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Iranians Prepare to Vote; Foxconn Puts Pause in Acquisition of Sharp; Apple, FBI Spar; Tech Companies Collaborate With Government on



Sharp; Apple, FBI Spar; Tech Companies Collaborate With Government on

Stopping Terrorist Propaganda; India's Cricket Academy; Beirut's River of

Trash. Aired 8:00a-9:00a ET - Part 1>

Matt Rivers, Paula Hancocks, Sunlen Serfaty, Diana Magnay, Andrew Stevens,

Paul Vercammen>

Sharp; Apple, FBI Spar; Tech Companies Collaborate With Government on

Stopping Terrorist Propaganda; India's Cricket Academy.>

Terrorism; Beirut>

[08:00:59] KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Krsitie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream.

Now, Iranians prepare for a historic vote that could be seen as a referendum as the country's landmark nuclear deal.

A new report slams the BBC saying it allowed sexual offenders like Jimmy Savile to operate with impunity.

And is the deal on or off? Chinese manufacturer Foxconn casts doubt on the current deal to buy Japan's Sharp.

Now, it is the eve of a critical election in Iran. Some see it as a referendum on the recent nuclear deal. And a fight between the right and the left.

Now, Iranians are to election lawmakers in two government bodies at the same time: the members of parliament and the Assembly of Experts, the religious body that will appoint the next influential supreme leader.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on what this vote means for the country.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Campaigning Iranian-style. Volunteers for the reform movement hand out flyers in Tehran's traffic. They say they're confident, but not certain they will win.

"It's unclear what will happen because the Iranians only make up their minds in the last minute, he says. But the moderates' position is much better than that of the conservatives."

Tehran is plastered with election posters, as the fierce battle with the conservatives around the powerful clergy unfolds.

(on camera): Many observers view the elections as extremely important and also, as a referendum on Hassan Rouhani's policies of opening Iran up to the West.

(voice-over): The divisions were exacerbated by the recent nuclear agreement, designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in return for sanctions relief.

"We support the Rouhani government and the nuclear deal," this reformist says. "We should have a parliament to support and not block Rouhani's policies."

But many conservatives view that as a threat.


PLEITGEN: "Death to America," they chant, at this hardliner rally. They believe Iran has opened itself to American infiltration with the nuclear agreement.

"Consider the nuclear deal to be American interference," she says. "And we will fight against it and hopefully defeat it. Our nation will not allow America to influence our affairs."

The decisions Iranian voters make this Friday could do more than alter the makeup of parliament. They could influence the country's course toward the West, and some believe, the stability of its political system.


LU STOUT: Senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen joins me live from Tehran. And Fred, there is growing excitement for the election. What kind of turnout are you expecting?

PLEITGEN: Well, certainly people that we are speaking to say that they expect that there's going to be a very high turnout and because the reason for that is, Kristie, that many believe this is a very, very important election in this country's history. There's even and one person who told me he believes that it's the most important non-presidential election in this country since the Islamic Revolution, and because it will do so much to determine the future course here of this country.

Will you continue to see more opening up to the west? Also, of course, with everything that brings, with a lot of the businesses that are now coming in here, a lot of the investment that seems to be shaping up, or could there be a backlash if the conservatives win more power?

You won't see tectonic changes of Iran's policies, because the president in this country, Hassan Rouhani, does have a lot of say no matter what the makeup of the parliament is, but certainly in the long-term it could have a great effect on this country's policies, not just towards the west but of course internally here in Iran as well, whether or not the reform process that is initiated by Hassan Rouhani will continue, Kristie.

[08:05:08] LU STOUT: And Fred, what is the feeling among younger voters in Iran? Do they feel the country is better off under more moderate leadership?

PLEITGEN: That is a very good question, and we have actually been speaking specifically to some younger people as well over the past days that we have been here. And many do say that they believe that this is an opportunity for the country to get into a better position in the long term as well.

One of the things we have to keep in mind is that this country of course has a very young population, also a very well educated population. And many of those young people for a very long time with the sanctions, basically have seen themselves as shackled. And now they believe that may be able to unfold their full economic potential as these sanctions have been lifted, as investment also comes into the country. So certainly the majority of young people that we have been speaking to say they believe that their country is on the right track. They hope that it continues.

But of course there are also conservatives among the young people as well, who say that they do fear that their country might not change for the better if more and more influence from the outside comes into it, Kristie.

LU STOUt: All right. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reporting live from Tehran a day before the elections. Thank you, Fred.

Now, we are five days away from a make or break day for White House hopefuls on Super Tuesday. But a dozen U.S. states will hold primaries and caucuses.

The Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, has picked up another endorsement, this time from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who is backing Clinton, despite what's described as a close working relationship with her rival Bernie Sanders.

And on the Republican side, Donald Trump is on a roll. The billionaire candidate has won three out of four contests so far, and he has just picked up his first congressional endorsement from a New York Representative Chris Collins.

Now, Trump's momentum could make him a target of attacks in the CNN Republican debate later on Thursday. Sunlen Serfaty has more on what to expect.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We'll be totally prepared. And, you know, people have not done very well against me.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The GOP frontrunner is set to face off with his four remaining rivals tonight in the last debate before Super Tuesday.

TRUMP: So far, everybody that's attacked me has gone down.

SERFATY: Donald Trump already has more than double the number of delegates than his closest competitors, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, combined.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There has never been a candidate like Donald Trump, in a whole lot of ways.

SERFATY: Trump notably absent from last night's Fox News town hall hosted by Megyn Kelly, where the freshman senators continued to argue that it's only a matter of time before his ballooning lead pops.

CRUZ: We're the only campaign in a position to beat him on Super Tuesday, to win the nomination.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Majority of Republican voters are not supporting Donald Trump. And, obviously, once this race begins to narrow a little bit, you'll - you'll see more of that support consolidating.

SERFATY: This as 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney warns about a bombshell to come in Trump's tax records, asking all of the candidates to release them.

TRUMP: Tax returns are very complicated. I have many, many companies. I have, you know, tremendously - you know, I have a very complex system of taxes. But we'll make a determination over the next couple of months.

CRUZ: I'll release the remainder of what we have this week. I've released already I think five years' worth. But I - look, the nice thing is, I haven't made enough money that my tax returns are not that interesting.

RUBIO: I'll release them. They're not very complicated.

SERFATY: Up for grabs on Super Tuesday, Cruz's home state of Texas. The senator of the delegate-rich state securing the endorsement of its governor.

CRUZ: We can't be fooled by PT Barnum. The time for the clowns and the acrobats and the dancing bears has passed.

SERFATY: Meanwhile, at a rally in Houston, Marco Rubio is now targeting Trump by name.

RUBIO: Donald Trump has actually alluded to the fact that he thinks parts of Obamacare are pretty good.

SERFATY (on camera): And that was a small but important shift for Marco Rubio, who typically avoids taking on Donald Trump directly. Now, as the frontrunner tonight, Donald Trump will be right here at center stage, likely to take some fire from his rivals on either side.

Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Houston, Texas.


LU STOUT: And tune in for the CNN Republican debate. Wolf Blitzer will be the moderator from Houston, Texas. It airs 9:30 in the morning in Hong King, that's 10:30 Tokyo time, right here on CNN.

Now, a new report on sexual abuse at the BBC has been released. And much of it is centered on one of British TV's most popular hosts, the late Jimmy Savile.

Now, he died in 2011, but there are hundreds of accusations of sexual abuse against him that date back decades, and the British broadcaster has been under fire for the way it handled it all.

Now let's bring in our Diana Magnay. She joins us now live from our London bureau. And Diana, new information out today from the BBC about the investigation into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile. What did it reveal?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was a review by a lady called Dame Janet Smith to look at the corporate responsibility, if there was any really amongst the BBC in relation to the abuses that took place over six decades, which Jimmy Savile is known to have committed. And there has been a separate report that the police put out a couple years ago after his death looking at these hundreds of allegations against him.

And this is really looking any at 72 particular cases associated, Dame Janet Smith said, with the BBC in relation, 34 of those people under 16, in amongst them eight counts of rape with the youngest rape victim just 10 years old.

And what Dame Janet Smith found was that within the BBC, there were people on a junior and mid-level who did know or fear that Jimmy Savile was doing what he was doing, but because of the deferential culture within the organization, they didn't bring their concerns up the management ladder.

Let's just take a listen to what she said.


DAME JANET SMITH, AUTHOR OF REPORT: Both of these men use their fame and positions as BBC celebrities to abuse the vulnerable. They must be condemned for their monstrous behavior.

But the culture of the BBC certainly enabled both Savile and Stuart Hall to go undetected for decades. I have identified five occasions when the BBC missed an opportunity to uncover their misconduct.


MAGNAY: Five missed opportunities, one of them, we read in the review, was when a victim was told, keep your mouth shut, he's a VIP, that this culture of -- that was built-up around talent, that they were somehow untouchable was pervasive within the BBC.

Now, as you would expect the director-general Tony Hall has made an incredibly contrite apology to victims and a very thorough explanation of what the BBC intends to do as a result of these findings. Let's take a listen.


TONY HALL, BBC DIRECTOR-GENERAL: A serial rapist and a predatory sexual abuser both hid in plain sight at the BBC for decades. It was a dark chapter in the history of the organization, but a much darker one for all of you.

The BBC failed you when it should have protected you. I am deeply sorry for the hurt it caused to each and every one of you.


MAGNAY: The bottom line out of these findings is that, although there were people who knew, she found that the BBC as a corporation did not know about what Jimmy Savile had done, but the question is, ought they not to have known? And that is what Tony Hall has taken on. And he says there have been massive changes. And let's not forget, these abuses took place decades ago. There have been massive changes in terms of the BBC's child protection policies, how whistle-blowers are able to get their information out, complaints, procedures, and that those changes are still ongoing in the light of this investigation, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, 72 victims identified, many of them very, very young. The scope and scale of the sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile truly, truly disturbing. Diana Magnay reporting for us. Thank you.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead on the program, new questions about whether a planned merger in the tech industry will go through. Why the deal may be on hold.

Plus, Apple CEO Tim Cook is speaking about the company's legal battle with the U.S. government. Why he says there is just too much at stake to back down.

Also ahead, bags of trash are piling up in Beirut. Is there an end in sight to the city's garbage crisis?


[08:15:31] LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, a proposed merger between two major electronics companies is now being called into question. Now, Taiwan electronics group Foxconn says it is holding off on signing a final deal with the Japanese firm Sharp. That announcement came just hours after Sharp said it approved the multi-billion dollar takeover.

Now, Sharp, a long prized Japanese brand, has suffered heavy losses in recent months, while Foxconn has emerged as a huge contract manufacturer, playing a key role in assembling iPhones.

Now, CNN Money Asia Pacific editor Andrew Stevens joins me now for more on this story.

Andrew, why is Foxconn delaying this takeover?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's got new information it says, Kristie, that it needs to look at to find out whether this deal as it stands is still a good deal for the company.

We don't know what this is. We know that it's material information, and it seems to point towards financial indications somehow.

We're not quite sure what it is, but basically it's looking at something called contingent liabilities, Kristie, which means that there could be problems further down the track, financial problems further down the track, for Sharp which Foxconn wants to know about.

But what's extraordinary about this is that Foxconn made this announcement after Sharp had said the deal was going ahead and Foxconn said it had already told Sharp that it wasn't going to go through with the deal until it had sorted out the latest development. But Sharp still went ahead and actually announced it. So it's rather extraordinary where we are at the moment.

Certainly, we are all watching to see where it goes from here.

What we do hear is that Terry Gou, who is the head of Foxconn is still keen to buy sharp, but the numbers may change. And that could mean the actual offer price may change as well.

LU STOUT: Yeah, this deal it was the takeover announced earlier today, and before news later on of the delay, what was the general reaction to the takeover deal?

STEVENS: Well, if you look at Japan, it was very controversial, because this is a storied Japanese company, as we know. I mean, Sharp is known worldwide as a consumer brand. Yes, it has fallen on hard times recently, but it's still seen, particularly in the liquid display industry, as a global leader.

And the Japanese basically didn't want such a storied company going offshore, being bought by an offshore company, and in this case it appears to be Foxconn of Taiwan.

What the Japanese wanted was Sharp to stay within Japan Inc., if you like. In fact, there was a rival bid, which is backed by none other than the Japanese government, which was offering a deal to buy Sharp, but it was about half the price of the reported $6 billion that Foxconn is prepared to pay. So, the board of Sharp said, no, we're going to with the higher offer.

So, there was certainly a controversy there.

And the other one was that the deal is structured in a way that Sharp will sell a lot of new shares, which will dilute the value of the shares. So, we've seen the share price of Sharp fall very, very sharply down, 14 percent, after the announced this deal was going ahead, which has now been thrown into some confusion

LU STOUT: Yeah, it is extraordinary, as you just put it just then, Sharp, such a storied Japanese company being a takeover target. We'll leave it at that. Andrew Stevens reporting for us live, thank you, Andrew. And take care.

Now, the CEO of Apple is not backing down from his legal fight with the U.S. Justice Department. A judge ordered Apple to help unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terror attack.

In an interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook said doing so could put the privacy of millions of iPhone users in jeopardy.


TIM COOK, CEO, APPLE: This case is not about one phone, this case is about the future. What is at stake here is can the government compel Apple to write software that we believe would make hundreds of millions of customers vulnerable around the world, including the U.S.? And you would have to write that system in order to unlock that phone?

Yes, the only way we know would be to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the software equivalent of cancer. We think it's bad news to write. We would never write it. We have never written it, and that is what is at stake here.


LU STOUT: Apple CEO Tim Cook there.

Now, a tech giant dream team is joining the war on ISIS, but this time the battlefield is online. Now, the U.S. government has met with Apple, Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, MTV and BuzzFeed for help to shut down the terror group's social media presence.

Now, ISIS relies on internet propaganda to lure new members and to inspire lone wolf attacks. And it's worth noting that Apple is talking, despite that feud with the FBI over the release of data from a terror suspect's phone.

Now, for social networks, it is often a fine line between hate speech and freedom of expression. The sites say that they are clamping down on terror activity.

For instance, Twitter says it has shut down 125,000 accounts most associated with ISIS. It has a terror watch team to hunt down vicious accounts. But users often criticize social media for banning some content much faster than hate speech or a terror threat.

Now here, our CNN Money reporter show how he is blocked from posting links to a Facebook competitor. Now, a key dilemma in all this is that Facebook and Twitter, they champion themselves as platforms for free speech. An example, the sites fuel movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Now, this delicate balance, it was spelled out by Twitter in 2015. It said this, quote, "it always embraces and encourages diverse opinions and beliefs but will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse."

Now, we will have much more in both of these stories: the plans for Foxconn to take over Sharp, the showdown between Apple and U.S. law enforcement. All that and more coming up on CNN Money with Maggie Lake. That starts in about 40 minutes.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, a river of trash is choking Beirut. The latest on the city's garbage crisis is next.


[08:25:24] LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.

Now, this news just into CNN, the European parliament has voted in favor of a European Union arms embargo against Saudi Arabia. Now, campaigners for the embargo alleged human rights violations committed in the Saudi campaign against neighboring Yemen.

The vote is not legally binding on EU member states.

Now, mountains of trash are choking the streets of the Lebanese capital Beirut, posing a held risk to its residents and a hazard for the government to clean up.

As Nick Paton Walsh reports, there is no resolution in sight, only garbage as far as you can see.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Where once flowed beauty, now the river is of trash. Yes, the picture does need a second look. It is not a fake. Piled up over four months, the household waste Lebanon's wofefully dysfunctional government can't deal with.

All around Beirut, it lies on the street, but here, one staggering an eyesore of 2 million tons.

Lebanon is gifted with incredible natural beauty. In fact, you can see its cedars there sat just above this unnatural river. But bear in mind, this is just the cold of winter. And already the stink and the smell here is intolerable. Imagine what the summer sun will do to this.

In the winter, too, the rain drains toxins from it and add them to the water table, some say. A health catastrophe is brewing. One official told us, though, look, at least it's organized. Tell that to locals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not healthy at all. It's cancer.

WALSH: Diseases, cancers, we're dying here, Aliyah (ph) says, look at what we they're doing. The solution is we die slowly.

Our concerns are our children, Ali adds. We can tolerate it, but what about our kids?

Last summer, anger at this basic failure of the state was just beginning. The trash collectors lost their contract. Rotten garbage, a metaphor, protests said, for the decayin leadership here. Still, even after this, nothing is solved.

An elaborate plan to ship it all to Russia fell apart Friday. Now there is no plan, no recycling. No end to the disposables this tiny country will consumer.

And summer's burning heat is closing in.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.


LU STOUT: Wow, a river up trash. Just unbelievable.

Now you're watching News Stream right here on CNN. And next, China and the United States join forces to try the thwart North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

And, a natural gas leak in California is finally capped, but some of those forced from their homes are not happy about returning.



[08:31:48] LU STOUT: Now, North Korea could soon face additional sanctions. China. A diplomat tells CNN, China and the U.S. have agreed on a new UN security council draft resolution. The move is in response to North Korea's recent nuclear test and for violating previous security council resolutions.

Now, Paula Hancocks takes a look at how sanctions could impact an already tense situation on the Korean peninsula.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENt: Well, Kristie, last month Beijing was unwilling to sign on to a strong resolution against North Korea. But after that February 7 satellite launch, which most people believe was a long-range missile test, Beijing is now willing to sign on to this resolution, a resolution which will be described as the toughest yet on Pyongyang.

It is fair to say, though, previous resolutions and previous sanctions have had a limited impact on the country.

Jamming in downtown Seoul. A popular South Korean advert for price comparison site NRE (ph), shows what could have been.

But the reality between the United States and North Korea is very different.

Washington has called on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile program for years. Four major resolutions have been passed by the United Nations security council since Pyongyang's first nuclear test a decade ago.

2006, the UN imposed a series of economic and commercial sanctions.

2009, the second nuclear test, also met with a UN resolution and expanded sanctions.

A 2012 satellite launch widely believed to be a long-range missile tests, further sanctions.

2013, its third nuclear test, another UN resolution.

But despite being one of the most heavily sanctioned countries on Earth, Pyongyang was still able to develop and test its nuclear capabilities.

One former presidential adviser in South Korea is not surprised.

CHUN YUNG-WOO, SENIOR ADVISER, ASIAN INSTITUTE: It was designed not to have an impact, it's designed not to really bite North Korea. Because China watered down the resolution and made it almost ineffective.

HANCOCKS: Official talks on denuclearization are a distant memory, six party talks with the U.S., Japan, Russia, China and the two Koreas ended abruptly in 2009 when North Korea walked out.

But some experts fear what stronger sanctions against North Korea would mean for the people and the first tenuous signs of economic growth.

JOHN DEBURY, YONSEI UNIVERSITY: If you just sanction these guys and this country to death, if you just try and inflict pain on Kim Jong-un, you are probably not going to hurt Kim Jong-un, but you are going to hurt all of these ultimately very positive forces for the future.

HANCOCKS: But while North Korea is showing no signs of being willing to give up its nuclear ambitions and there is little else the international community can do but pass more resolutions and yet more sanctions -- Kristie.


LU STOUT: Paula Hancocks reporting there.

Now, residents of a suburb near Los Angeles are returning to their homes after a natural gas leak was capped. Now, thousands of families in Porter Ranch, they were given eight days to return before the Southern California Gas Company would stop paying for their lodging.

But as Paul Vercammen reports, not everyone feels safe about coming home.


[08:35:10] PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Taylor Lee rides the bike he got as a gift in December for the first time in front of his Porter Ranch house.

How is that new bike?

TAYLOR LEE, PORTER RANCH RESIDENT: It's really fast. I like it.

VERCAMMEN: Taylor, his sister Caitlyn, and parents have returned home after living in a hotel for 76 days.

The family says they suffered from the massive release of canyon methane gas leak, Taylor had nose bleeds, so they took up SoCal Gas on its offer to pay for temporary housing until the leak was capped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The division of oil and gas has confirmed that the leak in the Aliso Canyon storage field is permanently sealed.

VERCAMMON: While the Lee family unpacked, Matt Palucko and his live- in girlfriend Kyoko unleashed skepticism.

MATT PALUCKO, RELOCATED FROM PORTER RANCH: I saw all those people standing at the press conference. I have got two words from them, Flint, Michigan. We heard this from the officials in Flint, Michigan, even the federal officials, it's safe drink the water, and we see how that worked out. So, we are not going to go down that road again and bleed all these people when we know on the ground that what they say is not true.

KYOKO HIBINO, RELOCATED FROM PORTER RANCH: Even though they say it was capped, I got sick, and I went home for something for a couple hours, and suddenly, like suddenly I got a headache.

VERCAMMEN: Sue Kim is back home, done driving more than 100 miles round trip from the hotel to school to work.