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Olympic Torch Arrives In Sochi; Four Arrested In Connection To Drugs Found On Philip Seymour Hoffman; What Does New Microsoft CEO have To Do?; Facebook's Waning Social Activism Influence; Exploring China's Spring Festival; Cybersecurity Biggest Challenge Of 21st Century
Aired February 5, 2014 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Now according to Russian state media the mastermind behind a terror attack in Volgograd has been killed.
Also ahead, we explore how the new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella might change the tech giant.
And police say four people are arrested in connection with the drugs found in the apartment of late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Olympic torch has arrived in Sochi, Russia. And this was the scene in the city earlier as torch bearers arrived to cheers in celebration.
Now this is the image that Russia wants you to see, but other concerns have clouded the picture on human rights issues to the readiness of the host city itself.
And shortly after the torch arrived in Sochi, Russian state media reported the death of the suspected mastermind behind the bombings in Volgograd. The December attacks killed 34 people. And the official ITAR- TASS news agency says that the man was killed in a police operation in Dagestan. And that republic is considered the heart of Russia's Islamist insurgency.
Now CNN's Phil Black, he has spent a considerable amount of time there in Volgograd covering these bombings. And he joins me now live from CNN Moscow. And Phil, tell us more about the militant who was killed and how he was tracked down.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, we don't know precisely how they tracked him down, but we know that a week ago Russian authorities announced that they had arrested two people for alleged involvement in those Volgograd bombings. These were the bombings that really drove home to the world the potential terror -- domestic terror threat that exists in this country striking a train station and a trolley bus killing 34 people.
A week ago, they arrested two people in connection accused of transporting the bombers to the city of Volgograd. They said at the time they were still looking for the mastermind. Now, according to this report today there was a police operation in Dagestan surrounding a home. During this operation, one person inside the house gave himself up. The rest did not. There was a firefight. Everyone else inside the house was killed, including this one man who we know only by the name of Murzaev (ph). And they believe that he was the mastermind behind this attack.
Tracking the people responsible for these Volgograd bombings is very important to Russian security services, because the people involved in the attack released a video only a few weeks later promising there would be a lot more to come, particularly during the Sochi winter games. They said that they had a lot more people who were willing to take part in these sorts of activities. And they would be delivering what they described as presents to the Russian government during the Sochi games -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, Phil reporting live from CNN Moscow, many thanks indeed for that update.
Let's tell you more about the security situation there in Russia. Unfortunately we're having technical issues right now, but let's focus in on the map as you can see here. Now we know that Sochi is still putting finishing touches on a number of sites before the opening of the games on Friday, but there are lingering problems. And they're proving to be a very unwelcome distraction for President Putin and what he considers as his prestige project.
Many athletes are visiting Sochi for the games. The tennis legend Maria Sharapova, she grew up there. And she paid a visit to her hometown. And our Amanda Davies asked her if she thinks people's perceptions of the region match the reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA SHARAPOVA, TENNIS PLAYER: I think every nation is different. And everyone's perception is different. And that's why I'm so happy that everyone has a chance to come here and really visit the true meaning of the city, because it's down to its core it's a very beautiful city that it's so full of nature and it's such a unique opportunity for someone to be able to swim in the Black Sea in a single day and then drive up to the mountains about an hour and be able to ski on some of the best slopes in the world. And that is the type of experience that we want to share with everyone that comes here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: All right, Maria Sharapova there.
And while the natural environment is certainly very beautiful, many questions are being raised about the man-made environment and the buildings that are still under construction.
Now take a look at this photo, this is from CNN's producer on the ground Harry Reiki (ph) showing some of the construction work still underway around the town this week. And we'll bring up a rather uninviting space, this one here. This was supposed to be a hotel, but as you can see from all these photos, again taken this week, parts of the Olympic Park there in Sochi are still a work in progress.
Russia's reported to have spent some $51 billion on Sochi. They say most of it was spent on infrastructure rather than the games themselves, but judging by the pictures like this showing sidewalks still being put together and paved, that's exactly what appears to be falling behind.
Now the new stadiums and the hotels are centerpieces of the project to clean up and to modernize Sochi. But another part of that effort has been the push by Russian authorities to get stray dogs off the streets.
Ivan Watson has the story. And a warning, this report it contains some images that many of you may find hard to watch.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These images of dying animals are hard to watch, but they're examples gathered by activists in Sochi over the last two months of how they claim authorities have exterminated street dogs in Russia's Olympic city, by poisoning them. City authorities and animal rights activists are now wrestling with the question, what do you do with the large population of street animals in Sochi on the eve of the Olympics? Some volunteers have taken matters into their own hands, building a makeshift shelter on the edge of the city. Here, they donate time and money to feed and sterilize the dogs they love.
(on camera): Hi! This one's called Puschistic (ph) and she used to live by the hospital.
But the city authorities were going to gather up the street dogs there. So she's one of the stray dogs that were brought here to this basically donated shelter that volunteers have put up themselves with their own money to help Shiba (ph), to help protect them from basically being exterminated. (inaudible). Hey, guys.
(voice-over): Activist Dina Filippova says the culling of street animals in Sochi is not a new thing.
DINA FILIPPOVA, ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: They kill dogs for many years.
WATSON: But she's also quick to admit, Sochi has a dog problem.
FILIPPOVA: There are huge amounts of stray dogs here. And authorities tried to control them as they can.
WATSON: Reports of the extermination of street animals in recent months have put city and Olympic authorities on the defensive. This week, the Sochi 2014 organizing committee announced, "all stray dogs that are found on the Olympic Park are collected by a professional veterinary contractor. All healthy animals are released following their health check."
As recently as last year, the Sochi city government hired a private company to dispose of street animals, but this week, a city official told CNN, he was now urging volunteers to take street dogs to a new government supported canine shelter. The volunteers here say shelters don't provide a long-term solution. They want a government-financed sterilization program and better laws to protect animals in Russia.
FILIPPOVA: In Russia, you can abuse animal and it's not a crime. You can buy or adopt an animal, and then release it on streets. It's not a crime.
WATSON: Perhaps the growing uproar over Sochi's Olympic dogs may prompt Moscow to take a long, hard look at protecting man's best friend.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Sochi, Russian.
LU STOUT: Now one of many points of contention surrounding the Sochi games.
Now still ahead right here on News Stream, activists say lethal barrel bombs have been falling on the Syrian city of Aleppo for days.
Now the residents condemned stalled diplomacy as they cope with this wave of carnage.
Also ahead, the dangers of cyber warfare. I'll speak to the Brooking Institutions PW Singer about the threats facing our interconnected world.
And later, a look at social media as a platform for protest and activism. In its next 10 years, will Facebook remain a tool for political change.
LU STOUT: Now in the Syrian city of Aleppo, an opposition group says at least 15 boys were killed in a barrel bomb attack on Tuesday. Activists say dozens of people have been killed in similar attacks in recent days.
Now here is our Mohammed Jamjoom. And a warning, his report contains some deeply disturbing images.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dread and helplessness in the terrifying aftermath of a bombing, a little girl's body is pulled from the rubble.
Scenes like this too shocking to comprehend, too agonizing to process, have become almost common in Aleppo, the results of barrel bombs, activists and medics tell CNN, though there is no way to independently verify their claims.
In the video here, traumatized residents scramble to find survivors. One young girl's leg sticks out from the rubble. No one knows if she is alive or dead. Then, a sign of hope, she moves her feet. They dig her out alive.
Tragically, activists say, she died later at the hospital. They say this sickening documentation proves yet again how war crimes are committed by the regime of al-Assad and barrel bombs one of his cruelest weapons.
Drums packed with explosives and shrapnel, delivering death and destruction from above, they can level entire buildings with one hit, as activists say they did here. The regime maintains it is only targeting terrorists and rejects war crime allegations.
In Aleppo, since Saturday, activists and medics say the bombardment has been constant.
Amid the chaos of this scene, the panic, as thick of the smoke, alarms and explosions continue to go off. Flames engulf a building as rage engulfs the crowd.
Let that son of a bitch Walid Moallem come over here and see what he did, screams this man about Syria's foreign minister. Let him come see how women and children are being killed.
And then this man, so overcome with anger, he is shaking. Is this your political solution, he asks? Is this the political solution you talk about while Syria is being destroyed?
With death all around him, he references a deadlock in diplomacy, peace talks that yielded nothing for his people.
As delegations met in Geneva, condemning the use of barrel bombs, activists say the killings continued.
Here the lifeless body of one child is being carried off as another child watches. Women wail in agony, armed only with the knowledge that nothing here can shield them from the hell raining down upon them.
Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.
LU STOUT: Now a scathing UN report is urging the Vatican to take immediate action against child sexual abuse. It says known and suspected pedophile priests must be removed from their assignments and then reported to police.
Now the UN's watchdog for children's rights claimed the church has moved abusers from parish to parish. It's urging the Vatican to hand over its archives on sexual abuse.
Now the report follows a hearing last month attended by Vatican officials. And the Vatican is expected to respond to this report later today.
Now there were emotional scenes the last time North and South Korea held family reunions in 2010. The families, separated by the Korean War, had now seen the their loved ones since the 1950s.
And now reunions are scheduled to go ahead again later this month. Paula Hancocks has more.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Families torn apart 60 years ago by the Korean War will be hoping that this reunion actually takes place. The plan is for 100 people on both sides of the border to meet at the North Korean resort of Mount Kumgang on the 20th to the 25th of February. Those people have already been selected, but they got this far last September when Pyongyang suddenly canceled the meeting.
South Korean's unification ministry says that it told Pyongyang the same cannot happen this time and the say their counterparts agreed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think this meeting is a very important jumping off point for improving relations between North and South Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Let's make efforts to give good news to separated families who have been waiting for the family reunion.
HANCOCKS: It would be the first reunion since 2010 and a very emotional time for the families chosen. Many are now in their 80s and fear time is running out to see their loved ones one last time.
Tens of thousands applied to the Korean Red Cross to take part, some passed away before being reunited.
But this is all happening in the shadow of the upcoming joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, which in the past has angered North Korea, as it says it believes it is a prelude to an invasion. Pyongyang has demanded that these drills actually be canceled. But both Washington and Seoul have said no.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
LU STOUT: Now almost half of U.S. security leaders surveyed say it is the most serious threat facing the country. And no, it's not terrorism. We'll tell you why the problem is increasingly difficult to fight and what you need to know to stay safe.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream.
Now, you might not worry a lot about cyber security, but it's an issue that affects everyone online. And I'm not just talking about the so-called tech crowd. Militaries and governments see cyber attacks as serious threats. Businesses and individuals can be affected by data theft. For example, 40 percent of South Koreans had their personal data stolen in a massive breach just last month.
But why is this happening? And how can we protect ourselves?
Well, P.W. Singer is a director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution. He co-wrote the new book, it's called "Cyber security in Cyber War: What Everyone Needs to Know."
A Peter, thank you so much for joining us here on CNN International. I just mentioned what happened in South Korea, then, the data breach of credit card information. We also know that in the United States the CFO of target has just apologized to his customers there in America. And he will soon testify in Washington.
I mean, this is an issue for companies around the world, for nations around the world, why are we seeing this wave of major data breaches?
P.W. SINGER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: You hit is exactly. It's a fascinating issue and how it connects both business questions and not just technology businesses, but as you hit it department stores to bakeries have dealt with this to there's national security questions, you know, rising threats between nations in competition there to all the issues of personal privacy. And those loop back up to the national level with the Snowden episode.
The -- what's happening here is that we've become so incredibly dependent on cyberspace for our communications, for our commerce, for conflict. 98 percent of U.S. military communications go over the web. But with all this dependency, we're also living through an era of what I call cyber insecurity.
LU STOUT: And in your book, you mentioned this interesting term that you called the cybersecurity knowledge gap. I mean, basically world leaders and business execs usually over the age of 50 they're tasked with dealing with this age of cyber insecurity, but they themselves are not cyber literate. So, I mean, just how big is this knowledge gap and why does this matter?
SINGER: It's a huge problem. And you can weight it in lots of different manners. You can weigh it in numeric terms. 70 percent of business executives have made some kind of cybersecurity decision for their company, not 70 percent of CTOs or CIOs, but executives in general. And yet no major business management program teaches it as part of your normal responsibilities.
The book is filled with all of these funny, but frankly a little bit sad anecdotes. For example the head of homeland security in the United States, the civilian agency ostensibly in charge of cybersecurity, she proudly talked about how she hadn't used email for over a decade, not because she didn't think it was secure, but because she didn't think it was useful.
The same thing in our Supreme Court, which is going to decide issues of everything from the constitutionality of some of these NSA operations to net neutrality issues. One of the justices said that they, quote, hadn't yet gotten around email.
This is the same phenomena. And we met with people in China and Australia, UAE, you name it, this gap is across the board. And it's because we have an attitude, as one White House official put it, that this is a domain, quote, only for the nerds. And yet we're all on cyberspace right now. We all depend on it. So we can't treat it as only an issues for the it crowd.
LU STOUT: Yeah, it is incredible, isn't it, just this lack of basic cyber know how among leaders the world over in this age of cyber insecurity and cyber warfare.
Let's talk more on cyber warfare. Tension, we know, has been building up awhile now between the United States and China. And I just wanted to ask you just a hypothetical, if an all out cyber war was to break out, I mean, what would happen? What would it look like?
SINGER: Well, we need to be careful when we use phrases like cyber war, because in many ways it's abused. A lot like the term war itself where we, you know, describe everything from the war on poverty to war on drugs. And then actual things of armed conflict we no longer use war to describe them like, you know, the drone campaigns or the like.
But if we're looking at the actual military use of this technology, which is significant and growing, more than 100 different nations have created some kind of cyber military command. What's playing out is that they are looking at how to use these networks not only to defend their own communications and command and control, but also get into the enemies.
The next step of this where it truly takes off is a cross between new cyber weapons like Stuxnet that the U.S. and Israel demonstrated, weapons that are cyber but can have a physical effect on the environment. In that case, it sabotaged Iranian nuclear research. And the next step in the Internet which is the so-called Internet of things where we're using Internet devices not just to communicate between each other like with email, but we're using them to run our infrastructure. We're linking in our cars, our thermostats in our homes. And so what that means is that you have a synergy of the cyber world and the real world and that has huge consequence not just for business, but also of course for conflict.
LU STOUT: Yeah, I'm glad that you mentioned the Internet of Things just then when every device has an IP address inside, of course cybersecurity has got to be factored in in the design and the rollout of the so-called Internet of things.
Now a final question for you, Peter, before we let you go. How are we going to protect the security of cyberspace? Are we going to have to rely on an international body or is it really up to you and me, we're basically left to our own devices?
SINGER: We have to change our attitude around it. We can't go around thinking that either there's nothing we can do and just be, you know, in a state of fear factor, nor should we take the attitude that somehow there's a silver bullet solution to all our problems, you know, be it handing it over to some man on horseback in the military to run it for us or some company that offers you, you know, 100 percent security.
At the end of the day, as long as we're on cyberspace there will be cyber threats, there will be cyber warfare. It's all about how we're going to manage them. And that when I say we, it reflects all the users of the Internet, the We from the international level to the national level to each business that's operating in space to us as individuals.
And what I hope is that we change our attitude to thinking about it more around the nature of cyber hygiene where it's the idea that prevention can go a long way. Just like in regular hygiene, you know, why you wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, et cetera. But also there's an ethic of responsibility there, we teach our kids regular hygiene not just to protect themselves, but everyone else that they connect with during the day.
We need that same attitude when it comes to cyber hygiene and our collective responsibilities.
Again, at the global level all the way down to individual citizens and netizens, that's the only way we're going to move through this and move out of this state of, you know, what we were talking about of the mix of both ignorance and fear that's out there, which is a very bad place to be, because the Internet has been such a positive force and we don't want to lose that.
LU STOUT: All right. Solid message there. And again, I mean, got to say my first step towards better cyber hygiene, I've got to get a new password. I have a couple of bad ones out there.
P.W. Singer, we'll leave it at that. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed your book "Cybersecurity and Cyber Warfare." Of course P.W. Singer is with the Brookings institution, thank you and take care.
SINGER: Thank you.
LU STOUT: Now, you're watching News Stream. And still to come, Microsoft, as you know he has a new boss. He is a proven performer with a solid track record, but will it be enough to reverse their fallen fortunes.
Also ahead, we take a look at the changing role of Facebook. Is it still a useful tool for political activism, or is its influence on the wane?
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.
Now a man suspected of masterminding the twin bomb attacks in the Russian city of Volgograd in December has been killed, that's according to Russian state media which is reporting that the man died in a shootout with police at a house in the volatile Russian Republic of Dagestan. 34 people were killed in the blasts in Volgograd and around 100 injured.
The Olympic torch has arrived in Sochi in southern Russia, the host city of the 2014 Winter Games. On Friday they will light the Olympic flame to mark the start of the event. Over the past four months, the torches covered almost 60,000 kilometers and even traveled to space and back.
Now North and South Korea, they have agreed to hold reunions for some of the families separated by the Korean War 60 years ago. Now the meetings will take place between February 20 and the 25th, but only about 100 people from each country will be allowed to take part. Now the last meetings happened in 2010.
Millions of Londoners are facing chaotic travel conditions over the next two days, that's after London Underground workers went on strike to protest the loss of hundreds of jobs due to ticket office closures. Now Prime Minister David Cameron is urging London's mayor and rail union officials to work together and to find a solution.
Now this man, Satya Nadella, he has officially taken the reigns at Microsoft. Now the new CEO is definitely a company man. He's been at Microsoft for 22 years. Now the 46-year-old has been overseeing the company's cloud division, one of its best performing areas. And Microsoft hopes that Nadella is the right choice to invigorate a company that some say missed the mark on the mobile revolution.
For more, let's go straight to Tom Warren. He joins me live from London. He is a senior reporter at The Verge. And, Tom, thank you so much for joining me. Nadella, he has already hinted at Microsoft's new strategy, mobile first. What do you make of that?
TOM WARREN, THE VERGE: Yeah, I mean, it's interesting. I mean, his predecessor Steve Ballmer was obviously kind of focused on devices and services and that was kind of the sort of motto at the firm. So it's interesting that he's honed in on this mobile first and this cloud first stuff.
Obviously he's worked on servers and the cloud stuff previously. And I think the mobile stuff, it seems to me that he's really picked up that Microsoft really does need to move quickly on mobile. I mean, they've got Windows Phone and they've had it for a few years, but it's not really -- it's not really picked up the sort of traction apart from perhaps over the last year that it should have done. And it's just interesting that he's taken this sort of this real big focus on mobile and cloud.
LU STOUT: Yeah, Tom, I read your write-up on the Verge. And you say that Microsoft really, really needs to get more aggressive on mobile. What precisely does the new CEO have to do to just revive Microsoft's -- not revive, but create Microsoft's mobile strategy?
WARREN: Yeah, I think they've faced a lot of (inaudible). So Android is pretty much eating the mobile world. It's almost becoming the equivalent of Windows like Windows was on the desktop and Androids on mobile and it's really taken over. So they have to find a way to sort of fight against that.
Now, one of the problems they have with the Windows phones is the lack of apps. So I think with Nadella being at the top there he probably speaks the same sort of language as the sort of developers do. And I think that might help attract some of those developers that haven't really gone to that platform yet.
And they also, they also face a problem of getting other phone makers involved in creating Windows Phone devices. So far it's only been Nokia and they've obviously, they obviously about to acquire their phone business. So I think they really need to get the HTC and the Samsungs and LG and all those sort of bigger phone manufacturers to really get involved in Windows Phone. And that's quite a key challenge.
LU STOUT: Yeah, absorbing Nokia and dealing with Windows Phone just many challenges, mobile challenges ahead.
Another interesting announcement overnight, Bill Gates even though he's stepping down from the board, he is still stepping up to work as a so- called technology adviser with the new CEO Nadella. What do you think of that alliance? And what do you think that could do for Microsoft?
WARREN: Yeah, I think it's an interesting dynamic, because Gates obviously kind of stepped away from the company around about six years ago. So, I'm curious to see exactly what he's going to step back in and come of sort of do not full-time, but a third of his time at the company.
He's kind of been explained as someone who is going to be a technology adviser and work on products and stuff, but it really depends on how much time he's really going to dedicate to it.
I mean, over the years, he's said his work is always for the charitable foundation. And he's never talked about coming back to Microsoft in a full-time role. So I think that was kind of a surprise that he's coming back and just putting more of his time and effort into the company. But I'm curious if he's been that involved over the last six years that he'll really be able to push the products like straight away, at least, in this coming year.
LU STOUT: Yeah. And it could be a good thing, depending on, as you say, how much time he invests in it. Bill Gates is known for being detail oriented, very demanding and also I mean, he had the vision thing. I mean, back in 1977, Bill Gates back then he said that the goal of Microsoft was to put a computer on every desk and in every home. And that sounded absolutely nuts at the time, but it kind of eventually came true, didn't it?
I mean, and I'm just wondering if you look at the new CEO of Microsoft, will Nadella be so bold? Does he still have, will have the vision thing that Bill Gates had?
WARREN: Yeah, I mean Bill Gates vision has kind of been achieved and that's like his legacy and the legacy of Microsoft. They, you know, they've really achieved well on the PC side.
And now it's kind of like adapting to where the world is heading. And if we're looking outward and we're looking at devices that are running rival operating systems, it's really, I think, Nadella can really capitalize on that on just making sure that their software is everywhere, making sure that Office is on the iPad and Office is on your phone that you use and just Microsoft being on your phone, because it's not really there right now.
And also just Microsoft's cloud services and its service side software, just making sure that sort of underpins all of these apps that you are using, even across your desktop PC, your tablet or your phone, but just being in -- even like a silent partner in the background and just having that influence and having other people build off of your own technology, that will probably be a really key thing going forward for Microsoft.
LU STOUT: All right, Tom Warren there of The Verge, thank you so much. I really appreciate your insight into what's next for Microsoft, especially under its new CEO. Thank you, take care.
Now, let's return to one of our top stories this hour, the Winter Games in Sochi. Now Sochi is fairly unique. It is a seaside city that is hosting the Winter Olympics. And Amanda Davies gives us a tour of the contrasting nature of Sochi.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It's lucky there's a giant Olympic rings to greet you as you walk out of the door at Sochi airport. If it wasn't for the athletes, you'd be forgiven for thinking you've landed in the wrong place.
Sochi isn't your normal Winter Olympic venue. The sun is blazing down. There's beautiful wide boulevards. You can see why it's known as the Russian Riviera. Just have a look at this beach.
The ski jackets and snow boats are left firmly in the suitcase down here at the coastal cluster which will play host to the figure skating, the hockey and the curling. It's bright sunshine all the way for the next few days. But...
Look at this, we have snow and lots of it. 40 kilometers inland and up in the mountains, that really is the beauty of this place. Temperatures here this week are well below zero.
Athletes are arriving day by day and getting in the last minute practice and preparations. The downhill course has been described as tricky whilst changes have been made to the snowboard slops style course after Norwegian medal contender Torstein Horgmo crashed and broke his collarbone.
President Putin didn't need his visit this weekend to convince him of Sochi. The area has long been a favorite skiing haunt of his. But now it's over to the athletes for the real verdict.
Amanda Davies, CNN, Sochi.
LU STOUT: Now let's go to a corner of the world which has seen a lot of snow, that's for sure. Many parts of the U.S., especially along the east coast. We'll get the latest on that with Mari Ramos. She joins me from the world weather center. Hey there, Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hello. What a difference there from the coastline in Sochi to the mountains, how much snow they actually have. That's great news for the winter events there.
But yeah, let's go ahead to the U.S. If we could get some of that snow over there, that's where they really would want it. But more snow causing just huge problems. Travel chaos is what they're calling it across parts of the northeastern U.S.
This is a picture of Columbus Circle. You've seen this one before. You can see how the rain -- I should say the snow turns into rain as the temperature rising slightly above freezing, from minus 1 to 0 degrees where we are now. A lot of this actually icing over. And that's one of the concerns, because it would almost be easier if they got snow instead of ice, but a big city like this with a lot of ice it can cause huge, huge problems.
And this is what we have. The temperature in Boston is minus 2. So they're expected to get plenty of snowfall. But as soon as we start heading a little farther south, this pink that you see right here all of that is ice. And that is a huge concern.
And then farther south than that rain as the temperature rises above freezing.
So when you look at the radar image here, you can again see that mix, the yellow, the pink and then the blue farther to the south. and notice how the snow stretches all the way back over toward the Chicago area.
Overall, because of this latest winter storm, there are over 2,000 flights already just this morning alone that have been canceled already out of major airports, most of them here in the northeastern U.S.
Look at these numbers. In Newark, over 230 -- these are just outbound numbers that you're looking at right over here. These are just the outbound flights. So if you have flights coming in today, maybe you're watching from London or another part of the world it, it -- all of those flights that normally would be heading into that northeastern corner of the U.S. are probably going to be canceled today because nobody is coming in or coming out. That's a huge, huge problem of course around this area.
How much snow will they get, how much ice? Well, in New York notice it only says 1 centimeter of snow. Even if they get just a layer of ice, it's a concern and that's what is happening.
But Boston could see about 18 additional centimeters of snowfall in that area. And notice the snow, like I said, stretching back all the way over toward the rest of the Great Lakes.
So, this is where we are now through today. One weather system moves right along. But we have a repeat pattern happening, so by Sunday and Monday we could see another weather system coming through this area and that's still a concern. Notice again, all of those advisories, warnings, watches, all of these related to winter weather. So still a big concern.
Let's go ahead and head to Europe. Big area of low pressure again pummeling portions of the UK and Ireland. This is a huge, huge problem because again not only are they getting more rain, they're getting very high wind and flooding caused by the water just coming inland. And look at these wind gusts, 146 kilometers per hour and here 148 kilometers per hour. These are above hurricane gusts.
This is very significant stuff. And again, a big, big problem across the region here.
As far as the rain, remember that these areas are already flooded. We could see an additional 78 millimeters of rain in areas that are waterlogged. And even farther to the south as we head into France, we're also looking at some big concerns.
So a lot of flooding, the potential for more big waves. And I know some people are happy about the big waves. I'm going to kind of switch gears a little bit here, Kristie, because sometimes these big waves people like to surf them. They cause a lot of damage when they hit the coast, but in places like the Nazare Canyon in Portugal, off the coast of Portugal where they normally have some of the biggest waves in the world? They think they saw a wave that was 80 feet high and someone was able to ride it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can never be 100 percent sure how they're going to break. And it put me into perfectly and I started going down and I was going really fast. And usually like as a surfer, you surf you go to the bottom and then you button turn. And I was going down and down and down. and I was going faster and faster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: And those were the waves on Sunday when that happened. And again today we're seeing those very large waves not only off the coast of UK and Ireland and France, but also Spain and Portugal getting these giant waves again happening across that region. Back to you.
LU STOUT: Yeah, stunning video of the surf there. Mari Ramos, thank you.
Now up next, the investigation into the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, four people have been arrested in connection to drugs found in the actor's apartment. We'll have the latest on that.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now journalists are taking part in an online campaign to protest the imprisonment of al Jazeera employees in Egypt. They are using the hashtag #freeajstaff.
An CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, she had up this sign on her show.
And others, they've been tweeting pictures of themselves with tape over their mouths, all in protest of the gagging of the media.
Now three al Jazareera journalists, they're among the 20 people referred to Egypt's criminal court to face trial.
Now on Tuesday, we mark the 10th anniversary of Facebook. And in addition to letting us like our friends' photos and status updates, the social network has served as a means of political protest.
Now let's bring in our regular contributor Nicholas Thompson. He is the editor of The New Yorker.com. And Nick, goo to see you. And just looking back, it really felt that, you know, high point in the last 10 years in terms of activism for Facebook was the Arab Spring. You know, Facebook back then was really hailed as sort of the tool for activism.
But now, with the benefit of hindsight, what was its real impact during that time?
NICK THOMPSON, THE NEW YORKER.COM: Well, what we learned about Facebook is that it's very good for people with loose ties to organize very rapidly for sort of simple things like getting together for a protest or things like that.
What it's not so good is building the kind of strong ties that you need for building, you know, lasting political movements once the initial turmoil has passed, so building a government, helping to make the country continue on passed that initial spasm.
So for example in Syria, Facebook is a good tool for getting people out on the streets when the protests start. Once it breaks down, it becomes a really tough conflict. Facebook's ability, you know, shrinks.
LU STOUT: Yeah, it kind of stops there.
Now Facebook, it could be used by the opposition, but it can also be used as a tool for the establishment like in Syria today. How is it being used by supporters of Bashar al-Assad?
THOMPSON: Right, yes. So these are the two big things that we've learned about Facebook since the Arab Spring. First, it's not effective at deep, long-lasting activism. It's not very effective. Secondly, regimes can be pretty good at using it too. Because Facebook ties you to your real identity, it makes it much easier to track you than other social networks.
So in Syria there's been this ongoing propaganda battle using Facebook and other social media where people in the opposition show massacred children, Bashar al-Assad puts out pictures on Instagram of his lovely family.
What's going on right now is that there's a movement between the pro- Assad forces to try to complain to Facebook that the opposition forces are violating Facebook's terms of services. And it turns out they've been pretty effective. So there's been news that came out in the last couple of days on the massive number of opposition websites -- or not opposition websites, opposition Facebook pages, that have been taken down because they're violating terms of service.
So, it's the war taking place at a small level inside of Facebook.
LU STOUT: Yeah, Facebook is indeed is a tool that can be used and exploited by anyone. And in areas where there is no war, but still a need for activism, for example there in the United States. Do you think Facebook updates and likes could bring about social change? Your thoughts.
THOMPSON: Well, you know, they can bring about -- you know, specific action like these three people are in prison. We need a public campaign to get attention to them and if there's enough public outrage they'll be released. Yes, that works. People with loose ties, rapid action, demanding immediate things. That can happen on Facebook.
Building longer social movements -- yeah, you can't imagine the American civil rights movement, for example, working on Facebook. Facebook can be a small tool, but you need people to be deeply engaged with each other, deeply engaged in the struggle for that kind of a lasting movement.
So Facebook is more spasms of activism, very effective spasms of activism. But we haven't seen it really pushing long-term change.
LU STOUT: And finally an interesting point that you brought up to me earlier on emails. As Facebook gets older, and the demographic gets older, and yes, let's youthful, it becomes more like the establishment. What will happen to the spirit of idealism and activism on Facebook 10 years from now?
THOMPSON: This is so interesting, right. We talk a lot less about activism on Facebook than we did a year ago. And that's, you know, for two reasons. One, Facebook became a public company. So we care about their earnings. We put out their data and their monthly active users. So that's become a big focus of conversation.
Secondly, in the last couple of years, there's been a big shift in the demographic of Facebook is getting older. Older people are getting on, young people are getting off. Traditionally it's young people who push social movements, young people who push activism. So clearly this demographic shift is going to move the locus of activism off of Facebook either on to other social networks or elsewhere.
LU STOUT: All right, Facebook, an engine for activism that according to you it's kind of on the wane, at least in the next 10 years. Nick Thomspon, fascinating discussion as always. Thank you very much and take care.
THOMPSON: Thank you, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Now, four people have been arrested in a raid in New York. They are suspected of having some connection to the drugs that were found in Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment. Now the actor, he was found dead on Sunday lying on his bathroom floor with a needle in his arm.
Now police say 350 bags of what is believed to be heroin was seized during Tuesday's raid.
Now meanwhile, Hoffman's family is making arrangements for a private funeral. And Broadway will dim its lights in his memory.
Nischelle Turner reports.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Overnight police arrested three men and a woman in this New York apartment building who they believe are connected to the drugs found in Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment. During the raid police recovered 350 bags thought to be heroin.
This as new details are emerging about his death, the result of an apparent heroin overdose.
A law enforcement source says preliminary results show the heroin found in Hoffman's apartment was not laced with a strong pain killer fentanyl.
On Tuesday Hoffman's former partner Mimi O'Donnell was seen here at a local funeral home. O'Donnell reportedly told Hoffman to move into another apartment in the city not with their children when she discovered he was abusing drugs. An ongoing battle he recently shared with magazine writer John Arundel.
JOHN ARUNDEL, MAGAZINE WRITER: He took off his hat and he said, I'm a heroin addict.
TURNER: Arundel says Hoffman made this confession two weeks before his death. During a one-on-one chat at the Sundance Film Festival. Hoffman saying he just got out of rehab.
ARUNDEL: He seemed like he was having a -- one of those coming-to-god moments where it just struck him as, you know, this is the revelatory moment.
TURNER: The night before Hoffman died CNN has also learned that he withdrew $1200 in six transactions from this ATM at the grocery store near his apartment. A witness telling the investigators he saw Hoffman talking to two men wearing messenger bags. The next morning Hoffman was found dead in his bathroom, a needle still in his arm.
MATT DAMON, ACTOR: He was a really special human being and he was -- he was one of the best actors to ever live without a doubt.
TURNER: Hoffman's friends and colleagues mourned his loss at New York's "The Monuments Men" premier Tuesday night.
GEORGE CLOONEY, FRIEND OF PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN: Had dinner with him a couple of months ago and I have to say he seemed to be in pretty good shape. And -- I mean there's no way to explain it.
DAMON: Does something ever come out of it? Like is there -- you know, is there somebody watching who goes wow, that guy was amazing, maybe I should just stop doing this, or maybe I should try to find help.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And still to come, why is our reporter David McKenzie on the ground in China? And if you take a look at this video, he's in a Chinese bridal chair. We'll take you to Beijing for all the action, all the fun and games as China celebrates its biggest annual festival. Stick around.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now Twitter will be one of the most closely watched stocks in the coming hours. The social media giant will be releasing its first ever quarterly earnings report on Wednesday afternoon. Now Twitter went public back in November when it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. And we'll have a lot more ahead to Twitter on World Business Today which starts in less than 10 minutes.
Now as you can see from the lights on Hong Kong harbor, a live picture here by the way, we are still in the midst of very festive lunar new year's celebrations. They go on for some 15 days ending on Valentine's Day this year. And for some in mainland China, the holiday is the only time they get to take a vacation.
David McKenzie went to check out one of the local festivals.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The spring festival is in full swing here in China as Chinese ring in the year of the horse. So we've come here to the outskirts of Beijing to the old summer palace where there's a temple festival. We've joined the thousands celebrating the Chinese new year.
This is the (inaudible) the Dan Chair (ph) that was used during bridal ceremonies to take the bride to get married.
Of course, nowadays, rich Chinese don't do this anymore, but people can remember those old traditions during this festival.
So the spring festival is also all about eating. And because it's winter, people want stuff that warms them up and it's quick to eat like these buns over here and the meatballs.
And this is pig tripe cooked and boiled.
So they boil the pigs intestine and the tofu for around five to six hours. The whole point of this dish is to get a quick burst of energy and warmth. And then you bite into the intestine, get that surge of strong flavor.
You wouldn't think it necessarily, but this is quite delicious.
The spring festival is the most important holiday of the year here in China. For many of these people, it will be the only time off they take this year. So as you can see, they want to make the best of it.
David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.
LU STOUT: Great to see David smiling above the crowds there.
Now before we go, I want to show you some fun in the snow. A family in the U.S. state of Minnesota, they built this huge sledding track right in their own back yard. And you just have to take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The garden and it just snowballed from there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Literally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Literally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you just like the coolest dad in the whole hood?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: All right, this track, this DIY in the backyard track, it runs for about 137 meters. The ride lasts for some good 45 seconds. And the parents say that the idea, it started small, but you've got to forgive the fun, it snowballed into something much bigger.
And here is another perspective of what it's like to go down the homemade luge. Wow, not quite as good as an actual ride, but it feels good to watch.
Now that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. We've got World Business Today up next.