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James Gandolfini Dies At 51; Chinese Astronaut Teaches Schoolchildren From Space; Rio, Sao Paulo Back Away From Fare Hikes; Microsoft Backs Away From Restrictive Game Policies
Aired June 20, 2013 - 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: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And you're watching News Stream where news and technology meet.
Now, Brazil's two biggest cities overturned fare hikes that sparked massive protests, but people continued to express their anger.
James Gandolfini, the actor who played Tony Soprano dies at the age of 51.
And lessons from orbit: a Chinese astronaut lectures students from space.
Under pressure from massive street demonstrations, Brazil's two biggest cities are throwing out the transit fare hikes that initially sparked the unrest. It's not clear if that will be enough to appease demonstrators who took to the streets in some cities again on Wednesday.
In one city, Rio de Janeiro, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at scores of protesters as they tried to overturn a bus.
And about 10,000 demonstrators clashed with riot police in Fortaleza where Brazil was playing Mexico in the Confederation's Cup.
Now the fare hikes were just a catalyst for protests on much bigger issues as Shasta Darlington now reports.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For nearly two weeks, tens of thousands of Brazilians marching through the streets night after night. A movement that started as a protest against a nine cent hike is bus fares scores a major victory. Both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro agreed to roll back the prices on both bus and metro tickets.
But is it too little too late?
FLAVIO SAMPAIO, PROTESTER: We are fighting against corruption. We are fighting against the political system that is now.
DARLINGTON: Flavio Sampaio says he joined the marches after he saw police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. Now he's marching for a better country for his kids. Recent demonstrations were marked by violence on both sides. Tuesday night, a group of protesters tried to storm the office of Sao Paulo's mayor, kicking through the glass doors.
Wednesday, the city cleaned away signs of looting and vandalism.
(on camera): It's this kind of destruction that could really alienate people. Protesters broke in the windows last night. The burnt this guard station down. You can see not much left but charcoal and broken glass.
(voice-over): Some residents were angered, but this shopkeeper said he didn't believe it was the protesters who broke into his jewelry store.
"It was a gang," he says, that took advantage of the movement to steal and damage things.
The movement has galvanized people across the country who say they're fed up with high taxes and a lack of services like health and education while the government spends billions on the World Cup.
The majority of marchers are young and well educated. Matheus Pires is a university student and one of the organizers. He said public transportation should be free, especially in expensive sprawling cities like Sao Paulo.
MATHEUS PIRES, PASSE LIVRE MOVEMENT: You can't go to the hospital, you can't see your friends, you can't go school, you can't get to work.
DARLINGTON: He said lowering fares would prove the government was listening.
But it's too soon to know if it will bring an end to protests or fuel further and more far reaching demands.
LU STOUT: And Shasta joins us now on the line from Sao Paulo.
And Shasta, the protesters there are not backing down. What is the situation right now?
DARLINGTON: Well, you know, Kristie, we are expecting more of a victory lap tonight. We expect huge protests. We do expect a lot of people to jump in, the biggest ones, no doubt, will again be here on Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. But we definitely expect more of a festive air.
When we talked to organizers, they had originally said if the government's backed down the protests will end. But I think there's so much excitement out there that they actually achieved this goal that a lot of people are going to be out on the streets, a lot of people are going to be out celebrating.
The question is what will happen after that. And the tendency is to think that this could fizzle out. Maybe not until after this big football tournament that Brazil is hosting right now, it's the Confederation's Cup, the warmup event one year ahead of the World Cup, but we do expect this to fizzle out over coming weeks, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right. Shasta Darlington joining us live from Sao Paulo, thank you.
Now just over a year ago, a fire ravaged a shopping mall in Doha, Qatar. 19 people were killed including 13 toddlers inside a daycare center in the mall. And now five people have been found guilty of death by negligence.
Now a spokesman for the victims' families says Qatar's ambassador to Belgium and his wife have each been sentenced to six years in prison. Now the couple owned the unlicensed center where the children died. And the victims' families have issued a statement saying that they are pleased with the verdict, but that some of their questions remain unanswered.
Jomana Karadsheh looks back on the case of the father with triplets killed in the tragedy.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lilly Jackson (ph) and Wilshire Weekes celebrate their second birthday. But within months of this celebration, the triplets from New Zealand were dead along with 10 other children who perished inside a daycare center in Doha's Ballagio Mall (ph).
Parents Martin and Jane Weekes are left with their memories and questions.
MARTIN WEEKES, FATHER OF TRIPLETS KILLED IN BLAZE: The phrase we tend to use is that we're deafened by silence, silence in own house, because I mean, we had a really busy house with three two year olds. And similarly we've been deafened by silence from the authorities in Qatar who just failed to communicate or show any interest.
KARADSHEH: Qatari authorities have not responded to CNN's calls and emails, but in the aftermath of the tragedy officials offered their condolences to the families and launched an investigation that concluded that the fire was caused by a short-circuiting light bulb and quickly spread because of flammable paint.
Witnesses describe a chaotic rescue operation that lasted for hours. In their daycare center, the children and their helpers were trapped. Four nursery staff and two firefighters died along with the 13 children.
WEEKES: The second out of the daycare, which the children could have used to escape, was locked shut from the outside so they couldn't get out. The emergency services had no map of the mall, seemed to be completely oblivious of anything that was in there.
KARADSHEH: The investigation cited safety issues and blamed the incident on, quote, "lack of adherence to laws, systems and measures by all concerned parties to differing degrees."
But the investigating committee has so far only released highlights of its findings. The Weekes and other families want the entire report made public.
Given the findings of the investigation, many questioned whether Qatar is ready to host a growing number of tourists and the 2022 football World Cup.
SHABINA KHATRI, EDITOR DOHA NEWS: I think awareness is higher on all ends from the people who hear fire alarms to the people who respond to fire alarms, but the problem is that there just aren't enough people, there are not enough civil defense, firefighters and officials to look into all the different buildings that are not safety compliant.
KARADSHEH: This is one of the last videos the Weekes family have of their children, something to hold on to as they wait for answers.
The couple also wait the arrival of twins this coming August.
WEEKES: We almost haven't allowed ourselves to really celebrate and enjoy it, which in itself is a shame. Our new children can never replace Lilly (ph), Jackson, and Wilshire (ph).
KARADSHEH: Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
LU STOUT: Such a tragic story.
Now for days now, haze has been hanging over Singapore. Now the nation's environment minister calls it the worst haze that Singapore has ever faced. And he says that Singaporean officials are holding an emergency meeting with Indonesia and called on Jakarta to tackle the problem at the source.
Now the haze is blamed on fires in Sumatra. And a senior Indonesia official says that they are nature's fault and criticized Singapore for complaining about the haze.
Now Singapore's prime minister has warned that that haze could last for weeks.
Let's get the very latest now on the conditions ahead with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, you know if we're going to blame nature, I guess in a way you could say, yeah, it is the dry season. And when there's smoke, that smoke is going to travel with those prevailing winds from Indonesia. And you can see right over here over toward Singapore.
It's really quite scary when you think about this, look at all of these things here. Of course the fires are exaggerated on the scale of this map here so that we can see them, but clearly you can see how widespread this is.
As we head over into Singapore a little bit closer, you'll notice all of that haze that continues to just move along this line here. All of this that you see right over here, all of that is smoke and haze from those fires.
What we have happen this time of year, not only is it the dry season, we're talking about a time of the year where we end up with conditions that are dry -- they're not in a drought, it's just dry. And all of this smoke -- look at this, all of this right over here just kind of trailing over that same general area and that is what people are breathing.
They've had to close down schools not just in Singapore and also in neighbor -- to the north in Malasia, because of the way the smoke is traveling.
Now most of these fires that we're looking at authorities say are intentionally set. They are slash and burn practices that contribute to this. Those fires sometimes burn out of control. And because it's not raining and we're not expecting any kind of rain any time soon, I think this is going to be a condition that will prevail for awhile, at least a week or so until either the smoke, the fires are out, or the wind changes. And this time of year, that prevailing wind is from west to east. And because it's from west to east, it's not even very strong wind. It's only about maybe nine to 10, 15 kilometers per hour at the most.
Because those prevailing winds are maintaining that westerly flow, which is what they're supposed to do this time of year, that's why we have it just in the right location, just to the west of Singapore, that's where most of the fires are actually burning and that's what we end up in this area.
So it is fairly tragic for this region.
And when you look at the satellite image, you know, again you see so much moisture to the north along parts of Vietnam back over into the Philippines. And then down to the south, south of Indonesia, south of Jakarta here, as we head down toward Australia. But in this middle section from Borneo back over towards Sumatra. And of course crossing that peninsular portions of Malaysia and Singapore, bone dry. And we're not really expecting any kind of rain. This is what mother nature intended, in a way.
This is the dry season all the way up into August. We remain with generally dry conditions. And unfortunately that haze, I'm afraid, is not going away any time soon, especially as long as those fires keep burning in that same area, which happens to be in Sumatra just to the west of Singapore.
Back to you.
LU STOUT: All right, Mari Ramos there, thank you.
Now you're watching News Stream. And still ahead Syrian state TV shows pictures of crews rebuilding the town of Qusayr. But our Frederik Pleitgen went there and he saw a very different scene.
Plus, as 3D printing takes off, two of the biggest names are coming together.
And fans and costars moan the death of James Gandolfini. We'll take you live to Rome where the Sopranos actor passed away.
LU STOUT: Now, Russia says that the west does not want to commit to a firm date for a peace conference on Syria. Now foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says western nations aren't sure they can convince Syrian opposition leaders to attend. He says Russia pushed for a specific timeframe at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland this week, but was rebuffed by other world leaders who he said would only agree to a statement calling for a conference as soon as possible.
Now in Syria, the government says its troops are making gains against the rebels. Now two weeks ago, Syrian forces took back control of the strategic city of Qusary near the border with Lebanon. And our Fred Pleitgen went there this week and he found a ghost town.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Driving into Qusayr, it's clear just how fierce the battles here must have been. The local church badly damaged, just like the historic mosque and Qusayr's main landmark, the iconic clock tower.
Almost all residents fled during the fighting. Only a few are now coming back.
George, who would only give us his first name, fled when Qusayr was in opposition hands.
"Of course we want to keep living here," he says. "We are trying to get help from the government so that we can make this town worth living in again."
Qusayr was held by the opposition for more than a year. It's close to the Lebanese border and became a strategic hub for the flow of weapons to rebel forces in central Syria.
Regime forces, backed by Hezbollah fighters, launched an offensive on the town and retook it earlier this month, but the cost was immense.
(on camera): It's really hard to see how anyone could claim victory here in Qusayr. Look at these houses, look how badly damaged they've been due to the fighting. There's sort of a rough cleanup operation going on in town, but it seems to us as though many of the structures here in Qusayr have been damaged beyond repair.
(voice-over): In a rare TV interview, a Syrian military commander shows me how pro-Assad forces captured the town.
"First, we surrounded the city and then we attacked it from all sides," he says. "And of course we killed a lot of them. And there were a lot of wounded. The rest of them ran away through the valleys and the mountains, mostly to Lebanon. And now we can announce that Qusayr and its suburbs are totally cleansed of Islamist fighters."
Totally cleansed and totally destroyed. Qusayr also highlights the increasingly sectarian nature of the Syria conflict.
George, like many of those now returning, is Christian. He took me to his brother's destroyed house, couldn't hide his anger at Qusayr's Sunni Muslims, many of whom supported the opposition.
"My brother used to live here with his kids," he says. "He's an engineer. His son came to the door and they shot him because they think all Christians are against them."
George says he's willing to forgive, but after so much bloodshed, it seems hard to imagine that Qusayr will ever return to what it used to be: a quiet town on the Lebanese border where religious affiliation did not matter.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Qusayr, Syria.
LU STOUT: And right now across Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt there are 1.6 million people from Syria in need of refugee assistance. That is the latest figure from Save the Children who say children are among the most affected.
Now some of them have fled into Lebanon, like these Syrian children waking up in their temporary home, a tent in the Bekkah Valley.
In north Lebanon, this Syrian family live in a classroom. Now the school has been occupied by Syrian refugees.
8-year-old Aziz (ph) and his sister Isha (ph) also fled the country and now live inside a one bedroom house in Amman, Jordan. Both Aziz (ph) and Isha (ph) have cerebral palsy.
And this is 9-year-old Rania (ph) who sits on a swing inside her extended family's home in east Amman. All the men in her family, including her father, are still in Syria.
Now some Syrian women have escaped the dangers in their own country only to be confronted by shocking new threats as a refugee. Hear their stories in an Arwa Damon special investigation. It's Syria Uncovered, it's happening tomorrow night, 11:30 pm here in Hong Kong right here on CNN.
Now still to come on News Stream, profiting from 3D printing. Stay tuned for news of a deal that will effectively merge two of the biggest names in the market.
LU STOUT: A duck in Victoria Harbor. Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream. And right here is a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. We started with the protests in Brazil, which continued despite the rollback of fare hikes that originally sparked the protests.
And later, we'll look at another U-turn, Microsoft backs down from its controversial policies on Xbox One games.
But now we'll stay with technology. Now two of the biggest names in 3D printing are set to be one.
Now Stratasys says it is buying MarkerBot in a deal worth $403 million. Now Stratasys specializes in professional grade 3D printers whereas MakerBot makes less expensive desktop products for more casual users.
Now I say less expensive, but this model, it will still set you back just over $2,000.
Now after the merger, MakerBot will be run as a separate subsidiary and the CEO Bre Pettis, he will say on board.
Now before the deal, he told CNN's The Next List that 3D printing is transforming manufacturing as we know it.
BRE PETTIS, MAKERBOT CEO: This is part of the next investor revelation. Ordinary people have a factory on their desktop. You have an idea, you have a machine where there was nothing in the machine, your idea becomes real. It's just magic.
HOD LIPSON, AUTHOR: Just like you have an ink jet printer that spits out droplets of ink on a piece of paper and makes a picture, a 3D printer spits out droplets of plastic and makes a three dimensional object.
PETTIS: You start with a digital design and then you send it to the machine and it builds it up layer by layer. It stars with a roll of plastic filament. You put the material right here on the back and then it comes up through this tube here and goes into the extruder. It gets heated up and pushed through a teeny tiny hole and it draws a picture. And it moves up a little bit and draws another picture on top of that picture. And layer by layer, it creates your model.
I'm Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot. And I make things that make things.
At MakerBot we're leading the next industrial revolution. And we don't mean that lightly or playfully. It's -- game is on.
The first industrial revolution was all about factories, but it was about going to the factory, it was about automating things, mass manufacturing. Now you've got the factory on your desktop, so it means you can customize everything. You can make things just the way you want.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY: Think about this, what if you lost a button on your jacket? Instead of having to go to the store and figure it out, you could literally go online, download a blueprint and print it out in a couple of minutes.
When you think about that, it's a gamechanger.
PETTIS: NASA uses MakerBots to prototype their rovers for Mars. They were working on a heat shield of the Curiosity Mars Rover and they had to prototype a part. It cost $5,000. When they had to prototype it again, they just bought a MakerBot.
Architects who, you know, used to make things out of paper and glue and Popsicle sticks, and now they just get to just print out their designs.
KACIE HOLTGREN, SET DESIGNER, NEW YORK CITY: This is a model of the Bing Knife (ph) set, which is playing at the Roundabout Theater in New York City.
Traditional model building includes using a lot of matte board, basswood, X-Acto knives. And now that I have a 3D printer, I'm able to use the 3D printer to do a lot of the design details that are hard to achieve in those materials. With a 3D printer on hand, I can just print as many copies as I need.
JOSEPH FLAHERTY, WRITER, WIRED MAGAZINE: 3D printing is having a huge impact on the world. Invention is no longer a calling or a profession, it's a hobby. It's something that anybody with a suitable amount of interest and time and dedication can take up and actually compete in the marketplace in a really meaningful way.
PETTIS: When you have a MakerBot, it changes the way you think about things. You get what we call MakerBot goggles. You start looking at the world and you're like, oh, I don't need to buy that, I can MakerBot that.
LU STOUT: Now MakerBot has sold more than 22,000 3D printers since it was founded in 2009. And while you might think that's a small number, this is a company that has been on the rise. Half of those printers, 11,000, have been sold in the past nine months.
Now, he made America and much of the world love a mobster. Coming up on News Stream, we'll take a look at the legacy of actor James Gandolfini, aka Tony Soprano, who has passed away at the age of 51.
Stay with us.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, you're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now Brazil's two biggest cities have canceled bus fare hikes that ignited large demonstrations two weeks ago. And still, more protesters are set to take to the streets today. And especially trained police and firefighters have been deployed in some cities to help protect the Confederation's Cup football tournament.
Now five people have been found guilty of death by negligence in connection with this Qatari mall fire last year. 13 children and six adults were killed in a blaze at the upscale shopping mall in Doha. Among those convicted is Qatar's ambassador to Belgium and his wife who owned the daycare center inside the mall where the children died.
Now floods in northern India have killed as many as 150 people and left tens of thousands stranded. Triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains, the floods have swept away buildings, roads, and vehicles. About 60,000 people are stranded. Some areas still underwater. And bad weather is making rescue efforts more difficult.
Tributes are pouring in for American actor James Gandolfini. He died on Wednesday while on vacation in Italy. He was best known for his role as a mob boss on the TV series The Sopranos. Gandolfini's managers say that he may have suffered a heart attack. He was 51 years old.
Now Gandolfini's body is at a hospital morgue in Rome. Now let's bring in senior international correspondent Dan Rivers from our bureau there. And Dan, what is the latest you're hearing and you're learning about his death?
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there doesn't seem to be anything suspicious about his death, Kristie. We're being told that he arrived at the Policlinico Umberto Hospital here in central Rome at 10:40 pm local time last night. The paramedics have been called to a hotel in the city after he reportedly collapsed. They attempted to resuscitate him both in the hotel and during that rush to the hospital in the ambulance, but they were unsuccessful and he arrived at the hospital dead, we're told.
He then was taken to a morgue and arrived at the morgue at five til 1:00 in the morning.
Because he arrived at the hospital dead, they are now obliged to hold a postmortem. And we're expecting that postmortem to be done tomorrow. We may get the results tomorrow.
We've heard from Professor Claudio Madini from the hospital. He told us what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAUDIO MODINI, HOSPITAL POLICLINICO UMBERTO PRIMO: I don't know. But probably natural cause of death, probably.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS: So, no suspicious circumstances at the moment. But as I say, we should get those postmortem results.
In the meantime, tributes have been paid at the film festival that he was supposed to attend in Sicily, the Taomina Film Festival.
They have said we are deeply sorry. We had spoken with James Gandolfini a few hours before and he was very happy to receive this award, an award he was getting there. They went on to say he was an American actor who better than anyone was able to interpret the Italian-American society with all of its rich contrasts, ambitions, pain and humor.
The American embassy here as well has also put out a statement talking about the sad loss of Mr. Gandolfini and said they've not received any official confirmation of his death from the local authorities, but they will offer any proper assistance to the family when they request it.
There is speculation his family may have been with him here in Italy. We haven't got that confirmed that there's word from the hotel in Sicily that that had booked several rooms on the understanding he was traveling with his family. And some Italian media are reporting that his 13 year old son was also with him here in Italy.
LU STOUT: All right, Dan Rivers joining us live from Rome with the very latest. Thank you very much indeed for that update, Dan.
Now Gandolfini was best known for his portrayal of Tony Soprano. And Miguel Marquez looks back at that signature role and some other of the memorable characters Gandolfini seemed to tackle with ease.
JAMES GANDOLFINI, ACTOR: I'm in the waste management business. Everybody immediately assumes you're mobbed up. It's a stereotype and it's offensive and you're the last person I would want to perpetuate it.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tony Soprano, a mob dad with a mob spot, the size of New Jersey for his daughter.
GANDOLFINI: There is no mafia. All right, look, you're a grown woman, almost. Some of my money comes from illegal gambling and whatnot.
MARQUEZ: It would be a nasty piece of work for fame, violent, even racist.
GANDOLFINI: I've had business associates who were black and they don't want their son with their daughters and I don't want theirs with mine.
MARQUEZ: In the hand of James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano, the thug, became human, familiar, vulnerable, maybe in spite of ourselves likeable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know not all impotence is the result of medication.
GANDOLFINI: You're saying there's something wrong with me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When is the last time you had a prostate exam?
GANDOLFINI: I don't even let anybody wave their finger in my face.
MARQUEZ: In 2000, when he won his first Emmy for the role --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Emmy goes to James Gandolfini.
MARQUEZ: His reaction says it all, the son of a bricklayer makes good, his acceptance speech humbled, almost shy, classic Gandolfini.
GANDOLFINI: I can't explain this except the academy has an affinity for slightly overweight bald men.
MARQUEZ: Nominated six times for his portrayal of Tony Soprano he won three. Here's how the former bouncer and nightclub manager described the character on his first win.
GANDOLFINI: He tries to do the right thing and screws everything up. It's kind of like a Ralph Cramden "Honeymooners" thing, just more dangerous.
MARQUEZ: The New Jersey native had range, spot on as then CIA Director Leon Panetta in "Zero Dark Thirty" and all too believable as New York City mayor in "The Taking of PLM 1, 2, 3."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone just hijacked a train.
GANDOLFINI: Another idiot with a gun.
MARQUEZ: He could even play wickedly funny, nominated for his role as a Brooklyn parent in "God of Carnage."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your virtue went straight out the window when you decided to be a killer.
MARQUEZ: Or the general in the British comedy "In the Loop."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How's the Pentagon?
GANDOLFINI: It's picked up a little, they're talking invasion reasonably seriously.
MARQUEZ: His interest in the military went beyond fiction producing two HBO documentaries about the effects of war on the men and women who fight them. He visited troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here he is from a USO Tour in 2010.
GANDOLFINI: I like coming out here to the bases. I think it's a good change of pace for the guys and ladies, and I know that it makes me appreciate the whole thing more.
MARQUEZ: Twice married with two kids, Gandolfini mostly stayed away from the limelight. He spoke to James Lipton in 2004.
JAMES LIPTON: Finally, if heaven exists what would you like to say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
GANDOLFINI: Take over for a while, I'll be right back. No, no, no.
LIPTON: That's it, you dare not change it.
GANDOLFINI: No. It's too good. It's too good, think of the possibilities.
MARQUEZ: Gandolfini who spent part of his young years in Naples, Italy, was set to receive an award in Sicily when he died. Saying goodbye won't be easy.
LU STOUT: And we should mention that HBO, the network that aired the Sopranos, is, like CNN, owned by Time Warner.
Now fans and co-stars have been shocked by Gandolfini's death. Let's get more now from Miguel Marquez. He joins us now live from CNN Los Angeles.
And Miguel, it's just such a sudden, such a terrible loss, what has been the reaction there to his death?
MARQUEZ: Well, I mean, the reaction is from around the world to his death from Rome to New York and here in Los Angeles. I think people are just -- it's the shock and the sadness of it, the unexpectedness of it that I think people are sort of grappling with. Many of his very close confidantes and friends aren't even able to talk about it at the moment, you know.
I mean, one of the saddest things for me reading about his life and figuring out this guy in a very quick order is -- you know, he leaves behind a daughter who is less than a year old, Lilliana, and she will never know this guy that we all feel that we know from these great roles that he played. And he played them with such, you know, humanness -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: That's right, Lilliana, only 9 months old.
You know, just then in your report the topic came up about just how media shy and press shy James Gandolfini was. Was he shy as a person? What more are you learning about -- about his character?
MARQUEZ: Just an incredibly humble guy. I mean, I've -- I loved him like so many other people love him in movies, but this is a guy whose father was a brick layer, then a mason. He became the head janitor, or custodian at a high school. His mother was the head of the lunch room at a high school. He was very, very proud of his Italian roots from Westwood, New Jersey. And, you know, this is a guy who felt that he was just one of the regular people, wanted to play those roles on the screen and certainly did and just so much more -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, born in New Jersey in 1961. When did he decide to become an actor? And can you tell us about his early years before he made it big with the Sopranos?
MARQUEZ: Yeah, well he came to it late. You know, he was one of the funniest -- he was a bouncer and a manager at a club -- what was it called, Private Lives, I believe, in New York. And he described it as, you know, two days was gay, two days was straight, the other days were sort of -- a little bit of everything. And he studied people, he watched people, he really got into it there.
He had a couple of small film roles and then he went -- his first big thing was a Broadway play. And he loved Broadway. He loved being on stage probably more than being an actor on television. A Streetcar Named Desire, of course. It was a perfect sort of role for him.
You know, one thing that I've also picked up from folks that knew him, he hated being called Tony Soprano in public. He didn't want to be associated with that. He didn't want the celebrity, he didn't want to be sort of smeared with that brush. But loved the role, but didn't want to be known just for that, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah, he didn't want to be called Tony Soprano in public, but it was that role that made the world just take notice to his talent.
What is Hollywood saying about that cultural impact of him, especially in that series?
MARQUEZ: Well, look, he redefined the mobster. He was the modern mobster who went to therapy, who, you know, had a daughter and a kid who had regular problems, who the mob was diminished from the days of the Godfather. He really updated the role, he created a genre essentially. And made us all sort of fall in love with him -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Miguel Marquez on the story for us, thank you so much for that Miguel.
The Sopranos aired from 1999 until 2007, but Tony Soprano was a character who defined more than a decade. Entertainment analysts say that he changed TV entirely. Gandolfini portrayed a deeply flawed hero, the kind of character now seen in shows like Mad Men, Homeland and Breaking Bad.
But at the time, audiences had never seen anything like him.
Now the show left a legacy, as well, and here is what one critic had to say at the time of its finale.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG TOMASHOFF, TV GUIDE: The Sopranos didn't shy away from language or subject matter, any of that, and it just made it a little freer for all of TV to be a little bolder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: The Sopranos showed HBO and other cable networks that they could develop successful original series that compete with the movies. Now Sex and the City came after the Sopranos, so did Deadwood, and The Wire. And today, Game of Thrones is a global sensation.
Now to sports and legal trouble for one of the world's best footballers. Now the Spanish football star Lionel Messi and his father have been ordered to appear in court to face possible charges of tax fraud. They are suspected of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of more than $5 million between 2006 and 2009. Messi and his father deny the charges.
The court date is scheduled for September 17 when a judge will decide whether the case will go ahead.
You're watching News Stream and coming up next, gamers backlash prompts Microsoft to do away with some of the restrictions it had for its new Xbox One. We'll tell you all about it.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream.
And let's return to our visual rundown now. In a few minutes, we'll tell you about a very special lesson for Chinese school kids from space. But now we want to turn to the Xbox One, and a huge about face from Microsoft.
Now when Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One, it also unveiled a set of restrictions on what you can do with the games. And that touched off a furious reaction from gamers.
Let's just remind you of two of those major restrictions. Now publishers, they had the ability to block the sale of used game disks or charge extra for them. But you had to be online at least once every 24 hours, or you might not be able to play any Xbox One games.
But now, those restrictions are gone.
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced the policy change. You won't need an internet connection to play offline Xbox One games. And you can buy and sell used game disks.
Now basically Microsoft says the Xbox One will work similarly to the current console the Xbox 360.
Now let's get more insight into Microsoft's Xbox One U-turn. I'm joined by Marting Robinson of Eurogamer. And Martin, what prompted Microsoft to make this change?
MARTIN ROBINSON, FEATURES EDITOR, EUROGAMER: It was a number of things, really. Since they announced the console, the stories just been the negativity around these policies. And it's been resounding. Xbox fans have taken to Twitter to express their dismay. And then the final nail, really, came E3 last week when Sony announced that they wouldn't be having these policies in place on their Playstation 4.
And with that, Microsoft had to respond, really. And their response has been surprisingly swift. It's been only really a week since the E3 conference. And already they've done a complete 180 degrees on their policies.
LU STOUT: Yeah. And last week, Sony really rubbed it in Microsoft's face and it's revitalized the entire DRM debate in the tech sector. But why did Microsoft put these restrictions on in the first place?
ROBINSON: They did them for the benefit of the publishers in one regard, because of used games is a problem for publishers. A large amount of their revenue gets lost in the ability of people to sell these games on. And so they want to protect that.
Also, the official Microsoft line is that they wanted to have a more connected experience. They built the Xbox One with a vision to be always connected and you can share digital games. That now is no longer with these restrictions out of the way.
LU STOUT: That's right. And back to the new policy without these restrictions. Are there any down sides at all?
ROBINSON: There are downsides. As mentioned, Microsoft were building a more connected console that was going to utilize the power of the cloud to use some of the computing in there. And now some of that is restricted. That is a downside. But I think the positives far outweigh the negatives here.
LU STOUT: OK, so with the U-turn, is it enough? Will gamers be happy with this? Or does the Playstation 4 still have the edge?
ROBINSON: The Playstation 4 still has the quite reasonable advantage with the price. It's going to be 80 pounds cheaper over here. And that's not a small amount of money. And it's got that.
Microsoft is sticking to its 430 pounds price point over here. And so it's looking like a better prospect, the Xbox One. But still, I think gamers are going to see that price point see Sony's more open armed approach to games in general, and kind of the momentum is still with Sony very much.
LU STOUT: All right, Martin Robinson of Eurogamer, thank you so much for joining us. Take care.
Now you're watching News Stream. And still ahead on the program, a science class, it teaches students not just to think out of the box, but out of this world.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the CNN film Girl Rising is a personal look at the struggle girls around the world face to receive an education. Many families will sacrifice anything to make sure their children have the opportunity to go to school like in India where sometimes living on the street is not too much to ask.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Kolkata, India, homes made of plastic tarps are a common site. For some people, it's their only option. But for girls like Raksana (ph), her family lives on the street so she can go to school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My name is Raksana (ph). I am in the fourth grade. Next to the tree is a building. And under that tree we have a home. Here I'm sleeping.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raksana's (ph) family left their home in a nearby village so they could give her an education and encourage her talents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I like to draw. It comes from my heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Screenwriter Sooney Tarapovala (ph) met Raksana (ph) during the making of the Girl Rising film and sees her drawings as an important means of expression.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The art is also fantastic. So I think it can open us up to a lot of interior feelings and to reveal what's going on inside.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I want to change where we live on the street to a better home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Education is a chance for girls like Raksana (ph) to see the possibilities ahead of them.
LU STOUT: Now Raksana, she is excelling in school. She is now in the sixth grade. And she is also being formally trained in dance and art. And to learn more about the campaign behind the film Girl Rising and the 10X10 fund for girls' education, just go to CNN.com/girlrising.
You can see a special presentation of CN Films Girl Rising. Don't miss it. It's happening Saturday night, June 22 at 8:00 in London, 9:00 in Berlin, 11:00 in Abu Dhabi right here on CNN.
Now China's space program has accomplished another first, but you could say this feat, it was down to earth. Nic Robertson explains.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A new milestone in China's space race: lessons from orbit. China's three astronauts, now over halfway through their 15 day mission, are teaching class from their space lab 300 kilometers above Earth.
Wang Yaping, the only woman on the team, is wowing China's school children with experiments no earthbound teacher could pull off, creating floating balls of water, a lesson in surface tension, gyroscopes, a secret to stability in 3D motion, a two-way live dialogue just like a regular teacher.
"How do you measure the weight of objects in daily life," Wang asks?
"I measure my weight with an electronic scale at home," the student answers.
Beyond this classroom, another 60 million Chinese children and their teachers tuned in to watch the extraterrestrial lectures. These space classes designed not just to enthuse a new generation to set academic goals on the stars, but to energize China's vast earthbound population about space travel. And more importantly, support the cost of it.
Even before they left for space, Wang and her two male colleagues were being hailed as heroes, the hopes of the nation to catch up in the global space race riding on their exploits.
Now, as the mission draws to a close and the space lab, soon to be shut down and replaced by something bigger, readies to close its air lock doors for the last time, it won't just be the astronauts breathing a sigh of relief, it will be China's leaders, too. So far, an apparently flawless operation, a lesson in what China can do.
LU STOUT: Great pictures there.
And Nic joins me now here in the studio. And you just mentioned there in your piece, Tiangong-1, that campaign is going to end shortly, so what next for China in space?
ROBERTSON: Tiangong-1, it's about 10 meters long, about four meters wide. It's nothing like the International Space Station which is in space, manned all the time, much larger. That's the future, a space station that can -- that is bigger, that can be manned for longer, possibly permanently, one where that -- you know, experiments like this and the two-way communication with classrooms can be done on a much more regular basis.
So that's what the (inaudible) future.
What will it precisely look like? Will it be two of these current space labs put together or something even more fancy than that? We don't know yet.
LU STOUT: And the Shenzhou 10 mission, you were there for the launch last week. The mission, it seems to be preceding so smoothly with these great pictures from this first Chinese lecture from outer space. Is it really triggering a sense of pride and excitement inside China?
ROBERTSON: What I saw at that space city, there's perhaps about 20,000 people who live there. They work on the site. Their families live there. That number has swelled massively for the launch -- their relatives, their friends came to watch. Everyone was outdoors. The place was buzzing. This is a very sort of calm city oasis in the desert, but it was absolutely buzzing. Everyone there was excited.
And there's a general feeling, I found at that time in China, that people were really behind this. They want to know what's going on. They're excited about it. They want to feel good about this mission. And I have to say, standing there as that thing took off, that is one of the most incredible things, I think, any person that stood there that day -- and there were thousands of them -- saw and felt that, will only be energized to do more.
There's going to be a new generation of rocket, as well, with a new propellent. So a lot new on the horizon.
LU STOUT: You know, it does represent a new era of discovery for China. And yet China has this interesting relationship with its space rivals. I mean, China is not allowed to board the International Space Station. Why is that?
ROBERTSON: That goes back to the Cox Report that discovered in the late 90s looking back that China was allegedly stealing thermonuclear weapons design secrets from the United States and other things. And so this lead, therefore, to the recommendation not to cooperate with China.
So China is blocked from the space station.
But one of the things that happened today, Wang when she was in space, she wrote a letter to Barbara Morgan who was the U.S. -- female astronaut who did the teaching from space in 2007 from the international space center. So there was a communication there between these two astronauts.
And there are also people at the moment saying, look what happened going back to the days of Apollo and Soyuz, 1975, Russia, the United States, that they joined together, there was a handshake in space where the two teams joined together. This is the way forward, scientists are saying, to kind of break -- it helped, they say, that joint work between NASA and the Russians kind of broke some of the -- began to break some of the Cold War barriers.
And there's this scientific thinking now among scientists that perhaps it's time to do that with the Chinese as well, to begin to share a little bit more.
Some of the Europeans are already.
LU STOUT: And the big over arching question for you, why is China in space? I mean, there's been so much suspicion about China's intentions in space. What does China want to achieve?
ROBERTSON: China wants to achieve what everyone else wants to achieve. It's the next frontier. After Earth, there's going to be something else. We're going to be taking resources from around the galaxy. You know, there's interest in how we do it. There's interest in being the first to Mars. There's interest in seeing what the galaxy has to offer.
No self-respecting nation -- and there are many of those on the planet, and China's one of them -- can afford to miss out on this.
So that's what it's all about.
Yes, there's an international spirit among scientists, but there's also national spirits as well. Perhaps not to be building missiles in space, but to be thinking of conquering areas of space itself.
LU STOUT: Well, it's incredible just looking at the last few years how much China in space has been able to accomplish.
Nic Robertson, thank you so much for your reporting.
Now we want to end with a more down to Earth moment in China. A remarkably uninspired baggage handler at Guangzhou Airport.
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UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Half-witted idiot. More land on the ground than are going on the conveyor. Look at that.
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LU STOUT: Oh, my goodness.
Call it tenacity, call it blindness, he just keeps throwing the boxes on the conveyor belt. Don't know what's in those boxes. And they just keep falling off.
And, yes, this has become something of an internet sensation.
And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.