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Israel Attacks Convoy on Lebanese/Syrian Border; Examining the Jodi Arias Murder Trial; New Blackberry to Be Unveiled

Aired January 30, 2013 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": U.S. officials are now confirming to us here at CNN that Israeli forces attacked a convoy right along the Lebanese/Syrian border in this overnight air raid.

CNN's Sara Sidner joins me now here from Israel. And, Sara, tell me more about this convoy. What was this convoy apparently carrying?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. official said that it was carrying SA-17 missiles, that the strike was conducted to try and stop those missiles from going into the hands of Hezbollah, a known enemy to Israel.

One of the issues here is that the Syrians are also saying that there was another area bombed and they're blaming Israel for bombing a research center. What we do not know if these are one and the same.

Israel, we talked to the prime minister's office. We talked to several people in the military. We also talked to the foreign ministry. No one in Israel will confirm or deny that this indeed happened.

But a U.S. official has confirmed to CNN from their information that Israel has struck inside of Syria. They were targeting a convoy that was carrying SA-17 missiles that were heading to Hezbollah, to Lebanon, which is right on the border, as you know, with Israel.


BALDWIN: Sara Sidner, thank you so much.

And now to this here, new details -- new details today on that trial of sex, lies, explicit photos and, now, gas cans.

Jodi Arias, on trial now, she is accused of viciously killing her ex- boyfriend, Travis Alexander, and, when I say vicious here, prosecutors say this woman stabbed him not once, not twice, 27 times, slit his throat from ear to ear before shooting him twice in the head. She claims self-defense.

Joey Jackson, "On the Case," with me today. Joey, welcome.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you, Brooke. BALDWIN: Listen, prosecutors, they want the death penalty for Arias. Now, this previous ex-boyfriend coming forward saying that she'd asked to borrow gas cans a day before the killing.

Gas cans?

JACKSON: Well, here's what they're trying to establish. First of all, the defense started their case and they started yesterday. Today was their second day.

And what they're trying to show through this witness is two things, really. One, that she was a normal person, that she had a loving relationship, that she wasn't a stalker, that she wasn't this crazed person that the prosecution is pointing her out to be.

The second thing they were trying to establish through this witness, Brooke, is that she changed when she met the victim here, Travis Alexander. However, there is no perfect witness and that same witness had to admit that she, Jodi Arias, wanted to borrow some gas cans.

So why? The prosecution will say to you that it was premeditation because she planned on taking a long drive, not stopping, to carry out this vicious act. So that's the significance of the gas cans to the case.

BALDWIN: So, when you listen to both sides of this, Joey Jackson, I mean, who, thus far, seems to have the stronger case?

JACKSON: Well, certainly, Brooke, when you examine the case in total, I mean, it is an uphill battle for the defense without question.

Why? Because of the items you mentioned, Brooke, 27 times, slit ear to ear, two shots to the head. It's crazy. Who would do this?

However, the defense is trying to establish that she suffered from battered woman syndrome and PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, such that she was driven to this event. She was driven to this act out of self-defense.

They're trying to show that Travis Alexander used her as an object, that she was sexualized, that he was sexually deviant and, as a result, in defending herself, she was justified in her mind to engage in this vicious act which she says is justified.

BALDWIN: Twenty-seven times.

Joey Jackson, thank you so much.

And we've been watching here through the show, of course, the breaking news, the severe weather that swept through the southeast area. We showed you the video out of Adairsville, Georgia.

We now have new pictures of the aftermath, the damage on the ground, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Take a look with me. Here is the tornado from a little bit ago from Adairsville, Georgia, on the left hand side of your screen. This was shot by one of the reporters of our affiliate WSB TV out of Atlanta. Adairsville 60 miles north.

To the right side, Chad Myers, this is apparently the first pictures we're getting of the damage. And I'm squinting to try to see what we see. Looks like a gas station. I can't really tell.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is hard to see. I've seen a lot of video out of here and cars are upside down, homes are destroyed. There is an apartment complex that literally isn't there anymore. And it is very hard to get in there. The police have the entire place cordoned off.

So, even for our reporters with I.D.s and badges, it is still going to be hard for us to show the worst damage until we can get a helicopter in the air and get some of these aerials.

Right now, helicopters can't fly. It is too dangerous out there for helicopter to be in the air.

There you see some of the ...

BALDWIN: Here you go, the lines down. It's a better picture, so you can see it unfold. The lines down, the trees down, damage will continue. We'll keep watching.

Chad Myers, thank you very much.

MYERS: Very good.

BALDWIN: From weather to business, news, we go here.

Research In Motion has suffered through network outages, falling stock prices, and pretty stiff competition from Apple's iPhone and Android devoices. Now, the company is looking for a turn around.

Earlier today, it announced that the company will get a brand-new name here. BlackBerry also released a new operating system and announced two new phones, but will that be enough to save the company?

Ali Velshi got his hands on the new BlackBerry Z-10 and he's test driving it for a week. Ali?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no buttons on the BlackBerry Zed-10.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No buttons may not be news to you, but it is big news for BlackBerry users, many of whom won't know what to make of the Z-10.

Canada's Research In Motion is counting on this totally virtual phone to allow it to live to fight another day. After a year long delay and years of neglecting the onslaught by Apple- and Android-based phones, RIM finally unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system and the first phone to run it.

THORTEN HEINS, CEO, RESEARCH IN MOTION: We needed to make sure that we delivered quality the that people expect from us.

Right call. And we got out of the noise and the holiday season. Would I have loved to launch earlier? Sure. But I think now we have a lot of attention as you can see. And it was the right call.

VELSHI: As a longtime BlackBerry user and hard keyboard lover, I've been evaluating the new phone in real world conditions.

I'm a heavy user and a champion thumb typist. Being new to the virtual keyboard world, my e-mail output has been cut in half while I got used to it.

But the company says the keyboard is easier to use and more intuitive than its virtual competitor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Select it just by flicking it into the ...

VELSHI: The piece de resistance with the keyboard is that it grabs words from your device and names from your contacts and predicts in a very customized way what you're likely to type, allowing you to compose entire sentences just by flicking the complete words which appear on the keyboard up toward the screen. All of it can be done with one hand.

For those users for whom a virtual keyboard is still a nonstarter, you'll have to wait until April for a model with a hard keyboard.

Built on a brand-new operating system not a single line of code is copied from BlackBerry's existing platform.

Battery life isn't great, but unlike iPhone and many Android phones, you can still change a dead BlackBerry battery.

Here's an interesting feature for those of you who use a corporate BlackBerry with strict company rules, but who also carry a separate phone for your personal use. The BlackBerry 10 uses something called "Balance," which basically allows the device to be strictly split so that the corporate side of it can adhere to the company's rules -- say, no photos or personal e-mails -- while on the other side of the split personality, you can do all of your personal business.

JEFF GADWAY, SENIOR MANAGER, PRODUCT MARKETING, RESEARCH IN MOTION: These are secure. The information in them is secure, so I can't take anything out of the work space into my personal side.

Similarly, when I'm on the personal side, as an end-user, I can remain confident that none of the tweets that I'm sending, the pictures that I'm sharing, are things that my employer can have access to.

So, it's really and truly a dual-persona device. VELSHI: The two sides of the device, if you will, never cross each other. Keep in mind, though, your company has to authorize and enable this feature.

Research In Motion's ultra-secure, ultra-efficient back office systems allowed them to dominate the corporate world. Increasingly, though, companies are letting people choose what device they use.

Back in 2009, 20 percent of all smartphones globally were BlackBerries. Today, it's just 6 percent. The stock is down more than 80 percent in five years. The question is whether this phone can change all of that.

Who are you trying to steal from? IPhone users or Android users?

HEINS: I'm not stealing. I'm winning.

VELSHI: Who are you trying to win from?

HEINS: We're not excluding anyone from what the future of BlackBerry experience is going to be, so we want to win as many as we can.


BALDWIN: Want to take you to Egypt now where its own defense minister says the nation is on the brink of collapse.

Amid all this fighting on the streets today, a shift in the political landscape, a hard-line Islamist party that has up until now supported President Mohamed Morsi is now in talks with secular opposition groups.

And in her final week here as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton had these words for Morsi.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the messages and the actions coming from the leadership, you know, have to be changed in order to give people confidence that they're on the right path.


BALDWIN: CNN International senior correspondent Ben Wedeman is in Cairo.

Ben, I know you call Cairo your second home. Is the country -- is it truly on the brink of collapse?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what the minister of defense was talking about, the state, the government, being on the brink of collapse.

The concern is that with these continued clashes, and these outbreaks of clashes that are happening with regular frequency, with the political logjam that exists between the Muslim Brotherhood-led government and the opposition.

And with an economy that is shrinking before your very eyes, two of Cairo's major hotels are now closed down, one of them partially ransacked because of these clashes.

It is impossible, almost, to find a tourist here. So, it is this accumulation of things that has the defense minister worried that the state, the government, may not be able to function if this continues for much longer.

BALDWIN: In Berlin, we know that President Morsi said -- let me quote him -- "Egypt will achieve a state of law and order that is not run by the military."

Ben, when you look at the pictures, it's no wonder no tourist wants to go to Cairo now when you see this. How bad does it have to get before Morsi sends the army in?

WEDEMAN: Actually, Morsi has already sent the army into three cities along the Suez Canal, but the worry is not Morsi sending the army in.

The worry is the army is going to go in against his will, that, basically, they will take over the country if the civilian politicians cannot manage to get the country back on track, get the economy working again, start to invest -- to attract foreign investment.

The worry is that the military will say, you guys in the civilian clothing can't do the job. We, the generals, will take over.

BALDWIN: Ben Wedeman for us, Ben, thank you, in Cairo.

In a matter of minutes, Facebook, a company that did a belly flop when it went public, reveals its earnings. We have the social network's play by play, next.


BALDWIN: We are checking the clock. Nine minutes away from the closing bell there on Wall Street.

Take a look at the Big Board for me and the number, 13,904. Keep in mind that high that was back in October of '07, that was 14,167, so we're inching closer, as you can see right now.

We want to look at this because the one stock to watch, Facebook. The company reports earnings today right after the closing bell.

The stock has been pushing a five-month high just in the past couple of weeks after that, of course, infamous disaster of a debut. CNN's Dan Simon has more.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been a wild ride since the company went public last May. The stock, which debuted at $38, briefly climbed to $45, then went spiraling, eventually tumbling to a low of $17.

Here at Facebook headquarters, the memory of that day quickly faded as the stock price took a nose dive. There were renewed questions about the company's ability to generate revenue and whether it can stay well ahead of the competition.

Google Plus, Twitter and now even Yahoo! with its promising photo app, Flickr, are each trying to slow Facebook's momentum.

GREG GRETSCH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SIGMA WEST: Mark Zuckerberg doesn't lay awake at night thinking about Google Plus. He lays awake at night thinking about the next Instagram.

SIMON: That was Silicon Valley venture capitalist Greg Gretsch, prior to the IPO and shortly after a cautious Zuckerberg took rival Instagram off the table, buying it for a billion dollars.

Questioned at the time, most Valley insiders see the large price tag as a worthy investment.

GRETSCH: I think it was definitely a smart acquisition. You know, the challenge is, in some sense, they were playing with funny money.

You know, the value that the market was giving them for their company was so high that, you know, do you give up 1 percent to a small company that has the chance to take over your user base?

It's an insurance policy and it's a small price.

SIMON: The jury is still out on Facebook's other moves, such as Gifts, the company's entry into e-commerce, as well as smartphone advertising, increasingly seen as the key to Facebook's growth.

GRETSCH: On mobile, they are doing a very good job now in putting a lot of focus on mobile, but they haven't really addressed the monetization challenge on mobile yet.

SIMON: No one is quite sure how smartphone ads will evolve on Facebook given the smaller real estate compared to a desktop or laptop.

What is clear is how its CEO has evolved. Zuckerberg appears more confident each time he steps in the public view.

The more seasoned executive also is getting more political, agreeing to host a fundraiser next month for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

He's kept a low profile when it comes to partisan politics, supporting both Democrats and Republicans alike.

As for Facebook, while its stock has now apparently stabilized, questions remain whether it can truly be the cash cow so many investors were banking on.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco. (END VIDEOTAPE)


BALDWIN: Some of our top stories for you in a flash. It's called "Rapid Fire."

Will the public be allowed to witness the trial of two members of a wildly popular high school football team accused of raping a girl at a party? The girl's parents wanted the Steubenville trial closed to protect her privacy. The judge denied those requests.

Also today, Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick has named William Cowan named as interim to replace John Kerry. He will serve until Kerry's successor is chosen in a June 25th election. Just minutes ago, we played a little for you, we have more of Senator Kerry finishing up his farewell speech on the Senate floor. That speech is 42 minutes long. Here he is.


SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Five times Massachusetts has voted to send me to the United States Senate.

And yesterday, nearly three decades after the people of Massachusetts voted me into the office, the people that I work with in the Senate voted me out of it. As always, I accept the Senate's sound judgment.


BALDWIN: He will take the oath of office for secretary of state on Friday.

It is flawed and for more than a century old here, this coin could sell for as much as $5 million. This is a Liberty Head nickel. It's crazy valuable because it has a shady origin. They suspect a mint worker made these illegally. It goes to auction in Chicago.

And at 82 years of age, Jim Nabors is now a married man. He tied the knot with his long-time partner in Seattle on January 15th.

Nabors tells our affiliate KHNL he had always been open about being gay when he worked in Hollywood back in the '60s and '70s. Nabors and his partner have been together for 38 years.

Barbara Streisand performing at the Academy Awards for the very first time in 36 years. Can you guess what she sang the last time back in 1977? The "Theme from A Star Is Born."

That does it for me here. Check out the latest interviews,

Now, Wolf Blitzer. Wolf Blitzer, over my shoulder, "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now.

Hey, Wolf. WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Brooke, thanks very much.