, getting hot under the collar in Melbourne, the Australian Open is up and running and with it comes the heat wave. We'll have all the action from day one when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now tennis stars are hitting the courts in the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open. Temperatures are set to skyrocket later in the week with a heat wave forecast for the host city Melbourne.

Now on day one of the tournament, the weather was manageable. But a couple of top 10 women seats have already succumbed to the soaring temperatures. Amanda Davies is at CNN London. She joins us now.

And Amanda, some pretty big names already out.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, very much the case, Kristie. This is of course what the big players have been training all winter for, the first grand slam, the big tournament of the year. And it's over before it's properly got underway for some of the world's top women.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the opening day still the former Wimbledon champion and the sixth seed Petra Kvitova knocked out. She was beaten by the world number 88 from Thailand Luksika Kumkhum. She was playing in her first match against a top 10 player. But it didn't phase her, the 20 year old beat Kvitova in three sets 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

Italy's Sara Errani has also fallen at the first hurdle. She succumbed to a 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Germany's Julia Goerges. Errani did manage to get a break point in the first set, but she was broken twice then to lose it 6-3 and couldn't mount the fight back that she needed to see Goerges into the second round.

Serena Williams, though, didn't waste any time in making it through. The tournament favorite saw off the home favorite Ashley Barty, dropping just three games along the way.

But it wasn't such a good day for her sister, Venus. The 33-year- old's Melbourne campaign lasted two-and-a-half hours with the former world number one battling for three sets, but ultimately losing a 3-0 lead in the decider to Ekaterina Makarova go through at her expense.

The men's first round action did go more to plan with the big names getting through relatively unscathed. The defending champion Novak Djokovic showed a few signs of rustiness from the break, but he only needed the three sets to get past Lukas Lacko.

The Serb is looking for his fourth successive title at Melbourne Park this year. He was watched from the sidelines by his new coach Boris Becker. Lacko broke his serve in the first set, but it didn't long for Djokovic to find his stride. And it was an ace on the Rod Lever arena that sealed the 6-3, 7-6, 6-1 victory to set up a second round clash against Leonardo Myer of Argentina.

In terms of some of the other results, the third seed David Ferrer beat Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia in straight sets. But a disappointing start of the year for Tommy Haas fans. The German veteran retired from his clash against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez with a shoulder injury.

Andy Murray, Roger Federer and the defending women's champion Victoria Azarenka all begin their campaigns on Tuesday.

But as you were saying, Kristie, the temperatures could be seriously high. They are expected to reach near to 40 degrees Celsius, which could well lead to a few more upsets. When you're playing in conditions like that, Kristie, anything can happen and a lot is down to the fitness and how that preseason training went.

LU STOUT: Yeah, very, very challenging conditions. And we're going to get a forecast from Mari Ramos there from Melbourne later in the hour. Amanda Davies, thank you very much indeed.

Now, a recent surge in violence in Iraq. But is it a fight against al Qaeda or is it sectarian violence? We'll go live to Baghdad ahead on News Stream.

And choosing to live in the shadows. Why gays in Moscow say they need to hide their identity to stay safe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now Israel has bid farewell to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He died on Saturday after eight years in a coma. The U.S. vice president Joe Biden and the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair were among the guests at today's memorial service in Jerusalem. Now a military funeral was also held in the Negev Desert.

Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is expected to meet protest leaders and election officials this week to discuss whether to postpone elections set for next month. Now thousands of anti-government protesters are on the streets of Bangkok. They have said that they will bring the capital to a standstill. Several major intersections have been blocked.

Iran has agreed to begin eliminating some of its stockpile of enriched uranium starting next Monday. It is a key part of a six-month interim agreement reached between Tehran and world powers back in November. In exchange, some international sanctions against Iran will be eased. Negotiators hope the interim deal with pave the way for a permanent agreement.

Now there are fears that an all-out sectarian war may break out in Iraq. At lest 22 people were killed and more than 80 wounded in attacks across the country on Sunday.

Now much of the recent violence has been concentrated in Anbar Province, especially in the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

Now the government says it is trying to drive out al Qaeda linked fighters there. But local officials, political analysts and tribal leaders all say there is much more to the story.

No Michael Holmes joins us live from the Iraqi capital with more. And Michael, I understand Ban Ki-moon has just landed in Baghdad underscoring the severity of the situation there, but what can he and what can the UN do to ease the violence?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he arrived a few hours ago, went into a meeting with the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He was here ostensibly, according to the prime minister's office, to discuss a variety of regional issues, including Syria. But of course Iraq came up, the instability here, the fears, as you said, of this conflict getting even more out of control than it is already.

Ban Ki-moon said that he strongly condemned the targeting, as he put it, of civilians, attacks on civilians. He also went on to say this, he said I encourage measures to strengthen the country's social fabric through political participation, democratic processes and institutions, respect for the rule of law and human rights and inclusive development.

Now you can read that, it says pretty clearly what a lot of Sunnis here have been saying and that is that they have not been included in the process. And that's led to a lot of what we're seeing here today.

For his part, Nouri al-Maliki has threatened in the last week or so to go into Fallujah to weed out those al Qaeda linked militants who are in there at the moment. But on Sunday he came out in an interview and say, no. He said the military is not going to go into Fallujah leaving it up to the tribes there to deal with the militants for the moment.

Here's part of what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NURI AL-MALIKI, PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ (through translator): We want to end the presence of those militants without any bloodshed, because the people of Fallujah have suffered a lot in two wars, that's in 2004 and 2005.

They are now afraid of the military entering the city. And I have assured them that the army will not do so.

But I have also asked them not to allow these militants control of the city.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Yeah, now, he also said in terms of how long this could last, this essential standoff as it is now, and he said as long as it takes, pointing perhaps to a protracted situation there.

He said that he's getting some good responses, as he put it, from the tribes in terms of his call for them to deal with these al Qaeda-linked militants.

But we can tell you that in Fallujah and Ramadi in the last 24 hours there have been clashes between tribesmen and the Iraqi military.

So, obviously the tension continues. But for the moment, the army not going in, which a lot of people say is probably a very good idea, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And I'm still trying to understand what is at the core of the rising violence there, the standoff. Is this a fight against al Qaeda or a fight against Sunni tribal groups?

HOLMES: Yeah, you've got two narratives going in . And it's a very good question in terms of clarity.

Nuri al-Maliki has consistently said that this ongoing fight in Anbar Province is a fight against terror, a fight against L Qaeda. He said it time and time again.

Now, the Sunnis in places like Fallujah and Ramadi will say, no, no, no this is the result, this is a rebellion that is the result of years of being disenfranchised by the government. Nuri al-Maliki was elected promising that inclusion and powersharing, bringing everyone together. It's never happened.

In fact, the day the day the Americans left, I remember, I drove over the border in Kuwait an arrest warrant went out for the vice president, a Sunni. And it's gone on since then.

They say, that until they are brought into the fold in a realistic and substantive way, have a say in the running of their country, these tensions, this rebellion is not going go away it'll get worse.

So -- and Nuri al-Maliki says it's a fight against al Qaeda. The tribes say no, not so fast, not so simple.

LU STOUT: So two very, very different narratives. Thank you very much indeed for your insight, your clarity, and your reporting there. Michael Holmes reporting live from Baghdad.

Now Fallujah was a major battlefront for U.S. troops after they invaded Iraq in 2003. And Martin Savidge spoke to some former U.S. marines about their experiences in the city and got their thoughts about what is happening there now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Americans fought for Fallujah not once, but twice.

NATE WATKINS, FORMER MARINE: That rocket, you know, whistle coming and the explosion was just massive.

SAVIDGE: House to house, street by street.

ADAM MATHES, FORMER MARINE: The combat came down to five yards in a flak jacket. It was seeing the whites of their eyes.

MIKE DASHER, FORMER MARINE: I think mortars or rockets or something hit an ammo dump there, so it exploded, big-time.

SAVIDGE: Some of the hardest, bloodiest warfare since Vietnam.

MATHES: When it came to Fallujah, that was stand-up fighting.

SAVIDGE: Nate Watkins and Mike Dasher were in the same artillery unit.

WATKINS: This is a pretty cool photo here.

SAVIDGE: For days, they loaded and fired hundred-pound shells into the city.

WATKINS: It just felt like an eternity.

DASHER: Yes, it was constant shooting.

SAVIDGE: Adam Mathes was a 23-year-old second lieutenant, leading his platoon into the heart of the fight.

MATHES: I went to Iraq with 41 Marines and came home with 22.

SAVIDGE: All of which explains why what happens in Iraq today matters a great deal to them. Adam calls Fallujah a kind of hometown.

MATHES: We gave a lot, spilled blood, lost friends, invested a lot of our young adulthood to the -- to that city.

DASHER: I do care. And I hope it's a bump in the road.

SAVIDGE: Mike and Nate are pragmatic, saying they didn't leave Iraq thinking everything would be...

WATKINS: Hunky dory.

DASHER: Yeah. To my opinion, the government there is going to be tested for a long time. And this is part of that.

SAVIDGE: But Nate admits sometimes he has doubts.

WATKINS: Unfortunately, my inclination is now that doesn't feel so much like it's worth it. But I hesitate to say that, because knowing the sacrifice that it takes and what's, you know, been spent.

SAVIDGE: Adam has no doubts, saying the Marines fought gallantly.

MATHES: And courageously for other people to enjoy the possibility of self-determination. And that's never a waste of time.

SAVIDGE: Which is why Adam says he and other Marines will be watching closely what happens next.

MATHES: Part of me is actually very excited to see how the people of Fallujah and Ramadi and al Anbar, the people we lived with and grew close to, even as we were fighting, to see how they actually stand up and determine for themselves how the future will be written.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Still ahead here on News Stream, an underground world hidden from the mainstream. We'll tell you why this community is keeping a low profile in Russia and why they fear for their safety.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: The Russian city of Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in less than a month. And after last month's deadly bombings and last week's arrest of suspected terrorists, a huge security operation has swung into gear. A special exclusion zone has gone into force restricting air and sea access to the Sochi area.

Now Russia says it will be safe for everyone attending and participating, but the U.S. has issued a travel alert to Americans who may want to attend the games.

Now there's another dark cloud hanging over Russia in the leadup to the games: its controversial anti-gay propaganda law. Now homosexuality is still very much taboo there. And the gay community often finds itself at loggerheads with religious and social institutions.

As Phil Black reports, the new anti-gay laws have some in Russia's gay community worried about their safety.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pavel Petel (ph) is an extraordinary figure in Russia. He built a career as an openly gay performance artist, often smashing through the limits of this conservative society. Big heels, huge wigs, often wearing very little very publicly.

Be Pete (ph) is now at changed man. He says that's because his country has changed.

"I'm scared to come to the streets now wearing wigs or heels," he says. "I wear them much more rarely."

Russia has never been an easy place to be openly gay. This is the traditional rapid response to gay rights events. Activists say it's now even more difficult after parliament past what has become known as the anti-gay propaganda law. In very broad language it makes it illegal to promote gay relationships to children.

Petel (ph) fears the law could be enforced against him.

He says he started to worry about his safety, he dresses down on the street and he fears arrest. He says he's now receiving threats online. The straight nightclubs that hired him to perform have stopped offering work.

Pavel Petel (ph) says he knows he will have to change his way of life to exist in Russia.

It's a rule most gay people in this country decided to live by long ago. It's not illegal to be gay here, that was decriminalized 20 years ago, but nor is it accepted. Moscow, a city of more than 11 million people, has only a handful of gay nightclubs. Not one of those we visited will allow our camera inside. On the street, few people are willing to be identified.

Victor Michaelson says most of Moscow's gay population has always lived in secret. And they now have even greater reason to embrace anonymity. The gays scene here is often referred to as a ghetto.

VICTOR MICHAELSON: They are not forced to stay in the ghetto, but they feel more comfortable, because they can, you know...

BLACK: They can be themselves.

MICHAELSON: Yeah, be themselves.

BLACK: Alexander Gudkov says outside the ghetto there's a clear rule.

ALEXANDER GUDKOV: Don't ask, don't tell.

BLACK: But he wants more.

GUDKOV: I want to live an open life and I want to live my life. It's my -- it's not my choice, it's my life.

BLACK: Russia is a conservative country. Until relatively recently cut off from the social progress of the western world. Pavel Petel (ph) and other gay people say they understand why acceptance here has come slowly, but they now fear the gay propaganda law has triggered a tide of intolerance, making their dream of equality and freedom even more distant.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: OK.

Time now for your global weather forecast. And of course, a focus on those soaring temperatures for the Australian Open. Mari Ramos joins us now at the World Weather Center. And Mari, just how hot is it going to get there?

MARI RAMOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, what the hottest year was back in officially 2009. Remember, we had those terrible heat waves across southern parts of Australia. And that was also the hottest temperatures recorded in the Australian Open. It got up to 45 degrees one of those days toward the end of the tournament.

I think we're going to be very close to that this time around.

This is what the satellite image looks for Australia. You can see your rain a little bit in areas farther to the north, even the potential for a tropical cyclone there. A little bit of moisture coming in here across Western Australia and that has broken that heat wave that you had going on there. But we're going to start to see the heat build here across the south and east.

You know, Kristie, this guy right here, he's got the, quote -- I hate to make this pun -- but he really does have the coolest job at the Australian Open. His job is to take those ice collars, which are basically towels that are filled with ice and taped up for the players.

And they're not only using ice collars, they're also using ice vests, which is basically vests that are frozen, filled with water and frozen so that they can try to keep cool during games and in between games. They have a special heat policies in place because of this extreme heat. They're going to be able to take longer breaks. They're going to monitor the temperature very, very closely.

And they start that whenever the temperature is over 30 degrees -- look at that, the high on Tuesday 41. Mostly sunny skies and yet a little bit cooler as we head in through the day on Wednesday. That's because we'll have a little bit more cloud cover. But it's not going to make much of a difference, a high of 38 and that's in the shade. If you're in the sun, of course, it's going to feel much, much hotter than that.

So not tough only for players, of course, but also for spectators along the way.

Now, I was telling you about western Australia. On Saturday, 29.7 was the Saturday -- the hottest night ever experienced in Perth. Warmest conditions there Saturday and Sunday in the daytime it got to 43 degrees. The average is 31.

And like I was saying, that heat wave has finally broken there. But the high pressure begins to move to the south and east and so it's going to be in areas here in the south and east where we are going to get into this time where it's going to be very, very hot. There's a high fire danger across these areas. That's a huge concern for the entire population. And we are getting into that dangerous heat scenario where temperatures by Thursday could be at 42 degrees in Melbourne proper and into Canberra will be looking at high temperatures that are some 10 degrees above the average for this time of year.

And yeah you guessed it nothing in the way of rain there.

Too much rainfall, though, across the Philippines. These are the same areas here, Mendenau, for example, the were affected by Typhoon Bopa or Pablo as it's known locally back in 2012. And you can see that they've had some tremendously heavy rainfall, Kristie . So many people in those areas, in Mendenau still living in shelters from that storm. And of course we have the victims from Typhoon Haiyan across the other parts of the southern Philippines that were affected. And we are expecting some very heavy rain over these areas over the next 24 hours with this very slow moving weather system. So that's going to be our next area of focus as we head through the next couple of days.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: Wow, more rain in an area that has already suffered so much. Not a good forecast there.

Mari Ramos, thank you.

Now this next story, it may sound a little bit familiar, because a similar incident happened less than two months ago. But believe it or not, an airplane in America has landed at the wrong airport again.

Now the U.S. Transportation Safety Board is investigating. Rene Marsh has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A hard landing and the smell of burning rubber, two indications to passengers on Southwest Flight 4013 that something was wrong after their plane landed at the wrong airport coming within 300 feet of a steep embankment at the end of the runway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a really rough landing. We were all like moving pretty close to the seats as we were landing because the runway, I guess, is too short for the plane.

MARSH: The plane carrying more than 100 passengers was scheduled to land at Missouri's Branson Airport Sunday night, but instead showed up at Taney County Airport, about seven miles from the intended destination.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the planes ended up landing at point lookout airport and it needs mutual aid.

MARSH: The runway at Taney County Airport is about half the length of the runway at Branson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a call saying the plane has landed at an airport nearby and we're thinking surely not a jet plane could land there.

MARSH: Officials say if the pilot didn't brake when he did, the plane could have overshot the runway and tumbled on to a nearby highway. Passenger, Scott Schieffer, captured the aftermath on video, which shows passengers being evacuated from the plane before being bussed to the larger airport.

This is the second case of a plane landing at the wrong airport. In November, a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter cargo plane landed at the wrong Kansas airport on a runway half mile shorter than it usually uses.

Despite fears, the Dreamlifter would be stuck indefinitely. The jumbo jet eventually took off without incident. Southwest is hoping for a similar successful outcome for their Boeing 737, although they've given no timetable as to when they plan to fly out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And that was Rene Marsh reporting.

Now let's take a look at those airports again. Now this is where the plane was supposed to land Branson Airport. And we'll show you where the plane actually ended up Tainey County Airport.

Now on the bright side, Tainey County Airport is actually closer to the city of Branson than Branson's airport is.

Still to come right here on News Stream, American Hustle scoops Hollywood's Golden Globe awards. So, will we see the cast on stage again at the Oscars? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it as a golden night for American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave. Now they were the big winners at Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards and now frontrunners for the Oscars. Alfonso Cuaron took the best director prize for his space thriller Gravity. And Leonardo DiCaprio was named best actor in a musical or comedy for his performance in the Wolf of Wall Street.

Now the Golden Globes usually set the stage for the Academy Awards, which take place later in March. And CNN's Nischelle Turner, she has more now on the winners, the losers and the stranger moments from the evening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood's biggest stars uninhibited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go up there and take that statue no matter what name is called.

TURNER: And megawatt energy turned up the red carpet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel good.

TURNER: Once inside, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, didn't hold nothing back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.

TURNER: Poehler even donned a wig and took her wild antics into the crowd. It was a night full of nerve racking wins...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm as nervous as everybody else. What happened?

TURNER: And tipsy star speeches.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a few vodkas under my belt. OK.

TURNER: Best mini-series actress, Jacqueline Bisset, stole the time with a lengthy minute walk up and bizarre two and a half minute speech.

JACQUELINE BISSET, ACTRESS: I say like my mother -- what did she say? She used to say go to hell and don't come back.

TURNER: The infectious Jennifer Lawrence won for best supporting actress for her '70s straw back role in "American Hustle." And Leonardo DiCaprio graciously won best actor in a comedy for the "Wolf of Wall Street." And shock for two former SNL cast numbers when they nabbed the Globe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't prepare anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never win so I can't believe I won.

TURNER: The three-hour show was also a fond farewell for crime drama series "Breaking Bad."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such a lovely way to say goodbye to the show that meant so much to me.

TURNER: Taking home best actor and TV series for its last season. But "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" took home the night's biggest honors, best motion picture drama and comedy.

CHARLES ROVEN, BEST MOTION PICTURE COMEDY "AMERICAN HUSTLE": One of the wonderful benefits of the motion picture business is that we get to make films about people, about the art of survival, resilience and about reinvention.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: That was CNN's Nischelle Turner reporting there from Beverly Hills.

Now, before we go I want to return to the late Israeli leader Ariel Sharon. And I want to share a remarkable fact about his life. Now Ariel Sharon participated in almost every major event in the history of modern Israel.

Now here's a picture of Sharon as a soldier in the war of independence in 1948. He was general in the six day war of 1967 and led troops across the Suez Canal and into Egypt in the Yom Kippur war of 1973. He was defense minister when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and was forced to resign after being found indirectly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians.

And when Israel gave up settlements in Gaza and parts of the West Bank, it was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who made that decision.

Now, whatever you make of Ariel Sharon, whatever you think of his actions, it is remarkable that one man could play such a huge part in shaping a nation.

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

END