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Kerry, Lavrov Meet; Kenya's Wildlife Rangers Struggle To Fend Off Ivory Poachers; Voyager 1 Reaches Interstellar Space; Space Frog; 500 Year Floods In Colorado; Fire Sweeps Through Jersey Shore

Aired September 13, 2013 - 08:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

Now the U.S. Secretary of State calls talks with his Russian counterpart constructive. But will the two countries find common ground on what to do about Syria?

Now four men convicted of gang raping and killing a woman in India get the death penalty.

And NASA marks another giant leap for mankind as the first man-made object enters interstellar space.

Now first to Geneva where crucial talks are underway for a second day on the Russian plan for Syria to surrender control of its chemical weapons. Now the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is again meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. The UN Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi also attended today's talks.

And in a potential wrinkle, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad now says the U.S. must call off any potential military strike before he gives up the nation's chemical arsenal.

But John Kerry has made it clear that the threat of military force is still very much on the table.

Now earlier, Kerry and Lavrov announced more talks on a possible diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict are planned for later this month in New York.

Now CNN's chief U.S. security correspondent Jim Schiutto joins me now live from Geneva with the very latest. And Jim, talks have entered a second day there, but how much progress has been made.

JIM SCHIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, you've got it -- the essential disagreement there which is on the threat of force. The U.S. saying it's going to reserve that right. The Russians saying that should be off the table.

I just watched the delegates, Russian and American, go back in for another session of meetings. As you mentioned, Lavrov and Kerry have now said they will meet again to discuss this plan later this month in New York. So you can see how the timeline of these talks can extend.

But they also say they're going to expand the subject of the talks and not just speak about getting rid of Syria's chemical weapons, but also to a peaceful end to the civil war there, to the civil conflict.

So we're seeing this about more than just the stockpiles.

As you say, Secretary Kerry said that their start has been constructive. That's not quite as bad as frank discussion in diplomatic speak, not quite a good as productive, but at least they're talking. And we'll see how things go today.

LU STOUT: And the behavior and dynamic that's been on display there at the talks. I understand there was an incident with Sergei Lavrov that was caught on camera?

SCHIUTTO: Well, it's been interesting to watch their rapport. Kerry and Lavrov have a long relationship. They generally have a good rapport, but even yesterday we saw one instance where Kerry sort of joked that it's too early to take Lavrov's word. And then today as they were meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, listen to this moment and this exchange with journalists that Foreign Minister Lavrov had.


SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: You don't give us orders, you just catch the moment.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We'll see you after the meeting. Thank you.


SCHIUTTO: So, these are serious talks. These are both serious men. But they have real disagreements on the threat of military action, for instance, but they say that they're moving forward and they're going to focus on something that's achievable here on the ground. And that is a plan to catalogue, collect and destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

LU STOUT: All right, Jim Schiutto reporting live for us from these talks underway there in Geneva. Thank you, Jim.

And while the diplomatic efforts grind on, a Syrian opposition group says at least 94 people were killed in violence on Thursday. Meanwhile, state media reports that the army is making gains in the town of Maloula (ph) north of Damascus. Now rebel fighters, however, deny that.

Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins me now from CNN Beirut. And Nic what is the latest you're hearing on the conflict?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Kristie, another one of many, many -- so many towns and villages in Syria that have been fought over between the rebels and the regime. The rebels taking control of Maloula (ph) over the weekend. The regime trying to retake this tiny historic Christian village that really has very little military significance. And of course the town -- towns people for the most part fled. Many buildings now damaged, destroyed in the fighting there. Not clear who is precisely in control.

But what is absolutely clear is that the conventional weapons that are still being used every single day in the Syrian conflict continue to kill people. More than 90 yesterday. As you say, Wednesday more than 70. Tuesday, more than 70 killed again. And the death toll is in -- still in these very high proportions.

And what we're hearing from the opposition, the supreme military council, General Salim Idriss, part of the rebel force that receives weapons from the United States, from Saudi Arabia, he is saying that Assad should stand trial for everything -- for all the crimes that he's accused of, all the killings that he's accused of. And also the threat of U.S. strikes should stay in position.

So while Secretary of State John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, may look for a broader, bigger peace deal come the end of September in New York, the positions on the ground are as stuck as they were before. And the United States will not only have a job on its hands behind closed doors in New York with the Russians, but also with the rebels, convincing them, of whatever terms they may come up with for a peace deal, which just seems to far away right now, Kristie.

LU STOUT: That's right, even though Bashar al-Assad has agreed to give up his chemical weapons, the rebels say that it will not end the killing.

And as these talks drag on in Geneva, what more have you learned about not just the fact as you've been reporting that chemical weapons are still being used in this drawn-out conflict. But the size, scope and location of the stockpiles of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles?

ROBERTSON: Well, certainly there are reports that would indicate that these chemical weapons stockpiles are substantial, that they are being moved around the country. Sources that we talked to indicate that these stockpiles have been moved, are moved under government control to keep them away from rebel hands, to stop them falling into rebel hands, part of security procedures to continue to move them around the country is how they describe it.

It's going to be a big job for any inspection team given the size and scale of the chemical weapons stockpile that Syria is believed to have. And now the scattered locations that it's distributed in to get in there, to catalogue it, and then dispose of it, Kristie. It's a big challenge.

LU STOUT: Yeah, a very big challenge at identifying and verifying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

And also into the task of securing Syria's chemical weapons as well. Is that something that would require what the U.S. has been trying to avoid: boots on the ground?

ROBERTSON: The implication at the moment is that it couldn't be done without a security force, because there's a war still going on. If a broader peace -- and I think most people are very skeptical at this stage - - if a broader peace deal could be hammered out in New York, it would still require tens of thousands, according to diplomats I've talked to, tens of thousands of boots on the ground to sort of stabilize any peace agreement.

So, it seems that at this stage, impossible to imagine a scenario where weapons inspectors could go in in the near-term and there could be a broader peace in the country without boots on the ground. The question, of course, becomes whose boots are they? The United States, Britain, France, certain their nations not particularly interested in seeing that kind of commitment and not clear where else that commitment would come from -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Nic Robertson reporting live for us. Thank you.

And you can read much more about the ongoing crisis in Syria on our website, including a moving article from our medical unit. It tells the story of a 7-year-old boy named Abdul (ph). And through him, the stories of so many other Syrian refugees. Millions are living in sprawling camps. They are surviving with just the bare necessities. You can find their stories at

And you're watching News Stream. Still ahead, four men convicted in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in India learn their sentence. We'll get the latest from New Delhi.

And historic flooding in Colorado. We'll show you the dramatic rescues as emergency crews tell residents to seek higher ground.



Come down. Squeeze real slow. That was a nine. Squeeze real easy.


LU STOUT: And a new front line in the debate over guns in the U.S. Why Iowa and its law on gun ownership is in the firing line.


LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream.

And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. Now later this hour, we'll tell you about the destruction of a famous landmark in New Jersey. But now to India.

Now it was a case that shook the country to the core and prompted national soul searching over sexual violence towards women. In a New Delhi courtroom earlier today, four men were sentenced to death for last year's gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student. She was savagely attacked on a bus and died two weeks later from her injuries.

In sentencing the men, the judge said the attack, quote, "shocked the collective conscience of India."

Now CNN's Sumnima Udas joins me now live from New Delhi with the latest. And Sumnima, when the sentence was announced, what was the reaction like inside the court room?

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, we were right outside the courtroom. And as soon as that sentencing was announced. The doors of the courtroom just opened. And lawyers came out saying death sentence, death sentence to all four of the convicts.

And then people who were there, the media, there were a lot of spectators just there to watch the show, really. Everyone just started cheering and clapping. And then we ran out of the courthouse and we had to sort of go around. It's a huge complex.

But then the police had really blocked up all the exits. But once we got to the front we saw there's a -- you know, maybe 100 or 200 protesters there. And they were still protesting. They were saying yes we are happy today with this sentencing, but they're not completely happy, because remember the juvenile who was actually just sentenced to three years in a reformation home, because he was just 17 years old when the crime was committed.

So they still are hoping for a harsher sentence for him -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: So the pressure is on for courts to perhaps overturn that decision about the fate of the juvenile sentence to three years.

Let's talk about the legacy of the case now, Sumnima. How has this brutal gang rape and murder of this young women in New Delhi, how has it changed the entire country.

UDAS: Well, if you look at the numbers of rapes being reported, not much has changed. In fact, the numbers of rapes being reported has doubled this year. But if you talk to authorities, they'll tell you that's not because the -- there's been an increase of rapes, but more because rapes are being reported now. Women feel more emboldened to come out and report these cases with the authorities. And that's really the biggest change now because of this discussion, because of how this case has galvanized the nation, the outrage, the laws have changed, security has been stepped up.

Because of all of this, women fell more emboldened to come and speak out. People are talking about it. And that's actually a good thing for this country, that's what a lot of people here are saying.

LU STOUT: Yeah, women have become more emboldened, more willing to speak out and yet -- I mean, the statistics are just so grim that a woman in India is raped every 22 minutes. Why is this happening? Why is sexual violence so prevalent in India?

UDAS: Well, that's the question everyone here is asking. And immediately after this case, there's a lot of introspection really going on, what is wrong with Indian society, or what has gone wrong. And people say nothing really will change here until the mentality of the people change, the mentality of the men in particular.

One of the analysts was saying, you know, just with one trial nothing is really going to change, nothing is -- you're talking about hundreds of years of tradition of this patriarchal tradition that exists, that is so ingrained in Indian society. So it's going to take a lot more to change the mindsets of the people here -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Sumnima Udas reporting live for us from New Delhi. Thank you.

Now, this news just in to CNN. Reuters is reporting that two roadside bombs outside a mosque in Baqubah, Iraq have killed at least 30 people. Police say that 25 people were wounded in the explosions which happened as Sunni Muslim worshipers were leaving Friday prayers.

We'll bring you more on this breaking news story as we get it.

Now, it is day five of a very tense siege on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. As many as 170 people are being held hostage by rebels with the Morrow National Liberation Front, or MNLF.

Now the group launched an assault on the city of Zamboanga on Monday.

The Philippines President Benigno Aquino is warning the rebels that the state will be obligated to use force if the rebels further threaten the safety of civilians.

Now thousands of people have been evacuated from the area.

Now, coming up right here on News Stream, extreme flooding in Colorado. Walls of water cause mass evacuations. Stick around for that.


LU STOUT: That's Victoria Harbor on a Friday night here in Hong Kong. Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.

Now in the U.S. State of Colorado, some residents say that they have never seen anything like it. Torrential rain has unleashed massive flash flooding and sent walls of mud careening down hillsides.

Now at least three people are dead.

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration to speed relief to hard hit areas.

Anna Cabrera has more.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vicious floodwaters wash away a road near Lafayette, Colorado, and rescuers zero in on one flipped over vehicle they believe has a survivor inside.

Minutes seem like hours as they secure lines to the car. The goal, flip it over and save whoever is in there. Finally the submerged car is turned on its side and rescuers have a chance to break a window and look inside. To the relief of the entire rescue team and to people across the country watching this unfold on live TV, a survivor appears, but he's not safe yet.

As the man puts on a life vest, his car falls again, this time without a window to seal off the floodwater.

Is there an air pocket in the car? Precious seconds tick by as the water rushes into the vehicle. Then rescuer Robert Williams leaves the safety of his own raft to free the man and finally he makes it to shore.

Others wouldn't be as fortunate. The floods are blamed for at least three deaths in Colorado and officials are bracing for that number to rise.

SHERIFF JOE PELLE, BOULDER COUNTY, COLORADO: This was a devastating overnight storm in the dark, and I anticipate that as the day goes on, we are likely to find other people who are the victims of this storm. I hope and pray that's not true.

CABRERA: Authorities began their rescues Wednesday night, including this family and their dog stranded on their balcony in Boulder.

The storm at times dumped an inch of rain an hour. Boulder Creek which runs through here at the University of Colorado flowed at 16 times its normal rate.

RYAN COLLA, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER: How high the creek was, how fast it was, how muddy it was and dangerous it was, it freaked us out.

CABRERA: Throughout the day, officials urged residents to stay inside, warning the floodwaters are far more dangerous than they appear.

(On camera): That person can very easily just go floating down this river like we're seeing tons of debris because it is fast moving.

(Voice-over): Across the state water damaged or overflowed dams, roads became impassable from water or mudslides, and homes collapsed. Here, the tiny town of lions was cut off completely by what local officials describe as a 500-year flood. Residents have been told they could be on their own for up to three days.

Rain continued throughout the day and could get worse, for a second night, Colorado battles darkness, flood waters and a race against time to rescue its residents.

Ana Cabrera, CNN, Boulder, Colorado.


LU STOUT: Now rescue and evacuations underway, emergency declared in Colorado hit very hard by these devastating floods.

Let's get the latest with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Really amazing, you know, when you hear those stories of people and those tales of survival. That man in the car, scary situation. You know, it doesn't take much water to carry a vehicle like that. All you need is about that much and it could carry a car, let along a person.

I want to start you off with some sound from Colorado. Let's go ahead and listen to the sirens and the warnings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Proceed to higher ground. Do not cross any more moving water.


RAMOS: And then you hear the sirens play from this iReport from Nathaniel Bell (ph).


RAMOS: And you know, Kristie, situations like this make it extremely scary. But at least they've have some sort of warning of this tremendously heavy rain and water and flooding that continues affecting this area.

Let's go to the next piece of video, because this just happening in the last few minutes. You're look -- actually not this one, but this is Big Thompson Canyon in Colorado, an area that has been devastated by the flooding as well. You can see what is normally a creek just turn into a raging river, taking away with it those homes that you see there and part of the roadway.

It's going to take a long time to recover from some of this damage. And entire towns and communities have been completely cut off.

Our next piece of video I think is from the city, the town of Lyons. And that's the one that was referred to in that report from Ana Cabrera.

News just in, George Powell in Denver, our CNN reporter telling us that the National Guard has ordered an evacuation for the entire town now because of the rising water. They're expecting that water to continue going up.

So this is just some of what's happening in this area, but why is all of this happening?

Let me go ahead and explain it to you. If you come back over to the weather map. I'd hate to tear you away from those images. You have high pressure here in the east, low pressure in the west, and then that helps funnel the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and also the Pacific Ocean. The result is that monsoonal moisture.

And what we end up with is this -- almost this railway of storms that moves in the same area. It's like a train. Storm after storm after storm falling into the same general region. And that is why we've had such extremely heavy rainfall.

And it's not just the rain that happened over the last couple of hours, or I should say the last 24 hours or so, which was tremendous. That 500 year flood that they're talking about, rain of Biblical proportions. This rain has been falling for several days. You can see how intense it has been nearly 300 millimeters of rain in Boulder alone. And now they've had that heavy rainfall that just made the situation even worse.

So unfortunately, we're expecting more rainfall here. Not as heavy as it had been in the last 24 hours. But any amount of rain that falls here could really be a huge concern. That's why they still have those flood warnings in effect, the flash flood warnings across these areas. And notice the widespread flood thread across much of the western U.S.

So that's there in the west. I want to show you farther to the south, off the coast of Mexico. There's a lot of moisture there as well. That's because we have a new tropical depression here, Kristie. This was bringing some very heavy rain along the areas of the Gulf. And I just want to go ahead and tell you very quickly, it is going to meander around here for days to come. And that will bring some very heavy rain here, the flood threat continues to be quite large in the Gulf and also in the Pacific with a possibility of a tropical cyclone in that area as well.

So a lot going on in North American right now.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah. A lot to watch in the Americas. Many thanks indeed. Mari Ramos there.

Now a famous landmark in the U.S. State of New Jersey that was rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy has now been devastated by fire. Now dozens of buildings have been destroyed.

Now for the very latest, let's go live to Don Lemon. He is in Seaside Park. And Don, this fire has ravaged the area. What kind of damage have you seen?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Kristie, it's unbelievable. And it's less than a year after hurricane -- Hurricane Sandy devastated the area as well.

You mentioned dozens of buildings. It's really dozens of businesses, livelihoods here.

And what that hurricane that I mentioned didn't take away, this fire certainly destroyed.


LEMON: A state of emergency on the Jersey shore, hundreds of firefighters battling a massive intern know that raged into the night, the fire finally under control. The fast-moving blaze destroying dozens of businesses in a six-block stretch in just hours along the boardwalk between Seaside Park and seaside heights. Two communities hit hard by super-storm Sandy, nearly one year ago.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I said to my staff, I feel like I want to throw up.

LEMON: This amateur video shows the fire erupting at this ice cream stand just after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't go in there!

LEMON: Within hours, the fire engulfed block after block, spread by high winds, gusting over 30 miles per hour.

CHRISTINE HEMINGWAY, EMPLOYEE AT KOHR'S FROZEN CUSTARD: My manager came in the stand and told me to get out because there was smoke coming up through the boardwalk. We ran away and turned around again, and there was flames coming out of the building.

LEMON: The inferno so big, first responders had to pump water from this nearby bay, the fire eventually contained by a 20-foot wide trench built by firefighters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within 15 minutes there was more flames I ever seen in my life. I got scared. It was amazing. It's terrible what's going on, it really is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrifying what's going on here. The whole town, people that grew up here, people that work here are suffering a lot of damage.

SARAH GOMEZ, RESIDENT: After everything that we just went through for rebuilding everything, especially the shore, and to know that it's all burning down now. I'm sorry.

LEMON: The thick black smoke could be seen for miles, Governor Chris Christie urging the public to stay out of the area.

CHRISTIE: My advice to you, in fact, my admonition to you is do not come here. Do not travel. Stay away.

LEMON: This area near the Fun Town Pier, one of the few stretches of boardwalk that survived Sandy, now has fallen victim to this incredible fire. The neighboring pier's rollercoaster washed into the ocean became a symbolic image of Jersey strength. Repairs to the boardwalk after Sandy completed in time for its summer season, reopening this may, the state's resolve being tested once again.

CHRISTIE: And listen, this is us. So as soon as this is over we'll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to work.


LEMON: And over my shoulder, they are telling me that the fire is contained. But they're still dealing with hotspots. They're still putting water on hotspots.

I got a chance, Kristie, to go over and get an exclusive look at that. And that boardwalk is just blow to smithereens, just burned to smithereens. They're treating this, they are telling us, like a forest fire, because the winds were so bad. Upwards of 30 miles an hour, where they have to dig fire trenches in order to stop that fire from going down that wood boardwalk and destroying even more businesses and livelihoods -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, it is just so terrible to see this happening again to this community. Again, as you point out in your report, it comes just one year after Superstorm Sandy.

Now we heard in your report, Governor Chris Christie saying he feels literally sick to his stomach. Residents there just feeling horrified about what they went through. But what are the locals telling you about what's next, the challenge ahead, rebuilding?

LEMON: You know, they really have a good attitude. Obviously this is devastating for them. And they said, you know, we can't -- not that we can really ever get used to tragedy, but we just dealt with one, so we're a little bit more prone to dealing with it.

This isn't quite as bad, because it is really just subject to one particular area here. The storm with a much bigger area and also residences. This is mostly businesses. So they're saying they're going to rebuild their businesses. They need this boardwalk. They need the Jersey Shore. It's part of their community and their lives. And they say they're going to rebuild and they're going to continue to live here and continue to enjoy the Jersey Shore.

LU STOUT: That's right, community has been hit so hard. But they will rebuild after this. Don Lemon reporting for us live. Thank you, Don.

And you're watching News Stream. And still to come, we take you to Iowa where a debate is raging over gun ownership and whether the blind should be permitted to carry guns.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Now Reuters is reporting that two roadside bombs outside a mosque in Baqubah, Iraq have killed at least 30 people. Police say 25 people were wounded in the explosions, which happened as Sunni Muslim worshippers were leaving Friday prayers.

Now outside the New Delhi courthouse, many cheered the death sentences given to four men who gang raped and murdered a 23-year-old woman. The sentencing judge said that the crime, quote, "shocked the collective conscience of India."

Now according to Russian state media, 37 people have been killed after a fire swept through a psychiatric hospital in Russia. More than 20 people are still missing. A criminal investigation has begun into the cause of the fire.

In Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been holding a second day of talks on securing Syria's chemical weapons. They say that they will continue talks on a diplomatic solution near the end of this month in New York.

And Twitter has taken its first step to go public. It announced, of course in less than 140 characters, that it made a confidential filing for an IPO with U.S. regulators today.

Now well armed and organized ivory poachers are wiping out Kenya's elephants. But national park rangers are taking them on. Just this week, the Kenyan Wildlife Service reported shooting three suspected poachers.

Now Zain Verjee caught up with some Kenyan park rangers to find out what they face.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Elephants in the cool, muddy water causing a splash, a sweet relief from the baking Savannah heat.

Nearby, a baby elephant is only too eager to imitate the adults.

A fun afternoon for this herd of elephants in Kenya's Savo conservation area.

Park rangers protecting the elephants natural playground.

On this day, they're polishing their training -- how to load and reload a firearm quickly and then aim accurately at the enemy when under threat.

The enemy: poachers.

The men in this newly formed team are drawn from various security agencies in the country, part of a government initiative to boast the fight against wildlife poaching.

Allan Mwangi, a ranger with the Kenya wildlife service says the highly militarized anti-poaching training reflects the new kind of poachers that they're up against -- well armed and highly organized.

ALLAN MWANGI, RANGER: The poaching now they are using sophisticated methods, because they come, they may use even the vehicle.

VERJEE: In some Asian countries and Thailand, ivory means status. People are willing to pay high prices for the rare, illegal commodity.

Their appetite is fueled with slaughter of thousands of elephants.

So far this year alone, Kenya has lost more than 250 elephants, last year more than 360.

ROBERT O'BRIEN, RANGER: I have no words for this.

VERJEE: Robert O'Brien, a senior office at Kenya wildlife service, shows us what he calls an elephant graveyard. Rows and rows of old elephant skulls and jaws, remains of elephants that have died from drought and at the hands of poachers.

O'BRIEN: This is just part of, maybe a quarter of what is out there. These are hundreds of elephants, hundreds of elephants dead.

VERJEE: A new wildlife conservation and management bill in Kenya will put in place stiffer penalties for poaching once it goes into effect. But in the meantime, Allan and his group of rangers continue to push forward. They understand only too well their critical role in protecting the largest mammal on Earth.

But the task is daunting. The men are few. The land is huge and porous.

Tourism is a key part of Kenya's economy; the wildlife a key attraction to visitors from across the world. But animals rights groups warn that if the current elephant killings continue in a few decades there will be no elephants left in the wild.

But Allan remains hopeful about victory.

MWANGI: We are hoping that even the years to come, like 15 years, that tourists will be coming and seeing animals because of the effort we are putting. We feel that we are going to win the war of poachers.


LU STOUT: And that was Zain Verjee reporting.

Meanwhile, experts say that Kenya's elephant population could be extinct by 2023 if we don't stop poachers and take action now.

Now should people who are legally blind be allowed to carry and fire guns? Now that question is at the heart of a debate happening in Iowa right now.

Now U.S. state law does not place restrictions on gun ownership by the visually impaired. Some say it should.

Now Ted Rowlands spoke to those on both sides of the debate.


MICHAEL BARBER, BLIND SHOOTER: Good shot. Come down, squeeze real slow.


BARBER: That was a nine.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Barber is completely blind and has been since birth. Even though he can't see his target, he thinks he has every right to own a gun to protect himself and his wife, Kim.


BARBER: I'm comfortable. I am. And I'm convinced that I could do what needs to be done if the time ever came.

ROWLANDS: This was the first time Michael practiced shooting his new handgun. He missed some shots but also hit the target a number of times, including a few bulls eyes.

BARBER: I would aim by hearing, by feel. The person will be in close proximity to me. I hope I never have to do that. I really do. I would just as soon not. If I had to protect myself, yes, I would.

ROWLANDS: Not everyone is comfortable with blind people carrying guns. Cheryl Thomas is with Iowans for Gun Safety.

CHERYL THOMAS, IOWANS FOR GUN SAFETY: Where we have an issue is in this conceal and carry, that a person who's visually impaired and cannot see would be in public with a gun and potentially endangering public safety.

ROWLANDS (on camera): Lawmakers here in Iowa changed state gun laws three years ago. Before, if you wanted to carry a gun, you needed permission from your local sheriff. Now, if you meet the minimum requirements, you can get a permit to carry a gun online, including someone who is completely blind like Michael.

(voice-over): Warren Wethington is the sheriff of Cedar County east of Iowa City. He thinks the law is just fine as is. And with a daughter in college who is blind, he believes those who are concerned don't understand guns or blind people.

WARREN WETHINGTON, SHERIFF, CEDAR COUNTY, IOWA: People think that they're going to shoot blindly, just start shooting at noises. And people don't understand that visually impaired people are reasonable people, too.

BARBER: I certainly wouldn't just begin shooting willy-nilly to protect myself. You know, and especially if I didn't know for sure where it was coming from. I don't want to shoot innocent people. I'd duck and hide some place.

ROWLANDS: Michael says he plans to keep practicing it at a gun range with an instructor so he's ready to use his gun if he has to.



ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Des Moines, Iowa.


LU STOUT: An incredible debate.

Now up next right here on News Stream, a comparison to Apple's Steve Jobs is not something most people would brush off, but that's exactly what this Chinese entrepreneur is doing. We'll tell you why.

And saying good-bye to a pioneer of cinematic sound. A look back at Ray Dolby's life and legacy is just ahead.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now unveiling his company's latest products last week in a black top and blue jeans, you could see why the CEO of smartphone maker Xiaomi has been called the Steve Jobs of China. But as his company overtakes Apple in the Chinese market, Lei Jun says he has had enough of that comparison. He told David McKenzie why.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lei Jun might not be a household name outside of China, but this charismatic tech entrepreneur has turned his mobile company Xiaomi into one of the country's most watched brands.

Xiaomi raked in $2 billion in revenue last year and just surpassed Apple in the Chinese market.

The company says the last round of fundraising valued Xiaomi at $10 billion, making it nearly twice the size of BlackBerry.

With his devoted fanbase, thousands turned up for the launch of the company's new phone last week.

Many are calling Lei China's Steve Jobs.

I sat down with him in Beijing and discussed why he feels the Xiaomi- Apple comparison falls short.

LEI JUN, XIAOMI CEO (through translator): The more you get to know Xiaomi, the more you'll realize the difference between Xiaomi and Apple. The first and prominent difference is that Apple is a group of geniuses making a good product together. They don't really care about what the users want. They imagine what the users want. You will only know what you will get at the moment of the product launch.

Xiaomi is different. Xiaomi collects opinions from millions of users online. We create the product together.

MCKENZIE: People have called Xiaomi a cheap imitation of Apple. Does it bother you that you call it that?

LEI (through translator): I think people still need another three to five years to truly understand the revolutionary nature of the Xiaomi model. It is a truly great model. In fact, the Xiaomi model is simply the internet model. It sells hardware at its cost value, extremely cheap. In that way, it builds a strong platform by selling its hardware. And then it sells content and services on that platform.

This is the Xiaomi model. This is completely different from what Apple does. Apple sales hardware products and Xiaomi sells future products and services on its hardware platform.

The difference is very big.

MCKENZIE: And do you think there's a good chance you will want to take your company on the global scale?

LEI (through translator): Of course. In early September, Vice President of Google Android Hugo Barra announced that he's joining Xiaomi. He will be the first true foreign employee of Xiaomi. We hope that together with us, he can experience the Xiaomi culture, the Xiaomi model, and grow with Xiaomi. Then he will be in charge of the entire international business development of Xiaomi.

MCKENZIE: To expand, you need cash. Do you see an IPO anywhere in the near future?

LEI (through translator): At the moment, we don't have plans for an IPO. If I can choose, I'd choose not to go for an IPO in the next five years.

The reason is very simple, we think that people still need time to understand our company and the Xiaomi model. If we go for an IPO when people do not yet know our company well, that will seriously devalue the company. It'll also bring major problems for the company's development.

Xiaomi's priority is not revenue, not profit, nor marketshare. We focus on making the product that will make users scream.


LU STOUT: Now the American inventor Ray Dolby has died. As the pioneer of surround sound, he revolutionized the way we listened to movies in the cinema. But he also changed how we hear audio at home and on our mobile devices. Dolby was the chief designer of the electronics in the very first videotape recording system.

After founding his own company, Dolby Laborities in 1965, Dolby fine tuned technologies to remove the hiss from sound recordings.

Now he's remembered in this image on the front page of the (inaudible) website.

And to give you an idea of just the sheer scope of his work, Dolby holds more than 50 U.S. patents. And his company has won 19 Oscars. And as if winning Academy Awards wasn't enough of an achievement, think about where they're handed out. Now last year, the Hollywood venue known as the home of the Academy Awards was renamed Dolby Theater.

Now Dolby had been suffering from Alzheimers Disease and was diagnosed with leukemia in July. He was 80 years old.

Now still to come right here on News Stream, more than 18 billion kilometers from Earth, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, which launched back in 1977, has just achieved a new milestone. We'll tell you what is it after the break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it is one of the most significant achievements by mankind and it happened without anyone even knowing. NASA says that Voyager 1 has become the first man-made object to reach interstellar space, the cold, dark region between stars, far from the influence of our sun. It actually happened last year, but NASA only confirmed the data on Thursday.

Now earlier, I spoke to Ed Stone, a scientist on the Voyager 1 project. And I began by asking him how he felt about this milestone.


ED STONE, PROJECT SCIENTIST, NASA VOYAGER: It's just great. I mean, we had hoped when we began this mission in 1972 that we would reach interstellar space, but none of knew how big the bubble the sun creates around itself is or how -- if a spacecraft could last so long as to actually leave the bubble and enter the space between the stars.

LU STOUT: And how were you able to confirm that, yes, Voyager 1 is in fact in interstellar Space?

STONE: Fortunately, the -- an eruption from the sun was sort of like a solar tsunami traveled out to where Voyager is today, some 18 billion kilometers away, caused the plasma out there to vibrate. And we could tell from that that we were in interstellar space where the plasma is much denser than it is inside the bubble around the sun.

LU STOUT: And how close are we to seeing Voyager 1 leaving the solar system?

STONE: Oh, it will be a long time before it actually leaves the comet cloud, the Oort Cloud outside. Probably about 30,000 years before we leave that part of the solar system.

Most of the comets, in fact, are in interstellar space along with where Voyager 1 is today.

LU STOUT: Now the Voyager 1 on board. It carries technology that dates back to the 1970s. Are you surprised that it was able to make it out there so far?

STONE: Well, it is surprising that the spacecraft could actually work so well for so long. But we tend to be optimistic in the space business. And in this case, our optimism has paid off. And we are looking forward to a continuing new mission of discover for up to another 10 to 15 years.

LU STOUT: Yeah, let's talk about that. What do you hope to learn in this next phase of the mission?

STONE: Well, in interstellar space, we are surrounded now by matter, plasma, which has come from the explosion of supernova stars nearby over the last 5 million to 10 million years. So we are -- have moved from the era of studying material coming from our own sun to moving -- to studying material that has come from other stars.

And that -- and we're also being measuring the magnetic field of the Milky Way Galaxy itself for the very first time.

LU STOUT: You'll be making a number of measurements along the way. But is there anything that you are looking out for, anything that you're hoping to find?

STONE: Well, we want to measure the galactic cosmic rays. We know some of those come in even to Earth and were discovered over 100 years ago. But the slower galactic cosmic rays which are the most abundant cannot get inside the solar bubble. So now we will begin to explore and measure for the first time these very energetic atomic nuclei which have been created during the explosion of the super novae.

LU STOUT: And what is the life span of the Voyager 1? How much more juice does it have left?

STONE: Well, it's natural radioactive decay of Plutonium 238. We have -- it decays away about -- we lose 4 watts a year. So we project that we'll have to turn our first science instrument in the year 2020. And as the power continues to decay, we'll have -- be turning the instruments off until we turn the last one off in 2025. And after that, Voyager will be a silent ambassador to the Milky Way.

LU STOUT: Ed Stone, you are the chief scientist for Voyager 1. You've been involved in this project from the very beginning. Did you ever think that it would make it out so far and to reach interstellar space?

STONE: We hope so. It was one of our goals, but we really had no idea how big the solar bubble is. Now we know. And we had no idea that a spacecraft could last so long, and it has.

So -- but that's wonderful. So we're looking forward to another new mission for this spacecraft, studying the space between the stars.

LU STOUT: Another new mission and a totally new journey for you and the team of Voyager 1. Ed Stone, thank you so much. Take care.

STONE: Thank you.


LU STOUT: Now the numbers here are almost unbelievable. NASA says Voyager 1 has traveled over 18 billion kilometers. Now it's hard to comprehend just how far that is. So we'll show you.

Now imagine that the Earth is the size of a football. And that football happens to be in our London studio. If the Earth was that size and Voyager wouldn't be anywhere in our London studio. It wouldn't be anywhere in London period. In fact, if the Earth was the size of a football, then Voyager would have reached Paris. It is a staggering distance.

But what makes it even more amazing is that it is still transmitting information across that huge, enormous gap. And it's doing so with a transmitter that uses the same amount of power as the light in your refrigerator.

Now, let's take a look at this photo of a rocket launch and this black dot that's circled right here. Now is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a frog.

Jeanne Moos has the incredible story behind this photo.



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chimps have gone into space...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...three, two...

MOOS: ...dogs have gone into space, and now...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:, zero. Ignition.

MOOS: ...a frog almost went into space. Get me off this thing.

This photo of a frog sent flying by the blast-off was taken by a remote camera shooting the launch of a NASA mission that will orbit the moon to investigate moon dust.


MOOS: The launch occurred next to a wildlife refuge in Virginia.

Photographers tracked the nighttime launch from as far away as New York City. Little did they know a frog would steal the show -- though maybe, it wasn't such a happy ending.

(on camera): The question on everyone's mind, of course, is: Did the frog croak?

(voice-over): As NASA put it, "the condition of the frog is uncertain."

It's not easy being a space bat, either. It's believed a bat that clung to a foam-covered fuel tank on the Space Shuttle Discovery may have had a broken wing. The bat was still there when the shuttle cleared the tower, but officials figure it died on the way into orbit.

And this turkey vulture didn't even make it that far, as it collided with the shuttle's fuel tank.

The launch of a reusable rocket was enough to stampede a herd of cows. And this spider looked almost as if it were trying to hitch a ride on the shuttle. And now space frog. Outfitted like an astronaut it got the send off, "goodnight, sweet prince."

David Bowie's "Space Oddity" was invoked and rewritten: "Ground control to Major Frog."

With a nod to Neil Armstrong

NEIL ARMSTRONG: That's one small step for man.

MOOS: This was one small step for a frog, one giant leap for frog kind.

Instead of "ribbit, ribbit," one witness said the frog's last words were "orbit, orbit."

And a frog fan reaching for a happier alternate ending gave the little guy a parachute: the first astroamphibian.

Jeanne Moos, CNN...


MOOS: New York.


LU STOUT: OK. And time now to go Over and Out There with a celebration of some of this year's most absurd achievements in science: The Ignoble Awards. They were handed out on Thursday. And they're meant to be an entertainment accompaniment to next months' Nobel prizes. And they come in a variety of categories from peace to public health. And here are a couple of our favorites.

Now the medicine prize, it was awarded to Japanese researchers who discovered that mice given heart transplants lived longer if they listened to opera.

Now the probability prize, it went to British scientists for these two revelations. Number one, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the most likely that cow will soon stand up.

And two, once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.

Got it.

That is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.