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Inquiry Labels Legendary TV Presenter Jimmy Saville Serial Sex Predator; Boeing 787 Dreamliner Experiencing Problems; The Worst of CES 2013; Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka Set To Defend Australian Open Titles

Aired January 11, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET

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


MONITA RAJPAL, HOST: I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

He was one of Britain's best loved TV stars, now he's being called prolific predatory sex offender. The report into some 60 years of abuse by Jimmy Saville.

Also ahead, preparing to tackle gun violence, but the U.S. vice president may face a fight form a powerful gun lobby.

And concerns about Boeing's Dreamliner as the state of the art plane suffers further setbacks.

A three month police inquiry into wide scale sexual abuses committed by one of Britain's most famous entertainers has ended with a staggering report. It says Jimmy Saville carried out more than 200 crimes over six decades with nearly three-quarters of his victims being children. The last case to be documented would have taken place just two years before the late TV presenter died in 2011 at the age of 84.

Now Saville was never brought to justice. And his victims have been left looking for some kind of a resolution.

Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has been following the investigation. And he joins us now live from London -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Monita, thanks very much.

And it's one of the reasons why this report, which has been called giving victims a voice, has now been issued by the metropolitan police.

You're right, Jimmy Saville is dead. It means there's no chance of a criminal prosecution. And they're not going to go any further in trying to corroborate some of the appalling testimonies that are documented in this report. They're hoping that this will be enough to at least give the victims of Jimmy Saville some kind of sense of justice.

The figures inside the report are quite astonishing. You mentioned some of them there. But 450 complaints made between the years of 1955 and 2009 against Jimmy Saville, 214 of them according to Police, have been actually recorded as abuses. There are various reasons why the rest of them haven't.

But amongst that 214, 34 rapes committed against people of all sorts of age groups. The range of people abused by Jimmy Saville goes from eight years old on the lower end up to people of 47 years old as well. It's both genders. According to the report, 82 percent of the victims were female and the rest, obviously, males.

So, a really disturbing report, which in the words of the report shows Jimmy Saville was a prolific sex offender. The scale of his abuses, the report says, were unprecedented in Britain. And so a really damning, a really disturbing report to read, Monita.

RAJPAL: Matthew, for those who didn't grow up knowing the name Jimmy Saville, give us an idea of just who he was and why these findings are that much more shocking because of who he was?

CHANCE: Yeah, it's difficult to communicate internationally just how big a personality this figure was in Britain. People of my generation and before that of course grew up knowing Jimmy Saville as one of the biggest children television presenters and teenage television presenters of all time. For decades, he dominated the air waves with very influential shows like Top of the Pops. And he was the first DJ, the first presenter on Top of the Pops. He was also the last presenter on Top of the Pops back in 2006 when another abuse took place, according to police.

He also hosted a show called Jim'll Fix, which was very big when I was a kid. Children from various schools around the country would write in saying Jim can you fix it for me to, you know, ride on a fast airplane and he'd come to school and make that happen.

It seems that on every opportunity he had, Jimmy Saville, you know, preyed on vulnerable people.

According to the police report, the venues where the abuses took place were quite wide ranging, but quite indicative of the kind of places he visited -- hospitals where he was often a very prominent fundraiser, TV or radio premises where he worked, of course, as a broadcaster, but also schools. These are the venues where these large number of abuses took place over so many decades, Monita.

RAJPAL: So what does this report, then, mean for the survivors? Is there a sense that they finally got their voices heard and that people actually believe them?

CHANCE: Yeah, I think there is that sense. I mean, there's been a lot of questions asked as to why it took so long for all of these reports to come out. And then not until Jimmy Saville had died. And one of the explanations given for that by the various workers -- social workers and police that have been engaged in this is that many of the victims seems to have been intimidated and silenced by fear, by shame, but also mainly by the sheer force of celebrity that Jimmy Saville had. People were just too frightened because of his personality, because of his on air image and his persona to actually report him to the police.

Even when he was reported to the police. There's been quite damning condemnation of the way that those complaints were dealt with.

Back in 2007, there were the first real complaints against Jimmy Saville made to the police by victims. Four complaints were made, in fact, formally to the police before he died. So there was an opportunity in theory for the police to have acted and brought justice to Jimmy Saville while he was still alive.

And the Department of Public Prosecutions, which oversees the Crown Prosecution Service, the public prosecutors in this country, have already issued an apology now saying that the police treated the complaints with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required, all part of this kind of deference to the celebrity sort of aura surrounding Jimmy Saville.

RAJPAL: All right. Matthew, thank you. Matthew Chance there in London.

We take you now to the United States. And the Obama administration is poised to take action to curb gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden has promised to deliver recommendations early next week. But a powerful pro- gun lobby in the U.S. says it is mobilizing for a fight. The National Rifle Association, or the NRA, opposes new restrictions. It says its membership has surged following last month's mass shooting mainly of school children in Newtown, Connecticut. Firearm and ammunition sales have also jumped.

Some gun aficionados are afraid the rules are about to change on what they can legally own. These two men in Oregon say they wanted to start a conversation when they walk down the street like this with assault rifles strapped on their back. Police say the demonstration did not break the law, but it did scare a lot of people.

Well, as the debate over gun control drags on, students have experienced the terror of another school shooting, this time it happened in a California classroom. Kyung Lah brings us more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The school remains closed after a 16 year old gunmen walked into a classroom and opened fire. Police say the 16 year old boy began planning the night before the day of the shooting. On Wednesday night getting the gun that belongs to his 19 year old brother. The ATF tracking the registration of that shotgun right now. And he also gathered up the rounds. He went to bed. He woke up, decided he would not go to school when it opened and then slipped in through a side door so no one would see him.

Police say they have video of the boy going into the door.

He then went into the classroom and targeted two boys. One of the boys, a 16 year old boy, was struck. He is in the hospital recovering from his injuries. The other boy, he ducked and missed.

What ended it all, this teacher, this teacher Ryan Heber was able to talk the student into putting down his gun.

DON YOUNGBLOOD, KERN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA SHERIFF: The heroics of these two people -- you know, it goes without saying to stand there and face someone that has a shotgun who has already discharged it and shot a student, that says -- speaks volumes for these two young men and what they may have prevented. They could have just as easily tried to get out of the classroom and left students and they didn't. And they knew not to let him leave that classroom with that shotgun. And they took that responsibility on very serious. And we're very proud of the job they did.

LAH: Numerous parents of students are familiar with this boy, they describe him as a troubled young man, a boy who had gotten in trouble last school year, because he had drawn up something that they described as a hit list, kids he wanted to kill. Well, the school found out and according to many of the parents of the students he was expelled.

The boy back in school, though. Parents say they only learned he was back after news of the shooting broke.

ROBIN ATKINS, PARENT: You know, I don't know what the circumstances are to let him back in, you know, the criteria to let him back in, but my own opinion, I think, it's a very, very serious case that, you know, I don't know what you do with a kid like that. I don't know where you put him. I don't know what you do with him. But, you know, the look on all these parents' faces that are shocked that probably -- you ask probably 75 percent of these people didn't know he was back in this school.

LAH: Normally there's an armed police officer on the school property day in and day out, but he wasn't here on the day of the shooting, because he was snowed in at home. So would it have made a difference if an armed officer was at the school when the shooting took place? The police chief here says it wouldn't have, because officers responded within 60 seconds of the first 911 call.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Taft, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Well, as gun violence continues to rage in America, what can Washington really do to stop it? We want to bring in CNN's White House correspondent Dan Lothian. And Dan, Vice President Biden's task force is expected to come up with these recommendations we understand by Tuesday, yet there is still a lot of dissent nationally. There's also been word that the president -- were that the president might actually invoke executive orders. How will that be received?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of the executive orders that is not being received by some out there, especially gun owners who feel like the government is trying every attempt, making every attempt to try to get rid of the Second Amendment. That is something clearly that the president cannot do with an executive order, but no doubt that continues to spread across the internet and in the discussion on talk radio despite the fact that the White House has come out and said, look, the president is not trying to knock down any laws here, just trying to look for additional options to go along with what Congress can do so that, you know, they can move quickly on this to prevent further violence.

So yesterday what you saw from the vice president was coming out with some recommendations, not his recommendations, but what he says has been sort of floating to the top after he's been involved in these meetings over the last several days. At the top of that list is a total universal background checks, including private owners who are conducting sales, that is something that he believes could potentially cut down on some of these violent acts. Secondly, a ban on high capacity ammunition clips. And then the vice president pointed out the need for more federal information, more federal research, getting intel if you well.

These are all recommendations from people who have been involved in these meetings that potentially could end up on the president's desk. But of course there's some pushback from the NRA, a strongly worded statement saying that they are disappointed how little time was spent in these meetings focusing on children and keeping them safe. And, quote, how much of this time had to do with an agenda to attack the second amendment.

While claiming that no policy proposals would be prejudged, this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearm owners. Honest, taxpaying, hard working Americans.

So the NRA not really seeing eye to eye with this administration as they search for a solution to prevent gun violence.

RAJPAL: If we take that NRA statement, Dan, and you touched upon this earlier on, what are some of the misconceptions about this debate. Is it about banning guns outright, or limiting the guns that are available, or putting more restrictions on those who can actually buy guns?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, I think it's a combination of all of those, although the White House, which has for several days now been talking about the need for a ban on assault weapons. That is something that lawmakers up on Capitol Hill have suggested as well.

The vice president made no mention of that yesterday. Perhaps it's a recognition that this is something that will be tough getting the votes in congress and so they're trying to come up with some other, you know, options that could get bipartisan support.

But this is a very complicated issue. Everyone agrees that there's a major problem here that something needs to be done, but it's the solution that they can't come and get out right now. And the NRA, gun owners saying, look, instead of focusing on gun control what you need to focus on are things like mental health. They also suggested the NRA that perhaps you should have armed guards at all schools across the country. These are things that the administration doesn't think would be the answer to this problem. But there should be sort of a comprehensive approach to it.

So again this is very complex, but the discussions continue. And as you pointed out at the top of this broadcast that the vice president will be presenting the recommendations to the president on Tuesday. And he said there's a very tight window here. And he acknowledged that there's a lot of pressure from the public to act quickly.

RAJPAL: All right, Dan, at least they're talking. Dan, thank you very much for that. Dan Lothian there at the White House.

Well, James Holmes wil lbe tried for murder in the Colorado movie theater rampage. And that decision from the judge who presided over his three day evidence hearing this week. Holmes will be arraigned today on 166 counts, including first degree murder. He is accused of opening fire inside an Aurora, Colorado theater last July killing 12 people and wounding dozens of others.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in the United States. After an official welcome to Washington, he will soon sit down for lunch with the U.S. president. Some say a wishl ist of military hardware may be on the menu.

And a former U.S. governor has just visited North Korea. And the head of Google traveled with him. We'll tell you why.

Plus, in Las Vegas, not everything that dazzled impressed. Find out which new gadgets may have missed the mark at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: A three day official mourning period has begun in southwestern Pakistan. The day after a series of blasts killed nearly 100 people. These images come from the city of Quetta where back to back suicide bombings struck a predominately Shiite area. Many of the victims of the second blast had responded to the first. A banned Sunni militant group has claimed responsibility. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says the attack was one of the worst cases of sectarian violence the country has ever seen.

Also on Thursday, a separate attack in Swasali (ph) killed 21 people. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for that attack.

In Washington, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is due to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in the coming hours. Officials say the two leaders will hold talks, then have a working lunch before holding a joint news conference. As Chris Lawrence reports the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has largely set the agenda for Mr. Karzai's visit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE (voice-over): The White House floated the possibility of pulling all troops out of Afghanistan. Now, the Pentagon is pushing back, saying it could jeopardize any negotiating power with the Taliban.

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The stronger position we take in showing that we are going to continue to complete this mission, the better the chances we have to ultimately achieve political reconciliation.

LAWRENCE: The Pentagon was only the beginning of the Afghan president's visit to Washington.

PANETTA: Our meeting, I believe, helped -- will help lay the ground work for President Karzai's discussions tomorrow with President Obama.

LAWRENCE: Sources say President Karzai and his defense minister brought a wish list to the Pentagon, drones, helicopters, and hardware to support their security forces.

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: What we talked about yesterday was, you know, let's move beyond a wish list of equipment.

LAWRENCE: The U.S. wants assurances terrorists won't set up shop in Afghanistan as American troops leave. Karzai agreed.

PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: (INAUDIBLE) to provide security to these people and to protect (INAUDIBLE).

LAWRENCE: But a recent Pentagon report reveals the Afghan border patrol relies on the U.S. for even its most basic needs, food and water. It's rife with illiteracy, lack of accountability, and corruption, and these conditions are expected to endure beyond 2014. But every troop in Afghanistan costs the U.S. government about a million dollars a year.

So, even leaving a small force adds up. 3,000 troops would cost $3 billion every year they're deployed. The question of how many troops remain is secondary to what they will do. Defense officials say Karzai prefers any remaining U.S. troops to focus on training his forces.

He's opposed to foreign troops conducting raids. That's a part of counterterrorism whereas trainers would patiently teach Afghan forces.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: That was CNN's Chris Lawrence reporting from Washington. Now in the name of objectivity, we have to ask you this question, are all the gadgets at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas necessarily cool? Well, we go behind the marketing hype in search of the duds ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: You are watching News Stream. And here is the visual rundown of the stories that we are covering on the show. Take a look at the column that's closest to me. Earlier in the show we talked about the Jimmy Saville scandal and the report that has been released. Later, we'll also be talking about the severe cold and how it's affecting Syrians.

But now, though, the end of what has been described as a mysterious trip. Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Google's Eric Schmidt have returned from North Korea. The search giant had said it will not comment on Schmidt's personal travel. We know the delegation did not meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong un. It also failed to secure the release of an American prisoner. But Richardson calls the trip productive. He spoke to our partner network CNN USA just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL RICHARDSON, FRM. GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO: But we went as private, humanitarian trip for three reasons. One, to urge the North Koreans to have a moratorium on missile activity, no nuclear tests. Secondly, to find out about the American detained there, Kenneth Bay, that he would be properly treated. And then thirdly to spread the message about an open society -- the internet, cell phones. Eric Schmidt was like a rock star there, talking to people, to students, to scientists, to software engineers about the importance of the internet.

You know, I think it's important that we not isolate the North Koreans they have six nuclear weapons at the most. They have 1.4 million men in uniform. They're hostile. They're unpredictable. I think it's better to have a dialogue.

These people in North Korea are thirsty for openness. And when we deliver a message that the internet and access to the internet and exchange of information and openness is good, I don't see how this can be harmful.

And when we tell the North Koreans -- I've been dealing with them for years -- that what they're doing is heading to a path towards confrontation against their own interests, against their own economic growth by spending so much on nuclear weapons, on missile tests, that's a message that they receive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: Bill Richardson speaking to CNN U.S. just a short time ago. Meanwhile, Apple's CEO is also in Asia. Tim Cook is in China where he's meeting with government officials and business partners. And in an interview with Xinua, Cook revealed that Apple has high hopes for the country. He said China is currently our second largest market. I believe it will become our first. I believe strongly that it will.

Now Cook's comments come as rumors of a cheaper iPhone continue to circulate. Another Apple executive denied the report in an interview with a Chinese newspaper, pointing to Apple's profit margins.

And it's worth looking at those margins. Reuters found Apple's gross margins for the iPhone and iPad in a court filing. Now between Apple 2010 and March 2012 it says Apple's gross margin on the iPad was up 32 percent. But the iPhone's gross margin was up 58 percent showing just how valuable the phone is to Apple. And Apple wouldn't comment on the filing to Reuters.

Now all this week we've talked about some of the standout gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but what about the worst gadgets on the show? CNN Money's Adrian Covert and Julianne Pepitone told us what they didn't like.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIANNE PEPITONE, CNN MONEY CORREPSONDENT: At CES 2013, like any big trade show, the headlines are always about the coolest things, but some things are not always so cool. What are some of the worst things you saw at the show?

ADRIAN COVERT, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: The six inch smartphone from Guawei which just doesn't make sense. I mean, there's been an increasing ramp-up around smartphone developers. They feel the need that their premium phones now have to be bigger than five inches. So you have, you know, phones like the Galaxy Note II which is five-and-a-half inches. Well, they put out this six inch phone which when you hold it it's really unwieldy. You can't even move your hand from the top to the bottom of the screen. You can barely get your hand around it to hold like a phone. It is basically like having a tablet up to your face.

PEPITONE: And that's part of the tablet trend. You know, is it a phone, is it a tablet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not just a tablet, it's a fantabulet.

COVERT: It was the most unnecessary thing I saw at CES this year.

PEPITONE: Well, Sony -- oh, I cringe just to think about this. Sony had a really terrible snafu at one of their demos. They were showing off their great OLED televisions. They were rolling out the biggest one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 56 inch prototype 4K.

PEPITONE: And the whole thing went black and had an error message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Including this beautiful...

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interface screen.

PEPITONE: You hate to see that happen. Obviously, technical problems can happen in any demo, but you really don't want it to happen at CES.

COVERT: Surprisingly Canon disappointed me this year. Canon normally makes excellent products. It's almost all their stuff are home runs, but they kind of dropped the bottle this year with their Powershot N product. It was an attempt to make a smaller point and shoot camera. But what they did is they actually decreased it to a cube -- almost cube-like form factor that is extremely difficult to hold. And really, honestly, with, you know, the rise of camera phones and those improving at the pace they are, you don't really need point and shoots to be as small, you need them to be good.

PEPITONE: Well, I have to say I was disappointed by Verizon's keynote. I always like listening to to CEO Lowell McAdam. He has some cool ideas. But he really talked very generally this year about three big growth areas for Verizon they're looking to get in to. And they were health care, sustainability and education. Not really big bombshells here.

COVERT: Well, generally one of the best parts of CES is getting to look at sort of the innovation future type products which aren't coming out any time soon, if at all, but are sort of a hint of future technology. And -- but with that territory comes products which just don't make any sense. So this year, Panasonic produced a 20 inch tablet with a 4K screen, which is very technologically impressive, but even beyond the fact that it has these really powerful guts, it makes no sense why they would even want to produce that as a concept, because who really is going to use a 20 inch tablet?

PEPITONE: But you can't really imagine, you know, walking around holding a 20 inch tablet reading the New York Times.

COVERT: Yeah, it's probably something that nobody normal will ever use in their lives.

PEPITONE: Sometimes, some of the worst are almost as fun to check out as the best.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: That was CNN Money's Julianne Pepiton and Adrian Covert.

Still ahead here on News Stream, the Dreamliner will undergo a major review after several mishaps caused safety concerns for the Boeing flagship aircraft.

Plus, civil war in Syria. Rebels there say they just won a major victory over President Bashar al-Assad.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Hello, I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. And you're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

The late British TV presenter Jimmy Saville has been described as a prolific predatory sex offender, that's according to a report by the metropolitan police and a child protection charity. The report says he carried out more than 200 offenses over six decades and used his celebrity status to hide in plain sight.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is in the United States. He was welcomed to Washington on Thursday in a ceremony at the Pentagon. Today, he's due to have two meetings with U.S. President Obama. Officials say the leaders will have a working lunch before holding a joint news conference.

A band of Sunni groups have claimed responsibility for twin bombings in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta. A police official says the attack was aimed at the area's Shiite population and that it is one of the worst of its kind.

Japan's new government has unveiled a huge stimulus package to try and haul the country out of recession. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he hopes the $117 billion spending plan will boost economic growth and create 600,000 new jobs. We will have more on that story in World Business Today in just about 30 minutes from now.

We turn now to new reports of problems on the Dreamliner. There have been at least two more incidents involving Boeing's flagship 787. And both happened in Japan earlier today. A crack was found on the cockpit window on a flight en route from Tokyo to western Japan. And on a separate flight, oil was found leaking from a generator on the engine of a plane.

Now this comes after three other problems earlier in the week, including a fuel leak from the wing of a plane as it prepared for takeoff.

Boeing's Dreamliner 787 is the first carbon composite airliner ever made, meaning it is made of lighter materials helping improve fuel efficiency. But the recent string of mishaps has raised safety concerns and now the U.S. Department of Transportation and Boeing are announcing a comprehensive review of the Dreamliner's critical systems.

Rene Marsh joins us now live from CNN Washington with more on that. Rene, what does this FAA probe actually mean for Boeing and the Dreamliner?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we'll tell you this, we have just, Monita, confirmed that the FAA will announce in just about an hour from now their plans to scrutinize how this jumbo jet was assembled, how its parts were manufactured as well as looking into its overall design.

We also found out that a representative from Boeing will be at this morning's announcement. Now of course this comes days after that electrical fire in the belly of that empty Japanese airline 787 at Logan Airport in Boston on Monday. Now one of the jet's high energy lithium batteries, that exploded.

We did speak to a Boeing spokesperson. They tell CNN in part, quote, "we are actively working with the FAA daily across all of our product lines." They go on to say we are absolutely confident in the reliability as well as performance of this 787.

And Monita, there really has been a lot of hype surrounding this plane. And it's seen really as Boeing's future. Made of lightweight material, the company boasts the aircraft's fuel efficiency, its more comfortable cabin as well as bigger windows and bigger overhead cabin. So of course this is not the news that they want us to be talking about today.

RAJPAL: So if we take all of that into consideration, Rene, how serious, then, are the Dreamliner's problems?

MARSH: Well, you know, if you talk to many of the experts many of them will say that every new jet is going to see some problems. They look at this as growing pains, so to speak. I will also say that presentatives from Boeing, they've defended the aircraft. They say these problems that we're seeing is not out of the range of the problems that they expected for a new aircraft. So they are saying that they want to fix these issues. They're concerned about these issues. However, Boeing and experts we spoke to are saying that these are not issues that means that this is going to be the end of the Dreamliner.

Let's take that crack in the cockpit window, for example, that we talked about that was found this morning on one of those planes, that's not unusual. The cockpit window was structured with five layers and that crack actually happened in the outer layer. And we should also add there was no safety inflight problems as a result of it.

So, short answer is Boeing would tell you that this is not a really serious, serious issue. But of course no airliner wants to have any issues at all.

RAJPAL: All right. Rene, thank you. Rene Marsh there in Washington.

We now turn to the civil war in Syria. Opposition activists say rebels have taken over a major military base in Idlib. And they say rebels seized control of military buildings, an airbase, ammunition and weapons, a major blow to the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

This video uploaded to YouTube purportedly shows men cheering shortly after the base was captured. The news came as UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met with Russian and U.S. diplomats in Geneva. Hours before, Syria accused Brahimi of bias after he had given an interview that effectively called on Mr. al-Assad to resign.

All this week, we have been profiling the plight of Syrian refugees -- freezing weather and the region is now making life harder than ever. Today, our report focuses on a 13 year old boy who escaped life in war torn Aleppo, but still lives in constant fear. Here is his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SALEH EKAIDI, SYRIAN REFUGE: My name is Saleh. I'm from Aleppo. I am living in Kilis Camp. Actually, my life story is an amazing story. When the revolution started, my father started learning us who's the wrong and who's the right, and it's a peace revolution.

Here on my right, the camp. I have been there eight months. And maybe you can see there, it's Oncupinar Crossing Center, you can go to Syria.

JOE DURAN, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST: You are in a safe place, you're in Turkey. You still feel the war.

EKAIDI: Yes. I think it's not too safe because maybe you heard that maybe from four months ago or more, there is two people killed in this camp, and ten got hurt by -- and they were in the camp by al-Assad army.

I have two big brothers. They were making protests in Aleppo University. They didn't come to the house more than three months, and we didn't see them. This is my brother. And this is my -- my cousin.

My biggest brother decided to carry the gun and start fighting, and he decided to join to Free Syrian Army. He believed that this system will not go by -- peace. And my other brother joined to Free Syrian Army after two months. In Syria, if someone wanted, all the family will be wanted. So, we decided to come to Turkey.

Two months ago, the phone rang, and it was that my biggest brother dead. And my other brother is still fighting now in Aleppo.

I have my family, just in my family, 15 -- were in the Free Syrian Army, and they killed -- they got the martyrdom when they were fighting. And all of them, my cousins, and one of them my brother.

Every day, I have the scaredest moment when the phone rings.

DURAN: What do you remember about your brother, your oldest brother?

EKAIDI: Great man.

DURAN: What was he like?

EKAIDI: Tall, very tall. Little eyes. Dead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Saleh is just one of many children scarred by the war in Syria. You can go to CNN.com/international to learn more about him and the refugee crisis.

Well, let's take this time now to get a check of the weather conditions as we've been talking about how cold it is right now for those refugees in Syria as winter has certainly set there. Mari Ramos is at the world weather center with more on the forecast and the conditions -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, you know, Monita, what you see here in those stories is just heartbreaking. And when you look at these weather conditions, they would be pretty terrible under normal circumstances, but when you see the kind of conditions that people are living in it just makes it that much worse. This is probably the worst winter storm that they've seen across this area easily in the last 20 years.

I want to show you a map here a little bit different than the maps we usually show you. First of all, the snow is the blue that you see here. It's called the false color image. And we -- it's just makes it a little bit easier to identify the snow compared to the clouds, which is the white that you see right there.

So we're looking here across the eastern Mediterranean. Here's Lebanon. Demascus. There's Jerusalem to the south. And here is Syria. So you can see the snow here to the north also into Turkey and then also very heavy snowfall accumulations there to the south.

These red dots that we put on the map are those refugee camps that we keep talking about. Here are the ones across -- the ones into Turkey and in the northern portions of Syria.

Clearly, you can see the snow that has been covering these areas.

We have some pictures to show you just form outside of Aleppo, because they've had some pretty significant snowfall there as well. And you can see some of that military equipment, you know, covered in snow there. People just doing the best that they can to try to stay warm. That's a huge concern, because fuel has been out for a long time, water is out. Makes it very difficult for people just in their daily life to just kind of go on here. And you can see the ground there covered in frost and in snow. In many cases, that will be melting and make a slushy cold mess.

You come back over to the weather map, let me go ahead and show you as we head to areas farther to the south. You also have quite a bit of snowfall here. And, you know, across Jordan and also into Israel we've had some significant snowfall here, also back over toward the West Bank where it wasn't snowing, it was raining. And that has caused huge problems across those areas as well.

When we get into the forecast, what's going to happen here now is that even though it's still cold and a bit on the windy side, these are some of the warmest temperatures we've had in a while. 7 in Amman, that's the warmest that you've been in days. And we're also seeing the temperatures moderate across much of Syria and then back over toward the coastline.

We have a little bit of moisture still coming in. Most of this, though, is going to stay to the north over Turkey, that's where most of the snowfall will actually happen. As we head to areas to the south, that snow will be melting. It'll be slushy. You'll get a little bit of rain, we think, along the coastline here, but most of this will stay offshore over the next couple of days and that's good news. Over Turkey, most of this will come down in the form of snow.

It's not as much cold there anymore, so when this next weather system comes in we'll start to see a little bit better conditions here. And most of that rain staying northward. And these areas to the south, as they should be, a lot drier and a bit warmer.

Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast now.

Look closely, this piece of grainy video there in the background, yeah, that's a funnel cloud, a tornado, that actually struck in Louisiana on Thursday afternoon. It did cause some damage to buildings, to homes, to several structures. There was debris flying everywhere. The national weather service does confirm that this was an EF-1 tornado that moved through this area. That video captured from a security camera on the side of a building.

Now here you can see a little bit more of that tornado and the debris flying around. Really scary stuff. Also, with the tornado came a lot of rain. And that caused huge problems across the area. They've declared a - - the governor of Louisiana has declared a state of emergency there because there was so much water covering the roadways, people trapped. You know, it is unusual, Monita, to see this much rainfall and even tornadoes, you know, at this time of year, in January, it's usually our low time to see this kind of stuff, but this was an intense weather system. We're getting a little bit of a flip-flop of weather here across the U.S. where the south from Texas onward all the way to the Florida coastline and to the east very warm conditions. It almost feels like spring.

Meanwhile, across the west, they're having to cover up those winter strawberries in California, because they're expecting frost.

Wow. So it feels like spring here.

Back to you.

RAJPAL: Change of weather. Not timely, though, is it?

Mari, thank you very much.

The first grand slam of the tennis season is almost upon us. Yay. We'll hear from Novak Djokovic as he tries to defend his crown next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Welcome back.

You are watching News Stream. And here is a visual rundown of the stories that we are covering. We talked about the gun debate and the latest on the gun debate in the United States. We've also been talking about Boeing's latest troubles with its Dreamliner. Now, let's take you to the world of sport. And we are just days away from the start of the Australian Open, the first grand tournament of the new tennis season. Alex Thomas joins us now to explain who is facing who -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Monita, more of the same as Novak Djokovic's motto ahead of the first Grand Slam tournament of the new tennis season. The world number one and defending champion has been drawn against France's Paul-Henry Mathew in round one of the Australian Open.

And in the absence of the injured Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer is the men's second seed. His first opponent is Benoit Paire.

Third seed and U.S. Open Champion Andy Murray starts his campaign against Robin Haase. Our fourth seed, David Ferrer faces Olivier Rochus.

Djokovic isn't changing his preparations for this 2013 campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, WORLD NUMBER ONE: The routine more or less generally is the same. You know, I have same team of people for last six, seven years. And we nurtured this friendship. And, you know, also this cooperation that has been very successful. So I'm glad that I have a really good team that helps me to improve every year. And helps me to, you know, maintain that focus and commitment to the sport. So they're really important to me and I'm glad to have them around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: In the women's draw, arguably the pick of the first round matches is a clash between former world number one Carolyn Wozniacki and Sabine Lisicki. The defending champions Victoria Azarenka will kick off against Romania's Monica Niculescu. Last year's runner up Maria Sharapova meets a fellow Russian in Olga Puchkova.

The bad news for Azarenka is that Serena Williams is in her half of the draw. The third seed who dominated the second half of last season has drawn Adena Galabator (ph).

Azarenka, though, has fond memories of her overall triumph in Melbourne last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTORIA AZARENKA, WORLD NUMBER ONE: It definitely brought a lot more attention, you know. And for me personally just kind of a self belief, you know, the statement that I did it. And it has brought me a lot of confidence. And, you know, knowing that I would love to repeat this feeling again. And, you know, last year has been amazing. And I've been trying to achieve the same feeling again. And that's what I'm here for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: Barcelona's football manager Tito Villanova missed his side's Copa Del Rey victory against Cordoba on Thursday. The 44 year old coach has been battling cancer. And he flew to New York to get a second medical opinion.

Even without Tito or Lionel Messi who was rested, Barca was still too good for their opponents in this second make round of 16 match. David Villa who has been on the bench for a lot this season got a rare start. He made the most of it, scoring twice. Barca winning 5-0 going through 7-0 on aggregate.

Now after a run of scoring at least 20 points in 54 straight games, reigning NBA MVP Lebron James has finally gone off the ball just a little. His form cooling along with that of the heat. Miami's star man with a bad shooting night as his team lost to the Portland Trailblazers. But the Heat let slip a 13 point lead at one stage. It was 88 apiece here in the fourth as LeBron set off Chris Bosh for the slam. Bosh with 29 points.

James still contributed 10 rebounds and 9 assists, so not bad.

The Blazers fight back lead by Wesley Matthews who drained back to back 3-pointers in the final minute of the game. He had 18 points overall for Portland. And they held off Miami in the final 10 seconds here as LeBron, Mario Chalmers, all try to win. The 3-pointer, the attempt from Chalmers not going down.

So 92-90 the final score in the Blazer's favor. They've won four in a row and nine straight at home.

Much more on World Sport in just over three hours time. For now, Monita, back to you in Hong Kong.

RAJPAL: Thank you so much for that, Alex.

Still to come here on News Stream, it's a recipe for hilarity: the fast food vanishing act which puzzled these drive thru workers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Welcome back.

Well, here's a story of lost in space, then found again on Earth. Back in June, a CNN producer launched some cameras to the edge of space using a weather balloon. As fate would have it, the whole thing broke apart somewhere in the upper atmosphere. But all was not lost thanks to a phone and GPS tracking device, the producer was able to track down the cameras just last month. And as you can see the video was still intact.

It might make you a little queasy, though.

Now, when you want to eat fast, drive thrus are certainly a quick and easy option. You just place your order, drive to the window and pick up your food, but add an aspiring magician to the mix and you have a recipe for hilarity. Jeanne Moos, none other than her, explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In under five seconds, he can turn himself into a car seat.

RAHAD HUSSEIN, CREATED CAR SEAT COSTUME: I built this car seat costume.

MOOS: Now he's riding his car seat to fame.

HUSSEIN: So this is how the costume looks. MOOS: Twenty-four-year-old Rahad Hussein is the star of a prank sweeping the Internet called the drive-through invisible driver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God!

MOOS: Arriving like a ghost driver, he stunned workers at over 50 fast-food restaurants in Virginia and Maryland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really?

MOOS: Really.

HUSSEIN: I'm overwhelmed, you know?

MOOS: Overwhelmed at how an oddball prank has become a sensation. The last time we saw anyone turn himself into a car seat is when the Border Patrol released this photo of someone smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico, sewn into the upholstery. And now this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello? Are you serious?

MOOS: He's serious, all right. This criminal justice student is serious about becoming a magician.

(on camera): Originally, Rahad considered trying to get reactions from motorists on the open road, but his costume limited his sight so much that he figured it might be dangerous.

HUSSEIN: Basically, the eye hole is right here. It's actually a mesh material, where you can actually see right through.

MOOS (voice-over): His handmade, mostly cardboard costume, topped with an actual car seat cover, consists of seat and head rest.

(on camera): I could almost sit in you.

HUSSEIN: Right.

MOOS (voice-over): He takes his hands off the wheel on the straightaway right before he pulls up to the window, leaving workers looking for the missing driver or calling for an Instagram photo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Instagram this.

MOOS (on camera): One thing the well-behaved car seat absolutely must not do is crack up laughing.

HUSSEIN: I was trying hard to keep a straight face. I was like, I thought I was going to shake.

MOOS: Though at the end, he did break character.

HUSSEIN: Just throw it in here. I'm a ghost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Throw it in there?

HUSSEIN: Yes, I'm a ghost, just -- thank you!

MOOS (on camera): What, no seat belt?

HUSSEIN: No seat belt at all.

MOOS (voice-over): Double take, make way for the triple take at the takeout window.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you serious?

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Well, finally the Duchess of Cambridge made an appearance at the unveiling of herself. Her first official portrait was on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It was painted by Glasgow born artist Paul Elmsley who previously produced a portrait of Nelson Mandela. But did he do a good job this time?

Well, here's a side by side of his work next to a real picture of the duchess. And we'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not it's accurate or flattering.

And that is News Stream for this Friday. I'm Monita Rajpal. The news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.

END