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Obama Announced Necessity to End Isolation of Cuba; U.S. and Cuba Swap Prisoners; "Interview" Premiere Canceled; Staying Away Of Your Gadgets?

Aired December 18, 2014 - 04:00   ET



CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: A teacher whose school is out Fridays, asked me to say Thursdays are epic! Welcome to our pan-ultimate program of 2014, it

starts with news concerning Cuba. Yesterday, President Obama announced a major change in relations between the U.S. and Cuba. The U.S. government

is reopening its embassy in the communist country. It`s allowing travel and trade that`s been banned since President Kennedy was in office. The

two nations have been at odd since 1959 when communists overthrew the island`s government and took control.

During the Cold War, it`s a rivalry between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Cuba was an ally of the Soviet Union. At point allowing nuclear missiles

to be installed as a threat to the U.S.

In an effort to punish Cuba, the U.S. put an embargo in place, a ban on trade with Cuba. U.S. officials hope that isolating the country would

influence its government to turn from communism and give its people more freedom. President Obama says that didn`t work.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I believe that we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through


After all, these 50 years have shown that isolation hasn`t worked. It`s time for a new approach.


AZUZ: Part of that approach involved an exchange of prisoners, the U.S. sent three convicted Cuban spies back to their home country. Cuba sent

home a U.S. intelligence agent. Also, Cuba freed Alan Gross, a 65-year old American. He`d served five years in a Cuban prison for delivering phone

equipment that could access the Internet. Cuba`s government restricts Internet use.

President Obama`s shifting policy was made without congressional approval. Critics call it illegal and say that the U.S. gave up everything and gained

a little.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R) FLORIDA: This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, on a lie. The lie and the illusion that more

commerce and access to money and goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people.


AZUZ: Analysts are calling it a loss for Americans` freedom of expression, the release of a comedic film, critical of North Korea has been postponed,

and it`s all because of anonymous hackers. There was a cyber-attack at Sony Pictures. It shut down computers and exposed all kinds of private

information about employees, actors and business. Then, on Tuesday, a hacker group threatened to any theaters planning to show the film.

Major chains canceled screenings and Sony pulled the movie.

It says it stands by its filmmakers and their right to free expression, and that it`s extremely disappointed by this outcome.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hackers claiming to be the same group that stolen data from Sony Pictures took a potentially violent turn towards terrorism.

Along with the document dumped that`s described as a Christmas gift, a group delivered a warning to people planning to see the movie "The


The film is about two hapless journalists recruited by the CIA to kill the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. The film has infuriated Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un`s government calling it an act of war.

JEFF KINGSTON, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: They are denying that they are directly involved. We all suspect they were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The movie is a comedy, but after this message, no one`s laughing. It says "soon all the world will see what an awful movie

Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11 of September, 2001.

The Department of Homeland Security says it`s aware of the threat, but hasn`t found evidence of an active plot within the United States.

ERIC GARCETTI, MAYOF OF LOS ANGELES: We don`t have any credible threat specifically of any violence or anything. I would encourage people to

continue enjoying their lives, going out shopping, doing everything else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still the stars reportedly stopped media appearances and Thursday`s premier in New York has been canceled. All of this as

federal investigators scrub Sony`s computers to try to figure out where this threat of a bitter fate came from.


AZUZ: See if you can I.D. me. I`m one of the places where the earth axis intersects its surface. My latitude is 90 degrees north and my longitude

is all of them. Despite popular belief, magnetic compasses do not point directly to me.

I`m the North Pole, and I`m in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.

North Pole gets a lot of attention this time of year, but who owns it, in what country does Santa live? Denmark is making an argument it`s on Danish

land. The country says because the North Pole is connected to the continental shelf of Greenland, and because Greenland is a Danish

autonomous territory, the North Pole is Denmark`s. This goes against Russia`s claim to the Pole. A Russian submarine planted a titanium flag

underneath it in 2007. And that made Canada angry, because it claims the North Pole.

Why are different countries arguing over this? Well, "The U.S. Geological Survey" report says the region is rich in undiscovered natural resources

including a lot of oil.

Arctic countries have agreed to let the United Nations decide whose land or whose territory this is. That would give them certain rights over parts of

the Arctic. So, Denmark`s joining Russia, Canada and the U.S. in staking its claim.

Three "Roll Call" requests from yesterday`s transcript`s page. It said We are starting on Lake Michigan. IN the port city of

Kenosha, Wisconsin, the red devils of Bradford High School are on the roll.

Next, to Hazen. It`s a city in Arkansas, the natural state. And it`s home to the (INAUDIBLE) of Hazen High School. And we`ll round things out in

Orange City, Iowa. It`s night time. Great to have you watching at Unity Christian High School.

Picture and empty room, nothing in it but you. No book, no laptop, no phone. Nothing but a nine-volt battery that would shock you if you touched


A study published this summer challenged people to just sit and think. But many of them including a majority of the men couldn`t go six to 12 minutes

without touching the battery. Does the allure (ph) of distraction shock you?


DHANI JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We`ve all been there. Hanging out with some of your friends and all of a sudden look around and realize, nobody is

looking at you.

In fact, they are all staring straight down, completely and totally engrossed in their cellphone.

Honestly, it`s hard to blame them. The allure of the online world is growing. Can we still be productive in this digital age or is candy crust

rotting our brain?

If there`s anybody that knows everything about this digital distraction, it`s Manoush Zomorodi.

MANOUSH ZOMORODI, HOST WNYC`S NEW TECH CITY: I think we are living in an amazing moment in time, when everything - everything in our lives is


JONES: Since I`ve been in your office, I probably checked my phone probably 200 times. I`m always also looking to find information.

ZOMORODI: And do you ever feel like satisfied? Do you ever feel like Wow, I got everything!

JONES: Well, you don`t get everything. You are always either updating or downloading information, you are always trying to consume as much as


ZOMORODI: I think we are coming into an era where self-discipline is going to be more important than it ever has. As a working mom, I like the fact

that I can work wearing whenever I want, but at the same time we can`t treat everything the same just because our gadgets let us do that.

OK, so how are you sleeping?

JONES: I sleep well.

ZOMORODI: No problem?

JONES: I put my phone at least like an arm`s distance away.

ZOMORODI: Well, here`s the deal: your phone is emitting blue light. When you get a shot of blue light into your eyes, it`s like your eyeballs did a

shot of espresso. So, for me, I`m trying to not have any screens an hour before I sleep.

JONES: I`m sitting in the West Village locking out of my apartment. It take me through a way to unravel from the virtual cord that is attaching me

to my digital device.

ZOMORODI: OK, so first thing is, just turn it off. One hour.

JONES: That`s a lot of emails.

ZOMORODI: Look just what happened, though, you went into that book store and you were browsing - you ran into that girl who you used to know.

You`ve been needing to get together with her for so long. Why don`t you do it now? Oh my god! Something spontaneous happened.

JONES: But where are we going to go? Because I have no idea what place to eat!

ZOMORODI: She`s going to take you to this adorable cafe, it`s (INAUDIBLE). And look, you got a cappuccino and your foam looks like a flower.

JONES: But I don`t even know what kind of flower it is.

ZOMORODI: You are just going to drink it.

JONES: I really appreciate you helping me out with this digital discretion because they are everywhere. And like taking me through that journey that

was fantastic.


AZUZ: I`m glad to show it`s produced before you see it. If my mom where to call during a taping which she has done, I can just her politely and

with respect, of course, that it`s not a good time and just call her back.

That`s not how it works on live TV. These two brothers are on opposite sides of politics. One is a determined Democrat, the other is a resolute

Republican. They were in the middle of an on air political battle trading points, going after one another`s party, and in the middle of it all, the

anchor took a viewer phone call. Guess who it was.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very glad that this Thanksgiving was a year that you two were supposed to go to your in-laws, and I was - and I`m

hoping you`ll have some of this out of your system when you come here for Christmas.


AZUZ: She ended the call by saying, she just wants piece at home for Christmas and that she loves them both. Motherly love encouraging

brotherly love can`t be tough love, but she`s dialed into their needs. Her lines opened to both of them, she made the right call and hopefully, they

won`t get hung up on politics under the Christmas tree. CNN STUDENT NEWS returns tomorrow for our last show of the year.