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Indian High Court Reinstates Anti-Homosexuality Law; U.N. Confirms Sarin Used in Syrian Gas Attacks; Winter Weather Threatens Syrian Refugees; Snow Falls on Cairo; Beyonce Releases Surprise; Prince Harry and Team Reach South Pole

Aired December 13, 2013 - 12:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: In India, some say this is a move that is taking the country back to the Dark Ages. India's highest court has reinstated a law that dates back to the 1800s that makes sex between consenting same-sex partners illegal.

CNN's Sumnima Udas has the story from New Delhi.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Proud, gay Indians who now say they fear being forced back into the closet. The supreme court's decision to uphold a law dating back to the 1860s deeming sex between consenting homosexual partners illegal has jolted the gay community in India.

RISHI RAJ, STYLIST: I'm just in a state of shock. It's not even pain or horror. I'm just shocked. How can you do that? It's almost like my country, my mother disowning me in this way.

UDAS: After a landmark lower court judgment in 2009 which decriminalized gay sex, many gays and lesbians said they felt relatively safe coming out.

VIJAY THAPA, ENTREPRENEUR: There was a sense of easing in the air. And that is when I think I came out to my family, my sisters and everybody. I know a lot of people who chose to become visible only after that.

UDAS: Hindu, Muslim and Christian organization who's challenge the law have praised the court's decision. Gay rights groups and their supporters deplore the setback.

THAPA: What this is going to do is push more and more people back, our parents also have, society has this added thing it is criminal. You cannot do it. And there will be more forced marriages, more suicides.

RAJ: We are the country of honor killings where parents think they own you and control you. Now the law says, I'm not going to protect.

UDAS: Now if caught having sex, they could be put behind bars for ten years or more. RAJ: A rapist gets seven years in the prison. We get a lifetime in all probability.

UDAS: Thapa and Raj have had very different experiences growing up gay in India, a country that remains deeply conservative about issues of sexuality. For Raj, immediate and total acceptance by his family. For Thapa, still a struggle.

THAPA: Gay is just a word for them. You know, you're gay? OK, but don't tell us what gay really means. So long that is maintained, everybody is happy because you don't make it difficult for them.

UDAS: It's a common thread amongst the homosexual community in India.

Actor and tarot card reader (inaudible) was a victim of vicious bullying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The breaking point was when a couple kids grabbed me and pinned me down on the floor and tried to feed me poison. So suicide has always been I've battled my entire life.

RAJ: The court had this opportunity of doing something fantastic yesterday. They had the opportunity of doing something brilliant and create setting an example of how things should be, how India as a country stands for human rights and is a secular place but you lost that opportunity.


UDAS: The government says the supreme court ruling will be reviewed. But until then, an uncertain future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just a temporary setback because the wheels are now in motion and things are now going to start changing in a big way.

UDAS: Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


MALVEAUX: Snow, cold and mud, as if life as a refugee was not hard enough, a winter storm compounding the squalor inside a Syrian camp.

That report just ahead.


MALVEAUX: Official confirmation came out today from the United Nations that chemical gas attacks were carried out in Syria in at least five instances.

Now, the report says the evidence is clear and convincing that this August attack in a suburb of Damascus involved the nerve agent sarin. Anti-government groups say about 1,300 people were killed in this one incident. The U.N. report does not identify who was responsible for any of those attacks. And much of the Middle East is getting hit with major winter storm. It is pretty amazing. It is making news everywhere. Already a difficult situation, even worse, however, for the thousands of refugees who have fled the civil war in Syria.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom actually visited one of those refugee camps inside Lebanon. This is what they're going through.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In slippers and sockless, the young girl trudges through snow, gathering what's left of it for water. She'll need it to cook with. These Syrian refugees thought life couldn't get much harsher. That was before the winter storm.

One of the biggest problems faced by the Syrian refugees who reside in Lebanon is that the Lebanese government won't allow for the construction of official camps. That's why you see makeshift camps like this.

Look at this. This is plastic tarp. This will barely keep out the rain, let alone the cold at a time like this. And the refugees that I've spoken with here today said that they're facing absolutely miserable conditions. You see around us the mud. There's snow. It's extremely cold, and the people are very concerned it's only going to get worse.

I asked these teenage boys what they fear most right now.

There's nothing for us to get warm with says Abdullah (ph). We need heating appliances explains Ahmed (ph). We need winter clothes for the kids. The adults can take the cold but the kids can't.

As the adults chop any firewood they can find, the children try to distract themselves from the cold. Some crave remnants of a childhood long forgotten and build a snowman. For others, the needs are more basic, seeking warmth as much as they do food.

We're freezing, this boy tells me.

I asked if he has clothes any warmer than what he's wearing.

No, he says simply.

In this place, anyone fortunate enough to have a blanket guards it. And as bad as it is here, a lot of refugees are telling me they feel lucky to be in the Bekaa Valley here in Lebanon, because just an hour and a half in that direction to the north of us up in the mountains, it's far worse, completely blanketed in snow. Here, residents say there are few reminders of any support.

As the sun begins to set, the fear is setting in. One of the worst winters on record has only just begun. For these desperate souls, the night ahead will be darker and colder than ever.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.


MALVEAUX: That is a tough story to watch.

A light dusting of snow fell today, right? No big deal because it's December but check this out. This is actually Cairo, in Cairo, Egypt, almost never snows in Cairo. Some people who live in the city, they say this is the first time in their lives they have actually seen snow in person. It is that cold. It actually turned to rain and slush in the city as the day wore on, but a few inches of snow actually stuck on the ground in the suburbs.

And how about this for a holiday surprise? A secret Beyonce album released at midnight, and it rocked, on the internet.

We're going to bring you details, up next.


MALVEAUX: All right. While you were sleeping last night, Beyonce shocked the world with her fifth studio album. Seventeen-time Grammy Award winner broke the news on Intragram with a video tease. This was a complete surprise to everybody. No promotions, no rumors. She released the self-titled album right at midnight on iTunes. Check it out.


MALVEAUX: All right. I want to bring in our entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner, who joins us.

Oh, come on, Nischelle, how did this happen? How did you not have the scoop on this? I mean how many people were involved for this thing to be quiet? Nobody knew anything about it and she just pulls this off at midnight?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, one of the things you have to know about Beyonce's camp is they are very tight-lipped. They keep everything on the low until she says --

MALVEAUX: How did that happen, Nischelle? Around the world she shot these videos.

TURNER: Exactly. She did. Well, it wasn't a secret that she was shooting the videos.


TURNER: It wasn't a secret that she was working on new music. None of that was a secret. The biggest secret was when this album was released.


TURNER: You know, it's a self-titled album called "Beyonce." And it's different because she's calling this a visual album. We haven't seen this much, Suzanne. This means that every song on the album comes with a music video.

So if you download this on iTunes, you also get three additional videos. So you've got 14 songs, 17 videos. And like I said, for now, you can only get this on iTunes and you can only buy it as a whole album, so you can't even download just single songs legally just yet. And, you know, it's already number one. You knew it was going to happen. It's already number one on iTunes right now.

MALVEAUX: Well, you heard the tunes, you heard the tunes, how does it sound? Do you like it?

TURNER: Yes. You know what, I love it. You -- if you've seen some of the commercials she's been doing lately, you know the Pepsi commercial where she does the "I'm a grown woman," that was a hint of one of the songs.

MALVEAUX: I didn't know you could sing, Nischelle?

TURNER: Well, I can't, but I try. I tried to give you a little taste. There's my Sasha Fierce impression. But that album is - or that song is on the album as well. And she's been giving us hints for about a year, releasing little snippets of songs, doing some new songs on tour, letting us know that she was working on new material, but not saying anything about when the actual album will drop.

This was her fifth studio album, the first one after she had had her baby. And if you listen to it, Blue Ivy is all over this album and she's also giving you little sneaks of her in the video. So, she's definitely giving you a little bit more of Beyonce personally than we're used to seeing. She really is.

MALVEAUX: Yes. And how did she - how did she have time to do all this? I mean she went around the world. And tell us where she hit some of those countries? Where did she actually do some shooting?

TURNER: Yes. Well, she's been shooting just about everywhere. Mind you, she is on the Mrs. Carter World Tour right now. So she's been shooting some of those videos on the world tour. She shot one of them with her daughter, Blue Ivy, in Brazil.

She's also been shooting - and you see the video that they're showing there now. That was at Coney Island this summer. And we actually knew she was shooting that because we saw a lot of pictures from that and also fans that were there at Coney Island when she was shooting this were posting pictures. And she had a dance off with some of the fans. She was having a good time. So we knew about that video as well. But 17 videos? That's a lot of - that's a lot of work.

MALVEAUX: Oh, yes. And we're enjoying these videos here. And I tell you, Nischelle, I've got people in the studio already who say, after the show is over, they're on the Internet, they're downloading the whole thing.

TURNER: Oh, yes. MALVEAUX: I mean they're not -- they're not waiting. They're not going to wait any longer. They're just going to --

TURNER: $15.99. It's going to cost you a little bit of money.

MALVEAUX: All right. Nischelle, thank you, appreciate it.


MALVEAUX: It's a huge weekend for China's space program. Now, they, literally shooting for the moon. Nobody on board. But a Chinese moon rover is scheduled to land on the moon tomorrow. It launched 11 days ago. And if all goes well, the spacecraft is going to touch down on the moon at about 10:00 tomorrow morning Eastern Time.

Now, it's a remote controlled robot. It's got cameras. It scoops to dig up soil samples. And if the mission succeeds, China is going to be only the third nation to reach the moon's surface after, of course, the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. The last lunar mission from earth was back in 1976.

And James Bond, he would have died young. It won't have been pretty. This is a serious medical study actually about alcohol and what it does to the body. The spy, who loved his martinis, occasionally made for - actually made for a good case study. How long James Bond and his liver would have lived. That is the study, up next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR: One medium dry vodka martini, mixed like you said, sir, and not stirred.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything else sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dry martini, lemon peel, shaken, not stirred.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I do something for you, Mr. Bond?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a drink. A martini, shaken not stirred.


MALVEAUX: All right, we've heard that line many times before. James Bond, smooth with the ladies, loved his martinis, but maybe just a little bit too much. Scientists in Britain, they went through all of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and did actually a serious medical study on how much the famous spy drank.

And it turns out, certainly looks like it was a lot. The scientists found that James Bond drank, on average, 92 units of alcohol a week. Now, what does that mean? It's about the equivalent of nine bottles of wine or nearly 300 beers a week. About four times what doctors call normal. In one book, "From Russia with Love," bond drank more than half that in just one day. They predict that the non-glamorous end for the fictional spy, of course, fictitious spy, liver problems that would have killed him by his mid 50s.

So this was actually a serious medical study. It was really meant to show how the Bond mystique really has a bit more of a grave outcome, if you will. They say that 2.5 million people die from alcohol-related liver problems every year and they wanted to show you by illustrating it with James Bond.

And when it comes to money, you can't take it with you. You know that. But the U.S. now lags behind other countries in the amount of inheritance that people expect to leave to their children. First of all, only 56 percent of Americans expect to leave any money to their heirs. For those who do, the average amount is $177,000. That is actually the sixth highest of any country. Now, the countries that rank higher than the U.S are Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, France and Taiwan.

Big news now from the bottom of the world. Britain's Prince Harry and a group of injured service men and women, they have actually reached the South Pole. That's right, their 200-mile frigid trek was a benefit for the Walking with the Wounded charity. Erin McLaughlin has the back story.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time in history, a prince has made it to the South Pole.

PRINCE HARRY OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I'll be going to the South Pole on Friday the 13th. Unlucky for some, but lucky for us.

MCLAUGHLIN: But Harry is not the only headline here. Twelve men and women, many of them amputees, have shown the world what injured veterans can achieve.

PRINCE HARRY (voice-over): I think everyone back home will appreciate the fact that just being able to walk 100 kilometers in these conditions with no legs is a pretty amazing feat in itself, but these guys always manage to set the bar a little bit higher than what is expected of them.

MCLAUGHLIN: Storms and altitude sickness may have delayed the grueling journey, but once underway, participants crossed over 200 miles of frozen terrain, endured temperatures of minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit, and pulled sleds weighing more than 165 pounds. Add to that the special considerations that come with war zone injuries. Kate Philp did two tours in Iraq for the British army, then lost her leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Now she is one of Prince Harry's teammates.

KATE PHILP, TEAM UK: For me personally, being a below knee amputee, I found that actually skiing is quite sort of easy on the leg, easier than walking. But what I have to be careful of is every night cleaning the leg, cleaning the liner (INAUDIBLE) and checking for any wounds, any abrasions, rubs, that kind of thing.

MCLAUGHLIN: It was supposed to have been a three-way international race between the United States, Canada and Australia and the United Kingdom, but seven days into the trek, doctors called off the racing element of the expedition for safety reasons.

ED PARKER, EXPEDITION DIRECTOR: Over the last couple of days, I felt a little uncomfortable with some of the stress being placed on the team members as a result of very harsh terrain conditions that we were encountering

MCLAUGHLIN: To Prince Harry, this was less about the competition and more about the journey and raising awareness.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


MALVEAUX: Pretty awesome journey there. Congratulations.

Thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now. Have a great weekend.