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Syrian Activists Criticize Methods Of Arab League Monitors; Afghan Police Arrest Family for Torturing Daughter-in-Law; Top Weird Tech Stories of 2011; North Korea After Kim Jong-il

Aired December 29, 2011 - 00:08:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM where news and technology meet. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And we begin with an exclusive look inside the Syrian city of Homs where snipers make something as simple as buying bread potentially deadly.

North Korea stages one final goodbye for their former leader with the mourning period for Kim Jong-il ends.

And struggling to survive in a business it virtually created. We look at Kodak and the other corporate casualties of tech.

Well activists say more people are dying across Syria despite the presence of Arab League observers. An opposition group says at least 10 people have been killed so far on Thursday. Now more than 20 protesters were reportedly injured in a restive suburb of Damascus. And the London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says security forces opened fired on tens of thousands of protesters in Duma. It happened as Arab League monitors arrived there.

And teams are also now in Italy, Hamaa, and Daraa, the birthplace of these protests as the monitors remain in Homs where they have spent the past two days.

Now a freelance journalist, who recently left Homs with footage that you will see only here on CNN. And over the next few days will showcase his stories from inside the besieged city. And we are not naming him for his safety.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The snipers are on basically every main street. They have checkpoints on both sides. Snipers would shoot everybody who is basically crossing this street between 4:00 P.M. and 8:00 in the morning. This is an unofficial curfew.

The activists told me I have to meet this woman. This is the mother of a victim who got shot when she was pregnant (inaudible). And it was during the morning when she wants to go out for shopping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Her brother tried for half an hour to go over the walls and roofs to get to her, but he didn't manage to reach her. Finally they managed to pull her away, but it took another half an hour to get her to my house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Human rights situation -- you are at the scene where a half hour ago somebody got shot. And 30 minutes later people are crossing very normally this street. Me crossing this street I've been feeling, basically -- literally I've been feeling that somebody is aiming, the snipers aiming on me and it's up to him if he's going to pull the trigger or not.

I came to this junction and I realized that somebody wanted to cross the street with a huge bag of cigarettes, so I could hear the snipers shooting and he was -- he wasn't able to cross the street and the bag of cigarettes was in the middle of the street so he was again one of these -- a very impressive scenes where people have been very happily and almost like a sport challenge to get the cigarette bag from out from the sniper range. And they've been happy when they could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to cross the street to buy bread and other food, but the snipers have surrounded this area. It's a huge danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they started to throw the bread, because they were not able to cross. So everything they needed on the other side they throw it over the street.

The point of no return is already crossed. The people know there are no options. They started to uprise and so many blocks, so many people got killed already. And when they stop to go out to the streets, the regime is going to come back and they're going to get killed anyway.


LU STOUT: Anti-government protesters there in Homs fighting for their lives. And in that piece you heard from the mother of a pregnant woman who was shot in the street. Now the sniper struck her in the head and her relatives had to dodge bullets to bring her body home.

Opposition activists are afraid the observers will not see the full extent of the government's crackdown on this end. Mohammed Jamjoom is following developments from Cairo, because CNN has not been allowed into Syria.

Mohammed joins us now.

Mohammed, the observers, they have been under a lot of criticism for saying that the situation there in Homs is, quote, "reassuring." So what is the reality on the ground?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, we keep hearing from opposition activists in Syria who are really concerned about the effectiveness about this mission, about the observers. And if I can point our viewers to one video that we've seen today that has emerged, that was posted on YouTube that purports to show the head of the mission, Sudanese general Mohammed al Dabi as he's walking through the city of Homs, he's confronted by an activist there who is trying to tell him more about the situation.

Let's hear a little bit more of this exchange.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you the situation just so you know how to work. The problem is not with you as individuals, the problem is with the mission as a whole. You came here on a mission to monitor all aspects of the crackdown. The first aspect should be the end of the killing. When you are here in Homs and 15 people were killed by the regime, I've gained nothing from the observers.

Yesterday, 100,000 people came out for the demonstration in the streets. How can I reach a dialogue when there's still blood on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I arrived yesterday. How can you expect that what has happened over several months will be solved in one day. Give us your patience please. We will work until we reach a dialogue.


JAMJOOM: And we actually were able to speak a short while ago to the activist who was in that video. He confirmed that that was him. And he told us that the people of Homs simply have no faith in those monitors. He said that to the people of Homs believe that this mission is just a tactic, a ploy by the Bashar al Assad regime to just stall even more -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Well, activists confronting Arab League observers in Homs. Now the observers are also visiting two more hot spots today -- Daraa, Hama, and Idlib. So what are they likely to see and report from there?

JAMJOOM: Well, we haven't been able to speak to the observers on the ground that are in these cities today. Now, yesterday observers were supposed to go to those three cities. Those trips were delayed for what were called logistical reasons. We never found out what those reasons were precisely.

But yesterday in Daraa there were reports -- and there was video that emerged -- that reported to show an attack by the Free Syria Army on a convoy of Syrian security forces. And groups, opposition groups in Syria, said that as a result of this attack at least four Syrian security forces were killed and at least a dozen wounded.

So you look across the country, in Syria right now you keep hearing more examples from activists there and residents that there is violence going on and that the government crackdown as well is still happening -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And Mohammed, the choice of a Sudanese general to lead a human rights mission, that has raised a lot of concern. Why is his appointment causing a problem? What are people saying? And has there been a response from the Arab League?

JAMJOOM: Well, opposition groups have been saying this is concerning. They've been citing General Mohammed al Dabi's high ranking position in a government responsible for atrocities in Darfur in Sudan. Now the Arab League has dismissed these claims. They say that there's no evidence to support any of these claims.

But, you know, General Mohammed al Dabi gave quotes yesterday to Reuters in which he said that he was reassured by what he had seen, that there was nothing to fear in what he'd seen. And that is causing more concern.

And we spoke to a doctor today, a founding member of the Arab doctor's association, Ibrahim Zaharani (ph). And he told us that he pulled out of the Arab League fact finding mission after being selected as a monitor because he disagreed with the mission's methods. And he added that -- he added his voice to the growing criticism of al Dabi's choice. He said all I see now is the head of the mission barely announcing any information while dozens have died in the first two days of the mission.

And this is really in line with other complaints we're hearing from rights groups and activists inside and outside Syria. They believe that this mission and the head of the mission should be more transparent. And they're unhappy at these remarks that were attributed to General al Dabi yesterday saying that the situation so far was reassuring, that he hadn't seen anything to fear -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom on the story for us. Thank you.

Now government officials in Myanmar, they say that a massive explosion in the city of Yangon was most likely not caused by a bomb. Now state run TV reports that at least 20 people, including four firefighters, died. And more than 95 people have been injured. Now the blast happened in a compound of warehouses in the country's former capital. Dozens of homes were destroyed.

And North Korea is embarking on an uncertain new era, one without the man who ruled the isolated country for 17 years. Now huge crowds gathered in the North Korean capital again on Thursday for the memorial service of Kim Jong-il.

Paula Hancocks has more.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: This was the moment mourning for Kim Jong-il officially ended. Three minutes of silence observed by hundreds of thousands across Pyongyang. State media claims a site replicated across the whole country.

An hour earlier, speeches eulogized the man both revered and feared within his country. The ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam (ph) spoke of Kim Jong-il laying the foundation for the better relations between the two Koreans, a claim that has surprised many outside North Korea.

It was beautifully choreographed as anything in North Korea is. A grand show to the world of solidarity, not only for the late Dear Leader, but for the new Supreme Leader, a show of national cohesion.

Under the age of 30, with no military or political experience, Kim Jong-un is front and center of proceedings for a second day running now commands the 1.1 million strong army. At least that is what these pictures are intended to show.

PROF. KIM YONG HO, AUTHOR: He needs to take some more important positions and needs to consolidate more (inaudible) power and requires more allegiance and loyalty from the military. So that might require some more time for him.

HANCOCKS: Kim Jong-un's priority now, according to experts, is to fill the positions of power left vacant by his father.

There's been a flurry of diplomatic activity around the region recently showing that there is a continued fear of the unknown with this hereditary succession. U.S. officials are effectively saying that the ball is in North Korea's court. And they'll wait until this new leadership is ready to start negotiating again.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


LU STOUT: Now you heard Paula mentioned how carefully choreographed the funeral and memorial service were. Now that includes the references to Kim Jong-il's hand picked successor, his youngest son. Titles are a major part of North Korea's cult of personality. The regime and state media now repeatedly refer to Kim Jong-un as Supreme Leader of the people, the party, and the army.

Now his father, meanwhile, was known as Dear Leader both during his lifetime and now after his death.

And Kim Jong-un's grandfather, Kim Il-Song, he was North Korea's founder and first ruler, he is known as the Great Leader. He is shown here with a young Kim Jong-il by his side.

Now still to come here on NEWS STREAM, they call it the land of the free, but we will look back at a very different time in U.S. history. We'll talk to people who were told that they should not have children and were sterilized without their consent.

And tensions are rising in the Persian Gulf as Iran threatens to block one of the world's key oil transit water ways, the Strait of Hormuz.


LU STOUT: Now police in Afghanistan have rescued a teenage girl they say was tortured by her husband's family. They suspect that she was savagely beaten after she refused to be forced into prostitution. Becky Anderson has more on this disturbing story.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is 15-year-old Sahab Ghol (ph). Afghan police say they found her badly beaten, her hair ripped from her head, her fingernails removed and starving. She was found locked in a basement of her in-laws house allegedly because she refused to be forced into prostitution.

Police say they're waiting for her to fully recover to learn more. The in-laws have been arrested, but police say the husband fled. Her story is just one of many cases of violence against women in Afghanistan.

ZAINAB SALBI, WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL: Women have actually made a lot of progress in Afghanistan in the last decade. Since the discussions of the U.S. withdrawal and the foreign troops withdrawal, violence have started increasing. And we have to pay attention to that not only as it impacts women, but as it tells us the story of what is happening in Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: In another case, a 21-year-old Afghan woman, identified only as Gulnaz for her protection, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for adultery after she reported being raped by her cousin's husband. It was reported that she'd agreed to marry her attacker to be released from prison. Her story attracted international attention. She was later freed after President Hamid Karzai intervened.

The Afghan independent human rights commission reported 1,026 cases of violence against women in the second quarter of this year. And more than 2,700 cases were reported in 2010. And according to a recent OXFAM report 87 percent of Afghan women reported being abused physically, sexually, psychologically, or being forced into marriage.

Becky Anderson, CNN, London.


LU STOUT: Now Afghan police have arrested Sahar's (ph) in-laws, but her husband managed to flee.

Now coming up next here on NEWS STREAM...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were sterilized if you were sexually promiscuous or if you were paralyzed or if not physically attractive -- they have a skin disorder, this person is not fit to reproduce.


LU STOUT: Their lives were changed without their consent. Find out who authorized forced sterilization to prevent thousands of American citizens from ever having children.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now for much of the 20th Century forced sterilization was the policy of dictatorships, but unknown to many it was also the tool of countries with more democratic ideals, countries like the U.S. There, tens of thousands of Americans were forcibly sterilized. The state of North Carolina admits it happened.

But as Elizabeth Cohen reports for some of the victims sorry isn't enough.


CHARLES HOLT, FORCIBLY STERILIZED: At the time, I couldn't nothing about it.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: October 22, 1968. Charles Holt was 19 at the time, living at an institution for boys in Butner, North Carolina when his life was drastically changed without his consent.

HOLT: As they sent me to Rex Hospital (ph) and then they pushed me in a room and gave me some kind of gas and I just went on asleep. Then when I woke up finally I noticed something was wrong and they tell me what they done. And I was -- I wasn't a happy camper.

COHEN: What they had done was surgery, a vasectomy to make him sterile. But why? It turns out the order came from the state which said he was evil-minded and unworthy of having children.

HOLT: I want to be just like any other young man trying to have a friendly, had some kids that I could call my own. It's -- it happened that way.

COHEN: Charles Holt wasn't alone. In fact, his story is only one representing a shameful chapter in American history. From 1907 through the 1970s more than 60,000 Americans were sterilized because they had, quote, unfit human traits. It was called eugenics. The goal, breed out those considered to be a burden on the rest of society and make, quote, better human beings tomorrow.

33 states had eugenics programs at one time or another supported by some of the nation's most respected doctors and social workers. Even the Supreme Court approved it. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in one 1927 case three generations of imbeciles are enough.

In North Carolina, anyone -- a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, could ask the state eugenics board to have someone sterilized.

Some victims were developmentally disabled living in institutions. Records show others were living at home, forced to go under the surgeons knife because they were paupers, or because they were blind or deaf or had syphilis.

CHARMAINE FULLER COOPER, N.C. JUSTICE FOR STERILIZATION VICTIMS FOUNDATION: You could be sterilized if you were sexually promiscuous or if you were paralyzed or not physically attractive, they have a skin disorder, this person is not fit to reproduce.

COHEN: The state of North Carolina has tasked Charmaine Fuller Cooper to uncover this frightening past.

COOPER: The first time last year that I actually had to read an actual Eugenics Board record of an individual patient case file I literally sat at my desk and cried for about 15 minutes.

COHEN: Her research shows about 7,600 people in North Carolina were sterilized, procedures here continued into the 1970s, well after many states had stopped. So it's estimated about 2,000 victims are still alive.

In later years, the focus targeted women on welfare, many of whom were African Americans.

North Carolina has become the only state to take steps to compensate victims. For nearly 10 years, the state legislature has written reports, submitted bills, even heard testimony from victims.

LELA DUNSTON, STERILIZATION VICTIM: I wouldn't mind having me a daughter, maybe two, maybe three. (inaudible) because we got to carry on.

COHEN: But so far these victims have received nothing more than apologize from Governor Beth Purdue.

GOV. BETH PURDUE, (R) NORTH CAROLINA: And I just came here as a woman, as a momma, and a grandmomma and as governor of this state quite frankly to tell you it was wrong.

COHEN: Compensating victims could cost tens of millions of dollars during a time of budget cuts. State legislators, like Representative Ruth Samuelson are worried about money.

REP. RUTH SAMUELSON, (R) NORTH CAROLINA STATE ASSEMBLY: We had to set priorities -- things like, do we compensate eugenics victims or do we put classroom teachers in place. We had to make choices.

COHEN: Is it possible these victims will -- in the end will walk away with nothing?

COOPER: It is possibility if we don't have legislators who are willing to stand up for the victims.

COHEN: Charles Holt knows he may never see a dime.

So the state of North Carolina has said they're sorry. Is that enough?


COHEN: What more do they need to do?

HOLT: I think they could give us some compensation off of it.

COHEN: 2012 could be the year the legislature acts. Charles Holt holds out hope for an award he says will fit the crime done to him more than four decades ago.

What's horrible is they did this to person after person after person.

HOLT: Yes, ma'am. It's disgusting.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Lynnwood, North Carolina.


LU STOUT: Coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, tensions are rising over a small, but critical Persian Gulf waterway just as Iran's naval war games are underway there and Tehran is threatening to choke off oil supplies. And that is triggering a warning from the U.S. We've got the details 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 Syrian opposition groups say the presence of Arab League monitors is not protecting protesters. They report at least 10 deaths across the country on Thursday. Activists have criticized the observer mission, which is being escorted by Syrian security forces.

North Korean officials are now referring to Kim Jong-un as the country's Supreme Leader. That ends two days of state ceremonies for his father Kim Jong-il. The funeral was held on Wednesday followed by Thursday's memorial service. And under Kim Jong-il's rule, North Korea sank into deep poverty.

Employees of the British oil giant BP reportedly could face criminal charges for their part in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The DeepWater oil rig explosion April of 2010 killed 11 people and caused a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Wall Street Journal says prosecutors are focusing on the oil giant's U.S. based workers, including at least one supervisor. BP and the Justice Department declined to comment to the paper.

And tensions are heating up in the Strait of Hormuz. Now Iran is threatening to block the waterway if sanctions are placed on its crude exports. The strait is short and narrow, but strategically important. It leads in and out of the Persian Gulf between Iran and Oman. Now just 50 kilometers wide, one-third of the world's oil tanker traffic travels right through it.

Now the U.S. Navy says any disruption will not be tolerated. And a senior Iranian commander has brushed off the warning.

Let's bring in world affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty now live from Washington. And, you know, tensions were already high, now this. So Jill, what's the latest?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is more of this war of words. You have this Iranian senior commander saying the U.S. is in no position to tell Iran what to do in the Strait of Hormuz. And then just this past hour I spoke with a senior U.S. administration official who said that basically the saber the rattling is coming from Iran and that the U.S. has been committed to Gulf security in that region for a number of years. And as this official put it, it should come as no surprise to anyone that we do what we must to ensure the Strait of Hormuz remains open.

And that's where it is, it's a tense situation. And it's made more tense because at this very moment Iran is still carrying out its military exercises in that region. The U.S. has ships also in that region. And even though it's a war of words, there could be, according to some experts and U.S. officials, a danger of miscalculation by Iran.

LU STOUT: There is a lot at stake here.

Now an Iranian official says that it would be, quote, "easy to close off the Strait of Hormuz."

But, Jill, is it easy? I mean, how much control does Iran actually have over this critical waterway?

DOUGHERTY: Right. You know, it's very, very narrow. At its width, the widest part right in that area it's about 34 miles. So that's very, very narrow. However, Iran does have some ships in the region, but it has nothing really realistically that could stand up to U.S. Naval force.

It could have an asymmetric approach. And that would mean, according to experts, it would lay mines. It could have boats that would go out and -- smaller boats, go out and attack ships, U.S. military ships. But I think you'd have to say that most people believe that there is no way that it could stand up to the U.S. military.

That said, even these threats that are going on, as you can see, are affecting oil prices.

LU STOUT: Now you mentioned U.S. Naval force, but just how far is the U.S. willing to go to counter Iran if it attempts to carry out this threat and moves to block the Strait of Hormuz?

DOUGHERTY: As they say, Kristie, in so many situations everything is on the table. This is a crucial choke hold. As you mentioned, you know, a third of all the oil that is shipped around the world on vessels goes through that -- through the Strait of Hormuz. It's critical. And the U.S. and also other western countries are not going to allow that to be shut down, at least that is what they're saying. And I think you can believe that.

LU STOUT: All right. Jill Dougherty joining us live from Washington. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now organizers of the Vogel Ocean Race have taken an unprecedented step due to the threat of piracy. The around the world Yacht race has just finished in its second leg from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, but that route would take them past the piracy affected waters off the coast of Somalia. So the yachts were stopped at a secret port where they've been loaded onto a massive container ship. And that ship will then take the boats safely past the Somalia coast before being unloaded for a short race to Abu Dhabi.

Time now for world weather check. Let's bring in Pedram Javaheri. He joins us from the world weather center -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie. We're following the storm system across portions of the Bay of Bengal that the last couple of days have been getting close on as far as the landfall and now the storm beginning to make its impact felt across the coast of -- eastern coast of India around Chennai there getting the heaviest rains that are initially going to begin to move in the next couple of hours. And by Friday morning local time we're talking about what is equivalent now to a category two storm in the Atlantic basin.

This is a storm packing winds of 148 kilometers per hour, gusts upwards nearly there of 200 kilometers per hour. And again this storm going to begin to push in and make landfall just south of Chennai. The population here roughly 4.7 million people. So certainly it is densely populated, actually one of the top 10 most densely populated cities in all of India. So this storm system going to come in, weaken significantly post landfall on Friday morning.

But once again, you take a look at this feature. We know the officials there have warned mariners, all fisherman to work their way out of the path of this storm system. And as the eye of the storm beings moving farther to the south, the strongest winds typically we find these with tropical cyclones on the right quadrant, or the northeast side of the storm. And guess where that is? Right around Chennai.

The storm system going to push in again on a Friday morning. The highest winds, the highest storm surge is going to work their way on the coastal community there of Chennai. So that's something we're going to be watching as the night progresses on to Friday in portions of India.

But I want to show you an interesting story coming out of portions of the Middle East. And sharing with you the Red Sea here. Of course, you have Saudi Arabia, Yemen, we have Egypt and Sudan. And what's happened in in the Red Sea in the past couple of days fascinating. And I want to share with you this image here, and I'm going to kind of animate this for you as you take a look.

You're in the Red Sea, just on the west coast of Yemen. There is Haycock Island, one island. There's Rugged Island, another island to the south of it. And this image was from Christmas eve.

Now this actually be from a couple of years ago. And take a look, this is a Christmas eve image. A new island beginning to form. And again I'm going to go back on this and notice the water, the island had been of course an underwater island there, hadn't formed, but the volcanic islands in this part of the world, the Red Sea rift. We have the African and the Arabian plates that are constantly pulling apart there, so the island left in place and now beginning to reemerge out of the water.

And Kristie, I thought it was a pretty fascinating story out of the Red Sea this morning.

LU STOUT: Yeah, birth of a new island. Pedram, thank you very much indeed for sharing that with us. Take care.

Now for most of us, tomorrow will be the 30th of December, but not for the Pacific Island of Samoa, which has skipped straight to December 31st so it can move to the other side of the International Date Line.

Now Samoa has always been to the east of the dateline, a few time zones away from the U.S. west coast. So, under the old time it was 10:00 am on Monday. In Somoa it was 1:00 pm on Monday in Los Angeles. But most of Samoa's trade isn't with the U.S., it's with Australia and New Zealand. And at 10:00 am on Monday in Samoa it would have been 7:00 am on Tuesday in Sydney. And that means Samoa's Friday is Australia's Saturday. And Samoa's Sunday is Australia's Monday. As you can imagine that makes business between the countries pretty difficult.

So the dateline has indeed shifted, allowing Samoa to be on the same day as Australia and New Zealand.

Now a move like this is not unprecedented. Now the section up here is the island nation of Kiribati. It used to be divided in half by the dateline until it moved the dateline to keep the entire country on the same day.

Now still to come here on NEWS STREAM, Sachin Tandulkar, he's been seeking that elusive 100th century for longer than he'd care to remember. And we will round up the fourth day's play between India and Australia.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now all this week we're looking back at the images that defined the year. And today we're looking at the best pictures in the world of sport.

Now this shot, it captures two of the best football players in the world in action. You have Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo. And this picture also sums up the year both men had. Here, Ronaldo is powerless to stop Messi scoring against his side in the Spanish Super Cup just as Real Madrid couldn't stop Barcelona from winning the Spanish League and Champion's League in 2011.

Now here's another championship moment. New Zealand's All Blacks celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup by performing their famous Haka. Now the Haka is usually performed before a match to intimidate opponents, but as you can see here it can also be used as a celebration.

Now next I have a perfect shot in more ways than one. It's a picture of Floyd Mayweather's fight with Victor Ortiz. Now this was actually the punch that ended the fight. And the look on the face of the referee says it all.

And finally another shot taken at just the right time. It comes from a baseball game between Panama and the United States in July. But the photographer has managed to capture the ball in focus. Just look at how perfectly the ball is captured in this picture. And remember that's it's flying at the photographer at over 150 kilometers an hour.

Now keeping in that same vein, lets bring in Alex Thomas to give us his favorite sporting memories of the year -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, at least one of those, Kristie, was featured in your images there. And what a wonderful one of New Zealand's rugby players performing the Haka.

I remember actually France challenging that Haka before the match gone the way the world cup final in Aukland. I was lucky enough to be there with your producer Ravi as well. And it was an absolutely hairs up on the back of the neck moment as were the celebrations -- and that wasn't the only time I went to a major sporting event and saw the home side triumph. That victory for the All Blacks was the first time in almost a quarter of a century they've lifted Rugby's biggest prize. So no wonder Aukland went crazy as you can see from this video here when they actually clinched it, even though the final was far closer than they thought.

And earlier in the year in Mumbai between India where cricket really is a religion, or treated as such almost, the Sri Lanka lift crickets world cup trophy. So two major home victory.

Although as far as the cricket is in India are concerned, Kristie, some rather contrasting fortunes to their success in the world cup earlier this year at the first tests in Melbourne with two modern cricketing myths really shattered at the MCG earlier, and that is that India's batting line- up is second to none and that Australia has got a rather inexperienced bowling attack. Because actually those bowlers performed like veterans to wrap up victory in the opening test with a day to spare.

21-year-old James Pattison, the man of the match as he hit an unbeaten 37 in Australia's second innings to give India a daunting but not impossible run chase of 292.

However Donni (ph), Sewag (ph), Tendulkar and co. collapsed to a 169 all outs. Pattinson taking four wickets as well. And the hosts completing a win by 122 runs. Pretty emphatic in the emd.

Well, last year the Miami Heat attracted a towering inferno of publicity, if you'll excuse the pun, after LeBron James signed up alongside Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. They reached the NBA finals, but their early season form was a bit patchy. Not this time, however. The Heat star names helping to make it three wins out of three on Wednesday night.

Here's how they did it, although the Bobcats led by a whopping 15 points in the third quarter here's Miami's comeback. Mario Chalmers setting up James for the slam there.

And finally in the fourth the Heat are back on level terms. And they take the lead when Bosh makes the nice pump fake and goes to the basket for the slam and the foul. He actually missed the free throw. And it looked as if Miami will still go on to win until Boris Diol (ph) gets it to Gerald Henderson who hits the three from the corner with just 14 seconds remaining.

The Bobcats up by one then, although James had a game high 35 points, the crucial play was entrusted to Wade. He puts in the jumper off the glass as the clock ticks down.

Still time for the Bobcats to attempt one more attack. Diol (ph) inbounds to D.J. Augustin. And his attempted three missed. And it's the Miami Heat with an astonishing comeback winning by 96-95.

Onto New Orleans where the Hornets were hosting the winless Celtics. Here's Chris Caymen (ph) with two of his 12 points on the night as the Hornets enjoy a comfortable lead in the third.

Later in the quarter, Jarrett Jack drives the lane and is fouled hitting the tough jumper.

Now Caymen (ph) again in the fourth, misses the jumper, but Cole Landry (ph) is there to grab the rebound and goes up strong for the slam.

Still looking for good for New Orleans. And Boston has no answer.

Now Jack with some fancy moves before passing to Enika Okafor (ph) for the basket and the Hornets rack up a big 92-74 win.

And would you believe that the Celtics at this early stage of the season 0-3.

Now Arsenal's football manager Arsene Wenger has said he will decide by the weekend whether or not to resign Tierry Henry on loan. And new reports today suggest the club's players are all for it. Henry has been training with his former team to stay fit during the MLS offseason. And the New York Red Bulls striker has impressed the squad.

German defender Per Medisoker (ph) says the Frenchman has shown his class during practice sessions. Henry, you'll remember, scored 226 goals over eight years at Arsenal before leaving in 2007. So it could be an interesting 2012 to look forward to for Henry and Arsenal as it was looking back at the sporting highlights this year.

Kristie, back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, looking forward and looking back. Alex Thomas, thank you.

Still to come here on NEWS STREAM for every technological advance there's a victim. We'll look back at some of the greats who are reeling.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now from Google+ to the iPad 2, the Occupy hashtag to the Kindle Fire, new online tools and gadgets have kept the tech sector humming in 2011. But along with the good and the great came the bad and the downright ugly. It was a year that moved simply too fast for a few former titans of innovation. Consider Kodak. Believe it or not Eastman Kodak engineers invented the digital camera back in 1975, but it has failed to keep pace with the rise of digital photography. The once great company is now a shutter click away from bankruptcy.

And there's also Cisco's flip video cam, the once popular gadget had its shares of followers for its low price, ease of use, but was quickly superseded by the video cameras built into smartphones.

And finally, Blockbuster and Borders. Once upon a time they were both meccas of home entertainment, but online marketplaces like Amazon and Netflix have turned both into bankrupt has-beens.

So who is next? And who else is struggling to keep pace with technology and could be the next to crumble? Let's bring in our regular NEWS STREAM contributor Nick Thompson, senior editor of the New Yorker. He joins us now live from New York.

Hey there, Nick. And which companies do you think are imminent threat thanks to technology?

NICK THOMPSON, NEW YORKER: Well, you know, one of the interesting things here we've seen here in the United States is that actually the Postal Service is under imminent threat because nobody sends mail anymore they just send email. So we've seen slowdown of service for them.

We've seen a continued decline in the record industry. That's an old trend.

One of the new things that's so interesting, it combines the first two companies you talked about -- you talked about Flip being killed off by phones. What we're seeing is that phones have become so powerful that you used to need lots of devices to do lots of things, now you really just need your phones to do all these things. So an industry under threat are handheld videogames and videogame manufacturers. We've seen a lot of trouble for Nintendo and Electronic Arts, because people are playing Zynga games or they're playing Angry Birds and they're playing it on their mobile devices. So that industry is under threat in a way we've seen other industries in the past.

LU STOUT: So Nintendo and EA had better watch out.

Now, Nick, what companies are potentially under threat, but we can't rule them out just yet.

THOMPSON: Well, the most interesting one to me are the large electronics manufacturers, right -- so Sony, Samsung, Panasonic. And they make all of these devices like DVD players which will soon pretty much be obsolete as we stream, or they used to make portable CD players which are now totally useless. So the question is whether they can transition into making new devices which are totally relevant a couple of years from now because they're going to lose off their old businesses.

So they might even -- we don't know what's going to happen to the television industry. Will it still be profitable in a few years? It certainly wasn't a good business to be in last year.

So those manufacturers are going to be in a lot of trouble. And I'm very interested in watching them.

Another one are GPS makers, right. They've been booming recently. They're great. They're wonderful. But will Garmin really have a place once the GPS in your cell phone is as good as the GPS in your old GPS watch?

LU STOUT: All right. Nick, unfortunately we're going to have to leave it there. But thank you as always for sharing your thoughts about the future of tech right here on NEWS STREAM. Take care.

THOMPSON: Thank you, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now here on NEWS STREAM you probably know it by now. We're kind of geeky and we're proud of it. It's almost the end of the year. And we don't need much of an excuse to look back at some of the weirdest tech stories of 2011.

Of course, no tech list would be complete without Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Now remember in May when he announced that the only meat he would eat was from animals he killed himself? Well, he described it as a personal challenge. I'm not quite sure how I'd describe it, though.

And speaking of Facebook, it was social media that made planking a runaway success and the art of laying stock still and owling as well. But it soon involved -- well, I guess owling, the somewhat strange habit of, you guessed it, looking like an owl.

But last but not least, have you ever felt so lonely that you'd kiss an inanimate object? Well, me neither, but if you wanted to you can. Now a lab in Japan came up with the snapily named Kiss Transmission Device. You just wiggle your tongue on a straw and your long distance lover, straw in mouth, will feel their own straw wiggle.

Now for the CNN top 10 weird tech stories of the year, just log on to

And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.