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NEWS STREAM

Crisis In Ukraine; Day Four Of Oscar Pistorius Trial; Google, Apple Battle Over Your Car's Dashboard; Moammar Gadhafi's Son Saadi Handed Over To Libya

Aired March 6, 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.

Crimean lawmakers decide to hold a referendum on whether to stay a part of Ukraine or join Russia.

One of Moammar Gadhafi's sons is handed back to Libya.

And we look at the next round of the battle between Apple and Google in cars.

The United States is stepping up the pressure on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region and we have just learned the U.S. State Department has imposed a visa ban on some Russian and Ukrainian officials and President Obama has signed an executive order laying the groundwork for sanctions.

Now European Union leaders are also weighing on possible sanctions against Russia at a meeting currently underway in Brussels. That as lawmakers in Crimea up the ante. They have voted to hold a referendum on March 16 on whether to stay in Ukraine or to join Russia.

Now the former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is weighing in on the crisis in an opinion piece in the Washington Post today. The Nobel Peace Prize winner urged an approach from both sides based on cooperation, not confrontation. He wrote this, quote, "far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown, whether Ukraine joins the east or the west. But if Ukraine is to survive and to thrive, it must not be either side's outpost against the other, it should function as a bridge between them."

Now for now military sites in Crimea remain surrounded by armed men, the so-called self-defense forces who side with Russia. And there are concerns that violence may erupt as tempers fray.

Now CNN's Ben Wedeman went to a key military building in Sevastopol where a very strange, but tense standoff has been unfolding.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "Provocateur," shouts this woman outside the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol. This blonde woman, the object of the anger, has come with her daughter Irina (ph). Her act of provocation, to bring food to her husband inside.

Since last week, pro-Russian volunteers, members of a self-appointed civil defense force, have blocked the entrance to the headquarters, backed up by masked, armed men in green combat fatigues, presumably Russian troops.

"What provocation?" She asks. "It's soup and meat balls."

They accuse her of being paid to make trouble.

"I'm here to give them food," she replies, "because they're hungry. No one is feeding them. They can't go in or out."

We had come here to attend a press conference called by the newly appointed head of the Ukrainian navy whose authority apparently ends at the front gate of his headquarters.

There was no press conference. The pro-Russian civilians wouldn't allow journalists through.

(on camera): For us that's a minor inconvenience, but the fact that access is barred to this base is a much more serious problem for others.

(voice-over): Across the street, wives and mothers wave to those holed up inside.

Antonina Zaklykosaya (ph) is hoping to see her 30-year-old son Viktor an officer.

"Don't think as a mother my soul is in pain?" She asks. I haven't seen my son in so long."

A fleeting glimpse is the best she can get for now.

On the phone she tells me, "he keeps saying momma, don't worry."

Also stopped from entering with supplies was Alexander Kovalenko (ph) of the Sevastopol Red Cross.

"There are no problems with food," this man tells him. "Anyone who wants to eat can go home."

No Red Cross supplies were allowed in.

Almost every attempt to slip something to the men inside was stymied.

Irina (ph) and her mother weren't allowed to deliver the soup and meatball. They'll try again tomorrow.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Sevastopol, Crimea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now tensions are not limited to land. At sea, Russian navy ships assert their presence, blockading Ukrainian military ships. Now Ukraine's defense ministry says an old Russian warship moved overnight to obstruct the entrance to a lake. It's even trapped up to seven Ukrainian vessels inside the inlet.

And in the eastern city of Donetsk, it's near the border with Russia, there's this tug of war for control of a regional government headquarters.

Pro-Moscow demonstrators stormed this building on Monday. They were ousted on Wednesday, but witnesses say they took it back and also headed to the local treasury. Now the protesters in Donetsk, they want more autonomy for the region.

And there is a similar scene in the port city of Odessa. Riot police are in a standoff with pro-Russian demonstrators outside key government buildings.

Now our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is there. He joins me now live. And Matthew, what have you seen today?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were earlier in a location, you just mentioned, outside the key government building, the regional administrative office in the center of Odessa where there was a standoff between riot police and hundreds of pro-Russian protesters chanting pro-Russian slogans, waving flags from Russia as well and protesting against the authorities in Kiev saying that that government, that interim authority is not legitimate as far as they're concerned.

They say that Russian-speaking majority here in southern and eastern Ukraine are discriminated against. Their language of Russian is not an official language. They want that changed. And they're calling for more than that, they're calling for a referendum for a union with Russia as well much along the lines that the parliament in Crimea has apparently now voted for.

I can tell you I'm at a location now, which is the makeshift headquarters of the pro-Russian activists here in Odessa. You can see it's almost like on a much smaller scale and mirror reflection of those memorials we've seen so much in the capital Kiev. These are photographs not of protesters who were killed in that uprising, but of the police, the police who were also shot and killed during that uprising, those street battles that resulted in the government of Viktor Yanukovych coming to an end and him fleeing the country.

The flowers are being laid in memorial, too, again not on the same scale as in Kiev.

This sign here saying that we are in favor of a customs union. And that really reflects the concerns here, as well, economically, because even though these new interim authorities in Kiev want closer integration with the European Union and with western Europe, the people here in eastern Ukraine know very well which side of the -- which side the bread has the butter on, if you like. It's that, you know, they do all their trade essentially with Russia. They want a closer economic union with Russia and anything other than that threatens their livelihood.

So as well as feeling discriminated against, if the country of Ukraine does move closer to the west, as these authorities want it to, they're concerned their economic, you know, earning power will be severely affected as well.

And so a great deal of concern amongst these ethnic Russian, Russian- speaking citizens of Ukraine about the situation in their country -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And thanks for explaining why they want to have that closer relationship with Russia.

Take us back to that scene outside regional government buildings there in Odessa, the scene where you have that standoff between riot police and these pro-Russian demonstrators. Among the demonstrators, what is their immediate intent? Do they plan to enter and storm the Odessa regional government building?

CHANCE: Well, we only just got to Odessa, and so our understanding was that they -- that's been attempted in the last few days. On this occasion it didn't happen. The protest outside that building is now dispersed. They say they're going to come back later on in the afternoon, possibly this evening.

There were people that turned up. Mainly there were peaceful protesters. In fact, the whole protest was peaceful, but there were a gang of young men that turned up wearing face masks. They were extremely angry, it seemed, with the fact that the building was being guarded by those hundreds of riot police. They had weapons with them. And when I say weapons, I'm talking about sticks and clubs.

They said they weren't there to fight with the authorities, to fight with the police, but they were there to defend themselves and the other protesters from what they say were fascists who they believe had been sent by the authorities in Kiev to the area to discriminate and to conduct violent acts against the ethnic Russian population in this part of the country.

Now they offered no evidence for this. And we saw no attempts of any violence against these protesters.

But it just underlines the concerns that exist amongst many people in this part of southern Ukraine and of course in the east of Ukraine as well. They are very paranoid, very concerned about the political situation in their country today.

LU STOUT: All right, Matthew Chance reporting live from Odessa for us. Thank you, Matthew.

Now as reported, European Union leaders, they are gathering in Brussels. They're trying to find a diplomatic way out of this crisis. And they're considering possible sanctions against Russia.

Now Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels. She joins me live. And Erin, it's not just sanctions, I mean, what are all the options being discussed there?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey Kristie.

Well, I think the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was very clear here on Monday. She said that either Russia de-escalates or risks damaging its relationship with Europe, words that really set the scene for today's meeting now underway. We've seen the arrival of the heads of state in government, including a German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is a key player in all of this.

Take a listen to what she had to say when she arrived here this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We cannot go back to the daily routine, especially not when there's still no diplomatic talks. This means we have to consider sanctions in various ways. If we have to impose sanctions or not depends on the outcome of the diplomatic efforts. The foreign ministers are meeting at the same time in Rome. And therefore the day will show in which direction we go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: The day will show which direction we go, that the German chancellor there.

On the table today as we understand it, a menu of sanction options ranging from symbolic to severe, including the potential freezing of assets of individuals thought to be responsible for the crisis in Crimea as well as suspending possible negotiations over visa issues. It all very much depends on what the heads of state decide.

Any decision will need to be unanimous. All 28 member states will need to sign on on to any sanctioned decision, which is no small task considering there has been conflicting viewpoints in Europe as to how to deal with the crisis, with the countries in eastern Europe such as Poland favoring more stringent sanctions. And then you have the countries in the west such as Germany favoring dialogue first.

So it'll be very interesting to see what comes out of the meeting today. You heard the German chancellor saying that they will be also watching closely what's happening in Rome today as well -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, you mentioned that there's a contingent there in Brussels led by Germany and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel favoring mediation and negotiations. But now that the White House has just imposed sanctions on Russian officials behind the crisis, is that going to fill the call there for tough sanctions among EU members?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think it very much remains to be seen, Kristie. I think that the officials here really want to see, as the German chancellor said, what unfolds in Rome today. They want to talk to one another, though these talks have been going on all -- all week.

I think there is some sort of sense that something needs to be done in terms of putting pressure on Russia. What exactly that is really comes down to what comes out of this meeting today.

LU STOUT: All right, Erin McLaughlin joining me live from Brussels. Thank you for that.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, a very emotional day at the trial of Oscar Pistorius. We'll tell you what a neighbor says he saw when he went to the Pistorius home the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed.

Also ahead, the fate of a dictator's family. We'll tell you what just happened to one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. We started with the situation in Ukraine. And later in the show, we'll look at the battle between Apple and Google that could remake the dashboards of our cars.

But now to our other big story this week. It is day four of the Oscar Pistorius trial and we are hearing more gripping and graphic testimony.

Now doctor Johan Stipp, the seventh witness to take the stand, he lives near Pistorius. And he told the court he went to the athlete's home the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed and he described what he saw in the bathroom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. JOHAN STIPP, WITNESS: While I was trying to ascertain if she's survivable, Oscar was crying all the time. He prayed to god to please let her live. She must not die. He will -- he said at one stage while he was praying that he will dedicate his life and her life to god if she would just only live and not die that night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Now the Olympic sprinter is accused of intentionally killing his girlfriend. He says it was an accident after he mistook her for an intruder.

Now Nic Robertson joins me now from outside the court in Pretoria. And Nic, this doctor providing very, very compelling witness testimony today. What else did the court hear from him.

ROBERTSON: Well, very compelling testimony and some of it very, very graphic. We just heard how he describes Oscar Pistorius and saying that he -- Pistorius had shot Reeva Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was a burglar. But during that testimony in the court room, Oscar Pistorius, head down, some of his family on the row behind him tears in their eyes coming down their faces and at one point Oscar Pistorius was shaking so heavily with the crying people behind him thought he might be on the verge of throwing up.

But what the doctor went on to describe was how Oscar Pistorius was even praying to god saying if you let her live I will give my life to you.

The doctor also described how he tried to save Reeva Steenkamp. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STIPP: As I approached the lady, there was a man on his knees on the left side. He had his left hand on her right groin and his right hand, second or third fingers in her mouth. And I remembered the first thing he said when I got there was that -- he said, I shot her. I thought she was a burglar and I shot her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: But while all of this has been very compelling, this was a doctor giving evidence to the state. The state had obviously called him. When he was being cross-examined by the defense attorney, the defense attorney questioning how and why he awoke. And he said that he awoke because of gunshots, then heard screaming, then heard bangs before he went to over to Oscar Pistorius' house and we've heard everything that he said there.

But what the defense is saying, yes, those shots that woke you up were the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp and the screaming that you heard was actually Oscar Pistorius and the bangs that you heard were actually Oscar Pistorius breaking down the bathroom door with a cricket bat. But then we've also heard interjections again from the prosecution and an argument there almost between prosecution -- you know the state and the defense.

Now it appears that the prosecution is saying actually there were two sets of noises, but it was the second set of noises at 3:17 that killed Reeva Steenkamp, not the first set of noises which is what the defense is saying.

And this is critical to the defense's case to establish that it was Oscar Pistorius who was screaming and not Reeva Steenkamp that was screaming because the doctor said very clear the bullet wounds that she suffered she would not have been able to scream because some of those wounds were to her head -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: We've been hearing some very tough cross examination throughout this trial. Earlier the defense attempted to poke holes in the neighbors' testimony, other neighbors who took to the stand. Can you tell us more about what was said earlier?

ROBERTSON: Yeah, I mean, what the defense is trying to do is to inject that sort of doubt into what the witnesses, the neighbors say they saw -- believed they saw. And it comes back down essentially to this idea that the neighbors were woken by the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp, that the screaming that they heard was Oscar Pistorius screaming, and any other shots or bangs they thought they heard were him breaking down the door with a cricket bat.

Now why is that important to the defense? It's important to the defense because they say there's no credible evidence that the pair were having an argument and that that argument led to Reeva Steenkamp's premeditated murder by Oscar Pistorius.

Oscar Pistorius is on the record saying that he thought there was a burglar breaking in and that's why he shot through the bathroom door. He thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was in the bed asleep. He realized after the shooting that wasn't the case.

So this is what's important to the defense, to establish that there wasn't an argument between the couple and that's where it's been going. And of course to establish that, the defense has been incredibly tough with some of the witnesses. The third witness on the stand this morning went through all of that again. This was his second day on the stand as well, Kristie.

LU STOUT: That's right, the defense working very, very hard to create that sense of doubt. Nic Robertson reporting live from Pretoria for us. Thank you.

And do stay with us right here on News Stream. Up next, another member of the Gadhafi family in hot water. Now he fled after his father was toppled from power. So why is he now back in Libya? I'll tell you after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now Moammar Gadhafi's son Saadi is now back in Libya. Niger handed him over to Tripoli after denying extradition requests for years.

Now Saadi Gadhafi fled across the Sahara Desert after rebel forces toppled his father back in 2011. Now he is a former footballer and businessman and unlike one of his brothers, Saadi is not wanted for war crimes.

(inaudible) live from Tripoli. And Jomana, after years in hiding, Saadi Gadhafi is back on Libyan soil. What is the reaction there?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, many Kristie, woke up to this news that really broke overnight in Tripoli. And as one Libyan said to me earlier, we rarely wake up to good news these days. And they say they did wake up to good news today.

Many are happy, relieved to see yet another member of the former regime brought back here to Libya to face justice here. And as you mentioned, Libyan authorities for more than two years now have been trying to extradite Saadi Gadhafi and other members of the regime in different countries, including neighboring Egypt.

A short while ago, we heard from the Libyan prime minister who is currently in Rome attending the international conference on Libya and he said that after a year of negotiations and diplomatic talks between Niger and Libya.

Libyan authorities, he says, were able to provide Niger with evidence. He says that Saadi Gadhafi was involved in communications and practices, he says, that were targeting Libyan's security aimed at destabilizing the country. And he says after that was presented them, Niger has handed him over to Libya.

Now the big question is what charges will be brought against Gadhafi and will he face a fair trial here, something -- a concern that human rights organizations have raised about former regime officials who are being detained and standing trial here in Libya.

LU STOUT: That's right, his legal fate remains to be seen. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joining us live from Tripoli, thank you.

So what has happened to the rest of Moammar Gadhafi's children? As mentioned, his heir apparent is also in custody. Saif al-Islam remains in the hands of a militia in the small western mountain town of Zintan (ph). And three of Gadhafi's sons died during the 2011 uprising.

Now, Khamis, the leader of the elite and widely feared Khamis brigade, Saf al-Arab and Mutassim (ph) who once served as national security adviser. Now Mohammed, Isha and Hannibal, they all fled to neighboring Algeria in late August of 2011. They reportedly left there for Oman where they were granted asylum.

And the fate of Hanna remains a mystery. And some say that she was killed in the U.S. air strike as a baby, others say she survived and worked as a doctor in Tripoli until the day rebels took over.

Coming up next, we will continue our coverage of our top story today as tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue to rise. One woman could hold the key to a solution. We'll tell you why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels right now to try to find a solution to Ukraine's crisis. Now in a tweet, the European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said that Europe stands by a, quote, "united and inclusive Ukraine." Now leaders are also expected to discuss possible sanctions against Russia.

In Crimea, the parliament has voted to hold a referendum in 10 days time. Now residents will be asked if they want to stay in Ukraine or join the Russian Federation.

A doctor who lives close to Oscar Pistorius has been facing questions at the athlete's murder trial. He says he went to his home the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed and saw her body after she was shot. Now Pistorius said he thought she was an intruder.

Moammar Gadhafi's son is back in his home country after being extradited from Niger. Now the Libyan government says Saadi Gadhafi is under lock and key in a Tripoli prison. He fled across the border into Niger and his father was toppled from power in 2011.

As U.S. and European leaders weigh a response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine. Some are looking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to help mediate. Now Germany and Russia have close economic ties. And as Brian Todd reports, the most important bargaining chip may be the personal relationship between the countries' two leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's no secret President Obama's strained relationship with Vladimir Putin isn't helping in this crisis. But who can solve it? It may be the stoic daughter of a pastor, Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vladimir Putin knows from experience for many years right now that the last enemy that he wants right now in Europe is Germany.

TODD: Germany has huge economic leverage over Putin. It buys more than a third of its natural gas from Russia, exports technology and cars to Russia. But analysts say what makes Merkel so crucial in this crisis is that she has something that Obama doesn't, a personal connection with Russia's president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have a lot of connectivity because Putin speaks very fluent German and Angela Merkel herself speaks Russian.

TODD: She grew up in East Germany under the communist system dominated by the Soviets. Putin was a KGB officer who served in East Germany. Analysts say they understand each other's political DNA. A German official told us Merkel and Putin are not friends. After a recent phone call on Ukraine, she reportedly said Putin is, quote, "in another world."

But she has a savvy and toughness he respects. Several years ago, Putin brought a large dog to a meeting with Merkel apparently wanting to test her knowing she has a fear of dogs. She was terrified says one analyst, but didn't flinch. Kept negotiating with Putin for more than an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn't blink because she understands the Russian mind set and knows the Russians and Vladimir Putin wanted to play Russian chess with her. The person who blinks that first has lost.

TODD: Merkel's relationship with President Obama recently became strained with reports the NSA tapped her cell phone. But analysts say it's her credibility with both the White House and the Kremlin that is making the difference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's probably more willing to take into account to listen to what Russian concerns are and to try and dissuade the Russians from thinking that everyone else is ganging up against them.

TODD: And Merkel has her own stake in this. Because of those economic ties, Germany could be among the biggest losers if this Cold War style standoff gets worse. That's why she's been more reluctant to push sanctions against Russia an doesn't want to kick Putin out of the G8.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now Russia' military presence in Ukraine is the subject of a meeting between EU leaders in Brussels right now. They are trying to come up with a unified response to the crisis, which may include sanctions against Russia. Let's get the view from Moscow now.

Phil Black is in the Russian capital. He joins me live. And Phil, we know that the White House has just imposed sanctions in Russian officials believed to be behind the Ukraine crisis. Any reaction there from Moscow?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not to that specific and recent development, Kristie, no.

But we know that Russia has stated repeatedly that in the event that there are sanctions put into place against Russia by America or the EU or both that Russia will retaliate. So we wait to see precisely what that will be.

Interestingly, there's also been fairly muted reaction to the developments out of Crimea where the Crimean parliament has declared its intention to join the Russian the Russian Federation and to hold a referendum backing that up, reinforcing that, showing that that is in fact the will of the people.

Remember one of the key issues we've been talking about over the last few days has been why is Russia not yet ready to acknowledge that there are Russian troops on the ground in Crimea, despite the fact there is considerable evidence suggesting otherwise. Well, the Russian view on all of this has been that this is a grass roots, local movement to determine Crimea's future, that it is the people of Crimea that are rejecting the events in Kiev, the revolution. They don't trust the government. That it is Crimean self-defense forces that are now consolidating control over the region.

That argument begins to lose considerable credibility in the event that Russia acknowledges that there are, in fact, Russian troops on the ground controlling, they're intervening directly in events. And under those circumstances, there would obviously be questions, too, about the fairness, the freedom and fairness of any referendum carried out under those circumstances, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, meanwhile Moscow must be closely watching the EU summit currently underway in Brussels. We know that there is a discussion there about whether if sanctions are the best way forward or mediation or talks. If sanctions are imposed, how can Russia retaliate?

BLACK: Well, Russia has far more levers that it can pull in retaliating against Europe because they do so much business together. There is so much bilateral trade. The EU is Russia's biggest trading partner. There are a lot of businesses, European businesses in Russia. And of course Russia has that ultimate trump card perhaps and that is Europe's dependence ongoing dependence on Russian oil and gas. That would go some way towards explaining why from Europe there's been a slightly more muted response to the idea of going in hard and fast with hard sanctions against Russia.

One of the first that is expected to be declared is perhaps a ban or a freeze on talks about loosening visa restrictions between the two countries, visa regulations. The EU and Russia have been negotiating for a long time now about setting a visa-free zone, visa-free travel. If they lock that -- if they knock that out and perhaps even tighten visa regulations, then that is an area that Russia would respond -- reciprocate with almost immediately, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. Phil Black reporting live from Moscow. Many thanks indeed for that.

Now the Crimean parliament has voted to hold that referendum on March 16 on whether or not to stay part of Ukraine or to join the Russian Federation. And that is likely to fuel tensions in the largely pro-Russian region.

Diana Magnay has this report from the Crimean capital.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the ugly face of Crimea's new self-defense units. A woman holds a sign which reads "Putin, get out of my country." The heavies move in. The sign with Kiev's revolution is a dangerous thing in Crimea.

On the main square in Simferapol, there is just one leader.

Our grandparents protected our land from the SS. And we will protect our land from western extremists, this woman shouts. Thank you Russia for protecting us.

Russia's president says he's not, that these troops aren't his, but that he will move in if he must to protect the region's Russians.

This self-defense forces, what exactly are they defending the people of Crimea against?

SERGEY AKSYONOV, CRIMEAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Those are extremist groups that on a regular basis were threatening the people of Crimea. They were saying that there was a friendship train from Maidan coming to Crimea. They were trying to teach us how to live our lives, to teach us how to speak the Ukrainian language even if we didn't want to do that.

MAGNAY: And so the pro-Russian militias ready themselves. This is where the recruitment happens.

Inside, it couldn't be cozier. Under the watchful eye of Vladimir Putin, we're served coffee and Crimean jam, told why joining up with Russia is Crimea's best option.

"Russia is far more stable. They have no economic problems, not like here where we have movements like the Maidan and are in a political and economic mess."

Bardina is scared that what happened in Kiev will happen here next. She says the far right send her threatening texts, that she's even had death threats from Chechnya.

We leave to the strains of a Soviet song, the solace of the old in anxious times, unsure nevertheless whether the new order is making the city safer.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Simferapol, Ukraine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And we have complete coverage of the crisis in Ukraine on our website. You can find a gallery of key players in the showdown, plus a live blog tracking all the latest developments. You can find it CNN.com/Ukraine.

And, as Russia seeks support from China, we examine Beijing's balancing act. One analyst says this, quote, China may think its interests are better served by continuing to avoid taking a clear stance, hoping that it will be well positioned whatever the outcome. You can find it CNN.com.

Now first, it was on your phone, then it was on your wrist, now it could be in your car. We take a look at how Apple's trademark operating system could find its way onto your dashboard. That up next right here on News Stream.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: All right now. Pope Francis may be progressive, but he isn't ready to embrace gay marriage. However, in a somewhat surprising statement the leader of the Catholic church said he understands the need for some types of civil unions. Miguel Marquez explains what the pope said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pope Francis making headlines worldwide again. This time, the pontiff discussing the possibility of civil unions, maybe even between same-sex couples.

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN FAITH & RELIGION CONTRIBUTOR: What he seems to be indicating is he would not be for gay marriage, gay sacraments on marriage. But he seems to open the door for civil unions, with protection of rights and for economic issues and for medical issues.

MARQUEZ: A Vatican spokesperson later clarified, the pope was not weighing in on the gay marriage debate, only speaking "about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens."

In this sprawling interview given to the Italian newspaper "Corriere Della Sera", Francis both reiterated church policy on contraception, but also called the church to be merciful and attentive to concrete situations.

And the pope wasn't done on women's issues yet. He said the church needed to heighten the power of women and not just in his administration.

BECKEL: What Pope Francis is saying is that they need to be part of the decision-making process of the Catholic Church, but also it needs to be more than just functional. That the very essence of who women are needs to be integrated into who the Catholic Church is.

MARQUEZ: Pope Francis is changing the language and image of the church and may be on the road to changing the institution itself. In the interview, he warns, though, he sometimes wears a cape, but is no superman. He laughs, cries, and sleeps like everyone else. He also can't bring about changes as quickly or grandly as some might like.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: The social magazine app Flipboard is buying the news feeder app Zite from CNN. Now if you're not familiar with Flipboard, it collects content from social networks and news sites to create a personalized magazine for its users.

Now Flipboard says it will capitalize on Zite's expertise and personalization and recommendations. As part of the deal, Flipboard has also teamed up with CNN to launch custom magazines for some CNN shows.

Now we've talked about the smartphone battles. We've covered the war on wearables. But now tech titans are fighting it out on a new front -- in cars.

The first cars built to work with Apple's CarPlay system were unveiled at the Geneva auto show. Now the system is designed to allow you to access key functions on your iPhone through the car itself. You can access maps, play music and make calls.

Now Apple now the only ones gunning for your car, Google announced a partnership with companies like Honda to build Android into cars. And Microsoft have long built software for cars made by Ford.

Let's get more now on the race to reinvent the consoles of our cars. Nicholas Thompson is joining me now from New York. He, of course, is the editor of New Yorker.com. And Nick, with CarPlay the battle for the dashboard is fully on. Will this be a repeat of the smartphone wars?

NICHOLAS THOMPSON, NEW YORKER.COM: It will have the same players. It will have a certain amount of intensity. But there are a couple of very important differences.

In the smartphone wars, it was a little more cutthroat. Apple made the devices, Apple made the software, Apple controlled everything. You either had to buy an Apple or you had to not buy an Apple device.

Here, a lot of cars will integrate with Apple, right. BMW might integrate with Apple, but they're not going to say you have to have an iPhone to buy a BMW, because that would be crazy, right. The phones would be the minor players in this business partnership. So they won't have as much control. And it won't ultimately be as cutthroat. The cars will integrate with lots of different devices and lots of different systems.

So it will be interesting, but it will also be different.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and compatibility is key, which will be a relief for many consumers out there to listen to that.

Now a smartphone has so many apps on it. You know, there's messaging, maps, music, social, of all that, which do you think -- when you're in the car -- will emerge as sort of the most popular app to use on something like car dashboard?

THOMPSON: Oh, god knows. I mean, what I hope is that they're basically two. One, maps. Two, music. And that everything else goes away.

But what seems to be happening is there's a...

LU STOUT: Pardon me, Nick. I have to stop you right there, pardon me. But we have some breaking news coming in. We know that the interim prime minister of Ukraine is speaking right now. Let's listen in.

(INTERUPTED FOR UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER PRESS CONFERENCE)

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