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North Korea, "U.S. Sworn Enemy of the Korean People"; British Government Warning Citizens of Threat in Benghazi; British Prime Minister Speaks at Davos Forum; Agency Tests Show Tainted Meat Has Not Entered U.K. Food Chain; Women in War; Apple Earnings

Aired January 24, 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 North Korea, which is threatening all-out action after a U.N. resolution over this rocket launch last year.

Also ahead, speaking out about the unspeakable, victims of Mali's Islamist militants talk to CNN.

And kick the ball, not the ball boy! The story behind this (inaudible) faux pas.

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STOUT: North Korea is ramping up its rhetoric against the United States. It is threatening all-out action in the wake of a U.N. Security Council resolution that increased existing sanctions on Pyongyang. The country's national defense commission called the U.S. "the sworn enemy of the Korean people," and vowed to carry out a new nuclear test as well as more long-range rocket launches.

Now the last North Korean rocket launch in December was what prompted the Security Council action in New York on Tuesday. Let's take a look at that defense commission statement in more detail.

Now it says that the U.N. Security Council has been, quote, "reduced to an organization bereft of impartiality and balance," adding that, "under this situation, the six-party talks with no longer exist." Now this, of course, refers to diplomatic efforts between North Korea and the U.S., Pyongyang's greatest ally, China, as well as Russia, South Korea and Japan.

Now the statement, it goes on to refer to a nuclear test of a higher level, signifying "a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century." The statement concludes, "Settling accounts at the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words, as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival." Incredible rhetoric there.

Now for many North Korean watchers, the tough talk is something we've heard time and time again. It is the pledge to carry out a third higher- level nuclear test following efforts in 2006 and 2009 that, perhaps, sets this statement apart. And we're joined now by journalist Andrew Salmon, live from the South Korean capital of Seoul.

And, Andrew, very confrontational words from North Korea there. What's your read on the statement?

ANDREW SALMON, JOURNALIST: Well, as you said, this is an extraordinarily confrontational statement, even by the standards of a nation which, perhaps, holds the world record in defying the international community. This is a statement of very, very remarkable defiance indeed.

STOUT: Now calling America a sworn enemy of the Korean people, let's talk about Kim Jong-un. What does he have at stake? And how would a new nuclear test, which would be a first under his rule, how would that affect his standing and his political support inside North Korea?

SALMON: OK. Firstly, this statement came from the national defense commission, which of course is the body which his father is the eternal chairman of, and of which he is the chairman. This is his highest state title. This comes from a very, very high source.

We know that Kim himself has purged several of the top ranks of the military and replaced them with, we assume, his own men. So he's probably pretty tight and reading from the same page as the military. But he appears to be carrying out his father's policy, (inaudible) military first very, very faithfully. And we can assume that this would help solidify his power base within the military.

STOUT: And we of course saw the propaganda that happened after that successful rocket launch that happened in December. We can only imagine the response if there was to be another nuclear test. And we've been here before. North Korea has carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and in 2009. What is the intent of the nuclear program and what is its capability?

SALMON: Well, the capability, I think, is very much the big question. Basically there are two elements to this. This nuclear weapon itself, and there's the delivery system. In terms of the nuclear weapon, they've carried out two destinations thus far.

So they clearly have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. The question for them now, the challenge for them in their future tests is to compress their fissile materials down into a small enough package to fit on a missile.

In terms of missile technology, they have launched a satellite into orbit, which means they have the capability to put a rocket up into the atmosphere. Again, what they mean to do in future tests is have a reentry vehicle that can bring it back down and target it.

So they're well on the way to developing this nuclear deterrent, which they've always sought, which can reach the continental United States. So to sum up, they want a nuclear deterrent; they want the means to deliver that deterrent. And this is something they're working on and they need to keep testing.

STOUT: And diplomatically, what can be done? I mean, in that statement, the military, the top military body of the DPRK basically said no more six-party talks. And even the threat itself, that therefore another nuclear test, that was its response to the U.N. Security Council and its passing of tougher sanctions earlier this week.

It doesn't seem that North Korea cares what the world thinks. So what can be done to rein in North Korea?

SALMON: This is -- again, this is the question which there's been no answer to thus far in the last -- really, the last 60 years since the end of the Korean War. The North Korean state has shown a remarkable ability to defy the will of the international community.

And, frankly, I don't have an answer; I don't think anyone on the U.N. Security Council has an answer. And I'm very curious to see what the reaction is in Washington as America wakes up to this very, very threatening statement.

STOUT: That's right. Hopefully, we'll be getting a statement from Washington in the hours ahead.

Andrew Salmon, joining us live from Seoul, thank you.

Now let's turn to Mali. Now reports say the Islamist group Ansar Dine has split with one faction ready for peace talks. Now Ansar Dine is one of four rebel groups in this conflict. Now its name, it means Defenders of the Faith. And this group, it formed in late 2011. It's made up of hundreds of heavily armed ethnic Tuareg fighters.

Ansar Dine wants to impose sharia law across Mali. It has claimed responsibility for destroying a number of religious shrines and culturally significant sites in Northern Mali. Now remember, its (inaudible) rebels effectively control the north of the country. And the area highlighted in red, is about the size of Spain.

And international troops intervened when militants moved toward the capital of Bamako. And now they are helping Mali's military regain ground. Many residents of Gao are waiting to be freed from their extremist rule. And Nima Elbagir shares their stories of life under sharia law. And a warning: some of this is very difficult to watch.

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NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A flogging in a public square this month in Gao, Northern Mali. This man's crime? He dared smoke a cigarette. Islamic militants setting an example for the hundreds of thousands in Mali, still living under their rule.

Suleiman (ph) and Maktad (ph) worked as truck drivers in Gao. When militants overran the town, the men were thrown in prison, accused of stealing. After three months, Maktad (ph) says the jailers dragged them from their cells by their feet, tied turbans around their wrists and began to hack off their hands.

"I prefer dying to being like this," Maktad (ph) says. My hand hurts. My heart hurts. I only have God to turn to.

Suleiman (ph) says, "The pain was terrible. It was the only thing I could feel." Now, they say, unable to earn a living, they wander from house to house. Their lives, they say, are over.

Malik Alio Maiga (ph) was a radio journalist in Gao who spoke out against sharia punishment.

"Each time they want to do something barbaric, I put out a call to people on the radio, and they responded en masse," Maiga (ph) told us. "I denounced them," he said. He was brutally beaten by armed militants and left behind the town cemetery to die.

Maiga (ph) escaped to the capital, Bamako. He's been warned that if he tries to return to Gao, he'll be killed. So he's staying with another refugee, Saido Dialo (ph), the town's former mayor.

Dialo (ph) shows us around. He points to certificates from U.S. Special Forces when they were on training missions in Mali. They stayed at his hotels in Gao, hotels now destroyed by the Islamists who brand him an American collaborator and he asks where his American friends are in Mali's time of need.

"The Americans started to train the Malian army. Now the army needs them," he said. "They should finish what they started." There are hundreds of thousands of displaced Malians. They fled the Islamist-controlled north and are trying to get by in camps around the capital. Sedu Sungara (ph), a Gao resident, told us, "When they declared sharia, everybody panicked, Christians, Muslims; everybody fled. For the Islamists," he told us, "we are human beings like an ant you squash, like an animal you slaughter."

ELBAGIR: It may not look like it, but the displaced families here are the lucky ones. As this conflict escalates, aid agencies are warning of a humanitarian disaster. They say tens of thousands of people are now trapped, out of reach, the other side of that front line.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): French combat helicopters fly overhead, prompting cheers from below. To the people here, French forces represent the only hope of defeating the Islamists and allowing them to return home - - Nima Elbagir, CNN ,Bamako, Mali.

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STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes on her critics on the Hill. We'll have more on her Benghazi testimony.

Also from observer to rebel fighter, (inaudible) activist in Syria one year later.

And a show of power, another surprise elimination at the Australian Open.

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STOUT: Now the British government is now warning its citizens to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi. This is in response to what it says is a specific and imminent threat to Westerners. Now remember Benghazi, it was the city where an attack on the U.S. consulate resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stephens.

And news of that threat comes just a day after U.S. lawmakers got their chance to question Hillary Clinton about the attack. It was at times fiery and emotional. But as Jill Dougherty now shows us, the U.S. secretary of state remained steadfast and forceful.

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JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If she was tired by more than 5 1/2 hours of testifying on the deadly attack in Benghazi, the recently ailing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied she was holding anything back from Congress.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: That's not who I am. That's not what I do.

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): There was no doubt how personally Clinton took the death of the four Americans in Benghazi.

CLINTON: I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters and the wives left alone to raise their children.

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): But Republicans leveled angry charges at the State Department and the Obama administration did not see the danger signs.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZ.: I categorically reject your answer --

SEN. RAND PAUL (R): Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stephens, I would have relieved you of your post.

CLINTON: -- we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed --

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Clinton was, at times, defiant and not afraid to push back.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WIS.: No, no, no, I --

CLINTON: Still -- it's still -- it's still --

JOHNSON: -- again, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that. And that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact --

CLINTON: But -- but --

JOHNSON: -- and the American people could have known that within days. And they didn't know that.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: With all due respect, the fact is, we had four dead Americans, was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans?

What difference, at this point, does it make?

REP. JEFF DUNCAN (R): Madam Secretary, you let the consulate become a death trap. And that's national security malpractice.

CLINTON: I think I've made that very clear, Congressman.

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): For the first time, she explained why it was U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and not she who delivered those misleading talking points.

CLINTON: I have to confess here in public. Going on the Sunday shows is not my favorite thing to do.

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): In a day of heavy questioning, a rare light moment.

REP. STEVE CHABOT (R): Madam Secretary, first let me thank you for your service and I wish you the best in your future endeavors -- mostly.

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STOUT: Well, let's get the latest reaction now from Washington to that hearing.

Jill Dougherty is at the State Department.

And, Jill, I mean, this was a tense and emotional hearing. What is the general view there in Washington about Hillary Clinton's performance?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, I think it is still divided between, let's say, the, you know, Democrats, who support her and say she did a good job, and Republicans, who say that nothing much changed; there are still questions. And I think that's probably going to be the way it's going to continue. But now we're into another phase.

Don't forget, these are the waning days of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. And in fact, in just a few hours, like 21/2 hours, she's going to be back on Capitol Hill, up in the Senate, and where they're going to have a confirmation hearing for the man who presumably will take over her post as secretary of state. And that is Senator John Kerry.

She's going to be introducing him, not that he needs a lot of introduction So onward, and then this is really, you know, the end of her time as secretary of state.

STOUT: These are the waning days for her as U.S. secretary of state. What is next for Hillary Clinton and how will her testimony on Benghazi affect her political future?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, that's a good question because that was one of the issues when she got sick, as we remember; she had a stomach flu and then hit her head, then ended up with a problem with -- in her brain, a blood clot. And then she came back to work.

And the question was is she still in good shape; can she carry out her functions as secretary of state? And she has. You can see after 51/2 hours. But there was always that idea that, for the future, for 2016, which is the year that hangs over all of this, that will be the next presidential election here in the United States.

And Hillary Clinton is considered to be a possible candidate. How would that affect her? So I think on the one hand you could say she looked vigorous. It was at times emotional. But she was certainly on top of her brief. That would help, because if she went out on the note of illness, it might affect down the road 2016.

STOUT: Yes, she did come across as steadfast, forceful and on top of it all. And more immediately, Jill, as you mentioned, Hillary Clinton, she'll be back before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later today to introduce her likely successor. Will John Kerry sail through the confirmation?

DOUGHERTY: Probably, yes, because from both sides, I think from Republicans and Democrats, they consider him, you know, a heavy hitter in foreign policy. He certainly knows foreign policy inside and out. And in fact, because of his position on the committee. And also he's really been a surrogate for the Obama administration.

Remember, he was key after the killing of Osama bin Laden; he went to Pakistan. It was a very tense time. He carried the message from this administration. He also worked to help the end of the war in Afghanistan. He did some heavy lifting on dealing with Russia after they got --in order to get the START agreement.

So on almost every issue, you can say he's played some type of role. And there's no question that he has very good contacts, knows world leaders quite personally. And also, I can tell you, Kristie, that for the last month or so he actually has been here in the building at the State Department, being briefed, putting together things that he should really be prepared to answer up on Capitol Hill.

STOUT: Yes. Thank you for that, sharing that insider detail with us. So a smooth confirmation process for Kerry is anticipated. Jill Dougherty, joining us live from CNN Washington, thank you.

Now the headline itself almost defies belief: "Footballer Kicks Ball Boy." Alex Thomas has more on this bizarre incident after the break.

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

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STOUT: And we now know which two women will contest the Australian Open tennis final in Melbourne. And "WORLD SPORT's" Alex Thomas joins us now. He can tell us more

Alex?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Kristie, Victoria Azarenka is one victory away from successfully defending her Australian Open title. But her opponent is something of a surprise. Let's go live to Melbourne Park, where our own Amanda Davies is so happy to be out of the cold here in the U.K. and in the warmth of Australia. She's up past midnight to bring us the latest.

Amanda, another surprise result then in the women's singles?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alex. I'm not really expecting any sympathy from you. But it is 26 minutes past 12 in the morning here. But it has been a fantastic first day of semifinals behind me at the Rod Laver Arena, very much all things quiet now.

But, yes, in terms of the women's semifinals, Maria Sharapova, very much people tipped for the title, particularly after Serena Williams got knocked out in the quarterfinals. She was up against China's number six seed, Li Na, in the first match of the day.

Sharapova had only dropped nine games to get to this point. And people weren't expecting her to drop that many more. But Li Na had other ideas, and frankly wiped Sharapova off the court, 6-2, 6-2, it's finished.

Sharapova did hit a few more unforced errors, some people suggesting that her route to the semifinal had just been too easy. She hadn't been challenged enough. So wasn't mentally on top of her game. But you've got to give credit to Li (ph). She took on a new coach, Carlos Rodriguez, after a really disappointing Wimbledon last year.

And he's really raised her game a couple of levels. She won in Cincinnati; she won the inaugural tournament in Shenzhen and now she's back in the Australian Open final. She was here in 2011; lost that final, but she then, of course, went on to win the French Open title. That's her first grand slam, her only grand slam to date.

She'll be hoping for number two on Saturday. But she's up against the defending champion, the world number one, Victoria Azarenka. She had a straight set victory as well. She was up against the 19-year-old star of yesterday, Sloane Stephens (ph), the player, of course, who knocked out Serena Williams in such spectacular fashion.

But it was just a step too far for Stephens (ph). Yesterday was her first grand slam quarterfinal. Today, her first grand slam semifinal. And she just couldn't pull it off for a second day in a row. But a great story from Sloane Stephens (ph). She's now going to start next week as the world's number 17.

THOMAS: Amanda, Victoria Azarenka was criticized for a lengthy medical timeout before closing out victory over Sloane Stephens. I hear you've been -- you've had the chance to speak to Vika. What does she have to say?

DAVIES: Yes, it was a really interesting one. Azarenka won the first set 6-1 very, very easily. There was only a little bit more of a fight back from Sloane Stephens (ph) in the second set. And Azarenka missed a couple of match points.

So she'd (inaudible) on her ankle earlier in the set, and then received some medical treatment on court, looked to be for a back or neck complaint and opted to take a proper medical time-off, whereby she left the court and left Sloane Stephens sitting there for a good 10 minutes before coming back out to finish off the match 6-4 in the second set.

The crowd were not impressed, particularly when in her postmatch on- court interview, Azarenka essentially seemed to suggest that it wasn't anything particularly physical; no, she couldn't put her finger on it, but she felt she was short of breath and seemed to suggest it was something of a panic attack.

When I spoke to her after, she very kindly came out to speak to us, having seen the physiotherapist, having seen the doctor. She said that she had explained herself badly. She was panicking about not feeling right.

But what it was, that a rib had got trapped and then that was affecting her breath. And then she had to go off court to have the rib kind of popped back into shape. And she carried on breathing normally and could finish off the game. She did say that she's not too worried about it, but she does now have, you know, a good day and a half to recover before the final.

But she's excited about playing Li Na, Li Na a player who she had beaten many times in the past. She's got a winning record against her. She beat her every time they played last year particularly. There is more of my interview with Azarenka coming up in "WORLD SPORT" in about four hours' time. And she was very open and it's definitely worth a watch, Alex.

THOMAS: OK, Amanda, thanks so much. And of course, worth mentioning that Novak Djokovic won in the other men's semifinal. Amanda, thank you so much. Much more from her throughout the week at sunny Melbourne.

Now Eden Hazard has apologized for kicking a ball boy. Chelsea crashed out of England's Capital One Cup at the semifinal stage. The player was sent off as the Blues were beaten 2-0 in aggregate by Swansea.

With less than 15 minutes to go, a ball boy refused to hand back the ball when it ran out of play and Hazard impatiently tried to kick it out from under him. He was shown a red card for violent conduct. But both he and the boy later apologized to each other and the police say they won't pursue the matter.

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MICHAEL LAUDRUP, SWANSEA MANAGER: I can understand that you -- when you were -- you're frustrated and your pulse is high and everything, you just want and then there's a ball boy in this case who keeps the ball.

And I can -- to a certain point, I can understand it. But then there are things that obviously you can never do. And you can never kick a person. And I'm -- but I'm sure -- I don't know him personally, Hazard, but I'm sure that when he sees the images, he will -- he will regret.

RAFAEL BENITEZ, CHELSEA MANAGER: Do you think that we don't -- we are not disappointed with the situation? Do you think that we don't regret that -- what happened between the player and the boy? They were not apologized. They did it. So it's what we can do now? So do you want to change things? You cannot. We cannot.

The main thing is both, they know that they have made a mistake. And the player -- and the player, the player was talking with the -- with the boy, and he says, sorry, because it was a mistake. So I don't know what you expect. What else would you expect? As a Chelsea football coach -- as a Chelsea football coach -- listen, listen to me. Listen to me, please. Listen to me.

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THOMAS: Rafael Benitez, getting a bit heated under questioning at the postmatch news conference, a great talking point. I've written about it on our website. Go to CNN.com/WorldSport. We'll have much more as well on that and more in "WORLD SPORT" in just over 31/2 hours' time.

Back to you, Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, definitely one to read, a major talking point. I mean, that video replay, it just looked painful, didn't it? Alex Thomas there --

THOMAS: Literally.

STOUT: -- thank you.

Yes, literally.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. And still ahead, American women on the front lines. U.S. military is changing policy, opening combat jobs to women.

And beyond his imagination, how the war in Syria turned one man's life around in unexpected ways.

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KRISTI LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristi Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream and these are your world headlines.

North Korea has declared the United States a "sworn enemy of the Korean people". Pyongyang is promising another nuclear weapons test and world launchers of long range rockets. Two days ago, the U.N. Security Counsel condemned a rocket launch in December and agreed to expand its sanctions against the secretive states.

The British government is warning its citizens to leave Benghazi in response to what it says is a specific and imminent threat to westerners. Remember, Benghazi's were an attack on the U.S. mission resulted in the death of four Americans, including the Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stephens.

A day after David Cameron opened the door to the U.K. leaving the European Union, the British Prime Minister has been speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos and he called for a global effort to clamp down on tax evasion. Richard Quest will have more from Davos on World Business Today in around a half an hour from now.

And Britain's Food Standards Agency says a drug that can cause cancer has not entered the human food chain. Now this follows a scare last week after traces of horse meat were found in some supermarket beef burgers. A lawmaker in the U.K. had earlier said that traces of the drug were found in some horses slaughtered in Britain, but the tests have come back negative.

Now the U.S. military is said to allow women on the frontlines of war and supporters say that the Pentagon is finally catching up with reality. Female ground troops have gone on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan and they've been drawn into battle there as well despite serving in support roles. Now the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make the announcement later on Thursday. It is his second big move against discrimination. Last year, he oversaw a repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military. But this policy change will be different. Our Barbara Starr joins us now live from the Pentagon, and Barbara, how will this plan roll out and when will American women start serving in combat?

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristi, the idea is to have all of this in place by 2016. What they're talking about is a very fundamental change - women serving in small frontline combat units - that's things like infantry units, special forces teams - that sort of thing. Women, of course, have been in combat for years now. Hundreds of women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan - over 100 hundred women killed, many of them, you know, awarded medals for their valor under fire, but they haven't been allowed into these frontline combat units; the most dangerous work - the prospect of hand-to-hand combat - that's what they're looking at opening up right now. So what they're going to do is say these jobs are open unless the services come back and say they want an exemption, they want to have gender neutral standards. Everyone meets the same standards to be in these very dangerous jobs, Kristi.

LU STOUT: And what has been the reaction so far to the lifting of this ban from both inside the military and politically on Capitol Hill?

STARR: Well, there is some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for this. It's getting a good reaction. I will say that some senators are raising their concerns. One example, Senator John McCain, a highly decorated veteran of course from the Vietnam War, raising the point that he wants to see the same rigorous physical standards maintained for women as for men, that he believes that is the way to go on this, of course. That's basically a safety issue for everybody to be able to operate under the same standards in combat. Um, many military women are broadly in favor of this because it is the reality these days that women serve in combat. That's what life is really all about for women who join the U.S. military - they say this is the reality, Kristi.

LU STOUT: No, it's the reality but how many new jobs, new frontline jobs will be made available for the nation's women because of this?

STARR: Well, it could run into the thousands. Again, it will depend. The presumption is all the jobs will be open and it would be up to the services to say, "No, we couldn't have women in this unit." Perhaps there's some reason that they simply cannot accommodate them for housing or other reasons, the issues of personal hygiene in battle field conditions raised again, although that affects women already. Um, so there is the possibility of these outs if you will. I think the real bottom line is whether we will start seeing women serve in special operations forces in combat roles. They have worked side-by-side with special forces, but are women going to go on patrol? Could women be on the next mission to get the next Osama Bin Laden?

LU STOUT: Yeah, this could be a very historic change. Barbara Starr reporting live from the Pentagon. Thank you.

Now turning to Syria where the civil war is fueling a growing exodus to neighboring Jordan. Officials there see some 20,000 Syrian refugees have entered the country in just the last few days alone. Although Jordan is getting help from around the world, the foreign minister says quote, "It is still not enough." At this refugee camp inside Jordan, a spokesperson for the U.N. Refugee Agency says, on average, five babies are born every day. With violence inside Syria on the rise, the flood of refugees is likely to continue. Opposition activists say at least 146 people were killed across Syria were killed, including 15 children.

Now as that happens, Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad makes a rare t.v. appearance at a mosque attending prayers and the last time he was seen in public was over two weeks ago. Now the civil war inside Syria has been on-going for nearly two years and the U.N. says that more than 60,000 people there have been killed. Arwa Damon speaks to one activist she met a year ago about how his neighborhood and his life have changed since that time.

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DAMON: We met at Walmart (ph) in Damascus a year ago. He and other activists smuggled us into Kafarsouseh to witness a demonstration. Even that simple act involved elaborate plotting.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: More than 20 people you put them around all the area and the neighborhood to watch if any police are coming.

DAMON: "Oh, how nice is freedom", the crowd chanted. Now those same streets are a battleground.

Did you think we would be here one year late?

ABU OMAR, SYRIAN ACTIVIST: I was thinking we will change the regime by the demonstration.

DAMON: The demonstrations grew and multiplied with Abu Omar always filming believing his neighborhood would become the heart of the opposition in the capitol. But, at the end of February, he was detained, beaten so badly, he still doesn't know how he managed to survive. Abu Omar was released early last summer. He says most of the young men we had met at the protest had begun to take up arms, exchanging banners for battle. Driven by the loss of loved ones .

OMAR: A lot of people joined the Free Syrian Army to protect the demonstration. Now they are protecting their place, their town. Abu Omar no longer films gestures of defiance like this. They seem from an age of innocence. Instead, he's joined the rebel fighters as well - filming at the frontlines. When we met him at an opposition safe house a year ago, this man had already been badly beaten.

DAMON: So, he was just saying that after he was stabbed, he passed out and then he said they forced him to regain consciousness, beat him again, and he says at one point they thought he was dead.

OMAR: ((INAUDIBLE)

DAMON: After he recovered from those wounds, Abu Omar tells us, he began working with the doctors, even training others in first aid. A father of two, he was later killed in the fighting. Abu Omar was wounded in the arm. One of the fighters who helped later killed as well.

OMAR: speaking in native language .

DAMON: I just wanted to see him before he was buried and I couldn't, Abu Omar recalls.

OMAR: speaking in native language .

DAMON: For now, Abu Omar is in Lebanon, but soon he'll be back home risking his life to document a revolution turned civil war. Awra Damon, CNN, Beirut.

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LU STOUT: Now up next here on News Stream, record results but disappointed investors. And just ahead, we'll look at how Apple managed to make over 25 million dollars every hour in the last quarter, but still leave investors wanting more.

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LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And let's return to our visual rundown and we told you about the Syrian refugee crisis, and later another bizarre twist in a story dominating U.S. sport, but now, let's talk tech - and forgive me if you've heard this before, but Apple posted record- breaking profits on Wednesday, but this time, investors weren't convinced. Apple sold more iPhones than it's ever sold, more iPads than it's ever sold, and made more profit than it's ever made - a whopping 13.1 billion dollars. That is the second highest quarterly profit ever posted by an American company. But, investors were not impressed. Apple's share price plummeted after earnings were announced. Let's get more context on Apple's results. And I'm joined now by a regular contributor, Nick Thompson. He is the editor of The New Yorker.com.

Nick, good to see you and tell us what is going on here. Why are investors so unimpressed by Apple's results?

NICK THOMPSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND EDITOR, THE NEW YORKER.COM: Well, there are a couple of reasons. The first is there's been a lot of negative sentiment towards Apple in the markets over the last couple of months, even before earnings the stock was down 200 points off its high - a significant drop for lots of reasons.

Secondly, the numbers actually weren't that good. I mean, before the earnings came out, the general analyst expectations exceeded what Apple delivered. They expected more income, they expected more profit, they expected further sales, and not only that, but there had been a very easy to remember number floating around all the predictions. Everybody was saying Apple's going to sell 50 million iPhones. So the earnings come out and there's all this immediate press reaction right after, you know, the first second the earnings come out, and one number that sticks out is they didn't sell 50 million iPhones, they sold 47 million.

And then the third reason this is happening is that there's a kind of, um, a pageantry to the way earnings are announced by Apple. They - traditionally they'll go out and they'll put their expectations out the quarter before and they say we're only going to make a dollar in the next quarter and the analysts say, "Oh, actually we've got them figured out. Their going to make a dollar and a quarter." And then, low and behold, Apple makes, you know, five dollars, ten dollars, and everybody roars in excitement. And what happened this quarter is, either Apple didn't sandbag its estimates as much or analysts have caught on, but the whole routine where they suddenly just blow through analysts expectations just didn't happen, um, and so there's just been a whopping of the stocks since we had the news last night.

LU STOUT: Yes, Apple kind of being a victim of heightened expectations, Nick. And Nick something else, take a look at this. Max sales are down sharply, but iPad sales are soaring, so is that more evidence that Apple's future lies in devices and not computers?

THOMPSON: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, the max sales are now - they're tiny now compared to them. And the max sales and the max profits are tiny compared to the iPhone - I mean the iPhone sales and the iPad sales which are soaring. And then even the money that Apple is making from the Mac - from the App (ph) store, from selling all of these iPads, this is definitely a company whose data very specifically shows the transition the world is going through; away from desktop computers and even laptop computers and towards tablet devices.

LU STOUT: And there's an interesting trend going on inside Apple with its kind of Mini Me devices. I mean, iPad sales, for example, they jumped partially because of this, the iPad Mini, the cheaper version of the iPad. But because it's cheap, Apple made less money on it. So, can Apple keep doing this and can they keep their margins high?

THOMPSON: No, they can't keep their margins high and their margins aren't going to be able to stay high for two reasons. One is exactly that. They need to make cheaper devices. They need to expand. The rich people of the world - they already have iPhones and iPads. They're going to need to start selling to other markets and you're seeing this around the world and in order to do that, they're going to have to sell cheaper devices.

Secondly, because the world is catching up to Apple's technology, they just can't charge as much. They can't have the same profits. The day where you could have a 50% profit margin on an iPhone is gone because if somebody doesn't buy an iPhone, they can buy something else that's almost as good. In 2007, when these devices came out, they were way better than the competition. Now, not so much. So this is going to be a very, very tricky period for Apple and we're absolutely going to see declining profit margins.

LU STOUT: Now Apple, as you said, it needs to sell more overseas. Nick, you're going to like this next chart because, as you know, that for the first time, overnight Apple reported results from China separately to other regions and you could just see that in a year - in year terms sales there in China just jumped above Japan, rest of Asia, Europe, and the Americas. But, inside the China market, Apple's lagging behind and analysts say that Apple needs cheaper devices to really dominate there. Again, that means less margins, which means angry investors. We're going full circle here.

So, what should Apple do? I mean, should it and can it afford to introduce a cheaper iPhone just for China?

THOMPSON: Um, well what they're trying to do now is they're trying to avoid that and they've created leasing options to make it slightly easier to buy an iPhone inside of China. Um, they need to do some other things. They need to get on China's largest telecom carrier, which they haven't been able to do yet, so there are a bunch of other things they need to do and they're going to try to do. They don't want to introduce a cheaper iPhone and they don't want to introduce a cheaper iPhone just in China in part because of what we just talked about with profit margins and in part because of the perceptions that iPhones are luxury goods; that iPhones are these wonderful, magical devices that make you cooler. And as soon as you start making cheap ones, you lose a little bit of that luster. But, Tim Cook has said that China is the most important market for Apple products. They're not doing terribly well right now with their current strategy, so, I think creating a cheaper iPhone might make sense.

LU STOUT: We also learned that Apple sold more than 20 million Apple TV's and it's interesting because Apple TV was a product that even Steve Jobs himself wasn't that crazy about back in the day. And Apple - widely rumored to be working on a new t.v. device out this year - what have you heard?

THOMPSON: Well, I mean, it's going to be entirely different from these - from the Apple TV's we have now which are little set top boxes which allow you better access to, you know, Netflix, or to YouTube, and to pictures you have on your computer. They're very cool. But the Apple TV that is being built, or that is supposedly being built, and that everybody presumes will be launched at the end of this year, is going to be a much more transformative device. It'll be an actual t.v. It will have an entirely new interface. You'll have different ways of interacting with it, you know, different ways of controlling it with your iPad or your iPhone. There's going to be some kind of fascinating content that they've built into it; some kind of partnerships they've made.

Um, I mean, one of the things that's interesting about t.v. is that the design and the screens has improved a lot - in amazing ways as we move to all kinds of wonderful resolutions, but the interface and the way we interact with them and the way we program them hasn't improved at the same rate. So my suspicion is that Apple will have a very different interface and perhaps a much more intuitive interface and a much better way of controlling our t.v.s, but we'll see about that in about a year.

LU STOUT: Yeah, we'll see about the product itself and also the investor reaction. Will they shrug or will they applaud. We shall see. Nick Thompson, The New Yorker.com, thank you.

THOMPSON: Thank you, Kristi.

LU STOUT: And we'll have more analysis of Apple's results in the next hour right here on CNN. And stay with us for World Business Today right after this show.

Now keeping our focus in China, some people are breathing easier in eastern China, including people in Beijing. Mari Ramos joins us now from the World Weather Center, Mari .

MARI RAMOS, WEATHER ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Hi, Kristi.

For the first time in over week easily, we finally got that air quality to go down to good. Can you believe that? It was officially a blue sky day in Beijing today. I want to show you a really interesting picture. Remember when we looked at this picture yesterday, you can barely make out the building behind it. You see it right there? Does that building look familiar to you? That's what the air looked like on Wednesday.

Oh, but what a difference a day makes. Look at that. Isn't that spectacular? Same view, same building and we're looking at today - blue sky day - you know, the best of possible ways. We had a cold front that came through and that really helped mix the air and bring us some much better conditions. That's just Beijing, but this is something that does not only affect Beijing, we have it across the entire region.

I want to show you this image here that we've went ahead and put on Google Earth. You're looking at a couple of different things. We changed the color of the snow so that it looks different than the clouds, and the fog, and the smog. So over here, all of this greenish-bluish stuff, that's actually snow that's on the ground, but all of this, this is all of the low clouds that has been covering that gray thick stuff that I showed you in that first picture. That's what we're looking at over here. Notice how it extends across this entire region, all the way down over into central parts of China.

So the difference between what happened on the day before and what happened today, this is what it looks like today. All of this green, that's actually the snow on the ground that you can see, a crystal clear day across this entire region.

I'm sure people are going outside, breathing a sigh of relief after just having that situation for such a prolonged period of time. Again, this is the before with all of the smog in the air. And this right here is the after. And the green that you see there, that's actually snow on the ground. So there's been quite a bit of that as well.

Let's go ahead and move on. The temperature, not too bad, either, -3 in Beijing at this time yesterday we were close to -11 already. It's 2 in Shanghai, pretty chilly there and 20 in Hong Kong. I'm not too concerned about any big storm systems moving through here right now.

There is one that's developing as we head over here into western parts of China. That's going to be something to watch in the next few days, clear skies also (inaudible) across much of southeast Asia and then down here across the south for also looking at some rain for you guys across the Philippines.

Very quickly, I want to update you on the weather situation across Europe and Africa. Here in the Mediterranean, we have a big area of low pressure that has been bringing some very strong winds.

I'm a little concerned about this, because high winds, high waves, and then very heavy snowfall for some of you, again, in Venice, are dealing with the high water because the wind pushes that water right up into the Gulf of Venice here into the northern part of the Adriatic. And then you get that water piling up quicker and quicker across that region. So that's still a concern over those areas.

And very heavy snowfalls across much of southeastern Europe. And to finish, I want to take you to the U.S. Kristie, we've been getting a ton of these videos. Take a look. The temperatures are so cold across the U.S., we're having this winter blast of cold air, arctic air mass.

Do we have the pictures from the U.S.? Look at this. Watch this. It's still amazing the way that happens. Boom. And then it disappears. This is what people are (inaudible) it's like a science experiment that you can do at home, only if the temperature is really cold, well below freezing. Take a cup of boiling water.

You throw it up into the air and then it evaporates almost instantly. So here's another video, and that one you can almost see the pieces falling down.

The difference between one and the other is maybe how cold or how hot, I should say, the cup of boiling water actually was, the hotter the water, the quicker that that will actually just pretty much evaporate, those ice crystals happens immediately, very cool stuff. Those are from the U.S., where very cold temperatures continue.

And it's a story that we continue to monitor here on CNN. So try that at home. That's one that I can say, yes, if it's cold enough, go ahead and try it at home.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, can't do it here in Hong Kong, but folks watching from Beijing, they can try it there. Of course, they welcome that cold front as it pushes out the bad air as well. Mari Ramos, thank you.

Now it is a plot so thick that soap opera audiences wouldn't stomach it. So as the Manti Te'o scandal unravels, we hear from the girl whose face became that of the girlfriend who never was.

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STOUT: Welcome back. Now she was the face of a tragedy and became part of sporting legend. And her death, it made headlines across America. But the girl a nation thought was Manti Te'o's girlfriend is, in fact, very much alive and says that she never had anything to do with the college football star. As Brian Todd explains, Te'o himself has been forced into damage control.

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BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Manti Te'o says he stuck to the story about a girlfriend he'd never met, briefly telling the media and the public about her even when he knew something was wrong. In an interview with ABC's Katie Couric, Te'o was asked why.

MANTI TE'O, NOTRE DAME LINEBACKER: This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September 12th. Now I get a phone call on December 6th saying that she's alive and then I'm going to be put on national TV two days later and to ask me what the same question, now, what would you do?

TODD (voice-over): A source with knowledge of the matter tells CNN a woman pretending to be Te'o's apparent girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, called him on December 6th, claiming she had faked her death because she was afraid of drug dealers.

Te'o went to Notre Dame officials with the story. The school investigated and according to our source, confirmed that two men and a woman were behind the hoax. Te'o said he didn't believe that his online girlfriend never existed until deadspin.com first reported it on January 16th.

Now the woman who says her Facebook pictures were used to depict the fictional girlfriend on Twitter has told NBC News she wasn't part of the hoax and never met Manti Te'o.

Diane O'Meara (ph) says this man, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, an acquaintance from high school, is behind the scheme.

DIANE O'MEARA (PH), STALKING VICTIM: The past five years, he's literally been stalking my Facebook and stealing my photos.

TODD (voice-over): O'Meara said Tuiasosopo called her, confessed and apologized. Manti Te'o and Deadspin say Tuiasosopo is behind the hoax. CNN's source says Notre Dame's investigation has confirmed that he was one of the people behind it.

TODD: CNN has tried several times to reach Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. He has not responded. His father, Titus (ph), a pastor whose picture is here on Facebook, would not go on camera with us, but did tell us, quote, "The truth will all come out. God knows our character."

TODD (voice-over): Te'o has denied being part of the hoax. I asked crisis management expert Eric Dezenhall about the Couric interview.

TE'O: What would you do?

TODD: How did he come across to you?

ERIC DEZENHALL, AUTHOR, "DAMAGE CONTROL": You know, there's a difference between being young and foolish and being Machiavellian and scheming. He comes across as a guy who probably is young and foolish. Now we don't know what the data trail is going to show. That remains to be seen.

TODD (voice-over): And, in fact, some key questions remain. Did Manti Te'o and Ronaiah Tuiasosopo know each other before all this broke? A distant cousin of Ronaiah's told me the two families do know each other, but we've not gotten any details beyond that.

Another question: who's the person posing as Te'o girlfriend, who Te'o says he spoke to on the phone several times? That question, still unanswered -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

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STOUT: And that is NEWS STREAM. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.

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