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Gunmen Storm Regional Parliament Building In Crimea, Fly Russian Flag; Interview with BlackBerry CEO John Chen; U.S.-Japan Partner To Launch Sophisticated Weather Satellite; Anki Drive Combines Digital With Physical Gaming; U.S. Proposes New Food Labels; Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

Aired February 27, 2014 - 8:00   ET


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

While Ukraine's parliament votes in a new government, things heat up in the south of the country.

BlackBerry boss John Chen speaks to CNN about his first month on the job and why is making a new smartphone just for Indonesia.

And NASA says it has found over 700 new planets in our galaxy, including some that may support life.

Now there are worrying signs of a growing east-west divide in Ukraine. And gunmen have seized the regional parliament in Crimea and they have raised the Russian flag. The premier there says that they are refusing to negotiate.

Now these developments as the parliament in Kiev meets to vote in a new interim government.

And days after he was toppled from power, Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych insists he is still the country's legitimate leader.

Now, according to media reports, he sent a statement to Russian news agencies from an unknown location.

Now, for an idea of the situation in Crimea, an hour ago, Max Foster spoke to Channel 4's Lindsey Hilsum was is there in the region.


LINDSEY HILSUM, INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, CHANNEL 4 NEWS: I'm outside the parliament, which (inaudible) was saying about 60 armed men broke into it this morning. What I can see now is the old furniture, a wooden pallet that they had put up at the entrance to blockade it.

And outside where I'm standing, I'm not sure if you can hear them are some pro-Russian demonstrators. There are several hundred of them. They're waving the blue, white and red Russian flag. They are here to support this takeover of the parliament. They say they want a referendum for people to decide whether Crimea should remain in Ukraine or, as they want, join Russia.


LU STOUT: Lindsey Hilsum reporting there.

Now CNN's Phil Black has been following events closely in the Ukrainian capital. He joins me live from Kiev.

And Phil, what is the latest you're hearing from Crimea? And also could you provide some additional context to the reporting we heard just then from Lindsey Hilsum about why Crimea has emerged as such a flashpoint of unrest?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Crimea, Kristie, has always been a place where there is a large ethnic Russian population, where Russians, Ukrainians and ethnic Tartars all live together. And it is one of those places that we've been keeping an eye on, or keeping in mind, at least, as events have unfolded here in Kiev as a new government has started to form, one which is looking firmly to the west.

Because it is in regions such as Crimea where there are large numbers of ethnic Russians, a region that has previously been under direct control of Russia where it was suspected that the events in the capital Kiev would not be looked upon as favorably, because it is in these regions that people still feel a great attachment to Russia ethnically, culturally. They still very much want Russian's influence and want to maintain those traditional ties there.

And so we saw that tension on the streets outside the Crimean parliament yesterday where you had thousands of people, both those calling -- that you calling Crimea as part of Ukraine, also those calling that Crimea is part of Russia. That managed to dissipate without too many problems. But now this, this very sudden, direct escalation by a large group of armed men who stormed the parliament just this morning.

They key thing here is they're intention. We don't know what that is just yet. They've only said that they are not prepared to negotiate. They do not recognize the authority of local political leaders. And based upon their preparedness, their supplies, what they're carrying according to local witnesses, they look like they're committed to holding on to this building and they're not going to give it up easily.

Take a listen to one witness account.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Some 30 fully armed people ran inside the building. When they took over the building, they kicked out the policemen there. More buses came around, 30 more people came out. They started bringing in their bags full of RPGs, sniper rifles, assault rifles and handguns, so these people were fully armed.


BLACK: Crimea is also the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet on a naval base they leased from Ukraine. And we heard today from the Ukrainian government. It issued really a fairly direct warning to Russian military personnel on that base don't leave the base, don't move beyond your regular positions, otherwise that will viewed as an act of aggression.

Despite that, according to a spokesman for the local prime minister of Crimea, a convoy of Russian armored personnel carries has been seen on roads beyond its regular limits, beyond the Black Sea naval base just there.

And you mentioned, of course, that the former President Viktor Yanukovych, who has believed to now be receiving personal protection from the Russian government, according to Russian state media reports he is receiving that protection to roughly, quote, on territory of the Russian Federation. It raises the possibility that he could already be within the Russian state, or given that his last known reported sighting or location was to be heading south towards Crimea. It means that he could be within that naval base on the Black Sea on the Ukrainian coast -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Former President Yanukovych could be in Russia, Crimea we know is in Russia's backyard. There are clearly pro-Russian sentiment and pro-Russia supporters who are there, some who have seized the government buildings. But any risk - the risk here by Russia to intervene here would provoke the ire of the west.

I mean, what is the calculation inside the Kremlin right now? Would Russia even dare to intervene or get involved at this point?

BLACK: Well, Russia has made it public that it's keeping a very close eye on this. It has done this by announcing military drills on its western border just near Ukraine. It's naval fleet in the Black Sea is said to be positioning itself in a fairly defensive posture. And we've heard very strongly worded statements from the Russian foreign ministry saying that they're watching things here closely -- and this is the key thing -- they're particularly concerned about the way that ethnic Russians, people that they are now describing publicly as compatriots, are being treated in the new Ukraine, if you like, whether or not their rights are being violated and so forth. That is what Russia will keep an eye on.

If Russia does in any way escalate its level of intervention, even up to that perhaps extreme level of sort of direct military intervention, it is likely that it will be triggered by that, by Russia claiming that it is concerned that Russian people, people of ethnic Russian descent, perhaps even some people who have Russian citizenship and Russian passports are no longer safe and looking for Moscow's protection, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Phil Black reporting live from Kiev, thank you very much indeed for that.

Now let's take a closer look at the political and the cultural divisions inside Ukraine.

Now this map from, it breaks down Ukraine's region by how many people speak Russian natively. As you can see, Russian is the native language of more than 75 percent of people in the Crimea.

Now, people in Beijing are breathing a little bit easier. That thick smog that has blanketed the Chinese capital for a week has been moved out by a cold front. A U.S. embassy monitoring Beijing is posting a moderate air quality index reading today. Now that is a huge improvement over the hazardous and beyond index levels seen so graphically in these pictures taken earlier this week.

Now let's get more on the forecast for Beijing now. Mari Ramos joins me from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, what a difference, huh? The weather cooperating now to make this much better -- a much better situation for people, for those millions and millions of people not just in Beijing, but across northeastern China.

We keep using Beijing as a -- as a model really here -- or as a point in a very large, large area. Some of the air quality indexes across some of these other areas were even worse than the ones that were in Beijing.

So -- but the air quality is improving. There's the cold front right there. You can see the cloud -- we drew the cold front right on top. As it was moving across this area it brought some very strong winds across the region. As the winds increased, changed direction, gets the air mixing a little bit more and then we see that improvement.

This graphic really shows us what's going on -- look at that.

This is when we were up into the 500s or nearly 551 I think was the highest. And you can see that number is right there and then as the cold front comes in, look at this drop in the air quality index. We're back now into the green -- I think we're back into the yellow now, as you mentioned, with the moderate air quality. But it did actually get to the good range for a few hours there. We're down -- or up, I should say, to 91 now, to that moderate air.

These would be considered blue sky days across Beijing, starry night skies if we didn't have the clouds, of course.

But notice the trend over the next couple of days will be for probably to get into this unhealthy level, I think, as we head through the overnight tonight and into tomorrow. We do have another system that will be coming along this area. And the winds are a lot still -- a lot more still now than they were before. We had winds close to 40 kilometers per hour, now we're down to about 4 kilometers per hour.

And it's that still air, that stagnant, that very light winds conditions that make the situation worse. When we have those strong cold fronts come through, that really helped things out. You can see the cold front now exiting.

But there's another bit of a disturbance here, not as vigorous as the last one, so I think even though we might get to those unhealthy levels, it shouldn't last for a week like what we had before with -- when high pressure just sits over the corner here of northeastern China.

So this is the weather forecast right now. High pressure moves away. Next weather system will be coming in as we head probably into late Saturday and into Sunday. And another improvement in the air quality by then. In between, though, those in-between days, Kristie, are going to be the critical ones to watch. Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right, we'll be watching out for that. Mari Ramos, thank you.

Now to the Korean peninsula where South Korea's defense ministry says North Korea carried out missile tests earlier on Thursday. It says four short-range missiles were launched into the East Sea.

Now South Korea is currently holding annual joint military drills with the United States despite strong opposition from the north.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, fixing BlackBerry. We get the latest strategy from the new CEO.

Working out your calories from your carbs could soon be easier. Food labeling in the U.S. is in for a makeover.

And, it's a find that's out of this world: NASA announces its space telescope has discovered hundreds of new planets. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now I probably don't need to remind you how tough times are for BlackBerry. The one-time industry leader has struggled to compete with the growing tide of Android handsets and Apple.

But, now BlackBerry has a new CEO. Jim Boulden sat down with John Chen to hear what he has to say after his first three months on the job.


JOHN CHEN, CEO, BLACKBERRY: When I started at the company I did a lot of research talking to a lot of people, especially our diehard users. And a few things came across. Number one, they really, really was holding on to the old devices. And they were so productive. They love our security, of course. And the device -- the one thing about the device they really like was the keyboard. So a lot of times I say what a keyboard. I have a Q10, which is also a keyboard. And they said, no, no, no, we really wanted that belt, that highway belt...

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the belt like the old -- my old...

CHEN: Exactly, the tri-pack, the -- you know, the send, call button and all that, home, return and all that.

And then I realized that we're really talking about beyond that is how productive they could be just beyond those hardware stuff, because there's also the software interface of it, you know, how you deal with the text, how you do with email, you know, what is the guaranteed distribution and all that. I think those are all very important aspects of this.

So, I heard them loud and clear. The first thing I did was to say we need to get back to our base -- the basics, one that people love and like and stuff...

BOULDEN: When will we see it? And how come we didn't see it at Barcelona?

CHEN: Well, we will see it this year sometime. And I'm hoping that it's probably more like the quarter four -- fourth quarter of the calendar year, this year.

Well, you haven't seen it because -- you know, we have a few prototype running around here. We want to make sure that we have it perfectly -- look perfectly fine, before we'll show it.

BOULDEN: Now you mentioned BBM, obviously very, very important part of BlackBerry -- doesn't make money. And how you have WhatsApp being bought by Facebook and their -- they have a lot more customers, especially in developing nations. What have you been doing with BBM? Could you spin it off, could you sell it, could you make that another company -- sell it someone else?

CHEN: Well, you see standard answer -- I know I run a public company, OK. Anything that's good for our shareholder I have to entertain. Having said that, BBM is a huge part of our strategy going forward back to the enterprise. I jokingly said -- and it seems to be everybody carried it -- somebody wanted to offer me $19 billion for that piece...

BOULDEN: You'll sell it.

CHEN: No, I would take it to the board. I didn't say I would sell it. I will take it to the board. But that's my duty.


Now, let's talk about the Z3 as well, which is interesting. You've called it the sort of phone for Indonesia and the low end I guess is probably the way to put it. Why Indonesia? Why southeast Asia so important for BlackBerry?

CHEN: One of the thing -- we are quite dominant in some countries outside the North America developed country. And Indonesia happen to be one of them. And, you know -- and this is why to celebrate that fact. And also to make sure that we -- you know, we bring some strong interest from the people there.

We call it (inaudible) Jakarta, you know. You know, but for some reason, we need to give it a name and a number, you know, whatever, so we call it Z3.

And it's -- you know, it's a very competitive phone. It's a -- the really true meaning of that, it's our first collaboration between us and Foxconn.

But I want to point out this, you know, I don't think anybody -- and somebody will prove me wrong, I'm sure, I don't think anybody have been able to put a phone together at this level this quickly and will get into the hands of consumer in exactly four months. You know, the deal was signed between us and Foxconn on December 12 of 2013.

BOULDEN: So we'll see it in April in southeast Asia.

CHEN: We will see it in April...

BOULDEN: You promise?

CHEN: Yeah, yeah.

Even if it doesn't work, I'll make sure to get there.

No, no, no. We'll see it then.


LU STOUT: You just heard BlackBerry CEO John Chen talking about how much the device is loved in Indonesia.

Now here's another way to sum it up for you. This picture, it was taken just over two years ago. All these people are waiting to get their hands on a discounted BlackBerry. Needless to say, the store didn't have enough for everyone. At least three people were injured when they tried to storm the store.

Now it could be hard to figure out just how many calories we are consuming. So the Obama administration is calling for a major overhaul of nutrition labels on pre-packaged foods. Among the proposed changes, new servings sizes that actually reflect what the average person eats in one sitting, that's part of a drive to improve eating habits in a nation where one-third of adults are considered obese.

Now for more, I'm joined by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And Sanjay, if approved, what will these new labels look like?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, they're going to start emphasizing some things they believe people really should know and want to know when they look at a label. A lot of labels are pretty confusing right now, but there are a few important things that people want to find there and they want to emphasize that.

So take a look at what the old labels looked like and the proposed new labels. And one of the things that will jump out of you right away is the calories. You're going to see calories right there, it's going to be very obvious what the calories are. And they're also going to focus on certain things like added sugar -- how much added sugar will be in this as opposed to just naturally occurring sugar and a few of the nutrients.

They also are going to do something else that I think is very important and that is that many labels you read the whole thing and you think well this doesn't look so bad, but then in small print somewhere it says this is eight different servings. It's going to be more clear that this, in fact, one part of eight servings, or they're going to give you the whole package content information on the label as well.

So it's designed to provide more information.

LU STOUT: You know, it's so good to hear, because I find it so confusing when I look back of the packaging and it tells me how many calories are in it per cup, what have you.

But how will these changes affect serving sizes overall?

GUPTA: Well, I think one thing is that they want to better reflect what a real serving size is here. If you have a pint of ice cream, for example. This may have been thought of as four serving sizes, but now it'll be two serving sizes, for example. And you'll see that information reflected again in the nutrition labeling. You can see the examples there.

Also, soda -- here's the way to think about it. A 20 ounce soda, while a 12 ounce may be a single serving, people who buy a 20 ounce aren't probably going to stop at the 12 ounce mark, they're going to keep drinking. So they want to make sure that information is all labeled on the bottle as such.

Another example, a lot of people eat potato chips. I mean, look, you can't eat just one, they say. So if you buy a bag like this it may say two or three servings, but most people are going to eat the whole bag. So let's give them that information.

LU STOUT: Yeah, that's completely logical. Totally makes sense. I have to admit, when I sit down with that tub of ice cream, it is two servings, not four. I can do it in two sittings.

Now, what would these new labels mean for my compatriots, our compatriots? What does it mean for Americans and for the fight against obesity, which is a huge epidemic, it's a problem there, that fight against obesity there in the U.S.?

GUPTA: Well, it's a good question, Kristie. And, you know, some of this goes maybe it's obvious goes without saying is that people who read labels are going to get a much greater benefit than people who don't.

There have been some studies on this sort of thing, but people who are reading the labels are probably already more engaged in their health. They're looking for this information. They're probably going to make some decisions on it.

There was a study looking at the labeling in fast food market chains. And what they found was that on average, on average it saved about 10 to 20 calories per meal in terms of what people ordered. Is that a lot? Not that much. Depends on your perspective.

But the real question going forward is are new labels -- labels that are easier to read, gives the information more prominently, are they going to make a difference? We're going to have to wait and see.

It's going to be a small tool in this big fight, but I think it's something that a lot of people are interested in.

By the way, this is just a proposal at this point, Kristie. There's a 90 day period of open comments. The food industry is going to take issue with some of things on the labels. A lot of consumers are going to say we want more on the labels. So, you know, this isn't done yet.

LU STOUT: Yeah, not done yet.

But, you know, if it's improved -- approved -- fingers crossed on that -- I definitely see it as an upgrade. And I hope it inspires other countries around the world with their nutrition labeling as well.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for joining us live right here on News Stream.

Now, Fashion Week, it has kicked off in Paris, but not all the action is on the runway. After the break, we take you back stage with the top designers for a sneak peak behind the scenes.


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

Now Paris Fashion Week is in full swing. And the world's top designers, they are putting the final touches on their new looks. But not all runway shows are created equal, some fashion houses aim for glamour, aim for spectacle, while others go for something more intimate.

CNN special correspondent Myleene Klass has more.


MYLEENE KLASS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the first day of Paris Fashion Week. And we're here for the first event on the official calendar. It's Lucien Pallat-Finet, otherwise known as the cashmere king.


LUCIEN PELLAT-FINET, DESIGNER: You know what I like most? Is to see the people wearing (inaudible) they own (inaudible). I like that.

KLASS: Well, you see the models over there -- but let's talk to the designer himself.

No big spectacle, no big catwalk, something very intimate. Why have you done this?

PALALT-FINET: Because I like people touch and look very closely to the product. And as I am using the best material in the world, people should touch.

KLASS: And it has to be quite scary, because you know Paris Fashion Week is huge, huge deal. And you've got the very first event. You're kickstarting it all. How does it feel?

PELLAT-FINET: I like to wake up early.

KLASS: OK. So you're the best man for the job.


KLASS: Can you show me some of your collection? Let's get touching.


KLASS: This goes very well with the jumper you're wearing right now.

PELLAT-FINET: We are all like the monkeys.

KLASS: This looks really cute.

PELLAT-FINET: This is done by hand in Scotland.

KLASS: Here at Paris Fashion Week, you never quite know what to expect. From the intimate presentation that we've just seen all the way through to a polished catwalk performance here at Anthony Vaccarello, rehearsals are just about to begin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Girls walk straight (inaudible)

KLASS: Behind every big catwalk production is a team of people headed up by a creative director.

I know women that's working the show starting. So I want to know how you're feeling.


At the very end, which is where we are a couple of hours before the show, it's refining and fine tuning and what we call cueing, which is putting the details together of the sound and the light and the music and the effects and choreography and the pace. And those little things that will make the show come together as well.

But definitely a show has to be an experience. An experience, by that I think we mean it has to be something that touches all your senses, it has to be something that brings an emotion so that will help the memory of what you just saw.

KLASS: Tell me a little bit about Anthony Vaccarello. How have you managed to put his personality and his style into your design?

BETAK: Anthony loves an incredibly strong, powerful yet very sexy woman. And what I try to do in the same great way he does is to work with the idea of strengths, of energy, of speed and of sex. He'd (inaudible) your way and try to help him make that message come across.

KLASS: Well, here we are with the designer of the collection that you've just seen, Anthony Vaccarello. What were you trying to put across with this collection?

ANTHONY VACCARELLO, DESIGNER: Well, the inspiration was to (inaudible) situation (inaudible) so I start with black and red, add stripes. And I want to (inaudible) modern, contemporary wardrobe.

KLASS: The team that you chose, that you handpicked, Betak is a huge member of that team. Can you tell me were you happy with what he put across?

VACCARELLO: I think he's the best. And I'm so lucky to work with someone like him seeing the first collection.

KLASS: I've got one more question, why does everyone in the world of fashion wear black?

VACCARELLO: Because you're always more beautiful in black than in pink, you know.

KLASS: Shows are over in 15 minutes, but the team behind them hope to make them memorable enough to stay with you for a long time to come, or at least (inaudible).


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, gay rights advocates chant in the U.S. state of Arizona after the governor rejects a so-called religious rights bill, but the battle isn't over yet.

From Hollywood to Capitol Hill, celebrities promote their causes to congress, but does it make a difference?


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

Now gunmen seized the regional parliament in Ukraine's southern Crimea region where the Russian flag is flying high. The premier there says that they are refusing to negotiate.

And in Kiev, the Ukraine's former economic minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has been appointed interim prime minister until elections are held in May.

Now South Korea's defense ministry says North Korea carried out missile tests, launching four shortrange missiles into the east sea earlier on Thursday. Now the test come as South Korea holds military drills with the United States despite strong opposition from the north.

Now for the first time since the Costa Concordia cruise ship capsized two years ago, the former captain has been allowed to bore the wreck. Francesco Schettino's lawyers asked the court to allow him to accompany experts as they examine the ship's emergency generators. Schettino is on trial for manslaughter. The accident killed 32 passengers.

Now earlier this week, we told you about a controversial bill in the U.S. state of Arizona. Now the governor has now vetoed that legislation. It would have allowed businesses to refuse service to homosexuals based on the owner's religious beliefs. Opponents argued that it encouraged discrimination.

Now CNN's Ana Cabrera joins me live from Phoenix. And Ana, tell us more about what went into her decision, the governor's decision to veto the bill?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, this is an issue that sparked fiery debate all across the country. And the governor says she received more than 40,000 emails and phone calls in just the past couple of days over this bill that opponents say would have opened the door to discrimination. And it caused a lot of hurt and divisiveness across the United States as the governor contemplated ultimately, in the end, think she did what she had to do.


GOVERNOR JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: After weighing all of the arguments, I have vetoed Senate bill 1062 moments ago.

CABRERA (voice-over): It was the news so many had hoped to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am absolutely thrilled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happiness. It's about time. I knew she was going to do it.

CABRERA: Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, vetoing a bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on the owner's religious beliefs.

BREWER: I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd.

CABRERA: The governor says the bill was broadly worded with the potential to create more problems than it could solve.

BREWER: I have not heard of one example in Arizona where business owner's religious liberty had been violated.

MICHAEL MCFALL, PROTESTED BILL 1062: If she had signed it, I was going to move my business to California.

CABRERA: The reaction to her veto as passionate as the days of protesting that catapulted this bill and the state into the national spotlight. The decision came as opposition reached the fever pitch. With some of the nation's most prominent lawmakers and business leaders joining the fight. The NFL was watching closely and the Arizona Super Bowl host committee for 2015 expressed concerns.

DARLENE MARTINEZ, PROTESTED BILL 1062: She didn't want to be known as the governor who lost the Super Bowl.

CABRERA: But not everyone was happy with the decision.

RUSSELL PEARCE (R), STATE SENATOR: I will not retreat because of some radical leftist activists don't like how we do things in Arizona.

CABRERA: The governor answering her critics with a call for unity.

BREWER: Going forward, let's turn the ugliness at the debate over Senate bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.


CABRERA: So, let's talk about the bigger picture. We know of at least a handful of other states that have looked at or are considering similar legislation. For example, in the state of Georgia right now there's a measure that's moving through the state house that would allow its private companies to ignore certain state laws on the basis of religious beliefs. And again supporters there say they're just trying to protect religious freedoms, while critics say that measure, again, in Georgia is largely aimed at denying services to gays and lesbians -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now before striking it down, Governor Brewer said that the legislation could divide Arizona -- and even though it's been vetoed, does that divide remain between opponents and supporters of the bill?

CABRERA: Well, certainly on any issue, not everybody is going to agree. And again this was a measure that had a lot of support, at least when it came to the state legislature here. The state legislature passed this bill before it made it to the governor's desk. But I think as the conversation really picked up, oftentimes it's the loudest or most passionate voice that gets heard. And ultimately it was the opponents that really came out strong as this bill was being contemplated in the governor's office. And that was the opinion that eventually won out.

And when you talk to Arizonans here, the consensus is they're happy to see this bill die.

LU STOUT: All right, Ana Cabrera, joining us live from Pheonix, thank you so much for that report.

Now gay rights advocates, they're also cheering in Texas. A federal judge has struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage. But an appeal is expected and the ban effectively stays in place until it's heard.

Now same-sex marriage is legal in 17 states and the U.S. capital. It is banned in the states highlighted in red here. But, including Texas, federal judges in five states have recently ruled that a ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. constitution.

Now, comedian Seth Rogen, he had a serious message for U.S. lawmakers. He spoke at a senate hearing about an issue very close to his heart -- the personal and the financial costs of Alzheimer's.

He gave this account of how he saw the disease take a heavy toll on his mother-in-law.


SETH ROGEN, ACTOR: After forgetting who she and her loved ones were, my mother-in-law, a teacher for 35 years then forgot how to speak, feed herself, dress herself and go to the bathroom herself, all by the age of 60.


LU STOUT: Now Rogen is certainly not the only Hollywood A-lister to step up to the microphone at a congressional hearing this week. The actor Ben Affleck also testified about the unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Now Jake Tapper takes a look at the spectacle of celebrities on Capitol Hill.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They may wear suits just like everyone else who approaches those tables, papers in hand and a cause for which to advocate.

But let's be clear, folks like these are not giving your average congressional testimonies.

ELMO: That's wonderful.

TAPPER: From the ridiculous to the impassioned.


TAPPER: To the downright distracting.

NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS: I became UNIFEM's goodwill ambassador.

TAPPER: When celebrities come to Washington, the media and the politicians take notice. But does the spectacle of the star outshine or shed light on the cause they've come to promote?

EMILY HEIL, THE WASHINGTON POST: Often hearings in Congress are not about members of Congress learning something that they don't already know. It's performance art. If they wanted to really learn about issues, they can get it from a briefing book.

TAPPER: On Wednesday, Oscar winner Ben Affleck arrived in Washington, D.C. to speak about the crisis in the Congo.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: Finally, it's just a pleasure to be here in State Department after -- the real State Department. I had to fake it for "Argo." I get to see the real thing here.

TAPPER: The "Argo" director has brought his cause to the table time and time again.

AFFLECK: My name is Ben Affleck. Congolese soil. I'm working with and for the people of eastern Congo.

TAPPER: Just a few marble pillars away, actor Seth Rogen testified about the effects of Alzheimer's, which his mother-in-law suffers from.

Now sure, these appearances bring some buzz. But ultimately does anyone remember why Stephen Colbert testified before Congress? Or Bob Barker? Or Elton John?

Or do they just remember that they did with the cause lost in the flash of camera lights?

Truth is that is up to the celebrity's commitment to the cause and the journalists covering them. Congo and Alzheimer's would not be mentioned on my show today without Affleck and Rogen telling some stories without obvious news events is tough to do.

Water shortages and developing nations got our attention last year in part because of Matt Damon's involvement.

(on camera): You attaching yourself to this means I will be sitting here interviewing you, talking about an issue I probably wouldn't and people at home, viewers, will be paying attention to an issue that they wouldn't otherwise pay attention to.

MATT DAMON, ACTOR: Yes, that's the hope.

TAPPER (voice-over): Affleck's close friend co-founded

And their pal George Clooney is a longtime advocate for peace in Sudan, even getting arrested outside the embassy in 2012.

DAMON: I think we all individually felt that if cameras were going to follow us around, why not -- why not make something good out of that?

HEIL: Celebrities bring attention to an issue, and especially if that issue is not the sexiest issue, if you get Ben Affleck involved, all of a sudden, it's a little more interesting.

TAPPER: Something politicians have known for a while.

Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: But unlike those buzzing rooms we saw just then in Jake's report, Seth Rogen gave his impassioned address to an audience totally just two senators. And he wasn't too happy about it. He tweeted this after the hearing, and he saw the low turnout as a reflection of the government's low interest in addressing Alzheimer's. Now Rogen even confronted one senator director. And the senator tweeted back saying he had to attend a meeting, but that he watched Rogen's testimony later.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, have you ever wondered if we're alone in the universe? Well, the search for life outside our solar system just got one big boost. We'll tell you about NASA's new discovery.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now get ready to look at the sky just a little bit differently. NASA has just announced the discovery of 715 new planets outside our solar system. And to put that into perspective, about 1,000 planets had been identified in our galaxy before Wednesday. Previous discoveries are on this chart in blue and in red. NASA's new announcement, that's the yellow bar over there.

Now of the 715 newly verified worlds, four of them are considered Goldilocks Planets. They orbit a suns habitable zone. So they're not too hot and they're not too cold.

Now the planets themselves are neither too large nor too small compared to Earth. And that means they could support life as we know it.

Now the discoveries, they were made by NASA's Keppler telescope. It started searching for potentially habitable exoplanets back in 2009.

Now scientists are now using a new technique to verify their existence. And with 3,600 planet candidates now pending, you can expect many more announcements to come.

Now let's keep our eyes on the skies. And there is a weather satellite just hours from launch in Japan. Let's get details now with Mari Ramos, she joins me from the world weather center -- Mari.

RAMOS: Hey, Kristie.

There's so many words -- my favorite word that you used right now was exoplanet. I don't know why, I love that word.

Anyway, let's go ahead and talk about this a little bit closer to Earth. It is a satellite launch that is a joint venture between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. And it's going to take place just a few hours from now right here off the coast of Japan in this area, just off the island. And you can see a simulation here, a 3D mockup of what that rocket actually looks like.

Now weather expected to be OK for this launch. Skies are expected to be clearing and the team is, of course, preparing for the launch, making the final preparations for this launch. Why am I so interested in this one, right? Why do I want to share this with you, it's because this particular satellite is made for global precipitation measurement. And this is extremely important when it comes to weather forecasting and when it comes to knowing what is happening as far as precipitation around the world.

We already used a similar satellite that was launched several years ago. And that one is eventually going to be phased out.

Now this, like I said, is a joint U.S.-Japan mission to improve how we observe the planet. We're talking about rain, about ice, about snow all around the world.

This satellite will fly about 300 kilometers above the Earth. And it's going to measure precipitation anywhere from the Arctic all the way down to the Antarctic Circle. So it will be a total global precipitation measurement.

I guess, you know, it will be a little more difficult to know what's happening precisely over the polls, because of the way they orbit around the Earth.

Now, the GPM is also going to measure how intense the rain is and how it varies from time to time. And when it comes -- you know, when people start talking now more about climate change, those variabilities in precipitation are going to become even more important.

The other thing that is going to show us is how a storm is formed. In other words -- and how it looks -- be able to study the structure of clouds and storms will enable meteorologists to be able to make better forecasts. Eventually once we learn and know more about precisely how these storms and clouds are formed or what they look like. And the most important thing is how much precipitation is actually falling on the ground and how much of it is falling right here on Earth.

Now, like I was saying, forecast -- weather forecasting, climate models, how much water falls will help in the management of the water and forecasting, of course, that's one of the main things -- or big things like tropical cyclones, landslides, floods, and yes, droughts, because remember we talked about variability, what and how these things change.

We have used this technology before. This is a sample, this is not real, OK, this is a sample TRMN, which is the trim (ph), this is the old satellite. And the different colors would indicate how much precipitation has fallen. Again, this is only a sample. And we have -- you have seen this before when we've used it -- especially when we don't have localized weather observations, this type of technology gives us a good estimate as to what kind of rainfall is actually happening, especially in a wide area. But this new satellite will give us even better information like that.

This is where the launch will take place in Tanegashima. And it's 11 degrees right now. This -- the only concern that I have as far as the weather here, not so much the clouds, but it is a little bit on the windier side. I'm not exactly sure of the parameters that this has for launch, but so far so good, Kristie. And it appears that launch, so far anyway, is a go.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. All systems go. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now, you've often heard about impoverished life in North Korea. But a picture taken from space provides a new perspective of the conditions here on Earth. North Korea nearly disappears.

Now Pyongyang looks like a lonely island of white in an inky sea. and the nighttime images shot from the International Space Station show much of Asia bathed in the glow of hundreds of bustling cities, but there's hardly any light emission from North Korea. The country uses 7 percent as much power as the wealthier South Korea, that's according to the World Bank.

Now Korea after the Second World War was occupied by the Soviets in the north and the Americans in the south.

North Korea's subsequent invasion of South Korea is the subject of the next episode of the CNN documentary series Cold War. It looks at the struggle between Communism and Capitalism that defined an era. Here's a preview.


HAN PYO WOOK, SOUTH KOREAN EMBASSY, WASHINGTON: It was set in the evening. I got a telephone call from the UP duty officer saying that Korea had been invaded by North Koreans. And the moment thoroughly -- the remark stunned me so much. I didn't know what to say, whether he was joking with me, or whether he was really sure.

KENNETH BRANAGH, ACTOR: Senior officials were recalled that night to the State Department.

LUCIUS BATTLE, ASSISTANT TO U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: When the invasion occurred in South Korea, I think there was an immediate sense that action had to be taken. Exactly what that action was to be and how far it was to go, it was not something we had planned on. We had not worked out a contingency plan for war started by North Korea with South Korea.

WOOK: And about midnight, there was a call from (inaudible). I took the receiver and said please ask American government to rush necessary help.

BRANAGH: The South Korean ambassador went immediately to the State Department to see Assistant Secretary Dean Rusk (ph).

WOOK: He said, if I quote him, we felt that this is a matter America alone cannot be concerned with. It is a matter the world has to be concerned. And with that judgment we have decided to summon the security council for an emergency session.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Noting with grave concern armed invasion of the Republic of Korea by armed forces from North Korea.

BRANAGH: The following day the security council met. Moscow was boycotting the United Nations, because of its refusal to admit Communist China.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those in favor will please raise their hand.

BRANAGH: The United States seized the opportunity to condemn North Korean aggression.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine votes for, one against, and one abstention.

BRANAGH: Two days later, the security council voted to create a United Nations military force to defend South Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is, in fact, an attack on the United Nations itself.

BRANAGH: Under the UN flag, soldiers from 16 nations would fight against Communism.


LU STOUT: And tune in this Saturday for the next episode of CNN's landmark series Cold War. A divided Korea becomes a battlefield between communism and its foes as the Cold War turns hot for the very first time. That's the next Cold War Saturday 7:00 pm right here in Hong Kong.

And do stay with us right here on News Stream. After the break, old school toy race cars and new technology. We'll show you a video game that brings virtual gameplay to the physical world.


LU STOUT: Let's go back to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona now where Jim Boulden is looking at what's trending on social media.


BOULDEN: As the Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona comes toward its conclusion, one of the issues that has been talked about the entire week is the lack of women in tech. And I'm joined by Irene Capo from our CNN Digital team.

This has been talked about a lot throughout the week.

IRENE CAPO, CNN: It has. And in fact the director-general of the GSMA (ph) herself Anne Buvaro (ph) actually wrote about this to CNN. She said it's no secret that there's a dearth of women in this workforce.

BOULDEN: And there's been a lot about this on Twitter, especially after Virginia Rometty spoke here on Wednesday night.

CAPO: Indeed, a very high profile woman. And her appearance was applauded by the Twittersphere. And in fact some people commented that they wished there were some more strong women like this giving these speeches at such a high profile conference.

BOULDEN: Yeah, here especially, absolutely.

And then also on Twitter we saw some of our bloggers talking about this and doing some sort of informal polling, if you will.

CAPO: Megan Fitzgerald did note that the general consensus was there were less women here this year than last.

BOULDEN: So, we could actually be going backwards.

CAPO: We could be. There are no official figures on this, but that does appear to be the consensus.

BOULDEN: And we'll see whether that trend changes or continues next year.

Jim Boulden, CNN, Barcelona.


LU STOUT: Now, Anki is a small technology company, it specializes in robotics. And their first product, toy cars that can race themselves. Laurie Segall shows us how it works.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY: This is game that's in all the Apple stores right now. It's combining robotics, your smartphone, everything that's kind of new and trendy. So tell us a little bit about it.

BORIS SOFMAN, ANKI DRIVE CEO: Anki Drive is a racing game that is the most intelligence racing game you'll ever see. It's like a video game in physical form where you have characters that you can control. But whichever ones you don't control, they'll drive themselves and they'll understand what's going on, they'll react to what you're doing, what the others ones are doing.

The base set is $199. And it comes with the track, two cars, all the accessories that you need and expansion characters are $69 each.

The gameplay takes place on a rollable track. You just roll it out. You play with it. You roll it back up. There's nothing to assemble, no slots, no tracks, so it's super simple. But a track itself is very special. It's -- it doesn't have any magnets or electronics or anything inside of it, but it's special kinds of ink and optic technology.

When they drive on the track, they understand exactly where they are. And they're constantly communicating with iOS devices that run the game. They have a video game inside that we match to the physical world. And so we can use that to make characters become intelligence, to give them weapons and abilities and make them interact with each other in a way that you have never seen outside of a video game on a screen.

You could play from your one device against three opponents at once without having to have three friends nearby and just play against the artificial intelligence that's in the game.

SEGALL: So what goes into building out that artificial intelligence? Because granted you look at this, it looks like it's an old school game you would race around at your home, but this is all technology.

SOFMAN: That's right. And these are core problems in robotics, it's positioning, having these characters understand what's going on, thinking about those -- what's happening, making intelligent decisions, moving precisely.

So there are a lot of robotics technologies that are hidden within this game that allow it to feel intuitive and natural.

A lot of this is the hardware landscape. All the sensors and components that we're using in here, even three or four years ago would have been so expensive that it would have been difficult to do something like this at a reasonable price.

Anki Drive is at every single Apple Store in North America, in U.S. and Canada. And on as well on our website at

SEGALL: And so have you guys partnered up with Apple, or is this that they're supporting the product?

SOFMAN: They've obviously taken an interest in this, because we're using their product ecosystem in a way that nobody really has before. So they've been very fantastic to work with, especially with us starting out this year.


LU STOUT: Fun stuff.

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