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Charges Files in Indian Gang Rape; Newtown Children Return to Class; New US Congress Set to Begin

Aired January 3, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET

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


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

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STOUT (voice-over): And we begin in India, where a gang rape case that ignited national fury is now in the courts. Now formal charges have been filed against the suspects.

Also moving forward, after the horror, children and teachers return to class after the Sandy Hook massacre.

And is this the future of medical care? How 3D printing is breaking new ground.

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STOUT: And we start in India, where the case of a medical student who died as a result of a brutal gang rape on a New Delhi bus has just moved forward in court. Now police have filed a lengthy charge seed against five men. A sixth suspect is undergoing tests to determine whether he is a juvenile. Now this brutal assault ignited a firestorm of protests and has provoked outrage around the world.

The victim's father is demanding the harshest possible sentences as justice for his daughter. He spoke to the media yesterday. We have blurred his fact to protect his identity.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The law should definitely be named after the girl. Laws are made by the government. But all I ask is that the law be the toughest it can be. The death penalty is compulsory for a crime so grave.

The assailants must be hanged. The courts must give these men the death penalty. It is unfair that Indian law says that a juvenile is anyone under the age of 18. I think it should be anyone under the age of 12.

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STOUT: And for the latest developments in this case, let's bring in Sumnima Udas. She is live from CNN New Delhi.

Sumnima, tell us more about the charges.

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, the charge sheet has been filed, as you just mentioned, in a special court in New Delhi today. Now the proceeding is actually -- was done in so much secrecy we don't have that much detail yet. But the police is supposed to hold a press conference in the next few hours to announce some of those details later on today.

What we do know is that five of those six suspects have been charged with rape and murder amongst other things. One of those suspects is actually a juvenile so he will be dealt with at a different court.

Now what happens next is that the court will now have the option of summoning those suspects to the court. The suspects were not present there today because of security reasons. The suspects then have the chance of looking through their charge sheet and pleading guilty or not guilty. If not guilty, then the trial will move to a special court and a formal trial will begin, Kristie.

STOUT: And Sumnima, the legacy of this attack, I mean, there was outrage; there are the charges being formally filed. There is the eventual trial. But will all this lead to better security and protection for women across India?

UDAS: Well, that is certainly the hope, Kristie. I mean, we've been seeing protesters out on the streets, braving the cold for the past two weeks. They've been demanding for better laws, not just for better laws for rape, but also against molestation and all kinds of other violence against women.

We were talking to a prominent lawyer yesterday, and she was saying that there are no actual laws against molestation and other kinds of things except for rape. Also they are demanding for better laws. The police has also planning on setting up a help line. They're also planning on recruiting more female police officers.

So the hope definitely is that there will be more security on the streets for women in Delhi but not just in Delhi but also throughout India, Kristie.

STOUT: And also once the charges, they have been formally filed, the trial will soon begin. We don't know yet, but it will soon begin.

Who will defend the suspects?

UDAS: Well, (inaudible) a bit of a controversy there actually, because this particular trial was being held at a special court. This special court was set up particularly because of this gang rape and the sensitive nature of this case. It's a fast-track court. There's about six of them that have been set up just yesterday in Delhi.

And the lawyers of that court, the Saket Bar Association, actually decided that they would not defend the accused, they said, on moral grounds. But the court has said that they will appoint a lawyer anyway. They have to for the trial to actually continue.

So there's been a little bit of controversy that we even saw some of those lawyers protesting outside that court today. But the court, the trial will continue it, and they will surely assign a defense lawyer at some point.

STOUT: That's right. It's a controversy, but this is a case that virtually everyone in India is emotionally attached. Sumnima Udas, joining us live from CNN New Delhi, thank you.

Now as this stands, some of India's rape laws are rooted in the Indian penal code of 1860. That code initially defined rape and described the various circumstances under which it could happen. For example, it's said that there can be no such thing as rape within marriage.

Now recently lawmakers have proposed amendments to the IPC and other gender-specific laws, looking to the practice of dowry, honor murders, child marriage and even police officers' refusals to record information.

Now Congress party head Sonia Gandhi has vowed to battle the pervasive shameful social attitudes and mindset that allow men to rape and molest women and girls with such impunity. Now here are some examples of those attitudes.

According to a U.N. survey -- this is from 2010 -- 39 percent of Indian men think it's justifiable for a man to beat his wife. Now in 2011, a Washington think tank said more than 65 percent of Indian men surveyed believed women sometimes deserved to be beaten and that to keep the family together, women should tolerate such violence.

Now the father of Malala Yousafzai, he has been given a diplomatic role at the Pakistan consulate in Birmingham, England. Now she, of course, is the teenager who was shot on a bus by the Taliban in Swat Valley last fall. And here they are together at the Birmingham hospital where she is recovering.

The Pakistan government says Ziauddin Yousafzai will act as the head of the consulate's education department for at least three years. He used to run a school in Pakistan's Swat Valley, which had allowed girls to attend in defiance of the Taliban.

In a statement, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari says the appointment was made to honor a pledge he made to Malala's family. (Inaudible) that the government would pay for her treatment and the needs of her family while in the U.K.

Now when NEWS STREAM continues, hoping for a new start. The students and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary return to class for the first time since the massacre. But in different surroundings. We'll have a live report.

Also new Congress, same old issues -- as U.S. lawmakers gather on Capitol Hill, both main parties still have money on their minds.

And the human cost of Syria's civil war. A new estimate from the United Nations and the toll is staggering. We'll be right back.

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STOUT: Now 20 days ago, Newtown, Connecticut, was changed forever. The town's Sandy Hook Elementary School was the scene of a mass shooting that shocked the world. And after an extended break the students and teachers of the school are returning to a different building. What the community is hoping will be a new start and what was Chalk Hill (ph) Middle School has been renamed as Sandy Hook Elementary.

It sits in the town of Monroe, some 11 kilometers from the scene of the shooting. Deborah Feyerick joins me live from Monroe.

And, Deborah, I understand it's 8:00 am local time where you are and school will start again soon.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. School's going to start in just about one hour.

And one thing that officials really wanted to do is by renaming the school and by putting something that's familiar for the children, they want to make sure that the children understand that this is their school, this is their new building, that the desks that they had at the old school are now going to be at the new school.

Over the last couple of days, there has been an orientation, an open house; teachers and students have been able to bond over pizza. All of this to make them understand that they're in this together, that this is something that they're going to experience for the first time. But they want to make it as comfortable as possible. We had an opportunity to speak to some of the parents and their children.

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FEYERICK: So you were in the gym and you were in the art room.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Ben and Ethan Paley heard the gunshots and screams that horrible morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Three weeks isn't nearly enough time to understand all the feelings that experience since then, fear, worry, anger. Still the 9-year-old twins are trying every way they can.

BEN PALEY, SANDY HOOK STUDENT: It's a healing shawl. So it's supposed to heal us.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Going back to school this week is a big part of that healing.

FEYERICK: Are you guys looking forward to kind of going back to school?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we just went there today to visit it and look at everything. And it's very -- it's a very interesting school.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Originally for teenagers, the school in Monroe has been transformed for K-4th grade, toys, cubbies, carpets and familiar things brought over from Sandy Hook Elementary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of our desks are there, but my desk, I noticed that someone was in there and cleaned it and made it, well, not cleaned it; made it neater. Because my desk is usually very messy.

ANDREW PALEY, FATHER OF SANDY HOOK STUDENTS: I think them getting on the bus is -- for us, it's a movement forward. So I think a lot of us are looking at that as this is the next step. Now it's getting back to a routine and it's getting them to school so they get back to that normalcy and start learning again and be who they are.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Ben and Ethan want the school turtle to be Sandy Hook's new mascot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our motto that could go with it is actually "One step at a time."

FEYERICK (voice-over): It's also one step at a time for moms and good friends, Denise Correia and Sarah Swansiger and their daughters.

DENISE CORREIA, MOTHER OF SANDY HOOK STUDENT: There's no real playbook for this. I don't think any of us really have a playbook. So we're kind of just sensing our child and trying to meet the needs that we can.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Counselors will be on hand for the children and parents can spend a day at the school just in case.

SARAH SWANSIGER, MOTHER OF SANDY HOOK STUDENT: I joked with one of the other moms: "I'll see you in the morning; I'll bring coffee." It was one of those like I think I need that adult time, too, because I'm not sure I'm ready yet to totally let them go in peace, because I think my peace has been shattered.

FEYERICK: You know, the parents right now, they are hustling their children to finish up their breakfast, put on their coats and their backpacks so that they can go catch the school bus.

Some of the parents did tell us that as soon as that bus pulls away, they'll be in their car also heading to the school. They just want to be there. They want to make sure that their child knows that if they need them, they are in that building in that school.

And, you know, speaking of Ben and Ethan, those two little boys, what's so amazing, Kristie, is that, you know, little Ben said, you know, look, 10-, 9-, 8-, 7-, 6-year olds shouldn't have to -- shouldn't have to experience something like this. And his brother, he goes -- he goes, "Nobody, nobody at all, no matter what age, should have to go through this."

So they're very aware of the things that they're feeling and the experiences that they've had. And they're trying to deal with it. But this is one step back to the routine of life, Kristie.

STOUT: You know, it was very poignant, that moment and you started, when we heard the twins, two boys, say that they want their school motto to be "One step at a time."

Deborah, can you tell us more about all the little things being done to help the kids, the parents and the community to recover and to ease back to school today?

FEYERICK: Yes, it's -- everybody's in this together. And that's what's so amazing, is that Sandy Hook does not want to be defined by the tragedy. They want to be defined by how they handle the tragedy, their response to it, how they come together as a community to heal.

There's been an incredible sense of bonding, of closing, of circles where people are coming together so they can support one another and be there for each other. You know, I said to one of the dads, I said to the dad, I said, you know, what happens if you see a parent who's lost a child?

And I said this to one of the moms, actually, and she said, you know, she's not sure. She'll hug the parent. But she's got to give those parents space, because don't forget, those parents have other children who are in this school, who are likely to be there as well. So one step at a time and no playbook. So they're sort of taking this as a very delicate process as they return to the rhythm of their lives.

STOUT: And as the students transition, get ready to go back to school in less than an hour from now, can you tell us more about the criminal case and the shooting itself? What more have you learned about the gunman, why the gunman targeted the school?

FEYERICK: Yes, it's still not known. The police are going to take quite some time in order to piece everything together. You know, I called the medical examiner's office just yesterday to find out whether in fact they got the results of the toxicology exam back, because they want to find out whether he was on any sort of medication, any drugs, anything that might have triggered this incident.

They're also trying to do some genetic tests to see whether there was something more going on than just the Asperger's developmental issues that he was alleged to have suffered from. So -- but as far as, you know, the case, investigators are inside the home. They have pored over it. They have done everything they could.

But the gunman's dead, his mother's dead, so what we do know is that the gunman, the body was claimed this week, Kristie.

STOUT: And (inaudible) say, of course, about the children being so brave. And here's wishing them the very best as they return to school. Deborah Feyerick joining us live from Monroe, Connecticut, thank you so much for that.

Now two months after superstorm Sandy hit the northeastern U.S., those affected are still awaiting federal aid. When we come back, we'll tell you what prompted House Speaker John Boehner to cancel a vote on disaster relief.

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STOUT (voice-over): Live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

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STOUT: Now after a heated debate and delays, the so-called fiscal cliff legislation is now law in the U.S. Well, President Barack Obama didn't sign it himself. A machine like this did it instead. Now the autopen is normally used to sign things like holiday cards. It works by tracing an engraving of Mr. Obama's signature with an actual pen. The administration first used it to sign bills into law in 2011.

Now, remember, the president left Washington on Tuesday after the House vote. He's now in Hawaii with his family.

Now the new law, it staves off widespread tax increases and deep spending cuts. But those spending cuts are only delayed. Lawmakers still need to come up with a long-term solution. Now in less than four hours, the 113th Congress takes office.

And police hope it will be less gridlocked than the last. Ninety new senators and representatives will take the oath. The new Senate will have a record number of women. They will hold 20 out of 100 seats.

The new House will vote on its top position. Some Republicans have threatened to pull their support for current Speaker John Boehner. And Dana Bash explains the recent tension.

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DANA BASH, SR. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It will be two weeks later than they wanted, but GOP lawmakers from Sandy's stricken states are satisfied they will now get federal aid.

REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: I did disagree with delaying this vote. I think we all did, but now that it's done, we have to do the very next best thing.

BASH (voice-over): House Speaker John Boehner scrambled to set new dates this month to vote on $60 billion in disaster relief and quash a rebellion from the region's Republicans.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: As far as I'm concerned, that was a lifetime ago.

BASH (voice-over): But the House walls were practically still shaking from the anger directed at the House Speaker hours earlier for abruptly canceling a vote during this Congress.

GRIMM: And I think it's inexcusable that we did not have this vote.

BASH (voice-over): And these were Republicans.

REP. FRANK LOBIONDO (R), NEW JERSEY: Absurd. Absolutely absurd. We demand nothing less than we have given the rest of the country. An emergency and disaster means emergency and disaster.

BASH (voice-over): GOP outrage was pointed and personal.

KING: There is some dysfunction in the Republican leadership. The Speaker, for some reason, is taking it out on New York and Long Island and New Jersey, and it's a disgrace.

BASH (voice-over): So, what did happen?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who took the lead on Sandy relief, had promised a vote on the aid package before the lame duck session ended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion is adopted. Without objection, a motion to reconsider is laid on the table.

BASH (voice-over): But GOP leadership sources tell CNN, right after the toxic fiscal cliff vote, the House Speaker yanked the bill.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I was called at 11:20 last night by Leader Cantor and told that authority for the vote was pulled by the Speaker.

BASH (voice-over): The reason? CNN is told the Speaker worried it was bad internal politics for him to allow a vote on $60 million in new federal spending after a long day of getting pummeled by his own House Republicans for not enough spending cuts in the fiscal cliff bill.

New Jersey's popular Republican governor:

CHRISTIE: On a political chess board of internal palace intrigue politics, our people were played last night as a pawn.

BASH (voice-over): Chris Christie eviscerated the House speaker.

CHRISTIE: I called the Speaker four times last night after 11:20, and he did not take my calls.

It is why the American people hate Congress. It's why they hate them.

BASH: I contacted Governor Christie's office to see if he has a new statement now that the House Speaker has promised a vote on Sandy aid within the next two weeks. A spokesman for the governor replied simply, he has, quote, "nothing else to add." Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.

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STOUT: There is severe cold in many parts of the world, including India. In fact, it's been hit with a record cold spell. Let's get more now with Karen Maginnis. She joins us from the World Weather Center.

Karen?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Kristie, yes, it is foggy and also quite cold. But these two kind of go hand in hand. And there is the threat for the severe weather to continue in the form of the cold and the fog, extending from the northern provinces and extending into north central sections of India.

Take a look at this, this out of Indira Gandhi International Airport, and they're stating a number of flights have been affected by this foggy spell. But it is one of the most fog-affected major airports in the world.

Now they are equipped, uniquely equipped to deal with category 3B landings; that means low visibility. But not every airline or not any airline can land with zero visibility. This is out of Lahore, Pakistan, and you can see the low visibility there.

Now what happens is that cold air kind of drains from the Himalayas into some of the low-lying areas. And as a result, with a clear night and no wind, that's what keeps the fog in place. And it doesn't look like, at least in the short term, we're looking at much change expected here over the next several days.

We go through Saturday and take a look at these temperatures, just hard-pressed to make it into the mid-teens. A typical high temperature for this time of year in Delhi would be about 22 degrees.

And look at those overnight low temperatures, single digits when typically we would see about 8 degrees, they're 4, 5 and 6 degrees. Look now, just about the same, although you can see by Saturday, there's a little bit of a recovery that takes place. Temperatures should be about 24 degrees for a high.

Well, some of the coldest temperatures that we've seen in 44 years, where the temperature didn't even make it to 10 degrees. As you can see, the January average is 21. The current conditions right now, they have actually come up just a tick in New Delhi at 1.8 kilometers.

But an area from Islamabad to New Delhi, about 1,000 kilometers, has been affected by the dense fog. Look at Lucknow now, 1.6 kilometers with haze. Jaipur is looking at just over 3 kilometers but some haze being reported there. So we're not looking at that densely fog area across the region but still the threat persists and the typical months for the fog is from about December until the beginning of February.

But some of these foggy spells can last as long as 20, possibly up to 30 days. When we come back after a look at these forecasts, we'll talk about the flooding rains across the United Kingdom.

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MAGINNIS: Well, across the United Kingdom, they have seen their fair share of rain. As a matter of fact, it's the second wettest across the United Kingdom since records of 1910. Well, it looks like a little bit of a break. There is some moisture which is aimed across Scotland, also into Ireland, coming up over the next 12-24 hours.

But for the most part, we have seen kind of this lessening of moisture. Well, for 2012, 1,330 millimeters of rainfall. And they are dealing with very soggy ground there, a disruption of travel, both by railway as well as cars, Kristie. And it has been quite difficult for them over the last few months. Back to you.

STOUT: Yes, I can only imagine. Historic weather events happening in many corners of the world. Karen Maginnis watching it all for us, thank you.

And you are watching NEWS STREAM.

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STOUT (voice-over): And still ahead, more bloodshed, more torture, more mindless destruction -- those words from a U.N. official describing a future for Syria if the violence is not stopped as the world body releases a shocking new estimate on the death toll.

And U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is out of hospital. Now some of her critics are backpedaling on the conspiracy theories they had about her recent illness.

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STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

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STOUT (voice-over): Police in New Delhi, India, have formally charged five men with rape, murder and kidnapping following last month's gang rape of a 23-year-old woman. The woman later died from her injuries. The trial will be held in a fast-track court. A sixth suspect is likely to be tried separately as a juvenile.

Now some three weeks after the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, surviving students and teachers now returning to class. But it will be in a different school building in the nearby town of Monroe. Still, they will be under heavy security. Twenty children and six adult educators were killed in the December 14th shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law a $600 billion defense spending bill that provided funding for all U.S. military activity including the war in Afghanistan. It also provides money to boost security as U.S. facilities around the world.

Pakistani intelligence officials say two major Taliban commanders were killed in U.S. drone strikes in northern Pakistan. They say Mullah Nazir was killed in South Waziristan when a drone fired two missiles at his vehicle. The second drone strike, this one in North Waziristan, killed Shah Faisal, the commander in the Pakistan Taliban. They are the first drone strikes of 2013 inside Pakistan.

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STOUT: A chilling new statistic has been released by the United Nations. Now says more than 60,000 people have died in Syria since the conflict there began. That figure is 15,000 higher than the estimate we had been using here at CNN, based on opposition activists and other sources.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, calls the death toll "truly shocking." And she blamed the international community for doing nothing to stop the bloodshed, saying, quote, "Collectively we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns." She says that 60,000 is likely to be an underestimate of the actual death toll.

She joins the U.N. Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in saying that she fears many more will die as Syria's civil war continues.

Mohammed Jamjoom joins us now from CNN Beirut in neighboring Lebanon.

Mohammed, what is behind this shocking rise in the Syrian death toll?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, when U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay made this announcement yesterday, she said that air attacks, shelling, tank fire, bomb attacks, street-to-street fighting and sectarian fighting have all contributed to this huge spike in the death toll that was being reported yesterday.

We also heard from the U.N. that there's not a shadow of a doubt that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Syria in the nearly two years that the fighting there have been going on.

Navi Pillay said that this new number, this new estimate they have, is not only shocking, that it's shameful. And she went on to say, "The number of casualties is much higher than we expected and is truly shocking.

For almost two years now, my staff and the staff of the Independent Commission of Inquiry have been interviewing Syrians inside and outside the country, listening to their stories and gathering evidence. We have been repeatedly asked, 'Where is the international community? Why aren't you acting to stop this slaughter?'

We have no satisfactory answer to those questions. Collectively, we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns."

Very strong words, Kristie, from Navi Pillay, who described that this was an exhaustive, months-long investigation, that the U.N. had depended upon several different groups cross-referencing numbers and, as you said, I think the most chilling thing about this report and this huge spike in numbers is the fact that Navi Pillay said that she believed that this is most likely an underestimate of the number of the dead in Syria.

Kristie?

STOUT: And the death toll, both shocking and shameful, as she puts it.

Now we've also learned than an American journalist has been kidnapped inside Syria. Tell us more about James Foley.

JAMJOOM: Well, James Foley is working as a freelance journalist in Syria. His parents and family released a statement yesterday, in which they said that on Thanksgiving on November 22nd, that he was abducted by gunmen and that he hasn't been heard from since.

His family said that they decided to go public with the information in the hopes that this would increase the chances that he would be released unharmed. In the statement, his father said, "We want Jim to come home safely, or at least we need to speak with him to know he's OK."

They sent out a message, "To the people who have Jim: please contact us so we can work together towards his release." Now James Foley was previously abducted when he was working in Libya for Global Post. He was released a few months after being abducted there in 2011 by the Libyan military.

His brother, Michael, told us by phone yesterday that the last time they heard from James was on Thanksgiving, but James' sister spoke to him via Skype and that James was working on several different stories, including a story in Aleppo about the destination of the old city there, Kristie.

STOUT: And the violence inside the country, I understand that the fighting for that airbase in Idlib, it's still going on. What is the latest you're hearing?

JAMJOOM: Well, that's right, Kristie. We're hearing from opposition activists that the fighting amongst rebel brigades and Syrian regime soldiers, the rebels are hoping to overtake this base in Taftanaz, which is very close to Binnish in Idlib, that this fighting started yesterday, that they're continuing, that the clashes are getting ever more fierce by the hour.

The rebels feel that they have momentum on their side; they feel that they are going to be able to overtake this airbase. But the regime is fighting back mightily, trying to stave off the rebels. Now, yesterday, we spoke with the media wing of an opposition group in Binnish.

And they told us that this is an airbase from which the regime has been able to launch horrific attacks against the Syrian people. That's one of the reasons it's so sought after by the rebels. But also it is a very strategic location and a very strategic airbase. And that's why they want to make sure that they are able to capture it and definitively hold it, Kristie.

STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom reporting for us, thank you.

You are watching NEWS STREAM. And right here is a visual rundown of all the stories we're covering. And take a look at the left-hand column of the grid. We brought you the latest from India on the gang rape case that has shocked the country and the world. We covered the news from Washington, D.C., following the deal over the fiscal cliff. And now let's stay in the U.S.

Doctors in the U.S. say that Hillary Clinton is expected to make a full recovery. Accompanied by her family, the U.S. secretary of state left New York Presbyterian Hospital on Wednesday. She was there for three days, receiving treatment for a blood clot that was located between her skull and her brain.

Doctors say it formed after Ms. Clinton suffered a concussion in December, but has not caused any stroke or neurological damage. She's now being treated with blood thinners to dissolve the clot. And the timing of Clinton's health scare caused suspicions among some conservative pundits.

The secretary of state had been expected to testify on Capitol Hill over the attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. As Kate Bolduan reports, many of Clinton's doubters now seem to be backpedaling.

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KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Monday, December 10th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, suffering from the flu, cancels a planned trip to North Africa and the Middle East, Her spokesman telling CNN, "Since she's still under the weather, we'll be staying put this week."

Five days later, the State Department says Clinton had suffered a concussion after fainting earlier in the week, one official insisting the concussion was not severe.

That same day, the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced, due to health reasons, Clinton would no longer be testifying in a much-anticipated public hearing on the attack in Benghazi. That did not sit well with some on the right, from an outgoing Tea Party-backed congressman to conservative commentators, all accusing the secretary of state of hiding behind her illness.

COL. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: You know, I'm not a doctor, but it seems as though that the secretary of state has come down with a case of Benghazi flu. I think we have to get to the bottom of this.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Apparently, she's suffering from an acute Benghazi allergy, which causes lightheadedness when she hears the word Benghazi or is being asked about it.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEW ANCHOR: If she's in the NFL, I wouldn't let her play. But I think she can make a phone call.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): "The New York Post" ran the headline, "Hillary Clinton's Head Fake."

Even former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton piled on.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: You know, every foreign service officer in every foreign ministry in the world knows the phrase I'm about to use. When you don't want to go to a meeting or a conference or an event, you have a diplomatic illness. And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Then Sunday brought news of the blood clot, the State Department announcing Secretary Clinton's illness was something much more serious. Since then, relative silence from her critics. When asked on FOX News about his earlier remarks suggesting an effort to keep Clinton from testifying, John Bolton seemed to soften his tone.

BOLTON: I didn't think that was the effort to begin with. I think that they're trying to walk a fine line that does not affect the potential presidential candidacy that we expect Senator Clinton to enter into in the near future.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): And the "New York Post" changed its tune, as well, wishing Clinton a, quote, "full and rapid recovery," in an editorial Tuesday.

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STOUT: Now Secretary Clinton's office says that she is eager to return to work and will announce details of her schedule in the coming days.

Now in Venezuela, people are praying for the health of President Hugo Chavez. He is due to be sworn in for his next term in exactly one week from now. But he has not been seen publicly since December the 10th. That's when he arrived in Cuba for cancer surgery. Mr. Chavez has suffered from complications and nobody knows if he will be physically able to attend his own inauguration.

Now rumors of his failing health have spread on social media like wildfire. The technology minister has tried to put an end to the frenzy. And a run on Twitter on Wednesday that Commander Chavez still battling hard and sends all his love to our people. Perseverance and patience.

But the lack of information, it is coming under criticism. Now this distant blogger writes, quote, "Even though we are accustomed to secrecy, we are not stupid."

Now Mr. Chavez himself is widely followed on Twitter, but he has not posted a message since November the 1st.

Still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, breaking down barriers. This I.T. company has a unique workforce and we'll tell you how it is fighting discrimination while also boosting its bottom line.

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STOUT: Welcome back. Now Asperger's syndrome is a condition that is often misunderstood. It's a higher functioning form of autism. And the founder of an I.T. company learned his son was diagnosed with Asperger's it opened his mind up to a surprising possibility. Fred Pleitgen brings us this story from Germany.

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"DOCTOR": How much is 4,343 times 1,234?

DUSTIN HOFFMAN, "RAY BABBITT": 5,359,262.

TOM CRUISE, "CHARLIE BABBITT": He's a genius.

"DOCTOR": That's right.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the late 1980s, the movie "Rain Man" showed a worldwide audience that people with autism not only have deficits but often also huge talents. While Hollywood may have oversimplified the issue, there are links to the real world.

Because of their condition, people with autism often have trouble integrating into the working world. Now a Berlin company wants to give people with a form of autism known as Asperger syndrome new opportunities.

The firm is called Auticon and is training dozens to become software testers. Philip von der Linden is one of the new hires. He says it is the first time he truly feels valued as an employee.

PHILIP VON DER LINDEN, NEW AUTICON EMPLOYEE: That is what makes life valuable, to be needed, and if what you can do is appreciated and if what seems to be weakness is turned into an asset.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Management at Auticon says they've found that some people with Asperger's have a knack for finding patterns and flaws in gigantic calculations -- and that makes them perfect software testers.

Owner Dirk Mueller-Remus founded the company when his own son was diagnosed with Asperger's.

DIRK MUELLER-REMUS, FOUNDER AND OWNER, AUTICON: Our guys have a lot of skills in concentration, analytical/logical thinking and things like that. And we are sure about that the industries, the I.T industry will have benefits.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): But only about 15 percent are employed in the private sector, according to the German government. That's largely because of their difficulties with social interactions. That's why Auticon has job coaches to help its employees with customer relations, something psychologists say is key trying to give Asperger autists a chance in the working world.

ISABEL DZIOBEK, FREE UNIVERSITY BERLIN: They do look at the assets that people with autism have and try to construct or to basically develop work conditions around that so that the autistic individuals can use their skills, at the same time reducing social demands.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): In the movie "Rain Man", the character's skills are used to make a lot of money gambling in Las Vegas. Auticon's goals are more down to earth, not only making a profit, but they say, making a difference in the lives of their workers -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

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STOUT: A very inspiring story there.

Now in recent weeks, it looked as if Chelsea would be a match for Manchester's top clubs in the race for England's Premier League football title. But that was before a shock defeat. Let's cross live to London for the very latest with Alex Thomas.

Alex?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, hi, Kristie. Chelsea's football manager Rafael Benitez has defended the changes he made to the team after a surprise defeat to QPR, the bottom club in England's Premier League. Juan Mata and Eden Hazard were among the players wrested for Wednesday night's game at Stamford Bridge, but QPR hadn't won a league match for 30 years.

However, that all changed when former Chelsea player Shaun Wright- Phillips scored the only goal, handing the visitors their second EPL victory of the season. Blues boss Benitez said afterwards that his team were tired and the loss was a setback for Chelsea' title hopes.

They stay 4th in the table, behind Tottenham, 16 points adrift to the leaders Manchester United, although the Blues do have a game in hand on both sides above.

She was the first African-American woman to tackle the ultra-macho sport of drag racing and now she plans to make her mark in NASCAR, too. So move over, Danica Patrick, because Nicole Lyons could be the latest lady to take on the guys in the world of motor racing. George Howell went to meet her.

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NICOLE LYONS, RACE CAR DRIVER: It's an exciting time for me and a very just crazy time in my life, from going from NHRA drag racing to attempting to transition to NASCAR.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nicole Lyons was born to race. She's already made a name for herself in professional drag racing with the National Hot Rod Association or NHRA.

She's now gaining traction in her effort to become a household name in NASCAR. When she starts racing, she'll be one of the few women in the sport.

LYONS: I think I've done so well in NHRA and I've committed so much time to my craft there, I think now is the time for me to do that transition and showcase myself in NASCAR.

HOWELL (voice-over): Lyons' love for cars started at a young age when she was influenced by her late father, Jack Davis (ph), an avid street racer.

LYONS: I was an only child, so Daddy's little girl. I was in the shop 24/7. And by the time I was 4 years old, I could name every muscle car, the options that came with it, all of those good things.

HOWELL (voice-over): She recently tested for NASCAR. The challenges, she says, are different.

LYONS: In drag racing, you want to go straight. You don't want to make a left turn to save your life. In terms of NASCAR racing, it's completely different. You ride the wall. You make left turns, you know, you'd have a braking system that's completely different. In drag racing, the brake is not our friend. The wall is not our friend. We don't want to get near it.

(LAUGHTER)

HOWELL (voice-over): Not only is Lyons racing cars, but she's an award-winning engine builder and owns a muscle car restoration shop in Los Angeles, where she employs female mechanics.

LYONS: I just really wanted to show female empowerment, and I knew that, you know, we can turn wrenches just as well as any other guy. And I kind of you know, had this vision for an all-female shop. And one where the ladies were attractive, you know, defying kind of the odds of what people would, you know, guess would be the normal for a woman working on cars.

HOWELL (voice-over): When she makes the transition, many will identify Lyons primarily as one of the first African-American females to race in NASCAR. But to her, winning is what's most important.

LYONS: I'm a racer who understands that fact that wins mean everything. So regardless of the fact, if I get out there and it so happens that I win, I'm the first African-American woman to do so, great. But I'm going to tell you, at the end of the day, what makes me most happy about the situation is that I won.

It's a lot different than drag racing, but it's very exciting and very fun.

HOWELL (voice-over): George Howell, CNN, Atlanta.

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ALEX THOMAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Nicole Lyons, one to watch out for in the future. We'll have more on "WORLD SPORT" in just over three hours' time. For now, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.

STOUT: Yes, great introduction for the racer there. Alex Thomas, thank you.

Now still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, 3D printing going mainstream. That's something we're watching closely this year. But up next, look at how it's already being used to break new ground in medicine.

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STOUT: Welcome back. Now 3D printing, this trend we're following very closely here on NEWS STREAM, imagine being able to design and create custom-made clothing or toys at the touch of a button. The technology's also being pioneered in the medical profession. And here, Nick Glass looks at the production of what's said to be the first-ever hearing aid specifically tailored to each user.

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NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hearing aids from 1956 came with their own battery-operated chest pack. They've been shrinking ever since. The hearing aid industry has been revolutionized by the use of 3D printers.

The process is called CAMISHA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which means Computer Aided Manufacturing of Individual Shells for Hearing Aids.

GLASS (voice-over): To see how it works, I got fitted up for one.

First, a mold is made of my ear canal.

GLASS: Oh, that's quite curious.

GLASS (voice-over): Next, into a laser scanner, and we have the data needed for 3D printing. The printers are white, anonymous boxes, but peer in and watch what emerges from the pool of acrylic resin.

A laser gradually builds up the shapes layer by layer until they rise in a cluster like polyps on a coral reef.

GLASS: It's almost like seeing something from the sea bed, just rising up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, just like (inaudible).

GLASS (voice-over): Every shell in this batch of 30 or so is different, a precise sculpture of someone's inner ear into which microcircuitry is inserted. Today, the CAMISHA process is used throughout the hearing industry for 95 percent of all ITE that's in the ear, hearing aids.

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GLASS: Background noise: it's a problem for absolutely all of us, but especially for hearing aid users. Now with this hearing aid plugged in and this remote, I can control the entire soundscape at home.

Just thumb this up to cut out all the other sounds and I'll listen only to the television coming directly into my hearing aid, into my earpiece. Exactly the same with the stereo. I can listen to the music, nothing else but the music, and it comes directly into my earpiece.

And when the phone goes, it overrides everything else.

GLASS (voice-over): More and more of us are going to suffer hearing loss. We're living longer. We tend to listen to music more often and more loudly. It's just as well that hearing aid technology is advancing so dramatically.

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STOUT: An incredible application of 3D printing technology. And that's happening today.

Now 3D printing has made huge advances recently. Let's look at some other amazing objects.

Now this company says it built the first patient-specific lower jaw using a printer. Doctors say the implant allowed one patient to speak and swallow normally within hours of surgery -- incredible.

Of course, it's not just the medical field that's using this technology. Designer Luc Fusaro believes his printed shoe can improve an athlete's performance by up to 3.5 percent. And this company in Japan promises to turn your family portraits into 3D figurines. It's been described as the photo booth of the future.

And among the more controversial items, 3D printed guns. Now so far no fully functioning firearms have been printed out of plastic. But the idea itself is just chilling.

Now imagine the scenario: a boat engulfed in flames with no way to put the fire out. Well, some speedboaters in New Zealand, they came up with a creative solution. Jeanne Moos has the incredible video.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a vessel catches fire the best way to put it out is probably with a hose. But when a boat is aflame on a little lake in New Zealand and there's no hose in sight, this is a sight for sore eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing?

MOOS (voice-over): Two men doused the flames with a spray from their speedboat. Hayden Oliver caught it on tape.

HAYDEN OLIVER, VIDEOGRAPHER: Ugh. That's kindly (ph).

MOOS: The maneuver was performed not once but four times.

MOOS (voice-over): Someone called emergency services, but it took 25 minutes for fire trucks to reach Lake Linden. And by then the speedboat had done its trick, impressing even dispatch manager on duty, Riwai Grace.

MOOS: What do you call that technique that they used?

RIWAI GRACE, DISPATCH MANAGER: I call it ingenious.

MOOS (voice-over): Online admirers said it was if David Hasselhoff from "Baywatch" were at the wheel, or James Bond, except in his movies, 007 tends to set fires rather that put them out.

The speedboat even towed the burned-up craft to the landing; its occupant had jumped overboard and made it safely to shore. Though the boat was a complete wreck, at least its 25 gallons of fuel didn't blow up and start a brush fire, thanks to the speedboat's spray.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was almost like he practiced it.

MOOS: The fire dispatch manager had a message for the mystery speedboaters, delivered in the lingo of native New Zealanders.

GRACE: Just pakipaki, which is like "well done" in Maori, New Zealand.

MOOS (voice-over): Pakipaki, Mr. Bond.

SEAN CONNERY, "JAMES BOND": We have a saying in England. "Where there's smoke, there's fire."

MOOS (voice-over): In this case, where there's fire, now there's only smoke. SOS, Splash Our Ship -- Jeanne Moos, CNN --

GRACE: Pakipaki.

MOOS (voice-over): -- New York.

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STOUT: Pakipaki, indeed.

Now before we go, you've got to take a look at this. Now heavy snowfall in the northeastern part of the U.S. has inspired one man to take a favorite winter activity and supersize it.

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STOUT (voice-over): Now this snowman, it just towers over the competition, standing more than 11 meters tall. It was created with the help of heavy machinery. As you can see, it's got a road cone for a nose, tires for buttons. The snowman's creator wanted him to serve a purpose, so people who stopped by to see him can drop canned food in his lowest button, all to be donated to charity.

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STOUT: And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

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