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U.K. and U.S. Call Out Russia In A Rare Joint Statement; Russia Inspectors To Visit Suspected Gas Attack Site Wednesday; Russians Buy E.U. Citizenship In Cyprus; Judge: Cohen's Legal Team Can Review Seized Records; Class Action Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition Tool; World Headlines; Outrage in India; Scientists Accidentally Developed Plastic-Eating Enzyme; Sister Of "Nut Rage" Heiress Under Investigation; Choi Eun-hee Dies. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 17, 2018 - 08:00   ET



KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, and welcome to News Stream.


LU STOUT: A global cyber security alert, the U.S. and U.K. issue a warning about Russian hackers. Playing the blame game, Russia and the West trade

new accusations over the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

And destroying plastic with an enzyme, a scientist may have found a way to fight one of the world's worst pollution problem, and they did it by



LU STOUT: And we begin with a rare urgent joint warning, the U.S. and Great Britain are issuing an alert about potential attacks on the very

fabric of the internet.

Now U.S. and U.K. cyber experts say malicious Russian hackers are targeting millions of devices around the world. In a statement, the U.S. and the

U.K. said this, quote, the U.S. and U.K. government have high confidence that Russian state-sponsored cyber actors were behind this malicious cyber

activity that's in to exploit network infrastructure devices.

This activity threatens the safety, security, and economic well-being of the U.S., U.K., and international allies. The warning, this type of device

is being targeted by those that most internet travel through like routers and switches.

Hackers, they have been able to cripple firewalls and network intrusion detection systems. Now Russia is denying involvement. Let's go straight

to CNN's Erin McLaughlin for more on this story.

She is live for us from our London bureau. And, Erin, this alert again was issued by both the U.S. and the U.K., very unusual, walk us through their

joint warning.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is extremely unusual, Kristie, and unprecedented. In fact, this is the first time the United Kingdom and the

United States have issued this kind of joint statement.

Now the purpose of the alert according to officials, is really two fold, to alert the industry around the world that they need to beef up their

security, and then the second reason for the alert is to call out the Kremlin.

Officials say they have, quote, high confidence that the Russian government has been behind this campaign that they say has been going on since 2015.

And now today, the Australian government weighing saying, that it believe some 400 Australian companies have been targeted as part of this campaign,

as well the Minister of Defense there in Australia saying, that they do not believe though that there has been, quote, exploitation of significance.

It's currently unclear at this point how many devices have been compromised, although U.S. and U.K. officials say they believe that

millions have been targeted, and part of what they're saying they believe hackers have been doing is simply scanning the internet to find these


Once they are found, and then tricking the devices in some cases to handing over critical login details. Once they have those login details, then the

device is in their control. According to officials, one U.S. official calling it, quote, a tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary.

Now Russia has responded to all of those, denying the allegations, the Russian Embassy here in United Kingdom put out a statement. Let me read

part of it you saying, quote, we are disappointed by the fact that such serious claims have been made publicly without any proof being presented,

and without any attempt by the United Kingdom to clarify the situation with the Russian side in the first place.

The timing of this joint U.K.-U.S. alert of course is raising some eyebrows, although U.S. and British officials saying this has nothing to do

with that military strikes in Syria over the weekend, which outraged Russian officials, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yes, they may say that the timing is very interesting. Erin McLaughlin reporting live for us from London, thank you. Now let's bring

in TechRepublic's U.K. Editor-in-Chief Steve Ranger.

Steve, thank you for joining us here in the program. There is a lack of detail in this warning, so we really need your expertise here. First,

let's talk about the nature of this attack. Just how sophisticated is it?

STEVE RANGER, U.K. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, TECHREPUBLIC: Well, basically, this isn't very sophisticated at all. What the warning had suggested is that,

Russian state-backed hackers are looking at routers and switches, the pieces of the internet that run the networking bits.

So we are not talking about your PC, or your smartphone, or you tablet being hacked. We are talking someone trying to make a break in to your Wi-

Fi router, or the router in your office. Now the way they are trying to do it isn't actually that sophisticated.

There is no special malware or zero-day exploits, which we all can see if they really hold the attacks. This is just basically going after systems

that have been updated, or have poor security.

[08:05:00] And from what I can see, this has just been gathering up as many devices as possible. It kind of doesn't matter where they are, whether in

the home, or in the office, or in the government department, or wherever, and just having access to lots, and lots of devices.

LU STOUT: And what's being reported in this alert, millions of these devices -- vulnerable devices having breaches result. I want to get you

thought on the timing of this joint warning. It comes during this downward spiral of relations between Russia, and the West, what do you make of the

timing of this?

RANGER: Sure. I think that this alert comes at a time of the increased kind of like pressure. I think what's interesting is, this whole attack

has been going on for long time. This report mentions things that have been happening over the last couple of year.

But in reality, this kind of probing attack, this kind of staff has been happening for years, and years, and years -- the decades even, and it's not

just Russians, and of course, you know, any intelligence agency will always be probing the infrastructure of the world around them, to try and find out

where they could insert something they needed to.

So I think the summary is interesting because this is long-term campaign that's been going on, this in particular must be going on for years, and

this whole idea of probing other people's network, probing their routers, probing anything you can get hold off, that's been happening for decades.

LU STOUT: This is interesting. This is a long-term campaign. These probing attacks have been going on for decades, and now we have this new

warning from the U.K. and the U.S. So how prepared are these governments not just to share a warning, and to raise the alarm, but actually fight the

threat, to counter this threat posed by Russian hackers today?

RANGER: Sure. Well, the public problem is that most people's internet is actually massively secure, chances are, the password in their router is

probably 1, 2, 3 or password, or something like that.

So, actually, tackling a threat like this is about internet security, it's about people taking responsibility, checking they haven't got a completely

easy to guess password, or making sure their systems have patched up data, so many people have systems that need the patch is being installed, they

haven't done.

That is a sort of thing that these hackers are exploiting, basic failures in security. They are not using anything particularly smart, they are

using some incredibly well-crafted malware.

They're just using the basic kind of like -- they are using the laziness of people against them to infect their systems. So really, that's why this

is, you know, I guess a warning to these Russia-backed hackers, that these intelligence agencies know what they are doing.

This is also a reminder to the rest of the world to improve their I.T. security, to go out there and patch that thing, or replace the old route

that's being so long there, that it doesn't work very well, and do that kind of thing.

LU STOUT: Yes. Absolutely. This is a reminder not just to governments, but to individuals. We got to patch up. Steve Ranger, we will leave at

that. Thank you so much for joining us. Take care.

Now to Syria now where it has been more than a week since that suspected gas attack, and international inspectors are still struggling to gain

access. The U.S. and U.K blame the Syrian regime, and Russia for the delay.

Moscow in turn, blames Western strikes, saying inspectors will be able to get inside Douma on Wednesday. The issue is causing growing international

attention, and American official says he is worried that Russia may have tampered with the site.

Moscow denies that, and a Russian official intern accuses the White Helmet volunteer group of faking a chemical attack, claims it denies.

This as it remains unclear if President Trump will impose new sanctions on Russia. The Washington Post says the White House is continuing to debate

the matter, contradicting more decisive indications from the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Now, we are covering all sides of the story. We've got Nic Robertson in Moscow. But first to Fred Pleitgen in Beirut. And, Fred, is it time of

the essence here for this team of OPCW weapons experts to get in to Douma, and to find out definitively what happened there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that certainly is the essence, and the big question is, Kristie, whether or not they will be able to find

out definitely what exactly happened there. The two things they supposed to find out, of course, is first of all, whether or not, chemical weapons

or weaponized chemicals were used in that alleged attack.

And then, which chemicals it might have been. Of course, the ones that have been named, both by France -- or by all three, by France, the U.K.,

and by the U.S. have been chlorine, and then possibly also sarin as well as.

So those are the things that go and try to find out. What they won't to try to do is assign blame to say who may have used those chemicals. But of

course, the more time that goes by, the more difficult it will be for them to find out exactly what happened.

Because of course, chemical team says intend to dissipate, there are people that could indeed tamper with the places where all this happened. We know

that the Russians have had access to that site. But they've got access to that site, Kristie, I would say since about a week.

So they have been on the ground there. They say they have this specialist there. They went into Douma about two days after the actual alleged attack

happened, and started working, and start to also asking around the area.

Now they say that they have no indication that an attack even happen, then of course, they also try to assign blame to the White Helmets as well. So

this is really a murky situation on the ground, and the one thing that could potentially clear up would be the presidents -- would be the presence

of the OPCW there.

[08:10:02] But as we've seen, that's easier said than done. There are several things that of course are still in the way. It seems as though the

permissions seem to be an issue both from the Syrian government, as well as from the U.N. that provides the vehicles for the OPCW.

So it's mission that really is slow to get off the ground, and already -- seems to be somewhat tainted with Western governments already saying they

are not sure whether or not the access of the OPCW is going to -- how is it going to yield the kind of results that are need to get clarity as to what

happened there.

LU STOUT: Yes, absolutely. It is a murky situation, as you put it, we need answers on these weapons experts, and they need access. Fred Pleitgen

reporting live from Beirut, thank you.

Now let's bring up Nic Robertson, who is standing by in Moscow. And, Nic, what is Russia saying about when the OPCW can gain access to Douma?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, fascinating isn't it, Kristie? Because if you just look back at the beginning of the weekend, when both

the Russians and the Syrian were saying, absolutely, get the weapons inspectors in here fast, we can give them access, we control that area, we

can make it safe, and we can give them security, the Syrian government was taking about just how fast it was issuing visas in Belgium for these OPCW


Yet here they are in Damascus, sitting there since Saturday evening or late Saturday afternoon, their vehicles was seen driving into a hotel in the

central Damascus, sitting there ever since.

We are told that they have been able to interview some of the witnesses who have been bought from that area to the place where the OPCW inspectors are

waiting to get access.

So we've been told that they had access to witnesses there, and not quite clear who those witnesses are, precisely on the conditions under which they

have been brought pulled in front of OPCW inspectors.

But what Russian officials are saying is that today, Tuesday, they are using today for the Russian and Syrian security services to go into Douma

and make sure it's safe for the weapons inspectors to go there.

Yes, there were international journalists in Douma. Some of them are reporting that they were walking around freely around the center of Douma

on Monday. Yes, it's calling into question, and of course all the slow apparent, slow ruling by -- the situation by the Russians and Syrians is

calling into question.

The legitimacy of the access that their finally going give to the OPCW, the French Foreign Minister this afternoon saying that he was afraid that the

evidence of the alleged chemical weapons attack might disappear.

And that as Fred was mentioning, you know, the slow rolling of allowing these inspectors in, in a way, you know, begins to sort of distract

attention from the very fact that they are going in to see if chemical weapons were used, and what weapons.

And that distracts from the very fact that just a few days ago, Britain, France, the United States, others at the Security Council were demanding

that Russia and the Syrians allow an inspection team who could assign blame for who was responsible.

So by the time you get the end of Wednesday, you are looking at a scenario likely, and who witness this sort of thing before, where the international

community will also say, well, thank goodness, those weapons inspectors went in. But they -- that falls far bellow the threshold they were

demanding just several days ago.

LU STOUT: Yes, because right now, we don't need distractions. We need answers, and to find out what was deploy in Douma. Nic Robertson reporting

live for us in Moscow, thank you so much for your reporting, take care.

Now, money may not buy love or happiness, but on Cyprus 2 million Euros will get you a passport, and with it, E.U. citizenship. An estimated

40,000 Russians have taken advantage of the rule by purchasing luxury real estate on the island. CNN's Matthew Chance is here to tell us all about

it. He joins us now. Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, (Inaudible) you join me here on this incredible beach in Limassol in southern Cyprus, and some many 70

Russians that have come to live here, somewhere in the region of 40,000 on this island, and the majority of them here in Limassol is become known as

the Limassolgrad or Moscow on sea (ph).

The concern though is that so much money is coming in from Russia into this Mediterranean island, and this European Union country of Cyprus, they are

buying not just property, not just passports, but also a considerable amount of political influence.



Come on in.

CHANCE: Wow, this is -- this is incredible.

Thank you. This is only to me, a lifestyle.

CHANCE (voice-over): Welcome to the 16 story Olympic Tower in Limassol, luxury condo in Cyprus were anyone with a few million dollars can owned a

top of the range Pentax, plus an important extra.

(on camera): And of course for that money.


CHANCE: For that money, you get a lot more than just an apartment, don't you, in this country?

[08:15:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.

CHANCE: Is -- do you get a passport?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A passport is very important, of course.

CHANCE (voice-over): More like the key attraction for the mainly Russian buyers, there was so many this corner of Cyprus has been nicknamed

Limassolgrad, so huge money spend for the separate government, owning billions of dollars in Russian revenue.

(on camera): It is like Moscow on the sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moscow in the sea, exactly.

CHANCE (voice-over): But Russia is buying far more than just a slice of sunny real estate. It is buying influence, according to the editor for the

leading Cypriot newspaper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This great economic influence from Cyprus, from the Russians. That is why, sometimes the influence of the politicization of

our government, of our parties are key.

CHANCE: Do you think that is why Cyprus was one of the minority of European Union countries that for instance, did not expel Russian diplomats

after the Skripal poisoning in Britain. Was that a factor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I believe, yes.

CHANCE: And over the weekend use of the British military base here in Akrotiri near Limassol to launch air strikes on Russia's Syrian ally as

perplex Cypriot.

Sparking protests are in fears that their country may be dragged into the Syrian conflict, even face retaliation strikes from Russian missiles

station a little more with a hundred miles away in Syria.

Well, these protesters outside the U.S. embassy here in Nicosia are chanting anti-war slogans, more specifically anti-NATO slogans. Look at

the sign over here.

Hands off Syria, they are not talking about the Russians to the reference to the recent U.S., French, and British strikes against Syrian chemical

weapons facilities. Something of course that the Russians would vigorously opposed to. This is just the latest examples of how Cyprus and E.U.

country seems increasingly torn between Russia and the West.


CHANCE: Well, Kristie, one of the most consistent themes of Russian foreign policy, or its efforts to try and undermine Western institutions

like NATO, like the European Union, and because of the huge influx of Russian cash in into Cyprus, the concern here is that's exactly what's

playing out, that Russia is using the influence to undermine those key Western institutions, at least in the case of European Union, of which

Cyprus is a member.

LU STOUT: Wow, the many forms of Russian influence can take. Matthew Chance on the story for us live from Cyprus. Thank you, Matthew.

Now you're watching News Stream, and still ahead, an explosive day in a New York court as Donald Trump's personal lawyer reveals the surprising

identity of one of his other clients.

We will tell you who that is. Plus, more legal problems for Facebook over the claims that is violating user privacy, we've got details on the actions

lawsuit against the social media giant coming up.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, welcome back, this is News Stream. Now U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to welcome Japan's

Prime Minister to his Mar-a-Lago resort this afternoon.

Shinzo Abe and his wife are on their way to Florida right now. North Korea's nuclear challenge is likely to dominate the talks, but trade will

also be high in the agenda. Both leaders are hoping a successful summit will ease, political pressure building at home.

Also, a major development in the criminal investigation in U.S. President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, now a federal judge has allowed

all size to review information seized by the FBI raids on Cohen's properties before deciding how the documents will be used in the case. And

in a stunning revelation, Cohen reveals the name of a secret client. CNN's Brynn Gingras has more.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A federal judge rejecting a motion by President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to stop investigators

from reviewing records seized by the FBI last week when they raided Cohen's home, office, and hotel room.

CNN has learned that federal agents took 10 boxes of documents, and as many as a dozen electronic devices from Cohen. Sources tell CNN they could

include records related to the hush-money payment Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged affair with President Trump.

The judge allowing Cohen's and Trump's legal teams to determine what they believe should be protected under attorney-client privilege before

investigators go through it. The judge indicating she may be open to allowing an independent lawyer to review the records.

The legal showdown overshadowed by a bombshell revelation in court. Audible gasps when the judge ordered Cohen's attorney to reveal the

identity of his third unnamed client as one of the President's most ardent supporters, Fox News host, Sean Hannity.

Cohen's two other clients, President Trump, and Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, who acknowledged paying a Playboy model $1.6 million, a

deal Cohen arranged.

In response to the media frenzy, Hannity denies retaining Cohen as an attorney, but admits that seeking his legal advice about what he says were

mostly real-estate matters.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Michael Cohen never represented me in any legal matter. I never retained his services. I never received an invoice.

I never paid Michael Cohen for legal fees.

GINGRAS: But earlier on his radio show, the Fox News Host suggesting those conversations were protected under attorney-client privilege.

HANNITY: I might have handed him 10 bucks. I definitely want attorney- client privilege on this, something like that.

GINGRAS: On a nightly basis, Hannity repeatedly blasts the Special Counsel's investigation.

HANNITY: We have now entered a dangerous new phase, and there's no turning back from this. Mueller is out to get the President, and it appears at any

cost. This is now officially an all-hands-on-deck effort to totally malign, and if possible, impeach the President of the United States.

GINGRAS: But Hannity has never disclosed his connection to Cohen. Law professor Alan Dershowitz schooled Hannity last night on his show.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAW PROFESSOR: You could have said just that you had asked him for advice or whatever, but I think it would have been much, much

better, had you disclosed that relationship.

GINGRAS: The drama didn't stop there. Stormy Daniels swarmed by the press as she walked into the courthouse. Daniels telling reporters after...

STORMY DANIELS, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law. That ends now. My attorney and I are

committed to making sure that everyone finds out the truth, and the facts of what happened, and I give my word that we will not rest until that


GINGRAS: Her attorney, shocked by the Hannity revelation, now says it's just a matter of time before Cohen turns on the President.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: If I had to place a bet right now on the sun coming up tomorrow or Michael Cohen ultimately

flipping on the President, I would bet on Michael Cohen flipping on the President.


GINGRAS: The U.S. attorney's office says it's been working on this criminal investigation into Michael Cohen's personal and business dealings

for months.

But now, a bit of a slowdown as all parties need to review these seized documents, and then come back to court, and then the judge has to make her

final ruling, and that could take several weeks. Kristie.

LU STOUT: Brynn, thank you. Now, the United States is cracking down on one of China's biggest tech companies, the Department of Commerce is

banning smartphone seller, and network equipment maker ZTE from buying parts and software from American firms for the next seven years.

U.S. officials said the tech giant lied to them about punishing employees who violated U.S. sanctions against North Korea and Iran. And it comes in

a growing economic tension between Washington and Beijing with both sides threatening tariffs with billions of dollars against the other.

[08:25:04] More legal woes for Facebook, the social media company now faces a class-action lawsuit over claims that it violated users' privacy by using

facial recognition without explicit consent.

The tool suggests names for people identifies and pictures uploaded by users. Facebook says the case has no merit. It is already under intense

scrutiny for data breach involving more than 80 million people.

Now CNN tech correspondent Samuel Burke joins me now live from London with more on this story. And, Samuel, let's talk about the technology at the

center of this class-action lawsuit, how does Facebook use facial recognition on its platform?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: This all has to do with the tagging suggestions feature. If you ever uploaded a picture of well you and me,

Kristie, to Facebook, you know, it will say, is s that Samuel Burke there.

But there's a lot in the U.S. State of Illinois. That's the biometric privacy act, and it said that certain users have certain privileges when it

comes to biometric information, like your fingerprint, iris scan, and facial recognition data.

So that people who are filing this lawsuit believed that basically, the law is saying that you have to get express consent to use that information if

you're tech company. They allege that Facebook did not get that alleged consent.

But let me just show you what the social network is saying right now in response to this decision from the judge, saying you can go forward as a

class-action lawsuit, Facebook say we are reviewing the ruling. We continue to believe the case has no merit, and we'll defend ourselves


But interesting to note right now here in the E.U., Kristie, the privacy laws are changing. So Facebook has been sending out notifications to those

of us in the continent.

But take a look at this, one researcher from Cambridge Analytica, her name is Jennifer Cobe (ph), she noticed that when Facebook is asking you about

facial recognition, at the bottom of the image you are seeing on the screen as it slowly -- scrolls down rather, it will take do you accept this.

But there's no, do not accept button. You have to click manage data settings, then go to another page, and then go to another page to click no.

I think that demonstrate some of the frustrations that users have with these data privacy settings.

LU STOUT: Absolutely. The case Facebook just raises the barrier for us to be able to say no. And it is incredible, I know both of us have been

tagging photos in Facebook. That means Facebook has our biometric data, incredible. Samuel, there are growing concerns about what Facebook has on

this. How much data, what kind of data it has on its users, is Facebook offering more clarity on its data collection practices?

BURKE: one of the more pertinent questions that Mark Zuckerberg was asked by members of Congress was, does Facebook follow you when you're not logged

into Facebook. And his answer was yes.

Now, Facebook is trying to clarify what exactly that means. So they shared a blog post -- if we can just put on the screen to explain some of the ways

Facebook said that they are following you when you're not on Facebook.

One is pretty obvious that they get data from other companies that send it to them, but a lot of folks didn't know that if you click share or like on

a different site, even if you're not a member of Facebook, no Facebook account, they're tracking information.

Another is that Facebook login system, let's say you use Spotify, but you don't have your own username, you use your Facebook account to login to

that app, or any other app, then Facebook can track you through those apps.

And lastly, they didn't mention this one, Kristie, but I know having interviewed a Facebook advertising executive that Facebook can track you

when you're offline, when you're not connected to the internet. How? They have these tie-ups with loyalty cards for example.

So let's say you are at the supermarket, and you buy a chocolate bar, that's registered on your loyalty card, that is shared to a third-party,

that third-party tells Facebook.

So maybe the ads that Kristie Lu Stout sees on her Facebook page are changing based on the chocolate bar that you bought, or maybe the

vegetables, or whatever you might be buying, whether that is at a supermarket, or even at a drugstore.

LU STOUT: You know, I know Facebook is just addressing our concerns. It has offer more clarity. But, Samuel, you know, it just feels like this is

just the tip of the iceberg. There's going to be more reports from you to come.

Samuel Burke reporting live for us from London, thank you so much, take care. You're watching News Stream. And we'll be right back after this.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN NEWS STREAM SHOW HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching "News Stream" and these are your world headlines.

Now Russia is denying allegations by the U.S. and U.K. that it is blocking international inspectors from entering Douma, Syria, the site of a

suspected chemical weapons attack earlier this month. Russian officials say the fact-finding team will be allowed into Douma on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post says the White House is continuing to debate new sanctions on Moscow, contradicting earlier more decisive indications

from America's ambassador to the U.N.

The Kremlin is dismissing a report by the U.S. and U.K. who warn that malicious Russian hackers are targeting millions of devices worldwide use

to route internet traffic. Officials say they are not sure how many devices have been compromised, but they say the attacks may be designed for any

number of illegal users.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is on his way to meet U.S. President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago today. The two are expected to tackle the issues

of North Korea and trade during their two days of meetings.

Outrage is growing in India over series of high-profile sexual assaults, including the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl. Thousands of

protesters have taken to the streets across the country and some of the largest mass demonstrations in more than six years. Ivan Watson has more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Outrage in India. Protests spread across the country. Demonstrators asking a

chilling question, can children like this little girl be safe? The protests triggered by two rape cases, each implicating powerful men in local


This week in the town of Kathua in India's northern Jammu and Kashmir state, police brought seven suspects to court. They stand accused of

kidnapping, raping, and killing an 8-year-old Muslim girl at this Hindu temple in January.

The defendants which include a retired government official and three police officers are all pleading not guilty. The victim's father, a nomadic

herder, wants them hanged.

The killers should be killed, he says. "They should be punished."

That call for the death penalty echoed by this girl in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Last June, she was only 16 years old when she says she was first

raped then kidnapped and raped again several days after the initial assault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The longer they stay out of prison, the more danger there will be.

WATSON (voice over): The chief suspect, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a state lawmaker from India's ruling BJP Party. He denies the charges, claiming

they're politically motivated.

The day before Sengar's arrest last week, a high court condemned the state government's handling of the case arguing, quote, law and order machinery

and the government officials were directly in league and under the influence of Kuldeep Singh Sengar.

Activists are calling on India's ruling BJP to take rape more seriously.

VRINDA GROVER, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: There is a sitting legislator who is yet to be removed by the party. There is therefore some kind of

(INAUDIBLE) political patronage. The signal from the top is that there is impunity for sexual violence.

[08:34:59] WATSON (voice over): Celebrities from the entertainment industry have helped mobilize public opinion over this growing problem.

According to the latest official statistics, the number of reported rape cases jumped 12 percent in 2016.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed justice for the victims.

NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA (through translator): We are all ashamed of it. Incidents like this shake human sensitivities and I want to

show the country that no culprit will be spared.

WATSON (voice over): But Modi's own party is under fire after two of its escaped ministers were forced from office for publicly defending the

alleged rapist of the 8-year-old Muslim girl, apparently because they were fellow members of India's Hindu religious majority.

An attack on an innocent child disturbingly amplified by the politics of religious identity.

Ivan Watson, CNN.


LU STOUT: You're watching "News Stream" and we'll be right back.


LU STOUT: An accidental discovery may be moving us one step closer to a cure for our plastic binging problem. U.S. and British researches have

inadvertently developed an enzyme that just so happens to be really good at breaking down PET. Now that is a type of plastic used since the 1940s to

manufacture millions upon millions of plastic bottles.

Scientists are hoping that they can find a way to use the enzyme on an industrial scale to break down plastics back into their original building

blocks so that they can be sustainably recycled.

Now who better to talk to than Professor John McGeehan from University of Portsmouth. He is co-lead author on the paper about the findings. It was

recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He joins us now. Professor, thank you for joining us here.

What an incredible discovery. This enzyme that can digest plastic. And just to clarify here, this is PET plastic. This is the plastic we use every day,

in plastic bottles and packaging?

JOHN MCGEEHAN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH: Yes, that's right. It's the same PET that makes your plastic bottles, your (INAUDIBLE)

bottles, but also lots of clothing and carpets or films of packaging for food. Every day, yes, really is one of biggest plastic. So finding a way to

break it down is super important.

LU STOUT: Yes. And how long does it take to break it down for this enzyme to eat the plastic?

MCGEEHAN: Well, so this is going on (ph) for my discovery two years ago in science. A Japanese group managed to find a bacteria in a plastic,

recycling them, that was actually living of the diet of PET. So what we've done is take the enzyme of that bacteria and this is what we're studying.

Actually, if you think about plastic in the environment, this is kind of horrific because you need this man-made polymer that just doesn't break

down. These bottles could last hundreds of years in environment.

The bacteria can break this down in a matter of days or weeks. But what we are hoping to do with the enzyme is just in the same way use an enzyme in a

biological washing detergent, breaking down grass stains. These enzymes we hope can break down PET ideally in a matter of days (ph). That's our goal.

LU STOUT: Yes. And so that's your next goal is, a real-world application to harness the power of the enzyme to break down PET. Do you have a time

frame on when you would be able to introduce it to, for example, recycling centers to do just that?

MCGEEHAN: So at the moment, it is at a small scale.

[08:39:58] But I think if we look to other technologies out there, for example, I mentioned washing powder detergents enzymes, but also things

like bio-fuel enzymes.

They are originally from bacteria in fungi and they were designed to be much faster, 10 hundred times faster than the original within a period of

five to 10 years. So now that that technology already exists out there, I am very hopeful that we can really push it within that time frame.

LU STOUT: There is so much promise with this technology but with any promise in technology, there is also a potential peril. Is there any danger

that this enzyme could break down more than just plastic that it could bring havoc once unleashed?

MCGEEHAN: No. This is -- so what you need to remember is that this bacteria that Japanese people found already out there in the environment,

they operate incredibly slowly, so they are not going to cause any problems.

What we are doing is basically taking the enzyme out there, purifying it, so we got a nonliving enzyme. We are using that just in a very controlled

way in a recycling site so this would be a very safe technology. In fact, a lot safer than some chemical technologies that currently exist.

LU STOUT: Incredible finding. I wish you, your team, and your colleagues the best of luck as you introduce that real-world application of this

enzyme. Thank you very much, professor. Take care.

MCGEEHAN: Thank you.

LU STOUT: Now to a remarkable story from South Korea now where an airline executive is in hot water over throwing water. Now this is Cho Hyun-min.

She is the senior vice president of Korean Air. She is now facing both an investigation and a travel ban for being accused of throwing water into a

man's face at a business meeting because she did not like an answer he gave her.

But get this, Cho is the sister of Heather Cho, who made headlines back in 2014 when yes, she lost her temper over the way that she was served nuts on

a Korean air flight. The latest incident has renewed frustrations among some in South Korea over what some people view as bad behavior by rich and

powerful families.

South Korean film legend Choi Eun-hee has passed away age 92. In 1978, she was famously abducted by the North Korean regime and she was forced to make

over a dozen films for then leader Kim Jong-il.

After eight years in captivity, she dramatically escaped at the Vienna Film Festival. She will be remembered for her prolific filmmaking around 130 in

total, 17 of those were made while in captivity. In 1985, she won best actress at the Moscow Film Festival for her role in "Salt" which was

produced in the north.

And that is "News Stream." I'm Kristie Lu Stout. But don't go anywhere. "World Sport" with Alex Thomas is next.


[08:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)