Return to Transcripts main page

NEWS STREAM

Shirley Temple Dies at 85; Lakhdar Brahimi Frustrated, But Patient With Syrian Peace Talks; A Look At Commercial Drone Uses; Leading Women: Edith Cooper; Interview with Sage Kotzenberg; Floods Continue to Ravage Southwest Britain

Aired February 11, 2014 - 8:00   ET

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


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

Now we look at the ethics of drone strikes as the U.S. government reportedly considers whether to order a strike on an American citizen living overseas.

Now parts of the southern UK deal with heavy floods. And more rain is expected.

And a Hollywood icon passes away. Shirly Temple Black dies at the age of 85.

We begin with a very difficult question being debated right now in Washington. When can a government order a deadly strike on its own people?

Now a senior U.S. official tells CNN the Obama administration is discussing whether to carry out a drone strike on a suspected terrorist overseas who is also an American citizen.

Now Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr looks at the factors at play in deciding whether to stage the lethal operation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this newly released security camera footage obtained by The Washington Post, a van pull up to next to a vehicle on the street of Tripoli, Libya last October. Watch as U.S. Army Delta force commandos jump out and grab Anas Al-Libi, an alleged al-Qaeda operative. In seconds, the suspect is captured.

Al-Libi was wanted for his alleged role in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. After his dramatic capture, he was taken to awaiting military warship and brought to federal court in New York where he pled not guilty to terrorism charges. His wife told CNN, Al- Libi had long ago left al Qaeda, but the U.S. had been tracking him and moved in determined to send the message he would face justice.

But raids like this one aren't always an option to nab terror suspects, more often, the U.S. relies on drone strikes. Right now, inside the Obama administration, discussions are underway about launching a military drone to kill a specific mesh citizen -- American citizen overseas who the U.S. believes is a threat. The story was first reported by the Associated Press. No one will say who the person is or where they are hiding.

PETER SINGER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The administration's argument is that this is an individual that's playing an important role in an armed group that's conducting hostilities against the United States. And the options for going after this individual are limited to just this way. They can't capture them. They can't get the local government to involve itself and so, therefore, this is the only option left.

STARR: In 2011, a U.S. drone over Yemen targeted and killed American- born cleric Anwar al-Awlawki, a major figure in al Qaeda. U.S. drones have killed three other Americans overseas, including Awlawki's teenaged son who his family says had no al Qaeda ties.

President Obama has made it clear he will go after Americans if the threat is justified.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: His citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a SWAT team.

STARR: Opponents are not persuaded.

CHRIS ANDERS, ACLU: This debate going on within the administration is a debate that's based on secret evidence, secret laws, secret interpretations of laws being hidden from courts, being hidden from Congress, being hidden from the American people.

STARR: There are a number of American citizens fighting in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. But if the U.S. wants to go after one of them and kill the person, they must make a legal case that that person is posing an imminent threat to the United States.

Barbara Starr, CNN, The Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill has covered the use of drones extensively. And this week he helped launch the news new site Intercept.

And he spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper. And he weighed in on the practical and the moral issues surrounding the use of drones against U.S. terror suspects.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY SCAHILL, INTERCEPT.COM: The president himself and the Justice Department has said this is the standard has laid out that the threat should be imminent, that capture is not feasible and that the individual is known to be participating in active terrorist threats against the United States. And in some of the cases where we've seen American citizens killed, it's unclear that that standard was met.

A lot of times when these Americans go abroad and take up residency with a jihadist group, they're basically used for propaganda purposes. And so the real question here is have these individuals taken up arms against the United States? Are they engaged in an imminent threat? And is their capture actually impossible?

My sense from covering this on the ground, Jake, in Yemen in other countries is that the U.S. does not go far enough in trying to apprehend these individuals. In some cases, they don't even charge them with a crime before they're effectively sentenced to death.

So to me it's not a question of whether the U.S. has a right to defend itself as a nation, of course it does, the question is how serious are these threats that we're facing? And is it more that we're going after people because of their propaganda value, or the potential threat that they pose to the United States rather than the actual.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you have more of an issue with the use of drones when it is an American citizen as with Anwar al Awlawki or his son who were both killed by drones?

SCAHILL: Well, you know, I don't believe that American lives are worth a penny more than non-American lives, but for me -- and the reason why in the film that I made "Dirty Wars," the book I wrote by the same name, I cover that case of Anwar Awlawki and his son extensively is because how a nation treats its own citizens is a good indicator of how it will treat citizens of other nations. And for me there are, in fact, issues raised about the constitutionality of denying an American citizen their ability to respond to allegations against them.

I mean, how do you respond to a drone, or how do you hand yourself in, how do you surrender to a drone when you haven't, in fact, been charged with a crime. And to mean, that's a question that should be relevant to all Americans and certainly to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. And there has not been nearly enough debate.

Ironically, most of the opposition to this has come from Senator Rand Paul and other Republicans rather than the Democrats whose own party now holds the White House.

TAPPER: Speaking of drones, you and Glenn Greenwald have a piece up on your new venture, The Intercept, about the NSA's use of surveillance to get targets for drone strikes. You talked to a former drone operator about the use of a SIM card or a cell phone handset to track a terrorist. What are the issues with that?

SCAHILL: Right.

This is effectively what amounts to death by metadata. We're living in an era of pre-crime, where we're using analysis of signals intercepts of the activity that is registered on behalf of a SIM card or a telephone handset. We don't necessarily have evidence that the individuals holding that SIM card or that mobile phone handset are in fact the individuals that we're targeting.

And so what is effectively happening is that instead of confirming that target X is in fact this individual that the U.S. is trying to kill, they are effectively killing the cell phones. And this is a system that is rife with error.

And what we see is that the U.S. has basically outsourced its human intelligence capacity, so-called HUMINT capacity, and is now relying in some cases 90 percent or more on the use of signals intelligence or imagery intelligence. And that leaves the door area for killing of phones, not targeting of individuals. And so I think that's part of the reason we're seeing so many cases of civilian deaths, like the case of this wedding party that was killed a month or so ago in Yemen.

It very well could turn out to be that they had bad signals intelligence.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now, Jeremy Scahill was part of the team that launched the new online publication the Intercept. It debuted this week with stories on U.S. drone strikes based in part on classified NSA documents leaked by the former contractor Edward Snowden.

Now when we talk about drones, it's usually the military weapon that comes to mind, but unmanned aerial vehicles have plenty of potential commercial uses. Amazon and the United Arab Emirates have both considered using them for deliveries. And they've been used to film some pretty powerful video.

Now just look at this, footage taken in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines. And it was using a small aerial vehicle that avoids a disruption that a full-sized helicopter might cause, but still brings this extraordinary bird's eye view that adds a sense of scale to the devastation.

But allowing a fleet of unmanned vehicles to take to the skies, it raises a host of issues. So the United States has set up several test sites to work through them. North Dakota is one of those sites. And our Kyung Lah went to see how it's going.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The icy plains of Grand Forks, North Dakota, not exactly a place most of us think of as cutting edge until you look up.

That's the sound of an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, or what many of us refer to as a drone. By propeller, on wings, sometimes catapulted into the sky. These tiny aircraft hum daily, high, in Grand Fork's skies. The sheriff's department has deployed its four UAS's to help bus a sex predator and search for a man who went missing in this flood.

Deputies deployed their UAS's alongside choppers and found the truck, though the driver had died.

Drones fighting street crime, delivering your packages, not a flight of fancy, says North Dakota, one of six FAA test sites for unmanned aircraft systems.

Has the future of UAS technology already arrived here?

ROBERT BECKLUND, EXEC. DIR. NORTH PLAINS UAS TEST SITE: Here, yes. We're as far out in front of the nation as it can be.

LAH: And it's continuing to race ahead, says executive director Robert Becklund. Part of the reason is Grand Forks is home to the U.S. military base that houses the predator drone. The explosion in drone technology is now meaning a commercial craving to deliver to your front door.

But here's the challenge, when this company jokingly showed off its homemade beer drone, the FAA grounded it, because it hasn't figured out how to fly drones safely amid all the other flying objects in our airspace.

BUCKLUND: When the Wright brothers were making airplanes, they had no idea how they were going to be used in the future, same thing with these unmanned aircraft.

LAH: The technology is undeniably cool, but here's where some people are getting cold feet about it. It's small, it's relatively stealth, and you can easily attach a camera to it.

That camera, which in many cases streams high def video live to the controller, raises huge privacy concerns. During testing, pilots here must post these signs so your on notice, not that we could find any locals worried about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think they're, you know, hovering in my back yard or anything looking through my window.

LAH: Privacy won't stop the inevitable, say these University of North Dakota aerospace students, among the first in the country getting a degree in UAS piloting.

JACOB MANLOVE, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA AEORSPACE STUDENT: I see this as probably the same sort of revolution that happened when the jet engine was invented. And it's going to change aviation and the rest of the world that much.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Incredible. You can get a degree in drone piloting.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, water, whatever everywhere and the flooding crisis in England is expected to get even worse.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today.

Now a little bit later, we'll hear from the man who won the very first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics. But now to the UK where there is rising water and rising anger.

Now the government's environmental agency is warning that parts of London could flood in coming days. Now water logged communities in Hampshire, Kent and Somerset County are also bracing for more high water with heavy rain forecast for the south of England.

Now thousands of homes are inundated or vulnerable. And the government has come under growing pressure of its handling of the crisis.

Now CNN's Jim Boulden joins me now live from Lower Sunbury in Surrey. And Jim, could you start by describing the scene around you?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure.

Well, we're in an area of housing that's just about 50 meters from the Thames. The Thames is behind those houses. You can see residents have been walking back and forth are using small boats back and forth to get their goods, to get their property, get some clothing and to move to dry land.

This area has been inundated for about three days, Kristie, and the residents I've talked to say they've been here for a long time. They've never had the water come up here.

So it's about knee deep in most of this area. You can see the red car, for instance, this lady that's her car. She's not able to move the car.

She tells me she has insurance. Other people say they don't have insurance, they had been risking it living this close to the Thames.

Now, this area does flood, Kristie. I don't want to overestimate that. It does flood regularly, it's just the level of flooding. It isn't raining at the moment, but boy it has been raining a lot. January, more rain in the UK than ever has been recorded before. That's why it is now come this close.

We're about 10 miles, 15 miles from London up the Thames. That's why there's worries that it will be heading that way and that it could be hitting the more populated area of Central London, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now, more severe weather is expected. It is feared that the flood water, which you said is about knee high right now, could rise even further. So what's being done to sort of protect property and to protect the families there ahead of that event? Are you seeing any sandbagging around you?

BOULDEN: Well, yeah, there's been sandbagging going on. The military has been called out especially in southwest in the country where it's much more severe. The military has been trying to help out.

What people are critical of, Kristie, is not that it's flooding, it's flooding that's all that -- you know, there's nothing really they could do about it here along the Thames, they just wish that they had been sandbagged earlier, they'd wished that the government had come or the military had come and warned them that maybe they should start sandbagging.

There are people who are getting texts that are getting emails. They're on that list of people who are getting alerted. They've been alerted for the last three days. But what they say is they haven't seen a soul to come help them. They are really doing this on their own, Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, it's a very difficult situation for so many families that are forced to relocate, many who are there just seeing this knee high water affect their homes just going on with their lives.

Elsewhere, we've seen major agricultural damage. Your thoughts, Jim, on the economic toll from the floods?

BOULDEN: Yeah, well PWC, the accountancy firm, estimates about $1.5 billion in damage so far. And that's not a great deal. Some people have insurance. The lady with the red car tells me she knows that her insurance will go higher. She's expecting that. Others have told me they didn't get insurance. So it's going to be out of pocket.

Now here you see this man moving his 19-year-old daughter out of the house and his golf clubs as well. And what's been going on here is that they have been going back and forth to save the clothing in order to get the clothing before it's ruined. And he told me he was going to be bringing his 19-year-old daughter.

Let me help here. Hold this. As this happens.

So this is the kind of thing you've been seeing, people slowly coming out. She's obviously had enough. She wants to go to dry land.

There's a pub near here, Krisite. We just talked to the publican (ph). He said he's never had so much business in a long time. A lot of people are getting themselves out of the house and they're spending the day in the pub having lunch, having coffee, using the internet, which these people because they've lost electricity are not able to do.

So that's the kind of life we're having here in Lower Sunbury, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, a very, very surreal scene there behind you. Jim Boulden joining us live, thank you.

Now again more severe weather is expected across the UK. Let's get an update on conditions and where they're heading with Mari Ramos. She joins me live from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Kristie, so many layers to this story. That area that Jim's reporting from under those flood warnings, as you can see.

The flooding is very widespread across the region. And unfortunately, scenes like these are going to become more and more common until we begin to see those water levels go down, or until we see a change in that weather pattern that continues to bring that heavy rain across that northwestern corner of Europe.

Ireland has been hard hit by flooding as well, but we keep talking about the UK, because these are the areas that have had the most significant flooding.

Now, I want to show you, here is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as far as high risk of flooding. Notice those western areas there near Somerset, those areas are still included in the high risk for the rest of the day today and even through tomorrow. And then we begin to see those areas here, especially toward the east go into the medium risk, which is still significant, but no longer in red, and especially as we head into Thursday.

So hopefully we'll start to see a little bit of an improvement. These forecasts, by the way, from the UK main office -- excuse me, from the environment agency -- actually take into account the rain that is expected to come over the next couple of days.

So here's Somerset, that's where some of those severe flood warnings are located. And here is that area along the Thames, close to where Jim was reporting from, by the way. He was here near Sunbury, near Lower Sunbury in that area right there.

So you can see that they are just outside of those severe flood warnings areas, which is from here to here. And this is only about 30 kilometers from the greater London area, or from London proper, I should say. And we're getting into more populated areas.

You can see the small towns and villages along this region. These are all areas under those severe flood warnings and they have been for quite awhile already. We'll have to see how the river levels go over the next couple of days. But, yes, this water is moving downstream. And of course we get the question about London.

At the London pier, for example, the water levels are actually fairly close to normal. You can see them going up and down depending on the tide. And the current level is just over two meters. The highest level ever recorded there, just so you have an idea, is over 4.3 meters. So we're far, far away from that right now. We're not expecting to get there any time soon.

And Kristie, remember when we talked about the polar vortex and all those things earlier when we were getting all that cold weather here in the U.S., which we still are, by the way? And about the polar winds, how they stay close, tight to the north and then sometimes you get this negative effect where that belt kind of loosens and the air spills farther to the south?

Well, that's the situation that we are in now. And that's why we have another big storm system headed here into southeastern U.S., even that ice storm for us here in Atlanta. Well, that -- the reason I'm telling you this is because this kind of has a connection -- or could have a connection to the weather that we're having across the UK.

You see where the jet stream is? It dips far south here and then it starts going right back up. Well, right back up, guess where that is, that's the northwestern corner of Europe. This is that pattern of storms that we have been that has been bringing all of that severe weather and the rain storm after rain storm after rain storm across this corner of Europe.

Unfortunately, we are still in that weather pattern, and another weather system. One moves out, another one begins to move in. And you can see that one waiting in the wings right over here, Kristie. These are systems that are not affecting just the UK and Ireland, but all the way down into the west coast of Europe.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right, Mari Ramos there, thank you.

And let's go straight to Geneva, where the UN special envoy for Syria is holding a news conference right now on the Geneva II peace talks. Let's listen in.

LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, UN-ARAB LEAGUE SPECIAL ENVOY TO SYRIA: Today I don't have much to tell you except that the beginning of this week is as laborious as it was the first week. We are not making much progress. One of your colleagues said that I needed tons of patience. I have them. So, we will do our very best to make this process take off. Of course, for it to really take off we need cooperation from both sides here and lot of support from outside.

On Friday, we are having a tri-lateral meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov from Russia, and Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman from the United States. Next week or a bit later, but certainly fairly soon, I will go to New York to report to the Secretary-General and also, most probably, to the Security Council.

As I said, one of your colleagues said I have tons of patience and I confirm that I do, but the Syrian people don't have that much patience and we all owe it to them, we all owe it to the Syrian people, to move a little bit faster than we are doing. You know that Homs can be called a success that has been six months in the making. Six long months, to get a couple of hundred people - no a little bit more than that - about 800 people out, and a little bit of food in. And there are lots of other places that are besieged, where nothing has happened. And Homs has been a success, I hope, but it was extremely risky.

Our colleagues, United Nations people and also the admirable young people from the Syrian Red Crescent, volunteers all of them, took a lot of risks. The car in which the United Nations Representative in Syria, Resident Representative in Syria, has been almost completely destroyed while he was in - he and colleagues - were in. So, one appeals really to everyone to make this process a reality and help Syria out of the nightmare its people have been living through for now three years. I don't think I have any much more to add. I will take a couple of questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Could we have a few clarifications regarding Friday's meeting with the US and Russia? Why the choice of the day, the last day of this week of negotiations? Also I asked Mr. Makdad a few minutes ago and he said that you did not seriously consult with him about this meeting and that they do not agree to this meeting.

BRAHIMI (through translator): The trilateral meeting has been held periodically in Geneva for the past year and two-months and we have not consulted anybody before and we did not consult anybody this time. However, we informed everybody of the holding of this meeting. It is a consultative meeting between Russia and the United States, as the two initiating states, and myself. So it is a routine meeting . We chose Friday, as you know these are very busy people and finding an appropriate day is not always easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brahimi, you've been talking a lot about the pace of these meetings, and a lot of media reports have said that it's very slow, at the slowest pace. Are you still happy with the timeline and the time frame that we're going forward with?

BRAHIMI: No. I mean I'm urging everybody to speed up, except those who kill people. They shouldn't speed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Mr. Brahimi, Samir Yousef (ph) Sham FM. (ph) It seems that there is a divergence in the priorities between the two delegations. The government wants to begin with the first point of the Geneva Communique. As for the opposition, it wants to deal with paragraph 8 , which is the transitional governing body. My question is: is the order in the Geneva Communique haphazard and since there is a divergence, who decides what the priorities are?

BRAHIMI (through translator): This is one of those questions -- the memorandum I sent to both parties before coming here took into consideration this difference between the two sides. And I suggested that we speak in parallel about the two issues because they are the two main important issues: violence and terrorism, this is what the Syrian people want to put an end to, isn't that so? And how can this end without an agreement on the steps to be taken on the future for the country? They are both important matters and we can deal with both in parallel. So I believe this is enough as an answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A follow-up question to that one. They both seem to in all the sessions want to talk, the Government about terrorism, and the Opposition about the transitional body. Is it time for you to impose an agenda on them?

BRAHIMI: I'm not sure whether I can impose an agenda on people who don't want to, you know, how can you, put a gun on their heads? You know, it is their country. This is a huge responsibility they have. They come here at the initiative of Russia and America, with the support I think of the entire world, and everybody is looking at them, most of all the people of Syria. I think we know a little bit what the people of Syria are thinking. The people of Syria are thinking: "Please, get something going that will stop this nightmare and this injustice that is inflicted on the Syrian people". They'll have to listen at some stage and the earlier the better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So two more questions and then we'll have -- (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brahimi, since you don't have the gun, what will be the...

BRAHIMI: Since I don't what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't have the gun...

BRAHIMI: I have a gun, but I don't want to use it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...follow up. So, which will be the agenda tomorrow? And what...

BRAHIMI: Can you repeat that? I don't hear you. Speak up.

Yes. Wait, wait, wait. I know I have a device here. Yeah, sure. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you planning to discuss tomorrow with whether the meeting will be with the two parties or the separate parties, and what are you planning? Maybe you could tell us something about the agenda that will be on the discussions.

BRAHIMI: I'll tell you tomorrow afternoon.

Yeah, the last question

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Many papers have been circulated regarding the agenda. One of the paper says: one, cessation of violence and counter-terrorism; secondly, the TGB; three, state institutions; and four, national dialogue. Is this true? As for lifting the siege from besieged areas, I have not seen that item, Mr. Brahimi.

BRAHIMI (through translator): Discussing the lifting of the siege is a step that augurs good faith between the two parties. We always call for discussing these matters and our colleagues in Damascus are also working for that continuously. We would like to have a political support from here. I think the will is there but the areas where to start is a matter that is not clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): So the work is in Syria, not in Geneva?

BRAHIMI (through translator): Yes, the work is always in Syria, here we only talk.

Thank you.

LU STOUT: UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi speaking there live in Geneva about the Syrian peace talks, the second round that is underway this week, clearly frustrated with the slow pace of progress there. He described the process as laborious. He also said, "I have patience, but the Syrian people do not have that much patience. We owe it to them to make it faster."

And just moments ago in answering a question he said, "please stop this nightmare and the injustice inflicted on the Syrian people."

Now for more analysis on the second round of Geneva II talks currently underway and the comments we heard from the UN envoy, let's go straight to CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom for more.

And Mohammed, I mean, Lakhdar Brahimi clearly frustrated with the very, very flow pace of progress at these talks in Geneva.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie. Extremely telling just how frustrating that atmosphere must be as you mention. Mr. Brahimi talking about the laborious pace, how it was as laborious in the last couple of days as it had been the first week of negotiations.

Talking about how it was going to require a lot of patience and that thankfully he had that.

He was asked about whether or not he should start imposing an agenda or timelines on the various delegations there, but he said at the end of the day it's their country. These two Syrian delegations, it's their country, they're the ones that are going to have to hash this out and really make progress and that it's really not up to him to impose an agenda no them. They're the ones that are going to have to make the decision.

Mr. Brahimi talked about how it was great that aid had been delivered to Homs, that evacuations had finally happened there. At this stage, we've heard that at least 800 people have been evacuated and that a humanitarian relief pause is in effect for at least another three days.

But he said there are so many other places in Syria that are going to need aid, that are going to need humanitarian corridors established. So many people suffering still. In the last few days we've heard about the resumption of barrel bombings in places like Aleppo. We've heard from various activists on the ground that killings continue, that at least 11 people yesterday were killed as they were trying to leave Homs.

The Syrian regime is accusing the opposition of massacres taking place in other parts of the country.

And throughout all of this, while the suffering goes on, on the ground in Syria amidst this backdrop of these diplomatic efforts, what we're hearing most from the parties in attendance in Geneva is a lot of recrimination echoing once again their mutual distrust, pointing the finger at the other party for abuses they say have been committed.

Yesterday there were a long list of grievances that were submitted by the Syrian opposition there saying that it's the Syrian regime that continues its indiscriminate slaughter of innocent civilians. Then you hear from the Syrian regime saying that, look, we're here to negotiate in good faith, but the opposition doesn't want to talk about terrorism.

Today, you heard the deputy foreign minister of Syria come out and address the press and talk about the fact that they cannot really get into the items of the Geneva I communique and agree to it. And they can't begin to talk about a transitional government happening until the rebels, the opposition, start discussing that terrorism is actually happening and taking responsibility for that.

So, it really just shows the morass that is going on, how everything is moving at such a snail's pace. And even though there had been confidence building measures, and even though today there was a positive step and that both sides met in the same room with Lakhdar Brahimi, it doesn't look as though it's moving as fast as the diplomats who are in attendance would like it to. And it doesn't look as though as the confidence that they would like to have seen built at this stage has actually happened -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and there in that press conference just then, we also heard the UN envoy saying it took six months of diplomacy to get 800 people out of Homs last weekend. Mohammed Jamjoom, thank you so much for your analysis just then. Mohammed reporting live from CNN Beirut.

Now, the delicate relationship between China and Taiwan, that took center stage at historic talks in Nanjing this week.

Now government officials have been meeting for the first time since 1949, that's when the Communists forced nationalist forces to flee to Taiwan. And ever since, the island and the mainland have been governed separately.

But relations have improved and led to this moment. It is the first government to government contact in over 60 years.

Now an icon of the silver screen has died. Now Shirley Temple shot to fame as a child star in the early days of cinema, but she was so much more than just a movie star to the American people. Now CNN's Nischelle Turner has more on her remarkable life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During the dark days of the Great Depression when life was bleak, along came Shirley Temple to win the hearts of the American people. The perky little girl with cute curls and adorable dimples was just what people needed to lift their spirits. Decades later when she was among entertainers giving Kennedy Center Honors, President Clinton put it this way.

BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She was 7 years old when President Roosevelt asked to meet her to thank her for the smiling face that helped America through the Great Depression.

TURNER: Shirley Temple began her career at age 3 playing spunky, optimistic characters at a time when the public saw little reason to be hopeful.

Born in Santa Monica, California, on April 23rd, 1928, her mother claimed her first words were the lyrics to a song. By age 6, she had already appeared in 20 movies and had been the top box office star for four years.

But ticket sales alone don't begin to describe her popularity. She was a cover girl. Girls flocked to buy Shirley Temple dolls and a non-alcoholic drink was named after her.

Unlike many stars she successfully made the transition from her early films like this one to grown-up roles.

Next she switched from life in the public spotlight to life in public service. In 1967 she made an unsuccessful attempt to run for Congress. And a couple of years later she became a diplomat, served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations and ambassador to Ghana. And toward the end of the Cold war, Czechoslovakia.

Her teenage marriage to fellow actor John Agar lasted five years and produced one daughter. Her second marriage to businessman Charles Black lasted until his death in 2005. They had two children.

Commenting on her varied career, President Clinton commented --

CLINTON: In fact she has to be the only person who both saved the entire movie studio from failure and contributed to the fall of communism.

(LAUGHTER)

TURNER: In 1972 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. She was one of the first celebrities to go public with her diagnosis encouraging women to be examined.

From child star to diplomat, to seasoned role model, Shirley Temple Black enjoyed it all. Late in life she said, "If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change anything."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Well said. And that was CNN's Nischelle Turner reporting.

Now news just into CNN. Algerian media reporting a plane crash. Algerian radio says a military aircraft went down in the country's east, killing at least 99 people. And according to Agence France Presse, those on board were said to be mostly soldiers and their families.

Now today, in Iran, they're celebrating the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution. And the U.S. is watching closely after Iran's state media reported the test firing of new missiles. At the same time, Tehran insists it wants nuclear talks with world powers to continue.

Our chief U.S. security correspondent Jim Sciutto has more on the seemingly conflicting signals out of Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Iran is celebrating the launch of a new generation of long range ballistic missile. The state TV announcement made no mention of the U.S., but this weekend the most powerful man in Iran, supreme leader Ali Khamenei called American leaders liars, intent on toppling the Iranian government.

American officials publicly say they do not seek regime change in Iran. That's a lie, he said. They wouldn't hesitate a moment if they could do it.

Hours later an Iranian navy admiral appeared to issue a direct threat to the U.S., claiming Iranian warships were approaching American waters and that the move was a direct response to the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf.

The White House dismissed the comments as bluster.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's an Iranian announcement that they are moving ships close to the United States. And we have no evidence that Iran is in fact sending ships close to the U.S. border.

SCIUTTO: Still, the bellicose rhetoric stands in sharp contrast to the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the west. And to the voices we heard on our recent visit to Iran, including two lengthy encounters with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.

At what point did you know that this time was different? Did you feel, you know what, I think that an agreement was within reach?

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I believe the comprehensive deal is doable, it's possible, it's within reach. It just requires a political will and the good faith.

SCUITTO: Which is the real voice of Iran's leaders? In fact, both may be, representing the sharply divided factions for and against negotiations with the U.S.

So who do you listen to then of those two?

VALI NASR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: I think both -- both are real. We have to see which one is getting the upper hand, which one has momentum behind it. I think right now many in Iran are fence sitting.

SCUITTO: In the midst of all this, new talks on a long-term nuclear agreement between Iran and the west begin next week in Vienna. And I'm told these is now the possibility of monthly high level meetings between the two sides as the talks progress.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And coming up, the gold rush continues at Sochi. We'll be live in Russia with the latest from the games, including teh apology, the hug and the winter that isn't.

Also, we sit down with snowboarder Sage Kotzenberg. Now he's not your average Olympic gold medalist, but that's what he calls the beauty of the sport.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now Edith Cooper, she is at the top of her profession, but the Goldman Sachs executive vice president has made plenty of sacrifices along the way. Now this week's Leading Women talks mentoring and motherhood with Poppy Harlow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As a top executive at Goldman Sachs, Edith Cooper has thousands of reasons to go to work each day.

EDITH COOPER, GOLDMAN SACHS: We have 30,000 people at the firm and I'm responsible for human capital management. And as Lloyd Blankfein, our CEO, reminds me I'm responsible for them, the good, the bad and the not so perfect.

HARLOW: She's also the mother of three. And Cooper says her career really took off after her first child.

COOPER: Ironically, that was the point at which I didn't spend as much mental energy thinking about coulda, shoulda, woulda. I just spent time focused on where are the opportunities now and how do I make an impact in all the things that are going on in my life.

Why we think it's a meaningful organization.

HARLOW: But Cooper didn't get here on her own, she says business executive and lawyer Vernon Jordan helped her immensely.

COOPER: He's been a huge mentor for me. The great thing about Vernon is he knew that opening the door gave people opportunity if they could walk through it, but that was the easy part.

HARLOW: Today, she's passionate about giving back. Here she is at the Harlem children zone in New York City, one of a number of organizations she supports.

COOPER: We were so busy hugging and eating and breathing together.

HARLOW: A graduate of Harvard and Northwestern, as a child Cooper wanted to open a fashion boutique, but gravitated toward banking.

Cooper's mother died when she was just 16.

COOPER: I think I have challenges. How being a dad of five children have your wife die? That's really hard. My dad did an amazing job. I have a great family. So whenever I really, really get down on myself, I take a step back and put things in perspective.

HARLOW: Perspective she uses when she feels like she just can't do it all.

COOPER: Society has the expectation that we will be doing it all, or we will be failing? And that's just setting us up.

HARLOW: She couldn't be home for every family dinner or make it to all of her children's sporting events, but Cooper says she was there when it mattered most.

COOPER: Every individual has to define work-life balance that works for them. This whole construct of having it all, not having it all, is quite frankly another stress point for many people. I often remind young women that regardless of how committed and passionate they are about their jobs, it's not their life.

I have three children. They're currently older.

Getting worried about when and how to start your family because of when the promotion cycle is or this particular -- you know, that's not a -- having children is a lifelong thing.

HARLOW: So what's the best advice this career and family focused executive would give?

COOPER: Take the time to take a step back and really do the work so that you can understand who you are, what you're good at and where you want to really invest in yourself.

(END VIDOETAPE)

LU STOUT: Wisdom from Edith Cooper there.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, he's perhaps Sochi's unluckiest Olympian. The American bobsledder Johnny Quinn gets stuck again. He'll bring you the details of his latest so-called jailbreak.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

And we are expecting a busy day of action at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Eight gold medals are at stake here, events include snowboarding, the luge, crosscountry skiing and ski jumping.

Let's take a look at the latest medal count so far. Canada and Norway, they've topped the table with four gold medals. The Netherlands has three while the U.S. and Germany follow with two. And Russia currently has one gold medal.

Now the Russian Olympic champion Irina Rodnina has apologized for a racist tweet posted to her account about U.S. President Barack Obama last September. She says that her account was hacked.

Let's cross over now to Nick Paton Walsh standing by in Sochi with more. Nick, just give us the complete backstory here. Exactly what happened? And why does she feel compelled to apologize?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she apologized for not correcting the misinterpretation of what she'd said earlier. The back story to this, really, is that Irina Rodnina, a member of the Russian parliament back in September posted a picture of Barack Obama and his wife Michelle online with a banana superimposed on it.

Now a lot of approbation for the racist overtones of that. No noise from her at the time to correct it, but now after she was one of the leading figures at the opening ceremony here on Friday where she lit the Olympic flame, she is herself a multiple gold winner, Olympic athlete also in Russia, a well known sports face, she then yesterday released a tweet statement saying that she had great respect for the Obama family that she had -- should have cleaned up -- cleared up the misinterpretation of her tweet at the time and that this only happened because her tweet -- her Twitter account had, in fact, been hacked.

Now some questions as to this tweets are being in fluent, perfect English, where her previous ones have been in Russian. So suggestions, perhaps, this is aimed at trying to smooth that incident over, but quite whether that will be enough for the White House or the many people who were astonished by her original tweet since September unclear, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Indeed.

Meanwhile, there's been just a lot of chatter about this hug between Vladimir Putin and an openly gay speed skater. What happened here?

WALSH: She won the gold in the Dutch speed skating 3,000 meters. And she stated that she got a cuddle from Vladimir Putin. Now we don't know the Kremlin head's side of the story, whether he considered that or just a slight embrace. But this, of course, will feed into the attempts Moscow have had over the past few days to try and soften the idea of them being distinctly homophobic.

A lot of legislation passed in Russia of late, a lot of political statements that have been fervently anti-homosexual. And that puts a lot of people off these Olympics. It's caused a shadow over them. And certainly may have been one of the motives why the U.S. delegation here comprises a lot of openly gay athletes as well.

Quite whether or not this will do anything to that, there was also a suggestion that they may have included Tattoo, a female girl group known for their lesbian kiss about a decade ago who aren't actually gay themselves within the opening ceremony as another soft to those critics unclear.

But still no change in the actual Russian legislation, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from Sochi, thank you.

Now one man who is grabbing the spotlight at Sochi, Sage Kotzenberg. Now, he's not your average Olympian, but the 20-year-old American snowboarder became an overnight star after winning the slopestyle event. And Rachel Nichols sat down with the athlete who began the Sochi gold rush.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAGE KOTSENBURG, OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER: There was a ton of people, like U.S., everything, like go America. I just looked at them and I'm like, what? I felt like we were family. I was like, you guys are here? I don't even know you but thanks.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: You were the first person to win a gold medal at this entire Olympics, but you're not the hardcore athlete- type that we're used to seeing. I mean, your routine the night before your biggest day of competition, you didn't go work out or visualize your run or anything. What did do you?

KOTSENBURG: I was eating snacks watching the ceremony --

NICHOLS: Snacks, huh?

KOTSENBURG: -- eating a bunch of chocolate, onion rings and chips and stuff.

Yes. I mean, that's the beauty of snowboarding. You don't have to be some mega athlete, like work out all the time.

NICHOLS: I do have to stop you about onion rings as well, because you made one of my most favorite photos, which was the Olympic ring out of onion rings --

KOTSENBURG: Yes.

NICHOLS: ...the night before your big day.

KOTSENBURG: It just made sense. It just made sense.

NICHOLS: And you've had great Twitter photos, this entire run. They had you in the Bolshevik hat. That was pretty good.

KOTSENBURG: Yes.

NICHOLS: And the language you've been dropping on Twitter, most people what gnarly means, they know what shredding means.

KOTSENBURG: Stoked.

NICHOLS: I knew, right? But I need some more of the Sage dictionary.

KOTSENBURG: Yes. So we got -- first and foremost, we have spice.

NICHOLS: OK. And what does that mean?

KOTSENBURG: It pretty much means anything you want it to mean.

You can just be like, oh, you're spice or, you know, that trick was spicy, man.

NICHOLS: Between the vocabulary and the hair, you get a lot of Jeff Spicoli comparisons going on.

KOTSENBURG: I've got a lot of them. It's been pretty funny to see.

NICHOLS: You dig that?

KOTSENBURG: I'm down. I'm fully down. I do know the movie and I think it's pretty funny that people are comparing. "Fast Times at Sochi," you know?

NICHOLS: Why is it important for you to march to your own beat?

KOTSENBURG: It's just -- I mean, it's how I was raised. You know. Like I was never on a team really or had the coaches growing up. It's just me and my brother and my friends snowboarding and we just did whatever we wanted to. And that's how we learned, like all the tricks that we do now. I mean, that's just where I came from, just marching to my own tune.

NICHOLS: And you approached your event in a uniquely you way. You were saying, hey, maybe I'll just try this trick I've never tried before ever.

This is the Olympics. Were you worried that you weren't going to be able to land it? Did you think about that?

KOTSENBURG: I -- honestly I didn't think about landing it or even throwing it really.

NICHOLS: Most people plan what they're going to do in the Olympics.

KOTSENBURG: Yes. That's the beauty of slopestyle and snowboarding. You don't really have to have a set-out run, you know, you can really just go and be creative with your whole run and you can still take home a gold medal.

NICHOLS: All right. You want to show off the medal?

KOTSENBURG: Yes. I would love to.

(LAUGHTER)

NICHOLS: How does it taste?

KOTSENBURG: It doesn't taste that good actually. News flash.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: He just had to lick it.

I love that guy.

Now over the weekend, American bobsledder Johnny Quinn, he tweeted this photograph of the aftermath of his fight with his door. He says he just had to bust it down after he got stuck in the bathroom of his hotel room in Sochi.

And now the Olympian has done it again. On Monday, he got stuck in an elevator. And once more he took to Twitter to tell the whole world about it.

Now earlier, he spoke with CNN about his latest ordeal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY QUINN, U.S. OLYMPIC BOBSLEDDER: As we got to the first floor, the elevator door opened quickly and then shut very hard immediately. And so fortunately everybody had their phones, as you can tell by the pictures. And people on the first floor kind of heard what was going on so immediately assistance was right there. And we got out of the elevator in a timely manner, but just kind of a funny scenario to happen shortly thereafter the bathroom door situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Now, Quinn, he has yet to compete, but he is not taking his chances again. He says he has a plan this time around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUINN: You can make sure that on race day I'll make sure I shower with the door open and probably take the stairs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Good plan there.

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

END