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Fallout From Israeli Air Strike Inside Syria; France Calls for Peace Talks in Mali; Gun Control in Wake of Dunblane Shootings in Britain

Aired January 31, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

The fallout from the apparent Israeli air strike in Syria continues, but was the target a weapons convoy or a Syrian research center?

Is the new BlackBerry too little, too late? We get a full review of the new handset.

And David Beckham will play in France. We'll look at why he picked PSG.

The crisis in Syria has launched and spilled across the country's borders with an estimated 600,000 Syrians taking refuge in neighboring countries. But the situation in this vulnerable part of the world has taken a new twist after Israeli fighter jets reportedly struck a Syrian convoy along the Lebanese-Syrian border. A senior U.S. officials tells CNN that the vehicles were thought to be moving Russian-made missile parts to the Islamic group Hezbollah in Lebanon. The (inaudible) maintains that there was a strike aimed at a research facility near the Syrian capital. Whatever the truth of the matter, it is a clear sign that tensions are heightened far beyond Damascus. And in a moment, we'll hear from senior international correspondent Sarah Sidner in Jerusalem. But first, let's talk to Nick Paton Walsh. He was watching developments in Syria from Beirut and Lebanon. Nick, what more can you tell us about this air strike?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Confused versions of events here. Israel is saying officially nothing about this, Lebanon is saying nothing occurred in their territory, but U.N. monitors here are saying there was an increased Israeli activity in the air at a time of the strike.

That senior U.S. official you mentioned earlier were all saying yes, the convoy on the Lebanese-Syrian border, presumably taking weapons in the direction of the Lebanon and Hezbollah, SA-17, surface to air missiles and equipment related to that, perhaps, the cargo that was hit. Syrian state television giving a completely different version of events, and it is not quite clear if we are talking about one or two attacks here. The Syrian state TV saying a scientific research facility at Jeremiah (ph) was, in fact, hit.

Now Israeli experts have suggested that this facility is involved in modifying missiles, perhaps making them easier to transport. Both Syrian state TV went on to add that that the reason this place had been attacked, in their perception, by their Israelis was because it had been under assault from what they refer to as terrorists, that is their phrase for rebels, for the past few months. So, the suggestion there from Damascus that perhaps the Israelis struck because they were concerned that the FSA were going to gain access to these weapons. Not clear what's in that facility, according to a Syrian state version of events, but as you said, there's been this long held concern about Syria's chemical weapons. No suggestion they are involved here, but certainly this concern about the reason -- regionalization of the war is now getting closer because of the Israeli involvement, their penetration of Lebanon and Syria to conduct this strike. If reports turn out to be true, Kristie.

STOUT: There is - and there is certainly concern about the Syrian weapons arsenal. Let's go to our Sara Sidner in Jerusalem now. And Sarah, Israeli authorities, they have declined to comment so far, but judging from the action alone, was this air strike a message sent to both Hezbollah and Syria?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's hard to say, because the Israelis simply are not talking. The military won't talk about it, the prime minister's office won't talk about it, the foreign ministry won't talk about it. They are mum at the moment, which is pretty much par for the course when things like this happen.

However, we have been speaking to some former very high-ranking intelligence officials from Israel. And what they are saying are a couple of things. One, that Israel has long warned its allies that it has been very, very concerned about the transfer of weapons going from Syria into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon, a sworn enemy of Israel. And they said they've been seeing this going on for a couple of years now, and that it is potentially possible that one of the strikes, if there were two, that one of the strikes was trying to knock out one of the attempts to try and get some of those weapons into the hands of Hezbollah, namely parts of SA-17 missiles.

We also want to talk about the facility that Syria says was hit. Now, whoever hit it, we're hearing from intelligence officials here that it is part of what's known as the Strass (ph) Institute, and that is an institute, the intelligence community here says has worked on unconventional weapons, i.e. chemical weapons.

What was in that facility, we're hearing, is not likely to be chemical weapons, however. It's a facility that potentially could have been taking huge missiles and making them much smaller so that they are easy to transport. And that may be the reason why this particular facility was of concern. Who did the strike, were there two strikes? We still do not know. But we have a U.S. official saying that at least one strike happened, according to their intelligence, along the Syrian-Lebanon border.

STOUT: All right, now let's go back to Nick Paton Walsh in Beirut, and we have to talk about Iran. How does Iran view this Israeli attack, apparent attack on Syria?

WALSH: Well, they said that it will have serious consequences, but it depends on actually what that means, it isn't entirely clear. They did say in the same statement they wanted to see the U.N get involved in working that out. So, apparently on the scale of rhetoric there, loud aggression, but not necessarily much practically they can do (inaudible) Iran's economy is being in a paralyzed state and its own government riven by divisions. So not entirely sure what Iran will be able to do, but they are a key player, of course, in supporting Damascus with their own military advisors allegedly on the ground there. So, Iran adding really to the regional lukewarm theory about this to a degree. We heard Hezbollah saying this is a barbaric attack, but also calling for political dialogue of some description. Russia has stepped in saying that this was an unprovoked attack on sovereign territory, condemning it, but at the same time, we haven't seen the usual kind of use of Israel as a lightning rod for regional fury when something like this happens. And I think people are waiting to see what percolates out in the days ahead, if, indeed, all of this is confirmed as having been an Israeli air strike, Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from Beirut, Sara Sidner in Jerusalem. A big thank you to you both.

Turning now to the situation in Mali, where France is calling for peace talks one day after its troops reached the northern city of Kidal. It's the country's last standing Islamist stronghold. Now, France is urging Mali's government to begin dialogue with what it calls "legitimate representatives of the north," who recognize the integrity of Mali. And this man, this is Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore tells French radio that he is willing to meet with the group of secular Tuaregs, who want an independent homeland for their people. But he says he will not meet with any of the three al Qaeda-linked groups that seized northern Mali last year.

Now, a French army spokesman says French and Malian troops now control the airport in Kidal. Our Nima Elbagir is covering this story from CNN, Nairobi. She joins us live, and Nima, first, let's talk about the situation in Kidal. French troops are there, on patrol. Have they secured the entire town?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand, Kristie, that at the moment they've been limited to the airport because of adverse weather conditions. Most of the French military advantage has been coming from their aerial capacity. And we understand that a sand storm really has forced them to not be able to rely on that as much as they've been able to in the past. So, at present, their troops safe havens (ph) are limited to the airport. But they say that this really for them was the most important aspect of this campaign, to secure access to the city by securing the airport. Their defense minister told French radio that as far as he's concerned, this operation has been a success. In fact, he says that they have been able to regain the territory much faster than even he had initially expected, Kristie.

STOUT: Nima, from the beginning of this offensive, you have been reporting on the rebels as being well trained, well equipped. Where are they now? Will they regroup and will they fight again?

ELBAGIR: Well, that is, of course, the big question here. Some intelligence sources that I've been speaking to are incredibly concerned, Kristie, that they've been able to push back through those very porous borders connecting Mali with the neighboring countries. And this really has been one of the identifying factors in this conflict, the way that militants have been able to move through Libya, through Algeria, into Niger, into Mali and back out again. Also, of course, through Mauritania. This is the concern at the moment, that these militants have not been pushed back, that perhaps they are tactically retreating.

The French military acknowledges that they haven't been meeting much organized resistance on the ground, and this is something that the French defense minister also spoke about, that one of the reasons that they are going to continue to stay in Mali, even though initially they said that they were going to hand this operation over to Mali, to the Malian forces and the African allies, is because they think that there is still a significant military threat, Kristie.

STOUT: All right, and then, after that, after the military portion of this offensive is over, comes the political rebuilding. And so, what is the task ahead for the government of Mali and for it to reconcile these groups in the north of the country?

ELBAGIR: Well, there does seem to be a lot of pressure on the Malian government to start pushing through a political process. They've now said that they expect to hold elections by July the 31st. They also wanted to start other democratization processes. And it's clear that the French, for their part, are very involved in ensuring that the ground work is laid so that the militants don't find any kind of support to come back in the north. If you remember, that was one of the main issues that triggered that crisis in the first place, this stance of disenfranchisement that led to the northern tribes, including the Tuareg, to call for their own state. That was then hijacked, very opportunistically, by militants. The Malian government now trying to lay the ground work to include the Tuareg and other northern people.

All we can do is wait and see. Initially, we've been told that elections would be held by April. We're now being told they'll be held by July the 31st. This is not an easy process, and it will take time, Kristie.

STOUT: Nima Elbagir reporting for us. Thank you. Now, there is a lot more to come right here on NEWS STREAM: pollution. And the Chinese capital has been at critical levels for much of this month. We'll look at what's being done to clear the air.

As lawmakers listen to moving testimony from a former colleague with firsthand knowledge about gun violence. We will hear from Gabby Giffords, in her own words.

Now, for his American adventure, we'll tell you where David Beckham will play next.


STOUT: Welcome back. Now, China is choking under cloud of heavy smog again. This is the fourth time in as many weeks that heavy haze has covered Beijing. But it's not the only city that's suffering. Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection says the affected area spans 1.3 million square kilometers. Now, that's nearly 2.5 times the size of France. Chinese officials are being forced to acknowledge the program.

The Prime Minister of China Wen Jiabao recently acknowledged that the smoggy weather is affecting people's production and their health, but even state media outlets are calling for more. "The China Daily" says, "So far, the government is yet to reveal to the public in detail what has caused the air pollution. It goes on to say, without such detail information, public discussion may miss the target and the government's promise to tackle the problem may fail to materialize." And China's netizens are talking about the issue on Sinoaboa (ph). Millions of people say that the country should curb fireworks for the upcoming lunar New Year, as displays make air quality worse. And tens of thousands have signed the petition for new clean air legislation.

Now, here is the latest reading on the Beijing air twitter account. This is maintained by the U.S. embassy. And it measures at 197, unhealthy. Compare that to an airport smoking lounge, which averages 166. That is according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

So, just how long will this heavy haze linger? Mari Ramos is joining us now with the answer. She joins us from the World Weather Center. Mari.

MARI RAMOS, METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Kristie. I think, it's interesting. Like, you know, like calling it heavy haze of smog, or for, or sometimes they even call it mist. But the truth that it is polluted air, and it's -- it's, you know, in some cases, so harmful for people that are having to live with this, day in and day out, and this - yesterday was the fifth day this month that they got to that hazardous level. And you just showed us that count there in Beijing, 197, 199, that's on the unhealthy level. So, they are right about the middle.

I mean, this is better than it was earlier today at very unhealthy and better than it was yesterday, or the day before yesterday, when they got to that hazardous level. So this is a serious, serious problem. We are expecting a change here, though, and that change will come with that call from that is expected to a move through.

This is -- look like in Beijing today. This is a Tiananmen Square again. And you can barely make out the buildings, and look at all the people that are still out and about. They have restricted, for example, kids at school for them, to play outside in that kind of situation. When I saw this picture, it just kind of reminded me of my own children, you know, they have those silly little hats that they wear, kids love that kind of stuff. And this little boy's wearing a mask, and it's extremely dangerous, particularly for children, because their lungs are still developing, to be in this kind of scenario.

Now, I want to kind of go over some of these effects that we are talking about. The people at highest risk, actually, not even children this age, but the elderly, infants, pregnant women and chronic patients. In other words, the people that already have another type of problem, whether it's obesity, diabetes, heart and lung disease, anything like that. Those are going to be the people that are at a highest risk. And this high risk is for short-term exposure to pollutants and long term exposure to pollutants. So the longer that you are exposed to this kind of dirty air, the more that people are breathing it, the more the effects would be. Now, when you talk about the short-term effects, usually, those are going to go away when the air clears.

So, like those of us who have allergies, OK, so we are sneezing and coughing and our eyes are irritated, we have a headache. You know, the days that the polling count is really high, but when the polling count goes back down, then we fill better. It's kind of a similar situation here. People have eye irritation, or headaches or feel sick in this kind of environment. But then, once the air clears up, they feel better. There is also long term effects and these are harder to diagnose and it may take years for people to actually know that they are in this group now suffering from those long term effects, and that could be reduced lung capacity, lung cancer, lung disease, heart disease and so many other things, so this is a serious, serious problem health-wise for this part of the world.

Now, when we look - I want to show you kind of like a wide-angled picture for the fogs color again for some of this. And you are looking at a lot of the fog and the clouds here across this area, and notice how it doesn't only cover Beijing. We're talking about millions of more people across eastern part of China here, and areas to the south. When you talk about roads being closed, flights being delayed, that's also a huge impact on commerce, because people are not able to kind of get to where they are going or do what they need to do. This is different that we're talking about, it is expected to move here, through here, as we're heading to tomorrow, and that should help clean the air up. We are waiting for improved air quality to come, and we are waiting for Mother Nature's help to do that. Back to you, Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, and they need the help. When we were citing that earlier study, living right now in Beijing with the bad air is akin to living in a smoking lounge, it's incredible.

RAMOS: Yeah.

STOUT: Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

Let's stay in China now for our next story. "The New York Times" says its computer systems have come under sustained cyber attacks. The paper points the finger at Chinese hackers. But China's Defense Ministry denies the claim, and the Foreign Ministry hit back as well, saying this: "All such alleged attacks are groundless, irresponsible accusations lacking solid proof or reliable research results." Now, "The Times" says it worked with security experts and informed the FBI. The attacks started as the paper investigated Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and published controversial articles about the Wen family's wealth. But "The Times" says hackers appear to be looking for the names of people who might have provided information for the story. But the investigation indicates that the sensitive data was not compromised.

Ahead, right here on NEWS STREAM, legal beyond the realm of battle and look at the other ways drone technology is affecting our modern world. Stay with us.


STOUT: That is Hong Kong this Thursday night, and you are back watching NEWS STREAM. Now, right here is the visual rundown of all the stories we are covering on the show today. We have looked at the fallout from the apparent Israeli air strike in Syria, and later we'll look at the rise of drones for non-military use, but first, an emotional appearance by former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. She spoke at United States Senate Committee's first hearing on gun control since last month shooting at an elementary school in the state of Connecticut. Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman two years ago. And she acknowledged her injuries make it difficult to speak, but speak out she did, on the need for change.


GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER U.S. HOUSE MEMBER: Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying, too many children. We must do something. It's will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold, be courageous, Americans are counting on you. Thank you.


STOUT: A powerful plea there. And while people in the U.S. analyze and debate ways to prevent gun crimes, some are looking abroad for solutions. In 1996, a man in Scotland shot 16 children to death in their school. Nic Robertson reports on how that set into motion important changes in U.K. laws.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When it comes to changes in gun laws, this small sleepy Scottish town has a story to tell. This is Dunblane, on the edge of the Scottish highlands, and it was the power of the people here a decade and a half ago that helped push through radical reforms in British gun law.

It begins March 13th, 1996 in Dunblane primary school. At 9:35 a.m. local man, Thomas Hamilton walks in carrying four pistols licensed to him and 743 rounds of ammunition, more than one bullet for every child and teacher in the school. Four minutes later, he has fired 109 rounds. 16 five-year old children died along with their teacher. Another children and three teachers are injured. With the last round, Hamilton takes his own life.

Mick North's daughter, Sophie, was killed. Steve Birnie's son badly injured.

MICK NORTH, FATHER OF VICTIM: After two or three days my concern was that somebody with a gun had - had done that. You don't have shootings without guns.

ROBERTSON: North was not alone. Other parents began calling for gun law changes. They were helped by a countrywide demand for reform, more than 700,000 signatures collected. That's more than one for every hundred people across the nation. Although he spoke out at the time, North has been silent of late, agreeing to talk to me reopened old wounds, because he hopes his experiences can help the people of Sandy Hook change gun laws too.

NORTH: One of the main lessons I think is that you have to keep the issue alive, and as we found, it's interest in those closest to the victims from the media that often allows the issue to keep going.

STEVE BIRNIE, FATHER OF VICTIM: The personal sort of feelings had to be there in order to make it real for people.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Was it painful?

BIRNIE: Yeah. Still is.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Since the Dunblane attack, handguns have been banned, and tougher background checks are in place. To have a weapon, you must be checked by police, cleared by your doctor, and have two independent witnesses who can testify to your good character.

What criminal experts are telling us, is that over the past decade in Britain, gun crime has more than halved. Through 2003, 2004 when there were more than 24,000 gun crimes, to just last year when there were a little more than 11,000.

BILL MOONIE, CHAIRMAN, CALLANDER TARGET SPORTS CLUB: The laws were a (inaudible) to the people who quite rightly feel this was a terrible disaster is happening. We didn't like them. They were expensive for individuals and for clubs, but at the end of the day, we're fairly contained with it.

ROBERTSON: Bill Moonie, chairman of the local gun club, saw firsthand the horror Hamilton wrought, but worries that while homicides from licensed weapons like his are down, killings from illegal weapons are up. Despite that, he says, British gun law could have prevented Sandy Hook. His point -- licensed weapons in the U.K are now stored so securely, under lock and key and police oversight, that even other family members cannot get them.

MOONIE: It was his mother's weapon. How did he manage to get access to that? (inaudible) not have been possible.

ROBERTSON (on camera): In Britain it wouldn't have been possible.

MOONIE: No, it shouldn't be possible.

ROBERTSON (voice over): For 17 years, Dunblane has reflected on its loss, contemplated the lessons learned, the belief here it has not been in vain.

BIRNIE: We'd like to hope that even if it's not a child, you helped someone somewhere who might have been a victim of gun - gun crime who as a result of what we've done hasn't been a victim.

NORTH: I still miss my daughter as much as I did the day she died. I feel I have done something, which I, in my terms, think has been important and useful.

ROBERTSON: Nic Robertson, CNN, Dunblane, Scotland.


STOUT: And a moving story there, but a lesson learned. You're watching NEWS STREAM coming to you right here on CNN.

And up next on the program, they are still confident in it, they're renaming the company after it, but what do the critics think of the new BlackBerry? Will it mark the resurgence for what has been known as Research in Motion? We'll bring you our own review when we come back.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.


STOUT (voice-over): Now Israel is not commenting on reports that it ordered an airstrike in Syria. The Syrian government says Israel bombed a research facility near Damascus. A U.S. official said the target was a convoy suspected of ferrying weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Now French-led troops are fighting to take control of the last Malian town still held by Islamist rebels. The French army says its forces are in control of the airport in Kidow (ph), and that a battle is underway to take the rest of the northern town.

Meanwhile, Mali's president has announced plans to hold elections by July.

Storms in the southeastern United States brought heavy rain and several tornadoes on Wednesday. In fact, a TV news crew caught one on camera as it touched down in Adairsville, Georgia. This storm caused widespread damage and power outages. Two people have been killed.

David Beckham will play for PSG. Beckham has been training with English club Arsenal after leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy last year. And Beckham's new club are top of the French league and are through the knockout round of the Champions League.


STOUT: Now on Wednesday, BlackBerry or the company formerly known as Research in Motion unveiled its newest operating system, the BlackBerry 10 and its latest phones. The touchscreen Z10 and the Q10, which has a physical keyboard. Now RIM has struggled to keep up with its competitors. Many experts say that these new products represent the company's last chance for success.

Ali Velshi spoke with CEO Thorsten Heins about the company's big moment.

THORSTEN HEINS, CEO, BLACKBERRY: We're not excluding anyone from what the future of BlackBerry screens is going to be. So we want to win as many as we can.

ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Let's talk about the delay. What was the delay in getting the BlackBerry 10? When you look back at it, I mean, I know it was a number of things, but when you look back at it, was it worth it?

HEINS: We had to do this because it is a defining milestone in the history of (inaudible). We had to make sure that we had the quality that everybody expects from a BlackBerry. And there were some quality risks when I looked into the program that, you know, we detected.

And we needed to make sure that we delivered a quality that people expect from us, right call, and frankly we got out of the noise and the holiday season. Would I have loved to launch earlier? Sure. But I think now we have a lot of attention, as you can see. And it was the right call.

VELSHI: Now you've got the basis to build a future. You really have gotten to live another day. What does the future look like?

HEINS: So two horizons: what we will do on BlackBerry 10 is we will continue to build a portfolio of product just for those markets that you reference to, like Asia Pac, Africa. You know, we want BlackBerry 10 to also succeed in those markets. So build that portfolio in this year.

Second what we did is we built this platform, not just for smartphones in mind. We think about this on your hip as your personal mobile computing power. Think about what that does for you, right, and enterprises and health care and automotive. So we want to go with BB10 into those verticals. That doesn't mean it's the BB10 hardware, but it's the BB10 platform in the cards.

It's the BB10 platform in health care (inaudible), right? And that's what we're going to explore as the second horizon of RIM. And then we have the devices; we have the services; we have the mobile computing endpoint management (inaudible) 10. There you go.


STOUT: That's the word from the CEO. Let's take a closer look at some of the features of the new BlackBerry. Now the device is completely redesigned, looking more like the modern smartphone rather than this, the traditional BlackBerry.

Now the Z10, it has no navigation buttons. It doesn't even have a home button. And so the company has implemented a new swiping interface. It's called Flow, for more convenient typing and a switch between applications.

And for those users concerned about a work like divide, there is the BlackBerry Balance. Now that's a feature where users can toggle between a work and personal account all on a single device. Now for security purposes, information will be kept separate.

For example, users will not be able to copy and message from their corporate account to their personal one. Now the response to BlackBerry 10, it could make or break the company.

Let's get more now from CNNMoney's Adrian Covert in New York.

Adrian, good to see you. Thanks for joining us. And tell us, what is your verdict on the Z10?

ADRIAN COVERT, TECH REPORTER, CNNMONEY: You know, I think RIM's offering is really solid. And if they were caught clawing their way from rock bottom, this would be totally fine. But the truth is that they really needed to make something that was better than what everyone else had.

And this just isn't the case with the Z10.

STOUT: Corporates in general, their core audience, they're usually slow to adopt new gadgets. I'm just thinking, how are they going to adopt and adapt these new features? I mean, how will corporate users warm up to this new virtual keyboard? Will they like it? Will they get annoyed by it?

COVERT: I mean, I'm sure there's a very small group that will never get used to using a virtual keyboard. But this is just the way the technology's progressing and it's probably part of the reason why RIM also made the Q10 model with the physical keyboard.

You know, that will, you know, satisfy, you know, that small, dwindling base of people who are, you know, sort of attached to the physical keyboards.

But the future is the virtual keyboard. And that's what RIM is clearly pushing the Z10.

STOUT: Yes, the BlackBerry is playing catch-up and also its core user base playing catch-up as well. Let's talk about the apps. BlackBerry, it has the apps for Facebook, for Twitter, for foursquare. But there are other major apps that are missing. I mean, there's no Netflix. There's no Spotify and probably most significantly there's no Google Maps.

So what do you make of this? Will a more limited app menu hurt BlackBerry in the end?

COVERT: Absolutely. I mean, we saw this with Palm a couple of years ago when they put out their WebOS platform. It had no apps and it was dead within a couple of years. And you know, Microsoft is having the same struggles with its Windows Phone 8 platform. It is having trouble attracting the major apps. And it's really having trouble attracting market share.

So I think it's a challenge for RIM and they really need to get the big app developers in a, you know, relatively short timespan.

STOUT: OK. Now earlier you said that they need to overtake the iPhone, overtake Samsung. So let's play armchair CEO. What should they have done?

COVERT: I mean, they're in a really tough position. I think they're doing everything they can do. Honestly, this device probably should have come out earlier. It's probably a year late. If this had come out a year ago, it would have been ahead of the game. Right now, it's just on par with everything else.

And so that's one part of it. The other part is they really -- they just need to push apps. Apps really help. So.

STOUT: Yes, I read your review on It's a good one. You said it's a good phone; it's a decent device, but they just should have launched it a couple of years ago.

Now finally, I want to get your thoughts on this. We have to talk about Alicia Keys, because she was named the BlackBerry's new creative director. Let's bring up some video. Here she is at the big BlackBerry reveal, touting the company's new wares.


ALICIA KEYS, BLACKBERRY CREATIVE DIRECTOR: I'm fascinated by technology. I've always wanted to work with a -- work directly with a technology company. But I do have a pretty demanding job that takes a lot of my time. So it would have to make sense, you know.

And so I wanted to do something where I could grow professionally and personally and really have an impact on shaping a technology platform.


STOUT: And here she is on Twitter. And she's showing off her first tweets sent via a BlackBerry 10.

I mean, Adrian, what do you make of this strategy? I mean, taking a pop star, turning her into your company's global creative director? I mean, is that going to sell an executive a new smartphone?

COVERT: I mean, it mostly seems like a marketing and PR stunt to gain traction with the mainstream crowd, whether or not she'll actually have a role remains to be seen. But we saw this with Lady Gaga and Polaroid a couple of years ago, where she was named their creative director and that quickly fizzled out.

So who knows. You know, yes.

STOUT: Yes. It's a PR stunt. It becomes a trending topic on Twitter a little bit. We could chat about it, but really we all know it's just for the marketing.

Well, Adrian, thank you so much for joining us. I look forward to seeing you back again right here on NEWS STREAM. Take care.

COVERT: All right. Thank you.

STOUT: And you can read Adrian's article on the new BlackBerry online. Just go to You'll find it there.

Now Facebook's 4th quarter earnings and sales beat Wall Street estimates. But that didn't cut much ice with investors. The social network net income of $64 million represented a drop of almost 79 percent on the same quarter a year ago. And shares, they dropped as much as 10 percent. And after-hours trading before standing a partial recovery.

One of the most recently successes has been its focus on the mobile market. I mean, the number of monthly active users on its mobile side in apps has grown some 57 percent over the year. And that (inaudible) CEO Mark Zuckerberg to comment this, "Today there's no argument, Facebook is a mobile company."

Now it is transfer deadline day for most of Europe's top football clubs. And the big move of the day so far is in Paris. English football icon David Beckham goes to French club PSG. Alex Thomas will have much more on that next.




STOUT: Welcome back. Now here on NEWS STREAM, we have highlighted the use of drones. You frequently hear about them striking suspected militants in Pakistan or Yemen. But they are not simply killing machines. We have also shown you how independent filmmakers are using them for breathtaking photography.

Even Hollywood hopes to get in on it. Now most drones are simply used for surveillance. And that can mean patrolling borders. But some environmental groups also hope drones can help watch over endangered species.

Now the latest issue of "Time" magazine explores the rise of the drones. Senior writer Lev Grossman says drones are, along with smartphones and 3D printing, one of a handful of genuinely transformative technologies to emerge in the past 10 years.

Now I should mention that "Time" magazine and CNN share the same parent company. With that said, Lev Grossman joins us now live from our New York bureau. And thank you so much for joining us here.

Lev, you call the (inaudible) a transformative technology. So let's talk about its military impact first. Just how has it transformed warfare?

LEV GROSSMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, drones offer a totally different sort of paradigm for fighting, really. They're -- what they offer is a way to exert force remotely with zero risk, with a great deal of surveillance. Drones are both weapons and surveillance platforms.

At the same time, a great deal of specificity and they do it all on a very low budget. They cost a lot less than, you know, conventional fighter craft.

STOUT: So when they can exert great force at zero risk, what are the moral implications here? And is there a moral code to drone warfare?

GROSSMAN: Well, that's sort of exactly the problem. They promise a lot. But as it turns out, the intelligence they offer isn't, you know, everything we could hope for. There has been a lot of collateral damage, a lot of civilian deaths caused by the U.S. drone campaign.

And there's also this question of, well, when you're sending drones into another country, you're sending a flying robot into a country that maybe we're not even at war with. What is the moral code? We're not in a conventional armed conflict here. So what are we doing? Nobody really knows.

STOUT: We know that drones have certainly transformed war. It's a question you ask in your piece. Can they transform peace? I mean, other than being used as toys, can drones change our civilian lives?

GROSSMAN: Well, I think they will. They're a very disruptive controversial technology and I think what we need to do is think hard before we kind of introduce them into our own kind of domestic airspace. They're extraordinarily powerful surveillance tools, just for a starter. You have something like the Argus sensor package, which can pick out an object six inches long from 20,000 feet up.

What does it have? How does that change things when, A, police departments have them? But also how does it change things? Drones are low-end technology. They're fairly cheap. How does it change things when private citizens are flying drones and, you know, surveilling their friends and neighbors? We haven't really set up a kind of legal framework for dealing with that.

STOUT: Yes, and it also has the change from private companies use drones as well. In your article against the cover story in "Time," you talk about a Silicon Valley startup called Matternet that wants to establish a network of drones that could deliver small urgent packages like medicine. That sounds incredible.

But flying a drone for purposes other than recreation, that requires a certificate from the FAA, right? So is that likely to change anytime soon? Could the rules relax?

GROSSMAN: The rules will relax. There was an act signed last year which is sort of forcing the FAA to kind of figure out how to integrate drones into our domestic airspace. So that will change. And we have to be sort of mindful and aware of it changing as it does.

STOUT: And this is a moment when the anxiety sets in, because you know, we identify that the drones, they are getting less expensive and that the rules are relaxing. So will there be armies of camera-equipped drones in the sky? I mean what are your thoughts? And what's going to happen next and the impact on us, I mean, on our privacy?

GROSSMAN: Well, what you're describing, you know, it could happen. I think the first thing we'll start to see is, you know, at every kind of high school soccer game you'll have a dad on the sidelines, you know, getting the overhead, the ESPN shot, with a drone.

But what happens when you take that drone and you fly it up the side of an apartment building and you look in somebody's window that's 10 stories up? How are you going to stop that? It's going to happen. It may already have happened. Suddenly, you have this kind of strange panopticon (ph) situation that I don't think we're completely ready for.

STOUT: You know, and technology is moving so fast. For example, Google's self-driving cars. That's the technology available now. Could that be applied to drones? And can drones become very soon one day intelligent and make their own decisions?

GROSSMAN: Well, that's where academic research is going and of course, the Google cars, they don't look like (inaudible) drones, but it's a good way to think about it.

Once you transfer autonomy to drones, once they can act on their own, you certainly start to get into a very strange world indeed, where you have robots on wheels or flying kind of roaming our space that we're used to reserving for humans. And doing what they're programmed to do, which we hope are good things. But we don't always know.

STOUT: And before we get completely dystopian and think (inaudible) here, let's be realistic. I mean, I've used the A.R. (ph) drone, only the first generation of it. And it crashed a lot. So will it take some time for the technology to mature?



GROSSMAN: Mine crashed a lot, too. And it will take time for the technology to mature. Drones are evolving very rapidly. You know, this is a kind of a shift that's happening very fast. It's not happening tomorrow. But already you see, you know, coming in of DARPA and you know, a lot of the defense contractors, really crazy-looking drones, very tiny ones.

This one is small as a hummingbird, this huge, enormous, autonomous blimps. There's ones that are designed to cruise the stratosphere. This stuff is evolving very, very fast. And I think, you know, we just have to sort of stay ahead of it and think twice before adopting every single thing that comes our way.

STOUT: Yes, of course, and be aware of the potential ethical and legal issues along the way. Lev Grossman, thank you so much for joining us.

GROSSMAN: Thank you.

STOUT: Lev Grossman joining us live from New York, "Time" magazine there.

Now, let's go to sports now. And there has been a sensational deal on European football's transfer deadline day. It involves one of the biggest names in the sport. Alex Thomas is in London.

Tell me all about it, Alex.


At 37 years of age, David Beckham has accepted one final challenge as a player at the highest level by agreeing to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The former England captain finished the 51/2 year spell with the L.A. Galaxy last month, has been keeping fit by practicing with English Premier League team Arsenal. The details of Beckham's deal with PSG, the French league leaders, should be confirmed at a news conference later. CNN will be there. And we'll bring you the details on "WORLD SPORT."

Becks will now be reunited with PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti, who used Becks as a loan player while in charge at AC Milan. Before that, the midfielder was at Real Madrid, having moved to Spain from that club where he made his name, Manchester United.

Beckham's made more appearances for England than any player in history.

Well, before Beckham, the transfer window's biggest deal was Mario Balotelli's return to Italy. His signing for AC Milan officially was only completed earlier on Thursday. The controversial young forward's homecoming has created so much excitement that there were screaming fans outside his medical. Police needed to disperse supporters who gathered at a restaurant where he was eating.

And here's the countdown clock. Until the end of deadline day, you can see we've still got just over nine hours to go. We're covering all the latest here on CNN. Go to our website, Transfer deadline day live is our running blog with all the latest deals. See the moves as they happen.

Get involved as well; tell us what you think about the players being bought and sold across Europe. And ahead of the launch of our new football show next week, tweet us using @CNNFC.

Now it might be that either Barcelona or Real Madrid will make a major move in the transfer market before the window closes. The two Spanish giants canceled each other out in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal on Tuesday night, billed as another showdown between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. This game Wednesday night, of course, not Tuesday.

Neither of the megastars scored. It finished 1-0 at the Burnaby (ph), Cesc Fabregas putting them ahead -- putting Barca ahead. There was an equalizer from Rafael Baran (ph).

The Lakers have made a losing start to their seven-game road trip, stalling the momentum built over three successive wins, a defeat also sport (ph) Steve Nash's first game back at Phoenix since leaving the Suns. But he held a 13-point lead at one stage.

The Lakers were only up by 5 here in the 4th, when Dwight Howard suffers a painful-looking blow to his shoulder, a repeat of the injury he suffered earlier in the season. He left the game; the Suns staged a comeback.

Goran Dragic finding Jared Dudley for that 3 as they the scores at 82 apiece. The driving force behind the Phoenix resurgence was Michael Beasley, who scored a season's best 27 points. You can see his determination here.

Kobe Bryant's run a double-digit assist came to an end. Their shooting was only 7 for 17. This late miss, collected by Beasley of the Suns outshone the Lakers 92-86, the final score.

Much more on "WORLD SPORT" as I say, in just over three hours' time. For now, though, back to you in Hong Kong.

STOUT: Alex, thank you.

Now fans of American football are looking forward to the Super Bowl. But the Super Bowl also attracts viewers for a completely different reason. It is also the place for companies to try to outdo each other with clever ads. And Karen Cafon (ph) gives us a sneak preview.


KAREN CAFON (PH), CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some are already generating buzz and a little controversy. Like this Super Bowl teaser from Mercedes-Benz.

And this one from Volkswagen.

Ahead of game day, online teasers, trailers and early releases --

-- aimed at making the most of big investments.

According to Cantor Media, annual spending on Super Bowl ads doubled over the last decade, from $130 million for the 2003 game to almost $263 million last year. The cost of this year's 30-second spot climbed again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This year on average, advertisers are paying about $3.8 million for 30 seconds of air time. A few advertisers who purchased later in the sales cycle will paying as much as $4 million.

CAFON (PH) (voice-over): Even perennial advertisers like to mix things up. Coca-Cola has traded last year's polar bears for this desert chase with an online contest to decide the ending.

First-time Super Bowl advertiser AXE will also get interactive, promoting a Web contest to send 22 people to space.

As to whether any Super Bowl ad investment is a success, there's no single barometer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each company has its own way of telling they want, you know, explosion in brand recognition, do they want car sales? They want soda sales? There's a lot of different techniques and methods these guys use to figure things out.

CAFON (PH) (voice-over): Others will measure YouTube views and social media mentions, arguing that the audience online far eclipses the 100-plus million Americans watching on TV. I'm Karen Cafon (ph) reporting.


STOUT: Now in just a moment, two big babies get into trouble with border control. Now don't panic. But we are going to tell you what was filling these oversized diapers when NEWS STREAM continues.




STOUT: Welcome back. Now duct tape is one of those household items with a million uses and now some cocaine smugglers have come up with a million and one. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're nothing to sniff at. Duct tape diapers used to smuggle cocaine. Two women were caught coming into JFK Airport wearing them. The two women flew in from the Dominican Republic.

A K-9 alerted and responded to one suspect's mid-section. The other suspect walked with an awkward gait. Strip searches revealed each was carrying over three kilos of cocaine in their duct tape diapers.

A pro like Scarface would turn up his nose at such a ridiculous smuggling technique.

We haven't seen anyone hide drugs in diapers since "Three Men and a Baby" conspired to successfully elude a narcotics detective.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feels as though she's ready for a change.

MOOS (voice-over): According to the complaint, one of the duct tape diapered suspects said she was offered $9,000 to $10,000 to smuggle the coke into the U.S. "Crack" cocaine tweeted one jokester.

MOOS: And while we're on the subject of cocaine and diapers, guess what they found on nine out of 10 baby changing stations in public restrooms in the U.K.?

MOOS (voice-over): For a documentary, journalists at Real Radio used wipes to swab public bathrooms, and 92 out of the 100-plus baby changing units examined tested positive for cocaine. Though it sure seems like a weird place to snort a line.

MOOS: Duct tape diapers got us thinking about how handy duct tape is for so many things, from prom outfits to aprons and rain hats. It was even used to tape down an out-of-control passenger on a plane.


MOOS (voice-over): NASA space shuttles never left Earth without it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I tell you, I think we'd be lost without duct tape up here.

MOOS (voice-over): A duct tape bandit even used it when he robbed a liquor store. He covered his face, they covered their butts. It's enough to give diapers a dirty name -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


STOUT: And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.