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British Teen Commits Suicide Following Online Bullying; Focus on the Syrian Conflict; Costa Rica Moves to Close Public Zoos; Your Smartphone is Watching You; Monk Fish Bites Man

Aired August 8, 2013 - 12:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: This is a story that is sadly becoming all too familiar. You have a teenager who's bullied online, now commits suicide.

Well, this happened again, this time in Great Britain.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: A terrible story, we reported on one in Italy not long ago, now in Great Britain.

This is 14-year-old Hannah Smith. She hanged herself in her own bedroom last week.

Her father said she had been viciously bullied on the question-and- answer website very popular in Britain. It's called

MALVEAUX: Now the British Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for a boycott of websites linked to bullying.

Our Dan Rivers has more on the cyberbullying and the campaign to stop this.


DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She has become Britain's most high profile victim of cyberbullying, 14-year-old Hannah smith, driven to take her own life after a vicious campaign of online hate messages.

HARRY SMITH, FATHER OF HANNAH SMITH: I read these messages. And it made me so (inaudible) angry that I just felt who could put my little girl through that?

RIVERS: As the family prepared for Hannah's funeral, her sister has been targeted by more abuse on the Internet. Cyberbullying is suddenly the issue of the day in the U.K.

A Facebook memorial page has had to be taken down after being targeted by so-called "trolls," and here is where some of the abuse is being orchestrated, an unregulated forum called 4chan, set up in New York.

Journalist Mike Smith has helped unmask Twitter trolls, receiving death threats himself. He shows me messages on 4chan where users are planning to celebrate Hannah Smith's death. MIKE SMITH, JOURNALIST: 4chan is a forum where there are no rules, almost no rules. Anyone can post anything they like and, as a result, a lot of people use it to organize these kinds of attacks on people that they think where it will be funny, where can they provoke a reaction, for example, on this memorial page.

RIVERS: Hannah committed suicide after repeated insults on the social media site

In a statement, says it actively encourages our users and their parents to report any incidents of bullying, but posts are anonymous, making trolling easy.

Another leading player in social media, Twitter, has also been criticized for failing to tackle cyberbullying.

Several prominent British women like Helen Lewis received Tweets like this, and even death threats. She understands how Hannah must have felt.

HELEN LEWIS, DEPUTY EDITOR, "NEW STATESMAN": It's because you feel that you're being picked on by an enormous number of people. You feel that everybody around you hates you.

Everybody knows about it, too. There's a public humiliation aspect to it, and for a vulnerable teenager, that must be incredibly hard to deal with.

RIVERS: CNN managed to ask several questions online to a self proclaimed troll, asking why he did it.

He or she replied, "It's the 21st century equivalent of rotting vegetables in response to pathetic demagoguery and the craic like."

CNN responded, "So fun and a political statement?" He or she replied, "Sure."

PETER BRADLEY, DIRECTOR, KIDSCAPE: It is a huge problem. Over the last four years, convictions relating to trolling has increased by 150 percent.

This is just the tip of the iceberg because over a third of instances do not get reported.

RIVERS: Hannah Smith's last message online was this, a cry for help that is only now getting attention it so deserved.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


HOLMES: And by the way, we're talking about the other case in Italy. There was another one in Canada as well, and we are getting word now that there have been two arrests in that Canadian cyberbullying case.

This was a girl called 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons. She committed suicide last April after a digital photograph of her allegedly being sexually assaulted was passed around the school.

MALVEAUX: And her family says that Parsons had been the victim of online bullying for months.

Today, two males, we do not know their ages, but they were arrested at their homes. This is in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Police say they're being questioned, but would not say what the charges would be that they might face.

HOLMES: Some good news anyway there.


We're also watching the devastation on the ground. This is in Syria.

But up in next, we're going to show you new satellite pictures. This is where the fighting has literally wiped out entire towns.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

In Syria today, we have been hearing conflicting stories about what may or may not have been an attack on President Bashar al-Assad's convoy.

MALVEAUX: We're actually working to confirm this, but rebels in Syria claim that they hit his convoy with mortar shells today, that this happened in Damascus.

The Syrian government is saying this did not happen. State TV showed this video of the president arriving at a mosque.

HOLMES: Yeah, we don't know if this video was taken before or after the alleged attack, but Syrian state television says definitely after. They say that the president, in fact, drove himself to the mosque.

Now the two-year uprising against the Assad regime killed an estimated 100,000 people, and the horrible effects of this civil war are visible even from space.

MALVEAUX: Our Hala Gorani has more on that perspective.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We often show you atrocity from Syria's civil war from the perspective of the people living it.

But today we paint a bigger picture, what the devastation looks like from the sky.

Amnesty International has just released a series of satellite images. This one shows the Aleppo neighborhood of Jabal Badro last year. This is what it looks like now, whole areas decimated by government strikes in February.

A similar fate in the Ard al-Hamra (neighborhood, mow showing the destruction of war even from space.

And the neighborhood of Tariq al-Bab, here before and here after, these strikes alone killed more than 160 people.

Over 4 million people have been displaced, many now living in makeshift camps. Here from high above a camp near the city of Otma close to Turkey seen last year, and now tents filling the space entirely with new people hoping to find refuge.

Also, satellite images of looting, here the ancient city of Apamea, and now you can clearly you see all the pockmarks from looting at the site.

A rare view from space of the tragedy while on the ground the human suffering goes on in Syria.

Hala Gorani, CNN.


HOLMES: Amazing visuals there.

Yeah, no animals in captivity, that is the goal of one country, and that means closing the zoos.

We'll tell you where this is, coming up.



Among the top stories, a judge now orders lawyers for the Fort Hood gunman to remain on the case.

Now this court-martial of Army Major Nidal Hasan resumed today. This was in the base in Texas.

HOLMES: Hasan was representing himself, but defense lawyers are acting as kind of a stand by counsel, if you like.

They say Hasan wants to get the death penalty, and they asked to be removed from the case.

The army psychiatrist, of course. is charged with killing 13 people, wounding 32 in a November 2009 shooting rampage.

MALVEAUX: This is kind of an interesting story. More than 100 people, they're on board this commercial flight. They're really so lucky when you think about what happened here. What could have been a major accident, this happened in Indonesia.

HOLMES: Yeah, and guess what did happen? It was a Boeing 737, was landing when it ran into a cow, yes, a cow, that was standing on the runway.

The pilot managed to skid the plane to a stop off the runway and into the grass, 110 passengers on board and no serious injuries, well apart from the cow.

Yah, the local governor says fences around the airport not in great shape. No kidding.

MALVEAUX: Imagine that, a cow on the runway.

HOLMES: Like to hear that announcement over the p.a., wouldn't you? Sorry about that. It was a cow.

MALVEAUX: But everybody was OK.

Customs agents in Hong Kong have seized a huge illegal ivory shipment. They found 1,100 ivory tusks, 13 rhino horns, 5 leopard pelts in some suspicious containers shipped from Nigeria.

HOLMES: The haul said to be worth more than $8 million. No arrests made so far. Hopefully they will in the future.

Now we'll go to my homeland, Australia, a happy reunion. Check out this seven-year-old boy. He went missing from his family during a picnic and it is winter down under, let's remember that.

He was lost in the wild overnight, wearing only a sweater and cargo pants.

MALVEAUX: Well, he survived, and he told his parents how. There was a kangaroo that came up to him and kept him warm.


ETIENNE KRUGER, FATHER: Kangaroo came closer to him and ate the flowers from and the kangaroo fell asleep next to him. I think God sent a kangaroo to keep him warm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is a miracle. When I smell his jacket, kangaroo. Bush and kangaroo.


MALVEAUX: I love that, right? Have you ever been hugged by a kangaroo?

HOLMES: No, no, no, but you don't want to get kicked by one, too. They've got a very long claw on their lower legs and when they back on their tail and lash out they can kill you.

MALVEAUX: But this was a good kangaroo. He gave him a nice little hug and he kept him warm for the night.

HOLMES: That was an extremely friendly kangaroo. That was -- that was south African accents, by the way. They weren't locals. The kid's name, by the way, Simon Kruger. He was found on Sunday, 24 hours after he wondered off from his family. He was actually less than half a mile away from where they lost him. Kangaroo hugging. They've only got little arms at the top, too, so it would have been a very small hug.

MALVEAUX: You are our resident kangaroo expert, you know that.

HOLMES: Yes, I am.

MALVEAUX: All right, we're going to move on.

In Costa --

HOLMES: They're delicious.

MALVEAUX: Oh, you've eaten one, too?

HOLMES: Oh, yes. Yes. Right.

MALVEAUX: That's for another day, yes?

HOLMES: Very little (ph). We'll talk about that another time, yes.

MALVEAUX: OK. Costa Rica, government believes that wild animals, well, that they should only live in their natural habitat. So here's what's happening there. They're moving now to shut down two popular public zoos.

HOLMES: Yes, but it's not that easy, apparently. Environmentalists say it may not be good for the animal who only know life in captivity. Here's Rafael Romo.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): It's been a favorite for school children for nearly 100 years. But the days may be numbered for the Simon Bolivar Zoo in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital. Government officials say they want two public zoos in Costa Rica shut down, including Bolivar. Their ultimate goal is to eventually have no animals in captivity at all. The idea is that any interaction with animals should take place in their natural environment.

RENE CASTRO, COSTA RICAN MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY (through translator): Public or private zoos, as well as sanctuaries or shelter, that can't abide by the rules will not be able to operate in Costa Rica. Our country is evolving and adapting to an environmental culture of zero cages, which has been gradually growing. It's not perfect and it won't happen overnight, but that's the goal.

ROMO: But this veterinarian at the zoo says environmentalists and the government don't understand what they're talking about. In his view, animals can't just be released back into the wild or sent to a rescue center.

RANDALL ARGUEDAS, VETERINARIAN, BOLIVAR ZOO (through translator): If they close it down, none of the animals here could be released. Most have permanent injuries. Even though they have been treated, these injuries prevent them from flying or seeing well. Some have simply lost their natural instincts. In other words, they will always have to live in captivity.

ROMO (on camera): There are also legal issues to consider. The facility was franchised to a foundation called Fundazoo 20 years ago. Fundazoo officials say they can run the zoos until 2024 because the government missed the deadline to cancel the franchise.

YOLANDA MATAMOROS, FUNDAZOO (through translator): The contract clause that speaks about the renewal says that it renews automatically if neither party indicate that it doesn't want to extend it within the first quarter of the contract year. Their deadline expired on August 10th of last year.

ROMO (voice-over): Costa Rica banned circuses with animal acts more than a decade ago. Sport hunting is also prohibited. The most recent dispute about zoo animals has already made its way to the courts. And much like the animals at its center, it's already getting wild.

Rafael Romo, CNN.


HOLMES: All right, we got some news into us to we just want to report. The Israeli defense force telling us that the airport at Eilat in Israel has been shut down. All flights suspended. Now Eilat, they mainly do domestic flights. It's not the main international airport, of course, which is in Tel Aviv. It does domestic flights around Israel. Geographically, it's interesting, because it's right near the border with Egypt and Jordan. Does a lot of these domestic flights. And the ID (ph) are saying it shut down. They're not saying why.

MALVEAUX: And it comes at an important time when you think about all the U.S. embassies that are closed in the region because of terrorist -- potential terrorist threats.

HOLMES: Security concerns.

MALVEAUX: I mean we're going to try to get more information about specifically what the - what the security threat is there.

HOLMES: Exactly.

MALVEAUX: But the fact that they've closed that down is pretty significant.

HOLMES: Yes, a very popular place. Very popular tourist place.

All right, we'll keep an eye on that.

All right, well, while you're playing games on your smartphone -

MALVEAUX: Someone else could actually be watching you through your phone.

HOLMES: Yes. MALVEAUX: That's right. We've got some tips to keep those peering eyes away.


HOLMES: Angry -

MALVEAUX: Smartphones, yes.

HOLMES: Angry Birds is actually a fun game to play.

MALVEAUX: All right. I'm going to have to -

HOLMES: A little addictive. You don't know it. I can't believe you don't know it.

MALVEAUX: Oh, I know it, I just haven't really played it.

HOLMES: All right. Well, we've got to talk about this because while your birds are zapping that pig, someone may be spying on you, watching you do it and maybe even stealing your information.

MALVEAUX: Yes, Laurie Segall, she reports on how hackers can use your game app downloads to watch you, listen to you, even take your picture. Watch this.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Your smartphone, turned into a spy phone.

KEVIN MCNAMEE, KINDSIGHT SECURITY LABS: I'm looking at my phone. I'm looking at playing the game Angry Birds. I'm doing my thing here.

SEGALL: You see Angry Birds on the screen. On the other end, a hacker can see you.

MCNAMEE: We use the peep function to take a picture. And let me just do that right now. So there's - there's us looking at the phone.

SEGALL: And that's just the beginning.

MCNAMEE: The other thing we can do is we can record conversations. I can use the listen function here. And when I click listen --

MCNAMEE (voice-over): I'm going to record 10 seconds of conversation on this phone. Hopefully it will record the thing. We'll see how it goes.

SEGALL: So how did they do it?

MCNAMEE (on camera): We used Angry Birds, because it's a very popular game.

SEGALL: Popular app, but be careful where you download it. MCNAMEE: Sent him an e-mail saying we've got this really great game that you can download if you just go to this link. You go to the link. We download the game. When they install it on their phone, they're all happy, they get to play the game, but the spyware's there.

SEGALL: It's not the app that's the problem. It's a malicious link users click or a fake app they download. McNamee is a security researcher. His work is designed to find security flaws like this one.

MCNAMEE: What we've done is created a Trojan - a Trojan horse. We've got an application with the malware buried inside it. So the person installs - they install the application all by themselves and then the Trojan horse inside it creeps out and takes over their phone. We can do this to any other - any game we want or any other application.

SEGALL: Once you download the bad link, your private data, exposed.

MCNAMEE: So then we go to the website, and the first thing we can do is we can locate where they are. And here we are at Black Cat in Las Vegas. OK. That's where this phone currently is. You can see it right there. Now, what we have on here, we immediately get their e-mail address, we get their telephone number, the type of phone that they own, and we've also taken the contact list off the phone here.

SEGALL: Google and Apple recommend that users only download apps from their respective app stores.

SEGALL (on camera): So what do users need to know about how to protect themselves? Because you guys have come up with this code. You're not going to release it. But you guys have come up with this, so that definitely opens the door to other people being able to do that.

MCNAMEE: That's correct. What you, first of all, can do is, first of all, be very careful with the applications you load. If you get an e- mail from someone saying here click here to download the application, unless you really know that person, don't do it.

SEGALL: Right.


MALVEAUX: All right, Laurie, so we're both wondering, how do we protect ourselves from something like this happening, right? I mean he's into Angry Birds. He likes that stuff.

HOLMES: That's crazy. That's crazy. Yes, and we don't want to pick on Angry Birds. It's not them.

SEGALL: It's not just Angry Birds. It's - this is just, you know, look, don't download a link because this could happen with any application. Download apps from the app store from Android, Apple. And, also keep your software updated. And I will say, guys, this may be a little bit paranoid in general. I mean you just can't get over looking at the phone and seeing a picture of yourself that a hacker took.

HOLMES: I think it's weird and a little bit terrifying. But, yes, the advice is the basic old advice that we've had for years with e-mail -


HOLMES: Don't click on something you don't know.

MALVEAUX: You don't know.

SEGALL: Exactly.

HOLMES: Good advice. Creepy too.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks, Laurie, appreciate it.

SEGALL: Thanks, guys.

MALVEAUX: We're going to take a quick break.


HOLMES: All right, a cautionary tale for you now, especially if you happen to be going swimming or perhaps fishing or both. Check this out. Look at it.

MALVEAUX: Oh, boy. All right, so what you got there, this is what -

HOLMES: It's officially known -

MALVEAUX: This is a fish stuck on your hand.

HOLMES: That -- that's the official term, fish stuck on hand, yes.

MALVEAUX: Oh, my God, look at that. That is crazy.

This is a scuba diver guy.

HOLMES: Oh, my gosh.

MALVEAUX: Not very happy about the situation here that happened. We want to know how this happened. Erin McLaughlin, she's got more on this unfortunate fish tale.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The look on this fisherman's face pretty much says it all, pure agony after he got his hand stuck inside the toothy jaws of a monk fish in Russia. This video now gone viral.

It's not exactly clear how he got caught in this rather awkward position, but they used everything from a wooden plank to a metal bar until finally success.

Check out those jaws. They aren't the only ones amazed as to how this could have happened.

Back to you.


MALVEAUX: Wow. I - how --

HOLMES: How did he get his hand in there?

HOLMES: My God, that's incredible.

HOLMES: He's Russian apparently. That's why we don't know for sure yet.

MALVEAUX: He's lucky he still has his hand and his arm.

HOLMES: Exactly.

MALVEAUX: He is totally lucky.

HOLMES: That is one ugly fish, by the way, you know? Yes, I think this was in Norway, wasn't it?

MALVEAUX: He does not look happy.


MALVEAUX: You know, this went viral, of course. The caption was, "in Soviet Russia fish catches you." You don't catch the fish.

HOLMES: It certainly did. Ouch.

All right, that will do it for me. Thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD.

You're not done yet.

MALVEAUX: Not done yet. I'll see you tomorrow.