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How Bitcoins are Made; Nigella Lawson's Assistants Acquitted; South Sudan Continues to Slip Into Civil War; Syrian Refugees Brace For Winter; Mikhail Khodorkovsky Free; Famous London Apollo Theater's Roof Partially Collapsed

Aired December 20, 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 more violence in South Sudan as the situation in the young country appears to be slipping out of control.

Now two former assistants for Nigella Lawson are found not guilty of defrauding the celebrity chef.

And we'll show you how Bitcoins are made.

It is just over two years old, but the world's newest nation appears to be spiraling into anarchy with reports of an attempted coup, deadly attacks and warnings of an unfolding humanitarian disaster.

Now officials in South Sudan say some 500 people have been killed since violence broke out on Sunday.

Now the latest reports say that rebels have taken over the town of Bor just north of the capital Juba. There's also been a deadly attack on a UN base in the town of Akobo. Two Indian peacekeepers were killed along with two civilians who had taken refuge at the base.

But it is not clear who these rebels are.

Now the government of President Salva Kiir, he's blaming troops loyal to his former vice president Riek Machar who was fired along with the rest of the cabinet back in July.

Now they are accused of attempting a coup in the capital last weekend. And the government sent out this tweet saying its soldiers have lost control of Bor to Machar's forces.

Machar, he denies he tried to carry out a coup. He told a Paris-based newspaper that what took place in Juba was a misunderstanding between presidential guards within their division.

Now what is clear is the impact the fighting has had on the people of South Sudan. The defense minister says up to 100,000 people have been displaced. And the UN says as many as 35,000 people have sought shelter at its compounds.

Now, the U.S. and Britain have sent planes to evacuate their citizens from South Sudan. And President Barack Obama is sending in troops.

Our world affairs reporter Elise Labott is following all these developments from CNN Washington. And she joins us now.

And Elise, Obama, he's issued a warning about the situation there. The United States clearly very concerned about the crisis there.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Kristie.

You know, the U.S. was instrumental in helping South Sudan move to independence two years ago, but now you have these deadly ethnic clashes. And the U.S. fears this is just the beginning in this new fragile nation. They fear it's on the brink of civil war.

The U.S., as you said, it's pulling its diplomats from the country, starting to evacuate U.S. citizens. State Department warning Americans to leave the country. President Obama has ordered 45 military personnel to the capital Juba to protect the embassy. U.S. officials tell me this morning it's just a precautionary measure. They will be armed. We don't expect them to get involved in the fighting, but it does show that this -- the U.S. is bracing for a potential escalation. And the UN security council will have an urgent meeting on this today.

LU STOUT: You know, the U.S. is making moves to protect American assets on the ground there in South Sudan. We know that the U.S. has also condemned the violence. But what can be done to de-escalate the situation and to end the violence there?

LABOTT: Well, that's what the UN security council will be picking up today. And as you know, the African Union, other African nations are sending mediators to the country to get these factions to sit down, to start talking, to get back from the brink.

You know, just a few years into this independence there's fears that we're going to see another type of situation like we saw, the long, bloody civil war in Sudan and the ethnic violence that really raged Darfur. So there is an urgency to make sure that these warring factions sit down, talk about it, because this nation is so fragile and so new it's just getting off the ground they really want to make sure that it continues on the right track.

LU STOUT: And to underscore why the U.S. president says that he believes South Sudan is on the brink of civil war. Elise, what is the latest briefing that you're getting? What are you hearing on the level of violence and fighting in South Sudan?

LABOTT: Well, you know, these ethnic clashes breaking up. You know, as you said, Riek Machar's forces are taking over the town of Bor which is one of the bigger -- which is one of the bigger cities. And there is a concern that, you know, the more that these forces take over more territory, the more emboldened they become and the less likely it is that they can solve this peacefully.

And so, you know, 500 dead already in just a few days since the weekend, since this suspected coup that President Kiir is talking about. And so clearly there is a concern that this is going to escalate and that the violence we're going to see a lot of ethnic violence. And certainly nobody wants to see another ethnic conflict in this fragile region.

LU STOUT: That's right. A lot of fears about the fate of this young nation and especially its people. Elise Labott reporting for us, thank you so much.

Now, the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo has been under heavy bombardment for nearly a week now. Opposition activists say military war planes and helicopters dropped bombs packed with explosives on the city and surrounding villages for a fifth straight day on Thursday. They say that nearly 200 people have been killed and hundreds more injured.

Now the UN says that more than 2.3 million refugees have fled Syria for neighboring countries. And that number is only expected to get worse if the civil war keeps raging. And a third of the Syrian refugees are in Lebanon. And as Mohammed Jamjoom found out firsthand, many will spend the coldest part of the year in the most primitive of shelters.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 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 are 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, UNHCR SENIOR REGIONAL SPOKESMAN: The situation in this little settlement here in Arsal typifies the 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): Omba Sam (ph) is glad her family's night 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.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Arsal, Lebanon's border with Syria.


LU STOUT: And this day in the Philippines where political violence is rife, four people, including a town mayor and an 18-month-old baby were shot dead in Manila's international airport. Now police say Ukol Talumpa, the mayor of the southern town of Labangan was the target of today's attack. Now gunmen also killed his wife and niece and a baby nearby who was apparently hit by a stray bullet. Now police are still looking for the gunman and his accomplice.

Now to Australia and a dramatic scene in Sydney.

Now police stormed that car after a two hour standoff with the driver. He said he had a petrol container and he tried to ignite a cigarette lighter. Now he parked the car in front of the parliament building of New South Wales.

Now, you're watching News Stream. And coming up this hour, a pardon from President Putin means that this man has walked free from prison, so why did one of Russia's richest men spend 10 years behind bars.

Also ahead, more on the NSA scandal in the U.S. There are now calls for top intelligence official James Clapper to be investigated.

And 600,000 years old, take a look at a new showcase of Italy's ancient history.


LU STOUT: Now, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was once Russia's richest man, but he has spent the past 10 years behind bars. And he was released from prison just a few hours ago after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting him a pardon. Diana Magnay is following the story from CNN Moscow. She joins us now live. And Diana, why did Putin pardon his rival?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is a very difficult question. And many, many people are asking themselves the same thing. It is possible -- really, there are two theories. First of all, let's think about the timing here. The Sochi Olympics are coming up in less than 50 days.

This is Mr. Putin's big moment. He's thrown a lot of money at the Sochi Olympics, $50 billion, that's more than any other games has cost anyone before. And he is criticized by the west in the runup to these games for Human Rights abuses in this country. And Mikhail Khodorkovsky imprisonment, he's often perceived as a political prisoner and Mr. Putin is criticized for his imprisonment.

So that could be one reason, an attempt to sort of brush up -- polish up Russia's image ahead of the games.

Another theory is that possibly Mr. Khodorkovsky did now not pose a threat to Mr. Putin anymore. He just doesn't feel threatened by this man. And let's just sort of remind our audience who Khodorkovsky is and why he's in jail.

About 10 years ago, he was Russia's richest man. He was the head of oil giant Yukos. And around about that time when Mr. Putin came into power, which was awhile earlier, there was this sort of tacit agreement Russia experts will tell you whereby Mr. Putin said to the oligarchs of this country you mess with politics, I'll mess with you. If you stick with business, fine.

And Mr. -- and Khodorkovsky did not. He was interested in -- he brought up the subject of high level corruption. He wanted to make various investments, private pipelines to China, et cetera, et cetera, none of this word went down well with Putin and he found himself in court on charges of tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement and got this 10 year sentence.

All of the way through that period in jail he's been a thorn in Mr. Putin's side. He's written endless critiques saying that Putin holds a sort of mass centralization of power in this country, this country's government is Putin. And yet at this point in time perhaps Mr. Putin feels that even if he is released, and he's often said that he won't go back into politics, he doesn't pose a threat anymore, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah. And one has to wonder what is next for Mr. Khodorkovsky? As you mentioned just then 10 years ago he dared to confront then President Vladimir Putin. He paid the price for it, spending 10 years behind bars. But over 10 years on, he's now a free man. What is next for Khodorkovsky?

MAGNAY: He's now a free man. And it seems that everybody who is close to him is confused about where he's going to go and what's going to happen next, because it all happened so suddenly.

So, we know that he's left the prison. His lawyer won't confirm to us where he's going. His mother says he hasn't -- she hasn't heard from him. She's just been watching the television to find out news of his whereabouts.

He has, however, given various interviews over the last few years via his writings from prison where he said that he's not interested in going back into politics, that for now he's interested in spending time with his family.

His mother is very ill, that was one of the reasons why the president said that he would grant him this clemency.

He said that he's interested in some sort of civic activity, but I don't think you're going to be seeing Khodorkovsky as a sort of political challenge to Mr. Putin any time soon. Possibly one of the reasons why he decided that perhaps now was a good time to let him out.

And I think also if you gauge the sort of public sentiment in this country, I think there is a very strong feeling, not necessarily that Khodorkovsky wasn't guilty of some of these charges in the first place, but just that enough is enough. He served his time. He's done 10 years. Let him out. Enough is enough, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Diana Magnay live in Moscow for us. Thank you.

Now, this week there is more pressure on the U.S. National Security Agency. An independent review recommended changes to some of its powers.

Now several Republicans want U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper to be investigated for misleading congress. Jim Sciutto has more on the controversy.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, House Republicans demanded an immediate investigation of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for "lying" to Congress. In March, when asked if:

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: The NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

He responded:


SCIUTTO: After Edward Snowden revealed mass surveillance by the NSA, Clapper retracted his remarks, saying "My response was clearly erroneous, for which I apologize."

Senator Rand Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Clapper should pay.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I do think what our government is doing is unconstitutional. And I think really think that in order to restore confidence in our intelligence community, I think James Clapper should resign.

SCIUTTO: The growing calls for the director of national intelligence to resign come as the White House begins pushing back on some of the recommendations to reform the NSA made Wednesday by an independent panel reviewing the fallout from the Snowden scandal.

The administration says it will not place the NSA seen here in rare images filmed by CBS under civilian control, recommendation number 22, after already refusing to split it from the military's Cyber Command, number 24 on the list.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Over the next several weeks, we will study the review group's report and determine which recommendations we should implement. As we do this, we will make sure that we are focused on threats to the American people.

SCIUTTO: Oddly enough, the president gained an unlikely supporter today in Russian President and former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, who said the surveillance is necessary to fight terrorism, though he added he envies how Obama gets away with spying on his own allies.

There is still bitter debate in the U.S., however, on whether mass surveillance prevents terror attacks at all.

WYDEN: The authors make it very clear that metadata, the collection of all these phone records on law-abiding Americans, is clearly not indispensable to preventing attacks and the reality IS that information can be gathered in other ways.

SCIUTTO: Former NSA Inspector General Joel Brenner sharply disagrees.

JOEL BRENNER, FORMER NSA INSPECTOR GENERAL: If these recommendations were accepted in bulk, we would be back to a pre-9/11 situation.

SCIUTTO: In response to the pressure on the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, a spokesman for the DNI released a statement saying that when Clapper was asked that question he thought the questioner was referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which applies to persons outside the U.S., not to section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which refers to people inside the U.S.

He went on to say that Clapper has been testifying for more than 20 years and, quote, "he has a well-earned reputation as a doggedly honest and honorable public servant."

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: Now still ahead here on News Stream, the past uncovered: a new exhibit in Italy points to the earliest traces of man in Europe. How new clues can help us learn about our ancestors.


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

An Italian museum to the south of Rome is about to open a new exhibit. As Ben Wedeman shows us, its sheds some light on what life was like 600,000 years ago.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Slowly, painstakingly paleontologist Anna Rosa removes the wrapping from an old tusk and brushes off the dust.

"It's a fragment of Elephantos Antiochus," she says.

And exactly how antiochus is it?

"It's from about 600,000 years ago," she responds.

Back then, Italy was a different place, hot and dry most of the year, home to not just elephants, but also rhinos, water buffalo, hippos and hyenas. And it was also the stomping grounds for Homo erectus who came before the Neanderthals and well before us Homo sapiens.

We were given a sneak preview of the soon to be open new wing of the National Museum of Paleontology in Isernia southeast of Rome. The workers were rushing to put the finishing touches on the displays. It's in this area that some of the earliest traces of man in Europe have been found.

Professor Antonella Minelli (ph) let me stick my grubby hands inside the display cases to get a feel for what 700,000 years ago were the height of high tech, purpose designed rocks for killing prey, smashing their bones and stripping their skin.

Where I see a sharp rock, professor Minelli (ph) sees the brilliance of early man.

"It is par excellence the tool that man was able to produce," she tells me. "It shows their great cognitive, mental and technical abilities."

What attracted man and the other animals here was an ancient river bank discovered in 1978 when a road was being built. It's littered with prehistoric bones.

"And on the banks of this river," says the professor, "man preyed on the animals, perhaps dragging the biggest pieces over here and eating them on the spot."

It was no doubt very messy, the stench of rotting flesh overwhelming, but it allowed our great-great-great-great and so on grandparents to survive.

This is the prehistoric equivalent of our supermarkets. There was lots of food to be had, but our ancient ancestors, known in this case as Homo erectus, had to be very quick about it, because the problem was there were other animals looking for food. And there was always the chance that Homo erectus could be the main course.

Life was short and brutal, ruled, as paleontologists put it, by hunger and who could strike the hardest blow. Maybe we have come a long way afterall.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Isernia, Italy.


LU STOUT: We have come a long way.

Now still ahead here on News Stream, how a night at a stage play became a real life nightmare. We'll be live at London's iconic but now damaged Apollo Theater.

And the world of cyberbullying. How one young girl's life online led to her tragic suicide.


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

Now Russia' Mikhail Khodorkovksy is now a free man. His lawyer tells CNN that the former oil tycoon left prison on Friday after more than 10 years behind bars. Now hours earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an amnesty decree pardoning his former political rival.

In the Philippines, four people have been killed in a shooting at Manila's main airport. Now police believe the mayor of a town in the southern Philippines was the target. He was killed along with two of his family members. An 18 month old child also died after apparently being hit by a stray bullet.

U.S. President Barack Obama says South Sudan is on the brink of civil war. A UN based in Akobo was attacked on Thursday. A UN spokesman says two Indian army peacekeeprs and two South Sudanese civilians were killed in the fighting.

Now authorities in London say the ceiling at the Apollo Theater is now secure. Now part of it collapsed during a performance before a nearly packed house on Thursday night. 76 people were injured, seven seriously. And the cause of the collapse at the more than 100 year old theater is under investigation.

Let's get the latest from London now. Max Foster joins us live from outside the Apollo Theater. And Max, are we any closer to finding out what led to the collapse?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're still investigating. The council is in charge of that. They've got their structural engineers on site. They've been there all night to try to work out what happened. They say the ceiling is now secure, so they are able to investigate it properly, but there are these extraordinary stories coming out of people in the middle of a show seeing either a cloud of smoke or being hit by debris from the ceiling and having to sort of come to terms with that and realize what happened, because we spoke to one guy who just saw this puff of smoke and just rushed out of the building. And this is what he had to say when I spoke to him a little earlier.

We'll speak to him -- we'll be able to bring you that a bit later on, but essentially he was a bit back from where the debris fell just saw a load of smoke, came outside and then realized what happened when he saw dozens of people coming out covered in blood, although thankfully there weren't any serious injuries. A couple of people still in the hospital. Most of them were discharged pretty quickly.

But, Kristie, it's just this idea that you can be in the middle of a show and part of a ceiling can fall through. That's the extraordinary thing of this and the fact that there were so few serious injuries.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and extraordinary and shocking event altogether.

Now, we know that the Apollo Theater is a historic building. Was there any sign, any warning that this collapse could take place?

FOSTER: No. And the council expects the theaters to take checks on that sort of structure every three years. We're told that the checks were all up to date on the theater, but all the historic theaters here have been asked to check their safety records again and check the structures again.

So, it is having an impact here. There is a concern that perhaps it could affect what is a crucial part of the British tourism industry. Just this street, there are several theaters. And you have -- it's called theater land and this very important part of -- attraction of London, a concern that that might be affected.

But actually if you speak to people they say it hasn't put them off coming to theater again.

This was one of the people I was speaking to. He was in the theater last night. And he says actually he wants to come back and see the rest of the show.

But this is what he said about what happened last night.


SIMON USBORNE, INDEPENDENT WRITER: My view of the stage was immediately obscured by this dust and debris. As some other people have said it was like an avalanche. And that was a (inaudible) description. And it was very clear something serious had happened.

FOSTER: And did people start heading out at that point?

USBORNE: Immediately. Nobody needed to say get out, there was no alarm. Everybody knew that something was -- and the fear was then that more might come down. So everybody immediately dashed for an exit. People were screaming.

I was fortunately close to an exit. And so I was on the pavement here probably within three seconds I would say.


FOSTER: So we're still waiting to hear, Kristie, what the cause of this was. There was a storm in London last night around that time. There was lightning, there was heavy rain. So perhaps that had something to do with it.

We do hope to hear about some initial findings from the investigation today.

LU STOUT: I know, it was incredible to hear from that eyewitness saying he described the ceiling collapse, it was akin to an avalanche in his words.

We know that dozens of people were injured as a result of that collapse, seven of them quite seriously. Max, any update at all on how they're doing on their condition?

FOSTER: Well, most of them they've been discharged to one of the hospitals down the road where -- there were three hospitals that people were taken to. They've still got two people in. They're not in any sort of critical condition, but they -- you know, the bodies suffered a certain degree of stress and they've been kept in.

No, there weren't major injuries. And there is a photograph inside the theater. And it's extraordinary when you see it that there weren't more injuries, those are big long planks of wood lying on the seating, huge amounts of debris covering some of the seats so extraordinary that people weren't hurt.

But it's extremely fortunate outcome and everyone is very grateful for that, but they do want to know what happened here.

LU STOUT: We're live on the scene for us, live in London. Thank you, Max.

Now just a short time ago, we learned the verdict for two sisters accused of defrauding celebrity TV chef Nigella Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi.

Now a jury found the former personal assistants not guilty.

Erin McLaughlin has more on the trial that gripped British media and people around the world with its salacious details.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a trial turned real life soap opera played out in a London courtroom. The star witnesses, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson accused of habitual drug use. And her multimillionaire ex-husband Charles Saatchi accused of intimate terrorism. The actual defendants, their former personal assistants Elizabetta and Francesca Grillo.

The prosecution alleged the sisters fraudulently abused Saatchi company credit cards to fund a million dollar lifestyle. The defense claims Nigella Lawson allowed the Grillos to spend what they wanted, to hide her drug habit from Saatchi.

NEIL SEAN, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: I think that the celebrities really need to return to the days of Downton Abbey where the staff were not friends.

MCLAUGHLIN: Lawson admitted to only having done cocaine during two separate life phases. "I did not have a drug problem," she said. "I had a life problem."

She certainly had problems with Saatchi who she cast as a brilliant, but brutal man. Details of the breakdown of their marriage were divulged in court, including the now infamous argument outside a trendy London restaurant in June.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's Nigella Lawson.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tabloid photos show Saatchi's hand around her neck, another shows his hand pinching her nose.

Lawson testified the argument was over her desire to have grandchildren. And she said Saatchi spread false rumors he had been examining her for cocaine. When Saatchi was asked in court if the argument was about drugs, he said no.

"I was holding her head by the neck to make her focus," he said.

Other, intimate allegations were revealed by the defense. Claims Saatchi would have his assistants buy his book to improve sales and spent most of the time in his room.

Nigella was accused of keeping cocaine in a hollowed out book. All of it now a part of public court record.

SEAN: I think the winners from this particular case are simply us, the public. We've devoured this great soap opera. The tabloids have done incredibly well. The media has done well out of it. But when they reflect on this maybe in two or three months time, when you sit down and think, why did he do it?


LU STOUT: And that was Erin McLaughlin reporting.

Now a Florida community has been devastated by the shocking suicide of a little girl. Now the mother of Rebecca Sedwick believes cyberbullies drove her daughter to jump to her death. She tells CNN's Deborah Feyerick that parents should be criminally liable for their children's behavior online.


TRICIA NORMAN, MOTHER OF REBECCA: Her brother and stepbrother. That was last Christmas.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To her family, Rebecca Sedgwick was a normal 12-year-old kid with a big heart and goofy sense of humor. She seemed happy until the day she changed her screen name to That Dead Girl and then killed herself.


FEYERICK: Grady Judd is the sheriff in Polk County, Florida.

JUDD: When you stand over a 12-year-old child that's dead, jumped from a cement silo, your heart is broken forever.

FEYERICK: Her mother says Rebecca was being bullied in school and online. Hateful messages and texts sent on popular social sites such as Facebook.

NORMAN: I think the biggest one that stood out to me was "Drink, bleach and die. Go kill yourself. You're ugly. Nobody likes you. I hate you. Why you are still alive"?

FEYERICK: Officials at Crystal Lake Middle School changed her classes to keep her away from the bullies. When that didn't work, her mom pulled her out of sixth grade to home-school her instead. She thought she was safe. But for a text-savvy child, shutting out the world is not simple.

NORMAN: I gave her my old cell phone for her to get a text- messaging app on so she could contact her friends.

FEYERICK: Rebecca found her way back online to the students allegedly tormenting her.

MATTHEW MORGAN, TRICIA NORMAN'S ATTORNEY: She wanted to see what was going on in her world. And unfortunately, in her world, there were bullies that's were tormenting her literally to her death.

FEYERICK: It wasn't just Facebook and Instagram. Rebecca also had accounts on and Kick.

MORGAN: It is clear that directions that these bullies were giving was "kill yourself." You know, "End your life because we hate you so much."

FEYERICK: It's unclear why Rebecca ultimately snapped. CNN reviewed portions of her journals and the police report. There were signs of family problems, evidence of bullying, and a reported breakup with a boy. When, in early September, she climb the tower she could see from her home and jumped.

JUDD: Two arrests we made last night.

FEYERICK: Soon after, Sheriff Grady Judd arrested two of the girls who had apparently been bullying Rebecca online, releasing the children's names even though they were minors.

JUDD: And she killed herself but I don't give a...

FEYERICK: Guadalupe Shaw and Kaitlyn Roman were charged not for Rebecca's death but for stalking, charges later dropped in exchange for court-ordered counseling.

Although both girls posted nasty messages on social media sites, through their lawyers, they have each denied responsibility for Rebecca's death.

JUDD: They didn't get away with it at all. Had we not arrested them, they never would have been required or volunteered for such counseling. So it was a win-win.

FEYERICK: Critics say the sheriff overreacted by charging the girls and that he failed to focus on all the other warning signs that Rebecca was in trouble. For example, in her written journal, she talks about suicide. "I go to bed every night hoping it will be the last time." Also, "People don't know how it feels to be hated by everyone that used to be so close."

Online, Rebecca posted the results of a depression test. While it's unclear she took the test herself, it concludes, "You're having suicidal thoughts. This is a serious warning sign and you must seek help quickly."

There is also an Instagram image that reads, quote, "Sometimes I just want to disappear and see if anyone would miss me."

Sheriff Judd said Rebecca had been inundated with hateful comments on sites like and Kick.

ROBIN ARNOLD, ANTI-BULLYING ADVOCATE, "JAYLEN'S CHALLENGE":, Snapchat and Kick is asking to get bullied.

FEYERICK: For anyone using or trying to monitor the sites, because posts can be made anonymously, it's extremely difficult to say who is saying what and, therefore, very difficult to trace.

Rebecca's mom admits she didn't know the extent of her daughter's life online and the signs of trouble brewing there. She and her attorney are now trying to get a law passed making parents of bullies libel for their children's behavior.

MORGAN: It really starts at home. The children learn everything from their parents.

FEYERICK: Bullying is already illegal in Florida. Rebecca's lawyer wants to attach even stronger penalties, including community service and juvenile detention.

MORGAN: Kids need to know it's actually a crime.

FEYERICK: While it's a start, none of it will take away the pain Rebecca's mother feels every day.

(on camera): How do you deal with the silences that have been left by Rebecca?

NORMAN: I still talk to her. I sleep with one of her stuffed animals.

FEYERICK (voice-over): She knows now what she would have done differently on that terrible day.

NORMAN: I would have taken her cell phone in the room with me and, when my alarm went off at 6:30, rather than jump in the shower, like I always did, I would have walked out there and just hugged her and said, baby, talk to me.


LU STOUT: It's painful to hear a mother's regrets there.

If you want to find out more about bullying prevention just log on to You could learn about social sites like Snapchat, Walkie and Kick and read what other parents have to say about the topic.

Now one suggests approach social media like teaching driving, you wouldn't just throw your kids the keys.

Now you're watching News Stream. And still to come, mining for gold, it takes on a whole new meaning in the form of the virtual currency Bitcoin. Up next, how combining math and raw computer power helps some rake in the cash.


LU STOUT: And while many people are looking forward to the weekend, there is no break for the astronauts on the International Space Station. They need to fix a critical cooling system. And John Zarrella explains how they are preparing for the emergency spacewalks.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the International Space Station astronauts, Christmas will be a working holiday. Three planned space walks, the first Saturday, the last coming Christmas morning -- 220 miles above the earth, quite literally, high drama.

Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins will spend about 20 hours in space removing the 780-pound failed cooling pump and replace placing it with the spare. Much of the time, Mastracchio will be dangling from the end of the station's robotic arm. Two pumps are used to call the station, the failure of either is considered critical. NASA says it learned a lot from a similar incident back in 2010 that's given them confidence this time.

DINA CONTELLA, ISS FLIGHT DIRECTOR: I looked around the room today and said, "what are people worried about" and really there was not much to be said. So I think we're ready to go out the door on Saturday.

ZARRELLA: A valve inside the pump failed over a week ago. Complicating matters, NASA has to carefully watch the crew's space suits. Back in July, astronaut Luca Parmitano's helmet began mysteriously filling with water, scary moments as other station crew members raced to get his helmet off.

NASA still doesn't completely understand what went wrong. This will be the first walk since.

CONTELLA: Whole days have been spent with a lot of water chemists trying to figure this out. We have not said it's something that for sure complete wide.

ZARRELLA: Space agency officials don't expect the problem to repeat but they are taking no chances. Water absorbing pads have been installed in space suit helmets and tubing on the station has been fashioned into snorkels.

ALLISON BOLINGER, LEAD SPACEWALK OFFICER: This is your last resort that if water is encroaching your face similar with Luca the crew member can use this to breathe to receive fresh oxygen down near his mid section.

ZARRELLA: The astronauts always seem to make a space walk look easy but the bottom line is NASA never wants them to venture outside unless there's no other choice. This is one of those times.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


LU STOUT: I wish them lots of luck.

Now, if you're too embarrassed to admit that you don't really understand the digital currency Bitcoin, you're not alone. Google says one of the top searches of 2013 in the U.S. is "what is Bitcoin."

So what is it? Well, as I said it is an entirely digital currency. It does not exist in physical form. And you can make transactions with Bitcoins without any middlemen, which means no banks, no fees.

And you never have to give your real name, making Bitcoin the currency of choice for those who want to conduct anonymous purchases on the Internet.

But you might be wondering one thing, if it doesn't exist in the physical world, how can a Bitcoin have any value? After all, we've seen how easy it is to copy other digital goods like movies and music so why can't Bitcoins be copied?

Well, that's because each Bitcoin is a product of an incredibly complicated math problem. It's a problem that can only be solved by very powerful computers. And even then, it takes some time to come up with a solution.

Now, having a set of powerful computers running around the clock to solve that problem is called a Bitcoin mine. And Pauline Chiou visited one right here in Hong Kong.


PAULINE CHIOU, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you want to see how Bitcoins are created, come inside this industrial building in Hong Kong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the copper pipes.

CHIOU: Kar-Wing Lau runs a data storage company that houses a Bitcoin mine. What is a Bitcoin mine? It's computer hardware stored inside these metal racks that work around the clock cracking an algorithm that spits out digital Bitcoins when the equation is solved.

Of course, it's a virtual currency, there's no physical coin, but its value recently topped $1,000 after policymakers in the U.S. indicated they were open to the idea of a digital currency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Carper (ph), I think there is broad based agreement about the potential of a digital economy and virtual currencies.

CHIOU: Like a gold rush, more Bitcoin miners are setting up shop.

KAR-WING LAU, ALLIED CONTROL: More and more private people as well as some more professional organizations stepped into the Bitcoin market and started mining. And this increased hashing power (ph), as they call it. The algorithm automatically adjusts the difficulty upwards.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: The Bitcoin network automatically changes the difficulty of the math problems depending on how they're being solved.

CHIOU: The algorithm has capped the number of Bitcoins at 21 million. This kind of raw computing power requires new hardware, electricity and storage space.

The Bitcoin mine that is located here uses a special immersion liquid to keep its electronics at a stable temperature. All of this costs the mine more than $65,000 a month to operate.

The Bitcoin mine in this data storage center was designed and set up in just six months. And it was funded exclusively in Bitcoins.

Lau's storage company was paid in Bitcoins, which he converted into euros, Hong Kong dollars and RMB, to buy parts for the storage system.

DAVID SHIN, ICEDRILL BITCOIN MINE: These are pictures of the data center in Montreal that we're using.

CHIOU: David Shin is a Hong Kong banker who has joined four other partners to start a Bitcoin mine called Icedrill. They will set up the mine in Montreal close to the computer hardware manufacturer.

SHIN: Just like mining, you need a pick ax or you need sort of, you know, equipment to be able to mine.

CHIOU: And transactions in China with the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world can still move the Bitcoin market.

SHIN: So the global part of the Bitcoin community I feel they're much more on the libertarian side. They are looking to grow the ecosystem. They're invest -- reinvesting their Bitcoins. China, I feel that from what I can tell, they are buying to hold them.

CHIOU: Shin believes the idea of a digital currency can take off. It might just take awhile.

Pauline Chiou, CNN, Hong Kong.


LU STOUT: Now coming up, Jeanne Moos does some serious number crunching on goats, Miley Cyrus and monkeys in snowsuits, the listing the best of the best Internet videos had us all laughing in 2013.

Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Well, as Buzzfeed has shown us, anything with a number and a list, it gets our attention these days.

Now CNN's Jeanne Moos has her own list of her favorite lists.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tis the season to be listing from the 23 most breathtaking science photos of 2013 to the 9 social media hoaxes you fell for. Like the twerking girl pretending to set herself on fire video circulated by Jimmy Kimmel. We should be screaming from all of these lists.

Still, how can you resist the 21 most cringe worthy TV news moments?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is wrong with you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good night, Lawrence.

MOOS: Usually we try to escape ads, but not the ones that make it on to a year ender list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can ship your pants right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hear that? I can ship my pants for free.

MOOS: Any excuse for a list will do. The 28 most ridiculous celebrity face mashes. Combine Sarah Palin and Honey Boo Boo, Kim Kardasian and Chris Christie.

And what's with the random numbers? Why 32?

Remember the days when a list was something on paper that you took to the grocery store?

Now instead of bread and milk there are even lists listing the best lists.

Jonathan Mann, known as YouTube's song a day man is singing his list of top viral videos.


MOOS: But the video that gets his goat.

With lists ranging from the top 10 Miley moments, to the top 10 Harlem Shakes, it's hard to pick a clip of the year. But Jimmy Kimmel tried.

JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: Monkey in a snowsuit.

MOOS: Alas, monkey in a snowsuit didn't win. Scared boss did.

And as the scared boss came on the show to accept the war.


MOOS: It's been a crazy year, but if you think it's been crazy for you, wait until you see how nuts it was for the amorous cows that made it to number one on the craziest dash came videos.

Holy cow. Not only were they not hurt, the male was ready for more romance. He's definitely at the top of his list.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: I want to see that monkey again and again.

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