Return to Transcripts main page


Instagram releases Instagram Direct; North Korea Confirms Execution of Jang Sung-taek; FCC Possibly To Lift Ban On Cellphone Calls In Flight; Unexpected Snow In Middle East Making Refugee Life Harder; Ukrainian On Verge Of Signing EU Deal

Aired December 13, 2013 - 08:00   ET


PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

The uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong un has been executed. Now many are wondering what that means for the secretive nation and the rest of the world.

Signs that tensions may be easing in Ukraine as opposition leaders agree to meet with the president.

And outrage in India as the supreme court declares gay sex illegal.

Governments and analysts around the world are trying to make sense of shocking events in North Korea. Leader Kim Jong un's uncle has been executed for treason, that announcement came from the official state news agency just days after Jang Sung-taek was physically removed from his posts.

Among other things, Jang was vice chairman of the top military body, second only to his young nephew.

Well, the secretive regime announced Jang's crimes in a scathing report, accusing him of trying to overthrow the leadership. It says Jang dreamed such a foolish dream that once he seized by a base method, his despicable true colors as reformist would help his new government get recognized by foreign countries in a short span of time.

The Korean central news agency says Jang confessed before the military tribunal.

It goes on to say the era and history will eternally record and never forget the shuttering crimes committed by Jang Sung-taek, the enemy of the party, revolution and people and heinous traitor to the nation.

Well, analysts say North Korea has not acknowledged a high level execution like this in decades. CNN's Paula Hancocks is following the story from Seoul, South Korea.

Paula, the uncle was once considered the mentor for Kim Jong un once he became leader, so what happened?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, that's right. He was the second most powerful man in the country. And he was given the task of trying to make that transition easier for Kim Jong un once he took power just two years ago. And it was assumed that he was the power behind the throne at the very beginning, certainly. But of course it all turned very sour very quickly. And even being part of the family was not enough to stop the execution of Jang Sung-taek.

So what does this actually tell us about Kim Jong un?


HANCOCKS: A young man in mourning walks alongside his father's coffin. Two years later, five of the seven men walking with him have been fired or executed on the orders of Kim Jong un.

JASPER KIM, FOUNDER, ASIA-PACIFIC GLOBAL RESEARCH GROUP: I think in the early days, he was kind of a boy leader. Now he is basically a man leader. And a man leader, I say that purposely because North Korea is a very patriarchal society, so his audience are basically 60 or 70 year old males with a military background that he has to earn their respect.

HANCOCKS: Little was known of the man introduced to the world by his father, the late Kim Jong-il in 2010. Partly educated in Switzerland, so exposed to the western world, many dared to hope he would drive change in the isolated nation.

But then came the rocket launches and nuclear tests. Like his father before him, Kim Jong un proved impervious to international criticism.

The country's top military man, Ri Yong-ho was fired last year. The top political man, Jang Sung-taek, fired and executed this week.

MOON CHUNG-IN, YONGSEI UNIVERSITY: I really don't think it is in the (inaudible) brutal actor of Kim Jong un, but he's more of the product of power struggle within North Korean court.

HANCOCKS: Putting his personal stamp on the leadership is putting it mildly. Kim Jong un has replaced almost half of the major figures that were in power during his father's reign, that's according to the unification ministry here in Seoul.

Alongside the purges, Kim Jong un showed a more personable side to his father, often smiling on camera, appearing to relish the adoration that surrounds him.

And then there's Dennis Rodman, an unlikely friendship between dictator and basketball star.

DENNIS RODMAN, FRM. NBA FORWARD: He has to do his job, but he's a very good guy.

HANCOCKS: Tell that to the two American citizens arrested recently. Korean War Veteran Merrill Newman was released last week after filming a coerced apology for war crimes he now says he never committed. And missionary and tour guide Kenneth Bae still held after more than one year, an apology from Bae not yet enough to secure his freedom.

Kim Jong un is a leader who has certainly grown in confidence, but not in the way the west was hoping.

Paula Hancocks...


HANCOCKS: So South Korea's intelligence agency actually thinks that what has happened over the past couple of days how that Kim Jong un is actually weaker than previously thought, because he felt the need to make this execution so public. Of course, such a public execution, a public acknowledgment of an execution is unprecedented in North Korea. It's not a country that usually airs its dirty laundry in public -- Pauline.

CHIOU: Yeah, it's so unusual for such a very secretive country.

Now prior to all of this that has happened to this week, Paula, Jang Sung-taek actually had a pretty rocky road in his career. Tell us a little bit more about what has happened to him over the years and how he actually got to the point where he became the second most powerful man in North Korea.

HANCOCKS: Well, this wasn't the first time that Jang Sung-taek has actually fallen from grace. He's been around for a long time. He's been in positions of power for decades. And he's been working with the founder of the DPRK Kim il-Sung and also his son Kim Jong-il, two late presidents. And so he has been in positions of power of North Korea. I should say they weren't presidents, but leaders of this hermit kingdom.

But he was purged back in the 70s. It's not clear what he had done to anger the leadership at that point. He was also purged back in 2004. It was believed, once again, he was trying to build a faction within the ruling worker's party. And of course this time he has been purged once again, but executed this time. The other two times he managed to claw his way back into power and back into favor, but clearly this time it's too late -- Pauline.

CHIOU: Yeah, clearly.

Paula, there are some -- so many more questions to this, but there are some theories that there was a power struggle. From the experts that you're talking to, do we know who this power struggle was between and what may have been the source of the disagreement?

HANCOCKS: Well, there's two theories at this point. The most basic theory is that Jang Sung-taek and his nephew Kim Jong un were butting heads. And Kim Jong un felt either threatened by his uncle by marriage or felt that he was becoming too powerful and was concerned about the future.

But the other theory is more interesting and that's the fact that there could have been a power struggle between Jang Sung-taek and the military. The military is very powerful in North Korea. And certain elements of the military may have felt threatened by Jang Sung-taek because he was known -- or believed to be a reformer. They may have been concerned that their lives would have to change, that the military may have to change because of these potential reforms and even economic reforms. So maybe they put pressure on Kim Jong un to get rid of Jang Sung-taek, to get rid of their competitor, their rival. And Kim Jong un may have wanted to appease the military to make sure that he stays in power. It's really difficult to know who the power struggle is between.

There certainly is a power struggle. And it's one that Jang Sung-taek lost. But at this point, Kim Jong un is still the leader. He may be a little weaker. Intelligence officials suggest that North Korea may be more unstable now, because of this incident. But at this point, as far as North Korea is concerned, they've announced what happened and that's the end of it -- Pauline.

CHOIU: All right. Thank you very much for the various perspectives there from Seoul. Thank you very much Paula -- that's Paula Hancocks live from Seoul South Korea.

Let's get more now on this very intriguing story from analyst Jasper Kim. He's the founder of the Asia-Pacific global research group and professor at Iwa University in Seoul.

Professor Kim, thank you very much for being with us. There's so much detail that the North Korean government has released about this. Why do you think the government wanted to make the details so public? What was their message?

KIM: Well, I think it was just a simple signal that it wanted to send both domestically and also internationally. I think it's -- in terms of domestically I think the DPRK leadership basically wants to say listen this type of behavior, corruption and any type of act against the state will not be tolerated. And if it is done, then you will suffer the ultimate consequence.

And in terms of a signal to the international community, I think basically it's showing a signal that Kim Jong un is very strong. He's -- has a power. He's willing to use it.

CHIOU: Now we were just talking with our correspondent in Seoul. And she was saying that there are two working theories that she's heard of talking to experts that there was a power struggle, but it's just not clear who it was between. It could have been between Jang Sung-taek and Kim Jong un himself, or Jang Sung-taek and the military and this execution was one way that Kim Jong un could have appeased the military, maybe because Jang Sung-taek was considered a reformer.

Where do you stand between these two theories?

KIM: Well, these are the two scenarios that I postulated earlier today. And no one really knows the answer to that. But I think either one is likely. And I think the takeaway is that either one is not very good. It's not an ideal situation from the perspective of the international community.

So a best case scenario is that the DPRK will be stable after this Kim Jong un power consolidation if that's what it is. But at the same time, we should also prepare for contingency B, which is the worst case scenario. And that is a political implosion as we speak.

CHIOU: Let's look at the family tree here, because Jang Sung-taek's wife is Kim Jong un's aunt. She's the sister of Kim Jong-il. So what does this public execution and this purge mean for her and also other relatives who are in the government?

KIM: Well, I think the very fact that there's absolute silence coming from her and from the KCNA, the mouth-piece of North Korea tells a lot. So basically there's a lot happening when things are very silent in the DPRK at times. And I think this is one of those circumstances.

In short, I think that her future is not very bright. In Korea, everything is kind of viewed as a family clan. And so it's really hard to separate the aunt from the uncle. And that will be to her detriment.

CHOIU: Now Jang Sung-taek was considered more reformist. He wanted to try to salvage the economy in North Korea by promoting more trade relations with certain countries like China. Did this in itself anger the hard-liners?

KIM: Well, it's a distinct possibility. I mean, who knows exactly what's happening in North Korea. It's a black box. It's a Rubic's Cube that's really hard to kind of solve. But it is a likely event that could have happened simply because Jang Sung-taek represents a bridge between North Korea and China. And what that means is that economic bridge along with the political bridge.

Now, when you push too far with economic reforms that can be viewed as sort of a net loss to the military. And the military in North Korea is a very tangible and very powerful faction.

Now I think that Jang Sung-taek might have met the repercussion of that.

CHIOU: Some very interesting points you're making. Jasper, thank you very much. That's professor Jasper Kim joining us via Skype from South Korea.

And this is News Stream. Coming up this hour, their families have fled a deadly civil war. Now Syrian children are struggling to stay warm in a punishing winter.

And we go live to Kiev. Weeks of protest have brought the Ukrainian capital to a standstill. But could the president be about to give in to their calls to do a deal with the European Union? We'll be right back with the live report.


CHIOU: In Ukraine, we have just learned the president is offering amnesty to protesters who have been detained. Pro-Europe demonstrators remain in Kiev's city center. Some demonstrators have called for another rally this weekend, that's despite indications their president could change his position and actually sign a deal with the European Union.

EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton told our Diana Magnay earlier this week that Viktor Yanukovych said he did intend to sign that agreement. And Diana joins me now live from Kiev amid word Ukrainian opposition leaders will attend talks with the president.

So Diana, are these steps of progress that might calm down some of the protesters?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it does look as though Viktor Yanukovych is trying to meet some of their demands, one of which of course was to have all those detained in these protests since they began. And they're now in their fourth week to have them released and he had a meeting with students earlier today and said that he would grant them amnesty, that he wanted this page to be turned over those who had been convicted and those who were just still in detention, all of them to be granted amnesty.

He is now holding a roundtable, a nationwide roundtable called Unite Ukraine with various leaders, leaders from the church, students, academics. And the opposition who up until now were holding a very hard-line really about sitting down at the same table with him, have said that they will also join that roundtable discussion.

And so far he's made various comments, one of which pertains to what you said about close to European integration. He said, "we are not refusing and have not refused European integration. We will continue our reforms essentially to bring us on the path towards closer relations with Europe."

And as you said, I spoke to Catherine Ashton earlier in the week. She said that Mr. Yanukovych did want to sign that association agreement and yesterday we had the vice prime minister travel to Brussels say it will happen and will happen soon and start outlining a sort of roadmap to how it would happen.

So it does feel as though there has been progress made on various issues that will appease the people behind me in this square to some extent, though how much they know about it at this point is unclear, or pretty unlikely I'd say, Pauline.

CHIOU: So, Diana, Yanukovych seems like he's sounding like he's still quite bullish on EU relations. As you mentioned, you spoke with Catherine Ashton this week. She in her interview with you said that Ukraine should be able to sign this EU deal and also keep good relations with Russia.

But judging from the signs coming out of Moscow, do you think that actually seems possible?

MAGNAY: Well, I think that's the point. You know, Ukraine would like to be able to cherry pick the best of both worlds east and west and to have good relations with both parties.

Now the assumption has been that it was pressure from the Russian president that brought -- that caused Mr. Yanukovych not to sign the association agreement a few weeks back in the first place. So it remains to be seen how Mr. Putin will react and we won't know, this will all happen behind the scenes to these kind of overtures which we're now seeing from Ukraine towards Europe one more time.

We do know that Mr. Yanukovych will be going to Russia on December 17. Mr. Putin in his state of the union address yesterday talked about the fact that he wanted what was best for the Ukrainian people. They should decide for themselves what was best for them and that Ukraine had always been interested in having a sort of observer status to his plans for a customs union.

So, you know it remains to be seen how that will pan out, what kind of pressure is exerted by the (inaudible). Certainly, it is a concern for Russia to see Ukraine slip further towards the European sphere of influence and that is very clear. But it would appear right now as thought Mr. Yanukovych is beginning to respond to the demands of the protesters here in the square.

CHIOU: All right, Diana, thank you very much for the latest developments there from Kiev.

Well, as Syrians flee their country's civil war, they're faced with a new threat -- the cold. We'll have an update on the freezing conditions in neighboring Lebanon in just a moment.


CHIOU: Welcome back to News Stream.

United Nations inspectors have concluded that chemical weapons have been used repeatedly in Syria. In a report released on Thursday, experts say they found clear and convincing evidence that chemical weapons were used against civilians on a relatively large scale near Damascus in August. The UN report goes on to say it's likely chemical agents were used in four other places between March and August.

According to the UN, victims were likely both government soldiers as well as civilians.

The civil war has forced more than 2 million Syrians from their country, many are living in neighboring Lebanon trying to survive in one of the worst winters on record. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom met some of these refugees.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In slippers and sockless, a young girl trudges through snow gathering what's left of it for water. She'll need it to cook with.

These Syrian refugees thought life couldn't get much harsher. That was before the winter storm.

One of the biggest problems faced by the Syrian refugees who resigned in Lebanon is that the Lebanese government won't allow for the construction of official camps. That's why you see makeshift camps like this. Look at this, this is plastic tarp. This will barely keep out the rain, let alone the cold at a time like this.

Now the refugees that I've spoken with here today say that they are facing absolutely miserable conditions. You see around us the mud, there's snow. It's extremely cold. And the people here are very concerned that it's only going to get worse.

I ask these teenage boys what they fear most right now.

"There's nothing for us to get warm with," said Abdullah (ph).

"We need heating appliances," explains Ahmed. "We need winter clothes for the kids. The adults can take the cold, but the kids can't."

As the adults chop any firewood they can find, the children try to distract themselves from the cold. Some crave remnants of a childhood long forgotten and build a snowman. For others, the needs are more basic, seeking warmth as much as they do food.

"We're freezing," this boy tells me.

I ask if he has clothes any warmer than what he's wearing.

"No," he says simply.

In this place, anyone fortunate enough to have a blanket guards it.

And as bad as it is here, a lot of the refugees that I'm speaking with today are telling me they feel lucky to at least be in the Bekaa Valley here in Lebanon, because just an hour-and-a-half in that direction to the north of us up in the mountains it's far worse, completely blanketed in snow.

Here, residents say there are few reminders of any support.

As the sun begins to set, the fear is setting in.

One of the worst winters on record has only just begun. For these desperate souls, the night ahead will be darker and colder than ever.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.


CHIOU: And unfortunately it looks like this cold snap in the region is going to last a little while longer. Mari Ramos is live at the world weather center with more details.

Mari, what are you seeing in the next couple of days?

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: I think we're going to start to see somewhat of an improvement. I think the heaviest snowfalls are probably over for now for most areas. There's still going to be snow throughout the day today and through the evening hours. But we'll start to see some moderating conditions not warming up completely, but a little bit more moderate.

I want to start you off with some very rare pictures of snow before we return to the weather map starting off with this one. This one from Egypt. This is New Cairo, just outside of Cairo proper. You can see the snow on the ground here. This is how widespread this snow storm has actually reached.

So we're looking at a huge area affecting millions of people here with this very slow moving weather system.

The Sinai peninsula, also in Egypt, blanketed with snowfall.

Just a little bit of a higher elevation, but still quite rare to see this kind of event.

And then we head to the West Bank. Patrolling the city there in the snow, the snowfall has been extremely heavy. And I want to show you pictures now from Jerusalem.

We have some video to show you from that area. And it was chaos, the city almost brought to a complete standstill.

There were about 1,000 people that were evacuated to three different emergency centers because they were stranded in the snow. More than 300 had to be treated by -- due to hypothermia. In other words, they were out in the cold for much, much too long, stuck in their vehicles many of them. And the airport even had to shut down for awhile. So this is quite serious. And like I said, affecting a widespread area there along portions of the Middle East and North Africa.

If you look at the weather map, of course one of our main focus has been the situation in -- for the Syrian refugees. Very serious conditions indeed, very concerning what we heard in Mohammed's report there that they're using whatever they can, even appliances to try to warm themselves up.

If you don't have proper ventilation, once you turn something like that on -- in an enclosed area, the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning is very real and very serious. And I'm afraid we could see a large death toll of people around these areas that have been affected by the cold as they try to warm themselves whatever way that they can and also from the cold itself.

So what we have, of course, is the very cold air that's coming down here along Eastern Europe, along with a very slow moving weather system. Temperatures remain five to 10 degrees below the average. Very windy. Areas that are along the shore are suffering from beach erosion, very high waves. And then, where it's not snowing it's raining and it's a very cold rain that remains.

The trend for the temperature is for it to generally warm up. The blue indicates the coldest air. And then you see a little bit more moderate conditions over the next couple of days, but we're still talking some 10 degrees below average for this time of year, which is very serious indeed.

Back to you.

CHIOU: OK. And Mari, that's such an important warning about the carbon monoxide poisoning, because it is odorless, so very dangerous especially if families are sleeping.

OK, Mari, thank you very much.

Coming up next, we'll have more on our top story. North Korean leader Kim Jong un's uncle has been executed according to official media there. We'll look at the power struggle in Pyongyang.

And an old law goes back on the books in India. We hear from many gays who say they feel persecuted.


CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

North Korea's state news agency says that Kim Jong un's uncle has been executed. The reports say he plotted to overthrow the government. Before his rapid fall from grace, Jang Sung-taek was regarded as the country's second most powerful man.

In Ukraine, the president is offering amnesty to protesters who have been detained. Pro-Europe demonstrators have been camped out in Kiev's city center for weeks now angry that President Yanukovych has not signed a cooperation deal with the EU. Opposition leaders have agreed to attend talks with the president on the political crisis.

Amnesty International says European leaders should hang their heads in shame for failing to help more Syrian refugees. They say EU countries have only offered to resettle 12,000 of the 2.3 million refugees who have fled from Syria's civil war.

China says the execution of Kim Jong un's uncle is an internal North Korean matter. Jang Sung-taek had extensive dealings with Chinese officials. And our Ivan Watson has more from Beijing.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pauline, China has been careful to make very neutral statements in response to news of the execution of Jang Sung-taek, the uncle of the current leader of North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the internal affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. As a neighboring country, we hope that it maintains national stability, economic development and the happiness of the people.

WATSON: Now this is very dispassionate, neutral language in response to the death of Jang. And it's perhaps surprising when you consider that a little bit more than a year ago, Jang was treated almost like a head of state when he visited Beijing. He met with the very top leadership at the time of the Chinese government. And during that visit, he was reported to have signed a number of trade agreements establishing several joint special economic zones between China and North Korea.

That's important, because in the very florid, accusatory statement that came out of the North Korean state media justifying the execution of Jang, among the crimes he was accused of were also selling off the land of one of these special economic zones and also selling off what are described as precious North Korean resources to a foreign country, that's widely interpreted to be China.

Now, in the wake of this clear power struggle in Pyongyang, China's state media has announced that North Korea and China signed yet another trade deal to establish another special economic zone. Analysts have long said that China's top priority is for stability in North Korea and the announcement of yet another bilateral trade agreement, that's probably a signal that the death of Jang and the power struggle in Pyongyang is not going to affect the important political and economic alliance between these two neighbors -- Pauline.

CHIOU: All right. Ivan Watson there, reporting from Beijing.

Well, North Korea watchers see Jang's execution as a sign of potential turbulence. Here's a roundup of opinions from analysts speaking to CNN.


MARCUS NOLAND, SENIOR FELLOW, PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTL. ECONOMICS: ...South Korea tonight you are very nervous, because this really is a kind of unprecedented development. And one doesn't really know what it means for the stability of the regime.

VICTOR CHA, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It speaks to some sort of problem inside the system when they have to go as high as Jang Sung-taek and General Ri Yong-ho, the general who was purged in July of 2012, when they have to go that high it doesn't tell you it's a stable power consolidation, it tells you there's a great bit of infighting going on now inside the system.

PHILIP YUN, PLOUGHSHARES FUND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Power base building within North Korea is absolutely forbidden. And this was a clear message that you do this and there will be dire consequences. I also think there is an international message as well. I think what he's telling to people of the United States, South Korea, China, others that he is his own man, that you're going to have to deal with him and I also think he's saying that I'm going to be here for awhile, so you're going to have to deal with me directly.

PROF. CHUNG IN MOON, YONSEI UNIVERSITY: ...both signs of weakness as well as a sign of strength. Signs of weakness in the sense that there might have been some kind of unstable elements in North Korean political structure, but at the same time there have been kind of economic failures in North Korea, therefore he needs to have something -- you know, Jang Sung-taek as some kind of scapegoat to blame for those failures.

But at the same time, by removing Jang Sung-taek from the position of power then he can literally consolidate his power. And nobody will dare to challenge him.


CHIOU: As we've mentioned, Jang was considered the second most powerful figure in North Korea. He's on the left in this photo right here, which was taken in September during a parade to mark the DPRK's 65th anniversary.

Jang frequently appeared by his nephew's side. Here they are at a concert in April celebrating Kim il-Song's birthday. It had been reported that Kim il-Song did not approve of Jang's marriage into the family. In fact, he married Kim il-Song's -- Kim Jong-il's sister.

Jang also served his brother-in-law, late leader Kim Jong-il.

Here they are together in 2008, three years before his death and Kim Jong un's assumption of power.

Every day in Cambodia, young virgins are sold to the highest bidder for sex. A CNN Freedom Project documentary is exposing this shameful practice. And in this clip, American actress Mira Sorvino meets a man who is giving the girls a second chance.


DON BREWSTER, AGAPE INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS: Everything we do is for four purposes: prevent child sex trafficking, rescue victims, restore victims and equip them to be reintegrate as loving, healthy young women back into Cambodian society.

MIRA SORVINO, ACTRESS: Don provides each survivor in his care with food, shelter and love. As he says, that's not enough for the long-term.

BREWSTER: But when that time comes to reintegrate her, she's going to go into a very different circumstance. With us, she's loved 24/7, unconditionally. And now she's going into a community that says she's trash, right, that believes she's trash. So the truth is, from the cultural perspective she is a piece of trash.

The only way to change that is if they have a good job where they can support themselves and help support their family.

SORVINO: So, this is your factory.

BREWSTER: This is it.

SORVINO: Don opened this factory in August 2012. The entire workforce is made up of survivors.

BREWSTER: So these jobs that we're able to provide in our factories, they are far more than just a place of employment, they're a place that restore honor to a girl not just in the eyes of the girl, not just in the eyes of the people at the factory, but within the whole community. They become people of honor again.

All these girls that you'll see here this floor and upstairs they're all survivors of sex trafficking.

SORVINO: Upstairs, the girls are making intricately woven bracelets, each one hand signed. Making money is not the number one goal.

BREWSTER: I'm more concerned with making a difference than making money. Because the products we sell out of our factory cost more, right, because we pay three to four times the wages that were in any other factory. They work five days a week. They get health insurance. They get child care. They get free education. So the product is much more expensive, but the result of purchasing one is the freedom, love and empowerment of the young woman.


CHIOU: And be sure to tune in for more on this compelling story. CNN's Freedom Project documentary featuring Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino is called "Every Day in Cambodia: Stories of Heartache and Heroism." That's Saturday at 8:00 pm in London, 9:00 pm in Berlin right here only on CNN.

You're watching News Stream. And just ahead, in India a court ruling banning gay sex has sparked protests. Now the homosexual community worries about being harassed and ostracized in India. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


CHIOU: Now earlier this week, a ruling by India's supreme court made consensual sex between same-sex partners illegal. That's because of an old law which is now back on the books.

Sumnima Udas speaks to people affected by this ruling.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Proud, gay Indians who now say they fear being forced back into the closet. The supreme court's decision to uphold a law dating back to the 1860s deeming sex between consenting homosexual partners illegal has jilted the gay community in India.

RISHI RAJ, STYLIST: I'm just in a state of shock. It's not even pain or horror, I'm just shocked. How can you do that? It's almost like my country, my mother disowning me at this point.

UDAS: After a landmark lower court judgment in 2009, which decriminalized gay sex, many gays and lesbians said they felt relatively safe coming out.

VIJAY THAPA, ENTREPRENEUR: There was a sense of easing in the air. And that is when I think I really came out to my family, my sisters and everybody.

I know a lot of people, OK, who chose to become visible only after that.

UDAS: Hindu, Muslim and Christian organizations who challenged the law have praised the court's decision. Gay rights groups and the supporters deplore the setback.

THAPA: what this is going to do it's just going to push more and more people back, and our parents also have -- society has this added thing that it is criminal. You cannot do it. And there will be more forced marriages, more suicides.

RAJ: And we are the country of honor killings. We are the country where parents just think they own you and control you. Now the law says I'm not going to protect you.

UDAS: Now, if caught having sex, they could be put behind bars for 10 years or more.

RAJ: A rapist gets seven years in prison. We get a lifetime in all probability.

UDAS: Thapa and Raj have had very different experiences growing up gay in India, a country that remains deeply conservative about issues of sexuality. For Raj, immediate and total acceptance by his family. For Thapa, still a struggle.

THAPA: Gay is just a word for them. You know, you are gay, OK, but don't tell us what gay really means. So long that is maintained everybody is happy because you don't make it difficult for them.

UDAS: It's a common thread amongst the homosexual community in India. Actor and tarot card reader Zorian Cross was a victim of vicious bullying.

ZORIAN CROSS, ACTOR/TAROT CARD READER: The breaking point was when some -- when a couple of kids kind of grabbed me and like pinned me down on the floor and tried to feed me poison. So, suicide has always been something I've battled with my entire life.

RAJ: The court had this opportunity of doing something fantastic yesterday. They had the opportunity of doing something brilliant and create -- setting an example of how things should be, how India as a country stands for human rights and is a secular place.

But you lost that opportunity.

CROSS: Pull one card...

UDAS: The government says the supreme court ruling will be reviewed, but until then an uncertain future.

CROSS: This is just a temporary setback, because the wheels are now in motion, things are going to now start changing in a big way...

UDAS: Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


CHIOU: Now let's turn to South Africa where tens of thousands of South Africans have lined up in Pretoria today to pay their last respects to Nelson Mandela. The former president has been lying in state for a third and final day. His body will be transported to his ancestral village of Qunu in the eastern cape for a state funeral service on Sunday. Mourners sang and danced in praise of the man they call Madiba. Some reports say as many as 50,000 people have lined up to file past his casket.

Meanwhile, the man who was hired as an interpreter for the deaf during Mr. Mandela's memorial service says he's a champion of sign language. But not everyone seems to agree. He has been criticized by South Africa's deaf federation who say many of his gestures actually made no sense.

But as David McKenzie found out, he's backing his ability all the way.


THAMSANQA JANTJIE, MANDELA MEMORIAL SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER: I apologize to the community that -- it's that. It was a sad thing. I didn't want to harm any of them. It was not my intention to harm any -- any of any South African or any person in other country that is affected by the issue of my interpretation. I've never, ever, ever in my life have anything that said I've interpreted wrong.

You can go through all the medias of South Africa. I've been interpreting through all the medias of South Africa. Even if you can see my portfolio, I've been in papers for a very long time. No single one say I'm interpreting wrong interpretation.

I will like to see the people with deaf disability being accommodated as much as I want to be accommodated.


JANTJIE: Me, I'm suffering from schizophrenic.

MCKENZIE: Can you show me some of the signs?

JANTJIE: What are you want me to...

MCKENZIE: Well, because I don't know the signs.

JANTJIE: You (inaudible) at yourself that people that I was interpreted for them through all these years they said I'm not -- I'm like, I'm speaking rubbish (ph). But if I was speaking rubbish and then there was nothing that have been done and then it's only now when something has been done and then I must again make another sign. So you want to me what? Do you want me? The media call me a security threat, you want me to call me what?

MCKENZIE: No, I'm just asking if you can show me some of the signs.

JANTJIE: No, no. You're (inaudible).


CHIOU: That's David McKenzie there talking with the man who was signing during Nelson Mandela's service.

Well, coming up next on News Stream, should mobile phone use in the skies be cleared for takeoff? We'll get more on the high flying debate in the U.S. That story and a live report coming up next.


CHIOU: If you're a traveler who enjoys some peace and quiet when you fly you might be disappointed to hear that the FCC, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has taken a step towards allowing mobile phone calls when flying over the United States. Some lawmakers, and even the transportation secretary, are not too keen on this idea. CNN's aviation correspondent Rene Marsh joins me live now from Washington with more on this story.

Rene, I can see how this is very controversial. Where do things stand now in the U.S.?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORERSPONDENT: It is controversial, Pauline. You know, if the FCC wanted to stir up controversy congratulations they certainly did.

Let's back step it just a little bit. We know that the commission they voted to consider ending the ban on in flight cell use like voice calls and texting. Well, shortly after that vote, we know that multiple lawmakers, they chimed in saying this is just a bad idea.

And at this point there is a bill both in the house and in the senate aimed at blocking in flight cell calls.

Even some airlines have already said voice calls are a no-go. And the feeling really is that this would be a nuisance, some say potentially leading to fistfights in the air.

But, on the same day that the FCC made this move, the Department of Transportation said they're considering imposing a ban on cell calls mid- air.

Now the two agencies, they have different priorities. The FCC focuses on technology and DOT on safety in the skies, Pauline.

CHIOU: OK, so you've got different agencies, different lawmakers on both sides of this issue.

So what does this mean for flyers? Can they make phone calls during a flight or not?

MARSH: At this point they still cannot. But for the fire, this simply means don't get out your phones just yet, don't start dialing. Ultimately it is the DOT that sets aviation rules. So, the DOT will have the final say. And they've made it very clear that they're listening to customers who say they don't want to hear phone chatter on their flight.

But here's the important distinction. The FCC could lift its ban on cell calls and texting and DOT could ban in-flight calls. In the end, that may just mean that flyers will only be allowed to text -- Pauline.

CHIOU: OK. So at least you could text, but maybe not be annoyed by a loud person next to you on their cellphone.

OK, but for our international viewers they do know Rene that some international carriers already allow calls during a flight. So how will this actually affect them if they're flying over the U.S.?

MARSH: Right. So, international carriers you see in Europe, some of those carriers they already allow people to talk on their phones during flight.

So the situation here in the United States -- of course this is only geared towards U.S. carriers. And let's just say for argument's sake they do lift this ban and you're allowed to use cell phones in the air. And again this is just a hypothetical scenario. It would be up to the individual airlines to decide if they actually want to allow passengers to do that on their flights.

So, even if the ban is lifted, the airline still has that last say -- Pauline.

CHIOU: OK. So that's a very good distinction to make that the airlines will be able to decide.

Now, whenever we fly we're always told to turn off our cellphones and that kind of thing, or you have that airplane mode that you can turn on during the flight. But what changed in terms of technology to actually allow people to make calls during flights?

MARSH: Right. So for more than 20 years, the FCC said you can't use these in-flight because it's going to interfere with the cell towers on the ground, those signals, but now the FCC is saying, look, technology has advanced so much so that interference with those ground cell phone towers is no longer an issue. So they're saying that this ban is outdated. It's obsolete and that's why they're making this move to possibly lift the ban.

They do say it's not necessary any more.

CHIOU: OK. Some great insight there on this very complicated, also very controversial issue there in the U.S. Rene Marsh live from D.C. thanks so much.

MARSH: Sure.

CHIOU: Now in other news, the photo sharing app Instagram is rolling out a new way for users to send photos and videos to their friends. Instagram Direct is the latest feature available to Instagram's 150 million users around the world. Laurie Segall takes a look at what it's all about.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY: Big news from the company that brought us filtered photo sharing. You know what I'm talking about, Instagram. Now as of today users are going to be able to share their photos privately. So want to post a picture and not send it to all of your followers? Now you can. Click on a tab that says direct and you can send your photo to up to 15 people.

Now the new feature is called Instagram Direct. And here's what Instagram founder Kevin Systrom is particularly excited about, you're able to have conversations with multiple people around the photos. So to help launch the new feature, Instagram worked with some of its most active users who traveled for 88 days around the United States.

Now in their travels, they captured everything on Instagram, every stop they hit they met up with other Instagram users. Their journey was featured at the announcement. Check it out.

Instagram Direct is one of many features Instagram has rolled out since selling to Facebook in 2012 for a, you remember this, $1 billion. Now they recently launched an Instagram video feature. It lets you take 15 second videos and post them to your friends.

So Instagram's founder will tell you that, look, Instagram Direct is in its earliest stages. Eventually you could be able to do all sorts of things. You could be able to privately share albums with certain friends or even categorize your Instagram friends to share different images with them.

Laurie Segall, CNN Money, New York.


CHIOU: Well, you saw there how Instagram hopes their new service will be used. But here's one of the first uses of Instagram Direct, it's an ad for Gap. The clothing retailer said the first 15 people to respond to this message will get an Instagram Direct message from the company. And Mashable said they'd get a limited addition product for their troubles.

How ads and promos have changed so quickly.

Well, that is News Stream, but the news continues right here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.