CNN Radio News Day: December 18, 2012
Children in Newtown, Connecticut return to school on December 18, 2012.
December 18th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

CNN Radio News Day: December 18, 2012

CNN Radio News Day is an evening news program providing an informative, thoughtful and creative look at the day's events. It's posted Monday through Friday at 4:30 pm ET.

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(CNN) – Welcome to CNN Radio News Day.

  • Today two more young victims of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary were laid to rest.  Seperate services were held at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church for six-year-old Jessica Rekos and six-year-old James Mattioli.  Meanwhile, some residents of Newtown, Connecticut have come together to form a grassroots movement to start the conversation they say must now take place:

"I can only sit back for so long and ask the question, 'Why is this happening?'  I feel that I need to be part of a movement that can illicit change," said Mary Sireci, a local teacher. "When Columbine happened, I thought it would never happen again because it was so horrific. We've got to be more proactive."

  •  A team of American journalists who disappeared in Syria has been released unharmed.  NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his crew were rescued after their kidnappers ran into a rebel checkpoint.  The development comes amid new signs that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's grip on power is slipping.  But former U.S. Ambassador Ted Kattouf says it's not clear Assad's fall is imminent:

"He (Assad) has a certain core of support within the military from his own sect, the Alawites. And as long as they stay loyal to him they command a lot of firepower, a lot of artillery – mortars and the like – and they can fight on for quite a while."

  • There are 14 days to go until the U.S. hits the so-called fiscal cliff.  There's still no deal to stop across-the-board tax hikes and government spending cuts from taking effect, but it appears President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are making some progress as they continue to negotiate.  CNN's Lisa Desjardins says the tragedy in Connecticut seems to be the impetus for cooperation:

"The shootings in Newtown have changed the way things are operating on Capitol Hill. There is a real sense here that politicians on both sides can't be seen as bickering.  They no longer can have this partisan fighting going on."

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