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Beatles Release 59 Bootleg Tracks On iTunes For 45 Minutes; U.S. Judge Rules NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional; Leading Women: Sri Mulyani Indrawati; Ukrainian President To Meet With Russian Counterpart Today

Aired December 17, 2013 - 08:00   ET


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

The controversy (inaudible) agency continues as the judge ruled that some of its actions are unconstitutional.

North Korea marks two years since the death of Kim Jong-il amid a shakeup at the top of the reclusive nation's political structure.

And rare tracks of the Beatles are about to hit iTunes. We'll tell you the surprising reason why they're suddenly going on sale.

In just a few hours, U.S. president Barack Obama is to meet top technology leaders to discuss surveillance by the National Security Agency and to hear some of their objections.

It comes after a federal judge ruled the secret collection of telephone data is an illegal violation of privacy. This is the latest development in the saga that began when NSA contractor Edward Snowden started leaking classified secrets about clandestine data collection. The judge has put off barring the government from collecting information pending an appeal by the government.

Now the judge was scathing in his criticism, calling it, quote, "almost Orwellian," and adding that the United States founders would be, quote, "aghast at its violation of freedom."

Chief U.S. security correspondent Jim Scuitto reports.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six months after Edward Snowden revealed it to the world, a federal judge ruled the NSA program that sweeps up American's phone call records is likely unconstitutional. The judge wrote, quote, "I cannot imagine a more indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion that this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen."

Snowden described it as a vindication of his hacking, saying, "I acted on my belief that the NSA's mass surveillance program would not withstand a constitutional challenge. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights."

Snowden remains holed up in Russia, avoiding charges in the U.S. of espionage. But a senior NSA official floated an unlikely solution on CBS's "60 Minutes" to get Snowden back here, give him amnesty, an idea the White House quickly dismissed.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He should be returned to the White House where he will be accorded full due process and protections in our system. So that's our position and it has not changed.

SCIUTTO: Still, the court's decision is a body blow for the administration.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is just an absolutely scathing rejection of the NSA program that the government has defended so strongly. And it is worth noting that the judge was a George W. Bush appointee, someone who had worked for Republicans in Congress, hardly a screaming liberal.

SCIUTTO: Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


RAJPAL: Well, this ruling comes as the Obama administration winds up a review of NSA surveillance. The president is expected to meet with a whose who of the digital world to discuss the issue in just a few hours from now.

Just look at some of the big names who will meet at the summit, including the CEO of Apple Tim Cook, Marissa Mayer, she's the CEO of Yahoo, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt. Other top executives from tech companies as diverse as Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, DropBox, Zynga and more are all expected to attend.

Some of those companies have already asked the government to change its surveillance policy. Let's get you the latest on that and take you live to Jim Acosta at the White House -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Monita. That's right. And that meeting is expected to happen here at the White House within the next couple of hours. Those top executives from those big tech firms that you mentioned just a few moments ago are scheduled to sit down with the president.

And when you look at the names, these are big names you just mentioned. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, Cheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook, Eric Schmidt from Google and Marissa Mayer from Yahoo. Those are not mid-level executives, those are the top executives of those very big major Dot Com firms that not only people here in the United States, but people around the world use on a daily basis.

And just last week, these companies had sent the president a pretty scathing letter saying that they disagree with some of these surveillance activities that are going on over at the National Security Agency. And just to read you a quote from that letter, it says "the balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual. This undermines the freedom we all cherish. It is time for a change."

So they're not mincing words. So it's interesting to see what these executives will say when they come out of the meeting with the president.

The president is also expected to talk to these executives about the development and the repairs going on over at That is the web portal that millions of Americans here in the United States are using to sign up for health insurance as part of the rollout of Obamacare. And some of those tech firms that perhaps people aren't so familiar with that are meeting with the president today. Those are tech firms that are involved in the development of websites. It'll be interesting to see whether or not the president sort of taps their brains for some insights on how to perhaps make the rollout of a bit more smooth in this country, Monita.

But no question about it, we're all going to be watching and waiting for these executives to come out of this White House. This is a gathering of some of the big minds out in Silicon Valley that you don't see over here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue very often, Monita.

RAJPAL: Yeah, you couldn't get any bigger minds than the ones that are going to be there at the White House. That said, Jim, this is a gathering, as you say. It is a discussion, but how much sway will these big minds have over what the president will then decide to do next?

ACOSTA: Well, this was a previously scheduled meeting. I mean, that is something that is interesting to point out and has really nothing to do with the timing of the judges ruling that was just mentioned in Jim Sciutto's piece a few moments ago.

And so really all of this is coming to a head for this White House right as the president is about to go on this two week vacation in Hawaii. And my guess is, is that these tech execs are going to be going into this White House sort of armed with, you know, basically a pretty strong argument. And that is a federal judge just said yesterday that it is likely that at least the collection of those phone records over at the NSA is unconstitutional.

And that those -- these executives are also concerned about that as well. In addition to the fact that they're concerned about their websites, their search engines, perhaps even their mail accounts are being used by National Security Agency officials for data collection and intelligence gathering.

And so this going to be a very, very -- I don't want to say a testy exchange, but a pretty frank exchange here at the White House, Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Jim. Thank you. Jim Acosta there live for us from Washington.

Well, we mentioned Edward Snowden there. Well, the NSA whistleblower is currently in hiding in Russia, but he is still a player in this surveillance saga. In an open letter published on the web, Snowden has offered to help Brazilian authorities investigate, quote, suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens. It's a reference to allegations of spying by the NSA.

In return, Snowden is seeking political asylum in Brazil far from the reach of U.S. authorities.

Let's get you some reaction now. Let's take you to Shasta Darlington who joins us now live from Sao Paulo.

Shasta, has there been any reaction to this open letter?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Monita we're actually still waiting for it.

And basically the letter doesn't spell it out quite that clearly. What Snowden says is that he would like to offer more assistance and support to the Brazilian senators investigating this spying scandal. He says his hands are tied, however, until a country offers him permanent political asylum.

At the same time, supporters are trying to convince the Brazilian government to bring him in. And now a Brazilian newspaper reports that Edward Snowden is, in fact, on the verge of requesting asylum. This would be the second time he does so.

The first time, the Brazilian government basically shrugged it off. But the context is very different now, because since then documents have been leaked claiming that the NSA was spying almost as much on Brazil as it was on the United States -- on private citizens, on major companies like Petrobras, the oil company, and even on the emails and phone messages of President Dilma Rousseff.

There was so much outrage here that she canceled the state visit, an official state visit to Washington. And she's been working with Germany within the context of the United Nations to really put limits on digital surveillance for global citizens.

So again, a different context. The government has not responded yet, in part because this hasn't been a formal request. But we could see a much more open and willing government this time around. We'll have to wait and see, Monita.

RAJPAL: There are the domestic issues that surround potential asylum for Edward Snowden if he is, indeed, looking to help these concerned citizens as he says. That said, but what about the -- I guess the foreign policy relationships with the United States should Brazil decide to move further, move along with this if there was a formal request?

DARLINGTON: Monita, it's definitely a balancing act. The president Dilma Rousseff has not been shy about how angry she is at this whole situation, that's why she canceled the state visit. She's also going into an election year, so she has to think about how that will play out. And the fact is, Brazilians are also very angry about it. So there -- that could have an influence on it.

Having said that, Brazil tends to play more of a neutral role. In recent years, they liked to sort of stand over and say that no country should interfere in any other country's affairs. And that's the way they've usually played it. But this is a unique situation that has really touched some raw nerves here in Brazil. So again we'll have to see how it plays out, Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Shasta, thank you. Shasta Darlington there live for us from Sao Paulo.

Still to come here on News Stream. It is the anniversary of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. We'll take a closer look at the proceedings from today.

Ukraine's president deals a blow to protesters in Ukraine. We'll tell you why.

Also, they fled the war only to run up against the elements. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom brings us to a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.


RAJPAL: Welcome back.

You are watching News Stream. And here is a visual version of all the stories that we've got in the show for you today.

We started with more fallout over the NSA surveillance program. A bit later, we'll hear more about Australia's Ashes victory. You want to stick around for that.

But for first it is the second anniversary of Kim Jong-il's death. And North Korea is remembering its dear leader.

And in the wake of a dramatic political purge, his son has taken centerstage at commemorations. Flanked by North Korea's top brass, Kim Jong un led a ceremony to celebrate his father's achievements. And the anniversary comes a week after he ordered the execution of his uncle and former mentor.

It was also a chance for party leaders and the military to pledge allegiance to Kim Jong un.

Let's get you more on this and take you live now to Anna Coren in our Seoul bureau -- Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Monita. It certainly was a rare opportunity to see who was in and out of Kim Jong un's regime.

As you say, he was flanked by the leaders of the military as well as the Worker's Party. So really putting out a united front. But as we know behind the scenes it's a completely different story. There have been reports of power struggles, of instability, of alleged coups. And according to the analysts that we've spoken to they believe that this is the reason why Kim Jong un executed his 67-year-old uncle Jang Sung-taek last week.

This, of course, was a man who was second in command. He was considered a mentor for the 30-year-old. We have to remember that Kim Jong un is the youngest head of state in the world. But obviously he very much wants to hold on to power and it doesn't matter, you know, who is in his way, he will maintain it.

Obviously, everyone is -- yeah, there's just nobody who is untouchable and that also goes, Monita, for family members.

So certainly a sense here at least in South Korea that this could now lead to military provocations as Kim Jong un wants to really now sort of cement his control.

RAJPAL: And perhaps Anna the country most affected, potentially most affected by any sort of military movements and provocations would be where you are right now in South Korea. What has been the response to the events of the day from Seoul?

COREN: Yeah, absolutely. The South Korean president Park Geun-hye has put the military and police on high alert. She's described the actions of North Korea as ruthless and completely unpredictable. She is very much concerned that there could be military provocations.

We know that this is the behavior of North Korea when these sorts of struggles happen within the hermit kingdom. It's not just a message to the international audience that, you know, the leader has things under control, but also a message, too, to the people of North Korea -- Monita.

RAJPAL: Anna, thank you. Anna Coren there live for us from Seoul.

Let's take you to China now. And for decades, thousands of people have been imprisoned in labor camps. Last month, the Chinese government said the camps were being closed. But human rights group Amnesty International is skeptical. It says they are being replaced by other forms of persecution.

He is our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson with more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amnesty International's report research's China's controversial reeducation through labor camp system. Just a month ago, China's ruling Communist Party effectively banned these camps, which have been in existence really since the 1950s. And they have basically allowed Chinese authorities to detain criminals for periods of up to four years without any access to open trials.

They have been widely criticized, both here inside China and by international human rights groups. Amnesty is arguing that some of the changes being made as a result of this abolition of the camp system are merely cosmetic.

ROSEANN RIFE, EAST ASIA RESEARCH DIRETCOR, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Over the past several months, we've received reports of closures of many of these camps, but we've also seen increased uses of other forms of arbitrary detention, people being increasingly sent to "black jails," which are unofficial unrecognized places of detention using different sort of facilities. We've seen people sent to legal education classes. And we've also seen some places where the camps themselves are simply renamed as enforced drug rehabilitation camps.

WATSON: Amnesty's voluminous report includes dozens of testimonies from former inmates of these reeducation through labor camps as well as from some of the so-called "black jails" and other informal detention facilities.

Many of these former inmates were held for religious or political reasons. They are either members of the banned Falun gong religious sect, or they're petitioners who are trying to deliver grievances to the Chinese government and were detained along the way.

Included in the testimonies are some very, vivid graphic accounts of enduring torture in these facilities, everything from beating to electroshock to being tied up and subjected to really inhumane treatment. This in addition to more than 12 hours at a time of forced labor.

Now we've talked to the Chinese government asking for some reaction, but both the ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have not given any reaction to Amnesty's report.

Amnesty's suggestion, it is asking the Chinese government, well, if you're banning these controversial camps please inform the Chinese population and the rest of the world what penal system will be put in place to replace these controversial labor camps.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Shanghai.


RAJPAL: You're watching News Stream. Coming up next, Australian cricket fans have something to celebrate after six long years, an Ashes victory over England.


RAJPAL: Cricket's holy grail, the Ashes are on their way back to Australia after the Aussie's racked up their third straight win against England. A win in Perth sealed the deal for Australia, now leading the series 3-0.

Australia is now hoping for five straight wins with two tests still to come.

Let's get you more on this with someone like -- who won't be too happy with this result. World Sport's Alex Thomas at CNN London.

And Alex, I'm not too embarrassed or ashamed to admit it, but I have no idea what I just said there, but I do know you're not a happy bunny right now.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No. I'm maintaining my journalistic impartiality as always, Monita, of course. But it doesn't matter whether you're talking about cricket's funny jargon, the silly mid- wickets or what have you. It's all about a little urn, a historic contest between two great sporting rivals Australia and England for historic reasons, really. And in a contest that Australia dominated for almost 20 years not so long ago, England were going for a fourth Ashes series victory in a row. They normally played every two years, but here in 2013 it was the first time we were seeing back to back Ashes series.

England has beaten Australia 3-0 in the five test series back in England earlier this year.

So here we are, what an amazing turnaround. Australia already 3-0 up as you said, Monita with two test matches still to play. And Michael Clarke, the Aussie skipper, is now talking about a possible series whitewash. It was all wrapped up on day five.

The only glimmer of light for England, Monita, was Ben Stokes, the young man playing for England in only his second test scoring a century, the first time any England batsman had reached three figures, which really sums up how poor their form has been.

RAJPAL: Well, I guess in this particular competition, size doesn't matter, Alex. But I know as you've mentioned there, we have to talk about journalistic integrity so we have to get the other side of the story. And let's go now to someone who will be very happy about this particular result and that's our very own Michael Holmes -- Michael.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely thrilled. You know, I can't be -- Alex and I are always tweeting back and forth and going on about the cricket and the ashes. And he's had the upper hand for years. So it's about time we're able to say we won. And didn't we win brilliantly.

But as Alex points out, we lost 3-0 in England. We just came off a 4- 0 thumping in India. It has not been our glory days. But to win the Ashes at home 3-0 with two more to go, it could not be sweeter.

And Alex, I don't know about you, I mean, I'm not going to do any sledging -- speaking of cricket terminology, but the Aussies got their ugly back, didn't they, with this series as well. There's a bit of knife turning going on, on the pitch.

THOMAS: Well, listen, we both are -- I'm married to an Australian. And she's grown up in an era when Australia has been great at lots of sports. And suddenly in the last two years that sporting dominance has been dented.

But to show you how much it means, you know as well as I do, Michael, how many Australian cameramen we have in the CNN network globally. So not surprisingly I woke to an email this morning from one of them not too far away from where Monita is now simply reading ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.

HOLMES: That sounds like Paul Devin (ph). Am I right?

THOMAS: You might be in that...

HOLMES: I think so. Yes, there was a lot of ha ha ha hashtag #Ashes going around in the Twittersphere. It has been a really, really dire time for Aussie sports. They needed this little bit of a push along.

And the Ashes, as you and I know, Alex -- and Monita clearly does not know -- is one of the true world sporting rivalries. She called herself a bunny, which as you and I know in cricketing parlance means somebody who is not a great batsman. So there you go. Unintentionally said something cricketing.


RAJPAL: Oh, that's cruel.

THOMAS: ...Monita wears in her own time. All I can say is I'm a bit gutted, put in my work cap to one side, but we'll have the full breakdown for you on World Sport later. And I think, Michael, you and I are going to talk about it a bit more before the day is done.

HOLMES: We are on (inaudible). Look forward to that, too.

Thanks for taking part, bunny Monita.

RAJPAL: Gentlemen, them be fighting words. I'll get you back later not to worry about that.

Michael Holmes there in Atlanta, Alex Thomas in London, thank you both very much.

You're watching News Stream.

After the break, we're going to switch gears. We're going to take you live to our correspondent in Kiev for the latest on the protests taking place there. And we'll also witness the harsh conditions faced by Syrian refugees in Lebanon struggling to survive the freezing winter nights. Stay with us for that.


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

A U.S. federal judge says the National Security Agency's collection of phone data is likely unconstitutional, but he is allowing the program to continue while the government appeals the ruling. The once secret program was revealed by Edward Snowden.

North Korea is marking the two year anniversary of the death of its supreme leader Kim Jong-il. Thousands of military and party officials pledged allegiance to his son and successor and Kim Jong un. Today's ceremony followed last week's surprise execution of Kim Jong un's uncle.

Lottery fever is gripping the United States. People across the country are dreaming of a chance at a jackpot of at least $586 million. If nobody picks tonight's winning Megamillions, a Megamillion numbers -- the top prize could balloon to $800 million in the next draw. And if no one wins then, well that jackpot could reach a whopping $1 billion.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has met his Russian counterpart. He told Vladimir Putin the two countries must develop their strategic partnership. The two leaders are expected to discuss a multibillion loan for the former Soviet nation.

Now this meeting between the two comes as a blow to protesters on the streets of Kiev. They want Mr. Yanukovych to resume EU trade talks instead of turning to Russia. But that looks very unlikely at this point.

CNN's Diana Magnay joins us now live from Kiev. And Diana, I guess it would be quite unrealistic to ask for any government Ukraine right now whether it is a current or another one or the next one to actually shun relations with Russia, because it is a key trading partner?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And I think that the protesters on the square know this. It is not a question of just cutting all trade ties with Russia. Russia is Ukraine's largest export market. And I think the big fear of people on this square is that at some point in the future Mr. Yanukovych will sign them up to a Russian customs union which would include Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. And that is what they don't like the idea of.

If you speak to people here, they'll say that is effectively just bringing us back to a kind of Soviet style system. And we've had 20 years of independence and yet the government here is still Soviet in the way it operates in its mentality.

But what the meeting today is all about is not the customs union, we know that already. The prime minister has said that that's not on the table. This is about a lone injection for Ukraine, which it desperately needs. It's facing possible debt default next year unless it gets some much needed cash. It's about renegotiating the price that Ukraine pays for gas that obviously comes through its gas transmission system towards Europe. And it is about renegotiating bilateral trade deals in sectors like transport, farming, space, which Russia has sort of put sanctions on over -- in the last few months because of this drift towards the west. And that has hurt the Ukrainian economy yet more.

But I talked to people on the square a bit earlier. You know, we're hearing at this press conference, which was scheduled between the two presidents in Moscow may not happen. And that has caused a bit of fury on the square really. They're like, you know, why wouldn't they stand up and tell us what they've agreed? And what gives our president the right to negotiate anything on our behalf? We don't -- we don't -- we just don't trust him anymore.

And I think that lack of trust is a sentiment that you'll see in Brussels and in Moscow also, Monita.

RAJPAL: So, Diana, what's the endgame here for these protesters? They've been out there for weeks now in freezing cold temperatures. What is I guess an acceptable solution for them that -- where all sides would be happy, or is that just -- is that just unrealistic thinking?

MAGNAY: That's a difficult question. And if you asked those protesters what it is ultimately that they want, you'll get 100 different answers.

You know, ideally they'd like the Ukrainian president to go. That's fairly unrealistic and a lot of them accept that that's unrealistic.

Who knows what it will take to get them to clear the square? They're incredibly well dug in now. They've built these huge barricades up. And every time either the president meets them slightly with a concession such as talking about a possible amnesty for political prisoners, that seems to strengthen their resolve to stay there until they win more of their demands as does police -- oppressional police brutality. Each of the two times that police came into this square the numbers here swelled.

So it's difficult to know what, unless it's the resignation of Mr. Yanukovych and his entire government, which is extremely unlikely, what will force them out of this square.

Again, this stalemate continues. And there is no sort of leader under which these people stand united, you know. It's very much a grassroots movement. There are three opposition leaders of three different opposition parties. They're not necessarily the sort of managing to rally the people beneath them.

So it's difficult to know what will shift these people. And it's difficult to -- for Mr. Yanukovych, really, I suppose also to know how to proceed with a country, with a situation where his economy faces imminent collapse.

RAJPAL: All right, Diana, thank you very much for that. Diana Magnay there live for us from Kiev.

The humanitarian emergency facing Syrian refugees gets worse by the day as the number of refugees continues to rise. Lebanon hosts more than 850,000 refugees from Syria and now says it needs a record amount of money to fund their care for the next year.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom visited a refugee camp in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley to see what the conditions are like there. And he joins us not from Beirut with more on that -- Mohammed.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Monita, the UN is asking for $6.5 billion in order to help Syrian refugees in the next year. They are saying that that's just for them to meet the minimum needs of the Syrian refugees fleeing that devastating war next door in Syria.

Now to give you some idea of just how bad it is for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees here in Lebanon and just how much of a strain it is on this country.

This country houses 4.1 million people, that's the population in Lebanon. As of now, just the number of registered refugees stands at a little over 830,000. They believe it could double by next year. That means one in every five people just at this point here in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee.

And if you put this in some perspective, if you compare the concentration of the number of refugees in Lebanon with what it would be, if that percentage of the population was in the United States, you're talking about 56 million people would be refugees in the United States.

It's a staggering number. And it's really hard for this country to sustain that kind of an influx.

Now yesterday, we were in Arsal in eastern Lebanon in the mountainous border region with Syria. We saw the dire conditions that the Syrian refugees here are experiencing with this miserable winter storm that has hit them in the past few days. We accompanied the UNHCR. Here is our report.


JAMJOOM: From the weapons of man to the wrath of nature. For some, the storms never seem to stop.

These Syrian refugees say they barely escaped the war. Now, they're just trying to survive the winter.

(on camera): In this school they're about to start distributing fuel coupons and stoves. Now, the refugees that I've been speaking with, they're growing kind of anxious. There's a lot of worry here right now, because they're saying that they've waited days for very essential kind of aid. And they really don't want to wait much longer.

(voice-over): At least some prayers are being answered today. Humanitarian agencies are here delivering aid and issuing a wakeup call.

PETER KESSLER, SENIOR REGIONAL SPOKESMAN, UNHCR: The situation in this little settlement here in Arsal typifies a situation in some 1,600 locations across Lebanon where we have some 838,000 people.

With every snowfall, with every hot spell over the summer, people will be at risk.

JAMJOOM: It's why the UN is seeking $6.5 billion to help Syrians in 2014. They say there could be as many as $4.1 million total refugees in surrounding countries by the end of next year, a humanitarian emergency that gets more dire by the hour.

(on camera): Distribution of stoves has started. Children are coming up to me and telling me this is the first hope of heating that they've gotten in about a week now. The conditions have been absolutely freezing. There's a little bit of relief in the air right now.

(voice-over): Ombasam (ph) is glad her family's nights will be warmer, but can't find much else to be happy about.

"Water comes into our tents and makes it colder," she tells me. "Then we have to go outside and freeze."

She's over 70 years old.

I asked if she ever could have imagined this.

"No," she tells me. "Life is bitter. It's really just become bitter."

So much so even the young have become cynical.

Muhammed (ph) is skeptical of these aid workers' motivations.

"Today, they came to distribute," he tells me, "in front of you. In front of the cameras. Other days we don't see them."

Many, though, try to remain optimistic, going about their daily lives. Hair still needs to be cut, tea still needs to be brewed.

Resilience can be found in the most mundane of tasks and the simplest of pleasures like these children finding the will to play. After all the violence they've seen, it's a snowball fight that makes their day.


JAMJOOM: Now, one of the key things, Monita, to remember about the situation for refugees in Lebanon and why it's so dire is that in this tiny country, which is smaller than the state of Connecticut in the United States, official refugee encampments for Syrian refugees are not allowed to be built. The government will not allow it.

Now the settlement where we were at yesterday, that is called a transit center. It's the first UN officiated campsite that's been allowed to be built in this country. It's for refugees fleeing the war, temporary residence until they find somewhere else to reside.

Because there are no official camps here in Lebanon, what you find are makeshift camps dotting the landscape in every nook and corner of this country. Every nook and corner of this city you see refugees on the streets of Beirut as well.

It's a tragic situation. It's only getting worse. And that's why what you heard yesterday from the UN this is the largest appeal for aid in the UN's history when it comes to one particular refugee crisis. We often through around the terms this is a humanitarian crisis. I've seen it up close now for the last several weeks, it's only getting worse -- Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Mohammed, thank you very much for that. Mohammed Jamjoom there live for us from Beirut.

Well, let's get you more now on the weather situation there in those refugee camps, particularly in Lebanon and outside of Syria. Mari Ramos joins us now from the world weather center with that -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Monita, you know, as far as that winter storm that was affecting that area over the last few days, that winter system has moved on. But of course it's only a matter of time before the next one comes along.

And there are serious consequences from that weather system -- that area of low pressure that took a full four to five days to actually move across the eastern Mediterranean. These are pictures from Gaza and there's a lot of standing water, still. Some areas declared disaster areas. There are people without electricity trying to keep warm in whatever way they can. This picture from Israel, a lot of snow still on the ground, especially in the higher elevations. It hasn't melted.

Some people still can't get around, like you can see here, shoveling snow away from the cars. And of course there's the situation for the millions of Syrian refugess in the Bekaa Valley as Mohammed Jamjoom was just telling us, a true humanitarian crisis that continues there.

Temperatures have moderated somewhat. So a little bit better.

We have another area of low pressure that's coming in here. And you see it right there. And some of you have been asking me about this. I'm going to tell you, this is not going to be like last time. It probably will already start to see a little bit of more in the way of waves coming in along the coast in some areas, maybe you'll get some light rain associated with this -- light rain. And then it's going to move on. We're not expecting a big weather scenario like what we had last time for many, many here, for millions along this area.

As far as temperatures a little bit more moderate. Look at Amman. Average is 14 for this time a year. They'll be around 11 for your daytime high.

In Zahle, which is in the Bekaa Valley, we're seeing temperatures, normally they should be around 14, it might get up to maybe 7 or 8 over the next couple of days. So that's a big difference compared to the 1 or 2 degrees that we had for the daytime highs just over the weekend.

At night, though, temperatures will still be close to freezing or even below freezing across many areas.

Jerusalem, temperatures above freezing in the day and at night. And still as you can see well below the average for this time of year, so that has not changed too much.

That cold air continues to seep in into other parts of the region. Notice Riyadh at 15 right now. Overnight, you'll be dipping into 5 or 6 degrees above freezing. Six right now in Tehran. Kabul is at 8:00. And still across northern Pakistan and even into the south in Karachi, only 25 right now. That's pretty chilly for you guys.

This is in the north and this is in Lahore. And, yeah, a lot of fog. This is causing huge problems across these areas, because not only flights get disturbed, temperatures are lower. It feels very cold. The sun doesn't come out all day, which makes it feel worse. And even rail traffic and road traffic has been affected by that.

And winter has a grip also across East Asia. We've had so much rain here across Hong Kong. Finally that's starting to clear overnight tonight. So tomorrow, you will see the sun across these areas, which is a big difference.

But I want to show you some very rare pictures, Monita, from Vietnam. This is west of Hanoi in the mountain in an area called Sapa. And it's up in the mountains. And it's a tourist destination, locals and foreign visitors love this area. They'll get a little bit of snow every once in awhile, maybe once a year. But they had over 30 centimeters of snowfall with this weather system, the same one that brought you the rain in Hong Kong was bringing rain across Northern Vietnam.

But in these higher elevations it was cold enough to support snow. And of course people are loving it. It was difficult to get there. You can see the roadway.

But those that did would make it really did enjoy it. The cold air unfortunately not fun for everyone.

Look at the current temperatures right now. 12 in Hanoi, 12 in Hong Kong. We're going to stay with these very cold temperatures over the next couple of days, especially here across the south. You'll definitely feel the difference over the next few days as temperatures are very chilly.

In the daytime, not so much, Monita. But 9 in Hong Kong? You're going to need an extra blanket I think. I don't know.

RAJPAL: I don't mind it. I'm telling you, I don't mind it. It is December, so it's good.

RAMOS: There you go. Good attitude.

RAJPAL: In the northern hemisphere anyway.

RAMOS: Good attitude. I like that.

RAJPAL: Yeah. Thanks, Mari. Appreciate that.

Still to come here on News Stream, dozens of Beatle bootlegs have briefly gone on sale on iTunes, so why are these rare recordings being released? Stay with us for that.


RAJPAL: Welcome back.

On this week's Leading Women, we showcase one of the most powerful women in the world, a woman who some believe has the skill and the strength to lead her country one day. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, managing director of the World Bank, talks about her roots with CNN's Isha Sesay.


ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: World Bank COO and managing director Sri Mulyani Indrawati in Bali, Indonesia at the APEC finance ministers meeting earlier this year. Indrawati is from Indonesia and was once the country's finance minister for nearly five years before leaving in 2010 to join the world bank.

(on camera): I think a lot of people hearing that you're from Indonesia they may think, wow, that's a woman from Indonesia who is defying stereotypes. But your mother defied stereotypes.

SRI MULYANI INDRAWATI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WORLD BANK: Girls, women in order for them to succeed I think they require two things. In my case I have strong commitment because of the way my mother showed me. But also a very supportive family in order for me to push the boundary.

In (inaudible) they are conservative society in Indonesia. So I will advise for any other woman and girl, push the boundary. Every inch matters.

My mother is the best and the strongest mentor in my life. The fact that she can get her PhD while actually raising 10 children, that's amazing.

SESAY: You're written about a moment in your life where you had a position that was offered to you, but you were married at the time. Tell me about that and what your mother said about you accepting this position, what the preconditions were. Tell me the story.

INDRAWATI: At first, juggling with marriage and family life and career is not really a tradeoff, you can manage both. I mean, my mother, surely admits it. So I cannot say that, OK, I have to choose one of them. So for her, you can pursue your education, but you want to get married at that time, then you and your husband need to agree.

SESAY: In 1988 when Indrawati received a scholarship to study in the U.S. at the University of Illinois, her husband agreed to come along.

INDRAWATI: You have to give up at that time his career in a bank and then use the money, the salary for him to also take the master degree. So we both graduate study here in the United States.

SESAY: Indrawati is based at World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Her job entails managing operations for a global organization with 188 member countries.

Because of her high profile and experience, the speculation Indrawati may one day go back to Indonesia and run for president.

(on camera): Are you at some point going to go back to Indonesia to run for president?

INDRAWATI: Running for president is a different game, Isha.

SESAY: But you're proven that you're not afraid of a challenge. So...

INDRAWATI: I feel really honored with even the expectation, the perception that they are expecting me to run.

It's just showing that they have a high trust about what I can do. And that motivate me even more.


RAJPAL: And for more on Sri Mulyani's quest to end poverty and a look at more inspiring women from our series, do check out our website

Still to come here on News Stream, new material from an old band. Beatles bootlegs go on sale on iTunes. Stay with us for that.


RAJPAL: iTunes is in the music industry spotlight this week with two exclusives: the surprise release of Beyonce's new album and the scheduled release of a collection of Beatles songs. But the Beatles material was only on sale for a short time and only in some countries. So why this quiet release of tracks from one of the band's -- best known bands ever?

Well, Jim Boulden has the answer and joins us now live from London.

And Jim, this isn't just about an early Christmas present for Beatles fans, is it?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. No. This is all about business, this is all about copyright. Because the European Union changed the rules where something that was published with -- no longer just be 50 years copyright, but a 70 year copyright for music. The exception to the rule was if it was never published, if it was never released, never played on the radio. And that's where you get all these incredible Beatles bootleg albums, all this stuff that's been sent out illegally, if you will, that many Beatles fans have, but the Beatles themselves never released it.

So quietly overnight, for about 45 minutes on iTunes, you could bet 59 tracks from the Beatles. This is stuff outtakes, this is radio performances, this is performances on TV, things that they never released into the public.

So this year, if you did it in 1963, in 2013 it would fall out of copyright. Anything from 1964 would fall out of copyright next year.

So they put out this release. And it's interesting, because a lot of people were wondering if it's going to sound better than the bootlegs. So we're go to have you listen to one. It's called "Bad to Me" by John Lennon. And it's from this illegal tape. Let's listen to it.

Apparently, sorry, we don't have that. It's too bad.

But a lot of people wanted to hear whether it came from the original recording that would have been snuck out of some studio somewhere, Monita.

But the point is it's very much about copyright. That means that everything released overnight by the Beatles can now be copyrighted for another 20 years -- Monita.

RAJPAL: That said, then, why the limited release and only specific countries and only for a short time?

BOULDEN: Well, this is the debate. There's some rumors that it's going to be re-released again later today, but it will have to wait and see if it is.

The point is, they just needed to put it out there for a little bit of time to able to have the copyright, at least that's what the lawyers tell us.

So the idea was this is material the Beatles never wanted released. So to keep the copyright, or to get the copyright they had to put it out there in a limited edition.

Now Bob Dylan did this last year. And he only made, I think 100 physical albums. They're worth a fortune now on auction websites.

And so the idea is, OK, we put it out there. It's there. We've reached the legal parameters, but we don't really want a lot of people to have it.

But if you're a Beatle aficionado, you already have it, because you have these illegal bootlegs.

RAJPAL: But of course the most important question of the day right now, then, Jim is what's your favorite Beatles song?

BOULDEN: Well, what's so interesting on here is you have like four takes of a very famous Beatles song. You'll hear this one. This one is called "March 5, 1963." It's an illegal bootleg, but it's the Beatles in the recording studio for about six, seven hours. And it's a lot of their early, early songs. So you'll hear some classic Beatles, but you'll hear them trying and trying again.

I think that's what's most interesting people is you actually hear the outtakes. So I would say if you can get outtake of "Let It Be" in a few years time and it doesn't fall out of copyright that would be interesting to listen to.

RAJPAL: All right, Jim, thank you very much for that. Jim Boulden there live for us from London.

Well, copyright protection might have motivated this Beatles release, but in Beyonce's case it was good old fashioned cash and album sales I should say. Albums -- Apple says the self titled Beyonce is the fastest selling album in iTunes history. More than 600,000 copies in just three days.

The album was released without any advance publicity and is available on iTunes on Friday when retailers are able to sell it.

Billboard reports that Target, previous retail partner, has shunned this new album because of the Internet only debut.

We're going to take you now to a news conference right now that's taking place in Moscow where the President Vladimir Putin is speaking. He's holding it with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.