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Amazon Delivery Drones? The Aftermath Of Battles In Damascus Suburbs; Should Animals Have Same Autonomous Rights As Humans?; Pavel Dmitrichenko Sentenced; Joe Biden Reaffirms U.S. Commitment To Asia, Japan; Saudi Woman Rights Activist Briefly Detained For Driving; Leading Women: Anne Sweeney

Aired December 3, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

A star dancer with the Bolshoi ballet gets six years for masterminding the attack on the Ballet's artistic director using acid.

A report says there may have been a major shakeup among the political elite in secretive North Korea.

And he has lived almost his entire life in a hospital's polio ward. We'll go with him on a rare trip to the outside world.

We begin in Russia where a Moscow court has sentenced Bolshoi ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko to six years in a penal colony for an acid attack against the theaters artistic director. He and two co-defendants were found guilty for the attack on Sergei Filin who was burned and nearly blinded when a masked man threw sulfuric acid onto his face. He has since undergone a series of operations to correct the damage.

But he revealed in emotional testimony that even after his surgery his vision is so impaired that he cannot see his own children.

The two co-defendants were sentenced to 10 years and four years.

Now CNN's Atika Shubert is live in Moscow and joins us with more on this trial.

Atika, has there been any statement or reaction from the players involved?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the defendants' lawyers have said that they will appeal this verdict. But, you know, it's interesting to note that throughout the actual sentencing the main suspect there Dmitrichenko actually seemed to be smiling as he heard a lot of the sentence. So he seems to have accepted, at least for the most part, what's happening at the moment, the sentence of six years go a labor camp, essentially.

But he will still be appealing the decision.

It's not so much of a shock, because when you consider the way this trial unfolded, basically all of the corruption and allegations of scandal at the Bolshoi came to the surface in this month-long trial. And in it Dmitrichenko basically said that he did discuss with his co-defendant Yuri Zarutsky the possibility of roughing up Sergei Filin but that he never intended it to be an acid attack.

And the motive was essentially revenge. He brought up numerous allegations of corruption, saying that Filin was granting plum roles to people in exchange for favors, including sex with young ballerinas.

So there were all these tawdry details were spilled out in court. And Zarutsky, his co-defendant even admitted to carrying out the acid attack himself, saying acid was his own idea.

So the conviction itself wasn't exactly a surprise. The sentences were more or less what the prosecution asked for, except for in the case of Dmitrichenko in which he got a slightly reduced sentence and that may have been because, as the judge pointed out, he did not think that -- she did not think that he actually wanted an acid attack even though he organized some sort of an attack.

CHIOU: So Atika, there had been details about revenge and violence and sex that was -- came out during the trial, so what has this whole ordeal revealed about life inside, day in and day out, of the Bolshoi Ballet?

SHUBERT: Well, it's utterly tarnished the reputation of Russia's national treasure. I mean, this is -- this is a huge cultural institution here, obviously, and it's got an annual budget of something like $120 million a year. But what insiders say is all that money that was lavished on it also fueled a lot of corruption and a lot of scandals. And as a result, the Russian authorities have now removed the former director of the Bolshoi citing difficulties in management and have replaced him with a new director that is -- has a reputation for being much more calm and businesslike.

So clearly there is an attempt to sort of put this in the past, but this trial has essentially laid bare all of the allegations and scandals within the Bolshoi and at the public at the moment is wondering if it can ever recover.

CHIOU: Yeah. All right, Atika, thank you very much for the latest on the convictions and the sentencing of the three men involved. Atika Shubert there live in Moscow.

And just a few hours ago, the Ukrainian parliament has rejected a no confidence motion in the government. Despite the freezing cold temperatures on the streets of Kiev, political protests in Ukraine's capital are heating up. Crowds have swelled as demonstrators call for the resignation of President Vikor Yanukovych. They are angry about the government's U-turn on a trade deal with the European Union.

But as he left the country on a state visit to China, the president rejected calls for his resignation.

Meanwhile, the prime minister has apologized for the use of force against demonstrators.

CNN's Phil Black is live on the streets of Kiev. And he joins me now.

Phil, the crowds have been getting bigger over the past day or so. Does it feel a lot more intense compared to this time yesterday?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It does, Pauline, yes, absolutely. The crowd here in Independence Square where I am is the biggest over the last 48 hours or so. Really, the square is full of people, thousands of them. And they've all come to this square following the attempt at a no confidence vote against the government in Parliament.

As you mentioned, that vote failed. The ruling party of regency, or the party of the president Vikor Yanukovych has the numbers in parliament so it was always an unlikely ask to try and get that vote through, but there was some hope from opposition parties that people who normally vote with the government could be persuaded to cross the floor and vote with the opposition. A few of them did, but not enough, not enough to get that vote of no confidence through.

So it does not force the resignation of the prime minister and cabinet, but it does still maintain pressure upon the government, upon the president as does this continued presence here in the center of the city in Independence Square.

The square has really absolutely being occupied by these protesters. The authorities, the police have no presence, no control over this very big public space and haven't had for some hours now. There remain barricades erected around the square. So these protesters are determined to hold it should the police try and come.

And as we speak right now, there is opposition party leaders are up on the stage speaking to this big crowd, vowing to continue the fight.

And so what they are absolutely determined to achieve is the overthrow of the current Ukrainian government. It doesn't -- there is no clear way as to just how that can be achieved right now, given that it can't be achieved through parliament. The government itself doesn't appear to be going anywhere. But there is still this very strong presence here in the center of the city. It is heading towards some sort of greater political crisis or potential stalemate. But there is no obvious way to resolve this at this time, Pauline.

CHIOU: And, Phil, as we are speaking with you, we are looking at live pictures of the opposition leaders giving a speech to the demonstrators there.

Now this is not only about that settlement reversal on the EU trade deal. What are the other issues? And what kind of government do the protesters say they want?

BLACK: Well, certainly the reversal on the EU trade and association deal, that's what triggered a week or more of protests, because the people that you see in this square right now, these are people who very strongly believe Ukraine should be part of Europe and they want their country to follow a European path. What they want is European standards for their economy, for their political system, for their judicial system, for their way of life. They want the stability, the growth, the progress, they believe, comes with being part of Europe.

Their view is that the government they have had over the last 20 years since breaking away from the Soviet Union has effectively let them down and this country has not progressed in the way that other Eastern European countries have, those that have fallen within the European family more formally in that time.

So they believe the future of the country, in order to ensure that corruption is removed from the political system, to ensure that the economy is opened up to its potential, they believe that that can only come through embracing Europe and moving closer to the west. That is what they want and that is what they believe the current government is preventing and standing in the way of. And that is why they want that government to be removed, Pauline.

CHIOU: All right, Phil, thank you very much for explaining the issues bubbling underneath the surface here as we're watching the crowds get bigger today in Independence Square. That's Phil Black live in Kiev.

Well, tensions have eased in Thailand. And smiles have returned to the streets of the capital after days of escalating unrest. The government and protesters have reached a temporary truce. Both sides will back down to honor the king's birthday, which is also celebrated as father's day in Thailand. His birthday is on Thursday.

The king is highly revered and his image can be seen all over, including the background of this photo here.

But the relief might be temporary. Paula Hancocks has more from Bangkok.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a definite sign of improvement, at least on one street here in Bangkok. This is just outside the metropolitan police bureau. And it has been the scene of violent protests over the past couple of days, but not this Tuesday.

The police barricades have come down and the protesters, the anti- government protesters have been allowed to stream through. There you can see the reaction from both the protesters and the police. The police are applauding the protesters, showing there is no animosity between the two and showing that the situation has changed dramatically.

Now some police were overcome with emotion as the barricades, the stone slabs were being destroyed, others were sitting in the middle of the street in a conciliatory gesture to show that they have no hard feelings towards the protesters.

(voice-over): At Government House, whistles and flags replaced slingshots and tear gas as protesters were allowed into the compound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can hear the (inaudible) from the people. And you can see how the Thai people are changing. And this is it, you know, we are not going to take any more corruption for the Thai people.

HANCOCKS: A truce for now, but protest leaders insist the campaign to force the prime minister out will continue after the king's birthday on Thursday.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Bangkok.


CHIOU: Coming up on News Stream this hour, investigators say fatal train derailment in New York was caused by high speed. And now they're asking why this commuter train was going three times the speed limit.

A political power shuffle in North Korea. A report says the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong un has been removed from his high position.

And inside the ruins of Syria's civil war. We take a look at what's left of the neighborhood taken back by the army.


CHIOU: Investigators say a New York train that derailed on Sunday was careening towards a curve almost three times the speed limit. Four people were killed and dozens of passengers were injured when the commuter train jumped its tracks in the Bronx.

For more, CNN's Rene Marsh joins us live from Washington. Rene, I used to live in New York and I used to take this line, so a lot of New Yorkers know it very well, because normally it's a very busy commuter line. Do investigators know why this train was going so fast?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, good morning.

The focus today is speed. Why was the train moving so dangerously fast? This morning, we can tell you that investigators have more questions for a man who may have some answers.


MARSH (voice-over): NTSB investigators continue searching for clues this morning and questioning train engineer William Rockefeller for a second day in hopes of learning why this Metro-North train was going so fast.

EARL WEENER, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: The train was traveling at approximately 82 miles per hour as it went into a 30- mile-an- hour curve.

MARSH: That's nearly three times the speed limit for this curving stretch of track. The train's speed is even higher than the maximum speed of 70 miles per hour in the straightaway north of the crash site.

Deepening the mystery, the NTSB says the train inexplicably went from 60 to 82 miles per hour in two minutes before hitting the curve and jumping the tracks.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: For a train to be going 82 miles an hour around that curve is just a frightening thought.

MARSH: Mechanical problem or human error? It's still too early to tell. Investigators say the train made nine stops before jumping the tracks and there were no reports of brake problems. According to a law enforcement official, Rockefeller said he tried to brake but the train didn't stop.

The 20-year railroad veteran appeared coherent, another official said. Results of drug and alcohol tests are not yet known.

The NTSB will also look at whether fatigue was a factor.

WEENER: We will be developing what we call a 72-hour timeline so that we have a good understanding of what sort of activities preceded this accident.

MARSH: Sources tell CNN Rockefeller's phone records have been subpoenaed but based on a preliminary review, it's not believed the engineer was on his phone at the time of the derailment that killed four. Among them, Jim Lovell, who was commuting to work on Sunday morning.

FINN LOVELL, VICTIM'S SON: My dad was not a victim. He was a loving father, a great dad, best friend, uncle. I am so proud and blessed that I was able to call him my father.


MARSH: In addition to Rockefeller, the rest of the train crew will be interviewed. We know now this morning that the Bronx DA's office is now involved in the investigation. So if any criminal charges are brought, it will be likely done by the Bronx district attorney -- Pauline.

CHIOU: Rene, investigators believe speed was not the only factor here. What else can you tell us about the crash?

MARSH: Well, we know that power to the engine wasn't cut and brakes weren't applied until seconds before this train came to a stop and that is just simply far too late. The NTSB says, though, at this point there is no indication that the brakes were tampered with.

So they're still looking into, you know, what exactly happened there with the brakes. Why was this such a late reaction.

CHIOU: OK, Rene, thank you very much for the latest details on this very sad and fatal crash in New York.

And now let's turn to North Korea where a report suggests a shakeup in the secretive nation's power structure. South Korea's spy agency says it is very likely that senior military leader Jang Sung-taek has been removed from his position. He is the man in the middle of this photo.

Now if you're not familiar with his name, you probably know is nephew, North Korean leader Kim Jong un.

Well, many considered Jang highly influential in helping the young Kim take power. Some even called him Kim's political regent. And this video from July shows the two of them talking to each other.

Jang served as vice chairman of the national defense commission, a position directly under Kim Jong un. It is not known how he may have fallen out of favor. North Korean media, however, have not reported the dismissal.

And staying in Asia, tensions are still simmering over China's recent declaration of an air defense identification zone in territory claimed by other Asian countries. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Japan and China this week where he's trying to diffuse the situation. Anna Coren has more.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has reaffirmed America's commitment to Japan and the Asia Pacific region after talks with Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe here in Tokyo.

Well, it comes following growing tension between China and Japan after China's announcement of an air defense identification zone of a disputed territory in the East China Sea. Well, Mr. Biden has urged for calm to ensure the situation doesn't escalate.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We, the United States, are deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea. This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation.

COREN: China's assumed territorial expansion also angered the United States. Well, last week it sent unarmed B-52 bombers over the area to show its opposition. Well, China responded by scrambling jets.

Well, China's economic and military rise of concern. And Joe Biden's week long visit to Asia is part of the U.S. putting its stamp on the region, rebalancing its foreign policy.

BIDEN: The United States looks to our alliance with Japan as the cornerstone, the cornerstone of stability and security in East Asia. And we are fully committed to our announced strategy of rebalancing as well in the Pacific.

COREN: Vice President Biden heads to China on Wednesday where he will express his concern and seek clarification from President Xi Jinping over China's intentions.

His final stop will be in South Korea.

Anna Coren, CNN, Tokyo.


CHIOU: You are watching News Stream. Coming up next, the world's biggest online retailer says it's testing a delivery service using unmanned drones. But there are some big obstacles to overcome before you see one of these at your doorstep.


CHIOU: This is a live look at Victoria Harbor on this Tuesday night here in Hong Kong. And welcome back to News Stream.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos has people buzzing about his latest big idea -- door to door delivery by drone. Bezos says they would operate in a 16 kilometer radius and initially carry packages that weigh less than 2.5 kilograms. But as Laurie Segall explains, it could be awhile before they actually get off the ground.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY: Amazon wants to bring your DVDs, your Kindle Fire and maybe your razors by drone. Yes, drone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are octocopters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are effectively drones, but there's no reason that they can't be used as delivery vehicles.

SEGALL: An announcement on CBS's 60 Minutes they said this was their plan for the future.

Here's how it works. You order online and a fully autonomous drone will fly the goods to your home in 30 minutes. Now that's if you're within 10 miles of one of their fulfillment centers.

But expect a bit of a flight delay before Amazon Prime Air can actually take off. Now there are a few things the company will need to build.

MARK HEYNEN, SKYCATCH: One would be a -- some way for the packages to be dropped off securely without threat of physical issues with the UAV's hitting people, without the risk of theft where someone steals the UAV, without the risk of vandalism where someone compromises the UAV.

SEGALL: As of right now, the FAA regulations wouldn't even allow these kind of drone deliveries.

CHRIS ANDERSEN, 3D ROBOTICS: Congress has mandated the FAA allow commercial use of drones in the national air space, which is our air over our skies in the 2015 context, but that's not the end of the process, that's the beginning. So basically at that point they now have a way for certain kinds of drones, largely kind of larger commercial ones, to be certified and allowed into the airspace under certain conditions. That's a long way from what we're describing now with the notion of service of small drones in a residential context.

SEGALL: And for those of you who live in crowded cities, it may be some time before your headphone are delivered by drone.

ANDERSEN: I think that, you know, we'll see outside the United States we're seeing already some experiments in places like Africa and Australia. I think you'll start to see some commercial experiments business to business in sort of relatively safe areas away from people you'll see that in the sort of the 2016 context.

SEGALL: Drone delivery isn't a new concept. Dominoes tested out a pizza drone in July.

Now they were also used for disaster relief in Fukushima for search and rescue in destroyed buildings. And hackers are constantly finding new and interesting applications for drone technology, which to date has seemed pretty futuristic.

But experts say a company like Amazon could turn this far fetched idea into a reality.

ANDERSEN: A company like Amazon to endorse this space is huge.

The very fact that they wanted to say this is worth pursuing, this is cool, this can happen, technology is ready is going to ensure that it does happen sooner.

SEGALL: Laurie Segall, CNN Money, New York.


CHIOU: So you heard some skepticism there about the drone delivery scheme. Well, what does Microsoft founder Bill Gates think about it? CNN's John Berman asked him to weigh in.


BILL GATES, MICROSOFT FOUNDER: Physical products delivered by drone I'd say is probably on the optimistic or perhaps even the overoptimistic end of that. But, you know, it's great that people have dreams like that. If we can make the cost of delivery easier, you know, then it's not just books, it's getting health supplies out to people in tough places.

Drones, overall, will be more impactful than I think people recognize in positive ways to help society.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Was this a dream, though, or an advertising gimmick? I mean, he's got Amazon in the news now right on cyber Monday and for the holiday shopping week when as you say it may be over optimistic, to say the list, to suggest that a drone is going to be dropping off your package at your door in the next five years.

GATES: Well, tech pioneers, you know, dream big dreams. And, you know, I think he's allowed to have the vision there and, you know, it would be great if we can come anywhere close to that for a lot of products.


CHIOU: That's Bill Gates there.

Well, some people compare Amazon's Jeff Bezos to the late Steve Jobs, but CNN Money's Adrian Covert says stop right there. Covert writes, "Bezos is slowly finding his own way to get the world excited about the possibilities of technology."

You can read the rest of his column at CNN

Up next on News Stream, there is more bloodshed in Syria. And we take you to a Damascus suburb that's been all but destroyed in the country's civil war.


CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

A court in Moscow has found three men guilty of an acid attack on the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director. Star dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko was sentenced to six years in prison. His co-defendant Yuri Zatrusky, who admitted to carrying out the attack, got 10 years while their driver Andrei Lipatov was sentenced to four.

The Ukrainian opposition's attempt to topple the government in a no confidence vote in parliament has failed. Demonstrators have been blocading government buildings and streets in Kiev angered by the government's U-turn away from a trade deal with the European Union.

Anti-government protesters in Thailand have agreed to suspend their demonstrations. They are observing a temporary truce in honor of the king's birthday. He will turn 86 on Thursday.

But the head of the opposition movement insists the struggle to bring down the government is not over yet.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Japan, the first stop on his week long Asia trip, which includes visits to China and South Korea. Biden finds himself trying to calm rising tension in the region over an island chain that's claimed by both Japan and China.

The Syrian news agency reports four people have been killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in central Damascus. The country is still being pummeled by fighting from its civil war. And as Fred Pleitgen discovered in Damascus, some suburbs have been reduced to rubble.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The drive through Spene (ph) is tragic, barely a house left untouched, many have been reduced to rubble.

This Damascus suburb was in the hands of the opposition for months. But a few weeks ago, government forces took it back, but the cost has been immense.

Abu Aksam (ph) was one of the government soldiers involved.

"It was very difficult to get this done," he says. "But we did it. And we'll keep going until the end, because we believe in our country."

This is what it looked like when the Syrian army launched its assault on Spene (ph) using artillery, tanks, and other heavy weapons the military pounded opposition fighters.

Then Assad's troops raided the area, taking it back house by house.

The rebels in Spene (ph) had been surrounded by the military for weeks.

Government soldiers showed us the holes opposition fighters punched into the walls to move around and some of the tunnels used to get supplies in.

(on camera): This is just one of many tunnels that lead into this former rebel controlled area. And you can see it's very elaborate. It's got electricity here so they would have light downstairs. And also this pulley system to bring things like ammunition into this area.

(voice-over): The writing on the wall says no one should ever speak about this tunnel. It ends at a sniper position.

The soldiers tell us they took heavy casualties from here as they were advancing.

A few houses on, Abu Aksam (ph) shows me a little workshop. He says the fighters used it to manufacture homemade weapons.

"When we entered Spene (ph), we found many of these little factories," he says. "These are the warheads for mortars and these, makeshift rockets, and these cylinders were used to make improvised bombs.

The government says Spene (ph) was a vital supply line for rebel fighters in this area. Opposition leaders acknowledge that losing the town has made it very difficult for them to defend their positions in southern Damascus.

But while the battle for Spene (ph) was a strategic victory for the Syrian government, civilian life isn't likely to return to this once thriving Damascus suburb any time soon.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Spene (ph), Syria.


CHIOU: In Saudi Arabia, two women who defied a ban that prevents them from driving were briefly detained. Despite that, one of the women says she'll continue her campaign to have the law overturned.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom has more on this. And he joins us now live from Beirut.

Mohammed, I know you've been following this issue for several months now and its sounds like at least some of these women refused to back down.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Pauline. What's so amazing about what's going on in Saudi Arabai right now, which is the last country on Earth where women are barred from driving is that women know that they are under threat if they go out and drive, and yet they are continuing to do so. They have been warned by clerics in the ultra-conservative kingdom. They have been issued warnings by the interior ministry that possibly they could be arrested. And yet more and more of them continue to get behind the wheel, drive themselves to simple daily errands trying to show the government that they're not afraid.

Well, we spoke to Aziza al-Yousef, one of the loudest voices campaigning for that law to finally be overturned. Here's what she told us.


JAMJOOM: With her face covered, you can't see the boldness in her eyes. Here, her appearance is traditional, conservative, but her actions are anything but.

"Everything is normal," explains Aziza al-Yousef. "Nobody to the left or right of me seems to have a problem with a woman driving a car."

But this being Saudi Arabia, it didn't take long for the police to pull her over.

Aziza says she and her female passenger were detained for close to three hours.

Aziza, why did you decide to go driving that day?



JAMJOOM: No longer hidden behind that veil, her daring completely apparent.

AL-YOUSEF: We are sick and tired of waiting to be given our rights. It's about to time to take our rights.

JAMJOOM: Aziza's voice has been one of the loudest, demanding women in her homeland finally be given the right to drive.

Since October, dozens of Saudi females have taken to the streets, a remarkable display of civil disobedience.

Aziza tells me via Skype there was nothing extraordinary in the errands she had to run on Friday, but there was no driver available to take her. Buying bananas all seemed fine.

AL-YOUSEF: And also I stopped to fill up gasoline. The guy in the gasoline station interact with me very normally, asked me what kind of gasoline we want.

JAMJOOM: But the excursion came to an end when she was taken to a Riyadh police station. Saudi officials didn't respond to a request for comment.

Aziza says she was only released after her husband signed a pledge stating she wouldn't drive again.

AL-YOUSEF: I don't think I will stop driving, ever. But, yes, yes, there is a chance of any woman, any woman who is asking for her rights, not only driving, will face jail, because there is no clear laws that we can count on.

JAMJOOM: That lack of clarity far more difficult to navigate than these clogged roads.

Still, Aziza's decision is final. She's continue pushing the envelope by pressing the gas pedal.


JAMJOOM: Pauline, it's the confusion over the issue that's really frustrated so many of the women in Saudi Arabia. They say, look, there is no specific law on the books that actually bars them from driving. So they want the government to tell them why are they not allowed to drive.

Now Aziza was one of two women who just this past week had a teleconference meeting with the country's interior ministry. She said, look, it's great that we reached the interior minister, that he spoke to us. But now we're being told it's the king who has the ultimate decision. And we want to know what the government is going to do and if they will finally give us this right that we've been fighting for for so long -- Pauline.

CHIOU: You have to hand it to her, she's very, very persistent.

Now how exactly was she released after she was taken in by the police?

JAMJOOM: Yeah, it's a very interesting story, Pauline, because Aziza said that what ended up happening was both demeaning and funny. She says it's demeaning, because once she got to the police station, she was not released on her own recognizance or locked up because she wanted to be where she was, she was made to have her husband come and sign her out of custody, because in Saudi Arabia you have a guardianship system that's in place, which means that any woman there is not allowed to do practically anything without the permission of her male guardian. That includes travel, that includes working, going to school, so many other things.

So she said that in itself is insulting for her as a woman.

She said the reason it was funny, because they actually made her husband sign a pledge stating that he would keep her from driving. And she said her husband laughed and said to the police, well, I really can't do that. It's only god that will be able to prevent her from driving. So good luck with that.

He signed the paper anyway. And then they went on their merry way.

But she said it really reinforced the issues with the system there and why it is so confusing -- Pauline.

CHIOU: He knows his wife so well, doesn't he? I have a feeling we're going to hear from her once again.

All right, Mohammed, thank you very much. Mohammed Jamjoom there live from Beirut.

Well, still ahead on News Stream, this polio survivor has spent decades confined to his hospital bed. And now he gives us a chance to see the world from his perspective.


CHIOU: On Leading Women this week, we have more on our profile of Anne Sweeney. Fortune has named the Disney executive as one of its most powerful businesswomen for 2013. She tells our Poppy Harlow about her rise to the top and why her employees are encouraged to put their family first.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, where I recently joined media powerhouse Anne Sweeney, number 18 on this year's Fortune list of the 50 most powerful women in business.

Did you have a dream job as a child?


HARLOW: Ballerina -- what happened?

SWEENEY: I know. I know. I was sidelined.

HARLOW: But after graduating from college and getting a master's in education from Harvard, Sweeney landed a job at the cable network Nickelodeon in 1981, working for a woman who would become a lifelong mentor.

I want to talk about Geraldine Lesborn (ph) and you and the impact that she had.

SWEENEY: Oh, I learned so much from her. She hired me because she saw potential. She didn't hire me because I was a fantastic administrative assistant. If anything, I was on the low end.

HARLOW: She moved on in 1993 when media titan Rupert Murdoch recruiter her as chairman and CEO of FX Networks.

SWEENEY: Going to Fox and working for Rupert was like being handed a saddle and given a horse and you just, you know, ride. Go fast.

We are firing on all cylinders.

HARLOW: She joined Disney in 1996 and says she learned a lot from her current boss Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger.

But there's one mentor who stands out from the rest.

SWEENEY: My mother was my first and my very best mentor and I think the great constant in my life when it came to not only encouraging me to find out what I wanted to be or who I wanted to be or what I was interested in, but really making sure that I was keeping myself on track.

HARLOW: Vital lessons she's passed on to her two children. Her son is autistic.

You've been open about this, talking about it, talking about the challenges. I wonder what your advice is to other parents?

SWEENEY: Don't be the martyr, don't be the hero parent and talk openly about it.

HARLOW: As co-chair of Disney Media Network and President of the Disney/ABC Television Group Sweeney is the highest ranking woman at the company and understands the needs of her more than 10,000 employees.

You send your employees a note right around the first day of school encouraging them to take work off and take their kids to school.

SWEENEY: I believe it is the most important thing you can do. And I want people to have a life.

HARLOW: And with personal mottos like "be unafraid" and "create what's next" does Anne Sweeney have it all?

SWEENEY: You know, I think it depends on what you're calling "all," you know. Is it hard to work and have kids? Absolutely. And look at how many tens of millions of mothers do this in this country every single day. You know, to me having it all is having their love. It's that simple.


CHIOU: And you can learn more about how Sweeney has helped steer her network through the digital age by pushing technical innovation. You can find that and much more on our website,

Coming up next, a survivor of polio. He has spent his entire life in a hospital bed, but now he's making a rare trip outside. And CNN is going along.


CHIOU: Yesterday we introduced you a Brazilian man who has been living in a polio ward for nearly half a century, his entire life. He recently made a rare trip outside the hospital and Shasta Darlington went along.


SHASTA DARLINGTON: Computer and videogames, more than a way to pass the time for Paulo Henrique Machado, a gateway to a world that exists beyond these walls. A survivor of polio, Paulo Henrique has spent almost his entire life inside Brazil's biggest hospital.

Paralyzed from the waist down, he's been bed ridden for most of those 43 years.

PAULO HENRIQUE MACHADO, POLIO PATIENT (through translator): If you ask me, Paulo, are you happy? I can say that 60 percent of the time I am. But 40 percent, I am human.

DARLINGTON: Paulo Henrique has more than 3,000 friends on Facebook. Although he's met very few in person, he chats, shares pictures and plays video games.

Now his passion for those games is taking him on a rare trip outside the hospital. We met Paulo Henrique as he gets ready for the anxiously awaited video gaming convention. He travels in an ambulance with medical technicians paid for by donations.

MACHADO (through translator): It's going to be fun. I like it because it's a world where I'm free. I do what I want.

DARLINGTON: Another complication -- the respirator. He doesn't need it 24 hours, but feels more secure having it just in case.

Once inside, we enter Paulo Henrique's world. He's wheeled from one end of the convention the other accompanied by medical technicians and a tight-knit group of friends.

Finally, he tries his hand at a few rounds of Battlefield 4.

When Paulo Henrique was first admitted to the polio ward of the Clinicas hospital in Sao Paulo. He wasn't expected to live more than 10 years. Most of his friends passed away, but he and his lifelong roommate Eliana Zagui survived, confounding experts.

They made the intensive care unit their home and the hospital staff their family.

For Paulo Henrique some of his happiest moments are memories to visits to the real world -- a Formula One race, a trip to the beach with Eliana and friends to watch the sunset. There was a decade of freedom when Paulo Henrique used an electric wheelchair to come and go with relative ease. Dr. Nuno da Silva, a physician who became a friend, often accompanied him.

DR. NUNO DA SILVA, HOSPITAL DAS CLINICAS (through translator): I had the opportunity to take him for the first time to the cinema and McDonalds.

DARLINGTON: But then, post-polio syndrome set in, causing gradual weakening in muscles already hit by polio. It became impossible for Paulo Henrique to straighten his legs enough to sit in a wheelchair, which means trips are increasingly rare and only in a hospital bed.

But as you can see, the condition hasn't stopped him, it's given him reason to be even more excited about his escapes into the fantasy world of video games.

MACHADO (through translator): You don't pay attention to anything else around you. It's great, you just want to discover more.

DARLINGTON: For a day, at least, the tubes, the respirator, the hospital bed, they all fade into the background. And Paulo Henrique becomes invincible.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.


CHIOU: He shows a wonderful passion for life there.

Well, let's take a look at the forecast right now. We've been talking about a lot of rain mainly in Europe, but today we're focused on Asia, and specifically Malaysia. Mari Ramos is live at the world weather center with more -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, across Malaysia, Indonesia, these have been getting pounded with some very heavy rain.

We'll talk about Europe in just a moment, but let me just go ahead and tell you about this, because some of these rainfall totals are really just incredible. There is some significant flooding and we had reports of landslides, remember, earlier in the week. And I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of that.

In this one town in Kuantum in Malaysia. Since Monday, they've had over 600 millimeters of rain against a monthly average of almost 600. So that's a month's worth of rain.

Even in an area where they get such heavy rainfall, to get this all at once, that's going to cause some serious problems. And it's all, you know, relative. You know, if you think about this much rainfall in another part of the world it would be an enormous average of almost 600 millimeters of rain in a month.

But there you see it just the first day of the month already gotten all of that rain. You saw that similar situation as we head back over toward Indonesia.

And you can see right over here that kind of like a monsoon trough almost, that area of low pressure that just sits over the same general area and it continues to bring some very heavy rain. Threat for flooding and mudslides remains. Expect travel delays also. I wouldn't be surprised for you in Kualan Lumpur and Singapore to see some significant travel delays associated with that.

Very quickly here across Sri Lanka, we have that area of low pressure that's been threatening to maybe become a tropical cyclone. It probably won't happen, but it's close enough that it's causing some problems.

I have some pictures to show you. This is of a water spout, basically a funnel cloud over the water. This actually did touch the water, so it's called a water spout. It did not make it over land, but situations like this area actually quite common when you have a tropical cyclone nearby you get a little bit of a spin.

If it would have gotten to the land it would have -- could have created some damage, usually not as strong as a regular tornado, but it can at times cause some problems in those areas. I think that's going to be a threat as we head through the next couple of days. That eastern side of Sri Lanka will continue to see some possibilities for some heavy rain and some nasty weather.

That looks so beautiful, though, that picture there of the ocean and then that funnel cloud right there, that water spout right over the water.

Anyway, come back over to the weather map over here. This is another area that got a month's worth of rain. This is in Libya.

So we head now to the Mediterranean. Across the central Med. we've been talking about all of this very heavy rain. Look at this, Pauline. You see this line right over here? That's the water line going almost halfway up the wall inside this person's house. Just give you an idea of how intense the rain has been.

In some cases, it has moved out of the area, especially central parts of Italy. Southern Italy will get some very heavy rain as well as parts of Greece and then back over toward Turkey. That hasn't changed too much.

You can see that area of low pressure still kind of meandering around here. It's going to be a slow mover over the next couple of days so that threat for rain remains easing from west to east as we head through the next few days.

It's still cold, and generally calm as we head across the rest of the continent, at least for now. But sometimes that calm weather can cause some problems. This is fog that formed earlier today in Belgium in the morning hours. 40 to 50 cars estimated to be in this one car accident, car pileup I should say, that happened on the A19. So the highway had to be shutdown in both directions,causing huge delays. Please, please, please slow down because fog is extremely dangerous.

I don't fog is going to be a problem for you tomorrow. We're starting to see very windy conditions. And this area of low pressure will be a big story, I think, Wednesday and Thursday across this northern half of Europe. So there is a lot going on, Pauline.

Back to you.

CHIOU: Yeah, and I know you're going to be keeping on top of that the next couple of days. Thank you so much, Mari.

Now we want to show our viewers this photo and ask you is this a chimpanzee or is it a human? Well, the answer may seem clear, but a U.S. animal rights group is arguing that the divide between us and our primate cousins may not be so great and the law should reflect that. Zarita Samberland (ph) explains.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may seem like an unusual statement, that an animal should be recognized in some ways as a person.

STEVE WISE, PRESIDENT, NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT: We understand that they have choices, that they can make in how they want to live their lives.

BERMAN: Steve Wise founded the Nonhuman Rights Project, a group that says based on scientific evidence, chimps deserve some of the same rights as humans.

WISE: We want to show that the chimpanzees also have autonomy and that means that they can choose to live their lives in the way that they want, similar to the way that we can choose to live our lives the way we want.

BERMAN: In a landmark lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, they want civil liberties for chimps held in captivity.

LONI COOMBS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: They're using a time-tested legal maneuver called habeas corpus which means "free the body". It's been used throughout the years to free people from what's considered an unjust incarceration. Essentially under the law, a legal person doesn't have to be a human being.

BERMAN: The suit was brought on behalf of four chimpanzees being held in the state of New York. One of the chimps is 26-year-old Tommy, who lives caged on his owner's property in Gloversville.

WISE: No chimpanzee should live the way Tommy lives. He is in chimpanzee solitary confinement jail. All he can see is one bleak day after another in front of him, just the way we would if we were in solitary confinement.

BERMAN: CNN reached out to Tommy's owners but have received no response. The 91-page memory dumb filed by the NHRP refers to Tommy as a person illegally imprisoned, demanding he and the others be relocated to sanctuaries and says this court must recognize that Tommy say common law person, entitled to the common law right of bodily liberty.

WISE: We intend to file a wide variety of cases in which we argue again and again that certain nonhuman animals, such as Tommy, are so complex or autonomous they should no longer be seen as legal things without any rights.


CHIOU: That was obviously not Zarita (ph), that was John Berman reporting.

Now CNN did reach out to all four of the chimp owners in New York State. We heard back from Stony Brook University where they have two chimps living at a research center. And they say that Stony Brook University has not seen any legal papers related to this matter and therefore is unable to comment on the referenced lawsuit.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues right here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.