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Egypt's Football Disaster; Interview With Arab League Secretary- General Nabil El-Araby; Leaving Afghanistan; Tough Job For New Sony CEO
Aired February 2, 2012 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.
I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.
And we begin in Egypt, where unbelievable scenes of violence at a football match leave 79 dead.
And we'll hear exclusively from the head of the Arab League on the ongoing violence in Syria.
And Facebook is going public. We'll take a look at some of the staggering numbers revealed by the social networking company.
Now, it's one of the bloodiest events in football history. At least 79 people are dead and more than 1,000 injured after riots broke out following a match in the Egyptian city of Port Said.
Fans stormed onto the pitch as the game ended 3-1 in favor of the home side, Al-Masry against their visiting rivals, Al-Ahly, from Cairo. Supporters from both sides attacked each others and the players with rocks, chairs and knives. Some people died from stab wounds and others were suffocated trying to escape.
As fears rise of further unrest, crowds have gathered in Cairo, and some have been chanting, "Down with military rule!" An emergency session of the Egyptian parliament has been called and three days of national mourning are now under way.
The police's handling of the disaster is facing heavy criticism, and Port Said's head of security has reportedly been sacked. These pictures appear to show dozens of riot police lining up before the match, and this is after the trouble began, where the police appear to be closely watching the stadium seats rather than the fans running on to the pitch. And later, the police are seen here. They're running after the battling fans, but they appear to be outnumbered.
Forty-seven people have been arrested, and Egypt's Premier League has been suspended indefinitely. The European Union has called for an external investigation into what happened.
Let's get the very latest now from Ben Wedeman, who joins us live from Cairo.
And Ben, after last night's violence in Port Said, more unrest today in Cairo. What are you seeing?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far it seems that a lot of the Al-Ahly fans are outside of the club headquarters, and they plan on marching to the Ministry of the Interior. So far, however, there hasn't been any notable instances of violence. It's still, by Cairo's standards, fairly early in the day. But people are angry.
And, of course, we are in Ahly country here in Cairo. It is the biggest team, very popular here. Many Egyptians wildly enthusiastic about this team and now very angry after what happened in Port Said last night.
Many people, of course, here in Cairo are saying not only did the police not provide adequate security, but accusing the police of actually facilitating attacks, the Ahly fans. It's worth noting that these Ahly fans, many of them were participants in clashes with the police last year. They have been in many ways politicized since the resolution and, therefore, not surprisingly, they are also calling for the military rulers of Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to step down over this incident -- Kristie.
STOUT: Now, an emergency parliamentary session is under way. What are Egypt's MPs saying about the violence?
WEDEMAN: This is really a fascinating session of parliament, an emergency session called after these events.
Now, what happened was that after an opening statement by the speaker of parliament, he called for the live broadcast to be cut. But just as the picture went down, you could hear loud protests from the members of parliament. And just moments later, the picture went up again, obviously as a result of the demands of these parliament members.
Now, we've heard one after another calling for the resignation of the interior minister, putting them on trial, holding an investigation, and really going after those security officials they say simply did not do their job in providing security at these matches. But we're also hearing a lot of criticism of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Increasingly, Egyptians are worried that the army simply is incapable of managing the affairs of this country. And it's worth pointing out that over the last few days, there have been a series of high-profile armed robberies in Cairo indicative of deteriorating law and order -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right.
Ben Wedeman, joining us live from Cairo.
Thank you very much indeed for that.
Again, Egypt is on edge following these riots. Let's get more now from our Ian Lee, who is in Port Said. He joins us now.
And Ian, are you seeing more protests, more unrest there today?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the scene right now in Port Said is pretty calm. We got a chance to go into the stadium though and see what happened yesterday, and it is quite a sight.
There's trash everywhere. Things are broken. But I think there's a couple things that really stood out to me.
First of all, was seeing blood on a lot of chairs all over the place. There was a lot of blood.
The other thing was there were shoes everywhere. People were running out of their shoes, trying to get away from the onslaught.
And the third probably most amazing thing I saw was huge steel doors that were cemented and tied into the walls were broken down as the surge of people pushed them down to escape the stadium. It was quite a sight to see, the stadium -- the aftermath of the stadium and seeing all these things that showed just what happened there yesterday.
STOUT: Yes, you detail some frightening evidence of violence from last night. Have you been able to talk to eyewitnesses? And what are they telling you about what happened and, namely, how the police responded when the riot broke out?
LEE: Well, I talked to several eyewitnesses, and what they were telling me was that the police just stood by as the surge went towards the Ahly soccer fans. And a lot of the people who I talked to said that these weren't people from Port Said. There's a lot of conspiracy theories that this is something bigger, this wasn't the fans from the club, that this was planned, and that these were not people from Port Said, that there was some sort of hidden agenda, something else happening.
And they're using the example of the police allowing these thugs to go pass them by without trying to stop them, as well as the gate being shut, that the fans couldn't escape. They were essentially trapped in their stands.
STOUT: Just now we heard from Ben Wedeman, who was reporting on a very stormy session of parliament, an emergency session that's currently under way. A lot of blame being placed on the ruling military council for the violence, for not doing enough.
What is the general mood there in Port Said? Who are people there blaming for last night's violence?
LEE: Well, people are definitely blaming the government for what just happened. They're saying the police didn't act, there wasn't security. How could these people bring weapons into the stadium is something that a lot of people are asking.
They're essentially blaming the government and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for not providing enough security and not checking people for weapons. And this happens. Right now we're at a protest, and people are definitely looking for answers of how something like this could happen in this town.
STOUT: All right.
Ian Lee, joining us live from Port Said, the scene of the disaster that took the lives of at least 79 people.
Now, as the U.N. Security Council struggles to come to an agreement on a possible resolution on Syria, violence there rages on. Opposition activists say at least 70 people were killed on Wednesday. And members of the U.N. Security Council, they met to discuss how to respond to the ongoing crisis. Diplomats say that they're optimistic that an agreement can be reached, but there are still major points to work out. Russia and China, which both hold veto power, are adamant that they will oppose any resolution they view as meddlesome.
Meanwhile, Western diplomats are supporting a draft that calls for President al-Assad to hand over power to his vice president, but Russia opposes it. Now, that is part of a proposal set forth by the Arab League which calls on Syria to form a new unity government in the next two months.
And Hala Gorani sat down with the head of the Arab League, Nabil El-Araby, in an exclusive one-on-one interview.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What is exactly the language that's bothering Russia right now when you're in discussions with Russian representatives at the U.N.? What is bothering them and what can be removed as far as you're concerned to satisfy them?
NABIL EL-ARABY, ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Well, I'll tell you what they say. I mean, and they have said it already. They don't want any reference to military intervention and no one is speaking about that.
EL-ARABY: We don't want any reference to sanctions, and no one is speaking about sanctions as such. They don't want the Arab peace plan which says that the president delegates power to the vice president. We didn't ask that the president should step down, but only to delegate powers to the vice president, which actually, according to their constitution --
GORANI: And you know, there is a joke now that says Bashar al-Assad is going to demote himself to vice president.
GORANI: Yes. Because that's how seriously people are taking this, you know?
EL-ARABY: I didn't --
GORANI: Right. They're saying it's just toothless, it's going to lead to nothing. This regime is going to continue to employ violence because it's the only way it knows to deal with opposition.
Do you think that's true?
EL-ARABY: Well, up to now, it's true, but you have to refer that to the world we are living in.
GORANI: And if this resolution is passed, and Russia removes every little reference to possible sanctions, possible intervention, possible pressure, then what good will that resolution do?
EL-ARABY: It will still put pressure on the Syrian government, because they realize that Russia cannot stand up forever. And they are under great pressure now. And, you know, Russia does not want to be against the people.
GORANI: Time is running out. I mean, today, 70 --
EL-ARABY: Yes, yes, people are dying. And even one -- if one person dies, our conscience cannot take that.
GORANI: But in a country of 23 million, 6,000 people have died. This is just a shocking --
EL-ARABY: It's awful. It's awful. But you tell me, what can be done more than that?
You are going to a universal organization which is responsible for world peace. The Security Council is the organ vested with the primary responsibility for peace and security in the world. You cannot go further than that.
GORANI: People will say, why was Libya a case that the international community thought required intervention because a massacre was about to take place -- I'm quoting people. Whereas Syria is a country where a massacre is taking place, and there is no intervention. Why?
EL-ARABY: Well, I'll try to answer but it's not my view, personally, but I'll give you some examples.
First of all, at one time, Gadhafi's Saif al-Islam threatened that he was going to wipe out the whole city of Benghazi. And they had the means to do that.
Secondly, you can say that the -- as I said to you, political location is different here and there, between Syria and Libya.
Thirdly, in Syria, there is a regular strong army. In Libya, there was no army, and some militias headed by Gadhafi's sons, which, I mean, is completely different. And maybe there is no oil in Syria.
GORANI: So what are you saying when you say maybe there's no oil in Syria? That the economic motivation was there?
EL-ARABY: Could be. Could be. But anyhow, we can add to that that this is an election year in the United States and there are elections in France. And Europe is not in the -- I'm not going to say bankrupt, but is not in the best economic situation to enter into such a venture.
GORANI: When you look at Syria, what do -- I mean, you say you have hope, but what then gives you hope? What aspect of what's happening right now is giving you hope?
EL-ARABY: The fact that such -- I mean, the regime itself is under pressure from the international -- and they cannot go on forever. And once the people go to the street anywhere -- and actually, I told -- I am saying this in public because I told the leadership in Syria, that once -- the lesson from Egypt and from the others, but I speak as my own country -- at that time I was foreign minister, as you know -- that once the people will go the street, you have to yield to their demands.
STOUT: And that was the Arab League secretary-general, Nabil El-Araby, speaking exclusively to Hala Gorani.
Now, rescue teams, they're continuing the hunt for dozens of people who are still missing off the coast of Papua New Guinea. A ferry believed to have been carrying around 350 people ran into difficulties about 16 kilometers off the coast early on Thursday morning. And officials say 238 survivors have been plucked from the water so far.
These photos were taken from one of the helicopters that went into help, showing survivors in escape rafts waiting to be rescued. And these photos, they were taken by Jurgen Ruh, chief executive of Manolos Aviation, which sent two helicopters to the scene.
A little earlier, he spoke to CNN about what he saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JURGEN RUH, CEO, MANOLOS AVIATION: So we were out at the scene about 11:00 local time. By the time one container ship and one carrier were in attendance already. We had found about 10 life rafts with approximately 10 people each in the vicinity. And we have identified further ships to go further out and look for those survivors as well.
We then went to a few, and when we came back in the afternoon, there was an aircraft from Australia. And the rescue efforts in the total of container ship and two carriers. And we, again, were doing a search advised by the rescue coordination center. And at that time, we were not able to find any further survivors afloat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now, the cause of this disaster is still not known, but Jurgen Ruh said that the area is notorious for bad weather at this time of year and strong winds.
Coming up next on NEWS STREAM, the U.S. now says it plans to end its combat mission in Afghanistan next year. We'll look at whether that prediction is likely to become reality and, if it does, what it means for Afghanistan.
In neighboring Iran, the continuing nuclear program is causing mounting concern in Israel. Have tensions reached a boiling point?
And Facebook hopes to update its status to public. That's if Wall Street investors like the look of its friend request.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now, the Obama administration is coming under fire from some Republicans over its withdrawal plans in Afghanistan. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters on Wednesday the U.S. could end its combat role in Afghanistan by the middle of next year. That is a whole year before the White House had said that all U.S. troops could come back from Afghanistan.
Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is following the story from CNN London. He joins me now live.
And Nic, why is the U.S. now saying it will end its mission a year early?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there seem to be several factors playing in here.
One is definitely economic. Leon Panetta was also talking about reducing the projected size of the Afghan army, not growing it any further, not growing it up to 352,000 personnel.
The reason for that is sustainability and costs. So there's clearly, by coming off the combat mission role by mid next year, the implications are here that it's an effort by NATO to say, of course, perhaps, get out of Afghanistan, get more troops out of Afghanistan earlier.
There's a political cost here. We're seeing President Sarkozy react to the death of several of his troops just a few weeks ago, saying that he's now going to get his forces out by 2013. There is not the political appetite amongst the populations of Europe and the United States, who see this as a very, very unpopular war.
But there are other factors at play here as well, and one of those is that U.S. diplomats have been criticized heavily by other U.S. diplomats for not taking a tougher line with President Karzai. And right now, President Karzai, in the last few weeks, has shown that he's not really willing to follow the U.S. track on talks with the Taliban. He's creating his own track.
So I think what we're also seeing here is some sort of tough love real politic for President Karzai that he is going against some of what the international mission there is trying to do to support and help him. He's going against it.
And people are beginning to sort of cut their losses and make this much sort of hastier retreat for the borders and getting out of the country -- Kristie.
STOUT: So, tension with Hamid Karzai one of many factors here.
Now, Nic, earlier this week, a leaked U.S. military report said that the Taliban will rule Afghanistan again. What's your read on that report? Will it?
ROBERTSON: I think there are several factors again here which probably mitigate against the Taliban doing that, and they're putting -- they will be very well aware of what those factors are here. Certainly Western diplomats whom I've talked to, who talk face to face with the Taliban -- and we also heard from a former British ambassador to Afghanistan this week -- say the same thing, that the Taliban haven't really made their mind up yet whether they want to go for some sort of grand political bargain at the negotiating table, or whether they will just decide to hold out and fight for power.
The Taliban got to power in the 1990s in part through battlefield victories. But in part, those victories came through the fact that they were funded by Pakistan's intelligence services -- that's what the allegations say -- and that they were able to buy off opposition commanders.
The Taliban is not going to get that money this time. They're not in favor with Pakistani intelligence services at the moment, so they would realize that an easy victory in the country is not going to come their way this time.
Also, they will know their ethnic enemies in the north are now much better funded, much richer, much better equipped and trained militarily, because they've had a very close alliance with NATO, much closer alliance than the sort of fighters in the south, if you will. So they will know it will be much harder to take strong and full control of the country in the future.
So there's some real politic here for them. What they're looking at here is, can they get a better deal at the table? Because if they go to fight, they may not win that fight for the whole country.
STOUT: All right.
Nic Robertson, live from London.
Thank you very much indeed for that analysis.
Now, to the West. The storm brewing between Israel and Iran is not letting up. The past rhetoric of Iran's president and growing concerns about Iran's nuclear program are keeping temperatures high.
And as David McKenzie reports, that could spell trouble in the region.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Israel sees a threat it takes it very seriously -- Hezbollah, to the north; Hamas, ,to the south; the specter of suicide bombings; the power of protests. But none have threatened the Israeli psyche like the prospect of a nuclear Iran.
DORE GOLD, JERUSALEM CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: You take the Iranian capabilities they're developing for a nuclear warhead, a nuclear weapon mounted on a missile, and you put together with the intentions they're declaring, you're talking about an existential threat.
MCKENZIE: Observers continue to assess Iran's nuclear program, and tough new EU sanctions could make Tehran think twice about going nuclear. Whether Iran wants to create a bomb and how fast they could build it has been fiercely debated, but the rhetoric of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is more clear cut. He's called for the destruction of Israel.
And Israel's former ambassador to the U.N. believes those words mean everything.
GOLD: The Jewish people learned one thing from World War II. When people say they want to destroy you, you better take it seriously.
MCKENZIE: That memory of the Holocaust weighs heavy on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The difference between 1942 and 2012 is not the absence of the enemies. The same will to eliminate the Jewish people and its state, this will still exists and has not changed.
MCKENZIE: How Israel perceives a threat from Iran is taken very seriously in Washington. At Senate hearings this week, CIA Director David Petraeus said he has regular discussions with Israel's leadership and intelligence head.
DAVID PETRAEUS, CIA DIRECTOR: Israel does see this possibility as an existential threat to their country, and I think it's very important to keep that perspective in mind.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Faced with a perceived nuclear threat, Israel has struck outside its borders before, in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria in 2007. With Israel pushing an even tougher stance on Iran, its allies fear that a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities could come without warning.
David McKenzie, CNN, Jerusalem.
STOUT: Up next here on NEWS STREAM, peace, love and soul. Now, for decades, Don Cornelius let TV audiences aboard the groundbreaking "Soul Train," and coming up on NEWS STREAM, we'll look back at his life and celebrate the legacy of this TV pioneer.
STOUT: A dramatic view of Hong Kong this evening.
You are back watching NEWS STREAM.
Now coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, things are shaking up in the world of technology. Facebook could soon be hitting the market. And hear what's in store for the social media king as it goes public.
And Sony is stepping forward with a new face, but is it enough to turn the company's misfortunes around? We've got the details ahead.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines. In Cairo, an emergency session of Egypt's parliament is under way to discuss a deadly riot following a football match at Fort Said. At least 79 people died. A committee will investigate the cause of the melee, but Egypt's various social and political factions are already blaming each other. The ruling military council has called for three days of mourning for the dead.
And more than 100 people are missing after a ferry carrying about 350 people sank near Papua New Guinea. Helicopters and ships rushed to the scene when an emergency signal was issued earlier on Thursday morning. Officials say 238 have been rescued, but many remain missing.
The U.S. now plans to end its combat role in Afghanistan by 2013, that's according to the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who made that announcement on Wednesday. Now Panetta stressed that the role of NATO forces would transition to more of a training and advisory function. The new deadline was more than a year earlier than the date all U.S. troops are scheduled to come home.
Pakistan's supreme court has summoned the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to face a charge of contempt of court on February 13. The case stems from the PM's failure to pursue a court ordered investigation of alleged corruption involving President Asif Ali Zardari. Mr. Gilani has refused to prosecute President Zardari saying he has immunity as head of state.
Now it is the most hotly anticipated internet IPO in years. On Wednesday, Facebook asked for the thumbs up on a $5 billion initial public offering. It will make founder Mark Zuckerberg a paper billionaire at the age of 27.
Now Facebook's IPO paperwork is an interesting read. By the company's own conservative estimate, Zuckerberg's stake alone will be worth $16 billion. And analysts say the company's market value at about $85 billion or more.
Now why such a high valuation? Well, it's got a lot to do with the sheer number of people who share their lives with friends and family on Facebook.
Now according to the IPO filing, the site has 845 million active users every month. And to put that in perspective, if Facebook was a country it would be the third most populous nation on the planet behind only China and India.
Now the paperwork also put a figure on the number of photos uploaded to the social network. It is a staggering 250 million each day. And that is equivalent to every person living in Japan, France, and Italy combined uploading one photo to Facebook every 24 hours.
Now Facebook's IPO will be a defining moment for a new wave of social media companies now joining the U.S. stock exchanges. Now let's bring up Maggie Lake who is standing by in New York.
And Maggie, in this filing we've got a very interesting and detailed look at Facebook's business. And what jumped out for you?
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think -- you know, Kristie, everyone was sort of looking at those revenue figures and stuff, but what was really interesting and a little bit of a surprise is how much control Mark Zuckerberg is going to maintain over this company. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised by that given the way he's behaved over the last eight years. You know, he is the founder.
He has a 28 percent stake, but what's important is because of the way the shares are going to be structured he's going to have voting power of 57 percent. So this essentially means this is what's known as a controlled company. That means it doesn't have to sort of go through all the corporate governance, or adhere to all the corporate governance rules that other companies do. They don't have to have a majority of independent directors on the board. They could do it from all inside. They don't have to have a compensation committee. Now that may not be an issue, because he's only going to make a dollar for his salary. But still, these are sort of, you know, ways that general shareholders can sort of maintain some sort of check on a company.
And the other thing is -- and experts are saying they don't if there's any precedent for this, he can name a successor in the event that he resign the job. So he could sort of have someone hand picked standing by that he can put in place and shareholders have no say about it.
This is an extraordinary amount of control. Other companies have done this when they've gone public. He did take a little bit of a page from Google. But still, you know, the reaction here on Wall Street was a little bit mixed on this. People are a little leery. Some saying this is going to take some investors right out of the game straight away. They're not going to want to participate in a company they have so little control over.
LU STOUT: Also in the fine print in the filing is information about Zynga. I mean, just how dependent if Facebook on the social games company for its bottom line.
LAKE: Yeah, it's 12 percent. They get 12 percent of their revenue from Zynga. Now that may not sound like a large number, but considering how new this is, it is pretty significant. And in fact Facebook itself recognized this. In the filing it had to release a list of risks it sees to its business perspective. And one of them was the fact that it was dependent on Zynga for not only the cut it takes when they sell virtual goods -- they take about a 30 percent cut -- but also Zynga advertises, they buy a lot of advertising from Facebook. If Zynga were to move or start losing its popularity that's going to make a real dent in Facebook's financials.
And I myself am not a Farmville, I'm not on the games. Kristie, you probably are, and have a better sense of whether this has a lot of room to grow or whether this is kind of momentary fad, but when 12 percent of your revenue comes from that, again that's something investors are really going to key in on.
LU STOUT: Yeah, also not a social gamer, but a lot of people are doing it. Maggie Lake, live from New York. Thank you very much for that.
Now in a letter to investors, included in Facebook's filing, Mark Zuckerberg outlined a lofty goal for the social network to make the world more open, and more connected. He wrote this, quote, "there is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone on the world connected and to give everyone a voice. And to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented. We believe that this is the most important problem we could focus on."
Now, we have established that Mark Zuckerberg, he's going to make a mint when Facebook goes public later this year. But he is not the only one. Sean Parker, the man behind the controversial music sharing site Napster and Zuckerberg's early mentor, he stands to make a fortune from his estimated 4 percent share in the social network.
And so to does the street artist behind this piece of graffiti. When David Cho decorated Facebook's office walls, he opted to be paid in stock rather than cash, meaning he could end up $200 million richer.
And then there is another famous face that you might not have associated with Facebook, U2 front man Bono. Now he is an investor in Elevation Partners, which bought up $120 million for Facebook shares back in 2010. So, yes, it promises to be a beautiful day for the singer when Facebook floats on the market.
Now, Sony says it expects a huge net loss for the current fiscal year, to the tune of $2.9 billion. And the bad news comes as the electronics giant tries to look for the future by installing a new CEO on Wednesday. Now the company has been lagging its big name competitors for some time now. And as Kyung Lah reports, CEO Kazuo Hirai has a big job on his hands.
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Holding up the Playstation, facing public scrutiny about Sony network security lapses, Kazuo Hirai was the face of Sony management long before the announcement. But it is now official, the Japanese native is moving up from executive deputy president to chief executive, taking over the reigns from Welsh born Howard Stringer.
BEN COLLETT, LOUIS CAPITAL MARKETS: It's been a very unsuccessful tenure. I think the ingrained culture in Sony is such that he has been unable to make the changes that he needed to make. And I don't think he's got the energy for it any more. So I think a try and a fail is probably the way we'd describe it.
LAH: Stringer arrived with high hopes in 2005 with a belief that a western leader would turn around an aging Japanese company. But the challenges were massive and his tenure exhausting.
Sony is losing the battle with Samsung in the TV business, now eight years in the red. In gaming, despite its success with Playstation, Sony continued to lag behind Nintendo. But perhaps most troubling, it failed to do what Apple managed with ease, create innovative products consumers love.
Then last year's tsunami and soaring yen plunged Sony into a fourth consecutive year of losses. Analysts widely say Sony doesn't just need to restructure, it must be completely torn apart and rebuilt. And there's little hope a new leader will manage to get that tough job done.
COLLETT: The question is will he be able to affect change at -- at the aging dinosaur that Sony is, a once very proud symbol of Japanese innovation and now really a struggling shadow of its former self.
LAH: Hirai's background is in music and gaming, not in the TV and gadgets where Sony needs the most help. So even before he steps into his new job in April, analysts already fear he may be in over his head.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
LU STOUT: Part of Sony's problem is that its core businesses are doing so poorly. We know Sony best for its consumer electronics, but in the last three months that division lost Sony over $1 billion. The professional division which makes components like batteries and chips lost almost $200 million. However, both Sony pictures and Sony music made an operating profit. But the big winner was, yet again, Sony's financial services division.
Now did you know that Sony sells life insurance and operates a banking service? It does. And that division made Sony over $400 million in the last quarter alone.
Now the countdown continues to one of the biggest days on the U.S. sporting calendar. Super Bowl Sunday is only a few days away. And the New England Patriots and the New York Giants play Super Bowl 46 in Indianapolis.
Now it is one of the world's most watched annual sporting event. And one man who will no doubt be glued to the action is world sports Mark McKay. He joins me now live from Indianapolis, Indiana.
And we have been collecting Mark some reaction by various social media channels Facebook and Twitter. And they've been asking you some questions about the Super Bowl. And this one is from Henri from France. And he asks, "people always say American Football is a rough sport. Why, then, do they use crash pads and helmets? Are they worried about getting hurt?" Mark, your reaction.
MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The concern always -- Kristie, hello you to. Yeah, the concern is the injury factor in a sport that is incredibly rough to begin with. Big guys, making big hits. The National Football League has done a good job in not only implementing the equipment they have with the helmets and the pads and such, but also rules to make this sport less violent.
But you have to remember, this is a violent sport. The hits are hard. The stakes are so high. And the guys that get into this certainly know what they're getting into, Kristie. So when it comes to making this sport safe, the National Football League and all of the scientific angles of this are being explored, but the NFL is constantly looking at ways to protect its players in the field.
But bottom line, yeah, it is a rough sport, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Now another question from an international viewer, Karen from the UK. She asks, "why do Super Bowl advertisements cost so much?"
MCKAY: How about the fact that so many people watch this game, not only in the United States. Last year 111 people just here in the United States watched this game which was played last year in Dallas between Green Bay and Pittsburgh. The viewing numbers go up every year. And not only here in the United States, but also around the world. So it certainly has the interest in the people that really -- and it really transcends sports fans, this becomes an event here in the United States and around the world. It's the most -- the second most watched sporting event in the world behind the UEFA Champion's League final.
So as you can tell, there are a lot of -- a lot of eyes on this game, not only for the game itself, but for the commercials as well, Kristie.
LU STOUT; Yeah, big event for media watchers like myself.
Now another question from Phillip from Germany. He asks -- or rather says, "it drives me mad that they keep stopping and chatting between plays." So Mark, why don't they just get on with it?
MCKAY: Well, it's one of these things where you have to break down the play and set the defense, set the offense. It's one of these -- it's a natural flow of the game, Kristie. It's one of these built-in where there is a time clock where you do have a clock that gets you to the next play. But it's a lot of ways to give those big guys on the field a bit of a break. I mean, they can get kind of winded out there.
So, yeah, I think a lot of people would like to see not only this sport, but many sports sped up. It's certainly not like soccer or football where it's constantly going, but there are breaks in the action. And I think those big guys on the football field Sunday will appreciate that.
LU STOUT: And another one for you. Kelly from Abu Dhabi. She asks, "is it true that university football in the U.S. is as popular as professional football? And why?"
MCKAY: It is as big. It's a -- it really comes from the fact that universities here in the United States, the football here is family grown and parts -- especially through the southern United States and moving west, it's very different in terms of how the players -- they don't get paid, but the universities get millions of dollars from advertising and television rights and such. But yes it is, that season, which runs in conjunction with the National Football League season. They play their games on Saturday. The NFL plays its regular season games on Sunday.
So yeah the popularity for both sports work hand in hand with the college guys crowning their champion in early January. And the NFL, professionals, crowning theirs in early February.
LU STOUT: All right. Mark McKay, always a pleasure. Thank you. And enjoy all action this weekend. It's going to be a busy one for you. Mark McKay joining us live from Indianapolis.
And still to come here on NEWS STREAM, following the death of Soul Train creator Don Cornelius, we look back at the life of the man who brought dance and music to the masses.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
And for decades, Don Cornelius was the brain child and host of the groundbreaking TV show Soul Train. It brought African-American culture to TV sets around America in a way that hadn't been done before. And on Wednesday, at 75-years-old the TV pioneer died of an apparently self inflicted gunshot wound. He reportedly had been suffering from health problems.
And we take a look back at the impact he had on popular culture.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Soul Train premiered in August 1970. It was the first of its kind, a show created for an African-American audience showcasing mainly African-American teenagers dancing to the latest soul and R&B music. The brainchild of producer and host Don Cornelius.
DON CORNELIUS, SOUL TRAIN CREATOR: And it's that magnificent group known as War running down (inaudible). We think it's one of the baddest things around.
COOPER: Cornelius was originally a journalist and DJ from Chicago who was inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the 60s. He realized there was no television venue for soul music and no show designed to appeal to the growing African-American television audience. So using $400 of his own money, Cornelius created a pilot for Soul Train and premiered the show in Chicago.
It was an instant hit. In a year, it went national and quickly became appointment viewing every Saturday for many families.
CORNELIUS: The statement that we hopefully are making is that, you know, African-American guys and girls can achieve in the TV media.
This one they call (inaudible).
COOPER: But the show also extended beyond its target audience, something Cornelius thought was good for the visibility of African- Americans.
CORNELIUS: We shouldn't be people who just see on television grinning and making fools of ourselves and telling jokes and singing, but we have the ability and should be given the opportunity to create as well.
Gladys Knight and the dancing, swinging, singing Pips.
COOPER: Cornelius also featured African-American musicians on each show, giving a face to popular radio stars like Gladys Knight who performed in the very first episode.
GLADYS KNIGHT, SINGER: He was taking a giant step to even compete in that arena with Dick Clark had such a hold with American Bandstand. But he was brave. And he went out and he did it. And we as artists are so grateful to him for giving us that faith.
COOPER: Over the years Cornelius presented a parade of famous performers to the Soul Train audience, including Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, and non-R&B stars like David Bowe and Elton John.
The show lasted for 35 years, a lasting legacy for a man who increased the visibility of African-American culture and changed the face of television.
CORNELIUS: And you can bet your last monthly installment to the gas company, I'm Don Cornelius and as always (inaudible) we wish you love and peace and soul.
COOPER: Anderson Cooper, CNN.
LU STOUT: Now James Brown, the godfather of soul, was one of the first big stars to appear on Soul Train. And Brown wondered how Don Cornelius would succeed. He asked Cornelius who is backing you on this? And Cornelius said, it's just me James.
Now James Brown asked the question again and again. He just couldn't believe that an African-American could both operate and own a media property. And that story is a testament to the legacy of Don Cornelius. His success with Soul Train paved the way for the rise of today's hip hop moguls like Jay-Z and Russell Simmons. And that is what makes Don Cornelius a pioneer.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back right after this.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Superman?
Well, several unidentified flying objects were seen in the skies above New York. And who else to solve the mystery, but our very own Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a city full of oddball sites, what's three more? Prepare to launch flying people.
Look, up in the sky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a bird!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a plane!
MOOS: It's a lightweight foam, three-and-a-half pounds, six foot fake person.
JAMES PERCELAY, THINKMODO CO-FOUNDER: This thing is basically a glorified toy.
MOOS: Twice in recent days, the flying people have floated over lower Manhattan.
PERCELAY: The hands and the feet move. And they act as flaps.
MOOS: Propelled by small motors, remote controlled. Spectators weren't remotely aware of what they could be as they sailed around the Brooklyn Bridge and even the Statue of Liberty.
Now you'd think in security crazed New York City the police might try to shoot down super heroes buzzing the Statue of Liberty, but the organizers had a permit.
The stunt was dreamed up by a viral marketing agency called Thinkmodo, co-founded by James Percelay.
PERCELAY: We see ourselves as kind of this special ops of advertising.
MOOS: And what they were advertising was a new movie.
MOOS: In which three teens have super human powers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch this.
MOOS: And they can fly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to me, we can't screw around with this. It's too dangerous.
MOOS: Which explains why the characters Andy, Matt, and Steve were airborne over Manhattan.
PERCELAY: The hardest move was the back flip.
MOOS: The flying people came from a one man outfit in Oregon called RC for remote controlled super hero. Greg Tannis considers his creations to be flying sculptures. The kits sell for $340. But by the time the viral marketers assembled and suped them up, each one cost a few thousand.
Pilots practiced for three days at an airport on Long Island before attempting the four minute flights over New York.
Unlike Superman, who lands on his feet, these guy land on their bellies. The goal was to create buzz with these ethereal, lightweight, delicate objects.
PERCELAY: This is like flying three potato chips in the air.
MOOS: It reminded us more of people disappearing in the rapture.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
LU STOUT: And finally, many people in the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Texas got an unexpected light show Wednesday night. A ball of light streaked across the sky. And here you can see it caught on a Texas police cruiser's dashboard camera moving from left to right. The Federal Aviation Administration says the fireball was a meteor, not an airplane or something more supernatural.
And that is NEWS STREAM. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.