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Syria Explosions; Iraq's Prime Minister: Attackers Will be Punished for Baghdad Bombings; Breast Implant Fears; World Leaders Pay Respects To Former Czech President Vaclav Havel

Aired December 23, 2011 - 00:08:00   ET


MANISHA TANK, HOST: Hello, and a warm welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Manisha Tank, at CNN Hong Kong.

And we begin in Syria. On a day when protesters call for a mass demonstration, explosions hit the capital, Damascus.

France advises tens of thousands of women with breast implants to have them removed.

And Czechs say farewell to the man who helped bring down their country's communist regime, former president Vaclav Havel.

Syrian state media reports many people may have been killed by two suicide bombs in Damascus. No exact figures though have been given. The SANA news agency says many of the victims are civilians.

We want to warn you, these images of the scene are really quite graphic. The attacks targeted two government security buildings. According to state media, they bear the mark of al Qaeda.

President Bashar al-Assad has blamed months of violence in the country on armed terrorist gangs. Earlier this week, anti-government activists said security forces have stepped up the crackdown on demonstrators. They report nearly 300 people killed in clashes this week.

Well, an advanced team from the Arab League is in Damascus right now.

Mohammed Jamjoom has been in contact with a member of that group. He actually joins us from CNN Cairo, but he's been following the story very closely.

Mohammed, what can you tell us?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Manisha, we spoke with a member of a team of this group, this team from the Arab League that's coming in to try to set things up for another team of 500 observers that will be coming in next week. He told us that they had seen the blast site, that the pictures that were being broadcast on Syrian TV which are quite graphic and grisly, that they are accurate. But he also said that these bombings will not affect the meeting schedule that has been set up today.

Now Syrian state television also has broadcast information that members of the Arab League that are there have been taken to the blast site to see the aftermath of these two suicide car bombings, according to SANA. But we should add that we've spoken to some Syrian human rights activists and members of human rights groups there, and they are saying that these are all eyes by the Assad regime.

Many of them has said to us that there is no al Qaeda in Syria and that this is a ploy by Bashar al-Assad and his regime to convince the Arab League that Syria is in fact in the throes of fighting terrorists, that that fit the narrative, the story that Syria is trying to put out to the international community. Syria has claimed for months now that they are battling terrorists within their borders, and the members of the human rights groups that we've spoken with today say that these bombings seem obviously very convenient, especially one coming one day after members of an advanced team of the Arab League showed up in Damascus for meetings -- Manisha.

TANK: Meanwhile, of course, protests still in the works and continuing. What can you tell us about those?

JAMJOOM: We're seeing amateur videos being posted on social media sites, and we're hearing from human rights activists within Syria that there are protests being called for and being conducted throughout many cities in Syria today. Now, one video in particular that cannot be authenticated shows protesters -- purports to show protesters in Idlib, Syria. They are mocking what they are calling the protocol of death.

They're referring to the protocol that was signed by Syria and the Arab League to allow 500 observers there to try to stop the bloodshed from going on, the crackdown. They are holding up signs mocking what they call this led (ph) protocol, and the reason they're doing so, we've heard from rights activists, is because the rights activists there do not believe that the Arab League is a credible institution. And they believe that this protocol was signed and this observer mission that is to come in, in the next week, will only be a delay tactic that will serve the Assad regime -- Manisha.

TANK: Just finally, Mohammed, I know this is a story you've been following very closely, and I wanted to get your opinion on this. These bombings today, you know, whatever part they play in the narrative, do you think it's going to inflame the feelings of the protesters even further?

JAMJOOM: Judging from what we've heard so far from protesters, from activists, rights groups, Syrian rights groups inside and outside Syria, it does seem like it will inflame things. We've spoken to members of the Free Syria Army, and they are quite upset. They say that they believe that activists and protesters and the Free Syria Army will eventually be blamed for the attacks that happened today, and they say that because of that, that they want to step up their fighting, that they do not want to cease their -- pardon me -- they do not want to cease their aggression against the Syrian army that they say is attacking them.

So it does seem like this is something that could inflame the situation, could inflame sectarian tension. That's just judging by the people we've spoken to so far with the Free Syria Army. But it also -- with activists, it does seem they are angry, and they do believe that the al-Assad regime will blame protesters for this. And they're saying that is not right and they're saying that the Arab League should not trust what the Bashar al- Assad regime is saying to them about these bombings -- Manisha.

TANK: Well, it's going to be interesting, Mohammed, to see what happens when more of those Arab League observers come in.

In the meantime, thanks very much for covering the story for us and bringing us up to date.

Mohammed Jamjoom there, live from CNN Cairo.

Now, there have been bombings, as you've heard, in Syria. There have also been bombings this week in Iraq.

The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, says those responsible for Thursday's wave of bombings across Baghdad will not escape punishment. Twenty separate explosions killed 65 people and injured 196 others. It isn't clear who masterminded these attacks, but political and sectarian tensions have been rising in the wake of the recent U.S. troop pullout.

Before Thursday's violence, Mr. al-Maliki's Shiite-led government sought the arrest of the Sunni vice president on charges he organized death squads. Tariq al-Hashemi calls the allegations lies.

Well, Arwa Damon is closely following the developments in Iraq. She joins us now from CNN Baghdad with more on this.

Arwa, you know, not knowing or being able to put a finger on exactly who was responsible for these bombings, is this fueling the political tension right now?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it most certainly is fueling the uncertainty here. And the political tensions are pretty high already.

Now, there was supposed to be a meeting that was called by the speaker of parliament. This was supposed to be a meeting of the political leaders to try to bring about at least some sort of a political resolution to the stalemate taking place in governance. That meeting was canceled because members of the national alliance -- and that is this mega alliance that includes the prime minister's state of law coalition -- are not attending because they say they want the opposing Iraqiya bloc to lift its boycott.

Iraqiya, if you'll remember, is boycotting parliament. Its members are also suspending their participation in cabinet.

And because of all of these tit-for-tat moves, because of all these ongoing tensions, even the most basic of political meetings to try to move the country out of the stalemate is not even taking place. And for the Iraqi population, this is of course devastating, because not only are they having to deal with seeing their government crumbling like a house of cards, they're also now dealing with this violence and the potential for even more violence, because the politics is really polarizing the nation along ethnic and sectarian lines.

TANK: Arwa, I want to ask you more about that in just a second, but very quickly, what about an investigation to figure out exactly what happened on Thursday?

DAMON: Well, the Iraqi authorities say that the investigation is ongoing. A source within the Ministry of Interior says that a number of individuals have been detained. There is an increased presence on the streets of Iraq security forces, checkpoints, searches said to be more meticulous.

There is more members of the intelligencia out there trying to gather information. But the critical question that Iraqis want answered, and that is, how is it that so many explosives were able to navigate through so many checkpoints? That still remains unanswered, as does the critical question of, what are the Iraqi security forces going to do concretely to prevent this from happening in the future?

TANK: And that's it. Let's just get back to -- and you had alluded to this a moment ago, how Iraqis on the streets are feeling about their country right now. They have these political tensions, and they must also be thinking, how could it be that these people were able to get into parts of Baghdad with these sorts of explosives? They're asking the same questions.

How are those people feeling right now?

DAMON: You know, there's a lot of anger, there's a lot of frustration, and there is of course a lot of fear and uncertainty. In many ways, what is transpiring post the U.S. troop withdrawal is many Iraqis' worst nightmare.

There were always fears that there would be an increase in violence. That has materialized. But that, coupled with this apparent collapse of the government, gives very little hope to Iraqis for their future, because there is also the reality here, and that is that political instability, the vacuum that it creates, oftentimes tends to be filled with terrorism, tends to be filled with acts of violence carried out by extremist groups, because the political instability gives them the platform, gives these extremist groups the platform to forward their argument that power is not going to be grabbed through politics, it has to be grabbed through violence.

TANK: It's a terrible shame that we're still living in that era for Iraq. But we'll have to leave it there, Arwa. We could talk about this for much longer.

Arwa Damon, live for us from CNN Baghdad.

Thanks for that.

Now, demonstrators are gathering again in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and we really must not forget what's been happening again all this week in Egypt.

Today, they're gathering for what they're calling a rally to restore honor. They want the Egyptian military to stop what they say is the mistreatment of protesters.

Egypt's Health Ministry says violent clashes between security troops and protesters earlier this week left 17 people dead. Amateur video of soldiers dragging women and stomping and beating some of them sparked an international outcry. All this is taking place as Egyptians continue to vote in staggered parliamentary elections.

Elsewhere, Pakistan's prime minister has warned of conspiracies being hatched down to bring down the elected government there. In what appeared to be a message aimed at the country's powerful military, Yousuf Raza Gilani said that no institution could be a state within a state.

The provocative statements come during troubled times for Pakistan's domestic politics and its relations with the United States. The military has seized power from civilian authorities a number of times in the country's history.

Well, newly-released results of a U.S. probe into a NATO air strike last month in Pakistan show the deep divisions between these two sides. Twenty- four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the incident near the Afghanistan border. While the fallout continues over who was to blame in that attack, we've had the chance to catch up with a young Pakistani burn victim who witnesses say was found after a 2009 U.S. drone attack.

Shakira is receiving life-changing surgery at a hospital in Texas. Larry Seward picks up the story of her road to recovery.


LARRY SEWARD, REPORTER (voice-over): Scars can't hide that smile. There's so much joy in this girl, caretakers call her "Shakira," which means thankful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's coming towards her goal to be treated.

SEWARD: A medical mission team found Shakira two years ago burned beyond description. They found her in a trash bin after a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan.

Effendi calls this girl lucky, because two others found there died. Shakira is about to get reconstructive surgery on her nose, face and hands.

DR. ROBERT MCCAULEY, SURGEON: It's not easy and it's not a single day procedure.

SEWARD: Dr. Robert McCauley is doing all surgery free of charge. He's done this for 25 years. And in Shakira, he sees something special, something critical to success. It's all in her smile.

MCCAULEY: One thing I've learned over the years is that children adapt to adversity a lot better than adults. And as long as they have that adult support.

SEWARD: McCauley says recovery will take at least a year, likely many for Shakira. Even then, scars will remain. But Shakira remains thankful.


TANK: Such a brave girl.

Well, no family members have come forward to claim Shakira, so charity workers are hoping an American family will adopt her and keep her in the United States.

Still just ahead on NEWS STREAM, they were relieving a nightmare. Frightening new tremors said New Zealanders in the city of Christchurch scrambling for cover.

Meanwhile, grief in the Philippines. A merciless storm has already claimed more than 1,000 lives, but just as many are still missing.

And thousands of French women who've had breast implants could go on the operating table again. Find out why the French government is recommending that those implants be taken out.


TANK: For residents of Christchurch, New Zealand, it must have seen like their worst nightmare was happening again. Powerful earthquakes and aftershocks jolted the city on Friday, sending people into the streets in terror. Many were doing their Christmas shopping when the ground started shaking. At least two people were injured and the city's airport was closed.

Christchurch is still recovering from February's devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake which killed more than 180 people. That quake hit on February the 22nd. It struck the heart of Christchurch's central business district.

So just take a look at the map here. It turned much of the downtown area including a cathedral into rubble, and it caused more than $15 billion in damage in New Zealand's second largest city. Much of that area, well, it's actually still closed off. Some of the buildings there were even more damaged in today's tremors.

In the Philippines, authorities are grappling with a mounting humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of the Tropical Storm Washi. More than 1,000 people are still missing after landslides and flash floods swept away entire villages in the country's south. President Benigno Aquino has now declared a state of national calamity, with 300,000 people in evacuation centers, and a storm damage bill that's running up to at least $23 million. The United Nations is now appealing for funding to help in the recovery efforts.


TANK: Coming up still here on NEWS STREAM, the French government advises thousands of women who have silicon breast implants to get them removed. It's even willing to pay for the surgery. Find out why. That's just ahead.


TANK: Tens of thousands of French women are being told to talk to their doctors about potentially defective breast implants. They were made by a now defunct company called PIP. The French Health Ministry says it's concerned the silicon implants could leak and cause health problems. The government will pay for their removal if the initial surgery was for reconstruction.

Well, officials are saying that no links have actually been made between the implants and cancer.

Jim Bittermann joins us now from CNN in Paris and he can tell us a bit more about this.

Jim, that announcement coming today in a press conference. What was said?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, that the government is recommending that women have an operation to take these breast implants out and that the government is going to pay for the removal of the breast implants. Now, they'll only pay for the replacement for those people that have had reconstructive surgery usually after a mastectomy, and that's about 20 percent of the cases.

For about 80 percent of women who have gotten breast implants for aesthetic reasons, they'll not pay for the replacement. They will pay, however, for the removal of this particular breast implant, which, according to the French, has a one in 20 chance of rupturing and leaking silicon into the body, into the chest cavity of the woman that has the breast implant, and has a consequence -- the authorities are not certain what the implications of that are.

They have stressed, though, that up until now, at least there is no link between the leaking of the silicon into the breast cavity and cancer.

Here's the way one of the authorities put it --


JEAN-YVES GRALL, FRENCH HEALTH DIRECTOR GENERAL: So, these experts said that there is no link between a risk of cancer and a link with PIP implant breasts. However, since there are a lot of ruptures, they are growing because the nature of the implant is no good.


BITTERMANN: And the authorities say there are about 30,000 women who have this kind of breast implant, and it will cost the government about 60 million -- the government health authority -- about 60 million euros to remove the breast implants that have been put in -- Manisha.

TANK: Jim, obviously interesting developments from the French government. But given that officials are saying they can't actually detect a link necessarily between cancer and these breast implants leaking, what was it that moved the French government to action on this?

BITTERMANN: Well, I think that, basically, they're worried. They want to take this as a precautionary measure.

They really want to be on the safe side of things. They've had a couple of incidents here in France where they've not taken action with some medications, for example, a recent case of some medications that were not taken off the market, and they were widely criticized thereafter. And I think they're making this a precautionary measure. They're not sure what the impact of this leaking silicon could be exactly. They're saying there's no link to cancer, but on the other hand, it worries doctors enough that they think it should be done.

The fact is that taking these implants out is in fact a very risky operation in itself. I mean, any time you go under anesthetic, as you'd have to do for this operation, the fact is you're taking a little bit of a risk. And it's also a great expense to the government. So they feel strongly enough about it that they're recommending this operation.

It should be said that in Great Britain, where there are also a number of women, tens of thousands of women who have these breast implants, the government is not recommending this action -- Manisha.

TANK: OK. We'll wrap it up there. Thanks very much for that.

Jim Bittermann there, live from CNN Paris.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. We're live in Hong Kong.

And when we come back, a man whose words changed a nation is laid to rest. We'll be live from Prague for more on the former Czech president's funeral.

And Hungarians are taking a stand against what they say is the gradual demolition of democracy in their country. We'll take a look at the rising political tension there. That's next.


TANK: I'm Manisha Tank in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Syrian state media say two suicide car bombs bearing the hallmark of al Qaeda have exploded in the capital of Damascus. It says there are a number of military and civilian casualties. Some opposition leaders say the government is behind the attack. Syrian TV says one explosion happened outside the state security building and another outside a branch of the security services.

New Zealand has been rocked by a series of powerful earthquakes near Christchurch. They struck more than an hour apart in an area still recovering from a powerful quake in February. Two people have been reported injured.

A Ukrainian court has rejected an appeal against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's seven year jail term. Tymoshenko was found guilty of abuse of office in October over negotiation of a natural gas contract with Russia in 2009. She boycotted her hearing after claiming all Ukrainian courts are controlled by the government.

Now he was a leader of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution, helping to bring down a Communist regime in the closing days of the Cold War. Now world leaders have been joining with thousands of Czech citizens to pay their last respects to Vaclav Havel.

Let's take you to Prague now where Atika Schubert has been following the funeral proceedings at the historic St. Peter's Cathedral there.

A very, very sad day for the Czech Republic, Atika.

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A very sad day. And the funeral has just ended and the family is now going to proceed to a private ceremony, burial ceremony for Vaclav Havel. It was a very grand ceremony. A number of heads of state and government were there. Bill and Hillary Clinton, also French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron were there, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also attended and she actually spoke at the funeral in Czech about how she was honored to have -- to have met and to have worked with Havel.

In addition to those elaborate proceedings inside the cathedral, outside hundreds of people have come to actually watch the ceremony on large television screens, listening very respectfully and silent. Families brought their children here. And over the last few days more than 30,000 people are estimated to have come here to pay their final respects, say thank you, and lay flowers by his coffin.

And it just goes to show just how much he was loved here, not just by the Czech people, but also how much admiration and influence he had outside of the country by people who really admired him for his ability to translate his humanitarian ideals into political reality.

TANK: And with that, let's just remember -- or if you can remind us, Atika, of how instrumental he was in allowing what was then Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, for it to turn it back from Communism and enter a new age. And he was a real lynch pin in that. And that's what people are thankful for.

SCHUBERT: Well, exactly. He's really one of the pivotal figures that brought an end to the Cold War and did so very peacefully here in what was then Czechoslovakia. In fact, I spoke to one young woman -- one woman yesterday who said she was 19, just a teenager, when she saw him making his speech at Wenceslas Square that speech that's basically brought an end to the Communist regime in this country.

And it was called the Velvet Revolution because it was a peaceful transition where so many other countries had experienced that kind of violence, Czechoslovakia did not. And in large part that was due to Vaclav Havel's leadership. And it was the way that he was able to bring that moral authority to this popular movement and basically shame the Communist regime into stepping down and handing over power.

And he went from being an artist, playwright dissident, and then in a matter of weeks becoming the president of the country. And even once he was in power, he was somebody who was not really your politician's politician. He was still very much an ordinary person. He had a great sense of humor. He loved rock 'n roll. He was friends with the Rolling Stones and Lou Reed.

And so he was known for this very quiet and modest charm. And it was something that really endeared him to many people around the world. He was a friend also to the Dali Lama. He supported the cause of Tibet and a number of other humanitarian causes around the world. And this is one of the reasons he was so loved by the Czech people. And why so many people did come out here today.

TANK: OK. Well, thank you for putting us in the picture in terms of the funeral that is happening today for Vaclav Havel. Atika Schubert, live in Prague, thank you.

Now Hungarian citizens are holding a protest outside parliament in Budapest over what they call the gradual demolition of democracy. According to the Reuters News Agency, the former Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany was detained and then released by police. Opposition groups accuse the government of tightening its grip on power as the economy worsens. Matthew Chance has this report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: It may have escaped much international attention, but the nation of Hungary appears on a dangerous path. Critics accuse the ruling Fidesz Party of undermining democracy, making constitutional changes more suited to an authoritarian regime, but a member of the European Union.

MATYAS EORSI, FORMER HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: This process started one-and-a-half years ago when the current government got into power. And since then, they are systematically dismounting checks and balances and independent institutions. And recently, there was a bill introduced in the parliament to curb independence of the central bank. That was most alarming.

CHANCE: It's that concern in financial markets that's brought the issue of Hungary to the fore. The European Union and IMF are refusing to bailout its heavily indebted economy. Ratings agencies have stripped Hungary of its investment grade status.

And wider concerns are spilling out onto the streets. The prime minister, Viktor Orban, is accused of tightening his grip on power by redrawing election boundaries, installing loyal judges in the country's courts, and curbing media freedom.

The government says its merely following through on its election promises to sweep away the old order.

In a statement to CNN, a senior Hungarian official blamed opposition parties for driving the country, quote, "to the brink of economic and political collapse. When the changes are complete," the statement says, "there will be nothing to fear. Hungarian democracy continues, is alive and kicking."

But observers warn Hungary's democracy seems increasingly fragile. And that authoritarianism in the heart of Europe may be on the rise.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


TANK: We're going to take you to southern China. Another display of defiance. And another face-off between riot police and protesters. Police fired tear gas at demonstrators who gathered for a fourth straight day to demand the removal of a local power plant, because of pollution. Authorities today also detained a Hong Kong based news team covering this story. The CNN affiliate tells us their crew members have now been released.

Well, the unrest in Haimen is happening as a prominent Chinese activist has been sentenced to nine years in prison. A court in southwestern China's Sichuan Province found Chen Wei guilty of inciting subversion of state power. The 42-year-old was detained in February after he published essays online calling for freedom of speech and political reform. His wife tells CNN he was punished for saying what he thought.

Now a world sport update is just ahead for you. And Don Riddell will tell us how John Terry fared in his first match since he was charged with racially abusing an opponent. That's up next.


TANK: After a week of controversy over racial abuse, the focus returned to matters on the pitch for the English Premier League. Don Riddell is here with all the action. Hey, Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Manisha. Thanks very much. Yes, a day after being summoned to appear before a British court charged with racially abusing a fellow footballer, John Terry returned to action with his club on Thursday. The 31-year-old defender was leading Chelsea in a match against their London rivals Spurs at White Hart Lane in the Premier League.

Terry was booed by the Spurs fans every time he touched the ball, but he put in a solid performance, although he couldn't do much to stop Emmanuel Adebayor from giving the home team the lead. That was in the eighth minute. A quarter of an hour after that, Chelsea equalized with a goal from Daniel Sturridge.

There weren't any more goals, but a thrilling game ended 1-all.

Spurs actually could have won the game, but for a John Terry clearance in injury time. The result means that Spurs remain third in the Premier League table missing the chance to close the gap on the two Manchester teams. Chelsea stay fourth, a further two points back.

Well, there's no love lost between these two London rivals, but John Terry's inclusion in Thursday's game certainly added to the intensity. CNN's Dan Rivers was at White Hart Lane.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This evening during the match against Tottenham Hotspur every time he touched the ball he was booed by the Spurs fans. Tottenham Hotspur had put out a strongly worded statement to their fans warning them not to goat or chant against John Terry, saying a reminder to all fans both home and away that foul, abusive, homophobic, or racist language will not be tolerated here at White Hart Lane. And they also said that their stewards will be wearing special cameras on their heads to record any abuse coming from the home terraces against the Chelsea players and particularly John Terry.

It's not the kind of lead up to the European championships that the England team needs right now.


RIDDELL: Terry is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. And he has the full support of his club and manager.


ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS, CHELSEA MANAGER: His performances have increased since the incident happened. Fantastic player. And his commitment is never in doubt. And his quality and talent is never in doubt. So, I mean, he's properly focused to the causes of the football club, and his performances have not dropped a single level.


RIDDELL: Well, Barcelona have had another stellar year, haven't they? Winning five trophies in 2011 and they've ended it on a high. Just days after returning from their Club World Cup triumph in Japan the Catalans scored nine goals on Thursday night, fielding a side full of youngsters from the club's academy Barcelona routed the third division team Hospitalet 9-nil in the King's Cup, going through to the last 16 of the competition on a 10-nil aggregate score. This is yet more evidence that Barca has strength in depth and young stars that could keep them on top for many more years to come.

Now then it has been a disastrous season for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL. Much was expected of them, but without their injured quarterback Peyton Manning, they lost 13 straight games. This week, however, they've embarked on something of a winning streak. The Houston Texans have made the most of the Colts' offseason, winning their division and reaching the postseason for the first time. And they were hoping a win here would give them a first round bye in the playoffs.

Things were certainly looking good in the first quarter when Arian Foster gave them a 7-nothing lead.

The two sides then traded field goals until the fourth quarter. And with just three-and-a-half minutes left, the Texans were looking for a big first down here. Jacoby Jones somehow ended up with the ball after it bounced off a couple of other players. The Texans ended up settling for a field goal and a 16-12 lead.

But having won their first game of the season on Sunday, the Colts have now developed a taste for winning and they had the last say. Dan Orlovsky hit Reggie Wayne there for a thrilling 19-16 win. The Colts incidentally have never lost to Houston at home.

There was also some late drama in the NHL as Nashville staged an incredible fight back against the Columbus Blue Jackets. At one stage Nashville trailed 4-1, but they clawed their way back and tied the game at 5-all in the dying seconds. And then Ryan Suter split the defense with a beautiful pass to Martin Erat. The Czech international knocked in the winning goal just nine second left. The Predators won it by 6-5.

Great stuff there, Manisha. We'll have more world sport in three hours time.

And if I don't see you before, have a great Christmas.

TANK: Yes. And you too.

And guess what, Don, here in Hong Kong, Christmas is actually just over a day away. I can barely believe it. But yes, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.

Well, I was mentioning it was just over a day away if you're in Hong Kong at least. But no matter where you are, there's not a lot of time left to shop. Yesterday we shared some gift ideas for the geek in your life. Now Kristie Lu Stout has some suggestions specifically for Apple aficionados.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: 'Tis the season to be giving. And we're counting down to Christmas with more gifts to give. And today we're focusing on gifts for the iPhone or iPad fan in your life.

And I have to start with this, the iCade. It is an arcade cabinet for your iPad allowing you to play classic arcade games with a proper joy stick and buttons. Now, it doesn't work with every iPad game, so only ones programmed like this one, Pac-Man, or Atari classics. Now iCade, it costs $90 from Think Geek. Games cost extra from the App Store.

And if you want to be just a bit more involved with your iPhone game, you might want to try this. Now your iPhone, it serves as the targeting sight for the app blaster gun. It uses augmented reality to overlay aliens and other video game targets onto the real world. And you have to physically move the gun around and pull the trigger to find and shoot them all. And you can buy the gun for $40 from

And finally we have an old spin on a Christmas favorite, Charlie Brown's Christmas is a TV classic. And now its available in interactive form on iPad. The app is completely narrated for kids to follow along to. It even includes the original voices from the TV special. And it's fully interactive so you can touch the skaters and spin them around. Charlie Brown's Christmas is available on the App Store for iPad and iPhone for $5.


TANK: I have a fair idea of what Kristie might be getting her family for Christmas.

Now you may think you're running out of time to get presents, but there are still some gifts you can get right up until the last second. For instance, instead of a book you could buy a Kindle eBook from And of course there's no need to wait for the book to ship through the mail, this gets it (inaudible) via email.

Similarly, instead of going to a game store, you can get downloadable PC games from Steam. Just go to to browse that particular store.

Of course, it does mean that whoever is getting the gift misses out on the pleasure of ripping open wrapping paper. I'm one of those people.

So if you want to give a physical gift, why not make it yourself? If you want to build something, but don't know how, check out Make at That's a good idea.

Now in the United States, the New Year will be all about the presidential elections. Right now the buzz is not about a candidate in the 2012 race. We'll tell you why people are talking about, you won't believe it, Sarah Palin again.


TANK: Uncanny, and pitch perfect, those are just some of the reviews coming in for the latest Sarah Palin imitator. It is the actress Julianne Moore. But what does Sarah Palin have to say about her newest doppelganger? Jeanne Moos finds out.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can you pick the real Sarah Palin?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be honored...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: accept your nomination...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...for vice president...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: .of the United States.

MOOS: She's more like Palin all right, Julianne Moore. More stars in a just released trailer for the HBO movie about the 2008 election called Game Change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We desperately need a game changing pick. None of these middle aged white guys are game changers, so find me a woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

MOOS: Julianne Moore speaks in the trailer for exactly six seconds. And based on that six seconds, the reviews are in.

Her performance is uncanny, Entertainment Weekly says Julianne Moore's Palin steals the show. The show is a 50 second trailer.

And here's our favorite, based on her six second sound bite, I can see an Emmy from Julianne Moore's house.

Wonder what Sarah Palin sees?

SARAH PALIN, FRM. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know. I think I'll just grit my teeth and bare whatever comes what may with that movie.

MOOS: The whatever comes what may comment was made months ago when Moore's selection was first announced.

Palin fans seem less than entranced. Julianne Moore is much too old and not nearly pretty enough to portray gorgeous governor Sarah Palin.

But what's this got to do with the trailer about Governor Palin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A mindless eating machine.

MOOS: The web site Mediaite (ph) says the clip is edited to treat Julianne Moore's Palin basically like the shark in Jaws. Note the ominous music.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to create a dynamic moment in this campaign or we're dead.

MOOS: Did he say dead?

Sarah Palin's high heel in the trailer seems as lethal as Jaws' famous fin.

As if things weren't already confusing enough with Tina Fey.

TINA FEY, WRITER/ACTRESS: OK, listen up everybody. I'm going rogue right now so keep your voices down. Available now, we got a bunch of these...

MOOS: 2012 is shaping up to be the year of female political clones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gentleman, shall we join the ladies?

MOOS: But which lady is which?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be honored...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: .to accept your nomination...

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...for vice president...

MOOS: New York.


TAPE: It is pretty uncanny, you've got to admit.

And that's it for this addition of News Stream, but the news continues as ever at CNN. World Business Today is up next. Stay right there.