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CONNECT THE WORLD

Former High School Classmate Says Adam Lanza Just Another Kid; Interview with Author Wendy Cukier; Richard Engel Freed From Captivity In Syria

Aired December 18, 2012 - 16:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, a former friend of the Connecticut shooter speaks out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The events that he did that day may have been evil, but before then he was just another kid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: In an exclusive interview, Adam Lanza's former classmate opens up about the boy he knew as just a little different.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Well, tonight as President Obama backs a call to ban assault weapons, we're going to take a look at what America can learn from how other countries have dealt with similar tragedies.

Also this hour, refused an abortion, her husband says she was left to die. Tonight, how Ireland is acting to make sure other women are saved from a similar fate

And going where few monarchs have gone before. Why the queen is getting down to business with Britain's government.

Right. Good evening from London. First tonight, schools are once again open in Newtown, Connecticut, but this was no ordinary day of classes. Many parents pushed aside their apprehensions and put their kids back on a school bus for the first time since Friday's massacre. All of the buses had green and white ribbons. The colors of Sandy Hook Elementary where the mass shooting took place. Children from that school have not gone back to class.

Officials now say they'll return in January after the Holiday break, but will attend a different school. Well, also today more heartbreaking eulogies, family and friends gather to bury two more massacre victims just six years old.

Well, investigators are still trying to make sense of this senseless violence and why a 20 year old recluse return his gun on young children, school staff, and even his own mother before killing himself.

Let's get the details on the investigation as they stand now from Deborah Feyerick live in Newtown. The how is becoming a lot clearer, although the details still are sketchy to some extent. The why still very unclear, Deborah. Any more on that?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's still a huge question, Becky. And one thing we want to tell you we're standing outside the home Nancy Lanza. This is where she lived with her son. And all day, you mentioned those school kids going back to school. We saw buses going back and forth along this road. They could be seen very clearly from the Lanza household. Investigators were also here today, about three investigators pulled up around lunchtime. They were inside the house probably for about an hour, hour-and-a-half and then they left.

They're looking for additional evidence. Investigators have had no luck right now retrieving any of the data that was on the computer they found inside, because Adam Lanza appears to have smashed that computer, shattering the hard drive, and so then he went and he killed his own mother getting rid of really the only person who could have possibly helped anyone understand what was going on inside of him.

Now we are learning that Nancy Lanza was shot four times in the head in her bed as she slept. The gunmen then leaving to go to the school. He then after going on his rampage killed himself a single shot to the head.

The medical examiner has been doing toxicology reports. They want to see whether he had any sort of drugs in his system, any sort of medications that he may have been on which may have lead or may have triggered this.

Also, although the medical examiner was told that he has Asperger's, that Lanza has Asperger's, the medical examiner also looking to see whether he may have had any sort of underlying psychiatric or psychological condition that may have also contributed to what happened.

So all of this right now under investigation. We do know, according to the divorce document that the mother had a lot of responsibility when it came to paying for her son's psychiatric, psychological and prescription medications, that was according to the divorce documents. But investigators still trying to figure it out. They're talking to doctors, they're talking to health experts and also whatever psychiatrists, psychologist he may have spoken to over the last couple of years, because over the last three years, Becky, he virtually disappeared. Nobody knows where he went after he took university classes back in 2009. After that, he basically fell off the grid.

ANDERSON: It is absolutely remarkable and such a close-knit community that that can happen. Deborah thank you for that, Deborah Feyerick is there for you in Newtown for you.

There are still so many unknowns, but a clearer picture is starting to emerge of the shooter himself, Adam Lanza. Our Susan Candiotti spoke exclusively with one of his former classmates. He described the teenager that he knew in high school. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Among the steady stream of people drawn to this memorial honoring victims, a former schoolmate of the alleged killer.

ALAN DIAZ, GUNMAN'S FORMER SCHOOLMATE: Because you know he is a very big part in this event. I'm not really sure what to think of it. CANDIOTTI (on camera): Sadly, he is the reason for it.

DIAZ: Yes.

CANDIOTTI: Alan Diaz may have been as close as anyone could come to being a friend of Adam Lanza when he was a sophomore in Newton High School and Diaz was a freshman in 2008.

DIAZ: He was a very intelligent person. He really was. The way he acted around other people was very withdrawn and really quiet.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): A little different.

DIAZ: Yes.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): They were in the high school tech club together and spent a lot of time on computers. Adam had his own style of dressing.

DIAZ: He had the stereotypical nerd look like khaki pants, belt, tucked in shirt. He even had a little computer case instead of a backpack like everyone else. He had a pocket protector.

CANDIOTTI: He doesn't know whether Lanza was bullied. He kept to himself.

DIAZ: We all kind of new that he had problems socially. And we kind of had a feeling that there might have been something wrong with him, but obviously we never asked. We never thought it was our place to do so.

CANDIOTTI: Back then his schoolmates' mom once invited all his friends to the house to play video games. One was "Starcraft," kind of a war games in space. Another was "Warcraft 3" where as the ad says survival is a matter of strategy.

DIAZ: "Warcraft 3" was really fun. He was really into games. As I recall he picked up on "Starcraft" really quickly.

CANDIOTTI: When Lanza left high school and was home schooled, Diaz lost touch. But he ran into Lanza's mother, Nancy, about two years ago.

DIAZ: I remember her mentioning that he started going to the shooting range with her. My initial response to that was I never really imagined Adam wanted to ever hold a gun.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Why do you say that?

DIAZ: I don't know. Maybe because like in my mind I don't imagine shy quiet people going to a shooting range. I never really can make that association.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Investigators are tracking how often Lanza had been to gun ranges. They don't know how many so far. They have proven he has been to target practice about six months ago and for several years. Mother and son went at least once together.

Alan's older sister went to school with Lanza's older brother and she was friends with her mother who went to her bridal shower last year.

AMANDA D'AMBROSE, GUNMAN'S FORMER SCHOOLMATE: Why her? You know, she was just -- it was a shock. She was always a happy person.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Do you think of him as an evil person because of what he did?

DIAZ: At one point he was a good kid. The events that he did that day may have been evil, but before then he was just another kid.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Until something made him snap.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Newtown, Connecticut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, this is the fourth mass shooting during U.S. President Barack Obama's time in office. Now he's backing a congressional effort for stricter gun control. That story just ahead.

And as the U.S. community mourns, how other countries around the world have responded to deadly shootings. You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky. This is out of London for you. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, there have been several high profile mass shootings in the United States in recent years. You'll be well aware of that. None have led to any changes in the law. But after Friday's massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, it is fair to say that we are seeing a shift in tone, at least.

President Obama's spokesman says he supports one Senator's plan to reinstate a ban on new assault weapons that was allowed to expire in 2004.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: Well, he is actively supportive, of, for example Senator Feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban. He supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called gun show loophole. And there are other elements of gun law legislation -- gun legislation that he could support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, how would that go over then with the U.S. public. Well, Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 54 percent of Americans surveyed now favor new limits on guns while 43 percent oppose them.

A new CBS News poll shows a sharper difference of 57 to 30 percent. CBS says the poll shows support now at its highest level in a decade.

Now both those polls were taken after the Newtown shooting.

Well, interestingly we're also seeing a shift from the business community surrounding guns. Felicia Taylor is on that part of the story for you and she joins us live out of New York.

What's the narrative here. We're certainly seeing a shift aren't we?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, there's no question that there's been a shift on this, you know, but one thing I want to point out is, is -- you know, assault weapons are different than what Adam Lanza used. He used a semiautomatic rifle. So a ban on assault weapons would be very different than what actually he used. And I'm not sure that most people understand that difference.

But nevertheless, there has been reaction to this in terms of, you know, a number of companies removing the same kind of weapons from their store shelves, namely a place called Dick's Sporting Goods removed all similar type of automatic rifles from the store that is closest to Newtown, Connecticut which is where this happened.

Wal-Mart has removed the ability to buy this kind of a gun online, however, they still have direction to the nearest stores that still sell these. And there are some 1,200 in the United States -- Wal-Mart stores that sell these guns.

But what's also interesting is that from the financial perspective, some of the largest pensions funds have reacted very seriously and very swiftly to this, namely Calpers, which is a major teachers' retirement fund in California has said that it is going to take a look at its investment in Cerberus, which is a private equity group and its investment in something called the Freedom Group which does make these kind of weapons.

So there's no question that there has been a reaction and in my opinion, you know, pretty swiftly. Also, New York State Pension Fund is now saying that it is also going to review its portfolio with regards whether or not they are going to continue these kinds of investments.

But, you know, I have to tell you these stocks have had a huge run-up in the last year. Many of them have done extraordinarily well. Some were up about 100 percent since the beginning of this year. It's only been in the last three days that you've seen the stocks of things like Smith & Wesson, which obviously is one of the larger gun manufacturers down about 19 percent since Friday, Sturm and Ruger was down about 15 percent and Cembelas (ph) which is more of a sporting goods store was also down about 15 percent.

You know, the talk have been that people went out because there was this discussion that possibly there would be stricter controls on guns and started buying guns quickly after Obama was elected.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, Felicia, thank you for that. That's the business side of this.

What we see as a sort of changing narrative out there. If the U.S. wanted to try and tighten its gun laws, then could it? Well, we know it's not easy given a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Here's a look at what other countries have done around the world.

High caliber rifles and shotguns were banned in Australia after a gunman shot dead 5 people in Tasmania in 1996. Licensing there was also tightened.

In the UK in that same year, a 43 year old man burst into a school in Dunblane in Scotland and shot dead 16 young kids and their teacher. In the wake of that attack a new law was passed banning the private ownership of all handguns.

Well, after last year's dreadful mass shooting in Norway by gunmen Anders Behring Brevik, an independent report called for a total ban on semiautomatic weapons, which can be purchased relatively easily in that country.

If you want to own a hand gun in Finland, you have to show you've been an active member of a gun club for one year and be vetted by a doctor and the police. That came in the wake of a deadly shooting in 2008.

Well, my next guest has done exhaustive research around the world on gun violence and gun control and believes it is possible to push through a change in gun laws in the U.S., but not without a sea change in political will. Wendy Cukier is the author of the global gun epidemic from Saturday Night Special to AK-47s and she joins me now live from Toronto.

When we've just seen the global stats, what would you point to as most enlightening from the research that you've done around the world?

WENDY CUKIER, AUTHOR: I think what's very important to understand is that all it takes to have a massacre is one gun and one person. So we have seen massacres occur in countries with very strict gun laws -- Dunblane in Scotland for example.

However, the research shows very, very clearly that where you have more guns readily available with less regulation these incidents happen much more frequently. And if you look at murder rates in industrialized countries, for instance, the U.S. is seven times higher than Canada with respect to the murders with guns. And Canada is 10 times higher than the United Kingdom. And we see this among industrialized countries, that there is a very strong relationship between murders with guns and the availability of firearms, or the lack of strong controls.

ANDERSON: Now, then you say it is a myth that laws can't be changed in the United States because of the pro-gun culture. As viewers from the outside looking in, we see this pro-gun culture and to a certain extent almost surprised when we see these awful tragic situations.

What do you mean, though, that it's a myth these laws can't be changed?

CUKIER: Well, I mean, there's no question that, for example, the assault weapons ban situations was allowed to expire in 2004, because there was a lack of political will, not because the law could not be changed.

One of the challenges that you have in the United States, unlike in most other democracies, is there is no control on campaign spending. And the executive is not necessarily head of the legislature. So you end up in a situation where the NRA is basically able to exercise a stranglehold over politicians. And the polling, which your broadcast referred to earlier, is not unusual. We have seen for many years that the majority of Americans would support reasonable gun control. In fact, the difference in public opinion between Canada and the United States is not that great.

What is different in the United States...

ANDERSON: Let me stop you there for one second, because you used...

CUKIER: ...the extent to which you can buy votes, essentially.

ANDERSON: And you use the word reasonable changes in gun law. Let's just talk about that a moment. I just want to elude to what you talked about there as the gun lobby. We're all aware that the NRA's incredibly strong. I just want our viewers to get a sense of just how strong. This year, as far as we can tell, the stats show that the NRA spent $17 million on federal elections. And so far this year, the NRA and other groups that lobby congress and the White House on gun rights have spent close to $4 million, that's according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

So I want to ask you, then, what happens -- what happens next effectively. We've heard Obama at his most emphatic on gun law today. Is this the moment that the U.S. government finally faces up to this gun crisis, given the immense pressure brought to bear by the gun lobby as we see it, the way to support still by the general public for guns out there, what's likely to be achieved, do you think now?

CUKIER: I think really what is going to be key is whether or not the public opinion and pressure is sustained. And I know from my own experience in Canada, which is one of the only countries in the world that has relaxed its gun laws in the last decade in large part because of pressure from the gun lobby and spillover influence of the NRA in Canada, that the problem is not actually the opponents to gun control who tend to be outnumbered by supporters, the problem is that the supporters of gun control tend to do nothing about it. And there's a big difference in the intensity of feelings about this issue between the pro and con side and that actually has a huge influence.

So if indeed the American public finally believes that enough is enough and if they choose to exercise their influence in meaningful ways, things could change. We've seen, you know, that the United States is capable of incredible change, but it really has to be seen whether that will happen.

ANDERSON: We're going to have to leave it there. Your point being made and being made well. You need this groundswell of opinion and then this effort in order to keep the momentum going. With that, we must thank you, Wendy Cukier out of Toronto for you this evening.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, a dramatic escape from kidnappers in Syria. NBC correspondent Richard Engel speaks out about his harrowing ordeal.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: NBC correspondent Richard Engel is speaking out about his terrifying five day ordeal in Syria. Engel and his crew were kidnapped shortly after crossing into northwest Syria from Turkey last Thursday. They were freed after their kidnappers ran into a rebel checkpoint while moving the hostages. Well, two of their captors were killed in the ensuing gun battle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: They took us to a series of safehouses and interrogation places and they kept us blindfolded, bound. We weren't physically beaten or tortured. It was a lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed. They made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused there were mock shootings. They pretended to shoot Ghazi (ph) several times and when you're blindfolded and -- and then they fired the gun up in the air, it can be very traumatic experience. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, CNN wants you to know that we got word last Friday night that Richard Engel and his team were missing. NBC News asked us not to report that news and we complied. CNN has actually complied with such requests before and likely will again. Often in the first few days after a non-combatant goes missing, (inaudible) journalist, a member of a non- government organization or other company employee, CNN is asked as are other news organizations to delay reporting the story. The reason is that fact finding in any negotiations to freedom can take place before their capture becomes a worldwide news event.

News hostage negotiators say that once the global spotlight is on the missing that the hostages value (inaudible) make it much harder to negotiate their freedom. We thought you ought to know why we complied with the NBC news request just as we would from any organization or company missing an employee in such a high risk area.

All right, here's a look at some of our other stories making headlines this hour. And in Pakistan, deadly attacks have put a halt to an intense effort to vaccinate children against polio. Four female health workers were shot to death in Karachi on Tuesday morning. Two other women were shot while giving vaccinations in Peshawar. That prompted two provincial governments to suspend the program. No one has claimed responsibility, though the Taliban have banned the vaccinations after news that the CIA used a phony vaccination program in its hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Iraq's president is in a Baghdad hospital after suffering a stroke. According to a Kurdish lawmaker Jalal Talabani was in intensive care and his condition is not very good. The president's office released a statement saying he was exhausted. 79-year-old has left the country several times in the last five years for medical issues.

Well, coming up your latest world news headlines here on CNN. Plus, Ireland moves to clarify its abortion laws, but is this a step forward, backwards, or no real step at all? We're going to take a look at the continuing controversy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, just bring you up to date news just coming into CNN Center. The National Rifle Association is responding to the shooting in New Town in the US state of Connecticut.

It says that the group was, and I quote, "shocked, saddened, and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in New Town. Out of respect for the families and as a matter of common decency, we've given time for mourning, prayer, and a full investigation of the facts before commenting."

The NRA says it is prepared to offer "meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again" and plans to hold what it calls a "major news conference" in the Washington area on Friday. The first we have heard from what is the powerful gun lobby in the States since that shooting on Friday.

Well, children returned to school today in New Town, Connecticut for the first time since Friday's massacre, but students from the Sandy Hook elementary, where the shooting took place, stayed at home. They won't return until January and will attend a different facility.

Ireland's government is trying to clarify the country's strict abortion laws. The country's change would permit abortions when a pregnant woman's life but not her health is at risk, but any change may cause new controversy in what is that Catholic nation.

Well, the move comes seven weeks after the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman who miscarried and died after being denied an abortion. Her case sparked a public outcry. CNN's Nic Robertson covered the story after it unfolded in late October. Have a listen to some of his reporting back then.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 31-year-old died in an Irish hospital, refused an abortion that could have saved her life.

PRAVEEN HALAPPANAVAR, SAVITA'S HUSBAND (via telephone): They knew they can't help the baby. Why did they not look at the bigger life?

ROBERTSON: This an interview recorded with "Irish Times" journalist Kitty Holland that has ignited a firestorm across Ireland and beyond.

KITTY HOLLAND, JOURNALIST, "IRISH TIMES": The abortion issue is the most divisive issue in Irish society. There's a huge pro-life lobby and an equally vocal pro-choice lobby. It's an extremely emotional issue.

ROBERTSON: Now triggering fierce debate in the Irish parliament.

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN LEADER: It is reported that she died of blood poisoning after, according to her husband, being refused a termination while miscarrying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deputy Adams, there are two investigations taking place at the moment. I think it's only right and appropriate that the facts be determined by those of those investigations.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): As reported by the "Irish Times," Savita was admitted to Ireland's Galway University Hospital Sunday, 21st October, suffering back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant, was miscarrying, and told she's likely lose her baby.

Seven days later, she was dead. She had pleaded her doctor for a termination, but for two and a half days, while her fetus had a heartbeat, they refused.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, a lack of concrete details to date has made it hard for doctors or medical professionals in Ireland to know when and why circumstances for an abortion are acceptable. Earlier, I spoke to Nic Robertson, and I began by asking him if the government's pledge for what is effectively clarification on the issue is a step forward for the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: What the government seems to be trying to do is follow through on the provisions that were made in the constitution 20 years ago.

The Supreme Court said in a case, a 14-year-old girl who was raped, who was thinking of suicide, who was prevented having an abortion in Ireland and then prevented having one in England, as well, the Supreme Court overturned that eventually, that in cases like this, where there's a real and substantial threat to the life of the woman that it is permissible.

So, in a way, it gives some legal protection to doctors who've been worried about public perceptions and the public view. And the deeply held beliefs by many in Ireland that abortion is fundamentally wrong.

ANDERSON: This may not be the easiest question to answer, but is it any clearer, then, that Savita's life could have been saved if this legislation that is proposed were -- had been on the books in October. After all, it was her health, not her life, that was at risk at the beginning, wasn't it?

ROBERTSON: And this is very hard to tell. What would the doctors do if they had this law in place now? You could argue, and perhaps the politicians would, that they would feel more emboldened to take stronger steps to protect her life through the possibility that her health was in danger.

But what Praveen Halappanavar has been calling for, her husband, has been a full public inquiry. And if he gets that, and it's been -- one of his motivations has been that this should never happen to anyone again, and it's his view and the view of his lawyer at this time that this new legislation should prevent this from happening again.

But if he gets the full public inquiry that he's demanding and hasn't got so far, we would know more about the details of precisely what happened, what tests were done on his wife, why some of the records are missing.

And that might provide the answers to be able to say, OK, well it would actually specifically have helped her. But again, the legislations not there specifically. Her case isn't known about in its full complexity.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, Ireland has some of the world's most restrictive abortion laws. I want to give you a quick look at how Ireland compares with the rest of the world. This map from global advocacy group, the Center of Reproductive Rights, is based on the latest data from the UN World Health Organization.

The countries in red are where abortion is legal only if the mother's life is at risk. You can see Ireland is the only country in the EU and, in fact, in the Northern Hemisphere that maintains such strict laws, more common in Africa and South America.

Even they are divided between red and yellow, which allows termination on health grounds. These pale yellow countries, you can just see there, have socioeconomic criteria, and the green countries have no restrictions at all, that swathe across Northern Europe and North America.

So, why are Ireland's abortion laws so different from neighboring countries? Joining me now to discuss this is Sinead Ahern, spokeswoman from Choice Ireland, and Maria Steen from the Iona Institute, which promotes the place of religion in society. Firstly, Maria, your reaction to this decision by your government today.

MARIA STEEN, IONA INSTITUTE: Yes, just to clarify, Becky, there used to be a lot of confusion about what the law in Ireland actually says at the moment. There's been highly sensational press coverage of the death of Savita Halappanavar and Ireland has been portrayed as a country where medical practice is almost medieval.

Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact. We have a very low maternal mortality rate, so much so, that actually Ireland is classed as a world leader in terms of maternal health care by both the UN and the World Health Organization.

Now, we don't know yet the full facts of the Halappanavar case. We have only heard one side of the story, but what we can say with certainty is that there is absolutely in Irish law preventing women from getting all necessary medical treatment.

ANDERSON: If their life is at risk -- if -- hang on, Maria. If their life is at risk going forward. If their health is at risk, abortion is still illegal.

Let's move on, because we want to have a discussion here. Sinead, will lives be saved by this new legislation? Is it a step forward, or are we sort of -- hovering here?

SINEAD AHERN, SPOKESWOMAN, CHOICE IRELAND: Well, I think it's probably important to point out that this legislation doesn't actually change the law on abortion in Ireland. Our constitution and our Supreme Court is quite clear that a woman, when her life is in jeopardy, has a right to an abortion.

But one of the issues we have is that there's no supporting legislation for that. So, for example, for doctors, there's no guidelines in terms of who makes the decision, at what point is considered an immediate and direct threat to a woman's life, and there's no appeals mechanism, for example, if a woman disagrees with that decision.

And the European Court of Human Rights has described that as a chilling effect on our doctors. At the moment, the only legislation, really, around abortion is the 1861 Offenses Against Person Act, which criminalizes both the woman who terminates the pregnancy and any doctor or any person who helps her.

And that's our most up-to-date legislation. So, doctors who terminate pregnancies in a case where a woman's life is in jeopardy continue to risk prosecution, and it's one of the most serious crimes that can be committed on the Irish books.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEN: That's absolutely not --

ANDERSON: Maria, this is the most limited form of abortion reform, to clarify and legalize what is a very limited circumstances in which abortion is permissible in Ireland.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEN: But --

AHERN: Absolutely. This doesn't change the law. All it does is --

ANDERSON: Hang on. Maria, let me get Maria.

AHERN: -- codify and explain to doctors circumstances that would give them a legal framework --

ANDERSON: OK. Let's get Maria's response. Sorry, I -- Maria.

STEEN: It's true to say that we don't have abortion in Ireland, induced abortion, deliberate induced abortion in that sense. And despite that, we still are the world leaders in maternal health care. More women die in pregnancy in England where abortion is widely available than they do in Ireland where there is no abortion at the moment.

And what the government seems now to be proposing is a change in the law whereby, at the moment, as things stand, doctors and nurses do all they can to protect both mother and child. They see that they have two patients. And in Ireland, we view that as a very human approach in our society, and it's one that the vast majority of Irish people would like to see protected.

But what the government now --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: Can I get a response from -- let me get a response from both of you to this. In 2011, the UN's report on abortion law said, and I quote, "all states must provide safe abortion and contraception for women, and states who prosecute and jail a woman who seeks an abortion are infringing on a woman's rights." Those notes I was hoping would come up on the screen for you viewers.

So, Ireland continues, Maria, to infringe on women's rights, according to the UN, at least.

STEEN: Well, that's not true, and -- because there is no universally- accepted right to an abortion, for a start off, and the European Court of Human Rights have said that clearly.

The European Court of Human Rights have also talked about the wide margin of appreciation that is allowed to contracting states, so that Ireland is free to decide, the Irish people are free to decide what particular law they wish to govern their country in relation to abortion.

But I do see what the government is proposing at the moment as a crossing of a moral Rubicon in the sense that doctors and nurses who heretofore have used all their medical skill to protect both mother and child will now be using their medical skills to deliberately bring about the death of a completely innocent child.

ANDERSON: You have made your point. Let me get Sinead in here, because we will have to take a break at some point. Sinead, a step forward or a step back, as far as you are concerned, for Ireland?

AHERN: I think we see this as a step forward in terms of we're now putting the legislation in place to ensure that women's lives are protected. Every day, 12 Irish women travel across the water to terminate pregnancies in the UK, so to say that we're a state without abortion is disingenuous and, I think, undermining of the very real experiences of those women.

And what we're hoping to see is that if doctors have legal clarity now, if they have these guidelines to allow them to offer any and all treatments that they need to offer, that we won't see a repeat of what happened in Galway, even though we don't know all of the facts. It does seem clear that she asked for a termination.

And we won't see a repeat, for example, of the very tragic case in Cork a number of years ago. A woman called Michelle Harte, who had very -- was very ill with cancer and wasn't even able -- her doctors felt that to terminate her pregnancy would be the best thing for her health. She was too unwell to travel to the UK, and she later died.

So, we have a number of these kind of very sad stories of women who have, in some cases, can't even -- there's no, even, legal mechanism for them to determine if they could access an abortion, so we see this as a positive step, but it doesn't represent any particular liberalization. It's literally that --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: And with that --

AHERN: -- is a very restrictive --

ANDERSON: And with that, Sinead, I'm going to have to -- I'm going to have to wind this up. It's been absolutely fascinating to hear from both of you, Sinead Ahern and Maria Steen here on CNN. We thank you.

AHERN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We'll take a very short break. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: It's time for this week's Leading Women show, and tonight we take a look back at where these women started out, one an established opera singer, the other a driving force at General Motors Brazil. We hear how their families influenced their careers and sacrifices made en route to success.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): San Paolo. An emerging business hub where the booming economy is fueling a demand for cars. As president of General Motors Brazil, Grace Lieblein's job is making sure her company is doing its part to meet some of that demand.

GRACE LIEBLEIN, PRESIDENT AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, GM BRAZIL: Last month, we were able to overtake the Toyota Corolla in the market here, and we just see sales continuing to grow.

TAYLOR: The Brazil operation is GM's third-largest in the world after the US and China. From production to new launches to sales, Grace Lieblein is in charge.

LIEBLEIN: That's a beautiful color. And the thing about colors is that it's easy to do.

TAYLOR: Lieblein began her GM career in 1978 at a division in California, where she was born. She took part in a program that enabled her to study industrial engineering, while getting hands-on experience. She rose through the ranks as one of the few women in the industry.

LIEBLEIN: And my feeling was always, I'm going to get in, and I'm going to do the best job that I can, and I will build my credibility from there.

TAYLOR: She says her confidence then and now comes from her Nicaraguan mother, who died in 2009, and her Cuban father, who worked at a GM plant for 28 years.

LIEBLEIN: This belief that I could really do anything I wanted to do, for me was very impactful. You think about instilling that in a child, in a young girl. That's a gift.

TAYLOR: Values, she says, she and her husband Tom, who's a GM engineer, instill in their daughter, Ally. While we toured a top-secret room in the design center, Lieblein lets us take a peek at a model about to launch.

LIEBLEIN: There you go. You've always wanted to do that, haven't you?

(LAUGHTER)

TAYLOR (on camera): If you had to pick one part of this whole process, from start to finish, of designing and producing a car, what's the most exciting for you?

LIEBLEIN: One is when you get your first prototype vehicle. Having that first prototype vehicle that you can actually drive and feel and start to experience.

TAYLOR: And then seeing it out on the road.

LIEBLEIN: And then, that's the other point is the minute that you see it on the road.

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR: That must be huge.

LIEBLEIN: Oh, yes. It's a family thing. My daughter and my husband as well, every time we -- especially when they were first coming out, every time we'd see an Acadia or an Enclave, we'd -- "Oh! There's another one!"

TAYLOR: "Yay! There's another one!"

LIEBLEIN: Yes, yes. Exactly. I know.

TAYLOR (voice-over): The importance of work and family are on display in her office.

TAYLOR (on camera): Who inspires you?

LIEBLEIN: First, probably my family. My husband and my daughter and my father. They're what keeps me going.

(WOMAN SINGING OPERA)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Kristie Lu Stout. Pitch-perfect high notes, a voice from Heaven, is how some have described the singing of Sumi Jo.

(SUMI JO SINGING OPERA)

STOUT: The Korean opera star and Grammy winner has graced stages all over the world, and each grand performance is preceded by this --

(JO SINGING OPERA)

STOUT: Rehearsal and more rehearsal. This time, it's for a concert at the Seoul Arts Center. Jo is no stranger to a demanding routine. That's how it's been since she was four years old.

SUMI JO, OPERA SINGER: I had lots of lessons, for example, singing lessons. And I did drawing and ice skating, acting.

STOUT: She says her mother, a former amateur singer and pianist, laid the groundwork for her career.

JO: She always thought that if she had a baby girl, she wanted her to make an opera singer. And that's why I'm here.

STOUT: Jo's professional journey began in 1983, when she left her native Korea and headed to Rome to study opera. She's lived in Italy ever since.

JO: I was just 19. I had to know how to cook. I didn't know any words in Italian.

STOUT: She found good company and friendship in a puppy.

(DOG BARKING)

JO: Oh, my gosh! There are puppies!

STOUT: And to this day, her love of dogs remains. She's very active as an animal advocate.

JO: And this baby -- very sad. They need some help, really.

(DOG BARKING)

STOUT: She also owns dogs of her own.

JO: My father and my mother, they always loved very much nature -- trees and plants and animals.

(JO SINGING OPERA)

STOUT: And there's also the gift and love of music Jo inherited, a cornerstone of her life.

JO: Every day, when I wake up, I thank God that I can sing.

(JO SINGING OPERA)

JO: Life is such a precious gift, so every day is beautiful for me.

(JO SINGING OPERA)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All year, we've profiled inspirational women at the top of their fields, and you can learn more about all of them at the website. Also, share with us your plans to advance your own careers in 2013, cnn.com/leadingwomen.

About five minutes left in the show. Coming up after this very short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, one of Italy's best football clubs is penalized in a match-fixing scandal. Find out who and why after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Napoli's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League took a hit on Tuesday. Naples' club is the latest to play the price for players trying to fix a match. Don Riddell joining me now for more on this story. Why Napoli at this stage, and why now?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's because they've been found guilty of trying to fix a match, Becky, back in May of 2010. It was at the end of the season. They last to Sampdoria by a goal to nil, a result that put Sampdoria into the Champions League.

And the Italian Football Federation has just ruled that Napoli's goalkeeper in that game, Matteo Gianello was trying to fix the game, and he was trying to persuade Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava to be in cahoots with him.

Now, what's interesting here is that the goalie has been banned for three years and three months. The two players have been banned for six months, even though they didn't actually agree to take part in the fix.

However, their crime, Becky, was that they didn't report it. And since they're trying to conduct a zero-tolerance approach in Italy, of course, if you're approached or if you know anything, you really should report it, and that's why these guys have been fined.

But what's really going to affect Napoli is they've been docked two points, which means they drop from third down to fifth place. Only the top three teams in Italy go into the Champions League, so come the end of the season --

ANDERSON: Sure.

RIDDELL: -- this could be very damaging punishment for them.

ANDERSON: Yes. And that's what matters in the end. Listen, Colin Montgomerie never won a golf Major, which is incredible in and of itself, but he's done just about everything else. What's his latest achievement?

RIDDELL: I tell you, he's really chuffed with his latest achievement. He's been told he'll be inducted into golf's Hall of Fame here in the United States in Florida next year. He really has had an incredible career, and he really did everything but win a Major, as you say.

He came second five times in Major tournaments, that's how close he was, but of course he was the -- he won the European Order of Merit in seven consecutive years, which is a record. He was a European Ryder Cup legend, both as a player and as a captain, so many people will feel he thoroughly deserves this accolade.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. Excellent. Thank you for that.

Tonight's Parting Shots for you, just before we go. Queen Elizabeth gets a taste of political life as she attends the first cabinet meeting of her 60-year reign. The symbolic first marked -- visit marked the first occasion that a British monarch has sat with the government in over 200 years.

The queen was presented with a set of 60 placemats to celebrate her diamond jubilee year and taking a rare opportunity to grill the cabinet. The queen caused much amusement by quizzing chancellor George Osborne about the state of Britain's gold reserves. We can't report what he said only because we don't have it.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. Good night.

END