Return to Transcripts main page
Ukrainian Government, Opposition Close To Agreement; Inside Israeli Hospital Treating Syrian Victims; 3D Printed Fashion; Air Quality Hazardous In Beijing; Protests In Venezuela Continue
Aired February 21, 2014 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
A Ukrainian opposition leader denies that a deal has been reached with the government to end the crisis gripping the country.
Protests continue in Venezuela as the president accuses the opposition of being part of a conspiracy to overthrow his government.
And China lashes out at the U.S. as the Dalai Lama gets set to meet the U.S. president.
Ukraine's President says a deal has been reached to end his nation's political crisis. Viktor Yanukovych has outlined major concessions to protesters on his website. But a spokesperson for one opposition leader says not so fast. He says negotiations are still going on. And demonstrators on the streets of Kiev want details.
Now they have continue to stream into Independence Square. Let's bring up live pictures of the center of Kiev right there for you. Now this week has seen the worst violence since protests began back in November. Ukraine's health ministry reports some 77 deaths since Tuesday. Opposition medical sources say 100 protesters died on Thursday alone.
And those bloody clashes followed previous concessions, even a truce.
Now let's get the latest on Today's developments. CNN's Phil Black joins me now live from Kiev. And Phil, what are the details and what is the status of this proposed deal from Yanukovych.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Krisite.
So the government says that a deal has been reached and says it's going to two, three -- two or three things. It is going to establish what it calls a cabinet of national trust. It is going to implement constitutional reform that would take powers away from the president and return them to the parliament. And it is going to initiate early presidential elections.
Now these are three things that the opposition movement and the European negotiators who have been taking part in this process say must happen.
But neither the opposition nor those European parties are saying a deal has been done.
So it would appear that there is still a sticking point. And it is likely that if there is a sticking point, it is in the detail that hasn't been discussed yet by President Yanukovych, and that is the timing. When will these things happen? How quickly could a government of national unity be established? When would this constitutional reform kick in. And then how quickly would there be a presidential election to allow the people of Ukraine to actually have a say in determining the leadership and direction of their country.
That is what the people in this square will want to know if they are going to sign on to any such agreement.
If we're talking about making these things happen reasonably quickly, then it is likely that the vast majority of the opposition would accept that. That's something they can swallow. But if President Yanukovych is proposing that these reforms take place, say, towards the end of 2014, that is going to be a much harder sell and it is not something that the crowds on the streets of the capital are going to accept, Kristie.
LU STOUT: And what is the latest on the situation in and around the square? We're looking at these live pictures of independence square there in Kiev. Are the protesters and police still locked in a standoff?
BLACK: Well, no sign, no visible sign of police or security forces close to Independence Square. And there hasn't been for something close to 24 hours now. So it is a reasonably peaceful mood on the square. But the crowds has been growing. They have become increasingly boisterous. There is clearly a sense in the air that there is something going on, that this could be approaching perhaps some sort of resolution.
But certainly no one on that square is saying we sign on, or we approve of what the president is proposing so far. No one on the square trusts the president enough to be satisfied with what they have been told at this point.
Earlier in the day, there were reports of disturbances, closer to the parliamentary building, a block or so from here -- not that far -- where Ukrainian police say they were forced to fire on opposition protesters, because they, themselves, had come under fire, this is in a statement from the Ukrainian interior ministry. We did not see or hear anything that suggested that that was the case. It's not that far from here. There were no visible or no audible signs of gunfire. But still, this is what the Ukrainian ministry says. It suggests that there's that there's still certainly a tension in the air, particularly when security forces and protesters find themselves in close proximity.
For the moment, they are keeping their distance from each other, and so for the moment, things remain peaceful, Kristie.
LU STOUT: A situation at the moment is calm, is peaceful, but as you said a tension is still in the air, and especially in light of the brutal clashes you witnessed yesterday there in Kiev. We know that the protesters who were there, they're risking their lives to remain in the square. Tell us more about the protesters, who are they and to what degree are they representative of the nation.
BLACK: Well, they are committed, they are determined. Many of them have effectively been camping out on the street in the capital for something close to three months now. And they are busy every day working to maintain this large defensive camp for effectively thousands of people. It involves cleaning, feeding, housing, maintaining the defenses. There's a lot of work, a lot of administration, a lot of organization that goes into this.
So they are absolutely committed and determined. And they say they will continue to stay there until they believe they've got the changes, the reforms to the direction of the country, the political direction of the country that they want.
Are they representative of the whole country? Well, no, because this is a divided country between the east and the west. It is what is at the heart of this ongoing crisis the fact that the west of the country leans towards Europe, the east of the country leans culturally, ethnically towards Russia. And it is the difficulty in bridging this gap that has enabled this crisis to continue as it has done so.
So it's an important point that even if a compromise deal is reached and elections are then announced, that becomes the next battleground for the future of the country -- the elections. Who will win? How? Selling an idea about which direction this country should go in, because at the moment neither side, nor the east, nor the west, represents an absolutely clear majority -- Krisite.
LU STOUT: All right, Phil Black there reporting on a divided nation. Thank you, Phil.
Now Ukraine sits on the literal crossroads between Russia and Europe. These protests, they started as a battle over whether the country should closely align with Moscow or with Brussels and it reflects, as you just heard, a deep national divide.
While Ukrainian is the official language, this map it shows in Red areas of the country where Russian is widely spoken. As you can see, they are primarily in the east. In the western part of the country, also mostly supported pro-Europe politician Yulia Tymoshenko and the contentious election in 2010.
Now the east favored her pro-Russia rival now President Viktor Yanukovych.
Now, during Thursdays fighting in Kiev, CNN crews witnessed people shooting, throwing rocks and running for their lives. Now Phil Black filed this report. And a warning, it contains disturbing images.
BLACK: This is the morning after a truce, fallen bodies on the streets of Kiev, protesters confronting security services who respond with live ammunition. Here, a CNN photographer catches the moment when a group of medics is seen helping a man lying on the ground. There is a shot, one medic falls to the ground and tried to crawl away. We don't know if he survived.
The casualties climb quickly, some are carried to a nearby hotel.
Here in this building, protesters set up an emergency medical clinic. This is where some of the very first causalities were brought. They say three people were still alive when they were first brought here, but the efforts of the medical teams here have not been enough to save the lives of at least these 11 people who now lie on the marble floor of this hotel lobby.
Dr. Olga Bogomolets, the head of the medical team, says they had little chance of surviving their injuries.
OLGA BOGOMOLETS, HEAD OF MEDICAL TEAM: They were killed by snipers directly with metal bullets, with guns, shooting directly to heart, eyes, shooted for death.
BLACK: Later, a sheet conceals the bodies while they are identified by family.
Anton says he did his best to clean the bodies for them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm cleaning blood with the floor and I'm trying, because this is really, really hard for me. I can't...
BLACK: The confrontation started just after dawn. A barrage of stones, fireworks, Molotov cocktails -- hundreds of protesters spread along the barricades on Independence Square throwing whatever they could get their hands on. They targeted lines of security forces a short distance away, standing beyond the range of rocks and bottles.
But we also saw one man firing a shotgun. We don't know what he was using for ammunition.
These people had no (inaudible) in the government declared ceasefire.
The president said no more violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. The president only says (inaudible) times.
BLACK: This is the hard-core element of the protest crowd, wearing homemade body armor, carrying shields, those prepared to take the fight directly to the security services. Shortly after, those officers received an order to pull back, once again giving up the square to the opposition, but some of the protesters pursued them through the streets. The response gunfire.
The result, more blood and death in Kiev.
Phil Black, CNN, Kiev.
LU STOUT: A chilling video account there.
Now lawmakers in Kiev have ordered security forces to stop using guns against the protesters. Parliament passed the resolution late on Thursday. Inside, negotiations had been heated. Some members came to blows during debate Friday morning.
Now the parliament building is in an area heavily protected by police. The interior ministry says armed protesters tried to move in that direction.
Now the demonstrators have also reinforced their barricades around Independence Square.
Still to come right here on News Stream, there have been days of deadly clashes in Venezuela. But these protesters come bearing flowers. We go to Venezuela for the latest on the demonstrations there.
The U.S. President sits down with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today. China certainly is not happy about it. It has a strong warning for Washington.
And as tensions simmer on the Syrian border, we take you to a hospital run by Israel, which is treating Syrians wounded in the country's ongoing civil war.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream.
And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. We'll be watching the situation in Kiev throughout the hour as we wait to hear whether the opposition will accept a deal from Ukraine's president to end the political crisis.
But now, let's turn to anti-government protests in a different country -- Venezuela.
Now street protests, they continued in Caracas even as prosecutors there drop the most serious charges levied against the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Now according to his lawyer, he no longer faces murder and terrorism charges, but arson and conspiracy counts remain. If convicted of those charges, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Now the government has accused Lopez of inciting violence clashes in which at least five people have died.
Now the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the protests are part of a conspiracy to overthrow his government. But as Karl Penhaul reports, there are several members of the opposition who are pushing for a peaceful approach as they demand change from their Socialist President.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Protesters carried daisies as a sign of peace, yet over the last two weeks, anti-government demos have turned deadly.
KEVIN LOPEZ, STUDENT PROTESTER: We need help. That is the most important that we need in this moment. We need hope.
PENHAUL: On lamp posts, stencils of fellow opposition students killed in clashes with pro-government supporters a week ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the guys, the fallen from the 12th of February in the center of Caracas in the La Candalaria (ph) the, you know, the policemen that shoot these guys.
PENHAUL: Venezuela's socialist president Nicolas Maduro accuses opposition protesters of starting the violence and calls then fascists.
FRANCIS LOPEZ, OPPOSITION PROTESTER: I don't like Hugo Chavez. I did not like him, but I like Maduro worse. I mean, I don't like him at all. I think he has -- he's following Cuba.
PENHAUL: Calls for silence in memory of the dead.
The students have traced out on the ground SOS, the international distress sign, save our souls. They say that the crime wave is killing them. They say that inflation is bleeding cash from their pockets. And they say that food shortages are starving them.
But the government argues it's right-wing businessmen who are strangling the economy in a bid to bring Venezuela to its political knees.
Thursday's demo in a middle class Caracas neighborhood was small. Students briefly blocked a street.
"We have to protest like this in the street. We've had enough of the government beating us up every day," he says.
But there's a disagreement over tactics.
What's going on here is just another example of one of the problems that is facing the opposition, and that is internal division. Some of the students say that it's important to block main streets.
Others say the only solution is peaceful dialogue.
What seems certain is that if opposition groups can't forge a united front, they stand little chance of forcing the government to talk, let alone resign.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, Caracas.
LU STOUT: In less than two hours, the U.S. President Barack Obama will sit down with the Dalai Lama at the White House. And China is not happy about it.
Beijing says that President Obama's meeting with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader will, quote, "severely impair China-U.S. relations."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): Chinese government's position on Tibetan issues has been clear cut and consistent. And I also want to point out that we're opposed to any foreign leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama. I want to stress that if any country insists on impairing China's interests will eventually hurt its own interests. We urge the U.S. immediately cancel the meeting in order to prevent further damage to China-U.S. relations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: And with more on today's meeting and the potential fallout, CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins me now from Washington. And Jim, Beijing is very upset about this upcoming meeting. They say it will hurt relations. Does the White House think that is a real risk here?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, I think that the -- those comments are duly noted by this White House, but a spokeswoman for the National Security Council here at the White House said last night in a statement that, you know, look presidents from both parties have met with the Dalai Lama. This is a fairly standard visit from the Tibetan spiritual leader. We do expect him here in about two hours from now. And one thing that the White House has said is that they have taken notice of what they call a deteriorating human rights situation in the Tibetan region.
And let me show you a statement that NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden put out to reporters last night. It says that "the United States support the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China. The United States recognizes Tibet to be a part of the People's Republic of China and we do not support Tibetan independence. The United States strongly supports human rights and religious freedom in China."
And so one thing that we are going to be watching here at the White House, Kristie, is this visit between the president and the Dalai Lama, whether or not, you know, press will be allowed in. At this point, cameras are not going to be allowed into that meeting. So we're going to be only getting a readout at this point from the White House as to what went on behind closed doors between these two leaders.
The question is whether or not we might see the Dalai Lama. In the past when he's made visits to the White House, and he has visited the president twice back in 2010 and 2011, we have seen the Dalai Lama come out to the cameras and talk to reporters. It'll be interesting to see if that happens today.
LU STOUT: That's right. There have been photos of those two previous encounters. We know President Obama has met with the Tibetan spiritual leader before. But why? I mean, what is the U.S. interest in the Dalai Lama?
ACOSTA: Well, you know, I think as Caitlin Hayden with the National Security Council says in that statement, you know, the White House is interested in human rights. And they are just not going to turn away the Dalai Lama when he comes here to the United States as he often does on tours. He is going to be in California in a few days. He spoke at a think tank group here in Washington yesterday. And I just don't think for domestic political reasons it would be very good for the president to say no to the Dalai Lama and reject a visit from the spiritual leader.
So I think that it's a delicate balancing act for this White House. And I think the White House is trying to strike the right posture here, understanding that the Chinese are going to be very upset about this, but at the same time he's just not going to say no to the Dalai Lama, Kristie.
LU STOUT: A delicate balancing act for domestic and international audiences. Jim Acosta reporting live from the White House. Thank you.
Now coming up next, longtime rivals on the ice they go head-to-head in Sochi. We've got all the latest news from the games. Stay with us.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.
Now seven gold medals are on the line in Sochi. Canadian Marial Thompson has already secured one of those golds up for grabs, taking first in the women's freestyle ski cross today.
And still to come, archrivals Canada and the U.S. face off in the men's ice hockey semifinals.
Now let's take a look at the latest rankings. Norway is leading in gold with 10 while the U.S. takes first in the total medal count with 25.
And for all the latest from Sochi we are joined live now by CNN's Amanda Davies. And Amanda, first, controversy in women's figure skating. At the center of this, you're telling me about it earlier, the scoring system. Tell us about it.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie. The Russians are celebrating their first ever ladies Olympic figure skating gold after Adelina Sotnikova -- she's the Russian national champion, but was relatively unheralded. She kind of came out of nowhere to take the gold. And there is now a lot of questions being asked about the scoring system in the Iceberg Skating Palace last night, so much so that 1.5 million people have put their signature to a petition on a website Change.org asking for the ladies free skate to be rejudged.
We know skating has been no stranger to controversy in terms of its scoring in the past, after Salt Lake City they went from the 6.0 system to the system now where the programs are voted on individual instances and tricks and skills.
The question, really, is how can somebody who stumbled and maybe fell on their backside finish ahead of somebody who puts out a clean program? But the judges say that they are rewarding that those who try the skills with the greater degree of difficulty. And the IOC, the International Olympic Committee had spoken out this morning saying they're launching no official investigation unless they receive an official complaint. And as of yet that hasn't come about, Kristie.
LU STOUT: But with 1.5 million signatures in this online petition, this controversy is not going to go away anytime soon.
Now Amanda, the next Olympic event to watch is of course the U.S. taking on Canada in men's ice hockey. What should we expect?
DAVIES: Well, the -- one of the biggest, most high profile events here, the men's ice hockey, with all the stars of the NHL here.
The first semifinal is actually underway. It's Finland against Sweden. Finland, the team of course who knocked out Russia. The team that many people say are the best ice hockey team never to have won Olympic gold. They medaled in 2006 and 2010, but haven't ever taken home the gold. They're up against Sweden who won here -- who won the Olympic gold in 2006 and have won all of the ice hockey competitions on European ice.
It's still goalless into the second period there, but really that match is just the appetizer for the big one, which takes place later this evening, prime time really here, 9:00 pm. That is the USA up against Canada. It's a repeat of last game's final, which Canada won with a late, late Sidney Crosby goal in overtime.
Many people suggesting here that actually the USA have the better form so far in the tournament. They're looking for their men's Olympic gold since 1980. And it's a really going to be a fantastic match with added spice, because of the ladies final which took place last night.
The USA were 2-0 up, but Canada came back to win that one 3-2 and claim the ladies crown once again.
So promises to be a very tasty encounter.
LU STOUT: Yeah, thank you for mentioning the ladies ice hockey matchup there.
Now we are in the final days of the Sochi games. What is the mood there as the winter Olympic starts to wind down?
DAVIES: Well, it's an interesting one, because of all the controversy in the buildup here, Kristie. There was no doubt there's a lot of disappointment amongst the home fans that they won't get the final event that they were hoping for. That -- they wanted the Russia-USA ice hockey final just hours before the closing ceremony. But there's an added bit of spring in local steps after claiming that figure skating gold last night.
And you have to say, Kristie, once this event has got underway, there hasn't really been much of the controversy, the security concerns that have been talked about in the runup to the games. The protests that were being talked about, none of those have really materialized. And people here are really quite proud of what has come about. There were the initial hotel problems. There are still stories coming out about issues in accommodation both in media hotels and in terms of the athletes village.
But the athletes on the whole have really enjoyed the games. They say the facilities are fantastic. There's been some surprise winners, there's been some old favorites winning their medals as well. And the Russians are hopeful that this evening there might be another little bit of history where the South Korean turned Russian Victor An, he's taking part in the short track speed skating 500 meters. He's already won one gold, they're looking for him to win his second here today.
LU STOUT: And you're right, despite all the controversy, there has been great sport, great experiences there for the athletes. Amanda Davies really been enjoying your reporting all along. Thank you so much. Amanda joining us live from Sochi.
Now you are watching News Stream. And still to come, we have more on these conflicting messages coming out of Kiev. Ukraine's president says there is a deal, others say it is not done yet. We'll bring you the latest in a live report.
Ongoing political tensions also in Thailand. The prime minister may have gotten a break at least.
Stay with us.
LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And let's go straight to Kiev for the very latest on our top story this hour. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is standing by. And Nick, walk us through the proposed deal and any new reaction to it.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me just tell you now, Reuters is quoting a spokesman for opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko saying that he and other opposition leaders are at the presidential headquarters and poised to sign the agreement.
Now that's an agreement which we don't know the full details of it, it's a large document, but the three key planks of it are -- early elections. We don't know precisely when. Suggestions at the end of the year. A reversion to the 2004 constitution, which would lessen the powers of the president. And finally a national unity government of some sort.
Now the timing is, of course, absolutely vital. But the key thing is there was a concern this could fall apart. EU diplomats have got the opposition and Yanukovych together on this piece of paper. But still it was a question of whether the crowd behind me would actually buy into it.
Remember, they don't have a singular leader. They weren't called here by one man. They won't leave because one man tells them to. They really want most of them to see Yanukovych leave power.
That's the key question at stake here, because even if this document is signed, we are still wondering what will happen to the crowds behind here.
The key development in the last hour was a German foreign ministry tweet has suggested that the Maidan council, that's one of the bodies that represent the protesters here, has told opposition leaders that they have a mandate from the crowds to sign that document.
It's very complicated, but at the end of the day even if this piece of paper is penned by opposition leaders and the president, we're still trying to work out what the crowd behind will do. They're fractured. There are right-wing elements, there are radical elements, there are those who are simply here until Yanukovych goes.
And Kristie, there's an overarching question here, we don't have a time table about how these reforms and changes will get put into practice.
Many, I'm sure, are concerned there. They've been labeled terrorists by the government. And if they left now, they would face six months of Yanukovych still in power as the president before any elections to remove him. They might be concerned about legal action against them.
So, you know, concerns here, certainly for the hours ahead, because we're really not out of the woods yet, despite the positive diplomatic signals we're getting Kristie.
LU STOUT: Now, we are waiting for final confirmation that this proposed deal put forward by Yanukovych has been signed by the opposition. You're right, we are still waiting for the reaction from the crowd behind you there in Independence Square. A crowd of anti-government protesters who have been deeply skeptical about the process so far.
But Nick, if this deal is in fact signed, will it help to at least lower the temperature and settle the crisis somewhat?
WALSH: Well, they could do, but then there's a counter argument that says actually it may give protesters a feeling that they're winning. And their main goal is Yanukovych leaving power.
Now it's clear he doesn't want to do that as part of the negotiation process we've seen over the past 24 hours. And we've got key European powers here, neighboring Poland, France, Germany, the UK at one point as well, leaning on him to give concessions.
He's also not going ahead with the $2 billion bond issue to Russia, which was part of the Moscow package to bailout the Ukrainian economy, which would drag the country in an easternwards direction whereas this whole crisis started, because they wanted to sign a deal with the EU and head westwards.
We are seeing signs that Yanukovych is giving a lot of concessions at this point. And we most importantly haven't heard from him publicly addressing the people or on television for quite awhile now. He's been conspicuously silent.
So the questions are, he's making a lot of concessions. it's clear that his security forces are quite capable of very hard-line rhetoric certainly and yesterday morning live gunfire against protesters. If he feels he's given enough and if he feels the protesters aren't going to accept those concessions and ratchet down here, that could make things worse rather than better.
But certainly now the process -- yesterday morning we were talking about dozens of people killed in exchanges of live fire, now we're talking about possible of a deal. That's obviously for the better.
But the final timing here is absolutely the question. How fast do these changes come into effect, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Will the protesters agree to this proposed deal, will there be finally peace in Kiev. Nick Paton Walsh reporting live for us live from Kiev, thank you very much indeed for that update.
Now over on our website, CNN, cameraman Todd Baxter shares a gripping account of Thursday's violence. He says, quote, "I clutched my camera, I ran down the stairs. Little did I know then that I was about to see even more misery and what would turn out to be the worst day I've seen since arriving in Kiev.
"As I ran, I noticed bullet holes in the stairwell windows and then I saw the bodies."
You can read the rest at CNN.com.
Now for Syria's neighbors, the civil war is far too close for comfort as they keep a wary eye on the fighting.
Now earlier this week, two rockets from Syria fell close to the Golan Heights. It happened just after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a stop there. He visited an Israeli military field hospital that is providing care to victims from Syria.
Our Nic Robertson is in the Golan Heights where he has been following developments on the ground for us. He joins me now live.
And Nic, there was heavy shelling just beyond where you were earlier today. What did you see?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've been on the Golan Heights looking down into Syria right on the frontier between Israel and Syria. If we look just over my shoulder here right now you can see that White Building, that is the checkpost cross from Israel into Syria. Syrian government troops belonging to President Bashar al-Assad control the other side of that line. But if you go further along that frontier line, you get to tiny villages that are very close to the line. And we were citing right above one of those less than a mile away earlier, saw 12 shells rain down into this village. This was a village where we had seen farmers with cattle earlier on where we had heard children playing earlier on. And all across that wide area inside Syria there we can see and hear heavy machine gun fire, see and hear shells falling.
That Israeli military hospital that you talked about, we were given access there just a couple of days, the first time that journalists have been able to get in there, Kristie.
LU STOUT: And can you tell us more about what you saw inside that hospital caring for Syrian victims of the war?
ROBERTSON: Artillery shells render buildings to rubble and dust as heavy machine gunfire erupts across Syria's southern villages. The country's civil war seems to be at full throttle.
It's hard to tell precisely what that shooting and shelling is targeting, but the fact that we can see it and here it right on Israel's frontier; that's it, the fence just down there and even here some of the small machine gun fire, that tells us the battle is really close.
Just along the fence, Syrian victims of the violence are getting treatment in an Israeli army field hospital, the first of its kind here set up just a year ago.
One of the injured is a 21-year-old Syrian man from Dara, who may or may not be a rebel, now at the end of three weeks of treatment
TARIF BADER, IDF MEDICAL CHIEF: So, what we did today was see the injury to make sure everything is OK and that there is no infection. And then they he can go back to Syria.
ROBERTSON: And he is a young man of fighting age. And when he comes, do you ask him if he is a fighter; is that an issue?"
BADER: No. I didn't ask him. As I mentioned before, it doesn't matter for me if he is a fighter or not probably he is a fighter, probably. He says no.
ROBERTSON: At another time, this admission would be shocking. Israel and Syria are enemies.
On this day, 22 casualties, many of them children, are getting treatment and a visit from Israel's prime minister.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Here is the dividing line on the Golan Heights between the good and the bad. The bad is what is happening on the Syrian side of this border. ROBERTSON: His message, we are here to do good, is simple, but the field hospital and other humanitarian help may play a more sophisticated role for Israel, keeping radical rebels like ISIS away from the border by helping moderates.
Ehud Yari, a veteran analyst, tracks radicals and Israel's response to them sees a strategic plan here. EHUD YARI, CHANNEL 2: Israel is just making sure that the villages along the frontier remain sort of friendly at least non hostile.
ROBERTSON: Has your village changed its attitude towards Israel now?
"It turns out to be the best state," he says. "The regime used to make us hate it, but it turned out to be the best country."
At the day's end, on his way home, back to the war.
ROBERTSON: And just to give an idea of how bad the situation is across the border, the same day that we went to that field hospital, the same day the Israeli prime minister visited it, a UN school just inside Syria was hit by a huge blast, killing and wounding many, many children. The pictures from that very horrific.
But it just shows you how close the fighting is getting to Israel and the stake for Israel in all of this, Kristie.
LU STOUT: More devastating loss from this brutal Syrian war.
Nic Robertson reporting live for us. Thank you.
Now thousands of angry rice farmers in Thailand have called off a planned protest today after the government promised to meet their demands and to pay them what they are owed. Now they say theirs was not a political protest and distanced themselves from a separate movement in the country right now to oust the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Saima Mohsin filed this report from Bangkok.
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was one protest that the government simply couldn't bury its head in the sand and ignore. Imagine the scenes, thousands of farmers, their wives and families in hundreds of farming vehicles -- tractor, trailers and quad bikes -- heading from central Thailand down the main highway towards Bangkok airport.
Now they said they weren't planning on shutting down the airport, but with so many people and vehicles blocking the routes in and out of it, you can imagine the trouble that could have caused the people flying in and out of Bangkok's main airport. And the concern for the government and of course the tourism industry.
So the government was forced to negotiate with the farmers. Why? Because they weren't paying for the rice produce that they have sold at a set rate with the government.
Now the government had actually tied itself in knots by setting a higher than market price, which it can't afford to pay. In fact, it hasn't paid more than 70 percent of farmers 1.3 trillion baht, that is $4.2 billion worth of payments that are still due this year for farmers.
But, they have been told now that that payment will be made early next week. They've turned around and headed back to their farms in central Thailand.
Saima Mohsin, CNN, Bangkok, Thailand.
LU STOUT: Now U.S. bound airlines are on the lookout for a new threat and we'll tell you why shoes are now under suspicion and what this man may have to do with it.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now terror groups have been trying to develop increasingly sophisticated bombs with the potential to slip through airport security. Now recent intelligence about the threat from potential shoe bombs prompted the U.S. to issue fresh warnings to airlines this week.
And that threat could be linked to one of al Qaeda's bomb masterminds. Brian Todd investigates.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials say the latest intelligence indicates al Qaeda terrorists have been working on new shoe bomb designs, that's what prompted the Department of Homeland Security to warn airlines to be on the lookout.
While there's no specific target, the warning pertains to flights from at least 25 cities overseas into the U.S. -- Johannesburg, Paris, London, Cairo, cities in the Middle East are on the list. This is not believed to be connected to the recent warning about toothpaste bombs like this one.
But there's one man, a 31-year-old college dropout named Ibrahim al- Asiri who one U.S. official says could be connected to this threat. Here's what terrorism experts say about him.
KEN BALLEN, FORMER COUNTERTERROR PROSECUTOR: This has his signature all over it. This is just the kind of device he is trying to build and has built in the past.
TODD: U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN Ibrahim al-Asiri is, quote, "the bomb bombmaker we know of in any al Qaeda affiliate."
They believe he's hiding in Yemen, operating in the shadows, working with the group al Qaeda in the Arabain Peninsula al-Asiri, intelligence officials say, designed the underwear bomb, which failed to detonate at the last minute on a Detroit bound plane in 2009.
And it was his printer cartridge bombs, which the following year got onto cargo planes bound for the U.s.
Demonstrations of those types of bombs show they could have brought down airliners.
While those plots were foiled, in each case al-Asiri displayed a frightening ability to get bombs past airport security. And experts say he's learned from his mistakes.
How determined is Ibrahim al-Asiri to kill Americans and their allies?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: This is a very cold customer. I mean, this is a guy who recruited a brother to go and do a suicide attack using an underwear bomb to kill a leading Saudi prince.
TODD: The Saudi counterterror chief survived that 2009 attack. Al- Asiri's brother, Abdullah, was killed. This video shows the brothers embracing just before the mission.
U.S. intelligence officials say they're hunting for Ibrahim al-Asiri, but...
BALLEN: Even if he is taken out, he is now training other recruits in the art of making these very sophisticated explosive devices, which can bypass normal airport security.
TODD: And al-Asiri has likely had access to military quality explosives and chemicals. Analysts say when al Qaeda captured a lot of territory in Yemen in 2011, it overran some military bases. Some of them have been taken back. But experts say Ibrahim al-Asiri likely had access to labs and other facilities which would have enhanced his capabilities.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: Now time now for your global weather forecast.
And an air quality update for our viewers in Beijing, an alert has been issued there. Let's get details with Mari Ramos. She joins me from the world weather center -- Mari.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. This is a little bit different. And this is the first time that we see this kind of alert issued since Beijing installed these -- or announced these new air quality measures to help people deal with the dirty air along the region.
We know we already use these things from -- we told you about this before, this is from the Environmental Protection Agency here in the U.S. that tells you, you know, that these are the standards for air quality, zero to 50 depending on the particles that are in the air from good to moderate all the way to the very end healthy to the hazardous levels.
Well, the air in Beijing on Thursday and most of the day on Friday has been during along these hazardous level lines, that's the latest one from the U.S. embassy in Beijing reporting at 378. But there are several areas that are reporting that.
On the ground, it looks like this. Take a look. I was saying, this is part of that new system that they have to help people deal with the pollution.
Now the alert right now is that a yellow in this new color coded system. And basically what that means is that they're telling people to stay indoors as much as possible. And they're telling people not to go outside and -- and if they do to wear masks and to avoid exercise, for example.
If the alert continues to advance and color to red or to orange, then there would be new measures or different measures that would come into play, including possibly even some traffic restrictions.
There's a lot of different things that come into play now with these new pollution advisories, so this is a new thing coming around for Beijing now.
As far as the weather, what happens when you have this kind of dry still air that kind of settles in -- remember we talked about this in the past, where you have that air that has sinking air, traps the particles closest to the ground, there's not a lot of mixing in the atmosphere like you would have, let's say back over here in western China where there's a lot of thunder storms and rain happening and snow. Well, that's not the case as we head into this area o f northeastern China. The very settled air makes for very still continues and that's why you have these air quality alerts. And this one, in particular lasts for the next three days. So I thought that was pretty interesting. I wanted to share that with you.
Drier air is ahead also for the Korean Peninsula and for Japan after - - you know, you guys have had so much snow over the last few days.
And the severe weather continues across parts of the U.S. from the Great Lakes all the way up into the northeast right now. The rain stretches from the eastern Great Lakes all the way down into the Gulf coast region. A lot of rain and thunderstorms popping up and even some tornadoes reported -- or the potential for tornadoes still remains isolated, anyway, across parts of the south.
Let's look at some video that we have from this region. The first video that we have from the U.S. is -- there you go, lightning. This is from Tennessee with these strong storms and even the tornado warnings that were issued in that area. A lot of lightning, a lot of downed trees, downed power lines, people that were left without power. And at least one tornado touching down in Illinois.
We have some other pictures to show you, this is of an accident, I believe -- yeah, there you see it, this fiery crash that happened also in Illinois before those storms rolled in, there was a lot of fog. And authorities think that that was to blame for the scary, scary situation of more than 20 cars, Kristie, that were piled up together in that.
As we head into the weekend, yeah that rain, come back over to the weather map, will continue across the eastern part of the U.S.
Rain, not snow for New York, which is quite a change after a record setting year -- back to you.
LU STOUT: All right, Mari Ramos there, thank you. Have a good weekend. Still to come right here on News Stream, there is a hot new trend coming down the runway this season. Some designers are taking a high tech approach to high fashion. We'll explain next.
LU STOUT: Welcome back. I just can't get over this head piece.
Now you might have heard about bold prints making their way down the runway, but what about designers who are printing their haute couture clothes? CNN's Laurie Segall has that.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY: This might look like your typical fashion show but here's the catch, we're not here to see designers like Oscar de la Renta or Versace, the designers we're seeing today have names like Makerbot and Adobe. And the items you see on this runway? They were 3D printed.
FAITH ROBINSON, 3D PRINTSHOW: It would actually be a revolutionary turning point for the way that clothes are not only envisaged, but worn and made.
SEGALL: The garments and accessories you are looking at weren't sewn, they were printed.
JULIAN HAKES, SHOE DESIGNER: I think the crossover between materials and technology is happening right now.
SEGALL: 3D printing is a technology that lets you digitally scan a design and then print a physical object layer by layer. the items are generally made of plastic.
HANNAH SOUKUP, DESIGNER: They can be so much more intricate. And they have the potential to be so much more intricate material wise and shape wise when you are able to design it.
SEGALL: This season, designers sent their models strutting down the runway in 3D printed gowns equipped with 3D printed undergarments.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a corset, a train and a skirt all together.
SEGALL: But let's be honest, no outfit is complete without shoes.
HAKES: I think the really exciting thing about this is kind of like, it's a little bit like iTunes for your feet. But maybe five years before it's there. So at some point yes, you'll just be able to put your foot size in, choose a pair of shoes or a garment or a hat. They'll be exactly the right size just for you.
SEGALL: The clothing came from computers. Some of the people lining the runway were wearing them as well. It's a growing trend. Recently a Victoria's Secret model got 3D printed angel wings for the company's annual fashion show.
The technology allows designers to try new ideas on their computer before printing the actual physical clothing.
ROBINSON: At the moment a haute couture outfit is very exclusive, but what if, with a body scan, you could have your own individually custom made item of clothing?
SEGALL: It's part of a trend designers call, "computational fashion."
ROBINSON: Computational fashion is already quite a developed field of practice. But we want to show that this is more than just method of design.
SEGALL: For those designers experimenting with 3D printing, the technology is a canvas for creativity
HAKES: It allows you to do things that you couldn't do through standard fabrication processes. So things that are too intricate for the hand, you know, down to tenths of a millimeter in size, things that are -- have too many undercuts, which is a technical term for trying to make something through a mold...
SEGALL: Laurie Segall, CNN Money, New York.
LU STOUT: And that is News Stream. But before we go we are seeing indications that the agreement between the government and opposition in Ukraine may have been signed. The German foreign ministry tweeted that it will happen shortly. We are chasing confirmation on this. We'll have much more on this in just a couple of minutes right here on CNN. Coming up next, World Business Today.