Return to Transcripts main page


Nintendo Stock Downgraded By Goldman Sachs; President Obama Unafraid of Executive Action; Jurassic Park Prop On Sale; Super Bowl Media Day; The Mayor of Zaatari; No Progress In Syrian Peace Talks

Aired January 29, 2014 - 8:00   ET


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

Now the U.S. president lays out his agenda for the year and tells congress he will go it alone if he has to.

We speak to the man who some consider the mayor of a massive camp for Syrian refugees.

And what's wrong with Nintendo? A look at the troubles facing one of the biggest names in video games.

Now a U.S. president Barack Obama has vowed to go it alone when it comes to delivering his legislative agenda this year saying he will do it with or without the help of a hostile congress.

Now it is a critical year for the second term president. Control of congress will be up for grabs in November's mid-term elections.

Now the president called on congress to work together on issues, but emphasized that he will use executive orders if lawmakers don't cooperate.

For more, CNN's Brianna Keilar joins me now live from the White House. And Brianna, what was the most important part of the speech?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kristie, I think it was probably his announcement on increasing the minimum wage, which he did through executive action just for employees of new federal contracts. So it is a limited basis.

But this was key. And it's something that he'll continue to push today as he goes to Maryland, his first of four stops in a two-day tour to push his State of the Union message. He'll be visiting a Costco, so a superstore today highlighting this company that has increased the wage for its employees as he pushes congress to increase the federal minimum wage for all American workers.


KEILAR (voice-over): For over an hour, more than 7,000 words, President Obama telling his biggest audience of the year he's not waiting on Congress to start his year of action.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wherever and whenever I can take steps without...


OBAMA: ...legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do.

KEILAR: Obama wants to combat inequality using new executive orders on education, jobs, and energy that don't require congressional approval.

He's raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers and encouraged private sector businesses to pay their employees more too.

OBAMA: Say yes. Give America a raise.


Give them a raise.


KEILAR: Despite praising House Speaker John Boehner's life story...

OBAMA: The son of a barkeep, the speaker of the House.

KEILAR: ...there wasn't much that Republicans seemed to like.

OBAMA: I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.


Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people.


KEILAR: Most decisive, the president's signature legislative achievement. Obama made clear he's not interested in rehashing the health care fight.

OBAMA: I do not expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people are not interested in refighting old battles.

KEILAR: Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, taking the opposite view in the official Republican response.

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS, (R)-WA: Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government's.

KEILAR: She was just one Republican offering her take.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's lofty rhetoric ignored the fact that his administration continues to lead poor and middle class families further behind.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R)- TX: He doesn't try to work with Congress. He doesn't talk with Congress.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R)-KY: I didn't hear anything new from the president.

KEILAR: The issues may have divided the House chamber, but the most powerful, poignant moment came late in the night and brought Democrats and Republicans to their feet. Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, left partially paralyzed and blind in one eye, honored for his service and resilience.

OBAMA: Like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.



KEILAR: Remsburg, Kristie, was wounded on his 10th deployment, his 10th in Afghanistan. He was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq over the years, but this was the emotional moment of the night that I think really will be remembered in this particular State of the Union.

LU STOUT: That's right, he is an icon of fortitude and strength and when the U.S. president commended him, that really was the emotional highlight wasn't that? Brianna Keilar joining us live from the White House, thank you.

And now that the State of the Union is over, the White House is putting on an open house, online that is. Now dozens of administration officials will take questions all day from social media sites, just use the hashtag #asktheWHtoparticipate. It starts in the next hour with senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, Press Secretary Jay Carney and others.

Now in Ukraine, defiant demonstrators are not budging from the streets of Kiev and they could be about to win a key concession. Now Ukraine's parliament is now considering giving amnesty to activists arrested during weeks of violent protests.

On Tuesday, lawmakers agreed to scrap controversial new anti-protest laws that helped fuel anger at the rallies. Meanwhile, prime minister Mikola Azarov and his entire cabinet resigned on Tuesday. But opposition leaders say that is not enough. They want constitutional reform and the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Here is CNN's Diana Magnay.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The special parliamentary session reopened this Wednesday with some dramatic comments from the country's first president since independence Leonid Kravchuk who said that the country was on the brink of civil war. Well, it doesn't feel like that. Independence Square and a road leading up to the parliament which has been the front line of the violence certainly this time last week.

People seem to be fairly content to allow the three leaders of the opposition to negotiate on their behalf and to see what the parliament comes up with. Apparently the sticking point at the moment is the terms of a possible amnesty for the 200 or so detained as a result of these last two months of protests.

But there have been significant concessions already made, namely the resignation of the Prime Minister Mikola Azarov and his entire cabinet, although they are still acting in a caretaker capacity of course and the repeal of these hated anti-protest laws.

What happens next, well, the negotiations will continue. The parliament will continue its session, possibly set up a working group that will look into revising the constitution to bring it back to its 2004 form before power was consolidated around the position of president.

When you ask people on the street what will make a different for them, they say that the president himself has to go. But there seems no indication the President Yanukovych will do that. And also let's not forget he was democratically elected. There is no legal impeachment procedure in this country and elections are this time next year. Perhaps the people will just have to sit and wait until that time.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Kiev.


LU STOUT: Terror threats against the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi are dimming the thrill of competing for some athletes. Now despite Russian government assurances that the games will be safe, Washington is urging U.S. competitors to be cautious. Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To go or not to go? Each athlete, each family faces a tough question. The National Hockey League says it's still committed to sending its players to Sochi. But a top NHL official told the "Associated Press," if something happens between now and February 9th, quote, "we will re-evaluate."

LIZ CLARKE, WASHINGTON POST: For a high-ranking official of the NHL to acknowledge publicly that they've had the thought process of pulling their athletes back if something calamitous happens, I am kind of surprised that that rhetoric is out there.

TODD (on-camera): Hockey officials are certainly not alone among participants in discussing the security concerns. In recent days, we've heard growing anxiety among athletes and their families over the prospect of traveling to Sochi.

(voice-over) The family of cross-country skier, Roberto Carcelen, is staying home.

ROBERTO CARCELEN, OLYMPIC SSKIER: It was a really hard decision for us as a family just not to come.

KATE CARCELEN, WIFE OF OLYMPIC SKIER: I finally just asked him, look, is it going to stress you out for us being there and he just immediately said yes.

TODD: But the mother of speed-skater, Kyle Carr, tells us the threats won't stop her.

LISA CERVANTES, MOTHER OF OLYMPIC SPEED-SKATER: I do not, absolutely do not have second thoughts of outgoing. To share that joy with my son, not going to let terrorists steal it.

TODD: Congressman Peter King says if he were given free tickets tomorrow, he still wouldn't go.

REP. PETER KING, (R) HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Odds are there will not be an attack, but the odds are high -- for any other Olympics that there will be.

TODD: Militant groups have posted videos threatening to target the games. The attack during the Munich Olympics in 1972 when 11 Israeli athletes were killed is a specter that haunts Sochi games even before the torch arrives. President Vladimir Putin assures the world every precaution is being taken. Still, American athletes have been advised not to wear their team USA gear outside the Olympic venue.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: Now, North Korea has issued a warning, "stop the war games." In a rare news conference, North Korea's ambassador to China said that peace and stability on the peninsula hinges on South Korea stopping its military exercises with the U.S.


JI JAE RYONG, NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO CHINA (through translator): This time, we once again suggest that South Korea stop immediately without questions all hostile military actions with foreign powers, which opposes people of their same nationality.

Facing this, I pointed out that South Korea should make up the political mind to stop so-called defensive annual joint military exercises such is the key resolve in the (inaudible) eagles (ph) starting from the end of February.


LU STOUT: Now South Korea expressed regret today that the north has not responded to a proposal to resume reunions for families separated by the Korean War.

Now coming up right here on News Stream, a snowstorm causes havoc in Atlanta. Some school kids, they spent a whole night on the bus when snow turned highways into campsites.

We'll have a live report after the break.

And meet the man called the mayor of Zaatari, the fixer charged with running the UN's massive Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.


LU STOUT: Now a rare snow storm has paralyzed parts of the southern United States from Texas to North Carolina. The unfamiliar weather is truly wrecking havoc. Alabama and Georgia have been hit especially hard by the snow and the ice. And that created hazardous conditions on the roads. The city of Atlanta saw nearly 1,000 accidents and some drivers were stranded for more than 12 hours.

Now I want to show you what the area near CNN Center looks like on most days. And this is the scene on Tuesday afternoon.

Now the mayor of Atlanta has asked residents to stay home for the next 24 hours to give crews time to clean up the streets. Now conditions, they went from clear to chaotic very quickly. So let's get the latest from Victor Blackwell. He is in College Park. It's a suburb of Atlanta.

And Victor, I mean, there are thousands of stranded people, including schoolchildren, who have caught up in this deep freeze. How are they doing and what is being done to help them?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a very desperate situation and a difficult night, especially for those schoolchildren.

Consider that students were dismissed and classes were suspended at about 1:25 Tuesday afternoon. At 6:00 am Wednesday morning, roughly 15 hours later, ambulances had to make their way to at least four school buses packed with students to evacuate the buses and take those students to a grocery store where many of them are still waiting for their parents to pick them up.

Hundreds of students were told to stay at schools overnight. And you talk about the commute. A typical commute in a city that's already notorious for its traffic problems that takes maybe an hour lasted for more than 10. And there are still people who are stuck on roads in and around the Atlanta metro area.

We can tell you that Georgia Department of Transportation, they're getting out to the roads now some of the areas that were packed with vehicles that they couldn't get to. They're spreading salt and substances to try to melt the ice, but we're learning that even some of the roads that they have treated are now refreezing so they have to go back to those. It is a nightmare here. And people are asking questions about the preparation and how serious local officials took the storm and how closely they listened to forecasters, Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, it's incredible there have been thousands of car accidents across the region, including there in Atlanta. I mean, what happened here, Victor? Was the region, was it simply not prepared for this type of weather?

BLACKWELL: Well, I mean, consider the part of the country. This is not an area that deals with ice and snow often. It's just a couple of inches. But city officials before the storm, the night before they sent out press releases saying that they were well prepared for this. The question now is were they actually prepared? Did they take the warnings seriously.

And more than the accidents, there were so many people who just abandoned their cars not because they were tired of waiting, but they ran out of fuel and you can't sit in these temperatures without the heat.

So we're expecting a news conference from the mayor of Atlanta this morning to answer some of those tough questions. And still people are trying to get home from yesterday's commute.

LU STOUT: And we know that the winter storm, it has also canceled flights. How many people have been affected? Give us an idea of just how disruptive this storm has been (inaudible) as well?

BLACKWELL: Well, Atlanta has the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta-Heartsfield-Jackson. And on Tuesday, nearly 1,000 flights at this airport alone in Atlanta were canceled, thousands more across the country. And the numbers are starting to rack up this morning into the hundreds of delays and cancellations because of this storm.

You know, snow is one thing, but these roads, as you can see behind me, this is ice. These are not just patches of ice, the dry patches are the exception here. And for people who are not used to driving, one, in snow. If you put ice down, we've seen cars skidding through here, some of them driving far too fast for the conditions, but we know that the challenges continue. Hopefully people are getting off the roads and into a warm place -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, indeed. Victor Blackwell joining us live. Thank you very much indeed for that update.

Now let's get an update on the conditions there and also just to find out when conditions will improve?

Now let's go straight to meteorologist Ivan Cabrera at the CNN Weather Center. And Ivan, it's good to see you, but we know that our colleague Mari Ramos, she's not on, because she is one of the thousands of Americans stranded as a result of this deep freeze.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Never made it home. She never made it home.

I just happened to live closer to CNN Center and also I have 10 years of driving experience in the ice and the snow. Certainly not recommended, I took the side roads, certainly not the interstates, which I want to show you right now some -- we don't have live pictures but they are incredible. I tell you, there are parking lots where interstates should be at this hour.

The governor of Georgia has now sent military humvees to Atlanta highways. This is where we're at folks. The governor of Georgia sending military humvees. Why? Because there are still kids that are stuck on school buses from when they left yesterday at 1:00 pm. It is now 8:00 am and they're still on the highways. Some of them lucky enough to be in school, those are the lucky ones. 100 of the m sleeping on the floors of school gyms.

And then, of course, we saw some pictures of people sleeping at area Publixes, that's a grocery store. Walgreens, drug stores. Again, doing what they can. Those are the people that left their cars, abandoned their cars and happened to find a place that they could warm up a little bit here.

From six centimeters of snowfall -- if you are watching us from a place that snows a lot you're thinking how is that possible? As our good friend, there was reporting, we don't have the snow removal equipment.

But we can remove the cars out of the way. And we had enough warning. All the meteorologists, national weather service, was on top of this storm. We had been forecasting it for quite some time. So really no reason why schools couldn't have been canceled and a lot of people could have gone home the day before.

But here we are. It's a mess. And it's going to be remembered by a lot of people for a long time.

The storm is not even quite over yet. Most of the heavy precip. now going to the south and east, but just looking at this picture is mindblowing here, snowing on the beaches of the Carolinas in just the last couple of hours.

All right, so the snow that has fallen not going to melt any time soon. Minus 11, actual air temperature here. It is going to take awhile. We're going to have to get to peak sun heating times in the afternoon where temperatures are going to get just about freezing and we'll be able to melt some of that snow with that direct sunlight. But it's not going to be all of it, because then tonight again we're going to go right back down.

The minus 19 is the way it feels. If you have lost the heat in your car and you're outside, that is the way it feels with the windchill. It feels even worse to the north, minus 25, minus 35 to as low as minus 45 with windchills.

Leaving you with some of the pictures once we get those live images we'll be able to bring those to you because they had been just incredible here, just it's still -- now the sun is up and the cars are still out there.

All right, quick check on what's going on over the next few days, more of this arctic blast will by the weekend we're actually going to begin to retreat this, so the temperatures are going to get rather balmy here. So we're looking forward to that. But that feels like a year away. And it will to some of the people on the road still.

All right, in Europe relatively quiet here. We have snow that is going to be coming back across the southeast right now. Still seeing this spin across the UK and Ireland with more rain on the way there, but it is going to be snow, because it's cold enough for it across the southeast. That includes Romania and Bulgaria which got hit hard last weekend.

LU STOUT: All right, Ivan Cabrera there reporting on the dangerously icy conditions around he world, especially in the American Deep South. Thank you, Ivan, and take care.

And you're watching News Stream. And coming up next, this American congressman walks off midway through a TV interview, so what did he do next? His bizarre outburst and threat were all caught on tape. We'll show you after the break.


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

And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. We started with U.S. President Obama's agenda for the year in the United States. And we're going to stay with U.S. politics for a very different story now.

Now the U.S. Congressman Michael Grimm is defending his actions after an aggressive outburst was caught on camera. Now he walked away from a TV interview on Tuesday and then threatened to throw the reporter, quote, "off a balcony."

As Athena Jones reports, the Republican from New York is under investigation over allegations of illegal fundraising.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After being interviewed about the State of the Union speech, the New York Republican clammed up when reporter Mike Scotto from New York One, a CNN affiliate, starts to ask about a Department of Justice investigation into whether or not the congressman raised illegal campaign cash four years ago.

MICHAEL SCOTTO, NY1 REPORTERS: And finally before we let you go since we have you here, we haven't had a chance to kind of talk about...

REP. MICHAEL GRIMM, (R) NEW YORK: I'm not speaking about anything that's off topic, this is only about the president's speech.

SCOTT: Well, what about...

JONES: But the former marine and undercover FBI agent wasn't content to simply walk away.

GRIMM: Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this (EXPLECTIVE DELETED) balcony.

SCOTTO: Why? I just wanted to ask you.

GRIMM: If you ever do that to me again...

SCOTTO: Why? Why? It's a valid question.

GRIMM: No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half.

JONES: Grimm is serving his second term in congress representing Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. In 2012, the House ethics committee said they were stepping aside from their probe of the congressman so that the Department of Justice could conduct its own inquiry on whether he took campaign donations from overseas and encouraged donors to exceed contribution limits.

Congressman Grimm has not been charged. Two people close to Grimm have been charged in the case, but Grimm denies any involvement.

On Tuesday, Grimm wasn't interested in talking about the investigation. After his on camera run in, he said the reporter was out of line. The congressman told New York One, quote, "I verbally took the reporter to talk and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first member of congress to tell off a reporter and I'm sure I won't be the last," he said.


LU STOUT: That was Athena Jones reporting there.

Now you're watching news Stream. And still to come, Syrians stuck in the city of Homs. They are in desperate need of food and the situation is especially dire for women and children. In a moment, we'll look at what progress the peace talks are making toward easing their suffering.

And we want to show you more from our special series on a refugee camp in Jordan. Meet the so-called Mr. Fixit, the mayor helping Syrians who have lost everything.


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

Now U.S. President Barack Obama outlined his economic and foreign policy agenda in his state of the union speech on Tuesday. He said he would veto any new sanctions lawmakers voted to place on Iran because they could derail nuclear talks.

Now Mr. Obama also repeated his plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan.

Ukraine's parliament is debating whether to grant amnesty to more than 200 protesters arrested during two months of anti-government of anti- government demonstrations. Now activists who have filled the streets of Kiev say the government needs to do far more to address their demands.

European Union troops in the Central African Republic are now allowed to use force. Now the UN Security Council voted to change the terms of their deployment and extended the peacekeeping mission to the end of January 2015.

Now ethnic violence has been raging in the Central African Republic since the president was ousted in a coup last year.

Ten centimeters of snow are adding up to a winter storm nightmare for parts of the southern U.S. Snow, ice and freezing rain have stranded may drivers in their cars since yesterday. Now students were also stuck on buses or at their schools and there was no way to get home because of the dangerously slick roads.

Now it's not much better at the airports. Hundreds of flights are canceled today.

Now faltering Syrian peace talks have resumed in Geneva. And the United Nations put the talks on hold on Tuesday when discussions between the warring sides deteriorated.

Now no one expects a quick breakthrough, but it has been a slow and at times acrimonious process so far.

The United States is dismissing a Syrian government accusation that it supplied weapons to al Qaeda and other groups Damascus accuses of being terrorists. And the Syrian government has not yet made good on a weekend offer to allow international food aid into the starving city of Homs.

Now this ancient city has been under siege for about 18 months now. And people there are desperate for help.

And for more, let's join CNN's Mohammd Jamjoom in Beirut. And Mohammed, just the people of Homs, they're waiting for the essentials -- food, medicine, fuel, security. I mean, what is life like inside Homs today?

OK, obviously we just lost that live feed with Mohammed Jamjoom. My apologies for that.

Now, nearly two-and-a-half million refugees they have fled the ongoing fighting, this bloody civil war in Syria in the past three years. And the United Nations says more than half a million have crossed into neighboring Jordan. And many are living in sprawling refugee camps. These are homes, which were meant to be temporary, but become more permanent with each passing day.

Now Atika Shubert meets one man tasked with turning this camp into a community.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some people call him the "mayor of Zaatari." Kilian Kleinschmidt technical title is UNHCR senior field coordinator. He calls himself "Mr. Fixit."

What was the camp like when you first got here?

KILIAN KLEINSCHMIDT, UNHCR SENIOR FIELD COORDINATOR: This camp was a very unpleasant place, unpleasant for the refugees, unpleasant for ourselves. It was not safe to work here. We had people who were afraid of going into the camp, because the refugees were very aggressive.

SHUBERT: Today, it is impossible to walk more than five minutes without a chat.

KLEINSCHMIT: He's the first man who started actually believing that we wanted to make a change.

SHUBERT: We are invited into one lovingly decorated home.

Oh, wow. I (inaudible) everything.

And then another. Corrugated metal box on the outside, a family home on the inside.

I guess at some point people must have thought I'm only going to be here for a little while, but then as the months went on they realized they were going to be here a lot longer and that's when they started...

KLEINSCHMIDT: The more the situation inside of Syria became messy, the more division of the opposition and the different forces became evident, the more they understood they're not going to go home soon.

SHUBERT: Everything in Zaatari is movable and anything is for sale. Each family is allotted one of these units, but in the camps gray market, they sell for $1,000 apiece.

KLEINSCHMIDT: In the very beginning when they invented these things to move these trailers around, confiscated a few of these things and then gave up.

SHUBERT: Zaatari has had a boom in self-employed electricians, stealing from the power lines. And Kilian decides to confront one of them on our tour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you have a home and you have kids in the home and it's completely back in the home, wouldn't you want to go and...

KLEINSCHMIDT: But do you know what we're doing? I could switch you off.

There's another electrician up there doing something very, very naughty.

A refugee camp is not a storage for people, a refugee camp is about people. They are showing us how it should be. And they're showing us the way forward.


KLEINSCHMIDT: No. Not one word.

SHUBERT: Kilian almost seems to delight in the innovations of camp residents.

Where there's a will there's a way.


SHUBERT: Is a vegetable or herbs. They're herbs.


Some goat cheese and stuff.

SHUBERT: Did you ever look out here and think, this is my city?

KLEINSCHMIDT: No. It's their city. I think when we look at that and we see it being a quiet place and we're all proud. It's maybe not the size of it, it's more the complexity of human relations which has been very difficult for all of us to understand. And that has been -- that has been the difficult part. I mean, my job is to fix things. So I think we manage to do a big difference here.

SHUBERT: I think a lot of the residents agree with you. Not the electrician, though.

KLEINSCHMIDT: No. He was very unhappy.


SHUBERT: Atika Shubert, CNN, Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.


LU STOUT: Now Atika has brought us so many moving and insightful stories from there. The Zaatari refugee camp. And you can learn more about life at the camp with this interactive map. You can find it on our website from the wedding dress salon, helping brides on their big day to the 110-year-old refugee we introduced to you on Tuesday.

You just click on the icons to hear directly from the residents and the workers of the camp. You can find it at

Now let's bring you that report from Homs. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom has more on the dire situation there.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Homs, a classroom without electricity, a teacher without hope.

"Aid is not a solution," she pleads wearily. "This has become a prison for these children. Look at their faces. In every one of their eyes is a message for the world."

Even inside, they're cold, trying to learn in the shadows, trying to live through this darkness.

"We want to be able to come and go freely so we can see our families and eat and drink," says this girl.

This city ravaged by war has been under siege for 600 days. In the light of day, desperation is even more apparent. This man was sifting through the remains of a shelled building, foraging for firewood.

The cameraman asks, "could you tell us about the humanitarian situation here?"

"We finished our food a long time ago," says the man.

"So what are you eating?" Asks the man filming.

"We've been eating grass. We hope it won't poison us," he answers. "But we don't know until after we've eaten it. Whatever we find, we eat."

This woman is distraught over the water her family drinks. She uses whatever she can find.

"It's not clean water," she says. "A lot of the time there are bugs in it."

As the bombardment worsens, anger grows and wounds fester.

"We want the injured to get medical care," yells this man. "The people who have lost their arms and legs and eyes."

They need help, rage directed not just toward a regime they say has besieged them for so long, but also diplomats deadlocked on how to best deliver them aid.

"We need you to break the siege," says this rebel fighter. "Open the road to the old city so we can evacuate the wounded and the families."

Back in the classroom, a girl reads out a message written on the blackboard.

"In a comfortable setting," says the girl.

They discuss what's going on in our stricken Syria. As they wait for help, any help at all, the lessons have turned to life and dead and they've only gotten harsher.


LU STOUT: Now let's bring up our Mohammed Jamjoom to hear more about the situation and the future for the people of Homs. Mohammed joins me live from Beirut.

And Mohammed, situation there in Homs is so desperate it was shocking to hear just now in your report that some have resorted to eating grass because they are starving.

Now meanwhile, we know that these talks are underway in Geneva. There is no movement to get aid there to Homs. I mean, is there still hope for some sort of a breakthrough to help these people?

JAMJOOM: Kristie, from what I'm hearing as far as what people are saying that are inside Homs -- and I must add that it's been very difficult reaching residents and opposition activists the past few days. There is little to no hope at all right now.

They were skeptical from the get go. They didn't think that these talks would yield much in the way of aid for them, or as far as lifting the siege. Since there have been so many headlines the past few days that perhaps a deal had been struck to deliver aid to Homs or to lift the siege or to some sort of evacuation of women and children from the area. They're still skeptical.

And the anger has been building, because they say once again here's a scenario that they've seen play out in the past whereby there are delegations and diplomats and meeting in relative comfort in luxury hotels and yet the suffering continues and only worsens on the ground in Syria.

Homs is what's considered to be one of the cradles of the revolution, the uprising in Syria. The people that are there say that's one of the reasons, because it is a rebel-held area that it has been so besieged and so bombarded. But it's only gotten worse.

And one of the frustrations is the fact that there are so many aid agencies and workers at the ready trying to deliver aid, trying to make sure there can be some kind of breakthrough saying, look, as long as we get the green light we will go in. But the question is who exactly will give the green light? Is it the diplomats and the delegations meeting in Geneva, or is it all the factions of rebels and regime fighters there on the ground. It's a very complicated situation fraught with so much danger not just for the people there that are stricken inside Homs, but also for the aid workers trying to deliver these much needed medical supplies.

One of the doctors we spoke with the other day actually told us that the medical conditions there are actually Medieval. That's just an idea of how bad it is right now -- Kristie. LU STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom reporting for us, many thanks indeed for that. You're watching News Stream. We'll be back right after the break.


LU STOUT: Now to some, this company defines video games, but Nintendo has fallen on hard times. Their net profit dropped some 30 percent in its latest earnings report. Vladimir Duthiers has more on the struggles Nintendo faces.


VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When I was about 12-years-old, Nintendo launched a game that blew the minds of every kid in America and around the world including me -- Donkey Kong. This game was hugely popular. On any given weekend and even on some school days you'd find kids playing this game.

Several years later, they launched the hugely successful Mario Brothers.

Subsequently, even after the company had been written off by gamers and analysts, they were able to reinvent themselves with the 2006 launch of the Wii gaming console.

But this end, Nintendo has been bruised and battered by the competition, including Sony's Playstation and Microsoft XBox 360.

At the Super Potato Retro Gaming Center, fans of the classic Nintendo games can spend hours playing their old favorites.

Kata Futuyama (ph) remembers what it was like owning an early Nintendo console.

"When I first bought a Nintendo," he says. "I was the envy of my friends. They all wanted to come over to my house to play."

Since the launch of its Wii U in November 2012, Nintendo has sold more than three-and-a-half million units worldwide. It originally said it expected to sell 9 million consoles in fiscal year 2013, but last week they revised that forecast to 2.8 million.

Many gamers say the Wii U can't compete with the graphics and titles offered by the competition.

"I just find Sony more attractive as a gaming platform," Futuyama says. "Even when you play a game that's available on both consoles, the Sony version is more fun than Nintendo."

Masaru Sugiyama, a gaming analyst for Goldman Sachs, which has cut their 12 month target price by 8 percent and downgraded the stock to a sell agrees.

MASARU SUGIYAMA, GOLDMAN SACHS: The people who are buying Playstation 4s and XBox Ones are really dedicated hardcore gamers who are willing to spend larger amounts of money to gaming.

However, people who conventionally played the Nintendo games, the Wii games, were families or casual gamers.

DUTHIERS: But it appears the company's share of the market is shrinking, even making it more affordable hasn't helped.

SUGIYAMA: The Wii U priced at $100 below the competition, they also - - the hardware specifications were below Playstation 4s and XBox Ones. So I think those population also went for PS4, XBox One.

So Wii U was left with not many people to buy.

DUTHERS: The news is not all grim, Nintendo reportedly has 62 billion yen in cash, that's over $600 million. And sales of its handheld 3DS remain strong. Analysts say profits could also be boosted by developing mobile software and selling games online.

Looking at the PU ratio right now, do you think that the stock is fairly valued? And what are your expectations over the next 12 to 18 months?

SUGIYAMA: Our 12 month target price is 11,000 yen. And this is based on a rather optimistic scenario. This is a company with a very big balance sheet cash. And also a great content. So at some point there's definitely a point where the value in Nintendo shock should be appreciated, but not at this moment.

DUTHIERS: Nintendo looking to knock out the competition like they did back in the early days.

Vladimir Duthiers, CNN, Tokyo.


LU STOUT: Now let's just reiterate that one point we heard in Vlad's report, because it really highlights the problems facing Nintendo. Now they originally expected to sell 9 million Wii Us this year, but now they say they'll sell less than 3 million.

So, can the Wii U be saved, or does Nintendo have to come up with a new solution?

I want to put those questions and more to our next guest. Now Stephen Totilo is the editor-in-chief of Kotaku and he joins me now live from our studios in New York.

A lot of questions for you, Stephen, but first let's talk about smartphones. I mean, many have been calling on Nintendo to take Super Mario and Pokemon and Zelda and release them on smartphones. But do you think Nintendo can do that? Can it easily turn hit console games into smartphone games?


Nintendo says they won't do it. And they want to instead make their own hardware, they want to make their own games. And they have long said that they need to do the two things in concert, that their games play best when they shape the controller, the thing that you put your hands in and even the screen that you're looking at it on, the 3DS for example has a 3D effects that you can see without special glasses on.

Nevertheless, there are so many people that are saying just put some of your games, even your older games, on phones. I'm not sure they would control as well. I don't know that I want to play Zelda or Mario just touching the screen.

But it is an opportunity for them. They still could take it, but they haven't signaled at all that they're going to do that.

LU STOUT: Yeah, they need some sort of opportunity for a turnaround here.

And Nintendo has done it before. It's engineered turnarounds many times before. I mean, just a few years ago it revived its fortunes with the Wii. So do you think Nintendo still has what it takes, still has the innovation to stage another comeback?

TOTILO: They do. I mean, don't think of them as a traditional business that's going to do the things that would make sense in terms of -- that you would think logically, oh, well they'll make a more powerful machine and that's how they'll be more successful. Think of them more as - - this may sound a little corny, but as a cabal of artists, for example. And you never know when they're going to make their next great masterpiece or their next great hit.

But if you look back to their history, a lot of times they have been down in the dumps and then they just have the genius of coming up with a great video game, whether it's Super Mario Brothers or Nintendogs or Brain Age, games that nobody sees coming, games that are not dependent on having the best hardware out there. It's just a great idea that they fall in love with and then the world falls in love with. And you never when that's right around the corner for them.

Of course, at some point, as we know, with our favorite bands and our favorite actors our favorite directors. At some point, people, they run out of these great ideas. And it's hard to say if Nintendo is at that point or not.

LU STOUT: I have to say, you know, comparing the designers of Nintendo to a cabal of artists did not sound corny at all. A lot of people would appreciate the comparison out there.

I've got to ask you another question, though, about the Wii U. I mean, Nintendo has really been slammed by weak Wii U sales. So what happened here?

TOTILO: Nintendo, I think, was overconfident, and we've seen this before, every five years or so hardware companies in the video game world come out with a new machine and often there is that hubris of having a really successful machine and then they'll come out with a new one thinking that they're going to repeat success. Rarely does anybody repeat success in these console wars. Usually there's a new victor every generation. And in this case, I think we saw Nintendo saying, hey, last time we didn't have to have the most powerful machine.

Last time, we didn't have to have great support from a lot of the big third-party companies like EA and Activision, people came to us for the games that we made. They didn't mind that we had a weaker console. So they basically came out with a very similar machine and that it was weaker than what the competition was going to be putting out. It had an unusual idea, a screen in the palm of your hands as well as a screen to look at on your television, so two screens at once. But unlike motion gaming, people don't seem to be as into it.

You know, the irony here, by the way, is that it may not be a great time to work at Nintendo and to be a Nintendo game maker, because they are having these struggles, but it's actually a great time to be a Nintendo gamer. And that's sort of the paradox here. Is that Nintendo has been putting out really great games the last couple of years, especially on the 3DS. And people who have the systems I think are having a great time with them. It's just the question is is that more and more of like a niche group of people? It's not the masses who are out there playing Angry Birds or even a game like League of Legends. That League of Legends game is 27 million people playing it every day. I don't know that Nintendo has any games that they can say are being played that much. And that's really their problem.

They're beloved by a group of people, but is it enough people anymore?

LU STOUT: Well, here's hoping for a comeback for a very beloved videogame maker. Stephen Totilo, editor-in-chief of Kotaku, thank you so much for spending your time with me and take care.

TOTILO: Thank you.

LU STOUT: Now, we are less than a week away from American football's biggest game. Of course the Super Bowl. And one of the big traditions before the game is media day. It's this media free for all in which players and reporters mingle on the field.

And in the middle of it all this year was our own Lara Baldesarra.


LARA BALDESARRA, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You got those new diamond encrusted Beats headphones sent to you. You keeping those ones, or are you giving them away?

VIRGIL GREEN, DENVER BRONCOS: Oh, absolutely keeping those ones. Anything I get from the Super Bowl experience I'm keeping it for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know yet. I didn't even take them out of the box yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yeah, those are the coolest gifts I ever got.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'm definitely going to keep them. I'm not going to wear them much, but I'm going to keep them.

BALDESARRA: What is the coldest weather you've ever played in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had negative 7.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know exactly the temperature, but I've played in some cold games.

When we played the Titans, we practiced in 90 degree weather and then on the day of the game it said 13 degrees. I was like, yes. So happy that it was 13 degrees. So we're not really worried about anything.

BALDESARRA: Yes, you never really know who you are going to run into at media day.


BALDESARRA: Of course I found myself and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas.


BALDESARRA: How are you enjoying your first media day?

DOUGLAS: I'm loving it. The experience is great.

BALDESARRA: We're in a hockey arena right now.


BALDESARRA: Yeah. So, can you name one American hockey player?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have one. I don't get a lot of time to watch hockey.


BALDESARRA: No. No. He's Canadian, though.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ryan Miller is a goalie.

BALDESARRA: Nicely done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Canadian. Of course I can name hockey players.

BALDESARRA: Bruno Mars played football, what position do you think he'd be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, corner?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably the kicker. He'd probably be the kicker.

BALDESARRA: So of course the Red Hot Chili Peppers, they're part of this Super Bowl half-time show.


BALDESARRA: You want to put some money on the fact that some of them are out there without their shirts on despite the cold?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. I would guess that they would be, you know, yeah definitely.


LU STOUT: Nice Q&A there. And that was Lara Baldesarra at Super Bowl media day. Denver and Seattle play in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Now for some, it's just Jurassic junk, but for others it is a piece of Hollywood history. Still ahead here on News Stream, a dinosaur designed from Jurassic Park is up for sale, but the price just a little scary.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now if you are a Jurassic Park fan, you might be interested in a massive piece of movie memorability up for sale.

But as Jeanne Moos reports, the winning bidder is going to need deep pockets and some wide open space.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you are enraptured by velociraptors, you might want to jump into the bidding for this. Doesn't look like much, you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most unique, probably most valuable that we've ever had.

MOOS: This? This rusty peeling crate of wood and steel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We estimate it at around 1,000 pounds.

MOOS: 1,000 pounds of movie history.

It's the crate from the opening scene of Jurassic Park when the gatekeeper falls prey to the velociraptor inside. Theme Park Connection, a company that scours the world for rare props got its claws into this one. Now it's up for bid on eBay. And I regret to say, this is going to cost someone an arm and a leg -- over $100,000 by the time bidding ends.

Are you sure it doesn't have a velociraptor with it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a live one, no.

MOOS: It does come with a prop velociraptor that appeared at Jurassic Park's premier.

By the way, the movie greatly exaggerated the velociraptor. In reality, they were the size of really big chickens. But hey it's Hollywood, and this is a famous 20-year-old crate.

Shoot her! Shoot her!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. We've been hearing a lot of that the last few days.

MOOS: Though they fully expect a collector to buy and restore it, it could serve a practical use, say, as a place to keep the kids when they misbehave or as a spacious doghouse.

But a collector would probably choose to display it, causing friends to say...

JEFF GOLDBLOOM, ACTOR: What do they got in there, King Kong?

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: Now, before we go, this news just into us here at CNN. Egyptian state media reporting that four al Jazeera journalists are to face trial in Egypt. Now the reports say an Australian, an Englishman and two Dutchmen will be charged with aiding members of a, quote, "terrorist" organization as well as broadcasting false information and rumors.

al Jazeera's Cairo offices, they were closed last July after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsy. And the staff members, they were arrested in December following government accusations that they broadcast illegally from a hotel suite.

And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.