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Dennis Rodman Criticized For Basketball Game; Samsung Unveils 12 inch Tablet; Chasing the Ivory; 2022 World Cup in Qatar Will Not Be Held During Summer

Aired January 8, 2014 - 08:00   ET


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

Now FIFA's secretary-general says he believes the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be moved from summer to winter.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman holds a basketball game in Pyongyang as a birthday gift to his friend, the North Korean leader Kim Jung un.

And we'll see the next app from one of the creators of Twitter.

FIFA's secretary-general says he believes the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will not be held in the summer. Jerome Valke told French radio that the World Cup will likely be played between November and January. Now Valke's comments might not sound surprising, it might seem logical given that summer temperatures in Qatar can reach some 50 degrees Celsius, a difficult environment to hold a professional sporting even outdoors.

But while moving the World Cup might be better for the players, it's not as simple as that. And the move could have major repercussions for world football.

Now let's bring in World Sport's Alex Thomas to explain this complicated situation. He joins me live from London.

Alex, this is not an official announcement, but it is sure to cause plenty of fuss.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kristie. Jerome Valke's comments come after we heard from FIFA at the end of last year during an executive committee meeting officially that they're in a consultation process about moving the dates of the Qatar World Cup. It's almost an open secret that the dates will have to be moved, because as you mentioned the temperatures in that country as so high.

This is an historic tournament that dates back, you know, more than 70 years. And it's always been held traditionally in the European summer months, but never of course been hosted before by a Middle Eastern nation. Qatar will be the first in 2022.

Even in the evaluation reports, before it was voted on as to which country would host the report, the heat was mentioned, but it seems to have been overlooked during that voting process. It was only afterwards that warnings were raised.

So we know the tournament would be moved, but it's still surprising that the FIFA general-secretary Jerome Valke should say so publicly, even though FIFA President Sepp Blatter has hinted as such quiet publicly in the past.

So a very surprising statement from Valke. FIFA themselves say they expect no follow-up statements. They're not even slapping Valke on the wrist. But let's take a listen to what he told French radio after saying it wouldn't be in June or July. He suggested when it might be held.


JEROME VALKE, FIFA SECRETARY-GENERAL (through translator): Frankly, I think it will be played between November 15 and the 15th of January at the latest. If you played between the 15th of November and let's say the end of December that is the moment when the weather is most favorable.

You're playing in temperatures that are equivalent to a hot spring in Europe. So playing in an average temperature of 25, perfect for playing football.


THOMAS: Now the trouble is, Kristie, Valke makes it sound so easy, doesn't it? Oh, yeah, let's just hold it in November/December. Temperature is lovely that time of year. But of course the World Cup has never been held then. You're in the middle of the European football season. European clubs are very rich and powerful. They'll want some sort of compensation for disrupting their season at an unusual time of year to hold the World Cup. FIFA themselves hold a club world cup normally at that time of year.

And if you move the tournament somewhere else, say the beginning of 2022, that clashes with the Winter Olympics. Of course that's coming up in Sochi next month. We know it's held in the same year as a World Cup.

So all sorts of considerations, which is why this consultation period was announced in the first place. Really, that's political speak for we're going to have to discuss what it's going to cost us to let people -- to get people to allow us to hold it at another time of year.

LU STOUT: Yeah, a discussion needs to take place here, but when will we know for sure that the 2022 World Cup will be moved?

THOMAS: Officially the announcement is due after the next World Cup, which is to be held in Brazil this June and July. That's what they said at the beginning of the consultation process.

So now it's an open secret, isn't it? We know the Qatar dates will be moved. And we'll have to wait until later in 2014 to find out exactly when.

LU STOUT: OK. Alex Thomas there. Thank you.

So, how much of a difference will moving the World Cup make in terms of temperature? Let's go straight to our Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center with that -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie, check it out. Right now in Doha it's 19 degrees. The wind, a little bit on the stronger side, about 19 kilometers per hour. But it's a lovely day, 19 degrees. Yesterday it rained a little bit, it got a little bit on the cooler side, one of the coolest days they've had so far this year.

Let's talk about some of these averages. During the winter months, average low is 13, average high is 22. Like we heard, lovely weather, right, this time of year. They do get a little bit of rain here and there, but nothing too significant.

During the summer, though, the average low temperature is 28 degrees. The average high is 41. And remember these two numbers, because they are going to come up again -- the 28 in particular.

But there are extremes that can happen during both the summer and the winter months. For example, it can get as cold as 4 degrees during the winter or as hot as 31. And during the summer months, it can get as cool as 21 degrees, if we're lucky, but it can also get as hot as nearly 50 degrees Celsius.

So we were talking about extreme temperatures here. And that can happen. And we know that weather and climate is very variable. It can change very quickly.

But if the World Cup had been played in June of 2013, every single day during the month of June except for seven days, were over 40 degrees. And the highest temperature was actually closer to 46 degrees. The coolest temperature was 27. And again, there we see that number, that 28 degrees. That's going to be about as warm as a hot summer day, let's say, in a place like Rio. Only one day so far this winter has topped 30 degrees. So that gives you an idea of what it's like.

If it would have been played during this particular winter right now, the coolest they got was about 13 degrees. And if you compare the weather in Doha to other big cities that have also hosted the World Cup or will, like for example Brazil, there you see it, the average high in Rio is about 25 degrees. The average high in Doha is 41 degrees. Moscow, 23 for the average high. In Johannesburg 16. And I know there were some areas in South Africa where it did get a little bit colder in some places, even sometimes as low as 4 degrees.

So, it makes sense weather wise, definitely the winter would be much better. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, that makes sense. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

Now the basketball game between the former NBA stars and North Korean players, that has gone ahead despite calls from critics to cancel it. And media reports say Dennis Rodman led the crowd in singing happy birthday to leader Kim Jong un.

In an exclusive interview with CNN on Tuesday, Rodman defended his controversial trip. And his comments outraged the family of American prisoner Kenneth Bae who has been held in North Korea since 2012.

Now Chris Lawrence joins us live from CNN Washington. And Chris, there's a lot of anger out there about Rodman's comments to CNN. In particular, what he said about Kenneth Bae.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, I mean that was the one that a lot of people feel really crossed the line. His comments are still rippling through Washington even a day later. And I think it was Kenneth Bae's sister who really put things in perspective when she told CNN this is not a game.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Even for a man built to shock and surprise, Dennis Rodman has one-upped himself.

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: We have to go back to America and take the abuse. Do you have to take the abuse? Well, we're going to take -- do you, sir? Let me know.

LAWRENCE: His eruptions on CNN's "NEW DAY" is sparking widespread reaction.

RODMAN: I was just saying, no, I don't give a (Expletive Deleted) what the -- I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here. Look at them.

LAWRENCE: Rodman drew disdain from the White House.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to dignify that outburst with a response.

LAWRENCE: And was disavowed by U.S. diplomats.

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Mr. Rodman is not there representing the United States. People should remember that when they look at his comments and hear his comments.

LAWRENCE: Rodman has been under fire since he announced plans to celebrate Kim Jong-un's birthday with a celebrity basketball game in North Korea.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), NEW YORK: It would be analogous to having tea or lunch with Adolf Hitler.

LAWRENCE: But some say he crossed the line with an accusation against Kenneth Bae, an American sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp. Rodman implied to Chris Cuomo that Bae deserved his fate.

RODMAN: If you understand what Kenneth Bae did.


RODMAN: Do you understand what he did --

CUOMO: What did he do? You tell me.

RODMAN: this country?

CUOMO: You tell me. What did he do?

RODMAN: And -- no, no, no, you tell me. You tell me. Why is he held captive?

CUOMO: They haven't released any charges.

RODMAN: Here in this country. Why?

CUOMO: They haven't released -- they haven't released any reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, listen. Listen.

RODMAN: Let me do this.

ENGEL: It's outrageous. It's ridiculous. It's shameful. Those are three good words, and they will describe accusing Mr. Bae of a crime.

CHUNG: Just outraged.

LAWRENCE: Bae's sister told CNN's Anderson Cooper Rodman's words are hurting his cause.

CHUNG: It's really heartbreaking that somebody was -- who was in a position to help a fellow American refused to do so and then continue to do some more harm than good.

LAWRENCE: As for the other former players traveling with Rodman?

DAVID STERN, NBA COMMISSIONER: They were blinded by the payday.

LAWRENCE: NBA commissioner David Stern questioned the motives of everyone involved.

STERN: For what I would guess is a relatively large sum of money, they have agreed to go and give a birthday present to the leader.


LAWRENCE: Well, the trip is being bankrolled by Paddy Power. But that betting firm cut ties with Rodman's group last month, although it is still fulfilling its contractual obligations on this particular trip. We're told that foreigners who signed up for this particular tour get a few days in North Korea and get to see that game that was played just today. They paid about $9,000, four times the going rate -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Wow. Chris Lawrence reporting live for us. Thank you.

Now, still to come right here on News Stream, CNN's cameras gain exclusive access into the dangerous world of the illicit ivory trade. And today our Arwa Damon goes on a hunt for poachers deep in the Republic of Congo.

In Washington, a new tellall book could mean trouble for President Barack Obama. We get the details on a scathing review from his former Defense Secretary.

And an unlikely draw to America's gambling capital. Tech gurus are flooding Las Vegas, but it's not black jack they want. We'll show you what they're after.


LU STOUT: All this week, we are bringing you an exclusive series on the illegal ivory trade in the Republic of Congo. Arwa Damon teamed up with a group of park rangers on the hunt for elephant poachers. And today, Arwa travels with photographer Peter Rudan (ph) and producer Brent Swales (ph) to look at the market that fuels this deadly trade.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Evidence in hand, Machu Ekel (ph) has had enough. His eco guards have just found a carved ivory ring while ssearching vehicles at their checkpoint right outside the Odzala National Park. The two passengers Chinese nationals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You came from Muayuay (ph). You came where I made the search.

DAMON: He's referring to a Chinese road construction camp. A month ago, his rangers detained two Chinese men with ivory tusks who worked there.

Ekel (ph) went to the camp with the local prosecutor and found small pieces of ivory scattered on the ground. But rather than being allowed to search the buildings, his unit was told to leave.

(on camera): We spoke to the prosecutor who was with the ecoguard unit the day that they found the pieces of ivory. He refused to grant us an on camera interview. We asked him why it was that they didn't conduct a broader search at that exact moment. He responded by saying it was because the translator was to on the premises. And unless they were able to explain to the Chinese why they were searching the site, they would not be able to do so.

(voice-over): Ekel (ph) believes the camp runs an underground ivory carving workshop. But despite the accumulating evidence, no one has been able to search the camp.

Now with this carved ivory ring, Ekel (ph) has a new link to the Muayuay (ph) camp, but he doesn't know who owns the ring, the Chinese worker or his boss who speaks English.

Both are cuffed and driven off to jail.

On the way, more denials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...ask if he know about ivory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask him. He don't know.

DAMON: When they reach the jail, the Chinese camp manager and others are already waiting. Ekel (ph) makes one last attempt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe you will sleeping in jail, you will understand.

DAMON: The English speaking boss now says his employee is the owner of the illegal ivory. The worker signs a written confession in French, which he does not speak.

But the Chinese are angry, and so it Ekel (ph). These tensions and in what they say is a sign of good faith, the Muayuay (ph) bosses agree to let Ekel (ph) search the camp the next day.

The UN says insatiable Asian demand for ivory has almost wiped out Africa's elephant population. According to the UN data, the illegal ivory trade has tripled since 1998. Here in the Congo especially, the government's minister for forest economy says there's been an increase in arrests and seizures.

"It's because of the increase in their activities," he tells us. "Why? Because of the international bosses. They are using all means necessary to access these resources through out peoples, our criminals."

The next morning, we join the ecoguards as they drive to the Chinese road construction camp. Off camera, the managers tell us they are not aware of any illegal activity in the camp and promise to report any illegal activity to Ekel (ph). Minutes later, Ekel (ph) makes a find.

"This white powder, what is it?" He asks holding up a tool.

They respond that it's to carve wood. Ekel (ph) isn't convinced.

In the same spot where he find the ivory pieces a month ago, another small ivory fragment.

"This is ivory," he says.

If there was more evidence here, it's gone. And the fragments found are not enough to make a bust.

For the ecoguards, no arrest today, but they remain convinced that the pipeline remains wide open between this remote corner of Africa and the ivory markets of Asia.


LU STOUT: You heard it there, the pipeline is still open. And for more on CNN's exclusive look at the illicit ivory trade in the Republic of Congo, let's bring in our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon. She joins me now live from London.

And Arwa, I understand that you have an update for us on this story.

DAMON: That's right. We've been keeping regularly in touch with African parks headquarters located there. And they've informed us that both the two Chinese nationals who were detained late last year with the ivory tusks and the Chinese worker who was found with that carved ivory ring were all released from jail and no court date has been set. There are great suspicions of bribery and corruption that would have led to their potential release. And this is a source of great frustration, as you can imagine, for all of these ecoguards when the justice system in the Republic of Congo is at its very core failing them, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, it is just simply frustrating to hear that justice has failed once again in this fight.

Arwa Damon there, thank you.

And the fight against China's ivory trade has a big advocate, Yao Ming. Ivan Watson tells us what the former NBA player is doing to curb China's appetite for ivory.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the biggest creatures in the animal kingdom, protected by one of the biggest men in China.

YAO MING, FRM. NBA PLAYER: When the buying stops, the killing can to.

WATSON: Former basketball star Yao Ming is arguably China's most famous athlete. Since retiring from the NBA he has also become a passionate spokesman for the wildlife conservation group Wild Aid, campaigning to stop the slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa.

MING: Why those animals are being poached, why those guys are after those animals? It's all because there's a market here in China, in Asia or anywhere else. People are buying those ivory and horns.

WATSON: China is the world's biggest market for ivory. There are dozens of legal companies here that sell licensed ivory. But the demand from China's growing middle class is also driving the black market smuggling of illegal elephant tusk into the country.

It's not just elephant ivory, this is a box of traditional Chinese medicine that's advertised to include one key ingredient: rhinoceros horn. Now some Chinese believe that this has incredible healing properties, that it's almost a wonder drug. And that's why 20 years after the Chinese government banned its sale, rhino horn is still a valuable commodity on the black market.

Yao Ming is trying to teach his countrymen that these animals are more valuable alive than cut up as trophies in the living room.

MING: The money we're making people turn into a dark side to doing something terrible, like what I saw over there.

WATSON: The athlete traveled to Africa with Wild Aid and witnessed the poaching of these giant creatures firsthand.

MING: We saw a couple of elephants and rhinos cuts. And they are ugly. Because the animal is so big, you can't kill by just a single bullet so they sometimes you'll find a lot of bullet holes on their body. It's almost like -- make me feel like genocide.

WATSON: Yao Ming's environmental activism began several years ago with an appeal to stop Chinese from eating shark fin soup, a delicacy that's devastating the world shark population. He says there was resistance at first, but now it appears many Chinese are listening to the basketball player's message.

MING: The price of a shark fin soup has almost decreased 50 percent.

WATSON: The price has gone down.

MING: The price has -- of course you can imagine, because of prices down, there is not much of a demand.

WATSON: Less demand, perhaps, because Yao Ming is now playing defense for endangered species.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Beijing.


LU STOUT: And for all the latest in CNN's exclusive coverage at the hunt for ivory poachers in the Republic of Congo, you can follow Arwa Damon's reporting from our main website seen here. You can also check out our scenes from the field photo gallery. And produce Brent Swales (ph) he took this shot deep in the Odzala Kokua (ph) National Park.

Now coming up next right here on News Stream, his former defense secretary says U.S. President Barack Obama lost faith in his own strategy in Afghanistan. The tell-all memoir that is the talk of Washington when we come back.


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

Now in his new memoir, the former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates claims that President Barack Obama lost faith in his own policy on the war in Afghanistan. And the president isn't the only one singled out for the criticism.

Jim Sciutto reports that the book is already making waves in Washington.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his new book titled "Duty: Memories of a Secretary at War," the former Defense secretary delivers an unfiltered, sometimes scathing critique of the White House.

On Afghanistan, the "New York Times" and "Washington Post" report Gates writes that by early 2010 he had concluded the president, quote, "doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him it's all about getting out."

The papers report that Gates, who served under both Presidents Bush and Obama, grew concerned about the president changing course, that the president was, quote. "skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail." But Gates also says he, quote, "never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission."

The book is not set for release until January 14th.

Gates is especially hard on Obama's advisers, the papers report calling Vice President Joe Biden, quote, "a man of integrity," but arguing, quote, "He has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

At times Gates is more flattering of Obama, praising him for making decisions, quote, "opposed by his political advisers or that would be unpopular with his fellow Democrats."

That's something Gates hinted applied to the president's war-making decisions to CNN's John King in 2012.

ROBERT GATES, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think the reality is that there a is an acknowledgment on people's part and around the world that this president is willing to use military force when our needs require it.

SCIUTTO: And he calls the president's decision to launch the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, despite Gates' own doubts, quote, "one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."

On his former colleague Hillary Clinton, Gates makes a potentially damaging charge to a 2016 presidential run, saying, quote, "Hillary told the president that her opposition to the 2007 surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing Obama in the Iowa primary."

(On camera): The White House has now responded to some of the comments in the book. A spokesperson for the National Security Council saying, quote, "The president welcomes differences of view among his national security team and wishes Secretary Gates well. However, the White House does push back hard on the strong criticism of Vice President Biden, saying, the president relies on his good counsel every day.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream.

And still ahead, the next generation of high tech gadgets are on display at the Consumer Electronics Show. We'll take you live to Las Vegas for a look at some pretty big items.

Plus, courageous athletes speak to CNN about sport's last taboo: they're fighting against homophobia. But we have exclusive access to their very personal stories.


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

Now FIFA's secretary-general says the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will likely not be played in the summer. Jerome Valke told French radio the tournament is most likely to be played between November and January because of the intense summer heat in Qatar.

Reports out of North Korea say Dennis Rodman and his team of former NBA stars have played their exhibition match for Kim Jong un's birthday. Rodman reportedly sang happy birthday to the country's leader. Rodman has outraged the family of American prisoner Kenneth Bae who has been held in North Korea since 2012.

Now the trial of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsy has been postponed until February 1. The judge announced the delay, saying a helicopter transporting Morsy from prison could not take off due to bad weather. Morsy and 14 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood are charged with inciting the murders of at least three protesters in 2012.

A French prosecutor looking into Michael Schumacher's skiing accident says his investigation could take several more weeks. So far, he has ruled out any problems in Schumacher's skis which were fairly new. Now officials also say the slope was properly marked. Investigators are now looking at footage from a camera that was attached to the Formula One star's helmet.

Now all week, we've been bringing you the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We've seen cars that could drive themselves, curved TVs and new wearable technology. But today, we're going to look at some pretty big tablets from Samsung. Well, how big? CNN's Samuel Burke, he has one of them and he joins us now live from Las Vegas. And Samuel, show us the goods.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There it is, this is the Samsung NotePro. Kristie, it's huge, quite frankly. Let me just put it into perspective. Here's the typical iPad, not the iPad Mini. And you can really see the difference right there in size.

Now Samsung tells me that they're really going after the person who carries around a tablet, but then also has to dip into their bag and find their laptop when they're traveling. They want this to replace that. So see this is not only a fight against the iPad, but also against laptop computers.

One of the things I found most interesting in using it is that it uses Android, of course, like so many Samsung products, but it has its own overlay. Samsung wants it to feel like a magazine so that you can have all of your calendars and different notes that you might use frequently in there.

So again you see the flexibility of Android as opposed to the iOS operating system. Samsung is able to adapt this for the consumer that they think might be using this very, very large tablet, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, very, very large indeed.

Now we know the tablet market already is pretty much dominated by Apple. So how much impact will the new Samsung device have on this market? Your thoughts.

BURKE: Well, you're right. But just two quarters ago, Apple had 40 percent of the tablet market. And now they're down just 29 percent. Samsung had 12 percent, but now they're up to past 20 percent. So you see, Apple is going down, Samsung is coming up. And even though Apple still has that edge, they still have the lead, Samsung was very successful in their strategy of making bigger phones to dominate the smartphone market. So they're just applying that same successful strategy that they had on smartphones to tablets. So only time will tell, but again it's a strategy that worked for them once before.

LU STOUT: And Samuel, there CES you also talked to the maker of a Blackberry-like keyboard for the iPhone? I understand the Blackberry is not amused. Tell us the story.

BURKE: Well, you're right. Blackberry is not amused by much lately. Don't forget that Blackberry had keyboards that looked like this one awhile ago. And they had 55 percent of the market at its peak in terms of smartphones. But now they have just barely over 1 percent, Kristie. And this just might be another deathblow to them.


LAURENCE HALLIER, CEO, CO-FOUNDER OF TYPO KEYBOARD: So, it's a housing so it works just like any other housing. You...

BURKE: Housing, what does that mean?

HALLIER: Well, a housing for the iPhone.

But the keyboard is powered separately by a separate battery. It works through bluetooth. And basically your home button is covered up, but then you use the lower right-hand corner. So that becomes your home button. It works the same way -- Siri, access to all your apps.


So I just typed on it for the first time. And I have to say, the second my fingers touched it I said, uh, it feels like my Blackberry. And of course Blackberry has announced they're suing you for patent infringement. So what do you have to say? It does look like a Blackberry. I'm not a lawyer. I'm not an expert in patents. It does look like Blackberrry.

HALLIER: I mean, we started this project two years ago. And we did our homework. And we don't believe we violated any Blackberry patents and we're going to vigorously defend it.

BURKE: And one of the people who has invested in your company is Ryan Seacrest, a very famous TV and radio host here in the United States. He's been named in the lawsuit as well. How much money has he put in to this device?

HALLIER: Well, combined we've put in over $1 million. And, you know, again this product came out of just him and I with the frustration that we just love typing on a physical keyboard. And, you know, he's had one on his phones for almost a year -- I've had one on my phone. And we just love it. And we have a bunch of people that are testing it out -- celebrities, friends of ours. And the people that love to type on a physical keyboard just fall in love with this very quickly.


BURKE: So, Kristie, I'm always surprised at how many CNN anchors cling to their Blackberry keyboards. You guys are usually a pretty cool lot, but it feels like you guys are still clinging to the past. So many anchors like Richard Quest, Hala Gorani say they need this keyboard.

So I wonder if they'll finally make that switch to the touchscreen smartphones with this accessory.

Kristie Lu Stout, are you one of those anchors that is still clinging to their Blackberry?

LU STOUT: You know, I'm not. No, I'm not. I just gave up my relationship with the Blackberry just a couple of months ago, though. It was pretty recent. And it was very traumatizing for me. But that casing, or housing, whatever the inventor called it, that accessory, I think he should put in a pouch and mail it over to Hala or Richard. They'd love it.

BURKE: I will do that. I want to see if they can finally start typing.

LU STOUT: They'll love it.

Samuel Burke, thank you so much for checking in with us. We'll talk to you again. Take care.

Samuel Burke joining us live from CES there in Las Vegas.

Now, it was one of the most talked about apps of 2013, even though nobody actually knew what it was, Jelly is the latest app from one of the creators of Twitter Biz Stone. And among it financial backers were Al Gore and Bono.

Now the app was released on iOS and Android on Tuesday.

So, what is Jelly? Well, CNN Money tech correspondent Laurie Segall joins me now from New York. And Laurie, what is it? What does it do?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all, interesting name, right? Jelly. And we've all just kept hearing about it. We wanted to know what it would do, had some high profile backers. It's essentially a social Q&A platform. So what does that mean? I means instead of going to Google and asking a question, I could go to this app -- and it actually uses pictures so I could take a picture of something and send it out to my friends or to my friends networks.

Now Biz Stone, also the Twitter co-founder, he actually spoke about it in a launch video. Listen to what he said, Kristie.


BIZ STONE, CO-FOUNDER TWITTER: You might be walking along outside somewhere and you may see something that's just really strange or curious or compelling or interesting. And so you just take a picture of it. And you circle it and you say, what is this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got four answers. I swipe up. It turns out it's called The Spire by the artist Andy Goldsworthy. This is from Kevin.


SEGALL: And you know, look, that's his PR pitch, right. Whether or not people are going to use it and how people are going to use it is to be determined, because it just came out.

But you've got to look at Biz Stone, the guy behind this app, he's built his whole career out of connecting people online. He had a blogging platform, very popular. And then he started Twitter. So you can see his next big thing is going to be search and kind of changing the way we search, Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, I'm kind of scratching my head on this one, because I could just go online. I could Google it. I can use Wikipedia. I can send out a query on Twitter or Facebook, why should I use this app?

SEGALL: You know, I think it's the idea that maybe you want to ask your friends, maybe the fact that we all have mobile devices now. A lot of us are social networks, maybe the way we search is changing and people want to know what they're friends think.

But beyond that, you've got to look -- this isn't the first app that's doing this kind of thing. You've got CORA, which is a Q&A platform where people kind of engage. You've got Yahoo Answers, which seems a little bit outdated when you look at it.

But, you know, this is the idea. And the whole, he's kind of built the premise on the idea that search is changing, that people are going to want to know what they're friends think, people don't want just an algorithm, don't want to just go to Google, that they might just want to know what their friend of their friends of friends think.

LU STOUT: Yeah, relying on social search, relying on your friends as opposed to an algorithm.

Laurie Segall, CNN Money, joining us live from New York. Thank you.

Now in our increasingly Internet connected world, cyber attacks are a growing threat. And we've all heard about companies getting hit by hack attacks. But as Ian Lee found out, hackers are also helping firms to fight back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A hacker group has now taken down the Vatican's website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a cyber attack on the Justice Department website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chinese hackers attack the Federal Election Commission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cyber attacks against U.S. newspapers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody hacking into the private emails of the Bush family.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to CyberGym, a training ground for the defense of cyber attacks, located on a nondescript farm between Tel Aviv and Haifa. It pits elite former hackers of Israel's intelligence community against cyber warriors of private companies who pay CyberGym for the training.

Trainees practice over and over again on real-world scenarios ranging from attacks by a lone wolf to complex terror and state actors.

OFIR HANSON, CEO CO-FOUNDER CYBERGYM: We're trying to point out and cause the trainees to feel and to touch the damage that could occur from cyber threat.

LEE: The goal here isn't to learn how to stop an attack, but how to contain it, minimize the damage and discover its origins.

HIR GAGAN, ISRAEL ELECTRIC CORPORATION: Tell me, I forget. Show me, I learn. Let me do it, I understand. And this is what we do here.

LEE: Today's trainees from Israel Electric Corporation take turns playing offense and defense.

This real-world scenario is preparing these computer experts for one of the most active battlefields on the planet. Israeli Electric Corporation receives between 6,000 to 8,000 attacks per day.

Some advice from the experts whose identities we're asked to conceal. The biggest mistake you can make online...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Clicking the OK button without reading and understanding the windows.

LEE: And for large companies like Target and Snapchat, who've recently been in hacker's crosshairs, this advice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Invest in the training of personnel that are exposed to the critical systems and their security status will be much higher.

LEE: The lesson taught here, a good defense comes from knowing a strong offense.

Ian Lee, CNN, Khadara (ph), Israel.


LU STOUT: Coming up right here on News Stream, see why the French president himself is putting his weight behind a ban on the controversial comedy act. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now at 6'8, or 203 centimeters, Brittany Griner is an imposing figure on the basketball court. Now she dominated the game in college and is now a center in the WNBA. Shortly after going pro, she came out as gay.

Now she is one of several athletes featured in a CNN original documentary highlighting the fight against homophobia in the sports world. Here is part of her story.


BRITTANY GRINER, WNBA STAR: My name is Brittany Griner. I play professional women's basketball and I'm from Houston, Texas.

I knew that I was going to just do basketball honestly when I started playing it. I mean, I always watched it on TV growing up, watched the Houston Comets, the team here in Houston that we had. I remember watching the NBA with my dad. But I never played it in an organized setting until ninth grade. And then that's when I knew I was going to be a basketball player.

Seven, eighth grade sucked kind of a little bit. I mean, I was trying to find myself, I guess, coming out a little bit. Everybody was suspecting, like, oh you know, is she gay? Is she not? And then I always dressed like a boy, always did. The kids be like, no. Ask me like are you boy, are you a girl? And I'm like, I'm a girl last time I checked, you know, I am.

And like they would come up to me and like touch my chest like, oh, she has no chest, you know. So that's a lot.

But, I deal with it. I kind of acted out a little bit.

Sports definitely was my escape, just playing, being outside. I'm an outdoors girl, nature. I love being outdoors. So I mean, I would also just be outside playing, just hooping.

I never really talked to anybody, honestly. I kept it to myself. I didn't tell anybody. I didn't tell my parents or nobody, kind of just kept it all in. I used to write a little bit when I was younger, just write down my feelings. But I always like balled it up and like threw it away, because I didn't want anybody to like see it. I didn't want my mom to find it and like read it, so I kind of like ball it up and throw it away.

Just becoming a teenager, you know, it's tough. My mom is crazy and just feeling awkward already as is. You know, getting, like, picked on and told you're a boy. And you're weird for the way you dress and everything. (inaudible) just get in the car and go to the library and pull out some books.

The Internet was my best friend, sneaking online and like just figuring out who am I? Like, I know I'm not alone. You know, just Googling articles about other kids and like I would other see -- I'm not the only one getting bullied for this. It kind of made me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one this is happening to.


LU STOUT: Brittany's story in her words.

Now a former high profile footballer has just revealed that he is gay. Now Thomas Hitzlesperger told a German newspaper he wants to make his sexuality public in order to promote discussion among professional athletes.

Now Hitzlesperger has played for Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton. He also represented Germany 52 times. Hitzlsperger told the paper that, quote, "being gay is a topic that is ignored in football."

And don't miss this special documentary World Sport presents Journey of the Gay Athlete that premieres on Saturday. Tune in at 5:00 pm here in Hong Kong, that's 10:00 am Central European Time.

Now when footballer Nikola Anelka made this gesture during a premiere league match in December, he sparked outrage. It's called the quenelle. It's a gesture made famous by a controversial comedian and a gesture that some say is anti-Semitic.

Jim Bittermann has more.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Outside of a theater where a controversial comedian was about to perform, young people were doing what they call a quenelle, a gesture that a French satirical newspaper likened to soaping up in the shower. But in the eyes of human rights activists here, it's something else: a sign of anti-Semitism, they say, the reverse of Hitler's straight-armed Nazi salute. And when some have used it, they've faced criticism, like football star Nicola Anelka and basketball star Tony Parker. Anelka said he meant it as an anti-establishment gesture, not an anti-Semitic one while Parker said he didn't now what it meant and apologized.

But the outrage mainly centers around this man, a French performer named Dieudonne who claims to have invested the quenelles as part of a state routine that has over the years become more and more controversial.

In fact, he's been convicted nine times for inciting racial hatred and similar charges. But the fines levied against him have not stopped him. His small theater in Paris is packed when he performs, often with the young and disaffected.

ANNE-SOPHIE MERCIER, AUTHOR (through translator): He finds scapegoats. And he says, you have a problem, you have less than others and there are others who take it all. They are the kings of the world. And they hand out and share their cake only among their friends. This is what he preaches.

BITTERMANN: Jewish and human rights groups here are appalled and say that Dieudonne must be stopped.

SACHA REINGEWIRTZ, JEWISH STUDENT UNION: I think people in France and people all over the world are realizing and understanding that this guy is not a comedian, that he's a dangerous anti-Semite and he should be convicted as such.

BITTERMANN: Dieudonne himself, who no longer gives interviews to the mainstream press, denies that his act, or la quenelle, is anti-Semitic. He claims through his legal team to be nothing more than a comedian and the victim of unjustified attacks because he stands up for those who are excluded from French society.

SANJAY MIRABEAU, DIEUDONNE LAWYER: Because we are in hard times in France and in Europe, so the shows and the jokes of my clients are very tough, very hard. And, you know, in France, my clients succeed where the government have failed.

BITTERMANN: Still, the government is aiming to succeed at one thing: stopping Dieudonne's performances. This week, the interior minister issued orders to France's top police officials to forbid his performances if they prove to be a threat to public order. Something which even Dieudonne's adversaries admit they just make him more of a martyr in the eyes of some.

PHILIPPE SCHMIDT, LEAGUE AGAINST RACISM AND ANTI-SEMETISM: But we have the same (inaudible) are the extremist. Do you have not to do an attack not to do a (inaudible) because you are going to make him more visible. That's a very complicated issue. And I think that it's important to go after him.

BITTERMANN: But few of Dieudonne's opponents believe that just stopping his show will be enough. The performer has made effective use of the Internet. And his videos frequently score millions of hits on French YouTube.

If nothing else, the Dieudonne case illustrates how difficult it can be to define gestures or contain ideas no matter how ugly in an democracy in the Internet age. But human rights groups believe they must try.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


LU STOUT: As a polar vortex sweeps over the U.S., most Americans are keeping warm indoors, but some are still out in the cold. Coming up, Jeanne Moos reports on the reporters withstanding the weather.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now much of the U.S. is still under a thick blanket of snow. A rare Arctic blast has brought unseasonably cold temperatures. It was below freezing somewhere in all 50 states on Tuesday. In Buffalo, New York, drivers had been warned to stay off the roads. But forecasters say by the weekend, the polar vortex will be on its way back toward Canada.

Now extreme weather conditions always mean one thing: reporters braving the elements. Jeanne Moos has the highlights.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Reporters came equipped with a big band of thermometers jerry-rigged to a light stand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me, like a genius I'm standing on a windy bridge.

MOOS: Dumped unceremoniously --


MOOS: -- when done -- for those covering the deep freeze, a time of high pressure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The polar vortex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The polar vortex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something we call polar vortex.

MOOS: It sounds like the name of a band.


MOOS: Or science fiction movie --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The polar vortex.

MOOS: -- or Buzz Feed suggests maybe a roller coaster or a brand of after shave or a new term for a brain freeze.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For some of us, the term polar vortex may be something to curse about.

MOOS: How cold was it? Cold enough to make eyes water and noses run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like my nose is running and I'm not going to be aware of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it is your eyes.

MOOS: Cold enough to show off props.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is a hamburger and a steak. We left it out. In about 15 minutes -- frozen solid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is crazy. It is a classic. Listen to it.


MOOS: Even amateurs can't resist. But there is one guy in particular who should have held his tongue instead of using it to demonstrate.

Z100 radio personality Greg Tee teed up his tongue to see if it really would stick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not coming off.

MOOS: Not quite as cute as the Christmas Story scene that inspired the stunt.

Greg Tee finally got his tongue untied by pouring water over it.

It was so cold a prison escapee in Kentucky turned himself in. Robert Vic (ph) came to this motel and asked them to call the law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's frostbit, his toes and fingers. He was pitiful.

MOOS: Occasionally those covering the weather uncovered TMI -- a little too much information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have three layers of fleece-lined pants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things are freezing on my body that I didn't even know were possible to freeze.

MOOS: Probably somewhere south of her polar plexus.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the polar vortex.

MOOS: New York.


LU STOUT: Wow. And what was Stephanie referring to?

OK, finally police in Colorado state they are apologizing for a very embarrassing hotline mixup. Parents calling a number for information on child safety seats reached a phone sex line instead. It turns out the hotline number was changed three years ago.

Now the problem is, the adult talk line number is said to be still posted on the state's information brochures. They've got to change that.

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