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Photos Released From Westgate Mall Siege; Interview with Jeff Bezos; Death Toll 306 And Rises In Wake Of Pakistan Earthquake; Australian Priest Excommunicated; South Korean Homosexual Couple Marries In Controversial Ceremony; FAA Looking To Relax Electronic Gadget Rules
Aired September 25, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Now dramatic new details about the terror attack in Kenya as the country observes three days of mourning for the people killed in the Westgate mall.
Plus, easing tensions -- Iran's new president says he offers peace and friendship to America and does not want the nuclear question to get in the way.
And could rules about using gadgets on airplanes soon change? We'll explore the debate on in-flight devices.
Kenya is a nation in mourning this hour after the deadly siege at a mall in Nairobi. Now the smoke is beginning to clear at the Westgate mall. We're starting to learn more about what unfolded there during four days of terror.
It all began on Saturday when gunmen burst into the mall. And these dramatic pictures have emerged of a police officer dressed in civilian clothes trying to help a family escape.
Now, they eventually overcome their fear and the family, they run out.
Now in all, 61 civilians are dead and six security officers also lost their lives. Now five terrorists were also killed.
And we're just learning of yet another arrest.
Now Zain Verjee has been watching the situation, she joins us now live from Nairobi. And Zain, what can you tell us?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's take a look again at the video that you were showing about the rescue that was by plain clothes policemen that were in the Westgate Mall and they found a child there along with the family. You can see them crouching down.
There was total chaos and fear and confusion in that moment. There have been several people rescued in that way, many of them much luckier ones, managed to get out in the immediate onslaught.
We were hearing from sources that there were people in various locations over the past four days around Westgate mall hiding out. And they were texting their location to authorities, they were communicating secretly hoping and praying that they would be rescued.
I spoke to one government source yesterday that said that they -- in the past few hours of the operation they would have got out about six or seven people, but they were clearly dozens more of those who have managed to get out.
There are a lot of questions about who didn't manage to get out. And those numbers of casualties, hostages, and militants -- where are they? Are they dead? Are they under the rubble? What -- did they manage to escape? What exactly is going on is the question there.
On the issue that you just raised about the arrests, we know that there were 11 arrests. I spoke to someone a short while ago who said that they were currently all being interrogated, some of them were arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and some I'm told were arrested around locations in various places in Nairobi.
There is one British national, one Dutch national. I asked about other nationalities, there are several others, but they haven't been more specific than that, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, still can't get over that video, that gripping video of that family just making their way out and escaping from that terror attack.
Now the mall is finally being cleared out today after four days, a four day standoff. Why was it so difficult for Kenyan authorities to fight off these attackers?
VERJEE: I asked that question to a senior government source. And they said basically that the whole layout of Westgate mall is pretty complicated, so that (inaudible) times and what you have is a lot of blind corners, you have various doors that are blocked, you have different accesses through stairwells. And so it's a pretty great place to launch any kind of a guerrilla type warfare so it would make it extremely difficult to identify and locate particular areas. It's hard to get into.
So that was one of the reasons.
The other maybe just the issue of hostages and the fear of having civilians killed and trying to figure out where exactly they were, trying to rescue them and engaging in firefights with militants as well and trying to make sure that no civilians were hit.
So, in that type of a situation it's tough.
And then you're coordinating all these different security bodies that are involved in the rescue.
I just want to show you another picture that we've been looking at. It's a still photograph that's helping us to piece together very slowly, and we need to do this carefully, about what happened inside. Look at this picture. It shows two militants -- you can see one walking sort of toward the right-hand side brandishing a gun, and there's another one almost directly looking at the CCTV footage.
I know where they're located, but this picture is actually coming from the rooftop, which is on the second floor of Westgate mall. You can see that kind of little trolley in that picture, that's kind of -- they sell this candy there. It's around the cinema and the casino area.
And we also know that there were several children, many kids killed by the militants.
And in this area, where we are looking at this picture, there's a little playing area for children. So there would have been a lot of kids around that area on a Saturday morning -- Kristie.
LU STOUT; Yeah, and now in the days ahead we're going to get more information, more data, about just how this terror attack took place.
Zain Verjee reporting live on the scene for us. Thank you, Zain.
Now, more fighting between rebels and security forces in the southern Philippines as an armed standoff enters its 17th day. An army spokesman tells CNN about 40 rebels with the Morrow National Liberation Front are still holding five hostages. Now they say security forces have rescued 178 people and more than 100 of the rebels have been killed.
Now the latest on urgent rescue efforts in Pakistan after a powerful earthquake hit there on Tuesday. Now the 7.7 magnitude quake, it shook Balochistan province in the country's southwest. At least 306 people are dead. And that number is set to rise in the coming days as more bodies are recovered from the rubble.
Now hundreds are injured and 1,000 troops are helping in the rescue. Our Saima Mohsin is in Islamabad, Pakistan outside the quake area. She joins me now live with the latest.
And Saima, what is the latest you're learning and you're hearing on the rescue and the relief effort there in the quake zone?
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the last few moments, Kristie, that death toll has now gone up to 307 people killed in this earthquake, more than 400 injured. And that death toll has continued to rise, more as help gets to them. It is an incredibly remote area, incredibly impoverished too.
This is a remote part of Pakistan, the largest province of Pakistan, yet the least populated, and often complained about that they don't have the right facilities. In fact, they don't even have electricity in this district that's been affected. And they don't have crucial medical facilities, the local hospital, if you can call it that, doesn't have an emergency room, it doesn't have any surgical facilities, so doctors are having to be either driven or flown in.
Driving is not the best option. It's hard to get to. Roads -- well, a lot of the roads aren't even built in that area. It's also a militancy here as well. So that's why the military has been drafted in, a lot of it -- a lot of people being taken in by air, by helicopter and small aircraft. And that is both rescue workers and medical teams setting up satellite hospitals to deal with those people injured, many of them -- and we don't really know how many -- buried under the rubble -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: And very alarming to hear that the death toll is indeed on the rise. Saima Mohsin reporting for us, thank you.
Now let's get more now on the conditions in the quake zone as well as the size of the earthquake. I mean, the force of the quake, it was so huge it created an island.
For more, let's go straight to our Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, this island situation, this new island, is still kind of a mystery in a way when you think about it. It did appear, yes, at the time that the earthquake happened, or around that same time. And we're going to talk about that in just a moment. But let me first talk a little bit about the area impacted by the quake directly where we're seeing all of these reports of the death toll rising.
The 7.7 quake, of course, epicenter right in this area here. There's Karachi. It was felt in Karachi, but there were no reports of damage or injuries there.
This area here very difficult terrain, very complicated geology, very soft and sandy soil.
What does that mean? Well, what happens is when you have this type of terrain as opposed to let's say hard, granite rock, when the shaking occurs, you have different effects that happen to the land, to the surface. And that -- the soft, sandy soil actually increases the shaking. And it -- the way it moves. It's called liquefaction, especially closer to water here. And it almost acts as if it would become a liquid. And that will cause more damage to any kind of structure that would be in this area. That is a huge concern, of course, for those of us watching this region closely. So that is one of the things.
We -- a reporter mentioned the situation -- the problem with the traffic, or the accessibility to this area. There's the high risk of landslides that may have occurred when this intense shaking happens, so that is still going to be a concern. We don't have any rain in the forecast, so that's good news, but if we did the risk of landslides would be even greater.
So now to the business of this new land that formed. Before we talk about that, we've got to kind of understand what's happening here. We have a couple of things. Tectonic plates in this area also make it very complicated. You have three big tectonic plates moving some to the north. And this one, right over here, you can see the Eurasian plate where that earthquake happened. This is an area that would be called a strike slip zone, in other words, the land masses move side to side. That is the kind of earthquake that happened here.
Normally you could see when you have large earthquakes change the coastline quite rapidly like we saw with the Japan quake, for example, where the coastline near the epicenter moved almost a meter in some cases, or the Chilean quake, or the Banda Aceh quake for example.
But this situation is much, much different. This earthquake did not have the mechanism. With the experts I've spoken to, Kristie, to create a landmass like this, a new island. In other words, this landmass was probably not thrust up from the bottom of the ocean into this area, because of the earthquake directly.
Some of the possible causes that may have happened that this occurred is that maybe it has to do with some -- an affect that they have here known for their mud volcanoes. And the mud volcanoes basically happen very quickly and the earthquake may have triggered it. But we have had mud volcanoes and islands appear in this area when there are no earthquakes present. So we'll have to see. And of course it may take a long time to know how exactly this island formed. Back to you.
LU STOUT: Yeah, thank you very much for that explainer. In the meantime, just a massive earthquake, a devastating event. Mari Ramos there, thank you.
You're watching News Stream. And still to come on the program, we'll take you live to Iran for reaction to President Hassan Rouhani's speech to the UN and the possibility better relations with the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Mr. President. Nice to see you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour spoke with Iran's president about breaking the ice with the U.S.
Also, an Australian priest has apparently been excommunicated by Pope Francis for being vocal on some progressive issues. Find out what he said later in the program.
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 we've already brought you new details about the terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya. And a little bit later we'll tell you why Pope Francis has excommunicated an Australian priest.
But now, let's turned to day two of the United Nations general assembly.
Now leaders from Bolivia, Italy and Libya are among those due to speak. Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro had been scheduled to address the assembly this afternoon. He won't, however.
A senior U.S. official tells CNN that Mr. Maduro has decided not to attend this week's session. Now he did not give a reason.
Mr. Maduro recently accused the U.S. of refusing to issue a visa to one of his ministers and of closing its airspace to his plane.
Now speaking on Tuesday, Iran's new president struck a conciliatory tone, saying that Tehran is ready for talks on its nuclear program. He also said weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's defense.
And as for sanctions, Hassan Rouhani says that they only cause warmongering and human suffering.
Now U.S. President Obama also addressed the assembly on Tuesday, but the two leaders did not meet face to face.
Now CNN's Reza Sayah is in the Iranian capital and has been gauging people reactions to Rouhani's speech. And he joins us now live from Tehran.
And Reza, again, there at the UN general assembly, President Rouhani, he opened the door for talks, but he also lashed out against sanctions. How did his speech and his message go down there inside Iran?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The reaction here in Iran, Kristie, has been overwhelmingly positive. In many ways, a lot of Iranians here are having a love fest with their new president Hassan Rouhani. They really welcome his mild manners, his conciliatory tone. Of course, you still have some of the hard-liners, the anti-U.S. hawks who are concerned about this new approach, but remarkably their voice has been muted out, drowned out, by this newfound hope and optimism.
We've been talking to a lot of Iranians. And we haven't come across a single Iranian who has told us that they don't want better relations with the U.S. They want it to happen.
Everyone who is familiar with Iran knows that this is one of the most educated, cultured, sophisticated populations in the region. And if indeed this is the happen and U.S. and Iran improve relations it's the people who are going to gain. Remember, for years they've suffered under economic sanctions that have led to high costs of living, inflation, unemployment, travel restrictions. They want all of that to disappear. They've wanted it to disappear for a very long time. And they see Hassan Rouhani and this new approach as a golden opportunity for that to happen.
Obviously obstacles remain, first and foremost the nuclear program, Kristie. But Iranian leaders sending signals that they're ready to make concessions. And now we wait to see if these two sides can hammer out some sort of agreement -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah. And among the people of Iran, as you just stated, a sense of optimism all rallying for better ties with the U.S. Reza Sayah joining us live from Tehran. Thank you, Reza.
Now earlier Mr. Rouhani, he sat down with CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, and she joins me now live from New York.
And Christiane, you had a wide ranging interview with President Rouhani. And he also had a message in English. What did he say?
AMANPOUR: Well, that's exactly right. And to Reza's point how so many people in Iran are looking and watching and seeing how this trip is going to go. And of course they vest their president with so much hope, because they do want to see a different kind of relationship.
So at the end of an hour long interview, I asked him whether he had a message for the United States in English. And he started by saying well he hadn't spoken English for a long, long time, but he wanted to say a few words. This is a what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN: I would like to say to American people I bring peace and friendship from Iranians to Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Kristie, that was the reach out that was in keeping with all the media blitz really that Hassan Rouhani and his new government have had ever since he was elected, since he was inaugurated and in the runup to this trip.
They want to bring what he called the true face of Iran to the world. And many criticize and ask whether it's just his change of style or is it really substance. But I think he also has telegraphed, and he did so to me, that they do want to negotiate in a way that they can resolve the nuclear crisis peacefully and diplomatically. He said that we are not going to capitulate. He said we insist on our rights under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, the NPT. In other words, our right to enrichment. But we know we must show that we are transparent and that we are not diverting anything to a military program.
At his UN speech he again said we are not on the way or trying to build a weapon.
So that is the thing that obviously worries a lot of the world.
We talked quite a lot about that.
We also talked about sanctions relief. Obviously the Iranians want sanctions relief. It's hurting. And they want it. It's going to be incredibly difficult. And we're going to see whether Iran and America, who will now directly negotiate around the nuclear issue, because both Iranian foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state had been authorized by their presidents to do so. And President Rouhani told me he has the authority from the top leadership in Iran, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to actually negotiate and to try to use this window to achieve some diplomatic progress.
Now when I asked why they didn't meet -- President Obama and President Rouhani he told me this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROUHANI (through translator): There were some talks about it, in fact, to perhaps arrange for a meeting between President Obama and myself so that given the opportunity we can talk with each other. And preparation for the work was done a bit as well.
The United States declared its interest in having such a meeting. And in principle could have under certain circumstances allowed it to happen.
But I believe we didn't have sufficient time to really coordinate the meeting.
But speaking of the icebreaking that you mentioned, it's already beginning to break, because the environment is changing. And that has come about as a result of the will of the people of Iran to create a new era of relations between the people of Iran and the rest of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But of course the fact that they didn't have a hallway handshake or exchange any words does show that it's still a sensitive issue, at least among some quarters, as Reza was outlining, the very hard- liners in Iran.
So we'll see how the negotiations go.
Another thing that he took steps to try to distance himself from, the very antagonistic eight years of Ahmadinejad who used to come here to New York and really take great relish in poking the U.S. in the eye and poking Israel in the eye and in denying the holocaust during his eight years as president.
I asked President Rouhani about that. And he was very clear and said to me that that crimes that the Nazis perpetrated the Jews and others was, as he put it, reprehensible and the Iran condemned it an all forms of genocide.
So that was a definite change from what Ahmadinejad used to say. And he also said that it isn't Iran's policy to wipe Israel off the map, to attack Israel or threaten Israel with any kind of military operations.
So I think again I asked him these issues, because the President of the United States brought them up in his speech and because they are things that have really worried the world under the eight years of Ahmadinejad -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Very wide ranging and revealing interview. Christiane Amanpour there. Thank you.
And you can see that interview -- oh, I'm sorry, go ahead.
AMANPOUR: No, no, go ahead. You were going to say it for me.
LU STOUT: Oh, yes. This is it. We're going to tell everyone to tune in tonight at 10:00 in Abu Dhabi, 7:00 p.m. in London. They don't want to miss this interview. Christiane Amanpour talking with Hassan Rouhani. Christiane Amanpour there, thank you.
Now you're watching News Stream. And after the break, homosexuality, it is still a taboo subject in South Korean society, but one couple held a wedding ceremony hoping to change attitudes. And we'll be dropping in on the event.
LU STOUT: You're back watching News Stream.
Now this South Korean couple is at the forefront of the fight for gay rights there. Like many countries in Asia, South Korea has not legalized same-sex marriage.
Now Paula Hancocks tells us about the campaign to change that.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Musical vows in front of hundreds of guests and plenty of wardrobe changes. It was a moment of theater in downtown Seoul earlier this month. This was South Korea's first public same-sex wedding, symbolic rather than legal as gay marriage is not recognized here.
But that did nothing to dampen the mood of well known film director Kim Jokwan-soo (ph) and his partner of nine years Dave Kim.
"The media now refers to us as married," says Kim. "So we finally became an officially married couple regardless of legal recognition. So South Korean society has to accept the reality of an officially married gay couple."
The son in this conservative nation has refused to accept it. One unidentified man rushed onto the stage to protest the union as others protested nearby.
The couple says even if there is negative reaction, at least people are finally talking about gay marriage.
Kim says, "some people considered homosexuality to be disgusting before it was in the public eye and before this wedding. That was because they didn't know much about it. But now they see it's not as disgusting as expected."
The couple hopes they can turn the issue of homosexuality from a taboo subject in this country into a public debate. They're planning to apply for an official marriage license if, as expected, that is rejected. They'll then take their case to the constitutional court.
(on camera): Some lawmakers are trying to introduce an anti- discrimination law which would further gay rights and promote equality, although it doesn't specifically mention marriage. The legislation, though, is facing strong opposition from conservative Christian groups.
(voice-over): The couple is expecting a tough fight in the country where traditional values prevent many people from coming out of the closet. But they're determined to have some fun along the way.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
LU STOUT: And here in the Asia-Pacific region only one country has legalized same-sex marriage. And that is New Zealand.
Now you're watching News Stream. And coming up, we'll have more from the UN general assembly as the French president calls for swift action on a resolution for Syria.
And Pope Francis is making headlines for what are considered more liberal views. So why has he excommunicated an Australian priest? We'll tell you after the break.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now at least 306 people are dead after a major earthquake hit Pakistan. The 7.7 magnitude tremor, it struck Balochistan Province in the southwest of the country on Tuesday, reducing buildings to rubble and raising fears that many people could be trapped in the wreckage.
Now Kenya has begun three days of mourning for the victims of a terror attack at a Nairobi shopping center. At least 61 civilians and six security officials were killed in the four day siege at the Westgate Mall. And according to a source, a British national is the latest person arrested for suspicion of involvement in the attack.
Now judges in the trial of Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino have agreed to a new examination of the cruise liner, that's according to a Costa line spokesman. Now divers will be looking for further evidence surrounding the ships water-tight doors.
But the reexamination, it could delay the trial for months.
And new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani tells the UN that Tehran is ready to engage in nuclear talks. And U.S. President Obama is directing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue a possible nuclear agreement. Addressing the UN general assembly, Mr. Rouhani said that Iran wants peace, not war.
Now French President Francois Hollande is urging quick action on the UN security council resolution on Syria. He says there must be consequences if the Assad government does not follow through on its pledge to give up chemical weapons. Now Mr. Hollande is also pushing for a larger political solution to the crisis.
On Tuesday, he spoke in an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): I was proud that my country did not take part to what happened in Iraq. I considered this was not our role and that there was no truth about the weapons of mass destruction.
But here we're talking about 120,000 people dead in two and a half years, 2 million refugees, 18,000 dead in a year, also adding to one another, the forces of the regime, al Qaeda, as well, which is now in Syria.
And in the middle, the democratic coalition which cannot find a political solution. So it is urgent that we act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Francois Holland there.
Now for his part, U.S. President Barack Obama is also calling for strong security council action on Syria. He says the UN's credibility is on the line.
Now CNN's Elise Labott is following all the diplomatic maneuvering. She joins us now live from the United Nations. And Elise, the big question this week, will there be an agreement on a resolution to enforce that chemical weapons deal with Syria?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the U.S. and Russia are really working furiously on it. Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday met with Russian foreign minister Lavrov with a text in hand as officials told us marking it up really trying to come to agreement on some of those key issues about how you would determine what -- whether there was a violation of this agreement, whether, you know, how would it work at the UN security council under this chapter 7, which could pave the way for military force.
These are the kind of questions that the U.S. and Russia are trying to work out before it goes to the UN security council.
In parallel, there's also discussions going on at The Hague from the OPCW about how this framework for dismantling Syria's chemical weapons would happen.
I think there's still some issues to be worked out, but the U.S. and Russia say both that they're really eager to put this to the UN security council and move forward with actually dismantling the program.
LU STOUT: Yeah, there's that sticking point of compliance and a possible use of force. But is there also another sticking point? We know that John Kerry, he will sign the UN trade treaty that regulates arms sales. When he does that, how will Russia respond?
LABOTT: Well, it's really interesting. The U.S. has kind of held off on signing this agreement , because it's very controversial here in the United States with the gun lobby, with the NRA, which is really -- doesn't want the administration to sign that, because it has issues of gun rights.
But why the U.S. signed it, officials told us, is because they want to put pressure on Russia to stop arms sales to the Syrian regime. And in effect the more people that sign this treaty, it does, in effect, make supplying a regime that commits atrocities against its people a crime under the international law.
So what they're hoping is this will all pressure the Russians to stop arms sales, get tougher on the regime and give them a little bit of leverage as they make these negotiations on the resolution.
LU STOUT; Yeah, but signing that treaty later today, it could rile up the Russians. It will definitely rile up the NRA, as you pointed out. Elise Labott joining us live from the UN, thank you. Take care.
Now the retired Pope Benedict, he's speaking out on the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church, breaking his silence for the first time since retiring earlier this year. The 86-year-old wrote a letter to an Italian philosopher. And in it he says abuse allegations caused him deep dismay.
He adds that, quote, I never tried to cover up these things.
Now the letter was published in the Italian newspaper La Republica.
Now, Pope Francis, he's been called the people's pope. And some say he's instilled hope of a more modern outlook. But in a recent interview, he said the door is closed on women becoming priests. And he's taken a rare step by ex-communicating an Australian priest who supports the ordination of women.
Now John Allen is a senior correspondent at the National Catholic Reporter, and also CNN's Vatican analyst. And I asked him about why the pope has taken this position.
JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, technically, Father Gregory Reynolds was excommunicated basically for disobedience. In 2011, he was told he could no longer act as a Catholic priest, but he defied that order. He actually founded his own breakaway community and continued to celebrate mass and so on.
But in the background of all of that is the fact that he is an outspoken champions of liberal causes, in particular the ordination of women to the priesthood and also gay marriage. Of course those are two positions that don't square with official Catholic teaching. And so ultimately this is about imposing a kind of indoctrinal discipline.
LU STOUT: And what impact will this excommunication have on the image of Pope Francis, known as the people's pope. Many have casted him as a modern-day reformer for the church?
ALLEN: Yeah, well you know we've been saying all along that what Pope Francis is doing is changing the church's tone, but perhaps not changing its teaching. And I suppose what we've seen during the first six months, there's been a lot of new tone, a more compassionate, merciful, welcoming face -- reaching out to women, reaching out to gays and so on. But this is, I guess, the first full indication that the other part of that equation, that is not changing the teaching, is also true.
Now, I mean, it should be said that this process against Father Reynolds started well before Francis was elected to the papacy, but this excommunication came with his approval. And I suppose it's proof that if you paint this pope into a corner, he will impose discipline in order to maintain the teaching of the church.
LU STOUT: And on a practical level, what does it mean to be excommunicated? What happens to the person in question?
ALLEN: Well, I mean, the traditional Catholic theology is that excommunication is supposed to be a medicinal measure, meaning it's supposed to wake somebody up and hopefully invite them to conversion. But Father Reynolds has not given any indication that he intends to change his position on these issues.
So, I mean, in practice what it means is that he is excluded from the sacraments of the Catholic church. So he's not supposed to receive communion and so on, certainly not supposed to act as a priest.
But, you know, in the real world I'm not sure how much difference it's going to make. As I say, for a couple of years now, he's been leading a breakaway Catholic community in Australia that he calls an inclusive church that blesses gay marriage and has women clergy and so on. And in all indications are he will continue to do it.
So this may not change very much in terms of what he is doing. I suppose it's just the clearest possible way the church has of saying that it doesn't approve.
LU STOUT: Now strong insight from our senior Vatican analyst John Allen there.
Now up next right here on News Stream, is there any place left on earth where you can't use your electronic gadgets? Now there are some. But one big holdout may be about to cave. We'll tell you which one after the break.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now frequent flyers are familiar with the rules that make them turn their gadgets off on airplanes. But those regulations could soon loosen up. A report studying the safety of personal electronic devices on planes is due out this month.
Let's get some perspective from our regular contributor Nicholas Thompson. He is the editor of The New York.com. And Nick, let's talk about the rules and how they stand today at the status quo. I mean, electronic devices from eReaders to tablets to iPods cannot be turned on during takeoff and landing. What is the logic and thinking behind that?
NICK THOMPSON, NEW YORKER.COM: Well, there are a couple of arguments for this. So, number one is that any two-way transmission device, so for example a cellphone or a television or something like that is sending out radio signals and receiving radio signals. At the same time, the airplane has little antennas on it that are receiving and sending out signals to either to satellites up above or to base stations in airports down below.
So the idea is that the signals that are coming out of the passenger's devices could either be picked up by the little antenna on the airplane or more like could just interfere with the signals either coming from above or from below and confuse what's going on in the cockpit.
There have been examples in the past where pilots have believed that electronic devices have interfered with their flight systems, and for example fritzed the collision detection system, which is something you really want to have working. But there hasn't been any proof or evidence or scientific tests that have shown this really happening.
So it's been something that theoretically we know can happen. And because we're so risk averse we've had a very tough policy on limiting the use of these devices during the most crucial parts of a flight, which is the takeoff and the landing.
LU STOUT: So no proof, but just this fear of interference.
Now another concern raised by flight attendance and safety advocates about devices on planes is that a laptop or eReader can be a dangerous projectile during turbulence or a bumpy landing. Do you buy that argument at all?
THOMPSON: Not really. I mean, there are a couple of -- there's some good arguments -- one good argument for why you might want all these devices turned off is you really need the -- you need the passenger's attention during the crucial parts of a flight, right. So when you're landing, that's when something could go wrong very suddenly. You don't want someone desperately checking their email.
So having them turn off their devices saying it's for, you know, airplane -- electronic safety, but really it's just you can have their attention, that strikes me as a partially legitimate reason.
The idea that they can become projectiles -- maybe, but so can a book. That strikes me as a little bit of a flimsy argument.
LU STOUT: Yeah, good point there.
And when and if change happens, when we can turn on our electronic devices with the communications off during takeoff and landing, in flight, what kind of impact, like business impact or social impact could that have?
THOMPSON: Well, I think -- first of all I think that the rules as they are being discussed -- a new report that's coming out from the FAA sounds entirely reasonable, which is that it would allow us to use one-way communication systems, right. So if you're watching a little video on a screen or you're reading an electronic book on a Kindle you're not sending out radio signals, you're just watching a screen. So there's no possibility of interference.
So I think the most rational system would be to allow these one-way communication devices like little video players and to ban the two-way communication devices at the crucial times.
The actual impact on business, I'm not sure -- I think some people will be able to get a little more work done. Some people will probably get a little less work done.
There's this funny cultural phenomenon we have right now where airplanes, which used to be this moment where people didn't think they could get work done, now are this moment where people do think they can get work done. I have lots of writers who say, oh, I'll write a draft on the airplane. And it's because it's a moment where, because your devices are turned off, you actually are able to concentrate a little bit more on a long project without, you know, shifting over to email, or shifting over to Twitter.
So maybe allowing more of these devices will make us less productive or more productive.
But back to the central point, I think the rational solution is to allow one-way communication, but not two-way communication at those crucial junctures.
LU STOUT: You know, the general sense is out there that change is coming. But I just got the sense from you, just then, that you won't be welcoming it necessarily.
THOMPSON: Well, I certainly won't be welcoming -- I mean, what I hope never happens, I hope we never have, you know, cell phones where people talk on airplanes, right. That would be so distracting and that would be so irritating.
I do think there should be a relaxation of the rules, in part because there's this very strange dynamic that's created among flight attendants who are going around telling people to turn off devices that everybody knows don't really pose a risk. So it creates this kind of irrational, unhappy system at the beginning and the end of a flight.
So I'd be very happy to have that removed. But I also do think that it is beneficial to people to have moments where your devices aren't constantly beeping at you, pinging you and demanding your attention. Airplanes, very weirdly, have become one of the cultural places where that happens.
So it's a rather strange societal phenomenon.
LU STOUT: You know, I agree with that, but I also am looking forward to the opportunity to be able to listen to my playlist during takeoff and landing on my iPod, buds in. I'm really looking forward to that.
THOMPSON: You absolutely should be able to listen to your playlist. That's -- definitely, I'm all for that, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Thank you very much. Fly Me to the Moon, et cetera, we can create, you know, a fantastic playlist here.
Nick Thompson of the New Yorker.com. Thank you. Take care.
Now, to CNN Heroes. And this individual, he was a drug addict. He was a convict and an absent father. But now, the CNN Hero, his name is Joe Jones. Is giving back to the community.
Now his center helps men who are struggling to turn their lives around to become better fathers. Let's take a look at his inspiring story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sold drugs on and off throughout my life.
The tattoos when I first got them was war paint. I didn't think about my son. I did not think about my family. They did not exist.
JOE JONES, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: I have not met one man who didn't want to be a good dad, they just don't know how to be good dads.
What male has helped to shape who you are?
We have young men who didn't have fathers in their own lives and the cycle of father absence repeated. And we want them to change that for their children.
I'm Joe Jones, I work to help fathers and families become responsible for themselves, their children and their communities.
I was 9-years-old when my dad left the house. I began using drugs when I was 13. I spent time in jail consistently. And I also had a son who I wasn't responsible for.
There's no reason why you can't get out of the hole, regardless of what the circumstances are. I'm telling you.
There aren't many spaces in our community where men can go and feel safe.
On your marks, get your baby. Go.
And constructive and healthy.
We are members of (inaudible) Urban Families.
We recruit on the streets, because you have to penetrate the community.
Responsible fatherhood. That's the stuff we've been doing, that why we built this center.
You can make mistakes, but you can cover those mistakes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe has allowed me to find and restore my dignity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We currently have six classes left for you to take. You're almost done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one of the greatest things that you can offer anyone.
When you see someone, and they've got that pride, that light in their eye is relit, you have to touch it. It was unlimited. They're showing their little boys and little girls what it means to be a man, what it means to be a dad.
LU STOUT: And you can find all of our CNN Heroes for 2013 on our website, CNN.com/heroes.
Now this is News Stream. And coming up next, CNN sat down with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to chat about the company's new tablets, and of course his headline making acquisition of The Washington Post.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now Amazon's Jeff Bezos, the head of an ecommerce and computing empire, he made the news last month by buying a newspaper, not just any newspaper, he bought The Washington Post.
Now for generations, the same family owned the U.S. daily before running into financial trouble. And right now, Bezos is in California. Amazon is announcing three new Kindle Fire tablets. He just sat down with CNN's Dan Simon. And Dan joins us now live from San Francisco -- Dan.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi Kristie. He is arguably the most respected CEO on the planet right now. And he is poised to shake up the newspaper industry. We talked about that, but he also wanted to discuss Amazon's new tablets and a breakout new feature.
JEFF BEZOS, AMAZON CEO: Hi.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jeff.
(voice-over): When you meet Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos, you're immediately struck by two things.
SIMON: That legendary laugh -- and his nearly unmatched focus on customer service.
BEZOS: We know customers like low prices, we know customers like big selection, and we know that customers like fast delivery. Those things are going to be true 10 years from now. They're going to be true 20 years from now.
So, we can count on those things and we can put energy into them.
SIMON: He met with us at Amazon's Seattle headquarters to personally show off the company's new lined souped-up, lightweight Kindle Fire tablets. One of them is priced at only $139. Apple's cheapest iPad is nearly $200 more.
(on camera): One of the things you've done so well at Amazon is undercut all of your rivals by keeping the prices low. Does that same strategy apply to tablets?
BEZOS: Yes, our approach is premium products at non-premium prices. So, we saw the hardware at break even. So, we don't try to make any money when we sell the hardware. We hope to make money when people use the devices, not when they buy the devices. And so, that's a very different approach from most companies. Most companies are building quite a bit of profit into the sale of these devices.
SIMON (voice-over): The approach this time also includes a feature never seen before on any kind of device. It's called "Mayday", 24/7 tech support.
TECH SUPPORT: Thanks for using Amazon assist. I see how hit the "Mayday" button. I'm your tech adviser James, how can I help you today.
BEZOS: You can tap the mayday button and a tech support adviser will appear on your screen and can draw on your screen and guide you through things and teach you how to do things.
SIMON: Bezos, of course, has been in the headlines for something else. His $250 million purchase of "The Washington Post." These are among his first public comments on the acquisition.
(on camera): Why did you get into the newspaper business?
BEZOS: For me, I thought "The Washington Post" is an important institution. And I am optimistic about its future.
It's a personal investment. I'm hopeful that I can help from a distance, in part by providing runway for them to do a series of experiments and in part through bringing some of the philosophy that we have used at Amazon to "The Post."
SIMON (voice-over): That philosophy, he says, comes down to this.
BEZOS: What has worked at Amazon is focusing on the customer, putting the customer first, which is easy to say but difficult to do. If you really are customer-centric, it's like being the host of a party. You're holding the party for your guests. Sometimes, the host of the party is holding the party for the host of the party. That leads to a different kind of party.
SIMON: Well, Bezos also weighed in on the once dominant BlackBerry. He says he doesn't know how the company stumbled so badly and that business schools will be studying BlackBerry for a very, very long time -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah. It's good they ask him about that. But it's also interesting to hear about that core Amazon philosophy, about putting the customer first. And we'll see how that translates over at Washington Post.
I can see how that translates in the latest iteration of these Kindle Fire tablets, especially with that may day button. How might these new tablets from Amazon rank against the iPad?
SIMON: Well, right now the Kindle has very little marketshare, but obviously the approach for Amazon -- and this applies to their entire business -- is they sell their prices obviously their products at a very low price. And so they get very little margin.
You know, Jeff Bezos is famous for saying your margin is my opportunity. So that's how he approaches that business.
As for this mayday feature, he's very excited about that. The company is putting a lot of resources into it.
Imagine, you've got staff a whole call center of people -- of technical support just to, you know, answer all these questions when people buy these tablets. It's going to be very interesting to see how that plays out and whether or not the rivals, you know, sort of emulate that feature, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah. 24/7 customer service at a touch of the button. Dan Simon joining us live from San Francisco, thank you.
And before we go, I want to tell you about an amazing comeback for Oracle Team USA at the America's Cup. Now trailing 8-1 in yachting's most prestigious competition, the defending champion tied the series 8-8 on Tuesday in San Francisco Bay taking the competition to a winner takes all final.
And here is what the rival skippers have to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY SPITHILL, ORACLE TEAM USA SKIPPER: This game, it just doesn't matter by trailing you guys all along doesn't matter how steep the challenge in the second race there, we got behind one of the boys there that (inaudible) I just outground the other team. And, you know, very, very impressive. Gives us a lot of confidence.
DEAN BARKER, EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND SKIPPER: Simply shocker. You know, we (inaudible) make a bit of a play to try and mix it up, but that just (inaudible) really, really bad spot. And, yeah, just bad option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: You know, it was a shocker. Now it all comes down to the winner take all final race later today.
And that is New Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.