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Thailand Marks King's Birthday; U.S. VP Visits China; Yemen Defense Ministry Attack; Nigella Lawson Testifies; India Rape: One Year On; Clashes in the CAR; Toronto Mayor in Trouble Again?; Rise of the Robots; Singing Sensation; Wonder Woman

Aired December 5, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


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

Thailand unites to celebrate the birthday of its beloved king, temporarily halting weeks of political protest.

He is already under fire for smoking crack cocaine. We'll tell you about the latest claims against the mayor of Toronto.

And we'll introduce you to the actress set to play Wonder Woman.


STOUT: People are pouring into the streets of Thailand. But today it was not to protest. The nation came together to celebrate the king's birthday. And security forces and anti-government demonstrators maintained their delicate truce for the occasion. The world's longest serving monarch is highly revered and over the years has helped to heal this country's political divisions.


STOUT (voice-over): Chants of "Long live the king," filled the air as Thais celebrated their monarch's 86th birthday with cheers, tears and prayers. Most people in Thailand have had only known one king in their lives, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej.

He is deeply beloved and considered the father of the nation. So his birthday is also Father's Day in Thailand. The U.S.-born and Swiss educated king inherited the throne in 1946 and was formally crowned amid much pomp and ceremony four years later.

The king lacks direct power under Thailand's constitution, but he has spent his reign promoting basic economic necessities, rural development and helping the poor. His engineering background has influenced royal projects in agricultural and irrigation.

Frequently seen wearing a camera, the king's photos displayed in homes, shops and street signs every day of the year. And over the decades, King Bhumibol has used his popularity to defuse political crises, like the 2006 military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Today, Thaksin's sister heads the government. Weeks of protest against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra only ceased out of respect for the king's birthday. Demonstrators have vowed to continue their campaign to oust her. But the king called on the Thai people to work together for stability and the greater good.

BHUMIBOL ADULYADEJ, KING OF THAILAND (through translator): Our nation has always been in peace for a very long time because there is unity in our nation. Each of us performs our duties in harmonious and supporting manner for the sake of our country.

Every Thai should realize about this and should determine to perform their given duties to achieve benefits for broader public.

STOUT (voice-over): Now Thailand heads into an uncertain tomorrow, where time united and soothed by its aging monarch.


STOUT: And as mentioned, the Thai king is calling the world's longest serving monarch with 67 years on the throne. But who is second? Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who celebrated her Diamond Jubilee last year.

And she sent a birthday message to the king of Thailand, saying, "I have been very pleased to see relations between our two countries and our people grow even stronger over the past year. I send you my very best wishes for continued happiness and prosperity."

Now the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has wrapped up a two-day visit to China. And in remarks to American business leaders in Beijing earlier today, Biden said that there are a range of continuing disagreements between the two nations. He went on Wednesday.

The Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and told a gathering of U.S. executives he had raised concerns about China's controversial new air defense zone over the East China Sea.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China's recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new Air Defense Identification Zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region.

And I was very direct about our firm position and our expectations in my conversation with President Xi.


STOUT: For more on Biden's two-day visit to Beijing, let's get straight to our senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, who is in the Chinese capital.

And Ivan, first your thoughts on what impact with Biden's comments have on all the tension over the China airspace issue.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the Chinese foreign ministry is not backing down in response to Biden's statements that the U.S. does not recognize this Air Defense Identification Zone, the Chinese foreign ministry published a statement saying, quote, "China has reiterated its principled stance in the talks, emphasizing that China's action is in line with international law and practices. The U.S. should respect it fairly and objectively."

And those who defend this decision to announce this Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea here, Kristie, they say that other countries in the region that happen to be close American allies like South Korea, like Japan, have, for decades, enforced their own Air Defense Identification Zones and China of course defending some of its decision by its claim to own the uninhabited Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.

Those islands, of course, the source of a long simmering territorial dispute with Japan -- Kristie.

STOUT: So China defending its decision on that new airspace zone. Joe Biden, while in Beijing, also commented on the state of press freedom in China.

What did he say?

WATSON: That's right. He was saying that the U.S. has a nation of immigrants; he doesn't have a perfect human rights record, but it does -- it is very much concerned about human rights. He called for transparency, for rule of law and also to end persecution of what he described as U.S. journalists.

And "The New York Times" highlighting on its Web page that close to 2 dozen "New York Times" journalists and correspondents from the Bloomberg News Agency are still awaiting their accreditations and visas from the Chinese authorities after a series of articles were -- investigative articles were published by both organizations, talking about the wealth of Chinese officials.

The Chinese foreign ministry fired back about that as well, saying this is a country of rule of law. And that many foreign correspondents are hosted in this country.

So there are a number of areas where it's clear that Vice President Biden and the Chinese authorities did not agree. And they also, however, talked about the need to establish a model, a relationship between major powers, the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. and China, and the need to develop trust between the two countries.

One area that was discussed was the recent developments, the diplomatic deal between the U.S. and Iran, a long-time adversary and perhaps how that could apply to North Korea. Another source of instability in the region with close ties to China -- Kristie.

STOUT: And also, I'm just curious, how has Joe Biden's visit there in Beijing and his comments -- including his comments on press freedom -- been reported inside China?

What has been the reaction there?

WATSON: Well, this was -- statement was just made a couple of hours ago. So I haven't seen real reaction to this yet.

It's worth noting on a bit of a separate note that before leaving town, the vice president did make what was described as an impromptu stop, an unplanned stop.

And he went with his son and granddaughter to stop in on a -- at a Chinese shop, where journalists said the shopkeepers were rather surprised when he bought a couple of Magnum ice cream bars, which he shared with members of his entourage, and then moved on to enjoy a tea shop and a tea ceremony.

So amid some of these very serious discussions that touched upon human rights about territorial claims, there were also moments to share in culture here in China, with Chinese officials also going forward and pointing out that in January, that will mark 35 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.

That's a relationship, a bilateral relationship, that has evolved just as China has evolved and changed dramatically over the last 3.5 decades -- Kristie.

STOUT: Very interesting, a bit of a color and controversy during Joe Biden's visit there in the Chinese capital.

Ivan Watson reporting live in Beijing for us, thank you, Ivan.

Now we turn to a bold and deadly attack in the capital of Yemen. At least 10 soldiers and nine militants have been killed in an assault on the ministry of defense. It is right in the heart of Sanaa and authorities say that one attacker drove a vehicle packed with explosives into the complex.

And the blast that followed, it could be heard throughout the capital. Witnesses say it was so strong it broke windows in Sanaa's famous Old City. Shortly after the blast, gunmen stormed the defense complex. Now CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom is following developments for us. He joins us now live from Beirut.

And Mohammed, who could be behind, who could be responsible for this attack?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, nobody yet has claimed responsibility for the attack. But all the officials that I'm speaking with believe that this is the work of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Of course, AQAP is the strongest of the Al Qaeda linked groups and affiliates. It is based in Yemen. They have been able to launch spectacular attacks across targets in Yemen and across the Middle East as a whole from within Yemen.

Again, nobody's claimed responsibility for today's attack, but because the attacks were sophisticated, they were coordinated, it is believed that they are the prime suspects. Now what happened today is one car approached the gate at the ministry of defense. It rammed the gate. That car had a suicide bomber in it.

Then another car went through. There were at least 10 militants in that car. That's according to defense ministry officials. They leapt out of that vehicle, started shooting up the place, setting off explosion.

Residents in the area said it was very scary; they were very worried that they heard at least 10 explosions and shooting that lasted for the better part of an hour. The defense ministry says now that the situation is under control but you have to ask how much of a control is it?

Because this is a part of Sanaa that is very, very heavily fortified. It's a part that is very heavily secured. They try to discussing pedestrian traffic from being around the ministry of defense because the government of Yemen feels vulnerable to attacks from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

So the fact that this happened, that they could actually breach the perimeter, get inside there today, whoever the group of militants ends up being affiliated with, that is a very worrying development for residents of the capital of Yemen -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, very worrying that this took place in the heart of Sanaa, very worrying as you're reporting it, the government feels vulnerable.

What is it like on the ground there in Sanaa, in the Yemeni capital? I mean, how tight is security there? Do you see a lot of checkpoints? Is there a meaningful security presence on the streets?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, it really goes day by day. One of the problems in Yemen is because it is a very weak (INAUDIBLE) because it is a very tribal society. Even (INAUDIBLE) the Armed Forces, there are varying groups. There are varying factions that are loyal to different tribal chiefs, different people within the government.

So it's not a very organized military. And Yemen has a very weak central government. They can't really do much to control the flow of militancy in and out of the country from outside of Sanaa. So the fact that this is happening in Sanaa -- and there is a security presence in this part of the city, even if there isn't in other parts of the city.

There's always a security presence in the part of the city where there are ministries such as the ministry of defense. That's what's so worrying. You know, it's not so much of a surprise that this happened.

AQAP, if they do end up being the culprits of this attack, they have launched many, many attacks in the past several months, targeting officials there, targeting the military. There's been a wave of attacks (INAUDIBLE) past year, dozens of counterterrorism officials have been killed as well as dozens of cadets, dozens of military officers.

And AQAP claims responsibility for all of those attacks. So this really just goes to show how tenuous the peace is there, how unstable the country is. And it's a crucial time for Yemen because right now they are trying to finalize the political transition that's been going on in Yemen in 2011, since the revolutionary uprising.

There's a national bylaw conference going on. So to have that as a backdrop to attacks like this happening, it really just shows how vulnerable that country is and really there's grave concern from the allies of Yemen, especially allies like the United States, that's spent billions and billions of dollars each year trying to protect Yemen from AQAP -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Mohammed Jamjoom reporting for us, thank you very much indeed for that.

Now you're watching NEWS STREAM. And still to come, we have more on the celebrity chef drama that's been unfolding in a London courtroom. Now one day after her explosive testimony, Nigella Lawson, she takes the stand again. We'll give you a live report.

And there is escalating violence in the Central African Republic. Will the U.N. Security Council authorize a peacekeeping force to calm the chaos?

Also ahead, more damaging claims about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.




STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM and you're looking at a visual version of all the stories you've got in the show today.

Now we started with the king of Thailand, calling for unity on his birthday.

And later on in the show, we'll look at the rise of robots from Amazon's proposed flying delivery drones to Google's new robots.

But first, to the U.K. Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is back in court today. She's giving evidence in the trial of two former assistants who are accused of fraud. They denied the charges. And throughout the trial, many details of Lawson's own personal life have emerged.

And yesterday she admitted that she had occasionally used cocaine in the past, but insisted that she did not have a drug problem.

Let's go to Erin McLaughlin now, live from London.

And Erin, the focus of the trial, it just continues to be fixed right on Nigella Lawson.

How is she responding to all that?

ERIC MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. Well, Nigella Lawson arrived at the courthouse this morning. She said that she was just a bit tired as she walked through the court doors. She has spent the morning being grilled by the defense about her cocaine use and initial reluctance to appear at this trial.

She responded by saying that she would rather be honest than, quote, "bullied by lies."

She also talked about an incident that happened back in June, a now infamous incident, an altercation that occurred between herself and her former husband, Charles Saatchi, photographs that were splashed across British tabloids, showing Saatchi's hands around her neck.

Now she said that the incident, when it occurred outside a trendy London restaurant yesterday, she talked about how that she was -- she saw someone walking by with a stroller, and she made the comment to Saatchi, saying that she hoped to have grandchildren and was looking forward to having grandchildren one day.

She said he responded by grabbing her by the throat and saying that he was to be her only concern.

Today she talked about that incident a bit further, saying that Saatchi made up the stories that he was examining her for cocaine at the time those photos were taken.

She also today went on to describe one of the defendants in this case, her former personal assistant, Francesca Grillo, as a, quote, "fantasist." She also described her job as -- to -- she was responsible for cleaning the house as well as arranging Saatchi's frappucinos and eggs with the defense.

She went through a list of cash withdrawals, expenses that Francesca said she took out on the Saatchi company credit card, including withdrawals amounting to around 29,000 pounds that Francesca says she spent on Saatchi and Lawson's children, charges that Nigella says that she just completely disputes.

Now that really goes to the heart of this case, prosecution alleging that the two Grillo sisters, their two former personal assistants, spent over $1 million in fraudulent expenses on Saatchi company cards over the past four years, charges that the sisters deny, Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Erin McLaughlin across all the details for us in this ongoing trial, live from London, thank you, Erin.

Now in Mexico, authorities are still searching for thieves who stole a hospital truck carrying radioactive material. The truck and its dangerous cargo were found abandoned in a remote area on Wednesday. Mexican nuclear official says the container holding cobalt was open, but appears that none of the radioactive element is missing.

As you can see in this video, police set up a perimeter around the truck. And there are concerns that the thieves and possibly residents have been exposed to cobalt 60.

It has been one year since the death of a woman in New Delhi in a brutal assault and gang-rape on a bus. And her story triggered outrage across India and the world. And when we come back, we have her family story.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

The world was shocked one year ago when a young woman was brutally gang-raped and murdered in India. The 23-year-old medical student with a promising future was viciously attacked by several men on a bus and the event sparked outrage and protest all across India.

Sumnima Udas talks to the victim's family about the last days of their daughter's life and their fight for justice.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a society in the throes of social change, she was the bridge between the old and new India. The 23-year-old student wanted to become a doctor, lift her family out of poverty.

BADRINATH SINGH, RAPE VICTIM'S FATHER (through translator): We did everything we could for her education. I worked double shifts, sold our only piece of land in the village and went beyond my capacity so that she could study.

UDAS (voice-over): But on December 16th, 2012, those dreams shattered. The young woman and a male friend boarded a bus around 8:30 pm. The six other men inside were not regular passengers. In the words of the police, they were drunk and looking for a joyride.

She was gang-raped, her friend beaten. They even sexually violated her with an iron rod while the bus drove around the city for almost an hour.

Rape is not uncommon in India. But the absolute cruelty of this attack struck a nerve.

DR. MC MISHRA, DIRECTOR, AIIMS HOSPITAL: In my 40-year career, I have never witnessed such a horrific brutality.

UDAS (voice-over): Back home, Asha Devi and Badrinath Singh received a phone call no parent ever wants to get.

ASHA DEVI, DELHI RAPE VICTIM'S MOTHER (through translator): We got a call from someone saying our daughter was injured and admitted in the hospital. We were shocked to see our daughter's state. What was in front of our eyes was hard to even imagine.

SINGH (voice-over): When I first saw her, she was conscious and she was lying on the stretcher. She looked at me and started crying. I told her to keep calm and not to worry anymore, as I'd take care of everything.

DEVI (through translator): She told me they beat her badly. What could she say? Even I didn't have the courage to ask her anything, even in so much pain she would keep saying, "Don't worry. I'm doing better and will get OK very soon."

UDAS (voice-over): But she was slowly losing the fight. The injuries were so severe, some internal organs had to be removed. She died a few weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

DEVI (through translator): All of us were standing right next to her when she took her last breath. The doctors came to us and said, "Sorry. There's nothing we can do now." That's when we realized our daughter was no more.

UDAS (voice-over): Mirabel's (ph) fight for her life and her family's fight for justice proved to be a watershed moment for India. Laws were strengthened, security stepped up. Women now more emboldened to report crimes against them.

To India, Mirabel (ph) has become a symbol of bravery, courage and change. But to her parents, she will always be their baby girl -- Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


STOUT: And CNN takes a closer look at the rape case that is changing India. It's happen in a special edition of "World's Untold Stories." You can see it Saturday at 10:30 pm in Hong Kong right here on CNN.

Now ahead on the program, amid escalating violence, a humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic as the United Nations prepares to vote on what action they will take.

Also ahead, new allegations against Toronto's embattled mayor, Rob Ford. We'll have the details next.




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


STOUT (voice-over): At least 19 people have been killed in an attack on Yemen's defense ministry in the capital, Sanaa. Officials say an assailant drove a vehicle packed with explosives into the building. After the blast, armed men stormed the compound and then a gun battle broke out.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thailand's revered king is urging his nation to maintain peace and unity. Anti-government protests paused today so people across Thailand could celebrate the beloved monarch's 86th birthday. The leader of the protest vows that the demonstrations will go on.

Authorities say that they believe that they have recovered all the radioactive material taken when a truck was stolen near Mexico City on Monday. The truck was carrying cobalt 60. It's a medical isotope that can be used to build a dirty bomb.

Police say that they found the open container of cobalt about a kilometer away from the abandoned truck.

Pope Francis is creating a commission to prevent the abuse of minors and to support victims of abuse. The Vatican said that the church has focused on the traditional side of sexual abuse before. But Pope Francis also wants to focus on caring for the victims of abuse.

Heavy gunfire has erupted in the capital of the Central African Republic as United Nations warns that the ongoing violence there could lead to genocide. The latest gun battle comes as U.N. prepares to hold a crisis meeting on the situation.

And later today, the Security Council will vote on whether to give French soldiers the green light to enter the country and try to restore stability. The U.N. says 400,000 people have been driven from their homes. The clashes continue in the Central African Republic and just hours before the U.N. Security Council set to vote on how to help stabilize the country.

U.N. officials have warned the situation is deteriorating and again, we're saying it is now on the verge of genocide.

CNN's Nima Elbagir joins us now from the town of Bossangoa live.

And Nima, I understand that you are holed up in a U.N. compound under lockdown.

Could you describe the situation that you're in right now?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We understand, Kristie, that a senior Seleka commander -- that's the militia that supported the current president in his push for power back in March and was then disbanded forcibly by the president, the (INAUDIBLE) many pockets of control. One of them is here in Bossangoa.

This is also where many of those fleeing the instability and the attacks of the militiamen have come seeking refuge at the Catholic campagna. It's absolutely extraordinary, Kristie. It's some 35,000 people huddling in the shadow of the Catholic Church.

But we're hearing today that that violence in Bangui could have repercussions up here in Bossangoa, with reports of the death of the Seleka militia, the Seleka militia military commander here on Bossangoa, the African stabilization (INAUDIBLE) make up Central African Republic's neighbors.

They are reinforcing their presence around that church compound right now, Kristie, preparing to defend those refugees in the instance of any retribution from the militiamen for the death of their commander, Kristie.

STOUT: Fear and concern rising where you are there in Bossangoa. Later today, we know that the U.N. Security Council will vote on whether to allow French troops to maintain order in the country.

If the troops do get the OK, the green light, would they make any difference on the ground? What difference would they make?

ELBAGIR: Well, it depends on the mandate. The hope is that the French will be given a Chapter 7 mandate, which will allow them to engage and dispense civilians -- will allow them to directly engage. They'll be able to go into some of those areas and rout out some of that more entrenched militia presence.

But the problem here is, again, this fear or retribution. We have those 35,000 Christian refugees in the Catholic Church. We also have some 5,000 Muslim displaced people who have been the target of attacks by -- they're called anti-balaka, effectively vigilante forces that were formed in the aftermath of Seleka looting and displacing people along that countryside.

We traveled out from Bangui to Bossangoa only two days ago. And just three hours before Bossangoa, you start seeing the countryside completely emptied out, burnt village after empty village, you know, just this sense of desolation and abandonment.

The hope is that with the Chapter 7 mandate and with what we're hearing, the French will to engage really aggressively, that there could be some kind of long-term help. But you see this tense standoff at the moment.

And without an international commitment to come in here and help these people -- everyone (INAUDIBLE), just get the sense that they're waiting for the world to come in and save them, Kristie.

STOUT: And it is because of that tense standoff, which is why there are these rising concerns of mass killings there in the Central African Republic, Nima Elbagir joining us live from Bossangoa, thank you so much for that live update.

Now a major storm meanwhile in Europe is causing havoc there and travel chaos across the region. Let's get the details with Mari Ramos. She join us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Kristie, this is a very large storm system. And of course air effects are being felt from west to east. So let's go ahead and start here across northern parts of the U.K. That's the area that got the storm first.

Look at these wind gusts, in some cases, over 200 kph. That's a very high point, high elevation point facing toward the west. And they did get some very strong winds at the surface, though. Look at that, 150 kph winds. That's almost at sea level. That's pretty significant. In Edinburgh where that one death was reported, 132 kph wind gusts.

So we're talking above hurricane force winds for some of these areas. This is a widespread problem. And you can see that storm system continuing to barrel in here from the North Atlantic and just move across this entire region over the next couple of hours.

Now across the U.K., there are some serious concerns, not only because of the wind but also because of the potential for flooding from storm surge. What that means is the wind pushes the water. And even in places like London along the Thames, they're going to raise those barriers to protect the city from flooding.

I want to show you this. This is from the U.K. environment agency. And this is pretty interesting because you're looking, over here it says, 28 severe flood warnings right now. Those are the areas, some of these areas that you see here in red. Even on the east coast of the U.K. they have some of these.

When they issue a warning like this, they say it has the potential to take lives. This is an important kind of warning that they're giving, telling people that they need to move away from the coast. And there are some evacuations in place across some of these regions.

And then down here, as you get closer even to the greater London area, along the coast, you can see those warnings. The concern is that the storm surge could push the water in here and even cause some significant flooding.

They say that possibly higher levels in that 1953 storm that killed over 300 people, there are better barriers in place now. So they're not expecting that kind of damage.

But they say people need to be extremely careful even with the water. So this is a dual situation. Many, many things that are happening here. That's just here in the U.K.

Some of the strongest and the highest storms that will actually happen on the other side here of the North Sea for you guys in the Netherlands and back over toward Germany and Denmark, because as those strong winds continue to push the water, we could see tidal levels maybe 2-3 meters, 4 meters above normal levels. So very significant flooding expected here as well.

So this is affecting a widespread area across this region with millions of people. And this is a picture from Germany, Kristie. Look at that, how rough the seas are already across these areas. And the storm is still very far away. They're going to see much, much worse than this.

And like I was saying, already you're seeing flooding across coastal areas there of Germany. It will get worse.

These are the current winds. So this is the sustained winds right now at London, almost at 50 kph. And then as we head over here in Amsterdam, they're almost at 60 kph. And then in southern portions of Scandinavia here, we're looking at winds close to 80 kph. That's in an offshore island.

So we're going to see big impact when it comes to travel, railways have already been canceled in many cases, train service, car services will be difficult to say the very least. Visibility will be reduced at some times, coming in with snow and rain, depending on where you're located.

And then of course you have your flight delays, already hundreds and hundreds of flights have been canceled, depending on what airport you're talking about, high delays over here.

Medium delays on this list, including Berlin, London, Paris and Dublin. And I think in London we'll switch to high delays a little bit later today because of the strong winds that are expected in that area as we head into the late afternoon and evening.

So timing wise, here you see it, Thursday, this afternoon, we're going to see those winds continuing to pick up. And these are wind gusts. So in London they could be as high as 80 kph. In Copenhagen, over 100 kph.

And as the storm continues to move along, we're going to see those winds continuing to spread even into the Baltic here and then even Friday morning, we'll still see winds quite strong across much of the region.

So we shall have about 12-24 hours to go until this storm is completely out of our hair, Kristie. So a lot going on here -- and of course, we will keep everyone up to date with this.

STOUT: Wow, 12-24 hours of travel chaos and of course a lot of concern about those tidal surges. Mari Ramos there, thank you.

More now on the seemingly never-ending saga plaguing the mayor of Toronto. Now court documents reveal new allegations. The criminal suspects claim that Rob Ford wanted to buy a damaging video. It's all part of revelations from a Canadian investigation into organized crime.

Remember last month Ford publicly admitted to smoking crack in what he called a drunken stupor. Let's get more now from Jean Casarez. She joins us live from New York.

And Jean, this is just yet another damaging allegation against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Give us -- give us the details.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This began as a completely different investigation, Kristie, because this was the Toronto police department. And they were trying to probe into a drug gang in the Toronto area. So they went to a judge to get a search warrant to execute wiretaps on 59 different phones, which they got.

So they start to monitor all these phone conversations; they begin to hear about the mayor of Toronto, that he is getting drugs from this alleged drug gang, that he's using the drugs.

And then I think probably one of the headlines from these monitored conversations occurred March 27th, 2010, 2013, when one of the alleged drug dealers said to another alleged drug dealer, "You know what, I've got this video. And he's telling me that he'll pay $5,000 and give me a car. It's worth much more than that."

And this is the video that we've heard about, of the Toronto mayor smoking crack. We haven't seen this video, but this is the video we know from authorities exists.

Mohammed (ph), who allegedly owned the video, said, you know what, I'm going to go confront the mayor. And I'm going to tell him that I want $100,000 or $150,000. That was in March; in May, the video we know was given to authorities. So it was uncovered at that point.

This goes on and on and on because there are allegations of a kidnapping, a murder, possibly associated with this video. Authorities say that according to the wiretaps, those things were not associated with the video.

But the massive investigation, one has to wonder what else do they have on this mayor.

STOUT: Yes, it's extraordinary, isn't it, just more and more damaging allegations about the mayor. And he remains the mayor of Toronto. But I mean, how much power, how much authority does Rob Ford have left?

CASAREZ: Not very much because the city council has stripped him of his budget, stripped him of his powers. So he's really the shell of the mayor. But what we understand is that he literally can't be removed from the office unless he is charged and/or convicted of crimes.

And with this wiretap, of course, nothing is proven; talk is cheap. What you say may not be proven in a court of law, but this could be exhibit A for prosecutors. And along with the drug use, there's also potential charges here of tampering with evidence, tampering with witnesses, allegedly obstruction of justice.

STOUT: He's lost most of his power. But he's still the mayor of Toronto. He's still firmly in the international media spotlight. What exactly is Rob Ford doing now and what's next for him? What are your thoughts on that?

CASAREZ: Well, what's next, he's supposed to do a radio interview with a Washington, D.C., sports talk radio station at any minute. We're going to monitor that to see if he does the interview and what he says in relation to all of this.

He also did a television show. It was just one episode with his brother, and this is after allegations of this video surface. A reporter from the "The Toronto Star" bumped into his lawyer yesterday, and Anderson Cooper had this last night.

And she said, from "The Toronto Star," that when she asked his lawyer about these intercepted phone conversations, that he laughed and walked away, obviously not taking this too seriously.

STOUT: Yes, it's an incredible story, mind-boggling saga, the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford.

Jean Casarez joining us live from New York, thank you so much for that.

STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM. And coming up next, will it be delivery man versus machine? Leading tech companies reveal increased interest in robots. We'll look at the implications.




STOUT: Welcome back. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And let's return to our visual rundown now.

In a few minutes, we'll tell you about the actress who's been cast as Wonder Woman. But now it's time to talk about robots. Earlier this week, we told you about Amazon's plan to deliver packages by drones. And now we're learning about Google's interest in commercial robotics.

Android founder Andy Rubin tells "The New York Times" that he is leading Google's effort. Now all of this bring to mind man versus machine. But just how close are these ideas to actually coming true? Let's bring in our regular tech contributor, Nicholas Thompson. He is the editor of

Nick, good to see you. Now we have -- and this is extraordinary -- Google's army of robots on one hand and Amazon's delivery drones.

But just how realistic is all this?

NICHOLAS THOMPSON, NEWYORKER.COM: Well, it's not real at all right now. Amazon doesn't -- isn't ready -- isn't prepared to drop your books off at your house. It's going to be quite a while until that happens. It's not even clear that Amazon will be the leader. There is a major drone industry that's being built up right now.

Amazon had a PR coup and has a great track record. But we'll see who ends up being the drone delivery service of choice.

Google is quite a way off with its army of robots. However, I do think that both things are very much coming and are going to be very important. You know, depending on aviation regulations there is a real chance that there will be lots and lots of domestic and individually owned drones in our skies.

And there is a very good chance that humanoid robots or robots that do a lot of the things that humans do right now will become a major part of our economy. And there will be huge issues of privacy and huge economic issues that we're going to deal with. And there will be great advantages and there will be some trials and tribulations.

STOUT: So it's coming, but not in the near future. So I'm wondering, why is Jeff Bezos appearing on "60 Minutes," showing off the drones or the idea for Amazon Prime Air now when the drones are really far from ready to go live?

THOMPSON: I know, it's kind of on Amazon, right? This is a company that told us nothing about the Kindle and won't tell us anything about Kindle sales. But I think he did it for two reasons. The first is that it was right before Cyber Monday, which is the day where they want everybody to shop on Amazon. So he knew that he would get tons of press attention.

So lots of people were thinking about Amazon and thinking, oh. Amazon is cool and interesting on the day when he wants everybody to buy their TVs on So I think it was a canny PR move.

The second is that I think he learned from the Google car project that if you announce intentions to do something that captures the public imagination, it brings a lot of positive attention and then it also -- it kind of clears the fields.

If Amazon hadn't said this, I think there would be a lot more startups who'd be going in and saying, OK. We can be a drone delivery company out there, now that Amazon has sort of said we're going to do it. It gets a lot more of the energy that will be focused in their direction.

STOUT: Drones from Amazon, I hear you. But the delivery of the message, very calculated. Now, Nick, what are the economic consequences here?

If robots and drones replace the delivery men and women, what impact is it going to have on the economy?

THOMPSON: I know, well, that's a huge question that one can't really be sure of. But what you can be certain of is that they're going to be good things and they're going to be bad things. And it's going to be a little like what Amazon has done to the American economy over the past decade, right?

Amazon has taken and has driven lots of bookstores, for example, out of business. And that's been -- we've clearly chosen that because we get our books at a cheaper price and we get them delivered in the mail and we don't have to walk to the shopping mall and wherever to go buy our books.

So there are advantages to us, but they're disadvantages to all people who worked in the bookstores.

If you actually had a drone economy where a lot of what we order gets delivered on little airplanes that don't have humans -- don't involve humans, you actually have real disruption and you have -- you accentuate class problems and the inequality issues that Barack Obama was talking about yesterday.

If you have a lot of low-paid blue-collar jobs that disappear and then you have a lot of people who depend on services having their lives made a little bit easier. So it's tricky. Robots have the ability to disrupt almost every industry out there.

There's some people out there, either they're authors who believe that what they'll do is they'll free up leisure time and our lives will become much richer once robots do the things we don't want to do. And then there are a lot of other smart economists who say we just don't really know for sure what jobs are going to be left for all these humans.

So we're entering a very interesting period. There will be lots to talk about, Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, indeed. Robotics or about technology, very disruptive indeed. Nick Thompson,, thank you so much. Always enjoy the download from you. Take care.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

STOUT: Now hackers have stolen user names and passwords for nearly 2 million accounts on popular websites. That's according to researchers at the cyber-security firm Trustwave. Now they say Facebook's accounts were the most targeted followed by Google, which included of course Gmail and YouTube.

Now Yahoo! and Twitter accounts were also compromised. The report blames key logging software, maliciously installed on an untold number of computers around the world. And the attack could be ongoing.

To protect yourself, experts recommend updating your antivirus software, also downloading the latest patches for Internet browsers as well as Adobe and Java. And don't forget to use a strong password. The report says the most commonly used stolen password is 123456. Now you're watching NEWS STREAM.



STOUT (voice-over): Next, meet the American singer winning over fans in the Arab world.



STOUT: Welcome back. Now she is an American singer who is taking the Arab world by storm. Jennifer Grout is while judges and audiences on the TV show, "Arabs Got Talent." Singing traditional Arabic songs despite barely understanding the language. Mohammed Jamjoom sat down with her as she prepares for the final on Saturday.



JAMJOOM (voice-over): She's the all-American girl with the very Arab voice. Meet Jennifer Grout, the 23-year old from Massachusetts, who may just win the biggest televised talent contest in the Middle East, "Arabs Got Talent."

JAMJOOM: Jennifer, how did you first get interested in Arabic music?

JENNIFER GROUT, SINGER: I came across an article online about the famous Lebanese singer, Fairuz, and I was just really mesmerized by her singing. It was like nothing I had heard before.


JAMJOOM (voice-over): Jennifer, who'd studied opera and classical music, turned her attention eastward. In three short years, she learned to sing Arabic before she could speak Arabic.

GROUT: I just really wanted an audience to perform Arabic music for.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): During her audition, many thought she'd flop. She couldn't even understand the judges, making for an awkward moment.





JAMJOOM: But then they were stunned into silence.

This American novice chose to cover an Egyptian diva. Legendary songstress Umm Kulthum, revered throughout the region.

To everyone's surprise, Jennifer was a huge hit.

GROUT: When I finished, everyone was just shocked and all the judges said really nice things. Actually ,when the judges were giving their comments after my performance, I didn't understand then, either.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): But not all viewers are fans. Many critics say an American shouldn't be competing on a reality show for Arabs.

During rehearsal, she shows me how difficult the songs are, even for a native speaker like me.


JAMJOOM: Wow, that is a tough song to sing. OK. That's impressive.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): Now Jennifer's become a sensation, singing the most unexpected of melodies, crossing musical cultures while defying cultural expectations -- Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.


STOUT: Beautiful music, and we wish her luck on the final.

Now Warner Bros. thrilled fans when they announced that the new Superman movie would feature Batman. But now another superhero is joining the film -- Wonder Woman.

Now Gal Gadot will appear alongside Henry Cavill's Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman. She is an Israeli actress, best known for her role in the "Fast & Furious" franchise. This is actually the first time Wonder Woman will appear in a film. Linda Carter last wore her iconic costume in a TV show in the 1970s.

But why haven't we seen more of Wonder Woman? Now it might have something to do with her backstory. Wonder Woman's real name is Diana, princess of a tribe of Amazons, the immortal female warriors from Greek mythology.

Now it's a far cry from the current trend of superheroes grounded more in the real world, embodied by Christopher Nolan's gritty "Batman" trilogy. We'll see how well Wonder Woman fits into a world with Batman and Superman in 2015.

But even though Gal Gadot will be the first person to don the costume on film, you might be able to see Wonder Woman on screen a little bit sooner than that.


STOUT (voice-over): All right. I'm going to freeze the video here so you could see that, yes, that is Wonder Woman in "The Lego Movie." Now that movie will be out next year and I should note that both the live action movie and "The Lego Movie" both owned by Warner Bros., part of the same company as CNN.


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