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Charity Helps Syrian Children Without Shoes; Interview with Leroy Chiao; Apple Strikes Deal With China MObile; Pussy Riot Members Released From Prison; The Business Of Will Ferrell

Aired December 23, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


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

Now, two members of the Russian activist rock group Pussy Riot have been freed from prison after Russia passed a sweeping amnesty law last week.

Now, two astronauts will try again to fix the International Space Station on Tuesday. And I'll speak to a man who spent over six months up there, Leroy Chiao.

And Apple has finally convinced the world's largest mobile company to sell the iPhone, China Mobile.

Now two members of Russia's activist punk band Pussy Riot have been freed two months before the end of their prison sentence. That's thanks to a sweeping amnesty bill passed by parliament last week.

Now Maria Alyokhina was released on the weekend. Now this is her in a photo, it was taken last year. Now her band mate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova walked free today. She is pictured here. And they're among several hundred prisoners to be released under the new amnesty law.

But as the country prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February, some see the decree is little more than a publicity stunt.

Now Tolokonnikova's husband told CNN that he was cynical about the motive behind it all.


PYOTR VERZILOV, NADEZHDA TOLOKONNIKOVA: President Putin obviously used this amnesty option to lighten up his image before the Olympic games. Obviously two months out of almost two years of the girls have served is not much.

So, while the affect of this amnesty at least for Maria and Nadezhda is not really felt.


LU STOUT: And the new amnesty law granted freedom to another prominent Russian dissident, Mikhail Khodorkovsky . Once the richest man in Russia was released from prison last week after 10 years behind bars.

Now he sat down for his first TV interview with CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. And she asked him if he forgave President Putin.


MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY, FREED FROM PRISON (through translator): I would say it in a slightly different way. I don't consider this to be rational behavior. And what -- and something which I do not consider to be rational is something that I can live with.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Will you go into politics? What is your plan for the future?

KHODORKOVSKY (through translator): I cannot say that I've exactly decided on my plans now. But what I've certainly decided for myself is that I do not want to be a symbol that Russia does not remain a political prison, a political prisoner. I want to be a symbol of the efforts of society.


LU STOUT: And that was Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of hundreds of political dissidents freed from prison under a new amnesty law there in Russia.

Now South Korea say money and not power was a reason for the recent execution of Kim Jong un's uncle. Now the North Korean leader is believed to have clashed with his uncle Jang Sung-taek, seen here on the left, over business projects. Now that is according to a new report by Seoul's main intelligence service.

Now analysts have been speculating about Kim's grip on power ever since the unusual announcement of his uncle's execution.

Now Anna Coren joins us live from CNN Seoul. And Anna, do you have any more clarity on exactly what led to the execution of Kim Jong un's uncle?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well Kristie fascinating insight, really, into what's taking place inside the hermit kingdom. The national intelligence service released a report to lawmakers today here in Seoul saying that it wasn't a power struggle that I guess forced the execution of Jang Sung-taek, Kim Jong un's uncle, but rathera conflict of interest over coal and a trade deal.

We don't really know much more than that. But certainly different to what analysts thought.

You know, people thought that perhaps he was trying to consolidate power, that his power was very much threatened by his uncle who of course was second in command and also his mentor. But now it turned out to be a business deal gone wrong. So that's the information that we are hearing.

But certainly that execution caught many by surprise. It took place less than two weeks ago. We saw those pictures of his uncle being taken away during a meeting in front of party officials. Well, it now turns out, according to the NIS, that that was in fact choreographed, that in fact he had been arrested back in November and that that display was for not just party officials, but also for the media.

Of course North Korea very much controls the images and information that it disseminates.

So that was the message that it wanted to get out to the world that -- and also to those in North Korea that Kim Jong un is very much in control, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And Anna, staying in North Korea, why did Dennis Rodman leave the country without a meeting with his so-called good friend Kim Jong un?

COREN: Yeah, his very good friend. I know, quite surprising. We thought that the two men would have met.

Of course, this is Dennis Rodman's third trip to North Korea. He was there to train the national basketball team, which of course is preparing for that exhibition game next month which will celebrate the birthday of Kim Jong un on January 8. But no meeting between the two men.

Rodman later said that, you know, he doesn't have to meet with Kim on every single trip, that he knows that he's a busy man. He's running a country. But that he'll definitely be there back in January for the big game.

The interesting thing, though Kristie, is that not a lot of information, certainly not a lot of pictures came from his five day trip, certainly we anticipated a lot more coverage. It was just a few pictures of him training with the team.

And even in Beijing when he was mobbed by reporters, it was -- he was very short as to, you know, his comments on his trip. When he asked what it was like he said, you know, it was awesome and that he was looking forward to returning in a weeks time in preparation for that big game.

He has yet to announce the American team that will be playing against the North Koreans. We believe it's going to be made up of former NBA stars, but we are getting reports that some of them are actually a bit concerned about the political situation and about their safety.

But apparently Rodman has assured them that everything is fine, there's nothing to worry about and that he will be making that announcement, team announcement very shortly, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, short on both comments and photos with this latest trip. You just mentioned he'll be returning to North Korea, well he's planning to go back there next month.

What is the point of all this and the so-called basketball diplomacy? I mean, is it all about reviving his own career? Or is there something else here?

COREN: Who knows what goes through Dennis Rodman's mind. You know, this is a 52-year-old man who was a former NBA star, obviously a very big deal back in the day. He was, you know, inducted into the hall of fame. I guess his career, if you like, took to the sidelines for awhile. And this has certainly brought him back into, you know, the media's focus and, you know, people's attention.

He has struck up this very unusual friendship, I should say, with Kim Jong un. It's quite bizarre the two men seemed to hit it off. We know that Kim Jong un is obviously a diehard basketball fan.

But as far as basketball diplomacy goes, you know, he talks about bridging the gap between North Korea and the United States. These two countries haven't spoken, you know, directly for several years now. The reason being is that North Korea is so adamant about developing its nuclear weapons program.

But certainly he is not interested whatsoever in engaging in any political talk. You know, there were activists who were appealing to Dennis Rodman to speak to Kim Jong un, not that he had that opportunity on this trip, because the two men didn't meet. But they wanted him to pass on a personal message about human rights, about North Koreans who obviously -- their treatment in that country, many of them have defected, many of them have obviously left family members behind.

Also, Kenneth Bae, that American missionary who was sentenced to 15 years hard labor earlier this year after, you know, the government accused him of attempting to overthrow the regime. But Dennis Rodman has made it perfectly clear he is not an ambassador, he is not interested in entering into any sort of political dialogue with Kim Jong un whatsoever. He's just there to play basketball, train the players and have a good game come the 8th of January, Kristie.

LU STOUT; All right, Anna Coren, live in Seoul for us. Thank you, Anna.

Now Rodman's controversial trips have been criticized because of North Korea's human rights record. Amnesty International's latest report says systemic violations remain widespread. As many as 200,000 people are believed to be held in North Korea's network of prison camps. And survivors say life inside is one of forced labor and torture, executions and starvation.

Outside the prison camps, millions of North Koreans face food shortages. Now the World Food Program says almost one in every three children is chronically malnourished or stunted. And that's partly because of the largescale spending on the military that leaves little for civilian investment.

Now North Koreans are largely cut off from communicating with the world. In a country of nearly 25 million people, there are fewer than 2 million cellphones. And while foreigners like Dennis Rodman can now tweet, only the elite have access to the Internet.

Now you are watching News Stream. And still ahead, barefoot in a blizzard, Syrian refugee children, they are struggling to stay warm. We'll tell you about an incredible donation aiming to change that.

And with urgent repairs still needed on the International Space Station, two astronauts are preparing for a Christmas Eve spacewalk.

And it is a public relations nightmare for this communications exec. How a highly insensitive tweet cost Justine Sacco her job.


LU STOUT: Let's return to our top story this hour, the last jailed member of the Russian activist punk group Pussy Riot is now free.

Now CNN's Diana Magnay is in the region of Siberia where the anti- Putin activist Alyokina was released from prison just hours ago.

Let's cross over to her now. And Diana, I understand that you spoke to one of the released members of Pussy Riot. What did she tell you?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I just spoke to Nadya Tolokonnikova who is about -- who in fact just walked into the apartment building where she'll be seeing her grandmother again for the first time. And she was very calm, very composed, said that she was in a working mood and that she wanted to keep working. Now that she knows the sort of prison system, she wants to help people who are still inside.

I asked her if she was interested in working together with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who said something very similar in that press conference that he gave on Sunday about how he's like to raise global awareness of the Russian penal system and do whatever he could to try and help those inside.

And she said, yes, I think that could be a very good relationship, could be a very good cooperation.

And she said also, you know, I really want to spend some time now, though, with my family. She has a little 5-year-old daughter who is still in Moscow, so she hasn't been reunited with her yet. But she seemed very positive and very sort of enthusiastic about continuing with her work and her activism.

I also asked her why she thought she'd been released now, why this amnesty, this huge amnesty had been granted by the Russian president. She said she thinks it's no coincidence that it's two months before the Sochi Olympics and but of course it was a publicity stunt on his behalf, Kristie.

LU STOUT: So, Tolokonnikova teling you that she is elated, that she is planning to return to Moscow to short-term be with her family, her husband, her daughter there. But also incredibly is planning to return to activism.

Now just a reminder here, even though that they've been granted amnesty by the Russian president, I mean they really served out most of their two year jail term already. They were due to be released just months from now.

So Diana, just give us an idea where they were there in jail in Sibera and what that experience was like for them.

MAGNAY: Well, they were in two separate penal colonies. And in fact Nadya was about 300 miles from Moscow for most of her time in a penal colony in Moldovia (ph), which was very, very grim. And in September this year, she wrote a letter from there that was an open letter, actually published in The Guardian, talking about the horror of the kind of work that they were put through.

You know, they were working 16 days. She was sewing police officer's uniforms. They had terrible food. No -- they were allowed to wash their hair once a week. She talked about it as though it was slave labor. She said one of the inmates was beaten to death. She'd seen a woman try and kill herself to try and escape these (inaudible).

And she, herself, went on two hunger strikes, the last in September. And because this hunger strike weakened her to such an extent, she was then transferred here to Siberia to a hospital affiliated with the prison system, which is where she spent the last couple of months.

And as you say, they were due to be released in two months anyway. So it seems very (inaudible) of President Putin, you know, the grant them this amnesty seemingly covering himself in glory when in any case they had served nearly the full term of this two year sentence.

As had Mikhail Khodorovsky. He was due to be released in August this year. He's already done 10 years.

You know, it is a symbolic gesture, very close to the Olympics. But these people had served their time. And what is interesting is to hear them come out and be just as defiant as they were when they went in, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, indeed. Diana Magnay joining us on the line there in Siberia. Diana, thank you so much for joining us and telling us what you just heard moments ago from an interview with Tolokonnikova now free as a result of that amnesty.

Now, opposition groups say that hundreds of people in Syria have been killed after a week of deadly air raid on the city of Aleppo. And speaking to CNN, doctors in Aleppo say that there has been a massacre and hospitals are struggling to cope.

Now helicopters have been dropping drums filled with explosives. These are called barrel bombs.

Now the Syrian Arab news agency reports that the government says it has been targeting rebel held areas. But opposition groups say that the air raids are killing ciilians.

Now, they have fled the conflict to neighboring countries, but now Syrians living in refugee camps are enduring a harsh Middle East winter. Many Syrian children don't have warm clothes, some don't even have shoes.

As Arwa Damon reports, their struggle has inspired a Lebanese woman to donate thousands of pairs of winter boots.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was the image of the Syrian refugee children with no shoes in the bitter winter cold and mud that Hala Qiblawi, a designer and mother of three, couldn't get out of her mind for the last year. So she decided to do something about it, just as Lebanon was hit with a heavy storm.

HALA HABIB QIBLAWI, BOOTS FOR SYRIA KIDS: Everybody is angry at the government, everybody is angry at the silence of everyone. Everbody, everybody was thinking of the refugees. And seeing that anger and I myself worried and angry, I launched it.

DAMON: It worked. Hala, a Lebanese of Palestinian decent, raised her target of 2000 winter boots in the first 24 hours, ending up with thousands more and counting.

Amid the eagerly awaiting crowd were swarmed by a group of friends.

9-year-old Amina proud of her skill.

(on camera): She's going to show me how she can write her name in English.

(voice-over): But her neighbor Suzanne, 5, is pretty quiet. The older children tell us Suzanne's (ph) father was killed by a sniper, one brother in jail and another wounded.

We go to see where Suzanne lives.

(on camera): The girls were just saying that it wasn't too long ago that the mud was so deep here it was up to their knees. And that was right around when Lebanon was going through one of its coldest spells in history.

Her sister show us the cardboard they shoved into the makeshift ceiling to absorb the rainwater. Outour, 13, worked the fields in the summer. Without a father, it's her burden to help make ends meet. And, yes, they miss him desperately.

As we chat, their mother arrives, weary, her heart so broken she seems numb to it all.

"My eldest, her husband died recently too. They had three kids," she tells us.

But on this day, as Hala says one of her friends described it, perhaps something of a Cinderella moment for the children.

QIBLAWI: It's true. And the seeing the happiness on the children's faces, the dignity. They were all so proud and so dignified.

DAMON: Organizing the distribution is a non-profit, SAWA for Syria, founded by 25-year-old Rouba Mhaissen, a Lebanese-Syrian PhD candidate who two years ago was in London, came back for a visit and couldn't leave.

ROUBA MHAISSEN, SAWA FOR SYRIA: The number of refugees has reached the ceiling of 2 million refugees in Lebanon with a complete chaos and NGOs, a complete lack of institutional coordination. So (inaudible) organizations like us and many other initiatives are taking the lead to try and do something.

But still, the need is very, very huge.

DAMON: SAWA for Syria distributes aid and helps manage the camps scattered haphazardly throughout Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, relying on volunteers to get the work done and the kindness of strangers across the globe.

For Hala, the support she got for her small project was overwheliming.

QIBLAWI: It's like really seeing -- realizing that there is still humanity, you know, on Earth, especially in this part of the world.

DAMON: A little bit of help in a world that continues to be only too cruel to these children.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.


LU STOUT: Incredible outreach and support for Syria's refugee children.

Coming up, you're watching News Stream. NASA astronauts are heading for a stroll. They're out to repair a pump on the International Space Station. But first, they've got a few other problems to take care of. We'll take you on board expedition 38 as they prepare for the big mission.


LU STOUT: Welcome back. Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.

Now, another reminder that it pays to be careful what you say online. Now the former corporate communications exec Justine Sacco has lost her job and made a public apology after this tweet of her sparked a vicious backlash from the Twitterverse. Now she tweeted this before she left for South Africa last Friday. And by the time she touched down in Cape Town, her words had created a global social media firestorm.

Now Sacco said that her comments were, quote, "needless and careless. And her Twitter account has now been deleted."

Now CNN's Pamela Brown has more for us from CNN New York. She joins now.

And Pamela, I mean the social media outcry from this, it was huge.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was huge. And it's so unusual, Kristie, that a publicist would be at the center of a -- really, a publicity firestorm like this. 53 characters, that is all it took for Justine Sacco to lose her job. She had been a PR executive for eight years. But as it turns out that tweet that caused her to lose her job is just one of several tasteless tweets on her now disabled Twitter account.


BROWN (voice-over): Social media is calling it the tweet heard around the world. "Going to Africa, hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding, I'm white. ??Now three days after P.R. exec Justine Sacco sent out that tweet, she is out of a job and apologizing. On Sunday, Sacco issued this statement saying, "Words cannot express how sorry I am and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet, for being insensitive to this crisis and to the millions of people living with this virus, I am ashamed."

Sacco was a head of P.R. for IAC, the media company owned by Barry Diller, that operates Web sites like The Daily Beast, College Humor, and But on Saturday, the company said Sacco is no longer a good match, firing her. ??

The now former P.R. exec found herself the target of a social media mob on Friday, sending out that tweet right before logging offline while on her 12-hour flight from London to her native South Africa.??

JOE CONCHA, COLUMNIST, MEDIAITE: Not only is this a publicist's worst nightmare. It's any public figure's worst nightmare, to send out a tweet. It's kind of like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. You can't take it back. ??

BROWN: Her Twitter page immediately filled with hateful comments, the #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide. One guy following the hashtag even awaiting her arrival at the Capetown airport. A trial by Twitter as many are calling it.

According to her LinkedIn page, Sacco was also formally a publicist for the WWE. ??On her now disabled Twitter page, she has a cache of questionable now deleted tweets like, "I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night" and "I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated, right?" Leaving many to wonder how could P.R. expert not know how to manage her own social media.??

CONCHA: I don't think people like Justine realize the immediacy of Twitter, one tweet, one statement is all it takes in the world of Twitter, in the world of social media to cost somebody their career.??


BROWN: And if there is any good that can come from this controversy, it seems that there's been more attention placed on AIDS relief charities. In fact, Kristie, someone bought the domain and directed it to AID for Africa, a relief website.

So, you know, at least people are trying to sort of do some good and try to turn this into a positive in this way.

LU STOUT: Yeah, just a little bit of good to come out of this global fiasco. Pamela Brown joining us live from CNN New York, thank you so much indeed for that.

Now you're watching News Stream, and still ahead on the program, astronauts wait to complete emergency work on the International Space Station as they scramble to fix an unforeseen problem.

And making moves in China, Apple seals the deal to bring the iPhone to the world's biggest mobile carrier.


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

Now two members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot have been released from jail. Now Nadya Tolokonnikova walked free just hours ago. Earlier, he band mate Maria Alyokina was released. Both of them were serving two year sentences for hooliganism after a protest in a church in Moscow and were freed under a new amnesty law.

Now former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky also got his freedom under Mr. Putin's amnesty decree. Now speaking in Berlin, Khodorkovsky said that he does not intend to be involved in politics or return to the business world. He says he will focus on the plight of political prisoners.

Now the South Sudanese army says it is ready to retake two cities being held by rebel forces. Now earlier troops loyal to the former vice president took control at Bentu, the capital of a key oil-producing region. Now this was in addition to the rebel held Bor. U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that U.S. action is possible to support the security of its citizens.

Turkey's prime minister has told his opponents he will, quote, "break their hands" if they try to use a corruption investigation to undermine his authority. But that is unlikely to satisfy thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets calling for the government to go. Now 24 people have been charged so far, including the sons of ministers.

Now, astronaut Mike Hopkins completed his first spacewalk this weekend, but he has to wait another day for the second.

Now a problem with his partner's spacesuit has forced NASA to postpone the emergency repair of the International Space Station's cooling system. Alexandra Field has the details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just want you to verify there are no (inaudible) exposed, correct???

ALEXANDRA FIELD,CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): NASA astronauts on a mission to make repairs at the International Space Station spent 5 1/2 hours Saturday on a high stakes spacewalk and they'll do it again Christmas Eve. ??

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halpern (ph), we're good with that.??

FIELD: If you thought your holidays had high drama, it doesn't compare.??

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you guys believe in miracles, but I got the hitch pinned on the first try.??

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's awesome, Rick.??

CHRIS HADFIELD, RETIRED ASTRONAUT: You know, it's sort of like a really complex ballet with only two performers.??

FIELD: The astronauts, Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, have already successfully removed a faulty pump vest needed to cool the equipment on the space station.??


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice work, Rick.??

FIELD: A new pump was supposed to be installed today but will now be delayed until tomorrow after potential problems with Mastracchio's space suit was discovered Saturday.??

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only issue that I personally am having here is it' very, very cold.??

HADFIELD: One of the suits showed maybe a sign that it got a little water into the evaporator on the back, on the flash evaporator which cools the suit when you're outside.??

FIELD: NASA says the astronaut wasn't in danger and that the issue with the space suit isn't related to what happened in July. That's when Italian astronaut, Luca Parmitano, nearly drowned after water leaked into his helmet. A reminder of the dangerous nature of the work being done 220 miles above Earth.??

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Astronaut is off structure.

FIELD: The recent hit movie "Gravity" puts a highly dramatized science fiction spin on the risks of space work, risks every astronaut on every mission understands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The movie "Gravity" is a good movie, but you probably don't want to watch that when you're in space.??

FIELD: Maybe not, Mastracchio will have a new space suit ready to wear when he and Hopkins goes back out on Tuesday.??

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome. Thank you. Good job.?


LU STOUT: Now let's get some perspective now from someone who has been on ISS. Leroy Chiao is a former astronaut. He flew on four space missions. He served as ISS commander during expedition 10. He joins us now live.

Leroy, thank you so much for joining us here on CNN International.

Now on Saturday, this is what we were just reporting on, the astronauts, they had a five-and-a-half hour spacewalk to do this fix. These spacewalks, can you give us an idea of just how physically and mentally demanding that is?

LEROY CHIAO, FMR. ASTRONAUT: Well, sure any time you go outside the spacecraft and in a spacesuit and to do work of course there's a lot of physical activity, there's a lot of mental preparation, there's a lot of training that went into it. And there's a lot at stake. You know, the world is watching. And even though you might be doing a relatively simple procedure, the last thing you want to do is to become famous, as we say, by making a major mistake.

But everything that I've seen, Saturday's spacewalk went extremely well. They were able to get all the lines disconnected and they're ready to put the new module in as soon as they get everything buttoned up with the new space suit.

LU STOUT: Yeah, that seems to be the conclusion that Saturday's spacewalk did go very well. Do you think, Leroy, that a third spacewalk will be needed or they'll be able to fix the cooling line with just two?

CHIAO: Well, everything seems to come off very easily. So there's no reason to believe that there will be any problem getting everything back together with the new module. The issue the last time this pump module was replaced, it was difficulty removing some of the lines that had kind of become stuck over time onto the old module, so that doesn't seem to have been a problem.

So I would anticipate they will be able to finish it in the next spacewalk.

LU STOUT: And while we have plans for this fix on the International Space Station, we have China's first lunar rover. It's still exploring the moon's surface capping off a pretty huge year for China's space program.

I want to ask you about the rover, because what is the ultimate goal here? I mean, does China want to put an astronaut on the moon? Is it something else?

CHIAO: Well, I think -- I think it's kind of an open secret that China would like to land astronauts on the moon. They've never publicly or officially announced anything like that, but the rover is a clear step in that direction. They were able to demonstrate autonomous landing, not only just landing but the rover had sensors and the logic circuits aboard to be able to scan the environment and then select its landing site and make sure it was going to avoid any big boulders or anything like that. They were able to soft land and then deploy this rover.

What was very striking about the landing, to me, was that they broadcast the landing live on live TV. In the past, especially in the early days of the program, everything was secret. They didn't even announce their first astronaut was in space until he was successfully in orbit.

But the confidence that they've gained in doing this live for the very first time shows a high degree of sophistication and confidence.

LU STOUT: Yeah, that transparency signals confidence for China in space program. But I have to ask you, many are pointing out, Leroy, that what China is doing now in space the United States already did 50 years ago. So how truly impressive are China's space achievements here?

CHIAO: Yeah, I hear that argument a lot. And frankly I think it's shortsighted and shows that somebody hasn't really thought this through. Sure, we've gone to the moon. I mean we went back to the moon over 45 years ago. But the fact is we can't do it today.

You know, yeah, we landed a rover on Mars, which is fantastic, but landing on the moon is different. It's something completely different. We just don't have that capability today.

And so China's technical sophistication is actually very impressive to me. I've been over to see their space center and their space hardware. What they lack is operational experience. They've only launched five crews into space. And so -- but, you know, they'll get there. And, you know, I think the way that we all show go forward together is through international cooperation, much like the United States and Russia have.

LU STOUT: In fact, you said that it's time for NASA to cooperate with China. Why?

CHIAO: Well, right. And as you know, we retired the space shuttle two-and-a-half years ago. Right now the United States since that time has not had a way to get our own astronauts into space in our own vehicles. It's true, we have some new vehicles under development, including some commercial candidates. But these vehicles won't be ready to fly by the plan until 2017 at the earliest and 2021. So that's still a few years out there.

The way that we can retain our leadership is to continue to lead the international coalition and expand it to include countries like China which have a lot to offer both technically and otherwise.

Also, the political dimension, which drives as you know -- drives most decisions, you know, we have benefited, I think, greatly from our relationships with the other partners, particularly with Russia. And even though we have rough spots in our relationship, I think the fact that we cooperate on a very visible civil space program helps to improve overall relationship between the countries and I think that can be done with China as well.

LU STOUT: All right, Leroy Chiao, it's great to have you on to talk about both of the big stories of the day, China's space program, especially looking back at this year. And of course what's happening right now up in orbit with this fix underway at ISS.

Leroy Chiao there, thank you so much and take care.

CHIAO: Great to be with you, thanks.

LU STOUT: Now, Apple has a deal with China Mobile, meaning the world's biggest mobile operator will finally start selling the iPhone.

Now the numbers here are simply staggering. China Mobile has around 700 million subscribers, that's more than the population of Europe.

So, what impact might this have on iPhone sells? Well, Cantor Fitzgerald says that Apple could sell up to 24 million iPhones in the first year on China Mobile.

But beyond Apple's overall sales, a deal could help the company in China.

And for an idea of just how important China is, just look at this. I mean, IDC says the country accounts for more than a third of all smartphones shipped in the second quarter of this year. It's a market that Apple hasn't been too successful in.

Now here are the top five handset makers in China for that quarter. You've got Samsun, Lenovo, Coolpad, ZTE, Huawei -- as you can see, no Apple. We'll see if this changes once China Mobile starts selling the iPhone on January 17.

You're watching News Stream. And after the break, severe weather in the U.S. and Canada as millions hit the road for the Christmas holiday. Stick around.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now on the Art of Movement, we are delving into the magic of physical theater, storytelling through expressions and gestures. Now Nick Glass traveled to Paris to meet a captivating clown who has earned praise all over the world. But this is not any old circus performer. Just take a look.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a cold November morning, Slava Polunin takes to his bed boat to saunter down the river at his home outside Paris. It seems an entirely natural mode of transport for a clown.??

SLAVA POLUNIN, CLOWN (through translator): A clown inspires people to live. As Fellini said, a true clown makes a washerwoman wash, a drunkard drink, and a painter paint.??

GLASS: Slava Polunin is the world's supreme clown. He revolutionized the art form, moving it out of the circus and onto the stage, becoming a household name in his native Russia as he did so. Slava's Snowshow has won an Olivier Award and toured over 50 countries.??

BRADFORD WEST, CLOWN, SLAVA'S SNOWSHOW: When I saw Slava's Snowshow, I decided to be a clown. My image of clown was just in a circus ...??


WEST: And then when I saw this show and I saw people moving on a stage so expressively and so economically as well, I knew that I'd found my sort of form of art that I'd been looking for.??

GLASS: Slava started clowning as a child in the Soviet Union after seeing Charlie Chaplin in "The Kid" in 1921. Later, on state television in the 1970s, he used his wordless clowning to mock the authorities without falling foul of draconian censorship.??

POLUNIN (through translator): At the beginning of my career, it was like I was in a childhood phase of clowning. My clowning was full of movement. I moves as if I were a child, when you were full of so much energy that you think you could jump to the sky.??Today, my perception of clowning is that you should be able to move just one centimeter and make the audience react as if you moved an entire mountain.??

GLASS: Slava became a minimalist, bringing back poetry into clowning, somehow lost in the cruder buffoonery of the circus. Today, his home is a dreamlike, surreal world, feeding both his imagination and his performances.??

POLUNIN (through translator): In order to learn now to move like a clown, I imitate the way children, madmen, drunkards, and animals move. I do so because these movements are not bound by intellect.??In order to learn how to move my body, I had to study all systems of the world.

For example, butoh dance, a contemporary Japanese dance of death. I studied rock 'n' roll to learn how energy captivates us. I mastered tango as well, the most passionate dance in the world.??I studied the various poses of Disney cartoon characters as they create the most comprehensive system of how to transition from one pose to the next. Our body is an excellent instrument, like a piano or a violin, if you use it well.??

GLASS: Modifications are needed when Slava's Snowshow is on tour. American audiences expect more pace. Spanish, more passion. French, more poetry. Yet movement, fast, slow, lyrical, or frenzied, remains the universal language.??

POLUNIN (through translator): For me as a person, moving without any words would be the perfect concept of a human being. A clown returns people to the joy of movement. Even if my legs stopped moving, I would still roll myself onstage in a wheelchair and perform just using my arms and continue to inspire.??


LU STOUT: Now, up next, product placements and promotions -- Anchorman star Will Ferrell ahs made a career of making people laugh, but that's only one part of this comedian's business model. Now we crunch the numbers after the break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back to News Stream.

Now, we have some pretty icy conditions in both the U.S. and Canada. It's shaping up to be a very cold Christmas for many. Let's get details now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Actually, around the world as people try to make it home just in time for the holidays. And of course the weather not necessarily helping.

Let's first start you off from the beginning, or what's happened in the last 24 hours or so. You see this mess that's moving across the border between U.S. and Canada. About to 10 to 25 millimeters of freezing rain was expected across these areas. Some areas got over an inch of ice right on every single surface that you can imagine. It's een a mess.

Let's go ahead and start with video from Toronto. Pretty amazing. Yeah, they're used to ice and snow in Canada, you'd think, right, but they are calling this one of the worst storms in recent memory, could be one of the worst ever as far as ice is concerned. The layer of ice so thick it is snapping trees like if it were twigs.

Thousands of people have been left without power. And people are trapped in their homes, you could pretty much ice skate down some of these roads because the ice has been so thick.

Not a lot of snow on the ground, frigid temperatures, though. We're not expecting this ice to melt any time soon, because now we're really seeing the temperatures get very, very cold. So so many people left without power, very dangerous conditions. And of course traffic and travel snarled across that entire region.

Our next piece of video is from upstate New York. Similar conditions across this area. And the similar situation where you see firefighters and rescue personnel trying to guide people through this icy mess, concerned for trapped motorists that may have been there. There were dozens and dozens of car accidents across the region. And of course at least seven people reportedly killed in the U.S. and Canada combined from this winter storm that came not just with snow, not just with ice, but also with flooding rains and even at least one tornado over the weekend here in the U.S.

What's left now? Well, come back over to the weather map. Let me go ahead and show you. A lot of rain is left over. There's still some icy conditions as we head up into New England, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as what we had earlier across the border here between the U.S. and Canada. I noticed the rain stretching all the way down through the Gulf of Mexico. That rain, heavy at times, is costing some serious problems.

The other thing is, it's been so warm. It's going to be quite a change for people. If you're already in the U.S. or if you're traveling here and they were telling you, oh, it's really warm don't worry about it, start worrying about it now, because even though we had temperatures like this on Sunday that feel more like spring than -- or even summer in some cases than they do the first day of winter, we're starting to see that come to pass very quickly.

New York, here in Atlanta even and even to Washington, D.C. temperatures are going to be either at or well below normal over the next couple of days.

And then we head to Europe. And this is from London's King's Cross station. Yeah, they're starting, the cancellations already. This is at a train station, but this is similar if you are traveling on the roadways or if you're traveling by plane, there's roadways that are already closed because of traffic accidents across the area.

So here comes trouble. This is it right over here, that area of low pressure that is just coming right on through the UK and Ireland. Winds could be as high as 100 kilometers per hour as this comes in. And, yes, it's coming in with snow. It's coming in with ice for some of you and of course the rain. And that's going to be a huge concern.

So big travel delays expected through today and as we head into tomorrow. Notice the rain stretching back on both sides of the Channel and even into southern parts of France. 41 already the wind gust in -- no, that's actually sustained winds in London, so that's pretty intense.

28 in Glasgow. This is going to bring you travel delays. They're already stating today.

Winds gusting to 65 kilometers per hour at Heathrow right now. So that's pretty significant right there.

And there are warnings back over here also as we head into Ireland, Kristie. So big, old travel mess. That's the best way I can put it. That's the technical term, by the way.

LU STOUT: Yeah. Big, old travel mess. And here comes trouble. A couple of technical terms there.

Mari Ramos, thank you, take care.

Now, you probably noticed this man has been everywhere recently. Now after a rather relentless publicity campaign, Will Ferrell's latest movie Anchorman 2 released in the U.S. this past week.

Now the comedian has had a string of hits in the last decade. So just how much is the Will Ferrell brand worth? Christine Romans takes a look.



WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: We haven't seen you in awhile, America.

ROMANS: From your TV cabinet to your liquor cabinet, the business of being Will Ferrell is...

FERRELL: It's just refreshing.

ROMANS: During seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, he earned laughs.

Known for his impressions from George W. Bush.

FERRELL: Strategery.

ROMANS: To Janet Reno, to Saddam Hussein.

FERRELL: Monica, you never call me anymore.

ROMANS: In his last season, he reportedly became the highest paid cast member, his salary $350,000.

FERRELL: We're going streaking.

ROMANS: Before long, he went Old School. The movie was a hit. Box office take $87 million worldwide.

FERRELL: It's so good.

ROMANS: This funnyman became a leading man. There was Elf, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

FERRELL: You stay classy San Diego.

ROMANS: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Blades of Glory, Step Brothers, the animated hit Megamind

FERRELL: Incredibly hansome master of all villainy.

ROMANS: And The Campaign.

FERRELL: Ever hear of Cam Brady (ph)

ROMANS: They haven't all been hits, and he was once named the most overpaid actor by Forbes.

But tallied all up movies Will Ferrell has starred in have grossed almost $2 billion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Massive amounts of money.

ROMANS: And that's before Anchorman 2.

FERRELL: Why can't the news be fun?

ROMANS: Ron Burgundy does product placement very well. Dodge commercials featuring the Anchorman helped push Durango sales up almost 60 percent in October.

FERRELL: That makes you feel pretty dumb, doesn't it?

ROMANS: The fictional character has inspired a line of underwear, Scotch, and an ice cream flavor.

FERRELL: I love scotch, scotchy, scotch scotch.

ROMANS: And Ferrell can also sell beer. Apparently, based on this ad for Old Milwaukee that went viral.

Ferrell has also taken his talents to Broadway with a one man show called You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush. He also co-founded the comedia video website Funny or Die.

FERRELL: Don't make funny of me...

ROMANS: Don't worry, the business of being Will Ferrell leaves very little to cry about.

Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: As Christine said, Will Ferrell has had a successful career, but you might have noticed that the original Anchorman, it didn't make all that much money in its cinema run. In fact, Box Office Mojo says it was only the 30th biggest film of 2004. Ahead of it were such films as Along Came Polly.

Now, if you don't remember, this Ben Stiller and Jennifer Anniston comedy, it doesn't look like you missed anything, it scored just 26 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but it still ended up making more money at the U.S. box office than the original Anchorman.

Now unfortunately for Ferrell, it doesn't look like the sequel is doing any better. It finished second in its first weekend with $27 million.

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