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China Celebrates Lunar New Year; Raffaele Sollecito Caught Near Italian Border; Keeping Warm During Super Bowl; Rumors Have Satya Nadella Taking Over CEO Position at Microsoft; Thai Protests Continue Despite Upcoming Election; Dennis Rodman Speaks Out From Rehab

Aired January 31, 2014 - 8:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor and welcome to News Stream on the first day of the lunar new year.

Now is this man set to be Microsoft's next CEO? We'll have the low down on Satya Nadella.

Now after weeks of protests, Ukraine's defense ministry calls on the president to, quote, "stabilize the situation."

And inside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran.

And we begin with Microsoft's long search for its next CEO. Now some reports say the company has finally found a replacement for Steve Ballmer who in August announced his plans to retire.

Now the new chief executive is expected to be Satya Nadella, a 20 year veteran of the company. Now he's currently executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud computing division. And before that, the Hyderabad, India native led Microsoft's server and tools business.

Now Microsoft has not commented on the reports, but if he is named tot he top job, Nadella's selection would disappoint those that pushed for a candidate from outside the company.

Now remember, Ballmer joined Microsoft back in 1980 and was the company's 24th employee. He took the reigns from co-founder Bill Gates in year 2000. And critics say that Gates stuck by Ballmer for far too long.

Now Ballmer is said to have ignored the rise of mobile devices. And he famously laughed at the original iPhone.

Now the company also missed opportunities in the tablet market.

Now any new Microsoft CEO will have to spearhead a very difficult transition from a software giant to a devices and services company. Now CNN's Jim Boulden joins me now live from CNN London. And Jim, tell us more about who is Satya Nadella.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a very interesting choice, isn't it, Kristie? As you said, he's been at Microsoft nearly 20 years. He's only 26, so you can say he spent almost half his life at Microsoft. So you certainly would see this young man as an insider.

He's an engineer. as you said born in India. He's come through working with the Bing search engine. He's now in charge of the cloud computing side. You think of XBox Live, you think of Bing search engine.

He seems to be very well respected inside of Microsoft. So if you're looking for an internal candidate, then he was a natural choice for the board to look at.

Maybe it's taken six months because there has been a lot of pressure, I think, from the outside for Microsoft to look for an outside candidate.

But Nadella is somebody who I think you can say is a geek, maybe an unfair word, but Microsoft seems to be going back to that side after Steve Ballmer who, of course, was more of a marketing guy, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And everyone is wondering if he's going to be a change agent for the company. I mean what would a Microsoft under Satya Nadella look like?

BOULDEN: Well, I think he has to be a change agent, doesn't he, because the company -- even though the share price has done quite well lately, it certainly has missed the boat on a number of issues, as you said. And mobile devices being one of them.

I think that's why Steven Elop was looked at as a strong candidate as well. He's the man who was at Microsoft, went to Nokia and now that Microsoft is buying Nokia handsets, coming back into the company.

So Nadella is going to have to deal with that side of it. Can it actually rebuild itself on the mobile devices successfully as say Apple or as Google.

So he's going to have to steer that one. He's going to have to think what is after all this wonderful software, I mean what about devices? I mean, Microsoft has only been successful I would say in one device and that's the XBox. So can it get itself into devices that work and that people want to buy?

It's an enormous task. And I think that's probably why they decided to go for an insider if in case -- if this is the case, because as somebody who is going to have to lead all these teams inside Microsoft, he's supposed to be someone who doesn't believe in silos. He likes to work across various areas. And so he's going to have to try to get all these disparate parts of Microsoft to work as one. It is an enormous task, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And if Nadella is indeed named as the next CEO of Microsoft, how do you think the tech world react? How would the markets react?

BOULDEN: Yeah. I think tech world would be -- already been seeing quotes on the wires. Tech world is very happy with him, because they know him. He's somebody who has gone to a lot of shows. He talks a lot about that side of Microsoft.

But as I said earlier there has been pressure from the outside looking for somebody to come in from the outside to break it up or to shake things up. And he wouldn't necessarily be the guy to do that unless we don't know something about him.

So, it seems that I think shareholders were saying it's time for Microsoft to move into a radical new direction the way Steven Elop did at Nokia. Well, you could say successful or not. So maybe that's why people thought he was going to be the one.

So shareholders I think fascinating to see what happens in the stock market in a couple of hours with Microsoft shares.

LU STOUT: Yeah. That for sure. Jim Boulden joining us live from CNN London, thank you very much indeed for that analysis.

Now Ukraine's military says that protests in Kiev are threatening the country's integrity. And the defense ministry is calling on the president Viktor Yanukovych to, quote, "stabilize the situation."

Now Mr. Yanukovych's office says that the president is on sick leave with a respiratory infection. Now demonstrators remain camped out on Kiev's independence square demanding he resign.

Now meanwhile, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will hold talks with the Ukrainian opposition figures on the sidelines of security conference in Munich. And for more, CNN's Diana Magnay joins me now live in Kiev.

And Diana, before we get into international reaction to the crisis there in Ukraine, just want to get a sense of the mood on the ground there. The president, he is defiant. He is defending his handling of the crisis there, how is that going down on the streets of Kiev?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I can't -- Kristie, I'm afraid I didn't really hear the question. Is this how the international community are going to respond to the events in Kiev, how that's going down?

LU STOUT: Pardon me. I just wanted to figure out the response on the streets of Kiev among the protesters to the defiance of President Yanukovych saying that he is backing up his handling of the crisis.

MAGNAY: Well, it is getting colder and colder on the streets of Kiev. And it's got to be said that there is a certain lull. It feels as though the momentum has gone out of it a bit. You know, down on the main square behind me, there are fewer people. And on the parallel street where we saw those clashes the week before last there are also far fewer people.

That is, of course, a result of not only the truce that was called as a result of this ongoing negotiations this week and the various concessions that have been made, but also because of the bitter cold.

Now the protesters don't think much of these concessions, the fact that a law they never believed should have been passed was repealed and that protesters, they never believe should have been imprisoned or detained at least might now be released, should just be par for the course as far as these protesters are concerned.

Furthermore, given the president's sick leave, neither of those bills or laws has been signed into the law by the president. I went down to talk to people about how they felt in these bitter temperatures. Here's a bit of a slice of life look on -- of life down by the barricades.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've got to admire the heartiness of the Ukrainian people. It's minus 16 today, which is one of the coldest days since this protest began, though it's of course not the coldest it can get at night.

But they know how to keep themselves warm. Two oil drums packed with firewood. It's a pretty effective heater. I'm feeling toasty.

So, Yanukovych today says that he is sick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so sad. But we're sitting here in the cold and we're not sad. We feel OK. We feel great.

MAGNAY: You're not sick.



MAGNAY: So here people have been bringing any spare warm clothes that they have. And there's a huge pile even down to these Ugg boots. So we've seen people coming along picking up warm hats, warm scarves, warm coats to keep fighting that cold.

You won't find much snow on the ground around the protest area, because it's all cleaned and shoveled into these snowbanks which form the barricades all the way around. And they are pretty much like concrete, so tough to move unless you have a bulldozer.

Most of the protesters are lined up behind that barricade, the secondary line of defense. And here you have the frontline, this burnt out series of buses, behind it a very frozen no-man's land and then the riot police. And this battleground feels Medieval. Take a look at this homemade catapult.

First glance I thought this was a table full of spare socks in case you hadn't got enough on, but in fact they are rocks with a sock around them so you can throw them further.

The pace of this game is pretty much the way negotiations seem to be going -- slow and protracted with neither side agreeing. Certainly not checkmate yet, but it will be if the president goes.


MAGNAY: Now, Kristie, a few days ago I reported on the instances of torture and human rights violations that we've been seeing over the course of this protest. I talked about one activist who had been missing for a few days. He has now reappeared one week later, a man called Dmitry Bulatov (ph), well known here for leading a protest action called The Otto Maidan (ph), which is a sort of car convoy protest action. He was brutally beaten. He says he was crucified by his abductors. He has puncture marks on his hands, on his feet, beaten all over his whole body, his ear cut off.

He says that his abductors were constantly trying to find out from him who was financing him, who is behind the Maidan (ph), the funding.

When I talked to another activist who had been similarly beaten a few days ago, he said that these people couldn't understand that people had come out onto the Maidan (ph) of their own free will.

Catherine Ashton, the EU's high representative, has already roundly criticized this kind of behavior and called on the authorities here to make sure that it stops -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, very, very disturbing to hear just what that opposition activist experienced there in Ukraine amid all the unrest there.

And joining us live from Kiev, Diana Magnay thank you.

Now happening right now in Geneva is a security conference. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor is speaking as well as the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. They've been addressing the situation in Syria as well as the unrest in Ukraine. Let's listen in.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: ...for Chapter 7 compliance purposes. Our hope is that Syria will move rapidly to live up to its obligations. Likewise, we are at a crossroads with -- Likewise, we are at a crossroads with respect to the relationship with Iran, and Germany has played a critical role in the P5+1 to help to bring us to this moment. We all want a peaceful resolution. And it is not hard for a country that wants to pursue a peaceful nuclear program to prove to the world that what they are doing is indeed peaceful. So we welcome the opportunity in the next days to be able to complete what was begun in Geneva, and we have high hopes for that

Finally, let me just say that the U.S.-German alliance is really the vital engine of the transatlantic partnership. We want this to be a year of renewal of the strength of that relationship. As the chancellor said, occasionally, there is an issue here or there. There are bumps in the road. But we have a combined vision and understanding of the set of values that bring us together and have for decades now. We are partners above and beyond bumps in the road, and we will find our way to be able to move forward resolving any kinds of differences in an appropriate way that respects our relationship, but also understanding that we have a lot of work to do together in 2014. We will have the U.S.-EU and NATO summits this year, and I know that President Obama and I look forward with the American people to welcoming the chancellor to Washington for a visit.

And finally, both of our countries will benefit enormously from the TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which we need to try to bring to completion because that will be an economic engine for both of our countries as well as for all of Europe. And everybody knows too well, particularly Germany, which has carried some of the burden, that the challenge of some countries in the EU still needs to be brought to a place where they are stronger economically, where there is more growth, more jobs, and where all of us could benefit. We believe that the TTIP is the road to that improved economy for all of us.

So Madam Chancellor, thank you very, very much for welcoming me here on a bright winter day with a little snow. And I'm again really happy to see that you're feeling better...

LU STOUT: And that was live video from the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaking there in Munich. He was commending the bilateral relationship between the United States and Germany, but also on the issue of Syria and ending the two year conflict and civil war there. He said, quote, "we all want a peaceful resolution. We want to complete what was begun in Geneva."

Secretary Kerry making reference to the recent peace talks on Syria taking place earlier this week in Geneva.

You're watching News Stream. Coming to you live from Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor. And still to come on the program, despite security concerns Russia says it is ready for the Winter Olympics, but will protesters be allowed a voice in Sochi.

And tension in Thailand. In Bangkok, protesters vowed to keep up the pressure on the prime minister ahead of Sunday's national election.

And here in Hong Kong, we are just about to celebrate the new year of the horse. Celebrations are underway. We'll bring you more what's happening here including a spectacular lunar new year parade.


LU STOUT: Hong Kong is welcoming the year of the horse with one big street party.

You're looking at live pictures of what's happening right now. Thousands of people, they've been lining the streets here to celebrate the very first night of the lunar new year. I've been seeing this procession of colorful floats and performers from around the world as well as of course the traditional dragon dancers from Hong Kong.

Now that dance is believed to bring good-luck and good fortune.

Welcome back, you're watching News Stream. And the Olympic torch is making its way to Sochi as Russia continues to get ready for the winter games.

Now they're seen as a flagship project for President Vladimir Putin and he is pulling out all the stops to make sure that the games go forward without any snags.

Now concerns have been raised about the level of security and the level of snow at the Olympic site. Organizers say that measures are in place to ensure that everything goes according to plan.

Now one such measure is designed to deal with political dissidents, some of whom have been very vocal in the lead-up to the games.

Now Russian authorities have set up a dedicated protest park for those wishing to express their opinions down the coast from Sochi in the quiet resort town of Costa (ph). But as Nic Robertson reports, they might have a little trouble being heard.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you want to have a protest at the Olympics, this is where you'll need to come, the 50 years of victory park the designated protest site. But you bring a loud voice, because it's about half an hour's drive from the main Olympic sites. Bring a GPS as well, because all the police we asked around here had no idea where it was.

This is a memorial over here to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, not a particularly big park here. They say they've laid it out ready for protests.

But if you do want to come here, you've got a write to officials, they say, in advance, wait 10 days for their answer. Guess what, you're allowed a maximum of 100 protesters.

So what can people protest about here?

We meet a government official.

"Lack of electricity, cutting off hot water or gas, it's a place to exchange views."

"What about if there's a protest here about gay rights?"

"If gays think their rights are violated, they're free to protest here," she says. Adding, "but within the framework of the existing law." She means not in front of children.

Just a short walk down this path from the 50 Years of Victory Park is this, one of the main tourist streets here in this seaside resort. And the stores here chock full of Olympic memorabilia.

Inside the store, the owner.

So what do you think of the Olympic protest site being just around the corner?

"Do you mean the park?" She replies. "They just renovated it. Mothers take their children there."

It turns out no one told her. She is not happy. "I'm against it, of course," she says. "It's a place to relax. We'll have crowds of protesters. How can they do this?"

Olympic committee rules ban religious, ethnic or racial protests. And it's hard to imagine raised voices in this quiet tourist district.

The message here is you do have a right to protest, you just may have a problem getting heard.

Nic Robertson, CNN, about half an hour's drive from the Sochi Olympic Village.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up, election tension in Thailand. Anti-government demonstrators say that they will keep up the pressure in the capital as voters go to the polls.


LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream live from the Hong Kong harbor front on the very first day of the year of the horse. And somewhere behind me, a blue horse below, it's the parade. It's currently winding its way through the streets of Kowloon on the lunar new year celebration. It begins today and it lasts for some two weeks ending on Valentine's Day, February 14.

And this is really the biggest time of the year on the Chinese calendar, it's when business comes to a full stop, it's when families come together -- red packets of lucky money are handed out, lucky food like fish dumplings enjoyed by everyone. And I've got to say some feng shui experts here in Hong Kong, they say that with this being the year of the wood horse, and wood being very combustible, expect a lot of scandals and conflicts and arguments.

So get ready and saddle up for a very eventful lunar new year ahead.

Welcome back.

Now there is sizable Chinese population in Thailand. They're celebrating the lunar new year as well. But that hasn't stopped anti- government protests.

Now the demonstrators say that they will stay on the streets through Sunday's election.

Now Saima Mohsin filed this report from Bangkok's Chinatown.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chinese new year is being celebrated right across Thailand this weekend. And this is actually peak season for Chinese tourists who flock to Thailand to enjoy their time off and celebrate the new year here.

But one latest tour operator has told CNN that they've seen a drop in bookings from Chinese tourists by 90 percent.

That's to the capital Bangkok. But tourists still seem to be going to other Thai destination like Phuket and Chiang Mai.

The Chinese government advised us this is not to travel to Thailand.

The protesters are also planning on marching through Chinatown Saturday, one day before the election.

Now if you take a look around, numbers have considerably reduced. On day one, there were 170,000 protesters spread across the seven locations, key locations, in the city. Today, not as many, but still plenty of them camp out.

Now what protest leader Sutep (ph) has said, he said that he won't obstruct polling stations, but he does object to people voting in this election. He's calling on people not to go out and vote.

"We don't want this dirty election," this man says. "Don't waste your time going to vote. This government is very corrupt and the election isn't going to be successful."

"It's not that I don't want the election, but I want reform first," this woman tells me. 'The country has been damaged enough, because of Thaksin."

Of course, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is calling on people to exercise their right to vote. She's released a statement saying one man, one vote. This election is crucial for democracy in Thailand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's my right. I have to do it. It's our job and our right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the election is OK for us, because we (inaudible) for the government and the people, because Thai people needs election.

MOHSIN: The government has adamant that this election must go ahead so there won't be a definitive outcome come Sunday, because anti-government protesters have blocked candidates from registering in some constituencies. That means that there's going to be elections for months to come.

The election commission estimates that that could take up to six months for a parliament to form. And with this prolonged unrest in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand, some economists are predicting lower growth rates for the country in the year ahead.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Bangkok, Thailand.


LU STOUT: History was made 35 years ago when Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran. After the break, we'll take a rare look at that historic site where American citizens were held hostage for more than a year.

Plus, an exclusive chat with the U.S. president. He speaks to CNN about his plans to tackle unemployment and gives some insight into his family life at home.


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

Now the first round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva are wrapping up without a clear resolution. But the UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has said all along it will be a long road to peace and any progress will be slow.

Now the talks are due to resume on February 10.

Now U.S. authorities say the surviving Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will face the death penalty. Now Tsarnaev will be tried on 30 counts stemming from last April's bomb attack that killed three people and injured more than 250 others. Now Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

And just after being found guilty of murder, Raffaele Sollecito has been stopped by police near the Italian border. Now he and former exchange student Amanda Knox were on Thursday convicted of killing fellow student Meredith Kercher in 2007. Now Knox's attorney has vowed to appeal her conviction.

Now Erin McLaughlin has more for us on all these developments from Florence, Italy. And Erin, that of course is where the verdict took place on Thursday. Erin, could you give us the latest on Raffaele Sollecito. I mean, did he actually attempt to leave Italy?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he says he wasn't attempting to leave, Kristie. We understand from police in Northern Italy that he was detained at a hotel at 1:00 in the morning near Italy's border with Austria and Slovenia. They were looking for him upon a court order to seize his travel documents. The court deeming that he could potentially be a flight risk, so they brought him to the police station. His attorneys telling us that he's still there sorting all of this out, but that he had in fact absolutely no intention to run.

We're also hearing from Amanda Knox for the very first time following her conviction this morning. She sat down with ABC's Good Morning America. She gave -- at times, she sounded very strong, at other times her voice was shaking.

It was an incredibly emotional interview. Take a listen to what she had to say.


AMANDA KNOX, CONVICTED OF MURDERING MEREDITH KERCHER: It just really has hit me like a train. I did not expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent before. How can they say that it's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


MCLAUGHLIN: This morning, we're also hearing from the victim's family, Meredith Kercher's brother and sister Stephanie and Lyle. They're saying that nothing could ever bring Meredith back, but they did mention that they would support Amanda Knox's extradition from the United States if it should come to that.

Take a listen to what Stephanie Kercher had to say.


STEPHANIE KERCHER, SISTER MURDERED IN 2007: I think we're still on the journey to the truth. And it -- it may be the fact that we don't ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something that we'll have to come to terms with and as you asked before about the repetition and the length of the (inaudible) that's also quite hard to deal with, because you can't ever really get to a point where you can kind of just stop to remember Meredith solely because it is following the case, traveling over to Italy and everything associated with it.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now there attorney has long argued for a conviction. He tells CNN that he's satisfied with the court's decision -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, very emotional reactions from the family of the victim as well as from Amanda Knox herself.

More on Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, legally what comes next for them?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, right now we're waiting for the court's written decision. We won't really understand the thinking behind its decision until that has been issued. They need to issue that within 90 days. Then, the defense has another 90 days before filing their appeal with Italy's supreme court -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Erin McLaughlin on the story for us live from Florence, thank you.

Now it is virtually untouched by time and a physical reminder of a major diplomatic crisis. Almost 35 years ago, Iranian revolutionaries stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Now CNN's Jim Sciutto was given a rare tour of what is now a living museum.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, this is as close as the reporters could come to the embassy in Tehran, but now a rare glimpse inside.

(on camera): Was this is where the Marine guards were?

(voice-over): For 444 days, this was a prison to some 50 American hostages, the 1979 take over dramatized in the Oscar-winning film, "Argo."


SCIUTTO: They took us to what was the secure part of the embassy.

(on camera): Is it a secure combination that it was?


SCIUTTO (voice-over): "It's the same," he said.

Now it's an anti-U.S. propaganda museum run by the Iranian government. While many have become disillusioned with the Islamic Revolution, here, the anger against America survives.

(on camera): Do you still believe it was justified to hold the Americans as hostages?


SCIUTTO (voice-over): "Yes," he said, "definitely."

Every room and every piece of equipment is an exhibit.

(on camera): This is a walk back inside.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): A sound-proof meeting room with dusty mannequins and telex machine marked as belonging to the NSA. And the shredder staff used to destroy secret documents as students took over. A panic moment captured in "Argo."

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Burn it all. Burn everything.

SCIUTTO (on camera): This is where the embassy, including the CIA, would do it's most sensitive communications. There's a pressure sensor here. Inside, all the ways they would communicate back home. There's a teletype machine and ancient fax machine. This looks like coding equipment. All the prized possessions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

(voice-over): Equally prized is more modern propaganda, our guide tells a familiar Middle East conspiracy theory, claiming the U.S. was actually behind 9/11.

(on camera): Why would we do that to our own people?


SCIUTTO (voice-over): "They wanted to make their people believe they were in danger," he said, "to attack other countries."

What has yet to penetrate these walls is any optimism about the new diplomacy between Iran and the U.S.

(on camera): Could you imagine American diplomats would return to this embassy and open the embassy again?


SCIUTTO (voice-over): "You cannot trust America," he said. "America is the Great Satan."

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Tehran.


LU STOUT: And now, CNN exclusive.

Now this week, U.S. President Barack Obama laid out his vision for the new year in his State of the Union Address. And in his first interview since then, Mr. Obama talks to our Jake Tapper about his upcoming meeting with Pope Francis and the president gives some insight into being a parent of two teenaged girls.

Take a listen.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, the first lady just gave an interview. She said that your daughters not so concerned with whether or not you had a bad 2013, more concerned about, OK, dad, that's great, where's my allowance?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, they have -- when we sit down at the dinner table -- have some awareness of what's going on. And we have great conversations although mostly, it's more about history than it is about what's going on right now. But it's true. Look, they're teenagers. They are fully absorbed with their lives, what's going on at school.

TAPPER: They're not into your approval ratings.

OBAMA: They really are not.

TAPPER: Are you bringing them when you go to the Vatican? When you meet the pope? Are they going to come?

OBAMA: You know, they met the previous pope the last time we went to Rome. I'm not sure they're going to have a chance to go this time. But it was wonderful, great story was. You know, Sasha was still pretty young at the time. This is in my first year of office.

And they see the Sistine Chapel and going through these various chambers. Each time she'd see somebody dressed up in the cloth, she'd say, is that the pope? Is that the pope? How about that guy over there? They said, no, no, you'll know when it is finally the pope.

TAPPER: So, I was thinking about this pope. I was thinking about there's so much excitement. People think he's going to change everything.

You're going to meet him. Do you want to talk to him about the importance of managing expectations at all? Is that something he needs to talk about?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I have been really impressed so far with the way he's communicated what I think is the essence of the Christian faith and that is a true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and regard for those who are less fortunate.

And my suspicion is based on what I've seen of him so far, he's a pretty steady guy. I don't think he needs any advice from me about staying humble.

TAPPER: He's not looking at his approval rating.

OBAMA: I don't think he is. I think he is very much reflecting on his faith and what he needs to do to make sure that folks, not just of the Catholic faith, but people all around the world are living out a message that he thinks is consistent with the lessons of Jesus Christ. So, I've really been impressed. That's a meeting I'm looking forward to.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream.

And still ahead on the program, we go one-on-one with Dennis Rodman. Now CNN speaks to the former basketball star from the rehab facility he checked into after his return from North Korea. Stay with us.


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

Now as temperatures plunge in the U.S. northeast, American football fans heading to the New York/New Jersey region for this weekend's Super Bowl, they have got to bundle up. Now Ted Rowlands takes a look at some tricks of the trade that players use to keep themselves warm on the field.


DENNIS RYAN, MINNESOTA VIKINGS EQUIPMENT MANAGER: We have a heavier one, a lighter one. Players like these dog ear hats.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Minnesota Vikings equipment manager Dennis Ryan is showing us all the things he uses to keep players and coaches warm. There's long underwear, hand warmers, ponchos, masks and gloves.

RYAN: This is a very thin glove that's battery operated.

ROWLANDS: Ryan has been with the Vikings for more than 30 years. He says back in the old days when the team played home games outside, coach Bud Grant outlawed heaters, forcing players to improvise.

RYAN: They'd stoke the sauna up, get the rocks hot, throw them in towel, bring them out to the sideline, lay them on the ground and guys would huddle around the rocks.


ROWLANDS: Former NFL running back Ovie Mughelli played with Baltimore and Atlanta. He is one of those guys who never wore sleeves no matter how cold it was.

MUGHELLI: When you wear sleeves and you have that nylon or cotton under -- or whatever material on you, when you're holding the ball it gets slippery.

RYAN: Warm Skin is a huge hit with most of the guys, especially everybody likes to wear the bare arms.

ROWLANDS: Warm Skin is a cream that players put on when they don't wear sleeves like San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick during this year's frigid playoff game in Green Bay.

DAVE SCHANFIELD, AURORA HENNA COMPANY: They love it. They've used it. And all the teams utilize it.

ROWLANDS: David Schanfield and Catherine Fromer (ph) make Warm Skin in this small production facility in Minneapolis. Unlike Vaseline, which the NFL frowns on, Warm Skin forms a non-slippery barrier on the skin. They sell lots of it to people who work outside. But their best customer is the NFL and it's likely that some of the players will be using it Super Bowl Sunday.

SCHANFIELD: We imagine they are. We don't know for sure, but I'd assume they are.

ROWLANDS: This Sunday, the players will have lots of things to keep warm.

RYAN: It's an insulated boot to keep the foot warm.

ROWLANDS: But Dennis thinks no matter how cold it gets, all they really need is for the game to start.

RYAN: They really have to be tough mentally and physically and just block it out and play.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.


LUS TOUT: Incredible. I want to get a pair of those battery operated gloves.

Now let's get more on the Super Bowl weather, the forecast coming up with Mari Ramos. She joins us at the World Weather Center. Mari, welcome back. Good to see you.


You know what, I'm thinking, yeah, the players, what about the fans? People are going to be freezing out there? What about tailgating? All that stuff, there's just so much American football. And we'll have to see.

You know what, it is going to be very, very cold. The temperature between 6 and 2 degrees. At least, you know, it's not as cold as originally thought. And even though it's going to be windy, it's not going to be as windy as we thought, you know, even a few days ago. And it looks like the snow will stay away. So that could make things feel a little bit better. That's by kickoff time, by the way, at 6:25 pm local time on February 2. I can't wait. That's the best time.

Anyway, let's go ahead and move on.

Of course, after whatever you want to call it, all that ice, the snow, everything that happened here in the south, conditions much better now. And even an improvement on the way as far as the weather.

Now, over here as we head to the north we still have a little bit moisture left over. And you have a front that stretches all the way back here toward the central plains. Now even across the plains that cold weather pattern will begin to recede somewhat and it won't be as cold as before. The warmer air will actually be across the Eastern U.S. and over toward the south and even across northern Mexico getting that nice break.

You had that icing in Monterrey, Mexico just a couple of days ago. That's also gone, a thing of the past.

And as we head in to the weekend, looking at conditions that will be much, much improved.

And of course happy new year, happy new year to you, Kristie, to all of our viewers wherever you are in the world. Of course the big lunar new year celebrations everywhere around the world. This is a picture from Kolkata in India. So there's the Chinese dragon making the rounds. So happy new year wherever you are.

And you know what as far as the weather, there's a couple of problem areas that we're watching. And one of them is here in the Philippines. We do have another tropical depression. And you're looking at this thinking what? Again? The same area, central and southern Philippines. All those cities that we became so familiar with after Supertyphoon Haiyan -- there' Tacloban right there. They've been getting some heavy rain associated with this.

Surigao farther to the south. You've already had over a meter of rain this month. Can this month be already over? This is the heaviest -- or I should say the wettest time of the year for this part of the world. And it's really living up to its name this time around.

This weather system is not expected, and I repeat, not expected to become a tropical storm. And that's important. But it's still going to move through here very, very slowly and bring some very heavy rain and then of course there's the wind.

So many people still living in tents or other kinds of makeshift housing here. Any amount of rain that falls could not only flooding, but landslides and of course makes it very, very difficult for survivors across these areas.

As far as how much rain can we get? Tacloban another 10 millimeters, Surigao another 63. And all the way back over toward the west here, even in Puerto Princessa (ph) you could get another 11 millimeters of rain as that weather system moves right on through this central and southern portion of the islands.

Now as head toward East Asia, 2 in Beijing, 4 in Tokyo, 21 in Hong Kong, rather a warm night there. And notice that overall conditions are fairly quiet across these areas so we're not going to spend too much time on that.

We did have a tropical cyclone that made landfall across northeastern Australia. You can see it right there. This one in Mackay had over 120 millimeters of rain. And Rockhampton 183. But overall, this system is gone, thank goodness. Some isolated rain showers expected now, but nothing like what you had before, at least the weather begins to improve.

And last but not least, these new pictures coming out just outside of Rome, this is an area just outside of the main city called Puerto Prima. And they have been getting some very heavy rain across southern Italy. Unfortunately, it looks like the rain is likely to continue. We're not expecting it, Kristie, to be as heavy as what we've seen over the last 24 hours, but this is definitely a story we're starting to turn our attention to here at CNN. Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, too much rain in too many parts of the world. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now the former basketball star Dennis Rodman is speaking to CNN, this time from an alcohol rehab center. Now you'll recall his fiery interview from North Korea with CNN's New Day earlier this month of Rodman and other retired NBA players. They were in Pyongyang to play a game on leader Kim Jong un's birthday. And a question about the imprisoned U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae, it just sent Rodman on a rant.

Now Rodman later apologized and said he was drunk.

Now Rodman has repeatedly defended Kim Jong un as, quote, "a good guy." And New Day's Chris Cuomo asked Rodman about that just a short time ago.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But, you have to get that when you call this man your friend, and you seem to suggest that he's not a bad guy, and see there's no not to you. There's either, he's good guy or he's a bad guy and there's really not a close call on this, Dennis, because of the atrocities that happened there that he's responsible for, that the regime is responsible for, the oppression, what's happened with his uncle. You got to deal with that. He can be whatever you want him to be to you, Dennis.

But you have to be open to people being really upset by the idea that you'd call him a friend and a good guy when he does very bad things. Do you get that?

RODMAN: Well, you know, I get that. But I just say the same thing, you know, this is like wow, you know? I keep telling people, I'm not there to be an ambassador to try to figure out why did you go -- why are you doing all these things. That's not my job. My job is to go there and do one thing, to go there and see if I can actually bring two countries together for at least a couple of days, to see that we can actually get along.


LU STOUT: Now Dennis Rodman, he also said he is not a traitor and does not have bad intentions. And he invited Chris Cuomo to meet Kim Jong un in North Korea.

Now up next right here on News Stream, we have more from CNN's landmark Cold War series. A look back at a war ravaged Europe facing economic ruin.


LU STOUT: And coming to you live from the Hong Kong harbor front, you're back watching News Stream.

Now the social gaming site Zynga said it will buy the software NaturalMotion for over half a billion dollars. Now NaturalMotion has only made a handful of smarthpone games, but their technology powers some of the biggest video games in the world. And NaturalMotion, it makes a physics engine that specializes in animating human bodies. So when your character reacts to getting hit by a car in Grand Theft Auto 5, that is NaturalMotion's technology at work.

Now it works by building a model of the human body that simulates bones and muscles so when a body falls, it should fall in a more realistic way.

Now this year, we are reairing CNN's landmark Cold War series explaining events that helped shape the 20th Century. And episode three it looks at a defeated Germany. Why was Stalin suspicious of U.S. efforts to aid a war ravaged Europe?


KENNETH BRANAGH, ACTOR: At the heart of Europe's problems lay the question of a defeated Germany. Stalin wanted to keep Germany on its knees, concerned that otherwise it would rise up one day and threaten the Soviet Union again.

The Americans believed that Germany must get back on its feet before there can be a full European recovery.

Marshall was now convinced of the need to act quickly. On his return from Moscow, he instructed the state department to begin preparing ideas for a European rescue plan. Billions of dollars would be needed. Would congress approve this enormous cost?

GEORGE MARSHALL, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HARRY S. TRUMAN: The whole situation is critical in the extreme. We happen to be very fortunate for ourselves the strongest nation in the world today, certainly economically.

BRANAGH: The urgency was such that Marshall rushed forward his plan.

MARSHALL: There will be requirements in this program...

BRANAGH: He announced it at an awards ceremony at Harvard University. There were no film cameras present.

Marshall proposed aid to Europe on a vast scale and invited the Europeans to respond.

Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary, immediately realized the importance of Marsha''ls speech. He had always wanted to involve the Americans in European reconstruction.

SIR FRANK ROBERTS, PRIVATE SECRETARY TO ERNEST BEVIN: When Marshall made his big speech in Harvard, Bevin seized upon it and bringing the French in at the same time welcomed it and out of that, they built up what became the European Recovery Program and recovery of western Europe.

BRANAGH: The Soviet economy also desperately needed investment to make up for the ravages of four years of war on Russian soil. In theory, the Marshall plan was open to both east and west, but would Stalin participate?


LU STOUT: And tune in this Saturday for the next episode of CNN's landmark series Cold War.

Now money remakes post-war Europe as dueling economic plans help to strengthen alliances on both sides of the Iron Curtain. That is the next Cold War. It's happening Saturday at 19:00 in Hong Kong.

Now we're getting close to the end of the show live from Hong Kong harbor on this very first night of the lunar new year. But the party will go on. The lunar new year celebration, it lasts for some two weeks. And here in Hong Kong, the first night is marked with the parade, a big one. And I was down with the crowd a little bit earlier.


LU STOUT: Hong Kong is getting ready to usher in the year of the horse. There are thousands of people lining the streets getting ready to celebrate the first night of the lunar new year. We have a procession of colorful quotes and performers from around the world, including traditional dragon dancers right here. These dancers from Hong Kong, they hold the world record for having the longest dragon dance in the world.

Now this is the biggest time of year in the Chinese calendar. It's when businesses (inaudible) it's when families get ready to eat lucky foods and to wish each other a prosperous new year.

From Hong Kong, (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE), happy new year.


LU STOUT: Happy new year. And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. And I'll leave you with pictures from celebrations underway here in Hong Kong on, again, the very first day of the year of the horse.