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Interview with Sergei Filin; Interview with Pele; Free Syrian Army Soldiers Defecting To Government?; Why Porsche Carrera Is Difficult To Drive; Joe Biden In Asia; Congress Stalled on 3D Printed Gun Legislation; Ukrainian Opposition Willing To Talk

Aired December 4, 2013 - 8:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

Now the U.S. vice president visits Beijing amid rising tensions between China and its neighbors.

We take an exclusive look deep inside the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

And Pele speaks to CNN about his hopes for next year's World Cup.

The U.S. Vice President Joe Biden faces a delicate balancing act in China.

Now his visit was originally meant to focus on economic issues, but instead comes at a time of rising regional tension.

Now he arrived in China after a stop in Japan where he promised to press Beijing about its new air defense identification zone. Now that is also a concern in South Korea, the last leg of Biden's Asia tour.

Now let's remind you where the disputed zone is located. It covers this area over the East China Sea.

Now Japan and South Korea say it encroaches on their already established air defense zones.

But these little islands are a big part of the controversy, China and Japan both claim them.

Now an editorial in the state run China Daily warns that Biden should not make any, quote, "erroneous and one-sided remarks on the air zone issue during his visit."

Now David McKenzie joins me live from CNN Beijing with more.

And David, will Biden while there in Beijing follow through with his pledge to press China on its air space claim?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the interesting thing is it appears that Joe Biden, the vice president the U.S. and the Chinese leaders here have spoken on this issue today, haven't explicitly addressed this to the press, but one can be sure that this came up in private and most likely Joe Biden's meeting with the vice president of China and certainly with his meeting with president Xi Jinping.

As you say, this issue has overshadowed what was supposed to be a talk about expanding economic zones in northeast Asia, but it's been dominated by this air defense identification zone, which China announced some two weeks ago. It says it's a way for it to protect its sovereignty and act as a buffer, as it were, before China's air space. But Japan and the U.S. have said it's a dangerous unilateral move that could lead to an accidental inflammation of tension.

It does seem like there is more modest rhetoric coming out today, more talking about cooperation, also it seems like Joe Biden has again said that the personal qualities of Xi Jinping as a leader make him an easier president to deal with in a way on these issues.

But it is facing a delicate tight-rope walk, because he'd have to push China -- this is Joe Biden has to push China to not act too harshly with the zone, but he also can't be too direct because it might just anger the world's second biggest economy and its leaders.

LU STOUT: You know, it is a delicate diplomatic balancing act, isn't it? And let's talk more about the dynamic between the Chinese president and the U.S. Vice President who met earlier today. The relationship between the two -- Joe Biden and Xi Jinping -- is said to be relatively close. How so? What have you heard?

MCKENZIE: Well, it's impossible really to gauge exactly how close this relationship is, because we can't be part of those private meetings between these senior leaders and certainly they have met several times before here in China and also in the U.S. Joe Biden's team in the past has said that Vice President Biden appreciates the kind of down home style that Xi Jinping sometimes shows, the fact that he is a more down to earth leader maybe in his style than previous leaders in China which could lend themselves to the same reputation that Joe Biden has in the U.S.

But I think many leaders have been surprised in the way that Xi Jinping has taken control of the military since he came into power here in China. And his steely resolve on certain issues. There's no way that this air defense identification zone would have come forward without senior Chinese leadership giving it its blessing.

So, it's unclear what's happening behind closed door, but certainly in the public face of this they are remaining to be in some ways a warmer relationship than maybe previous leaders of the stature between the U.S. and China.

LU STOUT: And David, as we're waiting to get more concrete details about how far Joe Biden and the United States is willing to push China, especially on the airspace issue. The perspective from Beijing, how far is China willing to go to pursue its interests in disputed areas in the region?

MCKENZIE: Well, there's -- depends on who you talk to really. Some analysts have told me that they feel that China went to far this time, that they had a good thing going with the way that Japan pushed the envelope last year on these disputed islands and was seen in some ways of being an aggressor in the East China Sea.

And now, really, China is the next one to make the move. So some have told me really by announcing this air defense zone, but not necessarily going in and really patrolling it aggressively, China could lose some face. But it's very unlikely that they'll roll back on this announcement. And they do point out that many countries, including the U.S., have similar zones.

So it's really about how they take it from here. Will they aggressively patrol this zone? Will they push the envelope? No one really believes that China wants to start any kind of conflict, of course, between itself and the U.S. and Japan. But certainly there is that risk, say analysts, of an accidental incident between the various air forces that are now kind of crowded in this disputed area.

LU STOUT: All right, David McKenzie reporting live from Beijing for us. Thank you.

Now, I want to give you an exclusive look inside the depths Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It has been two-and-a-half years since the tsunami sent reactors there into meltdown.

And today experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency say Japan is making progress on decommissioning the plant, but the UN team says that the situation there remains extremely complex.

Now CNN's Anna Coren was given access to a reactor building where workers are removing fuel rods.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are here at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was severely crippled during the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 leading to the country's worst nuclear disaster.

It was in here where there was that massive hydrogen explosion that severely damaged the building. But this was the least damaged of the four reactors, because it was under maintenance and it wasn't actually operating.

Well, now two-and-a-half years later Tepco says it's reached a milestone. That massive crane behind me is successfully moving 1,500 fuel rods in that cooling pool to a storage poll next door.

Well, it's a slow and delicate process that will take about a year, but once finished it will mean that this reactor can be decommissioned.

Well, attention will then turn to reactors one, two and three that suffered far worse damage. The situation there is serious and levels of radiation are dangerously high.

Well, workers have begun removing debris, but the cleanup inside the reactors is a long way off. Officials here say the entire plant won't be decommissioned for at least 40 years.

Well, as for the future of nuclear power in Japan, no one really knows. More than 50 reactors have been shut down with the public very concerned about their health and safety. The Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to reopen them, believing that Japan can have a safe nuclear future.

Anna Coren, CNN, Fukushima, Japan.


LU STOUT: A delicate and dangerous operation underway there inside Fukushima. You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, both sides now say that they are willing to talk, but protesters in Ukraine are not backing off. And the prime minister isn't backing down.

Now CNN speaks exclusively with Sergei Filin of the Bolshoi, the artistic director who is nearly blinded in an acid attack. Hear what he is saying now about his attackers.

Plus, they defected from the government to join the uprising so why are some Syrian rebel fighters apparently now returning to Bashar al- Assad's side?


LU STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today.

Now we started with Joe Biden's visit to China. And a little bit later, we'll have more on the investigation to actor Paul Walkers' death and take a closer look at the car that he and a friend were riding in when they crashed.

Now to Ukraine, where the prime minister is called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis that's been gripping his country. Now he survived a no confidence vote in parliament in Tuesday as demonstrations continued outside.

Now the protests began after Ukraine rejected an EU trade deal. Now one reason for the rejection, EU demanded a political rival of the president be released from prison. But the other was pressure from Russia who is against it. And now Moscow has weighed in, telling Ukraine it needs stability and order.

But the opposition still wants to see the prime minister sacked. And another of their demands that someone be held responsible for the violence against demonstrators as opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko told CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.


VITALY KLITSCHKO, OPPOSITION UDAR PARTY LEADER: We are ready to talk, but everyone -- somebody have to be responsible for this activity. And it's not enough to tell just sorry it happened. We don't do -- we Ukrainians don't want to live in police country. If nobody take responsibility right now, it's mean -- it's dictator. It's the next time it happens exactly the same and again a prime minister or a minister of police say sorry it's happens. How many times we have to listen to that? And that's why we talk -- somebody has to take responsibility.


LU STOUT: Now NATO, the UN and the U.S. have all expressed concern over the unrest and the violence. And while the prime minister apologized in parliament for the police crackdown, he also says he is working from a position of strength.

Now for all the latest developments, let's bring in Phil Black who is at the center of the action in Kiev. He joins us live. And Phil, what have you seen today?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, here on Independence Square. The numbers are still certainly very significant. And if anything, this occupation is becoming more permanent by the day.

We are seeing new structures, tents, barricades going up all the time with big crowds still in here pretty much 24 hours a day.

This square is becoming very much a permanent question mark over the authority of Ukraine's government. And the people say they are not really in the mood to negotiate. They are maintaining their very hard-line demand that they want the Ukrainian president and his government to go. But they say they want to go, but they say they want to achieve these things peacefully if they possibly can.

On the other hand, as you say, you have the government there that does not want to give up power, that says it is prepared to enter some sort of dialogue to a point and no longer really has the option of using force against these protesters on the streets here, because that's really what caused the escalation in all of this over the weekend when police started to forcefully remove protesters from the square here behind me, that's when this evolved from just being protest action against the Ukrainian government not signing those agreements with the European Union. And it became this stronger revolutionary movement demanding a change of government.

For the moment, it feels increasingly like a standoff -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: It's feeling increasingly like a standoff. And yet the president of Ukraine is not there. He is in Beijing. Now it was a planned visit, but still, I mean, why did Mr. Yanukovych decide to go ahead with that visit and leave the country? And what impact is that going to have on this crisis?

BLACK: Well, I guess it's a business as usual type approach from the Ukrainian president and deciding to go ahead with this visit to China to discuss trade and bilateral relations. There is also, of course, the important economic factors.

China is increasingly a big investor in this country. And this country is one with big -- pretty big financial problems, which was one of the reasons the Ukrainian government used to justify its decision not to sign on with the European Union at this time to formalize relations to enter this free trade agreement, because it believes the financial hits it would have taken in the short-term through the loss of business and trade with other partners, notably Russia would have been too great for this economy to handle the short-term suffering would have been too significant.

President Yanukocych's absence from this is interesting. We're not quite sure what it does to the dynamic. There is perhaps a feel that once he returns then the people here in the square will once again has their number one enemy, if you like, the man who they blame for the state of the country for not pursuing a European path and so-forth.

Back here in geographic proximity and you could see a new surge in interest, a surge of energy from the protesters. That I think is the expectation of what will happen once he returns to the country, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And Phil as we look at the number of people who are out there in the square today. I mean, it's quite a significant number as you can see and as you've been reporting. Some have been asking if this unrest from Ukraine. What we're seeing today is a new orange revolution, the orange revolution of 2004. Could this be a replay of that at all?

BLACK: Well, that is certainly what the protesters and those that are leading this protest movement are hoping for, absolutely. They would love to repeat history in this way.

The orange revolution in 2004 was when this square last filled with people in this way who were trying to overturn a presidential election result that they didn't trust. The person who won that presidential election initially was also Victor Yanukoych at that time, but because of the sheer force of numbers of people who came out at that time, they got a new vote, Yanukovych lost. But as we know he eventually won the presidency again back in 2010.

What they are really hoping is to, yes, take the presidency away from him once more in exactly the same sort of way. They hope that this develops. The sort of momentum that simply can't be ignored and will force this country's government from power.

LU STOUT: All right, Phil Black joining us live from Kiev, thank you.

Now, he can't forgive, and he certainly won't forget, those words from Bolshoi ballet artistic director Sergei Filin who was nearly blinded in an acid attack last January.

Now on Tuesday, star dancer and two accomplices were sentenced in that attack. And while Filin says he accepts the court's verdict he adds that nothing can give him back what he lost.

Now CNN's Matthew Chance spoke exclusively with Filin just after Tuesday's verdict.


SERGEI FILIN, FRM. BOLSHOI BALLET ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: It's not just problem only with my eyes. There's a problem with my heart.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Disfigured and half- blinded by the acid, the Bolshoi's artistic director has followed the trial of his attackers in agony. Even their sentencing has done little to ease his pain.

(on camera): You say you accept the verdict, but of course your eyesight has been damaged possibly for the rest of your life. Can you forgive the people that carried out this attack against you?

FILIN (through translator): Of course not. I cannot forgive them, because there is no sentence nor punishment that would enable me to recover my eyesight.

CHANCE: As a dancer, Sergei Filin was one of Russia's brightest stars, but his artistic leadership of the Bolshoi ballet, Russia's most prominent cultural icon, has been marred by scandal, including his own horrific attack with sulfuric acid outside his Moscow home.

FILIN (through translator): What I felt was unbearable agony. It hurt all over my skin. And I immediately felt an atrocious pain in my eyes. There was lots of snow around and I slide and fell several times, but I felt the cold snow was relieving the pain, so I started covering my face with it.

CHANCE: He was eventually helped by passer's by, but the damage was already done.

When it emerged a leading dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko, was behind the attack the dark rivalries and score settling at the heart of the Bolshoi were laid bare amid allegations of affairs, corruption and jealousy.

Now obviously nothing can justify the horrific injuries that you've received, but when you think about what happened to you, if you could go back, would you do anything differently? Do you feel that you in some way provoked this?

FILIN (through translator): I think no. Those accusations that we have heard have not been underpinned by any evidence. They are all lies aimed at lessening the degree of guilt or punishment for this crime.

CHANCE: A crime for which the guilty will pay and the victim will continue to suffer.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Aachen, Germany.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, they have been fighting a brutal battle against the Syrian government, but are some Syrian rebels now switching their allegiance to the army? Fred Pleitgen brings us that story coming up from inside Damascus.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream.

Now winter weather has arrived in China as well as in Europe and the U.S., but technically speaking it's not winter yet even though it's December.

Now let's get more now with Mari Ramos, she joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: I know, and in some places it's feeling like February near where the very cold air comes in, Kristie.

Good to see you.

You know what, we're going to go ahead and start right there in Asia, because every place has different kinds of winter weather problems. And as we head into East Asia in particular the problem comes with the smog and the fog it just gets so bad and so thick.

Now we do have a cold front that's coming in and that's going to help mix the air up just a little bit, but I know for some of you it looks no different today than it did yesterday.

Look at the video we have from northeastern China. This (inaudible) pretty thick smog that was in the air in the -- it's still there. We haven't seen too many changes with this. Air quality readings continue to be in many cases very, very high, including in Beijing, by the way.

This brings you not only, of course the problems with respiratory illnesses and even who has any kind of sensitivity would -- would be most at risk, but also huge, huge travel delays. Highways have to be shut down in many cases, because of visibility causes road accidents. Railways have to be shut down or delayed also. And of course there's air travel delay across this entire region because of this very nasty fog.

I want to show you something -- come back over to the weather map. This is real-time air quality readings for that area. Look at these numbers, pretty impressive as we head over toward Beijing 320. That's kind of getting bad. And if you head into areas farther south, look at this, we have some numbers in here in the 600s. That just gives you an idea of how dirty, how bad the air quality is across some of these areas even as we speak.

So pretty impressive stuff, but we're not seeing any kind of significant improvement across these regions. Let's go ahead and move on and talk a little bit about the weather across Europe. Here we're dealing with some pretty cold conditions as well. I want to show you -- here's China -- very cold to the north, but not too bad to the south. I know some of you think it's cold.

Here's Europe. We have conditions that remain fairly chilly. That area of low pressure that had been affecting you across the central Med has moved on, still bringing some nasty weather across the Aegean Sea for Greece and also for Turkey, but even for them it's winding down now. So a little bit of an improvement there.

Farther north, we do have much colder air. And now the wind is starting to blow. That's going to make it feel even colder. But what you have right now is nothing is comparison to what you're going to get later.

So here we go with that winter theme again, right. This is a pretty strong area of low pressure that will be moving through here.

These are the current winds and, you know, this is nothing, like I said, because by the time we get into this afternoon and this weather system starts to really pull in here we're going to see some significant wind gusts that could be easily, easily over 100 kilometers per hour over a widespread area here across northern Europe. This is a huge concern. I was telling you about this yesterday. And today is the day. As we head into the afternoon, winds in London could already be gusting over 50, maybe close to 60 kilometers per hour, pretty strong storm surge expected here as we head into these areas of Denmark and Germany as that wind pushes the water into this region, winds in excess of 100 kilometers per hour will be spreading all across even into the Baltic.

So this is could cause not only power outages, downed trees, downed power lines, but of course significant travel delays associated with this weather system that will be moving through here in about 24 hours time very, very quickly.

No snow expected in the west, most of the snow, as you can see back over here across much of central and Eastern Europe.

So a lot going on with these weather systems.

Last but not least the weather in the U.S. A lot of snow in places you'd expect to see snow. The concern has been, though, Kristie, this very cold air that continues to move in across this eastern -- this western half of the U.S. I should say making its way across the central U.S. That's going to be a huge concern and a big story starting today across the U.S. including the possibility of ice as we head through the next couple of days as far south as maybe Texas.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: Wow. Icy and wintry conditions making a move across many, many places across the world, including -- I can't believe you just said it Texas as well. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now you're watching News Stream. And still ahead, we take a closer look at the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. It is the same type of car that the actor Paul Walker was riding in when he was killed in when he was killed in that crash. It is a tough vehicle to handle even for the pros.

Also ahead, made from a 3D printer, and some American lawmakers say we need new legal protections against plastic guns.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Now U.S. vice president Joe Biden is in China. His visit comes at a tense time. He is set to press Beijing on its controversial new air defense zone that has spiked tensions with Japan. Now Biden reportedly told the Chinese president Xi Jinping today that relations between China and the U.S. must be built on trust.

Now a little known Sunni group is claiming responsibility for the killing of a Hezbollah commander in Lebanon. The Free Sunni Baalbek Brigade said it shot to death Hassan Laggis early today outside his home in Beirut. Now CNN cannot verify the claim which appeared on social media. Hezbollah is blaming Israel for killing Laggis, an allegation that Israel denies.

Now UN nuclear experts say that Japan has been making progress in cleaning up and decommissioning the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Now reactors there went into meltdown after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Now crews are trying to remove fuel rods and dispose contaminated water.

Russia is taking issue with NATO after the military alliance criticized Ukraine for using what it called excessive force against street protesters. Now the Reuters News Agency reports that Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says outsiders should stop interfering. Now NATO had also told Kiev it must allow its people the right to freely express themselves. Live pictures of the protests underway this day in Kiev.

Now, in Syria's civil war, we have heard a lot about soldiers defecting from the government of President Bashar al-Assad to join the opposition, but now, some are apparently switching sides again.

Now Fred Pleitgen talked to two men who say they moved from rebel ranks to the regime.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Adversaries battling each other in Syria's civil war seemed beyond reconciliation. But that doesn't mean there aren't some breaking ranks.

The Syrian army introduced us to 28-year-old Wael al-Fadl Nin (ph) and 25-year-old Akram Samir Halabi (ph). Both say they worked for the rebel Free Syrian Army, but have now defected back to the government side.

"I didn't have much money to get my family food," Akram (ph) says. "And the FSA promised me that they would give me $400 a month to carry a weapon and help."

This area in the Damascus suburbs has seen heavy fighting in the past year. Both men say they spent time on the front line with the rebels, but insist they never fired a shot.

"Sometimes I had to dig fox holes and tunnels for them," Wael (ph) says. "And sometimes when they went to fight, they took me with them as a driver."

It's impossible to independently verify either of these men's claims.

Since the beginning of the uprising against the Assad regime, a lot has been reported about Syrian army officers and high level politicians defecting to the opposition, but very little is known about those who come back to the government side.

The officer in charge of military operations here, who refused to be identified, says recent government gains have led to more people defecting from the ranks of the opposition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the last month, the numbers became larger, yes. We began with one six months ago, finished with dozens a week ago.

PLEITGEN: The army says possible defectors usually make contact over the phone. After verifying their identifies, the military sometimes helps them escape.

"At night, the FSA guys were playing cards," Wael says. "So I told them I could take their weapons and stand guard. I was talking on the phone. And they thought I was talking to my wife. I started to run until I got to the highway on the government side."

Both Wael (ph) and Akram (ph) say they have no more contact with opposition fighters who remain engulfed in the fierce battle against the Assad regime.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Damascus.


LU STOUT: Now the editor of Britain's Guardian newspaper has defended his paper's reporting of secret U.S. surveillance programs. Now Allen Russbridger appeared before British lawmakers on Tuesday. And he said the paper carefully vetted files provided by the former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden and stated that only 1 percent of the information has been published so far.

Now Russbridger was asked if the Guardian had done a public service. And he replied, if the president of the United States calls for a review of everything to do with intelligence and that information only came into the public domain through newspapers, then it is self-evident that newspapers have done something which oversight failed to do.

Now critics say that the British government's response has threatened the free press.

Now celebrity chef, meanwhile, Nigella Lawson has told a London court today that her ex-husband Charles Saatchi threatened to destroy her and made false allegations about her using cocaine.

Now she is testifying in the trial of two former personal assistants who are accused of fraud.

Now Erin McLaughlin joins us now live from London.

Now Erin, what's the latest?


Well, Nigella Lawson earlier today arrived here at the courthouse dressed in black, her face expressionless amidst the flashbulbs of the world's media. She testified at the trial as you mentioned saying that her former husband Charles Saatchi, quote, threatened to destroy her if she did not testify at this trial saying, quote, "he said to me if I didn't get back to him and clear his name he would destroy me."

Of course this follows the breakdown, the very public breakdown of their marriage earlier this year. She also talked about how difficult it was for her to testify at this trial saying it's difficult for me. "It's very difficult for my children, but I wanted to do the right thing. I felt I need to do my civil duties."

So there, her taking the stand. This testimony follows testimony that Charles Saatchi gave on Friday. He took to the stand talking about an email that he sent to Nigella Lawson in October. In that email, he made allegations of Nigella Lawson's drug abuse, habitual drug abuse in that email also saying that she allowed these -- her assistants to spend money at will.

Of course, the assistants are the defendants on the trial today. They -- the prosecutors alleged that their two assistance Francesca and Elizabeth Grillo used Saatchi's company credit cards to rack up huge bills, over $1 million, funding their lavish lifestyle. Those charges the sisters deny saying that Lawson knew about their expenses as well as habitually used drugs. It's not until today, though, that Nigella Lawson finally taking the stand to address some of those allegations, Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, the two sisters, these former personal assistants, they're on trial for fraud but the focus has really kind of shifted on this very public breakdown of a marriage. And just how damaging has all this, the trial, been for Nigella Lawson, for her image and for her brand?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think it's safe to say that this has been a PR disaster for the celebrity chef, though she still has work commitments coming up in the future in the new year. She will appear again for the second season on ABC's The Taste.

There has been talk of a tell-all interview to Oprah, though her publicist tells me that that -- that those reports are not correct.

So it still remains to be seen, I think, in the long-term just how damaging this will be to her career and her reputation, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Erin McLaughlin joining us live from London, thank you.

Now in California, authorities are still investigating the car crash that killed the actor Paul Walker and a friend on Saturday. And witnesses say the 40-year-old Walker was a passenger in the car with his friend Roger Rodas behind the wheel.

Autopsies were completed on Tuesday. For now, investigators have not released any of their findings.

And police are focusing on speed as a factor in this fiery crash. Now the two men, they were riding in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. It is not an easy car to handle, even for experienced drivers.

Now CNN's Kyung Lah takes a ride.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Riding in a Porsche Carrera GT is simply visceral, so low to the ground. I'm at once exhilarated and car sick. It's like flying on the road and it is terrifying. But strangely, fun.

(on camera): So we're going out for a bit of a joy ride.

(voice over): I'm the lucky passenger on Michael Weinreb's Porsche. He's an attorney by day and amateur driver by night. One of the few owners of the nearly 1,300 2005 Carrera GTs ever made.

MICHAEL WEINREB, RACE CAR DRIVER: It's more of a zero to 100 time that's more impressive which is under seven seconds. The steering on this car is so tight and responsive. There's almost nothing like it in terms of road feel.

LAH: Top speed, 208 miles per hour. Weinreb's super car has been souped up from 612 horsepower to 660.

(on camera): Is it easy to do something stupid?

WEINREB: You know, it is because it's just having so much power under your foot that, you know, that things can happen. There can be a loss of control.

LAH: Weinreb doesn't know what happened in actor Paul Walker's car crash. But being the owner of the exact same vehicle, he guesses it might be this. A cold car, cold tires, not race track conditions. Was it a super car simply pushed too hard on a city road that it was never designed for?

WEINREB: Whoever was driving went beyond the capability of the adhesion of the tire.

LAH: When you say "adhesion", what do you mean by that?

WEINREB: The tire is not connected to the road.

LAH: In some respects, are you afraid of this car?

WEINREB: Yes, you really have to be with this car with all of the power that it has. You have to be reserved and restrain yourself. I mean it's like kind of taming a wild animal. And so if you were taming a wild animal, you would be afraid of it. So you have to be afraid of it to really be safe in the car.

LAH: The line between the thrill and real danger.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And just ahead, some U.S. lawmakers call for tighter protections against 3D printed plastic guns. But can they get it done before the clock runs out? Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the technology to print a gun out of plastic, it didn't exist back in 1988, that's when the U.S. passed its Undetectable Firearms Act. Now proposals to extend the law have languished for months. Dana Bash explains the dilemma.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The gun fired here was not purchased. It was print. Yes, printed from a 3-D printer. It is new technology that is legal and could be for a while. Thanks to a loophole in an expiring 25-year-old gun law which today the House voted to extend.

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: A loophole can be closed down the line. That is a preferred scenario to no law at all.

BASH (voice-over): At issue, a ban on guns that cannot be detected by metal screening machines like this plastic gun. The last time it passed, Congress intentionally wrote the law to expire after ten years, in order to update it as technology evolved. Then a gun you can print at home was considered science fiction, but now up against a deadline, the ban will lapse this Monday, lawmakers in both parties punted on making any updates.

(on camera): The legislation that the house passed doesn't address the fact that somebody could sit in their house and print out a 3-D gun.

JON LOWY, BRADY CARTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: Exactly. This law was enacted 25 years ago, and technology has advanced to the point where people can make their own plastic guns and this law does not prohibit that.

BASH (voice-over): Some Democrats in the Senate say they'll try to close loopholes and expand the ban on undetectable firearms. But they have powerful, familiar opposition, the National Rifle Association which said in a statement, "the NRA strongly opposes any expansion of the undetectable firearms act including applying the UFA to magazines, gun parts, or the development of new technologies." Lots of lawmakers, mostly Republicans, agree with the NRA.

REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: We need to make certain that the American people are safe. At the same time, we need to respect and appreciate that the second amendment to the constitution is sacrosanct.

BASH (voice-over): Given congressional deadlock on gun legislation, even after last year's Sandy Hook massacre, gun control advocates are thankful Congress is at least on a path to extending the current ban on undetectable arms.

LOWY: Allowing people to slip through metal detectors with guns to get onto airplanes is not a position that I don't think politicians can take particularly after 9/11.

BASH: Democrats in the Senate will make an attempt next week to close the loopholes and ban new 3D plastic gun and other weapons that allow people to take metal out of guns and evade metal detectors. But privately Democrats admit that won't pass. And they're likely to simply extend the current law, loopholes and all.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: Now, the results of the latest global education survey are in. And Asian students apparently took top marks. Now the organization for economic cooperation and development compares the skills of 15 and 16- year-olds in these 65 countries. And for the second time in a row, Shanghai placed first. As you can see, Shanghai led all three categories: Math, Reading and Science.

But can the success of China's richest city be replicated across the country? Well, I recently spoke to a panel of education experts, including the PISA director Andreas Schleicher, about China's education system.


ANDREAS SCHLEICHER, DIRECTOR, PROGRAM FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ASSESSMENT: There's no question that rural schools in China do better than similar schools almost anywhere else in the world. They are a lot more advanced. They have better resources, better teachers...

LU STOUT: But there is room for improvement.

SCHLEICHER: There is a lot less big gap. And basically what China has to do is it has 15 years to close that gap which had taken 150 years in much of the rest of the industrialized world to do it.

So in a sense, the magnitude of the challenge is there. The achievement gap is there. But at the very same time, I would say the conditions for actually addressing this are far better than anywhere else. And once again, if you are in a disadvantaged school in China, your chance to succeed is much greater than in much of the rest of world.

LU STOUT: OK. So from the very top, how is the government addressing that?

SCHLEICHER: Well, it's creating, first of all, incentives to get teachers into those kinds of communities. Teach for China is just one example, but there are many efforts underway to basically make it attractive, creating career paths around it, you know. If you're a vice principal in a high performing school in Shanghai you want to become principal, the way to do it is actually to get to a rural school, to get to a poor school, to transform that school. It's basically building teacher careers around addressing challenges just than around seniority.

So it's about resource deployment. If you think about the way the government uses money from rich provinces to support poor provinces. In much of the rest of the world, it goes the other way around.

JIANG XUEQIN, DEPUTY PRINCIPAL TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL: I'm not very optimistic about education inequality in China. I think that over the years it will become worse and worse. And the reason why is that the rich and powerful are choosing to detach themselves from the traditional school system.

Right now, you have (inaudible) right. Wai Kai Pow (ph) is representative of future trend in China of new private schools catering to the middle class, giving them an education that is very western, very progressive. Because of this trend, we're seeing a lot of resources being diverted from the most need areas into the privileged areas.

ANDREA PASINETTI, FOUNDER, TEACH FOR CHINA: China is probably the only country in the world, or certainly the only country I've been exposed to, that has made equity, as Jiang was saying a little bit earlier, the primary organizing principle of all of its policies around education.

Every discussion you have with Chinese officials about education and education reform revolves around the question of equity. How can we make sure that kids in low income communities have access to the same kinds of educational opportunities that their peers in affluent communities have access to.


LU STOUT: An excerpt there from our upcoming episode of On China. And Andreas Schleicher has written this opinion piece for our website. And says this, that global comparisons like PISA remind us of what is possible in education. And he shares thoughts on what Asian schools can teach the rest of the world.

You can read the rest at

Now, CNN's Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke has been cleaning up America's waterways for over a decade. And he was named CNN's hero of the year and won $250,000 to further his work.

Our Anderson Cooper sat down with him just moments after he won and heard about the surprising way he plans to use his prize money.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Congratulations. When you heard your name being called out, what did you think?

CHAD PREGACKE, 2013 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: Just, I mean, super honored like I -- yeah, I first of all didn't expect it, but I thought if I did win then I would definitely give some money to all of the different causes.

I'm just going to give 10 grand to each of them, because they're awesome. So, yeah.

COOPER: I don't think any one of our top 10 heroes have ever done that, given part of the money to all the other heroes.

PREGACKE: It just seems like the right thing to do.

COOPER: People see garbage all the time all around them and think, oh, you know, that's really annoying, but you actually decided I'm going to do something about it.

PREGACKE: Yeah, I'd set out with a big goal to clean a 435 mile stretch of the Mississippi from St. Louis to Guttenberg (ph).

COOPER: I met you -- I'm trying to remember when it was, probably '97?

PREGACKE: Good memory, yeah.

COOPER: Yeah. And obviously I had nothing to do with you being even nominated to be a top 10 hero, because it's all up to our viewers, but when I saw your name on the list I was like I know that guy, that's crazy. And it's amazing to me that the kid I met out there in 1997 you're still out there doing it.

PREGACKE: Still doing it and we definitely have made a difference in a lot of places we've went and continue to go. I mean, we're pulling thousands of barrels and tires and all sorts of stuff. And, you know, wherever you are if there's a stream, a creek, no matter, a lake whatever it needs to be cleaned up like you can do it.

COOPER: Do you know what you'll do with the money?

PREGACKE: We have what's called million trees program. So next spring we're going to plant 320,000 acorns. We'll get about 120,000 trees. So that's just part of it. And we'll go to more rivers, go more places and do more for our rivers.

COOPER: Well, it's really an honor. Chad, thank you.

PREGACKE: Thanks a lot. It's an honor to be here.


LU STOUT: Great story and a remarkable dude. And you can take a look at all of this year's honorees at the CNN Heroes website CNN

Now, decades after his retirement, he is set to take center stage again. Pele will make a much anticipated appearance at the World Cup draw on Friday. And after the break on News Stream, the football great speaks to CNN.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Brazilian football great Pele will make a star appearance at this Friday's World Cup draw. Now the 73-year-old says that despite the critics he says his country is ready to host the tournament next year. And he told our Shasta Darlington who he hopes will be in the 2014 World Cup final.


PELE, SOCCER LEGEND: If I was god...


PELE: I was given the chance to Brazil play against Uruguay.

DARLINGTON: To relive 1950.

PELE: I think it would be a good opportunity to deliver a second Uruguay.

DARLINGTON: To get revenge?

PELE: Exactly.

DARLINGTON: So who do you think would win?

PELE: That time I hope Brazil wins.

But now to talk about the possibility today, of course, we have two national teams who play very good. I think Germany is in a very good level. Spain has a chance to come to the final. And Brazil. I think at the moment those three national teams is OK.

But you cannot forget Argentina, Italy, you know, England, all the teams who has tradition to be in the final.

But I hope Brazil come in the final.

DARLINGTON: And do you think the World Cup in Brazil will be a success? Will Brazil pull it off?

PELE: No doubt. We had some little problems before the Confederation Cup we had a little problem, but this will be, you know, (inaudible). No doubt the World Cup here will be fantastical show.

DARLINGTON: Do you think Brazil should have done anything differently, maybe fewer stadiums?

PELE: No, I think Brazil has the stadiums. I think for the World Cup we construction 12 stadiums that's...

DARLINGTON: Is that too many?

PELE: I think was not necessary to have the stadiums, no. But now we have, you know, eight months, nine months before the World Cup. We have to forget about -- just finish the stadiums and pay attention (inaudible).


LU STOUT: And tune in Friday for CNN's World Cup draw special for complete analysis and breakdown of the groups. Join Amanda Davies and two former World Cup stars Owen Hargraves and Sunday Olisay (ph) plus a host of CNN correspondents around the world for a live 90 minute special that's before, during and after the draw. It all begins at 5:30 pm Central European Time. That's 4:30 pm in the UK.

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