Return to Transcripts main page

IDESK

U.S. Gun Control Debate; Obama to Unveil New Gun Control Measures; Saudi-Iranian Relations; France Honors 2015 Terror Victims; Latest ISIS Video; Inside Ramadi; Venezuela Opens Parliament; Closing the Gun Show Loophole; Las Vegas Center Stage for Cool Electronics. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 5, 2016 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hi, there, everyone, You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

At this hour, all eyes are on the White House as the U.S. president is about to make a major announcement on his plan to tighten gun control.

Barack Obama will unveil the new measures, give more details on what he hopes to implement. Now they'll take the form of executive actions,

meaning the president will push them through without congressional approval.

And of course, Republican opponents are vowing to raze any changes, even though many of the president's supporters say they're just not enough, that

these measures are limited in what they'll achieve.

The new restrictions are expected to expand background checks and to boost mental health funding, as our Michelle Kosinski now reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will potentially save lives in this country.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama teeing up to announce a major overhaul on gun control this morning,

giving Congress a hard pass.

OBAMA: These are recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch.

KOSINSKI (voice-over): : The president set to lay out a series of executive orders, including clarifying that anyone in the business of

selling guns must acquire a license and ensure background checks, no matter the volume of guns sold or where.

The White House also urging more state reporting of background check records that could disqualify buyers with mental illness or a history of

domestic violence.

Proposing beefing up the background check system itself, hiring more staff to operate it around the clock. And the president will ask for much more

funding for mental health treatment.

The Democratic campaign trail buzzing with excitement.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am so proud of what the president announced today.

The next president on the very first day could wipe it away.

No, I won't wipe it away.

KOSINSKI (voice-over): Oh, the next president could very well wipe it away and that's exactly what the GOP 2016 hopefuls plan to do.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But don't worry. When I'm elected president, on my first day behind that desk, those orders are

gone.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: l will veto that. I will unsign that so fast, so fast.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Michelle Kosinski reporting there.

Now gun violence in the U.S. has long been a heartache for President Obama. Time and time again, he's gone behind the podium to mourn those killed in

mass shootings and urged Congress to make a change. But his frustration is becoming increasingly apparent to the point where we are now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world. And there's some steps we could take

not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings but to improve the odds that they don't happen.

I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.

We come together, filled with sorrow for the 13 Americans that we have lost, with gratitude for the lives that they led and with a determination

to honor them through the work we carry on.

I have come here tonight as an American, who, like all Americans, to pray with you today and will stand by you tomorrow.

And the federal government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice.

All of us are heartbroken by what's happened. And I offered the thoughts and prayers, not only of myself and Michelle but also for the country as a

whole.

And each time I learn the news, I react, not as a president but as anybody else would, as a parent.

In our days to come, the community needs us to be at our best as Americans and I will do everything in my power as president to help.

The lives that were taken from us were unique. The memories their loved ones carry are unique and they will carry them and endure long after the

news cameras are gone.

Any shooting is troubling. Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Ft. Hood five years ago.

The country has to do soul-searching about this. This is becoming the norm.

[10:05:00]

OBAMA: And we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me.

The good news is I'm confident that the outpouring of unity and strength and fellowship and love across Charleston today indicates the degree to

which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome.

And each time this happens I'm going to bring this up. Each time this happens, I am going to say that we can actually do something about it but

we're going to have to change our laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Each time, he says.

Well, let's talk about this with CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston joining us from Washington.

You heard Mr. Obama there, over and over and over again.

But at first glance the measures that are going to be announced today are small.

In the wake of all these mass shootings, why is this the best he can do?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Robyn, you know, a very interesting question here in the United States when it comes to gun

violence, something that our international viewers probably don't deal with as much as we do here in the U.S., if you look at murder rates here in the

U.S., seven in 10 murders are at the hands of a gun.

But if you talk to gun advocates, they will tell you that the murder rates -- and they're quoting the FBI statistics here in the U.S. -- have gone

down over the last two years.

What President Obama is trying to do right now is trying to bypass Congress because he's unable to get anything through Congress that has any teeth.

This has concerned the gun lobby, though, here in the U.S. because they feel like any action that's taken is just opening up a crick in the door,

so to speak, which will eventually open wide open and people's guns will be taken away.

It is a very volatile issue here in the U.S. In fact, the country is split basically 50-50 on whether there should be stricter gun laws enacted here

in the U.S.

CURNOW: So why is it so hard for Congress to pass any type of bill on gun control?

PRESTON: Well, Robyn, it's a couple things. One, they probably could do some things that would be universally accepted, background checks.

We're going to see from President Obama today, he's going to try to expand background checks. In fact, that has a high support, high approval here in

the U.S. amongst Americans, thinking that people should actually have to go through some kind of process before they're able to get a firearm.

But the reason why it's difficult to get it through Congress is that if you are a congressman or a senator, who represents the inner city, who

represents an urban area, you're more likely to ask for gun control.

However, if you are a representative or a senator who represents a rural part of America -- and let's not forget, a lot of America is rural or small

towns -- they are less likely to do it. Guns are more part of their culture at that point. So that's why you have that.

In addition to that, you have an incredible amount of money from the firearms industry, backing those who oppose measures here in the U.S. to

enact stricter gun laws.

CURNOW: Yes, the power of NRA.

Let's also talk about how this is also not just about guns and gun control. These executive actions also might give fuel to some of Mr. Obama's

political opponents, who talk about him overreaching his authority.

PRESTON: Correct. And we have seen that so far from several of the Republican presidential candidates, who are running right now for the

president, mainly Donald Trump, who is the front-runner, who has gone as far as to say that this is just step one toward several steps that will go

toward taking away people's guns.

Now Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, has talked over the past year about how he sometimes carries a firearm with him for his own safety,

unproven or not, Donald Trump says a lot of interesting things. So we don't know if he actually does. He has said so.

In addition to that, you're going to hear this from members of Congress and we're starting to see them come out now. Those who oppose President Obama

are coming out and they're fiercely opposing these measures.

But to your point, as you said at the very beginning, these are very small steps right now. They are to increase mental health awareness for those

who are trying to purchase guns and they're trying to enact some stricter laws on actually purchasing. But right now very small steps in this whole

battle over guns.

CURNOW: But still, a major announcement.

Mark Preston from Washington, appreciate it.

PRESTON: Thank you.

CURNOW: And we'll have live coverage of Obama's announcement in just under two hours.

Plus, President Obama will be joining us, CNN, for an exclusive live town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper. Now that's 1:00 am Friday in London, only

here on CNN.

Well, now to the continuing political fallout between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Kuwait is the latest Arab nation to take diplomatic action against

Iran. It recalled its ambassador to Tehran after protesters raided the Saudi embassy there. International diplomatic editor --

[10:10:00]

CURNOW: -- Nic Robertson joins me now from the Saudi capital.

Hi, there, Nic.

Now the subtext for all of this tension, is it that Saudi is concerned about a rising resurgent Iran?

And then is it correct, as many analysts point out, that perhaps Saudi miscalculated?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think there are many ways to read this. Certainly there are many aspects of Saudi Arabia's

relationship with Iran that caused Saudi Arabia concern.

They are concerned that the United States has struck a nuclear deal with Iran because they can see that it allows Iran to get back into the oil

markets and get power back increases sort of power leverage in the region, spend money supporting the governments in Iraq, spend money, as the Saudis

will see it, supporting the Houthis in Yemen to the south -- so that's the north and the south.

They would see as well that -- they feel isolated and let down by the United States following the Arab Spring in 2011. They looked to the United

States as a strong ally that would stand up for their friends in the region; President Mubarak in Egypt, President Bin Ali in Tunisia. Both

were overthrown.

And Saudi Arabia, at that moment, realized that it needed to sort of firm up and look to itself for security in the future. And that's what we've

seen over the past few years. You know, the tensions between the two countries go back decades before that.

But when you add in as well that Saudi Arabia now feels that Iran is meddling internally inside Saudi Arabia, all of these things factor in to

what's happening right now. So I don't think we can isolate one particular issue.

But having spoken to Saudi officials today, this is really deeply and firmly held and they feel that their course of action in executing the Shia

cleric, who they say was sponsoring terrorism here, they believe that they did the right thing and that they didn't miscalculate, that they were

sending a strong message to Iran about how strong they intend to be in the future in the region.

CURNOW: OK, Nic Robertson in Riyadh, thank you so much for that.

Well, ever since the latest ISIS propaganda video came out, there's been a mad scramble to find out more about the English speakers in the video.

We'll tell you more about this man, pointing a gun at the camera, and the young boy, who also makes an appearance.

Plus, Venezuela's national assembly opens today amid tight security. What will happen there; what hasn't happened in 16 years.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CURNOW: Welcome back.

It's been nearly a year since terrorists attacked the "Charlie Hebdo" newsroom and other places around Paris. Now France has placed a permanent

reminder of --

[10:15:00]

CURNOW: -- the horrific killings. French President Francois Hollande helped unveil a plaque to honor the 17 people who were killed. It was the

beginning of a week of commemorations, marking the anniversary of those terror attacks.

And we're learning more about the English-speaking man and boy who appear in the latest ISIS propaganda video. CNN's Brian Todd breaks it down for

us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a familiar black mask and menacing tone, he stands behind five hostages, who are on their knees.

With a British accent, he aims his wrath at Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, saying Cameron is arrogant and foolish like his predecessors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, David, you are more of an imbecile. Only an imbecile would dare to wage war against a land where the law of Allah

reigns supreme.

TODD (voice-over): Seconds later, this militant and others appear to shoot the hostages in the back of the head. The men had been accused of spying

for the British. This is ISIS' latest propaganda video. And if this man bears a chilling resemblance to Jihadi John, analysts say there is good

reason.

AKI PERITZ, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Jihadi John created a boogeyman for the West. And now this person, whoever he is, is trying to replicate that

scary behavior of his predecessor.

TODD (voice-over): Jihadi John, the British ISIS militant identified by Western intelligence as Mohammed Emwazi, terrified Western audiences as he

presided over the beheadings of American James Foley and other hostages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's only right we continue to strike the necks of your people.

TODD (voice-over): Jihadi John was killed in November in a drone strike in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah, Syria. Analysts say ISIS is trying to

recapture his gravitas, but the group also tends to post these videos when it's on the ropes.

MATTHEW LEVITT, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: I think the timing of the video clearly has to do with recent battlefield losses. They

lost Ramadi. Their territory is being pushed back. Their ability to make money from oil in particular is being constrained like it hadn't been

before.

TODD (voice-over): A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN ISIS' use of murderers as spokesmen only reflects the group's true nature.

From David Cameron, a defiant response.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, it's desperate stuff from an organization that really does do the most utterly despicable and dastardly

acts and people can see that again today.

TODD (voice-over): CNN is told British counterterror officials are combing through the video. British officials won't comment on who this militant

might be, but experts say he's likely on their kill list.

PERITZ: They are absolutely looking for this person right now. If you're willing to make a high-resolution video executing hostages, the United

States, Britain and other folks are looking for you.

TODD (voice-over): But the masked jihadist isn't the only person in the video generating significant interest in Britain.

TODD: At the very end of the video, a young boy, who looks to be only about 4 or 5 years old, appears unmasked in fatigues, speaking in a British

accent and threatens to kill nonbelievers in the West.

A man identifying himself as the boy's grandfather spoke to Britain's Channel 4. The grandfather says his daughter, the boy's mother, was a

Nigerian Christian, who converted to Islam, moved to Syria and married a jihadist, who is believed to have been killed.

The grandfather says ISIS is using the boy as propaganda, as a shield.

But he adds, quote, "I can't disown him. He's my grandson." -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Well, after months of rule by ISIS in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, the terror group's grip is slowly being loosened there. Now it's a

difficult operation, though, with civilians trapped in the middle. CNN's Nima Elbagir takes us inside the city to show us what they're facing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraqi helicopters keep a watchful eye in the sky above. And all around what remains of Ramadi after

six months of ISIS' rule.

ELBAGIR: Driving through here, you just really get hit by the desolation, the devastation that was visited on this city. What the airstrikes and the

ground offensives didn't destroy, ISIS rigged to blow.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Ramadi fell in May last year and, since then, the Iraqi counterterrorism services have battled to reclaim it, every inch an

advance through the unknown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody OK?

ELBAGIR: Yes, we're OK.

The only way we can safely walk is in his footsteps. Even though they've cleared this area, even though they've held it for the last few days, there

are still areas within this that are booby trapped.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Ramadi was home to nearly a million people. Today, as troops continue their push, we're told possibly over 1,000 families

remain trapped

[10:20:00]

ELBAGIR (voice-over): -- facing death amidst the rubble.

As the battle for Ramadi has raged, it's been hard to get a sense of the toll on civilians.

But in this video, filmed for CNN, you can see soldiers race across a sniper alley to escort back a white flag-waving boy and his family. Those

who can't walk are carried, all desperate to escape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): This man describes the horror his family faced.

"ISIS tried to take us away," he says. "Young, old, ill, they wanted to take us all."

In this clip, soldiers gather what remains of the dead. Some, like this woman, appear to have been shot; others, blown to pieces by IEDs.

Much of what was filmed is too graphic to show you, like the remains of a little boy carried to burial.

All over Ramadi, remnants of ISIS' rule still stand.

ELBAGIR: This is what would have been an ISIS suicide car bomb. You can see the keys actually still inside the ignition.

They climb in through the top. There's a hole cut out of the roof. Around here, around the back, this is where they pack the explosives, here in the

bed of the pickup truck.

Cars like these are what have been coming towards the Iraqi forces every single day since liberation, packed full of explosives, ready to blow.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The head of Iran's counterterror force told us the liberation of Ramadi should be celebrated around the world, that this is

just the first of the victories to come.

Here in Ramadi, night falls. More rescued families escape.

This little girl can't stop crying.

For her, for now, all that matters is she's safe -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Ramadi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Thanks to Nima for that report.

Well, you're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Next, parliament is convening in Venezuela. Why the opposition majority is facing a bitter

power struggle. We'll have a live report. Stay with us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CURNOW: Well, it's a landmark day in Venezuela. The national assembly opens with an opposition majority for the first time in 16 years but it

faces a bitter power struggle with President Nicolas Maduro that is raising concerns in Washington. CNN's Shasta Darlington is covering the story for

us from Rio de Janeiro.

Hi, there, Shasta.

Just tell us why this is important and also the response, clearly telling from the president.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Robyn. As you mentioned, the reason this is important is because it's the first time in

nearly 17 years that the opposition will gain control in congress. They're going to be sworn in any minute.

That's already ratcheting up tensions inside and outside of Venezuela. In Caracas, for example, rival marches are already heading toward downtown.

On the one hand, you have the opposition groups and, on the other hand, the government supporters.

And while so far it's been small and peaceful, in the past this has led to violence --

[10:25:00]

DARLINGTON: -- and we're going to have to keep an eye on it.

Now the opposition group, this is the Democratic Unity Coalition. They won a two-thirds majority in legislative elections last December. They really

capitalized on the anger over the tanking economy, over rising violence in the country and a chronic shortage of even the most basic goods.

And today they want to swear in all 112 of those legislators who won elections, but that's despite a supreme court decision, saying three of

them can't be sworn in because they're still facing legal challenges to those elections.

Well, that decision has been widely criticized also by the U.S. State Department. They say yet again the Venezuelan government is trying to

interfere in constitutionally mandated legislative elections here and they say that the government should take a step back.

What's happening is this is just the biggest upset to the socialist government really established by Hugo Chavez after he was first elected

back in 1998, a charismatic leader who used the country's considerable oil revenues to invest in social programs. He built up a strong support base

among the poorest.

His handpicked successor, however, Nicolas Maduro, has really had very limited success carrying this forward in large part because of a sharp drop

in international oil prices. But he's failed to find economic alternatives and he's tried to silence the opposition. Many opposition leaders have

ended up in jail.

So although he's recognized these latest elections, people are watching closely to see how far this power struggle will go.

Will other countries in Latin America step in and raise questions about the democratic processes here?

And could things turn violent?

These are all legitimate questions that we'll be watching closely -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Indeed. Thanks so much. Shasta Darlington, I appreciate it.

Well, you're at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still to come, we'll visit a gun show to see how people feel about the U.S. president's gun control agenda.

Stay with us. You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:30:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CURNOW: Hi, there. You're watching INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.

(HEADLINES)

CURNOW: Back to our top story.

So how do gun buyers feel about the U.S. president's gun control agenda and the prospect of tightening the so-called gun show loophole?

Well, currently private dealers can sell without conducting background checks. Gary Tuchman went to a popular gun show in the U.S. state of

Virginia. This is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Organizers referred to it as "Miles of Aisles." You can buy guns here from retail booths and from

private dealers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm selling him Mossberg 12-gauge protection.

TUCHMAN: How much do you sell?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two hundred dollars.

TUCHMAN: And this gun as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a Mossberg 16-gauge bolt action.

TUCHMAN: How much you want to sell it to me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundred and fifty.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In business, what is called the nation's gun show in Chantilly, Virginia is good, so good the ATMs have run out of money. There

are first time buyers galore.

TUCHMAN: What's made you decide to buy a gun?

DEL MARSHA, GUN BUYER: I think it's the possibility that our laws might change and we're not going to have that ability to protect our selves.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): President Obama taking executive action on guns has alarmed many of the people here. Annette Elliott is the president and

owner of the company that puts on the show and above 85 others in the U.S. each year.

TUCHMAN: What do you think the President of the United States really wants to do when it comes to guns?

ANNETTE ELLIOTT, PRESIDENT, SHOWMASTERS GUN SHOWS: Well, I think the end game with a lot of Democrats is to confiscate. I think that we're the

last...

TUCHMAN: Is that what you think?

ELLIOTT: Sure.

TUCHMAN: Is that what you think the president wants to do that?

ELLIOTT: Maybe, yes, well I think maybe he does.

TUCHMAN: Another reason the show is jammed?

ELLIOTT: The ISIS threat has increased it that immediately increased business.

OWEN YUMANG, GUN BUYER: I used to be a zero gun, you know, guy but nowadays you don't even know who your opponents are. You got to be ready.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Opinions here are not black and white. There are people here who feel there should be an increase in firearms regulation but

what is extremely prevalent is a deep distrust, suspicion of the motivations of the federal governments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a Winchester 300 Short Mag.

TUCHMAN: How much do you want to sell it for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe about 600.

TUCHMAN: Six hundred?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): If you buy a gun from selling in the business of dealing a firearms federal law requires background check.

And that's what's happening here. The information is then fed into computers, before customers are allowed to buy their guns. Police are

present to arrest people when the computer checks indicate criminal violations. But the private dealers are not legally required to conduct

background checks.

DARRYL FINE, GUN OWNER: I would ask you for a Virginia driver license. That will I know you're from within the state.

TUCHMAN: But if I gave you a fake Virginia Driver License, you have idea?

FINE: I would have no idea.

TUCHMAN: Would you trust me, do I have honest face would you sell it then.

FINE: OK.

TUCHMAN: But that being said sometimes if you don't think someone has honest face you get bad vibe, you don't sell it.

FINE: Correct.

TUCHMAN: You got to go with your gut instincts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a competition M18. It's a civilian virgin of the M14; this is the SD40VE Smith & Wesson, 40 caliber. It's a lot like a

Glock.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Jerry Cochran is one of the retailers doing a booming business here.

JERRY COCHRAN, TRADER JERRY'S: We sell any kind of gun. Any kind of legal gun you can buy.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): He is also one of the minority of people here, who think things should be more stringent.

COCHRAN: I'm poor expended background checks. I think at a gun -- if somebody is engaging in a business, they already have been through

background check. I've been here at least 35 years; I've never sold a gun without a background check.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Many here believe the government needs to be more concerned about mental illness and making it heard to buy a gun. But they

are aware things are about to change.

MAILLAID STABLE, GUN OWNER: He's Obama, you know. He wants to deal --

[10:00:00]

STABLE: -- what he thinks is in the best interest of the country. I disagree strongly with him on this issue.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Chantilly, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Well, keeping it in the U.S., armed protesters occupying a federal building in the state of Oregon say they're in it for the long haul and

they've named themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.

They say they are defending the rights of ranchers after two ranchers were imprisoned for setting fires that spread to federal lands. But many

residents view protesters as outside agitators and local authorities are asking them to stand down.

The FBI is leading the investigation but it's keeping its distance to avoid provoking a confrontation.

Well, coming up here at the IDESK, it looks like the Tesla electric car could be getting some really sexy competition. Faraday Future has just

unveiled its concept car and the reaction is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

And later on "WORLD SPORT," a teenage cricket player becomes a sudden superstar in India after he does something no other cricketer has done

before. Also we will hear from Real Madrid's famous new coach about the challenges he faces as he begins a new chapter in his long and illustrious

football career.

Stick around for all that.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CURNOW: Some of you know that flyers out there might want to mull over this when you're planning your next trip. The annual list of the safest

airlines is out.

And the safest in the world?

Qantas airways in Australia. They've never had a fatality in the jet age.

Major U.S. carriers also making the list of the safest, United and American airlines.

At the bottom, this is the important one. At the bottom of the list airlines from Nepal, Indonesia and Suriname, South America. The data is

compiled every year by airlineratings.com.

Right now in Las Vegas, it's not gambling or risque shows taking center stage in the so-called Sin City. Instead, it's one of the coolest trade

shows on the planet. The International Consumer Electronics Show is getting underway.

CNN's Samuel Burke is there and he gets up to speed with a mystery car that's just been unveiled.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please meet Faraday Future's FF01 concept.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What is the goal of Faraday?

RICHARD KIM, FARADAY FUTURE (voice-over): Most importantly, to have a seamless, beautiful experience.

BURKE: Everything is smart. Everything is intelligent.

Why isn't the car smart?

We haven't seen a car that's up to speed --

[10:40:00]

BURKE: -- as basic consumer electronics.

KIM: That's an important tick in the box that we're trying to do.

BURKE: Is this an electric car or a driverless car?

KIM: Oh, it's definitely all electric.

And we are always working towards full autonomy.

BURKE: What makes this car unique?

Can you point out certain parts of the design that set it apart from other cars?

KIM: Yes. A really cool view is from front to rear. There are these endless tunnels so that the air can flow straight through the car to cool

your batteries. Of course, aerodynamics and all of those things, they sum up to mean range. And that means you're going to go for forever without

charging.

BURKE: I just drove from Phoenix to San Diego for $30 for a tank of gas.

So was there a time when gas was so expensive, that was the time for the electric car and maybe now it's passed?

KIM: No, no, no. Because it's about doing good things for the Earth. All right. We have to clean this pollution up.

BURKE: And you don't have to sacrifice anything for being sustainable.

KIM: This is a 100 percent sustainable electric and nonpolluting vehicle. And it could be as dynamic as a 1,000 horsepower.

BURKE: Is this exactly what we should expect on the road in a couple of years' time?

KIM: This car of concept is roadworthy. We could take this on the track. We don't have plans for that and we're not communicating that right now.

We're still focusing on our first production car.

But this is an ongoing study. This isn't like a random sculpture. This is a serious project that we're doing in parallel to our regular work.

BURKE: And how soon could I see one of these cars on the road?

KIM: In this concept or one of our first cars?

One of our first cars, a couple years.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

NICK SAMPSON, SVP, R&D, FARADAY FUTURE (voice-over): At FF, we believe with every bone in our body that the world is ready for a new way of

looking at mobility.

Nine years ago this very month, the iPhone was announced. Apple didn't just redefine the phone; it transformed the way we communicate, organize

and enjoy our lives.

That is what we at Faraday Future are looking to do, help redefine the world of mobility.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Exciting stuff.

Well, as the temperatures drop this January in the Northern Hemisphere, I know some of you are sweltering in the Southern Hemisphere, we do know that

winter weather can be treacherous but it can also be incredibly beautiful, especially when it gets a little help from expert ice sculptors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW (voice-over): These extraordinary creations are on display at an annual festival in China.

Wow, look at that.

They used a record setting amount of ice and snow. And one of them, a 51- meter-high castle, is poised to set a record as the world's biggest snow sculpture. Millions of tourists come to this festival every years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow.

In just over an hour, we'll have live coverage, of course, of President Obama's announcement on gun control. In the meantime, I'm going to hand

you over to "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas. Thanks for watching.

END