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Another "Setback" For Toronto Mayor; Ukrainian Protesters Clash With Police; Iran's President Defends Nuclear Program; Li Na, Dominika Cibulkova Reach Aussie Open Final; Benjamin Netanyahu Speaks At World Economic Forum

Aired January 23, 2014 - 8:00   ET


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

Now parts of Kiev look like a war zone after days of violent clashes between protesters and police in Ukraine.

Iran's president talks to CNN about his country's nuclear program.

And another day, another apology for Toronto's embattled mayor.

Weeks of tensions on the streets of Ukraine's capital have escalated into violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters. We are seeing scenes like this in Kiev.

And here you see protesters facing off with police. They've been throwing everything from stones to Molotov cocktails. And police, they are responding with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Now the head of the protest movement's volunteer medical service says four people have been shot dead in this latest round of violence with hundreds injured.

Now Ukraine's interior ministry says 195 police officers have been injured in clashes since Sunday, 84 of them are in the hospital.

Now at issue here, new laws that place limits on the right to protest.

Now let's go live to Diana Magnay in Kiev. And Diana, again, parts of central Kiev, the students there are just incredible. They look like a battlefield. I mean, what is the latest on what's happening there?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the area that you described did indeed look like Armageddon, really, at some point yesterday. It's just one small confined area in the government quarter here in Kiev. There is now a truce that is holding between -- you know, between the riot police and the protesters for the duration of negotiations, which are due to start right now between the three main opposition leaders and President Yanukovych. They met yesterday after this -- these -- this violence when poor people were killed.

And those negotiations came to nothing.

As I said, very, very serious clashes yesterday. We were there in amongst them. This is what happened.


MAGNAY: This demonstration for the time being characterized more by noise than by violence. And there have been clashes that overnight one protester was shot dead, a very serious escalation in the violence.

Fury at the turn this day has taken. You have no right to kill him, this woman screams. In the makeshift hospital we learn that more have been killed.

The doctors say that they had wounds to their chest. One of them shot directly in the head. We don't know yet what could have been plastic bullets. The prime minister says that the riot police are not equipped with live ammunition.

But plastic bullets fired into crowds are clearly dangerous enough. Even if these crowds are brave and push back. No matter the consequences for those unlucky enough to end up in police hands.

We're hearing all about protective gear, not least because the protesters keep telling us, the riot policemen don't care whether you're press or whether you are a protester. And we've seen evidence of that ourselves, video where riot policeman point his gun directly into the camera and fires.

At least 200 injured on the police side also. The anger against them and the government who have banned all protesting feels universal.

Young and old brave the freezing cold, lending a hand to the makeshift barricades, the makeshift weapons.

This line of fire burning tires has formed a very effective barricade between the protesters and the riot police who were lined up on the other side. They've been pushing these burning tires further and further up the road. And as you can see now, they're getting their missiles ready, stones, we've seen them preparing and making Molotov cocktails to throw through the smoke at police.

The battleground of the most primitive kind, but still dangerous, still deadly nonetheless.


MAGNAY: Now, Kristie, the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barosso has telephones at President Yanukovych today expressing his horror at the scenes on the street and pressing Mr. Yanukovych to go forward with some kind of negotiation.

He also said that unless that happened there would be consequences for bilateral relations.

If you talk to people on the street here, they want to see the European Union impose targeted sanctions on specific individuals, including Mr. Yanukovych and his family and other powerful people around him and that that might be a way that the international community could put pressure on events and force some kind of resolution here -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now, Diana, you're reporting that a truce is holding right now as both sides are talking, this after talks broke down yesterday.

Diana, I understand earlier the opposition issued an ultimatum to the government, ultimatum for Yanukovych to call security snap elections. What happened to that?

MAGNAY: Well, I mean, the government -- the opposition has been calling for things really ever since this began two months ago. And that ultimatum is pretty powerless when the crowds are clearly not under the opposition's control.

It is quite clear that even if it was small radical elements that precipitated this violence, large numbers of people who are now frustrated that two months of demonstrations have got them nowhere have joined in. And even though the opposition tried to keep the peace and to calm down the protests, they were ineffectual.

So what weapons (inaudible) do the opposition leaders have in their hands if they want to keep this peaceful? Well they say if talks today break down, then we want to see a general strike being called. That could play some kind of a role. The army say that they have repeatedly said that they will keep out of this. Perhaps the riot police, you know, could be a way of -- if the riot police were to sort of defect, that could force some sort of resolution here. But it's difficult to know, you know, unless President Yanukovych gives some ground, how this is going to role out. And in the last two months, Mr. Yanukovych has shown that he's absolutely not prepared to do that, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Diana Magnay reporting live from Kiev. Thank you.

Now photojournalists on the scene, they have captured some incredible images. Now here you see row upon row of riot police armed with body shields ready to take on the protesters. Now demonstrators, they are resisting, some have hurled Molotov cocktails at the Ukrainian security forces. But here, you see an officer apparently throwing one back at the demonstrators.

Now the interior ministry says more than 70 people have been detained since the violence first broke out on Sunday.

Now turning now to security concerns in Sochi, Russia. Now Olympic officials have dismissed a threatening email sent to several countries ahead of the upcoming Winter Games, saying that the threat is not credible. But as Nick Paton Walsh reports, that is doing little to ease fears ahead of the games.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just under two weeks leading after the Sochi Olympic Games mounting anticipation, not about who will win the gold, but instead, concern about a possible chink in the game's ring of steel. The latest security threat, an e-mail warning of a terrorist attack sent to the U.S. Olympic organizing committee and several European countries.

But the International Olympic Committee quickly quelled security concerns telling CNN the e-mail contained no threat and appears to be a random message from a member of the public. The U.S. Olympic Committee is looking into it as well saying the safety and security of Team USA is our top priority.

As is always the case, we are working to ensure that our delegation and other Americans traveling to Sochi are safe. The White House however says that American travelers should remain vigilant.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have seen an uptick in threat reporting prior to the Olympics, which is of course of concern, although it is also not unusual for a major international event.

WALSH: President Obama and the Joint Chiefs continue to offer counterterrorism expertise to Russia with IED detection software, jamming equipment and war ships. All Russia needs is to give the green light.

CARNEY: We are offering the Russians any assistance that they might require or request in a situation like this.

WALSH: In the light of multiple terrorist threats, some carried out in regions surrounding Sochi. Sweeps continue for the so-called black widow suicide bombers. One woman killed in a gun battle over the weekend, another believed to have already bypassed the security corridor of Sochi.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Sochi, Russia.


LU STOUT: And a disturbing report today out of India where police say a 20-year-old woman says she was gang raped by a group of men in a remote village in West Bengal. Now her complaint alleges that the rape was ordered by the head of the village.

Now the woman is now receiving treatment in the hospital. Police have arrested 13 men and they are now investigating the incident.

Now this is the latest in a string of reported sexual assaults, which have drawn increasing attention to rape in India. Now the attacks have sparked demonstrations, calling for justice and an end to violence against women.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, Syria's largest city Aleppo has been hard hit in the three year civil war. We'll get a rare glimpse on the ground there.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now once again, Iran insists that it will continue with its nuclear program for what it claims are peaceful purposes. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke with our Fareed Zakaria about Iran's nuclear policy.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a widespread feeling in the United States and France, in many western countries, that Iran should have almost no enrichment capability, that it should instead get its enriched uranium from outside.

You said in an interview with the Financial Times Iran will absolutely retain its enrichment. Do you believe that it will be possible to bridge this gap by allowing Iran to have a small enrichment capacity, but for the most part to forgo enrichment?

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Iran will not accept discrimination under any circumstances. The people of Iran in the field of nuclear technology are extremely sensitive. This has become part of our national pride. Nuclear technology has become indigenous in Iran and most recently we have witnessed extensive new progress and achievement in the fields of fabrication and production of centrifuges.

So in the context of nuclear technology, particularly of research and development and peaceful nuclear technology, we will not accept any limitations. And in accordance with the parliament law, in the future we're going to need 20,000 megawatts of nuclear produced electricity. And we're determined to obtain the nuclear fuel for the nuclear installation at the hands of our Iranian scientists.

And we are going to follow on this path.

ZAKARIA: So there will be no destruction of centrifuges, or existing centrifuges?

ROUHANI (through translator): Not under any circumstances, not under any circumstances.


LU STOUT: And that was Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at the World Economic Forum on Thursday.

Now the president also stressed the need for a political process to solve the conflict in Syria. Now Iran is not attending this week's UN brokered peacetalks in Switzerland, but as a key supporter of the Assad government Tehran is still keen to have its view of the situation heard.

Now CNN's Jim Sciutto sat down with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif to ask if he thinks the talks can bring Syria closer to peace.


JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, I certainly hope so, because of course we do not like (inaudible) on the street. We believe that it did not enhance the credibility of the United Nations or the office of the secretary-general.

But nevertheless, we are in this region. The future of the region is important for us. To see an end to bloodshed is extremely important for us, to see an end to extremism in our region is important for us. We see that the continuation of the conflict in Syria provides a breeding ground for extremists and they pose a threat not only to the Syrians, but to the region at large and to the wider international community.

So it is extremely important for us to see hopefully a cease-fire, humanitarian assistance to people in need, and agreement amongst Syrians -- because at the end of the day this should be an agreement between Syrians. What the rest of the world can do is to assist Syrians to come to talks and to come to an agreement, not to impose any agreement on the Syrians, but to allow them to come to an agreement.

So we hope that this can be achieved.

Of course, there are obstacles, particularly in the structure of the talks, because we see sides that are represented in these talks that have never believed in a political solution, always wanted to have a military solution, continue to help and assist terrorist organizations, extremist organizations...

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who are we talking about?

ZARIF: I'm not talking about anybody in particular, but there are parties that have continuously and persistently supported groups that are un -- in the United Nations terrorism lists on the U.S. terrorism list. They continue to support them.

And unfortunately they continue to be an obstacle to a peaceful resolution of this crisis.

SCIUTTO: Are you talking about Saudi and Qatari support for...

ZARIF: As I say, I'm not talking about particular countries, I'm talking about trends. I'm talking about countries and trends and individuals who have made it almost impossible for the Syrian people to be able to talk to each other.

So we hope that in spite of all of this, Geneva II can be successful and can bring a resolution.


LU STOUT: The Iranian foreign minister there.

Now animosity marked the preliminary session of the Syria peace talks. Representatives from 30 nations met in Montreux, Switzerland on Wednesday. The UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon admitting afterwards a difficult road lies ahead.

Now direct talks between the Syrian government and opposition delegations will take place on Friday in Geneva, but Damascus is striking a defiant tone.


BOUTHAINA SHAABAN, SENIOR ADVISER TO SYRIAN PRESIDENT: All Syrian people want peace, not only me. But it is not up to the people who have never been in Syria or up to the people who have been out of Syria for 30 years, who don't know at all what's happening on the ground to decide how peace can be made. It is the Syrian people who are living through these horrid times who decide how peace can be made.

We want peace. We want to build our country. We want to live together, Christians and Muslims and all ethnicities and all religions. We don't want this wahabi thinking that comes and destroys churches and kills the Christians and assassinates people who are there praying in the mosque. That's what we don't want.


LU STOUT: The Syrian government is eager to convince the world that it is gaining ground against the rebels as the civil war grinds on.

Now for the first time in nearly a year, western journalists have been allowed into Syria's largest city Aleppo. And CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is among them.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTENRAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Takeoff from a Damascus air field. The Syrian government tacked about 20 journalists into a plane and didn't tell us where we were going. But we soon found out it was Aleppo, one of the most dangerous places in Syria.

The airport in Aleppo has been closed for many months. And the folks who are operating this plane say that we're apparently the first civilian flight that's going to land there since it was closed. I'm not exactly sure that's a good thing, but we hope it goes well.

Local officials seemed as relieved as us after we landed safely. They sent a welcoming party, including the governor of Aleppo. His main focus, the negotiations between the Syrian regime and the opposition in Geneva.

"What we want from Geneva is to stop foreign money, fighters and weapons coming into Syria, he says. "We as Syrians can reconcile with each other and make our own government to rebuild our country."

The Assad regime wants to show it's winning in Aleppo, though we weren't sure how spontaneous these shows of support for the regime actually were as we toured areas recently recaptured by the Syrian army.

Soldiers say they have rebels on the defensive, but the going is tough.

"al Qaeda were the worst people to fight against," this soldier says. "They're Islamists. They see us as infidels and they want to kill us."

The situation in Aleppo is remarkable. The city is one of the worst affected by the civil war and yet the streets in some districts are packed, shops well stocked.

But only a few blocks away, destruction is clearly visible and heavy fighting continues to rage as we saw when we visited a regime sniper position.

The government is very keen to show us the gains that it's made here in Aleppo, but Aleppo still is very much a divided city. If you look over the skyline, and we are at a very high vantage point, everything to this area here is government controlled, but everything that is to the left of that is in the hands of rebel forces.

The regime says Aleppo could be a model city for a ceasefire between government and opposition forces, but even with recent gains, with the opposition very much entrenched in this part of the country, speaking of peace might be a little premature.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Aleppo, Syria.


LU STOUT: All right, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos right now. Let's listen in.

BENJAMNIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: And they will be given a special award tomorrow which he much deserves.

And of course I'd like to acknowledge the presence of my wife. She's here to. So -- and my delegation. It's good to see all of you. Many of you have been to Israel or are already in Israel. I don't mean as tourists, but as investors. And if you're not, I hope that by the end of my talk you will be.

Israel is often called the startup nation. I call it the innovation nation. The future belongs to those who innovate. Those who don't innovate, whether in companies or in countries will fall behind. Innovation is the only way to consistently add value to your products and services in an increasingly competitive global economy.

And Israel is a global center for innovation. And by that I mean two things, it's a center not only for science and technology, but for the indispensable ingredient of entrepreneurship. It's the man or woman who has an idea -- sometimes a child almost, young men and women, will have an idea. And that idea takes technology and turns it into a workable plan that can actually profit and grow.

So Israel is the epicenter of world innovation right now.

But before I tell you about it, I have to briefly digress, because you mentioned the fact that I was here in '97. I digress on something that you cannot innovate on, you must have an economy that follows the rules of economic gravity. They are no different in Israel or in Nepal or Colombia or anywhere else. And unless you keep to fundamental rules, all the platform that you seek to have to have all these thousands of startup companies take off -- they won't take off, they'll crash and sink with our economy.

So to have an economy that is run soundly, you have to observe certain principles. The first one is very simple, but I say that to those of you who are in the audience who run states, the most important rule number one is don't spend overtime more than you bring in. Can't afford it.

And the second is, of course, to maintain a sound macroeconomic policy. I say that, because we have done it in Israel and we are doing it now. To do that is not easy. Short time after I was here in 2003 I became the finance minister of the economy was shrinking, inflation was growing at 7 percent a year, our unemployment was at 11 percent. One of our major banks was about -- was in danger of collapse, would have taken our entire banking system with it. And you know what that does. We've already learned what that does.

So, when I took over as finance minister, I sought to give an explanation to the Israeli public of what it is that we have to do and what we had to do then is what we have to do and are continuing to do now.

I describe my first day in the Israeli army and the paratroops, the commander put us all in line. And he said now you're going to take a special race. And he pointed to me, the first man on the line. He said look to the man on your right and put him on your shoulders.

I did, he was a pretty big guy about my size.

The next guy, he said, was the smallest man on the platoon. He said put the guy to your right on your shoulders. And he got the biggest guy in the platoon.

And the third soldiers who was a big guy received a small person and so on.

And then the commander blew the whistle. And I could barely take a few steps. The little guy with me carrying the biggest guy in the platoon collapsed. And the third guy shot forward like a rocket and took the race.

I said in the international economy, I said that and I say now, in the global economy all national economies are pairs of a public sector sitting on the shoulders of the private sector who has to carry the race.

In our case, 10 years ago in Israel...

LU STOUT: OK, live from Davos you've been listening to a special address by the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He called his country, Israel, the center of innovation in the world. His speech obviously designed to lure investment to his country, Israel. And his speech, it comes just hours after the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani gave his speech talking about Iran's role and presence in the world. He's also there to lure back investors to his country.

You're watching News Stream. We'll be back with much more after the break.


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

Now Ukraine's president is facing an ultimatum from opposition leader Vitali Klitschko. He says President Viktor Yanukovych has until today to, quote, "make a step forward." And warned him not to ignore the will of his people.

Now the UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will meet with Syrian government representatives and opposition leaders separately today. Now the private discussions will lay the groundwork for face to face talks between the two parties that are scheduled to begin on Friday.

Iran's president says nuclear weapons have no place in his country's security strategy. Hassan Rouhani spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland earlier today. And he says Iran wants to reopen economic and trade relations with its neighbors.

Now business and political leaders at Davos are also hearing from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today.

Now reports say nearly 100 judges and prosecutors have been reassigned in Turkey. Now this is the biggest such shakeup since a graft scandal erupted in December. Now thousands of police officers have already been demoted.

Critics accuse the government of trying to disrupt a corruption investigation that has targeted people close to the ruling party. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly denounced the probe calling it an international conspiracy aimed at toppling his government.

Now that political scandal has rattled Turkish markets. And the government is now facing international criticism for its treatment of demonstrators and the reaction to the ongoing graft probe.

Ivan Watson reports.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Money changers furiously trade currency in the grand bazaar, one of Istanbul's oldest markets. These are volatile times for Turkey's currency, which plummeted to record lows against the dollar this month, threatening one of the proudest achievements of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has overseen a decade of economic stability.

New skyscrapers on Istanbul's skyline, symbols of prosperity in the Erdogan era.

With the boom in government-backed mega construction projects is now linked to a corruption scandal. It's tarnishing a prime minister who was once applauded for being both a conservative Muslim politician and one of the most important democratizing leaders in Turkish modern history.

At the start of his decade in office, Erdogan pushed hard to get Turkey into the European Union, a process that has stalled.

But his image as a reformer suffered huge damage last summer when he ordered police to crush a grass roots movement protesting against his plans to demolish one of the last parts left in Istanbul and replace it with a shopping mall.

At least five demonstrators died in the violence. Erdogan called the police heroes.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): Our police have done nothing undemocratic, nothing to break the law, and nothing to restrict freedom.

WATSON: Six months later the prime minister saying a very different tune when police detained dozens of people close to the government in a sweeping corruption probe.

ERDOGAN (through translator): With their powers int he judiciary and in the police department a conspiracy has begun in Turkey under the guise of corruption a severely dark, ugly and extremely illegal plot is being carried out.

WATSON: Erdogan called the corruption investigation a coup attempt and he demoted thousands of police officers and prosecutors linked to the investigation.

MUSTAFA AKYOL, AUTHOR: There is a political crisis in Turkey right now and also a societal crisis in the sense that I've hardly seen Turkish society this polarized, this tense, this paranoid.

WATSON: Author Mustafa Akyol once argued Turkey could offer a democratic model for the Muslim world.

What happened to the Turkish model?

AKYOL: I'm a little (inaudible) these days from my own country.

Well, the good news is that we are not killing each other.

WATSON: Among the ranks of the disappointed is ertugrul Gunay who served as Erdogan's culture minister for five-and-a-half years until, he says, he and Erdogan got into a shouting match over a government-backed construction projects last year.

ERTUGRUL GUNAY, FRM. CULTURE MINISTER (through translator): If the prime minister continues with this support of not sharing any power and his party's majority in parliament supports this, then Turkey will just turn into another Middle Eastern dictatorship.

WATSON: Erdogan reminds his critics he's a democratically elected leader who enjoys intense devotion from his core followers. Whether he can still win the support of a majority of voters will be put to the test in March when Turks go to the polls in nationwide municipal elections.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Istanbul.


LU STOUT: Now a Mexican citizen was executed in the U.S. state of Texas Wednesday night despite protests from the Mexican government.

Now Edgar Tomayo Arias was convicted of the 1994 murder of a police officer in Houston. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion to stay his execution. His lawyers had argued he was never given access to the Mexican consulate. And the Mexican government said the execution would violate international law.

Now on the front lines of Mexico's drug war, many say that they are sick of living in fear. Rafael Romo reports some vigilante groups are now fighting back against the cartels.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Seventy-one-year-old Samwell Gomez (ph) walks through his broken and deserted house. Symbolic of his life after he and his family were forced to flee their 50-acre ranch near the small town of Filipe Carrillo Puerto (ph) three years ago. Gomez was a victim of a Knights Templer (ph), a ruthless drug cartel in Mexico's Mitracan (ph) state. He was forced to pay ever- increasing protection money for the cattle he raised and the limes he grew. But when the cartel tried to take his land, he knew it was time to leave.

"They would tell us, you either sell it to me or I will buy it from your widow," he says.

He wasn't the only one living in fear.

"They killed our people. They raped our young women. And they did as they pleased," he says.

Hipolito Mora was among the first to fight back. The 58-year-old farmer led a self-proclaimed group of vigilantes that forced the drug cartel out of their town last April.

"I know I'm operating outside of the law," he says, "but I'm doing it for my family, just like every other man in this movement."

His rebellion became an inspiration for others in the area. Since early January, several other towns have taken up arms and confronted drug traffickers in violent clashes. The cartels struck back, torching vehicles and businesses and killing several people. In the end, more than a dozen towns managed to drive away the criminal organization that had terrorized the region for years.

(on camera): This is the checkpoint at the edge of the town of Lawerta (ph). It's just like many others in towns throughout the region, where vigilante groups control access, letting townspeople in and out while hoping to keep the cartels from getting back in.

(voice-over): They're young and old, farmers and laborers, and even some migrants who have returned from the United States to reclaim what used to belong to their families. This man, who wants to be called Juan (ph), used to live in North Carolina.

JUAN, VIGILANTE: In the last couple of months there's been a lot of violence and we haven't been able to make any money to support our families. And we just - we all got to eat. And if we ain't working, we can't eat. So we'll just -- it was something that had to be done.

ROMO: The Mexican government has sent in thousands of soldiers and federal police to help patrol and control the area.

(on camera): So what's going to happen if the army decides to leave?

JUAN: Well, we hope they don't leave. We hope they stay here to back us up.

ROMO (voice-over): Their fight has given hope to Gomez that life can go back to normal. He knows that there are no guarantees the cartels won't try to come back, but this time, he says, he and the vigilantes won't give up.

"They would have to kill us all because we're all going to fight," he says, "not only for our lands but more importantly for our families."

Rafael Romo, CNN, Filipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico.


LU STOUT: Now Toronto's mayor is in the news for all the wrong reasons again. We'll tell you about his latest admission next on News Stream.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now love, like politics, is never simple, especially if you're the president of France. Now many will be closely watching to see who, if anyone, Francois Hollande takes to the White House state dinner next month after a magazine reported he carried on an affair with an actress.

But the French voters really care about their president's complicated love life? Well, Jim Bittermann takes a look.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If nations look to their presidents as role models, the French are being shown a very unique version of family values. Despite his constant refrain during the presidential campaign that he was going to be a normal president, Francois Hollande has never had a very conventional personal life.

News magazines like Paris Match have been tracking Hollande's private life for more than 10 years now, depicting how he and his first partner Segolene Royal (ph) who he met in university lived together for decades, raised four children together, never bothering to tie the knot.

When she ran for president in 2007, they seemed the ultimate power couple. The press gushed over their family life.

But there was a problem with that picture. Hollande would later admit that he was in fact carrying on an affair with one of the very Paris Match reporters who covered him, Valerie Treirweiler.

Just days after Royal lost the presidential election to Nicolas Sarkozy, she proclaimed that the supposedly happy Hollande-Royal couple was splitting up.

OLIVIER ROYANT, EDITOR, PARIS MATCH: They managed to position them selling the campaign as the opposite of the soap opera, the drama of the Sarkozy couple. So they were very lucky not to be more investigated during the campaign.

BITTERMANN: Trierweiler became a regular in Hollande's entourage even before he took her to the presidential palace to become the first lady he called her the woman of my life. But then perhaps a sign of troubled economy changed that, saying that she was the woman of my life today.

Then came last month's revelation that Hollande allegedly had been ducking out of the palace for trysts with movie actress Julie Gayet who once endorsed Hollande in a campaign video and who was reportedly introduced to Hollande by none other than his ex-Segolene Royal.

The president has so far neither confirmed nor denied the alleged affair despite reported questions. And the first lady went into the hospital for depression and is now resting in a presidential residence in Versailles, home to French kings who have also had fairly messy personal lives.

What happens next is anyone's guest, although the president has promised to clarify the first lady's situation before he goes to Washington for a state visit next month.

How will the French president's private life play in the U.S.? A sociologist says Americans are far less tolerant of such things than the French.

ERIC FASSIN, FRENCH SOCIOLOGIST: In the U.S., there's much more social intolerance. The result, of course is not less adultery, but more scandals.

BITTERMANN: In fact, Hollande's claim that he would be a normal president may be true in one sense, these days more than half of French young people live together without benefit of a marriage vow or civil contract, just the way Hollande has always done.

What's more, a recent survey indicates that more than half of French men and nearly a third of French women have had affairs outside of their marriages or partnerships.

So, in France 2014, Francois Hollande's personal life may indeed represent the new normal.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


LU STOUT: Let's get a check of the global weather forecast with a focus on the floods, the devastating flooding in Indonesia. Let's go straight to Mari Ramos for that -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, this is the rainy season. And it has been relentless across portions of Indonesia. Anywhere you look, across the southern parts of Java -- I should say across Java, southern parts of Sumatra, back over as we head over even into north Sulawesi province here, we've had some tremendously heavy rain across these areas and in some cases over a meter of rain has fallen over this region.

You can see right over here as we look at Java, this is going to be the area that's going to get again the heaviest downpours. And that's very significant, because they're already struggling.

This is a picture from Jakarta where more than 60,000 people have had to take up in shelters, because the water has been so high. Thousands of homes have been damaged, hundreds of bridges.

The serious situation that continues to develop here -- those numbers, by the way, come from the UN in that area. There's also been landslides across other places because the rain has been so heavy and that continues to be a concern, because the flooding has been so widespread not only in the urban areas, but also of course as we head into the countryside.

Also having to deal with that volcano that's erupting in central Sumatra here, that (inaudible) Mount Sinabung, that continues to be a big problem, because more than 30,000 people have had to be evacuated there.

As far as the rain is concerned, notice across Java here that the rain will be quite heavy and even we get to see a little bit of purple and red there, that indicates 15 to 25 centimeters additional centimeters of rainfall for that region. Everybody else, widespread rainfall expected through the area.

Take you to Asia now, North Asia I should say. Minus 4 in Beijing, minus 1 in Seoul, right at freezing in Tokyo. So you can see that colder air bottled up here to the north. A little bit chilly, but not too bad in Hong Kong at 14.

And when you look at the satellite image, you start to see our next weather system moving along here. That's helped a little bit to mix up the air, or will help, I should say, for you across northeastern China. That should help somewhat with the air quality there.

So a little bit of good news, but some of that will come down -- some of that precipitation will come down in the form of snow. And I don't think Beijing will be too bad, but watch as it moves to the Korean peninsula.

Still quite cold as we head across the U.S. That's going to be the concern now. The next push of cold air is this that you see right here. That will be making its way across the central plains even as we head into the end of the week.

So the snow is over, but the cold remains.

I want to take you back over toward the Pacific. Let's look at Hawaii. The waves expected to be the highest waves in 10 years. Now we have video to show you from that region. Pretty amazing.

Now the National Weather Service in Hawaii said, hey, you know what, do not be out there. These waves are so dangerous and so treacherous you will be risking your life. But as you can see, people were still out there trying to catch a glimpse of the monster waves that were affecting anywhere from the Big Island all the way up through the island chain.

Something else pretty amazing from Hawaii is the volcano, Kilauea erupting. Look at this -- now, Kristie, Mount Kilauea is very old volcano. They think it started -- they think it may be as old as 600,000 years old. And it has been erupting ever since. So of course very active.

The images that you see there were aerial views, because normally you're able to go right up to the volcano almost and see these eruptions, but this time around they said it's much, much too dangerous, so aerial views are all we get. Still pretty amazing.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, all we get, that's pretty stunning, a stunning aerial view that active volcano there in Hawaii. Mari Ramos, thank you for the share.

Now, Canada's if not the world's most infamous mayor admits that he had, quote, a minor setback. Earlier this week, Rob Ford was caught on video ranting about Toronto police.

Paula Newton reports.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The circus is back in town at Toronto city hall. Centre stage, you guessed it, Mayor Rob Ford.

FORD: That's how I speak with some of my friends.

NEWTON: Reporters were hurling all too familiar questions about a new video, had he been drinking, doing drugs, driving drunk? The Mayor says the video was shot at a restaurant Monday night and it's quite a show. Mayor Ford putting on a fake, some would say offensive Jamaican accent and complaining about how police wasted money on tailing him for so many months. At one point, he uses profane language to describe the city's police chief, Bill Blair.

FORD: I said you know your eyes open. I swear to God.

NEWTON: Just weeks ago, the mayor promised he would never drink again.

FORD: I'll guarantee that. Guarantee it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you've quit drinking for good?

FORD: Guarantee it, 100 percent.

NEWTON: It was not to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you drinking last night?

FORD: Yes, I was.

NEWTON: Mayor Ford is trying to dismiss the incident as personal.

FORD: No, I was with some friends and what I do in my personal life. NEWTON: But many are insisting the mayor remains in denial about his addiction. The video has again shaken city hall and many others in the city especially since a second video from the restaurant appears to show him sitting with Alexander Lisi although CNN cannot independently confirm the man's identity.

Lisi is the man charged with extortion police alleging he tried to get his hands on a video showing Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine. The apparent meeting with Lisi that disturbed Toronto's deputy mayor.

NORM KELLY, DEPUTY MAYOR OF TORONTO: He's got legal problems, possibly criminal ones, and I think that in light of the all of the revelations of the past couple of months, two or three months, I would have thought that the mayor would have wanted to distance himself.

NEWTON: Even one-time friends are fed up with the mayor's antics.

GARY CRAWFORD, TORONTO COUNCILLOR: He made the guarantee that this wouldn't be happening again and it has. He has a problem, an issue, an addiction; it needs to be dealt with.

NEWTON: Ford's lawyer says it would be predictable trying to get sober. It's becoming clear that he may need a break to sort out his problems in private.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


LU STOUT: And meanwhile, the pop singer Justin Bieber hit by a scandal again. According to police in Miami, Bieber has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and drag racing.

Now this is the second time in recent weeks that he's found himself in hot water with the law. Now police raided his home in L.A. earlier this month.

Now Bieber was under investigation for allegedly egging his neighbor's house.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, a different view and a different sort of touchdown, a stadium skydiver's story after the break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now when you go to an NFL game you expect to see plenty of action on the field, but for Denver Broncos fans the thrill doesn't stop there. Now Jeanne Moos takes to the sky for her next report.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's across the 50, the 40, the 30, clear sailing at the 20. But that's no running back. That's a skydiver. And if you've ever wondered what it's like to drop into a stadium, come along for the jump.

But how do you aim for that itty bitty oval down there?

Grab the steering handles.

DAVID BILLINGS, DENVER BRONCOS THUNDERSTORM: You pull down on the left, you go left. You pull down on the right, you go right.

MOOS: David Billings is a member of the Denver Broncos Thunderstorm, six skydivers who routinely jump into Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. After they jumped as part of the AFC championship pre- game show, they released the helmet cam video.

(on camera): You've never landed on a spectator?

BILLINGS: No, no. Absolutely not.

MOOS (voice-over): There were some 77,000 directly beneath them.

BILLINGS: We're coming in at speeds probably about 50 to 60 miles per hour.

MOOS: They use high performance smaller swooping canopies -- the biggest hazards are the crisscrossing cables the TV cameras run on.

BILLINGS: Every blue line is a wire we have to avoid. Enter the field about here, do our spiral, come in under these wires. Now, we're under all the wires until we hit touch down right over here.

MOOS: Touchdown at the 20. Who needs the end zone? The skydivers were greeted like heroes. But 20 years ago, an unexpected and unwelcome paraglider...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a parachute has just landed on the edge of the ring...

MOOS: Intentionally crashed a heavyweight title bout at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he is entering at the left side.

MOOS: That guy got beaten up by fans and arrested.

But the Broncos skydivers get high-fives though a Patriots fan did give two-handed middle finger salute.

(on camera): The Broncos skydivers have never had a problem. They make it look easy. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

(voice-over): Well, there was the time more than a flag was flying in the outfield at a Texas Rangers game after an army skydiver got hung up on the pole.

(on camera): When's the last time you actually paid for a ticket to get into the stadium?

BILLINGS: You know, I've never actually paid for a ticket. I've never had a ticket for the actual game although I've stayed for quite a few.

MOOS (voice-over): They pay him to enter at this gate. Talk about long yardage.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: Now we are still months away from Major League Baseball's opening day, but the New York Yankees are making headlines. They have signed 25-year-old Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a $155 million contract. That is the highest ever for an Asian-born player.

Now CNN asked him if he had a message in English for MLB fans.


MASAHIRO TANAKA, PITCHER (through translator): I don't speak English, so I'll just have to win the trust and confidence of my fans with my performance on the field.


LU STOUT: Now Tanaka was undefeated last season, leading his team to the Japanese series championship.

And finally we now know three of the four single's finalists at the Australian Open. And they may not be the most recognizable names to those who don't follow tennis closely.

Now World Sport's Lara Baldesarra is here to tell us who they are -- Lara.

LARA BALDESARRA, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yep, Kristie, you are absolutely right. Three of those four finalists, they're not exactly household names like say Roger Federer is. But one of them is looking like he could very well be on his way becoming quite well known, that man Stanislas Wawrinka who just won his match against Tomas Berdych.

Now Wawrinka is the guy that knocked out the three-time defending champion at the Australian Open Novak Djokovic and Wawrinka's game, it really just continues to dazzle. Iron Stan, as he's known, his serve continued to be his ultimate weapon in this match. He won it 6-3, 6-7, 7- 6, 7-6. And afterwards, Wawrinka he really seemed to have tears in his eyes as he knows now that one more win would be his first grand slam title.

Well, Wawrinka is 28-years-old and he'll have to face either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in that final as those two, they play their semifinal on Friday. And between them they have won 30 major titles.

Now the majority of those titles, they do belong to Federer who has 17, but he doesn't exactly have the edge when it comes to playing against Nadal. Nadal has won 22 of their 32 matches, including all four that they played last year.

Plus, Federer, he hasn't beaten Nadal in a grand slam semifinal since 2007.

Meanwhile, over on the women's side our finalists are set. It was the veteran Li Na against the up and coming Eugenie Bouchard. And perhaps it was all those years of experience that helped in this match.

Now Li won the match 6-2, 6-4, which means that she is heading to the final for the third time in just four years and for the second straight year.

Now after her match, Li, she commented on her young Canadian opponent saying that maybe Bouchard will become the best player in the world one day.

But right now Li will be facing Dominka Cibulkova in the final. And Cibulkova absolutely demolished Agnieska Radwanska in her semifinal winning 6-1, 6-2. Now it was pure domination by Cibulkova who has now become the first Slovakian woman to reach a grand slam final. And expectedly, she was so overjoyed that she almost had trouble speaking after her match.

So it is Li and Cibulkova in the final. And in terms of past results the Chinese star, she has the edge having won all four of her matches against Cibulkova.

Now we saw Li's experience really pave the way for her in her semifinal win, but the question is will it be the same for her in the final? Here's what Daniela Hantuchovasaid.


DANIELA HANTUCHOVA, 2008 AUSSIE OPEN SEMIFINALIST: Yeah, for Li Na she's already been in the finals twice. And I think that's what really counts in tournaments like this, the experience, having been through matches like that.

She's a very aggressive player. Her backhand has been working unbelievable the last few matches, especially against (inaudible). She played a great match. And I'm sure she feels like she's got a chance. And she just has to stay calm and keep going or her shots.


BALDESARRA: Now, Kristie, this is a really, really interesting final. It's almost lopsided with Li the fourth seed and Cibulkova the 20th seed.

Plus, would you believe that Cibulkova, she's only 5'3, which is really pretty short for a female tennis player.

LU STOUT: Yeah, only 5'3, but she's still a power player.

Lara Baldesarra there, thank you.

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