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Spacewalk to Fix ISS Pump; Christina Aguilera Fights World Hunger; Uganda Passes Anti-Gay Law; Toys Donated on MMA Fight Night

Aired December 24, 2013 - 12:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Still to come on AROUND THE WORLD, the emergency mission on the International Space Station, we're going to talk to a former astronaut who is the last person to handle the part that is being replaced right now -

HOLMES: Yeah, but it wasn't his fault.

MALVEAUX: -- in space.

But it wasn't his mistake, yeah, that's true.


CAPTAIN RENEE CHARITY CASSIDY (ph), U.S. AIR FORCE: Hey, Jacksonville, it's Captain Renee Charity Cassidy (ph) with the United States Air Force and Paxton High School class of '04.

Mom, happen holidays. No tears I'll be home soon.

And, Dad, I can't get you the '76 Mustang this year.

Jacksonville, keep my family safe, and go, Jaguars!



MALVEAUX: All right. We might be feeling a little festive, eggnog, mistletoe on Earth. A little different aboard the International Space Station. Watch this.


RICK MASTRACCHIO, ASTRONAUT: It's like Christmas morning opening up a little present here.



HOLMES: That's quite a present. That's astronaut Rick Mastracchio as he prepares to fix a faulty pump on the International Space Station.

So, what is this is Christmas Eve mission in space like?

MALVEAUX: We wanted to know from someone who actually knows firsthand.

We are joining by Colonel Ron Garan. He is a former astronaut with four spacewalks under his belt.

Ron, it's so good to have you here. You actually handled that pump module that the astronauts worked on today. So give us a sense of what are they actually doing here.

COLONEL RON GARAN, U.S. AIR FORCE (RETIRED): They're switching out this pump which is responsible for a lot of the cooling the things on the International Space Station.

A lot of equipment both inside and outside the station require cooling. The way we do that on the space station is through ammonia.

That ammonia is on the outside of the space station. So we have two redundant systems. The system that failed is on the starboard side of the space station.

And you know, we have a flow control valve in there that failed. So we have to replace the whole pump module, about 800 pounds. It's a big box, basically.

HOLMES: Yeah, as we were talking yesterday, it's weightless in space, but it is bulky, and you've got to be careful what you're doing.

Earlier, I know you've been following this, I think we heard them say they were connecting the fourth of four pipes, or how does it work?

What are they doing now? They're, what, five hours into the mission?

GARAN: Yeah, a little bit over five-and-a-half hours into the mission.

They have these connectors that basically connect the fluid lines that go through the pump, and they are bulky, as you said. They're under pressure, and so, you know, you have to think about this.

Not only is there pressure inside the lines, but there's pressure inside your suit, as well.

You've got this big, bulky suit. You're fighting against the pressure on the inside of your suit, and it really takes a lot of physical force.

MALVEAUX: And tell us about those suits because we had heard one of the astronauts had a problem with his suit on Saturday that there was a leak involved and that the astronaut really needed to get cooled down.

Give us a sense of how old are these suits and what are they meant to do?

GARAN: Well, first of all, there was not a leak on the suit on -- I've heard it reported that there was, but actually, this is just a normal system on board that interfaces -- excuse me -- interfaces with the vacuum of space. And that's one of the things that helps cool the astronauts. Excuse me.

But there was a mis-configuration on the switch in that particular case.

HOLMES: Ron -- you've got what Suzanne has got and that is a bit of a cough. We're going to let you cough, and we'll get back to you a little later.

Ron Garan, Colonel Ron Garan, thanks so much. We'll get -- we'll check in with you.

MALVEAUX: We'll be watching it as it unfolds. Thank you so much.

GARAN: My pleasure.

MALVEAUX: We appreciate it.

Everybody's struggling with the coughing at every commercial break.

HOLMES: You're going to give it to me.

MALVEAUX: I hope not.

Millions of people AROUND THE WORLD actually go hungry this holiday season, but singer Christina Aguilera has become the voice for them.

Chris Cuomo takes a look how she is actually trying to make an impact.


CHRISTINA AGUILERA, SINGER: Twinkle, twinkle, little star --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christina Aguilera is lending a hand and her voice in the fight against world hunger.

The Grammy winner says becoming a mother played a key role in her decision to get involved.

AGUILERA: When I look at my son, I realize all the opportunities that he has around him.

Every child deserves the chance to dream and to hope.

CUOMO: Aguilera recently traveled to Rwanda as an ambassador for the U.N. World Food Programme.

AGUILERA: It's so lovely to see them smile and their eyes light up and for them to be eager to get a good education and in the long term try to provide for their family and break the cycle of going hungry.

CUOMO: This is Aguilera's third trip with the World Food Programme. She previously visited Guatemala and Haiti.

AGUILERA: Why not do all I can to give these children a voice of their own, to be heard and to have the same opportunities everyone else should have?

-- like a diamond in the sky ...


HOLMES: Yeah. Amazing. Good stuff.

MALVEAUX: According to the World Food Programme, it only takes $50 to feed a child a meal every day for an entire year.

HOLMES: It really raises awareness when people like her go down there because we're talking about it, we're showing problems down there.

You can go to to find more.


MALVEAUX: It is being called a witch hunt. Many in Uganda's gay community say they are now living in fear after a harsh anti-gay bill was passed by the country's parliament.

HOLMES: And it's not been easy to live as a gay person in that country for a long time anyway, but this bill in essence, if it is signed by Uganda's president, and that has not happened yet, would make gay officially a crime.

MALVEAUX: Jim Clancy has more on the proposed law as well as the backlash.


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In Uganda, being gay could soon result in imprisonment for life.

The country's parliament passed the anti-homosexuality bill which toughens penalties for certain homosexual acts park paing fear among the gay community and causing some to flee the country.

The bill proposes a 14-year prison term for first offenders and life in prison for serial offenders, sex with minors, and acts where one is infected with HIV.

But it also punishes anyone who promotes, funds or sponsors homosexuality with seven years behind bars.

One member of parliament says it's about preserving Uganda's culture.

DAVID BAHATI, UGANDAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Speaker of parliament for their courage and providing leader assumption to defend the children of Uganda and the cause for humanity, to protect our marriages to defend our culture and to defend the future of our children.

CLANCY: Parliament has been under pressure to pass this bill from many evangelical churches.

It was first introduced in 2009. That bill called for the death penalty. The bill has faced much criticism, especially in the West.

Last year, Germany cut off aid to Uganda, citing this bill as a major concern.

One Ugandan gay activist says that the lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender community will continue to fight for equal rights.

PEPE ONZIEMA, LGBT RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Whether you pass the bill or not, we're not going to -- it's not going to change us from being LGBT, from being gay, it's not going to stop us from speaking out. It's not going to stop us from showing our faces.

So we come out here today to show you that we're still here, we're resilient and we're challenging this bill.

CLANCY: The Ugandan president now has to sign this bill before it can be go into effect. Uganda is one of 36 African nations where homosexuality is illegal.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: Actually in the last few minutes we got news that the U.S. State Department has weighed in and condemning that bill, as well.

MALVEAUX: And we are just hours away from Christmas, people everywhere are getting ready to celebrate with their loves ones.

And up next, going to take you across the world and share some of the most unique holiday celebrations.


CHAPLAIN LANCE (ph): Hello, this is Chaplain Lance (ph) from KNB Kuwait.

I want to say hello to my family members, my wife Tamra (ph), my daughter Kazia (ph), my daughter Takari (ph), my beautiful mom and dad, Wayne Adams.

Hello, I'm enjoying the season here and I hope you're enjoying the season there. I would love to see a care package, but anyway, happy holidays.



MALVEAUX: Beautiful looking at live pictures from Bethlehem.


MALVEAUX: Lights, ceremony. Really wonderful time.

HOLMES: Had a Christmas eve there years and years ago in Bethlehem there in the West Bank, a really remarkable place to mark the occasion.

MALVEAUX: For many children around the world, Christmas the most magical time of the year here in the U.S. we've got all kinds of traditions to celebrate the holiday season from kissing under the mistletoe, attending midnight mass, dressing up our houses with spectacular decorations and people around the world having all kinds of ways of celebrating Christmas.

HOLMES: Indeed.

Joining us now to talk about some of these traditions as CNN editorial producer Nadia Bilchik.

Where are you starting? Japan.

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: I'm starting in Japan, because KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken have done a brilliant job of marketing so that Christmas is synonymous with Japan. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Kentucky. Christmas with Kentucky.

And interesting, it started in around is the '70s and please understand the Japanese, the majority are not Christian, they may be knowledge religious or Shinto or Buddhists but here on Christmas Day, they will line up around Kentucky Fried Chicken and even order their KFC two months in advance.


HOLMES: A masterpiece of marketing.

BILCHIK: Exactly, a masterpiece of marketing.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, you're from South Africa. What do they do?

BILCHIK: It's summer in South Africa. They often have a braaivleis which is barbecue and I don't know what they call it in Australia, but the idea of the braaivleis is you cook the meat so there will be lots of barbecue and lots of wine and au in the outdoors on beaches. They may slaughter a lamb and drink home brewed beer.

HOLMES: Very similar in Australia where I grew up. Our tradition was to have a seafood barbecue, go down and get fresh seafood the day before, have a seafood barbecue and we all went surfing. And everyone else hung out on the beach.

BILCHIK: And note he says barbecue, I say barbecue.

MALVEAUX: We do a gumbo at my house. We do a gumbo and often sled and that kind of thing.

BILCHIK: It's winter. Australia and South Africa, it's summer.

But then I'm going to take you to the Czech Republic. Wonderful traditions.

HOLMES: Great beer. BILCHIK: Great beer, of course, how could we getting that?

What they do, let's say a woman wants to get married in the upcoming year. At the December, she'll put a cherry twig in water. If it blossoms by Christmas, it's a good omen.

Now, they'll also take a shoe and throw it towards the door. If the heel of the shoe goes toward the door it's not a good thing.

HOLMES: If it hits her boyfriend, that's a bad thing.

BILCHIK: Probably, or if the boyfriend hits her with the shoe equally true.

MALVEAUX: It's not going to work.

BILCHIK: Exactly. Then in Italy, they don't have a traditional Christmas tree. It's blocks that form the tree. Wooden blocks and then you put the fruit and ornaments around that.

But imagine being in Vatican City right now. In Vatican square. In just two hours time, you're waiting for that midnight mass, and for the pope to come out and deliver the midnight mass message. So that's one place, one Christmas I think I would like to be.

I don't know if you saw earlier the beautiful nativity scene and the Pope.

But one Christmas tradition, universal around the world, and hundreds of millions of people will be doing that tonight and that is the Christmas --


HOLMES: Gifts, yes.

BILCHIK: For Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: Oh, you shouldn't have.


And for Suzanne Malveaux, a very merry Christmas or as some say happy (SPEAKING FOREIGH LANGUAGE)

HOLMES: We're nothing if not inclusive.

Is this South African biltong?

BILCHIK: That is the idea of the gift and you have to open it tonight.

HOLMES: Suzanne has our gift to you. She'll give it to you later.

BILCHIK: Every time I talk to you.

MALVEAUX: We're running a little bit behind schedule. Of course, we dress in Christmas wear at red and the black.

HOLMES: I was doing that tomorrow.

MALVEAUX: Michael.

HOLMES: I was doing that tomorrow on Christmas Day.

MALVEAUX: All right.

BILCHIK: Your red tie and sharp black suit.

Michael, you were saying for your children, they gave you a list of what they wanted. So you didn't have to come up with gifts.

HOLMES: You and I were talking about this earlier. The older the kids get, mine are 14 and 15, it's not sort of go out and buy them something they'll be surprised. They give you a list.

MALVEAUX: They hand you the list.

BILCHIK: The older they get, the more expensive the gift.

We were saying electronics, that's the big thing.

MALVEAUX: I'm giving you my list now.

BILCHIK: That's probably around the world.

MALVEAUX: I'm sure it is.

Merry Christmas. Thank you. We appreciate it.

HOLMES: Good stuff. Nadia Bilchik there.

This is something you've been working on, professional fighters, right?

MALVEAUX: That's right. They are paid to hurt opponents. But when it comes to the holidays, it is all about the giving. We'll show you how the mixed martial arts is the teaming up with another group.

HOLMES: On a more peaceful note as we go to break, Bethlehem in the West Bank.


HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.

Mixed martial arts fighters known for their toughness in the ring, I think it's a brutal sport but it's a bit different at Christmastime, isn't it?

MALVEAUX: It's all about the kids teaming up with Toys for Tots, fans got to show a little bit of their heart on fight night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX (voice-over): When you think of mixed martial arts, you probably think of this. And not this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks to all of you that brought a toy in tonight. The kids will love it on Christmas morning.

MALVEAUX: But for past five years, Ultimate Fighting Championship promoter David Oblas and Toys for Tots coordinator A.T. Wilson collaborated to ensure all local children have a present to unwrap on Christmas day.

DAVID OBLAS, PROMOTER FOR NFC FIGHTS: Everyone wants to contribute to Toys for Tots, everyone wants to donate something. So, they figured Toys for Tots was a great cause around the holidays. You know, it's cool for us to give back.

People don't associate violence with Toys for Tots and we made it work together.

CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER A.T. WILSON, COORDINATOR FOR ATLANTA TOYS FOR TOTS: We got together and Fight Night was born. Every year, he's done that since and they fill an entire tractor-trailer each and every year, full of toys.

OBLAS: Here at the NFC fights, it's simple. You bring a toy, you get in free. There's no percentage given to toys for to the. It's 100 percent. You donate a toy, that toy is going to the kids.

MALVEAUX: Several fighters have made this event an annual custom, as well. Undefeated MMA fighter Chazz "The Hybrid' Walton has made fight night a tradition and it continues to hold a special place in his heart.

CHAZZ "THE HYBRID" WALTON, MIXED MARTIAL ARTS FIGHTER: I fought at Toys for Tots last year. That's when I actually asked my wife to marry me. I like doing Toys for Tots because it's charity. It has a big draw. There's a lot of people here.

MALVEAUX: "Southside" Steve Rickman has hosted the event since its inception, at Wild Bill's in 2008, and it feels it's a great way to end the year.

"SOUTHSIDE" STEVE RICKMAN, ROCK 100.5: I've been fortunate because I have friends in the service to actually see them go to homes where they handed out toys and gave them to parents with tears in the driveway knowing their kids' Christmas morning would go have toys and believe Santa had come for them.

MALVEAUX: But the work doesn't end on fight night. Beginning in October and continuing nonstop until Christmas, Toys for Tots has a large undertaking.

WILSON: We're not charity experts. We're United States Marines. We have this other thing we do for a living. So, but this is great that -- it's a great opportunity for us and it also promotes the Marine Corps in a positive way. MALVEAUX: So next time you donate a toy or place a monetary donation, know that it truly makes a difference.

RICKMAN: I can't imagine a child waking up and not having a toy at Christmas and for that, I mean, that's all that matters. It's all about the children.


MALVEAUX: That's so nice. Our floor directors did all of that. She makes sure we stay in line but she also shot that and interviewed.

HOLMES: Now, I know she watches mixed martial arts, I'm going to be polite to her, too. I don't know about you --

MALVEAUX: It's wonderful to see.

HOLMES: That's a rough thing to watch, I'll tell you, mixed martial arts.

What are you doing for Christmas?

MALVEAUX: Going home. Going to be with my family.

HOLMES: Good for you.

MALVEAUX: Take off tonight.

HOLMES: So, you take tomorrow off.

MALVEAUX: Yes, I'm not working anymore.

HOLMES: And I'll be here.

MALVEAUX: Merry Christmas to you.

HOLMES: Merry Christmas to you.

MALVEAUX: Happy holidays to all of you. And we're going to leave this hour here with live shots from Bethlehem, the celebrations, the Christmas celebrations there. The lights, the festivities, the prayers, as the whole city --