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"Dangerously Cold" in U.S.; Rebels Clash in Syria; Trekking with a "Gorilla Whisperer"; "Basketball Diplomacy"; Conflict in Iraq; Tracking the Ivory Trade; Technology Extravaganza
Aired January 6, 2014 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to NEWS STREAM where news and technology meet.
Another blast of arctic weather hits the U.S. We'll explain why this colder in the southern city of Atlanta than it is in Anchorage, Alaska.
We'll kick off a week-long series focusing on "Fighting the Ivory Trade."
And we are live in Las Vegas as the world's biggest consumer electronics show kicks off.
STOUT: Cold winter weather comes as no surprise but much of the United States is bracing for a record-breaking polar blast. In fact, the National Weather Service says temperatures this low have not been seen in nearly two decades. It warns that dangerously cold wind will affect two-thirds of the country.
Tennessee has already declared a state of emergency and warns of flash freezing. Even states considered the Deep South could see a deep freeze. The system will bring bitter cold all the way to central Florida. We're talking about temperatures below 0 Fahrenheit or -17 Celsius. Parts of Minnesota recorded lows of -40 degrees on Sunday.
George Howell shows us how people across the country are dealing with this dangerous weather.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brutally cold arctic air is spreading a dangerous deep freeze over half the country. The frigid blast forcing schools and government offices to close from the Deep South to the Northeast.
MAYOR GREG BALLARD, INDIANAPOLIS: The temperatures that we're talking about are deadly. This is a combination that is unlike anything we've seen in a long, long time.
HOWELL: Nearly 140 million people will experience wind chill temperatures of zero degrees or below by Wednesday, temperatures the country hasn't seen in decades. In fact, Chicago, St. Louis and Atlanta are all colder than Anchorage, Alaska.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The conditions are very bad, roads are really slippery.
HOWELL: At Sunday's Green Bay Packers game against the 49ers --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you can be ready for this kind of cold.
HOWELL: Temperatures felt like a frigid 11 degrees below zero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under-armor, two hoodies, a coat, ski goggles, I have it all.
HOWELL: And it's not just the plummeting temperatures. A massive snowstorm battling the Midwest dumped up to 16 inches of snow in St. Louis, the iconic St. Louis Arch barely visible under the onslaught of snow.
MAYOR FRANCIS SLAY, ST. LOUIS: This is a dangerous storm. Driving conditions range from difficult to impassable.
HOWELL: In Illinois the entire basketball team from Southern Illinois University got stranded in the snow. Returning home from a game, the bus caught in a powerful winter storm. The team was stuck on the interstate for six hours before a tow truck was able to dig them out.
But there's relief in sight. The subzero temperatures and snow will virtually be gone by Wednesday.
STOUT: George Howell reporting there.
To make matters worse, tens of thousands of Midwesterners are dealing with no electricity. These snowy roads in Indiana where more than 15,000 customers went without power overnight. In Chicago, there's no school, but libraries and some other city facilities are open so residents can go there for warmth. As you can imagine, the wintry weather has created havoc for travelers; more than 2,500 flights have been canceled so far this Monday with Chicago the hardest hit.
On Sunday, New York's JFK Airport closed briefly after this plane skidded into a snowbank. No injuries were reported.
Let's get more now on the dangerously cold conditions there in the United States; Mari Ramos joins us now from the World Weather Center.
MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Kristie, so many things, so many layers to this story. And of course we have the problem with the travelers. But you have these very dangerously cold temperatures.
Let's go ahead and start with the weather map right behind me. This is the latest radar. And what you're looking at here is what's left of the moisture. There's -- it's raining, actually. This is New York City right now. Temperatures there have not plummeted like they will in the next 10- 12 hours or so.
Behind this is where that arctic air mass has already begun to affect the region. And that, where they use that flash freeze that they're warning about in Tennessee, what's going to happen is the temperatures are dropping very, very quickly, in a flash, so to speak. And that is why this makes it so extremely dangerous for people all along this area.
So let's start first of all with the snowfall, record snowfall in Indianapolis, in St. Louis, in Springfield. These are brand-new records. Chicago didn't have a record, but 15 cm additional was enough to wreak havoc across that area, there, like you said, they closed the schools and you have all of those what, over, 2,000 flights that have canceled across this region. And this is a domino effect for other parts of not just the country but other parts of the world.
So let's talk about the cold. What happens is we had this bubble of air, so to speak, this bubble of extremely cold air break off the polar region. And it's been making its way across Canada, and now making its way into the United States. Wind chill, which is that combination of temperature and wind, because it's also very windy, is what we're looking at here. And this is in Celsius. So that report that you heard earlier from George, they were talking about Fahrenheit. But we're talking about Celsius. So it might be easier for most of you to understand, -40 to -53. That's what it will feel like to the exposed skin.
And as we head even into areas farther to the south, -20 to -25. These is the wind chill right now. It's -42 in Minneapolis. It's going to get worse because it's going to get colder. And even though we'll see the winds ease up just a little bit, we're talking about extreme cold, -40. That's what it feels like in Chicago.
The actual air temperature in Chicago, nothing to sneeze at, -26. So we're still dealing with extreme cold; -3 right now in Atlanta. It is actually warmer in Moscow, which is above freezing, than it is in Atlanta. And it will stay that way for the next three days.
Maybe some examples of why this cold temperature, so these cold conditions are so extremely dangerous. When you talk about wind chills of -35, it only takes about 10 minutes for your skin to actually freeze, to experience frostbite. And -45, it only takes 5 minutes. That's why so many schools are closed, because they don't want the kids to be out there in this kind of weather. They don't want the parents to be out there in this kind of weather.
And this one, too, our cars here are not used to this kind of temperature. Motor oil freezes at about 10 degrees Celsius. Think about this: antifreeze, you'd think, well, I got that in my car. That's at -37. We're going to be seeing temperatures around this level over the next couple of days. And then your tires, the tire seals begin to leak and break because it gets so cold at about -18 Celsius. So this is huge and that's why they're telling people, hey, you know what? You got to stay home.
Back to you, Kristie.
STOUT: That's right. So many factors to keep in mind here, remarkable what you just said, Mari, that it is warmer in Moscow than where you are in Atlanta, Georgia. Absolutely extraordinary. Do take care, stay warm.
Mari Ramos there.
Now they have been united in their battle against the Syrian government. But violent clashes have broken out between Syria's rebel fighters. And there are reports of fighting between opposition forces near the Turkish border. The Free Syrian Army has been capturing foreign fighters it wants expelled from Syria.
The spotlight is on the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Neighboring Iraq, some say that they're trying to take control the city of Fallujah. For more, let's go to our Mohammed Jamjoom from Beirut.
Mohammed, first, give us an update on these rebel clashes in Syria.
What's the latest?
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, this is essentially what's being called the war that's broken out within a war in Syria. Over the weekend, you had more violent incidents and clashes breaking out in different parts.
First they started in the parts of Syria close to the Turkish border, and inside Aleppo province in the northern part of the country. What you're seeing is a lot of different battalions, rebel groups, banding together, trying to take on the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. They are fed up with being ordered around by the ISIS, by the fact that the ISIS is so extremely Islamist in their ideology.
And so this fighting has broken out. Yesterday you had the FSA declaring an ultimatum, telling fighters that were associated with the ISIS to abandon the ISIS and telling the ISIS that they were going to be taken them on more and more.
Well, today, fighting has spread to other cities, including strategic city in the eastern part of Syria called al-Raqqa. And we've gotten a lot of reports from opposition activists that there are bases of operation of the ISIS, including one in a city of Manbij. And we have some amateur video purportedly showing a base of operation for the ISIS being liberated and surrounded by the FSA and other rebel groups.
Besides that, they are also -- have been increasing amounts of demonstrations in different parts of the country against the ISIS. There's amateur video purporting to show a demonstration in Aleppo, where rebels and other citizens got together, demonstrating against the ISIS. They want them to leave Syria. They don't want foreign-backed fighters in Syria.
And they don't want this kind of extremely conservative Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist rule or ideology infiltrating ever more in Syria.
STOUT: And as we see these protests against the Al Qaeda-linked ISIS, infighting between rebel groups, meanwhile in Iraq, we see the government there dealing with a new rising insurgency. And Iraqi officials, they say that Al Qaeda militants and reinforcements are crossing into Iraq from Syria.
Is that indeed happening?
And if so, how?
JAMJOOM: This is something we're hearing more and more of, from opposition activists on the ground in Syria and close to the Iraqi border. They say that because there is essentially a power vacuum in places like Syria and parts of Iraq, that has allowed this type of militancy to really flourish. And this has just added fuel to the fire as of late. And because the security situation is so detrimental and because there is so much fighting going on, you have been able to see ISIS members that are in Syria, that infiltrated Syria now going into Iraq. The level of violence in Iraq has just gone off the charts in the past few days. It's only getting worse, especially in places like Anbar province and Fallujah. And a lot of that is blamed on the ISIS and other Al Qaeda-affiliated groups that are trying to take strategic parts of territory in Iraq and have also been able to infiltrate many parts of Syria and gain control away from rebels in the past several months since this past March. That's one of the reasons there is so much resentment right now by the FSA, which was fighting only to rid the country of Bashar al-Assad and his regime. And now they say they're also fighting the country to rid it of the Al Qaeda influence of the ISIS - - Kristie.
STOUT: All right. Mohammed Jamjoom reporting, as always, thank you.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come, we focus in more on those violent clashes in Iraq. In fact, our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, will have some perspective on the rising insurgency there.
Also ahead, tracking the deadly ivory trade, an exclusive look behind the scenes on the trail of elephant poachers.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Odzala is the largest national park in the Republic of the Congo. At half the size of Rwanda, it makes up a portion of the Congo Basin known for its biodiversity.
We set off at dawn with Okoko, one of the best trackers working with the western lowland gorillas that have been habituated in this part of the park. From this point on, we stay silent. We're close enough to hear the gorillas. In a moment, we should be able to see them.
STOUT: He certainly doesn't look like your typical diplomat, but Dennis Rodman says he is returning to North Korea to continue his mission of basketball diplomacy and celebrate the 31st birthday of his friend, Kim Jong-un. It will be Rodman's fourth visit to the secretive and isolated country but this time he's bringing along several other former NBA stars to play ball with the North Korean team.
Karl Penhaul reports.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He promised he'd be back to shoot hoops for the North Korean leader's birthday. Kim Jong-un turns 31 Wednesday and this weekend NBA veteran Dennis Rodman confirmed to the Associated Press that he'll be at the party with a team of his aging basketball buddies.
South Korean basketball star turned commentator Cho Sung-Won believes it's a PR stunt, not sports diplomacy.
CHO SUNG-WON, SOUTH KOREAN BASKETBALL STAR (through translator): I don't know Dennis Rodman personally. But he is quite peculiar and does unexpected things. I think he went to North Korea as a publicity stunt.
On the other hand, North Korea plays some high-quality basketball. So they could learn from his experience.
PENHAUL (voice-over): Rodman met and coached the North Korean side on his last trip in December. Since then, his Irish bookmaker sponsors pulled out.
Cho played against club sites in North Korea in 1999.
If this week's game goes ahead as planned, he warns, Rodman's old-timers could expect a few hard knocks from the Kim Jong-un all-stars.
CHO (through translator): The North Koreans were quite strong, well-built and tall as well. They were very determined not to lose against South Korea. It was a friendly match, but I was a bit intimidated.
PENHAUL (voice-over): South Korean table tennis star Hyun Jung-Wha did not play against North Korea. She was on the same side, part of a joint Korea team in the 1991 World Championships. She praises Rodman's bid to break the ice with Pyongyang.
HYUN JUNG-WHA, SOUTH KOREAN TABLE TENNIS STAR (through translator): What Dennis Rodman is doing now is personal, but I think he's braver doing it. I believe sports definitely can help diplomacy. Sportsmanship is pure. I think the (INAUDIBLE) results can come out through sports.
PENHAUL (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) Rodman has talked down suggestions he would use basketball to persuade Kim Jong-un to free Korean American missionary Kenneth Bae from a North Korean labor camp.
DENNIS RODMAN, BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'm just going over to play a basketball game and have some fun.
PENHAUL (voice-over): If Team Rodman and North Korea do play ball, Hyun believes that Kim Jong-un's selection will not abuse home advantage.
HYUN (through translator): North Koreans try their hardest in training and in competitions. The actual winning or losing didn't seem to matter as much as they've given their all. Of course, they say they compete for Kim Jong-un. But they are satisfied as long as they've done their best.
PENHAUL: Of course, even the brashest competitor might consider the wisdom of trying to beat one of the world's great dictators on his special day -- Karl Penhaul, CNN, Seoul.
STOUT: Now in her address to the nation today, South Korea's president suggested she would be open to the possibility of talks if North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un if the meeting was serious and not just for show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PARK GEUN-HYE, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator) : My position on a meeting with North Korean leader any time remains unchanged. If the meeting is necessary for the pacing of the Korean Peninsula and preparation for the reunification.
But the meeting should not be for the sake of a meeting. I believe the meeting should aid realistic results for the base in the Korean Peninsula and an environment that can build such meetings should be created.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: In his new year's address last week, North Korea's Kim Jong-un also expressed an interest in mending ties with the South, but the South Korean government called his remarks "an empty gesture." (INAUDIBLE) accused Seoul of, quote, "pouring cold water" on Kim's overture.
Coming up right here on NEWS STREAM, an urgent appeal from Iraq's prime minister as heavy fighting threatens to tear the country apart.
STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM. Now Iraq's prime minister is calling on the people of Fallujah to drive terrorists out of their city. Iraqi TV reports Nouri al-Maliki has ordered his forces not to strike the city's residential neighborhoods. It comes after the government said it has shelled the central city over the weekend to clear out Al Qaeda-linked fighters. Violence has also flared in Ramadi. Like Fallujah, it has a majority of Sunni Muslims. And both cities are in the volatile province of Anbar. Some say they feel like second-class citizens in the majority Shia country, and those grievances have spurred opposition to the Shia-led government.
Fallujah was also the site of some of the bloodiest fighting between U.S. forces and insurgents during the Iraq War. Washington says it is willing to help now, but will not put boots on the ground. Let's get more analysis now on this complicated conflict with our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. She joins me now live from CNN London.
Christiane, we have the Iraqi prime minister asking the residents, the people of Fallujah to expel terrorists. I mean, why? Is that a sign of desperation?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Well, look, Kristie Lu, it is really a bad situation. Remember, as you just said, those names, Fallujah, Ramadi, Anbar province in general, were the bad old days of the height of the Iraqi civil war. And it was only a massive infusion of U.S. troops, the surge, if you remember, by 2007, and the awakening, the teaming-up with the Sunni tribespeople that was able to stabilize those areas. And since what you've had now is the Maliki-Shiite led government, which has totally alienated Sunnis around Iraq. They don't feel part of the country. They don't feel part of the leadership and they feel, as you said, second-class citizens.
So you've got this double whammy going on right now, which is exacerbated by the rise of Al Qaeda again, which had been decimated after the end of the surge. And now because of the Syrian war, because of the ability of Al Qaeda and jihadists to flourish there, they have had this negative effect on Iraq as well.
So we've had a very, very violent 2013 and it's likely continue into 2014.
STOUT: So all these factors coming together to stoke this new insurgency in 2014, the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, he says that from the U.S. perspective, we're not contemplating putting boots on the ground. But we're going to help in their fight in Anbar.
But how can the U.S. help out here?
AMANPOUR: Well, they haven't been clear about it. But we know that President al-Maliki, Prime Minister al-Maliki went to Washington at the end of October, went to the White House, had meetings and what he wants is a lot more helicopter equipment, helicopters and the kind of weaponry that they think they need to use to fight back at a growing insurgency.
And they -- we're not sure how much of that has been delivered, if at all. So that seems to be what the U.S. is alluding to.
But remember that, you know, even though they might get those kinds of weapons, it was a heavy infusion of highly trained troops that was able to push back that similar kind of insurgency back in, you know, the mid-2000s.
So this is going to be a very, very difficult situation and one of the reasons al-Maliki, as you asked, is not sending again the troops into Fallujah is because he would probably meet a lot of resistance from the majority Sunni population there.
STOUT: What does this difficult situation, this growing insurgency in Iraq mean for Syria and its civil war?
AMANPOUR: Well, it's mostly Syria that has tipped Iraq over into the abyss again. It's because of what's been allowed to happen in Syria over the last two years, unstopped in the so-called rebel-held areas. Those areas which are trying to fight against the Assad regime have been heavily infiltrated by these kinds of jihadis. And many months ago, Al Qaeda decided to join up and create the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, or Syria and Iraq. And the -- you know, they tried to have sort of a joint umbrella group that's happening right now, and that is causing a huge amount of problems for Iraq and of course for Syria. And the inability to stop that war is what has created such a massive spike of Al Qaeda springing to life again.
But, again, in Iraq, there is also this added problem of the Sunni population feeling totally alienated by the Shiite-led Maliki government. So that's adding to these problems in places like the Anbar province.
STOUT: Now this latest violence that we're seeing in Fallujah, in Ramadi, these key Iraqi cities, it's proof of a growing insurgency in that country.
But how big has the insurgency become since U.S. troops left the country?
AMANPOUR: Big. I mean, you know, when they left the country it was considered that they had beaten back Al Qaeda. But because of the inability to control what's been going on on the ground in Syria over the last two years, this has been one of the ways that Al Qaeda has been able to have this resurgence, not just in Iraq, but that's where it's really bad, but also Al Qaeda-related franchises elsewhere, including in North Africa and other parts, Somalia and elsewhere. So this is a bad and developing situation plus what you have is a growing regional battle between Shiism and Sunnism and that is also playing out. And you've got the U.S. talking about its pivot to Asia; well, that may or may not happen. But what it cannot do is pivot away from the Middle East. You know, the State Department has said that Secretary Kerry spends at least half his time and energy and resources on the Middle East right now. So no matter how much the U.S. wants to withdraw from the Middle East or sort of shorten and curtail its action there, it is not going to be possible.
STOUT: That's right, given the growing violence there and the growing insurgency in Iraq, the U.S. has to keep its focus there.
Christiane Amanpour, your analysis always very much appreciated. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much.
STOUT: Now you're watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come, we have a CNN exclusive series. We go on the hunt for the hunters in Central Africa. We go on patrol to catch poachers who are killing elephants for their ivory. That special investigation just ahead on NEWS STREAM.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM and these are your world headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT (voice-over): Much of the United States is in a dangerous deep freeze. By Wednesday forecasters say nearly half the nation will see temperatures dip to -17 degrees Celsius or lower. So far more than 2,500 flights have been canceled this Monday.
Britain is bracing for another round of flooding after being battered by strong storms over the weekend. The environment agency issued a severe flood warning in the southern county of Dorset (ph), adding that flooding is set -- expected to cross many regions in England and Wales.
Residents in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are bracing for more violence. Iraq's prime minister is urging them to drive out terrorists or risk a dangerous confrontation with government troops. That's even though he has ordered the military not to strike residential neighborhoods. Iraqi troops have been battling Al Qaeda-linked fighters in the region for days now.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been injured while cross-country skiing in Switzerland. A spokesman says she fractured her pelvis but was not seriously hurt. The German chancellor will need help walking for the next few weeks and has canceled some of her engagements.
STOUT: We have a CNN exclusive all this week, taking a look at the deadly ivory trade. In the Republic of the Congo, our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon joined the hunt for poachers who are slaughtering elephants. But a warning: some of the images in her report, they are gruesome and difficult to watch.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been eight grueling hot hours on this river chasing poachers in the Republic of Congo's largest national park. For these eco-guards, disappointment follows disappointment.
DAMON (on camera): When you put your hand inside, it's actually still quite warm, which means that they probably left early in the morning.
DAMON (voice-over): Finally, around a bend, signs of activity. Smoke rising along the bank. They rush ashore and fan out into the jungle. Within seconds, a gunshot. And the pursuit begins. The terrain is dense and disorienting. The men force their way through the undergrowth and slosh through knee-deep water. Our CNN team can barely keep up.
DAMON (on camera): They've all gone forward, trying to chase down what seems to be a poacher who, at least most definitely, is armed. They appear to have caught him completely by surprise.
DAMON (voice-over): Mathieu Eckel, head of the park's anti-poaching division, brandishes the weapon captured by one of his men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy in front of him tried to shoot him.
DAMON: Hooked on adrenaline, Brice Moupele describes what happened.
"He tried to shoot me, like this," he says. Moupele then tackled the poacher, grabbing the gun, but the poacher got away.
DAMON (on camera): There's elephant meat in the boat.
DAMON (voice-over): The men find the poacher's canoe, weighed down with fresh elephant meat, still dripping blood. Even more hangs off the sides.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is to take out the tusk.
DAMON: It's a sickening image of a trade that has decimated the park's elephants. The nonprofit group African Parks, which runs Odzala, estimates that Central Africa has lost 62 percent of its forest elephants in the last decade.
In this park alone, thousands have been killed in the last five years. In the week we spent here, we only saw one alive.
The park, about the size of Connecticut, is patrolled by just 76 eco- guards, not nearly enough. But some 40 percent of them are former poachers themselves, which helps big-time.
MATHIEU ECKEL, ANTI-POACHING AGENT: They know how poacher work. So it's easy for them to think like them.
DAMON: It's part of a program created by Eckel in the last year, where poachers are given amnesty if they hand over their weapons and confess. Eckel says this raid is proof his program works.
But the unit's successes come at a price. This is a country where corruption is routine, and where poaching with impunity has been a way of life. All these eco-guards have been threatened.
Frank Bolangonga tells us three men attacked his wife.
"They tried to rape her, but she was strong. She pulled back and her dress ripped off and she ran away," he says.
The same men who Bolangonga says are part of his village's poaching ring tried to attack him. He stabbed one of them.
The unit doesn't find any elephant ivory, but does end up with four guns, ammunition and a cell phone, a potential lead to the poachers.
The eco-guards torch the camp to send a message. These men often find themselves pursuing people they once worked with, friends, neighbors and even family members. In the ever-evolving fight against the ivory trade, out here, it's now personal.
STOUT: Let's get more now on this investigation from Arwa. She joins me live from London.
Arwa, I mean, guerilla warfare, which is what we witnessed in that report by you just now, that's one way to fight the poachers.
But what incentives are there to entice the locals to get away from the illegal ivory trade?
DAMON: Well, that's really the core of the problem at this stage, Kristie, because a lot of these poachers don't have economic alternatives. The vast majority of them live in villages that are located right on the outskirts of the park itself. And at this stage, the government is not really making the financial investment that it needs to make to allow them to have other job opportunities that would potentially then allow them to turn away from poaching.
And if you think about it, that entire park, which is about half the size of Rwanda, is patrolled by just 76 eco-guards. So it's nowhere near enough.
STOUT: And also we learned from your reporting a lot of the weapons, the ammunition found in the hands of poachers, are actually sourced back to the military. So what role is the military playing in this illegal trade?
DAMON: Well, the government is saying that the military does not have a direct role in funding or aiding the illegal poaching activities. That being said, corruption is rampant. The eco-guard unit at their headquarters has a room with dozens and dozens of weapons that they've collected. And well over half of them, Eckel was telling us, are traced back to the military.
Corruption is one of the big issues that this unit is up against because even at times when they do end up detaining individuals, they're able to bribe their way out of prison or they don't even see the inside of a courthouse. So it's really a multifaceted battle that needs to be dealt with in terms of finding economic alternative to the poachers, ending corruption but also, of course, Kristie, ending the Asian demand for the ivory itself.
STOUT: Yes, I mean, just the poachers there on the ground, they're up against so much. You mentioned the demand; you mentioned corruption, lack of resources.
What can and what should the international community do to help this war against illegal ivory poaching?
DAMON: Well, the international community is going to have to start really putting pressure on the various governments, whether it's governments on the African continent, where poaching is quite rampant, also putting pressure on countries in Asia. The demand that is fueling this industry, that has increased significantly over the last few years, it's going to have to be a really concerted effort by various leaders to try to put an end to it because at the end of the day, if it continues at this rate, elephants could very well end up being extinct, quite simply because their ivory is being used and abused. And on so many different levels, Kristie.
STOUT: You're right. This is an illegal trade that needs to end once and for all, Arwa Damon. We thank you for your reporting. Take care.
Now this exclusive series called "Tracking the Ivory Trade," it continues tomorrow. And we will take you back to the Republic of the Congo to show you just what happens after the trackers ambush the poachers' camp. There is a dramatic chase that follows. Got to watch it Tuesday, right here on NEWS STREAM.
And for more, you can also read about CNN's ivory investigation on our website. Arwa Damon reveals much more about the grueling search for the poachers preying on elephants in Africa.
Now in China, state media reports that over 6 metric tons of ivory have been crushed in the southern city of Dongguan. It was described as the first-ever public destruction of ivory in the country. And most of the world's illegally acquired ivory ends up in China. It is the biggest retail market for the trade.
Authorities here in Hong Kong last year seized shipments worth tens of millions of dollars.
You're watching NEWS STREAM. And still ahead you've got tech heads and geeks alike. They're descending on Las Vegas for the -- you guessed it -- the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. We'll show you some of the gadgets on offer after the break right here on NEWS STREAM.
STOUT: Now it is that time of year again when gadget geeks get their first glance at the technology of tomorrow. We'll take you live to Las Vegas where the Consumer Electronics Show is just about to being.
STOUT: All right, welcome back. Now last week, we showed you how Colorado became the first U.S. state to allow legal sales of marijuana for recreational use. And as CNN's Miguel Marquez reports, the state is now dealing with how to police pot.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out of the cannabis closet and into a new era of legal recreational marijuana, the great Colorado smokeout is on. Weed, a powerful drug, coming from across the country to partake.
You were able to walk into a store and buy marijuana today. What did that feel like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is overjoying, like, to not have to hide it, and you know, be able to use what makes me feel better.
MARQUEZ: So I take it you guys are excited about this.
MARQUEZ: At Medicine Man Denver, one of the state's largest dispensaries, driving snow, wind or cold didn't deter the faithful, the line in the hundreds all day long.
What does today feel like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom.
MARQUEZ: With new freedom comes new responsibility. Signs are everywhere. The dos and don'ts of pot, illegal for under 21s to light up, public health officials fear abuse. At greatest risk, kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over half of the admissions for addiction in this state in kids under 15 and teenagers, they are from marijuana.
MARQUEZ: And drivers can get busted, the legal limit five nanograms of THC in your blood.
I don't smoke but if I had one puff of a marijuana cigarette, will that put me over the five nanogram limit?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MARQUEZ: One puff?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MARQUEZ: For how long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really, I don't know, after by two hours, it will probably be gone.
MARQUEZ: THC dissipates to lower levels relatively fast, even in habitual users.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they fail a roadside test, we take them in to our DUI room and we do a series of other tests that take up to about two hours to complete.
MARQUEZ: It is possible to be pulled over high, and hours later, get a pass on the blood test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
MARQUEZ: For now, pot aficionados, law enforcement and policy makers settling in for the long ride -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, Denver.
STOUT: Now drones, smart cars and of course a couple of robots, it is time again for the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It is one of the world's biggest tech showcases. And with hundreds of companies there, it's a good place to see what the big trends will be in gadgets for the year ahead.
So what can we expect? Let's take a look at three trends on NEWS STREAM's radar this year.
First up, wearables. Last year we saw Google Glass and the Pebbles Smart Watch grab headlines. So what will the rest of the tech industry produce to catch up?
We'll find out at the show.
Secondly, new forms of PCs as the PC market has declined. Manufacturers are looking for new areas for growth. One of them might be gaming machines. A report from Engadget suggests that up to 12 companies could announce that they are making Steam machines, PCs with the game service Steam and do not run Windows.
Now finally, we're expecting to see much more from electronics in cars. Google just announced the Open Automotive Alliance with GM, Honda, Audi and Hyundai to get more Android integration into cars.
So that is what we are expecting from CES. But here's one thing you should not expect. CES is not a venue where major products are announced and generally speaking, if a product is big enough, it will be announced at its own event, where it can stand alone in the spotlight. That's how the iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4, the Xbox 1 made their debuts.
Let's take you live to Las Vegas. Samuel Burke, he's at the center of the action at the Consumer Electronics Show. He joins us live with more.
Samuel, what is standing out for you there at CES?
SAMUEL BURKE, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, I'm the only person standing up at CES. There are over 150,000 people here at this convention, but you couldn't tell right now because it's 5:00 am in the morning. But at the parties that we went to last night and the meetings we had ,the big trend that we're seeing right now, Kristie, are curved televisions at 4k capacity. Now you probably just upgraded to an HD television not too long ago. But 4k is 4,000 pixels, much better than HD. But these types of televisions were out of grasp for so many families. But the price is finally coming down. So those are the types of televisions that we're seeing all across this show. But of course there's a lack of content for 4k television. So many places just got to HD. For example, Netflix only has one show available in 4k, Kristie.
STOUT: So that curved, high-resolution TV getting a lot of interest there at CES. We know CES is a hardware show. It's all about seeing, touching and feeling the latest gadgets.
But you know, it's a software world now. It's an apps world now. So how is that trend being reflected at CES this year?
BURKE: We're actually seeing them connect. I know that you predicted just a few minutes ago that you're going to see lots of wearables. You're exactly on the spot. We're seeing so many companies that have wearable technology that are connected to apps. And more than anything, the health industry has these type of wearable technologies, things that you can put on your wrist than then connect to an app that can tell you about your heartbeat, how much you're walking.
And again, these products were out of grasp for so many people because of the price. But we see them coming down this year with so many companies moving in, in this area. We're actually going to be speaking t someone who's lost so much weight using some of this wearable technology. So don't be surprised in the next few days as you see me with something around my wrist and trying to keep my New Year's resolution and keep the weight off.
STOUT: Good to hear. Now the opening keynote, that's going to kick things off later today. What should we expect?
BURKE: Well, there are a lot of rumors about Intel trying to mix some type of system with Android and Windows. So imagine those two systems coming together. That's just a rumor at this point. But a lot of people are expecting to hear something like that. So maybe being able to use Android apps on a Windows platform, that could help consolidate the industry since so many apps are only available on one platform and not another. So that's something we're going to be keeping a close eye on. Maybe all these apps could start working in between different phones and different computer platforms and tablet platforms.
STOUT: As we all know, it's very, very early in the morning there in Las Vegas. Thank you so much for the update and enjoy the show. We'll check in with you later, Samuel Burke there, joining us live from the site of CES in Las Vegas, of course.
Now one of the many tech sites covering CES this year is a site that's only a few days old -- re/code is a new venture from the people behind AllThingsD. Leading the team, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, two of the biggest names in tech journalism, famous for their annual conferences where they've interviewed everyone from Steve Jobs to Bill Gates.
Now on Sunday, CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" spoke to Walt Mossberg about re/code and asked him about the challenges of setting up an entirely new media outlet in the digital age.
WALT MOSSBERG, RE/CODE: -- we're not all hung up on old media versus new media. It's all media. It's all journalism. Some of it is done well; some of it's done poorly. And that includes -- you know, there's terrible newspapers; there's great newspapers. There's terrible websites; there's great websites. So...
BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: It's all blurring.
MOSSBERG: And that's one -- that's one really important point. The other thing, and it's pretty obvious, is, if this were 100 years ago, it would be really hard to start a new newspaper. If it was 50 years ago, it would be really hard to start a new television network if you were just a journalist.
Digital, yes, we did have to raise money. We have great investors, one of whom is NBC News; the other is Terry Semel, who is a veteran media executive.
So we had to raise money. It's not like you can do it for no money.
MOSSBERG: But it's a lot lower barrier to entry to start your own thing as a journalist than at any time in history.
STELTER: In history.
STOUT: He's bullish. We wish him luck. And you can find much more from Brian Stelter's interview with Walt Mossberg on the "RELIABLE SOURCES" website. You'll also find the interview with the man behind the biggest stories on Gawker and how he finds the material that goes viral. It's all at CNN.com/reliablesources.
And finally, you might recognize this man, the action star, Steven Seagal. But could he be ready to take on the political ring? Well, possibly here as governor of the U.S. state of Arizona. The 61-year-old star of the TV show, "Lawman," and the film, "Under Siege," has hinted to CNN affiliate KNXV that he might be interested in becoming governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN SEAGAL, ACTOR: Joe Arpaio and I, we've talked about me running for governor in Arizona, which was a kind of a joke. But I suppose I would remotely consider it. But probably I would have a lot more other -- a lot of other responsibilities than maybe more important to address.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Of course it's not that unusual for celebrities to make that transition from pop culture to politics. The one-time body builder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course, he served as governor of California from 2003 to 2010. Before that, former wrestler Jesse Ventura won a surprising victory in Minnesota's governor race. And of course Ronald Reagan was an actor before he became the 40th President of the United States.
And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.