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The Most Interesting Olympian In The World; Syria Announces Extension Of Ceasefire In Homs; Britain, U.S. Battered With Storms; Belgian Parliament To Vote On Euthanasia For Children; Jose Salvador Alvarenga Returns Home
Aired February 13, 2014 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Now a massive snow storm hits the U.S. east coast stranding cars in the middle of highways.
Belgium's parliament is set to vote on whether the right to die should be extended to children.
And we go south of Sochi to a land that time forgot. The crumbling Soviet architecture of Abkhazia.
Extreme winter storms are wrecking havoc on both sides of the Atlantic, with much of the U.S. and the UK getting slammed.
Now Britain is being battered by water and wind while in the United States the problem is snow and ice.
Now let's start over here in the UK where severe warnings for flood waters are in place after yet another powerful storm hit overnight.
Now wind gusts as strong as 160 kilometers per hour struck parts of England and Wales. Even royal residences were not immune to mother nature's whims.
Now this lodge on the grounds of Windsor Castle found itself partially submerged this week.
Now the government's response to the weather has been criticized, but Prime Minister David Cameron says that money is not an object in the relief effort and is pledging more support for affected residents.
Now, in the United States, more than 772,000 customers have no electricity. A massive storm system has pummeled the country's southeast, bringing down trees and powerlines along with them. And the monster storm is moving north. So far, it has claimed 10 lives.
Now commuters have been hard-hit. Thousands of flights have been canceled and many drivers trying to head home during the storm found themselves in gridlock on the roads.
Now onlookers stuck in one traffic jam, they were shocked when a car suddenly burst into flames on the roadside.
As George Howell reports, the southeast, unaccustomed to so much snow, is struggling to cope.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Late in to the night the south reeled from the chaos created by the storm. Especially in the Carolinas. Crews desperately tried to clear the streets covered in snow and littered with abandoned cars. Parts of the south once again an icy gridlock. A major ice and snowstorm lasting Georgia and the Carolinas, in some areas, falling at least one to two inches per hour resulting in yet another traffic nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It came on so fast and furious. It just happened so quickly. That is why so many of us were caught.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of cars were abandoned. They just left. Next thing you know, I see planes.
HOWELL: Trying to outrun the storm, drivers in Charlotte and Raleigh found themselves paralyzed on the highways and skidding off the streets. Those who had no choice but to be on the roads took hours to get home or simply abandoned their cars. And in South Carolina, more than 200,000 people and climbing are still in the dark. Energy crews were forced to call in reinforcements to help repair the fallen lines. In Georgia, trees toppled under heavy coatings of ice, bringing down power lines and destroying homes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrifying. Hearing the tree crack and watching it fall from my window and landed on my daughter's room.
HOWELL: This tree darted through the ceiling of a house in McDonough, barely missing a 19-year-old man in his bed by inches. The 86-year- old Leila Grier was sleeping inside her Atlanta home when an ice- covered tree crashed down on her roof.
LEILA GRIER, STORM VICTIM: Just laying in the bed and I hear all of this noise and all of this stuff is on top of me.
LU STOUT: And that was George Howell reporting. Many U.S. states have simply been unprepared for these unprecedented storms. This is something Mari Ramos can speak on firsthand. She joins us now from the World Weather Center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You guys hear me? Here we are.
I want to start you off, yeah, a little bit more on some of these extreme weather conditions. Let's go ahead and start in the U.S. first of all. This is looking outside of our window right here, I should say at our tower cam here in CNN Center looking outside. And you saw that ice that was on the camera at first. It's cleared up a little bit. And this is what it looks like right now.
This is looking live and this is Centennial Olympic Park, you can see the Olympic rings right there. And we've shown you this Ferris Wheel before.
So you can a lot of snow on the ground, a lot of ice still on the ground and not a lot of people out and about, Kristie. So this is still a pretty serious situation here, not as bad as what they're experienced as we heard from George there across the Carolinas.
This is what the radar looks like. It looks like the moisture is finally ending here across the southeast. And that's definitely some good news. As temperatures rise above freezing, we'll start to see better conditions.
But it's getting worse as we head into areas across Washington and all the way up even into New England.
So, as far as the winter storm warnings, we're seeing them all stretching up and down the eastern seaboard with thousands upon thousands of travel delays. And that is still a huge concern.
That area of low pressure will continue riding right along. And hopefully will be out of our hair, so to speak, by overnight tonight and into Friday morning we'll start to see some improvement in the weather conditions across this region.
Talk about the travel delays, this is huge. From this storm alone, there's been already over 8,000 cancellations as far as flights are concerned.
As far as delays, we've had over 4,000. That's just with this one. There's over 4,000 cancellations today alone. And that's amazing. Talk about being a record, this year there's already been over 71,000 cancellations. And the cost to airlines is over $150 million. So this is going to continue adding up. In January alone, there were over 30 million passengers that were affected by travel cancellations. And here we are in February and it goes back to the same thing.
Now Kristie, remember when we talked about the polar vortex and the winds that are trapped in the North Pole and, you know, those strong winds kind of keep that cold air to the north, but then sometimes when it relaxes a little bit and that cold air that's bottled up in the arctic begins to spill a little farther to the south -- or I should say a lot farther to the south. And that's what we have right now
When the jet stream dips extremely far south, and we've been talking about this quite a lot, that's when we keep having these weather events, these extreme weather events here across the southesast.
Is it linked to climate change? Well, we can't say that, because these individual events cannot be linked to climate change. What we can say is that it -- we believe, and climate scientists believe and keep saying over and over, that extreme events will become more common as the climate continues to warm. So that's very important.
So the jetstream gets all the way down. That takes, of course, that storm system right along in this next weather pattern, which is the one that we're seeing across the UK and Ireland with all of the extreme flooding. This is very, very important, because this pattern is set to continue.
Today, you can almost see you're having a little bit of a break compared to yesterday, but as we head to Friday night, the next storm system begins to move in, that's going to mean more rain, more strong winds across this area and so the break will be very, very short lived, Kristie. Flooding still a huge concern and that coastal flooding with the strong winds still a huge concern across the UK and Ireland. And I know that this is going to be a long-term problem for people in this area.
Back to you.
LU STOUT: Yeah, still a concern, will be a concern for a long time to come.
Mari Ramos there, thank you.
The flood waters in Britain, they are not letting up. Let's go straight to our Jim Boulden live. He joins me just west of London from the flooded town of Staines-upon-Thames.
And Jim, could you describe the flooding and the flood damage around you.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, what's interesting here, Kristie, though it's called Staines-upon-Thames, this water is not the Thames river flooding these houses, this is the rainwater and this is the backup ground water, because it's saturated and because the drains are filled.
The river is about a mile down that way. And these people do not expected to get flooded, because they have never been flooded by the river. What they didn't expect was all the rain we've had in January and then the new rain on top of it in February. It can't drain. So it's flooding these houses.
Now, earlier, we spoke to Pete. And he lives in this house. It may not look so bad here in the front, but take a listen to him in his back yard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not any water on the Thames at all, this is purely ground water, which is clean when it comes out of the ground, but now once it covers over the manholes around the house and there about 600 (inaudible) of course it -- as soon as it comes over the top it's contaminated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOULDEN: So he's worried about raw sewage on these streets. He's worried about his neighbors, of course. We've seen some people who have not decided to leave.
To show you some of the houses over here, these have been evacuated. These people have left several days ago. They had tried to use sand bags. But as Pete told me, Sandbags are useless, because the water is coming up from the drains, the water is coming from the ground.
This would only be helpful if they were trying to stop the Thames from flooding this area.
So, Kristie, this is just another example, another snapshot of what people are dealing with.
We do think the Thames is going to hit a 60 year high some time in the next 24, 48 hours. That's from the environment agency. These people are worried about the other water, but they say it's going to be weeks until they can even start the cleanup -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: And, Jim, I've been watching your live reports all day. And you've shared with our international viewers just the concerns of the local residents as you did just then. We have seen flooded homes, flooded businesses, I have yet to see any official response where you are. Have you seen any government response, or military response there to help out, to pump out the flood water, to clear the debris?
What we've seen is especially yesterday in Datchet, which is another village near the Thames, we saw a lot of military personnel. They had been there over the weekend, and they were then moving to other areas. If people call with an emergency, the military goes in, the emergency services will go in and try to remove people.
Some of these people might have been -- had their houses evacuated by the emergency services, but the people here say the haven't really seen much more than that.
You have seen special setups for people to be able to sleep overnight in schools and things. And then the west of the country where it's much more severe you have seen intervention by emergency services.
But for people here, they want to know if they're going to get any compensation for flood waters and for the rising groundwater that they were never expecting to have to face, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Reporting live from Staines-upon-Thames. Jim Boulden, thank you.
You're watching News Stream. And still to come, in Belgium, terminally ill children may be about to be given the right to die. That story is next.
Also ahead, in Chad, an in depth look at the dangerous fight to end the illegal ivory trade.
And we look back at the origins of the Cold War. This week in CNN's landmark series, the pivotal role Berlin played and the creation of East and West Germany.
Now Belgium's parliament votes within hours to decide whether terminally ill children should be given the right to die.
Now the euthanasia legislation would allow minors who are, quote, "in a hopeless medical situation of unbearable suffering" to opt for assisted suicide.
Now lawmakers are widely expected to pass this controversial measure into law today. And if the bill does pass, it would make Belgium the first country in the world to allow people of all ages to choose to die.
Now for more on this, CNN's Diana Magnay joins me now live from CNN Berlin.
Diana, how much popular support does this bill have across the country?
DIANA MAGNA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, it is supported by the majority of people in Belgium, some 75 percent according to the latest polls, which sounds like a surprisingly high number, but in fact all the Benelux countries are fairly liberal in their attitudes toward euthanasia, in The Netherlands. Children over the age of 12 can request euthanasia with parental consent.
But there are of course also a very vocal contingent who strongly oppose this legislation, which is extremely controversial because of the fact that it touches on this incredibly emotive issue.
Can a child even begin to comprehend what death is, let alone have the right to choose to end their own life?
I spoke to some of the families who had to deal with this horrible issue. This is what they had to say.
MAGNAY: There was no medicine that could save Ella-Louise from a rare genetic mutation called Krabbe disease, which destroyed her nervous system.
Heavily sedated in these final days of her short 10 month life, no food or water to try and speed up inevitable.
LINDA VAN ROY, ELLA-LOUISE'S MOTHER: The whole period of sedation you always need to give more and more and more medication. You starting asking questions and they say, what's the use of keeping this baby alive.
MAGNAY: Linda wishes she could have administered a fatal dose and spared them both the pain of those final days, which is why she's campaigning for a chance to Belgium's end of life and euthanasia laws.
VAN ROY: We want for those children, who want to be able to talk about euthanasia and to ask those questions. And if they really want to say stop, this is it, I don't want it anymore, they can have a choice.
MAGNAY: Pediatricians like Gerland Van Berlaer say it will simply legalize what happens anyway.
GERLAND VAN BERLAER, PEDIATRICIAN: Doctors do terminate life of children as well as adults and but today it's done in, let's say in a gray zone or in the dark, because it's illegal.
MAGNAY: But critics question whether children can reasonably decide whether to end their own lives.
Isabella Saccovic has Huntington's Disease. She's just under 18. In the last few years, she's lost the ability to walk, eat or speak properly. But she can still think for herself.
IWONA SACEWICZ, IZABELA'S MOTHER (subtitles): Do you know what euthanasia means?
IZABELA SACEWICZ, SUFFERS FROM HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE (subtitles): No.
IWONA SACEWICZ (subtitles): No.
(subtitles): Euthanasia means if you are unwell, you are so unhappy that you don't want to stay here, you want to leave, go high a bout, to God. But if you leave, you leave forever, you can't come back. What do you think of that? is it good or is it not good?
IZABELA SACEWICZ (subtitles): It's not good.
IWONA SACEWICZ (subtitles): It's not good.
MAGNAY: Her mother Ivana (ph), struggles to look after both of her children and keep working as a cleaner to keep the money coming in.
IWONA SACEWICZ (subtitles): If we had help, you wouldn't think of death for your children.
MAGNAY: She thinks the senators inside these walls should focus instead on better support for families like hers, especially like Izabela pass into adulthood when the care options shrink further.
One of the main arguments is that this is more a matter of principle than anything else, that only a very small number of children will ever in practice ask to end their lives through euthanasia. But if you look at the Netherlands where since 2002 children with parental consent have been allowed to request euthanasia. Since then only five children have ever done so.
MAGNAY: So, Kristie, as you can see, a terrible dilemma is that these families have to face, but the arguments that many -- the majority of people in Belgium believe is that this will only apply to those very few children who have, for example, terminal cancer and who are qualified according to doctors and psychologists' assessments to make the decision to end their lives, Kristie.
LU STOUT: You know, this is just such an emotionally charged issue and it touches on so many factors, whether it's medical, political, legal. If the bill passes, how would Belgium make sure that terminally ill children are of sound mind and are mature enough to choose euthanasia, to choose the right to die?
MAGNAY: Well, that is something that critics question whether it can ever happen, whether you can ever objectively be able to assess whether a child is of sound mind and capable of making that kind of judgment. But there are various categories that have to be fulfilled. The child must be in an unbearable physical suffering for adults who want euthanasia. They can also come under the category of unbearable psychological suffering.
But for children, they must be in unbearable physical suffering. The doctor must have a second opinion and also consult a child psychologist so that they could all be reasonably assured that the child is conscious of the decision that they are making. The parents have to be of agreement and there has to be a written application also.
so there are various criteria that have to be fulfilled. Critics say they're not enough, Kristie.
LU STOUT: This is just such a harrowing issue. Diana Magnay, we thank you for your reporting.
Now you're watching News Stream. And still to come, we bring you inside the dangerous world of Africa's illicit ivory trade. With not enough jobs to go around, lucrative poaching is now picking up steam and so is the fight against it. Stay with us.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You're back watching News Stream.
Now in Chad, our Arwa Damon continues her in depth reporting on the deadly ivory trade.
Now nations around the world have been cracking down. And now the United States just announced a ban on all trade of elephant ivory. But as Arwa Damon reports, even with the diplomatic efforts, there is a long road ahead to end poaching.
RIAN LABUSCHAGNE, PARK DIRECTOR: Come back a bit. Yes, let them go (inaudible)
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rian Labuschagne, the Kouma's park director tells us, not to move. It's our third attempt to film the calves.
LABUSCHAGNE: Just calm down. I still don't see a calf. They must be all inside.
DAMON: The adults are all traumatized, survivors of a poaching spree carried out by Sudanese gunmen in mid-2000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an example of all the basic weapons that's been used in the conflicts around the CAR, in Darfur.
DAMON: 90 percent of this park's elephants were slaughtered in the span of use a few years.
Until now, the remaining herd too distressed to mate.
LABUSCHAGNE: There's a baby. You see there's one on the right. You can see, there's some very small calves there. The rest are all adults. And there's a whole generation that's missing.
DAMON: Lost to the merciless ivory trade.
The terrain here is crisscrossed with ancient trading routes, still used by nomads. Rugged and lawless, it is ideal for poachers operating in small groups using advanced military tactics and technology.
LABUSCHAGNE: They got all the firearms strong enough to kill elephant. They shoot as many as they can, cut the ivory within an hour and then go out.
If it's a big group, they would stockpile the ivory. They would then call in help, camels usually, to carry the ivory out.
DAMON: Sudanese poachers have already done their damage. And the nonprofit African Parks is managing to keep the remaining 450 elephants safe.
But with poaching and conflict so closely intertwined, the war in neighboring Central African Republic brings with it renewed threats.
IDRISS DEBY, PRESIDENT OF CHAD (through translator): Fighting has no boundaries. There were always weapons and fighters around us. And now there are more.
DAMON: And the crisis is already here.
The majority of repatriated Chadians have roots back to the area that borders the park. Like so many others, for 29-year-old Amin Younes it's the first time he's coming to his native land. His wife and 3-year-old daughter brutally murdered in CAR.
"I didn't have the courage to look at them," he tells us. "My heart wouldn't let me look at them."
He's hoping for work in agriculture. But the influx of refugees, some of whom have weapons from CAR, is a concern to local leaders.
There aren't enough jobs here to go around. And poaching is lucrative, especially for those battle hardened.
"We do have concerns that some were involved in the fighting," Aman Mohammed Ali Fadl (ph) tells us. "We are worried that they will stir up trouble if we are not careful."
African Parks is training up a rapid response team.
One of central Africa's largest herds is secure, for now. But the ivory trade is a key source of funding for conflict. And this park is surrounded on all sides.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Zakouma National Park, Chad.
LU STOUT: And since Arwa filed that report, the Sudanese government has weighed in. the minister of information says Sudan has forces along the border that would not allow for this illegal trade.
Now the buzz this week has been all about Sochi, the site of the Winter Olympics. But just south of the city is this. We'll take you to a little piece of Soviet paradise.
Also ahead, who is carrying Mexico's flag at Sochi? Well, he is known as Prince Ubertos. And he is the country's only competitor in the games. Find out why some call this skier the Winter Olympics most interesting athlete.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now the northeastern U.S. is bracing for what could be its biggest storm yet this winter. The monster storm is barreling north after dumping snow, sleet and freezing rain in the southeastern U.S. It has killed at least 10 people, grounded thousands of flights and left nearly 800, 000 people without power.
Now yet another storm system tore through the UK, which is already reeling from historic flooding. Nat least one person has died. Nearly 150,000 homes are without power. And commuters are facing huge travel disruptions.
Over the past few months, thousands of properties have been flooded in England from heavy rainfall.
Now authorities in Afghanistan have released 65 prisoners, despite strong objections from the United States. Now Washington says some of the inmates can be directly linked to attacks that killed coalition troops, Afghan security personnel and civilians. But Kabul says it does not have enough evidence to keep the 65 behind bars.
Now Belgium's parliament is voting today on whether to give children the right to die. MPs are widely expected to back the controversial euthanasia bill, meaning Belgium would become the first country in the world to allow people of all ages to opt for assisted suicide. Now the law refers only to children who are terminally ill and in intolerable pain.
Now, American skiers swept the board in the Olympic debut of men's slopestyle skiing on Thursday. And for those of you who have never seen it, it's basically a downhill obstacle course that includes long rails and big jumps.
Now other medals up for grabs today at the Sochi Winter Games are in cross country skiing, speed skating, biathlon and luge.
Let's take a look at the medal tally so far. Germany is out in front with six golds ahead of Canada, Norway, the U.S. and The Netherlands with four.
Now not far from Sochi is a land where time appears to have stood still. Now when the Soviet Union collapsed, Abkhazia was caught in a fierce war between Russia and Georgia. And its status is still disputed.
Nick Paton Walsh paid a visit.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Drive south from the flame, out of Russia, through tight border security and you enter a mountain as idle that time forgot.
This is Abkhazia, the land of the soul.
A jewel from an era past, the Soviet glory Vladimir Putin wants his games to revive.
It really is quite a beautiful environment, almost like a lost world of Soviet, even Czarist era architecture, abandoned, completely overgrown, in need of years of repair, but absolutely stunning.
But Abkhazia is swimming against the current, almost everyone apart from Russia says Abkhazia isn't a country by itself, but instead part of neighboring Georgia. That means it can't send teams to the Olympics and is hugely reliant on Moscow.
In fact, Fran (ph) who back when the Soviet Union collapsed, fought a war to keep Abkhazia out of Georgia, says tight security and cost means he can't even go and watch the nearby games.
As a fan, he says, I can't go there. They won't let me through.
Abhkazia has kept the pace of a Soviet utopia. Advertising is sparse, lunch still gets its own hour. The globalized world is far, far away. Here, it's as if Miley Cyrus never happened.
Its Soviet grandeur still lies ruined after the fierce war with Georgia 22 years ago, but Abkhazia is today's problem too. In the game's opening ceremony, Russia showed a map of Georgia that hid Abkhazia under a cloud.
The scars are fresh. Russia fought Georgia in 2008 over another disputed region and won. Abkhazia's president is in no doubt who has his back.
Today, he says, we have a very strong guarantee there won't be war. Our borders are guarded with Russian forces. We don't advise anyone to go down the path to war.
Peace here is a sort of paralysis. Abkhazia's pseudo independence means depending a lot on Russia and not being recognized or helped by the rest of the world. Its ruins of a Soviet riviera are frozen in time, so near but so far from the modern dreams fueling Putin's games.
LU STOUT: And that was CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reporting.
Now an Olympic skier from Lebanon has apologized after topless photos and video of her surfaced on the internet, sparking an outcry in her home country. Even the government has gotten involved.
Now for the latest, let's go straight to Mohammed Jamjoom in Beirut -- Mohammed.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie. Well, when 22-year-old Jackie Chamoun made it to Sochi, she was looking forward to basking in her athletic achievements this week competing there, yet a controversy seemingly out of nowhere threatens to overshadow all that. Here's our report.
JAMJOOM: One of only two Lebanese Olympians competing in Sochi, Jackie Chamoun should be having the time of her life. Instead, the 22- year-old skier has been made to defend old choices -- semi-nude photos taken for a calendar three years ago.
Scandal broke out in Lebanon, once a behind the scenes video made its way onto the internet.
And that's when things got even stranger, the Lebanese sports minister called for an investigation into the incident, claiming he was trying to preserve Lebanon's reputation at the Olympics. But that didn't sit well with many here. They called it positively unsportsmanlike.
Chamoun posted an apology on Facebook. "I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture," she wrote. "All I can ask to each of you who saw this, is to stop spreading it. It will really help me focus on what is really important now; my training and race."
Supporters rallied to Chamoun defense.
GINO RAIDY, LEBANESE BLOGGER: Personally, I think this is the perfect image of Lebanon. It's a Lebanon which we're used to, the liberal Lebanon, the open-minded one where people are comfortable with their skin.
JAMJOOM: Even more voices took to social media.
Pages were created and hashtags started trending, many going online to take off clothes, stripping in solidarity.
LETICIA HADDAD, LEBANESE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: The point isn't to be topless, it isn't to show skin or anything, it's more to spread the word that its OK to be ourselves, it's OK to show a bit of skin, it's OK to -- it doesn't affect our morals.
JAMJOOM: The I am not a naked facebook campaign set up this photo shoot.
JACK SEIKALY, LEBANESE PHOTOGRAPHER: She is doing her best as a Lebanese athlete representing her country and I don't know I think I'm doing my part by showing my support by doing this.
JAMJOOM: For organizers, that was and wasn't the point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got naked to get your attention. And once we did get your attention, we're telling you that we shouldn't have in the first place. Us getting naked should not grab this much attention, something very silly in light of what's going on around us.
JAMJOOM: Like suicide bombings, sectarian tensions and a broken government -- major problems that make racy photos seem relatively minor. For now, many Lebanese just want a distraction they can be proud of, like witnessing the athletic feats of a fellow countrywoman.
JAMJOOM: Kristie, you know the outpouring of support for Jackie Chamoun has really be extraordinary here. And this very creative protest through posing has really taken off online. You know, in just about 24 hours, there were at least 12,000 likes just on that Facebook page. So we'll see how this develops in the days to come. But I'm hearing from a lot of folks that are very happy this campaign has become as popular as it is -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, it was very heartening seeing just on Facebook and Twitter to see the amount of the hashtags, et cetera, all in support of Jackie. We know that Lebanon is more tolerant than most Middle Eastern countries, but are some people afraid that the criticism that's out there, does that mean that it's becoming more conservative?
JAMJOOM: Well, that is a valid concern. A lot of the folks that I've been speaking with -- the activists and the authors, they say that they have noticed someone disturbing trend that they believe that Lebanon is being pulled in a more conservative direction. And they're not happy about that.
I spoke with Lea Baroudi, she's the head of an NGO called March. Take a listen to what she had to tell me about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEA BAROUDI, MARCH NGO: We are not a conservative country. We are a country where there are conservative people and there are liberal people. And that's what's nice about Lebanon. So, yes, I'm ashamed of people's reactions and outrage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAMJOOM: Lebanon is diverse, it is fractious and one of the things that people say that they are concerned about is they say, look, here is a country that hasn't had a government in close to a year. They'd like to see politicians here really focus on priorities like the electricity crisis, like the economic crisis, the water shortage and other such things. They say they just want to be able to support Jackie Chamoun in this incredible endeavor she's on in Sochi -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Indeed. Mohammed Jamjoom reporting live from Beirut for us. Thank you very much indeed for that report.
Now Mexico has just one athlete at the Winter Games, but at least he's experienced. It is 55-year-old skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe's sixth Olympics. He's never won a medal, but he speaks five languages, he designs his own uniforms, he's released eight albums and because of his family's aristocratic background, he is known as Prince Hubertus. And he spoke to CNN's Piers Morgan about Sochi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUBERTUS VON HOHENLOHE, MEXICAN OLYMPIAN: I think that what the Russians didn't get right is PR. You know, they need to hire me for a PR sort of person, because they got all the construction right and it looks amazing, but they haven't got the message out right. And they just couple of mistakes.
MORGAN: Well, you're certainly -- you're a magnificent ambassador for Mexico. You're in fact, you're the only member of the Mexican Winter Olympic team. You've even designed your own clothing that you're wearing there. And you speak five languages I've just been told as well. There really is no end to your talent, is there, Prince Hubertus?
VON HOHENLOHE: No. I mean, it's a strange story, but it kind of develops like that. And you know, you just got to make the best out of it. And what is funny is that, you know what the first Olympic games, the Mexicans looked at me really bad, because they came up to me when they made an interview and they asked me in English, "so how was your run?" And I said, (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE). And they were like shocked, this guy speaks Spanish. So from there on, the legacy started that they started to like me. But it took 30 years and a cool suit that they love me.
MORGAN: Well, everyone loves you, prince, because you're such a (inaudible).
VON HOHENLOHE: I actually have a suit here for you.
MORGAN: Oh, you do?
VON HOHENLOHE: I do. I do. I have it. I have it.
But I didn't wear it, because it's so cold and it's so early in the morning here.
MORGAN: Well, look, I just want to wish you all the very best. As I say, you're skiing on Valentine's Day in the men's super combined slalom, 11:00 am and 3:30 pm Sochi time. I wish you all the very best, Prince Hubertus. You've brought a great ray of glamour and color to the Olympics. And we wish you all the very best particularly with your lovely jacket there.
VON HOHENLOHE: I put it in front. I couldn't put it on, because it's so cold.
LU STOUT: It is a one piece, the mariachi one piece. He is incredible.
Now you can go online to get the latest on the Sochi games just go to CNN.com/Sochi for our complete coverage of the Winter Olympics.
Now still to come here on News Stream, the robot rises. Jade Rabbit is back from the dead. China's first lunar rover is awake and could soon be moving again.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now we have new information this hour out of Homs where Syrians state news agency says the ceasefire in the city has been extended to allow further evacuation of civilians and to deliver aid to those who need it most there.
Now CNN has also learned that Syria has fallen far behind on its promise to get rid of all its chemical weapons, this as the civil war rages on, despite another round of peace talks in Geneva. And innocent civilians, they are suffering through it all.
CNN's Jim Sciutto reports.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the sound of a country in chaos. Tens of thousands of Syrians trying and failing to escape the besieged city of Homs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) move and we'll come back.
SCIUTTO: Epicenter of their country's two-year-long civil war.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Syria, today.
SCIUTTO: Senator John McCain called out President Obama for failing to stem the bloodshed.
MCCAIN: Where is President Obama who has said he refuses to accept that brutal tyrants can slaughter their people with impunity while the most powerful nation in the history of the world looks on and stands by.
SCIUTTO: The White House immediately attempted to rebut Senator McCain, citing U.S. non-lethal aid and the ongoing, but stalemated peace talks initiated by the U.S. in Geneva.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The United States is doing more than any other country in an effort to provide humanitarian relief to the Syrian people, in an effort to help bring parties together and help bring the two sides together.
SCIUTTO: However, a landmark agreement to remove Syria's chemical weapons is now alarmingly behind schedule. All of Syria's chemical weapons were supposed to be out of the country a week ago. CNN has learned that as of now Syria has removed only 11 percent.
I'm told that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the OPCW, is in touch with senior Syrian officials to develop a new timeline.
Now U.S. officials have said for some time that the initial deadline was ambitious, but it's difficult to argue that the progress so far equals success so long after the initial agreement.
Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: Now a new decree signed today in Moscow makes it illegal for same-sex couples to adopt Russian children. It also bans adoptions by single people from countries where same sex marriage is legal regardless of their sexual orientation.
Now, newly released papers are providing some insight about the relationship between former U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton and the media. Now the diaries of a close friend detail how Clinton felt that false reporting was becoming historical record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, are your ready to take the oath?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton's distrust of the media began before she was first lady. CNN has unearthed new documents where Clinton calls the press complete hypocrites, according to diary entries from her close confidante Diane Blair.
"They say they want the truth, want power to be transparent, but in fact they prefer backstage manipulation of Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, Bess Truman, Rosalynn Carter," Blair recounts Clinton saying.
Carl Bernstein wrote a biography of Hillary Clinton. Shortly after her husband's 1992 win, she received this advice about dealing with reports from first lady Barbara Bush.
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: Beware of this crowd, you don't want to have anything to do with them. And if you are going to be quoted, say it loud and clear and make sure you say it damn loud that they're not to be trusted.
And Hillary said to Barbara Bush, I've already had some experience with that. And I know that already.
KEILAR: In the White House, the Clintons squared off against the press over the firing of White House travel office employees, investigations into White House counsel Vince Foster's suicide, the list went on.
BERSTEIN: Clintons felt they were being attacked over health care, over this so-called scandal in Whitewater, which they were convinced they had done nothing wrong, and in fact they really hadn't done anything wrong in Whitewater, but they sure had handled it badly.
And once again this pattern of non-candor was established.
KEILAR: Especially for Hillary Clinton who was more guarded than her husband. In January 1995, after two years in the White House, she told her friend that she did not know how history could be written on Bill Clinton's presidency with media reports being so wrong. Diane Blair wrote, "she said there was hardly a news story that she couldn't totally refute."
Brianna Keilar, CNN, The White House.
LU STOUT: Now China reports its first lunar rover, the Jade Rabbit, is awake and once again able to receive signals. Now, it had been out of action for two weeks after suffering technical malfunctions. But it is now apparently fully awake and is receiving signals.
Now, the Jade Rabbit's second wind, it does come with a warning, though, the rover still suffers a mechanical control problem and work is being done on a way to repair it.
Now the man who says that he was lost at sea for more than a year has finally found his way home to El Salvador. But as Rafael Romo reports, he's already back in hospital and desperate to get away from the media spotlight.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time since he arrived in his native El Salvador, Jose Salvador Alvarenga is speaking publicly.
In a video published by El Salvador's health ministry, the castaway who says he survived 13 months lost in the Pacific Ocean says he's overwhelmed by all the attention he's getting.
JOSE SLAVADOR ALVARENGA, CASTAWAY (through translator): I really wished they would leave me alone. I don't want any pressure from the media. I don't want to talk to them.
ROMO: He's being treated at a hospital just outside the capital of San Savador. His parents and only daughter are there with him as he undergoes a series of medical and psychological tests.
ALVARENGA (through translator): No more questions. No more pictures. I want to be alone with my family. I will talk later. I'm in no condition to explain myself right now.
ROMO: The first medical tests show the effects of lack of nutrition, according to the Salvadoran health minister.
MARIA ISABEL RODRIGUEZ, SALVADORAN HEALTH MINISTER (through translator): We have ruled out a kidney insufficiency, but he suffers from a mild anemia that should not be a major complication.
ROMO: Alvarenga washed up ashore in the Marshall Islands in late January on a small fishing boat. He told authorities there he survived a 6,700 mile drift on the Mexican coast by eating raw fish and turtles and drinking their blood for more than a year.
RODRIGUEZ (through translator): He did everything necessary to remain hydrated at all times. He even drank his own urine.
ROMO: Several other relatives have also been waiting for Alvarenga's return here at his parent's home in the coastal town of Garita Palmera (ph). This is the cinderblock house where he grew up, and this will also probably become his home once he's released from the hospital.
Earlier this week, Alvarenga's mother told us she can't wait to cook her son's favorite foods like berans, rice, eggs, fish, and of course, pupusas, a traditional Salvadoran dish. But more than anything, she says, she wants to spend time with the son she thought she had lost forever.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Garita Palmera (ph), El Salvador.
LU STOUT: This is News Stream. And up next, we look back at one of the defining moments of our era, a power struggle that shaped the world of today. Stay with us for a special preview of our landmark series Cold War.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now 25 years ago this November came one of the most significant political events of the last century -- the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Now CNN's documentary series Cold War recounts the struggle between Communism and Capitalism that defined an era. And today, we have a preview of episode four where post-war Germany finds itself divided and struggling.
KENNETH BRANAGH, ACTOR: Berliners were a beaten people in 1945, their fate was in the hands of the Russians, Americans, British and French, their conquerors.
Germany was divided into four occupation zones: Soviet, American, British, and French. Three-and-a-half million Berliners lived in a city 110 miles behind the Russian lines. Berlin was linked to the west by a highway and a railway, which ran through the Soviet zone.
The city itself was divided into four sectors -- Soviet, American, British and French.
MIKHAIL SERMIRYAGA, SOVIET MILITARY ADMINISTRATION (through translator): Berlin and Germany were the only places where the two sides came into contact, that is Soviet troops and troops from the allied countries.
In other places, we didn't have direct contact between our two armed forces. That was one of the reasons why Berlin became a battlefield for the Cold War.
BRANAGH: Berliners had lived a precarious existence for years. Food was at near starvation levels and currency was worthless. The black market was king.
ELLA BAROWSKY, BERLIN COUNCILOR (through translator): We bartered everything. A non-smoker who got cigarettes with his ration card would gladly take them, because he could barter them for something more useful.
Naturally, we all did it. Cigarettes were our currency. The black market was the only thing that kept us alive.
BRANAGH: British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin (ph) had a plan for Germany. He didn't like the Germans, but believed that European recovery depended on them.
ERNEST BEVIN, FRM. BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We have to try and recreate Germany on a democratic basis, give her a chance to live at the same make sure that the security of the rest of Europe is preserved and that aggression cannot take place again.
LU STOUT: And tune in this Saturday for the next episode of CNN's landmark series Cold War. Revisit a pivotal time in history as the iron curtain divides a world struggling to recover from the ravages of war. That is the next Cold War Saturday at 19:00 in Hong Kong.
Now imagine this, you've got eight gleaming Corvettes all parked in a museum in the U.S. state of Kentucky. And then one night the ground just gobbles them up.
As you can see here in this video, a sinkhole emerged at the National Corvette Museum. Now geologists discovered a cave under the museum, which is actually quite common in that state, and that's because it sits on limestone. And that allows the creation of caves and sinkholes. In fact, this museum is just a few kilometers away from the Mammoth Cave National Park, one of the longest cave systems in the world.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.