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Egypt Votes on a Constitution; Placing Blame Over Cliff Failure; Top Crime Stories of 2012; Protests in India; Syria Consolidates Chemical Weapons

Aired December 23, 2012 - 06:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND.

New information on the activity of Syria's chemical weapons and the heightened fear they may fall into the wrong hands.

Aurora, Penn State and, of course, Newtown. We countdown down the top 10 biggest crimes of 2012.

And "Time" magazine named President Obama person of the year. But do you know who their reader's choice was? You might be surprised.

It is Sunday, December 23rd. Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye.

We begin with some breaking news this morning. The brutal beating and gang rape of a young woman is sparking anger and massive protests in India.



CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


KAYE: Protesters chanting "we want justice" in New Delhi. Police say the 23-year-old was attacked on a bus last weekend. CNN has learned that a journalist has been killed in demonstrations today. And we'll bring you much more on this as soon as we get it.

Now to a tearful ending and a new beginning in Connecticut. Flags will be raised to full staff today for the first time since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This comes just after the final three funerals for the victims of that tragedy. Emilie Parker, Ana Marquez-Greene and Josephine Gay. All little girls with bright futures ahead of them, taken away before their time. People gathered to say their good-byes.


JILL COTTLE GARRETT, EMILIE PARKER'S AUNT: To just see the hall filled with pink flowers, glitter, it was fancy and that's what Emilie lived her life is celebrating life. And everything was special to Emilie.


KAYE: Emilie Parker was just six years old. Her father is one of the few family members from the Newtown families to speak publicly about the shooting. He wanted people to remember his daughter as a kind and caring big sister.

Now to other news. President Obama is in Hawaii for the holidays and today he'll help celebrate the life of the late senator, Daniel Inouye. The president is scheduled to attend the funeral service for Inouye at the National Memorial Cemetery for the Pacific in Honolulu. The senator passed away last weekend at the age of 88. The president spoke at the memorial service in Washington on Friday.

In New Orleans, a federal judge has given final approval to BP's settlement with Gulf Coast businesses and residents. BP will pay at least $7.8 billion in compensation to settle claims from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. There's no cap on the settlement except for those claims from those in the sea food industry, so the final bill could still be much higher. Thousands of people made claims from Texas to Florida.

Moving overseas now to a deadly cold snap in the Ukraine. It's lead to 83 deaths just in the past week. Hundreds more have been treated for hypothermia and frost bite. The government has set up thousands of heating centers to help people deal with the extreme cold. The temperatures there have dropped down to just one degree Fahrenheit, far below the average for this time of year. Well, this morning it looks like a major U.S. ally will have a new constitution, but there are still a whole lot of questions about Egypt's democratic future. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood party says the draft charter has been approved by a majority of voters in a referendum. Official results are expected later on. Two rounds of voting followed violent protests.

Let's check in now with CNN's Ian Lee. He's in Cairo this morning.

Ian, good morning. So, how was the voter turnout?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Randi, voter turnout was really, really low. Lower than a lot of people were expecting, especially with the turmoil we saw in the lead up to this election. This was the second lowest turnout that we've seen. Thirty-two percent of Egyptians came out and voted, which really is having a lot of people wondering where the 68 percent of other people weren't voting. Either they were unwilling or they were unable to cast their votes.

It really is not a strong mandate for the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi. They will be happy that they won this constitution. But with such a small number of people who came out to vote, a lot of people are wondering, you know, what they could have done differently, especially with the opposition, what they could have done differently to get people out to vote in this constitutional referendum.


KAYE: And it certainly was so controversial. Now, I guess, the question is, what does this all mean for the opposition?

LEE: Well, the National Salvation Front, which is the umbrella organization for the opposition, will be meeting here shortly, but they really have just two options. One, continue the protesting and continue rejecting this whole process or, two, prepare for parliamentary elections, which will come within two months, if this constitution is ratified or is -- if the supreme electoral commission does approve this constitution. They have within two months of parliament, which they need to get ready for.

And like I said earlier, there's 68 percent of the people didn't vote. So they're going to want to target that large majority that didn't come out, as well as the Islamists. They're going to want to go after them as well because it's in the parliament where the changes to a constitution can be made now, Randi.

KAYE: And Morsi's vice president, we understand, has quit. What is the significance of that?

LEE: Well, in the new constitution, there isn't a vice president. And he was aware of this -- of this move. He made the decision last November. This was all before the turmoil that happened, all before the constitutional referendum, the declarations were made, but he held on saying that the president needed him and that he wanted to help the country. But he said there was a conflict of interest between being a judge and being vice president, mixing the judiciary with politics. He didn't like that. But it isn't really a big surprise and it shouldn't have a real big impact in Egypt.

KAYE: And as a result of this, how much unrest do you think we'll continue to see?

LEE: We'll definitely see some pockets of unrest, probably within the next week. People still angry over what happened. A lot of people unsatisfied with the constitution. But, really, we haven't seen the protests, at least in the run-up to this constitutional assembly, really make any difference or make -- have any impact on this whole process. So if these groups who do object to the constitution really want to make a difference, they're going to have to do it in their legislature, and that election is within two months.

KAYE: All right, Ian Lee for us. Appreciate your reporting there, Ian. Thank you very much.

And to Washington now. With Congress home for the holidays, a deal on the fiscal cliff looks less and less likely. And that could mean coal in the stocking for House Speaker John Boehner. It could also mean the end to his two-year reign as Republican leader. Boehner is facing pressure from his own party after his plan "b" failure. He proposed a vote on the plan to allow taxes to go up on millionaires, but Republicans had to pull it off the table after admitting they just couldn't get it passed.

For an illustration of the pressure facing John Boehner, all you have to do is check the latest polls. And that's what we have political editor Paul Steinhauser for.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Americans are worried about the tax increases and spending cuts that would kick in if the nation falls off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year. Check this out. Seven of 10 questioned in our CNN/ORC national poll say there would be major problems or a crisis in the country if that happens.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Part of what voters were looking for is some compromise up here. That's what -- that's what folks want.


STEINHAUSER: And our poll indicates more Americans want the Republicans, rather than the Democrats, to compromise more to reach bipartisan solutions.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The Democrat- controlled Senate and White House have no plan and have offered no plan all year to deal with these looming cuts.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STEINHAUSER: But the public doesn't seem to agree and more people would blame Republicans in Congress rather than the president if no deal is reached. One reason why, more people see the views and policies of the GOP, rather than the Democratic Party, as too extreme. That wasn't the case two years ago.

If there's any good news in the poll for the Republicans, it's this. A small majority say it's good for the country that the GOP controls the House, which suggests the public doesn't want the Democrats controlling everything here in Washington.

KAYE: Paul Steinhauser, thank you very much.

Well, it has been quite a year. And with the end just around the corner, we wanted to take a look back at the top stories of the year. I'll run down what crime and punishment stories made our list.

But first, a holiday message to our troops from President Obama and first lady.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The war in Iraq is over. The transition in Afghanistan is underway. And after a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. All across America, military families are reuniting. So this week, let's give thanks for our veterans and their families and let's say a prayer for all our troops, especially those in Afghanistan, who are spending this holiday season overseas risking their lives to defend the freedoms that we hold so dear.



KAYE: Well, the year turned out to be one full of incredible stories. Some sparked international outrage. And as others developed, the details were almost too hard to believe. Crimes were committed and, in some cases, justice was handed down. But some victims are still waiting for justice. Here's the list of the top 10 crime stories of 2012.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN: A manhunt is underway for McAfee software founder John McAfee.

ALINA CHO, CNN: The computer whiz and millionaire is now wanted for questioning in the murder of an American ex-patriot in Belize.

TOM FOREMAN (ph), CNN: Police are pursuing multiple leads, they say, and they claim they just want to talk to McAfee as part of their investigation, but nobody seems to know where he is.

KAYE (voice-over): Yes, this one was strange and only got stranger after weeks went by and no one could find him.

Well, not no one.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN (ph), CNN: Breaking news right now. Fugitive software tycoon John McAfee, wanted for questioning in the murder of his neighbor in Belize, has been on the run for three weeks from authorities. But our Martin Savidge found him.

KAYE: McAfee claims he didn't kill his neighbor.

Number nine, the day darkness fell under a crystal clear August sky in Wisconsin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The very information -- the latest information that we know, seven people are dead at this point, three of them, we are told, outside of that temple.

KAYE: The gunman, on a rampage at a Sikh temple. U.S. Army Veteran Wade Michael Page.


KAYE: After shooting one police officer multiple times --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. Shots fired at an officer.

KAYE: Page was shot and killed by another officer.

Number eight, the massacre in Kandahar province.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered.

KAYE: The accused gunman, Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. Military officials say Bales left his Afghanistan outpost on a night back in March and single handedly attacked two villages, opening fire and killing 16 Afghan civilians in their homes and wounding six others.

Number seven, striking a deal in the shooting that struck a blow to the nation.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: The man who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people on a rampage in Tucson last year pleaded guilty to 19 charges.

KAYE: Jared Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years. His guilty plea means he will avoid the death penalty.

Chicago's murder rate surged this year to levels not seen in almost a decade. By December, close to 500 people were killed in the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just not the gang bangers. Right now innocent kids and women are being shot on a daily basis.

KAYE: Averaging more than a murder a day, most of the crime happened in a few specific areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The entire city suffers when that violence happens. And this idea of not in my backyard is not OK.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN: We start this morning with breaking news from Italy.

KAYE: A massive cruise ship, the "Costa Concordia," turned on its side after running aground in January. Thirty-two passengers and crew were killed. The captain says it was an accident, not a crime, but he now faces charged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ship's captain is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship.

KAYE: He claims he tripped and fell into a life boat.

The sentencing of Jerry Sandusky.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN: Carol, Jerry Sandusky will die in jail.

KAYE: A judge sentenced the 68 year old former Penn State assistant football coach to at least 30 years in jail after he was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse. Despite the mountain of evidence against him, Sandusky continues to proclaim his innocence. He's in the process of appealing his sentence.

Number three, the shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: My son left Sanford, Florida, in a body bag while George Zimmerman went home to go to sleep in his own bed.

KAYE: Accused gunman George Zimmerman claims self-defense in a case that sparked international outrage and ignited racial tensions. The trial is set for June.

Number two --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need rescue inside the auditorium. Multiple victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got seven down in theater nine. Seven down!

KAYE: July 20th, just past midnight, terror inside theater nine.

JOHN BERMAN (ph), CNN: Aurora, Colorado, nine miles east of Denver, where there has been a mass shooting at a movie theater.

KAYE: Prosecutors say James Holmes donned protective gear, threw tear gas and began firing. In the end, 12 people killed, 58 others wounded. Holmes faces 152 charges. Many victims continue to recover, while others will never recover the loss they suffered that night.

And number one -- BLITZER: Unimaginable horror grips the nation in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

KAYE: Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

DON LEMON, CNN: This is unspeakable what happened in this town.

KAYE: Innocent children shot dead in their classrooms. The victims, 16 six year olds, four seven year olds, along with six adults.

ROBBIE PARKER, EMILIE PARKER'S FATHER: Emilie's laughter was infectious and all those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world is a better place because she has been in it.

KAYE: In Newtown, Connecticut, an outpouring of kindness and compassion while a nation faced hard questions about mental health and guns. As the president issued an emotional call for action.

OBAMA: For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.


KAYE: A look back there at 2012.

And be sure to stay with us for more of our year ending top 10 lists. And if you want something really special, well, you should head to for the year in pictures. All the images that define 2012. Our friends there at put that together for you.

He beat out Olympic athletes, TV personalities and a long list of humanitarians around the world. You may be shocked, though, to find out which world leader won "Time" magazine's person of the year online reader poll. We'll tell you.


JOHN WETTON, FRONTMAN, ASIA: Hi. I'm John Wetton from Asia. And I was reminded when I came into this country again, my -- one of the messages that I got was from someone who said about the London Olympics, thank you for sending our athletes back safely. And I thought that was such a lovely thing to say. Well, I'm going to say the same thing to you, please come back safely. There are people who are thinking about you and loving you. Please come back in one piece. To all those men and women around the world, God bless you.



KAYE: Twenty-two minutes past the hour now. Let's update you now on the alleged brutal beating and gang rape of a young woman on a bus that is sparking anger in India.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


CROWD: Justice.


KAYE: Protesters chanting "we want justice" in New Delhi. CNN has also learned that a journalist has been killed in protests today in northern India. CNN IBN's Karma Paljor joins me now on the phone from New Delhi.

Karma, what can you tell us about the reports that we're getting that a journalist has been killed?

KARMA PALJOR, CNN IBN REPORTER (via telephone): Yes, the journalist has been killed. This was when protests erupted in (INAUDIBLE) money for people. While protesting a similar incident where a woman was assaulted. Now, that's been police, we are told, resorted to firing a vehicle of the police. A car was burnt by the protesters. During the retaliation, police fired.

Now, it only happens in extreme cases. They are just allowed to do a mild blatant (ph) charge, after which it's followed by the tear gas shells, which are lobbed at protesters. But in this case we are told that they fired upon the protesters and the cameraman of local channel was killed in that.

KAYE: And there was a police ban on these protests, right? The demonstrations defied the ban. Is that what's happened here and how violent are they getting?

PALJOR: As far as Delhi is concerned, it is getting slightly out of hand. People are assembling in the thousands. Of course, the police have enforced a section which is called 144. That does not allow -- that prohibits assembly of more than four people in a particular location. But people have just defied that and have come to India, which is the historical monument there in central Delhi.

We've not seen these kind of scenes in over 10 years. People have just come down. They are confronting the police. They wish to march up to the president's house. You know, most of them say that they want a hearing with the president, but police have, of course, barricaded the entire area and not letting any of them pass through.

That is the point of conflict right now. And they are youngsters. Some from colleges, universities and people from all walks of life have really come together. So there's no one head or one group of leaders that one can go to. So everybody is having a sort of -- a plea, we're here right now, and the police are unable to control the mob.

KAYE: What about an arrest? I mean, has there been an arrest in this attack on the young woman on the bus?

PALJOR: Yes, all of those accused have been arrested. They are in there (ph) with the police right now. So all of the six who were accused, one is a juvenile. He's claimed to the police that he's under 18 years. So he's been sent to a home for juveniles, which is generally the case in India. But the rest are in police custody. They are being questioned by the police. And police are going to file a charge here (ph), so to say, which they'll present before a court of law here in India in the next 30 days is what police are saying.

KAYE: And what is the condition of the young woman?

PALJOR: She continues to be in critical shape right now. Yesterday the doctors had released a medical bulletin where they said that she was doing well. They also helped her take a few steps. But really the condition right now is very bad. She had trouble breathing again this morning. So the doctors, again, looking at putting her back on ventilator support. So she is not well at all. And the various procedures that were involved in saving this girl involved removing her abdomen completely. So it's really a difficult time for the girl while the entire country certainly is praying for her.

KAYE: Oh, that just sounds horrible. And there have been, correct me if I'm wrong, but there has been a surge in rape attacks in New Delhi recently, is that correct?

PALJOR: That is correct. You know, Delhi has seen a number of rape attacks. In fact, if we look at the numbers released by the police last year, it stood at around 625. So the rapes have been there. But because, you know, of the social (INAUDIBLE) of the victim that takes place, many people do not report it because, you know, they feel that the honor of the victim, of course, to say that they don't report it. So many of the cases, really, is being unreported. But 625. That number certainly alarming for last year. And as this brutal gang rape came to light, many of the people have been coming forward and reporting cases.

KAYE: Karma Paljor, appreciate your reporting and your time with us this morning. Thank you.

In Syria, chemical weapons are a worry for world leaders. If they fall into the wrong hands, terrorists could use them to strike anywhere. Now, Russia says Syria is taking steps to keep them safe. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom joins me now from Beirut. Mohammed, good morning.

So what is Syria doing exactly?


Well, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti yesterday, he says that Syria has started moving its chemical weapons from various sites across the country and consolidating them into one of two sites. He says that they are doing this because they're trying to safeguard these weapons, to make sure that they don't fall into the hands of the wrong people.

There's been a lot of concern about this, especially the last few months. Russia is saying that it's taking this very seriously and trying to make sure that they find out that these weapons don't fall into the wrong hands. We must remember that the U.S. administration, as well as many other countries, have said for the last few weeks, the last few months, that if Syria were to use chemical weapons against its population, that would be a red line and they would suffer severe consequences because of it.


KAYE: And what about the rebels? Are the weapons still a threat to the rebels?

JAMJOOM: Well, the rebels maintain that the weapons are a threat to them, that they are a threat to the general population to Syria. The rebels have said on many an occasion that they believe that Bashar al Assad and his regime would result to utilizing those weapons. We should add, though, that Bashar al Assad's regime has said on many occasions that they don't have chemical weapons. They've said on many occasions that even if they did, that they would never utilize those weapons against their own population.

It is, however, still very much a concern. World powers telling Bashar al Assad indirectly and directly that he should by no means consider using these weapons. We've heard from American officials these past couple of months that they believe that they've seen intelligence that Syria might be mixing chemicals as a way to -- as a precursor to start making sarin nerve agents, but they've also said that they haven't seen any evidence to suggest that the Syrians are going to start utilizing this any time soon.


KAYE: How much pressure do you think was applied on Syria to do this?. I mean is Russia trying in a way to rule out one more argument in favor of foreign intervention?

JAMJOOM: Oh, absolutely. Russia does not want to see foreign intervention. They think if they can convince Bashar al-Assad to not utilize these weapons and that they convince the international community that the al-Assad regime is not going to utilize these weapons, that they are going to safeguard these weapons, that that will take some pressure away from this idea of going in with some sort of military intervention. The Russians don't want to see this. We know the international community, many of them, don't want to further militarize this conflict or escalate it or do any kind of intervention in Syria. But the fact of the matter is, that there is a belief out there that the Syrians at some point might utilize chemical weapons. There is a belief by Americans and other world powers that Bashar al- Assad has chemical weapons stockpiles, even though the regime there denies it, and because of that, they reiterated many a time that if they are to be utilized that the Bashar al-Assad regime would face severe and dire consequences and many people interpret that to mean some sort of military intervention. Randi.

KAYE: And when you look at the civil war there. I mean it's also affected Palestinians at a Damascus refugee camp. What do you know, what is the latest from there?

JAMJOOM: Well, we are talking about the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. This is in Damascus. Over the last week or so, we've heard about an increase in the amount of fighting in this camp. We heard that the camp is infiltrated by rebel Free Syrian Army members, that there is also a Palestinian pro-regime militarized faction called the PFLPGC, and that there's also Syrian regime soldiers there that because of all the fighting there and that because it sustained shelling according to activists, by the Syrian regime, that many refugees fled, that they have been displaced even though they were already displaced. It got extremely tense there now.

A couple of days ago we heard reports that a truce had been affected between the sides there for the good of the Palestinian refugees, but in the last 24 hours we've heard again conflicting reports, some of more fighting, the Syrian regime is maintaining that stability has been restored there, that it's safe for some residents to come back, but there's also a media committee for the camp that put out a statement today, in which they urge the Syrian military, rebel Free Syrian Army members and members of this pro-militarized Palestinian faction to withdraw their forces from that camp, to leave the Palestinians alone and to let them live peacefully. Randi?

KAYE: CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom, now reporting from Beirut this morning. Mohamed, thank you.

The NRA is causing a whole lot of controversy after saying every school should have armed guards, but one school district says it already had that in mind before the NRA even suggested it.


KAYE: Now, for an update on mortgages: rates remain low, but slightly higher than last weeks. Take a look here.


KAYE: Welcome back. And thanks for starting your morning with us and a very special welcome to our troops watching on the American Forces Network. I'm Randi Kaye. It's a little half past the hour now.

The NRA says the best way to prevent school shootings is to put an armed guard in every U.S. school and one New Jersey town is heeding that advice. It's happening already in Marlboro, New Jersey, which is a little south of New York City. The mayor told our affiliate, WCBC the school was already planning on implementing the idea before the NRA spoke out on Friday. Some schools there already had armed guards, but New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie does not agree with that idea.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R ) NEW JERSEY: But I'm not someone who believes that having multiple armed guards in every school is something that will enhance the learning environment. And that's our first responsibility inside a school is the learning environment. You don't want to make this an armed camp for kids. I don't think that's a positive example for children. We should be able to figure out some other ways to enhance safety. It seems to me.


KAYE: The mayor of Marlboro says he supports gun control, but that armed guards will give a sense of comfort.

Now, to Central Pennsylvania where people packed the church to mourn the victims of Friday's shooting rampage. More than 250 people were at a vigil last night. Police say a 44-year-old man shot and killed three people at three different crime scenes while driving through Blair County. One person was found dead at a church, one in their home and one in their car. Police killed the gunman in a shootout. The investigation still ongoing.

Well, "Time" magazine named President Barack Obama their much- anticipated Person of the Year for 2012, but it was another world leader that who snagged the number one spot in "Time's" reader poll with 5.6 million votes and here to tell us who it is. Nadia Bilchik. Good morning. All right, so spill it.

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's the world youngest leader, he was appointed by his father. He's none other than the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un.

KAYE: Wow. So, OK, so he is pretty controversial, how did he win out against all these other people in a reader poll?

BILCHIK: Well, "Time" magazine itself will tell you that it's not a very scientific poll, but he won over Aung San Suu Kyi, President Barack Obama and, in fact, he even won over Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart is only second. But I think there was a bit of humor in the vote.

KAYE: Yeah, and speaking of humor, "The Onion" named Kim Jong Un, the sexiest man alive, I mean we've all seen it. Let's - we all know that's not the truth, but the poll was obviously meant as a joke, but is it true that the Chinese government apparently - they thought ...

BILCHIK: Yes, they did.

KAYE: That it was real and they reported it?

BILCHIK: But, remember China is North Korea's greatest ally and supporter. So, China does see him as sexy.

KAYE : So, why the fascination with him?

BILCHIK: Well, again, the third in the Kim dynasty. His grandfather was the founder of North Korea. We never saw a photograph of Kim Jong Un until recently when his father named him as a successor. Not a single photograph. He went to Switzerland. He went to the school in Bern, where he went under pseudonym, and nobody ever knew who exactly he was, and believe it or not he is an NBA and Nike fan and I find it quite fascinating that I have heard he does his own buzz cuts, which have become very popular in North Korea.

KAYE: Yes, OK, that's good to know. Listen, so, we know he has the big shoes to fill, certainly, taking over for his father. I remember there's the thousands of North Koreans lining the streets of Pyongyang at the funeral. But now, you know, he's had this rocket launch. I mean, that was a success. Does that change things for him? I mean how is he viewed?

BILCHIK: Certainly, internally it does. In April there was a failed launch. So the fact that this one was a success, is terribly important internally. And in terms of propaganda in North Korea it's seen as a great win for him. Of course, the world has condemned it, Governor Bill Richardson said launch is a cover for testing ballistic missile technology and it's a violation of, potentially a violation of the United Nations in terms of what is perceived. But for him and the way North Koreans perceive him, great success.

KAYE: I wonder if he's celebrating that he was tops in the reader poll.

BILCHIK: What's very interesting, is he's very similar in policy to his father ...

KAYE: Yeah.

BILCHIK: ... but so different in personality. You see him out and about ...

KAYE: Right.

BILCHIK: ... you see him introducing the country to his wife, who is pregnant. And you will be interested t know that he has now allowed women to ride bikes in Pyongyang.

KAYE: Good for him. That's great.

BILCHIK: Also, recently, North Korea said that they have the only unicorn lair in the world. KAYE: OK, I don't even know why we know that, but that's good to know. Nadia, thank you.

BILCHIK: A strange country, a strange man.

KAYE: No doubt.

Well, the Army says a U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians could face the death penalty. Now, some people are jumping to support his legal defense. One of them will explain just why.


KAYE: Imagine how shocked a military wife was when she found out her husband was accused of an unthinkable crime. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is accused of going on a shooting rampage in Afghanistan in March and killing 16 people, many of them children. This week the military announced that it plans to seek the death penalty against Bales. His lawyer argues he never should have been in Afghanistan for a fourth tour of duty because he had PTSD. Bales' wife, Karilyn has defended her husband saying the accusations are completely out of character for the man she knows and admires. Joining me now from Portland is Lori Volkman, Lori developed the friendship with Karilyn Bales after writing this blog post, an open letter to Kari Bales. Lori is also a deputy prosecutor in Washington and is, herself, a military spouse and wrote about Karilyn Bales in the "New York Times." Lori, good morning to you. I know you haven't spoken with Karilyn since the news that her husband could face the death penalty, but given your relationship with her, what was your reaction to this news?

LORI VOLKMAN, FRIENDS WITH SGT. BALES' WIFE KARILYN: Well, I think that we don't really have a precedent for how this kind of case is going to go down. So, it was very open in my mind how the decision could come from the Army about whether or not to allow the prosecutors to seek the death penalty. I, myself, wasn't very shocked just based on the fact that it doesn't mean that the death penalty is going to happen, it just puts it on the table. So, I may have a different perspective than the general American public based on my understanding of the law. But, I do know that when these things happen, Kari goes into sort of a news blackout and purposefully sort of divorces herself from the media and what's happening so that she can focus on her children and her family.

KAYE: Yeah. In "The New York Times" you wrote that after meeting Kari you told your mom, that she was just like you. Can you explain that a little bit? What do you mean by that?

VOLKMAN: Well, when I first wrote the open letter to Kari Bales I was on CNN and that gave me an opportunity to hear from her and meet her in person. And I was surprised to find that she was very gregarious and personable and I think that often happens when we reach out to someone personally. We try to find ways to identify with them. But the thing that we had in common was that we were both military spouses, which is the reason I wrote that letter to begin with. And military spouses can be very resilient, instilled and supportive of each other and I saw that in Kari Bales. I saw her loyalty and support and I really felt the camaraderie of just being a military spouse.

BALES: I'm not sure how much you can actually talk about the case with her, but what has it been like for her? I mean she's now in such a position, a surprise position, certainly, to defend her husband's reputation.

VOLKMAN: You know, because I am a deputy prosecutor, I'm very cautious not to discuss anything related to the case with her. I think it's somewhat of a relief and it's the reason that we sort of become strange friends as I wrote about in my "New York Times" article because it allows us to have that space to talk about things that are unrelated to the case. But Kari is the kind of person who appreciates the same things as I do. She's a working mom, she is a military wife. And when we talk about how things are going for her and how she's feeling, it's unrelated to the case. We just leave that as an area that is off balance between us.

KAYE: I can only imagine the emotional toll that this case has been taking on her, but it's also a financial toll, as well. Right, I mean Bales has a legal defense fund that people can donate to. Are you helping at all with that?

VOLKMAN: I have chosen to make a personal donation to the fund. I know they've had that Website up and whenever there are some media, they like to see whether or not there's a reaction that takes into account the fact that it's Kari Bales and her children that are burdening, raising the funds for this. It is directly affecting their quality of life. And so, raising the funds for the defense actually helps them directly.

KAYE: All right, Lori, appreciate your time this morning, thank you.

VOLKMAN: Thank you.


KAYE: Welcome back. You may think of next week as a holiday week. Maybe you have the week off, but there will still be a whole lot of news. So, let's take a look at the week ahead. Let's start with Tuesday, which, of course, is Christmas Day. Christians around the world will be celebrating. Hopefully you'll have a chance to spend some time with your family. On Thursday, we have got a couple of things going on. First of all, Congress returns to Capitol Hill. Remember, they left after House Speaker John Boehner decided to ax a vote on his fiscal cliff plan that never happened. That, of course was known as plan B. So they'll come back and we'll see what happens with that fiscal cliff. Also, on Thursday, we'll get the consumer confidence report. We'll see how the stock market reacts to that. It was at a four-year high last month.

So, we'll see what happens. The stock market has been a little up and down, of course, with worries about the fiscal cliff. And on Saturday, a big day in Maine. Same-sex couples will be able to start tying the knot in Maine. Voters approve the new law in a November ballot measure along with voters in Washington and Maryland. So, a whole lot going on next week, even though it's a holiday week.

Well, many Americans from the president on down are sick about what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. And they want tougher gun laws, but the Second Amendment makes that a tricky proposition. I spoke with CNN legal contributor Paul Callan for his take on how the Supreme Court currently interprets the right to bear arms.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment permits people to keep weapons in their house for self-protection, but it doesn't say anything about high- capacity ammunition magazines. It doesn't say anything about what kinds of guns we're allowed to keep. So, certainly well reasoned restrictions are perfectly legal under the Second Amendment.

KAYE: And if tougher gun laws are passed by Congress that outlaw the assault rifles and those large ammunition clips that, unfortunately, we've had to talk so much about. What will this mean for the gun owners who currently have them?

CALLAN: Well, this is an important question. And I think when we talk about gun control, we ultimately, really, it is a political question. Because, you know, there are 450 million firearms in America at this moment. There is a huge amount of weaponry out there. And some of those are these, what we call assault weapons, gun enthusiasts say they're just sort of rifles that you can, you can change the configuration of and you only have to pull the trigger once and one bullet comes out. So, they're not machine guns. They're automatic weapons. But those weapons that you can put a high-capacity clip into have been involved in a lot of these mass killings. And certainly, this is going to be a major battle about whether people who already have those guns can have the guns taken away from them.

KAYE: Yeah.

CALLAN: From a legal standpoint, Randi, yes, you could take them away. I mean we take people's land away, it's called eminent domain. You pay them for it when you take the property back. So, yes, it could be done. Politically, will we try to do it? We never have in the past. So, I don't know whether the political will is there to do it.

KAYE: I want to ask you about this new CNN/ORC poll that shows 52 percent of Americans favor major restrictions on guns or making all guns illegal. What influence, do you think, this might have on Congress or the courts? There are any influence at all?

CALLAN: No, I think it has a big influence and I think that through the years you know, you hit a tipping point on issues where the public finally starts to say, hey, something's got to be done. And, you know, I think this shooting in Connecticut is a tipping point and if, you know, the Obama administration acts quickly, there may be a chance to put some new regulations in place. But, unfortunately, the public has had a short memory on these things.


KAYE: And that was CNN contributor Paul Callan discussing the right to bear arms.

One woman says police offered her family a turkey as an apology for pepper spraying her brother. A turkey. Her brother has Down syndrome. Now, people around the nation are outraged and calling for justice. We want to know what you think. So, send your tweets to randikaye@cnn.


KAYE: Donations are pouring in to Newtown, Connecticut in the wake of last week's tragic shooting. Three men from Nebraska filled a trailer with toys bound for Newtown and drove 1,300 miles through blizzard to deliver the toys ahead of Christmas. The men said they wanted Newtown's children to know that there is more love than hate in the world.

A police officer in Wisconsin saved the life of an infant strapped into a run away shopping cart. The officer managed to stop the cart just before it rolled on to a busy highway. The cart rolled away as the baby's mother was placing another child in her car.

The police department awarded the officer accommodation for his quick thinking.

Well, thanks so much for starting your morning with us, we've got much more ahead on CNN "Sunday Morning" which starts right now.

And good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. It is 7:00 on the east coast, 4:00 on the west. Thanks so much for starting your morning with us. First, a horrific attack on a young woman is sparking anger in the streets of India and demands for change. Protesters chanting "We want justice" in New Delhi. The 23-year-old is fighting for her life at a hospital after police say she was beaten and gang raped on a bus last weekend. And we are learning a journalist has been killed in a separate protest over another incident.

CNN-IBN's Karma Paljor joins me now on the phone from New Delhi.

Karma, what can you tell us about this journalist who died?

KARMA PALJOR, CNN-IBN (via telephone): He was a local camera person for video journalist for the local channel in the state called (INAUDIBLE).

The state is seeing some unrest over an assault on a woman. They were violent protests earlier. The police, of course, resulting (INAUDIBLE) and firing water canons.

We were told today, on this particular day, that they believed that some of the people try to burn a police van. That's when the police resorted the firing. Now, it never happened. So, there are calls for police brutality because firing its gun with a live bullet only in extreme cases. So, that has happened.

As far as Delhi is concerned, I can tell you it's become very, very volatile now. Around India (INAUDIBLE) which is the main monument in New Delhi, there were crowds who were gathered in thousands. Now, police making a concentrated effort to clear that area. We've suddenly seen activity from the police and fire and tear gas shells. They're also storming now with some of the protesters taking on the police.

KAYE: And what about this young woman who was attacked. What is her condition at this point?

PALJOR: Her condition has only deteriorated by now because earlier we had a medical bulletin where the doctors said she has been suddenly been put on the ventilator, again. So, she's in the ventilator and her security and she's having problems breathing. Yesterday, her condition had improved slightly. Right now, her condition did improve. That's the time when the doctors try to make her walk briefly, but after that, her condition has suddenly deteriorated and she's back on ventilator support.

KAYE: And have there been any arrests on this attack her on this moving bus?

PALJOR: Yes, six people, six people have been arrested and now this is totally getting out of hand as far as protests are concerned. Battles between the police and the protesters in New Delhi. That's what we're seeing now.

KAYE: There was a ban, right, correct, on these police, on these protests, but demonstrators defied the ban and now growing bigger and getting even more violent?

PALJOR: Yes. Section 144 laws enforced in and around New Delhi, which means large crowds cannot assemble in these areas. But that has been defied -- that has been defied by the people. People coming out in thousands.

Right now, I can tell you, it is very, very violent. We are seeing fights from both sides now.

KAYE: You know, we hear about what happened there and you think of this young woman being attacked and raped on a moving bus. Are these types of attacks common or are rape attacks common in India?

PALJOR: We have seen, yes, we have seen the spate of rapes over the last year. If you talk about capital New Delhi, this is the capital of India, and we are told the numbers are around 600 rapes reported last year. Which is an alarming number, but it is a problem because most of it is not reported because the families want to think that the woman should not be exposed. They really don't report it.

It is a worry. It has been a worry. And now, these brutal gang rapes certainly could be the tipping point and people have come out in numbers to say, enough is enough. They are strong laws needed. You know when these cases are taken to court when, you know, uncomfortable questions are asked of the victims.

So, all this really now coming to a point where people just want to make themselves heard.

KAYE: Yes, and we certainly see that spilling into the streets there.

Karma Paljor reporting for us from New Delhi -- thank you very much.

Meanwhile, back here at home, flags will be raised to full staff this morning in Connecticut, the first time since the shootings occurred there in Newtown. Meanwhile, we saw the last three funerals for the Sandy Hook victims. Three more little girls were laid to rest, left to right, Josephine gay, Ana Marquez-Greene and Emilie Parker.


JILL COTTLE GARRETT, EMILIE PARKER'S AUNT: Today, we had a beautiful tribute to Emilie and we said our final good-byes today. It was so special to have family together, to sing songs that were Emilie's favorites.


KAYE: After the holidays, the survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting will return to school. They'll be in a new building, but it will be filled with all the furniture and artwork from their old school.

One New Jersey school district plans to have armed police officers in all of their schools starting when classes resume after the holidays. The mayor says he made the decision before the NRA made the suggestion on Friday. They actually had armed guards in some of the schools already. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the other hand thinks armed guards in schools aren't the answer to gun violence and that problem.

To Washington now and the negotiations over the fiscal cliff -- actually, there really aren't any negotiations now. Congress is adjourned for the holiday, and the president is in Hawaii. So, we're in a bit of a holding pattern as both sides dig in their heels.

The middle class and small businesses were the focus during the presidential campaign. But, now, they stand to be the biggest losers as the battle in Washington pushes us closer to that cliff.

CNN's Emily Schmidt has more.



EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are people who make overcoming obstacles even those towering 40 very vertical feet high look easy. These rock climbers are the heart of Lillian Chao-Quinlan's climbing center business. LILLIAN CHAO-QUINLAN, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: I think with climbing, you have to trust your partner and you have to know that they're holding your rope.

SCHMIDT: This takes team work, which is why Chao-Quinlan is frustrated of all the talk of another cliff looming in Washington.

CHAO-QUINLAN: There's so much uncertainty, not just for me as a business owner but for our members and for our clientele.

SCHMIDT: With negotiations stalled, on the way to avert the fiscal cliff, Chao-Quinlan has put plans to expand her business on hold. She's worried because going over the cliff will cost middle class families an estimated $2,000 a year -- money people won't have to spend here.

CHAO-QUINLAN: It's always challenging when you're in a recreational type of environment because that's sometimes the first thing that people consider when they're evaluating their finances and what am I going to spend my money on.

LINDSAY BUSCHER, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: The fear that I have is that we're going to lose some customers. We're going to lose our shoppers and we've been here for 10 years.

SCHMIDT: For clothing store owner Lindsay Buscher, it's been a rough few years since the recession. Now, she says she's terrified we're on the verge of tumbling back in.

BUSCHER: I think the effects of them not coming up with a plan is going to be devastating and I see a huge, a bigger recession.

SCHMIDT: The prospect of higher taxes next year means Buscher is cutting back now. Trimming staff for January and February, only buying clothing she's sure will sell. Her goal: just to keep her business afloat.

BUSCHER: My biggest fear is that my 7-year-old will never really get a chance to se what I've built.

SCHMIDT: Back at the climbing center, Lillian Chao-Quinlan says there are lessons Washington negotiators could stand to learn.

CHAO-QUINLAN: Every move is going to dictate the next move. But that doesn't mean that you're locked into that move, that doesn't mean you can't try something else.

SCHMIDT: Unlike climbing she says, fiscal cliff hanging shouldn't be an option because so much is on the line.

Emily Schmidt, CNN, Washington.


KAYE: So, one woman says police offered her family a turkey as an apology for pepper spraying her brother, who has Down syndrome. But this family doesn't want a turkey, they want justice and they want a lawsuit and you'll hear from them.


KAYE: People around the nation are outraged after hearing that a sheriff's department in California tried to apologize for pepper- spraying a man with Down syndrome by offering his family a turkey. We first told you about this story yesterday. The family says the sheriff deputy used his pepper spray on 21-year-old Antonio Martinez. He was walking down the street, apparently didn't respond to the deputy's commands and then the deputy hit him with his baton and arrested him.

The young man was taken to the hospital, later released and never charged. The sheriff department captain later apologized to the family and said the department made a mistake.

Well, yesterday, I spoke to the man and his sister and she explained why the family is going to push ahead with a lawsuit.


JESSICA MARTINEZ, BROTHER WAS BEATEN BY DEPUTY: If they did it to him, they're going to be -- end up doing it to any guy or any girl that they see on the street. And they say they look suspicious. That's what they say, that he looked suspicious. That's why they perceived to stop him -- proceeded to stop him. And he didn't do anything wrong. He was just walking from our house to the bakery. And he was just going to work.

KAYE: We did get a statement from the San Diego county sheriff's department. And it says that the deputy used the pepper spray to prevent possible escape and then explained the use of force, saying in part, "in an attempt to take the subject into custody, the deputy transitioned to his baton. An additional deputy arrived, and the struggle continued. The subject was eventually taken into custody, and it was learned that he suffers from a developmental disability. The sheriff's department is investigating this incident."

But it was -- the case was dropped, though, right? There were no charges.

MARTINEZ: They said he had a citation when we picked him up from the sheriff's station. And then on Wednesday they came and apologized. They said, oh, we revoked the ticket that was given to Antonio. And they offered us a turkey for -- to apologize.

We were like, a turkey's not going to bring peace to our family and comfort that Antonio had before this happened to him.

KAYE: Did they come to your house with the turkey, or was it a turkey they would get for you?

MARTINEZ: No, they came to our bakery and they said, we would like to speak to you and your family about the incident of Antonio Martinez. And we said, OK, you can come. They said, we are going to -- we revoked the ticket that was given, and they said -- and they asked us, oh, by the way, what are you going to do for Christmas? And we were like, we'll stay home and try to have a good time. That's when they offered the turkey with all the stuffing and --

KAYE: What about the deputy involved? The department, sheriff's department wouldn't say if the deputy was reprimanded. Do you know? And how does this make you feel if he wasn't?

MARTINEZ: We are not sure what has happened to him. When the chief came to talk -- to speak to us, he said he was on a four-day vacation. I'm not sure.

And if he doesn't, we'll -- we want him out of our city. We don't want him there. I mean, he's -- he did a lot of damage on my brother. My brother doesn't want to walk home from our bakery. And it's like a five-minute walk. And he doesn't want to walk nowhere. He wants us to go with him.

And he -- it was funny because we went to the store, I think it was on Thursday and he somehow gloves. And he's like, oh, can I get those, because he's afraid to put his hands in his sweater when it's cold. Now he wants to use gloves because he doesn't want to -- he's not -- doesn't feel safe anymore.

KAYE: Right. What about the community? I mean, how has the community reacted, especially since so many witnessed this?

MARTINEZ: Well, they're being so supportive. They called us from Colorado, like around the United States. They've been calling us that we should fight until the end and get justice for my brother.

And a lot of witnesses say if you need me, you just call me. And they've been calling us that they saw when -- they took my brother to the hospital and he was still in handcuffs even though knowing that he had Down syndrome.

KAYE: Well, Jessica Martinez and your brother Antonio, thank you both very much for coming on and sharing your story.

And, Antonio, we wish you well and hope you heal very soon. Thank you.


KAYE: And here's how some of you responded on Twitter following that interview. A lot of you were reaching out. A lot of you were angry hearing about that they had offered that family a turkey.

And Todd tweeted, "Wow, that is seriously messed up. Time to seek legal action, I'd say."

And Andrea tweeted this, "Disgusting. The family should get justice for that senseless beating of the Down syndrome patient."

Mike says, "They should fire this deputy, as he clearly did not get the training for the job to serve and protect."

And those tweets continue to come in related to that story.

Shifting gears now, I want you to take a close look at these pictures. Tell me, do you recognize him? Here's a hint, he was a famous 1980s teen heartthrob. I'm talking to him about his new-found career as a travel writer, coming up.

But, first, we want to say good morning to Washington, D.C. -- bright and early there. Just 18 minutes past 7:00 a.m. in Washington. Great shot on the Capitol.

Glad you're with us here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


KAYE: Welcome back. Twenty-one minutes past the hour now. Glad you're with us. It is almost the start of the New Year and the time when many of us think about our futures and, at least for me, that includes traveling. Maybe it does for you, as well.

I recently spoke with travel writer Andrew McCarthy about his experiences. Yes, he is the same Andrew McCarthy who starred in 1980s teen classics such as "Pretty in Pink" and "Weekend at Bernie's."

First, you know I had to ask him how he went from actor to world traveler.


ANDREW MCCARTHY, ACTOR, TRAVEL WRITER: About 10 years ago I sort of began this accidental second career as a travel writer. You know, I had been traveling a great deal personally and then I found that none of the travel writing I was reading was capturing the essence of the trips that I was having. So, I just began to write about it.

I started writing for magazines and I'm an editor now at "National Geographic Traveler" and write for other newspapers and magazines and blossomed into this career because I followed a passion, really.

KAYE: And, in your book, you take off from Patagonia, which some call the end of the Earth. It seems to be part of your personal struggle between commitment to the woman in your life, who you refer to in the book as Dee, and your longing to travel alone. What were you seeking on that particular journey and have you reconciled the two?

MCCARTHY: Yes, you sort of talk about the essence of the book, how do we come to terms with sort of having our own solitude and our individuality and commit to intimacy with another person. And that's really what the essence of the book is, you know, couch on these travels, like you say.

And Patagonia, I think, represents for me that sort of ultimate sort of just escape and solitary existence that is something I really gravitate to on one level.

KAYE: And have you found the balance between having your solitude and, I think you went on to get married, did you not?

MCCARTHY: I mean, I did get married, yes. And did I find the balance? You know, some days. Some days I feel I have, and other days it's like, get me on a plane.

So, I think it's an ongoing process.

KAYE: And so, has your wife read the book? What does she think of it?

MCCARTHY: She was happy with the way it ended, which is us getting married. My wife knows who I am, you know, and she -- people often ask how does your wife respond to your kind of incessant leaving? And I think traveling makes me the better version of who I am and that's the version she wants.

So I bring back that better version so I think she's all for it. She also has her own vital life, she's not sitting around, waiting for me.

And, you know, the idea that we should all be together all the time to have a proper relationship is sort of arcane and silly. Everybody should be pursuing what makes them the best who they are. You know what I mean? And that's what we want to offer to our loved ones. So, that's my excuse anyway.

KAYE: Well, you've been to some extraordinary places. If you had to choose one that was the most memorable, could you? What would it be?

MCCARTHY: I took my son to the Sahara desert a couple years ago. He is doing a story for a magazine and after we went to the desert for a couple days. I found that a really powerful experience, seeing him in the desert and exposing him to that kind of environment and experience was a huge thing for me, as well as him. That was very memorable.

I loved Patagonia, as you said. But I also love -- I love cities, I love Rome. I love anywhere I go, really.

It's usually me. If I don't like something it's me that's a problem. You know, I need a nap or a good meal and then I'm fine.


KAYE: It was great to chat with him. You can read more about Andrew's travel in "National Geographic Traveler" magazine.

All right. Let's check with "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." who's up at the bottom of the hour.

Good morning, Sanjay.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Randi, I am looking at the psychology behind mass shootings. And also, what it might be like to be the parent of someone who is mentally ill. I can tell you, it's so hard to get people into treatment. We're going to talk about some of those barriers.

We got that and much more ahead on "SGMD" at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.



KAYE: President Obama will be going to the funeral for the late Senator Daniel Inouye today. Inouye died last week at the age of 88 and he's being buried at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. There was a memorial in Washington on Friday. The Obamas arrived in Hawaii yesterday for their Christmas vacation.

Tunisia is auctioning off the luxuries by the first dictator to fall in the Arab spring -- clothing, jewelry, art, all among the items people can bid on. But the highlight is expected to be the cars, including a Lamborghini and a Bentley and an armored Cadillac.

More top stories at the top when CNN SUNDAY MORNING continues. I'm Randi Kaye. I'll see then.

"SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." begins right now.