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Russian Police Identify Volgograd Suicide Bombers; Sochi Olympic Construction Criticized for Mistreating Workers; Chinese New Years Migration Begins; Jury To Rule on Amanda Knox Acquittal Appeal; Iranian Foreign Minister Responds To State of the Union Address

Aired January 30, 2014 - 08:00   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 Russian police say they know who is behind these attacks in the city of Volgograd as the Winter Olympics is set to begin.

Google sells Motorolo to Lenovo less than three years after it bought the struggling handset maker.

And the long journey home -- millions of Chinese migrant workers return to their families for the Lunar New Year.

As the city of Sochi prepares for its moment in the spotlight. Russian police reportedly say they have identified two suicide bombers they think carried out last month's attacks in Volgograd.

Now the report by the state news agency RIA Novosti also says that two suspected accomplices have been detained.

Now the attacks in December killed 34 people and raised concerns about security for the Winter Olympics.

Now Volgograd is also about 650 kilometers from Sochi. It's a major transit hub to the Black Sea resort. Now Ivan Watson joins us now live from Sochi. And Ivan, police, they have identified the suspected bombers. Is that going to help at all to ease security concerns ahead of the games?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that may ease concerns for some people with the federal security service confirming that two of the men who are identified as accomplices have been arrested in the Republic of Dagestan on the 29th of January. The Russian media identifying these men as Magomedov and and Tagiir Batiev (ph), brothers basically. And the Russian security services also identifying the suicide bombers as well saying that they've identified them as well.

These terrible bombings that took place over a 24 hour period in Volgograd that killed more than 30 people.

Of course the big concern is could some kind of terrorist or militants try to strike again. And we've certainly seen the -- just a fraction of the thousands, the tens of thousands of Russian security services that have fanned out across the Sochi area both from the coastal cluster, the Olympic Park, where the ice skating and other events will be taking place next to the waters of the Black Sea up here to the so-called mountain cluster where the alpine sports will be taking place when the Oympics -- the Winter Olympics begin a little bit more than a week from now.

It is a massive undertaking. Clearly, the Russian security forces that have descended on this area to protect these winter games -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Ivan, you've been reporting on the security readiness, but you've also seen the negative environmental impact of Sochi's Olympic boom.

WATSON: Well, I mean, the amount of construction that has taken place here, the amount of development is stupendous, Kristie. Behind me, this Alpine village that is built along the banks of a river here did not exist seven years ago. There have been trains, roads, power stations, stadiums. I mean, this is estimated to be the most expensive Olympics to date with estimates of more than $50 billion being spent here. And when you talk to the Russians from around the Sochi area, which I have to remind viewers (inaudible) you ask them what they think about the Winter Olympics projects, depending on who you talk to Russians either love it or loathe it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: In the shadow of a brand-new Olympic stadium workers put the final touches on tidy new streets and sidewalks in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. This is a model neighborhood of sorts, built to resettle some Russians who had to give up their homes and move here to make way for Sochi's new Olympic Park.

"The Olympic torch is going to burn where I used to live," says a local woman who introduces herself as Grandmother Rema (ph). "I'm very happy with my new house," she says.

But not all of the Russians around Sochi share Grandma Rema's (ph) Olympic spirit.

We drove 25 minutes from the Olympic Park, up a winding road that runs parallel to a brand new multibillion dollar highway and high speed train line. And it's along this route in the village of Ahkstir (ph) where some residents claim the Oympics destroyed their way of life.

Alexader Karopov (ph) used to make a living selling fruit from his orchards -- kiwis that are now rotting on the vine, he says, due to pollution from nearby Olympic construction sites.

The new Olympic train was built 20 yards from this man's farm.

Every ten minutes he says a high speed rail train whizzes by his house, which is very close to where we're standing right now and his farm. And it drives him crazy.

The little government medical clinic in Ahkstir (ph) stands abandoned while the community recreation center is an empty shell.

Several locals told me they're angry that the government spent billions of dollars on Olympic transport while promises to provide centralized plumbing and heating went unfulfilled.

And then there's the environmental question.

Alexander (ph) says this was a beautiful place before the Olympics. You can't imagine how many trees were destroyed here to build this.

The new train and highway were built up the length of the Mzymta River.

This river is one of the major drinking water supplies for the city of Sochi, which has a population of more than 300,000 people. And locals fear that the enormous construction here is polluting that vital water supply.

Nearly three years ago Russian authorities signed a pledge with the United Nations environmental program to restore the river basin. But that's done little to satisfy some Russians here who claim the Sochi Olympics have simply passed them by.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: Now Kristie, another challenge for the Sochi Olympics may come from mother nature. Today it's 9 degrees Celsius here and it's been raining. So the ski jump, for example, doesn't have enough snow. But we've been talking to a snow specialist here from Finland who is consulting on the Sochi Olympics. And he insists there is enough snow machines, there are enough snow machines to make enough snow and they've even stored snow from last winter up in the mountains should there be a shortage when the Olympic games behind.

He guarantees there will be enough snow for the alpine sports here -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Wow, from weather woes to security challenges, a number of challenges ahead for Olympic organizers there in Sochi.

Ivan Watson reporting live for us, thank you.

Now Sochi has undergone this incredible, you heard it, $50 billion makeover. Some activists say that Olympic venues and hotels have been built on the backs of abused workers. Nic Robertson investigates the claims.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Teeth knocked out, a photograph from last summer.

This is where the police beat you.

Builder Madoros Dermichan (ph) is near to tears as he tells me of his ordeal at the hands of Sochi's police.

"They beat me unconscious," he says. "They took away my trousers and raped me with an iron bar. Told me to confess."

His mistake, he says, was to complain to his Olympic construction site boss about long hours and lack of pay.

This video, he says, was shot inside the police station when a doctor came to examine him.

"Police said to me, drop your claims of back pay and your boss will get you out of jail."

Local police deny his claims of abuse and his employer says they've done nothing wrong. But human rights group Human Rights Watch says they've interviewed many Olympic construction workers and the workplace conditions Dermichan (ph) complains about, they say, are typical.

An estimated 95,000 workers toiled over the glitzy Olympic constructions in the seaside resort and higher in the mountains. Reports of cost overruns are legendary in Russia now, close to $50 billion spent, almost none of those billions, according to Human Rights Watch, making it to the men on whose backs the Olympics were built.

YULIA GORBUNOVA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Abuse is bad. They told us about it, included non-payment of wages or significant delays in payment of wages, excessive working hours, inadequate living conditions.

ROBERTSON: Video shot at the time by construction workers reveal dire conditions.

In another video, these workers all complain no wages, overcrowded conditions, no water.

But when workers went on strike they were punished. Migrant workers, one-sixth the total workforce, the most vulnerable.

GORBUNOVA: There were many instances where employers with -- the fact they would retaliate against the workers who dared to speak up about, you know, being (inaudible) just basically were left with the only choice to leave Russia without getting paid.

ROBERTSON: As construction ground on, Human Rights Watch said they made many appeals to officials, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago, with construction almost complete they say the government acknowledged the problem, promising to pay all missed wages.

For many migrant workers, though, it's too late, they've already left Russia and won't be getting paid.

GORBUNOVA: Thousands of people have been sent home after very perfunctory court hearings with in some cases no lawyers, no interpreters simply because they did not look Slavic. And so it's too late for those people.

ROBERTSON: Dermichan (ph), too, feels cheated. He's not just out of pocket, he tells me, "my injuries are so bad I'm too sick to work. We can only eat because friends lend us money."

For him and so many others, Sochi Olympics fall short of the Olympian ideal.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Sochi, Russia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Google has sold Motorola to Lenovo for less than $3 billion. It's a surprising move since Google only bought Motorola in 2012 for over $12 billion. But that purchase itself was a surprise, because many weren't sure how a hardware company like Motorola would fit in a software company like Google.

Now when it originally bought Motorola, Google said that the purchase would, quote, "supercharge Android," leading to the suggestion that Google wanted to build its own Android phones. Now that would allow Google to emulate Apple by creating both the hardware and the software for its phones.

Now the downside here it meant that through Motorola, Google was effectively competing with its own customers like Samsung, LG, Sony, anyone else that makes Android handsets.

Now others suggested that Google bought Motorola to get hold of its patent portfolio to help defend Android handset makers in court from legal challenges by Apple and Microsoft. But critics said Motorola's patents weren't worth as much as Google thought and pointed to the lack of major legal victories.

But in the end, after just a year-and-a-half, there was really only one thing to show from the collaboration between Google and Motorola, the Moto X smartphone.

So why did Lenovo decide to buy Motorola? Well, that is probably easier to figure out. IDC says Lenovo was the fifth biggest smartphone maker in 2013, but there is still a big gap between Lenovo and the top two Apple and Samsung.

It also harks back to Lenovo's purchase of IBM's ThinkPad division back in 2005. Today, Lenovo is the world's biggest PC maker.

Now, first, Ukraine's prime minister resigned and now the president is calling in sick. But anti-government protesters may be getting a reprieve.

Also ahead, U.S. President Barack Obama warned congress not to try to impose new sanctions against Tehran. Now CNN goes inside Iran to find out what the reaction is there.

And the world's biggest annual migration is in full swing. Millions of Chinese workers have been heading home to usher in the year of the horse.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now doctors in France have started the process to wake up the Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher. Now he's been in a medically induced coma in a skiing accident on December 29. The seven-time world champion has been at this hospital in Grenoble ever since.

Now Schumacher, he suffered a serious head injury. And the extent of the damage remains unclear.

A statement from his agent says it could take a long time to wake Schumacher and no further updates would be given.

Schumacher's family also repeated a request for privacy.

Now months of political turmoil in Ukraine are taking a toll at the top with the president of Ukraine going on sick leave.

Now earlier this week, the prime minister quit because of the ongoing political unrest and the opposition has also been calling on the president to resign. All this as parliament approved an Amnesty for anti-government protesters. CNN's Diana Magnay has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ukrainian parliament has passed an amnesty bill, which the opposition has boycotted and they said that they didn't even have time to read through the draft. The amnesty would go into effect only if protesters left all municipal buildings and government buildings around the country and also the access routes to them. And it would last only for 15 days.

As and when those routes are cleared, then the prosecutor general would start assessing each case on a case by case basis.

Well, the opposition says that this is unacceptable and that if the government doesn't do more to address their grievances, than violence could erupt again.

ARESENIY YATSENYUK, UKRAINIAN POLITICIAN: It depends on the way the government is to act. If they press on peaceful protesters, this will definitely trigger another spiral of violence.

MAGNAY: President Yanukovych is off sick. His office says he has an acute respiratory disease and a fever. The parliament will reconvene next Tuesday on February 4. Meanwhile, the German chancellor has called both President Yanukovych and the Russian president urging them to find a solution to this political crisis as soon as possible and to make sure that violence doesn't flare up again.

President Putin has said that he will continue with this $15 billion bailout for Ukraine and also with the gas discount that was agreed, but only when a new government has been put into place.

We're also hearing from the Ukrainian chamber of commerce that the equivalent of trade sanctions appear to be being placed on Ukrainian goods at the border, an extra price of between 5 and 40 percent on goods as they go into Russia. And it was exactly these kind of sanctions on Ukrainian goods, which have crippled the economy, one of the reasons why the Ukrainian president was so desperate for money, whether it be from the EU or from the Russian president.

So, complications for now as to the state of the economy. On the street, the people show no sign of leaving the chant on the barricades still the gang must go.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Kiev.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: It is the latest chapter in a long running legal drama, the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kerchner in the Italian city of Perugia in 2007.

Now a court in Florence is considering its verdict in the case of American woman Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. Now the pair effectively appealing their 2009 murder convictions for the second time and a decision from the jury is expected in the few hours.

Now Knox is at home in Seattle waiting for the outcome of the case, but Sollecito has appeared at the tribunal.

And for the latest, let's go live to Erin McLaughlin in Florence. And Erin, tell us about the court proceedings leading up to this new appeal verdict.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie.

Well, this morning in a courthouse just behind me Amanda's Knox's defense lawyers made their final argument asking the court not to condemn, in their words, two innocent people. The judges and jury then retired to deliberate.

In court this morning, as you mentioned, Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox's former boyfriend and fellow defendant in this trial. His father telling CNN that his son is absolutely terrified, but that he is here to face justice.

Now the judges in the trial announced we can expect a verdict no sooner than 5:00 pm local, that's 11:00 am Eastern. They are currently deliberating. And we are currently waiting, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And if Amanda Knox and her boyfriend are convicted again, what would happen next?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if they're convicted in this trial, they will have the option to appeal to Italy's supreme court, this very same court that overturned their 2011 acquittal. If that court ultimately finds them guilty, then Italy could request Amanda Knox's extradition from the United States.

Now as for Raffaele Sollecito, the prosecutor has asked this court to put in place what they call preventative measures, meaning that they could take Sollecito into custody if they deem him some sort of flight risk. The court has yet to make a ruling on that request, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Erin McLaughlin joining us live from Florence, thank you.

Now it is the day before the lunar new year in China and it is time to go home. We follow just one of the millions of people making their way back to their families to celebrate the lunar New Year.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now CNN's landmark series The Cold War explores the struggle that defined the second half of the 20th Century. The Truman Doctrine helped define the battle lines of capitalism versus Communism, east versus west. And that U.S. President's speech is the focus of our next episode.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KENNETH BRANAGH, ACTOR: In February 1947 a financial crisis forced the British government to tell Washington they were ending aid to Greece and Turkey. The administration feared the eastern Mediterranean might fall to communism.

Truman used this opportunity to take the offensive.

HARRY S. TRUMAN, 33RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedom. If we suffer in our leadership, we may endanger the piece of the world and we shall surely endanger the welfare of this nation.

GEORGE ELSEY, AIDE TO PRESIDENT TRUMAN: I was there in the balcony listening and I was struck by the absolute concentrated attention of the congress. On this occasion everyone in the hall realized that this was a major historical event.

TRUMAN: I therefore ask the congress to provide authority for assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of $400 million for the period ending June 30, 1948.

BRANAGH: Truman pitched the struggle for the first time as between freedom and tyranny, the west and the Communists. Truman had to persuade the often isolationist congress to act. The anti-Communism of the Truman Doctrine did just that.

GEORGE MCGHEE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: The Truman speech reflected very clearly Truman's own character.

He liked to see issues very clearly and to come up with clean cut answers.

BRANAGH: After five-and-a-half years of a war to defeat fascism, Europe was bankrupt. Industry lay in ruins, homes were in rubble, people struggled to survive.

The Communist Party, which had fought fascism, attracted new recruits.

MARIANNE DEBOUZY, STUDENT, PARIS: The appeal of Communism to young people and to students was that of a hope that it's possible to create a classless society. Many people believed that Communism was going to create a better world, better than the one that existed before the war.

This was the only party that you could join if you wanted to change the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And tune in this Saturday for the next episode of CNN's landmark series Cold War. Now money remakes postwar Europe as dueling economic plans helped to strengthen alliances on both sides of the Iron Curtain. That's the next Cold War Saturday at 19:00 in Hong Kong.

Now coming up next here on News Stream, inside Iran. Now CNN sits down with Iran's foreign minister for Tehran's view on relations with America.

The greatest annual migration on Earth is currently underway as millions of Chinese head home to celebrate the lunar new year.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now opposition leaders in Ukraine have rejected parliament's offer of amnesty for jailed demonstrators. Now protesters say they still want President Viktor Yanukovych to step down. An announcement on his website today says he has gone on sick leave with the flu.

Now doctors in France are easing Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher out of an artificial coma. Now Schumacher's agent says that his sedation is being reduced to begin the waking up process. Now the seven-time world champion was placed in a medically induced coma after a near fatal skiing accident in France last month.

Syrian peace talks have resumed in Geneva a day after the UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said his expectations for the first round of talks are low. On Wednesday both sides agree to use the same road map for negotiations, which includes a transitional government. Now the talks are scheduled to end on Friday.

Iran is reacting to U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address saying his tough talk was meant for a domestic audience.

Now the president insisted that nuclear program negotiations with Iran are not based on trust, but verifiable action. Now for the view from Tehran, let's join CNN's Jim Sciutto. And Jim, what is Iran's foreign minister been telling you about President Obama's speech?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORERSPONDENT: Well, Kristie, I tell you I've been able to sit down with him twice in the last week. And what's clear about Doctor Zarif is that he's friendly. He's direct, but he's also unbending in his positions, not afraid to tell us what he liked about President Obama's State of the Union speech and what he did not like.

What he liked, the president saying that he would veto any new sanctions legislation. He did not like a reiteration of the American position that all options remain on the table with regards to Iran's nuclear program, including the threat of military force.

All told, we got a very rare, behind the scenes look at his very long day of diplomacy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: For the Iranian foreign minister, it is a grueling 16 hour day starting at 8:00 am with a cabinet meeting, then greeting the Turkish prime minister, and ending just before midnight with a visiting Lebanese delegation.

One of his last orders of business...

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: This is our response to State of the Union.

SCIUTTO: Positive or negative or mixed?

ZARIF: Well, mixed.

SCIUTTO: What was your impression of the speech?

ZARIF: Well, obviously what comes out of White House and the State Department in the United States is (inaudible). It doesn't matter how the Americans try to spin it for the domestic audience, when it comes to Iran it does matter.

SCIUTTO: On news today that the U.S. will begin sending weapons to the Syrian opposition, however, Dr. Zarif was unequivocal.

You heard that the U.S. is going to be sending arms, small arms to some of the rebel groups. Do you think that's helpful?

ZARIF: No. I do not think a war can be stopped by more arms.

SCIUTTO: With midnight nearing, in came a call from his wife.

He's taking it, yeah.

ZARIF: It is my wife.

SCIUTTO: OK. I knew it.

ZARIF: It was time to go home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Dr. Zarif is an avid user of Twitter and Facebook. And I asked him when will average Iranians get the same freedom. You know those sites blocked here, other social media websites. He said it's a goal of his administration, but that the new Iranian leadership has only been in office for six months or so and it's something that they're going to plan to achieve, Kristie, over time.

LU STOUT: Interesting. So in terms of lifting the social media blocks in Iran, watch that space there.

Now Jim, back to the nuclear issue. You know, I recall when you were in Davos and you first sat down with Iran's foreign minister, he told you that Iran, quote, did not agree to dismantle anything. Now you're in Tehran, you've had a second encounter with the foreign minister of Iran. Have you gotten any more clarity on that, on Iran's nuclear intentions?

SCIUTTO: He stands by that position that under this interim nuclear deal they are not dismantling, it comes down to some degree to a question of semantics. You know, the U.S. administration will say that in effect they are dismantling parts of their nuclear program, by for instance disconnecting the connections between some of these centrifuge cascades.

Now the Iranians will say they're not destroying any centrifuges and in fact those connections can be reconnected at any time, so in effect they're not dismantling.

I think this falls under the category of both sides being able to claim what they want to when the reality is the agreement says the same thing, that under this nuclear -- interim nuclear deal they're not tearing anything down, they're not tearing apart the centrifuges, et cetera. They are rolling back parts of the program, but you know as far as the word dismantle is concerned, that (inaudible fall under this agreement, in fact they say that when you look at what's written on paper that that verb does not come up.

LU STOUT: Interesting. Jim Sciutto joining us live with the view from Tehran. Many thanks indeed for that.

Now, let's turn to the celebrations underway for the new lunar new year. Now people are preparing to welcome the year of the horse. And many have already eaten their New Year's Eve dinner. It is considered the most important meal to spend with family.

But for millions of Chinese, it means a long trip home.

Now the Chinese web giant Baidu has developed a real-time map of the mass migration underway. It updates every hour by pulling location data from user's mobile phones as they travel. You can see a lot of activity originates from around Guangzhou in the south of China, Shanghai in the east and then Beijing for the north.

Now millions of migrant workers, they pour out of the capital by train. And David McKenzie tagged along with one woman on her way home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Zhou Xiao's (ph) journey from Beijing begins at night.

"I'm feeling great now, because I'm going home," she says. "And I often only go home once a year."

Like millions of migrant workers in China, she's rushing to catch a train home before the new year. And we're rushing with her.

So they say every journey starts with a single step and this is very true. We're heading around 1,000 kilometers away to Anhui province, part of the great migration of people in China.

Zhou works two jobs as a maid and her husband is a foreman. Together, they earn around 1,200 dollars a month. It's enough to keep them far from home.

Chinese will take a staggering 3.4 billion trips over the monthlong spring festival period. It's the largest annual migration on the planet. And it makes for a tight squeeze.

"A bet you you've never experienced anything like this before," laughs Zhou (ph).

Trying to get on this train. It's jam packed, because everyone has the stuff they're taking home to their relatives. And there's so many people here. And we all have to squeeze on the same train.

This year, online sales to Anhui sold out in seconds. So Zhou (ph) got tickets to the first stop hoping the conductor wouldn't throw them off.

With standing room tickets, we're marched past the sleeper carriage to our spot outside the wash rooms for the next 10 hours.

"I don't mind sitting here," she says, "because I miss my children so much. I want to go home. They are my children and it's not like we are separated for a month or two, it's for an entire year."

This isn't so much a vacation for Zhou, it's a pilgrimage home. And for the multitude of migrants heading back, the overnight journey is often crowded, frequently uncomfortable and definitely tedious.

But it's the destination that counts.

"Every year when I get near home, I feel so happy," says Zhou (ph), "that the thought of going back is so hard. I feel so sad and every time I cry."

But for no, Zhou (ph) has three precious weeks in her village to forget about her work, to spend time with her son that she's putting through college and to just be a mother, a family separated by necessity, but brought together by tradition.

David McKenzie, CNN, Maohung Village (ph), China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And we have more traveler's stories on our website, like these men carrying big bags of new clothes and a Beijing roast duck for their families.

And you can learn more about lucky foods and other new year's superstition from flowers to sweet treats enjoyed during this time of year. We'll explain the meaning behind some quirky customs. You'll find it all at CNN.com/China.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up next, the winter woes of Atlanta. We'll have much more on the fallout from that snow storm that brought the city's streets and highways to a standstill.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now a winter storm that paralyzed North America's ninth largest city has now come and gone. But hundreds of abandoned cars still line the streets in Atlanta and across the state of Georgia. Emergency officials say that they will help drivers get their vehicles back today, but there's a bigger question, how to prevent six centimeters of snow from shutting down Atlanta again.

Brian Todd has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Snowmageddon in a major city. An auto graveyard on the interstate. Semi-trucks jackknifed. Cars abandoned by the hundreds, others struggling. Over a thousand accidents were reported in the City of Atlanta and the greater area. Look at these school buses -- children stranded inside them. Nearly 100 children were stuck on buses until about midnight.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I was super scared. I was like, if I don't get home to my parents, I'm like I'm going to freak out.

TODD: Other kids had to sleep at their schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He spent the night. All the teachers and the staff set up gym mats.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It took a long time for daddy to get here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

TODD: Good Samaritans tried to free cars that had been stuck for hours, while the National Guard came out to help stranded victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first priority was to look for people that were stranded, you know, hadn't had any food or water, and to bring that to them.

TODD: Trucker Greg Schroeder had been stuck in his truck for 23 hours when he spoke to CNN.

GREG SCHROEDER: I've seen hundreds of accidents. I'm not stuck on anything, it's just there's nowhere to go.

TODD: All from a snowfall of, at most, three-and-a-half inches, and a layer of ice so slippery, these kids could play hockey on it. Atlanta's mayor admits the government was partly to blame because schools and government offices let people out at about the same time businesses shut down in the early afternoon on Tuesday.

(on camera): Is that how it really escalates so quickly, everyone hitting the road at the same time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does. Practically, if everybody is hitting the road at the same time, your demand on the transportation network will be so high that the corresponding capacity or supply of your network will not be able to handle such demand.

TODD (voice-over): In Atlanta, that led to people taking 12, 14 hours, or longer, to get home.

What's it like to be stuck or sliding around in this chaos?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five miles an hour.

TODD: Here's self-shot video from CNN meteorologist, Mari Ramos. She chronicled her journey home traveling north on I-75. Before she got stranded at a hotel, look what happened.

MARI RAMOS, ATS METEOROLOGIST: OK, my car skidded off the road. I'm going to go ahead and get out now because it's pretty scary to stay in here. I'm not alone. There's emergency vehicles behind me, as you can see there. I need help, but they can't help me because there's a serious accident up the road. So they're trying to put some salt there. Because that big truck in front of me is sliding, as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you go in?

RAMOS: I can, sir. I can try.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

TODD: In these situations, one traffic expert says, drivers become distracted by stressful conditions, trying to stay warm, take care of children in the vehicle. They often don't obey traffic laws at those moments, he says.

And in many places, a simple lack of driving skill is a huge factor.

SAMER HAMDAR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: If you are dealing with a Southern state that is not used to getting different kind of snow, precipitation, among other weather conditions, the skills of the drivers will not be able to handle the roadway condition in a proper manner.

TODD: Samer Hamdar says in these situations local governments can stagger the departures, make people leave their offices in different waves with school aged children getting first priority. You can coordinate those departures by region. And, he says, you can have contraflow with police closing off the opposite incoming lanes of freeways and directing large waves of drivers leaving the area into them to open everything up. That happens often during hurricane evacuations, but it looks like none of that happened in Atlanta.

Brian Todd, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now let's get an update on the icy conditions across many parts of the U.S., especially there in the American south affecting so many of our colleagues at CNN Center, including my friend Mari Ramos.

Let's go straight to Pedram Javaheri. He joins me from the world weather center -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie. You know, Mari, of course, would typically be here at this hour. She's safe at home right now. We know she finally made it home late --earlier last night after being stranded across that region in a hotel after having to walk to the hotel from the highway in the past couple of days.

But finally the storm system that caused all this mess beginning to push offshore. And we do have another storm headed in this direction, but this particular feature coming in with much warmer temperatures so it looks like conditions going to be more on the soggy side, but the scene is absolutely remarkable out of the southeastern United States.

And of course we focus on Atlanta, because it if the highest population area across this region impacting the most people. The city of roughly nearly 6 million people living in the Atlanta metropolitan region there, when you put about a million people on the road between 12:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday and 2:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday and then you bring in snowfall that was only on the order of 6 centimeters, that really wasn't the concern, but when you compact that snow down, we know the temperatures dropped to minus 10 degrees in the overnight hours, hundreds of people stranded in their vehicles, we know upwards of nearly 1,000 kids that are sleeping inside school buses in the overnight hours before the governor was able to send military Humvees to hand out food and water.

All of that ice becomes compacted, all of that becomes a major concern, because no matter how much you spin that tire, you don't move across this region. And that six centimeters, something we typically see across Atlanta every two or three years. In fact, the 2011 was the last time that much snow accumulated across Atlanta. We even had some ice accumulations across some of the coastal communities in South Carolina, about 8 centimeters of ice came down.

But travel, major implications here across travel, because over the past three days, upwards of 6,000 cancellations across the United States, the vast majority of them out of areas around the busiest airport in the world there based on foot traffic, that being out of Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson airport. So, you know, a lot of people playing catch up in the next couple of days when it comes to recovery from the ice finally melting in the sites getting underway.

But I'm going to take you Down Under here, because we are watching a tropical cyclone off the coast of northeastern Australia. This particular storm about three hours away from landfall. I have some video right now coming in out of areas around Townsville on Queensland. And you take a look. Pretty impressive storm system here. Again, landfall around 4:00 in the morning local time. We know winds already strong enough to have ripped boats off their moorings across this region, some of them have washed up the beaches. Officials saying this Tropical Cyclone Dylan. We need to stay away from the coast over the next couple of days. Winds could exceed 100 kilometers per hour.

In fact, we do have cyclone warnings in place across this region of Australia. And the graphics here showing you exactly the areas from Mackay northward towards Townsville. In fact, that is the community of our home town for our own John Vause there where the cyclone is expected to make landfall and rainfall going to exceed over 100 millimeters as the storm system begins to push in and winds, of course, a major concern with it as well.

But everything should begin to improve as we head into the early morning hours into this weekend across this region of Australia.

We do have another cyclone that we're watching, this storm system sitting off the coast of the Philippines, a high probability for formation for this particular feature. And you won't believe what the models are doing. You know the last thing we want to see with the storm system in this region, in this part of the world, a beeline here for the eastern Visayas, one of the areas watching very carefully around Tacloban, of course, where we know this storm system has a pretty significant impact in the forecast, upwards of 20 centimeters of rainfall forecast. And also very gusty winds over the next couple of days.

And at this point, Kristie, it looks like it will take more of a southerly track towards nortern Mindanao just south of Tacloban. I mean, this general area, though, of course the last thing you want to see is any sort of strong storms from what we're recovering from in this region.

LU STOUT: Yeah, without a doubt, without a doubt indeed. And thank you so much for a heads up on that new storm system there. Pedram Javaheri, thank you.

Now in the U.S. Super Bowl Sunday is now just three days away. And the Seattle Seahawks will take on the Denver Broncos for the NFL championship.

Now behind the scenes a massive security operation is underway in East Rutherford, New Jersey where the big game will take place and in New York. Now Alexandra Field takes us inside the FBI command center in the heart of New York City.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HARTNETT, FORMER NYPD INTELLIGENCE COMMANDER: I would say arguably this is the biggest security challenge the city has ever faced.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ed Hartnett, a former NYPD Intelligence commander has overseen some of the most high profile and high security moments in New York City's history. He said the NYPD's latest mission, securing Super Bowl Boulevard, a 13-block stretched in the middle of Manhattan could be even tougher. Harnett thinks of it as New Year's Eve going on for days with all the same challenges.

Those challenges magnified now Hartnett said following threats made on the Olympic Games in Sochi.

HARTNETT: If you're called before 9/11, allow the so-called chatter was about a big event that would probably happen in Europe and actually the event deadly happened here. I think law enforcement officials are mindful of that.

FIELD: A hundred law enforcement agencies are bringing in manpower and resources to keep Super Bowl 48 safe. On Monday, the task force deployed officers to a New Jersey home less than 20 miles away from Metlife Stadium where the game will be played. One man was arrested after a bomb squad found homemade explosive devices and guns. Officials say they found no link to terrorism or the Super Bowl.

(on camera): There has been a lot of planning. There's been a lot of preparation, but what's so keeping you up at night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.

FIELD (voice-over): Lt. Col. Ed Cetnar of the New Jersey State Police took us inside the Super Bowl's command center in a secret location where vast network of cameras are monitored around the clock.

LT. COL. ED CETNAR, NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE: In my career in 27 years, this is the largest event that the New Jersey State Police is undertaking and the Super Bowl is not a holiday, but it's an American tradition. This is huge. FIELD: Super Bowl 48 has its own unique challenges. There will be events in both New Jersey and New York. There are four nearby airports where air traffic will have to stop at times. Several event venues stick close to water for that reason and authorities studied the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, which launched from the water.

CETNAR: We have been looking at our vulnerability sites and making sure that when the 80,000 folks come in to celebrate the Super bowl, every contingency is covered.

FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, East Rutherford, New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now, a stunning moment after the State of the Union Address. It had nothing to do with the U.S. president's speech. Now find out what a congressman told the reporter and why he's now saying sorry and maybe even treating the guy out to lunch.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And we got some news to share. Now CNN is partnered with Twitter and Data-Miner to create a new way to identify news stories online.

Now it's not hard to see why Twitter has become such an important tool for news gathering. It is designed to quickly broadcast short snippets of information and it was built for mobile devices right from the start.

Now Twitter's first big news break was the plane that manage to successfully land in the Hudson River, but as Twitter has grown, it's becoming harder to pick out important news from everything else. There are now more than 500 million tweets sent out every day.

Now Data-Miner is designed to search through all of them and to pick out the tweet that is relevant and newsworthy like this farewell from the New York Times journalist who was forced to leave China. Now it's one a number of new tools designed to bring popular topics to your attention faster.

Now Twitter itself launched an account called Magic Rex. Now it scans the list of people you're following and if a lot of them are talking about the same thing it brings it to your attention.

Now a U.S. congressman from New York is now apologizing for what he said to a reporter. He threatened to toss the journalist over a balcony and, quote, "break him in half." And while he may have whispered it all, it was all caught on tape.

Jeanne Moos reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Tony Soprano threatens, men tremble...

JAMES GANDOLFINI, ACTOR: And you better pay me the respect that I gave your brother, or we're going to have a problem.

MOOS: But when New York Congressman Michael Grimm uttered a Sopranos worthy threat against a reporter who has the wrong question at the wrong time, it was the congressman who took the hit in the press.

Come on, you know the guy's not really going to throw the reporter off the balcony. Most of these are just idle threats, for instance, when Alec Baldwin gets tough.

ALEC BALDWIN: You know what's going to happen to you, don't you?

MOOS: It happens so often...

BALDWIN: When my wife and kid come out here, you've got a big problem, you know that don't you?

MOOS: Doesn't have the quite the same effect even though he used the exact same threat as Tony. And whoever Rob Ford was ranting about probably won't lose much sleep, and no heads rolled after this Tour de France cycling champ defended his dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't stand on my dog or I'll cut your head off.

MOOS: Aides did have to separate these two, Karl Paladino, an unsuccessful candidate for New York governor was yelling at a "New York Post" editor. We watched as Representative Grimm later said he had apologized to the reporter he threatened to break.

REPRESENTTIVE MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: I'm sure my Italian mother is going to be yelling at me saying you weren't raised that way and she's right.

MOOS: It could have been worse. Reporters have been doused, and whacked, sprayed with bug spray, attacked with a hoe. Dogs have even been sick on them. Sometimes when a reporter feels threatened, he takes preemptive action. This is nuts. Watch this deployed by Weather Channel meteorologist, Jim Cantore. Talk about threats. Not even a weather man could predict the threat of high pressure moving in on the groin.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: He was so ready for that takedown. And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.

END